Hands up everyone among the 115,000 SNP members who is grateful to Poor Old Cockers for explaining to them why they signed up. Nobody? That’s what I thought. After all who would place any value on the conclusions of someone who persists in congratulating himself on having engineered Alex Salmond’s ‘downfall’, despite the fact that Mr Salmond’s career has continued to flourish in ways that must rouse great jealousy in most other former party leaders and holders of high office. Surely someone so deluded is vanishingly unlikely to have anything sensible to say about… well… anything, really.
Readers not afflicted with the virulent form of British nationalist fervour that afflicts Poor Old Cockers are like to have noticed that, while the fool accuses those SNP members of being obsessed with the first referendum and claims that ‘we wuz robbed!’, it is in fact he who is still banging on about the 2014 vote. He and his fellow British nationalist fanatics just don’t seem to be able to let it go. They seem to need to constantly remind and reassure themselves that they actually won. Time does not seem to be helping them deal with the hollowness of a victory in which all the prizes went to their hated opponents.
Of course, events just keep picking at the scab on their bitter resentment. The reviled SNP goes from strength to electoral strength. In the British nationalists’ more orgasmic triumphalist fantasies, the party was to shrivel up and die in the wake of defeat in the first referendum. That contrast between fantasy and reality is clearly hard to deal with.
The collapse in the price of oil was greeted with drooling glee by these same British nationalist fanatics. They fervently hoped that it would bring economic ruin to Scotland. They relished the prospect of gloating over the measureless misery of Scotland’s people. But the cup of schadenfreude that was supposed to runneth over has turned out to be empty of all but the bitter lees that have further soured the mood of hard-line unionist ideologues. The oil-price collapse has had no more than a barely perceptible impact. British nationalists, who had hoped for endless feasting on Scotland’s misfortunes, find themselves instead forced to resort to their standard tactics of disinformation and lies – banging on about an entirely imaginary fiscal ‘black hole’.
As if all this was not enough to feed the bilious rancour of Poor Old Cockers and his ilk, they are further driven to distraction by the realisation, increasingly forced upon them despite the barricades of arrogant delusion, that nobody is listening to them any more. Few people hear their shrill and hateful voices. Fewer still believe what those voices say.
What Poor Old Cockers and his ilk crave is power. The power to persuade. They regard themselves as ‘opinion formers’. They fancy themselves masters of manipulation. Nothing aggravates them more than knowing that their smearing, lying, fear-mongering efforts are to no avail.
Not that this stops the lies. Poor Old Cockers claims that Nicola Sturgeon announced a new initiative to build support for another referendum. In fact, what she announced was a new initiative to build support for independence. The difference is significant in ways that Poor Old Cockers is not equipped to understand.
In a toe-curlingly embarrassing effort to position herself as the figurehead for British nationalism in Scotland, Ruth Davidson responded to Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement by launching a petition to oppose a second referendum. This was idiotic in so many ways. Not least, the fact that she’s just as cloth-eared as Poor Old Cockers and has failed to either hear what Sturgeon said or comprehend the implications. And what does she hope to achieve with this daft petition? If she gets anything less than half the voters in Scotland to sign she will have proved the precise opposite of what was intended. In the vastly more likely event that she gets only a derisory response, she will be left looking as silly as if she had herself photographed straddling some massive military hardware.
What neither Davidson or Poor Old Cockers have the wits to realise is that they are the only ones obsessing about a second referendum. (While still carping about the first one!) The SNP has moved on. What Nicola Sturgeon announced was not a drive to secure a second referendum. She knows that this will happen anyway, when the time is right. It is not about building demand for another referendum. It is about articulating the case for independence.
People like Poor Old Cockers no longer have any power to persuade because the obviousness of the disconnect between their bigoted perspective and observable reality is just too great. Even a moderately astute observer can see what Sturgeon is doing, even if it is invisible to the closed minds of British nationalist fanatics. This summer will see a revival of the Scottish independence movement that unionists thought they had killed stone dead. The SNP, together with the wider independence movement, is set to re-engage with the fundamental constitutional issue that the British establishment has sought to bury under an avalanche of economic drivel and arguments about procedural niceties.
While unionists continue to rant about imagined ‘once in a generation’ pledges and imaginary fiscal ‘black holes’, we will be talking about how independence is normal. While they wallow in their fantasies of Scotland’s social and economic disintegration, we will be talking about the potential benefits of bringing our government home.
While the British establishment mounts a frantic last-ditch defence of the structures of power, privilege and patronage which define the British state and serve its ruling elites, we will be talking about the sovereignty of the people, and the simple good sense of having our country run by those we elect, rather than those we reject.