There is a delicious irony in the fact that Michael Fry’s thoroughly justified condemnation of the Scottish left’s attacks on the Sustainable Growth Commission’s (SGC) report is juxtaposed with him making one of the most serious errors of those he castigates. The following paragraph makes my point.
Now we learn, thanks to Andrew Wilson, that Nicola Sturgeon recognises this strategy has failed to inspire the new impetus the SNP needs to carry it successfully through the difficult period of Brexit.
Just like the “progressive socialists” he condemns for failing to properly appreciate the report, Michael Fry fails to understand that the document is intended to inform SNP thinking rather than reflect it. The worst misrepresentation of the report by righteous radicals is the oft-repeated assertion that it commits the party – and, inexplicably, post-independence Scotland – to immediate and irrevocable implementation of every word of Andrew Wilson’s recommendations.
The reality, of course, is that the report commits nobody to anything. It is, as Dr Craig Dalzell has been at pains to stress while offering his own critical analysis, a discussion document – nothing more. Doubtless large parts will emerge unscathed from what will inevitably be a very rigorous process of scrutiny and debate within the SNP. (A process not being replicated by any of those presuming to demand massive amendment (or incineration) of the SGC report without the formality of discussion.) But other bits are likely to fare less well at the hands of SNP members who will attend the planned National Assemblies in their thousands.
What emerges from this process may not even then be a true reflection of the SNP leadership’s preferences. But it will be something that the party as a whole can get behind.
It would be gratifying to suppose that the rest of the Yes movement might do likewise en masse. But I fear it would be naive to hope that those “progressive socialists” might set aside their partisan loyalties and factional agendas in the name of rescuing Scotland from a British Nationalist ‘One Nation’ project that threatens everything they supposedly value – and much more besides.
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