No alternative

I am disappointed for Angus MacNeil and Chris McEleney. However misguided their ‘Plan B’ was, I know their intentions were good and their enthusiasm genuine. Nobody should be in any doubt that these are two of the ‘good guys’. Among our elected representatives, they are all but alone in expressing the sense of urgency felt by so many in the Yes movement. Not to mention the sense of disappointment and frustration.

The fact is that their ‘alternative route to independence’ really isn’t. It was never going to fly, even if it could get off the ground. It was never going to fly for reasons I have set out in detail. It was never going to get off the ground for the reasons given by an anonymous “SNP insider”.

Unfortunately, Angus and Chris were addressing a problem that doesn’t exist. We do no need an alternative route to independence. We do not need a ‘Plan B’. The hard truth is that if we don’t find the right route to independence now then we’re unlikely to have the opportunity to implement any backup plan. And increasing numbers of Yes activists are entertaining serious doubts about the SNP’s ‘Plan A’. Some members will certainly be “disappointed” that SNP conference will not debate the party’s approach to resolving the constitutional issue. More than a few, both in the SNP and in the wider independence movement, will be frustrated and angry that the leadership is unwilling to rethink an approach which they see as seriously – perhaps fatally – flawed.

If the British political elite is willing to deny Scotland’s right of self-determination then why would anybody suppose that they’d stop short of ‘suspending’ the Scottish Parliament? And if they do that, why wouldn’t they take steps to thwart any possible alternative route to independence? Once established power resorts to undemocratic and anti-democratic means to suppress a challenge to its status, it has no choice but to continue on that course – wherever it might lead. Any climb-down would be too humiliating to contemplate. And it would involve admitting seriously questionable behaviour.

And it’s not as if we are merely facing the prospect of the British state resorting to methods associated with oppressive regimes. They are already embarked on such a course. It started with opposition to the exercise of Scotland’s right of self-determination. That opposition has now become prohibition. There’s only one way it can go from there.

The British state could, even now, pull back from the brink. But that is not going to happen. In all of British politics not a single voice is to be heard issuing a word of caution about the way the British government is behaving towards Scotland; far less denouncing this anti-democratic conduct. Instead, we have candidates for the post of Tory leader/British Prime Minister indulging in macho Jock-bashing to amuse and enthuse their British Nationalist constituency.

It truly beggars belief that, against this background, the SNP leadership can imagine it appropriate or politically realistic to contemplate taking the Section 30 route used in the first referendum and rerunning the 2014 campaign.

We would not be so desperate for a ‘Plan B’ if we were at all convinced that there was a workable ‘Plan A’. The SNP is doing absolutely nothing to persuade us that they are even aware of the threat posed to Scotland by a rampant ‘One Nation’ British Nationalism intent on preserving the Union at any cost. That threat is real and imminent. It is looming over us now. We are desperately awaiting some sign that our political leaders are preparing to deal with it.

Angus and Chris may not have come up with an answer. But at least they are asking the questions. More power to them!

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9 thoughts on “No alternative

  1. As ever, a thoughtful piece from Peter. I think the reason Plan B will not be debated is because the SNP believe it to be too important to be covered by a short conference discussion. Well… perhaps.

    Once again we’re left hoping the SNP are being so “conservative” because they don’t want to scare the soft Noes. Sooner or later – and it will be sooner – the SNP will have to grasp the thistle.


  2. There is no silver bullet and no magic formula. What you see is not brinkmansip or games from Nicola Sturgeon.

    She is caught in a trap of her own making. She calculated that Brexit would have happened, the section 30 would be agreed and that yes would be at 65%.

    Because none of those things have happened. She has now bunkered down with a tinfoil helmet on. In other words she isnae listening to anyone in the movement. Her wait and see strategy has failed. What is really gaulling, is that she has not asserted Scotland’s authority. She is awaiting a corrupt governments approval. An approval that will never come.

    It is a state of utter paralysis. People need to realise that she will not instigate a revolution. She is playing by the UKs rules. It’s doomed to failure.

    I think we need a change , because I have no faith in this current leadership and strategy.


  3. I’ve been saying this for a few years now & been on the receiving end of great amount of anger & abuse for daring to say the she needs to go. And she does need to go & go now. She’s to soft & she’s being outsmarted at every turn. We need someone with fire in their belly for indy. Nothing less will do or or cut it. The warlords in WM cannot take her seriously cos she isn’t serious. I’m sure she’s a nice person & a capable minister but right now we need someone who can get into the bear pit, muster the base & go on a march or two. I cannot see her outsmarting the monsters that rule over us. It isn’t in her.


  4. Ossian.

    Agree, we need a Salmond type leader. Being a good first minister is not necesserily a bad thing. However to win a fight for Scotland’s freedom. You need to be brave, proactive, fearless and determined.

    I think Nicola is only one of those things. Her biggest weakness being she is reactive. She keeps waiting for circumstances to change. She should be leading her country ,not watching another country and being led by events.

    The job is too big for her.


  5. I think you are a bit unfair, chaps. Women do not approach situations of confrontation in the same way that you do, so it might look to you that she is full of fear, but that may not be the case. Perhaps she genuinely does not wish to put Scotland on a path of confrontation with, let’s face it, a British State that has shown its utter ruthlessness and lack of decency in its dealing with those who have tried to claim their independence. She is right to be cautious, but you are right, too, in that there is no way to avoid confrontation, and, unless we all, as much as the SNP leadership, are prepared to admit this and get on with it, we are going nowhere.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. With all due respects Lorna, my criticism of NS is nowt to do wi her gender. In some areas I’ve sung her praises to give credit were its due. However my idea of a leader, especially at times like these, is one who leads from the front. In some things such as gay fights she has done this. But as hard as this next part is for you to imagine & it pains me to state it. Love her or loathe her you knew what Maggie stood for. That’s the kind of leader, female, male or other, that we desperately desperately need now. Not a wait & see, not send a tweet. Not stick to your enemies rule book. Because if you do that you’ve already lost. Which means we’ve already lost. I truly believe we have already lost, this time round. But the dream goes on in me & will never die in me.

      I’m quite sure the WM deep state apparatus knew we’d wait to long & start fighting amongst ourselves. So they never had much to fear from us after all !


  6. I agree with what you say Peter and have been warning people of the very real possibility of Scotland ceasing to exist. However, as to the SNP leadership, they must be equally aware of those fears expressed so eloquently in your blog. I still have faith in them but my patience has been sorely tested of late. As you have previously stated the FM and her cabinet can’t give away their plans to the British Nationalists. Unfortunately that means keeping us in the dark too.


    1. I hear this a lot. As if people believe there is a way of going about the business of restoring Scotland’s independence that nobody else but Nicola Sturgeon has thought of. But that’s not how it works in the real world. In the real world, there is only a limited range of options. It really isn’t that difficult to figure out what a rational politician is going to do.


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