There are a couple of things worth noting about the YouGov poll which suggests a Conservative win with a substantial majority. The first is that it is very likely to be accurate. This because voting intentions in England, where UK general elections are decided, are based very substantially on Brexit. These voting intentions are fixed. They are unlikely to change because nothing about Brexit is going to change. Or, at least, nothing is going to change soon enough or dramatically enough to have any impact on voting intentions. Nothing is happening with the Brexit process. Not that is visible to the public, antway. And none of the parties are going to change their stance on the Brexit issue during an election campaign.
It is significant, too, that none of the 68 Tory MPs giving Boris Johnson a working majority is likely to be a ‘rebel’, They wouldn’t have been selected as candidates if they were not as committed to taking the UK out of the EU at any cost as their leader.
The second thing to note is that, as is commonly the case, Scotland cannot affect the outcome of this UK general election. The most Scottish voters might hope to do is slightly reduce the Tory majority. They can only do that by voting for their SNP candidate. As has been true for many years now, there is absolutely no point in voting for British Labour in Scotland. I dislike the expression “wasted vote”. As far as I am concerned, participation in the democratic process is always worthwhile. But a vote for British Labour in Scotland is certainly futile if the intention – or the hope – is to influence the outcome at UK level.
In Scotland, British Labour is irrelevant and the Conservative Party is anathema.
We have to think, calmly and rationally about what is the best outcome for Scotland in the coming election. A good case can be made for a British Labour minority government supported by a substantial SNP presence at Westminster. But we have no way of bringing about that outcome. Or even of contributing to it in any effective way. Whatever British Labour in Scotland (BLiS) may tell you, there is simply no possibility of them enjoying a miraculous resurgence. And, even if that miracle were to happen, the election would still be decided in England.
The best outcome that is actually achievable is a massive win for the SNP. A win on a scale that shakes the British establishment. A win so big it cannot be ignored.
What does Scotland gain from returning upwards of 50 SNP MPs? We know that the SNP provides the most vigorous opposition to the Tories at Westminster. Even if this opposition cannot have much actual effect because of the way the odds are stacked against them – both numerically and procedurally – it is SNP MPs who speak, not just for Scotland, but for democracy, decency and political sanity. It is SNP MPs who ask the awkward questions. It is SNP MPs who defend our NHS and other essential public services. It is SNP MPs who truly hold the Tory government to account in a way that only those with very long memories will recall British Labour doing.
No British government is ever going to facilitate or cooperate with any process which puts their ‘precious’ Union in jeopardy. That includes the Section 30 process to which the First Minister is so inexplicably committed. In terms of Scotland’s cause we must therefore consider what might best serve that cause when the time comes to seek the restoration of Scotland’s independence with the consent of the Scottish people but absent the involvement of the British state. Unquestionably, Scotland’s cause is best served by maximising demonstrable support for the SNP – the only party which is unconditionally and unequivocally committed to independence.
That commitment to independence necessarily entails so much more. It entails a commitment to protecting Scotland’s democracy; to defending the Scottish Parliament; to preserving our ability to develop a distinctive political culture informed by the needs, priorities and aspirations of Scotland’s people. It entails dedication to maintaining our essential public services, such as NHS Scotland, and defending them against predation by corporate hyenas.
Even if you are not yet persuaded that Scotland’s interests can only be secured by ending the Union with England-as-Britain, a vote for the SNP is much more than a vote for independence. It is, first and foremost, a vote for al the positive things mentioned above. But it is also a vote against the chaos and corruption of British politics. It is a vote against a system which imposes Tory governments on Scotland regardless of how we vote – along with all their socially corrosive and economically destructive policies.
It is a vote against a political system which so favours a corrupt and incompetent elite as to allow Boris Johnson to become Prime Minister. It is a vote against a system intent on maintaining established power, privilege and patronage while actively excluding the worthy and the talented.
It is a vote against an archaic and grotesquely asymmetric political union which denies the people of Scotland the full and effective exercise of our sovereignty. It is a vote against everything that England-as-Britain has become and will become as its decline into ugly right-wing nationalism continues.
The YouGov poll has to be taken seriously. We must anticipate Boris Johnson continuing as British Prime Minister, but armed with a solid majority in the British parliament and emboldened by his victory. A Boris Johnson made all the more dangerous by being afforded almost unfettered power. A Boris Johnson determined to earn that most ominous of epithets – strong leader.
Behind this gleeful, gloating, malignant child-clown, a British government intent on locking Scotland into the Union and dragging us along on its wildly erratic journey into the political, diplomatic and economic unknown – leaving behind it a wasteland of public services in which the poor and the powerless must survive however they may.
The only thing which can function as a buffer between this and Scotland is a strong, determined and assertive SNP government in Scotland supported by a massive SNP presence in the British parliament. It may be that we have the former. On Thursday 12 December we must ensure that we have the latter. For Scotland’s sake, we must all vote SNP.
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6 thoughts on “A poll worth heeding”
Those intending to vote NO again in any second indyref or would vote for anyone but the SNP, should know that, now that Nicola Sturgeon has put independence, or, at least, a second referendum, which is not at all the same thing, at the heart of her campaign, they will be breaching international mores as laid down by the UN charter on the Right to Self-Determination (and the obligation on those not of Scottish origin) to not thwart our right to vote for our independence. The UN expressly frowns upon those from outwith a country which is bidding for its independence to adversely affect the vote on the grounds of unenlightened self-interest – i.e. with colonial intent. This should borne in mind by all those who oppose Scottish independence. There exists a Right to self-determination, but NONE to those who oppose it. And that is before we even think about the international Treaty of Union and its pro English interpretation by Westminster – utterly wrong in legal opinion, Crawford and Boyle notwithstanding (and theirs has been roundly demolished) for 312 years. These are the legal grounds on which the SNP should be fighting for our future, not on useless cases brought in the domestic courts where Westminster will always have the upper hand.
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“… the Section 30 process to which the First Minister is so inexplicably committed.” The hyenas are rubbing their hands with anticipation. It seems to me that the Tories will act swiftly to dis-empower Scotland, and to take over our NHS. The First Minister’s commitment to the Section 30 process may lose us our publicly funded, universal health service, free to all users at point of need and without consideration of profit, as Boris and the Tories turn it into a private insurance based health business for the profit of the few.
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Well said, Peter. All true. The vote in of itself may not achieve much down in the Westminster clown circus, but it does offer an opportunity for progress all the same, even if it’s all so painfully slow. It will serve as a signal to all – not least to the people of Scotland themselves – that independence is just not going away, whatever the media bias and self-censorship might be striving to imply.
All it requires from each of us is to show our support by going out on the 12th next and voting SNP. This is the only poll that counts in the end.The consequences will follow.
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Should Westminster close Holyrood, then they will be deposing a democratically elected Scottish government. Basically an act of war. Before this happens the Scottish government should approach the EU and UN officially, and ask for military assistance if it occurs.
Neither the EU nor the UN recognise Scotland as a state. They would regard the closing of the Scottish Parliament as the internal affairs of the UK. They would have no authority to intervene.
We must rid ourselves of the notion that some external agency will come to our aid. Only the people of Scotland can restore Scotland’s independence. And we can only do it by channelling our power through the SNP so that, as the Scottish Government, it can act in the Scottish Parliament.
It’s all down to us.
Mr Bell, the Treaty of Union is an international treaty and that gives us the right to be heard in the International Court and in the UN. You are right: we are going to have to do this ourselves, but all countries that have gained their independence require international recognition. We need to be petitioning the international courts now, not waiting to be dished in a second independence referendum – because that is what will happen unless we get a grip on reality.
The SNP is, indeed, our political leverage, but the SNP is just now beginning to show a bit more spark. Nicola Sturgeon cut that Brexit Party chappie down to size with one cutting remark, aimed right at the place where his heart should be. That is what we need. What we do not need are endless court cases in the domestic arena that Westminster already has under its belt. I’m not trying to suggest that the domestic judges are in the government’s pocket; they are not. They are however, bound by constitutional conventions and mores that are entirely and wholly English and have no application in Scotland except as a means to keep us in line. The SNP will throw away any chance we have if they go to the domestic courts to fix our dilemma.
They must resile the Treaty and negotiate with England (rUK) under the conditions laid down by the Treaty when the British State was formed. Perfectly legal and perfectly democratic by international standards. We must show that the Union was not England’s fiefdom and has never been England’s fiefdom. Unless we do that, we are going round in circles until we disappear up our own rear end. The Treaty is the founding document of the UK. No Treaty, no Union, no UK. Resile the Treaty. Scottish de facto independence and international recognition together. Ratifying referendum. Scottish de iure independence. The Catalan situation has shown us that their methods might work over a 50-year period, but we simply do not have that time at our disposal. Winning the election – which we must do, with as many seats as we can – will afford us a shot at another S30 Order, according to the SNP leadership.
If it refused, they say, we’ll go to the courts? Which courts? They should be going to the international courts to both resile the Treaty and take our de facto independence, plus international recognition in one fell swoop. The Catalans do not have a Treaty of Union; they do not have eminent Scottish jurists who have already handed us a case on a plate. Why do we insist on making this so hard and so bitter and so long? What is wrong with us as a nation that we must always flagellate ourselves to the point of demise, grabbing defeat from the jaws of victory? What the hell is wrong with us?