Yet another senior SNP figure pops up to tell us we must have faith in the party leadership and desist from “niggling within our own team”. Presumably, this is aimed at, possibly among others, the people who are expressing grave concerns about the party’s approach to the constitutional issue. I hesitate to call it hypocrisy, but there’s certainly a double standard in Andrew Wilson insisting we treat opponents and No voters with respect while he shows such scant regard for those of us “in our own team” who harbour serious doubts about whether the Section 30 process can work. Doubts which he, of course, makes no attempt to address.
I don’t do faith. I certainly don’t do blind faith. I do confidence when I am persuaded confidence is warranted. I do trust where trust is earned. But I don’t do faith. Faith is belief against evidence. Faith requires that we set aside even the most rational doubts and reasoned concerns. Faith, even outside the context of religion, involves at least partial denial of one’s own intellect. I don’t do faith.
If Andrew Wilson and the SNP leadership are so intent on stopping the “niggling within our own team” then they have, in their own hands, the means to do so. They need only treat those who have concerns about the Section 30 process with some of the respect they tell us we must afford to everyone else. The concerns to which I refer are real and justified. The doubts have cause and can only grow if left unaddressed. Telling us to abandon intellect for faith and be silent demonstrates a lack of respect. Dismissing them as “niggling” suggests a failure to comprehend the reasons people are worried.
I trust Nicola Sturgeon to put Scotland’s interests first. I have confidence in the dedication and ability of our First Minister and her colleagues. But even the most trustworthy of leaders is capable of misidentifying what best serves Scotland’s interests. The efforts of even the most committed and competent team may turn out to be misguided. If others are questioning the wisdom of a particular course of action it will tend to be because those responsible have neglected to ask the pertinent questions. Or they are perceived as having failed to do so.
Asking questions, expressing concerns and airing doubts about strategy does not harm Scotland’s cause. Like all the marches and rallies and inspirational rhetoric and strictly on-message newspaper columns, the debate about strategy becomes part of the clamour for independence. Part of the demonstrable public demand for a new referendum that the First Minister requires.
I do not presume to speak for anyone else, although I’ll wager I speak for most of those expressing concerns and airing doubts about the Section 30 process when I assure Andrew Wilson and others who demand dumb loyalty that questioning the Scottish Government’s strategy on the constitutional issue does not betoken any lack of commitment to the cause of restoring Scotland’s independence. Rather, it is lifelong dedication to that cause which compels me to speak out.
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