Don’t ask for dumb loyalty

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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10 thoughts on “Don’t ask for dumb loyalty

  1. I don’t often read Andrew Wilson. I did this morning and know why I don’t read him much. About half way through the article I exclaimed out loud (the cat was the only other being present) what a patronising git. Seriously. All us faithful independence supporters should just fall in line with the party because the leadership knows best. We should do nothing but persuade the persuadable with the bright light of truth. And meanwhile the lies of the British state will continue. Not only patronising but seriously naive.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have been a member for 30 years.

    I will not be silenced , especially not by people who joined the party 5 years ago, or are new to this game. Some of us have been here since the SNP were a protest group of 4 Mp’s in the 90’s. I often get accused of being a 5th columnist for criticising the party by wee nyaffs.

    I am told to have faith and trust Nicola, do not dissent.

    My major question right now is this. Why are we waiting for Boris to reply or not to reply? He could spin this out for months. The time we are giving away to him is our enemy. The last 3 years were utterly wasted trying to save England from itself.

    And yet the SNP are still wasting more time at Westminster. Why are we no closer to Indy Ref 2 ,despite 3 years arguing about it?

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Time to repeat what I said on this blog a few months ago.

    Anyone who believes that Nicola Sturgeon EVER wanted another Referendum before 2021 are simply deluding themselves.

    Everything she has done has been done to PREVENT a Referendum happening before then while giving the IMPRESSION that she is trying to deliver it.

    The ONLY priority she has had since 2016 is to be re-elected in 2021. Losing a Referendum before that is virtually the only political risk on the horizon. That risk is eliminated if she doesn’t have to contest it as long as she can put the blame on someone else, therefore the Section 30 straw man has been carefully cultivated over a number of years to the extent that some people really do believe it is the only way.

    Remember that when the 2016 SNP manifesto was written, nobody expected Britain to vote to leave the EU. That example for justifying a further IndyRef was deliberately chosen because it was thought so unlikely to transpire. This is evidenced by the sheer panic of the First Minister the day after the Referendum when she was spooked into making commitments she had not properly considered or had even had had tested. When does Nicola Sturgeon ever rush into doing anything under normal circumstances?

    It would be unfair to describe the SNP as a cult but only because there are members such as Peter Bell and others who are prepared to publicly question the leadership. Paradoxically, it is these members who are stopping the party disappearing up the rear end of its leader such is the unquestioning and utterly misplaced faith of the vast majority of its members.

    I make one final observation. Yes Scotland was established in 2012, over two years before the last Referendum. We are now supposedly in the year of IndyRef2 and we have nothing except the risible Sustainable Growth Commission as the SNP’s contribution to the next campaign over and above now meaningless slogans like ‘Stop Brexit’ and ‘Stop Boris’.

    The hubris is strong in team Sturgeon/Murrell but surely even they don’t believe they can single handedly win an Independence campaign in 2020 from today’s position?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I remembered today the UN ruĺing on the Chagos Islands ,that The British government has no claim of sovereignty over the islands. The Bitish government has ignored the ruling. Whats going to stop them doing the same to Scotland

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dissident – Depressingly I have come to that conclusion as well.

    I don’t believe Nicola is serious about Indy Ref 2 anytime soon. She definitely wants another 5 year term. She doesn’t want to risk that by having an Indy Ref the year before this. If she wins a majority at Holyrood in 2021. She will probably hold the referendum in the last year of the new term. So that would be 2025.

    Regrettably we will probably not make it past 2021 ,as Holyrood will have been neutered by then. Right now it’s a hopeless situation we are in.


    1. I thought it was telling when she revealed last month that her ambition was to serve another term as FM.

      One would have thought that the leader of the SNP, especially one who has apparently taken us closer to Independence than ever before, would instead be looking forward to being the first PM of an Independent Scotland.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Challenging the managerialists view doesn’t make you popular but it sure as hell makes you effective. The SNP membership and the YES movement are not just sheep willing to be corralled into a pen by the leading sheep dog. The SNP need to show us their ace cards and we hope they are not all jokers.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I’m so weary hearing people regurgitate the tired old tropes about not criticising your own side, not rocking the boat, keeping eyes on the prize, all blinkered nonsense with zero supporting evidence (the plural of anecdote is not data). What this advice does do though, is give whoever is in power the opportunity to stay there without disturbance so its encouraged. I’d like to write more extensively on this subject but this is not the forum.
    Here’s a wee analogy instead. I know next to nothing about football, but what I do know is that when a team is not winning as its fans expect, none of them appear to me to be reticent or shy about criticising the manager or suggesting his next moves. And as supporters they seem to feel they are entitled so to do without feeling disloyal, in fact the care and concern they show they see as a sign of their commitment and allegiance to the team and its mission.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. There is no secret plan. Nicola is in Oslo trying to build international support. That’s what she said she would do.

    The problem is that it’s too late for this. Time will pass and nothing will change.

    Liked by 2 people

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