The problem is not that “the First Minister ‘never had a Plan B’ for indyref2” but that she never had a viable Plan A. But if the obviously infeasible and now dismally failed Section 30 process was her Plan A and Kenny MacAskill wants her to try for a “consultative referendum” followed by an unspecified “Plan B” should this too fail, then surely the “consultative referendum” would then be her “Plan B” making Kenny’s unspecified “Plan B” the First Minister’s “Plan C”. I think we all know where it goes after that. How soon, I wonder, before they exhaust the alphabet. Surely not before we run out of patience.
The great mystery… Correction! ONE of the great mysteries is why the SNP is in this position in the first place. The party has existed, with the same primary purpose, for more than 80 years. Nobody could reasonably have expected them to plan ahead that far. But the Scottish Parliament was reconvened in 1999. The SNP has been strongly represented at Holyrood since then. The party has been in government for 13 years. We had an independence referendum five years ago. You’d think at some point during all this somebody would have sat down and gamed all credible future scenarios. For the SNP to be lost for a workable plan at this stage is unbelievable and unforgivable.
This lack of a plan is even more inexplicable when one considers how few options there are. The people who put their faith in Nicola Sturgeon having some ‘Great Secret Plan’ that will be unveiled at the dramatically critical moment are putting their faith in magic. For such a plan to exist there would have to be options which nobody else is aware of. Options that only she has been able to figure out. Or she would have to magic these options into existence. The latter is, counter-intuitively, the more likely. A great many people have been looking at Scotland’s predicament, including a great many very clever people. None of them has identified a single mystery option such as would be an essential ingredient of a ‘Great Secret Plan’. There is no ‘Great Secret Plan’!
Distressing as it may be, we better all get used to the fact that what we see is all there is. And what we see is a seriously intractable situation. The kind of situation that isn’t resolved by political nous alone. The kind of political situation that calls for imagination and nerve. We all know how clever Nicola Sturgeon is. But clever won’t cut it in this instance. It doesn’t matter how politically adroit she may be, or how much knowledge of the law she can draw on if she can’t do bold, decisive and assertive. When none of the things you’d be expected to do will work, all that’s left is to do the unexpected. And do it with as much flair and brass neck as you can muster.
Forget Plans B through Z! If Plan A is to abide strictly by the British state’s rules and Plan A won’t work then it’s foolish to suppose that anything else will work that also abides strictly by the same rules. And that includes everything that has so far been suggested by anyone in a position to influence the First Minister; if such a person even exists. It’s not an alphabet’s worth of plans we need it is a single course of action that will drive the independence campaign through the maze that defeats even the smartest of politicians. Because that’s what it was designed to do.
Defiance! Not compliance! We’ve done reasonable. It’s time to do unreasonable. We’ve tried to find a key to unlock the shackles of the Union. It’s time to recognise that there is no key. The key was thrown away 307 years ago. There is no get-out clause in the Union. That’s as it was intended to be. Scotland didn’t join a political union. Scotland was annexed. It is ludicrous to expect that, in the act of annexation, the annexing power would create a provision by which the annexed territory might reverse the annexation. Nicola Sturgeon is relying on a provision that doesn’t exist.
The question is not, how do we get independence. The question is how do we end the annexation. No wonder there isn’t a plan! They don’t even know what they’re planning for! No wonder they have no relevant answers! They’re asking the wrong questions! No wonder they aren’t able to find a solution! They haven’t identified the problem!
The problem is not that the First Minister never had a Plan B. The problem is that she is not planning for the situation that actually exists.
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