There’s something missing from Lesley Riddoch’s column in The National. As I read all the de rigeur boilerplate about how dreadful the Tories are and how intolerable it is that voters in England will continue to elect them despite how awful Boris Johnson is and despite the Dominic Cummings scandal on top of all the other scandals now eclipsed by the Dominic Cummings scandal and how the British Tories in Scotland have been forced to say something critical of their masters in London that they’ve only been allowed to say because their masters in London don’t give a toss about what the British Tories in Scotland say because voters in England will continue to elect them anyway and how untenable and insupportable it is that Scotland should have a Tory government imposed by English voters and how all of this is going to conspire to make independence happen because Nicola Sturgeon has performed better than any other politician on the catwalk of daily public health crisis briefings and… nothing!
Where there should be some mention of what WE actually DO to make independence happen, there’s nothing. Where we might expect a few words about how the Scottish Government might respond to all of the foregoing in a way that helps convert glaring constitutional injustice into major constitutional reform, there’s nothing. Were we might have anticipated some wise advice from Lesley on what the SNP could actually do to exploit the ineptitude and corruption of the British political elite to the benefit of Scotland’s cause, there’s nothing.
Where we might have hoped for a rousing message of encouragement and incitement to the Yes movement urging us on with a call to some kind of action, there’s nothing.
Anybody reading this column could be forgiven for thing Lesley Riddoch genuinely believes that independence is going to fall in our laps while we sit and watch a bunch of political, social and economic vandals shake the edifice of the British state to destruction. Those of us who are better acquainted with Lesley’s politics and spirit will know that this is not so. But the impression given is undeniable.
To be fair, she may have reached her word limit before she got around to mentioning Scotland’s role in restoring Scotland’s independence. But Lesley is a professional writer. She is one of depressingly few journalists in Scotland for whom the term ‘journalist’ is not used in a pejorative sense. She is perfectly capable of editing out enough of the oft-repeated charge sheet against the government of England-as-Britain to make space for a paragraph or two on how the people of Scotland might be involved in the process or restoring our nation’s rightful constitutional status. We can only conclude that the absence of any such material is a matter of personal choice rather than an error of journalistic judgement.
But why would she do that? Why would Lesley Riddoch leave out what some would argue is the most important part of the equation? Why would she risk leaving the impression that she was naive enough to imagine independence would come about, not as a result of the choices and actions of Scotland’s people, but as a consequence of the British political elite’s failures?
Perhaps because she knows what must be done but is reluctant to spell it out for fear of the inevitable backlash from the hyper-cautious elements of the independence movement. Maybe Lesley Riddoch has joined the growing number of people who are recognising that only bold, decisive, assertive action will get Scotland’s independence restored. It’s possible she’s just not yet ready to come out of the closet and declare for #ScottishUDI.
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