It isn’t difficult to understand why Alyn Smith is so anxious to steer discussion away from independence and the process by which it will be restored to Scotland. It’s easy to see why he wants to talk about the conjectural policies of a hypothetical SNP administration in an imagined future rather than the process by which that future might be realised or the strategy by which that process might be implemented.
He casually dismisses the referendum which in all circumstances will be essential to the process of restoring Scotland’s rightful constitutional status. He disdainfully sweeps aside any and all alternatives to the Section 30 process as unworthy of consideration. He declines to address the frustration with SNP strategy on the constitutional issue which has led directly to people seeking magical solutions to a political problem.
Of course, Alyn Smith insists that he’d be delighted to discuss these matters. But he chooses not to do so because they are “not that interesting to anyone but us”. By “us” he presumably means party members and the rest of the Yes movement. Apparently, we are not important enough for him to engage with. Why would he trouble himself with the nuts and bolts of process or the complexities of campaign strategy when there’s a crop of glittering generalities and elegant soundbites to be harvested in talk of policy? Why focus on the difficulties of the journey when you can paint whatever picture of the future might tempt your present audience to choose your vehicle?
He is delighted to discuss process having just airily rejected the idea of that being “anything other than a Section 30 Order”. He is delighted to talk about process. Just not with anybody who recognises the critical importance of following a process that actually connects to the desired outcome. He is delighted to talk about strategy. But not with anybody who has actual ideas about strategy.
Alyn Smith doesn’t want to talk about process lest someone ask how the Section 30 process to which he is wedded might actually work – as in take us to a referendum and/or the end of the Union. He doesn’t want to discuss strategy lest he be asked to account for the mistakes, missteps and missed opportunities of the past five years.
Mostly, he doesn’t want anybody pointing out that while he is chasing the “centre ground of middle Scotland” he risks losing the core support of the Yes movement; lured away by opportunists seeking to exploit frustration with the SNP for the sake of personal and/or partisan agendas which reduce Scotland’s cause to a mere marketing device.
Am I alone in noting the jaw-dropping contradiction to which Alyn Smith himself seems totally oblivious? He rightly states that “independence is not a luxury, it is essential…”. But given this acknowledgement that independence is the prerequisite for everything that we aspire to for Scotland how might we explain Alyn Smith being so uninterested in the “how” of restoring Scotland’s independence?
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