In The National today George Kerevan explains why the Yes movement must be wary of Galloway. Obviously, it is worth reading. Don’t be put off by the mention of Gorgeous George. When Mr Kerevan advises that we be wary of someone – even someone as unabashedly ludicrous as Galloway – we would be well advised to pay heed. As he says,
What of Galloway’s latest sally north of the Border? Its real import has less to do with Galloway himself and more with the fact the Tories – directed by arch-plotter Michael Gove – see him as a tool to sow division in the working-class, Eurosceptic wing of the national movement.
I don’t doubt he’s right. Galloway is a mischief-maker. And we know how susceptible the Yes movement is to the kind of attention-seeking provocation that is his speciality. Like the children of Hamelin following the Pied Piper into the mountain, a sizeable chunk of the Yes movement will trip gaily wherever Galloway’s pipes lead them. He may be more political farce than political force, but when matters are finely balanced no intervention can be discounted. George Kerevan’s warning is timely.
What of the idea that Galloway is peddling with his ‘Alliance for Unity’? What of the notion that the British parties in Scotland might combine in a bid to thwart the SNP and hence the cause of restoring Scotland’s independence? George Kerevan describes such a ‘Grand Coalition’ of the Unionist parties a “fantastical lash-up”. Lash-up it certainly would be. But is it really so fantastical? Quite apart from Galloway’s ability to draw fire for the benefit of the British establishment, is the possibility of British Labour in Scotland getting into bed with the Tories something we can safely dismiss? (We can be sure that the LibDems would jump on anything that looks like a bandwagon.)
More than a year ago I wrote,
There was a time when a formal association between the two main British parties – even at the North Britain branch level – would have been unthinkable. But that all changed in June 2012 with the formation of Better Together / Project Fear. That set the precedent. It is now not possible – or, at least, not sensible – to discount the possibility of a Grand Alliance of British parties in the Scottish Parliament.A nightmare scenario
They’ve done it before. Who can doubt that they would seize any chance to wrest Scotland from the SNP and put the uppity Jocks back in their British box? As I noted back in June 2019 “such an alliance would be justified in terms of a shared British Nationalist ideology”. That ideology easily trumps whatever political difference remain between (or among) the British parties. Preserving the Union is a British imperative. It takes precedence over all else.
For all I was discussing the possibility of a British ‘Grand Alliance’ in the context of suggestions regarding an early election, the threat is just as disturbing now that the Holyrood election looks like taking place in 2021 as scheduled. The threat may not be great. But if there is the slightest indication that the British parties in Scotland – “directed by arch-plotter Michael Gove” – might be using George Galloway in the hope of doing just enough damage to knock the parliamentary arithmetic out of kilter, we have too much to lose to ignore that threat.
The British will exploit any weakness in the Yes movement. Where there is discord, they will create division. Where there is error, they will create scandal. Where there is doubt, they will create fear. And where there is despair, they will crush all remaining hope out of existence. It is the British way.
There are weaknesses to be exploited. Lots of them! The cancer of factionalism has afflicted both the SNP and the Yes movement and it has begun to metastasise. As I’m sure the likes of Michael Gove and Dom Cummings know very well, George Galloway is just the kind of insidious opportunist who might work his way into the cracks like the weeds that can sunder a concrete road. As George Kerevan says,
…the national movement in Scotland would be making a huge mistake to underrate Mr Galloway, or his capacity to sow confusion during next year’s Scottish Parliament elections.
The seeds of confusion will find fertile soil in Scotland’s national movement. We should be worried. But we should be more concerned about the Yes movement’s disunity than George Galloway’s unholy ‘Alliance for Unity’.