I was about to write a response to Stu Campbell’s latest article on Wings Over Scotland when I realised that I had already written it. On 10 September I published an article under the title Why should I take Nicola Sturgeon seriously? As I read Stu Campbell’s understandably bitter-sounding tirade, it occurred to me that I still haven’t had a persuasive answer to that question. Which brings me to the same conclusion that Stu Campbell has expressed. I take no pleasure in saying it, but the current leadership of the SNP has to go.
For months now I have clung to the hope that the Yes movement could somehow press the reset button on the political wing of our cause. I genuinely thought that it would be possible to force the SNP leadership to adopt a new and realistic approach to the constitutional issue. I am now persuaded that this is a forlorn hope. It probably always was. Time has run out. And so has my patience.
My analysis was that the SNP had to take bold, assertive action before the end of September in order to have any hope of throwing even a small spanner into the Brexit bus as it careers towards the cliff edge of 31 December. Given its momentum it is not possible to stop that bus. But perhaps Scotland might be poised to leap from the emergency exit is the nick of time. Perhaps the fact that we were so poised might have brought some kind of recognition from the EU. Perhaps this too was a forlorn hope. But recognising Scotland’s predicament, surely anything is worth a try.
I reckoned that if the SNP gave a clear, explicit and unequivocal commitment to adopt a Manifesto for Independence in time for the significance of this to penetrate the consciousness of the EU and the international community, Scotland would be in a slightly better place. There is nothing that the Scottish Government can now do to prevent Scotland being dragged out of the EU against the settled will of Scotland’s people. There is nothing the Scottish Government can do within the existing legal and constitutional framework to stop the British Nationalist juggernaut that is intent on crushing Scotland’s democracy and our very identity as a nation. There is nothing that the Scottish Government can do to make up the six years lost to an inertia I still struggle to comprehend far less explain.
But the SNP can give notice that, if returned to government after the 2021 election, it intends to toss a democratic grenade into that legal and constitutional framework. That in itself could be a game-changer. The nature of the change may be unpredictable. But we could hardly be worse off.
The end of September is a day away. And there has been no indication from the SNP leadership to suggest that they are even aware of the rumble of discontent with their performance on the constitutional issue that is now growing to a roar. The SNP is absolutely crucial to the restoration of Scotland’s independence. Those who talk of walking away from the party or discarding in favour of some non-existent alternative are fools of the first order. We have no time! I have serious doubts that we have time to effect the necessary changes in the leadership and management of the party. But we have no choice. We have to try. And we have to do it now.
I don’t agree with everything Stu Campbell says regarding next steps. But I am sadly forced to concur with his main conclusion. The SNP as it is presently led and managed is not fit for our purpose. The purpose of Scotland’s cause. The purpose of restoring Scotland’s independence. Something has to change. What else can it be but the hierarchy which has brought us to this point of distress?
They know who they are. If they are to serve Scotland’s cause then they have to step aside and make way for those not afraid to confront the British political elite. They have to go!