Are we ready to change gear?

Chris McEleny and Angus MacNeil are to be congratulated on the persistence which has brought them success. We might all have some thoughts on why such determination was necessary. We might wonder why the party managers and leadership were so reluctant to discuss the process by which Scotland’s cause might be taken forward. There will surely be questions to be asked about the way the hierarchy went about blocking debate of a matter which we could be forgiven for assuming was foremost among the party’s priorities. But all of that is for later. The immediate task is to ensure that out of the debate facilitated by the tenaciousness of those two gentlemen emerges a process that will see Scotland’s independence restored. Because Plan B is not that.

To say that is not in any way to denigrate or diminish what Chris and Angus have done. They have broken down a very substantial barrier and allowed what we must hope will be a full and open debate on a matter which it is of the utmost importance to our nation. If I seem a little sceptical as I say that then it is only because I’m doing a good job of concealing how sceptical I really am. Given what happened at last year’s conference when Chris McEleny tried to enable a debate on the party’s approach to the constitutional issue and the resolve that party managers have shown in seeking to prevent that debate, I am inclined to be suspicious. I can’t help but wonder about the motives for allowing the Plan B resolution.

OK! It could be that the previous reluctance to allow this debate was down to a certain excess of zeal on the part of certain officials. It may be that they were a bit over-protective of the party line. It could be that, chastened by criticism of their behaviour, these individuals have relented in a bid to put matters right. That is possible. Isn’t it?

Another possibility, however, is that those most responsible for shaping the party’s approach to the constitutional issue – which has seen Scotland’s cause stalled and becalmed for six years – are no less reluctant to have the matter discussed at conference now than they were before. It is possible that they see a debate on Plan B as a safe way of allowing the dissenting section of the membership to let off some steam without too great a risk of any major upset. Ever since I first got wind of this Plan B I have been concerned that allowing it to be debated could be seized on by party managers as a way of preventing the debate going into areas that would be profoundly uncomfortable for the party leadership.

We might think of it as an exercise in back-burning. Sacrificing a little to protect a lot. Take the discomfort of a debate on Plan B to avoid the pain of a debate which put Plan A under the microscope. It is very evident that the party leadership does not like Plan B. But it seems they might be prepared to thole it rather than face the prospect of being forced into an embarrassing climb-down on the current approach to the constitutional issue. Which is, in essence, not to approach the constitutional issue at all.

Plan B is not an alternative to Plan A. It is a follow-up to Plan A. It really should be called Plan A+. Plan B only seems radical because Plan A is so conservative. It is nowhere near radical enough. No plan which includes or involves the Section 30 process can possibly be described as radical. To qualify as radical a plan must renounce and reject the Section 30 process.

The Plan B resolution is useful only insofar as it may, despite the best obstructive efforts of party managers, be used as a device to open up the debate to a genuinely fresh approach to the constitutional issue. An approach that is radical in the sense of being disruptive. If ever there was a status quo that needed to be disrupted it is the place where the fight to restore Scotland’s independence is now and has been for six grinding years.

The aim now must be to devise amendments to the Plan B resolution which transform it into the radical resolution that is actually required. A resolution which may launch an exercise to completely reframe the entire constitutional issue; radically reform the SNP’s approach to that central issue in Scotland’s politics, and totally reshape the independence campaign.

Plan B has started the engine. Now we must select a gear and get Scotland’s cause rolling again.

6 thoughts on “Are we ready to change gear?

  1. To avoid monotonously saying ” You´’re right again ” in reponse to your posts Peter I’ll just refrain from commenting until you write something I disagree with . Until then …….you’re right again

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, it’s always worth a quick google to see what comes up, in this case I did “snp plan b wording” and the 3rd one down is the Express (and the 4th). From that first Express article:

    “SNP plot: Sturgeon unveils PLAN B to tear Scotland from UK – ‘New game in town’

    NICOLA Sturgeon’s push for Scottish independence is gaining pace after the SNP agreed the wording of a alternative route to independence – which the party believes could clear the way for negotiations with Westminster next year.”

    and from the 4th:

    “Sturgeon plot TORN APART: Independence ‘Plan B’ dismissed immediately – ‘Ask all you want'”

    and wait for it, you’ll get a laugh out of this bit in the article:

    “However, businessman Kevin Hague, chairman of the These Islands think tank, pointed out nothing would happen without the compliance of Westminster. With reference to Mr MacNeil, he told Express: “He can say that is what it is but all they can do is ask for a Section 30 order, which is what they can do anyway.”

    so there you are, job half done. The Express of course is the fount of all knowledge particularly to the Westminster crowd, if the DT doesn’t cover it.

    It’s all about “Now you see it – now you don’t”.

    It’s got me fooled; good luck to the Unionists – they’re going to need it!


  3. I may be wrong but did the first version of plan B not mention anything about a sect30 and the need to beg WM for it , or is this a NEW REVISED version altered to assuage and NOT upset the hierarchy by being too demanding and bolshie, we have been REFUSED a sect 30 agreement on at least 2 occasions why are we BELITTLING and PROSTRATING ourselves at the feet of these arseholes, as you have said REPEATEDLY we DON’T need a sect 30 to hold a referendum, all it does is give these arseholes ANOTHER opportunity to frustrate, obfuscate and pockle


    1. It’s better than that @th. Basically one last chance, plus by the looks of it – simultaneous – exploratory court action, and if both fail the Holyrood election becomes the referendum. So a short timescale. From the National:

      Extracts of it reads:”Conference notes the UK Government has refused to issue a section 30 order to facilitate a referendum on Scottish independence. Conference condemns the undemocratic approach of the UK Government in denying the mandate of the Scottish Government to give the people of Scotland a choice on their own future.

      “Conference reaffirms holding a consented referendum on Scottish independence is our first preference to allow the people of Scotland to exercise their right to self-determination on their future. Conference calls on the UK government to use a Section 30 order to make clear that making provision for an independence referendum falls within the competence of the Scottish Government and Parliament.

      “Conference calls on the Scottish Government to establish the legal competence of the Scottish Parliament holding a referendum on Scottish independence without the approval of the UK Parliament.

      “Conference instructs if a referendum on Scotland’s future is denied by the UK Government and the competence to hold a consultative referendum is not established, then the manifesto for the 2021 Scottish Parliamentary elections shall state that the election of a pro-independence majority of seats, in the absence of a referendum, shall be a mandate from the people of Scotland to commence independence negotiations with the UK Government.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.