AFI’s Max the Yes strategy has nothing to do with restoring Scotland’s independence and everything to do with the partisan agendas and personal ambitions of those seeking to exploit frustration with the SNP for ends that are totally misguided.
AFI’s Max the Yes strategy is a gamble. A huge gamble. At stake is the pro-independence majority and perhaps even the SNP government. Lose either or both of these and Scotland’s cause really will be off the political agenda for a generation. Possibly even a Jackson Carlaw generation of 40 years. The very least this folly will do is undermine the effective political power of the SNP at the very time when realpolitik demands that we bend all our efforts to maximising that power. Because it is only the effective political power provided by the SNP which can possibly be used to restore Scotland’s independence.
That is what we stand to lose with AFI’s Max the Yes strategy. What do we stand to gain? Nothing! Even if elected, there is nothing that Martin Keatings or any of them can actually do as an MSP which contributes to the action that must be taken if Scotland’s independence is to be restored. You don’t have to take my word for it. You can work it out for yourself. Just think it through. Don’t be blinded by all the purple prose and overblown rhetoric about filling the chamber with pro-independence MSPs and removing Unionist MSPs. These things have no more than shallow emotional appeal. Think it through!
There are maybe three or four credible post-election parliamentary scenarios. It is a simple matter to imagine them. For each of these scenarios, ask yourself what those MSPs from any of the alternative independence parties might actually do, in hard, practical terms, to initiate and progress a process by which Scotland’s independence would be restored. Cheering on the SNP Scottish Government does not count as practical, effective action. And practical, effective action is what we need.
This is nothing to do with ‘party loyalty’. Because regardless of how I or anyone else feels about the SNP the fact remains that only the Scottish Government can take the action that is required and only an SNP Scottish Government can be expected to take the action that is required. So long as there is an SNP Scottish Government with a working majority we prevent the British parties from combining to seize power, and we keep the constitutional issue front and centre of Scottish politics.
If we are serious about restoring Scotland’s independence, that is the very minimum we should be aiming for – an SNP majority administration. If we are really serious about Scotland’s cause we will be aiming to make that SNP Scottish Government as powerful as possible. We will be making it powerful enough for the confrontation with the British state that must come in 2021 if we are to have any hope of rescuing Scotland from the British Nationalist onslaught that has already begun! To do anything that risks weakening that Government would be an act of political insanity. It would be an act of self-harm every bit as tragic as the bungled Brexit project. It would be the death of Scotland’s cause.
While you’re imagining those post-election parliamentary scenarios, consider what would be the ideal from the perspective of the Yes movement. What would be the outcome of the 2021 Scottish Parliament elections that best serves the fight to restore Scotland’s independence. Not what sounds like something glittery and wonderful! What actually works. Not what appeals to you emotionally! What satisfies the rational, pragmatic assessment of the factors which best serve Scotland’s cause.
The best – the ‘dream’ – outcome of the 2021 Holyrood elections as far as the Yes movement is concerned would be an SNP Scottish Government with an absolute majority and a massive mandate from the people of Scotland. Two things back that mandate – seats and votes. Obviously, the SNP must win seats to have an absolute majority. But if we want to maximise the power of the Government that must confront the British state then what adds to that power is not other pro-independence MSPs who cannot take effective action but more votes for the MSPs who can take effective action. So the ‘dream’ outcome would be over 50% of the popular vote on both ballots for an SNP Scottish Government and a commitment to a Manifesto for Independence.
And there you have it! They key element! The cold, hard realpolitik is that we don’t need more pro-independence MSPs, we need a more pro-independence SNP!
If you think ‘max the Yes’ is the answer then you are asking the wrong question. There is nothing that can be done with a pro-independence majority of twenty that can’t be done with an SNP majority of two. The votes that hypothetically elect those non-SNP pro-independence candidates really are wasted. Because they are going to people who will have no power to act instead of maximising the power of the people who can act.
Also wasted is the energy and resources being squandered on playing reckless games with the voting system when all our energies should be devoted to securing the thing that we actually need at the moment and don’t have – a more pro-independence SNP. Every gram of energy the Yes movement can summon must be directed to forcing the SNP to commit to the action that is required if Scotland’s independence is to be restored.
We absolutely must, under any and all circumstances, have an SNP Scottish Government after the 2021 election.
To make that SNP Scottish Government powerful enough to confront the British state we absolutely must secure for it the most massive mandate that can possibly be secured. That means every pro-independence vote in Scotland.
But first we absolutely must ensure that, it having been made capable of restoring Scotland’s independence, this SNP Scottish Government is committed to doing so. We absolutely must have the SNP adopt the Manifesto for Independence before the 2021 Scottish Parliament elections.
Securing a popular mandate for action to restore Scotland’s independence absolutely requires that the SNP goes into the 2021 Scottish Parliament election with an explicit undertaking to pursue that action.
That’s realpolitik! Which I find a great deal more appealing that the ill-conceived and frankly fantastical notion of organising tactical voting on a national scale.