Yesterday, I was invited to give a speech for an event organised by Scottish Independence Movement (SIM). Later today, I’ll be joining around 100 other Yes activists for the second day of the All Under One Banner (AUOB) assembly, the first part of which was held very successfully last Saturday. Folk familiar with Scotland’s cause won’t need me to tell them that these two groups don’t in any way exemplify the unity that I have suggested is essential if the Yes movement is to become an effective political force speaking with one voice to those who need a damned good talking to.
My involvement with both these groups is intentional and meaningful. However small my contribution to each may be, that I contribute to both clearly demonstrates that I am practising what I preach. How could I insist that others must set aside personal grudges and partisan grievances for the common purpose of ending this poisonous Union if I showed any reluctance to do so myself?
For the same reason, I have joined far more groups on Facebook that I can possibly participate in to any great extent. I will support any group or organisation which genuinely seeks the restoration by democratic means of Scotland’s independence. I may not like some – or indeed any – of the people involved. I may not agree with some – or indeed any – of the policy positions taken. It is enough that we share a desire to see our nation’s rightful constitutional status restored. It is even better if we also share an awareness of how precarious Scotland’s predicament has become and how urgent is the need to defend our democracy.
To do this we need the SNP. More precisely, we need a Scottish Government with a working majority an unchallengeable commitment to formulating, initiating and pursuing a process designed to bring about the dissolution of the Union and the restoration of Scotland’s independence. Since only the SNP is in a position to form such a government, we need the SNP.
It will be pointed out that the SNP may be in line to achieve the return to power with a working majority, but it lacks the commitment mentioned. To which I respond by pointing out that this is precisely why the Yes movement must unite. Only the Yes movement united can form a political force sufficient to pressure the SNP into adopting a Manifesto for Independence.
Scotland’s cause needs the SNP. That’s just cold, hard realpolitik denied only by self-indulgent fantasists. But if we need the SNP we need the SNP to be fit for our purpose. That it presently isn’t is all to apparent. In part because of its reluctance to make the commitment required of it ahead of the 2021 Scottish Party election. Partly on account of the party’s internal troubles. While the former is a matter for the Yes movement as a whole, the latter is entirely a matter for SNP members.
Next weekend, delegates representing the membership of the SNP will have what must surely be their last opportunity before next year’s election to sort out these internal issues. We must hope they are prepared for this task.
In his blog today, Iain Lawson writes about Those NEC problems. This should be required reading for all delegates. The following quote serves to illustrate the point.
It’s really easy, if you want your Party back you need to create a storm over this. If you don’t it won’t be your Party anymore.
If delegates do not make very serious waves at the online conference then there is little chance that they will succeed in sweeping away the obstacles to the SNP putting independence back at the top of the agenda. Given that Scotland’s cause is critically dependent on the effective political power that only the SNP can provide, we must wish delegates well in their endeavours. It is no easy task that confronts them. The party leadership and senior managers have contrived all manner of obstacles. Delegates will have to be both clever and determined if they are to have any chance of success.