In what it describes as an “update” The National informs us that Nicola Sturgeon has told the BBC that support for Scottish independence is rising. In a comment which I considered in keeping with the paper’s aim to have their below-the-line (BTL) facility be “a lively and valuable part of our community – a place where readers can debate and engage with the most important local issues” (Local!? Really!?) I posted the following.
What a pity Sophie Raworth didn’t think to ask the First Minister what it is about Covid which uniquely makes a referendum impossible but has no such effect on elections, international conferences and major sporting events. Isn’t that the sort of probing question a real journalist would ask? Are there no real journalists any more? Or is it just that Nicola Sturgeon is careful to avoid them?
The headline calls it an “update”. My understanding is that having been updated one knows more than one did previously. What do we know after this interview that we weren’t already aware of? What is the new information?
It goes without saying that I don’t anticipate sensible or meaningful responses to these questions from Nicola Sturgeon. I expect even less of the assorted SNP loyalists and apologists who crawl out of the woodwork every time somebody allows the shadow of realism to fall across the sunshine blazing from Sturgeon’s arse. Reasoned political discourse seems to have all but vanished. The moon-howlers and zoomers rule.
Nothing very controversial there, one would have thought. I can’t be the only person in Scotland – whatever their stance on the constitutional issue – who wonders what it is that makes a referendum impossible for us when similar events have proceeded without insuperable difficulty. Elections have gone ahead in Scotland, the UK and many countries around the world. As have other large-scale gatherings. Other nations have held referendums. Yet Nicola Sturgeon insists that it simply cannot be done here in Scotland. Insists without any explanation. We have never been told why the oft-promised but never delivered referendum should be so uniquely affected by the pandemic. Sophie Raworth is far from the only journalist who has assiduously avoided asking the question.
In this as in her ‘now is not the time attitude, our First Minister has much in common with the Unionists and British Nationalists* who are supposed to be her political foes. They too make an exception of the most crucial issue in Scotland. They too insist it must take second place to… well… what have you got? There is always a rationalisation for denying our right of self-determination. That ‘reason’ is always good enough no matter what it is. Anything can be made into an excuse for totally rejecting the feasibility of normal democratic process in Scotland. Even those things that would provoke outrage and mockery were they to be offered as justification for postponing an election. Never are we told why Scotland’s exercise of our right of self-determination should be a special case. I can’t be alone in wondering what the mystery is all about.
Nor is there anything inherently controversial about observing that this so-called “update” cannot qualify as such as it provides no new information. Nothing that we didn’t know already. You might suppose that those who disagree with this assessment could shoot it down simply by pointing out the new information that I have missed. Nope! Apparently we are supposed to accept that this is an “update” without asking what is being updated. We are definitely not supposed to highlight the complete lack of any new information. Which I can understand. How are the deluded Sturgeon/SNP loyalists supposed to persist in pretending it’s an “update” if others keep pointing out the failure to meet the most basic criterion for an “update”?
The final paragraph of my comment was prophetic. For which I claim no great credit. You don’t have to be a Cassandra to foretell the reaction of the #WheeshtForIndy mob to any questioning of Sturgeon’s divine magnificence. Or for that matter, to any questioning. For them, there is no such thing as a reasonable question if it so much as hints at doubt about Nicola Sturgeon’s awesomeness. How averse to thinking for themselves must a person be that it doesn’t occur to them to wonder about something so perplexing as the insistence without explanation that a referendum is an impossibility?
The ‘special’ logic of the Sturgeon/SNP loyalist has it that if you’re concerned that there should be a referendum and that it should be soon enough to save Scotland from the fate planned for us by British Nationalists and that it has to be the right kind of referendum held in the right way with the right question and the right franchise etc., one must be a Unionist. #WheeshtForIndy dogma holds that it is Unionists who want a referendum sooner rather than later. It is Unionists who want to ensure that it is a referendum entirely made and managed in Scotland. It is Unionists who want the British state excluded from any formal involvement in or influence over our exercise of our right of self-determination. It must be so. Because these are my views and they tell me I’m a Unionist.
But then, so is anybody who presumes to ask a simple question. It is the ‘with us or against us’ mentality with added stupidity.
In passing, I’ll just mention that everything I’ve noted about Sturgeon/SNP loyalists applies just as much to their counterparts in the Salmond/Alba tribe. This is no facile ‘one’s as bad as the other’ comment. They are identical in all relevant regards. The crap from one tribe can be transformed into the crap from the other tribe simply by changing the names of the tribes. It’s like they’re all working from the same copy of Dumb Tribalism for Dummies.
There seems to be a fundamental disagreement about what constitutes Scotland’s cause. When I talk about Scotland’s cause I’m referring to the restoration of our nation’s independence. That is all! That is enough! The Union is a gross affront to democracy; an insult to our nation; an affliction on Scotland’s people; a blight on our prosperity; an anchor holding us back and a millstone weighing us down. The Union is wrong. The restoration of Scotland’s independence, supposing it achieves nothing else, nonetheless rights this wrong.
When I talk about Scotland’s cause I am not talking about Nicola Sturgeon’s career or Alex Salmond’s revenge or any partisan interest or any policy agenda.
The twin tribes and I are bound to disagree.
*A Unionist is someone who has yet to question the Union. A British Nationalist is one who insists that the Union must never be questioned.
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