While I agree that more could be done now to ensure that the First Minister and her government are made accountable, I am disappointed to find Joanna Cherry falling in line with the Sturgeon orthodoxy which holds that the whole approach to the constitutional issue need only continue as it was ten years ago. Should there be a referendum next year, and should it be a real constitutional referendum and not an attitude survey dressed up to look a wee bit like a referendum, the ‘plan’ is that the Yes campaign for that referendum should follow the same pattern as for the 2014 campaign. Which is to say it should put the Yes side always on the back foot; always defensive; always reactive rather than proactive.
The ‘thinking’ – to the limited extent that any is evident – seems to be that because this obsessively ‘positive’ campaign strategy took Yes support to 45% in 2014 then it can reasonably be expected to secure the additional 10 to 15 points needed for a conclusive result. This is not just wrong it is stupidly wrong.
All the evidence tells us that this approach isn’t working. The polls have not moved in eight years of admittedly low-level to non-existent campaigning. If there has been little in the way of the old form of campaigning it is certainly not because there has been more of a fresh form. And that is very obviously what is required.
No lessons have been learned from the first referendum campaign. No account is being taken of the massive extent to which the political context has changed in the last decade. The sole ‘idea’ is to continue trying to find the perfect answers to pointless questions. An exercise in futility if ever there was one as even if the perfect answer was found – you’re more likely to trip over the Holy Grail on your way to the toilet – it would never be acknowledged as such by our opponents. Our opponents who have been accepted as the final arbiters of what is an acceptable answer.
The entire constitutional issue needs to be reframed as a fight against the Union rather than for independence. By all means, keep that case on hand. But recognise that it will never be sufficient. The additional 10 to 15 points we need will not be found among those who can be persuaded by one or other of the confusing plethora of ‘visions’ being offered by the Yes campaign. It is all very well to lure people to a destination. But there comes a point where those people need to be given a reason to leave where they are before they can move to where we want them to be. Vastly more effort must be put into explaining the fundamental injustice of a Union which is not merely undemocratic but anti-democratic.
At present, only the Sturgeon/SNP orthodoxy is on offer. The notion that Alba Party offers something radically different has been well and truly knocked on the head with the publication of the Wee Alba Book. Scotland’s cause is being failed by the whole of Scotland’s political class. It saddens me greatly to find that Joanna Cherry is not the exception many had hoped she would be.
If you find these articles interesting please consider a small donation to help support this site and my other activities on behalf of Scotland’s independence movement.