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.
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16 thoughts on “No exception”
The Sturgeon orthodoxy and its proponents base their futile arguments on more of the same of the prior 2014 campaign on the following:
1. One More Push
2. Happy Clappy Cheerleading
3. Conversion to “Yes” is linear
Well, we might not be afforded ‘one more push’ and certainly not on the same basis last time. Any British involvement means gerrymandering and undermining of a popular process.
As for making a renewed ‘positive case’ well those that have been swayed by that approach are now in the bag. Those remaining sceptical about Scottish statehood will be far tougher nuts to crack and more of the same of 2012-14 will not be adequate.
The assumption that as the last campaign increased Yes from 25% to 45% in two years another campaign will automatically convert sufficient numbers of ‘Soft Nos’ is flawed. There are no ‘Soft Nos’. There are only ‘Hard Nos’ remaining. In fact, given that they have not budged on the constitutional position despite all the lying, deceit, fraudulent, corrupt, anti-democratic and illegal behaviour of the Johnson government they are really hard-nosed ‘Hard Nos’.
Any new campaign – should one ever materialise – must be unrelentingly negative.
We must publish and publicise Union promises/lies of 2014 must be compared with outcomes. It’s not as if there are plenty of examples e.g. EU membership guarantee, HMRC jobs, Shipbuilding contracts
We must prey on the fears of the Scottish parliament being abolished and our limited democracy being ripped away from us. Again lots of examples. Sewel Convention, power returned to Westminster from Brussels.
We must scare the brown matter out of folk regarding rights and standards e.g. P&O employment ‘policies’, chlorinated chicken.
We need to tell the folk that continued membership of Union on this septic isle means continued austerity x 20 with resultant unemployment, underemployment, inflation, food banks, poverty.
There is one thing that we should be positive about and that is the (Scottish) constitution: Self-determination is the right of the Scottish People. We can exercise this right as frequently and however we like.
That is non-negotiable.
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That’s the stuff! I would disagree only with “unrelentingly negative”. There must be a positive side to the campaign as well. A Linkedin communication from Gordon Ross in my inbox this morning talks of a constitution as the basis of a positive strand of the campaign. So long as it is dealing with fundamental principles this is ideal. What we MUST get away from is all the stuff about policy. People will never agree about policy. Get the principles right and you will achieve almost universal agreement.
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My “negative” should have been in parenthesis to really just emphasise that we must not be afraid to tell the truth about the disastrous impact of the Union on Scotland and her folk.
The positive should be telling people that self-determination is our ancient entitlement as a people and a nation.
And, yes, we should talk about principles and values which will form the basis of our consitution in a Scottish state.
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Independence is a two sided matter – become independent or remain in the UK. Most of the time the talk is of an independent Scotland, leaving an elephant in the room largely ignored. The UK sure as hell doesn’t use any real case for remaining in the UK. Empty bluster rather than quantifiable evidence is the UK’s remain tactic, which isn’t surprising given that there are no quantifiable arguments for remaining part of the UK. But with polls consistently around 50/50, this indicates the need to address both sides of independence.
Making the case for an independent Scotland without equally making the case against staying in the UK, is the main way to increase both support for independence and leaving the UK. The evidence that the UK is a laggard has been clear for decades and with a London centric backward looking elitism playing a leading role as to why that has been the case, it’s continuation, as so evident with Brexit, makes it very clear that this critical factor of how the UK is governed isn’t about to change any time soon. So more laggardness ahead, only speeded up now thanks to Brexit.
Highlighting the downside to remaining in the UK is an open door, especially given where we are now, and when combined with solid facts when comparing the UK’s performance against comparable nations over decades. Economy, health, inequality : the UK can usually be seen as the relentless dunce.
Playing nice when the UK will throw everything they have to prevent Scotland leaving the UK, would be unbelievably naive. Highlighting the UK’s reality isn’t being negative, simply highlighting a reality that has remained hidden for far too long. As is becoming clearer by the day now, remaining part of the UK only guarantees sliding into a very dark future. Others can see both sides of independence, it’s a pity that Scotland’s politicians choose not to speak of it.
A well made comment from a few days ago sums up what lies ahead – “there is no route to independence that does not pass through a point at which there is direct and acrimonious confrontation with the British state”. If Scottish politicians don’t get real about making the case for independence and equally for leaving the UK, they will simply not turn Scotland into an independent nation again. You can’t blame a lack of support for independence/leaving the UK if the case for both isn’t comprehensively made. Until it happens, 50/50 will remain as the status quo.
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If you start from the premise that it’s not working because it’s designed not to work, all becomes simpler.
The FM has neither the desire for, nor any interest in, an indy ref, never mind a successful one. Any effort are simply heat and steam; when clears, nothing will have moved.
She has worked tirelessly to become unaccountable so as to sustain this and (seek to) vanquish opponents and critics. That’s the plan – there is no plan.
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If you start from the premise that Nicola Sturgeon wants a referendum and independence as much as she ever did but desperately wants to avoid the inevitable confrontation with the British state all may not become simpler but it does become a better understanding of the situation.
Well, that depends how much she ‘ever did’ want it, I suppose. It would always have required confrontation with the British state, something which she would have been well aware of when she set sail on her political career. Yet she has no track record at all of confronting the state on any topic.
Personally, I believe she doesn’t want a referendum and will obfuscate until she leaves (soon) because she can and it continues to work. Half the work that’s gone into building her personal empire would probably have delivered indy a long time ago. But we see where her desires – and her ruthless streak – lie.
The reasons she doesn’t want one may not be clear, but for me it’s obvious this is the case. I suspect it’s to do with personal ambition – something she doesn’t lack – and that will be undermined by:
1. Rocking the (establishment) boat
2. Failure to win and the subsequent blot on her CV
For me, she is the primary obstacle, and not part of the solution
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If Sturgeon is not part of the solution then there is no solution. Other, that is, from the ‘final solution’ that will be imposed by the British state over the coming four years. As I just Tweeted,
@NicolaSturgeon so desperately wants to avoid confrontation with the British state that she has convinced herself it is possible to restore Scotland’s independence without confrontation.
We must impress on the First Minister that the British state will never cooperate with a process that may end its ‘precious’ Union. The British state will do all in its power to sabotage that process. Confrontation is unavoidable.
While impressing on @NicolaSturgeon the fact that confrontation with the British state is an unavoidable part of the process of restoring Scotland’s independence we must also assure her of our support as she asserts the primacy of the Scottish Parliament.
I have a feeling of deja vu with this conversation.
Her interests are personal, not Scotland’s. She is aware of the need for confrontation, and seeks to avoid it until she can go elsewhere. She has convinced she can get out – upwards – before she is forced into a corner. The British state does not seek confrontation either, so there is a tacit meeting of interests
She will say – she may even believe – she did her best, but she will not deliver a referendum.
If you depend on her, then there is indeed no solution
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There is no choice but to depend on Sturgeon. she is the First Minister and that is not going to change any time soon. Even if it did it would make no difference as her successor wouldn’t be her successor if they were not wedded to the same orthodoxy. Given that there is no choice, and that we’re fucked either way, we might as well put whatever resources we have into trying to force a change of approach. Or we could go off and sulk with Alba. But that doesn’t appeal to me.
To depend on her, you must believe she is capable of – and open to – change. Yet there is no evidence she is, there is plenty to the contrary. Indeed, she seems openly resistant to change.
To put hope in her is to put hope in a lost cause; it’s not even a puncher’s chance.
I have little or no skin in this game anymore; I am fortunate enough to have an EU passport and the rights that gives me.
So, I’m saying what I see.
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There is nobody else. To say that Nicola Sturgeon is the only First Minister we have is simply acknowledging a reality that really shouldn’t need to be pointed out.
True. Which is why the game’s a bogey.
“The entire constitutional issue needs to be reframed as a fight against the Union rather than for independence.”
Scots have been fighting against ‘the Union’ since the mankit Treaty of Union was bought and paid for, and which enslaved the Scottish people. We need to face our reality; A people subjected to economic exploitation, external political control, cultural and linguistic imperialism, and lets add settler occupation, is a people subjected to colonialism. We should therefore be reframing this ‘fight’ as what it is, and what the UN considers self-determination independence to be, i.e. decolonisation.
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More annexed territory than colony. But the principle is the same.
Maybe a bit different Peter. In that regard I would add another feature of colonialism – ‘banishment of the natives’ – in what remains perhaps the largest loss/outmigration of a people in any Western Europe nation of our size/population, and clearly no accident. You can listen to one of Scotland’s ‘banished natives’ on Roddy’s Prism Show today.
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