A welcome change?

It seems it’s not just the unions that are changing. Lesley Riddoch tells us that developments in the trade union movement mean that “tired, hesitant, pen-pushing bureaucrats are out” while “activist, articulate, no-nonsense leaders” are in, and that this has lessons for the Yes movement. If that includes Nicola Sturgeon – and some of us still insist that it does – then it’s bad news/good news. Her managerial approach to governing might tempt some to put her in Lesley’s ‘out’ category. But only if they totally discount the First Minister’s phenomenal work rate, excellent communication skills and a style that only the more cautiously polite among her adversaries would describe as “no-nonsense”.

If Lesley is not addressing the FM with these remarks she is certainly talking to the Yes movement’s army of activists and lesser scribblers-for-the-cause such as myself. And her message is that in pursuing Scotland’s cause we need to be “wide awake, passionate and determined”. She even uses the term “assertive”! And although she deprecates “aggression” in an echo of the old insistence on a ‘softly softly’ approach, she does so while making no effort to conceal her admiration for Mick Lynch of the RMT, hailing him as “a new people’s hero”. That would be the same Mick Lynch who won his place on that pedestal largely by way of his persistent and rightly aggressive heckling of Chris Philp – a British government minister, no less – on live TV.

Some in the Yes movement – myself included – have been calling for a more assertive style of dialogue for many years. Assertive and, when called for, as aggressive as may be appropriate. Very much like the style that Lesley admires so much in her new hero. Those urging this more confident, forthright, pro-active style were almost universally, and very often quite aggressively, denounced by the wee clique of approved communicators on behalf of the ‘official’ (SNP-owned) Yes movement. We were labelled ‘zoomers’ by the more intemperate proponents of the ‘gentle persuasion’ technique for winning. (Aye! I’m looking at you, Pete Wishart!) We were condemned for spooking that shyest and most timid of creatures, the ‘SoftNo’, with our insane notions about injecting some passion into the Yes campaign.

I personally have been accused on many occasions of single-handedly destroying the chances of success for Scotland’s cause and ensuring victory for the British Nationalists. (My blog has 533 followers and page views only rarely hit that figure. You do the math.) It seems I am also in the pay of at least one British government agency. If true, then I’d like to take this opportunity to point out to the said agency that my first brown envelope is long overdue.

That attitude appears to have changed. Assertiveness has become fashionable, it seems. Its effectiveness having been demonstrated by Mick Lynch, it has been upgraded from heresy to gospel in less time than it takes to tell a British government minister he’s a lying bastard. (The appended descriptor was silently but unmistakably implied.)

I’m not complaining. No! Wait! I am complaining. Of course, I’m complaining! There is just so much about the general handling of the constitutional issue that gives cause for complaint it’s hardly possible to be awake to reality and not complain. But I’m not complaining about this. If this embracing of assertiveness signals some fresh thinking among those who presume to direct the fight to restore Scotland’s independence then I, for one, would be delighted. If it signals no more than one of the greater scribblers adding her voice to that of the lesser scribblers, even that would make a welcome change.

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6 thoughts on “A welcome change?

  1. We need a confident and assertive person like Mick Lynch at the helm of the Yes movement right now.

    Nicola Sturgeon was the attack dog in the government led by Alex Salmond, generally making mincemeat of interviewers and opposition politicians alike in television encounters.

    People will no doubt recall the ‘head to head’ debate between Ms Sturgeon and Alistair Carmichael during the 2014 Independence Referendum campaign. So called ‘Big Beast’ Carmichael was reduced to a wee sleekit cowrin timorous beastie by the onslaught from his unstoppable and irresistible adversary.

    Not for nothing was she known as Nippy Sturgeon or, simply, ‘Nippy’.

    Then, as FM, despite having all the well documented advantages of a huge membership and overwhelming parliamentary representation, Nicola Sturgeon:

    Specifically stated that Independence was not in the manifesto for the 2017 election.
    Withdrew the S30 request post 2017 UK general election.
    Meekly accepted that we would after all be taken out of the EU “against our will” in January 2020.
    Issued the cease and desist order of May 2020 regarding all campaigning during the pandemic.

    What caused the loss of nerve? How and why did this apparent personality transformation happen?

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Independence is not Sturgeon’s ultimate objective and assertiveness would go down badly with her peers in the World Economic Forum.

      Liked by 7 people

      1. I agree that is the situation right now.

        But I don’t believe that was the case previously … she didn’t join the SNP as an idealistic 15 year old in 1986 for career reasons.

        Something has changed – and, it appears to me, only since she became FM.

        Liked by 3 people

  2. I think it is right that a creeping, albeit very slowly, anger is building against the forces of the state, and it’s coming from all quarters. The pendulum always swings back. The terminally stupid never get that: they think they can go on and on indefinitely; and it always, ultimately, leads to their downfall. Since Thatcher, we have had right-wing government across the board. Norman Tebbit, of all people, warned her that letting the market loose would cause great damage and, in the end, a backlash, but she was willing to drive ahead anyway and face the consequences. Now, gradually, but definitely, the pigeons are coming home to roost. It might take a little time, but the Tories are certainly on the way out, independence is certainly on the, even if not via a referendum, and the ‘wokies’ are also on a final warning. The Ninja vanguard of Stonewall has been a step too far, and a woman scorned is a dangerously determined creature. They should have consulted their mammies. Likewise, a Scot pushed to the end of his/her tether, with his/her back to the wall, will come out fighting. It does, indeed, appear that a Summer/Autumn/Winter/Spring of Discontent is on its way. As for the leader of the RMT, what a guy!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I’d love to ask MP Ian Murray of Labour, if he considers these rail strikes (the NetworkRail strike) as one of the “benefits” of the Union!?!
    The lonesome Labour MP was on Radio Scotland the other morning, complete with barking dog and grining child!
    And while he was grining at the UK Govt. the fact is, we are in this mess as a direct result of Scotland not being in full control of its Public Transport system, with NetworkRail under the ultimate control of the London based Government.
    One that wants to reduce safety on the railroads.
    So, this is one of Murray’s benefits of the Union, and he, and Labour politicians can girn, and girn all they like, but this is what they’d have us put up with, rather than this country being i control, able to solve these problems itself.
    So, I’ve no time for hearing Labour politicians declare their support for the strikers, or their complaints against the tory Regime in London.
    This is what they want for our country. And so this is what we get.
    Thanks to Labour politicians like MP Murray!

    Liked by 2 people

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