Pete Wishart provoked a small Twitter stooshie (Twooshie?) with a Tweet celebrating the departure of Liz Truss. Though even he is astute enough to recognise that the celebrations may be short-lived as there could be worse to come. Anyone who asks how that’s possible really hasn’t been paying attention for the last several years. But it was neither this low-grade perspicacity nor his lack of magnanimity in the face of Truss’s humiliation. There but for the grace and apparently infinite patience of Perth’s voters go you, Mr Wishart! What caused a wee wave of outrage was the sheer hard-neckedness of the man known as ‘Pete the Procrastinator’ appeared to be urging action to restore Scotland’s independence. Those of you with functioning memories may recall that there was a time when the SNP’s claim to be the ‘party of independence’ was not met with a scoff sufficient to register on seismographs in China.
This, remember, is the man famed for his inane ‘optimum time’ theory, which got the rough debunking it deserved here. Wishart has spent much of the last eight years hurling abuse at anyone who so much as hinted at the need for a greater sense of urgency. Only the fact that he has negligible influence prevents him getting more of the blame for the situation we are in now. Which is akin to being shackled to a rabid gorilla as it drowns.
The SNP’s strategy ─ insofar as any such thing is discernible ─ has in large part been to let the camel’s back be broken in the hope that the pain of this would induce more people to want independence. But it was always the next straw that was going to be the final one. It was never the last straw. I’m probably not the only one to feel there may be certain ethical issues with a government allowing people to suffer in the hope of political advantage. But this was not official government policy. While one lot of SNP voices was telling us we should rejoice in being shat upon by the British political elite for surely the day was not far off when the rain of ordure would be such that everybody other than the hard-line British Nationalist coprophiliacs would want to get out from under Britannia’s beneficent arse, another set of voices was assuring us that the SNP/Scottish Government was doing everything in its unfortunately limited powers to save us from the shitstorm. Mixed messages allow for pick ‘n’ mix soundbites. For the conniving politician, it’s all good.
It’s not like there was no possibility of escaping the British faeces-fest before the flood reached our collective chin. Shallow-minded commentators insist there was no way a referendum could have been won at any time in the last eight years. Which bids one wonder why the SNP/Scottish Government made such a habit of intimating that it was about to go for it.
Mixed messages again?
In reality, had the decision been made in 2015 to hold a new referendum no later than September 2018 it is highly probable that we would have been free of the British state before Scotland was dragged out of the EU against the democratically expressed will of the Scottish people. Had the SNP/Scottish Government and the Yes movement been working in the context of a declared intention to have a referendum by late 2018, all would have behaved very differently. The Yes movement would not have succumbed to factionalism to anything like the extent that it has if we’d had an imminent referendum campaign to focus on. The SNP/Sottish Government would have concentrated on exploiting to the full the momentum Scotland’s cause enjoyed in the wake of the 2014 vote instead of wasting that momentum and all but abandoning the cause in the disastrous campaign to put the Brexit bus in reverse begore it went over the cliff. An effort that was patently futile given that the people of England (and Wales) wanted to drive off that cliff because Boris Johnson and his cronies had convinced then the bus could fly.
The opportunity was there to avoid at least the worst of the crap that has been dumped on Scotland over the last few years. The opportunity was squandered due to an appalling failure of strategic thinking in the SNP leadership. The strategic thinking hasn’t got better. The past failures should have served as a warning. The should have prompted a considerable amount of healthy cynicism about any ‘plans’ announced by Nicola Sturgeon. The once-bitten-twice-shy rule should have prompted greater scrutiny of those ‘plans’. For the most part, this just didn’t happen. Strangely ─ or so it seems to a relative handful of observers ─ the monumental failure to seize the initiative from 2015 onwards made barely a blemish on Sturgeon’s glossy image. Weirdly – or so it seemed to those unacquainted with the nature of faith ─ belief in Sturgeon’s infallibility seemed to increase even as the broken promises and strategic failures piled up.
We are where we are. But it is perfectly legitimate to ask why. It is only sensible to ask if it really was unavoidable. It would be folly of the worst kind not to subject to minute scrutiny those responsible for the failure to avoid the shitstorm. There’s no shortage of folly in Scotland’s politics at the moment.
Where we are is almost certainly approaching the final junction where we can turn onto the road that will take us to where we want to be. Miss that turn-off and we are trapped in the clattering clown car of the British state as it trundles haphazardly into the fog of the future. Given the number of other clown cars on that motorway, a dreadful pile-up is all but inevitable.
I know I have warned before that we were approaching our last chance to get out of this accursed Union. More precisely, I said we had to assume that it was our last chance. We had to act as if it was our last chance, just in case it was. Each occasion on which it turned out not to be our last chance brought us closer to the time when it is. I reckon that time is now. Or rather, that time is October 2023. Other than that, it is at least four years too late, the timing of the proposed referendum is probably about right. But that’s the only thing that’s right about it. October 19 2023 is the date when we should be exercising our right of self-determination. We may not get another chance. We almost certainly won’t get another chance. The British state will move legal and constitutional mountains to ensure we don’t get another chance.
We are fortunate to be getting this last chance. The 2021 Scottish Parliament election looked very much like it might be the last throw of the dice for Scotland’s independence movement. It is probably only the tumult and turmoil in the British government which has prevented them acting to cut off Scotland’s escape routes. The escape route of #ScottishUDI is still there. Unfortunately, the SNP/Scottish Government has no intention of taking that escape route.
Pete Wishart is right about one thing. We need to get out of the Union while we can.
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9 thoughts on “Last chance?”
Wishart realises the knives are coming out for the Tories, whatever their colour.
As for the last chance? I think the chaos of the next few years will mean there will be several chances but this is most definitely the last chance to get out peacefully. The Conservative Party are demonstrating that the electorate no longer have much of a say. This comes as a mix of incompetence, hubris and desperation. Scotland as the UK’s piggy bank is definitely not going to be allowed to leave without some form of struggle.
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I agree, Stuart. If we don’t move soon, we will be condemning future generations to conflict because independence is not going to go away.
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“… I’m probably not the only one to feel there may be certain ethical issues with a government allowing people to suffer in the hope of political advantage… ”
Said much the same thing recently, Peter. The worst of it is that Scotland’s middle-class is much-reduced by immigration from other parts of the UK, and a large part of it is now rUK, leaving the mass of the people – you know, the ones that are being forced to bear most of the pain – are the very people who would vote for independence at the drop of a hat. More and more rUK people are coming over, too, though, but the bulk will remain obdurate against independence.
The Scottish working-class has never needed to be persuaded except insofar as they require persuading to vote at all, so pointless do they feel their vote would be. I wish I could believe that it has all been a case of caution and timidity on the part of Sturgeon, but I do not buy that anymore, if I ever did. I also shake my head at those who say: we just need to get NS out. No, folks, the party is riddled with Nicola Sturgeons and Peter Wisharts. It is far too late to save it from its own hubris. This will have to play out as the fates decree, although I do believe independence will come, just swiftly and with much disruption.
Nothing the recent lot of Tories at Westminster have done has caused this despite their best efforts. The final scene was laid out when Thatcher came to power. The blame lies squarely here at home. Unethical it may well be and deplorable, but the Scots will not fight back until their backs are pressed against the wall, when they have nowhere else to go. Then they will come out fighting. What has been lacking for the past eight years is radical, strategical, tactical leadership. Cometh the hour, cometh the man (or woman). Don’t despair, Peter. Most of the bloggers and commentators have been right, just at the wrong time. People will catch up very soon. We are part of the vanguard. The main body is coming.
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Lorna, your observation of the middle-class is very interesting. With ever-increasing housing costs, competition for education and jobs, particularly for their children, sooner or later they must realise that they’ve screwed themselves utterly.
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Not so much last straw as straws in the wind . More accurately , tumbleweed rolling on indefinitely. Wishart ‘s heid is filled with straw — or tumbleweed.
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Stuart: many came to Scotland for a better life, having sold up down south for a huge amount, which enabled them to come up here and buy the very best, and they were both retirees and people with children, and those with children seem to be in professional jobs, in the main, and middle-class.
Our Scottish middle-class was traditionally spread between Tories, old Liberals (now Lib Dems) and a few Labour supporters. Almost all my teachers were old-style Tories or Liberals. Thatcherism changed all that, and Labour voters infiltrated the middle-class professions more and more from the late 70s onwards. It stands to reason that middle-class rUK + middle-class (even if Labour) Scots make up the anti independence vote there, while much of the Protestant traditional, Labour working-class will be Unionist, too. Together, they are a formidable wall against independence.
Most of us who frequent the blogs or write them have fewer traditional allegiances except to being Scottish, we put independence first, and we are the majority, if all would vote. Then there are the minority immigrant populations, many of who will also support independence, if given the chance. That is the secret to winning: getting all those who want independence out to vote on the day, and that means arranging transport, going door-to-door to gee them up, getting them involved, getting people into the areas who can speak to people in their own tongue, if necessary.
Think of what the SNP has done in the way of policies lately: hate crime legislation and GRA Reform. Not saying they haven’t reworked social help policies to an extent, but the latter would leave working-class people cold. They don’t have the time or energy for virtue-signalling nonsense and self-obsession. However, even the middle-class now will have less time for navel-gazing, and universities, as money starts to become scarcer, will need to concentrate on the curriculum rather than on producing self-indulgent, pseudo intellectual pap which brings self-indulgent angst to the young and self-indulgent guilt to the well-off looking for a ’cause’. Independence will become the last chance saloon, the only hope for more people than ever before, and, if the SNP won’t rise to the challenge, others will.
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“That is the secret to winning: getting all those who want independence out to vote on the day…”
I have to say that’s one thing the SNP is really good at. Of course, it’s the local ‘foot-soldiers’ doing the graft. The leadership isn’t much involved.
Yes, I agree, Peter. Organisationally, the SNP is, or used to be, in a league of its own. However, it has come to rely much more on the media and gurus to get its message across, and the party apparatchiks are professionals who have little in common with the ordinary people. The whole party system in the entire UK is a professional machine these days, and that leaves many people out in the cold. The other point is that many people in Scotland vote SNP but would never vote for independence, so I would always discount a quarter to a third of votes as having been for the party policies (free prescriptions, etc.) rather than independence. The die-hard independistas have migrated to ALBA or another independence party, or have just given up. Alba needs to move south and north to take in other parts of Scotland as well as the Central Belt if it is going to make headway, but I’d say that the best campaigners for the SNP have almost all migrated to ALBA which gives that party an immediate advantage. The poor attendance at the SNP Conference was indicative of both a drop in membership and an understanding that the party is now a well-oiled, professional machine quite separate from ordinary members and branch-elected delegates. In the end, though, it will be boots on the ground that will propel us to independence when we reach the tipping point which must be very soon.
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If there is no referendum before the GE in 2 years time. Then I am afraid some Scots will drift back to Labour and give WM one last chance.
Labour in power at WM will give the false impression to the gullible, that they will make the UK fairer. People will also see electing SNP mps as pointless. Because they have achieved nothing.
So you are right Pete , 2023 is definitely our last hope.
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