War of words

We are all aware of how that fateful phrase 'once in a generation' has come to haunt Scotland's cause. I don't doubt there are times when both Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon wish they'd never offered up that particular hostage to fortune. What makes it truly regrettable is that they could easily have left it out. It wasn't essential. There are other ways of saying the same thing. Not so with the word 'supermajority'. It's not a throwaway remark. It refers to a very specific concept. A concept which is very much part of this election campaign. There isn't really an alternative. There may be other ways of saying the same thing. But none, I suspect, that wouldn't sound painfully contrived. We're stuck with it now.

Shifting sands #2

It is certain that we cannot rely on the SNP/Nicola Sturgeon doing what is required. They might yet surprise us by adopting the Manifesto for Independence. But it has to be said that this looks very unlikely. It is not the case that Sturgeon has lost her desire for independence. It's undeniably the case that she has lost her passion for independence. These days, it's no more than a preference. The SNP could have been in a position to make independence as inevitable as they keep telling us it is. They chose not to. As a member of the party I want the leadership to know that this is a dereliction that I do not forgive and shall not forget.

Shifting sands #1

Obviously, any splitting of the independence vote would weaken the Scottish Government's mandate. To establish what I termed a 'super-mandate', the party of government would ideally have over 50% of the popular vote on both ballots. The SNP was always going to be the party of government - barring an unthinkable catastrophe - so the first task had to be 'persuading' the SNP to adopt the Manifesto for Independence. Or at least the critical parts thereof.

Sturgeon’s last chance

Sturgeon hopes that her statement will be seen as a commitment to urgent action. She provides the notion that those blinkered by their idealised perceptions of Sturgeon can take and inflate into a binding promise. But to the vanishingly little extent that it is a promise at all, it is one that she can easily wriggle out of. We have to wonder why, if the situation is as perilous as she describes, she is so reluctant to give a real promise while at such pains to be perceived as doing so.

What is not said

Other than the absence of references to the Section 30 process in her statements and speeches, the indications are that the SNP's 'official' position continues to be that the party is seeking a mandate to first of all petition Boris Johnson for the permission he has repeatedly and unequivocally said he will not grant under any circumstances. The purpose of this being, apparently, to prove to the international community that Boris is not lying when he says this and that the Scottish Government acknowledges Scotland's subordinate status in the Union.