Conscience and calculation

The SNP has no intention of moving to resolve the constitutional issue with the urgency which Salmond at least recognises. But the notion that Alba will be in any position to force the pace is fantastical. There almost certainly won't be a supermajority and there definitely won't be a supermajority that works the way Alba claims it will. The reality is that regardless of how many seats Alba Party wins it will have no leverage over an SNP/SG Scottish Government. Absolutely none.

The gamble

There are vastly more bad gamblers than good gamblers. This is necessarily so because a gamble, by definition, offers many more ways to lose than to win. So there are massively more ways to be a bad gambler than there are to be a good gambler. Whether you are a good gambler or not is almost entirely a matter of chance.

Fundamentally true

The truth is that the Union gives the British state such overwhelming power that the makeup of the Scottish Parliament hardly matters at all. The British parties being ousted in 2007 was a matter of considerable concern to the British establishment. This was not supposed to happen. But the SNP in government has turned out to be far less of a threat to the Union than it was thought it might be.

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.

Comparing offers

Nicola Sturgeon has set her sights so low that pretty much any offer Salmond makes is going to look better. And, being the crafty politician that he undoubtedly is, he not-quite-promises no more than he has to. No more than will seem a prize next to the not-quite-promises Sturgeon is putting on the table. Sadly for Scotland, neither of them is offering what we need at this time of our nation's great peril.

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.