Not good enough!

The LibDems are throwing vows at the Scottish electorate again. I’m sure we all remember the one that was signed by the then LibDem leader, Nick Clegg, a couple of days before the 2014 vote. Now Jo Swinson is promising “practical steps to ensure that Scotland and Wales both have strong voices in the future of the family of nations”. It’s déjà vu all over again!

Of course, Swinson could only sensibly make this promise if the one made more than five years ago hadn’t been honoured. Even in the crazy world of British politics it wouldn’t make any sense to offer in an election manifesto something that had already been delivered. In 2014 we were assured that Scotland would “lead” if we did not leave. The voters chose to accept that offer. But instead of the promised leading role, we got EVEL.

The promise to ensure that Scotland has a “strong voice” in the UK has to be treated with great scepticism. Even if it was possible, why would we want a “strong voice” in the UK when we can have a strong voice in the world simply by dissolving the Union and becoming a normal country once more?

But it isn’t possible. We know that Swinson’s promise won’t be kept for two reasons. Firstly, the fact that the LibDems are proven liars. Secondly, the fact that the main purpose of Union is to ensure that Scotland cannot have a meaningfully influential role in the UK.

The Union is a constitutional device by which the people of Scotland are denied the full and proper exercise of their sovereignty. This, too, is proved by observable the reality. Scotland actually has a strong voice. The Scottish Parliament is our voice. But the British establishment parties deny the authority of the only parliament which has democratic legitimacy in Scotland. When our Parliament. When our Parliament says there is a mandate for a new independence referendum, the British parties simply refuse to recognise the validity of that mandate.

Scotland has a strong voice in the large number of SNP MPs we elect. But when they try to speak in the British parliament they are treated with utter contempt.

Scotland has a strong voice in it’s people. But when the people of Scotland vote decisive in favour of remaining part of the EU, we are told our vote doesn’t count. It doesn’t count because the Union decrees that, no matter how strong it may be, Scotland’s can never be stronger than that of England-as-Britain.

On Thursday 12 December, we have an opportunity to speak loud and clear to Jo Swinson and her counterparts in the other British establishment parties. By voting in overwhelming numbers for SNP candidates in the coming UK general election we can send the message that we do not want a “strong voice!. We want an equal voice! And the only we can have an equal voice is by dissolving the archaic, anomalous, grotesquely asymmetric Union and restoring Scotland’s status as a normal independent nation.



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Confusion and betrayal

There is no confusion at all about British Labour’s position on independence. Or their position on a new referendum. Their position on both is exactly the same as the position of the other British political parties. They are fervently opposed to independence and absolutely determined that there should be no new referendum. If there is any mystery here it concerns why anybody would be in the slightest doubt about Jeremy Corbyn’s British Nationalist leanings.

If people are confused it can only be because they’re making the two-fold error of listening to what Corbyn and other British Labour mouthpieces say and supposing these utterances should be taken seriously. They hear the inconsistencies and contradictions and strive to figure what is true. The reality is very simple. None of it is true!

All British politicians are bound by the imperative to preserve the Union. That imperative overrides everything. It certainly overrides considerations of democratic principle. It even overrides electoral expediency. Although some British politicians think they can conceal the truth of the matter in a fog of words. Hence the inconsistencies and contradictions. Hence the confusion among those who attend to the words instead of looking to what lies behind them. Instead of looking to the underlying imperative.

Not that Corbyn et al will be at all troubled by any confusion they cause. Where it is necessary to have different messages for different constituencies, inconsistency and contradiction are unavoidable. The idea then is to make a virtue of necessity. To ensure that the confusion is used to advantage. If your position is sufficiently vague and ambivalent, then it can be whatever you need it to be at any given time or whatever circumstances may arise. More importantly, it can be whatever potential voters want it to be.

More commonly than any of us like to admit, our electoral choices are emotional rather than rational. We like to think we’re making decisions on the basis of factual information and rational assessment. We are not comfortable admitting the extent to which facts and figures are used to put a varnish of reason on conclusion that owe more to our hormones than our neurones.

There are a great many ‘traditional Labour’ voters in Scotland who no longer vote according to tradition – mainly because they support the restoration of Scotland’s independence. A significant proportion of these ‘traditional Labour’ voters crave an excuse to get back to what was good enough for their forebears. If Corbyn says something that allows them to rationalise reverting to their old ways, they will seize it with relish. They will go back to voting for British Labour candidates having convinced themselves that the party is committed to ‘allowing’ a new independence referendum. They will even be able to quote something Jeremy Corbyn has said to ‘prove’ that they are not being conned.

These ‘traditional Labour’ backsliders will be aided in this process of rationalising their instinctual choice by the rhetoric of the other British parties as they accuse British Labour of planning to betray the precious Union by conspiring and colluding with the hated SNP.

Anybody in Scotland who votes for a British Labour candidate on the grounds that the party will ‘countenance’ a new independence referendum is a gullible fool. Even if Jeremy Corbyn were to become British Prime Minister – and there’s very little chance of that – he would be no more likely to respect the democratic will of Scotland’s people than Boris Johnson. When it comes to the ‘Scottish problem’, there is not a scintilla of difference between them.

No British politician will respect Scotland’s democracy if doing so puts their precious Union in jeopardy. If you vote for any of the British parties, you are voting to be treated with contempt. There’s no need to be confused about that.



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Neither grit nor gumption

It is clear from the comments on this article (Corbyn to be quizzed over next indyref as he begins whirlwind Scottish tour) that I am far from being the only one who is utterly baffled by Nicola Sturgeon’s position. She concedes that the UK Government has the authority to disallow an independence referendum, but demands that they refrain from exercising that authority. Instead of maintaining that the requirement for a Section 30 order is illegal and unconstitutional, she insists that it is, in fact, the only ‘legal and constitutional’ process, but claims that it would be undemocratic for the UK Government to utilise the authority that the process affords it.

I just don’t get it! I’ve tried a dozen ways of putting into words what the First Minister’s position is, and there is no way that it makes any sense. It is certainly possible for something to be both lawful and undemocratic. But to say that something is constitutionally legitimate but undemocratic seems like an obvious contradiction in terms.

How can authority be democratic, but exercise of that authority not? Surely if acting on the authority is contrary to the principles of democracy, then the authority itself must be likewise.

Ruth Wishart wrote recently about how she has come to abhor the word “allow” precisely because of its use in the context of a new independence referendum. I suspect she will be as offended as I am at being told that “Jeremy Corbyn will be under pressure to say when exactly he will allow a second independence referendum”. Not, you will note, under pressure to explain what makes him suppose he has the authority to deny Scotland’s right of self-determination. Not under pressure to explain why the exercise of Scotland’s right of self-determination should require his consent. Merely under pressure to say when he might give that gracious consent.

Of course, were he asked to justify his presumption, Corbyn need only refer to the words of Scotland’s First Minister, who has repeatedly conceded that authority. It’s hard to imagine anyone in the Scottish Government or the Scottish media putting him under any kind of pressure to justify, in terms of democratic principles rather than Nicola Sturgeon’s stated position, how anybody might have the power of veto over a nation’s right of self-determination.

Scotland’s political leaders evidently lack the grit and the gmption to challenge the asserted authority of the British state. And, of course, it suits the media to paddle in the shallow waters of trivial questions about when something might happen rather than venture into the deeps of why it is being allowed to happen at all. Why risk the dangerous currents of political controversy when it’s so easy to create a simple but titillating drama out of timing whilst remaining close to the shore of mass entertainment?

It would come as a tremendous shock to all if Corbyn were to specify when he would grant permission for the people of Scotland to exercise our right of self-determination – were he ever in a position to do so. That’s not how the game is played at all. He has to pretend that there is actually a likelihood of him being the British Prime Minister. He has to pretend that he would respect the right of Scotland’s people to decide the constitutional status of our nation. The Media and the politicians have to go along with this pretence. Everybody knows that it’s a sham. Everybody knows that, in the unlikely event of there being a British Labour government after the election, Corbyn will be every bit as bound by the imperative to preserve the Union as Boris Johnson or anyone else who might be a candidate for the role of British Prime Minister.

In terms of Scotland’s cause, it makes absolutely no difference whatsoever what the outcome of this election is. That outcome will be a British government and a British Prime Minister. And no British government or British Prime Minister is ever going to allow the Union to be put in jeopardy.

Which is why it makes no sense to concede that the British state has the rightful authority to disallow a referendum. Or to allow it only under conditions determined by the British political elite. If you accept that the British state has this authority, and that the authority is ‘legal and constitutional’, what possible grounds can there be to complain when that authority is used?



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Realism and honesty

When I saw the headline Nicola Sturgeon lists demands to Jeremy Corbyn the first word to pop into my head was ‘why’. Why is Nicola Sturgeon making demands of the leader of the British Labour Party? He has no power to deliver on any of those demands. More to the point, he is very unlikely ever to have such power. Recent polling indicates the most likely outcome of the UK general election is a Conservative majority government at Westminster. The British Labour vote looks a lot more like “crumbling” than the British political elite’s determination to prevent a new independence referendum.

The polls can be wrong, of course. But even supposing British Labour did pull of an electoral miracle, the reality is any minority British Labour government that wanted to deliver any of its policies and sustain itself in government would do anything rather than rely on the support of the SNP. The imperative to preserve the Union transcends ideological differences and partisan rivalries that are, in any case, mostly theatrical. We know as a matter of absolute fact that the British parties will collude to thwart Scotland’s independence movement. We know this because they have done so in the recent past.

In theory, the SNP would have “significant influence and significant power” over a minority British Labour government. In practice, even the Tories would contrive to come to their aid if this was what was required to protect their “precious” Union. And the same is true of the Liberal Democrats – who may also have “significant influence and significant power” in the event of a minority government under Jeremy Corbyn.

Nicola Sturgeon observes that,

Jeremy Corbyn is somebody who supports self-determination for literally every other country in the world, it would be quite strange if he didn’t support it for Scotland.

No it wouldn’t! It wouldn’t be strange at all. In the context of British politics, duplicity, hypocrisy and mendacity are perfectly normal. It’s what we expect.

The British Labour Party has been as slippery on the matter of a new independence referendum as on many other issues. Nicola Sturgeon chooses to see this vacillation as opposition to a new referendum “crumbling before our eyes”. But it is at least as likely to be nothing more than reluctance to be as explicit about such opposition as the other British parties. A feeble effort to find a distinct position on the issue. A forlorn attempt to appeal to independence supporting traditional British Labour voters in Scotland whilst avoiding heaping further humiliation on the local chap up there – what’s his name? – Richard something?

But why are we even talking about deals with British Labour when, if the polls are anything like accurate, Nicola Sturgeon will be facing a triumphant Boris Johnson on 13 December? What is her thinking about that scenario?

… this election is a great opportunity for us to show Boris Johnson exactly what we think of such a contemptuous and disrespectful attitude towards Scottish democracy.

Undoubtedly, it is. And undoubtedly we should. We most assuredly must use this election to demonstrate our rejection of imposed British governments and our determination to defend Scotland’s democracy. But let us not be under any illusions! If Boris Johnson – and British politicians in general – are as contemptuous of Scottish democracy as Nicola Sturgeon says, why would they be at all concerned about any message the people of Scotland send via the ballot box?

Nicola Sturgeon says,

… the position Boris Johnson articulated yesterday is not a sensible, serious or sustainable position – that he will block Scottish democracy forever and a day.

As with the comment about Jeremy Corbyn’s support for self-determination above, this fails to recognise the nature of British politics. A position doesn’t have to be “sensible” or “serious” to be totally “sustainable” in the context of British politics. Look at the Mad Brexiteers! If ever there was a position that defied logic and rationality it is the determination to take the UK out of the EU in the absence of any compelling reason; any viable plan; and any credible alternative. For all the self-evident insanity of Brexit, it is happening. An insane position has proven to be perfectly sustainable.

Boris Johnson is not going to back down in the face of Scottish public opinion. There is no reason why he would. The polls suggest a majority approaching 100. With such a majority, he can pretty much do as he pleases. He may well contrive a no-deal Brexit. He will certainly dismiss Nicola Sturgeon’s demand for a Section 30 order.

Nicola Sturgeon notes that,

Nothing Boris Johnson has said in his short time as Prime Minister has turned out to be the case, so perhaps that should give us all hope for the future.

I note that, despite what must be the most disastrous premiership ever, Boris Johnson is still there. The malicious child-clown hasn’t been harmed at all by all those defeats in the House of Commons and the courts. He has come unscathed through numerous scandals. He lies with total impunity. So perhaps that should bid us despair for the future.

This is not intended as an attack on Nicola Sturgeon. Although it will inevitably be portrayed as such by those who have nothing more meaningful to say. All I’m doing is attempting to inject a bit of political reality into the discourse. And, maybe, a bit of honesty into the election campaign.

Asked if she would compromise on the timing of the new independence referendum in order to strike a deal with the British Labour minority government that almost certainly isn’t going to be more than hypothetical, Nicola Sturgeon responded saying that the timescale is “not for Westminster politicians to determine”. The reality is that the Section 30 process to which she has committed means that Westminster politicians can determine the timescale. Committing to the Section 30 process puts that power in the hands of those Westminster politicians. They can drag out negotiations on Edinburgh Agreement 2 for as long as they wish. And even as those negotiations are laboriously conducted, they can implement all manner of measures to hinder or prevent the referendum.

That is the reality. And I see no reason why we should not be honest about it. All it does is prove, as if further proof were needed, that the Union is disastrously detrimental to Scotland. It makes voting for the SNP in this election even more clearly an absolute imperative. Because, bad as the reality may be with a massive vote for the SNP, it will be many times worse without it.

By voting SNP in this UK general election and sending 50+ SNP MPs to Westminster, we at least keep our options open. When reality hits and the fantasy of British goodwill, good grace and good faith evaporates, only such an expression of our determination to defend Scotland’s democracy will sustain Scotland’s cause. It may seem horribly ironic, but is only by voting SNP that we can be prepared for whatever happens when the Section 30 process fails.



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Don’t arm Goliath!

It is easy to understand why Nicola Sturgeon talks about opposition to a new referendum “crumbling”. We are in a UK general election campaign. She has promised to put independence at the heart of the SNP’s effort in this campaign. It is entirely fitting and proper that she should be talking up the potential to advance the fight to restore Scotland’s independence by voting SNP and returning as many SNP MPs as possible. It is only to be expected that she will seek to promote the idea that the the British political elite’s determination to prevent a new independence referendum will “crumble” in the face of the “irresistible” demonstration of the democratic will of the Scottish people that a massive vote for the SNP would represent. Nicola Sturgeon’s rousing rhetoric is absolutely fine. Just so long as she doesn’t entirely believe it herself.

Let’s be clear about one thing – everybody who cares about Scotland is bound by their conscience to vote for their SNP candidate in this election. Scotland’s constitutional claim has, for some years now, been the dominant issue in Scottish politics. But, not since the 2014 referendum has the divide between the two sides in the independence debate been so starkly presented as the issue on which the people of Scotland are voting. All other issues are subsidiary to the constitutional question because all other issues crucially depend on whether the power to decide resides with the people of Scotland or with the British ruling elites.

Assuming you agree that Scotland’s future should be in the hands of Scotland’s people rather than the fumbling paws of British politicians such as Boris Johnson, you must vote SNP. Voting for any of the British parties in Scotland should be unthinkable for anyone who values the fundamental principle of popular sovereignty. If you maintain that the people of Scotland are sovereign, then to vote for any of the British parties is to vote against your own conscience. And to vote against basic good sense.

This election will not decide the independence issue. Nor even the issue of a new referendum. Sending as many as 59 SNP MPs to Westminster will not precipitate a crumbling of the British state’s determination to preserve the Union. This election is not about securing yet another mandate for a new referendum. It is about denying the British political elite a mandate to block a referendum and to proceed with the British Nationalist project to reimpose direct rule from London via the apparatus of the ‘UK Government in Scotland.

No demonstration of the democratic will of Scotland’s people can be sufficient to overcome the British political elite’s resistance to the restoration of Scotland’s independence. The imperative to preserve the Union is too compelling. Even if the SNP took all 59 seats and more than 50% of the vote in a high turnout, the British government and the British parties would refuse to acknowledge this as a valid expression of demand for a new referendum. There will be no buckling. There will be no crumbling of their resolve. For the British state, the imperative to preserve the Union is existential.

For Scotland, the imperative to dissolve the Union is existential. That is why anyone who cares about Scotland must vote SNP in this election. It is not so much about battering down resistance to the people of Scotland exercising their right of self-determination as it is about denying the British political elite a mandate to prevent us exercising that right. Because anything short of a massive victory for the SNP will be deemed such a mandate. Anything less than a landslide for the SNP will be interpreted as affording the British state a licence to do as it will with Scotland – just like the No vote in the 2014 referendum.

Power is finite and relative. Due to the grotesque asymmetry of the Union, voting SNP in huge numbers and sending 50+ SNP MPs to Westminster may not greatly empower Scotland. But failure to do so disproportionately increases the power of the British state over Scotland. Power that will certainly be deployed to Scotland’s severe detriment.

Nicola Sturgeon has chosen to focus on the importance of voting SNP because of what this might achieve. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a positive and honest message. Only SNP MPs put Scotland’s interests above all else. So it stands to reason that the more SNP MPs there are, the better Scotland’s interests will be represented. But the Union means that Scotland’s interests can never be adequately represented no matter how many SNP MPs go to Westminster. But the First Minister could just as honestly and accurately have stressed the need to elect as many SNP MP’s as possible, not for what they might achieve, but for what they will prevent.

Given her preference for a positive message, it is only natural that Nicola Sturgeon will choose to run with the line that voting SNP will provide the David of the independence movement with the sling that brings down the Goliath of the British state. She leaves it to others to point out that the most important thing about voting SNP is that it avoids giving Goliath a mighty club with which to demolish all that Scotland holds dear – and all that we aspire to.



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Reports of “buckling” greatly exaggerated

With all due respect to Ian Blackford, he is talking patent nonsense. There is absolutely no indication that “the Westminster parties are buckling under the pressure”. None! They are not “buckling” because there is no “pressure”. Not, at least, of the sort that they might be impacted by.

He says it himself. He refers to a “democratically unsustainable position”. By definition, this supposes that what renders the position “unsustainable” is respect for democratic principles. Until Ian Blackford can show evidence of such respect, his claim that the position is unsustainable entirely lacks credibility.

As does his analysis of the election campaign. Mr Blackford opines that the Tories’ denial of Scotland’s right of self-determination will “go down like a bucket of cold sick on Scotland’s doorsteps”, and that is true for many doorsteps. But the ‘Scottish Tories’ won 13 seats in 2017 by the simple expedient of portraying themselves as the party of the Union. With the active collusion of the mainstream media, they elevated a nonentity called Ruth Davidson to the status of ‘Queen of the British Nationalists’ and hoovered up the bulk of the hard-line Unionist votes from across all the British parties in Scotland.

The Queen may be politically dead, but those hard-line Unionist votes are still there. And the “Scottish Tories” know that those votes are theirs for the asking. In fact, they barely even have to ask. British Labour in Scotland is in no position to compete for them. The LibDems are benefiting from the BBC’s obsession with Swinson. But it is doubtful if that might be enough to overcome the inertia which will keep Unionist crosses in “Scottish Tory” boxes.

The Tories’ denial of Scotland’s right of self-determination will NOT “go down like a bucket of cold sick” on the only doorsteps that matter to them. On Unionist doorsteps, it will be lapped up the way Winnie The Pooh guzzles honey. In this election, the British parties in Scotland – and particularly the Tories – don’t have to win, they only have to avoid losing too badly.

It is absolutely crucial to Scotland and to the independence campaign that the SNP take as many seats as possible in the coming UK general election. That requires that the campaign be informed by a realistic appreciation of the situation. It also means the party must be honest with its supporters, the Yes movement and the electorate. Rather than regaling them with triumphalist rhetoric about the Westminster parties “buckling”, tell them the truth – that the opposition is as strong as it ever was and that the threat to Scotland is more real and imminent than it has ever been.

The challenge facing the SNP and the Yes movement in this election is huge. The task of targeting all of Scotland’s 59 Westminster constituencies is unprecedented in scale and ambition. Don’t let politicians carried away with the sound of their own voices persuade you otherwise.

Borrowing the words of Canadian author, Dennis Leigh, Scotland’s own Alasdair Gray urged us to “Work as if you live in the early days of a better nation!”. In this election we must work like we might otherwise find ourselves in the worst, and perhaps the final, days of our nation.



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It must be the SNP

I found it quite depressing reading through transcripts of the speeches given at The National’s rally in Glasgow yesterday. Not that the speeches weren’t for the most part, excellent. There is power and passion in them. There is outrage and anger. There is aspiration and ambition. There is hope and hints of the fear that this hope must overcome. The speeches were stirring. Rousing. Inspiring. But we’ve heard it all before.

But for the historical detail, there is hardly anything about any of these speeches which hasn’t been said in a thousand speeches and more since 2011. Much of what was said in George Square yesterday, and certainly the spirit in which it was said; the general tone of the thing, transports me back to the last time we were poised waiting to see if an imperious British state would grant its gracious consent to the exercise of our right of self-determination.

But it is not my intention to once again go over the well-trodden ground of concerns about the Section 30 process and the First Minister’s commitment to it. Everything that needs to be said about that has been said. With the rather notable exception of any explanation as to how that process might work for Scotland’s cause rather than for the cause of preserving the Union at whatever cost to our nation.

I am resigned to the fact that no such explanation is ever going to be forthcoming; either from the First Minister or from those who insist that her choice of a Unionist strategy to address Scotland’s constitutional issue should never be questioned or scrutinised. Concerns about the Section 30 process are not going to be answered – for the most obvious of reasons.

Amidst all the fine, if dated, rhetoric from yesterday’s event, one observation impressed me as relating pointedly to the reality of Scotland’s present predicament. I quote Paul Kavanagh at length.

We are here today to say we want Scottish independence. A lot of people have different ideas about the best way to get there, about different strategies at arriving at an independence referendum. But all those routes, all those different strategies must first cross the bridge of the General Election yet to come.

Next month there is going to be a General Election and it is vital Scotland sends back as many pro-independence MPs as possible in that election.

The message from Westminster will be – if we don’t do that – that Scotland doesn’t want independence.

If we don’t get out there and vote, if we don’t put our differences behind us and make sure we all campaign for the SNP to get as many MPs as possible, the message won’t be that we are disagreeing about strategy for getting an independence referendum. It won’t be that Scotland wants to send a message on climate change. It will be that Scotland doesn’t want an independence referendum.

It’s a fair point. It’s a statement of the obvious. But sometimes the obvious has to be stated in order to bring it out of the blur of the commonplace and into sharp focus. While concerns about the First Minister’s entire approach to the constitutional issue remain, none of that will matter a jot if we don’t successfully cross the bridge of the UK general election on 12 December.

In passing, we might note that this very fact makes the behaviour of the Scottish Greens inexplicable. It seems they intend to stand candidates in 20 or more constituencies, including at least a few where their presence on the ballot cannot possibly achieve anything other than put in jeopardy a seat held by the SNP.

Nobody disputes that the Scottish Greens are perfectly entitled to stand candidates in whatever constituencies they wish. Nobody is suggesting they owe the SNP any favours. They do, however, have a duty to the cause of restoring Scotland’s independence. They took that duty on themselves when they proclaimed their commitment to that cause. The SNP isn’t entitled to demand any sacrifices of the Scottish Greens. But the Yes movement has a perfect right to do so.

It may be argued that the Scottish Greens also have a duty to their members, and to causes other than independence – such as the climate crisis. But, while it is trivially easy to see how standing candidates in constituencies such as Perth and North Perthshire – where Pete Wishart is defending a majority of only 21 – threatens to cost us a pro-independence MP, it is extremely difficult to see how either Scottish Green Party members or the causes which they espouse might be served by contesting the seat. Barring a miracle of Biblical proportions, the Scottish Green candidate isn’t going to win. Nor is the climate crisis going to be better highlighted or addressed. There is nothing to be gained other than, perhaps, the shallow satisfaction of increasing their vote relative to the last time they stood a candidate. Satisfaction which would surely be short-lived should they take enough of those votes from Pete Wishart to ensure that his Tory opponent took the seat.

Consider the cost. Not only do the people of Perth and North Perthshire lose a damned fine constituency MP who has served them well for more than 18 years, the SNP group at Westminster is diminished, not only numerically but in terms of valuable experience. Scotland loses someone who has done excellent work as Chair of the Scottish Affairs Committee and in various other capacities.

It doesn’t end there. I know that Scotland’s independence will not be restored through Westminster. I know that SNP MPs are treated appallingly by the British parties in the House of Commons. I know that they are not permitted to be at all effective in representing Scotland’s interests. But this does not mean there is no purpose in sending SNP MPs into the snake-pit of the British political system. Once again, the example of Perth and North Perthshire is illustrative. Should Pete Wishart lose the seat, it will be to somebody like Murdo Fraser. Somebody who has amply demonstrated their willingness eagerness to sacrifice Scotland’s interests in the name of political expediency, partisan loyalty, personal advancement, British Nationalist ideology or momentary convenience.

Are the Scottish Greens really prepared to risk this?

What is true of Perth and North Perthshire holds for the whole of Scotland. Even if you can find no other reason to support, campaign for and vote for your local SNP candidate, there is always the fact that SNP MPs fill places at Westminster which would otherwise be taken by individuals whose first loyalty is to neither their constituents nor to Scotland nor to democracy, but to their own careers, their party and their ‘precious’ Union.

Paul Kavanagh is right. There is no dilemma here. If you care about Scotland – our distinctive political culture; our prosperity and potential; our precious public services; our democratic institutions; our identity as a nation; our relationship with the rest of the world; our people and the generations to come – then you must do everything in your power to ensure the maximum number of SNP MPs are sent to Westminster.

To be clear, I am aware that many in the SNP are exploiting this imperative to divert criticism of their performance and scrutiny of the party’s strategy in the independence campaign. Unfortunate – even shameful – as this unquestionably is, it is as nothing compared to the urgent necessity of protecting Scotland from the forces of rampant British Nationalism. And the only way to do that is to #VoteSNP.



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