I am still trying to come up with some idea of why I feel that we have lost some focus, some direction. The conclusion I keep coming back to is the relationship between the SNP and the YES movement.
But first I want to reflect back a little to the general election. I read all of the manifestos apart from UKIP, I just couldn’t bring myself to read it. But anyway, the manifesto that I had the most in common with, and found the most radical, was the Green Manifesto, followed by Labour and thirdly the SNP. The Scottish Lib Dem one was a confused mess and the Tory one a leaflet designed to hide both their hate and their shame.
But the SNP manifesto and campaign were centrist in nature, trying to be everything to everyone, as I have said in my previous blog, and blogs before that. Craig Murray rightly points out that the SNP campaign was poor, a bit of a mess really. On reflection it was. It was a managerial campaign that was allowed to be dictated by the yoons in some ways as they drove the agenda, difficult to counter given our media, but a trap the SNP fell into so again on reflection Craig is on to something there.
I am, and always will be, 100 % committed to Scottish Independence, that will never change and my vote will always reflect that singular point. Independence itself remains the main goal for at least 45% of the Scottish electorate but we are no closer today than we were in 2014, in some ways we are further back.
I have always argued that the slow creep to independence could ensure we never get there, many have disagreed and I have accepted that I am impatient for it to happen. I have also argued that we have got to be more radical, anything less will also result in our ultimate failure to achieve what we want. I am more convinced of that today than I have ever been. I have no time anymore for the committed NO voters, I can’t be bothered trying to win them round and I’m afraid it’s a big f them from me these days, likewise most Tory voters.
I do believe that we also need to sit back a little now until after Brexit and its impending disaster but I am convinced that YES and the SNP have to be seen to be separate. The SNP won’t win independence, they are the mechanism that will manage the process and provide the political ideas by which policy will be based, it will be the YES movement that will win the next referendum, if we get it right.
I really believe the narrative has to change from SNP competence to a radical socially liberal and environmentally independent argument. One that captures the decency of our civic nationalism with a radical vision of what Scotland can be. A country whose aspiration is based on what is best for all, a voting system based on PR, and agenda of nationalised industries that are vital to the national interest like transport. An aspiration to become 100% renewable for energy with less reliance on fossil fuels. A country free from nuclear weapons and with an ethical foreign policy.
Most of that has to be campaigned on, if people agree, by the YES movement, the SNP are the ones who make it happen in government. There was a feeling at the last referendum that the SNP in many ways were in charge of YES, it was and was not true, but the next time I am convinced that YES has to be in charge, the SNP to a large extent need to follow no matter how difficult that will be for many politicians. Independence will be won by the people, not by any political party.
We need radical, the SNP aren’t or can’t be radical, I would have threatened UDI but the SNP never would. I would have walked out on mass frequently from Westminster, the SNP never would, I would never have agreed to the Smith Commission, the SNP would never have voted against. Many will argue that every power, no matter how small, is a step closer to independence and they are correct but it’s not enough.
The radicalism that will deliver independence will come from the YES movement in my opinion. That will need to be separate from the SNP in my opinion. The yoons can talk all the they want about independence being dead, it’s not they just wish it was, but it is at a crossroads.
Just some thoughts on what I believe can be a way ahead. Open to any alternatives or better ideas.