Over the years, there have been a number of things which have symbolised Britain’s self-perception. Things like the famous capacity to pull together when things get rough, the muddle through compromises, the willingness to put the country first. Yet all of these are falling apart in the pursuit of victory in the Tory civil war over Europe. A civil war which is now engulfing the entire English political system.
With the utter contempt with which most people now view their supposed “representatives“ in the Commons. Far from “taking back control” of their laws the MPs seem hell bent on refusing to accept control because of the responsibility that goes with it.
Both Conservative and Labour Parties seem to be riven from top to bottom over Europe and neither has anything remotely resembling leadership, nor indeed, the willingness to be lead. Quite how the Tories are not 20-25 points behind in the polls is something which only Jezza the abstainer can explain. The normal laws of politics have been suspended.
Labour MPs, far from contemplating ministerial posts. are reported to be plotting how to set up a new party so frustrated are they with the absence of leadership on Brexit and anti-Semitism.
The Tories should be hiding behind the sofa at the thought of facing the electorate so divided are they. Yet even with May’s promise not to lead them into another election, they are projected to have an outside chance of winning back the majority lost in 2017.
The Lib-Dems are perfectly happy with remaining as a minority opposition party, they tasted power and responsibility and decided have that it’s not something they want to try again. Rather like a dish which looked good on the menu but found that it was just too spicy and hot for you.
If there is to be an early Election (which I doubt) the electorate could be faced with multiple choices on both the left and right with new parties trying to break through the barrier of first past the post elections. It’s tough but it just might be that the old parties are unable to take internal strains and face collapse.
The risks are even higher for the britnat parties here in
Scotland. None of them have the capacity to be independent parties relying on
their Head Offices for money, people, systems and direction. Would the break-up
of their UK parties be reflected here or would we perhaps see the new
structures which would emerge being based on constitutional divides?
Would we see the britnats combine into one anti SNP party to reflect what we saw in 2014 and 2017? Would the SNP become the natural home of those who support or at least are willing to talk about Independence but have remained loyal to parties which have not returned that loyalty? Both Labour and the Liberals were Home Rule Parties but have sold out in pursuit of office?
England appears to have a level of intolerance of other views which makes it very difficult to see what would be in a manifesto for Labour or Tory which would offer a platform around which either Party or Country could unify and bury the deep divisions unleashed by Brexit.
As the system breaks down we have unprecedented challenges and opportunities ahead.
I was therefor delighted to see Angus Robertson set up his Progress Scotland organisation. Somehow or other we need to help at least 15% of our friends, neighbours and workmates to change their views and join us in seeing Independence as the positive way to build a better future for all in Scotland.
We will only get them to come over when we show that we can listen to their concerns, fears and doubts. The first step in this is to actually ask them where we failed in 2014 to make a good enough case. Only by listening and then working out a new platform which is fact and evidence based can we hope to make them look at our case afresh. We know that we failed on currency and pensions big style, but what do we need to do to convince the persuadable NO voters?
I recently went back to an opinion poll conducted by the Ashcroft organisation just after people had voted on 23 June 2016. Each and every serious party had split with no less than 36% of the SNP vote going to Leave.
The fall-out from Brexit will have a major impact on the indy ref campaign and among the questions therefor has to be just how do we;
- bring the 36% back into the fold when we have being part of the EU as such a central plank and how many of the 36% are more committed to being out of the EU than to Independence
- convince the Remain voters in the Britnat parties that only Independence offers the benefits of EU membership
- deal with the fall out of the back stop in terms of hard borders?
Only the NO voters know the answers and the sooner we start asking them and showing that we are listening to them the sooner we have a real chance of persuading them that we can be trusted with their futures. It’s taken arguably far too long for us to start asking he questions but Progress offers us the chance to make up some lost ground.