The psychodrama that has prevailed amongst a minority of the national movement derived from #MeToo, the Alex Salmond affair and slanging matches over a gender recognition bill, which is no longer on the parliamentary timetable, must now stop.
Alex Salmond is innocent of criminal activity but clearly has a tarnished reputation from activities that took place during his time as the inhabitant of Bute House. Behaviour which is unbecoming of the First Minister of Scotland. However, that is now in the past and a line must be drawn under it. Revenge, which now seems to be the priority, is a dish best served cold and if left until after 7 May, will be cold enough.
The slip in support for the SNP and independence over the last three polls is an early warning if ever it was, that poll leads can evaporate quicker than they were built up.
With less than nine weeks until Scotland is given the opportunity to tell Boris how it is here, it is time to roll up the sleeves to win an SNP majority.
An SNP majority is the only mandate which Westminster and the wider international community will respect. Plan B is howled in response but no other plan is material if we have not won Plan A. The key to that is winning the constituencies. The regional list seats may provide an element of comfort but it is the 73 constituencies which provide the rock solid majority to deliver a referendum.
But this election is more than just a mini-referendum in itself. Voters are tired. Tired of the slanging matches between SNP members at a time when voters’ minds are concentrated on whether they will have a job in the summer; whether kids are getting an education; whether their loved ones are protected now by a vaccine; whether they can sit in a pub with friends and have a drink.
Independence will not be won over a gender debate or in seeking the scalps of civil servants or party workers. Independence is won by winning the confidence of the Scottish people that the resolute leadership that has tackled the Covid pandemic to the degree that Scotland has fewer deaths and cases out of the four nations, is the same resolute leadership which can rebuild a nation. As the Confucian translation says, out of crisis comes opportunity.
Scotland’s opportunity is to complete the Covid vaccination programme and reduce Covid’s risk to our society, to put in place as many of the economic levers it has to stimulate business and to reshape the resources we need to genuinely take forward a better education system.
This is all the harder with limitations on political campaigning. The SNP is to be commended for its approach to making the most of the digital space, especially its focus on mobilising an independence majority through postal voting. For too long misinformation, and indeed disinformation, has been spread about the reliability of postal voting to the SNP’s detriment. Veteran election agents and campaign managers are frustrated that a minority voice have had such a disproportionate impact on electoral fortunes. Voters who vote by post are twice as likely to vote as someone who goes to a polling station. Why would we risk not getting our vote out early and securely?
There is much work to do in the next couple of months. Roll up your sleeves if you haven’t already. Get protected and get working for an independence majority.