Over recent months the siren of voices who claim that they have the simple route to Independence has become a clamour to see who can shout the loudest, sadly not a debate about who has one which is actually workable and achievable.
From withdrawing the SNP MPs from Westminster to declaring “UDI” we’re bombarded with sound, and not a little fury. The SNP should get their own policy house in order is followed by the SNP should open up to the rest of the YES movement. As is frequently the case, the calls are mutually exclusive. Everyone, it seems, has a plan to get us to the negotiating table. And ignores the simple fact that you need to get someone on the other side of the table to have a negotiation!
It’s pretty obvious that the Tories are never going to talk in their current neo-fascist composition. They care more about stopping the boats and making some sense of Brexit than they do about democracy or the democratic will of the people of Scotland. As far as they are concerned the 2014 result was and is definitive. There’s as much chance of them talking to Humza as there is of them phoning the EU and asking for a chat about rejoining. The fact that both would be good sense and good politics will not be allowed to get in the way of their fantasies of an England which has never existed. Warm beer and picnics on the village green, a world away from the reality of people’s lives.
Cold radiators and hungry kids are closer to the lives of millions, but when you’ve just made another few millions on PPE, who cares about the little people?
Just as the Tories are blind to the political reality of Scotland, Labour have a set of blindfolds which are damn near as impenetrable by the cold light of day. A party which had Home Rule as a founding principle has adopted the three wise monkeys approach to life. They cannot hear the voices of the people spoken in every election for over a decade, they cannot see that the dividing line in Scottish politics is the constitution not their class war. And they most certainly cannot speak to Scotland when they claim that no-one wants a referendum ignoring the fact that they have 1 miserable MP in Scotland.
Don’t worry Big Brother, and the Daft Dame know best!
When all the noise and clamour dies away we are left with just one incontrovertible fact about Labour. They would sell their granny and their soul to get into power. They haven’t a clue what they want to do with power but oh Lord, the lure of the Ministerial car, not to mention the salary, is all powerful. They want to rule England so badly that they will sacrifice Scotland and Wales yet again just to get their grubby paws on the levers of power.
And, just as it’s a democratic outrage that for the last 13 years we’ve had Tory policies imposed on us against our will, so it would be an equally outrageous act for England to have Labour Polices (if they actually had any) imposed on them against their will. As a result Labour cannot allow Independence, not because they think it would be bad for Scotland, or Wales, but because it would permanently deny them power in England.
This is a reality which the YES movement, and the SNP as it’s main component must face up to and accept that some serious fresh thinking is essential. What will it matter, in practical terms, if we were to win every seat in Scotland if London continues to play the dog in a manger?
If London doesn’t want to engage with the people’s will, then how do we move to achieving Independence? I don’t claim to be clever enough to know the answer but I do know that we must address the question because even if Labour win the next election outright or have to negotiate, it’s clear that they are not willing to countenance a second referendum. They would prefer to talk to the LibDems and even concede proportional representation before talking seriously about Constitutional issues.
Finally, it would be wrong to finish without paying tribute to Winnie. It’s often said that we stand on the shoulders of giants. Well, Winnie was a giant! As an MP, in the loneliest House of Commons imagineable it must have taken immense mental strength to survive far less prosper in that hostility. Winnie did both. She is often quoted as saying that “when the Hamilton result was announced, a shiver ran along the Labour benches, looking for a spine to run up”. The shiver would have an even harder job these days, and much of the credit for that lies with Winnie.
RIP Madame Ecosse, when will we see your likes again?