“But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. They had won the victory over themselves. They loved Big Brother.”
As the results of the latest Scottish election came in, I felt despair for my fellow Scots. They had believed the lies told to them, by a woman they had been taught to trust.
The SNP is now entwined with the British State, taking its blandishments while fearing its strength. Settling in for another five years; making excuse after excuse as to why ‘now is not the time’; acquiescing in the encroachment of Westminster into devolved areas; standing helplessly by as Scotland’s economy declines, poverty increases and Scots who are able to, seek opportunities elsewhere. Because our government, our party of independence, do not have the guts to take on the British State.
After the defeat in the 2014 independence referendum, Scots flocked to join the SNP determined that the dream would never die. And Nicola Sturgeon was gifted a united Yes movement characterised by joy, courage, fun and comradeship. Today, it is characterised by poison and the vicious persecution of anyone who does not buy into SNP groupthink and does not idolise the party leader.
Scots are no longer engaged but are voting SNP for independence in the same way they used to vote Labour for socialism, and are excusing the continued failures of their party to deliver.
The dynamic in the country has been changed from bravery and hope to passively waiting for Nicola Sturgeon to decide.
The Scottish Government is fully part of the British establishment, doing nothing to free Scotland from Westminster rule. Rather they administer devolution within constraints, never pushing the boundaries. And they have actually handed back powers, including PIP assessments which have brought misery to many Scots - the minister responsible prefers to spend her time pandering to the gender lobby. Equality for the SNP is identity politics because tackling poverty is just too hard.
We have been gaslit by a political class of corrupt careerists. Deceived that a section 30 is ‘the gold standard’ even though no country on earth has become independent through a ‘section 30 of the Scotland Act’. Guilt tripped that using the list vote to elect more pro-independence MSPs would be ‘gaming the system’ and ‘wouldn’t be fair’, when we are subjected to Tory rule on 20% of the Scottish vote. Lied to that a vote on the regional list is a vote to elect the First Minister.
Nicola Sturgeon is protected by the British establishment. What other First Minister could have survived the catalogue of errors that were uncovered during the Fabiani inquiry? Giving out a complainant’s name; leaking to the Daily Record; ignoring legal advice; instituting a disciplinary process judged illegal and tainted with apparent bias; and being declared guilty of misleading the inquiry. But most people believe that it was all about a ‘difference of a few days’ and that ‘he asked her to cover up for him and she refused’, because the media told them so. Everyone should have a hard think about what it means for the leader of the independence movement to be so protected by the British state media.
And let’s look at Nicola Sturgeon’s record on achieving independence for Scotland. She has just received much the same electoral result as five years ago, and independence support is polling similarly to polls around the time of the 2014 independence referendum.
She has repeatedly promised an independence referendum: we were to have a choice before Brexit; then when the terms of Brexit were known; then when the pandemic was over; now when we have recovered from the pandemic. And always reliant on permission from Westminster. All she has offered this term is that at some point she will ask for a section 30, which will be refused, then she will put through legislation, which will be challenged in court. That will take us nicely to 2026 when she or Angus Robertson will ask for another mandate.
Sturgeon has made absolutely no preparation for an independence referendum. She has admitted the economic case is out of date but is doing no work on it. She has not developed policies for a new white paper nor started those conversations with the country. By blocking the People’s Section 30 case, Sturgeon has ensued there is no legal certainty. There is no ring-fenced cash and there is no date. For those that hold out hope, look at her deeds not her words.
Sturgeon has also actively undermined and opposed any alternative routes to independence; Chris McEleny and Angus McNeil proposed a plebiscite election. This proposal, which is now two years old, has never even been debated by the SNP despite widespread support among the membership.
The Alba Party offered another route to independence via a parliamentary supermajority. A supermajority would give the Scottish parliament a huge bargaining advantage over Johnston, in that the parliament would be able to call a plebiscite election at any time and have full control over that election including the franchise and the voting system.
Sturgeon and the SNP reacted with fury to the Alba Party’s supermajority plan. Sturgeon did not waste an opportunity to defame its leader, Alex Salmond. The SNP colluded with the mainstream media and broadcasters to impose a news blackout on Alba. Its leader was not invited to the Leaders Debates and its candidates received very few invites to election programs and even online hustings.
As a result, the Alba Party failed in the Scottish election and now independence is a very distant and fading dream. Instead, we face five years which will end women’s sex-based rights, threaten freedom of expression and the right to political protest, an unimaginative and dispiriting domestic policy program and Scotland completely at the mercy of Westminster Tories.
We now have a choice: we either give up or we keep going. If we choose to keep going, we shouldn’t underestimate how long and hard the road will be, we are up against not just the British establishment but our own government. A government that will actively oppose any plan to bring about independence while dangling the carrot when needed.
So, will we heed the words of Nelson Mandela, ‘the greatest glory in life is not never falling it is rising every time we fall’ and will we fight for our hopeless cause?