Please read the attachment below by Kevin Mc Kenna. He expresses exactly what I have been saying for a long time . Some of it since just after the referendum.
If anyone has a spare half hour on their hands and does not have a propensity to fall asleep when reading boring diatribes, then if you look at the blogs I have been writing and possibly my timeline on Facebook you will find that Kevin could have taken his piece direct form these pages and you will find there, all the warnings, that to me were apparent and indeed ,to my mind manifested themselves in the results of the recent Scottish elections.
I have, ad nauseam been warning against following blindly an SNP policy of basically doing nothing to further the cause of independence., Yes they have been pretty efficient in running the Scottish government , but that is after all exactly what we pay them a lot of money for, and along the way they have strayed off the road to independence, which is their reison d’ etat. This is why they exist, it says so quite clearly in their constitution.
There is no doubt, that there has been a wasted 20 Months in educating, persuading and talking to the people who ,for their own reasons voted no. They voted no for a multitude of reason but mainly ,I would suggest because they simply did not feel secure with the arguments we were putting forward for an independent Scotland.
Ok we are now speaking about a new “initiative ” coming up in the Summer . Now a lot has been made of this “initiative” and many ardent supporters of independence have taken this to be a new campaign for independence. Well if you look at what the SNP have said about it ( which is not much) you will find that there is nothing about a new campaign. So I would caution against building up false hopes.
As I have been saying, and this is the point that Kevin is also putting over in his article, I do not honestly believe that even the SNP have much of an idea of what is to be contained in this “new Summer initiative”. I believe ,in fact that this policy was made up on the back of a fag packet when the SNP saw the disquiet engendered by their, once again, omission of any road map to independence in the manifesto for the Scottish elections . They got away with it once during the Westminster elections but this time the people were not to be fobbed of by the proposal that “we will win over more no voters if we can show that the SNP are good at government” .
Now the Stewart Hosie conundrum. As Kevin points out in his article , Stewart has never really been seen as the sharpest tool in the box ,in some quarters, although I must admit that he does cone over well in interviews and as finance spokesman he seems to do a decent job. However he is seen by some to display an attitude bordering on arrogance at times .
I remember an incident during a rally in Dundee City Square the week end after the Westminster general election. Now there is a long story behind this rally which I will not bore you with ( at this point) but to make a long story short , we had been intending having this rally the week before but were persuaded to change it to after the General election for the reason that ,in the words of a Dundee politician ” we cant have saltires and Yes posters being displayed in the city Square the week before the general election”. Now the Dundee politician who said this to me was not Stewart Hosie, but I have reason to believe that it came from him. Now as the results of that election showed , this was totally the wrong attitude to take. So a complete misreading of the situation could be the only interpretation of this flawed policy.
We of course always had a major problem getting SNP politicians to appear at any of our rallies and in deed at the yes bus presence we had constantly in the City Square during the referendum campaign, but we thought that as we had cooperated with the SNP and reluctantly moved the rally to the weekend after the general election then this might have been reflected in a willingness to put forward at least one speaker at our event. Well we were sadly ,once again disappointed because no one turned up .
On the day, however Stewart Hosie happened to be passing and he was prevailed upon to say a few words to the large amount of people who had came from around the country to attend the independence rally. The people were delighted when Stewart took the stage to say a few words. So what do you think he did , ? do you think he made out as though he was supposed to be there in the first place and was there representing the SNP ,of which there was a very large proportion of the people there members ? No , he told every one that he shouldn’t actually be there and just happened to be passing on his way to buy a “pair of trousers” and he had been prevailed upon to say a few words. So that gives you an idea of the strategic abilities of the man who was chosen to be the figure head in the “Summer initiative” .
Now lets look at Nicolas abilities as far as forming forward thinking strategy. OK so if I am correct , there was an element of panic when the SNP realised that people were not happy that the manifesto excluded of any form of a road map to independence, and it was that concern that precipitated this on the back of a fag packet policy of tossing the people a carrot in the form of an unspecified initiative surrounding the independence issue in the Summer ( after the election). This was when Stewart was wheeled out to lead whatever Nicola had in mind . Now there are a couple of reasons that this was an unwise move , one of which I have alluded to earlier and the other is this.
The split between Stewart Hosie and his Wife Shona was on the cards for some time before the election and this fact was widely known in political circles both in Holyrood and Westminster. If Nicola did not know this then she was probably the only one in the hierarchy of the SNP who didn’t. I personally was aware of this some six weeks before the election and I am of the belief that it was suppressed until after the election, for obvious reasons. So to make Stewart a figure head in a summer ( all be it unspecified) initiative to forward the cause of independence , was to say the very least totally and utterly unwise .
So there we have it and I am glad someone like Kevin Mc Kenna is now saying the things that many of us have been saying for some time. As far as I am concerned I have been trying to encourage the SNP to continue ,on a lesser level , the campaign using the grass roots groups, to educate and inform on the issues we lost the referendum on, since two days after the referendum. This is now what needs to be addressed . I wouldn’t agree with Kevin that it is a 5 year project but at the very least we must be pressurising the British government to relinquish control of the right for Scotland to decide on when and how we have another referendum and this single issue will go down in history as the worst omission of any political party in an election manifesto, and they have failed in this simple requirement twice.
Ok ,so what should happen from where we are now and again Kevin has touched on this ?
Well there must be a task force set up to include ,not only politicians but people from the various grass roots campaigns and more especially people from the business community . This should include Gordon McIntire Kemp the chairman of Business For Scotland . It cant be left solely to the SNP because up to now ,to be perfectly honest , they have not really made a good job of it.
We do now desperately need a road map to independence , a property thought out one which has the input of the wider spectrum of the independence movement.
The SNP need to reign in the mindless hate mongers who immediately pounce on any one who attempts to put forward constructive criticism and also verbally abuse people who ,for their own reasons voted no. This should be what the Summer” initiative” is all about. A road map we can all use to guide us to our ultimate goal.
As far as someone to lead this Summer foray into the mind of the no voters I suggest a good candidate for this position would be Chris Law. I know Chris, he conducted one of the more unusual campaigns of the referendum in the spirit of independence , a 50 year old army fire engine which we renovated in our workshops. He traveled all over Scotland getting out the independence argument. I remember after we finished the renovation on his vehicle and we were sitting in my office discussing his upcoming venture. He asked me what I honestly thought . My words were ” I think you are f*****g crazy”. He did it and that is the attitude we now need if we are to get anywhere.
We need to cast our fears to the wind and just go for it. for we are still on the road to independence. This is our road .