Well here we are at another SNP conference and let me predict what will be contained in Nicola Sturgeons speech.
She will move another few degrees to the left to counter act the Jeremy Corbin effect.
She will reassert that the SNP stands for independence and she will receive a standing ovation for this.
Now where will this put us on the road to independence?
Nowhere, and that is exactly where we have been for the last three years since the last independence referendum.
Now let me tell you what she won’t say.
She won’t give a date for another referendum, and she can’t. She can’t because the SNP are in a mess as far as their main purpose in life goes. They have constantly missed prime opportunities to call a referendum and they have been guilty of the most basic mistakes any politician can make., They have misread the feelings of the people of Scotland and in particular the tens of thousands of new members they gained on the back of the referendum result in 2014.
They have neglected their main purpose in life, supposedly because they saw their duty as governing for all the people in Scotland. Well governing for all is a myth and an intrinsic impossibility. You can’t govern for all, you can however consider all, and in doing this you must take into consideration the manner you were chosen in the first place. Now it is safe to say that there is hardly a single person in Scotland who does not know that the main purpose of the SNP is to gain independence for Scotland. It is therefore logical to assume that everyone who voted for the SNP would have realised that their vote could result in independence, therefore on the back of the surge in membership and the vote in 2015 for the Westminster parliament that returned 56 out of a possible 59 seats., It is reasonable to assume that this was because of a willingness to go for independence. Instead, the SNP firstly failed to realise the extent of feeling towards independence and they utterly failed to capitalise on it. This amazing result was gained, not because of the SNP, but despite them, because they ran that campaign on the basis of it not being about independence, when in fact the people saw it very much as being about independence together with the fact that the Tories and Labour colluded to deprive Scotland of their right of self-determination. I won’t go into all the details of arriving at this conclusion because I have written about them in detail in previous blogs, but suffice it to say that in the run up to that election we had the demeaning situation of a prominent Dundee politician making the statement that “we can’t have Saltires and yes signs being waved around the City Square during a Westminster election campaign.” At the time I was advocating that the campaign should be run on a single manifesto commitment, that of independence. Had that happened, we would, in all probability have been independent now.
This was only one of the many missed opportunities the SNP have been guilty of, and since then their popularity had tumbled. This because they put independence on a back burner at every election since and the consequences of this failed policy is now there to see.
Now the next thing she won’t say is anything to do with preparation for a future referendum. I know this because they have done not a single thing to address the issues we had during the last referendum, for the last three years. We still have no idea what the currency will be in an independent Scotland. Pensioners still believe that their pensions could be at risk in an independent Scotland. People are still unsure of what the border arrangement will be on the Scottish English border and of course the EU. That would take pages and pages to enumerate the missed opportunities surrounding that issue.
Ok, we are where we are, on the independence road and that is no further than we were on the 19th September 2014. I put it down to mismanagement by the SNP, some people might disagree with that position, although going by the drop in volume of disparaging comments I have been receiving of late, I feel that less and less people are disagreeing with this position. However the one comment I expect is “ok so what would you do about it “so I will tell you (although I have done so many times before, the first time being two days after the referendum).
It is actually quite simple, we need a road map to independence and here it is.
Firstly, the SNP must make it a priority to wrest control of the right to hold a referendum from Westminster to Holyrood. They have failed miserably to include this into any of their election manifestoes and apart from a half-hearted attempt to include it in the Scotland bill have never mentioned this vitally important issue meanwhile read below.
A basic principal of business is that when you make a mistake, you sort it as soon as possible and not wait three years, so we need a definite policy on the monetary situation and that boils down to either using the Euro ( in which case we do not need a central bank) or a Scottish pound ( in which case we do need a central bank, this not to be confused with the investment bank ,now envisaged by the SNP).There is a commission led by Andrew Wilson looking into this which was to have reported by the end of 2016 but he seems to have went missing in the long grass somewhere.
We need a definite policy on pensions I think our pensions are about the 5th lowest in the EU and I suggest an intention to double them within 10 years in an independent Scotland (dependent of some of the suggestions to follow)
It needs to be very clear what the border situation would be both in and out of the EU.
As for the EU, we should commit initially to being members of the European Economic area only, and not a full member. This would give us the advantages of the single market without the unnecessary dispute among some Yes voters about full membership. There should also be a commitment to hold a referendum on full membership in about a year after independence.
There should be produced, a full set of projected financial accounts for an independent Scotland together with a balance sheet which would show likely assets we would fall heir to. This in place of these silly GERS figures which in fact show why Scotland should be independent and not as they are intended, to fool people into believing that we have a deficit., ( you can’t have a deficit if you are not independent) This “black hole “ is a construction showing a falsely allocated part of the UK deficit.
Following on from the projected financial accounts there should be a commitment to institute the much talked about Oil Fund. Now I believe this Oil Fund should not only be administered and invested by the treasury but should have an element of payments going direct to every individual in the country in the form of an interest bearing trust fund which could be accessed at say 10 year intervals.
Now to the most important element of our road to independence and that is the input of the various grass roots organisations who have been virtually abandoned since the referendum in 2014. It is the Grass roots groups who are the key to independence.
Firstly there has been much talk about various groups and commentators falling out and this leading to a bean fest by the media. Well this is not in fact the case as the media get plenty to keep them occupied direct from the SNP and what they don’t have they make up, but on this point the SNP must confront the press and take them to task at every opportunity as at present they are pathetic on this score. No, you will find that once a proper campaign gets under way all these enmities will be put to one side and we will work together in a common cause as we did during the last referendum.
So the grass roots should be encouraged to get back out on the streets doing what they did very well in the last campaign, but to be able to do this properly they must have the ammunition to do their job and what I have outlined above should form the basis of a centrally produced set of campaigning material on a common theme. Now either the SNP could produce the leaflets posters etc. or they can at the very least make available the proofs for them and the grass roots groups can raise funds to have them printed. Business for Scotland can have a big impute into this whole process especially in the formation of the financial aspect of the road map.
If the grass roots groups are to campaign they must have the answers or they are wasting their time.
Now there is no need to actually set a date for a referendum but simply be prepared to either take advantage of a given situation (many of which have already been missed) or,what is more likely there would come a time when the case for independence and the opinion polls make a referendum a natural next step and hopefully ,by that time as I proposed earlier we would have control of when we decided to hold a referendum.
This is of course not an exhaustive list of requirements but it is something that the SNP, if they are to remain a conduit towards independence, must take seriously or they will be consigned to the dustbin of history before very long.
We are still on our road to independence, it would be nice to see the SNP there as well.