I refer to the article in the National on the 15th February by Pete Wishart. Pete appears to be one of the hopefuls in the contest for the deputy leadership of the SNP. Now, for the benefit of those who have forgotten. SNP stands for Scottish National Party and their second paragraph in their constitution states: – Aims 2. The aims of the Party shall be: (a) Independence for Scotland; that is the restoration of Scottish national sovereignty by restoration of full powers to the Scottish Parliament, so that its authority is limited only by the sovereign power of the Scottish People to bind it with a written constitution and by such agreements as it may freely enter into with other nations or states or international organisations for the purpose of furthering international cooperation, world peace and the protection of the environment.
You might note that there is no mention of governing Scotland under a devolved administration. Therefore, it is reasonable to extrapolate from this that the day job of the SNP is the attainment of independence for Scotland and any other activities embarked upon are incidental and by their nature must have a direct consequence of achieving the main aim of the party, which is independence.
Now, Pete is obviously trying to prepare the ground for a go at the deputy party leader and therefore has tried to walk a fine line between encouraging the party faithful by invoking the Braveheart factor and at the same time cautioning along party lines that we should not necessarily rush into another referendum. It is what is called keeping your options open, or another way of putting it is, being a politician by trying to get your own way without actually saying anything of consequence.
So let’s analyze what Pete has been saying and this is his own words.
“My favorite part is when the Scots are assembled at Stirling Bridge itching to get into battle, and William ‘Mel’ Wallace instructs them to “hold … hold … hold …” before unleashing the weaponry that would lead to victory”
Right, so this is Pete invoking William Wallace for the faithful. The only problem is that the analogy does not quite match the situation for the simple reason that the Scottish army who flocked to the SNP after the 2014 referendum have not been issued with any “weaponry that would lead to victory” So if they were led to battle, at the moment, by Pete or anyone else they would be slaughtered. The fact is that since the last referendum the SNP have done not a thing by way of addressing the issues we lost that referendum on. Therefore we are in no way prepared for another referendum.
He kind of hits on it when he says:- “Most importantly it needs to be sufficiently persuasive to win over that section of our population that have hitherto been unconvinced” Yes Pete and we will never do that unless the SNP answer the questions left over from the last referendum. It is not rocket science
Another Jem from Pete:- “How do we then get over the line and win? Well, I don’t believe that it is in simply offering the same perspective that lost us the last referendum.”
Errr, that is exactly what some of us have been saying since the last referendum and you have almost answered that question in your last statement but not quite.
He then goes on to say:- “Three and a half years on from the last referendum support for independence remains defiantly at 45 percent for with 55 percent against.” Hmm, that is why you should have been telling the no voters the reasons they should be voting yes such as the what the monetary situation will be in an independent Scotland and perhaps that 45% would be going up.
Possibly the classic display of Pete’s muddled thinking is:- NICOLA Sturgeon has been urged not to rush into holding a new independence referendum – and only to hold it when she is “certain of victory”.The intervention has come from SNP MP Pete Wishart.
Well “just what do you do to make sure of victory. I would suggest that is impossible, but what you don’t do is refuse to prepare your troops for battle. You do not retreat to a bunker as the SNP have done since the last independence referendum. You do not run away from the press at every opportunity. You do not march your troops up to the top of the hill and back again that many times that it would make the Grand old Duke of York dizzy. You don’t wait, in the hope that the enemy will destroy themselves, that is plain stupidity.
No, if you are serious about independence and if you wish to have a reasonable chance to achieve your stated goal, you prepare your troops, you make sure they have the ammunition to fight with, you carry out foraging missions picking at the enemies strength and confidence and whittling down their numbers. Then you bring the enemy on to the field of battle, a field of your choice and you destroy them,
The ammunition you give your troops is the policy on currency, the policy on pensions, the policy on whether we take on responsibility for part of the UK debt and what we expect in return. You produce a set of projected profit and loss figures for an independent Scotland instead of these discredited GERS figures. You define the extent of our oil fields and the potential of the West coast of Scotland once trident is removed. You give people something to campaign with, and you produce printed material on a common theme to allow campaigning to proceed. You then hand this to the many individual grassroots organizations and SNP activists, to allow them to go out on the campaign trail and take on the misinformation of the unionist politicians and the misreporting of the media. You give them a credible Road Map to Independence.
Oh, and another thing, you stop the online abuse from some of the less able to think SNP members who immediately attack anyone who dares to offer constructive criticism of the SNP and this stupid name calling of people, who for their own reasons voted no in the referendum., They voted no because we failed to convince them if the advantages of an independent Scotland and they are the people we need to get our numbers from 45% to over 50%.
So, Pete, this article had told us three things about you. As far as a Roadmap to Independence goes, you do not have a plan, you do not want to rock Nicola’s boat, and you like watching Braveheart.
One more thing Pete, if fear of defeat stops you trying, then you have already lost.