Time for a change of attitude at the bottom

Good turnout at the march at Bannockburn yesterday and yet another expression by the Scottish people of their thirst for independence. However, I feel it , like other marches organised but OUOB was marred by the unnecessary expression of opinion by the large banner stating “Tory scum out”and I feel it says more about the people carrying it, together with the march organisers who I have seen on various threads defending it, than it said about the vast majority of people on the march.
Look, we could be on the cusp of another referendum campaign ( if the SNP ever get around to it) and we should be speaking to, and discussing with, people of all shades of the political spectrum, how we move towards another vote on our future and all posters like this do is alienate potential converts to independence.
There are many Tories, Labour and lib Deb supporters who also support independence and many who could be persuaded to vote that way but calling them “scum” will not advance our cause one iota.
Just look at the way Scottish voters have been voting in recent elections. Both the Scottish Tory party and the Scottish Labour Party have had a resurgence of support. This has, to my mind been facilitated by the perception that the SNP have lost the way on the road to in dependence so these people who have in recent times been voting SNP have gone back to their natural allegiances. Does anyone actually think that calling someone “scum” will engender any respect.
Now many people wonder why the SNP are not officially represented at these marches. Do you actually think government ministers should march behind large banners, saying ‘Tory scum out”? No of course they shouldn’t.
If we hope to turn that 45% into over 50% we need a campaign based on mutual respect and this campaign has no place for infantile expressions of immaturity like those displayed at recent marches

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There is to be a march in Dundee later in the Summer. I personally will not be attending it because of various issues I have had with the organisers regarding the organisation of this march. I wish the people who will be taking part in this march a great day but I do hope the organisers will reconsider allowing that unnecessary banner to be displayed as I feel it would degrade all the hard work the yes movement in Dundee put in day after day during the referendum campaign to return the largest percentage of yes votes in the country.
A bit of common sense please.

As I say ,the Tories have had a resurgence in Scotland recently and if I am correct it was down to people changing from SNP ,back to their natural allegiances. The SNP lost half a million votes in the last general election. Where did they go? well a lot of them obviously went to the Tories, and that was people who had voted for the SNP in the past because they believed in doing so could lead to independence.
Think about it, if you were a decent tory voter ( there must be some) and wished to see a Buisness based economy and presumably one that was still part of the largest market on the planet but were totally alienated by the farce that is the tory government in London , don’t you think you might consider a modern forward thinking Tory government in an independent Scotland, perhaps  one with a social conscience, would perhaps be the way to go? Time we started thinking out off the box and get away from this narrow vindictive campaigning. We will probably get one more chance at this in a lot of our lifetimes and we must get it right this time. There is one thing I am sure of and that is that in Scotland politics are about to be upended and change is on the way, we need to be able to adapt to suit circumstances.
As Bob Dylan says, “the times they are a changing”
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How The SNP painted itself into a corner and how to get out of it.

There is no doubt about it that the independence movement under the auspices of the SNP is in a mess. After 3 years and 9 Months we are marginally over where we were at the last referendum. We are sitting somewhere 48% as apposed to the 45% we achieved during the referendum campaign, and the main group of people responsible for the 3% increase is not the SNP but the Tory party. Who have been responsible for alienating large swathes of the people of Scotland because of their ani Scottish actions from the introduction of English votes for English Laws to disregard for Scottish feelings on the bombing campaign in Syria, Brexit, and lately the ignoring of the Scottish Parliament’s vote on repatriation of devolve powers to Scotland, in the process, virtually degrading the Scottish parliament to a local authority within the UK.

Ok, so how did we get to where we are? Well, it goes back to the referendum. We made mistakes during the campaign, the main one being the currency problem. At that time the best option would have been to have a currency union. It was the best option for both the UK and Scotland and we had alternatives in the white paper. The problem was that when the gang of three ,Osborn, Alexander and Darling came out and said we could not use the pound and “what was plan B,” people actually believed them and to make matters worse, Alex Salmond said, we don’t need plan B, although we had plan B,C and D. It made no difference when we explained to people that the pound is an internationally traded currency and the UK can stop no one from using it and various other options had been laid out in the white paper.

Now , of course we had virtually the whole of the British press and the BBC against us and to make matters worse the SNP cowered way from them at every turn hoping that they would go away. Well, unfortunately they didn’t go away and many of the Scottish people believed them and voted no.

Ok, so that is all in the past but how did we get to this pass, where independence seems to be further away than ever? We fought a good campaign through the Yes Bus team and I went to the SNP two days after the referendum and said,”ok we have lost a battle but not the war, so whats the plan”? ( I was still a member at that point) I was met with a blank look and “what plan”. That blank look has remained with the SNP for three years and nine Months. We have had constant obfuscation by Nicola Sturgeon on the subject of another referendum. The troops have been marched up to the top of the hill and down again that often it would make the Grand Old duke Of York dizzy. Most of this occurred in the run up to an election. We have constantly had the subject of another referendum swept under the carpet. All of this because of a simple misreading of the Scottish people by Nicola Sturgeon and too much notice being paid to the press and the opposition as they constantly fed the lie that the Scottish people were fed up hearing about independence , when in fact it was the very opposite.

Lets go back to just after the independence campaign. What should have happened was that the SNP should have initiated a lower level campaign of information to put forward the true case for independence including explaining things like the currency option’s ,pensions, borders the EU. If that had been done, then by this time there would have been an unarguable case for independence and we would have been ready to go at any time when one off the many trigger points presented themselves, but unfortunately we have never been ready for a short referendum campaign. An obvious action they could have taken would have been to have included in any election manifesto , the intention to wrest control of the right to hold and organise a recognised referendum without recourse to Westminster

The SNP, ever since the referendum, have constantly and deliberately refused to keep independence as their main function in life. We here in Dundee had a rally arranged in the City Square for the week before the 2015 general election. We were implored by the SNP to postpone this until after the General Election. It was put to us that a prominent Dundee politician had made plain the SNP position, by saying,”we can’t have saltires and yes signs being paraded around the square ,the week before the general election.” Absolutely incredible, and given the result of that election, an indication of just how much out of touch the SNP were.

Despite their virtual rejection of independence as their sole purpose in life ( there is no mention in the SNP constitution of governing Scotland) the SNP returned 56 MP’s to Westminster on a Tsunami of disappointment occasioned by the defeat in the referendum. This was where the big mistake was made. They convinced themselves that their policy of keeping quiet about independence and governing Scotland well, would curry favour with the electorate. They were wrong, they were 100% wrong., At every election since the 2015  General Election they have lost ground, culminating in the last snap General Election in which the lost over half a million voters, They lost them, not because they were talking too much about independence, but because they were seen to have lost the way to independence. Not only that but the referendum on the EU which returned a 62% vote in favour of full membership in Scotland was conveniently converted to a will of the Scottish people to be attached in some way, to the single market by Nicola Sturgeon. Something, not a single person in Scotland voted for. To make matters worse the Scottish government brought out a paper which contained their slant on how Brexit should be progressed, which sounded like a road map to Unionism.

As time has gone on, two things seem to have occurred. The SNP majority in the Scottish parliament has been drastically cut and in Westminster the 56 MP total has been cut to 35. Which on the surface shows that the SNP mandate for independence has been diluted, at the same time,  Nicola Sturgeon’s popularity has been greatly reduced. This could be construed as the independence cause has reduced,. I do not in the least believe this to be the case. Instead I believe that what has happened is that because of the SNP distancing itself from independence under Nicola Sturgeon’s leadership. People have gone back to their natural allegiances and as there did not seem to be independence on the horizon, they voted as they would have under normal circumstances.

So, the problem for the SNP is that they have been painting themselves into a corner as far as options for another referendum go.

They have not in any way prepared the ground for another referendum.

They have thrown their lot in with the tories and Labour as far as Brexit goes.

They have lost credibility and greatly reduced their representation in both the Scottish parliament and Westminster.

They have a leader who has lost respect.

In order to reverse this position they could wait until the next Scottish election in 2021 or a snap General election and hope for an increased majority on the back of a tory government that are in melt down.

They could take a chance and go for one of these options on a single manifesto item, that of independence ( which is what they should have done in the case of the 2015 general election and we would have been independent now)

So in short the SNP have been painting themselves into a corner ever since the Nicola Sturgeon became leader of the party in 2014 and their options to fulfil their commitment contained in their constitution are reducing by the day.

So what can they do? Well, ever since the referendum in 2014 they have been the beneficiaries of circumstance and it has been other factors ( mainly the tory party) which have allowed independence to rise from 45% to the apparent 48% that it seems to be sitting at now. They have yet again been presented with a trigger point in connection with the removal of powers to the Scottish government and this time they must act on it. This was the debacle in Westminster last Wednesday at prim-minister’s questions when Ian Blackford was instructed to leave the chamber and all the SNP MP’S walked out with him. This was followed by membership of the SNP increasing by over 7,000 new and lapsed members. To be fair most of them probably did not expect the MNP’s to return to Westminster the very next day.

So although I have made my feelings clear regarding the awful lack of preparation for a new referendum and I have severe reservations regarding the monetary option in the economic commission report, I feel that the best option would be to bring back all  our MP’s from Westminster and call an election for September this year. This is the first time since the last referendum that I have advocated a short lead in referendum.

The SNP  make the case that any decision on a future referendum should wait until the outcome on the Brexit negotiations are clear. Why? You do not allow your enemy to regroup and rearm, before you attack him you push your advantage when he is weak any other position is plain stupid. Unfortunately we are also not truly prepared but  what are the options if we wait for Brexit to unfold? Either we will get a hard Brexit which once again, could be a trigger for a referendum, but by that time the Tory government will have more time and resources to fight the referendum. Or we will have entry to the single market which is what the SNP have been campaigning for and say ( wrongly) is the preference of the Scottish people. So if that is the final scenario, the SNP preference, what will be the case for another referendum? Absolutely, none.

I still believe we are on the road to independence but the SNP have to get out of the corner they have painted themselves into , they are  still the only party who can front another campaign but they must get on with it now.

 

SNP and the leaking roof

Ever since the 2014 referendum I have offered criticism of the SNP for a lack of understanding as regards to the necessity to prepare for a future referendum. There have been several definite  opportunities to have taken advantage of given situations but for some reason the SNP have failed to capitalise on any of them.

The SNP, are where they are, for a reason, and that is to attain independence for Scotland. This is what it says in their constitution and that is why they were voted into the Scottish Parliament and the Westminster Parliament. Now if you want something to happen you prepare the ground for it to happen. For the last three years and nine Months they have not even attempted to do this apart from the economic commission which ,to be honest creates more questions than it answers. After all this time ,all they could come up with is a”discussion document” and that is simply not good enough. Especially one which is wrong in so many ways as far as a future currency option goes. The main reason we lost the last referendum on was because we did not make a strong enough case for all the options open to us on currency and left ourselves a hostage to fortune, because of the no plan B perception and no national currency, or central Bank.

Now, in 2014 the joint currency actually made some sense as Sterling was reasonably stable, but now we have a completely different situation,. We were told back then that we should be part of the EU and as an independent country we would have to leave and re-apply. That may or may not have been the case but the important aspect of that fear that was thrown at us was the Importance of being in the EU, the largest trading block on the planet.

So where are we now? Well, despite Scotland voting 62% to 38% to remaining in the EU, we are about to be dragged out of it and in doing so the currency the economic Commission is suggesting we use, is about to go into free fall together with our export/Import markets as we face Armageddon.

The SNP, are actually aiding and abetting this travesty of common sense by supporting the British Government by deciding that the will of the Scottish people is to be only part off the single market. Not a single person in Scotland voted for that option for the simple reason that it was not on the ballot paper. Not only that but their present policy is not to support a second referendum on the question of whether to accept or not, the final deal reached between the British government and the EU. I wrote this blog on 19 December 2016, the day before Nicola brought out her answer to Brexit.

https://bobsblog.scot/2016/12/19/a-road-map-to-unionism/

The warning I gave in this blog is still very relevant today and the day after that blog I wrote one titled “I Told You So”

The events of the last few days in Westminster have underlined the lack of wisdom and stratagy that have followed the SNP for a considerable time in fact ever since Nicola Sturgeon became leader of the party and now we are in the position ,because of the SNP’s acquiescence with Westminster and lost opportunities together with lack of proper preparation that the very devolution settlement is now at extreme risk.

It came to me that an analogy of the SNP lack of preparation could be likened to a house with a very leaky roof. The owner gets a contractor in to inspect the roof and he determines that it requires extensive work to make it wind and water tight,  so the customer  gives him the go-ahead to make it good, just like we did with the SNP,. So the contractor starts work on the roof. He gets on very well making the roof, which was 27% water tight before he started,  to 45%,. Then disaster strikes., There is a storm (the referendum) and the work has to stop but fortunately the 45% of work done remains in good order but the contractor has to leave the job until conditions improve.

The scaffold has blown down in the storm, some of the materials have been found to be unsuitable and the weather is changeable only allowing short opportunities to get back on the roof. In the mean time the contractor agrees to do some internal work on the house and makes a reasonable job of it, putting in new doors and double glazing but because of the still leaking roof the people cannot get the full use of their house.

Because of the sporadic timescale in which the work on the roof can be carried out the people urge the contractor to get the preparation done, like  the scaffold up and the materials ordered but he does nothing, telling the people that he has a cleaver plan, but he is making a good job of the doors and the double glazing. Unfortunately, the doors are beginning to warp with the dampness and the double glazing is beginning to fog over. The customer is becoming very impatient because he realises that although the contractor is making a decent job of the interior it will never be right because he was employed to fix the roof.

Then disaster, the contractor becomes unwell and cannot finish either the roof or the interior so eventually the leaky roof causes the whole building to be unliveable.

That my friends is what is happening at the moment, the SNP have put all their efforts into making a pretty interior of the house and neglected the reason they were employed in the first place. Along the way they have tried to made a pact with the Devil, and save the Union, it is pay back time and they have prepared nothing.

We need another contractor, or at least another foreman to fix the roof.