The Undertaker and the Midwife
An extraordinary weekend in Scotland as the fallout from the referendum continues and a new political landscape unfolds. The potential as indicated from Ipsos/Mori polls is eye-popping – with a possible disastrous collapse of Labour votes and a huge swathe of SNP returns to Westminster, which has triggered a wider debate in the radical and progressive left about tactics, strategies and futures.
The polls may be exaggerated, but huge change is still looming, with the potential for the SNP to hold the balance of power at Westminster, in part testimony to Salmond’s legacy and tactical nous.
As The Independent editorial writes today:
“So the moral case for reopening the independence question grows ever stronger, and the SNP is making the most of the Westminster parties’ failures. Come next May, there could be a solid phalanx of SNP MPs returned to Westminster, displacing many Labour and Liberal Democrat members. That will add to the weight of its case; it will also prove a fine practical advantage in the near certainty of a hung parliament. It will, in short, be able to hold any Westminster government to ransom until a second referendum is granted.”
With businessman Ivan McKee, plus committed and well-respected left-wing activist Tam Dean Burn and top human rights campaigners and criminal defence solicitor Aamer Anwar joining the SNP in recent days, the momentum looks irresistible for a huge TACTICAL vote to heave us into a position of power next year.
With the SNP to allow non-members to stand, the way opens for a focused and re-channeled political energy in 2015.
The plan was backed at its annual conference, which opened in Perth on Friday. Under the proposal, prominent “Yes” campaigners who are not in the SNP would be able to stand for election under the party’s overall banner. They would need to be on an approved list and be adopted by a local constituency. The motion was adopted by delegates in Perth and will now be passed to the party’s National Executive Committee for further exploration, before going to the SNP’s National Council for final approval. So there’s some clarity to be had. It will be interesting how key players react to the detail and how discussions unfold.
Whilst there’s been disgruntlement in some parts about the fall-away of the plan for a wider ‘Yes Alliance’ my view is that we need to be pragmatic and tactical. It’s difficult to comprehend a constituency where the SSP – often polling in low hundreds – or the Scottish Green Party – would make any impact whatsoever. This is a brutal but simple reality about the constraints of the First Past the Post system.
If we want to affect change we have to be a bit more realistic and a bit more ruthless. There is no space for ego.
As the Rochester and Strood by-election looms, Britain First booms and a possible further six Tories threat to join UKIP, the indefensible union may become a cracked and broken prospect.
We’re not going to have to wait many years to see transformative change in this country.
Can we rid the country of Tories next year? Can we witness the complete wipeout of Labour as a force in Scotland? Can we create leverage to hold power in London? Yes we can, this looks like a very real prospect.
But whilst this could create a completely different picture – the counterbalance to this would have to be to return a range of radical voices and parties to Holyrood in 2016. The range of new political organisations from RIC 2.0 to Commonweal, to genuinely independent candidates to a newly-revived Scottish Green Party should be thinking now about a two-year strategy. The urge to support, tactically, the SNP next year does not bind people into future support. In other words this is not a zero-sum game, we can support a Yes bloc next year and then expand and create a mass of diverse radical voices for our actual parliament.
The first stage sent to Westminster is essentially going to help in undertaking duties, while the second group are the midwives of the new Scotland.