The Herald this morning ran with a partisan story about the yes movement being best advised to split its vote…keep the SNP strong on the constituency vote while voting elsewhere (Greens, logically) on the List vote (‘Independence supporters should not cast second vote for SNP at Holyrood election, says study’). To which Wings has responded in full conspiracy mode.
The gloves are coming off today, I think. Rather as the Southside of Glasgow is preparing itself psychologically for a resumption of normal fucking service this afternoon (under our changed circumstances) so a “New Normal” is defining itself in Scottish politics.
I joked earlier today that whereas I used to write a fairly large essay most weeks in 2014 to attempt to cope with/describe what was going on in Scottish politics but that nowadays a single tweet pretty much does it.
Here it is: “The New Normal. Labour have been replaced in the centre. Scraps available on the left and right. Vote Green on list”
So, you see that the Herald’s story was a partisan story with which I agreed. I’m voting for Nicola Sturgeon as my constituency MSP (one still votes for an individual with that vote) and Green on the Glasgow regional list. I happen to know, because I’m a bit of a nerd, that this is a vote, in practice, to keep Patrick Harvey as an MSP and, I hope, to have him joined from Glasgow by Zara Kitson.
It hasn’t honestly occurred to me that I am therefore part of a unionist/federalist plot to undermine the new found (and evidently thrilling, if largely imaginary) POWER of the SNP. But so, I fear, I am.
(A power which, it seems to this consumer of some quite brilliant campaign videos, like that of New Labour, that is consolidating itself by an entirely ruthless and unacknowledged…but demographically and electorally unimpeachable…rush to the centre ground. New Labour have well and truly been “replaced”)
Now, I’m only a small player in this nascent stooshie. But I am an SNP member (albeit not an active one) who is splitting my vote. I was sanguine in the non receipt (mostly) of shit about this online. (If I send this to Bella, and the indefatigable Mike Small “prints” it, that will likely change).
Also, I’ve resisted adding to the whole bogus “cybernat” furore which was such a feature of the multiply despicable Better Together campaign (whose moral taint, going well beyond the mere fact of “campaigning with the Tories” has made Labour toxic in Scotland).
But if the story of the last election to Westminster in 2015 was the maintenance of the Yes Movement into the “smart” politics of an SNP landslide that kept the momentum and ideas of the Yes campaign going, the story of this election looks like being that of the whole thing finally going smash, of the split that was already symbolised by the rival events on the banks of the Clyde one Saturday in November 2014 (attached) reaching electoral crisis.
For us or against us. For Nicola without qualification or an agent of Yoonyunist Darkness. Nuance lies scattered on the roadside like a an unfortunate liberal bunny rabbit.
This is not unfamiliar emotional territory from a lifetime on the fringes of left politics here or anywhere. It’s normal, in fact. it’s how people everywhere are. But I had hoped we’d keep the broader “movement” together.
Because what is happening now is precisely a question of “movement” against consolidation. And entirely predictably and even properly, what the SNP are doing now ( whether in public or not) is consolidating their control (partial though it is) of the commanding heights of our political economy,. They recognise (again, not publically) that devolution mark two is now in for the long haul and are using their electoral base – now much more extensive and deep – to cement the new normal, the new equilibrium of our political culture.
There is no room for “movement” in equilibrium. So, dear friends, the territory for those of us in the Yes camp who enjoy movement for the sake of the exercise has been circumscribed. Behind the scenes, there has already been acrimony among the former comrades…the surface has been cracking…in some ways Loki’s recent work has also been symptomatic (as well as pointing at a much bigger and dirtier truth about class and nation.)
But what it comes down to is this: in relation to Westminster, to where the power really lies (and lies) in the UK, it is absolutely essential that the SNP represent us. No one else can do it. They have that mandate.
In Scotland, their mandate is again unchallenged. but should not go unquestioned. The movement that built to 45% of the vote cannot and will not simply be absorbed into a hegemony. Movement, as such, matters. Without it, the shark dies.
Which means the smart vote, I think…is a split one.