Catching the Wave

We have reached a watershed for UK politics: Time for independence to catch the wave of change argues Gerry Hassan.

These are bewildering and often disorientating times to live in. In recent weeks and months it has felt at times difficult to keep up with the speed of events – as history has been seemingly made and remade every few days.

Such periods call for being honest, respectful in debate, and reflection and self-awareness in everything any of us say or do in public. Look around at the events in the UK and world and they rightly should imbue any of us with a humbleness and wariness of easy remedies.

That said the Scottish election results mark some kind of watershed. Take a couple of perspectives from the ‘Imagination: Scotland’s Festival of Ideas’ Scotland after the election event in Glasgow on Sunday. Peter Geoghegan said the election was ‘the end of the 2014 indyref road’. John Curtice that ‘Brexit has been as disruptive for the Nationalists – as for every other party.’ Angela Haggerty that independence was facing its ‘first big test’ since 2014.

Curtice pointed out that the SNP’s 37% was the tipping point of support for the party and FPTP working in its favour (the SNP won 35 out of 59 seats: 59%). Its support is relatively flatly distributed across the country compared to its opponents, and this produces according to Curtice for the SNP ‘feast or famine’. Any further fall of even a few percent and the electoral system will begin to work against the SNP – the way it currently does for Tories, Labour and Lib Dems – and did when the SNP broke through at Westminster in October 1974: their previous peak until 2015 and 2017.

One huge shift which has happened is that the idea that independence is smoothly the future and somehow inevitable has been defeated. It was always a dangerous assumption, and one which was bought into equally by over-confident Nationalists and over-wrought unionists, and in particular, parts of the London political elite, who saw Scotland almost a ‘foreign country’ which needed to be assuaged.

That is a big shift in the dynamics of Scottish politics from within and without, and one with major consequences. There are three areas that matter profoundly to how the future of Scotland pans out for pro-independence opinion: the SNP, how politics is done and the politics of independence, and the issue of culture.

The SNP and the Limits of Tactical Politics

The SNP talks the language of party and movement. But the SNP isn’t a movement. It is a political party with all the dynamics and disciplines that involves. The first aim of the SNP is to maintain itself as a successful political party – electorally – with everything secondary to that.

The SNP have had a good ten years. They have remade Scottish politics and remade perceptions of Scottish politics here, across the UK and internationally. But it isn’t surprising that after ten years in office the limits of their approach to government and politics is becoming more apparent.

The SNP have been successful in the realm of tactics and adaptive politics, making things up as they go along and seizing opportunities from weak opponents (Scottish Labour) or inept politicians (David Cameron being one example). This success has masked that the SNP have previously done everyday, reactive politics well, but haven’t had a political strategy. This has become even more obvious as their media strategy has weakened – as key personnel such as Kevin Pringle have left government – and domestic politics become more competitive.

As serious, SNP positioning in recent years has been based on a cautious centrism which has placed the party to the left of what it portrayed as Blairite Labour. Two assumptions underpinned this. One was the idea of Tory Governments running the UK in perpetuity based on English votes. The other was that Labour was irrevocably lost to Blairism and a fixation on ‘Middle England’ no matter the nice progressive pronouncements of leaders such as Ed Miliband and Corbyn. Both of these are in tatters now, and it leaves the SNP’s cautious centrism exposed.

The Politics of Independence

For some independence supporters all that matters is this – irrespective of the content, politics or economic effects. This is the Scottish equivalent of Nigel Farage’s version of Brexit – as he indicated that he believed ‘Britain would be a better place if it were poorer’ but was outside the EU. One contributor to ‘The National’ last week, Rab Wilson, posed that what was required was a politics ‘lik Wallace’ of ‘bold new Bravehearts’. Clearly like Farage he wasn’t aiming for the fainthearts.

Independence cannot just be an abstract about sovereignty and freedom. It just doesn’t carry enough voters. If ‘Take Back Control’ had power and resonance in the Brexit vote it was because the UK has never stopped being independent and self-governing, and the memory of the UK not being in the EU only went back to 1973. Such evocations in Scotland take us back a much longer time and don’t have reach beyond a tiny constituency.

The SNP and independence’s fortunes are interlinked but not the same. For most of the last 40 years support for independence has been more than that for the SNP, and maybe the 2017 election indicates a return to this pattern.

A historic point is that independence still has a long term gain from the indyref with support regularly at 43-45% which it did not have pre-2014. The challenge in this is to play it canny and a waiting game, and look for a gamechanger, which many of us thought the Brexit vote might be, but which still might be, the reality of Brexit Britain.

The idea of indyref2 any time soon is counter-productive. A second indyref without a proper analysis of why Yes lost in 2014, and any detailed work on a new improved offer is politics as emotional spasm – understandable, but not to be seriously considered.

A call for indyref2 soon isn’t really responsible. An indyref in the next two years in all the turbulence of Brexit would be more likely lost – and hence would put back the idea of independence at least for a generation. Anyone who thinks this isn’t so should look at Quebec where the Nationalists lost their second referendum by a whisker in 1995. Twenty-two years on and they are far from their ultimate goal.

The idea that the 69-59 Scottish Parliament vote is the main driver is understandable, but not wise politics. That vote was before the 2017 election, and doesn’t mean to say the SNP have to enact a referendum now or in the next two years. More than likely, with the need for a Westminster Section 30 order for a legally binding referendum, we are looking at a referendum at the earliest in late 2019, and more probably, 2021, with Westminster demanding of the Scots that the pro-independence forces win an explicit mandate then.

That would give up to four years to address some of the big questions, but with the SNP by then having been in office fourteen years, it isn’t unforeseeable that Tories and Labour make further gains. Some of the voices for an indyref ASAP are based on fears of leaving it too long, and what happens when the SNP lose popularity. Embracing the likelihood of an earlier defeat isn’t a great argument for a poll sooner rather than later.

Timing is much in politics: a point recognised by Tommy Sheppard in the ‘Sunday Herald’ when he stated that any indyref2 had to wait until the Brexit talks are over. But even more than that, Scotland needs a pause from the incessant campaigning since indyref1, including for many independence campaigners. And then with the 2017 election ending the period defined by the 2014 vote, there has to be a belated examination of the reasons why Yes lost, and then the making of a new offer – different in process and content from before.

Culture eats Strategy

Since the election some independence voices have wanted to show their anger, denial and rage, rather than begin a debate about where we are and what needs to change. The politics of assertion, dogma and inflexibility can have its uses when everything is going well, but is less helpful when things aren’t going to plan.

A part of Nationalist support wants to argue with critics of the Scottish Government’s record on for example education and health. This isn’t an approach which seems motivated by concern over the well-being of education and health. Instead, it is just about political point scoring (as are many of the critics) and defending the SNP in government. This produces a siege mentality and eventually a view of the world far removed from the reality of public services in the country – which isn’t exactly the social democratic utopia of SNP discourse. Having the confidence to admit some shortcoming, and not being caught in system defence, would be more enlightened.

“The culture and psychology of a party and movement which cannot admit shortcomings, show flexibility, and make a profound distinction between its ultimate vision and project and actual record in government, is eventually going to start encountering problems and won’t be able to renew in office.”

The culture and psychology of a party and movement which cannot admit shortcomings, show flexibility, and make a profound distinction between its ultimate vision and project and actual record in government, is eventually going to start encountering problems and won’t be able to renew in office.

Scotland has historically had trouble with groupthink and orthodoxies – examples include the power of the Kirk, Empire Scotland, or the reign of Scottish Labour. None of this stopped with the advent of devolution and arrival of SNP in office. A little perspective is needed.

A related issue is the absence of policy making, ideas and debate in SNP formal circles. In this the party sits in a political community which from left to right, Labour to Lib Dems and Tories, is an ideas-light space, where politics and debate is conducted without much reference to serious policies or intellectual thinking. One example in this is for the all the references to a social democratic politics, there is a near total absence within Labour or SNP in the last forty years of a serious, sustained intellectual basis or thinkers. Labour had J.P. Mackintosh who died prematurely in 1978. The SNP had Stephen Maxwell. The heyday of these two was the mid-1970s. The devolution double decade has produced no party related thinkers, or renewal of thinking in Scottish social democracy.

Future Challenges: Policies, Ideas, Politics

There are big challenges ahead in policies, ideas and politics. The approaches which gave the SNP success in its first decade in each of these are less and less likely to pay dividends the longer the party is in office.

First, the SNP should embrace a more policy-informed politics. This was originally one of the attractions of Nicola Sturgeon. It isn’t impossible that a government which only won its popular mandate just over a year ago could adapt, learn and respond to the changed political times.

To do so it will need a couple of key flagship policies which set a signal and direction on taking on vested interests, putting ‘the public interest’ in public services rather than embracing the views of professionals, redistribution which puts the needs of Scotland’s poorest and most disadvantaged centrestage, and a long overdue democratisation of parts of our public life which have never seen scrutiny and accountability. That eventually needs to be connected to an economic offer, which does not find it is the last political party hanging on to the discredited neo-liberal model of the British state of recent decades. All the rumours from Andrew Wilson’s Growth Commission are that it will continue this approach.

There needs to be a wider recognition of the importance of ideas in politics. No longer can the SNP assume that by its centrism it inhabits the centre-left ground of Scottish politics unchallenged. The SNP’s social democratic credentials have been thin and defensive, and it is long overdue that the party recognise that the wider international debate about the crisis of social democracy across the West – might have some lessons for it. One big question is whether social democracy is adequate to deal with the big issues of class, power and the planet, or a new more green orientated politics isn’t needed. Just clinging to our supposed ‘social democratic consensus’ in one country isn’t very progressive or attractive.

The party and wider movement obviously need to do politics differently. Politics in Scotland has for too long been about parties and politicians, and less about people and collective voice. This has been particularly so of the devolution era. A party that espouses to lead a movement has to have an understanding of movement politics. This involves recognising the power of pluralism, tensions and need for alternative centres of power.

“The party and wider movement obviously need to do politics differently. Politics in Scotland has for too long been about parties and politicians, and less about people and collective voice. This has been particularly so of the devolution era. A party that espouses to lead a movement has to have an understanding of movement politics. This involves recognising the power of pluralism, tensions and need for alternative centres of power.”

The SNP in many respects are the victims of previous electoral success, but also of believing their own hype about their infallibility and inevitability of independence. They have become the defenders of the status quo in domestic life in Scotland. That is the effect of all those Nationalists who when they defend education and health from criticism won’t admit to any shortcomings. That only leads to the position that the status quo of domestic Scotland is good enough. It isn’t.

This contributes to the SNP buying into the myth of inclusive Scotland – that we are not as defined by class, hierarchy and elites as England. That somehow our homegrown hierarchies and elites are less self-serving and ruthless than the English ruling class. One UK guide to the recent 2017 election caught this perspective on Scotland when the writer Peter Burnett wrote that Scottish politics and by implication the SNP was so inclusive that: ‘Those living in Edinburgh have most of them at one time run into Nicola Sturgeon somewhere, in Charlotte Square, with some of her friends, or at an event.’ That is the politics of an insider class transposing it to the national experience.

A successful SNP and independence politics cannot represent the politics of the status quo and closed Scotland. Instead, it has to have an urgency and desire to speak up for those who are still powerless and don’t have voice. It has to have an insurgency politics against the system, closed Scotland and the fact that devolution has not delivered or shifted power for the vast majority of the country.

We have reached a watershed in British politics: the end of neo-liberalism and of the dominance of Blairism while trying to avoid calling it Blairism. That has huge consequences for Scotland and the politics of independence, and demands a different politics: one bolder, more honest and ambitious. There is a wave of indignation and a hunger for a vision of a different politics and society. If independence doesn’t catch it someone else will.

Comments (22)

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  1. Catriona Grigg says:

    This rings bells. There is no real debate at branch level. SNP HQ decide who will be candidates. Conference is a rally rather than a debating platform. Members seem to be useful only as foot soldiers at election time. I’ve believed in independence since a teenager and 50+ years later am still passionate about it. But I can no longer work as part of a party machine that seems to stifle debate. It’s important the wider independence movement stays vibrant and exciting and able to enthuse voters both young and old about the need for independence. For me the important thing is independence not a party. I’ve always believed that once independent parties will evolve to reflect the full spectrum of politics. There’s no certainty which party will form the first government.

    1. Andrew says:

      Absolutely! It has to be the case.

    2. Crubag says:

      Personally, that was the most disappointing aspect of the couple of times I was a member. Maybe that was being over-optimistic, that you would have some small input into policy (like the Greens?), but I think it would have held my interest better if there had been that kind of exchange.

  2. jack elliot says:

    What is the future now with Westminster
    now that the Belfast agreement is in play
    Where now does the Scottish conservatives
    play with the union. It now begs in question

    http://jackelliot.over-blog.com/2017/06/the-1998-good-friday-agreement.html

  3. Alin Scot says:

    Another Gerry Hassan article with which I agree and l also agree with Catriona Grigg about what she says on SNP branches.

    One thing I find missing from the article is why should Scotland be independent? Many of the things Gerry refers to about what the SNP should do, does not require independence as a core objective. For me it is simply about my country of Scotland being a sovereign state so I can feel pride in my country in the world. I do not hold any rancour whatsoever against our friends, the English, south of the border but the sheer volume of their numbers simply overwhelms the Scottish dimension and it has been ever so since 1707. I find it difficult to be British when to most of the UK and the rest of the world it is synonymous with being English, which is not an insult but is nevertheless an annoying error.

    Should Scotland become independent, I would most certainly favour a confederation of countries of the British Isles where we can act in accord when desired but also where our voice has equal status, something the Union has never provided from day one and that is the nub of the problem.

    Also lacking from this whole argument about independence is someone who can paint a vision to the people of building on Scotland’s ancient history with a vision of what could be in the future, someone who can inspire all the people even if they don’t agree with the principle. We have had many gifted speakers on independence over many years but the ultimate orator has yet to appear.

    1. Catriona Grigg says:

      Why independence? For me it’s simply the modern equivalent of ‘Wha sae base as be a slave?’
      Even in childhood I remember a teacher telling us ‘you accent is fine’ when our accent was looked down on.
      We are a nation. Why wouldn’t we want to be free?

      1. Alin Scot says:

        A misunderstanding. I have always been an independence supporter, well maybe not as an infant, and having reached 3 score and 10, my enthusiasm is undiminished. The point I was making was many of the things Gerry Hassan wants the SNP to do would apply to any party not necessarily a party seeking independence.

        I am coming round to the view that independence needs more than just the SNP as I am well p***** off with the leadership in their ivory tower. I could say more but I can say my loyalty is being sorely tested.

        1. Catriona Grigg says:

          of course. The snp alone won’t achieve independence. It needs the groundswell we saw at the last indy referendum and I’m positive that’s ready to spring into action.

  4. Scott says:

    Gerry, this is a good piece and enjoyable to read. However, we have not seen the end of new-liberal economics as you suggest. Yes, the PM may spend more on some areas not normal for the Tories. They feign caring and pretend to be inclusive. My butt. Neo-liberal economics is part of the structure of the British system now, its the machinery that hoovers money upwards from our pockets into the accounts of the 1%. It’s the rich loaning their money for us poor to borrow for a mortgage. It’s PPI. It’s the stock exchange gambling casin game of money manipulation rather than the real economy where we work and our collective efforts make the economy. It’s zero hour contracts and slabs labour and sex exploitation. Grenfell tower changes nothing for the callous cretins in the Tory party. Yes, they will not cut more police officers now. For now. That’s the effect of public opinion and the tories want to be ‘popular’ to survive.

    Neo-liberal economics is also the corporate elites dictating the language of politics through the tabloid thuggishness of sowing hate and division. Mike illustrated this in his piece a day ago with a pastiche of front page news. The media whipped up hate against Assad and recruited an army of free ‘ terrorists’ to go fight against Assad. Sooner or later they had to come home. The 1% rules. This needs to end before democracy is dead. The real ideological fight of ideas is about the future of democracy.

    And the future of independence will rest on the vision of where it takes us. Is independence a road to the end of austerity? If not what good is independence? The real test now for the snp is to hold onto the Yes movement and show it does plan to end austerity and has the plan to make this goal a real outcome we can imagine and see happening. The light was on and bright in the last weeks of the 2014 vote. It’s dark now. The tunnel has narrowed. Will Labour under Corbyn offer to end austerity and will that appear a real choice for us in Scotland in the absence of quality Scottish labour voices? Austerity is not over so ergo, neo-liberalism is not ended. Politics is filled with hot air and rhetoric. The real problem with the snp is that it is in government and have been too busy with the day job to be ultra smart in independence. Yes, the opposite of the propaganda! The snp need to show that independence is the route to end austerity and the end of neo-liberal economics. Who wants independence if it means a continuation of austerity and neo-liberal economics? Not me! Independence at any cost? No thanks. A central bank is essential for our own currency.

    Atriona Grigg is right that we need to revitalise the organic grass roots and make the top down hierarchy if the party listen more to the people. That means showing why austerity must end and tackling head on the beast we must slay, neo-liberal economics. The snp must stop treating people like dummies and talk about neo-liberal economics. They should listen more to their own supporters and dump the patronising attitude of we know best as we are in charge. Fat salaries result in fat stale egos. Power and territory and celebrity are a mental prison. The snp still have the best brains in Edinburgh by far but our population are getting fed up taking the spoon full of centrist caution they feed us and they must stop coming across as the proxies for British austerity and start screaming from the roof tops that this is not good enough for our people. Austerity was the tories wet dream after the financial crash, or bankers heist. Our people should not be suffering and paying for what those b@stard5 did! We don’t need a stronger voice in Westminster. We need MPs prepared to wreck the joint for the hell unleashed on our people. If they don’t get this right, Corbyns Labour will show that they might just end austerity before the snp can do so via independence. When the majority of scots believe that is possible, the snp will end up a rump at Westminster.

  5. Steph says:

    Some of Gerry’s thoughts on where our political energies should be directed in the short term are good shouts but his take on the bigger picture is really naive and dangerous in my opinion.

    Since 1979 we have been involved in an existential tussle with the British state in pursuance of a Scottish national interest. Yes such a thing really does exist and as Sturgeon has shown it’s not always in accordance with what the British state thinks is the national interest. For them the line since 1979 has been constant….we couldn’t, we shouldn’t but most of all we wouldn’t dare.

    Well dunno about you but yes I think we should dare. Do you think the civil rights movement in the US and MLK were waiting for public opinion to swing a few percentages before mobilising? Think Ghandi was watching for Survation numbers to get to 60% for six months before mobilizing his political forces against the Raj? These were huge political battles which were won by audacity and smarts and I say we have the same combination within our movement.

    This straw man of a second referendum is what drives me nuts. No-one on our side said it had to happen “now”, no one said it HAD to happen within two years, everyone knew it would take place when the Brexit omni-hamble became clear. I’m scunnered that people in our one side are taking the British states political tropes and reflecting them back at us.

    Time is on our side, our opponents are floundering like a net full of tariffed haddock, and yet some of our own would have it that we are the side under pressure to withdraw demands? This is eejitry of the highest order and should be argued against by anyone who thinks that our future lies with a pariah British state.

    How come our modern day Defoes…Farquarson, Daisley, Martin, Deerins and Massie, Tories one and all, are being allowed to set a totally spurious agenda when their team is 3nil down deep in the second half? Their side(Murdoch, Tories, big capital) use their reactionary voices daily as the spear point for British state interests in Scotland and yet our team shuffle around and talk about parking our political leverage? Are you guys out of your effin minds?

    If the cause of Scotland as nation state with a moral compass, a desire to treat its people as citizens not subjects, and acting as a force for good in the world is no longer worth the candle then by all means come up with another think tank symposium or what-not to take minds off of the bigger picture but pls leave the rest of us to get this sorted once and for all.

    Currently there is a cloud of defeatism and lack of smeddum from the likes of Gerry and certain other commentators who I’ll spare the embarrassment of naming. I hope Bella’s followers will give this kind of political no-can-do a wide berth as we prepare for what could and should be the end game in our struggle for self determination.

  6. Richard MacKinnon says:

    Gerry,
    The party’s over. You’ve done well out of Scottish politics these last few years but if your not careful you could be seen as flogging the dead horse. Its not a good look. You need to face up to it, the independence thing is dead and more important, it is dead boring.
    Maybe you should try another approach? What about, ‘Scrap Holyrood, Scotland cant afford the vanity project’. Start the ball rolling with a couple of pieces on ‘what is Holyrood for?’ Then, ‘what does it cost to run?’ and obviously, ‘How much does our MSPs actually cost?’ May be a wee league table on expenses? Labour v SNP? Favourite Edinburgh restaurants of Jackie Baillie?
    That is always a good angle Gerry, turn the spotlight on the politicians. BBC and STV love all that, politicians being asked to ‘name three things the Scottish government has done in the last 10 years? I can see it now, Alex Neil, and you asking him ‘what is it you do all day, Alex?’
    I bet you would get plenty gigs from Pacific Quay out of that.
    Gerry, you know this better than me, its time to change the record.

  7. Peter Arnott says:

    Rising to the moment, Gerry

  8. Graeme Purves says:

    An ambitious public-sector-led programme to meet Scotland’s housing needs and create places of quality for the future would be a good start. This requires a recognition that meeting housing needs and creating quality places are public, not private, objectives and so require vigorous public sector leadership. This cannot be left to the volume house builders. Public authorities need to be able to acquire development land at existing use value and give a clear lead on the location, form and design of new development. To date, the SNP’s programme of planning reform has been far too timid and tentative.

  9. Crubag says:

    Good article, though having identified the problem – the SNP as a party of government may not be enough to deliver a majority for indy -it doesn’t propose solutions. Possibly it should return to the “broad church” idea, where rival parties would emerge post-independence from the national party. Or possibly we need a centre right indy party to go with the Socialists and Greens to the left of the SNP.

    Brexit also isn’t covered, and there’s only so much space… But as an emerging issue this is going to be very important. Pro-Brexit parties got a majority in Scotland in 2017, which is Brussels is still watching will be taken as a cooling on the issue. First indications from the Brexit talks are that there will be a border in Ireland, which will be a harder sell for a Scotland/England border.

    I think part of the current hesitation from the SNP is exactly because of the uncertainty of Brexit. It’s hard to lead the people when it’s not clear where they want to go.

    1. Graeme Purves says:

      When people aren’t sure where to go is the time when decisive leadership is most crucial.

      1. Crubag says:

        Even if it loses votes?

  10. Frank says:

    Yet another example of Gerry Hassan re-writing the same article over and over again. Talk about plagiarising oneself.

    Instead of printing endless articles arguing the SNP needs to re-think policy or rethink social democracy why doesn’t Gerry ever come up with some policies? Instead of saying for the umpteenth time the yes movement needs to learn from the 2014 defeat, why not offer some analysis of what went wrong?

    The reality is that Hassan doesn’t have much to offer beyond critique. But critique is the easy part. When it comes to solutions and real strategy he offers nothing. In fact when it comes to solutions he seldom thinks outside the orthodoxy of the past 20 years. For example, he dismissed Corbyn and supported Owen Smith and regularly intervened to undermine the Labour left and support the Blairites.

    There’s a pattern at work in Hassan’s argument and it is this: In the great conflicts of our time – Corbynism versus Toryism and independence versus the British state, Hassan’s purpose is to make political despair sound convincing…don’t be fooled.

  11. Big Jock says:

    So 28.6% of Scotland going back the way and voting for the extreme right wing is a tide of change?

    The SNP need to win the majority of Scotland. Too far to the left and they lose the middle , too far to the right of middle and they lose the left and the middle. Salmond worked out a long time ago that trends come and go with right and left. He believed that Scotland was neither left nor right in the majority. Independence had to be won by appealing to the majority of Scots.

    I am to the left but others are more to the middle. So I know we will not win independence with extremes. The right wing are the right wing and morally we should leave them to it. No point in losing your soul for a sniff at the 28%.

    We are left with moderates and lefties. With these two groups we win the majority. Lets have a mixture of left and middle ground beliefs. What we do after independence is up to the individual parties.

  12. Tony says:

    Interesting article but even more interesting responses. I agree with a number of points made but would share a few thoughts.

    Policy Making – branches can and do submit resolutions for consideration at conference. The debate there is good and a number of resolutions have moved into policy. The mechanism though isn’t yet perfect – the selection of which resolutions needs to be improved to allow the branches to set the agenda not SOAC. Whilst SOAC has a tough job on its hands it undoubtedly weeds out those resolutions not aligned to the picture the party wants to paint. Secondly there is no commitment to actually take a passed policy and try move it to legislation – last years voted for Land Value Taxation. LVT is a real game changer and yet having been passed by conference we see no sign of it being put before the Scottish Parliament.

    Dead horse – well well there’s a shock. Let me, in JKR mode, correct the contributor – unionism is dead and those in whose interests it exists are fighting tooth and nail. They rely on postal votes of the elderly without whom their support would crash. Let’s take GE2017 – the return of Toryism to Scotland – in actual fact 1.2m Yes and 1.5m No. That vote excluded 2 key groups – 16-17 yr old and EU citizens. That is why the unionists are keen to keep the “stop ScotRef” going. They know there is still an appetite and as the weakness, cruelty and failure of neo-liberal Tory and Blairite Labour governemnt becomes apparent through Grenfell and such like we will see a move to the left that the SNP should ensure it aligns to or it faces the risk of being overtaken by Corbyn’s shift left which many of us support even if we doubt the implementation.

    The ideas – Gerry its all fine and well to say we lack socially impactful revolutionary policies but surely with such a statement comes the responsibility to outline some examples ? LVT is one I have quoted here, a Scottish currency is another, an absolute end to corporate tax evasion is needed and can be implemented quite easily. A programme to rebuild housing stock via finance levers of the Scottish £. Where though are the suggestions from the commentators such as youself to stop you simply pointing out the problem without putting some concept of the solution into the melting pot ?

    Overall decent debate but the key is going from debate to action. If it is all about the SNP then its members need to continue to push for action, resolutions should continue to pour in, branches should co-ordinate across the network and begin to take ownership. Only by doing this will we see if the will exists along with the determination to change the party to then change the country.

  13. Big Jock says:

    20% of Labour voters agree with independence add that to the SNP 37%. 80% of 16-17 year olds back independence, they were excluded from GE vote. Add that to the pot. EU citizens had no vote in the GE, 90% of them would be yes given the Brexit vote.

    Suddenly that 37% becomes a lot bigger and approaching 50%. This is why the unionists want to stop indy ref 2 even taking place.

    Some people are throwing in the towel after one General Election which the SNP won by a landslide. Such is the brainwashing of some Scots that they believe this message.

    1. Catriona Grigg says:

      Thanks Jock!
      There’s hope yet!

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