The revelation – or should we better say, confirmation – that the SNP/Scottish Government led by Nicola Sturgeon has failed to do any work on planning or preparation for a new referendum should have brought crowds onto the streets in a spontaneous outburst of angry protest. That the response has been so muted is symptomatic of a serious malaise in our politics. For years the SNP’s loyal supporters have been responding to complaints of inaction on the constitutional issue – the central issue in Scotland’s politics – with assurances that however little was evident on the surface, below and out of sight there was a frenzy of activity as plans were being laid and refined. Those who suggested that the absence of any evidence of such activity implied exactly what it appeared to imply were told not to be so foolish as to expect that Nicola would reveal her secret plan before the time was right.
But the time was never right. Even when developments created the circumstances which we’d been told would make the time right, the time was never right. There was something else that was needed. There was always a plausible justification for delay. Always an excuse for inaction. Not to worry, though! Because this was all part of the plan. Which more and more seemed to be to accept everything the British state threw at us until the people of Scotland decided they’d had enough. While at the same time telling those of us who insisted it was already more than enough that it wasn’t. Not quite. Not yet. The camel’s back could take a few more straws. Especially if it was being encouraged to do so by the same people who when speaking from their other face, loudly protested that the British government had gone too far this time. They went too far every time! But never far enough!
We were assured that we’d never been closer to independence and despite the self-evident inanity of this assertion enough people believed it to be able to shout down anybody who dared to point out the self-evident inanity of claiming we are closer to independence now than on the morning of Thursday 18 September 2014. Those who expressed concern about being treated as the kind of idiots who would be reassured and inspired by such idiocy were told that they were the problem. It was their lack of faith which was holding Nicola back. But it was Nicola”s holding back which was making it increasingly difficult to maintain the reasoned confidence that rational people prefer to unquestioning faith. But that’s the nature of faith. The less reason there is to believe the more opportunity there is to prove one’s faith by believing. And by denouncing non-believers.
When we explained that there could only be a secret plan if there were options unknown to anyone outside Nicola’s inner circle and that this meant a lot of very knowledgeable and perspicacious people would have to have failed to identify these mysterious options and that this really wasn’t credible, we were mocked and abused for thinking we knew better than the First Minister – who must know best because she was elected by the people of Scotland. To suggest that there was no evidence of any secret plan because there was no plan was akin to heresy. Heretics were burned at the virtual stake in the public square of social media.
Now, by the SNP+SGP/Scottish Government’s own admission we discover that the heretics were right all along. You’d think the people who’d fallen for the mythical secret plan line would be very, very angry at having been deceived so egregiously for so long. You’d think they’d be furious. You’d think there would be a cacophony of voices denouncing both the woeful failure to prepare for a new referendum and the litany of lies told to conceal this failure. Instead, we get the likes of the following from what must surely be some of the most determined apologists ever.
i refuse to meekly submit to the drip feed undermining confidence in our elected Scottish government the recent election speaks for its self, Unhelpful attacks aimed at intensifying disagreements between independence voters by outside agents is nothing new and old friends can easily become vicious adversaries with new found allies.
You might have to work at it a bit to make sense of this below-the-line (BTL) comment on The National’s report of Alex Salmond’s reaction to the FoI responses revealing the dearth of preparation for a new referendum, but what this individual says is fairly typical of the response from Sturgeon/SNP loyalists. By their account it is not this lack of planning which is the problem but the revelation/confirmation thereof. The wrong is not Sturgeon’s failure to do the work but the public condemnation of this failure. However bad this failure might be it cannot possibly be as bad as saying that Sturgeon has failed.
It is not Sturgeon who has betrayed Scotland’s cause. According to here hard-working apologists the traitors to the cause are those who express dismay and anger at the betrayal. Anybody who so much as mentions the fact that Sturgeon has forgotten where she parked the constitutional issue seven years ago is immediately and automatically branded an agent provocateur working for our adversaries. Criticism of critical failures is “unhelpful”.
Where are the riots? Why so little anger at a failure which puts Scotland in such dire jeopardy? Why is the anger of the few not felt by the majority of those engaged in the fight to restore Scotland’s independence? How does Sturgeon get away with it?
Lately I have revived a plea I made during the first referendum campaign.
Originally, this was meant to urge that people take notice of what the British state was doing and intending for Scotland. It encouraged people to allow themselves to be infuriated by the way the Union effects Scotland. It urged people to use that outrage to drive action aimed at ending the Union.
Now, it is an exhortation to be aware of how the SNP+SGP/Scottish Government is failing Scotland’s cause. To be angry about Sturgeon’s failure to lead and failure to plan. And to use that that anger to energise demands for immediate action to initiate the process of ending the Union and restoring Scotland’s independence. Surely all but Sturgeon’s most adamant apologists must now realise that nothing is going to happen unless the Yes movement makes it happen. Sturgeon’s inadequate captaincy has let the independence ship drift until Scotland is now on the verge of being engulfed by the destructive maelstrom of British Nationalism.
If we don’t stand up for Scotland now we will be on our knees forever! If the Yes movement doesn’t immediately set aside egos and agendas and grievances and resentments and combine for the common purpose of restoring Scotland’s rightful constitutional status then the very possibility of doing so will be placed beyond our reach by those ideologically determined to preserve the Union at any cost to the people of Scotland. We simply cannot have confidence that Nicola Sturgeon and SNP+SGP/Scottish Government will do what is required without being forcefully reminded of its obligation to defend our democracy and our very existence as a nation with a distinct identity.