Monday, 27 August 2007

Outflanked for Independence

Well, well - the unionist parties are going to start their own conversation about Scotland's future, apparently as an attempt to outflank the SNP.

How exactly is talking about how to bring more powers to Scotland going to 'outflank' the SNP?!? Don't they realise that's exactly what we want?

In accepting that Scotland needs additional powers, like power over inheritance tax, they are accepting the premise that Scotland suffers from our lack of taxation powers. If they accept that we need power over inheritance tax, why not National Insurance? These contradictions will highlight how hollow their arguments against independence really are. I, for one, am extremely pleased that the unionist parties will be making the case for more powers in the future. It is refreshing after a long election campaign, during which they were resolute that any change to the status quo was ridiculous, and to talk of constitutional change was somehow a betrayal to all those who used public services in Scotland...

Apparently, they are going to ask the public and leaders of civic society (perhaps 'leading experts' like Arthur Midwinter I wonder...) to contribute to their debate. But they aren't going to consider independence. So, only people that agree with them need apply to contribute. What will they do if people express support for independence? Will they be prevented from contributing? Will their remarks be omitted from reports? How, in a democracy, can you stifle debate in this way - airbrush out a view held by so many? Can't wait to see them try.

As for outflanking the SNP, well I recall that devolution was also supposed to fulfill that aim and kill the desire for independence 'stone dead'. Oh, would that be the devolution that has delivered an SNP Government?

What the Labour Party, Lib Dems and Tories fail to realise is that they will not be able to 'outflank' the legitimate case for Scottish independence indefinitely. They will have to keep moving towards the growing desire for independence, until there are no powers left to devolve to Scotland other than foreign affairs and defence. We will slowly but surely acquire a status of de facto independence, and we will be holding a referendum about whether to formalise our independence and transfer the remaining powers retained by Westminster. This piecemeal approach will, I believe, eventually deliver independence. Why wait? It will be much better for our nation if we take a collective, proactive decision to become independent so that we can take a coherent approach to making independence a success - and sooner rather than later.

The SNP are not interested in translating support for independence into support for the SNP at the ballot box. We are interested in translating support for independence into the transformation of our nation for the benefit of all who live here. That's why the cynical attempts of the unionist parties to undermine support for the SNP by moving towards what we believe in is no threat to the SNP. Their motives may be flawed, and a reaction to the SNP's electoral success, but the results are a progressive step for Scotland.


Mountjoy said...

I’m not surprised Labour can’t get its act together in Scotland. Not only has Wendy Alexander's husband made a speech supporting independence ... Now there is already, surprise surprise, a sleaze scandal brewing. Well, I won’t hold my breath but I know Ms Alexander will do anything to try to get one over Alex Salmond, though she will struggle; she really will.

Anonymous said...

I also said something similar about this here

Jeff said...

Good post, can only agree with all of it really. They are boxed into a corner and all outflanking options deserted them long ago.

A thought crossed my mind though and I thought I'd ask a question about it if you don't mind:

Let's say it was to transpire that Scotland was to become independent slowly, by gaining more powers, over a (say) 15-20 year period culminating in de facto independence and a referendum ratifying it basically. Obviously SNP members like yourself would be content with such an ending, but by what margin is this "second option" preferable.

Not sure if I'm wording this right but put another way, how preferable is instant independence (winning a 2010 referendum) to getting there by 'stealth' (2025, say), to what extent are you willing to wait and be patient?

And do you think SNP members (and MSPs) are equally patient/impatient?


Julie Hepburn said...

Cheers Jeff. I'll do my best to answer your question - although I can only give my own opinions and observations, not speak on behalf of all SNP members.

Personally, I am very impatient for independence. I believe that independence is a prerequisite for Scotland's future success - which is why we need it as soon as possible! To delay independence is to delay a better future for our country.

Until we are independent, we are hindered from tackling the major problems facing our country - particularly disgraceful poverty levels. Why should the people of Scotland have to wait? Why should we wait 15-20 years, and condemn yet another generation to the failures of the Union?

Independence by 'stealth' as you put it, is not preferable in any way to a 'Yes' vote in an early referendum - but I am realistic. It may take longer than I like for the majority of people in Scotland to be convinced of the case for independence, but it's up to the SNP to take the debate to the people, help them understand all the issues and trust them to make the right choice for Scotland's future.

Jeff said...


I understand your viewpoint entirely. When you see something so clearly and others are reluctant or scared to come with you, it must be frustrating.

Who knows what will pan out in the next 3.5 years though....