Wings Over Scotland | The process of softening up

We’ve been meaning to talk about this for a few days, but other stuff kept coming up.

(Click pic to enlarge.)

Alert readers won’t have failed to notice a steady drip of stories being fed to the media in recent weeks from SNP figures talking down the idea of the next general election as a de facto referendum.

Many in the party, such as new Westminster leader Stephen Flynn, are clearly very uncomfortable about having been pushed into doing, well, pretty much anything to actually try to achieve independence, even if it’s still two years away, because having (in most cases only recently) acquired themselves some lovely lucrative Westminster careers and pensions they’re not keen on suddenly risking losing them.

But the column above is an illuminating one.

Marcus Carslaw, the Vice-Convenor of the SNP’s Kelvin branch, is an ambitious and slick young apparatchik from the party’s creepy Twitler Youth wing. That group is impervious to the SNP’s normal rules, which is perhaps why he feels sufficiently emboldened to flat-out challenge the official party line – something that would normally be sternly frowned upon.

Carslaw’s stance is that Westminster would say no even if such a vote was won.

(We must admit, we’re struggling to pinpoint “the international goodwill that has been evident since Brexit” in any tangible way. Nor, incidentally, can we picture what fighting the next election “on Brexit” would actually look like in policy terms, since no UK party is going to be standing on a “rejoin” platform and even 59 SNP MPs would have no impact on that.)

Charitably, one might suggest that it at least shows the ability to learn a lesson. The SNP’s official policy for the last eight years has been that if we just kept piling up “mandates” the UK government would magnanimously concede the right to another vote, and that certainly hasn’t happened.

But what, then, is his alternative strategy?

Oh. A blind-faith belief that it’ll somehow magically happen if an unspecified size of polling lead is established for an unspecified length of time.

And how’s progress going on that?


A strategy that’s taken support BACKWARDS in eight years isn’t “gradualist”. Gradual implies a steady advance towards your goal, and that demonstrably isn’t happening with independence, so it doesn’t meet any conventional definition of “successfully”.

But if, on the other hand, you’re a keen young tyro and your goal is simply to get yourself a nice long career in politics, going nowhere in the polls is absolutely ideal. Nobody wants to find themselves running after the gravy train after it’s pulled away from the station, after all, especially to an uncertain destination.

It suits both those already ON that train, and those looking to join them, for things in Scottish politics to stay very much the way they are for as long as humanly possible. The SNP’s passengers – and we use that word very deliberately – are settled into the comfy First Class carriages and the buffet car is lavishly stocked, so it’s perhaps no surprise that they’re warning those in the cheap seats to prepare for a long delay.

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