Let us reflect for a moment on what Jim Sillars is actually proposing here, before considering what motivates him and the thinking – if that is the appropriate term – behind his increasingly vitriolic attacks on the SNP leadership and the Scottish Government.
The “Big Idea” advanced by Jim Sillars is that, despite having voted unequivocally and decisively to remain part of the European Union, the people of Scotland (and Northern Ireland) should meekly accept their democratic will being overruled by voters in England (and Wales). No justification is offered for this outlandish demand other than that the UK-wide Brexit vote better serves the virulent anti-EU agenda long pursued by Sillars. The will of the people of Scotland, it appears, is as nothing to this isolationist imperative.
Were we to follow the advice offered by Jim Sillars, we would bide our wheesht whilst waiting to see what arrangements are finally settled upon in negotiations between a far-right Tory government in London determined, among other unsavoury things, to keep Scotland bound to the British state; and a European Union which, according to Sillars, is every bit as contemptuously disdainful of Scotland’s interests as the ultra-conservative Westminster regime that he has helped usher into power and to which he would require us to submit without demur.
The hope, which we are supposed to share, is that this process will somehow lead to an outcome that is favourable to Scotland. Quite how this might happen is, shall we say, not immediately obvious. It would be far from clear how Scotland might hope to gain from plans devised by and for the ruling elites of the British state even if such plans existed. In the light of the directionless catastrophuck into which the entire British establishment has descended since the EU referendum result was announced, the notion that some good for Scotland might emerge if we just sit back and let things run their imponderably erratic course is nothing short of irrational.
And while we are sheepishly putting our faith in the intentions and talents of Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Iain Duncan Smith et all, Jim Sillars wants us to dismiss, reject and oppose the efforts of our First Minister and the Scottish Government that we only recently elected. He wants us to shun the only people who look like they know what they’re doing in favour of a bunch of evident cretins who have actually admitted that they have no plan and have made no preparations for the very thing they were campaigning to bring about.
No! I don’t get it either.
Why is Sillars doing this? What is it that drives him? There was a time when we could be sure that it was a passion for independence and progressive politics. How are we to believe that now? Everything Sillars says these days seems to be about insisting that the SNP leadership is wrong. No matter how much success the party enjoys, they’re doing it all wrong. No matter that the SNP has, with a mandate from the people of Scotland, brought us closer to independence than most of us thought possible in our lifetimes, they’re doing it all wrong. No matter that approaching a decade of SNP administration has seen Scotland survive all manner of political and economic turmoil and come out of the other side in fair condition, they’re doing it all wrong.
I swear that, while the rest of us are celebrating Scotland’s Independence Day, Sillars will be skulking in his lair writing a book about how the SNP did it all wrong!
When was the last time Sillars was right about anything? He’s wrong about key points in his latest dismal missive. Quite apart form the obvious insanity of his “Big Idea”, he is wrong when he says that the SNP losing its majority rules out a second independence referendum. He is wrong because it is not a government majority that is required in order to pass the necessary legislation, but a parliamentary majority. And there was a clear pro-independence parliamentary majority at Holyrood even before the events of the past few days served to focus the minds and prod the consciences of those MSPs in the British parties who are not totally wedded to a rigid British nationalist ideology.
He is wrong when he says that the SNP administration lacks a mandate because it supposedly failed to ask for on in its 2016 election manifesto. He is wrong on two counts. Firstly, he is wrong because the SNP did ask for a mandate. That the mandate was conditional matters vanishingly little. And not at all when the stipulated conditions actually come about. And he is wrong because the SNP ALWAYS has a mandate to pursue independence by all lawful democratic means. People may vote for SNP candidates for a variety of reasons. But nobody can sensibly claim to be unaware that the party is unequivocally and unconditionally committed to securing the restoration of Scotland’s rightful constitutional status.
And he is at least disingenuous when he refers to there being no possibility of an “early second independence referendum”. The word “early” is conveniently open. In reality, nobody is proposing an “early” referendum. No specific timetable has been set out. No authoritative commentator has envisaged a second independence referendum before late 2018 – fully four years after the first one. Although circumstances now may necessitate bringing that date forward, there is no sense in which it could be “early”. It will happen when the people of Scotland and their democratically elected government consider it timely.
Given all of this, it is hard to see why anybody should pay the slightest heed to Jim Sillars. A man who, whatever his pedigree in the independence movement of the past, has clearly subordinated the campaign to bring Scotland’s government home to a personal vendetta against the current SNP leadership.
We cannot expect that Sillars will shut up. We have no reason to suppose that he will abandon this corrosive vendetta. There is little reason to anticipate that his arguments will do anything other than continue to deteriorate. The best we might hope for is that people learn to ignore his increasingly irrational outbursts. Politely, if possible.Views: 5713
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