Come together

Whatever else the claimed ‘surge’ in support for the British Conservative & Unionist Party in Scotland (BCUPS) indicates, it certainly tells us something very important about the way the British political system works; and about politics in general. Something that urgently needs to be learned by a few Yes organisations and a significant number of independence-supporting individuals.

Firstly, it is important to understand that Scotland’s independence must be won from within the British political system. Because that is where we are. Snootily insisting that we are above that kind of politics is the very definition of a futile gesture. It exemplifies the incomplete thinking of those who are so focused on the possibilities of being independent as to have become blind to the necessities of becoming independent.

What the polling for BCUPS demonstrates is one of the main features of the British political system. It shows how that system works against diversity. It shows how polarising it is. It also shows how, as a general rule, issues that are highly contentious come to be the province of a single party. This happens because the British political system is crude. It recognises and responds only to brute political force. Since it operates on the basis of ‘winner takes all’, one side of a particularly significant issue tends to coalesce around a single political party.

There is no doubt that, in competition with British Labour in Scotland (BLiS), BCUPS has become the party of British nationalism. Ruth Davidson has been crowned Queen of the Britnats. Kezia Dugdale is nowhere. Because, in the British political system, there is no second place; there are only outright winners and absolute losers.

This, incidentally, is one of the reasons that the British establishment is so disconcerted and dismayed by the outcome of the first referendum campaign. They won. But, having won, they then had to watch as the losers took all the prizes – for example, soaring membership for the SNP and other pro-independence parties (OPIPS). That’s not how it’s supposed to work!

The lesson that some in the Yes movement need to learn is that, within the British political system, translating support for independence into the political effectiveness needed to achieve independence requires that all of the effort be concentrated into a single political party. Not that everybody has to join that party. Or that they must agree with its policies. Only that everybody has to recognise it as the effective political arm of the movement. The point at which democratic power makes contact with the might of the British state.

All the might of the British state’s anti-independence campaign is now concentrated on the ‘Scottish’ Tories. Hard-line unionists who normally support the other British parties will lend their votes to BCUPS on every occasion when it matters. If Yes supporters do not to match that solidarity, focus and discipline, the campaign to bring Scotland’s government home will surely fail. And this time there will be no prizes.

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26 thoughts on “Come together

  1. Clydebuilt

    Peter good article. Re the council elections and the STV voting system . The SNP voting advice is simply vote SNP 1 & 2 and that’s it.
    The Tories have worked out how to damage the SNP by voting Tory first, voting for all other parties with SNP last. Re Murdo Frazzle
    Top Indy bloggers other than this esteemed organ (WoS, WeeGD, Etc) have advised Yessers to “Vote till you Boak”
    Pro Indy blogs and The National have a limited audience. Think the SNP have missed a trick with this one. A rise in Tory vote share at council elections will not help the SNP weeks later at the GE.

    1. Peter A Bell Post author

      The simple answer to your point is that the SNP cannot ‘instruct’ people to vote for another party or parties. Even – perhaps especially – if this ‘instruction’ is for the purpose of spoiling the electoral chances of those parties. It just wouldn’t be appropriate.

      The British parties, which are all now represented by the ‘Scottish’ Tories, see it differently. They are obsessed with the SNP. They can’t stop talking about them. And, as we well know, propriety is most definitely not a consideration for them.

      The SNP can afford to play a straight hand in this regard, safe in the knowledge that there are others who will push the #VoteTillYouBoak strategy to the Yes community.

  2. Abulhaq

    Independence is a totality not a half-measure. Many advocates still cling to parts of the British identity. Some in the SNP believe that an independent Scottish state can accommodate ‘the good bits’ of Britishness even so far as retaining the monarchy. As it was Britishness and the mechanisms of its state that were responsible for much of our country’s present ills that seems rather perverse. It also confuses the electorate as to the true meaning of independence and how we see our future as a sovereign people unencumbered by symbols of our former subordinacy.

    1. Ian

      The article is called “Come together”. I agree with the thrust of the article because basically life’s battles usually work along the lines of “united we stand, divided we fall”.

      Sure there is space in this unfolding debate for internal, constructive opposition. But it takes exceptional wisdom and judgement to execute this role. So if you are choosing this path (as your post suggests) then please operate with the maxim “first do no harm”.

    2. Hugh

      Answers Simple. Get Rid of the Parasites That we in Scotland Contribute to their Lavish Lifestye!
      #DitchtheRoyals 😠

      1. grizebard

        You may think that. Personally I’m indifferent. Others who support independence don’t agree at all. So why raise the issue now? It may give you a cosy feeling of righteousness, but it’s just another example of lefty self-indulgence that gets us nowhere fast. Read the article again, because it’s telling you something that you clearly haven’t yet grasped.

        We first have to get everyone on board for independence. Only after that precious goal is achieved can we even begin to think about what kind of country we can agree to go forward with.

        Until then, please try to help, not hinder.

    3. Jams O'Donnell

      Peter is right – we have to vote SNP all the way to independence. After that I wouldn’t touch them with a barge pole. After that we can make a drive to get rid of the monarchy, the large shooting estates, and all the other alien guff we are loaded with.

  3. Big Jock

    There is a theory going around that May wanted a large majority as she is going to leave the EU without a deal. The rumour in the EU is that this could happen as early as September. May wants to use the majority as her mandate to walk away from the EU with absolutely nothing.

    The UK is then going to go back to the 1950’s trying to carve a niche in a big world. So where would that leave the referendum. November 2017! We could not hang around if this does come to pass. A snap referendum would need to be called. Any longer and the Tories would start to disassemble the devolved powers of Holyrood. This woman is very dangerous.

    The Tories in Holyrood don’t really believe in the parliament at all.

  4. Big Jock

    Abulhaq – The British identity is exactly the problem in Scotland. You are correct. This leads to people doing irrational things. Self harming under a Union Flag!

    1. Abulhaq

      There is a sentimental attachment to things British among some of us which is perhaps not surprising given our rôle in creating the thing. Don’t get it myself as being an extreme ‘independista’ I identify Britishness with class élitism, imperialism, ethnic oppression and repression. I do not take the rosy Niall Ferguson line that the Brits brought civilisation to their colonies. The oft cited case of the Indian subcontinent benefiting from Britain’s tender embrace in generously providing railways, good government, proscription of ‘suttee’, public access to law and education etc ignores the aggressively exploitative and divisive nature of the ‘relationship’ and the actual steady decline of the Indian economy during the fabled Raj.
      The 300 years of British ‘rule’ in Scotland to which we owe emigration, ethnic cleansing, wars and official anglicisation offers sufficient to question any romantic attachment to Britannia among our citizens. Likewise the certain resurgence of British/English nationalism post EU with its heady legacy of Victorian myths of British ‘racial’ exceptionalism.

      1. michael boyd

        You forget to mention the role played by Indian (pre partition) Units during both wars and in particular WWII where Britain declared war on Japan on behalf of Indi, regardless of her views, and stood by as Bengal starved in ’43.

        1. Abulhaq

          May I recommend ‘Inglorious Empire’ by Shashi Tharoor. I am convinced that England’s treatment of Scotland was a blueprint for Britain’s handling of India. It’s all there, duplicity, bribery, military suppression, betrayal, cultural imperialism, divide and conquer and the self-serving cooperation of local élites.

  5. Robin Barclay

    BCUPS – An item designed to hold a small amount of tits

    I don’t think I could have put it any better myself hahaha

  6. Robert Graham

    This media manufactured guff of a tory revival in wales and Scotland is just that total fantasy ,Scots haven’t backed this bunch of liars and crooks for decades , and they have done everything they can think off to totally piss off even people who support this union , every section of our society are going to experience this lots wilder excess, if the English take a stupid pill and vote for them again .

    1. East Neuker

      Robert,
      What you say may be true in Scotland, where seats will be lost to the Tories but not many, but there really does seem to be something weird happening in Wales, which seems to be on course to follow up their Leave vote with a big swing to the Tories. I don’t understand it, but there it is.

  7. Mike D

    Great article Peter!

    The British establishment are experts at divide and conquer. We need to have a single, united group to win independence. How we run our own country is an argument for after our independence.

    However, for the cause of independence, I would agree with one possible post-indy policy discussion – another EU ref if we win. The could win us some support from the yes/leave and no/remain camps.

  8. Brian Powell

    I repeat this often and yet, not too long ago, went to a large Yes meeting where they seem to think a panel of Yes groups would have an effect.
    Patrick Harvey said there is more than one way to skin a cat, but I say not the Tory cat, taking away its power over you is the only thing it understands and that is done with political representatives of a single party, and as many as possible.

  9. commonoldworkinchap

    The rUK have made their mind up, with a big help from the British state MSM. There will be
    a Tory Govt for decades. The ramped up hostility to Scotland will grow stronger. Come down here ( I am currently working in England ) and see for yourself. Do not kid yourself, the campaign by the British state and their friends in the media after Brexit has basically ignored and ridiculed 48% of the peoples vote. (the people have voted etc….) Any dissent (even from
    high court judges) is said to be traitorous.

    The Tories (red and blue) consider us traitorous because we will not lie down like our
    southern neighbours and now the words “Crush, Saboteurs, Separatists and the like abound.
    Lets wipe them out in Scotland, they have no place here. No more Mr nice guy, they have
    no concept of nice.

  10. ian

    I worry about a mass immigration of NI unionists into the west of Scotland should Ireland unite and seek (re-) entry into the EU. That would scupper Scottish Independence for an aeon (more than a generation!)

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  12. Mary Goodall

    I do not understand Scottish Born people . Not wanting to govern there own Country. Being Subservient to England and the Corruption in Westminster. Is a blot against our once proud Nation of Sovereign People. The DUP. And there kind. Are a throw back. To British Brainwashing power. When will people wake up. And realise. They are being played. The British Government using MI5. Have murdered and massacred there way to the Top. They have too much to lose. If they get away with murdering Princess Diana. They can murder anyone. That leads Scotland to Freedom . From all this .

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