I arrived in Glasgow on Wednesday quite determined to do a ‘Conference Diary’ with daily blogs about what was happening at #SNP16. That hasn’t happened, of course. And I would ask you to believe that not all of the reasons for this failure relate to the excellent pubs of Glasgow and their tempting array of fine ales. There are just so many things happening and so many people to talk to that it’s hard to find a moment alone with a keyboard.
But here I am, on the final day of the SNP Conference having found a little nook that affords me the opportunity to write this as I await the two main events of the day – the rally taking place outside the SECC at lunchtime; and Nicola Sturgeon’s address this afternoon.
The former may attract a considerable crowd, if recent events are any guide. It’s a chance for everybody, whether an SNP member or not, to show their support for the cause of restoring Scotland’s rightful constitutional status. Let’s hope the sun shines for these people. They deserve it.
I have no idea what is going to be in Nicola Sturgeon’s speech. Traditionally, it contains some headline-grabbing announcement(s) and a rousing call to action. But, given what she had to say in her opening address, it is difficult to judge what might be left. Sturgeon has already thrown down a defiant challenge to Theresa May warning her that the democratic wishes of Scotland’s people are not to be ignored. And she has promised that next week will see the start of the process that will facilitate our second independence referendum. What more can we expect at this time?
Entertaining as it may be, speculation is pointless. As with the matter of the timing of #indyref2, my attitude tends to be that, having given Nicola Sturgeon the job, we should let her get on with it. Which is not to say that we must agree with everything she says and does. But we have to accept that she is the one with the mandate from the Scottish electorate. She is the one with the responsibility. There comes a point where we simply have to trust her judgement. Because to question her judgement is to question the judgement of those who put her where she is – the people of Scotland.
Trusting politicians doesn’t come easily to most of us. The British political system has taught us to treat politicians with great suspicion. We know that British nationalists are extremely frustrated by the fact that SNP politicians seem largely immune to the stigma that taints the British parties. They put a lot of effort into an ongoing smear campaign in the hope that they might tar the SNP with the same brush that has painted them an indelicate shade of ordure. Theresa May herself ludicrously claimed that the SNP must bear some of the blame for a general disillusionment with politics. This despite the fact that political engagement in Scotland is at gratifyingly high levels. And despite the fact that both the SNP and its leadership enjoy approval ratings that British politicians can only fantasise about.
Politics is different in Scotland. We have a distinctive political culture. And I would dare to say that our politics, whilst far from the ideal that we might aspire to with independence, is better in a very meaningful way than the politics of the British state.
It is telling that the response of the British political elite is, not to match our efforts and our aspirations, but to strive to drag us down to their own mean level. This must be resisted. And part of that resistance to the grinding negativity of the British state is a clear demonstration of our support for our democratically elected representatives as they make a principled stand against repugnant brand of British nationalism espoused by repellent Tory government.
It is time for unity. It is time for solidarity. It is time to make #WeAreScotland more than just a slogan. It is time to put it into practice.Views: 4033
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