Let’s get together!

Writing for The National, Pat Kane reveals his prejudice with the jibe about the “SNP’s Indy-lite assertions”. But if this pointless, ill-informed sniping didn’t prompt you to waste no more time on the article then you might have accepted that he has a reasonable point. There must be a coming together of pro-independence forces. We must unite around a common cause as we did for the first referendum campaign. We must revive the grass-roots Yes movement.

Where Pat Kane goes wrong is in his tendency to blame the SNP for any diminishing of that unity of purpose. An attitude he holds in common with many others on the self-styled radical/environmentalist left. The reality is that the SNP has remained the one party that is unequivocally and unconditionally committed to independence. All the other pro-independence parties are, to some extent, more guarded in their support for normalising Scotland’s constitutional status. At the very least, they have left room for doubt, even if this is no more than a matter of perception. Their readiness to adopt the rhetoric of the British establishment in attacking the SNP does them no favours in this regard.

The OPIPs commitment to the “beautiful dream” is also diluted by being conditional on a particular policy agenda. Or, to be more precise, an endlessly refined and redefined profusion of policy positions. The SNP’s message is clear It is explicitly stated in the party’s constitution – right at the top,

The aims of the Party shall be:

(a) Independence for Scotland; that is the restoration of Scottish national sovereignty by restoration of full powers to the Scottish Parliament, so that its authority is limited only by the sovereign power of the Scottish People to bind it with a written constitution and by such agreements as it may freely enter into with other nations or states or international organisations for the purpose of furthering international cooperation, world peace and the protection of the environment.

(b) the furtherance of all Scottish interests.

The message from the OPIPs, at least as it comes across to much of the public, is more like,

“Yeah. Independence might be OK. But only if…”

None of which is to say that the SNP is the whole of the independence movement.

Let me repeat that! NOBODY IS CLAIMING THAT THE SNP IS THE WHOLE INDEPENDENCE MOVEMENT!

Nobody, that is, except the anti-independence campaign – which constantly peddled the myth that independence was all about the SNP. Or a “vanity project” for Alex Salmond. I wonder if Pat Kane and his associates realise just how frustrating and irksome it is to hear non-SNP independence supporters promulgating this unionist myth.

But, while the SNP is not the whole independence movement, it is the core of that movement. More importantly, it is the de facto political arm of that movement. And without an effective political force, the independence movement is going nowhere. It would by good to hear the likes of Pat Kane and Patrick Harvie acknowledge this every once in a while.

Because what is having a deleterious effect on the unity of the Yes movement is not the SNP – which is merely fulfilling its dual function as the political arm of that movement and the party of government. And doing both rather well. The problem is not the SNP or its supporters. The problem is the reluctance of the OPIPs and their supporters to accept the role that only the SNP is in a position to fulfil. And their often virulent reaction to it being pointed out that there is no path to independence that doesn’t involve the SNP taking the lead role.

The fact is that you can be pro-independence and non-SNP, but you can’t be pro-independence and anti-SNP.

We will have a revived and reunified Yes movement the day campaigners from other parties and none desist from starting every conversation with the words, “I’m not SNP!” If we are all for independence, why would that matter?

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