Sorting priorities

It seems we all got it wrong. There’s been endless interpretation and reinterpretation of the outcome of the recent Holyrood elections. But it looks like everybody was missing something. SNP supporters naively assumed that their party had won. They can be forgiven for this as a number of factors conspired to give precisely this impression. Things like, winning the most seats; winning more seats than the next two parties combined; winning more seats that all the British parties combined; winning more than one million votes for the first time; breaking various records in the process. On superficial scrutiny, it all looks like a persuasive case that the SNP had won the election.

This impression was further reinforced by Nicola Sturgeon claiming victory and declaring her intention to form a minority government – and the fact that nobody seriously questioned her right to do so on the basis of what her supporters had taken to be a clear election victory.

This British media were not long in putting SNP supporters and voters right on this matter. The real victors in the election, they announced, were the Tories. Full-time professional straddler of large objects and part-time Tory leaderette, Ruth Davidson, was pictured at the head of her triumphant “army” as the British media proclaimed a Tory revival in Scotland that made Frankenstein’s work look like a classroom experiment with a dead frog.

All of this was a little perplexing for those who made the mistake of analysing the results using old-fashioned arithmetic. An error which led them inexorably to the conclusion that the Tories had been soundly trounced as they turned in a historically poor performance. The more nuanced analysis offered by the British media illuminated the reality that the Tories had been considerably less soundly trounced than either of the other parties which are part of “normal” politics. The Tories were the British party least decisively rejected by the Scottish electorate. For British nationalists, that’s a win.

But it seems that even the British media’s nuanced (not to say artful) analysis failed to get to the underlying truth of the election result. It seems that the actual genuine for real honest winners were the OPIPs – the other pro-independence parties. A form of analysis so arcane and complex as to make energy tariffs look like plain English reveals that the election was won by an assortment of left-wing factions and self-proclaimed “radicals” including a clique calling itself RISE – which evidently stands for Righteous Intolerant Supercilious Elitists.

When the figures are adjusted to compensate for inconvenient mathematical anomalies – such as a negligible percentage of the total votes – what we find is that the people of Scotland have elected a diverse pro-independence parliament in which the OPIPs (actually, only the Greens, but the algorithm can probably be tweaked to deal with that) have total parity with the SNP.

By virtue of their virtue, the OPIPs bypass the hindrance of the democratic electoral process to take a seat at the top table alongside the SNP. Flourishing a mandate derived entirely from a self-righteous sense of entitlement, the OPIPs insist that they have been appointed as a corrective to the obviously misguided choices of the electorate. By some extra-democratic process incomprehensible to anyone outside the closed circle of Scotland’s left-wing elite, the Greens are elevated to the status of a shadow government, assigned the task of ensuring that the SNP administration implements a policy agenda that pretty much nobody voted for but which deserves to be implemented regardless because… well… because they’ve wrapped that policy agenda in a Yes banner left lying about by the SNP.

Scotland’s left-wing elite are not happy. (“What’s new?”, I hear you ask.) They’re not happy that their electoral ploy to exploit pro-independence sentiment didn’t work out as they’d persuaded themselves it might. They’re not happy that they didn’t take enough SNP list votes to make any kind of impression on the outcome, other than contribute to the loss of the SNP majority.

They’re especially not happy that, having declared themselves winners despite the verdict of the voters, some have had the temerity to remind them that the SNP is the de facto political arm of the independence movement. They are apoplectic at being told that, if there is to be a revival of the broad-based Yes movement, this will require recognition and acceptance of the crucial role that only the SNP is in a position to fulfil.

This fundamental reality is so distasteful to some sections of Scotland’s left-wing elite that they simply won’t – or can’t – address it. Instead, they march out a veritable army of straw men, bawling about this exposition of realpolitik being a declaration that the SNP is the entire independence movement, and other such nonsense.

There is a total failure to understand – or accept – that, no matter how huge and broad-based a political movement may be, it can only succeed by bringing its power to bear through an effective agent within the machinery of politics. The left-wing elite’s projects fail largely because they equate effective political power with “the enemy”. The “purity” of the cause is more important than success.

What they fail to understand is that It is precisely because the Yes movement is so diverse that it needs the SNP as a point around which to coalesce and as its tool. The SNP qualifies for this role, in part on account of its unequivocal and unconditional commitment to independence, but mostly because it has been chosen by the people of Scotland. That choice needs to be respected.

And this has nothing whatever to do with “party allegiance”. It is perfectly possible to imagine a scenario in which a genuine Scottish Labour Party was forging the path to independence. In which case, I would now be writing about the need for SNP people to recognise and accept the role of this imagined Scottish Labour Party in spearheading the Yes campaign.

Despite all the havering from the unionist media and left-wing factions, there is absolutely no doubt about the outcome of the election. The SNP won. The SNP has a clear and indisputable mandate from the people of Scotland. Not the Tories. Not the Greens/OPIPs.

That is the starting point for the coming independence drive this summer. It will be led by the SNP. There will be no new Yes Scotland. Every single person who genuinely believes that independence is the best way forward for Scotland will have to decide whether they are prepared to set aside party loyalties and personal prejudices and policy agendas in order to put their weight behind this next phase of the fight to bring Scotland’s government home.

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12 thoughts on “Sorting priorities

  1. Atypical Scot

    ‘The SNP qualifies for this role, in part on account of its unequivocal and unconditional commitment to independence, but mostly because it has been chosen by [26% of] the people of Scotland.’

    The SNP’s 26% of the electorate is a fraction of the people of Scotland, similar to the current 24% Tory mandate in the UK. To suggest this is an adequate mandate, I can only assume you are looking to narrowly win the next referendum rather than convince a healthy majority that independence will work for the many.

    Forced subordination breeds contempt – seen in the protest against both votes SNP.

    1. Peter A Bell Post author

      You omitted your calculation of support for other pro-independence parties on the same basis. When you get around to rectifying this omission, you can then go on to explain how the SNP’s mandate is less, or no more, valid than that of any other party.

      1. Atypical Scot

        The referendum produced a 37% yes vote from the electorate. Where does that extra 28% of the electorate come from if not from the appearance of inclusion?

        1. Peter A Bell Post author

          Do I really have to point out how foolish it is to conflate the first independence referendum and subsequent elections.

          I not you still haven’t provided figures for other parties calculated on the same basis as your reckoning of SNP support. I wonder why that is. (Not really!)

          1. Atypical Scot

            ‘Do I really have to point out how foolish it is to conflate the first independence referendum and subsequent elections.’

            That is exactly the premise of your argument Peter, that the subsequent election has proven that the electorate has provided the SNP a mandate to subordinate OPIP’s. Correct me if I’m wrong.

    2. Peter A Bell Post author

      The only source of “forced subordination” is the electorate.The electorate has decided that other parties are “subordinate” to the SNP. I suggest you learn to respect the democratic will of the people.

      1. Atypical Scot

        ‘I suggest you learn to respect the democratic will of the people.’

        Well, the 2014 referendum was the democratic will of the people. Yet, here we are readying to challenge the majority again. The only difference being, you want to make it less inclusive.

        1. Peter A Bell Post author

          Nowhere have I said that I want to make the Yes campaign less inclusive. Quite the contrary, in fact. But it doesn’t seem to matter how carefully I explain things, some of you zoomers are determined to nurture your pathetic sense of victimhood.

          To be frank, I’m weary of it. It’s evident that you have nothing to contribute but the same kind of #SNPBAD crap that we get from British nationalists. And they actually speak for more of the people of Scotland than you do.

          How’s that for a dose of realpolitik that would give you pause for thought, if thinking was the kind of thing you were into.

          1. Atypical Scot

            I disagree with you so I’m no better than a unionist?

            I’m not bothered what you think about me Peter but over 50% of the Scottish people that don’t agree with us that independence is the better way, in an adult conversation is ridiculous.

            Better keeping this base level iliberalism to facebook imo.

          2. Atypical Scot

            This has gone not the way I wanted to so I wrote this:

            Peter’s argument as far as I can tell, is that most of the votes in the recent Scottish general election went to the SNP, and in stark contrast, very few went to other pro independence parties (OPIP’s). Does this undeniable statistic logically lead to a mandate for the SNP to spearhead the next referendum campaign? Does it also logically lead to all other independence parties subordinating to the SNP? No, I don’t think so, and I believe the opposite is the smarter, more democratic path to take for independence.

            What Peter said about OPIP’s subordinating to the SNP;

            ‘There will be no new Yes Scotland. Every single person who genuinely believes that independence is the best way forward for Scotland will have to decide whether they are prepared to set aside party loyalties and personal prejudices and policy agendas in order to put their weight behind this next phase of the fight to bring Scotland’s government home.’

            Firstly, if there is not to be a cross party Yes movement, but OPIP’s are to subordinate to the SNP, the only way this can be achieved is for OPIP’s to stop pursuing their own policies from the grassroots as in the case of parties that won no seats, and beyond into Holyrood in the case of the Greens. In other words gagged.

            Disregarding the fact that the timescale to independence is unknown (therefore OPIP’s may have to remain gagged for a generation), it’s the fact that Peter believes OPIP’s should be gagged in the first place that concerns me. This is in the name of independence, independence from a union with a democratic deficit.

            Is it the best path on the journey to free ourselves of this democratic deficit, a path that forces us to exercise a democratic deficit ourselves to get there? The SNP losing its majority, is not the fault of pesky OPIP’s pursuing their own policies, but because there is a political system that has allowed an increased number of SNP votes to lose a majority garnered from fewer votes in 2011. I’m in agreement with Alex Salmond where he says electoral reform is a reasonable solution.

            The opposite path is to encourage OPIP’s to fight for their policies as hard as they can whenever and wherever they want to. We know more of the electorate voted SNP in the last Scottish general election despite the OPIP’s actively seeking votes. We know that some Yes voters are not SNP, and some of them are obviously voters for OPIP’s and what we want is more votes for independence right?

            It was heartbreaking to lose the referendum, but emotions aside, that means more fellow Scot’s voted for the union than for independence, in a second referendum we will need some of their votes. A year and a half or so on from Indyref1, invariably the dialogue between us separatists and unionists, especially on social media, at some point will be reduced by unionists to the union versus the SNP. This is the Berlin Wall of the independence debate, that somehow this deep seated loathing of the SNP by unionists perpetually fueled by the MSM will be won over by the SNP spearheading the next referendum campaign and OPIP’s being gagged appears at least to me, counter intuitive.

            What is needed is some common ground to break down that wall, the Greens especially are just that. Not only do Greens place a great importance on the environment that all Scots’ need and share, but both Yes and No Greens share a platform through Green policy which is of great value in a seemingly otherwise predictably obstinate debate between the Yes’ and No’s. I doubt promoting this common ground will hinder the SNP’s ability to gain even more support for itself as an effective government and reassure more Scot’s of Scotland’s ability to self govern as an independent nation.

            ‘Let’s just do what is right for the [Scottish] people. And those of us who are involved in politics and government know that our responsibility is to the [Scottish] people, that we have a responsibility to find our common ground, to seek it and to find it.’

            Borrowed from Nancy Pelosi

  2. John McCall

    I actually think the election outcome is quite good. That the Greens have larger representation puts them in a position of minor influence. There is an opportunity for them therefore to grow in political stature. Patrick Harvie’s statement that the Greens would support calling IndyRef2 on a Brexit vote not mirrored in Scotland has shot the Unionist no-mandate fox. That is a small amount of influence well-used and will gain them political stature.
    Meanwhile the SNP outnumber all Unionist parties put together and so effectively have as much rule as they had before.
    I really don’t see what’s not to like. There’s actually something for everyone on the Indy side in these results.

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