By Rab Bruce’s Spider

I’m far more interested in the cause of Scotland becoming a normal, self-governing country than I am in the internal politics of the SNP. The trouble is that, with no viable alternative route to gaining independence through political means, we are reliant on the SNP to deliver this. That’s why things like the GRA and the Hate Crime Bill are so worrying. How, in all conscience, can I vote for a Party which is promoting ideas which I disagree with at a fundamental level? Of course, every Party will have some policies some of their supporters will disagree with, but they are usually things you can accept, even if grudgingly, because of the overall package the Party offers. I must say that the SNP are making it difficult to follow that line of argument at the moment. Then, when you add in the increasing evidence that people at the very top of the SNP leadership instigated a vendetta against Alex Salmond, you do start to fear for the direction the Party is taking.

But what alternative do we have? The ISP are trying to go about things the right way, publishing their own policies, but do they genuinely have the financial wherewithal to become viable political contenders? Gaining a foothold is extremely difficult and, as I’ve mentioned in previous articles, I believe the ISP need a lot more high profile candidates, a lot more public exposure, and an awful lot more money.

On a more positive note, support for independence continues to grow, and the SNP seem to be on track to gain a majority at next year’s Holyrood elections despite the system being weighted against that. I believe this shows either that a majority of the Scottish public does not know much about the GRA, the Hate Crime bill, or the shenanigans within the NEC of the SNP to block some potentially high calibre candidates from standing in the elections because they do not conform to the ideas which are taking control of the Party, or that the public do know and don’t care because gaining independence is their overriding priority. I must admit I am leaning towards that latter camp myself, even though I know I may need to hold my nose when putting a cross against the SNP on a ballot paper.

But this highlights a double-edged sword for the SNP in the coming months. If they gain a majority and are unable to deliver independence because of their subservience to Westminster protocols, or if they don’t quite gain a majority on their own and then meekly accept the Unionist argument that only achieving that near-impossible majority is a sufficient mandate, then they may well see their support plummet. After all, there are only so many times you can fail to deliver before your backers give up on you.

On the other hand, if they do drive forward with IndyRef2, and if Scotland does make the sensible decision this time, then the SNP faces losing the first post-Indy election unless it ditches its more controversial policy ideas. I, for one, would be looking for a Party which more closely reflected my views. If the SNP leadership recognise that loss of support as a genuine threat, they will need either to drop the controversial ideas, or accept that they might not form a post-Indy Government.

Unless, that is, there is another scenario. There is no doubt that the SNP would have a lot of goodwill if they do actually deliver independence, but they might also face an election in which there is little real opposition. Can the three Unionist Parties maintain themselves without the financial backing of their London bosses? Or will they simply collapse? I must admit I can readily imagine the demise of UK Labour in Scotland and UK Lib Dems in Scotland, although I strongly suspect that the Tories would continue to be funded by dark money in the interests of wealthy speculators and investors seeking to make a profit from a newly independent country, or seeking to take over the political narrative as they have done in the current UK and USA among others. Even so, if faced with a binary choice between the SNP and the Tories, I suspect most Scots would vote for the SNP. Is that what they are hoping for?

The most worrying scenario, though, is that next year’s Holyrood elections won’t matter because of the power grab currently under way. By the time the SNP decide to return their focus to IndyRef2, it may well be too late. I know there is always a chance that the Internal Market Bill may be blocked or watered down, but I honestly don’t think that is likely. The noises from the USA will not deter the extremists who currently control Westminster. After all, these are the same people who are forging ahead with a No Deal Brexit despite knowing full well how disastrous that will be. The threat of not having a trade deal with the USA is hardly going to deter them. In any event, they are probably counting on Donald Trump being re-elected. Horrendous as that may sound, we should not forget that he has big business on his side, so I expect he will win the election. Even if he loses, he’s already making noises about not standing down because his defeat would obviously mean that the election was rigged. This, of course, is classic projection since it is the Republicans who seem to be doing their best to tamper with electoral rolls and voting access.

But whatever happens in the USA, the UK Tories won’t care. The welfare of the nation is of no importance to them whatsoever. They are intent on squeezing as much money out of the system as they can, as evidenced by the ludicrous contracts and jobs given to their pals.

But, to return to the IMB, we cannot ignore the fact that it will give Westminster power to strike down any Bill passed in the Scottish Parliament. It shouldn’t take too much of a stretch of the imagination to realise that this could extend to any proposal to hold IndyRef2 on the grounds that Scotland becoming independent would fracture the UK’s internal market. After all, this Bill gives Westminster the power to do whatever it wants in any circumstance no matter what current laws prevent it.

What’s the upshot of all this? Well, the UK is a basket case, and the SNP seem content to ride the crest of the Indy wave without doing too much to take things to the next level.

Now, it may well be that my views are too extreme. Perhaps slow and steady is the way to go. In normal times, I would probably agree. I’m no radical extremist. All I want is a safe and prosperous future for my family, and for every other family in Scotland. The trouble is that these are not normal times. The UK Tories are, by any measure, extremists, and they will not play by the rules the SNP seem determined to follow. In fact, as we are seeing with the internal Market Bill, they are more than willing to ignore any law they find inconvenient, or simply to change the rules to suit themselves. They have no morals, honour, or principles except the principle of self-serving greed. The SNP may feel it is better to seize the moral high ground, but the very real danger in that approach is that you may find yourself isolated on a small outcrop of good intentions, while everything you hoped for has vanished beneath a sea of corruption.