Posted on March 25th, 2019
by Rab Bruce’s Spider
In some ways, it’s comforting to know that you can always rely on the Scottish media to plumb the depths of mediocrity. At a time when the UK is undergoing one of the greatest constitutional upheavals in its history, the Herald has headlined a story about Jonathon Shafi, a pro-Indy campaigner, saying that he will not vote SNP again because Nicola Sturgeon had her photograph taken cosying up to ex-Labour spin doctor Alistair Campbell.
What the Herald’s investigative journalism apparently failed to unearth was that Mr Shafi was involved with the people who established the political party Rise which was formed to campaign against the SNP. So it seems unlikely he would have voted for the SNP in any case, but he has managed to provide another SNPBad headline for the Unionist media, and they never miss a chance to ignore the bigger picture and focus on petty matters.
But is it petty to point out Nicola Sturgeon’s apparent willingness to campaign alongside a man who was one of the architects of the Iraq War? It must be admitted that Mr Shafi is not the only person to have stated this is a step too far for them.
Now, Yes supporters need to acknowledge that many of them have often pointed out that Better Together provided many examples of Labour politicians cosying up to Tories, the BNP and UKIP, so shouldn’t we condemn Nicola Sturgeon’s error of judgement? Is it not, after all, possible to campaign for something yet maintain a distance from others who might agree with you on that subject but with whom you do not wish to associate because of other policy matters on which you disagree? In an ideal world, it would be nice to maintain that moral high ground, but we should perhaps keep in mind that Nicola Sturgeon was taking a rare opportunity to speak to people who normally only hear her through the prism of the UK broadcast media. If she’d publicly snubbed Alistair Campbell that, too, would have provided media headlines. She obviously made a judgment call, deciding that being seen to campaign alongside him was the lesser of two evils. Whatever you think of that decision,
one thing that should be mentioned is that she was right to appear and speak at the rally. She gets few enough opportunities to deliver any sort of message to the wider UK public, so this was a good chance to let citizens from other areas of the UK hear her speak. Indeed, while the UK media has, unsurprisingly, paid her little attention, European media certainly noticed her presence and her speech. It’s also been noticed that Jeremy Corbyn was absent.
So, while having photos taken with Alistair Campbell may have been a mistake, and certainly provided the media with an excuse to run more SNPBad headlines, she was absolutely right to attend the march.
But wouldn’t it be nice if she would attend some pro-Indy marches in Scotland? Campaigning to stop Brexit is all very well, but she’s told us often enough that she will be making the positive case for Indy, yet we’re still waiting to hear it. Perhaps, just once, she could attend a pro-Indy march.
But, those grumbles aside, the main thing that struck me about people insisting that they would never vote SNP again because she was seen with Alistair Campbell is that their desire to see Scotland become a normal country cannot be all that strong. Yes, the greens are pro-Indy, but the reality is that, whatever you might think of their stance on individual policies or their strategy on Brexit, the SNP are the only political Party who can deliver Indy. So who are you going to vote for if not them? Voting Green in Holyrood elections is all well and good, but if a UK General Election is called, the First Past The Post voting system means there really is only one choice for Yes supporters.
Let’s face it, we need independence soon. Once we’ve got that, people can vote for any Party they like in the Scottish Parliament. But that’s for the future. for the present, we need to support the SNP even if we don’t like some of the things Nicola Sturgeon does or does not do.