Kicking The Can - Again
Posted on June 8th, 2023
by Rab Bruce’s Spider
So the SNP have decided not to decide anything for a few more months. It’s not an entirely unsurprising move since many in the Yes community are convinced that the SNP have no real intentions of ever attempting to make Scotland a normal, self-governing country. I’m not entirely convinced by those who argue that, but I must say that the SNP continually provide ammunition for those who believe they are far more interested in simply remaining in power in a devolved Government than in pursuing the purpose for which the Party was founded. After all, we’ve had nine years to figure out a strategy, and the options are fairly limited to say the least, especially when an emboldened Westminster knows it can get away with refusing a Section 30 Order indefinitely. Some other tactic is required, and the only real choice is which of the few available routes to pursue.
It is reasonable to argue that, with no UK or Scottish elections likely to take place this year, there is no harm in delaying any decision, especially when the new First Minister is still finding his feet in the role. But, as with so many things, politics is almost as much about the optics as it is about actions, and the optics of this decision are not good. For one thing, it will reassure Westminster that the SNP are in a mess and don’t know what to do; for another, it will send a signal to the Scottish public that there is unlikely to be another IndyRef any time soon. Some will be pleased about that, but Yessers will be disappointed to say the least. I wonder how many disgruntled SNP supporters will decide to switch to Alba or ISP? Or will they stick with the SNP, giving them yet another chance to actually do something?
To be honest, it is no wonder that the SNP leadership are reluctant to make that important decision because it carries a great deal of risk. I would argue, though, that remaining tied to Westminster carries even more risk. The UK Government is ramping up its process of undermining the Scottish Government at every opportunity, and the longer we delay, the more difficult it will be to break free of their neo-colonial grip.
What really puzzles me about this decision is that part of the reasoning seems to be that the summer will be spent campaigning. Campaigning for what, precisely? With no stated goal in mind, the public will be entitled to ask what the SNP proposes doing to turn us into a normal country. If that decision hasn’t been made, then any campaign is going to be fairly pointless.
On the other hand, Scots who are not obsessed with politics and are simply doing their best to cope with the stresses of daily life may go along with things for a while yet. But you can only kick the can down the road so many times before people start to ask why they should continue to back you. Actions speak louder than words, but if your principal course of action is to delay, prevaricate and procrastinate, then you are playing into your opponents’ hands. Sooner or later, Humza Yousaf is going to have to stand up and be counted. I sincerely hope it is sooner.