by Rab Bruce’s Spider

There have been several articles written recently on the thorny topic of whether SNP MPs should leave Westminster as a mark of protest at the way they are regularly ignored or abused by MPs of other Parties. I must admit that I often feel they are serving no purpose there at all and wish they would simply walk out permanently, but I don’t think there is any chance of that. But if they stay, what can they do?

Gerry Hassan’s recent article for The National outlines some ideas, and I must say that I think these are worth pursuing. You can read the article at:

Westminster, the SNP and Independence: How SNP MPs can stand up for Scotland's right to decide - Gerry Hassan - writing, research, policy and ideas

While I think there is merit in adopting this sort of stance, I’m afraid I can’t see the SNP doing anything like this. It’s not that I think too many of their MPs have become entranced by Westminster and are happy to stay there, although I do think the fire has been sucked out of most of them by the stultifying effects of UK democracy in action (or possibly inaction). What I do believe is that the SNP are determined to demonstrate to the world that they are good, law-abiding parliamentarians who will play by the rules. But, admirable though this stance is, I think it is bound to be unsuccessful for at least two reasons.

The first reason is that old bugbear, the UK media. No matter what the SNP do, they will never be given fair coverage by the UK media. At best they will be ignored unless they do something really dramatic like walking out of the House of Commons, but more likely they will be painted as dangerous extremists who want to break up "The Country" for which read the sovereign state of the UK which most of us are tired of pointing out is not a country at all. But the media will be relentless in this attack line, and there is no way the SNP will ever gain wide public support for their stance if the media have anything to say about it.

The second reason is more serious. It is that the UK Government does not even abide by Westminster’s rules. This should be abundantly clear to anyone who has been paying even the slightest bit of attention. While the SNP try to maintain a dignified position, the Tories are undermining the Devolution Settlement at every opportunity. Better Together may have formally disbanded, but the Tories have continued the attacks on Scotland relentlessly for the past 7 years. Playing by their supposed rules will do the SNP no good at all.

There are, at last, some noises coming from the SNP that they will be pushing forward with plans for IndyRef2. For me, as for many others, this cannot come soon enough. The Polls are not going to shift until and unless we have an active campaign. Only then will most people begin to pay attention to the arguments. We hear about the dangers of losing a second IndyRef, but I am convinced that the dangers of not holding that IndyRef soon are even greater. If we cannot convince a majority of the Scottish public that we would be better off as a normal, self-governing country when the alternative is to continue to be ruled by a corrupt, racist, venal Government elected by a minority of English voters, then we really will deserve everything that is coming to us.

There really should be no more reasons to delay. Covid has not gone, but if it is deemed safe enough to open nightclubs, surely it is safe enough to run an IndyRef campaign. And, for those who believe we need to recover from the social and economic effects of the pandemic, I would suggest that the best and fastest way to do that is to escape the clutches of a Westminster Government which is determined to extract as much wealth from Scotland as possible while simultaneously exposing all the citizens of the UK to its discredited herd immunity strategy.