Posted on April 4th, 2023
by Rab Bruce’s Spider
I have not written anything much about the SNP leadership contest because I’m not a member of the Party, so had no input to the contest. I do feel that it was an unedifying spectacle seeing the contenders gift arguments to the unionists by slating each other rather than promoting themselves, and I must admit I was not overly enthralled by the prospect of any of them becoming First Minister. However, we now have Humza Yousaf, and I do hope he will do a lot more than create headlines by making meaningless statements or gestures about independence without actually doing anything to further the cause. For a start, I’d love to see him attend the All Under One Banner march on 6th May. Some might consider that a meaningless gesture, but the Yes movement is sorely in need of some positive action, and it would be a statement of intent.
Quite how any FM can bring us closer to becoming a normal, self-governing country, I am not sure, but I think we should all give Humza Yousaf the benefit of the doubt for a little while yet.
As for the wider Yes movement, it is disheartening to see supporters of both SNP and Alba slagging each other. I know there are some fundamental disagreements on policies, but if we all genuinely want Scotland to become a normal country, that must be the priority aim. Fighting amongst ourselves only helps the Unionists. As we know only too well, they have no qualms about joining together to maintain the Union, and the chances are that they will do so again. Already we hear stories of a proposed pact for the two main Unionist Parties to urge their voters to vote for the other Party solely in order to block the SNP at the next election. Since there is very little between the two Parties in terms of policies, I suspect this proposal may well turn into reality despite Labour’s Scottish branch office issuing denials. After all, they insisted they would not enter in to coalitions in local Councils, but have done so quite willingly in several areas. The Tory proposal to stand only one Unionist candidate in any area may seem far-fetched, but let’s not dismiss it out of hand.
As for Yes, where do we go from here? A recent poll suggests that Alba might be on track to gain some Holyrood seats, but since the next Holyrood election is years away unless Humza Yousaf calls a snap election, I think we need to reserve judgement on that one. At the moment, I’m not sure what the impact would be if Alba did gain seats. I think the hostility between them and the SNP needs to settle down or we will see yet more unedifying squabbles which would only help the Unionists. On the other hand, some would argue that the SNP need another Party to prod them along because the Greens, while expressing support for independence, don’t seem to have it as a priority.
As for all the polls which can suggest several things depending on how you read them, what strikes me is a point I have been trying to make for ages. Far too many Scots are falling for the Unionist trap of focusing too much either on individual politicians or on domestic policy issues. Yes, the energy bills crisis and cost of living, not to mention health and education, are important, but they will be important whether we are a self-governing country or remain under Westminster rule. Becoming a normal country will not solve those issues overnight, but it would give us a chance to address them as every other country does without having the Westminster Sword of Damocles hanging over our heads, ready to cut our funding or strike down our laws on a whim. The cause of independence is fundamental, and nobody should be lulled into changing their minds on it because of any individual politician or domestic policy. The whole point would be to elect politicians who promise to enact policies we want, and to have the ability to remove them from office if they fail to deliver. At the moment, the SNP gather so many votes because they are the recognised Party of independence. This is not healthy for our democracy no matter how effective they might be in Government.
We need change, and we need political leadership. At the moment, that means relying on Humza Yousaf to deliver on his promises. But whether you are a member of the SNP, or of Alba, or of some other or no Party at all, please let’s stop the in-fighting.