Well, of course the amendment has been ruled out of order. It was, as the “SNP insider” said, having been assigned the task of feeding some information to The National in the hope of reducing the impact of the official statement when it comes, “completely incompetent”.
The amendment submitted by Angus MacNeil and Chris McEleny was bound to be thrown out, not only because it sought to take one resolution and turn it into another, but because the resolution it sought to shoehorn in was the same one as had already been rejected.
I am not surprised that the amendment has been ruled out of order. And I will not be joining the inevitable knee-jerk protests about the SNP supposedly ‘suppressing debate’. I do not strongly object to the amendment being thrown out for precisely the same reasons as I accepted the initial ‘Plan B’ resolution being rejected. It just isn’t a very good plan. Whether put forward as a resolution that was never going to get past the conference agenda committee or as an amendment that was never going to get past the conference agenda committee, the fact remains that ‘Plan B’ is deeply flawed – as I explained back in July.
I was not merely being negative about it. I also suggested an alternative course of action which would have achieved much of what was intended by the original resolution. What I proposed was that Angus and Chris table an amendment to the resolution in the names of John Swinney and Maree Todd – which is what they did; although it’s hardly likely that it was at my urging. But, rather than the somewhat clumsy way the pair went about trying to hijack that resolution, my idea was to submit an amendment which would hitch a ride on it.
I would like to have seen Angus and Chris table an amendment that fitted with the self-congratulatory tone of the Swinney/Todd resolution but added a plea for the Scottish Government to recognise the urgency of Scotland’s predicament and the need to be aware of all the ways in which the UK Government would seek to put obstacles in the way of Scotland’s journey to independence. It would have been very difficult for the committee to reject such a motion. And ‘Plan B’ could have been referred to in moving and seconding the amendment.
Of course, this would not be a debate on ‘Plan B’ that would lead to a vote by conference delegates. But that’s probably just as well. Because any debate would surely expose some or all of the issues identified in the article mentioned earlier. It is even possible that the resolution could have been voted down. Which would pretty much be the end of the matter.
Angus MacNeil is correct when he says,
The clock is ticking, but we still don’t have a plan to save Scotland from a no deal Brexit in just two months time.
He goes awry, however, when he adds that he and Chris support ‘Plan A’. Because that ‘plan’ is doomed. It is, if anything, even more flawed than the alternative which they proposed.
I find it incomprehensible that Nicola Sturgeon should have so resolutely committed to a process in which Scotland is the inferior party in every respect. A process which acknowledges the superiority of the British state and all its agencies. A process which puts Scotland’s cause totally at the mercy of the British state’s rules and apparatus.
She is unquestionably right to maintain that the UK Government’s continuing refusal to grant a Section 30 order would, under prevailing circumstances, be wholly unreasonable and definitively undemocratic. What she does not seem to realise, or stubbornly refuses to formally recognise, is that the requirement for a Section 30 is iself anti-democratic in that it imposes constraints on Scotland’s inalienable and unconditional right of self-determination.
We do not need a debate about an alternative plan. We need an urgent reexamination of the plan to which the First Minister has committed. We don’t need a ‘Plan B’. We need a ‘Plan A’ which relates to the situation as it is now, not as it was in 2012.
We need a plan which recognises that there is no route to independence which adheres to the rules made by those who are determined to preserve the Union at any cost. A plan which recognises that those rules must be broken if the Union is to be broken. A plan which recognises that there is no route to independence which does not involve direct and acrimonious confrontation with the British state – and which prepares us for that confrontation.
That must be ‘Plan A’. Because, if ‘Plan A’ fails then it is highly unlikely that there will be an opportunity to implement any ‘Plan B’. The British state is far from averse to closing down democratic routes to social and constitutional reform. It is now clear that it is determined to do so in order to lock Scotland into a Union which is unilaterally redefined to serve a British Nationalist ‘One Nation’ project. A project which requires that Scotland’s democratic institutions be dismantled; our distinctive political culture eradicated; and our public services readied for feeding to the hyenas of corporate America.
Right now, the Scottish Government looks like it is isn’t even trying to save Scotland from this fate. In fact, it gives the impression of being oblivious to the threat. Only the power of the Yes movement can change that. And only if the Yes movement unites to put pressure on the First Minister.
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