On Chris McEleny’s point regarding a manifesto commitment – a Manifesto for Independence – to which all pro-democracy parties might subscribe, I am in total agreement. I started a Facebook group called White Rose Rising as an experiment to look into the feasibility of uniting the Yes movement in a project to formulate just such a Manifesto for Independence. The results have not been promising. But that doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea. It speaks more to the factors at play within the Yes movement which militate against unity. The Yes movement has been infected by factionalism. Factionalism kills movements.
Worse! It kills movements whilst leaving untouched the cause which inspired it. The cause remains in the hearts and minds of people. But it is tinged with bitter hopelessness because the movement which gives the cause effect is absent.
If we could create this ‘independent’ Manifesto for Independence it would be outside the realm of party politics while being available to any party as a constitutional addendum to their own policy manifesto. This would have numerous advantages. The public tend to be more accepting of ideas that are not associated with political parties. Let’s not go into the rights and wrongs of this here. Let’s just accept that, as a general rule, people are more amenable to proposals that are seen as not serving partisan interests.
Another important advantage would be that the pro-independence parties would not be competing on the constitutional issue – other than in terms of their commitment to the Manifesto for Independence and the credibility of their undertaking to deliver what it promises. They would have a common manifesto pledge. There could be no arguments about process because that process would be set out in the Manifesto for Independence.
The idea is undoubtedly sound. Whether it’s feasible or not is another matter. Personally, I have little hope that the Yes movement is capable of turning itself into the kind of political force that would be required to ‘persuade’ the parties to accept the Manifesto for Independence. Particularly the SNP. And let’s face it, if the SNP go into the next Holyrood election still dragging the millstone of their commitment to the Section 30 process, Scotland’s cause is monumentally screwed. We would still be obliged to try and ensure that the party won and was in a position to form an administration. But only because the alternative is unthinkable. Nobody wants to wake up on the day after the vote to find that the British parties in control of the Scottish Parliament and Jackson Carlaw FM leaving a thick slime trail of smirking smugness everywhere he goes. Or should that be an even thicker slime trail of even smirkier smugness?
We would be obliged to work for an SNP victory knowing that because Nicola Sturgeon was cling still to the British state’s ‘gold standard’ trap, the cause of independence would be doomed to remain stalled for the foreseeable future. I don’t want to think about what kind of future that would be.
Chris says “there is a need to have a grown-up conversation with all pro-independence parties” apparently referring not only to the Scottish Greens but also to the proliferation of pop-up parties seeking to exploit frustration with the SNP. I wonder if he’s ever tried to have a “grown-up conversation” with the evangelicals preaching the truly miraculous properties and powers of their cunning plans. I have. It was never a happy experience for someone who takes a rational, pragmatic approach to politics.
Like it or loathe it, and as unquestionably helpful as a common Manifesto for Independence would be, it is the SNP that matters. It is the SNP that must be pressed into renouncing the Section 30 process. It is the SNP that we will rely on to lend effective political power to Scotland’s cause. It’s entirely in Nicola Sturgeon’s hands. We can have all the “grown-up conversations” we can cram into whatever time Scotland has left. It will all be for nothing if the lady ain’t listening.
If you find these articles interesting please consider a small donation to help support this site and my other activities on behalf of Scotland’s independence movement.