Was Indyref2 the reason for the General Election?

Its not often I’ll blog twice in the same day, but there’s some interesting theories I’ve read today and wanted to bookmark and share. 

Both are suggesting that one of the reasons May was forced into calling a snap  General Election was to give the SNP a “bloody nose”.   

What were the circumstances a mere 50 days ago.  

  • She was about to go into negotiations with the EU over Brexit
  • She had a majority in Westminster
  • Holyrood had just passed a vote to formally request a further referendum on independence for Scotland – crucially to be carried out at the time when the details of Brexit were known.

Paraphrasing the blogs I’ve read today, May would not have been in a strong position to use any Scottish assets as negotiating collateral with the EU while there was a further independence referendum on the statute books.  The Scottish Government would have been able to ensure the EU knew that May was offering collateral which might not have been hers to offer.  And the EU would recognise that.    It’s not just the oil,  it’s farming and fisheries too and all of Scotland’s other resources and assets. 

May took the gamble of the General Election to get Scotland back under her control.  The polls said England was no threat and with the combined firepower of the BBC/STV/Newspapers supporting the “Ruth Davidson Party”  nor would Scotland be a problem.  But it’s not turned out that way.  The Scottish strategy was successful, just exactly as planned.  Possibly even more successful than planned.  But England didn’t play ball, catastrophically so for the Tories.    Does the SNP have a ‘bloody nose”?  sort of. The loss of 21 seats hurts, the loss of Angus Robertson and Alex Salmond hurts too , as do all the others.  Remember folks, they might not be in Westminster but they are still very much alive and kicking and working for the good of Scotland.   And we’ve still got all our resources – and the formal request from Holyrood to carry out the next Indyref.   That request might be the most valuable single act the SNP has yet undertaken for Scotland – as long as they don’t bottle out of making it happen.

 

So, my message to my fellow Scottish and independence supporters is do not be disheartened.   We are not down and out by any means.   We are still the dominant party in Scotland by a country mile – no matter how the media try to spin it   But we absolutely must stick to the stated demands and plans for a further indyref when the details of Brexit are known. 

 

Remember the spider in the cave!!

 

Go and have a read at this :  https://wildernessofpeace.wordpress.com/2017/06/09/the-downside-up/ 

 

and this is from a post on Facebook from the “Scottish Political Perspective”

 

The plot thickens…

It comes to mind that, purely from Whitehall’s point of view, in order for Brexit to go forward ‘the Whitehall way’, and to avoid the risk of a breakdown of law and order in England should Scotland’s wish for a second referendum come through and derail the negotiation, the only UK way to mitigate the effect of Scotref was to call a snap election and fight a two front campaign for the Tories.

The first, in England, was based on ‘strong and stable leadership’, four simple words, while the second, in Scotland, was based on the four words mantra, just as simple, ‘no second independence referendum.’

Clearly, May missed the plot in England, where she lost the little majority she had prior calling her snap election. England is literally facing an identity crisis. The little surge of New Labour UK PLC has destabilized the little political strength she had.

But in Scotland, with the rise of a toxic Toryism, we must realise that the mantra ploy clearly worked on quite a few. A surge of three hundred thousands voting Tory is difficult to explain, were it not the fact that, compare to 2015, 225 000 less people voted on June 8th, 2017.

Brexit is, of course, the key to it all. The mere idea that Scotland held a sword of Damocles over Whitehall by calling a second referendum during the Brexit talks would have weakened the Prime Minister, and strengthen the EU. Hence Theresa May calling the snap election, and hence the insistence of breaking the independence spirit on our side of the border.

The petard, however, just exploded back in her face. Had she reached over a majority, instead of losing the one she had, her plan would have worked fine but her situation is now worse than it was prior calling the snap election.

In effect, she did Scotland a favour. Let me explain.

As everyone is aware, I am a fervent supporter of Scottish independence. I believe that the quicker we gain back the sovereignty of Scotland, the better.

What this latest election did show us is firstly the apathy of many to vote (a quarter of a million Scots did not bother turning up at the polling stations compared to the 2015 GE), and, secondly, the fact that the ‘no second independence referendum’ mantra strategy worked in Scotland (as against the ‘strong and stable leadership’ one in England, how ironic!)

The SNP being given a bloody nose mid-term of this UK government, and all for the wrong reasons, in order to keep the UK whole at any cost, has set a sense of defeatism and of Scots losing any real sense of themselves as a nation. And that is exactly what May and Davidson hoped for. But that, however, will change very quickly. Once the Brexit negotiation are engaged, I think Scots will realize that the 80% vote emanating from England and taking us out of the EU against our wishes will indeed truly make us poorer on all levels.

Looking at the Southern agricultural map of Scotland, it voted Tory. Yet, they are the ones that will be most hit by Brexit, something that many farmers have yet failed to realize. The same will apply to the Scottish Fisheries Commission.

So, let me be clear to farmers in Scotland.

Defra will not take over the EU subsidies allocated to Scots farmers. There are two reasons for this. Notwithstanding the fact that the UK kitty is empty, it has always been the policy of Defra not to support the UK agriculture industry as a whole, and that of Scotland in particular. Even when previously negotiating for a EU deal on behalf of Scottish farmers, it negotiated for a bad deal rather than a better one. The truth is, the UK government prefers to import foodstuff rather than supporting its own foodstuff industry. That is a fact. And now that Brexit negotiation is looming, don’t expect the UK government to think about you.

The same, of course, will apply to the Scottish fisheries industry. It was deemed, years ago, as an expendable industry by the UK government, and they will do the same again. But, for some weird reason, that industry still hopes that this UK Tory government will stand by them. They will be, within a few weeks, very disappointed. You will be sold away without a second thought, do mark my words…

From my point of view, Toryism of the May or Davidson kind is toxic and a pervertion of sane politics. In fact, whereas the EU was helping Scotland, both socially and economically, to think of itself as a true country, Scotland being taken out of it against its will suits Whitehall to perfection. It means that mammoth institution will be able to squeeze our assets until Scotland bleeds. I kid you not. I am terribly serious about this. Even my friends in Europe are worried that because Scotland voted so overwhelmingly in favour of staying in the EU, the UK government will make us pay a very high price for it. And I tend to agree with them.

Whether May or Davidson, with their wholesale cuts in public services, of the Scottish Government total grant, of the rape clause, of victimizing the poor and the vulnerable, never mind the way the Tories will rape our side of the North Sea with regards to the billions of barrels of oil in it, we will pay the price.

Now, either we submit to this, in other words, we all lie back with our legs up in the air and let this UK government screw us all (a bit crude as an image but, sadly, precisely what they will do to us), or we rise and take a collective responsibility to tell May, or whoever will soonish succeed to her, that enough is enough and that they can get stuffed.

No more complacency. No more lack of motivation with regards to voting. No more thinking that the SNP will/can mitigate whatever the Tories will throw at us. Under a restrained budget, with no right to borrow, the SNP government can only do so much.

The only ones who can make a difference are ourselves by turning that toxic Tory trend and focusing clearly on the coming independence referendum.

The Tories think they have cracked that Scottish wall… I want that crack filled up, fast, and the parasitic Tory party in Scotland surrounded and checked from all sides. Let us be relentless with them over the next 21 months, the way they have been relentless against Scotland since 2010.

Independence is, in my view, inevitable, no matter how Davidson feels about it. And the Tory party knows it. That is why they have been so active to fight it.

Let June 8th be their last political battle in Scotland and let’s work to win the war. Give the tories no quarters. Run the tory party down to the ground. It has no moral rights within Scottish society, and no mandate to rape Scotland.

As for Theresa May, she is now alone, friendless and the laughing stock of the EU. She is neither strong or stable or even a leader of any kind. She is completely isolated, having linked herself with a party with paramilitary links and nothing less than a bigotted history. Theresa May is toast, while the SNP, even with a reduced contingent in Westminster, is still the 3rd party in Westminster and still the biggest party in Scotland.

I say ‘Scotland free in March 2019’ and the hell with the tories.

YAPP-ing again…….

I’m trying hard to avoid YAPP-ing. (Yet Another Political Post) but it’s not easy to do so……

We’ve just had the most appalling General Election in my lifetime.  So I’m YAPPing about the outcome. And it’s only a “so far” post as no-one can yet have a clue what the real outcomes from election for the United Kingdom over the next year, hell, even over the next month, will be.   I’m a Scottish nationalist through and through and yet, despite my party winning 35 seats which is a phenomenal result, I’ve been feeling like we lost.  We didn’t.  We achieved the second best result in our history DESPITE a unified campaign against Scotland coming from all 3 main parties and from the media. 

Go team GO!!

Theresa May & the Tories

Remember how Theresa May got the PM job. She was put in it, by the Tory party,  with no opposition. Look back on her older performances in Westminster as Home Secretary. Promoted beyond her competency? Yes. Clearly so. The Tories needed a neutral, harmless person to put in the top job when Cameron ran away. They had to find someone in a very short space of time. So they pushed her into the job. They were, as always, putting party first. May never ever displayed the human qualities needed to be a leader. And now it’s shaping up to be an absolute catastrophe for every single one of us.

The Tories *chose* to hold the EU referendum – with no plans at all for either outcome.

The Tories *chose* to put an incapable person into the position of Prime Minister.

The Tories *chose* to hold a General Election.

Every one of those choices made by the Tories was entirely to give their party an advantage. None of these choices were necessary, or for the good of the United Kingdom.

So we’ve got a zombie Prime Minister with a zombie Government which is going to have real difficulty in doing anything at all, never mind negotiating the biggest singe issue in my lifetime – yeah – Brexit.   Let’s not even go to deeply into the implications of the plans for the Tories to be propped up by the DUP.  That’s just beyond stupid. Especially for Ireland where the leader of the DUP is still facing serious charges of corruption from Sinn Feinn, so much so that for 3 months now there has been no Government in Stormont.  Do the Tories care? The evidence suggests they care more about saving their own skins than about the Good Friday Agreement (which any deal with the DUP effectively breaks) and peace in Northern Ireland.   This is not good, not good at all.   Add in the ongoing omnishambles about what the Tory party will be negotiating for as Brexit negotiations start and we are in a very poor position indeed.

Tories? Competent to govern? Not now, not ever.


 

Ruth Davidson & the (Scottish) Tories

She ran a campaign which was at best disingenuous.  More likely it was just dishonest. Yet it was successful.  Why?  The simple explanation is because in Scotland Ruth Davidson has no opposition whatsoever from the media. The BBC Scotland news/current affairs programming and indeed their equivalents in STV simply do not ever hold her to account or ask her difficult questions.  They give her airtime to say what she wants, when she wants.  The cleverness of her campaign though was that she made both the Local Council elections and the General Election about the singe issue of “Say no to Indyref2”.  Neither of these elections has any direct bearing whether or not there should be a further indyref.  Holyrood has already voted to request a further indyref.  Yet Ruth Davidson’s campaign was clever. It ran on this single issue for almost 4 months.  It ha full support form Labour and Lib Dems using the exact same message . When will those parties ever learn and spot when they’re being used by the Tories?  But the clever part was that every message was all about “Ruth Davidson”.   If friends in England thought that the Tory campaign in England was based on the cult of the May personality, the Scottish campaign was all of that and so much more.  It was all about “Ruth Davidson”. Her party. Her candidates. Her ability.  And it worked.  But as the whole Tory party is now engulfed in utter inward looking chaos so she cannot walk away from it.  Or can she?  Will she dare to cleave the Scottish Conservatives from it’s parent in London?  If the Tories are to be “in bed” with the DUP that’s going to give her some very serious personal difficulties.

 

 

The TV Media in Scotland

Has gone way beyond what any rational observer would think of as impartial. This collusion lead to some of the most disingenuous “Leaders Debates” ever broadcast as both the BBC presenters (Sarah Smith, Nick Robinson) deliberately invited questioning of Nicola Sturgeon during the televised debates on the SNPs record on education and health.  Neither of these topics were in any way relevant to a UK general election, yet they were made to be the focal points of the televised debates.  Why would they do this?  Bernard Ponsonby in the STV debates was no better.  This is an ongoing issue for the SNP to solve. 

 

Communications

They took a knife to a gun fight.  It’s got to be difficult when you’re trying hard to be honest with people when all your opponents are happy to be deceitful and dishonest, especially when you face far more rigorous cross-examination by the media than they ever do.  Yet the campaign the SNP ran was lacked focus and was far too often having to be responsive.  The SNP let the other parties choose the ground on which the battles were to be fought.  This was a strategic mistake by the SNP and meant that Nicola Sturgeon and all the activists on door steps were having to explain the Scottish Government’s positions when they ought to have been talking about the UK Governments positions.  That lost time, very valuable time.  On the doorsteps people only give you a few minutes of their time  (and if you’ve got a long street ahead of you as an activist you haven’t got all that much time to give either).  Having to use half that time to defend the the Scottish Government before being able to move the conversation to the relevant matters of the UK Government was a soul destroying task.  And it happened far more often than it didn’t.  (I know, I canvassed and leafleted and knocked-up, sometimes in the company of MSPs)

Somehow I can’t escape the feeling that the SNP were perhaps more affected by the terrorist atrocities in Manchester and London than any other party.  The manifesto launch was delayed by a week and TV interviews were also delayed.  This is not in an way a criticism, but a statement of reality.  While other parties had their messages out and about, the SNP did not and could not get their message out.  Until pretty much the week of the vote.  Highly unfortunate for us.

Our reliance on Nicola Sturgeon is both a blessing and a curse.  A blessing because she is a remarkable lady.  She is human, yet has astonishing stamina. If we could bottle whatever she runs on and sell it our energy problems would be solved!  However, she was perhaps worn down and not as feisty as she has been before.  The TV debates, predictably, became 4 against 1 bear-pits (Lab+Tory+LibDeEm+BBC) with the result being that the following days newspapers headlined the “Sturgeon flops as nurse/teacher attacks”.  All the while Ruth Davidson got off scot-free.  Somehow or other, this needs to change.  How we change the behaviour of the BBC and STV I don’t know.  But taking a firmer stance, strongly refuting. We put Angus Robertson into one of the debates which was a great idea and he did as well as he possibly could.  Again in a 4 against 1 environment.  Somehow, that didn’t help him though as on the day he lost his seat.  However, we’ve not lost his skills and experience in Westminster and should be seeking to put them to good use, perhaps hounding the inexperienced new Tory MPs and helping us communicate every time they trip up in Westminster.  I’m put in mind of the Police song “Every Breath You Take”……  Having an experienced and astute man like Angus Robertson, with Alex Salmond too if needed, helping us see what’s going on could be a really useful thing to do.     

A long standing bug-bear of mine is that the SNP has another communications problem to overcome. There is no effective ‘horizontal’ messaging between members and branches.  In this day and age, where every ‘club’ one joins has extensive email and private on-line forums I find this difficult to understand.  But this is very easy and simple to fix.

How We Vote

Here’s a suggestion.  As we’re almost certain to be heading back to vote again really soon, maybe our 35 MPs ought to be tabling a motions for the very first act of whatever Government we end up to be the scrapping of FPTP voting system. Just use the AMS system used in Scotland. Then, and only then will we be able to move beyond the narrow, divisive, adversarial two party system which has served the UK oh so well.   A small modification, restricting “List” members to being only allowed to serve a single term as “list” might actually address much if its shortfalls as a system. A further modification to the AMS system as used in Holyrood would be that no member elected on the “list” should ever have previously served in any other parliament or parliamentary position. Make the “List” very clearly about bringing through new, fresh talent or about giving people who only wish to serve for a short time a very clear way of doing that. How to solve the bias against independents which is kind of inherent in a “list” system? Dunno. This is just an idea as a starting point.

 

This has been on my screen for a couple of days now, so although it’s not really as complete as I’d like I’ll press the publish button anyway.   Something I’m learning about blogging on politics is that getting stuff out quickly seems important.  Not sure how many people will read this anyway……

 

YAPP over…..