The endless, endless tune,
Of Indy vs Yoon
Everyone agreed the campaign for Holyrood was dull, consisting of silly photo opportunities. Social media, cacophonous during the referendum and noisy during the General Election, was a dull grumble.
(An aside. Democratic politicians, like courtiers, have no dignity, nor should they. Asking for a vote is not a dignified act. The dignity is with those putting a cross on a ballot paper or counting votes.)
Counting votes in Edinburgh
Everyone agreed that the SNP would win an easy majority in Scotland’s rebarbative voting system. And those of us who dread that referendum that is constantly going to be triggered by Brexit, Boris Johnson becoming PM, or favourable opinion polls, were depressed and anxious. Whatever was said about this election being about taxation, education, the NHS, it was really about the constitution. Willie Rennie, the leader of the LibDems, said in the last leaders’ debate, stop threatening referendums. And received wild applause. So perhaps it started tipping back then.
The Soviet retro front cover of The National on the eve of the election had the Nicola cult gushing. There are never enough pictures of Sturgeon for them. The heretics were WTF? Land of David Hume? Land of Billy Connolly? Was this Leader taking us to the Radiant Future and enlighten our false consciousnes with re-education camps so we obdurate Naws would share the beautiful dream of independence.
My own constituency is Edinburgh Central and I had an interesting set of candidates to choose from. All women. Sarah Boyack, a good Labour MSP (also a cycling supporter), Alison Johnston, a good Green MSP (ditto), Ruth Davidson, a new SNP candidate and a LibDem. My instinct was to choose Johnston, who I rate. However the Greens are officially indy. That left Davidson and Boyack. Boyack had the better chance of beating the SNP candidate, so I chose her and Conservative for the regional vote.*
I woke up Friday morning, just about 4. Ruth Davidson had won the seat. 3 out of the 4 Edinburgh constituency seats were going unSNP, while in Glasgow the SNP killed off Labour entirely. As the morning wore on, it was news of a reprieve. The SNP were not in the majority and they would have to coalesce with the Greens for any pro-indy-ref legislation in Parliament. A referendum is off the cards. (Her ungracious SNP opponent refused to congratulate Davidson, as is customary.)
The SNP had run a campaign, BothVotesSNP. But indy supporting non SNPers gave their regional list votes to the more leftwards Greens. So there was rancour from the Wee Free Indies towards the SNPs, because BothVotesSNP lost possible seats for the Greens. And the SNP were scornful at Alison Johnston, a capable and likable Green MSP, for having the insolence to stand in Edinburgh Central, forgetting her proper role should be the SNP’s henchman.
Meanwhile, the Greens hold the balance of power. But, as was pointed out repeatedly prior to the election, it is power they cannot use. They have been put there to support the SNP administration. If they fail to do so, they will be severely punished in 2021.
said a haughty Sneep.
The rancour between the pure Sneeps and the Wee Free Indies was a pretty sight. Wings of Scotland, the Indy guru, was flapping and whirring.
(Wings, for the lucky people who haven’t come across him, is the unofficial guru of the indy movement and lives in Bath.)
Limmy’s description of the Indies’s unofficial economic adviser and the model of manners to the cybernats:-
All right, I have had my fun.
There’s plenty of more sober analysis from the Indy camp about how the chance of a grab for independence has been put on hold, alas. These well-argued, well-written articles on Common Space and Bella Caledonia don’t seem to care how damaging this polarisation of Scotland around this issue is, how much political time and energy campaigning on it takes up which could be directed to something more productive, and even no thoughts for the politicians who had a referendum in 2014, a general election in 2015, a Holyrood election in 2016, another referendum in June and there are municipal elections in 2017. The poor sods are constantly campaigning and could do with a break – and so could the electorate.
Finally, it is not a bad thing that the Unionists are now firmly identified as the Tories. Many of them were Red Tories anyway, and all that has happened is that their allegiance has become plain. The stark choice between Independence and the Tories is now visible. It was always there, but at the referendum many did not see it. Having the Tories leading the unionist opposition simply brings the day of Independence closer. There is only one winner in that battle.
It is true that some of the rich businessmen who are part of Unionism fear the SNP as they mistakenly think they’re socialist. Socialists persuade themselves that the SNP will head leftwards, or an indy Scotland would go that way, though Scots are no happier than Southroners about paying higher taxes. So many of us are voting against the grain of our sympathies and class interests. I’m soft Labourish/Greenish and I don’t vote Green as they’re indy. The kind of harder left or Corbynista type who would vote Labour now vote SNP, who are Tory lite. It’s not a natural state of affairs.
A succinct comment laid out how the SNP should act to get some left credibility (which they won’t do):-
Embrace the Greens, keep independence on the back burner, and pull the remaining Labour lefties your way. Come up with a credible economic strategy, while hammering away at the failings of the global market. Decline to be a service economy. Could be tricky, though; some of the SNP establishment only differ from the Tories as regards independence and are extremely relaxed about Peter Mandelson too.
Adam Tomkins, Unionist guru and now a regional MSP in Glasgow is more optimistic:-
Riding both horses at once has been a hallmark of SNP success, but that is about to become a more difficult trick to pull off. Which way will Nicola Sturgeon’s new administration jump?
In her speech from Bute House yesterday there was – intriguingly – something for everyone. A nod to the Tories on education reform; a nod to the Greens on climate change; and a nod to Labour on welfare. Is that how the First Minister plans to run her government – seeking support from different parties on different issues, or will the SNP finally have to choose where it sits on the left-right spectrum? The former course may make for incoherence and indecision, but the latter risks fracturing the coalition that the SNP is.
I am not that hopeful that the Indy vs Yoon-tune will cease to be the national anthem. And those poorest in the country who left Labour to vote SNP? I doubt if much will be done for them. Let them wave saltires.
*Some in these parts will be outraged I voted Labour with the Corbynista takeover and the anti-semitism scandals however in Scotland the Zio-media obsessive tends to be attracted to the SNP and the wilder fringes of the Nationalist movement rather than Labour.
Alec adds: to acknowledge KB Player’s success in voting for Ruth Davidson [I didn’t – I voted for Sarah Boyack though I was pleased Ruth D beat the Sneep – KB] over SNP’s Alison Dickie, here is the declaration of the count. If you look carefully, you can see the precise moment Dickie’s world fell apart as she realized Davidson’s 10,399 votes were more than her 9,789.