THE WIND OOT MA SAILS – To all who are concerned, and to Pete Wishart MP (who should be).
Like a good many other Scots, in Scotland, and around the globe, I woke up on 19 Sep 2014, as one bereaved. And tragically, even a lot of those people who voted No were also gutted. On some level, they must have known the YES group were the goodies. But they had not been convinced. They admitted it, Project Fear worked on them. But here was the thing, before the dust settled on the day, before the next sunset, the whole country, the whole country, had a plan, a solid, clear road map to Indy, and the wind was in our sails.
First SNP Membership rose from 15,000 – 100,000 in months. The 3rd biggest party in the UK. Wow. Then the GE. Lend us your vote, said Nicola, and Yes, No’s and Mibbaes Aye did, overwhelmingly 56 out of 59. And not only that but real human beings got elected. Black, Shepherd, Whitford. Fresh voices, fresh ideas. Right in the face of Westminster and boy did they know it. And then adjusted…… Westminster is the oldest hand at taming its subjects, practice makes perfect. And in spite of the best efforts of the 56, how little did their presence achieve.
And then Brexit, no clear literature, mixed messages from HQ, poor leadership on many a level, and the Yessers divided. On a UK vote leave level a campaign overwhelmingly racist, dumbed down to the most simplistic base instincts, with a big lie on a bus as a salve for their conscience – How much for the NHS a week? … aye right. And no one, not even the most hopeful, devoted Yesser, could have believed the outcome. Every part of Scotland voted to stay, a 62% majority. The democratic contrast between Scotland and England could not be more clear cut. And Brexit, a mystery, wrapped in a soundbite, Brexit means…. blah blah. (the only clear thing about Brexit, is what a total clusterf*ck it is. For the economy, for the prices of everything, for farming and fishing and manufacturing, and human rights, the environment, employment. Nothing, nothing good is coming from Brexit. It’s brexshit and bad all the way, except for the already rich, who will carve up the NHS, and keep their tax havens.) and still, we had a plan, the leadership say ‘hold, hold’ and we get that, ‘patience, there is a plan’. And a snap GE, snap for us, well planned in advance by the Unionist Parties. And not just one, but 2 terrorist incidents in the middle. And still, we had a plan, a mandate, a get out of jail free card, a cast-iron ‘we’ve damned well had enough’ mandate, ‘we reserve the right to call another referendum in the event of extraordinary circumstances, such as Scotland being pulled out of the EU against her will’. Doesn’t get much clearer than that, does it? Didn’t put it in small print, thinking no one would read it did they. I was conscious of voting for it, with that in mind. 3 times, 3 times they tried to scupper it, and 3 times, the people of Scotland voted for this mandate. (2 x GE,s and 1 x SE). And still, in the face of all that Westminster and its complicit whore – the medial, could throw at it, we won, still the biggest party in Scotland. Still the wind in our sails and the road rising up to meet us. Never losing faith, never losing courage, never losing sight of the plan, and never stopping the campaign. And for those of us, worried that there seemed to be a lack of urgency at the SNP party level, a complacency, a quietening on the urgency for another referendum. Well, we put our concerns to one side, with their brilliant governance, and the promise of a peoples’ energy company wow, a peoples’ bank superb (set up by someone from Tesco’s no less – sure to be radical yeh right, fingers crossed). We took comfort from the quiet insistence, ‘hold, hold, patience’. There is a plan, once Brexit is known. And we put to one side, concerns that there appears to be no plan to countenance the nonstop propaganda from the BBC it exists, that at least is acknowledged, but nothing to hit back at it, nothing. No leaflet drops, no public meetings, no poster competitions to get the message out, no car posters for every member with info on them, not some mindless slogan, not a bloody thing. An open goal totally ignored. So we take stock and re-assure ourselves with certain facts, that a party in Governance has responsibilities and has to behave in a certain manner, and we go off and use the grassroots movement to try and plug the gap. And still, the road ahead is clear, there is a plan. And then one day, one week, one month, 3 things happen, and all is changed.
April 2018: War against Syria is waged, on the thinnest and most dodgy of evidence. And the clear siren voice of decency, of common sense and common reason, that voice that rung out in protest over Iraq, that voted in unison against the vote to bomb Syria the first time, that voice, this time became the muted, muffled, so, so, politicians double speak of a bland bank manager.
And next up, Pete Wishart goes to press, ‘now is not the time’ maybe’s later if yir all good boys and girls, after another general election if you stop being naughty and vote for us again. And the song being sung has backing even the Tory party like it.
And the third blow, Wings Over Scotland publish the article ‘Elephant in the Courtroom’ that even if we want to use our mandate, Westminster could stop us, unless we win the right in court, or at any rate, exhaust that avenue. And devastatingly, on this issue, the SNP are deathly silent. Is there a plan, have they considered this, are they even aware of it and just have their heads in the sand. Questions, questions, and of answers there are none. The silence is deafening. And this is truly devastating the grassroots can’t fill this gap. Only the SNP, in government, can implement this. On this issue, we fall. 3 things, 3 things together, have brought me to my knees in a way the 2014 IndyRef vote never did. The wind is out of my sails, I’m bailing out water, and days ago I was sailing on at a good steady pace, plotting a course and making good progress. The shore has never seemed so close, and at the same time so far away.
On 21 April 2018 Pete Wishart reiterated his argument, and I welcome the fact he did so in a more reasoned tone. And I am more certain now than ever, this is policy, the policy being finessed and sold to us, whether we like it or not. And so the purpose of this essay is to address his arguments, in a polite manner. There are some who say any disagreement should be done at branch level, behind closed doors. Pete Wishart’s article was public, therefore the arguments against should be public also. His debate seems to centre around whether we should proceed with a referendum simply because we currently possess a mandate or whether we hold one when there is good evidence it can be won.’
There was nothing simple about obtaining that Mandate, that 3 times won Mandate. If we lose it by waiting for another general election, we lose it forever. Wishart’s ‘I want to see evidence it can be won, and I want to see it held at the time of our choosing when optimum conditions are in place for success’. Well, I want to win the lottery, I want the full bonanza, and I’d like it to happen pretty much now, or at a time when it would suit me best.
Dearest Pete, you will never see evidence it can be won, the Westminster establishment will burn any such evidence, destroy any person who can present such evidence, and take the country to war to distract from any hint of evidence of this kind. ‘At a time of our choosing’ what fantasy planet do you live on?
When ‘Optimum Conditions are in place for success’ there’s no such bloody thing, optimum conditions my arse, what a fair wind, sunny weather, Scotland winning the football? Pete ‘go over what these ‘optimal conditions’ are not’ ‘Less than a year from having lost one-third of our indy supporting MP’s’
Dear Pete – remember Nicola’s phrase, ‘lend us your vote’. Well, they did, and they were disappointed. To go from 6 MP’s to 56 in one vote and then think that’s your new normal is incredibly foolish and presumptuous. ‘we cannot ignore the fact the SNP lost half a million votes’, No you can’t, but where’s your analysis, your evidence, your polls and your research to identify the whys of the loss. Hmmm, pretty big on insisting others show you evidence, you show yours and do so as a matter of urgency. You have people campaigning on the doors, this evidence would be bread and butter to assist them.
‘Optimal Conditions are not when a significant gap exists between support for indy and support for an early indy ref’. Really, you whit!!!! Imagine for a second, that for the second time in Scotland’s history, we get a second chance to vote for Independence for Scotland, and on voting day, do you really think someone is going to go, ‘that’s it, I’m voting No told them to hold it a week on Tuesday, but would they listen, no, well that’ll teach them.
And that Tory voter you met, who previously voted for Indy, bet they voted for Brexit, Hmm, bet they did. And like a lot of them at the time, never gave it much thought beyond the simplistic message about immigration! Speak to Brexiteers now and a significant number of them, now know it’s a damned sight more complicated than that, with zero good news coming through. Immigration has been knocked off the poster board as an issue when it comes to Brexit. Immigration, for those who have that fear, is going to get an awful lot bigger under a Tory Government desperate to strike any kind of deal with India, for which ‘free movement of people will be an absolute condition. Fancy that do you, with workers rights Binned under Brexit. If you want to win back the Yes/Leave voters I‘d strongly suggest the above hard fact might be one to start shouting from the rooftops.
Pete, you say that support for Independence is holding strong at 45%, and then in the next sentence talk about it being opposed by a ‘significant margin,’ that margin is 5%. You identify this 5% as the hardest group to convert. You say we ‘need a new case’ and we ‘have to get on their territory’, everyday issues such as ‘pensions, currency, perceived deficits’ are to be addressed and to win, ‘we are going to have to be creative. On this, I agree and am pulling my hair out at your almost complete lack of ambition. You are aiming for 5%, 5%! Aim for 30%, aim for 40%. Damn well aim to win. And where, where, where is your new case for pensions, your new case for currency, for perceived deficits. Anyone following the issues will know, Prof Richard Murphy has done more work on ‘perceived deficits’ than you – did you print it off, did you do a leaflet drop – did you hell. Currency look to the Common Green, they’ve done all the heavy lifting there. Did you print it off, did you get billboards commissioned with the info. Did you hell. The last time around the SNP produced a 500-page white paper, grassroots Wings Over Scotland produced The Wee Blue Book, thank god they did. You ‘get creative’ if you want to, the rest of us would be better off putting a big simple message on the side of a bus. You talk about returning to a ‘One Scotland’ approach to independence. I do hope you didn’t pay anyone money for that slogan. Money down the drain if you did. You talk of Brexit, of not leaving those who voted Leave. Semi-detached from the Yes Movement, proceeding to another indyref with this unresolved will be like having one hand tied behind our backs.
Well, Pete, let us hear you ‘get creative’ about sorting this one out eh.
Suggestions, ideas, policies. Where are they? It’s been over a year since the
Brexit vote, where are they? what are they? EFTA, EEA, what about it, argue the case. You say, ’ Brexit will be an unmitigated disaster for our fellow Scots and when it properly hits our fellow Scots will want to review their constitutional options. It (optimum conditions) is hitting the sweet spot when Brexit impacts and people actively want out of an isolated, desolated UK. It means support for the SNP returning to the levels we achieved around the last referendum in electoral contests.’ So you’re going to let an unmitigated disaster befall us, a Brexit impact that will
isolate and desolate us, and if we’re good boys and girls and vote SNP in
enough numbers you might just honour the mandate we voted for the first time. Stronger for Scotland my arse. Please, please listen, when I say this. If we do not hold another Indy Ref before the next General Election and before we lose our mandate. The mandate will be squandered, our single market membership to the EU will be lost, our economy, our businesses, universities, environment, NHS Scotland, our Parliament, ruined, and gone, gone, gone. These are desperate times, not chosen times, not optimum times, desperate times. Last time we had a choice, a choice for change or no change. This time out we have a fight for survival and only a short window of opportunity to achieve it.
Your current stance has done, what the BBC, the Tories, the Labour Party
and the No Voters could never do. You’ve taken the wind from my sails.
That’s me for now. Now, where did I leave that pair of oars? Yours in kindness and in commitment. Daisy Walker