SHOULD NICOLA JOB SHARE?

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WHEN PROGRESS IS SLOW

It is a measure of how far we have come that the lack of progress in driving Independence forward at this time is still very frustrating. For most of my life it has been painfully slow, much slower than this. That is just fact.

I was born in the early fifties but it was 1998 before the referendum created the Scottish Executive. Then 2007 saw the first SNP Government, a minority Government but one full of good ideas, that speedily introduced them and were rewarded with a majority SNP Government in 2011 which secured the 2014 Referendum.

We narrowly lost that Referendum but it was a defeat that transformed Scotland. All out campaigning for full Independence convinced and converted huge numbers of Scots that not only was Independence desirable, it was deliverable, it was a very real serious option.

Those who supported Independence have never wavered, they are still with us, more have joined our ranks, and current polls indicate 54% support, a clear majority. So far so good, however we have a problem, in fact we have several. The first problem is the all consuming problem of Covid19. It understandably demands the full attention of the First Minister and Scottish Government. Secondly it is currently a huge problem with no definitive end in sight, nobody knows when a vaccine will be available and as the recent spike in new infections show it’s not going to be at all easy to get life back to normal, if lifting the lockdown cannot be done without these numbers increasing to alarming levels. So expecting the First Minister to lead an all out campaign to further Independence is going to be a forlorn hope.

I think what is does do is to provide the clearest evidence that the posts of First Minister of Scotland and Leader of the Scottish National Party should not be in the hands of the same person. Separating Government and Party has never been more important. Leaving the First Minister managing the Government including handling the Covid crisis while the Party Leader could drive forward the Independence agenda and keep a close eye on the internal matters within the Party.. At the moment Nicola can’t possibly do both. So it is, in my view, very unfair to blame her for the snail pace development on the next moves to achieve Independence. She can’t possibly do everything.

We know there are huge challenges coming, not least Brexit and finding ourselves outside the Single Market at the end of the year. We see Westminster plotting and scheming to remove powers from Scotland and weaken our Parliament whilst we see them building up the staffing of a potential alternative Scottish Government at the enormously expanded UK Scottish Office. We should be saying much more about this but Nicola can’t because of Covid19. Separate posts of First Minister and Party Leader would give us that voice and leadership on these key issues.

I appeal to everyone to think about this logically. There is an urgent need to control Covid. There is an urgent need to build our defences against the attacks on our Parliament and country that we all know are in the pipeline. We cannot just sit back and wait for it to happen. No, we should be building up the ability to hit back, to fire up the anger levels in Scotland that the Tories will be so petrified and totally intimidated about what they might be unleashing if they were to try. The best way to defend is to be on the attack. We need leadership to make that happen. Political Campaigning leadership.

  • So I think we need to get our act together, to separate Party and Government and allow both to operate more effectively.
  • We need to attack, not defend.
  • We need to fire up our activist base and excite the electorate
  • We must make sure Scots are ready and prepared for the challenges ahead.

Nicola has stated looking after the Covid19 crisis is all consuming. She has made absolutely clear she sees no role for herself in being political during the crisis. We cannot afford a vacuum for who knows how long?

I would stress this is NOT a knock at Nicola it is a constructive suggestion about how we can strengthen our position in advance of the onslaught we all know is coming. Try and look at it in that light and if you don’t agree fine, but spare me the juvenile loyalty test arguments. If you can’t see what’s coming your mask must be over your eyes!

I was sent this poem by a friend who said it lifted his spirits when he was frustrated about the lack of progress. It is uplifting, the support exists, we just need to make contact with them and point them in the right direction.

Say not the Struggle nought Availeth

BY ARTHUR HUGH CLOUGH

Say not the struggle nought availeth, 

     The labour and the wounds are vain, 

The enemy faints not, nor faileth, 

     And as things have been they remain. 

If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars; 

     It may be, in yon smoke concealed, 

Your comrades chase e’en now the fliers,

     And, but for you, possess the field. 

For while the tired waves, vainly breaking 

     Seem here no painful inch to gain, 

Far back through creeks and inlets making, 

     Comes silent, flooding in, the main. 

And not by eastern windows only, 

     When daylight comes, comes in the light, 

In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly, 

     But westward, look, the land is bright.

I hope it lifts your spirits as well.

I am, as always

Yours for Scotland.

Footnote

I intend to have a few days off so I will be back after the weekend. I hope you enjoy the good weather that is forecast. Stay safe my friends!

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