He is not talking about Scotland though. For unionists what makes obvious sense all over the rest of the World does not apply to Scotland. Why? Because Westminster has not finished with Scotland yet. We are their cash cow, we are an asset rich, resource rich nation who unlike the sixty four other nations who have managed to break free in the last hundred years from London’s grip we are still tethered to a system that actively works against our best interests every single day.
I truly wonder how anyone can be a Unionist in Scotland nowadays. Are they blind to what is happening? The next few weeks are going to take this blindness to new levels. How can you miss us being dragged out the Single Market against our clearly expressed wishes? Are you blind to the obvious Westminster tactic of undermining Devolution? It may be far from perfect but Devolution has delivered much more for Scotland than what went before. We must not sit back and let this happen. Whimpering opposition will do nothing. I await some real opposition.
Gove is right, regaining democratic control in your own country will make people happier. It is the clearest admission that allowing others to control your future is a very unhappy existence, a much poorer option than ensuring the key decisions are taken by those best placed to do so, those living and working in Scotland and therefore being the best informed about what is needed and with the most at stake in getting those decisions right. Surely nobody believes Scotland’s well-being is top of Westminster’s agenda, our priorities are rarely discussed and if any solution clashes with England then there is no hope of winning any vote where our representatives are outvoted by a margin of ten to one. Are Unionists-in Scotland blind to these facts? How do they suggest we overcome such an incredible disadvantage? Do they care?
Now I know there is a theme in current thinking that we need to be gentle with No voters in the hope they can be magically transformed into new YES supporters. Will that create a solid base of Yes supporters? People that will stay Yes supporters when the full might of the UK MEDIA is turned on against Independence in any referendum campaign. Let’s be kind and just state that remains to be seen. Covid 19 has had an impact but for how long?
Now I get told all the time that things are going well because the polls are good. Polls are encouraging but they don’t always materialise, particularly if that support you have been expecting has been gathered on a lot of other topics rather than straightforward support for Independence.
I question that strategy and let me explain why. Political “experts” were stunned and amazed that following the 2014 Referendum, the YES vote did not just melt away and disappear following what was a hugely dispiriting result. Far from melting away the YES supporters doubled down and determined to carry on the fight. Many tens of thousands joined the SNP. The SNP swept the board in all elections since, other than a slight dip in 2017 when the SNP LEADERSHIP forgot to campaign effectively for Independence in the election and 500,000 Independence supporters stayed home unenthused. They didn’t vote for anyone else. I gently remind folk that was an election when the polls got it seriously wrong as hundreds of thousands of “SNP” supporters didn’t turnout on the day. There is a very important reason why they didn’t, it provides the answer about how and why we should be campaigning today.
Our success in 2014 was gained not by being gentle with No voters, no we were running a CONVERSION CAMPAIGN, where we convinced people that Independence offered the best way forward for Scotland. For the first time in my lifetime many Scots thought about it seriously, decided we were right and were converted, not just for that referendum, but for all future elections (or referendums) that Independence offered the best way forward. Since then they have used their votes to forward the cause of Independence. In 2017 they were ahead of the SNP on this and even when the SNP run the most awful dispiriting campaign hardly mentioning Independence they either still voted for them or refused to vote against them and stayed home. The SNP learned their lesson and moved Independence back up the agenda and were once again rewarded with more success. The go slow Nationalists would do well to recognise these facts and ensure that whatever campaign they announce for next May has a sufficiently strong pro Independence message at the forefront that will enthuse and invigorate that huge section of the electorate. We also need another CONVERSION campaign from the start of 2021 until polling day and on.. It is worth recalling that the previous CONVERSION campaigning took us from the mid twenties to forty five percent support in a relatively short period.
To win Independence we need to win the argument on Independence. We need believers, not just supporters. We need those who cannot be diverted from the goal, who will not be swayed by a hostile media or a patently false “Vow”.
Everyone in the YES movement must play their part but those professional Party Members, especially our army of elected MP’s and MSP’s should be singled out, with measurable targets where during the term they have been elected for they should deliver clear progress on driving Independence forward. I am working on putting together some constructive suggestions on how this could be achieved. Our elected politicians are our most precious assets, they have much to offer and deliver. They should be organised, enthused and supported to become much more effective.
Last month the ordinary membership took back control of the NEC and a spirit of new hope and energy swept the entire YES movement. It has created a momentum which was badly needed and will achieve great things if it can be maintained. New focus and specific roles and targets are the way to go. I know politics and business are different but there are also a lot of similarities as well. A well organised sales force, highly motivated and armed with the most convincing message and supporting literature is a powerful tool, particularly if it is well led.
The aim should be to bring together the best message, with the best organisation and effort, all pushing forward on the widest front challenging Scots to confront the truth that only Independence provides the escape route from the hopelessly inefficient, bumbling dishonesty of Westminster which is mired in squandering huge amounts of public money enriching their friends and donors and which is now planning to privatise the NHS and other vital public organisations. Threatening the very existence of the Scottish Parliament itself. There is an urgency in stopping these things happening. Timidity and failing to act when the right conditions permit is a failing every big as being rash. Cool, rational decision making would suggest it is unlikely better conditions than those present now will exist again any time soon. It is time to take our brave pills.
When we secure democratic control of our country, our people will be richer, our country will be fairer and capable of so much more. Through example, we can achieve great good and our future will be much, much brighter.
It is not a dream, it is achievable, and soon. We just need the right plan and the determination and energy to make it so. Let’s do it!
I am, as always
Yours for Scotland
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