Tag Archives: Unionist parties

Lots of Bombs, but not much Love

In the aftermath of the referendum campaign the real views of English Unionists pretty quickly began to emerge. David Cameron could hardly wait for the result to indulge in a bit of Scots bashing with his barely thought through wish for English votes for English laws, the aptly called EVEL. More of a proposal to turn MPs from Scotland into second class citizens than anything else. That little bit of indulgence is nothing compared to the barrage of anti Scottish hysteria which seems to have gripped almost everyone in the English media.  See here for a glimpse into this mindset, curtesy of Wings over Scotland. The lovebombing from before the referendum has disappeared completely, to be replaced by rather nasty hate bombs.

It is truly remarkable that for a mixture of short term gain and a tribal hatred of the SNP most Unionists are pursuing an approach which can only damage what they profess to hold most dear. What is really surprising is that these Unionists seem to be blissfully unaware of the potential damage they are doing to their beloved UK. Only a few distressed Unionist such as Alex Massie have remained clear headed enough to see the big picture.

This is one in which most Unionist have either crossed, or have come close to crossing the line between opposing the influence of the SNP and rejecting the right of any MP from Scotland to influence the government of the UK. This is particularly dangerous territory for Labour. It is perfectly understandable, if utterly stupid from a pro UK perspective, for the Tories to reject outright any involvement of the SNP in a UK government. They and everyone else knows that the SNP will not have anything to do with supporting a Tory government. So it is a pretty cheap stunt on the part of the Tories to call for Labour to also reject outright any deal with the SNP. The Tories have nothing but David Mundell to lose in Scotland, and his loss is most unlikely to have any effect on the prospects of the Tories remaining in government.

There is though far more at stake for Labour. Even if the party does as badly as some of the predictions, it will remain a major party in Scotland and will hope prosper once again, not just at Holyrood but also at Westminster. Here is the rub though. If Labour were to reject now any kind of deal with the SNP after May, they run the risk that at future UK elections, English Unionists will question why Scottish Labour MPs should get any say in a UK government.  If SNP MPs can be excluded, why not all Scottish MPs?

The recent intervention by Alan Johnston was also misjudged. He wants to rule out a deal with the SNP, not apparently because they are Scottish, but on the grounds that they would want the removal of Trident as part of any deal. However many Scottish Labour MPs also support the removal of Trident. Are they too to be cast out from any deal? What about any English or Welsh Labour MP who also supports the removal of Trident? Are they to be excluded from the formation of a Labour government? This is pretty much inconceivable. Which just exposes that Alan Johnston’s real objection is to MPs from Scotland having any kind of influence on a future UK government. His comments are doubly dangerous for Labour. They confirm that Labour is a pro Trident party, a position that is at odds with most of the potential voters that Labour has to win back. By opposing any role for the SNP in a UK government he is effectively ruling out for the future, any role in a UK government for any MP from Scotland.

Whatever the result of the election in May, the long term effects of this hate bombing of Scotland can only persuade even more Scots that next time, and there will be a next time, the only vote is Yes.

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Labour attacks on SNP is good for YES

Unionists and BritNats and their friends in the media constantly try to frame the referendum as all about the SNP. Often this framing is reduced even further by equating Scottish independence as all about Alex Salmond.  An example of this was to be seen at last week’s Scottish Labour conference.  There most of the time seemed to be devoted to attacks on Alex Salmond and the SNP.  This blatant attempt to ignore all the many other parties and groups campaigning for independence used to annoy me greatly. It is still a bit annoying, but I have now come to the conclusion that attacking Alex Salmond and trying to equate independence with supporting the SNP is counter productive and on balance good for the YES campaign.

SNP does support independence

All these media attacks on the SNP achieve one thing for sure – almost blanket publicity for the SNP. And on the old adage that no publicity is bad publicity, this can only be good for the SNP. Just think how much it would cost to get that amount of media coverage. Here it comes all for free.  Even the opposition parties keep talking about the SNP. Now it would be good to get more media coverage for the likes of the Greens and Radical Independence, to name but two, but the bottom line is the SNP is in favour of independence. So while it is unfair to the other parties and groups also campaigning for independence, all this media attention on the SNP also means useful free publicity for YES.  More please!

Unionists attack SNP because they have nothing positive to say

Those who oppose independence have no alternative vision for Scotland. This has become even more obvious as the Tories, LibDems and now Labour, have all produced variations on well, pretty much nothing.  Assorted commissions have come up with slightly different versions of bland proposals which at best change nothing and at worst are unworkable. These proposals demonstrate both the emptiness and the duplicity at the heart of the No campaign.  If we are indeed Better Together, then why do we need further change anyway?  If, on the other hand, further devolution is a good thing, then why has it not happened already? The Tories and LibDems are in power now while Labour was in power until 2010. Why did they do nothing when they had the power to do so? Something fishy about suddenly producing proposals now. One can readily see why it is so much easier to just attack Alex Salmond and the SNP. Scaremongering at least avoids having to argue for something positive.  It will be interesting to see how long the Unionist and BritNat parties can keep up the pretence that these proposals can be delivered and would make any difference even if they were delivered.

By attacking SNP, Unionists have missed the Big Picture

This is perhaps the biggest mistake Unionists and BritNats have made. They all seemed to believe their own propaganda – there was no real chance of a YES vote and just to make sure, a dose of scaremongering from Project Fear would do the trick. Concentrate on attacking the SNP and everything will be fine. After all the whole of the media, print and broadcast, were solidly behind the Union. And just to confirm things opinion polls consistently predicted a big No vote.  Well, up to a point milord. Underneath the radar of the media and the Unionist parties, things were stirring across Scotland. New groups were emerging covering all sections of Scottish society. And all were campaigning for YES. Not in newspapers or in TV studios, but in local communities up and down the land.  Public meetings, street stalls, canvassing, music events and goodness knows what else. In addition more and more undecideds or previous supporters of the UK were changing to supporting YES. Some were well known names, many were former leading members of the Labour party, most were just ordinary people. All this grass-roots activity has generated a big shift from No to YES, as recent polling has confirmed.  This new trend towards YES has clearly taken the Unionists and BritNats completely by surprise. While all their attention was on attacking the SNP, they seemed to have been unaware of what has been happening on the ground across Scotland. And what will continue to happen between now and September, only with even greater intensity and enthusiasm.

The Emperor has no clothes

Finally the penny seems to be dropping on our beleaguered Unionist and BritNat friends. People in Scotland do want more control over our lives and more power for our Parliament. The belated and tawdry offerings from the Unionist parties are unlikely to convince many. More and more undecideds are likely to move to YES. And what have the No campaign to offer? More scaremongering? Who will believe them? It looks more and more that by playing the man, the No campaign has lost not just the plot but the game.

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