Is That The Time?

Oh my god! I forgot it’s election day. Sitting with a coffee from my George Clooney machine looking at a blue sky in Glasgow and thinking there was something I had to do today. Vote, you clown…So we’ll pop round to the Maryhill Burgh Halls a little later. But who to vote for? Am I agonising? Wracked with doubt? Not really, no.

First, when I see who the Unionists are what they think of Scots from Neil Oliver to right wing nutcase Iain Martin to the hypocrites at the Record, I couldn’t vote for them if they changed overnight and backed independence. It is Unionism and its facilitators here at home who have kept Scotland down, stripped us of our resources and people and now tell us we’re so poor after 300 years that we can’t afford national dignity. Some sad Scots will still vote for them. Not me.

I’m fed up too being told I have to think of sharing my allegiance with other parties and that the list vote is some kind of luxury accessory in the campaign for independence. We don’t really need it so we lend to somebody who says they’re really after the same thing as me only they’d do it differently.

They’d add new voices and challenge the SNP. I’m sure they would – I remember the Greens voting down the Scottish budget a few years ago. How much challenge does the SNP need? Is the combined opposition not enough? What about adding in the relentless attacks of the media? When it comes to broadcasting there is barely a single non-payroll SNP commentator in the studios. There are institutional critics in the unions, the professional bodies and the think tanks. There are loads of them in the universities. Out in cyberland there is no shortage of vehement critics blasting the SNP’s record on everything from the fracking embargo to income tax. Nothing wrong with criticism of course but some of these are the same people who want SNP votes to get them elected. I don’t want to be hurtful but the stark truth about almost all Greens and Rise support is that it piggybacks on SNP success. They all played a massive role in the indyref it’s true, but in an election they’re reliant on the SNP hoovering up constituencies to provide them a platform to play on. Is Rise standing in every constituency? Or the Greens? Hardly – they’re actually voting SNP on the first ballot because it’s only through an SNP success that they have a voice. Yet they’re the same people who want the right to ‘scrutinise and challenge’ and ‘ hold to account’ the SNP.

The argument is that the SNP can’t expect its own people to ‘challenge’- except on NATO and land reform, that is. Well they probably agree with most of the policy and approach so why would they? However, I also believe there is growing concern among the newer Nats that there is scope to push harder on some social issues and that voices will be raised sooner rather than later. It stands to reason that in a large party there is a breadth of opinion and discipline only takes you so far. So I expect that more radical edge to cut through. And I’m not convinced it makes a difference if there are two or six or 10 Greens making similar dissenting noises in Holyrood but I do welcome a block of Greens as a major contributing factor to the debate – I just don’t want to rely on them for a majority. Why?

Because their main aim isn’t independence. They exist to promote environmental policies and however sympathetic to that you are, that is a siding on the track to self-government. And, as I’ve argued before, however much I disagree with Unionist voters, they are our people and part of our nation and we have to find ways of bringing enough of them onside to win the next time. A coalition with what they see as a fringe party with policies like 60% tax rates would look to them unconvincing. As it would at Westminster, to the opposition at Holyrood and across the media where Nicola Falls Short headlines and endless jibes about failing to meet targets and being rejected will dominate the next few years. Nats Sent Homewards to Think Again will be the gleeful headline across the papers and the BBC.

My objective long term is independence. Only one party unequivocally stands for that.

My objective meantime is competence and good government. Only one party has shown it can deliver that.

I think those who claim the SNP is guaranteed a win of some kind are misreading it. They will be the biggest party but an overall majority is as risky a bet as it was in 2011 when the list vote was essential. Our voting system doesn’t allow a clear preference as does STV in placing your choices in first, second and third. So the list vote is always a wild card as it depends so much on the constituency result. Even backing the SNP on the list isn’t a guarantee of stopping a Unionist winning in some areas but it remains the best bet in an unknowable ballot. It also means you know you couldn’t do more than you did for the cause. If your priority like mine is independence, I’d say it’s pretty much a duty to trust the party leading the drive to achieve it.

(All I have to do is convince someone else in the house to do the same…)

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29 thoughts on “Is That The Time?

  1. Tedious Tantrums

    Surely people can see that giving all votes possible to the SNP is the only way to go. We do that and we can get independence sooner. Once we have it we can sort out our own way, our own democratic process and make our way in the world. We can argue and fight as. I have as we want after we gain the biggest prize which is independence.

  2. Alison Kennedy

    Never give up writing. You cut through all the dross and make everything really clear and easy to understand.

  3. 😀 LOL Good luck on the last line Derek.

    On the post? Has to be said I pretty much agree with everything. I’d rather not wake up tomorrow morning to find a significant raise across the board in overall votes and a yet a depressing drop in seats and parliamentary influence because of the peculiarities of our voting system.

    People can’t afford a fractured parliament or government in the face of the current Westminster government. We’ve seen what they are capable of regarding their dealings with Scotland. The will and intent behind their current stand was there for all to see in the current devolution debates and fiscal settlement negotiations. Harm was the intent. Nothing less than to place a massive economic and constitutional albatross around the Scottish population’s neck.

    The time for that rainbow parliament is coming, but not yet IMO.

  4. This election has been dogged from the beginning by siren voices telling us that an SNP win was inevitable , so no need to vote , or , give your ”second” vote to a minor party . This is a subtle strategy to defeat the independence movement at the ballot box by syphoning away votes which inevitably, under this voting system, will weaken the SNP’s chance of winning an overall majority at Holyrood .
    Then just listen to the unionist voices crowing at this ”defeat” for the separatists .

    Get out and vote SNP X2 – if you want independence . Voting Rise or Green or any other bloody party won’t get us to the winning line .

  5. Just back from standing at a polling stn in the other end of Mayhill, Kelvin Primar”y. Many SNP voters were giving their second vote to P Harvey because “the Greens are for Independence. Not quite true We’ll need to meet to in Maryhill something for a dram.

  6. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m a Conservative who believes in Scottish independence, and despite my reservations about the majority of SNP policies (their support for the EU is baffling IMO) I still cast both votes for the SNP, as I recognise they are the only vehicle for getting us independent.

    At any rate, another good article.

    • Time to get people of the centre right who believe in Scotland’s right to govern itself organised to create a party which will come up with pollcies to take Scotland forward. Apart from addressing the issue of swinging at least some part of the “No” vote over to “Yes”, that will also get the basis of some kind of party structure in place before independence is achieved.

      Both Scottish Labour and the current Scottish Conservative party have for too long, and with too much enthusiasm, promulgated the Westminster line for them to have any credibility at Holyrood

  7. Hear, hear – SNP X 2!

  8. Absolutely right, Derek. Independence comes first (and second)!

  9. Totally agree Derek. I have some sympathy for the aspirations of the smaller parties like the Greens and Rise but the SNP was very much a small party until fairly recently – discipline and hard work sustained over the years got them where they are today. Maybe in 10 years time today’s small or fringe parties will have put in the hard slog to get them the support needed to have a legitimate and credible claim in future elections but until then the SNP have my full support.

  10. What I find really annoying is the lack of exit polling. I realise this is usually agreed with the parties to fund it. But having to wait till 2am to get an inkling is painfull. Although wee Ruth has usually told us the postal results by now!

  11. Without doubt, SNP X 2.

  12. Butterflies in stomach and nail-biting time. It’s going to be a long day and evening. Hope the results are worth the wait.

  13. Totally agree on your article. Thank you for all you have shared. The political awakening in Scotland has been phenomenal. The time on social media that people have spent (in the juggling act of their lives) has been immense. Have read such insightful inputs in so many sites. Thankful for FB and social media to keep us informed. Otherwise mainstream who would have with one or two exceptions have a skewed reporting. Channel 4 news seem to still have an input of investigative journalism. Are you serious? A member of your household not convinced? Cannae be true!

  14. Today I am voting and hoping for a SNP majority government.

    Failing that I will be positive about an ‘Independence minded’ parliament. Anything else will depress me for a day or so and then it’s a kick start for the engine and race forward again with the roar of learning important lessons to address for the future.

    Sometimes as an old saying goes…”The best way to eat an elephant is a bite at a time!”

    We’ve already bitten the elephant of unionist privilege on the bahookie and now it’s time to go for something a bit more vital and outlook altering; life affirming for us and painful for the elephant!

    To those perched on the howdah of Westminster ‘noblesse-oblige’ and media incomprehension, it really does seem that the promotion of a ‘positive case for Unionism’ (I could come up with more than they have) is a second priority to seeing the SNP and Indy supporters in general suffer a humiliating reverse. They seem to believe that unity of purpose is best served by reinforcing frictions and factions. But of course that is no more than the pus from the boil of 300 years of ‘tradition, pomp, ceremony and privilege”.

    And where has that intrinsic illusion led them? To a strange new dimension of the imagination where they have managed to corrupt the already disastrous concept of a Pyrrhic victory into an insane clarion call for festivities at the feet of failure.

    In the real world a Pyrrhic triumph is of course where a battle is won at such great cost to the victor that it is tantamount to a defeat. But wait a moment! The blue blood of the true unionist knows that there is so much more to this ‘tally ho for king and country’ than meets the eye. Perhaps we have underestimated their talent for gratuitous self-immolation.

    They seem to have decided that ‘Victory’ itself is no longer a necessary ingredient in their recipe for triumphant rejoicing! Royalists/loyalists/corgiists/westministerists are incomprehensibly preparing to sing and dance in celebration of a LOSS!

    The self-delusional vanquished are hoping to mark their trouncing (I think that’s the first time I’ve ever used that word) by staggering and stumbling across the wasteland of dismembered manifestos while rattling their mortally corroded policies in defiant surrender and whispering their dying lying vows as a final epitaph to their lack of vision.

    Pyrrhic with Christmas light on it!

    And while they self-flagellate and scream in bewilderment, they can’t hear the murmur in the background; a murmur soon to be a roar.

    Listen, I can hear it. Can you?

    They not only can’t hear it yet, they don’t want to hear it. They are still hallucinating in the trip-like new dimension where the voices of disaffection are no more than an irritant to be ignored.

    “Hey man, let’s stick our fingers in our ears chaps….it’ll stop soon enough” a futile attempt to drown out reality beneath their raucous psychedelia and chants proclaiming DEFEAT!

    It is a strange reality indeed, but let us hope they continue on this delusional gadarene path. For lining that road and cheering them on to the edge of oblivion are TODAY’s youth, straining at the reins with their pens in hand, rehearsing the next election’s ‘x’ for independence.

    And even after them, waiting their turn, forming an orderly queue just around the corner stand TOMORROW’S generation.

    I talk to them and they make me smile.

    They are magically imaginative, ambitious and fantastic children who come from every corner of the earth and will continue to do so; they know so much more about what’s possible, what’s needed and most of all what is worthwhile.

    And there are so many MORE of them than at anytime in the past.

    They’ve seen what happens when you leave things to those ‘who know best”, they’ve watched the utter insanity of trying the same thing over and over and over again; they’ve watched as insularity has fragmented humanity and they are sick of being lectured by charlatans spouting fairy tales of sows’ ears, silken purses, Midas and somewhere over the friggen rainbow!

    I can tell ‘They are not happy’ and irrespective of what happens today….it is but a matter of time.

    And that is my reality. I am so grateful for the generations before who taught me; I am even more delighted for my own ageing peers who are witnesses to the progress that has been made. But most of all I am ecstatic for and about those who are coming up on the rails.

    This was a race worth running, worth even falling behind at times but most of all it was a race where the real victory will be marked by the recognition that ‘humanity’ matters.

    Build around that heartbeat and everything else will fall into place. It won’t be easy. I can’t remember anyone ever saying that it would or should be. But my God/Allah/Jehovah/Krishna/Buddah/Mother Nature/ Providence or whoever, it will be worthwhile.

    So today I’m a wee bit disappointed Derek…I’ve only got two votes!

  15. Ditto as regards ‘butterflies’. Please let the nightmare of ‘falling short’ pass us totally by. Good read DB.

  16. The plea of “lend us your vote” just doesn’t make sense. Votes can’t be loaned – loans are repaid, returned. Votes, once given, are gone.

  17. Brian McHugh

    I have finished work and cracked the beer open… It’s good for nerves.

    My SNPx2 was in early this morning ☺

  18. Good article , your writing is quality , and inspires me to emulate it .

    One point , I don’t call myself , (or know anyone who does ) a “Unionist ” .
    I have friends and family members who vote SNP , (Some who served in the British Army even ) but I simply cant understand why someone would put Scotland before Britain

    When I have asked them I get “there is poverty in Scotland ” or some such , But I don’t see it either , there may be folk who are hard up , but there not exactly blocking the job centre up to get a job ,

    Every Hotel , Building site , and Farm , you go to there is a foreigner working (even in Greggs today , was served by a Bulgarian and a Italian )

    So its a lack of drive and motivation , or “Poverty ” is not as bad as it seems or is made out to be , in a modern Western European state .

    added to that their is the default anti-British brigade , who have no compunction about dismantling Britain , to create Scotland . I can only think Britain’s demise please them

    I don’t understand that either , but each to their own .

    So I will just vote for a party that wants to keep Britain together , so that the British people can share these islands , unrestricted , and be served by one Parliament .

    for ever more

    • One parliament for the island of Ireland.

      • Dan. I also did time on the British Army and still believe in a United Ireland and a Scottish Socialist Republic. I voted SNP. I despise Labour for what they did to Ireland, Scotland, Iraq and the working class in general.

  19. Still trying to get the other voter in this house to vote SNPx1, let alone x2!
    Got about an hour left until we go…

  20. Papko, I’m Scottish and I slowly learned, despite my conventional education, that the Union has been an utter disaster for my country.

    You say you don’t see poverty in Scotland? I think you need to get out more. Or, if you can’t be bothered, just look at the food bank statistics.

    There is no such thing as the “British people” (unless you refer to the autochthonous Celtic peoples before the Anglo-Saxon invasions) and we don’t need to dismantle Britain to create Scotland. Scotland exists, as it has since about 870 AD, and it will not just exist but flourish once we remove the dead hand of your beloved “one Parliament”, which, it seems to me, is irredeemably corrupt and now serves the narrow interests of Neocon Red and Blue Tories who wish to inflict further austerity poverty on the poor while avoiding as much tax as possible for the rich.

    We had no choice in the creation of the original Union, which was brought about by bribery of the Scottish “nobility” and the threat of invasion by Marlborough’s army. The people of Scotland hated the Union and there was widespread rioting thereafter. The much misrepresented Jacobite period was just another phase of resistance, this time to the imposition of a Hanoverian dynasty at the expense of the native Stuart line.

    Keep voting as you wish, and good luck with that, but Scotland will have to move on without you.

    • Thx Tinto for replying

      Your point about “Foodbanks ” , from what I can gather ,” Foodbanks “are 3 days emergency ,rations given out when referred , there is estimated 2 million in Britain who use them from time to time , so say 200k in Scotland , partake of £70 worth of food (enough for 3 days )

      Apart from “Foodbanks ” being in use all over the EU (incl Ireland , Norway , Germany ) , so I conclude there will always be someone using them no matter what we do

      And why is giving them a £70 food voucher , or £70 cash any better than giving them food ?

      What would you do ? sound s like its a few hundred million a year to solve this problem (in Scotland ) if its at all possible

      As to “no such thing as British people ” , that’s what my friend says s, and his father is Irish , (so tends to default against Britain )

      I would say there has been a movement to unite the peoples of these Islands , since at least the
      Union of the Crowns , being British is liking this idea , I also have a British passport (which I like having )

      As to all that rioting in 1707 and the Union being decided by the “Nobles ” , how exactly were decisions made in those days ? do we have any data from the elections then ? did not “nobles ” decide pretty much everything in those days (big decisions )

      How common was “rioting ” in those days to express displeasure ?

      Whatever happened , Scots soon saw the benefits of belonging to a larger entity , and many of us still do .

      Thx for your civility , I am genuinely curious about other peoples opinions .

  21. Papko, your Irish friend is right.

    Decisions were made by the nobility then. There were no elections in those days, as we understand them. Indeed, two hundred years later, most of those fighting in WW1 were not eligible to vote, since there was a property qualification which disqualified most of the working class.

    The Scots didn’t have the choice about belonging to a larger entity in 1707. And rioting was all the people had against their “betters”.

    Your arguments about food banks are naïve in the extreme. I suggest you visit one and see the decent people who are the victims of the grotesque economic system we have in place in 2016.

    Vote as you wish, Papko, just don’t deny history.

    • Thx Tinto , but once again re “Foodbanks ” no one , including anyone in Govt , or yourself , can actually quantify what “they ” cost , and how to “solve ” the problem .

      You say its because they are “part of a system ” , but the same system or variations of it exists all over Europe (including the “Celtic Tiger ” )

      So quite how you are going to “fix It ” intrigues me , (if off course the Scottish Govt do want to fix it ? perhaps in 2018 ,,when the new welfare powers come in ? )

      Your point about the electorate and the first WW is a good one , as the 1918 GE , saw a near doubling of the people eligible to vote .

      Whether this was “Westminster ” deliberately disenfranchising the Scottish working class up to then , or whether everyone in the UK was treated the same and got the same eligibility at the same time , including off course Ireland .

      There have been countless millions of people born and died in the British isles , throughout the last 5 hundred years or so , and many more millions interacted with them in mainland Europe and other continents .

      every one of them has a different interpretation of “history ” .

      My view on the Union , was that it may well have been unpopular at the time , but ordinary folk then were used to their “betters ” making decisions for them (as they had done for centuries before )

      And they soon saw the advantages entailed in a larger trading economy , with ambition to jostle for position in the power struggles of their European neighbours

      • Robert Graham

        I would suggest you have a look at the Alien act 1705 passed by the English Parliament as a precursor to the 1707 Union of Parliaments this gives the flavour and the background to this advantageous Union you mention , with English armies set to invade , and the English Parliament preparing to strangle the Scottish economy Scotland was presented with an offer just like the Mafia (An offer they couldn’t refuse) not quite the peach you refer to .

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