How long is Scotland prepared to continue hanging around at the margins of the UK?
Rattling over to Edinburgh on the peak time “Waverly-Queen”, the land of the Metro, the two senior managers I was sat next to spent the journey in crisis talks over a media strategy document for their nationwide PLC. Quoth man #1, “Should the decisions be made by the people on the ground who know the facts or by someone in London?” Who cares what man #2 said, man #1 had nailed it.
I’ve worked with a bunch of organisations with “head offices” in London. Always the Scottish end just gets told what to do. Oh yeah, ‘a representative’ gets to the London meetings, but that’s just to ensure ‘buy-in’ for decisions that don’t reflect the Scottish facts because they are always marginal.
This is the fate of Scotland in the Union. This is why its time for independence.
But what do the SNP want to talk about – taxation!?! Oh Pleeease. Clearly the donks who make up strategy are all terribly excited about Mathewson and Souter, but when they’re not unveiling a high profile supporter all their lines on independence are fearty ones, scared in case they frighten off the cowerin timerous beasties that read the Unionist press. It is risible that the SNP have to actually come out to assure us they really will have a referendum in the next parliament – because they’ve down played the issue so much.
The SNP want to talk about tax, they want to talk about normal boring domestic ‘grown up’ politics, they want to present themselves as the credible party ready for power. But this is 2007, the 300th anniversary of the Act of Union, when at last Scotland has a shot at being the nation again. Oh come on, we’ve sung the song, worn the T shirt, and flown the flag – for so long. The symbolism matters.
No doubt the SNP think its a tactical game (it is), they think they can take my vote for granted because I want an Independent Scotland. So best keep the Independence question pushed out of sight, stop Labour getting more chances to espouse their ‘black hole’ theory.
But it ain’t that simple. By failing to fly the flag of independence proudly in this tercentenary year, the many who want Independence, but see the SNP only as a means to that end, might just not bother to vote. If Alex and Nicola are more interested in their own power, than delivering the end of the Union, a whole bunch of people like me might lose confidence. There’s an much much bigger number of people who will not vote at all if the election is fought on the ‘normal’ domestic agenda. Tax is so boring and ALL politicians are liars when they present complex data (heard a good budget speech recently?). The numbers may be true, but the messaging is twisted and mashed up – wholesome food becomes vomit.
If the SNP content themselves with playing a boring campaign it makes them look like they’ve got something to hide. Better to make the case. Just relying on Labour blowing it isn’t good enough. Complacency breeds contempt.
ps. Why have the SNP not settled the question of the status of an Independent Scotland in the EU or at least lined up an unassailable raft of legal, constitutional and European opinion? And why have they allowed the GERS ‘black hole’ report to go unchallenged when it’s so easy to take apart (see below: Calculators at Dawn). It’s pretty slack.