Tuesday, December 02, 2014

The SNP have Forgotten Nothing and Learned Nothing

On September 19th 2014- a scant two months ago- we learned that Scottish voters had voted to reject the idea of Scotland as "an independent country" by a margin of well over 10%.

Apart from Vladimir Putin who, to be fair knows a thing or two about ballot rigging, the vote was universally recognized as a free and fair expression of the will of the Scottish people.

The result came after an extremely heated and divisive debate, with accusations of bias and corruption on both sides.

To my mind the No vote came from the result of many factors, but the most important was that the economic argument made by the separatists was so weak.

There might be a case for establishing Scotland, like Estonia, as an ultra-nimble free market economy; however the argument made was the exact opposite: that Scotland could only preserve its bloated and inefficient state sector through separation. This argument was self-evidently untrue, and as it became clear that separation would indeed require major economic shifts- to a new currency not least, so the Nationalist protests that little would change were exposed as wishful thinking at best and at worst... deception.

Bluster and Bullshit in the end did not cut it for the majority of the Scottish people.

Now, according to the latest opinion polls, the hard core 30-40% Nationalist coalition has crystallized into support for a single nationalist party: the SNP. The Nats, despite their defeat on the only issue that truly matters to them, may now end up gaining substantial support for the next Westminster elections. Since the other parties all face their own troubles, it is even possible that the SNP will end up as the largest party elected from Scotland at Westminster.

What bothers me now, though is the absurd, even dangerous attempt by the Nats to re-write history and put their referendum defeat down to bad faith and double dealing by those they deem to be their opponents, not least "the biased BBC". The relative surge of SNP support at the polls is taken to be proof positive that the SNP "we wiz robbed" position is actually true.

Although I have little doubt that some people may now feel able to vote SNP, since they may think that the party must now work solely within the UK system. In fact I am now more convinced than ever that in the longer term the SNP will never gain majority support at an independence referendum and that even if the large gains the polls predict for the May 2015 election do in fact take place, then this will be the last hurrah for the nationalist cause.

The fact is that within an astonishingly short period of time, the entire basis of the nationalist economic case has been blown away. As Brent crude touches $65/bbl the idea of relying on oil to ease the transition into the cold reality of separation is revealed as so much nonsense. 

The entire SNP white book is now revealed as a ground zero of economic failure and wishful thinking.

The poisonous and divisive atmosphere that has grown in Scottish politics of late is entirely down to the misguided, indeed wholly wrong, ideas of old fashioned nationalism and misguided populism that the SNP as espoused. "UKIP in a Kilt" is not a face of modern Scotland that any of us should support. The cybernat trolls, notably the foul mouthed rants of "Wings over Scotland", remain unassuaged. The deeply nasty, visceral hatred present in the SNP seems still undaunted by the implosion of their constitutional dream.

The time has come to ask the SNP what their vision is within the UK, which is the road that the majority of the Scottish voters have endorsed. Otherwise a vote for the SNP at Westminster is simply a vote for backward looking failure built on very dodgy sums and fairy dust.

The SNP, like the reactionary Bourbons of the 19th century, have forgotten nothing in their bile and resentment and learnt nothing from the defeat they deserved at the time and now in retrospect deserve even more.

Now, and perhaps more to the point, given that the Kremlin has now been proven to have been financing various political parties across the EU, can the SNP give the Scottish people assurances that the close relationship between the Russian-born former owner of Hearts football club, Vladimir Romanov, and the former first minister, Alex Salmond, did not include financial support or assistance of any kind.

For it would be something of an irony if we found that such links were deliberately left unchecked by the BBC in order to avoid yet further allegations of bias.

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