Tuesday, March 05, 2019


If the day ever dawns during my lifetime I will vote for Scotland's independence as I did in September 2014. 

There is no question of it, despite all the accusations, mud-slinging and constant demonization I receive from those on the social media who think that everyone in the Yes Movement should meekly obey-the-leader and keep eating their cereal without having the temerity (how dare they?) of questioning quite what those leaders are up to in their positions of untrammeled power.

They accuse me of being consistently anti-SNP, no matter how many times I point out to them that it's that party's leaders I throw eggs at and never the membership. Apparently they don't understand the difference! That worries me. And when I suggest they check my FB Timeline before slating me they just ignore my invitations and continue with the cheap jibes.

So let me put the record straight: anyone who goes back to 2014 will see three years of consistently pro-SNP articles which could be said to be bordering on adulation. In those days I admit to having been a pretty unquestioning fan of Nicola Sturgeon and part of the Yes Movement's SNP-Right-or-Wrong bandwagon politics of the echo chamber.

With the rest of us I voted for and watched the SNP sweep the board in the 2015 General Election and accepted Sturgeon's decision not to fight that election on a plebiscite for independence. Clearly this was all part of her 'cunning plan' to achieve independence.

It was only in June 2017 that my eyes were opened when I saw that Sturgeon was going to fight a general election with the slogan 'Stronger for Scotland'. Stronger, but not on independence! So I organized a petition which subsequently was signed by over 1000 people before it was presented to Sturgeon. Basically the petition asked that she and the SNP should actively fight the 2017 GE on the issue of independence so that, on achieving a majority of seats in Scotland, she could use that electoral victory as yet more proof that the majority of the electorate supported independence.

There was nothing controversial about such a suggestion as until about 2010 that position was clearly in every SNP election manifesto. And an electoral victory founded on such a manifesto is the most powerful mandate recognizable amongst international bodies such as the UN and the Council of Europe.

Of course, that petition was ignored by the party hierarchy. In 2017 the SNP leadership were running scared having fallen for Tory Ruth Davidson's Goebbelesque 'Do the Day Job' attacks which Scotland's unionist media were only too happy to parrot. Instead of taking the Tories head-on and justifying the case for independence they ran away from the playground bully. And lost heavily as a result.

Nearly two years on SNP leaders admit they made a mistake and should have addressed themselves 'to the 45%' who they had abandoned in their rush to the lifeboats. So it took nearly two years, for them to acknowledge this elementary tactic which others could see, for them to leave aside their hubris and eat humble pie. And these are the clever politicians leading us to the promised land?!

And for daring to make such suggestions I was banned from SNP-controlled FB pages and roundly abused by a lot of the party faithful, many of whose company I would not personally choose. For me the phrase 'mob rule' took on a new meaning. I had criticized their leaders and become fair game from that very moment.

Until then I had dismissed accusations made by the unionist media that the SNP's cybernats were hounding politicians and abusing them. I simply didn't believe a word of it, knowing all too well how the UK establishment use this scare-tactic as a weapon against a party or leader they wish to defeat.

So imagine my sense of shock when in June 2017 those very same guns were pointed and fired at me by certain cybernats. Until that June I had unquestioningly followed the line that the SNP would liberate us all and that it was a traitorous thing to hold them in a negative light. Although, to be honest, while all the time playing the part of being one of Nicola's adoring fans, deep down another voice was cautioning me not to get too overly idealistic about this or any other political party's promises. Bob Marley's words 'Never trust a Politician' kept ringing inside.

But leaving politicians well aside (a place which they should mostly be relegated to!) my concern was with certain Yessers and their fury and intolerance of a fellow Yesser. Was this the kind of reaction to be expected for questioning the leadership of a political party? Well, having been brought up to treat all politicians with scepticism (both my parents used to read and comment on the papers last thing every night) I was now having to deal with people who treated them like demi-gods among humanity.

Perhaps it's old age but I swear I can remember a time when folk in the British Isles mostly all held politicians in a sceptical light and treated them with a healthy disrespect. I can remember, as well the history of two countries, Germany and the Soviet Union, where the endless adulation afforded political leaders was the norm in totalitarian societies. Never for a moment did I expect that slavishness ever to find a home in dear, brave, individualist Scotland.

And yet the truth is that it has and I and several others have experienced its sharp end. And it's not coming from a person or two but in a flood of hate and vitriol. And that, taken with the banning for no reason (a reason is never given) makes me feel that someone is coordinating many of these attacks. I understand that the SNP has had several requests to rein-in its supporters but no such thing has happened.

I can see that such an attempt to control would not be very successful. I couldn't see how it could work. Such a diktat from on high would never be received too well! But as well as that others have asked if their involvement in the witch-hunts on the social media might go deeper still. It hasn't gone amiss that it's invariably the SNP-controlled FB pages with a large readership whose admins are the most intolerant and the first to ban people for no obvious reason.

No matter how much you explain your position when they attack you, they dismiss you, you become a non-person. Very rarely do they attempt reasoned arguments, mostly what you get are assumptions and when they pretend niceness they quickly follow pretence with a condescending lecture or two. And basically behind all that is Big Brother's veiled threat that we must all toe the line.

That's what I'm sensing and hearing in all this from the party faithful. And I ask myself what kind of a New Scotland will it be if we are prepared to accept such levels of bigotry and intolerance? Where even fellow Yessers can be disposed of and made into non-persons for speaking their truth? Other countries have descended into one or another form of totalitarianism: Germany, the Soviet Union, and now England. Like many I pray that a New Scotland might provide a beacon of light in the surrounding darkness. I still do, despite these ominous experiences. I still believe in this country's values of inclusivity and basic decency. 

And despite all I remain an optimist that goodness will prevail.

No comments:

Post a Comment