Tuesday, April 18, 2017

2021, the year of living dangerously, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon faces a four year wait minimum if there is a second independence referendum, if things don’t work at the 2021 Holyrood election, if the pro UK hold the balance of power, her position as leader becomes untenable, this could be the biggest failure to deliver in SNP history

Dear All

One of the things that Nicola Sturgeon wants is a quick independence vote as soon as Brexit ends, the reason is quite simple, she knows she is on a clock, can’t win an argument, and thinks that emotional attachment to the EU membership will blind people’s judgement.

Her fear is that Brexit becomes a huge success and she is left politically adrift much like Alex Salmond was, his campaign was a tawdry affair from start to finish, it wasn’t much in terms of substance. The Nationalists presented a sanitised view of a nirvana that they couldn’t deliver, everything will be good and there will be no bad things happening.

The truth of independence is that there will be a lot of bad things happening and those bad things will work their way down in a very real sense to ordinary working class people.

Scotland’s shipbuilding industry heavily depending on UK military warship orders would not be viable without MOD support. No British military warship has in the last 50 years been built outside the UK. During the 2014 referendum, the SNP leadership distorted the truth by claiming that auxillary vessels such as supply ships for the military counted just the same as warships.

They don’t!

It was an untruth which was continuously repeated through-out the campaign by the Nationalists in an attempt to deflect criticism. The SNP would have been responsible for the entire closure more or less of shipbuilding on the Clyde.

Independence comes at a price, nothing is free.  

And of course before any deal is signed, sealed and delivered, Nicola Sturgeon will say that the ‘deal’ is a bad deal regardless of terms. It is now highly likely that Sturgeon’s timetable will just be ignored by Westminster for several reasons; principally the Brexit talks will require their full attention. Brexit although in principle is straightforward, the untangling and timescale is not, it might be tedious, but 40 years of membership cannot be unpicked overnight.

If it can be done in two years, that would be good going but given how the EU operates, the process will be slow because of the legal aspects.

I think many people who watch the political scene know that given the length of time the previous talks and stages took on the 2014, the chances are that any second referendum would have to be pushed right back until 2021. I would say this is probably about right and this tallies with what the House of Lords Library has indicated. The various legal stages of doing through Westminster and then Holyrood all have to be met before the Queen can sign off on a second referendum.

I suppose depending on how well the Scottish Conservatives do and how badly Scottish Labour does in the council elections will to some degree shape advice being given to the Prime Minister. In a nutshell, the Scottish Conservatives would like to have a ‘shot’ at Ruth Davidson becoming First Minister in 2021.

So, well, humm, tick tick tick tick!

That’s a tricky one for the Scottish Conservatives to pull off, although they had a remarkably good Holyrood result; it was down to the collapse of Scottish Labour. The Conservatives played the pro UK card which they wouldn’t have had a chance of doing if Kezia Dugdale hadn’t dropped the ball.

Although Kezia Dugdale has since said she isn’t in favour of a second referendum, is promoting federalism, and a few other bits and pieces, she is still seeing Scottish Labour’s support drop. When a poll showed that the party had hit 14% with the public, donors weren’t supporting the party and few activists are willing to come out.

The Scottish Labour as is doesn’t fit into 21st Century Scotland, some people reckon that it has had its day, and given defeat after defeat following impending defeat, you have to wonder what can bring them back. What they do know is that they are in major trouble, and haven’t quite worked out that they don’t have a proper narrative. In this election, Scottish Labour is along with others trying to use this as a vehicle to say no to a second independence referendum.

It is the wrong strategy much like Jim Murphy’s fitba nonsense; this election is and should be all about localism, reconnection, empowerment of local groups and public service. After the election, Scottish Labour need to start addressing how to make branches and CLPs better for their members, in effect they have to invest in people beyond elected representatives.

One thing is quite clear, having been unable to invoke the ‘will of the Scottish people’, the SNP are now invoking the ‘will of the Scottish Parliament’, they see this as baby steps to attempt to get the power to call an independence referendum anytime they feel like it. One thing that Westminster must not do is shift from what the reason was for granting the vote last time. Theresa May needs to hold fast and state the franchise will only be granted if the SNP win an outright majority, this was the reason that David Cameron used to grant a section 30 order.

In politics momentum is important, but no one can sustain an independence campaign from 2017 till 2021, especially since we already had a vote in 2014. The political agenda must move on, it is the nature of politics and having Nicola Sturgeon stagnant the country for another 4 years repeating the same old failed arguments will turn people off. Already people are saying they are sick of the SNP, how are they going to feel after another stint of campaigning comes around?

Prime Minister Theresa May was right when she said "now is not the time" to stage a second referendum, at present, this is a time where all parts of the United Kingdom should be coming together in national unity. The SNP have deliberately chosen not to do so for political ends, so it was the correct decision by the UK Government to make it clear it will not even talk about the issue until after the Brexit process is completed.

If things pan out as I think they might, the second referendum may end up being led by Scotland in Union as the lead campaign group, in effect, Nicola Sturgeon would be facing a ‘direct democracy’ challenge against either her will of the parliament nonsense or overall SNP mandate. This would make for an interesting contest but you also have the pro UK political parties running their own campaigns with like minded people folding into Scotland in Union.

Scotland in Union would have to do a bit of thinking if they ended up as lead campaign group because they would have to consider bring forward proposals for change and solicit cross party support. There are a lot of balls waiting to be flung up in the air, so someone better have a lot of experience of not dropping them.

As I said to Professor Adam Tomkins in 2014, better archive everything from this campaign because it looks like we will be going again, he replied ‘I hope not, the last one was bad enough’, but as many people know I have an uncanny knack of getting it right.

2021 Holyrood elections are going to be very important in Scottish history.

Yours sincerely

George Laird

The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University


D.Stewart said...

Looking forward to reading your views following this morning's momentous news Mr Laird.

Sherbie. said...

Well done to Theresa May in calling a General Election in May. That'll sicken that useless, smug little bitch Sturgeon. Let's destroy the NATZ in May. VOTE FOR ANYONE, BUT THE SNP OR THE COWARDLY GREENS

Anonymous said...

I suspect June 8th will see the SNP off the map.

G Laird said...

Hi D.Stewart

"Looking forward to reading your views following this morning's momentous news Mr Laird."

It is a smart play by the Conservatives, 21 point lead against Labour, puts the SNP on the back foot, strengthens May's hand at the Brexit talks.

There is talk of a 140 majority but elections throw up challenges, with council elections campaigning running Scotland this is a real challenge as candidates will be seeking all the help they can get. Plus snap election, 6 weeks, very little time for newbies standing.

Scottish Labour has problems, this is another big one thrust on them today, they are struggling to get the council election done never mind a second huge Westminster campaign like this.


Anonymous said...

SNP and Lie@bour are scum

Auld Jock said...

Hello George

It is very hard to imagine la sturgeon holding it together until 2021 and winning an outright majority. People know they are spectacularly incompetent and don't give a shit about the people. Only a minority want to relive the nightmare of another referendum. As you say, people are increasingly sick of endless snp ranting about independence. Hopefully they will visibly lose support in May and June. If so, that would represent the writing on the wall. After that the snp would enter a death spiral with little chance of recovering by 2021.

Here's hoping!

Auld Jock

Smudge said...

Who cares anyway,,,,, anything that knocks the smirk of that hateful wench, Sturgeon, will please millions.
Don't vote for the SNP or the cowardly Greens,, VOTE TACTICALLY TO THROW THEM OUT.

Tony F said...

Nicola Sturgeon must be spitting feathers, Her much anticipated two day referendum debate at Holyrood was overshadowed by the death of Martin McGuiness on day 1 and by the attack on Westminster on day 2, now her promised riposte to Theresa Mays' "now is not the time" which we were promised for after the easter recess has been blown out of the water by todays announcement bt the PM. Thunder stolen much Nicola?

Aldo said...

A majority of the Scottish popular vote going to pro-UK parties and a thumping Tory victory UK wide should bury any chance of indyref2 for the next few years. The tories can simply say no, point to the vote in Scotland, and remind the nats and their pals that they failed to breach 50% despite brexit.

Aldo said...

If only. I think they'll still win 45-55 seats unfortunately. The important thing is keeping SNP/Green to less than 50% of the Scottish vote. And even if we only oust a few SNPers, we can enjoy the fact that we've flushed the careers of those particular odious individuals down the toilet.