Like it or not, some hard facts and hard words need to be spoken before Indyref2 kicks off, and kick off it is now certain to do, sooner rather than later.
Right now British politics has never been in such a state of disarray , it is in a political melt down that rivals a nuclear reactor failure.
There has hardly been a moment to draw breath since the Euro referendum, and so much seems to be happening all at once, that it is hard to keep up with it all.
Yet today, almost unheralded and certainly not reported, was a historic day in Scottish history. For the first time since 1707, Scottish foreign policy and diplomacy was exercised, with Nicola Sturgeons visit to the European Parliament.
The reason for her meetings with the European President and others was to present Scotlands case for remaining in the EU when the rest of the UK exercises Brexit, and leaves it.
As Nicola Sturgeon has repeatedly said, her intervention as Scottish First Minister, is not primarily to do with Scottish Independence, but to serve the will of the Scottish people who by a margin of nearly 2-1 had voted to remain.
The Scottish parliament had given her the mandate to pursue the case and follow every avenue possible to further the cause for Scotland to remain in the EU.
Now while I have every faith that Nicola will explore every avenue, I am sure, and I know that she is sure too, that the only conceivable way that Scotland can remain in the EU is if we become Independent before Britain exits the EU, otherwise as even an Independent nation after that date, we would have to reapply.
So to my mind, really what is going on, Is that Nicola and the Scottish government are building relationships and support within the EU at this time, and will continue to have communications behind the scenes.
It was also notable, apart from with Spains prime minister, who is more concerned about Spains difficulties with the Catalans, that the EU is inclined to look very favourably upon Scotland, hence her meetings with Junker and others today. If the EU was not kindly disposed, these meetings would not have occurred.
What else tells me that Indyref2 is almost certainly on, and will be I guess within the 2 years after Article 50 has finally been submitted by Westminster, Is an email I received on behalf of Nicola today, asking me to renew my membership which lapsed a good number of years ago. In it, it said ” With Scotland facing the democratic outrage of being taken out the EU against our will, and a second independence referendum now on the table, I need your support.”
Pretty clear… ” A second referendum is now on the table” …the starting gun has been fired! YES2 has begun….it just hasn’t been officially announced yet.
So given, this almost certainty….I begin with my words of caution.
The title of this piece ” Nationalism the danger to Scottish Nationhood”
What do I mean by that?
Scottish Nationalism is often broadly described as being different from other Nationalisms, and other Nationalist movements, as It is uniquely Civic Nationalism, and not the nasty Nationalism of the extreme Right.
However, and here comes my words of caution… there are some within the Scottish national movement who are not civic nationalists, they aren’t the extreme right wing either, but they are pretty bone headed, often angry, and totally unwilling to compromise. They are in the minority, but can be extremely destructive just the same.
This sort was prevalent in the earlier days of the Scottish National Party, before It modernised and changed course, and a rump is still there, but not necessarily in the SNP any more.
This sort did us some damage in the YES campaign, by being intolerant, and aggressive, and argumentative with others we were trying to persuade, and succeeded in putting some people against us, or getting overly involved in arguments which were totally unproductive with intransigents on the other side.
We cannot afford such luxury this time.
During the Euro Referendum, SNP had the highest percentage of Leavers of any party.
How could this be, when the SNP official standpoint was for remain.
Quite simply, 35% or so voted leave, because they do not consider that Scotland in the EU is Independent, and want no part of it.
This is where the bone headedness comes in… It was fairly clear that if there was going to be an Indy2 any time soon, some material circumstance would have to change, and the highest likelyhood of that occurring was if England voted to Leave and Scotland voted to Remain, and as it turned out, that is exactly what happened, which is why we are talking about YES2 today.
Yet these 35% had they been more successful in their efforts, would have succeeded in destroying any chance of that happening!
Even at this stage, we find the polls saying that the 500,000 previous NO supporters who say that they have moved to YES because of the Euro referendum, there is an almost equal amount of previously YES supporters who will vote NO because the SNP are wanting to remain in the EU.
Now, I really don’t get where these people are coming from at all, It just is not rational.
The SNP stance has not changed from before, they were pro EU in the previous Indyref, and these people voted YES, but are now NO..
The only rational conclusion I can come to, Is that they are racist, or scared of immigration, and would rather be run by a basket case of a Westminster government than be part of an Independent Country working in partnership with our European neighbours.
The fact of the matter is, immigration will still occur, even if we are out of the EU, as we cannot hope to survive in a state of Isolation from the rest of the world.
There are other Nationalists who are not part of the SNP who are more extreme, but comparatively few. And given the huge upturn in SNP membership post Indyref, with many joining from different parties, that they may bring with them, some of the factional tendencies of where they came from, and this too could be destructive.
As it is, Nicola Sturgeon is doing an outstanding job, she is the only leader showing leadership in these uncertain times, and is doing so with caution, balance, and stateswomanship which is to be admired.
She is showing the way, by being inclusive, attempting to make common cause, and she is bringing others who I would have thought unlikely, round to our side…
And that is what we should be doing, we should be welcoming, constructive, balanced and thoughtful, and we should not be involving ourselves in claymore thumping.
If we are to succeed, we need to have cohesion, and enthusiasm, and encouragement, and positivity, and we need to learn the lessons from the last campaign, and this time…finally succeed
We can do this! So let us get to it!