As we await the beginnings of the hard brexit exit that the Tories seem hell bent on pursuing with the Article 50 sign off in around late March according to Theresa May.
I have been taking some time to consider what it all appears to mean, and to reflect both on the Indyref campaign of 2014, and looking forward to a new one once the Article 50 is put in place.
What do we actually know? What lessons are to be learned? How do we approach a new campaign once it begins?
What do we actually know? Well very little so far, nothing has been openly discussed, either by the Tories who seem to be completely divided over what it all means and what they actually want from it, or for that matter what do the SNP and the Scottish government want to do about it?
Much as many on the Independence side are getting agitated and want the SNP to call the next Independence referendum right now, I doubt very much that this is what the SNP have in mind. They are being cautious and they are biding their time, waiting like us all to see what the Tories are going to do next, and waiting to see how things are going to proceed. I think that this is a sensible approach, as it is only by knowing how this brexit is going to proceed, and what sort of impact it will really have, can arguments be properly made.
Soon enough there will be enough ammunition to really get stuck into it. Once the impact really starts to be felt no matter what the press and media might say, the actual evidence of what happens in peoples lives will tell its own story.
On that basis I feel that it will probably be around the autumn of next year that an Independence referendum will be called.
In the meantime the Tories and Indeed Labour have been giving us a sense from their party conferences of what is important to them.
In Labours case they spent the majority of their party conference taking about themselves. When they weren’t talking about themselves or when ace button presser Kezia Dugdale wasn’t making a fool of herself, they were talking about grammar schools and the English NHS…the only relevance to Scotland was when Kezia spent most of her time talking about the SNP. As for Brexit…well they just told the Tories to hurry up and get on with it. Then they went back to fighting each other again while proclaiming unity.
The Tories? Well Brexit means Brexit of course, and not only Brexit but hard Brexit, or Breakfast as a Welsh Tory called it. We were told it means getting shot of these rotten EU Laws in a piecemeal fashion. Such rotten laws as the Human Rights Law and anything else of value which was not Tory values.
We were told that foreigners are not welcome, and the ones who remained doing important jobs like Doctors could only stay until we had trained enough to kick them out. We were told by Mein Kampff Rudd that companies would have to make lists of their foreign workers or else get punished. They spoke about Grammar schools, and Ruth Davidson played the part of Mays Scottish Court Jester, with funny jokes about Scots thieving everything that wasn’t nailed down. Oh how they loved Ruthie…
Ruthie got so carried away with all the adulation that she said she was going to be First Minister of Scotlandshire. As for anything about Scotland…Well only May saying that she was going to malkie those divisive nationalists, and Ruthie cheering and saying SNP Bad Bad Bad…
In fact the Tories barely mentioned Labour apart from laughing at them, otherwise they saw Labour as an irrelevance.
As for either party actually coming up with any plans or policies that might be at all relevant to Scotland..forget it! Labour refused to even debate Brexit, and refused to debate trident.. Useless.
What does all this mean to me then?
As we look forward to when the next independence referendum takes place, I think that it would be a mistake to make it all about the EU.
While Brexit will make the material circumstance required by the SNP in their manifesto, and while 62% of those who voted decided to vote to remain, It is merely the trigger in my opinion, not the whole argument. To base the next indyref around the EU would be a mistake although it will play a significant part.
The reason I voted to remain was not because I am particularly fond of the EU, but rather as a brake on Westminster Tories. While we are part of the UK and the UK is in the EU, the EU stops the worst excesses of what Westminster inflicts upon us.
I also voted to remain, knowing full well if the rest of the UK voted Leave and Scotland voted to remain,then we would have the material circumstance required to trigger another Independence referendum.
It is not I think that Scots are all that fond of the EU, we barely ever bother to attend EU elections, and mostly haven’t a scooby what the MEPs get up to. We have probably learned a little more recently, but to base our independence arguments on that alone or even the effects of Brexit, bad as they are going to be would be foolish.
What we did not do enough of last time was to talk of what our aspirations for Scotland are. Nor did we take the battle to the unionists…the SNP and the old YES campaigners were playing it all nicey nicey….rather than ripping into all the garbage of the Better Together mob and the dire state of the Union. Not this time I hope!
Instead of allowing them to regurgitate the same old disproved arguments of the past, which they will do. We need to dictate the debate ourselves, and instead of being always on the defensive, go on the attack. If we want this…we are going to have to go all out for it.
We need to create a vision, think of how things can be better, not just some sort of continuation of the same. Admit we don’t have all the answers yet, nor can we be expected to, but inspire folks to think of what can be, how we can do better.
Brexit breaks it… Indy fixes it.