A change is as good as a rest
Surprised? Well let’s see, there’s not much going on just now on Brexit that we haven’t already talked about. So I thought maybe a change is as good as a rest.
Today in the Scotsman Pamela Nash (ex Labour MP and leader of Scotland In Union) wrote an article which says that the SNP do not speak for Scotland. So let’s have a wee look at that.
What does “speaking for Scotland” actually mean?
For me, it’s lots of things but it means making sure that the collective voice is heard, preferably from the people themselves. It means that the wide variety of views that any collective group have are represented. We don’t need a consensus, different groups have different needs. It means consulting widely and listening to those you may not agree with and it means challenging situations where you are being ignored and forgotten about. It means standing up for what the group agrees they want you to stand up for, even if it’s hard to do.
And so, perhaps not surprisingly I don’t agree with Pamela Nash. We are once again, facing an independence referendum precisely because the SNP have been speaking for Scotland and we have seen again and again that it gets us absolutely nowhere.
Brexit has been an eye opener for many. Time and again the SNP MPs have tried to engage WM on Scotland’s needs for Brexit, the need to protect our economy – reliant on EU workers for example; the need to protect our many businesses – reliant on the single market, customs union; our world class universities – reliant on international collaboration. Many many times the SNP and the SG have spoken for the people of Scotland – those on the end of the appalling Universal Credit, pip reviews, benefit caps, they have mitigated the effects of so many of WM policies that some of us think those policies have actually gone away. They have done all this whilst Tory politicians vote through policies which they know will damage all the things we have mentioned already and Punish people even further and the Labour Party sit on their hands and can’t agree about anything.
In 2014 Scotland voted to stay in the UK and I wrote about how we moved on in 2015 in a blog post called “Mad Bad and Dangerous to know” where I said
“it’s about working within our political system to get the best we can for Scotland and the rest of the UK.”
Brexit has shown with absolute clarity that we are unable to do that. It has shown that we cannot achieve the best outcomes for Scotland whilst working within our political system. We can’t even speak in WM without sneers, jeers and being told to go back to Scotland.
And so Pamela Nash and her merry band of Scotland In Union pals are wrong. The SNP is speaking for Scotland. The electorate empowered them to do so when they voted for them in 2015 in WM, in 2016 in Holyrood and in 2017 in WM. They are the biggest Scottish Party by any measurement you choose, they hold the largest number of Scottish seats in WM and in Holyrood, they have the largest membership in Scotland and the second largest in the UK, they are the Scottish Government and they are leading in the polls by a huge amount.
Speaking up for Scotland is exactly what the SNP have been doing. An independence referendum is part of that. It’s about giving Scotland a choice on our future having seen what that future may be like. All of Scotland – even those who do not agree with the SNP like Pamela Nash. Our world has changed since 2014 and we need to give people an opportunity to have their say on what happens next. On how that future will look.
We can be an independent Scotland with a voice at the EU table, supported by the rest of the EU nations, an equal partner – like Ireland – with our own voice, our own vote and control over our own future.
Or we can be Scotland – a region of an increasingly isolated, angry and unequal UK, dragged out of the EU against our democratically decided will. Where people like Tommy Robinson are chosen to represent us and Scotland is sidelined, ignored, and shouted down at every turn.
What Scotland does next will be up to us and in demanding the right to make that choice the SNP are speaking for the right of the people of Scotland -even those who disagree with them – to have their say and as a result they are speaking for Scotland as a whole.
The Pamela Nashes of the world don’t want Scotland’s people to be heard – What are they scared of?