It would be hard to find a greater contrast between visceral committed nationalists and power hungry manipulators than in the very different responses to the coming EU Membership Referendum from long time senior nationalist activist, Jim Sillars and SNP First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon.
Sillars wants to see Scottish independence achieved while there is still enough semblance of momentum to fuel a full-on campaign for it.
He is therefore openly going to vote Leave – and will campaign for it – because that alone has any chance of forcing the uber-reluctant First Minister and Deputy First Minister, Finance Secretary, John Swinney into going for a second referendum while the increasingly disheartened infantry still keep the faith.
His thinking is that Scotland overall is likely to vote to retain membership and that Out votes from Scotland will therefore add to the UK-wide Out vote and may help to see the dream outcome for unwavering nationalists: a UK majority Brexit with an In majority from the Scottish electorate.
Jim Sillars is also being open in saying that, following what he would fight to make a winning vote for indy, he would then oppose an independent Scotland’s joining the EU.
He has two reasons for this.
One is pique, because, as he says, during the indyref 1 campaign the EU virtually told the nationalist side to ‘get stuffed’, that an independent Scotland would have to apply for membership as a new state.
The second is hard headed common sense – that solo membership would be ruinous for Scotland because, as part of the British membership, Scotland remains exempt from ever joining the eurozone; where, as a newly independent state, it would certainly be required to join the eurozone as a condition of membership.
The eurozone is simply not the place to be; nor is the consequent obligation to contribute to the bailouts of failing fellow member states,some of which are heading for the pipeline.
What Mr Sillars might also care to consider is the impact on a Scotland in the eurozone where the continuing UK is in a sterling union and outside the eurozone.
In his stance, Mr Sillars is entirely consistent in his political philosophy. He believes in the viability of an independent Scotland – and he means a genuinely independent Scotland. He is not of the Swingeon school who want, on historically partisan grounds, to leave one shelter for the protection of another and more problematic one.
Contrast this with one of the most unblinking, straight-faced pieces of political hypocrisy seen in British, not just Scottish, politics for a very long time.
Nicola Sturgeon is saying that a UK majority for Brexit, alongside a Scottish vote to remain in the EU would ‘almost certainly’ mean a second independence referendum.
She then told Andrew Marr on Sunday morning television that a UK majority vote to stay in the EU was not the result she wanted to see as a nationalist but that she would put first what she sees as the British interest and campaign hard for continued membership.
She has even talked of putting principle before politics.
This is the First Minister who talked bullishly about the SNP- in pious distinction to other parties – tolerating no dodgy dealing amongst its elected representatives; the same First Minister who who buttoned those guillotine lips and uttered not one peep in the face of case after case from the new Westminster cohort of a blatant gulf between vaunted values and personal greed.
And how, exactly, was it principled knowingly to deceive the poorest in the SNP indy support, their largest grassroots cohort, promising a land of milk and honey after 24th March 2016 and backing that up with – to the knowledgeable – manifestly deceptive figures?
Ms Sturgeon may keep her eyes wide open in using the word ‘principle’ but it is not a concept that sits easily upon her record.
In fact, Ms Sturgeon’s commitment to campaigning for an In vote – which she has specifically extended to campaigning in England – is born of her desperation to do all she can to make sure that she is not faced with an overall Brexit while Scotland return an In majority.
The one thing she will absolutely – bettably – not do, regardless of her weasel-worded ‘almost certainly’, is to permit a second indyref in these, or any, circumstances for the foreseeable future.
She will do anything to avoid having to be seen to refuse the second referendum which her followers are urgent to see. An In vote from England is her dream ticket out of certain exposure as just another two-faced politico.
Ms Sturgeon has a second reason to campaign on the much bigger stage south of the border.
There is of course the attraction of the heady personal publicity, which she has been seen to relish. But the accelerator is that Alex Salmond is off the leash and has been getting above himself again down there, rattling the bars of his cage and offering to debate anyone from the Out camp – ‘head to head’.
He had to be reminded by an interviewer this past weekend, that it is Nicola Sturgeon who will be leading the SNP In campaign.
Nicola intends to make that very clear – and she is starting in London [of course] next Saturday.