Rookie Scottish Labour Leader, Kezia Dugdale, desperate to claw back some Labour voters from the SNP’s maw, first declared that she would give her MSP’s the freedom to campaign for Scottish independence – clearly contemplating a near future where this would be an issue yet again.
The doughty Scottish Conservative Leader, Rush Davidson had, from the outset, made it clear that her party was unequivocally committed to the judgment that the best future for Scotland was continung membership of the British union and that the Conservatives would always fight for that.
With the likeable but lightweight Leader of the scant handful of Liberal Democrat MSPa, Willie Rennie, making the same decision as Dugdale and announcing that he too would free his MSPs to campaign in favour of Scottish independence, the Scottish Conservatives were left the sole Scottish party with a reliably immovable support for the union.
This made and makes that party the only secure recipient of the votes of those who do not support independence for Scotland. The Davidson declaration set her party as the only one that can be trusted to oppose the next campaign for indy – which the First Minister has herself scheduled openly for a launch this coming summer, 2016.
Understanding too late the latest own goal she had scored, Dugdale has just made a transparently oppotunist effort to nuance her last position to a new one of renewed but limited support for the union. [The political digestif that is Rennie has done the same]. Dugdale’s stance is now that she will not support a second independence referendum in the next parliamentary term.
Now that’s really telling them.
As For Argyll has said, the series of troubled waters the SNP will experience throughout the coming term [many of their own making] will leave the clearly unwilling leadership with no choice but to play the indy card in the 2021 Scottish Election, to try to secure thier re-election at that stage.
The cack-handed Dugdale attempt to try to claw back ground carelessly thrown away can only make Labour’s electoral situation even weaker.
A party and a party Leader that cannot make up their minds on the most important issue for Scotland in 300 years and swing around the political compass from one half thought stance to the next, is not a safe home for any intelligent vote.
Those who believe in the long term enduring value of the mutuality that is the British union have only one certain place to put their vote – the Conservatives have never varied in their sure support for that union of history, territory, markets, language, currency, cost-sharing and familiarity.
The two-way choice
Voting this May is a two way choice for the intelligent Scottish electorate.
- Those who passionately support the campaign for Scottish independence can only strategically vote for the SNP – and give the party BOTH their Constituency vote and their Regional List vote. This unequivocal support will enable their party to demonstrate its absolute dominance and the strength of public opinion for indyref 2. The First Minister and her Deputy, John Swinney, have each made it clear that they are asking for both votes. However much other parties may seek political advantage in draping themselves in a veil of indy and hint at changes in perspective, the SNP is the only party with the certain settled will and the current power to deliver it. If an independent Scotland is to be achieved, its supporters must drive for it now. The moment is moving away.
- Those whose allegiance to and belief in the continuing value of the British union remains – and those who have come to that view in the knowledge of the economic and defence vulnerability of an independent Scotland that they did not understand in September 2014 – can best buttress their position by voting to ensure what will be the most effective opposition to the separatist SNP. There is only one way to vote to do this – and to provide the necessary demonstration of quite what is the strength of the pro-union vote today. That way is to put the Scottish Conservatives, who will come nowhere near winning – into the position of principal opposition party after the election, a role only they can effectively deliver.
So how do pro-union Labour and Liberal Democrat supporters vote?
The most satisfactory way for loyal Labour and Liberal Democrat voters who are also committed to the union to use their votes is:
- to give the candidate of the party they traditionally support their Constituency vote – demonstrating unequivocally the continuing electoral support for that party;
to give their Regional List vote to the Scottish Conservatives – even if they break the habits of generations to do so – to ensure that the ascendancy of a one party nationalist state is held to account by the only unequivocal and focused unionist opposition.