Until Scotland’s constitutional position is put beyond question the country’s economy remains in stasis and its people warily, often bitterly divided.
One way or the other this has to be settled.
The Scottish Election tomorrow, 5th May 2016, presents every intelligent voter with a choice of two options only, the choice depending on their stance on indy versus the union.
The choice lies between giving both votes [the constituency vote and the regional list vote] to the SNP; and giving the List vote at least to the Scottish Conservatives.
The SNP are asking for both votes for everyone who supports them – an overt campaigning position to see both the constituency votes and the regional list votes of party and indy supporters coming their way.
It is obvious that the SNP are going to storm the vote tomorrow and gain yet another majority in the Scottish Parliament that was designed to be impossible. The issue is not therefore whether or not they will win; but what proportion of both votes will be cast in their favour, for independence.
The Scottish Conservatives are campaigning to lead the opposition – and doing so as the only party to be totally unequivocal in their support for the British union and for Scotland’s continuing membership of that union.
They are asking – rightly – for every union supporter to give them their List vote. In truth it doesn’t matter which non-SNP party union support in the constituency election. The SNP is likely to win them all.
The positive here is that non-Conservatives can feel comfortable in supporting their traditional parties in the constituency vote while casting their Regional List Vote for the Conservatives, often against established habit.
The indy option: why it has to be two votes for the SNP
If you want to see an independent Scotland, there is no intelligent alternative at present to casting both votes for the SNP.
The party and its cautious leadership need to see the extent of support for independence as well as for itself – and the county needs to be shown that as well.
For indy/SNP voters, this is not a question of making every vote count towards seats – if not for the SNP, then for parties vaguely aligned to it – RISE and the Greens.
It is a question of demonstrating the strength of support for indy and for the SNP – whether or not some votes are ‘wasted’ in not supporting seats on the Regional List vote which the constituency uber-dominant SNP will struggle to take as well.
The school of thought that says SNP and indy supporters should give their List votes to RISE or the Greens argues that this strategy would create a more textured but sympathetic ‘opposition’.
This is wholly misguided – and misguiding – on three counts:
- Indy is not yet won – and the only party in a position to create the opportunity for it to be won is the SNP.
- The notion of creating a textured opposition [which would not be an opposition in the full sense of that word anyway] – before indy is won is a monumental folly. This sort of nuanced strategic voting is for afterwards, not before. At present, helping RISE and Green candidates into post for this reason would simply reduce the certainty of support for indy-at-all-costs, when the opportunity arose.
- Casting List SNP/indy votes for RISE or the Greens in the present situation can only devalue the currency of indy and of the SNP.
The single – and largely improbable – exception to this is the case of a voter supporting the SNP as a party of government but not supportive of indy. In this case, a sophisticated voter of this ilk would cast their constituency vote for the SNP; and their Regional List vote for the Scottish Conservatives: the SNP for the government of Scotland and the Conservatives as the best security for the retention of Scotland in the Union.
Editorially, For Agyll is opposed to indy and in favour of continuing membership of the British union. We changed to this position during the indyref 1 campaign, on evidenced economic reasons for the stability and growth of Scotland.
That position has been reinforced by observing the philosophical limitations of nationalism and its endemic totalitarian tendencies, which we regard with substantial apprehension.
But, in the intellectual objectivity we strive to make the centre of what we do, we have to support the sense of the SNP’s call for its supporters to cast both their votes in its favour tomorrow.
Nothing else makes sense of the current situation for those who want to see an independent Scotland; and anything less will weaken the case.
Staying in the Union: why it has to be all List votes for the Scottish Conservatives
Any party whose declared policy is to support Scotland’s continuing membership of the British union cannot possibly justify permitting its elected representatives – elected on their party’s policies – the freedom to campaign without penalty for Scottish independence.
The Scottish Conservatives are, as they claim, the sole party that has shown no equivocation in its support for the union and for Scotland’s membership of that union. This makes them the only wholly reliable bulwark for that position, now and into the future.
The other two traditional mainstream parties, Scottish Labour and the Liberal Democrats, have each seen their leaders declare in public that they would allow their MSPs to campaign for independence.
Both, as visibly failing parties, have done this in a desperate attempt to try to shore up the element of their own party political support which has been brought to support independence.
The Scottish Conservatives are the only party to have the courage to set out their stall as unwaveringly supportive of the union. That courage too, that avoidance of political caveating for electoral advantage, is itself supportable.
Influenced for virtually a lifetime by socialist thinking, it is not comfortable to come to the conclusion that Scottish Labour is at present insupportable – but that is the straightforward fact.
Scottish Labour will for some time be pre-occupied with resolving its own direction, with its evolving 21st century identity, with casting off the crippling carapace of its past – and present – dominated by various power brokers informed by a sense of entitlement.
That preoccupation will pull Labour’s attention inwards its internal division – which is unlikely to be resolved for some time and as yet has no detectable direction of travel.
That leaves the newly focused Scottish Conservatives, who have had the most lucid and consistent election campaign, as the only party capable of delivering the considered and politically coherent weight of opposition that Scotland itself will need in the term ahead – in which:
- the First Minister-to-be-again has made it clear that the independence issue will be back on the formal agenda – with the Scottish Conservatives the only party fully opposed to that;
- the SNP government will commence its management of much of Scotland’s tax regime, with uncertain outcomes – and with the Scottish Conservatives opposed to anything that will see any Scot pay more tax here than they would pay were they living in England;
- the SNP government remains committed to taking to full implementation, in August of this year, 2016, the illiberal, inoperable and compulaory Named Person imposition of state guardianship for every child in Scotland from birth to legal maturity – with the Scottish Conservatives the only party not to have voted to support its passage into law; and the only party to have made opposition to it a full campaign issue.
All of these are issues that touch lives across the political spectrum; and will support those who want to see Scotland stay in the British union but who are also not natural Conservatives in giving them their Regional List vote tomorrow.