An act of resistance is a moral act. When you take a moral stance, you are acting out of conscience. Your imperative, your motivation is to attain justice for a group or an individual, not for the political or the material or for self. You follow your conscience not because you seek personal advancement, but because the act is right. It is a courageous stance. Arraigned against the forces of the power elite and the corrupt, integrity can often make you the loser, denounced by the mob. Fear of reprisal makes cowards of us all. Strength of moral resolve makes us powerful.
The big easy
I don’t much admire the shoot-out coda in detective and political thrillers. Surrounded by villains with guns, the hero has no choice but to shoot his way to freedom. On the other hand, when the villain tells the hero he can have a quiet life by taking the bribe and walking away and the hero declines, he knows his pursuit of justice means his career and possibly life is in jeopardy. His decision is a moral decision, a decision far more courageous and admirable than loading bullets into a handgun.
A morally strong political party welcomes dissent because it has no fear of the democratic system. The party seeks out new ideas, new ways of seeing. When the SNP chase Brexit and every half-baked policy it can think up on a dreich day, causing consternation among its membership, it is non-threatening moral act to ask the Party to concentrate on pursuing their core goal, reinstatement of nationhood, first and foremost for the common good. And yet, and yet this can get you into trouble.
The moral act
Our conscience guides almost everything we do. It sustains our integrity and empowers others. When we refuse to surrender to totalitarian capitalism we make moral choices. When a company pollutes the land, it is a moral choice to report it to the authorities. When a trade union exploits its workers for political gain, and uses its power to undermine a nation’s right to self-determination, it is a moral act of resistance to criticise the union’s leadership. When the SNP fails to protect its supporters against malicious denunciation and actually endorses the injustice, resistance to their crass judge and jury affirms the sanctity of human rights.
In iterating that principle of resistance, and the moral faith at its core, I am forced to ask why the SNP has all but dumped the cause of Scotland’s liberty. And it has done it to the extent it silences its very own adherents at the drop of an evil accusation by its political opponents, the same who are the oppressors of democracy.
An urgent truth
We face an urgent truth. Those who hold power in the United Kingdom have no respect for the democratic system. They demonstrate that time and time again. What they do exhibit in word and actions is neo-fascism, the right for one class of people to govern and to do it by immoral, illegal and oppressive rule.
By failing to release the pent up energy in the electorate to regain Scotland’s place in the world, by not harnessing the resounding support the SNP gained at the ballot box, by ignoring multiple mandates, and worse, not exploiting the May-Boris-Cummings axis, the current SNP is losing the opportunity to make significant structural changes for the better in our society. This is unforgivable.
Inertia is not a strategy. Watching people torn from their homes and repatriated and doing nothing is not the moral example of a nation supposedly acting in everybody’s best interests. Overseeing a nation’s constitutional rights attacked with impunity, passivity is a crime.
A gift squandered
A hand full of aces left to Scottish aspirations for self-governance in the aftermath of the 2014 referendum has been ineptly played. This, despite the commanding electoral success, the electoral landslides enjoyed by Nicola Sturgeon, gifted by voters from all sections of society, and not all of them Scots by birth.
The criticism levied at Holyrood can also be levied at SNP MPs at Westminster. What do the SNP think they can achieve waffling to their heart’s content in the Chamber of Horrors now that the British state is in the hands of the ultra-right?
What strategy was Angus Robertson pursuing, and now Ian Blackford, each without a plan, standing in impotent defiance of a sniggering front bench of Tory millionaires and useless Labour faux apparatchiks? The highlight of their week seems prime minister’s question time! Has no one told SNP MPs that the television cameras cut away to the broadcasting studio as soon as the Speaker shouts their name?
Sovereignty cannot be sold
Scotland’s sovereignty is still intact. It is almost impossible for any country to part with its sovereignty. It can loan a modicum of self-reliance in, say, a trading agreement. Most countries do that. You give us a share of your goods and we will give you a share of our minerals; invest in my nation and I will buy some of your country’s debt bonds.
In any event, the people of Scotland are sovereign, ergo, their government cannot relinquish sovereignty in an agreement with another nation. Unlike England, where sovereignty is invested in the parliament, the Scottish government is not sovereign. It does not have the power to sign away something it does not own.
Sovereignty remains with the people. That indelible, irrevocable constitutional right was enhanced by the Salmond-Cameron signing of the 2014 referendum on independence. In fact, the Edinburgh Agreement of 2012 was no more a retreat from Scottish sovereignty than Robert the Bruce sealing the Treaty of Northampton in 1328.
This resurgence of idealism and hope that arrived after losing Scotland’s first full plebiscite on our destiny was based on the transformation in Scottish thought and attitude provoked by that very referendum process. And yet Scotland’s second Enlightenment is in danger of betrayal by an apprehensive SNP.
The movement for democratic rights is in a stasis partly of our own making. We lost the referendum well warned the British state would take revenge on our resistance to a corrupt London rule. The British state is brutal, without moral imperative.
The Labour party, in league with the Tories, lied to Scotland. Witness dissembler Blair McDougall on BBC Question Time telling us Boris Johnson would never be elected as prime minister. He is representative of all the others in the Better Together band of liars, slow-witted, self-serving, desperate to stop Scotland getting more democracy. We watched them scream in triumph, but we did not lose our sovereignty. That is inviolable, and that is what they want to overturn. Their answer is to resurrect devolution maximum for the umpteenth time, a tired, vague trope. And now they see opportunism in the pandemic. They hope to use it as a weapon of repression.
The great SNP sloth
We are where we are because the SNP has not pushed the momentous advantage gifted by the electorate in successive mandates. Nicola Sturgeon is a victim of her own self doubt, hiding behind an inane slogan, ‘The Gold Standard’. When the journalist Iain Macwhirter announced that Nicola Sturgeon had “kicked independence into touch” he got booed, and no doubt a few hundred angry tweets from SNP faithful. But he was right.
It is not affront to the SNP’s standing, or any individual in it, for that matter, to criticise SNP policy, or offer alternative solutions.
No act of resistance to London rule is a waste of time. No speech, no march, no newspaper article, no blog site, no sit down protest, no placard, no press release, no tweet, no flags on bridges, no outrage expressed at neo-liberal tyranny. But coming from the SNP resistance has to be, must be, coordinated and consistent. Chasing squirrels takes a lot of energy with people running off in all directions simultaneously.
Our opponents are scared
What worries the opponents of greater democracy is, people are past the stage of thinking they need persuading independence should happen. They now know it can happen. Any number of English pundits have said independence is only a matter of time. That day might speed up by the way England has swung to authoritarian rule but what damage will have been done to Scotland in the meantime?
The power elite have spent the last three decades and more organising the obliteration of liberalism. They have abused the tolerance of liberalism to destroy liberalism. The repulsive pockmarked Steve Bannons of this world curb equality and justice by appealing to the worst qualities in human nature. They aim to indoctrinate the disenfranchised, the disaffected and the uneducated with a bitterness of the democratic system. Once that is accomplished power will be in the total control of the right-wing.
The notion Scotland might attain its liberty is both a challenge and a warning to them. They took out the European Union from the UK political system, now they have to take out Scotland too, the one nation in the UK determined to remain European and to exercise free will.
The SNP strategy
What is the SNP doing to counter this onslaught? Barracking Tory tyranny? Showing the aloof secretary of state to be a thumping ignorant dunce? None of those things. They smear autonomy’s strongest voices. They squander our money on show trials. With muddled domestic policies they cut off rational discourse that upsets them. They spurn anger and block dissent, hoping things that happen outside Scotland will save them the trouble of doing anything inside Scotland to secure self-determination. Their adoption of gradualism is defeatist and fatal.
To step outside your comfort zone to gain an ideal wished by the masses is to live in the fullest sense of the word. You exhibit a determination to exist as a free and independent human being. To abandon self in a campaign to defend an ideal or an individual is a noble, honourable pursuit. You cannot measure resistance as if it has monetary value. To resist those that enslave us, that cause us hardship and pain, is a just cause.
Taking all that into account, I have to say in sadness, that the SNP has lost its way. Why did they elevate the status of the European Brexit argument out of any reasonable context and make it of far greater importance to the pursuit of Scotland’s freedoms? Brexit is an all-England issue. We had no choice but to state how it will damage Scotland’s economy and remove our human rights, but dedicate an entire two years and more of an SNP campaign to reverse it? England in chaos and we offered to down tools to help? Somewhere in there lies over 300 years of a colonial mentality.
This paradox was exemplified by the polar opposite bus to Boris’s red NHS coach. Our bright yellow campaign coach had ‘Stop Brexit’ on the side of it when common sense told us it ought to have read “Independence Now!”
The SNP tree needs shaken violently to rid it of infestation, the deadheads pruned.