Another dissatisfied customer decides hope is not on sale in his local SNP store. Colin Dunn was a regular tweeter on the subject of Scotland’s rightful place in the legion of nations, a fashioner of pithy posters on independence. Most of his well-conceived illustrations were memorable, posters worth collecting, and can still pack a punch – like the one above. A man cannot exist on airy promises alone, and like so many, he has decided to withdraw from the clamour for greater political rights, at least for a time.
His voice echoes that of many others who are, or who have, lost faith in the SNP’s determination to fulfil the promise it once made to the electorate. When the Torty party can get elected by fewer than 35 percent of the votes in England and yet move ahead on its manifesto, people are understandably bemused by the SNP’s reluctance to capitalise on its popularity. Repetition of promises only add cynicism to doubt.
An absence of any sales pitch on the obvious benefits of self-reliance confounds voters. Falsely castigated by opponents for ‘forever talking about independence’, the SNP must be the only independence party in history to deny that they discuss it, and they did that because it is true. If the SNP is not listening to the likes of Colin, it ignores the mounting voices at its peril, and is deaf to the footfalls walking away from support.
Recently, Posterboy disappeared off the Twitter and Facebook map. He explains why.
Still Here, Just Not Cheering
by Colin Dunn
A series of email messages from concerned independence campaigners ask why I have closed my Twitter and Facebook accounts and appear to have stopped campaigning. Thank you for the concern. I am well, but am taking a break. Here are my thoughts on where we are, and why I have decided to step back from the independence campaign.
In 1951 two million Scots, out of a population of five million, signed the Scottish Covenant supporting the formation of a devolved Scottish Government.
Today, it’s very easy to set up and sign a petition online – and just as easy for the result to be dismissed and ignored – but in 1951 the petition was two million actual physical signatures laboriously gathered on doorsteps, streets, pubs and village halls. This impressive achievement expressed the will of a very significant proportion of the adult population of Scotland.
The result? Zero. There was no powerful elected party with the legal or political power to legitimately implement it or force Westminster to agree to it. History is repeating itself
The greatest advantage of the Scottish independence movement over its opponents is the diversity and energy of its grassroots – individuals, groups and organisations. Tens of thousands of people spending all their spare hours working for the cause, disseminating information, educating, persuading. The pro-Union side, built from a few very rich donors and some small but very well-funded ‘astroturf’ organisations, has nothing like it. That energy and dedication is being squandered
Without a powerful political or elected organisation with the desire and legitimacy to press for an independence referendum, there is no end in sight nor a target to work towards achieving independence.
There can be no real progress without there being an actual, real and genuine formal independence campaign sanctioned by the SNP, as only they have the legal and political power and legitimacy to trigger a second referendum. And despite repeated assurances and many false dawns, they are doing nothing about it.
Until that changes the rest of us are all just pissing in the wind, and the risk is that the valuable grassroots enthusiasm, with nowhere to go, will simply evaporate.
After 9 years of spending all of my spare time – and much of my non-spare time too – working on materials and designs for a ‘campaign’ that seems to have no end, I am tired. I have decided to take a break, perhaps a permanent one.
I’m a tiny cog in the indy machine, but I get the sense that many, many others, some of them very significant figures in the movement, share my feeling of frustration and weariness. Clearly an independence vote cannot take place until Covid-19 circumstances improve, but a real and legitimate campaign, with a clear timeline and destination, could be triggered by the SNP now, and should have been a long time ago.
Though I voted for it in 1997, for many years I was highly sceptical of the value of a devolved Scottish Parliament, but recognised over the next 10 years that it was really making a genuine difference in improving the lives of the people of Scotland.
Similarly for many years I was uninterested in independence, supporting electoral reform for the UK as a whole instead, and voting LibDem for 30 years to try to achieve it. In 2010 we all saw how that turned out when the LibDems compromised all of their principles in exchange for power sharing with the Conservatives.
My hopes for a fairer, more representational UK were dead.
In 2011 I consciously voted SNP for the first time, hoping that Scottish independence would then lead to a more liberal and democratic England too. Though I am not a member of the SNP (I was briefly in 2015 to push the SNP MP campaign in Westminster, though that sadly achieved nothing), I have continued to vote SNP to further the push for independence, though I have become more and more disappointed in the SNP’s lacklustre efforts to advance this aim. Whilst I believe that they are still a pro-indy party, my confidence that indy is their main priority has been shaken, and should there be no pro-indy progress before the UK general election in 2024 my vote may very well be going to a different party.
Should that inaction continue I doubt very much indeed that I will be voting SNP in the next Scottish general election in 2026.
The indy grassroots is a hugely valuable resource. It’s down to you, SNP. Use it, or lose it.
Colin Dunn – aka indyposterboy