I want Scotland to debate how we secure self-determination and democracy. We need debate. Rational, respectful discussion, without acrimony, actual listening to what each other says. We need to debate strategy and tactics as well as democratic principles. This has, I’m very pleased to say, already started.
Alex Salmond resigned within hours of conceding we lost. Have to say that was a bolt out of the blue and knocked the wind out of me. It’s not a vote of no-confidence in his obvious successor, Nicola Sturgeon, to say I wished he hadn’t, which is not to say that, having thought things over, I can see potential here. Every cloud has a silver lining, and this could prove to be yet another stroke of genius, wrong-footing the British Establishment that has just robbed the Scottish people of democracy. I don’t know how Mr Salmond intends to serve the cause he has devoted his life to. But I have a few ideas that may form part of his thinking, ideas I’ve already shared with my Twitter followers. We shall learn in good time whether I’m right or not.
Alex Salmond says we must hold David Cameron’s feet to the fire to ensure that the devolution promises that he offered Scotland if only we were brave enough to vote against independence are kept. Well, as he predicted, as I predicted, but the BBC, SKY News and Channel4 News repeated said was scaremongering, David Cameron’s solemn vow has already been broken. Martin Geisler says that is irrelevant. Nick Robinson does too. And Adam Boulton. And Iain Martin. The list goes on, and on, and on.
Let’s examine this. What Scotland is witnessing is the voters being told it is not David Cameron’s fault that the voters were too stupid to ignore his solemn vow. Sorry, but it doesn’t work like that. A solemn vow was offered to win votes. When either side breaks the vow, the deal is off.
So far it is the initial parts of the timetable that has slipped. But what is coming is much more dramatic, and utterly terminal for all three parties of Better Together, if we play our cards right. Every party of the British Establishment faces oblivion at next year’s general election, if we choose to make that happen.
Nicola Sturgeon and Patrick Harvie of the Greens formed a wonderful double act in the closing days of the campaign. It is obvious that many in both parties want that to continue. Allowing the Greens and SNP to divide each other’s vote to help the main party of the British Establishment in Scotland – Ed Miliband’s Labour Party – would be criminal. It would be criminal because first-past-the-post is not a mere illusion that makes no difference. It is an anti-democratic hurdle that threatens to let David Cameron’s little helpers squeeze themselves back into Westminster by the backdoor. Gonna no dae that?
Let’s keep the broad movement for national self-determination united to flush Ed Miliband’s party into the sewer of history where it belongs. Let next year’s joke be about there being more pandas in Scotland than Labour, Tory and Lib Dem MPs. Who’s with me on this?
However, it was not just the Greens who played a key role in the mass movement whose radicalism and enthusiasm touched the hearts of SKY News political editor Faisal Islam and his ex-Channel Four News colleagues Paul Mason, Gary Gibbon and many others.
It is certainly not enough to unite the SNP and Greens. Nor would that make the best use of all the talents. I have no idea if broadcasters and journalists Lesley Riddoch or Iain Macwhirter has any interest in being MPs. But if they wanted to stand on a broad democratic platform to help sweep all the parties of Better Together away, they’d certainly be wonderful assets for all of us.
Who else should be involved? As far as I’m concerned, the only way to stop the movement splintering into the kind of division that the British Establishment prays for is to embrace those who reach the parts others cannot reach. Jim Sillars is one of these people. It hardly matters that he has different ideas than Alex Salmond and others on many key issues. These were parked in the run up to the referendum, despite the broadcasters doing everything they could to crowbar splits. The differences between Nicola and Patrick were matters to be addressed by the people of Scotland when they won sovereignty. Pointless engaging in this in the heat of the battle. The same is true today. Jim Sillars, as far as I am concerned, would be a wonderful asset, if he is prepared to stand, and if a constituency was prepared to select him.
A united campaign that exposes the unpopularity of Better Together next year, wiping their entire group of MPs, can’t be ignored by Westminster. What this can do is reinforce opinion polls that are destined to expose the anger of many of Scotland’s 55%. And that brings me to the 45%.
I have made a decision to automatically follow back anyone who identifies themselves on Twitter with the 45 Twibbon. That is my default position, but that doesn’t mean I won’t reject one or another for specific reasons. However, while I am following these people back, I think this is not the right way for us to identify each other. I agree that YES is hardly the right Twibbon now that the referendum is over. We certainly need to replace it with something. But what? No, in my opinion a statistic that celebrate our losing by a full 10%. If one vote is enough, then 10% is more than enough. Had we lost in a fair fight, celebrating how close we came does make some sense. However, one thing we didn’t do is lose in a fair fight. That was a rigged referendum, and we need to get that message across to all our supporters, and not allow David Cameron and the rest of Better Together to pretend otherwise. I won’t do that, and I will argue with anyone who says I’m wrong.
Scotland’s voters were bullied and bribed with lies, with the mass media instrumental in both. There are many aspects to this, and not all of us will agree on what they were. Clarity will come from respectful, rational debate. But there are a few things we can all unite on, including the role of David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband’s vow. As that bites the dust, so does the voters side of the contract. The indyref has been corrupted, and the result declared null and void. That is my assessment. But it is a provisional one. Just because I think this doesn’t give it full force. That come when those among the 55% who were tricked agree with me that they were tricked and demand a rerun. The first part is inevitable, within months. Wiping out Labour as well as Lib Dems and Tories in Scotland will reflect how successful we are. And as Canon Kenyon Wright told Margaret Thatcher, you may say no and you are the state, but we say yes, and we are the people.
If Scotland exposes the liars of Better Together, we make the country ungovernable. We will use mass civil disobedience. We made the Poll Tax uncollectable. And we can make Scotland ungovernable.. Sending in the army isn’t going to work. All that would do is expose the nature of the relationship between Scotland and the British Establishment not so much a loveless marriage but slavery and organized rape. Scotland will not descend into unprovoked violence. We will leave that to the paramilitary wing of Better Together, who celebrated Gordon Brown’s victory by burning down the offices of the only newspaper that supported Scottish independence, Nazi salutes and the celebration of famine.
What Scotland is going to, if we are forced to, is employ the kinds of mass civil disobedience that is celebrated by democrats the world over. We won’t surrender our spines. We are not walking to the back of the bus. We shall overcome. Some day.