Fernando McClurg jots doon his initial post-EUref reactions.
We’re aw strauchlin tae get a haundle on whit’s happent i the lest 24 hours. As the initial souch o relief as Nigel Farage’s apparent concession turned tae a grue o dreid an disgust as the results startit comin in frae England, it becam clear that Britain an Scotland were heidin deeper intae choppy watters. Mair (an hopefully mair coherent) analysis wull be alang suin, as we get time tae digest an think ower whit’s happent an whit wey Scotland shid respond. For the noo, here’s ma thochts on the assumptions sum fowk are makkin aboot an airlie referendum an whit Brexit micht mean for Scots independence i the near future.
There were monie reasons that Aye didna win i 2014. Media bias an the structural strength o an auld establishment were certainly amang thaim, but fundamentally (is “fundilymundily” aye a thing?) we on i the Aye camp simply didna a) dae eneuch tae convince undecidit fowk an b) didna hae a guid eneuch prospectus for independence tae convince thaim wi (twa relatit, but distinct, things).
Syne the referendum, the Aye campaign haes lairgely ceased tae exist as a coherent entity, forbye tae the extent that it haes been incorporate intil the SNP – wi the astoondin growth i memmership makkin it effectively the ainle mass pairty i Scotland. Individual groups haes continued (Weimen for Independence, RIC, monie local groups etc.), but there is nae ane independence muivement onie mair that can threip tae pit the case for independence tae undecidtit fowk. There is nae agreed-upo case or prospectus. Gin an whan anither referendum is cawed, I wad expeck sic a muivement tae form fairly quickly (the netwarks o the 2012-14 campaign are aye there, efter aw).
As regairds the SNP, it haesna raelly duin muckle tae chynge fowks’ minds aboot independence direckly. It haesna, publicly, talked aboot failures o the Indyref campaign an came up wi a better offer. Noo, pairt o this is a maitter time. Syne Indyref, aye less nor twa year syne (it feels langer), we hae haed a UK general election, a Scots Pairliament election, an the EU referendum – wi cooncil elections noo less nor a year awa an aw. We micht even hae anither UK general election suiner nor we thocht as weill, dependin on whit happens wi the Tory haundower o pooer. In the middle o aw this campaignin, an the need tae communicate, immediately, messages aboot govrenance at different levels, there haes been neither the time tae formulate, nor the space tae airgue for, a mair realistic/ attractive case for independence.
I ken that the SNP haes planned a campaign frae this simmer tae convince Na voters tae come tae the Aye fauld for nixt time. I’ve no seen a lot o this as yit, but it maun consist o mair substantial airguements, especially aboot currency. Aye ran a guid campaign, but it lost, an we need tae avoid makkin the ae mistakes again.
A straucht re-run o 2014 wad be a major strategic error for thae reasons, even assumin that anither referendum wis sanctioned by the UK govrenment (an there is nae guarantee o that). No eneuch haes chynged i terms o the case we can pit for independence, an that case lost less nor twa year syne.
Hooanever, a lot haes chynged wi regairds tae the case for the Union that wis endorsed than. Monie o things that we were telt lippened on the Union hae noo gane – includin monie jobs, oor EU memmership, an the UK’s credit ratin (in as faur as that is a tangible thing tae maist fowk). Monie o the fowk that gambled on a Na vote an a Labour govrenment i 2015 are noo dealin wi a Tory gorvrenment votit for by England (again) – an aw that that means for the welfare state, tredd union richts, civil liberties an regulation o the things that raelly dae affeck fowk dae-tae-day. Hoo confident are thae fowk o a gamble on Labour i 2020 (or suiner) peyin aff? Or the nixt time? The nixt again? Ane mair heave, comrades, and Labour wull redd it aw oot? Especially giein that UKIP, wha cam seicont i sae monie Labour saets i 2015, hae noo won sae monie warkin cless areas awa frae Labour’s line on the EU (maistly on immigration an British nationalism) – micht we see the PASOKification northern English Labour, as we did wi Scots Labour?
As for Labour i Scotland, Kezia Dugdale haes awready said she winna support anither independence referendum i the eftermath o Brexit, sayin, as I hae suggestit masel, that there’s monie issues tae dae wi the lest offer o independence that aye needs reddit oot. The question is, is the Labour pairty wullin tae engage wi reddin oot thae issues, or is it gaein tae be left ahint i the stoor, wunnerin whaur awbodie gaed?
A lot haes chynged in a gey short space o time, an I genuinely dinna think onieane can be confident aboot kennin whit comes next.