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Wings Over Scotland

The Burning House

Posted on June 26, 2023 by

This one goes out to all the “rebel” MSPs at the SNP desks in Holyrood.

Because it’s nearly time for you to choose whether you want to fight, or die meekly.

We don’t mean literally die, of course. We’re not threatening anyone here. But the 316-year campaign for Scottish independence is tied to a stake on a pile of brushwood and there’s someone in a black hood walking towards it with a flaming torch. If anyone’s going to save it, there’s very little time left to act.

And the only people in a position to do it are you. Them’s the breaks.

“The wind is blowing hot and cold
Who am I? I don’t know”

We’re not going to name you in this piece. But you know who you are, and so do we, and so does pretty much everyone else. Many, although not all, of you rebelled bravely over the Gender Recognition Reform bill, or other things. You can be absolutely sure that your cards are marked in the party as a result. You’ve seen what happens to those who show dissent – the Cherrys, the MacNeils, the McAlpines and the rest. Your careers in politics are going nowhere. The SNP doesn’t love you any more.

“Do I still belong to you?
Or am I only longing to?”

Those of you who aren’t standing down at the next election, and who manage to scrape through reselection, might just survive. But on current polling trajectories that’s about a 50/50 shot at best, and one way or another the majority of you are probably going to be out in 2026, replaced by some obedient mindless drone who jumped to the top of the selection list by identifying as “queer” and/or claiming to be disabled because they had lactose intolerance or a lazy eye.

It can’t, then, be personal ambition that’s keeping you in the party.

Of course, maybe you’re holding out for change. Maybe you think Humza Yousaf’s going to crash and burn and there’ll be a chance under a new leader – possibly even you – to rebuild the SNP back into a proper independence party with serious policies.

But really, what are the chances? What’s going to bring him down between now and 2026? A bad performance at next year’s election? That’s pretty much already priced in at this point, and if Nicola Sturgeon didn’t stand down for losing 21 MPs in 2017, what on Earth makes you think that he’d quit for a similar performance in much tougher circumstances? The SNP hanging onto half its seats the way things are going would be seen as some sort of triumph.

(The only conceivable thing that might do it is a complete Scottish Labour 2015-style wipeout. But realistically there are too many brainwashed cultists stubbornly refusing to accept that the SNP is no longer interested in independence – and Scottish Labour are still too embarrassingly hopeless – for that to happen.)

So barring some sort of scandal, Yousaf is in office until the next Holyrood election, and that means there’ll be no chance of even STARTING to rescue the SNP or the independence movement until 2031, which boots any kind of hope of success at least ten years down the road.

(You’re OBVIOUSLY not still in the SNP because you think there’s a hope of it winning independence any time in the next decade. It has no meaningful intention to even try. You’ve just watched a “conference” in which the only remaining credible strategy wasn’t even discussed, and in which your leader tried to pretend that next year he’ll somehow succeed in getting Westminster to concede a second referendum by getting FEWER SEATS THAN HE ALREADY HAS NOW. Like, seriously? Even Yousaf himself knows that ain’t happening.)

So here’s the big question: what are you planning on doing for the next three years? Sitting there grumbling quietly amongst yourselves and sulking as you’re corralled into backing more and more terrible, voter-repelling policies, and humiliating yourselves by being whipped to publicly express your undying faith and confidence in stupendously incompetent halfwit ministers who aren’t even in your party?

If so then you’re a fat lot of use to anyone. But there is an alternative.

You need to go, Rebel Yellows, and you need to go now. It only takes five of you and you’ll be recognised as a party in the Parliament, with standing and regular questions at FMQs and the like. And if you get just eight, the SNP and Greens will lose their majority and you’ll actually be able to exert some leverage on legislation.

The SNP isn’t listening to you inside the party. The only way to even have a chance of influencing them is from outside it.

If you go now, you’ll have nearly three years in which to build a profile and win the trust of voters and maybe actually have a decent chance at getting back in. The Holyrood electoral system is kind to small parties, and voters are often kind to people – like Margo McDonald and Dennis Canavan – that they perceive as having acted with integrity and honour, rather than just sitting trousering paycheques for supporting policies they don’t believe in.

More importantly, the quicker you go the more chance you have of not being dragged down with the SNP when it sinks. And you know it’s sinking, but it’s nowhere near the bottom yet. There’s obviously Operation Branchform and – let’s phrase this very carefully – the possibility of charges arising from it, but there’s also a live criminal perjury investigation, and a live criminal leaking investigation, and you can’t have failed to notice the growing rumours of another one.

(And that’s just the criminal stuff. If we start talking about the ongoing and impending policy disasters we’ll be here all day.)

“Sliding down around me
and my heart is pounding
the curtains are on fire
all I am is tired”

Maybe you want to stall until October. Maybe you’re pinning your hopes on a bunch of ad-hoc “regional assemblies” turning round Yousaf’s surrender policy and stopping the party becoming the devolutionist one it’s clearly triangulating towards.

But you must know in your heart that that’d never be allowed to happen even if the membership grew a previously-unnoticed spine, and waiting four months in the hope of an impossible miracle is like going for a stroll across a safari park in a suit made of sausages and expecting to make it safely out the other side. Your only chance is to sprint, not stroll.

Because the SNP is finished. Badly holed but still just about floating, the whole thing is going to suddenly go south in spectacular fashion at any moment without warning. There is no “if”, only a “when”.

And the more distance there is between you and it when it does, the better it’ll be for you. Soon it’ll be less damaging to tell people you were in the National Front than the Scottish National Party. The clock is ticking loudly and you can’t turn it back.

And the pictures of you
will be smouldering too
as they slide out of view
they look nothing like they used to”

As for WHERE you’d go, that’s for you to decide. There’s one obvious option – a party led by Scotland’s most successful politician of all time, now returning to prominence after a botched assassination job, and also featuring people you know of proven experience, bravery and integrity like Kenny McAskill – who released the so-called Lockerbie bomber amid a torrent of criticism – and Neale Hanvey, who’s already demonstrated the ability to win a seat as an independent after being stabbed in the back by his own party.

But if for one reason or another you didn’t want to join Alba – perhaps you think Nicola Sturgeon and her cabal did too good a job of toxifying it, or maybe some of you just don’t want to play second fiddle – nothing’s stopping you forming a brand-new party of your own. The arithmetic stays the same either way. Be the new generation.

“Oh, but it’s nothing to be sad about
It’s nothing to be sad about”

Because whatever happens you end up no worse off. You’re guaranteed your jobs for the next three years whether you’re in the SNP or not. Some of you have already said you aren’t intending to stand again so you’ve got literally nothing to lose and the chance to go out swinging.

Some of you don’t need the money or the grief or the shame of being an SNP MSP in 2023. The rest of you almost certainly have better prospects outside the SNP than inside it. But more than that, you’ll be able to say that you did what you could to save the cause you’re supposed to be dedicated to.

Several of you, we know, are Wings readers. Some of you are people who worked your socks off for us in the indyref. Some of you are people we stood up for when nobody else would. All of you know we’ve been analysing Scottish politics for nearly 12 years now. And if you’re reading this article, just ask yourselves one simple question: how often have we been wrong? 

So get yourselves together and give yourselves a shake. Scotland needs you. The independence movement needs you. It needs hope. It needs people to stand up and be counted, it needs them now, and you’re the only ones on the stage.

It’s your choice. You can act now and avoid a lifetime of regret, or you can sit on your arses on your couches until it’s too late, chilling out, as it all burns down around you.

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0 to “The Burning House”

  1. James Che

    No politician in Scotland regardless of political party is going to bring this obvious anomaly issue to the table due to it jeopardising their financial position and pension within the Colonial devolved government.

    In fact it would be in their best interests to squash this before they lose their political position, so it is up to the Scottish people not to be hoodwinked any further,

  2. Ebenezer Scroggie

    It’s not Scotland’s oil.

    Oil belongs to the owners of the oilfield. Not one of the North Sea oilfields on the UK Continetal Shelf is nationalised.

    If an amputated Scotland had tried to confiscate any of the oilfields, as happened in Iran in 1953, the international oil companies would stand shoulder to shoulder and refuse to buy any of the stolen oil. If you can’t sell or ‘fence’ your oil, then your oil is worthless.

    So scratch oil as a potential financial resource for an isolated Scotland.

    What about Whisky exports? Very very few countries are stupid enough to tax exports, so no tax revenue.

    As a source of mass employment, forget about the Whisky industry. Go and visit one of those big name malt distilleries and see for yourself how few employees there actually are. Astonishingly few, even in the really world famous big name distilleries.

    What about tourism? Yes, now you’re talking seriously big money, especially for the minimum wage East European bar maids and chambermaids and kitchen porters. In the winter season the place is dead. In the summer season the place is chockfull. The infrastructure can’t handle any more.

    In the Western Isles, Skye most notably, the laybys are ankle deep in human shit because there aren’t enough public toilets to handle the demand. Passing places can only handle one large coach at a time so you get traffic jams in both directions.

    In summer 2019 the cops were interrogating any cars hoping to board the ferries to the isles, demanding proof that they had pre-booked accommodation. They were even asking whether campervans (Oops! blush) had booked a pitch.

    Scotland has already reached Peak Tourism. We simply haven’t got the infrastructure for any more. The proposed punitive tax on tourism will raise loadsa money, but even that much will probably not be enough to fund the Buckfast habit of Weegies and Dundonians.

    What else? The banking sector? Forget it. They’d have buggered off to England or Ireland.

    We, the people of Scotland, dodged a bullet when we resoundingly voted against the self-harm of self-amputation.

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