The contest for the new leader of the SNP is underway. It’s been illuminating thus far to see what real proposals may actually emerge. Admittedly due to real life, it’s been hectic and we’ve not covered it in as great detail as I would have hoped, I’ll take a crack at looking at week one.
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Ash Regan announced first, Humza Yousaf and Kate Forbes practically tripped over each other – Humza held a launch event, with Kate announcing at the same moment. There were frantic calls for Ash’s launch campaign – which made little to no sense – given the nomination period hadn’t ended. However that makes less entertaining TV.
Kate made her pitch next to a rock somewhere near home, her video editor was obviously a person who enjoys long drone shots, who put together a decent presentation.
Humza launched in a random community hall with a large mix of friends, family, activists and, curiously, under an illuminated green exit sign.
Ash launched with the Bridges coming together in the background, with a nice set of imagery and a large press contingent – and this is where the wheels come off the wagon.
The journalists haven’t had a feast of an SNP leadership election, and somehow only have absolutely diabolic Conservative Party and Labour Party leadership elections as a reference point. In the scenario of the Party famed for unity arguing with itself – the media stepped up to the plate.
I’ll admit before I go on, I find religion to be thoroughly interesting for all the wrong reasons. I honestly am baffled with trees defying Noah and his ark, dinosaurs predating creationism, and churches that sit riddled with scandal – surely no one really believes this? Alas, it seems they do.
First up, Kate Forbes. Making no secret about her religion, she got absolutely battered. Mostly, because her religious views suck. They really do. I don’t know why she went out defending them, suggesting somehow they wouldn’t cloud her judgement in a political sense. They’re regressive nonsense that churches cling to. Amusingly, the main reason we see secularism rising isn’t to do with any real atheist or humanist campaign, but rather people realising that perhaps we can find a stronger morality by not taking instruction from a 2000 year old book.
However, as proponents of free speech – it’s fair to say: bash on and believe whatever you like and talk about it proudly. The nice bit about freedom of speech is in its cousin – freedom of opinion. You can quite easily form your own opinion of whether what was said was mental or not.
Humza Yousaf couldn’t quite let Kate out of the gate without tripping over his own feet either. Somehow, he managed to have a meeting that he couldn’t escape for five minutes from to vote, in support of equal marriage. Yousaf will defend that his meeting was involving the life of a person abroad and that’s possibly true, but he could have voted, he was in the building, it was possible and it was a free vote. It’s not the lie that gets you – it’s the cover up.
However given that the matter was conclusively settled – I am bamboozled at why journalists believed this was a major ‘gotcha’ or ‘story’. Even if we understand every fact, uncover every issue, get to the absolute root of the story – we’re no further forward. No one in the entire SNP would know what policies or changes the SNP would enact. If any First Minister tried to renege on marriage rights – they’d be First Minister for only a few minutes more.
Onto the next big issue. Our journalists don’t bother to to investigate anything. Scottish politics is very much ‘he said’ and ‘she said’. Playground antics abound, no actual reporting, no exploring of policy beyond “someone else said no”.
I’m going to pick on Ash Regan’s policy declarations – as they’re the easiest to find, and the most fleshed out – they’re core arguments for any future Independence campaign.
Statement 1: Ash Regan identifies a method to get Independence – she calls it the VEM (Voter Empowerment Mechanism). It’s basically a general election that gets Independence by winning a plurality of votes.
In the event of a Westminster election, if pro-Independence parties, with a disclaimer in their manifesto saying “Independence approved” win a majority of votes – the result is an Independent country a few years later after some negotiations. In 2019 – this would have been 46% – resulting in continued Unionism.
In the 2021 Holyrood election, we must do some basic maths to add up all the pro-Indy parties on both the constituency and the list vote, then divide them by the valid votes cast. This hits home at 49.55% for pro-Independence parties – no wonder the Unionists don’t like the idea. We might actually achieve it.
“But this isn’t legal and the UK will say no” shout journalists who obviously forget to do the very basics of their job. I’ll break it down – but let’s think about how this should go:
Person 1: It’s raining
Person 2: It’s not raining
Journalist: I went outside, it is indeed raining, and we can conclude person 2 was lying.
Well this is Scotland, so rather than checking the facts, we openly just accept that person 2 is a bit older and wiser, and has been around forever, so they must be categorically right, no need to check.
Person 2 in this is the UK Government.
Apparently escaping the notice of our Press pack – is that the UK is the successor state of the British Empire, of which 65 countries have left. In every circumstance the Government of the day has negotiated. – some of the negotiations were as recent as the 1970’s. There is a slight chance some of the negotiating team may even be alive to be interviewed. Imagine that!
To save them time, I’ve compiled a list of the methods used and it’s at the end of this article. Some are barbaric and should never be repeated, some are entirely peaceful – common themes that include setting up a Constitution and then voting for it in a General Election or Referendum. 100% success rate though in getting the UK to the table. 100%. Yet our media estate think because the UK Government said no this time (and every time in the past), they may just stick to it. They have a track record of negotiating every time. Hammer this home folks. 100% of the time!
Has anyone asked the runner up of the Conservative Leadership race and current Prime Minister Rishi Sunak how he could possibly block it? On understanding the principle of self-determination, being prided as a descendant of once-colonial India?
Anyway let’s set that aside. The Supreme Court says no.
Another huge “win”. A UK Government non-ministerial department said no. In a surprise to no one.
However they didn’t even say no. They said that an advisory Referendum could not be permitted as it would probably affect the standing of the Union- a vote that would have the power to overpower a Westminster Parliament. We should probably count the UK Supreme Court as endorsing Ash Regan’s campaign at this rate.
Yesterday, the UK Government beamed with pride about a deal for Northern Ireland – that they a year ago announced that under no circumstances would do.
Again, 100% of the time, you can count on them to negotiate. They always do, they absolutely, without doubt, always do.
Currency, another Regan policy that astonished the journalism core. Forgetting the whole negotiation period of a few years after the vote – they reported that a new currency and central bank would be setup in about 12 weeks. Not what Regan said, but they were too thick to understand the content. She said the preparatory work could be done now, rolled out during the negotiation period, and then fully established and open as near to day one of Independence as possible, taking about three months.
Astonishment continued. No actual investigative journalism occurred, or they’d see from fairly recent and modern examples that Slovakia took 1 month, Slovenia took 3, and Estonia took 10. This in a world where we didn’t have the wonders of interconnected digital banking.
Our media fail us as investigative reporters. They are so involved with scandal politics involving the politicians we have, so invested in gotchas and whodunnits – they forget that sometimes a little bit of research might enlighten everyone. We aren’t discussing these policies on their actual merit, we’re discussing them in reactions and sound bites, it also seems. Only Ash Regan bothered to do any reading.
States that got Independence from UK/British Empire, and in short, how.
- Afghanistan – Treaty following a war.
- Antigua and Barbuda – Termination of Association Order.
- Bahrain – United Nations poll on Independence, declared Independence, called upon UN Secretariat to resolve.
- Barbados – Constitutional Conference, followed by informing UK.
- Belize – Demanded Independence, passed a constitution.
- Botswana – Ascended a constitution, confirmed with a general election.
- Brunei – Ascended a constitution, published a roadmap.
- Cyprus – Civil unrest / war.
- Dominica – Declared and passed a constitution.
- Egypt – Civil disobedience.
- Eswatini – Ascended a constitution, general election.
- Fiji – Ascended a constitution, general election.
- Ghana – Declared Independence.
- Granada – Opened negotiations following election.
- Guyana – Constitutional conference.
- India – Ascended a constitution, negotiations.
- Iraq – Proclamation.
- Israel – UN Resolution, Declaration.
- Jamaica – Constitutional Amendments, progressed, then declared.
- Jordan – Treaty and negotiations.
- Kenya – Uprising and negotiations
- Kiribati – UN Special Committee, Referendum, Privy Council.
- Kuwait – Negotiations, ascendancy.
- Lesotho – Constitution ascendancy.
- Libya – Military coup
- Malawi – Negotiated
- Malaya – Negotiated
- Maldives – Negotiated
- Malta – Negotiated
- Mauritius – Negotiated, general election
- Myanmar – Civil unrest
- Nauru – UN Council, Constitutional Convention
- Nigeria – Constitution, election
- Oman – Negotiations, treaty
- Pakistan – Civil unrest, negotiations
- Qatar – Constitution, declaration
- Saint Lucia – Constitution
- Saint Kitts and Nevis – Constitutional conference
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines – Referendum
- Seychelles – Negotiated
- Sierra Leone – Negotiated
- Solomon Islands – Negotiated
- Somaliland – Civil unrest (unrecognised)
- South Yemen – Civil unrest, British withdrawal, declaration
- Sri Lanka – Negotiated
- Sudan – Referendum
- Tanganyika – Double election
- The Bahamas – Election and referendum
- The Gambia – Independence conference
- Tonga – Ceased to be protectorate
- Trinidad and Tobago – Election, negotiation
- Tuvalu – Referendum
- Uganda – Negotiation
- United Arab Emirates – Negotiation
- United States of America – Civil unrest, American Revolutionary War, declared Independence
- Vanuatu – Conference of nations
- Zambia – Election, consultation
- Zanzibar – Internal revolution
- Zimbabwe – Civil unrest, election
- Australia – Referendums
- Canada – Negotiated
- Ireland – Civil unrest, civil War,
- Dominion of Newfoundland – National convention, referendum, joined Canada.
- South Africa – Referendum
- New Zealand – Declaration