The Victory Paradox 304


Just as the SNP sweeps to utter domination of the Scottish presence at Westminster, the future of Scottish nationalism must move to a rejection of Westminster rule as illegitimate. That is the victory paradox.

There is no doubt that this is the best possible election result for achieving Scottish independence in the near term. The one thing that I believe might have postponed independence for decades, was a Labour Party government of the UK with SNP support, governing as Tory Lite but making the dreadful repressive UK state that little bit less openly vicious, the abuse a little bit more disguised, the wealthy corporate elite less openly triumphalist.

I know that Tory rule is going to be dreadful for many decent people who are struggling to make ends meet, that the heartlessness of benefits sanctions will cause despair and suicide, that asylum seekers will be detained and abused. But Scotland has absolutely rejected the entire Tory system, and the scene is now set for the kind of extra-parliamentary resistance that we saw to Thatcher’s poll tax. We have to refuse to let Westminster do this to people. In this circumstance, those SNP MPs are relevant insofar as they use their platform to help build the popular resistance, not in terms of anything they do in that appalling haw-haw club.

Labour would have lost and we would have a Tory government even if Labour had won every seat in Scotland. Labour’s abject failure was in no sense caused by the SNP, whatever the appalling journalists of BBC Scotland may say or imply. And Labour is now going to underline, still more than the Tories, the urgent need for Scotland to be independent. The airwaves are already buzzing with London comment that Labour’s problem was that it was not right wing enough for English opinion. The next Labour leader must be more Blairite, they say. Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper or Chuka Umunna are touted to fit the bill, they suggest. This is completely a false analysis. If England were given a chance to vote for an SNP style, more left wing, offering then very many of the English would vote for it. But it will not happen. Labour will lurch ever further to the right and it will become undeniable that the Scottish people can only express their political aspirations through independence.

Even the best people are still human, and I have to confess that I am absolutely delighted that the SNP leadership have been neatly removed by this election result from any temptation. Exercising power within the United Kingdom state can be heady and addictive. An insidious agenda was quite blatantly propagated by Alex Bell in Bella Caledonia, a man who has been very close to the party leadership, and who actually celebrated the idea that:

The fascinating story of this election is how the SNP is ‘Britishing’ itself, gently playing down the big constitutional stuff in favour of real power over the austerity agenda.

Mr Bell goes on to make the ludicrous proposition that to support the creation of a small state is in itself a conservative agenda. He is profoundly wrong. To dismantle an aggressive imperialist state is not a remotely conservative agenda. I have frequently expressed the fear that there is a careerist core in the SNP who are more concerned with troughing in the political class and being big-wigs in the UK than with achieving independence. Bell’s insidious unionism – very lightly disguised as support for “utilitarian nationalism” – had the potential to be much more corrosive to the cause of independence than anything which the Tories can do. Fortunately Bell’s thesis is totally stuffed by the election result, and his pseudo-intellectual rationalisations of the status quo can now be safely confined to the dustbin of irrelevance. The SNP has no “real power over the austerity agenda” and has zero chance of gaining any within the United Kingdom.

There is now no course to take but root and branch opposition to the consequences of a Tory rule which Scotland has just declared anathema. The only way forward is now independence and the only route is through a mounting extra-parliamentary opposition over the next few years. I am absolutely delighted for all those SNP MPs, of whom a large number are personal friends. But if you want to remain relevant, you have to forget about Angus Robertson telling you what suits to wear or how to put an approved knot in your tie (yes, that really happened), and you have to inspire the street in the way so many of you did during the referendum campaign.


304 thoughts on “The Victory Paradox

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  • Former Dundee Man

    SNP need to put a cap on their MPs expenses; keep them in damp bedsits in Peckham or something. Every single one of them should have the objective of getting back to an independent Scotland ASAP.

  • ash

    Craig I would be interested in your thoughts on hampstead and Kilburn seat. How did that little bitch win. Tulip Siddik…I would have thought that area was more conservative. This must be some fix

  • JimmyGiro

    Classically, a single party ‘State’ that Scotland would become upon independence, would imply no democracy. As Scots will have Hobson’s choice, like Nazi Germany after the enabling act.

  • Abe Rene

    It looks as though the Tories are in line for a working majority, albeit a very small one. They have won, so Scotland can forget about independence for a long time. As one who voted for the LibDems and saw them wiped out, I’m not rejoicing.

    Would it have made any difference if Labour, Libdems or thye Greens had done more concerning affordable housing? I hope the inevitable post-mortems will give it plenty of hard thought.

    Now I had better do a thing or two over the weekend to cheer myself up 🙁

  • JimmyGiro

    Abe Rene,

    If you want to counter the effects of the housing shortage, you need to counter the feminists that have caused so many heterosexual breakups. It is the exploding divorce rates, brought about by evil feminist propaganda, that has caused the shortage of homes.

  • nevermind

    Well done Caroline Lucas.

    Fair points about Bell, Craig, but then you say

    ‘ The SNP has no “real power over the austerity agenda” and has zero chance of gaining any within the United Kingdom.’

    This is up to the SNP to change, there is nothing to stop them advancing the issues which concern British voters, such as PR, such as efficient public services under public command. The SNP can do a lot of good by advancing policies such as the long term re-nationalisation of the railway system and its modernisation. Housebuilding of all kinds is another issue that chimes, especially with the young, if you want to own a house/apartment….get politically engaged….

    What would stop the SNP from becoming a UK party? if it really wants to mix it at Westminster, why not take the egalitarian political view that we need a progressive new outlook and empowering party here.

    No good sitting in Westminster crying your eyes out that ‘we can’t change anything’. Off course they can.

  • Les Cunningham

    Craig, I generally agree with what you have written here. I should be delighted that the SNP have triumphed in Scotland, and that the LibDems have paid the penalty for their betrayal of many of their voters 5 years ago. However, my main feeling is one of shock that so many voters in England are so ill-informed or so callous as to vote Tory after what the Tories have been doing to the poorest and most vulnerable people across the UK.

  • Abe Rene

    I have just enjoyed seeing a Tory win a seat – Nigel Farage has *failed* to take Thanet South.

    Ah well, something positive to report 🙂

  • Phil

    “an approved knot in your tie”

    Very funny. Good luck with your extra-parliamentary stuff.

  • Abe Rene

    Just saw Nigel Farage’s speech. To be fair to him, he sounded like a good loser or sportsman to me. So he can go with his self-respect intact.

  • Mark Golding

    The only way forward is now independence and the only route is through a mounting extra-parliamentary opposition over the next few years.

    I hope Craig will be diligent and tireless in ensuring the inevitable subversion of SNP politicians by the British State sabotaging Scottish independence is forestalled.

    I also hope the time-frame for independence is short; my highland croft is getting damp.

  • JimmyGiro

    “I also hope the time-frame for independence is short; my highland croft is getting damp.”

    Maybe you can cosy-it-up with some EU sanctioned immigrant quotas!?

  • Tom Welsh

    “To dismantle an aggressive imperialist state is not a remotely conservative agenda”.

    It’s a little troubling to see a socialist (or progressive or radical or whatever you consider yourself) taking it upon himself to say what is, and is not, a conservative agenda.

    How would you like conservatives telling you what you think?

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Speaking for us left on the wrong side of the border, with five more years of globalisation, and the complete destruction of organised health and welfare, what does the SNP show us? Perhaps that regional common interest can trump the national kneejerk?

    What might cause the likes of Cameron to sleep less easily might be the emergence, at council level, of The East Anglia Party, the Southwest Party, the Cumberland Party…whatever groups can identify a common interest. Just a thought. Better than independents, because clearly identified with local concerns rather than self-promotion, greed or eccentricity. Bigger than independents in single constituencies. And attracting dissidents from all sides. These could be grown to parliamentary level where possible, and remain a force in local politics where not.

    Just a thought.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    It’s a little troubling to see a socialist (or progressive or radical or whatever you consider yourself) taking it upon himself to say what is, and is not, a conservative agenda.

    How would you like conservatives telling you what you think?

    I don’t. But it never stops them. If you refute his proposition, I’ll listen. Semantically, it makes perfect sense.

  • Abe Rene

    Jim Murphy just gave an eloquent losing speech. He mentioned that the SNP made little of independence during the campaign. As though the SNP did a “New Labour” in order to get votes. Could it be that such “subversion” will reduce the prospects for Scottish independence more than many SNP voters might think (as if New Labour voters in 1997 though they voted for “socialism”)?

    Here’s a question: how many months before we see Craig writing something like “Nicola Sturgeon is a @*#$!! for betraying the idea of Scottish independence! Come the revolution mate, er mon…” 🙂

  • OldMark

    ‘The only way forward is now independence and the only route is through a mounting extra-parliamentary opposition over the next few years.’

    Craig- could you elucidate on the forms of ‘extra-parliamentary opposition’ you think could be effective ?

    A possible example could be rent strikes (as supported by the SDLP in NI in the early 70s)

  • Abe Rene

    Just listened to Nick Clegg’s speech, resigning as leader. A dignified and spirited speech given the crushing disappointment. He said that grievance (instead of generosity) and fear (instead of hope) that could divide the country had won, but that liberal values which could unite it should not be lost.

  • Anon1

    For their one seat, UKIP got more votes than the Libdems and the Scotch National Socialists combined !!

  • Parky

    SNP 1,454,436 votes 56 seats
    UKIP 3,830,029 votes 1 seat
    Green 1,138,445 votes 1 seat

    you may not approve of UKIP however there are over 3.8 million of them who are not represented at Westminster, FPTP is a total sham and disgrace.

  • Parky

    Ed Milliband just threw in the towel ! Clegg, Balls, Farage, Balls, all gone today

  • JimmyGiro

    Parky,

    It is not the FPTP system that needs changing, it is the rotten boroughs that need to be amalgamated, so that each of the constituencies are of similar population size.

  • Abe Rene

    Another dignified resignation speech in the face of disappointment, this time from Ed Milliband. Nice going.

  • Robert Crawford

    I have been listening to the “losers” speeches, they are all in denial.

    The results are not their fault.

    Amateurs!

  • Ba'al Zevul

    For their one seat, UKIP got more votes than the Libdems and the Scotch National Socialists combined !!

    (and others)

    If the stupid bastards had targeted winnable seats instead of spreading themselves like rancid margarine across the country, they’d have got more seats.

    Seriously, yes, FPTP is a travesty. It might be less of one if the Lords were elected, and not on the basis of constituency votes but on that of national total votes.

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