I wrote this piece in February 2015, before the general election and it is focused on that upcoming contest. However, I think the themes are relevant now. So here’s an edited version, just removing some of my crap, nothing substantive.
I am such a let down
Apparently I am not seeing sense and I’m weakening our best chance for independence by engaging in petty political grievances.
Furthermore I have been letting the “Red Tories” live instead of helping to end them in Scotland. I am being hopelessly naïve. I clearly don’t understand what’s at stake. I am being sectarian. I am supporting the Labour party and the union. I am living in the past. I am too attached to failed politics. I will of course learn one day that I am exactly this level of wrong.
The heart of my crimes is simply this: I am thinking of not voting SNP in the general election on May 7th 2015.
I can hear your seething disapproval already. The solution to my woes are obvious:
I should lend my vote to the SNP to make sure Scotland gets the best deal from Westminster.
I should vote SNP for a strong Scottish voice in Westminster
I should vote SNP as anything else will only hinder our journey to independence
I must vote tactically for the SNP to get the best outcome possible, any other vote is a wasted vote
I should vote SNP because they are Scotland’s party and will fight for Scotland
I should vote SNP as a positive alternative to unionist parties
Without fully realising how, I appear to have become a Judas for our times.
About the SNP
I want to be clear on where I stand regarding the SNP. The SNP have done wonders in challenging and ending the poisonous status-quo of British politics. The party has proudly picked up the social democratic and progressive raiments that Labour left in the street when they took delivery of their imperial (and neo-liberal) new clothes.
The actions of the SNP in government and throughout their campaign for Scottish independence have contributed hugely to the current and ongoing crisis for the British state. It seems undeniably the case that Scotland stands in better shape as a caring society than our sisters and brothers in our great southern neighbour.
Nicola Sturgeon PBUH is a first class politician, maturing and mellowing into her role. She is clearly very able and like Alex Salmond she is far further up the food chain than the pond life that Scottish Labour release into the real world from Keir Hardie house. Let’s face it she’s got a nicer personality than Eck who often had his described as “unfortunate”.
And despite all of this I am still struggling to vote or campaign for an SNP candidate in the general election because the sense of “otherness” and outsider-dom from the cult of the SNP is a concern. The SNP have done good things, the future looks bright, but my goodness some of the members are a worry, and maybe the phenomenon and a tacit acceptance of the role it plays is a worry too. Let me give a couple of examples.
“Just vote SNP!”
Many people in the movement I hope we share seem to be actively recreating the failures of our political past. Despite our lauding of a wonderful multi-faceted campaign then we now seem to be birthing a notion of “Don’t bother with the pluralistic stuff now, vote for the SNP and we can do great things!!””. We really need to counter such notions because we will not deliver new politics by retreating to the certainties of the old politics.
Having a self-harming need to maximise-at-all-costs the tartan bums on the green leather of Westminster benches will deliver short term relief, like most self harm does. I thought we were campaigning for a Scotland rich in democracy, steeped in mature politics and wise in the knowledge that we must cherish and grow our national conversation? What I experience is the same old political nonsense Better Together pulled in the referendum campaign.
Making the argument that a non-SNP vote is a wasted vote is a destructive political act that seeks to halt the early blossoming of our democracy by ramming it all into the familiar madness of a political system we wish to escape. What’s worse is that many of the folk proclaiming support for expedient “sense” and “loaning your vote” also support the principle that independence can bring inclusion through social and political justice.
We’re being told to suspend all the good stuff we re-discovered because some people have a cunning plan based on all the failed cunning plans from our past?
How long are the uninitiated to spend in political aspic waiting for the nod to begin again with our “unhelpful” discourse? One election? Till after the Scottish elections? Council elections? Till we get independence? Till our independence is secured? Till Scotland is a proud and progressive member of the global family of nations?
I was in the Labour party when we ditched Clause 4 and embraced the culture of setting principles and politics aside “till we…”. I’ve lived and lost a political life through expediency and delayed principals based on “shoosh till we….”. It’s a disaster. A shameful, pitiless, unmitigated disaster.
The SNP are a central and positive force we need. The SNP are not our politics though, merely a part, and we need all of us together in a social movement to do half of what we dream.
I’ll be voting SNP, because their candidate is a good candidate, decent politically, supports independence and he’s the closest candidate in my area to the political beliefs I support as a member of the Scottish Socialist Party. I’ll not be casting my vote because it suits folk playing an old and failed game of British power. That’s a rigged game we lose and I don’t intend to lose in this fight. Not this time.
I will not “shoosh for indy” or wait till some undefined moment of release, instead I will shout loudly for the positive politics that characterised our shared indy movement. We create our imagined future on the move and in the movement, not hushed, waiting and telt.
I’ve jazzed it up a bit but I still think these things about us and where we’re headed. I still won’t shoosh 4 indy. None of us should.