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The SNP are unaware of the scale of their defeat

Politics is the continuation of war by other means is to rather mangle Clausewitz but expresses a truth that the SNP and most other Scots missed yesterday.  The SNP may have won a tactical victory, but they suffered a strategic defeat.

The SNP goal of creating an independent Scotland, depends on their being granted an independence referendum. But this depended on them holding the balance of power in a hung Parliament and propping up Labour.

The Conservatives put in their manifesto that they would not allow a second independence referendum and therefore have a perfect right not to allow one. This was a UK Election and a Government has a right indeed a duty to implement its manifesto. There is nothing undemocratic about this. Quite the reverse.

The SNP offensive is the equivalent of the Battle of the Bulge (1944-5). Their tanks pierced the front line and broke through gaining an initial tactical victory. But they were just creating a giant salient and a position that was impossible to defend. Eventually the SNP ran out of petrol could not supply their beleaguered front line and what had seemed to be success eventually turned into strategic failure that hastened their final defeat.

The problem the Pro UK side faces is that most Scots are unwilling to exploit the SNP’s strategic defeat. The problem is that most Pro UK Scots agree with the SNP about nearly everything except independence.

The first problem is that we are conditioned to view UK elections through the lens of Scotland. We treat Scotland separately and accept the SNP narrative that it ought to be treated in this way. If you treat Scotland separately, you are a separatist.

Large numbers of Pro UK Scottish Remainers complained that Scotland did not vote Leave in the 2016 referendum. If you think that Scotland ought to have a veto in UK wide elections, you really ought to join the SNP.

But again, far too many Pro UK Scots think that the UK is akin to the EU. They think that the UK is a group of countries that happen to form a union just as long as it is convenient for us to do so. This is historical nonsense. The United Kingdom is one sovereign nation state in the same way that the United States is one sovereign nation state. It matters not at all that the parts of the United States are called “states” while the parts of the UK are called “countries.” Until and unless Pro UK Scots understand this, they will always be helping the SNP by confirming the SNP narrative and helping them win the argument.

It no more matters therefore that Scotland voted to Remain or that the majority of seats went to the SNP than that California voted for Hilary Clinton, but Donald Trump won the presidency. Secession is not justified by losing an election. If it were then no democracy would long endure. If you don’t understand this, you cannot even begin to understand the foundational texts of Western democracy.

The SNP should never have been given a first independence referendum. When the Scottish Parliament was established it was made clear that it would have no say on constitutional matters. These would be reserved. How then can the fact that the SNP won a majority in such a Parliament give them the right to decide matters that are outside their remit. It’s the equivalent of California deciding to declare war on Vermont. The same logic obviously applies now. It doesn’t matter if the SNP win a Holyrood majority in 2021. They still cannot decide matters that are reserved for the UK Government.

Obviously, the SNP don’t accept this. They are separatists. The problem we have is supposedly “Pro UK” Scottish commentators and the majority of left-wing Remainer Scots don’t accept it either. I have lost count of the number times I have read someone who I thought was Pro UK write things that support the SNP narrative and undermine the argument for the UK.

The SNP are bonnie fechters. They endure. They ignore defeat. They give it their all and they do everything they can to win. Far too many supposedly Pro UK Scots prefer to collaborate, aid and abet, and concede defeat at the first set back. There may be one hundred opinion polls showing a Pro UK majority in Scotland but let there be just one showing the tiniest nationalist majority and our distinguished newspaper columnists say we are doomed.

Scotland has a rather unintelligent intelligentsia, which can’t even make up its mind what to think nowadays. At least the SNP believe in something.

The Pro UK argument has never been better, but its left to people like me to make it. Years and years after I began arguing that Brexit will make Scottish independence impossible, I read someone mention it as if he has just discovered the wheel.

But the Lefty Remainer mindset prevents far too many Pro UK Scots from thinking strategically. This is why we still divide our forces into three so that the SNP can defeat us in detail. This is why we still repeat the same old tactical voting strategy even when it keeps being defeated in exactly the same way as before. One more push and we’ll beat them isn’t a strategy. It leaves you hanging on the old barbed wire.

So, for those who haven’t been following closely. Here is the strategy.

Get us out of the EU.

Don’t agree with the SNP about anything. Don’t give any legitimacy to their narrative and don’t think or talk about Scotland as being in any way separate.

Don’t think that another independence referendum and another nationalist defeat would make the SNP give up their dream of independence. It wouldn’t. It would fuel it. Didn’t you watch last time?

Give us time. Delay.

Leaving the EU will make the whole of the UK gradually diverge from our European neighbors. As they continue to unite, we will continue to be different. In time this will make the idea of rejoining seem quaint, then it will be impossible. Let us take back control of those massive chunks of ordinary life that the EU presently controls and then let the SNP explain that they are going to give them up in order to join a federal EU. Let them explain how keeping the pound is consistent with promising to give it up. Let them explain how an independent Scotland would start life both outside the UK and outside the EU having to negotiate trade deals with both.

That’s it.

Keep fighting folks. We are winning.

This post was originally published by the author on her personal blog: https://www.effiedeans.com/2019/12/the-snp-are-unaware-of-scale-of-their.html

About Effie Deans

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Effie Deans is a pro UK blogger who works at the University of Aberdeen. She spent many years living in Russia and the Soviet Union, but came home to Scotland so as to enjoy living in a multi-party democracy! When not occupied with Scottish politics she writes fiction and thinks about theology, philosophy and Russian literature.

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One comment

  1. The SNP will lose support from those who hoped it would force the UK to stay in the EU. In the next election it will lose seats.

    As you say, give it time and the SNP will fade.

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