Sunday, 19 February 2012

The exchange of ideas

Twitter is interesting.

People who do not share your politics pick up on things you've written and, having commented on it, commend their own thoughts to you.

Various nationalists engage with me on that basis.

Generally they are not the much derided "Cybernats". Their discourse is civilised and measured, even if the younger of them harbour a naive belief that they might yet persuade me of the merits of Independence by the passion of their argument alone.

There is less likelihood of that than of Craig Whyte being invited to join the Celtic Board.

In looking at what is commended to you however does give something of an insight into the mentality of even the more intellectually engaged sections of the SNP.

You do obviously only engage with those prepared to come out to play but even that makes you feel slightly sorry for these individuals, because they are being treated as mugs by their own, more realistic, leadership.

There are lots of (UK) Labour commentators out there in the blogosphere. They break down into essentially two groups: those who defend what the Leadership propose as being as much as might reasonably be achieved and those who attack the leadership for being too cautious. For what it's worth, I'm in the second category.

There are none however who believe that any conceivable leadership is about to bring about the socialist transformation of society.

However, many, although to be fair, by no means all, of the SNP bloggers labour under the misapprehension that Scotland is about to be led to independence by Eck. So, I am asked to comment on how the Labour Party might conduct itself "after independence"; invited to resign myself to the inevitability of independence; even, curiously, offered gratuitous advice as to what Labour must do if we want to prevent Independence.

These poor souls are encouraged in this by the unwillingness of their own leadership to bite the bullet of telling them that they only won the election by not mentioning independence; that there has never been any reputable survey suggesting the Scottish people will vote for Independence and that the reason the SNP Government want to delay the referendum is that, if it ever held, they will lose. As Alistair Darling observes in today's Scotland on Sunday, nobody has ever chanted on a demonstration "What do we want?" [whatever] "When do we want it?" [In a few years time]. Lenin did not get off the train at the Finland Station and announce that he proposed to give the Tsarists three and a half years to consider their response.

Now, that's not to say that the SNP Victory last May was unimportant. It has taught my Party that you can't insult the electorate with either your candidates or your platform and it has created space for a more powerful devolution settlement. It has also provided us with a perfectly competent technocratic government in the meantime. We even have the consolation that the task of trying to hold on to the Labour votes they won will stop that Government veering too far to the right.

So, as they say, every cloud has a silver lining.

But, to be frank, I'd rather people stopped bothering me with suggestions as to what Labour might do "after Independence". They might as well ask me what Labour proposes to do after the socialist transformation of society.

1 comment:

  1. "you can't insult the electorate with either your candidates or your platform"

    ...which is exactly why we just might win independence. Who's going to stop us, *Johann Lamont*?