Sunday, 24 March 2013

Almost there?

When I was first involved in politics the "SNP man" in Paisley was a guy called Jim Mitchell. And we hated Jim Mitchell, not least because he denied us a ward on the Council that could never had been won by the Tories, even if we didn't really need it. He campaigned for many years with a wee dug, whom he would bedeck in yellow SNP posters come election times and whom the Labour Party promptly christened William Wolfe.

I remember at one election him chasing us down the street waving a placard at our Labour loudspeaker car as Allen Adams, the Labour MP, announced to all and sundry that "A Tory is still a Tory even though he is wearing a kilt". (I say to all and sundry but actually to Jim Mitchell personally). I, as the driver, was inclined to speed up to get away but our Parliamentary representative instructed me to slow down in the hope that we might "tire the wee bastard out".

But, for all his deluded politics, Jim Mitchell was also a great Paisley Man. Indeed, he was almost as much a Paisley Nationalist as he was a Scottish Nationalist. For many years, one of his major gripes that Glasgow International Airport was so called: "It is not in Glasgow!" he'd protest, "It is in Paisley! It should be called Paisley International Airport!"

And so, last Sunday, when Saints won the League Cup (3-2 but that flattered the opposition) I'm sure it wasn't just me who thought for a moment how happy Jim would have been on that day. For, as some of my readers will know, after a genuinely heroic battle with throat cancer, he is no longer with us.

And he'd have been nearly (only nearly mind you) as happy again when Eck announced the date of the Referendum on Thursday.

It is a substantial achievement for the SNP rank and file to have got to this point. Overcoming not only the combined forces of Unionism but, let's be honest, the reservations of their own leadership.

But I'm also struck with the somewhat strange mood of this weekend's Conference.

The SNP has always been two things: a Party and a movement. Dare I say it, a bit like us.

But it is a pretty curious state of affairs where the best contribution to the Conference appears to have been made by someone who is not a member and who indeed specifically declined to encourage people to vote for his hosts.

It was Roy Hattersley who famously observed of the Labour Movement that while we might not be agreed on the route, or even on the ultimate destination, we were at least agreed on the general direction of travel.

Suddenly, the Nationalists have the choice of the ultimate destination and suddenly they realise that they are not agreed upon it. So they fall back on being a movement, not a Party

I suspect that explains the somewhat hesitant tone of events in Inverness.

Their problem is that they have now set a date by which the ultimate destination must be defined. And I suspect they are slowly realising that this is not a problem for us but for them.


  1. Their problem is that they have now set a date by which the ultimate destination must be defined. And I suspect they are slowly realising that this is not a problem for us but for them.

    What is the destination of the UK?

    UK has 3 right wing parties vying for SE England votes willing to sacrifice/denigrate the poor in society for a term in power totally alien to the majority in Scotland as seen in the latest poll.

    Panelbase shows yet another swing in favour of independence - plus a huge SNP lead for Holyrood

    p.s Someone wrote a while ago that there would never be a referendum on independence he must of been listening to the BBC for their 'honest' news coverage.

  2. As one who was there, I spotted not one iota of hesitance, nor any lack in enthusiasm for the referendum. I think you're falling into the trap of believing your own propaganda again.

    Just to be clear Ian, do you feel the SNP leadership don't want the referendum because a) they think they'll lose, or b) they think they'll win?

  3. Just so we know, now that we have the referendum date in place and a referendum bill submitted to parliament, do you still insist that there's not going to be a referendum, Ian? Or are you waiting until the 18th September 2014 before posting a blog admitting you got it COMPLETELY wrong?