When black is white and white is black – the curious contradiction of Scottish politics

There was a segment on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme on 12 May about the general election in Scotland. It starts just before 2:32 and begins with the BBC Scottish political editor Sarah Smith confirming a truth most Scots know. Elsewhere the election may be about Brexit, but here it’s about independence/separation. As Smith said:

It’s dominating the election … Tory leaflets I’ve seen have the huge word ‘Independence’ in capital letters right across the top with the words ‘We said no and we meant it’ … SNP literature doesn’t mention independence at all.

To the naïve this must seem curious.

The Tories, who are dead set against independence, won’t stop talking about it.

The SNP, whose only mission in life it is, won’t mention it.

The SNP claim that this election is about providing an effective opposition to the Tories at Westminster (thereby conceding, and on this at least they’re right, that the next UK government is going to be Conservative). But what sort of an opposition can a party provide that at most could only muster 59 out of 650 MPs, and whose main aim is to get themselves out of the place?

The Conservatives, of course, are playing the independence card because they know the majority of Scots (probably a slowly-growing majority) are against it. The SNP are ignoring it because they know that too. They know also, if the opinion polls are right, that a number of their current, bloated crop of MPs are on a shoogly peg, partly because of the independence/separation question, partly because the record of their own ten years in government at Holyrood has been so abysmal.

The election in Scotland is about independence because, by virtue of their purpose, the SNP have made it so – as they make every test of democratic opinion, even our humble local council elections. Take away that elephant in the room and you could have something like normal politics in Scotland. Until then their obsession will continue to over-ride decent, devolved government and make their contribution at Westminster only negative.

Finally, if you’re tempted to identify this as a pro-‘Toary’ (© N Sturgeon) post, don’t bother. It’s a pro-Britain post. Other pro-union parties are available, and as long as the SNP maintain their goal of destroying Britain my vote will go to the party where I live that stands the greatest chance of defeating separatism.

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