One of the best-kept secrets of the SNP is that their political philosophy includes the taking of hostages, hence this latest cry heard all over Scotland, from the leafy suburb of Govanhill to the disgraceful urban blight that is Morningside.
In case you think I’m perpetrating some outrageous defamation the hostages I had in mind were hostages to fortune.
They did it with their 2016 summer of love when, under the erstwhile leadership of Stewart Hosie they were going to have a campaign to ‘woo’ No voters. That one bit the dust along with Mr Hosie’s reputation and deputy party leadership.
Then with summer not even over they launched their ‘National conversation, ’ which may or may not have been the summer of love transformed. Apart from the usual online cyber warriors, no one from the party attempted to converse with me or anyone else I know about anything while the conversation was supposedly ongoing.
Scarcely had finger hit keyboard about that ‘phoney’ exercise (my finger, my judgement) when along came the ‘National survey’ (they do love the word ‘national,’ I wonder why?). The SNP claimed that an unbelievable 2,000,000 people, or 45% of the adult population of Scotland, responded to this survey. But they’ve published no results from it and apparently don’t intend to.
Finally, almost, and less than a month ago, Nicola Sturgeon was said by her spokesman to be ‘likely’ to reveal her plan for a second independence referendum ‘before the summer recess.’ That’s jargon for when the MSPs go on their annual hols, which they did on 1 July. Did I miss the plan, or was it yet another SNP Douglas Adams moment – ‘I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by’?
Four hostages to fortune, and all in less than a year.
But thanks to Ian Blackford, the leader of the SNP in the Commons (no recess there yet), I was reminded of another hostage to fortune, the party’s ‘Growth Commission.’
In an article headed ‘Prosperity will be key in battle for indyref2’ Mr Blackford is quoted in The Times today as saying:
We will win independence when we can persuade the people of Scotland that their economic future is better as an independent country.
This, according to The Times, differs significantly from his leader’s approach because:
she has not put the emphasis squarely on economic performance winning over voters as Mr Blackford has now done
(a high risk strategy perhaps for Blackford while the Murrells retain a grip on the politics and administration of the party, if they do).
Here’s the rub. Surely, if you were going to major on the importance of the economy in persuading people of the benefits of independence you’d mention, indeed place centre stage, a major current policy exercise to generate ‘measures to boost economic growth [and] the range of … benefits associated with independence’? [Quotes taken from the Commission’s remit, included in full in my previous sceptical post on the subject]
Yet there’s not a single mention of the Commission in the 640-word Times article.
Has the former investment banker rumbled the Commission for what it really is? Or has he forgotten about it? Or has it been quietly shelved like all the SNP’s recent hostages to fortune I’ve listed?
I think we should be told.
If nothing else there may be fourteen ‘commissioners’ marooned somewhere in a real or virtual locked room who need to be released from a project they thought they were undertaking.
Which is why I say, please ‘Nicola – free the Growth Commission 14!’
Footnote. My previous post on the Growth Commission was ten months to the day away, since when from the SNP … nothing.