I’M struggling with this new “divisive” narrative around Nicola Sturgeon; though I accept it is the perfect Unionist tool for creating division, so will be aired by them at every opportunity.

My simple question to anyone who thinks independence was achievable between 2014 and the present is: when, during this period, did the support for independence rise convincingly above the 50% mark? It might sound boring, but I only ever “gamble” or make a bet when I know the winning outcome beforehand. Going into an indy vote, I’d like to have that same confidence.

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I hear a lot of noise about the Claim of Right and the naive assumption that this is some kind of catch-all mechanism to achieve independence because of its exclusively “Scottish” nature. What many forget is that Scots Unionists (or, more correctly, propaganda victims) have the same Claim of Right as independence-supporting Scots. If they outvote us, they win and Scotland stays in the Union.

Claim of Right gives us an “additional mechanism” to validate the wishes of the Scottish people, but so too does international law. Any route – Claim of Right, UDI, consultative indy vote, Section 30 indy vote, etc – falters on that same principle of democratic majority. A declaration of independence without the majority support of the populous is an independence “dictatorship”.

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Post-2014 Nicola Sturgeon made it clear that independence was still the main focus of the SNP, but she also issued a challenge to the movement’s grass roots, to grow the movement and reach the point where there was no doubt about the majority.

In the interim, and due to the modern, egalitarian and socially conscious nature of the centre/centre-left popular majority position the SNP has positioned itself at in the political spectrum, a position that echoes the core principles of most modern European democracies, this means that the Scottish people have been served by a Scottish Government that has protected Scots (where possible) from the worst excesses of the Westminster TORY government.

Had the SNP simply “passed on” all the TORY policies there would be more social inequality, more poverty, more destitution, more crime, a poorer health service, lower public-sector wages, and a long list of other negative effects, and (like Labour in the past) we’d be handing back some of our “grant” from Westminster.

The catch-22 of that “let them see how bad it can get” approach is that it would simply be another stick to bludgeon the SNP (and the independence movement) with. It would also be a very cynical approach to government, one which I’m very glad the SNP have not pursued – it speaks to the integrity of the movement, its leaders, its members and its socially democratic nature.

The good news: the grass roots have responded. The movement is growing. We’re getting closer by the day. The bad news: the Unionists know it, and are ramping up any negative and divisive dialogue they can get their hands on or manufacture. This will include triggering “sleepers” within the movement, who will be whispering in ears and sowing discontent – even prompting radical action that can be focused on by the “British state” to discredit the movement. The “British state” did that in the past, even inciting radical action and handing over fake bomb-making materials. During the miners’ strike, the “British state” had operatives so deeply embedded, they were in relationships with activists.

Lets look at the bigger picture, and if part of the bigger picture is a Scottish Government demonstrating day after day that there is a better way to govern, then let’s celebrate that, rather than accusing them of inactivity on the independence front. Without that solid government (flawed on occasion, I’ll concede), support for independence would be in decline.

The medical maxim is: first do no harm. Something might be intensely annoy to an individual, but if airing that annoyance has the end result of losing support for independence, then question needs to be asked about that person’s motives.

Alistair Potter
via thenational.scot

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