Friday, 31 October 2014

The Paradigm Shift.

So, it’s finally started.

The movement that will lead to independence for our nation has truly begun, and I suspect it’ll not end for a few years, but history will show the referendum of 2014 as being the time when the death knell reverberated loudly over the Union corpse. It not only tolled, but vowed it’d continue.

Gazing retrospectively at what’s inspired this blog, it became apparent to me that even while working and sincerely hoping for a ‘Yes’ in the 2014 referendum, at a deeper level I never really expected one. The most obvious reason being, our media isn’t our media. The Daily Record, Sun and the rest are either London or foreign owned. Ultimately, I was as devastated as anyone when we’d come so close only to fall in the last few days, almost entirely as a result of that same media’s trumpeting of the now ‘Disavowed Vow’.

The paradigm shift ultimately comes down to that ‘Vow’, because that ‘Vow’ moved the goalposts; it changed the debate utterly in the last week where ‘Yes’ was building to possible/probable victory.

Suddenly, folk weren’t choosing between ‘Independence and Westminster’, they were choosing between ‘Independence and Devo-Max’. Not only that, they were choosing ‘Devo-Max’ with a defined and very tight timeline. Gordon Brown even declared it’d be as near as damn a Federal solution resulting in a new UK.

Now, excuse me being blunt here, but there’s really no other way to put this.

Let’s face it, if you’re a unionist politician and leader, and not actually a worthless piece of sh*t, you were free to disavow that full page printed vow, but only if you did it publically as soon as the damned thing hit print. That and you’d better be demanding a retraction on the day. Failing immediate corrective action before the vote, folk of honour and integrity have no choice but to keep that Vow afterwards. It doesn’t matter if they actually made it, by their silence they assented and adopted it.

That vow made many voters switch back to support for the Union and consequently, the failure of follow through plus the distancing from it that’s taken place since (and is set to continue) has shocked quite a few ‘No’ voters; there are many who’d change their vote today if they had the opportunity to do it all over again. It’s a safe bet with the revelations since, it’d be the same numbers in the referendum; it would simply flip to a yes result.

That’s what’s behind the building paradigm shift within ‘No’ voters. It is pointless to say “We Told You So” now. They heard what we were saying, but on the day the paradigm shift was just a step too far for them to make, especially when offered the ‘comfy’ alternative of ‘Devo-Max’.

Life in the Union may be not be brilliant, but for many of the ‘No Voters’ it is bearable. Put that up against project fear and the ‘spectre’ of independence that was painted by Union controlled media, the only way a ‘Yes’ vote was going to be secured was by a massive swing in the Unionist vote. It still almost happened; it’s still necessary, however, not quite so massively this time. Except, there doesn’t need to be a ‘next time’. Everything can be accomplished through the ballot box at elections.

I actually didn’t expect the swing to be as rapid as it currently appears, but the event that gets people to change a lifetime’s habits is by necessity something fairly significant. In this instance it is lies and betrayal. Even then, opinions don’t change overnight, but it’s almost guaranteed they’ll change eventually. It’s a realisation event followed by processing time, and we all need different amounts of it.

Consider our average Scots’ voter. Now narrow it to the average Scots Unionist. Die-hards among them might even change now, although that’s less likely. On the other hand, the average ‘No voter’ saw three English parties come together with the weight of the media and eventually see off the ‘nasty Nationalists’ with a “Vow”. However at least a third, perhaps as many as a half of that ‘No’ vote wanted those extra powers. That equates to somewhere around 25% of the total electorate that wanted the substantial constitutional change they were promised. Consequently, these people were comfortable, content and happy in their vote. However, they weren’t specifically voting for ‘Westminster’, they were now voting for a stronger, better, more representative and democratic Scots parliament. It’s how many justified that ‘No’.

Essentially that 25% voted for almost the same as the 45% who voted ‘Yes’. They just didn’t want to throw away the security blanket; not yet anyway, not when they’d been promised ‘the best of both worlds’.

Except, they've now literally been told “What Vow?”

And surprise, surprise, they’re not happy and dissent is now beginning to peep over the parapet. They had a set time frame placed before them, it’s already been missed. Many of them, perhaps as much as 10-15%, have already gone from disappointment through regret to acknowledgement of betrayal and are done processing. They’ll never vote for a Unionist party again. It’s also ‘safe’ to do that now, the referendum is over and they don’t have to feel guilty about making that personal vow against Unionist parties.

Unlike those Westminster politicians, I’d expect these folk to be serious in their intent and it’s already showing. SNP and other pro-independence party’s membership have grown exponentially since the referendum. The latest IPSOS/MORI poll shows a near wipe out for Unionist parties at the next UK General Election, while the current ‘You-Gov’ isn’t quite so radical in its results, but has a similar overall conclusion.

There you have it; 25% of an electoral franchise who’ll not vote for the Unionist parties again, ever.

That’s a lot of betrayed people to have on your hands.

This is what happens when the average person is so fundamentally lied to, and then comes to realise it.

It’s also what happens when the average person in Scotland comes to understand what many of us who supported independence have seen for years; the media in Scotland has shown itself to be largely useless when it comes to balanced investigative and unbiased reporting around Scottish Politics. It means the media was largely a single use tool, like a tube of glue, and now it’s mostly full of air, it doesn't work so well.

However, the media can’t be discounted, but it can be anticipated its future impact will be significantly reduced.

These folk have that have just pushed the SNP vote share to 52% in the polls have had a paradigm shift. For many of them it’s no longer possible to vote for a Unionist Party and they've altered their world view, deciding on a party supporting independence or to simply not vote again. For many of them it may not be a conscious thought yet, but it’s coming.

The SNP for its part needs to capitalise on this to form an ongoing, broad but loose alliance with Scotland’s other independence supporting parties. They need to stand on a manifesto for the next election which loudly proclaims that it supports the democratic will of the Scottish people as expressed during the referendum.

This also requires the SNP to have a paradigm shift to match that of the referendum result and capture the awakening ire of that 25%. They need it this year. They need to deliver the results of that adjustment as they stride purposefully into the 2015 elections. The message needs to be that the electorate can always trust them to be sufficiently flexible so as to respond to its express will.

The SNP can then declare to follow the peoples’ desires and bring to Scotland and her parliament the powers contained within “The Vows” which Westminster has now reneged. Furthermore, they can affirm that one principle they will hold to, should the people elect a majority of Scots MPs from their party, is that these MPs will put Scotland first. After the ballot, Holyrood will extend an invitation to its Scottish colleagues who would be then based in Westminster requesting them to attend a vote in Holyrood.

It’ll be an invitation not just to attend, but an Act will be passed to permit them a vote on a single issue. Holyrood will pass that Act, having been spelled out before hand as the accepted will of the people as expressed through the result of the referendum. This is almost an identical circumstance as that which led to the referendum itself; democracy in action.

Folk will vote for such a message because they’ll not see it as ending the Union, simply holding the political feet in London to the fire and forcing honesty, and that’s how the 2015/2016 campaigns need to be portrayed to capture that additional 25% i.e., democracy has spoken; vote for us to force honesty from the democratic process even as we deliver good government.

The question is; what the contents of that Act should be.

Quite simply, it should authorize Holyrood to renegotiate all articles of the Treaty of Union with four notable exceptions. It would restore the full rights and responsibilities of the Scots Parliament excluding the areas of Foreign Affairs, Monetary Policy, the Monarchy (excluding the need for Royal Assent) and Defence. Passing of these Acts can be expressed simply as a combination of forcing honesty from Westminster, of assisting the many Scots who voted “no” in getting what they were promised by way of a Devo-Max or Federal solution, and lastly helping those who voted yes to reconcile themselves with the outcome of the vote. This would then be portrayed as putting the entire nation in a position to grow with harmony and cooperation as we walk forward. Essentially it would be an exercise in re-unity and reintegration following the referendum.

Effectively this is campaigning on a platform of the democratic exploration of the concept of nation building while remaining within the over-arching framework of the Union, which 55% declared they desired in the referendum.

In all practicality, this is the best way for some 70% of the franchise to obtain what it desired – or at least very nearly so. It’s a political compromise – for now, of where the party promised to go and where the electorate told them it needed to be.

The ball will then be very firmly in Westminster’s court, and how they decide to return it will prove interesting indeed. They may even decide to scrap what remains themselves.

Regardless of Westminster’s desires, with a majority of SNP MPs and MSPs under these circumstances Holyrood can then pass Acts under the banner of the democratic will, repealing or rejecting Westminster’s primacy in everything - except the reserved issues we, the Scots allow.

Effectively, the only primacy Westminster would retain would be in the areas of defence, currency and foreign policy with a sort of shared obligation on the fourth, the Monarchy.

Moreover, it would be done as the will of the people, an exercise in democracy; a beautiful thing.

The SNP should therefore enter the 2015/2016 elections with a shift in stance, specifically limited to these campaigns, to not be a party seeking independence, but rather Home Rule. A sensible party might also promise a Constitution to protect the rights of our Parliament, our citizens and legal residents, while declaring that although David Cameron may have promised this, if we vote for the SNP they will actually provide it. A truly intuitive party might even put a time-frame to it.

With that type of mandate delivered in a Westminster election following on from the referendum, respecting the Union yet holding it to account, Scotland’s parliament at Holyrood can have a secure democratic justification for passing the legislation for enacting this in Scots Law.

By right and accepted broadcast precedent, the SNP could even dissolve the Union with a majority of either Scots MPs or absolute majority at Holyrood, so long as they inform the electorate that was their intent. However, to do so this closely after a referendum result which in effect demanded Devo-Max that may just be a bit disingenuous.

The nicest part is it is all about honesty, honour and integrity. That’s a simple campaign platform. It is also a campaign platform with which Westminster cannot compete.

Should this transpire, it promises to be an interesting development; one which hasn't happened in many centuries. 

an entire cadre of Scottish based Westminster MPs who’ll simply put Scotland's needs first. 

The only clear way under the present scenario to upset that dynamic in any moderately close election, would be an alliance between Labour and Conservatives. Any other alliances with smaller groups of MP’s e.g. UKIP, BNP or Liberal Democrats would only open more eyes in the North, with the certainty of greater issues in London. It’s either that or Westminster tries to pass an act preventing the expressed democratic wish of the Scottish people, and that will not sit well north or south of the border.

Either way, the endgame is now set and the outcome is relatively assured.

I only have to wonder if this wasn't Alex Salmond’s ‘Plan B’ all along. If it had been, then it was a master strategy of playing the long game. All it needed was just one close poll, and the reactions were all entirely predictable from that point on. Win today, or win tomorrow, either way, it’s a win for the nation he cherishes. If it’s a win tomorrow, in Nicola’s hands’, with her lengthy apprenticeship, it’ll be fine.


  1. Been wonderin' where you'd go to. Now I know. You were thinking DEEP THOUGHTs.

    I like it a lot H.

  2. My thoughts exactly. There is potentially an overwhelming majority in the country for that strategy. The name 'United Kingdom' can survive for now in line with the 55% (falling) - as long as we gather all our own taxes and build the institutions of Independence, a bit at a time.