Alex- the Splitter?

May 24, 2012
By

Patrick Harvie hits the nail spot on when he talks of Independence being an opportunity for radical reform. It seems that the pre match kick about has been used by the SNP leadership to dilute the possibilities that are on offer. The aim being, presumably, to lower expectations of the left and calm the fears of the centre right who may be open to persuasion as long as the horses are not startled. The logic is of course that those minded to establish a left leaning radical alternative would still prefer a new Scotland with the opportunity to develop than an old empire which is spiralling downwards in the grip of the right. The leftists will not therefore vote against Independence. There is though a danger that they may abandon the poll altogether rather than be involved in a movement that they see as less than commendable. Once the disdain for the style of Independence that is on offer sets in, the trickle of those walking away to watch from the sidelines could develop a momentum of its own.

There is an alternative view-

Those who see Salmond in a Machiavellian form may consider that he has set the scene for the first battle not with Unionism but within the Independence movement. Republican against those accepting of Monarchy (I think there are few actual monarchists), Nato supporters and non aligned or neutralists, Socialists and centre to centre left, Sterling or Scot-pound. By concentrating the debate on these issues he removes the argument from the unionists and makes those of many shades feel the need to fight for their position within the fold. They are all the time developing their identity as Independence supporters, rather than fighting from outside, until the sense of belonging becomes too strong to walk away. During that period, if the unionists stay true to form they will have been spitting venom, half truth and downright lies.

It is far more likely that current supporters of the status quo will be swayed to Independence than a supporter of independence be convinced that in fact, all is rosy in the garden after all. These arguments, although a source of friction, also serve a positive purpose by reinforcing the truth that the SNP are not the only people with a ticket for the train. It gives time for Alex to show that he is not the conductor.

There is rightly a wide range of views of how we see the future, all of them worthy of debate before we reach consensus on what should form the start point for an independent Scotland. The journey to consensus will be deliberately slow to allow others to jump aboard. Not for nothing has there been a fight over the timing of the referendum. The establishment is well aware that adequate time for discussion and consensus-building amongst the range of views can surely not work in their favour.


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