Sunday, 10 June 2012

Big tent blown over in summer storm?

While the inclusion of the Greens and Scottish Socialist Party in the Yes Scotland campaign was intended to build a broad-based coalition for independence, the obvious danger was that this would exacerbate the SNP's own policy divergences and confuse rather than clarify matters as far as undecided voters were concerned. And of course Yes Scotland's effective pig in a poke schtick - that it's all about Scotland making its own decisions rather than policy per se - was never likely to be successful in kicking ideological differences into the long grass until it was all over.

But it seems that instead of being inside the big tent pissing out, the Greens are already back outside pissing in, with half-leader Patrick Harvie complaining that Yes Scotland had made little progress in formulating a "broad and inclusive" campaign, and in effect that the organisation is just a front for the SNP. Who'd have thunk it?

Of course, since the Yes Scotland launch Harvie had been articulating some of the radical quasi-socialist policies that many independence supporters would like to hear - but which Alex Salmond is afraid to adopt lest it scares the 'middle Scotland' horses - and to that extent had become a bit of a poster boy for many nationalists, both big-N and small-n.

Thus from the perspective of the upper echelons of the SNP the Greens' departure presumably represents something of a double-edged sword, but Patrick Harvie in particular may become yet another cybernat bĂȘte noire, thus from hero to zero in a mere handful of days.

And there's presumably worse to come yet, because - and it hardly needs repeating - even before Yes Scotland launched the SSP's Colin Fox had said: "The Yes campaign cannot be dominated by one party. There will absolutely have to be agreed positions within the Yes campaign on Nato [membership] and the monarchy. These issues need to be resolved within the Yes campaign."

Er, nae chance, one suspects, so presumably there's little money to be made with a punt on whether the SSP will end up falling out with Yes Scotland.

Of course, as the saying (almost) goes it's not over until the fat controller calls off the referendum, but in the meantime Yes Scotland's big tent is looking less "hearts and minds in the broad sense" than the T in the Park campsite on the Monday morning.


Longshanker said...

" the saying (almost) goes it's not over until the fat controller calls off the referendum..."

That made me laugh.

Thanks for the link to the SSP piece. I missed that news.

The Greens issue has certainly highlighted the potential fractiousness bubbling under the 'United Front'of the Just Say Yes (Please) campaign.

The Nato and monarchy issues might just be a long enough rope for members within the SNP to hang themselves with.

I'm still not convinced the referendum will be called off. The amount of money which appears to be getting spent surely excludes a call off as a face saving option?

NB: I wish you'd post more frequently. Phrases like the 'fat controller' are worth plagiarising.

Braveheart said...

good stuff.

The Monarchy, Trident, Nato, "Britishness" and, above all, the economy: all issues that confuse and confound the Nats.

Stuart Winton said...

Thanks for the comments.

Longshanker, your point about the SSP reminds me of something I forgot to include, which was that last week Colin Fox wanted Yes Scotland to emulate the poll tax battle, a campaign style that I doubt will appeal to 'middle Scotland either'!

Don't know about the referendum being called off, but I certainly wouldn't rule that out completely. At this stage they'll still be hoping for it all to come good, so they really can't do anything other than go ahead and see how things pan out. In fact perhaps that's why they've went early and the whole thing looks a bit rushed - it gives them more time to see which way the wind is blowing, and thus if they do decide to call it off then it won't look quite so last minute.

As for posting more frequently, unfortunately I can't keep up your relentless pace, and neither do I think I'm the first person to use the phrase 'fat controller' in the context of SNP politics!

I did draft a couple of posts last week that I'll tidy up for this week, but unfortuately they're a bit on the doom and gloom side, at least compared to your own standard of hilarity!!