24 hours later, almost everyone seems to have come to the same conclusion (with the help of FM’s own briefings) about Humza Yousaf’s “independence strategy” as the one Wings saw yesterday, namely that he has taken Nicola Sturgeon’s flawed version of a de facto referendum and made it even less credible.
Insofar as they’re talking about it, anyway.
There’s very little in-depth coverage of the “special lecture” on Sundays, and that’s probably because he said so little that it’s worth reporting that there’s no depth to explore. In the end, a great deal of sound and fury was created in Dundee which meant almost nothing more than a withdrawal.
Offscreen, Yousaf told the press corps something very different from what he had told the crowd in the hallway. When asked to clarify his vaguely worded carefully worded speech, he admitted that, in fact, the “new” politics was exactly the same as the one that has failed for the past eight years: get elected, make demands on the UK government, and have no idea. what to do when they refuse.
But where Sturgeon intended, ostensibly at least, to be armed with a legitimate mandate from the majority of the electorate, Yousaf was setting his sights much lower.
A majority of Scots seating it is an absolute failure. In the 2005 UK general election, Labor won a comfortable majority of seats with 35.2% of the vote. That’s 10 points LESS than Yes got in the 2014 referendum, and we’re not trying to claim it as a victory.
We know that Westminster will say “No” regardless of the result. Both Labor and the Conservatives have made that absolutely clear, and we know that the chances of the SNP having significant influence in Westminster to force their hand are essentially nil. Arithmetically, there’s almost no chance they’d maintain the balance of power, and even if they did, Keir Starmer would just pick up on his bluff and say “Go ahead, vote with the Tories” – something that the SNP itself has made unthinkable and closed off as a tactic.
Yousaf’s speech alone has a big blank space on what to do then.
The strategy proposed by Wings in February and adopted by Ash Regan in the battle for leadership had a plan for that. A majority of VOTES is a mandate the world would take seriously. It is a clear statement of the will of the people as set forth and protected in Article 1 of the UN Charter, and a call above the minds of Westminster for recognition by the international community, based on a free democratic vote. and just demonstrably, having tried any other route, would be attended to very favorably.
But any petition for recognition based on losing the popular vote 2:1 would be laughed out of the global room. That’s right. we would not have won. We would not be speaking for the people. And Humza Yousaf, who is a wretch but not a jerk, knows that as well as we do, you and everyone else.
So your “strategy” is a deliberate and cynical insult to the 1000 or so resilient and optimistic souls who headed to Dundee yesterday. Their sole purpose, and a purpose that is barely disguised, is to try to trick them into letting the SNP hold on to as many House of Commons seats as possible for another five years, in the full knowledge that they will do nothing. with them. As far as we’re concerned, it’s nothing more than Operation Gravy Bus.
(Because anything they COULD do with, say, 25 seats is something they could have done with 56 seats in 2016, 35 seats in 2017, or 46 seats now, but haven’t.)
Humza Yousaf knows that if he had said that yesterday in the hall everyone would have muttered and scratched their chins, which is why he delivered his speech so evasively. He was counting on a pep effect of people hearing what he wanted to hear rather than what was actually said, and being skeptical of the unionist media’s analysis afterwards.
But even SNP’s cheerleading fanzine The National saw it this time.
And even his hyper-loyal subscribers weren’t buying the new recipe’s snake oil.
The purpose of strategy is to fail. Yousaf knows full well that there is ZERO chance of the rapidly sinking SNP getting more than 50% of the vote in 2024, something he couldn’t even achieve when he was skyrocketing in 2015.
Then it will fail, and the party will shrug and say “Hey look, we tried, and now it’s time to accept defeat and do as much as we can within the limitations of the return.”and how many parliamentarians he manages to save will recreate their pension funds, freed from the heavy burden of expectations.
Failure to achieve independence is no longer just the fate of the SNP. is his goal.
So for independence supporters, voting SNP next year is a vote to give up, but it’s actually much worse than that. Humza Yousaf’s “independence strategy” is the equivalent of Hitler’s infamous Nero Decree of 1945, in which he basically ordered that if he fell, all of Germany would go down with him.
Support for independence remains strong and can still be salvaged. But it is unequivocally clear after yesterday that the SNP not only cannot deliver independence, but can be no part of it at all. The party is doomed, and the only elements of the Yes movement that can still be saved are those who are disassociated from it.
But the time to do so is running out fast.