There was an election for the Scottish Parliament last Thursday. The first thing to remember is naebdy deeid.
Congratulations to the Scottish National Party who were voted in for an unprecedented third term in power, narrowly missing out on an overall majority at Holyrood, done in by the eccentricities of the D’Hondt voting system, designed to ensure that no single party achieves a majority government. The SNP received around 156,000 more votes than 2011 but achieved less seats. These are the same rules which contributed to the SNP defying the odds and achieving a majority last time out.
Never mind though, all is not lost. The dream of an independent Scotland did not die in the wee small hours of Friday.
The issues that those advocating self-determination face today are the same as they were before last Thursday. This is just another step on the bumpy road. Nobody ever said it would be easy.
The emergence of the Tories as the second party of choice for Scots heralds a period of polarisation of politics in Scotland, following the evisceration of the red branch of UK neo-liberalism in the constituency vote. The divide is opening up further between those wishing to remain in the Union and those seeking the new path. It was heading that way anyway but now all political policies and decision making in Scotland will be seen through the prism of the sovereignty question.
There are debates raging all over the land amongst the various advocates of the voting strategies (SNP 1 and 2 votes and SNP 1 other Indy Party 2). There are cogent arguments for both and those that strongly promoted them are making these to back their viewpoint. However, that is done with. It is past. Get over it.The next five years are what’s important.
The newly elected third term Scottish Government have a lot on their plate. Despite early evidence to the contrary they must form some sort of alliance with Patrick Harvie and his team of Green MSP’s, informal or otherwise.
It is of paramount importance to the future prospects of Scottish independence that the wider Indy Movement, incorporating the entire range of views which made the 2014 campaign so successful, begins to form, gel and reconstruct as soon as possible. All of the in-fighting, preciousness and hurt feelings need to be overcome. There is a bigger goal to achieve and when that formidable phalanx of energised groups and individuals, hundreds of thousands of Scots buoyed by the positivity of a vision for a better Scotland work tirelessly in tandem there is no stopping it.
I would suggest that when Stewart Hosie starts his summer campaign to promote independence amongst those who voted No in 2014 he also makes building and strengthening links with other groups involved in the continuing campaign for a sovereign Scotland a priority.
The SNP now being effectively the only mainstream party of the centre left in Scotland the Scottish Government will be wise to ensure that they continue to follow and build on their commitments to social justice and equality. It is clear that the former New Labour supporting golf club set, those with a bob or two of the fictional “middle” Scotland are moving towards the Tories. Somebody has to care about everybody else. No Scot should be left behind in 2016, and as long as the SNP continue to focus fundamentally on making the lives of ordinary Scots better they will not go far wrong and confidence in self-government amongst Scotland’s people will continue to rise.
Last Thursday nobody died.We’ll still get there.