For how many years will Wee Ginger Dug refuse to criticise the SNP?
When an independence supporter mounts a public attack upon another independence supporter, the only winners are the Unionist parties and their media friends. Unionist media outlets are all over such disagreements like a wet rash, and all of a sudden become surprisingly keen to offer a platform to the independence supporter making the criticisms. The Unionist media doesn’t do so because it wants to promote a more radical Scottish politics. It does so because it sees a chance to weaken the cause of independence.
This is a quote from Wee Ginger Dug’s response to a Bella piece by Mike Small in which Mike questions the lack of criticism of the SNP within many sections of the new indy media. The Ginger Dug quote conveys a point of view which has been really annoying many Independence supporters recently, and although I can see the logic, I think it is the wrong position to take.
Unionist media outlets are trying to make money by reaching as many people as possible with their content. Most of the audience in the UK, even most of the audience in Scotland is pro Union. The papers are pro Union party because that is the type of content the majority of their audience want to hear. One job of the new media in Scotland should be to reach and influence as many of those same Unionists, or at least people who voted to stay in the Union. We are not going to do this by constantly preaching to the converted. That will only serve to alienate some of those who previously voted Yes.
When I see an Independence supporter making a public attack on another Independence supporter I think the winners are the Independence movement. Unless of course they are attacking Independence itself. The way to persuade No voters to vote Yes next time is to show them an example of the type of politics that they can expect to see post Independence, not to put that on hold until the hallowed day occurs. If the new media is as biased in the other direction to the established media then we will not be persuading anyone. It just confirms the false Unionist perception of our movement that it is deluded and unwilling to listen to reason.
A movement that is bursting with ideas and self critical in a mature, friendly way is a movement that people take notice of. It sows a seed in the heads of those who never voted Yes last time that a potential new politics is possible.
I have seen variations of the following idea hundreds of times recently: that people are only supporting the SNP for the short term until they get their Independence. That they will be supporting other parties that are a bit more in line with their politics after we get our freedom. And even if the SNP are the party that most reflects their beliefs they won’t publicly say anything against them as they don’t want to damage the chances of Independence.
However, that begs the question, how long are you willing to adopt that strategy? How long will you not criticise policies you don’t agree with? I can see it being a reasonable strategy if you think that Independence is coming in the very near future. But it may take decades to achieve. It may never happen at all. And the SNP can’t stay popular for ever.
In another recent blog Wee Ginger Dug said.
You can argue that the job of the Scottish movement is to make conditions more comfortable within the cage of Union, or you can argue that the priority is to get out of the cage. I believe that the job of the independence movement is to get Scotland out of the cage, not to make the cage more comfortable. After all, if the cage is more comfortable then more people will be happy remaining in the cage. That doesn’t help anyone in the longer term, except for the Unionist parties and the Westminster system.
First of all the cage analogy is a bit over the top. We are living in a developed country in statistically the best time to be alive. As imperfect as the UK system is I would not call it a cage. We are not prisoners or animals. We have as much freedom as any other UK citizen of our social class. However, if you want to use the analogy the best way to persuade people to vote for Independence is to make the Scottish cage more appealing than the UK cage, make it more equal, radical and progressive.
Not trying to do this, or turning a blind eye to policies which don’t do it is the essence of corruption. It does not sell our ability to govern ourselves better.
We have the chance to create a Scottish political scene that sets us apart in terms of the make up of the parliament, how the electorate behave, the policies we adopt and in the way the new media operates. That people will look at and say, I prefer this to what happens down south, I might take the risk and vote for this next time. Sites like Common Space and Bella are not afraid to criticise because they want to reflect the diversity of the movement that we were all part of, not pretend it was all about the SNP all along. Not pretend the SNP is the only vehicle to get there.
I will be voting SNP/Green next time because I want to maximise the diversity of parliament. The fact that I am voting SNP and I am openly critical of some of their policies is the way things should be. Governments need to be held to account in a properly functioning democracy. It is the prime role of the media. It is the role of the public. There is no point in having a new media or an Independence movement that refuses to do it. Not being critical of the Government when we should be is exactly the way to make people who might change from No to Yes think, what is the point? Things will be just as corrupt, nepotistic and dysfunctional as they are in the UK.
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