by Colin Campbell
THE SNP/Nationalists intend to frame next May’s Holyrood poll as “the independence election”. Tory leader Douglas Ross said last week that he’s having none of it. And he’s quite right.
They can “frame” it any way they like. They can frame it as the Roger Rabbit election if they want. It doesn’t matter. It will be just another poll to elect candidates to the Edinburgh Parliament, no more and no less.
Some of us will be very interested in the outcome, as always. Some will be partly interested. And some won’t bother voting or have any interest at all. This is not something that should keep anyone from sleep.
The SNP believe that when they tally up seats and votes they’ve won it will be the final push necessary to convince Boris Johnson that he has to give in to their demands for another independence referendum, that his opposition, to use their favourite word, will be “unsustainable”.
Good luck with that.
Even if their “framing” was taken seriously their theories are shot through with holes even before the campaign has properly begun. And for clear, irrefutable evidence of that, we need only look in our own backyard.
Fergus Ewing will stand for the sixth time over a period of 20 years as the SNP candidate in the Inverness constituency.
At this stage we do not know what the thrust of his campaign will be. Although between elections he hardly ever mentions independence he may be pressured to make more of it this time round.
He is a certainty to be re-elected, but he could not possibly claim that the votes he receives are based entirely on demands for independence.
Over two decades an MSP in his position can expect to gain the support of many people purely on the basis of their constituency work.
Thats why MSP’s hold surgeries, to meet people with a wide range of problems on a vast range of different issues. Maybe he’s helped people get houses, maybe he’s assisted them in resolving disputes over anti social behaviour, issues with the council or the police or the court or the tax office or immigration or debt or a listed building or whether they’re allowed to cut down a tree in their back garden. Thats what he’s there for.
Many of these folk will have felt inclined to repay the favour by voting for him. Some may support independence, some or indeed many may not. But they’ll still be inclined to back him this time around as well.
So how can the SNP even in the depths of their mendacity claim every vote for Fergus Ewing is a vote for independence?
The only way that would have any credibility is if Fergus Ewing publicly stated that he only wants the support of those who specifically support independence, and that those who feel differently should either vote for someone else or not vote at all.
Somehow, I can’t see him being in any rush to do that.
It’ll be the same across Scotland. People vote for candidates – SNP and otherwise – for many different reasons.
Of course the SNP will try to drive home their “independence election” success – and it’s very likely they’ll be the largest party at Holyrood again.
But it’s yet more wishful thinking and yet another charade.
Next May’s Roger Rabbit election won’t take them one step closer to getting a section 30 order from Westminster for another referendum.
Indeed, so carelessly do they now take voters for granted that they could do less well than they arrogantly assume. Their so-called “independence election” could be setting them up for a shock.