Nationalist campaigners face long, endless climb to indyref2

by Colin Campbell

FERGUS Ewing’s normally moribund Twitter site has been energised by his election campaign.

It gives considerable prominence to photos of his SNP supporters in Inverness shinning up lampposts to put up posters.

No-one has ever been persuaded to vote for a political party by seeing a poster on a lamppost, but it’s still good to see that some old fashioned campaigning traditions prevail.

Better to spend your time in the healthy outdoor pursuit of lamppost climbing than in disseminating lies or abuse on social media, as supporters of all parties, but particularly the SNP nationalists, do.

The election is now just four weeks away and while some people are increasingly excited by it for many of us it has already dragged on too long. There’s another leaders debate next Tuesday on STV, a less than thrilling prospect. I’ll probably give it a miss.

The lampposts will be postered and the leaders will debate but interest may well falter after the Sturgeon Salmond Alba Party drama of the past few weeks, until the May 6 election day itself.

Regrettably, it won’t be followed by a big results night on TV as counting, because of the coronavirus, will take place over a couple of days with results being released at the weekend. That in itself takes an edge off the election.

The polls are all over the place. Salmond’s Alba was predicted to get no MSP’s last week, they were predicted to get six at the weekend, and in a poll yesterday they were back to zero again.

At the high mid-point of this rollercoaster ride Salmond appeared to suggest that if independence supporting parties gained a “supermajority” then negotiations on independence should begin with Boris Johnson the very day after results were declared.

If such a peremptory demand were to come his way, I imagine the prime minister would be preoccupied washing his fine head of hair at the time.

The aftermath of the election will be interesting, maybe very interesting, but despite Salmond’s bluster it’s still wholly unclear how the SNP nationalists intend to advance the cause of independence after May 6.

If they fail to win a majority of seats it’s off the agenda altogether, but that’s unlikely to happen.

If they win a majority of seats but gain less than half the votes that will be construed by the cussed Boris Johnson as giving them no mandate whatever for indyref2.

If they somehow win more than half the vote on a turnout of 60 or 70 per cent that will be construed by Boris their favourite buffoon as them only gaining 35 per cent or so of the total electorate and the blighter will flatly refuse to grant a section 30 order for a legal referendum.

We’ll be watching a mounting nationalist frenzy unfolding by then, on the internet at least, if you bother tuning in.

Then alternative options arise, with greater or lesser speed. Sturgeon could gain Holyrood approval for an illegal referendum, which, when it took place would be boycotted by half the electorate. Or some might rally to Salmond’s proposal for “street protests”, which would alienate far more people than it would win over.

This confusion is at the root of all the splits, rancour and division among the nationalists. Without a section 30 order from the prime minister they just don’t know what to do. And four weeks before the election they still don’t know, and I suspect nothing will have changed four weeks after it either.

Brooding over it all is not a pleasant way to spend time in advance of the poll. Far better to get out and about and expend stored up tension and energy by climbing up lampposts. But it looks a long, endless climb towards indyref2.

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