For much of the last year, that website advocated a rational but unpopular position – namely that the SNP, which at the time had the balance of power in the UK Parliament, should offer Theresa May’s soft Brexit deal in exchange for transferring to support powers for a second independence referendum.
The logic was clear – nothing would ever prevent Brexit, but the passage of the May deal would save Britain from a no-deal disaster. Everyone would be a winner – England and Wales would get what they voted for, Northern Ireland would get special terms that would keep it in the EU except for its name, and Scotland would get the chance to stay in the EU as an independent nation.
“But no!” Yelled at us all. “There’s no way we can do anything with the Tories or we’d be crucified and lose the referendum, you idiots!”
Record scratch, jumped to this day.
[Pause for long, weary sigh.]
Of course, it doesn’t matter now what the SNP votes for. Instead of offering the Tories a deal that would have been the best outcome for any part of Britain, securing an Indyref and keeping the government of May as a weak minority with just a few years left, the SNP pushed for general election Boris Johnson had a comfortable one by 2025 Majority and made sure that he could pass or block any Brexit deal he chose.
Sturgeon’s party is now in a lose-lose situation. If they vote against a last minute deal that might arise, they are de facto voting for no deal. If they vote for a deal on the grounds that it will be the lesser of two evils, they will do what we were told was political suicide. And whichever way they choose makes no difference anyway and makes them look weak, powerless and irrelevant in Westminster (exactly).
And more precisely, we will of course not have a referendum.
There was no guarantee that May 2019 would have accepted such an offer. And it would have been a political risk. But after losing her majority in 2017, she had suffered desperate torture for two years and it was within the power of the SNP to take a courageous, principled and fully defensible position, in the interests of everyone in Britain, and calling on the Tories to reject it .
(We just don’t think independence supporters would have changed their minds with anger and voted no because they got a referendum.)
Instead, they bottled it out of fear of bad headlines (as if they weren’t getting bad headlines every day), and the story played out with the tragic inevitability that all sane people knew it would be the moment Boris Johnson would May ousted him and his talent was given to Wahl.
Because of that cowardice, Scotland is now facing the worst of all possible worlds – outside the EU, with no deal, no referendum and a Tory government with a large majority clearly intent on ripping the heart out of decentralization, and the four years Has time do it in.
We warned you guys. Again and again. Maybe one day people will listen to us.