The news that my fellow Courier columnist Kezia Dugdale voted SNP while she was a Labour MSP, over her anger at Brexit, has caused some gnashing of teeth in the People’s party.
I can understand why Labour voters are aggrieved by her admission.
However, political views that don’t move with the times and react to changing circumstances are more suspect in my book than someone changing their vote on a one-off occasion.
Kezia, who backed the SNP at the 2019 European Parliament election, has since admitted that she voted Labour thereafter.
In truth, apart from wanting to leave the UK, I see little difference between the SNP and Labour.
Both are dominated by professional technocratic career politicians often out of touch with many voters.
In my time I’ve voted Alba, Labour, SNP, and when I was very young and naïve, even communist, before realising that hypocrisy, double dealing, and bitterness were as much a part of the DNA of the madcap Marxists as other parties.
Kezia, in voting for the SNP, was nailing her colours to the mast as a remainer along with over 16 million others.
In my experience many remainers have proven to be bad losers, angry at their failure to provide persuasive enough arguments to prevail on the over seventeen million voters who cast their vote to leave the EU.
Of course included in that number were just over one million Scots, many of whom were presumably also independence supporters.
Such folk would have realised their Yes votes in the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence would have meant an independent Scotland would also have been out of the EU.
We would have to have applied for membership, with no guarantee of how long that process would take.
Scexit is the term commonly applied to that position, and while many deluded Scots Europhiles are under the mistaken impression we would have been given special dispensation to join immediately, Kezia’s vote for the SNP was going to a party which would have led an independent Scotland into a netherworld.
We’d have been neither a member of the UK union we’d left after over 300 years together, nor a part of a much bigger union of disparate and increasingly quarrelsome nations.
Historically, of course, the SNP were against EU membership.
‘Why is it okay to be one, but not the other?’
I struggle with the logic in claiming that as Scots we have too little say in a union of 67 million souls, but would be listened to with rapt attention in a union of 450 million folk, and would somehow magically have an influence beyond our size.
Kezia’s vote raises an interesting question though.
Many Scots nationalists claim to be Scots and European and yet take umbrage at those who proclaim to be Scottish and British.
Why is it ok to be one, but not the other?
I think, given recent tawdry political events in Scotland, the prospects of Scottish independence are as likely as a comeback for the dodo.
But even if it happens, there is no guarantee an independent Scotland would be that much different from the rest of the UK.
Despite our puffed-up notion of ourselves as more egalitarian and fairer than our neighbours in England, opinion polls regularly show that on issues like immigration (which by comparison to England has been miniscule here) and on other matters, there’s little difference between us.
From what I can see most people in the UK have the same concerns.
They just want the best for their families in health, education, jobs and housing, as well as decent living standards.