Some concrete suggestions of how to achieve Yes unity

I gather that Ruth Wishart has issued a call for an end to “internecine warfare” in the Yes movement, although ironically I can’t see what she said because she blocked me in the summer after I sent her a couple of polite replies.  Nevertheless, unity is obviously a desirable objective, and here are my own concrete suggestions about how it can be achieved.

1) Set a date for a referendum, and immediately start the process of a) requesting a Section 30 order and b) legislating for the referendum after the Section 30 order is refused.  This would end the deep suspicions on the leadership-sceptic side of the movement that the SNP are stringing us along, and are more interested in reaping the career benefits of what Wings called “the independence industry” than they are in delivering independence itself.  The stock objection of “but we’re still in a pandemic” is bogus, because it would be perfectly possible to choose a date some time in 2023, by which time the pandemic will either be over or there’ll be sufficient normality to hold a referendum.  As soon as we have a fixed date to build towards, we’ll all start moving forward together with a common purpose.
2) Find a genuine compromise on GRA reform.  In saying this, I’ll infuriate some of my fellow Alba members just as much as SNP leadership loyalists, because both sides of the debate believe there is no room for compromise due to the fundamental principles at stake.  Nevertheless, the only apparent alternative to compromise at the moment is an imminent total victory for the trans rights lobby, which will poison relationships in the independence movement for years to come.  The likes of John Nicolson and Mhairi Black may not want to hear or admit this, but a very substantial proportion of the movement is made up of what they describe as “transphobes”, without whom there’s unlikely to be any victory for Yes in a referendum.  The two sides will somehow have to learn to co-exist under the same umbrella.
3) Establish normalised relations with Alba.  Parties in electoral competition with each other don’t have to be in a state of all-out war, especially if they agree on the same flagship policy.  The SNP regard the Greens as friendly rivals, not enemies, and there’s no reason why the SNP and Alba can’t develop a similar relationship.  At the very least, stop treating Alba like a terrorist organisation.
4) And Alba should do its bit in return.  As I’ve said before, it’s important that Alba’s electoral strategy is soberly calculated to maximise the chances of independence, rather than to maximise the chances of revenge against the Sturgeon leadership of the SNP.  We must be incredibly cautious about the risk of splitting the pro-indy vote by putting up candidates in first-past-the-post elections, and we should show generosity of spirit in the local elections next year by urging Alba voters to give their lower preferences to the SNP, the Greens, and any other pro-indy parties or candidates.

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