The next big step on the road to independence is underway: a national survey with the aim to reach as many Scottish voters as possible with their views on Scotland, independence, the European Union, and several other issues. Before the independence referendum, we were asking how they might vote: this time, we’re asking them why they voted the way they did.
It’s a crucial difference, and I’ll wager this is a primary reason it’s received such vigorous, diversionary opposition from avowed British Nationalists like Adam Tomkins:
… That’s 3 words, Mr Tomkins. But then, Scots also said No to your party running either Parliaments, yet here you are.
… Mr Tomkins, we’re asking people why they voted No. It’s not a question with a binary Yes or No response.
Activist: (to voter) Why did you vote No?
Mr. Tomkins: We said No.
Activist: Actually, Mr Tomkins, I was talking to this voter, not you.
Mr. Tomkins: Yes, and we said No.
Activist: (turns to voter again) So, why did you vote No?
Mr. Tomkins: Didn’t you hear me, we said No!
Activist: (ignores Tomkins) I would just like to know what were your reasons for voting No?
Mr. Tomkins: WHY WON’T STURGEON LISTEN! WE SAID NO! NO MEANS NO! WE ARE THE PEOPLE!
Here is the Scottish Government actively engaging with No voters. They’re looking to ask them directly what they think. They want to know the reasons they voted the way they did, their fears, their hopes, their concerns, their ideas… And the response from one of Scotland’s MSPs is to butt in, answering for the voters. For someone so determined that the People of Scotland be listened to, why be so dismissive of this dialogue? Surely one would want the people of Scotland to say, en masse, exactly what they think of
Alex Salmond’s Nicola Sturgeon’s separatist dream, embarrass and humiliate and mortify her, so there can be no doubt whatsoever that the cause of separation is dead in the water? If the case against independence is so unassailable, then why not prove it – better still, let the people prove it, once and for all?
Perhaps it doesn’t matter to him and his party. As long as they put the cross in the right box, the reasons didn’t matter: the result was the same, whether voters were British Nationalists like himself, or people aching for a Federal UK run by Keir Hardie’s successors. No means No – and his party gets to decide what No means, regardless of what No voters might actually have wanted. Even if the majority of No voters voted explicitly for the former Prime Minister’s Home Rule promises, that doesn’t matter – Westminster decides what No means. Anything beyond that’s a waste of time. Get on with the day job, Nats.
Or is there more to it than that?