If this site seems to spend most of its time being angry at the SNP these days, that’s because we are. And a large part of that is because there’s very little that hacks us off more than people insulting our intelligence.
Smith’s tweet is just a crassly offensive flat-out lie. This week’s vote is NOT about “EU membership”. The United Kingdom hasn’t been a member of the EU since 31 January. We’ve already left and there’s no going back. The vote is about whether we leave with a sliver of a trade deal slightly reducing the self-inflicted harm, or the total catastrophe of no deal at all, and it’s just crushingly embarrassing for all concerned that Smith thinks so little of his own supporters as to believe he can “frame” it otherwise.
Voting against the deal is a bad strategy, not because it’ll have the slightest impact on whether the deal passes or not but because it gives Unionists such a giant open goal to point out the grotesque and obvious cynicism.
When you’re giving out free hits to lobotomy patients like George Foulkes, Braden Davy and James Cleverly, the world’s most ironically-named man, you’re selling the jerseys. Because even though they’re total idiots, on this occasion they’re absolutely right, as the BBC’s Philip Sim pointed out in a well-argued thread this morning.
The only options on the table are the deal or no deal, and if you vote against the first one then you’re inescapably voting for the second one, and all but the very dimmest, blindest SNP loyalists can see that.
Speaking of whom:
That argument is a bit like standing on the deck of the Titanic as they’re lowering the last of the lifeboats and saying “Och just wheesht about that big iceberg hole, we’ll fix it when we get to New York. Look how luxurious our cabins are!”
Because by the middle of next May the SNP’s options will have narrowed to pretty much none. If they get their big majority, beg Boris Johnson for a Section 30 again and get told to shove it again (as they will), then the worst possible place we can be is five years away from another election, because an election is the only thing the SNP has any practical control over.
A Section 30 is in the gift of Westminster. An “illegal” referendum (copyright Nicola Sturgeon) is in practice in the control of local councils, none of which the SNP has a majority in. The legal status of a referendum is in the hands of the courts (and may already have been decided long before the election – Martin Keatings’ case is due in court in just three weeks’ time).
The only thing the SNP can do that isn’t dependent on someone else’s co-operation is to conduct a general election on a one-line manifesto of a plebiscite. And if you’ve just HAD the election and you DIDN’T do that, you’re really struggling to find any other meaningful action that’s available to you until the next election comes along .
Theoretically you could dissolve the parliament and call another election, but (a) that’s a really terrible idea because the electorate would be extremely unhappy about it, and more importantly (b) the UK government could simply step in and prevent it, because it retains sovereignty. The Northern Ireland Assembly was suspended for three years from 2017 to 2020 and the UK parliament took over devolved affairs. Nothing could prevent them doing the same to Holyrood if they wanted to.
But a party that’s still trying to tell people there’s a vote coming up on whether Britain leaves the EU or not is not a party fit to face up to any sort of reality. And if the rest of us “sit back, chill” and turn a blind eye to that, we’ll deserve what we get.