Sunday 30 May 2021

In search of Gina MacMiller


There is a problem with the long-term Pro UK campaign that started when the SNP were first granted an independence referendum and continues up to now. All we want is a quiet life with Scotland remaining in the UK. As soon as the prospect of independence diminishes, we cease to pay attention. There will now be a few years of Pro UK drift and when the SNP engages in its next push, we won’t have done any preparation and we won’t be ready. It was like that in 2014 after we won, it is like that now.

Compare and contrast the Pro UK campaign in Scotland with the Remainer campaign after it lost the 2016 referendum. The Remainers came out fighting after they lost and many of them are still fighting now. The Remain/Rejoin campaign has famous figures. It has vast amounts of money and political influence. It can get its stories on the media. It’s rearguard after losing the referendum very nearly won. I disagreed with this campaign, but I must admit the Remainers put up an incredible fight. The Pro UK campaign has nothing to compare with its skill, its tenacity and its determination. We have no Gina MacMiller. We need to find her and we need the whole British media, business and political establishment to back her.

At the moment we have a unique situation in the world. Britain is in danger of being partitioned, but many British citizens are either completely indifferent or even cheering on the SNP. Large numbers of Brits care more about the UK leaving a trading bloc than the breakup of our country. No one else in the world feels this way. It is bizarre that the country we fought to defend through world wars and the Cold War should be surrendered with a shrug. What were we fighting for? What was the point? I wonder why we even have an army if we don’t wish to defend our country. In that case better by far to save the money and surrender to the Russians or Al Qaeda without a fight.

The first task is to get rid of the idea that we are English first or Scottish first and British a distant second. It is this that creates the indifference and the idea that it doesn’t matter if Scotland departs. Saving a bit of money by not sending it to Scotland would pale in comparison to the loss of prestige that would leave the UK weaker and something of a laughing stock. The instability created by the breakup of Britain would damage all of us economically and make us less secure. We would cease to be British. Our island would be divided. Nothing would ever be the same again.

The next task is to make all British citizens realise that it is their fight as much as ours in Scotland. We need your support and your help. We must together begin planning how to deal with the next SNP attack on our country.

The SNP plans to ask for a referendum when the pandemic is over. We must all maintain pressure on Boris Johnson not to grant one. In that case the SNP suggests that it might hold an advisory referendum without permission. We need a Gina MacMiller backed with some of the best lawyers in Scotland to challenge the legality of this. This will require a lot of money. At the moment the Pro UK campaign has very little money. It is divided. It has no famous faces ready to lead. In fact, it barely exists at all. All we have is Gordon Brown popping up now and again, plus Liberals, Labour and Conservatives fighting among themselves. There is no charismatic leader ready to take on Sturgeon. There is no organisation. There is no plan. It is as if we want to lose.

At every stage of the process, we need to challenge the SNP through the courts. Every step on the way towards an independence referendum must require the SNP to fight. If the SNP wins one battle let it fight another and another until attrition wears it down.

If the courts allow an advisory referendum without permission, we must have an organisation that unites in boycotting it and ignoring it. This won’t happen without planning and without famous figures who can obtain the media access to make sure nearly all Pro UK people in Scotland fail to take part. There must be no one for Sturgeon to debate against. No one from our side to give TV interviews. Let the SNP win 100% as if Scotland were North Korea.  This would humiliate Sturgeon and would be a major set back for Scottish nationalism.

Looking further ahead if there ever were a legal independence referendum, we should make it clear that we would continue to fight even if the SNP won a majority. If it was legitimate for the SNP to fight against Brexit, it would be legitimate for Gina MacMiller to fight against independence even if the Pro UK argument lost. The task then would be to fight the rearguard at each step.

Firstly, all Pro UK Scots and Pro UK parties should refuse to take part in any negotiations. We should quietly campaign for the UK Government to give Scotland the worst possible deal, just as Remainers campaigned for the EU to make life as difficult as possible for Brexit Britain. Having obtained the worst possible deal for Scotland we should then argue for a second “People’s vote” to confirm whether Scotland really wanted independence. Meanwhile we should use every procedural and legal trick to delay Scottish independence actually happenings so that the whole nationalist campaign and argument gets bogged down and loses energy. Let us prorogue Holyrood & wear broches with spiders to obstruct the SNP and reverse the result. Let the SNP know right now that we will always oppose them.

A properly organised Pro UK campaign could make clear to the SNP that the route to independence is going to be long and hard with a tenacious opponent willing to do anything to stop it happening. If the Pro UK half of Scotland vowed not to cooperate with the SNP if it ever achieved its goal of winning an independence referendum, if we vowed to campaign to rejoin just as the Remainers did with the EU, if we made it clear that we would never accept Scottish passports but would remain British no matter what the SNP did, then we could make their goal practically impossible to achieve. The SNP needs the cooperation of Pro UK people to make independence work. If we all refused our consent the SNP would be defeated right now.

We are in search of Gina MacMiller. We need British people who are willing to campaign like the Remainers campaigned. But as yet there is no sign of them.

There was some excitement leading up to the Scottish Parliament election. Party campaigners and people putting up signs in fields were busy trying to stop the SNP. But even though the SNP came extremely close to winning an overall majority and has a majority with the help of the Greens, we all felt a sense that we needn’t worry for a few years, so we can go back to sleeping.

We have been fortunate. Perhaps we have a few years to prepare a campaign that would make life difficult for the SNP at every step. We need money. We need famous faces, not just politicians to get involved. We need Gina MacMiller and the pop stars, actors, writers and academics who fought against Brexit to fight for Britain. We need business interests to back us with their millions. If you are a company worried about how independence would damage your profits, don’t wait, but rather, if necessary, quietly, help us develop a Pro UK campaign team that would be ready whenever it was needed.

If we can organise a Remainer rearguard against Brexit we ought to be able to do still better against the SNP. If we can’t do that, we will shame everyone who ever fought for Britain, for while they gave their lives we didn’t give a toss.