Nicola Sturgeon began a national roadshow in Edinburgh this week, with further events planned in Dumfries, Dundee, Inverness, Aberdeen and Glasgow, where she is set to speak in front of a capacity crowd of 12,000 at the SSE Hydro.
Meanwhile the “victors” of the independence referendum have embarked on a new paroxysm of internal feuding, as the disastrous fallout to the Labour party’s commitment to the Austerity Union continues to unfold.
John McTernan believes that the SNP has already been “routed” and is “in danger of irrelevance in Scotland at the next general election”. But with Scottish sub-samples in the 12 Populus polls conducted since the referendum finding the following support: SNP 37% (+17%), Lab 28% (-14%), that’s some rout. In fact, a new poll from Mori today has the SNP on 52% and Labour on 23%, meaning only four Labour MPs would survive, and the SNP would have 54.
This is self-delusion at a grand scale, emboldened by the no vote. Now, stepping into the ring in a potentially damaging (or cathartic) process are the MSPs Sarah Boyack and Neil Findlay (shadow health secretary) and MP Jim Murphy, who have declared they will stand for the leadership of the Scottish Labour party.
But this branch of the Better Together continuity group are not happy campers. Malcolm Chisholm has said that if a Westminster MP is head of the Scottish Labour party “a crisis would become a catastrophe”. Former first minister Jack McConnell has also weighed in, saying: “She [Johann Lamont] was completely undermined by the decision to remove the head of the party organisation in Scotland. We have to resolve that issue [of control] before the next leader can properly carry out the job.” The trouble is that Lamont’s diagnosis of Labour’s problem – that Scotland is treated as a regional branch of the UK party – is precisely the argument for yes she’s been denying. It makes them look at best ridiculous and at worst deeply deceitful.
But Labour’s woes are the least of Scotland’s concerns right now, including its strangely quiet no voters. The famous silent majority is hushed and somnolent. The paradox is that, as they “own the media” in the words of Alan Bissett’s The Pure the Dead and the Brilliant, we don’t know what no voters think at all. In the absence of any credible alternative media we are left to speculate what they think about the raft of announcements that confirm pretty much all that was said by the yes camp during the campaign. The unionist media, that was used to hush the nationalist voice, now silences the silent…