FROM the title of Shona Craven’s Tuesday’s article (Who gets to decide what is divisive within the independence movement?) it’s clear she is of the “wheesht for indy” brigade – an approach which undermines open debate and which has the effect of keeping matters problematic. In order to identify the pressing problems in the Yes movement we need to have free and open discussion.

I am not surprised to see a knee-jerk reaction from a member of the commentariat. I was expecting something like this, and it demonstrates that the arguments in my letter have hit a nerve, not least of all due to the tangible public support that the piece received online. Craven’s regurgitation of Walker’s points, without addressing the counter-arguments that I made, does not give a good impression of her capacity for critical thinking. She displays her disregard of the points that I made by refusing to address them, and instead steamrolls over the arguments as if they were not made, most notably not addressing the need for unity in action, whilst attempting to gaslight readers in casting doubt on what I said when I described the “party”.

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The author then ventures off on a tangent into cancel-culture politics, citing the fact of AUOB always aiming for as broad a platform of speakers from across the Yes movement as possible as justification for the Scottish Greens leadership refusing to attend and speak at the rallies. This point is completely irrelevant, and was not in the response I wrote to Walker, nor indeed was it mentioned in his original piece. Craven shows that she doesn’t understand the nature of the Yes movement, that we are united around a single point of solidarity which is desiring Scottish independence. Again, I thoroughly addressed this in my letter, and once again, I recommend that in the future Craven reads what she is responding to, and then responds on point.

The author continues by stating that: “The decision of the SNP not to rally its troops for All Under One Banner could have many practical explanations, not least that a subsequent low turnout (whether due to weather, scheduling or any other factors) would be seized upon by the Unionist media as evidence of waning enthusiasm for independence (or indeed waning enthusiasm for acting in accordance with SNP endorsements)”. This statement is preposterous. Why is the same approach not being applied in respect of the SNP leadership and party machine getting fully behind the Believe in Scotland March for an Independent Scotland in the EU demonstration on September 2? How is this argument any different for this demonstration compared to AUOB ones, or indeed any other non-bubble initiative? I am surprised that Craven didn’t see how contradictory and illogical this was when she wrote it.

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She continues with an attack on the AUOB marches, and alarmingly displays an apparent penchant for Toryism, yet I comprehensively addressed this on June 29 last year in a letter titled “Toryism is, by its very nature, pro-poverty and anti-Scotland”.

In conclusion, it’s clear to me, and it will be clear to many who have been following this exchange, that Craven’s attempt at gaslighting has not worked, but if it has worked at all it has done so counter-productively, and has not given legitimate justification for the avoidance tactics and divisive SNP/Green leadership’s behaviour which she has done her best to deflect from.

Furthermore, my letter contained absolutely no “stamping of the feet” to get “political endorsement” from the SNP, but rather I took the opportunity to definitively outline what the problem is and who is causing it. AUOB is a campaign organisation for independence which is completely independent of all the parties, and so does not need endorsed by any of them. As such Craven, and anyone else who wishes to write about this matter, should only come back if they address the substantive points which I have made, and not just regurgitate previously stated, and now definitively challenged, arguments.

Neil Mackay
via email