Snp: ‘Gen­tle per­sua­sion’ is the key to win­ning in­dyref2

●MP Pete Wishart says il­le­gal votes and tricks would back­fire

The Scotsman - - FRONT PAGE - By CHRIS MC­CALL

Achiev­ing vic­tory for the Yes cam­paign at a fu­ture in­dyref2 is “all about gen­tle per­sua­sion”, a vet­eran Na­tion­al­ist MP has claimed.

Pete Wishart, who was re­turned as the rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Perth and North Perthshire ear­lier this month with a sub­stan­tially in­creased ma­jor­ity, claimed work was re­quired by the SNP to re­tain the sup­port which saw it in­crease its num­ber of MPS to 47.

In a blog posted on his web­site yesterday, the se­nior Na­tion­al­ist added that any talk of “il­le­gal ref­er­en­dums” and “dis­solv­ing the union” would see first-time SNP vot­ers move away from the party and back to their union­ist ri­vals.

A mo­tion put for­ward by In­ver­clyde Coun­cil leader Christophe­r Mcaleny and MP An­gus Mac­Neil at the SNP con­fer­ence in Oc­to­ber pushed for a “plan B” – stat­ing that a win for the SNP at the next West­min­ster or Holy­rood elec­tion would give the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment a man­date to open talks on ex­it­ing the UK.

Fol­low­ing the SNP’S suc­cess on 12 De­cem­ber, First Min­is­ter Ni­cola Sturgeon re­quested the pow­ers from West­min­ster for another plebiscite – some­thing Prime Min­is­ter Boris

John­son has main­tained his op­po­si­tion to.

Mr Wishart, who was first elected as an MP in 2001, claimed per­sua­sion is re­quired to win peo­ple over to the case for an in­de­pen­dent Scot­land, and the party must fight the urge to hold a ref­er­en­dum quickly – which he said would play into the hands of the UK gov­ern­ment.

He wrote: “Talk of il­le­gal ref­er­en­dums, UDIS [uni­lat­eral dec­la­ra­tion of in­de­pen­dence], dis­solv­ing unions and try­ing to game or trick our way to in­de­pen­dence will send all these as­pir­ing re­cruits run­ning back into the arms of the union case.

“The Tories are hop­ing be­yond hope that we now blow it through im­pa­tience and alien­ate this new sup­port that is com­ing our way. In­stead it should now be all about gen­tle per­sua­sion, about con­vinc­ing and un­der­stand­ing.”

He added that a big win for the in­de­pen­dence cause in a fu­ture ref­er­en­dum would “put it be­yond all rea­son­able doubt and ques­tion”.

He said: “There is a real sense that we are in the endgame of Scot­land’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in their union.

“It re­ally now is only ours to lose. We now have the op­por­tu­nity not just to win it but to win it well and put it be­yond all rea­son­able doubt and ques­tion.”

Last week, the First Min­is­ter said fol­low­ing the 2019 elec­tion, in which her party took 47 of the 59 Scot­tish seats at West­min­ster, the case for another ref­er­en­dum was “unar­guable”.

She has un­veiled a 38-page doc­u­ment en­ti­tled Scot­land’s Right to Choose and an­nounced that not only would she ask for a Sec­tion 30 or­der – the time-lim­ited trans­fer of pow­ers to hold a ref­er­en­dum next year – but that the Scot­land Act should be per­ma­nently changed so fu­ture Scot­tish gov­ern­ments would no longer have to seek West­min­ster’s per­mis­sion for a vote.

The doc­u­ment out­lined am­bi­tious plans to amend the 1998 Act to say: “It is recog­nised that the peo­ple of Scot­land have the right to de­ter­mine the form of gov­ern­ment best suited to their needs” and that Sched­ule 5 of the leg­is­la­tion, which deals with re­served is­sues to West­min­ster, be changed to re­move the right to “re­serve a ref­er­en­dum on the in­de­pen­dence of Scot­land from the rest of the United King­dom.”

A sum­mary at­tached to the SNP’S doc­u­ment also said: “The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment also be­lieves that when the peo­ple of Scot­land are in­vited to make a choice about their fu­ture, they should do so un­der­stand­ing what the con­se­quences of their vote would be; and with a guar­an­tee that any vote to be­come in­de­pen­dent would be re­spected and acted upon by the UK gov­ern­ment.”

Mean­while, in­de­pen­dence-sup­port­ing group For­ward As One has set up a crowd­fun­der to take the UK gov­ern­ment to court if Ms Sturgeon’s re­quest for a Sec­tion 30 or­der is of­fi­cially re­jected.

The cam­paign, which aims to raise £40,000 to take le­gal ac­tion at the Court of Ses­sion, has so far reached just over £9,000.

PIC­TURE; GETTY IMAGES

0 Pete Wishart claims there is a sense of endgame about the Union

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