By Craig Murray, former British ambassador to Uzbekistan and Rector (i.e. president) of the University of Dundee. Craigmurray.org.uk.
I have been travelling on business all week, hence the silence. The dangers of travel were brought home to me on Wednesday when, at the White Hart hotel in Lincoln, I inadvertently found myself sitting next to Nigel Farage at breakfast.
I find myself unable to get back home to Edinburgh today and cast my vote, which is frustrating. In Scotland, I do urge everyone who has not yet done so to get out and vote for Independence. I have been slightly downhearted by the tenor of some of the discussion as to whether it is safe to give the list vote to parties other than the SNP. Certainly for any supporter of Independence to give their constituency vote other than to the SNP is Quixotic. But in the entire central belt and in NE Scotland, I am prepared to state boldly – and twelve hours will prove the case – that a list vote for the SNP in those regions is almost certainly wasted, and could rather have helped elect a different pro-Independence MSP.
But I have no argument with the SNP, with Rise, with Solidarity or with anybody else supporting Independence. Differences on how to cast the list vote are largely over calculations of the best tactic, and for that reason some of the hard words and intolerant attitudes I have seen on social media – including on my favourite sites Wings over Scotland and Scot Goes Pop – are not appropriate. We should save our hard words for our enemies, not those fighting for the same cause who may have a different tactical preference. And we should look in future to change the horrible voting system to STV to give voters real choice.
On the Scottish Greens, I should say it very much differs from person to person but I am unconvinced of the strength of their collective commitment to Independence. I am afraid to say I have always found it hard to believe their leader is committed to anything but his own personal advancement. I confess it is not entirely rational, but sometimes I judge people by the feeling I get about them, and in Patrick Harvie’s case it’s “self-serving weasel”.
In England, for the first time in my entire life I find myself wishing well to the Labour Party. This is because the Blairites are self-evidently hoping their own party crashes and burns so they can launch a coup. I hope Labour does well in England because the media campaign against Corbyn has been absolutely disgusting – and because I hate the blue Tories. But even in England, I could never actually vote Labour myself until they expel all the Blairite and Brownite war criminals.