Not perhaps entirely fair – it is a cartoon, after all – but I liked it (nicked from the Times, if you were wondering). I also feel somewhat critical of Salmond: with his shiniest toy taken away he’s chosen to walk off and leave others to sort out the mess. Perhaps. Is there a mess to be sorted out? (Timmy thinks there is but his analysis is poor) Right now it seems possible, with everyone desperately excited. That will probably soon pass. I was just going to leave you with The Gods of the Copybook Headings which has many relevant lines; and everyone can read their own mottoes into the words.
But looking for “what’s news” I found the Economist which offers me a rather different perspective on recent events:
If Mr Salmond leaves the nationalist movement larger and more prominent than ever before, he also bequeaths an uncertain future and unresolved tensions. Many in it were privately critical of the SNP’s role in the Yes campaign. It failed to think through fundamental issues, like which currency an independent Scotland would use, until much too late in the game. It wasted time and effort bickering over the merits of NATO membership. For the first months of the campaign, it did little to build a coherent and organised Yes operation.
That the Yes side went on to give the unionists a run for their money was thanks to the intervention of various civil society and other non-SNP forces. These—Common Weal, Women for Independence, Radical Independence, National Collective and others—brought verve and energy to the cause. Not bound by the discipline of the pro-union campaign, they could each make a different pitch to different sorts of voters. Students queuing for the cinema were given leaflets explaining “how to disarm a nuke” (the answer: vote Yes to force Britain’s deterrent from Scottish waters). Parents waiting at school gates got literature on childcare. Flats in blue-collar areas received fliers outlining the many ways in which the union had failed them, entitled: “Britain is for the rich. Scotland can be ours.” By the final weeks before yesterday’s referendum the SNP was relatively peripheral, particularly in areas of Scotland like Glasgow and Dundee where Yes was strongest.
The aftermath of the referendum into which the Yes campaign and, until his resignation statement, Mr Salmond were today thrust is therefore fractious. What now for this sprawling political patchwork? A large, leftist part of the movement is at best indifferent towards the SNP and at worst furious at its complacency and poor organisation. Senior figures from this scene were preparing to denounce the first minister in the coming days. Some alleged that Nicola Sturgeon, his more left-wing deputy, had made it known that she shared their gripes. Did he jump, or was he pushed?
Perhaps Ms Sturgeon, who will surely replace Mr Salmond when he formally steps down at the SNP’s conference in November, will be able to draw the wider left-wing movement into the party. She is probably better-placed to do so than he would have been. But your correspondent would not be surprised if instead the movement split. The SNP is a small-c conservative party, with traditions and image to match. Can it really accommodate the thousands of environmentalists, socialists, trade unionists, students, single-issue campaigners and others who poured time and energy into the Yes campaign? Their commitment to the cause will not go away overnight, or even over a period of months. This evening the emergence of new, left-wing nationalist party seems possible; maybe even probable.
Until the results of last night, Scottish nationalism under Mr Salmond was more powerful and concerted (on the surface, at least) than it has been in living memory. Soon that may seem like a long, long time ago.
I’ve bolded the bit I found particularly interesting. The reportage I’ve seen up till now was very much party-focussed, and had given the SNP the most prominent role in the Yes campaign. The alternative proposed here is intriguing. Nicola Sturgeon looks a bit like Aunty Angela, don’t you think?
* Anglicans beat Catholics where it matters.