New referendum! New mindset!

If an independence referendum were to be called today and the SNP go it alone and be the official ‘Yes’ campaign and it’s SNP versus everyone else, we will lose based solely on voting history. – Chris McEleny

referendum_2018_petitionIf the Yes campaign is to succeed in the coming independence referendum we urgently need a fresh mindset. Sorry, Chris! But this is not it.

Let me say first of all that, having seen him perform in two Depute Leader contests, I have considerable respect for Chris McEleny. I have not the slightest doubt that he is destined to play a major role in Scotland’s politics. But I would suggest that he might benefit from shaking off some of the more conventional thinking that is evident from his views on the new independence referendum.

In some respects, Chris has already done this. He has been prepared to break from the herd and at least put a time-frame around the new referendum. He has said that the vote should be held within eighteen months. Which is a considerable improvement on the indefinite postponement being advocated by some in the SNP. But eighteen months is plenty of time for the British state to do massive damage to Scotland’s democratic institutions and public services. As with the more tremulous Postponers, I’ve yet to hear him explain how he’d go about preventing ‘One Nation’ British Nationalists wreaking the havoc that they promise.

A curious thing about Chris’s approach – which seems to be fairly typical of what is becoming the conventional thinking on the matter – is the insistence that “we need to think differently”, quickly followed by a ‘plan’ for the new Yes campaigned so closely modelled on the first one as to be barely distinguishable. Meet the “new Yes Scotland team”! Just like the old Yes Scotland team!

The other thing that puts Chris with the conventional thinkers is the idea that a constitutional referendum can be reduced to a mathematical formula. If our ambitions are limited by “voting history” then we will never even aim for anything, far less achieve it. The nature and form of our activism cannot be dictated by history if we are to have any hope of shaping the future. We will not do what needs to be done by succumbing to the notion that we can only ever do what has been done.

The whole point of campaigning is to make future outcomes different from past outcomes.

I have never heard anybody suggest that the SNP “go it alone”. Never! I constantly hear people insisting that the SNP is not the whole of the independence movement. But I have yet to hear anybody make the claim that it is. I really don’t know what purpose is served by incessantly denying something which, not only isn’t asserted, but is actually impossible.

What needs to be recognised is that the SNP is the political arm of the Yes movement. The independence campaign desperately needs an injection of hard-headed political realism. We have to stop pandering to the various factions which, for whatever reason, resent the SNP’s crucial role. We have to face up to them and tell them straight that the sniping has to stop. We have to get across to every Yes supporters the reality of our situation. Which is that the sure way to lose is to fight the same campaign we fought for the 2014 referendum.

We have to drive home the hard political reality that we will only win by putting the full weight of the Yes movement behind Nicola Sturgeon.

It’s not that complicated! The effective political power provided by the SNP is essential to the independence project. As a political party constrained by its constitution as well as the policies and positions approved by its members, the SNP cannot change to accommodate the diversity of the Yes movement. Therefore, the Yes movement must accommodate the SNP.

It’s not that difficult! The Yes movement doesn’t actually have to change. It doesn’t have to ‘become’ the SNP. It only has to recognise that the movement is not the campaign. The Yes movement and the SNP remain distinct. But both serve a campaign. And that campaign has to be fronted by the SNP for the glaringly obvious reason that the SNP is at the front of the campaign. It is at the point where the independence movement comes up against the British state.

What is the point of the Yes movement putting its weight behind some “new Yes Scotland team” when, almost by definition, that “team” can have no effective political power? A team which is formed for the very purpose of pandering to the factions whose aversion to effective political power outweighs their commitment to the cause of restoring Scotland’s rightful constitutional status.

The Yes movement doesn’t need to be told to “embrace moderate views, socialist philosophies, environmental, radical and democratic thinking”. The Yes movement already does that. The Yes movement is diverse, open and unconstrained. It doesn’t need this to be mediated by a “new Yes team” which will no more represent all of that immensely broad character than the SNP does.

The Yes movement must feed its power directly into a Yes campaign which, in contrast to its own character, is united, focused and disciplined. Like a real, professional political campaign has to be.

This united, focused and disciplined campaign must go on the attack in a way that simply didn’t happen in the 2014 effort. The Union has never been so fragile. It has never been so vulnerable. The Yes campaign must exploit the British state’s weaknesses as ruthlessly and relentlessly as may be consistent with fighting a principled campaign.

The solidarity, focus, discipline and aggression of that campaign then needs to be put at the service of the SNP and, ultimately, Nicola Sturgeon.

The power of the Yes movement must not be diffused by being filtered through some compromise ‘team’. It must not be diverted to some substitute ‘leader’. The power must be directed where it will be most effective.

That is realpolitik. That is how we win.


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Who are these people?

tomkinsFor many, I feel sure, the shock revelation coming out of the Hansard Society’s 15th annual Audit of Political Engagement is the discovery that as many as one in seven people in Scotland is “broadly satisfied” with the British political system. Who are these people? What do they see that the rest of us don’t? What do they fail to see that is painfully obvious to the vast majority?

What is the thought process which leads to the conclusion that the British political system is, from a Scottish perspective, even remotely acceptable far less broadly satisfactory?

What does it take to be a Unionist in Scotland today? What percentage of one’s intellect must be forsaken? What portion of one’s conscience must be denied? What part of one’s self-respect must be sacrificed?

How much must Scotland endure before British Nationalists begin to question their allegiance to a British political system which is inherently incapable of representing Scotland’s interests?

At what point do British Nationalists begin to recognise that a Union which can only be sustained with open threats, empty promises, transparent dishonesty, cancerous corruption and utter contempt for democratic principles, is a political union which is broken beyond repair?

What do British Nationalists think is going to happen? How do they imagine Scotland’s politics playing out over the coming weeks, months and years? What end-point do they envisage?

Do they suppose that the 86% who are less enamoured of the British state than themselves will just learn to live with it? Do they reckon the half of the population which wants independence will just meekly accept denial of that aspiration?

Do British Nationalists actually believe the democratic route to independence can be closed down without consequences?

Do British Nationalists genuinely think that imposition of a ‘One Nation’ British state will be the end of the matter? Do they suppose Scotland’s independence movement will simply evaporate once direct rule from London is restored?

Who are these people?


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How to choose

perth-concert-hallAs I prepare to go to the SNP Depute Leader Hustings in Perth Concert Hall later today (Saturday 28 April) a thought occurs. Pete Wishart has remarked that it is a “good thing” that the issue of the new referendum should “dominate” this contest. I strongly disagree. While the matter of the timing of the referendum is a matter of critical importance, it is not – or should not be – a major consideration in choosing the Depute Leader.

There is a very simple reason for this. As the person elected to stand in for the party Leader in their absence, the Depute Leaders opinions are the Leader’s opinions. At least in public, there can be no disagreement. And even behind the scenes, significant disagreement on any issue of importance would hardly be conducive to a good working relationship.

Of course, it is reasonable to suppose that the Depute Leader might be among those with whom Nicola Sturgeon will surely consult as she makes the decision as to the date of the new referendum. But, ultimately, it is a decision she takes alone – because she alone will be held accountable for that decision. The extent to which the Depute Leader might influence the Leader in this matter is likely to be relatively small. So it would be unfortunate if their views on the timing of the referendum were to become the dominant criterion on which members assess the candidates.

It will not be a major consideration for me as I weigh up the candidates at today’s hustings. What I shall be looking for is someone who can most effectively represent the party in the Leader’s absence. I will not be looking for someone who might represent my personal views on any particular matter. That would be pointless. Because the Depute Leader can only ever represent the vies of the Leader. They aren’t there to challenge the Leader or act as some kind of counterweight, or whatever. That is not the role of the Depute Leader.

What I will be looking for is the candidate with the best presentation and communication skills. Someone who can be the voice of the party Leader in public, and the voice of the party membership in private.

Another important consideration will be the role that the individual currently performs. The role from which they will be removed by becoming Depute Leader. A role which, even if it doesn’t come with a formal title, may well be considered more important.

If the candidates’ views on the timing of the referendum influence my vote at all, it will be only in a minor way. It most certainly will not “dominate” my thinking. I know that every one of those candidates is every bit as committed as myself to the restoration of Scotland’s independence. I know that, whatever date Nicola Sturgeon decides on, they will back that decision as fully and unreservedly as will I.


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Sage advices

then_what

Having dealt with the matter of the relationship between the Yes movement and the SNP in an earlier article, I should probably address Carolyn Leckie’s ‘sage advices’ on the matter of when the new referendum should be held. At least this gives me the opportunity to heartily agree with one point that she makes.

I suspect the main reason why Ruth Davidson, Richard Leonard and Willie Rennie are so hostile to a referendum during this parliamentary term is because they fear defeat. They rate their chances of ousting the SNP from power at Holyrood higher than their chances of winning a second No vote.

Absolutely correct! And one of the reasons I find the position taken by Pete (Wishart) and the Postponers so unacceptable. The idea of indefinitely delaying the referendum feeds all too neatly into the British parties’ anti-democratic campaign to deny Scotland’s right of self-determination.

Of course, they would never admit that they want to deny the people of Scotland a right guaranteed by no less than the Charter of the United Nations. The British parties don’t do that kind of honesty. Instead, they will simply keep on insisting that “now is not the time”. An assertion for which the very determined could find expedient justification at any time. Which means that it is effectively identical to the argument for indefinite delay being peddled so vigorously by Pete and the Postponers.

The difference – and pretty much the only difference – between the anti-democratic British Nationalists and Pete Wishart is that, while he still supposes there might be a new referendum at some undefined time in the future, Ruth Davidson, Richard Leonard and Willie Rennie) are determined that the referendum be postponed until such time as the British government, to which they give total allegiance, has implemented measures to ensure that a new referendum is impossible and/or unwinnable.

On this matter, uniquely, I am prepared to ‘trust’ the British parties. I have not the slightest doubt that, given the time and space Pete and the Postponers wish to afford them, the British political elite will introduce new impediments to the exercise of our democratic rights. They will,over the period between now and the next Holyrood elections, take action to eliminate the threat of democratic dissent and eradicate Scotland’s distinctive political identity.

Like Pete Wishart, Carolyn Leckie seems to be prepared to gamble that they won’t. She seems ready to bet Scotland’s future on the hope that the British state will turn out to be more benign than all its history and Scotland’s experience suggests. She’s content to delay the referendum trusting that the British state will play nice and forego the opportunity offered by Brexit to unilaterally rewrite the devolution settlement redefining Scotland’s status within a political union ‘reformed’ without any reference to the people of Scotland or our elected representatives. She’s prepared to take the chance that maybe the British state won’t seek to satisfy its long-standing imperative to lock Scotland into the Union.

The British parties in Scotland don’t just rate their chances of seizing control of Holyrood in 2021, they regard it as a racing certainty. It is what they are planning for. They know that they only have to erode a relatively tiny part of the SNP vote to be in a position to oust them – even if this involves forming a ‘Grand Coalition’ of Unionist parties in order to do so. They know that they can rely on help from the British media and the rest of the British establishment. They know that, in addition to the delegitimising and disempowering of the Scottish Parliament that has already begun, there will be a campaign of smears, distortions, scaremongering and lies such as to make Project Fear look honest and principled by comparison.

They don’t just hope to oust the SNP in 2021, they aim to do so by whatever means they deem necessary. They expect to put an end to Scotland’s dream well before then. But the next Scottish Parliament elections are intended to be the ultimate subordination of Scotland. The final solution to the Scottish problem. The realisation of a ‘One Nation’ British state that will last a thousand years. Greater England at last!

Either Postponers such as Carolyn Leckie and Pete Wishart are unaware of the threat to Scotland’s democratic institutions, political culture and public services; or they are in denial about the jeopardy in which our nation finds itself; or they are naive enough to imagine the British state will now, all of a sudden, start to show Scotland the respect that it never has shown in all the centuries since this benighted Union was foisted upon us. Whichever it is, we heed their ‘sage advices’ at our peril.


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Politics meets physics

pushedCarolyn Leckie informs us that she finds it tiresome to be told that, regardless of their standing in the Yes movement, non-members of the SNP do not enjoy the same status within the party as those who actually pay their dues as members. It irks her, apparently, that SNP activists have the gall to insist that she has less right to influence party policy than those who devote their time and resources to working through the SNP’s democratic internal procedures.

Imagine my dismay.

I don’t suppose Ms Leckie is much interested in the actual views of an actual SNP member; preferring her own grotesque caricature of blind party loyalty, bigoted intolerance and political sectarianism. But what I find tiresome are the entirely redundant reminders that the SNP is not the independence movement. What irks me is the notion that it’s frightfully clever and a sign of great political sophistication to contradict a claim that nobody has ever made.

What irritates me is high-minded lecturing about the vital importance of “broad alliances” when I am aware that it was the SNP which, prior to the first independence referendum, set up Yes Scotland precisely to facilitate such alliances. I surely won’t be the only SNP member to find this supercilious scolding all the more annoying when I recall so vividly the hours spent on streets and doorsteps and on campaign buses and in meeting halls the length and breadth of the country in the company of similarly motivated people from across every divide in Scottish society bar the one that separates those who aspire to a better, fairer, more prosperous nation from those devoted to the preservation of an anachronistic and dysfunctional political union at whatever cost to Scotland.

I wonder at the lack of self-awareness which allows Carolyn Leckie to recognise that the Scottish Government is being pounded daily by the media while rebuking those who seek to defend against this propaganda onslaught for supposedly succumbing to the temptation to denounce anyone who criticises the Scottish Government or deviates from SNP policy. To point out the folly of those within the Yes camp who thoughtlessly parrot the British Nationalist narrative of the mainstream media is in no way equivalent to branding them “some kind of traitor to the Yes movement”; and to suggest that it is seems no more than an attempt to silence those who condemn pointless sniping at the SNP administration.

Nobody is suggesting, or ever has suggested, that the SNP administration should be immune from criticism. But those who have sense enough to recognise how essential the SNP is to the independence project should also be sensible enough to avoid the temptation to denounce the Scottish Government or the party on the basis of smears, distortions and downright lies promulgated by media they know to be massively prejudiced. And those who dont have the wits to avoid this temptation fully deserve whatever condemnation comes their way.

Which brings me to another thing that I find tiresome. Namely, those whose eagerness to flaunt their non-SNP credentials overwhelms their intellectual appreciation of realpolitik. I am irked by someone who can acknowledge that the SNP is by far the “largest chunk [of the independence movement] , in terms of both activists and voters” but then insist that it is the SNP which must accommodate the minority who have “no strong affinity with the party”.

To put it bluntly, what is being suggested is that the leadership of the SNP should disregard the membership and the policies and positions developed by the party as whole to do the bidding of that part of the Yes movement which chooses not to participate in the process of developing those policies and positions.

Stripped of all the fine rhetoric about broad alliances this can be seen for the totally unrealistic nonsense that it is.

Carolyn Leckie is so intent on delivering her three lessons that need to be taken on board by both the SNP leadership and the party’s activist base that she remains woefully oblivious to even the possibility that it might be she and others who opt for waggy-fingered lecturing over open-minded listening who have lessons to learn.

Let’s not get side-tracked by puzzling over an appropriate way of responding to the haughty presumption that bids such people think they have the right and the authority to dictate to the SNP leadership and party activists. Let us, instead, remain focused on a rational consideration of the lessons that might usefully be taken on board by those who prefer to pontificate from the giddy heights of the moral and intellectual superiority they supposedly gain by standing proudly aloof from the hot, sweaty, noisy engine-room of democratic politics.

The SNP is the de facto political arm of Scotland’s independence movement. The Yes movement needs to learn, not just to acknowledge this incontrovertible fact, but to embrace it. The Yes movement needs to learn to celebrate the fact that the independence project at last has access to effective political power. Most crucially, the Yes movement needs to learn how this effective political power can be used most effectively. And, just as importantly, how the SNP cannot be used.

The SNP cannot possibly be a vehicle for every pressure group, political faction and policy agenda in Scotland. It can only ever be a vehicle for the policies and positions determined and/or approved by the membership. These constraints cannot simply be ignored. The party cannot realistically be expected to bend to the whim of any or every part of a Yes movement which is so extraordinarily diverse.

The SNP not only isn’t the independence movement, it cannot possibly be the independence movement. It is, by any reasoned analysis, impossible for the SNP to be the independence movement. Which only makes the incessant reminders that it isn’t the independence movement all the more irritatingly, irksomely, tiresomely superfluous.

Next lesson! The SNP is absolutely essential to the independence movement. It is the de facto political arm of the independence movement. It has taken decades to grow that political arm. The independence movement will not quickly grow another political arm should this one be lost or crippled. So the Yes movement needs to learn to look after it. It doesn’t matter a **** whether or not you like the SNP, it’s all you’ve got. Its all you’re going to get in anything remotely close to the time-frame within which we must act if Scotland is to be saved from the ravages of a rampant One Nation British Nationalist ideology.

The Yes movement needs to learn, if not to love the SNP, then at least to accept the vital role that the party plays in achieving the aims of the Yes movement. (I might add that political progressives also need to learn that, whatever their opinion of the SNP, it represents their best and almost certainly their only hope of maintaining a political environment in which progressive politics can at least survive.)

Let’s now put these two lessons together and see where that takes us. We know two things. We know that the SNP is absolutely vital to the independence project in that effective political power is required and only the SNP is in a position to provide that effective political power. We know that the SNP cannot be the independence movement in that it cannot accommodate within itself all the diversity of the independence movement. What conclusion do we arrive at when we put these two pieces of knowledge together?

The obvious conclusion is that it must be the wider independence movement which accommodates the SNP. There is no other way that it can work. The error made by Carolyn Leckie and all too many others is to start from the conclusion that the SNP must do all the work needed to facilitate those “broad alliances” and work backwards from that shaping their arguments to serve this preconception.

The Yes movement must learn that, to succeed, there is no alternative but to accept the SNP as it is. Because, even if the party was as susceptible to external pressure as some want it to be, not even internal influence is going to change the SNP into something that accords with every facet of the Yes movement. I repeat! The SNP cannot possibly be the independence movement. It can only be a tool of the Yes movement. And the Yes movement better learn how to use that tool both thoroughly and quickly.

The analogy (recently adapted slightly) which seems to find most favour with those who have appreciated the realpolitik goes like this –

  • The SNP is the lever by which Scotland will be extricated from the Union.
  • The Scottish Government, and particularly the First Minister, represents the fulcrum on which that lever moves.
  • The Scottish Parliament is the solid ground on which the fulcrum rests.
  • The Yes movement is the force which must be applied to the lever in order to make it work.

Remove, disable or weaken any part of this arrangement, and the entire effort fails. Perhaps the best lesson a non-SNP member can learn is some basic Newtonian physics.

NOTE: It was necessary to edit this blog as, when I started writing it, the article appeared under a different by-line.


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The ‘sweet spot’ of catastrophe

pw_holdThat was hard work! I just read Pete Wishart’s latest ‘contribution’ to the ongoing debate about the timing of Scotland’s new independence referendum. Actually, I’ve read it three times now. And I’m still no clearer about the reasoning behind his determination to indefinitely postpone the vote. I find lots of things in the veteran SNP MP’s most recent blog. Reasoning is conspicuous only by its absence.

I find contradiction and inconsistency. As when, towards the end of the article, he claims he wants to “rescue our nation from a disastrous Brexit and a UK determined to erode out [sic] national Parliament”, but only after “Brexit impacts and people actively want out of an isolated, desolated UK”. And only after giving the British political elite all the time it needs to pursue the ‘One Nation’ project that is already in progress.

At least he acknowledges the British Nationalist threat to the Scottish Parliament; even if only in a casual aside, complete with clumsy spelling error, which suggests he doesn’t take that threat very seriously. It is possible, I suppose, to see this as progress – given that he previously appeared totally oblivious to the jeopardy facing Scotland’s democratic institutions. But I’m still finding absolutely no sense of urgency. As with Brexit, the impression is that Pete Wishart is content to let the damage be done in the hope that this will provoke a reaction which favours the independence cause.

It seems that the ‘optimum conditions’ Pete Wishart is seeking involve Scotland suffering massive economic harm and imposed constitutional ‘reform’ that may well be irreversible. As a political strategy, this leaves something to be desired.

Some will doubtless protest my mentioning one of several spelling errors. They will say that it is petty to point out things like ‘countries’ instead of ‘country’s’. They will insist that these are trivialities. That they are meaningless. But consider the context. Pete Wishart himself acknowledges how critical the issue of timing of the new referendum is and the importance of the debate. His interventions suggest he believes he brings something significant to this debate. So you’d think he’d at least do a basic spell-check. Perhaps get somebody to take a look over his text prior to publication.

Even if you’re prepared to shrug off the spelling errors, you surely must have cringed as mightily as myself at Pete Wishart’s use of the term “sweet spot” in relation to the impact of Brexit on Scotland. Words matter! Especially in politics. We have to seriously question the political judgement of somebody who uses such inappropriate language when referring to potentially catastrophic impact of Scotland being dragged out of the EU against the wishes of the Scottish people and without even the semblance of a plan.

“Sweet spot”!? Really? Get a grip, Pete!

The failure to address criticism of his argument for indefinite postponement is, perhaps, explained by the way Pete Wishart chooses to frame the discussion. He says,

The debate seems to centre round whether we should proceed with a referendum simply because we currently posses [sic] a mandate or whether we hold one when there is good evidence it can be won.

This is one of those occasions when the word ‘disingenuous’ comes in very handy. It serves us well if the aim is to avoid the bluntness of terms such as ‘self-serving’ and ‘dishonest’. We might also reach for phrases such as ‘unfortunate misapprehension’ in euphemistic preference to ‘wilful misrepresentation’. Or ‘regrettable oversimplification’ rather than ‘deliberate distortion’.

I have been closely following the debate about timing of the new referendum. I have never seen anybody suggest that “we should proceed with a referendum simply because we currently posses a mandate”. Certainly, the fact that the Scottish Government has a mandate is among the arguments against indefinite postponement. But it is just as certainly not the sole argument.

By framing the debate as “simply” a matter of possessing a mandate, Pete Wishart obviously hopes to evade the more complex issues and the awkward questions being asked. Such as how he proposes to justify failure to act on the mandate. In future, when the SNP goes to the people of Scotland asking for a mandate, how does he suggest party campaigners and supporters respond to those who point to evidence that the SNP cannot be trusted to use that mandate?

Pete Wishart seems perfectly prepared to treat the existing mandate with a disdain barely distinguishable from that exhibited by British Nationalists. But he is evidently not prepared to deal with the consequences. For all he has to say on the topic, we could be forgiven for thinking he doesn’t even recognise that there shall surely be consequences.

His framing of the debate sets this fallaciously simplistic portrayal of the mandate issue in opposition to the very rational-sounding proposition that the referendum should be held “when there is good evidence it can be won”. Excitement mounts as we anticipate long-awaited answers to questions about how those ‘optimum conditions’ are defined and how they are to be predicted an unspecified length of time in advance.

In what appears to be a stab at a literary device to build tension, Pete then proceeds to describe, at considerable length, what does not define ‘optimum conditions’. Or is it what defines what ‘optimum conditions’ are not? It’s difficult to tell. And, frankly, by the time we’ve waded through this section it’s hard to care.

Pete Wishart devotes well over 300 words to the matter of what ‘optimum conditions’ are not. It would be interesting if we could compare this directly with the attention he gives to explaining what ‘optimum conditions’ actually are. But I’ve searched in vain for anything resembling a clear and explicit definition.

If I was asked to summarise Pete Wishart’s argument it would go something like this –

OBEY THE POLLS!

That’s it! That’s really all there is to it. Don’t do anything while the polls are saying the ‘optimum conditions’ don’t exist. Wait until the polls offer “good evidence” that those still undefined ‘optimum conditions’ are going to exist at some undefined – and almost certainly undefinable – time in the future.

To be fair, Pete does offer some advice on “what we need to do to start to move towards ‘optimal conditions’”. At which point, those conscious of the urgency of Scotland’s situation will probably be sitting with their head in their hands sobbing in frustration and despair. I know I was.

What then follows does nothing to alleviate that frustration and despair. Pete’s advice is to make a “new case” for independence. But what he goes on to describe is nothing more than a rerun of the first referendum campaign. There is absolutely nothing “new” in what he proposes. His great idea is to revisit the narrative dictated by Project Fear. He’s not talking about fighting a new referendum campaign. He’s talking about resuming the old one. Which probably stands to reason as he doesn’t want a new referendum.

If we follow Pete Wishart’s advice we will engage in a campaign for a referendum, that isn’t happening because the ‘optimum conditions’ don’t exist, using the tactics and arguments that all too evidently failed to create the ‘optimum conditions’ in 2014.

And still there is not a word about how he intends to address what the ‘One Nation’ project implies for Scotland. Not a word about how the British state is to be prevented from unilaterally ripping up the devolution settlement; emasculating the Scottish Parliament; eradicating our distinctive political culture and decimating our public services while we dither and waver at the insistence of Pete and the Postponers.

Again, and again, and again! The consequences of attempting to save Scotland from the British Nationalist ‘One Nation’ project and failing are no different from the consequences that flow from failing to try. Pete Wishart flatly refuses to address or consider or even acknowledge the consequences of indefinitely postponing our new independence referendum.

If I come across as exasperated and angry it’s because I am not deceived. I know that the British state is not benign. It is because I am not complacent. I know what the British state intends. It is because I am seriously afraid for what will happen to Scotland if we do not make a stand now!


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The shadow

scotland_officeThis stuff about the Scotland Office’s spending on propaganda is all very interesting. But we can get to the nub of the issue by asking a very simple question. The most fundamental of which is in respect of which best reflects and represents Scotland’s choices, priorities and aspirations. Is it the government that is actually elected by the people of Scotland and accountable to them? Or is it a department of the British government which has been consistently and decisively rejected by Scotland’s voters?

Even Unionists, were they capable of being honest, would acknowledge that the Scottish Government has the better claim. It’s a fairly straightforward matter of democratic legitimacy. There really isn’t much of a grey area here. Only the Scottish Parliament can credibly lay claim to democratic legitimacy in Scotland. For the Scotland Office to claim democratic legitimacy is ridiculous and rather offensive.

The point is that Unionists, without any exception that I am aware of, don’t care. They don’t care that the Scotland Office lacks any democratic legitimacy in Scotland. They still insist that it should have political authority on a par with and even superior to that of the Scottish Government. They are content to have the British state develop the Scotland Office as an unelected and democratically unaccountable shadow government.

British Nationalists are prepared to set aside considerations of democratic legitimacy in the name of ideological expediency. That makes them dangerous.

It is not totally accurate to say that the Scotland Office is spending public money for party political purposes. Not unless one considers all the British parties as a single British Nationalists entity. What they are undeniably doing is spending public money for ideological purposes. They are using Scottish taxpayers’ cash to fund British Nationalist propaganda.

It is a fine distinction. The real and significant contrast is between those who find this partisan politicking objectionable, and those who are prepared to shrug it off along with any pretence to democratic principles.


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