Don’t ask! Take!

3. The prospect of an even more hard-line Brexiteer now becoming PM and threatening a no deal exit is deeply concerning. Added to the experience of the past three years, this makes it all the more important that Scotland is given the choice of becoming an independent country.— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) May 24, 2019

That’s my emphasis on the above Tweet from Nicola Sturgeon; part of the First Minister’s characteristically gracious but pointed statement responding to Theresa May’s much-anticipated resignation announcement. I highlight it as an example of the kind of talk that brings me to the verge of despair. The kind of talk which tells of a mindset that is totally inadequate for the purpose of taking forward the cause of restoring Scotland’s independence.

Power is never given. Power is only taken.

This is not just an iron law of politics, it is inescapable logic. The power to bestow is merely the prettily painted face of the power to withhold. The converse of, and stolid attendant to the power to give is the power to deny or deprive. The power to take. Thus, power that is given is not real power at all. It cannot be when the acquisition of it is conditional on the consent of another and the ongoing possession of it depends on the other’s continuing approval.

The very act of requesting power acknowledges the other’s superordinate status. And, by necessary implication, the subordinate status of the petitioner. One only asks if one is prepared to accept refusal. And if refusal is unacceptable, then asking is pointless – unless the purpose is to signal weakness.

Why would we ask for something that is ours by absolute right?

This mindset has to change. The ‘petitioner mindset’ demeans us all. It begs the question, can we really call ourselves a nation if we allow that our nationhood is in the gift of what is, for all relevant purposes, a foreign power?

Nations don’t ask if they can be nations. Nations assert their nationhood. Independence is the starting point. The normal condition. The default status. It is anything other than independence which must ask permission to pertain.

The predecessors of today’s British political elite were ‘given’ power over Scotland by the grasping, self-serving, corrupt antecedents of today’s ideological Unionists. Ever since, the Union has served as a constitutional device by which the sovereign people of Scotland are denied the full and proper exercise of their sovereignty. That sovereignty remains ours. It is inalienable. We no more require Westminster’s consent to exercise it than we require their permission to breathe.

We must, as a matter of the utmost urgency, rid ourselves of the insidious notion – inculcated over more than three centuries of domination that has been sometimes brutal, sometimes subtle – that the supremacy claimed by the British state over Scotland is rightful. It is not! It cannot be! And it must be forcefully rejected!

Scotland looks to our elected leaders to assert and affirm the sovereignty of Scotland’s people. Not merely as a form of words in some declaration, but in fundamental practical ways. We look to our elected representatives and the only Parliament with democratic legitimacy in Scotland to defend our inalienable rights by their every word and deed.

Nicola Sturgeon is clever, astute, principled and determined. She is, without question, the most fitting political leader for Scotland at this time. But we need her to be, not just clever, but bold. Not just astute, but decisive. Not just principled, but fervent in pursuit of those principles. Not just determined, but assertive, even aggressive in demanding respect for the sovereignty of Scotland’s people and Scotland’s status as a nation.

We will get behind you, Nicola. But not if you are standing at England’s door with a begging bowl.



If you find these articles interesting please consider a small donation to help support this site and my other activities on behalf of Scotland’s independence movement.

Donate with PayPalDonate with Pingit

The aim

I think after all of the experience of the last three years, Scotland should have the opportunity to decide whether we want to become an independent European nation.

Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland

First Minister,

As you will surely be aware, the constitution of the Scottish National Party states the aims of the party as follows –

(a) Independence for Scotland; that is the restoration of Scottish national sovereignty by restoration of full powers to the Scottish Parliament, so that its authority is limited only by the sovereign power of the Scottish People to bind it with a written constitution and by such agreements as it may freely enter into with other nations or states or international organisations for the purpose of furthering international cooperation, world peace and the protection of the environment.

(b) The furtherance of all Scottish interests.

Constitution of the Scottish National Party

The first of these aims could just as readily stand as a mission statement for the entire independence movement. That is why the Scottish National Party is the de facto political arm of that movement. That is why you, as leader of the party, are the person to whom the Yes movement looks for leadership. That is why, ultimately, you are the individual in whom is invested the hope and trust of every man, woman and child who is part of the Yes movement.

It is that single objective which unites us. Regardless of our views on any issue of public policy, we are all bound by that common purpose. Whatever differences there may be in our vision of Scotland’s future, we all share that same aspiration – the restoration of Scottish national sovereignty by restoration of full powers to the Scottish Parliament.

There is no ambiguity about that stated aim. There is no equivocation. No caveats or conditions. No reservations or qualifications or provisions. It embraces and enshrines the essential principle of democracy – that all legitimate political authority derives from the people. That the people are sovereign. It is a complete, concise and coherent statement. It says all that need be said. Understand that statement, and you understand everything that matters about Scotland’s independence cause.

To reject that statement would be to reject democracy. To fail to vigorously and unhesitatingly pursue the aims set out in that statement would be a betrayal of Scotland’s interests and Scotland’s cause.

So, First Minister, please allow me to suggest a couple of amendments to the comment you made to Andrew Marr.

I think after all of the experience of the last three HUNDRED years, Scotland should DEMAND that it become an independent European nation AGAIN!


If you find these articles interesting please consider a small donation to help support this site and my other activities on behalf of Scotland’s independence campaign.

donate with paypal

donate with pingit

It’s time to end the Union!

Excuse me if I’m not greatly exited by Nicola Sturgeon declaring “It’s time for independence!” in reaction to a poll about Brexit. Most folk in the Yes movement will, I suspect, immediately latch on to the word “independence”. In reality, what is significant here is, not the mention of independence, but the fact that, yet again the First Minister is reacting rather than taking the lead. And that her focus is on England’s Brexit woes rather than Scotland’s constitutional issue.

It was time for independence long before there was Brexit. It was time for independence long before the UK joined what was to become the EU. It was time for independence long before the European project was launched. The fact is, there has never been a time when it wasn’t time for independence. Because, since it was imposed on Scotland over three centuries ago, there has never been a time when it was not a foul affront to our nation and people.

My heart will stir when I hear Nicola Sturgeon declare, “It is time to end the Union!”. My pulse will race when she says this, not in reaction to some event which on the scale of a nation’s history is trivial, but in recognition of the inherent injustice of the Union.

My spirits will soar when I hear that Nicola Sturgeon’s stated purpose is to rectify the grotesque constitutional anomaly of the Union rather than merely address an incidental consequence of the continuing denial of the sovereignty of Scotland’s people.

It is time to end a political union that should never have been.


If you find these articles interesting please consider a small donation to help support this site and my other activities on behalf of Scotland’s independence campaign.

donate with paypal

donate with pingit

The final message

The First Minister calls on Scotland’s voters to send a Brexit message to Westminster. But didn’t we already do that? Didn’t we send a very clear message when we voted almost 2 to 1 to Remain part of the EU? Wasn’t that message contemptuously ignored by the British political elite?

Send a message that “Scotland has had enough of being ignored”, says Nicola Sturgeon, even as she urges us to once again invite the imperious disdain of the British state.

We are up to our chins in British shite and using our last breath before being submerged to tell the British political elite, yet again, that they only get to shite on us one more time. Or maybe two. Almost certainly no more than three. Then they’ll get their final warning. Aye!

Of course we will vote SNP on Thursday 23 May! What other option is there? But, as we do, let us consider that it is surely time to stop offering up our faces to be spat upon by British Nationalists. It is surely time to stop hoping that Westminster will listen and start demanding that the Scottish Government does.

It is surely time to tell our First Minister that the only message we want to send to the British government is one giving notice of our intention to dissolve the Union.


If you find these articles interesting please consider a small donation to help support this site and my other activities on behalf of Scotland’s independence campaign.

donate with paypal

donate with pingit

Why are we marching?

Today, the Yes movement marches in Glasgow. As many as 100,000 people from every corner of Scotland will converge on the city for what will be one of the biggest political demonstrations our nation has ever seen.

If past events are any guide, it will be a joyous occasion attended by people of all ages and from all walks of life. There will be bands. There will be flags. There will be speeches. There will be people from other parts of the world – individuals and groups who have travelled many hundreds or even thousands of kilometres to lend their support to Scotland’s Yes movement. There will be songs. There will be chants. There will be smiles and laughter.

There will be the energy of people motivated by a great cause. A worthy cause. A just cause.

There will be the excitement of knowing the time is at hand when gatherings such as that today in Glasgow will seem like mere rehearsals for Scotland’s Independence Day celebrations.

But why are we marching? What is the purpose of today’s event and the many more which All Under One Banner has planned for the months ahead?

Are we marching to tell Theresa May that we’ve had enough? Are we marching to tell the British parties that they have failed Scotland’s people? Are we marching to send a message to the British Government in London?

What would be the point of that? They’re not listening! They never listened before. They’re not listening now. And there is no possibility that they ever will listen.

They’re not listening because they don’t care. The British political elite cares less than nothing for Scotland’s needs and priorities; our hopes and aspirations. The whole point of the Union is that they don’t have to care. They don’t have to care because nothing we say or do can have any meaningful impact.

As Brexit has demonstrated so vividly, the Union ensures that the people of Scotland cannot be politically effective within the British state. Therefore, we can safely be ignored by British politicians.

We may be tossed a few crumbs from time to time. The British ruling elite may consider it expedient to experiment with devolution, secure in the knowledge that they retain the power to strip it all away with a stroke of a pen. The power which rightfully belongs to the people of Scotland has been taken from them by the Union. We may insist that the people are sovereign. But as long as we accept the Union, we will never be allowed to properly exercise that sovereignty.

Marching to send a message to the British government is futile. Petitioning the British government for our democratic right of self-determination is both futile and demeaning. It is not the British government we need to be addressing.

The Yes movement marches in Glasgow today, not to send an angry message to the British Prime Minister, but to send a hopeful message to Scotland’s First Minister.

There is no point hoping that the British government will respond to our democratic demands. That’s not how the British state works. That not what the Union is for. Only the Scottish Government has the power to act on our behalf. Only the Scottish Government has the mandate to do what is required. Only the Scottish Parliament has democratic legitimacy and the rightful authority to speak for Scotland.

We march in Glasgow today to tell Nicola Sturgeon that now is the time to act. To assure her that she has our full backing. To insist that she join with the Yes movement in order that, together, we may restore the powers of Scotland’s Parliament, the sovereignty of Scotland’s people and the pride of our nation by ending the Union.


If you find these articles interesting please consider a small donation to help support this site and my other activities on behalf of Scotland’s independence campaign.

donate with paypal

donate with pingit

Passion and despair

I am passionate about independence. I am passionate about independence because I am passionate about justice. I detest injustice. I abhor unfairness. I execrate social, political and economic arrangements which are fuelled by exploitation and inequity and insecurity. I despise the elites who contrive and perpetuate gross social imbalances for their own social, political and economic advantage.

I am passionate about independence because I am passionate about democracy. I hold these truths to be self-evident: that the people are sovereign; that the sovereignty of the people is absolute and inalienable; that all legitimate political authority derives from and returns to the people. Only by way of fully functioning participative democracy can the people be an effective countervailing force with the capacity to confront entrenched elites and challenge established power.

I am passionate about restoring Scotland’s rightful constitutional status because the Union is a grotesque constitutional anomaly by which the people of Scotland are denied the full and effective exercise of the sovereignty which is theirs by right. The Union is an affront to justice and an insult to democracy. The structures of power, privilege and patronage which constitute the British state represent the very antithesis of fundamental democratic principles.

In every fibre of my being and every fraction of my intellect I carry the conviction that, in the name of justice and democracy, the Union must be dissolved and constitutional normality reinstated in Scotland. Only by breaking free of the British state can Scotland realise its potential as a nation and work towards its aspirations as a society.

I am not passionate about the Scottish National Party. I am a member of the SNP. I support the party in various ways. I campaign for its candidates in elections. I celebrate its electoral successes. But I can’t say I’m passionate about it. The very notion of being passionate about a political party seems distinctly odd – even a bit disturbing.

Just as trade unions are the means by which individuals exercise power in the realm of employment, so political parties are the means by which we exercise power in the sphere of public policy. Both offer individuals the opportunity to combine and act collectively. Both serve an entirely practical purpose. I favour the SNP because it is the best tool for the job.

As the party of government, the SNP has proved to be remarkably effective. The bit of the party leader’s address to conference which catalogues the administration’s past achievements and declares its future intentions is never problematic for Nicola Sturgeon. They don’t get everything done. They don’t get everything right. But they earn the highest accolade that a political party in Scotland might hope for – they’re a’ right. The people are the ultimate arbiters of whether a government is doing an acceptable job. The fact that the SNP has a minimum lead of around 24 points over the British parties, despite the rabid hostility of the British media and the rest of the British establishment, proves that I’m far from alone in reckoning that, when it comes to government, the SNP is simply the best tool for the job.

Some would say that they’re the only tool available. Certainly, the British parties have disqualified themselves from government by their refusal to respect the sovereign will of Scotland’s people and their open contempt for the Scottish Parliament. They don’t even pretend to serve Scotland’s interests. They serve only the British state. The SNP’s lead over the British parties may, in part, be explained by the fact that, in electoral terms, they and the British parties are not really in the same race. The SNP is at least attempting to appeal to the entire nation. The British parties are just squabbling over the diminishing British Nationalist vote.

There are rational reasons to elect an SNP government. Nobody votes for any of the British parties in the belief that Scotland would be better governed by them. People vote for the British parties solely in the fervent hope of preserving the Union, at whatever cost to Scotland.

As the party of independence, it is even more obvious that there is no alternative to the SNP. Only the SNP is in a position to provide the effective political power without which the independence movement cannot prevail against the British state. Anyone who disputes this can safely be dismissed as a fantasist.

But being the one and only party of independence puts an onus on the SNP to find an accommodation with the wider independence movement. And to do so as a matter of urgency. Similarly, the wider Yes movement must find an accommodation with the SNP. Yes activists outwith the SNP must accept that, while the Yes movement is wonderfully diverse, the SNP cannot have the same kind of flexibility. Just about every policy agenda imaginable can exist under the umbrella of the Yes movement. The SNP, as a political party, can only stand on that policy agenda which has been approved by its members.

In matters of policy there can only be tolerance and the realisation that no policy agenda is worth the beer-mat it’s scribbled on unless independence is achieved. Where the SNP and the Yes movement will find a workable accommodation is, not on matters of policy, but on the fundamental principles of justice and democracy discussed above.

The best that can be said of the SNP in this regard is that it has a great deal of work to do. Some of the things Nicola Sturgeon said in her address to the SNP Spring Conference give great cause for concern. Let’s take a look at a few quotes.

We must recognise that these are different times and new circumstances. This isn’t a re-running of 2014. The UK that existed then does not exist any more. Our approach must be different.

I would wholeheartedly endorse this statement, but for the fact that nothing in what follows matches up to the sentiment. Everything that is known about what Nicola Sturgeon calls “our strategy to win our country’s independence” suggests the intention to take precisely the same approach as for the 2014 referendum. (I’ll come back to that word “win” later.) Take this, for example,

We are establishing a non-party Citizens’ Assembly so that people from across Scotland can guide the conversation.

While I enthusiastically welcome anything that seems intended to encourage engagement with politics and facilitate participation in the democratic process, in terms of the independence campaign is this not looking like a revamped Yes Scotland? Does it not seem that, just as in 2012, the SNP feels the need to put in place some sort of buffer between itself and the wider independence movement? Whatever else it may be, The Citizens’ Assembly has the appearance of a device to keep the Yes movement at arms length.

Is another talking shop what the independence movement needs at this juncture? Look at what Nicola Sturgeon said the Citizens’ Assembly will be “tasked with considering”.

What kind of country are we seeking to build?

How can we best overcome the challenges we face, including those arising from Brexit?

And what further work should be carried out to give people the detail they need to make informed choices about the future of the country?

Again, Mike Russell will set out more details shortly, and seek views from other parties on the operation and remit.

Haven’t we done all this? Haven’t we been ‘having this conversation’ for at least seven years? What is the point? How does any of this relate to the ‘different approach’ to the independence campaign which is required?

What the Yes movement needs right now is, not more research or more analysis or more discussion, but more leadership!

And so I can announce today that we will now launch the biggest campaign on the economics of independence in our party’s history

Isn’t that exactly the basis on which the 2014 campaign was fought? Wasn’t one of the main problems with the campaign that we allowed British Nationalists to take the debate onto the ground of economics so that we were prevented from discussing it as a constitutional issue?

Why is Nicola Sturgeon pandering to British Nationalists’ endless demands for more and better answers rather than demanding at least some answers from those who are determined to preserve an iniquitous constitutional arrangement?

There is no economic case against independence. Why, then, must there be an economic case for independence?

You cannot answer a constitutional question with a calculator!

For all her fine words about “our approach must be different”, Nicola Sturgeon can’t help drifting back to the same approach as was ultimately unsuccessful in the 2014 referendum campaign because she hasn’t changed her thinking since then. She’s coming at it with the same mindset. A mindset which is fatally flawed. A mindset which is evidenced by her characterisation of independence as a “prize” which must be “won” rather than as an absolute right which the British state is trying by devious means to withhold from the people of Scotland.

The SNP and the Yes movement must be purged of the idea that independence is something for which we must qualify in a series of tests set and marked by the British political elite. If we take this approach, there will always be another test. And there will always be at least one test which we cannot pass no matter how many Citizens’ Assemblies we task with finding the ‘correct’ answers.

Nicola Sturgeon again,

Independence is about the children we can lift out of poverty. And the fairer, more equal society we can create. That starts with building confidence in the economic case. Answering people’s questions. Addressing their concerns. And inspiring them about the future.

No! Independence is about rectifying the constitutional anomaly which allows the imposition on Scotland of the policies which cause children to be in poverty. It is the policies we then choose as an independent nation which will lift those children out of poverty. And it sure as hell doesn’t start with validating a lack of confidence about Scotland’s ability to manage its affairs. Or endlessly answering questions whose sole purpose is to create the impression of doubt. Even the attempt to answer such questions fosters uncertainty. It’s not more answers we need but better questions of our own. Questions that expose the true nature of the Union.

Despair seems to be my default state at the moment. Nicola Sturgeon’s conference address did nothing to dispel that despair. Reading it, I get the clear impression of an SNP leadership set on once again allowing the British establishment to set the agenda, determine the rules of engagement, and control the process. It’s just as well I wasn’t there to hear it.


If you find these articles interesting please consider a small donation to help support this site and my other activities on behalf of Scotland’s independence campaign.

donate with paypal

donate with pingit

How to lead

Nicola Sturgeon cannot have it both ways. She cannot sensibly or credibly insist on the sovereignty of Scotland’s people while meekly accepting the British state’s authority to deny our right of self-determination. If we are truly sovereign, then none can legitimately deny or constrain our right to exercise that sovereignty.

By acknowledging the supremacy of the British parliament, Nicola Sturgeon is compromising our sovereignty in a manner that is wholly inconsistent with the fundamental principles of sovereignty and totally incompatible with the role to which she aspires as leader of Scotland’s independence movement.

I am NOT saying that Nicola Sturgeon is unfit for that role. What I am saying is that she must fit herself to it. She must put independence at the centre of her thinking. She cannot proceed as if sovereignty is a boon in the gift of the British state, to be granted or denied on the whim of British politicians. She must embrace the idea of sovereignty as absolute and inalienable. She must strenuously reject any notion that there can be some compromise between Scotland’s popular sovereignty and the parliamentary sovereignty imposed by the British state.

Quite simply, a denial of our right of self-determination IS a denial of our sovereignty. It is nonsensical to assert sovereignty while accepting that our right of self-determination can be denied.

Above all, anyone who hopes to lead Scotland must recognise that the sole aim of the independence movement is the dissolution of the Union. It is the Union which affords a spurious legitimacy to the anti-democratic British Nationalist dogma spouted by David Lidington and his ilk. It is the Union which, from its inception, has served as a device by which to prevent the people of Scotland exercising the sovereignty that is theirs by right.

So long as Nicola Sturgeon is talking about saving the UK from Brexit rather than saving Scotland from the Union, she is not giving the independence movement the leadership that it requires.


If you find these articles interesting please consider a small donation to help support this site and my other activities on behalf of Scotland’s independence campaign.

donate with paypal

donate with pingit