A lesson from Catalonia: self-determination takes determination

There’s an important lesson for Scotland from this week’s events in Catalonia. It’s a lesson that the independence movement in general, and the leadership of the Scottish government in particular, would do well to pay heed to. The lesson is that you don’t achieve self-determination without determination. You don’t become independent unless you think independently. Sovereignty, independence, and self-determination, all of them start in the mind, and all of them are meaningless unless they’re followed through with self-belief and taking action on that self-belief.

That’s what the Catalans are doing. The Catalans are staring down violence and oppression from a Spanish establishment that’s hiding behind legalism as an excuse not to engage with the massive dissatisfaction that exists in Catalonia towards the Spanish state. The Catalans are proving their determination in the face of naked aggression. They are refusing to be deterred, they are refusing to be bowed. They fill the streets. They demand their rights. They will not be cowed.

On Tuesday night King Felipe VI of Spain gave a speech which was supposed to calm and unite the citizens of Spain. All he did was throw petrol in the flames. It was a bitter, partisan speech. He sought no dialogue. He sought no compromises. He blamed the Catalan government for the entirety of the problem, and didn’t even mention, much less condemn, the violent aggression of the Spanish police which had left over 800 people – people whom he claims are equally citizens of Spain – bloodied, bruised, and injured. The speech was a clear attempt to legitimise the repression of the Spanish state, and to justify future actions by Madrid which attempt to block Catalonia’s journey to independence. It is now widely believed in Catalonia that the Spanish government will invoke Article 155 of the Spanish constitution and unilaterally dissolve Catalan self-government.

Spanish overreaction to the Catalan referendum on Sunday will go down in history as a pivotal moment in the Catalan independence campaign. Catalan commentators have likened it to Moscow’s brutal intervention in Lithuania in January 1991 when troops and armed police assaulted the Lithuanian parliament, an event which directly led to Lithuanian independence. Catalans now know that there can be no compromises or dialogue with the Spanish state.

It is believed by many in Catalonia that a declaration of independence could now be hours or days away. The intransigence of the Spanish response to Catalan demands for a peaceful, democratic, and negotiated process have only made that independence come about more quickly. The Catalans have maintained their resolve and their determination, and they will be rewarded with an independent state.

Here in Scotland we’ve got a Scottish government elected on a mandate to deliver an independence referendum should Scotland be dragged out of the EU against its will, and yet it’s haivering and humming and hawing, prevaricating and hesitating, all because it failed to win an election by a sufficiently crushing margin. An election which wasn’t even about independence, an election which by any stretch of the imagination they still won. If this is how they react to a narrow win, just how are they going to deal with something like the Spanish scenario? Where’s the determination to deliver self-determination if Westminster still says naw? Are they going to tell us that they’re going to seek yet another mandate in the election after the next one? Mandates are like driving licences, you only need one. The Scottish government has already got its driving licence to give the country a lift to a referendum.

The lesson from Catalonia is that independence is about the big issues, the big story. It’s about justice and democracy. It’s about representation and political accountability. It’s about what kind of society we want to live in. It’s about fairness, equality, and giving every citizen an equal stake in the country. These are the stories we need to tell in Scotland if we are to achieve our own dream of an independent country.

For far too long the Scottish campaign has been debated on the terms and ground chosen by those who oppose independence, and the independence movement has allowed them to do so. We call those who oppose independence Unionists and so collude in their fantasy that they’re not British nationalists and that this is a debate between nationalism and non-nationalism. This is really a debate between two visions of what this nation can be, a debate between two versions of nationalism. Those who oppose Scottish independence are every bit as nationalist as those who seek it. The only non-nationalist option in this debate is not have an opinion.

Sure, the economy is important, but winning the case for independence is about far more than demonstrating that the average family is going to be better off each week by the price of a Chinese takeaway. We’re ground down by pointless arguments about the GERS figures. These are figures which purport to show Scotland’s financial situation within the UK. If they’re poor, if they show that Scotland is doing badly, that’s not an argument which demonstrates that an independent Scotland would be impoverished, it’s an argument that Scotland needs to do things differently. Bad GERS figures are an argument for independence, not an argument against it. Bad GERS figures are a demonstration that the UK’s economic policies don’t work for Scotland, a country with an embarrassment of natural resources, human capital, and potential.

The biggest obstacles to Catalan independence are the intransigence of the Spanish state, its insistence that Catalan independence would be illegal, and its propensity to resort to naked aggression in order to prevent it. The biggest obstacles to Scottish independence are the media, the way in which we allow the British nationalists to shape the terms of the debate, and our movement’s lack of coherence, determination, and resolve.

Where is the Scottish version of the Assemblea Nacional Catalana – a non-party and all party organisation providing leadership, cohesion and direction to the movement. The Scottish Independence Convention is invisible to the majority. In Catalonia everyone has heard of the ANC which coordinates the independence movement. Over the past months I’ve been doing talks all over Scotland, from Orkney to Stranraer and all points in between. This country is full of active and vital local groups full of passionate people determined and dedicated to the cause of winning Scottish independence. They are crying out for national leadership, to feel a part of a cohesive national movement. There’s to be an SIC conference in Edinburgh next month. It needs to produce some concrete proposals and actions, and not just be another talking shop. It needs to step up and lead this movement.

Catalans who desire independence belong to many different political parties or none. The political differences between the ERC and the CiU are as wide as the differences between the Scottish Socialists and the more traditional right wing end of the SNP, but they don’t waste their time fighting one another. They focus on the common goal. There are those in the Scottish movement who prefer to spend their energies attacking others in the movement for one perceived sin or another. The only beneficiaries of that are the British nationalists. You don’t achieve independence without a measure of self-discipline. Focus on the prize. We can argue about whether the independent Scottish playground will have swings or roundabouts or both once we’ve established the principle of the independent Scottish playground.

Opinion polls in both countries show approximately the same percentages supporting independence.  However, objectively, Scotland is in a far stronger position than Catalonia.  We face no legal or constitutional bars to independence. Unlike Spain where many people outside Catalonia are viscerally opposed to Catalan independence because they fear its impact on Spanish democracy, the majority of people in the UK outside Scotland don’t really care that much whether Scotland becomes independent or not. Scotland will be able to achieve independence peacefully and without violence. Our independence will be recognised by Westminster. An independent Scotland could be one of the most prosperous countries in Europe. We have one of the crappiest medias in Europe, but we also have a vital and active digital media and a grassroots campaign which can by-pass the traditional media entirely.

We can achieve our goal, we will achieve our goal, but we will only do so by learning a valuable lesson from Catalonia. You do not achieve self-determination without cohesion and determination. Let’s be determined. Let’s be united. Let’s get organised. Let’s do this.


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0 thoughts on “A lesson from Catalonia: self-determination takes determination

  1. Its one of my worries. Scotland wants it, but it doesn’t want it bad enough.

    Or .. Scotland wants it, but has forgotten how little we have had for decades.

    Or .. Scotland wants it, but the media lie constantly about it.

  2. Should I be the lucky winner of the massive Euro jackpot this Friday might I pay you to lead our Scottish Assemblea Nacional? I’d gladly spend the whole sum on getting independence for Scotland:-)

  3. your right it is time for the sg to step up and not ask for a section 30 but demand it. time to set a date time tell the british government when we want a referendum our time and date not theirs we should be setting the pace demand the sg get it finger out and do it now.

    • Sadly, Billy, a Section 30 Order cannot be ‘demanded’, it is a request for HMQ to allow the Scottish Parliament to take on extra powers outside those already in the Scotland Act (i.e. a reserved power). That applies whether or not it’s a referendum or any other mundane piece of legislation that Scottish Government may wish to enact – it’s always at Westminster’s behest and they always have the option to say no (it’s the same reason we can’t ‘ban’ fracking, but we can put a moratorium on it forever – it’s outside our legal competence to do ban it and I suspect that the SG have asked for a Section 30 order to do it, but it’s been denied, so we’ve had to fall back on a moratorium – you’ll notice no SG rep has yet said ‘ban’ in relation to fracking, only the media and others – well from what I’ve seen on twitter they haven’t anyway). If they did say no, and we do it anyway, we won’t have legal competence to deliver. Whilst it’s great to be optimistic and want NS to demand a referendum, we can only ever hold indicative referenda unless they deign to provide us with the power to do so.

      The Scotland Act was constructed in a way where we have to beg for every scrap from the table – anything innovative or different has to be approved by HMQ. Remember a power devolved is a power retained.

      I understand your frustration, I truly do, but remember the Government and Parliament only exist on the whim of the current Westminster Government, and they too could whip the Parliament away from under us (just as they want to do in N. Ireland but are $hitting it to do so), the very same as the Spanish are threatening the Catalans with currently.

      Solutions – I have none, there are, I’m sure, a great many better, deeper thinkers than me that can come up with decent alternatives and plans. Like your very own WGD for example. Moving the whole Independence Movement up a gear is a great place to start.

      • Em…. that’s no strictly accurate Runbledethumps.
        Holyrood already have the competence to hold a ” consultation” referendum on any matter that they feel they want the Scottish people’s opinions on.
        The section 30 order was to prevent a legal challenge because the thing they wanted to ask the Scottish people about (the Constitution) was a reserved matter….
        So some could have argued in a court this referendum is in fact illegal for Holyrood to be holding it!
        Then ofcourse Holyrood would argue that in and of itself a referendum doesn’t actually change anything in the Constitution and they are allowed to hold them to get the actual opinion of the Scottish people!

        It’s that court case that the section 30 order prevented from happening!

        It prevents it by as you say passing the reserved power to do so.
        But you do have to wonder why?
        Why Westminster didn’t want to have a Court case over it?
        This was Westminster’s choice , Holyrood could not take steps to keep the issue out of court….so why did Westminster choose?
        They say because of Democracy??? Ah hae ma doots….
        I think that Westminster doesn’t want a judge to confirm Scotland’s Actual position in the Union… IE it’s just an old Treaty agreement that either of the two Kingdoms who have signed up to it can come at anytime.
        This time around mibbi they will go to court disnay matter we are still having a referendum

  4. Amazing words. Just how I feel. Our government has a hard fought mandate they should now be using it. Your words are inspirational. I know little about the SIC, it’s voice is just not loud enough. What I do know is we need out of this destructive union and the SNP are falling far short of the mark. It’s their conference next week and they need to make a big anouncment with substance about an indipendance referendum or they will loose comsiderable support.

    • I’m hoping that Nicola’s conference speech will indicate that she has more fire in her belly than she’s showing at the moment.

  5. Pingback: A lesson from Catalonia: self-determination takes determination | speymouth

  6. It’s about that time right enough and the Scottish Government won’t get a better opportunity after today’s efforts from the Tory conference. May and Davidson have left an open goal.with their independence statements. All the FM need do is tap the ball in.

    Both have declared independence dead in the water. UK gov has supported Spain’s stance on the Catalonian vote. Both have hung their bums oot the windae. A live speech with all media trained on the orator and no opportunity to edit the content. Ruth’s ‘reputation’ would be shot to bits with one sentence. Both May’s and a considerable section of the media’s credibility would also be holed beneath the waterline and all the FM need do is reiterate (for the umpteenth time) that the Scottish electorate WILL be given a choice once the details of Brexit become known but before ratification.

    Not maybe. Not possibly. Not shelved or permanently delayed, but WILL have the opportunity to decide our own future.

    On another note. I’m guessing you’ve seen the rumours of military logistical personnel being sent to support Spain’s riot police units in Catalonia Paul?

    • Eighty years since Eric Blair landed in Barcelona to fight the fascists, Sam. Let’s hope there is less blood spilled this time, but as Paul observes, those demanding the status quo will not cede power willingly. Be prepared.

        • Not accurate. The Constitutional Tribunal suspended the session on Monday (and Monday only). The Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) presented a request for “amparo” (protection) because Puigdemont requested time in parliament on that day to discuss the referendum results with a view to invoking UDI. The PSC felt they needed this protection because they did not want to be exposed to what they consider to be an illegal act. They have not suspended the parliament.

  7. There is a danger here. I’ve noticed that since the Catalan referendum, there has been a sudden spike of hate and anger directed towards anyone that doesn’t 100% support the Catalonians over Spain. It really does feel (to me at least,) that people are using the outcome to try and divide the EU. I am really worried now that the same thing will happen if Scotland becomes independent via referendum. I really do feel that there are hidden forces trying to cause trouble now, pointing fingers at the EU when really they should be pointing their fingers at Spain.

    • The EU’s non-response to events in Catalonia, thereby implicitly backing a now openly fascist Spain, has really made me begin to doubt my support for ‘Europe’, at least in its present form. Where are all the smaller states? The not so long-ago liberated nations? If the EU is simply a mechanism for France, Germany, Spain & Italy to project power and dominate all the smaller nations and peoples, both inside and outside their borders, then honestly I know where you can stick it …

  8. I want independence for Scotland, full stop.
    Scotland has been an independent nation for hundreds of years in the (in historical terms) not too distant past until the population was sold out by the small self serving group who had political power at the time. Scotland can be,should be and shall be independent into the future.
    All we lack is a degree of self belief which can be generated by inspirational, assertive leadership.
    Your words encapsulate exactly what we need.
    Thank you Paul.

  9. We have a mandate, so call it now, then focus on the detail, we have to stop dithering and waiting. She has said no, we say YES. It is time and NS said it will be the people who decide when, so let’s all get together and say. NOW is the time.!!

  10. Well Paul I do have a few issues with this post. You compare Scotland with Catalonia and suggest the Scottish Government are failing us. Given that Catalonia have their own broadcasters and press and therefore are not subject to the constant brainwashing we endure in Scotland gives them a big advantage. Also while I’m sure there are many of us who are dedicated to achieving independence I don’t believe that, in general, the Scottish population have the same passion that the Catalans have demonstrated. If the Scottish Government felt they could rely on the passion shown by the Catalans they would have named the date by now.
    You also mention SIC should show leadership! Well Robin McAlpine, who is heavily involved in SIC, is of the opinion that we should wait until 2021 or even later to have our referendum so he’s obviously not in a hurry.
    Not sure either about your assertion that Scotland will have a violence free referendum. WM need our assets and I honestly don’t see them accepting that a) there will be a referendum and b) that they will play fair with no threat of imprisonment or violence.
    I do hope you are correct on this.

    • I to agree a difference is our biased media. I think Paul is correct too. To compensate for the media here I reckon we need a reserve of millions to get the correct facts out.

      • I reckon events with Brexit, the repeal bill, possibly a GE will give the momentum Jack, meaning a vote well before 2021. Late 18 or early 19 I hope.

        I hope NC and the heid yins in the SNP have a plan. We have heard nothing about the group looking at the ‘white paper’ topics for indyref2.

        Earlier this year the SNP asked for an Indy fighting fund. With a target of a million we struggled to raise less than half that. We will need many times that to get the facts out.

        • I demand that we hold Indyref 2 before April 2019, Andy.
          I’m not waiting another 4 years, 4 years in which the Dead Tree Scrolls, and the State Broadcasters will smother us in British National Propaganda, 4 years in which Holyrood will be emasculated, 4 years in which we will be left isolated from the rest of the world, at England’s beck and call, not allowed to leave Scotland, for work, pleasure, or resettlement without the permission of our English Masters.
          By Autumn 2018, we will know for certain what kind of Brexit Davis has opted for, and what is in store for us.
          Then is the time to give Scots a voice, via Indyref 2, not some vague promise to ‘let’ us hold a plebiscite post a 2021 election, which I am convinced will not happen, when we vote a resounding YES in October 2018.
          I agree with Paul. We need to come together now, and plot a course towards Independence in March 2019, the day England and Wales cut themselves off from the European continent.
          I cannot understand the logic of anyone pro Independence wanting to defer a vote for four years or more. 62% voted Remain. They are pulling out of the EU in March 2019, not 2021. We voted not to join Global Britain.
          Now is the time.

    • Some good points Isabel. It really is a very challenging situation for the Scotgov. The utter lack of democracy by the britnats and their hindering of the Scottish parliament, is a huge obstacle before we even start. With what’s going on in Catalonia, and the EU more or less backing Spain, it’s another move on the chess board that has to be so carefully judged where Scotland is concerned.

      It’s not looking good for Catalonia, and a disgrace that the EU seem to be unwilling to condemn the brutality used by Spain last week.

      Scotland’s case is different in so many ways, to Catalonia.

      I think the Scotgov are going to be very wary in all sorts of ways. I would do a Treeza, make it a snap referendum, when required. After Brexit and the next Holyrood election will be too late, that much is obvious.

      So much is in the air right now, and it is leaving an awful stench. We might need pegs to move forwards, let’s see what happens the next few weeks and months.

      Things can change so quickly in politics. The Scottish government remain strong,
      which is what we need right now, lest WM attempts to remove the whole thing.

    • Robin McAlpine came to Dundee and gave a speech after the IndyRef at a meeting held to digest and look forward. He assured us we could be out by 2020. That is independent by 2020.

      If he is now saying wait for post 2021 then he needs to explain what has changed.

      This is my worry, there are people with influential voices urging this caution on Ms Sturgeon and she, in her insulated bubble, is listening to them.

  11. Nail hit squarely on the head as ever Paul. I too share your frustration at the seeming passivity of the SG,
    Independence is never given, insteadi it must be taken. Of course in the here and now it should be achieved without bloodshed. It remains to be seen if that will be the case in Catalonia: personally, I remain distinctly uneasy about a peaceful resolution. Particularly, taken Sunday’s events into consideration.

  12. Couldn’t have put it better. We need someone to take the SIC by the balls, someone with a bit of piss and vinegar to him or her, to show some mettle and help give the movement some badly needed forward direction……….I know he’s not universally liked, but what’s wee Eck doing ? Apart from beasting Fluffy Mundell ??

  13. What is it that you imagine will happen when Scotland becomes independent? What if we all differ in our answers? Is there a danger in each of us individually establishing – “Scotland, the Imagine-Nation”.

    We all probably have our individual version of a future Scotland in our “Imagine- Nation”. For me – Scotland is an argument, an independent Scotland will be an argument, but today, no matter how passionate our own beliefs, is it important, maybe crucially, that we try not to argue amongst ourselves, because we have work to do. No matter the differences that do, and should, exist amongst us, they are for later, because from now until we gain our Country’s independence, we really do need to work “Together – as One!”

  14. I was at the hustings for the new Deputy-Leader of the SNP and one question that occurred to me but I didn’t ask because I assumed a break for Independence was on the way was, we had 56MPs an overall majority for Ind in Holyrood, the SNP MSPs alone out numbering the LabConLibs, and 110,000 members, so, what were we waiting for, what were the MPs hatching that would take us forward?
    But as you say, in Catalonia, there are different parties supporting Independence, here there are different complexion voters supporting Ind but not their politicians.
    Though when I see Henry McLeish and Willie Rennie it’s obvious there is not an intellectual power house,or even shed, at work.

    • Must add, as you have pointed out several times, Catalonia has severe TV stations and newspapers that support independence. When Nicola Sturgeon makes a speech who broadcasts it. Not the BBC or STV.
      They even have opposition politicians commenting on the SNP Conference.

  15. The SNP needs a unit separate to the Holyrood government which constantly sings the song of Independence, with an instant rebuttal unit to counter Brit Nat crap in the media ( a full on Malcolm Tucker type would be good), pussy footing with the Brit Nats will get our independence movement nowhere. I joined the Scottish Green Party after the 2014 referendum partly in admiration of the polite destruction of Brit Nat arguments by Patrick Harvie, plus the squeamishness shown by the SNP government in confronting issues around land ownership and wildlife crime. Having said that the SNP have shown a level of competence and a genuine care for the well being of the Scottish people which leaves the Brit Nat parties all screaming the same crap at FMQs week in week out.
    Outwith Holyrood the pro independence groups and parties must drop the Marxist, Leninist, Trotskyist type infighting and turn our guns on the Brit Nat disaster which is the UK. The Union is a dead Parrot and just like John Cleese we need to give the Brit Nats nowhere to hide from that fact.

      • Although there is a certain political advantage to calling it the Scottish government, it is not really such. It may be the closest thing we currently have to a government, but legally it’s a devolved institution which does not have the competence to rescind the treaty. More importantly it doesn’t have the political legitimacy to do so. Unless we are deliberately denied a vote by Westminster or it tries to impose unreasonable conditions, then we should be good democrats and go down the 50%+1 vote referendum route.

  16. Thank you, Paul, for this clear statement of the situation. Your voice carries weight with Scottish Gov’t/SNP, I am sure, so I wonder if you have shared your thoughts with them directly? I am desperate for Scotland to say “our country withdraws from the Treaty of Union”. We can do things so much better than the shambles that is Westminster-led.

  17. Paul, the Catalonians have to be commended for their bravery. Yesterday’s strikers included those opposed to independence. Catalonia has definitely left the building but I fear the SNP are too feart to follow suit. One non political conundrum: where will FC Barcelona play next season? And what becomes of the Spanish international team. What will FIFA or UEFA do?. Sorry, I know, i’ m just a trivial guy.

  18. What will be the plan if we hold another referendum? Surely we can’t argue for continuing membership of the EU. We can’t argue we need independence because Westminster is dragging us out of the EU when the EU is looking like a very doubtful organisation to belong to. It’s clear they don’t want seceders. Spain would block us anyway. It would encourage independence movements elsewhere. Scare the horses. Plus it would piss off the 35% of Yes voters who voted Leave.

    So we need another position on Europe. I think it should be independence with a Norway type arrangement.

    • It really needs to be the EFTA route now. I’m sure that many people who voted remain, like me, no longer want to be in the EU. However, remaining in the single market is imperative for the future of Scotland and IMO many leave voters would feel the same.

    • That’s all they are blasted imperials living in days long gone bye empire ship sailed then sank and they can’t accept that it’s no more

  19. Your comment about calling the Britnats “unionists” is spot on Paul. I explained it to a wavering friend before the 1st indy ref who was worried about supporting “nationalism”.
    There’s Scottish Nationalism – open, civic and not concerned with colour or race. Then there’s British nationalism.

    2 NPs

    Would you rather have SNP or BNP?

  20. One would need a complete irony bypass not to laugh (or cry) when unelected the king of Spain complains about a perceived lack of democracy.

    What happens next? Ideally some dialogue will take place to defuse the situation but I am not hopeful.

    Up North, as they say darn sarth (while referring to somewhere south of the middle of the UK), I was somewhat surprised recently when I encountered a degree of reluctance to actively promote Scotland, Scottish independence, Scotland, Scotland’s greatness and so on, some, unfortunately, appearing to be just too comfortable with the current political set up. I was assured that, when Indyref2 is announced, many activists will appear out of the woodwork. However, meanwhile, the non-activists are being bombarded by constant SNPBaaadness, some of which must be rubbing off. One argument is that there are many independence supporters who are not SNP members (indeed some may be hostile to the SNP) but expecting the separate from the SNP Scottish-Independence-Convention to coordinate and lead on this seems, to me, an abdication of responsibility. Then we are told there is the danger that doing the dobying in public will attract unwanted attention.

    But, hopefully, the message will get through and proactive leadership will follow. There needs to be ongoing, continuous campaigning to combat the continual msm SNPBad. And because, without any warning or notice, the UK government could collapse and we will be jolted back into campaign mode again.

  21. Excellent shout Paul.
    Let’s do this and do it NOW.
    The dilly dallying of WM is always only to keep SNP/Nicola/Scotgov on the backfoot.
    We need to go on the offensive and give it all we’ve got.
    Too much attention on all the Unionist pros and cons is causing uncertainty as that’s what it is intended to do.

    If we can’t get Independence against this bunch of arseholes we don’t deserve it.

    Now is the time.

  22. Ms Davidson explained: “I don’t think the FM, even by her own measure, has the right to do it [call a second referendum].

    “She doesn’t have a mandate for it, she doesn’t have popular support for it and I think she will take a pretty big hit when you see how many people across Scotland don’t want dragged back to a second independence referendum and if she insists on trying to call one I think she will take a pretty big hit.”

    Collins English Dictionary definition of ‘mandate’ Politics: ‘the support or commission given to a government and its policies or an elected representative and his policies through an electoral victory.’

    That would be then the electoral victory of 28th March 2017, where 69 MSPs of the Scottish Parliament voted in favour (versus 59 against, presumably including Ms Davidson) of holding an Independence Referendum, hence the ‘victory’, hard to ignore Democracy in action, hence,
    The Mandate.

    Also seems pretty popular, hence the ‘victory’.

  23. I am with Macart (Sam) on this. Nicola needs to use the words of Canon Kenyon Wright when he pronounced on the 1999 Referendum.

    ” If they say No, we say Yes” or some such and she has to restate her commitment to go for a referendum at the same time as every national parliament and regional parliament in Europe (apart from the UK) will have their say. This demonstrates equanimity in the democratic process and shows up the Westminster Government.

    Incidentally Canon Wright advised a Yes/Yes vote in the 2014 Referendum despite being a life-long Liberal.

  24. The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) has endorsed the UK government’s plans to “reassert control” over Scottish waters.

    The Environment Secretary pledged to end the “mutual access” arrangement which allows French and Spanish fishermen to trawl freely in Scotland’s seas.

    We are leaving the EU and we are leaving the CFP.

    • And if the fishermen believe that guff then hell mend them. Besides, there is a much larger fish proccessing industry which will be damaged by leaving the EU.

  25. “Those who oppose Scottish independence are every bit as nationalist as those who seek it.”

    There is is at least one – admittedly very small – non-nationalist group who oppose Scottish independence. Communists oppose almost any nationalism because they see it as dividing the working class and being a distraction from the fight against capitalism. They will temporarily accept British nationalism not because they think it is less divisive than any Scottish variant but only because they believe there is strength in numbers. We may disagree with their analysis, but at least they (unlike many ignorant or deceitful Britnats in the British Labour party) are genuine internationalists.

      • Yes. There is the future and temporary one world government type predicted by communists. This entails the elimination of all nationalisms. But there is also another type, which is what I think you are hinting I may have missed! This type is by far the most common one and does not exist without nationalism (even if it is not recognised as such).

        This is an internationalism that accepts national identity but expresses through words and deeds a concern for and solidarity with people outside of existing national boundaries. This type of internationalism also strives to strengthen and create international institutions which benefit ordinary people. This internationalism is what many non communist left wingers in the UK espouse. It is also what I see in the predominantly civic nationalism of the Independence movement.

        The reference I made to “genuine” internationalists was not meant to imply that there was only one type of internationalism, but to emphasise that many in the “British jobs for British workers”, Brexit supporting Labour party are not internationalists at all. [Obviously there are internationalists – and socialists! – in the Labour party. Many of them may be intellectually lazy (with their virtue signalling “I’m an internationalist” response to someone stating that they support the SNP or want Scottish independence) but they are genuine internationalists.]

        A long answer to a six word question!

  26. After Three Hundred years or so of being held down on our knees it is hard work standing up. (Tell me about it, I am 68 and well over weight and it is hard work getting up off my knees and sometimes I worry that I wont make it! So far so good)
    We can do it, we will stand upright and be strong. We deserve Independence.
    We are a Nation so we can be a Nation. No fear!
    Feel the fear and do it anyway.

  27. Thanks Paul.
    I slept over in the polling station here in our village with many others in order that it could be kept open for Sunday’s vote. It was kept open by the people, not the politicians. This is why your point about the SIC is so important; the movement here in Catalonia is a movement of people (in the ANC and in Omnium). The people have moved the politicians not, as Madrid seems to think, the other way round.
    So yes, grow the SIC, aim for tens and then hundreds of thousands of members, and make Scottish independence a people’s movement!

  28. Scotland like any other Country is a bussiness, it is everybody who lives within its hard fought for borders’s bussiness, what other Country in the world hands the keys of their bussiness to there neighbering oponents to look after their interests. Especially when a combination of bad goverment for a period of 30/40 years pre 2008 led to neer bankrupting the lot of us.

  29. Reblogged this on Angry Weegie and commented:
    This says it all. What does it take to put some fire in the belly, or is it going to be all about an easy life and leaving it for someone else to sort out. Do we really want this or can’t we be bothered.

  30. A very Powerful piece Paul , pointing to its make yer mind up time , forever hanging onto this comfort blanket ? , or way past time to leave ? .
    Most people dont like change but this whole brexit fiasco is not of our making , now it’s become a full english brexit if people are honest , this isn’t working , and by the look of it we aint getting anything other than dirty looks and scraps from the table .
    Unity would be good , all with one voice but listen to the carping and moaning from the ones at our back , what if , we need guarantees , our pension ,what currency , you have heard it all before , dont they understand nothing but nothing is guaranteed , yet the “YES” movement must provide every bloody answer that the Unionists never get asked , it’s a one sided conversation we are having .
    People in this country need to get a Grip & take some responsibility others wont hand it to them with bows and fancy wrapping they need to want it , if not well back on their knees whats the point in pointing out the disruptive fiasco of brexit if they wont listen . .

  31. ”Here in Scotland we’ve got a Scottish government elected on a mandate to deliver an independence referendum should Scotland be dragged out of the EU against its will, and yet it’s haivering and humming and hawing, prevaricating and hesitating.”

    I hate to say it Paul but it looks as though you’re being dragged into the SNP Baad trap. Worse still with your influence encouraging others to do likewise.

    Nicola Sturgeon is dealing with the day job, Brexit and fending off her many enemies in the UK (and beyond), the Westminster Establishment, MSM, the Unions and even her so-called political colleagues in Holyrood. She’s had to circumvent one Westminster bombshell after another such as May’s snap election and the Corbyn surge. She’s said that we’ll hold another referendum when the Brexit deal becomes clear. I’d say give her a chance.

    She and we are also up against the propaganda machine here in Scotland, a KEY factor in the difference between the Scottish and Catalonian situation, imo. If blame has to be placed at anyone’s door in Scotland it should lie with the numerous influential organisations and individuals who seem to have a problem uniting due to their big egos or giving them the benefit of the doubt total lack of organisational skills.

    What we need right now is for someone to pull this altogether, ASAP, such as SIC. Maybe even for someone like yourself to round everyone up and get them all functioning as one under the SIC umbrella. SIC could then become the site to visit when seeking crucial information / statistics, could co-ordinate training for activists, organise key groups right across the country, have material, posters, videos etc, available for distribution, organise events and so on.

    If we knew that an agency such as SIC was in control I’m sure that hundreds of thousands of us would support them financially instead of finding ourselves visiting one brilliant site after another being asked to fund them in doing their great work.

    To be honest it’s sad to see the fantastic talent that we have in Scotland going to waste especially at such a crucial time in our history because, imo, we’ll never get such an opportunity again.

    I don’t think that we should be comparing our situation with Catalonia either, for any number of reasons. One that looks as though it’s heading for years of strife long before it ever gets it’s independence. All we have to do in Scotland is get our ”act together.”

    • The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) has endorsed the UK government’s plans to “reassert control” over Scottish waters.

      The Environment Secretary pledged to end the “mutual access” arrangement which allows French and Spanish fishermen to trawl freely in Scotland’s seas.

      • Do you think an independent Scotland may be able to do the same. Especially if we are in EFTA and not the EU. Brexit will harm us all David no matter what happens to fishing rights.

  32. Absolutely correct, Paul. Too many seem to want every other issue resolved before we decide to go for independence. The Catalans have their priorities sorted. You can’t make decisions on your future while someone else holds the reins. Let’s stop arguing amongst ourselves and get independence.

    Reblogged on Angry Weegie.

  33. I read often Paul but don’t comment here, however, I feel compelled to on this occasion – this has to be one of your strongest pieces recently and I applaud your efforts on the ground, up and down the land. As an ex-pat outlander living in the South at the moment (I walk past the Portland stone walls of the Corporation daily), I long for the day when I might be able to return to the Motherland, free from the shackles of political occupation, free in mind and spirit, and free to carve its own prosperous future in a world of modernity for the common benefit of all who live there. Slàinthe.

        • Sam, I tuned in to QT last night.
          The English, including the ‘tenement dwelling semi educated’ Fraser Nelson are a nation which I no longer recognise.
          We have nothing in common with the ‘mechanic from Liverpool’ any more.
          English Nationalism and exceptionalism have gripped their nation, on both sides of the Brexit divide.
          The Last Helicopter Leaving Hanoi panic will set in by Spring 2019, as the Truth which both sides are avoiding, that leaving the EU will be a catastrophe to rival the Great Depression, can no longer be denied.
          Car sales in September down 9.3%, and May’s coughs her way through a Corbyn Lite series of pledges for English Education, Health, and Northern (English) Powerhouse cities, and the BBC tour Ruth Davidson to replace her, all day long, on all of their outlets.
          If it looks like Scotland will leave England to get on with it, and wee reflect the 62% Remain and opt for Self Determination, which seems likely now that the Silver Old Duffers, May, Corbyn, and Cable, are ruining, sorry, running England, The Iron Heel Oligarchy will intervene, and declare our plebiscite illegal, for some tenuous reason not yet formulated by their Supreme ‘take back control’ Court.

          • Take it you’ve clocked the Grant Shapps story this morning. Seems the knives aren’t merely being sharpened anymore. It appears Mr Shapps compiled a letter with a list of prominent members who would happily see a change of management. The existence of this letter was revealed to the media by party whips. Uh huh!

            What we are seeing is naked inter party revolt in the middle of the biggest economic and constitutional crisis the UK has seen in the post war era. A crisis brought on by this system of government and its practice of politics and therefore which the UK brought upon itself.

            No outside agency did this to the UK, or indeed the peoples of the UK and the population has to take a fair measure of the blame. You get who and what you vote for. If you were swayed by Tory and Labour/Tory lite policy and ideology. If you believed the lies and distortions. Worse! If you approved of the lies and distortions, then you are no less complicit than those who engineered this omnishambles.

            How and ever, if there is any sense of guilt or decency left. If there is any sense of anger at what has been done in your name, then there is still a way to make this right… at least in Scotland. Hopefully by winning this argument and setting an example of our own, we can make a difference elsewhere.

            What kind of example and what difference is up to the voter though. You get who and what you vote for.

  34. I’m posting this for X-Sticks, who’s having technical difficulties posting.


    Just back from Barcelona late last night. What an incredible week that was.

    As usual you are bang on with your article. There is just one thing I feel is very important which I’d like to highlight if I be so bold.


    The Catalan people are utterly determined to win their right to democracy peacefully. They are determined *as a people* not to rise to the brutal provocation from the Spanish state that we saw on Sunday.

    That respect for peace also extends to the other side. We saw voters on Sunday wearing Spanish flags being applauded into the polling station.

    Elderly and infirm were also all applauded. There was a school polling station within view of our apartment which we ‘monitored’ all day. It was an electric atmosphere very similar to our indy rallies, but with an element of trepidation because they knew what was happening elsewhere. There were never less than a couple of thousand ordinary folk, families, old folk, and kids surrounding the polling station to protect it from five in the morning ( a few hundred had occupied it overnight) until eight at night.

    I am still in a state of high emotion from the protests on Tuesday it was an incredible experience. Much to digest and reflect on. It was about democracy. All about democracy.

    Our Saltires were very gratefully received everywhere we went. We left our hearts in Barcelona with the Catalans. I’ll try and add some more when the screen stops blurring.


  35. Pingback: Fairness and Accountability – scotlandisdifferent

  36. Well said, plenty of us are raring to go. SNP has shown us what we can do with minimal powers. Scotland feels like a country who wants to do much better & frustrated by reserved powers again thanks to SNP this is now well known.
    SNP got 59 MP’s because the people wanted Indy but the more they dither they’ll lose more. Mp’s.
    They need to give a clear commitment & date.
    However need to look at new digital voting & postal votes. For mext ref

  37. I see that the extremely mis-named Scotsman newspaper is going on at length about an independence debate not being on the agenda for the SNP conference this weekend. What is there to debate when they already have the mandate?

    I believe that independence is never on the conference agenda, but the empty headed opposition MSPs are saying that it’s absence is embarrassing for Nicola – really? She can’t win can she? If she mentions it at all she’s ‘banging on’ and if she doesn’t it’s an ’embarrassment’!

    I despair sometimes!

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