Grasping the thistle: moving on after the election

a guest post by John Fitzpatrick

There was a time when the idea of the SNP winning so many seats in Westminster would have galvanized me but the prospect this time round raised little enthusiasm as I had – and still have – lots of reservations about Nicola Sturgeon’s tactics.

Having said that, I admit I might have got things wrong. The latest massive victory was certainly heart stirring as were Sturgeon’s speeches in the aftermath. Her intention of focusing the issue on Holyrood is certainly the right way forward. The result gives her a democratic mandate to call another referendum. That is, if the UK prime minister in London gives his consent. The SNP, the Scottish government and the pro-independence movement will have to put huge pressure on the UK government to achieve this.

The Labour Party’s humiliation – at UK and Scottish level – means we can forget any idea of a deal being done with it. Presumably the SNP members could put forward a resolution in the UK parliament but that would be a waste of time. It would be of symbolic value as it would merely confirm what we all know which is that Scotland’s vote will be ignored.

I think the SNP should actually turn its back on Westminster and Sturgeon should use her constitutional powers and political credibility as a leader to turn this into a personal clash between her and Boris Johnson. He is an opportunist with no ideals while she is sincere and has a case which is justified on solid democratic grounds.

Johnson’s resilience will be easily shaken. You just have to look at his track record to see how he has been prepared to ditch policies from one day to the next. His honeymoon with former Labour voters in England will not last and he cannot rely on them.

It’s also time for the SNP to stop using the hated word “Tories” and use “unionist” instead. There must be many Scottish Tories who realize that their leadership has failed by banging the anti-independence drum to the exclusion of all other issues. Many of them may be conservative – with a small “c” – but so are many independence supporters (like me)so there is room for them within the independence movement. Let’s reach out to them.

There must also be lots of English MPs who don’t share the sentimental idea of the “precious union” and would not care if Scotland left the UK. I’ve often wondered why so many English people who gripe about Scotland and claim we are vampire-like subsidy junkies actually want us as members of the UK.

Calls have been made for a legal challenge. However, I am wary of this as I don’t trust the judiciary – any more than I trust the monarchy, the armed forces or the other pillars of the British Establishment – and it could backfire.

I am not saying SNP MPs should go so far as to boycott Westminster but they should make it clear that their main interest is obtaining another independence referendum. Beyond that, they should not take part in Westminster’s activities. Nor should they become involved in issues and debates on subjects other than independence. That means letting the English-dominated parliament conclude the Brexit process.

What’s the point of repeating the same arguments all over again whether on Brexit, the NHS, austerity? SNP MPs often say they don’t want to be in London legislating. They now have the perfect opportunity to take grasp the thistle and show they mean it.

94 thoughts on “Grasping the thistle: moving on after the election

      • No it certainly wouldn’t.

        Foster has already declared that in the event of Irish reunification she and her bigoted orange ilk will be moving to Scotland. That’s the last thing we want and would probably tip the scales in favour of remaining in the union.

        We need our independence before NI and let Foster and the rest move to England

  1. Thanks for the article John.

    You say, ”but they (SNP) should make it clear that their main interest is obtaining another independence referendum.

    I reckon that they have, John, from day one and are continuing to do so.

    And, ”Nor should they become involved in issues and debates on subjects other than independence. That means letting the English-dominated parliament conclude the Brexit process.”

    They’ve got no other option but to let the Westminster incompetents conclude that process, however they’ll no doubt go on to point out what Brexit will mean for Scotland in particular the latest from LBJ and that is that he’s going to push through a Brexit bill to rule out an extension to the transition period. In other words it looks as though the UK is facing a No Deal Brexit once again. The issue of Brexit is inextricably linked to Independence, imo. More so now, in getting Scottish Unionist supporters to change their attitude and position to one of backing Indyref2.



    And not before time.

    ‘Glasgow health board to take legal action against contractor.’

    • They are also behind the new Edinburgh Sick Children’s Hospital, Petra, also marred with design faults and delays, apparently, allegedly.
      I have a few questions; given the track record at QEUH, why were they issued an ITT to bid for the contract to build the Edinburgh Hospital? Who headed the Procurement panel within the Scottish Civil Service, that decided to award another contract to this firm?
      Was the decision made on the basis of the cheapest bid?
      I have many more questions about invitations to tender for public works, who scrutinises them, who Project Manages the work for the Scottish Government, and why this farce is not a Civil Service or Glasgow and Clyde, and Lothian Health Boards resigning issue, but that can wait for the outcome of the law suit.
      There is something rotten behind this catalogue of disasters, and it goes much more deeply, and more sinister than the Bad SNP mismanaging Health.

      • Very pertinent questions Jack. Similar to those people in Liverpool having been asking in recent years over their unfinished hospital following the collapse of Carillion (not to mention at least one unfinished and unusable school that City Council is having to pay annual costs on from a dwindling budget courtesy of Westminster).

        Unfortunately, the answers are far from simple (or should that be simplistic?). As always the devil is in the details requiring time and effort on the part of the little grey cells. Hidden behind single word labels which tell us nothing about the mechanics of how and why this is happening.

        Obscuring practices, structures and processes created by political dogma masquerading as “common sense” or the “only way of doing things.”. Requiring us to spend time and effort to dig and delve in order to better understand the answers as to the why and the how.

        As explained, in small part in this example from Scotland:

        The most cogent explanation piece I’ve encountered can be found here:

        With the most revealing passage relating to the systemically created structures and processes, based on a myriad of transactional financial relationships, delivering nonsensical, unworkable, financially ruinous and impractical outcomes in every endeavour from infrastructure projects to health care being this one:

        “You’ll note that the customer-provider relationship has itself been outsourced here – the contractor, not the customer, chooses the provider. Therefore, any relevant information had better be within the contractor, because it’s not anywhere else.”

        Further examples, short case studies and explanations (with some equally revealing links and below the line comments) below:

        When Independence is achieved implementing workable systems with the proper accountable organisational structures necessary to deliver effective outcomes within reasonable budgets should be the first priority. In fact, best to start now and have ready to implement on day one practical structures and processes based on previous and past examples of workable best practice models.

        Scotland needs to provide a good example for even the most wilfully ideologically dense South of Hadrian’s to compare and contrast with the misery they and their voters have inflicted on both themselves and everyone else.

        • David, thanks for the links.
          I am perfectly well aware of the advent of the consultant, and contracted out services, which rose during Thatcher’s regime, and a tidal wave of bids for public works contracts from all corners of the private sector based on her adage; – public bad private good.
          Tell Syd and Buzby and the sell off of Building Societies heralded in the Gold Rush.

          We, the tax payers, have paid hundreds of billions in profits to manage public services which beforehand were administered by public servants who had expertise in their relevant fields. Bring back the Clerk of Works indeed.

          PFI, ‘arms length’ services, the privatisation from everything from emptying our bins to air traffic control. Loverly Jubbly, Rodders.

          Everything has been up for grabs for the carpetbaggers since Thatcher Major Blair Cameron May and now Coco The Clown Johnson, who must be the Private Sector’s wet dream.

          It may be argued that there are no ‘intelligent customers’ now, the irony being that the Public Servant now heading any former public body earned their promotion to the top by slavishly following succeeding Government Policies of sacking the in house providers , the intelligent public servants, and replacing them with a bunch of Freebooters whose business model for undertaking facilities management in a hospital is the same as the peddler of Mars Bars. The ultimate aim is to make as much profit at the least cost.
          Service to shareholders takes precedent over service to the public.

          In the Good Old Days, an in-house manger was accountable for each aspect of a piece of work, be it building a school or hiring and training lollipop men and women.

          There is something rotten in the contracts to build QEUH and the Edinburgh Sick Children’s Hospital.
          here is surely an audit trail which will expose the faults. through crap cheap workmanship, or sinister sabotage of an SNP Government project.

          The Queensferry Bridge was too much of a success perhaps.

          But in the mid to long term, we need in house ‘intelligent customers’ recruited and trained, or brought back out of retirement, to ‘take back control’ of public works and services.

          • Blimey Jack, had thought to comment but relented, you covered almost all I had thought to say, bravo…
            The entire public construction and services process has been interfered with by politicians over successive decades, typically sold on the hype of “best value for money”, “efficiency”, “risk management”, or “partnership” etc., but essentially guaranteeing profits for the few, most notably party donors and friends.
            Forcing LAs to tender on the PFA model provided rich pickings for financiers in the SE, and a financial headache to LAs for decades to come. My early career saw the changeover from traditional project finance, our analyses and dire predictions met stony silence.
            Big projects were beyond the funding capabilities of medium sized companies to even get on the select list, they ended up subcontracted to burgeoning management companies such as Carillion or Strabag, a stitch-up of monumental proportions.
            The same is true of safeguards and monitoring like your CoWs or even Fire Prevention, eg Grenfell could never have happened had self-certification never been forced through by the Tories. Scotland’s regulations prevented such things happening, but only independence can guarantee that will not change.

          • Bob, you may recall an early Tory Cuts con trick:

            To run the public sector more ‘efficiently’ like the private sector Civil Service Departments and Local Authorities were instructed to produce ‘more’ with the same budget, or the ‘same’ with a reduced budget.

            From this Cuts Agenda grew Consultant Speak; ‘downsizing’, ‘rightsizing’, ‘efficiency savings’, ‘outsourcing’, rebranding ‘claimants’ and ‘patients’ as ‘customers’, or ‘end users’, and hospitals, GP Surgeries, and Social Work Departments as ‘service providers’, and possibly the most sinister rebranding of all, Personnel Departments reframed as ‘Human Resources’.

            The doctors, nurses, ambulance crews, social workers, were dehumanised, and categorised as an impersonal ‘resource’, an tiresome expense on profits, a debit entry on the balance sheet,like replacing the photocopier, or desks, or beds.

            You may recall when our unemployed citizens were suddenly redefined as ‘jobseekers’, at a time when there were precious few jobs to seek.
            At a stroke there weren’t millions ‘unemployed’.

            They stopped short of hiding the backlogs of those awaiting surgery and treatment as ‘bedseekers’, or those on housing waiting lists as ‘houseseekers’, though, but, mind.

            The poison of spin and lies.

          • Yes, this is the reality of what “slashing red tape” really means. And, the other slogan, “bonfire of the Quangos”, became grimly and fatally true, with Grenfell Tower.

            Look at the way in which the media – with the pompous Guardian in the van – selectively leaked aspects of the report in advance of the release date to put the blame on the London Fire Brigade. When we actually saw the report, it was clear where the blame lay, but we haven’t had comparable media outrage as we say against the fire service.

          • Absolutely spot on Jack, NHS performance is due to inefficient working not funding starvation..
            Partially agree Alasdair, selective leaking is a No10 speciality, papers report on what they can get. The phased approach the Tories imposed assured LFB would be criticised long before the Tory culprits who caused the deaths were exposed, including a certain London Mayor who decimated the Fire Service..
            Reduced building standards, self-issued fire certificates, etc., etc., yet another example of knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing, not even people’s lives. What are the deaths of a few immigrants compared to protecting good fellow Tories in Kensington and Whitehall…
            They should be in prison, not running the country…

          • Hi Jack. Well said.

            I’ve answered your earlier point below but this has just made my earlier answer irrelevant as you’ve more or less covered everything I’ve said.

            That’s what I get for not reading down the full length of comments.

      • A very good point Jack.

        Having worked in Project & Programme management for a good number of years it has always annoyed me how public money is fed into the accounts of these big companies who walk away leaving disasters behind them.

        The fact this company is being taken to court is a good sign and I hope this is a sign of things to come.

        The simplified answer to your question is that project management is a very specialized profession and like any other profession you will get various levels of competence.

        Councils, local authorities, health boards will have various individuals that may call themselves project managers but will have very little experience of running large capital delivery projects and will most likely, as you say, procure based on cost and not technical expertise.

        I have always had a problem with this as a good technically sound project will have less variations and change impact and will be less likely to overrun so weighting the evaluation on cost doesn’t work out cheaper in the long run.

        This isn’t necessarily the fault of the health board who will most probably be constrained on cost and will be looking to work within a set budget but it has a potential detrimental effect on end product.

        If the health board do their homework they will appoint and good contract expert and claims examiner, as from the outside looking in it seems that corners may have been cut to keep costs on track.

        It’s worth noting though that all major projects develop problems during the construction phase. it’s how we manage these problems that determine the success rates. We just have to look at the new Queensferry crossing as an example

        • Good points, but “This isn’t necessarily the fault of the health board who will most probably be constrained on cost and will be looking to work within a set budget but it has a potential detrimental effect on end product” presumes the board can act on expertise in in isolation without interference from HMG auditors etc…
          I’ve seen many such analyses ignored for the bottom line because the client’s hands are tied from above, and when the predicted outturn arises, it is blamed on the client from above.
          Professionals can do their jobs, throw in a politician or two and disaster beckons…

          • Agree Bob. One of the downfalls of public bodies. Constrained by politics but answerable for public spending. Civil Servants though should never be left running large scale projects. It’s not fair to them or the public purse

        • Indeed, Matt.
          Any Project should have a Programme Management Board, enlisting as members, the ‘intelligent customers’ if you like, from the areas/disciplines/ procedures/infrastructure changes being introduced as set out in the original Project Plan, which would have been submitted to the Management Board for sign off.

          The Project Plan may have consist of many Strands, building, change management, Estates, Personnel, and so on, managed by Strand managers, under the aegis of a Project Manager, reporting to the Board via a Programme Manager.

          In every Plan there must be Contingency Plans, because the ‘best laid plans’ often need tweeking. The whole shooting match must costed and monitored on an almost daily basis.

          Project managers should be public servants, not PWC consultants brought in because Senior Civil Servants are too thick to know what is needed.

          Ask a consultant ‘what time is it?’ They’ll ask to borrow your watch before they answer.

          PM is highly skilled, but not rocket science.

          How much will it cost? How long will it take? And could you look after it for us? is Pied Piper madness.

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  3. People in Northern Ireland have the right to ask for a Border Poll when they think the time is right, and the Northern Irish Minister has the legal duty to oblige. This “right” can be repeated, with a minimum of seven years till they ask again. This part of the Good Friday Agreement is now part of the architecture of the Consitution of the UK. I am no lawyer, but it seems to me that a precedent has been set and as ENGLISH law is largely based on precedent, and the Supreme Court is mostly English judges, then it gives Scotland an in.
    The right to self determination is also in the UK charter.

  4. Indeed John
    I’ve often wondered why so many English people who gripe about Scotland and claim we are vampire-like subsidy junkies actually want us as members of the UK.
    This is the nub of it. Social media in England should be flooded with this message to enrage the English public and so to rid them of us junkie Scots. Of course we know this is not true we have been subsidising England since 1707. They will know all about it after we dissolve the UK and they can no longer pay their bills

    • Good idea Wullie , the English always like a good laugh , Lets join in have a Laugh at them piling their hard earned Cash up to the ungrateful Jocks , let them know we are having a great time pissin their Cash against a wall , with our free this and free that whats not to like , Yeah keep it flowing yah mugs the more the merrier ,
      Dont try and convince them we more than hold our own they would never believe us anyway , forget all the figures they won’t look at , Let’s get the Drunken Sailor routine fixed in their minds , now that just might trigger a reaction , and yes let them have a vote on Indref 2 , if its a Vote on Thursday we will be out on Monday Guaranteed , after all the English media have been calling us subsidy junkies for years they have done the heavy lifting , carry on Chaps yer playing a blinder .

  5. I would avoid using the term “unionist” when you can. There is no union – to label people as such is to give them some level of undeserved respectibility. How can you support a union that does not really exist. No, we should call them out for what they are – hard-bolded British nationalists.

    Those that still like to be called “unionists” are in steady decline – they are being gradually squeazed by Celtic and English nationalists. You see, there is no “internationalism (globalsim) not really. There are three strong, opposing nationaistic positions in the UK: Cetlic, English (Brexit) and British (unuonist) nationalism. Something had to give and it looks like the unionist element is the one now under severe pressure.

    Now that the Brexiteers have spoken, I do wish that Scottish politicians would start calling these fake unionists at WM and the media for wht they are – call them out as “Brtish nationalsts” and enjoy the show as they turn purple and explode. 🙂

  6. I’m not sure if advocating the end of the union would be a death sentence for the political aspirations of English MPs so Id question this assertion:There must also be lots of English MPs who don’t share the sentimental idea of the “precious union” and would not care if Scotland left the UK
    the Subsidy Junkie argument is usually used by the English right(Farage and further to the right) not the English Left the sort of people arguing for English independence on Social media

  7. “I am not saying SNP MPs should go so far as to boycott Westminster … they should not take part in Westminster’s activities.”

    prior to Irish independence, many of their MPs were as disruptive as possible. Apparently if an MP says “I spy strangers” – the debate has to immediately stop with consequent disruption. Used judiciously and in concert with other procedural loopholes, they could become very a sharp thorn in LBJ’s side.

  8. I think there’s a bit of muddled thinking going on here.
    Firstly, you criticise our First Minister, saying her tactics were wrong then admitting the SNP had a massive win. That doesn’t seem to me that she got things wrong.
    But I’m concerned when I hear this type of criticism of our First a Minister and then absolutely no justification for it.
    We don’t know what is being planned and it may well be that we have to go down the legal route. I’m equally concerned by the distrust in our judiciary being expressed. Legal decisions are based on law and the strength of the legal arguments put forward. It has nothing to do with any one judge’s personal inclination and we should not be encouraging this view without evidence that politically biased judgements have been made. Just because we may not like the outcome of any case does not automatically mean there is anything corrupt in the system. As we saw in the case against prorogation it was judged to be wrong and the Westminster government had to give in.
    I also strongly disagree that this should be turned into a personal battle with Johnson. We’ve had quite enough of the campaign that was based on nothing more than a senseless slogan of sending Nicola Sturgeon a message. Making it a personal battle is the very last thing we need and would serve only to exclude people from other parties from the independence debate even more than now.
    The SNP is the party that has brought us to this point and is hardly likely to be careless now we are getting closer. They will take advantage of the mistakes, loopholes and weaknesses in the opposition to make their voice heard everywhere possible.

    • Correct !
      I was furious when I heard repeatedly throughout this GE that we ( the Scottish people ) had to send a message to ”her” ( Nicola Sturgeon ) that we don’t want another referendum.

      It is NOT Nicola Sturgeon asking for a referendum , it is me , and my family and my friends , and my neighbours …
      Bt personalising this issue it allows the British nationalists / Unionists to trivialise the issue and make it a question of liking or disliking a single person, as was done in 2014 with ”Alex Salmond’s Referendum ” !
      It is easy for opponents to ridicule an idea if it is identified as one person’s obsession – but a much greater task to undermine a whole people .

      So let’s challenge this personification of the independence movement as Nicola’s or Alex’s or Jimmy’s ….it is OUR movement !

      • Millsy and Iain

        During the 2014 referendum I was approached by a Labour Better Together activist as I was getting out of my car at my local shops. I was asked to take a leaflet to stop Alex Salmond. I politely refused only to be immediately accused of being “an Alex Salmond lover”.

        I again politely pointed out that Alex Salmond’s name would not appear on the voting form and I wanted Scotland to be a normal independent country and not part of a union that at best could be described as dysfunctional. I was snarled at.

        So Millsy you are spot on – it is part of their propaganda to make out it is some nasty individual who is to blame. Iain you were also correct to address this matter with your family members.

        The UK Union steals from Scotland and treats it with contempt. Not really a Union is it.

    • I totally agree with the points you make, Joan.
      I was talking to my brother and his wife who expressed similar views about Nicola Sturgeon. When I asked Why? and How? they had no answers or examples, but admitted they’d been watching too much BBC.

  9. I was not very happy to see our FM described as ‘Sturgeon’ She has a title, First Minister or Ms Sturgeon! Please don’t go down the English Nationalist way of belittling this able politician as ‘Sturgeon! It get my back up, no respect. Let’s face , we get enough of that!!

  10. Interesting piece, John.
    I am uneasy with the tactic that the 48 SNP MPs just refuse to take part in WM Business, and instead hammer at Johnson’s door until he somehow caves in and grants a S 30 order, just because…it would be an affront to democracy if he refused.
    There is no doubt that Sturgeon has ‘constitutional powers and political credibility as a leader to turn this into a personal clash between her and Boris Johnson. He is an opportunist with no ideals while she is sincere and has a case which is justified on solid democratic grounds.’

    But surely, the Independence Movement is much more than just the Scottish National Party?

    AUOB does what it says on the tin.

    We all march under one banner, with a common goal, Scotland’s right to take its place in the world as an independent nation, no longer hidebound in a Union where one nation will always outvote the smaller nations, and lead to Scotland being stuck with a government for which we didn’t vote, whose policies and ethos, as acutely illustrated by being ‘forced’ to leave the EU, are in direct contradiction to the will of the majority of the citizens of Scotland.

    I have read through the SNP manifesto, and the bolt on by Leonard to the Labour Party Manifesto.

    I’ll be brief.
    End austerity.
    Scrap UCS and replace it with a system that treat recipients of welfare and support with respect and dignity.
    Scrap the Bedroom Tax.
    Protect the Scottish NHS from privatisation and US carpetbaggers.
    Outlaw the Rape Clause.
    Scrap Trident renewal and use the £200 billion to support conventional forces, and fund veterans’ pensions and welfare, and use the surplus to fund schools, hospitals, and vital public services.

    Resist Brexit to protect tens of thousands of jobs, Freedom of Movement, vital for Scotland’s economy and shrinking population, protect our Human Rights, Employment Rights, and trading standards under the ECJ umbrella from the Far Right WM regime hell bent dismantling the progress in our civic society of the past 60 years up until the 2010 Cameron Clegg Coalition..

    Now I challenge any Scottish Labour politician not to support any of the above, or Labour supported for that matter.

    Labour’s manifesto, on the other hand had a piece by Richard Leonard bolted on to tehScottish version, promising £00 billion of ‘Real Change’ additional spending in Scotland over two terms (10 years) with vague promises of more housing, an end to austerity and what not.
    The REAL Manifesto was an English targeted document of yet more ‘Real Change’ for the many not the few.
    120,000 a year in England, English Police numbers, doctors nurses and GPs in the English Health service, re nationalise the Railways, £58 billion to WASPI women, but still spend £200 billion on Trident, keep the UCS, and carry on with HS2, the fast rail network throughout England.

    Both Leonard and Corbyn lied in their forewords accusing the SNP of handing on austerity cuts to the Many Scots.
    And for that alone, they paid at the ballot box.
    Now that the dust is settled and the blood has been hosed from the battlefield, it is make you mind up time for Labour in Scotland.
    It may be argued that since we are about to face 10/15 years of a Hard Right Blue Tory WM Government for which we will never vote, and London Labour have no chance of ousting any time soon, the ‘Branch Office’ in Scotland should quit and reform as Labour in Scotland, free at last of London rule, a truly Scottish socialist party, and support the Movement for Independence.

    All Under One Banner.

    Not in 2021, but in the autumn of 2020.
    I note the piece in Bella Caledonia today. I am not alone in considering that Labour in Scotland has come to the same conclusion.

    Thanks for sparking the old grey cells with this lovely pot belly stove sizzler, John.

  11. Well John I enjoyed reading your article. I also agree with most of what you say.

    Reading the comments I can see why people have the views they do.

    I have thought for years that the SNP, a party I support, need to do two things, firstly be more assertive and disruptive when possible, secondly I am wondering when SNP stalls will be in the streets supporting independence openly. I know a great many SNP members are very active in Yes groups etc. but that is not other Party.

  12. If non-co-operation and/or disruptive tactics were to be used, what can be done to prevent the regular road convoys transporting nuclear warhead materials to the Faslane – Coulport complexes? Who actually has legal responsibility for Scotland’s roads and Public Safety. If these are devolved to the Scottish Gov, can it ban such convoys from Scotland’s roads and would Westminster have any rights (e.g. national defence) to overturn such a decision?

    Another topic which concerns me is the powerful role of the Civil Service in Scotland. There is no Scottish Civil Service: we have UK Civil Servants attached to the Scottish Government. They are ultimately answerable to the UK Civil Service in Whitehall and therefore de facto to the Westminster Gov of the day. This makes it highly likely that the SNP and the wider Indy movement has been penetrated (Civil Service, GCHQ, 77 Brigade, MI5/MI6 etc).

  13. A bit O/T but after listening to a Clown aye yer right it was Murdo ,
    If I was in Nicolas place this afternoon that arsewipe would have got both barrels at point blank range.

    Murdo a question –
    Exactly how many Elections have you won I believe that you have put your name forward in 7 elections ? And you have won ? Let me help you out Ziltch – Nada yep not a one , and you have the bloody cheek to park your fat arse in This Parliament when hardly anyone voted for you , and the biggest joke is we can’t get rid of you and many of the others around you are in the same position , you are Squatters in this Parliament , why don’t the lot of you all F/k OFF .

  14. Hi John.
    I agree we need to stop demonising Tories and should refer to folk as Unionists. I’m not sure how many Tories are for Independence given that the party is The Conservative and Unionist party but clearly some are and you will know this better than me.

    I don’t agree that the SNP MPs should boycott anything but Independence issues at WM. Scotland’s general welfare is so dependent on decisions down there so we have to have our voice heard, even though it is often drowned out . I don’t agree with Sinn Fein’s position in not taking up their seats at WM, although i do understand their motives.
    Regarding Indy2… I’m nervous of us having it too soon. I desperately want Independence and will always vote for it but at the moment i need a rest away from voting and politics. I think quite a lot of folk are feeling this way ( well the ones i Speak to anyway) and i am concerned next year is too soon for yet another campaign and all it entails. We are going to have to be on top form in the lead up to Indyref2 vote and at the moment I personally feel worn down and not ready.

  15. Coinneach. There are some suggestions for being ‘difficult’ @

    I added the following comment, which fits in just as well here.

    “Didn’t the French fishermen make quite an impact by blockading the channel ports? If memory serves me right the Rhu Narrows are, well, narrow. They are also the only route into and out of Faslane, home of wastemonsters big sticks. Let them out but don’t let them back in.”

    Holding a regatta just as a sub is coming home would surely be rather annoying.

  16. We should also remember when an MP is elected they are duty bound to serve ALL their constituents, not just those that voted for them so the voting on independence matters only is probably a non starter.

  17. Thanks for your efforts Mr Fitzpatrick but it does serve to make you appreciate WGD even more. Have a good break WGD and haste ye back refreshed and hopefully on top form as you have been in recent months.

    The UK is not a decent union ( it is an English dictatorship – has been from 1707 and they have had plenty of time to rectify the matter and change to an actual union ) and people who support the UK do not merit being given the status of unionists. They are all British Nationalists. Like a box of quality street there are a lot of varieties of Britnats like Tories, Lie Dems, Labour, Orange Order. Unlike any of the quality street sweeties they are all pretty foul.

    ” that Scotlands vote will be ignored. ” Your own words explain why it is not a Union and therefore supporters of the union do not deserve to be called unionists.

    There is room for a right wing party in Scotland after independence but just not a British London controlled Unionist one that sells out Scotland on a daily basis to its masters in London.

    The only people who deserve to be called unionists in the UK are those who want to remain in the EU.

    You wonder why English people who think Scots are subsidy junkies want to keep Scotland. That’s the answer – keep Scotland – we are a possession – a population of inferiors that bolsters their long held supremacist ideals. It makes them feel good and superior. The Westminster establishment want to keep Scotland as we are and always have been a cash cow for London.

    • Cubby,

      The English dictatorship dates from 1535 (our first ‘Act of Union’) or even 1284 and the Statute of Wales imposing Longshanks and English Criminal Law over my homeland. Despite this and subsequent Acts of Union (the 1535 Act and the 1542 Act) being repealed by Westminster, we are still regarded as England’s first (and probably, last) possession.

      Ask any true Welshie – they’ll tell you the same.

      • It certainly is. A case of stating the obvious. But in Scotland with the propaganda media the obvious needs to be stated time and time again. Loads of Scots going about their business today believing there is no oil left thanks to the Britnat media in Scotland. Brittnattery propaganda should be a crime and the criminals dealt with.

        PS don’t forget the gas as well.

  18. An intriguing post…….
    Walking out on Westminster at this stage would get massive publicity, once. Nothing would delight London media more than being able to ignore SNP thereafter, something they currently try but fail to achieve. The purpose of attendance on Westminster is to fulfill MP obligations in representing their electorate under the current arrangements, and we should not ignore the background cross-party work which will keep a lid on the worst excesses of this current crop of asset-strippers before Scotland is beyond their control.

    A term change from “Tories” ? Tories have been around long before SNP came into being, and re-writing history is not as yet a devolved power… 😉 Tory and Labour are forever linked across these isles to London rule. As and when Scottish versions evolve of different allegiance, a moniker to distinguish the difference to their London equivalents will assuredly arise. SNP is an amalgam of every political shade including conservative and labour, together lumped as Scottish Nationalists. Do any of them cringe when they hear Tory because they are conservative with a small c ? I think not.

    Frankly shocked to read aspersions being cast on the judiciary, straight from the Demonic Second Cummings Handbook published by Bannon….

  19. Off Topic. I have just been watching on YouTube a documentary by journalist John Pilger called “The dirty war on the NHS”. In fact it is on ITV right now. A sobering watch but also essential viewing. With the Tories in power now for the foreseeable future, I feel that It is inevitable that the NHS will be sold off, certainly in England. We need Indy ASAP. It’s the only way to save the NHS in Scotland.

    • Absolutely nothing. But as I have explained before (and will no doubt have to explain many times again) if you have never posted here before – or if you are using different log in details – your comment automatically goes into the moderation queue and has to be approved manually. When I am publishing guest articles it’s because I’m busy doing other things and am not sitting on top of the moderation queue – so you have to wait for your comment to appear.

  20. Sad to say that the independence movement has lost a major independence site. At this important time in the fight for independence what does WOS focus on again the site owner and his obsession with GRA.

    A poster below the line actually says: Off topic and then makes a comment on Scottish independence. That’s sums it up. Independence is off topic. A good site for discussing women’s rights, human biology and the site owners ego and personality traits but independence – no way hosay.

    • I see that another individual below the line has posted something from someone who has been banned (yesindyref2) in an attempt to defuse the GRA situation. Par for the course such as people like Legerwoods attempts to do so have been thwarted too. Sad or what? Scary too. The bottom line is that the GRA, when finalised, can be repealed just like the OBFA, if it is so bad.

    • Have no dog in this fight, no notion what has drove the recent furore but read Paul’s post on the subject with interest, and considerable agitation elsewhere.
      The impression of argument stoked deliberately to disrupt the GE is beyond doubt, that SMSM did not jumping on it to throw SNP mud is a pleasant change.
      Presumably with the GE now passed, the angst can settle down to engage in sensible debate on the draft bill to make it fit for purpose, after all, is that not it’s purpose?

    • A faux democracy. Like faux leather it can look like the real thing but on closer examination you find it certainly is not.

  21. Off to bed but had a good laugh at the Daily Raggard online.

    This, from Paul Hutcheon’s hand wringer post GE mortem on Labour’s collapse and ultimate demise in Scotland.

    “This is why party figures should be sceptical about quick fix constitutional solutions. If Labour backed indyref2, some of their remaining supporters would switch to the Tories and very few would defect from the SNP.”

    The dregs of the Labour Faithful would mainly become Blue Tories if the Scottish Branch opted to endorse Indyref 2?

    Everybody loves a trier, Hutcheon.

    Keep up the good work, Scoop; another nail in ‘Scottish’ Labour’s coffin, I fear.

    • Never voted Labour personally. Up until the mid 90’s I was a Tory but stopped that when they tried to stop the setup of our parliament. Voted SNP since 2000.

      Labour I feel would in Scottish elections improve their vote share. However I cannot see their head office ever allowing it. To me their answer is to set up a true Scottish Labour Party with no connections what so ever to London. Maybe called the Independent Labour Party after a party from the past. Funding would make this difficult but not impossible.

    • Polling prior to the recent election about how ‘solid’ the voters for particular parties were. For SNP and the Conservatives, voters were pretty settled – over 90% (if memory serves). Labour voters in Scotland were much flakier with only around 2/3 in the ‘definite’ category.

      When voters were asked about which party was their second choice. Around 10% (of the 1/3) of Labour voters would switch to the Tories, but more than 20% would switch to the SNP. So, Mr Hutcheon, give us YOUR evidence for the massive switch to the Tories?

      In addition, Monica Lennon MSP in her interview urging Labour to support IndyRef 2, she pointed out that 50% of Labour voters supported independence.

  22. I’m afraid I get weary of “what we should do..” articles.
    We have a top quality FM who has been charged with promoting and achieving Independence.
    Unless you have access to all the data/studies/assessments you cannot second guess her strategy. We also have people demanding she states her detailed strategy going forward (especially the media). That is like a General on the eve of battle sending the attack plan to the enemy.

    Do I agree with every SNP policy – NO.
    However I do have total respect for our current leader and FM.

    In chess positioning the pieces is how the end game is decided. It can be a long slow and often indirect process and apparently disconnected until the final piece is located. At that point you have won even though your opponent still has all his pieces in play.

    • Julia, I agree with your position here with regard to the SNP and the FM. Even if there is a strategy – and I am sure there is – we are in a very fluid situation just now and, although the eye must be ‘kept on the prize’, the SNP and others have to respond and adapt to the changing circumstances.

      As Jack Collatin has said above (and as others have said before and on other sites) the SNP is not the only player on the independence side and these other groups and individuals have to play their part, too.

      During 2014, a major factor in the campaign was the creative and enthusiastic actions by groups other than the SNP.

      “What we should do” articles are helpful ….. up to a point. What the authors need to do, in addition, is to indicate what THEY would do.

  23. Deidre Brock’s campaign to get the MOD to take responsibility for the munitions dumping in our waters is one reason, among many, to keep our representation in Westminster. As long as we are still in this union and Westminster/The Bank of England are the monopoly issuers of our currency, then they must take responsibility for this abomination. They must create the pounds, find the resources and direct the resources required with the money to clean up our seas, fund education, healthcare etc etc. The British government is never in ‘debt’ in its own currency, this is the fuel of the neoliberal fire which has ravaged the UK for the last 50 years. Independence supporters have to help extinguish it, or ordinary working people will never believe that they are entitled to ‘nice’ things, like a health service, like free public transport, or indeed a non-burning planet.

  24. I see that another anti-SNP article has been posted on that other supposedly pro-Independence site, now outlining that there’s been “concerted mass reporting by SNP activists” to get his Twitter site shut down. No naming of who’s behind this. No proof whatsoever to back up his allegations and yet on they come believing every word that he says. Downright scary to say the least. The “proof” in relation to his allegations lies with the fact that the shut down has coincided with the GRA proposed reforms being published. IF this has got anything to do with political activists at all has he / they never considered that Unionist activists could be behind this? Naw forget about that one. That doesn’t fit with the “agenda”, now does it?

  25. Petra, was it you who got WoS twitter taken down? You seem to know a lot about it and you never stop criticising or talking about him here and on other sites.

    You will never get over being banned will you?

    Why not stick to posting love bombs to Nicola and 20 links to the National after everyone else has read them?

    If you actually understood the implications of the GRA reforms you would be as horrified as most other rational thinking people.

    • Alex – I have authorised this comment – but I do not look kindly upon people using this as a forum to attack other people who comment here. I have a life you know, and it doesn’t involve stepping in to moderate fights between people.

      Petra – I expect you to ignore Alex, even though he’s making unfounded accusations. Thank you.

  26. Paul – where was the accusation?

    It was a question to someone who was banned for making all sorts of insinuations about WoS – and other posters – time and again.

    I have no wish to embroil you in blogwars but you do seem happy to allow constant passive aggressive comments about WoS on here by her and others.

    Petra needs to get over his/her obsession with WoS and move on. I’ve made my point and I won’t be making any others.

    • You implied Petra was responsible for getting Stu Campbell banned from Twitter.

      This will be my last reply to you on this topic. I have better things to do. And so, I suspect, do you.

  27. There’s a natural cycle to things, especially relationships, in my experience. Usually seven years. Whether it’s intimate or otherwise – maybe a work team or a sports club – after the initial spark and excitement comes a hiatus followed by a period of introspection and reflection – when reality catches up with aspiration. Before that, everything seems effortless – then suddenly, you have to work at it.

    I’m old enough to remember transistor radios and Radio Luxembourg, late on Sunday nights. Sometimes the tuning was perfect and everything crystal clear – but frustratingly, other nights it would be distorted and you’d be endlessly fiddling with the knob to tune in properly. I haven’t researched it, but wouldn’t be surprised if the interference ran in seven hour cycles!

    From my observations, the independence movement really started about two years before the referendum in 2014 – seven years ago. It’s been a whirlwind. Quite incredible to watch from afar – but for the first time in my lifetime, there’s been a fusion of minds and talents that have provided momentum and structure to something that hitherto, seemed impossible. All different. But all equally relevant.

    However, each of these ‘talents’ encapsulate what it means to be in one of these “jings almighty” relationships – where all parties have an equal but succinctly different contribution to make to the greater good. Sure, there are times we will fall out – when we disagree or someone says something unpleasant that we take exception to – and these moments are critical. One path ends the relationship – the other makes it stronger.

    I don’t need to say anymore. You all know what’s the best thing to do. If I can forgive Campbell for his indiscretions – and my middle name is MacDonald – I’m sure you all can too!

    Peace and best wishes for the New Year.

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