The crucial year

The candidates for the Labour leadership and the Scottish Conservative branch office manager are lining up to say how much they oppose Scottish independence. Today it’s the turn of Labour leadership hopeful Jess Phillips, who’s relying on her reputation as a media personality in order to mask the fact that she has a poor grasp of democracy. Jess doesn’t think that there’s a mandate for another independence referendum because the SNP won “only” 45% of the popular vote in Scotland in the recent general election. By that logic, there has never been a Westminster government with any mandate to do anything at all.

When the Labour party under Tony Blair won its landslide victory in 1997, it achieved 43.2% of the popular vote, considerably less than the SNP managed in Scotland in December. In the 2001 General Election, Labour won with 40.1% of the vote. In the 2005 General Election Labour won a majority of 31 on just 35.2% of the popular vote. In fact there has never been a General Election within the lifetime of Jess Phillips, or indeed before she was born, in which the Labour party has won an absolute majority of the popular vote.

The 43.6% of the popular vote won by Boris Johnson in the December election is the highest vote share won by the victorious party in a UK General Election at any time since Margaret Thatcher won the 1979 General Election with 43.9% of the vote share. You have to go back to 1970 – 11 years before Jess Phillips was born – in order to find a winning party with a higher vote share than the SNP won in Scotland in December, that was when Ted Heath won with a majority of just 14 but achieved 46.4% of the popular vote. The closest any party has ever come to winning an absolute majority of the popular vote in the post war era was when the Conservatives won the 1955 General Election with 49.7% of the vote.

You have to go back to the interwar era in order to find a General Election where a party took a majority of the popular vote. In fact there has only been one occasion since the introduction of the mass franchise and votes for women that any party has won both a majority in the Commons and a majority of the popular vote, that was the Conservatives under Stanley Baldwin in the General Election of 27 October 1931, when the Tories took 55% of the votes.

According to the logic of Jess Phillips and all those British nationalists on social media who claim that there’s no mandate for another independence referendum because the SNP won “only” 45% there has only been one occasion in the UK since the introduction of the mass franchise and votes for women that any party has ever had a mandate for government. That was in 1931. The Labour party has never managed to surpass the 45% vote share won by the SNP in any election during Jess Phillips’s lifetime. The only times they managed it were in the General Elections of 1945, 1950, and 1951 when they won 47.7%, 46.1%, and 48.8% of the popular vote respectively. You may have noticed that all these numbers are less than 50%, which means that according to Jess Phillips logic there was no mandate to create the NHS, the social security system, or to abolish the Poor Laws.

Of course Jess Phillips and other British nationalists know that they’re applying a ridiculous and self-serving set of double standards. They don’t care. They’re desperate to clutch at any fig leaf that allows them to stand in the way of another referendum without appearing nakedly authoritarian. If the SNP had managed to win over 50% of the popular vote, the Jess Phillips of this world would merely be spouting some other spurious reason why Scotland should not be “allowed” another independence referendum.

Mind you, with Jess Phillips we’re dealing with an apparently serious candidate for the Labour party leadership who confesses that she can’t understand how anyone can support EU membership but reject being a part of the UK.  So we’re not exactly talking about someone with their finger on the pulse of politics in Scotland, or “up there”, as Jess puts it.

The real reason why the British nationalists are so determined to stand in the way of another Scottish referendum is because they realise that they’re likely to lose it. The more that support for independence builds within Scotland, the more the British nationalists will try to prevent a referendum because it will be ever more likely that they’ll go down to a historic defeat. What this means is that the SNP’s strategy of slowly building on support for independence within Scotland is not by itself going to be enough to get a referendum. What it does mean is that when that referendum does occur, it will be of a confirmatory nature, to confirm the settled decision of the people of Scotland, rather than a contested referendum campaign during which the decision is made and minds made up – rather like the devolution referendum of 1997 when there was little doubt that supporters of a Scottish parliament would win. It appears that the SNP leadership would prefer this second sort of referendum.

It’s the job of the SNP to get a referendum, but it’s the job of the mass grassroots independence movement to win the arguments for independence. That mass grassroots campaign is already losing patience with the SNP leadership, and there are already serious rumblings within the movement which cannot be ignored, rumblings which put in doubt the willingness of grassroots independence supporters to keep campaigning with no other result but to continually pile up mandate after mandate for an SNP which isn’t being seen to proactively pursue a referendum. Those tired and frustrated foot soldiers are unlikely to look sympathetically upon articles like that of former SNP candidate Toni Giugliano in The National today which ask the movement to look to the Holyrood elections of 2021 as the golden ticket to a Section 30 order. That will be a fifth mandate for a referendum for the SNP to put on the mantlepiece alongside the four it’s already got.

The grassroots movement is holding up its end of the deal. Campaigners are out there, persuading, arguing, making the case for independence. With Brexit imminent, they are redoubling their efforts as the arguments for independence are falling on fertile gound. There are groups all over Scotland who have never ceased their efforts, and who have no intention of giving up. However their reservoirs of enthusiasm and energy are not limitless, they need to see some definite progress on the part of the SNP leadership toward achieving its end of the deal, to bring about a referendum.

There have already been, to my knowledge, three separate proposals for another independence party to contest the 2021 Holyrood election. The danger for the SNP leadership is that if there is no substantial progress on bringing about a referendum, and they go into the 2021 election seeking yet another mandate for a Section 30 order, many grassroots independence supporters will not campaign for the SNP, and many in the grassroots will coalesce around some proposal or other for a single issue pro-indy party. That brings about the serious risk of losing a pro-independence majority in the Scottish Parliament as the D’Hondt electoral system used in Holyrood elections is notoriously difficult to game.

What the movement expects from leading figures within the SNP is less talk of using 2021 to achieve yet another mandate that Westminster can ignore, and to see more action to tackle Westminster’s predictable refusal of a Section 30 order. The only way that the grassroots movement is going to tolerate the SNP leadership using 2021 to achieve yet another mandate is if we see alternative plans being put into place this year – plans such as legal action, plans to lay the ground for a referendum irrespective of a Westminster refusal, or plans to use the 2021 elections to win a mandate for independence itself. Above all, we need to see a more robust and assertive challenge to the blanket refusal of Westminster to a Section 30 order and to the assertions of British nationalists that a referendum can only be held with Westminster’s permission. This year isn’t just a crucial year for the independence movement, it’s also a crucial year for the leadership of the SNP.

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92 thoughts on “The crucial year

  1. Meanwhile, after all is said and done, I’m waiting to see how LBJ reacts to the request for the Section 30 order and depending on his response what Nicola Sturgeon, not ex-SNP candidates like Toni Guigliano, plan to do next.

  2. Great article, Paul, as always. Just a slight mistake re. Ted Heath’s election victory: that was in 1970 not 1966. Harold Wilson’s Labour Party won the General Election in 1966. Otherwise another timely reminder of the ways that the concept of “ mandate” can be interpreted!! And an equally timely reminder to the SNP leadership that decisions cannot continually be deferred.

  3. Agreed
    I’ve not cancelled my SNP membership(yet)but I’ve no plans to renew it unless a real plan is put to the people of Scotland.

  4. Paul, a nice table showing the top percentages of the popular vote by party with the results for the UK as a whole mixed in with those for Scotland would make for an interesting infographic.

      • I was thinking more of the lines showing the highest percentages gained by the SNP and the party that won the UK election in recent years – as many as it takes to make the graph meaningful. From skimming over the percentages above it’s pretty obvious that as a percentage of the available vote the SNP has a mandate that is generally larger than almost every other party that has won an election in recent memory and beyond. In fact a great title for that graph which I think would show a sea of yellow and black would simply be “Mandate”.

        • Dictionary corner:

          Mandate (noun)

          A meeting between David Mundell and A.N. Other (both having the same sex) with the intention of sharing good food and wine together at the expense of Scotland, whilst at every given opportunity, running down the aforesaid Scotland.

  5. The question being asked is why we are continually turning out to vote SNP, when nothing concrete comes of it. I have a feeling that there is no plan B , because there is no intention to circumvent the section 30. In other words Nicola doesn’t want to.

    She doesn’t want to , because she doesn’t actually want a referendum in 2020 or 2021. The section 30 refusal means she can do nothing for 2 years ,and that suits her on a tactical basis. She can blame Westminster for the delay. However the truth is that the SNP are the ones not using the mandate or every tool available to get the referendum.

    We should be marching on Bute house , not George Square. The problem is with the SNP and it’s leaders.

    • Just wondering why Nicola Sturgeon wouldn’t want to hold a referendum in 2020 or in 2021 Big Jock? She’s worked her socks off since she was a teenager to free Scotland from this Union. She and Alex held a referendum in 2014 and we let them down, not the other way around. She knows what the Tories have in mind for Scotland and if she doesn’t do something soon she won’t be “doing nothing for 2 years”. We’ll be lucky to have a Scottish Parliament at all, so how does that fit with your idea of it “suiting her on a tactical basis”? And as a reminder she’s known to be the most honest politician in the UK. Do you really think that she’s been telling us all a giant whopper? If so, for what?

      • I don’t believe that Nicola Sturgeon is lying. But I do believe that the SNP leadership needs to do a lot more to reassure the grassroots indy movement that there’s progress towards a referendum.

        • Hmmm
          Predictable panic around the table when another story about SNP not doing enough to get Scottish Independence is written.
          Why do you do it ?

          If you want to send a message to the SNP asking them to do more just send the message
          Writing a story like this just panics you’re followers
          And let’s face it you are just guessing you don’t know what the SNP plans are

          We have chosen a leader
          The SNP is the only party that will get us Scottish independence
          When you choose a leader
          You have to stand bye them , support them
          They have said it will be 2020
          You and the other critics should at least give them 2020 to get it done even if you are certain in your mind that they will not get it done

          • Only someone who is wilfully turning a blind eye can claim that there is no disquiet within the wider indy movement. This disquiet exists, it is very real, and unless the SNP gets on top of it it risks derailing the indy-train.

          • I don’t know if there is disquiet in the wider independence movement .
            You say there is , are you sure ?
            If there is disquiet in the independence movement perhaps it will be reflected in the numbers who march in Glasgow on Saturday
            I have seen disquiet shown on the wings over Scotland website but only by the same people over and over again , there are as many on that website disagreeing with that opinion so I am personally not certain that there is disquiet within the wider Scottish independence movement.

            I reckon the wider Scottish independence movement spends hardly any of their time online discussing / reading about Scottish independence , I doubt if their attitude towards the SNP has dipped we have just had a huge increase in SNP seats .
            I doubt if the wider independence movement feel negatively about Nicola Sturgeon her ranking amongst politicians is still very high.

            I do not see evidence of disquiet amongst the wider independence movement
            I do see it amongst the same relatively small number of people who post over and over again on political websites

          • Yes, I am very sure. I have very good contacts throughout the wider movement, There is considerable unease, and not solely from people who support a certain other blog. I’m sure that you would agree that it’s better to tackle this and do something about it while it is still possible instead of ignoring it and allowing it to fester until it becomes a serious problem.

          • I agree
            I hope you’re right
            Actually I hope you are wrong
            But if there is a drop in support of what the SNP are doing I will feel a bit sad because absolutely everything is against them
            I think they do an exceptional job
            But there again I have put all of my trust in SNP and Nicola Sturgeon to get Scottish independence

            What if the considerable unease is unwarranted ?
            It appears to be based on nothing other than a a few people starting a rumour that Nicola sturgeons announcement that a Scottish independence referendum will be held in 2020
            is not possible
            Because six weeks to do this nine months to do that etc etc

            My faith In them tells me they wouldn’t make an announcement that they knew to be wrong and knew could be proved wrong as soon as it was announced
            Who would do that ?

            Time will tell

            Who do you trust ??
            I am a team player , I go with SNP and it’s leader
            Without them we wouldn’t be where we are.

          • @terence callachan

            …”I do not see evidence of disquiet”…except that disquiet I will name but diminish.
            A part from that disquiet there is none. Hilarious.

            Disquiet at SNP tactics and giving up on INDY are 2 different things. You can not claim AUOB Glasgow marching numbers are a SNP endorsement. They are explicitly not otherwise they would be SNP marches. Same for the seats, until there is what they see as a viable INDY alternative many will swallow and vote SNP.

          • Where are we going to find a ”viable Indy alternative”, Tol, in the very near future? Just asking.

          • Petra
            You raise the excellent next question. SNP having taken up all the main oxygen has massive benefits but this risk.

            If – and that is the question – if SNP stagnates, it damages itself and hinders any YES alternates. Few join a movement going in circles and it is hard to start a new one when all the space is being occupied.

            YES is in a bind of its own making and I till have to find its way itself. Just remember Westminster will be happy either way. A stagnating SNP suits them fine as it is like putting a cork in a bottle. A new party and the internal YES fights…they just spin that as division and no clear case for YES.

            The Brexit disaster has the potential to pull the entire rug out but even if the current situation remains, Westminster just has to wait as the longer SNP have to remain the party of Govt not the party of INDY, the more they will isolate parts of the movement (Government is different to cause). All Westminster really needs to do is wait and the SNP/YES status quo will result in them not holding a Holyrood majority.

          • SNP are not going in circles
            Westminster are not happy to have SNP winning nearly every seat
            What you say is wrong

            There is no alternative to SNP
            You cannot replace SNP overnight
            Or in a year or two years
            It would take several years to replace them

            SNP is our only hope of getting Scottish independence
            Quit all this negative nonsense about them not acting quickly enough
            They said 2020

            Let’s hear your complaints in 2021 if it’s not been delivered
            Until then support the leading Scottish independence organisation
            Which is SNP

          • @terence callachan

            Lets not forget our own history. 2020 – the current SNP statement – is actually a slip of the “late 2018 or early 2019” that is publicised in early 2017. The mechanisms for the window for 2020 is rapidly closing if not already closed.

            If we are going to prioritise the amorphous “terms of Britain’s exit from the EU had become clearer” then 2020 does not even fit it as clear “terms” could be years away. However, the trap of a no-deal crash out remains ever live.

            I will rejoice if a Referendum is achieved and give SNP and everyone involved full praise and acknowledgement. Where as. I hope the call you made of me you also apply to yourself. My mea culpa would have marginal risk to YES. However, the risk to YES if this moment fails is catastrophic.

            YES has been fully warned about what Westminster plans to do with its new powers. They haven’t focused on ports but they have spent the last 2 years locking in a fearsome and brutal legislative control. You have a peacetime govt effectively legislating to give itself Executive rule without the need for parliament and planning for military on the streets and stockpiling body bags. WTAF

          • Is it the common consensus then that a ‘date’ for a referendum in 2020 guarantees a majority win for Yes – as opposed to producing a new solid dynamic convincing vision for 2021 likely to produce a majority Yes vote? I’m sympathetic to the rise in disquiet concentrated around there must be a date for 2020 – but I’m worried that there doesn’t seem to be much visible concentration amongst the SNP and Nicola Sturgeon critiques on how to ensure a whacking great Yes vote as early as this year, 2020.. I will of course vote Yes no matter when – but I’d like it to be with a majority win which cannot be shrugged off by those whom we know are likely to.

            What are we tooled up with, additional to our 2014 and consistent arguments up until now, to guarantee us a solid majority win with little or no solid preparation on the nitty gritty factors which held us back in 2014? If the SNP can’t achieve a referendum for 2020 – I’m deflated to think that that alone risks ‘ derailing the indy-train’ because I thought the indy-train was in for the long haul whatever it takes from all of us – and that means us being prepared maybe for the unexpected; but if the concentration of disquiet is totally focussed on the very difficult getting of a date for 2020 – does that mean that those focussed on the date know that the entire movement has produced everything it needs to win that outright majority required at what could be very short notice and ergo that a Yes win is guaranteed?

          • The issue here is ensuring that the indy movement doesn’t fracture. I’d be very sympathetic to a delay in holding the indyref as long as there’s some strategy in place for dealing with a refusal from Westminster to a Section 30 order.

          • What makes you think there isn’t Paul? After all…a good poker player always holds his/her cards close to their chest!

          • What makes you think there isn’t Paul? After all..a good card player always holds his/her cards close to their chest.

          • Thanks for that response Paul. Appreciated. I suppose I’m feeling temporarily deflated because I can’t at the moment see what credible and achievable response could be to a refusal for a Section 30 order which doesn’t put the SNP into the classic Catch-22 position – which I pretty much feel they are in now in between Westminster and fractious elements in the Yes movement. However, we shall see what transpires and move onwards and upwards, no matter what.

        • I really don’t know what more she can do Paul, at THIS particular time, other than outlining her plans to us if LBJ knocks back the S30O. In doing that she would of course be pre-warning the other side.

          Maybe I’m missing something? Genuine question. What would you actually like to see her do?


          Thanks for the data contained in your article, Paul. Handy for quashing the myths and highlighting that we’re living in a wee dictatorship.

          • I am not saying that she needs to do something right now, but there certainly has to be progress toward getting a referendum this year – or failing that some sense of what happens next.

          • And yet that’s what most people are howling about. Get something done now. Tell us what you are planning to do now. If not, we’ll do this, that and the next thing. I don’t know about her, Nicola Sturgeon, but all of this online .. threats and negativity … is getting me down.

          • It is the intent Bob … getting me (and everyone else) down. I may be feeling down but I’m not out. I’m going nowhere and I’ll never, ever give up fighting for my country’s Independence.

          • Who says it’s not going to happen this year ?
            What proof / evidence do they have ?

            As far as I can see , none.
            Some say the electoral commission have laid down new guidelines extending the pre referendum consultation period
            I think s the Scottish saying 2020 is the best evidence available
            If anyone can provide better I’d like to see it because all I’ve seen so far is opinion, guessing unfounded assumption

      • @Petra

        It is SO dangerous to infer motive – just look at the facts. The current trend of assigning motive always inhibits analysis as it stops you from looking at all the options.

        …”think that she’s been telling us all a giant whopper”… is a deliberate (even if unintended) conversation stopper. You are asking people to stop analysing because no one wants to start by accusing people of lying. Lying can only be the conclusion after analysis not the analysis itself.

        Too many YES are looking at politics like a church fate. The current discourse is defined by people lying directly to camera with out consequences and evermore outlandish dead-cat distractions. Think back, the last couple of years has been full of …(Insert horrible plan)… followed by the comment “but I am sure they are honourable”…only to find out that ever worse was being planned.

        • …”think that she’s been telling us all a giant whopper”… is a deliberate (even if unintended) conversation stopper.

          I didn’t seem to stop you conversing, Tol, LOL.

    • “She doesn’t want to…” See, this the part I simply don’t get. The chance to be the “Mother of the Nation Re-born” – I doubt you could find a ticket to immortality that would be easier to get. Written into the history books and a symbol of defiance in the face of overwhelming odds – OK getting carried away a bit there but even so, compared to sitting around enjoying the good life you’d have to be utterly insane to turn down an opportunity like that.

  6. Pingback: The crucial year | speymouth

  7. Also the false claim of vote share in a GE reflecting the vote in a Referendum. Different circumstances.

    Different electorate, different % turnout, one question Ref as opposed to multiple Party and policies consideration even within local areas.

    Referendum 16 years old (really majority eighteen), migrants etc. Higher turnout by comparison, less party political decision. Different allegiance. People who would never vote turnout.

    Referendums often have a higher turnout and an increased electorate. YES/NO question. Politicians should be aware of these facts. Not confusing numbers from ignorance or arrogance.

    • They are aware of these facts. However they’re deliberately conflating referendums with elections because it suits them to do so. That’s why they need to be called out for it.

  8. Excellent as usual. I saw a great tweet on the subject of Phillips saying why should Scotland want in the EU but out the UK, the reply being, ‘it’s the difference between symbiosis ( EU) or hosting a parasite’ (UK). I hope the tweeter doesn’t mind me quoting them I just thought it very apt.

    Still no intelligent reply re S30, and of course Tories still withholding Scotland’s money re the budget. Better tighten seatbelts, it’s going to be a dangerous journey by the look of it!

    O/T If anyone is interested in weather visit ‘earthwindmap’ online, (, a pic opf the globe you can traverse the planet and zoom in, and I see some winds in the Atlantic are up to almost 100km/h! Quite high in Scotland just as well the ferries decided to cancel some sailings! All the SNP’s fault though let’s see what the BBC have to say eh.

  9. “it’s also a crucial year for the leadership of the SNP.”

    Yes it is. I vote SNP to bring about independence not to bring about mandates to paper Bute House’ walls. There is keeping your powder dry and there is leading folk up the garden path.

    The Tories have already made it clear they are rolling back devolution. Time for action Nicola.

  10. Nicola is not lying. She is being tactical.

    She needs to give enough crumbs for the movement , to maintain support. Whilst tactically she thinks a referendum is not the best idea in 2020. I have heard from an MSP that they think the timing is not right for 2020. Depressing I know, but sometimes the real politic is not as we might desire.

    • I read your first and let it go, but stand to be corrected your “Big Jock”ness…
      “The question being asked is why we are continually turning out to vote SNP, when nothing concrete comes of it.” – Frustration with progress aside, voting SNP is a choice, you can vote Tory if you wish but I suggest the the concrete side involves laced waders or an overcoat.
      The “We should be marching on Bute house , not George Square. The problem is with the SNP and it’s leaders.” was purile. Reducing AUOB’s inclusiveness to making a party political point may have earned a handsome bonus from 77 Bg’s wet dream fund and triggered screeds from the Torygraph, Scum and Daily Heil over receding Scots…🤣 but, this is not England…
      It was the “Nicola is not lying. She is being tactical. She needs to give enough crumbs for the movement” post that finally capped it for me… Weather’s fine in Bletchley I hear…

  11. The UK will be in the EU till December and even longer. The same rules. The best time to have a Referendum is when it can be won.

    The Tories always appeal in any crisis for the EU to sort it out. Looking for support. Then they insist the UK will be leaving. Total duplicity. The EU are always sorting out UK/world problems.

    What will happen if the Tories are out in ‘splendid isolation’. When everybody wants back in. An increasing majority. The Tories will be out. Out of the loop again. What an absolute mess.

  12. Spot on Paul ‘re the grassroots impatience for something concrete to keep us all motivated.As Brian Cox says “enough is enough”.The dangling carrot is being moved further away.We need to bite it !

  13. Nicola Sturgeon said there would be an indyref2 in 2020. And I for one believe her. However it would be nice if she were to completely reassure us of that fact before the end of January.

  14. EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill being debated in HOC as I type.Joanna Cherry QC/MP has already intervened on Exiting the EU Secretary (Stephen Barclay) on the subject of new clauses attached to the bill which amount to nothing more than a blatant power-grab from the Devolved Governments. Barclay refutes her allegations and insists the new clauses are only being included as ‘technical provisions’ in the event of ‘unforeseen circumstances arising’. Don’t know about you…but to me if it looks like a power grab..walks like a power grab..talks like a power grab….then chances are….’its a power grab!’

  15. Something is afoot:

    New SNP team at Westminster:

    Ian Blackford – Leader

    Alyn Smyth – Foreign affairs spokesman

    Mhairi Black – Spokeswoman for Scotland

    Alison Thewliss – Finance spokeswoman

    Phillipa Whitford – Spokeswoman for exiting the EU

    Anne McLaughlin – Spokeswoman for women and equalities

    David Linden – Spokesman for housing, communities and local government

    Kirsten Oswald – Spokeswoman for Northern Ireland and Wales

    Kirsty Blackman – Taking on a strategic role leading on the constitution in preparation for an independence referendum.

  16. Excellent team. Talented smart individuals taking Scotland forward. Just what’s needed.

    Imagine a Sir for Labour leader. Some people never learn.

  17. The Cringe is still strong in some independence supporters.

    Sick of all these naysayers and doom and gloom merchants. Yes and that includes certain bloggers and SNP members/MPs.

    Some of them seem to think we should be setting a world record for unused independence referendum mandates.

    It used to be the Maybot who said now is not the time now it is various so called independence supporters. Do they envisage us going into the 2030’s saying just one more mandate for a referendum. It’s becoming a joke. It’s a form of the CRINGE.

    I have not taken out a subscription for the National some reasons why:

    1. The regular articles by Fry.

    2. Article by Guigliano in today’s National.

    3. Shona Cravens insipid performance on TV e.g. Last nights performance on STV’s ScotlandTonight programme. Another we won’t have a referendum any time soon punter. Is she only invited on to these programmes if she follows a Britnat script.

    • I cannot cite the examples as you do Cubby, but do not yet trust the National as a separate entity from it’s parent enough to subscribe, while constantly hoping they prove me wrong.
      Until it is a racing certainty, I expect neither the Tories, Labour nor SMSM to do other than undermine independence as they always have…

    • ”The Cringe is still strong in some independence supporters. Sick of all these naysayers and doom and gloom merchants.”

      I doubt that many of these people are independence supporters at all, Cubby. All of this, ”we’re not getting anywhere”,”Nicola Sturgeon is doing nought”, ”we’ve got all of these mandates” (which couldn’t help us to win Indyref2 until now) is being used to undermine her and dishearten us. In fact divide us and attempt to diminish support. Don’t fall for it folks.

      As to the National, it’s the only newspaper supporting Independence and offering a platform to a number of people that other newspapers totally ignore, such as Paul himself. I’ve also come across extremely helpful data in that newspaper, that I’ve not come across elsewhere. And of course the front page headlines make a difference, imo, to the point that I know of two people who were standing next to me in my village shop (strangers then), read the headlines, bought the newspaper and are now independence supporters. The last thing that we need now is to lose that newspaper. How the BritNats would love that.

    • @Cubby.
      The question every YES supporter may have to soon ask:

      If the SNP can’t/won’t deliver INDY…is it still the party of INDY.

      • Too many YES appear to be thinking that the future is linear “just like 2014 only with a Brexit windfall.

        Most dangerously, many thinking if they miss this moment it is easily retrieved by backtracking just a little and everything will keep going in their favour. Sadly, YES are about to be blindsided by the changes coming at them. In these moments, change is not gradual but step changes – they are sticky and once it happens, it is almost impossible to go back.

        Westminster holds the cards (NS gave them to it) and Westminster will make the changes occur to their maximum advantage, that includes locking Scotland in. No-one lets their money tree escape..

  18. Hi, Great post as always.  You mention a court case – I don;t know if you are aware of the crowdfunder on the go to launch a citizens action against the UK government?  the idea of it being a citizens action is that anyone who chips in can be named as a litigant in the action.  I love the idea of this, it is the closest we are going to get to a modern day equivalent of signing the declaration of Arbroath!  The crowdfunder closes in 10 days and they are still well short of their target.  Perhaps if you could highlight this in your blog/podcast or whatever it might give thema boost?  The beauty of this action is that it isn’t coming from the Scottish govt, it is coming from ordinary Scots.  I had thought of it as complementary to anything that the Scottish govt is doing, but having read your post, you could also look at it as cutting out the middle man!   Here’s the link The Scottish People Vs The UK Government on Indyref2

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    | | | | The Scottish People Vs The UK Government on Indyref2

    Forward as One is a pro-independence association dedicated to self-autonomy for Scotland. This action is being r… |



    thanks for all you do Fiona

    • The pathetic rate of increase this crowdfunder is getting says it all for me. It shows how uninterested scots are in taking matters into their own hands. The number of crowdfunders we endlessly have to pay out for for the ‘Indy movement’ with no noticeable returns, but as soon as there is one that might – but might not – actually (a) demonstrate the people of Scotland are determined to have their referendum and (b) pose a threat to the uk government (c) show enthusiasm for becoming an independent nation.

      So the lack of funding for this crowdfunder just says to me that scots aren’t that interested, the British nationalists are right aren’t they, there is no appetite. More interested in moaning, woe is us, about how hard done by aren’t we?

      That’s how you could define scots, so beholden to the British state, don’t have the balls to to take their own route. All the blogs are reactive – they all focus on what terrible thing the British nationalists have done or said and moan about it (Paul excluded here obviously,,,), it’s always about them, not us. What would we do if we didn’t have anyone else to blame? Well, it’s obvious people don’t want that risk of taking responsibility for themselves, want to leave it to the SNP, who they can duly moan about and blame when it doesn’t happen.

      The irony of the debate about how whether Nicola sturgeon wants Indy or not – she’s waiting for us to want Indy! But no, we all just want to whine about how it isn’t terribly easy, how hard done by we are, can’t take positive action to make things happen and show we really aren’t reliant on the SNP. Let’s blame them eh.

      I’m having a rant, I’m annoyed the response to some action outside the SNP is so pathetic, I’m annoyed the SNP are so pathetic but at least they have the excuse of being bound by political mores, but until I see anything different,,, take an example of Stu’s crowdfunders, easily top 40K in a month, Alex’s crowdfunder topped 100K in a DAY. What makes those more worthwhile than this one? Your (collective, general population) decision on this says it all, just desperately clinging to the British state, so you can all moan and whine about how it wisnae your fault, everyone else is to blame. It’s never going to happen because WE aren’t making it happen.

  19. Let’s have a reverendum. 50% independence. 50% britnats. Now what happens? SNP knows we need better than the previous NO vote. Simple fact is we are nearly there but not quite. The fault lies with the waverers who are scared to vote for their country. They need more persuading and time.

    • Perhaps you shouldn’t ask for a mandate for Indyref2 if you are not going to use it when it is delivered. The mandate said material change of circumstances OR a consistent demand for Indyref2 (60% in polls) it didn’t say both at the same time.

      Now if the SNP are trying to wriggle out then it won’t go down well with me. However, I am happy to still give them the benefit of the doubt for now but I don’t like all these bloggers, National journalists and SNP MPs pouring cold water on the mandate. There are plenty of Britnat journalists that can do that job.

      We are being forced out of the EU against our will. No ifs or buts about it now. It’s happening. If that is not a good enough reason for a referendum what will be in the future?

  20. Come now Cubby: the National, incl Sunday edition has two columnists each day and you reject susbscribing because of one columnist,Michael Fry, really!

    I didn’t watch the Shona Craven’ s performance on STV you refer, I would say that I consider her a cool-headed young woman I’d want on my side.

    Maybe you have a cold or something?

    • I did say some reasons not just Fry.

      Shona Craven just meekly agreed that a referendum would not take place in 2020. No defending of the mandate or outrage at the lack of democracy in Scotland.

      I didn’t trust the Sunday Herald and these types of performances by the National journalists do not fill me with confidence. Maybe Shona Craven had a cold or something – except when she is on the TV supposedly representing the case for independence she always is very let’s say ” neutral ” – you may describe it as cool headed.

      I do buy the paper but am still wary.

      • Just tell them that you keep buying the paper because of me. Then they’ll keep asking me to write for them. Paid writing gigs are not easy to find for pro-indy polemicists you know!

        • When I buy the paper on a Tuesday I tell myself that your article offsets Frys article.

          I can tell the National that if I wanted to read a column from a Tory rambling on I could buy one of a whole host of other papers.

    • Personally, I would be happy if next time Shona Craven calls off with a cold and the National puts up a WGD as the replacement.

  21. This is the second article along similar lines in but a few weeks, and whereas I don’t disagree with your analysis and warnings, my greater worry is the escalation of rhetoric despite two and a half years of Brexit stasis with 4 weeks to go. I would suggest deep breaths and cogitation, games are afoot on both sides…
    A formal S30 order request is running in parallel with the “Brexit” procedure and response expected. SNP is notably keeping information tight, announcements limited, and frankly who can blame them with SMSM and the British State waiting to pounce on the merest detail. While the Indy movement may look to SNP as the dominant vehicle, were SNP to demob tomorrow, they gain some time, Indy will not disappear.. Indy folk are party agnostic, why on earth would anyone suggest the first 2020 and probably largest AUOB march ever divert to express anger at Bute House? Think about that one for a minute and who would gain from it….
    Indy and SNP are not tied at the hip and never were, SNP have plans we can only trust in and hope for that “Ah..” moment in a few weeks time. If they fail the Indy movement another party will rise from it’s ashes, but we’re not going away…

  22. I think we need to focus on the things that are within our control. I’m hoping for the best wrt the SNP’s strategy, but we must prepare for the worst. I fear we might be here this time next year talking about the holyrood elections. This is why we need to be promoting a pro Indy list party starting now.

    • Leslie Riddoch has mentioned heading a new pro-Indy list party, Scott. One that I imagine many people would support if analysis was carried out to see if it would be effective or not. Let’s just hope, however, that we won’t need it.

  23. ah Jess Philips. Just another UK labour MP without a single inkling of what is happening in Scotland. Mark the time in your calendars for the inevitable

    A. Headline about ruling out a 2nd Indy ref
    B. Headline about not being against a 2nd Indy ref
    C. Clarifying that shes not against a 2nd indy ref, but she doesn’t think that anyone in Scotland wants one.
    D. Headline stating that she is against a 2nd indy ref.

    This will be interspersed with visits to Scotland.

    Photo opps of Jess drinking Irn Bru
    Photo opps of Jess wearing a tartan scarf and drinking irn bru
    Photo opps of Jess having a tunnocks tea cake
    Photo opps of Jess having a fish supper.

    Owen Jones will also be on hand to explain what being Scottish actually means in Scotland.

  24. The UK will be in the EU until December and beyond. Same status, same rules. Into infinity.

    The healthcare’s queues will grow longer and jobs will go because of Brexit. Higher unemployment and lose of business? A absolute disgrace.

    The Tory unionist absolute shambles.

  25. The Scottish Gov has the funds and the authority for any Court action on the table. Anything else is supplementary. Discretionary. Legal action/expenses. can be astronomical. Possibly unnecessary. A tangent. Resulting in a slow moving target. People have busy lives. Lots of commitments.

  26. If the clear and obvious mandate held by the SNP for indy ref 2 under the very system used to elect UK governments and championed not least of all by the Tories themselves continues to be ignored there has been talk of a campaign of civil disobedience. That is fraught with difficulty because you have to be very careful how you go about such a thing in order for it not to be counter productive.

    If by next year we ( the independence movement ) are no nearer to gaining a section 30 order and this clearly held mandate ( mandates ) continues to be ignored, effectively disenfranchising the people of Scotland under the current system, then one thing will be happening in 2021 which will be a perfect opportunity to register a protest ….. That is the 2021 UK national census.

    If the UK expect us to be good little ‘subjects’ and fill it in then they had better get on with also applying democracy to Scotland because if it hasn’t happened by then I for one wont be filling it in and I hope thousands of Scots be they independence minded or not will follow suit, because surely even pro union Scots can recognise unfairness bordering on tyranny when the see it.

    What would it be …….#Don’t fill it in ….. I hope so.

  27. > “it’s the job of the mass grassroots independence movement to win the arguments for independence”

    They can have a go at that, but IMO it’s the job of the SNP to do that as well.

    The grassroots tend to formulate arguments that appeal to the grassroots of already-converted people. The SNP are more focused on persuading swing voters and are in a position to form a genuine plan that will be the one laid out in front of voters and which would be implemented were we to win indyref2.

    • Example: a Scottish currency is wildly more popular with “the grassroots” than with voters (about 1 in ten voters like the idea). So the grassroots will have a tendency to push that argument with voters. The SNP, caring more about public opinion will likely put forward a less unpopular argument/plan.

  28. Pingback: SCOT goes POP!: Sooner or later, the Westminster veto has to be circumvented - there is no realistic alternative

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