A question of perspective

There’s been an outbreak of insanity, and it’s not the British media in Scotland’s reporting of the Alex Salmond trial. It’s the outbreak of a strange disease which takes over its victims completely. That disease is panic buying. People have learned about the outbreak of coronavirus, and decided that it’s absolutely imperative that they have a year’s supply of toilet paper. The advice if you think you’ve been infected is to self-isolate for two weeks. Just how much toilet paper do you think you’re going to go through during that time? It needs to be said, if you’re worried about getting coronavirus because you think it’s likely that you’ll come into close contact with someone else’s shit, ensuring that you have an attic stuffed full of toilet paper is probably not the most important lifestyle change that you need to be making. The reality is that there’s no need to stock up on toilet paper, because the only shortages of toilet paper are those which are caused by the panic buying of toilet paper. Some people really need to look up the definition of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Social media is a fear magnifier. It takes worries and concerns and blows them up into huge problems, the biggest disaster that’s ever befallen humanity. All sense of perspective gets lost. That’s the case whether we’re talking about the coronavirus, the Eurovision Song Contest, or talking about the prospects for getting another referendum on Scottish independence. But then, as the late great Douglas Adams pointed out, we are the product of millions of years of chance and evolution, living in the thin layer of gas between the hard crust of a ball of molten rock and a freezing radioactive vacuum, hurtling around a massive ball of nuclear reactions 90 million miles away, lost and lonely in the immense depths of space, and we think all this is normal. So humanity’s sense of perspective is bound to be a bit skewed.

A wise man once said that the difference between hope and despair lies in weaving a different story from the same set of facts. There’s definitely been an outbreak of skewed perspectives and despair weaving in the Scottish independence movement of late. It all boils down to a question of impatience. Some of us are less willing to be patient than others when it comes to the admittedly hard to bear shitshow that passes for the UK under the rule of Boris Johnson. We want results, and we want them now. So we end up focussing on the annoying little stone in our shoe, and not on the route across the mountains that we need to climb, or indeed how far up the mountain we’ve already got.

Ian Blackford was interviewed in The National today, and said that the whole of the SNP leadership is focussed on getting an independence referendum this year, although he didn’t specify exactly how this was going to happen. This has only reinforced the fears of those people who are determined to believe that the SNP doesn’t really want independence, that it’s quite content to manage Scotland’s decline as the administrators of a devolved government constrained by Westminster’s rules. Ian Blackford’s comments sparked off an outbreak of woebaggery from those who look at the half full glass and only see that it’s half empty. The point about this particular half full glass however is that there’s a steady drip of indy water into it making it ever more full.

So let’s look at some facts. It is a fact that we now regularly get opinion polls which show a majority for independence. It is a fact that the subject of Scottish independence is a mainstream idea in Scottish politics. It is a fact that a decade or more of SNPbaddery has not succeeded in denting Scotland’s willingness to vote for the largest pro-independence party. And, perhaps most importantly of all, it is a fact that Scotland’s demographic profile points only to a future in which support for independence increases over time. It is a fact that we have a discredited British political system which even opponents of independence – at least those who aren’t members or supporters of the Conservative party – admit is not capable of responding to Scotland’s needs and concerns.

It is also a fact that Scotland doesn’t require Boris Johnson’s permission for a vote on its future within the UK. This is not a fact which the overwhelmingly anti-independence media in this country like to admit to, but it remains a fact nevertheless. There are, as this blog and other commentators have pointed out on numerous occasions, several strategies which could result in a legal and recognised vote on Scotland’s future without the necessity for Boris Johnson to agree to a Section 30 order. However it is also a fact that these alternative routes will have an increased chance of success the higher the support for independence is and that every day that passes, support for independence solidifies a little more.

It is also a fact that at some point, Boris Johnson will have to be confronted head on. The question is then, when is the best time to do so and what is the best strategy. I don’t believe that time is right now, not when everything points to us being in a stronger position if we stay calm and don’t rush into the panic buying of an independence vote. There is no point in revealing that strategy until such time as it needs to be deployed. Doing so will only result in a British nationalist media demanding plans C, D, E, F …

Those who live in fear, we must never forget, are our opponents. This is not the time for spelling out a way of talking Boris Johnson’s bullheadedness by the horns. There is a trial to get through, there is the fallout from the verdict when it inevitably comes. But make no mistake, once all that has passed and the dust has settled, the factors driving Scotland’s desire for independence will reassert themselves, and they will reassert themselves in a pro-independence party which is no longer waiting anxiously to see what happens after a certain trial.

More and more, the people of Scotland are seeing things from the perspective of independence. Our time will most assuredly come. And it’s coming soon.


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45 thoughts on “A question of perspective

  1. Well said….absolutely do not listen to BBC anymore so Facebook posts about shortages convinced me that I’d missed an official announcement from Dominic Cummings/Jacob Rees-Mogg about toilet paper rationing for the proletariat. Why???? Anything is possible these days. We have a great YES group where I live and I have been out leafleting with them last two weeks -meeting people who voted NO in 2014 but are now actively supporting independence. Spontaneous donation today! The evidence is there. We just need to keep the heid – and keep at it!

  2. Those who wanted a referendum around now can now see (if they care to open their eyes) what would have happened. Wall to wall AS trial. But for the Coronavirus this would have led every day fo 4 weeks. Now part of the storyline is lost as some try and find toilet roles or hand wash and prepare to meet the immediate crisis. Independence is bigger than anyone. Now where’s my paper hankies?

    • Well, well, Covid-19 has somewhat eclipsed A Certain Trial. Who’d a thunk it? Poor old thwarted BritNats. I guess it’s a case of that old saying “it’s an ill wind that blows no-one any good”. (Their loss, our gain.)

      • Carefull there the anti independence lot or the English rule brigade as I label them would make up some crap that you was glorifying the virus as they are that desperate these days to slander anything from the pro independence side.

    • Well, as long as there’s the Daily Express, Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph, we have Plans C, D and E for toilet paper.

  3. “So we end up focussing on the annoying little stone in our shoe, and not on the route across the mountains that we need to climb, or indeed how far up the mountain we’ve already got.”

    Very sage,very sage indeed.

    You have learned much grasshopper. 🙂

  4. Thank goodness we have you to depend upon, Paul, especially at such a critical time in the history of our country. A sane and calming voice in the midst of bl**dy bedlam right now.

    More than anything, when we should be thanking our lucky stars that we are where we are against all odds, I get sick and tired of reading about what Nicola Sturgeon should have been doing from the keyboard blawhards, such as holding another referendum in 2015 to standing in Bute House and tearing up a copy of the Treaty of the Union. For people who have followed her journey, in turn ours, you can see that much of what she’s been doing has been dictated by unexpected and convoluted events: The AS case and coronavirus being the latest in a long line of them.

    The key to it all of course is the BASIC fact that, when the time comes, we’ll have “a greater chance of success the higher the support for Independence”, as you say. That premise always leads to me wondering (being facetious here) why so many people online are doing their utmost to have one of the best politicians in the world, of the highest calibre, removed from office and her party totally undermined. If we don’t have someone like Nicola Sturgeon leading the SNP, more so people ultimately voting for them, Independence will become no more or less than an impossible dream for us all.

  5. Re toilet roll example, it is a pity common sense was not more common.

    Heard a woman in a shop moaning to her friend that it was crazy you could only buy two disinfectant spay. I wondered how many she had over the last year.

  6. I have to say that the tories are a surprise. (not really, being ironic). Now that austerity has been decided as a mistake – yes we know the same people forced it on the poor and infirm — the £billions that is to be spent on us is truly eye watering. Where did the monies come from ? Mays infamous Money tree to bribe the DUP, from the side of a bus or is it just imaginary?
    I think the latter. Financial disaster looms ( for us) but for the tories they don’t care. Power is all. Coronavirus and Brexit, who would have thought it. US and non eu countries won’t care about the britnats. They have their own problems. Timing is everything and the britnats will blame everyone else.

  7. Reports tonight that the whole of Italy is now going into lockdown. Restrictions on internal travel eg between towns and cities, ban on gatherings, closure of schools, theatres, gyms, sports events including football etc.

    Given that the masterminds in the UK Government continue to allow flights from Italy and have not done anything to check the passengers other than to ask them to self-isolate then expect an exponential increase in UK cases in the next week or so which will lead to similar restrictions being put in place in the UK. There are already a number of cases in the UK including Shetland that are connected to people who have returned from Italy in recent days.

    And people are really calling for the indyref to be held now? Seriously? I think people are going to have a lot more on their mind than a referendum, and a court case.

    • There’s every possibility with this coronavirus / economic disaster that the date could be extended Angry Weegie. Meanwhile Nicola Sturgeon is still hoping to unshackle us from the Union before then.

  8. A bit late but I keep strange hours nothing is ever set with me it’s never 10- 11 o’clock bedtime it changes anyway enough of my junk.

    I agree with the sentiments expressed by Paul,

    Listening to the radio this morning I heard the most rational explanation of the bog roll famine , it appears it started because of a clip that was taken in an Australian Supermarket who happened to have a sale of bog roll that day , This was picked up and passed on as being related to this virus , its that simple honest .

    Now I wasn’t going to mention the Trial but oh dear just goes to show all the carful planning in the world can succumb to events outwith the control of even the smartest arseholes ,and we have some of the smartest arseholes on the planet Mr Cummings being chief of the whole gang, and what happens , some wee bug upsets the plan ,oh dear how sad oh never mind eh . It’s all in the timing eh .

    • The Cummings / Comyns family have a lot to answer for, if the mediaeval history of Scotland has anything to go by …

      My bedtime reading: “A people’s history of Scotland’ by Chris Bambery.

  9. Well timed and needed saying. 🙂

    All this panic buying that’s clearing high street shelves. Pooling and sharing not working out so well apparently.

    People already on austerity level existence prior to Covid 19s appearance. People reliant on Foodbanks, charity shops, shitty jobs, no jobs. People who already wonder which bill to pay (if they’re lucky enough to have an address with relevant bills attached), their cupboard is now well and truly bare. How do you think this bodes for Brexit itself?

    This is better together though…. right? Something a lot of folks should mibbies have a think about.

    • Better Together and all of that Macart. It reminds me of a boy in an audience in 2013 who said to a Unionist politician, “why should we believe you if we haven’t been better together before now.” Or words to that effect. Since then of course the situation has worsened dramatically for millions.

  10. Paul appears to have recently moved towards the “Hold, Hold” position while the SG is still – unbelievably – telling us that a second Section 30 referendum is imminent. Interesting.

    • It’s a massive joke that the Tories in Holyrood spend months telling the Scottish gov they must test the independence referendum question via the electoral commission then when the Scotgov finally (no idea why they changed their stance on this) agrees to do so, in steps the Tories in London (Gove) to say to the Electoral Commision you cannot do this it is improper etc. Do not do a test of the question the Tories now say.

      All this faffing about with Sect 30 approval and electoral commission approval is one big farce.

      The SNP should just put a clear mandate for INDEPENDENCE in their manifesto for the Holyrood 2021 election.

      For those who say this is being rushed – Remember “free in ’93” – that slogan was 30 years ago.

  11. I am a bit of a naysayer myself and I must admit feeling VERY frustrated BUT, thank you for this. You are quite right, time is their enemy, not ours. I would like to apologise for being a little too negatively motivated. Thanks again. You are a voice of reason among the tumult.

  12. How ironic talking about bog roll when the English conservative government put this so called union in the toilet.

  13. A tremendously measured article. Please print and mail to Wings Over Scotland, whose impotent rage and impatience is boiling over into conspiracy theories about the SNPs true objective.

    • “One of the theories is that perhaps” he was dropped on his head…..
      Deft editing aside, yes, the man IS an absolute lunatic, but those that sold his “mirage” to the electorate and continue to feed the media-beast are even worse… They will protect their little thiefdom with every drop of snake oil they can muster to slide UK PLC into a new world order…
      The toilet roll shortage may be a subliminal response…

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