Change starts with a YES


A certain Duncan Hothershall, who I’m told is a failed Labour candidate from Lothian who even before the lockdown spent much of his time on social media because he has no other political platform anyone notices, tweeted some snark about my article in The National earlier this week when I argued that it will be the independence movement which is best placed to take advantage of the political fallout from this current crisis once we get to the other side of it. Duncan’s pursed lips sneered through the net curtains of Twitter that “The National’s star columnist” (thanks for the promotion Dunc) had written yet another article arguing that independence is the answer to every problem.

This is of course untrue. Independence is not the solution to every problem. To pick one example at random, independence is not the solution to the problem of Duncan being a political irrelevance who sits on Twitter snarking bitterly like a dried up lemon because he’s got nothing productive or useful to say. This may be part of the reason why he’s so keen on opposing it. I am of course always open to taking advice from all sources about the content of my scribblings, but I do draw the line at a guy who makes James Kelly MSP seem like he’s enjoying a glitteringly stellar career in politics. Duncan’s not even a star columnist in his own twitter account.

A substantial part of Duncan’s bitterness comes from the fact that it won’t be the Labour party in Scotland which will reap the political capital generated by the British government’s woeful handling of the coronavirus epidemic. The Labour party in Scotland will struggle to hold on to the seats it already possesses at the next Scottish elections. This is because following a major crisis, voters want change, and will tend to support those political organisations and parties which are best placed to deliver the kind of substantive change that the crisis showed was required. In Scotland, that’s the independence movement.

If the problem that’s identified is that Scotland suffered unnecessarily because of the poor handling of the crisis by Westminster and because Holyrood’s hands were tied by a Conservative government, arguing for stronger ties to Westminster is not going to be seen to be the solution. All the more so when the Labour party is currently trying to revive the federalism fairy, although there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that voters in England are remotely interested. Federalism needs the enthusiastic support of the electorate in England if it has any chance at all of being implemented. It’s not going to happen, and it’s only ever trotted out by the Labour party in Scotland as a solution to the problems of the Labour party in Scotland. No one else is interested.

The party’s problems are compounded by the fact that post-Corbyn it’s the kamikaze faction of British nationalism that’s in the ascendancy in the Labour party in Scotland. They will of course strenuously deny that they’re British nationalists, but adhering to a political position which seeks to deny the electorate of Scotland another independence referendum even when a majority vote for one because Britain is best under all and any circumstances is a deeply nationalist position. And a reactionary one at that. It’s not going to be an easy sell to the estimated 40% of Labour voters in Scotland who are supportive of independence.

However if the problems facing the Labour party in Scotland are dire, they are as nothing compared to the whirlwind which awaits the Conservative party. James Kelly (no not that one) pointed out on his blog that Jackson Carlaw fondly imagines that in the next Scottish elections he’s going to be the Clement Attlee to Nicola Sturgeon’s Churchill and is poised to make substantial electoral gains. No laughing at the back there, Jackson really did make that comparison. It is of course a risible comparison. For starters, Labour went into the first general election after the Second World War with on a platform of radical and extensive change. All that the Scottish Tories offer is greater submission to Westminster. “Westminster might be crappy, but Scotland is even crappier”, is not a winning electoral platform, but it’s all that the Scottish Tories have.

The disquiet about the British government’s handling of this crisis is already substantial, even though most are prepared to haud their wheesht for the duration of the epidemic. Yet even so it’s hard to ignore the evidence in front of our noses as we gaze helplessly at the tragic mounting of the death toll. Just this week we’ve had the substantial blow to claims of better togetherness after it came to light that companies in England which produce much needed personal protection equipment were claiming that Public Health England had insisted that they fulfil orders only to care homes in England and NHS England. Scotland’s national clinical director Professor Jason Leitch helpfully dismissed the reports as “rubbish”, and Tories have clung onto Professor Leitch’s remarks like a liferaft. However even after he made the comment there were still companies with notices on their online stores saying that they couldn’t sell to Scotland or Wales.

The Tories and their British nationalist allies are trying to counter the story by pointing to the straw man argument that there is no deliberate conspiracy at the highest levels of the Conservative party to kill Scottish and Welsh care workers. Of course there isn’t. The BBC yesterday referred to the situation as a “guddle”, it’s an innocent error caused by confused advice and not a malign and deliberate attempt to prioritise England at the expense of Scotland and Wales. And that is probably true. However even if we accept that then this incident illustrates that the British government and its agencies do not take the needs of Scotland or Wales into account when formulating advice, because if they had then the confusion would never have arisen in the first place. That’s the situation that the Tories in Scotland will have to defend. Even on the most benign interpretation it’s indefensible.

Then there are all the other myriad failures of the British state during this crisis. As people sit at home during this lockdown, they are taking note. No amount of hero worship of Boris Johnson for having the good fortune to survive an encounter with the virus is going to detract from them. The UK is set to become one of the worst affected states in Europe, and the responsibility for that rests squarely with the British government in Westminster which squandered the early advantage of the virus becoming established here late, and which pursued the flawed and dangerous policy of herd immunity.

The biggest criticism that’s going to be levelled at the Scottish government after this crisis is over is that it remained too close to the decisions made by Westminster. Jackson Carlaw seems to think that voters in Scotland will blame the Scottish government for decisions made in London by Conservative politicians. He seems to think that the electorate in Scotland will think that the solution to Westminster incompetence is to give Westminster even greater control. He’s in for a big disappointment.

Times of crisis are followed by times of change. This coronavirus epidemic has shone a light on the inequalities, the injustices, and the structural inadequacies of the British state. It has revealed a creaking and leaking ship of privilege, of entitlement, and of private greed at public expense. It has to change, yet we’re going to have a Conservative government in Westminster until at least the end of 2024. The voting public in Scotland will use the next Scottish elections to express their desire for change – and there’s only one political force in Scotland that’s able to offer it. It’s not the tired and broken parties of British nationalism. Change starts with a yes.

And finally, because we could all do with some cheering up during these difficult times…

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34 thoughts on “Change starts with a YES

  1. ‘Yes’ to Yes !



    Germany had the Night of the Long Knives – June 30 – July 2 1934 – when the SS under Himmler murdered hundreds of the Sturmabteilung (SA) military.

    Yesterday Scotland woke up to the Tory Brexcretins’s attempt to effectively murder thousands of residents and staff of Scottish and Welsh nursing homes by denying them access to PPE masks.

    However, like everything the Tory Death Cult Brexcretins have attempted, they cocked it up and a public relations firestorm ensued.

    SO. 13th April 2020 – Night of the Tory Rubber Knives ! ??

    What is it about Tory Brexcretins that makes them try to cause the deaths of as many as possible those who most supported them, namely the elderly, on both Brexit and on Scottish Independence? Asking for a friend. (ER, The scorpion and the frog – ‘It’s in my nature’ ?? Ed.)

    OH DOG ! Not another cretinous Tory Genocide attempt. And Dominic Cummings just returned to Number 10. Coincidence? HA !!

    ‘Not a reassuring picture. This has to be the least talented government for 75 years, facing the most serious crisis, with no Parliamentary scrutiny (something which never happened even in WW2) and at the moment no functioning Opposition’ – Author Robert Harris – Twitter –

    ‘Yes’ anyone. ??

  2. FGS take a look at this and note some of the responses from Carlaw, Leonard etc.


    And then take a look at this from Adam Price.

    ..”This UK Government document published last week shows major PPE suppliers have been asked to sell only to care providers registered with the CQC, the social care regulator for England, effectively prohibiting sales to care providers in Wales and Scotland.”

    • I notice in his Twitter profile, he references, “Used to win elections”.

      Not any more you don’t Duncy, and not for the foreseeable future …

      What is it with these Brit Nats who *still* assume their ‘entitled’ to win elections, and that it’s the electorate’s fault for voting for that nasty SNP?

  3. Carla’s has maybe seen the next election results already, conservatives have a knack of doing this in Scotland as I remember, they often take a peek in advance.

  4. The leak report into the state of the Labour Party. Party officials trying to stop a Labour ‘victory’. The state of it. Disgraceful. Now headed up by a Sir.

    Labour in Scotland opposed minimum unit pricing. The 5 year battle the SNP Scottish Gov had to implement it. For the sake of healthcare and saving lives.

    Without Devolution more people would have died in Scotland. The SNP Scottish Gov increasing the SNHS/social care. Mitigated Tory UK cuts.

    The Tories killing off their own supporters, the elderly by underfunding Healthcare, The ConDems cut the Healthcare budget instead of increasing it. Leading to shortages in essential equipment.

    Vote Tory to die younger. Not a political achievement. Life expectancy has fallen in the rest of the UK. Tory austerity. 120,000 more elderly have died before the virus count because of Tory unionist policies.

  5. I remember having a short exchange with Duncan , it was about Scottish Labour MPS sitting on their collective arses when the Tory mob were pushing the bedroom Tax , and a concerted effort might have just stopped them in their tracks , he was having none of it and decided to rewrite history , even after showing the result of the voting where I believe 1 solitary Labour MP ,I believe it was a woman I can’t remember her name but she stood against this Tory assault on the poor .

  6. Pingback: Change starts with a YES | speymouth

  7. Yes, the SG will have to answer for being too closely aligned to Westminster but, in its defence, I do think that not having control of Scotland’s full finance and borders, to say nothing of having ‘experts’ in its midst, who are no more grounded in epidemiology, public health or virology than I am, may be mitigating factors.

    However the time may be coming when we do have to distance ourselves from Westminster.

    Given the more robust stats coming out of Scotland and the evidence of what’s happening in other countries, I believe that many Scots will be prepared to go with a harsher lock-down for longer if that means fewer deaths and hopefully a much quicker recovery, without a neverending cycle of lockdown – no lockdown – lockdown which seems inevitable if lockdown is lifted too early, until we have a working treatment and/or a vaccine.

    Hopefully attention wll be paid to the lessons from other countries and the ‘English exceptionalism’ method ditched.

    • I think you will have to face “neverending cycle of lockdown” until a vaccine becomes readily available, the virus will continue to come back in waves until it can no longer spread (herd immunity), such is our interconnected world.
      There is every possibility of alternative strategies such as test/trace/isolate, but I wouldn’t hold my breath for this shower of failed economists doing it let alone doing it properly.

    • People will make their own decision when it’s safe to go out.

      If you have to climb up a tree to escape from a lion then what is the primary criterion for deciding when to come down again? Is it a question of how long you have been sitting up in the tree, or of how uncomfortable it is up the tree, or of how there are other places you need to go to and things you need to do? Or if Matt Hancock sent a message to say it was perfectly safe to climb down and get back to work? I don’t think so..

      The most important question is, where is the lion now, is it still waiting for you down below and have you acquired any better tools for knowing that information and for defending yourself when you climb back down.

  8. independence is not the solution to the problem of Duncan being a political irrelevance who sits on Twitter snarking bitterly like a dried up lemon because he’s got nothing productive or useful to say…kind of insulting to dried up lemons 🤣

  9. Dear Duncan, what is labour for other than backing the tories? They are irrelevant in this country ps Scotland in case you are wondering or is it wandering.

  10. A. Neil

    ‘Nicola accepts NHS England did not prevent procurement.’

    Read through the lines. It was Westminster Gov instructions. Tories.

    The right wing Tory gets it wrong again. The disgrace. ‘Reporters’ and ‘journalists’ who can’t even analyse simple statistics. Hysteria and unreal headlines. BBC lies not fit for purpose. Promoted beyond their capabilities.

  11. @ Guardian

    Labour Lord Ian McNicol, Labour former General Secretary steps down during an investigation. Allegations Senior Labour Officials campaigned against a Labour ‘victory’. 2017.

    They did not want the poisoned chalice. The Tories Brexit lied to get it. What a mess. What a shower. Westminster corruption.

  12. The truth has been outed, Scotland was denied the equipment and Westminster did issue instructions as to the disposal of PPE and the company involved outed the UK government because they didn’t want the fallout, so “mistake” is the cry solidly backed up by BBC Scotland behind the fudgiest of blurblings ever heard that nobody wtih half a brain will ever fall for, proving that England is indeed anti Scottish, and we have the emails to support it

    So let’s just say “we will remember them” right up till election time when Duncan Hothersall’s party of the Union that is dominated by England which tried to rip Scotland off over the PPE needed to help save lives in Scotland

    Yeah Scotland will definitely vote Unionist, in order to try and defend themselves from what the country they support has done Carlaw and Leonard will be forced to open their rather large mouths and blow it even more, and don’t worry Willie Rennie, you can hide but we know where you are and we won’t forget you’re in the same team as the other two come voting time

    This was not like refusing to sell your next door neighbour an Aspirin, this was a life and death choice and look at what Englands government chose, if no other reason could be found for Independence for Scotland that reason alone should be enough for anybody

  13. I’m off to find a good old picture to chill out.. I have cabin fever.
    A parting thought; I seem to recall that 2/3rds of over 65’s voted No in the Referendum.
    They are now in their seventies, like me.
    Do they feel the ‘pooling and sharing’, touted by Mags Curran and the rest of the Red Tory Collaborators yet?

    Many are now in care and retirement homes.
    If you are waiting for medical supplies from England, don’t hold you breath.
    Or rather, hold you breath, until 2021.
    In Indyref 2, are you YES yet?
    The Red Blue and Yellow Tories are about to unpick the Pensions Triple Lock; an annual rise in pensions that is based on the inflation rate, or a flat 2 1/2 % increase, or wages increases.

    The zealots argue that we pensioners should pay more when the crisis is over,.,.as they usher in Austerity 2, the Rise of the Moggites.
    It is not enough that tens of thousands of us old wrinklies die prematurely; the rest of us are having a cut in our already poverty level state pensions.
    Death by Jackson Carlaw cuts.

    A marvellous piece,Paul.
    I have no idea who this guy Duncan Hotter…whatever, is.
    I don’t use twitter.
    His tree fell in a forest, and it made no sound.
    There was no one there to listen.

  14. Mr Hothersall is a believer in both Labour and the standing political union (in that order). It wouldn’t matter if Scotgov developed the cure for cancer, came up with a sure fire plan for world peace and created a Utopian society in their spare time. It would still be wrong somehow, because… REASONS!!! Under no circumstance would he consider another option.

    TBF… Neither will I. I don’t believe in Labour and haven’t for many years now. Nor any other establishment party for that matter. Also. I don’t believe people have a lot of trust in the institution controlling the political union of these islands. They kinda beat that out of a lot of folk themselves over the years. Who’d a thunk?

    The greatest error of many in the status quo camp, is that they believe if the SNP are damaged enough, broken beyond repair as a political unit, then the population will have no choice but to return to the fold of politics as it is practised. That they’ll go back to voting for the same old, same old parties.

    They might want to rethink that strategy.

    If recent history has taught folk anything? It’s that people aren’t just sick of Labour, they’re sick of the current practice and state of party politics.

    • Couldn’t agree more and it’s actually worse than that. People aren’t just sick of current practice, political parties or policies, they are literally now sick BECAUSE of political polices, Tory policies that delayed lockdown and never prepared properly in the first place.

      People are sick and many more will die, due to the virus but also due to the choices made by our political leaders at the start of this pandemic when they had ample warning of what looked to be coming and failed to prepare adequately.

      We’re asked now to “politicise” the crisis but every decision taken on combatting the virus will be a political decision, I don’t have a lot of confidence that the decisions that will be made on my behalf in the coming months will be the right ones. It’s political alright .

      • Pretty much.

        Right now, people have a damn sight more on their mind than party political point scoring. They won’t take kindly toward any policy honk playing with their minds, and they’ll sure as hell remember ANY party or leader putting a population in harm’s way for political or personal advantage.

        They might want to think about that too.

  15. In a nutshell, Sam.

    Who would trust any of these Third Rate Brit Nats to run Scotland?

    Seriously; Annie Wells as Health Secretary? James Kelly as Finance Secretary?

    Richard Leonard Jackson Carlaw or Wullie Rennie as FM?

    It goes beyond the realms of all human reason to believe that these shallow little men could ‘lead’ a Government.
    Yet we said that about Johnson and Trump.

    I know, it is beyond belief that so many still vote for them.

    Surely to God not the next time.

  16. It was on January 30th that the WHO warned the International community of what was now seen to be a growing problem with a new virus spreading throughout China.

    “The World Health Organization (WHO) took the rare step Thursday of declaring a novel coronavirus outbreak that originated in Wuhan, China a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC). But what does that actually mean?”

    “The WHO defines a PHEIC as an “extraordinary event” that “constitute[s] a public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease” and “potentially require[s] a coordinated international response.”

    “A PHEIC is meant to mobilize international response to an outbreak. It’s an opportunity for the WHO, with guidance from its International Health Regulations Emergency Committee, to implement “non-binding but practically & politically significant measures that can address travel, trade, quarantine, screening, treatment.”

    The UK government chose to do nothing, they must have had meetings and made decisions after this announcement by the WHO on 30th January. It was probably around then that “herd immunity” became the strategy, the strategy that is likely to result in the highest death rate per million population in the Western world unless the US exceeds us.

    That was a political decision, Scotland had little say in the matter as basically without control of all the levers of government the Scottish government finds itself pretty toothless and having to do the best it can given the constraints it has to work with. These are primarily financial as Westminster control ALL the money and the power to make laws to deal with this pandemic.

    • Johnson had his first Coronavirus briefing in December 2019, I don’t know if the SG were also briefed but Nicola would certainly have been aware by January 2020 because of the WHO announcement. I believe that knowledge seriously impacted Nicola’s speech at the end of December.



    September 2019: On a blasted (Hampstead?) heath near Downing Street, sinister robed figures pray for an election victory. Their leader is ‘Classic Dom’; suddenly there’s an attack of flatulence (his only infernal power) and the deity is outraged. All appears normal but far away Nemesis is summoned and instructed on the fates of ‘the errand boy and the fat one’. (*)

    November 2019 Red Wall: ‘Don’t vote for the Tories, they’ll destroy your jobs, eat your children, kill your parents and genocide your old people. They always have. They don’t care about you.’ ‘No, it’ll be different this time.’

    December 2020: ‘There is a new ‘Blue Wall’ in the North.

    April 2020 Blue Wall: ‘Granny’s dead’. ‘Granpa’s dead’. ‘My job’s gone’. Well that was a surprise – the speed at least !

    Next election: The Red Wall is back and is really quite tall. And unlikely to change for, oh, about three generations. ‘Yes’ indeed !

    * ‘Well whatever Domo’s up to we’ll find out soon enough.’ (ER. Barry? Ed). What UK worry ?? – Morse Day of the Devil – Youtube –

  18. I seem to remember Duncan Hothersall on Labour Hame. He hasn’t improved much. Quite surprisingly ‘Labour Hame’ still exists, for no obvious reason.

  19. There was that moment in the general election of 2015, when Miliband was asked if he would accept the support of the SNP to become prime minister. He quite calmly stated that if that were the case, he would let David Cameron win. He tries to look ministerial and looks of into the distance, like he imagines great men doing. Then you see it. Just for a moment. A thousand yard stare. Its just dawned on him what he’s done. He conceded an election on live television before a single vote was cast and he threatened Scotland when he did it.


    Because “Scottish” labour told him to do it. Because of siren voices like Hothersall told him Scots were shitebags who would ditch the SNP is a blind panic if he did.

    Someone should have told him to check a Scottish dictionary and look up the word “Thrawn”. He should have then ditched the “Scottish” sub branch. Told them they were on their own and made peace with the SNP. But he didn’t. Because he didn’t care. Because he was brought up believing that Scots would vote for a monkey with a labour rosette pinned to it.

    People like Hothersall have struggled hard to be that monkey.

    They are “union” men. They will fight Scotland to protect the institution, rather than defend the nation then institution was meant to serve. They would happily see Scotland turned into a wasteland than see it have any voice in the union. They would happily see Scotland ruled over by tories forever than see it independent for one day.

    They deserve nothing more than to be rubbish in the dustbin of history. A fate, thats not only long overdue but richly deserved.

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