Independence is ours to win

When proposals for a new pro-independence party were first aired, it was in the context of ensuring that there would be a majority for independence in Holyrood. The discussion centred around how many people perceived that their votes on the list were ‘wasted’ and so there was talk of setting up a new independence party with the goal of achieving independence as its sole manifesto commitment. This party, it was said, would be able to win seats on the list that the SNP wouldn’t be able to pick up. It would ensure that we’d be able to achieve a pro-independence majority, because at the time the idea of a new party was first mooted, many people were doubtful that we would again see the majority of pro-independence MSPs that is necessary in order to bring about a second independence referendum.

What we now know from a number of opinion polls, and spectacularly confirmed by the most recent Panelbase poll, is that pro-independence parties are on course to win a handsome majority in the next Scottish elections without the assistance of a new party. Moreover both the recent Panelbase polls show conclusively that the SNP will have a majority in Holyrood by itself, and without needing to count on the support of the Greens for another independence referendum. The fears that the independence movement was going to lose its majority in Holyrood and with it any chance of another independence referendum have proven unfounded. This is an immense relief to those of us who fervently hope for the opportunity to bring about the better Scotland that we can only achieve with independence.

According to the poll conducted for the Scot Goes Pop blog, the SNP is set to win 53% of the votes in the constituency ballot, and 48% on the list. Meanwhile the second largest pro-independence party looks set to pick up 3% in the constituency vote and 7% on the list. Pro-independence parties are likely to win an absolute majority of both votes and seats in both the constituency and the list ballots.

The seat projection based on these figures would give the SNP 72 seats in total, while the Greens are on course to take 5. That gives 77 pro-independence MSPs in the next Scottish Parliament out the total number of 129 MSPs, a comfortable majority. Both the Conservatives and Labour look like they’re going to lose heavily, with only the Lib Dems out of the British nationalist parties making any gains. This would result in a total of 53 anti-independence MSPs, one of whom would be Ken Macintosh the Presiding Officer who only casts his vote in the event of a tie.

After the SNP’s crushing victory in the 2019 Westminster General Election, the Conservatives shifted their previous statements on what would be required to achieve a mandate for another referendum to the claim that the only way it could be legitimate would be for the SNP to win both a majority of seats and a majority of the popular vote. It was a hardening of their previous insistence that the SNP had to win a pro-independence majority in Holyrood all by itself, without the support of other pro-indy parties. This is of course a specious argument, an exercise in goal shifting by a discredited party which rules in London with a majority of 80 on just 43% of the popular vote. Elected representatives for minor pro-indy parties, whether that’s the Greens or anyone else, can’t be discounted just because it doesn’t suit the Tories to acknowledge their existence. It makes a mockery of democracy. But then you remember that we’re talking about the Tories here, and making a mockery of democracy is pretty much their stock in trade.

However what these recent polls show is that the SNP is indeed on course to leap over the artificially high hurdle set by the Conservatives. Which means that the Conservatives will simply invent yet another spurious reason as to why they’re not going to recognise the mandate possessed by Holyrood. My guess is that they’ll start to include people who didn’t vote at all, and claim that because an absolute majority of the Scottish population of voting age didn’t vote for a pro-independence party then there’s no mandate.

If by some circumstance the SNP did manage to achieve that unprecedented support, the Tories would only find some other reason. It will be because the election was held in a month without an R in its name. Or because James Dornan MSP gave Murdo such a look. Or because an opinion poll from Scotland in Union asking “Are you stupid enough to want to live in a bankrupt dictatorship with a standard of living lower than Moldova?” managed to find a slight majority against independence. Although the way the British Government is currently going, that question could equally apply to remaining a part of the UK. The point being, the Conservative opposition to another referendum isn’t motivated by considerations of democracy, it’s motivated by the fear that they’re going to lose it. A large majority for pro-independence parties in the next Holyrood election combined with a series of opinion polls showing a slowly increasing majority support for independence is only going to turn that fear into an existential terror.

The obvious question is how the Scottish Government will respond in the event of the inevitable refusal from part time Prime Minister Johnson to Section 30 order for another referendum. There is little doubt that he will refuse, because the chances that he’ll end up as the Prime Minister who presided over the break up of the UK will be alarmingly high for him. It’s one thing for a Conservative PM to agree to an independence referendum when, as David Cameron was, he’s convinced that he can secure a crushing majority against indy and support for independence has never come close to securing a majority in opinion polls. It’s quite another when there have been six polls in a row asking the indy question and only one has shown a majority against it.

However what we as independence activists and supporters often forget is that we’re not the people who need to be persuaded. All of us who share Yes memes online, who canvassed for indy in that pre-covid world, who persuade and argue for an independent Scotland, would happily support an alternative strategy to get a valid vote on Scottish independence in the teeth of a blanket refusal from Downing Street. But not everyone in Scotland would. It remains a fact that there is still not a crushing and huge majority in Scotland for independence. There is some road still to travel.

The crucial voters are those soft yesses, undecideds, and soft noes. It needs to be demonstrated to that group that not only is there a cast iron mandate for another independence referendum, but also that Westminster is acting in an undemocratic, unreasonable, and high handed manner in refusing one. That, and that alone, will bring those voters on board with whatever alternative route to an independence referendum that may have to be taken.

A decisive majority in both seats and the popular vote will give the Scottish Government the confidence and political capital it requires to take alternative steps if Westminster continues to deny the obvious – that Scotland demands another independence referendum. If we are to build the better Scotland of our dreams, we can only do so by demonstrating that we have impeccable democratic credentials. We can’t win indy by trickery, by being underhand, or by finagling the voting system. That means achieving a majority which cannot be gainsayed.

We are in a very strong position right now. It’s a position which is likely only to strengthen as the full horrific impact of the epidemic and the British Government’s mishandling of it filters through to the general public. It’s only likely to strengthen even further when the UK reaches the end of the EU transitional period – with either no deal or a deal which is considerably worse than the current arrangements. What we as a movement need to do right now is to keep calm and to focus on the prize which is coming closer and closer into reach. Independence is ours to win, and this blog will be continuing to focus on the arguments for it until we do.

And finally, here’s something productive to do during lockdown – learn a Gaelic song!

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50 thoughts on “Independence is ours to win

    • Nice to get support from America for Scottish freedom.

      We over here, and I mean 80% of Europe hope that that egotistical bully in your White House gets kicked out in November

      • thank you so much, i am counting the hours, and now that he knows he will be gone (fingers crossed), we expect he will kick up his horrible behavior even more. thank you for your support from afar and hope the rest of the world doesn’t judge us by this man who never should have been our leader.

  1. Spot on Paul that is how I see the current situation. Keep converting the thinkers🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

  2. Agree wholeheartedly that things are looking better. Just means that independence supporters need to continue persuading the undecideds and even No’s. You can see how the tories and other unionist parties are getting worried.

  3. Agree with your analysis Paul. We definitely are on the move,some of the folk who voted no last time are rightly horrified at the behaviour of this Tory government. But we have a way to go yet. Eyes on the prize boys, eyes on the prize. Since I’m in my early 70’s now, I hope it comes sooner rather than later.

    I enjoyed learning the wee gaelic song Paul, sang all the way through.

  4. Pingback: Independence is ours to win | speymouth

  5. If the message is, “We didn’t game the D’Hondt system by running a third Indy party (ISP or another).”, who is the audience? It clearly ain’t Westminster ’cause they won’t give a fuck. That message is only effective if the audience is other sovereign states and the primary message is UDI.

    • The audience is those soft yes voters, undecideds, and soft no voters who need to see that there’s an unarguable mandate for another referendum before they’ll support alternative strategies other than asking for a Section 30 order.

      UDI is only remotely feasible if you know for a fact that you have a large and absolute majority of the Scottish population behind you. We’re nowhere near that yet.

      The problem with all these UDI/unilaterally dissolve the Union style arguments is that they assume that we’ve already won an incontrovertible majority support for independence. Much as I would love that to be the case, we haven’t.

  6. Paul, I’d argue that Independence is ours to take.

    The notion that we would seek any foreigner’s (and in this sense citizens and/or politicians in England are de facto ‘foreigners’) permission to hold a plebiscite on leaving their precious Union, is no longer a sane notion to argue.

    We the people of Scotland shall decide.

    We have Scottish Government with countless mandates to hold a Referendum; JFDI.

    If England says No, we merely disregard it.

    If Fat Jack the failed Car Dealer, and Dick the Shop Steward, and Wullie the Bus Driver say No, and advise all Brit Nats living here to boycott any referendum, that’s ok by me.

    This tactic will ensure victory.

    If those who don’t bother voting, wake up in Free Scotland, tough titties.

    You will be living in Scotland, an independent nation. If you don’t like it, leave, or vote for reunification at the first SGE.

    No English Government will ever give permission. Take that as a given.

    We either cower down and be ruled by England as conquered slaves, or we go our own way. For starters I demand that all SNP MPs boycott WM now.
    f we follow the logic of the Yoons intransigent No! to its inevitable conclusion, what’s left?
    A bloody civil war?
    Is that what Jackson Carlaw wants? Scotland in flames. Thousands of deaths and massive destruction?


    There is no way in heaven that we carry on as before; that’s for sure.
    I seek no English citizen’s permission for any thing, any more. This is the bald stark fact. Leonard, Rennie, and Carlaw, get off your subservient knees.

    • I’d refer you to my response to VivianOblivion. The likes of you and me are not the people in need of persuasion.

      I don’t believe that we need Westminster’s permission for a referendum or a plebiscite election. The point I’m trying to make – and am continually trying to make – is that we need to ensure that undecided voters and soft yesses/soft noes come with us when the time comes to pursue those alternative strategies.

      • There is a view that we chase our own tail ad infinitum, by constant hand wringing ‘what if’ debate, Paul.
        I’m done with that, and I suspect that there are several millions like me now; what will it take? What will spark the flame?
        For what are we waiting?
        50% plus before the campaign starts proper. Seems like good odds to me.
        Now’s the day and now’s the hour.
        There are literally tens of thousands of active campaigners waiting for the off.
        I will not countenance playing out another begging bowl ‘now is not the time’ farce.
        We tell them it’s happening, whether they like it or not.
        As you see, I have no more patience.

  7. It’s very heartening, but there’s always the possibility of other factors coming along to burst the bubble between now and then. That would be the Scotland way, the own goal, or soft penalty that never was, in stoppage time. I can think of several; all self inflicted. Timing is going to be vital. Squeaky bum time, as the fitba’ punters might say. Still looking out through the fingers…

  8. Paul the polls are great at the moment..sadly as an snp member what I see now is goverment attempts to jail an innocent man.corrupt legal system.complicit new laws for men to access woman’s safe places at laws to jail people if they disagree and are vocal with said new gender a father of 2 daughters with 2 granddaughters.and like I said an snp member.i will not vote for the snp .I cant vote green as there just as bad..I need a new independence party for my list vote .ordinary woman will desert snp..people like me will as well.shame on the people running this party now..

    • I’d like to see Paul answer your points.

      My response is the public aren’t likely to vote for a months old (list) party.

      Here’s the last paragraph from today’s article by The Rev.

      “as a matter of principle, independence remains uncontestable. But as a matter of real world here-and-now practicallity it is becomming harder to advocate, and we cannot begin to express how painfully that breaks our heart”

      One thing is for sure Unionists wont believe their luck if the independence vote is split.
      As things stand we are polling for a majority of SNP MSP’s at Holyrood.

      Not voting for the SNP is EXACTLY what the UK elites want you to do.

    • You’re perfectly entitled to your view, however the polling evidence very strongly indicates that nowhere near as many people share your opinion as you believe.

      There is a strong tendency amongst the more convinced supporters of independence to believe that everyone already shares their outlook and their frustration with the SNP. They don’t. That’s not the Scotland we live in. The great majority of people are highly unlikely to give their vote to a brand new party that’s led by folk they’ve never heard of.

      I don’t want this thread to get hijacked into yet another bad tempered argument about Gender Recognition, however it’s worth pointing out that while those people (on both sides of the debate) who care about it care about it passionately and vehemently, for the great majority it’s simply not an issue. It’s just not on their radar. I spoke to several canvassing teams who canvassed during the last General Election, and not one person said that anyone had brought the issue up on the doorstep. Before lockdown I was regularly travelling the country doing public meetings, and not once did anyone ever bring up the topic of GRA. It’s just not the wedge issue that some people seem to think it is.

  9. There’s no downside to replacing the Greens, whose support for independence is somewhat faint, with a genuinely pro-indy list party. Which we now have

    • Where, how who? Where do I go to be a candidate? Who selects me? Oh! It’s true self selection. They have selected themselves. Nae spaces left.

  10. Spot on summary Paul,
    Judging by the increased desperation of the Unionist politicos and media of late, these polls will be causing considerable angst. If their relentless propaganda lessened the swing to independence they’re in deep doodoo, if it caused the swing they’re in up to their necks when the England “strategy” goes pear shaped.
    Strange days but cheering ones, and especially good to see the FM call out Carlaw’s duplicity at the briefing today, however measured the words there was no mistaking the anger..

  11. Suggest the next YES march in Edinburgh is routed down Leith way to give the opportunity to desecrate the UK Government in Scotland building.

    • I suggest we park that suggestion where the Sun don’t shine, its our building, we paid for it. It will certainly need fumigating though, come the day.

  12. Yes CS, Yip destroying a building , a parliament no less wins it for me. Not.
    Only people that would be pleased are the unionists and the anarchists- who in the main are angry with everyone.

  13. In 2019 the Westminster Parliament held a debate brought forward by the SNP on the Scottish people being Sovereign, most of the parties left the chamber. The debate was held and voted on, it was passed unanimously. The other parties abstained if they had voted against, by the terms of the Treaty of the Union of the parliaments, the Westminster Parliament would not be Sovereign either and the union would be finished.

  14. The ISP is not just about being more gung ho for Indy than the moribund, craven, too comfortable by far SNP they are also against the GRA bill and supportive of women’s sex based rights. A lot of women have left the SNP and this party will give them and those of us who are Gender Realist/Critical a Yes home for our votes since the Greens are also deep within the woke gender woo.

    Since the poll you cite shows that the Greens are not likely to increase the high of last time there are it seems lots of Yes folk who will never vote Green. I used to but not now because GRA. Modelling shows the ISP will take unionist seats not SNP.

    By taking all or all but one of the regional constituency seats means an SNP vote on the List will be worth 1/10 or 1/12 of a unionist vote because those are the sorts of divisors under d’Hont that the SNP List vote will be divided by.

    If folk you want your List vote to count for more than 1/10 or 1/12 and you would like a super majority of Yes people at Holryood at the expense of the pointless unionist parties then vote ISP on the List.

    If all you care about is following SNP party edicts then continue to utterly wast your List vote.

    • I do not follow any bodies edicts. I make my own mind up. As for snp I have issues that I dasher with in that I think they are too weak eg land reform. Does that mean I want to vote for a list part recently invented or another ( action now party) who spends It’s time navel gazing over someone’s sexuality. Or not, or maybe, or maybes ayes and spend their time since the last general election attacking the SNP and the First Minister. Is that the party I am supposed to lend my vote to? Based on the polls both my votes to the snp will do just fine. Now if you wish to waste your vote…..

    • This will appear critical but I’m genuinely interested in what you say. What evidence do you have that “a lot of women have left the SNP” do you have actual numbers to back up your claim? Also, what is your definition of “a lot”?

      By the way, I don’t give a toss about SNP edicts and all I care about is Independence, which makes GRA very much a secondary matter to me, as are many other individuals policies of all the parties. I’d like an Independent Scotland to be a republic, Alex Salmond proposed keeping the Queen as head of state in an Independent Scotland, nope I never changed my mind because we had differing views on that topic.

      I want an Independent Scotland to have its own currency from day 1 of Independence, Alex Salmond thought otherwise and wanted to continue to use the pound sterling. Did that make me vote no? Of course it didn’t, I can accept that I won’t get my perfect Independent Scotland as such a thing is not possible for every YES voter in this country who all want different things.

      So that means accepting policies I disagree with, might even strongly disagree with, if I want to live in an Independent Scotland. I can live with that and that’s where I am with GRA, a single policy I don’t like will not stop me voting for the SNP or Independence. It seems that the majority of Scots feel the same going by the polls.

      • I wasted my second vote on the SNP in 2016 and will not make the same mistake again.

        I will vote for any pro-indy list vote party which appears on the ballot paper next time.

        I hope there will be a few non-aligned and respected big names willing to stand for the Indy list party, to make it attractive to those who are not sure how to use their second vote.

  15. Still, it would be nice to have an Indy supporting official opposition in Holyrood instead of the usual Unionist objectors. I’m all for another Indy party, for list seats anyway.

  16. I still have concerns about delaying till next year when the Tories won’t have to bother about the EU objecting to whatever nastiness they throw at us or do to us. Is this a greater risk than going too early?

    • Agreed, but a lot can change in the interim both in Scotland and in England. The Tories are in trouble up to their necks at home, their continuing SG propaganda war is visible and getting pelters everywhere…
      “British” exceptionalism versus the EU and the real World ? They’d be biting off more than they could chew…

      • But devolution is controlled by Westminster and they can modify it or terminate it at will. It can’t be beyond belief that they can come up with an excuse to justify closure or at least limit its powers.

  17. I suggest that we call a general election at Holyrood as soon as possible after the virus has subsided. We cannot wait until next year. The tories will never agree to a referendum. Get the ball rolling now. The polls are showing nows the time. The English government is in disarray at the moment.

  18. I wonder whether the story of a chasm/split/fissure/rift/rupture etc etc that is claimed to be afflicting the yes movement is being co-ordinated by the Brits? It could be. They have made no secret of their motives and it is pathetic enough.

    Then again, I suppose there could be people other than the Brits who have their own motives for promoting the idea. I ask myself, what could their motives possibly be? I have observed in the past that the main actors seem to be people who have the ability to read the motivations of others, as if they are mind readers. Truth is that I can’t read minds so I can’t know what motivates everyone. I can see the obvious – as with the Brits – but I can’t tell with any degree of certainty what the motives of individuals truly are. Nor do I believe anyone else can but possibly that is just wishful thinking on my part. Maybe I am just an open book.

    Anyway, I say I wonder about the above but in truth I don’t really wonder too much. To me it is a singularly uninteresting farce and I have never liked farce. It is also inconsequential and I’m not much interested in what is inconsequential.

    If some people want to start a new political party then I say go for it. If some people are sorry because they can’t continue to support the SNP I say fair enough, it’s your right.

    But when somebody tells me that Nicola Sturgeon is not motivated to lead Scotland to return to being an independent country but is actually just out to feather her own nest I think – what are your motives? I can’t answer that, of course, because apparently unlike you I am not a mind reader. Then I come full circle, it’s all just farce and inconsequential.

    Maybe someone would like to speculate as to my motives? I’ll tell you if you’re right.

  19. Paul , I agree with most of what you say in the article – but not on the need to continually kowtow to the ” soft yesses , the undecided and the soft noes ” .

    You say we must wait until these groups see the light and recognise that Westminster is acting in an ”undemocratic , unreasonable and high handed manner .”

    Well , Paul , if they haven’t seen this by now , given this present Government’s long list of undemocratic , unreasonable and almost criminal acts then they never will .
    How long do we give them to see the bleedin’ obvious ?

  20. I’m not 100% behind X party because sumdy told me about something I might not like within the X party and *IF* that turns out to be true that something in my favoured X party is wrong then I will disavow the X party forevermore

    The person who told me this dreaded bad stuff about the X party is someone I’ve never met or know anything of their background, I only know sumdy else said it was genuine what this person said, so that must be good enough for me

    I’ve seen entire pages of internetting based on that, he said she said so it must be true

    History has shown us that all poliical parties have enemies from without and within always prepared with a ready argument as to why you the public shouldn’t vote for them, these arguments are generally accompanied by all sorts of proofs and are made especially more powerful if the people expressing those proofs are able to say they also supported party X as well at one time but don’t now because of the horrors they’ve uncovered that they can only tell you part of because of reasons

    I remember just a few years ago when a certain prominant Labour figure in Scotland was paying people to *Tweet for Labour*, it was a thing but people laughed at it because they knew it was a strategy to dislodge they’re *enemies*I also remember last year when Boris Johnson said he was investing £5 million into the internet and facebook for supporters of him and his party to spread disinformation and everybody laughed, but it’s happening

    Journalists are paid by newspapers to write what they’re asked to write, so they do, they don’t care what it is as long as someone pays them to do it and Scotland has suffered from it and many of us know what papers and who these people are

    For me it’s pretty simple I support the principles of the party I joined, I didn’t join a newspaper an internet blogger or a TV company to tell me what my politics are because I understand that those people have a living to make selling whatever it is they need to do to make a living or survive

    The political party I joined don’t need my money to survive, they only ask me for my vote and in return they inform me of their intentions and efforts to make these intentions come to pass and that suits me fine because that’s all I want, everybody else goes to a great deal of effort to tell me different, but that difference is they always want me to pay them for it

    TV Radio Newspaper Internet Blogger Tweeter Facebooker

    Those people all want me to pay them to tell me I’m stupid, that’s why I’m reading and contributing to this website and not the others named above, this website isn’t telling me I’m stupid

    Thanks for that Paul

  21. We will find the way out. Scotland has a highly educated population, is rooted in a civilised culture and is being led by a group of strong, learned and smart women.

    The cringe has been and to some extent continues to be the key barrier some of our people have to overcome. That is not easy for people who have been deliberately conditioned to internalise second class status. But we have seen that confidence is growing. It is best that we are resolute but patient.

    We are the new normal but we need to consolidate our position and nurture it to grow.

    I am sure that many people are, quite reasonably, concerned that the Brits will adopt a scorched earth approach to our leaving – it’s what they have always done. But this is the 21st century and a stable Scottish government, genuinely supported by a committed populace, will explain diplomatically to them why that isn’t a good idea. I hope Jane Godley will be providing the vernacular overlay when the time comes.

    We will find the way. We will NEVER give up. NOT EVER.

    • I’m sure your right regards the cringe, I’ve never suffered myself, nor I suspect have the people like us commenting on Indy blogs. I don’t know what it feels like, is it inherited or do you catch it. Does some part of your brain die or is just mothballed, somehow not required.
      I’ve only witnessed it once in a tea room I used frequently after a game of golf. A little Scotsman sitting quietly, head down while 2 guys told him how Shiite his country was. I recognised one of them right away though he had his back to me, I’d left him in a bunker not long previously when he refered to our FM as a c##t. Just as I sat down, two ladies in the corner, obviously listening to the conversation decided they’d heard enough and ‘ got tore in ‘, they didn’t stay long. Not once did the wee guy lift his head, I guess the cringe was strong.

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