Keeping the eye on the prize

The British Government’s plans to rush into coming out of lockdown in order to distract from the Dominic Cummings episode are in disarray. Admittedly that’s very much a statement of the obvious these days. Saying that the British Government is inept, chaotic, and incompetent is up there in tautological statements along with saying that Johnson’s bumbling fnaugh fnaughing is giving us deja vu all over again.

There’s no shortage of examples. There’s the mess that passes for the track and trace system that the British Government has contracted out to the private sector. There’s Matt Hancock’s increasingly desperate appearances as he realises that he’s going to be the fall guy for the British Government’s mistakes while the BorDom show merrily lies onwards and downwards. There’s the fact that in England you’re allowed to have your cleaner come into your house, but not your mother. That says a whole lot more about the psychology of the British establishment than they probably realise.

Yesterday the former fireplace salesman of the year Gavin Williamson was forced to admit that you can’t actually squeeze 30 kids into a classroom while still maintaining social distancing of 2 metres between each individual. That’s the kind of thing that you deal with in your arithmetic GCSE and perhaps if Gavin had received better home schooling he’d have known that. Gavin always manages to give the impression that he’d be over-promoted as the chairman of a conference of people who like to pull the wings off flies. Meanwhile experts still warn that the UK is at risk of a second wave of infections. While Gavin was mired in his geometrical confusions, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan of the World Health Organization was warning that a second wave of infection is “a very real risk” as the virus is still present in the community. The British Government wants to come out of lockdown while transmission rates of the virus remain alarming high.

Today in PMQ’s, the part time Prime Minister came out of hiding in order to assert to a doubtful Keir Starmer that the UK’s response to the epidemic had been astonishing. The only astonishing thing there was that he meant astonishing in a good way, and not in the “Oh dear God what the hell have they done” sort of astonishment that the rest of us are feeling right now.

Trust in the British Government has fallen precipitously. There is little that this Government can do to restore it. Meanwhile people in Scotland are increasingly looking to the Scottish Government to give them a lead during this crisis. We are gradually moving into a Scotland where there is a substantial majority view that Scotland needs all the powers of an independent nation. We’re not quite there yet but the signs are good.

There are many independence supporters who are frustrated about the lack of progress from Nicola Sturgeon towards achieving a referendum. Even when there is good news in terms of an opinion poll which shows a lead for independence, or which shows that the SNP and the Greens are set to win a large and convincing majority in Holyrood, there are still many independence supporters whose reponse is woe, negativity, doubt, fear, and despair. I get it. I’m frustrated too. It is painful to watch the news as the death toll mounts, job losses soar, and we are confronted daily with the smug self-satisfied faces of the selfish Conservatives gits who are responsible for this mess as they plough on regardless to a no-deal Brexit. It’s distressing to think of all the people who will suffer, who will stuggle, and who will sink into despair as a direct result of Conservative policies. Escaping from the pain and misery of the British state is a moral imperative, and we need to get out as soon as we possibly can. It’s very easy for those who are comfortable and well off to counsel caution, they’re not the ones who have to suffer the consequences of Conservative rule. And all the while we have the looming deadline of a no deal Brexit weighing down upon us like an execution date.

All this is the fault of the Conservatives yet there are many, perhaps too many, in the independence movement right now who appear to be more interested in attacking the Scottish Government than they are interested in challenging and confronting the Conservatives, the British nationalists and the British state who are directly responsible for creating the misery. It’s a natural reaction. When you are angry, when you are upset, when you fear for the future, it’s only natural to lash out at those closer to you. But the Scottish Government is not our enemy here. That would be the British state, the British nationalists, and the Conservative Government.

If there was a solid substantial and convincing majority for independence in Scotland already, then the Scottish Government wouldn’t be frustratingly cautious. What we need to concentrate on is building that majority, in creating the consensus within Scotland that this country must – as a moral imperative – rejoin the world as an independent nation.  The only way we can do that is by promoting positive arguments for independence, by debunking the negativity of British nationalists, and by highlighting the failures of the British state.  We’re not going to do it by attacking one another for a supposed lack of pro-indy purity.  That only does the British nationalists’ job for them.

When we attack the Scottish Government for not demanding a referendum immediately or for not revealing its plans to confront yet another refusal from Westminster to a Section 30 order, it’s like demanding to know about the plan to put a roof on the new house you’re building when you still have not finishing digging out the foundations. Without strong and solid foundations the house of independence will never be built. That’s the task that we need to ensure is completed correctly and thoroughly before we can move on to the next stage. The harsh reality is that there is no point at all in demanding a referendum unless we can be sure that we’re going to win it convincingly. Because if we lose the next one we are truly doomed. We have to win it, and we have to win it well. We owe it to all those people who are suffering the malignity of Conservative rule. We owe it to those people who have loved and lost relatives or friends. We owe it to Scotland.

You can bet your last bottle of hand wash that the British state will throw everything at us in the next referendum campaign – there are likely to be all sorts of promises, threats, underhand tricks, and dirty dealing – because the British state will know that it’s quite likely to lose Scotland forever. They will not enter the campaign with the same confident arrogance which characterised the Better Together campaign in 2014. That means that we have to be extra careful to ensure that when we do go into that campaign, that the British nationalists will not be able to make a serious dent in us.

What’s been happening over the course of the past few months is that we’ve been making considerable progress on building strong foundations. There is now little faith in the British Government, combined with a strong desire in Scotland for the Scottish Government to have all the necessary powers to tackle the current crisis. We are now seeing consistent majorities, albeit small ones, for independence in opinion polls. The pro-independence parties are on course to achieve a large and convincing majority in the next Scottish elections – a majority in both seats and in vote share. And above all we have normalised the idea of Scottish independence amongst the Scottish public. Whether you support it or oppose it or are as yet undecided, independence is a political concept that you have to take seriously.

We are most assuredly on the way to independence. I am confident about that in a way that I never was in 2014. This is a time to remain calm, to stay focussed, and to keep our eye on the prize that is coming ever closer into reach. Let’s focus our ire on those who are the root cause of the problem, and not attack one another for having different ideas about how to escape them.

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74 thoughts on “Keeping the eye on the prize

  1. I admire your perseverance Paul I really do ,I have followed your travels all over Scotland and your sometimes very inspiring talks , I imagine it must get exhausting a lot of the time ,is the reward really worth the effort ,can you sit and say to yourself yep this is moving along in the right direction , now as expected here comes the But ,anything and everything I do I need and expect some kind of result , if I do this that happens if I do that something else happens, the common denominator is something changes, right now a lot of people are looking for movement even a hint of some changes , I have seen some excellent suggestions excellent campaign strategies in the end that’s all they are suggestions ,every one allowed to gather dust and be forgotten about never to surface again , people get tired of banging their head against some fkrs wall , eventually they realise it hurts and they either give up and walk away or they try a more rewarding way .
    That’s when Leadership is worth its weight in gold , lack of it does the opposite

  2. I found this piece uplifting in that we can manage to do this. I agree we should not attack Scotgov or the SNP as this helps the Brit Nats. We must ensure soft No’s get a good vibe from us. We must contain our frustration when we disagree at least publicly.

    Freedom will come.

  3. Pingback: Keeping the eye on the prize | speymouth

  4. “The only way we can do that is by promoting positive arguments for independence, by debunking the negativity of British nationalists, and by highlighting the failures of the British state.”

    Unfortunately, the only people doing that are the tweeters and the bloggers, like yourself. From SG, we get very little. Unionist lies mainly go unchallenged. Unionist nastiness mainly goes unremarked. Lots of time and effort gets spent (wasted?) on unionist issues. Arguably, we haven’t moved forward since 2016, maybe not even since 2014.

    There was an argument that we had to show the world that we had tried every way. We did that years ago. There was an argument that we had to show we were better than them. We did that years ago. There was an argument that we should be patient. Most of us have been.

    As the saying goes, all things come to those who wait. But how long do we have to wait? In 2014, I thought independence was coming in my lifetime. Now I’m pretty sure it won’t.

    • I don’t share your pessimism. I think we’re in a stronger position than we were in 2014 because we’ve normalised the idea of independence and because we’re now seeing consistent (albeit small) majorities in support of it. Additionally the British Govt has destroyed what faith many in Scotland had in the British state.

      However one of the biggest risks is our own defeatism.

      • I do agree, but I find there are two sorts of defeatists, in opposite camps. On the one hand the Nirvana zealots (not all genuine, BTW) who now can’t possibly support anything less than instant gratification, and on the other hand the “weary willie” fainthearts who can’t envisage any new plebiscite on indy until a guaranteed win is carved on tablets of stone and placed in their quivering hands (and maybe not even then).

        The one suffers from magical thinking, ignoring the reality of the insufficiency of popular support that has long bedevilled the situation (“a country of wusses”), the other from a suffocating lack of confidence that constitutes a self-fulfilling prophecy of inaction (“a permanence of wusses”).

        And of course these two camps feed off each other’s defeatism. Neither helps.

      • It’s not defeatism to want the Scottish Government to demonstrate some interest in moving us forward. What advances we’ve made have been because of efforts by indy supporters and the mess the Tory Govt are making. But we can’t depend solely on Tory mistakes. That’s just another ‘just wait till they see Brexit’. I am quite happy not to interrupt WM while they’re getting it wrong, but I just wish SG would point out the mistakes.

    • Have you heard about the Yes movement’s around the country? They are doing a lot even if the SNP party are not. I hasten to add many SNP members are in the Yes movement.

      • If you’re talking to me, the answer is yes. I did mention the work of indy supporters in my initial comment. Unfortunately, the Yes groups haven’t got the political clout to initiate a referendum, so we are dependent on the SNP to kick it off. There’s currently no one else who can do it.

  5. What you say Paul is right on the button, not least regarding the way we should respond to one another, but equally it doesn’t help when the impression is given, rightly or wrongly, and by a significant segment of the SNP, not merely a few individuals at or near the top, that there is no appetite for any kind of independence campaign any time soon. That there are some who are perfectly comfortable with putting off any further challenge for even decades to come, and are wilfully and unconscionably blind to “seizing the hour” when the opportunity is manifestly there, ripe for the taking. Another and rather insidious form of The Cringe, I suggest.

    Some are clearly over-reacting to this perception with an extremely damaging kind of allergic reaction, and you are right to counsel against such excesses. But what is needed above all to stabilise this situation is a communal feeling that the movement as a whole is like a coiled spring, ready and willing to act, and just waiting for the trigger to be pressed.

    Unfortunately, the current unresolved lack of clarity about what that precise action should be (denoted by whatever arbitrary letter one may choose to attach) is proving a real obstacle to the establishment of that shared feeling, and the current (and very real) virus crisis isn’t helping move matters along.

    Hopefully though the imminence of next year’s Scottish election will begin to focus minds before too long. But whatever form this thinking may take, it really must be more than “just hold your nose and vote for us one more time, and eventually we’ll work something out”. There really has to be a clearer and more appealing prospect than that on offer, and rather soon.

  6. The virus is still with us. Last week, our 94 year old Auntie, who has been in a nursing care home since March, that locked down before the external population locked down, developed a cough. The cough, and Auntie, tested covid positive. Auntie was admitted to hospital last Thursday evening. Yes, she had old age issues which initially responded to treatment, they even talked about giving her the trial vaccine, but she seemed to be defying the covid demon all on her own, but no. Plummeted, and passed away on Monday evening. So, dear Auntie was the last of a generation of a family of five siblings, and the second death we have had to face in recent months. Whether or not the ‘flu virus’ positive test from my mum in January was covid or not, both she and Auntie had serious respiratory issues as the main symptom, and Auntie tested positive.

    This virus has been around a lot longer than some negative ‘think tanks’ reckon by laying the blame on the dispersed holidaymakers flying in from Italy in February and the Scottish Government not doing enough to monitor the situation then.
    Even the nursing staff I spoke with this past week were in agreement with me that it’s maybe been around since mid-December.

    So, the not-so-great britshit gov, can haud oan with their push to ‘get the economy going’ cac. VisitScotland can haud oan too, poo pooin the 14 day quarantine on radio shortbread there, the noo. The virus is hingin on and festering, like the bad smell of rotten tory matter.

    Bring on our new country.

    There now.
    Thank you for all your hard graft Paul.

  7. Off topic, but hoping for some help in a professional matter.

    What, say you Scots, is a ‘Traditional Scottish Breakfast’? (I guess there’s some porridge and maybe oatmeal there.) I can guess what a ‘Traditional English Breakfast’ is and have an even better idea for a ‘Traditional Welsh Breakfast’.

    But all ideas on a TSB, more than welcome. Thank you.

    • Myocardial infarction on a plate, aka a fry… Typically bacon, eggs, potato scones, with regional additions and variations.. Unlike the Ulster Fry, it offered the capability to leave the table without aid of a forklift..
      Personal habit, salted boiled porridge in a bowl submerged in milk…

        • Stornoway black pudding plus Charles MacLeod’s white (oatmeal) pudding. It’s absolutely brilliant with a fried egg.

          • Oh! You have just put mealy puddins’ in my head – mince and mealy puddin’ , yum.

            Not for breakfast my Welsh friend – has to be square slice , bacon , tattie scone , fried egg and maybe dumplin’ or black puddin’.

    • Thanks for all the ideas so far.

      I’ll let you into the secret that I’m translating material for a private chain of care homes which has homes all over England and is opening a new one in Caerdydd/Cardiff. (No care home at all in Scotland.) You can decide for yourselves the appropriateness in promoting a brand new care home in the middle of a pandemic …

      Anyhow. Part of the literature involves giving residents three square, tasty, homemade meals a day, including a “Traditional English Breakfast”. I have already made the point that “TEB” would not go down well (!) with people in Wales. And I’m even more confident that if they were to try this out in Scotland, they would be chased back over the border with Jack Collatin probably leading the charge ..

      So. If I can get Scotland on board to reject TEB for their ‘seniors’ (care owners’ term), I have more ammunition to prove that the Welshies wouldn’t stomach (!) it either.”

      What say you, Scotland?

      In unity.

  8. Plus Ayrshire bacon, black pudding ( don’t like fruit pudding). Paul you must have in a pair hoose wi nae bacon.

    Ps the wife’s donating later so you can afford 2 rashers.

  9. I don’t accept that there is a huge number of frustrated Yes supporters out there who are demanding Nicola Sturgeon get on with the business of having a referendum “right now” or even next year.

    In fact, a poll less than two weeks ago reported that just 34% of Scottish voters want one within the next two years. I doubt if many of that 34% were Unionists so I’ll assume they were all Independence supporters.

    The Scottish public are divided on when, if at all, a second independence referendum should take place. While a third (34%) think there should be another referendum within the next two years, the same proportion do not think a second referendum should ever happen. Others endorse the idea of a second referendum, but not until between two and five years’ time (19%) or after the next five years (10%).

    Why the disconnect? Well, for starters the voices of online activists that visit Independence blogs or read twitter and the like, are the loudest and in that sphere at least there is loud demand for another referendum “now” if not sooner. But neither do I believe that everyone calling for that is actually doing it because they want Independence. I believe there is a large proportion of manufactured indignation aimed at the SNP and the First Minister over her failure to deliver an Independence referendum before now.

    Whether we would have won one if it had already happened already is impossible to say, but like the article says, I also think that we are in a better position to win one from now going forward than we have been in the past.

    The groups that benefit most from attacking the Scottish Government are the same groups that are at it day in and day out. That is the opposition parties, the Scottish media and their masters, the Unionists. They try to undermine the First Minister and SNP so as to undermine the message, the message being Scotland is capable of governing itself and has competent politicians who can do it.

    I’m of the view that there are plenty of people out there who wish Scotland to remain in the Union, 55% at the last referendum, and some of them will try to spread discord and undermine people’s faith in the Scottish government for their own ends, It’s surely to be expected that they would do this? On top of that, you will have government and political party opposition activists doing exactly the same. If they weren’t trying to drive a wedge between the Yes movement then they really would be useless and failing to do their main job which is keeping the Union intact and splitting the Independence movement.

    As support for Independence grows, so will the panic and we can expect the attacks to increase and become more shrill. I think it’s a good idea to always question the motives of the message you are being given when it relates to Independence. That’s not just about the timing of a referendum but on everything relating to Independence, especially levels of support.

    • I don’t disagree with a lot of what you say there, Alex. There are indeed a bunch of malevolent shit-stirrers out there, and (as intended) attract an online coterie of vociferous hot-headed useful idiots. (All helped along by a couple of websites I can think of who really should know better.)

      But you are in danger, if I may say so, of also sounding a touch complacent there. This business of “number-watching” and “focus grouping” is something of a two-edged sword, because the obvious retort is “if what you’ve been doing – or not doing!- is so damn right, how come the numbers aren’t moving, and haven’t done so for some considerable time?”. And that’s a point that is increasingly exercising people, like it or not.

      You see, politics at its best isn’t merely about passively following what people are doing all by themselves and meekly wishing for better, it’s about shaping and moving opinion, gettting on the front foot, making things happen. And that doesn’t need to be glacial. Look at what happened to opinion during IR1, as a prime example. Or the Brexiteers. They were (and are) a bunch of mendacious twisters – an aspect that is certainly utterly unworthy of emulation – but they were willing to take a situation “by the horns” and make something from nothing in a relatively short time.

      Maybe that’s not a very Scottish thing, but maybe we really do need to wake (people) up a bit more. Not right now, necessarily, but not in some future decade either efter we’re a’ deid. We oldies may have a longer perspective, but our kids are living their lives right now, some having to move elsewhere to make a living. They can’t afford to see their lives wasted year-after-year as ours were.

      More importantly than all, if we have to wait, as we currently must, we need hope of upcoming relief, and not “sometime over the rainbow”.

      • It would be surprising indeed if the UK government weren’t using everything in their power including journalists in the media and the BBC to work as their “malevolent shit-stirrers”. Not just the government of course as you need to include the green ink brigade of SIU and other political activists in Scotland that despise even the thought of Independence.

        I understand why my view may come over as complacent but I really don’t believe I am, I have tried to look at the timing of the referendum with the same view of those that would have to make that decision. After the result of the EU referendum in 2016 I thought that it would be nailed on now for Scotland to become Independent within just a couple of years. Most likely 2018 or 2019 at the latest but definitely within the lifetime of this current SNP government at Holyrood.

        I was pretty upbeat about that and then came the 2017 General Election where the SNP lost 21 of the 56 seats won in 2015 and even worse, they lost 33% of their support into the bargain. Going from 1,454,436 votes in 2015 they fell to 977,569.

        That was a hammer blow to the confidence of the First Minister, she now had little idea in where support for Independence actually stood, so she had to now wait and see how Brexit was going to play out before taking the risk of a second and definitely her last and Scotlands last referendum for a very long time if there were to be another No vote. I imagine that she felt she couldn’t take that chance, it was too big a risk.

        So she waited and Brexit dragged on all through 2018 and most of 2019. The position of the First Minister had always been that she would make her position clear once the outcome of the Brexit negotiations was known. We are past that now and this should have been the year but what we never had the chance to get to was the fight that should have been taking place now after the refusal of a Section 30 order.

        What would that fight have entailed? I don’t have a clue but the fact that the Scottish parliament went ahead and passed a referendum bill and asked the Electoral Commission to test the referendum question again and come back with their recommendations, to me this meant something was going on. They weren’t sitting still like many claim but actually began putting in place the legal requirements for a referendum without Westminster approval.

        I saw that as being preparation for a consultative referendum, which if Westminster wanted to prevent, then they would have to challenge it through the courts, if they didn’t then the referendum would have went ahead, albeit there is a good possibility that the Unionists would have been encouraged to boycott such a referendum. This is of course, all pure speculation on my part, but even passing that referendum bill in Holyrood put pressure on Westminster and I’m certain there would have been more to come.

        My final point, pressure on Westminster comes mainly from support for the Scottish government being seen clearly by the powers in England. So obviously they would wish to undermine support for the Scottish government and they will actively encourage that, we would be foolish to give up now as support is growing and we need to encourage even greater support.

        That’s where I’ll be putting my efforts into between now and May 2021 and it certainly won’t be in doing the Unionists any favours by being seen to undermine the SNP, the Scottish government or the First Minister. I see that route as the best chance of Scotland becoming an Independent country, I think Westminster see that clearly too.

        • Agree with you there Alex, well said. The Britnats must be plotting their next tactics to attempt to divide people who want independence, we can counter that, I am sure.

  10. It’s not up to one person to win our independence. Nor is it up to one political party.
    It’s up to each and every one of us to put our shoulders to the wheel.

    On the plus side, we have allies everywhere. Carlot, Wee Wullie and Leotard strive daily to make us realise the benefits of independence.

    Not to mention Boris and his “ship of fools” troupe of buffoons!

  11. Scotlands history is littered with those that jumped the gun, is as almost is if they want us to fail. Most kids now grow up with parents who voted Yes, some folk have been at it for a long time. We are as close as we have ever been, ca canny.

  12. How do the English win at stuff
    They stick together with a confidence totally unwarranted but they do it just the same, that’s why they have the Queen, chief tourist attraction and mother of the nation in her job as morale booster and they dig her out when they have something to celebrate something to hide or something to get the country stirred up about

    Without the Queen England would be rudderless, look at the devastation Princess Diana’s death caused, England cannot survive without a fugurehead and their problem at the moment is Boris Johnson is not the person anybody of any country wants as a figurehead, figure of fun sure, but that was in the past before he could do any real damage, now they need the Queen and the don’t have her and truth be told at her age they might never see her again which leaves them Charles, and they don’t care for him much

    Covid 19 has done for them and rocked their confidence because they have no leader, that’s why even in England now Nicola Sturgeon has become someone for them to look to for some semblance of humanity

    Next year when they do a poll of England on Scottish Independence, because we know they will, the English will agree with us wish us well and express their sadness at Scotland leaving them but they will understand because in England they can only see what happens in their own street, and if it looks bad there then it must be bad everywhere else and if Nicola Sturgeon can save Scotland from Johnson and Trump by creating a pathway to Scotland’s freedom, the people of England will be getting themselves down to the estate agents and joining right in

    From the *most dangerous woman in Britain* to saviour of humanity, in a few short years

    Times like opinions do change following disasters, and to hell with the naysayers, it’s not raining, they just don’t have hats and coats, they just sit on the internet and greet like a bunch of weans demanding that they’re Mammy comes round to rub their bellies and make them aw better, and if she’s busy they hate her, bloody 8 year olds

  13. The only way I can see there being a second referendum is if a court says we have the right to have one but even at that Westminster will still do everything it can to scupper it.

  14. Another great post Paul however I don’t agree with your statement, ”It’s a natural reaction.”

    ”All this is the fault of the Conservatives yet there are many, perhaps too many, in the independence movement right now who appear to be more interested in attacking the Scottish Government than they are interested in challenging and confronting the Conservatives, the British nationalists and the British state who are directly responsible for creating the misery. It’s a natural reaction. When you are angry, when you are upset, when you fear for the future, it’s only natural to lash out at those closer to you. But the Scottish Government is not our enemy here. That would be the British state, the British nationalists, and the Conservative Government.”

    What’s actually going on right now is far from being a natural reaction to the current situation, imo. As Dr Jim says, ”how do the English win at stuff. They stick together with a confidence totally unwarranted but they do it just the same.” Westminster also wins, initially, because it employs its time-honored divide and rule strategy and that’s what’s happening with some key individuals disseminating propaganda, originally using the drip, drip, drip technique, in an attempt to raise doubts about and ultimately destroy our alliance / cause.

    As examples why on earth would a so-called independence blogger blatantly inform his followers that, ”As a matter of principle, independence remains uncontestable. But as a matter of real-world here-and-now practicality, it is becoming harder and harder to advocate, and we cannot begin to express how painfully that breaks our heart.”

    And ”I still don’t like JK Rowling, for reasons I set out earlier this week. I certainly never in a million years imagined I’d ever find myself in a position where I respected her (a fervent Unionist) 50 times more than I do Nicola Sturgeon.”

    What’s going on there? Answers on a postcard.

  15. Thank you, Paul, for this excellent blog. What you say is absolutely spot on, as usual. When reading what you have to say, when feeling a bit tired of our situation, I generally feel re-energised. You uplift and reboot confidence, not just in me, but I would imagine in many of those of us who have been actively campaigning for many decades. Thanks for all your encouragement and exceptional effort on behalf of the big prize … the restoration of Scotland’s Independence.


    That means we need to keep building support for when it comes, just carry on the great work sir 🙂

  17. Off topic I know but I had the thought that if we want to be independent then we need to start acting and talking like an independent country now where possible.

    For example: when referring to the Scottish Government we just call it “The Government” When referring to the UK Government then it should always have the UK prefix. When referring to the Scottish Parliament then we just call it “The Parliament” similarly the SNHS becomes just “The NHS” if referring to bodies south of the Border use the prefix English. We are in a different country and there is no need to prefix our institutions with the word “Scottish”

    It’s just semantics and a small thing but if we act and talk as if we are independent now then that is a small way of demonstrating it.

    • I think if you look back at some Weegingerdug articles you will find Paul wrote that a very long time ago.

      Behave and speak as though we are already an independent nation.

  18. A last observation of the 2017 General Election, the Tories under Ruth Davidson fought that election with “NO to a second referendum” as their message. The media in Scotland carried it far and wide. They shouted it from the rooftops and it worked, the voters responded.

    The Tories went from 1 MP in Westminster to 13 with a 13.7% swing to them, their overall share of the vote was not that far behind the SNP with 28.6% to 38.9%.

    The SNP lost 500,000 votes, 1/3rd of their support wiped out in a single election. So if you were the leader of the SNP after that result, one that the Tories won on a message of “NO to a second referendum”, how long do you think it would take you to decide when the next referendum should be?

    • Bearing in mind that No won the referendum in 2014 with 2,000,000 votes while Yes got 1,600,000 so to be certain of winning a second Independence you would need around DOUBLE the vote that the SNP got in the 2017 GE. I reckon in those circumstances as the leader of the SNP, I’d be patient as well if I wanted to WIN the next time I tried.

      Losing, after all, is not an option second time around.

      • All fair comment. It’s a high-stakes game right enough. Though I reckon myself the SNP leadership over-reacted to the setback in 2017. It was a strange time. Maybe in due course we’ll come to recognise that this was the last chance that Scotland gave to the Unionists (not least the Davidson Party) to make good on their (ultimately hollow) promises. Instead we now have the Boris-the-Liar England-First Brexit Party in charge.

        In terms of hope for the future, I should add that Paul has consistently provided the necessary ongoing analysis and good humour throughout. A true “friend in need” indeed.

  19. Who is Gavin Wiiliamson and was he really ‘home schooled’?
    It’s called home education in Scotland, just to be pedantic as a home ed parent of days gone by and not totally out of choice. The Labour council, with UK Labour in charge at Holyrood, were bloody delighted to save about £25k plus, when I was forced to take my kid out of school, due to their negligence in not providing autism support, but that’s another story. Anyway, kid speaks Japanese, passed all exams including the Kanji ones, and does some translation now, so blowing bubbles (popular these days!) at folks who dis home ed. 😉

    The Britnats are going to cling onto their last colony with every tactic, every dirty trick and lie that they can muster. We know that. What still is not clear, and it’s being challenged in the courts(?) is the legality of denying Scotland the right to hold a democratic referendum, on well, anything really. Is that written into law, that Scotland’s devolved parliament cannot lawfully decide to hold a referendum on independence, or anything else for that matter?

    Subsidy junkie Scotland, poor, stupid, teensy weeny pathetic Scotland, been being bullied for far too long. Time to stand up to the bullies now. We have a double edged sword with this pandemic, exposing the British Nationalist London government for what they are, extremely right wing and dangerous, while at the same time, exposing the SNP government of Scotland, for their socially responsible, reasoned, life affirming, measured response in dealing with this terrible crisis and also in fact, getting on with the ‘day job’ of keeping the cogs of
    effective constructive government moving.

    What do people really want and need right now? The human and humane, measured response of Scotland’s government, or the shambolic, inhumane herd immunity devil may care response of the Britnat government? It’s not just applicable to this pandemic though, responsible human and humane, or devil may care, ‘take it on the chin’ attitude?

    We are in full on anti SNP, anti independence territory now, the pack dogs are hungry, the chase is on. Better run fast Scotland, or be torn to bits, outwitting the Britnats won’t be going down too well with the Britnat establishment at all.

  20. I mentioned earlier the figurehead effect referencing that England had the Queen and that’s always been a useful tool in the armoury of the UK government
    Scotland now has the figurehead effect in the FM, people like the idea of a person they believe they can depend on, they like to think there’s a person who thinks about them, they want reassurance and peace of mind to give them confidence there’s someone running the show who knows what they’re doing and knows what they’re talking about, Nicola Sturgeon has become that person they look to

    So if you’re against Independence for Scotland who are you going to throw stones at
    Of course if you are a stone thrower you should take a look behind the First Minister to see who would replace her if she fell, and unfortunately for the stone throwers there’s a bunch of well talented folk like a sharks teeth waiting to slot right in to the vacant space to carry on biting, although I don’t foresee that any time soon, the FM has a mission to complete and she’s been thinking about it since she was 16 years old and I believe she has the determination and downright dogged grit to see it done

    As for the stone throwers, the more they throw the more erratic those stone tossers become

  21. Paul,
    I too get a déjà vu feeling when reading this particular blog entry!

    As many have written/observed, the people we need to convince to change their minds from no or soft yes to definite yes probably aren’t reading this (or any indy one for that matter) blog, you are preaching to the converted/committed!

    I too, like many I suspect, have stopped reading many other Indy blogs, I don’t agree with everything you write Paul but I feel an empathy with you and others who comment here, we all know what we want, how to get there and at what pace we can disagree on.

    Some other blogs have, I feel, become almost self-defeating or consumed by their own self-importance?

    What is also self-defeating is UKGov, with every passing day and another cack handed cock up of handling this crisis (never mind Brexit!), they are doing the job of Indy campaigners for them!

    Our real Gov in Holyrood is getting on with the task of keeping us safe from, or more realistically mitigating as best they can the above cock ups, this virus. The polls we have all seen recently tell us all we need to know as to who is being trusted by their population and in some quite incredible numbers!

    So to those who say SNP/Govt need to be doing more, sorry right now they are doing the right thing, demonstrating competence and establishing unwittingly within many of the undecideds of our population that Scotland should have full control over everything, so that when the time is right (yes I know we all want it now or yesterday!) and whether it is an actual referendum or the plebiscite Holyrood elections doubling as a referendum, we can (will?!) win it.

    I totally agree, no point having another poll if we aren’t overwhelmingly confident we can win it, because make no mistake, get it wrong this time and we probably won’t get another chance in any of our lifetimes!

  22. I support that woman who writes fairy tales because she coincidentally agrees with me on something. Because she agrees with me on something she is the bestest even though I used to think she was the worstest. I am not shallow or anything. You can believe me, honest and while I’m at it I am no longer supporting that independence because I would really like to be a crapper – I mean rapper. I am really important you know.

    And while I’m here, you don’t have to agree with me, I don’t care who agrees with me, in fact I don’t want you to agree with me because I walk alone, I am the grim reaper. You are all doomed – doomed I tell you – doomed. It doesn’t matter what you do because you are going to fail.

    Just jesting. Just wanted to see how many poor mutts would be taken in. I think I might be suffering from cabin fever or narcissism or something.

  23. The sooner we put the Murray / Campbell allegations against Nicola Sturgeon to bed the better, imo. Also looking forward to Alex Salmond himself getting back into the fray. Much of what’s been ”implied” about her has formed the basis for the constant online attacks from, in the main, supporters of the Union.

    ‘Nicola Sturgeon says Salmond case conspiracy claims are ‘nonsense.’

    ”The First Minister has rejected claims that there was a “conspiracy” around the Alex Salmond case – calling them “nonsense”. Speaking to Kirsty Wark in last night’s Newsnight, Nicola Sturgeon said she would be able to “elaborate on that view” in the fullness of time. The SNP leader said there will be inquiries into the case further down the line which will offer the opportunity for her to be scrutinised.”..


    The latest news from Professor John Robertson.

  24. Any idea why Neil Oliver, archaeologist, is constantly afforded the opportunity to bump his gums about historical issues? No Scottish historians available? Just as the now long retired Hugh Pennington is wheeled out by the BritNats to discuss the coronavirus. Strange too that all of these so-called ”experts” support the Union. No independence supporting ”experts” available?

    ‘Neil Oliver claims removing racist statues is ‘road to the guillotine.’

    ‘Another user accused Oliver of denying “Scotland’s history matters when it suits him”.


    Check out Ann’s latest links on the Indyref2 site.

  25. Well there’s a surprise. Imagine that!

    ‘North-east skipper Jimmy Buchan warns no-deal Brexit ‘will hurt’ Scottish fishing industry.’

    Reaping what you sow.

    2014 – voted “no”
    2016 – voted “leave”
    2019 – voted Tory

    He’s getting exactly what he’s voted for – CHAOS!!

    He’s had 3 chances to avoid “no-deal Brexit”. Each time, he’s voted the way that would make it a possibility. #ReapWhatYouSow, Jimmy.


    From the man who’s head is full of wee bubbles and can relate to people being ”deprived.” I don’t see him lasting as PM for much longer for one reason or another.

  26. You hit the nail on the head when you said;

    “What we need to concentrate on is building that majority, in creating the consensus within Scotland that this country must – as a moral imperative – rejoin the world as an independent nation.  The only way we can do that is by promoting positive arguments for independence, by debunking the negativity of British nationalists, and by highlighting the failures of the British state.”

    The problem is that the SNP has spectacularly failed to do this for its entire existence and shows no sign of doing it any time soon.

    It is a demonstable fact, for example, that Scotland has lost out on hundreds of thousands of oil and gas jobs for fifty years, costing the Scottish economy many trillions of pounds if you include lost jobs, lost taxes, lost profits and the economic multiplier effects of these losses.

    According to a UK Government report in 2019, only 39% of oil and gas jobs are BASED in Scotland. These are predominantly the lower paid services and support roles. Of those jobs, many are filled by people and companies based in England, the EU and the rest of the world. Most of the top jobs are in London and the Southeast. Most of the infrastructure and support ships are imported from South Korea, Singapore, Norway, Spain, Italy, Poland and countless other countries. Very little of it is produced in Scotland. The benefits that the Scottish economy and society have accrued from oil and gas are a tiny fraction, probably less than 10%, of what they could have been.

    This is just one industry. The same applies accross the board to the Scottish economy including renewables, whisky etc. Westminster’s policies have systematically sucked the wealth, jobs and human talent out of Scotland for centuries and we have been immeasurably impoverished as a result.

    The inner core of the SNP are either economically illiterate for not articulating this or are more of an impediment to achieving independence than a route towards it. Sturgeon led the failed and deeply flawed independence campaign in 2014 and hasn’t learned the lessons of that loss.

    I desperately want Scottish independence but those leading the SNP have demonstrably failed to articulate the massive advantages that independence would bring. As a movement, we can either acknowledge this fact and find solutions or stick our heads in the sand.

    Regardless of their other fine qualities, the SNP inner circle have demonstrably failed, and continue to miserably fail, at their primary goal which is to prove that Scotland would be better off as an independent country. How much more time should we allow them to make that case? It should have been made in 2014 and wasn’t and I have no confidence whatsoever that it will be made any time soon under the current leadership.

    I’m not calling for an early referendum because, as things stand, we would probably lose it. I’m calling for the undeniable case for independence to be properly articulated, something the current SNP inner circle have demonstrably failed to do.

      • No counter argument, just an insult. Are you arguing that the UK doesn’t suck the wealth, the jobs and the human talent out of Scotland?

    • “Sturgeon led the failed and deeply flawed independence campaign in 2014 and hasn’t learned the lessons of that loss” 🤪 Was she driving a DeLorean ?
      “As a movement, we can either acknowledge this fact and find solutions or stick our heads in the sand” 👍 Some added and mixed cement and water may help…

      I’m inclined towards Alex Clark’s diagnosis, a “let’s set Indy back a decade” post disconnected from reality and you still don’t see it in your harrumph.

      • Another insult and no countrer argument.

        Perhaps you think the case for independence presented prior to 2014 and in the subsequent six years is incontrovertible and cannot be improved upon? The electorate still isn’t persuaded in sufficient numbers and that’s the test that really matters. The polls have hardly moved in the past six years. Support for independence oscillates between 45% and 52% and averages less than 50%.

        Or perhaps you think my estimate of trillions of Pounds and hundreds of thousands of lost jobs over a fifty year period is overstated? A simple comparison of the extent to which Norway and Scotland have benifited from their oil and gas industry will prove my point. London and the Southeast have benifited far more from Scotland’s oil and gas than Scotland has. It’s a complete myth that Aberdeen is the oil capital of Europe. It’s primarily a supply base. The top jobs are in London and the Southeast.

        The UK systematically sucks the wealth, the jobs and the human talent out of Scotland and will continue to fo so for as long as Scotland remains a part of this dysfunctional union. The oil and gas industry is just one example of how this happens but it occurs in many other ways.

        The independence movement needs to be more self critical if we are to succeed in our goal. The opinion polls demonstrate that the case we have made to date is not compelling enough. Tribal loyalty will not fix that. We need to develop a more compelling proposition in order to convert the undecideds. If we do this, the the polls will show undeniable support for independence.

        • 13 paragraphs later and you still don’t get it, so let’s try simple questions, one at a time – Who led the independence campaign in the referendum of 2014 ?

          • Ahead of the independence referendum, Nicola Sturgeon was Deputy First Minister, Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities and had an additional role overseeing the referendum on Scottish independence, essentially putting her in charge of the SNP’s referendum campaign. She was responsible for developing the case for independence while Salmond got on with the day job of being First Minister.

          • It was a simple question requiring a simple answer, your convolutions failed miserably.
            You may wish to try flounder trampling, Palnackie would normally permit foreign applications but due to the English crisis imposed on Scotland this is not available this year, perhaps you might contact the ETB for alternatives, thank you for calling.
            PS- Should you not be in your cot by now ?

          • “Sturgeon led the failed and deeply flawed independence campaign in 2014 and hasn’t learned the lessons of that loss” – Your words, your arguments, your insults to any Scot over the age of 16 yet to this fiction you demand counter arguments ? 🤣
            The earth is flat will do… now away and dance round your maypole like a good lad…🤪

          • Sturgeon’s case for independence was and remains deeply flawed because, in case you didn’t notice, we lost in 2014 and the polls have hardly moved since then. She has failed to show how the UK has sucked the wealth, the jobs and the human talent out of Scotland for centuries, treating us as a colony and leaving us impoverished. Instead, we are subjected to endless too wee, too poor, too stupid propaganda and the SNP’s response to this is pathetic and feeble.

            Despite the utter debacle at Westminster in recent years, Sturgeon and her inner circle still haven’t made the case for independence any stronger than the failed prospectus in 2014. Lessons have not been learned. It took five years for Progress Scotland to be set up and it has achieved little or nothing from what I can see. How much longer should we give Sturgeon and the rest of her inner cicle? Another year? Another five years? Another ten years? What’s going to change in that time that they couldn’t have changed six years ago?

            I delivered thousands of leaflets for the pro-independence campaign in 2014 but I couldn’t believe how weak and feeble the pro-indy message developed by the SNP was. It was so weak it was almost as though those leading the official campaign wanted to lose. Business for Scotland, which I also campaigned for, and the grass roots indy movement, did far more to build support for independence than the SNP did.

            In my opinion, Sturgeon and the SNP inner circle have had time enough to make a compelling case for independence and have failed to significantly move public opinion. They need to make way for new leadership who are more capable of converting the undecideds. Clearly, you disagree and think they should be given more time. You’re entitled to that opinion, just as I’m entitled to mine. SNP members will be the ultimate arbiters of our disagreement.

            We both want independence. We just disagree on the best way to reach that goal.

  27. Support for SNP/Independence is increasing. Holyrood election predicted to be a SNP/Independence landslide. In a system rigged to prevent a majority.

    It is recognised it is mainly the elderly voters (women) who are most opposed to Independence.

    Nicola gets the women on board. She is the most popular leader the SNP has ever had.

    Vote out all the unionists. There will be no one to oppose another IndyRef.

    It is impossible to have an IndyRef in the middle of an pandemic. Beyond ridiculous.

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