Jackson Carlaw’s existential crisis

While the Scottish independence movement gets on with its favourite activity of accusing other independence supporters of pursuing the wrong tactics to get us independence, the Conservatives are quietly getting on with the meltdown that will eventually take us to independence. In an article in the Conservative house magazine The Spectator this week, (https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/the-union-is-in-graver-danger-than-ever) the publication’s political editor James Forsyth spells out Number 10’s plan to save the Precioussssss Union™.

Johnson is going to say no to another referendum.  That’s it. That is the totality of the plan. This is a plan in the exact same way that a toddler having a tantrum has a plan to avoid time for beddy-byes. It’s not a plan, it’s a delaying tactic.  Yet all it’s going to do is to make independence inevitable in the longer term.

Forsyth naturally dismisses the idea of a Scottish independence without Downing Street’s agreement. “No legal referendum can take place without Westminster’s consent,” he writes. But as this blog has written many times before, anyone who tells you that a referendum without a Section 30 order would be unlawful is giving you a political opinion, not citing a legal fact. Until the matter is clarified by the courts all we know is that there are plausible legal arguments both for for and against holding a consultative referendum without a Section 30 order. There is a very good argument that a consultative referendum without a Section 30 order would indeed be perfectly lawful.

Meanwhile Forsyth doesn’t even acknowledge the possibility of other routes to independence such as a plebiscite election in which the pro-independence parties stand asking for a mandate for independence itself, or a Scottish National Convention and the withdrawal of Scottish representatives from the insitutions of British government in order to provoke a constitutional crisis that would be impossible to ignore.

Neither does Forsyth consider the effect on Scottish public opinion of an unpopular Prime Minister who enjoys little support in Scotland vetoing the outcome of a Scottish election where the SNP has been elected with a majority to bring about another referendum. Although there are many in Scotland who look upon the prospect of a refusal from Downing Street to a Section 30 order with horror, even after a landslide majority for the SNP in the next Holyrood elections standing on a clear mandate for a referendum, it will ultimately play into our hands.

All that a refusal from Downing Street to concede that Scotland has the right to self-determination will achieve will be to form an equation in the minds of Scotland’s electorate between independence and democracy. It will tell the people of Scotland that the only way in which our democratic wishes can ever be respected is through independence. That will only serve to boost the desire for independence, and make what the Conservatives fear the most more likely to happen rather than less. It will boost support immeasurably for the Scottish Government to seek an alternative strategy to a referendum. In other words, what many in the independence movement regard as the trump card of the Conservatives will, if played, only make it more likely that Johnson will lose the game. Johnson will be seen by many in Scotland, even many people who do not support independence themselves, as directly blocking the exercise of democracy in Scotland.

Speaking as a campaigner, I relish the prospect of Boris Johnson saying no to a Section 30 order after the SNP has won a majority in Holyrood next year. It means that Better Together Mk II will no longer be able to maintain the fiction that the UK is a union of equal partners. It will have to defend a British Government which has vetoed – in the words of the Scottish Claim of Right – “the sovereign right of the Scottish people to determine the form of Government best suited to their needs”. At one stroke this destroys one of the strongest remaining arguments of our opponents, the argument that Scotland is a voluntary member of a union. And if Scotland doesn’t have the right to decide for itself whether this “union” is in its best interests, then it is no union at all.

Yet saying no to another Section 30 order is all that the Conservatives have got. As Forsyth admits, those who campaigned most fervently in 2014 for a No vote are now in despair. He writes, “When I asked one of the most impressive figures from 2014 how things were going, the answer came simply: ‘It’s over. The horse has bolted.’” The Tories and their British nationalist allies in other parties know that they have no long term solution to Scotland’s dissatisfaction with Brexit Britain. All they have is saying no, and hoping that the independence movement will self-implode in the meantime. And of late the independence movement has been giving the British nationalists reason for some hope in that respect.

Although there are many in the independence movement who are worried and frustrated, our concerns are those of a movement which is trying to find the quickest and easiest path to victory. The worries and frustrations of the Conservatives are those of a British nationalism which doesn’t know how to prevent its ultimate defeat. All it has is a tactic for delaying the inevitable in the hope that something else might come along, some black swan event that could derail the independence movement for good. Yet nothing that they’ve pinned their hopes on so far has done the trick for them. Brexit didn’t do it. The Salmond trial didn’t do it. The coronavirus epidemic didn’t do it. And I firmly believe that the forthcoming parliamentary investigation into the Salmond affair won’t make a serious dent in support for independence either.

Forsyth notes that a Conservative party in Scotland which has fought the next Holyrood election on a campaign aimed squarely at preventing another referendum will find it far harder to resist demands for a referendum if the SNP wins a majority. The Tories will have gone down to a bad defeat on the policy which they’ll be hoping Number 10 implements for them. That makes a mockery of Scottish democracy, and that’s how it will be perceived by the Scottish electorate. Yet preventing another referendum is pretty much the sole policy that the Scottish Conservatives have got which is capable of giving them traction beyond that minority of the Scottish electorate which is in favour of Brexit and is also in favour of the Conservatives’ economic policies. Trying to avoid the constitutional issue in the next election is only likely to make the defeat of the Scottish Conservatives even greater than it otherwise might be, especially now that they’re led by the deeply uncharismatic and unappealing Jackson Carlaw.

The Scottish Conservatives are in a serious bind, and they know it. They can either campaign against a referendum and then find they have no basis to resist calls for one after they lose the election, or they can try to avoid constitutional issues only to find that they suffer an even heavier defeat. They have only one tactic for preventing a referendum and that is saying no to a Section 30 order. Yet if their boss in Number 10 plays that card it only makes independence even more likely. No matter which way they turn, they’re staring at ultimate defeat.

You think the independence movement has problems? It’s nothing compared to the existential crisis facing the British nationalists in Scotland. We’re debating how to get to victory. They don’t know how to avoid defeat.

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213 thoughts on “Jackson Carlaw’s existential crisis

  1. Thank goodness. Some rational thoughts based on how the independence process continues.

    The main issues are to continue showing up the brexiters as individuals who don’t care one jot for Scotland or its parliament by securing a majority SNP government next year.

    Covid permitting. More marches, focus on our local communities. Start persuading new and ok that this is the time.

    Without a majority all the discussions over Independence is dead.

    Not even several Independence knitting bee’s will change that.

    I believe independence is on the snp manifesto. It has to be.

    Fate has decreed 2021 is to be our generation in achieving the Independent Nation and State of Scotland.

    • Oh please, please let this be true. I am the only Yesser in my family. Since I was 16 they have laughed at my politics, scorned my politics, been downright nasty about my politics.

      Fortunately I married a Yesser – as well as wanting a fairer, more humane, equal and better Scotland I want to look my family in the eye and say “Well, we got here – at last”

      I am frustrated, I admit it, I am confused, I am impatient.

      But I’ll still be voting SNP on the constituency vote. I’m thinking aloud on the second vote just now……but that’s allowed in a democracy isn’t it ?

  2. I can but suggest that Nicola Sturgeon is being stultifyingly over-cautious in her approach to independence for Scotland. She is being so ‘cool-headed’ that her brain has now seemingly frozen. She seems to be utterly petrified of progressing our ultimate cause – our independence. This indecision is tragic and can only be to Scotland’s detriment and inevitable demise. Get a grip Nicola!

    I am sure that she is aware of the pending ‘power grab’ by Westminster which will effectively neutralise and abolish the Scottish Government. Doesn’t she think that urgent action is required to forestall this outrage before the catastrophe of Brexit hits us? If she doesn’t, then something is seriously wrong with the SNP leadership psyche. I for one, am becoming increasingly disillusioned with our Party, its guidance and leadership, and its present unfathomable inactivity and stupor.

    What should be happening just now, is that the Scottish Government should be thinking of immediately disbanding the present legislature in favour of a parliamentary election, where a plebiscite, confirming that a majority of pro-independence votes, would be paramount, and all-encompassing.

    A referendum should then follow, this confirming that Scotland could be free, once-and-for- all. Free of the dastardly and toxic English oppression that presently exists, and be a viable state that would be instantly recognisable and verifiable by the global community.

    That is the pathway to follow – the road map. First Minister just follow it, or if not, get out of the way promtly so that someone with probably a bit more gumption, fortitude and bravery can take the reins and lead. FORTUNE favours the BRAVE every time. Nicola, don’t be seen to be a wee timorous, cowering beastie and flunk this ultimate challenge.

    I appreciate that the Covid-19 pandemic management is a health priority, but it can now be seen to be disguising our impending Brexit predicament, and quite honestly, our time to act is now extremely short. In essence we have no time. The utter catastrophe of Brexit will kill Scotland, our beloved country, on the 31st of December 2020. We don’t have the luxury of time being on our side and Scotland now demands brave and instantaneous action from our leadership. It is imperative.

    Surely it is not beyond the wit of the SNP to organise for independence at the same time it proceeds to competently manage the present pandemic. Very few parts of this multitudinous, multifaceted SNP organisation are involved in the actual Covid-19 management. Just mobilise the majority of the remaining talent to get out there and secure our desired future. If the SNP don’t act with alacrity, we certainly won’t have one. That is plain to see. Don’t let your attention be diverted from your primary reason for existance.

    Finally, I like many other independence supporters, can’t take any more of the platitudes and condescension presently being proffered by our immediate representatives, who are seemingly intent on ‘shielding’ Nicola and not questioning her motives. This is so unbelievably patronising in the first instance, and secondly, maybe shows an inherent weakness and timidity in their make-up.

    We, the people of Scotland, demand meaningful and purposeful ACTION. NOW!

      • Do “Wings” have refugees, and is that before or after visiting ?
        The script is the same, “Nicola is the problem”, “anything is better than this”, etc…
        The sudden influx of drones to WGD has been a curiosity, perhaps Paul’s site visit numbers have triggered a threshold attracting attention as an influencer?

      • Yes and the opportunity is there in 10 months time.

        Now is the time for SNP members to ask for it to happen. I pose the question what if one of the other independence parties puts it in its manifesto?

      • When did a 30 section order become law? I was under the impression it was an agreement between the First Minister and the Prime Minister to have peaceful discussions after a successful vote for Scottish independence.

    • Like you I am frustrated and annoyed that we can’t just bash on with independence.

      However we are in the middle of a pandemic and nothing would undermine all the good will that the FM has built up by expecting her at this time to take the eye off Covid19 and move it onto Independence.

      Infections are showing a bit of upward creep, probably as a result of lifting restrictions, and we need to get these back down – then we can get on with independence.

      Today two unionist minded relatives for the first time expressed NO horror AT ALL at a suggestion that Scotland just might have to close its border with England. A few short weeks ago that would have been greeted with derision and horror and ‘well you would say that…’.

      This really is the time for us all to Keep the Heid – both with Covid19 and with Independence.

    • With you 100%. Im fed up with all the ‘however’, ‘but’, ‘middle of a pandemic’ excuses. Have any of the Nicola protectors thought about Boris (Dominic) saying yes to a section 30 order for a referendum after the Holyrood election in May, then controlling it to the extent they manipulate a win – end of Independence forever!

      • That’s a beezer, anyone thinking that way doesn’t believe in having a referendum at all. By their own logic it could NEVER be won because Cummings and Johnson would “manipulate a win” for their side no matter the circumstances.

        There can never be Independence according to you, or is that just wishful thinking?

          • Please explain why a referendum without a section 30 order could prevent Cummings and Johnson from being able to “manipulate a win” when you claim that one with a section 30 order would be manipulated?

            What’s the difference between the two that prevents manipulation of a referendum without a Section 30 order. This is what I’m not clear about since any negotiated section 30 order would have to be passed in Holyrood as well as Westminster before taking effect.

          • Postal votes Alex. In 2014 they were trucked to England before being sent back. 70%No!
            An indyref is best held with NO “assistance” from Westminster.

          • There will be postal votes in a referendum both with or without a section 30 order, I want to know what’s makes it possible to manipulate the one with the section 30 order but not the other.

          • With a S30 Westminster gets a say in the whole process, including how the postal votes are to be processed.
            Without a S30 Westminster has no say.

        • Alex – why do you think that independence can only be achieved by a referendum. For many decades the SNP policy was a majority of MPs at Westminster.

          • Cubby can you show me any evidence that Independence need only win a majority of MP’s was ever SNP policy. Do you have a link to a SNP policy document or manifesto commitment for such a claim?

            I’m well aware that Thatcher made such a comment but I see that in exactly the same way that I see the “once in a generation” comment by Alex Salmond. It was a figure of speech with zero relevance to the reality of how Independence could be gained.

            But to get to the point of your question, why do I think that independence can only be achieved by a referendum? The reason I have for thinking that is simple, we can only become Independent with the majority support of the people of Scotland, anything else would be called a “coup” and is doomed to failure.

            If you were a Unionist do you think that less than 50% support for Independence would allow the SNP to declare Independence anyway? That’s called UDI and that never ends in a good way, the Scots that support the Union would never accept that, the Westminster government would never accept that and would send in the troops to protect the Unionists if necessary like they did in Northern Ireland.

            The EU would not recognise a claim to Independence that had failed to show majority support from the population and neither would any other world organisation, it seems to me it would be much easier just to win a referendum and avoid all that, wouldn’t you think?

          • Alex – sorry I don’t think that as I never mentioned UDI, coups or any of the stuff you raised. You can get a majority percentage of the VOTES at an election eg 2021 as I have been stating as my preferred route for some time. What is the problem with that? It provides ” the majority support of the people of Scotland” if they so choose.

            Do you really think the SNP always had a referendum as its means of gaining independence? Whether you do or not is not my point. My point is that there is a perfectly acceptable method available at each election that can replace a specific referendum if necessary.

            The election can not be deemed illegal of course.

            Just as you say unfounded myths have grown up about various comments the same applies to this almost religious adherence to a specific referendum as being the only valid method.

          • You specifically related Independence to gaining a majority of MP’s at Westminster and claimed that to be SNP policy which is not the same thing as gaining majority support of the electorate.

            Using an election as a plebiscite turns that election into a referendum which I agree is perfectly legal, here’s the Oxford English dictionary definition of plebiscite:

            “The direct vote of all the members of an electorate on an important public question such as a change in the constitution.”

            In other words, the election then becomes a de-facto referendum by it being defined as a plebiscite election based on a manifesto commitment. If that party wins more than 50% of the vote then the referendum has been won. There are still issues though even with this approach, the main one being how do you define 50% of the electorate?

            That might be open to interpretation, I know how I would define it but I also think I know how opponents of Independence would like to define it. Note the use of the word “all” in the above definition. As far as I’m concerned we can only gain Independence with the majority support of the people of Scotland, but I’m talking of those that bothered to vote and not those on the electoral roll.

            Support has to be clearly shown and beyond doubt to be the will of the people, I don’t worry about how that happens whether a plebiscite election or a referendum, that’s unimportant as all that matters is we take the majority with us and prove that Scotland actually wants its Independence.

          • Alex, a long post to say that you can use the 2021 election to gain independence.

            Thanks, that’s what I have been saying for a long time.

            Therefore, we do not need to go through all these loops about legality or sect 30 or gold standard. So why not do it? Is the election not going to happen?

          • Was that not Mrs Thatcher’s idea as opposed to the SNP ? Did she not say that all Scotland had to do was vote for a majority of SNP MPs? And I’m absolutely sure she knew that couldn’t happen.

          • Yes She did (and not as a comment to encoutage a turnout for the referendum as Salmond and Sturgeon did) BUT actually in the House of Commons. Big difference!!!!

    • Nah , you’re wrong Achmony .
      NS isn’t frozen she’s progressing , 54% is proof

      The power grab by Westminster cannot be stopped , England has the majority of votes in Westminster , they voted in the conservative government , Scotland can’t stop it but we will use it as evidence , another nail in their Westminster coffin just like Brexit.

      Brexit won’t kill Scotland , we have survived worse and will survive Brexit.

      SNP , Scottish government , NS and others continue to do the day job whilst dealing very well with the covid19 pandemic but it’s not the time to add a campaign for independence , that will come soon.

      Hold steady Achmony , don’t show timidity and weakness by copying the moans and groans of the British press and the BBC , you’re a Scottish independence supporter which shows you have seen the light shining through the door of independence .

      We have been blessed with two magnificent leaders in reject times , AS and NS both have spent most of their lives on Scottish independence neither will give up til it’s achieved , many newcomers to the idea are not used to the slow but steady progress which began many years ago but has in fact never stopped , the covid pandemic has been the most effective campaign for Scottish independence ever because it has pushed NS to the front of the queue , everyone wants to hear what she has to say , she’s been the only reliable source for months , people on both sides have taken note , are impressed and that will be carried forward when the actual planned campaign for independence is announced.

      Whas like us Achmony , I’m sixty four I recognise talent when I see it take my word for it NS is a talent.

      We will win, see you on the other side of that door in a happier place

      • Terence, I think you are setting yourself up with – 54% is proof. If the polls start to say 47% does that mean the FM has failed.

        • Depends why it goes down to 47% cubby, but I celebrate success and think let’s give credit when it’s due.
          NS is leading scotgov and SNP so let’s giver her the credit for the 54%.

          If I have set myself up for a fall cubby it won’t be the first time, or the last, I bounce , I’m never down for long I live on the sunny side of life

          • Terence, I’ll give you 10 out of ten for resilience because you have taken a few beatings on line over the years but sure enough you bounce back again but often with a selective/faulty memory.

  3. Any law that says it is illegal to ask the people of Scotland how they want to be governed is a colonial law that must be resisted. The Claim of Right is a fundamental right of the people of Scotland. Call Johnson’s bluff and say the 2021 election will be used instead of a referendum as a mandate for independence. If that does not happen then we may just find ourselves debating the matter once again in 2026 like some perpetual Groundhog Day. That will be 10 years after the EU VOTE.

    If Scotland as a nation does not have courage to ask itself – do we want to be removed from the EU contrary to our 62% remain vote – then there truly is a problem.

    You are right we are debating how to get victory so we all should cut out the nasty name calling. Just put out your argument. It hardly encourages someone like me to place both votes for the SNP in 2021 to be called silly names. Sensible arguments yes.

    We need the leaders of the independence movement united.

    The Tories were soundly beaten twice in Scotland last year in the EU election and the General Election I remain to be convinced how another sound beating for the Tories ( as enjoyable as it will be) in 2021 will make any difference. A mandate for independence based on a majority of votes in a manifesto for 2021 can make a difference.

  4. It makes you wonder why the (ahem) ‘Scottish’ Tories should even bother standing in SE2021? After all, if their plan is simply to have the school bully sitting in the Palace of Wm veto anything the SNP does after winning, then they don’t even really need to lift a finger themselves. Even when the SNP win the landslide of all landslides, BBC Misreporting Scotland will find a way to tell the over 60s that the Tories won the election in Scotland – and they’ll believe it.

    That’s where our democracy lies in Scotland. ‘Lies’ being the operative word.

    • I’ve said it many times before – all the Britnats have are lies – oh and our resources/money.

      There never has been a democracy in Scotland – recent years are making that clearer to more and more people.

    • Jobs for the boys ( and girls ) , the Holyrood gravy train … that is why the Tories will still stand for ‘election’ – although they will depend on the D’Hondt system of proportional rep. to get them on the money train .

      People like Murdo Fraser KNOW they are unelectable ( unemployable even ! ) without this free pass to a really good living ( and pension ) .
      ”Scrounger-R-Us ” should be their motto !

    • How dare you impugn the intelligence of the over 60’s. I would bet they have a better understanding than you of reading writing and arithmetic and also have higher IQ’s judging by your post. People like you do not assist in the cause

  5. Looks like the next critical question may be whether the Scottish Government can, if deemed necessary by medical experts, impose border restrictions to prevent the spread of covid from our neighbour. Zero deaths but 21 new infections in last 24 hours in Scotland and clustered around the south and central Scotland. 687 new cases of covid during same period for all of UK, with the vast majority in England and especially high in the north of England.

    ‘Prof Devi Sridhar, of Edinburgh University, said that Scotland could eliminate coronavirus by the end of the summer if the decline in new cases continues, according to a public health expert’.

    ‘She said the challenge would then be how to stop new cases being imported’.




    • My mistake – The UK figure of 687 new cases was from July 17th. The figure for the 18th was 827. The figure for Scotland for the 18th was correct – 21 new cases.

    • 7DRA for new, +ve cases in Scotland as of today’s figures is 11.7. That’s the first time in 19 consecutive days that the 7DRA, Scottish figure has been in double figures (if you count 9.9 as being a single figure).

  6. Good to see an article about that key article. The speccie of all places!

    “Neither does Forsyth consider the effect on Scottish public opinion of an unpopular Prime Minister who enjoys little support in Scotland vetoing the outcome of a Scottish election”

    Nor does he consider the effect of that on English public opinion.They’ll get to see that before the B notice is put on such factual reporting by the BBC. And there’s even now, decent Conservative MPs left, or so it seems.

    If BoJo was still PM after such an election and ignored the S30, he’d be Gone in 60 Seconds.

  7. Thank you Paul. I was seriously depressed today after things I’d read recently. You’ve lifted my spirits. Please keep it up. Love to the dug.

  8. Forsyth – he’s forgot his old arse. He’s forgotten when he was the most hated man in Scotland. An obsequious toad who would crawl over broken glass for a crumb from Thatchers table. I enjoyed watching him and his party of bastards burn in 97. He’s yesterdays man. A vermin in Ermine. A Ghost of a Past Recession. But a timely reminder of how his party hates Scotland and everything it represents. Now Surname Surname and Wee Col. Ruthless Ruth are going to feel exactly how the tories felt in 97. They tried to say No to us in the 90s and we used our votes to break every bone in their worthless parties body. I am going to enjoy watching Boris burn in a brexit hell and I am going to enjoy the tories Scottish Sub Branch burn along with them.

        • Michael Forsyth is this guy 28 Feb 2012, HoL:

          Lord Forsyth of Drumlean: “It is nice to have something on which to disagree with the noble Lord. In 1603, we had the union of the Crowns. In 1707, we had the union of the Parliaments. The kingdom of Scotland and the kingdom of England ceased to exist in 1707 because the United Kingdom was created. Therefore, it is illiterate as well as misleading to suggest that there would still be a United Kingdom. If Scotland were to leave the United Kingdom, the United Kingdom would cease to exist. Whether or not the monarch went on to become the head of Scotland as head of state, the relationship would be similar to that enjoyed by Canada and Australia, but it would certainly not mean that the United Kingdom continues. For many people this may seem a kind of historical fact, but it is very important that we understand this, particularly when we have people in high office who seem determined to mislead people. I repeat that if Scotland leaves the United Kingdom, there will be no United Kingdom. I do not know what a kingdom represented by England, Ireland and Wales would be called.”


          Looking at the UK Gov White Paper on its power grab, that bit is very important:

          “particularly when we have people in high office who seem determined to mislead people”

          Like the way that White paper describes the start of the United Kingdom in paragraph 2.

          • @yesindyref2 “I do not know what a Kingdom of England, Ireland and Wales would be called”

            It would only include Northern Ireland as Ireland is now a Republic. So it would revert to its previous form which was the Kingdom of England. This would not prevent them changing the name to, for example, the “United Kingdom of England Wales and Northern Ireland”, but it would still retain its prior legal status.

            Explanation :-
            Remember the “Divine Right of Kings” allowed the winner( by any means) to annexe the losers territory and include it in their estate. Hence Wales was included after the Statute of Rhudllan. Ireland was first invaded in the late 12th century and became a Lordship then later incorporated by Henry8 in 1542 as King of All Ireland subsuming it under his existing Kingship.
            So when the United Kingdom was formed by Treaty between Scotland and England, the Kingdom of England already included “All Ireland”. The Kingdom of Scotland was NOT subsumed and neither was the Kingdom of England. The two parties merely agreed to a new legal “Joint Venture” styled the United Kingdom.
            The Union with Ireland Act 1801 was NOT a Treaty. The Irish parliament dissolved itself and agreed to send MPs to Westminster, Westminster passed an Act agreeing to the same. These were both internal Acts of parliament and NOT an International Treaty therefore did NOT change the existing legal position as far as Kingdoms were concerned, nor did it adjust the “Joint Venture”.

          • PS When James V1 King of Scots became King of England in 1603 there was No Union of the Crowns as the Sovereignty of Scotland was held by the people and not the Monarch else the whole lot would have become the Kingdom of Scotland and Scots Law would have ousted English Law. This was only a personal union, James held two distnct crowns on one head.

          • I don’t know what it would be called as it would only be the ‘United Kingdom of England and Northern Ireland.’ Remember, we have not been in ‘union’ with England since 1993 and I can’t say we’re unhappy about that.

            Basic timeline.

            1284 Statute of Rhuddlan/Wales imposes English overlordship on Wales under Edward I and the creation of the shire model on the country. English Criminal Law imposed but NOT Civil NOR Property law which are still administered under Welsh law

            1301 Investiture of the future Edward II as the first ‘English’ Prince of Wales by his father in Lincoln. Title is not hereditary and must be created for each individual at the appropriate time

            1535 and 1542 ‘Acts of Union’ between England and Wales with the 1535 Act stating that any reference to ‘England’ in law to include Wales unless expressed otherwise. Abolishing of Welsh law with regard to property and civil matters

            1603, 1707 and 1800 Various Acts and Treaties of Union culminating in the creation of ‘the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland’

            1746 Wales and Berwick Act confirms the 1535 Act with regard to statutory references to ‘England’ to include ‘Wales’

            1967 Welsh Language Act abolishes presumption that ‘England’ to include ‘Wales’ in statutory interpretation

            1993 Welsh Language Act repeals the ‘Acts of Union’ of 1535 and 1542. Wales no longer in ‘union’ with England

            1999 Opening of the National Assembly of Wales following a successful vote for devolution

            2020 Renaming of National assembly as the Senedd/Welsh Parliament which now has primary law and secondary law making powers within its own fields and based on a reserved powers model as in Scotland

          • Kangaroo, correct. One monarch but two monarchies. It doesn’t stop no end of Britnats saying there is only one monarchy. A monarch can call themselves what they want eg the current Queen but that does not mean Scotlands monarchy no longer exists.

            Personally, I would be happy with an independent republic of Scotland.

        • But it was a good rant about THAT Forsyth – horrid , snivelling little fella that he is. Add Rifkind too!

  9. I loved the patronising line in that article about how the Conservatives would distract the thick Jocks in Scotland from issues like BoJo trying to end Devolution and put the duly elected parliament of the Scottish People out of business, selling off the NHS and posoning us with chlorine in our chicken sandwiches, by talking about the education “problem”. Indeed, you see that with forum btl posters who try to deflect with the record on education which according to them is appalling. Which might antagonise a few dedicated teachers by the way.

    Well, thre was a poll showing Indy at 54% YES, then Swinney made a complete shambles of his U-turn from blended schooling to full-time, last minute before the school holidays upsetting a whole load of teachers about to take a well-deserved break from trying to put together remote learning, and then with hard work getting their classrooms ready for blended learning. and a week later what did another opinion poll show? 54% YES, same as the other. The Tories are barking. and not just up the wrong tree.

    But from that speccie article “If the Scottish National party wins an outright majority on a pro-IndyRef 2 platform, it will be hard to reject a request from Holyrood for another vote”.

    Considering BoJo’s reply to the S30 was “but but but you and the previous guy promised, sob, you promised it was once in a generation, promised, waah, I want my daddy”, the Tories will use any excuse, and if the SNP only had 64 MSPs out of 129, it wouldn’t matter if Greens had 30, and some ridiculous other indy party had the other 35 MSPs with NO unionist MSPs at all, the patronising Tories would still use that:

    “The Scottish National party DID NOT win an outright majority on a pro-IndyRef 2 platform, so we reject any request from Holyrood for another vote”.

    • I’m hoping you were being sarcastic about “Swinney made a complete shambles of his U-turn from blended schooling to full-time”, since if not, you just bought one of the failed BritNat media lines. The SG is preparing for the best (full-time) as well as the worst (blended schooling), the former having become a realistic prospect with its current success in suppressing the virus. But a relapse is very likely – just look at Melbourne and HK – in which case the latter option will still be needed.

      You can be as sure as the sky is blue that if there was a relapse and no fallback available, the first person out of the starting block would be Jacksaw Carless, berating the SG for its supposed fecklessness. That man is the real U-turn expert here. He’s so twisted he could do them in his sleep.

      You’re perfectly right though over SNP votes. The Tories are obsessed with the SNP. So come next May, every vote for the SNP is a step nearer our freedom. Don’t get diverted, peeps. If we all hold our nerve, this one could be our big winner.

      • grizebeard, one of mine is a teacher. I know exactly what a complete shambles, an utter pig’s midden, a stumbling thoughtless inconsiderate ignorant mess, Swinney made of it.

        • Don’t you mean the Education Recovery Group which is made up of teaching unions, parents groups etc as well as the relevant Scottish Gov ministers/officials?

          I have noticed before that the teachers’ unions are very good at suggesting Mr Swinney as the sole author of a decision when in fact they have been party to that decision eg scrapping unit assessments.


          • I panicked for a moment when I saw a J Murphy on the list of members of the group. Thankfully it was a Joanna and not my old neighbour the egg man.

        • The teachers worked hard on that original plan, I don’t doubt it. But having done all the heavy-duty prep, they are insisting on using it regardless just because? Even when circumstances may have changed to permit a potential full re-opening? That seems a peculiarly rigid attitude to take. Not least when there is a significant chance of a resurgence that may require the original plan to be implemented anyway? Will Mr. Swinney get berated by your kith and kin for another U-turn then?

          Seriously. We need to be more grown-up here. The teachers aren’t children. This virus is turning everything around, and responding to its evolution is the smart thing to do, not something worthy of condemnation. No-one wants to be in this position at all, not the teachers but not Mr. Swinney either. Curse the source of all this woe by all means, and the necessity of having to tackle it, but not the SG for being fleet of foot for doing so, please. It’s ungrateful and unwarranted.

          Otherwise, as Legerwood says. Labour-inspired demotivation tactics are more subtly passive-aggressive than the Tory kind, but they are at the same dirty game. And the teachers – like the Glasgow women workers before – need to be more savvy, and not let themselves be played by double-dealing unions.

          • My niece is also a teacher and she and others were fuming about the “U-turn” on their facebook pages, she has since changed her mind on realising that the work they had to do is not wasted and that even if the plan had always been a full return on the 11th August it was wise to have contingencies in place if the event that proved not to be possible.

            In fact any preparation now for all kinds of possibilities is the smart thing to do, could you imagine the uproar if the SNHS is found to be short of PPE if we have a winter resurgence?

            I think most people surely understand that it is better to prepare for the worst than simply do nothing at all and instead just hope for the best. That’s the route Johnson and his cabinet seem to be going down and I think we’re better than that.

          • A very smart post indeed. If there a massive virus out break this year in England and a shortage of PPE causing the deaths of nurses and doctors will the Britnat media call out the Tories for giving out “single bidder” contracts to their pals, in their usual dodgy way, who are u able to deliver the PPE.

            As you say, my son who is also a teacher, was initially pissed off but then realised it wasn’t a waste of time as it may be required in the future eg winter.

        • Peeps, the point I’m making isn’t about the rights and wrongs of a Swinney (I met him once, nice guy), it’s that faced with an open goal the Tories not only failed to score they stood around like the uppoer-class twits in that Monty Python. So if Forsyth thinkgs the Tories would do better focussing on education nexy May, good luck with that.

          Anyways, Alex has about the right of it, I suspect it may start with blended for a week or so, and then the teachers can rearrange the classrooms for full-time back WITHOUT having to come back in their holidays to do it (laughs). Or the schools will start a week later, i.e. same time as originally planned for most.Terence – no, the teachers weren’t all furloughed!

        • Incidentally, The National gave Larry Flanagan a platform before that, and it strikes me it’s possible that helped smooth over the later problems. Who knows? It’s like I say, And the Truth Shall Set You Free.

          • Indeed. As we know though, it often takes the truth a while to percolate (and never reaches some), while the lie has gone round the world twice, met your uncle and patted your dog.

            I was reminded today of the late US Congressman and iconic Civil Rights activist John Lewis, who notably said that the Civil Rights movement wouldn’t have had the success it had if there hadn’t been reporters willing to write about it, photographers willing to capture it, and TV crews willing to cover it. It’s painfully slow, but the truth is setting them free.

            We OTOH are still in the amateur league in comparison. Where are all the fearless media people here willing to tell things as they truly are, instead of selling us their paymasters’ half-truths and outright distortions…?

    • Teachers have mostly been furloughed for months on full pay their summer holidays follow that, I don’t feel sorry for them they have a job to do .
      I respect teachers they do a great job , there are always difficulties teaching children but there’s no problem with Scottish education that can’t be overcome they do a great job and will continue to so I think

  10. Existential ? Carlaw is probably looking up which of his invisible art collection is in that particular classification….
    Had read that particular Spectator piece earlier and shook my head at how narrow minded the perspective was, but it was Dr Jim’s comment on the Dugcast thread which encapsulated it neatly “…it’s never how can we work with Scotland to repair what we did to it, it’s never how can we repair the damage, it’s never maybe they’re right” that so neatly summarised the Tory condition.
    The Tories know the Union game is up, with half of England supporting Scottish or English independence their gravy train is derailed but for the actual crash and noise.
    All that is now required is democratic expression by Scots in whatever form, and Johnson et al are fighting half the country, they have indeed become victims of their own propaganda machine.

  11. Johnston will be voted out. Who wants the poison chalice. Westminster leaders who oppose Independence for Scotland do not last very long. The unionists will be voted out.

  12. Went off on a tangent last night and will do so today.

    I mentioned last night Giuseppe Mazzini. My history teacher taught me about him and the other actors in Italian Unification.

    Mazzini was a journalist, so the first point I want to make is that we cant understate the role Paul and others play in the independence debate. But in tandem with Mazzini you had Garibaldi the showman, for the publicity stunt etc, and you had Camillo Cavour the statesman.

    We have Mazzini and we have Cavour. We dont have Garibaldi. We need someone to fulfil this role.

  13. As Forsyth admits, those who campaigned most fervently in 2014 for a No vote are now in despair. He writes, “When I asked one of the most impressive figures from 2014 how things were going, the answer came simply: ‘It’s over. The horse has bolted.’”

    — Do you think they’ve read this? Composed a few months before Indy Ref 1, so some the characters have moved on. But Alba Lassie is still around – and looking to have her second chance. Enjoy – this is personally one of my favourites, even if it is one of the longer ones.


    39. (of 60.)

    The racehorse and the beetle

    There was once a racehorse called Alba Lassie who was kept on Union Stables. She was of a fine pedigree and would often take part in races on behalf of her rich owner. Her jockey wore the stables’s colours of red, white and blue and he was not averse to using the whip, maybe sometimes more than was justified. Alba Lassie did not win that many races. Even when she did, she rarely received any recognition from her owner, other than a few pats to her flanks and perhaps some extra sugar lumps.

    Alba Lassie was bemoaning her lot to herself one day inside her small stable when she heard a small voice.

    “What’s that you say?” asked the small voice.

    Alba Lassie looked down into the straw and saw a small gold and black beetle. The beetle returned Alba Lassie’s stare.

    “Who are you?” asked Alba Lassie, a little afraid that her talking to herself had been overheard.

    “My Latin name is Essenipus Victorius”, replied the beetle. “But that’s a bit of a mouthful. You can call me Alex.”

    “O-o-ok” said Alba Lassie tentatively. “Have you been listening to me talking to myself?”

    “I have” smiled Alex. “And I think your complaints are fully justified. Tell me what’s worrying you and I’ll see if I can help you.”

    “Please. You mustn’t tell my owner then,” said Alba Lassie. “I would probably be whipped harder if he ever got to know what I really thought.”

    “You have my word,” said Alex. “If you are willing to confide in me, then I promise not to tell anyone.”

    “Well,” Alba Lassie began rather cautiously. “It’s like this. Firstly, I feel rather under appreciated at these stables. You know the white horse – Saxon Lad – in the adjoining stable?”

    Alex nodded.

    “It seems to me,” went on Alba Lassie, “that every time he wins a race, he gets far more attention from the owner, the grooms and stable boys than when I win.”

    “Yes, I’ve heard you say that before.” replied Alex.

    “You’ve been eavesdropping on me before then?” asked Alba Lassie, a little concerned.

    “Don’t worry,” answered Alex. “Everything you tell me will be held in complete confidence.”

    “All right, then,” said Alba Lassie. “I lack friends who I can talk to.”

    Alex smiled.

    “Go on” he said.

    “I think the really big issue here is that I don’t like being in these Union Stables, anymore” said Alba Lassie. “Being made to jump those high fences on those racecourses and being whipped to do so …” she trailed off, and gave a shudder. “Why, to be honest with you, Alex, I don’t think it’s natural for us horses.”

    “I think you’ve some very good points there, Alba Lassie” said Alex. “If you’ll excuse the pun, you should run with them.”

    “I would,” replied Alba Lassie, “but you see, my owner thinks I have a stable relationship with him here. (He can make bad puns too, you see.) And he wouldn’t countenance the idea of me ever leaving Union Stables – except perhaps as a tin of dog food or some cheap equivalent of beef for the humans.”

    “You know as well as I do,” said Alex, “that your ancestors were always free. Free to roam the plains and be accountable to no human. That was – and is – the natural state for horses. You should aim to reclaim the liberty of your forebears!”

    “A fine sentiment” rejoined Alba Lassie. “But I can’t see how I could possibly do it. You know that I’m under my owner’s eyes practically every time when I’m outside this stable. When I’m racing, my jockey in the red, white and blue livery has complete control over me. That’s how and why he can get away with whipping me so hard!” Alba Lassie gave a loud whinny. “It’s horrible!”

    “Have you tried unseating your jockey?” asked the beetle.

    “Oh, yes! I’ve thought about that many times” Alba Lassie gave a bittersweet smile. “Thought about it many times, but never had the courage to do so.”

    “I think there was a time during the 1979 Devo Stakes when you almost went close to succeeding, though.” Alex smiled.

    “Indeed” replied Alba Lassie. But the bitter-sweet smile was still there. “But don’t you remember, Alex, my jockey pulled hard on my reins that day, and ensured that he didn’t fall off?”

    Alex nodded sadly.

    “And I was whipped even harder when I got home that night, I can assure you!” Alba Lassie continued bitterly. “I was even threatened with being packed off to the dog meat factory that very night by my owner. As it was, I was whipped and deprived of my usual after-race carrots. All of that bloody well hurt, I can tell you!”

    Alex was silent for a bit. Then he said, “You know, I’m an eternal optimist. I’m sure things will get better. Believe in yourself and there is no object that can stand in your way. I’ll personally see you right too.”

    “Are you sure?” replied Alba Lassie, a little fearfully. “But,” she went on, “I think I can trust you, Alex. Especially as I’ve told you all these things. Thank you for being such a good listener.”

    “Good night, Alba Lassie.”

    “Good night, Alex.”

    The following morning, Alba Lassie, Saxon Boy and all the other horses went out for their usual canter. It was a fine morning and all the horses were glad to be out of their stables in the fresh air. Saxon Boy was particularly happy – he was going to represent Union Stables at the Grand International that afternoon, and his jockey would be sporting the red, white and blue livery.

    As it turned out, the Grand International was a great success for Union Stables and its owner. Saxon Boy – against all odds – won the race and he was feted as a hero. His owner kept on slapping his flanks and saying what a magnificent thoroughbred he was. All the staff, the trainers, the grooms, the stable boys and the stable girls were to be complimented on ensuring that Saxon Boy was in such peak condition. The horse himself could be assured of further lavish attention and more treats than he could manage for the rest of his lifetime.

    The news of Saxon Boy’s victory of course permeated into the ears of the other horses. Most of them were pleased, and Alba Lassie forced herself to smile a little, before falling asleep later that evening.

    However, her sleep was soon disturbed by a loud “Psssssssssssst!” in her ear. When she woke up, she saw Alex, the gold and black beetle sitting on the manger.

    “Hello again, Alba Lassie,” said Alex. “Great news about Saxon Boy, don’t you think?” Alex bore no jealousies to the horses in whose stables he would visit.

    “Aye, right” replied Alba Lassie with a thin smile. “You said you’d be sure things would get better. Well, they have – for Saxon Boy. Not for me!”

    “Shush!” said Alex the beetle. “Things are better than you think. Tell me. What’s stopping you from marching out of this stable now?”

    “You know as well as I do, Alex”, replied Alba Lassie. “My owner has put a padlock on the door. I can’t possibly just gallop out of this stable into the fresh air by myself – no matter how much I want to.”

    “Ah.” Alex was smiling. “But what if I told you that your owner and his friends and all the Stables’s staff are having a big party at the house tonight?”

    “So?” Alba Lassie was unsure where this was leading. “So what?”

    “Well,” went on Alex. “What if I further told you that because of his drunken state, the chief groom, Cameron, has forgotten to padlock your stable door?”

    “You mean … ?” Alba Lassie was beginning to smile broadly.

    “Yes. I mean one forceful kick of yours to the door from one of your hooves and the door will open …”

    “And I will be able to take up my freedom from Union Stables, once and for all!” finished Alba Lassie, ecstatically.

    “You’ve got it!” cried Alex.

    “No more jockey telling me what to do! No more whippings! No more suffering the indignity of other horses taking the credit for my work! No more miserly after race sugar lumps – but my own treats of my own choosing!” Alba Lassie was practically dancing with delight. “Freedom from Union Stables!”

    “You’ve got it!” repeated Alex. “But remember, you won’t get a better chance than tonight! You must seize this opportunity given to you. You have the chance to obtain those things you mentioned if you act promptly and without a moment’s hesitation!”

    Alba Lassie nodded.

    “But if you don’t take this golden opportunity,” went on Alex, “you’ll probably regret it all your life. Your stable door will be padlocked again as it has been on all previous nights – your owner will not win the Grand International every year, nor go on a bender every night. He may well have spies here who are already suspicious that you’ve been planning a break out from here for a long time. They would think nothing of informing on you to the owner.” Alex paused. “And you know what that will lead to?”

    Alba Lassie sighed a deep sigh.

    “Yes, I do,” she said. “If I’m lucky, it will mean a securer stable. My staying here on Union Stables and getting more whippings and less food because I countenanced the idea of leaving. And …”

    Alba Lassie gave a big shudder.

    “And,” Alex finished for her, “And if you’re unlucky, a one-way ticket to the knacker’s yard!”

    “Oh, Alex!” Alba Lassie was almost crying. “Thank you for telling me all this! Thank you for being my friend!”

    “You’re very welcome,” replied Alex. “But remember. I’m only a facilitator in all this. The final decision on whether you take this opportunity to seize your freedom or not is down to you. I’m confident though that you’ll do right for yourself and regain the liberty that once was the mark of your ancestors.”

    “Yes,” smiled Alba Lassie. “I now know what I must do!”

    Parables for the New Politics

  14. There is a way the BritNats could rescue victory from the jaws of imminent defeat, and that is to enhance devolution not undermine it, implement full-strength UK federalism à la Broon, agree an EU exemption for Scotland, etc., etc.

    Fat chance. Just like High-stakes Cameron, the BritNats would rather go to the wall in a gamble than change their Anglosupremacist ways one iota.

    And go to the wall they will. It’s just a question of time.

    • The Brit nats by expediencey will simply retrospectively revoke Scotland ability to vote to secede.

      This is why Nicholas approach is completely flawed. It’s not just the section 30 legislation it’s the entirety of acceptance of Whitehall supremacy as the legislative power.

      We are ah doomed under Sturgeon.

        • I suspected and now I know you are stupid.

          Scotland is and was always in a voluntary union with England in much the way as the northern states and southern states of the U S were in a union to form the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. The civil war fragmented the Unity and the southern states declared not their independence from the north but their secession from the UNITY of the states of America.

          As soon as people like you know the difference the better.

          • Please refrain from insulting one another.

            Yesterday I put up a post called “Disagreeing without being disagreeable”. You’re being disagreeable. Please stop it.

          • Mbiyd
            Secession is not the word most Indy supporters in Scotland would use. But dissolution as it happens is also wrong, there are 3 ways of Scotland becoming Independent:

            1). Secession which means the UK continues and Scotland leaves it,
            2), Separation (which means both parts succeed to the UK) and
            3). Dissolution where the UK ceases to exist and both emerge as new states

            Which happens is up to negotiation and / or international community pressure / acceptance. Aidan O’Neill QC describes this in slightly different words:


            “5.2 They note that there are at least three different possibilities under international law:

            (i) Scotland is to be regarded as a wholly new State, with the remaining Union of England Wales and Northern Ireland (EWNI) being treated in international law as a (territorially decreased) continuation of the UK. The authors cite the precedents of the 1947 partition of India and the creation of Pakistan, and of the 1962 translation of Algeria from a series of départements integrated into metropolitan France to an independent State.

            (ii) Scotland and EWNI are each to be regarded as successor States to the divided UK. The authors refer in this context to the de-merger of the short-lived United Arab Republic (1958–1961) back into its original constituent States of Syria and Egypt.

            (iii) neither Scotland or EWNI are to be regarded as successor States to the dissolved UK. The authors here allude to the birth, in 1993, of two wholly new States, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, from the territory of the former Czechoslovakia.”

          • My money is on 3 above. The UK is a “Joint Venture” between the two Kingdoms(see above) and when it is over it legally dissolves, end of. So after a successful referendum the UK is gone, nullified, defunct, deader than a Norwegian Blue Parrot. After that we get into the negotiation phase and the players may agree to consider the other options depending on the perceived benefit/loss of recognition. Someone may want the UN Security council seat and that could be a big bargaining point, others might just want to be left in peace. Depends.

          • I think 1, with a mix of 2 for some things, using 3 as the ultimate bargaining chip, as indeed the rUK wants to be the cUK, whereas Scotland has no interest. Debt to be historical not per capita, hence now around £80 billion and 50% of GDP, rather than £160 billion and now over 90% of GDP. Share of BoE foreign exchange £10 bn, and a change from what I thought before, hard cash instead of the share of defence assets. Maybe a starter of a couple of OPVs.

            And make it snappy rUK Gov, or we dissolve the United Kingdom as we’re entitled, or you can drag it out over years in the courts and lose your security council seat, etc.

          • “The civil war fragmented the Unity and the southern states declared not their independence from the north but their secession from the UNITY of the states of America”.

            Yes, UDI. It was not recognised by any government anywhere in the world. History records this as an insurrection.

        • Paul,

          I have no issue with you intervening and I apologise for calling AC stupid. He knows I didnt mean it in literal sense.

          I’m fed up getting called a yoon Britnat etc for questioning the current path towards independence.

          I’ve always enjoyed your blog and have heartily attended the public meetings, bought the books, diaries, Gaelic maps etc but I’m now done I wont be disagreeing with anyone again on this forum.

      • Hahaha. More doom and gloom. Visiting the anti-Nicola Sturgeon / SNP site should come with a health warning .. ”Enter at your own risk. Visiting is not good for your mental health. Leaving you suffering from anxiety and depression.”

        Indy support is polling at 54% and Nicola Sturgeon’s popularity ratings are going through the roof, whilst Johnson’s are absolutely plummeting. What’s not to like? Oh right, she’s not calling for Indyref2 in the midst of the worst crisis ever to hit this country. She’d have to be totally insane to do so. Do what the crazy’s are calling for.

          • As Petra says visiting isnt good for my mental health and I do suffer anxiety and depression on occasion. So i think I will take a step back for my wellbeing.

          • Yes – my second attempt at being Mr Nice Guy. Will it last your guess Is as good as mine but it is better to try and fail than not try and then in my case try again. I was tempted to turn very disagreeable with Shagpile but I held firm to the point of WGDs post. If my willpower breaks it will probably be with Shagpile as I do hold grudges.

            I feel that turning all the independence sites in to camps for only one point of view does not help debate about independence. It certainly does not need bloggers slagging each other off and WGD has shown the way in resisting the temptation to slag off Wings in reply to his usual poor judgement when it comes to his personal approach to people. Pity James Kelly has not done the same. It is not very edifying reading independence supporting bloggers tearing strips off each other. That should be left to BTL – only joking.

            Talking about James Kelly – how can someone who was by far the best (and still is) poster of articles on the pandemic post so much poor stuff on voting at Holyrood elections. Just my opinion Mr Kelly nothing personal.

            I take your point Petra and will try to be less of a monitor of good behaviour and leave that to the site owner.

          • Petra, you may not have noticed that my reply above about me personally –

            “better to try and fail than not try at all”could apply to having a vote for independence and of course retaining our EU citizenship. It is of course better to try and succeed.

      • Mbiyd..no not at all we are not doomed to fail we will get Scottish independence and NS is doing an expert job, she has great experience and knowledge dealing with westminsters underhand nonsense calmly.
        If a majority vote for Scottish independence Johnston , Carlaw , Westminster cannot stop it happening , to be honest I don’t think they will try.

        Getting a majority to vote for Scottish independence is our aim

      • This is exactly the kind of negative knee-jerk response that is so beloved of the BritNat mentality. Don’t address the actual points of friction that if done honestly could arguably strengthen and save the Union – oh no, perish the very thought! – instead desperately sow seeds of despondency, gaslight furiously, shout down those sincerely expressing real concerns and dismiss them as “disgruntled whingers”, and otherwise do sweet FA where not actively trying to claw back the little autonomy we do have.

        This is the rot at the heart of the Union. Its supporters are in denial, desperately clinging on to the trappings of faded power, incapable of evolving and moving forward. They are destroying their preciousss from the inside out.

      • “The Brit nats by expediencey will simply retrospectively revoke Scotland ability to vote to secede”.

        No, to be able to do that, the UK would have to unilaterally withdraw from The Good Friday Agreement.

  15. You are probably correct in saying independence is inevitable, however it would make a huge difference to Scotland’s future if it could be in the near future. By that I mean before the NHS is sold, before food standards are destroyed and before Boris does a Maggie Thatcher on Scotland. That took 20 years to recover from.

    • Thatcher’s scorched earth policy towards Scotland took 20 years to recover from because we were/ are hamstrung by Westminster.

  16. I am not a Nicola sturgeon bashed, I have voted snp for longer than I care to remember,
    Let’s straighten some things out shall we for the sake of independence,
    Sly innuendos, derogatory comments or occasional sarcasm at those whom wish the enthusiasm and god speed to independence for our country to be included along with the let’s wait and see group, should be inclusive for all Scots, we all are unique,
    To insinuate that we must be in the wings gang, if we’re not with your gang is tantamount to being childish,
    It reminds many of us of bullies in the playground that try make you feel bad or ashamed of who you are,
    All opinions should be heard without the put downs and hints that those that do not think as you are, are not capable thinking ahead for the long term. many of us can and do,
    I am not in your gang or wings gang Craig Murray’s gang or any ones else gang for that matter that stays in a bubble,
    In my heart I stand up for the weak, the bullied and the suppressed, the elderly, the worker, the dads and mums that want to live and love in a happy environment, be that an individual man or country, Scotland is my country and the individuals in it, are my fellow countrymen and women, and we are being suppressed,
    If any one wants to go tribal, join the Westminster bubble.
    Scotland first, ego,s last

    • All opinions should be heard without the put downs

      Erm, no. Some opinions are just plain stupid and should be put down. Such as that it is possible to game the list system without sufficient name recognition.

      Or that you know what Nicola Sturgeon is thinking beyond what she says in public.

      • Mart, why use the term ” game” – surely your point is that no political party will get votes if they are not known to the voting public. Not many people will vote for any poltical party if they are unaware of its members and its policies.

        Does the use of the word game imply doing something wrong? If yes, what is it?

        Presumably if someone thinks you have put forward a “plain stupid” opinion you will be accepting of a “put down” without finding it disagreeable.

  17. In the run up to the 2014 referendum, the many disparate elements in the Yes movement were instrumental in building support for independence. But we all have to recognise that it has moved on. Independence is now mainstream. The 54% of Scotland that backs independence is made up of people who are not political anoraks, just people who recognise that their wellbeing depends on fundamental change and who are ready to embrace it.

    Support has held and grown and in the midst of a pandemic and Brexit it is set to continue to grow – very specifically because of Nicola Sturgeon and her talented group of largely female politicians. I know it’s difficult for misogynists reading this but Angela Merkel has been by far the best and strongest national leader around for years and I have no doubt that in Nicola Sturgeon we have a woman in the same mould.

    Disagreements among those who fancy that they are the real heart and soul of the movement for independence are a storm in a teacup in my view. I’m sorry to have to say it, to those who come here full of their own self importance, defaming the FM and promoting discord but – you’re just not that significant in the wider scheme of things. There is certainly still a role for genuine activists in bringing about our goal but only to the extent that they can keep their feet on the ground and their homespun remedies to themselves.

    Which brings me to the Tories and their little helpers in the Labour and Libdem parties. Collectively they don’t have a single intelligent policy for Scotland. How could they have, given that their goal is to subordinate Scotland in the interests of their London owners? Belief in international socialism was never widespread but it is stone dead now, along with blind belief in market forces and commitment to liberal values that turn out be illiberal and undemocratic.

    Scotland needs a clear mind to guide it through the turbulent waters ahead. Nicola Sturgeon is going to provide that. She is not going to be hamstrung by ideology and she is not going to be distracted by idle chatter from the sidelines. No wonder the Brits are despairing.

    • The FM is doggedly pursuing a course of action right at this moment to save the lives of every one of us in Scotland, when the time comes (which will be sooner than the detractors hope) she’ll pursue Independence for Scotland using the same dogged determination and save us from the hell hole politics of Englands British Nationalists (with our help of course)

      Johnson will this, Johnson will that, the UK will this and that too, what the detracters constantly keep focussing on is their psychic ability to read the FMs mind then run around the Internet with their gangs of followers screaming insults at their own poor pyschic predictive abilities

      I’m lucky enough to be a reasonably clever guy I even have a degree in being smart at stuff but never in my life has what passes for my ego ever gotten so big that I claim to be Merlin or Mystic Meg and it should make folk pause for thought at the people who do claim to be able to read minds, especially when it comes to picking sides over the choices of whose minds these people claim to possess this power over, it always seems to be Nicola Sturgeons mind they have access to, and they are so good at this mind reading stuff they can predict what she’ll say or do or think about in every one of the scenarios they themselves think up to present their argument that Nicola Sturgeon can’t in fact read their minds, because if she could she’d know that they must be correct and she must be wrong about everything since the dawn of time

      It probably seems pretty obvious to most people by now that Nicola Sturgeon takes her job more than just a bit seriously, and one trait that I’ve never seen in this woman is the inflated ego of her own importance, I’ve watched Nicola Sturgeon hold a baby while that child was being sick on her clothes just before she did a Telly interview, she just laughed
      I’ve watched her sit on the edge of the pavement in the middle of a high street chatting to kids and their mothers so she could get down to the level of the kids in prams
      I’ve also watched her choke with tears in certain situations

      I’ve watched Nicola Sturgeon like a velocirapter rip a hole in the opposition when she needs to in defence of her country, I’ve watched a sincere human being doing the best she can while intending to do even better under the most difficult conditions of any leader of any devolved government in these Islands with more hostile scrutiny than any politician Scotland has ever had

      Do any of Nicola Sturgeons detractors display any of the FMs qualities that they so vehemently attack on a daily basis, well they don’t do they, they’re either big mouthed sweary abusers or anonymous serial Internet thugs that you’d never in your right mind ever vote for,or indeed vote for anyone they’d recommend, just take a look for a second at the characters of the people who attack the FM and then ask yourself do I really think these people are genuine

      They present no evidence other than what goes on in their own minds, and we’ve all seen and read what comes out of those minds, so I guess I’ll be sticking with the woman who every day proves she’s sticking her neck out for me and mine by not hiding like other leaders elswhere, but grafting hard and taking everything that’s thrown at her also on my behalf

      The detractors offer nothing and promise even less, but there is one thing they do know
      they must get rid of Nicola Sturgeon before she succeeds, and they’re using all their psychic powers to do that like wee Sheldon Coopers trying to blow her head up with their (minds?) except he’s a comedy character, and really in a way, so are they

  18. I don’t know why Scottish Torres don’t just campaign on Scotland officially becoming a region of England. It is effectively the position they hold and it would show honestly and integrity if went for the full monty. I mean, obviously there is a silent majority of people in the northern English region of Scotland who just can’t wait to get their George Crosses out out the Cupboard and welcome the exceptional privilege of being English, which even some true English people (especially those with a funny accent of tanned skin) will never truly obtain.

  19. O/T

    If you’ve got the time delve into this lot. The Civil Servants in Scotland have been busy, such as Nicola Richards. Anyone heard of her?



    Another close shave.

    ‘Nuclear sub in ferry near-miss was being navigated by trainee.’

    A NUCLEAR submarine which almost hit a ferry with 282 people on board off the Scottish coast was being navigated by a trainee, according to the official findings of the probe into the near miss.


    • You’re an awfy tease Macart, but I’m hooked. Is it:

      1). Any positive case for the Union?
      2). BoJo’s plan to apploint Grayling as Judge Dredd in sole charge of the UKSC?
      3). Plans to make Gove the Governor-General of Scotland and issue 5.4 million reusable sick bags from a dummy corporation Grayling sets up?

      Am I getting warm?

      • Alex and yesindyref2

        Lots of talk about the strategic woes of the Conservative govt. and their northern franchise, but no mention that Scotland’s govt, Scotland’s population may just have a grievance to answer.

        No thought about Scotland’s population at all. It’s a common failing of the commentariat at the best of times tbf. So caught up in party political strategy, they tend to forget people I expect. (shrugs) 😎

          • It’s the greatest failing of the commentariat. The more they ignore the elephant in the room the more likely it will become the real story. Nothing happens without cause. When folk start to wonder about the why of a thing…. ? 😉

          • Questions are often good, as they make people think. Is it better to say:

            “The Tories are attempting a power grab, and want to destroy Devolution”, or

            “Do you think the UK Government’s proposed internal market is taking back powers from the Scottish Parliament, and will lead to the end of Devolution?”

          • Or… What was wrong with the devolution settlement? Why are people in Scotland angered/outraged/fearful? (fill in as appropriate) What did Westminster’s political class do/not do that has clearly upset so very many people? Why is it that media punditry so very rarely talk to people within the YES movement?

            Lots of very basic whats and whys really.

            Some folk are naturally so focused on party politics, personalities and strategies, they tend to forget… people. Some quite intentionally disregard and ultimately disenfranchise. Ordinary people do tend to mess up their zooper clever narratives and musings dontchakow?

            I tend to find that sometimes the most basic and obvious question is also the most important one.

  20. The thing I noticed missing was a name , just one even , there’s plenty of instances where mr Forsyth says he was told this or told that but he never once says by whom , it could all be made up, nonsense, just a story to keep his faithful readers happy.

  21. There would be more money to spend on education, NHS and Social care etc. It Scotland did not have to spend monies on illegal wars, financial fraud and tax evasion. Etc. Hinkley Point, HS2 and Trident, £Billions wasted by Westminster unionists poor, bad decisions.

    Vote all the Tories out. The Brexit mess and shambles. Wasting even more public monies. They have spent more than the whole total EU contributions on Brexit. Will £Billions more to waste.

    Westminster Treasury issued £1/2Trn in UK Gov bonds to pay for the epidemic. Brexit will cost even more. The Tory total mess.

  22. The Spectator. Johnston lies, Dominic’s wife. Lies. Andrew Neil involved. Lies. Neil’s programmes have been cut by the BBC. Cuts to the BBC £5Billion budget. The Tories stronghold.

    Licence fees charges for over 75 being introduced. Increases not very popular with voters. Average life expectancy 79. Going down in the South. Austerity and NHS cuts.

  23. Question anything about the current strategy of the SNP , and you are branded by the resident sweetie wife’s as a Unionist troll , a refugee from Wings , a britnat , a tory in disguise anything under the Sun you are it , the resident Sweetie wife’s are in for a shock when the inquiry into the vendetta against Alex starts .

    Question who in the SNP management removed Alex from its history ? who prevented Alex from entering Hollyrood , I think you will find both interventions came from the top , the very top .

    2014 – 2020 whats changed ? Hee Haw thats what and people are supposed to believe nirvana is just round the corner aye just one more push just one more election victory and we will be back to where we started , aren’t you people getting dizzy going round in circles ? maybe not maybe you just like a good chin wag and are perfectly happy going nowhere .

  24. I totally agree with a lot of comments on here and as I said before, I am not one for bashing Nicola sturgeon, she is doing a good job as our fm,
    Love exchanges of information to research that keeps us all on our toes,
    And ALL points of views.
    To clarify what I was trying to put across earlier,
    I used to look at all the Scottish blogs and sites, for instance leylands peat worrier and many others that have stopped blogging, so I used to do scotgoespop, now I very rarely go there due to the fighting and disregard for their fellow independence supporters, and closing down views.
    I used to go into wings over Scotland, but I very seldom go there now, because of the in fighting and closed views,
    Latterly I have only tuned into wee ginger dug and munguins republic, and now am thinking that perhaps I will just do munguins republic, where there, it seems at least all people can have an opinion, and come at independence from all angles to try keep the momentum going, without some one having a go
    It’s very discouraging when our own Scottish sites name brand and beat each other up unless you agree with them all the time. And I am thinking that I am not the only one losing faith,
    It appears that instead of flying high and motivating any and all newcomers to these sites so the YES moves up to 60% and higher, it turns oldies like myself off, I notice quite a lot of names disappearing from a lot of sites over the years as infighting has increased,
    We should all be coming together, happy as we head in the right direction, by a good leader in Nicola, and Alex beforehand,
    This is very sad,
    Losing viewers,
    I posted roughly the same remarks on scotgoespop and wingsoverscotland, I look in now and again, pretty hopeless.
    I will check in now and again here to see if things change but I won’t hold my breath.

    • Sorry, JC, but I’m puzzled as to why you are suggesting giving up on here, exactly? There are the inevitable troll infestations, which are at times challenged and otherwise endured, but I see no evidence here of the “suppression of views” to which you refer. Our host is a kindly fellow.

      But good luck anyway with your future browsing, wherever it may be. We all need some encouragement from time to time.

  25. Alex and Nicola. It’ll be interesting to see what comes out of the investigation following the rumours, speculation, manipulation and smears,



    I see that Ian Brotherhhood, on the other place, is asking when the Alex Salmond book will be published and hoping it’ll be before the end of the year. Craig Murray responds by saying that there will be no book and wondering where that idea came from. EH! This “story” has been circulating for months now and has never been corrected before now. That’s if the CM response is correct. Personally I’ll wait to hear what Alex and Nicola, only, have to say about this carry on. I’ll also be waiting, with baited breath, to see if the other “rumour” that’s been floating around, that is that AS may lead another political party, is just another old load of tommyrot that’s being used to manipulate people.

  26. Criticism is legitimate cry the critics who aim their criticism at someone who can’t answer back, then cry foul and cult and respond with abuse if anyone dares criticise them

    We saw and heard a great deal of this style deployed against us by the opposition parties in the run up to 2014 and since, now we’re reading and hearing the same tactic being employed against us by some of those who claim to be our allies

    We again we find ourselves defending our position against attackers and it’s a pretty poor state of affairs when you think about it, at least the opposition used to attack mostly from the front so we could see who we were fighting, now they’re slithering around pretending to be us

    Some of them aren’t very good at it though

  27. That is indeed a problem Dr Jim, because it means if you do not know for sure , who is who , you may be slapping the face of your own countrymen in the dark, and any one else trying to learn history or knowledge they were not taught,,and although they might get it wrong after long teachings of propaganda, at least they are willing to learn, to have an open mind, and not be so paranoid that they turn future friends and allies away.
    My sisters and brothers were born in Scotland, was I born in England due to my fathers work, but raised in Scotland, I have disagreed with my own family over many years because I thought independence is the right way to go for Scotland, while they did not,
    We still disagree to this day, but I have not lost faith in an independent Scotland, only in some of the commentators, making things difficult for a all inclusive independent Scotland,
    We are bragging that we are not like little minded England, that we welcome any one that wants to become a Scot, to learn and live amongst us,
    Paranoia will make more enemies than friends, and slapping the face of your own countrymen in the dark because your not sure…?

    • You don’t seem to be saying the same thing as Dr.J at all; your view appears to be that we shouldn’t criticise any posting, just in case it might come from a fellow supporter. Even when it’s fairly obvious they’re actually a BritNat plant? Or even those who may possibly be supporters but are strangely active right now spreading demotivation that can only give succour to our opponents? All views accepted without demur, utterly unchallenged, whatever their merits (or otherwise)?

      A thread without any debate, if that’s what you are suggesting, would be a sterile thing indeed. The only requirement surely is that it be conducted in a civilised manner, as WGD has oft made clear?

    • Liars are liars no matter where they were born or which country they live in, oh that Scotland were full of like minded people but it’s not the case
      People behave in all sorts of ways for all sorts of reasons, politics is the new showbusiness and there’s money in it or people like Farage and Galloway and others well known like them wouldn’t be involved
      The UK pays money and titles to those who would lie cheat and steal for them, they always have and that’s the Union those of us who support Independence would very much like to withdraw from, but in the meantime until we have success in that endeavour agents of the UK and supporters of the Union will try their utmost to prevent Scotland’s ambitions because Scotland is blessed with the assets they do not wish to give up and they will use all the tools at their disposal to keep it, these nasty people do it either for money or for bitterness or some for the sake of subversion because they’re that kind of people

      Scotland will remain in this cold war until the resolution of Independence comes, it cannot and will not be achieved by fake smiles and handshakes at the end of a village green cricket match, this will be a hard won down in the dirt drawn out scrap with the most unscrupulous vicious regime in the history of the world and those who support them, and they live here too

      It’s not paranoia to understand that there are dishonest people in the world especially when you know who some of them are, and we certainly aren’t bragging that we’re not like England, we’d just like not to be attached to their ideological political system where Scotland has no democratic purchase to enable any changes we’d like to make

      That said the Internet is not a reflection of the public at large but it is the modern tool of communication and the very reason why Boris Johnson himself has spread £5 million around on it to influence the point of view of the Union and to create hostility towards Scotland leaving it
      He already has the print media and BBC so honesty and integrity when it comes to people getting what they want are not priorities of those who would prevent Independence

      • What Dr Jim says, and Macart of course.

        Apparently Nick Hancock is suspending daily Covid 19 Updates for England because England’s stats have been unfavourably exaggerated in comparison with the hateful Scot’s and Irish daily figures because PHE has included deaths of those who had contracted Covid, recovered and then inconveniently died of some other cause.
        This morning, Marr. the reliable prompt for any befuddled Brit Nat guest, suggested that those who were recorded in error had had Covid 19 , recovered ,then ‘fell under a bus’.

        Marr’s resident fellow Brit Nat propagandist Health Correspondent almost muttered that the ‘over reporting’ only amounted to between 2000 and 4000 deaths overall. So it’s 63,000 deaths, not 65,000.

        I must have missed the thousands of hard luck news stories of Covid survivors falling under buses.

        Johnson was front page in the English Press showing off his new wean, and announcing that English LA’s would be handling local flare ups from now on, and would do so if there were a second out break this winter.

        England will now not be updated on a daily basis on the state of play, until Hancock gets the Covid 19 ‘muddle’ sorted. Could be weeks in the dark, could be for ever.

        England will just have to rely on blind faith, that Johnson Hancock and Cummings have the pandemic under control?

        In effect there is effectively a news black out on how well or badly England is faring from now on in.

        The English Government is no longer accountable to their voters.
        Cummings is running England.
        And the media duly oblige.

        Gordon Brewer bade his viewers farewell for the summer, and forever, as far as 75 year olds who can’t afford a TV licence are concerned.

        The laughingly titled Sunday Politics Scotland led with a review of the English ‘Papers, and Boris Johnson’s winter outbreak story leading, and what would happen in England from now on in..

        Mike Russell was interviewed and gave ‘shedload of new powers’ Brewer a doing, as Brewer tried to reduce the outrage of the UK Internal Market Bill to a row over chlorinated chicken.

        The other 24 powers taken back merited nary a mention.

        Brewer is either completely stupid, which he certainly is not, or he was being his usual Uber Brit Nat self, barking that the UK Government had written in to the White Paper that there would not be a power grab, and a diminution of Holyrood’s Powers. (My precis.)
        If it’s in a Tory White Paper, London wouldn’t go back on it’s word, surely?

        Brewer, who do you think you are talking to?

        His interview with Alister Jack was tragi-comedy gold.

        Doubtless fresh from mucking out the byre, Jack accused Russell of making the UK Single Market paper ‘political’, when it was merely an innocent ‘economic’ provision, and that bleached chicken and steroid beef were illegal, and would remain so after Brexit, but that Scotland Wales and Norn Irn would not have a veto in Brexitland but that tuition fees and plastic bags and minimum alcohol pricing were safe in Tory Hands….he faded into a rage as Brewer ran out of time….

        I have read the comments above..lively, heated, measured conciliatory, bar room brawl, a cacophony of sound.. brilliant!
        This is the fire and spirit we need; turn your guns on the enemy, not on each other.

        I prefer to let Brewer and his assorted Brit Nat Colleagues, and the occasional Yoon breaking cover to be interviewed on TV or Radio Gary and make right asses of themselves, to promote self determination to the Switherers and DKs.

        By their deeds ye shall know them.

        90,00 young women have been subjected to the Rape Clause UCS Inquisition since its introduction yet I have heard nothing from Leonard, Rennie, Findlay, Kelly, Sarwar, Cole-Scuttle, or the Blue Tory benchwarmers in protest.
        Because that would be attacking their precious Union.

        ‘The horse has bolted’ Scotland is an independent country now. We are arguing over the CDs and pets.
        We own 8.4% 0f the assets of the Bank Of ‘England’, my starter for 10.

        AUOB is an Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, with one binding ambition.
        Free Scotland.

        Rise ,Scotland. The ‘cold war’ is at an end.

        ‘This far and no further’.

  28. Thank you, as ever, for the blog, Paul.
    Being in Canada, I do not follow the Scottish press nor BBC misreporting Scotland, etc.
    My gut feeling is that it’s “game on” in 2021.
    I run into quite a number of young Scots in Western Canada, out here working, skiing, holidaying, adventuring. Almost without exception they are hungry for an independent Scotland, and they are opposed to Tory Brexit Britain.
    The energy, drive, vision, and dreams of our young people are what will make Scotland a nation again.
    It’s also nearing a tipping point for the world in general, as we desperately need to wake up, as global citizens, to better ways of being. The natural environment is what sustains us.
    Clean air, water, food, shelter. Global cooperation, not conflict.
    Engage the youth.
    See you soon.

      • Obviously a ‘fake’ Galloway account, Kangaroo.
        Gorgeous George is notorious for his use of alliteration and obscure words which he must think makes him sound like agreat orator, like Cicero addressing the Senate.

        His response to the ‘whataboootery’ anomaly of supporting a United Ireland, but not Independent Scotland would have been along the lines of:-

        ‘Solipsistic saprogenic saturnine scabrous sectarianism.’ surely?

        A battle scarred blowhard, who has become a cartoon caricature in his own life time.

        The Dead Tree Scrolls love him. Fills column inches, but nothing else.

    • I didn’t think it was THAT Bad. No wonder they need to hang on to Scotland’s assets. Time to fly the coop.

      • By RT’s reckoning it represents just 1 in 7 of the contract awards for PPE by the cabal in Downing street.

    • The Tory party – worse than the Mafia. At least people don’t knowingly vote for the Mafia.

      It turned my stomach seeing Tories out clapping for the NHS.

  29. Don’t think I’ve seen many comments on this even though it was posted late 2019.


    or this

    Horrific outcomes expected. Still the Tories will get their backhanders paid into their overseas tax haven accounts.

    • Thanks for the links Golfnut / Kangaroo. I’m saying thanks but when you realize what’s going on and know that our media is covering up the reality of Scotland remaining in this Union you just feel like pulling your hair out. Over and above the threat to our health and wellbeing we’ll see our farmers going out of business, having to sell up and the vultures swooping in to buy up their land.

      • Mike Russell gave a very good account of himself on the power grab/future UK trade deals in Brewers show this morning. It is a pity Russell has stated he is not standing in 2021.

        Alister (Union) Jack, on the other hand just lied his face off and punted the pathetic approach of just trust us we will never do any of the nasty stuff the bad SNP are saying. Trust the Tories – what a joke.

  30. I was caught up in the “frustration game” over recent months. Alternative votes, leadership challenges etc etc.

    The moment of change came for me was the stark comparison of the WoS site and this site.

    WGD reminded me by his approach why we are fighting for Independence. It is not to push our own petty case but simply to give future generations the right to shape Scotland.
    I have given up on the negativity of WoS and will focus on Independence WITHOUT any conditions of direction. The shape will come by those who follow

    • Well said on the “…focus on Independence WITHOUT any conditions of direction”, those who make “…the GRA reform bill or the Hate Crime Bill” or “Sturgeon is inept” a deal breaker for support of the most powerful force in the entire history of Indy is no accident of fate, it has been created.
      I’m not dismissing the strength of feeling of those raging against FM/SNP/Indy, but with “Brexit means Brexit” and “antisemitic Labour” still ringing in our ears having delivered the most calamitous clown plus entourage to #10 in British history, none seem wiling or able to see the parallels…
      For me, a Scottish passport will be quite adequate…

  31. I see wings has a guest contributor this morning.

    Guess what another attack on the SNP.

    The Unionist parties will once again be pleased.

    For the rejected SSP’s, trotskys, Rise and the rest you have to realise that if you really want Independence you must persuade the electorate first and foremost.

    The FM and the SNP are doing this in a sustainable way. Not one good poll then 4 poor. Sustained. It can get better to the point where we can confidently predict independence will be an inevitable consequence ( fingers crossed in a saltire).

    We all know the only people to benefit from undermining the SNP are the unionists.

    Question to the doubters and the underminers. At what % points do you say the SNP are doing well to encourage your support?

    How much blood do you wish to be spilt, what heads to be removed before you are satisfied?

    Truth is, for some I do not think you will ever be satisfied. Some have a different agenda and priorities.

    So it’s your choice to join with the unionists attacking the FM and the SNP as many did at last years general election but now as we approach the 2021 Scottish election campaign the rest of us will continue to fight for the right to self determination and Independence

  32. Years ago I had a mate who was a pretentious twat. I invariably ended up regretting any time I spent with him. But he was a mate.

    One day I mentioned my feelings to my wife. Being very honest and direct in her character she simply told me in no uncertain terms to cut the tie. My naive sense of loyalty had prevented me from even considering that as a course of action.

    I took her “advice” and never regretted it. A big weight was lifted off my shoulders. I’m sure he is doing fine without me.

  33. Step up step up says salesman Boris, and buy this new thing (car) that I’m selling, cheap HP %
    No!, c’mon over here says the Internet guy and buy this new thing (car) that I’m selling, cheaper %

    The SNP isn’t trying to sell us a new thing (car) they’re working so we can own the thing (car) we already have, then we can keep our own % and not hand it over to dodgy salesmen punting shit we don’t need or can’t use

    Why are we all posting on Wee Ginger Dug (apart from it being a civilised place) it’s a simple question with an even simpler answer
    Paul Kavanagh isn’t trying to sell us his version of Independence or he’s in the huff, he’s just advocating having it, that’s why I’m here

    You can’t tart up the car if you don’t own it first

    • I am an SNP supporter but not a member ( much to my SNP auntie’s annoyance) but I cannot support either the GRA reform bill or the Hate Crime Bill .i cannot vote for anyone who stands against basic biology. Transwomen are men. End of.

  34. We all have to follow our conscience Susan.

    Mine tells me that extracting Scotland from a British state that is founded on carelessly destroying the lives of peaceable people at home and abroad tops all other considerations. From that can flow a better, more civilised, world for my grandchildren should they choose it.

    • That’s it Arthur. The ”Bills” that are infuriating people aren’t just going to disappear into the wide, blue yonder if people decide not to vote for the SNP. The GRA, as an example, is a Worldwide issue not just something that the SNP pulled out of a hat to annoy people. These bills will be passed into law by the Unionist politicians if they take control of Holyrood. In fact if we get to that stage there will be no Holyrood at all and Westminster will do what they like .. decimate us … and pass further bills into law that we will absolutely abhor. You only have to think about what they are getting up to right now with the UK Internal Market affair.

      On the other-hand if we get our Independence, which can only achieved through supporting the SNP, we can tackle these concerns then. As of now the ScotGov has put the GRA on the backburner and if and when it progresses the Bill can be amended and of course Acts can be totally repealed, as was the case with the the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012. Time for us to keep our eye on the ball and not allow ourselves to become divided over issues that pale into sheer insignificance compared to what Scotland is facing right now.

  35. The situation right now is a mess Hamish (suiting the Unionists) with all of this talk about emerging list parties in conjunction with disparaging, to the point of slandering, Nicola Sturgeon / the SNP.

    I’m still not sure how I feel about that particular concept in essence, however what I am sure about is that more than one party would just leave us wide open to the Unionists either maintaining the status quo or in fact more than likely taking even more seats.

    The ONLY way it would work, imo, is to have Alex Salmond ONLY lead such a party, but has that suggestion just been another con to soften people up to accepting someone else?

    Then as we know every person that puts themselves forward will be scrutinised as has been the case with SNP politicians. Every midnight tweet would be mulled over, every misdemeanour blown out of all proportion, every dirty deed (if that was the case) headline news leading to the party going nowhere and worse still sabotaging the independence cause in its entirety.

    Then taking it that such a party was formed what policies would they put forward? Independence only or tackling issues, such as the GRA? In doing the latter, I’d imagine they’d be quite vocal about the issue which would then erode backing for the SNP on an issue that could be dealt with AFTER we get our independence, however in turn damaging the constituency vote. Additionally at the moment, in some quarters, Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP are being totally vilified to endorse the reasons for such a party coming to fruition. How does that make sense? Destroy the one party capable of getting us our independence to enable a wannabe group of, at the moment, anonymous individuals to get us over the line? That tactic of course will alienate SNP supporters (not all members) to endorsing them.

    And of course the bottom line is this, even if a new list party helped us to get a majority how would that equate to us actually getting our independence when the ”promoters” of such an idea say that Westminster won’t allow it under any circumstances? The latest argument being proposed is that ”neither are we of the opinion that Scotland is powerless to act without Westminster’s permission” and that’s it. Something that Nicola Sturgeon herself has pointed out. So that’s where we are at this morning; no mention of how they propose to get us our independence.

    However, I know what I’ll be doing. I’ll be supporting the SNP and either giving them both votes or the list to the Greens (a party that the Scots are familiar with). I’ve got issues with both parties but my overriding objective right now is to get this country out of the h*llhole that we’re in and then we’ll make sure that our politicians are their to serve us and not themselves. When that’s achieved we’ll have reached the point of the quote on another site.

    “I ken, when we had a king, and a chancellor and parliament men o’ oor ain, we could aye peeble them wi’ stanes when they were na gude bairns – but naebody’s nails can reach the length o’ Lunnon.” (Sir Walter Scott)

    • Seconded on the SNP/Greens, if indeed the system can be “gamed’ that is the way to play it if the Greens are willing to commit, the alternative current considerations are a Cummings feast…

      • In my region West of Scotland there is historical evidence to suggest voting for the Greens on the list but if you are in the South of Scotland the evidence suggests voting SNP on the list.

        Finding it hard to vote for the greens after the person (Greer) who benefited from my vote in 2016 calling me a cheat for voting for them. There is no gaming, no cheating, no didling – there wasn’t in 2016 and there isn’t now. It is a manufactured term to imply something bad.

        Of course, if the election is used as a mandate for independence then vote twice for the SNP for independence. If the polls are consistently saying a majority for independence in to next year then why not. I would love to vote SNP twice for independence. How can the bampot Johnson stop it other than cancelling the election.

    • Every independence movement has had people within it whose goal has been to destroy it. Their motives have been ideology, greed, ego, personal gain, blackmail, etc. etc. Scotland’s is not exceptional in this respect. Some hide in plain sight, others work furtively in the shadows. All are people who view decency as weakness.

      Overcoming these people is part and parcel of the challenge we face in getting to independence. As decent people we are reluctant to point the finger in case we hurt someone who is actually genuine and potentially that makes us vulnerable. The dregs that infest our honest discourse – and of course they know who they are but we can’t be sure – are just like all other run of the mill con merchants, they set out to deceive the unwary.

      So lets be wary. Let’s not engage with their sales pitch. They are out to sell us snake oil. Let’s st stick to telling them at great length and in great detail about the super remedy we have rather than focusing on their fake version.

  36. I am as fervent a supporter of Independence as I ever was, but let us not forget the impossibility of Independence now or in the near future.

    England can keep saying ‘NO’ forever.

    England can abolish devolution with the stroke of a pen.

    If the Tories lose in 2024, there is absolutely nothing to stop winners and losers at Westminster to band together and prevent another referendum.

    Civil disobedience? English and Scottish troops on the streets. It happened during WW1 to stop protests against profiteering landlords in Glasgow.

    Making under the table arrangements with minority Westminster governments? The Vow? Sewell? The 1970’s deal with Labour fell apart because of Labour perfidy; yet the SNP received the brickbats for helping to usher in Thatcher.

    So what is plan A, plan B, plan…XYZ ???

    • You lost me at the roundabout with “but let us not forget the impossibility of Independence now or in the near future”.
      Let me be frank Francis, equine excrement, excellent for roses…

      • Well Bob, show me the plan and I’ll gladly follow it. Tell me, how do we achieve independence? I’m getting a bit long in the tooth and I don’t see any sign of it soon: I’ve done the marching, the leafleting, the canvassing, the phone banks…nothing has moved on in the slightest since 2014.

      • Again, there is nothing anywhere saying that England can’t keep saying no; unless I’m missing something; if so please elucidate.
        Meanwhile the Ferret Fact Checking service points out:

        “Nicola Sturgeon could opt to push a referendum bill through parliament without a section 30 order, or begin a legal challenge against the UK government, but neither option would necessarily succeed. While it is theoretically possible that a vote could go ahead without Westminster’s permission, it would likely run into significant legal challenges and it appears unlikely that the result would be respected by the UK or international community.”

        • A sustained refusal from Westminster for a Section 30 order would create the equation between independence and democracy in the minds of Scottish voters. It would be unacceptable politically in Scotland – and in England. The pressure would build creating an unstoppable movement for independence and give the Scottish govt the political, moral, and democratic authority it needs in order to pursue independence by other means. Westminster would completely lose control of the course of events and be faced with the inevitability of independence. There would additionally be sustained international pressure brought to bear on Westminster to solve the crisis that it has created.

          We’re talking about politics – not law. Politics trump law every time.

          Given that Westminster regards itself as absolutely sovereign, it could theoretically pass any law it wanted. It could if it was so minded pass a law abolishing the Scottish Parliament. However it won’t do so because it would be politically unacceptable and create a storm of outrage in Scotland virtually guaranteeing independence. What the law says is not the most important consideration here – it’s what is politically acceptable.

          • So the support for a referendum is dependent on a sense of unfairness both sides of the border; but that can only be realised if one or more of the main Westminster parties creates that as a policy within their election manifesto; that’s not really going to happen.

          • Well it’s considerably more than “a sense of fairness” – it would be a political crisis. However you appear to be looking for some cast iron legal route to a referendum with a Section 30 order – there isn’t one.

            I really don’t understand why you believe that Scotland can only have a referendum if either Labour or the Tories commit to one in a manifesto. There is absolutely no need for that. There was no manifesto commitment from David Cameron to a Scottish referendum in 2012 when he signed the Edinburgh agreement with Alex Salmond.

            As I said before, this is a political issue and will be solved through politics. Scotland will achieve independence if enough people in this country are committed enough and determined enough to make sure it happens.

        • The higher the level of support we get Francis the greater our chances of winning this battle, imo, for example Westminster couldn’t just ignore say polls showing at least 60% backing for independence and hundreds of thousands of Scots taking to the streets .. peacefully. Along the way of course we have some of the best brains in the UK working on how to get us out of this Union.

          • Of course England can keep ignoring us. Thousands have and no doubt will keep marching for independence, me included; up till now it has made not a blind bit of difference; mere displacement behaviour. Polls at 54%? Might work to get Brexit through; Nicola says that 60% YES for a sustained period might persuade England; I hae ma doots.

  37. Hi Francis, I have to assume from your comment that you are new to WGD. Rather than me writing a lengthy piece that would inevitably be less well written, I suggest you look back over Paul’s previous posts and you will find the answers you’re looking for.

    • I’ve read him for years. His writings are stirring stuff and great riffing against the lies of the yoons, but I would have noticed some coherent strategy.

      I also go to many of the usual sites; but like WGD it’s all what-ifs and maybes; no coherent plans; I’m also a member of the SNP: steady as she goes SNP; even march them up the top of hill and back down again SNP – but again nothing that remotely resembles a plan.

  38. Petra @ 2.14pm and 2.47pm
    The Gender Recognition Act 2004 is the Act that it is proposed should be amended. The proposal to ammend that act came from a House of Commons Committee in 2016 after they had reviewed the Act and how it was working. It has been in effect for 15 years and to date around 5,000 people in the UK have had their change of ID legally recognised. It is estimated that another 250,000 – 500,000 people are living as trans but have not gone through the process to have their ID legally recognised. A form of ‘self-ID’ if you like.

    People seem to believe, or have been led to believe, it is solely an SNP/SG initiative. It is not. Here is a timeline/background to the whole process which is now on the backburner here and in England and Wales:

    The GRA Act 2004 was passed by the UK Government in response to a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (EHCR). Holyrood agreed to the Act in 2004 via a Sewel Convention.

    So Gender Recognition has been in place since 2005.

    In 2016 the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee recommended reform of the Act

    In the 2016 Holyrood Elections every party included reform of the GRA in their manifestos.

    In 2018 the UK Government consulted on reforming the GRA in England and Wales. The results of that consultation have not been published. The Scottish Government carried out a 16-week consultation in 2018 to which there were 15,000 responses which were independently analysed. Since then further concerns have been raised therefore the SG has withdrawn the proposed Bill that was the subject of the consultation and restarted the process from scratch. Ms Somerville outlined what the SG proposed in her statement to Parliament in June 2019 where she said:
    “However, I am acutely aware of how divided opinion is on this issue and I want to proceed in a way that builds maximum consensus and allows valid concerns to be properly addressed. For that reason, we will not introduce legislation to Parliament immediately. Consultation on draft bill
    Instead it is my intention to publish a draft Gender Recognition (Scotland) Bill later this year.
    The Bill will be formally introduced to Parliament only when there has been a full consultation on the precise details contained within that draft bill.
    This consultation will include draft impact assessments, including a comprehensive updated Equality Impact Assessment, to ensure that all rights are protected in a balanced way.
    This additional step in the process will, I hope, give parliament and all stakeholders the opportunity to consider and respond to specific proposals. And it will allow discussion to move from the general to the detailed.
    All aspects of the draft Bill will be open for consultation. We will take forward the legislation when that process has taken place and we are content that responses have been analysed, concerns allayed and that we can introduce a bill that has the support of this Parliament and the of public. We will inform Parliament of the timetable for legislation once this process has been completed.””
    Note: the consultation ended on 17th March 2020.

    This is a link to the full statement Ms Somerville made to the Scottish Parliament in June 2019


    And a further quote from the statement on women only spaces such as toilets.
    “”One particular area of concern that has been raised about gender recognition reform – both during and since the consultation – is the impact it will have on the provision and protection of single sex or women only spaces and services.
    “Presiding Officer, it is vital to be clear on this important point.
    “The Equality Act [2010] already allows trans people to be excluded, in some circumstances, from single sex services where that is proportionate and justifiable, including where a trans person has legal recognition. The Government’s proposals to reform the Act will not affect that position.””

    • Legerwood, you lost me at ‘ It is estimated that another 250,000 – 500,000 people are living as trans but have not gone through the process to have their ID legally recognised. A form of ‘self-ID’ if you like.’

      ‘It is estimated’ means nothing.

      If there are 500,000 souls, then there are roughly 40,000 in Scotland.
      I live in the most populous area of Scotland. I have yet to meet one, and I get out a lot.

      I simply don’t believe your tenuous assertion.

      I’d further suggest that this is yet one more garden path the Brits are trying to drag us down.
      And possibly career SNP ‘insurgents’.
      No man with a five o’clock shadow wearing a dress will get past me as he attempts to enter a store changing room in which my Everlovin’ is trying on clobber.
      If by stating this, I am breaking the law and will be arrested, then this country really has lost it.
      Consider this my contribution to the Consultation Phase.

      • Jack Collatin,
        The source is a short paper issued by the UK Government’s Equality Office. The short paper summarising the main points is called “Trans people in the UK”

        There is a link to the paper here:

        The estimate is a tentative one. The Office for National Statistics is researching whether and how to develop a proper estimate.

        I would have included this link in my first post to support the figures I quoted but I believe there is a two link limit on links in posts. More and it would have gone to moderation.

        • You have to note though that the UKGov latterly dropped the whole issue like a hot potato. They at least have their political antennae working. Their constitutional focus is laser-locked on Brexit, getting that done. The SG could well learn something from that devotion to purpose. One constitutional issue at a time isn’t enough?

          • Grizebeard
            The SG has parked the GRA issue. But from all the noise from certain quarters you would be hard put to know that unless you pay close attention to primary sources

          • If that is substantive rather than merely temporary – and I have no reason to doubt your evident knowledge of the matter – it is good news indeed. I for one was unaware of it, so thanks. Worth knowing.

            I guess where there’s a vacuum (even if more apparent than real) there will always be someone willing to fill it. Especially in these febrile times.

        • Indeed, Legerwood.
          I realised that you hadn’t plucked the figure out of thin air; my observation stands.
          An ‘estimate’ that allows for 100% error has no statistical significance.
          How did they arrive at the figures?
          Nobody knows.
          Let’s not be side tracked much longer.

    • Well thanks for that clear and concise timetable of events, Legerwood. Too bad that you can’t post it elsewhere to dispel some of the ‘myths’ that are floating around. When I get the time I’m going to see what has transpired in countries like Ireland where it was implemented in 2015, such as have they encountered any major problems / opposition?

      • Petra,

        Here is another piece of info for you. This time on sports and participation by trans people. It is a section in the 2004 Act.

        “”GRA 2004 Sport

        “”(1)A body responsible for regulating the participation of persons as competitors in an event or events involving a gender-affected sport may, if subsection (2) is satisfied, prohibit or restrict the participation as competitors in the event or events of persons whose gender has become the acquired gender under this Act.

        (2)This subsection is satisfied if the prohibition or restriction is necessary to secure—
        (a)fair competition, or
        (b)the safety of competitors,
        at the event or events.

        (3)“Sport” means a sport, game or other activity of a competitive nature.

        (4)A sport is a gender-affected sport if the physical strength, stamina or physique of average persons of one gender would put them at a disadvantage to average persons of the other gender as competitors in events involving the sport.

        (5)This section does not affect—
        (a)section 44 of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (c. 65) (exception from Parts 2 to 4 of that Act for acts related to sport), or
        (b)Article 45 of the Sex Discrimination (Northern Ireland) Order 1976 ( S.I. 1976/1042 (N.I. 15)) (corresponding provision for Northern Ireland). ]

        So, if properly understood and applied then another myth busted?

        • Thanks for that Legerwood and yes another ”myth” busted. Both of your posts on this subject are well worth holding onto, so I’ve just popped into my little archive. Thanks.

  39. Six years. Just six.

    Doesn’t seem like much, does it? Yet it’s felt like an eternity. EVEL, Brexit, faux devolution settlement and the betrayal of the vow, Austerity legislation, and finally a worldwide pandemic handled in the most catastrophic fashion by the padded shoulders of the Howf on the Thames.

    Six years to win over the opinions of nine percent of Scotland’s population. Doesn’t seem much. But if you offered any political movement or party on the planet nine percent of a life changing decision over the same period, they’d probably bite your arm off up to the shoulder.

    Worth a thought.

    Seems the YES movement’s unwillingness to get back in that tin and hold out a hand might have had something to do with that. 😉

    • I just wonder how people like Nicola Sturgeon must be feeling about all that has transpired over the last six years with one thing after another being thrown at her, Macart. And now of course she’s having to deal with this pandemic and the inevitable economic fallout from it. Speculating no doubt about how she’ll steer an independent Scotland through such forthcoming challenges with the ”opposers” continuing to screech from the sidelines. Won’t be easy for her.

      • She looks tired and no wonder, she needs to take a break for a couple of weeks as the chances are she will still be dealing with serious issues over Covid-19 through the winter. In fact, it is highly likely that the next wave could be worse.

        I’m not being a doom monger but have read a report last week by Imperial College, in fact, 37 scientists took part in the preparation of this report and it was commissioned by Patrick Vallance on behalf of the UK government.

        Johnson has chosen to ignore it’s findings it would seem, hence the different messages from both camps over the weekend. Scientists are getting nervous about the political decisions and who could blame them. Nicola Sturgeon will have read this report too and it’s no wonder she looks tired.


        • They all look tired Alex. Anyone with a conscience and dealing with this and its effects the world over. Some governments and their politicians, medical staff, care staff. Communities, families who’ve suffered loss directly or indirectly through the pandemic. You can see it in the eyes.

        • And the Britnats are likely to exit the EU transition period in the middle of it with no deal. Total madness on stilts. If this happens people should be queuing around Charlotte square waiting to beg the FM to get us the hell out of the UK.

      • When I was a wee girl a long time ago I remember people used to ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up. Well if I was a wee girl now I certainly wouldnt want to grow up and be Nicola Sturgeon. The woman gets so much crap thrown at her from the Yoony Loonies and of course Indy fundamentalists it must seem that she is existing in Shieldhall Sewage Works

          • It is a figure of speech they are throwing verbal crap at her all the time. Look up fundamentalist in the dictionary and use your imagination re certain parts of the Indy movement at the current time. Strict adherence to a certain set of beliefs is one example of fundementalism

  40. Millions of people use mixed changing rooms everyday without any problems or bother.

    Women are safer in mixed changing rooms. There are more people going about. Safety measures are put in cameras etc. It allows more women/people to use the facilities. It allows more women to exercise and swim. In shops sensible measures can be taken with separate cubicles etc and staff available.

  41. I really don’t get all those with defeatist attitudes that moan “we cannae dae it, England won’t let us”. Seriously what is the point of that?

    Did the Scots have that attitude before the Battle of Bannockburn? A good manager before a big game tries to motivate his players, he might give them an uplifting speech, even promise bigger bonuses. He does that in order ot motivate the team, the last thing he would ever do is say “it’s Liverpool today, we’ve nae chance, never mind but.

    These look like stupid analogies but that’s what the moaners look like, the most common is we’ll never get a referendum usually combined with “they plan to scrap Holyrood”. I think much of this is wishful thinking on the part of those saying it because if I was a Unionist then absolutely I would be trying to demoralise the Yes movement.

    I can understand genuine Independence supporters being demoralised but why do they appear to feel the need to make the rest of us feel the same and share their depression with their downbeat reasons for giving up!

    It won’t be me getting down, I’m more positive than I’ve ever been that Scotland will be Independent, there are steps to be taken, hoops to be jumped through, threats to be made, battles to be fought. See at the end I along with 54% of Scots will still be standing and we will take back our Independence.

    Now is not the time for losing hope, it’s the time to be more positive in your actions to convince others and never let the bastards grind you down. We are actually winning and it shows by the increase in attacks on Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP. We stick together and that’s how we win.

    • In fact, it strikes me that those most haunted by (the backsliding of) 2017 are the very ones whose disengagement is most likely to repeat it.

      Given recent events, support for the SNP is (rightly) on the rise, so it’s time to be confident, think positive, aim high, inspire others.

  42. In respect to Unionism nobody ever seems to demand *the plan* or they’re not going to vote for them, Unionism does things on the hoof and their supporters immediately fall into line and defend whatever it is their leaders come up with, even if it were eating green goldfish they’d defend the new fantastic world beating plan

    Amongst the Yes movement in Scotland we have a selection of armchair politicians, strategists, psychics, experts and long lists of other folk making more demands of the SNP government than all the opposition and media FOI requests put together, yet the opposition make claims about the SNP being a cult, I kinda beg to differ on that, it actually looks a lot more like the other way round

    People must be governed and governed firmly with discipline is the old and still *British* way of keeping their possessions and (terri tories) in order, I split the word territories deliberately because originally the meaning of the word Tory was anyone who supported the English party later to become the British party

    One could see the word Terri having been extracted from the word Terra meaning land and when you put the two together you get English land, in the Hindi language the word Tory means an American who supported the English
    The word Conservative means (averse to change or innovation) so do these values command more respect through co-operation, no, they demand ideological obedience

    Do we have more dissenting voices in Scotland because the SNP are socially liberal (small L) too nice too co-operative, or could it be there is less respect for them because they’re not idiological nasties so nobody fears them like the English land party with the ability to crush if it suits them

    When you examine the attitudes of both parties SNP and English Land Party doesn’t it make you wonder why anybody with the intelligence to ask the amount of questions we Scots do would ever vote for the English Land Party

    • Strangely enough, in England it’s the BoJo-Cummings “Conservatives” who are the radicals (Brexit and all) and Starmer’s Labour who are the (small-c) conservatives.

      As for their Northern outposts, the once proud Scottish Tories are now spineless wave-in-the-winds, and the Labour lot are even more conservative than their southern counterparts.

      It’s a world-upside-down for the BritNats right enough.

  43. The thing is, if every Independence supporter said “It’s great, Sturgeon is wonderful, the SNP are perfect, let’s’ sing Kumbaya”, the rest of Scotland would tune out very quickly.

    But if you have people with YES badges saying “Sturgeon has given up on Independence”, it could have people who aren’t currently Indy supporters thinking “Has she?”. And then “Should she?”. and later, “Do I want her to?”. “Sturgeon should be sacked” – “But she’s way better than Boris over Covid-19, why should she be sacked?”.

    And you get those who say “Sturgeon is an MI5 plant”. Well, that one would just get people laughing, and humour is good even if not meant, and if you can get someone to laugh you’re halfway to a sale.

    Kerching! Another YESser, welcome to YES.

    Perhaps if Independence is going to win, it’s going to win regardless of what we do and say, just as long as we do and say something to keep it in mind, and not let people forget, like, ever. And every so often some of us are going to say exactly what those current NO voters are thinking, and they’ll be, like “Hey, they’re just like me, but they support Independence whereas, well, I don’t know now, I’ll have to think about it.”.

    • Pretty much.

      Upon a time the narrative of the establishment policy gonk and their media chooms was that ‘nats’ were a cult. Well. They kinda lost the moral and logical background on both nattish and cultish behaviour over the past six years. 🙄

      All of us together, All under one banner, ALL parties and no parties. They aren’t serving suggestions. They’re the fundamental basis for a population.

      We don’t have to agree on everything, or even like the party of government in Scotland. We simply have to believe it’s OUR government.

      • They tried the “Cult” thing, and at the same time they tried the “Split” thing. People are like “Eh? They can’t be both!”. Splits really are healthy, it’s a part of a functioning democracy. The UK Tories used to have them, now they’re plain unhealthy, feart to raise dissent.

        I did wonder if some of the critics who have been getting column space since shortly after the Ref, were actually plants. They always managed to get themselves attention in a hostile media. And of course that way, keep Independence alive, without Sturgeon and the SNP being accused of going on and on about Indy. not with any justice anyway. The Scottish Tories just make themselves look stupid by trying to say Sturgeon goes on about it, people have heard her just going on about Covid-19 – and making sense. So much so, the media are increasingly asking her about Independence! Good stuff.

        Yes, Indy needs all of us, all policies and none, all parties and none. Independence means all policies can be implemented, it’s just up to us then to vote for the ones we want, or the party which comes closest to whatever our ideology is.

  44. Iain Martin’s article from last Friday’s Times, and he is frank about the Unionist’s chances next May.

    “Our Union has never been in greater peril
    Nationalists are plotting to use Tory unpopularity and the upcoming Scottish elections as the springboard to break away
    Iain Martin
    Friday July 17 2020, 12.01am, The Times

    This government is not short of crises. It must kick-start the economy, work out how to safely handle the debt markets that will determine Britain’s ability to finance a deficit of more than £300 billion, and get through the looming public inquiry on the pandemic. To all that and more can be added an impending constitutional crunch over Scottish independence that, if mishandled, will mean the break-up of the nation.

    Boris Johnson does not have long to prevent this disaster, with Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, on course to smash the opposition in the devolved elections scheduled for May next year.

    What has catalysed this coming crisis is Covid-19. Poor handling of the pandemic by No 10 has altered the dynamics dramatically, supercharging the SNP and obscuring its appalling domestic policy record. Although many of the mistakes that the British government has made were replicated in Edinburgh by Ms Sturgeon, her confident handling of the public relations side of the crisis has impressed voters. She faces little challenge from a browbeaten media and every day her press conference is beamed live to the nation. The contrast with the mixed quality of the rolling cast south of the border has been striking.

    For the first time the default assumption in Scotland among depressed unionists appears to be that independence will happen when the pandemic dies down. Many Scottish voters seem uninterested in practical considerations, such as the fact that only the borrowing power of the British state could have bailed out workers on the scale required during the crisis. They see independence, in a phrase familiar to Brexiteers, as being driven by an emotional desire to take back control from Mr Johnson.

    With a bigger majority in Edinburgh next year Ms Sturgeon can legitimately demand a second independence referendum in the autumn or in 2022. Meanwhile, No 10’s overconfident strategy rests on simply saying “no” ever louder when the Nationalists demand another vote. The assumption seems to be that, after a while, the SNP will grow bored.

    I have bad news for the prime minister. The SNP thinks it is almost there and that Mr Johnson, who now polls almost as badly in Scotland as the executioner who dispatched William Wallace, is its winning card.

    It will be all but impossible for the PM to refuse demands for a second vote if there is a strong Nationalist majority built on a manifesto pledge to hold a referendum. If 75 per cent or more of MSPs are for independence, the potential for the Nationalists to mount a campaign of peaceful but messy civil disobedience — to fire up opinion on the perfectly reasonable basis that Scots should be allowed to settle this soon in a referendum — is obvious.

    This week the skies darkened further for unionists. A breakaway group of hardline Nationalists is planning to establish a new party, an Alliance for Independence, to stand in the elections. That might sound like bad news for the SNP but the new party will stand only in the regional list element of Scotland’s devolved proportional voting system. The idea is to build a “super-majority” of pro-independence MSPs and reduce the unionist parties to ruins.

    If the result of recent polling is replicated, out of 129 seats the SNP could win all the 73 first-past-the-post constituency seats, with the new party taking perhaps 30 on the list.

    The tide is already with the SNP. A poll published this month suggested that 54 per cent of Scots favour independence. The pollster Professor Sir John Curtice says that the future of the Union has never been so uncertain.

    In England, too, the ties may be fraying. A Panelbase poll this week recorded 49 per cent of English voters favouring English independence.

    It is not a surprise that many English have grown weary of the SNP’s endless grievances. It is like listening to a bagpiped lament played on a windy day, the sound rising and falling in and out of range but always droning on. Many an English voter will admit, privately, that they really would rather the Scots either put a sock in it or leave.

    If the unionists had a leader they might be able to fight back. They do not. The charismatic Ruth Davidson walked away from the leadership of the Scottish Tories last year, and the other demoralised parties are nowhere.

    This vacuum is highly dangerous. It means that Mr Johnson, and the key figure of Michael Gove, a Scot, need to find allies quickly who can work up an argument for Britain that blends emotional appeal with geopolitical reality and blunt economics. Mr Johnson and Mr Gove need to be ready for a referendum that, unless they somehow get lucky, history is going to force them to fight. Figures from other parties will be needed. Mr Johnson’s deepening unpopularity in Scotland in the wake of the coronavirus means he cannot conceivably front a campaign.

    On the economics, Scotland leaving the UK would clearly be much more difficult even than Brexit. Scotland is entwined via currency, pensions, welfare and a large public spending shortfall. But the Brexiteers know from 2016 that many voters value emotional appeal above dry-as-dust economics. This battle is coming and it will be extremely tough to win.”

    And a follow-up letter from one if its readers, which describes what Martin left-out of his article:

    “Sir, While Iain Martin is right to argue that the writing is on the wall for the UK (“Our Union has never been in greater peril”, Comment, Jul 17), I would dispute his assertion that the catalyst has been the management of Covid-19 by the Westminster government, incompetent though this has been. The real driving force has been Brexit — the English nationalist, populist project promoted by the prime minister and his acolytes that 62 per cent of voters in Scotland rejected. It is a matter of time before Scotland becomes independent and joins the union that it wants to be part of: the European Union.
    Richard Wright
    London NW8”

    And the Times is not the most significant paper to state that Johnson could not easily block a 2nd referendum on Independence if there is a Holyrood majority for one next May. Another paper had this in its editorial column last week:

    “Secessionist Scots.

    One of the political consequences of the pandemic has been the resurgence of Scottish nationalist sentiment. Polls over the past few months have shown a consistent lead for the SNP and now indicate a majority supporting independence. The implications of these trends for the future of the United Kingdom are considerable yet are being largely ignored at Westminster.

    A decision on whether to stage another referendum is for the UK Government since the since the matter is not devolved and affects the entire country. But the reality is that if the SNP wins a substantial majority at the Holyrood elections next year it will be impossible for Boris Johnson to stop it. Whether the Scots, confronted with the same choice as in 2014 but in markedly worse economic circumstances, would choose separatism is another matter entirely.

    Devolution has allowed Nicola Sturgeon to carve out a distinctly Scottish approach to the pandemic, although differing more in timing than substance. The First Minister has managed to give the impression of being more in control of events north of the border than Boris Johnson at Westminster. Partly this is because telling people what to do comes more easily to her than to the Prime Minister. But these optics are important and are nurturing a shift in political priorities. The SNP’s poll lead points to a big majority in the Scottish parliament from next year: another referendum will be top of its priority list.

    Support for secession might abate as the crisis recedes. But the pollster Sir John Curtice says public support for the Union has never looked so weak in its 313-year history. It is time for those who hold it dear to speak-up in its defence.”

    This is the most significant part:

    “But the reality is that if the SNP wins a substantial majority at the Holyrood elections next year it will be impossible for Boris Johnson to stop it.”

    And the paper is – The Daily Telegraph……….

    The most pro-Tory paper in existence publicly concedes that Johnson, if confronted with an SNP/Pro-Independence party majority at Holyrood next year, has NO right to block a second Independence referendum.

    Something is shifting………

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