A week in Britnattery

It’s been a busy week in British nationalist panic. You’d almost think that they were terrified that their precioussss is slipping away from them and there’s nothing they can do to stop it. Oh wait. That’s exactly what it is.

However there are obstacles being placed in the way of the indy movement in entirely unhelpful ways by people who are ostensibly on our side. Stewart McDonald, the SNP MP for Selfrighteousness, had a stab at doing the British nationalists’ job for them with an entirely unnecessary sneer at “Commonweal types” whom he claimed were being silent about the theft of democracy in Belarus. Plenty of “Commonweal types” have discussed the situation in Belarus, however they’re rather more concerned about the theft of democracy in the UK and Scotland.

While we are faced with a British Government which baldly states that it will not respect the outcome of the next Scottish elections, the biggest threat to Scottish independence right now is the splits and divisions within the independence movement. Perhaps Stewart would do well to remember that the next time he feels the urge to open his attention seeking gob and crowbar those splits open even wider.

I decided to take a wee break from blogging because it is exhausting trying to keep this movement of ours together. So it’s annoying in the extreme to find that the flames of division are being fueled by an SNP MP over yet another issue which has nothing to do with Scottish independence. While it’s vanishingly unlikely that Nicola Sturgeon will announce tomorrow that she’s going full tilt for another referendum this year, if anyone from her office is reading this, you could do the unity of the indy movement, and my mental health, a huge favour by having a wee word in Stewart’s ear and telling him to STFU. Thanks in advance.

Back in out and out Britnatteryland, we learned that Jackie Baillie has been propounding the mad conspiracy theory that the only reason that Aberdeen went into lockdown again was in order to deflect media attention from unhappiness about the SQA results. Which if true has been remarkably unsuccessful because our SNPbad media has banged on about little else all week. Trying to distract the Scottish media from an SNPbad story is an exercise in futility up there with the election prospects of the Labour party in Scotland. It must be said though that Jackie’s judgement was always a bit suspect. The branch office’s decision to double down on her hardline unionism when 40% of their remaining voters support independence is the electoral equivalent of leaping out of an airplane and hoping to find a parachute somewhere on the way down. However the really surprising thing here was that Jackie Baillie has shown herself to be a David Icke type, when all this time everyone had thought she was one of the lizard people.

Meanwhile the Labour group Scottish Fabians has come up with a wizzard wheeze to save the Union. Despite taking the name of the Labour Fabian Society which has been in existence since before WW1, the Scottish Fabians were only set up in 2012 explicitly in order to campaign for a no vote. Now that they’ve realised that they’d lose another vote, they’re looking at ways to ensure that they can pauchle things while maintaining a veneer of selfrighteous superiority. Clearly they’ve been taking lessons in presentation from Stewart McDonald.

The plan being aired is for a new “Act of Union” which would enshrine the result of the 2014 referendum and make it illegal for the Scottish Parliament to hold a new independence referendum within 30 years of the last one. Additionally a two thirds majority would be required in order for independence to pass. This means that Yes could achieve 65% in the next referendum and No only 35%, but No would still win. There’s democracy for you, Labour in Scotland style. However there wouldn’t be any need for a 2/3 majority in a referendum to ask the people whether they wished to accept this undemocratic new “Act of Union”, because there wouldn’t be a referendum about it at all. This isn’t so much an Act of Union as an act of utter desperation.

Surprise surprise that 2014 referendum whose result is to be enshrined until 2044 would itself have failed to clear the hurdles set by this proposal, but that doesn’t matter because it produced the result that British nationalists wanted. Although it needs to be pointed out here that the Scottish Fabians are not nationalist at all, because they’re British.

Over on the Tory side of the British nationalist panicfest, arch Britnat martyr journo Stephen Daisley – who is, remarkably, still a thing – has proposed a Conservative version of a new “Act of Union”. The plan would strip the Scottish Parliament of the power to hold a referendum on independence and enshrine in law that a vote in a Holyrood election can never be recognised as giving a mandate for another indyref. He explicitly rejects the Scottish Claim of Right. Additionally he wants the provision that Westminster does not normally legislate on devolved matters to be scrapped, along with the permanence of Holyrood. The proposal represents a naked power grab several orders of magnitude larger than anything that the Conservatives have attempted to date.

Even Stephen recognises that it will outrage Scottish public opinion, but he doesn’t care. The lesson for Scotland in this new Act is that Scottish public opinion doesn’t count, and the results of Scottish elections will only count as long as they don’t threaten the power of the British state. This isn’t a new Act of Union, but an Act of Conquest. If the British nationalists ever wanted to throw petrol on the fire of the independence debate, Stephen has just shown them how to do it.

However the biggest Britnat panic over the past week has been in the Scottish Conservative leadership. Ruth Davidson’s protestations that she was an innocent bystander as Jackson Carlaw [checks notes] entirely of his own free will and without any prompting decided to stand down as leader have been shown to be as convincing as Donald Trump’s tan. And likewise they leave a nasty stain on anything that they touch. We now know that Ruth entirely concidentally visited Douglas Ross a few days before Jackson Carlaw’s announcement, and that a website launching his leadership bid was registered before the announcement was made.

Ruth announced last week that she’s accepting a peerage because she wants to make the House of Lords a more democratic place. Which is a bit like slaughtering cattle in the name of veganism. Since Douglas Ross doesn’t have a seat in Holyrood, Ruth will be taking over SNPbad duties until the next election. She’ll now be telling Nicola Sturgeon about how important it is to respect the result of the vote in 2014 after she herself made sure that the Scottish Conservative leadership vote was overturned because it wasn’t to her liking and after ensuring that she can continue to legislate without ever having to be accountable to the voters ever again. So that’s not hypocritical of her at all, oh no.

The name Douglas Ross always makes me think of a broken down lighthouse on a barren and bleak rock, lost in a raging storm far out to sea. Which is a pretty good metaphor for the Scottish Conservatives, come to think of it. Douglas’s job as Scottish Tory leader isn’t even his second job, as he has no intention of giving up his seat as an MP or his real career as fitba referee – which he took on because he felt he wasn’t getting enough hate as a Tory politician. And he’s started as he intends to go on, with gaffes, missteps, and unforced errors. In his first pronouncement as new leader he conceded defeat in the next Scottish elections to the SNP, when he said that his goal was for the Tories to be a strong opposition. They can’t even manage that much. They’ve been so inept this week that even the Labour party in Scotland is feeling sorry for them.

The real reason that Jackson was fired and Douglas annointed is because the Tories know that they’re going to lose the next Scottish elections. They hope that by attempting to shift attention from the independence issue, they can claim that the next Holyrood elections are not really about another independence referendum at all, and then use that spurious and desperate reasoning as a rationale to deny another independence referendum. Their problems however are threefold. Firstly they can’t stop other parties from making the election about another independence referendum, and if those parties win then it’s irrelevant what the Tories have campaigned on.

More seriously for the Conservatives however, they can only convincingly defeat the SNP on other issues if they themselves have a better policy. Unfortunately for them we can all see what’s happening with Conservative policies in England where the Tories do enjoy power and few in Scotland are going to be convinced. It’s not like the SNP have to get over a very high bar in order to do better than Boris Johnson.  Additionally they’re going to struggle to attract the votes of people who are opposed to independence, but who are not Conservatives.  In other words they’ve looked at the mistake that the SNP made in the 2017 General Election and decided “We’ll have some of that.”

But most seriously of all, at the end of this year the UK will exit the EU transitional period and the full force of Brexit will be felt. Even if a deal is cobbled together, which is looking less and less likely, there will still be a negative economic impact which will come on top of the economic damage done by the pandemic. It’s the Tories who will get the blame for that. By spring next year, remain voters in Scotland will be clear that there is only one way to get a closer relationship with the EU, and that’s with independence. For years now I’ve been saying that British nationalists can have Brexit, or they can have their precioussss union, but they can’t have both. Next year that comes home to roost for the Scottish Conservatives.

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98 thoughts on “A week in Britnattery

  1. Welcome back Paul, we missed you and your insightful commentary. I do hope someone tells Stewart to STFU because he really isnt helping at all. Great writing as always

  2. Great to have you back. Your break clearly did you good.
    Great article just setting out the nonsense we’ve been subjected to recently and putting it firmly in to context!

  3. Baillie’s diversion from the suspended Labour members in coalition with the Tories. The illegal Unionist Alliance. The title of the non existent illegal Party now in coalition in Aberdeen City Council. Kept in place by a two job Tory and a renege LibDem. Voted in became an Independent to join the illegal Unionist Alliance. Breaking all electoral rules. A bunch of total chancers. Wasting taxpayers monies like there is no tomorrow, £Billion+ in debt. Lining their pockets.

    Spending £Millions in empty shops and offices building. An empty concrete jungle. £7Million a year repayments. £200Million total. The taxpayers wanted and approved pedestrianisation. Reneged upon. The main thoroughfare a total mess.

    The Council should have been shutting down the establishment breaking all the social distancing rules and regulations. Breaking all the guidelines. Many owned and run by Tories and their associates. Breaking all the licensing Laws with impunity. Then trying to blame the Scottish Gov who put the rules in place to keep people safe. A total diversion.

    McAlpine has finally lost the plot. Totally. Always on the fringes. Now totally out of the loop. Anything for a bit of cheap publicity. Sad and pathetic.

  4. Another development is the accelerating rate of normalisation for the Indy prospectus. The other day on BBC Radio Scotland, the Faslane issue was discussed. Some Prof. from the University of St. Andrews was the guest on the end of the phone, but his input was (paraphrase) ” … yeh, the English and the Yanks won’t be happy but it’s SNP policy so they’ll have to find an alternative to Faslane.”.
    When BBC Scotland starts discussing who gets the CD collection in the divorce settlement, progress is being made.
    Can’t wait for the next Indy poll.

  5. Scotland got (too limited) Devolution. The eastern bloc countries were achieving self determination and self government because the people wanted it.

    These countries had more democracy than Scotland in the Union. Out voted 10 to 1 at Westminster, The Westminster Gov had to support EU/UN principles or face sanctions. When people voted for self governance and self determination.

    Delayed by the Tories for twenty years. Scotland would be Independent now without Tory propaganda. People would have voted for it. They will now. After 10 years of Tory misgovernment and corruption. Brexit shambles unfolding.

  6. Pingback: A week in Britnattery | speymouth

  7. Glad to have you back on form again, Paul. Just blocked that twatter McDonald on Twitter. Utter clown.

    If Scotland is an equal and valued partner in the present family of four, the “awesome foursome” that constituted the present Union, then it stands to reason that this new Union will put to a vote in all four constituent parts of the Union.

    Do they really think that, like Brexit, they can get away by claiming that a ‘New Union’ vote will be a “UK-wide Vote” and a “UK-wide result”, that it will not require majorities in each of the four constituent parts, that England can decide it all for us?

    These bastards really know how to stoke up trouble for themselves.

    • And ‘trouble’ is no doubt exactly what they are plotting…they’d love nothing better, next, false flag stuff, put nothing past them they are really desperate now.

  8. Johnston lying about Britishness again. Telling lies every time he opens his mouth. Westminster is despised worldwide, illegal wars, tax havens. Making the world poorer. Brexit.

  9. Welcome back Paul!

    Someone close to me – someone as British as you can get, someone who until recently believed the best in Britain – told me in tears that she would vote for independence at the next opportunity, because the Tories had trashed the trust she had in her country.

    This is a major breach in her identity, and she is basically going through the grief process right now. It’s possible a decent UK government could roll her decision back, but I don’t know where one of them is going to appear from and more importantly, neither does she.

    Thank you Nigel Farage, thank you Boris Johnson, thank you Scottish Conservatives! The SNP alone could never have wrought this change. Only you, with your backward-looking, asset-stripping, racist, authoritarian incompetence, have the power to kill Scottish unionism. And you’re doing great.

  10. The HoL has been punting this new act of union for some time.
    Firstly,the Lords and their wannabe chums in British Labour are admitting that there is more than one country in their union,otherwise why bother.
    Secondly,in order ot have an act of union,presumably there would be more than one party involved
    (unions usually do).
    They might have to cobble something together resembling the first acts of union where unelected Lords decide Scotland’s side of things.
    Certainly in the minds of British Labour and the HoL,the people of Scotland will have no say in this matter,as usual.

    • Wait but wouldn’t both parties have to sign a ‘new act of union’? They can’t just rewrite the original lawfully, but then oh I forgot the BritNats don’t do lawful very much these days it seems.
      Also, is it not referred to as a TREATY which has different connotations to an ‘act’.

    • The Union is governed by the Treaty of Union.
      It is a Treaty in International law.

      The Acts of Union, note the plural, were passed by the respective Parliaments – the Scots Parliament and the English Parliament – as part of the process of ratification of the Treaty.

      In ratifying the Treaty each of these Parliaments ceased to exist and a new Parliament was brought in to existence and this Parliament contained representatives fro Scotland as well as England. That representation has always been asymmetrical with the balance very much in England’s favour.

      You cannot have a ‘new’ Act of Union unless you re-negotiate the Treaty of Union and would almost certainly end up in the courts.

      • The very real problem for Westminster is the question of where Sovereignty rests. One of the objectives for this new ‘ act of union ‘ , if not the main objective is to establish by Statute that Sovereignty rests with Westminster. Westminster can’t bind itself by a written Constitution, I doubt strongly they could even get it through the courts and an unwritten constitution suits the establishments corrupt practices, so no chance of mirroring Spain’s legal hold on Catalonia by that route. With an eighty majority, and no doubt Labour and liberal support there’s nothing to stop them getting it through Parliament. Other than it would be illegal under English law, Sovereignty can only be loaned, it can’t be taken. Are they aiming for a referendum across the whole UK, much as they did with Brexit.

        • “With an eighty majority, and no doubt Labour and liberal support there’s nothing to stop them getting it through Parliament. ”

          I think this is likely to happen soon after Jan 1st 2021. Add in Westminster holding on to powers returning from Brussels and the scottish parliament is reduced to a municipality.

          Scotland may try to contest everything in a legal route through the courts but practically speaking Independence will be checkmated for years

          • Because parliament passes legislation doesn’t automatically make it lawful or indeed legal. There are 2 constitutions in play Ben and Westminster is subject to both, the very reason they have never tried this stunt before but I think this demonstrates how desperate Westminster have become.

          • I totally agree that “Because parliament passes legislation doesn’t automatically make it lawful or indeed legal”. There have been many examples throughout British history.

            If Westminster is as desperate as seems they will push “these reforms” through and Scotland will suffer the consequences. No UK (English) government will care. Westminster will continue as if nothing has happened, wielding power over Scotland from their shiny new Scottish “hub”

            In the British government’s view insurgency, in whatever form, even non-violent constitutional nationalism like Scotland’s, has to be suppressed once it looks likely to get somewhere. And Westminster will do whatever it takes to suppress it

        • Golf nut,
          I think you might find if you delve into it that there is more of a written constitution than many let on. Not codified but certainly existing in Acts of Parliament, judicial rulings etc that can constrain politician’s actions rather more than they would like us to know.

          One reason, among many, why our SNP MPs must remain in Westminster and work their way into every nook and cranny particularly those with a legal background.

          It is surprising, or perhaps not, how many supposed Constitutional experts interpret the Constitution from their English perspective – Magna Carta and all that – but ignore the Scottish perspective. They need reminded of that significant Scottish element at every opportunity.

          • Absolutely agree Legerwood, though an unwritten constitution has no legal standing in court, there is indeed a plethora of statutes which can be laid before the court. However the basic premise of 2 individual, independent constitutions form the bedrock of UK Constitutional law, one cannot override the other. A new Act of Union would seek to do just that.

          • Even if the House of Commons on a Tory majority of 80, passed a new Act of Union, it would still have to be signed by HM Queenie in order to be lawful.
            She could refuse but probably wouldn’t. In which case the people of Scotland could depose her, as was done with James VII in 1689 for acting against the people as set out in the Declaration of Arbroath.
            That would create quite a stushie and get us a lot of international publicity. if she did refuse to sign, the Act would be unlawful so, again, more bad publicity for the Westminster government.

  11. Glad you’re back in the fray, hope it was a nice holiday.
    I watched a lot of Python while you were gone, just to stay grounded in reality. Or was that the real news?
    It’s so hard to tell anymore.
    If the No people cared a whit about Scotland, they’d grumble and mumble, accept the inevitable now, and move forward, bickering and politicking all they wish, but as Scots, not British.
    But it looks like divisiveness, ignoring, neglecting, and actively attempting to destabilise a legitimate government is the path chosen.
    How sad to be treated like a colony full of ungrateful natives. But I guess if that’s all you’ve ever done…

  12. Good to have you back Paul! Hope you had a good rest.

    I see Johnson is going all ‘magic’ and abracadabra on us now. He’s been watching too many crap fantasy ‘magic’ films perhaps.

    Also apparently the view from abroad is not of the country of Scotland, but of ‘British institutions’ so just say you are British because Scotland doesn’t really exist you know. A bit like the Scottish government because the Tory toffs in their private jets swanning into out country, don’t bother with silly things like acknowledging Scotland’s democratically elected government or the First Minister. Bute house? Eh, what’s that?

    Scotland is being silenced and if they can they will disappear the whole country to keep their gravy train running south. Things are hotting up and it’s not just the weather.

    • Apparently ? Rest assured, mainland europe is acutely aware of Scotland, NI, Wales and England as never before, and distinctly to the mafia headquartered in London.
      Personally I’m looking forward to 2022 when european states aren’t constrained by protocols, it will get “interesting”….

      • Ms Sturgeon and her ministers have worked very hard since the EU indyref to ensure that the EU, and countries beyond the EU, are well aware of Scotland’s position.

        The trade hubs in Paris, Brussels and Berlin help to ensure Scotland has a constant presence in some of the most important capitals in Europe. These hubs have also contributed to Scotland’s increasing trade with Europe and thus its increasing economic strength. A necessary prerequisite to give people confidence in the diversity of the Scottish economy in the lead up to independence and important in ensuring Scotland has the resilience to weather the transition to Independence.

    • One of the things that really gets to me, AH, is when he comes out with what the British armed services have done for Scotland, especially during this Coronavirus. Someone should tell him that his ”British armed services” have been comprised of, in the main per head of population, world renowned brave Scots and that with Independence we’ll have our own Scottish armed services. We’ll then have one of the best armed services in the World as his (English) is left totally depleted. We’ll also re-instate the historic names of our Scottish battalions, that they abolished, and take over Faslane as our Military base. They can have the subs, nukes and their armed services based in the South of England or on the HMNB Thames instead of the HMNB Clyde. High time, in fact, for them to get THEIR independence and start to stand on their own two feet for once instead of relying on everyone else to bail them out.

  13. Welcome back Paul. You’ve been missed, really missed, in shining a light on the nitty gritty of what’s actually going on right now and on bringing a calmness and some common sense into the equation. It’s disheartening to say that least that you have to point out that, ”there are obstacles being placed in the way of the indy movement in entirely unhelpful ways by people who are ostensibly on our side.”

    Here we are 6 short years, yes short in the 300 year scheme of things, following Indyref1 and doing so well. The FM’s popularity is rising as is support for Independence and yet some people on our side seem to be hell bent on b*ggering it up for us. Stewart McDonald’s ”sneer at Commonweal types” is probably a tit for tat move in relation to Robin MacAlpine’s attack on the FM. If so, it’s high time that they ALL (including some others) got a grip on themselves.

    The only party capable of getting us our independence is the SNP and if that party isn’t supported by the Scots we won’t see Independence for decades, if ever, and by that time they’ll be nothing left to fight for. So all I would say is please, please, please let’s ALL focus on uniting right now to get our Independence and then when that’s achieved, we’ve rid ourselves of the Westminster shackles and have full powers to make positive change, we’ll direct all of our attention on our own Government which will be within slapping distance of us. Hoping of course that resorting to ”slapping” won’t be necessary 😀.

  14. Uniting people for Scottish independence is definitely required ,it’s a very very difficult job with all our media controlled by England and when half the MPs in our parliament most of whom got in without being voted in support England’s control of Scotland .

    But it can be done if we focus now on the basics of voting for Scottish independence to free ourselves from England’s control so that we can handle our own affairs and know that when a majority of people in Scotland vote for something we get it and we no longer have this preposterous situation where England’s voters overrule our decisions

    • Problematic at so many levels not least the fact that a lot of cars in Scotland have English licence plates but are owned, and driven, by Scots.

      As a course of action it should not be promoted in any shape or form

  15. Yesterday’s Sunday Times contained an interesting series of paragraphs in Tim Shipman’s article. Apparently, in the Tory party down South the people most keen on Brexit are the same ones most determined to keep the UK union together, come what may.

    To which we must ask – why??!! What do they feel that they would lose if we left the UK?

    I now feel that the answers to these 2 questions are something we must try and work out, as it may be essential to outmanoeuvre the Tories next May, and the pro-UK campaign in the next independence referendum. Is the psychological shock of losing one of the 4 home nations, leading to an inevitable drop in England’s global status, something that terrifies many Tory MPs?

    Other crucial snippets in the article concerned the likely fate of Boris Johnson if he were to preside over the break-up of the UK. If it happened, Tory backbenchers would force him out of #10 if he refused to resign, or as Shipman quoted, he would be “boiled alive.”

    Also, while #10 is furiously stating that, come what may next May, a request for a Section 30 Order would be refused, some of Johnson’s aides quietly admit that would only work if a 2nd referendum pledge never gets beyond the SNP Conference floor. If it becomes the will of the average Scot, then they would be in trouble. And, aides or civil servants quietly told Shipman that they had been in meetings where the stated presumption had been that “we would have to give them a referendum.”

    • Interesting article and well worth a read. As you pointed out there are some nerves on show about another referendum, but we knew that 🙂

      “There will absolutely not be another referendum,” one said. “It has been six years since the last one. That’s certainly not a lifetime ago.” With a majority of 80, Johnson ought to be able to hold the line. But senior civil servants and even some political advisers believe it might be politically unsustainable if Sturgeon wins a big majority next year. “I’ve been in meetings where the working assumption is that we would have to give them a referendum,” said an adviser.


      Mustn’t forget a big welcome back WGD.

    • England pretends this whole island is england that’s why they so often conflate England/U.K./Britain/the country they really do believe all of those really are the same politically and governmentally .

      They are frightened of the prospect that England will lose control of wales and Scotland and to a lesser degree NI because England will then look and to them be so much smaller , of course it won’t really the actual size of England won’t change but they will no longer be able to fool people around the world and pretend this whole island is england.

  16. Interesting post Christopher.

    * On a totally flippant note….” come what may next May”….said Theresa May.
    Och childish I know….but how many points would that gain me in a game of Scrabble….Triple point score?..lol

  17. ‘Coronavirus: A-level predictions ‘would see rise in NI top grades.’

    …”We (Northern Ireland) now believe that without standardisation, CCEA A-level grades would have risen by at least 10 percentage points at A* to A grade boundary. Such a rise would have been considerably more than any previous year and would have undermined confidence in qualifications.”…

    …”The exam regulator Ofqual has said that A-level and GCSE results in England will be higher this summer.”…


  18. Pedant Alert – Douglas Ross technically isn’t a referee most of the time. He is a Specialist Assistant Referee. He spends his time waving a flag at the man (nominally) in charge. The buck doesn’t stop with him. He chose that path. He could have chosen to continue along the path towards becoming a FIFA referee.

    Why does this matter? Well, I was a referee for twenty years. I got to a decent level. For one season, I was at the level where you are eligible for FA Cup appointments. I enjoyed running the line (as it was then known) but I have to wonder what sort of person chooses that as a full-time occupation. I saw linesman appointments as a way to learn from more experienced referees and take that experience back to games I refereed. I cannot comprehend anyone who would choose to run the line almost exclusively.

    So, if Douglas Ross is like that in his chosen profession, what will he be like as a leader of a political party and as, in theory, a potential First Minister? Or is it simply that he is the “Assistant Referee” to Boris’ “Referee,” with, of course, Dominic Cummings as the Video Assistant Referee?

      • You would have lost your bet, Tam. Only got as far as amateur football in Scotland before work took me to England. It was there that I worked through the levels. In any case, I hardly ever met a penalty claim that I didn’t like, unless it was alleged handball. Amazingly, by the end of my career, my red card had not faded to orange. I don’t know why.

        • I trust ye ken it was said in jest Skip…anyway…since you were involved in amateur fitba’ at least ye were spared Wee Doogie Ross frantically trying to get your attention by waving his flag fae the touchline!…lol

          • Och yes, Tam. I have been the subject of much good-natured ribbing as a referee and, as long as it stays good-natured, that’s fine.

            I remember years ago, I was out leafleting for the SNP in Edinburgh East. We were doing a lot of flats. There were two of us and a Labour councillor. I joked (such as it was) that all we needed was a System 3 pollster and the SNP would win the seat. Polite chuckles all round. We held the door open for each other as we went about our business. Does that still happen?

    • Or “Assistant Referee” to Rooth the Mooth, who’s ”Assistant Referee” to Boris’ “Referee,” with, of course, Dominic Cummings as the Video Assistant Referee?

      • Oh, I’d forgotten about Rooth the Mooth. Does this make Douglas Ross the fourth official, who has minimal duties except to hold up a board telling us that time is nearly up?

  19. ” The biggest threat to Scottish independence is the splits and divisions within the independent movement”.

    I disagree. The threat that must be faced are the problems arising within the SNP, and faced asap.
    The SNP management appear to be content with managing the Scotland “store” – domestic politics.

    When the FM declared that she was setting aside politics to concentrate on the Covid virus I was gobsmacked.This virus sadly has damaged the lives of many people, Brexit will damage the lives of all of us, economically, and politically.We will no longer be members of the EU – get it? Travel rights, commodity standards, food standards, medicines,EU legal protection,all in jeopardy.

    Johnson and his gang will be free, unrestrained, to decide on whatever they chose, and our FM decides to concentrate her energies on the Covid virus.

    FM, delegate Covid to Jean Freeman and Phillipa Whitford and get back asap to protecting Scotland from Westminster, and Brexit, or stand aside.

    The independence movement is not the SNP, I’m itching to campaign, letter-boxing leaflets and street stalls, but kickstarting Yes seems problematic.Complacency will ruin us.

    • Velofello @ 9-27pm

      ” When the FM declared that she was setting aside politics to concentrate on the Covid virus I was gobsmacked.”

      I have to say …thank heavens she did….and thank heavens YOU are not FM.

  20. Complete section on Independence from the Sunday Times article reffered to earlier by their Political Editor Tim Shipman:

    The problem that could derail Johnson’s 10-year plan is the growing support for Scottish independence, whereby a combination of the government’s unpopularity and Nicola Sturgeon’s deft handling of the coronavirus has put the nationalists comfortably ahead in the polls since April. The SNP wants to use next May’s Holyrood elections to establish a mandate for a second independence referendum.

    Johnson’s initial strategy, drawn up in concert with native Aberdonian Michael Gove, is to deny her that legitimacy by having the Scottish Tory party campaign on the SNP government’s handling of schools and hospitals, steering clear of constitutional questions. As one cabinet minister put it: “Michael is petrified by the risk to the Union and Boris is highly irritated by it.”

    What has not been stated publicly — and would be denied if it were — are two thoughts advanced privately by senior Tories.“If he presides over the end of the union, he would have to resign,” said one senior ally, who has discussed this with members of Johnson’s inner circle and several cabinet ministers. “You can’t go on if you become the last prime minister of the United Kingdom.”

    A cabinet minister added: “If Boris didn’t go in those circumstances, he would be boiled alive by the backbenchers. The people who most wanted to leave the EU are the same people who are most keen to save the Union. They would force him out.”

    No 10’s answer to this is that there will not be a referendum. Even Alex Salmond, Sturgeon’s predecessor as first minister of Scotland, acknowledged that 2014 was a once-in-a-generation vote. And for there to be a legal referendum, the government in London has to give its approval. Johnson’s aides say he would not do so “under any circumstances”.

    “There will absolutely not be another referendum,” one said. “It has been six years since the last one. That’s certainly not a lifetime ago.” With a majority of 80, Johnson ought to be able to hold the line. But senior civil servants and even some political advisers believe it might be politically unsustainable if Sturgeon wins a big majority next year. “I’ve been in meetings where the working assumption is that we would have to give them a referendum,” said an adviser.

    Keeching themselves LOL

    • They really don’t have any sense of guilt, do they? Well. That and they can’t tell the difference between an opinion given and a legal outcome.

      Just so the odd policy gonk is clear? Consequences go both ways. The challenges don’t end when a vote is won. That’s when they tend to start.

      If winners, (Don’t! Just … DON’T!), fail to follow through on their pledges an assurances. If there are significant changes in circumstances. If people believe they’ve been misled, misrepresented, intimidated and otherwise had their good nature abused? Don’t be stunned when they round on you like a bag of starving Wolverines.

      Just sayin’. 😎

      • Yep, they have to learn the lesson that not keeping promises made during Indyref1 has resulted in a greater demand for Indyref2. How much are these brilliant advisors paid? Hahaha

        • Too much. 😉

          The mindset is all geared toward ‘winning’ a debate, a competition, a game at any cost. Their reasoning? That anything is acceptable. That’d be any tactic and any strategy, no matter how morally reprehensible, just so long as a win is achieved. Somehow that translates as moral high ground when folks get upset that the bill of goods they were sold is somewhat tainted. A phenomenon particularly associated with the political arena.

          Well. Policy gonks and spads. The sort of folk who can shave without mirrors and shun garlic and sunlight.

          They don’t consider long term consequences much, (that’d require compassion, empathy, a heart). No. They tend to focus on the next cunning strategy/scapegoat. 😎

    • Ah – from the article by Tim Shipman, journo who was part of Ruth Davidson’s ‘back-office team’ . This was pointed out by the Assistant Director of Conservative Home, Henry Hill on Good Morning Scotland with Stephen Jardine last week when Jardine was waxing lyrical about Ruth Davidson’s previous ‘success’ as Tory leader in Scotland – and Hill pointed out that success was due to the ‘back–office team’. It was confirmed also on a Spectator podcast (I only listened because part of it was about Scotland) that it was Ruth Davidson’s ‘people’ who got rid of Carlaw.

      If anyone hasn’t read the Anthony Seldon and Peter Snowden book ‘Cameron at 10 the Verdict’ – it’s worth noting the senior inside players planning the Westminster side of the 2014 referendum and the anxieties inside No. 10. Their psychology and who said what and their own words is fascinating. It’s also interesting to read the words of David Mundell and Ruth Davidson how they poisoned the ears of Westminster regarding the SNP and ScotGov at every opportunity.

      Sorry, that was an aside. But I think we should be watching who are part of Ruth Davidson’s and Douglas Ross’s ‘back-office teams’ between now and Holyrood 2021.

      Worth also watching the get-togethers between Boris Johnson and The Loyal Opposition and their plans ‘for Scotland’

  21. Welcome back. Good post.

    The Britnats don’t do democracy for Scotland. There was no democracy for Scotland in 1707 and this has continued to this day. The Britnats pochled the 2014 referendum and they will pochle any future one. There was no gold standard in 2014 and people only keep using that term because the high heid yins in the SNP (wrongly) use the term.

    There was also no gold standard in the Smith Commission either. The Britnat standard is lies and deceit and win at all costs.

    As I will be away on hol to Fife playing some golf in the best golfing location in Scotland I will not be posting much if at all for the next two weeks. Stop cheering Bob. Enjoy the peace with your moderating Paul but don’t worry I will be back rattling some cages in the near future.

    PS A wee cage rattle to sign off – I was disappointed in the FM caving in to the scumbag Britnat media (that’s you Glen Campbell) about the exam results.

    Bye for noo.

    • Cubby I dont think FM gave in to pressure from Brit Nat media but to that of pupils whose grades were downgraded and of course their parents. If I was a young person affected by this I would be really pissed off particularly if I lived in a poorer area. Also let’s not forgot these kids will be old enough to vote soon hopefully yes in next Indy ref. Teacher friend thinks SQA will be complicit in this mess no matter that Scottish Govt accepted responsibility
      Welcome back Paul you have been missed !!

  22. Neatly done and well said Paul. 🙂

    Mmmm. You could probably have done with another week. Just for the sake of … reasons (some quiet with the slippers on, box sets of assorted sci fi bingeathon and fav munchies on hand).

    Also… Welcome back.

  23. Realism from Cubby. The Britnats cheat, it is how they are. Another referendum, sigh.

    A substantial majority following next year’s Holyrood elections – gained by constituency SNP and Indy list seats, on a declared independence ticket. List seats gained by whatever consortium that needs to quickly agree to work together – and then an invitation to Westminster to parley on independence.

    • Not going to happen. Get your disappointment/cries of betrayal in now.

      There will be another referendum – but only if the SNP win an outright majority. The new proindy list parties are unable to agree to a joint ticket – far less can they persuade the SNP or the Greens to give them a free run. All they will do is to split the indy vote.

  24. I’m broken hearted!

    The Unionist Parties are in complete disarray and the Indy movement is tearing itself apart. Every group is blaming the others. A sad, sad situation.

    It is everyone’s fault! The only outcome will be a continuation of the Union and a tightening of the leash.

    • Nah Julia it really won’t. It’s only anoraks like you and I reading these blogs. Don’t be disheartened, not easy I know but the job of political anoraks like us who support Independence is to drum up MORE support for Independence!

      Pretty obvious really eh, and not easy I know, but if YOU (or me) don’t believe in your cause then who else will believe in it? I’m all in now for Independence and there’s no going back we either win or I’m bust and out of the game for good.

      There’s no way I’m quitting now, I want to win the whole pot and I’ll grind it out with the best of them. We all should because that’s what it will take as our opponents try to crush our spirits and divide us as that’s the best chance they have now of blocking Independence.

      Maybe even the only chance, so no wobbling at the front there, get back in step with the team that wants to take Scotland to a better place than the Tories have us now. Back straight, walk tall and with confidence in your goal, that’s how we’ll win 🙂

    • I think it’s overwhelmingly an online social media bubble thing. Because of lockdown and the pandemic we’ve all been deprived of our usual real world social contacts for months. It’s giving people a skewed perspective.

      • I agree but seeing as I gave up twitter, facebook and my blog visits now are pretty limited I really wouldn’t know for sure. One thing I haven’t given up is reading. I read everything every day LOL.

        I don’t watch the telly I just read the news and dip into WGD as required. Sometimes I cut the grass or make a pot of soup 🙂

        Oh and I talk to people who don’t even know the bubble exists, people who are now considering Independence and haven’t in the past. I’m encouraged by that. We do not have the media we have only our voices and they are effective. It’s not surprising then the most important thing for the Union to survive is to shut down our voices.

        They are trying to dishearten people like me and you, they want me to give up and that means I’ll never persuade another person to change from No to Yes. I laugh at their pathetic attempts and they won’t stop me from working to increase support for Independence. I hope they won’t dishearten you either.

        Politics! Who cares?

        I care neither for parties, policies or people in charge. None of that matters because only with Independence can we really choose our leaders, our parties, and OUR policies. That’s all that matters so I’ll always remain positive because I believe we will become Independent, we must resist the attempt at division from wherever it comes.

        WE are NOT a party WE are a movement, a movement made of many parts and WE work best when working together, the evidence is in the likes of AUOB and The Wee Blue Book.

        Magnificent achievements both of which required people to work together. Things don’t always run smoothly but our best chance of Independence lies in working together and focusing only on the goal of Independence. Everything else is a distraction and works against that goal, we need to ignore the distractions IMHO.

    • Julia…..I agree it’s utterly depressing. United we stand divided we fall is an old one but a good one learnt out of experience. But if we fall a 2nd time that will be that……

  25. Right no laughing at the back there! LOL

    Pressure grows on ministers over England A-level results ‘mess’

    Ministers are under immense pressure over the botched handling of English A-level results after Scotland announced a dramatic U-turn and major research showed that high-achieving pupils from poorer backgrounds are likely to be hardest hit.

    The universities minister was writing urgently to vice-chancellors, asking them to be lenient with their offers and keep places open for pupils pursuing appeals amid fears that this year’s results will not truly reflect pupils’ abilities.

    Schools in England are braced for turmoil on Thursday when about 250,000 pupils are due to receive their A-level results following the cancellation of exams due to the coronavirus pandemic. Grades will be issued according to an algorithm that relies on a school’s recent exam history and each pupil’s past exam results, as well as grades submitted by teachers.

    A former head of Ofsted, the schools watchdog, said the system was “a mess” and would lead to “huge injustices”.


      • In my humble opinion, I believe that the SQA did the best they possibly could have under the circumstances BUT and it is a BIG but, individual pupils in Scotland had the right to appeal and that should have ironed out mistakes made using the algorithm that relied on historical scholl only data.

        That option as we now know is not available in England or Wales where they have used what seems to be a very similar system of grading this years results that resulted in an even higher number of pupils having their teacher estimated grades downgraded.

        Labour in particular and the Tories have used this to attack the Scottish government, now if they have a vote of No Confidence in John Swinney will they be calling for the same in Labour controlled Wales or Westminster? I very much doubt it.

        Let’s wait and see because now they have gotten what they wanted they will be complaining that this years results have been “devalued”. The truth is no matter what system was chosen to award grades without exams ALL would be open to criticism.

        In my view, the Scottish system used was the best of a bad bunch because of the right to appeal. Grades should respect historical norms, sounds sensible right? and the system used was a method of achieving that but most importantly was the individuals right to an appeal where any anomalies could have been ironed out. That was the most important thing, getting it exactly right just for every pupil at the first attempt is probably an impossibility.

  26. The Greens are saying that they want a systematic solution to the SQA “fiasco”, not one reliant on individual appeals. No further mention however as to what their concept of a “systematic solution” would actually entail. Give everyone a straight A? The best way to resolve this would be to let those who are unhappy with their result/s sit an exam/s when they return and settle back into school. If that suggestion was to be proposed I’d bet the number of appeals would drop like a lead balloon. In turn those who felt that they had been wrongfully graded could prove so, or not, by actually sitting an exam. https://mobile.twitter.com/Ross_Greer/status/1292787839311269888

  27. There’s no perfect answer to the grading of exam results where you don’t actually sit an exam.
    All involved have done a good job in difficult circumstances
    No resignations are required

    No perfect answer exists

    I believe an increase in passes will be issued under review perhaps more than once
    There will be a tipping point
    Where dissatisfaction reduces to a level that government and others involved find acceptable

    Even in normal years you get pupils that are unhappy with their results ,they appeal ,lose the appeal it’s not unusual for a proportion of people to think they are better than they really are compared to others.

    • True Terence, but there is a bit more to this change of tack than simply righting a wrong I suggest.
      Were SG discussing solutions to resolve this unusual problem it would be to let SQA do what they have, and iron out the glitches in the Appeals process afterward all as normal.

      Political “outrage” is a given in Scotland these days (heads/tails you lose), but it is the scale of the media propaganda campaign which has forced the administration to rethink.
      This is not just the usual suspects at play, there has been a new team of propagandists in town pulling media and political strings since the onset of Covid, highly organised, highly connected, and utterly devoid of scruples in bombarding SG with negativity, their objective to imply incompetence.

      The media will not expose them any more than they would SiU, hence SG needed to regroup and draw the teeth on this concocted hype before the England and Wales results are published.
      When there is no massive media outrage over those, the duplicity of the media will be exposed for all to see.

      • I agree Bob, if the SG had tried to amend/upgrade/tinker with( take your pick) the assessment process pre awards their would have been a right stushie, outrage even, from the media and no doubt from the SQA themselves. Accusations of trying to gerrymander the results to make the SG look good would no doubt be the main line of attack. Like you, I think this was anticipated.
        Universities and Colleges were already geared up for accepting more students so any changes to the results are likely to be very welcome by them.

      • I’m in agreement with you there, will Labour in Scotland call for the head of Wales Education Minister and will Labour in Wales vote to throw him out? What about the Tories in Scotland, will they ask for the removal of The Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE MP as Education Minister in England where it has been reported that 40% of grades have been downgraded?

        If not why not?

        The media, what about them? Will Andrew Neil and Marr be demanding a u-turn on the results? They have gotten what they said they wanted in Scotland. It will be interesting to see where things go from here.

        • Agreed Alex and Golfnut.. This propaganda team were sent by Westminster to spike Holyryood, not the Senedd, but having flung so much shit in the air they carelessly ignored the southerly hurricane coming in as Edinburgh becalms.
          Made the point clear earlier on the BBC Wales piece but worth repeating. The irony of the Welsh BBC journalists as part of their examination observing on the “controversial” reaction in Scotland (oblivious to the lead role their colleagues in Pacific Quay played in promoting that controversy) is priceless. Nice to see see Wales doing what ABC seem incapable of doing, honest journalism.

  28. Phew…a return to some semblance of sanity and reason away from radio shortbread and it’s free-wielding sabres filled with cac.
    Welcome back Paul, refreshed, rejuvenated, ready to launch the wasps nest of reason at britnattery…

  29. “Stewart McDonald, the SNP MP for Selfrighteousness, had a stab at doing the British nationalists’ job for them with an entirely unnecessary sneer at “Commonweal types”‘

    Now come on……..this works both ways surely? What about the Commonweal think tank or rather McAlpine’s petulant attacks on the FM and her Government recently? This is not only unwelcome, it’s stupid and shows lack of character and judgement. This kind of divisive nonsense is being utilised by the likes of the horrible Daily Express & Scotsman newspapers. Christ! When people get a following they loose all sense of reality and position!

    • Yes of course it works both ways. Robin should STFU as well. However Robin McAlpine isn’t an elected politician whose party needs to win a majority in the next elections. The consequences for him are far less.

      I don’t agree with Robin’s attack on Nicola Sturgeon. I think it was motivated by a personal animus and was deeply unhelpful. But folk like Stewart McDonald should know better than to rise to the bait.

  30. The results situation is a difficult one – but everybody knew that. The faux outrage of the various shades of Tory and their media are par for the course. Collectively they have no ideas as to a better approach and less care for the youngsters affected.

    Nicola, on the other hand, is genuine. She will therefore make a genuine attempt at ensuring greater fairness. The majority of the population will get that and be glad she is there.

    • I’m quite sure your synopsis is correct Arthur, but what SG have also astutely done is turn the spotlight of their wannabe nemesis in #10 back on himself while the charlatan is on holiday, rabbit in the headlights time for English results..

  31. Don’t think we or they understand the modern way of education and the results standardisation processing used by the SQA and similar bodies.
    The normal distribution Bell Curve is the mantra.
    The idea is that 50% of the results are in the middle of the range, marking adjusted to achieve this.The methodology is to remove the variability of different markers giving a none standard result. Mistakes in questions on the paper can be allowed for by removing the result and re-calculating the test result.
    Reminds me of a performance pay scheme used by an American company, grades issued from 5, low or no bonus, to One, highest bonus.
    There were virtually no results at 5 in the first year.
    The statisticians looked at the scheme and did some changes.
    All the departments were forced to use ALL the grades in a normal pattern, 50% at 3, 20% at 4 & 2, 5% at 1 & 5.
    Result for the statistics, a perfect Bell Curve with normal distribution.

    • I don’t know what algorithm has been used Dave but perhaps it is too simplistic. It would be nice to think that the apparent unfairness of the results would lead to creating a more sophisticated algorithm that measures not just achievement but potential – which arguably would be consistent across the population regardless of social circumstances.

      The son of a friend of mine is now entering his final year, studying engineering, at uni. His teachers ‘ predictions were way below his actual potential because he had a poor start educationally as a result of his social circumstances. With encouragement he is realising his true potential. A key element was the opportunity to do a preparatory year at uni to get improved A levels. I knew instinctive!y he had this potential and I am delighted for him.

      This leads me to wonder whether, in general, we need a system that puts as much value on potential as early examination achievement.

  32. Lorna Gordon of BBC SCOTLAND there delivering not so much a news report but an anti-SNP/Scottish Government speech.

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