Getting the job done

Nicola Sturgeon has written an article which will appear in Holyrood magazine’s 2020 annual review. In the piece, the highlights of which are given here,next-years-election-to-be-the-most-important-in-scotlands-history-says-nicola-sturgeon she says that the next Holyrood elections will be the most important in Scottish history. And she’s not wrong.

This will be the first time that Scotland will have gone to the polls while there is majority support for independence. It is highly likely that by the time we vote in May 2021, support for independence will be even higher than it is just now. The UK will have exited the EU transitional period and we will be feeling the full force of Brexit. The Conservative power grab will be in full swing. And who knows what other catastrophes this inept and chaotic Conservative administration will have led us all into by then. There will be growing public anger and disquiet. It will be clear to one and all that the UK that we are living in is not the UK that Scotland was promised it could be a part of back in 2014.

It is vital that the SNP are returned with an absolute majority of seats in Holyrood. We need a majority SNP government just like we had in 2011. That will replicate the political conditions which obtained back then, conditions which resulted in a Section 30 order and an independence referendum. It will be politically unsustainable for the Tories to continue to resist demands for another referendum under those circumstances. Basic democracy demands that a referendum should take place. Even influential voices within the Conservative party have conceded that much.

It’s all very well for Boris Johnson and his minions to claim that they intend to hold Nicola Sturgeon to her supposed promise that the 2014 referendum was a once in a generation affair, but the return of a majority SNP government which has stood for reelection asking the electorate if they want another referendum means that it’s not the SNP leadership that Boris Johnson is holding to a promise that only exists in the mythology of British nationalism, it’s the whole of the Scottish electorate.

Democracy means that those in power accept the verdict of the people. If Johnson refuses to accept what the people have said, then it means that British nationalist arguments about the economics of a future Scotland, their claims about currency, their assertions that Scotland needs the UK, all become side issues. The debate will have become one about the fundamentals of democracy itself, and how democracy is denied to Scotland within the UK. When there is a direct equation between independence and democracy itself, that is not an argument that supporters of the British state can win.

The greatest threat to us winning back Scotland’s independence right now is our own division. The closer we get to our goal, the more that nerves get fraught, that fingernails get bitten, that tempers fray. The feelings of anxiety and worry are compounded by the experience of the pandemic. We are concerned about the health of our loved ones, we may already know people who have suffered and died. We fret about our jobs and livelihoods. We have been deprived of the normal social contact that makes life worthwhile and which allows us to balance ourselves and gain a proper perspective. Our doubts, fears, and anxieties only benefit the British establishment.

However make no mistake, if the SNP fail to win an outright majority because some independence supporters have deserted them in favour of a minor party – especially a minor party which fails to win seats – the narrative from the media and the British nationalist parties will not be that “Scots want a more decisive line on pursuing independence”. There will be no leader columns in the British nationalist press saying that the SNP failed to win its expected majority because Nicola Sturgeon doesn’t really want independence or because the SNP isn’t tough enough in asserting Scotland’s right to self-determination. No one outside a few social media bubbles is going to be saying that the SNP’s failure to win an outright majority shows that Scotland is angry with them for not prioritising independence sufficiently.

The only story in the papers and the broadcast media will be “Scots don’t want another referendum.” The Conservatives and Labour will be pushing that line as hard as they can, assisted by the overwhelmingly anti-independence media in Scotland. Even if the SNP makes gains in seats, even if they are returned as a minority administration propped up by the Greens, the anti-independence media and the British nationalist parties will still spin it as a defeat. Don’t say you weren’t warned. Only the reelection of a majority SNP government will provide the political capital which cannot be contradicted, gainsayed, or undermined by British nationalist spin.

Yes, the SNP are very far from perfect. But they are not our enemy in the campaign for independence. That would be the Conservatives and the British nationalists. In my area our SNP MSP is an opponent of marriage rights for gay people, believes that creationism should be taught in schools, and has some views on religion and other social issues which I viscerally disagree with. I cannot be certain that he would support my husband and I should we need his help in renewing my husband’s visa (my husband is not a British citizen). But next May I will hold my nose and vote for our SNP MSP anyway, because independence is too important to risk.

This blog will continue to make the case for independence. It will continue to support pro-independence initiatives. But what it won’t be doing is attacking the SNP – if that’s what you’re looking for you can go elsewhere. I don’t attack the SNP or its leadership for the same reason that I don’t use this platform to attack any other independence supporters with whom I disagree. Attacking and criticising the indy movement is the job of British nationalists, and I won’t do their job for them. So I won’t be using this blog to attack Nicola Sturgeon – for the exact same reason that I don’t use it to attack Alex Salmond, Stuart Campbell, Mike Small, Craig Murray, Peter Bell, the Green Party, or anyone else in this fractious and argumentative movement of ours. The purpose of this blog is to criticise the forces of British nationalism, to highlight the idiocies of the Conservative government in Westminster, and to make a positive case for Scottish independence. As we get ever closer to regaining our independence, it’s even more important that we concentrate on what is going to take us over the line. That’s what the job of this blog is. I believe it’s the job that needs to be done to help Scotland regain its independence.

You may have heard that there’s a crowdfunded initiative to test the lawfulness of an independence referendum without a Section 30 order. Taking on a legal case of this sort is eye wateringly expensive but it’s a worthwhile cause as it could establish once and for all whether the Scottish Parliament can go ahead with a referendum without the need for a Section 30 order. Or if the case fails and it’s ruled that a Section 30 order is required, it tells us that this so-called union is not a union at all, because Scotland would not be a free member of it which can decide to remain or to leave according to the will of the people of Scotland. That would deprive British nationalists of their claim that Scotland is a voluntary member of a union of nations. Either way, the independence movement ends up with either a legal argument in its favour, or a political argument in its favour, and we would have more clarity than we do just now.

The crowdfunder for the case is more than halfway to its goal of £155,000. You can help out with a contribution here:

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183 thoughts on “Getting the job done

  1. You can bet there will be forces at work nurturing any divide in support for independence. Divide and conquer has always been a strategy. We must not fall for it.

  2. Thank you Paul, what a great piece, says it all really. I have become very, very tired of all the backbiting and squabbling going on elsewhere. I’ve had to stop reading and have a rest from it all. It’s not good for the blood pressure.

    I’m like yourself Paul, I think that I might have to hold my nose when voting, but this might be the last shot we get at independence for a long time. Let’s not blow it eh!. I’ve always hoped to see independence in my lifetime, now as I hit 72 today, I wonder if I will. We need to leave a better country for our young ones.

  3. Pingback: Getting the job done | speymouth

      • They don’t have to abolish Holyrood. They just need to tinker with its powers so that it cannot do as much as it would like to shield Scotland from Westminster’s worst excesses. If the SNP gains a majority, how will they oppose that? Will they do their own tinkering around the edges or will they look at the primary aims of the party and progress them?

      • if the snp are at 57% and by definition everyone will view the next holyrood election as a defacto independence plebiscite, the only way to stop that happening is to ensure the election doesnt take place. the chaos of brexit on jan 1st will give them to delay the election. thats what i would do if i were bojo

        • Worrying possibility.
          Already got Trump over in America setting a precedent for that kind of behaviour, if you think you’re going to suffer a humiliating electoral defeat, just don’t let the election happen.
          Covid-19 provides a handy excuse for keeping the polling stations shut (though whether that’ll still be a viable one in May 2021 is debatable. Maybe Johnson is desperately praying for a second wave).

  4. I advise to mindful of the rhetoric going around, from all sides of the movement, that the coming election is a moment of crisis. People get all wound up, like Eddie just did, with dark notions of there never ever being another chance at independence. We heard all this before as the day of Brexit came and went, as though we Scots were about to have democracy turned off on us forever, because emotions.

    Times like this, cool heids beat hot hearts! It’s all too easy to imagine yourselves into helplessness, as we sadly see inside the bubble.

    No one can kill Scottish independence. We are the genie that won’t ever squeeze back inside the bottle of Scotch, because we are Scotland. Trap us and you are trapped with us! There is only one way this story ends.

    • I heard Paul speak once (on a few occasions) and he said that Indyref1 had ‘normalised’ independence for Scotland. You have both hit the nail on the head. The genie has no intention of being tricked back into the bottle.

  5. it is the most important election for the reason you point out. we have gained mandates for indyref2 but never for independence. recent polls put snp support at 57% ???? regardless of what the snp put in their manifesto, the next holyrood election will be view by all as a plebiscite on independence

  6. Right, you’ve made my mind up Paul. I’ve been swithering about, here there and everywhere particularly since Alex’s trial about what to do in 2021 with my votes. I’ve read everyone’s opinion, my mind has swung around like a weathervane but you have, with this piece, convinced me

    It’s both votes SNP in 2021

    I don’t agree with GRA, or the Everything Humza hates Bill, I think Peter Murrell has to go, I think Lesley Evans should have gone long since but you are right

    For the good of Scotland, for Independence, and for my own mental health – both votes SNP

    Let’s do this

  7. Great piece Paul. You said it, we all need to come together and keep our eyes on the prize of independence. Lets not do the usual Scottish thing, the thing we’ve almost always done throughout our history – fight among ourselves and get played at the pivotal moment. The “snatching defeat from the jaws of victory” bit at this time would be the ultimate self-inflicted wound. Despite all the issues people may have with the SNP, its representatives or policies, one party – the SNP – got us IndyRef1 and to this point. Only one party – the SNP – will get us IndyRef2 and independence. But only if we vote for them.

  8. O/T Westminster has just caved in on the exam results in England and gone with teacher assessments but they have Ofqual taking the blame and making the statement that they “got it wrong and have decided to change course.” They would also like to say sorry but no show from Gavin Williamson.

    BBC call it a significant U-Turn by the UK government LOL

  9. “It will be politically unsustainable for the Tories to continue to resist demands for another referendum under those circumstances. Basic democracy demands that a referendum should take place.”

    No it won’t and no it doesn’t. We are not the only people with a mandate. Boris Johnson has a clear manifesto mandate to refuse a second indyref, on which he secured an 80-seat majority in the Parliament that actually has the power (and indeed he can command more than 90% of the votes in that parliament on the subject). He can point to that mandate perfectly democratically and perfectly legitimately and say no forever, until such times as we take steps to secure that power for ourselves. We can scream and pout and stamp our feet all we like about it, and it will make no difference at all. It’s incredibly dishonest to feed people the fantasy that it’s otherwise.

    • He doesn’t have a mandate from Scotland so his 80 seat majority in the Commons is an irrelevance from that point of view.

      It never ceases to amaze me how there are so many people in the independence movement who have more confidence in the Conservatives’ ability to resist another referendum than the Conservatives do themselves.

      • Westminster is the sovereign parliament, so his absence of a mandate in Scotland means the square root of hee-haw. It hasn’t stopped Tories ruling Scotland for most of the last 60 years without once winning an election there.

        Holyrood already has a pro-indy majority and has voted for a second indyref twice. Westminster didn’t give a bee’s bawbag. Their ability to resist seems entirely solid.

        • Well if you are correct then we’ll never get another referendum under any circumstances and we should all just give up and go home.

          I prefer to believe that the resolve of the Scottish people is stronger than the Conservative party.

          The Conservatives’ ability to resist is nowhere near as solid as you seem to think it is. If it was solid we would not have had reports in the Conservative press about panic in the cabinet about rising support for independence. They wouldn’t have plotted to get rid of Jackson Carlaw – because it would have made no difference if he was a good Scottish leader or a bad one. And we wouldn’t have had the former chair of the Scottish Tories making statements to the effect that the Conservatives will have to agree to another referendum if they are to have any chance at all of preventing independence.

          • No, if I’m correct then we’ll need to DO something rather than just sit around on our arses begging over and over again and hoping for a different answer. The SNP visibly have no plan to do that, whether it’s because the current leadership has no real desire to upset their cosy applecart or because they’re just incompetent.

            A couple of random eejits with no power bumping their gums in the media has about as much bearing on what the actual government does as when Jim Sillars does it up here. Boris Johnson will not grant a referendum that he’d almost certainly lose unless we FORCE him to. If he was going to do that he’d have done it already. We already know that yet another sodding mandate won’t work on him, and for perfectly legitimate reasons from his viewpoint.

            A football manager who doesn’t look at things from the other team’s side is an idiot who’s soon going to get the sack.

          • ”The SNP visibly have no plan to do that”..

            How do you know what they plan to do Brian? Are you a clairvoyant?

          • OK. So there is no panic amongst the Conservatives. There are no senior figures in the party saying that they will have to agree to a referendum. One of the figures reported in the Tory press to be panicking was Michael Gove. He’s not some random marginal figure with no power.

            As I said before, you have more confidence in the ability of the Conservatives to resist a referendum than the Conservatives do themselves.

        • Westminster isn’t sovereign in law, its a convention only, like the Sewell convention.
          Why do you think this new Act of Union states as one of its objectives making Westminster sovereign.

    • Except his 80 majority is based on an English electorate, that applies to Labour and the libs as well. All British Nationalist parties were soundly beaten in Scotland. A clearer demonstration of the democratic deficit you couldn’t ask for, a constitutional crisis in the making. The union Parliament is bound by Scots Constitutional law, in law an equal partner, that is what Westminster and Johnson’s position untenable.

    • I don’t think you have a sound appreciation of political realities, TBH. Just another variant of The Cringe, in fact. It doesn’t matter a whit how much support BoJo has in England – the converse, actually – he has no democratic legitimacy whatever here, which is where it matters. His very denial is concrete proof that he has no real answer to the looming constitutional challenge, all he can manage is to pretend (to whom, perchance?) that it doesn’t exist. Proof that he is is starkly afraid of the likely outcome. (Afraid in particular of the likely consequences for his own reputation, and for the standing of England-as-UK in the world, but not us.) But the longer he sticks to an idea-bereft denial, the worse it’s going to rebound on him. The higher he builds his dam against the flood, the bigger the deluge when it comes. A kind of political Black Monday. A lesson the Tories clearly haven’t learnt from history.

      But then, as far as independence is concerned, the BoJo regime and its Scottish patsies (of all stripes) really have nowhere left to go.

  10. “It will be politically unsustainable for the Tories to continue to resist demands for another referendum under those circumstances. Basic democracy demands that a referendum should take place. Even influential voices within the Conservative party have conceded that much.”

    All of which Johnson has the option to ignore, I mean who or what is going to force him and his huge majority to say okay I’ll give the Scots consent?

      • Oh I sincerely hope that you are correct, but is Johnson a fair playing type of politician? His track record would surely suggest otherwise, leaving Scotland’s future in the hands of a whim of any Tory PM is daunting enough, leaving it in the hands of Johnson is truly terrifying in my opinion, but I hope you’re right and I’m wrong for all our sakes.

        • The Tories are not a monolithic bloc. There are many English nationalists amongst their ranks who would prefer to see the back of Scotland. His resolve is nowhere near as absolute as he wants Scotland to think it is. Johnson is a weak man and a weaker politician.

      • ” if he does then independence becomes guaranteed”

        How does that manifest itself, then?
        A diktat from the $DEITY of fair play; a referendum without a S30?

        You can’t go from abolishing Holyrood to Independence is guaranteed without filling in the blanks.

        “With one bound, Scotland became independent” isn’t going to happen.

        • Where does it say “with one bound …” ? That’s not what I am saying at all.

          Stop looking for strawmen.

          If the Tories keep denying democracy to the people of Scotland people will conclude that democracy only becomes possible with independence. When there is a vote – such as a plebiscite election because the Tories have refused a referendum – then the British nationalists will lose heavily. This is not a difficult concept to understand and I really don’t appreciate your snark.

          If you’re going to make serious points about this article I will engage with you. Otherwise the door is that way ——>

          • Sorry if it came across as needless snark.
            I’ve become weary of Pete Wishart and Ian Blackford obfuscating over this.
            I’ll add I’m an active campaigning member of the party.

            A plebiscite election is a very fair solution – and if they abolish Holyrood, we could do that at Westminster.
            It’s also the ONLY reason I can see for pushing hard on SNP 1&2; if we intended to use a mass vote at Holyrood as our plebiscite.

            Odd that it’s you saying it, rather than my party and the MP I went out and canvassed for.

            In passing, Johnson does have an 79 seat majority for his party and a majority in the multiple hundreds for opposing a referendum; he is also stuffing the Lords.

            A new Act of Union is in the offing, so a plebiscite sooner than later is needed.

          • Apology accepted.

            It’s not going to be easy to get independence. However I believe that unless we return the SNP – for all their faults and failings – as a majority in Holyrood next year, it’s going to be even harder.

        • I’d guess that a likely substantial increase in support caused by scrapping Holyrood brings Independence so much closer because the evidence becomes overwhelming that there is an undoubted demand for it.

          I think that’s the point, overwhelming support cannot be ignored in any supposed democratic state without giving the people a vote. Abolishing Holyrood would be a major mistake by Westminster and for that reason, it’s one that they are highly unlikely to even contemplate.

          • Scrapping Holyrood would be an act of sheer desperation, unconstitutional to say the least, remember there were 2 questions on the ballot paper. Once again we have an explicit objective within the new Act of Union which is to shut down Holyrood, why? if it was already easily achieved through current legislation. In reality closing Holyrood creates more problems than it solves. It would require a rescinding of legislation, Royal Assent, it would make the next UK GE an independence plebiscite, nor are we in the least certain that the Johnson gov will survive much past January, nor that the Tory’s would want it to once the Brexit shit hits the fan.

          • “It would require a rescinding of legislation, Royal Assent, it would make the next UK GE an independence plebiscite”

            Agreed, the people of Scotland would have been left with no other choice. A Section 30 becomes irrelevant if there is no Scotland act to modify. There could no longer be a Holyrood plebiscite election if Holyrood didn’t exist so that leaves mass protests and ultimately a Westminster plebiscite election if Westminster continued to agree to a referendum.

            Who knows with this lot though, have you seen the state of their governance since Johnson became Prime Minister, could hardly miss it calamity all the way and they’ve only been in power for 8 months. Come next May before the election support for Independence should be through the roof, at least I like to think it will be 🙂

      • How does it then become guaranteed? He can and will continue to ignore any plea for a 2nd referendum. He does not want to be the PM that breaks the union.

        Also how on earth is the snp going to get a majority in the Scottish Parliament elections. The whole election system is set up to never have a majority. Last time was a complete fluke never to be repeated. The snp will not get a majority and Johnson will play on this. People should know a majority is NOT possible. Setting ourselves up for a fall…..again

        • If they get a majority of votes, they get a majority of seats.

          It becomes guaranteed because there becomes an equivalence in the minds of voters that independence=democracy and UK=authoritarianism. When there is a vote such as a plebiscite election, then the British nationalists will not be able to argue that Scotland is a voluntary partner in a union. They will have lost the democratic argument.

          The Tories, or at least some of them, understand this. As I have said to others here – you appear to have considerably more faith in the Conservatives’ ability to resist a referendum than the Conservatives do themselves. Maybe you should think about why that is?

    • Oh dear, another Cringist. Don’t look to London, look to the people of Scotland. They are finally on the move. The BoZo regime is not the great unmovable monolith you have erected in your mind, the PM is the empty posturing Wizard of Boz.

      “Pull back the curtain, Dorothy”

  11. The great majority of the electorate od not even notice all the machinations going on between those with differing views on how Independence will be gained and whether or not Nicola Sturgeon actually wants Independence.

    The majority of voters certainly believe she does just as I do.

    One of the reasons promoted for opposing the GRA was that it would alienate women supporters of Independence and that meant without the support of women then we could never win. Well the opposite has in fact happened and support for Independence among women in Scotland is now greater than that of men. I’d put that down to the appeal of Nicola Sturgeon specifically to women and another reason for her increased popularity in general.

    We really need to stop bickering about single issues and especially single issues that are not the sole preserve of the SNP, the Greens, Libs, Labour and until recently the Tories all supported change in the GRA.

    Of course, we absolutely can’t afford to become complacent and if anything the anoraks like most of us should up our game now and work to persuade switherers that they really want to support Yes. The time is ripe for exactly that due to the attention being given to the SNP and Independence. Stop the bickering and raise our game, there will be a referendum to win and it’s best we start to prepare and think about that now.

  12. “However make no mistake, if the SNP fail to win an outright majority because some independence supporters have deserted them in favour of a minor party ”

    A fair point but aren’t those seats if won by other independence minded parties, still seats for Scottish independence, and ergo added to a hopeful majority, I’m talking only of list votes not constituency votes. For has it not been reasonably shown that to give the SNP your list vote, is in most instances a wasted vote, which could allow the likes of the never directly elected Murdo Fraser and Annie Wells back into the Holyrood chamber.

      • I see your point, I think the media will spin it no matter the size of the SNP majority next year, of which if the polls are to be believed will be substantial. Media bias aside which we are sadly used to, I can see no real downside to giving our list votes to other independence minded parties, afterall if memory serves me didn’t the SNP pick up only four list seats back in 2016 out of roughly one million votes.

        List seats aside, I’m pretty sure the SNP will have a majority come next May, the icing on the cake would be to remove unionist minded MSPs like the ones I mentioned further up the thread.

        • Unfortunately those advocating voting for alternative Indy parties for the List never address the danger of splitting the Pro Indy vote. All we get is repetition of vote for new Indy party and get more pro Indy list seats. Do they expect people to stop voting SNP?
          Do they really believe that splitting the pro-Indy vote doesn’t matter?
          No mention is ever made of the practicalities of the actual campaign.Would I end up campaigning on the High Street for the SNP against an “Indy” party instead of against the Britnats. The voters would understandably be more than a little confused.

          • I’m under the impression that reducing unionist MSP’s at Holyrood on the list vote would be a good thing. As the SNP generally don’t do that well on it.

          • How exactly would voting for a pro independence party split the pro independence vote??.FFS!

          • Because the alternative party could gain enough votes to deprive the SNP or the Greens of winning a seat without itself gaining enough votes to win a seat itself. A British nationalist party could come through the middle.

        • What you are evidently missing is the sea change in public opinion that has happened of late. A defensive strategy that might have been worthy of consideration – at least if done properly in a focussed manner – when SNP support was hovering around the halfway mark is no longer appropriate once support rises above the mid-fifties, after which point the party begins to escape from the list doldrums that has distracted so many of late.

          Where we are now, we have a wonderful opportunity to get on the front foot and gain immensely, provided we stop agonising over a varied bunch of disgruntled no-hopers and maximise support for the one-and-only party that can resoundly register our shared desire for independence. The more independence supporters are made to believe they should vote something else in the list, for whatever selfish, misguided or downright mendacious motive, the less that stunning result is likely to happen.

          It’s not a matter of just “scraping a win”, and even less about fussing about a few eejits that the AMS system will inevitably throw up. We need the strongest possible result to demonstrate to the whole world where we truly are, and where we are heading.

          • “Where we are now, we have a wonderful opportunity to get on the front foot and gain immensely, provided we stop agonising over a varied bunch of disgruntled no-hopers and maximise support for the one-and-only party that can resoundly register our shared desire for independence.”

            Don’t get me wrong I agree that the SNP are the main driver on independence, but it seems more like foolish optimism to throw away possibly hundreds of thousands of list votes to gain at best a handful of list seats, when its almost certain that the SNP will have a majority anyway.

            Add in that the SNP might need to go to the last year of their up and coming tenure in 2021 to secure an independence vote, and that leaves another four years if we give our list vote to the SNP as well, of unionist MSP’s that might otherwise not have made it into Holyrood.

            Lets not forget that George Galloway plans a similar action, Galloway once said, if you see me standing under the Union Jack shoulder to shoulder with the Tories shoot me, his new unionist party to thwart his own countries independence is to be manned by Tories as well.

          • So are the 2nd votes really geared to take seats from the Greens?

            It seems based on the projections.

            So it isn’t Just about Independence at all?

            Seems a nice right wing fundamentalist coup.

            Damages the Greens ( liberal tendencies) and hurts the SNP and Independence by preventing a majority in Holyrood.

          • Thank you for the link, I’ll take it into consideration for now, two of the parties mentioned Solidarity and Rise, are in my opinion far too riddled with internal squabbling, both in my opinion aren’t worth voting for at this crucial election, apologies if you find that opinion rather terse.

            As for the Greens yes they are a party for independence and they help prop up the SNP government on vital votes on occasion such as the recent vote of no confidence aimed by unionist politicians at John Swinney.

        • ”I can see no real downside to giving our list votes to other independence minded parties.”

          ONE list party might have worked, RoS, led by someone with some sort of gravitas, however ”parties” is a no goer and will only lead to defeat, imo.

      • A bit of topic here But why has our government not moved to end the two bites of the cherry. With regard to the oops lost the seat, ‘s ok I’ll get in off the list.
        It must surely time for either or, not both. think of the coo(sic) with this system in place I would guess that Dross would not see the inside of Holyrood.

  13. You can change a law, you can change a bill, you can change a politician, there’s almost nothing you can’t change when you have the power to do it, Scotland has the power to change almost nothing because another country holds us prisoner within it’s political Barlinnie

    Perhaps we should be using the Tories words against them and *Take back control* of our own country so that a vote for the politicians we choose become the government we choose for our own country that we choose to live in and choose to change should we so desire into the country we aspire to be and not the colony another inflexible country chooses to keep us within no matter what their reasons

    It’s not for fame or fortune

  14. Hello Paul, I agree with most of what you say here – I just wonder would it not be better for the SNP just to make this a plebiscite election?

    • I’ve always preferred the idea of a plebiscite election. However in order for it to succeed we’d have to have a refusal from Westminster for another referendum under all and any circumstances. It would only work if people see that the UK is in fact a prison and not a union and there is a direct equivalence in the minds of the Scottish electorate between independence and democracy.

      We’re not quite there yet.

      • That is absolutely the central point in all of this. We need the overall majority of Scots on board for opening up alternate routes, if Section 30 is denied. That is *not* the same thing as simply saying Yes in opinion polls when asked the 2014 question. It’s a step beyond. One which can only come when the political reality demands it.

        Simply said: we can’t stomp off and declare a plebiscite election before we are refused point blank. What came before is prologue.

        • To which I’d posit why don’t we (the SNP) say:
          i) Will you give us a S.30 order NOW?
          if NO
          ii) Under what circumstances and when WILL you give us a S.30?
          if not defined, or unacceptable.

          We will stand in the next elections with the single manifesto item: if elected as majority government we will negotiate Independence.

          • Because you’re not the one who needs to be persuaded. It’s the likes of my 83 year old father. He’d only support a referendum if the SNP win a majority. And he’d only support a plebiscite election if a Section 30 order was being refused following the reelection of a majority SNP govt.

            Not everyone in Scotland shares our view that the SNP already has a convincing mandate for a referendum.

  15. Well said Paul, thank you. Just one wee thing, when you say ‘idiocies’ of the Tory government, it seems to me more like ideologies, verging on atrocities really.

    Your SNP MSP, how ever were they ever accepted as an SNP candidate with such narrow, backward views?

  16. Another inspirational piece Paul and concur with everything you have said. Just to add that i have been following this blog daily for the last 2 months (as i am sure many others have but not necessarily contributing to the comments section,) and has been a great source of hope and kept me ever hopeful that soon Scotland will be Independent. Thanks also to the contributors in the comments section and with the links provided. SNP 1&2 for me!!

  17. Have had a lot of time for your work, but this is a bit Wishart-like (aside: I think of him as the superhero ‘Blockoman’. Catchphrase ‘la la la la’).

    So, sorry, still voting for the Independence for Scotland Party on the list. You have two votes. I have two votes. Neither is guaranteed. As Iain Lawson has correctly observed, it’s the constituency vote that’s loaned, not the list one.


    Scenario 1 – the SNP obtain and win Indyref2 before 2031*. We need to have new parties up and running for our Independent parliament. It takes years to get established. In fact having new parties is a reassurance for former No voters worried that Scotland will be a one party state, and hence increase the indy vote.

    Scenario 2. the SNP do not achieve a referendum before 2031 (the end of the term after next). We need new parties because one party rule in the existing Parliament for two decades is not healthy. See ‘Scottish’ Labour, RIP.

    The ONLY way that ISP would be a threat to the SNP, on a timescale of a decade or so, is if the latter fail to deliver.

    *2031 because I assume that the chance of the Cummings Government suddenly discovering a conscience and agreeing a S30 in 2021-2026 for a referendum is Nil. The Tories are vile, but they aren’t completely stupid.

    • I disagree with your confidence that the Conservatives won’t agree to another referendum. As I’ve remarked above, it’s a confidence that the Conservatives themselves don’t appear to share.

    • A bit rich calling WGD “Wishart-like” when you don’t envisage independence until 2031!

      (Tricky stuff, that MacAlpine Juice.)

  18. The Tories own most senior advisers and grandees of the party are warning Johnson and his team quite clearly if they attempt to block another Independence referendum if the SNP win the election and secure the most votes (for total votes cast are what counts, not seats by any other party who may support Independence) then it would be a political catastrophe for the UK government
    the effects of which would reverberate around the world

    Every election in Scotland is seen by the Tories as a referendum on the Independence question

    The 2014 Independence referendum was England’s referendum that just happened to be held in Scotland, every aspect of that referendum was orchestrated by the UK government and the media, every timetable of events was engineered by the UK government and the media, every intervention by the UK government and its requested agents was contrary to UN guidelines on referendums hence this statement from Nicola Sturgeon following the loss of that referendum

    Nicola Sturgeon said “I don’t just want to hold a referendum I want to win one” that means she will not allow the usurping of the next Independence referendum to happen the way it did in 2014 again

    • Paul is self-evidently right in that it is absolutely essential that the SNP win an absolute majoity next May to keep the indy flag (and our hopes) flying high. But you are also right in that the pro-SNP votes will be counted by friend and foe alike (and any other nominally pro-indy votes ignored).

      This coming contest is about so much more than just winning bums on Holyrood seats.

  19. I couldnt agree more! I have waited my whole life for independence, I’ll be 70 this Oct. If we lose the opportunity this time through impatience, divisiveness and fractious infighting, I for one will be very angry and upset as I know that, like my parents before me, I’ll likely not live to see an independent Scotland.

    • Me too. But if Nicola sticks to her guns we can make it. We certainly don’t need any infighting, and I agree whole heartedly with your disapproval of that. We need like a hole in the saltire a ‘Peoples Front of Scotland’ versus a ‘Peoples Scottish Front’, versus a ‘Scottish Peoples Front’.

  20. Brilliant Paul. One of your best ever articles. Now let’s buck up, drop the cringe and get behind Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP. Let’s free our country, and our people especially the vulnerable, from the narcissistic Westminster cabal and then deal with the lesser issues that divide us. And don’t forget that without our Independence those ”lesser issues” will be implemented by the BritNats anyway on top of everything else that they have planned for us. C’mon, c’mon folks we can does this.

    Unite to fight to win the greatest battle of our lifetimes and that of all who have gone before us. Let’s do this FGS. We CAN do it. Enough is bl**dy-well enough. If you thought that this was bad things are only going to get worse. Much, much worse.

    Don’t make the same mistake twice!

  21. Paul,

    Thank you for being a beacon of sanity in relation to the SNP vote and what it would mean as regards press coverage and the path to Independence.

    Independence is all that matters right now. Everything else from that point on will be decided by those who live IN Scotland.

  22. The obvious question to ask is who are the enemies of Independence for Scotland?

    I’m sure all Independence supporters know that the answer is Westminster, the Unionist parties and the “Establishment”. House of Lords, Confederation of British Industry, the Banks, the Think Tanks, the Media, the Hedge Funds, the Oil Companies, the Religious organisations and on and on and on.

    Yet there are those that will tell you the greatest obstacle to Independence is Nicola Sturgeon, their evidence is…

    I know what my strategy would be if I aimed to blunt growing support for Independence.

    It’s the only strategy

    I’d attack the SNP and in particular, I’d attack their leader, I’d spread discord wherever I could and get supporters of Independence fighting amongst themselves by creating factions using any means possible.

    I’d do all of that and so I’m really surprised that the UK government aren’t doing that yet. LOL

    • ”I’d attack the SNP and in particular, I’d attack their leader, I’d spread discord wherever I could and get supporters of Independence fighting amongst themselves by creating factions using any means possible.”

      It’s happening of course, don’t we know it, and just fits the bill for tactics used by the opposition in times of warfare. Take out the leader and the radio operators because without leadership and the ability to communicate those that are left are forced into disarray and can be picked off. So FGS Paul, (radio operator) watch your back 😉.

      • It was a tongue in cheek comment. The LOL at the end was meant to be a clue to that 🙂

        So yes, of course, they are on the attack and that is exactly what these two programs are all about. It’s just a continuation of all the SNP BAD that has gone on since 2013. There are now though a lot more on the Indy side who are attacking the SNP alongside the media these days.

        They should know better. That’s why we need to stop the bickering, it gets us nowhere.

  23. If you are wanting an independent Scotland do not be hood winked into thinking you can “game the list vote” and/or voting for a party with less than 3 or 4% in the polls. This is a myth propagated by Britnats and unionists in order to split the SNP vote so please do not fall for it. The SNP are the only party that is going to get us Independence. SNP1&2.

  24. Guid oan ye, Dug. Especially like your call for unity. That’s what we need, – not sniping at those with slightly different views, but the same goal. It’s the goal that counts. After that is achieved we can really fall out, but it will then be on our own terms, and within our own ‘parish’.

  25. If there was one other Independence Party then maybe it would work to gain more MSP’s.

    The fact is we have the Greens ( I have my own opinion after they joined with labour to overturn the football sectarianism laws) but we now have a multitude of other parties All clamouring for the 2nd vote (and maybe for the 1st!) and of course one group is threatening to declare to stand at the last moment.

    For some it is narcissism for others it is to derail independence. That is why 1 & 2 independence for the snp is the best way and if you are Green 1st SNP and 2nd Greens.

    • This is a very interesting conversation. And, unusually for this internet thingy, it has been conducted in a very civil manner.

      It is, perhaps, interesting that there hasn’t been more discussion of the legal route that Paul has been advocating. To the extent that this block of text has been below many or most of his comments for some time now.

      “You may have heard that there’s a crowdfunded initiative to test the lawfulness of an independence referendum without a Section 30 order. Taking on a legal case of this sort is eye wateringly expensive but it’s a worthwhile cause as it could establish once and for all whether the Scottish Parliament can go ahead with a referendum without the need for a Section 30 order. Or if the case fails and it’s ruled that a Section 30 order is required, it tells us that this so-called union is not a union at all, because Scotland would not be a free member of it which can decide to remain or to leave according to the will of the people of Scotland. That would deprive British nationalists of their claim that Scotland is a voluntary member of a union of nations. Either way, the independence movement ends up with either a legal argument in its favour, or a political argument in its favour, and we would have more clarity than we do just now.

      The crowdfunder for the case is more than halfway to its goal of £155,000. You can help out with a contribution here:

      There is more than one way apparently to skin a cat. Not that I am in favour of animal cruelty!

      It does seem to me that we have to use every lever that is available to us to level the playing field.

    • Hamish100 I see sense in this.

      In theory it would give us a Government and an opposition that are focused on Independence (if you look at it from wastemonsters view point). If you look at it from our view, or Europe’s view point and the rest of the world the two main parties who dominate the chamber are independence orientated. It could also be a good sell to the undecided what if voters who see Holyrood as an executive and opposition chamber.
      It does risk the weight of votes for SNP.
      But then if the greens would like to commit to Independence first and we’ll sort the rest out later then surly both party’s votes total carries the same total weight as an SNP only Independence vote tally.
      The unionists and the new-by’s then become cannon fodder.

  26. Agreed personal attacks and shit throwing comments on the only party with the ability to deliver what everyone wants that is a normal independent country .

    It’s not difficult ,any side issues and there are many should be parked right now there are more important things to be done unfortunately the dreaded lull in any kind of movement forward because of this pandemic have produced the predicted in fighting , the only thing I would point out is a firm clear leadership is essential , and this squabbling has to be brought under control right now,not next week Now .

    The Unionist Parties every single one who called loudly with venom and spite for John Swinneys head should be confronted with their own words, The same parties are unable to to bring themselves to offer the same level of spite to outwardly dim Gavin Williamson ,who most people wouldn’t trust to cut their grass , Gavin is the type of person who has been employed and no one really knows what to do with him , the usual way is to put them somewhere where they can cause the least damage ,

    This raises the question , we know about Williamson but how many more are flying under the radar but haven’t been discovered yet , God how bad are this lot and haven’t been rumbled yet , the more you dig the more scary it becomes. HELP .

    Anyone predicting how long it will be before it’s That Nicolas fault it won’t be long

  27. Incidentally, the wee ginger gug effect seems to be working!

    The latest update I can see on the

    says that they have received £123,470 of their stretched target of £155,000. It is still open for another 17 days!

    The costs of this sort of action are astronomical, but so is the prize!

  28. Can’t agree with the ‘Both votes SNP’ mantra Paul. It’s mathematically unsound, and frankly, if we want Indy sooner, rather than later, we need more Indy politicians in Holyrood, and not more Unionists.

    I’ll not bore you with Dehond’t calcs, but suffice it to say, if the SNP get all the constituency seats (which hands them an overall majority anyway), and all these voters also vote SNP in the List vote, they’ll get zero lists seats (or less than seven seats across all of Scotland, depending on the split of the votes).

    So it stands to reason that to create the greatest Pro-indy parliament, we have everyone vote SNP in the constituency, and vote for the most credible other Indy party (e.g. Green Party, if that happens to be the most credible) in the List vote.

    I’m all for the SNP leading the charge, but to have 90-100 pro-Indy MSPs and 20-30 less unionist MSPs can’t hurt one little bit. It would be the most resounding message sent to Westminster yet. Not to mention all the list unionist MSPs that think they have a safe seat, as long as we keep voting 1-2.

    The maths are already working for the Unionists where it can. In the South of Scotland in 2016, the SNP won 7 seats, Tories won 6 seats, and Labour won 3 seats. Unionist majority of 2 seats. Should all SNP give their second vote to non-SNP, it would elect 4-5 other Indy candidates, which would be approximately 8-9 Indy total, vs 7-8 unionist. A win or a tie in a more Unionist area.

    Of course, the vote will most likely be split or all votes will go SNP. Both scenarios will result in less Indy MSPs, due to the SNP not ceding for a winning strategy of filling 70-80% of Holyrood with Pro-Indy MSPs.

    I’ll be sussing out who’s who in my region when the time comes. No one wants to waste their vote, so why should sub-50% of votes go SNP on the list, when more than 50% have voted for them in the Constituency? The voting system is geared to waste list votes going to the party with the most seats.

    Then there’s the current state of our governing party and my doubts of their desire for Indy shifting as career types fill the vacancies. I fear they may become like Scottish Labour if given enough time. I’d like to put a shot across their bows, and put a decent whack of non-SNP indy MSPs in there to keep them focussed.

    • Just to add. An example of seat calcs, showing on the left, the most recent Holyrood poll, and on the right, the same poll, but with estimated seats if all of the 47% SNP list votes goes Green (just an example; I’m not a massive fan of them, but they’re the most credible Indy alternative at present, if there’s such a thing as a credible political party):

      So the current poll:

      – SNP: 74 seats (57.4% of seats) – (4 of them from the regional list for 47% votes) – Majority of 19
      – SNP + Green: 77 (59.7% of seats) – Indy Majority of 25

      And the hypothetical example:

      – SNP: 70 seats (54.3% of seats) – (all of the constituency and STILL an overall majority) – Majority of 11
      – SNP + Green 109 (84.5% of seats) – Indy Majority of 89

      Just throwing it out there. I don’t imagine for a second that all the SNP votes will go away from the SNP, but the SNP has it within their power to make it proper Indy campaign of this election, with tactical voting and all, and chooses not to. I’m not encouraged by that to be honest.

      Still hoping though. 😀

      • That’s a different campaign though, and the polls look pretty good. My big worry is the polls staying good when the London media and millionaire pals get going with their gamed campaign.

        If a unionist votes tactically and wins, gamed or not, they’ve won. We need to start getting a little less honourable (proper honourable; not Westminster’s version of honourable), and give the media 20-30 less unionist politicians to talk to.

        Put it this way, if we end up with less than 20 Tory MSPs, imagine that. But I totally get the arguments here of split votes and too many parties. It’s probably not going to happen, short of Mr. Salmond surprising us all.

        Shall we agree to differ then? 😀

        (Love the blog, btw)

        • I’ve always thought that a new party could work as long as it was the sole new pro-indy party and it was led by someone of Salmond’s stature. Unfortunately what we have at the moment are several new parties, none of which seems likely to make an impact, and which are unable or unwilling to agree a joint ticket amongst themselves.

  29. The message a massive pile of SNP list votes sends is loud and clear, if it, too, is over 50%. A true popular majority, a true popular mandate. The bums on seats aren’t empowered, yet, to take us to the future we seek. But our mandate can work political magic by sheer overwhelmimg force.

    Mind, that said, I’m still as likely to vote Green on the list as I always have, ever since the first Holyrood. (They’re more aligned with my outlook than the SNP: Scotland’s indy future MUST centre around land reform.) But I get Paul’s message, and I agree with its incontrovertible impact. A true majority is a true mandate, for the big stuff that comes next.

    • A very good point.

      Messages are important if you want people to pay attention to that message, the more powerful the message the better, and 50%+ on both the constituency and list votes is powerful indeed.

  30. Stat-geek.

    What is the optimal number of So called independence Parties other than the SNP and Greens to win more list seats? I would have thought 2 but surely not 3 or 4?

    Would I be right?

    • Not done any sums, but off the top of my head, it’s probably something weird like seven parties, each getting identical vote share, all higher than any unionist party, to each take a seat.

      Or one party getting more than 7x votes than any other. Something along those lines. For each seat won, the votes gets divided down by +1


      50,000 votes / 1 = 50,000 = 1 seat
      50,000 votes / 2 = 25,000 = 2 seats
      50,000 votes / 3 = 16,667 = 3 seats

      and so on. If another party has 18,000 votes, they would get the third seat, their divider kicks in so they change to 9,000, and they keep dividing it down until all the seats are taken.

      No idea what happens if there’s a draw. Never found that one out.

      • Stat geek – there is no way ‘I can see 7 parties getting equal votes. Here’s another thought. What if the unionists choose to follow a regional vote. .i,e vote labour in one area , vote Tory in another in the list vote?
        Puts the Indy parties tactics oot the window!!

    • Anyone else watching the BBC’s Alex Salmond Trial number 2? Half way through and I’ve got steam coming out of my ears.

      • You’re a better person than I, Gunga Petra!

        Looking forward to a summary from you or another brave soul who watched this – and to read the precis on this blog tomorrow.

        • Kirsty Wark/Labour supporter/Blairite/went on and shared holiday homes with Jack McConnel on 2 occassions/…..and last…but not least…she utterly detests Alex Salmond (quote 2007!).

        • I wouldn’t know where to begin WS. Suffice to say that bits and pieces of data were ”spliced together” to make it look as though Alex Salmond HAD been guilty and it was clear that Kirsty Wark was highly disappointed that he had been cleared of all charges. Conversations edited, such as Nicola Sturgeon saying that she would be relieved to have her say on this issue. Sillars and MacAskill ”opining” or whining about the ”conspiracy” at the top, but no proof proffered. Key evidence relating to the Alphabet women (of their guilt) omitted. Aamer Anwar pointing out that numerous complaints of sexual harassment had been made to him, followed by outlining the (pathetic) Mark MacDonald SNP complaint, showing Mark MacDonald walking alongside Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon (all in league), followed by Monica Lennon’s complaints about male harassers (no mention that she dropped her complaint against a Labour MSP not an SNP MSP). All leading one to suspect that the SNP are the sole culprits.

          Throwing in terms like MeToo, names like Harvey Weinstein and comparing Alex Salmond to Clinton. Alex and RT. The Alphabet women talking in sad, whispery voices about their harrowing ordeals and the injustice of it all. No mention that a number of them had been communicating on WhatsApp. No mention that the woman who made the gravest of claims (attempted rape) hadn’t been to Bute House that night at all with diary dates and Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh evidence to prove it. Just a she said that she was there … others said that she was not. It ended with the voice of an actress (one of the Alphabet women) solemnly talking about not getting justice and the implications for Scotland overall as they dramatically panned over a Scottish skyline. They could have basically announced it as being the BBC’s latest bl**dy soap opera.

          Oh I could go on and on, however my head is bursting following watching one of the most manipulative and biased productions ever made aimed at destroying the SNP overall. TBH you’d have to watch it yourself to make sense of what I’ve been rambling on about.

      • Just watched it Petra and Kirsty Wark in her finishing statement is one bitter twisted person.
        Just look at who were all dining together, Wark, Smith, Garavelli and whoever as an independent hack, I’m sure Prof Robertson will be able to identify him.
        The BBC turns a perfectly legitimate trial into a drama akin to an episode of Eastenders.
        They no longer report news, theirs is a different agenda altogether.
        Goebbels would be proud!

        • The ‘Independent hack’ as you describe him Jim…I s Maurice Smith…and not ‘unfavourable’ to indy….so go easy.

  31. @martin keatings

    This morning I will write to all pro-indy MSP’s and MP’s formally asking them to support the #PeoplesAS30. If they aver that the people of Scotland are sovereign in the determination of their constitutional future, then we request them to stand in defence of that sovereignty.

    @peat worrier
    Tho’ legally speaking, this case isn’t about sovereignty. Popular sovereignty isn’t the legal argument. It is about whether Holyrood legislating for #indyref2 “relates to a reserved matter” under the Scotland Act. That, I grant you, is much less pithy & much less stirring.

    On the plus side: you should be cheered that popular sovereignty isn’t the legal argument to the fore in this case, because if it was, you could burn the £150,000 it’ll cost even to begin this legal action right now.

    As someone who has followed your thoughts on here on legal and indyref stuff for some time – could you explain why Pete Wishart thinks this is potentially disastrous? Given where we are – being refused a section 30 – I don’t see the downside ….

    @peat worrier
    The core of it is political and not legal. Is the case politically useful? Does it restrict the Scottish Government’s room for maneuver, or retard it? It may bring legal clarity – but that doesn’t mean it is politically helpful. That, as I understand it, is Pete’s point.

    Apologies for my legal/general ignorance but always appreciate your descriptions/explanations. Does that mean sovereignty itself holds no specific technical legal basis? Also will any judgement in your opinion be either for/against or could it be accompanied with notable comment?

    @peat worrier
    It is considerably worse than that. As a matter of law (but not politics) it is clear Holyrood is not sovereign & judges applying orthodox approaches to constitutional law are likely to hold that Westminster is sovereign for legal purposes. On the outcome: it could go either way.

    No: we would be a colony and that’s us off to the UN. It’s out of Westminster’s hands.
    It is worth digging into how the concept of self-determination is actually understood in international law.

    @peat worrier
    It is worth digging into how the concept of self-determination is actually understood in international law.

    The other case they have ongoing (trying to compel UK gov to introduce legislation and to compel HoC to vote for it) and this lack of basic understanding makes it all feel quite grifty, to be perfectly honest.

    As I understand it – there isn’t another case. I think the other case mutated into this.

    Martin explained in total they needed to raise £195k. They already raised £40k the first time, so this crowd funder is to raise the remaining £155k.

    It isn’t really the total I’m afraid Mel. You’d need to factor in the Inner House appeal and likely Supreme Court hearing for that.

    Just going by what Martin has told us. I am confident the Scottish public can raise more in the future if needed. I am glad someone is taking action. If we waited for the Scottish Gov. who knows when we might see indy.

    The court is just as likely to conclude that an indyref is outside Holyrood’s powers, as in it.

    Perhaps, I guess we will have to see. Like I said I am glad someone is doing something. Considering they have nearly reached the goal with 18 days still to go, I am far from alone.

    Clearly there’s a bunch of folk who’re enthusiastic about the general idea. I can understand why. I’m less encouraged by the fact the intellectual justification for it and the strategic analysis of it amounts to “let’s spend thousands on litigation & just see how it works out.”

    better suggestion?

    I’m not sure I accept the framing of your question. When the only concrete plan is cutting off your leg with a rusty knife, it doesn’t follow that you ought to cut off your leg with a rusty knife.

    Liked Aiden O’Neill’s position, calling an advisory referendum is within the rules of the Scotland Act

    That’s the legal heart of it. Though the word “advisory” tends to lead to the word “binding” being used in this debate – which always makes me want to rip my hair out.

    Brexit referendum was ‘advisory’, conveniently fresh in the mind should this conundrum surface.

    Indeed. Almost every UK referendum you can think of was – legally and formally – “non binding.” “Binding” has become an unhelpful way of saying “recognised as legitimate by rUK.”

    Absolutely. Politically tho surely the Brexit outcome negates any perceived illegitimacy conferred on the term ‘advisory’

    There’s nothing wrong with being legally advisory – so long as the process is understood to be politically determinative.

    I’m shocked that someone who grossly misrepresented the proposed action in the crowdfunder blurb would apply an inaccurate description to it here. Legal inaccuracy aside, that letter is an offence against the language.

    We’ve come a long way from forcing Her Majesty’s government to amend Schedule 5 of the Scotland Act under s.30. In no time, too.

  32. “”It’s all very well for Boris Johnson and his minions to claim that they intend to hold Nicola Sturgeon to her supposed promise that the 2014 referendum was a once in a generation affair,…””

    It has been interesting to see over the last few weeks, months or so, how people, usually opposed to Ms Sturgeon, and independence, are seeking to undermine her and the idea of indyref2 by trying to put forward the idea that she was the sole author of this statement. In fact there were many prominent members of the SNP who were saying similar in some form or another during the referendum without much comment from the MSM and others and in the immediate aftermath of the referendum it was laid almost solely at Mr Salmond’s door. Although he did say it was a personal opinion when interviewed.

    What was said was not a promise and did not place any binding bar on a future referendum when circumstances, rather than elapsed time, called for one. There has been a material change – Brexit – and indyref2 is now on the immediate horizon. End of.

    • Jeremy Corbyn used the same phrase at the last general election when he spoke of his party’s chances, did anybody think he meant his party wasn’t going to stand for election again for a generation, and anyway Jacob Reese Mogg is never done telling everybody who’ll listen, one government can’t bind the hands of the next, or in other words nothing a politician says or does is set in stone, and with the Tories even if it’s in a legal document which the phrase once in a generation isn’t

      It’s unionist twaddle for the deliberately stupid

      • It is one of the stock phrases/words to be found in the Politicians’ Thesaurus along with: hard decisions, unprecedented times, strong and stable, tsunami etc etc etc. Usually deployed whenever a politician wants to ‘big’ up a situation and their particular role in it.

        Surprising, or not, how often these content free utterances come back to bite them or be twisted by a willing media to do so.

  33. BBC programme.

    It looked to me that Wark and Smith thought they were actors in a bit play and not very good at it either.

    • Indeed….some of the camera shots when Kirsty was in actual fact talking to NO ONE..was crafitly handled….it was…in fact…nothing other than the Kirsty Wark show and “I hate Alex Salmond”.

  34. Just for a wee bit of light relief, this from the Guardian comments on the government U-turn on exams.

    “Dominic Raab has been downgraded to Dominic Rbbb”

  35. Human nature… It’s a funny old thing.

    Personally I’ve never had a problem with the concept of difference within our population. It’s a given that not all of the YES movement will be supportive of the SNP. For some it’s not where they come from politically as voters. For others it’s not where they come from as people. That’s no bad thing. Hell. Plenty of folk in the SNP aren’t exactly enthralled with various policy issues. 🙄 Remember the NATO membership stushie upon a time? That was a standout and knock down brawl only a few short years back. 😀 Feels like a lifetime ago. That’s also human nature by the by.

    Lots of folk don’t like/trust politicians of any party as a general rule. (They do have grounds for that tbf.) 😎 Even the best of them aren’t exactly pure as the driven … etc. They screw up. They exaggerate (fib). They’re prone to selfish or petty acts. Y’know,.. They’re just like us. Only with power and responsibility. The average bod in the street ONLY gets to temper those actions by being the gaffer. THAT doesn’t happen in Scotland. It hasn’t been fully realised. Not yet. But it can and it will … If you want it to.

    What holds the YES movement together is the desire to self govern. To be independent. To hold a government of our own to account and to have our opinions and our votes matter for once in our lives. All of us together isn’t a serving suggestion. We can argue. We can disagree on stuff. People do that. It’s human nature (shrugs). What we CANNOT do is let the wossinames break us apart. Not now and not ever.

    I’m guessing by this point most folk are aware of where the real problem lies? CLUE: It’s that gaff on the Thames where the gov du jour somehow convinces folk to act against the better parts of human nature.

    So. You want a government you can hold to account? Only you can bring it home.

  36. Amazing to think some of us (including me ) have been pre-occupied in the tittle-tattle scratchings ofa has been Newsnight’s reporter on our former First Minister….whilst JohnSwinney’s policy for students in this Covid year is now apparently ‘de rigeur’……(apologies here to anyone who has O-Level French).

  37. Wishing all fellow Bams a bone and better grades in yer Z-levels next year!……nite nite…mind the bed bugs dont bite…if they bite…..set fire tae yer bed….that is all …Guten Nacht…..Bon Soir…..

    • The Crown Office contacted the BBC yesterday to warn them of the potential contempt of court implications in relation to the Kirsty Wark programme about the Alex Salmond trial! So what happens now 🙄?

      Mark Hirst:- ”My lawyer and Crown Office themselves, today contacted the BBC today to warn them of the potential contempt of court implications of their utterly biased #SalmondTrial film.
      Regime broadcaster ignored that. The film was so biased I believe I cannot possibly receive a fair trial.”

      • Craig Murray:- ”Truly incredible. Kirsty Wark’s so-called documentary account of the trial of Alex Salmond simply skipped days 8 and 9, when independent eye witnesses showed the women to be liars. The “day by day” account just jumps from day 7 to day 10, omitting the defence witnesses!”


        Professor John Robertson:- ”Kirsty Wark gives the accusers the last word in an innocent man’s second trial by media.”

        • But Petra the trial found Alex Salmond not guilty, they didn’t find him innocent, so that’s the trial the media’s doing now, the court of public opinion which is worth its weight in gold to the media and I don’t believe it has anything to do with the former FM he’s not really of any importance to them anymore other than a tool to use, this is just a sticky tar brush job waiting to be splashed on the current FM and the SNP when the BBC considers it to be the right time which will be the minute Nicola Sturgeon mentions the word Independence, I’m quite sure she and the party expected all this, it’s pretty true to form for the media and tomorrow some clown of a journalist will try his luck on it during the Covid briefing while their camera shutters will be going at a hundred clicks a second in the hope of catching a glimmer of something on the FMs face that all the loonies will claim means something, no doubt she’ll *remain emotionless* or *display recognisable emotion* or *refused to discuss the matter even when pressed* even if all she does is reach up to scratch her nose it’ll count as a meaningful gesture

          After all there’s no news at the moment is there except for that wee global pandemic with millions dying from it and they can’t blame that one on the FM so sleaze is by far the better option
          Never let it be said the BBC aren’t concerned about bringing us the *important* news

          The BBC must keep the pot and the public simmering

          • ”this is just a sticky tar brush job waiting to be splashed on the current FM and the SNP when the BBC considers it to be the right time which will be the minute Nicola Sturgeon mentions the word Independence”..

            Exactly Dr Jim (and Golfnut) and lo and behold top of the bill on the BBC’s news site is an article pointing out that Leslie Evans is the first witness to appear before the Holyrood committee today followed by Nicola Sturgeon at a later date. Now isn’t that a bit of a co-incidence when the best part of the Wark programme was filmed, months ago, prior to and during Alex Salmond’s trial.

            ‘Top civil servant to face Holyrood-Salmond inquiry.’


  38. For the avoidance of any doubt as to whether AS was found innocent or just not found guilty.
    The presumption of innocence is a fundamental right in both international law and Scots law. Whatever your previous character was it can’t be used to diminish your right to a presumption of innocence. You enter the dock innocent and leave the dock innocent unless you have been proved guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

  39. I hope and expect that the EU now unfettered by Brexit will speak up for Scotland and its plight. Especially when it is clear after the Holyrood GE That the people have empowered their government to schedule and hold an independence referendum. The EU would have us back in a heartbeat in fact I believe they want us back and will do what they feel is necessary to get us back without having to worry about upsetting anyone at Westminster. Whether their reasons are about democracy, affection for Scotland or purely about fish and oil or all three doesn’t really matter. The UK out of the EU without a deal with the intention of becoming a competitor to the EU is not a good outcome for the EU so it would be in the EUs interest to have an independent Scotland in the EU. Scotland has friends

    Just a thought

  40. One thing you have forgotten Paul!

    The Tories are not a democratic party and Boris is the antipathy of democratic. If they ignored the original Holyrood mandate, the 3 GE wins, the polls and the demands. Why do you think they will crumble under another mandate, regardless of it’s size?

  41. A MUST read.

    A damning letter from William Wragg MP (Tory), Chair Public Administration and
    Constitutional Affairs Committee, writing to Gove and Sharma in relation to their UK Internal Market White Paper .


    Martin Keatings:- ”Correction: Well! That’s it folk. The closed record public in the next 24 hours in the #PeoplesAS30 case now that the closed record is confirmed as received. Due to COVID 19, it seems there is a backlog. The case is slated for the first hearing on 30th Sept.”

  42. Gove (and Cummings) targeting the Scots once again!

    ..”Glasgow solicitor Mike Dailly was told he will no longer have a place on the Money Advice and Pensions Service despite colleagues asking for his reappointment.”..

    ..”He publicly supported the Better Together cause in the run up to the 2014 independence referendum but has since joined the SNP. He has worked with consumer rights expert Martin Lewis and was a prominent campaigner against unfair bank charges.”..


    Political vendetta right enough.

    Chris Stephens SNP MP:-”I have written to @CommonsWorkPen Chair seeking an Inquiry into Public Appointments by DWP Ministers to explain the failure to reappoint @mikedailly amidst claims of a political vendetta.”

  43. Wee Ginger, sorry, but I think your piece is nonsense.

    It could only not be nonsense if two conditions prevailed. Firstly, that the SNP is serious about indy, and secondly, that the Tories in Westminster would, in any circumstances, be prepared to concede Scotland’s exclusive right to determine its own future.

    Regarding the SNP, please show me any evidence, any at all, that the SNP is serious about indy. “I’ve campaigned all my life for an independent Scotland” isn’t evidence of serious intent (and is questionable anyway), it’s just the same old, same old.

    I know, for example, how Common Weal thinks an indy Scotland could look, and I might agree with some of their plans, all of them, or none at all, but at least I can see what they are. Where is the equivalent from the SNP? If Westminster granted Scotland an indyref right now, or on the same day as the Holyrood elections next year, or on any other day of their choosing (because it would be a day of their choosing, not ours, however nicely we ask), what would we campaign on?

    The SNP has nothing to say about this, absolutely zilch.

    Being asked to believe in Sturgeon and the SNP is like being asked to believe in God. There may be no evidence at all for whatever God you believe in (or for the SNP’s plans for an indy Scotland), but still, you gotta have faith. But I’m afraid that, without evidence to the contrary, I’m a sceptic. Give me evidence and I’ll rethink things, but until then, I’d prefer that you stopped patronising us with your ‘go on believing’ and have trust in Sturgeon rhetoric.

    Regarding the Tories, here I’ll concede that you have a point, but only up to a point. If the SNP sweeps the board at next May’s Holyrood elections, or comes close to it, the Tory ‘no, not now, not ever’ rhetoric will be unsustainable. But that doesn’t mean they’ll agree that it’s a fair cop, and here’s a Section 30 order. Instead, they’ll nod to the election result with a complicated offer that concedes something, maybe a multiple-option referendum, or a two stage referendum with a final confirmatory one on a rotten deal because that’s all that can be achieved in an unequal negotiation. But there can only be one outcome; whatever we vote on, it’ll be one that works for Westminster, and not Scotland.

    And, frankly, I don’t think the SNP would care. It’s increasingly clear that the limit of their ambition is to be the established party of government in Scotland, in token opposition to the Tories as the established party of government in rUK, with both governments talking up their (small) differences (just like now, really), but in reality shoring one another up, while the political elite on both sides go on earning their fat salaries, pensions, perks, and jobs for the girls and boys in the private sector in their days after politics.

    Disagree? Then please show me, don’t just tell me. And remember, while you look for that elusive evidence, the Tories are already on the demolition job (see Ruth Wishart in Monday’s National), while we turn our bahookies and invite them to stick it right there.

    I won’t participate in a sham vote-for-the-SNP-and-get-indy election next May. Without new leadership at the top of the party, indy is dead, and will deserve to be.

    Right now, we are heading for a ‘where and how did it all go wrong’ reflection a few years from now. But the answer is already staring us in the face and, as an intelligent dug, in your heart I think you know it.

    • So you now support unionism and all Brit Nat entails?

      Have you never heard the story about Bruce and the spider?

      We are different.

      If we were to be defeated again I would still believe in Independence and our right to self determination.

      I have faith.

    • ”Firstly, that the SNP is serious about indy”..

      Eh? Another case of brainwashing leading to the spouting of a load of old guff. Give us all a break.

    • As pointed out by Paul already.

      ”It could only not be nonsense if two conditions prevailed. Firstly, that the SNP is serious about indy.”

      On indyref2, she (Nicola Sturgeon) said it would be “utterly untenable and unsustainable for the Conservatives to stand in the way of the democratic will of the people of Scotland” if the SNP win the next election.

      ”and secondly, that the Tories in Westminster would, in any circumstances, be prepared to concede Scotland’s exclusive right to determine its own future.”

      Over the weekend, a former Tory shadow secretary of state for Scotland claimed Boris Johnson’s “smartest advisers” were telling him to agree to indyref2 quickly if Nicola Sturgeon wins a majority in next May’s Holyrood election.

    • You may be right, you may be wrong about the SNP, you may be a Unionist troll for all I know, frankly that is irrelevant.
      The only way we are going to get anywhere near Independence is if they win a landslide victory next May.

      Your what is the plan comment, some will say that is why we lost the last referendum, there actually was a document produced saying exactly what the steps were post a Yes vote. Contrast that with the empty vague promises and downright lies on buses that achieved Brexit!

      You may not like the SNP and/or its senior hierarchy, that is your right, but like it or not the only way we are going to achieve Independence is on the back of their electoral (or otherwise, if you don’t want it) success, to the average soft No or Undecided voter, the SNP = Independence.

      Let’s get Independence first then your “I won’t participate in a sham vote-for-the-SNP-and-get-indy election next May. Without new leadership at the top of the party, indy is dead, and will deserve to be.”, you can probably have what you want, the SNP probably won’t exist in its current form much past achieving Independence, it’s the one thing holding it together!

      As for “where and how did it all go wrong’”, the answer is clear to me, and I don’t think I’m alone, internal divisions in the Indy movement is what is going to lose us the holy grail when it is in sight, we’ve just got to hold our nerve!
      There has never been any point seriously pushing for another referendum until we felt there was a serious belief that we could win, I think we’re there now?

      So please hold your nose if you must, because if you are seriously saying you’re not voting SNP again then I hope if we have ripped defeat from the jaws of victory you can look yourself in the mirror and tell yourself that you were right!

  44. This is the kind of thing that really cracks me up. We should be dealing with Scottish issues not some wee incompetent runt sitting in London.

    ‘Liz Truss vows to ‘break the impasse’ with US over ‘unacceptable and unfair’ trade tariffs on Scotch whisky.’


    And this must be cracking people like you up, Paul.

    ‘The covid-penalty: Brits married to immigrants face separation under brutal Home Office rules.’

    ..”Despite all this, the Home Office has chosen this moment to commit to expanding the income benchmark to the EU spouses of British nationals after Brexit. This will bring many thousands more into the system.”..

  45. o/t
    The Committee setup to Investigate the shambles surrounding the aborted harassment investigation into former First Minister Alex Salmond instigated by The Permanent Secretary to the Scottish Government Leslie Evans who ultimately answers to the Westminster government begins today at 11:00 am .

    Apparently documents requested by the Committee are being withheld or heavily redacted , I believe this Committee have the power to demand any and all documents requested be presented ,
    Leslie Evans is first up this morning and I presume she will be asked to provide the information requested if not explain why not , some uncomfortable dirty washing might be revealed in the following days particularly because of the cross Party make up of the Committee,

    Interesting times ahead for all .

    I bet any juicy bits and the embarrassing stuff will held in private we can’t have red faces now can we I mean these are sensitive souls after all and will surely melt if brought into the sunlight as they are used to operating in the shadows .

    • I don’t know Robert. Is she (and others) going to get off of the hook and leave Nicola Sturgeon to take the rap?

      ””I would like to underline the status of the civil service in giving evidence to the committee, whether in writing or orally. As set out in statute, the role of the civil service – including special advisers – is to serve, and be accountable to, the elected government of the day. It is ministers who are in turn accountable to parliament for the actions of government,” Swinney told committee convener Linda Fabiani in a letter published today.”..

      ..”Permanent Secretary Leslie Evans, who appears before the inquiry in Holyrood tomorrow, has previous cited legal privilege for not handed over the papers.”

  46. Tom – For what it’s worth I agree with most of what you say.

    However I will still be voting SNP 1st and always. My second vote may go to another indy party providing they get their act together and it’s one united indy party. We must always vote SNP on our first vote.

    I have been in the SNP for 30 years. I don’t like the current leadership , but I recognise that it is still my government. Nicola has let us all down with her promises , but she won’t be there forever.

  47. Excellent blog as ever Paul. If you ever want analytical & mathematical back up on the dangers of “Vote Splitting” you’ll find it with the excellent “Albannach” (Twitter handle) who also appears as “List Votes Count both on Twitter and Blogging. He needs a wider audience in my opinion as he dismantles the whole sandcastle of absurd claims … Here’s his latest blog from Monday 17th August ….

    • Thanks for this. From the blog last night it was suggested that for major benefit 7 independence parties would be desirable as long as they all got equal votes. Not sure how either would help.

      Would voting Green in some regions on the 2nd vote not have the best result?

  48. What a secretive Government, eh?

    ‘COVID-19 deaths amongst NHS staff ‘to be kept secret.’

    ..”Over 600 health and social care worker deaths are now believed to be linked to COVID-19.”..


    ‘Wee Ginger Dug: Why the Tories want a new independence referendum.’

    ”In certain quarters of the independence movement these days, there seems to be considerably more faith in the Conservatives’ ability to keep saying no to another independence referendum than the Conservatives appear to possess themselves.

    The counsels of despair within the Yes movement argue Boris Johnson will never agree to a Section 30 order under any circumstances, and instead of making the case for independence to undecided voters and soft No voters, focus their ire on the SNP.”..

  49. ‘A few miscellaneous points.’

    ..”Stuart (Campbell) also has an unrealistically hostile attitude to Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP, which can only be harmful in the long run. And yes, I know the SNP is not the independence movement, but that’s really not the point. Look at it this way – even if a credible new pro-indy party is set up, and even if it’s successful (two very big “ifs”), the most it will be able to do is gain leverage over the SNP by holding the balance of power at Holyrood. That will still leave the SNP as by far the predominant pro-indy party, which means that whoever is SNP leader will effectively lead the Yes campaign in any referendum that occurs over the next couple of years – and that probably means Nicola Sturgeon, unless she voluntarily opts to stand aside. If we get to that point, Wings will self-evidently be damaging the cause unless he at least massively tones down his antipathy towards the First Minister. Is he capable of doing that, or has it all gone too far? Again, he would probably argue that it’s not a valid question because there isn’t going to be a referendum if Nicola Sturgeon remains leader. But that kind of black-and-white thinking is somewhat divorced from the nuances and complexities of the real world.”..


    Check out Ann’s links on the Indyref2 site.

    • Without the SNP the prospect of Independence will disappear like snaw aff a dyke no matter if you put a million people on the streets supporting the proposition without the right political party’s support Independence is gone and Westminster, the media and the Internet scribblers know it, that’s why they’re all working so hard bordering on insanity in some cases to end the SNP

      There are those *who say* I want Independence because but, then supply a whole load of *reasons* why it shouldn’t happen because of the SNP or Nicola Sturgeon or a law or a bit of legislation or just because the sky isn’t the right colour today, or in the case of the particular person you mention’s ego will not allow him to stop now that he’s started his campaign of *I want Independence but not from or by them*

      It’s disingenuous hogwash designed specifically to sew the seeds of division in Scotland, you can’t equate the freedom of a country with a political party’s internal squabbling or rows because if you did you’d be ignoring the fact that the people of England voted for Brexit irrespective of who the political party was that advocated it because it began publicly with Nigel Farage, so the public voted for him but at the same time didn’t want him in their government, they thought Brexit meant ridding themselves of all the nasty furriners, that’s why they voted for it, David Cameron?, Theresa May?, Boris Johnson?, all unimportant to the final goal, those people wanted what they wanted and didn’t care which politicians were arguing amongst themselves behind a door

      Either you want freedom for Scotland or you don’t, to make a whole lot of noise about a particular person in or part of a political party to use in condemnation of an entirely unrelated subject that affects the entire population and not just some political individuals is just plain subversion, and there’s really no other word for it but subversion

      Why should the general public be dissuaded from Independence because Jessie doesn’t like Freddy and there’s a row so lets dump the whole idea because I like Freddy better than Jessie, who do these people think they are comparing half a dozen politicians to the freedom of a country

      Well we know who they are, they’re folk with bigger egos about themselves and their own importance in the world than everyone else and whatever they have to say must be adhered to or everybody else is an Effing idiot

      That size of ego needs its own airport to land in, but like all blimps will burst, just gimme the pin

  50. Leslie Evans stitched up the electoral system in Scotland. PR/STV to suit unionists, An electoral system that confuses the voters and everyone else. It is ridiculous. Voters who do not understand the system dilute their own vote. Some voters vote SNP and then go and vote for unionist parties. Not realising they can vote SNP/SNP. First preference votes go in the bin to let 3rd rate losers in. Quotas etc. Change the voting system.

    Alex Salmond has got good friends in the SNP and elsewhere. The BBC is just despicable. Controlled by Westminster Press Office. Westminster propaganda. Lie after lie after lie.

    The Inquiry might shed light on the liars. Alex Salmond has had women work for him for years and female friends in the SNP and elsewhere. Without any complaint ever. Supported women candidates and equality. He has done more for Scotland than anyone. The way he has been treated is just despicable.

    Heads should go without a cover up. The head of the UK civil service in Scotland gets more salary than the FM and swans about, unelected, like a rival. Wasting taxpayers monies.

    His secretary for years gives him support. Always by his side. With her husband.

  51. Having as usual read everything (including the links) and (all the people who demand evidence, yet provide none) and re-read my own comments of August 17, 2020.

    I represent them in an expanded version to provide the clarity which at the time of writing I thought to cumbersome and lengthy cos I credited all of you with the same mind reading ability that some posters clearly demonstrate. Unfortunately I have noticed that my own telepathy ability has become a bit clouded lately with all the static around, which will probably continue until after we achieve independence. So I must err on the side of caution and equate your telepathy with the same detrimental effect as my own.

    A bit of topic here But why has our government not moved to end the two bites of the cherry. With regard to the oops lost the constituency seat, ‘s ok I’ll get in off the list.

    It must surely be time for either or, not both constituency seat and list seat.
    (Think of the coo(sic) with this system in place I would guess that Dross would not see the inside of Holyrood or waistmonster again).

    In theory it would give us a Government and an opposition that are focused on Independence (if you look at it from wastemonsters view point). If you look at it from our view, or Europe’s view point and the rest of the world the two main parties who dominate the chamber are independence orientated. It could also be a good sell to the undecided what if voters who see Holyrood as an executive and opposition chamber.

    In other words: if you want land reform -SNP1 + Green2,
    an end to dead raptors on grouse moors -SNP1 + Green2,
    renewable energy fairly developed and invested – SNP1 + Green2,
    a sustainable fishing / farming industry with a expandable market – SNP1 + Green2,
    Emigrant / asylum care and support in a fair and free country – SNP1 + Green2,
    removal of trident and the rusting hulks in Rosyth – SNP1 + Green2,
    a media who’s controlling arses are close to the toe of your boot – SNP1 + Green2,
    politicians arses that are even closer to the toe of your boot – SNP1 + Green2,
    if the thing close to your heart is justifiable in this way, then – SNP1 + Green2,
    if none of the above makes sense to you or is not accepable then SNP1 + SNP2
    still gets us there.

    The above proposals do risk the weight of votes for SNP.

    But the Greens must commit to Independence first and we’ll sort the rest out later. Then surely both party’s votes total carries the same total weight as an SNP only Independence vote tally.

    We would not be gaming the system to win.
    We would be gaming the system in favour of the second place (opposition) party.
    And in these days of increasing environmental awareness and concern who could or would effectively argue against it. without being ridiculed into obscurity.

    The unionists and the new-by’s that are left if any then become cannon fodder.

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