26 July 2015

Be critical, have patience

If you are serious about securing Scottish independence, beware of passion. Beware of the unselfcritical and the impatient. Beware projection. Beware the thought that other people think as you think. Be suspicious of your motives. Test your claims. Follow the evidence. 

Beware those who see the defeat of the Yes campaign as entirely the fault of other people. Beware those who point an accusing finger only at Project Fear and a biased media, and who have nothing to say about where Yes Scotland and the White Paper went wrong. Beware those who can't begin to understand why people voted No. Beware those who see the Scots as credulous, taken in, but now smarting from buyer's remorse. Beware those who believe it was only the Vow what won it. 

Beware of those who behave like a drowning man, scrabbling for something -- anything -- to justify a second referendum. Beware of those who think they speak for a pro-indy majority which marches only in their imaginations.  Beware of those who still refuse to recognise that only a single poll in the entire campaign ever put Yes - very marginally - ahead. Beware those who will not see that no poll has shown a sustained or substantial majority for independence since. If you seriously thought we were going to carry the day on the 18th of September, beware your own judgement. Have a healthy skepticism. Question the limits of your social circle. Learn its lessons. 

Beware the activists who told you the Yes vote in their constituencies was all sewn up, and who stood, crestfallen, when dawn rose on the 19th of September, with their local campaign trailing miles behind. Beware those living in areas which voted Yes, who seem indifferent to the fact that the majority of the country did not. Beware those whose enthusiasm for a second indyref seems unconnected to any evidence that the campaign is actually winnable. 

Beware those who see the 2015 election result as firing another starter's gun. Beware those who see the election of 56 SNP MPs as a referendum proxy. Beware those indifferent to the 160,000 lost votes separating the 2014 and 2015 results. Beware the self-deceptive logic of "one last heave". Beware those who want another referendum to recall a feeling, to recall hope, to recall purpose, but with no analysis of what went wrong, or what has changed. Beware old men in a hurry.

If you are serious about securing Scottish independence, you must beware all these things. If you are serious about accomplishing this task, you must beware squandering our best, last chance to realise it. You must have patience. A second referendum cannot be held to make people feel better. Too many generations of my family, and many families in this country, have campaigned for this old idea for it to be consigned under the sod forever in a doomed spasm of feeling unsupported by any analysis. 

There's no point in igniting a false hope - only to extinguish it forever. There is nothing noble about destroying the cause you care about through soft-headedness. I can understand your anger. I can understand your frustrations. I can understand the mounting despair you feel at this majority Tory government and its plans for the country. But sentimentality is self-indulgence. A second referendum cannot be for the true believers who are already on side, but must speak to those whose minds have changed, for those who can be persuaded. It cannot be an act of sheer frustration -- however understandable that feeling may be.  

Nobody has even begun to explain to me what has changed since the autumn of last year to transform disaster into triumph. Nobody has explained how the generational gap has or could be addressed. Nobody has explained to me how the sceptical people of Clackmannanshire and Aberdeenshire and Inverness and Argyll have been won over. Nobody has produced, or can produce, any evidence of any kind that there has been a decisive shift in constitutional opinion. 

My only operating principle here is this: if another independence referendum is to be held, it must be won. A second referendum must not be held unless it is clear that it is winnable. By all means - let's have a reasoned argument about strategy. About what to be about in the meanwhile. Through the encircling political gloom - there are reasons to be cheerful. The idea of Scottish independence is mainstream for the first time since 1707. The 2014 referendum campaign has not stabilised the Union. It has not provided a decisive answer to Scotland's separatists. The Smith Commission compromise and Mundell's Scotland Bill look incapable of doing so. The No campaign has not persuaded Scots that we are "better together" for the next ten years, or the next twenty or thirty years. 

But cool your jets. It is time for hard heads. Time for reflection on what went right and what went wrong last September. My plea to you is this. Always demand evidence. Hold even the most sincere, the most touching and deeply-held emotional appeals in suspicion.  Be critical. And always, always -- have patience.


  1. God that is a Katyusha rocket launcher of a post Andrew. If I can just look at one rocket -

    'Beware the activists who told you the Yes vote in their constituencies was all sewn up, and who stood, crestfallen, when dawn rose on the 19th of September, with their local campaign trailing miles behind.'

    Or even ahead. In Dundee your activists were predciting that the Yes vote would have to be weighed and the No vote would be minimal.

    The Yes vote was a very creditable 57.4% but clearly the plastering of the city with Yes propaganda (and maybe plastered Yes campaigners also) did not persuade a sizeable minority of Dundonians, who chose to keep their heads down and vote no.

    The GE result shows me that i know bugger all also. Democracy is a harsh mother. She has the twins of joy and disappointment, and alas a third child who is in the pub watching Sky Sports and who thinks Clare Balding is PM and Elaine C Smith is FM.

    1. "The Yes vote was a very creditable 57.4% but clearly the plastering of the city with Yes propaganda (and maybe plastered Yes campaigners also) did not persuade a sizeable minority of Dundonians, who chose to keep their heads down and vote no."

      Because they weren't being bombarded with No propaganda in their very living rooms?

    2. In some areas of Dundee the Yes vote outnumbered the No by 3 to 1.
      The "worst" area we canvassed saw a half and half split.
      I,for one, never ever suggested the votes would need weighed.

      Lallands Peat Worrier is spot on.
      While I have legally cancelled my TV licence because I'm sickened by the Beeb, No voters are still watching.
      What can WE do differently? How can WE inspire others? Because finger pointing solves nothing.

    3. What can we do differently??? .. well for a start the SNP can announance that it will set up a Scottish Broadcaster in its next manifesto.. thats a start.. & those no's who wish to continue watching wm mouthpiece can do so ....whilst the rest of us may or can watch whilst refusing to pay as an act of MASS disobedience.. & the new Scottish broadcaster can show the public the TRUE state of play... whether it suits the SNP and the remaining unionist parties or not as we need to the truth more than we need the bbc's wm sympathetic agenda...

      One more ... " we need to be aware of those holiday home No's... how can they democratically be allowed to have a vote if their main residence is in Surrey or Spain or Richmond... as I know of three separate couples who are passionately for the union yet have ZERO input into Scotland other than a financial one... but were allowed to vote simply because they were wealthy enough to have property in Scotland... Answer me that Peat Warrior...

    4. Perhaps one difference between Yessers and Naws is that Yessers like to celebrate their existence whilst Naws prefer a gagged non-existence?

  2. Well observed, and a timely reminder that there is no substitute for fact over hope.
    One thing which bothers me is why the Yes side did not make more of the de facto devomax of the Isle of Man etc, especially as regards the Manx£, which is to all intents and purposes in a currency union with the UK£. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable than me could explain.

    1. This was dismissed as IOM being even smaller than our minisculeselves........so way way too wee to be a serious comparison.

  3. Why do you want Independence, and what precisely is it?

    Try coming up with answers that, for the next campaign, aren't 'because Scotland' and 'that doesnt matter'.

    If it isn't going to clearly and demonstrably make the lives of Scots better, its not worth the risk.

    1. I agree, and we must ask why did Yes have to resort to the dismissal of genuine concerns and often to emotional "because Scotland" type arguments?

      Why? Because really they didn't have the substance to argue a credible case on pragmatic and economic grounds. Why? Because there isn't one.

    2. What nonsense.
      Independence is good enough for almost every other country in the world.

      1. We would get governments and policies most people here actually vote for.
      2. Economically, similar countries are better off than us. The UK is unbalanced geographically and socially, and it's hard to see that changing because the South is where the population and votes are.
      That is likely to become even more apparent in the years ahead.

      I agree there could be short term economic challenges, but in the medium to long term surely it is better for a country to control its own affairs as much as it can ?
      To have more influence, rather than just reacting to circumstance ?

      In the long term, is Scotland better as a minor region of a London-focused UK, or as a genuine nation state with all the responsibilities and opportunities that brings?

      I know what the more ambitious viewpoint is.

    3. I agree with you entirely, what we did not have and what we need the next time is a convincing argument that also make the point of what does remaining as a minor region of a London Metropolitan focused UK mean. I do not understand those people who voted no, I do know that I heard the old excuses depending on the person involved, that we were too poor and too stupid and certainly too wee. That it was bad for my business, note the my.
      Not one of those people looked and said that they were convinced but our arguments and this needs to be addressed but we let the other side off with murder, they got to use the media, we did not, so we need to start finding ways round this.

  4. Thank you for your post, which is a pleasing antidote to the some of the post-referendum hysteria. I have a couple of thoughts on this. Firstly, regarding the timing of another referendum, the SNP will obvious only try to progress one if they think that the pro-independence side is likely to win. But Westminster, as I understand things, would again have to grant the powers for Holyrood to hold the referendum. And I can’t see them doing that if they think that the pro-independence side is likely to win. So the timing of the next referendum is not wholly in the SNP’s gift.

    Secondly, the next referendum could come about as a result of ‘Brexit’ and so may happen more quickly than some think (although I think ‘Brexit’ is unlikely and hence a second referendum not likely until the mid-2020s at the earliest). Nevertheless, ‘Brexit’ is a possibility and it would be terrible if it caused another referendum which was then lost for the same reasons as the 2014 one was lost. Losing one referendum on these grounds was disappointing; losing a second on the same grounds would take independence off the agenda for at least a couple of decades in my opinion.

    Presumably, the SNP are actively working on a strategy to counter the economic arguments that the Yes side struggled to overcome in the 2014 referendum. However, it disappoints me that there seems to be no evidence of that debate happening and what the strategy should be. I read some interesting thoughts on that issue in this article ( http://www.forbes.com/sites/francescoppola/2014/09/22/what-scotland-should-have-done-and-still-should-do/) but I don’t see any other evidence of much serious thought being given to readying the country’s economy for independence.

    1. Unfortunately the economic case was always the most flimsy aspect of the argument. However it was always the most important. I think the SNP knew that was the case and that's why they chose moral and emotional arguments such as "always get the government we vote for" and "end Tory rule forever" etc.

      Due to the oil price crash an already flimsy economic case has simply disappeared, and the vast discrepancy between the projections in the White Paper and reality are going to be exposed in any future debate. In 2014 Yes had the luxury of not having a track record to defend. The next time Better Together MkII will use the SNP's own rope to hang them.

      The SNP know that, at the moment and for the considerable future, an independent Scotland would be an economic basket-case, which is why they were all over the place with regards to their policy on FFA. So, quite how they find economic grounds to argue for independence is beyond all of us. Perhaps they just need to play the waiting game?

  5. ,, My only operating principle here is this: if another independence referendum is to held, it must be won. A second referendum must not be held unless it is clear that it is winnable. ,,

    Agree 100% many people are saying this, But whats not being said is how we get into a winning position, We have a Tory Government spoiling for a fight hoping to provoke that second referendum for the very reasons given, The SNP may or may not have a long term strategy, But what do we do ? Us rank and file grass root members who fought the good fight, How do we get into a winning postition ?

    1. Do you mean by 'winning position' winning over No voters in sufficient numbers? Or do you mean the position of being allowed another referendum?

  6. Caution is probably a good strategy to preserve the status quo but I'm not so sure about radical change. You can't sit back carefully weighing and measuring, waiting for independence to fall into your lap.

    Look at the effect which last year's referendum had. The very act of holding a referendum completely changed Scotland. It might have been a NO but it's also moved us a lot closer to a YES.

    The political landscape is not static. Bold leadership and a good campaign - plus another bad one from Project Fear - could tear up all the careful, statistically-weighted surveys and focus group consultations overnight.

  7. Glad you're saying things like find evidence, ask questions, be sceptical etc. but there is one thing that for me at least is huge in securing a Yes vote.

    It is purging the movement of its rotten apples, of which it has plenty. How could any swithering voter seriously be expected to vote Yes after seeing the BBC protest, for example. If you doubt my argument remember that the margin of the No victory was greater than any of us and the polls expected. Why? Because many No-voters were too scared to say their preference because of the manner in which some on the Yes side conducted themselves.

    I fail to see how Yes can clean up its act when you have things like the mob that encountered Mundell the other day, the frequent "traitor" and "quisling" type insults and while Wings exists. Then, astonishingly, you have people like Stephen Daisley that said he should be "courted". The clean up starts with a complete and total shunning of Wings.

    I don't necessarily disagree with a lot of what you've said, but basically the one omission is the need for a purge of the Yes side of its loud and considerably sized undesirable element.

    1. Nice bit of concern trolling there.

    2. Elegant confirmation of the potency of Wings Over Scotland.

      The Rev. Stu has, of course, consistently deprecated the use of terms such as "traitor" and "quisling".

    3. He's right, though. Remember how Yes was polling solidly at 65%, then I called a Tory an arsehole and it dropped 20 points overnight?

    4. Nope, I don't remember that, little man. I do remember Salmond calling you a weirdo though.

      Graeme. Indeed Wings is "potent" and I'll give you the benefit of the doubt that he has "consistently deprecated" the insults that I gave examples of. He prefers ones like these. https://twitter.com/wingsscotland/status/237661698767585283

      (And if he's deleted it by the time you read it, it says "I hope you die in a chemical fire").

      Lovely guy.

    5. Doug, if you haven't thought about why the late polls showed around a 5% win for No only for the margin of victory to be 10% and considered the possibility that the behavior of Yes/SNP activists is linked to that discrepancy, you haven't learned a thing.

    6. I think only a very marginal effect if any Steven. As I said to Doug, I think at Referendum and GE people voted according to how they saw their interest - and of course the interest of those they care about - being affected.

      Nveer mind the spectrum of cybergab, you and I and many others regard those having a go at Mundell the other day when he opened the Foodbank as a disgrace - but I doubt f it will affect basic voting patterns.

      The snarling faces round Mundell will have a confirming effect on those of us already worried about what is happening in Scotland, but that's about it. Wonder how Sturgeon will deal with it on her return, once she puts Eck back in his basket.

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    8. Sigh. The average of the polls on the eve of the referendum was 48% Yes with a 3% margin of error. The actual Yes vote was 45%, ie within that margin of error, and also within what you'd expect in terms of people losing their nerve at the last minute on such a big change.

      The idea that tens of thousands of Scots suddenly changed their mind at the last second because someone had said "bum" on the internet is perhaps the most fatuously stupid theory anyone's ever posited about the referendum, against very stiff competition.

    9. The bottom line is that if you lot shunned that element your vote would be decimated as there are so many idiots like that that make up the Yes campaign because it just does not financially stack up and never will!!!

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  9. I think this should be required reading for everyone in the independence movement, because there are some very important home truths here. I'm very much in the "ca' canny" camp, and even I'm recognising a few things about myself that I need to beware of.

    Put simply, just THINKING about trying to do something again when you've not worked out why it didn't work the first time is utter madness. I'd like to think the SNP and the wider Yes movement are above the kind of "more hammers!" approach that's become synonymous with Scottish Labour. But everyone has their own particular blind spot...


    1. Indeed, the whole point of mote and eye is that you can’t see your own but we still feel free to deride others. If you accept, for example, that Loyalist marching bands gathering peacefully in George Square have their place iin our polity, you must accept that Irish Republican flute bands also have their place, localised within Scotland though that place may be for both sets.

      I was surprised and depressed that Skye people I knew voted for Blackford but people will in general vote for their perceived self interest - most Scots want a Scotland in the UK, they also want an SNP MP. This doesn't satisfy either of us of course, but it is Scotland in 2015.

    2. OK, go on then Doug. "Why didn't it work the first time"?

    3. We're not even at THAT stage yet. Before we ask WHY it didn't work, people have to actually accept that it didn't work, and many haven't. Some seem to have convinced themselves that we won a majority, but were robbed by MI5 or whatever. Others have just convinced themselves that we had a majority at some point, but people got cold feet at the last minute. And others have convinced themselves that we have a majority now, so all that remains to be done is have another referendum.

      Those stances imply that we can simply re-run the same campaign with a few adjustments, and that simply highlighting the difference between what was said pre-referendum and what has actually happened since then will be enough to win back those last-minute waverers. I was kind of in that camp originally, but I now don't think we were ever in front, and until folk can admit that, then there's no point even asking why it didn't work the first time, because too many people are convinced that, on the whole, it did.

    4. The problem is that Scotland isn't oppressed by the Union, it's misgoverned.

      There's a qualitative difference between misgovernment and oppression. Misgovernment means not meeting our potential, and nor having democracy, but if you're used to mediocrity and are comfortable with that, and having English Tories ('the natural party of government') make decisions for you, then how do we get such people out of their comfortable torpor?

      Of course, for a section of the population, misgovernment equates to oppression - those at the sharp end of austerity. And for them, the issues are clearer.

      There's a comfortable mass of the No vote for whom independence has no real attraction, people who go by the dictum 'better the devil you know than the devil you don't'. If these people can't be persuaded by greater efforts at politicisation, then they just have to be fought and neutralised somehow.

    5. Pretty much spot on, and it's frustrating that so many fellow indy supporters don't seem to recognise this.

      It doesn't really matter what kind of dog's dinner the Scotland Bill turns out to be. Most people are happy to put up with a lot of nonsense, as long as it doesn't (seem to) damage their immediate lives. Someone who's main concerns in life are keeping up with their over-inflated mortgage repayments and trying to keep up with the Joneses doesn't really give a toss whether the Scottish Parliament is permanent or not. They just think it's politicians lying as usual.

      A lot of people are getting along fine enough as it is, and they don't see any great need to devolve welfare or whatever. And these are exactly the kind of people who stuck with the devil they knew last year. Such people might express dissatisfaction with the Scotland Bill in opinion polls, but when it comes to the crunch, it doesn't matter enough to them to make them want to change things. It's like with the EU - there are things that annoy many people as stand-alone issues, but when it comes to the EU referendum, only those who are ideologically opposed to the EU and things like freedom of movement will vote to leave. Most will just stick with what they know.

      Until the independence movement realises this, we will fail. There will never be a majority for independence solely on the back of the democratic argument (just as anti-independence campaigners can't rely exclusively on the votes of ideological unionists), and while last year's debate offered a better life for many people with independence, far too many folk were able to look at it and say "nah, there's nothing for me there, I'll stick with what we've got."

      We'll only win independence when it offers a distinctly better quality life for the majority. Currently, we're relying on too many people to vote for what is "right", rather than what is in their own obvious self-interest. Unfortunately, human beings are selfish, so appealing to moral values isn't enough.

      (Says the man who shouts "COWARDS!!!!" when walking through middle-class areas when drunk...)

      It's just a shame that IndyRef1 was giving us the chance to create a better country under relatively comfortable conditions, whereas IndyRef2 will likely come about as a matter of urgency, with thousands of people needlessly impoverished as a result of folk hedging their bets last year. Still, we have to accept some of the blame, since we didn't win those people over.

  10. Steven James said "I don't necessarily disagree with a lot of what you've said, but basically the one omission is the need for a purge of the Yes side of its loud and considerably sized undesirable element."
    Surely you're not claiming that the Yes side has exclusive access to (mostly anonymous) online idiots?
    I would doubt that the 'undesirable element' that so repels you is any larger in percentage terms than the opposing elements on the No side, though like you, I can't give you the numbers.
    In fact, given that the mainstream media involvement is/was virtually one-sided and UK-wide, I would expect that the No idiots outnumber the Yes ones in numerical terms, so a mighty purge would be required. Good luck with doing that on Twitter by the way.

    You also ask "Why didn't it work the first time? Because media.
    This site is part of the Yes bubble, which is mostly internet-based. Mainstream media, including print, radio and television, which manipulates many subjects on behalf of the powerful, created the No bubble, which was bigger. When I say 'manipulates', I mean censorship by omission, exaggeration, promulgation of propaganda and good old-fashioned lying.

    In this respect the independence so-called 'debate' was of a kind with mainstream 'reporting' about privatisation of the English NHS, the Iraq war, the repression of Palestine, the actual macro-economic arguments against Austerity ( or if you like the actual macro-economic arguments for Austerity, as opposed to the Schwabian housewife analogy...) and many more. This kind of 'reporting' comes naturally to it.

    How can a people make an informed decision when one side of the debate has a megaphone and the other has a Union Jack tied over its mouth? Not gonna happen.

    If it wasn't for sites like 'Wings Over Scotland' (that I agree is sometimes intemperate in its language), 'Newsnet.scot' and 'thoughtcontrolscotland' we would never be so aware of the lying distortions that spew from the maw of these ..... wait, wait ..... I can feel it......I can feel it, Dave.....I feel some intemperate language coming on.... so I'll sign off at this point.

    No I won't. I would finally like to comment on the original article. Without passion, the independence debate becomes a discussion between bean counters. Am I £500 a year better off in an independent Scotland? Will my grand-children be burdened with a massive National Debt of billions of Pounds Sterling? Or heaven forbid, Scottish Merks? Are we all defined by our bank accounts?
    The battle is always about Hope vs. Fear. Passions.

    1. "The battle is always about Hope vs. Fear. Passions."

      I am afraid it is meaningless rhetoric like this which means 45 is the ceiling not the floor for the Yes camp.

      I voted Yes. After the oil price collapse and the way Greece has been treated by Europe I'm relieved the vote went the other way. With hindsight, we were badly positioned to go it alone. No amount of hope would have changed that.

      We need to take a long term approach to re-balance our economy, take advantage of our current position of being subsidised by the UK (Yes, we are - and yes, I know in the past the situation has been the opposite, massively so throughout the 80's) and start breaking down the basis of project fear, step by step until in 10/20 years time when indyref 2 comes along we have the economic footing to make the hope over fear case the debate, and not secondary to the economics.

    2. Meaningless? It reads like ordinary English to me. I'll explain it to you.
      Hope and fear are feelings. When they are strong they can be described as passions.
      OK, 'battle' is a bit strong, but it alludes to the struggle between the two opposing passions.
      The 'hope' alludes to the belief that conditions in Scotland could be better than those imposed by the Conservative government, the conditions that mean children are starving and people are dying today in Scotland 2015 because we don't have enough 'money' to pay for stuff like food and bricks.
      The 'fear' alludes to the belief that pensions won't be paid, and in general that there would be even less 'money' to pay for stuff like food or bricks.

      Your second-last paragraph would be correct if we had stupidly went ahead with the sterling as currency choice, particularly the reference to Greece. A fiat currency with a floating exchange rate is the only truly independent choice, so the first step to independence should be to educate the voters about fiat money and sectoral balances and Modern Monetary Theory in general. This knowledge has the added advantage of exposing the stupidity of Austerity for what it is. The Big 1930's Lie.

    3. "the first step to independence should be to educate the voters about fiat money and sectoral balances and Modern Monetary Theory in general"

      Good luck with that.

    4. Ever hopeful, Rev.
      That reminds me, I used to have a rabbit's foot on a key-ring when I was a boy..... what was that about?

    5. Hope vs Fear Lol what complete garbage and shows that you have learned nothing. I voted No and like the majority of Scots who did will do so again and I must advise you I have no element of fear at all just a desire to retain my business and my right to be British and a Scot which you would all deny me and the majority of Scots of. The vote was not won by media censoring or by the supposed Vow!!! I and the majority of NO voters were always voting NO way before the vow and in fact I am very annoyed that the vow was even proposed as we have plenty power already in Holyrood that the SNP Majority Government has failed to use for the last 8 years and continues to fail our country. If there is another referendum in the next 5 years (Unlikely) then you will lose and you will lose because people will see that you cannot stick to your word and abide by the Edinburgh Agreement that your Leader agreed to and also agreed to the powers in the Smith Commission. SNP cannot be trusted and they continue to make fools of themselves in Westminster every day which suits me just fine apart from leaving me feeling we now have very little voice compared to when we had a split of all parties representing us. This may come back to bite the SNP in 2016 elections.

  11. While I go along with the general beware argument it is as well to acknowledge also that the establishment play the long game. They know that most of the population have 'better' things to do with their time and that if they just stonewall, obfuscate, promise a few beans etc eventually it will all go away. They, on the other hand, can pay/employ people to produce their propaganda ad infinitum.

    Enthusiasm and commitment are different animals. Counting on the present level of activity from volunteers and engagement in the general public for years ahead is a mug's game. By all means bide your time, choose your moment but also strike while the iron is hot, make hay while the sun shines - and that's within the lifetime of the present UK parliament.

    2020's? forget about it.

    ps I am a self-interested getting old person and it is of bugger all use to me if we are not independent before I die, and the universe and all of you imaginary people collapse into my non-existence.

    1. The iron was red-hot and Yes lost. Project fear has to a large extent been vindicated with the collapse in oil revenue and the surfacing of the EU as an anti-democratic cabal of the centre right and big business.

      What exactly is it that makes you think 45 would become 55 or even 50.5?

      granted the Tories are having a right good go already but even camapigning against the worst of their excesses would not be enough to turn the tide of project fear MkII.

    2. How blessed I am to have been shown the light.

      Nae ile, bad EU, bad Tories - it all makes sense.

      I see it now - we're doomed. How could I have been so blind.

    3. What sort of fucked-up rewriting of the referendum campaign is that? "Better Together" was anti-EU, was it? Half the stuff BT warned of as a dire consequence of independence has already happened in the Union anyway.

      Your core premise is a mess. Support for independence is still HIGHER now than it was in September (solidly around 48% in polls), several months into your massive oil-price collapse. If that didn't put people off, what do you think will?

      Demographics and politics are on Yes's side. The old people who secured the No vote will die off. Tory rule will drag on for at least another decade. The Scotland Bill will be revealed as the trap it is. The oil price will rise from the current low. Nothing is going your way in the next few years. Everything's going ours. Hold on to your gloomy wee bunnet.

    4. "The old people who secured the No vote will die off."

      When compared to other freedom struggles, it doesn't sound a very glorious route to independence. We'll wait for a load of pensioners to die and then we'll have our country. Maybe activists could go around care homes slamming doors very loudly. It should begin to thin the ranks.

    5. 'We shall fight them on the park benches ' would make a good war cry

      And of course it is a strata of society that is continually being restocked - the young have a terrible habit of getting older.

    6. But old age itself surely isn't the main reason for voting No ?
      Today's pensioners were brought up in a country where it wasn't normal for decisions to be made in Scotland, and are far more likely to still take traditional media. Post-war British nostalgia is still a factor to many.

      But I agree that wishing pensioners would shuffle off this mortal coil isn't the best way to make the independence case. It's better to refer to more younger voters joining the electoral roll, rather than old folks dropping out.

      Demographics is definitely a factor that can't be ignored.

    7. "What sort of fucked-up rewriting of the referendum campaign is that? "Better Together" was anti-EU, was it?"

      No. But Yes had pinned our (I voted yes btw) hopes on being accepted into the EU with open arms. Given the past few months I think this was perhaps naive. Polls may have reached 48% (or stayed there as the case may be seeing as they had yes inflated by the end) but it's easy to achieve those numbers when there is no pressure on. As you always say the swing back to No at the end was always inevitable. My point is, the current economic climate makes it exceedingly easy for a project fear mkII to win any 2nd indyref for the next few years and by a wider margin.

      Oil revenues may return, they may not, in the meantime Scotland needs to do all it can with it's limited powers to build a more stable economy. The SNP need to back up their progressive rhetoric in government to win the respect of the 55 and maybe in 10-15 years time we can win an indyref2.

  12. In a way we DID win the campaign. Starting from a level of 27-30% we did reach 45%. So although the NO campaign won the vote it was actually a failure, despite its reliance on all the resources of the British state. But you are perfectly right, there ARE things we could have done better and it's going to be a hard slog from here on in.

    1. Haha well done for your win my god maybe another couple will win big in the UK by the way UK lottery and fund another winning campaign Lol

  13. The efficacy of the gradualist approach is proven. But, while we keep our eye firmly on the ball of independence, we must beware of those who would make off with the pitch of constitutional reform. The time may not yet be ripe for another referendum, but we must constantly affirm our right to have that referendum. Scotland's right of self-determination is under threat. It must be defended.

    I would add a few more cautions to what already risks being a paralysingly comprehensive list.

    Beware of losing momentum. Beware lest the spirit of the Yes campaign wither on the vine for want of the nourishment of small but tangible steps towards the goal.

    Beware those who would have you focus on failings to the extent that acknowledging success becomes awkward. Beware lest sensible caution metamorphose into senseless defeatism.

    Beware those who insist that the heart has no place in politics. Beware those who hold that all progress is achieved through cold calculation.

    Beware those who would have you weigh only evidence and leave off the scales such things as noble aspiration and an outraged sense of justice.

    1. As I've said in another comment , calling a referendum on home rule/devo max instead of indy 2, would be a win win for the SNP.

    2. I agree. The gradualist approach is what will win. Those who voted No were basically not for change. Small 'c' conservatives.They weren't necessarily against independence, they just weren't persuaded that the case for such a sweeping and dramatic change was made. But they would be OK with gradual transition to full self-government, especially if if meant that aspects of the UK remained, like the single market and no borders. A bit like New Zealand and the Commonwealth.

      I've often thought that what most puts off these peopls is that there is little of the fiscal machinery of government in Scotland like an Exchequer, or a Scottish based Inland Revenue, so that when they imagine autonomy, they don't feel like they are looking into a black hols, but some tangible machinery of state with muscle that would work. That's why devo max or FFA would be so important to achieve.

    3. And that's why you are dreaming if you think the UK state will give us it devorgilla.

      Devolution was 'given' to kill Independence. That unionist view has been comprehensively shown to have been wrong. They will not make the same mistake again, hence the gutting of the Scotland Bill.

      Gradualism has got us to the brink because the unionist state viewed it differently from the Independence supporters. They felt it was a tool that would stabilise and save the union, we felt it was a tool that would eventually bring Independence. Both sides argued internally about the wisdom of their position. Now however, both sides know, gradualism is a tool that advances Independence.

      Unfortunately gradualism as a tactic absolutely requires its implementation to carried out by a unionist majority state. Now that both sides agree such implementation will only advance Independence, that unionist majority state (UK) will never do it.

      Independence is now main stream politics and well within reach. We are nearly there. We need another campaign, that's all.

    4. Hmmm...

      Has it never occurred to you, Braco, that Westminster might actually be duplicitous in delivering independence? You state that devolution was given to kill independence, but that that decision should be seen as a mistake on their part. It's never once crossed your mind that they might actually WANT independence? That they in fact recognise the fact that the union is past its sell-by date? More of a hindrance than an help to political advance?!

      I suggest you start looking at Westminster's actions through the lens of political realities... you might see a very different animal!

      Independence is a foregone conclusion. Pre-arranged, the date already set. It needs no campaign, nor even public involvement. It's coming whether we like it or not!

  14. Yah, I think this post and the comments agreeing with it are shallow, sloppy thinking. Actually, the under 65's won the yes vote. And the Over 65's didnt really respond to the campaign through social media.

    Phrases like " We need to purge the movement of rotten apples" show a utter disregard for reality. You can't "purge" a "movement" of anything, doesnt even make any sense. Your just carrying on the same elitist gibberish that you havent noticed in the first place.

    The shallow "oh someone said some negative things and advised caution, so they must be on point" would be great, except there are no lessons in this document.

    The reality is that "independance" is something we need to do, and has very little to do with ..

    Here, look, here issomething I wrote earlier:

    Its interesting that people bandy around the notion of "neo-liberaly corporatism" but cant accept how violent a situation we are really in.
    Winning a Yes vote for independance from the United Kingdom is a step in a journey. However, be clear about this. If we have not taken control of our own production and industrial capabilities before that, Scotland will fall to a concerted attack from all the major corporations in the World. Subtle theatre of errors, breakdowns, natural disasters, "cooincendences" will conspire to pull the rug out from under this upstart nation - who, unlike Greece, left the great World Power under its own steam, whilst a part of a major, successful nation, because of ideology. That ideology cannot be seen to succeed on the World stage.
    What would happen to these Trillionaire companies if people around the World discovered they could take back their nations, redistribute the Huge Wealth created by the industrial and IT revolutions, and live as global citizens, in harmony with Islam and everyone else? Can you imagine what would happen if Scotland successfully achievs this goal? Now imagine what you would do if you are a trillion dollar Oligarch. Theatre. Its about creating theatre. Writing the News. Chris Cook has it right. We need to build Energy Infrastructure that we own as communities, and food production infrastructure, and we have to come together as a nation.
    Do not underestimate how hard the immune system of the neo-liberal structures will attack us if we change face. Be strong, beleive in yourselves, do not rush. This is a time to walk carefuly, strongly, do not worry about the labels. Get down on the ground and change things.

  15. Extremely well thought through and presented. But nothing new. It's easy to stand on the sidelines and issue warnings. When what we actually need is a manifesto that provides detail, having learned the lessons, on how the next Referendum can be won.
    With respect, many can tell you what not to do. Few can provide the roadmap to success.

    1. Robin MacAlpine has been banging the drum over a bullet-proof currency plan for months, now. It's not beyond the SNP, flush with success, and access to the books at Westminster, to commission a top economist to do this.

    2. Brian, here's a roadmap! For those looking for a practical way forward for the existing grass-roots Yes movement to prepare, develop innovative campaigning strategies and find ways to participate in the future timing of Indyref2 (whenever that may be), this is a very interesting project.

      Watch the full film and if you like the concept read more of the detail in the articles on their website


      If you like what you see then please donate. The indiegogo deadline is Saturday and they are only 28% funded!


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  17. An excellent article on the virtue of patience. For me, the solution is simple: the SNP should call Westminster's bluff and hold a referendum next year, not on independence, but on devo max/federal/home rule for Scotland, call it what you will.

    The polls show that people want more powers for Scotland, but not necessary independence.

    It would be a win for the SNP, and if Westminster predictably rejects it, the SNP wins. If Westminster accepts it, then more powers for Scotland only hastens the day towards independence.

    Scotland will get independence. Westminster has a track record of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory and with the Tories ready to tear themselves apart over Europe...


  18. With ref to the above post to Brian McGowan re Roadmap for the way forward I might try posting the Indiegogo page for the National Yes Registry, as the full film can now be viewd on that, as well as giving the Website and fb links.


    Have a look it's incredibly relevant to this whole discussion and time is running out!

  19. What you're really saying is "beware of referenda".

    Let's be honest here. NO referendum can deliver independence, and those who peddle that idea that they can are either delusional ignorami or downright liars.

    We do not operate a direct democracy in the British Isles, we operate a representative democracy therefore, referenda have not the power to force through constitutional change. Their result may advise our elected representatives as to the public mood at a given moment, but they cannot force the representatives to act upon that result. As the Edinburgh Agreement itself states, the British government agrees to "recognise" the result... it said nothing about producing a bill and voting it through parliament in both the Commons and the HoL! Thus it is clear that the Ed Agreement wasn't worth the paper it was written on. The same applies to any future referendum... they are powerless wastes of public effort.

    So, while the plebs subscribe to the political and media-generated plebiscite fluff, the rest of us wait patiently for the end game to emerge.

    Put simply... Be patient, beware bullshit.

  20. Well I voted No, but I am not a died in the wool Unionist. The lack of respect between the two halves of our population bothers me. In the interest of consensus I would support independence, if two connected conditions are met. The first is that Scotland remains firmly and formally within the UK internal market for our prosperity. To say that of course the rUK will buy just as much from Scotland when it's a foreign country or that we don't need the UK when we can sell overseas is just taking us for fools. The second condition is that Scotland needs a permanent arrangement with the other countries in Britain, for a meaningful relationship. What that arrangement is, I leave up to you, as long as it includes membership of the internal UK market. You will need get buy-in from the other nations - essentially England - who have to think it's a good idea and might need to vote for it on a referendum. You guys need to sell the benefits of a currency union to England and get them to sign on the dotted line. Then you will get my support, otherwise it's still a No

    1. I take it we're ignoring the fact that Scotland is a primary constituent part of the Kingdom of Great Britain?

      Independence is about ending the political arrangement between the two nations of Scotland and England. in other words... closing Westminster and allowing both countries to manage their affairs separately. This does not mean ending the realm of Great Britain, but merely changing the political structures within!

      Both nations have already agreed to continue the formal currency union in Sterling, evidenced by the BoE being made an institution independent of government with it;s own triumverate of governors tasked with the management of said currency.

      So the kingdom will remain intact, pooling asset resources for the kingdom's overall benefit while allowing the nations within to determine their own political priorities.

    2. No dice. I don't see any buy-in from England for that vision and certainly no agreed arrangement and treaty to that effect. Nor realistically could you expect there to be. This will take years of persuasion and building alliances for you guys, to convince people in England that it's the way forward and it's in their interests too. Are you up for it? I'm only one voice amongst many, but I think this approach will swing it for you, whereas a second referendum on the same terms as last time is doubtful.

    3. Realistically this is the arrangement that exists, whether you or I like it or not! The United Kingdom of Great Britain is a sovereign state... only so long as we are signatory members to it In other words, we are free to remain within or to be without it, and that is the decision we are making.

      But we are nonetheless also an integral part of the Kingdom of Great Britain which cannot be voluntarily left. Not without a revolutionary war, or a cross-national decision to renounce our status as a realm. since the independence issue promotes neither of those agendas, it is clear that we will remain within the realm GB while becoming independent sovereign states respectively. The Union of Crowns will remain unaffected by the political decision to be independently governed by ending the Act of Union.

      England doesn't have a choice in the matter. The UK cannot be imposed upon an indigenous people.

    4. The problem is that any idea of a currency zone will be vetoed by any future UK government, as a proven part of their tactics, until independence is achieved, and only then it is in their interest to negotiate.
      Remember the unnamed Government minister secretly admitting to Guardian journalists "Of course there will be a currency union".

      Now if the UK government had agreed to a reasonable currency union plan before the referendum, then Scotland would most likely have voted for independence last year. But why would MP's from the dominant country within the union make it easy for Scotland to break free and compete with it?

      The question is whether Scotland is living up to its potential as a northern region of an unbalanced UK. Is that the best we can hope for ?
      There is a degree of stability, but at what price?

      Even if it came to a separate Scottish currency, there will always be a huge amount of trade within the British Isles. And the 'foreign' country argument isn't relevant to most people.

      Will English consumers boycott Scottish products next year when income tax and half of VAT is devolved - with a large degree of profits going towards Scottish public services?
      I suspect not. The average person just buys goods based on price or preference - not politics.

    5. FF, your point about the UK market is an interesting one. It seems to me that your view is a little narrow. The Irish experience is informative.

      When 5/6ths of Ireland achieved a degree of independence in the 1920s, its economy was overwhelmingly a subsiduary of Britain's. Ireland suffered badly in the 1930 economic war with Britain, when tarriff barriers with Ireland's largest market devastated agriculture and created a set of inefficient, highly-protected industries.
      By the time Ireland joined the EU in 1973, 50 years after independence, Britain still accounted for 2/3 of Ireland's foreign trade, despite a decade of foreign direct investment. By the end of the tiger period, Britain accounted for less than 20% of overseas trade.

      That shift was made possible by the EU, but it was driven by a succession of govts determined to broaden Ireland's economic base and widen its trade networks.

      An independent Scotland would not follow Ireland's trade war with its neighbour, but it would have the opportunities to diversify if its trade patterns, and become less commercially dependent on its neighbour to the south.

    6. We are already in a currency union, AJ80. It's called "Sterling."

      To scrap Sterling would be, well, frankly... ludicrous. It is one of the most successful currencies on the planet. To lose that would be a disaster for both nations. It doesn't make sense. No, what makes sense is making the BoE independent of Downing Street control and placing a triumverate of governors in charge of the currency's management. Done!

      The referendum was always going to be a No... it was designed that way. Besides, the result of it is now meaningless. What matters is the here and now... and the SNP having the power to dissolve the Union.

      But I agree, apart from some minor "huffs" from some blinkered folks, trade will go on as before.

    7. Thanks for your replies. I was really exploring whether we could get to a consensus. It seems probably not at this stage. By consensus, I mean at least 60% support for a way forward. You will never get to 100% either way because some people's identities are bound up in the question and they won't let go of that. Consensus cuts both ways. I should point out No is closer to that 60% figure than Yes is. So independence didn't happen this time, but there was significant further devolution of power. I don't get a sense from the Yes team that this is a step forward and something we can work with.

      My other reason for seeking a consensus is that a 51% vote for independence -the only likely Yes result last time - would have been a disaster. I wouldn't challenge the legality of it. 51% is an independent Scotland. But the mandate for a new nation would be missing if half the nation don't want it, particularly given the inevitable disillusion that would kick in about what was promised and what we got.

    8. Who cares if there's consensus? I don't.

      The sovereign will of the people of Scotland was expressed on May 7th. They chose a group of people they know are not adverse to the idea of freeing Scotland from the union. In doing so, they handed the sovereign power of the Scottish nation to those representatives, who can now wield that power in the defence of the nation's interests. If that means enacting the nation's right to dissolve the union as a reaction to Westminster's undemocratic behaviour, so be it. That is why we elected them.

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  22. "Nobody has even begun to explain to me what has changed since the autumn of last year to transform disaster into triumph."

    I agree with most of what you say except the quote above. Your own article partly answers your question, which is that Independence has indeed become Mainstream for the first time since 1707. Before that indy supporters were probaby well, certainly, regarded as a minority bunch of nutcases, extremists, anti-English, whatever. During the Ref itself the debate was highly polarised, which perhaps left those many many undecided, feeling a little marginalised.

    Well, that has all changed since last September and though my hopes too were very high on the 18th, I certainly DON'T consider the result to be a disaster. Quite simply, support for Indy rose from around 25% to 45% and yes, I know polls in the past showed it to be much higher even a majority, but that was a vague notion, an ideal, perhaps even a Braveheart thing. The 18th September 2014 made it a hard and achievable reality.

    Since then the hard campaigning is finished, the polarisation has disappeared apart from us activists on both sides, and the population as a majority have continued on their way as they did before the Ref. Except for one thing. Independence is a real possibility, it has substance, and it seems many accept now that it will happen. Sometime.

    1. I disagree. Independence becoming a mainstream idea was a change that happened before the 18th September 2014, not since. It's why you can now read unionists in letters pages talking about having a 60% threshold for independence, such as in the Press & Journal yesterday; but it is not the change LPW asks for.

      Making it mainstream is what made the result so close, but there can be multiple mainstream ideas - only one can be the winning idea, however, and that's the change that's missing: the change to make a mainstream idea a winning idea.

  23. "Nobody has even begun to explain to me what has changed since the autumn of last year to transform disaster into triumph."

    Allow me... https://jockscot.wordpress.com/2015/05/04/how-the-uk-will-end/

    1. Interesting post. I believe you are making an incorrect assumption that most Scots want independence. According to the referendum result slightly less than half do. A referendum result may not be sufficient to achieve independence, but it is necessary in my view

      The referendum brought some big steps forward for the independence cause. For the first time independence exists as a concrete and realistic prospect. In another way, however, it went backwards. Scots were asked whether they wanted to stay in the Union or be independent. They chose the Union, which now has a legitimacy it didn't before. It's a wobbly legitimacy, but valid nevertheless. A second vote for the Union would probably settle it.Although he doesn't spell it out in his post, I assume LPW is motivated by not accidentally conveying a greater legitimacy on a result that is opposite to the one he is dedicated to.

    2. I make no assumption whatsoever, and I really don't care if the majority oif Scots want independence. if they felt strongly enough about it, they should have registered to cast their vote at the ballot box. If they didn't and independence comes regardless, tough!

      the referendum result is irrelevant. It was irrelevant the day after the result was announced. Nor is a referendum necessary, and whether it contradicts your view or not, referenda have no authority in a representative democracy. Only a general election can express the sovereign will of the nation and the May 7th vote made that will very clear indeed.

  24. Just to add to the above posting, a question I put to people I'm talking to is "Did you get the result you wanted last September?". It's amazing how hesitant people are, and it's not any longer because they're afraid of being assaulted verbally (or physically") by a YES or NO campaigner, or kind of shy about it, it turns out that they're, just, not sure. And don't know how they'd vote next time. I think most of us activists don't really know at all how the vast majority non-activists really think and feel. We see it all as YES or NO, most see it as maybe.

    It's all to play for, but softly softly catchee monkee.

    1. That's a devilish question to someone who knows what the referendum was REALLY all about. ;)

      I campaigned for a Yes vote, purely because the public needed to heart the positive case... and necessity... for it. However, knowing what the No result triggered gives me a degree of satisfaction. As not only would a Yes vote fail to deliver independence, it would not have motivated the voting public to vote SNP on the 7th of May.

      No referendum can deliver independence... but a vote for the right MPs, can.

    2. I've read some of your earlier posts, and with all due respect, there's a lot of nonsense being spouted. A yes vote would have guaranteed independence. Westminster's failure to recognise it or push it through parliament would have triggered UDI from the SNP, which would have had massive foreign support form the UN and the EU, resulting in the UK being seriously isolated on this.

      Given that the Yes side accepted the result with good grace, a narrow Yes win of say 51% would have been grudgingly accepted by the no side.

    3. The UK runs a representative democracy, not a direct democracy. Therefore referenda are meaningless consultations only, and the Edinburgh Agreement meant nothing of value.

      Your own post is a confusion. How could the SNP enact a UDI in such circumstances of they had not the sovereign power to wield it until after May 7th? Without a sovereign mandate, the SNP would be utterly powerless to enact a coat of paint on a Naval rowing boat, never mind spring some kind of UDI on the UK government! And the world would have scoffed heartily had they tried!

      What's you're effectively saying is, the SNP had the power prior to the May 7th election to enact a UDI regardless of the referendum result, but that Westminster's disregard of a yes vote would have given them the impetus to wield this power. So, tell me, what gave them this power? What power did the SNP have prior to may 7th that could be recognised by anyone, let alone the world?!

  25. Beware an independence supporter who speaks lots of sense. Very good post here.

    1. I agree. I sometimes think that LPW scares me more than any other man in Scotland.

    2. I think if we had been able to vote on devo max we would nearly all be on the same spectrum, from no change to break away, but mostly all able to talk to each other over common ground.

      Yes or No turns out to be not just Yes or No but a Debatable Land studded with fortlets and peel towers

    3. That's what I like to hear, Tychy! ;-)

    4. You are the Thomas Paine of the revoultion, the necessary rational man

  26. You also have to consider the chances of the SNP winning future Holyrood majorities (assuming they do so next year). The voting system was designed to prevent majorities and you really need a major lead to achieve that.
    If that looks less likely in a few years time, then a second referendum near the end of the next term may be preferable than not getting another chance for a very long time.

    Demographic changes may well add a few points to the YES vote with another 4 or 5 years of younger voters. So if independence is roughly 50-50 in the polls, then I think the SNP leadership would go for it.
    Indy support rose from roughly 30% to 45% during the campaign, so a higher starting point could provide a good base to build on, as it looks like support naturally increases when the focus is on the constitution.

    At the very least, the option needs to be in the manifesto in case a favourable opportunity arises. We could see Scotland dragged out of Europe, a successful independent Catalonia, another Tory government looking unstoppable in England.
    Could Nicola be worth an extra few points over Alex during a campaign?
    It's harder to viciously attack a woman who is generally seen as sincere and less divisive a character. Could control of more councils make campaigning easier?

    A lot will depend on who Scots blame for future budget cuts arising from the limited devolution proposals and subsequent Barnett reductions.
    Income tax cannot realistically be raised above the English level without damaging the economy, but will most people understand this?
    All designed for the SNP to get the blame, but perhaps voters can be convinced that limited devolution is hurting Scotland and genuine self-government offers the chance for increased future prosperity, albeit with short term challenges.

    1. I've often wondered if Holyrood 2016 might be the SNPs high water mark, given the extra tax powers that will come to Holyrood during that parliament. These powers will mean that the government will have to start choosing losers rather than promising that everyone could be a winner.

      I suppose a strategy to counter that could be to make only minimal changes to the margins of the tax system so that the vast majority of taxpayers notice no difference (the changes to the LBTT after Osborne’s Autumn statement possibly being a pointer to potential SNP strategy on tax powers). Such a strategy would lay themselves open to gibes from the opposition that they weren’t really the party of the working class poor (“the SNP could raise tax to help the poor if they wanted to but choose not to”). I guess the SNP might counter that with the old argument about “we can’t really use the tax powers without powers to grow the economy and hence the tax base”. The SNP may also calculate that such gibes won’t really inflict any damage on them as there’s nowhere credible for disaffected left wing SNP supporters to go given Labour’s difficulties. Interesting times.

    2. The SNP have already held a substantial majority in Holyrood. What difference does having the same again make? Especially where Holyrood has no sovereign power whatsoever and Westminster certainly isn't going to hand Holyrood the power to dissolve Westminster!!

      The only thing coming across here, AJ80, is that you are a nonsensemonger.

  27. What is the legal position regarding a second Scottish referendum? Can Cameron block it?

    1. Who cares. A referendum is irrelevant anyway.

    2. That just isn't true, Jock Campbell.

      The public are unlikely to support SNP MP's simply declaring independence without a clear democratic mandate to do so, and it would not be recognised internationally, especially without independence having a clear lead in the polls.

      56 SNP MP's were elected for all sorts of reasons, generally 'standing up for Scotland'. Nicola stated throughout the campaign that the UK general election wasn't about independence. 'No' voters could feel safe voting SNP to keep up the pressure for significant devolution.

      To have a case for UDI, the SNP would need to campaign on an independence platform and achieve over 50% of the vote, but that wasn't the case.

      Regarding Cameron blocking a 2nd referendum, that would seem unwise as a precedent has been set, and the Scottish government could go ahead with an consultative referendum under circumstances where there would be much public anger at Westminster.

    3. The SNP have all the mandate they require. it;s called a general election landslide, and it is a valid mandate in the eyes of international observers and accepted by all sides.

      But the SNP won't "simply declare independence", they'll declare the dissolution of the union in reaction to a Westminster dictat that undermines Scottish sovereign will. When it comes, and it WILL come, the Scottish public will be so outraged that support for dissolution will be perfectly clear... plebiscite or no plebiscite. Thus the SNP, undoubtedly in unison with the other Scottish MPs, will assert Scotland's withdrawal from the union. They will be "standing up for Scotland".

      What will follow, is the assembly of the Scottish representatives- MPs, MSPs and our ancient nobility in the Holyrood chamber, wherein they will declare the sovereign statehood of the Scottish nation to the world.

      Independence need not be a political policy, it is a fundamental RIGHT that our MPs have as the sovereign representatives of the indigenous people of Scotland.

      Who cares if Cameron blocks a referendum, it only adds to the anti-westminster mood. A second referendum is meaningless anyway.

      Referenda have no power in representatives democracies.

    4. One very simple question. The SNP campaigned on the platform that the General Election of 2015 was categorically not seeking a mandate for independence. Given that incontrovertible fact, on what conceivable democratic basis would the 56 enjoy the kind of mandate you claim?

    5. One VERY simple answer...

      Independence is a right our nation's representatives hold regardless of party manifesto commitments. It is a right enshrined in international law, therefore there is no requirement to declare independence as a party policy or to win an electoral mandate on that basis. Purely by winning the election, those MPs automatically have the power to dissolve the union... and always have!

      In fact, it is advantageous NOT to declare such a commitment by manifesto, as it avoids the potential of being accused by opponents or international observers as acting on machiavellian political intent. Instead, should our MPs be motivated to use that power, it will be seen as a justified political move in reaction to some unconstitutional action on the part of Westminster... such as an attempt to disband Holyrood by Commons vote.

      Scotland's MPs will have every reason to act in defence of the sovereign will of the Scottish nation by extracting us from the union, should Westminster attempt such a move.

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  29. On the legality of future #indyrefs - we're back in the territory we once occupied between 2011 and 2012 but before the Edinburgh Agreement. I'll reiterate now what I said then. The question turns on the interpretation of the Scotland Act. There is an argument to be made under the Scotland Act that Holyrood does have the power to hold an #indyref under its own authority and without Westminster's consent. However, in the absence of such consent (and a s.30 order to back it up, a la 2012), the Scottish Act can expect to be challenged in court by anybody, literally anybody, with money to burn and an objection to another referendum. The outcome of the case if and when it reached the UK Supreme Court is anybody's guess.

  30. Whether Holyrood has the power or not to hold an indyref is irrelevant. They can hold one every week for the next ten years and demonstrate a clear ,mandate for independence with a 99% Yes result at every one... it would still be meaningless.

    This is because a) referenda have no legislative or constitutional authority in representative democracies and b) Holyrood has no sovereignty over constitutional affairs. So, while all these magnificent results could show the will of the people, Holyrood has no power to act upon them, and our nation's sovereign representatives, the MPs and peers at Westminster, are not compelled by law to act upon them! Certainly, such results would place a great deal of pressure upon the elected representatives to act upon the public mood, but legally they have no obligation to commit.

    These are the facts of law.

  31. LPW says if the SNP tried to use the Scotland Act to justify a second referendum without UK consent they would most likely be challenged in court.
    However, the outcome would be “anybody’s guess” – not an automatic legal ruling stating: “David Cameron has the power to block a referendum”.
    This suggests Mr Cameron’s power of veto may not be quite as absolute as he made it sound a few days ago.

    Jock believes all referenda are irrelevant since “referenda have no legislative or constitutional authority in representative democracies”. The UK Parliament, says Jock, will one day push Scotland so far that SNP MPs, in the face of massive outrage in Scotland, will unilaterally move to dissolve the treaty of union. Scottish MPs already have the power to do so, he says, regardless of political mandate.

    However AJ80 suggests a unilateral declaration of independence would require the SNP to campaign on an independence platform and achieve over 50% of the vote, adding that a UDI “would not be recognised internationally”.
    Jock makes a distinction between UDI and “dissolution of the union”. He believes dissolution brought about by a grave violation of Scotland’s sovereign rights would be recognised internationally.

    Thank you, gentlemen, for responding to my original question with your extremely interesting answers.

    1. I'd say you've summarised the discourse elegantly.

    2. Thanks Jock.

      I find your argument (that only a majority of SNP MPs can achieve independence based on a sovereign mandate delivered via a general election) very interesting.

      Is it the case that the 56 SNP MPs currently wielding Scotland’s sovereign mandate simply have to sit on their hands, waiting for Westminster’s covert dismantlement of the UK to run its course?

      I would much prefer the pre-planned "provocation" of Scotland to happen sooner rather than later.

      I am happy to play my part by providing the "outrage" required to maintain the illusion that the SNP's move to dissolve the union is a genuine response to "spontaneous" political events.

      As a guide for any SNP MPs reading this, here are a list of "spontaneous" political events I regard as serious enough violations of Scotland’s sovereignty to justify such a move:

      An attempt to disband Holyrood by Commons vote.

      The enactment of English Votes for English Laws whilst maintaining the current system of English Votes for Scottish Laws.

      Stonewalling of Scotland’s democratically elected sovereign representation in the Commons (e.g. blanket voting down of all SNP amendments).

      Scotland being dragged out of the European Union against its democratically expressed will.

      The replacement of the Human Rights Act with a UK Bill of Rights.

      The renewal of the Trident Nuclear Weapons system on the Clyde.

      Jock, I look forward to reading your further thoughts.

  32. Hello again, David. I'm happy to expand...

    To answer your first question; Not exactly. I truth, there is nothing covert about what is going on... at least, not as far as the Scottish political leaders are concerned! They know exactly how and when things will progress. Westminster will openly and blatantly flout the sovereign will of the Scottish nation and hand the Scottish representation the motive they need to call for dissolution.

    It will come soon, sooner than most believe possible... or desirable!

    Re your motivations... spot on! That's exactly how I see this coming to a head!

    Here's an article I wrote earlier this year...



  33. Jock.
    Always refreshing to see original thinking instead of the usual regurgitated pap.
    I meant "covert" from the point of view of the voting fodder (such as myself).
    At least - I haven't seen Jackie Bird barking about this particular angle so far! ;-)
    I'm open-minded, admire your clarity of thought, and really hope you're right. Quite a few people are going to feel like mugs if you are. I will follow your blog with interest! Yours, in mock outrage.

  34. Thank you David.

    Well, let me put it this way... Yes the mainstream media and indeed the political leaders are keeping the public occupied with pseudo-political fodder, but if we're honest with ourselves, we, the voting public ought to be able to see through these things!

    We ought to know that referenda are meaningless consultations with no legislative power... and certainly no constitutional power. We ought to know that only the elected sovereign representatives (the MPs) are the only people who can push legislative and constitutional change. We ought to know the election on 7th May decided who represents us at sovereign level and what that mandate entails... and we ought to understand the fundamentals of Scottish constitutional law!

    But then, given the deliberate generational application of mind-numbing, misleading garbage from the BBC (credit to Jackie Bird et al), it really is no surprise that everyone's oblivious to these fundamentals of Scots Law and representative democracy!

    And I'll be perfectly honest... I too lost rationale when the Yes campaign began. I too put everything I already suspected and understood on the shelf as I thought the SNP had an ace up their sleeve, but when the result of September 19th was delivered, the penny dropped... we'd been had... and the roadmap to independence was then pretty clear to me... we were set up to win the May election... and with it the SNP would have the power to dissolve the union. at the time I carelessly predicted it'd come this Summer (2015)... but after the election I realised that would be too soon... and too obvious! So I thought about it a little more, put it into context of what was already planned (the 2016 Scottish parliamentary elections)... and realised that those wouldn't simply be regional elections... they'd be the first democratic sovereign state election in the history of the Scottish nation.

    Alex Salmond has already hinted that the end of the union would come on March 24th 2016... effectively he named the date of dissolution. Given that it would be a few days/weeks before the nation could assemble the Three Estates and declare our statehood, my proposed independence day is April 6th 2016.

  35. "the 2016 Scottish parliamentary elections wouldn't simply be regional elections... they'd be the first democratic sovereign state election in the history of the Scottish nation."

    ...because "Holyrood 2016 will decide Scotland’s first sovereign state government", is that correct?
    At that point the MSPs elected will be Scotland's only representative body politic, our Westminster MPs having stood down en masse following dissolution of the union with England, is that what you mean?

    1. "...because "Holyrood 2016 will decide Scotland’s first sovereign state government", is that correct?"


      Our MPs will have asserted the Westminster chamber as no longer in their electorate's interests. They will evacuate that chamber and head north to Holyrood, wherein they the first estate, in conjunction with the MSPs as the second estate will call upon the nation's nobles as the third estate, to join them. The nobles will be duty-bound to comply, lest they be stripped of their titles, and so they too will join the other two estates at Holyrood.

      Once so assembled, the chamber can declare the Scottish Convention duly reconvened. Nicola Sturgeon, as First Minster will table a motion to declare the country a sovereign state in its own right, the Convention will uphold the motion, Her Majesty, presumably in attendance, will put her signature to the motion, and Scotland will thus be free.

    2. Jock - read your article. Great stuff. Something adding credence to your proposed scenario is the part about Brown making the Bank of England independent. The Kamikaze pig-headedness of the SNP high command in insisting on retaining Sterling "on the advice of expert economists", despite scathing criticism from people on their own side, never mind the ridicule for being "apron string nationalists" from the opposition, well, I couldn't understand it for the life of me! They clung to this, to this day, totally unexplained shared Sterling policy through thick and thin, even when Salmond was on the telly being crucified for it, right through to the present day, when many political analysts have currency down as the major reason why "Yes" lost and the first thing they will have to fix if there's another (I know, "irrelevant"!) referendum. Remember all the headlines about "Eck refuses to reveal Plan B"? Yes, it's all making sense now, In fact, now that you mention it, I haven't seen the SNP even thinking, never mind talking, about setting up a Scottish central bank or taking any other practical steps towards setting up the parallel financial infrastructure they'd need to realistically go into the next referendum proposing a new Scottish currency. No one taking a "conventional" view believes they would go again with the "Sterling Zone" idea, right?! If you're scenario is right, or even close to right, they have no intention of setting up a new Scottish currency, EVER!. In fact, the currency issue will never come up under your proposed scenario, since a second referendum isn't really on the cards at all for those "in the know".
      Interesting! I will let you know if any other ideas come up that lend weight to your case or, for that matter, detract from it. Your take is going to provide me with hours of fun! Yes, indeedy, this could explain quite a few "anamolies". Thanks so much for your articles. I love people who offer plausible explanations for things that previously have been totally baffling.

    3. David, what can I say except, kudos to you!

      Well done, you're seeing exactly what I've been seeing, senseless melodrama generated inexplicably over what should have been a very straight-forward matter! I can almost feel your wheels turning as I recall all these things whizzing round my head at various times over the last few years! I have a feeling the penny is dropping with you too! Enjoy the journey... it's mind-blowing... and yet, so bloody mundane you feel like a daft erse for not having sen it sooner!! :)

      Feel free to browse my articles at your leisure, I hint at many other clues that have haunted me over the years.

      I'll lend you a wee confession... while Scotland's pro-yes masses were bemoaning the result of September 18th, I was dancing around the flat beaming like a child! not because I supported a No vote... far from it, I was hard at it on social media pounding the Yes drum! No, what happened was that an innocuous little post was circulated around social media on the eve of the indyref. it was badly written, referred to person who did not exist... but the content re-ignited some knowledge I'd carried about the history of Scottish constitutional laws, specifically the three estates. It hit be like a ton of bricks! I realised right there and then that the referendum, regardless of how the public voted, was powerless... but also that it might be used to trigger a landslide victory for the SNP the following May... by declaring a 'NO' result... knowing full-well how the public would react! The same goes for the so-called "riots" that evening in George Square... a farce! All designed to generate just the right reaction... and it worked a treat! ;)

      It's now all a matter of time, David... enjoy the journey!

    4. Yes, there's nothing quite like a "ton of bricks" moment to get the old juices going! Of course, for me at this stage one swallow doesn't make a summer. Not that we get a summer.
      Naturally I don't know yet if other parts of your story provide more missing pieces or just "how deep the rabbit hole goes";-). Once I've done my usual detective job on it I will know. If it starts to snowball it can very rapidly reach a point (I suspect you've been there for quite a while) when you can predict what they're going to do before they do it. They really don't like that! Cheers for now.

    5. I'm sorry Jock: you are the peddler of rubbish, bits and pieces of half-remembered constitutional rubbish strung together with no connection to any of the discernable realities of the current independence struggle or the old or new Scottish constitutional order.

      If you submitted one of your blogs as an undergraduate essay, you'd be lucky to limp through with a pass, so strong is the mismatch between the confidence of your tone and the baselessness of your analysis. This piece, and most of your contributions here, are simply barking. Dance around in your parallel reality if you like. The rest of us will soldier on here, in the real world.

    6. It seems I have rattled LPW's cage!

      It won't be long until we find out who's barking. April 6th is only eight months away, after all. I have no worries. Do you?

    7. All that disturbs me is that well-meaning folk like David might be at risk of taking your comic, fantasyland neo-medievalist bilge seriously. It is counter-productive, blind-alley claptrap. All of it. Assemble the three estates? Give us a break. Away and rustle up one of yon Scottish peers. Come the 6th of April 2016, I'm sure you'll be doing what you do now: howling gormlessly at the moon.

    8. Actually, David (who is apparently 59 years of age and no political 'noob') and I are busy working through some common observations which reinforce the content of my articles.

      No, I think your real disturbance is that fact that you have realised my articles point out a process which inevitably destroys your republican fantasies. You are realising that Scotland's independence cannot be obtained without the constitutional authority of our nation's nobles and Her Majesty's hand.

      This realisation has triggered the usual, predictable, panicked response... insult, ridicule and dismissal over debate and discussion.

      Keep it up. I look forward to rubbing your nose in it.

  36. You might also find this interesting reading...


  37. This morning:

    A KLM steward in Amsterdam asks if he can move the divide forward so those of us in row 3 are placed in Economy rather than Business for the flight to Edinburgh. I say "that would be a relief" meaning I was fearing I was being placed in the Business class. I then apologise to the woman next to me who says "Not at all", and then adds mischievously and loudly, as the curtain is pulled in front of us: "At least now they can no longer see us".

    There is a clear and vocal majority in Scotland who recognise where the problem lies - and it's not in blaming people seeking to escape the poverty and chaos wrecked on their countries by the system that runs ours and exploits theirs.

    The 2 year referendum process helped grow and mutually educate this movement.

    We are in an exceptionally strong position now we start at 45 or 48% rather than at 25 or 30%. As long as we take the time to make another real carnival of democracy next time, let's hope circumstances conspire to enable it to happen soon.

    It may happen in the form of an FM initiated independence referendum or a referendum called by PM Corbyn against the elite financial forces that finally bent Syriza to it's will, one where he needs a powerful articulate peaceful movement on the streets that doesn't trust the politucal system to represent it well in negotiation. We're yet to see which history we're making, but either way it's the same struggle, the same hope, and looking back it will be as obvious as looking back on the struggle against apartheid or for women's votes, which side was on the side of the people, and therefore which side will eventually win.

    There is a different side, though. The one where people like me flying - in whatever class, and for whatever good reason - are helping drive up carbon emissions. There is a time limit on that struggle: the struggle of people's humanity and care for each other and other species, against the uncaring system of exploitation we ourselves can become enmeshed in.

    Wishing us all luck, and the willingness to continue undertaking the hard work that makes luck possible.

  38. These warnings are helpful and you all write so well! My two pennies worth are that most of us know not to rush into another referendum without preparation. However we can't dampen the passion either because that is what nearly won it for us. I never read White Paper, I was too busy canvassing and it was too big! Wee blue book was good just a bit late. Without doubt SNP have to take the lead here. We need to raise the bar at Holyrood, that's our government. We need our own currency and economic philosophy, separate out our legal system, stand up to EU, generate a high standard social security and housing. Most of all we need indi Scottish TVbroadcaster (find the money!)We can't build without good foundations. We need more than good will from Norway and Denmark. It's going to be a huge task ahead but if we can't show the doubters we can function independently, we never will be, not peacefully anyway!