An easy answer to the referendum question

Courtesy of Peter A. Bell:

The British parties dread having to fight the 2016 Holyrood elections on a platform of opposing an independence referendum. They did that in 2007 and 2011, and they are painfully aware of the outcome. They would much prefer that the issue was not a topic at all. That way, they could avoid awkward questions about why they are yet again setting their face against something the public wants. And possibly even more difficult questions about how they propose to block a referendum for which the Scottish Government has a decisive mandate.

There is a simple solution that seems to have evaded Gordon Wilson. The SNP should include in their 2016 manifesto an affirmation of Scotland’s right of self-determination and a commitment to another referendum IN PRINCIPLE ONLY. That is to say, without any commitment to a specified schedule.

This is not only desirable but essential. Absent such a commitment, the SNP will stand charged of abandoning the cause of restoring Scotland’s rightful constitutional status. More importantly – since “SNP accused…!” headlines no longer have the impact they may once have had – absent an explicit affirmation of the right of the people of Scotland to determine the constitutional status of their nation, backed by voters, unionist efforts to erode or even abolish our right of self-determination will be given a boost.

Simple and elegant. All through 2007 and 2011, the Unionist parties relentlessly badgered the SNP for a date, time and weather forecasts for an independence referendum, all the while working to prevent a referendum from happening in the first place. As soon as the SNP were elected, they changed tact, and not only demanded the referendum take place, but demanded the SNP have the referendum when they, not the SNP, wanted it – i.e., when it suited them.

As I’ve argued, we must continue to argue for independence. Independence can only happen through the mandate of the people of Scotland – that is, through a referendum. Therefore, we must continue to argue for a referendum on independence, on the basis that the people of Scotland alone have the right to dictate the terms of such a plebiscite. The Westminster parties will do everything in their power to stop that from happening, and history has shown that even fighting it has cost them dearly at the polling station.

We’re not going to let those opposed to the very idea of independence dictate where and when it’s going to happen – nor should we let our own cause tear itself apart over disagreements over the timing.

There is no failure except in no longer trying

(This is the toughest article I’ve ever written, and likely going to be fairly controversial. But I feel extremely strongly about this. I am positive many readers are going to disagree with it, perhaps some may even be offended, and it’s the first time I’ve ever had such a profound disagreement with others who share the desire for Scottish independence, but I simply must get this all out or I think I might blow a fuse. If nothing else, it’s at least worthwhile to bring it up in the interests of debate)

There’s a trend going about right now in pro-independence circles: “we’re not ready for another referendum.” Certainly former SNP leader Gordon Wilson, who saw fit to offer damning criticisms of the Yes campaign thinks so:

“Support for independence is falling, indeed sunk to 43 per cent. It would be a strategic error to commit to a referendum until you know you are going to win. It will take a lot of character to resist the calls from enthusiastic but inexperienced new members or even those experienced hands who raise the matter prematurely. That is the mark of political leader.”

“The SNP should adopt a medium term strategy. Serious research on currency, pensions and economic growth – all significantly missing from last year’s effort – is necessary.”

I agree with some of Mr Wilson’s assessments, but there are many I disagree with. I found it rather cheeky when he criticized Yes Scotland’s passion, vigour and reluctance to embrace its own “Scottishness,” for example. All I can say is, with respect, he’s the former SNP leader – there’s a reason for that.

There’s this troubling air of uncertainty, of treading carefully, of not biting off more than we can chew. “We need to reflect on why we lost the last one.” “We have to take it slowly.” “We have to be cautious.” “We can’t risk everything on what will certainly be our last chance.” “We’re not ready yet.” “Beware.” Intelligent people whose opinions I respect greatly are urging we not rush into a second referendum before we’re ready, arguing that if we went for another one now or in the not too distant future, we would lose.

This is far too close to the language of the No campaign for me.

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Will The Last Labour MP Out Turn Off The Lights?


If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.
– Desmond Tutu, Unexpected News: Reading the Bible with Third World Eyes

This is who New Labour are now.

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The Wheels of Inevitability


“The most dangerous ideas are not those that challenge the status quo. The most dangerous ideas are those so embedded in the status quo, so wrapped in a cloud of inevitability, that we forget they are ideas at all.”
Jacob M. Appel, Phoning Home: Essays

With Holyrood and Westminster in recess, political journalists are scrabbling for news, any news, to fill the pages. So when the former leader of the SNP – fresh off both personal success as part of 56 MPs and collective success in seeing support for his party rise and rise – notes something the Scottish (and British) public are already saying, it is classified as shocking, scandalous, and requires immediate clarification. A political party whose entire existence is based on campaigning for independence continues to campaign for independence. Stop the presses!

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Worries, Patience and Appeals to Emotion

I greatly enjoy Lallands Peat Worrier’s heady brew of high sophistication and low-brow pop culture, but I also appreciate his analytical brain keeping a clearly passionate heart beating at a healthy pace. It’s rare that I find myself disagreeing with him, but even when I do, I can certainly appreciate his viewpoint.

This recent post is one of those with which I simultaneously agree with, and disagree with, in fairly strong terms – mostly because I feel he and I struggle with the same difficulties. While Scot Goes Pop and Wee Ginger Dug cover much of the ground I was planning on trekking, I figure I might as well share my own cogitations.

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Congratulations, Private Eye…

… You’ve just won “SNP BAD” Bingo!


  • Presenting only the “risks” and “warnings” of independence as rational and the benefits as a fantastical “left-wing utopia”: CHECK
  • Using a single now dropped* policy (Corporation Tax) to “prove” the SNP aren’t really that progressive: CHECK
  • Using “separation” instead of independence: CHECK
  • Presenting a pro-independence group as an SNP front: CHECK
  • Suggesting the Scottish press & media fail to investigate & scrutinise the pro-independence side: CHECK
  • Presenting Kevin Hague as if he’s an authority on anything (who next, John McTernan?): CHECK
  • Calling the only pro-independence daily newspaper an SNP fanzine: CHECK
  • Suggesting Mhairi Black and other left-wing MPs are idiots who didn’t know what they signed up for: CHECK
  • Continuing to present the SNP as bully-boys compared to the poor meek unionists: CHECK

So there you have it, Private Eye, those fearless challengers of the UK press and establishment, toeing the establishment line on the SNP to a tee. Between their drive-bys on Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh and Ian Blackford and this, my appreciation for the good work they do is fast running out. It hurts, because I really do expect better from them.

All that’s missing is Godwin’s law. Oh wait:


There it is!

Yet let it not be said that they are merely anti-SNP. What’s their take on Jeremy Corbyn, by far the popular choice among the New Labour grassroots, the only one which shows even a modicum of the party’s values, and the only chance the party has to reconnect with the vast numbers of non-voting traditional Labour voters and get away from its pathetic courting of marginal Tories?


Of course.

Nonetheless, there is a bright side: despite a nearly all-out assault on the SNP from major newspapers, the BBC, the UK establishment and more, the SNP not only returned the greatest number of Scottish MPs from a single party, they’ve actually increased in popularity since May: the latest Panelbase poll shows them at 53% constituency & 48% regional for Holyrood, while TNS places them on 60% & 51% respectively. Mr Corbyn has endured a similar cannonade, even from people within his own party, and gone from token leftie nomination to favourite to win.

Perhaps I have Private Eye all wrong: maybe they’re partaking in the same ruinous SNP BAD nonsense which helped destroy New Labour in Scotland intentionally. Perhaps they realise that the constant attacks on Mr Corbyn, intended to bring him down, are only making him stronger. They are, after all, a satirical magazine, and their impersonation of smug, delusional Britnats with no sense of irony in their SNP articles is simply uncanny.

In that case, Lord Gnome has my deepest thanks in his tireless efforts to ensure the SNP and Jeremy Corbyn continue to go from strength to strength. Keep those SNP BAD articles coming!

*And a policy which, as the Reverend points out in the comments, was specifically in reference to an independent Scotland: the policy has been dropped as of March of this year. Because, you know, referendum.

The Heroes Within Us

(Yes, it’s another “SNP are awesome” post. If you are disturbed by any of the content which appears on this post, then I’m almost certain there’s a blog that supports another party somewhere in the vastness of the internet.)

It’s still a while until the next election, but the SNP are still going strong. I thought I’d take some time to talk about some of the SNP individuals who’ve made the biggest impact on me, before and since joining the party.

Hero mum

Apart from my mammy, of course, who deserves an entire post of her own.

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