The Illusion of Control: What Do You Mean “We,” Paleface?

Then again, this IS the Express...

Who’s country’s flag is that on the shield, Express? Pretty sure it isn’t “Britain’s.”

The SNP’s positive case for Scotland remaining part of the European Union is commendable, and the Wee BlEU Book is an excellent publication full of all the facts, statistics and comments you could possibly want or need. I think the SNP have definitely made the right choice in starting their own campaign, distinct from that of the UK Government’s. Part of the problem with the wider Remain campaign is that it fell all too readily into old habits. Project Fear kept going, trumpeting uncertainties and warnings of cataclysmic futures outside the safety and security of the EU – a campaign which didn’t win the Scottish Independence Referendum so much as survived it. A campaign starting with a 30 point lead and ending with a 10 point lead cannot be considered successful except by default.

Nonetheless, the official result on the 19th of September was a victory for the Union. Time will tell how long that victory will last, considering how utterly thrashed the forces of Unionism were in subsequent elections. But there’s a really unpleasant air of frustrated apathy going around: both the Remain and Leave camps are being accused of inaccuracies and scaremongering, the same stories from the indyref are being trotted out, and people are confused by what a Remain/Leave vote even means. If I didn’t know better, I’d say the establishment didn’t want people to engage in the questions – all the more disappointing given the democratic awakening in Scotland.

Unfortunately, in this referendum, Scotland is treated as a region of Britain – and the question on the ballot issued to Scots on the 23rd of June will not mention the name of our nation at all.

It is this fact which belies the fatal flaw for the Leave campaign – that they have absolutely nothing to offer the people of Scotland.

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Deeds, Not Words


Nicola Sturgeon has officially been elected First Minister by the Scottish Parliament. She defeated Willie Rennie of the Official Coalition Party. Neither Kezia Dugdale nor Ruth Davidson put themselves forward, marking the fourth election since 2007 to have only two nominations.

She was voted in 63-5, a truly monumental vote share of 92.65% – the largest of any First Minister election with more than one nominee in the Parliament’s modern history. (Alex Salmond’s bid for First Minister in 2011 was unchallenged, for obvious reasons).

Yet the fact only 68 out of 127 MSPs took part in this vote is a damning indictment of the sheer ineptitude and craven cowardice of what was touted to be a “strong opposition.” We were all so worried about a United Unionist Union banding together to truly challenge Nicola Sturgeon – but their own petty self-interests won, as only 5 people voted for Willie Rennie to become First Minister. One of whom… was Willie Rennie.

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Hail the Conquering Heroes

UNIONISTS! LOYALISTS! Oh, my brothers and sisters! Look! Look ye – to the south!

Behold our salvation, our shining lights, our guardian spirits of protection and benevolence! They ride, they ride in their dozens to our aid! Lo, the Dread Nationalists, they retreat against the cleansing tide of the Defenders of Albion! Truly, this is a sign – a sign that Caledonia says NO! NO to the disloyal disinherited! NO to the Nationalist Plague! NO to the separatist scum that would literally wrest our land apart!


We have won, my brethren – we have won!

Hail our saviours! Hail our champions! Hail the conquering Heroes of the Union!

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Taking Stock, Part Two: Responsibility

2016 Scottish Parliament

A few people in the SNP and the Greens are taking turns calling each other’s votes “wasted,” a notion which still infuriates me. Some are saying that because the Greens were only a few thousand away from another list MSP while the SNP were tens of thousands from even their first, it meant the Greens needed fewer votes for victory: ergo, hundreds of thousands of SNP votes were deemed “wasted.” On the other hand, others are saying that the predictions of clean sweeps of SNP constituencies and the “certainty” of an SNP majority hurt both the constituency and list SNP votes for the sake of only 6 Green MSPs: ergo, tens of thousands of Green votes were “wasted.”

I will defend the SNP to the hilt when called to, and I will champion my allies in other pro-independence parties when impugned by the forces of Unionism. I will note tolerate misconceptions or faulty presentations of any sort, regardless of cause. But in the argument of “tactical voting,” I’m of the firm opinion there are no winners save the bookies. People’s votes are not beans to be counted: each one is a solemn contract between elector and elected. They are precious. Divvying them up to maximise whatever cause you promote, any cause, is an affront to the people’s sovereignty.

Part of me feels that much of the fallout from the “Both Votes SNP” vs “Second Vote Green” campaign was because it was perceived too much as keeping Unionists out, rather than getting pro-independence parties in: the bad feeling resulted in neither SNP nor Greens being wholly satisfied, while the “pro-indy majority, SNP minority” group were undoubtedly very pleased. Meanwhile, Ruth Davidson storms the Gates of Holyrood atop a mighty buffalo, at the head of 30 other MSPs. There’s a cold splash of water in the collective face of the independence movement if ever we needed one.

Even so, it’s worth looking at the results for a bit to see what can be learned.

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Taking Stock, Part One: Who We Lost



Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
– Mark Twain

I left off commenting on the election result, mostly because I’m absolutely exhausted. While I made a point to use the Wilderness as a source of information & campaign material and promised to make sure I published at least one post a day, I’ve also been campaigning the old-fashioned way: canvassing, delivering leaflets & newspapers, minding the shop, producing merchandise. I’m particularly proud of my eggs. But I think I’ll be a bit more relaxed for a short period.

Nonetheless, there is a referendum coming up for the UK’s membership of the European Union. I’ll thus spend a few posts on reflection of the past election, before concentrating on the next big vote.

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