Speaking for Scotland Against the Monsters

skelmorThe number of times a Trident submarine has had some sort of calamity would be hilarious if it wasn’t so utterly horrifying.

How many times have you read, or heard, some variation of “Nicola Sturgeon doesn’t speak for me” or “the SNP don’t speak for Scotland?” Usually it’s by people who didn’t vote for the SNP. Frequently it’s by people who include non-voters on their side, making preposterous arguments that the SNP are in fact only representing a “tiny minority” of Scots when you include people who didn’t – or couldn’t – go to the ballot box.

I understand when people say that the First Minister, the Scottish Government, or the SNP as a party don’t represent their beliefs, interests, or policies. That’s the nature of party politics. But to say they do not speak for Scotland is rather confusing: for if the democratically elected First Minister, or the democratically elected Scottish Government, or the third largest party in the British Isles, do not speak for Scotland… then who, exactly, does? The next largest party in the Scottish Parliament has barely over a fifth of the popular vote. Same with the third largest, which has been plummeting every year since the Scottish Parliament reconvened. The former third largest party in the UK is now the smallest party in the Scottish Parliament, with less than a tenth of the voters’ support.

Much is made, fairly so, about the SNP gaining 95% of Scottish seats in Westminster based on 50% of the vote. Nonetheless, the SNP candidates in no less than 35 of those constituencies won on an overall majority – which means that 59% of all Scottish seats were represented by individuals with over 50% of the constituency vote. None of the three non-SNP seats were won on anything like such a majority – only a few thousand votes, and Scotland would be entirely yellow.

Nonetheless, social attitudes surveys show that there are situations where the response from those interviewed suggested a divergence between the electorate and the elected. One of these is Trident – and it’s something I think we seriously need to talk about.

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The Logic of Scorpions


Unfortunately, the “Be More Bru” campaign was nixed by AG Barr. Probably for the best. Then again, that’s none of my business…

I said I wasn’t going to give the Other Party any more publicity, but since the election is now over, I don’t think there’s much I can do to increase their chances for next year.

Nonetheless, I said before that I don’t want my life to be governed by hatred. So when the manufactured outrage regarding comments allegedly made by certain politicians within that party, I felt great sympathy for the sense of injustice people in the Other Party were undoubtedly feeling. Let’s put aside the referendum, and elections, and all the things that have happened. If someone had asked me “does the Other Party have a problem with anti-Semitism?” I would’ve responded “No, don’t be so utterly ludicrous, what a stupid thing to say.” I don’t agree with the Other Party on many things, but I’m not going to take pleasure in what the UK Government Party are doing.

The UK Government’s party utilised this, frankly, indefensible propaganda campaign to aid them in the local elections in England & Wales, where the Other Party remain their chief competition. In Scotland, it’s a different story, for obvious reasons – their biggest challenge was convincing Unionists not to split the vote, and to choose Ruth Davidson For A Strong Opposition. Yet there was overlap: the Scottish Parliament constituency of Eastwood has the largest number of Jewish people in the whole of Scotland, so you have to think Mr Carlaw would’ve leapt on the furore to damage the Other Party candidate.

The election’s over now. The smear didn’t work everywhere – but the effects are still being felt, even in 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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Thank You



Heck of a birthday present for Stuart (yes, it’s really his birthday!)

The votes have been cast, the ballots counted, the results announced.

For those who voted for the SNP – from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank each and every one of the people of Greenock & Inverclyde who voted for Stuart McMillan and the SNP. Every single vote counted, for every single vote was the sovereign choice and decision of one of the people of Scotland. Not one of you owe us, Stuart McMillan, Nicola Sturgeon, or the SNP anything – it is we who owe you everything. We do not expect your votes. We do not own your votes. But we do cherish them as the priceless gifts they are – for without them, we are nothing. That was just as true back in the early 20th Century as it is today, whether we’re in government or not.

For everyone who voted for a different party than the SNP – thank you for voting too. I may not share your views or your faith in your party, but I champion your right to express them at the ballot box. The engagement of Scottish politics in the past few years has seen increases of all sorts of political viewpoints in the public consciousness, which is only a good thing. Democracy is all about the engagement of differing viewpoints, and change only happens when we talk to the people. I hope that the candidates that were elected to represent your views do you proud.

For everyone who voted for the candidate of a smaller party that did not receive representation – your vote was not wasted. In the annals of history for this brilliant land, your vote will be counted alongside the party of your political expression, and your vote will remain in your heart as long as you live. That is the essence, the soul, of democracy, and nothing can take that away. It wasn’t that long ago, relatively speaking, that the SNP were in the position of a small party. But from small things come great achievements.

For those still opposed to independence: remember, the only people who can take Scotland out of the Union are the same people who can keep Scotland in. No matter what politicians or journalists or academics say, you – we – are the people who decide our future. We in the SNP and other pro-independence parties believe the ultimate expression of that will is independence. In time, we hope you will agree – but until then, rest assured that the matter is, and always will be, in all our hands.

Until then, I’m having a rest. The Parliamentary Piper is going back to work.