The New Majority


Perhaps the most hotly debated and speculated-upon issue regarding the SNP’s 2016 manifesto is the question of independence. Well, here it is, on page 23:

We will achieve independence only when a majority of our fellow citizens are persuaded that it offers the best future for our country. Our success will depend on the strength of our arguments and the clarity of our vision.

We believe that the Scottish Parliament should have the right to hold another referendum if there is clear and sustained evidence that independence has become the preferred option of a majority of the Scottish people – or if there is a significant and material change in the circumstances that prevailed in 2014, such as Scotland being taken out of the EU against our will.

We will undertake new work, starting this summer, to persuade a clear majority of the Scottish people that independence is the best future for our country.

Unionists everywhere may crow triumphantly: here is the first SNP manifesto, they say, to have no commitment to an independence referendum. Stringing along the poor, clueless 45ers, offering them meaningless promises in return of support, safe in the knowledge that they’ll never actually deliver the referendum they crave. It’s those poor, deluded cybernats I feel sorry for...

Aye, aye.

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It’s Always Blackest Before The Dawn


Wings Over Scotland has followed up the Wee Blue Book with a sequel – one that I’m sure the Reverend never wanted to write.

So as to ensure maximum exposure, I’m hosting a mirror on the Wilderness:

The Wee Black Book (fast connections)

The Wee Black Book (slow connections)

I read it in 20 minutes or so. My eyes were burning hot, vision distorted by furious tears, as all the emotions of the referendum flooded back in a cascade. I thought of all the frightened pensioners who came into the Yes Inverclyde shop, asking if we “were really going to take away our pensions.” I thought of the terrified Polish couple who were afraid they could be flown back to Poland if “we” won. I thought of all the angry, worried and confused people who came in with questions, and left assured – because we had copies of the Wee Blue Book on hand, and facsimiles of government documents, and quotes and letters and articles. Then of the night, the celebrations by the “winners” who won by 86 votes out of over 54,000, the joyous ringing out of “Inverclyde Votes No! Inverclyde Votes No! Inverclyde Votes No!” by people with blue and red and orange rosettes, side by side, cheek by jowl…

Yet by the end of it, I felt better – because I knew that, dark and sombre as the Wee Black Book is, it is not the final word. The Scottish people are awake. Independence is no longer a fringe idea dismissed by “real” parties, but part of the core of Scottish political discourse. The SNP are unquestionably the party of Scotland, which I hope will be cemented when Stuart McMillan & as many other SNP candidates as possible are elected to a third term, and Nicola Sturgeon’s place as First Minister ratified by popular acclaim.

It’s always darkest before the dawn. The best trilogies have a bleak middle chapter. I’m looking forward to the third Wee Book, whatever colour it may be.


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See No “Wee,” Hear No “Poor,” Speak No “Stupid”


Behold the Three Wise Monkeys, the Mystic Apes of Eastern thought. Mizaru, who covers his eyes, “sees no evil.” Kikazaru, who covers his ears, “hears no evil.” Iwazaru, who covers his mouth, “speaks no evil.” In its original context, it was a proverb, a maxim by which to lead one’s life according to propriety – to prevent evil from corrupting a healthy mind. In modern times, a new meaning has developed – a warning against shielding oneself from external evils to the detriment of others. Turning a blind eye, a deaf ear, and being silent in the cause of righteousness. There is a certain appropriateness in such a change in meaning from a Chinese philosophical perspective: seeing, hearing and speaking no evil being both good and bad for humanity.

There’s a similar duality at play with the infamous phrase “too wee, too poor, too stupid,” and its variations. It is most often repeated as a mantra by independence supporters as a shorthand characterisation of the perceived arguments of union supporters – that Scotland is too small, impoverished, and incapable to succeed as an independent nation. It has since been used against independence supporters by unionists who seek to characterise them as poor debaters more interested in knocking down strawmen than engaging with the real arguments.

The central argument from unionists is that no-one who advocated a No vote has ever used the phrase “too wee, too poor, too stupid.” It was John Swinney, you see, who made the phrase popular as a paraphrase of the more cynical fear-based mantra against Scottish independence. You would think that people would understand that Mr Swinney was not saying that the phrase was a verbatim quotation from the mouth of Alistair Darling or another Better Together champion – but apparently not. If nobody ever said that Scotland was “too wee, too poor, too stupid” in those exact words, then the Nats have completely made it up, and the sentiment behind it is meaningless.

Semantics, eh?

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Death of a Nation

Yes Inverclyde Shop_Gallery

I drew pictures during the referendum campaign. Political cartoons lampooning the arguments, figures, and ideas of the time. It was fun, but cathartic. In hyperbole, I felt I could imbue my feelings on independence and the UK in a medium that fit the grotesquery and raw emotions.

I drew a picture on the 19th of September, 2014. I never shared it with anyone. Not my family, my friends, my brothers and sisters in the Yes campaign. It was grim, gory, dark and cruel. I couldn’t face the world. I felt like an entire nation was dead. Murdered.

I remember the count, in the early hours of the 19th of September, 2014. We Yes campaigners were excited, optimistic and cheerful, if our nerves were fairly wracked. The No campaigners, on the other hand, were sweating bullets: to go from a safe No to borderline – indeed, only 86 votes made the difference to the official count in the end – was a damning indictment of what was a Labour stronghold for the better part of a century. I remember the relieved cheers from the New Labour councillors and activists,their “No Thanks” rosettes proudly affixed to their lapels. As they pumped their fists into the air, I heard their chant:




I couldn’t understand why they were so jubilant: didn’t they realise they had lost too?

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Never Forget That Feeling

FreedomThe day we could have done it: the day the people of Scotland could finally put their money where their mouths were, and be a nation again.

That hasn’t changed. We can be a nation again, for one simple reason: it proved, once and for all, that the people of Scotland can come out and choose their destiny. The turnout for the referendum was the highest UK vote since the introduction of universal suffrage. The following General Election saw a significantly higher turnout than previous years.

David Cameron has ruled out another referendum. Jeremy Corbyn said another referendum wouldn’t be credible. The Unionist parties incessantly bray about “Once in a lifetime” “promises,” “No means No,” the “Settled Will of the Scottish people,” “Move on.”

You think it’s that easy?

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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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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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Ronnie Cowan for Inverclyde!

Ronnie on the Boat

Ronnie Cowan taking a moment to reflect on the Millport-Largs ferry after a long day campaigning.

(The following is a party political broadcast not paid for by the SNP)

In the coming months, I’m going to be looking at all the candidates for the 2015 General Election and pointing out more or less why I think any vote for someone other than a pro-independence party is not only a waste of time, but actively damaging to the needs and desires of the people of Scotland. First on the list, of course, will be my local MP, Iain McKenzie. As with my post on Braden Davy, this isn’t about personal attacks or smears on their personalities – simply a collection of their votes, comments and actions which, in my mind, prove their ineligibility as representatives of the people of Scotland. Mr McKenzie could be the nicest person in the world – I know he’s been nothing but cordial with me in my interactions with him – but it’s the job that matters.

At the same time, it would be pretty damning to vote for a candidate based on who they’re not. What kind of confidence does it inspire if the only reason to vote for someone is “well, they aren’t New Labour, so that’s something?” None. So Inverclyde needs someone they can rely on to fight their case in Westminster, who isn’t going to abstain on votes that directly affect them, and who will not be part of the Establishment. Fortunately for the 80,000 of Inverclyde, we have that individual: his name is Ronnie Cowan.

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