Radical Independence Conference – 3 observations

That was then this is now

by Pat Kane

Some brief notes from the Radical Independence Conference in Glasgow – written for myself, and not in the spirit of “translating” abstractions and theories for wider use, something often demanded in the halls today. For which narcissism (and tiredness), apologies.

1. Mon the weans! A real sense of generational handover today. The organisers were below thirty, gender-balanced, super-lucid and -smart, and in terms of the evident leadership of the event, notably non-white/Scottish-Asian. It felt like a meeting point between an old and a new current of Scottish radical politics. One, the stalwart history of left-constitiutional politics in Scotland – democratic-socialist/social-democratic, anti-Trident, pro-public-services, represented by voices like Isobel Linsday, Dennis Canavan and Jean Urquhart in the opening discussion. And two, the recent forces of student protest and Occupy: network-and-tech-savvy (hashtag #ric2012 on the screen all day, good social media promotion), as well as internationally well-connected (mid-conference, there was an impressive top table of Greek, Basque, French, and Palestinian anti- and counter-capitalists).

The actual experience of the day (a Glasgow city-centre sell-out with 800 attendees) was well-put-together and stewarded, minus any of the chaos or grandstanding that can happen at radical events – something of an indication of the kind of organisational skills and autonomous discipline that has come out of the last few years of student radicalism. As it all moved excellently along, I had a strange feeling of weight lifting from my shoulders. “It’s not just us foaming middle-agers anymore”, I mentioned to Lesley Riddoch sitting beside me, to which she enthusiastically nodded.

A8eqPL_CAAAOwak-2.jpg-large2. It’s all overlapping and emerging and idealistic, and that’s completely fine. As an advisory board member of YesScotland, I wanted to test whether the pluralism that must define how the organisation gathers together Yes voters would be able to contain the explicit “radicalism” of RIC. My sense is that the test was passed. This is not just in terms of the critical but measured commentary from the lead speakers about the broad Scottish Nationalist movement (Jean Urqhuart’s gentle reminder that without Salmond’s achievement of the referendum, this conference would not be happening, was equally gently cheered).

But at least in the two breakout sessions I attended, there was a rare openness to the discussion between a “radical”, and what one might call a “standard” independence position. In the green economy session, The Scotsman’s George Kerevan – known fortaunting his erstwhile lefty comrades – was instead constructive about what a Scottish state could proactively do for progressive causes (his main notion was to establish a green-and-cooperative-friendly state bank, so that “capital as well as organisations can be socialised”). He was responded to in the same equable manner by a room and top-table full of grass-roots, practical Greens.

In the “Strategies For Independence” session, I would have said there was a genuine and generous response to YesScotland’s Gail Lythgoe’s non-flashy request for campaign and strategy ideas. But my sense was that the relationship between the more official YesScotland organisation, and the impressive Millenial/Y-Gen energy of RIC, should be contiguous rather than incorporating – side-by-side in a loose and capacious relationship, rather than one side either absorbing or challenging the other.

In the closing plenary, Robin McAlpine from the Jimmy Reid Foundation – itself a fulcrum point in all this, bringing old and new independistas, and the Scottish labour movement, into dialogue – claimed that “the Scottish Left” were “coming out of the shadows today”. But he also made the crucial point that RIC was as much about “an idea” as anything else – that is, a horizon of possibility for ambitions and aspirations towards independence. The politics of the “idea” is something that very much animates the new radicalism – its gurus like Slavoj Zizek, Negri/Hardt, David Graeber or AdBusters magazine mesh well with the highly-educated but lowly-prospected grads that constitute its members (Paul Masonwrites brilliantly about this). It’s exciting to think that a Yes vote could partake of that “infinitely demanding” excitement about the future coming from the new student movements.

(NB: I was asked to read a general statement from the conference organisers mid-afternoon. I hope I did their collective production justice. I append the text below the fold of this post).

Glasgow-monkeybar3. Getting to the friendly life together. I can’t move past those Brecht lines these days: “Oh, we/Who wanted to prepare the ground for friendliness/Could not ourselves be friendly”. It would seem to me that Brecht’s tough self-admonition about the interpersonal anger and aggression of the radical had an answer today in the Radisson Hotel. The very human experience of the event – a festival of constructiveness and polite argumentation – kept pushing this version of the old Gandhi line into my head: Be The Scotland You Wish To See. As Robin McAlpine again brilliantly pointed out at the end of the event (and elaborates here), the experience of skilling ourselves to take an argument about Scottish potential to the streets and workplaces and front-rooms of Scotland, will itself be transformatory. We will – or should – come alive as citizens through the Yes campaign.

Yet I’m left with a final note of worry. I walked out of the stylish environs of the Radisson Hotel and strolled down the Saturday night streets of Glasgow – where shoppers struggled onto buses laden with bags, karaoke sailed out of pubs, wee hard men roamed around in packs: Glasvegas, beginning to crank up to all its post-working-week, hedonistic splendour. Can the experience of “being Yes”, the activism and conviviality that can connect up social yearning with action and friendship, compete with the knuckling-down-to-work and spending-what-it-gets-you of the mainstream Scottish lifestyle?

An insufficiently enjoyable and engaging Yes campaign, unable to quell fears of disruption with tangible visions for a better life, might easily bounce off the brittle shell of everyday Scotland, defensive of its precarious mix of grind and escapism.  Part of the problem a Yes campaign has to solve, and in double-quick time, is the overall decay of citizenship in the developed world. We not only fight with our Unionist opponents, but with a generalised contempt for all politics, including independence: a comfortable numbness which characterizes our work-to-consume societies. Will a rich and deep independence movement over the next two years become the antidote to such a malaise? Perhaps one of the sharp tactics that emerged from today – making sure that working-class/poor areas are registered and ready to vote – will be the activism that dispels it?

Don’t know, not sure, maybe. It’s at least worth an almighty, life-defining try. And I am genuinely grateful to the Radical Independence Conference organisers for demonstrating that the torch of a radical Scotland (to cite the old magazine) has definitely passed onto the next generation. There was a great Hamish Henderson line from the Freedom Come ‘A Ye, quoted at the end. We indeed walked through “the Great Glen o’ the warld” today, in our perhaps too comfortable surroundings. The task is to take it out to the tough, unhappy, tawdry, ground-down parts of Scotland. And make the idea generate a thousand new Scotlands.



Categories: Events, New Scotland

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31 replies

  1. (MERGED PREVIOUS POST):

    On Friday afternoon I was in the magnificent Canterbury Cathedral in Kent for my daughter’s graduation ceremony. It was a great day out and yes I was the archetypal proud parent. Late on Friday night I caught the Megabus back to Scotland intending to go to the Radical Independence Conference in Glasgow but was too shattered on arrival. Sleep and London-Scotland bus journeys rarely go together.

    Did I miss something important? What actually happened? What was discussed? How did it feel to be there? Was it inclusive? What plans were made, what networking was done, what were the ideas that struck the best notes? And most importantly, where do attendees think this section of the Scottish left is going next?

    If you were at the Radical Independence Conference yesterday don’t keep it to yourself. Let us know if Pat Kane nailed it above, and what your own experiences were.

    Kevin Williamson

    • You missed something important. It was huge in every sense, a real feeling of a beginning. This for me was the real launch of the Yes campaign.

      3 points stood out:

      1. the gender balance and ethnic mix is assumed and wouldn’t be otherwise, that’s a consequence of multicultural Scotland and multicultural Glasgow and all the better for it.

      2. the left needs to be able to think beyond it’s old habits, that was the only doubts I had left overhanging… there still needs to be further fusion and synergy between the old left, the younger nationalist movement and the green and peace movement. But as Robin said ‘we’ll work together over the next two years and that’s where the creative energy’s going to be.

      3. the organisers deserve huge plaudits but two grumbles I heard again and again – there needs to be more space in the programme and more room for people to talk together. We can do this better next time.

  2. “Oh, we/Who wanted to prepare the ground for friendliness/Could not ourselves be friendly

    A crucial observation. And we have to carry a majority of the people of Scotland with us, not just those on the left, or we don’t get there. It was therefore disappointing to read in the Scottish Left Review its lead article with criticism of the SNP in ungenerous language . It is entirely legitimate – sensible even, as we have to present a political broad church united behind independence – to say there are disagreements with some SNP policies. As a member I have always had disagreements with some SNP policies – but I have always assumed the positions were honestly arrived at with decent intention.
    And I have found it useful to approach such disagreements in that frame of mind.

  3. As I get older tears seem to come more often yet not as an expression of sadness but rather of pride and ‘well done sister/brother!’. Tears came yesterday in that somewhat clinical hotel building that warmed from the outset with a great first panel so well selected and offering us heart and head/ youth and age/ reformist and radical sentiments-what a start and so many many young people managing the whole experience with such expertise/ charm, gusto and intelligent radical thought-not always a combination seen on the left.
    The last time I felt so good at such a gathering was when Chomsky came to Glasgow back in 1990/89?
    One quick anecdote. At lunch I met two elderly comrades (one aged 90+) who had been in the auld CP for over 60 years and I quote:
    ‘ After 60 plus years I telt them to fk-off…. Independence is for the working-class not their damned labour party pish’
    Me: ‘ Will we get it?’
    C: ‘ Wi awe these young folk in charge, nae bother!’
    A very positive and reassuring experience- well done all!!

  4. Well, first of all, as Pat Kane says, there was “a real sense of generational handover” at the Radical Independence Conference. The organisers were young, gender-balanced, included many Scottish-Asians, and had done an extremely impressive job of organising a conference with over 800 participants at a posh hotel in the centre of Glasgow. I saw few people I knew at the conference, but I did get the chance to make some new friends, which was good.

    Having said that, some of my initial misgivings were not without foundation. A couple of weeks before the conference, I wrote:

    “There are a helluva lot of speakers listed for this one-day conference. Just how much time is going to be available for discussion by the ordinary participants in the conference? Speakers will have to be very strictly kept to a specific number of minutes, and if they go over their allotted minutes, somebody will have to haul them off with a long hook!
    Mind you, maybe it’s not quite so bad as it looks, because, while some speakers are down to address the “plenary” sessions (when all 650+ or whatever participants are there), others are just down to address the “workshops” on specific subjects.
    The workshops are arranged in two batches, a morning session, and an afternoon session, each of one and a half hours. In each of these sessions there are five different workshops, so, in practice, it would probably be a case of any one individual only being able to attend two out of the ten workshops. In other words there would be 8 out of 10 workshops you couldn’t attend. This makes for some difficult choices.
    Also, if each workshop has several introductory speakers, again, they really must be rationed for their speaking time, otherwise that will cut down on opportunities for ordinary folk to participate in discussion.”

    And yes, there were, indeed, a helluva lot of speakers. Some of them were very interesting, some not quite so interesting, and most were allowed to go on just a bit too long. The plenary sessions consisted entirely of listening to speakers; and even the “workshop sessions” allowed only limited participation by the “audience”.

    I attended the “workshop” on Foreign Relations, Nuclear weapons, and NATO. Although the term “workshop” conjures up, for me, an image of a reasonable-sized group, arranged in a circle, concentrating on getting some actual work done – the sheer success of the conference in attracting very large numbers meant that even when split up into “workshops” we still had a very large meeting. A meeting with a large platform party facing an audience. And yes, there were a large number of speakers in the platform party, and yes, they did go on too long, and no, there wasn’t adequate time for “audience participation” by the time they had all finished speaking. I realise the Chairman of that “workshop” had a difficult job, but I thought he could have handled it better.

    Although my hand was one of the very first to shoot up as soon as he asked for contributions from the “audience”, for some reason I didn’t get called to speak until very, very late in the proceedings. By that time, he was insisting on contributions being extremely short (to make up for him having allowed far too much time to speakers earlier in the proceedings) and I wasn’t able to say all I wanted to say, which I really do feel was relevant and necessary and had not been said by anybody else.

    The points I did manage to say were (1) that I thought the “workshop” ought to produce some specific recommendations to put to the Radical Independence Conference as a whole; (2) that there should be no “negotiations” with NATO, because two of the most important members of NATO are the USA and the UK, and they could drag these “negotiations” out as long as they liked, and, meanwhile, as endless negotiations went on, Trident would stay in Scotland; (3) that there should be no “negotiations” with the UK government over Trident. A newly-independent Scotland should simply announce that the presence of such weapons in Scotland is a clear breach of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and order them to be removed or disarmed within 3 months; and (4) that the RIC should tell the Scottish Government, and the people of Scotland, and indeed of the world, that it intends to campaign for this.

    I’m pretty sure a lot of folk agreed with me about these points, but, as there was no voting on anything, I’m not sure how many.

    The concentration on the platform speakers, with limited contributions from the audience, made it virtually impossible to express DISAGREEMENT with anything that anybody said. One thing I disagreed with (but never got the chance to say so) was a proposal from the speaker from Faslane Peace Camp. She advocated that the Radical Independence Conference should commission an Alternative Defence White Paper. Whereas my own proposals of saying no negotiations with NATO, and saying simply order the removal of Trident and campaign for that, were ones I thought everybody could agree on and organise around, hers struck me as being an enormous waste of time and energy. The RIC isn’t a political party, it includes hundreds of different individuals and groups with differing ideas. Yet she was expecting this diverse grouping to come up with a “party policy” on defence. It won’t happen, but, like I say, it could waste a lot of time and energy.

    The last person to speak at that workshop was a guy from Kashmir, who contrasted Scotland’s situation with that of his homeland. He advocated independence for Kashmir but said the majority of Kashmir is occupied by many thousands of Indian troops, and the rest of it is occupied by many thousands of Pakistani troops. He wanted an independent Scotland to support an independent Kashmir. Now, I can understand his feelings, and sympathise with them, but, let’s face it, securing independence for Kashmir is NOT going to be a major foreign policy objective of an independent Scotland.

    As there was no voting on anything, and no real opportunity to express disagreement with anything, immediately before closing the “workshop”, the Chairman simply announced what he took to be the main points to come out of the meeting. Including opposition to NATO, including getting rid of Trident, but ALSO including an Alternative White Paper On Defence (complete waste of time) and independence for Kashmir (what the hell are we going to do, declare war on both India and Pakistan?).

    So, while I’m glad I went to the Radical Independence Conference, and while just getting such a large gathering of left/socialist/green/feminist/anti-war activists together to campaign for an independent Scotland which is VERY different from the United Kingdom was a great achievement, the sheer size of the gathering, and the way it was organised, may have meant that the “workshops” didn’t get enough work done.

    I had intended to attend another workshop later on, and had been swithering about which one, then decided on “Strategies for Independence”. But when I looked in the hall where that one was being held, and saw large numbers of people standing because all of the seats were taken, and a large platform party of speakers, I realised that any meaningful participation would probably be pretty impossible. My wife Keri had also been swithering about which workshop she wanted to attend, but in the end we both agreed we would just head for home. In any case by this time I was tired, and still had a long drive ahead of me, which was made even worse by me taking a wrong turning on a road I couldn’t then get off which added many miles to the journey. I was glad to get home without actually falling asleep at the wheel! But we both agreed we were glad we went. As somebody said, this was the real start of the YES campaign, and, although mistakes were made in the organising, hopefuly these will be learned from.

    • Dave, a first go at this – I think they understandably wanted to bring as many authoritative voices on the Left-Green side for Indy together as possible. It’s a great problem to solve that there were so many people attending that “workshops” became impossible! But yes, I’d agree that some of the new student movement spirit of consultation and horizontal discussion has to be brought in to future events. Which as someone said on the day, may need the SECC to hold it together…

  5. Pat, you said, “The organisers were below thirty, gender-balanced, super-lucid and -smart, and in terms of the evident leadership of the event, notably non-white/Scottish-Asian.”
    And just how does this ‘event’ leadership, and organisers, represent Scotland when 90% of Scots are white? In-deed, why did you feel the ‘need’ to put that erroneous statement in your article/description??
    Pat, have seen the horrific outcry by ALL party’s against Rotheram Labour council for besmirching the credibility of foster-carers because they are white, and NOT Labour voters!

    As for Urquhart, MacAlpine, and Mason, they all have serious, (and harmful), grudges against the Scottish Government; why do they hate our good SNP Scottish Government???
    This event sounds like a Labour hate-fest , rather than a ‘radical’ political conference. I suggest Robin puts them all back into the shadows again; it’s only Labour at its hateful worst!

    • Allymax bruce, your characterisation of the Radical Independence Conference as “a Labour hate-fest” is sheer ignorance. Jean Urquhart told the conference that the event wouldn’t even be happening if it hadn’t been for Alex Salmond making an independence referendum a reality. That remark met with some applause. I didn’t join in the applause for that remark, but certainly not because I’m Labour, far from it. I didn’t join in applause for Salmond because I’m even more disgusted than Jean Urquhart is with his U-turn on NATO. The speakers included SNP elected representatives who have NOT resigned from the party (yet), there were a lot of SNP folk present, as well as a lot of Labour members, and Green Party, and SSP, but my clear impression was that the majority of folk present were, like myself, supporters of independence, but not committed to any party. As for “putting them back in the shadows”, no chance. As somebody said, this looked like the real start of the YES campaign.

  6. ‘ignorance’ of what, Dave? Just tell me where I made an ‘ignorant’ statement; unlike Pat! But yes, ‘sheer’ is correct; I’m sharp, and correct!

    Labour have no ground what-so-ever to ‘stand on’, all their malice, hate, and envy of our SNP Scottish Government is far too ingrained and obvious for you to hide. As for Urquhart,(Finnie too), she has even less ground because she took the SNP list ticket, walked out on a Democratic vote, lauded herself as an ‘Independent’, then skulked into the dubious file and ordinance of another political party; just how does this traitor add credibility to your Labour soiree?
    Truth is, Dave, Labour finished; David Cameron is moving his Conservative Party to the Left in England, and we, Scotland, and Scots’ have no use for your Labour Party no more; ‘radical’ or not! The Truth is, Dave, we’ve had enough of your Labour Party now; crashing the economy, telling lies to go to war, murdering a million innocents, dodgy dossiers, massive expenses, sold-gold for E.U. favour, instituted corruption, the Labour list of horror is never-ending, and you expect us to think a ‘radicalised’ Labour Party is going to be better??? If anything, it will be £1 trillion times worse !
    allymax.

    • “Oh, we/Who wanted to prepare the ground for friendliness/Could not ourselves be friendly”. Not the spirit, or tone, AllyMax, to take anything forward.

    • Your comments about the Radical Independence Conference were clearly “ignorant”, allymax bruce, in the sense that you quite literally did not know what you were talking about.

    • Labour soiree? (!)

    • Ignorance of the Radical Independence Conference. You, “allymax bruce”, described the Radical Independence Conference as “a Labour hate-fest”. In making that statement you proved your ignorance about the Radical Independence Conference. And in describing the Labour Party as “MY” Labour Party you reveal profound ignorance of who you’re dealing with.

  7. “Just tell me where I made an ‘ignorant’ statement” – “This event sounds like a Labour hate-fest”
    That’s not the conference I experienced, the one I attended was focused and positive with a broad range of participants and thankfully no sign of the inter-party bickering that we need to put behind us to move foreword, this was about co-operation and , dare I say it having a pragmatic, ‘grown up’ attitude to the yes campaign.

  8. Enjoying the conference feedback and reports. Was there much discussion on the practicalities of what’s next or is that premature?

    KW

  9. Before you read this, please appreciate that I think the RIC was great, and what I’ve written below I’d like to see as constructive criticism…

    I attended this conference because I wanted to learn and get ideas about the future of Scotland, and how we will win the referendum. In some ways this happened. In others, it was the same old tired stuff the Scottish Left has come out with for years.

    It was often very independence-lite, and heavy “the Tories and bastards, down with Thatcher!”. Can we PLEASE get over this? We need to think about the challenges of getting our message out to the public. THAT is what is important and what the purpose of the conference shoud’ve been. There were far too many speakers at the conference who had their grievance, ranted, and then got plaudits from the audience. To be frank, its boring.

    And that was true of the Foreign Policy workshop I attended- I had been sceptical about attending because I was concerned it would just be lots of people going on about the Middle East, Trident and NATO. Guess what? We had a debate that was pretty about the Middle East, Trident and NATO. Almost everyone in the room agreed on the issue- it was a bit of a waste of time. I went there hoping to hear discussions about trade, aid, how big our defence forces should be, military jobs etc. Instead it was people agreeing with each other.

    An idea could have been that at each workshop there was a sceptic of such, someone who would challenge the lefts ideas- not so much in an ideological way, more in a message way- so it keeps us thinking for the best ways to win the arguments, and improve our message.

    Sorry if this sounds negative, it was an enjoyable day, I just expected more strategy discussions but often instead got pretty dull rants.

    Oh, and a note to many of the speakers- protests and marches won’t win this election. Please stop presuming that the best course of action to a problem is to march.

    • Stuart wrote “I attended this conference because I wanted to learn and get ideas about the future of Scotland, and how we will win the referendum”. Well, I attended partly for these reasons also; but also partly because I do HAVE some ideas on these things, and hoped to get the opportunity to put them forward, and have them discussed; but, as it turned out, this proved not to be possible.

      Stuart wrote “There were far too many speakers at the conference who had their grievance, ranted, and then got plaudits from the audience. To be frank, its boring.” – that, sadly, is true. First of all, there were just far too many platform speakers, period. So many platform speakers, who were allowed to go on for so long, left very little time for “audience participation”. And secondly, yes, some speakers were boring.

      Stuart wrote “And that was true of the Foreign Policy workshop I attended- I had been sceptical about attending because I was concerned it would just be lots of people going on about the Middle East, Trident and NATO.” – Describing that workshop as the “foreign policy” workshop was in fact a late change of emphasis. The emphasis at an earlier stage really HAD been on Trident, NATO, and the Middle East.

      Stuart wrote “Almost everyone in the room agreed on the issue” – that is definitely NOT true. The thing that is true is that there was virtually no opportunity to express DISAGREEMENT with anybody. I tried to express disagreement with some of the speakers regarding Trident. Not about getting rid of it, but about how to do so, and the timing of seeking to do so. Unfortunately, despite my hand shooting up as soon as the PLATFORM SPEAKERS (who spoke at great length) had finished, the chairman didn’t call me until near the end of that “workshop”, by which time he was keeping contributions from the audience extremely short to “make up for” having allowed the platform speakers to rattle on far too long earlier. I think quite a lot of folk agreed with my (rather different) view on this, but, as no actual vote was taken, it’s hard to say. I also disagreed with the Speaker from the Faslane Peace Camp about the idea of producing “an Alternative White Paper on Defence”, but, as no vote was taken on that either, there was no opportunity to express this dissent.

      Stuart wrote “An idea could have been that at each workshop there was a sceptic of such, someone who would challenge the lefts ideas- not so much in an ideological way, more in a message way” – and who would APPOINT such a sceptic? And what position would this appointed sceptic take? I disagreed with a helluva lot that was said, but almost certainly from a VERY different viewpoint from the one YOU would want such a sceptic to take, so the end result of what you want would have still been the same from my point of view, that my own very different point of view would have been effectively silenced.

      Stuart wrote “Sorry if this sounds negative, it was an enjoyable day” – yes, despite all my own criticisms (which are far from identical to yours) I was glad I went to the RIC.

      • I attended this conference as Joe Public to hear ideas about getting the independence message out to the rest of my fellow citizens. I agree with the above comment “THAT is what is important and what the purpose of the conference shoud’ve been” – im not sure this was achieved. Some of the articulation of the speakers would have been too political and at times academic to understand for the very people we need to get on board in this campaign.

        I hope future conferences will acknowledge these concerns so as to be inclusive and consider the learning capacity and understanding of the majority of Scottish people and encourage their attendance.

  10. Just to think that I was seriously considering driving up from London to attend this farce and so, so glad I didn’t. Read and weep, what a load of old bollocks; Pat Kane’s culti-mutural management speak hogwash meets old time sectionalism. On this evidence the unionists won’t be loosing any sleep tonight or any other night. Takes me back to the YCL thirty years ago: so comrades you’re either all singing of the same Maoist hymnbook and or at each other’s throats. No debate, no middle ground, no progress. Meanwhile the vast majority of the electorate haven’t a clue what the hell your talking about and really don’t care. At some point you have to realise that there are more important things in politics than ideological purity and/or political correctness. Making and winning the argument for independence in terms that the non-political majority might just understand would be a good start.

  11. Forget Trident – the first act of an independent Scotland should be to raze the Ubiquitous Chip to the ground.

  12. Pat, ye’r full o’ it; tried posting a reply, but bella-ra-fella widnae let me.

    Suppose a’m banned fir being clever, and not anti-white racist!

    • “allymax bruce” is an alias. At least Pat Kane is using his real name. And so am I. You, “allymax bruce”, are a fake, and full o shite. I am seventy one years old, I left school and started full time work in 1956 before my 15th birthday, and all my life I had jobs which paid a weekly wage, I never in my entire life had a “professional” type job which paid a salary. I am white. I am working class. I have never in my life been a member of any political party. I feel absolutely no sense of guilt whatsoever about any of these things. But you, “allmax bruce”, are a racist. You dismissed the Radical Independence Conference BECAUSE some young Scottish-Asians played a part in organising it. So bloody what if they are a minority? All the more reason to congratulate them for taking such an initiative. As for you being banned because you’re clever, there’s absolutely no danger of that you thick twunt. But maybe Bella Caledonia ought to consider the fact that your “contributions” contribute fuck all.

  13. labour are the most dangerous organisation in the world; they have a Marxist strategy all around the world; Australia, Norway, denmark, France, everywhere! Just read the 2010 book by Tariq Yaldiz.

  14. Labour in Scotland MUST be finished; watched the Scottish Affairs Committee interview with the twa’ Blairs; what a joke that was; ‘ye’r-getting-a-dooin’ Davidson was his usual imperious Labour self; and the ‘yes’ & ‘no’ campaigns were pathetically selling ALL Scots electorate doon ra road by ‘wurkin-oot’ the parameters and constrictures we are left to vote within. Your article is extremely offensive, Pat, but the fact you don’t see it, is very worrying!
    Scotland doesn’t want Labour; in any form.
    allymax.

  15. How do we communicatewith all those people out there wheo read the Sun, Record, mail and Express ! THAT is the challenge. Easy to talk to Guardian or Herald readersreaders – but the “toiling masses” ???

    • At any given time, Hamish Kirk, quite a large percentage of what YOU call “the toiling masses” are not toiling, because they’re unemployed. However, “the unemployed” are not a separate group from the working class. They’re just the ones who happen not to be working at that particular time. The working class is the class from which the workers are drawn. I’m seventy one now, but I’ve been both employed and unemployed during my working life. MOST people in the working class experience unemployment at some time in their lives; and MOST people in the working class experience employment at some time in their lives. Also, in suggesting “the toiling masses” (to use your condescending phrase) read the Sun, the Record, the Mail, and the Express, you’re ignoring the very high percentage who don’t buy any of these papers. As for how do we communicate with them/us, I find this fairly easy; what’s your problem?

      All available evidence points to the fact of a clear CLASS divide on the issue of independence. While this is a generalisation, and obviously isn’t true of everybody, nevertheless, in general, the more well-to-do folk are, the more hostile they tend to be towards independence, and the harder it is to persuade them to change. By contrast, poorer folk tend to be FAR more likely to favour independence, or, if not convinced, far more likely to consider the case for independence.

      The main problem we have is NOT persuading the don’t-knows.

      The main problem we have is persuading folk to actually turn out and vote in the referendum.

      A large percentage of the working class doesn’t vote in elections. For a period of THIRTEEN YEARS of my adult life I didn’t vote. And I know a woman in her 50s who has never voted at all, not once in over 30 years of adult life, but she says she will definitely be voting for independence in the referendum. We need to point out to folk that a referendum is NOT an election. In a referendum, no politician gets elected. In a referendum, no political party gets elected. In the referendum on independence, you’re not choosing a politician, and you’re not choosing a political party, you’re choosing to take more control over your own future.

      If you are well off, comfortably settled, and own your own home outright, then you’re virtually certain to vote. Unfortunately, you’re also far more likely to be conservative (with a small “c”) and cautious. If you’re poorer, and may have had to move home within the last couple of years, perhaps because of problems over mortgage or rent payment, you are far more likely to consider the need for radical change. However, you are also far less likely to vote.

      So-called “opinion polls” are not polls at all, they are merely small “samples” which are alleged (by the professional fraudsters who run them) to be in some way “representative”. In selecting their samples, these professional fraudsters choose some folk, and reject others They call this “weighting”. They “weight” the sample they choose by how likely folk are to turn out and vote. So they choose more well off folk, and fewer poorer folk. In the American presidential elections, Obama has won twice by “expanding the electorate”, that is, by getting more poorer folk to turn out than the professional pollsters had been expecting.

      If we can get enough less-well-off folk to turn out, then we’ll have a clear majority for independence. The “Better Together” crowd can keep all the “conservative and cautious”, and they will still lose badly.

      So, the main things that need to be done are (1) ensure that the folk the pollsters tend to forget are in fact on the electoral register, even if they have moved house recently; (2) ensure that they STAY on the electoral register, even if they should move during the next two years; and (3) convince the working class that independence will certainly NOT be “business-as-usual”, so that they are inspired to actually turn out and vote.

  16. Living in the shadows I never knew you
    by allymax

    Shadows silhouettes of soul man hiding in the dark
    Never seeing always being never hearing in the heart

    Ignorant ambitions drives egotistic divisions working for the grave
    Not in the Spirit atoned indifferent nothing ever saved

    Lived too long died too soon fear etched in their face
    They live their lives in their Fear never knowing Grace

    Man is empty when he is full
    He is rich when he is poor

    Single entry of double gentry can see them in their shadows
    Relentless in their waste

    Silhouettes of soul man death a lonely fight
    Living in the shadows never seeing Light

    all rights reserved to allymax
    Last Post productions

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  1. Scottish Radical Independence Conference 2012 Closing Statement « The Ewan Robertson Blog

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