Talks from Yes Leith

There’s a story you’re being told that politics is dead and this is just the same old politics. Nothing will change. Nothing ever changes. It’s a form of social control. Don’t believe it. The importance of live public events is you bypass the filter.

Here’s Chas Booth, a great guy. He’s a green councilor in Edinburgh and everything you’d aspire your political representative to be: hard working and open with a decent set of standards and some beliefs of his own. He’s not a Scot, not a nationalist but a passionate and articulate guy who’s voting Yes.

Welcome to the new Scotland … you can almost feel it emerging …

Margo Macdonald – on social union and our future. A brave woman if you ever knew one.

Nicola Sturgeon

Aamer Anwar – ‘I no longer believe we should be ruled than Westminster’


Comments (87)

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  1. Albalha says:

    Interesting, says ‘Im not a n/Nationalist, truly what’s that about. What is wrong with civic nationlism?

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      Nothing. But it’s important for nationalists to acknowledge and welcome people from different political backgrounds who are pro Yes.

      1. mrbfaethedee says:

        No seriously.
        What’s this supposed differentiation all about?

        Oh go on then, tell me all about the various institutions, culture, history, shared values etc, that span a natural polity in a discrete and identifiable location, etc. etc…
        The desire to have that, all those things wrapped up with its own agency.
        If only we had a name for such a construct!
        If only we had a name for the desire for that construct!

        …oh, wait…we do.

        That’s all a nationalist is (obviously stick in a capital ‘N’ if your feeling particularly pejorative).

        Somebody tell me what the supposed difference is?

      2. Please be aware I am a nationalist who does not fit your description. I am eager to work with ANYONE, of whatever political persuasion, who is Pro Yes, to achieve independence for our country. Happy to work with them afterwards as well, by the way. I do resent being lumped in with the mythical nationalists to whom you refer. I refer to them as mythical because I dont know any. I’m guessing they are in the minority. Your comment is not constructive and demonstrates YOUR bias.

      3. mrbfaethedee says:

        Sorry, was that for me Effie?
        (You comment is as a reply to one above mine, but I know Bella’s ‘reply’ links disappear after a certain depth)

        1. No, sorry. That comment was for Bella. Maybe I’m not using the links correctly.

          1. mrbfaethedee says:

            I’m sure you’re using the links fine Effie, but they disappear once you go a couple of comments into a conversation.

            Just thought I’d check, as I agree wholeheartedly with your comment.

      4. Vincent McDee says:

        NOT A SCOT? Maybe he wasn’t born in Scotland, but anyone with THAT belief in Scotland has the right to be named A Scot “honoris cause”.

        There are Scots by birth and Scots by choice. The latest is not as simple tan the earlier.

  2. Albalha says:

    Errors, no edit facility.

  3. Simon Barrow says:

    Great speech, great video. But “not a Scot”? Like me, Chas was born elsewhere, but he lives and works and commits himself to people in this land and is therefore part of it. As Margo MacDonald said in her contribution, that’s enough. I’m voting ‘Yes’ so that we can build a better future together, and in an *internationalist* way, not to be able to label people as having nationality or another. OK, *now* we can feel it emerging!

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      I just meant that – in support of one of the first thing he says himself – he’s not from Scotland and yet is supporting independence? I think its important because the constant refrain from the media is that anyone who is Yes is petty/narrow etc etc

    2. Paul Martin says:

      Agree with Simon. Chas is a Scot, his actual birthplace is incidental. Schooled here. Lived here almost all his life. Works here. Brings up a family here. Represents his local Leith community. Same kind of story for Aamer Anwar (born in Liverpool) and Deidre Brock (born in Australia). All Scots – just like the rest of us !

      1. bellacaledonia says:

        Of course, wouldn’t argue with that at all.

  4. James Sneddon says:

    I though he meant (‘I’m not a nationalist’) that he wasn’t an SNP member. ‘Nationalist’ often used as short hand for SNP supporter. I suspect many other people who wanted devo max came to the same conclusion as Chas. As far as I’m concerned if you live here you’re scottish but the great thing about independence will be a scottish govt won’t force you to choose how you define your nationality to prove your worth (if I have anything to say about it, ok the downside is you can’t play football for Scotland)

  5. These grass roots meeting and exchanges with the ordinary folk who want to find out about independence are just great.
    This is the way it will have to be done to overcome the weight of the media negativity.
    Well done to all who organised and attended the meeting.

  6. douglas clark says:

    I expect Chas Booth and most of us that will vote ‘Yes’ would eschew the ‘Nationalist’ moniker. Because it is a tainted name, you all know why.

    It does not, in any way, represent what we are about. It is the language of our chums in the Better Together campaign. It is a deliberate smear.

    I am not willing to have that tattoo branded on me.

    I will vote for our sovereignty, the right of the people who live here to decide their own future and for a full and inclusive state. I will vote for a society that cares about the poor and the weak. That respects minorities and enshrines rights in a written constitution.

    That is what I will vote for.

    There is nothing ‘nationalist’ about voting for independence.

    Indeed, we may well be rejecting a more robust ‘nationalist’ ideology.

    1. mrbfaethedee says:

      It’s all entirely reasonable Douglas.
      I agree with almost every word you say – as, I’m sure would most voters.
      But what is sovereignty?
      What is the right of the people who live here, to choose their own path?
      To dictate ‘their society’ and its aspirations and commitments?
      What and who does a constitution bind?

      Allowing others to take the appropriate word – ‘nationalism’ – and buy in to the their pejorative framing of it is divisive. Not in any major way, sure – getting to ‘Yes’ is much more important, but why let them.
      We ought to own the word – everyone for yes.

      Everyone who wants authority and responsibility for the natural polity represented by the current geographic boundaries of Scotland, with its distinct history and institutions, with the debates over our aspirations framed in that context to reside with us; what is it they want.
      With a constitution that binds that place, that people, that spirit? – the word for for it is ‘nation’, the aspiration to have it is ‘nationalism’.
      It’s not a tattoo. It’s a word that means the things your after; others want to make it mean something different, let’s not let them.

      Every time someone says “I’m not a nationalist, but…”, it makes me wonder what my fellow travelers think my motivation is – do they think I don’t want those things, but something else?
      I’m sure that both sides of that equation are useful to someone, but it isn’t us.

      Nationalism isn’t a dirty word, I don’t want to help those who seek to make it so.

  7. Charles Patrick O'Brien says:

    Two great speakers,with similar views on lots of things but identical in the quest for independence.You are Scots by birth or by choice,your still Jock’s bairn same as me.

  8. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    I am very fed up with people who have decided to hide from the term “nationalist” because our enemies have tried to traduce it.
    If you want Scotland to be independent you are a nationalist. That ‘s what the word means.
    Being frightened to have yourself termed as such is like being frightened to identify as Catholic or gay or coloured.
    The term has NO negative connotation to Average Mr or Mrs Scotland who understand excactly what it means. Only a handful of people in a clouded political bubble have a problem with it.
    It is entirely proper to point out that you may or may not be a member of the SNP. That is entirely different

    1. Iain McDonald says:

      I moved to supporting independence over a period and for a number of reasons which I can’t be bothered going into. But I don’t class myself as a nationalist. Scottish independence isn’t something I have been pursuing, it isn’t a political aim I have had covering different political periods or governments, and I’m not a member of any party and never have been. Independence IS how I see Scotland being improved, I have come to that view.

      For me I would fully accept that when (for example) Nicola Sturgeon or those in the SNP call themselves nationalists, it is a perfectly reasonable term to use, it’s how someone self-classifies themselves.

      I also think it’s quite reasonable to allow those of us who are going to vote yes but do not see or call ourselves nationalists to do so. It’s not hiding, and it’s not because I think there must be a negative connotation to the word. It’s simply that I’m not a nationalist. When I voted Labour in the past, I wasn’t a unionist, I wasn’t a green when I voted for a candidate because I agreed with some of their policies, and I’m not a Scottish nationalist if I vote yes next year.

      It’s not that nationalism is a dirty word people are shamed by others into avoiding. It’s that many voters simple won’t define themselves by the issue.

      One final thought: if independence is going to be achieved, it won’t be those who call or see themselves as nationalists who will need to vote yes. It will be the average voters who don’t see themselves in terms of any political/schoolground (delete as applicable) gangs.

      That’s my view anyway.

    2. Davy says:

      “Being frightened to have yourself termed ( nationalist ) as such is like being frightened to identify as Catholic or gay or coloured.”
      No , I don’t agree.People can support YES without being defined as a nationalist – ie. supporting the notion of a nation that ends at arbitary man-made border…. and in the long term hope of doing away with borders and nations all together.

      “gay” identity only exists because of prejudice and discrimination against same gender relationships – if there was no prejudice there would be no need for separate “gay” / “straight” identities – people would just fancy………… people.
      Are you “colourless” ?

  9. zedeeyen says:

    I wouldn’t describe myself as a nationalist either. Not because I believe the word is tainted or because I’m ashamed, but because my motivations for voting Yes simply aren’t nationalistic in nature.

    I’m motivated more by antipathy to the UK state than a specific desire to create a Scottish one. If I thought the UK offered a better chance of seeing the sort of society I’d like to live in than an independent Scotland then I’d happily campaign to maintain it. It just happens that I don’t believe that.

  10. Pedro says:

    I’m a Scottish Nationalist and I’m voting Yes. Seems like I’m the only one.

    1. That’s two of us then Pedro!

      1. That’s three of us. Proud and happy to be a nationalist seeking a better future for Scots and Scotland.

  11. douglas clark says:



    Nationalism is a particularily woolly word. It means whatever it’s author wants it to mean. It is subverted by groups like the BNP and others in favour of a politic I completely abhor as I don’t doubt you do too.

    My final comment – that we may well be rejecting a more robust nationalism – was directed at that sort of politics. Can it be even useful when two so completely opposed political viewpoints share it?

    I am perfectly clear that we will do better on any criteria you care to mention as an independent country. I shall certainly be voting yes.

    1. Braco says:

      douglas clark,
      I am a Scot. So was Nicholas Fairbairn. ‘Can it be even useful [as a term] when two so completely opposed political viewpoints share it?’

    2. mrbfaethedee says:

      I agree that nationalism is unfortunately wooly, and you’re correct that it is subverted by many for their own ends.
      The point I was making in another comment above is that nationalism is simply the desire for a nation to have the autonomy of a nation state, the institutions, control and responsibility of one. Without having these things trammeled by other entities without our consent.

      For all the people who say “I’m not a nationalist” I don’t think i’ve heard them expressing a desire for anything different. So claiming that they find the label undesirable is, for me, acting to make the word more wooly than it needs to be. The other side will continue to try to do so, I don’t think we need to help them.

      Regardless – I’m happy to be a nationalist, regardless of how others seek to define it.

      1. Douglas says:

        Not strictly true….

        …ethnic nationalism was a European passion for about 150 years, and self destructive to a point nobody could have ever imagined…

        …civic nationalism is a different kettle of fish entirely, and civic nationalists – the vast majority of people in the SNP I am sure – probably ought to have a different name altogether, the society they envisage has nothing to do with what the ethnic nationalists had in mind .

      2. bellacaledonia says:

        I think we’re getting confused. This isn’t about defining different forms of nationalism, civic or otherwise.

        This is just about accepting that some people are pro-Yes and not nationalists.

        They’re not denouncing or renouncing nationalism, they are simply saying ‘this isn’t the tradition I come from’.

        If you can’t a) understand that as being both ok and actually essential and b) welcome it as part of a diverse coalition fighting for sovereignty
        we are pretty doomed.

        Get over yourselves, enjoy being part of a rich and diverse movement and understand the need for all voices to be both heard and welcomed.

        1. mrbfaethedee says:

          Get over your self? Get over your own self!
          This comment thread alone should have told you that *you can’t define nationalism* to the satisfaction of the majority of all the people talking about it here.
          How you get from that position to saying it doesn’t matter whether your a nationalist or not (when you can’t satisfactorily define it) is just you barking at people.

          I have no objection to traveling towards independence with anyone who also wants it – the fact that it bugs me when people feel compelled to preface their desire to move to full nationhood by saying ‘I’m not a nationalist, but…’ is a minor thing in the grand scheme.

          I’m happy to learn what other people think ‘nationalism’ is, and why, but if you’ve a surplus of straw, feel free to make all the men you need to stop people coming to terms with each others different definitions.

          There are lots of people on this thread with differing opinions, they are talking to each other about them, the confusion is all yours.

      3. mrbfaethedee says:

        I think the there is definitely a different quality between nationalism in those who haven’t got true nationhood and strive for it, compared with those who have full nationhood and are nationalist – what is the striving directed at there?

        Striving for full nationhood, I’m currently content to say I’m a nationalist. When we achieve independence will I call myself a nationalist? Unlikely.
        For me it’s about what I’m after, not my motive.

    3. Braco says:

      I completely agree.

      However, this thread appears to have exposed, to my mind at least, a worrying lack of commitment to the basic tenets of democracy.

      A tradition, I would hope, (no matter our political colour) as a modern, progressive, forward thinking movement, we could all agree to have sprung from. Surely it’s this that should be the very sociopolitical foundation of our new independent Scotland. (whichever, hopefully radical, constitutional version of democracy we finally design for ourselves).

      I can’t believe I am having to write this on Bella, of all blogs! (Actually I think I say that quite a lot, don’t I. nervousmiley)

      1. Braco says:

        two very, very good points.

        On your second, I would hope this nationalism argument will simply evaporate post Indy.

        To me, it’s struggle for self determination which, up until now, has been defined by the language choices of our oppositional establishment. Its just the fact we are so close to victory now that has allowed us the freedom to start uncircling the language wagons and reconsider where and why we were finally forced to make our stand.

        Like you, Nationalism and it’s various definitions are no threat to me. It’s the existing political structures, personalities and political parties of today’s inherently undemocratic Scotland that worries me much more.

        It’s these attitudes and institutions that will continue to try to influence the speed and direction that our Indy Scotland moves at post referendum, stymying with inertia, handed down vested interests and all the old expediencies, the choices around which injustices we tackle or leave uninvestigated. What systems we re think and which we re cobble on with, and most importantly to me, which ‘democratic’ sacred cows we slaughter and which the establishment and elites get to keep and continue milking at our expense!

        1. mrbfaethedee says:

          “Its just the fact we are so close to victory now that has allowed us the freedom to start uncircling the language wagons and reconsider where and why we were finally forced to make our stand.”

          Yes. You’re right, it’s a good sign Braco.

          I agree, a nationalism will largely disappear after indy. At which point the the evolving quest for truer democracy, takes a leap forward in Scotland, and we try keep it going thereafter.

      2. Braco says:

        sad as I know it is, I am very grateful for your positive response. It seems I am some idiot with an unhealthy obsession. This in no way associates you with my old fashioned concepts of democratic social infrastructure and our subconscious understanding of what that tends to mean (should you violently disagree?)!

        OH fuck mrbfaethedee, its all starting again. Help!


  12. Juteman says:

    Maybe we need a new word. Nationstateism?

    1. Douglas says:

      The self autonomy and self responsibility party? The adults in the room?

  13. I AM a nationalist, have been most of my life, but I don’t care WHAT anyone calls themselves. I just want my country back. I want to be proud of my national institutions, which will give an opportunity to all it’s citizens to have a decent life, for all children to be able to avail themselves of a decent education, and you can’t do that when you’re hungry. A child’s brain needs high quality protein to grow and develop, and you don’t get that from food banks. I will not go to my grave knowing that I lived in a country which actively sought to grind the poor, the homeless, the sick, the elderly, the young, and that encompasses just about all of us one way or another, into the ground. We have to get a YES vote, and that’s all there is to it. Call yourself anything you like, but lets all work together to take our country back.

  14. Douglas says:

    The Nationalist Test:

    If the UK government was pursuing enlightened policies to reduce social inequality, invest in education, health and a green future, and was committed to acting as a force for good in the world (Trident, Iraq etc) and at the same time, the Scottish govt was pursuing policies aimed at the opposite, would you vote yes in Sep 2014 or no?

    YES – Nationalist
    NO – Not nationalist (pragmatic nationalist?)
    Don’t know – Me and many others

    1. Braco says:

      you do know that Nationalist test is also a Democrats Test?

      YES – Democrat
      NO – Not a Democrat (pragmatic non democrat?)
      Don’t know – You maybe, not sure how many others though (but def not me.)

      Democracy entails fighting and arguing politically for the policies you support to be instigated in your country/nation. Not sitting back and allowing another countries population to rule over you, just because you happen to agree with the policies their electorate has democratically decided to instigate in their country/state.

      This is at the heart of the failure of Union. It has created and encouraged generation after generation of political leadership and political class here in Scotland, that fundamentally does not understand Democracy and what it entails.

      How could they, when their only route to power within Scotland has for so long (up until the reconvening of the Scots Parly in fact) been entirely within the gift of The Prime Minister of a Government that the Scots electorate have always had next to zero effect in electing?

      Forget ‘Nationalism’, think ‘Democracy’!

      1. zedeeyen says:

        But this line of argument is only convincing if you already support independence: anyone who thinks of Scotland as his country will naturally consider it undemocratic to have governments imposed by another country, but to those who think of the UK as their country to any extent, i.e. the people we need to convince to vote Yes, we already have democracy, and much of Scotland getting a government it doesn’t vote for is no more undemocratic than the people of Manchester or Liverpool suffering similarly.

      2. Braco says:

        well yes, that’s the contradiction inherent in the opinions of the Scots electorate at the moment which the referendum question will finally force them to face.

        All surveys show a large majority of the Scots electorate already see Scotland as their Country and self identify as Scots first and foremost. This means that the Democracy issue I am raising, not the Nationalist one others are focusing on, is actually key to those undecideds understanding what existing problem a YES vote will actually solve/change.

        Ie, Their country’s (Scotland’s) electorate will no longer be denied it’s democratic choice of Government every time it does not match the democratic choice of the electorate our neighbouring country chooses.

        That is a practical democratic reason, not an identity based Nationalist one.The evidence shows Scots have already settled on their identity in that respect after all.

        Please read my other posts, as I already agree that a person who views the UK as their Country is absolutely right to see no democratic problem with Scotland’s current position. In fact it’s the devolution part that causes democratic unfairness to a true believer in a Unitary UK.

        Very few Scots Unionists would openly put this argument forward however, as they are well aware of how unpopular it is to the Scots electorate.

  15. douglas clark says:


    It is because I think that Scotland elects to Hollyrood a political consensus that is on the right side of all these debates and more, and because of what I said earlier along with my ‘amen’ too to Morag Lennie’s post that I shall be voting yes.

    No-one will get any arguement from me on the generally more enlightened views – on almost every issue – of the Yes campaign as opposed to the opposition. If the roles were reversed, which is about as likely as the moon being made of green cheese, then no, I would not be voting yes. I would however be wondering what psychotropic drug had been added to the water supply that had converted unionists into these warm fuzzy folk..

    I want and expect to live in a country I can be proud of after independence, and I trust us all to make it so.

    The campaign ought to be about encouraging people to vote ‘Yes’. It does not need people to self identify as a ‘nationalist’. It just needs their vote in the right box.

    1. Braco says:

      Douglas Clark,
      So, you don’t think democracy is the most important thing either then?

      As a thought experiment, please reverse your political wants.

      You have just justified a Scots Tory voting NO, if they (currently) can’t imagine their country (Scotland), expressing itself as a national democratic political entity, ever delivering the kind of right wing policies that they they would want.

      Preferring instead to see their acknowledged minority views being undemocratically imposed upon their country and it’s people through the democratic voting preferences of another larger country. This is ‘our’ Union.

      This does not apply to anyone who does not recognise Scotland as their Country/Nation but instead sees the UK in that light.

      These people are Democrats. Unfortunately I don’t here many Scottish Unionists punting that line, as it is so obviously unaligned with current Scots political identity. Hence the necessity for ‘ The Scottish’ prefix to their British political parties for electoral purposes.

      I took you for a man that very much does see Scotland as your Nation/Country though, so can you or Douglas please explain to me your philosophy of ‘Democracylight’?

      1. douglas clark says:


        I am willing to play mind games if that is what you want.

        I happen to think that democracy, the rule of the people is of the utmost importance. The cleft stick we are currently in is – who are the people? Are they the sort of people that vote in an SNP majority at Hollyrood and see’s mthat as enough?

        We are, presently the tail that does not wag the dog. We can shout and scream and curse but, frankly, we don’t matter. Within a Westminster Parliament we are nothing at all. That is the sad reality of being Scottish.

        I happen to think that Scotland should look away from Westminster to Scandinavian democracies – for instance – as a way forward, not for me, but for all of us, and for our future..

        That is impossible to achieve whilst we are bound to a frankly alien politic. Because that is what it is and it is becoming more of a threat to us than it ever was. A ‘No’ vote would see us subsumed by the Borg.

        We have a once in a lifetime, no, three hundred year opportunity to sort that.

        Which is why I will be voting yes.


        If I may, I find myself unable to understand this comment of yours:

        “You have just justified a Scots Tory voting NO, if they (currently) can’t imagine their country (Scotland), expressing itself as a national democratic political entity, ever delivering the kind of right wing policies that they they would want.”

        If I have, and I would like chapter and verse on what I said that led you to that understanding of what I have written, then, attempting to unravel what you have said I think the prospects of the Tories in an independent Scotland are miniscule.

        Which is part of the point of wanting separation. They represent only a few of us and they have an agenda that I dislike intensely.

        This is all about politics and less about nationalism as such.

        We have been ill-served by our alliance with Westminster and should split as soon as possible.

        That is my belief.

      2. Braco says:

        Douglas Clark,

        I wrote, ‘As a thought experiment, please reverse your political wants.’

        Please re read my posts Douglas. There are no mind games being played I assure you.

        I would still appreciate both you and Douglas’s explanation though, of how you square your desire for independence for your country on the grounds that you perceive it to bring a policy direction you approve of, while at the same time stating that if the opposite were true, you would instead not opt for the democratic independence for your country.

        Surely, democracy supercedes any particular individual’s political wants? Except of course the effect he or she can bring to bare, via activism, upon the cumulative political decision of the entire designated electorate.

        It’s internal activism that changes democracy, not externally gerrymandering a ‘Union’ with a neighbouring giant democracy as an expedient method to short term instant matching policy gratification.

        This has been in response to your ‘I would like chapter and verse on what I said that led you to that understanding of what I have written’

        Simply put, you wrote, ‘……….If the roles were reversed, which is about as likely as the moon being made of green cheese, then no, I would not be voting yes.’

        Green cheese or no, not what I would call a democratically principled position. I am genuinely interested in your reasoning behind this political position. I am not splitting hairs or being flippant, as I worry this ‘Nationalist or Not’ argument, is creating a smokescreen for some very basic undemocratic attitudes from both outwith and inside the independence movement.

        I would truly be grateful for both yours and Douglas’s considered view.

  16. Thepnr says:

    Hmmm “Nationalist” a description often used by the likes of the Daily Mail when describing the SNP as the Scottish Nationalist Party. Of course they know that’s bullshit but they persist in doing it anyway, For many Scots who have never voted for SNP for whatever reason the Nationalist tag puts them off.

    I include myself in that number who will vote for Independence but could never see myself voting for SNP, this no doubt seems irrational to some but not to me. My mother-in-law is in her 70’s and I’m slowly chipping away at her view on the referendum, she is Labour through and through and always has been, I believe come the referendum I can persuade her to do the right thing and vote Yes, who knows maybe if i do a good enough job she might bring a few of her pensioner friends with her.

    If however she thought that by voting Yes she was now a “Nationalist” I wouldn’t have a cat in hells chance of persuading her. That’s the reality in my view and we would all benefit from trying not to stick any kind of label on those that chose to vote Yes. the only factual description is “supporters of an independent Scotland”.

    1. Braco says:

      Bang on the money!

      We have the fight right up to the YES or NO vote, and then, we have the fight right after the YES or NO vote.

      I like to think Bella is one of the few places we get to think about and discuss the latter a little, while still keeping focused on the fight for the YES vote that is always there, right in front of us.

      That’s why Bella is so important. It’s the philosophical political space, time and balance she gives us to think and argue, which will be invaluable preparation for post YES (or god forbid post a NO) vote.

      1. douglas clark says:

        “We have the fight right up to the YES or NO vote, and then, we have the fight right after the YES or NO vote.”

        Something like that.

        All we are giving ourselves is the right, democratically, to make our own decisions. I will vote for our freedom from Westminster, but after that?

        Patrick Harvie makes a good case as do the Jimmy Reid Foundation.

        I would like to sit down, and think about what our future may be. It would be a very liberating moment. The futures that we might open up are ours and no-one else’s. That would be good.

  17. Douglas says:

    Look, “nationalists”, there is in fact a nationalist theory out there which all the powers in Europe subscribed to basically for centuries, which is a about racial, cultural differences between the tribes of Europe – nobody gave a shit about the colonised races of Africa and Asia of course.

    Read French, Scottish or English literature from the late 19th century and you will read lots of references to the French “race”, the Scottish race and the English race. This was common enough until some scientist identified genes in human beings which correspond 99% with the common fruit fly.

    No thinking person wants to be mistaken for a “nationalist” as that term has been used in the majority of cases throughout history, and I insist that most people in the YES campaign are independistas, not nationalists.

    And by way of elucidation, the nationalists are the ones who want us all to eat porridge for breakfast and ditch English for Scots or Gaelic.

    1. Obh, Obh, Douglas. I’m a nationalist who often eats porridge and breaks into Gaelic frequently but as long as you vote Yes I dont care what you eat or what language(s) you speak. Slainte mhath.

      1. Douglas says:

        Cheers Effie, I like my porridge too and also tha beagan gaelic agam. The difference between a nationalist and a non nationalist, as that terms has been understood throughout most of history, is that the nationalist thinks that to be fully Scottish you ought to be eating porridge and speaking Gaelic.

        I, like the SNP, believe that you are Scottish if you have an address here.

  18. douglas clark says:

    Braco at 1:10am,

    It is getting late, very, very late for this discussion.

    Just to point out that a democratic politic ought to be about tension, not dominance. I suspect, no more nor less, that a ‘No’ vote would be a very very bad thing for Scotland. We would, in effect, become North Britain with absolutely no say whatsoever in decisions above, perhaps, the price of a dog licence. I quite like being in a Europe that embraces Human Rights uniterpreted by Tory politicians, but that’s just me.

    Democracy is also about something a lot more than a majority. A modern democracy allows rights to minorities and we, dear Braco, are indeed a minority.

    Within that, there are a few folk that have a right in this referendum who will vote ‘No’. They are as entitled to their vote as we are to ours. I might not agree with them – I don’t – but equally, if we play your card are we expected to vote ‘Yes’ even if it led us down a very dark path?

    Well, firstly it won’t. And secondly if it were the case I wouldn’t vote for it. Partly because it would be the wrong sort of nationalism, something I want to escape from rather than embrace. And, more to the point it would be something I was democratically opposed to.

    There is a manifesto for independence and I embrace it. It is far better than anything Westminster could realistically deliver to us. Or, indeed, would want to.

    1. Douglas says:

      Agreed, we must win….if we don’t, we’re toast.

      1. I think I can safely say there has never been a comment thread anywhere else in the world that has had three people called Douglas comment in a row.

    2. Braco says:

      To the first two Douglas’s, (no offense to Doug the III [wink]),

      I really think you are both misunderstanding my point (and posts). I am absolutely pro YES and keen to have every single vote going and enthusiastically work with all who desire a sovereign Scotland. Not an issue.

      What I am asking both of you is (I will try one more time and then give up),

      as democrats who consider Scotland to be your Country, how can either of you justify the position that, had the Scots electorate been out of kilter with your political views (right wing rather than left), then you both would vote NO to Independence in 2014 and in so doing, deny your Countries democratic right to receive the Government it votes for?

      This is a question about Democracy, not Nationalism. Please try and address it as such for me. I am genuinely interested in your ‘democratic’ logic.

      1. Thepnr says:

        Hypothetically, I have to say that if the referendum meant that we in Scotland might possibly be voting in some kind of right wing party to rule us and that the majority of Scots desired this. I for one would use my democratic right to tell them to go fcuk themselves and vote No.

      2. Braco says:

        Fine. So you’re not a democrat.

        That’s all I wanted to know. How about the Douglases ?

  19. Thepnr says:

    Braco I think your having a laugh. If I chose to vote in whatever direction then I’m not a Democrat? Your measure of democracy appears to be very self centered and if someone disagrees with your version then there not a Democrat?

    Hahaha take a chill pill Braco and appreciate that not everyone may agree with your odd even twisted point of view.

  20. douglas clark says:


    You have a strange handle on this democracy thing don’t you?

    You get a very similar answer from me as Thepnr gave. If the answer to the problem was a UKIP like or BNP like retreat from civilisation then I too would be against it. An Scotland led towards independence by a fascist-lite or fascist-heavy government has no appeal whatsoever.

    To the best of my knowledge, no-one anywhere has made such a case. Your hypothetical is a dead parrot. Indeed it seems to me that you are implying that there is a possibility , post-independence, that is where we might end up. The extreme right has a mildly greater chance of success in an unreformed UK than it has in an independent Scotland. Whilst the threat of UKIP can wag the dog of Cameron’s coalition at Westminster it has no such power at Hollyrood.

    One of the small pleasures in life is watching the extreme right – your mileage may vary on definitions of extreme – get a regular cuffing when they try for election up here.

    I will be voting yes partly because I think your hypothetical is counter intuitive, or some sort of personal nightmare.

  21. Douglas says:

    Braco, your democarcy – nationalism thing is tiresome ti the nth degree.

    Why not just vote for us all and be done with it all of us who aren’t democrats and so are what by your book?

    No, you don’t need to answer me, it’s a rhetorical question.

    The nationalists won us the referendum, the nationalists will lose us the referendum….nationalists being people who think there is a certain cultural formula for being Scottish….

  22. Andrew Morton says:

    What I would like to see is video of the Q&A session which I assume followed the speeches.

  23. Braco says:

    Thepnr, douglas clark and Douglas,

    I seem to have upset you all with my silly democracy thing.

    It’s interesting to me that three folk who are happy to distance themselves from any dreaded association with ‘Nationalism’ and its regularly implied non democratic associations (fascism, the 30s, etc), yet none the less are happy in almost the same breath to declare their willingness to abandon the principle of democratic self determination for the electorate of their chosen Country (Scotland) should they perceive that said electorate might just end up voting the ‘wrong’ way.

    Everything I have written has been in response to, or an attempt to understand the reasoning behind this inherent contradiction in your stated attitudes.

    I have asked you to perform a ‘thought experiment’ in order to test a democratic principle from an alternative (though still valid) political position other than that of your own. This, I would have thought, is a standard analytical procedure, yet you continue to imply I am pushing some sort of right wing agenda. Why, I don’t know, but let me assure you I am not.

    ‘If I chose to vote in whatever direction then I’m not a Democrat? Your measure of democracy appears to be very self centered and if someone disagrees with your version then there not a Democrat?’

    The referendum is not an election. If you vote NO because you don’t like the political voice you guess the democratic Scots electorate might speak with, given the chance, then yes you are voting against Scottish democracy. Is that such a difficult concept to understand? Democracy is surely a principle above any single party political allegiances (left, center or right).

    douglas clark,
    ‘You get a very similar answer from me as Thepnr gave. If the answer to the problem was a UKIP like or BNP like retreat from civilisation then I too would be against it. An Scotland led towards independence by a fascist-lite or fascist-heavy government has no appeal whatsoever.’

    What don’t you understand about ‘self determination’ and the responsibility and honour in being active as a citizen in trying your utmost to influence (to your principles) the political agenda and choices made (within the rule of law) by your countries electorate, at each independent democratic election? Do you honestly feel able to safely predict the choices of all future Scots electorates as suitably left wing for your tastes? Of course not!

    This referendum is on the question of principle. Should Scotland be an independent country?

    ‘Braco, your democarcy – nationalism thing is tiresome ti the nth degree.’

    I don’t know what to say, except that this referendum thing must also be boring you to the nth degree, as that’s exactly what is at the root of it’s finally forcing itself onto the front line Scottish/British political agenda. Ever heard of the ‘Democratic deficit’? International recognition and agency?

    Of course if you just want to get rid of the Tories please do vote Yes. Oops, that seems to fall under democratic deficit also! (never mind, no harm done).

    I am a democrat that sees his Nation as Scotland. I am willing (desperate in fact) to abide by the democratic voice of it’s electorate and reserve the right to campaign aggressively for the political direction I would like it to follow.

    You, douglas clark and Thepnr can’t seem to be able to say the same. After your ‘Nationalist test’ and my conversion of it into a similar ‘Democrat test’, that’s all I was interested in finding out from yous, and commenting on really. So thank you.

    1. Douglas says:

      Fair enough, Braco. All I am saying is that those people in the YES campaign who wish to distance themselves from nationalism should be allowed to do so without being questioned for that.

      It is after all the prerogative of each individual to identify him or herself as he or she pleases, surely?

    2. Douglas says:

      And by the way, Braco, it goes without saying that the nationalists will be voting YES. We need to convince the people who don’t identify themselves as nationalists to vote YES, surely?

      The referendum will be difficult enough to win anyway. If all of the people who vote YES have to identify themselves as nationalists, then it will be impossible to win.

      All if takes is for somebody to say “I am not a nationalist but I’m voting yes”, for all you crowd to come out and denounce them, invariably in scandalized tone, as if that constituted an insult of some kind.

      It doesn’t.

      1. Braco says:

        I seem to be in moderation at the moment so excuse me if the conversation moves on in the mean time.

        ‘All if takes is for somebody to say “I am not a nationalist but I’m voting yes”, for all you crowd to come out and denounce them, invariably in scandalized tone, as if that constituted an insult of some kind.’

        Please refer me to any of my posts that state, or even imply, that statement. This whole discussion evolved from your own simplistic ‘Test of Nationalism’. I only asked a similar question around Democracy.

        I answered the questions raised quite simply, but you (and others) seem to be struggling with an explanation.

        Please, as simply as you can, explain your democratic philosophy to me and any one else reading this.

        I had drawn my conclusions earlier, but now that you are talking I would really like to understand. Remember though, we do both want an Indy Scotland.

  24. Have you got a link to the youtube recording of last Thursday’s entire session, please? The cameraman promised us that it would be made available online. I’d asked him for his contact details but then got sidelined talking to Nicola Sturgeon at the end.

    I was the first one to ask the question on Atos for the Black Triangle Campaign. We desperately want to blog it on our website


    We are also extremely keen to do our bit to convince every other sick and/or disabled citizen in Scotland and their families, friends and associates to give it a big fat YES next September 18th.

    Obtaining a copy of the debate would be invaluable to our work.

    Can you help?

    In solidarity,

    John McArdle


    Black Triangle Campaign

  25. My question and the panel’s replies have been omitted on this series. The following video begins with the second series of questions after mine:

    Many thanks in advance for your help with this.



  26. douglas clark says:

    I see Braco has left the room.

    1. Douglas says:

      Braco will be back, that’s my prediction…

      1. Braco says:

        you are both right, but why would I stay?

  27. douglas clark says:

    Braco @ 15:56

    “you are both right, but why would I stay?”

    On the substantive point, I have no idea. On the trivial point about you needing a lesson on what democracy actually is, by all means hand around.

  28. Braco says:

    ‘On the trivial point about you needing a lesson on what democracy actually is, by all means hand around.’
    Well come on then, enlighten me. That’s all that I was asking for wasn’t it?

    ‘I would still appreciate both you and Douglas’s explanation though, of how you square your desire for independence for your country on the grounds that you perceive it to bring a policy direction you approve of, while at the same time stating that if the opposite were true, you would instead not opt for the democratic independence for your country.’

    Are you intending to nibble at my obvious natural insecurities? Are you gaslighting me?


  29. Braco says:

    Douglas Clark, Douglas and Thepnr,
    I have just re read every post of each of yours, and the one directly following it.

    Very interesting.

    Could I possibly ask yous to do the same?

    Not for a response or an argument, but just to re associate ourselves with what we started talking about in the first place.

  30. Braco says:

    Sorry I meant, could you do the same for me?

  31. Braco says:

    as I said, I’ve been re reading your posts, so I have a few more comments and questions that would be really nice to be clarified.

    You said, ‘Fair enough, Braco. All I am saying is that those people in the YES campaign who wish to distance themselves from nationalism should be allowed to do so without being questioned for that.’

    Would you agree, that those in the YES campaign who wish to distance themselves from democracy should be allowed to do so without being questioned for that.

    I would hope that, inside yourself, you couldn’t agree to such a proposition.

    This is the question I have been and am still asking. It’s that simple. (see my democrats test)


    You said, ‘It is after all the prerogative of each individual to identify him or herself as he or she pleases, surely?’

    ‘I am not racist but…….’ This individual has used their prerogative to identify him or her self as he or she pleases.

    You respect their position don’t you, wouldn’t think of arguing with them would you, surely?

    1. Douglas says:

      Braco, this is getting silly. You are throwing about words which have no place on Bella, like racist, and are liable to be misinterpreted.

      If somebody want to identify himself as a racist, then OF COURSE, it is his/her prerogative to do so. Being a racist is not a crime. What is a crime is carrying out racist ACT.

  32. fruit peeler says:

    Do you have any video of that? I’d love to find out more details.

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