2007 - 2022

Beyond the 45

SNP conference 2013Tommy Sheppard, former assistant general secretary of the Scottish Labour Party, on why he’s joining the SNP.

Sign me up.

Only four days into the aftermath of the Scottish independence referendum and my emotions are still raw. From this distance I’d say we did good; closer than anyone could have imagined when we started on this journey.

Without comparison the Yes campaign has been the biggest progressive movement I’ve been involved with in over 35 years of political activity. The level of involvement has been unparalleled. So many people, so much hope and an incredible unity of purpose. This was a tremendous flowering of democracy – people prepared to confront and overcome the feeling of being powerless in a world controlled by unelected elites. Many on a steep learning curve – developing confidence and articulation by the day. Most of all this was the moment when politics became too important to leave to the politicians.

Gladly, few seem to be content now to go back to the sofa and let the political class just get on with it. We mustn’t. The dialogue about how to change our country and how to involve people in that change must continue. The contacts and direct relationships we all made on social media and on the streets can now be used to continue that discussion, bypassing the mainstream media which has shown itself unable or unwilling to reflect this debate.

Most of all don’t weep. Organise. Let’s take strength and solidarity from the enormous achievement that has just happened. It’s not so much that we lost – we just didn’t win everything. Scotland will never be the same again and it’s up to us to ride the change. We need online discussions, local meetings, and national conferences all to discuss how we maintain the momentum generated in this campaign –and to influence what happens next.

Always there are things we can learn. We probably need a stronger policy on money. Too many people believed that their livelihoods and pensions would be under threat if this rich country took control of its own resources. We need to better confront the accusation that we are undermining social solidarity on these islands, advocating that change can be asymmetrical and it’s okay for one country to get serious about inequality whilst others catch up.

For now we need to take an acute interest in the powers which the UK government has pledged to devolve to Scotland. They don’t quite know what these are or should be. And the Westminster parties may have difficulty agreeing amongst themselves – especially when it comes to taking their backbenchers with them. So let’s insert ourselves into this debate now in a positive way. Seriously, bury the hatchet, bite the lip and engage. We should state clearly what powers must now be delivered and be ready to expose the inadequacy and contradictions in any ill thought through proposals.

The economy is key. I’m no expert but the principle is clear. We have to be more than tax collectors. The economic powers transferred to the Scottish government must be able to give expression to a different set of priorities than exist at Westminster. The new settlement – if settled it be – must provide for more than devolved administration of things. It must allow our government to pursue its own course – even (especially) when that differs from political ambitions on the rest of the island.

The Scottish electorate must be able to elect a government capable of pursuing the social and economic polices the people want. These must include powers to stimulate the economy and create jobs; to invest in new industries not just through grants but through ownership; to redistribute and reduce inequality by altering tax rates.

Crucially, we need a guarantee that any extra taxation will be used to provide extra spending –not become just a means of re-organising existing income. If we achieve a growth in tax income through economic stimulus that extra income must be available to spend in Scotland – not simply result in a reduction in the funds provided by the UK exchequer. Otherwise there’s no point.

The ball is now in the Westminster parties’ court. They need to move quickly and it must be the people of Scotland – yes and no voters – who hold them to account. We will see if the promises were genuine, or just a short-term fix to get past the vote.

45% of us voting to secede from the British state got proposals for more power to Scotland on the table. The guarantor of getting them delivered is that we might do it next time. And by we I mean a majority of the population, not just the 45ers but all those people who genuinely believed that by voting no they would get that better Scotland. If we now get let down then next time they are coming with us. That particular dialogue starts now

To make sure the Westminster elite keep their promise we will need to go forward with all the energy, verve and enthusiasm our mass movement created. But within that we need political and electoral organisation. One that is inclusive and non-sectarian. One that can encourage and work with others in a common cause. Most of all a party that will be the champion of the dispossessed – and speak to those huge communities who have previously put their trust in the Labour party. For the last two years I’ve worked with people in the SNP who, to a man and woman, have demonstrated just that ambition. That’s why, even though I never have and still would not define myself as a nationalist, I am joining them today.

Comments (78)

Join the Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Douglas says:

    Tommy, brilliant stuff, and I totally agree, let’s write a menu of what these “new/more powers” should be – or a wish list.

    The vagueness of the “more powers” promise played in their favour before 18S, but from now on it can play in ours: it can mean anything outside of defence and foreign policy, right? So let’s get thinking and let’s get into some detail. There are plenty of contributors to Bella who are expert in their own field…

    One of two things can happen: either David Cameron writes himself into the history books – aye, that surname – as the man who delivered Home Rule to Scotland, possibly even reviving the Tories here in the process.

    Or else he fail to deliver and prepares the ground for another referendum some time down the line.

    But we need to engage as soon as possible with this new situation, while it is still fluid…

    1. richard walthew says:

      But will it be Cameron Douglas – there’s an election next May !

    2. tam says:

      Why dont you jocks Stop moaning and get a job

      1. idchappy says:

        I’ve had a job for all my adult life kid 😉

    3. An Independent Observation says:

      Douglas: “Or else he fails to deliver and prepares the ground for another referendum some time down the line”
      The UK Government have already failed, lied and conned the Scottish people and are now going to use bully boy tactics to push through unwanted policies and immoral practices to punish us for daring to speak out and be counted.
      And so it begins…….
      Nicola Sturgeon called for universal credit rollout delay pending discussion of the vow of new powers for Holyrood.
      The UK Government said “NO” we are accelerating the rollout in Scotland and while we are at it, all benefits will be removed from 16-21 year olds.
      SNP formally opposed the UK Government’s immoral proposals to remove Scottish householder’s rights to object to drilling for oil and gas under people’s homes and recommended they consider an alternative strategy as Scotland is rich in renewable energy sources which they could expand upon instead of destroying our already fragile earth.
      The UK Government said “NO” Too late we have sold the rights of the Scottish people and there’s nothing you can do about it.
      SNP formally opposed the latest war and did not want any part in it. Westminster’s response, tough we want war. There is no profit in peace after all. The UK Government is no more than a dictatorship that is governed by Greedy, Immoral, Self-absorbed, Egotistical Fools who will sell out Scotland to the highest bidder and therefore on that basis Scotland should declare itself OUT NOW before it is too late and start a new democracy, a new era that will benefit all and protect our environment that the Tory Government are determined to destroy for PROFIT.
      I am sure you will all be aware that a petition has been raised to re-vote on Scotland’s Independence due to the overwhelming amount of evidence of irregularities at Scottish polling stations. The petition has gained over 95,000 signatures from very angry Yes & No Voters. Both sides feel cheated and the only way we can have an honest and fair referendum is to re-vote.
      You can sign the petition below:
      If the re-vote is refused which you can almost guarantee that it will be, the Scottish people have to make a decision, do we want to be part of country that takes away human rights, disregards and lies to the people whom they are paid to serve, bullies people into making decisions, drills up our land and thrusts us into unwanted wars or do we say enough is enough this is not how we want our country to be run and declare Scotland an Independent Country?
      My choice is clear; I do not want to live in an oppressed society ruled by people who are so far out of touch with reality, that it’s scary, delusional people with power are a definite and immediate danger to Scotland and I personally feel the only way we can rid Scotland of this power over us is to unite and join the SNP. http://www.snp.org/
      Five members of my family recently joined, one of those being my father who had voted No due to his loyalty to the Queen as he had served in the Kings Troops for many years, however my father is a very honest man and he believes that the Government has duped the Scottish people and by failing to investigate or have the main stream media report on the possibility of vote rigging he has decided to join the SNP.
      I however joined for many reasons including all of the above but another reason I joined was that I have a great amount of respect for Alex Salmond and there is no doubt in my mind that he has only ever had the welfare of the Scottish people at heart throughout his many years of devoted service to Scotland and we owe him a great deal. He is the only Politian who has shown integrity, compassion and morality, qualities that are very much lacking within the Con, Labour & Lib Dem coalition, they could all learn a lot from Alex which has become even more evident today by him protecting the people who voted both NO and YES, ensuring they won’t be penalised for wanting their voice heard. That’s a great inspirational leader in my book irrelevant of what the Biased Newspapers and TV Channels say.

  2. Flower of Scotland says:

    Good article Tommy! I’ve been in the SNP since I was 18. That’s 50 years this year! I come from a family who always voted Labour. I am very much a socialist. It was and is the only vehicle open to us to obtain our dream of Independence. The SNP is a mixture of all notions and one, but the main one is Independence!

  3. Valerie says:

    I have never joined a political party, and last night joined SNP. I read that Alan Grogan has left Labour now. Many Labour supporters are posting pics of their chopped cards as an expression. A lot of on line activity is aimed at unseating Labour in 2015, for their duplicity. Meanwhile, at the Labour conference, Miliband makes saving the NHS the main plank of his campaign, but somehow last week, the Yes campaign were lieing about the NHS. This party are seriously flawed, and deluded.

  4. brobof says:

    Remember, if at first you don’t secede, try, try, try again.
    Christian Wright http://weourselves.com/

    Had a brilliant idea last night and snap the real thing happens! Spooky!

    “Er I’ve changed my mind”
    – An idea for a website or an addition to an existing resource

    Aim:: reach out to the other side and re-engage the argument.

    1/ Find a notable celebrity who voted “NO” but has changed their mind!

    2/ Launch site with a media splash.

    3/ Ask people who voted no, who have also changed their mind, to add a comment.

    4/ Keep a running total.

    5/ Keep a backlog of notable ‘changers’ to keep the site in the public eye. More media splash.

    (6/) In parallel -so as to stop Yes voters polluting the study- have a:

    “Why I voted yes”

    to keep the proIndy contingent happy.

    This would hopefully prevent Yes voters pretending to have voted no!

    Use upvoting for both sides comments.
    Hilight particularly good responses.
    Trawl responses for good ideas; look for common themes to trigger a rethink in other naysayers.
    Build a database of the lost sheep and draw them into the GrassRoots movement.
    *At all times* act in a positive manner.
    Do not let the Elite use divide and conquer!

    This comment at twitlonger http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1sbplbr

  5. Tommy well said, well said… practical, open-minded, re-engaging with those in the ‘No’ camp whose hearts said yes and crucially keeping local meeting and activity and engagement going, staying informed and learning more about bloody economics!

  6. brobof says:

    Having read the piece I only wish Tommy the best! For me Labour probably has to die before a left wing progressive party/ movement can emerge Phoenix like from the ashes.
    However I think we need a complete rethink of the party political system. I was involved in constructing the Occupy London Stock Exchange Manifesto/ Constitution using various e-Democracy tools over the interWebbery. I have a few ‘unconventional’ ideas to bring about a radical change but am looking for a secure site to host them 😉
    In the meantime in the public domain: A Tasty Idea to spread as you see fit.
    Hope is our Duty! Occupy the Media _/_OTM

  7. bringiton says:

    I am deeply cynical about Westminster delivering anything which could be perceived as benefitting Scotland at the “expense” of other parts of these islands.
    Unless we have a hold over them,they will deliver nada so it is vital that we unite in defeating Labour at the next Westminster elections.
    A large block of SCOTTISH MPs could have a significant impact down the line in terms of full fiscal autonomy for Scotland,although control of oil revenues is probably never going to happen.
    I just hope that the Scottish turkeys who voted for Christmas,realise their mistake and punish Labour for lying to them(again) in next May’s election.
    Thanks Tommy and you will be in good company in the SNP.

    1. Douglas says:

      You’re right to be cynical, so am I, but we have a much better chance with Cameron than with Labour.

      What Cameron announced the other day in tying more devolution to Scotland with England is the death-knell of Labour, because a Labour government will find it difficult to govern in England without Scottish MPs and many issues will be devolved there to mirror Scotland if the Tories have their way. So not just Scotland getting more powers…

      Cameron could actually revive the Tories in Scotland and do massive damage to Labour in England at a single stroke: by devolving as much as power as possible to Scotland and insisting on no Scottish MPS voting on English issues (though he will need an outright majority for the latter at the next election)…

      Labour are trying to spin it as Cameron breaking his pledge (the timetable was always a joke), but that is because Labour are terrified. They want to put some bells on the Scottish parliament and forget about the West Lothian question, and business as usual please. Just like the Lib Dems.

      Anyway, all of these things are out of our hands. But what is in our hands is to clearly articulate what we expect by “more powers”, if only so we can remember what it is we DIDN’T get.

      If we just sit back and wait, the Scottish parliament will be given something else to administrate, but no powers to change anything as Tommy says. And he is absolutely right too, in that it’s vital that NO voters get involved too and drive Devo Max forward…

  8. liz says:

    Talking of the currency and the economy – it seems to have been the main thing that sunk the Yes campaign – well apart from the corrupt and biased media

    I am not a financial expert but I read this article from Forbes talking about how to set up a LoLR.


    Again we must not allow the 45 and rising movement to be crushed by WM

    1. mraemiller says:

      I am a financial expert and an expert in oil markets and this is not down to the media being corrupt or biased. Salmond spent his whole capaign in denial of fiscal reality. Of course Scotland could have it’s own LOLR and its own currency pegged to the £ but this would be devastating to the financial services sector and Salmond wanted to avoid this issue because he knew it is box office poison to tell a whole industry they’ll have to go away. Neither do you have to be an expert in economics to realise that the oil price is too volatile to bet your economy on. However, whenever I confronted SNP activists about this they intoned that “oil is just a bonus” when the could be bothered to listen instead of blocking me for heresy. Lie to yourselves and no one will vote for you…


      …mind you maybe you need to lie to yourselves if your economic plan does not make sense. Of course you CAN DO anything if you’re willing to pay for it. But no one was honest about the price.

  9. tartanfever says:

    If you have a Yes sign, put it back up.

    There is a wonderful image doing the rounds of a Yes placard in a window. Underneath the owner has put another message which says, ‘as long as Scotland knows hunger, the sign stays up’

    1. Coinneach mac Raibeart says:

      I didn’t take mine down.

  10. paulcarline says:

    On the core issue of independence, the SNP and especially Alex Salmond have served the people of Scotland well. But if the party is to continue to serve the aspirations of the awakened and re-energised people of Scotland it will have to change radically. Unless there has been a recent change of heart and policy, the SNP still endorses the toxic TTIP deal currently being pursued in almost total secrecy between US and EU negotiators. It has all the hallmarks of a conspiracy – which is what it is: a conspiracy to evade any democratic control and confer even greater powers on the predatory capitalism which is destroying the planet and treating the 99% as mere tools for the further enrichment of the 1%.
    As Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz observed: ““Corporations everywhere may well agree that getting rid of regulations would be good for corporate profits. Trade negotiators might be persuaded that these trade agreements would be good for trade and corporate profits. But there would be some big losers – namely, the rest of us”.
    The threat that TTIP (and CETA) pose, not only to Scotland but to the whole of Europe, needs to be recognised urgently and action taken to stop ratification by the European Parliament. Any party that pretends to be democratic and to serve the needs of the general population (rather than the selfish interests of big business) needs to publicly state its opposition to the deal and promise that it will do whatever it can to block it. I hope the SNP will do so.

    1. spiral-m says:

      Do you have a link for this stance? I just read that they have concerns about the TTIP as it currently stands. https://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/ourkingdom/interviews-with-euro-candidates-ian-hudghton-snp Thx!

  11. brobof says:

    Breaking off Twitter Allan Grogan has resigned m’ship of the British Labour Party https://www.facebook.com/labourforindependence/posts/805627022791239

  12. David Soulsby says:

    When will someone point out that we need our own bank! 1,600,000.00 yes voters and I am sure manny more No voters would relish the opportunity to take there money out of the BIG 6 BANKS.
    The new bank would need to have a common weal peoples charter.
    Once in operation we can happily wave good by to the corrupt zombie institutions that are bleeding us all dry.


    1. bellacaledonia says:

      No you are not the only one

      1. Illy says:

        So, who could we possibly get to run that bank? It’s not like we have anyone with banking experience that almost all the 45% would trust, now is it?

        Oh, wait, Eck was a banker you say?

        How much money does it cost to set up a bank?

      2. Barbara Watson says:

        No, I’ve long thought that we all needed a new banking co-operative. We should be looking at extending the Credit Union. There must be another institution that could be brought in to help.

      3. Valerie says:

        Good! Just read an American economist on Forbes saying we should be doing this anyway – and with the UK financial tsunami due…..

    2. no you are not. I have already cleared my RSB account (not that there was a whole lot in it) but don’t know what bank to use. I have also stopped buying The Daily Record – I’ve been looking for a good excuse for ages.)

      1. paulcarline says:

        Just to repeat … there’s a perfectly good, reliable, well-funded and ethical bank in Hanover Street: Triodos. It supports a vast range of social, environmental, educational and other initiatives.

      2. tomo says:

        The Airdie Savings Bank is a small, independent bank that would fit the bill. If enough people transfer their money to it there is the possibility that we could make it the new Scottish ‘Central Bank’. It could probably print its own money and link it to sterling ie one ‘Scotpound’ = one sterling pound. It’s not important what we call the new currency but the main thing is it would go some way to addressing the legitimate concerns of a lot of the No campaigners. If Central Bank status could be achieved then that would probably satisfy the EU entrance requirements as well if required. These would be two big No questions answered for the next attempt it Independence. I’m not an expert on this subject but think that it just might be worth pursuing.

      3. idchappy says:

        Same here buddy 🙂

    3. caperash says:

      I am not a banker but my understanding is that it is not a bank so much as a banking system which is the key thing. Our current system involves having certain institutions (charter banks I think is the term) who have the license to print money which is done in the form of issuing credit (credit card limits, lines of credit, mortgages, outright loans). They don’t back such ‘loans’ with reserves, albeit they have to follow certain industry rules in terms of how much credit they extend (based on scores, assets, risk assessment analysis etc.). As long as you have currency based on debt-issuance, you have built-in inflation since as soon as $100,000 is issued, including interest payments over time, $110,000 (or whatever) has been put into the system. If you have state-engendered credit interest free, that inflation is eradicated more or less. And inflation means that over time, any money is worth less in the future than it is today, meaning that you cannot save easily and your assets depreciate in real value. It is a killer for those who have to work for a living, which includes all working people of whatever class.

      Which is why all talk of currency union and joining the EU is counterproductive in terms of any real independence. But remember: only a handful of countries are really outside the current system and those that try to leave (Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya etc.) get pounded into oblivion.

      I very much doubt that Salmond could have got permission for the referendum without pledging not to leave the City of London control.

      What you chaps in Scotland are attempting to do is very, very unusual these days and very very big.

      That said, yes, you can set up a bank (if it is legally possible, I don’t know), or it might have to be a different thing which does the same thing somehow, or a national credit union or whatever. It might not be able to issue credit, albeit it could make loans based on actual reserves. Most working people have very few savings. The richest 10% of the world population are those who have no net debt. That is very few of us. Meaning that if a bank were to loan out only what it can cover 100% based on deposits held in savings account (which is how most of us erroneously imagine banks work), they would probably not be able to loan out much at all. In which case their power as a bank in terms of the idea you are suggesting, would be very little.

      The power of banking in the modern world is, I think, that only they can issue credit, and since about 90% of us need credit in order to function and survive, including all business ventures and all home purchases, that is a very big power indeed.

      1. caperash says:

        Also, that power lies in all the others who cannot issue credit/money: local municipalities being a glaring example. In the ’30’s many areas in Germany issued script currencies which dramatically improved the local economies there. So the real power of the banking system is that it is the only one which can issue money and all such monies issued derive interest which sucks the life out of the economy and results in the elites becoming unbelievably rich and the mass of people just barely getting by. At least that is my admittedly limited understanding. The main point, though, is that they have great power over a nation’s economy, and thus the scope and trajectory of most peoples’ lives therein. I suspect that a single bank alone cannot change that significantly, but hope I am wrong.

      2. caperash says:


        In this article is a link to a downloadable (for fee) pdf which in 135 pages explains the modern financial system and why it is a delibitating racket. Just Money – How Society can break the despotic power of Finance by Ann Pettifor. (I have no financial interest in this publication nor any prior knowledge of her, or the site hosting the article.)

        Extract from introduction:
        ““Modern finance is generally incomprehensible to ordinary men and
        women … The level of comprehension of many bankers and regulators
        is not significantly higher. It was probably designed that way. Like the
        wolf in the fairy tale:
        “All the better to fleece you with.”
        Satyajit Das.1

        The global finance sector today exercises extraordinary power over society and in particular governments, industry and labour. The sector dominates economic policy making, undermines democratic decision-making, has financialised all sectors of the economy including the arts, and has made vast profits, often at the expense of both governments and the productive sector.
        Yet even as finance capital eludes and defies governments, and as legislators bow to the sector’s demands to cut public services in the name of ‘austerity’, finance has become more, not less, dependent on the state and on taxpayer support. Despite its detachment from the real economy and from state regulation, the global finance sector has succeeded in capturing, effectively looting, and then subordinating governments and their taxpayers to the interests of financiers.
        Geoffrey Ingham, the Cambridge sociologist describes the power the sector now wields as ‘despotic’.2

        In this short book, I hope to briefly outline how society can begin to unpick the knots of jargon and gibberish that finance has used to immobilise the rest of us, and how society can break the power of despotic finance. I will argue that while the finance sector abuses the monetary system for private profit, the system is also potentially a great public good. Our money and monetary system has evolved over centuries as a public infrastructural resource…”

        After posting my other comments, I felt inspired to invest a little time and money in reviewing the whole system, even though previously have read quite a bit about it. imo, any initiative to establish authentic independence cannot succeed without a clear understanding of, and remedy for, this gross deficit (pun intended) in our current political setup, both in Scotland as a sub-region, and nearly all Nation states in the world today. So although it might be simple in essence, this topic has huge implications and no independence movement will achieve success without understanding it fully and having a clear plan for substituting it with something better.

    4. Clydebuilt says:

      What about the Airdrie Savings Bank? After the banking collapse many prominent Scottish figures pumped money into this bank.

      1. Valerie says:

        They have indeed reported a surge in new customers!

    5. maureen hawthorne says:

      No you are not the only one to think this, we need a new bank that can be trusted by the Scottish people, the ones available right now are only concerned about their profits/bonuses, their customers are never considered, its time to change all of that

  13. Onwards says:

    I would say that SNP members are more ‘democrats’ than nationalists.

    It’s mainly about Scotland getting the governments and policies that we vote for.
    It’s about equality with other countries, not any kind of superiority.

    I agree that the Scottish parliament needs powers to COMPETE, and gain any benefits that may result..
    Not just shuffle about a diminishing block grant.

    The SNP will continue to aim for independence, but right now, Devo-Max or Federalism is the next practical step, and we need to ensure it doesn’t get watered down to nothing.

    We really need as many SNP MP’s returned to Westminster as possible to make a difference.
    Hopefully even provide the balance of power.

    Splitting the vote is no good.
    Right now, the SNP is the best chance we have to protect Scotland’s interests.

    That starts with replacing all these Labour MP’s who worked hand in hand with the Tories.
    Scaring pensioners…threatening and blackmailing this country if we dared to run our own affairs.

    People have long memories. I hope every single one of them is booted out of office.

    1. douglas clark says:


      I am a member of the SNP and there are two strands of thought in my membership. The obvious one, that we are better placed to rule ourselves than anyone else, and the more problematic idea that we are a more social than individualistic society. That latter point is to do with the Libertarian approach to politics, which consists merely of lying to the electorate because you are a superior person.

      I am flummoxed by the post vote situation.

      Here are my thoughts.

      It is astonishing how annoyed the 45% are with the 55%. That is no democratic mandate, but it ought to encourage conversion campaigns. The fact that the 55% believed a word that Westminster promised is already coming home to roost.

      We need to demolish the current Labour Party in Scotland at the very next available poll. For they have been cross-wired on any commitment to the social rather than electoral success for far too long. I don’t care whether votes move to the SSP, or RIC if they stand. But something has to be done about the rotteness of a Scottish Labour Party that acted against the people of this country.

      We need to reclaim the right to separation on the back of a majority Westminster vote for independence. Which is entirely possible.

      Splitting their vote is absolutely good.

      We were defeated by a coalition of Tories, Liberals and folk that lost their way a long time ago.

      1. paulcarline says:

        The ‘referendum’ (the correct term would be ‘plebiscite’ because ‘referendum’ ought to be used only for popular decision-making votes that have resulted from a ‘bottom-up’ process of citizens’ initiative, or from a constitutional/statutory act that specifies a mandatory national referendum when any significant change is made to the constitution. The Irish have such a constitutional rule and it is a fundamental part of the highly developed democracy (at all levels: local, regional i.e. cantonal, and national).
        We cannot refer to our current system as as ‘democracy’. Nor were the referendum/plebiscite and its outcome ‘democratic’. A democracy that deserves the name has genuinely independent media and the right of citizens to both propose new legislation and/or strike down existing laws if they can garner sufficient support.
        In a real democracy the people are sovereign (that’s actually what ‘democracy’ means) and their decisions have the greatest legitimacy. We have been conned for centuries into believing that voting every few years for so-called ‘representatives’ who don’t represent us constitutes democracy. In 1911, a wise French journalist called Alfred Delaisi published a pamphlet entitled: “The financiers and democracy”, in which he pointed out that ‘democracy’ (as we have been persuaded to understand it) was a very clever means by which the elites actually retained power under the pretence of giving some of it away.
        That’s why the most pressing need of the moment is the establishment of a constitutional convention – whether officially sanctioned or not – to address the central task of devising a democratic constitution for Scotland fit for the 21st century.

    2. Illy says:

      It’s not that simple, and asking the Greens and SSP to surrender an election isn’t going to make any friends.

      What needs to happen is:

      The SNP, SSP, SG and pro-indy independents all need to sit down with a big map of Scotland, and put the voting percentages that they each expect for each constituency at Westminster on the table.

      Then the group with the highest percentage runs a candidate in that constituency, and all the others back off and let them be the *only* pro-indy candidate in that constituency.

      We could run a single banner for all of these candidates, or a joint banner, or something, but the important thing is that *everyone* needs to work together, so we can use the FPtP system to our advantage.

      We don’t need people pushing the SNP in areas where (for example) the Scottish Greens normally do better. We need the SNP backing up (same example) the Scottish Greens in those areas. It might be that the numbers work out that the SNP is the best chance in every Westminster constituency, but we need the numbers on the table to back that up, and we need the discussion to happen.

      Because asking the other parties to just surrender without a fight is a *BAD IDEA* for so many reasons.

      1. Garry Ferguson says:

        I have been thinking about this issue and it seems to me that a single Party representing Scotland in Westminster is the best way forward. I would suggest that the Party to do so need’s to be the SNP. Now before everyone gets stroppy with me, I haven’t finished. The SNP would then need to reward the other potential candidates by granting them places in the Scottish Parliament, no matter what happens at the General Election. Now this is possible by using the list system, allowing Green, SSP Independant candidates to take SNP seats in Scottish Parliament where they sacrificed Westminster seats to forward the Independence cause. This would be a truly united effort to forward Independence and would exhibit a degree of cooperation between parties such as had never been seen before, yet another FIRST in UK politics, deriving from Scotland.

      2. Onwards says:

        From what I understand, the SNP is the next best challenger to unionist parties in EVERY Westminster constituency, ahead of SSP or Greens.

        These parties will just split the vote, and it will be business as usual.

        Holyrood elections have PR, so it’s fine to vote for whoever you want there.
        But PR was rejected at Westminster, and won’t be back on the agenda for years.

        The next Westminster election is First-past-the-post, and anyone who wants MAXIMUM powers for Scotland, should seriously think about voting SNP.

        If we split the vote, we will be laughed at and ignored.

        Realistically, Green party policies have more chance to actually take hold in a Scottish parliament with REAL powers, be that Devo-max or independence.
        Patrick Harvie is a real influence at Holyrood, and Green Energy is a priority there.

        But for Westminster elections, it is just a protest vote. I am just being realistic.
        Expanding Scottish powers should be the Number One priority right now.

  14. Geel says:

    Scots Soverainer (From Old French ‘soverain’) – One who believes in re-establishing sovereign statehood to the ancient nation of Scotland.

  15. Colin says:

    Great work Tommy, you’ve summed it up perfectly. There’s a real sense that this is just the beginning of radical change for the UK political parties. Lets get on and push for the powers to fix Scotland ASAP then take that blue-print to rUK.
    The Westminster elite have totally underestimated the might of the new Scottish voice and they all thought that we would just crawl wounded and defeated back into our boxes. Lets make them wish that we had actually gone our own way. Watching some of the Labour conference was cringe worthy, these people are lost and clueless muppets. They now need to be defeated and taught a lesson.
    What annoys me now is that ‘some’ of the people that I know did vote no, just expect me to “shut-up”, we got beat, get back to my day job and that that’s it over. There happy just to get on with their jobs and fully expect change just to happen naturally. We need to hold them to their vote, we need to understand what motivated them to cross the ‘No’ box and educate them to think differently.

    Sleeves rolled up – there’s enough of us now to get this job done – Onward!!

  16. yesguy says:

    Thank you for this article.

    It’s gave me a wee bit more hope for my country. We are almost half way there already. the empty promises will give us all the ammo we need. Many of the younger voters are VERY angry. they see the No vote as “fingers crossed we might get some thing here” mob.

    Time to get Labour out.

    We must have political representation and the only party big enough for the job is SNP. . No offence to the Greens and SSP. they are too small and the Snp now have thousands of new members which will give us a big advantage .

    Get SNP in all Scottish seats and we can push for independence without Labour lies. They will be a non entity.

    I have many friends who want to contribute, they will not go away and are preparing for a long campaign firstly with the GE the the SE the year later.

    If SNP have around 40/45 seats we can push for independence after 2016.

  17. AbuEmma says:

    Good article and I would emphasise the need for us to articulate clearly what these promised extra powers should be. Perhaps a good start would be to look at the economic and tax powers that all Canadian provinces have. We could take Nova Scotia as our particular example. For an idea of what these are you can check with this site -http://www.novascotia.ca/finance/en/home/taxation/tax101/default.aspx

  18. caltonjock says:

    We need to address and correct any weaknesses in our campaign strategy. I would remove any reference to income or expenditure from/on oil ring-fencing that part of the economy and keeping it well away from the mainstream Scottish economy.

    We need to prove Scotland would be able to function successfully, in all respects without oil. Is this possible??

  19. Pingback: Back to Business |
  20. Crubag says:

    I appreciate the Greens bring diversity to the campaign, but if a pact was struck to only stand a Yes party with a chance of winning a FPTP vote, the Green party would not be the pick for any Scottish constituency.

    In 2010 they stood 20 candidates, got 0.7% of the vote and lost 19 deposits. I don’t think there is a single seat we could point to and say that the Green candidate would be best placed to win.

    1. Onwards says:

      Exactly. Greens have an influence at Holyrood due to PR.

      But none at Westminster.

      We need to get more powers first.

      1. This points to a dual strategy with everybody backing SNP for the first past the post Westminster and Holyrood constituencies and the Greens and SSP for the Holyrood list. To achieve that the SNP need to take on board some agreed Green policies and commit to progressive social measures. Not hard as many SNP members support both. The Common Weal, as it were

        1. paulcarline says:

          Eminently sensible and practical tactical voting in the common interest – which should override the narrower party political interests. In any case there’s a crying need to get beyond blind party allegiances. I recall a poll years ago that instead of asking which party people were going to vote for asked which policies they supported. The results were then matched to the manifestos of the various parties – and it became clear that if people actually voted according to their principles and values the majority would vote for the Green Party.

  21. Craig P says:

    The purpose of Scotland historically, from a Westminster politics point of view, was to return a block of parliamentary votes loyal to the ruling party. This was the case through the 18th and early 19th centuries, until we went reliably Whig/Liberal and now Labour.

    Soon, if Scotland returns a block of MPs inimical to *any* Westminster party that has a realistic chance of forming a government, then in political terms we become more trouble than we are worth. This gives Westminster an incentive to get rid of us…

  22. e2e says:

    the no parties only have to carve off enough of the yes vote to make independence impossible.
    that is a very easy thing to do.

  23. aplinal says:

    There needs to be a form of organisation that encompasses everyone of a YES persuasion and those regretful or weal NOs. There is talk of the YESAlliance, but maybe that would deter NO switchers as it reminds them of their mistaken/regretted vote. Why not the Scottish Alliance? This is for everyone in Scotland of whatever background or political persuasion. The SNP would stand with the party on the ballot paper “SNP (Scottish Alliance) so everyone in other parties can see easily who to vote for.

    Remember the next Election of for Westminster under FPTP, neither the Greens or SSP have a chance.

  24. Clydebuilt says:

    Surely Unionists will vote tactically from now on. To get the majority the SNP won in 2011 many unionists will have voted for the SNP. From Now on Unionists will equate a vote for the SNP with a vote for independence.

  25. Sure Scot says:

    I have joined the Labour party this week.
    I voted SNP when I was younger but have voted Labour the last 17 years.
    This week and the last few months have taught me that the Silent Majority need to be active in politics – not just the 44.7%.
    Since the referendum result there is now talk of declaring independence by other means (UDI) and possibly another referendum if SNP have a majority in 2016.
    Don’t you guys get it?
    Over 2 million scots want to keep the union!
    The yes vote was supposed to be about “getting the government we vote for” – that democracy in Scotland is being ignored.
    The referendum has given the democratic result that we voted for.
    Now you guys are choosing to ignore the will of the majority of Scots.
    This nonsense about a Yes alliance forcing independence or declaring another referendum is an affront to democracy!
    Please give it up for the good of the Scotland.

    1. davidbsb says:

      I would accept the result if the run up to it had been a fair and free election. Instead there was a campaign of lies backed by a media campaign which no fair minded person could describe as impartial. An agreement to abide by a Purdah period was flouted by one side. A rarely seen backbench former unelected premier was wheeled on to promise a whole raft of things not in his power to grant and moved the goal posts prior to the vote. There are plenty of other things which I could go into, but frankly I am growing tired of the whole affair. We are where we are.

      This was the sort of election which the UK condemns in places like Russia. If you think it was a triumph of democracy you must be naive or brainwashed. The thing would have gone to sleep if the Unionist side had played a straight bat and won.

    2. Scott Borthwick says:


      1. Sure Scot says:

        Well at least please give it up in for the good of democracy then.

    3. Valerie says:

      I’m quite astounded, but respect your right to choose Labour. They took a platform with the Tories, they have lied repeatedly to frighten the vulnerable, told the Yes campaign they lied on NHS, and this week announce at their conference they have “to save the NHS from the Tory privatisation”, This week 2 Labour MP’s have been caught out consorting with BNP and EDL through the campaign. This party are morally bankrupt. By all means support the Union, but Labour????

      1. Valerie says:

        And by the way, it is our right in a democratic country, to pursue the political path we choose, regardless of what 55% said on this occasion. Wanting independence is a political choice, and that is how I intend to get involved, just as you have made your choice.

    4. Onwards says:

      Nicola Sturgeon has said that independence will have to come through a referendum – not through the backdoor.

      I think the issue is on the backburner for a while until the devolution proposals play out.
      People are expecting big change though..

      The referendum result will be respected, but NOT the way it was achieved.
      The close result means the question won’t just go away.

      45% want independence, despite the massive onslaught of negative campaigning and threats.
      The demographics suggest the older, hardcore unionist vote will die out.
      Last minute bribes of more powers swayed many people.

      Most want Devo-max, and joining Labour isn’t going to achieve that.
      Their devolution proposals are the weakest of all !!

      For the good of Scotland, I would suggest that any Labour voters should seriously look at what the party has become..

  26. rosestrang says:

    The disillusionment begins right now for the No-ers and this is where we can absolutely reconcile.

    My Mum (a former Socialist then Labour Party member until New Labour revealed their true colours) voted no.

    The upshot is, she’s just watched the Labour Party Conference and feels a bit sick to say the least. Also wasn’t aware of the implications of English Devolution and EVOL and that Scottish Labour are a bit stuffed at the moment in Scotland and possibly will be in England. She was sympathetic to the case made by Scottish Labour No campaigners.Just shows you the power of mainstream media.

    So there are many highly intelligent but not perfectly informed No voters who don’t use social media. (and as you can imagine I did my best but as a daughter, a non politician, and artist who’s rubbish at arithmetic am probably not seen as an expert!)

    We know that many were simply scared by financial implications, and I agree with Tommy that the financial argument could have been better, though I blame far more the fear campaign.

    It’s very clear we all need to continue to join the SNP and vote for them in the general election

    But what’s also clear is that PRINTED info wasn’t as strong as it could have been. I wonder if others would agree with my observation that, if anything, the Government-led Yes campaign literature was quite simplistic, aside from the White Paper which probably had too much info for those whose minds were already made up to bother reading. The Wee Blue Book certainly helped a bit.

    People want details, those who had them were swayed to vote Yes. I canvassed for Yes and noticed that people were given a list of websites to look at, which is good but maybe not enough for those who don’t use social media as much. We were all probably on it constantly, I know I was

    I agree we need literature that gives a clear financial argument, and that points out the financial uncertainties under a Westminster government. But I think it needs to be printed and distributed for those who don’t use social media and who watch BBC etc.

    Now that so many new people have signed up to the SNP, can we all request that money be spent on a clear comprehensive leaflet which explains the financial implications of Westminster rule on Scotland? Also what we should demand for Devolution?

    I agree also with Tommy’s view that we have to be far more aware of the financial powers we need to make a difference to Scotland. Can this info be collated then distributed among SNP members in order to pass on information, so if and when the Scottish voting public are consulted following Tory/Labour reneging on promises of more powers, (or another referendum is called) far more of Scotland’s people are behind it 100%?

    1. Sure Scot says:

      Re – new SNP membership. This seems to be mainly the far left that are joining – making it a far left party to appease it new members.
      What do you think the traditional “tartan tory” menbers will be thinking here?
      All of the traditional SNP constituencies voted against independence.
      Do you think that they will vote SNP again?
      If they just vote SNP to keep labour out then I would think they will start to vote tory now instead of running the risk of another referendum.

      1. The Long Decline says:

        How do you know it is mainly far left who are joining SNP?

      2. Valerie says:

        SNP are a centre left party, and that is why many Labour supporters are now joining SNP. Labour are the new Tory lite – they don’t know left from right anymore, so follow the Tories. SNP pursue many left wing policies, and have achieved a great deal of good on the picket money from Westminster in the last 7 years.

  27. davidb says:

    I am much vexed by this problem post referendum. I have posted before on wings about this matter.

    Wikipedia lists the 2011 Holyrood votes. Ashcroft’s poll asked about Holyrood vote vs Yes/no. it looks like 14% of previous SNP voters voted no. But glaringly 95% of the 275 k people who voted Conservative voted no too. Why is there not a centre right pro independence group to which Conservative but Not Unionist people can subscribe? Holding right of centre views on economic policy does not seem on the face of it to make you unionist. The Tory right in wastemonster seems to be rabidly anti that other union which the UK is in with Europe.

    Why do people in “orange” places not elect Conservatives? If it was the Unionist bit of the name which was the attraction surely Larkhall, Shotts and Brigton would all have Tory councillors. Indeed, is it possible to analyse where and why people vote Conservative and devise a strategy which does not harm what they see as their interest in the event of our country being free? A third of Libdems and a third of Labour voters chose Yes. Why didn’t a third of Conservatives? They are surely not – despite the predjudice of some comentators – totally selfish people?

  28. davidbsb says:

    Wikipedia lists the voting patterns at Holyrood in 2011. Lord Ashcroft’s poll suggests how those voters voted in the referendum. It suggests that a third of Liberals and a third of Labour voters voted Yes. But it shows 14% of SNP supporters may well have been tactically voting or voting for a specific MSP. Glaringly 95% of Conservatives voted no too.

    If it was the Unionist part of the C & U Party which was the big attraction them why are Bridgton, Larkhall and Shotts not electing conservative councillors? What was it about the yes campaign which so failed to connect with voters who believe in centre right economics? I think we need to ask everyone who voted no why they did. Instead of browbeating them we should understand their concerns.

    So far I have had the currency idiocy, a hatred of Mr Salmond and job insecurity. The best comment I heard was ” if you get a painter in and ask him how much its going to cost to paint your house, and he says never mind that, I’m a great painter, theres nothing to worry about. You maybe would be wise to think twice.”

  29. caperash says:

    I am commenting from far away on Cape Breton Island, but have been following (online) for a few months. As I read these ‘aftermath’ posts and comments am becoming increasingly convinced that you Indies need to work on two main things:

    A. Supporting SNP in current political setup
    B. Create, fund, organise and grow a new Independence Movement which stands on its own independent of the current political parties and setup and without public funding. This movement will take time to organise and grow, needing both strong leadership but also massive, dynamic, creative grass roots input and expressions throughout Scotland, throughout all classes and regions in many different forms and venues. A movement. This movement can later on wield significant influence over the current Party setups in A, or as Salmond hinted in his aftermath interview, there are other ways to achieve independence than by U.K. approved referendum alone.

    But think on this: as long as the Independence movement is tied to one Party more than any other, it is dragged down into partisan politics, rhetoric and debate. It must exist beyond and above all that.

    So you should vote for SNP in current elections, but meanwhile create a New Movement. (And don’t call it ‘Yes’ because that insults those who -some of whom for good reasons, you know, voted No; and don’t call it 45 because you need more than 45 to win, duh!!)

  30. caperash says:

    Although Salmond, like all ‘Great White Fathers’ speaks often with ‘crooked tongue’ as politicians with hidden agendas (or conditions/restrictions/deals) are wont to do, he strikes me as one of the most brilliant politicians to emerge on the British stage in many a generation. He is both articulate and smart. And I am beginning to suspect the following:

    A. He couldn’t get permission for this referendum without agreeing not to push for a separate currency, i.e. divorce from Bank of England, B.I.S credit system which is enslaving the world these days, but also

    B. He believed that even if he lost, which probably at first he expected to do even if at the end he thought he might not, he would expose the Scottish people to what you are all up against, the weight, greed and duplicity of the Empire, with its titanic Banks, Finance, Corporations and BBC etc. , aka ‘not just the sink, but the whole kitchen!’ And that this was a trial run, so to speak, in which all Scots and Brits would see the Empire in action and at the same time put G.B. on notice: if you don’t shape up and fly right, watch out, we might leave!

    C. The imperfections of the latest campaign will gradually become clearer as the dust settles, at which point a broader, less SNP-led movement can emerge. And now he is no longer SNP leader, he can help with this movement as an eminence grise, for although some of his views may not gibe with all others (as with any individual), there are few in the land who know the system as well as he, nor have nearly the breadth of experience. He is a National Treasure in many ways. Honour Him. Use him. But don’t follow blindly.

  31. Ann win next time says:

    no matter what the result from this referendum, we have paid little attention to the impact, structure and emergence of the new independent nation. We need to catch the publics imagination of how the new Scotland would appear, how independence would feel and what each citizen could expect. A chance to look at newly formed nations and their experience would help. I think we need to fill in the blanks, show that independence can deliver, talk more about citizen constitution and the great benefits a constitution can bring.
    But most of all we need to TALK UP SCOTLAND be positive, gain confidence, move forward, not fear the future but raise our expectations. support each other and let the pessimists fall silent as they see a great future.

  32. Will Mcewan says:

    Just be aware,if you want devo max or whatever (I don’t as it leaves us with Trident, illegal wars and control of very little of our revenues) but if you want devo max you will have to energetically pursue independence and devo max will be ceded to try to head of independence. If however you go for devo max you’ll get half of it (if you get anything worthwhile at all).
    That’s politics

    Devo max is not a step to independence . It is an impediment and a complicated and confused one on the road and should be recognised as a hurdle that may have to be crossed but independence is the only worthwhile objective

  33. Will Mcewan says:


    The White paper spelled out in very great detail the projected costs of just about everything in as far as they could be answered. Just because you didn’t read it don’t assume it didn’t answer the questions.
    Saying the questions weren’t answered was a ploy of our thoroughly dishonest media.

  34. Davy says:

    Tommy Sheppard wrote : “Most of all don’t weep. Organise.”

    Weep and mourn , get it out , take time and thought…….. an come back all the stronger , more determined to organise and win !!

Help keep our journalism independent

We don’t take any advertising, we don’t hide behind a pay wall and we don’t keep harassing you for crowd-funding. We’re entirely dependent on our readers to support us.

Subscribe to regular bella in your inbox

Don’t miss a single article. Enter your email address on our subscribe page by clicking the button below. It is completely free and you can easily unsubscribe at any time.