The Day Before a Year Ago

yesyesyeswebIn Whisky and Scotland (1935) Neil Gunn wrote: “any effort on the part of any section – such as Ireland or Wales or Scotland – of the Celtic fringe to form itself into a nation is not merely opposed but bitterly resented as if it were something in the nature of a betrayal of human progress.” It was just as true in 2014 where the spectre of a Scottish democracy created a state of shock and horror among the political classes firmly embedded in the Westminster establishment, the upper echelons of the British state and the cosy backwaters of the palpably failing Scottish elite.

The absence of self-awareness, the lack of history, the shallowness of empty promises all combined to make the Better Together an extraordinary campaign to behold. And still they won. A campaign (openly) predicated on lies distortion and fear recalling distant glory but unable to summons any coherent future vision lost and is still losing. It’s not that a campaign based on hope beats fear, it’s that a movement that has ideas, vision and a future-focus will always overcome one based on the past.

On September 19 the Better Together campaign shut up shop and went home. Job done. But in the following days – inspired by a mixture of bloody-minded thrawn indefatigability and adrenaline – the Yes movement picked themselves up and got going again. That’s the difference. We are a movement, they were a temporary campaign.

Whilst the Unionist side will always have the might of the propaganda machine behind them, they will also always be hamstrung by being inexorably tied to a backward-looking political culture and set of institutions. The bizarre practices of the House of Lords, this year exposed like never before, the ancient relics of Monarchy which will presently demand Jeremy Corbyn, kneel, actually physically kneel before the Queen, the power of patronage and privilege which swirls around the corridors of Westminster and the endless parade of remembrance, jubilee and commemorative trophies which litter everyday Britain, like a Dismal Land fete make the selling of Britain a thankless task requiring more and more wild and ridiculous claims and unrealisable promises.

But if Britain’s political culture is endlessly backward looking this is a trap that the insurgent movement for Scottish democracy must avoid. We should reflect on last years events with a critical eye but move on. We should look back with a sense of self-awareness and move on. We should learn everything we can and be open about all of our mistakes and move on. The tendency to blame any concoction of: the media; MI5; Better Together; Gideon Osborne; lying politicians; the Foreign Office; corruption, John Barrowman or the BBC for our loss, blinds us to problems within the Yes campaign, the key weaknesses and the absolute requirement for the next referendum to be fought on stronger ground.

Self-criticism is key to building a stronger Yes 2.0. But we shouldn’t wait until the ‘next moment’ is here but begin to build the institutions, structures and projects that make the case for self-determination not in some vague abstract sense but in real-life experience today. This isn’t a case for gradualism it’s based on the notion that people believe something when they actually experience it not, when you tell them about it or promise them it in the future.

I Know What You Did Last Summer

After the vote last year there was a sense not just of disappointment but of actual shame that swept Scotland. Not shame in the campaign we’d run and the movement we were part of, but shame at living in a country so lacking in self-belief and so filled with duplicitous politicians and unthinking ‘Proud Scots but…’.

If the Yes movement has to face up to a series of challenges to win next time (and we do), the problem for the Unionist club is far worse, as an entire political class has been exposed. From the hilarious protestations of Alistair Carmichael that lying is an essential part of politics – to complaints about Ruth Davidson being investigated  by the police – to a House of Lords stuffed with moat-cleaners and cronies – to the ongoing cash for access culture – the respect for the institutions of British politics has never been so low. Next time round, bar a Lazarus-style resurrection, the Better Together campaign will have to operate without either the Liberal or Labour parties, now routed from parliamentary politics. Exposed and removed.

As we look back we can see the Project Fear as a form of inoculation against British propaganda. Having been exposed to a small amount of the virus, next time we will be immune.

CO485cWWcAARxK1The Dispossessed

It’s not just the political education of the referendum campaign that is and will transform Scotland, it’s the real-life experience of failure under British governance.

On the 11 September the i newspaper had the headline: “Scotland’s child poverty levels so severe teachers are sent advice on spotting malnourished students’. The report concluded: “Child poverty in Scotland is now so severe that teachers are being sent advice on how to spot if a child in their class is going hungry, amid evidence that the problem is having an increasingly serious impact on education.The new guidance, which will be distributed to schools and colleges across Scotland next week, warns that the issue of hunger among pupils is “moving from the exceptional to the more commonplace” as families struggle to make ends meet.”

A few days later the same newspaper reported on ‘Life and death in divided Britain’ – that Southern England is best in the world for life expectancy, but Scotland finishes second bottom for developed nations.  The coverage was of a report published in the Lancet that showed the health gap between rich and poor had barely altered in 25 years.

We will win not because of the blatant democratic deficit, the absolute lack of any political mandate or the failure to deliver The Vow, we will win because of the long-term social and economic failure  under British rule. Foodbank Scotland, the day-to-day grind of poverty, poor housing and low wage Britain cannot believe in UK:OK.  It’s a lie lived every day.

It’s Time to Get Above Ourselves

We are not alone in experiencing collapsing belief in our rulers and their systems. Across the world you can see evidence of systems of belief and deference to the old models falling apart. You can see it in the incredible campaign being run by Bernie Sanders in the US. You can see it in the rise of the Icelandic Pirate Party, you can even see it in the rising opposition to Fracking, to TTIP and the incredible uprising of solidarity for the refugees as people across Europe reject the lies and racism of the media and the political right.

One year on the fear and panic that set amongst the ruling elite endures and the subaltern movement of Yes is still here – sometimes confused and regrouping – but still here. It’s here in everyday speech, it’s here in the network of thriving Women for Indy meetings, it’s here in the still rising expression of cultural self-confidence, it’s here in the growing anger about land and power, it’s here in the growing anger when yesterday tax credits, money that helps the working poor to make ends meet, were cut by £750 per year and in the consciousness that grows out of the Tories Trade Union Bill, it’s here in people’s ability to cut through the media crap and make sense of the world and it’s here in young people’s expectations for a better future.

The era of managed decline and terminally low expectations, carefully nurtured by the political class is over.

For the first time in decades, a socialist is at the head of one of Britain’s two main parties. For the first time in decades people are bypassing their own governments and demanding shelter and support for displaced people across Europe. For the first time (ever) the vast vast majority of our representatives in Westminster are SNP and next year we can expect a huge majority in Holyrood demanding independence. This isn’t a betrayal of human progress it’s a growing consciousness of routes away from a failed state and a broken system.

Comments (76)

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  1. Dougie Blackwood says:

    Yes. Well written and mostly accurate. We do need to be getting our act together for “Next Time”. We need to have our own positive policies that do not rely on Westminster’s apron strings that can be denied as part of the campaign to frighten and bewilder. Scotland has more than enough capacity to run all of it’s own affairs as a medium sized northern European country.

    We have more resources, both physical and in our people, in Scotland than almost any other European nation of any size. Other than oil we harvest the best marine food, we have a world leading alcohol industry that is stripped by others for profits elsewhere, our medical research and computer games industries are world leading and our universities are the envy of many other countries.

    Scotland has the people to make industry and commerce profitable and in addition to what we have we must encourage entrepreneurs to set up new and profitable businesses here, employ local people and pay a living wage.

    We need to get these messages out to the electorate, on the doorstep and in as much of the media that we can access. We need real independence, not the half way house that the SNP proposed last time. We need to convince the electors that we can create a fairer and more democratic country that looks after all of it’s people not just those that have.

  2. bringiton says:

    More than anything else we need to throw off the culture of dependency and the political parties who foster it.
    The Tories,in particular,can no longer claim to represent those who are enterprising and stand on their own two feet when they backed a campaign in Scotland which demanded the exact opposite.
    Excellent Mike.
    Thanks.

  3. John Page says:

    Great stuff Bella. Scotland’s children deserve much more than managed decline while the elite become even more remote while poisoning us with the MSM candy floss for the mind.
    Surely we can do better for ourselves than the shit we have seen in the last year.
    John Page

  4. Bill Steele says:

    Is the notion of a digital Scottish currency the beginning of setting up parallel systems to Union systems? Will such systems help people see that we don’t need Westminster systems?

  5. Alan McMillan says:

    Watching the one o’clock news on bbc, one of the stories was about land mine removal in Mozambique. In the story the background to Mozambique is contextualised by its ‘long and courageous struggle to independence”.

    Mozambique is but one of countless countries who have secured independence from a colonial master, none of which would go back to the old ways.

    Scotland’s struggle has been both long and courageous, however I have never heard the bbc or any other uk institution or media referring to it thus! We are referred to as separatists, spoilers, parochial, anti internationalist, blood and soil nationalists and fanatics, etc.

    The overall moral is that come independence, standards of living and confidence will rise and the uk will have to adapt to the new order and treat Scotland accordingly as it does its other neighbours.

    Our day will come!

  6. My Cocaine says:

    “Across the world you can see evidence of systems of belief and deference to the old models falling apart. You can see it in the incredible campaign being run by Bernie Sanders in the US. You can see it in the rise of the Icelandic Pirate Party, you can even see it in the rising opposition to Fracking, to TTIP and the incredible uprising of solidarity for the refugees as people across Europe reject the lies and racism of the media and the political right.”

    Pie in the sky, wish-washy nonsense. People are just discovering socialism again, and socialism itself is just dressing itself up in new clothes to make itself relevant in this modern age.

    Corbyn won, because the Labour party has fallen so low, that even an old socialist, who’s views would have been the norm back in the 1970s, can appear on the scene and appear radical. Even in the 1980s, Corbyn’s views would have been accepted Labour party practice, and the man himself probably would have failed with a leadership bid.

    At the very least, the bare minimum, fighting austerity, sticking up for the poor etc etc, is what the Labour party should be doing anyway.

    For me, Corbyn is another false dawn – somebody to disappoint those who pinned their hopes upon him.

    In an article a few months back, Irvine Welsh absolutely nailed it IMO when he said that years ago, if the Labour party, backed by millions of trade unionists, coal miners, shipyard workers et al, couldn’t affect positive change, couldn’t take on the establishment, then how could Labour in this day and age, with the unions a shadow of their former glory, and faced with a post Thatcher Britain, implement positive change? Or words to that effect.

    The answer is they can’t. Corbyn’s fighting yesterday’s battles, which even the likes of Foot, Wilson, et al, better leaders, better socialists, couldn’t win…

    If Scotland allows itself to be fooled by the Labour party one more time, then we deserve another 300 years of Westminster rule…

    1. I’m not sure how looking north to our friends in Iceland or west to our friends in America is ‘wishy-washy’? Locating Scotland’s struggle alongside the rest of the world shouldn’t be so threatening to you. What’s the problem?

      1. My Cocaine says:

        My problem with these new movements is this: they are trying to re-invent the wheel, and then claim credit for doing so. Like I said, it’s socialism in new clothes, and although I have nothing against socialism (despite my right-wing leanings) lets not pretend it’s anything innovative.

        For two years during the referendum, I tore my hair out everytime I heard a socialist bang on about a bus driver in Glasgow having more in common with a bus driver in Liverpool, and that we shouldn’t break up the UK and that we should find common cause etc. etc. blah blah blah

        A lot of socialists couldn’t see that breaking up the UK could have invigorated the left across the UK. Very short-sighted IMO.

        Anyway, my fear is that socialists will fall for Corbyn hook, line, and sinker, and that the independence movement will go backwards and Westminster laughs all the way to the bank…

    2. Kenneth G Coutts says:

      Like Labour the unions have failed, if you do not pay yer dues then you are invisible
      They are both a disgrace to all those that struggled , fought and died in the past for the social democratic rights of every man woman and child, now before our eyes it is being dismantled , with agreement from all of the neoliberal unionists and neoliberal trade unions, disgracefull

      1. Bill Ramsay says:

        ” If you do not pay your dues then you are invisible”

        Mike referenced the ” Face Up to Child Poverty” EIS booklet in his article, proof surely that unions do not turn their back on the vulnerable.

  7. Gordon says:

    You’re right, Mike, Indyref 2 will deliver an overwhelming YES as the Scottish people get used to good governance relevant to the population here and not pitched to the atypical economy of the burgeoning overheated London City State and its environs. This has already been happening in 2 terms of an SNP administration despite all the denigration and mud-slinging by the MSM and the people are slowly getting to realise how much better we can do things for ourselves. With more powers, we can do even better.
    Compare this to Westminster austerity economics. No one in the YES campaign last year questioned how long austerity would have to continue. How many generations of youth would be condemned to a future of Mc jobs and zero-hours contracts unable to pay for a decent family life. Nobody questioned the future under Westminster rule. Nobody questioned the country’s resources wasted in unending slaughter overseas and unnecessary riling of its survivors against us, costing us even more in security and snooping surveillance. How much longer will this continue? No one compared the sleazy expense-scandal, cash-for-questions and cash-for-access-ridden parliament down there with the relatively clean one in Holyrood. Nobody questioned how long it would be until Britain reduced the deficit to zero. Life is miserable for a large section of the population now and it is worse the further north you travel. No one asked Better Together when this would improve.
    And you’re right again. What country in the 21st century requires any person to kneel at the feet of another to show loyalty to the State? And what country requires a citizen to sing the praises the monarch, asking to send him/her victorious (presumably in warfare)? Other anthems laud their fair land and worthy citizens. No citizen should stand inferior to any other in our country.

    1. Kenneth G Coutts says:

      I second that, It is all about being in their gang, once you do that yer lost.
      What it is saying comply or wither and die like democracy.
      We can all do our bit for Independence , however, if we have a political class that fails us then UDI
      might be another route and the cessation of the union from the ground up.

    2. TheBabelFish says:

      Don’t know where you were getting your information Gordon, but many of us were indeed questioning all of those things. You wouldn’t have seen much of it in the lapdog MSM of course, but if you’d been reading this august publication, or even my own humble blog, you’d have seen plenty of such questioning.

  8. Ray Bell says:

    I blame John Barrowman for everything.

    1. JBS says:

      You’ve forgotten about Eddie Izzard, then.

  9. Becky Smith says:

    “It’s not that a campaign based on hope beats fear, it’s that a movement that has ideas, vision and a future-focus will always overcome one based on the past.”

    A campaign only exists for one purpose – to win. How you do it is pretty irrelevant. What the SNP did (and there’s a distinction here between the SNP and your grassroots Yes supporter) from day one is hammer a line about negativity and scaremongering because they thought it gave them the best opportunity to win. There was ample ammunition to draw on – actual scaremongering – but that was besides the point. The aim in the SNP’s campaign was to create a climate in which every argument against independence was presented as defeatist, scaremongering propaganda that could safely be ignored.

    It was wildly successful as a strategy, just not successful enough to actually win the referendum. I lost count of how many people came out as Yes voters and when pressed on why offered a line about how “Better Together are so negative” – as if the tone of a political campaign somehow has the capacity to alter the merit of the concept of independence (which, of course, it doesn’t, at all). At the Yes campaign’s height, it almost became impossible to even ask a question about what independence might entail – the GERS figures were all hopelessly inaccurate lies, the currency union an article of faith, transition costs irrelevant, the end of inequality a given, EU membership a no-brainer, oil revenues a bonus.

    For a campaign about independence – and one allegedly possessing such great “ideas” and “vision” – the narrative was almost entirely preoccupied with how abhorrent the other side was. If you want to distill the campaign down to a nice image, you could do worse than look at Wings Over Scotland’s tag cloud: “misinformation”, “too wee, too poor, too stupid”, “project fear”, “britnats”, “flat out lies”, “hypocrisy”, “smears” – these were the words of the Yes campaign. It was less a campaign for independence and more a campaign against the BBC and Better Together. Media bias, of course, being the go to play for identity politics the world over: don’t listen to your opponents’ arguments, just claim they’re being brainwashed and don’t know what they’re saying.

    So yes, absolutely, Better Together trotted out the scaremongering. The “stay in” side will no doubt do the same thing in the EU referendum, and will be largely justified in doing so given the utter folly of leaving the EU. But let’s stop peddling romantic visions of Yes Scotland winning people over with grassroots campaigning and positive visions of the future. The Yes campaign won people over with a particularly brilliant brand of vicious, divisive, ad hominem, populist campaigning and smear tactics. That was the root of their success and it’s a world away from Jeremy Corbyn – an actual socialist who doesn’t do insults (as opposed to Salmond, a pseudo-socialist who does little else).

    1. Scott says:

      Interesting points about the media there. Corbyn and his supporters are in for a monstering that will make what Yes had to go through look like a pre season friendly. Will be interesting to see what you say about the BBC and other outlets once they go on full attack settings. The only way Jeremy will get an easy ride is if he fulfills his mission and gets those recalcitrant central belt voters back in the Labour fold.

  10. Blether says:

    It isn’t set in stone that we need to hold a referendum as the first step.

    One of the problems with last year’s was that it was to some extent – or could be made too easily to look like – a pig in a poke. As soon as Westminster said “we won’t pre-negotiate” we were campaigning for a vote on a bundle of unknowns. Europe, currency, pensions, defence… Bitter Together could kick up sand by the ton.

    When the time is right, I want to see an SNP manifesto that says, “vote for us and we will negotiate an independence package. Then hold a referendum to accept or reject it”.

    1. TheBabelFish says:

      I’m sure if we did that we’d be met with exactly the same response – a complete refusal to engage. There are however some things we could have done/could do next time. For example, on the issue of the currency union, instead of proposing it and looking like supplicants by continuing to insist the other side were bluffing (which they were of course, but we failed to call their bluff), my position would have been to say, “We will make the generous offer of a strictly temporary currency union, in order to enable YOU to get your economic house in order before we launch our own currency. However, the offer goes on the table as of 9am, Monday morning. It will remain there for exactly one working week. If you do not accept this generous offer by close of business on Friday, it comes off the table, and it does not go back on under any circumstances.” This would have the twin benefits of forcing pre-negotiations, and of demonstrating that such a currency union is far more in their interests than it is in ours. Now THAT’S how you negotiate.

  11. Mike Fenwick says:

    Excuse me if I ramble a bit, but there are shades of Waiting for Godot inherent in this.

    I start here – no Goverment as far as I know has any money of its own, the source(s) of its ability to spend anything comes from you and I personally, businesses etc.

    I ramble to here – even if that is not 100% correct, it is substantially correct – so if you and I do truly feel that there is something that the Government is getting wholly wrong, then what is it that prevents us from trying to rectify it, sure the bigger the problem, the harder the solution or perhaps the longer the duration for its resolution.

    In another thread on Bella, I put forward an idea – deaf ears largely so far, but not entirely. This is a poor summary. It had to do with housing and the environment, both current problems, and I suggested we each contribute £1.00, not a penny more, and if roughly 200,000 of us did so, then we could have a house which was not just carbon neutral, but able to produce electricity in excess of its own usage. The house that YES built!

    Yes we can? Or. No we can’t? Or, let’s just all wait?

    Total rubbish – you just cannot solve problems with a £1.00 – what you should do is elect local authorities, and Governments, and employ civil servants, and let them spend whatever money they require to run a housing shortage.

    OK – rant over, but my essential point is that there are many problems that we can identify, and within some of those problems, there will be solutions that we can also identify and which YES can implement without waiting for anyone to grant us permission.

    Today in The National, I extract this comment from the Gordon Wilson piece: “There has been little or no change in the levels of support for independence … The over-65 generation have not yet died off and they will still be looking for pension security.”

    Ye Gods … I am one of that generation – what does he want, that I make my booking in Switzerland so the rest of you can have a referendum?

    Nope … I would far rather (and my background is partly in this area) illustrate a way of completing altering the whole system of pensions, so that my grandchildren do not face the same hardships as many current pensioners do – particularly those who are female.

    But – nope, I have to wait until after the referendum apparently – why do any of us have to wait – why? If we believe that Scotland and its people can stand on its own – what is it we are waiting for? Do we have a deficiency of problems – just not enough to even try to identify and tackle?

    Mike Small knows I have chosen one specific project in mind which matches the way I am thinking – and sorry folks, I might fail in getting it off the ground – but at my age I ain’t waiting around to try and make my contribution – my age tells me I can’t afford to wait.

    It is long overdue, and whilst, yes, I accept we can talk the talk and need to – what on earth stops us from walk the walk as well?

    Exits stage left …. going for a lie down 😉

    1. Muscleguy says:

      The polls are quite stark. Every single generation below 55 is solidly Yes while those over 55 and especially over 65 are solidly No. Because you oldies are more numerous you used your votes in the referendum to deny the chosen future of the younger generations, those who build that future and inhabit it to them. A future many older people will not see.

      And a lot of you did so out of an utterly ill informed fear for your personal pensions. My mother in far NZ gets a British pension, a small one sure, but they sought her out and insisted she was entitled to it. You and your fellows think that uniquely in world countries with functioning banking systems (the only requirement for receipt of an earned British state pension) Scotland will be different.

      Sure you are entitled to vote and vote how you want. But on this one issue you are denying the young their birthright, acting like dogs in the manger of a newborn better Scotland. If you and your fellow older people cannot bring yourselves to vote Yes, then I would ask in all seriousness that you abstain to let the young decide their own future. I will be asking that on the doorsteps for that reason in all respect and seriousness in the next referendum.

      Meanwhile it is solid fact that older people die of old age. Thus your generation and its No majority is declining with every funeral, sad or releived. I wish you a continuing long and healthy life. But please consider my plea and pass it on as an idea.

      Abstain for the young. Let them decide their future.

      1. Mike Fenwick says:

        Hi Muscleguy …

        1) I hope nobody else interpreted my comments as you appear to have done.

        2) I voted Yes – I intend to vote Yes every time there is an opportunity – now you ask me to abstain from voting altogether – I hope you don’t mind if I intend to ignore your plea – sorry, it will remain Yes for as long as I live.

        3) That said, I do want to address some of the issues you raise – I will post those comments later.

        1. TheBabelFish says:

          Mike, I’m not into this generational blame game, which is obviously hurtful to the many older people who campaigned with us. I’m in the next down (45-55) demographic. I thought a great deal about independence when I was young and politically active, and came to the conclusion that it was the only way for us 30 years ago. But I have to say my dad arrived at the same conclusion some years earlier. I didn’t follow him, I had to work it out for myself, that’s how he taught me to think – critically.

          I think you’d agree though Mike that there was a problem of communication with older voters in general. There are those like yourself, who are online and so getting access to alternative information, and there’s another group who aren’t, but who have always been political and see through the propaganda anyway. Then there are the rest, like my mum, who gets all her information from the BBC. I had an uphill battle with her I can tell you. We need to find other ways of reaching those people. Rather than just wait for demographic drift to take its course.

        2. Mike Fenwick says:

          Herewith the additional comments:

          Mind the Gap!

          45% -v- 55% proved to be a gap that we will all instantly recognise, and the question for all of those who aspire to independence is 1) how to bridge that gap, and 2) at worst reverse those figures.

          Nicola Sturgeon has told us there will be another gap, between today and the holding of a second referendum – that gives us time. How best do we use it?

          I visit family in London, and on the tube I am frequently advised to mind the gap, for me it means heaving suitcases over that gap, for those with prams or wheelchairs the problems are more severe. It is a problem long deserving of a solution.

          Back home, I use my bus pass, and at each bus stop where I live, the pavement has been altered to increase its height, and as the bus itself lowers, those with prams or those using wheelchairs exit and enter with relative ease – a solution to a gap has been found.

          If we look at the group denoted as pensioners, there are also gaps – big ones. At one extreme we could find the Ex-CEO of a Bank who agreed to reduce his pension from around £700,000 a year to around £500,00 a year. At the other extreme fairly recent statistics show: “ … 80 per cent of men were getting the full basic state pension, compared to just 46 per cent of women.” and “ …”Forty-four per cent of women received between half and the full amount, while 10 per cent received less than half.”

          I could add to that gap by discussing the gaps that exist between pensioners from final salary schemes, private pensions, whether personal or occupational, or public sector schemes, my point however is that if you view pensioners, and thereby their attitude to independence, as homogeneous, you are most likely mistaken – and if you wish to encourage those pensioners who voted No to alter their position – any action has to be targeted. It would be those who rely solely on the State Pension.

          The Scottish Government issued a paper in September 2013 – “Pensions in an Independent Scotland” – it was 135 pages long, and addressed a huge range of issues, including the impact of what is known as “IORP”, an EU Directive that deals with cross border pensions. The Scottish Government had no option but to address the many issues involved – but targeted at those pensioners who might have been persuaded to vote Yes – it was most definitively not. Its volume and its complexity may actually have increased doubts, not dispelled them, and I suggest left those who may have changed their votes to question who they could trust.

          Could they trust the financial sector, the pension providers, and just forget the pensions mis-selling scandal? Or maybe the politicians, and forget Gordon Brown and his 75p increase. Nope, as TheBabelFish suggested their eventual vote was most likely determined by the MSM.

          However, maybe it is not just existing pensioners that lack trust. Yesterday, the current Government confessed that they had failed to properly explain the so-called new flat rate pension that is to operate from April next year, and that many who believed a new dawn was to arrive may be sorely disappointed.

          For me, the truth is that securing a living “pensioners” wage, which must be equal for males and females, is the real gap. And the gap is enormous.

          Currently, the whole state pension arrangements are unfunded – it is as close to a Ponzi scheme as can be imagined – and the increases in retirement age, the dependency ratios, and the burden that those of working age are asked to bear to meet the costs involved, as life expectancy increases – require radical transformation.

          In my original post, I mentioned that one of the projects on my agenda are suggestions as to how that transformation might be accomplished. One element is derived from “The House that Yes built” mentioned in my post.

          However, that is way in the future, for now:

          @ Muscleguy … I don’t know, but I am not sure that asking a pensioner who is convinced that independence will put at risk their self interest in what may be the vital and only income they depend on, to refrain from voting so that independence crystallises the very risk they fear, will work.

          Might I suggest an alternative. The parts of the Wee Blue Book which addressed the question of pensions were not 100% perfect, perhaps could be added to and updated, but they are an excellent basis upon which to start a conversation with those who have real (and yes as you correctly say – ill informed) fears over their pension. That is how I intend to proceed in the time we have.

      2. Doon the A701 says:

        “Every single generation below 55 is solidly Yes”

        Two questions: 1) Evidence?; 2) Define a single generation?

  12. thomaspotter2014 says:

    When the time is right we need to bypass having Westminster’s permission to become Independent.

    The last referendum we had was in itself an Establishment trap.

    SNP should have a manifesto that says-vote for us and that’s enough to start the process.

    No ifs,buts or maybe’s

    Any involvement by Westminster and I mean ANY would only invite corruption of a true run vote.

    Simples.

  13. Maquinon says:

    Given the election of ‘a socialist’ to lead Labour, I wonder if anyone here would happily forget the whole idea of independence should Corbyn win a majority in 2020 and actually make the kinds of changes he has won his mandate on.

    Surely this scenario would negate the necessity, would it not?

    I remain sceptical for many reasons, but if the end game were to be reached in the UK context, I would see no reason to become independent.

    1. TheBabelFish says:

      I disagree for two reasons – firstly I think the chances of any of that happening are astronomically remote. The Westminster power structure is terminally flawed and beyond reform. And secondly, I don’t think we are one country, certainly not one body politic, and staying would be extremely generous of us. Under any conceivable economic system we would be better off independent, and we’ve already subsidised them more than enough.

      1. Maquinon says:

        The question is conditional. What’s your answer in the event of the condition being met?

        1. TheBabelFish says:

          You mean if Jeremy Corbyn turns out to be the revolutionary leader we on the Scottish left have been waiting for since the birth of the labour movement? I’ve met him. He’s not. Nice, yes. Genuine, yes. But fundamentally he’s a well-meaning Guardian reader from Islington, the establishment will chew him up and spit him out, poor sod. It will be ugly. Let’s see if he makes it past Christmas before we get carried away, shall we?

          Bottom line though, as I said it’s my view that Scotland would be better off, under any economic circumstances, independent. The two economies, Scotland’s and England’s, are too different to be managed as one without serious detriment to one or the other. And given our relative sizes, that’s always going to be ours. And even if that wasn’t the case, there are plenty of other reasons for independence. My own include, but are not limited to, economic ones. I think we should be in control of our own defence and foreign policies for instance. We are a separate and distinct nation, one of the older ones in Europe in fact, independent for far longer than the Union has lasted. I think we should have the self-confidence we had 700 years ago to speak with our own voice to the world, and to take our destiny into our own hands rather too wait for a nice old bloke from Islington to come along and save us.

          1. Maquinon says:

            Who is this ‘we’ you speak of?

            What exactly makes the ‘revolutionary leader’ you’ve been waiting for?

            I don’t know what you mean by that, but, as I said, I mean if he makes the changes he won his mandate on. His ideas are well documented.

            Not everyone is getting carried away here. I’m not. I’m just asking a hypothetical question.

            OK, so you say you believe Scotland would be better off independent ‘under any economic circumstances’ – I disagree but fair enough.

            What makes Scotland and England’s economies so different they can’t be ‘managed as one without serious detriment to one or the other’?

            With defence and foreign policy, fine, I’m no fan of neither the current nor the historical UK record here.

            However, your version of history is different to what I understand. What makes you think we have anything in common with medieval Scotland? And what makes you think you know anything about the self-confidence ‘we’ had or didn’t have 700 years ago? That seems an absurd statement to me.

            I assume you’d quote the Declaration of Arbroath were I to argue we haven’t been a nation for however many hundred years you claim, at least not in everyone’s mind. I’d remind you though that that document was written by the elite of the day – what relevance did it have for those of the time who knew nothing of this ‘nation’ you speak of?

            One thing is for sure, any kind of ‘nation’ that did exist in medieval times bears little to no resemblance of anything like the modern nation state (which Scotland is not).

            Anyway, it’s a silly argument in my opinion. We should be talking about practical reasons rather than romantic notions of nationhood.

          2. TheBabelFish says:

            No, it’s not a silly argument, what’s a silly argument is this one of history as romance. It was much beloved by BT. They were very keen that we not discuss it. Ever wondered why that was? History is not romance, history is context. We ignore it at our peril. Also, in a previous life I’ve been a campaign strategist (in the trade union movement, in Australia), and one of the things I learnt was never to yield ground you don’t have to in a debate. Sure, we need practical, future oriented reasons, but I think we’re replete with them. We also need our sense of identity, and our continuity as a people. Without it we would not be having this conversation in the first place.

            So, one by one:

            “Who is this ‘we’ you speak of?”

            We the Scottish people. All of us who identify as Scots. It’s not an ethnic thing, we just know who we are. We might be refugees who just arrived, or we might be people like my daughter, born and brought up in Australia, didn’t go to Scotland till she was 16, but completely identifies as Scottish.

            “What exactly makes the ‘revolutionary leader’ you’ve been waiting for?”

            Well, somebody who at least fits that rudimentary definition. Now, if he’s anything like he was when I met him, which admittedly was a long time ago, then he might well be more of a revolutionary than people suspect, but a leader? He didn’t strike me as a leader. I met quite a few leaders that summer. Tony Benn, Arthur Scargill, among others. Jeremy was a nice guy, but he didn’t have that ‘je ne sais quoi.’

            “I don’t know what you mean by that, but, as I said, I mean if he makes the changes he won his mandate on. His ideas are well documented.”

            Never in a million years will that be allowed to happen. We are talking in the realms of the Flying Spaghetti Monster in improbability.

            “Not everyone is getting carried away here. I’m not. I’m just asking a hypothetical question.”

            An extremely hypothetical question. Which I answered anyway.

            “OK, so you say you believe Scotland would be better off independent ‘under any economic circumstances’ – I disagree but fair enough.”

            Well, I’ve got a background in economics and I’ve had 30 years to think about it. I’m pretty confident.

            “What makes Scotland and England’s economies so different they can’t be ‘managed as one without serious detriment to one or the other’?”

            This could be a long list. Let’s just start with the fact that they have structural deficits both fiscal and trade, we have had underlying surpluses in both for many years. Their pivot to financial services destroyed our manufacturing industry, and turned London into a City State that sucks the blood out of the rest of the economy. If you Think Jeremy Corbyn is going to fix all that, you’re dreaming.

            “With defence and foreign policy, fine, I’m no fan of neither the current nor the historical UK record here.”

            Go-od

            “However, your version of history is different to what I understand. What makes you think we have anything in common with medieval Scotland? And what makes you think you know anything about the self-confidence ‘we’ had or didn’t have 700 years ago? That seems an absurd statement to me.”

            All nations have changed a bit since the Middle Ages, the point is we have continuity, a shared sense of identity that stretches back unbroken since the historic alliance of the Picts and Scots over a millennium ago. I’ve lived amongst white Australians who can’t understand what it’s like to have that connection. It’s not healthy. And it’s something they can’t share with the indigenous people, which has been the cause of much trauma and suffering. But I can share it. I understand what it’s like to belong somewhere. If you don’t fell that, well, sorry?

            “I assume you’d quote the Declaration of Arbroath were I to argue we haven’t been a nation for however many hundred years you claim, at least not in everyone’s mind. I’d remind you though that that document was written by the elite of the day – what relevance did it have for those of the time who knew nothing of this ‘nation’ you speak of?”

            That document was written at the culmination of 30-odd years of popular insurrection. Everyone knew all about it, you could hardly have missed it. Obviously it was signed by the political leadership of the time, but it was signed on behalf of the ‘Community of the Realm,” and established the sovereignty of the people over the monarch, who occupied his position by, “…the due and lawful consent and assent of all of the people,” which is not a bad principle to apply to any leader, and it goes further, containing the world’s first example of a recall provision.I’d take it over Magna Carta any time.

            “One thing is for sure, any kind of ‘nation’ that did exist in medieval times bears little to no resemblance of anything like the modern nation state (which Scotland is not).”

            All nations evolve, but Scotland was an early example of a pre-modern nation state. If it’s not one today than that is something I intend to do my best to put right.

            “Anyway, it’s a silly argument in my opinion. We should be talking about practical reasons rather than romantic notions of nationhood.”

            Covered that in the first paragraph. I wrote a series of blogs in the lead up to the referendum, covering politics, economics, etc. This is the one about history:
            https://thebabelfishblog.wordpress.com/2014/06/24/the-hitchhikers-guide-to-scottish-independence-part-2-history/

          3. Maquinon says:

            So, like it or not, you’re an ethnic nationalist. It’s that notion of ethnicity that drives your desire to separate. This has zero to do with identity. I don’t need you nor any state telling me what my identity is. Actually, what is it? Now that we’re on the subject could you explain what your Scottish identity is?

            Your answer to who is ‘we’ pretty much sums up the ethnic nationalist in you. Again, I don’t need you speaking for me, and it would seem safe to say many others would think the same.

            The only history that really matters here is is recent history. You speak about context but how can you know that historical events haven’t been taken out of context by excited historians? You actually can’t. History should have nothing to do with this.

            Now, you still haven’t answered what constitutes the ‘revolutionary leader’ you crave. Is that some kind of Stalin figure, or perhaps you prefer Pol Pot? Either way you haven’t even begun to explain what you mean.

            If it is such a concrete fact that Corbyn’s policies won’t ever happen, what makes it so certain to happen in Scotland post independence?

            On economics: well you claim to have a lot of ‘background’ across the board so you must know for sure. Maybe you do have a good grasp of economics, it’s irrelevant though when you make emotive statements like “Scotland would be better off independent under any economic circumstances”.

            On our respective economies: where is the ‘long list’? You presented two ‘facts’ (as you put it), one of which is false.

            ‘Their pivot to financial services’ applies to Scotland as well, and we also have a similar share of GDP as financial services.

            Does the Scottish financial services sector have anything to do with ‘destroying manufacturing’?

            I’m well aware of the issues with the financialisation of economies. Given that the agenda comes from the supranational level, how would you see an independent Scotland standing up to the IMF?

            You seem to imply that although Corbyn has no chance of changing the economy*, Scotland somehow does. How does that work?

            *of course he needs to win a GE first so obviously this is very hypothetical

            I have to admit I’m struggling with the arrogance in the rest of your post. You have this idea that you know about the world in medieval times. You don’t. Vexation aside, your idea that ‘nations have changed a bit’ since medieval times was hilarious.

            The rest is just emotional rubbish.

          4. TheBabelFish says:

            “So, like it or not, you’re an ethnic nationalist. It’s that notion of ethnicity that drives your desire to separate.”

            Ok, let me stop you right there, you just gave yourself away. In two sentences. The use of the terms ‘ethnic nationalism’ and insistence on ‘separation’ rather than ‘independence’ are right out of the BTHQ playbook. You didn’t think we hadn’t noticed, did you? The BT online presence was relatively small in number but prolific in output, with all sorts of disruption tactics used. Now, as you state to John Page you are uninterested in persuasion, what is your purpose. It’s one with which we are familiar, known as ‘Distraction’ or ‘Running Interference.’ The point is to distract people whose time could be better employed, so you’ll forgive me if I don’t continue to respond to you here. I am unashamedly in the business of persuasion, so my views, including the answers to all of your questions
            and many, many more, are available in detail and in the public domain. You’ve found a link, and I really can’t be bothered repeating myself endlessly.

            “This has zero to do with identity. I don’t need you nor any state telling me what my identity is. Actually, what is it?”

            A telling question. I suggest you ask a psychologist. Or a sociologist. Or an anthropologist. Or possibly all three.

            “Now that we’re on the subject could you explain what your Scottish identity is?”

            To you? Probably not.

            “Your answer to who is ‘we’ pretty much sums up the ethnic nationalist in you. ”

            As I’ve already pointed out, it’s not an ethnic thing, and I’m not a nationalist, not in the sense that you mean it anyway. I would accept patriot, but I’m also an internationalist. I can be a more effective one in an independent Scotland, which happens to be my nation. As Jimmy Reid said, you need a nation to be an internationalist.

            “The only history that really matters here is is recent history. You speak about context but how can you know that historical events haven’t been taken out of context by excited historians? You actually can’t. History should have nothing to do with this. ”

            This is just utter nonsense. As I said, you people are desperate that we don’t talk about history. That is because, whether you look at the ancient OR the recent it doesn’t help your case at all. People make up their minds for all sorts of different reasons. It is not for you, or anyone, to say what should or shouldn’t have something to do with it. In other words, I reject your premise completely.

            As for the rest, it’s pretty much all covered in my ‘Hitchhikers’ series of blogs, but just one more thing in response to something else you said to John Post – “Seriously sir? you don’t like to have your views challenged?” Well, I don’t mind having my views challenged, but I’m not so keen on having my time wasted, and what’s really annoying is your complacent tendency to sneer at those who know more than you do. It’s really not an endearing quality. And if you think that sounds arrogant, then maybe you’re right because I really couldn’t care less.

          5. Maquinon says:

            Can I ask your views on the monarchy? Just looking for a general idea of whether you would prefer Scotland/UK to be a republic or not. I read your ‘history’ article by the way.

          6. TheBabelFish says:

            I am a republican, in both Scotland and Australia. It’ll be interesting to see who gets there first.

          7. Maquinon says:

            So why do you think that some ancient document from a galaxy far far away called the ‘Declaration of Arbroath’, written for the benefit of the king of the time and his mates is what we should use to base a Scottish constitution on? Can’t you see that (yes of course it’s extremely significant historically) any Scottish constitution should surely be written in a context pertaining to now?

            And don’t try to tell me it was all about the ‘community of the realm’. We’re never going to agree on that. ‘We the people’ is one of the biggest political cons in history!

          8. TheBabelFish says:

            It’s a bedrock document of our constitution now. As the Court of Session has confirmed. It would be a very simple matter to incorporate its important precepts into a modern constitution.

          9. Maquinon says:

            We don’t have a constitution. Scotland is not a nation state.

          10. TheBabelFish says:

            Course we do. An implied, ‘uncodified’ one. Just like England. High time we had a new, written one though.

          11. Maquinon says:

            Oh right I see. Well, it’s hard to argue with that. I’d like to know my constitutional rights, in that case. Could you point me towards this information please?

          12. TheBabelFish says:

            Google is your friend. 🙂 It’s not a secret.

          13. Maquinon says:

            Again you are just evading my questions. You’ve done that with many points I’ve tried to question. Post me a link. I mean I think you’re completely mistaken in any case, but go ahead and post me a link. I’m very open to being wrong and learning something new.

          14. TheBabelFish says:

            Here, this took me all of 20 or 30 seconds to find. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scots_law

          15. Maquinon says:

            Scots Law is not ‘the constitution’.

          16. Maquinon says:

            And on the subject of ethnic nationalism, aye that which so cruelly ‘exposed’ me as ‘straight out of BTHQ’, how can you reconcile

            “We the Scottish people. All of us who identify as Scots. It’s not an ethnic thing, we just know who we are.”

            with not being an ethnic nationalist?

            What about those who don’t identify themselves as ‘Scottish people’, yet choose to live here. Don’t they gain access to ‘our’ club?

          17. TheBabelFish says:

            “And on the subject of ethnic nationalism, aye that which so cruelly ‘exposed’ me as ‘straight out of BTHQ’, how can you reconcile

            “We the Scottish people. All of us who identify as Scots. It’s not an ethnic thing, we just know who we are.”

            with not being an ethnic nationalist?”

            How can you reconcile it with being one?

            “What about those who don’t identify themselves as ‘Scottish people’, yet choose to live here. Don’t they gain access to ‘our’ club?”

            Membership is voluntary, not compulsory. I’m a dual national. I have no problem with that, anyone who does can tell someone who cares.

          18. Maquinon says:

            Em, no I don’t ‘just know who we are’.

            So does one need to actually join the club then? Can’t one simply live in Scotland without identifying oneself as ‘Scottish’?

          19. TheBabelFish says:

            “Em, no I don’t ‘just know who we are’. ”

            Like I said, I’m not your psychologist.

            “So does one need to actually join the club then? Can’t one simply live in Scotland without identifying oneself as ‘Scottish’?”

            I suppose so. You could choose not to take out citizenship, we could have Permanent Residence visas like Australia. Hardly the most pressing issue though.

          20. Maquinon says:

            I think that’s twice now you’ve mentioned psychologists. Seems a bit ironic to me.

            It’s not at all pressing, but you are the one bringing up identity. Nobody said we can’t talk about history, but it has very little to do with why I voted yes.

            What do you think of the statement ‘States build nations, not vice versa’?

          21. TheBabelFish says:

            “I think that’s twice now you’ve mentioned psychologists. Seems a bit ironic to me. ”

            Well the lack of a sense of identity is a psychological problem, not a political one.

            “Nobody said we can’t talk about history (you did actually), but it has very little to do with why I voted yes. ”

            That may well be. People vote the way they do for different reasons. I try to cover them all. I read your article. You seemed to use ‘we’ a lot. I agreed with most of it though, I just have more reasons for supporting independence than you do it would seem. I’m wondering why the compulsion to play devil’s advocate? To pick over differences with people who essentially share your aims rather than using your writing ability to win over those who remain to be won over? Just curious.

          22. Maquinon says:

            I’m not playing devil’s advocate. I actually don’t agree with you on many things. My compulsion isn’t to pretend I disagree with people who ‘share my aims’; my compulsion is to call out bullshit when I see it. I think it is damaging to the aim of independence in general when we have people trying to argue on very questionable principles. I do realise though that I’m most likely in a tiny minority who doesn’t just blindly agree with all the people who ‘share my aims’.

            There is a big difference between your “the revolutionary leader we on the Scottish left have been waiting for” and whenever I used ‘we’. And this is kind of a good example of where I find you worst: it’s that you come across like you think you can speak on behalf of all who you decide is eligible to be in your group. The language you use makes you sound like a psycho dictator at times.

          23. TheBabelFish says:

            Right, I think we’ve got to a point of stupidity now where I’m out.

            Certainly, the impotent are pure (Whitlam).

            Goodnight.

          24. Maquinon says:

            OK, well evaded. Thanks for offering nothing here. Well played.

          25. TheBabelFish says:

            Oh and by the way, states don’t build nations, nations build states.

          26. Maquinon says:

            Could you offer an explanation rather than just an ‘oh no it isn’t’ type response?

          27. Maquinon says:

            I’m trying to read your history article and I have to say it is difficult as I cannot help myself hearing it in the voice of Absolutely’s McGlashan.

          28. TheBabelFish says:

            As I have absolutely no idea who that is I’ll have to ignore it. There are gaps in my pop culture knowledge, I’ve been away a bit. Worth it though for the sense of perspective it gives you.

        2. John Page says:

          Hi Maquinon
          Since this seems to be an evening for questions (hypothetical or otherwise) can you answer the following?
          1. Does adopting a sneering and unpleasant tone assist your efforts at persuasion?
          2. Given that this is a popular and well known pro Indy site, what are the chances of you persuading anyone who follows it to support the Union?
          3. Do you agree that it is quite creepy to appear here regularly under a string of pretentious pseudo names to repeatedly engage in the same controversy?
          Thank you
          John Page

          1. Maquinon says:

            Seriously sir? you don’t like to have your views challenged? I mean this is a place for indy fanatics only amirite? Therefore you hold much the same views or support in some way anything pro indy and just don’t try to challenge that eh?

            1. I’m uninterested in persuasion. I asked a simple question and one or two people seem to be pretty defensive about it.
            2. Well I’m sure that would be a very tough task indeed, if I were to attempt such a thing.
            3. Hmmm. I think that would depend upon what kind of controversy we’re talking here. I’m not sure about creepy. Creepy is one of those words I never quite have a concrete way of defining, but you kind of know it when you see it. I’d really need examples of this controversy to give you an opinion.
            Thank you,
            Maquinon

        3. John Page says:

          Maquinon

          1 and 2
          Thank you for the clarification that you have no interest in persuasion or hold any prospect of convincing any one to change their mind
          3 You ducked the issue of your creepiness with your usual appeal to defining terms. Why don’t you do an experiment? Explain to a work colleague how you approach this web site and show them your posts. Invite some objective feedback (you’ll love the attention, won’t you).

          All

          This person appears regularly on Bella and as he explains above is not interested in persuasion……he derives personal satisfaction from his regular tendentious posts under changing pseudonames. My suggestion is if you see a new name with an opening short “hook” post usually on a Friday evening then it might be an idea to give it a miss……with any luck he might decide to transfer the object of his narcissistic personality disorder to Trainspotting Monthly: “you’re nothing but narrow gauge group thinkers…….”

          John Page

          1. TheBabelFish says:

            Yes, I think you’ve nailed it there, and fair play to you, you called it first. I have opted to follow your sage (implied) advice and disengage.

          2. Maquinon says:

            AHAHHAAH wow this really is a hoot.

            1. I’m not here to ‘persuade’ anyone to think or do anything. It’s up to everyone else to decide what to do with information they read here. Again, I only asked a hypothetical question. That then brought to light some interesting viewpoints which I’d say warrant some scrutiny.
            2. I might actually find it creepy that you want to give me this attention. There’s an awful lot of judging going on here, and the judges appear to be high on damn dope again.
            3. You’re wrong. You’ve butted your stinking face into a discussion with nothing but accusations that are so far off the mark I shouldn’t really give you the time of day. But since you’ve gone to these lengths to expose this so called ‘creep’, I’ll expose myself for you. Here’s a link to something I wrote for Bella, with more or less all of my reasons for supporting independence. I’ve nothing to hide, and although it might be a laugh to fit myself into your little fantasy world, I already don’t like you so I won’t.

            https://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2014/02/10/whose-voice/

            If you are able to read, and, importantly, to comprehend, you’ll probably see that me and TheBabelFish kind of come at it from different angles. I don’t think there should be a problem in calling people out if you disagree with their arguments. I mean if you do think there’s a problem – and there clearly is around here with one or two psychos – it would be best not to post your comments for public scrutiny.

            So, if you have anything valuable to add to this particular discussion, then please do so. Otherwise gtf out of my face.

            I’m genuinely of the belief that a uk wide solution to social injustice is much more desirable than doing it only in the Scottish context. I mean it seems to me there are a fair few folk out there claiming to be ‘socialist’ or seeking social justice yet at the same time getting an absolute hard-on for a fucking flag. YOU WHAT? To me there’s nothing more stupid looking than someone ‘wearing’ a flag, but that’s just my opinion – others clearly think it’s fine.

            Of course those genuinely seeking a better deal for all of us should be pragmatic, so perhaps Scotland breaking away from the rUK would be the best way of forcing the dismantling of the british state, but that’s not the point here. All I want to ask is if a successful Corbynite Labour Party bringing about the changes he campaigned on would negate people’s desire for independence, and why/why not.

            I think that is a perfectly appropriate question. It’s not my fault some people get defensive about it and can’t clarify their own statements or back anything up.

    2. Muscleguy says:

      One swallow does not a summer make.

      So, Corbyn nationalises the railways as the franchises come due (and sees off the challenge to the EC) good and fine (so long as Scotrail gets owned by Holyrood, not Westminster). But what is to stop the next Tory government privatising them again?

      That is the problem I see with giving up independence for a Corbynite future. That Tory heartland in Britain is not going away like we have reduced it to here in Scotland. I’ll be making that point to switherers on the doorsteps etc next time.

      Some things can be set in stone but it takes solid setting in stone in the population so that no political party dares tinker. The NHS is clearly not that issue any more seeing what is being done to it in England. The only issue I can think of is New Zealand’s nuclear free status. A succession of Tory governments has not touched it. A couple of kites were flown but they got shot down in flames so quickly no more was heard.

      If anyone thinks Corbyn can remake Britain that solidly, they are dreaming.

    3. Alan McMillan says:

      I’ll just forget everything I have ever stood for and believed in because of the non existent chance Corbyn will become pm for a English votes for English mps parliament in London?

      Sounds like a great idea, where do I sign up?

  14. Wul says:

    A good article, thank you.

    For me, a key message is: …”But we shouldn’t wait until the ‘next moment’ is here but begin to build the institutions, structures and projects that make the case for self-determination not in some vague abstract sense but in real-life experience today.”

    We need to create as many opportunities for ordinary folk to experience success in making their communities better places.
    Any community activity will do. Once a person has experienced the reality of: “We started with a problem; a patch of waste ground, a need, an idea, a mess, a daft idea and we worked together to make it a success”, then they will know, inside their heart, that all worthwhile progress starts with those very same feelings of anxiety that led so many folk to vote “No” .

    I think its no coincidence that so many “creative” people I met during the indyref were wholeheartedly “Yes”. They knew from experience that every big project starts with a bit of a mess, confusion, disagreements, changes of plan, fear etc, but that these feelings are no barrier at all to success once they are mastered.

    1. John Page says:

      A great post…….I think a good example of this is the effectiveness of Women for Indy groups

      John Page

  15. Scott says:

    ‘Sir’ Tom Hunter says you’ve had your cereal and it’s time to move on. Although what makes Tom’s opinion, for that is all it is, more worthy than mine or any other person is as yet unclear.

    1. JBS says:

      Scott:

      The press publish his greets because he’s rich.

      Take Michelle Mone. The press publish her greets, too. People who read her greets realise that’s what they are, but then they catch themselves and think: “Hang on. She’s rich. How can she be wrong if she’s rich?”, and so Mone’s idiocies gain traction, and people who were lately reasonable human beings are transformed into gullible idiots.

      Of course, you may be rich yourself. I think most wealthy people avoid the limelight, but if you are wealthy and you don’t mind going public then maybe the press will publish your views, too.

      If you’re not rich, though, you don’t count.

  16. TheBabelFish says:

    There’s something important I’d like to flag up (and I will be writing an article on this shortly) which just wasn’t discussed much at all, other than by legal and constitutional nerds. It is the issue of the legal status of the two entities which would emerge from the dissolution of the Union. The ‘No’ side didn’t want people to understand this, and the ‘Yes’ side apparently didn’t trust that the people were capable of understanding it. However it has an absolutely crucial bearing on many other issues which were (inadequately) discussed, such as currency, the national debt and EU membership.

    We need to explain (well, I need to explain, and I hope the Bella editors will consider publishing my explanation) the options – continuator states, successor states and new states – and the relevant international law (the Vienna Convention) and precedents (the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia) which govern these matters. It was Westminster’s position that we would be a new state for all purposes EXCEPT that of liability for the UK’s national debt, a nonsensical position. Alex Salmond said that if there was no currency union we would take no share of that debt, but he didn’t explain why – that a new state, by definition, has no debt – and so our opponents were able to cry foul, and say that he was threatening a ‘default.’ They were able to get away with that characterisation because of his lack of proper explanation. I believe people are perfectly capable of understanding this if it is explained properly, and I will take on the task of that explanation so they won’t be able to get away with it again.

    1. John Page says:

      I look forward to seeing your expanded thinking
      John Page

      1. TheBabelFish says:

        Thank you, it’ll be on thebabelfishblog.wordpress.com, and hopefully dome other places (hint, hint Eds), but I have a couple of other things to finish first. No rest for the wicked. 🙂

        1. TheBabelFish says:

          *some* d’oh!

  17. Broadbield says:

    A good article. One or two replies illustrate the truism of 20:20 hindsight. Yes, there were problems of presentation, argument and explanation but as AS has said to move from a low base to such a close result was an enormous achievement. And why trash people like Salmond? does anyone imagine that without him we would have got anywhere near?

    Let’s learn the correct lessons and move forward with a positive attitude and not diminish the achievement, so that we are better prepared for the next time.

  18. James Dow A voice from the diaspora says:

    Maquinon There are three occupying groups in Scotland. The archetypal Scot, the hybrid Scot, and the others. The archetypal Scot is in diminishing numbers due to hundreds of years of emigration. Scotland’s once deep and wide gene pool reduced to scattered puddles, her warrior son’s and daughter’s gone over the waters to build other great nations, all at great loss to their ancient homeland.
    Being a Scot is just that, a state of being that anyone off the blood would understand.

  19. john young says:

    My cocaine left/right in between it makes no difference most are pushing an “agenda” resulting in nothing being done,firstly we have to gain independence it should be a given tho, not in Scotland where you have and had a very hard core that no matter what are subservient,you cannot discuss/argue the point they just “blank” you.In the event of us gaining independence we should elect men/women of proven calibre of vision/innovation all major decisions taken should be out in the open and made only for the benefit of all of the people,we can make a start by bringing the utilities back into public ownership whereby we can make it easier on business therefore helping them to stability and hopefully employing more people,anyone that can bring an easier more affordable housing policy would be onto a winner for starters,to saddle people with lifelong debt is inmo criminal.

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