2007 - 2022

The Road (To Indy) Goes On Forever, And The Party Never Ends

SNP conference 2013I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you know that sick feeling in your stomach and the sensation that someone is tightening a band of metal around your skull by turns of a screw? Well, it’s not a residual Hogmanay hangover prolonged by the depths of winter – if only we could be so lucky. No, my friends, that is the nauseous, low-grade ache of an election year upon us, just like the one that just ended. And before 2015, there was the year of the referendum, or really we should say two years. For another year of Scotland’s seemingly unsolvable political destiny keeps pushing to the fore, demanding to be decided, yet Scotland is no closer to a resolution. It is doubtful that the Holyrood elections of 2016 will improve the situation.

This is not because people won’t get out and vote. It’s not because the Scottish National Party will somehow lose their majority, which seems unlikely. It is that the sole vehicle for solving Scotland’s political destiny is in the hands of a party that can’t do very much about it. This inability is a reflection not of the tied hands of the Scottish Parliament with regard to its powers within the UK, but more specifically of the relative lack of will of the SNP itself. That lack of will is a product of decades of developments in Scottish society which have been heavily concentrated in these last few politics-heavy years. The SNP is both where it is and completely hampered as a political force by how completely Scottish society has become politicized.

Let us recognize that modern politics of any shape or ideology has a tendency towards totalization. Everything that can be expressed in political terms, must be. The very binary Left-Right struggle tends to exacerbate this. The Right wants to claim some sort of moral high ground by putting limits on the totalizing power of state, usually over the individual or private concerns, yet it simultaneously allows the market to totalize (certainly a political act, if only by omission). On the other hand, the Left tends to be less subtle and tries to use politics to cut out the totalizing power of the market altogether. But the Left cannot avoid the totalizing nature of attempting to permanently maintain the requisite political power that will forever keep the volatility and growth of a modern, global market in check. Each of these very conventional ideologies wants to offer a complete answer to the problems of the present. Their solutions must be rationalized as ironclad, which means that only they can be trusted with power — that is to say, nothing in human life is, nor should be, beyond their reach.

Not every can be expressed in political terms, though. One’s community, family, religion, language, trade — these things and more are not inherently political. They are merely things that people do in life together, things that shape a society and which help develop healthy relationship between society and the political sphere. But these constituent parts of society have eroded considerably in Scotland — going into their decline is beyond the scope of this essay, but it suffices to say that the complete politicization of everything has led, in a push-pull manner, to their decline. Politics (or the market, which is politics by other means) wants to absorb them completely into its sphere and, given the opportunity, it does. These constituent parts wither further as the autonomy is lost to the demands of politics, thereby justifying the need for politics to further supplant them in order to prop up society.

Scotland today cannot function without that political glue, and the form it takes is in The Party. Once upon a time, The Party was Labour; now it’s the SNP. The Party is an organized means of resistance to an external political status quo, but it also provides a center of allegiance and guidance within Scottish society as a whole.

This creates a lot of problems for the SNP. Before their post-referendum ascendancy, the Nationalists could be content to be the underdog and offer up bold assertions about the potential of Scotland, even if they do so imperfectly. But not now. In their success, they must perform the role of The Party, if only for the sake of Scotland, or the survival of some sort of idea of Scotland that lives on in the political imagination.

“The solidity of institutions is built on the failure of prophecy,” said the philosopher Jean Baudrillard. This was true of Labour and it is true for the SNP. Political parties believe that without them, a given idea or set of principles will fail and disappear for good. The country would be worse off without these fervently believed principles, and thus The Party must survive, and this is always means the next election. Yet in order to make it to the election, any number of compromises must be made. They will not compromise the core principle — in this case, independence — but when the other principles are neglected, the legitimacy of that core principle is undermined and can more easily be called into question as a matter of sincerity. The only remaining option is to turn that principle into a chanted slogan — for Labour, it was probably ‘public ownership’ for long time, and now for the SNP it’s ‘independence.’ Hearing it enough gives such a slogan a measure of solidity and reinforces the adherence of The Party to that slogan. It also prevents them from backtracking from it, lest they show a lack of confidence in their tenets and bolt the horses before the ever-looming elections.

This creates a lot of problems for the SNP. Before their post-referendum ascendancy, the Nationalists could be content to be the underdog and offer up bold assertions about the potential of Scotland, even if they do so imperfectly. But not now. In their success, they must perform the role of The Party, if only for the sake of Scotland, or the survival of some sort of idea of Scotland that lives on in the political imagination.

This breeds institutional complacency and that trait in the SNP is no more dangerous than at this very moment. The Guardian reported in December about the Tories’ plans to solidify their electoral grip on the UK. State funding for opposition parties has been cut, EVEL passed, Labour’s financial support undermined indirectly via the trade unions bill, a new system of voter registration introduced, and there have been proposals to cut the number of MPs and redraw constituency boundaries, which is expected to favor the Conservatives. The opposition parties make noises off, but with the Tories holding an outright majority at Westminster, there isn’t much they can do. This is the nature of a unitary state without a written constitution or significant separation of powers: the guys who are in power get to make the laws and they make laws that ensure they stay there. It won’t matter if the SNP gets it mojo back in the future, armed with sounder and more forthright policies for actual independence. If the Tories have turned the UK into a one-party state, they won’t give Scotland a referendum.

No second referendum — unless the Scottish Parliament takes that prerogative, and more, for itself. Remember that Westminster has the powers of a parliament because it staked its claim for them against the monarchy all those centuries ago, and time after time fought for more and more. The Parliament was not then, nor was it for a long time, democratic or representative by any contemporary definition. But it did balance the power between competing ruling factions. Formal political organisms gain more power through the exercise of power. At the moment, the Scottish Parliament is the only political organism within the UK that has significant powers combined with the public will, in the shape of the SNP, to use them and potentially stretch them to see how far they can go.

This is what the statesman and political theorist John C. Calhoun posited as the “concurrent majority.” It is when a minority utilizes formal political organisms and mechanisms to resist the imposition of majority rule that is oppressive to the minority. By claiming rights and powers as its own through the use of the legal force of established political institutions, a minority community may establish a greater degree of supremacy and autonomy over the territory within its jurisdiction in a practical sense and, furthermore, force a compromise with the political authority imposing oppression.

If the SNP, with a majority in the Scottish Parliament, were to take this to heart, the benefits to Scotland would be enormous. First of all, challenging Westminster on all fronts, including reserved powers, and effectively vetoing the enforcement of their diktats within Scotland would mean that Westminster would be forced to compromise, in which case Scotland has gained powers it never would have. If Westminster utilizes naked force to prevent this, then all the Scottish Parliament has done, as a political organism, is strengthen its own hand as the voice of the Scottish people, lay claim to powers it feels it should rightfully have, and demonstrate that it is the incorrigible and uncompromising attitude of Westminster that creates conflict and denies the people the rights and powers they seek. Even if those rights and powers only exist in absentia, they are powerful images that would not have existed nor could be articulated as formal demands had the Scottish Parliament not asserted them in the first place.

There is little to nothing to lose, though the SNP may not see it that way. Nicola Sturgeon may be concerned with keeping the SNP’s majority at Holyrood until 2021, so that they may vote in favor of a second referendum in the wake of a Brexit or whatever “trigger” one cares to pick. But it will do little good if the Tories stay in government again in 2020. The electoral system for Westminster favors them doing so — the divided nature of Holyrood representation works against the SNP for them returning for a fourth consecutive government in 2021, especially if they chant on and on about independence but do not have completed, concrete plans for either that or the contingency of devo-max, waiting in full public view, ready for the opportunity. The SNP has, after the elections in May, five good years to start hammering away at the UK’s actual powers over Scotland. The Scottish Parliament in their control will have to do things on their own, without permission. They will have to mire the UK state in perpetual, endless legal wrangling over the nature of powers. They will have to make Westminster’s hassle of continuing to hold onto Scotland greater than the pleasure gained from ruling it, costing the UK something at every turn.

All well and good, but we can hardly expect The Party to do something so radical. After all, The Party is an institution, unconsciously inclined toward its own self-perpetuation, whatever its professed principles. And it does not necessarily need to worry about this reproduction of its own image too much, as people will continue to flock to it. The Party gives shelter, it gives badges, it gives talking points, it points out the opponents of Scotland, and it can do this because it is the sine qua non of Scottish society today.

But what if The Party was not? What if its very existence as an institution was threatened, and not by the loss of an election? What if it was not from defection to one of the other political parties (as if they could do any better), but rather because Scots decided that they did not need The Party as their source of all hope, meaning, and organization? Imagine Scots rejecting the politicization of their society, which has reached such a complete form, and instead began to rebuild the vibrancy of those constituent parts of society, declaring their own independence from the totalizing effect of political rhetoric. What else is this, but the concurrent majority? To renew organisms and mechanisms for Scottish life in general, which brings benefits of its own, but also provides a way for Scots to claw back some of themselves from the political world and force it to compromise in a way that suits them. Give us real representation, Scots can say, give us real independence with a workable government, or else we’ll ignore your justification for how things are. We’ll let you go and we won’t take you back. So listen, and listen well.

What does independence mean in 2016? Perhaps it means a vote for the SNP – whenever the day comes, fine, let it be so. But on all the other days before and after, let it be an independence at home; in your neighbourhood; at work; with friends; at church; wherever you have to make life with other people. Carve out your collective mental independence first, and then let that extend to society as a whole. Work to reestablish an actual relationship between society and politics, and do not tolerate the substitution of the latter for the former. Right now it may seem like the road to independence goes on forever and The Party never ends. But if some sense of Scotland without MPs and MSPs and political pundits and endless campaigning and desperate activism appears, then we will know it is working. And just maybe the end of that long road will come into view and The Party will one day be less a monolith adorned with red or yellow rosettes and more a monument to this strange and amazing moment in Scotland. But there’s work to be done, and the year has already started. So get that leftover Hogmanay bottle down off the shelf and pour yourself a dram, in the bracing hope that this year may not be like the last few.

Comments (37)

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  1. john young says:

    We keep banging on about the financial realities,well there is no financial reality,it is completely out of our hands right/left/centre,the moneyshakers hold and have held all the aces from the time of Jesus and the temple,more heartache on the horizon in this field I,m afraid.I haven,t got a clue as to how junk bonds/derivitives work but know that they do not or ever will benefit the 99%.I do not know if any of us have the bottle to try to change from the patently failed model of capitalism to something better ,we seem to be stuck in a quagmire,there just has to be something better out there,what is it?.When you see the leader of the free world USA $20trillion in debt doesn,t that tell you that something isn,t working.Watch the RT news and the excellent Keiser/Stacy Herbert on the financial shenenigans,the bits you can follow will blow you away.

    1. Paul says:

      Hi John, I too watch RT and the KR among many other good quality pieces prepared by RT, and I have come to the conclusion that Scottish independence may be borne out of economic collapse rather than the SNP’s view that their would need to be a significant change to the current ‘stable’ system. I despair sometimes at the SNP’s unwillingness to either discuss or point out the current instability of global finance, including the UK’s debt position and where this is taking all of us. I just hope that the SNP and their council of economic advisors are paying close attention and are making plans accordingly. However I’m not holding my breath as the SNP appear to be firmly welded to neoliberalism and the certain disaster(s) that are almost certainly about to unfold either this year or certainly before 2020, including the possibility of global war.

  2. Alf Baird says:

    “challenging Westminster on all fronts, including reserved powers”

    This is precisely how most if not all former British ‘dominions’ and colonies ultimately achieved their independence. It would require an Independence Act at Holyrood, with the latter effectively assuming reserved powers. History tells us that in such situations Westminister has generally reciprocated with a similar Act. Their alternative would be to force a Governor General on Scotland, which is more or less what David Mundell is anyway (i.e. the self proclaimed ‘UK Government for Scotland’), albeit with a devolved Scottish Government presently going through the motions, that reality is not quite so evident just now. In the past this would at times be combined with imprisonment of nationalist leaders. But imposition of a Governor General would not go down well in Scotland (it would prove beyond doubt Scotland is merely a colony, a possession of another state), far less internationally (viewed as the desperate last breaths of a disliked and discredited ex British Empire), and would itself hasten independence so would be self defeating. Imprisonment of nationalist leaders here today is unthinkable, though not impossible considering some of the things our far right Tory rulers get up to. Either way independence is inevitable once an elected Holyrood majority, reflecting the democratic wishes of the people, exerts its own authority over so-called reserved powers.

    1. Alex Buchan says:

      None of that makes any sense unless Scotland had already changed substantially making independence virually inevitable. That would require the present set up of the Scottish Parliament where the media can portray the SNP as just one independence party against three unionist parties to change totally to a situation where most or all of the parties in the Scottish Parliament are pro indy parties. How many Former colony’s ever gained independence from Britain where the majority of parties in their parliaments supported continuing integration with the UK: answer none.

      1. Alf Baird says:

        The number of parties in a parliament is not important, nor is the media. What matters is the number of elected members of the parliament who are willing to vote for an independence bill, and of course whether the governing party will introduce such a bill and assume the powers to do so. That is more or less what other ex colonies have done/had to do.

        1. Alex Buchan says:

          The background to such a vote is only thing that matters period.

          1. Alf Baird says:

            The SNP could draft an independence bill and ask the Scottish people to support it at May’s election.

          2. Jeff says:

            And the media would do what? Help them along?

  3. George Gunn says:

    Like Troop I, too, am getting fed up with the SNP and the dance of reserved powers and the false trams of tax collecting. But every thing is political and that is as it should be: politics is about humanity. We, currently, are being bled white by a bunch of vampires. We need to begin to act now to build our nation. These recent storms have shown us, yet again, how vulnerable we are and that very little, structurally, in Scotland is fit for purpose. We can do better than this. We have to or the future is going to be even more cruel than the past.

    1. muttley79 says:

      But every thing is political and that is as it should be: politics is about humanity. We, currently, are being bled white by a bunch of vampires. We need to begin to act now to build our nation. These recent storms have shown us, yet again, how vulnerable we are and that very little, structurally, in Scotland is fit for purpose. We can do better than this. We have to or the future is going to be even more cruel than the past.

      Interesting comments George, particularly the bit I have highlighted. It struck a cord with me. Have you any ideas on how we can improve things?

    2. Fiona Sinclair says:

      I agree – beautifully put. Given imagination and creativity (something the North British establishment are no noted for), there is a lot that we could do in Scotland to improve life for most – the only losers should be the rich, particularly land `owners`.

  4. Alex Buchan says:

    This starts off well up to the para starting “There is little or nothing to lose… Then it loses its edge in waffly stuff about the individual and society and Hogmanay and hangovers.

    That’s a pity because the ending undermined the clarity of the earlier part where some very important points are raised.

    Brenegar is right about a lot: the Tories are intent on changing the British State and a second referendum WILL never be granted. In fact the only reason that the last referendum was granted was because polling suggested only about a third of the electorate supported independence. The changed circumstance Sturgeon has defined as triggering a second referendum is exactly the same circumstance that would prevent it ever from being granted: that is polling evidence indicating that it could be won. That’s the hard fact few seem keen on addressing. At least this article starts to grapple with that reality.

    But a more straightforward prescription for the dealing with this dilemma is given by weegingerdug in the pity slogan: Phase one) we get the unionist parties out of Scotland. Phase two) we get Scotland out of the union.

    The solution to the issue of ‘The Party’ that Brenegar identifies is to build a pluralist independence political culture separate from the UK political culture. This has already begun but needs to go much further. That means having a variety of non-unionist political parties and various non-affiliated but clearly pro-indy campaigns, like Radical Independence, Women for Independence etc as well as a vibrant alternative media. The focus in the near to medium future needs to be the de-unionistisation of Scottish political and public life.

    Regardless of the SNP’s political hegemony, there is still a unionist hegemony in Scottish public life. This has an effect on everything including the SNP itself.

    Scotland is still shaped by unionism and that is what has to change. In that light we need more discussion on RISE: it’s strengths and weaknesses as well as on the Scottish Green Party and on what other parties could emerge.

    The splitting the vote argument is short sighted because ultimately the SNP is powerless in its ability to secure independence unless Scottish society outside of the SNP has been won over from unionism. It also misses the point that the whole point of having a plurality of indy parties is to do away with the presence of unionist parties in Scotland. The ‘don’t split the vote’ argument is linked to a misguided idea that nothing much needs to change this side of independence. In fact, the opposite is true: independence won’t ever happen unless Scotland changes radically from where it is today and that can be boiled down to one sentence: Scotland needs to cast off unionism and the unionist informed mind set that presently permeates the whole of Scottish society.

    More than thirty years ago Tom Nairn said Scotland will never become independent until the last Church of Scotland minister was strangled by the last copy of the Sunday Post. Nairn put his finger on the dilemma of Scottish independence: how do you get a society so bogged down in post reformation unionism with all that entails to ever make the effort necessary to fight for independence?

    But that means a more serious and critical look at all the non SNP yes parties because they are also capable of doing damage to the cause of independence if not subjected to the same scrutiny as the SNP.

  5. Brian Powell says:

    The alternative to the SNP is a lot people talking as they have always done, and then doing fuck all.

    1. Brian Powell says:

      We know this because when the opportunity came to be rid of the House of Lords, the corruption that we know is the centre of the Westminster establishment, but take a different approach to how our society works, Labour said No.
      They not only said no to Independence, they then threw their No vote away by not pushing as hard as they could for the maximum powers for Scotland.
      They preferred business as usual, which entails a lot of not doing much, other than tinkering.
      a simple example is re-nationalising the transport system. It is talked about again and again.
      The Dutch didn’t privatise their rail system, but spent 11 years creating an integrated transport system. They did it.
      A German can buy a ticket at a fraction of the cost of a UK ticket, get on any train at any time of the day and it is valid. They did it.
      Labour went along with privatisation, then talked for 20 years.

  6. 1314 says:

    Blindingly obvious – gaining independence always required more than the SNP.

    If the the various movements Common Weal,RIC, women/business/artists/academics/lawyers/farmers for independence had started years ago instead of waiting for an imminent referendum, we would be home and dry.

    So let’s be grateful – the SNP have gone from strength to strength, we have other political parties supporting independence, even members of a unionist party openly declaring their YES vote –

    AND, instead of collapsing after the vote, some strongly continuing movements and social media sites.

    Here’s a suggestion. There are lot of people out there looking for something ‘meaningful’ to do – some who have joined a political party but find they are constrained by the, albeit necessary, formality of a party structure. For the election in May those looking for something to do could engage in a campaign which would not advocate a vote for a particular political party but would simply provide information about the UK state and the decisions we could make as an independent country which, at present, are denied to us. The idea being that we increase the number of votes for independence parties but leave voters to decide which one for themselves. This would free such activists from having play one independence party off against the others – i.e. a movement with one aim.

    If anybody would care to discuss such an approach feel free to get in touch via BELLA (providing that’s OK with BELLA, of course).

    1. Alex Buchan says:

      That’s an interesting idea. One of the frustrations I’ve had is that groups like RIC and Common Weal have not had a focus on indy since the referendum, at least not locally here in Aberdeen. In fact, many people dropped out of C.W. early on in Aberdeen when those who set it up went out of their way to say that C.W. was not explicitly pro-independence (this argument rumbled on as an issue for some time afterwards, the argument given was that indy was contentious and excluded folk who wanted change but not indy). So I think there is a need for a non-aligned campaigning group focussed on independence. It would be useful I think to discuss what that could be openly on pages like these as well as people getting together to discuss it.

      The kind of thing you describe as being possible is what I think the indy parties should be doing and I’ve been disappointed to see little evidence of this as it specifically applies to what being in the union means and what could be achieved if we weren’t. Perhaps the nature of electoral politics makes this difficult, but the lack of it leads to an atmosphere where the public perceive only negativity and this only strengthens the unionism long term and perpetuates the life of unionist parties when I believe our aim should be to replace unionist politics and parties with a diverse pro-independence political culture.

  7. kimberley says:

    Interesting article – I enjoyed it – not sure if the author checks the comments but if so it would be great to have more clarity on what you mean here: “First of all, challenging Westminster on all fronts, including reserved powers, and effectively vetoing the enforcement of their diktats within Scotland would mean that Westminster would be forced to compromise,”; just in terms of some examples of exactly how the SNP could refuse to enforce Westminster legislation. I like the idea but no idea how they can do this except when it comes to things like public consultations – such as running a second indyref for example….

    1. Troop Brenegar says:

      Hi Kimberley,

      I think a case like the bedroom tax would be a good example. It was offensive enough to generate significant negative opinion that would justify acting to nullify it, that is, do not enforce it within Scotland. Depending upon what authority actually collects the tax (I’m not familiar with this enough to know), this would have varying degrees of enforceability, but a step in the right direction. Another case would be the powers under the 2012 Scotland act to enact new taxes, subject to agreement by the UK government. Going ahead with a popular or effective tax change whether Westminster agreed or not would be another case of Holyrood claiming powers for itself.

      Of course, it does not have to be an all-or-nothing approach. In the case of the tax scheme, Holyrood could grab as much as it could, get threatened by Westminster, and then offer a compromise. It wouldn’t be full fiscal autonomy, it might be quite small, but it would be more than before. Incrementalism works — there wouldn’t have been a referendum without the half-way step of a Scottish Parliament to deliver it. The problem is that people don’t have the patience for gradual expansion of autonomy when grand promises are the default position. People need measurable progress if those in power are going to justify their position there.

      All this depends on enforceability, though. Who actually, at the sharp end of the spear, is enforcing laws and collecting tax in Scotland? That probably varies greatly, so there are huge practical considerations that have to leaven our expectations of success.

  8. Frank says:

    The great thing about the social movements – RIC, WFI, spring to mind, was that they sprang up spontaneously. My problem with them now is that without a referendum they ossify, become bureaucratic and turned into vehicles for a minority of insiders to push their own agendas and further their own careers.

    1. Alex Buchan says:

      Can’t speak for the others but that’s definitely doesn’t apply to RIC. RIC has largely gone back to an umbrella group for those pro-indy people who campaign on lots of issues. Many were campaigners before the indyref so it’s not surprising that that’s what people have shifted their efforts into. I’ve no beef with that, especially as there isn’t a focus just now for a non-aligned pro-indy group like RIC to campaign on indy. The experience of RIC has been that after the indyref many who weren’t campaigners before have tended to drop off, myself included to a large extent, others have got involved in the SNP, RISE and Sgp. I was interested in the suggestion that there’s room for a non-party political group purely devoted to propagating indy, but I’m not sure what form that could take and not sure how that could be an organisation with a wide base.

  9. john young says:

    Alex my hope would be that there was a big uptake in non political idealists,that way their would be a group a big group of people that were not hidebound by party political agendas,were free to think and act on ideas/dreams/initiatives,for me we have to break the mould yes the political mould as almost all politicians fall into “it,s the beast you know” trap.I urge readers to watch Keiser/Herbert on RT news you will not grasp most of it you are not meant to,but what you do grasp will let you understand that whether there is Independence or not we mean nothing and are purely “pawns in a game”.

    1. Alex Buchan says:

      Hi John. Thanks for the tip off re Keiser/Herbert. I’ve no doubt that we’re pawns. Even something as deadly as ISIS are pawns used by the US and other states to bring about their plans for the radical reorganisation of the ME, so I’ve no illusion re Scotland. I would also hope that there would be a big uptake of people, but my experience of RIC and Common Weal is that the devil is in the detail in terms of how to harness that so that people can realise the change they want instead of dropping off after an initial bust of enthuiasm. I’m still of the opinion that independence is the only way to begin to build the kind of Scotland I would like to see, even though the choices open to counties are becoming ever more limited by the forces of globalisation.

  10. john young says:

    You are correct inmo Alex,I vote SNP only as a road hopefully to independence,I have absolutely no faith in any or all political parties,I had one foray into political involvement with the then SSP but soon became very dis-illusioned a lot of big egos in there.It is difficult to-day to get people involved and prepared to give up their time on a long term basis,as soon as the event is over there is a drying up of information/connectivity how can this be addressed? maybe through leafletting regularly giving out how we see the road ahead for Scotland outlining an alternative to the obviously failed capitalist society,maybe through trying to garner the involvement of the 15+ group,that for me should be a key target.If you want some close to the ballgame information about the shenanigans of the USA/GB go to a site called “Veterans To-day” you will get some eye opening stories of what is going on in the Middle East/Ukraine,really really scary that there are so many psycopaths on positions of power in the West with UK well to the fore,how little the electorate know would/should it make any difference I doubt it as a lot of people choose to remain blissfully ignorant.

  11. Punklin says:

    As an active and,I hope, thoughtful and critical snp member, I’m afraid I simply don’t understand what this article means.

  12. GPK says:

    Excellent article! My thanks.

  13. James Barr Gardner says:

    You can talk to the cows come home but common sense will prevail in the end, you can either have the English Tory Party persecuting the disadvantaged for the next 30 plus years or you can vote for a free democratic Scotland. For me it’s pretty blindly obvious! Vote SNP X 2 get Independence and then realign Scotland to ensure that no one is disadvantaged.

  14. Gordon Benton says:

    I have read through the interesting article, and the comments. Independence means to all of us the future, the dreams – so many dreams, on health, good education opportunities, decent pensions, care, natural resources, the environment and renewable energy policies, investment and jobs … on and on. Briefly, very little of the issues that we in Scotland want addressed can be solved in the term of one election. The reality of independence for Scotland to me is what we have in mind for the long term. What kind of country do can we expect to have when we get Independence – for the young and old, the landed and the landless, for our men and women?

    Politicians perhaps understandably, are disinclined to think in terms of long term planning. but with the short term problems of a Westminster which we cannot control, a Holyrood which will be fire-fighting with inadequate pocket money and the real possibility of 120,000+ members frustrated as a consequence, I suggest we sit down now and, as you have suggested, WE NOW ASSUME WE WILL BE INDEPENDENT, and on that basis, this is our plan for the following for the next 25 years – SCOTLAND 2940. And we set out our long-term plan for our people.

    Otherwise we will be back-biting all the way to the Election, and others after that. Having said that, whatever happens, I believe we will get our Independence but unless we offer a BIG future, it will be very rocky path.

  15. Quarmby says:

    As we ease into another year, it seems that Bella Caledonia continues on course as far as providing a platform for those seeking to undermine the only political engine capable of delivering independence. An alternative to the likes of The Herald, The Record, The Hootsmon etc etc you are not.

  16. Alf Baird says:

    Most folk will probably vote SNP for the constituency, but SNP don’t deserve the list vote unless they make firm comitments on actually “delivering independence”. Surely nobody reads the msm anymore.

  17. arthur thomson says:

    It’s only seven months since thousands of Scots voted SNP for the first time and altered the political map of Scotland. Yet here again I read a combination of gloom and doom.

    How many political pundits foresaw the GE result? And yet here again I meet with more predictions, prophesies, demands for radical strategies and criticisms of the ‘failures’ of the SNP. I think it is time some people did a reality check.

    Independence will only happen when the common five eighths of the Scottish people actually want it and are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to achieve it. It won’t be achieved by the radicals among us – though they can, if they choose, have an important part to play in raising awareness. Nor will it actually be achieved by the SNP because they can only do what the electorate mandate them to do. Ultimately it can only happen when the common five eighths are aware enough and sufficiently persuaded that it is the practical and right course of action.

    There is a time and a place for radical action in relation to Westminster but that action will have to be tempered at all times by pragmatism. The world is awash with the heartache caused by people whose ‘passion’ for their cause (usually a cover for their own conceit or idiocy) has led them to believe that it is worth whatever chaos and suffering is experienced by others in its pursuit.

    Unlike some others who often comment on Bella, I am by no means convinced that the SNP has no capacity for radical action. In fact I am of the opinion that in the months and years ahead we will see a more radical SNP. But it will be based on well thought out ideas that take into account the impact of chaos on the lives of ordinary people and it will be based on the principle that you have to take the people with you to a better place, not lead them into a quagmire.

    I am disappointed that I see so little, from those whose political priority is to left wing politics, holding to account the Labour movement and their unionist chums for their despicable treatment of Scotland for generations. Nor is their any holding to account of Corbyn for his stance against Scottish independence. No confrontation, no calls for the British Labour movement to acknowledge the need for Scotland to govern itself. No criticism of Corbyn for actively co-operating in the Westminster establishment strategy of sidelining Scotland’s MP’s. No radical action, proposals or ideas there.

    How strange.

    1. Alf Baird says:

      There is plenty of “chaos and suffering” out there under our continuing colonial status. Or have you and the SNP hierarchy not noticed?

      What have the 56 ‘roaring lions’ achieved? What will they achieve over the next 4 years? Anything? Anything at all? Something? Just a wee thing, maybe?

      Is not independence itself, radical? Does independence not therefore require radical leadership? Radical strategies? Radical actions, even?

      What is wrong with the people pushing a docile political party to get its finger out? I thought we were ‘sovereign’! Or are we supposed to do as they say? Because they know best? Are you on their payroll?

      1. Fiona Sinclair says:

        Well said, Alf. An article in Newsnet Scotland by GA Ponsonby (I think) suggested a clear process to a second referendum, and that was that the SNP should include in its 2016 Holyrood manifesto the commitment to taking the power for a referendum for the Scottish Parliament, which would enable a majority of MSPs to vote for a referendum. After achieving 45% in 2014, they have a clear mandate to do so. I agree with others that a 2nd bank failure – which is believed to be imminent – should be the trigger for this. The currency issue was made a hostage to fortune during the ref, because the continuity of the wholly speculative financial sector was never conceived as something that should be open to challenge by the SNP. We are going to lose the best chance for independence because of the deep conservatism of the SNP. There is so much needing sorted out in Scotland, that the SNP could be dealing with, that eventually people will catch on and lose faith that there will be any worthwhile change if the SNP gains full powers under independence.

  18. yesindyref2 says:

    Oh dear, someone was badly in need of a hangover cure when they wrote this.

  19. Jim Bennett says:

    I thought that this was a genuinely good, thought provoking article. I didn’t really understand the last couple of paragraphs but the rest was great stuff!

  20. Gillian Veronica McAllister says:

    I seen, as a lot of Scots did, at the time of the referendum, we were destined to lose because of ignorance… the Scottish Nose Pickers they were cried when I was wee…. voting YES for me was about Independence NOT politics… when ignorance let the YESSERS down, we deliberately voted SNP in the general election… along with a lot of disillusioned Scots who finally woke up and realised ye go with the party who are prepared to fight for Scottish rights, laws and, ultimately, Scottish freedom from Westminster…. we’re big boys now, we can govern ourselves, take care of ourselves, we don’t need or require to be shackled by England….

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