Strategies for Yes need New Institutions

2D234CA600000578-3262736-image-m-65_1444175704040Pat Kane on the timings and sequence of Scotland’s response to Brexit – and the “serious failure … to have set up serious, autonomous but independence-minded policy institutes.”

50 Shades of May

The ratchet just clicked forward again, irreversibly. Teresa May announced on Sunday that her Conservative government would trigger Article 50 (the mechanism whereby a member state might leave the EU) before the end of March 2017. As A50’s two year rule specifies, this means a strict Brexit date of April 2019.

There’s one burning question for those in the independence movement and parties. Before 04/19, and to quote the immortal snarl of Joe Strummer: Do we cool it or do we blow?

Meaning: does the Scottish government plough through the Brexit process, emerge from the other side, and dispassionately assess its prospects – even though we’d now, constitutionally, be outwith the EU?

Or does it seize the chance, either through a legal or indicative vote, to defend its Remain mandate by going for a “Yes to Indy-in-EU?” And how should the wider independence movement relate to either of these options?

There’s an extremely useful session online from the weekend’s RIC conference in Glasgow online, featuring CommonWeal director Robin McAlpine, the Scottish Greens MSP Ross Greer, SNP MSP Joan McAlpine among others.

The positions, briefly put, were these. Greer is of the view that the earlier we start campaigning for independence, the more likely we are to close the gap and establish a majority, no matter what options are available to us. This is guided by his experience in YesScotland, where the last six months of campaigning driven by the grassroots really closed the gap on No.

Joan McAlpine is convenor of Holyrood’s Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Relations Committee, and through that has been talking to European diplomats and academics about how Scotland is regarded in the EU. According to her testimony, they are very clear on the Scottish difference over EU membership.

But Joan’s anxiety is that this second indy referendum has to be won – because it will probably be the last. There is “a case” for a ref before the end of Article50. But our national confidence, so carefully restored since devolution, will be seriously damaged by the knock of another “No” to Indy vote. We therefore must make the most careful considerations before going for it.

Scotland’s Data Deficit

Robin McAlpine repeated many of the points about our “data deficit” on the indy case that he’s made in recent CommonSpace columns. Do we really know what Scots think about independence, the Union, EU membership, immigration, the idea of a viable Scots currency? Are we polling any of this properly? Robin guessed that there had been an equal transfer of Yes voters to No, and No voters to Yes, after the Brexit vote – but who could be sure?

He also bemoaned not just the lack of work on the major policy challenges of indy – currency and pensions primarily – but also our assumption that there was an easy “EU ticket” to independence. Indeed, Robin seemed to be suggesting that holding off the referendum till well after the Brexit dust had settled could reveal new options for Scottish self-government – somewhat echoing Alex Neil’s neo-independence proposal recently.

Clear now? And all this before Teresa May fired the gun on Article 50, and gave us a clear Brexit date on April 2019. I’d expect all of them to be revising their judgements over the next few days.

My own view? Conflicted and troubled. There is no doubt that, no matter how vigorous and effective CommonWeal’s White Paper Project or Andrew Wilson’s Growth Commission will be, the independence movement has collectively struggled to respond to the policy deficits of the last independence offer (chiefly currency, deficit and macroeconomics).

This is partly due to the pounding political calendar since 2014 – two general elections and a referendum – each demanding of the indy parties a full-frontal response, leaving little research resources left for an improved #indy prospectus.

But I think it’s also due to a serious failure, by those with resources around the SNP, to have set up serious, autonomous but independence-minded policy institutes.

“I think it’s also due to a serious failure, by those with resources around the SNP, to have set up serious, autonomous but independence-minded policy institutes.”

Instead of the vigour and imagination which entities like the IPPR and Demos (or the Institute for Economic Affairs and the Social Market Foundation) brought to the major parties in Westminster, independence in Scotland has been served by blogs (like this one) and activist platforms (like Common Weal).

We’re all, of course, wonderful and brilliant in our own way. But we just about survive on the grace and favour of individual citizens, not to mention the free mental labour of various pressured academics and thinkers.

The only other source of intellectual power around independence policy is the Scottish civil service – and ask any of the London think-tanks about how much of their activity is intended to blast through the legalistic orthodoxy of Whitehall’s mandarins.

As a complaint, I know this is slightly spilt milk. But I hope someone can pull such an serious policy institution together, sometime soon.

However, the absence of a real policy community around an improved indy offer has meant that we’ve been caught short by an official, UK-nation-state Brexit announced for April 2019. Even if the best we can manage is an indicative-not-legal indyref2 in, say, April 2018, who’s to say that this would be won for Yes?

One factor that could win it is a positive embrace of Scots indy from the EU establishment. Imagine an explicit statement that a Scotland voting Yes to indy-in-Europe could be placed in a constitutional “holding pen”. This would presume our continuity with EU institutions and laws – but would allow us a period of time to figure out our currency, our debts-and-assets split and our defence relations with the rUK.

If that relationship and understanding develops and deepens between Scotland and the EU, it’s of course also possible that we don’t need to scramble the forces for a pre-April-2019 referendum. The ruin and rubble of the final Brexit deal – out of the single market, subject to border controls, and probably humiliated at every turn by a vengeful EU – will be enough to set us up for a conclusive indyref victory.

I still believe that the most robust Yes majority will come from a perception that independence is the most stable system on offer. I wrote this for the Scotsman in 2015: “I want to convince No voters that the case for independence is constructive, principled and will result in a better social and economic system. A good way to do that is to show progressive intent, within a system the majority of Scots citizens have currently voted to remain in.”

Those words refers to the last Westminster General Election – but it also works for the 62% Remain vote in Scotland. If we want to win over fearful Nos, who like the idea of being part of a larger, more supportive Union, we may – may – have an opportunity to placate their worries, by rearticulating the independence-in-Europe case.

“If we want to win over fearful Nos, who like the idea of being part of a larger, more supportive Union, we may – may – have an opportunity to placate their worries, by rearticulating the independence-in-Europe case.”

However, we have to get past the German and French national elections, threatened by xenophobic populist parties. Never mind the ever-threatening Italian deficit crisis. So come back to me in a year’s time, on that image of a “stable European Union”.

In the meantime, let’s keep the heid. And more importantly, stick a independence research bunnet on it.

Comments (52)

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  1. John Barr says:

    There has to be a central, unassailably-fact-checked bank of incontrovertible facts about how England sucks Scotland dry set up online, so we can save people having to waste their time looking stuff up during social media debates. Simple, clear, concise facts and directions to facts. Saves a lot of time. And Peter Lilley MUST NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES be allowed to have his company ‘count’ postal votes. PERIOD. That incredibly important job MUST be performed by an independent arbiter. Naomi Klein said as much at the last indyref. Maybe she could be gotten on our side.

    1. Doug Daniel says:

      Having previously worked for the company you refer to, I’d appreciate it if you didn’t smear the reputations of the good people who work for it by implying they are party to electoral fraud.

      Take the tinfoil hat off.

      1. John Barr says:

        Well, in that case, if their ‘postal votes sampling, Ruth Davidson investigated’ reputation is so spotless, they won’t mind stepping aside at the next referendum, will they? In the best interests of the country, and for those who don’t believe a Tory will count votes for independence correctly, that is.

        1. Doug Daniel says:

          “Well, in that case, if their ‘postal votes sampling, Ruth Davidson investigated’ reputation is so spotless, they won’t mind stepping aside at the next referendum, will they? In the best interests of the country, and for those who don’t believe a Tory will count votes for independence correctly, that is.”

          Postal votes are opened and verified by council staff at special sessions which all parties or sides in an election or referendum are invited to. People on all sides take samples of what they see (just as they do at the actual election counts), to get an idea of how the vote is going to go on the day. None of that has anything to do with Idox.

          What Ruth Davidson did was share that information publicly. That’s what is against the law. And it’s why postal vote opening sessions have now been changed so nobody can sample, to prevent anyone else blurting out like Ruth did. Again, none of that has anything to do with Idox.

          But even if Idox WAS in charge of counting votes rather than councils and returning officers, what is it you’re actually trying to suggest with this line – “those who don’t believe a Tory will count votes for independence correctly”? That Peter Lilley himself personally counts every single postal vote in Scotland? Or that he pays his staff to commit electoral fraud? My former colleagues would probably be quite interested in the answer.

          1. Robert Graham says:

            With all due respect i am with John on this one ,any politician who has any link or association with anything to do with a vote count especially an MP with links to the current government has to be removed and any company the said person represents removed also and its maybe time for the SNP to re visit this at the upcoming conference , I wonder how many people know of this link and would accept it as nothing to see here move on ,Our ever vigilant media of course would have investigated this wouldn’t they obliging as they are .
            Tin hats ! well remember Watergate the people who investigated that were branded nutters even soviet spies and conspiracy theorists how did that turn out ? .
            Carry on John you are not alone , if something smells it’s usually rotten somewhere usually the head is the best place to look as in fish .

          2. Eleanor Hunter says:

            I have attended opening of postal votes. The main purpose of the procedure is to check signatures. The actual ballot papers were kept face down during the count and no sampling was allowed. If, as Ruth Davidson claimed, sampling of postal votes occurred prior to referendum day then someone acted illegally.

          3. Doug Daniel says:

            It’s telling (and utterly predictable) that when pressed on what exactly Mr Barr is accusing Idox and/or Peter Lilley of doing, he’s unable to answer. People should perhaps consider this kind of thing *before* coming up with conspiracy theories.

            Incidentally, I trust Mr Barr and any others who agree with him will be volunteering to be postal vote/polling agents at the next referendum, so that their fantastic insight can be put to good use by overseeing the process, to make sure it’s utterly robust? Because the folk who come out with these conspiracy theories are invariably the ones who do fuck all to actually help out on election day etc.

      2. John Barr says:

        And your disgusting ‘tinfoil hat’ comment is an insult to people have a very serious disease, schizophrenia. Please keep your insults to yourself. I raised a serious point about impartiality, there is no paranoia implicit in it. Would YOU want your opposition being in a position to overturn a result you wanted simply because they could? Or would you trust them, when they have repeatedly shown you they are not trustworthy and are, indeed, utterly contemptuous of you and everything you stand for? And that they will greatly financially benefit from tripping you up?

        Get real. If no Tory-owned company is behind the postal votes in this election, it will only remove the element of suspicion from the next indyref that that aspect of things was rigged, should the Yes vote lose again. Quite simple and elementary, really. And note I did not launch an mental-health-based ad hominem attack on you. Tired of all this sneering sniping. Civility costs nothing.

    2. m.boyd says:

      John, just read this.

      The amount of time you have to source documents to assess the true picture is frightening. A central source would be so helpful. For eg i have never been able to source documents re the English economy and deficit… its all UK based. This makes it impossible to look behind the Gers figures for NI, Wales and Scotland.

    3. Matt says:

      I would add to the john that we need some exceptional minds to pull apart and rubbish the annual GERS report as we all know it’s a complete load of rubbish

  2. Jocknbex says:

    I enjoyed reading this article. We desperately need to address the key stumbling blocks that put folk in the NO camp. Folk who were not fundamentally opposed to Scotland being Independent but who remained unconvinced there was any kind of plan.
    It’s The Plan and the Programme of Events and Timeline I think we need to see and that means we need a serious research team working on it now. Not the White Paper, good as it was in many ways, but a plan endorsed by different communities/community groups, individuals, other nations and institutions. This must cover all of the reserved matters and in some detail. Not just, get rid of Trident, but a business plan as to how that would be done and importantly, what and how many jobs would be created for that workforce. I’m rambling, but inspired from reading this.

  3. Broadbield says:

    I have said over the past couple of years that we need an Independence Think Tank. But I’m a nobody. Gordon Wilson also said the same – I think he called it a propaganda unit. We have nothing of substance (other than the blogs as Pat says) to do the research, construct the policies, articulate the plan and counter the avalanche of anti-Independence propaganda which assaults us daily from all sides. The UK State has all the levers, all the media and they even co-opted Nicolas McPherson and the Queen (and I imagine the state security apparatus was involved in dirty tricks too).

    But it needs money. Could it be crowd-funded, or could some of the millionaires put their hands in their wallets and get it started?

  4. Kenny says:

    With the arithmetic in Holyrood in favour of independence, why hasn’t another referendum been called? The SNP leadership aren’t confident they can win one yet… or anytime soon.
    It doesn’t make it any easier when prominent figures such as Salmond, Neil and McAskill are briefing differently from each other in public.

    The varied opinions and uncertainty at the RIC conference have simply confirmed the view that we’re in unchartered waters and we’ve no no blue print for what to do next.
    However May’s Article 50 announcement on Sunday could well be the trigger we need to end the phoney war and kickstart a two pronged Indyref2 campaign/strategy now –
    1. Defending the Scottish electorate’s wishes to remain in the EU.
    2. Address the currency, economy, pensions issues, raised in the article, that didn’t convince no voters last time round.
    They can both be worked on simultaneously.

    The polls may not be entirely in our favour at the moment, but sometimes you just need to react to events.
    Maybe the Scottish Independence Convention planned for January should be brought forward?

  5. john young says:

    I think we have to convince people”no,s” that independence doesn,t mean isolation,that we will still be a part a big part of the Great Britain they hold so dear ,we will trade,we will continue to discuss/dis-agree about a variety of issues but thro independace it will be a level playing field.As for monetary policies there are none not here not in England or Europe the “money mafia” control it totally and can bring any countries to their knees and if it suits will do so,until another financial model comes up it is out of our hands,remember “Jesus and the moneylenders”,how long ago?2000yrs.

    1. Mary Mac. says:

      Yeah, imagine holding friends and family ‘the Britain they hold so dear’. What utter arseholes.

  6. Crubag says:

    The only certainty is that there won’t be an indy referendum in the next two years. Not to say there shouldn’t be more thinking about the future, it’s probably a ten or twenty year programme.

    Hard Remainers will have their own feelings, but the SNP’s own polling will have shown there is little appetite for the EU as is, and with the uncertainties over borders, trade, economies until a UK/rEU deal is thrashed out, there just isn’t the space for a parallel indy referendum.

    If a think tank is established, one of its tasks will be to consider whether a small nation like Scotland is better outside of the EU (Iceland, Norway, Switzerland) or inside (Belgium, Denmark, Ireland). The rEU will have changed in that time and either become tighter (a single budget and economic policy to go with the single currency) or looser, with an agreed multi-speed Europe with more opt-outs.

    1. Pat Kane says:

      That’s a very useful bit of future-gazing on pathways of EU development, Crubag, and how Scotland might relate to it. (At my stage in life, I better keep taking the tablets, so that I can enjoy it when we get there in two decades…) But I still wonder whether pressing the button NOW on an indy2 policy research programme, for a solid year and with the best of talents involved, would at least leave us with some policy weaponry in the locker – if the Brexit deal really ends up brutally, the EU “defending its interests”, as Donald Tusk puts it. Can a bridge be built between an EU who would be keen to get a positive national vote for its existence, and the need for a zone of pragmatic adjustment around the exact nature of an IndyinEU?

      1. Crubag says:

        From my limited position, I think it comes down to who runs the negotiations – the member states (who at least want to keep economic relations good) or the EU Commission and Parliament, who are further removed from their electors and may feel like showboating.

        I think the détente comes maybe 5 or 10 years from now, when the member states finally sort our their own internal dramas over the euro (two-speed Europe?), borders (probably more controls put in), austerity (Germans lost the argument, more state bailouts of bankrupt institutions, more public spending) and expansion (probably a No to Erdogan).

        A more stable, looser EU, with a more modular approach to membership, would be a good thing.

        On thinktanks, Scotland probably depends too much on academics at the moment, who have their own audiences and publishing schedules. Thinktanks need to be fleet of foot, but they are usually staffed by young up and comers who are going on to a political career. Scotland’s political parties prefer to grow their own talent, so a think tank isn’t such a good career route here, unless it is in to PR (public relations, not voting systems).

        1. Pat Kane says:

          Not *such* a limited position, I’m guessing, from this reply… But your narrative of EU’s structural evolution seems more realpolitik than Varoufakis’ “a more democratic EU” agenda, the purpose of in his DIEM movement. So it’s the Scottish parliament nursing its powers inside a Brexit, until it becomes obvious where it fits into a more “modular” Europe? This IS Bruce watching the spider… And I personally don’t have those reserves of stamina and patience…

          On think tanks – I would prefer myself that it’s run by reputable academics (not unworldly on-the-make 20-somethings), professionals well paid and fully on the case. The door can revolve you back to academia (eg Nick Pierce of the IPPR has just gone back to Bath University) – but the main posts and staff should be the best we can get. Making credible policies for democratic national sovereignty in a globalised age isn’t just solving Scotland’s indy problems – I’m sure it’ll address the question for others too.

          1. Crubag says:

            I think that pass has already been sold. By not calling for an indy 2 in June to reacquire EU membership, the SNP high command conceded that outside the EU but inside the UK was an acceptable status for the forseeable future, which might only be 5 or 10 years.

            Pragmatic. It only really looks bad because of the 2016 manifesto suggestion, but that was a hypothetical and no-one expected Remain to lose back then.

  7. Elaine Fraser says:

    I’m sorry I simple do not believe No voters will pay attention to facts on eg. currency or think tanks. I think a grass roots led distribution ( Christmas present anyone?)of a compilation of the best talks, music, poems, videos on the question of Scotland as an independent country would be a start just to get folk thinking in the comfort of their own home ( invisible) ; as stocking filler between friends from a yesser to a No-er ; as a secret santa gift at work !

    I am convinced that a lot of people could imagine that ‘another Scotland is possible’ if they were exposed to the best multi-media messages.For example, many of my family relied on me for their information and were persuaded by me because I could share with them stuff I had come across over the year leading up to the ref 2014. I had the interest, time and energy they didnt have. Some of my favourite stuff was not written but visual or used humour. The ‘news where you are ‘ ( Robertson) makes a powerful point in minutes! Michael Moores new video ‘Where to invade next?’ shows people instantly that there are others way of doing things. We need something similar comparing Scotland with other small nations. The Atlas of productivity was great but expensive and limited numbers printed. If I had a penny for the number of folk that have said ‘where did you get that?’ Just a suggestion no idea how to fund it of course – crowdfunding ?

  8. Tom Parkhill says:

    Here in Italy, there is no doubt that Italians now see Scotland as a semi-separate entity to rUK: for years I have been pedantically correcting people over not being English, and being met with a confused stare; since 23 June, everyone knows the difference. Most Italians now seem to assume that Scotland will be independent sooner rather than later – perhaps more Italians than Scots think that! More importantly, they would be well disposed to Scotland in the EU (again, perhaps more so than many Scots). Italy has issues with the EU (the MS5 wants to leave the Euro, and the Lega Nord want to leave everyone), but generally leaving the EU itself is not one of them.

    From an EU point of view, Scotland’s accession to the Union should be a no-brainer; a way of presenting the Brexit vote more as ‘peculiarly rBritish’, rather than a general anti-EU sentiment. They’d be stupid to turn down an application from Scotland, although this may have to wait until the article 50 starting gun is fired. And we have no monopoly on stupid decisions. But I have no doubt that an EU welcome to Scotland would easy a lot of our worries.

  9. muttley79 says:

    There should have been an independence supporting think tank set up long ago, the SNP unfortunately have been very poor in this area, I don’t know whether that has been down to lack of resources, or the distractions of electoral politics. But there is no doubt that it is a massive handicap. It really should have been established with the coming of the Scottish Parliament after 1999. We saw during the independence referendum that the unionists had a open goal in terms of the economic argument, all they had do was quote from a think tank connected to the British state. There was nothing really coming back from the Yes side in terms of our own think tanks. Business for Scotland and the Common Weal did their best, but we need organised, effective think tank(s).

  10. Phil Lawrence says:

    I fully agree. I had discussions with one philanthropist around 18 months ago and he was initially keen to fund a think-tank but he got cold feet in the end as he was unwilling to lose traction elsewhere, namely London.

    The proposal was to create a pro-indy repository of definitive information which could be accessed by any and all in response to misinformation in the MSM and further afield. A team of researchers would build the data bank over time. If we are to be prepared for a big ideological battle in the next couple of years then time is running out unfortunately. However the idea remains as solid today as it was last year.

  11. Melissa Murray says:

    One aspect I feel many people in Scotland neglect is the plight of the nearly 200k EU citizens who presently live in Scotland.

    These folk are scared, and I don’t blame them. I’ve personally had exchanges with some of them and they do contemplate leaving here, as opposed to waiting to see what happens with Scotland.

    If we do wait till after Brexit is implemented, we not only risk losing many of these people, but we lose their most likely YES votes as well.

    We need indyref2 BEFORE Brexit hits. If we wait till after, I fear it will be too late.

    1. MBC says:

      Indications were that most of them voted No in 2014. Fools. Tempted to say, ‘Serve you right’ but won’t. If they didn’t understand they should just have kept out of it rather than stamp on another nation’s liberty.

      I think most of them will leave.

      1. Laurence Davies says:

        MBC Could you tell us what these indications were? From talking to people from outwith the UK, my impression was that most of them were very much in favour of Scottish indepence. Perhaps you have hard evidence otherwise?

        1. Alex Beveridge says:

          Agree entirely with your view Laurence. During many canvassing sessions most of the people I spoke to who were from outside the U.K were very much in favour of an independent Scotland.

  12. Doug Daniel says:

    “and to quote the immortal snarl of Joe Strummer: Do we cool it or do we blow?”

    Pfffft, some Clash fan you are Pat – it was Mick Jones who sang lead vocals on Should I Stay Or Should I Go!

    (And I would suggest that’s a paraphrase rather than a quote…)

    *stops being a pedant*

    1. Spanish vocals were by Strummer Doug #podemos

      1. Doug Daniel says:

        *Ecuadorian Spanish 😛

        And Pat, who doesn’t? Give me Sandinista! over Give ‘Em Enough Rope any day.

    2. Pat Kane says:

      I’m the worst Clash fan. I like the jazz funk bits on Sandinista!

    3. Butch Cassidy says:

      Glad you brought up The Clash Doug.

      One of the reasons that myself and many others want the UK to stay together is that we want to keep the culture together which gave the world Clash, Pistols, Smiths, Manics, Undertones, Mary Chain, Primal Scream etc etc.

  13. schweppeslimone says:

    None of this matters one jot.

    Hard Brexit.

    Controls on immigration, not access to the single market.

    If Scotland leaves the UK, there will be a hard border (and I mean a hard border, potentially an actual fence / wall) to prevent attempts at immigration / illegal immigration from Scotland into the rUK.

    The wall might also need gun turrets, to make sure we keep your fucking Neds out.

    That Hard Border will be in place whether or not you ascend to the EU in time. If you do not join the EU, the people of rUK will demand it is in place. If you join the EU, the EU will demand there is a hard border in place between you as a European state and the rUK as a third country.

    Scotland will not be able to use the pound. rUK will create a new currency if necessary, and leave you with a worthless tunnocks teacake pound.

    Scotland voting to leave the UK will be voting for a hard border between itself and its most important market, England.

    Though you may be planning a Siege Economy, like that fucking clown Corbyn.

    And I will be on the ramparts of the wall, laughing down at you, Pat Kane, and the rest of you fucking clowns.

    Or, you can be sensible and give this all up. The people of England, a fair people, will forgive you in time for all the unnecessary disruption you’ve caused, and all the abuse you’ve handed out, and all the general whinging you’ve bored us all with.

    Or we will have a Hard Border, and leave you there on your isolated, sterile promontory to wither and die.

    1. DaveM says:

      You OK, hon?

  14. MBC says:

    Independence won’t happen until the heavy hitters in the Scottish establishment get on side and they are not natural rebels but the most cowardly timid sort of conformists.

    I often wonder what it would take to make them turn.

    1. schweppeslimone says:

      “the Scottish establishment are not natural rebels but the most cowardly timid sort of conformists.

      I often wonder what it would take to make them turn.”

      I think you should continue telling them the reason they don’t agree with you is because they are cowardly and timid.

      Say it more often, loudly and more vociferously, in their faces.

      That should do the trick.

      Maybe go and find a member of ‘the Establishment’ – or even a ‘No Voter’ now, and give it a try.

      Let us know how you get on.

  15. lordmac says:

    Why is the uk, England. So determined to keep Scotland, onboard ship. has Scotland, got any wealth, is it because they want the Trident kept here, and not placed in England is it that they are prepaired to fund Scotland, or is it the fact their, is money to be had, in the building of a new Trident.and rather than up set the apple cart .they will suffer the Scots for a little longer but if the uk had the vote on Scotland, would they all want us united, some how I think they would vote to get rid, if I was Scottish and wanted independence I would ask Nicola ,to ask for a total uk referendum that way ,there would be a vote and a result, than can put it to bed for ever, are Scott’s beggers, or statesmen

  16. ⭐ ⭐Harry Alffa⭐ ⭐ (@HarryAlffa) says:

    2014: Craig Murray, “..anybody who votes No is voting to support a pathological state, a danger in the World, a rogue state; a state prepared to go to war to make a few people wealthy. That’s why I say it’s not possible to be a decent person and vote No, and we shouldn’t be ashamed to say that.”

    1. Alf Baird says:

      Craig does have a point. The British State propaganda machinery has certainly done a good job on these folk. It perhaps started with their early schooling, where Scottish history, language and culture simply did not exist, and arguably still does not exist as much as it might. Our culture includes our thought processes and many No voters are simply unable to get the dominant Britishness out of their system, seeing Scottish nationhood as a threat, or even laughable/cringeworthy. Hence the importance of teaching Scots langage in oor schuils and at degree level in uni’s and having a Scots Langage TV option etc. Will never happen of course until we get rid of our unionist maisters wha aye run a’ oor public institutions.

      1. Alex Beveridge says:

        Exactly Alf. It’s all very well theorising about what tactics we should use when we come to Indyref2, as we should, but it’s the Westminster establishment we are fighting here, and they will take no prisoners, give no quarter, in their quest to keep what they consider, their golden goose, snared in their cage.
        And as we are all too well aware, the B.B.C will be leading the M.S.Ms propaganda, and they will use any untruths to try to convince our electorate that we are better off staying in the U.K, despite the truth being the exact opposite. Aided of course by “proud scots”, who are nothing more than a fifth column, well paid to espouse their views, which in fact are nothing more than a betrayal of their own people.
        I just hope I live long enough to see an independent Scotland, but I’m secure in the knowledge that with so many good people on our side, my great-grandchildren will prosper in a country where the people of that nation can make all the decisions about their future.

    2. Anton says:

      Harry Alffa – I’m not convinced that Craig Murray’s remarks about No voters – “deeply unpleasant sociopaths”, “either evil, or quite extraordinarily thick” are the best way to get them onside. Abuse is not an argument.

      Alf Baird – I’ve seen this point made before. However, I was most certainly taught Scottish history, language and culture at school. Ok, this was some ago, and maybe my school was an exception to the rule, but my understanding is that these are still integral to the syllabus though I stand to be corrected.

      1. Alf Baird says:

        C’mon Anton, even today there is no Scots language subject on the state school curriculum at Higher5 and you will not find any Scots Language degree course at any university in Scotland; in any other country such an abject failure to teach one’s own language would be regarded as a national scandal. It may come as a shock to you to learn that without the Scots language (i.e. the ability to write, read and speak it) there can be effectively no authentic Scottish culture. As for history, many of my age group and older were taught the anglicised version of Scottish history which actually included mostly English history pre 1707 and a sanitised empire/unionist-biased opinion since. I appreciate we have recently made some progress on Scottish history in schools, but hardly any on language, which is still intentionally suppressed by state bodies, even compared to Gaelic where we do have a Gaelic Language Act of 2005 (and Gaelic Higher5, Degree courses, and TV station, plus £funding), but as yet no comparable Scots Language Act despite the fact maist o’ oor fowk speik Scots. It should seem rather obvious that this is at best cultural discrimination and as John Young says below there is a lot of colonial form with language/cultural suppression strategies and to a large extent this explains the cultural barrier our ‘No’ voting friends are suffering under. In that sense it is probably less of an economic barrier facing No voters than a language/cultural one. In this regard Alasdair Allan and Fiona Hyslop should get a Scots Language Act drafted asap, which is within Holyrood’s gift, and ignore whit aw thon houdies in the msm croak for doom.

        1. Mary Mac. says:

          I must have grown up in a parrallel universe. When I was at school we learn’t nothing but Scottish history or history from a Scottish perspective, often with a clear anti english agenda (depending on the level of bigotry of the teacher). Roman’s – Hadrian’s Wall, Industrial revolution – New Lanark, Agricultural revolution – Run rigs, The wars of independence and the Bruce, ww1 (did have a British element to it) but was mostly through the prism of Scots involvement, the enlightenment and inventors (as though the enlightenment and the scientific revolution only happened north of the Tweed, move along Ireland, England, France US and Germany. In ‘English’ it was Shakespeare, but also Norman Macaig, Lochead, Sorely Maclean, Grassic Gibbon, Burns. In Modern Studies it was all Scottish politics and social history, although we also did China and USA (a way in which Scottish education is far superior to England), In geography it was Scots human geography – emigration around the world, and Scots landscape, U shaped valleys and corries.

          And a quick google to check the subject areas in Scottish schools completely undermines any assertion that Scottish history is somehow Anglocised in any way.

          Compare that to the English curriculum – The national curriculum is almost bereft of English stuff, there is more about the civil rights movement in the US and the Slave trade than there is about Agincorte, thankfully.

    3. Mary Mac. says:

      Well done, now anyone who voted no is amoral. That’ll really persuade floating voters. People like you do the unionists job for them.

  17. Colin Mackay says:

    We should be setting Scotland up right now differently to Ruk. The SNP could easily have transformed council tax into a progressive system that would reduce inequality. They have support from this in government and still refuse, it’s damaging right now, damaging for the future and demonstartes a real lack of vision, stopping Scotland becoming a genuinely different animal to Ruk. This also goes for de-centralisation and redesign of local democracy. Lesley Riddoch elegantly spells this out during her speech at RIC and we are all well aware Scotland is the arse of Europe in this respect. We need to start doing things that can be done and will make a difference right now. If not then what’s the point, it would suggest nothing much will change much after Indy. We need to be not only thinking but doing things differently before we have the vote.

    “Work as if you live in the early days of a better nation.” – I really, really wish the SNP would start thinking about that wonderful, insightful instruction.

  18. john young says:

    You are right Alf Baird,it is a tried and trusted tool of imperialists ,do away with the language/history/culture voila you have no identity,the no,s do not see themselves as Scots 1st but Brits and Scots a distant 2nd whereas the English see themselves as English 1st Brits a vanishing 2nd,we have little or no chance of reversing this,their forefathers fought and died for the Great British,maybe when the lunatic fringe from the good ole US of A take us to the brink of armaggedon in Syria and they are not far off,they might just might see what we are being dragooned into.

  19. punklin says:

    Agree that previous no voters have to turn to yes enthusiastically, leading the case with the zeal of the convert, not dragged kicking and screaming to reluctantly accept an ‘EU or UK?’ gun to the heid.

    Agree currency, deficit and economic case have to be watertight next time.

    But also need to resolve monarchy and defence ambiguities.

    And two further statements of the bleedin’ obv:

    Have to be sure of 55 to 60% majority

    Can’t win if BBC remains unchanged

    1. Alf Baird says:

      You completely miss the point made above that the ‘No’ thought process (sic) is predominantly driven by cultural factors, not simply economics. How do you intend to overcome this cultural barrier to ensure that ‘No’ voters acquire “the zeal of the convert”?

  20. john young says:

    You can argue till you are blue in the face exc the pun with them,you can have every positive argument presented to them but you will not ever change their mind and this has to be a solid 40%,it doesn,t leave much room for manoeuvre if any.They do not consider themselves Scots they have no pride in their country they have no confidence,end of.

  21. Mary Mac. says:

    ‘…the policy deficits of the last independence offer (chiefly currency, deficit and macroeconomics).’

    Thanks Pat,

    A very long winded way of saying the Yes campaign lied through it’s teeth on pretty much everything of importance the last time around.

    The problem the Yes campaign now has is credibility. After years of screaming scaremongers and dismissing reality…sorry ‘policy deficits’ ffs, suddenly you’ve realised that people aren’t as stupid as you assumed and they do understand economics. Any attempt to change the discourse will result in people simply not believing you. You can’t point at the sky and call it green then suddenly go, oh right enough, it’s blue after all.

  22. Mary Mac. says:

    ‘Do we really know what Scots think about independence, the Union, EU membership, immigration, the idea of a viable Scots currency? Are we polling any of this properly?’

    Yes Pat we do have fairly good data on ‘Scots social attitudes and issues pol econ.’ They are very similar to those in England and are varied depending on region and geography – glasgow is not Inverness etc – which is why the Scottish government never publicises them.

    What you really mean is ‘why don’t the ‘scots’ think like me and how can we make them?’

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