And now for something completely different

George Osborne Underlines UK Government's Opposition To Currency UnionLast time round 45% of us voted YES for the SNP believing that those in charge shared our particular vision of independence. Some of the 55% had a hazy and uncertain vision and the remainder did not wish to look beyond their present horizons.

These numbers will not change because of Brexit or another financial crash, the American election result or the squabbles at Westminster because along with politicians starting wars or advocating trade and investment deals, such events come and go – they may seem important at the time but it is in our nature that they will soon be displaced by the next crop.

Surely what underlies independence is how we deal with this constant stream of events. Is it not the simple desire to have a government which we feel really represents us and which is genuinely accountable to us? Is it not a desire to see a Scotland which will set its own standards within its own borders? Why not a small outward looking Nation happy to be friends but not prepared to kow-tow to any foreign politician? In other words a people of independent mind who are prepared to make their own mistakes and live with them but fed up with having to put up with those of others?

Last time independence was promoted as a minimal change scenario. The SNP would run Holyrood as a head nodding member of the EU, NATO and all the other existing British style affiliations, we would share the currency, the National Debt and banking system in fact Mr & Mrs Jock Tamson would hardly notice the difference – we might even continue to host Trident until the new generation of boats came along.

Today, in the shadow of this defeat we are tilting at Brexit windmills and struggling to respond to spurious financial numbers called GERS and joining the City apologists bemoaning the fall in Sterling – aye, a right old bunch of whingeing Scots right enough.

The SNP got it badly wrong, and so far there is no sign of any new thinking and that should be deeply worrying to those of us who hoped for change – and there’s the rub – we needed change, change writ large and clearly and convincingly. The strategy needs to be turned on its head and we should be setting out just how these changes will help Scots lead a better life than that presently on offer.

Let’s not worry about the RUK or Europe, lets worry about getting it right for us and then and only then need we consider what clubs and alliances we will or will not join. We are putting ourselves through hoops trying not to cause offence to outsiders – most of whom don’t care a jot about wither Scotland is independent or not. But I care, and you care – so let’s start by laying out our referendum stall to promote a positive image of independence – our interpretation of how a small Nation should conduct its affairs.

Now you will say to me that’s all very well, that’s pie in the sky, how about something concrete? Well, I’m no expert on Health, Education, Environment, Defence, Foreign Policy or any other of a dozen government departments, but I do know that every one of them defers to the Exchequer and the money system. Whether it’s arms sales to the Saudis or the budget deficit every aspect of our lives is obsessed with the power of money and that power controls our government and is privately owned by the banking system.

Yes, that’s where I start because until we determine that our kind of independence in Scotland will not defer to the bankers then that independence is not worth the paper upon which we write our new Constitution.

So we could well start drafting our new strategy by openly stating that the Constitution will not permit foreign owned banks to control our new Scots pound and that any bank wishing to trade within our borders will require to observe the laws of Scotland first and last. We will not be sharing the doubtful financial assets of Sterling so neither will we share the financial liabilities – the National Debt or the foreign currency deficit. Scotland can start with a clean sheet and a monetary policy which is not based upon debt and it can invest in its public assets without borrowing or paying interest.

Now some will scoff at this and turn away – just as some Scots Lords turned away from the battle in Braveheart; and some will say the power of the banks is too great to defy and not even come to the battle. But growing numbers are preparing for an inevitable change – perhaps sparked by financial technology, perhaps by a return to lost values or even a combination of both. And they are right because change there must be if our lives are not to be taken over completely by faceless financial interests and mega-corporations.

OK – end of lecture, but if that has not made some folk in the SNP feel just a trifle uncomfortable then perhaps we should put aside our metaphorical broadswords, turn the other cheek and roll over.

Which of these two choices we present to the electorate come referendum time is up to us. Read more about our Campaign at www.scottishmonetaryreform.org.uk

Comments (42)

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  1. iain macgillivray says:

    Absolutely and totally agree..!! Well said. How do we make this happen?

  2. sheila says:

    if Independence doesn’t bring changes in how we make society, then really what’s the point of it? Pretending that independence is just about changing the names of things or the colours of passports is feeble and will be seen as feeble by folk who’re not-yet-swayed.
    TRUE independence – a remaking of the structures and the systems of our lives – is (not surprisingly) terrifying and seems unnecessary to many folk. We have to show how the existing structures & systems let down & fail & endanger those people who care about their personal and family security (those who believed the “Yes=Scary” messages); for it is only by showing that letting go is not as scary as holding on, that we will get enough new folk to vote for yes next time.

    1. Donnie MacLachlan says:

      Too true, but many people have stuck their heads in the sand on three principal counts.

      First, they don’t see the improvements all about them over the past 19 and 8 years with the limited powers the Scottish Parliament has. In many ways Scotland has moved forward, contrast this with Norhtern England or Wales which I see as going backwards.

      Second, they buy into the lies and misinformation of the press and unionists politicans. You look at the stories the press print and are recycled by the bbc, some have absolutely no truth to them, but they seep into the public’s mindset – that there is no smoke without fire.

      Lastly, people are resistant to change, this is a natural state. The business case and benefits need to clear, simple to comprehend and sold, sol and sold again. In parallel the dis-benefits of remaining in uk have to be spelt out, i.e. London rule by right wing tories.

      Therefore, I agree it needs to be more clearly spelt out what independence means, but we also need to ask people the JfK question, ask not what can Scotland do for you, but what can you do for Scotland.

      1. Stonemill says:

        “contrast this with Northern England which I see as going backwards”.

        Fuck You. Manchester here – we are doing great. I am earning more than I ever have – I just bought a new car. We are doing great.

        Fuck You, Jocko.

      2. Stonemill says:

        “they buy into the lies and misinformation of the press and unionists politicans. You look at the stories the press print and are recycled by the bbc, some have absolutely no truth to them, but they seep into the public’s mindset”.

        Those Thickies! Poor Dears. Incapable of making their own judgements, coming to their own conclusions, and making their own choices.

        How FORTUNATE they are to have someone as distinguised, benevolent, erudite and wise as you to point out how they keep making the wrong judgements, coming to the wrong conclusions, and making the wrong choices. You can show them the error of their ways.

        Those fortunate poor dear thickies.

      3. Stonemill says:

        “The business case and benefits need to clear, simple to comprehend and sold, sol and sold again.”

        A “business case” (such as it was) was put to the Scottish electorate in 2014.

        It was conclusively rejected (because it was made-up bollocks).

        “Nicola” has now admitted it was made up bollocks, as now new ‘cogent’ arguments will be put forward instead (i.e. the old arguments were not cogent, and were made-up bollocks).

        “In parallel the dis-benefits of remaining in uk have to be spelt out, i.e. London rule by right wing tories.”

        Surveys indicate half of Scots feel the Scottish economy benefits from being part of the UK, with 15% are ambivalent, 23% (the nutters) think it is harmed.

        “ask not what can Scotland do for you, but what can you do for Scotland.”

        Your average Scot want more tax and spend paid for out of the communal pot (i.e. paid for by someone else, as most are net beneficiaries. And don’t tax me, tax them!!!)

        Too many Scots just want their own assumptions and prejudices validated, and to be reassured that their own self-made problems are All Someone Else’s Fault.

        There is no evidence that Scotland has any potential to be a ‘Nordic Utopia’ with everyone paying higher direct and indirect taxes across the board. None.

      4. Menabrea says:

        “The business case and benefits need to clear, simple to comprehend and sold, sol and sold again.”

        A “business case” (such as it was) was put to the Scottish electorate in 2014.

        It was conclusively rejected (because it was made-up bollocks).

        “Nicola” has now admitted it was made up bollocks, as now new ‘cogent’ arguments will be put forward instead (i.e. the old arguments were not cogent, and were made-up bollocks).

        “In parallel the dis-benefits of remaining in uk have to be spelt out, i.e. London rule by right wing tories.”

        Surveys indicate half of Scots feel the Scottish economy benefits from being part of the UK, with 15% are ambivalent, 23% (the nutters) think it is harmed.

        “ask not what can Scotland do for you, but what can you do for Scotland.”

        Your average Scot want more tax and spend paid for out of the communal pot (i.e. paid for by someone else, as most are net beneficiaries. And don’t tax me, tax them!!!)

        Too many Scots just want their own assumptions and prejudices validated, and to be reassured that their own self-made problems are All Someone Else’s Fault.

        There is no evidence that Scotland has any potential to be a ‘Nordic Utopia’ with everyone paying higher direct and indirect taxes across the board. None.

  3. David says:

    I am in SNP and I do think we need more energy inside the party invested in the general ideas of independence. i.e. not specifically related to saving us from Brexit, not specifically related to getting rid of Trident and any successors, not specifically about whisky or fishing or immigration, etc.

    I want to be in the EU, I want the Scottish fishing industry to be successful, I don’t want us to have nuclear weapons but rising above all of this is that I want us to have governments that we vote for that operate much closer to the people and can make the decisions about the EU, fishing, trident, etc that are in the best interests of the people of Scotland. I want a government that engages productively, effectively, compassionately and intelligently with all the constant change that our future generations will continue to face.

    And lets not be so stupid as to think we are burdened by having oil. If that’s your mindset then the rest of us will just have to carry you over the line and hope you’ll eventually smell the thistles.

  4. picpac says:

    Absolutely right. The SNP isn’t challenging the (political/economic/defence) status quo which locks us into NATO’s illegal wars and interventions and into the global finance system that exists to enrich a minuscule number of people and to support the global hegemonic ambitions of a certain “indispensable” nation (and its ‘shoulder-to-shoulder’ cronies in the UK and elsewhere).

    The major problem is that there is no democracy i.e. no official way for ‘the people’ (who are the legitimate sovereigns in a genuine democracy) to change the rules. The Democracy in Europe (DiEM) launched by Yannis Varoufakis recognises this problem and proposes that if institutional avenues for change are blocked, the people would have to resort to mass civil disobedience.

    There are already moves in various countries to equate civil protest with terrorism i.e. the undemocratic forces recognise that public discontent with their disastrous policies could boil over and threaten their power and are therefore trying to nip protest in the bud.

    Achieving significant change will not be easy or occur without sacrifice.

    1. Stonemill says:

      “The Democracy in Europe (DiEM) launched by Yannis Varoufakis recognises this problem and proposes that if institutional avenues for change are blocked, the people would have to resort to mass civil disobedience.”

      Thar she blows!

      Advocating unrest, violence and revolution.

      Be careful what you wish for. “Revolutions” have a habit of getting out of hand.

      And don’t think you’ll be left alone because your face is painted blue and you’ve got a flag to wave.

      You’ll be first against the wall.

  5. Yan says:

    Agree..!!

    More of what Scots are and can be than the dank propositions of independentism 🙂 culled from various dysfunctional ideologies.

    Nicola Sturgeon is foolishly playing away from home and subconsciously dabbling in British politics – as British liberalism was buried in the Rose Garden of Downing Street, Nicola Sturgeon’s Brit-centric independentism 🙂 may also end up being buried in a shallow grave in the backyard of Downing Street.

    1. tartanfever says:

      Right, so according to this comment and the article, the 55% that voted against independence did so because the SNP didn’t put out a radical enough vision of independence.

      Righto.

    2. Graeme Purves says:

      This is just gibberish. Try harder!

  6. Alan Russell says:

    “Last time round 45% of us voted YES for the SNP”… I didn’t, I voted Yes for independence. I thought it was only the No side who lazily painted this as party politics.

  7. Walter Hamilton says:

    A good starting point would be to look at the Pirate party in Island, four years in and about to take over in government, all done because of social media and as for their economy they jail corrupt bankers and talk about their economy run on the the block chain and using Bitcoin. Making it possible to cut out bankers and eliminate bank interest charges for transferring money.

  8. tartanfever says:

    What is the point in this article after the first paragraph where the author declares that 45% for independence will not increase because of Brexit or a whole host of other dire global meltdowns ?

    Should we all just shut up because nothing will change ?

    It’s an odd message.

  9. Crubag says:

    I think it’s unfair to say 45% voted SNP – the vote was for Yes. It included those opposed to the SNP just as the No vote included SNP supporters.

    But I don’t know where to start with your proposals…

    Take just one item, paying for imports. It will be the outside world who will determine the value of the Scots pound, based on how willing they are to be paid in it.

    1. c rober says:

      Yes but levers of change would be in Scotland , not Westminster control , and hopefully through a state bank – not a rothschild offshoot.

      1. Crubag says:

        What are levers of change?

        1. c rober says:

          The levers of change are the fiscal ones , like the ability to devalue , to create and formulate taxation , importantly through a state owned bank.

          Import tariffs on non food is one such lever , seeing as how manufacturing in Scotland isnt as great as our food and drinks for exports – ie underweight in the GDP , meaning a slow return to manufacturing , even if that means through using cheaper imports in lower employment areas , ie steel , in order to further improve a state owned green energy grid – cheapening the energy for manufacturing…. a knock on effect.

          THE LEVERS Which are important , as you rightly mention on the value of any new scots pound , in that it is worth what the global economy apportions it – ie directly affecting exports and imports. Control of such a lever is paramount , inflation is a direct result as we are seeing today.

          But this is also how we end up in biased trade agreements , thus our exports are not just commodities , but wealth is also exported , though things like TTIP in the guarantee that Americorp will not be sued in order to have export access to their markets.

          What the likes of TTIP prevents is punitive measures that other corporations still will have against them in America , like the bay of mexico happening in the EU would mean walk away , unlike BP. OR like Bhopal , or the mining disasters of South America.

  10. Graeme McCormick says:

    Independence must appeal to the Haves as their fear of Independence may be greater than the fear of leaving the EU.

    We must have the answers to the Unionist arguments which will be the same as 2014.

    This time we need answers which don’t depend on third party countries or the rUK.

    Currency is part of of that control.

    Annual Ground Rent can deliver the guarantee of sustaining public services and reduce the tax burden which will appeal to many of the Haves.

    It also provides the conditions for business to be created, develop and flourish.

  11. Andrew says:

    During the campaign people wanted to hear about change but they also needed reassurances and what made people swither was not whether or not change would happen but whether what people already had was protected and secure. That has not changed.

  12. c rober says:

    Good article , the independence of Scotland is won and lost on the economic argument.

    Project fear knew this , so played that tune.

    The SNP never used enough of its powers , to prove the argument , and of course punish the press afterwards for fear of their own becoming under the spotlight – The press , as we know is rarely owned by the masses , but instead by the wealthy , with well paid editors and hacks , all of whom have irons in the fire , so are keen to aid those in achieving their end result…. wealth protection for the few.

    A state people owned bank , housing for living in not funding the wealth of developers/land owners/banks/solicitors , AGR , corporation tax , and the goal of reducing fuel poverty with its international dependence on gas/coal/oil imports – through a nationalised green eco grid being that long term goal.

    IF we cant improve low wages , then we train for higher wages or lower the outgoings from mortgages to energy – avoiding also being overweight in financials meaning not in bed with banking , which as we have seen means taxpayer bailouts , austerity , low interest rates and pension fund drops.

    A State bank – through local banking , enabling councils to be the bankers , as well as the house builders of affordable bought and social rented is that start. Even if that goal is over more than one generation.

    One just needs to look and see how much in housing value is owned by the banks in the form of mortgages to see why this is also protected , yes you and I dont own that house until the last payment , and the SNP I am a sorry to tell the choir has no interest in radical change in that dept.

    Housing is as much an income for governments as with the devs , land owners and banks. If we must talk devolved and sovereign power , then the SNP should practice what they preach on community empowerment and land reform in order for that to happen… but when you see that failure to supply , or ignoring communities that reject , then this isnt project fear or snp bad in action.

    AS I often say , the Holyrood midge needs bite to Westminster might in order to supply an indy fight , blaming doesnt work when the powers for change are already in Holryood hands for the beginning of change – thus independence is more likely to be gained by proven supply…. or at the very least some fight in the dog.

    Sadly it is failing on land reform , on housing for homes not for banks profits , and gearing LDP for land owners and developers – while claiming community empowerment , when its internal docs prove its for wealth creation first.

    As this is the biggest single outgoing of Scottish low paid workers , either in private rented restricting market bought supply and increasing prices , or in social housing rented for the unemployed funded by the taxpayer , then this is the FIRST port of call for change. Only then can cheaper housing result in shorter mortgages , increased employment , and more take home pay – increasing SCOTTISH non export led gdp.

  13. Crubag says:

    “AS I often say , the Holyrood midge needs bite to Westminster might in order to supply an indy fight , blaming doesnt work when the powers for change are already in Holryood hands for the beginning of change – thus independence is more likely to be gained by proven supply…. or at the very least some fight in the dog.”

    I think more could be done – quickly, easily and comprehensively – to demonstrate the potential of indy by reforming local government. Local representation and decision-making closer to the people, as in the rest of Europe, could be done in a few years, returning to the old pattern of Scottish governance.

    The trend at the moment is in the opposite direction – centralising, top-down, target driven.

    (On land reform, that ship has sailed. Peace has been made with the landowners and the community owner representatives, there’s even a protocol now. I suspect it was the realisation government simply couldn’t afford more than a few token buyouts that brought about the detente).

    1. Graeme Purves says:

      You have misread where we are on land reform.

      1. Crubag says:

        The protocol is announced here:

        http://www.scottishlandandestates.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5066:cabinet-secretary-welcomes-launch-of-protocol-for-negotiated-sales&catid=71:national&Itemid=107

        There’s also a patch of long grass being created called the Land Commissionwho will consider land issues for the next fifteen years until they are wound up.

        But basically there is no money to buy meaningful amounts of land or property and give it to someone else.

        1. c rober says:

          Crubag , but there is.

          Starting with taxation on offshore ownership , then expanded onto removing subsidies , then percentages for eco generation and indigenous reforesting alongside timber – ie the more you own the more you are taxed , as land is moved to the public through taxation as ownership , say over 100 years. The reports used for the half arsed effort that was land reform highlighted many of those ideas and others.

          The SNP and the wider indy movement did lots to have the electorate show its teeth at the landowner , citing near half the country owned by just shy of 500 people or corporations.

          What change from land reform since , not much , and if truth be told on the LDP structure and legislation – it has worsened , where the review of LDP currently doing the rounds in the house is to be believed – further removal of rejections from communities for housing will be adopted.

          Land only has value if it is worked by those that own it.

          The cheapest income generator for land owners is housing on farmland , moving that land worth 2k an acre or less , as arable , to more than 50x that with planning as housing , which is guaranteed through being added the LDP system. So councils , Holyrood are complacent if not aiding the wealth creation of land owners – as well as private developers , shareholders and commuting trades.

          Once land is added to the LDP it defeats the protection supposedly Holyrood gives it , ie the many reasons why it cant be built on , but if you were to ask for the same land as to privately increase your garden and your neighbours , then you would be told by the same dept it is prevented through protection legislation. But somehow the same dept will rubber stamp houses on it instead if/when its added to the LDP….against community rejection.

          This is SNP land reform in action , not Westminster , not Slab.

          1. Crubag says:

            As soon as legal personalities, e.g. companies, trusts etc., are allowed to own property, any restrictions on foreign ownersip can be worked around.

            I’d agree with your crticisms of the LDP process, it’s geared to volume housebuilding whether the local community wants it or not or even if the local area can absorb it.

            A proper land reform agenda would give the community the same right of appeal as a developer.

        2. Graeme Purves says:

          The Land Reform Review Group made over 60 recommendations on matters as diverse as transparency of ownership, farm tenancies, mechanisms for delivering land for housing and other development, the transfer of assets to communities, crofting, and common property. That gives the Scottish Land Commission a substantial agenda to be getting on with.

          The claim that “there is no money” to do things is an argument favoured by the financially illiterate.

          Protocols can be useful.

          1. Crubag says:

            Exactly my point. The long grass beckons.

            (the biggest achievement will be in completing the land register over the next ten years, which will at least give nominal ownership, and the first hard, public data for us to work with.)

          2. Graeme Purves says:

            Your central point was that there is no money, which is always a weak argument. Your interpretation of the implications of the protocol is eccentric to say the least.

  14. Fay Kennedy. says:

    Education has to be the priority. A people who call themselves part of a nation need to recognise they are steeped in ignorance of its history and thus doomed to failure. Values have to be challenged bluntly. Greed, envy and how they are supported in grossly unfair social systems that benefit the few over the many need to be challenged and that will mean a bit of heartache and letting go of things we once half believed in. We need to liberate ourselves from the same old songs from the same old song book. Scotland has a great opportunity to build a different model of what belonging to a nation means. But it will take courage and determination.

    1. c rober says:

      Education would only further the taking ownership by all in Scotland as stakeholders , so your right , but apathy is hard to educate out , as is working and commuting 12 hour days in order to pay for your home – That mortgage debt , owed to those that caused the financial crisis , in itself is a contributory factor to preventing change.

      The banks are pushing for 5x multiples of home income , meaning 30 year mortgages , where the electorate is worked to death. Importantly in the press this is classed , or is being propogandised as “affordable” homes , not aspirational , or executive commuter homes in the suburbs of Milngavie or Bearsden.

      Removing this millstone cant be achieved with education for all , there simply isnt enough high paying jobs to go around.

      It is also ironic that once any real education , ie a degree outside of media studies for example is achieved , that they either move southward for employment which cant be found locally – or find themselves stacking shelves , on zero hour contracts , unable to afford local housing.

      Bursaries are something which would aid education , in that the professional classes , where there is a defined need in employment , like doctors and nurses , thus a current need for immigrants to fill those jobs through local lack of supply , this as Scottish newly qualified ones move south , would work alongside councils and Holyrood paying for the education – locking the graduate in to remaining through golden handcuffs for a fixed time period.

  15. punklin says:

    Sniping at the Snp does nothing for independence.

    An easy target from an armchair.

    1. Gordon McShean says:

      Punklin, you say sniping at the SNP does nothing for independence. However, one might hope that sniping could ultimately bring some in The Party to see that, whether disagreements originate from SNP leaders or its critics, mediation might be valuable. The achievement of independence is unlikely to occur without involving Scots who hold various opinions of political necessities. Many of us have felt excluded by the SNP without reason. My own appeals over some years for party assistance in returning to Scotland have remained unanswered. Indeed, in one circumstance my “undercover” personal attendance was completely ignored (this has been particularly hurtful, as the SNP was involved in the incident that caused my exile. You may criticize the “snipers” as critics taking aim from an armchair, but I can assure you (some noted in my memoir RETIRED TERRORIST), I know of many busy patriots who have undertaken initiatives and continue to pursue “Home Rule” despite the Party’s apparently comfortable conditions in the terribly inadequate “government” the English have vowchsaved them.

      1. c rober says:

        So armchair or not , then are we not to expect openess , truth and accountability from our elected bodies? Has anyone asked exactly why so many of Holyrood committees removed their openness to private chambers , on land reform and housing including LDP?

        Without such things as armchair sniping , at least three SNP politicians would still have the whip.

        So we shouldn’t question why legislation creation is for the benefit of lawyers and landlords – of which many politicians , including the SNP ones are personally? Or why landlords are on housing committees?

        The last resort of a lost argument is the victimization kerd , even to the point of blaming others when your supply is poor , when all else fails bring out the SNP bad badge and hope at least the blinkers dont come off.

  16. J Galt says:

    So you’re going to lure the 55% who voted for No Change with lots of Change?

    I think the SNP are right to be cautious or else with lots of “Change” you might turn the 55% into the 75%!

  17. Crubag says:

    @Graeme Purves – my intepretation of the protocol is that it has no implications. It’s window dressing.

    1. Graeme Purves says:

      A protocol is a protocol, neither more nor less. There will be situations in which it will prove useful, so its existence is itself an advance.

      But if the Land Commission were to be instrumental in the delivery of substantive measures of reform in the areas recommended by the Land Reform Review Group, would you still adhere to the view that its establishment had kicked land reform into the long grass?

      1. Crubag says:

        I think the problem with the Land Reform Group was they never managed to define the problem – as they had no data on land ownership or management – so we end up with 60+ recommendations that are mostly minor tweaks to existing practices and won’t make much difference to land ownership or managememt – though as we don’t have the data we won’t know.

        Until the land register is complete, and that will take another 10 years, we won’t even know at a niminal level who owns all the different properties in Scotland.

        1. Graeme Purves says:

          I entirely agree that it’s important to crack on with the completion of the registry, but I don’t think the lack of a complete register need prevent us from undertaking a wide range of useful reforms in the meantime. There are a lot of things we can do to empower communities in relation to the ownership and management of land and the Land Commission can play a useful role in taking that agenda forward.

  18. Elizabeth says:

    As soon as ‘Braveheart’ is mentioned I tune out. Independence has nothing to do with this dubiously historical film and the mere mention of it sets the movement back. Also, I voted yes but not to support SNP. I can not count how many conversations I have had where any talk of independence with ‘soft no’ friends has to start by arguing that yes does not = SNP and has nothing to do with Braveheart. Equally an easy unionist way to shut down any discussion about independence is to accuse someone of naive Braveheart fantasies. Please do not give this sort of talk any more credence on Bella.

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