Unicornucopia

There seems to be a new frenzy of enthusiasm for an immediate second referendum on Scottish independence. The contempt with which Scotland (and Wales and Ireland) have been treated through the Brexit process, the role of the House of Lords, the coming economic chaos and the unacknowledged but obvious rise of a new virulent English nationalism have all stoked frustration and anger. So too has the media lies and distortion – whether through collusion with a fetid elite or a conscious manipulation through Dark Money and Stinky Data.

But the conclusions drawn from this bitter experience seem to combine a wrong analysis of almost all of the major events of the day, from Brexit through Trump, from Cambridge Analytica through to the Catalan referendum. It’s as if people have taken all of the wrong conclusions and put them in a large jar marked: “Let’s Make  a Really Crap Case for Indyref 2”. There’s several strands to this truly dismal prospectus being trundled out about the social media sphere.

One of the key new ‘ideas’ is that the White Paper was useless in 2014 (partly true) and so instead we should just dispense with policies, any details or a vision of where we’re going. This is a kind of blend of the worst subterfuge of Alexander Nix with the lies of the Trump and Brexit right. Barrhead Boy writes:

“Elections, Referendums are never won by policies they are won by feeling, mood and narrative we have to control those and we do it in several ways firstly highlighting the paucity of the British Union . Make them justify their British Union, remember the 3 things question? Elections are about Sales & Marketing, not policies, policies are for the anoraks the chattering classes and the commentators. Can anyone remember any policies that won Brexit? However I bet you all remember the two slogans which won it, one on the side of a big red bus £350,000,000 and the other phrase ‘Take back control’ Trump won in USA on two slogans “Lock her up” and “Make America great again”

It’s difficult to know where to begin about why this is such a disastrously terrible position to take – but lets just say that if you’re wanting to form a new democracy, basing your campaign on the most recently exposed corruption of democracy isn’t great.

Father Jason takes this baton on one step further and argues that: “Independence will not be won by making the case for independence. We’ve tried that already.”

But I thought in doing that we took a low 30% up to a high-water mark of nearer 50? Was that a fail?

That was achieved by patient, relentless and positive campaigning, reaching out beyond your base and being conscious of how you were being perceived.

Then, echoing the Cambridge Analytica mantra he continues:

“Feelings, not well-reasoned and politely delivered arguments, win votes in the modern political context. Better Together won in 2014 not because it convinced anyone Scotland was incapable of statehood, but because it terrorised just enough of the electorate to persuade them to vote for the status quo. Feels trump reals in modern politics, and whether we like that fact or not we had better bloody get used to it. Independence will not be won in Scotland with what Pete Wishart recently described as a “persuasive new case to overcome deeply held convictions.” Independence will be won by the side that can inflict the most discomfort on the other.”

This may have you feeling deeply uncomfortable or you may be gleefully anticipating a herd of unchained unicorns, but just to check back with you, the indy movement which prided itself on being civic, left and progressive-focussed is now being championed by people who want to focus not just on the key ideas of Brexit and Trump but of Better Together. That’s quite a Butterfly Rebellion.

When Father Jason says: “The next time we are on campaign we should be painting the ugly pictures” – I wonder what he means?

This is a riff on Jason’s friend Peter Bell who famously champions angry people just shouting at other (possibly angry) people as a political strategy.

This idea against ‘complexity’ is widespread.

The activist Melissa Iacone @meljomur writes: “I think it needs to be far more simplified. Not to ignore specific issues, but to make it more emotional this time.”

“I believe too many people are over complicating the independence question.”

So ‘simple and emotional’ is the key to success we’re told. I’m not sure how much of this is explicitly brought from Cambridge Analytica, Trump, Brexit and Better Together but it seems very plain. The reality is that in all political campaigns Means and Ends matter. As Audre Lorde wrote: “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house”.

I can think of no worse idea than basing the campaign for Scottish democracy on a mirror of that of the far-right and the movement of lies that was (and is) Better Together and Brexit.

New Yes

It’s not all bad.

There’s lots of solid action and organising and community-rooted campaigns. There’s lots of positive energy. New campaigns and initiatives are emerging fast. The Indy Pledge is a brilliant sign of awareness.

I don’t know what the best time is for the next independence referendum is.

But I do know that to launch into it without a strategy for overcoming the political, legal, and cultural obstacles and urging people just to act is mindless.

The absolute belief that we will win any referendum ‘because we are right’ is a mistake. We can win and we should win but we need to choose the grounds to have that battle on and we need to step outside the bubble of the sub-culture that most of this debate takes place in. If we don’t we just repeat the mistakes of 2014, and the result will be the same.

There’s a world to be won and a country to be reclaimed.

Much / most of the No campaign’s promises have been exposed as shameless lies and nonsense. The unfolding Brexit process leaves Britain a laughing stock of xenophobic triumphalism. The lessons from Catalonia need to be learnt. The lessons from 2014 need to be reflected on. An entirely fresh project needs to be allowed to emerge with core values and new ideas, rooted in communities and passionate but calmly rational, that is what will win.

Comments (50)

Join the Discussion

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

  1. Alan Crocket says:

    There’s truth in this, but there’s also truth in the approach it attacks. Any Indy2 campaign should be both positive and negative. The positive should be put not in the weighty form of a white paper, but in the much more digestible and effective form of an updated Wee Blue Book, a copy of which should be put through the letterbox of every household in the country. On the negative side, the union should be targeted remorselessly, but in blood which is cold rather than hot. And notwithstanding the current hooplah about the dark arts of social media, by far the more profitable technique is something called knocking on doors and talking to people.

    1. Thanks Alan, I totally agree on the need for rebuttal

  2. Somerled says:

    A somewhat confused article.

    You start by talking about the frenzied rise in demand for an immediate referendum on Scottish independence. So I read, thinking, assuming, you had some alternative, reasoned view on the timing. But no. As you say yourself in the article, you have no idea when it should be held.

    Now, then, all this stuff you say about “feeling” and keeping things simple is, to be clear, a discussion on strategy, not timing. So, you want to talk about strategy. Let’s do that.

    The strategy you are espousing here is tried and tested, I’ll grant you that, and it has its merits on paper. Just one problem; when we tried and tested it, it failed.

    You also leave out the reasoning behind that more simplified and less complicated strategy. There are many, myself included, who felt that the SNP and Yes movement dug too many holes for itself when it started going into all that intellectual detail about things like currency, passports, and Europe in 2014.

    Nobody to my knowledge has argued that we will win “because we are right”. And nobody, to my knowledge, is suggesting that we should embrace Trump’s views on anything, or the views of the hard right, as you suggest. These sort of straw man arguments definitely won’t do, Mike, but they are strangely emotional…

    What various people are saying, as you know, is that the Indy movement needs to put more emphasis on the emotional or moral case and negative campaigning. Don’t knock negative campaigning, by the way, it’s entirely as appropriate as positive campaigning in most circumstances and has a proven track record.

    Indeed, negative campaigning ended slavery, got ordinary people the vote, and is a key driver of human progress going right back to the day that some man (or woman) lept from the trees and decided to have a gander at what was on offer down below.

    The realisation that “this is kinda shit” is the first step anyone takes towards making changes, making things better, and making progress.

    What’s so negative about all that?

    1. The arguments aren’t ‘straw-man’ because I quote very specific examples in the article of there tendencies I am arguing against.

      I’m not sure that talking about what currency you’re going to have in a new country is “intellectual” and I’m struggling to see the coherence of launching a new campaign on a slogan, and yes that is specifically what several commentators are suggesting.

      1. Somerled says:

        On reflection, I think you’re right. Your arguments and quotes go way beyond the straw man and are much more opprobrious.
        We can all quote selectively, though.
        If you are seriously suggesting that people like Barrhead Boy, Melisa Lacone, and Butterfly Rebellion, are right wing goons who share views with the likes of Trump, I would say you had lost the plot.
        But we know you aren’t. And we know that what you’re really doing is using the very sort of negative rhetoric you purport to be against to bolster an argument about indyref2 strategy. That’s fine but rise above the temptation to point score.
        This sort of divisive junk is beneath you, Mike, and I don’t say that lightly.

        1. The quotes are very specific and self-explanatory.

          You make no effort to engage in constructive argument or actually deal with the details of the post at all.

    2. SleepingDog says:

      @Somerled, you say: “negative campaigning ended slavery, got ordinary people the vote”.

      How exactly did that work? And is it not rather the point that without the popular vote, a campaign to effect change through Parliament had to focus on the unrepresentative minority who could influence Parliamentary process? After last century’s enfranchisement reforms, UK campaigning has a much broader electorate to win over.

      Sure, Gelien Matthews in Caribbean Slave Revolts and the British Abolitionist Movement argues that during one phase propaganda related to the prospect of slave revolts was used, although not to create general fear (the British public were largely removed from the Caribbean islands) but fear of losing property and control amongst the slave-owners so heavily represented in Parliament. However, it was the positive backing of some British anti-slavers that reached slaves and was a factor in encouraging them to demand their rights and freedom.

      Just before the Demerara revolt, an anonymous February 1823 article in the Edinburgh Review said that slaves not only had a right, but a duty to revolt, if need be destroying their masters. This was an example of the more radical, positive and rights-based phase Matthews identifies with later and more successful stages of anti-slavery argument. Some viewed the Demerara revolt as a strike, a natural counterpart to British workers’ struggles. Principles of universality were overcoming division.

      Freedom struggles are essentially concerned with overcoming fear. Not least the fear of freedom itself, for which positive support (for example educational, material, critical) provides encouragement.

      1. Somerled says:

        I don’t have the energy to respond in detail, suffice to say that your first paragraph has no bearing on anything since the scope of the franchise in the 19th century has absolutely and precisely nothing to do with anything I said.
        The rest of it is just playing with words and that’s fine, we all do it.

      2. MBC says:

        There were quite a few negative arguments against slavery as I recollect that were very effective. The strongest ones, apart from those pointing out the extreme cruelty that was routinely inflicted on black bodies in order to control them, was that slavery was an evil which corrupted all who were involved in it including white slave owners. That in order to control by terror another race to hold them in such abject subjugation, slavery turned fairly normal, ordinary men into sadistic brutes.

        1. SleepingDog says:

          @MBC, yes, those arguments were made. But historically speaking, in the UK, what turned out to be effective was an enormous bribe. We like money, said the slaveholders. They got it, and a new phase of slavery in the form of apprenticeships. The carrot won over the stick.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavery_Abolition_Act_1833#Compensation_for_slave_owners

  3. SleepingDog says:

    Well, yes. Perhaps there have been several golden ages of pamphleteering. Armies have been stopped in their tracks by political debate. Revolutionaries have quoted from political tracts as they mounted the barricades. Debates have raged during civil strife. Coherent, detailed argument works, persuades, endures: forms the backbone of movements.

    If you employ the politics of fear, how does that make you different in kind from a tyrant or terrorist, or distinguish your tactics from someone who thinks might is right? Surely reason should be the arbiter, supported by values appropriate to the long term view?

    An underlying project aim of the chicanery described by this article is presumably the replacement of rational political dialogue, which would serve the interests of the powers behind the status quo. Just like the spread of fake news is surely not aimed simply to smear opponents but to undermine faith in a useful and reasonably accurate journalism.

    Small improvements in patterns of behaviour scale up by emulation, as the ancient sages knew. From The Water Margin television series:
    “Do not despise the snake for having no horns, for who is to say it will not become a dragon?
    “So may one just man become an army.”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Water_Margin_(1973_TV_series)

    1. Somerled says:

      I struggle to even imagine someone being more wrong.

      You could argue that every socialist or Marxist revolution that has ever taken place was premised on the politics of fear. More than that, Marxism (historical materialism) itself is premised on the politics of fear (albeit dressed up as science).

      Is it the politics of fear to point out what could befall of Scotland if we don’t get out of this moribund Union?

      Is it negative campaigning to look at the growing numbers who rely on food banks, and the rising numbers of children in poverty here in Scotland and say “this is shit… we could do so much better”?

      1. SleepingDog says:

        @Somerled, the Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels is pitched at “the working men of all countries” and in its closing passage states “The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.” This is a positive message of hope for a better world, and rejects fear (nothing to lose). Another well-known description by Marx of life under communism describes a world where people can do different things in morning, afternoon and evening without the ties of wage bondage. In fact, Marx might be more criticised as utopian than fear-mongering.
        https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Communist_society

        I suppose if someone is a social parasite who consumes greatly more value than they produce, they might be alarmed by the “spectre of Communism”. Why do you suppose these ideas create such hysteria in some quarters? How exactly are socialist revolutionaries motivated by fear?

        On the contrary, as a materialist, Marx was keen to compare existing conditions with a materially better life in the future (as indeed has happened for many, due partly to advances in science, technology and social policy; while many still suffer the deprivations noted in Marx’s day).

        I am unclear about what errors you thing I have made. Do you disagree that political ideas were publicly debated at great length and depth through the medium of pamphlets? There is vast documentary evidence to suggest that happened throughout history. Popularising commentaries on others’ works, dialogues through print and letters, works read out for the illiterate, works smuggled into and out of confinement; why dumb things down now in the modern age?

        Armies have mutinied at least partly due to political agitation throughout history, I suppose; the example I had in mind was the Kornilov army revolt:
        “The Soviet had performed several acts such as working with rail worker unions in order to impede Kornilov’s army’s progress towards Petrograd as well as infiltrating the army for the purpose of sabotage and convincing soldiers within the force to desert, all in an effort to halt and weaken the forces of Kornilov.”
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kornilov_affair#The_affair

        1. Somerled says:

          More selective quotes. Seems to be doing the rounds these days…

          The central foundational keystone of Marxism, as I alluded to above, is historical materialism, otherwise known as dialectical materialism. That is the central idea that just about everything he said about the past and the future was based upon.

          In terms of his projections as to the future, not only was he proven wrong by events but his arguments, which nobody could deny were essentially speculative, amounted to rhetorical fear mongering.

          Now simmer down a little and try to understand my point of view. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with using negative arguments or campaigning as a means to an end. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad guy and if it did we’d need to re-write the history books starting with the role of Jesus and probably his father too.

          I didn’t say anything about the history of pamphlets. I will now though: I have no interest in the subject.

  4. Interpolar says:

    We might not win because we are right, but unlike the Brexiteers, we need to be right to win. And Yes2 will have to make a coherent case, as its battleground will not be those who fell for Brexit, but those who did not.
    A substantial part of an Indy2 campaign will be a rematch on the Yes and BT positions of 2014, before moving on from there. Yes2 must relentlessly deconstruct BT’s promises and predictions of the day and expose the British Establishment’s untrustworthiness for what it is, negative as this might be. But expect BT2 to home in on Scotland’s public finances. Forget the currency issue, as long as this one is not persuasively countered. Whoever emerges best from this contest will have upper hand when it comes to arguing Scotland’s prospects as an independent nation.
    From there, Yes2 will have to paint an honest and positive prospect for Scotland’s future that leads beyond the Brexit quagmire and the ugliness of English nationalism – and highlights the advantages and coolness of being a small nation.

    So yes, there has to be a positive and negative. On the one hand, a clear critique of the nastiness that Britishness has come to espouse and indeed represent (living abroad I can attest that Cool Britannia is well and truly dead) and for which one must be ashamed, but on the other, show a path to unfolding a new, empowering identity which is not just received, but which everyone living in Scotland can actively take part in shaping.

  5. Sal Newton says:

    I thought Indy supporters were asked to stop critising each other and concentrate on the goal instead of giving british nationalists more words to gloat over?
    Has Bella Caledonia signed the pledge yet?
    By all means write your own opinions, but stop patronsising and criticising others.

    1. Hi Sal – yes signed the pledge and have been heavily promoting it. Nothing in the pledge suggests people should be critical or reflective. There’s nothing remotely patronising in the article which is just arguing for strategic thinking and for a positive case for independence. Thanks for commenting.

    2. Jo says:

      Very harsh Sal. I didn’t find the article remotely patronising.

      On the point about not criticising each other, have a read at the comments of Mhairi Black in a Herald article today. She takes various swipes at Salmond. In fact I’d say she was downright nasty. She claimed support for independence didn’t rise to 45% because of Salmond but “despite” him. Personally I found that unbelievable from such a young and relatively new politician.

      Like him or loathe him there is no way the SNP would have achieved government in Scotland without Salmond in 2007. Black should remember that before she insults him in an address to the Scottish Secular Society. She should also bear in mind the fact that four years later the SNP, with Salmond in charge, achieved the impossible and won an outright majority at Holyrood! And most importantly, she needs to understand that without his leadership she would not be where she is today!

      She spoke too of how she “hated” the White Paper and how she’d told people to “just ignore it”! That’s a great strategy, eh?

      I was delighted by Black’s work on the WASPI women situation. After reading this today however I’m not so sure. Having also taken the time to assure the SSS that after being raised in a “really, really catholic family” she was now a committed atheist, I’m starting to think she’s learning fast how to be a real operator!

      1. MBC says:

        Yes, that was disappointing that she teamed up with SSS. I have nothing against those who have no religious faith but the SSS are antagonistic and intolerant and that’s inconsistent with liberty of conscience and a liberal society based on mutual respect of difference.

  6. ED says:

    how about, TAKE SCOTLAND’S OIL BACK, MAKE SCOTLAND GREAT AGAIN!!!

  7. CathyW says:

    I very much agree with Mike’s article and I think some commentators are missing his point(s). OK, there needs to be ‘negativity’ in the sense of setting out why the arguments against independence are wrong and what lies were/are told, but in making both the positive and negative aspects of the case for independence we need to present real arguments based on progressive politics and offer a tangible picture of the kind of country we want to become. Snappy slogans are good only so long as they convey some real and decent politics behind them as well as building enthusiasm. It is at best vapid (smacks of desperation and frustration, I think) and at worst highly dangerous to promote independence for Scotland on the basis of ‘hearts and not minds’. People do care about the reasons and purposes: we should not be appealing to mass emotion as a substitute. It is essential to our credibility and persuasiveness that we exemplify the values we want to establish in a future independent state and that we have the right foundations to build it on – though of course not with every policy detail decided in advance. A progressive Scotland is worth fighting for: a regressive one is not.

    1. Thanks Cathy – yeah I’m not denying the need for their to be robust cutting (and hopefully devastating) critique of the British state, its politics, institutions and economic failings, of course not.

      I am arguing for a positive case for independence and for a detailed prospectus about what this means. I’m also pleading for people to step outside the bubble and recognise that, as always, the need is to engage people who don’t agree with you (and that shouting at them wont work). The fact that any of thus is remotely controversial is astonishing.

  8. Somerled says:

    I’ve decided this discussion is stupid. We didn’t lost in 2014 because of strategy, we lost because of the media, particularly the BBC, and lies like The Vow.

    In truth a 5 year old could win the argument whether he argued positively, negatively, emotionally, or rationally.

    1. MBC says:

      We lost because we were ow’r feart. Too many Scots lacked the confidence and will to go for it. We bottled it. That’s the basic story affecting the majority of Scots-born No voters. That’s the key group to aim for if we want to win.

      I don’t know how to reach them, honestly. Generation after generation have been indoctrinated to think that we are crap. And to be content to wait passively at the back of the queue.

      Passivity. Apathy.

    2. Derek c says:

      Poppycock…if you think you lost?!(it’s not a game of cricket ) down to auntie beeb (generally biased towards the left) your seriously deluded ..nationalists English/Scottish are generally 2 cheeks of the same erse ..and your underestimating yer fellow jocks on their ability to make their own decisions..the meeja paranoia is worth a giggle though..

  9. Elaine Fraser says:

    I felt this in 2014 and I still feel the same way. Make Indy2 about one thing – housing. When I talk about this subject to my mostly female friends I know everyone is worried especially for their children in the future. But the conversation doesnt last long because people dont feel there is a solution out there and it feels too big to solve.

    Show people how housing works in other countries.

    Enshrine the right to a decent home in the new Scottish constitution. Put a questionnaire through everyones door asking them for their views on housing.

    Build build build . Give people something they actually need and understand. I know Commonweal have got a paper on this but I dont know anyone reading it.

    Ask any young person whats worrying them . Ask any parent. The housing market is broken and I believe people will give their YES vote if they can see a solution. Nothing is more ’emotional’ than knowing you have or haven’t a secure roof over your head!

    1. MBC says:

      Absolutely agree with your thinking. 40,000 young Scots between 16-25 leave Scotland every year to seek better fortunes elsewhere, mainly England. These are people we have borne, raised, educated, invested heavily in. But they do not stay. A variety of reasons for going, a culture of seeking your fortune in England being one. Adventure, another. But at root it’s housing. It comes back to autonomy. To a place of your own.

      1. Derek c says:

        Utter bollocks..if you believe most Scots uproots cause of housing then you need to move to a remote Scots island and keep your thoughts to yourself..I left for over 10 years in various countries and whilst I was lying on the beach down under I often wondered if only the housing in Scotland wasn’t so grim I wouldn’t be lying in this paradise enjoying my life..if only I was on the beach in largs with an affordable home..island folk naturally look outwards..and a combination of Scots people Scots weather ..and Scots attitudes is more than enough to tempt folk away..the self proclaimed best country in the world isn’t a big enough magnet to keep her folk that you personally have educated..we have borne we have educated..nationalist tripe..most Scots don’t come back..why is that??the wages are like for like in almost all of the uk (bar London)and in the inglorious eu..it’s more likely so they don’t have to listen to your guff..not because of a leaky roof in pollok..same shit rules apply in all of Europe

    2. Derek c says:

      You sound like the shrill woman from the Simpsons…why won’t someone think of the children !! parents from the thatcher generation bought homes and are leaving them to their children..the sole reason for buying it..so they don’t go through the same shit we did..if you didn’t you missed the boat..sure the housing stock wasn’t replaced well enough by various governments…it sticks in the craw of the left but the right to buy lifted thousands of children out of poverty..I grew up in a council estate and folk bettered themselves due to it.,our parents really had nothing..a foodbank would have been a luxury..but folk were Harder working then..and hardier people ..even my generation me on a yts scheme would never have got me on the property ladder..greedy landlords nowadays and affordable housing of course are mightily important issues..but alas not one to gain independence on..more no voters than yes own their homes and are more than likely to be perturbed about the interest rates in an independent Scotland than a foodbank ..shameful perhaps but true..in fact I would suggest that’s an even more important issue(not for me)than trident in a no voters mind..you have to remember most humans are selfish ..and their interests come first..before that of their neighbors or country..if there’s any suspicion that things are gonna cost more..then the canny scot will not be amused..he will elect to stick with the status quo..however undesirable that may be..but enough waffle fae me..I’m away to watch spotscene and see if anyone has broke broonies leg..

  10. Isabel Cooney says:

    I can relate to the impatience felt by our fellow Yes movement. Surely time is of the essence here. If we don’t move before Brexit deadline there is every likelihood that our resources will be stolen by WM and our devolved Parliament left powerless. We must get a referendum prior to Brexit.
    From my perspective the grass route movements can use some of the tactics you dismiss because the serious and in depth plans will be again done by our SNP government.
    I believe we need to be on the offensive. In 2014 we were interrogated and bullied by unionist reporters and broadcasters. We need to put the ball in our court and challenge unionists to tell us the benefits for Scotland in remaining in this union. We also need to point out that it is England that is too poor to survive without Scotland. That’ll get them excited!
    We all need to work together on this and give it our all.

    1. Derek c says:

      One of the benefits is the low unemployment in the uk compared to the Eu countries..no one is denying Scotland could stand her on 2 feet..that is a given..if you think the neo liberal tories are bad now multiply Brexit by a thousand and see how they behave once all the British companies ba ..aerospace the list is endless behave towards us..they will shaft us..so you have to be prepared for a bigger battle..they will act like that twat at Ineos grangemouth..they will do a sky sports on Scotland..if they treat us like dirt on the soles of their shoes just now when they need us…on the flip side there’s an abundance of cash to be made in Scotland through obvious sectors..and no one will turn their back on that.. I don’t necessarily see Westminster as the enemy..they are well down the rungs of the ladder..in the grand scheme..puppets really..I’d love to see a bigger battle between the people and states the world over ..

  11. Big Jock says:

    You say with certainty that we need to choose the right battlefield. How in God’s name do you know for certain that right now is not the right battlefield. You have actually destroyed your own argument here by immediately dismissing the timing that others feel is right.

    You don’t go into a referendum knowing anything other than you have a 50/50 chance of success or failure. This idea that we pick a time when we know we can win or the polls are in our favour or when the sun is shining is a lot of fantasy. It will never be perfect!

    In my opinion you go when the opposition is at it’s weakest. This is actually the most inept government in UK history. This is our time right now ,we go after them when they are fighting battles with the EU and now Russia. That’s why there is a clamour for a referendum, it’s the part you have missed in your dissection. They are all over the place. In 2 years time they might actually turn things around or there might be a change of guard , we simply don’t know.

    But greater than all of this is democracy itself. Scotland voted to remain in the EU in every single constituency. If we allow England to take us out of the EU and we don’t even fight for it. Then as far as I am concerned Scotland is finished.

  12. Kenny Smith says:

    I will never stop believing in indy or voting, arguing for it but I am starting to think no matter what may come or even if 75% of the population demands it London will only grant it when there is nothing left to plunder. Watch as we steam roll out of the EU a new unity act is passed in parliament and London goes full on Madrid mode. We can’t win because they don’t and won’t ever play fair. As sad as it is the only way we will get indy is to withdraw our MPs from Westminster and pass a dissolving act in Holyrood before march 2019 and I can’t see it happening, partly because we are too timid. I’m not saying let start an armed up rising but we really need the SNP or whoever to really start being a bit more offensive and disruptive for as long as we play by their rules they control the game. Personally I wouldn’t be surprised if we end up at war and indy is forced to take a back seat, now is not the time will take a new meaning. I seriously hope I’m wrong about that though

  13. Big Jock says:

    Kenny you are right. The Irish refused to sit at Westminster. That eventually led to a constitutional crisis. We are already heading down that rod.

    If the UK takes back 24 devolved powers from the EU then the UK is over. Nicola has been very clear on that when she said the SG would never agree to anything that gave powers back to WM.

    I suspect she is waiting for that to be confirmed. Then there are two options. Withdraw from Westminster or an emergency referendum or both.

    This might be a 4 week indi campaign!

  14. Jim Fraser says:

    I very much hope that the next independence referendum campaign has BOTH detailed thinking on important issues re. managing the nation (the currency choices; dealing with Trident; the NHS) AND a simple expression of what independence is all about at more emotional level.

    THe former can only be drawn in broad brushstrokes anyway, since it’ll be down to the first independent parliament to decide what will actually happen (and may indeed be subject to negotiation/blocking by the rUK – that’ll be fun, if the Brexit debacle is anything to go by).

    How compelling the slogan-cum-emotional expression of the campaign will be depends on what most people can get their heads around and care about. Much though many of us despise them, the Brexit slogan “Let’s Take Back Control” and Trump’s “Make America Great Again” worked very well on big sections of their respective electorates.

    I think they did so by saying (in words of one-syllable) a ‘wrong’ could be righted by the simple act of voting the right way. In 2014, when Alex Salmond rightly said we were not oppressed and did not need to be liberated, I think we were lacking a big enough wrong in many people’s heads that would justify us taking the chances associated with the unknown (independence). For me, the democratic deficit of decades of Tory rule in Scotland was enough of a wrong, but clearly many people just didn’t feel it was sufficiently painful to ditch the UK (after all they had lived with it for years, and life went on).

    What has changed – or, more correctly, is in the process of changing – is Brexit. The same friends who voted No (and in fact spent two years just wishing that vote would just go away) have been wishing Brexit also would just go away. It won’t. I suspect rather that it will come to be seen as the wrong that must be righted. That, instead of the seeming certainty of going down with the xenophobic, backward-looking Brexit ship, even the unwilling would instead rather ‘build something better’ in an independent Scotland.

    Will Brexit be enough, if and when it finally comes? I don’t know, but I see nothing else that can have changed the minds of 2014 No voters so dramatically in under four years.

    As to timing, I’m sure Nicola Sturgeon is well aware of the various voices around and the cases they quite rightly make. I’m glad it’s not me that has to decide, for I see pros and cons in either case. I’m just glad it’s Nicola who will decide, for I trust her judgement. In the meantime, I hope people can put forward their cases without tearing strips off of one another, no matter how much fun that might be for them. It helps no one, except the other side.

    1. SleepingDog says:

      @Jim Fraser, you could campaign on a concept (rather than a slogan) of something like “Workbench Scotland”, a place for designing, building and testing continuously improved nation/society/environment/culture. That would appeal to me, but perhaps not traditionalists. But to be fair, you would have to show how the United Kingdom, with its locked drawers, excessively tilted and scarred surface, and ancient toolset more equipped for Imperial Inquisition than the Information Age cannot reasonably be upgraded to do the job.

      (in other words, I would find picturesque metaphors that resonate positively with large sections of the UK even global, not just Scottish, populace)

    2. Hi Jim – yes – I’m certainly not against good powerful slogans and a compelling emotional case alongside a detailed blueprint. I’m just wary of people that seem to have gathered all the wrong lessons from recent political manipulations – and that the means and ends still count.

  15. e.j. churchill says:

    “We can win and we should win but …”

    you’re a delusional Peter Pan, but ATP that matters not.

    Other than the occasional FOAF nth-hand, un-verifiable anecdote has anybody any evidence that the 2014 ‘NO’ have turned their coat?

    Unless/until the ‘Yessirs’ can competently address that fully necessary & honest: ‘How is all this going to work?’ everything is minority chin-musica.

    I’m ambivalent abt Scotland’s future – I’ll do fine either way.

    rgds,

    CityBankster

  16. MBC says:

    I have started to think that independence will not be achieved through a referendum as 2014 was a dummy run for our opponents too, and next time round they will have perfected their techniques of control and will throw everything at it to obtain a No result. We’d be walking into a trap. I think we need to think of another route.

    1. Mr T says:

      If you are ruling out persuading the majority of voters in a democratically organised single issue referendum that doesn’t leave many palatable alternatives, does it?

      Regime change by a invading US force?

      Coup?

      Any others that come to mind?

    2. e.j. churchill says:

      Indeed.

      In 2014, BT was a Labour play: Tories, ‘WE’ know Scotland and their pushable buttons, FUND us and we’ll win!’

      Gordon Brown, redux. He was (properly) loathed by Labour and by the Tories, disbelieved by anybody more educated then P4 … AND he had (on purpose) ZERO role in BT. Huh?

      The Tories know better, now.

  17. Gordon McAuslane says:

    There are quite simple arguments for independence. There is no need to go into minute detail on how we are going to run the economy. The first argument is historical. Under UK control, Westminster has through its Embassies pursued a policy of ‘London First’. Under this policy if there are any contracts or trade deals emanating from the host country, the first question would be: ‘could London or the Home Counties fulfil the trade requirements?’ That is, if any company in the South East of the country can provide the goods or services required, give them the first chance to quote. If they can’t, throw it open to the rest of the country.
    Historically, Scotland and the North of England have had their industries systematically stripped away, first of all in the fifties and early sixties with the refusal to invest in the shipbuilding industry on the Japanese model, having our skilled workers exposed to the foulest weather conditions in trying to build ships. The Locomotive industry was also allowed to die. If it was a car factory down in Luton, It would have been saved. Stewarts and Lloyds told their workforce in Motherwell they were moving the tube and pipe making plant to Corby and if they wanted their jobs, they would have to flit. The plant was near Ravenscraig, their steel supplier. It could only be political. It made no economic sense. Then came Thatcher with her new found wealth in oil (but keep it under your hat, McCrone). She systematically shut down Ravenscraig and all of the mines using MacGregor who was merciless to his fellow Scots.
    Whenever the London economy was overheating, the Government which had control over interest rates then, would raise them and flatten the Scottish economy; London First, again.
    Nothing was put in to replace the lost jobs, and there was mass emigration both to England and abroad, Scotland losing more of her skills. There followed two decades of unemployment, depression and drug and alcohol abuse. Net emigration has been endemic for a hundred years under Westminster.
    On the positive side most of the countries that have gained independence in the last 50 years and are roughly the size of Scotland have boomed, some with fewer natural assets than us.
    The message then is simple. We can run our own economy up here better than Westminster which has a historical record of acting against our interests. Independence historically in almost all cases around the world has resulted in a better economy for most small to medium sized countries on achieving it.

    1. e.j. churchill says:

      Gordon, you’re preaching to the choir, AND your argument is a documented, demonstrated LOSER.

      Try something else.

  18. e.j. churchill says:

    If one accepts Einsten’s observation that doing the same thing and expecting different results IS the very definition of insanity … then all of you Yessirs ARE clinically insane.

    You have ONE argument, only, and it was a miserable failure in 2014. It got beat like a borrowed mule, … and you want to tun it AGAIN?? Wasn’t a 10point country whipping a lesson?

    Most ‘NO’ see through your high-flown ‘moral’ (camouflage) is gin-clear: GrudgeGrievanceGold is ALL & solely the ‘there, there.’

    MOST successful plebicites are +80%. Scotland’s 30-odd% approval is beyond parody.

    Unless/Until the SNP (and save the myth that YES is bigger & smarter than SNP) can honestly, sincerely address, “How’s all this going to work.” ’tis twice-chewed tobacco, and the 10% arse-kicking will look like a success.

    ’tis sad

    CityBankster

    1. SleepingDog says:

      @e.j. churchill, by your logic, the women’s suffrage movement should have given up after losing a decisive vote in UK Parliament in 1912 or at any other such setback.

      After all, the pro-suffrage Conservative peer Robert Cecil presumably spoke for many when he contended that there is essentially only one argument at stake:
      “Therefore, I dispute altogether the right hon. Gentleman’s criticism that the burden of proof rests upon us. I say that the burden of proof rests entirely upon those who say that those particular citizens by reason of their sex are not qualified to exercise the franchise. That is the whole question. They have got to show it. We have shown that here are citizens qualified in every other respect. They must show that the mere fact of their being women is sufficient to disqualify them. I am not going to attempt at this hour to go through all the arguments used for that purpose, for, in my judgment, there is only one argument.”
      https://api.parliament.uk/historic-hansard/commons/1913/may/06/representation-of-the-people-women-bill

      Of course, the concept of Parliamentary sovereignty means that no past decision should tie the hands of future Parliaments, who are free to repeal legislation and return to vote on topics regardless of past outcomes. And create new referendums if they wish.
      https://www.parliament.uk/about/how/role/sovereignty/

      1. e.j. churchill says:

        Dog, I’ll thank you not to try to put such silly non-sequitors anywhere near my mouth.

        There is no such analogue as slavery or suffrage to political numbersense.

        Not only is it idiotic, ’tis clear English is not your native tongue as it seems you could not understand my post – at all.

        In most rebellious states, 70-80-90+ percent vote leave. In every i9nstance, there is an economic/financial component, also.

        Clearly, the vast majority of Scots do not find GGG convincing, no matter how well or poorly masked by tortuous ‘moral’ watery tempra paints.

        rgds,

  19. Jamsie says:

    Where and when has this frenzy shown itself?
    It is not obvious to me and I would venture to most of the Scottish electorate who remain firmly against a further referendum.
    It certainly does emanate from the SNP who continue on their downward trend in the polls losing out it seems to both Conservative and Labour.
    And on the subject of independence itself the recent polls only confirm a hardening of the position in favour of No at 57% and 43% in favour of Yes.
    Whilst some of the cranks on the web continue to pour out now is the time now is the hour, clearly the SNP have no desire to take matters forward.
    It is also interesting to note that Westminster has not even bothered to challenge the legality of the continuity bill raised at Holyrood.
    The matter will now need to be dealt with by the presiding officer to establish whether it indeed falls within the powers of MSPs to pass such a bill.
    How ironic if the Scottish legal system advises it is not which is where the money now seems to be.
    How much of a body blow to Mrs Sturgeon and her gang will it be if despite the Lord Advocate’s stated view that it actually falls outwith their powers and hence cannot be used to stop Brexit.
    It will not be Westminster or the UK legal system refusing to take account of her but the legal system of the country she purports to act on behalf of.
    Perhaps this is why we are now hearing that the 24 items of the devolved settlement which were previously being touted as a power grab by Westminster are being seeing as matters for discussion and agreement on how they will be handled post Brexit.
    Hardly a constitutional crisis more of a whimpering acceptance that she has lead everyone up the hill again and is now marching them back down.
    Frenzy?
    The only frenzy and baying for blood which seems to be rising is for Mrs Sturgeon and her hubby to stand down.
    The party has split with yes/leave voters going elsewhere and is now totally reliant on far left support, and some of the less extreme sections of this seem to moving back to Labour with their disillusionment pouring out.

    1. Jamsie says:

      In case anyone is confused it should have read “does not emanate from the SNP.”

      1. e.j. churchill says:

        There was a comment in Hungary last night reminiscent of Scotland: It is becoming increasingly harder to differentiate government from party.

  20. James says:

    Better Together was “far right”? Get a fucking grip.

Keep our Journalism Independent

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

Subscribe

Don’t miss a single article. Enter your email address to subscribe for free here and receive Bella direct to your inbox.

 
Bella Caledonia