2007 - 2022

Sunny Days in Glasgow

Yesterday’s march was a huge and brilliant turnout which far exceeded the organisers expectations. It is a manifestation of the movements strength and an inspiration for all. Marches like this are a message of intent, a learning curve for organisers and a boost of confidence for tired and battle-weary protestors and activists. The fact that the event was so large and went off without a single incident is testimony to the crowd and the wider movement. The result was also the payoff for months, in some cases years of patient steady movement-building on a very practical level by national grassroots organisations and a network of local groups nurtured and sustained by dedicated souls up and down the land. The sheer scale of the event will have made many people wake up to what’s latent in Scotland. This is far more powerful than the aristocratic loot showered down on Scotland in Union.

But it doesn’t make the many issues and obstacles that we face vanish away. Here’s three of them.

1) The march itself was a show of strength by the Yes movement, and an incredibly powerful one. But we should avoid history repeating itself. I remember being in the Usher Hall in 2014 just before the referendum and being carried away by the euphoria. “How could we not win? Look at all the people!” This is not to deride the event (s) but just to remind ourselves that it’s all the people that weren’t on the march that matter. It remains a central failing of the Yes movement that it is not good at communicating beyond itself. Marching and physical presence on the street are important, but they are an aspect of a movement, not the movement itself.

2) The march’s size and success will compel this argument that we must have a independence referendum as soon as possible because … we had a big march. I am not of the persuasion that we can’t win the next referendum, I am certainly of the belief that we can. But I’d like to have a developed understanding of how we are going to do this. At the moment the argument seems to be thin on the ground. Open internal discussion needs to be nurtured so that the development of tactics and strategy doesn’t get drowned out as being some kind of treasonous act.

3) Thirdly we need to confront the issue around timing and legality. I’ve not read a coherent analysis of what we would do if and when the British Government denies the right to hold a second referendum. It may well be out there – if so please point to it. For all the solidarity with Catalonia what have we learned from the unfolding crisis there? Is it based on the moral authority of our case? Is it based on the legal authority of our case? Is it based on the political authority of our case? All may be true but none answer the case of how we would respond if a second referendum went ahead without the equivalent of an Edinburgh Agreement?

Saturdays demonstration was a huge boost to the independence movement, and there are a number of new projects and structures that are emerging that will help take us on to a higher level. But we also need to face these issues and construct platforms and methods for communication to the undecided and to confront the political obstacles ahead.

If yesterday was amazing (and it was) it reinforces rather than undermines the arguments put forward on these pages last week by William Thomson that: “The YES movement needs a well resourced, professional, non political organisation to make sure every opportunity is realised.”

It was a point reiterated by Robin McAlpine that: “…having the branding of a political party attached to a campaign closes it off to a large audience. It doesn’t matter if they’re right or wrong, a significant proportion of the people whose minds we need to change recoil from party branding. They’re very disillusioned, or they don’t like a given political party for a separate reason. We need another way to talk to them, to reach them. It has to be civic, not political. But it also needs to be professional. I wrote about this last week – campaigns that win always do the same things. They don’t guess what the target audience thinks, they research it. They don’t just make up slogans and campaign themes, they test which ones work.

They don’t hope people will self-organise, they support them. They don’t wait until someone else comes up with answers to key questions, they produce them. None of this can be done without resource.”

Yesterday was a new beginning not an ending.




Comments (66)

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  1. e.j. churchill says:

    Absolutely well studied, Cassandra.

  2. Willie says:

    We lost but only narrowly in 2014.

    But the spirit, as this huge march shows, has not died. With support for independence remaining in the mid forty percent it is clear that that is a fantastic base to start off from.

    But the devil is in the detail, the British state is a dangerous enemy, and we need to pick the best possible time to move to seek independence. Whether that can ever be achieved democratically is another question. I would like to think so, but regime change, media manipulation, dark acts are all part of the British repertoire.

    The repudiation of the Good Friday Agrrement, the suspension of the NI Assembly and now the policy of rolling back the power of the Scottish Parliament are testimony to that.

    But the march shows that the desire is still there, and that the flame is still burning.

    1. Alf Baird says:

      Don’t forget demographics and population change, with upwards of 500,000 mostly No voters from rest-UK migrating to Scotland every 10 years, according to the census and voting intention surveys. The ‘silent majority’ remain silent for good reason.

      1. Willie says:

        Yes Alf, the Plantation of Scotland is very real. Look at areas like Helensburgh with the nearby Faslane Submsrine and Coulport nuclear weapons bases.

        But as you say it is wider than that, the continual influx of union supporting voters, the placement of union supporting individuals into positions of influence such as in universities, colleges, governmental bodies, together with an absolutely hostile media operated and controlled by the British Establishment is all part of their war against independence.

        Folks of a certain age need only remember the world map, coloured largely in pink, to realise that it was British imperial law that specified and required that these particular maps were hung in every Scottish classroom.

        1. Derek c says:

          Hardly..most immigrants that descend on our miserable shores are most certainly yes voters ..from the old soviet satellite states..and are certainly gonna be more inclined to vote yes post brexit..and the main reason folk voted no is they look at yes voters and view them as abhorrent divisive humans..and don’t want to be landed with them in charge..you can counter argue with orange order Tories usual blah blah..but most no voters care not a jot for either of them..but the Nats love to label folk..you can’t even have sane conversation with a nationalist..it just becomes a shouting match..with their frankly bordering on the ludicrous aggression..and in Glasgow there’s only one way to deal with that..but I digress..chuck in the fact most Scots want trident and most Scots don’t give 2 hoots about food banks ..if you can except those 3 issues ..then I suggest you pitch for Indy 2 sept 14th 2024..if you fail to grasp that .. your in for a civil war in Scotland post independence..that is a given..heed my words..

  3. John S Warren says:

    This article seems to me an astute, measured and considered assessment of the event (which I did not attend).

    I would add only this, for what it may be worth; avoid the seductive consequences of applying euphoria to impetuous action (the seeds of blame and regret are usually sown on such ground), and follow the old, dependable maxim of Napoleon: never interrupt your opponent when he (or she) is making a mistake.

    The Scottish people are deeply cautious and (small-c) conservative; give them time to observe and digest what is happening politically. Theresa May, her Government, and her hard-Bexiteer opponents are the living embodiment of one long, jaw-dropping mistake: give this ‘watershed’ blunder sufficient time fully to unfold before attempting to deliver the needful ‘coup de grace’.

  4. Iain McIntosh says:

    bbc and others in uk media have decided to ignore the march.

    Can you imagine if there was a march in favour of the union that had a quarter of the numbers, it would be headlines for days and propaganda for years.

    People in Glagow of no political persuasion who witnessed the march yesterday must have thought the march an incredible sight and be asking themselves why did this not make the news?

    It’s also worth highlighting this march took place in an inclusive friendly carnival armosphere without a single arrest. The people of Glasgow will be able to contrast that with another march that takes place annually in City in July and is a national shame?

    Remembering the heady days of the 2014 when two small “Vote YES’ paper stickers were stuck on the window of a labour party office. The bbc and press had front page headlines condemning the nasty side of nationalism

    One lesson from yesterday, the bbc and press are set to deceive, distract and misinform the Scottish public on a monumental scale going forward.

    1. Interpolar says:

      I follow the sentiment, but in all fairness the BBC website did keep it as its top Scotland item for most of the day.

    2. Jamsie says:

      It is always interesting to see someone who has their own sectarian point of view who condemns their polar opposites.
      Clearly you refer to the Orange celebration in Glasgow but choose to ignore other marches of equally dubious validity to the population as a whole.
      But I am curious on the writers opinion that the people of Glasgow would compare it with the other and somehow conclude that independence supporters are somehow better then others who march though their city.
      The other March is presumably made up of citizens of Glasgow and surrounding areas so I don’t get the argument that it is ok to allow one and not the other.
      Unfortunately it is a part of the history of our country just as the support for Irish republican terrorist organisations is on the other side.
      Neither are morally correct nor reflect the beliefs of the majority of moderate tolerant citizens.
      However the writer clearly identifies himself and his beliefs.
      Both sides can be tarred with the sickening sectarian brush and the last thing anyone can do is somehow claim the moral high ground simply because one March was trouble free.
      It belittles the problem.
      Why not make some form of comment on the Cybernats attacking the family of the chap who committed suicide in Dundee having been failed miserably by the health service.
      Finally as well behaved as the march was it was still an intrusion into the lives of the people of Glasgow,
      It is by their consent these and other events take place.
      And I don’t need to remind you that it is a minority cause which the people of Scotland do not support.

      1. Me-Bungo-Pony says:


      2. Interpolar says:

        Jamsie. A few problems with your post.
        1. The Orange Order is about nursing old grievances and walking over the feelings of their Roman Catholic neighbours. A demo can be an temporary inconvenience, yes, but an Orangeman march is to serve as a reminder of defeat and inferiority to those it targets. A such it is an intentional threat.
        2. It‘s unclear on what basis you believe the SG has no mandate for an Indy2. With other independence-supporting parties they hold a majority of all seats in Holyrood and all Scottish seats at Westminster, and they ran with a manifesto for Indy2 should Brexit be accepted. They have a majority of Scottish voters of all regions with them in their rejection of Brexit. If that is not a mandate, then it is an obligation. Meanwhile, May has neither a majority of votes nor seats, and she has no popular mandate for the particular brand of Brexit she espouses.
        3. I note that you seem to believe that demos can be held only for majority causes. That is an abomination of democracy.

        1. Jamsie says:

          Obviously people of differing outlooks will have some problems with my post and the polarisation of their views will mean we disagree.
          I don’t have a problem with that.
          I have a problem with people who think their view on things is more important or relevant than mine.
          If you had read and comprehended my post you would have realised that I am not defending the orange march.
          On the contrary it and republican marches are in my opinion more trouble than they are worth.
          However both are made up probably of other citizens with equal right to promote their beliefs.
          Neither can be wrong except in the eyes of someone who is sectarian.
          Both must be wrong.
          For ma as a citizen of Glasgow, Scotland and the UK I would prefer all marches banned but that is not going to happen.
          A bit like the next referendum.
          People will beat the drum and shout out their views but in the end it will all be useless rhetoric.
          A complete waste of energy, time and money.
          Money which would be far better off spent in making people’s lives better!

  5. MBC says:

    Thanks for this report and analysis. I wasn’t able to go yesterday.

    I think we need marches like this to keep up our spirits.

    But in terms of drawing in the independence sceptics we need to do more leafleting and discussion.

    As regards a second independence referendum I am sceptical that this is the best route. Firstly because what do we do if London says no?

    Secondly, if London says yes, it will only be because they have plans in place to ensure that their propaganda machine is in force ready to bulldose all our arguments with a massive Project Fear mark 2.

    There is more than one way to skin a cat and we should be thinking about other ways of achieving our goal.

    1. Cruachan says:

      If No. 10 continues to say “now is not the time” and if UK Supreme Court overrules Holyrood’s Continuity Bill or outlaws a Holyrood plan to proceed with new Indy-ref, there is another option.

      Mass resignation of pro-indy MPs at Westminster. 35 by-election on the same day with a one item manifesto. “If elected I will not take my seat at Westminster, but will join with MSPs in a national assembly and vote to dissolve the 1707 Act of Union”.

      1. BSA says:

        Dangerous fantasy while half the population does not yet support secession.

        1. Me-Bungo-Pony says:

          Why “dangerous” BSA? Do you fear the forces of British nationalism will be as brutal as their Spanish counterparts?

          I suppose, given the horrific scenes in George Square on 15/09/14 when thousands of flag waving unionists attacked Indy supporting women, children and pensioners, the fact that no Indy supporters were convicted of any foul play during the referendum when several unionists were and the fact that studies showed Indy supporters were up to three times more likely to be the recipients of online than their unionist counterparts (despite the wholly inaccurate picture painted by a supine media), you may have a point. Unionism is a nasty business.

          1. e.j. churchill says:

            Sean Clerkin?

      2. Robert says:

        I think the situation in Catalunya is a salutary example of the sort of polarisation and division that can happen if a half-baked separatist movement goes unilateral. If London will not allow a referendum, it is simply necessary to continue building support for independence. At the point where the force becomes unstoppable the way forward will become clear.

        1. Alf Baird says:

          Unlike Scotland, Catalunya does not have a treaty and act of union and did not dissolve its own parliament in order to sign up to a new joint parliament with another sovereign nation. Scotland is not Catalunya. Constitutionally Scotland may dissolve the UK union and its ‘joint’ parliament in the same way the latter was constituted – via a simple majority of Scotland’s MP’s.

          1. So we’re saying we don’t need a referendum at all now?

            How many of the SNP MPs have signed up to this?

  6. Alba woman says:

    I was at the march yesterday…it was as ever a joy to behold and be part of…..the folk there know full well about the British State…..they are not going to accept being run out of Europe or being denied the opportunity to make choices for their children’s future.

    Yesterday felt like the next step on the road to freedom….the Yes folk are clever, resourceful and gaining invaluable political and organisational experience.

    1. Chris Clark says:

      Well said, Alba woman. I was there, too, and I found the event to be congenial, inspirational and truly in the spirit of progressive, community Scotland. It was not the beginning of a movement; rather it is another step on the road to Scottish self-government. I was proud and pleased to be there.

  7. William Thomson says:

    Totally agree. We’ve passed a major hurdle: getting more than 50,000 on the streets but those three issues remain. The up side is that they are all solvable.

    The next few months are crucial if we are to enter the autumn with any chance of winning a referendum or putting a Govt in place with a clear mandate for independence.

  8. Keith says:

    We attended the march, a great day had, so much diversity in the crowd from all provences across our land, disappointed to see the 12 rangers fans with there Union Jacks welcoming us with there nazi salutes and threatening manoursim.
    Fantastic day.

  9. e.j. churchill says:

    FWIW (and it’s probably not worth much), the WorldWide GoldStandard for Crowd Estimation is probably the United States National Park Service, followed closely by the District of Columbia Police.

    USPS/DCPD hav gotten out of publishing crowd estimates b/c of sheer agro, but they KNOW how many people come to DeeCee on a mission from God (thanks Elwood).

    They say officialdom – anywhere – can’t come close, because they do not have the tools (it’s a numerical business with hyper-accurate maps and a complete inventory of high-accuracy COUNTS, then it’s a Least Squares operation.

    That said, any place but Washington DC ALWAYS overestimates the crowd, and are VERY generous in estimates of marchers.

    In Glasgow yesterday, 35k is an absolute and VERY generous ceiling, but still, it was a lot of people and the organisers should be proud.


  10. Jamsie says:

    Mr Ed
    You ask some interesting questions on what would be fine to take forward the case for Indy on moral, legal and political authority should the UK government refuse to agree to another referendum.
    I think the issue of authority is somehow being confused with a mandate which the electorate have withheld.
    It is a sign of the desperation of the Indy side that desperate measures which of course go against the wishes of the electorate are being considered.
    The lessons of Catalonia do not seem to have sunk in to many although I think wee Nicola is more than aware of the potential consequences of ignoring both the law and the stated position of the people of Scotland.
    Worse with the Brexit clock ticking the absolute panic to somehow contrive another referendum is all to evident.
    People expect the issue to a once in a generation choice.
    No amount of false positioning on Brexit has changed this opinion.
    By the next elections she knows she will lose further seats and any contrived mandate for such a poll will have disappeared.
    However public services in Scotland will also have been damaged to a horrendous extent.
    We will all have to live with the consequences of this despite paying more and more in taxes!

    1. Wul says:

      What’s your vision Jamsie?

      What would you like to see happen in Scotland?

      Let’s hear it.

  11. Neil McRae says:

    Was loving the social media coverage of this march until I saw the ‘Tory Scum Out’ banner. How many hundred thousand voters did that alienate, I wonder?

    1. e.j. churchill says:

      Is that something similar to ‘JUDEN RAUS?’

      Some folks just have a brass-plated tin ear.

    2. MBC says:

      I doubt if the ‘Tory scum’ saw it. Worse things have been said about them anyway. Note that the sentiment refers to the elected politicians being paid for by Scottish taxpayers to defaecate on Scotland. Not the deluded Tory voters. Thirteen elected Tory MPs hold the balance of power in May’s teetering government yet will not use their collective power to secure one benefit or concession Scotland over Brexit including the fishermen who were conned into voting for them. Sold. Down. The. River.

  12. Derick fae Yell says:

    The first two points Mike makes are sound.

    1 Marches don’t convert anyone – correct. A point that the Wee Ginger Dug makes also

    2 A big march doesn’t mean an immediate or premature referendum – correct

    3 What to do when Westminster refuses a S30?

    There’s an obvious answer to that, which is:

    Put an unconditional committment to a Referendum in the SNP manifesto for the 2021 Scottish Parliament election, and get a majority.

    Ideally do the same in the Green manifesto, albeit that’s a big ask given that the Greens have a substantial unionist faction.

    That’s a winnable platform.

    If Westminster STILL refuses a S30, on the basis that only Westminster is sovereign, the immediate implication would be that a majority of SNP MPs elected on an explicit committment to independence is a mandate to force a consented Referendum, or withdraw and return to the Scottish Parliament. It would be good practice to have a post hoc Referendum to confirm the deal.

    The UK can’t have it both ways. If the Scottish Parliament doesn’t have the power to call a referendum, then Scottish MPs do

    1. e.j. churchill says:


      Although the intellectual horsepower contained in the SNP is pretty suspect, I’ll just bet that scenario (and Alf Baird’s and all other, ’tis simple: all we have to do is …) have been modeled extensively. (SNP intellect-v-groupthink completely aside,) competence in both Economic & Mathematical Game Theory are nowhere short on the ground.

      AFAICS, the endpoint of all ’tis simple’ scenarios is the same: after the SC stops laughing, “What next? Do we declare UDI or not?’



      1. Alf Baird says:

        UDI in the UK context does not readily apply in Scotland’s case as it would to a nation, region or colony that has no current constitutional basis and that was simply taken over and is ruled by another nation. By treaty and act Scotland is one of the two constituent sovereign kingdoms that constituted the joint UK parliament and which still constitutes it. Who, or rather what, would we be declaring our independence from? We would be declaring our independence from our own joint (UK) parliament, and our own joint (UK) government and our own joint (UK) kingdom which we ourselves helped constitute and still constitute by international treaty and act. The ‘legal authority’ necessary not only to withdraw from but to dissolve Scotland’s joint UK parliament and its government and its kingdom must rest in the way it (i.e. the UK) was and remains constituted by Scotland, that is through the consent of a majority of Scotland’s MP’s. Scotland is already to a large degree still an independent country, one that has simply consented to enter into a joint parliamentary and administrative arrangement (styled as ‘UK’) with another country. A majority of Scotland’s MP’s could do this anytime, they have little purpose or effect otherwise. And if the SC chooses to laugh at the majority of Scotland’s democratically elected representatives exerting the same sovereign power that created the union then at least we will know then for sure that the union is indeed a charade and a fraud and that Scotland is merely England’s colony.

        1. Your position seems to be changing rapidly Alf

          1. Alf Baird says:

            How so Ed?

          2. Are we just abandoning the need for a referendum altogether? When did this happen? How do you think this will work?

          3. Alf Baird says:

            Ed, I am consistent in terms of arguing that:

            – constitutionally a majority of Scotland’s MP’s may dissolve Scotland’s joint UK union & parliament as it began and reconstitute a Scottish parliament. As others have noted such a mandate could be sought at the next UK General Election, however a majority of allegedly Scottish independence supporting MP’s prevails just now.

            – a referendum is always going to be a flawed process and is (constitutionally) unnecessary and will most likely fail again (e.g. via the abnormally open franchise, ongoing population change, and/or it will be blocked/thwarted in other ways) and even in the unlikely event of a Yes vote England’s 500+ MP’s and HoL would be empowered to ignore it or to determine post any referendum in ‘their’ ‘Independent Scotland Act’ what an ‘independent’ Scotland actually looked like (e.g. Westminster could ensure Scotland resembled something akin to the rather constrained French African colonies post their ‘independence’).

            Going the referendum route (as opposed to the constitutional/legal route) actually leaves Scotland rather powerless, that is assuming another referendum is ever permitted, and we must also assume that a non permitted referendum would simply be ignored by Westminster.

            Constitutionally the fact remains that Scotland is in joint ‘ownership’ (with England) of the UK parliament/ government/state, as per treaty and act. Scotland is not seeking independence from that joint UK entity in which Scotland constitutionally forms an equal part; rather, Scotland is seeking to dissolve that joint arrangement, which is its constitutional right so to do.

          4. Do you expect serious elected politicians to back this new tactic?

          5. Alf Baird says:

            What have Scotland’s MP’s got to lose? Their very presence at Westminster simply legitimises the union. This is not a ‘new tactic’; Westminster has always known that a Scotland majority of independence supporting MP’s meant essentially the end of the UK. Which means Scotland already is de facto independent, we simply need to make this de jure. It is only the pc neoliberals in Scotland over the past 20 years or so who think they need to rely on a referendum of anybody merely resident in Scotland, though that is hardly an essential requirement for independence far less even an assurance of independence post any Yes vote. We should therefore keep to our UK constitution – that is the treaty and act of union – which is Scotland’s legal authority. Scotland’s sovereignty rests with Scotland’s MP’s and nobody else. It is a majority of Scotland’s MP’s who have the power to dissolve the union in the same way it was created.

          6. I think that’ll be a “no”.

  13. Ayrshire Coo says:

    It was a magnificent Demo, as good as any we made on our Polaris Demo’s & May Day Rallies in the early ’60’s, but worryingly, looking thro the hundred of photos I took… a. Average age of marchers.. 50’ish? b. Why were there so few young folk in oor ranks?.. And lastly. c. Most responses I got from the Glasgow punters in the street was a kid of bewildering… ” Wonderful sicht, but what are you marching for?” There was more news of an impending bike ride thro Glasgow streets than our “Aw under Wan Banner!”

    1. e.j. churchill says:

      When symbols have to be explained, the cause is lost, mebbe?

  14. Jamsie says:

    A S30 has not been requested by wee Nicola or rejected by Westminster.
    This has as much to do with the fact that she knows she could not win a referendum in the current climate given the Brexit uncertainty.
    Either way I suspect that unless there is a dramatic change in the polls there will be no request coming forward from her for Westminster to reject anyway.
    And who says they would reject it?
    I am sure if wee Nicola was stupid enough to call one then given the polls they might just call her bluff.
    That would end the matter for ever.
    At the next elections it looks like the number of seats won by the SNP will be even less as people are losing faith and returning to their traditional voting patterns.
    Any attempt by her to try to manufacture a poll without the consent of the sovereign parliament under some made up technicality would result in a rejection of her views based on the legality of the matter.
    But it is the comment that the UK is seeking to have a say both ways that much amuses.
    The people of Scotland chose to remain part of the UK.
    It is not for politicians to decide they know best or for a minority party to dictate to a majority of the electorate the path in such sovereignty.
    She knows she does not have support for another referendum and that even if one were to go ahead the chances of winning are slim.
    So the problem is not that Westminster is acting unreasonably it is that Indy supporters who remain in the minority are trying to subvert democracy.
    This cannot be allowed.

    1. scrandoonyeah says:

      ‘Subvert Democracy’ that made me laugh…. there is nothing like some Machiavellian morality to lift the spirits on a Monday morning.

      you are indeed a comedic genius as you troll the universe with your divine interventions

    2. Kenny Smith says:

      Honestly Jamsie is there nothing they could do to us that would not make you the slightest bit concerned about a partner in a union being lied to and shat on? I’m asking because I just can’t work it out. I was a no voter start of 2012 but I just couldn’t listen to it anymore. The things that have happened since and the revelations that have become public knowledge have only hardend my stance. You and your like always peg this cause to Alex or Nicola but for all you know we could elect a labour or Tory government in our early years but it’s our choice to make. It’s not about party politics it’s more than that but you know that already.

      1. Jamsie says:

        Yes there is nothing that would make me change my mind given the economic circumstances.
        And yes it is about more than a party but the party in government apart from being a very poor government have spent years trying to change various parts of our administration and services to try to make the party indistinguishable from the state.
        All at massive wasted cost to us the taxpayer.
        I feel sorry for those of you who have become victims of an ideology.
        But you have and so the majority and the individuals therein are bound to look at ways of subverting this attack on democracy.
        The legal way is to vote at a polling station one man or woman one vote.
        Nothing else will do.

    3. Disillusioned says:

      ‘Jamsie’- are you Ross Thomson in disguise?

    4. Derek Thomson says:

      Why are you so absolutely obsessed with the height of the First Minister of Scotland?

      1. Jamsie says:

        I can assure you the adjective applied to more than her height!

        1. Kenny Smith says:

          Jamsie, you said no matter what you can’t change your mind because of economics. So after 311 years of precious Albion would that not be an argument for leaving? The Scot gov is extremely limited in what they can do but again you know this already. I totally understand why people fear change for different reasons but the economy is a weak argument unless you are lord Jamsie of Shettleston. What is it you really fear about self determination? How much is Scotland in union paying for these ramblings? It doesn’t matter that throughout the history Scotland is treated like a colony instead of a partner, even a junior partner. Bottom line Scotland is badly served and it’s a shame that so many Scots are so brow beaten by the media. What were the arguments for Brexit? A foreign parliament making laws and imposing their will on decisions on Britain but yet we are in a far more restrictive and suffocating union but you support that.

          1. e.j. churchill says:


            That is a standard-issue deflection & just-so story.

            You did not address his principal concern – did you miss it among blowing smoke & waving mirrors?


  15. Wul says:

    You make good points Mike.

    After the 2014 vote I expected (and looked forward to) a plethora of forensic analysis on how the result played out, errors and wins. I even expected the odd Phd, for example exploring the differing personality traits of “Yes” & “No” voters, motivations, world view, socio-economic group etc.

    What we got were mainly opinion pieces based on exit & other polls which supported their author’s own view of “what went wrong”. (I wonder if the “No” camp did any analysis of “what won it” for them?)

    There has been good work by Common Weal and others about “lessons learned” but that’s not an action plan or strategy. There doesn’t seem to be much science or academic rigour behind the various “what we need to do now” polemic.

    The SNP have not had much to say and perhaps expecting a political party to be objective about their own failings is foolish. It’s not in the nature of the beast.

    It’s a big ask to get people to dump the status quo of the last 300 years. What would persuade people to take such a risk?

    Who’s job is it to do this work and make the plan?

    1. Indeed that critiqued has been missing. Its worse than that, to begin that critique has produced a barrage of abuse from people who just want to blame the BBC and nothing else (or MI5).

      As Peter Arnott has said elsewhere:

      1) A second Indyref would have to happen without WM agreement.

      2) No voters would boycott an extra-legal poll. There would be no way to make it binding.

      3) It would then be open to legal and democratic challenge. Ask the Catalonians.

    2. Interpolar says:

      I believe you raise a good point, and one I have been mulling over the last few days.
      The much-forgotten “Being-part-of-something-bigger” argument used by BT is seldom revisited, but IMO it is the foundation of British Unionism. Possibly, it was the killer argument, and not currency or budgets. Feeling you have weight in the world and a passport that carries weight (coupled with the UK’s glorious history and power projection) are strong and seductive identify-builders. It may be that much of this will be damaged as a ruinous and ridiculous Brexit unfolds with the likes of Johnson and Gove at the helm. However, it will also be important to build a vision not only for domestic policy, but what it will mean to be a member of a smallish, less significant, nation in the world, yet how this would enable Scotland to build a positive and distinct role in Europe and international politics. Showing the opportunities that independence would offer in this area could sway more than a few people.

    3. John S Warren says:

      A well-made point. There has been insufficient rigour in the analysis of opinion; but we do know now (thanks to Cambridge Analytica) that “emotion” is a powerful factor in opinion formation. Ironically we knew that already, or should have known it, at least since the 18th century, because we were exploring it then (in Scotland since the Scottish Enlightenment). We can trace the use, manipulation and exploitation of opinion for political purposes through WWI, through the grim 1930s, and up to the present day, by the media in the techniques it uses. Nevertheless the underlying point is well-madw; where is the detailed evidence on Scottish opinion? There is a surfeit of “opinion” by self-styled opinion-formers, but the hard analysis is hard to find, or well hidden.

      The point of ‘being part of something bigger’, if it was a factor, is undermined by Brexit. This brings us back to currency and trade (to the degree ’emotion’ does not prevail). Trade with rUK is critical (although, again Brexit changes everything: if there is a hard-Brexit, and Scotland is foreed out of the EU, then rUK cannot do anything other than offer Scotland the same free-trade offer made to anyone else, at least under WTO rules; and would happen as a matter of self-interest, whatever is “spun”). This brings us back to currency, which was inadequately understood last time round. This is changed only through a better understanding of the issues, a re-appraisal, and a proper exposition of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), and the implications for Scotland. Here I am reminded of the remark attributed to the banker Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1744 – 1812), probably apochryphal, but nevertheless telling: “Let us control the money of a country, and we care not who makes its laws.”

    4. Alf Baird says:

      Wul, our dominant culture/heritage is the key determinant of whether a voter in Scotland opts for Aye or Naw. As John Arnott rightly notes re CambAnaly, the way one votes actually has a lot to do with ’emotion’. Data/evidence? Just look at the population makeup of all the Tory/Libdem constituencies in Scotland, which also tend to mirror the Naw vote strongholds. Mostly rural and semi-rural, often well-to-do, and the professional and retired well orf classes aye tend to vote mair than puir fowk. It does not take a PhD to figure out what is happening though that would help I agree. The crude reality is that it is in the main Scottish voices who dominate the Ayes, but this is rather less the case for the Naws. One’s dominant culture/heritage is clearly the ultimate emotional driving force when it comes to choosing (or rejecting) national identity; is that really so surprising? And culture is notoriously difficult if not impossible to change. Any mere political policy has virtually no hope of changing one’s dominant culture.

      1. Wul says:

        What changed me from “don’t really care one way or the other, they are all bastards” to “Yes” was a gradual realisation, through my own reading, of the extent to which ALL British people have been stolen from by a small group of insiders for hundreds of years.

        This made me angry and created a desire for a more level playing field for all. However I see no desire for this change in my cousins in England. They keep voting for more policies which favour the rich at the expense of the middle & working classes. I see Scottish independence as a possible escape route from this way of running a country.

        Once I’d worked out that Scotland had enough resources to be independently successful, I was in.

        On some level I am “emotionally” attracted to independence. It just seems obviously better to have decisions made by people who share the outcomes of their decisions along with you. Who are “in the same boat”.

        I’m not a flag waver, never have been, but I’m happy to stand next to other folk who want the same larger outcome as I do. Afterwards, we can all go and vote for whomever we choose.

  16. MBC says:

    I think that a British government would not refuse the overwhelming evidence for independence if it existed. For instance if there was a well co-ordinated movement for independence (not the SNP) which was demonstrably in evidence and opinion polls suggested support was now by alarge majority. It would then allow a referendum and a legal exit process. It would negotiate with the Scottish government to secure a deal that would best secure future British and Scottish interests as it did with Ireland. However that is a big ‘if’.

    I think Project Fear mark 2 to ensure this never happens has been in place since September 19 2014. The British establishment got a fright, and its strategy since has been one of containment and rolling back of the powers of the Scottish Government to make it fail and become unpopular. That is why there has been a massive propaganda exercise dedicated to highlighting the ‘failures’ of the Scottish government and ensuring its leaders do not get airtime. Brexit will create a class of British clients who are beholden to London for fishing and agricultural subsidies. That’s clearly a plan.

    We have been too passive, too trusting. It has been clear to me since September 19 2014 that a non-party Yes movement organising demonstrations and other activities is the way forward and I am really glad to see that this now seems to be happening. The SNP being a political party is not really a movement and is constrained by the devolution straitjacket.

    Count me in!

  17. SleepingDog says:

    Scholar of non-violent revolution, Gene Sharp, has compiled a list of 198 methods of non-violent action, of which marches is one:

    There was a documentary about him called “How to Start a Revolution” shown on PBS America UK recently:

    but for a better take on his views, here is Gene Sharp giving a lecture:

    My concern would be that without more clearly defining goals (what this Independent Scotland would be like) out of fear of alienating some sections of the movement (monarchists, say), the applications of these methods may succeed only to fail later as people fall out.

  18. DaveM says:

    Re. the legality or otherwise of a referendum (if we do have to go down that route – most independent states have not used a referendum at all), it’s very simple: as far as I’m aware it is not illegal to hold a referendum. Holyrood does not require Westminster’s ‘permission’ to hold one. Why? Because there is now a precedent.

    The Brexit referendum was legislated for as an advisory referendum, not a binding one – the Government could have chosen to ignore the result if it wanted to, yet Cameron decided to blindly follow the ‘will of the people’ on the basis of a very slim majority, no doubt to appease the Eurosceptic wing of his own party and the right wing press (and now look where that’s got us). So by the same token, Holyrood can merely hold an advisory referendum and the same logic can apply: whatever the result is, will be respected as the will of the people. If it’s good enough for leaving the EU, it’s good enough for dissolving the Union.

  19. Marilyn Clark says:

    Let’s be Honest – if Yes are going to win over undecideds the departure of various left visionaries is going to make that job much easier.

    1. John S Warren says:

      That, if I may say, is a very acutely observed point (and it is going to annoy a large number of proclaimed ‘visionaries’).

  20. Jamsie says:


    It seems that it is not banned at all!

    Farcical or what?

    Another example of the total incompetence of her and her ministers.

    Perhaps people will start to see why the polls are not shifting and will not.

    Let’s see how she blames this on the Tories!

  21. w.b.robertson says:

    Presume the FM will “clarify” the position at question time tomorrow! This will be interesting. Seems a pity that an expensive court case (for the taxpayer!) is necessary before the SG`s own lawyer blows the whistle on the ban that never was. Meanwhile the FM has managed to annoy both Donald Trump and (on the shale situation) Jim whatshisname at Grangemouth…both guys that have invested big style in Scotland. Not clever politics.

    1. Clive Scott says:

      The “not clever politics” is the 55% No voters in 2014, the overwhelming majority being those aged over 55 who selfishly stole the future from their children and grandchildren. Unfortunately, the younger age group did not get off their collective backside to claim their future. Hopefully the shed load of Unionist lies and tripe exposed post 2014 followed up by the utter shambles of Brexit will motivate the younger age group to turn out in sufficient numbers come Indyref2 to outvote their No voting parents and grandparents.

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