A Way out of Madness

Remember when people voted No in 2014 because Britain was a source of economic stability and political certainty? The idea that Britain was somehow ‘multicultural’  ‘open’ and outward-looking was actually believed. People arguing for self-determination were somehow ‘separatists’.

It seems laughable now doesn’t it?

But the main compelling argument that we were ‘Better Together’ was really economic security. That argument was risible then but it was something that Project Fear could use to manipulate people. That’s inconceivable now.

At the Cabinet meeting yesterday Matt Hancock stated plainly that he could not guarantee that people would not die if there was a No Deal Brexit.

It’s time to detach ourselves from this basketcase of a Union and assert our self-determination.

Lesley Riddoch has argued: “If not now, when?”

But the question isn’t when, it’s how.

Riddoch continues: “Why are we waiting around? Westminster behaves as if Scotland doesn’t exist. So what’s the point in Scotland’s political leaders politely continuing to request, demand and explain? No-one’s listening. No-one has ever been listening.”

She’s 100% right.

The already discredited notion of a ‘respect agenda’ has long ago been replaced with one of contempt.

As Patrick Harvie has said: “There’s a not a single reference to Scotland either in the Withdrawal Agreement or in the absurdly simplistic paper on the future relationship. But the chaos of Brexit was inevitable, but we also need to face up to equally inevitable fact that Scotland will only get the strong future relationship that we want with Europe – as the overwhelming majority of people in Scotland voted for – if we get out there, campaign for it and persuade people to vote for Scotland to become a full, independent EU member country.”

The time for waiting is over, the time for trying to be respectable is over.

As former cabinet minister Kenny Mackaskill has stated: “Far from providing the most powerful devolved Parliament, Holyrood is being marginalised and stripped of authority.” 

Inaction simply isn’t an option anymore.

Here’s the ten point plan to win independence:

  1. As the Conservative government collapses, and the British state finds itself in the worst crisis in fifty years, it’s time for the SNP to announce it will stand in a general election on an independence mandate. 
  2. Gain a significant majority and use that as leverage for a full referendum.
  3. Offer a Labour government a confidence and supply support on the basis of being given a Section 30 order. If the British government, of whatever makeup, refuses a Section 30, Scottish MPs should withdraw and refuse to sit.
  4. Implement a referendum in as short a time frame as is possible.
  5. In the intervening period create as much of the infrastructure as possible to win that referendum: a national savings and investment bank, a programme of just transition, a publicly owned renewable energy company, an energy descent plan, and other projects which are forward-facing, sustainable and bind-in resilience.
  6. Create a campaign that is positive, hard-headed, realistic but imaginative.
  7. Crowd-source a written constitution.
  8. Create routes for culture and trade to Europe (both physical and psychological) and act as if we are a small European nation.
  9. Establish European centres for (re) building the networks that existed prior to Brexit that would act as proto embassies.
  10. Write a simple but dynamic independence programme based on social reconstruction and recovery from years of misrule, focusing on housing, Bairns not Bombs, green jobs and over-coming poverty and inequality.

We would win with room to spare. The UK:OK promises and threats are broken and shattered. Project Fear can’t be re-run. All of the Better Together lies are understood. We have a grassroots movement and national co-ordinating organisation in place. But more than that, people are ready to leave behind the debacle of Brexit Britain and all that it has exposed about the nature of the British state and the failure of elite rule.

Comments (77)

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  1. Big Ron says:

    Surely the practical problems of a Scottish exit from the UK would be considerably greater than the UK exit from the EU.

    These are some of the things which Scotland shares with the UK which the UK does not share with the EU.

    Currency/Central Bank
    National Debt
    Taxation system
    Social security system
    Armed Forces
    Intelligence Services
    Overseas embassies

    How would the infrastructure referred to in Point 5 be paid for ?

    How would the annual deficit be reduced from the current level of 7.9% of GDP to the 3% demanded by the EU ?

    1. Voline says:

      And this is exactly why Czechoslovakia has never broken up.

      Pay for it? You print your own currency.

      1. G Kirk says:

        Czechlosovakia? There is no Czechoslovakia – it dissolved in 1993… it’s the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

        1. Me Bungo Pony says:

          That’s the point.

    2. Julian Smith says:

      See “How to start a new country” – Common Weal and the Sustainable Growth Commission Report. Our difficulty at the moment of course is that we don’t have the necessary borrowing powers. As for the debt or the deficit, accurate figures for this are not available. The headline figure is a per capita allocation of the UK’s debt. An Independent Scotland would start off with zero debt unless, as a gesture of goodwill, it offered to share part of the UK’s debt. (See Growth Commission Report).

    3. Me Bungo Pony says:

      Thanks for illustrating at this early stage that the NO arguments have not evolved since 2014. The YES argument has evolved while events over the last four years have ripped the bottom out of those NO scare stories. I feel even more confident now 🙂

      1. Chris White says:


    4. Ian McQueen says:

      National Debt? What a cheek. What about their debt to us, in the form of reparations for the mass deportation of our people and the loss of all their potential, the deliberate maximisation of Scottish casualties in England’s wars (the Wolfian strategy), the wholesale theft of our national resources, mass colonisation and ethnic replacement on the Nazi Lebensraum model, and the attempted total destruction of our languages, culture, history, dignity and self-esteem?

      “Better Together”? Battered Together, more like. There aren’t just battered spouses, partners, and children. There are entire battered nations as well.

      1. Alf Baird says:

        Well said Ian. We owe them nothing and they have exploited and oppressed Scotland and our people for too long. And no 10-point plan ever won any nation its freedom nor did pleading with an administrative power to hold a dubious referendum. What is needed is for the majority of Scotland’s democratically elected representatives to withdraw Scotland from the union charade now, as it was begun constitutionally. That is our constitutional and legal right. This is clearly the ideal time to do it too, when Westminster and its government is in a worsening constitutional crisis of its own making, and much of Europe and the rest of the world is looking on in disbelief. Most of England’s people will appreciate Scotland’s rationale for withdrawal, the rest won’t care. Now is the time, for the world is watching a chaotic and discredited UK imperialist rump in its final death throes, with Scotland’s people being dragged of the Brexit economic cliff against their will. The end will only finally come with our withdrawal of the internal strategic colony – Scotland. So lets give England her independence for that is what she really seeks and that is essentially what Brexit is about. Scotland isn’t even mentioned, after all. We are an afterthought. Will they even notice we are gone? They are surely too busy fighting with each other. Lets not dwell on this for too long. For we know what is coming post Brexit and it will be the utter and final ending of Scotland for good.

    5. Chris White says:

      Good points, Big Ron.
      There’s also a little matter of the royals and all.
      Will the present Earl of Carrick (Prince Charles) lose this Scottish title and others ?
      On a positive note, we will save a fortune on red printer ink flag-wise.

    6. Mr Indy says:

      I understand some of the questions you raise but the issue of a deficit is a nonsense. It is not a Scotland created deficit rather it is one created by Westminster via the GERS formula which is in itself not real. Scotland has no deficit because it cannot borrow money. I’m not sure if you know how the deficit is arrived at but it works something like this…. Scotland raises 50 billion in taxation which goes to the WM Treasury. Scotland get given back 25 billion and WM keep 25 billion as the contribution to UK commitments such as The House of Lords, Buckingham Palace, Defense etc. WM then get to spend more money, without Scotland’s consent, and build up a huge deficit. They then say to Scotland your share of the deficit is this. You ask how would Scotland get it’s deficit down. An independent Scotland would make it’s own choices of how it spent that revenue. It would also be able to borrow within its means. It would also be entitled to 8% share of the wealth of the UK. So the deficit you mention is a UK construct that would be very different in an independent Scotland.

    7. Graeme McCormick says:

      Big Ron , let me go through your points. As Scotland has a separate NHS u r wrong to include it in your list.

      The first 5 are down to public funding. Accoordi g to GERS public services from the UK, Scottish and local government cost £73b per annum.

      The Scottish Parliament could raise this by charging an annual Ground Rent per square metre on all land, floor and roof space per square metre depending on the land types involved. We could raise £100 billion by levying a rate of £7.124 per square metre on the built and urban environment and lower sums on rural land types.

      That would secure an annual citizens income of £10000 for everyone while replacing All exibsibg taxes.

      That power already exist with the Scottish Parliament . While we remain part of the U.K. the Scottish government would reimburse theUK taxes paid by Scottish taxpayers through the Barnett cobsequentials.

      The effect of this is that Scotland raises all its necessary public funding itself from its land without any borrowing so we are a creditor nation and not beholding to the international bankers . We can then choose our currency i initially a Scottish pound with sterling parity which will diverge as our our separate economy develops. We have already gave Scots £ in our pickets so folk will not need to change the £ in their pockets.

      Pensions and social security is dealt with by the citizens income.

      As regards our Military and security and diplomatic services we have a number of options and savings.

      On the diplomatic front the cost of diplomacy for Scotland can be much more effective and proportionately a cheaper cost. If u have seen the U.K. Embassy in Paris it’s next to the Elysee Palace and have a similar market value. We don’t need grandiose buildings so our Sharron all these grand buildings can more than pay for modern embassies throughout the world for s fraction of the cost. Countries like Denmark, New Zealand and the Netherlands have very effective diplomatic services throughout the world.

      Militarily an examination of services which the U.K. has fail to defend Scotland. Much of serveillance is undertaken by our NATO allies since we gave up Nimrod. We don’t need aircraft carriers or nuclear submarines. We need surface ships but the Royal Navy has no surface battle ship in Scotland and these have been reduced from 60 to 19 since 2000.
      Economically the armed forces provide little contribution to Scotland. In Faslane Ghe local management admit that 85% of service personnel that 2500 don’t live in Scotland. They live in the accommodation blocks Monday to Wednesday and use the faliluties on the Base then go home to their families in the South where they spend their salaries. Meantime Helensburgh has lost 8% of its population in ten years and an estimated £120 million per annum lost to the west of Scotland economy.

      On security the U.K. depends on information shared by various states . That will continue and Scotland will be a energetic contributor to that . It’s in everyone’s interest to share intelligence.

    8. Jack Hawkins says:

      Ireland managed under much more difficult war circumstance with their break from England in 1921, never a perfect time for freedom

  2. Graeme McCormick says:

    Stop calling us “wee”. We are not and size to some folk matters!

    I agree we should start by acting as if we are already independent. Nicola must appoint a Cabinet Secretary for Independence charged with educating the nation including our politicians and civil servants.

    The job should include an invitation for people to note their interest in joining the Scottish Civil Service which will separate the Unionist leaning from the Independence ones.

    Also the Scottish government could enter into memoranda of understanding with companies to supply military hardware on Indy .

    Most importantly we must introduce an Annual Ground Rent to provide a decent universal income for all and replace all U.K. and Scottish taxes.

    1. So we’re a large European country?

      1. Archie Hamilton says:

        We need only reference the fact that we are a European country. It’s not a pissing contest, size is unimportant provided we have the power to make our own decisions.

      2. Graeme McCormick says:

        Yes we are? If u include our exclusive economic area we are I think the second or third largest country territorywise in western Europe. Population-wise we are a medium sized country.

        Unionists continually talk about the safety net of the U.K. we have to undermine this with every utterance we make and every fibre in our body. Stop using words like wee and small . They are perceived by many as the opposite of strength and clout. We must disabuse them of this.

    2. Swiss Toni says:

      If Scotland is to act as if it is already independent can I presume that it would refuse to accept the inflow of cash via the Barnett Formula and would enact the combination of tax increases and public spending cuts require to reduce annual deficit from 8% to the 3% or thereabouts which would be required to access the money markets.

      1. Mr Indy says:

        If as you suggest Scotland were to act as if it were independent then the Barnett Formula would not exist. Scotland would raise taxes KEEP ALL it’s taxation and spend that revenue according to the expenditure policies of the government of the day. It could also borrow money should it chose to do so. The main point is that it would not have an 8% deficit. That deficit is created by the UK WM government not Scotland. Scotland as an independent country would not be contributing to UK wide infrastructure. Scotland would be in total control of how it wishes to spend its money and any deficit that was created would be solely as a result of a Scottish Government programme of expenditure.

        1. Swss Toni says:

          “That deficit is created by the UK WM Government” – at one level that is true, but that point is not hugely relevant.

          The UK government takes decisions for the benefit of the UK as a whole (as does any other sovereign state). UK’s annual deficit (difference between tax revenue and public spending) is currently 1.8% of GDP. This is deemed by the money markets to be an acceptable level to allow them to lend to the UK on reasonable terms. The markets will not lend to sovereigns running a GDP above 3% without insisting on measures to reduce the deficit (i.e tax increases and/or spending cuts). This is what happened in Greece.

          It is fairly easy to apportion the deficit between various parts of the UK. The South East of England generates a surplus while the rest of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland run deficits. This is only of academic interest unless one part of the UK wants to split off from the rest and run it’s own economy. Scotland (or any other part of the UK) would take decisions which would benefit itself but it would lose the benefit of economies of scale which comes from being part of the UK. To illustrate this public spending per head of population is £13,530 in Scotland compared to £11,954 for the UK as a whole. The fact that population density is much lower in Scotland is one reason for this difference.

          The starting position for the public finances in an independent Scotland would be what was inherited from the UK. This is currently a deficit of 7.9% of GDP which equates to £2,478 for every man, woman and child (difference between public spending of £13,530 and tax revenue of £11,052). The deficit would need to be reduced by approx. £1,500 per head to access the money markets. Reducing defence spending to the EU average would save £180.

          Independence supporters have a narrative that Scotland has been oppressed and exploited by “Westminster” but the simple economic statistics do not support this. It is a perfectly valid position to want Scotland to be a sovereign nation but you are unlikely to change the minds of No voters if you keep grievance mongering about Westminster and fail to acknowledge that an independent Scotland would need to implement a painful combination of spending cuts and tax increases.

          1. Jack collatin says:


  3. Tom Williamson says:

    I’m English live in Norfolk voted remain in the Brexit referendum, was pleased Scotland voted to remain in the UK in 2014, but now accept Scotland should have the chance of finding itself in the World and in the EU. Personally I believe the quickest way for Scotland is a Celtic Union of equal partners probably based upon the Irish provinces, Scottish Lowlands, Central Belt, Highlands and Islands and Orkney and Shetland. Should not Nicola Sturgeon should be exploring that option with Leo Veradka as this would get Scotland back in the EU quickly. Northern Ireland itself could be given the option to join such a union probably would do as it takes away the fear of the Unionists being subjected to a Catholic Majority state although Eire is more secular than the North these days. It would also hopefully isolate the DUP. Unfortunately many of the English believe we are still an important power player and until we are humilated will cling to that belief. I feel for my country although I am no longer proud of it.

  4. Jonny says:

    “2. Gain a significant majority and use that as leverage for a full referendum.”

    The key word here is ‘significant’. That has to be specifically defined in order to be recognised after the vote.
    I’d go for>60% of seats.
    What would you propose?

    1. WeeJimmy says:

      Surely seat numbers irrelevant in a First Past the Post electoral system when determining whether there is a mandate and more importantly a desire for Indyref2. In such a case as presented here where the SNP would put indy at the centre of its campaign, you would not only expect SNP to win a majority of seats, but also a sizeable percentage share of the vote. As a minimum 45% I would suggest.

  5. Iain MacDonald says:

    I’d like to submit my alternative ten point plan to independence:

    1. It’s time for the SNP to announce it will stand in a general election on an independence mandate.

    Erm, no, that’s it.

    Win a “Scottish” General Election on that mandate and the job is done, no referendum required. Very few countries have won their independence using referenda; the public selecting parliamentary majorities of independence supporting parties is much more common. The other details can be sorted out as we prepare to leave.

    1. Fearchar I. MacIllFhinnein says:

      Exactly, Iain.

  6. MBC says:

    I agree with all of that except 2,3,4. No need for a referendum. Cap in hand. A GE majority on an independence ticket will suffice.

    1. Big Jock says:

      This is all predicated on a third party calling a GE. Right now I don’t see that happening. The Tories would simply elect a new leader to get us through the inevitable no deal.

      So Scotland needs to have a referendum with or without a section 30. If they have a consultative referendum and WM refuse to recognise this. Then they resign and call a Scottish election based on independence. That’s a quicker route, it’s in our hands and safer than using a WM mechanism.

      1. Alf Baird says:

        Scotland already holds independence majorities of MPs and MSPs. If FPTP is good enough for English parties to rule over Scotland for 300 years then its good enough for us to decide to rule over ourselves. Give England her independence now for that is all their people really want. Scotland is an afterthought, not even mentioned. They won’t even know we’re gone, they are so busy arguing with each other over Brexit. Blackford’s Scotland majority has the grounds and constitutional right to withdraw Scotland from the union and depart Westminster for good, with a then sovereign Holyrood passing a Withdrawal Act. Job done. Independence is never given, has to be taken. Time for Scotland’s independence representatives to stand up and be counted.

        1. David Allan says:

          Alf . I could.nt agree more .

          If only Scotland had a leadership equivalent to Mary Lou McDonald !

  7. Fearchar I. MacIllFhinnein says:

    Frankly, the time for referendums which are at the whim of Westminster is past: stand on an independence ticket, saying that a majority of MPs elected in Scotland in a UK General Election will be evidence of the will of the people for an independent Scotland. After that, all that remains is the negotiation about the transition.

  8. Willie says:

    Mrs Thatcher I think said words along the lines of if the Scots voted for a majority of SNP MPs then independence would follow.

    Not quite the case was it.

    Scots were told in the referendum that the it way to stay in the Europe was to vote no.

    Of course in the EU referendum some 63% of Scots voted to stay in Europe. Not quite the case is it.

    And the most powerful devolved Parliament in the world was the vow. Well you tell me, not quite the case as Westminster recovers powers.

    Ah well, at least we can yak about what next. Chatter, chatter,

    Good article though Ed.

  9. Craig P says:

    Most of the No arguments from 2014 were risible – the only argument I thought worth a candle was that a No vote would prevent the deliberate sabotage of the Scottish economy by British nationalists – just my opinion of course and not exactly a positive reason for voting No (I voted Yes, of course.)

    And there are still plenty Remainers who believe that the only thing worse than Brexit is self determination. Call it the Big Ron viewpoint after the poster at the start of the thread.

    Poor British nationalists – their only hope is to persuade us that no matter how bad things get, running our own affairs will always be worse.

    What a miserable way to live.

    1. Swiss Toni says:

      If things are so hellish in the UK, then why was there net migration of 271,000 people into the country last year ?

      If Scottish nationalists find the UK such a dreadful place to live in then why do so few of them seem to emigrate?

      1. Kenny Smith says:

        You really are something. A big reason why we need immigration is exactly because our population has been drained since the union and still many choose to leave. The whole point you are making that so many came here to live is a big part of people voting leave. So are they welcome here or not? How many are going to stay? Why can we not have our own country back and make it a place for Scots to stay and build a country worth living in. I also saw a poll that said 12% of people from rUK would consider moving to Scotland if it became independent, doesn’t sound a lot but it would double our population overnight if it happened. I find it incredible that your answer should be just leave if you don’t like it. Why should we? This is our land and we won’t give up the argument to be in control of our own destiny. What would you do if we win, leave? I’m sure you’ll be missed

  10. SleepingDog says:

    Perhaps the SNP should also offer a limited amnesty (and asylum) to agents of the UK state who have committed offences prejudicial to Scottish independence on condition that they confess all.

    The Westminster election first-past-the-post system is unsuitable for providing a mandate for independence purely on a majority of seats. If the SNP were to set a proportion of votes cast for independence-supporting parties (including Greens and qualifying independents) as a mandate trigger, then I would go for around 2:1 (or just under 67% votes cast in Scotland at the next general election). This means voters can vote for an independence candidate without voting SNP, and it might even mean that pro-independence candidates could be peeled off from unionist parties.

    1. Kenny Smith says:

      Why not bring the 40% rule back? Are you for real? A majority of Scottish MPs, that’s enough.

      1. SleepingDog says:

        @Kenny Smith, the Scottish National Party won 35 out of 69 Westminster seats in Scotland on a 36.9% share of a 66.4% turnout in 2017, according to the BBC website. This amounts to backing from less than a quarter of the electorate (if my maths is right).

        The Leave-Remain divide in the UK is a warning what can happen on slim majority votes, and there are some signs of buyers’ remorse. One of the biggest dangers to Scottish Independence, in my view, is a wafer-thin snapshot majority that bounces Scotland into a contested process, with massive compromises, recriminations, accusations of foul play and public disillusionment.

        1. SleepingDog says:

          *59* seats, not 69.

          1. Kenny Smith says:

            Sorry SD I’m going to have to agree to disagree. If the Tories won 35 out of 59 seats they would say the yes movement is dead so I think it applies both ways if it’s a manifesto commitment

        2. Kenny Smith says:

          I hear what you are saying mate and this is the crap that will be thrown at us but what are we to do? We can’t allow us to trap ourselves when they won’t play fair to begin with. We have played nice by their rules so far and really a majority at a UK election is an option afforded to us by their rules. If you think back to Holyrood and council elections the Tories won 25% or there abouts to come a distant 2nd but that was supposedly enough to claim victory. They are not going to let us just walk off no matter how we do it there will be a challenge, votes cast, seats gained, % of turnout, illegal referendum, the list can go on. 1 manifesto commitment, withdrawal from the treaty with a majority under the UK electoral system. I agree in an ideal world with mutual respect an fair and informed referendum is preferred but they just won’t allow it. Don’t put a straight jacket on before you go in the ring and give them the advantage before the bell rings

          1. SleepingDog says:

            @Kenny Smith, there are practical advantages as well as virtues in maintaining a higher standard than your opponents, not least in building trust that you aren’t some kind of splittist nutter who will jump ship/blame others when your ill-laid plans gan aglae, as we see with Brexit. A high bar brings reassurance, and may unlock the vote of people who fear in good conscience of contributing to a narrow, polarising decision.

            It should be straightforward to present social suffering as systematic, given damning views like:
            UK austerity has inflicted ‘great misery’ on citizens, UN says

            However, stories which show similar abuses in England and Scotland, like this:
            Secret videos reveal workers beating sheep on English and Scottish farms
            suggest similar cultural problems rather than distinction.

            In my view, a successful campaign will need to show:
            1) that identifiable problems and injustices are systematically caused by the (imperial-theocratic) constitution and corporate-establishment-militarist culture of the United Kingdom, that cannot be addressed by general elections or civic society;
            2) that Scottish culture has significantly forked away from English-UK culture, that practical and ideologically-sound solutions are already being successfully implemented on the ground (perhaps in mitigation of central UK policies and practice), and that a more rational, outward-looking and compassionate outlook predominates (perhaps including openness to reparations for slavery in Jamaica after independence, as suggested by recent BBC documentary series Slavery: Scotland’s Hidden Shame).

            If we cannot get 2:1 support for independence in a national vote under circumstances when the UK seems to be falling apart on its own, or a majority of the electorate on a reasonable turnout, then I think we need to reconsider assumptions and approach.

  11. Kate says:

    Currency – what will it be? What bank will be backing it up? What about public spending implications? Preserving trade with rUK? These are the questions No voters want answers to. And if you think anyone is going to agree to a crowd-sourced written constitution, you are deluded.

  12. john leggett says:

    you forgot the Anglo-Norman elite control the way votes are counted therefore Starlin was right, ITS THE PEOPLE WHO COUNT THE VOTES THAT DECIDE. Until a system (International wide agreed) is put in place this so called union will be run by this elite.

  13. Ottomanboi says:

    Has the SNP, the one time locomotive of independence now run out of steam?
    Sturgeon, while a good political actor in parliament, is no strategist and certainly no risk taker.
    This major crisis ought to be a field day for the SNP. Sadly, it appears to be as perplexed as the rest of the UK parties as to what must be done.
    This is a party that had, for a short time 56 Westminster mps and 50% of the vote. It did zilch with it.
    If that performance is reprised, we may need a new party that actually takes Scottish independence seriously, not one that appears content to administer Scotland for Whitehall.
    Remember the system has full access to the mechanisms of state power. Without a truly formidable SNP machine, expertly driven and with a worldview markedly less ‘British’, the system will always conquer and rather too many Scots would be happy to wave their Unionist flags at the victory parade.
    I hope the coming days and weeks prove me totally wrong.

  14. tangibilly says:

    Four years on what are the answers to the sticking questions that cost us indy the last time namely currency financial security , pensions etc, the royal family all these questions will still exist. Just saying we will sort these things out when we get Indy and trust us didn’t work the last time so why should it work this time. People will want to know what currency their pensions will be paid in and what value it will have on the international money markets eg will the Bawbee or what ever its called be worth the same as the pound. will it be accepted abroad will It be accepted by an English banks to pay mortgages with. All people will want to know is that post Indy they will be able to take care of their families and care for them and if they are not reasurred then im afraid like the last time the status que might prevail People will say I’m negative for asking these questions but why do they imagine that if I don’t then no-one else will. If I am lucky we will get one more go at indy in my lifetime i would hate to see it fail because we were unable to resolve the problems of the last time but it would be worse if we failed because we never even tried to adress them .

    1. Kenny Smith says:

      I understand these concerns but these questions have been answered already. There is precedent for Ireland using the pound until it could float the punt. The argument that we couldn’t use the pound was torpedoed by Marvin King the ex governor of the bank of England and let’s be honest if the pound continues to tank they will be begging us to keep it. The oil in the north sea makes it a petro currency which is a big reason it’s not completely worthless. As for pensions you can retire in Australia and still collect your pension and the UK treasury stated it would still pay pensions to people who qualifies for one. While we are on it our state pension is one of the worst in the western world. The currency we would use would be sterling but the argument for setting up a Scots pound or dollar can happen, other countries who export less have managed it after gaining independence and with foreign currency coming in I’m positive it could be a strong currency helping a strong economy. There has been so much work done on this by better people than me and I’m not for one second it’s all a canter but it’s achievable. People don’t have these answers because people don’t get the information by choice or by it being withheld in the media. I totally agree that the case for Indy should be scruitinised but the same media never asked the leave campaign for anywhere near as much as a plan a nevermind b or c but we are expected to just grin n bare it because London says, fuck that!

    2. Alf Baird says:

      Don’t forget that up to half of No voters (perhaps one million ‘residents’) were/are not Scottish (by culture or heritage) and hence demonstrated limited appetite in voting for Scottish citizenship and nationality to replace or augment their own existing citizenship/nationality, and moreover they seemed quite motivated to vote to deny Scots our own citizenship and nationality, i.e. to block our self-determination. To No voters, their preferred existing nationality and citizenship arguably matters far more than currency or any other mere policy aspect.

  15. Peter Johnston says:

    I agree with everything that is said. But one thing is missing and that is, how do we get the message across? Four years has passed and we are still 50/50 approximately in voting intentions. In this time we haven’t persuaded enough voters to move to yes. What is missing or what haven’t we done? We haven’t negated the effects of the media and no one has come up with an answer on how to do this. Yes we have door to door, street stalls, marches and leaflets but we are still where we are today as we were yesterday. Personally I think we need a newspaper freely distributed through out Scotland. The advantage of this is voters are more receptive to reading material that appears neutral. A paper is often read more than once and by more than one person. A newspaper gives a sense of officialdom it also reaches into homes. Headings speak a thousand words and seen at a glance. We already have the journalists, we already have the distribution network (YES/SNP volunteers), we just need the print.

  16. Graham Ennis says:

    Magnificent!…..loved it. More please

  17. George Kerevan says:

    I broadly agree with Mike’s 10 points with the caveat I might have pro-indy MPs STAY at Westminster for a period and use disruptive tactics to force UK government to accept out demands. Much would depend on the voting balance of power.

    1. Thanks George – yes I think the need for disruption tactics and what they would be would be highly contingent on what’s going on. The general point thought is that if you run on a ticket of demanding an independence referendum win – then that is denied – you need to be imaginative and disruptive – you couldn’t just for a second time sit on your hands.

  18. Mathew says:

    FFS Scotland just get on with it – running out of time – Extinction Rebellion.

  19. florian albert says:

    In the 2014 Referendum, just about every prosperous area of Scotland voted 60 – 40 against Independence. Does either George Kerevan or Mike Small seriously believe that disruptive tactics in the House of Commons – or elsewhere – are likely to win such voters to the independence cause ?

    I am not a great fan of Nicola Sturgeon but she has made it clear that she is not interested in going down this road. When the SNP decline to lead such a campaign, it will go absolutely nowhere.

    1. Alf Baird says:

      Yes, Scotland’s nationalist MPs and MSPs should remember they have been voted in for one purpose and one purpose only – to secure Scotland’s independence, in any way it comes. There are perhaps far too many recent unionists amongst the SNP parliamentary ranks who have yet to appreciate that purpose.

      1. Jo says:

        “SNP MPs and MSPs should remember they’ve been voted in for one purpose only.”

        I disagree there Alf. Many people vote SNP because they’re for independence, yes, but since 2007 many also voted for them because of their domestic policies and we must remember that. Think about tuition fees, about prescription charges. Think about retaining Scottish Water in public hands. The SNP is the only Party which opposes the first two and backs the third. (Incredibly, even Labour in Scotland now wants to privatise Scottish Water.) These issues mattered enough to Scots that they backed the SNP increasingly from 2007. It wasn’t simply about independence. The number in that category could be significant because many folk were dismayed at the awful policies being backed, not just by the Tories, but by Labour and the LibDems. That is why I believe that to make it solely about independence now is a very serious mistake and I say this knowing how passionate the desire for independence is for many Scots. I think going this route now, at this time, will be disastrous to be honest.

        I think Sturgeon knows that and I also think she’s said things we’ve all forgotten. For one thing, she said she wouldn’t risk a second referendum unless she knew it could be won. I think she wanted to see 60% in favour. I don’t see that anywhere.

        What I did see, after Indyref2 was mentioned by Sturgeon in summer 2016 following the Brexit vote, was the loss of 21 SNP MPs and the arrival of THIRTEEN Scottish Tory MPs at Westminster. And while the SNP still won in Scotland some of us still felt the impact of the 21 seat loss. Sturgeon herself felt the impact and admitted that the mention of Indyref2 in the summer, less than two years after the previous one, could have been a factor. Well, yes. It gave Davidson, Rennie and Dugdale their campaign slogan that all the SNP wanted was “another divisive independence referendum…blah, blah”. It was all we heard from them the whole campaign as they spun the lie that domestic policies don’t matter to the SNP, that there’s only one policy in their manifesto…independence.

        I realise that my own view will be unwelcome here and that’s fine. But I think it’s important to express it when reading others that want to go for UDI or to “cause disruption”, whatever that means. It’s easy to talk that way when you’re with others who agree. It’s another thing altogether to sell such a proposition more widely in Scotland. And every time I’ve read the suggestion in recent days I have also heard the insufferable Jackson Carlaw telling Holyrood last Thursday that the even more insufferable Ruth Davidson will be the next First Minister of Scotland. So I think some of you need to think of the risks you are taking by talking up UDI or a too early Indyref2 which could very well lack the support needed for either. Which is why opposition Parties are probably rubbing their hands together in glee about the route some are encouraging the SNP to take. I say it’s a reckless route indeed that could cost us all dearly no matter how passionate the quest for independence is.

        I’m not being abusive towards anyone here in disagreeing with you so I hope my own views will be treated civilly too.

        1. Alf Baird says:

          Jo, it seems quite recent (since devolution?) that SNP MPs and MSPs have treated their elected posts as primarily a day job and not a Cause.

          There is an argument that Holyrood’s supposedly ‘progressive’ policies have simply attracted ever more mainly No voters from rest-UK into Scotland (one million+ since devolution alone), and this largely explains the revival of the Tories (from what was pre devolution a virtual Tory free Scotland) in constituencies that have the highest levels of immigration from rest-UK as well as being the locations for concentration of most No votes.

          Another independence referendum is a very risky strategy as I and others have argued, and entirely unnecessary given other options not least the way the UK was itself constituted.

          Taking the Stormont example, if the SNP refused to sit in a devolved (i.e. ‘power sharing’) Holyrood (or in Westminster) this would render Scotland in an ‘ungovernable’ mode and would have left us at the mercy of the likes of Governor General Mundell and/or Ruth Davidson and I cannot think of a better mechanism with which to rapidly extend the appetite of more Scots or anyone else for that matter towards independence.

          By fully participating in the UK devolved cooperative unionist game the SNP is arguably furthering, if not strengthening, the ‘union’ charade.

          Unionist Devolution work is a Day job; Independence is a Cause. Maybe this explains why the SNP no longer campaign for independence – they prefer the day job.

          1. florian albert says:

            Alf Baird, how do you reach the conclusion that ‘one million +’ voters have come into Scotland, from the rest of the UK, since Devolution started in 1997 ?
            The population of Scotland in 1997 was 5,083,00. By 2017, it had risen to 5,404,000. I find it impossible to reconcile your statement with the actual figures for the growth of population in Scotland.

          2. Alf Baird says:

            Hi Florian, try multiplying c. 50,000 people/year X 20 years. (Actual rates vary from abt 40,000 to 70,000 a year, and will of course be understated as not everyone will list themselves in the census).

          3. Jo says:

            The day job is important. It’s vitally important and no competent government should be willing to set all of its responsibilities aside for one other cause. It would play right into the hands of other Parties, don’t you see that? It’s also a very difficult and challenging job. Governing Scotland, even under devolution only, is a task requiring a great deal of work determining policy on hundreds of different issues all of which matter. Any Party which doesn’t take that responsibility seriously isn’t fit to govern Toy Town. The SNP does take it seriously. I commend them for that.

            I actually know people who voted SNP because of their domestic policies some of which I mentioned earlier. You may dismiss those votes as belonging to incomers or people who previously voted for other Parties but they still got the SNP into government so they count.

            Stormont you say? The situation there is a disgrace. NI voted to remain, Stormont isn’t functioning and the DUP are rabidly for Brexit and are actively working for the toughest Brexit going AGAINST the wishes of the people in NI! They’re running the whole show! Meanwhile their parliament is in mothballs. You’d want elected SNP people to do that to Scotland and refuse to take their seats, only not just at Westminster but at Holyrood too, just leave the governing of Scotland to everyone else because that’s just the day job? I’m sorry, that way is madness and will deliver only the most painful of defeats and humiliation for the SNP and for all prospects of independence. Which is what the other Parties want.

            You say there’s no necessity for any Indyref2. Why, because we’d lose again so let’s do UDI instead? I’m sorry Alf, such a strategy sends out a terrible message. It says Indyref1 didn’t matter and you’re disregarding that result and declaring independence anyway. The SNP would get crucified for such a move.

            I’ve seen no signs out there that there’s a significant majority for what you propose. If that’s the case then I cannot understand why anyone would want to risk it right now.

            Thanks for your response.

          4. Alf Baird says:

            Jo, you say that “It’s also a very difficult and challenging job. Governing Scotland..”. Arguably Holyrood politicians don’t actually ‘run’ Scotland; Holyrood simply divvies up the budget between ‘Scottish Government’ departments each of which remain headed by Whitehall appointees who spend the money and ‘implement’ policy. These same Whitehall appointees would still be running much of Scotland even if the SNP were not in ‘power’. ‘Devolved’ government in Scotland remains essentially a UK institution irrespective of the political figureheads sitting in Holyrood and the latter itself likewise remains a UK administered entity.

    2. Yes I do – in the circumstances in which the MPs elected have run on – and won – a substantial referendum majority and are then denied a vote.

      Under these circumstances then you’d be left with little option but take disruptive or extra-parliamentary actions.

  20. florian albert says:

    Alf Baird

    You write that ‘actual rates’ of people moving into Scotland from the rest of the UK ‘vary from about 40.000 to 70,000 a year’ over a period of 20 years.

    What is the source of these figures ?

    1. Lochside says:

      Google ‘Demographics of Scotland’ and look for immigration by area….Alf is right, some areas such as Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire have had something like 75,000 RUK emigrating into the area in the past 15 years. And guess what?….the SNP vote collapsed the minute ‘No Surrender’ Ruthie started frightening them.
      I have always maintained that the RUK/English in these areas have voted SNP for the good returns such as personal care, free prescriptions etc, that the SNP have provided in Holyrood, but for ideological i.e. British imperialism,
      will not vote for Independence reasons. Having your cake and eat it springs to mind.

      1. florian albert says:


        Thanks for the tip. The information I found is interesting. It is clear that tens of thousands of people leave England and Wales for Scotland each year BUT tens of thousands go in the other direction.
        The raw statistics do not tell us who these people are. One possibility is that there is a massive population transfer going on. My guess is that this is NOT happening and that the biggest number of these people are students. Scottish universities attract huge numbers of English students, with Edinburgh and St Andrews to the fore.
        If you look at the gap in numbers, between those going south and those coming north, it shows that for the years 2007 – 2016 inclusive about 7,000 more people come north. In some years, 2000, 1999 and 1998, a larger number went south.
        The figures available do not make Alf Baird’s case.

        1. Alf Baird says:

          Florian, you seem a wee bit in denial, and maybe that’s to do with your own situation? Having studied this subject in some detail I absolutely agree with Lochside, and the evidence is crystal clear across a range of sectors. According even to EIS data almost 60% of high school teachers in Scottish schools in the Borders and Dumfries & Galloway today are from England; in other words, in some areas of Scotland less than half the teachers today are Scottish. This is also the case in many Scottish universities, especially the ancients, where Scottish academics are an ever reducing minority, as are Scottish students. The census tells us that e.g. 40% of the population of Mull today is from England, 50% on Rousay, and not a lot different in a hundred or more other locations. And if you consider where the No vote is strongest and where the anti-SNP vote is likewise also at its strongest (i.e. Orkney/Shetland, Highlands, Aberdeenshire, Perthshire, Borders, NE Fife, D&G, Edinburgh west and south etc), a little analysis of the census and of areas where those coming from south of the border mostly tend to live in Scotland aligns almost perfectly.

          You should also take into account from census data, in case you did not know, that the largest single ethnic group of migrants coming to Scotland over the last century and more comprised people from England, with a (rather colonial?) predominance across the professional classes, and that this seems to have accelerated since devolution. Think of all the Scottish based ‘experts’ and professionals interviewed day and daily on BBC Scotland TV and Radio or wheeled into Holyrood committees – most are not Scottish. As Lochside says, having their cake and eating it, and for the most part effectively taking it upon themselves to block Scottish citizenship and Scottish nationality, i.e. our self determination, in ever increasing numbers, ensuring perennial Tory UK rule whilst milking devolved SNP freebies not available south of the border.

          1. florian albert says:

            Let’s stick to you claim, which I am questioning, that a ‘million +’ English (and possibly Welsh) people have moved into Scotland from in the past 20 years. You give some figures but they do not come close to proving your million plus figure. You detail two places; Rousay’s population is 50% English; its total population is 212. Mull, with 40% English, has 2,800 people. A total of 1,126 English people.

            Since you have studied this, you will be able to direct me to where the EIS states that nearly 60% of secondary teachers in the south of Scotland are English. I have failed to find this online. I do not believe it to be accurate.

            With regard to the universities, they have long had a large percentage of English staff. When I went to university in the late ’60s, I was astonished at how few Scottish lecturers I had.

            There is no doubt that there has been a steady flow of English people into Scotland, more accurately, into parts of Scotland – mostly in the more prosperous east.
            I repeat, the figure of a million plus coming in the last 20 years is not credible.

          2. SleepingDog says:

            I don’t know about the figures, but I moved from my native Scotland with my family as a child to England, and moved back to Scotland a few years later. Therefore I would count in figures for moving from England to Scotland, but I am not English. Similarly, a lot of people who move from England to Scotland could have Scottish origins, relations or connections. And vice versa. There was a lot of people moving all over the UK to get jobs when I was younger.

          3. Alf Baird says:

            FA, so you think all or most of the people coming from rest-UK to Scotland are Scots? Pull the other one.

            “..in the first years of the 21st century the previous trend of a net migration away from Scotland had reversed with significant immigration to Scotland from the rest of the United Kingdom. Between 2001 and 2011 Scotland’s population grew by 5% (233,000), the fastest rate of growth for at least 100 years” ( Press Release: First Results of Scotland’s 2011 Census)

  21. David Allan says:

    My personal opinion based on discussions with others is that support for Independence IS growing support for the SNP however IS NOT!

    And there lies the problem.

    The Gradualist approach adopted and observed over many decades climaxed in 2014. It failed to gain Independence due to the passive nature of it’s campaign . Since then Scotland has been humiliated on numerous occasions and no longterm electoral advantage has been sought or gained by the SNP.

    Devolution has served only to provide a platform for Unionist Parties to decry our efforts to mitigate the effects of Tory austerity successfully undermining the Independence cause at each FMQ session.

    The SNP promised to make the case , the Growth Commission published it’s report and it’s impact bombed. The stance on EU membership does not have universal support and we still have no coherent strategy on currency .

    If Scotland pursues a EU future and England is out what does that mean for our border with England? More ammunition for the Better Together Camp who have
    succeeded in continuing to promote their aims and the expense of the SNP.

    The SNP are not going to deliver the energy or an effective attack on the Westminster model under their present underforming leadership.

    Depressingly I can’t see how it can change.

  22. florian albert says:

    Alf Baird

    I have not denied that there has been inward immigration to Scotland by English people. I have doubted your ‘million +’ figure. I still doubt it.
    The word ‘significant’ does not tell us much about numbers.
    With regard to the growth of Scotland’s population in the years leading up to 2011, much of the answer is to be found in the influx of people from Poland and other European countries from 2004 on.

    I, like SleepingDog, am part of the statistics for people moving from England to Scotland.

    Again, where and when did the EIS state that nearly 60% of the teachers in secondaries in the South of Scotland are English ?

    1. Alf Baird says:

      Teachers in Scotland 2016

      The data contained in this spreadsheet is background information for the National Statistics Publication “Summary Statistics for Schools in Scotland, No.7 ¦ 2016 Edition”, released on the 13th of December 2016.
      The publication can be found at:

    2. Alf Baird says:

      Florian Albert, the precise table can be accessed via: https://www.gov.scot/publications/summary-statistics-schools-scotland-7-2016/pages/10/

      If you scroll down to: Table 8.8: Secondary school teachers by ethnicity(1) and local authority, 2016

      You will see there that the proportion of teachers coming from rest-UK and now teaching in Scottish state high schools is as I stated, i.e. 67% of Borders high school teachers nowadays are from rest-UK, and between 30-60% of all high school teachers in 21 other LA areas in Scotland are likewise from rest-UK, primarily England. These also mostly tend to be the LA/constituency areas that vote No to oppose Scottish self-determination and also vote for unionist candidates at UK elections. Odd that you should mention Poland as some might argue that what we see here perhaps resembles the Russianization cultural/linguistic policy imposed by Russia on Poland and other countries in the 19th century.

      Historically the census also tells us that prior to devolution, for the previous century (1900-1999) by far the largest ethnic migrant group coming to Scotland was people from rest-UK, primarily England, and largely these flows represented professional classes, teaching being one area, and you mention universities for which that sector the consequence is self-evident for anyone looking at academic faculty lists in Scotland. This would (also) have been well in excess of one million people over the period which implies that over the past 120 years or so the total inbound flows could well exceed some million people – which incidentally is the same number of No voters in Scotland. This suggests that Scotland has historically and as remains the case today been importing much of its professional class from rest-UK, and primarily England, whilst as we well know the 1-2 million or so Scots who economically were more or less forced to emigrate from Scotland in the past century or so (and helped to do so by the British state and its elites) were mostly working class, and no doubt lacking opportunity in their home nation.

      1. Alf Baird says:

        Should read:

        “….over the past 120 years or so the total inbound flows could well exceed some TWO million people – ….”

      2. florian albert says:

        Alf Baird

        Sorry for the delay in responding.

        The Scottish Government figures show that most teachers are either ‘White Scottish’ or ‘White Other British Isles.’

        From this, you extrapolate that those in the second category are non-Scots. I believe that you are mistaken here. I believe that teachers could choose to describe themselves as either White Scottish or White British and that a large number chose the latter.
        It strikes me as extremely unlikely that – for example – Clackmannan would have 58% of teachers who were non Scots.

        Apart from this, I have always viewed Scottish educational statistics with some scepticism. When figures for truancy were published, Glasgow routinely had low
        truancy rates. This defied common sense.

        1. Alf Baird says:

          The statistics are fairly accurate in my view, and from personal experience of teacher composition in a couple of Scottish local authority areas.

  23. Jim Bennett says:

    Great stuff, Mike.

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