2007 - 2021

SNP Now Defender of Four Unions

Rob Brown on how Scotland’s natural party of government remains firmly wedded to a quartet of unnatural attachments.

It’s time for a crazy, celebratory ceilidh! Following its spring conference in the capital, the SNP has become a party steadfastly committed to the preservation of just four rather than five unions. Wha’s like them, eh? No other nationalist movement in human history, since you aren’t asking.

Alex Salmond, you may recall, delivered six speeches at the start of the 2014 referendum campaign on what he termed the “six unions”:

  • Political and economic union
  • Currency Union
  • European Union
  • Military Union through NATO
  • Union of the Crowns
  • Social Union

The only one on this list he was determined to get rid of was the decrepit political and economic union with England dating back to 1707. Salmond was adamant that Scotland would continue its currency union with the rest of the UK by sticking with sterling.

That changed at the weekend when ordinary SNP members defied the leadership by passing a resolution to replace the pound with a new national currency “as soon as practicable”. A bold move, you might think.

But leading dissident George Kerevan failed to convince the conference also to scrap the six stiff economic tests the leadership plan to apply before any abandonment of the pound. So, the currency union could survive a lot longer than many expect.

Certainly, don’t expect any similarly dramatic strikethrough any of the other unions to which the party is still strongly attached. The leadership will have learned a lesson from that awkward amendment on the timing of the currency switch and it won’t be to loosen their reins.

Four unions are still safe in their hands, despite all of the following:

  • All new EU member states must seriously commit to adopting the euro.
  • NATO is a US-dominated nuclear alliance determined to renew Trident.
  • The Monarchy remains the apex of the UK’s semi-feudal power structure.
  • Ties of kinship and friendship will be maintained by people not politicians.

But who cares about these inconvenient truths when all that matters is creating an illusion of independence? The saltire fluttering alongside the European flag from every telegraph pole while Queen Bess keeps on cuddling her corgis at Balmoral. And no doubt the Typhoons still being scrambled from RAF Lossiemouth to repel Russian bombers.

Nuclear submarines might also remain moored at the mouth of the Clyde. The Scottish Nato Party’s high command takes pride in its ‘political realism’ and, when it comes down to international negotiations, ‘political realists’ usually submit to Realpolitik.

Nicola, like Theresa, would doubtless soon find that some of her red lines need to be crossed. Why not surrender on nuclear weapons to secure a soft Scexit? Scotland would still be sheltering under Nato’s nuclear umbrella, after all. Only logical sense, old boy.

The old boy in this case would most probably be the grandly-titled Cabinet Secretary for Government Business and Constitutional Relations, Mike Russell, who once seriously floated the idea that defence and foreign affairs should remain a shared responsibility with London post-independence. Hence our economic and political union could be replaced by a defence and external relations union. So, abracadabra – five rather than four unions again!

We all understand why SNP strategists remain so firmly wedded to so many unions: they are utterly petrified about potentially scaring voters. Further constitutional change won’t cause too much fright, they calculate, if they just carry on emphasising continuity.

Waxing sentimental about “the bonds of friendship that will always endure across our islands” (Surgeon’s saccharine words in a recent tweet) is also considered wise and necessary. But such bonds are not at all endangered.

Nobody is proposing to rebuild Hadrian’s Wall. Dundonians and Glaswegians will continue to be as welcome down south as Dubliners and Galwegians. We don’t need the SNP’s high heid yins to guarantee that. The social union will prevail come what may.

But it is a dangerous delusion to think that kow-towing to the Eurocrats, the Yanks and the House of Hanover will necessarily prevent any of these powerful forces from seeking to shaft us at a crunch stage in the struggle for Scotland.

Sorry to be a killjoy after that uplifting Sunday Times poll, but we’re really still in a phoney war. No proper call to arms yet. The FM only told her devotees to “get their jackets on” – not their body armour. While she huffs and puffs at Holyrood, the political and economic Unionists are just keeping their powder dry.

If they are forced into what they would regard as the second Battle for Britain, here’s the question our enemies will confront the voters with: why would any sane Scot go through the upheaval of ending a 300 year old union if we’re not taking back full control of our country?

Restoration of sovereignty should not be about continuity. Self-determination should be about recognising and realising the potential for real revolutionary change. As he flitted between the French and the American revolutions, that great English radical Tom Paine famously proclaimed: ‘We have it in our power to begin the world again’.

Today we in Scotland have it in our power to begin our country again. But our inglorious leaders are incapable of imagineering anything close to that.

The First Minister declared a “climate change emergency” at the conference, but only because she knew that was a good headline grabber in the aftermath of Greta Thunberg’s visit to these shores and the recent strikes by school pupils. She has no plans to reverse the cut in flight taxes or to fund public transport to the extent needed to provide an attractive alternative to carbon-spewing cars.

More, bigger, better, further, faster is the philosophy of the most materialistic nationalist movement of all time. They’d still be bawling ‘It’s Scotland’s Oil!’ if the price of that fossil fuel hadn’t collapsed a few years back.

As they limber up for another election race – to that powerless talking shop the European Parliament – they don’t fully recognise that we are now in the closing stages of a race between consciousness and cataclysm. They brag about Scotland being carbon neutral by 2050 knowing they’ll be living off their gold-plated ministerial pensions (or in the grave) long before they have to personally meet that distant target.

In stark contrast to our national bard, our Nationalist chieftains are not ‘truly sorry man’s dominion has broken nature’s social union’. That’s one union they were swift to sacrifice so that the Donald could destroy a magical, wild stretch of the Aberdeenshire coastline to create ‘the greatest golf course in the world’.

Ecological sustainability also did not feature prominently in Andrew Wilson’s Sustainable Growth Commission report. His neoliberal recipe for ‘economic renaissance’ remains thoroughly toxic and should have been tossed by conference delegates into Polmadie Burn along with all those other putrid effluents flowing into the Clyde.

To end by paraphrasing Voltaire and Nairn, Scotland will be reborn the day the last SNP Government Minister is strangled with the last copy of the Growth Commission report. And when our ‘Nationalists’ cease to be such inveterate unionists.

Comments (47)

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  1. Bert Logan says:

    The SNP might ‘want’.

    But an independent Scotland can change everything.

    I anticipate multiple referendums – with choice on all of these and more.

    Its the referendum process (technical solutions, speed, information related) that need discussing.

    1. Rob Brown says:

      I’m well aware of that argument, Bert. ‘Don’t rock the boat, son. Let’s just win Indyref2 then we’ll get exactly what we want. Eyes on the prize, pal.’ Very seductive to so many.
      But do you really think you can put the building of real radical consciousness on the back burner for a decade and a half (which will be how long the SNP has been in power in a few years) and we’ll be well set to become genuinely free after 2023?
      An illusion of freedom is the best you can hope for if we keep taking that road to ‘Independence in Europe’.

      1. Bert Logan says:

        An illusion of freedom.

        Sigh, ‘Dont rock the boat’ is not an argument.

        Fighting for 35 years for this, and I heard the ‘rock the boat’ argument over and over. So many rocky false dawns.

        You have to pass the finish line to really rock that boat.

  2. Iain MacEchern says:

    The whole point of Independence is that the people of Scotland’s can make the decisions they want. Hopefully in an independent Scotland we will have parties that represent all types of political ideology, and a system of government that will allow everyone a voice.
    Many people in Scotland are not looking for or support radical ideas, they want jobs and security with a worthwhile future for their children. That’s why the SNP have had huge success over the last few years and the radical parties have had very little success.
    So yes, Independence is the number one goal by far, without independence we will achieve nothing. So all those in favour of independence really need to put some of their ideological differences aside temporarily until we achieve our goal.

    1. Rob Brown says:

      I really get what you’re saying, Iain. But we won’t get jobs and security for the masses or a worthwhile future for our children without developing radical consciousness and ideas. And we can’t get that if we put everything on hold until the SNP secure another five year term at Holyrood – which, I suspects, most of their handsomely remunerated ministers would happily settle for. Great jobs and security for them!

      1. Jo says:

        Actually Rob, I think there are a few things you don’t “get”.

        It’s all very well for this debate to be going on within the SNP and in the wider YES movement but you are ignoring the elephant in the room; that group frequently referred to as, “the people of Scotland” have still to be completely won over on Independence. And, as someone who is already in favour, I get irritated every time I read another article like yours which speaks of “war” and claims that there’s been, “No proper call to arms yet. The FM only told her devotees to “get their jackets on” – not their body armour.” Such language is unnecessary and, in my view, switches off more people than it switches on.

        All very well to declare yourself a radical but in reality all that means is that you’re absolutely certain. The clear contempt you show for others who aren’t yet sure – and that’s still a fair chunk among “the people of Scotland” – is arrogant and damaging. It’s also reckless.

        I think there are a number of areas where the SNP is now struggling domestically and that concerns me because it’s important. I want to see them focus on those areas so that opposition Parties in the Parliament don’t get to wave damning statistics in front of the FM every week. I want the problems addressed. I’m alarmed by the complacency sometimes. It’s all very well to say Labour are useless and there will never be a Tory FM. But it’s a bloody dangerous game all the same.

        You play a dangerous game yourself by writing articles like this. I say that as a YES. You have no right to dismiss others who think differently from you Ron. You’re not thinking sensibly by ignoring the quest – not the war – to win over the numbers needed to win an independence vote and win it well.

        I have my own views about Sturgeon. I was an admirer but I believe she was wrong to respond to the Brexit result by making a wonderful speech in the Chamber which brought Labour, the Lib-Dems and the Greens onside, only to smash that consensus to smithereens a short time later by threatening Indyref2 less than two years after the first. In doing this she handed Davidson her campaign slogan for the GE in 2017 and thirteen seats at Westminster on a plate. She lost twenty-one SNP MPs and admitted that raising the issue of another referendum so soon had contributed to the losses.

        She has tried since to humour those who would have had a new referendum twenty-four hours after the last one but there was no getting away from it yet she caused it herself by introducing the subject herself in relation to Brexit. So she’s cornered. And that’s produced her latest announcement at the weekend. And, like magic, Davidson returned to the political debate when she’d adopted a vow of silence all this time, probably thanking God she was safely on maternity leave all these months while her Party was imploding at Westminster. She’s rediscovered her raison d’etre and her old well-used slogan. “The people of Scotland do not want another Independence Referendum!”. She’s not worried about coming back to work now.

        Sturgeon once said, back in 2014, that she would not risk another referendum unless support of around 60% was for YES. I think that was very sensible. I think it was very foolish indeed to move away from that position in 2016. To then have a mish-mash of Brexit and Indyref2 all swirling around hasn’t helped at all. I think, actually, that it’s an almighty mess.

        1. Alistair MacKichan says:

          Thanks Jo for a thoughtful response. I think you are a bit hard on the article’s radicalism – it is a sharp analysis, and that helps wake us all up. Like you, I am a Yes, but if Brexit is an alternative to Independence in Europe, I vote Brexit. I regard the superstate that Europe is becoming as a political amoeba which will engulf Scotland rather than free us, a greater danger to Scotland than remaining in the UK, and that is saying something. I hate Trident on Loch Long, having lived in its shadow for twenty years, and need the kind of independence which gives us control over everything – defence, currency, political direction, and distinctive national celebration. I abhor the attempt of the SNP to dilute that Inde agenda, and have been watching their waning idealism and creeping materialism for years now. All Under One Banner has got it right for me – they want us to get proper Inde, then work it through step by step. Back to Jo’s essential point, we need to rally the thinking sensitively round each sector of the population, placing the real issue before people, teasing out the consequences, and showing that it is right. Self Determination of those with a Sovereign Right has Universal Legitimacy in the Human Family, and that needs to be our single clarion call.

          1. Jo says:

            Thanks for your response Alistair.

            I was for Remain in the EU referendum but I also already had concerns about the way the EU operates and had recognised its flaws. Even so, I found the rhetoric coming from the Leave side abhorrent. If anything, that has worsened and I think we cannot dispute the fact that, on Brexit, the EU folk have shown more dignity than the UK has. It’s hard to see where it will all go.

            Up here, we don’t know what’s still to play out for Sturgeon. There’s the Salmond matter still to come. Who knows what will emerge there. It’s created division already and, I’ll be honest, I am not impressed with Sturgeon’s decision to back a woman at the head of an investigation which a judge had declared was, “unfair, unlawful and tainted with bias”. That’s quite a damning assessment. It is worrying that Sturgeon’s response didn’t suggest it concerned her. It should have.

            On the domestic front I mentioned above I worry too that the SNP has gone the way of Westminster by putting out meaningless statements from “spokespersons for the Scottish Government” whenever some other missed target or worse hits the headlines. I’d prefer real answers. There are real problems to be addressed and they’re getting maximum coverage in the Scottish press, obviously. Action is needed.

            People really need to stop paying attention to voting intentions and believing that 2021 will be another skoosh case for the SNP at Holyrood or that, in a GE, they’ll take all those Tory seats back. Polls aren’t the real deal, bloody noses are and on the domestic front I hope the SNP gets its butt in gear very soon. Complacency in politics is death. I just hope that now Sturgeon has made this latest announcement on Indyref2, it doesn’t become yet another major distraction, on top of the Brexit debacle, that stops the SNP from getting to grips with those vitally important domestic everyday issues they can’t afford to neglect.

    2. Rob Brown says:

      I really get what you’re saying, Iain. But we won’t get jobs and security for the masses or a worthwhile future for our children without developing radical consciousness and ideas. And we can’t get that if we put everything on hold until the SNP secure another five year term of Devo or Devo Max at Holyrood – which, I suspect, most of their handsomely remunerated ministers would happily settle for. Great jobs and security for them!

      1. Legerwood says:

        Those ‘handsomely remunerated ministers’ have not taken any pay rises since 2008. Now if you want to talk about ‘handsomely remunerated’ let’s talk list MSPs

    3. Joseph Gibson says:

      Short and sweet. I totally agree with you Ian.

  3. Derek Thomson says:

    You lied in the Sunday National a couple of weeks ago about Scotland being forced to join the euro. You’re peddling the same falsehood in this article. Undermines what would otherwise be some good points well made.

    1. Rob Brown says:

      I lied? Well, so does the EU on its own official website where it clearly lists the Copenhagen Criteria for EU membership, one of which is the adoption of all existing EU laws – including on the euro.
      The idea that they’ll make a unique exception of Scotland and allow us to commit to the euro only in a theoretical sense – which is what Sturgeon seemed to be suggesting in her distinctly uncomfortable interview with Ciaran Jenkins on Channel 4 News – is delusional.
      The SNP should commit to EEA/EFTA like Norway rather than seeking a “phased return to the EU”, which is neither desirable nor feasible if they really want to revive and retain a new national currency.
      If they don’t adopt a clear, trustworthy and sustainable position on this absolutely crucial matter, it will continue to be the Yes campaign’s Achilles heel.

      1. Josef says:

        The Euro was introduced in 1995. Here is a list of EU member states who have joined since 1995, which have not adopted the Euro. I’ll include the year of accession thus (year).

        • Sweden (1995)
        • Czechia (2004)
        • Hungary (2004)
        • Poland (2004)
        • Romania (2007)
        • Bulgaria (2007)
        • Croatia (2013)

        None have current plans to join the monetary union.

        1. Joseph Gibson says:

          Josef from Joseph, if you look at all these countries that have not signed for the euro perhaps it is because their financial status prohibits them at the moment, I am all for immediate entry into the EU and the Euro.

      2. Willie says:

        So you lied, but because other folks lie to, then that’s all right.

        Good stuff, quality article, fake news, and by your own admission too Rob.

        1. Rob Brown says:

          The point I was making was that the EU’s official website doesn’t lie about its stance on member states needing to adopt the euro so to accuse me of lying on that matter is absurd.
          Sorry if it went over your head, Willie. Hopefully, it is clear to you know and we can have a measured and rationale debate about an important issue we cannot afford to get wrong.

  4. john burrows says:

    The Scottish National Party is a strange beast these days. Its leadership and activists boldly aver that Scotland should be independent, but then take no measurable steps to accomplish this goal. Endlessly striking committees to talk about everything and nothing.

    The current leadership’s approach to independence is entirely an intellectually sterile exercise. Forever arguing among themselves about how many angels can dance on the head of a constitutional pin. It makes no actual effort to galvanise support for independence. On the contrary, it prefers not to soil itself with mere “populism.” It cant even bring itself to effectively challenge the endless tide of misinformation brought to us by the BBC/STV/ITV/SkyTV , or the Labour/Tory/LibDem press releases that pass for “news” in the print media of this land. The party leaves it to individuals with blogs to do this work for them, while simultaneously dissing these same bloggers as not representative of our polite civic nationalism. Nauseating hypocrisy. Mackay was at it today in the National.

    The fact that Nicola Sturgeon has not attended a single Yes rally since her tenure as First Minister began, speaks volumes to me. Even stranger, Ms. Sturgeon has been a far more pro active campaigner fighting against Brexit, than she has been fighting for independence. Even though her own manifesto claims that a second independence referendum would be warranted by a UK departure from the European Union. Indeed, her current strategy of actively opposing Brexit is in direct opposition to the platform upon which she was elected. It is probably safe to say, bizarrely, that the leader of the SNP is now more popular in the UK than she is in Scotland.

    Some will argue that Ms. Sturgeon must be seen too be doing everything in her power to “save” the UK from itself, for the good of us all. This makes no logical sense to me. How does an avowed advocate of independence square the circle of defending the integrity of the UK?

    Brexit is already an accomplished fact. England has already left the EU in spirit, if not yet by an act of the Westminster Parliament. The avowed intention of the leaders of both the Labour and the Conservative parties is to accomplish Brexit. Those who argue for continued membership of the EU are effectively leaderless, without power or influence to shape what will be the inevitable outcome. Ms. Sturgeon herself has been sidelined throughout the entire process of Brexit over the past three years. Her input is openly derided by Labour and Tories both. And yet still she persists.

    What possible advantage does she think she is gaining for the independence movement by flogging the idea that the UK is worth saving? I have to say, I am becoming quite disillusioned by her whole approach. It has saddened me deeply to see someone who once passionately advocated for independence morph into a careerist politician bent only on virtue signaling her feminist ideology and buttressing her stay at Bute house. Independence has become nothing more than a sound bite for her.

    As for Mr. Brown’s contention that independence can only be achieved once all the t’s are crossed and all the i’s are dotted is completely ridiculous when faced with the fact that the UK voted for Brexit because of a misrepresented poster of Syrian refugees, and a fictitious number on the side of a big red bus. What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, as the saying goes. Anyone claiming otherwise is in denial of objective reality.

    Why should Scots be the only people on earth who have to prove we have a right to self determination before our “masters” grant it. What a craven way we are choosing to reclaim our nation.

  5. James Mills says:

    Another Rob Brown call to arms which sounds more anti-independence than pro !

    The SNP , like it or not , is the only viable vehicle we have to push for independence at this point in time . It has many failings , God knows , but what , at the moment , is the alternative ?
    We have no other body that has the reach of the SNP to gather support – and that is the crux – gather support from the many who do NOT see independence as a worthwhile goal . Progress may be too slow for some ( me too ! ) but there are clear obstacles to going hell for leather as Rob Brown and others would suggest .

    If not the SNP , then who will lead us to Independence ?
    RISE , Commonweal , The National , Wee Ginger Dug , Rob Brown ……..?

    1. Rob Brown says:

      Thank you, James, for nominating me for the leadership of the Yes campaign. Not sure you’ll get many seconders in this comment section, although it is interesting to see how many Bella subscribers are in broad agreement with my arguments and, I suspect, many more who don’t weigh in here are starting to nod in agreement.

  6. Clive Scott says:

    I have my doubts if Rob has spent much time trudging the streets and knocking on doors to canvass actual voters it is necessary to persuade. If he did, he will find next to no appetite for “radical” solutions on the doorsteps. Nicola has spent all of her life since a young teenager doing the hard yards and her gradualist somewhat unexciting approach to the prize of independence is the distillation of that hard won experience. I’m with Nicola and was inspired by the conference at the weekend. I will also be attending the Glasgow march on Saturday, not organised by the SNP, and the Modern Monetary Theory and the Economics of an Independent Scotland evening event in Edinburgh on 8th May, not organised by the SNP. There are many helping hands to independence, but the only political party that gets us there is the SNP, nobody else. I first voted SNP in 1970 when they were nowhere. They must be doing more right than they are doing wrong to get to where they are now. Meanwhile “radical” parties and groups, if they have conferences at all, can hold them in a garden shed.

  7. Derek Henry says:

    I think it is amazing that so many people still don’t realise you can still become a currency salve with your own soverign currency within the EU even if you don’t join the Euro if you are not very, very, very, careful. If you sign up to both the customs union and the single market then you are trapped. The single market is where all the nasty stuff is along with most of the treaties.

    All an Indy Scotland would be doing is swapping one currency slave owner with another.

    Well it doesn’t amaze me really because the mainstream media in Scotland and the Indy movement media refuse to talk about it in detail. They’ve chosen an Indy at all costs strategy which is a recipe for disaster. A few well chosen words that’s been cobbled together with a few broad strokes when it comes to the EU.

    3 cheers to Rob for at least attempting to bring this horror show out of the shadows and into the light where it should be before it is too late. Knowing fine well he would get some pushback from the EU faithful. That’s what journalism is all about being prepared to tell the truth even if it upsets some people. However, being trapped after Indy is not directly linked to just the Euro it would be a mistake to think so.

    I’m creating a list of journalists from all the Scottish media and so called economic experts (that support Scottish independence.) and Scottish politicians So if we do get trapped into an EU prison after Indy I’m going to shame them all and say it was their fault for ignoring the issue. Invite them all to a dinner hosted by the IMF as the IMF hand out awards for allowing them to asset strip our country and privatise everything that isn’t nailed down.

    Yes of course we have to get Indy first but there is a right way and a wrong way to reach our goal of true Independence. The right way is being open and honest with the Scottish people and allow them to make up their own minds. Not Kettle the Scottish people into the heart of Europe on the back of lies and deceit and then find out we are trapped.

    There are dozens of journalists out there and politicians and a handful of economists who recognise fully the neoliberal ways of the growth comission but refuse to talk about the neoliberal ways of the EU even though they know all about it. Most of them are in the Indy movement and kid themselves on that they can remain and reform.

    Like a victim of battered wife’s syndrome or suffer from Stockholm syndrome that look into a mirror and chant to themselves yellow jackets,what yellow jackets. It was the Greeks fault they didn’t pay their taxes. Putin is to blame with the same conviction as if they were saying Candyman three times at their own reflection. Then replace the word Candyman with the word populists and see what stares back at them.

    For me that’s just being duplicitous to get what they want. They’ll be shocked to the core with what they end up with. At least Rob is putting up a warning flag on that road map even though the Euro itself does not need to be on that flag for Scotland to be jailed for years to come.

    1. Rob Brown says:

      Thank you, Derek. Unlike several other commenters here, you clearly comprehend my argument re. the EU and my sincere motivation in expressing it.

      1. john burrows says:

        I appreciate you both are Euro-sceptics, but I just don’t understand, and completely reject, this slavery narrative. It is extremist hyperbole I have come to expect of Farage and Rees-Mogg. You do yourselves no favors by adopting their language. It makes me doubt your sanity. It discredits your sincerity.

        The only out and out slavery I am aware of in Europe is currently being practiced throughout England. I’ve read of several recent prosecutions in the last few months alone. I have no doubt that similar stories await us all across these lands when the dividends of Brexit bed in.

        Reducing the complex interrelationships and decades long evolution of European diplomacy to “us vs. them” is not constructive, and boarders on conspiracy theory level nonsense spouted by the most vile trolls.

        The Germans, French, Italians and Czechs et.al. are good people. When you travel through these countries today, fear of the other is practically absent. The European nations have given up on tearing out each other’s throats over borders. I for one stand with them, rather than the enablers of want, ignorance and oppression. The UK mob have chosen to stand with the latter. Disaster capitalism is their creed and the weapons makers and despots are their paymasters. They don’t even pretend to be otherwise. They revel in their decrepitude.

        If your conscience is primarily motivated by the color of your money, you are probably not really invested in Scottish independence. Building a nation is neither easy nor cheap. It’s a long term investment. If mortgage rates are your bugaboo, you are just making excuses for rejecting the premise of Scotland’s independence.

        Everyone wants to have a sure bet, but only rigged games guarantee a return. Creation and innovation often have messy outcomes and unintended consequences. It is true that the road to hell is often paved with good intentions. But the point is that you started with good intentions. My own personal path to independence has been guided by my own good intentions, but along the way, I have come to recognize that the establishment that rules the UK with an iron fist, has wholly abandoned any pretence of the common weal. Good intentions are the furthest thing from their minds. How else can one explain todays Home Office or DWP. This is the prime motivation for my own desire for our people to part company from this odious rule.

        Money has reduced Oxbridge to nothing more than a fraternity for sociopaths. These institutions, upon which the UK has always relied upon to produce its finest and noblest minds, is no longer up to the challenge. Once upon a time they produced Eden’s and Attlee’s. Now they vomit out Toby Young’s, Boris Johnson’s and Rees Mogg’s. As they are driven by their own greed, a discussion of independence on the basis of money is like fighting them on their own chosen ground. We should recognize their cynical attempt to frame Scottish aspirations as no more than a transaction. There are sound reasons for a nation being self sufficient in monetary terms, but the color of our money is not one of them. The ability to use revenue resources to achieve progress across all of society is a nobler pursuit, and far healthier for us all. This is impossible to achieve within the United Kingdom. We can only mitigate its harm. Independence is the only cure available.
        Who knows, in fifty years time, one of those unintended consequences of Scottish independence might be the English people finally quarantining at least a generation of these half wits from ever being allowed near the levers of an automobile, much less the levers of their government. Unlikely, but possible.

        Finally, there is nothing more likely to bore the electorate to death vis a vis independence, than a year long debate over exchange rates. The only thing you will succeed in accomplishing by this strategy is driving up the rate of suicides across the land. Even I will be happy to forget independence ever happening in my life time at the end of such torture.

        Reducing independence to a choice over what currency our nation will use is just another way of asking the UK to tell us what to do. Allowing our opponents to shape the independence debate is a long road to no where. Strangely though, this appears to be current SNP policy. I despair at times.

        1. Derek henry says:

          Well John,

          You should study Europe and learn how the monetary system actually works in both the UK and the EU. MASSIVE difference.

          Like I have done for 12 years in minute detail. Pouring over every asset and libaility on government balance sheets, understanding what deficits and debts really are and all the knooks and crannies of central banking. Realising bond vigilantes only exist in the EU because they’ve allowed them to exist for politcal reasons instructed to do so by the bankers. There’s no such thing as bond vigilantes in the UK or need be in an Indy Scotland if done right and we keep the EU at arms length.

          Then i promise you. You will come to a different conclusion.

      2. Jo says:

        “Unlike several other commenters here, you clearly comprehend my argument re. the EU and my sincere motivation in expressing it.”

        I don’t doubt your sincere motivation, Rob. It would be nice if you showed the same courtesy to others who have disagreed with your views.

        My motivation is equally sincere yet I think your response, that I simply don’t “comprehend” your argument, is disappointing. Not only that, it’s dismissive and you let yourself down when you submit articles to this site for publication and then , it could be said, insult some who respond below the line by implying we simply didn’t understand what you’d said.

        1. Rob Brown says:

          Sincere apologies, Jo. I didn’t intend to insult you or anyone else. I certainly wasn’t suggesting you hadn’t comprehended me because you’re not capable of doing so. Just that you hadn’t grasped what I was getting at – perhaps because I hadn’t spelt it out sufficiently for everyone. Only so much can be covered in 1,200 word piece, which is why I always take the time to elaborate and respond as much as I can in this comment section. I see you’re a regular commenter and often agree with and always appreciate your thoughtful feedback. So, sorry again if I annoyed you.

  8. Bob Costello says:

    I certainly agree with the sentiment here and for a long time, I have been warning of the route Nicola Sturgeon has been taking with her road map to Unionism. This latest fudge and deliberate moving of the goal posts to post Brexit territory is a huge mistake unless she is doing it from a point of view of never really wanting true independence, which is again what I have been warning about when most of the mainstream commentators were saying she was playing a blinder”
    Mark my words, we will never reach another referendum as long as Murrel and Sturgeon are at the top of the SNP. I have been advocating a new party for some considerable time ” The Scottish independence party”. It is about time this happened

    1. Bert Logan says:

      Another party?

      Hell yeah!

      Actually I always think about this when I do our rather pathetic PR system. In reality, with 3 parties pro union, and only 2 pro indy it skews things to their ‘lists’, or at least I would have to look at the maths to see how ‘IPS’ would alter the dynamic as a ‘3rd’ place in the mix.

      Then you would have to set up a campaign strategy and find a ‘Farage’ as the frontman because the media work like that, and then it becomes a one issue party like the ‘Brexit’ party.

      1. Bob Costello says:

        That is exactly what I am suggesting, a one overriding issue party, independence. The way the SNP was at one time with a leaving the stage on independence policy. Then people know exactly what they are voting for. It looks like if you vote SNP you are voting for a continuance of the union with a possibility of federalism

        1. Bert Logan says:

          Would you then sit twiddling your thumbs like Farage et al?

          As noted, I think another indy party would be good, although the dynamics need addressing.

          Single issue parties stink of ‘me me me’ – its why I provide Farage as an example.

          Its not to say – the Tories for example, are not single issue in Scotland. Labour too to some extent, they work together and that was evident in #bettertogether. But .. well, if we want to change Scotland, I want to tick a box and know its more than ‘that bloke’.

  9. L E Craib says:

    Ye canna get yer soup and puddin in the same plate as yer denner.
    First you have to be sure of a getting a meal in the first place.
    Get independence first. Getting a soft Scexit is preferable to getting no Scexit.
    Ken’in fit w’e mun ate n hoo it’s baked isna ony eese fan ye dinna hae yer ain kitchen.

    1. scrandoonyeah says:

      Funny, I was just about to post something similar.

      Cool it kids…….the food is not even on the table and you are squabbling over who is getting the juiciest bits and shouting…..me..me…me…..

      Toddler temper tantrums…….you just gotta laugh

    2. Rob Brown says:

      Interesting culinary analogy. But what if the first course is poison and you can never recover from it?

      1. scrandoonyeah says:

        ‘One man’s poison is another man’s meat’

  10. Craig P says:

    My gut feeling is that we won’t win independence by being more radical (Rob’s view) or by sitting on our hands and hoping for polls to change (the SNP’s view) but will have the issue forced on us by English nationalism.

    Independence won’t be a vision of a positive future won; it will come as a flight from an abusive, disintegrating monster.

    Can’t wait.

    1. I dont think a lot of people will be persuaded without a positive vision. I think that’s what persuaded the 15% jump we saw in 2014. It wasn’t a message that “nothing will really change” it was a message that “another Scotland is possible”.

      1. Craig P says:

        Oh definitely. We can’t just sit about. We need to be ready with the better world. I just can’t help feeling that it will be a push that makes it finally happen, rather than a pull.

    2. Rob Brown says:

      I hope you’re not right about that, Craig, because it could well lead here in Britain to what James Connolly rightly prophesied would be the consequence of partition of Ireland – a carnival of reaction on both sides of the Border.

      1. Rob Brown says:

        Just to clarify, I meant I hope you’re not right about the break-up of Britain being achieved simply by Scots seeking an escape from a monstrous from English nationalism. Otherwise we could soon see Scottish nationalism take on an equally ugly form. As the Bella editor says, we need to work for a bold, positive vision of independence. Glad to see from your supplementary comment that all three of us seem to see that as very much the preferred outcome.

  11. Jack collatin says:

    What do we want? The Soviet Socialist Republic of Caledonia.
    When do we want it? Now.

    1. Rob Brown says:

      Jack, please point out where in this article I mention Soviet-style socialism. If you’re saying it will be impossible for us to ditch the EU, NATO and/or the House of Hanover, you’re acknowledging the power these highly undemocratic institutions wield over us. But maybe you’re content to live with that Soviet-style lack of democracy?

      1. Rob Brown says:

        Actually, we wouldn’t need to ditch two of this trio as Scotland won’t be in either NATO or the EU on the day it becomes independent. We’d have to apply for membership. I’m just saying don’t do so and thereby have authentic freedom. As for the House of Hanover, I’d have no great difficulty with remaining in the Commonwealth or if we radically redefined Scotland’s relationship with the Crown within a new written constitution. But I certainly don’t wish for Scotland to remain within the semi-feudal power structure of which they are the apex.

        1. Rob Brown says:

          * Neither rather than either NATO or the EU

  12. Bert Logan says:

    Can I tackle one issue in the article that bugs the crap out of me.

    Its a semantic one: “We join the EU, we adopt the Euro”

    The reality – as you know, is supremely different: “We join the EU, we adopt the Euro when we want to and never if we want that”

    Peddling myths makes me think everything else stated is.

    We get past the hard part, and we, as socialists, win the argument.

    1. Rob Brown says:

      But Bert that isn’t what the SNP is saying about the euro. Sturgeon et al are explicitly and publicly ruling our ever joining the single currency – non-compliance that won’t be tolerated by the European Commission or the European Central Bank because of the signal it would send to other applicant (and recent accession) states. Brussels is determined to build the eurozone because, otherwise, an ever closer union is impossible.

      1. mince'n'tatties says:

        You have just went to the beating heart of the matter Rob. Not for one second am I poo hooing Mr Logan’s concerns; it’s simply that events are shifting the integration process at a such a speedy rate of knots that make current procedural requirements re. joining the Euro seem semantic .
        If the Euro was first and foremost about political unification then things will change big time after the UK departs.
        Macron touched on this before he was distracted by bonfires in Paris.
        Economically, the UK departing the EU is the equivalent of 18 of it’s smallest members saying goodbye. A stark fact.
        What’s left in economic terms are mainly Euro elephants.
        Alex Salmond, always the politico, interviewing in Brussels for RT [secret vices eh?] brought this subject up with a few MSP’S [ No SNP]
        He was told, integrationists are feted in Brussels.
        Given that the Euro was more about burying political nationalism than sensible economics, is anyone surprised?
        After the UK upsticks we are into a new European political and economic rules ball game.
        And no one currently knows the new rules.
        The SNP top brass for me don’t amount to much, but on this they are right to keep the powder dry.

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