The Positive Case for Independence

In recent months and years Britain has descended into a parody of itself. The Brexit Britain we find ourselves in is not the Cameron-Osborne Britain of 2013/2014. It is a country wallowing in self-humiliation.

Launching his bid for the Tory leadership last week, Dominic Raab announced: “We’ve been humiliated as a country.”

As Fintan O’Toole has written:

“Yes, of course, the Brexit debacle has reduced Britain’s prestige around the world. And the withdrawal agreement negotiated by Theresa May is indeed a miserable thing when compared with the glorious visions that preceded it. But Britain has not been humiliated by the EU – the deal was shaped by May’s (and Arlene Foster’s) red lines. Britain did not get what the Brexiters fantasised about, but it did get what it actually asked for. That’s not humiliation.”

“Britain is humiliated by the EU because it expects to be superior. It is not humiliated by Trump because, for all the illusion of a special relationship, it accepts that it is a junior partner. In one context, dominance is demanded; in the other, subservience is accepted.”

Now O’Toole’s analysis is very sharp, and it’s no coincidence that the best commentary of Brexit is from Ireland.

But I’d have to take exception with the idea that “Britain” expects to be superior.

As much as these generalisations make any sense, I think England does, and Scotland desperately wants to be normal or equal to other countries.

These are very different aspirations.

But it does point to how the nations within Britain have changed since 2014 and how the future is being debated.

Better Together

We have seen the bulk of the arguments for Better Together fall away or collapse entirely.

There was the idea that by being part of the “UK” Scotland was somehow part of an outward looking, contemporary, multi-cultural and rich entity – poster-boy Mo Farah and the London Olympics. Those of us advocating independence were “separatists’ and would be parochial and cut-off.

Post-Brexit, pre-Boris that looks like a sick joke.

There was the idea that Britain was a source of financial and economic security.

Now the Fraser of Allander Institute report estimates 80,000 job losses from a “hard Brexit”.

There was the idea that only by voting No would we remain in the EU.

In a televised STV debate on 2 September 2014, Ruth Davidson said: “I think it is disingenuous of Patrick [Harvie] to say that No means out and Yes means in, when actually the opposite is true. No means we stay in, we are members of the European Union.”

Better Together tweeted saying:

There was the idea that we were loved and that we were part of a “family of nations” and a “partnership of equals” – and quite a lot of energy was put into exploring the somehow unique special “precious Union” and its history.

That just looks untenable now.

And so on and so on, we can all go through the well-rehearsed arguments that have fallen through.

Now we are faced with the tortured hand-wringing of Dominic Raab and the blaming of some ‘other’ for all of Britain’s woes as Boris prepares us for WTO terms.

The writer Dawn Foster has observed that:

“For three years now, millions of people across Europe have observed the playing out of a peculiarly English psychodrama: it is one that evokes the spirit of the blitz and a world war few are old enough to remember; it rehearses idealised images of a return to a golden age of imperial influence and prestige, all as the Conservative party tears itself apart in its attempts to perform Brexit.

Within Britain, any references to “national character” remain spectacularly English. The Conservatives have done little to thrash out an image of how the UK can expect to define its post-EU identity – other than vague invocations of sunlit uplands – because they cannot yet fathom how to properly exit. But most politicians and members of the public who are heavily invested in Brexit tend to speak of English exceptionalism as the trait that will pull them through.

When Brexit happens, the pressures leading towards a political breakup of the United Kingdom will become intense. Why wouldn’t every other country abandon England? If the backstop continues to threaten trade and people in Northern Ireland don’t feel listened to, what is to be gained by being tethered to Westminster?

But if Britain has become a chaotic dysfunctional place, with a harder more extreme politics seeming to stagger from crisis to crisis, and led by figures so incredibly disreputable that it beggars belief, I would still counter against just assuming the whole thing will collapse and we will be presented with ‘freedom’.

One of things that was striking about the 2014 referendum was how bad the case for the Union was.

It was almost exclusively backwards-looking projection, to past glories, wonderful shared histories and by-gone events.

The case for the FUTURE of the UK was never really made. It is only being made now.

The case at the time was deeply tentative.

It was what I called the shortest manifesto in history: UK:OK.

Blair MacDougall and others were quite clear that there strategy was to identify peoples fears and worries and then amplify them.

I can’t think of a more desultory existence than planning then implementing that strategy, but there you go.

So we should remain critical of the negative case for the Union, but I fear that we have fallen into the Project Fear trap and are now, almost exclusively doing the same.

Building a Positive Case for Scottish Independence demands the following elements:

  1. Accepting and dealing with past mistakes and failures. This may sound counter-intuitive, why would we admit failure when we’re trying to be positive? Well because ‘positive’ doesn’t mean unrealistic or other-worldly, it should mean practical, credible and grounded. It should mean saying “yes here is a problem and here is our proposed solution which we have given proper consideration to and may not be perfect.”
    *
  2. Having concrete thought-through policies and plans and a vision of where we’re going and why. This doesn’t mean that we have to have an answer to everything but we need to have direction and some sense of how we’re getting there. I simply don’t buy the argument that we can say “we want sovereignty and we’ll figure everything out after”. I don’t think that’s credible.
    *
  3. Creating institutions and structures now that help take us forward. I’m thinking of things like a Scottish Investment Bank, a Renewable Energy Company. These are essential. But we should also be much more pro-active about language, culture and soft-power. Creating a national film studio would be a game-changing act.These things are coming in to place but too slow.
    *
  4. Remember that ends and means do actually matter, a lot. What does that mean? That the way we carry out our campaigning and our communications is as important as the content of those campaigns. When we last had a big march in Glasgow – the feedback was (as always) of peoples pride in it being a peaceful upbeat family affair. But suggest tat we take that pride and that conduct onto our online presence and you are denounced as a Yoon! Traitor!
    *
  5. We need to be not just ‘Not Britain’ we need to be a new Scotland and that means not just replicating all the old failed systems, outlooks and institutions on a smaller scale but with a saltire. We need to remember and re-grasp that independence means change – it doesn’t mean No Change. Even better it should mean real change and transformation – because we are in the midst of social and environmental crisis that we’ve never seen before and aren’t uniquely immune to. I get the “don’t frighten the horses” argument but I also look at the socio-ecological reality and realise that we are way past that. Its fashionable to frame these debates within our movement as between left and right but I think they are far deeper than that as we face unprecedented challenges ahead.The idea that creating an independent Scotland isn’t a rupture with an old order and can be somehow slid through without major change is crazy.
    *
  6. If we’re trying to develop a movement that’s consistent in means and ends that means people being critical thinkers independent thinkers and being allowed to be so. Too often we have group-think and calls for “unity” when really we need open discussion and different views.
    *
  7. A positive case needs to be based on addressing real needs – in housing in social inequality in poverty, in climate breakdown, in jobs and education and moving beyond ameliorating the worst of being part of Britain and looking to how we can transform Scotland for its citizens.
    *
  8. A positive case means stopping being obsessed with trivia and conspiracy. Robert. The Fucking. Bruce.
    *
  9. Highlight the key issues that sovereignty will unlock (investment in just transition and clean energy, public utilities, a peace dividend, fairer taxation etc) not just the dire state of UK politics. Everyone knows Britain is broken but focusing exclusively on that makes people think that politics itself is broken.
    *
  10. Again it sounds counter-intuitive but showing solidarity with the people who are left in the UK will also be key to highlighting that Scottish independence isn’t a departure, its a progression.

A Prefigurative Politics

So we have a positive vision and we create a way of communicating that is consistent with that vision. How do we then build a base and a mass movement for independence?

Many educationalists have observed that we learn things by doing not by being shown. So we don’t just tell people about independence we let people experience a glimpse of it.

In this scenario people “get” independence because they have experienced it. It moves from being an abstract concept to a daily reality.

A definition:

Prefigurative politics are the modes of organization and social relationships that strive to reflect the future society being sought by the group. According to Carl Boggs, who coined the term, the desire is to embody “within the ongoing political practice of a movement […] those forms of social relations, decision-making, culture, and human experience that are the ultimate goal”.

The politics of prefiguration rejected the centrism and vanguardism of many of the groups and political parties of the 1960’s. It is both a politics of creation, and one of breaking with hierarchy. Breines wrote: “The term prefigurative politics […] may be recognized in counter institutions, demonstrations and the attempt to embody personal and anti-hierarchical values in politics. Participatory democracy was central to prefigurative politics. […] The crux of prefigurative politics imposed substantial tasks, the central one being to create and sustain within the live practice of the movement, relationships and political forms that “prefigured” and embodied the desired society.”

What does that actually mean in practice?

This is kind of what Lesley Riddoch has been banging on about for the past decade in Blossom and in halls up and down the land.

When you live in a society where you have a viable say in your local community or municipality, where you have access to land, where housing and energy aren’t all privatised and exploitative, the world begins to look a bit different.

Building peoples confidence in “independence” looks very different under this model.

The reality is that in 2014 not enough people believed in themselves. People voted to be dependent.

A prefigurative politics would mean building:

Think-tanks and re-connecting universities with civil society
Energy systems that people own and control
Housing that people can afford and have a say in
Media structures that people have faith in
New political structures and systems (including but going far beyond citizens assemblies)

We need to create these now for people to engage in and shape and form and control.

Finally I’d say that a positive case for independence has to start building communications outwith the independence movement. We are far too much involved with ourselves and we need to break free from the sub culture of the Indy movement and move out to the wider public at large.

The political task of our generation remains to engage with people who don’t agree with us or who need persuading or are not part of our networks and circles.

 

 

 

 

 

Comments (41)

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  1. A Armstrong says:

    Great article says it all.

  2. Archie says:

    A positive case for the Union? Freudian slip Mike? Seriously, Bella needs to consider its purpose, because all too often it sounds like the left splintering, infighting and giving opposition a free rein.

    Yes, I want the same things, but this quest for the only kind of independence as one of political purity seems designed to ensure the Yes movement fails.

    1. Freudian slip?
      Yes you’ve got me I’m secretly an arch Unionist.

      Jesus FC.

      Get a grip.

  3. Alan Bissett says:

    I think this is a great piece, Mike, and so much of it bears repeating. You are clear-sighted, as always, about these matters and express them cogently and often wittily. I just want to gently probe points 6 and 8.

    6. I think unity is important when you have a single, clear goal such as independence. Of course, plurality is also important (dzzt! contradiction!) and the opportunity of the moment Scotland finds itself in is that we can explore many visions for the future of our country. I’ve never been in favour of quashing any voices – all contribute in different ways to the whole – but without some element of detente between factions we can never achieve the focus required to get us over the line (and I realise this is not unique to Yes, but is endemic to any political movement anywhere).

    I suppose a slight problem that I’ve observed is that the voices calling most often for ‘plurality’ of discussion (I’m going to use very loose terms here), usually on the ‘left’ rather than the ‘nationalist’ side (I’m aware of the overlap between those two, which is why I said ‘loose’) have a tendency to reserve to themselves the right to criticise all other elements of the movement but cry foul whenever their criticisms meet with resistance. Respect is a two-way street. ‘Nationalists’ (again, a loose term) sometimes have to learn that if the movement is going to continue to bear left then the Left need to be listened to, absolutely, but there are often lazy assumptions that ‘calls for unity’ are attempts to suppress dissent rather than genuine efforts to keep minds focused on the prize, without which nothing is possible.

    8. What are conspiracy theories? What is trivial? Is it a conspiracy theory that the BBC have plotted against independence? I refer the Honourable Gentleman to Alan Little’s recent revelations that his BBC London colleagues simply assumed that Scottish independence had to be faced down, while admitting they knew nothing of its motives. Is it trivial to talk of the prevalence of Union flags on consumer produce, when Brexit has ramped up British nationalism to the nth degree? Let’s just keep our eyes open, always. What looks at first glance like a trivial conspiracy theory sometimes turns out to be so much more. Not always, but sometimes..

    But really, more power to you, Mike. I lament the wars between indy bloggers, but you’re all bringing something unique to the table. This is a fantastic article.

    1. Thanks Alan.

      On 6. You’re right that respecting people with different opinions and from different traditions is essential.
      I work and have worked with a whole bunch of people that I dont agree with on about wider politics.

      But this has limits.

      If someone is acting in away that is detrimental to the movement, there’s a responsibility to call them out.
      If someone is acting-out a politics that is completely opposed to the values you hold, you don’t have to collude with them because they also want independence.
      You don’t get a ‘by’ for being racist, sexist, homophobe (or whatever) because you want an independent Scotland.

      On 8. I remember writing for the conspiracy magazine Lobster back in the 90s.

      People were researching ‘non-lethal weapons’ being developed by the secret state. Everyone thought we were nuts. Turned out they were trialling tasers.

      So I’m pretty open to the possibility that the state is doing some bad shit.

      I think its about how much energy and time you give to that though.

      And people saying “there’s D Notice on the Robert the Bruce movie” is both conspiracy and trivia. It’s just nonsense.

      1. Dave M says:

        Who gets to decide what the limits are and when they have been breached? Are you suggesting that Bella is some sort of moral arbiter? I ask because, what turned me off from visiting your website was the often sanctimonious nature of much of the writing (and the multitude of basic spelling and grammar errors – I see that hasn’t changed).

        Your comment above could be interpreted as a wee swipe at another pro-Indy blogger, whose reach and influence exceed your own.

        What, by the way, is a ‘homophone’ in this context, given that it is a term in linguistics?

        1. Hi Dave – sorry seem to have hit a nerve here.

          “Who gets to decide what the limits are and when they have been breached?”

          I do because I’m just expressing my personal opinion.

          “Are you suggesting that Bella is some sort of moral arbiter?”

          No, not at all, just developing a political strategy.

          “what turned me off from visiting your website was the often sanctimonious nature of much of the writing”

          It’s just called having some value-base and trying to re-connect means and ends.

          “Your comment above could be interpreted as a wee swipe at another pro-Indy blogger”

          Only if you immediately associate him with bigotry, which you clearly do … : )

  4. MBC says:

    I liked the idea Norway had after 1945 in post-war reconstruction. They used some of the Marshall Plan money to fund housebuilding by setting up a Husbank. There was a shortage of housing. The economy was in a mess. They realised that by keeping housing costs low people and the economy could progress. So the government set up this fund, which provided low cost mortgages for self-builders but also provided the professional expertise, architects, etc., needed for people to be able to build their own homes. So that they could do so for less, meaning more of the Marshall Plan money could be used elsewhere.

    I am not into wearing a hair shirt and beating ourselves up for all our failures in quite the way you suggest, or seem to. I have had enough of the Cringe. But I agree we need to have a clear headed idea of where we stand, what the shape of our economy is, where the potential for growth is going to come from. We need some kind of statistics agency. For instance Scotland does not have a high number of upper income earners, so revenue from income tax is not going to provide the cash. But you can live well on less if basic costs (food, energy, housing) are affordable and kept low, and there are things you can do – like the Husbank – which could provide the means of everyone having a safe, warm affordable and secure home. If basic costs are kept low, a lot of other things start to happen. People feel secure, so they drink and smoke less, their health improves so there is less drain on the NHS, and they start taking an interest in the future. Confidence grows and people become more outward looking and entrepreneurial. Families are happier so there are fewer break ups. Social costs drop. Children study harder and are motivated to achieve. All sorts of things blossom once people have basic security.

    Our universities are excellent and focus on research and development must continue. Scots are practical people and more should be done to encourage technology development including renewables.

    1. I dont remember suggesting beating ourselves up?

      1. MBC says:

        1. and 2. You don’t say what our past failures are. I’m with you in principle; of course we need to identify where we could have done better. But without giving specific practical examples of ‘past mistakes’ it’s hard to justify the negativity. Re 2., what evidence is there of NOT having ‘thought through policies and a vision of where we’re going?’ All Scottish administrations to date have sought to make Scotland a more prosperous, fairer, and more progressive place.

        1. Hi MBC
          I meant the principle of admitting past mistakes rather than blaming failure always on external forces. That was / is the principle I am aiming at.
          Blaming others is easy and feels good but ultimately its disempowering, in my view.
          So I dont see this as negative.
          But If you want specific examples I think the timidity over a currency is a real problem and that work should have started on it many years ago so that by now everyone would feel comfortable with it.
          Just one example.

          In terms of No 2 its a sense of drift and of being beholden to forces outwith our control and being reactive rather than prescriptive.

          I feel that the leadership of the indy movement have been posted missing. This is for three reasons:

          1. The SNP Westminster cohort become embroiled (necessarily) in parliamentary business, but have little actual power or influence.
          2. The SNP Holyrood group are overly centralised and desperate to be focused on running the country, as they should be, but have left a vacuum of leadership of the movement.
          3. SG lacks boldness and vision with endless triangulation.

  5. Blair Breton says:

    Health is an area threatened by the Brextremists. Essential that Scotland establishes a true national health service as it once was when founded. I agree your central tenet that Scotland is very different to England with its own language, culture, legal system and has an embryonic parliament. It is much more Europe facing and has long alliances with France, Norway and Denmark. Scotland is also replete in natural resources, much more so than England.

  6. Wul says:

    Yes, to a lot of the above.

    Especially the idea of having concrete examples of the good stuff we could have in an iScotland; like the film studio, great public housing, secure jobs in a Scottish civil service, energy & clean water supplied as a basic civic right.

    Land, land, land, land, land: – most people are clueless about what a boost owning land gives a family; it’s priceless! (That’s why the toffs keep it for themselves)

    Those are the things that will get people saying; “oh, right, I get it now…aye that would be great…can we really have that?” Yes! You truly can, if we run our country as if (we the) people matter.

    We can’t rely on the SNP to do all that ( they seem pish at creating a vision of iScotland). Common Weal have done so much work on this. How do we get their ideas more widely known?

  7. Andy Anderson says:

    I found this an interesting article and it has stimulated a useful debate. One of the factors which I feel needs more consideration in the developing dynamic situation is the way that global warming and its considerable implications is increasingly making the case for significant change vital to any political viewpoint. Scotland the the SNP are seen generally to be ahead in this field, but this is only because the UK are so far behind. The Scottish Government will need to lift its vision higher in this field and this will address some of the natural conservatism which in evidenced in the “independence without too much disruption” which we see from some quarters. Indeed we will need to address housing, power supplies, transport and many issues on the sort of scale that happened in the post-war Attlee period, and we need to address this and talk about it if we want to carry people with us. Our young people are way ahead of us in this and we need to catch up.

  8. Jenny Tizard says:

    Great article. It feels like a terrific responsibility taking it all forward.
    Your practical examples are great. And I’d add a focus on taking control of our borders and welcoming refugees and migrants with humanity and support.

    1. Yes of course, the examples weren’t exhaustive in any way…

  9. florian albert says:

    ‘a positive case needs to be made for addressing real needs – in housing, in social inequality, in poverty, in climate breakdown, in jobs and education’

    Perhaps an audit could be carried out to assess how much progress the pro-independence Scottish left has made in addressing these matters in the past decade.
    To get the ball rolling, maybe we could start with education. What has been proposed in that period to deal with the the educational apartheid which disfigures our schools and our society ?

    1. Alasdair Macdonald says:

      “Educational apartheid”???!!!!!! Get a sense of proportion.

      Under the 1918 Education Act provision was made for Roman Catholic Education. Jewish schools can also be provided. But, I suspect you are talking of the Roman Catholic schools.

      Undoubtedly, for much of the 20th century and before, there was a problem with sectarianism in parts of Scotland and many Roman Catholics suffered discrimination in jobs and housing, for example, and in parts of Glasgow, there was violence between some people claiming to be Protestants and others Roman Catholics. Such violence still occurs, as we saw with the incident when the Roman Catholic priest was spat on outside his church in Calton in Glasgow. However, from around 1970 onwards, the incidence of such violence has decreased steadily. Roman Catholics have attained very senior positions in society. The curricula of Roman Catholic schools in Scotland is subject to the same requirements as those for all schools in Scotland. The overall attainment levels of children who attend RC schools is pretty much the same as the Scottish average, although in some parts of Scotland there are slightly higher levels. In many areas of Scotland, schools operate ‘consortium’ arrangements to widen educational choice for all students and under these arrangements children from RC schools will attend non-denominational schools for part of the time and vice versa. There are shared campuses in some areas, with for example a joint RC and Jewish one in East Renfrewshire.

      Non-denominational and denominational schools in Scotland regularly participate in joint activities and in both there is a strong emphasis on tolerance, respect and on actively opposing sectarianism (and racism, misogyny, homophobia, etc.)

      Both the denominational sector in Scotland now has a noticeable percentage of the roll who are not RC and there are many RC children in non-denominational schools, even when there are RC schools in the area.

      Professor Tom Devine has demonstrated pretty clearly that the incidence of sectarian violence in Scotlsnd has decreased and is continuing to decrease.

      Recent statements by the Orange and related orders regarding restrictions on parading have been much more conciliatory in recent years.

      I am not a Roman Catholic. I was baptised in the Church of Scotland, but, since my teens I have had no religious belief and affiliation. The father of the family who lived next door during the 1950s was the Grand Master of the local Orange Lodge. He was a well-respected man in the local community and resisted strongly demands from fellow lodge members to parade past the local RC church. Indeed, the band was instructed not to play when passing the end of the street where the church was located.

      If I were given the opportunity of starting a Scottish school system from scratch, I would not have denominational schools. I would have common schools where appropriate provision were made, should the populace wish it to be made. I would always have religious education in the curriculum in the wide ranging and non-partisan form it is now.

      Yes, Scotland has a shameful past with regard to sectarianism, but it has changed hugely and is a much more tolerant place.

      1. florian albert says:

        Sorry, Alasdair Macdonald,

        You have misconstrued what I mean by ‘educational apartheid.’ I use this phrase as it is used by Gerry Hassan, from the left and by Alex Massie, from the right;
        i e the chasm between attainment in deprived areas and prosperous one. This means – in geographical terms – between Drumchapel and Bearsden or between Morningside and Wester Hailes.
        The educational system, set up in the 1960s, was intended to be one guaranteeing equal access within the state sector. It evolved into something very different.
        Sadly, the Scottish political establishment – though it may pretend otherwise – is relaxed about this.
        (In passing, I am one of those who gained from and would defend the 1918 Education Act.)

        I agree that private schools are part of the problem especially in the Edinburgh area.

        1. Alasdair Macdonald says:

          Thank you for the clarification.

          The present SG with the ‘pupil premium’ is addressing this issue and early indications are that the ‘gap’ is being closed.

          More generally, there is a huge amount of educational data which has been accumulated over the decades. Sadly, it is often mined selectively by different groups to provide some kind of statistical justification for their assertions. Nevertheless, there is little doubt that there are significant differences in attainment levels between the groups of high and low SIMD.

          Over the decades there have been many programmes set out to deal with this and these have come from the different administrations in the SG and, prior to 1999, at Westminster. Some of these have had substantial positive effects, but others have, unfortunately, countered these. Too often funding has been ended too early, often for shabby reasons. programmes really have to be maintained for a decade and more to make transformative change. Over the period to which you refer, attainment levels have risen in the population as a whole, but the gap between the different SIMD categories was maintained. This is discussed pretty rigorously in the book on 50 years of comprehensive education in Scotland.

          The big factor is poverty and, ‘austerity’ has exacerbated poverty significantly. While there can be ‘educational’ initiatives that have good effects, it is poverty, health and housing that are the most significant factors and, to bring about change, these have to be addressed with determination. My own view is that the balance of spending should be tilted to the post-natal, pre-school and early years. The Labour government of 1997 attempted to do this with the ‘Sure Start’ programme. This was an example of a programme which had substantial effect but was quickly curtailed by the Conservative/LibDem government from 2010.

          Holyrood requires to be given a much more coherent set of powers in the area of social security and taxation to be able to institute the significant changes which need to be made. I think that the current SG is doing as well as it can with its current powers. At Holyrood, Labour needs to change its sullen oppositionist stance to most things – such as the stupid games it plays with P1 assessments – and to start being constructive, in the way that the early 1997 Labour government was.

          1. florian albert says:

            The chasm between educational attainment in prosperous and deprived areas is such that it would take sustained action over at least a decade to deal with it. I see no evidence that the SG is ready for that.
            Put simply, most people don’t care much about it. It is astonishing how little this matters to Scotland’s self-styled radicals.

            I am sceptical about the early intervention mantra. It appears to appeal on the basis that other things have failed. The biggest such intervention is the USA’s Head Start programme and generally agreed to be of limited effectiveness.
            If poverty and austerity are at the heart of the problem, then giving a (comparatively) generous pay increase to middle class teachers is a strange way to tackle it.

    2. Alasdair Macdonald says:

      There is, of course a long-standing educational apartheid, not just in Scotland but in the entire UK – the apartheid of private eduction. This is, the real apartheid. Even BBC Scotland has had features on the preponderance of people who were privately educated in influential posts in the UK. It is increasingly difficult for people who were not privately educated to enter arts and entertainment careers.

      If this is what you are talking about – although I doubt it – then, you have my support, Florian Albert.

  10. Welsh Sion says:

    Off topic:

    Adam Price, AC/AM, Plaid Cymru Leader in Caerdein/Edinburgh last Thursday.

    https://nation.cymru/news/independence-will-benefit-england-as-much-of-wales-says-adam-price/

  11. meg says:

    the old chinese saying always comes to mind……..that if you give a man a bare rock and tell him `..it belongs to you`..he will make it flower……

    people have lost that sense of anything being in their power to make it flower……watching from the far north the chaos and turbulence spreading from the westminster muddle i am very concerned that those sitting in the scottish parliament have also stopped thinking in any progressive way…..Leslie Riddoch[she would make a brilliant first minister] ..she speaks so much common sense,,I dont know why her ideas are not more widely looked at…….both our parliaments seem to be lacking in any vision.The snp are not showing any `new world` ideas

    also very true is that a crooked tree may not be any use for making furniture or anything else ..but it can give shade when needed and is therefore not without purpose..so ..let the crooked tree called Boris carry on and we might yet see Scotland benefit .[freedom]….some things have to run their course…….painful to see it unfolding..damage limitation needed….but the rock may yet flower.

  12. Jenny Tizard says:

    My friends in Dunrossness Shetland have commented:
    Good to see the Western Isles and Orkney included in the map/image of Scotland but it’s a shame that Shetland is left out

    1. … its not a map its an illustration …

      1. Jenny Tizard says:

        Not a map as such. But an illustration of an incomplete Scotland

        1. I always find this argument really confusing. Do people really mean that any graphic of Scotland must be a literal representation of the entire country? This just seems really odd.

          1. Jenny Tizard says:

            I think it seems odd to those of us living in Edinburgh and the Central Belt.
            Not odd to our fellow citizens living in the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland.

          2. I totally see the argument for including the whole country in a map of the whole country.

            I dont understand when that argument is transferred across to illustratations and graphics and drawings which arent meant to be literal

  13. Robbie says:

    Mike Iwould love to live in the Scotland you have described ,we are in our 80,s but hope springs eternal,it is our hope that our family and their families Will , many thanks for the vision .

  14. June Maxwell says:

    A good piece. I don’t align on all these views but do so on many – in fact I’ve said so in my podcasts and workshops up and down the country. Those many Yessers are fond of referring to as ‘swivel-eyed yoons’ and the like may one day be our neighbours.

  15. Philip Nash says:

    A prerogative for any change to and any escape from our absurd and frenetic politics is to try and apply reason and common sense to our situation Given the insane attitudes of 50% of the electorate within the 0.01 percent of those involved in electing the new Tory leader that seems to be a mammoth task

  16. Tom Phran Thurso says:

    “Fairer taxation” ? Explain please.

  17. SleepingDog says:

    I think the current UK “can we be helped by selected constitutional experts, maybe the Queen can save us from Boris Johnson?” grasping at straws indicates the irredeemable state of the UK in the 21st century.

    Eyes outside are extrapolating towards dystopia:
    https://www.theguardian.com/games/2019/jun/26/watch-dogs-legions-dystopian-post-brexit-london

    So perhaps we can game-play towards a successful Scotland, embracing the challenges head-on? Did women just give up having the vote, or enslaved peoples embrace their shackles for the same fearty-uppity putdowns?

    Just how greatly can we serve the planet, and set an example as a new-forged nation?

  18. Chris Connolly says:

    Nice work, Mike. I also particularly enjoyed your Facebook 10-point post. Apologies for past grumpiness.

  19. w.b. robertson says:

    after 20 years of a Scottish Parliament and 10 years of SNP power has the country run out of steam? the Indy doubters need more evidence of leadership and a vision of what a future Scotland could mean. we need to tackle the big issues like land and currency…providing baby boxes is mere political tokenism.

  20. Alastair says:

    “Creating a national film studio would be a game-changing act” – but what if someone makes a film bout Robert the Bruce?

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