2007 - 2020

The New Party

I

For the last few years there’s been a running story in Scottish politics about the need for a new pro-independence party to demand more urgency from the SNP. The idea started from dismay at the lack of progress towards gaining a second referendum and grew alongside a sense of managerialism and drag around the Scottish Government.

The proponents were boosted by the success of Joanna Cherry MP  in challenging the proroguing of parliament. In 2019 the “Inner House of the Court of Session ruled that the Prime Minister’s advice to HM the Queen that the United Kingdom Parliament should be prorogued from a day between 9 and 12 September until 14 October was unlawful because it had the purpose of stymying Parliament.” Cherry’s success pointed to the idea of options of better, more radical tactics to gain independence.

Advocates of a new strategy demanded that the right of Scotland to hold a second referendum should be challenged in court. Some argued we should just “declare UDI”, Craig Murray and others argued we should abandon a referendum altogether and “declare ourselves a people” and “go to the UN”. Others argued we should just host a referendum and then declare independence.

If this all sounded completely incoherent it’s because it most certainly was.

The idea of a new party started with Wings Over Scotland last summer (“Wings Over Scotland plans new pro-independence party to take on SNP”). The party, Stuart Campbell argued would benefit from his unique branding and profile. The reason for the new party was to “secure an indy majority” which was under threat, so the argument went, because the SNP would collapse at the polls because of their attempt to create legislation to reform the process “by which trans people gain legal recognition of their lived gender through a gender recognition certificate.”

This sense of entitlement and gigantic egotism that would lead to this conclusion has been growing for years. As far back as 2013 Campbell wrote: “from now on, we’ve decided that our 50,000+ readers are all members of the Wings Over Scotland Party, and as that number is as far as we know bigger than the membership of every political party in Scotland put together, that makes us a pretty major electoral force.” Cocooned inside their block list, and certain that their brand of transphobia was a massive electoral hit, and talking exclusively to each other, the idea of a new party gained popularity on the fringes of the nationalist movement.

The contradictions to all of this were always mesmerising.

The advocates were almost all people who had previously denounced anyone who strayed from absolute party loyalty. These were the people who created the ridiculous #SNPBad hashtag and pretended nothing could ever go wrong in Scotland. These were also the people who attacked anyone who suggested that the second vote on the list should be offered to another pro-indy party, like the Scottish Green Party. To do so would be to “split the vote” and risk losing the indy majority at Holyrood.

Now, somehow, it won’t.

Now attacking the party is a badge of honour.

But none of the predicted collapse in the SNP vote has happened. This week polling suggested the opposite:

 

 

 

 

These are astonishing figures for a party that has been in office for thirteen years.

Some have suggested there is an ‘incumbency bounce’ during the lockdown. In other words people cleave to the sitting government in times of crisis. That may have some truth, but it seems unlikely to account for the scale of the polling indications. It also doesn’t account for the increase in the Green vote.

These latest polls show 68 seats for the SNP, a majority over all the other parties combined. Add in 10 Green seats, you have 78 seats for independence, a majority of 28.

Any new indy party would only serve to undermine that majority.

The idea was always stupid and ill-defined and now its dead.

 

 

So this is the end of the idea of a new party for the previously given reasons (ie to protect an indy majority).

But the real reason has always been about a certain brand of politics (and of course epic levels of gigantic ego and narcissism).

If that’s still the real reason then the party should go ahead.

Enthusiastic supporters of the approach, like Kevin McKenna have argued that “we need more sweary, profane and angry people like Campbell, and the more the f***ing merrier.”

The tone of incessant anger and the approach of huddling around attack blogs spouting constant bile against perceived enemies is thought (miraculously) to be the key to success. The mood of constant paranoia and the fostering of increasingly extravagant conspiracy theories is a self-reinforcing force. Anyone pointing to their ridiculousness is denounced as a “useful idiot” in the jargon of the tribe. In echoes of the Trump movement the “media is a cancer” and the Deep State is always at play, a hidden hand behind any of the “dark forces” at work to undermine the true believers.

So if the need for a new party is not to ‘defend the indy majority’ it should be to articulate their political viewpoint: that of a deeply reactionary set of middle-aged and elderly men who have benefited from the privilege of the internet to give voice to their prejudices for many years. Any such party would give voice to their unique brand of politics that fuses angry macho posturing with culturally conservative ideas, and a deep undercurrent of misogyny and ethnic nationalism.

II

The are several political lessons that should not be drawn from these polls, and several caveats to be made.

The first is that the SNP and the Scottish Government should not be immune to criticism and we should not assume that all is well. They are not an excuse for complacency.

First of all SNP votes are not automatically translatable into Yes votes. But equally Yes votes can be found from all the other parties, and from people who vote for none.

The criticisms for the Scottish Government’s lack of dynamism and innovation in pursuing the case for independence remains valid and real. The frustration within the movement is very real. But these criticisms need to be based on sold and workable alternative strategies to have any real meaning. If you advocate change but your plans are patently fanciful, or you advocate a new party but never define any policies or personnel you are just irrelevant.

The accusations that the party suffers from too narrow a leadership base at the top remains true and is a detriment to its being able to act with boldness, to have a mixed-ecology of ideas and leads to drift and a lack of original thinking.

The argument that the Scottish Government has failed to develop several of the key pieces of infrastructure that are required to make the next independence campaign more viable remains true. They have been mired in policy timidity, economic centrism and constitutional inertia. They have actively demobilised the popular movement and undermined elements they couldn’t control.

All of these criticisms remain very real and valid, but all are resolvable as we emerge from the chrysalis of the lockdown into the post-covid world.

It is highly likely that the cumulative experience of the debacle of the Brexit experience followed by the criminal negligence of the UK government’s handling of the coronavirus will have detached huge swathes of former No voters from their commitment to the union.

It’s in these circumstances – and amidst very challenging economic circumstances – that the new case for independence must be made. This is a huge opportunity to re-make the movement and together emerge out of the ashes of the virus experience with fresh imagination and a new political culture. Political movements morph and re-make themselves over and over and the movement for self-determination is no different. Our collective ‘near-death’ experience should be an epiphany to reclaim the very best of the 2014 experience but in a new light.

Any monumental crisis like the one we are living though allows an openness for those who survive it.  We can rebuild the independence movement as one characterised with openness and generosity, imagination and hope, positivity and radical thinking. The task of the next movement is not just to create an independent Scotland but to make a just recovery, to create a society with all of the insights and lessons we have learned. We are not going to rebuild a society with all of the disfiguring poverty, hierarchy and vested interests it had before.

The reality is that the virus experience has exposed the British state and its system of elite rule as a complete failure. The case for independence has never been stronger or clearer.

So we don’t need a new party we need a new movement, one that operates beyond narrow party interest and embraces whole swathes of society coming out of the virus experience. We need a vibrant movement led from multiple sources with a new set of values and the energy to face the monumental challenges ahead.

 

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  1. Jim Stamper says:

    To what extent does the number of constituency seats depend on unionist parties not colluding leaving the stronger one a free run to beat the SNP? The graphic showing the Regional vote and seats show that, despite a 45% SNP vote the SNP would only get 1 regional seat. A pro-independence party has been proposed which would not contest constituency seats but would seek to win the Regional seats could ensure more pro-independence seats. This would also be a body of people who would make the SNP less complacent about not progressing to independence.

    1. Alasdair Macdonald says:

      Jim Stamper, the system for the Scottish Parliament is not much amenable to tactical voting as the list system allows only one vote and not ranked votes as with STV. James Kelly, on Scot Goes Pop explains this well and has done so many times.

    2. Gordon B says:

      Wishful dreaming.

      Any ‘indy/wings’ party would work against the SNP and try hold them hostage, swollen by ego and rabidity.

      If you have read Wings recently, you will know that that such a party would be MORE anti SNP than any of the Unionist rabble.

      Considering the reality, that any ‘success’ a Wings/Yes alliance party has, would rely almost entirely on a HUGE swathe of SNP voters switching away from the SNP at the ballot box, do folk seriously think that a previous SNP/SNP voter will lend their support to people currently attacking their 1st choice political party, at every opportunity, in any meaningful numbers ?

      Not a hope in hell.

      SNP X 2

      SNP / GREEN

      Worked in 2011

      Worked in 2016

      Polling clearly showing will work EVEN MORE in 2021.

      Only ONE group of people want to mess with a winning formula, and they are NOT pro indy.

  2. Ian McCubbin says:

    He forgets two key mattera,

    1 the fallout from Alex Salmond case and the shennanigins of that agreived group of women and their journalese champion.
    2 the case that th SNP have no where since 2014 pushed the case for Independence in a serious manner.

    So unless the fix these two points I fear the above authors confidence will be eroded.

    1. Tim Morrison says:

      There has been no fallout from the Salmond case, none. Not a bit. He is not exactly the person who could lead this party anyway now given it’s stated concerns on women’s rights and safeguarding.

      I am not sure what a ‘serious manner’ means. They did not go hell for leather into another defeat repeating tactics that almost worked but failed. Slow but steady has been brave and will win

  3. John D says:

    So we do need another party , a solely Independence Party , from the movement to address the issues faced by the SNP as administrator of Scotland according to London parameters, and the Greens too.
    Do you not believe both these parties have been drawn into this GRA strammash that could alienate half of the electorate is harmful to any chance of Independence?
    The problem of list vote seats is itself something that needs addressing, you must accept that the whole devolution and voting structure was designed to stop any chance of a Sovereign Scotland. It’s all well and good having the largest by far SNP party, but when it is a game where the number of parties is paramount it’s not enough.
    Still, if the likes of Twitter have their way we’ll be hearing less of S Campbell

    Enjoy your posting , thanks.

  4. Alasdair Macdonald says:

    A sensible and considered argument, Mr Small.

    I think you have captured the ‘willy-waving’ angry tendency pretty well.

    The SNP has to be subjected to scrutiny and constructive criticism, because long periods in power can lead to the phenomenon of ‘goal displacement’ that has a tendency to happen in every organisation – business, charity, churches, bowling club committees, political parties (including ones on the left, particularly ones declaring themselves ‘progressive’) etc. – whereby a group of people in positions of power can start to use the organisation for their own purposes rather than pursuing the goal of the organisation.

    However, although I am not an SNP member and never have been, the SNP will be the main vehicle for independence. During 2014, we saw a wonderfully creative upsurge of groups separate from the political parties who made a great impact. Such groups are essential. Any party, which, like the SNP, has grown very large – the ‘broad church’ metaphor – has to moderate its stance so that it remains attractive to the ‘broad church congregation’ and, just as important, to attract the 6% we need from 2014, to win us independence. But – again – this does not absolve it from constructive criticism or from taking power from some who are using it for their own ends.

    The Tory Party members have never been a group who got on well with each other, but they cynically recognised it as a vehicle for getting power and for shifting things to their own benefit. In my lifetime, I have seen the Heathites take over, followed by the Thatcherites and currently the Brexitites are in control of the party. Many still in the Tories are not too happy about this crew, but, accept that they will still enable them to maintain most of their privileges.

    I would not want to see an SNP like that, but the lesson from the Tories is that power is needed to make change.

    1. “The SNP has to be subjected to scrutiny and constructive criticism, because long periods in power can lead to the phenomenon of ‘goal displacement’ that has a tendency to happen in every organisation” – agree with that 100%

      1. Blair says:

        The system works for the party that has power. The SNP will not get another legally binding chance to ask the us in Scotland about Independence for for at least 20 years, that is the reality which we are facing.

        The solution is to abandon seeking independence for the time being and concentrate on increasing the potential of our SNP to challenge and win seats at Westminster. The problem to date has been that neither of our political parties is prepared to be challenged by any other way of working, however Covid-19 virus may just be the mechanism by which we can use technology to work for us to redevelop all the current stressed out & failed systems.

        This is a time for action through a multidisciplinary approach instead of cascading wealth from top to bottom, we do things differently. If only the electorate could demand the Elected leaders to divide up the cabinet to allow proportional representation of the top 3 we might get some cooperation to power most of UK. The end goal is to give much of the power back to us people who are best placed to decide what to do if only we were given options to choose from.

        The role of government is to protect society, that protection must include imbalances in wealth & power. The United Kingdom could & should be doing much better than it currently does.

        The party that has power can change things if they are not corrupted, but a government which has 3-phase regulated power has the potential to do much more.

        It would be interesting know what others think.

  5. Jim Boylan says:

    You don’t mention the 1 legitimate reason for another pro-Indy party, the d’Hondt system for selecting additional members.

    The graphics you’ve attached from the YouGov poll show the SNP getting 45% of the list vote but only 1 seat, while the only other pro-Indy party, the Greens convert just 8% of the list vote into 10 seats.

    Ideally we need the Greens to take a higher share of the list vote from the SNP rather than dilute the vote further but if they’re incapable of doing that then I can see a case for 1 more pro-Indy party to challenge the SNP for those list votes.

    1. John says:

      Indeed. Thank you.

  6. Lorna Campbell says:

    “…Any such party would give voice to their unique brand of politics that fuses angry macho posturing with culturally conservative ideas, and a deep undercurrent of misogyny and ethnic nationalism…”

    I would agree with that, to an extent, although I believe it is far too harsh a judgement on people who have probably waited 50 years or more for our more Anglo-centric fellows to catch up, many of who have joined the party or the independence movement very recently, but many women are also fed up with the paralysis in the non-movement towards independence. The real problem began with the 2014 indyref: basically, it should never have been held, although I fully understand why it was. It did, however, set a precedent and a statistical hurdle that cannot be overcome very easily. I keep saying – and it is absolutely true – that there is no need for either a referendum on independence, and nor has any PRE independence referendum been won – all have been lost to date. You’d actually think there was some rule written down on a tablet of stone and carted to Scotland that demands that we must have a referendum. I have been through all this before and I have no intention of going through it all again. Suffice to say that either we hold the SNP to account in 2021 by withholding our vote unless they give an undertaking to start negotiations towards independence immediately after an election win or, alternatively, they give an undertaking to take our case to the ICJ, as a people who are denied even the means to decide our own future, and seek to resile the Treaty immediately. No ifs, no buts. The UK itself is a signatory to the UN Charter, and there should be no quibbling about what Westminster will say. Let them say what they like. If the SNP won’t do that, then another party arising is inevitable, and, in fact, this has been the case in a number of other countries which have sought their independence order to win it eventually. Marshmallow politics is a recipe for disaster.

    I think the other thing which has not been touched upon is this: many people will vote for the SNP because they are happy with the domestic agenda and the goodies they are furnished with as a result of having a SNP SG, but they will not vote for independence. This is precisely what happened in 2014, but the lesson was not learned. We have a relatively high number per capita of rUK voters, far, far higher than Scots per capita anywhere else in the UK, including England, and many will never vote away what they perceive as their right to maintain links with family and friends in England/Wales/NI, even at the expense of the Scots who want to go their own way; and we have dyed-in-the-wool Scottish Unionists who prove every bit as intransigent as those in NI, and they will not willingly sever the ties that bind, again regardless of what the Scots who support independence want. This is what we have to remember when we read the headlines proclaiming a SNP victory: it has never translated into votes for independence, and that is before there is any interference by Westminster and Whitehall. The 2014 referendum was not a gold standard; it was a tarnished apology for a democratic vote. People will go on voting for a party that gives them what they want, but, eventually, the dosh will run out or a new, hard-line policy will come from Westminster, effectively strangling the SNP through the purse-strings and harvesting our powers in order to dilute devolution further. It is a cold deluge of realism and pragmatism we need now, not more pussy-footing around and going nowhere. There is no way to gain independence without confronting the British State and its apologists up here. Fact.

    1. Arboreal Agenda says:

      Would not this argument require that the people vote for the SNP in 2021 on the express ticket of ‘an undertaking to start negotiations towards independence immediately after an election win or, alternatively . . . an undertaking to take our case to the ICJ’? Given everything else you say about many people voting for SNP but not for independence, would that not be in serious doubt? Once faced with their SNP vote meaning an immediate move to independence would they not turn elsewhere?

      1. Lorna Campbell says:

        Precisely, AA. No quibbles about ‘wait, I have a better idea – in a hundred years’ time’. The SNP would be required to make the commitment well BEFORE the election. If they refuse to do so, we will all know where we stand because it will mean that there is no intention of trying to gain independence – even in a future referendum. That is my point. The referendum has become both a limiting factor on what we can do as an independence movement and also is the carrot dangling on the stick of the SNP’s endless prevarication. The independence question has not moved an inch since 2016. The SNP has been acting as a British party, saving the British parties the bother. It has become totally counter-productive, and winning a referendum, even if we were to be granted one (we won’t and the SNP will continue to go along with the S30 myth, and it is a myth, just as the apparent necessity for a referendum in the first place is a myth, both promulgated by the SNP along with the British parties). It is disgraceful that a party that has swelled its ranks so prodigiously in recent years seems to be using the votes and strength of its membership, but letting them down all the time. No one is suggesting that it will be easy to leave the UK – far from it – but it has to be done if we are to avoid an Ireland, then NI, situation in the near future as anger turns to cold fury. All the peoples of the UK would benefit from being freed of the shackles of the dying corpse of the UK, not just the Scots.

        As for the democratic (apparent) deficit you would no doubt reply with, logic tells us that 45% (probably more now) is more than enough to indicate that serious problems exist in Scotland vis-a-vis the Union. I do understand that some might claim that a plebiscite is the way to go, but that completely body-swerves the international situation and the Treaty. The UN Charter does not allow people with a self-serving agenda, which is detrimental to the well-being of any country, to stand in the way of that country’s self-determination. In straight terms, the Unionists and assorted British/English Nationalists are acting illegally, not to mention immorally, in pursuit of the status quo when the UK itself is a signatory to the UN Charter in its entirety, sits in the UN and on the Security Council. Have you ever seen that in SNP literature? Then, the Treaty is an international agreement subject to international law – not, emphatically not, domestic law or domestic constitutional tenets. It is still extant and a mountain of unsustainable rubbish has been built up around it to try and render it useless to us, all illegal under international law. Have you seen that in SNP literature? Have you ever seen the fact that a PRE independence referendum is completely unnecessary, in SNP literature, albeit a POST independence ratifying/confirmatory one would be necessary? Start asking the SNP why that is the case? It is shameful that we are still stuck on the bottom rung of the ladder, having not negotiated another step. There is no way forward without confronting the British State, and that has to be done or we can pack up and all forget about independence until the implosion, quickly followed by an explosion, happens -as it will, as it must, as things become ever more intolerable in the post Brexit UK. We either face down the NO voters now or we allow them to dominate us and turn our nation into a province/region of a Greater England because that is our intended fate, make no mistake about it.

        1. Graham Ennis says:

          Hi Lorna,
          the basic treaty and act of union, has it in there, in plain black lettering, a number of clauses tht this is an international treaty, between equals, and that the Scottish ruling class of the day, having crashed the Scots economy, did the whole thing to bail themeslves out of a crisis. It says, clearly, that th Scots may leave, if they want to. I wrote to Sturgeon about this, and got the reply that “Oh, all those bits of the treaty are written in old fashioned legal language, and do not apply today, the law has changed, etc etc. utter bullshit. if the treaty was changed, where is the document?. (it does not exist). etc etc. I am now getting very deep suspicions, as an activist of 75 years standing, that this whole thing is stinking like a pig. Mao comes to mind. that ultimately “Power comes out of the barrel of a gun”. The scots have no guns. but legally, are absolutely in the right, and also morally. So ultimately, when the Scottish leader, talks bullshit lik that, there is only one ultimate solution. It is a very hard one, it will cause much pain, but inexorably, scotland is being driven to it. Discuss.

    2. Julia Laurie says:

      I agree with all you say Lorna, as always. Come the end of this year & a hard Brexit, LBJ & cabinet will crush Scotland, I do not understand why people think we can just Keep going the way we are, & Westminster will not do anything. If I was Boris with a huge majority, I would bind Scotland to England for ever come 2021, & what will we do then. All should watch Craig Murray’s first podcast when he explains how Scotland must take our Independence, which is the only way.

      1. Gordon B says:

        WM simply cannot “bind Scotland forever” despite that well worn rhetoric.

        Only us Scots can bind us to WM.

        Indeed, it was Scots who (sadly) voted No in 2014, nobody else.

        And those same Sovereign Scots who will decide Yes or No next time, via an indyref, or via the courts.

        People seem to forget the currently ongoing Martin Keatings led case, that is one example of a people’s led court challenge.

        The Scotsgov can add themselves to that case at any time, but for now, it is advantageous for it to be a
        peoples case at this stage.

        The notion that a swathe of Wings/Yes alliance (have you seen some of the rockets advocating that one ? Steve Arnott ffs, loony labour leftist) List MSP’s will suddenly make WM bow to their will, is for the birds, as is the idea, that a potential party, full of people constantly berating the SNP already, will suddenly
        be co-operative with the SNP post election.

        People need to address political reality, Indy without SNP backing politically, has no chance.

      2. Jim Sansbury says:

        I think youre right.
        I think theyll try and disband Holyrood.

  7. Chris Connolly says:

    I couldnae agree more. Sexist, ultra-nationalist transphobes would like to turn over the democratically-elected Government of Scotland, which is fronted by someone is almost certainly the most respected prominent politician in the UK. I’d never vote for a party that represented bullies like Stuart Campbell, a man who seems to me to possess as much self-control and awareness as Donald Trump.

    1. Lorna Campbell says:

      CC: as a woman, I can see that the implications of self-ID will have the potential to be extremely negative for women. Anyone who has tried to hold a debate on this topic has been shouted down and silenced. This is the behaviour and tactics of the worst misogynists, and from men who claim to know they are really women. Women don’t behave like that, in general. No one that I know is saying that trans people cannot be who they are and who they want to be; what is being pointed out is that, if anyone at all, without any clinical/medical assessment can claim to be a woman, and subsequently becomes a woman in law, anyone who challenges them on any grounds whatsoever will fall foul of the sex discrimination and human rights/civil legislation, even though millions of women may find themselves disadvantaged by trans woman who are still physically men, both outward and inwardly because they have not actually transitioned in any way at all, but insist they are women. One woman explained recently that a man she knew identified as a women but made no effort to actually transition, and then declared he was a lesbian and continued to sleep with women as a man. It seems that some people might be taking the michael. It is a balancing act, but the balance is missing when a tiny percentage of the population take precedence over 51-52% of the population without even a public debate on the subject. Yes, all kinds of groups have delivered a right-on approach, and there is evidence that nothing major has happened in other countries where self-ID has been introduced, although it is early days and complications always take time to reveal themselves, but there has been no open and public debate with women from all walks of life and trans people. When I first heard of self-ID, I thought of all the problems that could crop up, but it was when I also realised that genuinely sympathetic women were being shouted down and silenced, that I began to wonder why some elements of the trans lobby were so vociferous in their attacks on women, using abusive and threatening language so reminiscent of the worst male misogynists. It did not make sense, and still does not, but I, like most women, am open to reasoned argument. That does not make me transphobic in any way, just a concerned woman.

      1. Chris Connolly says:

        Fair enough, Lorna. We can agree to disagree on this one. All the best to you.

        1. Jo says:

          “We can agree to disagree…..”

          Lorna has taken the time to explain her position. She’s made numerous valid points. She’s made it clear that her position is not “transphobic”, and you come back with that?

          What do you disagree with in Lorna’s post? Elaborate. She responded in a civil manner to your “transphobes” jibe and put her case. You didn’t put a case at all Chris, you just threw damaging labels around.

          Many of the concerns raised over this issue are valid. That’s a fact.

          Responding to valid concerns in the way many have, by hurling labels around in order to intimidate people into silence is not the way to go.

          1. Chris Connolly says:

            “I know a woman who….” with all due respect to Lorna, who made her point without getting on a high horse to do so, is an argument I find unconvincing. There have also been many cases of transsexual women who have killed or seriously injured themselves as a consequence of being placed in men’s prisons. I know trans people of both sexes and the notion that any of them would have gone through all that physical and mental trauma simply without good reason is, in my opinion, ludicrous. If there are people around who exploit the new law in order to gain access to women’s spaces that’s certainly regrettable, and if they assault the women it’s terrible, but I’d say that from a utilitarian perspective the gains outweigh the drawbacks. This is a position shared by all, i.e. every one of my feminist and lesbian friends.

            Let me make it 100% clear that I am not calling Lorna a transphobe, but I certainly call Stuart Campbell one. He does not “respond in a civil manner” but is a bully whose response to any criticism is simply to tell his opponent to fuck off. Wings Over Scotland is nominally a Scottish Independence website but he routinely makes snide and offensive remarks about the trans community. I believe that Kezia Dugdale was right to call him homophobic because his comment about the Mundells makes no sense at all otherwise.

            Finally I’m sure Lorna can speak up for herself. She’s not usually shy and if she was offended by my reply she would have said so. I left it there because I’ve seen how conversations like this all too frequently finish up. It’s for that very reason that I believe this is an argument that should take place outside the SNP, because what we all want more than anything is independence. We can argue about the other stuff afterwards.

          2. Alasdair Macdonald says:

            Chris Connolly, with all respect, you havenot answered Lorna Campbell’s questions, and ignored Jo’s further request.

            Lorna Campbell’s question was about the aggressive, shouting down, bullying and insulting of women who raise reasonable questions about legal protections they and millions of others have fought for over many decades. There is a refusal to actually debate and to hide behind obscure and undefined terminology (‘undefined’, that is, to others who are seeking to take part in the discourse, and to refuse to define them.)

            I am sincerely sympathetic to people who feel they do not fit easily into the historic gender dichotomy and who often suffer gross intimidation, violence and even murder. However, I and others are raucously and offensively excluded from the discourse because I tend to support women in the defence of rights they have won.

            I am a man, as defined at birth and feel comfortable in that. I am married to a woman, who is comfortable, with how she was defined at birth. We have one child, defined as a girl at birth and who is comfortable with being a woman.

          3. Jo says:

            Chris

            “Finally I’m sure Lorna can speak up for herself. ”

            I wasn’t speaking on Lorna’s behalf. I was commenting on your response to what she said. The views Lorna expressed chime with many of my own and I felt you failed to acknowledge them. I found that very disappointing. It’s not “getting on a high horse” to make that observation.

            Stuart Campbell isn’t someone whose tactics, on many issues, I’m comfortable with but then there are many people I’d put in that category. The court judgement in his action against Kez Dugdale was that he isn’t transphobic. His “joke” about David Mundell was tasteless, certainly, but not homophobic. The point was, had David come out earlier, there wouldn’t have been an Oliver with the former Mrs Mundell. Nothing homophobic there, as the judge said. Just a tasteless “joke”. Most people understood the point of it and I don’t believe it had to have been homophobic in order to “make sense”.

            If you’re also saying that you can’t accept the, “I know a woman who…” argument from anyone, how can you then use the,

            “This is a position shared by all, i.e. every one of my feminist and lesbian friends.”

            argument to strengthen your own? (Moreso, Chris, when we know there are many feminists and lesbians who absolutely DON’T like this proposed legislation!)

            There are, as I said, valid points to be considered. The Scottish Government, in my view, made a serious mistake by trying to railroad this. That backfired big time and the backlash was significant. It wasn’t just seen in the SNP. It was across the Parties so it’s in all, or most, of them.

          4. Chris Connolly says:

            Hello Jo

            As soon as I’d pressed the Post Comment button I was aware that I had fallen into the trap of criticising LC’s “I know a woman who…” argument and then used the same tactic myself. I take your point.

            I can only ask for your patience in not wanting to get involved in a stramash on the matter of the GRA. Such arguments tend to turn into slanging matches and will only bore and annoy other contributors who may feel that this is but a side issue in any case.

            I wish you all the best, and in a non-patronising way.

            Alasdair

            In my experience bullying and shouting down comes from both sides. I wouldn’t insult your intelligence by pretending it’s only the anti-trans people who are aggressive. if that’s your own experience it’s because you have taken a position on one side of the argument; if you were on the other side you would still have been abused and insulted.

            Your own and your wife’s gender preferences are none of my business. No-one’s gender preferences are my business, or yours either in my opinion. Live and let live is my position. I will add, though, that like most people I have at intervals throughout my life been bullied, threatened and assaulted by men and in every case they were big, tough guys and none of them were wearing women’s clothes.

            If you were watching Mastermind yesterday did you consider contestant Emma to be a threat to women? Were you angry that the lassie whose name I’ve forgotten on one of the University Challenge team was allowed to call herself by a woman’s name? Do you have less respect for Chelsea Manning than you did when she called herself Bradley?

            Regardless of all that, take care

            CC

          5. Lorna Campbell says:

            Jo, the woman in question wrote to The National about a relative, I seem to recall, who claimed he was trans and then claimed he was a lesbian, but was sleeping with women (lesbian women, one must suppose) as a man – in other words, he had not physically transitioned at all or taken medication either, I think, although I might be wrong about that, and I was quoting her. Even the most broad-minded and accepting person must have questions, surely, that deserve answers? This was a few months back when the GRA was causing ructions.

          6. Arboreal Agenda says:

            The GRA issue is problematic on many levels and some are so obvious I am surprised they are even controversial.

            The concerns about the safety of women are real but what underlies that is a fundamental error of understanding: gender is a concept that should always be associated with the term gender role (or more negatively, stereotype) – this is where it comes from – there is no such things as ‘gender’ its a construct of society. For decades feminists struggled against gender roles, and some men too, me included, and much progress has been made, but now the trans rights activist says gender is an absolute and innate quality and sex, is transient, ‘assigned’ and unimportant next to the ineffable ‘feeling’ of gender. This is a complete reversal of how gender and sex have been understood and the consequences are profound. You cannot identify gender because it doesn’t really exist in any fixed form, yet activists want the law to be changed so all you have do is say you ‘feel’ you are a certain gender (an oxymoron in the first place) and you can become a member of the opposite sex (not gender note because that is impossible to define), with all the legal sex-based rights and statuses, and with legal sanction against anyone who denies that. Apart from the complete illogic of this, I cannot think of any law that is based on what a single person says they ‘feel’, let alone one that has such profound consequences and is obviously deeply flawed conceptually.

            And yes this does lead to a man who looks exactly like a man, with a beard and no attempt on any level to present as a woman, saying they are now a woman and I should think and address them as such. They are not outwardly different to before their apparent revelation and would be identified by 100% of people as a man. I know this because I work with such a person. This would simply be very strange and perhaps cause for concern about mental health, but once that becomes enshrined in law it would become ludicrous, like something out of a Lemm or Kafka novel about the absurdity of repressive regimes’ double talk.

            I have many feminist friends and they are pretty split on this issue though interestingly they are not groups who mix. But one telling thing happened with a friend who teaches about sex and gender in music at university. For many years she had discussed the problem of gender roles in music and how negative they have been on the women who attempted any kind of music career, but then the gender rights issue began to grow and she is generally very supportive of it and sees herself as an ally I guess you would say. Yet the other day there was a chink of light into her real dilemma because she sighed and said she used to teach about how gender was a negative construct that should be ditched, yet now it has been elevated to a fundamental fixed essence of being and identity. She doesn’t teach the latter, she just avoids the issue now. I think there are many people who deep down are very uncertain indeed about this idea at best, but they are literally frightened to talk about it for fear of not just censure, but far worse, including losing one’s job.

            Any political party that embraces GRA is in my view very irresponsible and is supporting an agenda that is based on a complete house of cards.

          7. Chris Connolly says:

            I’d have thought that we would all agree on one fundamental thing: if a man with a beard wants to call himself a woman that’s entirely his business unless he tries to enter women-only spaces, which wouldn’t be very likely if he looks like Desperate Dan. I think we’d all be able to spot the impostor in that scenario. It’s not the right or duty of any of us to deny a harmless eccentric the right to indulge his/her whims as long as no-one gets hurt.

            Surely the objection raised by people who are concerned about the effects of the GRA is that a man might PRETEND to consider himself a woman for nefarious purposes. I’m sure that has happened, but probably (note that word; I’m not claiming full knowledge of the facts) not often enough to be used to deny the opportunity for others to live their lives in the way they choose. If I saw evidence that the GRA would cause more harm than good I’d change my mind but I’ve not seen it and that’s why my opinion is on the side of the side of the Government on this matter.

            Considering we all support Scotland’s right to self-determination it seems a wee bit inconsistent to deny people the same right regarding their gender, if they seriously believe they were born with wrong set of genitals and have suffered an unhappy life as a consequence, and that would seem to me to be tha case for the vast majority of folk who identify with the opposite sex whether it be man to woman or woman to man.

      2. J Galt says:

        Exactly Lorna – by all means dismiss the views of the “middle-aged and elderly men”, however can the concerns of women – of varying ages apparently – be dismissed quite so glibly?

        1. Lorna Campbell says:

          I am aware, J. Galt, that women voted around 57-8% against independence, and they are the group that will be affected most by GRA, so the SNP is actually putting the views of a very tiny percentage of the population above those of the majority of the population on both issues – independence and GRA – by kow towing to both minorities (there is no single anti independence demographic or group in Scotland that is a majority any more than trans is a majority). It is insulting on both levels.

          What I really get annoyed about, too, is that a man might well decide that he is a woman because he feels he is in the wrong body, but what if she never transitions? How can you be happy to call yourself a woman but remain in the body to which you believe you do not belong? It is fundamentally irrational. Then again, how can any male person ‘know’ what it is to be a woman, or vice versa? It is impossible, especially for women because so much of what defines us as women is through our bodies – childbirth, menstruation, the problems that having a womb and Fallopian tubes bring, the way that society defines us as the sum total of our physical attributes long before it ever even thinks about the fact that we might have a brain. One thing that seems to stand out for a good number of men who have transitioned is that, although they do not regret transitioning, they are honest enough to say they have been shocked to the core by the misogyny that all women suffer simply for being female. Some have admitted that most men do not even think about how they treat women at all: they assume somewhere at a very deep level that women are innately stupid and less intelligent than men; that their lack of physical strength is a huge downside to their being taken seriously. These trans women have also come forward to say that all women must twist themselves out of shape to fit into a masculine world that denies them equality on any level. Coming from people who have seen the war of the sexes from both sides, I really believe this is valuable information, just as it is valuable for independistas to know that many rUK voters see the desire for independence as specifically anti English, but have no appreciation of how the Scots feel about being held hostage by those who feel no affiliation to their desire for independence, itself a kind of anti Scottishness which is never even acknowledged, let alone understood on any level. It behoves us all to try and walk a mile in the shoes of those we seek to influence. We all have the right to be who are, and who we are must not be at the expense of anyone else’s right to be who they are.

    2. Gordon B says:

      Wings was an excellent source of info, particularly of exposure of a myriad of unionist/unionist media, lies and bullsh*t.

      Perhaps the biggest credit Wings gets from me, was how it made Scots THINK about news/print media output in the Uk and Scotland in particular.

      The biggie being, the headlines are almost always a big fat LIE, with the actual truth buried beyond where most people stop reading an article, but if challenged for the misleading headline, they can claim that the factual info is in ‘paragraph 23’, and claim its not their fault people never read the whole story.

      Problem is, the first 22 paragraphs are designed so you stop reading well before that crucial one.

      For that awareness, Wings deserves great credit.

      However, it became very noticable, after the Dugdale case, that Campbell had changed completely, and his current rabidly anti SNP stuff spewed forth on a daily basis, with the GRA being his chosen stick to beat them with.

      Not a good move, especially for someone with ambitions to run a ‘Wings’ party, using SNP votes.

      It became obvious early on that Campbell decided that, rather than ask SNP voters to ‘lend’ him their list vote, he would try drive people away from the SNP towards his prospective party.

      A fatally flawed strategy, as the SNP would need to make maximum gains on the Constituency vote to provide that huge pro Yes majority being mooted.

      This seems to have pissed off a lot of SNP voters, most of whom are still intending to stick with previous voting strategy in 2021 (SNP X2 or SNP/GREEN) according to latest polling, which is showing a huge pro indy majority of 28 seats !!

      These voting strategies WORKED in 2011 and 2016, and clearly look to work again in 2021.

      Wings is no better than a rabid pro union site now, every story is SNP BAD/GRA BAD and btl is the exact kind of shit hole dregs of humanity that Wings always said it would never be.

      All the sensible posters have left in despair or been banned by Campbell for daring to challenge him.

      Wings is a busted flush.

      And Campbells ambition for a ‘wings’ party has been left floating in the bowl.

      Bit sad really, but thats an unchecked ego for you, never ends well.

      1. I agree with most of this.

        The only thing to add is that he published only three times in April, so has virtually given up. That’s a fairly poor return for £800k+ of others peoples money isn’t it?

      2. Lorna Campbell says:

        Absolutely agree. I doubt that anyone has done so much to quash the lies and half-truths that Mr Campbell (no relation), and all the other blogs and websites, like Bella, have done marvellous work, too, in highlighting many of the issues that still rankle and require to see the light of day.

  8. Seon Caimbeul says:

    Your article is spoiled by four things that jump out straight away. 1. calling Stu Campbell transphobic is gratuitous and wrong. It is not transphobic to criticise ‘trans’ ideology, draw attention to ‘trans’ misogeny and ‘trans’ attacks on women. Campbell might be many things —he admits to being an arsehole and a xenophobe and seems to have some sort of quasi-religious and messianic tendencies—but he isn’t transphobic. 2. Your assumption that there would still be a Green vote if there was another list party. People still remember Green lies and the vote splitting stupidity that allowed Ruth Davidson in. 3. Your idea that the SNP will have such a big majority that no other independence party will really be necessary, even though you admit the need for change. 4. Your truly bizarre idea that the SNP is the independence movement. You know that the independence movement is bigger than just the SNP and could leave the SNP floundering if circumstances change. But none of points 2-4 really matter to you because most of the article is filler material to cover your attack on Stu Campbell and defend the ‘trans’ ideology that has infected the SNP and Scottish Government, revealed in the failed GRA and set to fail in the hate crimes bill which attempts to enshrine ‘trans’ beliefs as beyond debate. The idea that ‘trans’ ideology is above debate is the rock that the Hate Crimes Bill will perish on. I hope that it doesn’t take poor Humza and the SNP with it.

    1. I dont defend any ideology never mind the ‘trans ideology’ at all. I dont even discuss it.

      You say “Your assumption that there would still be a Green vote if there was another list party”. Its not my assumption its just opinion polls. The facts are awkward but they seem to suggest that the wider public arent as obsessed by the topics you think they should be.

      1. Seon Caimbeul says:

        You specifically raise it in paragraph 4 of your article. You even have a link to GRA

        1. Yes indeed, linking to factual policy documents isn’t engaging in ‘trans ideology’ – its laying out the facts and the background, that’s all.

          You say “2. Your assumption that there would still be a Green vote if there was another list party.” From this you must be meaning that Green voters would transfer their vote across to the Wings Party? There’s no more unlikely scenario in the known universe than this happening.

          You say “4. Your truly bizarre idea that the SNP is the independence movement.” If you’ve read anything Ive said or done in last decade+ you’ll know that’s an utterly ridiculous characterization of my position.

    2. IndiaOsaka says:

      >1. calling Stu Campbell transphobic is gratuitous and wrong. It is not transphobic to criticise ‘trans’ ideology, draw attention to ‘trans’ misogeny and ‘trans’ attacks on women.

      It’s not transphobic to demonise trans people as violent misogynists and rapists. I see. Thanks for your time, Seon.

      1. IndiaOsaka says:

        I wrote “It’s not transphobic to demonise trans people as violent misogynists and rapists. I see.” and you’ve responded with a link to a sub-EDL-muslim-rape-gangs video.

        Bigots like you have no awareness.

      2. Hamish100 says:

        I got banned from Wings Over Scotland? Why ? Well the only reason was that I did not support a WOS list party. There is already another party there already called the Greens. Didn’t mention trans issues once and didn’t tell folk to F off. Many like minded have disappeared of the account too. Free speech?

        Obviously didn’t like that some people have another opinion. It’s his blog , but he doesn’t own twitter. No sympathy to his acolytes.

      3. Seon Caimbeul says:

        ‘Trans’ attacks on feminists and attempts to stifle debate on ‘trans’ ideology and right wing big money investment are well documented. Here, for example.
        https://thefederalist.com/2018/02/20/rich-white-men-institutionalizing-transgender-ideology/

    3. Gordon B says:

      Maybe you missed the bit in recent polling stating a RISE in Grean seats from 6 to 10 ?

      Is that what you mean about “folk not forgetting what the Greens did” ?

      Deary me…

      1. Seon Cambeul says:

        At the moment there is no other ‘second vote’ independence party to compare with so those figures don’t mean anything in the present context. “Deary me” — what kind of witless comment is that? Is it supposed to indicate superior understanding coupled with mild impatience? If it comes to a choice between the Greens and another second vote independence party do you really imagine that the Greens will not disappear into third place for Yes votes? What would that get them? Anything?

        1. Hi Seon – the Greens are currently polling to take ten seats, the imaginary List party has no name, policies, members or leaders. The likely candidates are very likely to be toxic to anyone outside a very narrow online clique. In these circumstances your optimism seems a little misplaced.

          1. Seon Caimbeul says:

            The article is about an imaginary list party. That’s what we’re talking about. It doesn’t make any sense to say that the Greens are on x points in the polls therefore they would beat the imaginary independence party. The respondents weren’t asked what they would vote if there was another independence party looking for second votes. But you knew that, didn’t you?

          2. So being a real party with real MSPs and a real track record and real members and real policies and appearing in real opinion polls has no advantage over an imaginary party that would likely to be filled with some of the most toxic people imaginable.

            Er ok.

          3. Seon Caimbeul says:

            The point is that nobody knows. Its imaginary. Polls don’t survey for imaginary parties that don’t even exist yet. So you can’t say that polling for Greens shows how they would perform when voters have a choice to reject them in favour of another 2nd choice party. You don’t know. And you don’t know how “toxic” it might be. You have no idea. Nobody does. As for having “real people, real policies” etc, Green is a 2nd vote party. So far it has had no competition. Bizarre that you write an article about an imaginary party that doesn’t actually exist then complain when somebody points out that if it doesn’t exist then you can’t claim to know what it is like. Is it politics or is it mysticism?

  9. John Mc Gurk says:

    I think there is so much the SNP could have done with the powers they have but failed to do as pointed out very well by the Common Weal. I think has left some people in the movement very frustrated I think they have been too timid and failed to understand the very real change that people are looking for or a to frightened to make real change. I have seen some of the appointments made to the SNIB and it does instil confidence in me It is no big deal but I will not renew my membership this year.

    1. Charles L. Gallagher says:

      John, I guess that I’m not alone in wondering about all these things that the SNP/SG could have done. So, to enlighten me and others please list all the things that could have been done in your opinion, also please list all the things that you would cut to provide your list and finally as the SG has a limited budget please tell us where you will get the money from????

      1. John Mc Gurk says:

        Hi, Charles it obvious you never took time to read the commonweal article they never discussed having to find more money. I think you should read and understand the article as to how they think some things could be approached in a different way with the powers they have.

  10. Jim Braid says:

    This is an excellent read and I hope it is read as widely as possible. We do NOT need another Independence party. What we DO need is unity amongst all Independence supporters and to all sing from the same hymn sheet. My fear is that if Alex Salmond does write a book and it criticises the current leadership then the Unionists will have a field day and shout out ‘ NATS in Disarray’ ‘ The SNP is Finished’ etc etc. I do hope that Alex sits down with Nicola and the SNP top brass and call a truce for the benefit of the country as a whole. The Scottish government is handling the pandemic very well compared with the Tory’s and I imagine their popularity is on the increase. When all this Covid19 business is over the SNP should go all out to try and convince the NO voters to vote YES, to sort out the grey areas leading up to IndyRef 1, the currency, border, pensions etc, AND to put issues like transgender etc on the back burner, I believe the vast majority of Scots are not particularly interested in this issue despite the sexual preferences of certain individual MSP’s and MP’s. and that there are no more Derek Mackay’s lurking about. I fervently hope that the SNP win an outstanding majority in 2021 and demand Independence soon afterwards, and if Westminster play hard ball then go to every international court on the planet to fight our case.

  11. Grant Thoms, Editor of Scots Independent says:

    Of course, the answer to the whole issue of SP election is to change to a multi-member STV system.

    The current AMS system is flawed by giving a good chunk of the electorate two votes through vote-splitting.

    Time for real proportional representation.

    1. James Mills says:

      …but , as has been pointed out earlier , this present system was DESIGNED to prevent SNP /Independence parties from gaining a majority ( though the SNP DID beat the House in 2011 ) .
      As this is a devolved parliament , my understanding is that the power lies with Westminster to alter the voting arrangements . If I am wrong then please correct me on this matter .
      Under the present arrangements and with the sort of Government ( and opposition ) in Westminster , it is difficult to see any loosening of their stranglehold on the voting system in the foreseeable future!

  12. Graham Ennis says:

    Let us be brutal, as eventually the London regime will be. They will be as racist as they were in Ireland, and utterly merciless to the people of Scotland. anyone who doubts this need only look at Ireland, its recent 30 year war to force the London regime to the peace negotiations, and the nasty mean and spiteful treaty that resulted. (this treaty is now being torn up by the london Goverment. ) listing how much Scotland actually contributes to the uk economy (not the warped figures that are bandied about, it is clear that the present system is one of colonialism, resource exploitation, ecological devastation, and an elitist, white settler mentality of the oligarchs, who actually have had the power to intimidate the snp and stop major issues such as land reform in its tracks. This a position of weakness, lack of backbone by the upper bourgeoisie who seem to have seized power in the party, and clearly have no intention of another campaign. People should read Franz fanons “Black skins, white masks. ” it says it all. the recent program for a regional list party, now described as the “Alliance” is meritable. there is no arguing with their arithmetic. The awful decision of the SNP to cancel the spring conference, as they have neither the answers of the backbone to do the right thing, in order to suppress the base and their independence demands, shows the utter bankruptcy of the party leadership.it is clear they are useless. Meanwhile, the london regime is making its plans. after BREXIT, they will try to suppress the powers, even the existance, of the devolved goverments, EU law will no longer apply. At that point, we are in the situation of ireland in 1918. we are in the situation of the catalans. I have to be blunt. no one wants a war, but it is inevitable, in my opinion. ideas ned to be discussed, and much else. we hve two years, maximum, to prepare for the london regimes suppression of Holyrood. if there arr any factual arguments against this, I wantt to hear thm.

    1. Cathie Lloyd says:

      I’m always sceptical of arguments based on X will do this, Y will do that. Politics isn’t like that. Try to hold on to the concept of struggle, nothing can be taken for granted. I’d have thought that the Covid outbreak will have shown us that.

  13. Scott Campbell says:

    Actually, you’re understating the number of pro-indy seats there as the SSP seem to be predicted to regain a Glasgow list seat from those figures,

    1. John Mc Gurk says:

      I think in due course the SSP cold gain more prominence in our Scotland.

  14. Mike Fenwick says:

    Quote from above: “This is a huge opportunity to re-make the movement and together emerge out of the ashes of the virus experience with fresh imagination and a new political culture.” The repeated references to “Parties”, of whatever kind – new or old- for me sidelines the real issue – Scotland’s independence, and what is inherent in that quotation.

    On the 14th January 2020, the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, wrote to the First Minister of Scotland, saying ” I cannot agree to any request for a transfer of power that would lead to further independence referendums.”

    What if regardless of Party, or Party Manifesto, the “movement” asked each existing MSP and all prospective MSPs (I repeat irrespective of Party) a very direct question, namely: ” If the position adopted by the UK Government to refuse a Section 30 is maintained, perhaps for the forseeable future, perhaps for their oft quoted period of a “generation” – would you as an elected Member of the Scottish Parliament vote – FOR or AGAINST – a process being instigated which would lead to a Unilateral Declaration of Independence?”

    It’s maybe time the “movement” asked very direct questions of those who ask to sit in our Parliament, and reached their conclusions on what happens next, including whether they should be allowed to sit there – dependent on the answers they hear?

  15. Fraser Darling says:

    Surely it is obviously that the SNP should launch a SNLP, Scottish National List Party, or something to that effect.

    Considering that the List vote is supposed to be more representative than the FPTP system, it is a democratic outrage that a party gaining 45% of the popular vote would only get one seat out of 56. The same as the party with 4% of the vote, a third of the party with 7% and 25 seats less than the party who got 22% less than them.

    In my opinion the SNP should not field candidates in the List vote, or if they do they should be paper candidates only and the List Party candidates should all be high profile existing MSPs (list, or otherwise) or MPs.

    Everything should resemble the SNP as closely as possible, and they should be as transparent about it as possible.

    This seems to me to be the obvious conclusion to be drawn from the above.

    1. If the polling remains the same, or similar, why would you do that?

  16. Josef Ó Luain says:

    If you want Scottish independence there’s only one Party to vote for i.e. The S.N.P. Just how keen the S.N.P is on delivering independence is, unfortunately, anyone’s guess. One thing seems certain, though: that bang-in-the-middle of a fucking pandemic isn’t the best time to be discussing the matter.

    1. Seon Caimbeul says:

      You are so right! The most succinctly sensible comment on the board. Maith thu . ..

    2. Alistair MacKichan says:

      I suggest you are wrong. In the middle of this pandemic we are acutely aware of how self-serving Westminster is, and how they have refused Holyrood’s right to source PPE independently of other UK sourcing. We ought to be acutely aware that our tragic vulnerability to Covid19 is a consequence of our underfunding by the Barnett formula, which shackles health and welfare spending to a largely UK model, and leaves us wallowing in low-spending politics. Being part of the UK prevented Scotland having Pandemic preparedness. We have a stark daily reminder of our need to separate ourselves from the self-serving Westminster Parliament. With this as a given, we should look at Westminster right now, straining through disinformation and daily briefing gymnastics to lead a querulous public forward down a suicidal economy-focused path, which is killing thousands and will leave many workplaces nervous and partly disabled for months to come, causing economic tremor after tremor. Westminster is very beset by its own problems right now, and has not got the energy or reach to quell a determined Scottish severance. Nor has Westminster got the moral authority to subdue a Scottish resurgence, at a moment when world leaders are lambasting Johnson for being asleep at the wheel, and plunging the UK into a devastatingly serious health crisis which, with the lessons of China and Italy to guide us, was wholly avoidable. So, go guys! We will NEVER get a better opportunity than this to state our case to the world community, and have our Sovereign Right endorsed throughout Europe and the World. My suggestion is that we should close the border, pull the power grid plug on the Westminster tentacles in Scotland, starting with armed forces, and thereafter communications, and then establish a new Scottish framework for administration and defence, calling in support from all our friendly neighbours. It would work. Craig Murray tells us that regularly, and we need to listen. So far as the thrust of this post goes, its numbing persuasion to fall back to the slow march of the SNP is astonishingly blind.

      1. Alistair MacKichan says:

        N.B. 8th May. News today that Westminster has instructed overseas PPE providers to ignore Scottish requests for PPE. 59% of yesterday’s recorded Covid19 deaths in Scotland were in Care Homes where PPE has been desperately required, and largely unavailable. My inference is that the Scottish interest lies in self-governance now, and that is not an egotistical or ideological position, simply a compassionate and humanitarian one.

  17. SleepingDog says:

    I don’t read Wings Over Scotland, and I am not a member of any political party, so I am not so familiar with some of this background, but I have read commentary (presumably from older writers) along the lines of “we should hurry up Scottish Independence because I have waited a long time and I want to see it/live it before I die”, which is indeed indicative of ego-dominance politics.

    1. Lorna Campbell says:

      No, Sleeping Dog, it is more that this generation has witnessed more set-backs than any other, and all while the SNP has been in the ascendancy. It is frustrating beyond endurance. If you joined the SNP a couple of years ago, then you are not going to appreciate how long some have waited for this day. If there are egos around, these might be more if a problem because it appears to be ‘my way or no way, and my way is the slow train to nowhere way’. Some of these older men and women, too, have given their lives to Scottish independence. Of course they are angry and frustrated.

      1. SleepingDog says:

        @Lorna Campbell, there is a word for letting anger and frustration get the better of your judgement, and it isn’t ‘maturity’. Democracy doesn’t mean getting it your own way. Anger and frustration have contributed to some bad political choices. A fruit picked before it is ripe can be poisonous, and as the saying implies, haste is quite a different thing from speed. Complex, adaptive systems can undergo unpredictable and sudden phase shifts on reaching tipping points, and we have seen this in politics. There is no simplistic ‘progress bar’. Ego-dominance politics can be a massive turnoff for the collective, and alternatives should be made more visible. We need to be thinking about generations, and the planet, long after we are all dead, not about personal ambitions and narrow agendas. On what basis should Independence be forced upon a majority who do not back it?

  18. Greum M. Stevenson says:

    One of the most thoughtful pieces I’ve read on this issue. Thank you.

  19. John McLeod says:

    We are where we are. Let’s not forget that the issues discussed in Mike’s article – proposed new parties, how this plays out in the voting system, etc etc – are almost completely due to the moral and democratic failure of the London government to engage constructively with the decision of the Scottish Parliament (i.e., the people of Scotland) to hold a referendum on independence. If they had been willing to have an open discussion on this topic, by now there would be an agreement on when the referendum would be held, or at the very least the criteria and process for deciding the date. It is not the fault of the SG or SNP that the London government has been unwilling to come to the table on this matter. The London intransigence (Labour as well as Tory) on this question has resulted in an additional bonus (from their point of view) that their opponents (i.e., us) are now arguing among themselves.

    Holding, and winning, a referendum is crucial, but it is a very short-term objective. The really important task is to find a way of living together that does not destroy the planet. The day after the referendum result, this will become the main focus. The proportional representation system for the Scottish Parliament is based on an assumption (similar to other northern European countries) that the best governance occurs through coalition, consensus and shared decision-making that produces policies that reflect wide agreement and can be sustained over many years. In all probability there will be several new parties that will be represented in parliament, almost certainly coalescing around some kind of Green coalition. The current breakdown of MSPs, where there is one big majority party, is just a reflection of the current tension in Scottish society between independence and the union.

  20. montfleury says:

    The reason that a new party might be advantageous isn’t that support for the SNP might drop. The reason is that elements of the SNP leadership may no longer be in favour of independence at least in anything more than an abstract sense.

    Seen in that light the article needs a lot more thought. In fact the article needs a section demonstrating that the first minister in particular is committed to Scottish independence. That commitment needs to be through deeds and not words. What has she done since 2015 to move Scotland closer to independence? What has she done to prepare the ground for a successful referendum campaign? How will she persuade the far-right anti-immigrant British nationalist regime in London to allow a rich region currently in their control to escape?

    I know there’s personal animosity between Mr Small and Mr Campbell and that really does seem to have got in the way of clear-sighted analysis here.

    1. IndiaOsaka says:

      >In fact the article needs a section demonstrating that the first minister in particular is committed to Scottish independence.

      The article already spends a lot of time responding to self-evidently stupid nonsense. Why waste more?

      1. montfleury says:

        I’m suggesting that this is the core issue that needs to be addressed. If the upper echelons of the SNP are not committed to achieving independence then the article falls.

        The last five years leave me unsure – at best – if the SNP is a party of independence or devolution. We are further from independence now than we were on 19/09/2014 despite the Brexit vote and indeed Brexit. Are you not even curious as to why that is?

        Thought experiment: if Ms Sturgeon was offered independence tomorrow at the cost of personal unemployment and obscurity for her, her MPs, MSPs and the party’s employees would she accept the offer?

        1. IndiaOsaka says:

          >I’m suggesting that this is the core issue that needs to be addressed.

          It’s also obvious bollocks.

          1. montfleury says:

            I’m not clear what you think is ‘bollocks’. If you think the SNP is clearly and unarguably moving ruthlessly towards independence it won’y take too many keystrokes to set out the evidence for that proposition.

            I can think of lots of words that they have pronounced but I can’t think of any concrete actions to seize independence from the most propitious circumstances imaginable. The British state was on its knees towards the end of the May premiership.

            Help me out with a few examples?

        2. IndiaOsaka says:

          >I’m not clear what you think is ‘bollocks’.

          Your notion that the tin-foiled and insulated nonsense you repeat is a core issue.

          It’s not. It’s bollocks. A rerun of the Brexit party’s grift that if the Tories really believed in Brexit they would do what Nigel Farage said they should. Except instead of Nigel Farage, it’s Stuart ‘Bill Walker acted in self-defence’ Campbell.

          There’s no point in wasting keystrokes trying to argue you out of a position you haven’t reasoned yourself into.

          1. cathie Lloyd says:

            Dont you think its time that we turned the argument about ‘not wanting independence’ around to point to the people attacking the SNP and certain parts of the Yes movement. Surely its them who dont want independence given that they’re sabotaging the current strategy to build consensus in Scotland.

          2. montfleury says:

            All I’ve done is ask questions and point out the unstated premise of the article.

            Now we have ‘tin-foil’ and ‘Brexit’ and ‘Tory’ and ‘Nigel Farage’ and ‘Stuart Campbell’ and I am not reassured.

          3. IndiaOsaka says:

            Cathie,

            >Dont you think its time that we turned the argument about ‘not wanting independence’ around to point to the people attacking the SNP and certain parts of the Yes movement. Surely its them who dont want independence given that they’re sabotaging the current strategy to build consensus in Scotland.

            Yes and no. The people who have decided that the architect of the 2014 white paper isn’t ‘yes enough’ are not helping, but the argument that ‘if you don’t do this, you don’t believe in independence’ is a call to demonstrate faith by conforming to the speaker’s demands.

            Whether used by Farage, the Brexit party, some sections of the remain movement, or by Stuart Campbell, it leads to people becoming more and more extreme to demonstrate that they are part of a crowd that will then call for another demonstration of faith. ‘Prove it!’ in the playground sense. The voices who make those demands should be sidelined, rather than entertained. You can highlight their hypocrisy to others like this, though.

        3. IndiaOsaka says:

          >Now we have ‘tin-foil’ and ‘Brexit’ and ‘Tory’ and ‘Nigel Farage’ and ‘Stuart Campbell’ and I am not reassured.

          Why would you be reassured? I’m not here to confirm your biases.

          1. montfleury says:

            I’d be reassured had you pointed out the material steps taken by the SNP to ruthlessly achieve independence. I love it when people demonstrate that I am wrong and I’d be delighted in this case because I think independence is a very, very good idea.

            But you haven’t.

        4. IndiaOsaka says:

          >I’d be reassured

          Your starting position was the ridiculous assertion that it needed to be proved that Nicola Sturgeon supports independence. Now it’s moved on to something else. It will move on again. That’s the zoomer way.

          1. montfleury says:

            The article makes no sense unless the SNP is committed to independence. No one has proposed a single way in which that party has moved us closer to independence since 19/09/2014 despite having loads of M(S)Ps and the British state on its knees.

            If asking hard questions makes me a ‘zoomer’ so be it.

          2. IndiaOsaka says:

            >If asking hard questions makes me a ‘zoomer’ so be it.

            Next week on Monfleury asking the hard questions: Is the Conservative party committed to unionism? Where is the evidence? This is a core issue!

  21. Cathie Lloyd says:

    I agree largely. We need to be clear about the difference between a social movement and a political party. We need to educate ourselves within both, but particularly in the Yes movement. An understanding of how change happens in comparable situations of struggle for self determination would help those of us who are frustrated. Theres much to be done, even under conditions of lockdown.

    1. Agree completely Cathie, the lockdown is an opportunity re-set an to do some serious thinking about the changes we will need to make in the years ahead.

      1. Cathie Lloyd says:

        We could start by some serious reading. Recently my partner and I re-read some Gramsci on political strategy. We could also do some digging on movements for national liberation/ self determination. Just a quick think about the differences in support for the Vietnamese during the war of liberation and also the ANC in its struggle against apartheid suggests that concerns about the leading party often arise. We need to know more about how they can be overcome and if such tendencies exist, how they can be opposed.

        Could Bella run a series about movements for self determination, the pitfalls and successes? How successful movements worked?

        1. John Mc Gurk says:

          I think you have raised a very valid point do not forget I believe it took Ireland thirty years to get what they wanted .

          1. Cathie Lloyd says:

            An example well worth learning from. These situations like breakup of uk can happen suddenly.

          2. Lorna Campbell says:

            Indeed, Jm, but the Irish did not ask for a S30 Order knowing that it would never be given gain. The Irish, by the time of independence, had gone through all the same nonsense we have gone through. The difference is that they were then prepared to do something about it, and remember, there was a world war on, so stopping any kind of debate during this pandemic is nonsensical. I do not support violence, but I also believe that violence can be precipitated by stupid reactionary people who require to be overcome. We are very, very, very lucky – unique really – in that we have the Treaty. What do we do? We bleat like sheep and swallow all the Unionist lies whole. We are not the Irish; we are the Scots. We behave differently: the Irish have a tendency to explode eventually; we simmer and huff and puff till we reach the tipping point and then we feel our backs against the wall and move forward from that position. That is what the assorted Unionists/British and English Nationalists in our midst do not understand. We are more or less on the cusp of that tipping point, with our backs against the wall and, soon, we will have nowhere to go but forward – and Heaven help anyone who stands in our way.

          3. Catherine Lloyd says:

            Be careful about attributing personal characteristics to a people. It doesn’t lead to pretty things.
            The Irish situation was indeed different, it led to civil war, repression from the Black and Tans. THey’ve gone through dreadful events but are looking much better than the UK, especially in the Republic.

  22. David A Neill says:

    So if the need for a new party is not to ‘defend the indy majority’ it should be to articulate their political viewpoint: that of a deeply reactionary set of middle-aged and elderly men who have benefited from the privilege of the internet to give voice to their prejudices for many years.

    I object to this swiping statement as I object U.K. parliament isolating the over 70.

    I call this “ group herding “

    I am OAP getting least pension in EU.

    The U.K. gave me a rise when balanced against the rise in council tax I was 20 p better off per day.

    My teachers pension rose by 1.7% and is taxed. Therefore the U.K. government is doing a grand job of making the OAP worse off.

    Therefore would I vote conservative.? Get real! And do not make “ group herding “ statements.

    1. Lorna Campbell says:

      I do think there is just a modicum of truth in that, DN, but we must also remember that many of these gentlemen have been the stalwarts of a party that was going nowhere until recently, and they, with many women, too, I might add, have been the very backbone of the SNP for at least half a century. Without them, there would be no Independence Party at all, and very likely no movement. Their views and attitudes may be anathema to many of us, but we do still owe them a great deal. They weren’t always elderly, curmudgeons, but hopeful young sprigs like some of you, full of optimism and confidence in Scotland’s ability to manage her own affairs. I daresay, the passing of the years of barren futility, banging their heads against a brick wall, has had its effect. Let’s not make them wait much longer.

  23. Lorna Campbell says:

    I agree with you CC, that trans people cannot be left to kill themselves in despair, and that is why all the ramifications of this legislation should be discussed openly and urgently, along with all the other hate crimes it seeks to deal with. Misogyny is universal; it involves 51-52% of the worlds’s population, and 51-52% of the Scottish population. No other ism bears that weight. I do feel very sympathetic towards people who feel they are not in the right body. Although I don’t understand it in the sense that I, personally, have felt like that, I have felt, my whole life, like a out-of-place human being in a world that has been designed for men, but which, at the end of the day does neither men or women or transpeople or gay people or anyone else many favours. I just wish human beings would let other human beings be who they are without prejudice of any kind – sex, race, colour, ethnicity, religion, creed, politics, etc., but people are people, and it will be a very long time before the human race is like that, although I am optimistic that it will be one day – assuming we allow ourselves to survive as a species that long.

    1. Chris Connolly says:

      I’d be happy to have the first part of your final sentence translated into Scots and used as a motto, Lorna. I agree wholeheartedly.

  24. A reminder that any inappropriate, violent or sexual content will be removed immediately and the poster will be banned.

  25. John Docherty says:

    Shame about the way this article comments went . No surprise really . We’re being trolled by folk pretending not to be vehemently against self determination for Scotland, and that was just yesterday in comments.
    First the chap telling us that getting more seats in Westminster should be priority for the next few years ! Ffs , all but one of the seats wasn’t enough.
    I don’t even want to engage with the trans activists on here. Just enough to say consider me a transactivistphobe and proud .
    Trans taking down the Indy movement is ironic . As a lifelong follower of the National Football team ( have my suspicions the SFA doesn’t really support Scottish football) a long time insult from certain ‘scots’ has been Tranny Army.
    Oh , the banter.

  26. MODERATION WARNING

    Comments that are wildly off topic, abusive or contain links to inappropriate content will be removed. Persist and you will be banned.

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    1. Seon Caimbeul says:

      Do you mean that if we criticise ‘trans’ ideology or ‘trans’ activists attempts to stifle debate on ‘trans’ issues then you won’t let us post responses to your article? Your article is about a new party suggested by Rev. Stu Campbell. You must be aware that his Twitter account has been suspended because of his questioning of ‘trans’ ideology and that any new party endorsed by him will pursue an open debate on ‘trans’ issues.

      1. Hi Seon, that’s the reason given by Stuart Campbell for his ban, I very much doubt that is true.

        I reserve the right to ban anyone from these pages, though thankfully this is rare.

        You may hold what ever view you like on trans issues but you may not post abusive or bigoted content on here, nor link to violent or sexual content.

  27. Malcolm Hutchinson says:

    Many of the comments to this article demonstrate why the colonial rule of “divide and rule” has never gone away and is still one if the strongest mantras of any Westminster goverment. There will never be a hope of independence from an incredibly fascist and neoliberalism-on-steroids regime such as the one currently murdering do many if it’s citizens through the same ideology if this bickering continues.
    Second, but perhaps minor point given the gravity of others’ contributions. Why did the woeful Scottish Enterprise (an oxymoron if ever there was one) currently directed by this Holyrood administration just award a £3,000,000 contract for data management and research administration to a Durham based company? Are there no Scottish based companies that could have done this work just as well (answer….yes there were). Given Iain Duncan Freeman’s love of private sector consultancy in her disgraceful term in the Scottish Social Security system debacle, and now her rancid track record continues in public health (the new Sick Kids should have seen her resign let alone the QE hospital “showcase” in Glasgow) we should be asking questions of competency and capability a lot closer to home than Westminster.

  28. J Anderson says:

    WoS is part of the reason I quit twitter, twitter was useful to get the news weeks before the media caught up, the latest on indy developments. But between extremist unionists and WoS I just couldn’t be bothered any more.

    Scotland just doesn’t have the atmosphere of a society in motion, people are complacent, we just don’t seem to have the critical mass to push radical change over the line.

    However the current situation may cause a deep shift in thinking, if you look at society changing events they rarely happen during a period of stability.

    The whole oil economy obsession was a really daft angle during ’14 and beyond. Yes the money was squandered, but that CO2 is now crippling our future. Scotland needs post war thinking, it needs to approach this in a radical way, stop living in the neo liberal context regarding how things can and can’t work.

    1. IndiaOsaka says:

      >WoS is part of the reason I quit twitter, twitter was useful to get the news weeks before the media caught up, the latest on indy developments. But between extremist unionists and WoS I just couldn’t be bothered any more.

      I can’t blame you, but twitter is what you make of it. Pursue other interests and find treasure.

  29. Kieran Reilly says:

    Excellent article.
    I think possibly the biggest problem with this proposed new independence supporting party would be how much it would turn off “soft” no voters who are becoming more attracted to the idea of voting yes. A party mainly made up of culturally conservative ethnic nationalists isn’t going to attract the current Labour/Lib Dem/soft no SNP voters who would be required to return a vote for independence in the future.
    Talk of radical independence strategies is also fanciful when we a) lost a referendum on it recently and b) we can count on one hand how many times support for independence has polled a majority. Again these ideas will only turn people away from independence.
    In retrospect, I think the post-referendum years were always going to be tough. The momentum the Yes movement gained in the campaign was always going to be brought to a shuddering halt with defeat. This coupled with the relative recency of it means the Tories can simply say the appetite isn’t really there. Basically, growing the support for independence is the only option we have at the moment. How we do that is the big question, and the SNP certainly have to be bolder in this respect, but I personally think the party described in the article would only have a detrimental effect on that.

  30. john burrows says:

    Ms Sturgeon has abandoned actively campaigning for independence. She talks about it a lot though. As does the SNP. They just don’t campaign for it.

    The past three years in particular, the SNP has relied on borrowing the votes of party members who oppose independence. It has expended most of its political capital these past years not on independence, but opposing Brexit. A monumental act of self harm. They have signally failed to prevent the latter. Has the party informed us what happens after we do crash out, and Johnson continues to say no to their S30 request? How do they plan to force the issue? Stamp their feet?

    The current poll, upon which this article is based, only proves Ms Sturgeon is handling the bad news much more professionally than the shower in London. She also is responsible for fewer casualties to the epidemic. It does not reflect on the independence question because the SNP has not campaigned openly for independence since 2014.

    The idea that Scotland will be a land of milk and honey is childish nonsense and a complete fairy tale, for we will still have people like Alistair Jack, Ruth Davidson, Murdo Fraser and there ilk to help us sup with the devil. Please drop the utopian future nonsense. It sounds too much like “broad sunlit uplands.” Its creepy.

    Just give me Scots making choices for themselves, in an independent and free society. We can at least try to fashion for ourselves a much longer spoon. It will never happen though, as long as London continues to rule this land. The SNP is currently facilitating this rule. Draw your own conclusions on the evidence.

    It is not unrealistic to have hope’s and dreams. But these must be tempered by the evidence of ones own eyes and ears. The SNP is currently engaged in a pointless purge. It is becoming it’s own worst enemy. It is becoming the New Labour party of Scotland. I for one don’t believe the current leadership has any plan beyond asking London for an S30 until the end of time.

    I further sense they are immensely relieved that the “choice” is not theirs to make.

    Another political vehicle for independence is not only needed, it is imperative. I have no doubts whatsoever that the question of how Scotland evolves as a society will only arise after we secure a Scottish society. SNP tinkering on the edges of social engineering is woefully inadequate as a substitute.

    As for the constitutional question, the SNP is currently just a naval gazing nonentity. Why should we place undying faith in such? To what end? The more parties seeking independence the better. More disparate voices provides a richer context and texture to all debate.

    Opposing a pluralistic society is also an odd position for BC to hold given its historical support of the same a few years ago.

    1. Thanks John – I don’t oppose a pluralistic society at all – I was just explaining that the given reason ‘the need for a pro-indy majority’ may not be required at all if the polls stay the same.

      The elections are some time away so things may change. It’s difficult to discuss the proposed party without candidates, policies or anything. However those advocating do seem to insist that it will in no way undermine the SNP nor split the Yes vote, but at the same time utterly deriding the SNP. I’m not sure how this is plausible?

      If those advocating a new party are serious they should put up or shut up, get a move on, announce the party, its leaders and its policies.

      1. john burrows says:

        I entirely agree. I am an old man now. In my sixties. I would found a party myself tomorrow if I thought I had the stamina to stand up to the vitriol that would be focused on me for my affrontary. By all who would feel threatened by the appearance of a new kid in town. I am available though to a fearless youth who has need of an activist. I’m all in for that.

    2. Graham Ennis says:

      I think it is time to face the brutal facts. After BREXIT, no London Govenment will EVER grant a section 30 order. Instead, they will systematically go about weakening, thn dismantling, Holyrood. We will then be in the same situation as Catalonia. look at Catalonia today, and weep. This leaves two grim alternative. 1: a return to the pre devolution settlement. Rule from London. 2: mass resistance, including force, to force the independence struggle through to victory. Choose one. Speaking as an Irish citizen, I know that Scotland is going to end up solution two. Either that, or just giving up. People have got to face reality. Scotland will be looted right down to the bedrock, after BREXIT. There will be no mercy. it will be stripped bare, but using the “Boiling Frogs” technique. This means a very narrow window that is left, from now to BREXIT, and people have got to be realistic. Franz Fanons “Black skins, White Masks” says it all. We now have barely more than six months to prepare. The snp will sit there like a rabbit in the headlights. It will do nothing. The salmond book offers a gleam of hope. it will strip bare what has been going on. its just possible that “They” will be replaced by someone with some sense. apart from that, the situation will require the rise of self organising leaderless resitance, by whatever means matches the situation. If people refuse to act, they will deserve the final act of collapse of Scotland into a protectorate.

      1. Lorna Campbell says:

        GE: there is a lot of sense in what you say. Post Brexit, there simply, logically, rationally is not any other way for Westminster and Whitehall to go but after Scotland’s jugular. This has always been obvious to those of us who think deeply about these things and who see what is coming up the road to meet us. That 2014 referendum told us several things, one of which was that another indyref was not to be countenanced. The first was by way of an experiment that did little more than alert the powers in London about what could very well happen if they did not check the manacles regularly. I cannot, personally, see any way forward now for us except to accept regionalization and absorption by a Greater England or get out. To get out quickly, we need to force the SNP down the path to independence, and I doubt that there is anyone who will take the risk at the moment of taking the steps that we need to take. It is always more of the same old-same old, ‘let’s persuade the Unionists’ in a second indyref. I keep repeating this because it is fact: we do not, in law, need a second indyref or any indyref; we risk the loss of a second indeed as the Quebecois did. We entered this Union via the Treaty and we need to leave it via the Treaty. It is now our only hope. If the SNP will not go into the Scottish election of 2021 with a clear mandate to declare our independence to the international community the very day of the result, to set in motion a case to resile the Treaty and to give notice to Westminster and Whitehall that we are ready to negotiate our withdrawal from the Union immediately after the result is returned – assuming it is a win for the SNP – then all hell will break loose or we will subside with a whimper. 2021 will be the SNP’s final opportunity to do what it was elected to do: gain our independence. No more prevarication and ‘wait, we’ve got a better plan’, just do it. They must be under no illusion that we will vote for them without a clear policy in their manifesto that they will negotiate independence the same day as the result comes in. I have supported independence for many years, but my patience with the SNP has finally run out, too. No more cringing to the anti Scots and the anti democrats, the Stockholm syndrome sufferers or the me-ists, the right-on brigade and the woke lobbyists. We have the fundamental human right, not to mention the internationally-legal right to take our independence. The Unionists and sundry other anti independence lobbies – all minorities – are in the wrong; they are the law breakers; they are the deniers of fundamental human and international rights which their own precious UKG has signed up to. It is time for them to step aside and stop the reactionary nonsense that is getting them and us nowhere except to a point where we disappear from history or to a showdown. Why, oh, why do reactionaries never understand and accept when they are defeated? Why must they always prolong the agony?

        1. Catherine Lloyd says:

          First there’s no evidence that the SNP will not go strongly for independence at the next election. Second, do you really want to live in a country where people are not persuaded that we should be self governing? What the SNP is doing surely is to demonstrate clearly that we are more than ready to govern fairly and with widespread support.

          We need to focus on planning and persuasion whenever the opportunity arises in this difficult period. Uncontrolled knee jerk reactions will not get us there and are unnecessary when the ground is being prepared ably.

        2. Graham Ennis says:

          Dear Lorna, it appears we both agree with each other. I wish it could be done without too much violence, but we have the Catalan experience to deal with. Had they made to clear to the Madrid government that they were leaving, either peacefully, or otherwise, they would have had a chance. I speak as an irish citizen, whose heart was broken by the events there. One of my ancestors was left in command of the Irish army after the war, and others have passed down to me Irish history. It is a grim business. But if the choice is to fight, or be obliterated, I think most would go down fighting. I do have to make it clear, as in the recent Northern war, that every attempt was made to do things peacefully, and it led to the Unionists doing terrible things. but it totally gave the nationalists the moral superiority, and made it clear there was no alternative. so its a necessary prequel. having said that, the UK Goverment will fight with total savagery, as they did in Ireland, War crimes will be committed against the Scots, as they were in Ireland. but the world has changed since 1969. None the less, it will be a hard scrabble fight. but on the Scottish side, there is only a small unionist minority, who will actually fight. The rest will be sour, but lacking in bravery. The fighting will be done by hard line scots, who have had military service, and will fight to the end. also, the terrain in Scotland is impassible, in large areas, in the winter. All of this means, with the very large number of retired scots from the military, that it will not be easy. I say all this not to incite violence, but to simply point out, as anyone with military knowledge would, that the task might well be beyond the present uk army. To be certain, they will get quagmired. The only other thing is that technology amongst resistance groups has benefited from the advances of the last 20 years. I say all this as there are people always reading my postings, some of whom, perhaps, are not scots. Its important to set out the situation. I would say that an anti-scots war would not be winnable. The politicians in london would be in for a huge shock. I think there has to be a discussion amongst nationlists. For sure, ther will be one in London. It has already started. I cloe by saying that you have an absolutely excellent grasp of the situation. My regards

          1. Arboreal Agenda says:

            ‘I do have to make it clear, as in the recent Northern war, that every attempt was made to do things peacefully, and it led to the Unionists doing terrible things. but it totally gave the nationalists the moral superiority, and made it clear there was no alternative. so its a necessary prequel’.

            So there has to be violence or some kind of draconian enforcements (‘terrible things’) from the British state or their apparent Unionist ‘operators’ on the ground first? And all this has to happen within six months – the window you say is all there is?

            It isn’t going to happen is it?

            British colonial history in Ireland is very different from the mainland of the UK and so imagining that the current standoff between the English and Scottish governments is any practical sense similar, is wrong and thinking it is will not enhance the cause for Scottish independence.

            But keep stockpiling the explosives, ‘cos you never know!

  31. Stroller says:

    I disagree with Mike Small, I think a new party could be invigorating for Scottish politics, depending on the party of course. To be clear, not the Rv Stu Campbell.
    The mishandling of the C19 disaster should be enough to make anybody think twice about voting for the SNP again.
    That reputation for competence can no longer stand scrutiny.
    Both the Tories in London and the SNP have failed to exercise those eternal virtues of good governance: prudence, foresight, adequate planning, and attention to detail.
    Both the Scot gov and the English gov sat on their hands as the death toll rose into the hundreds, when all other governments locked down with a mortality rate which you could count on two hands.
    That is simply astonishing complacency.
    The catastrophic handling of the C19 crisis the SNP gov in Edinburgh and Tory England have led to tens of thousands of avoidable deaths.
    It will also lead to millions of people losing their jobs, homes and careers.
    Disasters do not get any bigger than the C19 debacle outside of war time.
    Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP should pay the highest price for their craven forelock tugging of London rule…
    They should be ejected from office.
    I will be voting Green, anything other than carrying on voting for the complacent, craven, incompetent SNP…

    1. Stroller says:

      And of course, lest we forget, the SNP’s record in office as a supposedly independence supporting party is absolutely woeful.
      As a devolved govt, they have limited areas of power where they can put clear water between what a new indie Scotland would look like, and London rule.
      Those areas are 1) culture, 2) education and 3) health.
      But if we look at what the SNP administrations have done since winning power, we see that they have done exactly what the Scottish Labour Party would have done.
      It’s not that the SNP copied New Labour policies – that would have taken some work and some thinking.
      The SNP govt literally INHERITED New Labour blueprints in both education (Curriculum for Excellence) and culture (Creative Scotland).
      They couldn’t be bothered to fashion a new blueprint in these two crucial areas, and neither the CfE nor CS have been successful policies with the people who work in those sectors.
      And that leaves Health.
      Well, with the biggest public health crisis in living memory, and a pathological liar in Nº10 Downing Street, instead of scrutinizing to the utmost what the London govt was saying in the face of the C19 outbreak and comparing it to other international responses, the SNP just breezily went along with it…
      Look, there are plenty of noble and progressive causes that people can support and participate in to change Scotland for the better, especially at the grassroots level.
      But all the very damning evidence suggests that casting another vote for the SNP in its current guise is simply a waste of time…anyone who thinks otherwise are simply deceiving themselves in my opinion.

      1. Stroller says:

        My suspicion about the SNP is that it is probably full of ex-New Labour careerist technocrats.
        How else to explain the stifling, asphyxiating conservative nature of SNP policy and the unfailingly slick and highly effective communications strategy, branding exercises (the baby-box for example) and PR?
        It’s New Labour redux.
        By now we are surely at a point where for voting for the SNP again, just for the sake of it, is a problem for those who want to see a different, more enlightened, fairer, more diverse and greener independent Scotland.
        Surely, there has to come a point when you have to give, say, the Greens a shot? I mean, at least we might get cars banned from the city centre.
        At the least we might get some fresh thinking and some alternative policies to the tartan version of the Washington Consensus…

        1. John Mc Gurk says:

          I think it is high time the SNP and commonweal got together and discussed ideas on a really progressive way forward for our country we should concentrate on making our economy as green and as sustainable as possible what about a land tax to raise money what about councils having the first chance to buy land before planning is granted. I am seventy-eight and I am not voting just for the sake of it in my lifetime I have seen very little significant change. The ordinary grassroots INDY movement has to bring about real and lasting change. The SNP might be the vehicle to independence but it will need to change radically to satisfy the thirst for a new and outward-looking Scotland.

          1. Stroller says:

            The SNP are not interested in that kind of collaborative approach with a progressive outfit like Commonweal John.

            Look at the names of the people they appoint to their committees! Lord Snooty himself could just as easily be called in. The SNP are on the gravytrain, they get hundreds of thousands of votes from people who they otherwise despise and sneer at. For how much longer after this last week with a rising death toll and lockdown extended beyond that endured by other European countries, totally wrecking the Scottish economy?

            The servile SNP kowtowing to everything and anything coming out of London has finally served us up a national calamity on a dramatic scale. We have double the death toll of Portugal, nearly double that of Ireland,six times the fatalities of Denmark….

            Sturgeon, Andrew Wilson and co live in thrall to London, blinded by the big city lights, the wealth and the fawning media attention, they have walked us into a nightmare with no end in sight.

            They have some serious explaining to do to the people of Scotland….

          2. John Gurk says:

            Yes I do agree but it is to the grassroots to try as hard as they can to change this

          3. Cathie Lloyd says:

            Our Yes group has tried to engage the local Labour Party (which is reported to have a big indy group) and the Greens for several years now. We have activists with vague contacts to them, but despite attempts have never had a proper response. I have no sense that my SNP branch is complacent, we’re aware that this is a difficult situation and we have to manoeuvre it as best as possible. So we concentrate (in normal times) on a regular presence and engaging the public whenever we can.

      2. Hamish100 says:

        Stroller – so who are you voting. for. Which unionist party? Or will you set up the Scottish socialist republican trotsky I luv tommy and Campbell party” History shows you have no chance. Campbell Sheridan and similar type are individualists and have too big an ego and can’t hold a party together.

        We need a new movement. Well even an enema takes time to work. See you in 20 years. The Scots parliament elections are next year.

        1. Stroller says:

          As I say in the my last post, I will be voting Green.
          I think it is high time that the SNP were shaken out of their complacency by Scottish voters and reminded that they have no automatic right to the vote of anyone and everyone in favour of independence.
          I do not think there will be a referendum any time soon either, Brexit will make it impossible, and London will say no.
          I think the route to independence in the current climate is more likely to lie in grassroots activities, in changing Scotland from the bottom up rather than the top down.
          Nicola Sturgeon could have secured a date for a referendum from Theresa May when May said “Now is not the time”.
          That was a time when the SNP could have picked a fight with London and wrested a clear time frame for indieref II out of May with a legal guarantee.
          The SNP passed that opportunity up and threw away the initiative and a golden, once in a generation chance to secure indie ref II.
          We cannot all simply put our faith in the SNP and constitutional politics to move us forward, that time has come and gone for now in my opinion.
          People like yourself who want a new Scotland and vote SNP are no different to Socialists voting for New Labour under Blair…

  32. Malcolm Hutchinson says:

    If folks think that the current administration SNP, led by the nose by Wee Harvie the poser, are somehow above handing out grace and favour contracts to their chosen buddies, they are simply delusional. Holyrood never was different from the ghouls and their practices in Westminster, it just got worse and more entrenched with Sturgeon and her tight knit clan.

    If we want a different Scotland, and most people do, then we need a different politics and leadership. While we are doing that we also need to get rid of complete layers of appallingly incompetent ‘leadership’ across all our public services, national and local, including health, social care, education economic development, the environment, heritage and planning. Sycophantic, arrogant, out-of-touch and grossly over rewarded is only the surface story.
    There are possibly thousands of good folks that want to see an independent Scotland given that we could be as humane, successful, inclusive and forward looking as the Danes, Irish, Norwegians, Finn’s and others. But not with the political and public services leadership we currently endure. They may have been slightly better at addressing the pandemic but that’s more to do with enforced party discipline than capabilities. But being slightly better than the muppets in Westminster is no great achievement, compliment or hope for a better country.

    1. Stroller says:

      Agreed, London is not the benchmark for progress, London is a basket-case.
      But I’m afraid that Scotland’s European tradition, which was once very strong, and which made Scotland very different from England, has been severely eroded.
      If you are not familiar with a European context to compare Scotland, then inevitably people compare with the only other alternative, England.
      The Scots have lost their European frame of reference, notwithstanding individuals like Lesley Riddoch and her Scandinavian angle on things.
      As for the SNP, I am sure that the grassroots of the party is in rude health, it is the clueless leadership who need ousting.
      If every single SNP branch organization just quit en masse and set up a new party called the Scottish Independence Party the next day, I would support that.
      The new party would not be open to membership of the current SNP mafia leadership, nor Salmond and his allies.
      It would be a new party, with new leaders, made from the grassroots up.
      That, by the way, is the only viable way of setting up a new independence party in Scotland right now, by taking about 50% or more of SNP members with you…
      I would join such a party needless to say…

      1. John Mc Gurk says:

        I think you have a valid point we have to make real changes and stop playing lip service I think the SNP has it all to loose they are listening to much to the business lobby
        and people want something better I stand four-square behind the commonweal they are trying to paint a picture for us to inspire the ordinary folk

  33. Malcolm Hutchinson says:

    Stroller….absolutely especially us losing our centuries old European connections. There is nothing to stop folks creating new initiatives away from the current SNP iron cage mentality and their friends who blast people that dare to criticise the present administration constructively. Salmond and Sturgeon are two of a kind.
    If the choice comes down to being subservient to the Trumpian Americans and their disgusting ways or the Breckshitters “evil Europeans, I’ll happily work with the Europeans.
    Scotland’s civil society is muted by SNP apparatchiks, local government has been deliberately stunted by them and the so called third sector can’t afford to offend or challenge the funder. If Scotland has a chance to be truly independent of Westminster then the current Scottish politics, leadership and civil society needs changing. And we all need to get a spine when it comes to taking on the graft, the corruption, the manifest lies and the self-serving elites that are still running the show. The brand name changed on the Holyrood door a few years ago but the business model, culture and mundanity persists.

    1. Stroller says:

      Salmon and Sturgeon are indeed two of a kind Malcolm, I agree, and those who take sides in their dispute are mugs. The SNP, as is perhaps inevitable in a party so long in power, seem to think the story is about them. The story should be about the Scottish people and the new plural, diverse and fairer society we seek to create.

      Jim Sillars and others like him talk up Salmond’s forthcoming book, but many of us just wish the whole thing had never happened. Having a husband and wife team at the top of a political party is a very bad idea. Clearly there are elements in the Scottish govt who wanted to bring Salmond down, and at any price. Clearly too Salmond is an egomaniac with no sensitivity at all and he will add more fuel to the fire with his account of events. No one comes out of it looking good and for young people who are dreaming of a new country, the whole thing will likely seem like a squabble between self-indulgent politicos completely out of touch with reality….

      1. John Mc Gurk says:

        I can only agree with what you said our young people really deserve better and it is up to every one of us to make sure it happens we cannot afford to let them down.
        we have got to take the dream and make it happen we cannot allow vested interests to dictate the will of the people the future must be green and sustainable.

        1. Malcolm Hutchinson says:

          Thanks for the comments Stroller and John McGurk.
          The common theme in our comments must be tracking way off the agenda for this article and associated posts.
          I’ve deliberately re-read all the posts to this BC article. Sadly have come to the conclusion that Biggus Dickus the current lunatic in charge in Westminster and his gruesome allies like Farage, Cummings et al must be choking with laughter in their champagne. Who needs external enemies when the energy to determine Scotland’s future is being dissipated by insane side issues with little relevance to the problems of influence, power, corruption and leadership. Why not do what the Scots have always been famed for…fighting amongst ourselves?
          I hate the Tories’ with a deep passion and always have, having seen the misery through the Thatcher years and the vicious attacks on public services. I detested the hypocrisy and duplicity of “New” Labour having seen the war criminal Bliar in action and his cowardly Governor General in Scotland the pitiful McConnell at close hand. Harvie is a poseur, no more no less, a joke. The Liberal Democrats should never be forgiven for their ‘coalition’ with the Natsy Party. So that leaves what?
          Salmond, Sturgeon, Hyslop, Russell, Youssef and the rest of the wannabees. The only one with any real intellect and integrity is Swinney and he got shafted by his own Party!!
          The so called “limited” powers of revolution gave opportunities to change how we do things in Scotland. Not enough but plenty to start. And there was a good start in the first SNP minority administration. As Swinney quite rightly insisted, it had to be about competence and capability. And that is what happened, the SNP administration did govern competently and with some courage. Since then? A cynical game, like Westminster, to not do what us possible and blame Westminster, rack up the anger, ratchet up the blame culture.

          As you both say, like me, it is the young people of Scotland that have been let down. People like me expect nothing better from politicians having seen them, all parties in power, at close hand for over thirty years. But our young people deserve and deserved so much better. The intercernine strife within the current SNP hierarchy is a tragedy for Scotland and especially any young people looking for hope, a decent future and something to aspire to. To say Westminster offers worse is simply pathetic. True, but cringingly pathetic.

          To talk of starting new political parties is sadly now vital given the turn from competence, diligence and capability to blind arrogance, deceipt and self-seeking vanity. There has to be a better way of gaining independence than this. The argument gets stronger every day…either live under a proto-fascists racist xenophobic political administration based in Westminster or aspire to a European centre-left progressive and inclusive political administration in Scotland. The latter should give hope to young Scots, I know from working with the ones I do that it us their strongest aspiration. Regrettably that won’t happen under the cynical deceptive and self-serving SNP government in Holyrood nor from their equally mundane and moribund public services leadership across Scotland they retain in their ill-deserved places.

  34. Dickie Tea says:

    And that was political party broadcast for the Scottish National Party combined with a bitter attack on a more popular blog.

    Once the Salmond affair becomes clearer and people start to realise the stupidity of the GRA the SNP are in trouble. Only a serious pro Independence list party will keep the Pro independence majority. And that is not the Greens who will be crucified when there GRA support is recognised by voters

  35. Gillies macBain says:

    I don’t disagree with the logic here but ideally we could do with utilising the list seats while we are still in this situation. Stuart Campbell isn’t a runner in the game. He never has been. An alliance of interested parties can promote an SNP first past the post vote and the SNP members and politicians can promote the alliance on the list. This independence Alliance won’t be beholden to the SNP. That is the opposite of why they are there in effect. I expect them to keep the SNP honest from the back benches and get rid of some of the aboslute rat bags currently warming the seats with their fat arses, at our expense, across the way. That’s a great attraction of it. Just setting the scene for when we win. Removing the establishment/Big money/Class based/ wankers know best voices. We want to win and we need to use everything at our disposal and in the right way. As the SNP will not buy into any formal pact with the greens and the current SNP leadership seems reluctant to employ folk like the commonweal policy makers I think this move has to start some way away from the idea that we need to get the official SNP on board. it is time surely to force everyone’s hand. the opportunity was missed, sorely, in 2015 to get everyone together and create a forum that would have created a manifesto for an Independent Scotland. we need to use this lull to get it together.

  36. Pogliaghi says:

    Can someone explain to me how Stu Campbell and his merry band of zoomers are the ones “cocooned a block list […] talking exclusively to each other” when they are the ones constantly getting censored on Twitter, and who would struggle to put so-called transphobic arguments or a serious defense of Salmond (ie., one that doesn’t reflexively trust people in authority) in any mainstream setting without getting sued and/or no-platformed? Seems to me it is they who want to have pluralistic political dialogue. It is the immensely smug and entitled SNP establishment and its friends in a very unseemly combination of places from The Scotsman to Bella Caledonia who want to ignore their grievances – which Wings’ new polling suggests are indeed popular grievances.

    Contrary to all the breezy dismissals of such claims here, disgruntlement with the SNP is of course being masked by a common utter hatred for the Brexit Tories, especially during the pandemic — and the fact it’s been barely 5 months since the total implosion of the Labour party. Sturgeon has had the easiest job in British politics since 2014. Back then the “zoomers” were successfully marginalized as a crowd of populist narrow nationalists, which they were and are. But Sturgeon has since vindicated much of their critique. It really does look like she’s interested in a job for life as FM, not independence, and for that the SNP needs Respectacbility. Part of burnishing her brand’s respectability is adopting lobbyist-friendly liberal and neoliberal policies. The flagrantly top-down transgenderism stuff is part of that dynamic, and so is the obvious attempt to purge the legacy of Salmond. The progressive lefties in the SNP and wider Yes movement have seriously lost their way in throwing their lot in with the centrist Sturgeon group. Denouncements of “angry politics” coming from what was once a real left wing attack blog are rather sad, and a reflection of how much certain people have sold out.

    1. Hi ‘Pogliaghi’ – Im not sure what you need explained about why a mass block list stopping you from interacting with anyone who disagrees you is a ‘cocoon’? What part of that are you having difficulty understanding? The project was not just to make Campbell immune to anyone he disagreed with – but to encourage his followers to do the same.

      If independence was about people acting and thinking for themselves this was the precise opposite.

      I do love the idea that Campbell polling his cult is some form of vindication for your beliefs.

      The only way to really test this out is to launch your bizarre party and see how it succeeds in the real world. Get on with it.

      You seem deeply confused in your politics. In one sentence you denounce “liberal and neoliberal policies” in the next you denounce “progressive lefties”.

      Its almost as if your caught in a maelstrom of reactionary populism you barely comprehend?

      For your information Bella has never been an “attack blog” – I think your confusing that with something else.

  37. John Mc Gurk says:

    I think we might be forced to take an aggressive stance against the Westminster government it might be the only option.

  38. Malcolm Hutchinson says:

    It seems the contributions to this article are predominantly about a complete fringe issue on the one hand and incitement to violence on the other. I’m all for free speech but when it comes to the core issues of creating a progressive independent Scotland I’ll find other sources of contributing to the debate, pressure, movement and aspirations. When discussions get to potential illegalities in particular with no sense of this type of incitement being challenged I don’t wish to be part of the ‘debate’.

  39. Black Jack Randell says:

    Neither the SNP, Greens or the new Scottish Independence Party actually want independence as they want to join the EU to be ruled by Brussels. Swapping London for Brussels is not independence.

  40. Jane J says:

    Couldn’t agree more with this. I’ve been uneasy about the strident calls for separate parties and division – it’s the sad history of a lot of ” progressive” left groups within a crisis which brings out the big beasts and usually allows nasty people into power. So yes let’s build a strong open movement and certainly push hard for the current government to be bolder and quickly catch the public mood for more radical change now we have all seen the rotten core of the British state emerge in this crisis.

    1. John Mc Gurk says:

      I agree with you we have got to take the bull by the horns and do not let up until we get what the majority want a decent and totally different future for the young generation

  41. Malcolm Hutchinson says:

    Whilst fascinating to read from the armchair heroes and heroines. I regret to say that if armed insurrection, violence and violent civic unrest is their recipe for gaining independence then they clearly have no sense of the reaction there will be from other nations run on the basis of the rule of law. If the hopes are for entry into the EU after the declaration of independence following a bloody war which will by no means be easy to win, then the same inciters to armed struggle are completely delusional. If that isn’t the route and UN acceptance is another option it is equally delusional. Lastly, if these people who are essentially inciting violence as a means to what the majority of people perceive as a democratic process then I want no part of a Scotland that achieved its independence through the bullet and the bomb.
    I would also have thought, whilst accepting the tenets of freedom of speech, that a responsible journalism would prefer not to have such views expressed in it’s medium. On that basis, I won’t be subscribing to Bella Caledonia any further.

    1. Cathie Lloyd says:

      There are some things that should not be discussed lightly. I suppose the only consolation is that those who do so are simply poseurs.

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