The Balerno Blueprint

Neil Mackay’s Herald on Sunday interview feature with Andrew Wilson (The Big Read: SNP target 2026 in ‘roadmap for independence’ from party’s top strategist Andrew Wilson) was execrable in very sense. From the sycophantic tone to the revelations about a disastrous politics and a disempowering strategy it will have left many in the Yes movement amazed dispirited and angry (not necessarily in that order).

From the rose vase to the Union Jack scatter-cushions to the chic man-cave, the scene-set had a strong Accidental Partridge vibe about it. Wilson’s domestic bliss oozes the aura of someone who has prospered by a long spell of corporate lobbying nurturing the very business interests that dominate our lives.

The interview is astonishingly unquestioning.

“IF the Yes movement has a brain, then it’s called Andrew Wilson” Mackay writes.

“Wilson is, after all, the man who has done the hard thinking for the Yes movement. The 49-year-old economist and former SNP MSP was the brain behind the Sustainable Growth Commission, which built the economic case for independence.”

Yet none of this is true.

If the Yes movement has a brain, it’s a collective hive brain of hundreds of thousands of ordinary and extraordinary people thinking how they can escape the British state and transform Scotland from the very corporate capture that Wilson represents, or we could name dozens of hard working writers and researchers and activists that you could call ‘the Yes movement’s brain’ with some credibility.

Contrary to Mackay’s assertion he has done none of the hard-thinking for the Yes movement. The Growth Commission is a series of lazy platitudes and business-as-usual mumblings that has been widely derided and debunked and is strategically useless.

Wilson’s vision of the future is so desultory it’s mind-numbing.

On the tragically stupid strategy of sterlingisation he says:

“Accept that we don’t have monetary sovereignty for the first period after independence. After all, we don’t have it now.”

Wow, okay, that’s inspiring.

The timescale is also an exercise in miserabilist lethargy.

Independence – such that it could be described as such at all in his vision – might arrive some time around 2026 with a possible decade after that before we’d have our own currency in Wilson’s mind.

If you’re lolling around with your scatter cushions in Balerno this timescale might be fine, but some of us, most of us, have pressing things to attend to (like transforming Scotland from its current state in which poverty is endemic and housing is in perpetual crisis dominated by a rentiers economy and the sort of companies that grease Wilson’s palms.

Mackay’s interview technique seems to be to avoid any scrutiny at all. On Wilson’s role at Charlotte Street partners Mackay writes: “Wilson swears everything is above board.”

“We don’t lobby Government,” he insists.

But lobbying is actually his job.

Any journalist would have HAD to at that point stop Mr Wilson and point this out.

Other aspects of this visionless vision are equally troubling.

Wilson wants to see an “annual solidarity payment going from Scotland to the UK to make good our inherited obligations”. England needs to know that “we’d contribute a share of the national debt interest ongoing”.

We are not told on what basis these calculations are made.

Continuing the theme of advanced inertia we’re informed that Scotland should continue to contribute to UK international aid “as we wouldn’t yet have programmes available for a couple of years” – though we’re not told why this should be.

Whilst we’re patting cushions and arranging the roses we’re told: “After independence, Wilson looks forward to the debate about what sort of country will emerge. Left or right? “Whichever end of the spectrum it is will be a democratic matter for the people of Scotland.”

Well yes, except the structural way that we enter independence is important and means that much of this will already have been decided – not by the people of Scotland but by the likes of Wilson.

After a Yes vote Wilson argues “we’d seek to bring the most experienced talents of Scotland to bear on what happens next” – namely negotiations with Westminster. “I’d love people like Alistair Darling, Gordon Brown, and others, to play a role in making good the decision of independence.”

Prominent No figures should sit on a “council of the country which pulls together our best and most experienced states-people”.

In this scenario we’re led to believe that the very people who have been fighting tooth and nail to stop Scottish independence should be rewarded and empowered in a Post-Yes settlement. This is bizarre.

The entire ‘vision’ is one of endless placation and triangulation. There is no sense of urgency at all – and the inevitable outcome would be that a future Scotland under the Balerno Blueprint would look and feel almost exactly as it does today, with the same people, the same politics and the same business classes in charge. It is in effect arguing: UK:OK.

The Yes Movement (and the SNP) must reject all of this.

Scotland needs to be transformed. Independence needs to be a transformative process, as an event it has to be a rupture. It has to be a revolt. If it’s not it’s utterly worthless.

This doesn’t mean that a strategy doesn’t need to take people with it, it does. Any strategy needs international credibility and recognition. But we need to be insurgent, imaginative and dynamic, we needed to start several years ago and we need to reject this manifesto of inertia.

These people are what the late (great) David Graeber called the ‘Extreme Centre’. He explained: “Those who are called the ‘moderates’ are actually the most immoderate people possible and the reason why they are so uncompromising is that they don’t really have a lot of positive arguments. they’re not really for anything.”

Talking of Barack Obama Graeber is scathing:

“The reason he worked is because he looked like the kind of guy who would have a vision. He acted like a visionary, he had the intonation of a visionary. He would look into the distance like he really believed in something. It shows you something about just how much visionary politics has been killed that it didn’t even seem to occur to people to ask what his vision actually was …”.

“It turns out his vision was not to have a vision.”

This is what we get from the ‘éminence grise’ of Charlotte Street Partners.

It’s not too late. There are plenty of people with real brains, real vision and a real sense of urgency. In fact they’re everywhere: we’re a multitude.






Comments (57)

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  1. CathyW says:

    Very well said indeed, Mike. I too was aghast and enraged by seeing this man called ‘the brains of the Yes movement’ – outrageous! – and couldn’t bring myself to read much more. The stultifying lack of any radical ambition (see SNP for details) is exactly what the Yes movement has to be most on its guard against – and act to oppose – if independence worthy of the name and the effort is to be achieved.

  2. Craig P says:

    An astonishing sounding interview.

    I knew about Wilson’s plan to keep sterling, that’s risible enough. But to have Darling and Brown negotiate for Scotland? That would be like the EU choosing Nigel Farage as their chief Brexit negotiator.

  3. Ann M says:

    On a walk yesterday, my poor husband was the recipient of my rage against the propaganda machine (he hadn’t read it) spurting vanilla sludge across a Sunday newspaper. What’s happened to Neil McKay I opined? He used to be a slick operator, known to challenge anyone who brought anything but clarity to his door. I decided he’s become jaded and has joined the ‘whatever’ club. Wilson I believe has always been a member. ‘Whatever makes him money’ that is. Nothing in this article hints at the reason we’ve all been campaigning for Independence for years: to build a fair and equal society. It’s an affront on so many levels: ‘Brains behind Indy (God help us); suggestion of wheeling out the Godfathers of Scotland in Union to negotiate constitutional transfer was always going to rile; A stipend to the WM Gov to keep a loose tie to the Motherland. etc etc. McKay had the opportunity to take every single assertion and assumption apart to create a cracking discussion piece. He didn’t and we’re still discussing it but perhaps not in the way he thought.

  4. John Bruce says:

    This so-called Blueprint would sit prominently on the shelves of a Finance Minister of a client state.
    Vichy anyone?

  5. MBC says:

    I was horrified by Mackay’s article. You put it very well Mike. Wilson does not speak for the SNP or the Yes movement. As far as I am aware he is a private citizen and holds no position currently in the SNP. He is of course entitled to his views. But they are not policy as far as I am aware. The troubling thought that I now have is – how and why has he been allowed to get away with this? Why no comment from the SNP? Is this the SNP’s covert plan?

    If it is, tens pf thousands of members will tear up their membership cards.

    1. Colin Mackay says:

      He does speak for The SNP. He wrote the entire SNP economic prospectus for independence thus far. SNP member really need to realise this and act, it seems many either have their head in the sand or don’t really understand what is going on.

      1. MBC says:

        He is the author of a report they commissioned. He holds no position as such. Conference took a decision last year to change the recommendations on currency and the central bank in the Growth Report.

        1. Colin Mackay says:

          So why are they continuing to say that currency will take decades to implement? Worth noting Sturgeon has never said anything against Growth Commission and Andrew Wilson is obviously her go to person for economic advice.

      2. Bill McLean says:

        How very patronizing of you! You should be very clear that people are no longer being fooled quite as easily as you imagine! Your positioning is at least clear.

        1. MBC says:

          Explain, please. What is patronising?

  6. Michael says:

    Whatever one thinks of Andrew Wilson or his ideas in general, the point that in the event of a vote for independence figures on the No side should be invited to join negotiations seems to me very sensible and the moral thing to do. Whatever had happened before then, we don’t want the deeply destructive situation we’ve seen post – Brexit referendum whereby only proponents of Brexit previously are the ones making decisions or in positions to engage and influence the negotiations.

    1. Yes there’s definitely a need for reconciliation and to think about that and be generous in victory. No doubt. But I can think of many many people who would be better qualified than Gordon Brown and Alasdair Darling in that process.

      1. Michael says:

        Yes indeed, there perhaps are people better qualified than them, but for me it’s not just about experience and qualifications, there is also the signal it sends to those who had voted no, that they (as represented by such figures as Brown and Darling) are valued and important in what would be a new Scotland. A significant portion of the population would be deeply hurting and that cannot be dismissed or ridiculed. Some might say that such magnanimity wasn’t shown after 2014 to the yes side, but that’s neither here nor there for me, we’re all responsible for our own actions. If we want to avoid the toxic ‘them and us’ attitudes that have been prevalent since the Brexit referendum, I think those lessons need to be learnt before any future Indy Ref 2.

    2. Alastair McIntosh says:

      I agree with Michael’s comment there. Independence will not be achieved unless we continue to bring on board those who once were enemies or indifferent.

      The work that lies ahead cannot be done within the original bubble(s) that got us here. It has to be a widening of the tent, a building of bridgeheads, like we saw happen in the 1980–90s build up to Devolution. The challenge now is how to consolidate and sustain a “settled will”.

      As such, I can see how parts of the Wilson interview may have irked. But overall, I found it uplifting.

      1. I’m not sure what you found uplifting but I agree that there’s a great need for building bridges and listening. But in the context of endless triangulation and watering down and compromise and hyper-caution it doesn’t sit well.

        There’s also a generational issue and identity issue here.

        Who do you wan to usher in to the space for the newly born country? Young people? New faces? More women? No too old white men who have been London based professional politicians for decades. It doesn’t exactly spell out “new start” or “fresh thinking” does it?

        While we do need to reach out – and we do need to think about the “whole country” – we also need to think about how this looks and what signals this sends.

        1. Ann M says:

          Absolutely agree that there’s a need to encompass all citizens, including those who would prefer to remain in the Union and it’s appropriate to bring spokespeople into the fold. However, also agree that offering Brown and Darling, given our experience of them both in 2014 ref (rubbing salt into still open wounds) and in UK Gov, they’re the last pair I’d want near Fiscal/Economic transfer. We also need to accept that a large number of people in Scotland identify with Centrist government. While, not my politics, I accept that but equally a large number are hoping for a more Socialist approach. This article, however, only speaks to the centrists, with an overt fear of upsetting those who aren’t keen on Indy. We need courage of our convictions to convince, not swaddling. That’s not how we operate in Scotland. We don’t do mollycoddling very well and we’re not stupid!

  7. Dougie Blackwood says:

    Last week I cancelled my subscription to The Herald. Over the last few months it has become an organ of Better Together.

    Wilson’s report, when it was eventually published, was a disappointment. It basically said we should do nothing and continue to use the pound instead of taking the bold step of making a clean break.

    It is little surprise that he is wheeled out to spread his message only to be dismissed as a cats paw for the whole independence movement.

    1. Steaphan says:

      You only noticed now, not in 2013-14?

  8. Wul says:

    Wilson’s “vision” seems to be that we wait around meekly until him and his “business as usual” pals have secured every lever of power in Scotland.

    At that point (and not before) the good people of Scotland can have a change of brand at Hollyrood; “The UK State. Styled and Trading as “Scotland””

    (The Best Wee Country in the Wurld Tae Dae Business. Oh Aye the Noo”

  9. Paddy Farrington says:

    This piece came across as a singularly intemperate reaction to what is a perfectly legitimate view of the road ahead after independence. It has often been mentioned, notably on Bella, that we need a rich ecology of ideas about independence. It is perfectly reasonable for such a rich ecology to include a centrist perspective – this does not preclude other views, such as those emanating from the Scottish Greens and the socialist left, but adds to the mix, and expands the diversity of the independence movement and therefore increases its political appeal.

    Indeed, for independence to gain clear majority support and eventually win, it is essential that the political centre should be won over. There is in the Yes movement a tendency to deride centrist politics. But we cannot ignore political realities: support for the Scottish Greens and socialist parties is marginal at best (remember the 0.6% RISE got in 2016). And the radical option of an immediate move to a new currency after independence only scored 5% support in Progress Scotland’s recent poll.
    Of those who decry the SNP’s centrist tendencies I ask this: who else would you like to see occupy the political centre? The lib dems? And what might that mean for independence? The task for the left is not so much to move the SNP to the left of the political centre, but to move the political centre itself further to the left.

    None of this means that there isn’t a need for a properly worked out left perspective on independence. What it does mean is that we should engage respectfully with all those who espouse independence and contribute to making it happen, rather than dismiss them flippantly by attacking their choice of scatter cushions and insult their intelligence. Independence would be the most radical shift in Scottish politics in over three centuries; let’s not attack any of its proponents, whatever their political colour, for their lack of ambition.

    1. Cath Jones says:

      If Scots wanted “centrism” I think it would have been obvious by now.

  10. Daniel Raphael says:

    Spot on, as they say in that other country. Intelligence–as with leadership and a great many other qualities–are shared by the “faceless crowd” extolled in the Stones’s “Salt of the Earth.” So very often, the leaders/analysts/specialists touted to us are, in fact, not only mediocrities but straightforward tools of the usual corporate suspects.

    Well done, Michael.

  11. Robbie says:

    Sounds to me like some of you think Scotland should take over the reins of Indepenence very timidly,then ask in a bewildered way “ what do we do next” don’t want to upset anyone, especially Gordon and Sir alistair ,well on yer bike and Yes I also would like to see some kind of response from the snp,agree with everything you say Mike, tell it as it is.

    1. Alastair McIntosh says:

      Can I ask you, Robbie: if proceeding by working in ways that take others with us is too timid, how would you propose proceeding?

      (I am presuming that we see the way ahead as being through the ballot box? I am also assuming that it is unsafe as yet to assume that 58% is the poeple’s settled will. Tell me if you think me wrong on either of those.)

    2. Daniel Watson says:

      Every cell in Darling and Brown’s bodies are Unionist.
      It’s not just realistic to expect them to bring an non Unionist mindset to Independence negotiations.
      We should be looking to Ireland for guidance and inspiration.

  12. John O'Dowd says:

    As that great Edinburgh-born revolutionary said in respect of Ireland

    “If you remove the English Army tomorrow and hoist the green flag over Dublin Castle., unless you set about the organization of the Socialist Republic your efforts will be in vain. England will still rule you. She would rule you through her capitalists, through her landlords, through her financiers, through the whole array of commercial and individualist institutions she has planted in this country…”

    Retaining sterling leaves the Bank of England and the City in control of Scotland’s economy and fate.

    It is natural that if our rulers figure that we will leave, they will want (unlike the SNP) and plan B that leaves them in control.

    Scotland ruled by bankers will not be independent.

    What precisely is Mr Wilson’s role in this movement?

    1. ian stewart says:

      He also said in the event of victory do not lay down your arms, Because those you are fighting alongside today you will be fighting tomorrow, People like Wilson have no place in a new Scotland,

  13. w.b. robertson says:

    I found Wilson`s interview baffling. Particularly when he visualised a post Indy Scotland continuing to make annual payments to Westminster, This must have come as a shock to many who believed that the WM government was handing out all this Covid money by simply shakng the money tree (with no future Payback!).
    One other point, our Editor remarks that Indy Holyrood “will need to be insurgent, imaginative and dynamic”. Just like what we have enjoyed for the past 13 years?

    1. No I meant we – the independence / democracy movement needs to be insurgent, imaginative and dynamic rather than closed negative and deeply conservative.

  14. Julian Smith says:

    Absolutely spot on, Mike. The gratuitous insult at the start, aimed at independence supporters in general, of Andrew Wilson being the brain of the Independence movement, set the tone. Then the twee description of the decor of the “man-cave” and the unquestioning acceptance of the new-liberal world view, accompanied by the casual rubbishing of MMT lowered my estimation of Herald journalism even more than hitherto. I’m almost tempted to subscribe to the Herald in order to make my feelings known to its editor. Maybe that was the cunning plan.

    1. Dougie Blackwood says:

      In my earlier post I said that I had cancelled my subscription to The Herald. As part of the cancellation I explained that I had read the paper for many years but could not continue due to blatant lack of balance. In particular I quoted one days 4 front page headlines, all from the Ruthie playbook. My comments were sent to several strand within the paper and in response I was told my comments would go to the editor. Whether they did or whether anybody pays any attention is open to question.

      1. John O'Dowd says:

        The Herald is completely beyond the pale. Like you Dougie, I was a reader many years (over 3 decades). I was also a regular letter writer.

        But around Indyref I noticed a definite change – and the tragic death of the brilliant Ian Bell (a kinsman of James Connolly cited above) robbed it of its only reliably Scottish voice. It is now unapologetically anti-Scottish.

        Iain MacWhirter blew with the wind and during Indyref was trimming close to (qualified) support, but now on the rare occasions I read him, he seems to have gone over completely to the dark side. And the letters page went way off the yoon scale – with the publication of an almost daily hate-rant by a deranged dentist spouting anti-Scottish bile, among its largely hostile correspondents..

        Couldn’t take it any more, and cancelled. (They still get my money though via the editorially patchy National – market segmentation I believe it is called).

        Without pro-indy on-line sites there would be no critique of the Unionist nonsense posing as argument.

        So Mike, keep up the good work. (Good also to see a posting by Paul Kavanagh tonight).

        We need all the support we can get.

    2. Bill McLean says:

      Well said Julian. Hoping to be back in the Dunfs area by the end of the year. Best to you both!

      1. Julian Smith says:

        Thanks, Bill. Best wishes to you.

  15. Robbie says:

    Alistair I am simply saying if it’s good enough for Boris to completely ignore the rest of the uk,and get on with what suits Only them, We in Scotland should follow his lead and do the same, we have waited long enough for the chance to look after ourselves.

    1. Alastair McIntosh says:

      Understood Robbie, and I completely share your frustration, indeed, indignation. The problem is that if we follow Johnson’s lead, and even were it succeed (and those who disagreed just rolled over), how would we prevent ourselves from transmogrifying into Johnson’s likeness?

      The next Scottish elections are 6 May 2021. Let’s walk towards it cannily. Bring others with us on the way. Be wary of blind alleys that dissipate goodwill. Treat those we disagree with gently. Then let’s see what mandate Scotland might extend.

      Then, I do believe, the inner gates to self-determination will be open.

  16. John Cawley says:

    Would someone just do a seven degrees of Andrew Wilson. He is the absolute personification of the corporate capture of Scottish politics. Wilson is a grifter. I’d rather he erred on the side of openness when it comes to CSP’s client list.
    Wilson, Pringle, Aberdein, the Two Rivers Media mob and the rest of the unelected, immovable Scottish establishment will strangle a progressive Scotland at birth. Wilson’s former employee, Chris Deerin is at Reform Scotland, Lord McConnell of Lobbygate is another one of Wilson’s best buds and no matter who gets elected, Wilson and his mates will have an indy Scotland in their back pockets. Deerin worked at The Herald, Wilson and Pringle write for The Times and have represented Murdoch and they have Scottish politics sewn up for their corporate masters, yet Wilson is lionised as a giant of the Yes movement in Mackay’s ridiculous hagiographic mince.
    It is this kind of guff that The Herald pumps out that illustrates just why Scotland needs outlets like Bella. The mob at Pacific Quay are just as bad. Let’s just hand Scottish democracy to Charlotte Street Partners and substitute Westminster’s crony capitalism for Wilson’s brand. The iron fist is still there, it’s just hidden under the fluffy cushions at Balerno.

  17. florian albert says:

    At the start of the article, Mike Small refers to the ‘Yes movement.’ Immediately after the 2014 vote, the SNP made it clear that it has no interest in a Yes movement or coalition. Election results and recent opinion polls have – from an SNP perspective – vindicated that approach. If there is an Indyref2, it will be fought on an SNP prospectus, as happened in 2014. Mike Small can state that ‘we’re a multitude’. The SNP does not agree. Like other left-supporting pro-independence groups, Bella has opted to be an influencer. The problem is that the SNP has no need for its influence.
    Even as the SNP has become the vehicle for one individual – and a cabal of hidden advisers, public support has increased significantly. Andrew Wilson only counts insofar as Nicola Sturgeon chooses to indulge him.

    1. Anndrais mac Chaluim says:

      This is true. The meteoric rise in electoral support for the SNP over the past 20 years seems to vindicate its marketing. Voters like the ‘Nicola’ branding and they’re comfortable with the social and political conservatism of the party’s current centre-left policies.

  18. roddy anderson says:

    Perhaps I’ve misread this? But the interview took place at Andrew Wilson’s home; and he has union jack scatter cushions??

    1. MBC says:

      By Zoom. Yes, re cushions.

  19. Wul says:

    It’s a useful article in a way.

    Tells the soft “No’s” they have nothing to fear in an independent Scotland; same money in their wallet, same folk in charge, same lack of opportunity for our young people. All good. Back to sleep (eat your cereal in the morning).

  20. Eòghann MacColl says:

    Why would you want unionists like Darling and Brown to make good the decision of Independence? Do we need their rubber stamp, cap in hand style? Surely it’s the opposite, we see the folks from the communities whose voices have been marginalised that we want to hear and empower! That’s what change is all about. Status quo is not the answer.

  21. Paul says:

    Yes, unfortunately he lives in the real world where sadly business people and money talks (as opposed to some left wing socialist utopia which you seem to be envisioning). Also, it is eminently sensible to get prominent members of the No camp on board as guess what? They live here too! Its their country too and would do a lot for the healing of the country afterwards.

    1. Julian Smith says:

      Healing? You mean like Westminster has been doing for the last 6 years, beginning the day after the Referendum with EVEL?

  22. MacNaughton says:

    The Wilson interview, which makes you want to weep in its absence of any vision, is totally stage-managed of course. It’s pitch to soft unionist Scotland and should be read as such.

    Wilson is nobody’s brains, what he is, is a smooth operator who knows how to position himself in that place where the worlds of money, politics and the media converge. He’s a kind of Peter Mandleson figure and he is very close to Viceroy Sturgeon. I very much doubt he has had an original idea in his life, but he knows how to work the interface between politics, business and the media….

    As for including New Labour dinosaurs like Brown and Darling, absolutely no chance. They would betray us for sure…have people gone mad?

  23. Jack Collatin says:

    Well said.
    Wilson is a North Brit Tory.
    The biggest mistake we could make is to sit back and let this narrow laissez faire capitalist , don’t mention the Robber Barons, clap trap have anything to do
    with Scotland’s divorce settlement.

    England will have slaughtered the cattle, poisoned the wells, burnt the barley fields, and interned our young able bodied citizens in Priti Patel’s forced labour concentration camps by then.

    This is not a ‘game’.

    We are facing a hostile neighbour to the South who is quite literally within weeks of descending into rogue state chaos.

    This is not hyperbole.
    This is not Scotland versus England.

    I am not alone in believing that the Jack is being used in the same way the Third Reich used the swastika. Our food and buildings are daubed with the Butcher’s Apron quite deliberately, to ensure that we Scots are constantly reminded of our militarily conquered colonial status.

    I am Scotland. I am 5.4 million.

    Give or take 350,000 English born live and prosper Up Here.

    It is make your mind up time for all Scots, no matter their origin.
    The Dead Tree Scrolls in Scotland are a joke now.
    Who is keeping this Fourth Estate Fifth Column alive these days?
    It’s certainly not readers or advertisers.

    It is about to get very nasty, in 2020.

    1. Arthur Thomson says:

      Spot on Jack.

      For my part, I believe that England is descending into a pit. I anticipate that there is going to be violent conflict on their city streets and widespread criminality arising out of the condition of helplessness that a very large number of their citizens are facing. We are in the lull before the storm. I say this without malice, it is just observation of what seems to me to be inevitable. Never in my 73 years have I seen anything remotely like it and I cannot see any route of escape for them.

      Against this backdrop the competence and inner resource of Nicola Sturgeon is going to be invaluable in taking us to the achievement of independence. Strong and stable rings a bell, especially in the face of disaster South of the border.

      As to the brains of the SNP, I believe that we have a strong group of people, dominated by women, who are the real brains. People like Joanna Cherry, Philippa Whitford, Jeane Freeman and others, in addition to Nicola. Regardless of the stresses and strains of the storm ahead they, in my opinion, have what it takes to lead Scotland to a better place and will do so. At no point will they need or enlist the help of yesterday’s champagne socialists like Brown or Darling. Lolz.

      1. Axel P Kulit says:

        I agree with your analysis. It is no longer unthinkable however, that we are probably not only about to see the break up of the United Kingdom, the breakup of Great Britain as Scotland leaves and the looming departure of Wales and Northern Ireland but also the break up of England as the North and South begin to diverge (though this has not progressed to a “settled will” stage). Only Cornwall, once independent then part of the Kingdom of Wessex, is not stirring -YET.

        The YES movement now needs (at least) two types of campaigners. One focussed on GETTING Indy over the line, the other focussed on building the new nation afterwards. The latter have to formulate a vision and prospectus to attract soft NO voters.

        Hopefully I have not oversimplified this.

  24. MacNaughton says:

    I have said this before, I will say it again, we urgently need a progressive political alliance to challenge the SNP hegemony in Scotland today.
    A wide arc of progressive people, an alliance for change, people from all walks of life and all the activist groups like Women For Independence, to Environmentalists and Anti-Racists – we need to re-form that broad coalition from the 1980’s which delivered us the Scottish Parliament.
    Otherwise, if independence is achieved, Strugeon and her team of lawyers and advisors will control the whole process from above and coax us and soft-soap us and sweet talk us into something we don’t really want.
    We’ll be soft-soaped and sold down the Clyde…
    We’ll end up with a diluted independence which is a bit like a Crown Dependency, like Guernsey or something.
    That’s where we’re heading right now…
    The most glaring lie of the shameless Wilson interview is his description of the Joanna Cherry-Angus Robertson contention for the Edinburgh central seat as just a normal inter party dispute…
    In fact, the rules were changed to shut out Joanna Cherry, to keep her out the picture, something which is manifestly unfair and deeply worrying.
    The SNP leadership now no longer even pretend to play fair.
    Andrew Wilson is a liar.
    Those who stubbornly refuse to contemplate the idea that Salmond may indeed have been set up – to some extent or other, to some degree or other, the pudding overegged as opposed to completely fabricated – really need to ask themselves some questions…
    What can we do about this situation? We need to do something…

    1. MacNaughton says:

      PS: Only in Scotlandshire could the independence leadership actually sell out the mass movement BEFORE independence has been achieved… …but that is what is happening before our very eyes…

      They’re meant to wait and promise us a fantastic shiny new country which does everything so much better than the UK with full powers and then, come the post indie negotiations, sell us out to the despicable UK govt… but they’ve jumped the gun, they’ve got ahead of events and sold us out before anything has actually even happened…!!!

      Wilson’s position on currency and other major matters I think we can broadly take to be the same as Nicola Sturgeon’s and the anorak lurking in the shadows, Murrell who even went so far as to declare something in public the other week….

      It has to be pointed out that the history of Scotland at crucial moments is the history of the betrayal of the Scottish people by the anglo-influenced elite.

      William Wallace was betrayed for English gold as we all know, the Marquis of Queensberry liberally sprinkled English bribes around the Scottish parliament to ensure the Union of 1707 was passed, and it was a Scottish MP who insisted on the amendment which called for more than just a simple majority back at the 79 Home Rule Bill in Westmintser…

      I do not believe this SNP leadership has any real interest in a fully independent and sovereign Scottish Nation State…

  25. Axel P Kulit says:

    Politically a bland business as usual Growth Commission report may have been needed to avoid scaring those with power and money. It does not follow it will be what happens after independence.

    We need input from NO voters as well as YES voters but people like Darling and Brown should only be there as symbols of reconciliation, after all if present trends continue NO voters will be a minority and should be in a minority in the negotiating team. . It is if course possible, but unlikely, that they will be fierce opponents of England in the negotiations rather than trying to water down and wreck independence.

    1. MacNaughton says:

      What? Brown and Darling “symbols of reconciliation” ? They’d sell their grannies for money and power!!!

      They’re not so.much the big beasts of Labour today,more like the old dinosaurs bones of the Labour of yesteryear.

      You read that story the other day about a dinosaur they just discovered with no teeth which existed by sucking alone? Well, that’s what Brown and Darling are like.

      Whatever we do, we keep those two out of it…

  26. James Addison says:

    It would be,in my opinion,impossible to invite either Darling or Brown participate in policy making.They have , by their own broken vows and fear mongering ,put themselves beyond the trust of the overwhelming majority of Scotland’s citizens.

  27. devine says:

    Keeping fighting the good fight Bella- Mike you’re a wave of sanity in the sea of chaos that is UK public life- fantastic article.

  28. Gus McFadzen says:

    Absolutely Mike.

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