Swinney, Forbes and what comes next

“You know, this is the same garbage from last week’s game. I’m starting to recognize things.”

The Odd Couple, Neil Simon

IT was, shall we say, a study in contrasts. This is what normally happens when Scotland is posed against the outside world of which it is only nominally a part.

As the short, sad, strange saga of Humza Yousaf’s fall from power played out, hastily followed by the coronation of John Swinney as SNP leader and Scotland’s seventh first minister, a different story was unfolding in the United States. Faced with a terrifying nationwide outbreak of young people sitting down, American police – famous for their restraint – were steadily dispatched to demonstrate that opposition to genocide merits nothing less than truncheons and rubber bullets.

Amidst the ensuing arrests and assaults, there was no shortage of prominent and respectable voices eager to explain why this unfortunate reaction was entirely necessary, justified and negligible compared to the terroristic violence of pitching some tents and suggesting that the ongoing eradication of Gaza and its people is not a Good Thing. 

The student protestors who comprised the pro-Palestinian encampments have responded to both the boots upon their necks and those who prefer to attack them from a more cowardly distance with astonishing courage, articulacy and defiance. They have been threatened with the loss of their education, their future employment, their liberty and worse, been condemned by everyone from their university administration to the White House itself, and have pretty much shrugged it off. They know what they stand for, they know what they are demanding, and they have so far refused to budge, whether physically or in principle. That is power.

Meanwhile, in Scotland, John Swinney talked about compromise.

Given this context, you may understand why some of us found it difficult to get invested in the latest spasming sideshow of our national politics. Like a not-insignificant swathe of the independence movement these days, you need to pay me to care about the SNP (which reminds me, Mike – non-sequential bills, please). As the journalist Jamie Maxwell noted in Jacobin recently, “the fight for Scottish sovereignty has, for the time being, been lost”, and the tragicomic travails of the party that was meant to be its vehicle now matter only because of the harm that could be done as it attempts to course-correct.

Somehow, Forbes returned

In his inaugural speech to Holyrood, we were treated to the spectacle of John Swinney – arguably one of Scotland’s most prosaic politicians, who is as likely to be mistaken for a platypus as a Marxist – quoting the legendary communist poet Hamish Henderson. For all the cognitive dissonance, this was hardly unprecedented (I once watched Nicola Sturgeon crib a line from Raymond Williams, which took some nerve) and perhaps even grimly appropriate: the SNP, resolutely un-radical in policy and temperament, nevertheless seeks to bring about the break-up of Britain, the most radical constitutional position imaginable. To square this circle, what else can be done but fall back on borrowed rhetoric?

Recognising that his will be a minority government, Swinney emphasised his desire to “reach out to others to make things happen”, bemoaning how “intensely polarised” our parliament had become. He stood before the chamber a changed man, he proclaimed, and vowed to leave adversarial politics behind him. It will be interesting to see if his opponents extend him the same courtesy – one does not bring a renewed commitment to collaboration to a gunfight.

Performative proof of this apparent eagerness to come together and heal division came, of course, in the form of Kate Forbes. The politician who a noisome minority hoped would finally repudiate the legacy of Nicola Sturgeon and the hazily defined progressivism they associate with it now stands as deputy to a first minister widely perceived as symbolising continuity with Sturgeon’s regime. How did this come to this?

When Forbes confirmed that she would not be standing for leader, the reaction from her praetorian guard of media boosters could roughly be divided by foresight (and possibly blood pressure). Having been deprived once again of the Forbes-led SNP they had lovingly constructed in their collective mind palace, along with all the vengeful fantasies they imagined it would bring to life, much rending of garments ensued among her more evangelical proponents.

Conversely, others concluded that leadership of the SNP at present may be a poisoned chalice, and that Forbes would be better placed to have another stab at the role in the aftermath of the hammering the SNP is expected to receive in the upcoming general election. This, her more pragmatic sycophants comforted themselves, was not a disappointment so much as a triumph delayed.

Anyone clinging to this theory, however, must grapple with the fact that Forbes is now the second-most senior member of John Swinney’s government, and will therefore be linked to anything which takes place under its remit. Forbes may have had successfully dissociated herself from the Sturgeon years – mainly because her supporters were more than happy to help her do it – but that might not be so easy a second time.

Party like it’s 1900    

Until then, the problem facing Forbes is still the problem with Forbes. As became unavoidable during her losing leadership campaign last year, the Free Church of Scotland member is an opponent of trans rights and gay marriage, as well as abortion and having children out of wedlock. Asked after her promotion to deputy first minister if she had “a message directly to the LGBT community in Scotland”, Forbes responded with a string of words that, as many pointed out, in no way answered the question.   

This could be the result of learning from experience – last time Kate Forbes spoke plainly on matters concerning Scotland’s LGBT+ community, an anonymous source within her own campaign team summed it up nicely: “She has fucked it.” 

That such criticism still dogs Forbes remains a source of outrage for Forbes backers, whose never-ending quest continues for the political equivalent of a note from the school nurse: “Dear polity of Scotland – please excuse Kate from accusations of prejudice, due to her religious convictions…” 

It has been argued that some, if not all of Forbes’ views are “a function of her Christianity, not her politics.” Frankly, it doesn’t matter if they’re a function of her kidneys – there is no situation in which putting those views in a position of power is anything less than terrifying, unless you care nothing for the vulnerable and marginalised people they terrify (and make no mistake, there are plenty who do not). Hence, we get the usual rejoinder from Forbes’ volunteer publicists: She may hold these beliefs, we are told, but she will not act on them, so there’s no need to worry. Honest.

If some find this less than convincing, it is because many who welcomed Forbes’ elevation to the second highest office in the land are expecting Forbes to act on her beliefs – so much so that they have barely been able to hide their salivating anticipation. 

Between their delight at her regressive convictions and their consistent claim that anyone who criticises them is engaging in a slanderous witch-hunt, her acolytes must therefore reconcile the irreconcilable: the characterisation of Kate Forbes as a crusading social conservative who would eviscerate the rights of the LGBT+ community and return Scotland to the days when even the swings in the playgrounds would be padlocked on the Sabbath is a) completely untrue, and b) why she’s so great. You can argue she isn’t a reactionary extremist or you can idolise her because she is. You cannot do both.

Besides, Forbes has over the past two weeks revealed herself as a politician capable of reading the political landscape and maximising the benefits for her own career (an awkward reality for those among her supporters who habitually use ‘careerist’ as a four-letter word). Having done so, does Forbes think it wise to disappoint the lunatic fringe who have invested their hopes in her to turn back the insidious tide of Wokeness? Given the common assumption that a deal took place between Swinney and his new deputy, what if anything was demanded or promised in exchange for playing her part in Swinney’s grand pantomime of unity?

Death by compromise

This points to larger problems with Swinney’s apparent desire to win some kind of peace within both party and parliament through compromise. Such a plan ignores the fact that his predecessor’s attempt to do the same – albeit in so clumsy a manner that it virtually qualified as slapstick – ended with his ignominious resignation. One does not need hindsight to know that ejecting the Greens was never going to satisfy the SNP’s right flank or Scotland’s legion of angry potatoes, not only because it gave them a whiff of blood in the water, but because these are people who have no interest in compromise. 

Instead, they demand an apocalyptic denouement to the War on Woke – the humiliation and defenestration of the myriad enemies who have haunted their feverish imaginations for years, from those who practice the dark art of ‘identity politics’ (the definition of which not a single one of its moronic critics actually knows or understands) to the irritatingly young, whose pronouns, hair colour and very existence they take as a personal insult. Those who cleave to such a worldview will never be satisfied until such subversives are barred from power, stripped of influence, and required by law to write a personal letter of apology to JK Rowling.  

This attitude extends beyond what is so often airily dismissed as the ‘culture war’: writing in the Spectator this week, Euan McColm wondered if Swinney’s accession to Bute House would “end the SNP’s war on business?” (Here’s a fun question: if there is such a war, who exactly is winning?) 

Despite his claim that he would not assume the office of first minister as a ‘caretaker’, that is absolutely how Swinney saw his erstwhile role as finance secretary; Scottish business ‘leaders’ – no giggling, please – have, on the other hand, always been quite clear that they would prefer a grovelling supplicant. It is difficult to tend to the Scottish economy like a mindful gardener when it is full of weeds demanding to be watered until you die of thirst. Capital only compromises in the interest of its own survival, and Swinney’s government poses no threat to that whatsoever.

It is because of this that justifiable concerns have emerged over the long delayed, still unrealised implementation of national rent controls. The dragging of feet and repeated failure to convincingly explain why this policy has taken so long to put into action stands foremost among the valid criticisms that can be made of the Greens’ tenure in government; arguably, the Living Rent tenants have done more outside of parliament to get and keep rent controls on the agenda than the Greens have done within it. However, even Living Rent have acknowledged that the Greens’ forced exit leaves the future of rent controls more uncertain than ever. If Swinney’s new administration is to stand with the Scottish people against the currently untrammelled spectre of landlordism, there has been so sign of it so far.

The bare minimum

It is uncontroversial to suggest that the reign of John Swinney as first minister and SNP leader, however long it turns out to be, will be judged according to a pretty low bar. And yet.

Midway through Humza Yousaf’s premiership, Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza and the Palestinian people emerged as the defining political litmus test in the world right now. Despite a tenure in Bute House replete with failures and unforced errors, Yousaf – whose parents-in-law fled Gaza for Scotland in early November last year, after weeks trapped under siege – passed that test as few other politicians in the UK have.

Under his leadership, the SNP established itself as the only major party in the UK (Sinn Fein, of course, do not operate within the UK, but within a regrettably delayed republic) that favours a ceasefire in Gaza without caveat. For his forthright advocacy of Palestinian survival, unremitting racism and Islamophobia was Yousaf’s reward.

I have no idea whether the SNP’s position on Gaza – perhaps the one remaining distinguishing feature of the party compatible with the Left that has not been sacrificed or placed in jeopardy – will stay the same, or if it will be prioritised and vocalised to the same degree. Yet as my attention has drifted between developments in Scotland and the unyielding protests which still rage on American campuses, it occurred to me that holding the line on Gaza would require an SNP which understands…

There are some things that cannot be compromised.



Comments (30)

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  1. Dave Millar says:

    “Midway through Humza Yousaf’s premiership, Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza and the Palestinian people emerged as the defining political litmus test in the world right now. ”

    Really? I’d say climate change. It’s not *quite* as in your face as Gaza (some of the footage coming out of Gaza courtesy of Aljazeera makes you want to weep). The First Minister stooshie is as if you’re looking at an ocean in a force 9 or 10 storm and the Scottish media are going ‘no, ignore that – look at what’s happening in this wee muddy puddle here’.

    Fine article though.

    1. SleepingDog says:

      @Dave Millar, a reasonable point, but you could argue that Israel’s genocide in Gaza is also an ecocide, one that could escalate to global proportions if the Armageddonists get their way/NATO plans come to their final fruition.

  2. George Archibald says:

    Sean Bell’s article is full of anger and insights.
    The anger is justified and the insights welcomed.
    Because my priority is independence for Scotland I will be holding my nose and still be voting SNP.

  3. Dr William Reynolds says:

    Not a very balanced critique of the positive attributes of Swinney and Forbes ,or the concept of inclusiveness in society.Both Swinney and Forbes have good public ratings.During the leadership elections Forbes was the only candidate to suggest that there was a need to explain how independence was essential to everything that was important to voters,such as health,education,environment,cost of living,eradication of poverty and international relations ,and so on.For years,our unionist opponents have suggested that the SNP were so obsessed by independence,that they were ignoring everything else that was important.That argument has never been confronted adequately,and Kate Forbes clearly wants to address that problem.Regarding her religious views,I am also a christian,but I do not agree with all of the views of the Free church.However,if we are interested in an inclusive society,we need to accept everyone,including those that we do not agree with.Kate Forbes understand and accepts that.For me independence is the only thing that matters just now.Without it,we can deliver very little.This there is a need for all elements of the independence movement to support each other,and to offer creative ideas about how to progress.

  4. Niemand says:

    It is pretty clear from reading this article who the ‘lunatic fringe’ is, and it ain’t who is cited. Try looking in the mirror.

  5. SleepingDog says:

    There is no such thing as the ‘LGBT+ community’ just as there is no such thing as the Christian community, the Black community, the autistic Community, in Scotland or I suspect anywhere. The invention of this political confection is attributed by Huw Lemmey and Ben Miller to Harry Hay. It’s purpose is usually to create the illusion of a false commonality, occasionally with a progressive spin, to give illusory popular heft to any chosen policy position.

    The more dangerous aspect of Forbes’ Christian ideology to the biosphere is the belief (espoused by a guest speaker of her Church, if I remember) that complex human-caused problems like anthropogenic climate change can be addressed effectively by prayer (among some other tepid actions). Assuming she isn’t fervently praying for Armageddon itself from the God of Genocides, Ecocides and Torturing-Unbelievers-for-Eternity, the Apex Terrorist in the Sky.

    I find it odd that Bella talks of a post-truth society then so quickly switches gears to highlight how untruthfilled the pre-post-truth society was, with its dominant superstitions and anti-science (forms ever evolving, apparently).

  6. John Learmonth says:

    The author is deluding himself if he believes the US campus protests are ‘peaceful’. Jewish students been targeted and told to stay off campus at Columbia University in Brooklyn. Maybe the Jewish students should do an ‘Anne Frank’ and stay in the attic until these ‘peaceful”protests have subsided.
    No time for Kate Forbes but her opinions are no different, in fact far less extreme, than Muslim opinion. Would the author dare to condemn the Muslim voice as ‘reactionary’? Its far easier to target a Christian as the author knows he’s taking no risks, criticise Islam though……..

    1. John says:

      As far as I am aware the students (& lecturers) at Columbia were protesting to get their University to divest from Israel while war in Gaza goes on. The only violence on show was when counter protesters (vigilantes) opposing protesters were allowed to attack protesters and when police cleared protesters.
      I did not read any validated reports of antisemitism- anti Israel probably but being against current hard right wing Israeli government does not equate to being an antisemite. Many pro Israel activists try to conflate the two together as they also cannot understand why the majority of people in Scotland and UK deplore violence against innocent civilians regardless of whether they are Israeli festival goers or women, children and others in Gaza.

  7. Jimmy Black says:

    As I understand it Kate Forbes chooses to live her life according to her Free Church principles, but is not planning to impose them on anyone else. I support her because she seems competent and understands business. From what you’ve written here, I think you’re more of a Robert Wringhim than she is.

    1. R. Eric Swanepoel says:

      She absolutely does NOT understand business (unless you mean by that that she supports its destruction of society and the biosphere). She is a convinced neoliberal who supports freeports, and she will worsen the situation described in this Herald article and widen inequality, increasing the power and influence of the super-rich and further draining Scotland’s already depleted wealth.


      Extract: ‘Since devolution, the nation has had a total net wealth loss of £266.350bn much of which comes in the form of profits and dividends to companies and shareholders abroad and elsewhere in the UK. Just over 50% of that went overseas with the rest going to the rest of the UK.’

      Once you have read this Herald article, I suggest you read Joseph Stiglitz’s ‘
      People, Power and Profits: Progressive Capitalism for an Age of Discontent’ and this book – https://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2018/02/04/review-of-23-things-they-dont-tell-you-about-capitalism/ – and then come back and tell me if you still think she understands business.

  8. SFTB says:


    “would finally repudiate the legacy of Nicola Sturgeon and the hazily defined progressivism they associate with it ”

    There never was any progressivism, neither under Alex or Nicola; it’s only ever been about the proclamation of an “Independence” where sovereignty would immediately be diluted with fellow Europeans who some find more acceptable than fellow Welshfolk and, particularly, Englishfolk. It can’t have taken you this long for the chimera of a left wing SNP to disappear. Kate Forbes did not and will not kill it. Her religion is as irrelevant as Humza’s.

    The “Independence” movement only gets my vote when it publishes realistic economic forecasts, details our monetary future and has a plan t prevent the mass emigration that all recent Nation States have suffered. Until then, following up the damage done by Brexit, then Covid, then Liz Truss by a costly divorce settlement with the UK and a dowry to be paid to the EU, just looks like a lot of outlay for a flag and Customs Pst in return.

    1. John says:

      You cannot say there was no progressive policies under SNP – 2 child benefits cap abolished etc. Not as progressive as some would like maybe?
      Independence diluted by being in EU – maybe in your personal opinion but majority of electorate in Scotland voted to remain in EU. Current polls suggest 75% of Scots want to be in EU whereas approximately 50% wish to remain in UK. Ultimately it will be up for Scots to decide and I for one am happy with that.
      I have lived in Wales & England in last 20 years and have friends in both countries. I can assure you my friendships are not so weak that it will be effected by Scotland becoming independent. This is an emotional blackmail argument not so different from a dad telling an offspring not to leave home because it will upset their siblings- in short it is nonsense. There are plenty Welsh folk who would like to be independent as well in case you were not aware.
      You do have a point about people being cautious about short term implications of more change and this is an area where SNP government showing more economic competence would help alleviate such concerns. The currency issue also needs to be put to bed with all options being evaluated. It is ironic that you quote the unsettling effect of Truss & Brexit on making people in Scotland more cautious of change when electorate of Scotland rejected both but had them foisted on them.
      The emigration issue has bedevilled Scotland’s development for 2 centuries but strangely this phenomenon has only been reversed in last few years since Scotland had a parliament of its own.
      Lastly Scotland has greater resources and a better educated population than many countries who have become independent and I have no doubt that freeing ourselves from Westminster to make decisions that are decided by what is best for population in Scotland can only be to the benefit the vast majority of Scots.

      1. SFTB says:

        John- it isn’t an opinion- it is a fact. You dilute whatever imaginary “sovereignty” you have in a Nation State, when you merge it with a bigger polity. That is true, and accepted by SNP supporters, in regards to membership of the UK. But it’s even more true of the EU- which is a much larger polity and therefore a greater dilution.

        I accept it is a much more popular option and, actually, one I am in favour of if re-entry terms are generous enough but it is a dilution. The idea that you need more “Sovereignty” leads you inevitably to Independence of Glasgow from Scotland, Independence for Castlemilk from Glasgow and independence for my street etc; The idea of making it some geographical version of Scotland from the 12th to 17th century is Nationalism, nothing else.

        1. John says:

          You are getting all wound up over something I never even said.
          I have always regarded Scotland as the country I primarily identify myself with as do majority of people living in Scotland. I have however only fully supported independence since 2016 and I regard independence from Westminster as primarily an issue about democracy in Scotland rather than a sovereignty issue.
          We live in an increasingly interconnected world these days and the reality is that issues of sovereignty are of decreasing importance despite what Brexiteers and some supporters of independence may say.

  9. Meg Macleod says:

    …how can kate withe free church principles balance her conscience if she is to represent every persons interests in her new position of power
    A perfect 3 dimensional oxymoron

    1. Niemand says:

      It’s a good question but you could invert it – how could someone with strongly progressive views represent the very conservative?

      Call me naive, but it is possible for politicians, for whom it is their job, to represent their constituents in an objective manner.

    2. Wul says:

      Isn’t this a very basic and essential task for anyone in public service?

      I once worked for a local authority and had to treat paedophiles, drug dealers, child abusers and fundamental-Christian foster carers with the same respect, care, diligence and regard to their rights as I afforded vulnerable children with disabilities or any other member of the public.

      Some of the activities and attitudes of our “clients” I found personally repulsive and against all my own values. However, it was a very straightforward matter to deliver the job according to my employers set of values, procedures and the law of the land.

      I also worked with a few Christian & Muslim colleagues who were very able to do their job by the book and set aside their own personal religeous beliefs.

      Everyone in public service does this day in, day out. It ain’t rocket science.

  10. Alex McCulloch says:

    How desperately sad that Bella ,has descended to this discourse….

    I understand that it is a media , a business, a livelihood but I believed most people came here because they had the energy and conviction to contribute to a path to Independence

    To bitch internally is so far from what is required to be almost unbelievable….in fact to be an asset to the Unionist campaign !

    No compromise , No Independence

    No empathy , No progress

    Ironic then that the American students can still respect there diversity but stand together on their key objective

    1. What is ‘this discourse’ Alex?

    2. Wul says:

      You do get that Bella is a platform for opinion and not a single ideological world-view? Any media worth it’s salt will introduce you to opinion and writers you may agree or disagree with.

      If you disagree with an opinion piece, then make comments that evidence a different viewpoint. That makes for more interesting reading and an exchange of ideas.

      1. Wul says:

        My comment above was @Alex

  11. Wul says:

    I’m fed up with all this pish. I’m starting to feel that if we can’t have independence, then lets at least have a fight with Westminster.

    Maybe that wouldn’t be “fair” on all the “happy to be in the UK” Scots who deserve a government that reflects their concerns too? I don’t know.

    Are there examples of any other countries where the pro-independence party ran the country for nearly two decades, but got no closer to autonomy?

    1. Niemand says:

      It is the fundamental problem that is getting more and more acute. The limbo world cannot carry on without a grave destructive capacity.

      Not enough support independence for it to happen but enough do to keep it on the table, seemingly indefinitely, and to date, just enough to keep voting in a party that stands for independence but not to achieve it but to carry on talking about it and to use its lack as a explanation for all ills. The circularity is startling. It is a perfect recipe for a useless stasis powered by impotent rage and bitterness.

      ‘Westminster’ is relatively unaffected by this limbo, whereas Scotland suffers more and more and gets more dysfunctional and, as articles like this illustrate, more extreme, more mad and more self-destructive, the movement eating itself in paroxysms of hatred.

      Could it be we need some genuinely grown up understanding of this dynamic and how bad it is?

      1. John says:

        If the UK was a more enlightened country it would try to help resolve this impasse by giving Scottish government more powers including Full Fiscal Autonomy. Advocating such could be a real vote winner for a party in Scotland.
        Unfortunately since 2014 (especially 2016) Westminster has become more interfering and hostile to devolved administrations as they feel threatened post independence and Brexit referendums. History shows us that UK has rarely been enlightened in its approach to countries seeking more power so this response should surprise no one.
        In addition the SNP governments have not recognised this situation, forgotten that they need to build popular support by focusing on competence and policies that benefit the majority of Scots and therefore failed to build support for independence further and lost support for party.
        Support for independence is strongest amongst younger demographics so the desire for independence is not going away.
        Neil Ascherson recently wrote that circumstances will arise in future which will lead to the possibility of independence becoming a reality. When this happens the independence movement (including SNP) need to make sure they are in a position to take full advantage of any opportunities.

        1. Niemand says:

          I agree with most of that John and you are right, Westminster could have shown much more understanding and care of the situation. Mind you devomax-stylee is mostly met with a customary spit on the ground by many independence supporters despite the logic of it given the situation. Could a Labour government be persuaded in that direction? I think they could as some of them have suggested it themselves. Could the independence movement embrace the idea? I don’t know but if it were seen as simply a means by which full independence could later be achieved, it won’t happen. What I mean by grown-up thinking is very much that – a cessation of hostilities as it were and genuine attempt to find a political solution short of independence without the spectre of that solution merely being a stepping stone (in the medium term anyway).

          I am less convinced by the demographics as people age and get less sure of their youthful convictions. Holding out for the future youth vote can seem like a chasing rainbow argument and at the end of the day you have deal with the here and now.

          1. SleepingDog says:

            @Niemand, diplomatic, foreign and military matters are reserved under royal prerogative, and in no way are amenable under ‘devo-max’. Which is, to say, rather the point of ‘devo-max’. And indeed, under the royalist SNP (the Irish independence movement understood this a century ago).

          2. SleepingDog says:

            @Niemand, oh, and its Conservative Labour (not New Labour) which is as expressive in a Scottish accent as Royalist SNP. Use both at your discretion.

          3. Niemand says:

            Yes you are right but that is kind of my point in responding to John: even ‘maximum’ devolution is not independence, by definition. Maybe John was thinking of a different arrangement that gave full fiscal autonomy but I suspect that would not include diplomatic, foreign and military matters. The speculation is about greater autonomy in the face of the independence impasse.

            I agree about Labour but I still think there is more leeway there than with the actual Conservatives.

          4. John says:

            I should have added that FFA basically means all revenues raised in Scotland should be spent in Scotland though there would have to be some arrangements around the edges.
            What powers would devomax mean – the default would be all the powers that the electorate in Scotland (as expressed by by Scottish parliament) wanted not those Westminster wanted.
            I see no reason why supporters of independence or the union should reconcile their political aims under devomax – the whole point is that if this is what majority of electorate in Scotland want then support for parties who promote independence or a more centralised union will decrease.
            Many independence supporters supported devolution in 1997 as an interim measure to independence and similarly this will happen with devomax and I have no objection to this as similarly I have no objection to those in Labour party who supported devolution as a means of halting support for independence in 1997. You should not legislate to dictate what electorate must think you should legislate in response to what electorate wants.
            I would be delighted if Labour were to take this on board but based on their history I doubt they will and I cannot envisage a Conservative and Unionist Party supporting this increase in powers to Scotland. I actually think that devomax would be in line with Home Rule historical support of Liberal Party in Scotland and would give them a rationale as a party other than being a depository for anti-SNP vote in middleclass areas.
            Lastly while it is fair to say that as many people get older they become more cautious (due to immediate financial concerns) and more resistant to social change I do not think this phenomenon particularly refers to support for independence. The demographic differences are more related to feeling British which has decreased in Scotland due to distance from 1945, loss of nationalised industries, dilution of all encompassing welfare state and increasing role of devolved parliaments.

  12. Peter hill says:

    “Sinn fein don’t operate in the UK” I imagine Michele O’Neal may disagree with that . that’s a childish error . It pretty much sums up the negative bile this article consists of …. Dear me bellacalidonia should be ashamed of it .

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