Nice one, Pete! Putting a reference to Braveheart right at the top of your article was a stroke of genius. Braveheart is a trigger word for British Nationalists. They are pathologically obsessive about Mel Gibson’s kilt and claymore account of a mild-mannered minor Scottish nobleman turned blue-faced, bare-arsed freedum-fighter who, having out-thought and out-fought the Englander enemy, was betrayed by his ain folk and totally went to pieces over it. Unionists were bound to latch onto this cinematic allusion and be distracted from the vague, vacuous and vacillating drivel that follows.
I like Pete Wishart. He is a superb MP. He has served his constituency and his country admirably over many years at Westminster. As Chair of the Scottish Affairs Select Committee he has proved an embarrassment to most of his predecessors in that role. His work-rate is phenomenal. He is a credit to his party. He’s one of the good guys. But this article is almost a definitive statement of the very attitudes and thinking which the SNP and the Yes movement must eschew if Scotland is to be saved.
I say this, not to give offence – although I accept that offence may be taken, possibly by Pete Wishart himself and all but certainly by others on his behalf. I say it because my dedication to the cause of restoring Scotland’s independence is at least as strong as his. It would be remiss of me to be reticent out of respect for one individual when such a cause is at stake. To remain silent, even for friendship’s sake, in the face of what I can only regard as dangerous folly would be to betray the cause to which we both are committed.
- Pete Wishart’s article deals with three main topics. The scheduling of a new independence referendum, and the timing of a formal declaration by the Scottish Government of its intention to hold such a referendum.
- The relevance of Brexit to these questions of scheduling and timing.
- The form, manner and conduct of the campaign to first secure and then achieve a Yes vote in a new independence referendum.
In each of these areas I find Pete Wishart’s analysis to be shallow, his conclusions indecisive, his ideas unimaginative and his general approach cautious almost to the point of paralysis. I know it’s only a short newspaper article. But if the intention was to give an impression of his thinking in relation to the core political issue of our time then, with every gram of goodwill I can muster, I cannot do otherwise than conclude that his thinking is woefully inadequate.
On the matter of when the new referendum should be announced and then held, Pete Wishart would have us wait until we can be “certain of victory”. He would have us put off the campaign until the campaign has been won. We should wait and see. We should make ourselves slave to the polls. We should be dictated to by events.
I genuinely don’t understand this. We don’t campaign because the polls have moved in our favour. We campaign in order to move them. We don’t campaign because public attitudes have changed. We campaign in order to change them. We don’t wait for the conditions to be right. We make them right.
If there is a point at which conditions are right for a new referendum, Pete Wishart declines to define it for us. He leaves such definition to indeterminate developments and unknown circumstances.
But what of developments which have already happened, or are in train now? What of the circumstances which already exist, or can be foreseen with a high degree of confidence? Where is their influence on Pete Wishart’s thinking? If developments in the relationship between the UK and Scottish governments since 2014 do not have a definitive effect on thinking about the need for a new referendum, then what might?
What future developments might give adequate grounds if all the broken promises and exposed lies and imposition of execrable policies and casual disrespect of the last 40 grim months is to be borne without protest? What is it going to take before Pete Wishart is prepared to say enough?
The ‘Parable of Stirling Bridge’ with which Pete Wishart opens his article has a superficial veneer of wisdom to it. It sounds very plausible to say that we should “hold” until the right moment. But this is no more than superficially plausible unless we are told precisely how close the enemy must be before we unleash our weaponry. And it makes absolutely no sense at all if the enemy is already upon is.
What are the circumstances in which Pete Wishart would consider the time ripe for making our move? We are none the wiser on that score for knowing his thoughts on the matter. To the extent that he chooses to reveal them, his thoughts appear to be that there is some mystical alignment of polling results and public mood which somehow allows us to know that the moment has arrived. Or rather that it will arrive. Because the “optimum time” is something that must be foreseen well in advance.
But what circumstances could be more propitious than those which have already been created by the British government? What circumstances could better suit the independence campaign than those which the British political elite is in the process of creating? We are already in a situation where Scotland is politically and economically disadvantaged by the Union. That situation isn’t going to get any better. It’s neither paranoia nor fear-mongering nor resort to the politics of grievance to state that things are going to get a great deal worse. The British political elite is telling us this every single day.
The process of delegitimising and bypassing our democratic institutions and elected representatives is already well advanced. It is not surreptitious. It is brazenly overt. The effort to undermine public confidence in our services and our infrastructure and our capacities is so ubiquitous and relentless as to have become a commonplace of daily life. Part of the prevailing circumstances.
This isn’t happening for no reason. There is a purpose. And we cannot afford to be so naïve as to assume benign intent on the part of a British state whose imperatives include preventing the exercise of our democratic right of self-determination and locking Scotland into a political union on terms that are no more subject to meaningful consultation or negotiation involving the Scottish Government than the Brexit process. We have to take a realistic view of where all this delegitimising and undermining takes us.
These are the circumstances that pertain right now. We can be as sure as we need to be what those circumstances will become if we do nothing to alter the course of events. We don’t have to wait and see. The time to “hold” is already past. Now is certainly the day! Even if now isn’t quite yet the hour.
Then there is Brexit. And if we take Pete Wishart’s advice, more holding. He acknowledges the inevitable economic impact of Scotland being dragged out of the EU despite voting decisively to remain. He acknowledges that we’re “doomed”. Unless we take to the lifeboats. Pete Wishart deploys the metaphor of a stricken ocean liner. If you think of it that way, taking to the lifeboats is perhaps a convenient option. I prefer the analogy of a tall building.
When someone is threatening to push you off the top of a tall building you firstly don’t want to suppose that they might not do it. You’re now standing right on the edge of the roof; the precipice only millimetres away; your assailant advancing towards you with a mad gleam in their eye and arms outstretched, screaming their murderous intent. You should be naturally disinclined to pin your hopes on them changing their mind.
Nor need you reflect long and hard on the potential consequences of that final shove. When somebody pushes you off the top of a tall building, you don’t have to wait until you hit the pavement to know that it isn’t going to end well. There may be time for a last desperate hope of a parachute. Or the miracle of flight. Maybe even a lifeboat. But your fate is sealed. Having been pushed off that building you are doomed – with a capital ‘F’!
Pete Wishart’s assessment of the situation lacks the appropriate sense of urgency. Perhaps it might if he took any account of the constitutional, as well as the economic, implications of Brexit. Think of it as a precedent. The true relevance of Brexit to the independence campaign is not that it promises to be economically ruinous, but that it represents probably the most extreme illustration to date of the asymmetry of power – or democratic deficit – which is one of the fatal flaws at the heart of the Union. Along with the denial of popular sovereignty it is this inherent, systemic subordination of the needs, priorities and aspirations of Scotland’s people which makes the Union untenable.
But Pete Wishart seems not to consider this constitutional dimension. His analysis focuses almost entirely on the economic aspect of Brexit. Eventually, people will feel the impact. Eventually they will hit the pavement. What use will a lifeboat be then?
There is no Brexit ‘deal’ which negates Scotland’s Remain vote. There is no Brexit ‘deal’ which is not an insult to Scotland. There is no Brexit ‘deal’ which can possibly compensate Scotland for the harm done by Brexit.
I don’t want to hear reassurances from SNP politicians that it may not happen, and even if it does it may not be so bad, and even if it is we may have a way out. I want to hear our elected representatives sounding angry and indignant about what is being done to Scotland. I want to hear them talking openly about the real and imminent threat to Scotland’s democracy and distinctive political culture from rampant ‘One Nation’ British Nationalism.
I want them to stop talking about Brexit as if it is the disease rather than merely a symptom of a cancer right at the heart of our constitutional arrangements. I want to hear them tell us of their determination to cut out the malignancy that is the Union. I want to hear their ideas about how we might cure this increasing unbearable affliction.
I don’t want to be placated with stories of how wonderful everything will be once the cancer of the Union is gone. I want to hear them come up with some convincing ideas about how we get rid of it.
I’m not getting any of that from Pete Wishart.
He asks the question, “How do we then get over the line and win?”. But his answer takes us absolutely nowhere.
I don’t believe that it is in simply offering the same perspective that lost us the last referendum. We need a new independence offering that reflects the Scotland we now live in and takes into account the new political environment that we inhabit. Most importantly it needs to be sufficiently persuasive to win over that section of our population that have hitherto been unconvinced.
This makes no more sense than talk of an “early referendum”. What constitutes “early”? Relative to what? What are the rules governing the interval between referendums? Who made these rules?
Was it our “perspective” that lost us the first referendum? What was it about that perspective which put people off? We need to be told.
What would a “new independence offering” look like? What could possibly be new about independence? How many different kinds of independence are there? This is not explained.
What might constitute “sufficiently persuasive”? What is the form of words which is going to induce an epiphany in “that section of our population that have [sic] hitherto been unconvinced”? Is such a form of words even possible? If it is, why has the entire Yes movement failed to find it? No answers.
Pete Wishart acknowledges that “offering the same prospectus, with the same arguments, is likely to produce the same result”. So don’t! Accept instead that there is no new way of presenting independence that is going to persuade those who aren’t listening because they’ve already decided that independence isn’t happening. Accept that we’ve already won over everybody who can be won over by the positive arguments.
Accept that we have already harvested the aspirational Yes vote. The only fertile ground left lies just to the No side of Yesland but well short of the desert of ideological British Nationalism. It is in that ground that we must now plant our seeds. And they must be the seeds of doubt.
Doubt was what Project Fear was all about. What gave the anti-independence campaign its strength was its capacity for generating doubt. Better Together was remarkably successful in creating an atmosphere of uncertainty even where none was warranted. Especially where none was warranted! Their strategy was to play on the fear of change. To exploit the insecurity that is a characteristic of the prevailing economic orthodoxy. To take the normal vagaries of life and exaggerate them until, however little actual substance they possessed, they took on the appearance of monstrous catastrophes awaiting those who dared challenge the established order.
They did this in various ways. And, of course, the anti-independence campaign enjoyed the support and assistance of shamefully compliant and docile mainstream media. This was essential, as the creation of doubt required that everything the Yes side did was constantly and repeatedly questioned while nothing the No side said or did was ever subject to any meaningful scrutiny. Uncertainty is relative. Simply by questioning one side more than the other, the side being subject to greater questioning seems to have the most uncertainty associated with it.
If we want to win, we should look to the 2014 winners for lessons. We didn’t lose because there was something deficient or defective about the Yes message. We lost because they were better at frightening people than we were at inspiring people.
We have to accept that fear will tend to outweigh inspiration. Frightening people is relatively easy. Inspiring them is seriously hard.
Not that we want to emulate Project Fear. We don’t have to. We can instil in accessible minds an uncertainty about the assumed merits of the Union simply be telling the truth. Pretty much everybody who moved from No to Yes in the past started that journey by questioning their assumptions about the Union. The positive arguments of the Yes campaign had to be there in order for them to have somewhere to go when they let go of the status quo. But it was the letting go that was crucial.
The new Yes campaign must utilise this process in reverse. We need to change the emphasis of our narrative from one of heading towards a better future to one of breaking away from the past. We need to talk a bit less about the new age we hope to enter and considerably more about the existing mire from which we must extricate ourselves.
We don’t need a new independence campaign. We need an anti-Union campaign like we’ve never had.
That is the fresh thinking we require. That is the new approach we need. A more aggressive and proactive approach. In terms of the practical measures and methods we must adopt, we would do well to take what we can from the tactics that worked for Better Together/Project Fear. There is not space here to go into detail but by way of illustration, we might look to the fact that the No side had a message which was clear, concise and consistent. It may, when unwrapped, have been intellectually bereft; devoid of any substance or worth; riddled with contradictions and inconsistencies and contaminated by duplicity, deceit and dishonesty but. in its short form, it was always and everywhere the same short, sharp message.
By contrast, there were as many definitions of Yes as there were people asked to define it. The fundamental constitutional issue came to be lost in a welter of policy positions. People couldn’t see the question for the options.
While discussion of being independent has its place, that place is alongside the actual independence campaign. It cannot be the campaign. It is too diffuse and amorphous. If we are to break Scotland out of the Union, we need something hard and heavy and with a sharp point. We need some of that weaponry Wallace unleashed at Stirling Bridge. We need to be preparing that weaponry now. But we first of all need the leaders and influencers in the Yes movement to acknowledge that these are the kind of weapons we require.
I find in Pete Wishart’s article no such acknowledgement. His thinking appears to be that, faced with the formidable might of the British state, we need only fluff up the pillows we took to the last sword-fight.
I find no sense that the day of battle is already upon us, and that only the precise hour remains to be decided.
I find no evident awareness of the urgency of our fight. No recognition that, while Pete Wishart pores over polls and strives to read the public mood from the portents and urges ever more and ever ‘wider’ debate about this and that and this again, the British political elite is not idle. It is mustering its forces. it is conducting its intrigues. It is pursuing its agenda and its aims.
We know what is intended for Scotland. We know that the British government’s plans for our future will start to take solid form towards the end of this year. We know that Brexit is merely an opportunity and a means by which those plans can be taken forward. We know that, if it wasn’t Brexit, it would be something else. We know that if it isn’t Brexit then it certainly will be something else.
We know that the British establishment is absolutely determined to preserve the structures of power, privilege and patronage which define the British state and which advantage the few at the expense of the many.
We know all we need to know. If we don’t want to remain enmeshed in these structures; if we don’t want to be ensnared by the ‘One Nation’ British Nationalist project; If we want to do things differently, we must act before it is too late. We cannot be deterred by fear of losing. Because failure to act would bring about the same outcome, but make it even more unbearable.
We need a new independence referendum no later than September 2018. We need to conduct the Yes campaign on the basis that it is a fight to save Scotland. We need solidarity, focus and discipline. Because the front of battle lours.
This article has been lightly edited to correct minor errors and conform to new format and style.
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35 thoughts on “Breakout!”
Agree on every point. Thank Christ somebody has challenged that mish mash of an article, coming from one of our own MPs it certainly has not lifted the spirits of the YES side..More Questions than answers were all that was on offer. NOT good enough at this stage..
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Pete brilliant mate you have captured my feelings, lately I as an SNP member was feeling that Nicola and the SNP weren’t really wanting another indi ref and that gaining just a few crumbs more from the power mad English parliament will be enough. I didn’t vote for the SNP or join them for the dithering over this and that also ignoring the yes voters the same voters who put them in power in Scotland.
Don’t equate Pete Wishart with the SNP leadership. Listen carefully to everything Nicola Sturgeon has been saying over the past 18 months or so and you will hear her calling for a massive display of public demand for a new referendum. I know she already has a mandate. But, considering what she’s up against, that mandate has to be reinforced in every way possible.
I’ve read Mr Wishart’s piece and your own in quick succession. I understand why you would feel frustration at his apparent reticence to pick up his spear. But I also see a lot of common ground, as you might expect from two stalwarts of the independence movement.
If you believe Pete’s article shows him to be shallow, indecisive, and unimaginative, I suggest you consider that a large swathe of the population of Scotland suffers the same malaise. If everyone in Scotland recognised what you, I, and many others take for granted – incompetent UK government, malicious unionist agenda, biased Scottish media, etc – we would have had independence in 2014.
But sadly this is not the case. I meet people every day who would never think of themselves as unionists, but who would not support independence. They lack the drive which comes from being aggrieved by the status quo. Many are simply disinterested in anything that smells of politics. Preaching independence to them is akin to standing with an “End of the world is nigh” washboard and a megaphone on the street corner. It doesn’t convert those who have no wish to be converted, even though they may not consider themselves atheists.
I believe this is where Pete is viewing matters and I’m afraid he might be right. We need to invigorate the agnostics with a campaign which opens their eyes. Only once they have become enlightened should we ask them to vote on it. If we fail to enlighten the masses, we will get the same result. I agree polls can be deceptive, but I would be unable to stomach another referendum loss, especially if it kills the entire movement for a(nother) generation.
We should be wary of basing our perspective within our echo chambers. It’s easy to assume the desire for change is greater than it really is if we surround ourselves with like-minded individuals. I suspect Pete has a richer perspective, especially with a slim majority in his own patch. You do a fantastic job of increasing awareness among those who may be unable to articulate matters to the same degree. But your words are spoken in a vacuum to those who are outside the movement.
We need to focus on educating the electorate. But they are a stubborn class who do not regard comprehension of the subject matter to be of benefit to their future grades. We need new ways to teach them in order to achieve results. And we certainly don’t want to force them to sit an exam they don’t want to sit.
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Persuasive as it may seem, Chas, there’s something missing from your analysis. The same thing that’s missing from Pete Wishart’s. A sense of urgency. Whatever Louis Armstrong may say, we do not have all the time in the world. While it would be great to be able to wait for the optimum moment (although how you’d know it was the optimum moment is a mystery) we can’t. While it would doubtless be a fine thing to embark on a massive program of education, we simply don’t have time.
If we have not settled the constitutional question within a year, then the entire terrain upon which the independence battle is being fought will have altered. And not in ways that favour the Yes side.
It isn’t only about what we do. We have to be aware of moves being made on the other side. When, for example, David Mundell talks of ‘UK-wide common frameworks’, we cannot afford to dismiss this as mere political jargon. We have to consider what it means. We have to assume the worst. We have to proceed on the basis that he is talking about an entirely new structure; set up initially to take on powers repatriated from the EU, but capable also of taking powers removed from the Scottish Parliament. And if they can weaken the Scottish Parliament then we have to assume that they will
It’ll start with things like agriculture and fisheries. The argument will be that this needs to be dealt with on a UK-wide basis. The Scottish part of it will be handed to the Scotland Office on the grounds that this will better facilitate coordination of policy with the UK Government. They will claim that it’s not really taking powers away from Scotland because the powers are going to the Scotland Office. And it has the word Scotland in it. So stop being such a ‘grievance-monkey’ and get on with the day job usion the powers you have. you can just hear it, can’t you?
Then it will be argued that, in order to make the ‘UK-wide common framework’ more effective, the Scotland Office needs to have further powers. It will be argued that it makes no sense to have agriculture and fisheries responsibilities split between the Scottish Government and the Scotland Office. So they all have to go to the latter. Because that’s where the ‘common framework’ is. Right? Duh!
Thus begins a process of attrition. With the help of the media, and regardless of the reality, these ‘common frameworks’ will be hailed a stupendous success – at the same time as the Scottish Government is being portrayed as failing at everything it is responsible for. There will be a clamour for more powers to be transferred to the brilliant team at the Scotland Office. Resistance to this process will be portrayed as putting parochial nationalism before the needs of the economy.
At the same time. it will be maintained that the new arrangements need to be secured. There needs to be ‘certainty’. So the ‘threat’ of independence must be eliminated. Legislation will be passed at Westminster prohibiting constitutional referendums. Or introducing a requirement for the approval of both the Commons and the House of Lords. Or stipulating a qualified majority. Or some combination of these and, perhaps, other measures. The ground will have shifted. The possibility of a referendum will have receded almost out of sight. The chances of winning will have diminished to near-zero.
This is not a story about some hypothetical scenario for a remote future. This is actually happening. And it’s happening now. By the end of 2018 the British government will have everything in place to make a new referendum, and/or a Yes win, as close to impossible as makes no practical difference. By October or November the post-Brexit shape of the UK will be settled. It will be a fait accompli.
Of course, given the present UK Government’s record, it’s all but certain that they’ll screw this up in some way. But do we really want to pin all our hopes on their incompetence?
#Referendum2018! This time it’s urgent!
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I don’t disagree with you in the slightest, Peter, on any of your points made above. It frustrates the hell out of me that the population in Scotland is akin to a group of lemmings running headlong for the cliff with their eyes shut. Unpalatable though it may sound, I believe democracy really stinks when it shows itself no better than mob rule – and the mob is being unduly influenced with lies and misdirection.
Your depiction of Mr Wishart et al naval gazing and procrastinating about heading for the lifeboats whilst the ship is sinking is understandable. But if that were the reality understood by the majority of the population I think we’d be seeing protests in the street. The sole point of my initial reply is that the general population don’t have that sense of what’s coming. They are passengers on the Titanic enjoying dinner before the iceberg has been struck. They don’t even have the incentive to get out on deck to see it on the horizon.
Imagine the scene when some well-meaning clairvoyant rushes into the Titanic’s dining room with a pile of life-jackets urging the passengers to take to the lifeboats before the iceberg has even been struck. They would have been dismissed as an inconvenience and arrested by the messenger at arms.
This, sadly, is the situation we are in. We can evangelize as much as we wish, but until we know that support for independence is growing further, we will always be one of the 45. I know from my own anecdotal experience of friends and work-colleagues that support for independence is no further forward than it was in 2014. It’s disheartening in the extreme, but I don’t think it wise to push for another referendum which would kill the movement if we lost. If we can build momentum and support for independence to the point that it is palpable, it will happen.
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You do not disappoint PAB.Excellent.
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An excellent piece again Peter which I agree with wholeheartedly. It would be nice to see more enthusiasm and leadership from the Scottish government on this matter and other similar matters. I would also like to see more challenges from them of the spurious claims and reports from people in power and from mostly TV heavily biased reports against Scotland. There is also the subliminal approach to change minds to accepting English rule by plastering the butcher’s apron all over produce, seemingly regardless of its origins, to the detriment of Scottish produce. This and other such attacks is a factor that needs an official response.
I absolutely agree with everything you have said. An informed or interested voter would respond positively to the obvious narrative. However there is apparently a large unconvinced or disinterested population that are the soft ‘No’ people that we need to convince.
These are hard nuts to crack.
However I do agree witth your argument that we need to focus on the negatives of the Union and what we will lose if we vote No again. It will destroy Scotland and be like Ramsey Bolton playing with Theon Greyjoy in Game of Thrones. It does not bear thinking about.
In short we must get the campaign started NOW even as we wait for the moment to strike the date. Waiting is not an option it merely plays into the Unionists hands as they steadily building their fortress, even if we think they are destroying themselves, in the background they are strengthening.
See my other comments on
We need someone with a head on their shoulders to front the grassroots campaign. I nominate YOU.
Not sure what I ever did to you that you want to stick me with that job. 😉
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Ha ha nice one Peter. But we need someone with passion and intellect to lead from the front. Know anyone else who fits the bill?
I’m honestly not persuaded that the Yes movement needs a ‘leader’. I reckon it works just fine as it is. A figurehead just becomes a target, for the media and for the ‘snipers’ within the Yes movement. Having the entire movement embodied in one person is dangerous. That person only has to get caught eating one spit-roasted baby, and suddenly we’re all cannibals.
The individual that we all need to get behind is Nicola Sturgeon. She’s the one right up there at the sharp end. And,whatever you may have read in the Daily Express, she almost never devours children.
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It’s also obvious that Mayhem is slowly but surely getting painted into a corner by
a) the Good Friday Agreement, and
b) the EU preparing legal text for withdrawal agreement, and
c) terms of transition, and
d) EU requests for UK to state what it wants?
e) internal party squabbling
Something’s got to give and it will be soon I suspect. The Starter will then fire the gun.
The population is not disinterested. They are uninterested.
Well articulated as ever, Mr Bell. A great piece and I sincerely hope Pete Wishart reads it and gets a grip of his knickers. Now is not the tie for ditherers – unless it is all part of some cunning charade to outfox the enemy? Doubtful. I think Pete Wishart has perhaps become too cosy in the corridors of power and would like his tenure there to continue for as long as possible – that’s how it comes across. Get a grip of yourself, Mr Wishart, and get with the programme. If you don’t feel YOU have the skills to win hearts and minds to make Indy happen, then stand aside from the Depute contest for someone who CAN make it happen.
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This is what real leadership looks like, Peter. Thank you from the heart. Inspirational.
I look forward to this very article (or something very like it) appearing in cold print in The National as a very necessary counterpoint to Pete Faintheart’s well-promoted views there. And ASAP.
Excellent piece. Exactly the same thoughts as I have expressed to Pete Wishart on Twitter and in James Kelly’s Blog “Scot goes Pop where he too severely criticises Wishart’s naivety.
“We don’t need a new independence campaign. We need an anti-Union campaign like we’ve never had.”
And I have been doing my bit on that score too. But we need many more to enter the fray on Social Media. We must attack at every opportunity criticisms of Scotland by BBC, ITV, MSM, English MPs, WM Government, Unionist politicians in Scotland and organisations who are anti-Indy. And if we don’t personally attack we must vigorously support those who do.
I for one Peter would love you to take a LEADING role in the YES camp alongside Paul Kavanagh , you and he are decisive , informative , passionate , fiery and honest , you both explain and expose publicly the lies and misinformation espoused by the corrupt BBC , STV and MSM and are astute and adept at ridiculing and berating the woeful unionist twats that impersonate what is laughingly called politicians in Hollyrood. Also and very very important you don’t take shit from anyone , you are combative but not arrogant ( cough) and quite honestly your attitude and determination is what is needed right now to put fire in the belly
Dearie me peter, you are not really very bright are you? certainly not as clever as Pete Wishart, and that’s not a statement I ever thought I would make. Wishart recognises several things but primaraly that if there is indyref2 soon, the answer would still be a resounding *NO*. Now think (if you can) what the repercussions of that would be. The indy movement would die a quick death, Sturgeon would resign and quite probably with the raison d’etre Accept that we’ve already won over everybody who can be won over by the positive arguments the SNP taken away, you would lose the 2021 Holyrood election.
Wishart is at least recognising this.
You say : ” Accept that we’ve already won over everybody who can be won over by the positive arguments”, so there is a tacit admittance that you KNOW you will lose again…perhaps one last ride on the gravy train is of more importance to you that the actual result?
I know that economics is not your strong point… your views on the currency issue are at best naive, but to answer your question ” What are the circumstances in which Pete Wishart would consider the time ripe for making our move?”, let me answer that.
When you guys have a clear currency plan.
When you guys come up with a viable economic strategy which will reduce that deficit.
And when you tell us how we are going to cope with the loss of £10b fiscal transfer.
Until then, no dice, not going to happen.
I didn’t actually read this. I know the troll too well.
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Oops hit the wrong thing there.
In answer to your questions
a) Currency would be Scottish Pounds backed up by using the reserves that the Scottish commercial banks currently have on deposit with the Bank of England. Note that the USD/GBP graph and the USD oil price are in almost perfect correlation demonstrating that the GBP is floating on Scottish oil. See Bloomberg or other sources to get the data. I also know of no banker who would not be lining up to give Scotland as much money as it wanted. We probably don’t need any by the way, see below.
b) economics are fine at the moment Scotland is only part of Britain to consistently run a surplus.
See this data table https://www.uktradeinfo.com/Statistics/RTS/Pages/default.aspx if you need more then tweak the independence white paper.
c) the UK Fiscal deficit is extremely large and this is funded by continual borrowing, currently approaching GBP2trillion of debt. Scotland has not had any requirement to borrow funds for at least 50years as analysis of data shows.
The 10bn defecit you reference has been debunked by a number of eminent economists. It is essentially a fraudulent misrepresentation of the true fiscal position. I am not saying that the Scottish government would not run a deficit, just not anywhere near the figure suggested by GERS (UK Treasury figures) published bybthe Scottish government as part of the Devolution agreements. Blatant errors in the 10bn figure you quote are 4.5bn for interest Scotland does not borrow and an absurd amount on defence spending which is not required to be at that level. Therenare amounts allocatedmfor Scotlans share of the London olympics, the HS2 project, M25 ring road around London and the list goes on and on. GERS was and is a fraudulent device to try and bury the Independence argument. Here is just one example of the absurdity of GERS https://wingsoverscotland.com/gers-by-economists/ and if you don’t like that example it’s OK I have others.
It is normal practice for the Government of a country running a fiat currency system to run a deficit with the private sector running a surplus.. What you see with the UK is a government addicted to deficits and debt pursuing a neoliberal economic strategy doomed to failure. The UK is already bankrupt, it just needs a little shove and it will fall over with devastating consequences for everyone living on the island. Scotland has an escape route.
Further whist the OECD tables show that the UK is the 16th wealthiest country in the world, Scotland on its’ own would be the 6th. Scotland is a very wealthy resource rich country whose wealth is being siphoned off for the benefit of the wealthy Scottish and English elite and is largely being spent in the SE of England and stashed in tax havens, instead of in Scotland for the benefit of the people living there. This is why they will fight to keep Scotland shackled to WM.
I have seen your comments on other threads and therefore feel I need to add that I am a very experienced Scottish Chartered Accountant whom is extremely conversant with Banking, Capital Markets etc etc, so I have an authoritative opinion on the facts of the matter.
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Agree entirely,Peter. We have to make sure that this “wait till the time is right” fallacy is abandoned
In answer to your questions
@kangaroo. Well you set yourself out with some impressive bona fides, but the substance comes nowhere close to matching up to the rhetoric.
Take your first paragraph…… can you provide ANYTHING at all to back up your assertions? I sure as hell cannot. And bankers will be “lining up to give Scotland as much money as they want”
You are having a laff, right?
“economics are fine at the moment Scotland is only part of Britain to consistently run a surplus.”
Whit???? A surplus of what? Economics are fine? Our economic growth is one the lowest in the EU(last quarter, 0.2% versus 1.7% rUK), and projected to be the very lowest in the developed world over the nest two years.
Well Scotland can and does borrow.
“The 10bn defecit you reference has been debunked by a number of eminent economists” Oh really? For example? And Murphy isn’t an economist, he’s an accountant. And don’t quote the Cuthberts from ten years ago please.
Your paragraph “c” is a huge mish mash of errors…£4.5 billion in interest payments????? Where is this shown? Answer, it ain’t. London M25 road? Not one penny, ditto the Olympics. HS2? We will receive almost three times as much back in Barnett than we will pay for the total cost (around 2.2% as it happens) “The list goes on” OK, tell me more of this list. etcha can’t.
Wings? Now I know your are a fraud.
“Further whist the OECD tables show that the UK is the 16th wealthiest country in the world, Scotland on its’ own would be the 6th”
Hahahahahahahahahahahaha… really? Oh this I must see.
Last year we raised just under £58b in taxes but spent over £71b. Without the fiscal transfer we would have been mince.
Enough is enough.
An evidence based approach is obviously not one you want to grasp. Prefering abuse to reason when things don’t go your way. For example, and I use one where the emotional nature of your answer is minimised
My Statement: Scotland is the only part of the UK to consistently run a ‘surplus’ giving referenced uk data.
Your Answer: Whit????? A surplus of what.
No point in having rational discussion with someone who does not want to use the facts but just gets emotional because his/her arguements don’t stack up and therefore resorts to abuse.
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“We don’t need a new independence campaign. We need an anti-Union campaign like we’ve never had.”
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Reblogged this on Scotto Voce.
Amazing Peter how you can so brilliantly put into words what I am thinking! Thank you!
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Peter! No more faffing about.
It’s time to go.
Brilliant, and so on the mark, I love this;
“We need to change the emphasis of our narrative from one of heading towards a better future to one of breaking away from the past. We need to talk a bit less about the new age we hope to enter and considerably more about the existing mire from which we must extricate ourselves.
We don’t need a new independence campaign. We need an anti-Union campaign like we’ve never had.”
Much easier to sell the absolute certainty of Impending doom than the vague, uncertain, though enchanting prospect of what a free Scotland will look like. It is a blank slate and necessarily so, there for us to build. The alternative, more of this and much worse…I think we have to talk about the broken treaty and how to dissolve it and move forward to a much brighter future (whatever that will be). We don’t need to lay it out, we just need to sell the freedom to imagine and make it so.
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My first reaction to this post is that you must give the substance of it as an address to the SNP Spring Conference. That Conference, however, has been postponed to the summer. It will be too late to plan and organise a referendum in September. I’m wondering how we can communicate the urgency of Scotland’s situation to Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP mandarins. What troubles me is that they must already know all the circumstances that you elaborate that make imminent action urgent. What is it that locks them into trusting in a change of mind and honest cooperation of the English Government of the UK? It simply does not make sense!
I’m tempted to think that it looks as if our hope must be in the 2021 election, but even that may be too late. I’m afraid that the SNP leaders will lose Scotland’s independence.
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