Is it me?

This is video from the Women for Independence AGM. At 50 minutes we hear the First Minister answering a question about the timing of action to resolve Scotland’s constitutional issue. I find her response both disappointing and disturbing?

It is disappointing that Nicola Sturgeon sees fit to dismiss the #DissolveTheUnion hashtag with a joke. If it was that easy, she says, she would have done it long ago. We are told that there are no “shortcuts” to independence. As if anybody thought there was. As if that is what the hashtag refers to. It is extremely disappointing that Nicola Sturgeon has so woefully misunderstood the import of the hashtag.

#DissolveTheUnion is not the simplistic demand that the First Minister seems to have taken it for. In fact, it is rather insulting that she could think Yes campaign activists might be so naive. It suggests she may have badly lost touch with a grassroots movement which, I can assure her, is considerably more sophisticated than she appears to suppose. Nobody is foolish enough to imagine that the restoration of Scotland’s independence is a simple matter. Everybody is well aware of the nature of the opposition we face.

#DissolveTheUnion is intended to suggest a changed mindset in our approach to the independence project. A mindset imbued with the sense that we are, not supplicants petitioning for some boon from a superior authority, but a sovereign people insisting that our right of self-determination be respected. It implies rejection of the British political elite’s asserted power of veto over our fundamental democratic rights. It says that we do not accept the notion of independence being something that is in the gift of the British state. It says independence is not theirs for the giving, but ours for the taking.

There is nothing naive or simplistic about the thinking behind this hashtag. It denotes a significant and necessary shift in our thinking about the manner in which the independence campaign should be conducted. I had hoped, and expected, that Nicola Sturgeon would understand this. I have been left deeply disappointed by her remarks.

Even more disturbing, however, is the First Minister’s insistence that we should not concern ourselves with process. Apparently, the process by which we achieve our goal is unimportant. Apparently, we can afford to disregard that process. We must put all our efforts into selling the idea of independence and trouble ourselves not at all about the means and methods by which this goal might be realised.

I find this astounding. It seems obvious to me that one of the greatest impediments to the restoration of Scotland’s independence is that fact that the constitutional process is all but entirely determined and controlled by the British state. It occurs to me to wonder how we might hope to restore Scotland’s rightful constitutional status whilst the process by which this would come about is so entirely in the hands of forces which are resolved to deny even our fundamental democratic right to choose the form of government which suits us best.

Here’s our First Minister telling us that process is not important. And I am unable to understand how that can possibly be so. I’m listening to the politician I most trust and respect – someone the entire Yes movement looks to for leadership – and what she’s saying simply makes no sense.

Is it me? Am I missing something? Have I got it so seriously wrong? Is it really nonsense to suppose that, in order to restore our independence, we must first seize control of the process by which our independence will be restored?

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21 thoughts on “Is it me?

  1. No Peter it’s not just you!

    Lesley Riddoch, Pat Kane, Angus McNeill, me and my yes colleagues at work. We are all beginning to think Nicola is about to let a no deal Brexit happen, while tweeting comments about how unfair WM is to Scotland.

    She is trapped in the confines of the unionist device called devolution. Is she going to keep asking for a section 30? May will of course keep saying no.

    So what fate awaits Scotland is not down to us the electorate. It appears it rests at number 10. Unless of course we can force Sturgeon and the SNP to use the mandate we loaned them.

    What really gave the game away was Patrick Harvie asking Sturgeon for a timetable for Indy ref 2. She looked uncomfortable and hesitated. Her answer suggested she believed in independence as an ideal ,but not a priority right now.

    I just don’t think the SNP know how to deal with Brexit. They are pleading for a compromise, which is not what we voted for. We voted for Indy ref 2 if England tried to take away our rights as European citizens.

    It will be December in 2 weeks. Indy ref 2 has not advanced since the now is not the time in 2016. The SNP that everyone thinks has a secret plan appears to have none.

    It’s exactly what we know already. Sit and wait for 60% yes, wait for another GE, wait for a people’s vote, wait for article 50 challenge in court, wait for continuity bill Supreme Court announcement. That’s a check of a lot of waiting and absolutely no proactive doing.

    She told Patrick Harvie to go out and campaign for independence . What’s the point if there will never be vote!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes … is you. Normally I agree with much of what you write but in this instance you are being petty about “your” hashtag. #DissolveTheUnion Is one that I use regularly but I am well aware that achieving independence will not be as simple a process as eg dissolving a jelly. Where does she say that ‘process is not important’? You have twisted what she said in a way that would be worthy of mis-reporting Scotland and I suggest you listen to the whole session again. I attended the WFI AGM and certainly did not arrive at anywhere near what you seem to be suggesting in your blog. To Big Jock – I too do not think we (Scotland) should compromise on our EU membership but I do understand why Nicola is following the path she is on – She is FM of all Scotland. Your reading of Nicolas reaction to Patrick Harvies question at FMQ’s is strange …..are you seriously suggesting he sprung that question on her? Is it let’s get Nicola day? Or is it just a man thing?


    1. I agree Diane. First of all its pretty clear that the point she is making, taking the hashtag literally, is intended as a joke. But I think she makes several telling points.
      First that there is no easy route to independence – whichever one we take at the end of the day it has to result in a country that is recognised by the international community as independent.
      Secondly, that if London – as I think it will – digs in and says “No S30 order” then we have to find a way through it. Try for a moment to imagine you are Theresa May. Her job is not to do what is right, but to do what is right for her, her party, those who support her party and for the UK. In that case, with indy starting on at least 45% support would you hand out a S30 order?
      Thirdly that the best way to independence, and the one that would be the greatest asset of all, is to convince as many of our fellow Scots of the rightness of our case and to come to our side. TBH, I am as disappointed as anyone that more have not done so since 2014, but the thing with Brexit is we need proof. Much of the debate has been between political anoraks (folk who post on forums like this one – Peter that’s a joke!) – the Brexit shit has not yet hit the fan. OK, we can smell it, but if, as I think it will, the UK leaves the EU next March without a transition or future trading arrangements then brown smelly stuff is going to be the order of the day, which they realise if they are indeed working on troops on the street to control disorder. At that point, I can see nothing but support for independence increasing exponentially till it reaches critical mass where it becomes the new normal. At that point, “resistance is futile” as baddies say in bad movies.


      1. “…the best way to independence, and the one that would be the greatest asset of all, is to convince as many of our fellow Scots of the rightness of our case and to come to our side…”

        Mr Galloway: if Brexit doesn’t convince them, what will? Wait 5-10 years inside that English Nationalist Tory One Nation State while they reduce us and render our economy stagnant? When are we going to understand what that NO vote told us?

        It told us that there are those of a colonialist/imperialist mindset who voted NO/LEAVE/Tory, not because they have given thought to what an independent Scotland might be like, but solely because they cannot envisage a Scotland that is out of the UK. This goes for both Scottish so-called Unionists and English Nationalists.

        They have not come over because they do not want Scottish independence because it upsets their long-term (or even short-term) view of what Scotland is as part of the Union. It is the: “I didn’t come up here for you f*****g Scots b******s to become independent. You’re English” or “I’ve voted Labour all my life and you f*****g Nats have ruined everything for the UK. I’d vote Tory before I’d ever vote for you”. Please excuse the language, but it is accurate.

        That is what we refused to understand after 2014, even though every study done showed these attitudes to be predominant. There is no other way to describe the rUK vote for NO as anything other than an ethnic and homogeneous one. You may wish to go on and on forever avoiding that fact. We are going nowhere until we have the courage to say to these people that, far from pandering to their narrow vision of our future, we are going to take a different route to independence rather than let these two minorities dictate the agenda.

        Nicola Sturgeon knows perfectly well that a) we will not be allowed a second indyref; b) that we cannot win it; c) that these same Empire 2.0 adherents will vote NO again, given the opportunity. That, Mr Galloway is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. If you and so many others do not wish to acknowledge that fact, there is nothing to be done. If I hear or read another platitude about persuading people who see us as an inferior colony, I’m going to be sick. We cannot persuade them. It is that simple. We cannot persuade them. What we have to do now is get round them before we Brexit and they become our jailers in perpetuity. That can be done legally, legitimately and democratically without another indyref.

        You, and even Mr Bell, may consider me to be an extremist, but I am a democrat, I believe in the rule of law and I believe in human rights. I do not wish to see anyone leave Scotland unless he or she wants to leave. I am not anti-English. I am pro-Scots. We are never going to achieve independence with another indyref we will never get, anyway. We need to summon our smeddum and we need to say NO to the NOs. We have had enough. If we can’t do that, then, in the name of the wee man, let’s just Brexit with rUK and get it over with once and for all.


  3. I agree.I think Nicola enjoys being FM and the international recognition it gives her.
    I think she believes in working for all the people including No and Leave.
    The majority of us vote SNP to get independence.
    We need them to call a referendum and I also thought she was diverting when asked by Patrick Harvie to use the mandate.
    She talks a good game but if she allows Brexit to go ahead, I’m not sure where we will be or what we can do.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It does seem logical to me to wait for the Commons vote on the Withdrawal Agreement which is what the FM has aid is what she is waiting for. We might still end up with option 3 – no Brexit. In which case we can all breath a sigh of relief. If it’s option 1 or 2 then that, to me, would justify Indyref2.

    We know Ms Sturgeon is well read. Perhaps she has read Sun Tzu who wrote the manual on military strategy around 500 BC.

    “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.”

    Ms Sturgeon says that Independence for Scotland has driven her whole life. That’s not something one would want to screw up. Polls indicate a no-deal Brexit would convince the majority that Independence would be the better option.

    I see the job now is to highlight the consequences of Brexit to No voters. An economic and logistical nightmare.

    When we have won, then we can go to “war”.


  5. Diane:” Is it a man thing”

    Jees, if you don’t agree with someone’s strategy, and they happen to be a woman , you are a misogonyst?

    Good God that is 6th year debating society level immaturity. She did hesitate when Harvie asked her. We don’t need to kiss someone’s feet to be on the same side. I have concerns about her strategy, that doesn’t mean I don’t like her. We need to push our politicions, that’s healthy!


  6. Andy of course that’s right:” you win first and go to war” . However what if you win the argument but the door is already shut!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. No, not just you, Peter. I’ve been losing faith in the SNP leadership a bit recently too. I put that down to my impatience mainly but think there is something more. Now, while Westminster is in disarray with Brexit is absolutely the time to call indyref2 and before Mar-19 is the time to have it ( later will be impossible).

    I try to keep a bit of faith that Nicola and the SNP team know what they’re doing, they haven’t put too many feet wrong to date. I’m also encouraged by some of her comments over the past few days that the timing will become clear soon. But its nail biting stuff.

    Also, nothing wrong with your hashtag and I share your disappointment that Nicola has misunderstood it. When we win with a Yes vote, we are tearing up the Treaty of Union and taking full self-government, we are not seceding or setting up a new country from scratch as the Unionist narrative runs.


  8. I, too, am seriously worried about the direction in which we are going and the shortness of time we have in which to do anything about omdependence before Brexit. I do not agree with you, Mr Bell, as far as a second indyref is concerned because: a) we will never be allowed another by Westminster; b) we can’t possibly win it with a majority large enough to satisfy the Unionists, even if we got over the line this time. That, to me, means that we should have been hatching a Plan B since early 2015, and even a Plan C, if necessary. I fully appreciate that that would put us in the same position as Catalunya, but it is starkly evident that staging indyrefs is no way to achieve independence because all those who have are still attached to the Mother-Ship. I also appreciate fully that we do not have the numbers some other countries have had for independence, but I do not believe, having studied them closely that they have had the kind of propaganda that we endure daily day from Westminster. Part of me wishes that we could have persuaded Westminster to introduce real equality and parity in the UK, where we all had FFA and a seat in a second chamber to decide on international affairs, defence, etc., but I know, too, that that has never been possible given the delusions and arrogant power complex of the English ruling elites/establishment.

    I listened to the speech three times, and I came to the same conclusion as you: we are Brexiting with rUK. It appears to be over. Once inside that One Nation Tory State, we are finished, anyway. I can scarcely believe that Nicola Sturgeon would contemplate such a thing, but her words can have no other meaning, can they? Is she waiting for that ECJ ruling on Article 50 which might or might not go our way? Is it the UK Supreme Court’s ruling on the Continuity Bill that she is waiting for, which, again, will probably go in Westminster’s favour? What about the triple lock mandate? She mentions waiting for an election, but will independence be in the SNP manifesto? I believe that Angus Robertson, one of our ablest people, is helping Plaid Cymru to construct a strategy for Welsh independence, although I may be wrong here, while ours is being deconstructed. I am shocked by this speech. I will give Nicola Sturgeon the benefit of the doubt for now, but, if the SNP becomes the first independence party in the history of the world to gain power for 11 years and more and never take independence, it will crash and burn forever.


    1. I’m not too sure Independence could not be won, by another Indy Ref.
      However, I am of the opinion, Labour and their pro 1707s,pals in the much of the Scottish media will do everything they can, like they did before, to make it as difficult as possible.
      I have been particularly disappointed THE HERALD has not had any reports about the Span’s Foreign Minister, making clear Spain would not veto Scottish EU membership.
      This point, has in fact been reported in one of the London papers today.. in the most extraordinary way.. by claiming it is almost as if Spain is interfering in UK politics, trying to divide UK, etc. They weren’t saying that up ’till now, and not in 2014.
      This quite deliberate silence, and anti Scottish way of the Scottish media, but for one exception, is , and has been a major part of the problem.
      The Daily Record, for example, made it out, Gordon Brown, had secured this, that, and everything else, everyone ever wanted for Scotland.
      Despite the fact, many of us pointed out at the time, he had no power to promise anything. And so it proved to be.

      And as I keep saying, no point Labour in Scotland complaining about certain London policies, especially around Social Security, but apparently, doing about it..

      As to the First Minister, and SNP leadership, I have always been just a wee touch weary of some the hype. I wonder what the First Minister’s true strategy is here.
      There is only so much time left before March, and not a lot of time for any actual new Independence Vote, between now and then.
      Perhaps, Nicola Sturgeon has some wonderful clever plan. I’d like to think she does, and I sincerely hope so,.but as things stand, we are left to wonder.
      The media, well most of it here, actually would like to see dissent amongst the Independence movement, with SNP, so they can claim “division,”, etc, even tho, the 1707 side is in meltdown.
      Labour hasn’t a clue what it wants, and one Labour MP will say one thing one minute, while another something else. Every time some Labour MP says, their policy is “claer”, they are being as dishonst as the tories!
      But if SNP don’t play it right, if they are not careful, then they could pay too.
      Independence is not about the SNP only. That is a mistake a lot of folks seem to be making.
      True, at the moment, they seem to be the main way of getting there. But that should not allow for complacency.
      We will be Independent, but if things are made to pan out over long, those who made us wait, will not be allowed to forget it, come Election time!


  9. The Quebec independence party have all but disappeared. Beware SNP if you lose your purpose , you lose everything.


    1. The Canadian government gave them a host of new devolved powers just in case, when they already had more than us to begin with. They are not gone, though. Just biding their time, I’d say.


  10. Peter

    I’ve been concerned since Alex salmond stepped down. I just haven’t felt that the same momentum is there. I understand the defeat in 2014 was a set back but too much caution will result in a slow loss of momentum for the yes movement over time. I sometimes think that Nicola is over thinking it and over cautious while playing the Westminster game, no offence but NS whole life has been politics and process and that for me is Westminster’s game.


  11. Peter

    Westminster is never shy of pushing any loopholes to exploit its position (even making said loopholes for that exact purpose)…but for some reason SNP is reticent to pursue its rights as written.

    It is so hard to read the tea leaves at present:
    – Is it that Scotland is scared to test its Act of Union document? (incase it fails)
    – Is it that people have accepted Westminster’s constructed rules without testing them?

    Just because Westminster says something is law (or Scotland only has limited rights) does not automatically make it valid – if it contradicts higher documents.

    Its like Scotland has not yet learnt that if you give Westminster a big stick – they will beat you with it.


  12. If Nicola’s game is to let Brexshit happen and force its pain and damage onto Scots to make them squeal, it will turn against her and the SNP.

    So far the SNP has been the shield protecting Scots from the BritNazi assault with good pragmatic governance: to deliberately let Scots be hurt by the horrors that will ensue in March will be seen as a betrayal.

    The obedient lackeys in the media will go to town with that.

    As I already said, the situation throughout the planet is at a breaking point.

    The only uncertainty is who will snap first.
    Don’t let it be Scots, because if history teaches us anything, it would turn really ugly.


  13. Its not you Peter. The SNP seem to have reached their pinacle, they have lost their independence drive. It really is frustrating for the leader of the SNP to behave this way. For all Scottish Nationalists sake get a backbone and take the fight to Westminster – NOW!


    1. I have been of the view for a long time, Scotland needs a new pro Independence political Party.
      Not an anti SNP one, but one that is different from SNP, like the Greens are. But the Greens by themselves, being too focused I think, too much so, on green issues almost exclusively, will never have wide appeal.
      We need something new. But something with good ideas as well. SNP has proven themselves competent enough administrators,(but for a few glaring examples, such as the Police and Fire mergers, which have been unpopular) but, we need something far more than that, I’d say.


      1. Anybody who imagines we have the minimum 15- 25 years it would take to get a new political party to the point of being a potential party of government really doesn’t understand what is going on.


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