Dear Callum…

Of course I will support The National’s effort. I will buy at least two copies of The National, just as I always do. Having a digital subscription, I will share these newspapers with others, just as I always do. With or without copies of The National, I will engage in conversations about the need to restore Scotland’s rightful constitutional status, just as I always do.

So, yes! I will support this effort. Just as I will support any effort aimed at ending the Union. But please don’t tell me that this is a “new push to reframe the case for Yes”. There is nothing new about it. And there is no reframing.

One of the basics of reframing a debate is that you do not echo the terms of the debate that is being reframed. These terms should only be alluded to obliquely, so as not to reinforce the existing frame. The phrase “big enough, rich enough and smart enough” precisely mirrors “too wee, too poor, too stupid”. If the aim is to reframe then the order should be changed and the language altered as much as possible without changing the meaning.


This is reframing the gist of the British Nationalist narrative within the debate. But it does not reframe the debate itself. That happens when we stop explaining and start demanding explanations. When we stop trying to answer questions about a hypothetical future and start demanding answers to questions about our present predicament.

Reframing happens when we stop asking for independence and start demanding an end to the Union. It happens when we stop petitioning for powers that are rightfully ours and start taking powers that are being wrongfully withheld from us.

Reframing happens when we stop trying to rationalise the normality of independence and start insisting that our opponents justify the preservation of a Union which denies the people of Scotland the full and effective exercise of the sovereignty that is ours by absolute right.

The National is doing a superb job of supporting Scotland’s cause and deserves Scotland’s support in return. But what The National is most definitely not doing with this campaign is reframing the constitutional debate.

The Yes movement is massive and diverse. It holds within it a wealth of knowledge and expertise and experience. My respectfully proffered advice to Callum Baird – as, I hope, a friend and certainly as one who shares his commitment to Scotland’s cause – is to tap that resource as greedily as you wish. Reach out to the Yes movement and borrow from it to improve and augment your efforts.

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