The fight is on… again!

Events have a way of making fools of those who presume to read the political runes. Get over-familiar with Lady Fate and she will very promptly slap you down. What I’m saying is that, when you find yourself writing about politics using the future tense, it pays to hedge your bets. The viciousness of the slaps delivered by Lady Fate tends to be in direct proportion to the confidence of those least mindful of her capriciousness.

You think you’ve got a handle on things, only to find that the handle is all you have – things themselves have departed the scene in random fashion. Is it just me? Could it be that my faculties are diminishing with age? Or is observing politics getting more and more like watching pond-life through a microscope and trying to discern pattern in the chaos of squirming, twitching and jerking?

Speaking of pond-life, I note that Boris Johnson is to be the new British Prime Minister.

Boris Johnson is to be the new British Prime Minister.

Boris Johnson is to be the….

Nope! Doesn’t matter how many times I write that sentence, it just makes no sense. The sentence is made of real words arranged in the order prescribed by the rules of the English language; but the whole thing makes no sense. We understand what is being said. But what is being said defies our comprehension. Boris Johnson is to be the new British Prime Minister. I know karma can be cruel; but how many babies did you have to barbecue in a previous life to deserve this!?

Ever the one to seek the silver lining even in a cloud as darkly miasmic as British politics, the elevation of this malignant clown-child seems to have invigorated our First Minister. There is an edge to her tone that one might suppose betokens a sense of urgency were it not for the fact that we’ve supposed as much before – and been sorely disappointed. I may be grasping at straws here – isn’t that precisely what you’re supposed to do when desperate? – but I listen to what Nicola Sturgeon is now saying, and I am tempted to believe that one of those straws might actually be attached to something substantial.

We will consider whether the timetable we’ve set out to have it on the statute book by the end of this year is still the right one or whether we should accelerate that. Then, of course, we will move forwards on that basis.

Like I said, we’ve been here before. Reading the above I was reminded of a piece I wrote at the end of May – at the time when details of the Referendums Bill became known and Nicola Sturgeon made that comment hinting at a new referendum in the “latter half” of 2020. I ended that article with these words,

There has been a deal of frustration with Nicola Sturgeon of late. Many in the Yes movement – myself included – have found cause to criticise her. But nobody, I’m sure, seriously doubted our First Minister’s ability. My sense is that the days of frustration are over. The Referendum Bill marks, not a change of direction, but a change of gear. The fight is on. And Nicola needs every bit of support the Yes movement can provide.

Last night I spoke at an event organised by @YesPentlands. There were maybe forty or fifty people at this meeting and, almost two months after I wrote these words, there was still in evidence a “deal of frustration with Nicola Sturgeon”. Many of the people in the hall last night “found cause to criticise her”. I had a few things to say myself.

Comes the next morning and I hear what Nicola Sturgeon is now saying – as well as the way she says it – and I feel the sting of Lady Fate’s hand on my cheek. The frustration expressed the previous evening had seemed fully justified in view of circumstances as we understood them then. The criticism of the First Minister, her Government and her party was warranted by what we saw them doing – or not doing – over the weeks since Nicola Sturgeon outlined something that might easily be taken for a timetable for progressing Scotland’s cause. We presumed to understand the situation; but events subsequently conspired to make our presumption look just a little foolish as the First Minister now speaks with unmistakable determination, and just a hint of contained anger, about accelerating the timetable for action on the constitutional issue in a way that increasing numbers of people in the Yes movement appear to be demanding.

To be fair to myself, I did see this coming. In the article quoted from earlier, I also wrote,

The way this time-frame has been presented, the First Minister could set a date beyond the latter half of 2020. But that was always unlikely anyway as this would risk a clash with campaigning for the Holyrood elections in 2021. What is vastly more significant is the fact that the time-frame as stated leaves total flexibility to schedule the referendum earlier – at any point between the passing of the [Referendums Bill] legislation and autumn 2020. This crucial option has been kept open.

There now seems a distinct possibility that Nicola Sturgeon is going for that earlier option. It may be that the rising clamour urging her to extricate Scotland from this accursed Union finally got through to her- drowning out the voices insisting on caution regardless of consequences. It may simply be that Boris Johnson becoming British Prime Minister was the last straw for her; as I suspect it will be for many of those whose minds aren’t completely closed to questioning the Union. Whatever the reason for what seems to be a new sense of urgency on the part of our First Minister, she has managed to tap some reserve of hope that I was not entirely sure I possessed.

For all the impatience, frustration and – dare I say it – anger in evidence at last night’s gathering in Tanner’s Bar, there was never the slightest hint that support for Scotland’s cause was flagging. Quite the contrary, in fact. Nor was there any lessening of the calculated conviction that the SNP administration in Edinburgh is essential to the independence cause. Indeed, it is recognition of how crucial the SNP is that is the main cause of frustration at what’s perceived to be unnecessary hesitancy and prevarication. The Yes movement is all grown up and ready to join with the SNP in order to prise Scotland out of the Union. Nicola Sturgeon needs to realise this. Whatever it is that she’s been waiting for, it certainly shouldn’t be the Yes movement.

I listen to what the First Minister says. I hear the anger in her voice. I sense a steely resolve such as has been sadly lacking of late. And I feel like I can take a chance on another smack from Lady Fate by repeating what I wrote back in May.

The fight is on. And Nicola needs every bit of support the Yes movement can provide.

Perhaps now we can focus on how we conduct that fight.



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27 thoughts on “The fight is on… again!

  1. MACPEANUTS

    The characters involved in the gag are Peter A Bell and Nicola Sturgeon. Nicola tells Peter Bell that she will hold a football while he comes running up and kicks it. Peter Bell usually refuses to kick it at first, not trusting Nicola. Nicola then says something to persuade Peter Bell to trust her. Peter Bell runs up to kick the ball, but at the very last second before he can kick it, Nicola removes the ball and Peter Bell flies into the air, before falling on his face. Nicola repeats this ruse over and over and over again, and each time Peter Bell falls for it.

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    1. Ah well, as with the original Peanuts featuring Charlie Brown and Lucy, PhD theses (or ‘dissertations’ across the Pond, this is after all an international blog of global renown) could be written determining the solution to that conundrum.

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  2. ”There now seems a distinct possibility that Nicola Sturgeon is going for that earlier option. It may be that the rising clamour urging her to extricate Scotland from this accursed Union finally got through to her- drowning out the voices insisting on caution regardless of consequences. It may simply be that Boris Johnson becoming British Prime Minister was the last straw for her; as I suspect it will be for many of those whose minds aren’t completely closed to questioning the Union.”..

    Finally got through to her? Nicola Sturgeon I’m sure has been WELL aware of the frustration of, rising clamour from, Independence supporters and that there was more than a 50/50 chance of Johnston becoming Prime Minister. She’s far from being blind, deaf and / or daft.

    It may simply be that Nicola Sturgeon has seen support for Independence rising dramatically. Important to the point that the Unionists used this lack of support constantly, and manipulatively, to highlight that she had no mandate to hold Indyref2. That’s clearly no longer the case.

    She, not you nor I, is the person who carries the heavy burden, sole responsibility, of freeing this country from 300 plus years of subjugation and exploitation, additionally having to deal with many enemies within and outwith Scotland. She is the person, who if she got the timing wrong could have set back our objective for decades, if not forevermore. She is the person who has a great deal of information at her disposal that we aren’t privy to. What she really needed to see happening was a majority of sovereign Scots supporting her and that’s what’s happening now. Shame that for quite some time there was so many people publicly castigating her, in turn undermining her position, to the point that this may have actually impacted on the support that we’ve clearly required.

    In saying all of that it’s great to see that we seem to be on the same page now.

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    1. Petra, do you really believe that someone who is publicly elected should have information at his/her fingertips that is not shared with the electorate that did the electing? I’m not talking about deep state secrets here; I’m talking about policy and strategy and tactics. The British State operates precisely in a shadow world which is why it is vital that we let the light in to illuminate what they are up to. What is to be gained from Nicola having all these secrets but the rest of us left to stew in our own gravy? Who is the party? What is the party? Where is the party going? Oh, don’t ask, because it’s all under wraps and you’ll get to know when it’s all over. Is that the SNP you want? I’m not saying that’s what happening. I’m not saying that Nicola Sturgeon and the leadership do not have plans. What I am saying is that this looks more and more like Labour in Scotland before it all fell apart. If you think that people like me want to destroy the party and the ambition to be independent, you are deluded. Sometimes, a hearty kick up the nether regions reminds politicians that we are here. I like and admire Nicola Sturgeon, and I will give her and the party my loyalty until the October Conference. Unless we have a torch-lit route to independence then, I really feel that I cannot go on and on jumping through hoops like a circus poodle, in hopes that I might be thrown a bone with some meat on it. Even writing that makes me infinitely sad. If you can, I wish you well.

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      1. Put it this way Lorna you’d have to be an utter fool to share everything that you are aware of with millions of people, including the opposition. Do you see Westminster sharing their wee secrets? The plans that they are formulating, in their war bunker, in relation to us?

        I’m not talking about deep state secrets either. I’m referring to information that NS has no doubt gleaned from her contacts in NATO, the UN, EU, from constitutional experts, SNP politicians in London and so on. Much of which could just be advice which she wouldn’t want to share, but could be important enough to influence her decision making.

        We know what she and the party stand for. We also know where we’re going, as NS has informed us that she’ll be holding Indyref2 next Autumn (or sooner). I also don’t see her party being akin to the Labour Party in Scotland in anyway whatsoever. They went down the stank because it became clear that they’d actually done less than nought for Scotland over decades. Who could accuse NS / the SNP of that?

        I know of course where you are coming from, for example you require or desire an Indyref2 date right now. I don’t think that Nicola Sturgeon would withhold that from us unless she had good reason to do so. Taking advice or whatever?

        I doubt that NS needs a hearty kick up the nether region either, as that’s something that she seems to receive on a daily basis, between one thing, person, and another.

        As to stewing in our own juice? Why not just help bring things to the boil by getting as many people to support her / the cause?

        I’m sorry to hear that you’ll be throwing in the towel in October, if things don’t go your way Lorna. Wondering if you’ll be giving up on supporting Independence altogether? If not, I’m just wondering too who you will support? More so how we’re going to get there without the SNP?

        I know that we are all tired and frustrated, but I’d say hang on in there for a while yet. We’ll get our Independence. Nothing surer. I wish you all the best for the future too.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. We have every right to be less than pleased with SNP performance of late, regards Dissolving the Union.
    However, some of us, have also been saying, perhaps, just perhaps, the First Minister has something in mind, we are not aware of.
    And we will see in due course
    She likes to keep her plans to herself, we have noticed, and then come outwith them, when it suits her to do so. Sometimes, quite unexpected.
    The big problem we have, is that time has practically run out.
    No point in wanting a new Referendum a year after we have been forced out of EU.
    e really need to become Independence before we leave EU.
    And waiting for London to give its approval is not an option either, as London has no intentions
    Not at this present moment i time, anyway.
    And with the Lib Dems version of Ruth Davidson insisting she would also try block plans for another vote, how is there ever going to be any backing, if it is up to Westminster MPs?
    This timescale, is what has lead to so much frustration for too many.
    It is understandable frustration, but we will see how it goes in coming months, whether we are right to still be hopeful, or if our hopes have been misplaced.
    At this moment, we have to hope, I would think.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. We absolutely need the referendum before October. Nicola needs to name that date. Let Boris do what the he’ll he wants.

    SNP need to drop the stop Brexit crap as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Everything that has happened from 2014, and even before and during 2014, has been evident. There was never any way in which the UK could possibly not Brexit once that decision had been taken in England. It just needed the added impetus of Farage and the Brexit party to press that home, with the threat of an alliance between him and Johnson. The loss of SNP seats after an almost impossible pinnacle of support was always going to drop. The Tory One Nation State was always going to happen, if they could make it happen, Brexit or no Brexit because devolution of power from London to the big English cities and regions cannot be put off much longer, and Scotland, as a devolved country/nation with a population smaller than, or equal to, several of these English cities/regions, would threaten that devolved status and ability to take decisions in the North/Midlands without the same access to funds, trading rights, etc. Boris Johnson was always, more or less, going to be British PM, given the present populism and right-wing ascendancy. It was eminently foreseeable that a second S30 order would never be granted. It was also eminently foreseeable that Scotland would have to face down the British State at some point if it really wants to extricate itself from the Union. The result of the first indyref always meant that there would be several layers of NO voters, all in thrall to the UK and the Union, who might just be turned on a given date for a one-off YES vote if disillusion with Brexit was powerful enough, but who, given the opportunity to wriggle out of that, with worthless promises and vows, would always give their allegiance to said UK, so that a second indyref was always eminently open to being lost again. Ergo, we can say that, from 19 September, 2014, independence was the only option open to Scotland. It has taken us over three years to understand that simple fact, taking all these other facts into consideration. How long is it going to take before we admit defeat over a second indyref and take the route we should always have taken, given that it was the route whereby we entered the Union, and which will require to be taken even if we leave the Union under another route because all negotiations will be governed by it: resiling the Treaty under international law?

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    1. I reckon that the sovereign Scots, a majority of, is the governing factor. No International legal body would entertain us if we can’t show that a majority of sovereign Scots want to end the Union. And of course over the last, practically, 5 years that hasn’t been the case.

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  6. The route is to have our referendum using Holyroods authority. Boris will challenge the result in court.

    However if we get 58% yes on an 80% turnout then there is no reason for the UN not to recognise it. We will get our freedom when we take it, not when England recognises it.

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    1. I still say, the way is for the Scottish Parliament, to vote to Dissolve the Union, and for the majority of sottish MPs to withdraw form Westminster..
      SNP should have done that in June 2016.
      If Labour don’t want to be part of that vote, they will be forever condemned.
      We can’t expect much support from the Swinson Party. The Lib Dem MP Swinson, (the new Ruth Davidson), is getting far too much out of it, to want to end it.
      But end, it must.

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      1. That is the way that it would have worked in the past, but the precedent form that was abandoned in favour of an indyref, which, in 2014, was probably sensible. However, as we can see, from both the loss of the indyref and the Brexit vote, democracy is not perfect and we can get results that are the diametric opposite of what is sensible and good for the country (Scotland) or Scotland through the UK. Resiling the Treaty, then holding a ratifying referendum is equally democratic and the most sensible route because the Treaty will still require to be resiled and negotiated upon even if we leave the Union by another means. There are various other ways, too, apart from a second indyref: a Citizens’ Assembly tasked with taking us out of the Union, and the reason why the British Nationalist parties will not co-operate.

        If we say that a majority of MPs and MSPs will take us out of the Union, the British Nationalist parties will cry foul and make that their joint and several election manifesto, and we will have another 2017, but on a greater scale. Take it step by step: 1) is the Treaty still extant? Yes, if it were not, there would be no Lord initiative to replace it with a new one. Being the more intelligent of the two Houses, they see very well just how dangerous it is to the UK’s Unionist integrity; 2) is the Treaty an international one governed by international law? Yes. Plenty of evidence exists to show that it is; 3) have the terms (articles) of the Treaty been honoured and respected? Decidedly, no. Those are the grounds on which to challenge. International law does not look kindly on treaty-breaking, whoever is doing the breaking.

        Even devolution falls short of the Treaty and is superseded by the Treaty. Westminster has behaved for 312 years as if there was no Treaty, as if there was no Scotland, the nation, but a simple region. Desperate to press home that fabrication, Cameron commissioned Crawford and Boyle to try and prove that Scotland ceased to exist in 1707. He never used C&B against Scotland in 2014. Why not? Because eminent Scottish jurists showed quite conclusively that England debased the Treaty, that the Union we have today is illegitimate in its foundations and that, stemming from their legal findings, we can only come to the political conclusion that England (Westminster) has been acting ultra vires against Scotland and Scotland’s people and interests for 312 years. They know that the Treaty is dangerous to their continued ambitions.

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      2. The Scottish Parliament hasn’t been empowered to repeal the Act of Union, only the people of Scotland can give it legal authority to do so.

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      3. But that authority needn’t be acquired prior to starting the process. The Scottish Government can first propose to dissolve the Union and then see approval and consent from the people of Scotland. Indeed, this is precisely what the Scottish Government must do.

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      4. I agree Peter, but it isn’t just the perogative of the SG to start the process. I believe that a petition signed by the sovereign people of Scotland ordering the Scottish Parliament to repeal the Acts of Union, and withdraw from the Treaty of union would give our Parliament authority to act. Don’t get me wrong, we will still require a referendum, Westminster will insist on it as will the International community but we will have given Nicola and the SG a very powerful weapon to use against Westminster if they should dare to refuse agreement on an S30. 2.3 million people signed a petition in the 1950’s demanding home rule, Westminster ignored it, they would be hard pressed to ignore the significance of this one.

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      5. We can add that to the already extensive list of ‘cunning plans’. Like most of the others, however, it ignores a rather important factor – time.

        As someone with a great interest in human psychology, I am intrigued by the fact that even people who acknowledge the precariousness of Scotland’s predicament and the need for urgent action can, in the same breath, speak of ;solutions’ which totally disregard the bick ticking thing on the wall.

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      6. I can’t think of a better way of engaging, educating and motivating the public face to face. By your actions are you known, I think.

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  7. Peter
    YES can either be followers or it can be a player.
    If its followers, you get what you are given. If you are players, you can also force events.

    Sure, YES has its role. It needs to create the political space for the SNP to act. Like you are the shield but the SNP is the political weapon you have atm. However, this action of clearing this stage must be loud enough to draw the SNP into action. To date, YES have been too tame and this has allowed the SNP their own council without bringing YES along with it.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I agree, to many people expect the SG to act with one arm tied behind its back, and we did that in 2014, not Westminster.
    To paraphrase JFK, ‘ ask not what your government can do for you, rather what can I/we do for our government.

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  9. I can just see the outcome of the Scottish Government first proposing to dissolve the Union with no concrete proof that a majority of Scots agreed to it. Every Unionist millionaire / billionaire would hit NS / the SG with an avalanche of lawsuits that could years to resolve, if ever, IMO. Great start?

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  10. Those that claim the Scottish Govt, and Parliament, has no Authority to Dissolve the Union, are very mistaken.
    It is not up to Westminster to give its permission.
    And regards the point above, by “Welcome1”, about the House of Lords trying to create a new Union Treaty to replace the 1707,one. ……..Try as they might, they have no authority to do so. That was an international treaty, between two Governments, and still recognized as such. The Lords can’t do anything about it at all.
    And if Scottish MPs , the majority anyway, walk out of House of Commons, as did the Irish over 100 years before, that is the end of the Union.
    That is what those SNP MPs should have done, long before now.
    Why sit in there, being treated like trash?
    Why allow the London Govt, to treat their country with such disdain?
    They are beginning to look as effective for Scotland, as the infamour “Fighting 50” Labour MPs from Scotland once were under tory regimes in the 1980s to 1990s.
    They got us next to nothing!
    The SNP MPs are getting us next to nothing, and it just isn’t good enough.
    Obviously, their would have to be some kind of vote by the population over Independence at in time, but moving to end the Union, has to come first.
    We no longer have time to wait.

    Liked by 1 person

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