Rallying the troops

I should be upbeat today in anticipation of the Forward as One March & Rally in Dunfermline tomorrow (see below). I should be looking forward to being with old friends and enjoying the great atmosphere that always attends Yes events. I should be preparing for the meetings and discussions that always take place around the fringes of big Yes gatherings. I should be thinking about what I will say when I get up on that stage in front of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of eager and enthusiastic independence supporters desperate to get on with the job of restoring Scotland’s independence.

It’s difficult not to feel down, however, when I see all that’s happening. And what’s not happening. The news from Shetland is depressing enough, as the islanders once again inexplicably put their trust in a party of proven liars and despicable smear-mongers; rejecting a fine young SNP candidate and the opportunity to forge new and better connections with the rest of Scotland. I really don’t understand the mentality of those who cling to the familiar simply because it’s familiar and no matter how badly it has let them down. If ever there was a need for boldness in Scotland, it is now. How can we expect our political leaders to show the daring Scotland’s predicament demands if voters show only timidity?

The news from Edinburgh doesn’t help my mood. The Court of Session has rejected a petition for an interim interdict to stop the Johnson regime suspending the UK Parliament so that the British executive can exercise the powers of an absolute monarch. The rejection is temporary. But it can’t help but look like more timorousness in the face of a brazenly anti-democratic adventure by a privileged clique who, for all their outward appearance of stupidity and incompetence, nonetheless know how to bend the UK’s arcane, archaic and infinitely flexible constitution to their own dubious purposes.

The news from London just keeps on getting worse. A paper published today by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) sets out the range of Brexit scenarios in a manner which is all the more dismaying for being clear and concise. Would that it left room for doubt about the Gordian nature of the bind that the British political elite has got us all into. Would that it left space for hope that there might be an outcome that isn’t cause for dejection.

The news from Scotland’s political leaders is… no news at all. Lot’s of righteous condemnation of the way the Johnson regime is trampling all over democracy in the UK. Lots of outrage and indignation at the imperious manner in which Brexit is being imposed on Scotland. Lots of dire – but woefully belated – warnings of the real and imminent threat that rabid British Nationalism poses to Scotland’s democratic institutions. But, aside from an assurance that the Scottish Parliament will get back to work on the – also woefully belated – Referendums Bill sometime next week, nothing! Not a word from our First Minister about whether and how she intends to take action to prevent Scotland being wrenched, unwilling, from its place in Europe. Not a word about whether or how she and her government propose to circumvent the ‘suspension’ of the Scottish Parliament which now seems all but inevitable. Not a word that might lift my mood.

Somehow, I have to put this mood behind me. The folk who go to events like the one in Dunfermline tomorrow don’t want tales of doom, gloom and disaster. They get enough of that from the Unionist media day by grinding day. Yes activists are generally well-informed and politically aware. They know the reality of Scotland’s predicament. They don’t need to be constantly reminded. They certainly don’t want platitudinous complacency or empty assurances. What they want from Yes marches and rallies is encouragement and inspiration. Something to keep them going while they wait. And wait. And wait.

There is something in that SPICe briefing which offers a glimmer of hope.

The UK Government may request a further extension to Article 50 beyond 31 October. However, the EU would likely only agree to this under certain conditions: (1) on technical grounds, to get final approvals for any agreed Deal; or (2) a substantive change in UK politics, such as a general election or referendum.

The emphasis is mine. As the Johnson regimes continues to contrive ways of circumventing due democratic process, there seems vanishingly little possibility of effective action in the crippled and corrupt British parliament to prevent a no-deal Brexit and the ensuing dismantling of Scotland’s democratic institutions. But it was ever thus. Ultimately, it was always going to come down to the Scottish Government acting in and through the Scottish Parliament to secure Scotland’s democracy and defend Scotland’s interests on behalf of Scotland’s people.

The Union is Scotland’s great problem. And the solution to that problem must be entirely made in Scotland.

I’ll stand in front of that crowd in Pittencrieff Park tomorrow well aware that it is not me they want to hear from. It’s Nicola Sturgeon.

Forward as One March & Rally Dunfermline Saturday 31 Augus
Assemble Viewfield Terrace from 10:30. Depart 12:00.
Rally Pittencrieff Park (The Glen) 13:00.

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15 thoughts on “Rallying the troops

  1. I’m a bit more optimistic about the actions of the judge.
    Although he didn’t grant the interdict he agreed that it is important to get this sorted now and brought forward the full hearing to Tuesday making it harder for the whole thing to drift.

    The Shetland result was actually extremely good. The Northern Isles are so entrenched in Liberalism (no other branch of the Unionist machine has a hope) that the shift that happened was actually huge.
    I think the problem is that people still have a vain hope of avoiding Brexit and holding on to the mythical status quo. That’s going to disappear very soon and the LibDem grip is now very loose. I think the SNP might have done better if there had been a steady interest in the Northern Isles rather than a sudden blitz, the expectation management was not well managed but I guess no one wants to campaign to come second.

    Hopefully the final scenes of the ‘wait until Brexit is clear’ plan are being played out.

    Just hope it’s not too late


    1. The fight for Scotland’s democracy must take place in Scotland’s Parliament, not the courts. The SNP is continuing to do battle at Westminster where it cannot achieve anything. Our SNP MPs have done all they can. Time to bring them home.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Douglas, you are right about both the court case and the Shetland election.

      And also about the vain hope of avoiding brexit. I think the hope of avoiding it is a total distraction for the Indy movement. Look at the contortions the tories are going through to force brexit. Far better to see the contortions then hold a referendum than to lose a referendum and see these contortions later.


      1. Well, there was no reply button for “How do you propose to deal with the consequences of delay?”, but I will answer anyway.

        Take it on the chin. We could have left before brexit cut in, if Scots had fallen in behind Sturgeon firing the Indy starting gun in March(?) 2017. At that time, the expectation was put into the minds of Yes voters and it was my expectation too. But the election of 2017 showed that Scots were not ready.

        So we take it on the chin. Delay is not a significant price to pay compared to the price other countries have paid for their independence.

        It seems to me that this idea that we must get Indy before brexit hits is an entirely artificial and false target which is responsible for unnecessary gloom amongst part of the Yes community at the moment.


        1. Not an answer. It looks like you haven’t even considered the consequences of delay. Much the same as every other individual I’ve encountered who takes delay so lightly. It’s only possible to be so complacent if you haven’t given a moment’s thought to the cost of delay.


      2. @”Not an answer.” Of course it is an answer. It is just not an answer you like. I stick with it – take the delay on the chin.

        You are arguing that the sky is falling in. Well, no it is not. It is the ceiling falling in. When that has happened, you will see that the sky is perfectly intact. And Indy minded people never did like the unionist cieling.

        What you are arguing would have made sense prior to 2016, when the union appeared to be intact. But now it is crumbling, let it crumble. Relax and redouble your efforts. Do one ‘Stop the Coup’ event for every Indy event. Stop the Coup in Scotland is a mixture of progressive Soft unionists and progressive soft Indy supporters. Get involved. Speak to people. There are no extra Indy votes to be found at an indy march. There are loads to be found at ‘Stop the Coup’. Be gentle with soft unionists, offer an inclusive indy.

        There is a coalition of forces to be made. Take the delay and the opportunity of bringing more on board. Leaving the EU is not the end of the world. Enjoy the next few months and get over the ‘glass half empty’, ‘cos it is half full and filling. If you want a full glass, take the delay. I know you are full of gloom at the current situation, but actually, it is going our way.


        1. It’s not a good idea to try and tell me what I’m arguing. You’d be better advised to actually attend to what I’m saying. But this is all evasion, anyway. I asked you what you propose to do about the consequences of delay. Because you’ve never even thought about this consequences, you have no answer. So you resort to evasion. You’re no different from any of those I’ve encountered who evince complacency. None of you have considered the cost.


      3. It is not that I have no answer. It is that you don’t like my answer. The answer is take the delay on the chin. It is not complacency. You are being defeatist about an artificial deadline to do with brexit.

        Brexit happens when brexit happens. It is a big so what. We have our referendum when we have won it. It is going our way. Time to stop being grumpy and to start being optimistic.


  2. Nothing to add Peter.

    I am becoming apathetic to events. Nothing seems to happen no matter what crazy shit the Tories do to us.

    Why is the leader of my party not talking to me?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “When it is advantageous for Scottish business to be dealt with by United Kingdom of Great Britain Ministers, there should be full understanding and recognition by these Ministers and by their officials that Scotland is a nation…and voluntarily entered into union with England as a partner and not as a dependency…” – the Balfour Royal Commission on Scottish Affairs Report, July 1954.

    Something has gone very wrong in the SNP hierarchy or with those who surround it and offer it advice because a catalogue of mistakes and lack of foresight, misjudgements and lack of thought seem to have powered the SNP’s policy towards Brexit and independence for several years now. The overriding tenet appears to be: say and do nothing that will offend or even just tell the truth of the situation we are in. It has been a recipe for disaster. The proroguing of parliament will not be, initially, to fast-track a NO Deal, but to prevent Boris Johnson from being ousted in a Motion of No Confidence, so that, if there is no option but to go ahead with a NO Deal exit from the EU, he will be there to see it through. The SNP, I think, had to try and prevent a NO Deal, but by allying with the other parties to bring forward a Motion of NO Confidence, they have helped to cause this impasse. I have to say that I agree with Ruth Davidson in that I not believe either that Johnson is panting to bring in a NO Deal (Farage is) but to try and offer one last chance to parliament to vote for the May Deal with a slight tweak.

    Let us not forget that these chappy charlies at Westminster voted by a sizeable majority to pass the buck to the people to decide if we would Brexit or not, and the people decided to go – not by a massive majority, granted, but by a majority overall. In England, the majority was large, and that is why this is an English Brexit. We have no democratic or moral right to prevent England from Brexiting to save ourselves when that is precisely what the right-wing Tories and their clique are doing, but in reverse. The only hope for the court action that I have is that the Scottish court will give a ruling that reflects Scotland’s position in this constitutional wrangle – that, as a partner and not a dependency, and in light of our 62% against Brexit, we have the right not to be railroaded out of the EU except by agreement with the English MPs. Our pusillanimous attitude to grave injustices visited upon us by the English Tories, enabled by our own sycophants in the British Nationalist parties and their adherents, too stupid to foresee the implications of their own weasel actions, does not inspire confidence, though. At the very least, the SNP hierarchy should be making plans now – very public ones – for some form of route out of the UK within a month or two of Brexiting, so that, even though we are out of the EU with the UK, the door is left open for a different relationship between an independent Scotland and Europe and an independent Scotland and England that does not necessitate a hard border with either.


  4. SNP in Edinburgh are competent administrators….But, alas, presently, seem void of new ideas, and when new ideas are given them form others, they give it to some Commission or other!
    We need a lot more than that, and we need a desire to confront London, and not just on the Independence issue.
    I still hope the First Minister will come up with something, but this insistence on getting the Section 0, etc, is not doing any favors.
    Playing the long, ever so very long, waiting game, is no longer acceptable.
    I have said previously, we need a new Party of independence.We need that grouping now, not wait for 2012.
    But if SNP do not stop us leaving EU, and if it is yet more delay, then there will have to be something done to rectify the situation.
    e just cannot continue like this.

    Liked by 1 person

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