I take no pleasure whatever in comparing Nicola Sturgeon to Richard Leonard, but I cannot help but note the inconsistencies and contradictions in her own position.
The First Minister recognises that the British parties will try to ‘rig’ the referendum in any way they can. Nothing at all surprising about this. We know them to be totally unprincipled and shameless. We had evidence enough of that during the 2014 referendum campaign, and since. That British Nationalists will do anything to preserve their precious Union and further the ‘One Nation’ cause is a truism of Scottish politics. They will rationalise absolutely any conduct – however deplorable this might be in any other context – if it is in furtherance of their anti-democratic aims and in defense of the British ruling elites.
The First Minister knows all this. She knows as a matter of incontrovertible fact that the British parties squatting in the Scottish Parliament – in collusion with their masters in London and the British media – will seek to ‘rig’ the referendum. She knows this for the same reason the rest of us know it. She knows because the British parties are already speaking openly about the ways in which they intend to manipulate the referendum process to their advantage. It’s not a secret! It’s not a suspicion! It’s a fact!
And it is something that we have been aware of for some considerable time. Certainly since before the First Minister committed so completely and exclusively to the Section 30 process. Which is where the contradictions and inconsistencies in her position start to show. If the First Minister is, as she should be, concerned about the referendum being rigged by British Nationalists, why has she committed to a process which provides them with the means and opportunity to do so?
By committing to the Section 30 process, Nicola Sturgeon has ‘invited in’ the very forces which she acknowledges as being a potentially serious threat to the fairness and democratic validity of the referendum. She has granted to the British political elite the power to impose rules and conditions on the referendum which amount to the rigging that she says she is concerned about. It does not compute, as I’m sure the kids stopped saying many moons ago supposing they ever did.
This is not the only contradiction and/or inconsistency in the First Minister’s position. She has also acknowledged the possibility – some would say probability or even certainty – that the British government intends to ‘suspend’ the Scottish Parliament. Again, this is something which has been, at the very least, on the cards for a very long time. Some of us saw the writing on the wall as far back as 2007, when the SNP formed its first administration. That writing on the wall was carved in stone when the voters broke the system in 2015 to give the SNP a majority.
The Scottish Parliament is an obvious target for those who seek to lock Scotland into the nightmare of a ‘One Nation’ British state where democracy is regarded as an impediment to ‘success’ measured solely in terms of the increasing wealth of a tiny clique; and human rights and civil liberties as a hindrance to ‘efficiency’ measured only in terms of the British executive’s ability to do whatever it pleases. Scotland’s claim to, and pursuit of, constitutional normality is critically dependent on four components working together – the SNP; the Scottish Government; the Scottish Parliament and the Yes movement. Of these, the British state only has direct and immediate authority over the Scottish Parliament. It stands to reason that they will seek to ‘neutralise’ Holyrood so as to disable the machinery of Scotland’s cause.
Knowing this, as she must, the First Minister seems determined to afford the British state as much time as it needs to put in place the measures and infrastructure that will enable it to shut down the Scottish Parliament and transfer all its powers to the so-called ‘UK Government in Scotland’ – an unelected and unaccountable shadow administration which has been constructed right under the noses of Scotland’s people. As telling a testament to British imperialist arrogance as might be imagined.
Brexit – which Scotland voted against and which the Scottish Government had a solemn duty to prevent being imposed on us – seems inevitable. That Scotland will be wrenched from the EU against our will and without even the minimal protection of a bad deal looks to be all but certain. It appears that this is what the British government is waiting for. Brexit will be the signal that sets off a major assault on Scotland’s democratic institutions. Anyone who doubted this before now has to contend with the reality that the pen which can eradicate the Scottish Parliament at a stroke is in the hand of a malignant child clown called Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson.
The Scottish Government has failed to act to save Scotland from Brexit and it has failed to act to prevent the Scottish Parliament being crippled or destroyed. A duo of failures which stand in stark contrast to all the indignant speechifying and Twitter ‘slamming’ which has been the ineffectual background noise to events over the past five years.
I am not, of course, suggesting that Nicola Sturgeon is in any way similar to Richard Leonard. She is acute, where he is dull. She is articulate, where he is incoherent. She is committed to serving Scotland, where he is committed to serving the ruling elites of the British state. Where the similarities begin and end is with these deeply unfortunate contradictions and inconsistencies.
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19 thoughts on “Explanations required!”
Reblogged this on Ramblings of a 50+ Female and commented:
Once again, spot on.
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I would say that NS’s approach has been that if we can win Indy, not only fairly but if necessary against the odds, with one hand tied behind our back as it were, then all the better. But that was at a time when it seemed the British state still felt duty bound to abide by at least most of the rules, to only cheat a little and not too blatantly …
However in the light of recent developments, around Brexit in particular, I think you are right to draw attention to the ever-present dangers of that approach. The government has just tried to close down Westminster, how outrageous can you get. It was blatant and had it not been for the Scottish Court of Session, they might very well have got away with it. So yes, the possibility that London may seek to suspend or dare I say it, even abolish Holyrood, has to be reckoned with and strenuously guarded against.
At then end of the day, it all comes down to choosing the best time to strike, when to “go over the top”. Surely a nerve-racking choice that I for one am very glad I don’t have to make!
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Invite Nicola Sturgeon to Edinburgh AUOB on 4 October for a Q&A. Ask the organisers to give this invitation max publicity. Let’s see what happens.
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I know I bang on about this, but …
I have no doubt whatever that the SNP leadership’s positions on many topics is utterly contradictory. Most people’s views on most stuff is pretty much contradictory. Which in this inexorably fucked up world is hardly surprising.
The particular contradictions and inconsistencies of SNP positions arise from its own contradictory position as both government (Hollyrood) and opposition (Westminster). Also from contradictions inherent in the Act of Union itself, between this and the Declaration of Arbroath, and between the aspirations of the Act and the reality of Scottish life. Etc.
At one level the FM is obliged to kowtow to the existing law in order to be seen to be acting lawfully – both by the establishment in England waiting for her to make the slightest mistake, and also by Brussels technocrats who will allow Scotland’s entry to the EU only on the basis that she has legally seceded from the UK.
Of course I agree that the law as it stands is bollocks, rigged in favour of the ruling classes to perpetuate power, privilege and patronage. And to ensure the British establishment can with impunity continue to use our country for as killing fields for canned hunting, while claiming to be taking responsibility as dutiful custodians of the land. Of course it’s bollocks! Evil bollocks, to boot.
But I would not, if I were First Minister, be confronting the contradictions of British imperial domination like this. Rather, I would (pretend to) play the game, using the opportunities that present themselves to my advantage, while developing covert plans and strategies that will bring about my goal Scottish autonomy.
I do not know whether the SNP leaderships is doing this too, but if it were, I would likely know nothing about it and see only the superficial pretending to play the game bit.
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I believe they are pretending, to an extent, to play the game, but matters have overtaken that approach, DS. I think they are hoping, through the Referendums Bill, to call the tune in regard to several aspects of the polling procedure, perhaps to ensure that ‘passing throughs’ cannot, this time, affect the vote. It has been rumoured (how truthfully, I have no idea) that ex pats in England might have the vote extended to them, but I wouldn’t be too smug about that because there are many who would vote NO, and that should, perhaps, be researched properly in case we would be making matters worse for ourselves, which, frankly, we are very good at doing.
In any case, the Holyrood spoiler brigade will try to harry and undermine that Bill out of existence, believe me. Once we Brexit, and without a S30 Order, the SNP could be stymied utterly, because the move towards a One Nation State (not named in any benign sense) will start to make its moves. In hindsight, it was a mistake to harness independence to Brexit, but, on the other, what could have been done otherwise? We need to decouple Scotland from England.
I listened to QT last night, for the first time in a long while, and there was not one mention of Scotland. Gina Miller, bless her, talked of “the sovereignty of parliament” being the main factor “for our country”. I believe she meant the UK, including that alien principle to Scotland. It is evident beyond any doubt now that Scotland, and even Wales, where QT was held, barely impinge on the consciousness of the English ruling elite, and almost just as little, on the consciousness of the average English person. Joanna Cherry was not mentioned, and the Scottish judges’ decision, which led to the Supreme Court judgement, was also missing in action. This has become insupportable. If Adam Tomkins is elected Tory leader in Scotland, I would be anticipating the suspension, in due course, if not the dissolution, of, Holyrood. Willie Rennie’s days are also numbered, I’d suspect, if Tomkins is elected/appointed/anointed. What I wish, more than anything, is that the high heid yins in the SNP and YES movement would get their heads round the perfidy of our big neighbour, and those who support its perfidy here in Scotland, no matter how uncomfortable that makes them feel, but I think I am whistling in the wind. People are so ready to believe the worst of those who try to make them see what, perhaps, they are incapable of seeing till it’s too late.
On that note, the series about the Troubles in NI on television just now must rank as one of the best productions ever broadcast. No doubt there will be faux pas, mistakes and obfuscations, if not downright lies in a few instances, from participants, but, overall, it is an eye-opener of the highest degree. Basically, it turns most of what we were told (and are still told by some) on its head. Mind you, those of a sceptical nature will have known that already. For the brainwashed, it is worth it for the exposure of the magnitude of the lies that were told, and the actions that were carried out, in our name. Finally, it shows what can happen when you refuse to compromise or understand the other side, or hand all the aces to one side to the detriment of the other, as I fear we are doing here in Scotland.
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Thank you. I agree mostly with what you write.
I will certainly celebrate the departure of Wullie Rennie – although I suspect I will continue to have to thole his glaeckit pus, beaming moronically at passers by at The Cross in town.
I still have no teevee so cannot even be tempted by QT, but I listen ardently to the establishment wireless. I would observe now too that England has become so self absorbed that Scotland is sidelined and almost by default recognised as different. Time will tell what happens next.
Screaming aloud the perfidy of Albion as its perfidy is surgically excised by Parliament must remain a vital strategy and warning.
One thing. Events. Events still come along to thwart predictions and strategies alike. It does seem to me though that under the circumstances, with such a cascade of intervening events, the SNP government is doing ok, as governments go. As far as leading the independence movement goes …. did it ever?
Has the modern SNP not always been but a political wing of a broader resistance movement that arose in reaction to Thatcher’s attack on working class culture and her emasculation of its power?
This notion of “covert plans” assumes the existence of options available to the First Minister which we not only don’t know about, but can’t know about. Because if we could know about them, we would. Somebody would have figured it out by now. Nobody has. So the only logical assumption is that there are no “covert plans”.
There may be plans which are “covert” in the sense that they are not talked about openly. But they are constrained by the laws of nature and politics. I’m pretty sure there’s no plot afoot to assassinate the queen or invade England. And that’s just the start of the things we can rule out with a high degree of confidence. Those plans not being discussed in public have to be whatever is left when all the things that can be excluded with a high degree of confidence have been.
What we are left with is the Section 30 process. Not least because all other options have been declared ‘illegal’ by the First Minister. Which means we can rule them out with a high degree of confidence.
What I’m trying to avoid saying is that there is no such thing as magic.
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Of course. These are the parameters of the game. And I guess it’s true that if they had some secret strategy, it would have been sussed out or exposed.
But I know for certain that the Westminster SNP delegation is painfully aware of Albion’s perfidy and of exactly what the establishment is capable of.
As for the SNP government at Hollyrood, I was thinking less about military intervention and more about diplomatic, legal and grassroots activity. The prominence of Scotland as a full participant in the exposure of Albion’s perfidy must only emphasise our difference from Westminster power. There are surely also all manner of consequences for the Union of recent court decisions that I imagine government lawyers to be thinking through very thoroughly. There is also a much more sophisticated canvasing strategy in place now than in previous campaigns. Add to this continuing infrastructural projects and well though through social policy (in so far as this is permitted by UK law) … not to mention an independent independence uprising ….
Having said that I still do not rule out some sort of deeper strategy. 🙂
“At one level the FM is obliged to kowtow to the existing law in order to be seen to be acting lawfully – both by the establishment in England waiting for her to make the slightest mistake, and also by Brussels technocrats who will allow Scotland’s entry to the EU only on the basis that she has legally seceded from the UK.”
Scotland will never gain independence by following English Law. Independence is not a domestic matter within the UK. Independence is a matter of International Law. We must stop kowtowing to English law and appeal to International Law for our legitimate independence.
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I agree. We should look to European allies and international law rather than kowtow to the British State. But I don’t know how this translates into strategy.
I only hope that kowtowing to British law is a strategy rather than an expression of principle.
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Angus McNeil has already asked Boris directly if he will agree a section 30. Boris doesn’t even acknowledge there is a mandate. So the answer is as obvious as Trump’s wig, it’s no!
So Angus has then suggested that Nicola should ask for a section 30 before the General Election. She should get the refusal, and then use the election as a de-facto referendum.
Although I don’t agree with the section 30, or it’s request. I believe that Angus has pretty much nailed this one.
Nicola has been warned! Bojo will break every constitutional law to get what he wants. If he needs to shut down Holyrood under emergency powers he will. Lets not forget the SNP meekly accepted the Supreme court ruling on the continuity bill , by their lack of action.
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Those who are going on the Edinburgh march should have their ‘No Section 30’ banners on display.
The more there is visible dissent on this, the more it helps McNeil and others.
NS is clearly not for turning on this unless she is put under serious pressure. At the moment there are not enough SNP figures coming out against the section 30 cringe.
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It is not PC to say it, but the lack of challenge to the rUK NO vote, particularly in the light of EVEL, was a gross mistake because the SNP and YES movement would have had the backing of the UN itself on this issue. No one is suggesting – and I certainly would not, being a lifelong supporter of human rights and the right to vote – that anyone’s vote should be taken away, but we do have some moral backing for limiting the residency vote to, perhaps, over five years, but even then, you are still not allowing people to vote which is really anathema. Challenging a vote on its merits or lack of them, on its morality or lack of it and on its anti democratic nature is always a better stance to adopt, as we do every day with the Tories and the other British parties when they give no thought to Scotland or when they ride roughshod over Scotland. The SNP and the YES movements were so afraid of being labelled racist, anti English that they made the cardinal error of not seeing the wood for the trees and of, perhaps, allowing a mindset that is essentially British State to develop here.
We must learn from the mistakes made in NI. People here knew – or many did – that the Catholic population was being held down and held back by not just ultra Unionists, but by most Protestants. The British sided with the Protestants/Unionists – initially – by not pushing them to open up civil rights to the Catholic/Nationalist population much sooner, and the Unionists sided with the British – initially – because they expected to be pandered to as of right. The British fell short eventually of supporting the Protestant Unionists outright at all times and in all circumstances, and tried to remain aloof, leading to the sectarian killings of Catholics and Protestants on a tit-for-tat basis instead of RUC officers and British troops or IRA top men.
We know now that there was secret service interference in NI on a grand scale and that Protestant paramilitaries were sheltered by the British even while they were using informants from the Nationalist side. Even in peace, in Scotland, because we are trying to disrupt the British State, those who support the British State will be sheltered and placed where they might be of best use to their masters, while some ostensibly independence-supporting people will be ‘turned’ to serve the same ends and the same British State. That is what we should never forget: the perfidy; and the willingness of some to enable it to exist.
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For anyone who missed part 2 of the BBC Spotlight programme on the Hidden History of the “Troubles” in Northern Ireland, here you are https://eurofree3.wordpress.com/2019/09/27/spotlight-on-the-troubles-part-2/
While I agree with the sentiment of many that we should not be begging for a S30, I think that:
1. It needed to be done just to have the level of unionist resistance confirmed. You will have noted however, that Johnson didn’t actually say ‘no’. Why? Because he is afraid. He needs to capitalise on Anti-Scots anger of the Brexiters (Denied by Scottish Courts) but he dare not go too far at this time. There are too many people who understand the logic and mandate for Indy2, even in England and certainly globally.
2. Johnson has too many fronts open at the moment.
He has behaved illegally, implicated the monarchy, offended the EU, shown his Trump allegiance, upset moderate Tories, expelled the 21, broken with Brexit party, dodgy connections to hedge funds and rich backers, promises of tax breaks to the wealthy, and Tech lady who has Epstein, Trump and Randy Andy connections.
Above all, he is a pathological liar, and recognised as such. His position is not sustainable, except under civil war footing.
3. His recent tirade against Scotland was blurted out ‘too soon’. He is a vengeful bully and couldn’t keep his mouth closed. He barely managed to ‘toe the party line’ and avoid an outright ‘No!’
4. Johnson is a deadman walking. The UK establishment split recently. There are the ‘do or die’, ‘drag the UK into a ditch’, ‘on a no deal’ elite… who are most likely backed by hedge funds and pound shorting positions. Or are keen to hide other issues.
And there are the mainstream, conservative establishment who are alarmed by the Frankenstein that they created, and see the troubles on the horizon. Johnson is not a unifier, he is a divider. Johnson doesn’t care about the UK, he will destroy law and order to achieve his aims.
The establishment is at war with itself. Moderate reasonable, versus Johnson and his band of populist brexiters, driven by extremism and darker forces.
5. Prorogation had another hidden sub-agenda. It was designed to keep Parliament from discovering and investigating a range of other issues that would rock our Crimeminister, her Majesty and Trump.
6. The Randy Andy situation is a smouldering tinderbox. And opportunist Johnson has discussed this with Royal Officials.
So, while we shouldn’t be complacent in Scotland, we shouldn’t be too pessimistic. Nor should our language be about the ability of Westminster to refuse S30, for example. Anti-S30 flags at AUOB would be wrong on many levels.
Of course, we are all nervous and impatient to see actions that move us closer to independence, and secure us against Westminster faux, One-Nation actions, but we need to tighten the divisions between us, act as ‘One Nation Scotland’ and talk like independence is our right and inevitable, not a whim or behest of the liar Johnson.
It’s clear to everyone that even Martial Law will not keep the UK together. With Wales and NI rising, it’s time for a major constitutional restructure of these islands.
And in order to close down Holyrood, Johnson would have to have a continuous majority in the Commons.
A UK PM that’s an enemy of the vast majority of the UK electorate, could not even get agreement to recess for his own Tory Party conference. He has not won a vote yet.
Yes, he hates Scotland now, and this will lead him to make further political errors.
Scotland needs to focus on unity, alignment, avoiding any kind of division, including the sectarian, recently incited by Gove, and keeping all eyes on the prize.
You are evidently unaware of what Section 30 of the Scotland Act actually says. Read and learn – https://www.iscot.scot/article/news/section-30-is-not-scotlands-salvation/
I agree with a lot of what you say, Spiritmac, but I think you underestimate the ability of the British State to unite when under threat. I do not believe there will be a quick effort made to suspend or dissolve Holyrood, but that it will be undermined from within by those loyal to the British State itself. The reason I brought up the NI situation was because it became very apparent very early on just how united the opposition to even civil rights, let alone re-unification of Ireland, was. What I was trying to say was that: a) Holyrood will be starved of funding, making it exceedingly difficult for the SG to carry out its reforms and policies; b) the opposition parties will try to bring down every single piece of legislation brought by the SG now; and c) the opposition party leaders will gradually be replaced by those loyal to London and the British State (actually England) with no sentimental attachment (as even Ruth Davidson had) to Scotland as a separate cultural and social entity.
Bloggers like Mr Bell here do an excellent job of always reminding the SG and those who would shut up dissenters that there is more than their way of doing things. Unlike NI or Catalunya or many other places, we are infinitely fortunate to have the Treaty of Union, and, like it or lump it, it will be our final throw of the dice, as it must be, because we cannot have independence negotiations with England without it and without referring to it, since it underpins the UK State. If the SG intends to negotiate with England – and that is if we win a second indyref, assuming we have one, with or without a S30 Order, in the first instance – on the strength of the ratifying Acts, which did no more than translate the Treaty tenets into domestic law, leaving the Treaty intact as an international agreement between two equal, independent, sovereign, nation states in 1707, they can count me out. That, for me, would be a betrayal beyond forgiveness. It would be Scottish acceptance of the absolute sovereignty of the British parliament and would be handing all the aces in the pack to Westminster and Whitehall.
Your final sentence allows for nothing other than a YES vote. It is always wise to assume that you could lose – not that you intend to, but that you might. The Quebecois lost a second time, but they capitalized on their loss by laying claim – in circumstances of almost blackmail – to even greater devolved powers, when they had very much more than we have now, to begin with. The UK government would never agree, if we lost again, to anything other than the end of Scotland as anything other than a region, believe me. We are not NI, we are not Catalunya and we are certainly not Quebec. A second loss would finish us, and we would be left with a two-tier social structure, where the Scots were at the bottom, as many already are, or they would try to emigrate en masse, until assimilation was complete. This process is already underway and will hasten if we tarry. The colonization of the domestic empire is going to be rather different from the colonial occupations that characterised the remote empire.
I understand just how uncomfortable that sounds, and I make no evaluation of that process because it has happened continuously throughout human history and may even be part of human evolution, and because I am not a blood-and-soil nationalist, whatever the intellectually lazy accuse me of. The truth becomes itself a form of dissent in a state where lies and obfuscation are the norm. I think that killing to try to prevent it, or dying to try to prevent it, would certainly not be worth it, as NI discovered belatedly, but we should be aware that, without independence, it is almost inevitable. We will end up as the northernmost part of England. As I said, the Treaty is our final throw of the dice if we cannot win a second indyref. After that, there will be no more options.
There is nothing in anything that either of you say that I can disagree with. But you need to tell me how we convert:
1. Operating within the current constitutional and political framework
2. A new paradigm that is blindingly obvious, tangible and tenable.
Because that’s what it would have to be, to take the fight onto a new plain. Ordinary people like me would have too, not just understand it, but appreciate that it was a winning strategy.
What I have seen so far is that we are still very much in the ‘strategy formulation’ stage.
I assume there must be distinct legal stages / steps to prove the idea that England has treated Scotland, less than an equal partner over the last 300 years. And then the argument has to somehow evolve, demonstrate that there was hegemony and unsubtle subjugation. And that treatment has cost Scotland dearly.
I have to ask you both, when did you come to the realisation that the ‘softly, softly, acquiescent’ approach to the Referendum was not a clever strategy? Before 2014? Or has this crystallised subsequently?
I like the idea of crowdfunding an emergent legal approach to arguing and clarifying Scotland’s constitutional rights, as long as the outcome is ‘enlightening’ for all, including those who would deny Scotland anything.