AUOB Edinburgh 2019 Speech

The following is the text of a speech delivered at the
#AUOBEdinburgh March & Rally on 5 October 2019.

What is the best thing the SNP has done?

The party has been in government now for more than 12 years. Pretty much everybody bar the bitter, blinkered, bigoted British Nationalists agree that they’ve done a reasonable job.

The voters certainly seem well enough pleased. Ask most of them and they’ll say “SNP? They’re a’ right!”

Some might even wax passionate enough to say “They’re no bad!”

But what’s the single best thing they’ve done for Scotland?

You’ll all have your own ideas about that. But I’ve got my own particular favourite.

For a long time, if you’d asked me what’s the best thing the SNP ever did in government, I’d have picked getting rid of that demeaning ‘Scottish Executive’ title and becoming a real Scottish Government!

That was important. That sent a message to the British establishment. That told them “Hey! That’s the end of the pretendy! There will be no more pretendy!”

I wouldn’t pick that now. Not because it isn’t important, but because it led to something even more important.

The SNP administration back then didn’t just say they were a real government, they acted like a real government. So much so that now, nobody doubts it. We take it for granted.

Scotland has a real government and a real parliament. A government with a real mandate from the people. A parliament with real democratic legitimacy.

The British political elite don’t like it! But that’s the way it is. Successive SNP administrations have made Holyrood the locus of Scottish politics. That’s my candidate for the most significant thing they’ve done.

The SNP has brought Scotland’s politics back to Scotland. Now they just have to bring Scotland’s government back to Scotland. All of it!

And that’s where we hit a couple of wee snags.

Having very successfully made the Scottish Parliament the main arena for politics in Scotland, our political leaders now seem intent on moving the focus back to Westminster.

Brexit! I don’t have much to say about it. There isn’t much that need be said about it. There’s only three things people in Scotland need to know about Brexit.

  1. Brexit cannot be fixed. The British political elite have screwed things up in a manner that is remarkable even for them. There is no way to fix Brexit.
  2. There is no Brexit deal that can negate Scotland’s Remain vote.
  3. Brexit is not our problem.

So why the hell are our political leaders so obsessed with it? Why are they embroiled in what’s going on at Westminster? Scotland’s politics isn’t done at Westminster! It’s done here in Edinburgh – Scotland’s capital city.

“Oh but we’ll be affected by Brexit!”, I hear people say. ”We can’t get away from it!”

Of course we’ll be affected! All the more reason our politicians should be here in Edinburgh working on solutions for Scotland instead of getting tangled up in England’s mess.

Scotland’s politics has to be done in Scotland. We won’t find solutions in Westminster. Westminster won’t act for us. Westminster won’t protect Scotland’s interests. We have to do that ourselves… here… in Scotland!

And that includes a new referendum on Scotland’s constitutional status. Why would we give Westminster an effective veto over our referendum?

Why would we let Westminster set conditions and make rules for our referendum?

Why would we accept Westminster being involved in any way in our referendum?

Yet that is precisely what the Section 30 process does. It moves vital aspects of our referendum out of Scotland and hands them over to Westminster.

Scotland’s new independence referendum must be entirely made and managed in Scotland. Our First Minister must seize control of the process. Our Government must legislate for the process. Our Parliament must have oversight of the process.

It’s our referendum!

It is our referendum and there must be no external interference!

It’s our right of self-determination, therefore it is our referendum!

It doesn’t belong to the First Minister, or to the Scottish Government, or even to the Scottish Parliament. The referendum belongs to the people of Scotland!

The legal validity of our referendum rests on a solid body of international laws and conventions.

The democratic legitimacy of our referendum derives from the sovereignty of Scotland’s people.

Our referendum has nothing to do with Westminster! And Westminster should have nothing to do with our referendum!

Let’s walk away for Brexit!

Let’s walk away from Section 30!

Let’s walk away from Westminster!

Let’s walk away from the Union!

Let’s bring Scotland’s government home!

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11 thoughts on “AUOB Edinburgh 2019 Speech

  1. Good speach. Not much more to be said. Scotland is its people. We have forgotten that and it is you who is pointing that out. Thank you.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. “The democratic legitimacy of our referendum derives from the sovereignty of Scotland’s people”.

    I could not agree more on this declaration and can only hope that SNP MSPs AND MPs attending yesterdays rally immediately convey that message to the Suits who it would appear currently control
    the agenda from behind closed ears!

    Nicola Sturgeon can no longer be permitted to deny her presence at events such as took place in Edinburgh yesterday. What is required is a degree of smeddum on her part, a quality sadly lacking
    to date!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Correct Peter.

    The SNP can never win at Westminster. Its a basic numbers game. So Scotland can never get what it wants with our Mps residing at Westminster.

    I think this whole Brexit thing will damage Scotland the most. If we let it happen to us. It will be like crushing Scotland’s voice. The only way to avoid it is to leave the UK. It is not going to help us hanging around watching the bonfires being lit.

    We need out and we need out as soon as Brexit happens. We need out now in fact, but alas I think it’s too late. Too much wasted time has led to this malaise.

    Personally I get the impression Boris is going to do whatever dirty deal it takes to get a no deal!


  4. Sorry Peter,

    I am sure this is going to sound disjointed, given that I am rattling it down again with little time to reread and restructure.

    There seems to be this general belief that the SNP are trying to stop Brexit. Full stop.

    I don’t see this. I see them trying to prevent a catastrophic ‘No-Deal’ … and this is the right thing to do. ‘No deal’ is a ‘off-the-cliff’ overnight. And there is no ‘changeover period’ as in a more gradual Withdrawal.

    There is a very easy example to explain it. If it’s ‘No-deal’ your UK driving licence is overnight invalid for British Expats resident in EU. If there is withdrawal, these things are discussed, mitigated, agreed and planned.

    On a more complex subject. ‘No-deal’ leaves Westminster free to turn it’s attentions to Scotland and to try to immediately fix their next biggest problem. In an agreed withdrawal, there is time for Scotland to move towards EU membership. A calm Brexit has much less danger for Scotland.

    So… the SNP are 100% right to fight a UK wide ‘No Deal’ … they would be wrong to try to block Brexit thereafter. This is for Westminster. And of course, our focus has to be on Scotland seceding and remaining in the EU.

    The S30 is neither here nor there. It’s a process that has to be granted. And Westminster are limited in what they can interfere in. They may try, but they can be pushed back. The S30 is not where the fight is at.

    Both Scottish and English Parliaments were dissolved 300 years ago… and the 1707 agreement was such that the UK Parliament was not allowed to amend it. Of course, over 300 years Westminster has indeed made many amendments to the agreement.

    The Act of Union, left two nations in the UK as foreign countries in relation to one another, while being politically united. Westminster have gradually eroded this distinction, if not legally, then certainly in the belief of most unionists and many Scots.

    The last 300 years, saw no revolution, disagreements, conflicts that fought this, other than perhaps some legal or history scholars.

    Scots got the legal, religious and cultural separation that they sought, and England got a depoliticised neighbour.

    After the failure of the Jacobean rebellions, the broad expectations that Government was accountable to the law, deteriorated. This is why the recent proroging cases were interesting.

    And so for 300 years there has been little argument of the nature of the Union, and the British Parliament has gotten away with much, thanks to Labour and Tory Governments and our democratic deficit. This is now changing and people are starting to question the whole arrangement. What was really intended by the Union and what has been the result.

    It was always said that Devolution was the ‘thin end of the wedge’ in re-clawing back our Government and with it our full rights as a Nation. In many respects this is true… we are indeed moving from the ‘wee pretendy parliament’ to believing we do have the rights to govern ourselves.

    But the issue is not about the current content of the Act of Union or Westminster power. It is two simple things:

    Is there a majority in Scotland for independence? Are we sure?

    When will enough people understand that we are entitled to be a free nation if we so choose?
    Westminster already understand this. They only ‘bluff’ that Scotland can be blocked.
    Will we ever reach a tipping point in terms of people understanding how easy, relevant, legal and obvious it is that Scotland is a separate Nation if it chooses so?

    The British State CANNOT stop Scotland. In any respect, either through refusal of S30 or attempted interference in our own census. They can only stop us by generating fear through mass propaganda.

    The SNP needs to do what they are doing right now. If you want to call it ‘playing the game’ or being ‘too British’ as one commenter did, fine.

    The fact is, the Democratic Deficit that Scotland experiences in Westminster is our biggest weapon. The British Parliament cannot legislate on the basic human rights of a country that is in fact part of the same political organisation. In addition, Westminster and the ‘British’ have their own personal interest and agenda and therefore not impartial.

    Quasi-UDI is not the answer. Winning the people and the argument is.


    1. I can see why you feel the need to apologise. There is just so much pish here that it’s difficult to know where to start. But, of course, there’s no point in even trying to sort out your wearisomely muddled thinking. Your inability to learn what Section 30 actually is makes it clear that it would be a futile exercise.


  5. Hahahaha, Nice Peter…. Now I understand why you didn’t get far in life. Your obvious intellect is marred and debilitated by your abrasion and lack of emotional intelligence.

    I once imagined you could lead. You clearly cannot.

    Don’t fret. You will have no more wearisome comments from me. 🙂



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