Craving substance

When even a significant minority of SNP members and/or supporters are even partly in agreement with Jim Sillars then there is a problem which must be addressed by Nicola Sturgeon, not some anonymous party spokesperson. When one of the party’s own MPs is echoing the concerns felt by increasing numbers of independence activists, Nicola Sturgeon herself must address those concerns.

The issue is simple. If there is to be a referendum in the “second half of 2020” or “before the end of 2020” then there must be a process by which that can happen. This process cannot be secret. It cannot be known only to Nicola Sturgeon and a few trusted colleagues. Options are not unlimited. If Nicola Sturgeon can work out what this process is, so can Boris Johnson’s advisers.

So, in theory, can everyone else. Jim Sillars was never going to do so because he long since ceased to be interested in thinking beyond the first excuse for attacking the SNP leadership. Kenny MacAskill might be expected to figure out what the process is. But, by his own admission, he is more than content with not doing so because he has his own agenda. But there are thousands of politically aware and astute people who are both perfectly capable of discerning a process by which there might be a referendum in 2020 – while adhering to the Section 30 process – and none have been able to do so. Or, at least, so we must assume, as no such discovery has been made public.

For many in the independence movement, not least myself, the days are past when we would accept Nicola Sturgeon’s assurances on the matter of a new independence referendum. The change from “second half of 2020” to “before the end of 2020” may be subtle enough for some to dismiss. But to regard it as inconsequential requires that we dismiss the previous slippage that now adds up to at least a year. And that is on top of what some consider an unconscionably long period of all but total inertia in the wake of the 2014 referendum.

The hard truth behind all the talk of independence being closer than ever is that it is if anything and by any meaningful measure, more remote now than at any time in the last decade. Just like talk of a referendum in 2020, the rhetoric about independence being imminent is empty. Ask anybody who makes either claim to add some substance to their fine words and you will get nothing but evasion. Or denunciation as an unbeliever.

I don’t do faith. If there is any substance to the claim that independence is closer than ever then I want to hear it. And I want to hear it from Nicola Sturgeon. If there is a way that Nicola Sturgeon can both remain committed to the Section 30 process and deliver a new independence referendum in 2020, then I want to hear from her at least an outline of the process involved. Less of the glittering generalities and more on the mundane practicalities.

Neither do I want from others any more of those clumsily contrived and woefully convoluted metaphors involving chess or poker. And give the Sun Tzu quotes a rest as well. Give me something tangible. Or give me relief from the vacuous waffle.

I’m anticipating being told that we have to wait and see what the situation is at the end of the Brexit transition period. That will surely be more than even the most trusting of Nicola Sturgeon’s admirers can thole. At that point, the murmurs of discontent and calmly voiced concerns may rapidly grow to an angry roar. Nicola Sturgeon must act now to turn around a situation which can only deteriorate.

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15 thoughts on “Craving substance

  1. I, unfortunately, think you are right.

    Very soon, she must either pronounce S30 process dead and go ahead with a different route


    Give up on Independence under her leadership

    The only flicker of hope that I have is the possibility that she is following her legal training instincts by pursuing S30 to its end with a completely straight face. Part of that requires avoiding threats of alternatives so that when it does collapse she is able to say ‘tried it honestly but the British are denying self determination, it’s a human right under the UN Charter that cannot be denied so we’re going to have a vote anyway’.

    I’m not sure that is her route, so maybe clutching at straws.

    We’ve paid a huge price for the strategy reinforcing the status of S30, we might as well give it a few more weeks to see what comes of it.

    If she thinks we will continue to support the gradualist approach then she is in for a 2017 style shock

    Arbroath 1320
    NB: For modern day reading, I would substitute (s)he for he, her for him, British for English and Prime Minister for King but the message is clear.

    ‘Yet if he should give up what he has begun, seeking to make us or our kingdom subject to the King of England or the English, we should exert ourselves at once to drive him out as our enemy and a subverter of his own right and ours, and make some other man who was well able to defend us our King; for, as long as a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be subjected to the lordship of the English. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself’.

    Even aside from this current pickle, the concentration of power in the SNP within a small closed group is a major hazard (Groupthink Janis 1979). This must be opened up. As an example, I’ve just read the second consultation about the Gender Recognition Act and it absolutely is clear what answer the Minister wants and how people mustn’t worry or rock the boat.

    This is very unhealthy but can be salvaged.

    The SNP is a victim of it’s own success in some ways, the careerists 10-20 years ago would have joined Labour.

    No longer so.

    The SNP leadership needs to sort themselves out -or be sorted out by the membership

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “The only flicker of hope that I have is the possibility that she is following her legal training instincts by pursuing S30 to its end with a completely straight face.”

      Surely Nicola must know from her legal training that independence is not a matter of Domestic Law! It’s a matter that International Law guarantees the People of Scotland the right to decide. I cannot understand why she has been insisting that only the permission of the English Government of the UK can legitimise a decision by the People of Scotland about their future as a Country? There’s something going on that remains hidden. It’s self contradictory to claim that the People of Scotland are sovereign in Scotland and also to claim that the Sovereign People need permission from another sovereign, making it the Suzerain of the Scots, to decide on their future.

      The claim by Nicola and the mandarins of the SNP that the permission of Westminster is necessary to put the decision of the Scottish people beyond legal question is false. International Law put the decision of the Scottish People beyond legal question. So what hidden agenda does Nicola and the SNP mandarins have? By their inaction they demonstrate that they will not lead Scotland to independence,

      Liked by 1 person

      1. S30 is convenient and tidy, nothing more.

        The SNP have unfortunately given it far too much weight.

        However, we are where we are and need to chart a route out.

        I suggest, unless S30 is rapidly and unexpected granted, we get on with a vote anyway.

        There will be some who cry Catalonia but a democratic vote supervised by independent external observers would be perfectly acceptable internationally.

        The EU is no longer appeasing the British and the British who, unlike Spain, will shortly no longer be members. I was shocked by the way the EU responded to Spanish violent suppression but I think they are changing (e.g. tougher line with Poland) and no longer have the malign influence of the British approach to international ethics (the last Foreign Secretary to promote ethics lost his job). We have, unlike Catalonia, the precedent of 2014.

        If the British try to suppress a vote using force, then things become very much more serious. It would cost them a great deal in International relations, except perhaps the USA (depends on US election this year).

        It would also probably make Scotland nigh on ungovernable.


      2. @Douglas

        You have not taken into account the countervailing evidence to many of your key points.

        I fear you may be badly mistaken about your key assumptions. The world will look away and Scotland appears to be ready to mildly accept what is about to happen…if it wasn’t it would have turned the place upside down at the threats to it during the last 2 years.

        Many in YES fail to realise what Westminster controlling the media really means. That the gas lighting of “One Nation” Britain that many in Scotland have swallowed is even more pervasive internationally. Governments/media will just follow the BBC line and say it’s an internal matter and ignore. If there is any violence (false flag or not) the calls of terrorism will be slung and internationally much of it will stick.

        YES had a chance to get out in front – when the rule where known and peaceful. It could pay it straight and and make Westminster catch up whilst they were also being distracted by their Brexit mess…but now Westminster has re-grouped and the YES cause is far more risky.


      3. Tol:
        ‘You have not taken into account the countervailing evidence to many of your key points.’

        I have taken them into account and I agree that they are significant.

        There is a risk that the world will turn it’s back on Scotland but it is not quite as great as Catalonia

        (gimme a break, I’m looking for a glimmer of hope).

        Catalonia has to contend with:
        1. A written Unitary State constitution which was agreed (via coercion, the alternative being a return to full Fascism), the U.K. constitution is amorphous.
        2. Spain is a remaining EU state.
        3. Overt Fascism (UK almost there)

        Scotland has a few positives:
        1. Precedent of 2014
        2. Is a country
        3. The U.K. is in it’s death throes as a credible major power (compare Austria-Hungary?).
        The World owes the U.K. no favours

        There is also the curse of Oil which will encourage those in Westminster to hold on as long as they can pump it to keep the U.K. afloat -if they are true Unionists/Conservatives.

        Counter to that is the fact that the Johnson gang don’t really show any signs of wanting to run the U.K. as a ‘going concern’. They seem to be more like asset strippers on a huge scale than Conservatives . They will try to extract as much as possible and try to put the blame on someone else. Their wealth is largely safely stored elsewhere.

        I agree that they crave violence as an excuse (there is form for this, at the very least incitement)

        They fear Gandhi more than Braveheart, from our side Independence has more to fear from genuine One Nation Unionists than the chancers in charge at the moment.

        Non violent Civil Disobedience may be required.

        I guess we will find out shortly what the SNP leadership is made off

        … and, more importantly what we are made off.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. “Surely Nicola must know from her legal training that independence is not a matter of Domestic Law!”

        Solicitors don’t know the law, they know processes for achieving certain ends. In England they have Practice Manuals listing said processes, I suspect the same applies in Scotland.

        It is usually the advocates (in England barristers) who have an idea of how the principals of the law work.


  2. She only has until the end of March. If the date is not signed off by then, we can forget indy ref 2/ 2020. There simply would not be the time.

    Unless she is planning it in December 2020! Then she might have until late April. Essentially if she wants it in October ,then it needs to pass by the end of January.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Return the next Scottish Government elections to May 2020 (by repealing the SP delay Act).

      Then run that on a manifesto of holding an independence referendum (with or without UK approval) this year. If they get in to government, hold such a referendum, and act upon the result.


  3. We lost in 2014 by taking the high ground and not responding to the aggressive tactics of Project fear.

    Bruce didn’t get independence by asking meekly and waiting for English masters to deign to allow a few crumbs to drop from the table.

    We will have to fight and fight hard. I don’t mean swords etc, I mean take on the real power in this land, the media.

    We’re damned by them anyway, so it’s about time we started guerrilla warfare on them. Why fight them on ground they have picked, the MSM channels?

    There’s no point in doing interviews with UK channels, we need to use billboards booked for the whole year with messages like “Today’s lie from Westminster” and also leaflets or a free paper. No lie or distortion should be left unexposed. No British Nationalist agency should be left unattacked.

    We need to organise boycotts of businesses, and have a policy that no corporation that opposed independence will be allowed to operate in Scotland after independence. That will help cut the funds off from the BritNat attack dogs.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. @BLMac- that is the making of the needed argument and foundation for the campaign going forward. Positive steps.

      There are many. Scotland shall need regulators, a Central Bank, currency policy, a constitution …

      There are many. Work should start now if or where not already begun. Staffs and budgets should be small, UK opposition anticipated LOUDLY. Campaigning positively using the shape of our new Scotland rather than wishing UKists would just be quiet.


    2. ..”There’s no point in doing interviews with UK channels, we need to use billboards booked for the whole year with messages like “Today’s lie from Westminster” and also leaflets or a free paper. No lie or distortion should be left unexposed. No British Nationalist agency should be left unattacked.”

      Spot on BLMac.

      Maybe Peter Bell could help you, us, out there by using this very site?


  4. You want relief from vacuous waffle? Then stop craving substance and go find something else to occupy your mind whilst the politicians do their job. Just because YOU DONT DO FAITH that doesn’t mean that any politician will publish their planned strategy to give you peace of mind.


  5. Time to march on Downing Street Scotland cos they’re not listening or interested in us “pesky Jocks”
    I am sick and tired of the disrespect and humiliation these cretins in Westminster heap upon my country whilst creaming billions down to their coffers in the Treasury , then they have also spread the lies and myth that we are a Nation of violent, miserable, drunken “subsidy junkies” who could never survive without mighty Westminster.
    Off yer knees Scotland , action speaks louder than words, peaceful , consistent protest is whats needed now but in London and across the whole country if necessary , Alba
    Gu Brath xxx


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