A response

The following started as a response to a comment on an earlier article by someone I assume to be Stu Campbell of Wings Over Scotland. If I have misidentified the individual in question then I apologise to both the parties concerned and to my readers. As you can see, the comment turned into a bit of an outpouring. I make no apology for this. I would only ask that as you read it you are mindful of its somewhat accidental origins. I intend this to be my last comment on the issue of ‘list parties’ and ‘cunning plans’ in general. We’ll see.

Recipe for success

It is to be expected that many of those who have been taken in by the novelty of the list party fantasy will resolve the conflict with their support for independence by convincing themselves that encouraging voters to abandon the SNP cannot possibly have any ‘unfortunate’ consequences. They are absolutely persuaded of the efficacy of their magic solution and cannot tolerate that being questioned. Not even in their own minds. Especially not in their own minds.

Life’s experience has taught me to be extremely wary of such evangelical fervour. I find cynicism a more substantial shield than delusion.

We saw – and still find – this near-religious belief in consequence-free action among those I have branded ‘The Postponers’. That is to say, those who adhere to Pete Wishart’s faith in the existence of an ‘Optimum Time’ (for a new independence referendum) which will come to us as surely as the dawn if only we take patience to a ‘higher plane’ where it morphs into a kind of intellectual hibernation. Just as ‘The Postponers’ will not entertain questions about the implications of delay, so believers in the pure power of the list party cannot abide to have their dogma challenged.

But those of us who are disinclined to abandon their intellectual capacity for the false comfort of religious faith realise that actions always have consequences. And that, especially dealing with people, and even more so when dealing with people en masse, there is no necessary mechanical relationship between the action and its consequences. People are complicated. Relationships between and among people are complicated. The relationships between deeds and their effects could hardly be the exception that the faithful need theirs to be.

The consequences for Scotland’s cause of abandoning the SNP as the lever by which our nation’s independence will be restored are potentially catastrophic. To contemplate any action which has this effect must be to gamble with the cause. One might sensibly argue that the consequences are minor. One cannot sensibly assert the absence of any consequences. To sensibly argue that the consequences are minor one would necessarily have to identify those consequences and make a persuasive case for them being trivial. One would also be obliged to rule out all other possible and possibly more serious consequences. This would be a rational response to those who question the proposed action. This would, in fact, be the rational approach to formulating the proposal. Healthy cynicism bids one question everything, first and foremost one’s own preconceptions and prejudices.

This is most assuredly not what is happening either in the case of the indefinite postponement of a new referendum or as regards a list party ‘strategy’ to flood the Scottish Parliament with pro-independence MSPs.

The list party strategy is being sold entirely and exclusively on the basis of a presumed highly desirable effect. Look at this wonderful outcome! Would you like to have this wonderful outcome? Then do as we say without question! The strategy is presumed to be ‘The Solution’ in the same way that the Union is presumed by Unionists to be the ideal constitutional settlement. Its wondrousness does not have to be proved. It just is!

I’m not buying it! Being more open-minded than adherents to the faith, I accept that it is possible the strategy might work. If absolutely everything goes as its proponents insist it will and if absolutely nothing deviates from that in the slightest way there is a theoretical possibility that the outcome might be some approximation of that which is promised. Being a cynic, however, I am bound to observe that this would not be characteristic of the real world. If things don’t always go wrong then the precautionary principle demands that we assume many things will go wrong. We plan for reality. No matter how dull and boring that may be.

I am an ‘ordinary’ person to the same extent that any of us conform to such a standard. I am a citizen of Scotland and a voter. I am not untypical of the people who must be persuaded if the list party strategy is to have any chance of working in the way its advocates insist it will. Not only am I not persuaded, but no effort is being made to persuade me. The list party strategy is being sold to me, but nobody is making a persuasive rational case for it. It is being sold to me in the same way as online adverts try to sell solutions which will transform your ten-year-old Dell laptop into a super-computer. Look at what it does! Don’t ask how it does it! And definitely don’t wonder out loud how something powerful enough to do what is promised can have no side-effects.

Open as I am to the idea that the list party strategy might work in something like the way promised I cannot accept that it is the ideal solution. Because not being blinkered by a prior commitment to this novel strategy I am unable to ignore the other strategy. The one we’ve had for as long as might as well be forever. The one we have used before. The one that is tried and tested. The one that has been examined and scrutinised and interrogated and found to have no significant deleterious consequences. The one which, even if it hasn’t been entirely successful up to now, at least has a well-established potential to bring success. Nobody, as far as I can tell, is arguing that using the SNP as the tool with which to restore Scotland’s independence cannot work. Nobody – other perhaps that the odd obvious nutter – is suggesting that using this tool that we have already fashioned for the purpose would risk catastrophe for Scotland’s cause. The thing about using the SNP as has always been the intention is that if it fails, it fails safe.

That there are problems with the SNP is undeniable. I would be the last person to deny it. I have hardly been anyone’s idea of the party loyalist. But I don’t look at the faults and failings and immediately assume the tool is fucked beyond any possible utility. I ask WHY it is not working. Or has not worked. And I conclude that it hasn’t worked because we are not using it properly. As is so often the case, it’s user-error. Rectify the user-error and we have the powerful tool we need. It is not necessary to go running around looking for an alternative. What we have is perfectly adequate for the task. What we have would be ideal if we applied our energies to deploying it in such a way as to realise its potential. And if it still fails, it fails safe. Or at least relatively safe.

I ask questions. All the time, I ask questions. I hope and strive to ask every possible question. And to recognise every possible answer. That won’t happen. But I find it a useful way of approaching problems. For example, I ask what is the worst possible outcome of the next Scottish Parliament election. (I trust we’re all agreed that this should be our focus at the moment.) I identify the worst possible outcome as the British parties retaking control of our Parliament. That is the stuff of nightmares for anyone who cares about Scotland. The alternative to an SNP administration is a ‘Scottish’ Tory government serving its masters in London without the slightest regard for the interests of the people of Scotland. It’s a no-brainer! Whatever else the Yes movement does as a force in Scottish politics we MUST ensure a decisive win for the SNP in 2021 – or whenever the election is held.

This is so important, so crucial, that it must be the focus of all our energies. We simply cannot afford to give the slightest impression that it is not vital to vote SNP. It doesn’t matter if we’re saying its OK not to vote SNP in the regional vote only, there is no way of avoiding this message spilling over into the constituency campaign. That is just one of the consequences that the list party advocates decline to address. It is a consequence which cannot sensibly be dismissed, The situation is such that even a small negative effect on the SNP vote could have massive implications.

Naturally, I also ask what would be the best outcome of the next Holyrood election. The outcome I, would wish for both in the context of good governance and in consideration of the fight to restore Scotland’s independence. The outcome I identify is a massive victory for the SNP. A substantial majority necessarily made up of both constituency and regional seats. Ideally, 50%+ in both votes. Thus we create the lever that will be strong enough to break open the British state and allow Scotland to escape the Union.

It is the only way we can create such a lever. Even if the list strategy worked perfectly and didn’t lose us the pro-independence majority and SNP administration it’s outcome would not produce a lever such as the SNP might be. We are working within the British political system. We have no choice but to do so. That is what there is until we can create and fully implement a system of our own. The British political system responds only to brute strength. It is vulnerable only to brute strength as typified by first-past-the-post, winner-take-all elections. It follows that in order to break the British state in the ways that we must be strong according to the criteria recognised by the British political system. That means channelling all our strength through one party. And only the SNP can serve this purpose.

This is not a proposal for a one-party state as some exceptionally shallow people may shrilly insist. It is a one-party solution to a particular problem. A problem which cannot otherwise be resolved.

A ‘Rainbow Parliament’ may sound wonderful. There is good reason to suppose it would be wonderful. Or pretty good. There is cause to suppose this is what will arise as Scotland develops a distinctive political ethos. But a multi-party situation would be utterly useless to the independence movement. Worse than useless. It would maximise potential divisions of the kind that the British political elite is so adept at exploiting. It just wouldn’t have the clout. It wouldn’t work. So, even if the list party strategy succeeds in it own terms, it inevitably fails in terms of restoring Scotland’s independence. And there’s always the other consequences – up to and including the risk of losing the SNP administration and/or the pro-independence majority, both of which are vital.

The worst thing about the alternative party proposals is not the disregarded potential consequences. The worst this is not the risk involved. The worst thing is that it is pointless. It is unnecessary. It serves no purpose. Not so long as we have and use the SNP. The worst thing is not that the tool we’re being offered is a very poor tool. The worst thing is that we are being asked to shun the tool that we know with something approaching absolute certainty can be effective if we use it well!

In arguing for the novelty of their wondrous solution the advocates of the various ‘cunning plans’ that have proliferated since 2014 point with bitterness at the SNP’s failures over that same period. The opportunities that have been missed. This argument only has persuasive power to the extent that we assume the SNP is necessarily like this. That it must inevitably fail us. That it will always miss opportunities. That the way things have been is the way they must always be. That the Yes movement – including SNP members – lacks the power to change things. If that is the case, Scotland’s cause is doomed.

If the Yes movement lacks the power to influence its own de facto political arm what possible hope might there be that we might influence affairs such as to bring our government home and build a better Scotland and create a better society and follow our aspirations rather than being driven by our fears. If we cannot harness the effective political power of the SNP in the service of Scotland’s cause then the question must be asked whether we are even fit to call ourselves the sovereign people of Scotland.



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42 thoughts on “A response

  1. A lot of what you say makes sense to me. But I would like your views on exactly how the Yes movement can influence the direction of the SNP, given the way the party’s conference is tightly controlled and manipulated by the party appartchiks. That, as I see it, is the fundamental issue- improving SNP internal party democracy. How can that be dealt with?

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    1. It would certainly be good if we were having that discussion instead of this ‘cunning plan’ nonsense. What we would be talking about if sanity prevailed is exactly the question you raise. That is the debate I’ve been trying to initiate for what seems like decades. I would dearly like to hear others’ input. I would joyfully welcome suggestions as to how we – the Yes movement INCLUDING SNP members – bring our power to bear on the de facto political arm of the independence movement.

      I do not want to dominate this debate, even if that were possible. So I will do no more at this juncture than suggest a starting point. It is a suggestion that I’ve advanced before but without really pushing it.

      It’s all about focus. That the Yes movement has the capacity to wield considerable political power is beyond doubt. Why do you think the SNP leadership is so wary of it? That this power has not been made effective is entirely explained by the lack of focus. If the power of the sovereign people of Scotland must be channelled through the SNP in order to crack the armour of the British state it follows that the power of the Yes movement must be similarly channelled in order to force the SNP to adopt a different, more assertive approach to the constitutional issue.

      The problem is that the Yes movement lacks the structures that would facilitate such channelling. In many ways, and for its life unto now, this lack of formal structures – a hierarchy – has been beneficial to the movement. But movements must evolve. The Yes movement must evolve in two ways. It must become – or give birth to – a lobbying organisation with the capacity to influence the SNP and the Scottish Government. And it must become – or give birth to – a ‘professional’ campaigning organisation capable of mounting a full political campaign such as the SNP might, as the party of government, be unable or (understandably) unwilling to be accountable for.

      The Yes movement needs a voice. Not the roar of the crowd but the reasoned voice of the political lobbyist. The Yes movement needs someone – perhaps a small group of someones – who can speak for the whole movement directly to political power – the SNP and the Scottish Government and civic Scotland and whoever needs to be spoken to or with. At present, this is impossible. Because of the Yes movement’s much-vaunted diversity, it is quite impossible for anyone to represent the entire amorphous blob. Diversity is great in a movement. It is death to lobbying and campaigning – which are closely related.

      We need to find the one thing that everybody in the Yes movement agrees on regardless of what political agenda or cause they espouse. That one thing, given the nature of the movement, must be #DissolveTheUnion. It cannot be independence, because there isn’t even broad agreement on what that term means or what vision for Scotland it implies. Whatever anyone thinks independence means and whatever they’re vision for thereafter everybody must agree that the entire project absolutely requires the ending of the Union. That is the point of focus. It always has been. It’s long past time to acknowledge this.

      The Yes movement can have a lobbying arm and a spokesperson or spokespersons so long as this is rigorously restricted to the basics of the constitutional issue. NO TALK OF POLICY!

      I’ve told you what you must do. Now go out and do it. Start by checking out the SNP Common Weal Group. That has promise as a vehicle for the kind of lobbying to which I refer. But get a fucking move on! Time is NOT on our side!

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  2. Your formula/equation will work, Mr Bell, only insofar as the SNP actually do something. If they do nothing – which is, basically, what they have been doing for the past five years – then nothing is what will happen. If the SNP are actually doing nothing, then, perhaps, it is time we asked why? I have been doing so for some time now, and there appear to be two main possibilities: 1) is that the SNP has become infiltrated with those who do not put independence at the top of their agenda, and, therefore, are happy to sit it out in power through devolution, regardless of how much that devolution will dwindle in the coming years – and it will; 2) the British State has put the fear of God into the leadership in ways that would never be admitted because, to do so, would be to admit that the SNP (its movers and shakers) is a spent firework, showering all with brightly-coloured sparks only to fall to Earth like a latter-day Icarus. Either way, something will have to give, and, maybe, this is it.

    I agree with you that there is a massive risk in adopting this strategy, if that is what it is, and that it would require an informal alliance, or understanding, might be a better word, between all the pro independence factions. The one thing that should be insisted upon is that the SNP cannot going the 2021 SE without a commitment in its manifesto to begin independence proceedings and negotiations immediately after the result, assuming it is a win. A second indyref is as far away as it ever was, as is independence unless something happens to kick-start it again. Pandering to minority interests (Unionist/British/English Nationalist ones, as well as others) has led to this snorl. It is one thing to acknowledge that we did not have a majority in 2014, but it is quite another to eschew all other means of leaving the Union because they might not involve directly a plethora of minority interests. There has been no majority for Unionism except as an alliance of anti independence (and fundamentally anti Scottish) interests, while the SNP has won every election since 2007. It is spitting in the face of democracy. There is nothing about wishing to kickstart independence again that is wrong; this stasis cannot continue. We have an unassailable case for independence but too many will simply will not admit as much. It is a disgrace is the 21st century. Persuasion is not working, not even in the light of Brexit or the pandemic. A few may have come over, but we need hundreds of thousands to come over to do it via a referendum. I am interested to know what you would do if the SNP shows no sign of advancing independence in its 2021 manifesto?

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      1. Oh, I do think like that. I have done my level best to alert people to what has been happening. I do think, though, and this pandemic has shown it more starkly than even Brexit, that we are in a bind from which we must escape. Johnson has Nicola Sturgeon on the ropes, with finance – by refusing to allocate funding if Scotland differs in any way from the UK. Never before have the limits of devolution been so evident. I could be wrong, but I have suspected for some time that the SG is being threatened by the UKG specifically in relation to the monies that will be released only if Scotland co-operates. When I say, the British State, I include the three English-based Unionist parties up here, and all their adherents, because, they, too, are part of the problem; indeed, all NO voters are; and that is why we should stop pandering to them when we really, really do not have to. We have the answers, but we need to have the will to put them in the right order and in their place.

        The SNP has been far too busy in representing ‘all of the people of Scotland’ at the expense of those who supported and built the party, and who actually vote for them and for YES, and, in fact, at the expense of its own core raison d’être. This has been the trap of the second indyref, when any such notion should have been abandoned after 2014, in the certain knowledge that the British State would never allow another, so close did we come to spoiling their hegemony. Without independence at its heart, the SNP is just another British party. It is going to take more than marches and rallies and pleading with the SNP hierarchy to take us to the next level. I think we need to make it plain to the leadership that we want a policy in their 2021 manifesto to move directly to independence after the election – on the assumption that the SNP will win it, of course – and this will take the fight directly to the Unionists and sundry British and English Nationalists. If they refuse, we will know that they have no intention whatsoever of taking us to independence and we can stop wasting our votes.

        This has happened in a number of countries that have sought their independence, and, in the end, it works because what arises out of the ashes – and it can be at lightening speed – will get the job done. We could also propose candidates at branch level, and outwith the SNP, who are prepared to take independence to the next level, letting the ‘cosy’ atmosphere become decidedly chilly for those careerists who think they can use us for their own prolonged comfort.

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    1. Re:
      1) is that the SNP has become infiltrated with those who do not put independence at the top of their agenda, and, therefore, are happy to sit it out in power through devolution, regardless of how much that devolution will dwindle in the coming years – and it will;
      2) the British State has put the fear of God into the leadership in ways that would never be admitted because, to do so, would be to admit that the SNP (its movers and shakers) is a spent firework, showering all with brightly-coloured sparks only to fall to Earth like a latter-day Icarus.

      There is also
      3) the British State has soft soaped part of the SNP government into going around in circles on Indy

      and
      4) some or all of the above in combination.

      I think you are right, there is a stasis and something needs to move.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Peter
    I agree wholeheartedly with what you are describing.
    I did and do see the SNP as The political vehicle for Independence.
    However, I have always felt dealing with the Westminster cabal a lost cause, as they don’t do democracy.
    I agree ,ending the union route is more precise.
    Cliché, a week is a long time in politics.
    So, a good while till an election.
    My wee brain looked at our voting system and saw unionist collaboraters
    Getting in ,without democratic process.
    The list vote.
    I asked on line how this could be prevented , it seems, the answer is true
    Pro Independence groups.
    I say true, we will find out.
    I see a Sam page coming up from engerland with a view to garner votes
    For a remain in Europe.
    Funny that !when we in Scotland voted a majority to stay in Europe already.
    My wee brain looks around for any similarities in our dilemma.
    Catalonia, prime example of splits and differences within the drive for independence .
    There is of course another dilemma
    When I was out and about campaining
    there are some who want independence but wouldn’t vote for the SNP, which I found strange.
    Not only that they didn’t have an answer when asked.
    Which I thought was very strange.
    The other one I cannot answer is, why on earth do we Scotland not go to the UN and get our independence as a moral right.
    Faffing about trying to persuade no voters is just the same as asking for a section 30.
    I have had one recently, who led me to believe they changed from no to yes.
    Yet, there they are still reading the express and hanging on every Tory word from bozo Johnson, even ready to get back out there from Tory instruction.
    Then I find they neither watch or listen to any of the daily briefings, yet rush to watch the bozo Johnson.
    Your right enough, human beings .
    Tch.
    They act as if Independence is a political ideology .
    More fool them.
    Regards
    Take it easy stay safe .
    Oh ! stay alert for ending the union
    Managed to get stay alert into a positive meaning.
    Lol🐼🐼

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    1. For the last time – FOCUS!

      I’m done with this. I hate repeating myself and this inevitably happens when people won’t listen. I definitely; will not be commenting further.

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      1. I dont know the internal structures but the Tories seem to be very robust at getting rid of MPs who they dislike at local level. I think we should go down that line. Pete Wishart is a case in point. He should be gone. I fund the SNP, put up banners, pay party dues etc (you find them give up your time and effort) and yet we have no say on who the local candidate is.

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  4. Good article Peter, and Lorna has made pretty much all of the comments that I wanted to make.
    For me there are a number of key points. If you model the numbers then you can show that a single list-only party might result in a higher number of pro-indy MSPs, but all such models are subject to the GIGO law (Garbage In, Garbage Out).
    We already have a tool that can definitely work, but it needs fixed. If we don’t fix it and sharpen it before the next Holyrood election, then the new unproven apparatus will be employed regardless, and it might have the intended result. On the other hand it might not especially if there is no electoral pact between the 3 or 4 list-only parties likely to take part.

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    1. I get 1 list party. If they can pull together and come together as 1, early on.

      But 3 or 4 with pacts which might or might not hold all the way to the wire? Forget it.

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  5. Well, Peter, what is missing here is clarity. And that is not clarity from you, because we have an excess of that, which in itself is a problem, because it is the truth of the situation which is not clear and your clarity is leaving the situation behind. Nobody needs clarity from you at this point, in fact it detracts. What is required is clarity from the situation.

    Last year and until the Salmond trial, we were seeing a lot of “Why doesn’t she get on with it? Why is she sitting on a pile of mandates? What is the problem in the SNP?”. And I was trusting of the SNP and was urging patience.

    Now we have seen the Salmond trial and I am now convinced that there is a problem, to the extent that I could not trust the SNP to front an Indy campaign without making sure that the result ends up the wrong side of 50%.

    But now you are urging to go ahead with the SNP warts and all. I would prefer to carry on with the SNP, but I fear that the warts go far too deep. What I want to see is the problem in the SNP exposed and dealt with and it is just premature right now until we can take into account what Salmond can tell us. Although we have more than an inkling as to what the problem is.

    While this situation remains unaddressed, there is possibly too much scope for list parties. But if the SNP does not get on and sort itself out before the year is out, we may find ourselves in need of the list parties. I don’t want it to go that way, but if the SNP situation is not resolved in good time for Holyrood 2021, then the hindsight of 2022 may tell us that it was a good thing to use 2021 to get the list parties bedded in

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    1. I am urging to go ahead with the SNP because there is nothing else that can do the job. Because restoring Scotland’s independence is more important to me than the internal affairs of a political party.

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  6. Look its simple the SNP start acting like a party for indy or they get replaced. If it puts the indy cause back it will be their fault not ours. People warned about the New Labour effect and it seems to be coming true. I feel for the SNP at times because they are caught between a rock and a hard place at times but there is something going on that is distinctly rotten. Faith and patience can only last so long. You yourself have despaired at the actions. So what you are saying is bitch n whine then bitch n whine some more while they do fuck all but actually turn yes voters off. Sounds like the snp Westminster group bumping their chat and getting nowhere in the dump. Pull the mps out of London and start making preparations to use holyrood election as a de facto referendum, frame it as dissolve the union or whatever the fuck just get a bit of oomph about things rather than pissing about falling out over pishy legislation that no one wants like GRL

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    1. We don’t have time to replace the SNP. Why is it that people so readily discount the entire concept of time when discussing the constitutional issue? As if any time in the next three or four centuries would do?

      And don’t fucking tell me what I’m saying as if you knew my mind better than I do myself. It makes you look like an arrogant buffoon. Maybe attend to what I’m saying and make a wee effort to understand it instead of misrepresenting it as the thing for which you’d already prepared a response.

      What I actually said was to STOP bitching and wing and start speaking directly to the SNP leadership. Give them an ultimatum. Tell them exactly what we want, exactly how to go about doing it, and exactly what will happen if they don’t.

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      1. “…What I actually said was to STOP bitching and wing and start speaking directly to the SNP leadership. Give them an ultimatum. Tell them exactly what we want, exactly how to go about doing it, and exactly what will happen if they don’t…”

        The only ultimatum that would work is if they were in fear of not being voted into power again. That would concentrate minds no end. However, in order to do that, we would have to allow them to fall and another party to take their place. As you say, we are running out of time. I appreciate what you are saying about the YES movement, but again, it takes time to establish a new party, particularly one that would be standing in the FPTP ballot, or, if the YES movement itself were to lead, it would have to get its act together on how to conduct itself if it rose to power. I really can’t see any alternative to the SNP, so I think it is they who must rethink their whole strategy. What we could all do is send an email, a letter, whatever to the party and/or our local MPs/MSPs and let them know that they are risking the loss of our votes if they do not make independence the immediate result on day one of election to Holyrood. If they hope to be re-elected, or elected, then they will take heed of the warning. This policy could be in place way before the 2021 SE. Or do you think they would call our bluff, knowing we are both pushed for time and having nothing else to replace them in the short term? That’s what they have done thus far, so we would need to be sure we could force their hand.

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      2. They have paid attention so far haven’t they. People are pulling their memberships left right and centre. What is the figure now? Your changing nothing. I respect your views on a lot of things but they can act how they like because there is literally no one else to vote for. It’s your observations of fuds like Pete Wishart that add to my sense of frustration of what is going on. I thought Nicola would be our Bruce but in fact she’s turning into the great pretender, on the cusp of something truly incredible but shat it. I always believed another indy party was counter productive but I’m thinking it’s now a necessity. If a party stood at the next general election with a manifesto that said majority of Scottish seats = negotiations to dissolve the union it would get my vote

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      3. Some of us see the flaw in the argument that miraculous things such as have never been done before can easily be achieved if we just believe in the power of the cunning plan. But there is no power known to humanity which can get a thing to do what it is designed and intended to do. Adherents to the religion of the cunning plan have total faith in their ability to take a new, untested party with no money, no policies, no experience, no members, no public recognition, no anything that characterises a successful political party and make that party do in the space of one year what the SNP took 80 years to do. They insist that they have the magical power to work this miracle. But they don’t have the power to influence the SNP.

        And you wonder why I’m sceptical! I’m sceptical because I don’t do faith.

        But it gets worse. Because there is not just the one Church of the Cunning Plan. There are several cults. And there will be more. Because that is the nature of faith. It one person believes they can wok wonders then others can believe the same thing. So we can look forward to a proliferation of cunning plan cults all promising the same miracle with the same votes. That trick with the sliced white and packet of fish fingers is going to be right in the shade.

        The good news is that Professor John Curtice will be retiring to spend more time with his medication when he finds the vote shares add up to 317%.

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  7. Hi Peter … these are extracts (only slightly amended) from posts I have made elsewhere), to tempt you to even begin reading them, I offer the last paragraph: … “I wish to leave you with this question – do you believe the Yes movement can play a part in this, I think so – do you?”.

    I note your decision to no longer expend thought or energy on this subject, I believe you are wrong in that – there is a central and crucial element in this discussion, which I believe is NOT being addressed, namely – politics – to be effective – often has to be a ruthless behind the doors practice!, Like you I make no apology for the length of what follows – I have marked the extracts as Posts – numbered.

    Post 1) If you are sure that there will be repeated requests from the Scottish Government for the granting of a Section 30 order, in which year of the current Fixed Term Conservative Majority UK Government do you have hopes that they might say yes?

    2020? 2021? 2022? 2023? 2024?

    … and what if the answer is always NO?

    Post 2) Consider …

    1) Because of the virus – the elections due next May are postponed for a year.

    2) However it is decided that another request for a S30 should be made. It is again rejected.

    3) Tensions twixt Scotland and Westminster detiorate, not least after a hard Brexit (and a lot more probably) and in the autumn of 2021, a decision is taken to withdraw all existing MP’s from Westminster.

    4) It is decided and agreed ( behind closed doors) that each of those MPs will stand as an Independent candidate on the Regional Lists only.

    I will use two examples only …Ian Blackford will stand in the Highlands and Islands Region, Mhairi Black in the Glasgow Region, both as Independents on the List only.

    the independence of Scotland requires votes which are not wasted but are “targetted” to secure its future, and we all need to find ways, every way we can, in which that can be achieved,

    Post 3) I chose to use certain criteria in my earlier post, independent as opposed to party (think Margo in those terms), but perhaps most important, although far from obvious, the bracketed (behind closed doors).

    Is all this as others have suggested all too far late in the day – if you relate it to “party” perhaps it is – but is it if you want the next Scottish Parliament to have as may MSPs dedicated to independence as possible – then imho this discussion has come at precisely the right time – we need to really get to grips with how we vote – in a targetted manner – on the Regional List vote. In part that is why I emphasised independent/candidate rather than party – and it is good that is becoming a greater part of the discussion.

    Example from the above – if given the choice on the List vote – would you vote for Mhairi Black as an independent candidate over Annie Wells – as a member of the Conservative Party? It seems strange I even have to ask that question … but it takes you directly to, for me, the central question/problem anyone as a Yes supporter has to begin to grapple with.

    If you answered – bloody obvious – I would vote Mhairi, don’t ask stupid questions, now factor in the SNP saying SNP1&2, How does that alter your thinking would you still vote Mhairi or continue to support the SNP who have asked for SNP1&2 … and for me that is why we need this discussion.

    What do you want? When do you want it? And based on your answer – how important is it that the MSPs we select on the List, as opposed to those we may allow in through the back door and will sit in the Parliament. Who will achieve what we all want – and not be paid to sit there and constantly oppose it?

    Thus why I used (behind closed doors) …politics can be an art involving compromise, it can also be a ruthless cutthroat utterly messy business (something the Tories are masters at). If it is Party before Indepedence we are very likely to have Annie Wells and James Kelly again. If however – behind closed doors – some very savvy politicians and their strategists hold private undiscclosed discussions – it might be the ugly but ruthlessly positive way to create a Scottish Parliament ready and fit to seek and obtain Scotland’s independence.

    I wish to leave you with this question – do you believe the Yes movement can play a part in this, I think so – do you?

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    1. I always feel guilty when I’ve missed your comments. Just cannae keep up, I’ll get back to you once I’ve read this. Struggling a wee bit with eye-strain at the moment. The penalty of a life lived staring at an assortment of devices.

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    2. What do we do when the Electoral Commission steps in and bans the “independent” candidates because they are obviously SNP candidates trying to play the system? You can be sure that, unlike in other circumstances where a post election fine was considered appropriate, in the case of the SNP, action would be taken at once.

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    3. “I wish to leave you with this question – do you believe the Yes movement can play a part in this, I think so – do you?”

      If that question is directed to me then it suggests you have acquainted yourself with any part of my argument. Because I am the one saying not only that the Yes movement can play a part but that the Yes movement has an absolutely critical role to play. It is the various cults of the cunning plan who doubt the power of the Yes movement. They sneer contemptuously at any suggestion the Yes movement might influence the SNP.

      You imagine a scenario which seeks to make the dogma of the cunning plan more attractive by replacing the thing that you actually have – unknown and anonymous parties devoid of the characteristics of winning political parties – with well-established, experienced political ‘celebrities’. The argument seems to be that if Mhairi Black can do it, why can’t that inexperienced newcomer who nobody has ever heard of?

      You fall for the old ‘more is always better’ fallacy. 6 pints of beer is ALWAYS better than 1 pint of beer in your calculations. More thoughtful calculation, however, takes due account of the fact that you only have one glass. Once it is filled, the other five pints are no use to you. They end up spilt on the floor and no use to anybody.

      You have decided the goal is to get as many pro-independence MSPs as possible. I have decided the goal is to get Scotland’s independence restored. We are never going to agree because your objective is not my objective. What is important to you is not important to me.

      Even if your cunning plan was as cunning as the dogma claims it is, it’s a cunning plan to flood the Scottish Parliament with MSPs. It is NOT a plan to get independence. If the outcome sought is action taking in the Scottish Parliament for the purpose of restoring Scotland’s independence then your cunning plan doesn’t do that even if it succeeds in achieving the goal that you have set – lots and lots of pro-independence MSPs. If only you were thinking in terms of restoring independence and what that requires then it would be immediately obvious that flooding Holyrood with pro-independence list MSPs does not serve that goal. In terms of what is needed to get independence, those additional pro-independence MSPs are entirely redundant. As scientists would say, they are neither necessary nor sufficient.

      As I said, my priority is restoring Scotland’s independence. I am not obsessing about getting the maximum possible number of MSP’s. These are two entirely different projects. You have a cunning plan to achieve your goal. I have a very straightforward plan to achieve mine. Your cunning plan requires something not far short of a political miracle in order to succeed, and even then it succeeds only in putting more pro-independence MSPs in the Scottish Parliament. For you, that is success. My plan aims, not at flooding the chamber with indy-friendly MSP’s, but at forcing the action which brings about the restoration of Scotland’s independence. For me, success is a Scottish Government acting through the Scottish Parliament to end the Union. What I have called #ScottishUDI.

      I think my goal is more important than yours. More importantly, my goal is definitely achievable while yours is only doubtfully achievable. Most importantly of all my goal get independence. Your goal doesn’t.

      You have failed to properly analyse the problem, so obviously you’ve come up with the wrong solution. You think the problem is a lack of pro-independence MSPs and that the problem can be solved with a cunning plan to get more of them. In fact, the problem is the lack of a Scottish Government with the political will and the testicular capacity to take the necessary action in the Scottish Parliament. That problem is solved, not by flooding Holyrood with pro-independence MSP’s but by a simple majority of pro-independence MSPs willing to take the necessary action.

      Without that – without an SNP administration committed to #ScottishUDI in some form, all those pro-independence list MSPs can do absolutely fuck all to bring about the restoration of Scotland’s independence. Not one fucking thing! They are not SUFFICIENT. And that SNP needs only an overall majority of one to initiate #ScottishUDI. So your additional list MSPs are not NECESSARY.

      Again, the Yes movement most certainly has a part to play. On one thing the cunning plan cultists are correct. I totally agree that, as things stand, the SNP cannot be relied upon to initiate #ScottishUDI. THAT is what we have to change. NOT the number of MSPs in favour of #ScottishUDI. So long as that number is one more than the British parties squatting in Scotland’s Parliament, we’re golden! Only the Yes movement has the potential political clout to force the SNP to commit to #ScottishUDI prior to the next Holyrood elections. And the Yes movement’s potential to do this can only be realised if it speaks with one voice and does not divert any of its energies to any cunning plans.

      I vowed I wasn’t going to say any more on this subject because the cunning plan cultists are just too obsessed with their wrong-headed project to listen to any arguments. I have resigned myself to the next Holyrood election fucking-up the independence campaign even more than it has been fucked up already. If things continue as they are, there is no good outcome. There are only degrees of bad outcome ranging from the merely awful to the totally catastrophic. I can even hear in my head the rationalizations and blame-shifting that the cunning plan cults will deploy when even they are obliged to admit that the independence campaign has been fucked into oblivion.

      I despair.

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      1. A longer post will follow.

        I used extracts in my earlier post – I did not include the preface to Post 2 – I now do so:

        ” If I get pelters for this (probably) so be it …and yes, I have read all the posts so far written – they show clear differences of opinion because I think there are 2 different arguments taking place. I think I can demonstrate that with a “thought experiment” – bear with me, please?”

        1) “Pelters” is probably to weak and polite a word when one engages with you Peter (intended as a compliment), but there is nobody I would rather have in opposition than you 2) I also wish to reiterate from that preface that my judgement remains that there are 2 (at least) different arguements taking place, your last post imho provides evidence that supprts that contention, Peter … and lastly 3) Post 2 was a “thought experiment” … it had its intentions on that basis, that probably requires explanation – it will form part of my follow on response, which may be delayed until at least tomorrow, but it will follow.

        First however, may I address Angry Weegie: “What do we do when the Electoral Commission steps in and bans the “independent” candidates because they are obviously SNP candidates trying to play the system? You can be sure that, unlike in other circumstances where a post election fine was considered appropriate, in the case of the SNP, action would be taken at once.”

        That – that “event” may indeed occur is inherent in my thinking, it can indeed be anticipated, Also inherent in my thinking can be found here: PARLIAMENTARY INFORMATION LIST: Number 04101, 26 September 2017:
        Members of Parliament holding dual mandates … and the position it establishes, is also somethong to be thought through and anticipated.

        I would also ask that reference be made to: PE01791: Referendums (Scotland) Act 2020, and perhaps in particular to the SPICe Briefing (150KB pdf). A Declaration of Independence emanating from within the Scottish Pariament, followed by a confirmatory referendum is dependent on the legality of the referendum itself – thus we must be sure, and without doubt that it cannot be challenged – the precise purpose of the Petition I have lodged.

        Cliche as it may be, life is a series of events … they can happen to you, or you can be the instrument that can cause them to happen. That is the purpose of Post 1 to establish and then question what may be a series of “events”. The continued pursuit of a S30 fits into my list of potential “events” as does the response elicited also dictate an “event”. Dependent on one’s thoughts on its success or failure, and I share your judgement on that issue, Peter, one must “think” through what other “events” can be established by the Yes movement, nowing in advance that the Yes movement shares an objective, but does not share the methods of achieving it.

        I will post further as soon as I can, other matters require my more immediate attention. (posted in haste and without checking spelling, grammar nor punctuation – sorry.)
        .

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      2. It’s a simple question. Or pair of questions.

        Without an SNP administration committed to doing what those MSPs want, what use would your list MSPs from cunning plan parties be?

        With an SNP administration committed to doing what they want, what purpose would these list MSPs from cunning plan parties serve?

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      3. I committed to a further post, this is now likely to probably now be out of sequence, and not directly the follow on I intended, but (whilst hoping your “I’m out” is temporary, Peter – who else forces me to think quite so much!) what does follow is the theme I am working to. You wish to ensure the position of the SNP over UDI is secure by asking the Yes movement to challenge the SNP over it, you also despair over the appearance of List Parties.

        This is a post I made elsewhere – for me it is not the parties that should be confronted by the Yes movement, it should be the candidates(of any party) – and I emphasise the word “confront” – it is the word and direct action required not just on these issues, but in many many others. As best I am able it will be what I attempt to confront the Yes movement on. Post follows:

        “What for you is more important – who is elected or what they do when elected?

        Here are a list of legitimate questions that could be asked of any candidate (of any party) who wished to be elected to the next Scottish Parliament. Would their answers to those questions play any part in your decision on how you would vote?

        If you are sure that there will be repeated requests from the Scottish Government for the granting of a Section 30 order, in which year of the current Fixed Term Conservative Majority UK Government do you have hopes they might just say yes? 2020? 2021? 2022? 2023? 2024?

        What would you do if in any of those years, or in them all, if the answer was always NO!

        If the answer was always No – would you vote in the Scottish Parliament in favour of a process which led to a Declaration of Independence, followed by a Confirmatory Referendum?

        What if the UK Government was watching a growing rise in the polls for independence, and a growing number of MSPs looking likely to vote for UDI – and in response the UK Government said YES you may have a Referendum – here are the conditions that will apply – the first of which is a threshold of say 60% – would you accept that offer?”

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  8. I cant understand why we need a lobbyist or lobby group to lobby the SNP to fight for independence, isn’t that what we voted them into power for, isn’t that what they’re supposed to stand for ?

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    1. It isn’t to lobby them to lobby the SNP to fight for independence. Wee tip! If you state something and it seems silly, there’s at least a fair chance it is silly. So maybe you should have a wee think about it. And if you’ve attributed this ‘thought’ to someone else you might want to consider going back and checking that you’ve understood correctly.

      The lobbying, as I think I made clear, is to pressure the SNP into adopting a different approach to the constitutional issue.

      On reflection, why would I even need to make this clear? Why isn’t it obvious? Even you admitted that the thing you suggested didn’t make sense. People are so fucking annoying!

      Next question, supposing you haven’t totally misunderstood the foregoing, is about the nature of this different approach. As I’ve had to say so often before, this is something I’ve said before. Start with rejection of the Section 30 process and work it out from there. I did. And there’s nothing special about my mind other than that I actually use the fucking thing.

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  9. @ Graeme 14.01 exactly Graeme or did the SNP forget why they are there , and if they have forgotten or are unwilling to move forward all the lobbying won’t change their minds . I repeat and repeat the SNP especially NS has/is not listening to the GROUNDSWELL just now how will another lobbying group change that especially now with the wokeists and the power they have

    So all the setting up of lobbying groups and electing spokespersons for those groups to liaise with whoever in the SNP SG will take months and what happens if the SNP gradualists then say NAW we’re no listening or daein whit you tell us , WHAT THEN

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  10. Presumably judging by your last paragraph anybody that disagrees with you is either too thick to understand what you’re saying or aren’t using their brain, otherwise they’d be in complete agreement right ?

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  11. KS, you are right: people are pulling their memberships, and even that has not worked. I got a letter saying, sorry you’re leaving us. That’s it, after many years of support. Nothing short of threatening to put them out on their backsides is going to change anything. They are afraid – most of them, but not all – of actually confronting Westminster, of acknowledging what it would mean. Not one of them, MP or MSP, should have been allowed a candidature without first having taken on board that they are temping, that the job is not a sinecure, but that they are the means to us gaining our independence. After all, when we get independence, they will all be needed to run Scotland, in any case. They need to be confronted themselves: with the fact that a PRE independence referendum is not necessary in law, never was. Most of them talk as if it were some kind of legal and constitutional hurdle, and that has passed into mythology, forcing us into a cul de sac of our own making.

    Realistically, any attempt to try and harness any constitutional precedent in our favour will fail now because we are not dealing with devolution, but with independence, and the British State will not allow any attempt in the domestic arena to come to any kind of fruition. The Brexit nonsense should have told us that. No matter what sovereignty we think the people of Scotland have, it will still have to jump the hurdle of of the UKG and the courts, particularly the Supreme Court. Even Joanna Cherry still talks of taking the UKG to court, but the only time that ‘we’ won against the UKG was when Johnson prorogued parliament illegally, and no court in any jurisdiction could have let that pass. It was certainly not a triumph of Scottish sovereignty over Westminster hegemony, but, rather, the triumph of the ‘British’ (English) Constitution over the ‘British’ (English) government. The only way to restore our sovereignty is to break the Union via the Treaty, and I think it is a can of worms neither Holyrood nor Westminster are willing to open – not yet, anyway, although the SG will have to eventually, unless they lie down and think of England, which, if their record to date is anything by which to judge, they might well do if we let them. Which, of course, takes us full circle and how we are going to impression them that they cannot take our votes for granted. In Nicola Sturgeon’s shoes, I’d be quietly briefing a first-class constitutional lawyer.

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    1. What a bloody mess.

      You say, ”KS, you are right: people are pulling their memberships, and even that has not worked. I got a letter saying, sorry you’re leaving us”, whilst Peter, your comrade-in-arms, is telling everyone to support the SNP now following constantly attacking Nicola Sturgeon / the SNP on his site.

      People like you two have a lot to answer for when it comes to the situation that we find ourselves in now. Instead of requesting that the SNP rethink their whole strategy what about rethinking your own? You know getting right behind Nicola Sturgeon / the SNP and slagging off the BritNat politicians instead of vice versa which has been your and Peter’s modus operandi for quite some time now. How you ever thought that your actions were going to create the surge in support that we required to help us to win Indyref2 is beyond me … and many others.

      And by the way it’s not too late to put up some kind of a fight to combat what’s going on elsewhere. You know the so-called influential pro-independence site that’s now being run by BritNats. Start by getting facts out there in an attempt to dissolve the Union instead of working your backside off in an attempt to destroy the ONLY party that’s capable of getting us our Independence. You ”pulled your membership!” How the Unionists must be rubbing their hands in glee every time they hear that one being repeated and yet for someone who professes to want Independence you seem to be incapable of recognising the damage that you are doing to the cause.

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  12. As a proud Englishman I love reading the various arguments but I wonder if you are missing the point as far as Independence goes. You are talking to the wrong people. The English establishment for some bizarre reason known only to themselves have to back the ‘United Kingdom’ which has been a joke for some time. Ask the English people what they think and you would get a thumping majority to rid ourselves of both the constantly whining Scots and also the Northern Irish… more whining Scots if not in name…and then you could realign yourselves with your historically favorite pals the French. Who of course have only used you to get at us and would not let you into the EU because it would seriously annoy the Spanish. Catalonia etc.
    I know that I am in the majority in saying please please piss off and leave us in peace. Lobby for an English vote and you will definitely get Independence and we can rebuild Hadrian’s wall. Oh sorry I forgot you haven’t got any money. Tough.
    Also you could make your lives easier by making verbosity a criminal offence. Love you really.

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    1. Except that the establishment and the populace are two very different things, Mr Harris. While your ordinary English person might happily wave goodbye to us, your vested interest will not: Trident, that seat on the Security Council of the UN, water, energy, MoD dumps, our coastal and deep sea assets and resources, our terrestrial resources… If you just think colony, you’ll get grip of the bind we are in. Thanks for the love bombing, but your idea wouldn’t even get off the ground. Can you point to any country the Empire freed just because it whinged and whined? Nope, neither can I. Almost all had to prise the sticky fingers off the levers of power and the most dangerous one of all, the finger that hovers over the red button, resides on a hand which, in turn resides on a body, which, in turn resides in London. See, it’s easy when you try. However, don’t give up on trying to get your fellow English to complain to Westminster. There’s a first for everything, after all.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I did a full survey of all 4.1 million voters in Scotland over the last half hour, all of who had been self-administered a truth drug, and it turns out that 371 of them resigned their membership of the SNP over the last 6 months, an average of 4,335 times each, a further 358 won’t vote SNP ever again again again again, 815,978 people who wouldn’t touch the SNP before with someone else’s bargepole before BoJo’s coronavirus strategy will now vote SNP.

    21 of the electorate said they were responsible for 623 million tweets, 55 million forum posts, and nearly all of the posts on a previously Independence supporting website, and Rev Stu wasn’t asked as he doesn’t have a vote here.

    Nurse!

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    1. Santa goes round the whole world in 24 hours and gives all the kids a present. So even if you have been all around Scotland in half an hour, I doubt you have given any of the kids a gift. That makes you not just lazy but a tight git besides.

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