A reluctant revolutionary?

There’s something missing from Lesley Riddoch’s column in The National. As I read all the de rigeur boilerplate about how dreadful the Tories are and how intolerable it is that voters in England will continue to elect them despite how awful Boris Johnson is and despite the Dominic Cummings scandal on top of all the other scandals now eclipsed by the Dominic Cummings scandal and how the British Tories in Scotland have been forced to say something critical of their masters in London that they’ve only been allowed to say because their masters in London don’t give a toss about what the British Tories in Scotland say because voters in England will continue to elect them anyway and how untenable and insupportable it is that Scotland should have a Tory government imposed by English voters and how all of this is going to conspire to make independence happen because Nicola Sturgeon has performed better than any other politician on the catwalk of daily public health crisis briefings and… nothing!

Where there should be some mention of what WE actually DO to make independence happen, there’s nothing. Where we might expect a few words about how the Scottish Government might respond to all of the foregoing in a way that helps convert glaring constitutional injustice into major constitutional reform, there’s nothing. Were we might have anticipated some wise advice from Lesley on what the SNP could actually do to exploit the ineptitude and corruption of the British political elite to the benefit of Scotland’s cause, there’s nothing.

Where we might have hoped for a rousing message of encouragement and incitement to the Yes movement urging us on with a call to some kind of action, there’s nothing.

Anybody reading this column could be forgiven for thing Lesley Riddoch genuinely believes that independence is going to fall in our laps while we sit and watch a bunch of political, social and economic vandals shake the edifice of the British state to destruction. Those of us who are better acquainted with Lesley’s politics and spirit will know that this is not so. But the impression given is undeniable.

To be fair, she may have reached her word limit before she got around to mentioning Scotland’s role in restoring Scotland’s independence. But Lesley is a professional writer. She is one of depressingly few journalists in Scotland for whom the term ‘journalist’ is not used in a pejorative sense. She is perfectly capable of editing out enough of the oft-repeated charge sheet against the government of England-as-Britain to make space for a paragraph or two on how the people of Scotland might be involved in the process or restoring our nation’s rightful constitutional status. We can only conclude that the absence of any such material is a matter of personal choice rather than an error of journalistic judgement.

But why would she do that? Why would Lesley Riddoch leave out what some would argue is the most important part of the equation? Why would she risk leaving the impression that she was naive enough to imagine independence would come about, not as a result of the choices and actions of Scotland’s people, but as a consequence of the British political elite’s failures?

Perhaps because she knows what must be done but is reluctant to spell it out for fear of the inevitable backlash from the hyper-cautious elements of the independence movement. Maybe Lesley Riddoch has joined the growing number of people who are recognising that only bold, decisive, assertive action will get Scotland’s independence restored. It’s possible she’s just not yet ready to come out of the closet and declare for #ScottishUDI.



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19 thoughts on “A reluctant revolutionary?

  1. It is a common feature of hacks, commentators and bloggers of many hues (with the odd notable exception) to stop before articulating the obvious conclusion of their own analyses, that revolutionary conduct is absolutely necessary or nothing will ever change.

    Respectable writers do not advocate revolution lest they become targets.

    Sticking one’s head above the barricades is often little more than suicidal.

    Only when people have absolutely nothing left to lose will they even contemplate any kind of civil disobedience, let alone revolution.

    I am not holding my breath.

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  2. Something big is being played out on the screen before our eyes. Something which tells more than ever of the truth about the British union. Hush. Don’t interrupt it. Whatever we have to say can wait for its time. Events are delivering aspects of our message far more effectively than we could ever do.

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      1. This is not “don’t interrupt your enemy while he makes a mistake” it is don’t block the view and spoil the show. You can only smell your own stale pish.

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      1. If people are not making up their minds while they watch this unfold, then us telling them our story while it goes on is not going to make up their minds any more. Afterwards, we can remind them, but if Peter distracts them with our story while they were watching the British State unravel a bit more, they will only remember the smell of wee and associate it with the loudest message.

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      2. It’s incredible the lengths some people will go to rationalise their complacent indolence. This is the best – or worst – I’ve seen yet. In your fantastical wee world people behave whatever way they need to behave for your self-serving rationalisations to work.

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      3. The problem, Peter, is not that people are daft and can be made to think our way if only we tried harder. They can actually make their own minds up. So they have to be approached intelligently.

        What we have from you is a bone headed Stakhanovite philosophy of industriously shouting and trying to make your voice the loudest to be heard. It is the worst kind of complacency – by refusing to concede that yours in not always the most important voice, you are deluding yourself that what you have always done is what you should always do.

        There is that saying that ‘History repeats itself, it has to because no one listens’. At the moment, events are speaking. So, shut up [stfu, if you didn’t get that] and let people listen.

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      4. You are very far from qualified to represent my views. Predictably, you make a total arse of it.

        I am truly sick of the smart-arse, know-it-all pseudo-intellectuals lecturing us on how to campaign from a place so far up their own arse they are unable to see reality far less comment on it sensibly. There may well be nothing more dangerous to Scotland’s cause at the moment than the fuckwitted view that we needn’t campaign at all but just sit back quietly while rabid British Nationalists do the work for us. The shit-headed notion that people are going to behave in whatever way makes the ‘wheesht for indy’ philosophy work. That things that have never happened before will surely happen in just a wee while so long as we keep perfectly still.

        The advantage of this crap for those who peddle it is that even if they are wrong about the efficacy of a campaign of inaction and silence they can always blame failure on anybody who makes the slightest movement or utters the slightest sound. Because the upper limit of how much can be done and said is defined as whatever is done and said by anybody with who these bollards disagree. And there is no lower limit. So the merest sound or gesture can be deemed excessive.

        I can just imagine the pant-smear styling itself оптик telling the marchers in Selma, Alabama that they’re getting it all wrong. What they should be doing is sitting at home quietly waiting until enough black people have been lynched, beaten or abused that the invisible civil rights movement is declared the winner. Because all the white folks aren’t watching ‘I Love Lucy’! They’re watching non-existent news reports about black people being lynched, beaten and abused and having their consciences pricked by what they’re not being told. Unless, of course, thousands of people take to the streets to protest the lynching, beating and abuse. Then they can’t hear anything and go back to watching ‘I Love Lucy’.

        You know how stupid somebody is when it takes this much effort to explain to them how fucking stupid they are.

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      5. re: “You know how stupid somebody is when it takes this much effort to explain to them how fucking stupid they are.”

        Vindicating my comment about your bone headed Stakhanovite philosophy of industriously shouting and trying to make your voice the loudest to be heard.

        You know how stupid someone is when you have to keep repeating the same point to them.

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      6. As for Selma, that was 1965. The emancipation of slaves in the USA was in 1863. George Floyd was killed on Monday. It is taking a lot of time to work that one through. And your ‘I Love Lucy argument’ is trivialising the struggle of the blacks at the expense of our own struggles.

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      7. оптик: when the Soviet Union unravelled, did the satellite states sit around waiting for the last bit of the thread to tease itself out or did they actually do something to hasten the end? Shall I tell you? They moved immediately towards independence, holding confirmatory/ratifying referendums. The ones where Soviet nuclear weapons were sited, demanded their removal, and the Russian Federation did so within two years. The Baltic States, for example, gave their minority Russian populations a choice: stay and become Estonian/Latvian/Lithuanian citizens or return to Mother Russia. We offered much more in 2014, and still our overtures were repudiated. Personally, I am sick to the back teeth of pandering to No voters when right is on our side. Resile the Treaty and we will see how many decide to stay in Scotland post independence. I suspect it will be almost all of them, if not all. In which case, we will all be Scots in a new Scotland.

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      8. Lorna: “оптик: when the Soviet Union unravelled, did the satellite states sit around waiting for the last bit of the thread to tease itself out or did they actually do something to hasten the end?”

        Yes, a great insight Lorna! The parallel with the USSR [and with the former Yugoslavia] is more or less where we are. The constitutional issues are very much the same and the longer view on the process of break up [that the smaller parts no longer would tolerate the degeneration of the whole] are strikingly similar.

        I would say that on the USSR parallel, we are about at Chernobyl, in that we are now witnessing the failure of an enfeebled centre to deal with events, which, although they are exceptional, should be within the capability of a competent state to mitigate [not necessarily avoid] before they kick off and within their capability to manage and control once they are under way.

        Thanks for giving me the great inspiration, Lorna: What Peter is doing is the equivalent of demanding that we all campaign for Ukrainian Independence [note the spelling, Peter] in the middle of the Chernobyl incident.

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  3. Shouldn’t think that Lesley Riddoch would ever shrink from what she feels needs saying.Think the article was more of a “rats/sinking ship” observation.

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  4. She is on record complaining that her stints at SNP conference about how greener and more Nordic policies would be good are always well attended but nothing happens at policy or government level to move on them so she is reconsidering why she should bother.

    So I suspect she is coming around to the idea of more radical movements etc but using the nuclear option of UDI as a metric and suggesting anything short of it isn’t good enough seems an example of the perfect being the enemy of the good enough as well as a strange rubric.

    I’m all for making WM think we might go there in order to get them to agree a more orderly transition but it is not something we should be wishing for. Especially as the Catalan situation shows we are not absolutely sure of strong international recognition of us AND the Scottish military are onside or we can sure of a lower ranks mutiny to expel English officers. Sure we control Polis Scotland and the Fire Service and the UK has no federal police or paramilitary force but without the troops onside we are short full control of our land and borders.

    Also do we really wish to see armed polis facing off against Scottish squaddies?

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    1. Very often in my life, I feel like Cassandra – doomed never to be believed. We have the f*****g Treaty. Use it. Another referendum is a Trojan horse. Ask the Irish how well conflict plays out. They are now boxing clever. It is all so unnecessary when we could be doing the same.

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  5. I see Sarah Smith still gets to grill Nicola Strugeon despite the propaganda last week. Alex Salmond would have left her looking like the idiot she is. Is it obligatory to have a warped mouth to be an Anti Scottish pretendy Scottish BBC journalist. Anyway, on a more technical did the BBC just resynch the question and answer from Smith and Sturgeo ala Robinson and Salmond.

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