Strength. Power. Authority. Action.

The stubborn, unjustifiable and unconcerned response of the Prime Minister shows how untouchable he believes he and his cronies are. Ultimately, it is up to the public whether they are untouchable, or whether they will be held to account.

Mhairi Black: PM’s mask has slipped … he doesn’t care about the public

Why would he not believe he’s untouchable. He is! That is the reality. The next UK general election is by default scheduled to be held on Thursday 2 May 2024 – slightly less than four years from now. Or roughly 200 of Mhairi’s columns in The National. She can devote every single one of them to redundantly informing us how terrible Boris Johnson and his cronies are and how terrible it is that they get to dictate so much public policy in Scotland despite having no democratic legitimacy, and it won’t make a blind bit of difference.

After that election, Mhairi can go back to pointlessly stating the obvious about how terrible Boris blah! blah! blah! Because, as things stand, Boris will still be British Prime Minister and he will still be surrounded by the same cronies. Or maybe there will be another British Prime Minister and another set of cronies. In which case Mhairi can simply recycle those 200 articles with a few name-changes. Because whether it’s Boris The First or Boris The Next and however much the crony-pack is shuffled they will still dictate public policy in Scotland despite lacking any democratic legitimacy.

Nothing changes until somebody changes it. The British political system will continue its descent into chaotic ineptitude coupled with increasing authoritarianism and the British political elite will continue to exert their baleful, illegitimate influence over Scotland unless and until the Scottish Government takes the necessary action through the Scottish Parliament to put an end to it. No amount of complaining will alter the situation by the merest fraction of an iota. Not all the anti-Tory rhetoric Mhairi might muster will make the merest particle of a scintilla of difference.

We’ve had enough fine words to fill an Olympic swimming pool the size of Belgium and still those parsnips remain distinctly unbuttered.

And we can easily see why. The clue is in the words of Mhairi Black MP,

Ultimately, it is up to the public whether they are untouchable, or whether they will be held to account.

Which is fine – if you are a politician trying to wriggle off a hook. If you’re a politician looking to excuse failure or rationalise inaction then it is very convenient to be able to say that it’s not up to you because “ultimately, it is up to the public”. It even has the advantage of being true – in a sense and as far as it goes. It is true in the sense that ultimate political authority is vested in and derives from the sovereign people. It is true to the extent that the people are able to translate that authority into action.

And that is where Mhairi’s statement encounters a problem. That translation from authority requires an intermediary. Which is where Mhairi comes in. Or should. It is where politicians come in. Or should. It is where political parties come in. Or should.

Further explanation demands that I get over two issues. My aversion to repeating myself. And my reluctance to sound condescending. But if I’d explained the point adequately on all those previous occasions I wouldn’t be obliged to repeat the explanation now. And if I come across as condescending in the process it’s only because it is such a fundamental point that it really shouldn’t require any explanation at all. I too can contrive excuses and rationalisations.

I have previously pointed out that political parties are analogous to trade unions. Just as the latter facilitate combination in order to exert influence in the sphere of employment, so the former allow us to act collectively to exert influence in the sphere of public policy. If either are doing what they are intended to do, that can only be our fault. Trade unions and political parties are ours to use. If we allow others to use them in our stead then we have little right to complain that they are not being used for our preferred purpose.

What I perhaps failed to do was properly explain the difference between strength and power. It may even be that I have failed to make this crucial distinction. My bad! For it is, indeed, a crucial distinction. We are many. The many have strength. The many have no power. That is to say, the masses lack the means to translate their strength into power directed to a particular purpose. What I call effective political power. Strength is necessary to get stuff done. But it is not power until it is harnessed and purposefully applied. Political parties are the intermediary by which the strength of the people is directed to specific ends. They are the necessary tool to translate diffuse strength into power focused on achieving a particular outcome.

Or not!

As an SNP politician Mhairi cannot get off the hook by shrugging her shoulders and saying it’s a matter for the people to sort out. As an SNP politician she is part of the tool chosen by the people as the means of translating their strength into the effective political power which they intend should relieve Scotland of the baleful and illegitimate influence exerted by Boris Johnson, his cronies and their successors. And it’s not happening!

It’s not happening because the intermediary is not working. The strength of the people is undeniable. The need to end the Union which gives spurious legitimacy to the British state’s influence in Scotland is as great as it ever was and more urgent than it has ever been. It’s the bit in between that’s letting us down.

Bemoaning the awfulness of Boris and the Brits is a pointless and futile distraction. Boris and the Brits are not the problem. Because they are not the intermediary. They are not the tool that we need. They will not translate the strength of Scotland’s people into effective political power directed to ending their ability to claim Scotland’s strength as their own.

Scotland’s constitutional status has absolutely nothing to do with Boris and the Brits. So why the hell are SNP politicians squandering OUR strength on telling us what we already know about their awfulness? Why are they not translating that strength into the effective political power which will extricate Scotland from this accursed Union? Why are they not using our authority to act?

And why are we not loudly demanding that they do so?

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21 thoughts on “Strength. Power. Authority. Action.

  1. Great post! My ears are ringing with the echo of so many nails being hit firmly on the head.

    I totally agree that Scotland’s elected representatives need to immediately start doing what they were elected to do…and that isn’t to pick up a fat salary for telling us what we already know i.e. ‘Tory bad!’

    We know that – that is why we blanking elected you!

    I am convinced that time is short and that, if we delay, the situation will only get worse and more intractable. Action is needed before the end of this year. Waiting until after the effects of Brexit begin to bite would, in my opinion, be a much more dangerous gambit.

    I will be writing to my MP forthwith to ask why the SNP look so inactive and what plans do they have to deliver independence aside from seeking ‘permission’ from Westminster.

    I hope all of your readers will commit to doing likewise.

    Why, in your opinion, is the SNP so apparently inactive?

    Are they scared of being accused of making political capital out of the health crisis? This a health crisis which undoubtedly is being made worse by our inability to act independently and it may get much worse still just because of our continued association with the worst affected country on the globe.

    Are our leaders afraid of an English backlash similar to the Spanish reaction to Catalonian defiance?

    Are they afraid of British troops on our streets?

    Are they afraid of going to jail for the cause of Scottish independence and democracy?

    Are they afraid the Scottish people will not support bold, courageous and decisive action right now?

    If the answer to any of these questions is ‘yes’ then I would suggest we have elected the wrong people to lead us through what needs to be done to take the prize.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “time is short and that, if we delay, the situation will only get worse and more intractable. Action is needed before the end of this year.”

      I agree. The EU is rolling out its Covid-19 relief and recovery package for member states. The UK is not one. Nor is Scotland.

      Scotland urgently needs to do something before transition ends to ensure that she is not left totally at the mercy of England.


    2. Being convinced as you say that time is short, you lost me at the bit about writing a letter and asking lots of questions is the way to go.

      I don’t buy that time is short, only that direction through action is now needed reguardless of when or if a Referendum is anounced. At the start of the last Independence referendum support was 22-25%. Following concerted action support rose to 50% when action to promote Scotland as an Independent country was taken..

      We have had over the last few years mass marches across Scotland showing intent. Now is surely the time to coordinate that support wider and in much smaller numbers towards individual institutions and key resources across the country supported by a media campaign to highlight where control of our parliament, our resources, would be managed differently from the current domestic UK and Multinational agreements that are currently employed by Westminster or through the restricitions of Devolution.

      There are now many ‘informal’ media outlets in Scotland that have become well know and could support such a campaign. With The National also fully behind it I can see no reason for Holyrood to ignore such a growing movement being that we already start with 50% support for Independence.


    3. Well, I’d say they are definitely afraid of going to jail, lions67. I also believe – and it is just my opinion – that the FM, her Cabinet and all MSPs and MPs have been threatened by Westminster. I’d imagine it takes the form of economic threats, but could also be military threats. There is also the problem of the SNP hierarchy being wedded to the pre independence referendum route when they must be aware that there is no legal requirement for a pre independence referendum at all. It is as if they have decided that we will be kept passive and quiescent with the promise of independence forever, in full knowledge of the fact that another route to independence would be just as democratic and legal as any S30 Order and Edinburgh Agreement, so long as we held a post independence confirmatory/ratifying referendum. The requirement for a referendum and a referendum win means that we are also wedded to the concept of ‘persuading’ previous NO voters to change their minds, and so long as they don’t, we are paralyzed, awaiting their say-so on independence. It is a farce that has entered our mythology, that you need a referendum and a referendum win BEFORE independence. It is handing over our future to people who see our future as part of the UK because it suits their own vested interests to keep it that way. It is beyond comprehension, but so many in the YES movement, as a whole, remain insistent that this is how it must be, even if that means that we are, a hundred years from now, still asking them if we can please have our independence. I don’t know about the UK being the laughing stock of the world, but Scotland must be.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I was just suggesting it is time to increase pressure on our MPs for less glib talk, more action.

    The questions were addressed at the author of the piece. I am interested in his opinion because I can’t understand why our elected representatives continue with their frustrating inaction in the face of what we are dealing with.

    As you say, support among the Scottish people is growing even without a campaign, so my question is what are we waiting for?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. If the SNP are worried about international recognition by not having a referendum before declaring independence, then how did all the other countries who gained independence without a referendum get it? If they’re worried about English troops on the streets (it wouldn’t be the first time) then that would be Westminster cutting its own throat internationally. It’s time for the SNP to dissolve the Union by whatever means necessary even though there’s an ongoing pandemic. If Scotland had had control of its own borders they could have prevented thousands of infections and deaths. Australia 25,000,000 people, 7000 infections, 107 deaths. All State borders were closed, except for required vehicles, all flights international and internal cancelled. Mercy flights for stranded nationals allowed but two weeks quarantine in hotels on return. Australia over one third of UK population only 107 deaths, equates to Scotland having between 20 to 30 deaths.


  4. Mhairi Black and her SNP colleagues are right to continually point out the failings of the UK and it’s government. If they did not, the resultant vacuum would soon fill up with Tory rationalisation of the blatantly unacceptable (check out the “Lily of St Leonard’s” site for an increasingly unhinged example of this). That it needs to go further than incessant criticism is not in doubt. Never the less, it still needs to be done.


  5. We do not require Mhairi Black and her SNP colleagues to continually point out the failings of the UK and its government as we are well able to see for ourselves, on a daily and ongoing basis, the futility of relying on any Westminster based administration to serve the interests of Scotland and its people.

    It is perhaps apposite to note that nowhere in her commentary is any reference to the case for Scottish Independence inferred or promoted. The conclusion from that, in my opinion, can only be that she views our situation through the prism of a British parliament and electoral system which will forever condemn Scotland and her people to eternal political penury.

    As for the forlorn hope that Mhairi Black might read and engage in the debate ah widnae haud ma breath as the current bee buzzing around her bunnet has the letters GRA stamped on its arse and has taken the sting right out of campaigning in a positive way for Scotland’s Independence!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you’ll find that, unlike ourselves, the vast majority of the Scottish population do not obsess over every failing of government be it Westminster or Holyrood. If the SNP at Westminster (rather than personalise it on Ms Black who you seem to have a particular problem with) did not continually highlight the issues, most Scots would only be aware of the Tory spin. Repeated often enough, unchallenged, that Tory spin would become “true” in the minds of the electorate. Look at the now accepted (but demonstrably untrue) belief that the SNP “promised” the 2014 indyref would not be repeated for “a generation”.

      The mistake so many active posters on political sites make is believing that everyone in the country is as active and “switched on” as they are. They are not. Unless things are brought to their attention, many are likely to be more interested in the line up on “Strictly” or the latest shenanigans in the SPFL.


      1. “rather than personalise it on Ms Black who you seem to have a particular problem with”

        I was responding to an article written by Mhairi Black, you absolute turdwit.


  6. Thanks for the new nickname Peter however, I was replying to Robert McAllan’ s post, not you.


  7. Well, well, Me Bungo Pony WHAT AN INSIGHT! That post today at 08:24 says it all. How dare you place yourself in some superior category to the vast majority of the Scottish population as you apparently seek to elevate your opinion to another plane in the most patronising and disparaging manner. For the record I am NOT in your fanciful group categorised by you – as ourselves!

    From your apparent characterisation of the Scottish electorate, seeking Independence we are as the TORY and UNIONISTS might put it, as thick as mince and incapable of absorbing anything other than
    Tory spin.

    With regard to Mhairi Black. I do take issue with the fact that herself along with too many other SNP elected politicians are failing to actively campaign on the case for Scottish Independence. It is most certainly NOT being prosecuted at Westminster or for that matter Holyrood and as long as that remains the case Tory pish and wind will continue to rain down unchallenged on the great unwashed, as you apparently perceive us.


  8. Oh, dear! It seems to post contributions in this forum should come with a health warning! Is all the unpleasant name-calling really necessary in a civilised discussion?

    Must we act like Tories?


  9. Well aren’t you the sensitive one. All I said was that Tory spin and failure has to pointed out, highlighted and challenged by our elected representatives to ensure the electorate get a fuller picture. If you’re this angry at the SNP when they are taking the Tories to task, how angry would you be if they weren’t?

    I do not believe I am “superior” to the “great unwashed” as you (not me) call the electorate. I am just aware the overwhelming majority neither peruse nor post on political sites. That’s just a fact. If you are reading a political website you are already in a small minority, and if you’re posting on one ……

    People are just getting on with their daily lives and concentrating on what is most interesting and important to them at any given time. That is not always politics. Most, especially in Scotland, will have a political opinion but it is not necessarily something that is uppermost in their minds at all times. That does not make them “thick as mince”. Is that how you view people who are not as committed as you? Is your ego so great that you cannot imagine others not being as into “your stuff” as you are?


  10. In response to the above: Ah huv aye kent the truth hurt but had nivver fur a meenit thocht that it could be that sair!


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