What hope?

Hope has two beautiful daughters; their names are Anger and Courage. Anger at the way things are, and Courage to see that they do not remain as they are.

Saint Augustine

No mention from St Augustine of Hope’s bastard sons, Despair and Despondency. It would have given his aphorism a somewhat different resonance, to be sure. But it would also have made it more honest. But then, honesty and denial aren’t related at all. And what is hope but denial dressed for church.

Dreams are fine. Dreams are good. Every gruelling step of progress made by humankind began with a dream. As, it must be admitted, did every backward stumble. Perhaps we should better say that big things flow from dreams. What these things are depends on the nature of the dream. What is done is a function of what is dreamt.

If anything is done at all. Dreams don’t necessarily lead to anything at all. Dreams never have any effect if they are connected to realisation only by hope. The dreams which have effect are the dreams which are connected to their realisation by a process. We should not dismiss dreamers lightly. But if they substitute hope for process then we can dismiss them without harm.

A man, whilst he is dreaming, believes in his dream; he is undeceived only when he is awakened from his slumber.

Mahatma Gandhi

I am undeceived. I dream of restoring Scotland to her rightful status as an independent nation. But I am awake. And, being wakeful and aware, I see the process that connects that dream to its realisation fading and crumbling. Soon, all that will be left is hollow hope.

Hope’s daughters, are grown old. Anger that once was a fiery furnace now barely makes a flickering flame. Courage fails; weighed and weakened by the wounds of failures and betrayals.

It seems that with every word she utters Nicola Sturgeon widens the gulf between the dream that will never die and the realisation that will never happen. When Andrew Marr (Sunday 12 July) suggested there might be “no more talk about the next referendum, maybe for the rest of this year at least” Sturgeon replied,

Look, as long as I need to be focusing on the Coronavirus crisis and the economic legacy of that crisis, that is going to have my 100% focus.

Nicola Sturgeon

Perhaps realising in the moment how this sounded she went on to insist that she hasn’t changed her view on independence and that she thinks Scotland would be better off as an independent country and that she wants Scotland to be an independent country – sounding every bit the lady who doth protest too much. An impression reinforced when she dropped the big, clunking “but” that everybody was surely anticipating by this point. She wants Scotland to be an independent country, but…! She thinks Scotland would be better off as an independent country, but…! She hasn’t changed her view on independence, but…!

The particular qualification she cited was, of course, the Coronavirus crisis. Which may seem reasonable. However, she then tags onto this “the economic legacy of that crisis”. Thereby creating a totally open-ended get-out clause from a commitment to independence that was already looking woefully weak. Stood next to her impassioned commitment to the British state’s anti-democratic Section 30 process, Nicola Sturgeon’s dedication to Scotland’s cause looks a pale and fragile thing and highly susceptible to the buffetings of political expediency and self-interest.

This affects me. It affects me because my dream of restoring Scotland’s independence is connected to its realisation by a process which crucially requires a First Minister and a Scottish Government that is absolutely committed to the restoration of Scotland’s independence. Not just as something on the to-do list that they might get around to when they have a moment but as a desperately urgent necessity. Something that has long been a desperately urgent necessity. Something that remained a desperately urgent necessity even in the face of an unprecedented public health crisis. Something that has been made even more of a desperate necessity by the things that the British government has been doing while Nicola Sturgeon has been 100% focused on something else and the ensuing something else.

Why 100%? Every other political leader in the world, it seems, has managed to afford a percentage of their focus to other matters. Boris Johnson, for example, has managed to keep the Brexit bus hurtling towards the cliff-edge while making the same arse of handling the Coronavirus crisis as he would surely have done had he devoted the entirety of his meagre and flitting attention to it. But many leaders have coped with Covid-19 rather well while still fulfilling their other duties and responsibilities. There will doubtless be others who use the pandemic as an excuse for this or that. But I challenge anyone to name any political leader who, in the face of a real and impending and explicit threat to their nation’s democracy has said sorry but I’m too busy doing this other thing.

I believe Nicola Sturgeon. I believe her when she says she has a list of things that she regards as more important than getting Scotland out of the Union. I believe her when she intimates that she is prepared to expand that list. I believe her when she says she has on that list things that are not subject to any constraints of time – such as the “economic legacy” of the pandemic.

I have to believe she is sincere when she disowns political and constitutional interests. I have to at least accept that she is following some private logic when she assumes complete responsibility for dealing with the public health emergency and its economic aftermath while having no interest in the political authority and constitutional powers which are essential to this and every other matter that our First Minister and her government were elected to deal with.

I therefore have to accept that there is no process and that in its place I am being offered only scant and paltry hope. I have to accept that, while Nicola Sturgeon is First Minister – and by her own account – there is no process by which my dream of a Scotland free of the Union may be realised.

Nicola Sturgeon has, apparently knowingly and willingly, opened up the yawing space between herself and Scotland’s cause. We may amuse ourselves with speculation about her motives. But the distance between her and the cause of independence doesn’t get any less. The space between the dream and its realisation expands in direct proportion to the distance between the First Minister and the cause of ending the Union. It grows until it cannot be bridged by the process. Hope does not fill the gap. Hope has no substance. Hope merely denies the gap. Or denies that the gap is such as cannot be filled by some novel device. There are always opportunists ready to take advantage of the hopeful by selling them useless novel devices painted to look like genuine process.

According to Napoleon Bonaparte a leader is a dealer in hope. Nicola Sturgeon has nothing I want to buy.

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10 thoughts on “What hope?

  1. Peter I have long asked for the membership of the SNP to take back control of the party on this site and on others , tumbleweed has been the response

    I watched indy car Gordon saying much the same thing you are saying , Barrheadboy ditto , Jason McCann (jeggit) ditto , Indy truck Davy ditto , Stuart Campbell ditto , then I watch the NS defenders and disciples come out to harry , demean and bemoan their and your interpretation of NS response to Marr , they maintain that what she said doesn’t mean what she said , it means something entirely different , it was only said to divert attention and send Marr and others off the scent , it is once again a very secret but important plan but we must not reveal it till all the pieces are in place

    With this level of delusion and unedifying adoration independence in the NEAR future is fecked and the haste which bozos circus is strangling HR will make sure the long term future is fecked

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I was called a “Tory Troll” and a “Rat Bastard” sent to cause division for identifying the obvious over a forum yesterday. The cultists don’t have the brain capacity to accept any criticism of the great leader which I find disturbing in a country as small as Scotland. Maybe it’s a construct of modern society where people cannot accept any form of criticism, constructive or otherwise without going on the defensive. I was listening to some psychologist the other day explaining this phenomenon as a form of ‘covert narcissism’ which has also given rise to global movements like ‘Me too’ and ‘BLM’; that’s not to say these are not topics worthy of debate (before anyone lashes out).
      They just cannot separate the FM’s conduct in dealing with the pandemic and her desire/ plan for Independence. They are two completely separate agenda’s which seems lost on most.
      I feel we have reached a crossroads and the movement is going to split in some capacity unless someone else takes on the role of leading the campaign which must be a fully autonomous position.
      Anyway great piece Peter!

      Liked by 4 people

      1. i think some of this aversion to criticism of the First Minister, is more a belief, that she really does want Independence, and they cannot bring themselves to accept the reality.
        For to admit the reality, leaves them absolutely nowhere to go, and utterly devastated.
        Thus, a great many do’t ant to believe the reality staring them i the face, and they only answer they have is to lash out at those who do point out the situation as it is.
        Others, it is true, will be happy to go along with the SNP leadership, but many are following on, but with great reluctance, seeing things as they are, but don’t know how to cope with it.
        But for many of us, we see it as it is, and are telling it as it is.

        The problem many have,is that SNP is the main pro Scottish Party, be for Independence or not.
        Noe of the others care one bit for this country.
        And so, folks are reluctant to take the risk of going to some other new set up.
        But SNP leadership is going to force their hand in due course.
        I’m not sure if any of the newly created political groups of late will be the organisation to turn to.
        I don’t as yet see them as being too credible, but I am sure one such group will emerge, and sooner or later, it could well be a focus the for Independence.we need.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I would go further I would say with that statement about the “economic legacy” Nicola Sturgeon is saying she has no intention of pushing for a referendum anytime soon or ever perhaps because the “economic legacy” cannot be measured (at least not accurately), it can last as long as she wants it to, I think she still believes in independence but that’s not the same as being prepared to fight for it and we will never win independence without a fight, her handling of the Covid crisis is her crowning glory, that’s what she does best, that’s to be her legacy.

    Nicola Sturgeon will not lead us to independence I think she knows that herself and after this Covid crisis is over one way or another she has to go, hopefully she’ll resign, we need a leader prepared to fight for independence, we need a strategist a campaigner, someone who will put Scotland before their own personal ambition sadly that’s not her.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. The cracks have been showing for some time.

    After 2014, investigations were carried out into the ballot processes and a full report, together with solutions, issued at the end of last year by the local SNP Branch. Our (SNP) MSP told us publicly that we shouldn’t talk about it because there was no fraud. Our (SNP) MP said that she didn’t believe the theory. It was sent to the First Minister, who didn’t acknowledge receipt but passed it to SNP HQ who said that we should talk to our MSP.

    They will poke at Section 30. It will be granted. There will be a Referendum which will be rigged to yield 48% Yes. At which point we all keep the status quo.


        1. I guarantee that I have seen it and studied it. I am assailed by conspiracy theories on a fairly regular basis. The ballot wasn’t rigged. Can’t be done. And that is all I have to say about it. Other than to advise you that should you contemplate accusing me of being blinkered, you should first reread the first two sentences. Bearing in mind that reading involves more than just recognising the words. Although that is always a good start.


  4. I just hope that you are wrong – but fear you are not. And if she is not prepared to abandon the S30 route under any circumstances – and say so loud and clear – it would be as well if she stood down now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do not think Nicola Sturgeon should stand down at this stage. And I’m quite certain she agrees with me on this, if little else. The point at which she has to make that decision is when it becomes clear that there is at least a very strong possibility that the party is going to reject the Section 30 process. She will then have options. Her biggest problem will be rolling back on all the things she said about Section 30 – ‘gold standard’ etc. But coming out of the coronavirus crisis gives her the opportunity to say that the experience has altered her thinking on the matter. She might then embrace the new process and stay on, lending her leadership skills, credibility and massive popularity to Scotland’s cause.

      Or she could say “Fuck this fur a gemm ay sojurs!”, and quit to take up whatever sinecure she has lined up. A UN post has been rumoured.


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