Cherry on top

If people are seeking a ray of hope in the understandable gloom of the constitutional issue, it to be found in Joanna Cherry’s weekly column for The National. Not that I have no quibbles with what she says. It would be a remarkable feat indeed for Ms Cherry – or anyone else for that matter – to write something with which I was in total agreement. But the basics are sound. And growing more sound over the weeks.

I anticipate that this column will become one of the most referenced articles in the constitutional debate. It’s fair encrusted wi’ gems o’ truth an’ pearls o’ wisdom!

Acts of the UK Parliament cannot be challenged in court. Westminster could abolish the Scottish Parliament if it wanted to and no legal action could change that.

Joanna Cherry: Politics is not on hold – we must keep independence in sight

A truth long known but all too seldom told and recognised.

Well, first off, we must not fall into the trap of conceding that the fight against the coronavirus and dealing with its economic fallout precludes pursuing the goal of independence. Politics is plainly not on hold. Brexit is proceeding at full speed. Devolution is under attack. The Tories are continuing to pursue their constitutional agenda. We must do likewise.

Joanna Cherry: Politics is not on hold – we must keep independence in sight

Denying this is not a good look for any politician. It’s the wrong shoes for Nicola Sturgeon.

A strategy which rests solely on the assumption that Boris Johnson will grant a Section 30 Order if the SNP win just one more mandate is a risky one.

Joanna Cherry: Politics is not on hold – we must keep independence in sight

An understatement, for sure. But an understandable one. Joanna Cherry is working towards a position that would be difficult for her to approach other than with a modicum of caution. As someone who has the utmost regard for gravity and an abiding awareness of the almost proverbial inelasticity of rock and who has, therefore never looked at a mountain and thought it’s height a gauntlet thrown before my ego, I hesitate to deploy a mountaineering metaphor. But we might think of what Joanna Cherry is doing as hammering in pitons to aid her ascent to the summit of a position on the constitutional issue which (even more) directly challenges that taken by the First Minister.

I for one look forward eagerly to the moment when Ms Cherry plants Scotland’s flag atop that peak.

Meanwhile, I cannot possibly agree that “the route followed in 2014 is the gold standard”. But I can appreciate why Ms Cherry might say such a thing. It is politic for her to do so at this stage. Nor can I go along with the focus on developing post-independence policies in the hope of winning over wavering No voters. Quite apart from the fact that restoring Scotland’s independence is a question that will be decided in a referendum and not an election, any policy position is liable to be disliked as much as it’s liked. As Elliot Bulmer so succinctly put it in a comment an a recent Facebook post of mine “The choice is between states, not governments.”

Policy development is essential, and much good work is being done in that area. But none of it should be thought of as part of a referendum campaign. That was one of the mistakes made in the 2014 referendum. The constitutional issue got lost in a fog of policy debate. When (if?) a new referendum is held, we will not be electing a party to govern after independence. We will be choosing between the British state and the Scottish nation. We will be choosing between the constitutional anomaly of the Union and the constitutional normality of independence. That is all we will be choosing! These will be the only two options! Focus!

But we can surely forgive this lapse. It relates to matters of campaign tactics rather than overall strategy and is something that can be fairly easily rectified. Besides, Joanna Cherry has other things to say which are more deserving of our attention and consideration both for what they say and what they imply. My pick of the quotes would be the following,

But the reality is that because “power devolved is power retained” we cannot win this fight in the context of a devolved settlement which is designed to ensure Westminster’s supremacy. Nor, in the face of Westminster legislation, can we win this fight in the courts.

Joanna Cherry: Politics is not on hold – we must keep independence in sight

What is not explicitly stated but is necessarily implied is the matter of what’s left when you discount the courts and the “context of a devolved settlement” – which must be understood as implying the constitutional and legal framework constructed by the British state for the purpose of preserving the Union and “the dominance of England[-as-Britain] in our unequal Union”.

What is left is the Scottish Parliament and a new constitutional and legal framework constructed for the defence of democracy in Scotland. A constitutional and legal framework informed by the distinctive political culture which British Nationalists are seeking to eradicate along with such other distinctiveness as is deemed inimical to the ‘Little Britain/Greater England’ fantasised about by those British Nationalists. A constitutional and legal framework built on the solid foundation of the sovereignty of Scotland’s people and the democratic legitimacy of the Scottish Parliament.

Joanna Cherry may well be hinting at, and perhaps working towards, the very conclusion arrived by myself and others in the thoughtful portion of the Yes movement. The conclusion that Scotland’s independence can only be restored by the Scottish Parliament. And only if we break free of the “context of a devolved settlement”. Precious few listen to me when I say this. Very many listen to Joanna Cherry. As they should.

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25 thoughts on “Cherry on top

  1. I notice that roundabouts feature prominently in his itinerary for Orkney.The bold loon is taking nae chances. At the first hint of an unfriendly presence , the cavalcade will birl round and head off to Kirkwall airport .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Then our sympathies must lie with Orkney’s roundabouts and Kirkwall Airport. Johnson is surely the very epitome of the uninvited, unwanted and unwelcome guest.

      But I insist that Boris Johnson should be treated with all the courtesy due to a visiting foreign dignitary. Like Donald Trump, for example.


  2. A very helpful, hopeful and hard-headed analysis from Joanna Cherry.

    I am encouraged by all her words especially her response/assessment following the question “So what is to be done?”, addressed to herself.

    It is clearly implied from her foregoing reminder that “power devolved is power retained” that the only, sole and single way to protect devolved powers is to restore the full superset to Scotland’s Parliament.

    On the subject of which, haste ye back Joanna. Your country needs you!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. If my memory serves me right, when Holyrood was first opened, it declared itself to be the reincarnation of the original pre-union Scottish Parliament, and so perhaps by inference at least, NOT essentially a creature of Westminster. Am I correct?

      Afaik this statement was never questioned by WM. If so the Scottish Parliament should be able to claim equal status with WM and thus be entitled to negotiate mutual separation as one sovereign body to another? Is there any mileage in this approach, I wonder ???


      1. 12 May 1999: Winnie Ewing reconvenes the Scottish Parliament

        Scottish Parliament

        Winnie Ewing reconvened the Scottish Parliament for the first time in 292 years.

        Dr Ewing became an SNP MSP in the first Holyrood elections. As the oldest member, she chaired the first meeting on 12 May 1999.

        Opening the session, the 79-year-old said: “I want to start with the words that I have always wanted either to say or to hear someone else say – the Scottish Parliament, which adjourned on March 25, 1707, is hereby reconvened.” (

        Liked by 1 person

            1. Many thanks. It was nice to hear the whole speech again. Very inspiring and perhaps even more relevant now than when it was delivered.
              Definitely deserves lots of sharing 🙂


  3. Did Boris visit the Baxters family factory? If so, presumably they are endorsing Boris and the Tory party?


      1. The point I was making is that the Baxter family still are happy to be associated with this lot.

        We should all have regard to that when we go shopping.


  4. I apologise if this is a repeat …. WordPress login problems.

    Vaguely on/off topic, I’m having sympathy for Peter’s earlier (reversed) decision to quit the Indy fight.

    Having just spent a sustained period on the Wings site for the first time, I’m utterly depressed about the prospects of ever attaining independence. It’s as if the entire site has been turned and, instead of working towards increasing support for independence, the posters on it are actively trying to undermine it …. though bizarrely they believe the opposite. The “not to be challenged zeitgeist” on the site is that, despite polls moving decisively in favour of independence, the SNP has failed, Sturgeon (the most popular and trusted politician in the country) should be deposed, the SNP given a bloody nose electorally (ie lose seats in Westminster AND Holyrood and only then, magically, will independence just fall into our laps. It’s madness.

    On one thread a poster, who may as well have had a union flag for an avatar, was dismayed to find the thread concentrating on the headline topic (ie criticism of Boris Johnson and the Tories) and posted “Is it me or is there a serious ‘shoring up’ attempt for the SNP these days on WOS” before launching into a completely off topic tirade highlighting issues he felt the SNP was weak on. I mentioned “perhaps he had his own agenda” and was piled on, described as a 77th Brigade soldier while the regulars took the unionist bait and merrily started yet another anti-SNP sh*t fest. The site is positively “aflutter” with false flags but it is those who point to the current popularity of THE party of independence and, consequently, independence itself who are labelled “Yoons” and worse.

    I thought to go to Bella for some sanity but no, the rot has set in there too. Nothing but how badly the SNP are doing (despite empirical evidence to the contrary), how its all going wrong because of them and nary a bad word to be said about the Tories. The site itself is pretty chipper about the SNP these days ….. but not the supposedly pro-indy posters below the line. They accuse the SNP of taking voters for granted while it is they themselves that are taking them for granted by assuming they will still support independence after the “deluded” have destroyed Sturgeon and discredited the party. Naive or what?

    I despair of the blogosphere now. The “legions of cybernats” that were once the bane of Better Together have been turned and are now a key, unwitting ally of their erstwhile foe. Why this should be I can only speculate. Perhaps they have been infiltrated by a successful unionist false flag initiative. Perhaps they have become overwhelmed by a belief in their own self importance and seek to dictate to the most successful party in modern British politics, while dismissing its popularity among the people they need to convince of the efficacy of independence.

    Perhaps I should just ignore the blogosphere for now and just concentrate on talking to real people in the real world where up is up and down is down and an overwhelming lead and sense of momentum is viewed as a positive thing and not a sign of failure. People who aren’t coccooned fro reality by their own ideological purity.

    In short, I despair.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me Bungo Pony.
      I think there is a concerted campaign by the British State to cause discord on Indy blogs. The Indy side owned the internet at Indyref1, and the Brits are trying to disrupt as much as possible for this campaign. I’ve been posting on Wings since 2012, not so much now, and it went downhill btl a while ago. Some recent posters say they have supported an Indy Scotland for decades, but only decide to post on Wings now. Why were they not posting during Indyref1?


    2. I only read Peter, Paul, Jeggit, the prof and sometimes mungiun

      I have a feeling the Rev. was spooked by the spooks?

      I only wish more people would read Peter’s blog and comment. He has had a habit of frightening people away with his temper tantrums. Hopefully he will stop as we enter the end game. We need him.


      1. I don’t do temper tantrums. If you see temper tantrums it’s either because that’s what I want you to see or because your imagination is running out of control.


      2. I agree, Scrandoonyeah. He denies temper tantrums, but he can be boorish beyond belief. Where is Lorna Campbell these days?

        There are all kinds of issues on which separatists disagree, and airing all sides is healthy, if you play the ball rather than the man – eg Section 30. We need to come to agreement by reason – not by abuse – and Peter unfortunately does too much of the latter. I can’t forget him editing his angry response into a post I made rather than just replying.

        It is a shame, perhaps lockdown etc has got to him, but this blog is far less helpful to the movement tan it could be.


      3. Whatever you call it alienates your readership.
        So it’s all just pure unadulterated manipulation on you part then. Pull the other one Ting. A blind man or woman can see you cannot control your emotions. If you think otherwise you are indeed the most ‘cleverest fool’
        ‘I have things under control’ is a common theme among clever fools. In layman’s terms it is usually called denial


      4. And don’t I know it.
        Oh I forgot it’s your blog and you can tell people to fuck-off.
        Of course you must see the irony in your latest blog about ‘Power’


        1. Trust me on this! I can tell those who deserve it to fuck off wherever I encounter them. If you cannot comprehend that I am not a topic for discussion here I will provide all the assistance you require in order to successfully fuck off.


  5. Me Bungo Pony – No need to despair.

    It is important that we don’t tag others as ‘insane’, ‘deluded’ ‘fifth columnists’ etc. That helps no-one but the Unionists. Be the voice of reason. If you find the tone of the debate on a forum is poor, you could try to raise it, or give it a wide berth and go elsewhere. Here, for example.

    Independence supporters are having a debate with themselves about the way forward. The polls are very good, as a result of the excellent handling of the Covid crisis. But more will be required to secure a say for the people of Scotland before irrepairable damage is done.

    Some, like Joanna Cherry are trying to find the way forward from within and are well placed to do so. Others think yet more is required. You only need to read the quotes here from Cherry’s article to see the scale of the problem we face. It is a threat to Scotland’s existence as a nation, other than as a brand for food products and tourism.


  6. As a regular reader and poster on WOS I dispute MBP’s assertions , debate is healthy , sycophancy is not , what MBP proffers is wheesht for indy BUT people have opinions and have the right to air them , I have been on WOS for quite a few years and it was MOSTLY a SNP NS fan club where you were rounded on if you said anything against the dear leader which I was occasionally, I am NOT interested in prostrating myself in adulation at ANY leader or political party , all I AM interested in is that they do the job they are elected for and PAID TO DO and in the case of NS and the SNP that is GOOD governance and independence and unfortunately one requires the other , so MBP if all you want is wheesht for indy and adulation for NS and the SNP without criticism I could possibly recommend a few sites that may fit your needs


    1. Robert T, what I encountered on the WoS site was not debate. There was no debate. There was only good old SNPbad proffered by both Indies AND false flaggers. There is no doubt, that site is infested with them. And why not, their preferred tactic of undermining confidence in independence by undermining confidence in the Scottish govt is being lapped up there. They must believe they’ve found false flag heaven.

      I went on that site to offer a counter argument to the prevailing SNPbaddery. Debate if you like. And I got abuse for even having the temerity to claim things aren’t as bad as they claimed regarding independence. Accused of being a bot, a plant, a yoon, a 77th Brigade soldier, etc. Never-the-less, I stuck it out and because I didn’t turn tail …. I then became a troll or a disruptor trying to shut down debate (ironically, as none existed before I arrived – it was essentially a support network for the discontented with false flaggers as their enablers).

      At least now the site is actually debating things instead of just agreeing with each other about how bad Sturgeon and the SNP are. How long before the false flaggers reassert control is anybody’s guess.

      As for the “wheesht for indy” jibe; do you want independence or is ideological purity more important? If the latter, you’re putting the cart before the horse. You’re pure ideology will never exist in the Tory UK. So to sacrifice independence for it makes no sense. First get independence, then fight to shape an independent Scotland in the image you want. That’s democracy and that is debate.


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