Why won’t they see?

I don’t get it! I just don’t get it! I don’t understand the reasoning. I genuinely don’t get it! I cannot comprehend how Mike Russell can, on the one hand, state that “there is no trust in the relationship” between the Scottish Government and its counterpart in London – “absolutely none!” – and on the other hand say that the Scottish Government is committed to a process which is crucially dependent on the British government being trustworthy. I fail to comprehend how he can say in one breath that “it would be difficult to find a way in which we could work constructively together” while in the next breath insist on the Scottish Government’s commitment to the Section 30 process – a process that is totally reliant on the complete and constructive cooperation of the British regime. I just don’t get it!

This is a man for whom I have great respect. Mike Russell is no fool. He is, apart from anything else, a highly experienced politician who has been around the centre of political power in Scotland for a very long time. If anybody should have seen this coming, you’d expect it to be him. Much the same could be said for many others in and around the Scottish Government and in the upper echelons of the SNP. And yet, to all appearances, none of them had anticipated that the British would seek to destroy the devolution settlement and reimpose direct authoritarian rule from London. I really, really don’t get it!

I recall writing about this very scenario many years ago. I remember speaking to various groups about it. I recollect the matter being the topic for many a pub discussion or online debate. I envisaged a ‘power grab’ as an inevitable consequence of a No vote in 2014 and spent much of my time during that campaign trying to inform people of the potential consequences of handing the British political a licence to do with Scotland as they chose. I vividly recall being roundly condemned by many for being so ‘negative’.

From the moment the EU referendum was called I tried to persuade people that they should be at least as concerned about the constitutional implications of what would come to be called ‘Brexit’ as with the economic consequences. Most were too obsessed with trade agreements and the like to listen. I warned that leaving the EU would necessitate a constitutional redefining of the UK and that the British would inevitably seize on this as an opportunity to lock Scotland into a new Union on terms imposed with no meaningful consultation far less negotiation and over the top of all objections. Is that not exactly what is happening?

I have repeatedly made the point that as far as the British are concerned devolution was an experiment that has failed. Devolution was supposed to kill Scotland’s independence movement ‘stone dead’; remove the hated SNP from the electoral equation; and allow a return to the business-as-usual of the British two-and-a-token-bit party system. I opined that the Scottish Parliament was put on a shoogly peg by the outcome of the 2007 Holyrood elections which first put the SNP in government. Our Parliament’s fate was sealed when the voters broke the system to elect a majority SNP government in 2011. Everything that has happened since bears out what I said then. Everything!

Politically unable to use its power to kill off the Scottish Parliament at a stroke, the British establishment hit on the idea of using devolution as a weapon against the hated SNP. (When discussing British attitudes to the SNP the name must always be preceded by the word ‘hated’. The hatred is real and intense.) The new SNP administration would be bound to push for more powers. Fine! Let them have those powers. But do it in such a way as to make use of those powers a minefield of political and fiscal traps. And so they did. If you doubt me then look at the tax and welfare ‘powers’ that were devolved. Only the deftness of John Swinney prevented the serious undermining of the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament. Not to mention the hated SNP.

I saw all this coming. I have looked on helplessly as the worst of my expectations played out in front of me. I marvelled at how anybody could be oblivious to what was happening. I was astounded that so many evidently remained totally unaware of the implications for what was going to happen. For six years I have watched the Scottish Government sleepwalk towards the very point where we are now. I have watched as the SNP administration missed opportunity after opportunity to prevent things going as they have. I have watched with incredulity that turned to frustration that became anger that festered into despair. And now I have to listen to Mike Russell reacting with every outward indication of shocked outrage to developments that I and others foresaw many years ago. I definitely don’t get it?

I fully expect the infantile response that I think myself exceptionally clever to suppose that I know and knew better than the likes of Mike Russell. I can hear the sneering sarcasm of voices hailing me as the genius who was able to understand things beyond the ken of mere mortals. I can hear the mocking slight of being labelled a latter-day Nostradamus, able to see the future as clearly as others see their TV screens. All of which totally misses the point. The point being that I do not consider myself exceptional in any way. I don’t think I’m particularity clever or astute or prescient. If I did then I would understand perfectly why others apparently fail to see what I see. It would be totally unsurprising to me that Mike Russell and his colleagues have brought Scotland to our present predicament ignoring all the warning signs and passing every exit. I would be writing this if I thought myself unique or rare in my ability to interpret political moves and discern trends. What I don’t get is that, given I am not some marvellous phenomenon; given I am neither remarkable or exceptional; given that I am endowed with no skills or abilities that aren’t possessed by every other person in Scotland excepting only political journalists and others afflicted with intellectually debilitating conditions, why didn’t everybody see this coming? That is what I don’t get.

My entire point is not that these things are difficult to fathom but that they are easy to comprehend.

Given that Mike Russell obviously sees the British political elite for the devious, dissembling, dishonest and corrupt gang of rogues and reprobates that they have shown themselves to be, I also don’t get why he and Nicola Sturgeon and Keith Brown and John Swinney and the rest of the people to whom we have entrusted both the nation’s governance and the fight to restore Scotland’s independence can so obdurately insist that we must walk into yet another of their traps in the form of the Section 30 process. Why? Why can’t they see the Section 30 process for what it is? I simply don’t get it!

Nor do I get the ‘reasoning’ which concludes that even if the Section 30 process is a trap we should walk into it anyway so that the world can see the British government for what it is – the kind of government that respects neither the principles of democracy nor the rule of law nor even basic rules of decent human behaviour. Why would we imagine the world would be interested? Even if they were interested, why would we suppose the world is unable to see this without us sacrificing our nation to provide them with a working demonstration on Albion’s perfidy?

As well as seeing the British government for what it is, were we to stride willingly into the Section 30 trap would the world not see Scotland as the kind of nation that willingly walks into obvious traps for no reason other than to illustrate something that is already plainly evident? What message does it send to the world that we would be so appallingly stupid? Why would we work so hard at sending that message while working just as hard at avoiding sending a very different message? I DO NOT GET IT!!!

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18 thoughts on “Why won’t they see?

  1. Perfidious Albion?

    The Europeans get it. The Irish most definitely get it. The Americans get it but don’t care (apart from about the Irish). The Russians encourage it. The Chinese don’t care.

    I think that the Scottish Government are frightened that the Scottish people don’t get it.

    Maybe they think that the people of Scotland need their ‘1916 moment’ like the Irish, whose majority opinion turned from indifference to independence for their country to fury and rage that they would have it come what may and by any means necessary after the executions of the Easter Rising leaders in Kilmainham gaol. We need a disaster such as economic catastrophe and impoverishment that will surely follow Brexit as night follows day.

    The Scottish Government are ‘outraged’, they ‘slam’ and they ‘shame’ etc … but only in the pages of The National. The SNP leadership occupying the Scottish Government are always preaching to us about making converts to ‘the cause’ yet their own words are reserved only for a willing audience – there are no converts to be won preaching to the readership of the only pro-Independence newspaper in Scotland, no matter how often they ‘condemn’ or are ‘shocked’ and ‘horrified’.

    The current leadership should practise what they preach. Or make way for those that will.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Except that we don’t have time for a leadership battle. Why is it there such a strong tendency to totally discount the very existence of time when discussing Scotland’s predicament? Is it perhaps down to a blinkered reluctance to face reality? One could almost understand that. But it’s no way to proceed.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. On the basis of a lack of time to replace the current leadership the alternative is to only to try and pressurise them to act. However, for whatever reason they have shown no signs thus far, other than the recent vague commitment to introduce a Referendum Bill sometime next year if a majority pro-Indy parliament is returned at Holyrood (and if Devolution has not been totally shut down by then), of a willingness to do so. This has been the case no matter the disquiet shown in many segments of the Yes movement regarding the ever more alarming situation.

        As I’ve mentioned in prior comments sections Nicola Sturgeon is either a very good poker player – with a hitherto hidden but unbeatable hand or bluffing with nerves of steel – or is naive in the extreme.

        We shall see.


  2. ‘I have watched the Scottish Government sleepwalk towards the very point where we are now. I have watched as the SNP administration missed opportunity after opportunity to prevent things going as they have.’

    It is hard to escape the conclusion that the SG has been asleep on duty at the very time when opportunity is banging loudly at the door. Brexit and the election of this Johnson regime should have had our government on red alert and primed and ready to take decisive action before they were outflanked.

    The British ruling elite is a ruthless enemy although even some of the blue rinse, gin and tonic sipping gentry in deepest Surrey must be wincing at the actions of their government in the midst of a deadly pandemic threatening their population.

    Talking about the Irish rebellion in 1916, the ballad of James Connolly, one of the executed leaders of the uprising contains the words, ‘God’s curse on you, England, you cruel-hearted monster
    Your deeds they would shame all the devils in hell.’

    A century later and nothing has changed.

    Duncanio’s analogy with the Easter uprising may indeed be prophetic.

    Is it really going to take a full-blown attack on our last vestiges of democracy by our lords and masters to the south, this in the teeth of a catastrophic plague, followed by the (perhaps unexpectedly early) triple whammy of a devastating no-deal Brexit to shake this nation and its government out of its stupor and apparent indifference to our communal fate?

    I am now convinced our Scottish government has only two weeks left to make their move. The Tory government will drive their perfidious ‘British Internal Market’ bill through its final stages. The EU will have to react decisively and, I believe, end the current transition period on 30 September. No-deal Brexit will be upon us.

    As things stand, there will be no meaningful Holyrood elections in 2021 and absolutely no chance of another independence referendum in the foreseeable future.

    It is now, I believe, do or die.

    Will our government be able to save our country in its darkest hour for 300 years, or will they go down in infamy as the hapless stooges who presented no discernible challenge to a ragtag assortment of outlaws, renegades, bullies, oafs and chancers?

    At the Easter Rising in Dublin in 1916, the British misread the mood of the Irish people.

    In 2020, have the British miscalculated the response of the Scots?

    I hope so but I’m beginning to fear the worst!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Two weeks is my estimate. But unless we can somehow bring the Yes movement together to apply massive pressure, I see no possibility of the SNP taking a new approach. They are not so much wedded to the Section 30 process as welded to it.


    2. It just occurred to me that one of the reasons the SNP appears blind to Scotland’s predicament and no reason to change their approach is that the leaders and managers of the party have convinced themselves that even if they lose, they win. They are as wedded to the idea that the British state’s mistreatment of Scotland furthers the cause of independence as they are to the idea that the Section 30 process will work. Or not. In which case, why bother as it just grows support for independence.

      I’m just hoping this stops short of allowing/encouraging cross-border raids by the British to steal cattle and/or take slaves. Just think how many people that would drive into the Yes corral.


  3. Surely it’s the case that for many in management roles in the SNP , belief in the section route to Indy is an article of faith .For them this belief is not based on evidence or even persuasive logic , it rests purely on a leap of faith , part of the catechism for true followers of the party line . It flies in the face of all evidence to the contrary , all indications that the present Tory administration cannot be relied upon to honour it’s own domestic undertakings let alone it’s international obligations . Keith Brown is a nice man , but he’s increasingly sounding like a Mormon canvasser intent on testing our credibility to the limit . Maybe we should give him the benefit of the doubt , maybe his apparent faith in the section 30 route is a line for general public consumption , to reassure the timid that the SNP are not contemplating doing anything ” illegal” . Maybe pigs will fly and New Scotland Yard will become London’s third airport .


  4. None of us get it Peter.

    The SNP have won over the people. Anything they do carries the will of the majority. So what are they frightened of?

    My only rational explanation , is that there is something going on behind the scenes that is preventing direct action. I toyed with the idea that Nicola was a Gradualist or a Federalist. However I don’t think that is what this is about. Because gradualism won’t work in the current situation, and Federalism is dead.

    So there is something holding up the process. The Section 30 request refusal seems to be the excuse for inaction. The root cause of the inaction is not the section 30 refusal. The inaction is for some other reason.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jocks point makes sense. Section 30 could be the barricade the SG are hiding behind.
    Are they in genuine fear of British military deployment in our towns and cities and the upset that would suddenly cause to our cosy little lives. That the threat of this scenario has been made clear by clandestine means ?
    An interesting piece of theatre this afternoon in the Liaison committee. Angus MacNeill baiting the bawjaws from atop the barricade and gaining an effective rejection of a section 30 permission. Pity the beeb won’t be screening it in Scotland. Maybe RT will take note. Anyway it felt to be more orchestrated than the action of a maverick. In some way like a precedent to a call to arms. If this was repeated in the main debating chamber it could be quite incendiary and justify a walk out northwards of SNP mps.
    The next step I feel should be a March on Holyrood for FM questions day with the intention of forcing a lock-in until a manifesto or declaration is produced. No need for am organised rally. Just a flash mob. Test the mettle. 62% come knocking.


    1. These days, a rally has to be organised. The one thing we don’t want to do is break the Scottish government’s Covid regulations. If we do, that then becomes the issue and the point of the protest gets buried. But some form of mass action is required. The problem is how to organise that. And it’s not the virus that prevents us doing that. It’s the factionalism within the Yes movement.


  6. Peter – The way I see things happening is the direct funding of councils by WM.

    Would it not be useful at that point if the councilors refused to sit and staged a walkout. I do realise that many are controlled by unionist cabals . However it’s just an example of direct protests. The kind of thing that can have a snowball effect on others.


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