The twain shall never meet

As I write, it looks very much as if Nicola Sturgeon’s reign will continue. Lesley Riddoch’s verdict on the First Minister’s appearance before the Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints is probably about right – “she survived”, As Lesley notes, that’s “not a particularly glowing review”, but it’s enough for an explosion of triumphalism among Sturgeon’s famously fervent devotees. They’re an unquestioning and undemanding lot. Sturgeon didn’t have to break sweat to keep them sprawled adoringly at her feet. All she had to do was turn up and remember to bring her technique with her. Those of us who thought she must surely be fatally bowed by the taint of suspicion even if not crushed by the weight of evidence were perhaps not reckoning with that technique. It’s impressive. Until you see through it. And then it creates only unease and annoyance. It’s all just too polished. Too practiced. Too natural to be real.

Sturgeon’s technique is like a magic trick. It fascinates only so long as you can’t figure out how it’s done. Once the mechanics of it become apparent, all you see is the machinery. You may still admire the slickly oiled machinery with all its smoothly meshing gears and silently spinning flywheels and perfectly tensioned springs. But the magic is gone. There is a sense of loss at its vanishing. But there is also a feeling of release.

I didn’t watch the whole session. I dipped in and out when I wasn’t otherwise occupied with the battle against carpet moths. I struggle to resist drawing analogies between fumigating a house to rid it of pests and need for something similar within the SNP. I am tempted to draw parallels between the precautionary spraying and powdering and the measures required to restore check and balances to what I once was able to boast of as the most democratic of political parties. The damage done by these household pests is all to reminiscent of the harm being wrought on the SNP by a different form of infestation.

While Sturgeon’s sycophants search for new superlatives to apply to her performance before the Fabiani committee others are as concerned as ever about the the condition of Scotland’s governance and the state of Scotland’s cause. Whatever one thinks of that performance it cannot sensibly be claimed to have healed any divisions in either the party or the independence movement. A widening gulf remains between the believers and the doubters. Between those who hold Sturgeon to be a worker of wonders and those who wonder what work this is. The believers will assert that Sturgeon’s performance has ‘proved’ their case. The doubters were given nothing to allay their concerns. Believers remain believers because faith precludes and/or prohibits doubt. Doubters remain doubters because questioning is the antidote to the intellect-crippling affliction of faith.

The blindness of the faithful is as incomprehensible to doubters as the causes for concern are to the blindly faithful. The faithful are baffled by the doubters’ refusal to focus solely on the positives. The doubters are perplexed by the faithful’s insistence on focusing solely on the positives. The mindset of the faithful is alien to the doubter. The mindset of the doubter is anathema to the faithful. There can be no meeting of these minds. The divisions remain.

Nothing was solved or resolved by Nicola Sturgeon’s testimony. Nonetheless, the faithful will insist that everything was. They will continue to demand that the doubters recant their expressed concerns and embrace the faith for that is the one true path to the glory of independence. The doubters on the other hand will want to see that path before they stop asking to be shown it. One of the principle tenets of faith in Sturgeon is that she is going to head a government which will deliver a free and fair referendum and thereby the restoration of Scotland’s independence. The doubters need to be given a reason to believe this. The faithful point to various statements made by Sturgeon and her team which they believe to be solid commitments to take the necessary action. The doubters look at the same statements and see only vagueness and ambiguity and prevarication and obfuscation.There can be no meeting of these minds. The divisions remain.

The faithful point to the polls and hail them as harbingers of a brighter day. Doubters see the weakness. They see small fluctuations in polling prompted by factors that are transient and with no direct or necessary connection to the constitutional issue. The faithful say isn’t it wonderful that Yes is consistently polling over 50%. Doubters wonder why the polls aren’t five to ten points higher given circumstances that so favour the cause of restoring Scotland’s independence. Doubters wonder what happens when the factors keeping the polls above 50% pass into history. Believers see this as heresy. Doubters are proud to be heretics. There can be no meeting of these minds. The divisions remain.

Doubters give voice to their worries about the SNP’s internal strife. The faithful either deny that there is any strife or insist that it must not be spoken of. The faithful maintain that all issues can be dealt with after independence. Doubters see how the issues make it unlikely that independence will be restored by the people who provoked the issues.

The faithful look at each of the three things at the centre of doubters’ concerns in isolation the better to minimise them. The doubters see a disturbing pattern. Doubters see links between the matters being addressed by the two current inquiries investigating the behaviour of Nicola Sturgeon and her administration; the takeover of the party by a relatively tiny clique of crazies and stripping away of the membership’s authority; and the abysmal failure to provide leadership in the fight to restore Scotland’s independence. Doubters see the common factor – Nicola Sturgeon. The faithful say never mind all that look at how well she has handled the public health crisis. As if that obviates all other concerns.

The faithful talk of unity when they mean unquestioning conformity. Doubters recognise that unity can only be possibly if the causes of disunity are addressed. Believers insist disunity is caused by doubters’ insistence on addressing the causes of disunity. There can be no meeting of these minds. The divisions remain.

The faithful insist there would be no problems if only the doubters would stop examining the problems and trying to understand them and pointing out their implications. Doubters doubt that. Problems evaporating through being ignored or denied is not a phenomenon much noted in human experience. There can be no meeting of these minds. The divisions remain.

Nicola Sturgeon has survived her appearance before the Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints. It seems likely that she will survive that inquiry. But she will not survive unscathed. Her reputation has been damaged. Challenges remain that she may not survive with quite such evident ease. Her technique will not be as effective in the other inquiry. The rumblings within that party grow by the day while the party’s leaders and managers respond with more of the things that are giving rise to the rumblings. They deal with dissent by shutting down any means by which the dissent can have a voice within the party. Members are now totally excluded from all decision-making and allowed only insultingly token participation in the deliberation process. Members have been rendered powerless. The broad division here is between those who object to being disempowered and those who are content so long as it is done in Nicola Sturgeon’s name and with the carrot of a referendum dangled before them.

The tremors and aftershocks of the botched effort to ‘get’ Alex Salmond will continue and will weaken both the party and the independence movement. This will happen even if Wheeshtmaster General Paul Kavanagh were to get his way and doubters be completely silenced. The whole affair is grist to the mill churning out British Nationalist propaganda. The feeling that there is something not right about the way both Alex Salmond and those who made complaints against hive have been treated. For all the talk of #MeToo and the unarguable need to treat complainers with respect, the sense remains that there was another agenda in play. The anti-independence campaign has proved adept at amplifying such suspicions. Damage has been done. Nicola Sturgeon is responsible. She will not be held accountable.

The biggest test of all may be the coming election. It is clear what the ideal outcome is for Scotland’s cause. A crucial element is a massive win for the SNP. It has to be something quite extraordinary to serve the independence cause. By here behaviour, Nicola Sturgeon has decreased the likelihood of this. There is no way of knowing by how much. But damage has been done.

Besides, we’ve had exceptional opportunities before during Sturgeon’s incumbency as First Minister and party leader. All have been squandered. As a doubter, I am looking for some reason to believe that it would be any different should that massive win for the SNP be achieved.

The so-called list parties – self-styled alternative pro-independence parties – are a further complication and another product of Nicola Sturgeon’s inability to lead the independence movement or keep it united. If Sturgeon was doing the bang-up job the faithful claim she’s doing then there would be no list parties. There would be no erroneously perceived need for them. There would be no electoral space for them.

Nicola Sturgeon has survived. But at what cost?


63 thoughts on “The twain shall never meet

  1. What the faithful miss entirely is that correlation is not causation.

    The surge of support for independence they band about as Mark of her success is completely unrelated to any active actions taken by Nicola Sturgeon, but may be related to her (re)actions to events.

    Let’s see.

    Brexit, she and her clique flailed but failed miserably. Despite all her predicaments, Scotland has been taken out of the EU against its will.

    Through the pandemic, she did marginally better than the carnage down south. Easily done, if the comparison is with BoJo the Clown and his circus of inbred sociopaths. Bring in other nations, and the scenario is bleak.

    There is no merit or leadership, only show(wo)manship.

    Liked by 6 people

  2. Someone said on Twitter : ” It’s possible to be loyal to Sturgeon without being disloyal to Salmond”

    The problem is that Sturgeon smears Salmond at every opportunity. So those in the Salmond camp can’t support Sturgeon. I have yet to hear Salmond smear Sturgeon , yet she was allowed to do it time and again yesterday. The two tribes can only come together when she allows Salmond his not guilty verdict and moves on.

    Sturgeon still tells the world Salmond is a criminal. So I can’t support her.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. I don’t consider myself to be in the “Salmond camp”. I’m very doubtful about any comeback for him and extremely dubious about it even if he could make a successful return to front-line politics. He is too closely identified now with this whole affair to be a unifying force. If he does rise again it will be as part of a force to rival the SNP. But a wily politician such as Salmond will recognise the dangers of splitting the independence vote.

      I’m not in Salmond’s camp. But I’m definitely not in Sturgeon’s. I could envisage being in Salmond’s camp. I don’t think I will ever trust or respect Nicola Sturgeon again. It would take something quite remarkable.

      Liked by 6 people

  3. That perfectly sums up the Big Picture for YES and the SNP – the “divisions remain”.

    Indeed I would say that they are now irreconcilable … The Sturgeon Brigades versus The Rest.

    When surveys of opinion were heading upwards during 2020 for YES and the SNP the Loyal and Faithful were reporting them as being ‘stunning’, ‘smashing’. They were ‘soaring’, ‘rocketing’ and ‘stratospheric’. Now that they are returning to Earth they are dismissed as being merely a ‘blip’ or a ‘dip’.

    Reality has been suspended. In the SNP right now blind faith rules, OK!

    I have never looked forward to an election in my lifetime with less enthusiasm about the hopeful possibilities of the outcome.

    It is dispiriting and depressing.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Right now I’m as dispirited & depressed as you, Duncan, but I think this painful growth period is ultimately going to be a good thing for Scotland.

      Not all independence supporters agree on anything other than independence but we’ve all been trying to share one political home called the SNP. I was reasonably happy to do so until recently but back in 2014 I recognised we needed at least one more pro-independence party if we wanted to appeal to a broader church of voters.

      I understand that even more today. Up until recent weeks it has been a complete no-brainer for me to know who to vote for & why. But now other factors are in play & I realise that Scottish Independence is not the be-all & end-all that I once thought it was. The reason I want independence is so that Scots get a better crack of the whip & not for any other reason. Currently the only party that has a realistic chance to deliver independence (no sniggering at the back now!) is only going to do so if we accept blatant, criminal corruption, a massive erosion of women’s rights & the probable imposition of some of the most Draconian laws on free speech anywhere in the western world. Those, I now realise because I’ve been forced to think about them, are lines in the sand as far as I’m concerned. The other line in not willing to cross is wide-scale political violence, but thankfully nobody is offering that ‘solution’ at the moment.

      I think it might be a very good thing is the SNP lose & Independence gets set back a few years because then some of political naivete that has been on display this week might just dissipate. If that happens we might actually get the sort of grown up politics that is required to a) get our independence & b) make it work when we get it.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It is a real dilemma – that’s a first for me. During the 80s I was in London for 7 years – living in Westminster to be precise. So nothing to vote for. When I returned to Scotland (Edinburgh) for good in 1997, devolution happened and from 1999 onward it has been ‘all votes SNP’ for me.

        Until now.

        I will vote SNP on the constituency as the candidate is Catriona MacDonald, a former employee in Joanna Cherry’s office and a person who regards the latter as her ‘mentor’. In addition the SNP won my seat in 2011 and only lost by 2.9% in 2016. So, I have a reason to cast my 1st ballot.

        On the List I won’t be voting for the ultra-woke Graham Campbell who gets the automatic top spot as he is BAME by accident of birth – he is unlikely to get in anyway but I won’t be one giving him a helping hand as candidates should be assessed on their relative merits and demerits, nothing else. (I didn’t vote in the fraudulent candidate selection process for that reason).

        I realise that any votes for the SNP will be interpreted by the leadership as an endorsement of Nicola Sturgeon, her woke and dangerously intolerant policies, and her total non-action on Independence.

        However, the bigger picture is that winter will end one day and Nicola Sturgeon will have gone, one way or another. I can justify trying to keep a Unionist out of the Constituency by voting in a decent Independence supporting candidate.

        Just don’t know what to do on the list – we;ll see.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. As a doubter, I am left wondering if a huge SNP majority would be awkward rather than helpful for Nicola Sturgeon

    A huge majority would re-kindle ‘let’s get on with it’ and new prevarication would be needed

    A minority SNP administration in thrall to the Green Party would mean that she is ‘forced’ to push the beloved Bills but unable to press on with Independence. Those with insufficient faith would be blamed. An added bonus for her would be that the Chosen Ones on the Regional list are more likely to get a seat.

    The status quo maintained, power and the carrot put away for a few years

    Liked by 2 people

    1. One of the reasons for wanting a ‘super-mandate’ (NOT a ‘super-majority’, which is useless) is that it would leave the SNP leadership no excuses for continued inaction. I am now of the view that not even such a clear expression of popular will would impress her. She and her acolytes would claim it as a personal vote for her and a mandate for whatever she says it’s a mandate for.

      Liked by 6 people

  5. I wish I could be a believer I really do. And I wish I wasn’t a doubter. But – as me old mum says when describing her reasons for abandoning the church she was raised in – “I lack the gift of faith”.

    I’ve never been able to have faith (believe) in any idea without something concrete to base that belief on (I was always the annoying child who asked ‘but why?’). And if I do believe in an idea & then encounter compelling evidence that my understanding is wrong I nearly always change my belief immediately, sometimes mid-conversation (which is disconcerting to many who are much slower to incorporate new information into their world view) & at other times after much soul-searching & concerted thinking which can be decidedly uncomfortable for me. But I always change my beliefs in the face of compelling evidence & I cannot ignore evidence just because it doesn’t fit with my beliefs.

    Right now I am utterly uncomfortable with my train of thought in regards to my voting intentions in May. I’ve always supported Independence & I’ve always voted SNP because of that. Without doubt I think the SNP have been the best government that Scotland has ever had but – and it is a massive ‘but’ – there seems to be a foul corruption at the heart of the party now so can I vote for it now?

    I’ll never vote Tory but that’s not because I think that all Tories are evil people or that I disagree entirely with the fiscal policies they espouse. I will never vote Tory because at the heart of that party is a corruption (called the British Establishment) that I cannot ever support. The SNP appears to now be at the heart of the Scottish Establishment & I don’t like it.

    I want Scotland to be independent so that we can do things a bit differently. I don’t want a revolution but I don’t want Holyrood to become the new Westminster with little integrity & no real accountability. Voting SNP with NS (& her acolytes) at the helm looks like voting for the same but different & is not a step forward in my opinion. But there is no real alternative right now.

    Voting for any of the Unionist parties is a step back & I’m not about to do that but I can’t help but feel that the Independence Movement needs the SNP to lose so that it will galvanise itself into becoming a real movement & but the lackadaisical imitation it is now.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m familiar with that thing about changing your opinion on the fly. I often write to think. I will start a piece with only the vaguest idea of where it’s going. It has been known for me to end an article arguing the opposite of what I started with. I persuade myself. I reckon that’s a healthy thing. Although the article is for the bin as it makes no sense. And I don’t want to start editing it in case I change my mind again in the process.

      The dilemmas and quandaries pile up for thinking voters. I am resigned to voting for the SNP as the only way to ensure that our Parliament doesn’t fall into British hands. It is all too tempting to give the current party leadership a black eye. But that could be a very costly bit of gratification.

      I say I’m resigned to voting SNP. I’m still arguing with myself about it.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. The writing & thinking process is one I use myself.

        As for the voting SNP thing; as I’ve stated before, you & Iain Lawson are the two bloggers who are most likely to get me to vote SNP in spite of all my misgivings. I will be keeping that decision open until I make a mark on my ballot paper.

        I’ve never understood swing voters before now as it has always been obvious who I should vote for. I’m sure this is a healthy growth opportunity for me but I can’t say I’m enjoying it much!

        Liked by 6 people

      2. What if our parliament is already in the hands of the British state though? It’s hard to believe that this snp is true to our cause 😦 I just don’t know what to think any more.

        Liked by 6 people

  6. A dispiriting description of the current nascent schism. Perfidious albion has always done “divide and conquer”. We need to identify the mischief makers who have burrowed themselves into Scottish public life. The weevil whisperers who planted the seeds that have grown into embedded beliefs. David Harvie may be one. I am sure there are others.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Meanwhile Westminster continues with its corruption ,unlawful behaviour, lies, covering up by losing files and with its plans to outsource NHS.
    What do we do in Scotland ? Do we challenge that ? No! We Fight each other like ferrets in a sack . The Sturgeons sycophants and the Salmond sycophants. Wake up and smell the coffee. The ordinary Joe I speak to wants to know how his or her life will be secure and better under independence rather than remaining in the Union. This Inquiry which is is important , but it has to be said the quality of debate leaves people I speak to wondering if Scotland could be independent. We ignore these voices at out peril.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Would you prefer that Holyrood was more like Westminster? We you prefer that incompetence and corruption were not challenged in Scotland? What’s the point in persuading more people to the cause of restoring Scotland’s independence when the Scottish Government under Nicola Sturgeon totally fails to fulfil its role in Scotland’s cause?

      Be as blinkered and vacant as you wish. But don’t try to force those blinkers on others. If you want them to stop talking about the plainly evident problems then at least address those problems. They won’t go away just because you ignore them. They will only get worse. Will you then take responsibility for allowing this to happen? I doubt it very much. I don’t get the impression you have much difficulty finding others to blame.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Do you really need to insult people if they don’t agree with your opinion? Mary Ward is entitled to voice her opinion and i’m going to voice mine.

        If we don’t gain a majority of seats for SNP in this election then we will be shut down by W.M. and Scotland will be severely punished over years to come. Do not kid yourself that the Tories will wait till we’re ready to move again.
        I love your moral high ground stance but given the nightmare that will ensue I’ll pass on it and vote SNP 1&2 for Scotland.

        Like

      2. Where is the insult? I asked a couple of pertinent questions prompted by her comment. That is all. Nobody is questioning Mary Ward’s right to voice her opinion. But if she does so in a venue such as this then she should be able and willing to defend that opinion. I respond to everyone on that basis. I assume that they are capable of defending the views they express and are prepared to do so. It may be that you know the lady better than I do. Which wouldn’t be difficult as I’m not aware of knowing her at all. You may be aware of some reason she should not be expected to stand up for herself. Until I am made aware of this reason I shall persist in my default assumption that she is up to the task.

        I have no idea what “moral high ground stance” you’re referring to. I have strong and fully justified reservations about Nicola Sturgeon. Shockingly, I too am entitled to voice my opinion. If you want to challenge that opinion please do so. I would welcome some input as to why my reservations might be unfounded. I note that you offer nothing in that regard.

        As to your other points about needing an SNP majority and the consequences of failing to do that and the advisability of voting SNP on both ballots – this is nothing that I haven’t been saying in some cases for years. So quite why you’re telling me I have no idea. You give the impression of imagining I have been urging something else. If so, you’d be embarrassingly wrong. If I could be arsed I’d find some links to articles written by me that demonstrate just how embarrassingly wrong such a notion would be.

        The difference between us is that where we both recognise how crucial the SNP is to Scotland’s cause I am concerned to ensure that the party is in a fit state to fulfill its role. You don’t seem to care much about that. I criticise Nicola Sturgeon precisely because I care about Scotland’s future. I have absolutely no reason to suppose that future is safe in her hands.

        Liked by 3 people

  8. Who is our Grima Wormtongue? (is there more than one?) How long have have they been sowing the weevil larvae of discontent into the ears of our politicians, civil servants, prosecutors? How close to the top does he (she/they) need to be to cause such division? Where is Scotland’s Gandalf to throw light into the eyes of Theoden King? How long has David Harvie had the ears of senior civil servants, MSPs, Prosecutors? How many assets does he control? Tinfoil hat stuff? Maybe…. But the sense of impending doom is real and somehow we need to cast out those with malign and evil intent.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Theoden King has been cast down, Grima Wormtongue already sits on the throne with many words of deeds to be done.
      All will be well again when Sauron in Mordor gives his blessing to secede.

      P.S.
      Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

      Liked by 4 people

  9. If you don’t vote for the SNP with all of its faults, you risk a Unionist Holyrood parliament that will enable Westminster to virtually close Holyrood.
    So it’s a choice between no chance of a referendum, or a hope for a Party that will enable a referendum.
    What do you do?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree. The fact that we have no choice but to vote SNP only makes the frustration worse. I will be voting SNP solely to prevent the British parties from retaking our Parliament. I will be voting for the SNP not only despite all its faults but despite the fact that I am almost totally convinced that Nicola Sturgeon will not take us any further down the road to independence. That’s hard.

      Liked by 3 people

  10. After a flood you can’t redecorate a house until you’ve jettisoned the floodwater. If you don’t the house may collapse. The UK Gov is our Floodwater. For all SNP’s failings voting for them is a must.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. After a flood you can’t redecorate a house until you’ve jettisoned the floodwater. Horrible creatures swim around in it biting us at every opportunity. The UK Gov is our floodwater and has been for 300 years. Get them out first by getting our Independence. Then the massive job of redecorating can begin. I also am not overly enamoured at NS despite the accolades. She’s been the biggest obstacle to getting the Floodwater out.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Clearly I’ve got fat finger syndrome as I didn’t think the latter comment had gone through. You get the point though!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Following on from all of the gobbledygook about ”the faithful” and ”the doubters”, and in the process undermining Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP and our chances of us getting our independence once again, who do you think we should vote for in May? Paul Kavanagh and Craig Murray say vote SNP 1 & 2. Stu Campbell, a doubter, advocates not voting for them at all. Are you in his camp?

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    1. You’re quite adept petra at handing out snide comments without taking cognisance of what the article is about , your attempt at bullying a blogger or anyone who has their own opinions is well documented. I well remember you from your WOS days before you were banned , I remember your pious attitude when you were remonstrating and calling out posters for their bad language saying that you had a 13 year old niece who you liked to encourage to visit indy bloggers sites but you had to tell her not to visit WOS due to the profusion of bad language , you were confronted by a poster called K1 who told you in no uncertain terms what to do with your pious attitude , you went off in a hissy fit because someone challenged you

      Your hypocrisy is unbelievable you stop your 13 year old niece visiting WOS due to bad language but you are more than happy to encourage and promote a political party and a leader who are pushing legislation which will have severe repercussions on your nieces safety and security in being a woman in woman only spaces , and if you being the pious aunt want to protect her and you speak out your leader also has a law to stop you

      Liked by 3 people

      1. You seem to suffer from selective memory syndrome, twathater. I didn’t go off on a hissy fit. I was banned because I reckoned, and posted on WOS, that a new party with Stu Campbell leading it was doomed to fail for all of the obvious reasons.

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      2. No Petra I can assure you my memory is still good , you went off on a hissy fit due to K1 telling you you had no control of people’s language and as it was not your site it was nothing to do with you, also LATER you were banned by Stuart Campbell for making snide comments repeatedly even after being warned . But I notice that you didn’t address your hypocrisy re your outrage at the bad language your niece would hear, but you are quite happy for her security and safety to be at risk under a policy that Sturgeon is blackmailing independence supporters to accept if they want independence

        Like

  14. Well for the first time in my life I find myself doubting whether I shall even vote in the coming election. Never have & won’t ever vote Tory or Labour but what would I be voting for with an SNP vote?
    The Sturgeon faithful still believe she will bring a referendum but if that were so why does my candidate in North East Fife not even mention such a thing as a “referendum” in his campaigning literature? In fact why can my SNP candidate not even bring himself to mention the word “Independence ” either?

    Of course that’s merely the latest in a whole series of red flags I’ve conveniently ignored: the embracing of NATO, selfies with war criminal Alistair Campbell, Sturgeons admiration for mass murderer Henry Kissinger and the endlessly inane & Russophobic outbursts of Stewart McDonald as supposed shadow Defence Minister which show that SNP foreign policy is now written by the British spooks of the “Institute for Statecraft” and its chums in Chatham house.
    Fiscal policy has been likewise conceded to Threadneedle street and the Bank of England and our National sovereignty: stated so clearly and boldly in the Declaration of Arbroath as belonging the polity of Scotland has now been declared subservient to a section 30 and thus to the Westminster representatives of the people of England.

    There’s a Hitchcock term for a thing in a movie: something the entire plot circles round that was named a “MacGuffin” by Angus MacPhail who wrote for the director. It begins as being the essential symbol and spark for all the ensuing action but as the movie goes on and the audience are captured in the web of events spun by the director around it the significance of the actual MacGuffin fades to become a mere cypher: its import and significance now disregarded.
    Sturgeon has transformed Independence into a mere MacGuffin: a device useful for spinning her chosen plot around.

    And what of that chosen plot? Self ID and a Hate Crime bill: policy not voted for by the public (nor indeed the membership). and having essentially nothing to do with Independence at all but concerned with policing thought: indeed not only in your own home but in your own head. Something as mundane as binary gender is no longer it appears an objective detail of science but is apparently an entirely subjective experience which the government deem themselves expert enough to legislate on for us all.

    It can be no coincidence likewise that the present series of events are likewise not about Independence but again about policing the way that people think.
    I hear the refrain repeatedly from Sturgeon supporters clearly disappointed in the verdict of the courts and on the matter of law that Alex Salmond’s behaviour was non the less “inappropriate”.

    We have had a thorough: apparently ten million pounds thorough, investigation with over twenty police officers over several years involving hundreds of interviews with nearly every woman to come in to contact with Alex Salmond in his professional life and it resulted in the series of charges rightly dismissed by the jury as either “not illegal” or indeed “didn’t happen”.
    Non the less they go on: “his own lawyer said he was a sex pest…” well actually he didn’t : the secret filming of Gordon Jackson revealed no such thoughts but merely a well lubricated Mr Jackson rehearsing the hypothetical propositions that the UK media had been spinning for months.
    Oh but the mystery of Salmond’s “inappropriateness” at Edinburgh Airport… Ah right…he made a joke about a woman having to take her high heels off for the security scanners: “Killer heels…” quipped Alex.

    -I seriously doubt that anyone could have their entire life put under the microscope in such a manner and not be found to have said or done something “inappropriate” at some point or other according to whatever moral or ideological score card you chose to use. Frankly I’m somewhat amazed that after all that trawling what they came up with was effectively pathetic.
    Non the less, personally, I wouldn’t care care if Mr Salmond had indulged in wild orgies in Bute house: as long as the participants were willing I see it as not my concern. As long as he did the day job I elected him to do: i.e. try his damnedest to fulfil his obligation to bring us to a referendum & an opportunity for Independence; and on this Alex Salmond did deliver.

    But the present incumbent? As I said, the words “Referendum” and “Independence” are conspicuous by their absence in my local candidates literature. Why is that?

    What then am I being asked to vote SNP for if not that? What is it that what I appear to be offered as an alternative to this?
    Besides foreign policy dictated form London’s Chatham house, Fiscal control from London’s Threadneedle street and a surrender of Scottish sovereignty to London’s Westminster under clause 30 apparently its some form of moral ideology around a cult of Nicola which seeks to impose itself not only in censure but in actual prison sentences; not for real harm but for hurt feelings. If the trials and tribulations of Alex Salmond have any significance it is that they appear to provide a taster of the kind of behaviour we should expect to be subjected to by same regime.

    Meanwhile under the cuckoo spit froth of all this we can see the dark shapes of several thousand Westminster Civil servants incubating in Leith who are not there merely to sharpen pencils.

    Liked by 9 people

    1. “…what would I be voting for with an SNP vote?”

      You’d be voting to save the Scottish Parliament and to keep alive at least the hope of independence once Sturgeon is out of the way and the harm she has wrought on the party has been repaired.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I know what you mean – apparently anyone who comes across as being sardonic could be charged with a hate crime under the NEW SNP government….

        I could not have survived Thatcher without sardonic humour.

        So many young people and the older politicians who exploit them are so earnestly above all that ….. yet the global corporations laugh at them as they secretly fund their bizarre agenda….

        Liked by 2 people

  15. I think to be honest, for anyone who believes in Scottish Independence voting is obvious….

    SNP in constituency and a second vote no the list for ISP who will use their new MSPs to force the SNP to hold a referendum, because they will hold the power in the Parliament.

    If ISP get 20-30% of the list vote then they will replace Patrick Harvie’s Greens and many list Unionists and hold the New SNP to account..

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I seem to have wandered into an area of fantasy blogging. It’s sad to see a once great intellect deteriorate in public view, nothing left but insults, gratuitous conjectures and allegations without a shred of evidence (to coin a phrase), endlessly and tiresomely pursuing a vendetta for some supposed dereliction of duty: “It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

        Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

        Like

      2. The whole list party, super-majority thing is fantasy politics. I’ve explained why in a number of articles. But the basics are that playing games with the regional vote is a gamble in which the entire nation is wagered against a glittery bauble and even if the cunning plan chancers win in their own terms the independence movement gets nothing out of it.

        The only reason more people haven’t seen through the scam is that they don’t want to. They are so frustrated and desperate that they jump at the first thing that can be dressed up like effective action. They don’t want to hear that they are being duped, But they are.

        Don’t try selling me snake-oil. I ask too many questions for which the fantasy politics afficionados have no answers.

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      3. Well I suppose that’s a view … but please correct me if I have got this wrong. If the SNP win all the constituency seats in, say the Highlands and Islands, how many list seats will they win? My guess is zero. In that scenario the list seats will either go to the British parties or the Green Sexual Identity party?

        Liked by 1 person

      4. It’s a proportional system. That’s how it works. That’s how it is meant to work. If you don’t like proportional representation then start a campaign to change it to FPTP.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Sorry Peter but I am not following your logic here.

        If all the Constituency seats are won by the SNP and most Independence voters vote for another Independence party (such as ISP) on the List there will be many more pro independence MSPs in the Parliament than under your suggestion to vote SNP 1 and 2? In short a second vote for the SNP is likely wasted and will essentially mean SNP 1 and 2 voters will be voting for the Tories?

        Now I suppose one could argue that the SNP may not win all the constituency seats but they really should be.

        I also believe that the SNP does not represent the independence movement and there are people at the very top of the SNP who have self identified as Devo-Max supporters. Hence we (the Independence movement) do need more choice and greater plurality in the debate.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I really am weary of explaining this. Especially as it’s not that difficult to work out anyway. Not if you start by asking what outcome from the election best serves the fight to restore Scotland’s independence. If you start from a different place – asking what best serves some ego or agenda – then you end up at a different place. All the more so if you’ve decided in advance that it is the place you want to be.

        We have one chance to get this right. And half the bloody Yes movement is behaving as if we have all the time we want to pursue all manner of silly experiments. There is no sense of realpolitik. No sense of urgency. It’s depressing.

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      7. Have you ever considered that the SNP leadership don’t actually want Independence? John Swinney was forced to stand down as leader because he admitted he wanted the party to be the party of ‘Devo-Max’. He is still there!

        I also know from working with a number of senior SNP figures back in the day, who were in the government /shadow cabinet), that they were very relaxed about not securing Independence.

        Personally I no longer trust them so will not be voting for them on the list. They need to stop using the independence cause as their personal gravy train ticket….. this is not our last opportunity. That is a shrill claim that is without foundation.

        The dream will die when we are perpetually betrayed by the people we trusted to regain our nationhood.

        Liked by 4 people

  16. “You’d be voting to save the Scottish Parliament and to keep alive at least the hope of independence once Sturgeon is out of the way and the harm she has wrought on the party has been repaired.”

    In the short term we would be supporting her franchise and strengthening her hand: allowing her to further gerrymander the party for years of more of the same which will help discredit the parliament and hurt the Independence movement for even longer.

    Seems its between “bite the bullet now.” and a self-immolating “vote SNP and watch them take the whole show down”.
    -Never did I think it would come to this.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. I will be voting SNP as the best option available. I have very serious doubts that the SNP under Nicola Sturgeon will hold, or even try to hold, a second referendum but I know for certain none of the Unionist parties will. Even if we’re simply electing a colonial administration it might as well be the best one we can have.

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  18. There is only one choice for me on the constituency ballot, to vote for the candidate most likely to give Wee Wullie Rennie a gubbing, a certain Rhuaraidh Fleming, a very nice young man who worked as Stephen Gethins’s constituency office manager until it was closed down by a conspiracy between local Tories and the now MP, Ms Wendy Chamberlain. This constituency is a real battleground and I suspect the same tactics will be employed, already Wullie is sending out literature about his being the only party capable of holding back the nationalist tide. The usual bollocks. So SNP for me first. But I am reserving judgement for the list, if I lived in Highland, Andy Wightman would certainly get my vote. But sadly I do not (for many reasons) so I will perhaps see if there are any interesting characters in the smaller party lists. I may even spoil the ballot.

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    1. Duncan – not so sure Andy Wightman supports independence so would be interested to know why you would vote for him?

      He is another person who appears to be weaving his political ambitions around Independence but has he ever come out and stated if independence is a political priority? I dinnae think so!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I don’t disagree. But he behaves in Parliament as if we were already an independent country. I think his “independence” would be an asset to the Parliament. The list maybe is a kind of conscience or second chamber.

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      2. That’s kind of you Duncan – I think Andy would like to see himself that way too.

        I agree that more independent voices in the Scottish Parliament would be a very good thing and Andy would fulfill that role well. However, I do not trust him to vote for an Independence Referendum should the opportunity arise, so could never vote for him.

        Liked by 3 people

  19. Peter, you wrote “All she had to do was turn up and remember to bring her technique with her”… I can’t be alone in wanting you to expand with an explanation of what this is, exactly. I think I know what it is; the ability to fluently answer a direct question with a legal formation, a subsequent wall of words and when necessary emotive language and personalisation. But, I know you will do this better than me.
    I have long been critical of her ‘leadership’ through the pandemic as it’s actually “crisis management”, which is easily confused with leadership. Similarly people confuse here her fluency with honesty.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Actually, Harry, you’ve described the technique rather well. I deliberately didn’t get into detail as it’s the kind of thing that I tend to get lost in and I’d have ended up writing 3,000 words and failing to make any real point. But you’ve put it in a nutshell. It’s a political skill. We see it deployed every time a politician is interviewed. Some are better at it than others. Some just don’t have the skill at all. A few have the skill but use it sparingly and judiciously. They tend to be the more honest and trustworthy politicians.

      Sturgeon’s testimony was pretty much all technique and nothing else. It was a fire-hose of technique. A jet or a spray as required to knock down or obscure. That’s what the people saw who have since said they were unimpressed – or something stronger. Others were blinded and befuddled by the technique. Which is precisely what it is for.

      Sturgeon’s communication skills have come to the fore in her “crisis management” role addressing the public health crisis. In giving her testimony she resorted to the same skills but for a different purpose. As I think you well understand.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I was very disappointed by the lack of action by the Convener; the circus was allowed to play on.

        Perhaps only a judge would have been able to prevent that sort of carry on (and secure the necessary evidence to make a credible report one way or the other). As it is we’ll have an outcome that satisfies no-one

        Liked by 4 people

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