“They simply cannot on the one hand portray themselves as democratic and on the other stand united against the clearly expressed wishes of an entire country.”Richard Walker: Unionist parties must decide their stance on indyref2
Oh yes they can!
Richard Walker opens by saying that the British parties in Scotland have “have waved goodbye to logic” and that “the Westminster Parliament operates within a completely different moral code to its equivalent in Holyrood”. He finishes by contradicting himself. What he now says they can’t do is precisely what abandoning logic and forsaking anything we would recognise as a moral code enables them to do.
Richard starts out well. But he is prevented from reaching the logical conclusion to his arguments by the need to toe the party line. Hence, his well-constructed argument that the British political elite is perfectly capable of brazenly denying fundamental democratic principles concludes that they must surely be bound by those same principles.
The SNP party line that ‘independence is inevitable (if you keep voting for us)’ doesn’t allow him to state what must be true if everything else he says is true. Namely, that the British political elite will fight tooth and nail to preserve their ‘precious’ Union; and do so unfettered by and considerations of morality, legality or logic.
Independence is not inevitable! If Scotland’s independence is to be restored it will require that the Scottish Government take bold, decisive action to effect this change. It will not simple happen in the ‘normal’ course of events. It will not happen while the Scottish Government accepts the hobbles put on it by the devolution settlement. There can be no route to independence within the legal and constitutional framework constructed by England-as-Britain for the purpose of protecting and preserving the Union.
It is the Union which bestows on the British political elite such power over Scotland that they cannot be bound by sense or conscience. It is said that power corrupts. Well, this is how it corrupts. Power corrupts by eroding the limits to power and substituting cold expediency.
The British parties do not have to decide their stance on a new referendum. That is decided for them by the fact that they are British. They serve and are served by the structures of power, privilege and patronage which define the British state. They can do no other than seek to preserve the Union at whatever cost to Scotland and its people, never mind decency and democracy.
The belief that the British political elite will undergo some sort of epiphany in response to the expressed will of Scotland’s people is a faith position which denies the amply evidenced nature of the British state. So long as the SNP adheres to this faith position it will not take the necessary action to initiate the process by which Scotland’s independence will be restored. The self-styled ‘party of independence’ – together with pretenders to that title – must accept that to break the rule of the Union they must break the Union’s rules.
27 thoughts on “Break the rules to break the Union!”
Absolutely spot on.
Independence receding because of Nicola Sturgeon’s inability to accept the truth of this. As much as I think she is a very good communicator, manager and head of government, she’s no scrapper.
England does not need to do anything, action needs to come from Scotland. That’s not going to happen with the SNP’s current leadership – maybe it won’t happen under an SNP government at all.
I’ve already accepted that the SNP isn’t going to do the necessary in the next parliament. I then get told that I should look to Alba to advance Scotland’s cause. I ask how they propose to do this and I get no satisfactory answers. People are being duped into thinking it’s still ‘game on’ because Alex Salmond has joined in. They implicitly believe this without any scrutiny. It’s madness.
Pressure? Something other than inertia? At least MSPs recognising – and talking about – independence is normal would be a start as would more independence supporting, than union supporting, MSPs in Holyrood.Under the SNP and Greens’ majority nothing happened – that’s 6 or 7 years now. Totally unacceptable. Alba could serve as a warning that, if the SNP don’t advance the cause another party will.
MSPs/MPs, realising that the SNP are probably devolutionists, jumping ship to an independence party?
The SNP is supposed to be a party supporting independence but there really is not much sign that they do – except, of course, when there’s an election. The “I” word doesn’t frighten Alba. It does the SNP – their election leaflet didn’t mention it.
Talking of election, my ballot papers have just arrived in this morning’s post.
TIME!!! Why do so many people deny the importance of time. If not its very existence. When will this other party be in the position the SNP is now? Not in five years. Probably not in ten. Quite possibly not in 15 or even 20 years. When do you imagine ‘too late’ is? I’ll tell you! It’s long before 20 years. It’s more like five years. But let’s relax, eh? There’s “another party” riding to our rescue. I despair!
For well nigh on 1,500 years England and England as Britian have attempted to control and submerge Scotland. They have used military actions and threat and well as political deviousness. What makes Nicola Sturgeon and her accolytes imagine that the British State will change a system of control that they have pursued for centuries?
Maybe if we send them a nicely worded letter and a big box of chocolates they’ll be nice to us.
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Laughable, isn’t it.
‘If’ the Alba party do achieve a cluster of seats at the Unionist parties expense then at least it might shake the SNP into adopting a more radical approach. The new party is a threat to their cosy-ish hegemony as head of the yes movement. It seems like a win-win situation creating a voice that’s gonna shout that little bit louder from Holyrood. Will it embolden the wee devolved parliament? One can only hope so. At least if feels like a step in the right direction. Surely it will at least generate a greater sense of necessary urgency to break the chains that are already starting to depress and destroy our country.
Why would it do that? Why would the SNP be shaken? What leverage can Alba have? These are the questions that SHOULD follow automatically from such claims. But seldom do. Have a wee think. What does this election ‘prove’ other than that the SNP is NOT threatened? It’s not threatened now. There’s no way it can be threatened for the next 5 years. After that, it will almost certainly be too late. Alba doesn’t DO anything for Scotland’s cause. It can’t. Only the Scottish Government can. That’s why we elect the SNP. But they won’t do what we elect the to do knowing we have to elect them anyway. Alba makes not a scintilla of difference to that situation.
Hear hear. Thank you.
I am less pessimistic, although equally scathing of stupidity. I fear that the ideas you articulate about holding a referendum under the existing power of the Scottish government are simply too challenging for its current occupants. They simply do not get it, that the British state will do absolutely anything in pursuit of its interests and protection of its imperial possessions; logic, reason, morality, good sense and so forth are irrelevant. They do not get that confrontation with the British State is inevitable and prefer to believe that because of demographics independence is inevitable. Which is why I am supporting Alba, which is much more likely to contain members who are indeed receptive to your position and who are well aware of the powers pitted against them.
As an old friend commented having read my latest rant:
“The Greens, Labour, Liberals and Tories are all the same. Hence, the great unwashed of the ‘mob’ are left to do the tactical thinking, whilst their ‘politicised’ party and elected member superiors are constrained and confined by whips and discipline, beholden to the sons (and now daughters) of God who lead them, make the real decisions, and tell them what must be said.
“Maybe Alba are a total ragbag of mopped up leftovers, established by a fallen sinner, and containing a few oddballs no Guardian reader or MSM journalist would ever invite to dinner, but such a movement, historically speaking, has had clear advantages over the pedestal paragons featured as saints at the top of totalitarian machines.”
The piece is here.
Thanks for that, Duncan.
My problem is not with what Alba IS, but with what Alba can DO – compared to what is claimed it will do. There’s a major disconnect there that all too many people are failing to see. The big concern there is that people frustrated with the SNP (perfectly understandably) imagine the ‘problem’ is solved by supporting/voting Alba. It isn’t. It really, really isn’t.
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To some extent we do not yet know what Alba can do. The cookie will crumble; there will be either more of the same or something a bit different.
We know exactly what Alba can do. We know how the system works. We know what the Scotland Act stipulates. We know about standing orders and parliamentary procedure. We know all we need to know to be able to predict with a high degree of confidence that Alba will be able to do – or contribute to doing – precisely nothing of what needs to be done.
I wait to be proved wrong.
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“TIME!” – keep your hair on.
I acknowledge this is probably the last chance to free ourselves before Scotland is absorbed but let’s face it, Brexit and a crashed economy, Whitehall attacks on our Parliament, on our laws and loss of what powers it has – none of this has caused the SNP to be shaken out of its inertia. Another 5 years would be the same as the last 5 with the SNP/Greens combo – just plodding on.
We supported the SNP in its endeavours to get us independence – that party has failed – and there’s very little sign that the SNP have an appetite for it.
So what do you suggest, Peter? We are where we are and we need to play the hand that is dealt us. How do we pressure them into fighting for independence? Do we cut our losses and start again with another party?
What’s your ideas to get us out of this mess? What steps do the electorate take now?
SNP unveiling the manifesto at 11 am – independence after Covid gone! Independence is not a priority for them. They apparently have no truck with the idea that independence is needed in order to recover from Covid.
Such hair as I have is quite secure. I hope you appreciate how grateful I am for your concern.
How does it happen that you trying to justify any excitement about Alba suddenly turns into me having to provide a solution? Looks awfy like evasion to me.
I’ve spent the last couple of years pushing the only ‘solution’ there is. It got nowhere. Half the Yes movement is in thrall to Nicola Sturgeon and the other half was off herding unicorns. Only a small minority recognised that the ONLY way there could possibly be action on the constitutional issue in this parliament is if the SNP adopted the #ManifestoForIndependence. It was never going to be easy to get them to do this. Most people weren’t even prepared to try. Now, it’s almost certainly too late. Those who are not still in thrall to Sturgeon and the SNP have pinned their hopes on Salmond and Alba in precisely the same way most of us pinned our hopes on Sturgeon and the SNP, but with far less justification.
Alba is all flash and no bang. There is nothing they can do, even if elected, that will trouble the SNP or bring independence one day closer. If there was, surely somebody would have told me about it by now. I’ve asked enough times.
Well, you ask a lot of questions of other people, you provide what you think is the way to go about achieving independence – adoption of the Manifesto for Independence – but you don’t say how we get the SNP to adopt it and act on it. What’s the best method – or any method – to pressure the SNP to get on with it? Voting for them encourages them to do very little; not voting for them harms Scotland’s chances of ever achieving independence. What’s the answer?
Sadly, I’ve just watched the SNP’s manifesto presentation and an independence referendum might happen within the next Parliamentary term, not the first half of the next Parliament as Sturgeon had already spoke of, but within the next 5 years if the Scottish people want it. Nothing from her about what steps she will take to increase support for independence. In other words, nothing has changed. We jog slowly on as before. Depressing.
P.S. I’m glad your hair is firmly attached.
I HAVE said what was required to get the SNP to sign up to the #ManifestoForIndependence. What you mean is that you didn’t read that when I said it countless times in numerous places. If I don’t say it any more then the reason should be obvious. It’s too late. If the Yes movement hadn’t succumbed to factionalism such that it was incapable of unified action we could have put massive pressure on the SNP. But every attempt to unite the movement failed. Everybody TALKED about the need for unity. Nobody was prepared to make the compromises required.
There’s little point in rehashing the story of how the internal democracy of the SNP has been killed stone dead leaving members bereft of any power to influence their own party. But you should know that a fair number of members were prepared to put up a fight. Again, not enough. Most were either unthinking loyalists or they had already walked away rather than put in the effort.
When our grandchildren ask why we didn’t seize independence when we could we can tel then that we just couldnae be ersed.
This paper and associated lecture were released on tuesday and are worth consideration as they address relevant issues.
“Resist, reform or re-run: short- and long-term reflections on Scotland and independence referendums”
“In this paper Ciaran Martin, Professor of Practice in the Management of Public Organisations at the Blavatnik School of Government, delves into the constitutional issues related to a Scottish independence referendum, drawing on direct personal experience from the 2014 referendum and the negotiations preceding it.
The author argues that there could be a potential clash between the mandate of the Scottish electorate on the one hand, and the laws of the United Kingdom as a whole on the other, over the question of whether to hold a further referendum (in 2014 Scottish people voted to remain in the United Kingdom by a margin of 55 to 45 per cent).
“The paper includes a foreword by Sir Tom Devine, Scotland’s leading historian and Professor Emeritus at the University of Edinburgh.
Watch the launch lecture with Ciaran Martin, Sir Tom Devine and Ngaire Woods.
PDF [34 pages] https://www.bsg.ox.ac.uk/sites/default/files/2021-04/Scotland_Referendum_final.pdf
Due credit: thanks to a comment by ‘HorizonT’ on Craig Murrays blog.
“The author argues that there could be a potential clash between the mandate of the Scottish electorate on the one hand, and the laws of the United Kingdom as a whole on the other…”
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From the latest Wings article:
“The very best Alba can realistically hope for is to build a base for the NEXT election.”
which does beg the question:
“Why would anyone want to waste their vote on Alba THIS election?”.
SNP 1 and SNP 2, or SNP 1 and Green 2. Anything else helps the unionists.
Forget the bloody Unionists! It’s not the British parties in Scotland that are the problem. It’s the SNP. Only the SNP can form the government. Only the government can act. The government can only act if it has an incontestable mandate to do so. The Yes movement has been working very hard to ensure that the necessary conditions for restoring Scotland’s independence aren’t going to happen. NOBODY is talking about taking the necessary action in the next Parliament. Not the SNP! Not Alba! Not the Scottish Greens! Not that the last two matter because they’re not going to be in a position to do anything.
We’ve been betrayed by the whole fucking lot of them. All the components of the machine were in place. All we had to do was bring them together. Not doing this was a choice. It was a choice made by the politicians and the most influential elements of the Yes movement. The opportunity was there to make this the Scotland versus the Union election. Instead we’ve made it an unseemly scrabble for position, status and privilege. It’s pitiful to watch.
BTW – Stu is obviously correct in his observation about the limits of what Alba can possibly achieve. We can safely assume it will fall short. And the next election will be too late anyway. So Alba really serves no purpose whatever. We had a party that could have done what was needed. But getting it to do that was proving a wee bit tricky. So what do the numpties do? We they don’t double and redouble their efforts to get the party of independence to do it’s fucking job. Because if they’d done that they wouldn’t be numpties. No1 The went in the huff and decided to start new parties instead. The only explanation for them being unable to work our that these new parties were bound to be useless is that they are the greatest numpties ever!
I wanted a firm commitment, a date. none of this “After Covid” waffle. I wanted that on page 1 of the manifesto, never mind the gloss. In fact, page 1, 2, 3, 4 – all Indy Ref 2 and Indy itself. Wha did I get? Page 12. With some stuff about “Scotland’s choice” or whatever I forget, before that. And in the speech? Last thing mentioned almost “oh by the way, there’s an In …Inde … whatever, thing to think about”.
So what am I going to do? Vote SNP for the constituency and in West Scotland if the SNP actually lost a constituency they’d make it up on the list. So it’s SNP for the flaming region as well, just in case. Because we need a pro-indy majority and in fairness Ross Greer looks safe otherwise I’d maybe think Green for the list. No way would they get 2, as they’d need over 10% for a second, and they got 5.3% in 2016.
And do you think Sturgeon and co know how I’ll vote, being over 40 years an Indy supporter? Of course they do. Nobody else sensible to vote for., and I’m not Green The manifesto isn’t aimed at me – or you – it’s aimed at the softer SNP voter, or even fed up Labour / LibDem voter free dentals, bikes for kids, school meals, all that sort of desirable stuff that has FA to do with Independence. Me and others, mostly, they can take for fecking granted, and probably have a reasonable idea how many “rebels” they’ll lose to Alba (40,000 at most all over Scotland, probably a lot lot less come the day).
I’ll be putting in my postal vote, SNP 1 & fecking 2, and maybe ignore the remaining 3 non-indy weeks.
“We’ve been betrayed by the whole fucking lot of them. All the components of the machine were in place. All we had to do was bring them together. Not doing this was a choice. It was a choice made by the politicians and the most influential elements of the Yes movement. The opportunity was there to make this the Scotland versus the Union election. Instead we’ve made it an unseemly scrabble for position, status and privilege. It’s pitiful to watch.”
– Summed up in one. I did have a little low after the referendum but still had hope. Now? now I despise what Scotland has become because it is unfortunately on the road to becoming even less than that and our politicians all know this: There’s no excuse in ignorance: the bills showing how Westminster intend to bypass the parliament are already in black and white and the SNP go sailing towards those rocks quite knowingly without a care for anything apparently other than their salaries and expenses.
Its the proverbial Turkeys voting for Xmas: I’m truly at a loss.
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Peter, as you point there are so many issues and problems. As far as I can see Alba are doing what they can and their task right now needs to be inflate expectations in order to get off the ground. The SNP are beyond the the pale in terms of their faint-heartedness. They make the indy cause look like it has been supplanted by an inside job.
I have one hope. The hope is that the UK simply falls apart anyway. Events in Ireland might plausibly lead the way. You are right that time is not on our side but that assumes no further dislocations in the current settlement. Irish re-unification would make it harder for the timid SNP to resist making a final push here. The arrogance of the UKG in its dealings with the devolved nations of the UK mean it is quite capable of over-reaching itself. But its capacity for ill is considerable and SNP seem naive and feart to stand their ground. So, if I can find any hope in this sad impasse then it is likely to come from outside Scotland. Nothing to be proud of in this, but right now I’d take anything that gets us over the indy line.
I will go Alba on the list on principle because they support indy, but also because having them “there” in the mix with a voice if external events happen to shift our way might be something.
Okay…..not great….not strong….not even factors in our control…..but I am searching for signs of hope in the gathering gloom.
Everybody who communicates wih me about Alba sounds the same. You all sound like you’re trying a little too hard to make nothing sound like a big thing. You have solittle to work with that you all resort sooner or later to the far easier task of making the SNP look like less than nothing so that Alba might look like something in comparison.
I see this time after time day after day. And all it does is remind how totally fucked our politics must be that discourse has sunk to this sub-mollusc level.
What the fuck happened to my country?
Were you responding to my post? If so, I missed it. My point was less about bloody Alba and much more that any hope I can imagine comes in the form of external factors e.g Irish re-unification.
It wasn’t a response to anybody in particular. Just and expression of despair.
I think Sturgeon is taking her lead from New Zealand, and her hero Ardern.
Hasn’t New Zealand never actually declared independence, and it just sort of happened over the years?
I think that is her only strategy.