A gathering point

The first six polls following the vote in 2014 averaged 47% for Yes. The most recent half dozen averages 44%. That Yes hit 52% and even 53% at different points in between is irrelevant. The fact that my bank balance was once in the tens of thousands of pounds in no way alters the fact that it is barely into the hundreds now. The cold hard fact is that what polling indicates is Scotland’s cause going backwards under Nicola Sturgeon. Bear in mind that this backwards trend has been the the background to insistence by Sturgeon/SNP loyalists that the party and its leader were doing great things for the independence cause. There were even claims from some particularly dribbly bladders that we’d “never been closer to independence”. All while the campaign was slipping backwards for the want of leadership to take it forwards.

Ten years ago (approximately) we knew for a fact that there would be a referendum; we knew when it would be held; we knew what the question would be; we had a fair idea what the Yes campaign strategy would be. Today, we have none of that. And this is supposed to be progress! Nicola Sturgeon’s devoted admirers simply ignore the facts and persist in their claims that she is doing a brilliant job and will “lead us to independence”. Not if evidence is our guide!

The Common Weal report covered in the Sunday National attempts to pick apart the minutiae of fluctuations in support for independence. While interesting and even thought-provoking I’m dubious about how useful this exercise might be. Even if there are pointers as to how Scotland’s cause might be better served by the SNP/Scottish Government I can think of no reason to believe the SNP/Scottish Government will take heed.

There is one thing that I take from my first impressions of the report which is surely relevant to the constitutional issue as it actually stands at this time – as opposed to where Sturgeon/SNP loyalists like to pretend it stands. It seems that the SNP/Scottish Government’s now seemingly incorrigible practice of linking the independence campaign to some other issue has failed every time. The Common Weal report states,

Essentially, the ‘Stop Brexit’ campaign failed and thus independence must be campaigned for on its own merits.

This seems to me an essential point. Independence must be campaigned for on its own merits. In a column for The national yesterday Robbie Mochrie made much the same point.

If independence is normal, then it is an end in itself, and not just a means to an end.

The SNP/Scottish Government appears not to have learned the lesson that if independence is presented as being ‘for’ something then the fortunes of the independence campaign will be at the mercy of whatever fate befalls the thing that it is presented as being ‘for’. If independence is ‘for’ stopping Brexit and Brexit happens anyway then the failure of the effort to stop Brexit becomes the failure of the independence campaign. Similarly, if independence is ‘for’ ending austerity and austerity ends anyway – or is portrayed and widely perceived as having ended – then independence looks to have no purpose.

Now, the SNP/Scottish Government apparently wants to tie independence to the idea of recovery from the Covid pandemic. No lessons have been learned. Like Sturgeon’s early management of the Covid crisis, any boost to independence support from association with the idea of recovery from that crisis can only be fleeting. Either recovery is successful, in which case independence is again left without a purpose, or recovery fails, in which case the failure also taints independence.

Scotland’s cause desperately needs a massive dose of hard-headed realism. The Yes movement must as a matter of great urgency shake off the mindless blindness of Sturgeon/SNP loyalists and the fantasy politics of Alba Party and the crude, clumsy social engineering obsessions of the Scottish Greens and the dumb tribalism that arises from all of this and take stock of Scotland’s predicament with a clear eye and a clear head. We have to acknowledge that the Sturgeon/SNP/Scottish Government approach to the constitutional issue has failed, is failing and promises only to fail even more disastrously if it is allowed to persist.

We have to recognise that Alba Party cannot possibly do anything for Scotland’s cause in time to save us from the British Nationalist juggernaut that is already upon us. That only the Scottish Government has the capacity to initiate the process which will stop or slow that juggernaut and lead to the restoration of Scotland’s independence. We must accept that because this must be done immediately it can only be done by the SNP/Scottish Government that we have.

We can only see the SNP/Scottish Greens pact as the poorest of poor substitutes for the super-mandate for independence we so woefully failed to achieve in the last Holyrood election. As well as recognising that it really was the last election to the Scottish Parliament as we know it.

We have to realise that Scotland’s cause can only progress if we make that happen. Only the SNP/Scottish Government can do what is needed; only the united Yes movement can possibly force them to do it; and only if the united Yes movement applies massive, focused and coordinated pressure.

That is the purpose of the White Rose Rising: Union No More demonstration at Holyrood on Tuesday 31 August starting at 13:00. It is a beginning. The start of a hopefully huge campaign which is solely and exclusively about the one thing that is common to the entire Yes movement regardless of party, faction or tribe – ending the Union so as to restore Scotland’s independence.

White Rose Rising stands for the idea that restoring Scotland’s independence is a worthy and honourable objective in and of itself because it necessarily implies bringing to an end a political union that was unjust and injurious to Scotland from its inception and now represents a gross insult to our dignity as well as a real and imminent threat to our distinctive political culture and identity as a nation.

White Rose Rising is a gathering point for all in the Yes movement who understand that only by maintaining a rigid focus on the constitutional issue can the whole movement speak with one voice and act as one body.

White Rose Rising is a gathering point for all in the Yes Movement who understand that Westminster has no role in the exercise of our right of self-determination. That the Union can be ended only by the Scottish Government acting through the Scottish Parliament. That the free and fair exercise of our right of self-determination can only be achieved in a referendum on the question of the Union entirely made and managed in Scotland under the auspices of a Scottish Parliament which has asserted its primacy on the basis of its democratic legitimacy and the sovereignty of Scotland’s people.

White Rose Rising is a gathering point for those in the Yes movement who understand that the Union will not be ended and independence restored without confrontation with the British state. That the SNP/Scottish Government must be ‘encouraged’ to demonstrate its readiness for this confrontation. And that this ‘encouragement’ is unlikely to succeed absent direct action on a significant scale.

The demonstration outside the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday afternoon takes place as MSPs resume work after the summer recess. It takes place on the day the First Minister outlines her Programme for Government. It is intended to impress on Nicola Sturgeon and the entire Scottish Parliament that the Programme for Government must include an explicit and unambiguous commitment to repudiate the Section 30 process and assert the competence of the Scottish Parliament in all matters relating to Scotland’s constitutional arrangements and to do this before the next recess in October.

We gather at our Parliament on Tuesday afternoon to tell Nicola Sturgeon that the time is now! That we will accept no more excuses and tolerate no more procrastination! That the Union must be dissolved before it is too late to rescue Scotland from the British Nationalist onslaught. That Scotland’s independence must be restored for no reason other than that it is right.

#UnionNoMore #WhiteRoseRising



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17 thoughts on “A gathering point

  1. With you in spirit.
    Unfortunate clash. Marion Millar’s case is to be tried at Glasgow Sheriff Court on the 31st, I’ll be there to support.

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  2. “that the Programme for Government must include an explicit and unambiguous commitment to repudiate the Section 30 process”

    I personally totally disagree with that, and a lot of others would as well. I can’t make the demonstration anyway, but if my presence was deemed to support that I wouldn’t attend for that reason.

    The one thing that unites us is Independence; anything tagged on to that reduces support. It’s a shame to reduce support by bringing in unneccessary baggage that divides us.

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    1. |The onus is on you to explain why the Section 30 process is necessary. And how it can possibly deliver a free and fair exercise of our right of self determination. I notice you missed out all of that from your response.

      What you rather stupidly fail to appreciate is that Section 30 is the thing that’s “tagged on”. It has to be removed in order to get to the thing that might unite us but for the fact that so many fail to appreciate what Section 30 means. https://www.iscot.scot/article/news/section-30-is-not-scotlands-salvation/

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “The onus is on you to explain why the Section 30 process is necessary. ”

        No it isn’t Peter, it’s the preferred way of the SNP and the Greens and the vast majority of the Independence movement – and a huge array of constsitutional experts. What I’m saying is that it’s divisive in the same way as “Tory Tory Tory out out out” when it’s about Independence not which party rules the irrelevant Westminster, and could be a reason for a poor turnout, as 99.99% of people don’t agree with you. For instance for a discussion of the S30 and its significance:

        https://ukconstitutionallaw.org/2020/01/13/chris-mccorkindale-and-aileen-mcharg-constitutional-pathways-to-a-second-scottish-independence-referendum/

        The SNP just voted by 94.9% to support the pact with the Greens in spite of a lot of reservations, and THAT isn’t just a vote for the pact, it’s a vote of confidence for the leadership, and the current policy of try to get a Section 30, and if not, then go ahead with a referendum anyway.

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      2. You’re still not getting it. Repudiating the Section 30 process is fundamental to the whole business of reframing the constitutional issue. There is no way that the fight to restore Scotland’s independence can proceed so long as the commitment to the Section 30 process remains. That’s why you can’t explain how it might.

        It doesn’t matter how many people “support” it because it has never been explained to them what it actually means and they’ve never bothered to figure it out for themselves. The Section 30 process is what it is. It doesn’t become something different just because lot’s of people “support” it.

        What you identify as my mistake is me being honest enough to call out the Section 30 process for the trap that it most certainly is. I am not about to apologise for being honest. I am not about to compromise the fight to restore Scotland’s independence just for the sake of getting a few more people attending an event. What sort of insane logic is that?

        Those who are move to attend Tuesday’s demo understand far better than you what the Section 30 is and what it means. None of them are going to be deterred by your shocking revelation that repudiation of the Section 30 process is part of our demands as it always has been. White Rose Rising may only be a year or so old, but it picks up on a perspective that has been in existence within the Yes movement ever since 2014. The campaign for a rethink of the entire approach to the constitutional issue been growing and is now part of mainstream discourse within the Yes movement. You really should be aware of this.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Peter, you’re still not getting it.

    The more issues you tag on to a march or rally, the less support it gets, as people don’t want it assumed they support whatever it is.

    So you have 3 or 4 versions of AUOB which have become AUOBALBA, AUOBANTI_NUKE, AUOBANTISNP, AUOBANTISTURGEON, AUOBANTIMONARCHY, and NOWSCOTLAND which as well as the rest seems to be anti fossil fuel. The last march in Glasgow, from a very good more aerial shot somewhere else (not the National) showed 8 stationary or slow moving cars on the other side of the road which was not closed off, and about 400 people on the march – rather than the previous 80,000 or whatever the figure. 2 minutes to walk past not 2 hours, and about 10% of them were Police Scotland.

    You’re adding even more division – people who go to this event on Tuesday seem to have to endorse your detailed view of what should be what. It does not matter who is “right” or “wrong”, what matters is people disagree.

    The object shouldn’t be your view of how things should work out, or mine, or Sturgeon, or some version of AUOB, or SIC, or Sillars, it should be

    INDEPENDENCE

    THAT we can all agree on, and only that.

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    1. You’re the one who doesn’t get it. I’m not tagging on any issues. The SNP/Scottish Government’s devotion to the Section 30 process is central to the whole issue. There cannot be a campaign to take the fight for independence in an effective way that DOESN’T include repudiation of the Section 30 process. If you understood what the Section 30 process means then you would understand that it is not an adjunct to the core issue but an inseparable part of that issue.

      Unfortunately, the fact that you still fail to comprehend this so late in the game suggests that you don’t really want to and never will.

      I doubt if it will make any difference but I’ll just point out here that even the SNP/Scottish Government has acknowledged that the Section 30 process will have to be repudiated if progress is to be made. The problem is that they cling to the delusion that it is possible to proceed without repudiating the Section 30 process. They still cling to the obviously absurd notion that there is a route to independence that does not involve confrontation with the British state. The continue to pander to the British political elite rather than do what is necessary.

      That is what we have to change. That change cannot happen without the repudiation of the Section 30 process. The people planning to demonstrate at Holyrood on tuesday understand this. Maybe you will too one day. You’ll have to excuse me if I don’t wait.

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      1. Brave new World.
        One if the main characters was “determined to preserve her incomprehension inract”.
        That’s where too many SNP worshippers are.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Independence is all White Rose Rising asks people to agree on. That’s the whole point of it. Your problem is that you inexplicably imagine Section 30 to be a separate issue. It cannot be.

      To agree on independence there must be shared recognition of what needs to happen for that to be possible. Independence cannot be defined. But the necessary process can. That process CANNOT involve Section 30 of the Scotland Act for all the reasons I long since wearied of explaining for the benefit of people who won’t even read the explanation.

      The Section 30 process has to be repudiated because it has been accepted. Had it not been accepted – enthusiastically embraced! – by Sturgeon then there would be no need to repudiate it. But we have to deal with what is not what might have been. But since we’re on the subject of what might have been, had the SNP/Scottish Government so idiotically walked into the Section 30 trap there would be a single action which would completely encompass the entire process by which Scotland’s independence will be restored.

      What might have been; what SHOULD have been, is that we should need only to talk about asserting the primacy of the scottish Parliament to be talking about the whole of the process. Because that is the part which is essential regardless of any other. Even if repudiation of the Section 30 process hadn’t been made necessary by the fact that it was insanely accepted as the “gold standard” what would remain is the taken of power by and to the Scottish Parliament. Without that action there can be no independence. And did you but realise it, the purpose of the Section 30 process is to prevent the Scottish Parliament asserting its primacy and thereby prevent the dissolution of the Union.

      All of this is obvious to anybody who thinks it through. It takes no particular skill or genius to do this. But most people just don’t bother. It now occurs to me that this being so I’ll probably be asked to explain how the Section 30 process prevent the primacy of the Scottish Parliament being asserted – despite this being considerably less than an intractable mystery. For that matter, I may even be asked to explain why the primacy of the Scottish Parliament must be asserted – despite that being even more obvious.

      On the latter point, people may want to ask Mike Russell why the primacy of the Scottish Parliament must be asserted. While they’re at it they might also like to ask him why the SNP/Scottish Government is so reticent about spelling out this self-evident fact. The Primacy of the Scottish Parliament has to be asserted (against all protests from the British state – hence confrontation) because only the Scottish Parliament can take to the people a proposal to dissolve the Union and restore Scotland’s independence. You surely don’t imagine Westminster is going to do that! Nor should you imagine that Westminster might ‘give’ the Scottish Parliament the power to do it. They won’t. And even if they did it would not be real. Because power is not given. Power is only taken.

      It should now be clear that the primacy of the Scottish Parliament must be asserted as a prerequisite to progressing the restoration of Scotland’s independence. The other question I’m looking to preempt is how does the Section 30 process prevent that happening. The shrt answer being because it is the Section 30 process and that’s what Section 30 is for. Section 30 of the Scotland act doesn’t exist to facilitate the full and proper exercise of our right of self-determination. It’s purpose is to stop that happening. It is not about ‘granting’ the Scottish Parliament powers. |It is about withdrawing or continuing to withhold those powers while still maintaining the pretence of a a democratic route to independence.

      The question seldom asked and NEVER answered by those who insist that Section 30 is the “gold standard” is what happens if the British Prime Minister says yes? What happens if the Section 30 order is granted? More to the point, what doesn’t happen? What doesn’t happen is the primacy of the Scottish Parliament being asserted. So whatever else happens it is not going to be independence. Constrained by the Section 30 process the very most that we might hope for is some cosmetic tinkering with the devolution settlement that would in any case be rolled back as soon as the dust settled.

      But that is highly unlikely to be the outcome. More probably the entire process will be sabotaged by the British political elite having been drawn out just long enough for the British Nationalist ‘One Nation’ project to be completed.

      I am so tired of explaining this. I am so tired of people refusing to think it through for themselves. I’m just tired. But I’ll be there on Tuesday if it’s the last thing I do. I’ll be there on my own if that’s how it has to be. This is the last ditch everybody talks about.

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      1. It’s a fair question. If there’s a Section 30, and perhaps an Edinburgh Agreement 2, if a YES vote is achieved, then how is Independence achieved from there? This was briefly discussed in the HoC (Carmichael):

        … The Secretary of State replied: “The union was constituted by a treaty followed by two Acts. If it is now to be dissolved, it would presumably need that at the very least”.

        https://www.lawscot.org.uk/members/journal/issues/vol-59-issue-07/the-union-and-the-law-revisited/

        I think on top of that – under the UK Law – the UK Parliament would need to change the Scotland Act then to give Holyrood total authority, similar to 1707, AND it would need to pass a new Act enabling it to speak on behalf of the 1707 dissolved English Parliament (probably England’s MPs only). Both of these to have to get legislative consent from Holyrood and possibly from Cardiff and Stormont,

        Then both Holyrood and Westminster can repeal the two acts of union, and get rid of the treaty, replacing it with one that says “Scotland and England are not at war, most of the UK treaties still hold for both states subject to confirmation, and we should all eat drink and be merry, and engage in the usual insults at Celidihs and Morris Dancing as oft times before – but no border raids”.

        But yes, working BACKWARDS from the desired objective would not only be a good idea, it would be quite new, and lessons could be learnt for the Ref campaign itself.

        That is my attempt at the UK / S30 approach which is not the only one, curiously I think the “Scottish Parliament primacy” method, would be easier to describe, though not neccessarily easier to do.

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