By their desires and their works you shall know them

A new independence referendum has always been “undeniable”. The deal between the SNP/Scottish Government and the Scottish Green Party alters nothing. How could mere party maneuverings have an effect on one of the most basic principles of democracy – the right of peoples and nations to choose the form of government that best serves their needs, priorities and aspirations? As an ancient nation, Scotland has always had the right of self-determination. A right which is inalienable, making Nicola Sturgeon’s remarks about an “undeniable mandate” for a new referendum a statement of the blindingly obvious.

Scotland has always had the right of self-determination. Arguably, we had this right 314 years ago while our nation was being sold from under us by a ‘parcel o’ rogues’. Since the right of self-determination is vested in the people, so long as there has been a population which identifies as Scottish then that people possessed the right of self-determination. It’s just that in the absence of democracy, they were unable to exercise that right. It was a right they held in principle only.

One would think, therefore, that as we now live in an age of democracy, our right to decide the constitutional status of our nation and the form of government we want would be something the people of Scotland could take for granted. Not so, however! In that sense if no other, Scotland still exists in pre-democratic times. Where once it was the rule of absolute monarchs which denied us the exercise of this inalienable right, now it is the British state wielding the powers of ‘the Crown in Parliament’. It’s almost as if the age of absolute monarchy had never quite entirely passed. Brigadoon-like, anti-democratic rule by an aristocracy emerges from the mists of history not every hundred years, but every time the people of Scotland presume to contemplate the exercise of our right of self-determination. Wielding the powers of an absolute monarch, the British Prime Minister simply says no!

There have always been those in Scotland who are content to accept the denial of a fundamental democratic right which was from its inception and remains to this day both the purpose and effect of the Union. The ‘parcel of rogues’ is as self-perpetuating as the aristocracy. There has always been in Scotland a clique or tendency which for reasons of sectarian or ideological tribalism or a self-serving desire for the favour of established power and preference within the structures of power, privilege and patronage which constitute the British state, stands in defence of the anti-democratic Union and by necessary implication against the people of Scotland.

That you cannot serve and defend an anti-democratic constitutional device such as the Union without betraying the people whose democratic rights are thus withheld is, to borrow the First Minister’s term, undeniable.

This does not, of course, make every No voter or even every Unionist in Scotland a traitor. For the most part, those who in 2014 voted to continue to allow the anti-democratic monarchical rule enshrined and preserved in the Union were quite genuinely persuaded that they were acting in the interests of Scotland and its people. Or they were woefully unaware of the true implications of granting the British ruling elite even greater licence to do with Scotland as they found expedient without regard for our national interest or the the welfare of Scotland’s people. The traitors are those who by lies and deception and disinformation so persuaded these No voters or prevented them from making a properly informed choice. There’s your ‘parcel o’ rogues’!

Burns called them a ‘parcel o’ rogues’. Today, we call them British Nationalists.

Nicola Sturgeon is not a British Nationalist. Nor is she a Unionist. And it is even more unlikely that she is some kind of ‘sleeper’ agent secretly working for the British state to undermine efforts to restore Scotland’s independence and remove the abominable limitation of Scotland’s democracy imposed by the Union. Which leaves her choice of language and the mindset it reveals in want of an explanation.

I get the impression of a colonised mind. The colonised mind has internalised an attitude of cultural inferiority or subordinacy or inferiority – a belief that the values, attitudes and priorities of the coloniser are inherently superior.

The colonised mind comes to rationalise its colonisation. To accept that the reality imposed or inculcated by the coloniser is normality. To embrace it as the reality that must be subscribed to. To adopt it as the standard to which everything must conform.

The colonised mind is persuaded that however unsatisfactory its condition may be that condition is a fact of life with which it must cope – or be deemed to have failed.

Nicola Sturgeon feels the need to state the obvious fact that the Scottish Government has an “undeniable mandate” because at the very least her mind is open to the idea that it can be denied. There is, her rhetoric would suggest, a part of her mind into which the idea of British superiority has insinuated itself. Her lawyer’s training – and the frame of mind which bid her enter that profession – inclines her to abide rigidly by the rule of law. The British state makes the law. Sturgeon is powerfully disinclined to breach that law. Hence the otherwise inexplicable commitment to the Section 30 process – which is simply the Union’s denial of Scotland’s democracy distilled to a few words in the Scotland Act.

Her Majesty may by Order in Council make any modifications of Schedule 4 or 5 which She considers necessary or expedient.

Scotland Act 1998

Which translates as ‘the British state shall dispose of Scotland in any way it pleases’.

There is a part of Nicola Sturgeon’s mindset which subscribes to the asserted superiority of the British ruling elite. Her mind is at least partially colonised. Or so we might reasonably assume from her behaviour since becoming the de facto leader of Scotland’s independence movement. Only a (partially) colonised mind could contemplate accepting the implications of the Section 30 process. A process which, we must remember, is not as it was for the 2014 referendum. Much as Sturgeon and her loyal admirers like to suppose it possible that the British political elite might be as relaxed about a referendum as they were ten years ago, it is a certainty that they will not be.

To some perhaps significant degree, the minds of everybody in Scotland have been colonised by England-as-Britain. It must be so. Three centuries of inculcation cannot be entirely without affect. Having scrutinised my own mind as well as I am able I find no evident trace of colonisation. I can hardly be unique. There must be many others whose minds are so minimally affected by the propaganda of ‘Britishness’ that they are effectively not colonised at all, or have been largely decolonised. Such uncolonised or decolonised minds were much in evidence yesterday outside the Scottish Parliament.

The uncolonised mind would never consider the Section 30 process acceptable. The decolonised mind has come to reject the Section 30 process having previously consciously or unconsciously accepted it and the principle of the sovereignty of parliament (so long as it’s Westminster!) which informs Section 30. I am inclined to think that Nicola Sturgeon’s mind has yet to be fully decolonise. She needs some help with that. Which is what the White Rose Rising/Now Scotland demonstration at Holyrood was all about.

The name White Rose Rising is a reference to the Burnet Rose, which according to National Records of Scotland “has become a symbol of Scotland, celebrated in song and poetry“. The ‘White Rose of Scotland’ was a badge used by the Jacobites and came to symbolise opposition to the Union. There is also in the name a more tenuous, tangential allusion to Portugal’s Carnation Revolution in 1974, which may be regarded as the precursor to the various Colour Revolutions in Eastern Europe, the Arab Spring and even Scotland’s Yes movement. White Rose Rising recognises that in order for Scotland’s independence to be restored the people of Scotland must first cast off the colonised mindset.

We must stop thinking of independence as something that would be nice if only the British state would let us have it and start to think of independence as something fundamental and essential which is being withheld by a British ruling elite whose purposes we dare not assume are at all benign. As Nicola Sturgeon herself says,

We must defend our parliament against UK Government power grabs that are undermining the very principles on which it is founded. And as we do so recognise that the best way not just of protecting this parliament from Westminster but also equipping it with the full powers it needs to build a fairer more prosperous country is to make this parliament independent of Westminster.

Nicola Sturgeon says Greens deal gives ‘undeniable mandate’ for indyref2

Who but a British Nationalist fanatic could disagree with this sentiment?

Some will doubtless argue that, since I am taking her rhetoric as a true(ish) indication of her mindset, then this surely proves that I am wrong to doubt that Sturgeon’s may be afflicted with a partially colonised mind. The problem with that is that we have heard similar rhetoric so often over the past seven years and it has proved to have so little substance. It is not easy to take such statements as seriously as I dearly wish I could.

But let’s assume for a moment that the above statement is a true reflection of Nicola Sturgeon’s attitude – as her admirers will doubtless insist. Would this not validate White Rose Rising’s aim of ‘persuading’ our First Minister to adopt a more robust and assertive and – dare I say it? – a more confrontational approach to the constitutional issue? Does the use of such language intimate that Nicola Sturgeon is at least a lot more persuadable than many have allowed? Surely this is an encouraging sign for White Rose Rising and the whole Yes movement? Surely we should take heart from this?

Perhaps! And with caution! As I said in response to a generously complimentary comment on a blog article from Bill “The Reframing Man” Mills,

The rather tarnished and dull silver lining is that there is only one way forward. So there’s no dilemma. If we want to fight for the restoration of Scotland’s independence we have to be strong enough to influence the Scottish Government. Since there’s nothing else to be done, we might as well at least give it a try.

The earlier quote from Nicola Sturgeon may give a wee boost to hopes that she may yet turn out to be the leader Scotland’s cause needs. How might we protect the Scottish Parliament and make it independent of Westminster so as to equip it “with the full powers it needs to build a fairer more prosperous country” other than by declaring the competence of our Parliament in constitutional matters? What could Nicola Sturgeon possibly be talking about here other than repudiating the Section 30 process and asserting the primacy of the Scottish Parliament on the basis of its democratic legitimacy and the sovereignty of Scotland’s people? Which is exactly what was set out in the original Manifesto for Independence and precisely what White Rose Rising is asking

Again, I urge caution and insist that we must continue to apply the pressure which White Rose Rising and Now Scotland and others are attempting to bring to bear on the First Minister. The above statement may sound like it might intimate the bold, decisive action that we hope for from the Scottish Government. But we must bear in mind that the deal she’s struck with the Scottish Green Party makes her all but invincible, politically speaking. She can pretty much do as she pleases. We must hope that what pleases her is what would also please those o’ uncolonised mind. And what will as I said in my speech yesterday “…set Scotland on a new course! A course that will take us to the dissolution of the Union and restoration of Scotland’s independence!”

If you find these articles interesting please consider a small donation to help support this site and my other activities on behalf of Scotland’s independence movement.

Donate with PayPal

9 thoughts on “By their desires and their works you shall know them

  1. Some will doubtless argue that, since I am taking her rhetoric as a true(ish) indication of her mindset, then this surely proves that I am wrong to doubt …

    In general terms, I think there is a big difference between trust and blind faith, and it’s a good idea for all of us to watch events unfold with a hakw eye – and be vocal if neccessary.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Days of action and constant pressure
    On all SNP / green MSPs.
    As their mindsets are tuned to COP26.
    At the moment I don’t see any spinal fluid , just additional feet under the table.
    Early days!
    Pressure ,pressure, pressure.
    People make change not politicians.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “… This does not, of course, make every No voter or even every Unionist in Scotland a traitor. For the most part, those who in 2014 voted to continue to allow the anti-democratic monarchical rule enshrined and preserved in the Union were quite genuinely persuaded that they were acting in the interests of Scotland and its people… ”

    The UN Charter puts the onus on all of us not to oppress others. The Treaty is an international legal and political agreement between two sovereign and independent nations. Everyone has the opportunity – far easier nowadays with the internet – to stop and think about what he/she is doing. If I emigrated to Australia, for example, would my first thought be to vote for Australia to cede its independent status and return to the Empire? I think not.

    It is a kind of passive Vichy Scottishness and imperial Englishness that prevents people from thinking about the results of their NO vote. Some stop and think again if they have anything other than self-interest in their heads. Most are totally driven by self-interest in such a situation as we had in 2014 or by sheer ignorance and arrogance. Many would be again. You assume that a second referendum would settle the matter of Scottish independence. You might well be right. What if you’re not, and the same self-interest dominates the agenda once more, and the second one is lost? Is the very likely psychological fall-out worth the risk of another pre independence referendum? Is the likelihood of being bound hand and foot in the Union, with England even more dominant, worth the risk. Is a later conflict – the most probable result, at a later date, of yet another blow to our independence. If the referendum cheerleaders can guarantee even a 70% chance of winning, I’d go for it. Anything under 70% is not worth the risk.

    The soft NO theory, the persuasion theory, the hope over experience theory are all just that – theories. Here’s a novel theory: what about using what we have to hand? What about a plebiscitary election in 2024, declaring independence via the primary form of democratic process (assuming we win), resiling the Treaty as far as the Union is concerned, and holding a ratifying referendum to make it legally and constitutionally binding, then negotiations begin with rUK? Parts of the Treaty would have to be negotiated prior to the main negotiations as these would affect territory, both terrestrial and maritime, various trading agreements and our borders, the efficacy of our legal system, state religion and our separate monarchies (they are wholly separate), etc. Everything else, pertaining to present-day agreements, division of joint assets and liabilities (if any) etc, would have to be negotiated separately? All of these steps are perfectly legal and constitutional in both domestic and international law.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The obvious issue with that – apart from the inherently problematic notion of treating an election as if it was a referendum – is the timescale. Circumstances are likely to change at least as much in the next three years as in the last seven. Your ‘solution’ may be totally unworkable by then.

      Another problem occurs to me! If you’re talking about 2024 then you must be referring to the UK general election. That won’t work. Apart from all the usual problems of pretending an election is the same as a referendum – basically, making it binary – this shifts the locus of Scotland’s politics away from Holyrood and back to Westminster. I would take a lot of persuading that this is acceptable.

      Also, there is no reason to wait. The Scottish Government could initiate the process of restoring Scotland’s independence at any time. Maybe a couple of weeks notice. All they have to do is assert the primacy of the Scottish Parliament and it all flows from there. I don’t say it necessarily flows smoothly. But it will be a de facto declaration of independence and so will in an instant alter the constitutional relationship between the two nations. It would effectively break the Union and leave the British state with the challenge of putting it back together again.

      What happens next would depend on the British state’s reaction. But they would for the first time be on the back foot. The crucial thing would be tenacity. The Scottish Government dare not back down so much as a millimeter.

      The main thing, however, is that this could happen immediately. The rest follows. At some point a referendum will be necessary. But we wouldn’t be tied to a date on that. We would have options. Options are political gold.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I absolutely agree, Peter, that we do not need to wait. Yes, I was talking about the GE because the SNP effectively stymied any opportunity to make the recent SE a plebiscitary one. They will find some reason to postpone a referendum if one is ever seriously mooted. If, by any chance, they are forced to hold it, I suspect they will only do so in the knowledge that it is likely to be lost.


  4. Peter I’ve been unable to find any reports about the rally yesterday. I live in Wales and don’t have TV. I couldn’t find a report in The National. I would be grateful if you would publish a report on your blog.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.