Reasons to be doubtful

But the question is no longer whether Scotland could afford to be a successful independent country – the question now is whether we can afford not to be independent.

Nicola Sturgeon, November 2021

From an article published on my blog in June 2020.

Some of us have for years been warning that the Union is inherently anti-democratic and that the true nature and purpose and effect of the Union needed to be conveyed to the people of Scotland. Some of us have long argued that the question should never have been whether Scotland could survive as an independent nation but whether Scotland could survive as a nation without independence. Some of us have been saying for years that what is needed is not a campaign which behaves as if independence were a nice thing we might have if we could just jump through enough of the hoops set up by the British state, but an essential condition for the survival of Scotland’s democracy and distinctive identity that is being denied us by a malign British ruling elite.

Here be monsters!

It would be gratifying to believe Nicola Sturgeon is catching up with thinking on the constitutional issue that she has for years worked assiduously to exclude from discourse and debate within the SNP and the wider Yes movement. At the risk of provoking the petulant ire of Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp, however, I have to express some scepticism. If asked whether Sturgeon’s remark signals an epiphany delayed at least five years or merely a skilled political communicator making the right noises, I’d have to favour the latter.

Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp and other apologists for Nicola Sturgeon – paid and unpaid – will doubtless condemn me as the ‘wrong kind’ of independence activist unfit to be considered part of the ‘official’ Yes movement now to be considered the exclusive province of a self-appointed elite. What neither Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp nor the #WheeshtForIndy mob which patrols social media hunting down dissenting voices will do is ask why I am so sceptical about Nicola Sturgeon’s words. Just as they won’t enquire as to the reasons for me being rather less than wildly enthusiastic about ‘initiatives’ such as the launch of some new organisation or the staging of events such as the cunningly title “Progress to Yes” or activities such as the distribution of a million copies of a publication bearing a message which Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp assures us both new and old.

“Read the paper when it comes out it’s a new socioeconomic message and just what BiS has been saying for two years.” – Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp

His response to my comment that I’d reserve judgement on this new/old message until I’ve read the paper is sadly typical of the ‘othering’ of dissenting voices by SNP/Sturgeon loyalists.

“I have learned to be suspicious of such independece [sic] ‘activists’. Who all too often make sure they are first to comment and post negative comments on all positive independence stories hunting likes rather than helping the cause.”

Apparently, getting up at 05:00 and reading The National over morning coffee is enough to mark one as the ‘wrong kind’ of Yes activist. But what we should particularly note is the complete failure to address the “negative comments”. It is not the content of the criticism which has provoked this infantile tantrum but the fact of it. It’s not what the dissenting voices say that angers the likes of Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp but the fact that anybody dares to dissent at all from the Sturgeon doctrine.

Here’s another of Nicola Sturgeon’s remarks which might be taken seriously or dismissed as fodder for the gullible depending on how good your memory is.

“The time has come to take our future into our own hands with independence.”

It’s at times like this that I most miss the steely forensic journalism we used to get from Stu Campbell before he was driven from the blogosphere by the spitting, snarling gangsters of Nicola Sturgeon’s palace guard. Stu would have told us precisely how often Sturgeon has said precisely the same thing since assuming the guise of the de facto leader of Scotland’s independence movement. He would have accompanied this with solid evidence as was his constant habit and practice. And still that vicious, vitriolic mob would have denounced him as a traitor to Scotland’s cause. Stu Campbell also was the ‘wrong kind’ of Yes activist.

I can’t match Stu’s ability to muster and present facts and figures. But I know that this is very far from the first time Nicola Sturgeon has regaled us with such rousing rhetoric over the past seven years and counting. I don’t have to hand a record of every occasion she’s said this or something very similar. I’m disinclined to do the necessary research as I know it would make not the slightest dent in the faith of SNP/Sturgeon loyalists. But I know I’ve heard it all before. And I know that to date the words have not been accompanied by the action they seem to promise.

To any rational person this would surely be ample grounds for the scepticism I express. Evidently, it is not sufficient for Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp or the #WheeshtForIndy mob. I invite others to draw their own conclusions.

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8 thoughts on “Reasons to be doubtful

  1. I have next to no confidence that the FM’s remarks are little more than part of the on-going charade that she is serious about restoring Scotland’s statehood. It is likely just more of the same since her “assuming the guise of the de facto leader of Scotland’s independence movement.”

    Brexit and then Covid have been used to delay any progress, or even effort to progress, the Cause. It would barely surprise me if at some point the FM were to state that, as a result of COP26, we will have to defer further on the constitutional question till ‘after the Climate emergency’ or some such.

    I do note that there has been an increase in urgency regarding the matter from some of The National’s more thoughtful columnists. But even after making the case for Unity among the Yes Movement – some hope! – and pleading for “no more grand old Duke of York tribute acts” from the FM Ruth Wishart ends her article today with “The game has to be on”. It’s a hope rather than an expectation.

    All those who do not believe in simply crossing fingers are dismissed and abused as faithless heretics.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I just checked again, and this comment:

    Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp 13th November 11:42
    User ID: 1076529
    I have learned to be suspicious of such independece ‘activists’. Who all too often make sure they are first to comment and post negative comments on all positive independence stories hunting likes rather than helping the cause.

    Is appalling. And ’twas I that pushed – below the line – and sometimes first to comment – the National to use more material from him as it was “positive”.

    What happened GMK – did you lose your senses? Did your ego become bigger than your boots?

    Peter PIper.


  3. So basically speaking his first sally below the line on The National, as far as I know, was to break the rules as in the very first one in:

    Commenting rules

    Comments: Our rules

    We want our comments to be a lively and valuable part of our community – a place where readers can debate and engage with the most important local issues.

    The ability to comment on our stories is a privilege, not a right, however, and that privilege may be withdrawn if it is abused or misused. While we want to encourage people to feel free to speak their mind, there are a number of things we will not allow.

    1. No abuse, threats, insults or bullying (which applies to ALL people, including public figures, other commenters, newspaper staff and people featured or mentioned in the article).

    So he insults you, and I guess you could say, abuses you. His comment should be deleted, and in the old days if it was the Herald and they still had Callum (the other one), he would be asked to reply and confirm that he was prepared to follow the rules to be able to continue posting.

    I was warned, so was DDM, and AG, and a few others back in Indy Ref 1. By and large we followed the rules.

    I used to buy paper copies of the National, not always, and didn’t see why I should buy an electronic subscription – or any subscription for a paper one rather than get it in a local shop when I wanted (and could afford it). Which is why I no longer comment there – pay to comment really is absurd.


    1. Yes thats a difficult one PP, not sure how to solve it without the National reverting to a ‘free for all’. The comments make much better reading now though. Content is often much better reading than the article itself, even some actual discussion. If you’re pretty sure something’s not going to be worthy of your time you wont even bother to look………and so its becoming with inanely phrased pronouncements from on high 😦


  4. Every political movement that has succeeded has done so because of the actions of the ‘wrong sort of activists’.

    Keep on being the ‘wrong sort’.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The problem with Peter A Bell and some of the other bloggers is that they think dissenting voices is campaigning for independence.

    All it is, is populism for attention causing dead weight to the actual independence campaigners who rough it out in all weathers to get messages through doors. The ones that make the numbers on marches, the ones that subscribe and pay for everything with our hard earned money. Blog posts deflate people till the point they start staying at home. My own Yes branch is near none existent now and when I ask why some of them point at inaction from the Scottish government but most point to the blogosphere behaviour and say they don’t want to be part of it.

    So well done on your independence campaigning. It’s really inspiring. When did you last try to target no voters or undecideds? If you think there isn’t any left nearly everyone under the age of 25 has only had a glimpse of the debate and no involvement. The undecideds will win or lose us our Independence. Will you feel you done your part or will history point at the dissenting voices as part of what went wrong?

    I am sceptical that the bloggers add any value to the debate. We are all entitled to opinions though right?

    If you feel you are spending more time moaning than selling a positive vision of an independent Scotland. Maybe it’s time you gave it a break.

    Some of the bloggers write pieces inspiring the debate and that is great when that happens. Bloggers need to find their way back there.

    Comments like “Weesht for indy” are absolute shite and will be laughed out the history books. If we all had dissenting voices we’d destroy the independence campaign in under a day. Yet the people who try to hold it all together to actually achieve independence are ridiculed as uncool, unpopular, and cultist?

    Maybe the problem is that we Weesht for bloggers.


    1. From the article you evidently didn’t bother to read. Or maybe just didn’t understand.

      “I will doubtless get the usual stuff about being ‘negative’. Of course I’m being negative! One can’t look realistically at Nicola Sturgeon’s record on the constitutional issue without being negative. So long as her approach to the constitutional issue is maintained it will remain impossible to look realistically at the prospects for Scotland’s cause without being negative. To those who accuse me of being negative I extend an invitation to try addressing the reasons for my negativity rather than merely the fact of it.”


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