Hopes and expectations

It’s not easy to simultaneously lower expectations while keeping hopes high. I’m not at all sure Nicola Sturgeon has carried it off. There is no doubt that this was what she was attempting in the Scotland Tonight interview reported by The National. She now says she intends “to do everything that’s within my power to enable that referendum to happen before the end of 2023”. A significant downgrading of her earlier not-quite-a-promise, the language is carefully chosen to prepare us for yet another disappointment while planting the seed of an idea that failure to deliver a referendum is down to circumstances outwith her control.

This damping-down of expectations needs to be offset by something that might inspire hope. Or at least a wee jolt of enthusiasm. The best she could manage in this regard was a reminder to get excited about “the opportunities that come with Scotland being independent”. Focus on the dream of what it might be like being an independent nation once more and disregard the reality that becoming independent remains a distant and receding prospect.

What I find interesting about this is that just when I’d almost convinced myself she would deliver some kind of referendum – albeit a totally unsatisfactory affair – Sturgeon seems now to be thinking in terms of no referendum whatever. The statements she is making in this interview look very much like words she can refer back to when breaking the news that a new referendum has been postponed yet again. She shall, of course, be hugely disappointed. But it will not be her fault. She will be powerless to do what she told us she was determined to do.

Ever get the feeling you’re being played?

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13 thoughts on “Hopes and expectations

  1. I don’t really think she’ll postpone a referendum, because to postpone something you have to fix a date for it in the first place. And yes, you and I and every other independence supporter, and every SNP member are being played.

    Liked by 7 people

  2. After 7 years of prevarication, hesitancy and timidity Nicola Sturgeon’s is getting her backsliding in early this time … before even a step forward towards restoring Scottish statehood has been taken.

    “Ever get the feeling you’re being played?”

    The question is, of course, rhetotical – even Johnny Rotten would be incredulous at the blatantly fraudulent behaviour of the SNP leadership on the constitutional question since 2014.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I’m doing everything in my power to get the train to… Everything except look at the timetable, get out of bed, buy a ticket, find out whether a stray train might be passing… sometime… somewhere sort of near, ask someone remotely connected to the railways whether there are tracks anywhere nearby or check that a station exists in my locality. Apart from those, I’ll do everything in my power to get the train to… Oblivionstoon, a new town being built on coastal shifting sands as we speak, chocka with houses that no one around here can afford, but, hey…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m surprised that you actually thought Sturgeon would deliver an indyref, anyway, her do everything in her powers comment, is really her way of preparing the ground for I wanted to hold an indyref but the Tory government won’t give me an S30, so that is that, as they say.

    Many folk saw this coming and the likes of Angus B. McNeil and Chris McEleny have openly called for a Plan B knowing this, but Sturgeon is having none of it. What’s even more worrying is that SNP MSPs who sit behind Sturgeon every week nodding their heads like nodding dogs everytime she spews out a witty riposte towards Sarwar or Ross, yet not one of them is prepared to rock the boat when it comes to Scottish independence.


    1. Did I actually think Sturgeon “would deliver an indyref”? I wasn’t aware of thinking that. Not in the past four or five years, at least. Indeed, I have been constantly berated over that period by Sturgeon/SNP loyalists angry that I expressed doubts about Sturgeon’s commitment to a referendum.

      But I am not simply concerned that there should be a referendum. I want to be sure it is the right kind of referendum. It is entirely possible that Sturgeon may act so as to be able to CLAIM that she has delivered a referendum. There has been far to little consideration of what would constitute a free, fair and decisive referendum. Not all referendums are equal.

      There are three ways this can pan out. Four if you count the unlikely event that Sturgeon shocks everybody by rethinking her whole approach to the constitutional issue and going with the course of action outlined in the Manifesto for Independence. The three more credible options are –

      (1) A section 30 order is requested and refused. Sturgeon either gives up or declares her intention to go ahead with a referendum. she may use the denial of a S30 order as an excuse for further delay – possibly until after the next election. Or she could go ahead with a ‘consultative’ referendum that will be no more than a glorified opinion poll.

      (2) A section 30 order is requested and granted. The British state then scuppers the entire project in any of several ways. For example, they might seek to impose a qualified majority and/or a restricted franchise. Sturgeon either agrees to these conditions or there is no Edinburgh Agreement II and no referendum. With both sides blaming each other for the collapse of the project.

      (3) Sturgeon uses the pandemic as an excuse to postpone the referendum – probably until after the 2026 Scottish Parliament elections.

      Whichever way it goes, Scotland’s cause makes no progress. Meanwhile, the British Nationalist ‘One Nation’ project proceeds apace. By various means the Scottish Parliament is diminished while effective power is shifted to the UK Government in Scotland.

      At present, my thinking is that Sturgeon will go with option (3). I suspect this is her preferred option. But it is contingent on the scientific advice being conveniently severe. The chances are that there will be another ‘wave’ of infections with the appearance of at least one new variant.

      That’s what I actually think.


      1. Excellent reply, Peter. All this stooshie about Boris Johnson’s party is smoke and mirrors for Scotland, too. His successor will be just as ‘one nation Tory template’ oriented as he is. Scotland has no way out except via independence. everything else is just dross beneath our contempt. Nicola Sturgeon’s words must always be scrutinised for what they say and for what they do not say. She did not say that there would be a referendum in 2023. She said that she would do all in her power. Since she has no power at UK level, we are b******d and is she, and she know it as do we. She and we also know that doing nothing about being powerless leads only to your eventual disappearance up your own nether region. Ergo, we are twice b******d – literally, speaking politically: shafted by our own inertia. That’s a contradiction in terms, but, then, so is everything that Nicola Sturgeon says.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Option one seems the most likely in my book, followed by watered down threats of going to court in which she and the whole world knows we would lose. Sturgeon hasn’t even explored and written off the legality of holding an advisory indyref, just as the Brexit referendum was.

    If by some miracle and it would need to be a miracle, Sturgeon does manage to procure an indyref in 2023, it will be so heavily laden with caveats that it will be utterly useless to the cause of Scottish independence.

    Meanwhile at Westminster no such uncertainty exists.

    “According to the UK Government, Gray is responsible for both the Union Directorate – a team of around two dozen Whitehall workers based in the Cabinet Office particularly focused on preventing Scottish independence”


    Liked by 1 person

  6. There is no doubt that the Sturgeon government are well aware of the fact that independence is quite far down on most SNP voter’s priority lists, and they have enought work on their hands misdirecting people on their failures on items that are regarded as more important by their own voters. But that is the nature of politiks.

    As everyone knows, the subject could be seperated from SNP politics by having a strong, meaningful, independant independence movement that gets heavily involved in lobbying for one thing rather than just organising parades. But that looks as likely as The Second Coming. There isn’t the will (unless it involves more important stuff like transexual rights, or The Adulation of St Alexander, or something else, etc…..).


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