Not convinced!

I believe him. When Mike Russell says the mandate will be honoured, I believe him. When he says a Bill will be introduced to facilitate a new referendum, I believe him. When he says we are “on a trajectory” to that referendum, I believe him. But I am not at all comforted by such assurances. In fact, Mike Russell’s confidence worries me greatly.

For some time now I have been less concerned about whether there will be a referendum than about what form that referendum will take. Knowing, as we do, that Nicola Sturgeon remains committed to the Section 30 process and convinced that there is a route to independence that avoids confrontation with the British state, it follows that she will be planning a referendum that does not provoke confrontation. A pretendy referendum. Some kind of ‘consultational’ affair that is not binding and settles nothing.

The delay in introducing the Referendum Bill only serves to increase my suspicion that the SNP has come up with a whole new way of disappointing the Yes movement. Sturgeon has painted herself into a corned by committing so heavily to the Section 30 process. She is now bound to request a Section 30 order. Two things can then happen. Boris Johnson could grant consent, thus putting himself in the position of being able to sabotage the entire process. Or, more likely, he’ll say no. How then does Nicola Sturgeon honour that mandate? How does she deliver a proper constitutional referendum having just allowed that a proper constitutional referendum can only take place with a Section 30 order?

She doesn’t! Instead, she delivers something that is superficially similar enough to a proper constitutional referendum for her to be able to claim that the mandate has been honoured and promises have been kept, but so meaningless and ineffectual as to provoke no challenge from the British state.

The only way an effective constitutional referendum can be delivered is if the Section 30 process is repudiated. It would be politically ‘problematic’ having just confirmed the need for one by asking for it, to then say it’s not needed after all. Sturgeon’s only option will be to offer a form of referendum which not even the British government could claim required a Section 30 order. Indeed, it would be to their advantage to cooperate with the process as it could then be maintained that a second referendum having been held, the constitutional issue must now be set aside for the foreseeable future.

I believe what Mike Russell says. I am disturbed by what he didn’t say. He did not say that the Section 30 process would be repudiated. He did not say that the SNP+SGP/Scottish Government intends to assert the primacy of the Scottish Parliament. He did not say the SNP leadership has belatedly acknowledged that there is no route to the restoration of Scotland’s independence that does not involve confrontation with the British state.

The question is whether our First Minister is prepared to deal with this confrontation. Mike Russell has said nothing to persuade me that she is.

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26 thoughts on “Not convinced!

  1. I DO NOT BELIEVE A WORD MIKE RUSSELL SAYS – so I don’t need to tie myself in knots over what might happen next, because I know in my heart that they are afraid to take the constitutional question forward. Time to “peeble them out of office”

    Liked by 3 people

  2. There is no route to independence through the SNP in my view, they are a British Nationalist/Devolutionist organisation with no interest in independence,

    If Sturgeon truly believed in independence we’d be independent by now, Brexit was a gift from the gods and she blew it spectacularly and I don’t believe she’s that incompetent and if she is do we really want her leading the charge for independence.

    She has abandoned the cause and destroyed the party in the process, they are beyond saving and completely unrecognisable from the party of 2014 under Alex Salmond, the sooner we all realise that the sooner we can find another route

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I got as far as you calling the SNP “British Nationalist” and stopped reading. At the time when we most need hard-headed, pragmatic, sensible politics all we get is delusion, fantasy and drivelling pish about the SNP being anti-independence.


  3. No Peter what we need is a political party that puts independence first and less drivelling pish from deluded bloggers like you

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Alba gu bràth! = Scotland forever!

    Scotland’s route to the restoration of Scotland’s independence – UNAVOIDABLY – must involve confrontation with the British state… Many, many of us know this! Scotland Needs to regain its rightful independence, as soon as possible!

    Liked by 5 people

  5. No point in telling me time is a factor Peter I’m well aware time is against us but that won’t change SNP policy so why don’t you grow the fuck up and tell Nicola Sturgeon time is against us and see where it gets you, maybe then you’ll realise you’re flogging a dead horse

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s the only horse there is. Lose the infantile fantasies about Alex Salmond riding to the rescue. It isn’t happening. Because, apart from anything else, here in the real world there simply isn’t time for it to happen. If you’ve given up on the Scottish Government we have right now then you’ve given up on independence. I’m not ready to give up.


  6. The SNP is not against independence, and is not just a devolutionist Britnat party – but its leadership is. Time is a factor Peter in the sense of how long it will take for the SNP leadership (I hope they are reading this) to simply implode.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I can’t really argue with that Peter apart from your infantile insults it makes sense, I only gave up on the SNP when they give up on independence, sadly you may well be right about Alba/Alex Salmond but if you are then yeah you’re right we’re fucked

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My point is quite simple and is no more than a statement of glaringly obvious fact. Only the Scottish Parliament can restore Scotland’s independence. Only the Scottish Government can initiate the process by which Scotland’s independence is restored. Only the SNP is the party of government. Only the SNP can be the party of government for the entirety of the time that is left for the Scottish Government to act.

      The train of logic is irresistible and irrefutable. If you are dedicated to Scotland’s cause then all your energies for the last eight years – but especially the last two – should have been focused on forcing the SNP to adopt a #ManifestoForIndependence. If you have been doing anything else – such as launching/supporting a new party offering fantasies instead of solutions – then you have not been working for Scotland’s cause.

      The entire purpose of the whole Yes movement since 2015 should have been getting the #ManifestoForIndependence adopted. The Yes movement failed.


      1. YOU denigrate deride and insult people by calling them deluded and fantasists and yet you start this blog by asserting that YOU believe Russell when he talks about a 2023 ref , YOU believe him that the mandate will be honoured , YOU believe him on the introduction of a referendum bill , and you have the audacity to call others deluded

        YOU spent YEARS ridiculing people who disagreed with the snp’s failed promises and called them out on them , YOU pushed and promoted the sainted one when all around were questioning her policies on regaining Scotland’s independence , YOU were a supporter of the wheesht for indy mantra and the secret plan pish , YOU avoided and evaded ANY mention or discussion of the snp perverts charter even although you knew it was catastrophic to indy ,YOU remained a committed member even when deluded fools like myself were begging you and your fellow idiot members to TAKE BACK CONTROL of YOUR party

        YOU deride and constantly insult Salmond and ALBA members , members of ALBA who are committed independence supporters and promote everything about it daily , UNLIKE Sturgeon , Russell and the other parasites who INFEST the corrupt lying fake independence snp party

        YOU confuse being a supporter of independence for Scotland with being a drone in a political party cult that is the SNP , Just to be clear as I have stated previously i am not nor have I ever been a member of ANY political party because I don’t want to be like you , a drone who cannot see that HIS political party no longer exists and is now a rat infested group of cowards whose only interest is the money and power

        Liked by 2 people

  8. Unfortunately, nothing else but the threat of losing their seats will force the SNP to do anything. Even that will not force Nicola Sturgeon’s hand, I think, but it might make at least a majority of her MSPs and MPs take a second thought. Time is indeed not on our side, but, so long as the SNP leadership refuses to move on the issue and offers more empty vessel promises, we are stuck in a time warp, anyway. If ALBA can do anything, it might force the hand of her MSPs and MPs which might just work with her. I cannot help feeling that she, herself, is in thrall to the civil servants, though, who, with the devolutionists and ‘trans’ allies, in the SNP, and the Greens, are viscerally opposed to independence, and they are the ones who can push through policy or delay and ultimately stymie it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. By the time of the next Holyrood election it will be too late. Why is this not obvious to everyone? Why do people still talk as if time is of no consequence? Often in the same sentence as they say how urgent the situation is. It’s truly wierd.

      What’s also weird is people talking about doing something at the next election when they flatly refused to do what was required at the last one. It’s as if everything the Yes movement does has to be 2 – 5 years late. And no lessons are learned from the previous tardiness. Each time they’re too late they act as if there was no way they could have known. No way except listening to the folk yelling in their ears and pointing frantically at the clock.

      I despair.

      PS – This doesn’t necessarily apply to you, Lorna. It’s just a general late night gripe.


  9. Unfortunately, nothing else but the threat of losing their seats will force the SNP to do anything. We can threaten way before the next SE. Make them sweat by telling them every day what they risk. Even that will not force Nicola Sturgeon’s hand, I think, but it might make at least a majority of her MSPs and MPs take a second thought. Time is indeed not on our side, but, so long as the SNP leadership refuses to move on the issue and offers more empty vessel promises, we are stuck in a time warp, anyway. If ALBA can do anything, it might force the hand of her MSPs and MPs which might just work with her. I cannot help feeling that she, herself, is in thrall to the civil servants, though, who, with the devolutionists and ‘trans’ allies, in the SNP, and the Greens, are viscerally opposed to independence, and they are the ones who can push through policy or delay and ultimately stymie it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s part of the Alba myth. That they can be a threat to the SNP such as will have MSPs so fearful for their seats that they will turn against Nicola Sturgeon in sufficient numbers to force her into action. And all of this is going to happen in the next few months. As it would have to if it was to have that action taken before the next election. It’s a nice story. The problem is that it is no more than that. Alba is NOT an electoral threat to the SNP. In many ways, I wish that it was. But it just isn’t. The support just isn’t there.

      The SNP is extraordinarily entrenched. Partly due to the success of the Yes movement in putting the party in a position of power from which to challenge the British state. Which is ironic. Partly because the SNP has been moderately competent in government. The harsh truth is that a government doesn’t have to be spectacularly good to stand out. The lack of a credible alternative has also helped put the SNP in an unassailable position.

      This is not to say that the SNP is invulnerable. But it would take something quite special to so much as make a dent in fortress SNP. And Alba woulld have to do very much more than make a dent in the polling figures if they were to become a credible threat. Their problem is that making a dent only threatens the pro-independence majority. Or it can be claimed that it would. And most pro-independence voters just won’t take that risk. It’s no good Alba supporters telling them they’re stupid for believing there to be a risk – which was very much the campaign strategy last year. That doesn’t really work. And the SNP isn’t going to help Alba win seats. Why would they? That’s just not the way political parties operate.

      And, of course, there’s also the fact that Alba’s ‘supermajority’ plan is total bullshit. and even if it was only partial bullshit it would still rely on a large number of SNP MSPs being prepared to vote themselves off the government benches. That’s one of the massive contradictions that Alba NEVER addresses. They say SNP MSP’s are desperate to cling to their place on the gravy train at the same time as they expect them to vote themselves out of a job.

      People notice these things. To be a credible threat to the SNP Alba would first have to be a credible political party. Alba just isn’t.

      Assuming Alba was a credible political party, it would then require a credible and distinct proposition on the constitutional issue. It would have to clearly distinguish itself from the SNP. That means distinguishing itself in the eyes of voters. Alba members may see their party as very different from the SNP. But the voters don’t. If Alba isn’t offering something unique and special that the SNP isn’t offering, folk will just stick with what they know. The Wee Alba Book just doesn’t hack it. There’s no buzz about it. The heather isn’t ablaze.

      Political campaigning is very much a marketing exercise. Alba is going up against a solidly established brand leader without even having a USP (unique selling proposition). That’s a recipe for failure. The USP was supposed to be built around the idea of urgency. The ‘market’ Alba was targeting was people like myself. SNP members or committed supporters who have grown disillusioned because of the weakness of Sturgeon’s approach. It’s difficult enough to convey a sense of urgency when you totally lack the capacity to do anything. It’s a forlorn project when you don’t even have a believable plan for doing anything.

      Alba wants to be both politically and constitutionally radical. A party can only do that when it doesn’t care about obtaining effective political power. It can’t be both radical and mainstream. Had I been advising them I’d have told them to go all out on the constitutional radicalism while being a bit more subdued about radical policy. Had they been campaigning last year on the #ManifestoForIndependence rather than that patently daft ‘supermajority’ nonsense, I reckon Alba would have made a much greater impact. That’s the ‘product’ their target market is ready to buy. Making their campaign about getting candidates into Holyrood mmade them look no different from the rest. Making themselves the radical pro-independence repository for protest votes against the SNP would have worked better for them. They’d have picked up a lot of regional votes, I reckon. Maybe even taking some from Unionists thinking they were voting tactically to keep the SNP out.

      With 5% of the vote insted of less than 2% at their first electoral outing Alba would already have started to look like a potential nuisance, at least. That 5% would have been a solid base on which to build. Less than 2% looks derisory. It actually hinders growth because it screams fringe.

      Yet another opportunity missed.


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