Now for the substance, Nicola!

The build-up to this afternoon’s big reveal has been pretty intense. It will be difficult for the actuality to live up to the hype. But I suppose that depends on how high your expectations are. And how ‘generously’ you interpret the content of the announcement. Personally, I will be sticking to my usual practice of reading and digesting the transcript before commenting. I leave the knee-jerk reactions to others. My preference is for dispassionate analysis and this often requires a few hours to let subside whatever passions may be aroused.

As ever, too, I will be attending closely to what is not said as well as what is. What is not said can be more significant than the actual words spoken. Words can be used to conceal gaping holes in the content.

Nicola Sturgeon should know that her speech today is not an occasion for empty rhetoric – however rousing. It is not a time for vagueness or ambiguity. It is not a time for glittering generalities. We have been promised a plan. What she announces better be a plan. It must qualify as a credible process with the restoration of Scotland’s independence as the end-point. Anything less will be a disastrous anti-climax.

Of course, the British media will misrepresent what she says whatever she says. (Yes, I’m looking at you, Tom Gordon!) But we’re accustomed to that. what is potentially more of a problem for rational analysis of the First Minister’s announcement is the misrepresentation that will surely come from the other side of the constitutional divide. (Yes, I’m looking at you, Sturgeon/SNP loyalists!)

Perhaps more than at any time before, Scotland’s cause now demands a hefty dose of hard-headed realism. We simply cannot afford to mistake where we are and where we are being taken by our political leaders. Just as there are those who will always maintain that Nicola Sturgeon is wrong, so there are those who will hail her every utterance as perfect and precious pearls of wisdom. Just as the muck flung by British Nationalists mustn’t be allowed to obscure the truth, so the polish applied by party loyalists shouldn’t blind us to reality. Those who would understand must peer through the murk and behind the gleam.

I think it is safe to say that everyone in the Yes movement hopes that Nicola Sturgeon will use her speech today to answer at least the most important of the questions being asked by those who want to be assured of a viable process by which Scotland’s independence might be restored and persuaded of an effective campaign strategy to see that process through to a successful conclusion.

Today, let Nicola Sturgeon’s watchword be ‘substance’!

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17 thoughts on “Now for the substance, Nicola!

  1. I wouldn’t bet on it.

    So many “False Dawns” in the past.
    I rather think the policy is to gently wean the movement of the idea, by endlessly kicking the ball into the long grass.
    It worked for Scottish Labour after all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ‘Our’ position is perhaps more akin to time (on the union) having already been called (at three successive UK GE’s) and the Scots, who are now being locked in the Imperial Bar (a prison) after hours, are plied with foostie ale, and next we will be served the dregs of the colonial barrel, where our moribund culture, rusted tongue, and national consciousness already reside.

      Without independence the nation and its people perish. We are currently perishing.

      Liked by 7 people

  2. The more I think about it, the more I believe that the trope “route map to independence” means a re-hash of Mike Russell’s famous 11-step independence plan. I’m expecting lots of fine words and sentiments without giving anything she can be 100% held to, with inbuilt caveats to enable more obfuscation as 10/23 approaches.

    I REALLY hope I’m wrong….

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m not terribly impressed at this moment in time.
    Why is the First Minister going to the Supreme Court of UK???
    What if England’s Supreme Court says “No”, what happens then?
    We can only guess, the First Minister has sound grounds for doing this.
    But all this guff about “Legal” is simply not acceptable.
    The suggestion that Scotland can only become Independent with UK Parliament’s consent, is simply outrageous.

    Instead of directly challenging Westminster and its treacherous allies here, the First Minister gives in to London!, playing by London’s rules.
    This statement is appalling!

    Liked by 6 people

  4. Will the Supreme court shoot us down for next year, and/or will the Tories hold a snap GE to try and stop a 2024 plebiscitary GE if the Supreme court says no, so many bumps in the road still to be overcome, but the Claim of Right must be front and centre.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. As expected going down the same route, asking permission. Why do you need to ask permission to ask the people a question? More bullshit from the build back better cohort, also known as the Cabal.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Just another thought on the matter.

    Ask yourself this, would the Tory party be willing to hold a snap GE, knowing that they might lose it (recent by-elections could indicate a pattern) and spend some time on the opposition benches to thwart a plebiscitary GE election in Scotland to keep Scotland tied to the union and keep on plundering our assets. Bear in mind that Sir Keir Starmer is in my opinion a Tory in all but name and I doubt he would repeal many of the Tories policies and Starmer is opposed to Scottish independence. With regards to the Supreme court Lord Reid (not John Reid) is the President of the Supreme court, he’s a Scot, however the Supreme court was created by Gordon Brown in 2009, and a sprinkle of UK compliant Scots judges were added to give it an appearance of parity to the Four Nations that Make up the UK.,_Baron_Reed_of_Allermuir


  7. As ever, those who jumped ship and boarded the ramshackle Alba, Blogger, Malcontent boat find themselves becalmed while the SS Independence sails on leaving them behind. It’s not too late though. They can still get back aboard if they can get over their ego, admit (at least to themselves) they got it wrong and stop undermining the only Party that can actually deliver independence.

    I’m not saying that what Sturgeon said yesterday answers all my questions. It’s all very well declaring a “plebiscitery GE”, but what happens afterwards assuming it is won? Perhaps we then follow Peter’s plan. Whatever the case, the fight is now on and “confrontation” is not being avoided. People have to decide where they stand; with the FM in her fight for independence, with the Tories and their fight for the union, or on the side lines, with petted lips, determinedly annoyed that the FM isn’t doing what they would have done.


    1. There would be no ALBA as we have it today, had the First Minster taken such a step some years ago.
      As it was, she totally ignored all calls to do just as was announced the other day.
      We have to ask why the delay in doing what so many had asked of her, and what MP Peter Wishart always claimed to be quite impossible? Suddenly he’s changed his mind, we notice, and is gushing with enthusiasm for the very thing he derided time and time again, at every turn, in fact!

      Alex Salmond has already pledged support to the First Minister in her efforts to restart the Independence drive, but obviously has complained, she has taken way too long, which is the case..
      This should have been the way to go, back in 2017, and 2019.
      Actually, the 2015 General Election outcome, should have been the start of such Independence negotiations, or at very least, a much harder line from SNP towards Westminster. Instead, all we ever got was pussyfooting around, playing by the Westminster rules.
      There was no confrontation to anything from London, nothing meaningful, anyhow.
      All we got was Labour style complaints of outrage over this and that, but nothing done about a single policy issue.

      We wait to see how this pans out, and how the First Minister progresses.
      But at the end of the day, this guff about “Legal” votes, and needing Westminster’s say so for Independence, is not good enough, and very far from being confrontational on any level, unless, one would consider the very declaration of a date, and an intention to have a vote, is “confrontational”, which from a London point it is, but from the Scottish view, hardly if we keep along the present SNP path.

      As to what happens if a General Election is won by SNP, John Swinney has said it leads to immediate negotiations for Independence.
      But that is not quite the same as declaring Independence. SNP still wants to get London’s “consent” for that.
      But if London refuses, then we expect a confrontation begins at that moment.

      So we hope SNP has at last changed tack.
      And for Scotland’s sake, it must.

      Liked by 3 people

  8. That’s just Alba rhetoric Gordon. The notion of declaring independence within months of losing the referendum would have been suicidal. Similarly, holding a referendum when the pandemic was at its height (as was pro indy support) would have been suicidal. 2017 saw a dip in the SNPs electoral fortunes and support for indy, so only an idiot would have gone for it then. Despite all the hoo-hah from the echo chambers, there has been no point since 2014 when a Yes vote could be even remotely guaranteed.

    At least now we gave historic polling showing a majority are at least sympathetic to independence if not fully supportive. And with the wilfully impatient gnawing away at the foundations of the Indy movement like termites, it would seem Sturgeon has decided the risk of losing is outweighed by the risk of waiting for more favourable circumstances. That has always been her call, not for those on the internet who did not have to suffer the personal, political and legal consequences of failure.

    Two further points. Firstly, had it been left up to Salmond, it would have been 2017 before the first referendum. A full 10 years after he came to power. He was bounced into an early referendum by Cameron. Sturgeon’s 9 years is speedy by comparison. Secondly, I don’t care what Pete Wishart has or hasn’t said. Why do you? Why does the Rev Stu? What does it achieve?


    1. To maintain that a referendum could not have been won in, say, 2018 because the polls then indicated Yes would lose is to suppose that there would be a referendum without any campaign to change those polls. Which is just plain stupid. As is presenting speculation and prejudiced assumption as if it was a statement of fact.

      The other thing missed by those who ridicule the idea that a referendum could have been won in, say, 2018 is that they imagine those who claim otherwise are talking about the referendum in isolation. They foolishly suppose we are saying a referendum could have been won having done everything else exactly as Nicola Sturgeon did subsequent to her elevation in late 2014. Again, this is just stupidity aggravated by the refusal to listen to what is being said.

      What is being said is that Nicola Sturgeon’s whole approach to the constitutional issue has been wrong from the outset. A referendum could very possibly – even probably – been won in, say, 2018 if Sturgeon had opted to use the momentum the Yes movement had in the immediate aftermath of the 2014 referendum. Instead, she chose to squander that momentum. Or to try and repurpose it for the electoral benefit of the SNP. Which amounts to the same thing.

      In the four years between Nicola Sturgeon taking over as de facto leader of the independence movement and the end of 2018 there was a series of events, developments and situations which, had they been properly exploited, would almost certainly have lifted support for Yes by around ten points before a referendum campaign even started. Not exploiting those opportunities was a political choice made by Nicola Sturgeon.

      Those of us not blinded by the sun shining out of her arse would like an explanation. Not out of a desire for retribution. But to be assured that she is at least aware of the past failures of strategic thinking. Otherwise, how might we be confident that she is not making similar strategic errors now?

      That question, at least, has been answered by Sturgeon’s statement on Monday. There is now not the slightest doubt that she intends to make all the same mistakes again.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. All, of course, in your rather blinkered opinion Peter. Presenting speculation and prejudiced assumption as if it was a statement of fact.


          1. Yes it can, given the right political circumstances. Just as your “infallible” plan can only lead to independence given the right political circumstances. Your plan faces the exact same “problem” the FM’s does; what happens when you have established a majority Yes vote? Where in your process does it address the problem of the UK Govt simply ignoring the result? How does your process guarantee independence any more than the FM’s does?


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