We, the people?

Making her statement to the Scottish Parliament yesterday setting out the SNP+SGP/Scottish Government’s proposed ‘routemap’ to a new independence referendum, Nicola Sturgeon quoted the redoubtable Canon Kenyon Wright speaking as Convener of the Scottish Constitutional Convention on the subject of Scotland’s Claim of Right said,

What if that other voice we all know so well responds by saying, ‘We say no, and we are the state’? Well, we say yes—and we are the people.


Kenyon Right left it at that. He recognised that no more need be said. When we, the people, have spoken that is the end of the matter. The people being sovereign, the word of the people is conclusive. The people being the ultimate source of legitimate political authority, the word of the people is decisive. The people being the nation, the word of the people must take precedence over the word of the state, which has no rightful authority other than that which the people allow.

Kenyon Wright did not say: “We are the people, and we seek the state’s permission to speak.”. He did not say: “We are the people, and we need a court to rule on the authority of our voice.”. He did not say: “We are the people, and we must find a way to speak that does not offend the court or inconvenience the state.”.

Kenyon Wright was not Nicola Sturgeon. Nicola Sturgeon may speak his words with her mouth, but she neither intellectually nor emotionally appreciates their import as he did. She speaks his words and then keeps on talking. She says in effect: “We are the people. But that is not enough.”. Where Kenyon Wright saw the word of the people as unequivocally satisfying the conditions of necessity and sufficiency, Nicola Sturgeon appears to regard the word of the people as no more than input to a debate being conducted above our heads by legislators, administrators and lawyers.

Nicola Sturgeon will say the people of Scotland are sovereign and she will claim to be acting with the authority and on behalf of the sovereign people of Scotland. But she does not act as if the people of Scotland are sovereign. She acts as if the people of Scotland are subordinate to the British state. She behaves as if the word of the people is subject to ratification by a British court. She says we are sovereign, but proceeds on the basis that we are not. She talks the talk of Scottish popular sovereignty. But she walks the walk of British parliamentary sovereignty.

I have long been critical of Nicola Sturgeon’s approach to the constitutional issue. I use the term ‘approach’ advisedly. It is intended as a term broad enough to encompass all aspects of her dealing with the matter. The way she thinks about it and the things she says about it and the things she does relating to it. Everything. I also refer critically to the mindset which informs and steers Nicola Sturgeon’s approach to the constitutional issue. By which I mean the way she conceptualises Scotland’s cause. I, for example, conceive of it as the fight to restore Scotland’s independence. I think of it as being a matter of justice – of righting the ancient wrong of the Union. I regard the people of Scotland as being sovereign and the Union as a political device whereby we are denied the effective exercise of that sovereignty. For me, it is a clear-cut issue. Scotland is a nation. The people of Scotland are sovereign. The people of Scotland alone have the exclusive and inalienable right to determine the constitutional status of the nation and choose the form of government which best serves our needs, priorities and aspirations. This must perforce include the exclusive and inalienable right to decide when and how we exercise our sovereign right of self-determination.

I maintain that we are the people and our word is both necessary and sufficient. Our consent is necessary for the exercise of legitimate political authority. Our command is sufficient to have political authority exercised in accordance with our will. That is the ideal of democracy and while the realities of everyday life may make adherence to this ideal difficult those realities can never justify abandoning the ideal.

This is the mindset that I bring to Scotland’s cause. I am persuaded that this is very closely akin to the mindset which informed Canon Kenyon Wright’s succinct and powerful summation quoted above. I presume to paraphrase his words.

We are the people! We decide!

I had hoped that Nicola Sturgeon’s statement to the Scottish Parliament yesterday would reflect the mindset I’ve just described at least to some extent. While I must acknowledge that there has been some movement on her part it is not such as might indicate any significant change in the way she thinks about Scotland’s cause. While there has been some adjustment to her approach to the constitutional issue, it amounts to little more than cosmetic modification. Having read and re-read the transcript of the First Minister’s statement as well as some of the reactions to it (for example), I would like to make some comments on specific points.

If it does transpire that there is no lawful way for this parliament to give the people of Scotland the choice of independence in a referendum – and if the UK government continues to deny a section 30 order – my party will fight the UK general election on this single question: “Should Scotland be an independent country?

Nicola Sturgeon’s full statement announcing the 2023 independence referendum

For the moment, let’s skip by the issues raised by the term “lawful” and the fact that by her own account she is not intending to “give the people of Scotland the choice of independence in a referendum” and the massive problems associated with putting a Section 30 request at the start of the process and if you’re not exhausted by all that skipping, move on to the part I have highlighted. With apologies to those worn out by the previous skipping, I must ask that you gird your loins for one final skip. and it’s a big one. We’ll get to the matter of the referendum question (again!) a little later. For now, we may content ourselves with welcoming Nicola Sturgeon’s very, very belated realisation that she needs a ‘Plan B’.

Angus B MacNeil MP and Christopher McEleny and more than a few others may be forgiven for letting rip a loud “Telt ye!” on hearing this. How much time and effort did they put into promoting the very action the First Minister has just outlined only to be rudely rebuffed by the SNP leadership? How much abuse did they take for presuming to suggest that the leader might benefit from their advice? Where is the acknowledgement that they were right? Maybe even a wee apology, eh?

I have always been dubious about the idea of using an election as a proxy for a referendum. They are similar democratic process but with very different purposes. My objections to ‘Plan B’ can be found here if readers are interested. (Don’t be put off by the title.) But my main objection to the fuss about a Plan B was always that it took attention away from the far more important matter of ensuring we had a Plan A that would work. Given that Nicola Sturgeon doesn’t have a viable Plan A, I suppose I must be thankful for the very small mercy that she has finally loosened the corset of her obsession with the Section 30 process enough to let in a bit of alternative thinking. It would be so much better if she consigned that corset to the bin. But she doesn’t seem ready to do that. Yet?

Having given one and a bit cheers for Sturgeon’s epiphany concerning Plan B, it’s time to start picking over some of the more contentious bones from her statement. These are the bits I highlighted on my first and second reading of the transcript. I find that my instincts for the controversial usually serve me quite well. But what follows may not be a comprehensive catalogue of my complaints. Make no mistake! If this is the ‘big plan’ it is a pish-poor effort and certainly nothing to get excited about. The transcript landed on my screen not with the solid thud of an impressively substantial statement but with the ominously damp splat of something that’s been in the fridge too long.

I’m going with the call-and-response style here. Bear with me.

The UK and Scottish governments should be sitting down together, responsibly agreeing a process, including a section 30 order, that allows the Scottish people to decide.

Should they? Has Nicola Sturgeon ever asked that question? Has anybody dared to put the question to her? Why should the process of restoring Scotland’s independence require the agreement of a British government that is implacably opposed to the restoration of Scotland’s independence? Stated thus, is the illogicality (I’m trying not to say stupidity) of this line of thought not gob-smackingly obvious? Supposing that agreement is obtained, what is it worth? Just one of the problems with the whole Section 30 process is that it relies totally on the good faith and goodwill of the British political elite. The same British state which, by Sturgeon’s own account, treats Scotland with casual contempt on a good day and open malice at times.

Agreement implies negotiation. Negotiation can only be free and fair between parties of equal status. When all the power lies on one side what ensues is not so much negotiation as the taking of instructions handed down by the party with all the power. Even if the British government isn’t totally dictating the terms of that agreement it is certainly tilting the terms in its favour. And what the **** is the point anyway when the British state cannot be trusted to abide by any of the terms it finds inconvenient?

It’s not even as if Sturgeon disputes the fact that the British government has all the power. Attend to these words, “allows the Scottish people to decide”. Allow!? Why is the offensiveness of this language not obvious to Nicola Sturgeon? It would have been all too apparent to Kenyon Wright. He would surely have recognised that the people of Scotland being sovereign means that they cannot be disallowed from deciding. But the clear implication of Sturgeon’s language is that she is conceding or at minimum compromising the sovereignty of Scotland’s people by acknowledging and legitimising the British state’s authority to disallow the right of the Scottish people to decide.

If we are sovereign, we don’t need to be ‘allowed’. The very concept of permission or consent is inapplicable. It is not and cannot be compatible with the concept of popular sovereignty.

In that letter I will also make clear that I am ready and willing to negotiate the terms of a section 30 order with him.

What I am not willing to do – what I will never do – is allow Scottish democracy to be a prisoner of Boris Johnson or any Prime Minister.

Note what is not said. Sturgeon does not use the term ‘request’ or even ‘demand’. This language is chosen to deceive. It seeks to portray the First Minister going to the British Prime Minister as an equal. But that is not the case. As already noted, the British Prime Minister has all the power. By going to him at all Sturgeon is validating that power. If she was on equal terms, she would be going to him at all. She would be dealing with the referendum as entirely an internal matter for Scotland alone. Informing the British Prime Minister of what is happening would be a matter of courtesy.

The claim that she will not “allow Scottish democracy to be a prisoner of Boris Johnson or any Prime Minister” strike a horribly discordant note coming from the person who has spent her entire time in office to date doing just that – leaving Scotland’s democracy at the mercy of the British state and the British Nationalist incursion into Scotland’s democratic processes and institutions that was creeping eight years ago and proceeds apace today.

My determination is to secure a process that allows the people of Scotland – whether yes, no, or yet to be decided – to express their views in a legal, constitutional referendum, so that the majority view can be established fairly and democratically.

Note again what is not said. Sturgeon assiduously avoids any suggestion that she intends there to be a real constitutional referendum – a formal exercise of Scotland’s right of self-determination which perforce must be self-executing if the people of Scotland are sovereign. More on this anon.

…opposition parties will just keep casting doubt on the legitimacy of the process…

British Nationalists will always cast doubt on any process that might end their precious Union. If Sturgeon is looking for a way to avoid this then she is on a fool’s errand.

Let me turn then to the detail of the steps we will now take to secure the objective of an indisputably lawful referendum

This is nonsense. Nothing is “indisputably lawful”. The lawfulness of anything can be disputed. It’s only a question of whether somebody is prepared to dispute it. The Union is an existential issue for the British state. We have to assume they will always dispute the lawfulness of any move to end the Union.

In common with the 2014 referendum – indeed, in common with the Brexit referendum and the referendum to establish this Parliament – the independence referendum proposed in the Bill will be consultative, not self-executing.

It is to be a pretend referendum. Just as predicted.

There has been much commentary in recent days to the effect that a consultative referendum would not have the same status as the vote in 2014.

This is crafty. It’s the politician’s trick of vehemently denying something that they have not been accused of so that they sound as if they’re addressing the accusation but really they’re not. It may well be that some people have commented to the effect that Sturgeon speaks of. But by far the more pertinent commentary is that which recognises that the proposed referendum will have the same status as the 2014 vote. The only difference being that we now are aware that the kind of referendum being proposed is totally inadequate, completely unsatisfactory, woefully ineffectual and absolutely unacceptable to those who seek the restoration of Scotland’s independence.

If you genuinely seek the restoration of Scotland’s independence why would you propose or endorse (far less celebrate!) a referendum which cannot have the effect of restoring Scotland’s independence? What is the ****ing point? The most such a referendum can do is leave Scotland’s cause exactly where it is now, but lacking the same case for another vote.

Sturgeon says, “The status of the referendum proposed in this Bill is exactly the same as the referendums of 1997, 2014 and 2016.”. That’s the bloody problem! We wanted better! Her job is to take Scotland’s cause forward. Not to have it going back over ground that has already been travelled. The problem with the referendum proposed in this Bill is that is seeks to replicate the 2014 referendum when what is needed is a referendum designed for today’s political environment, not that of a decade ago.

The Bill states that the question on the ballot paper should be – just as it was in 2014 – ‘should Scotland be an independent country’.

What did I just say? If you were proposing a referendum that was fit for purpose then it would be a referendum designed for now, not ten years in the past. (For more on the subject of the referendum question see here and here.)

I can announce that the Scottish Government is proposing that the independence referendum be held on 19 October 2023.

Clever! Announce the date knowing that a large part of the Yes movement will latch onto this and not look too closely at what kind of referendum is being proposed. This will work. I haven’t the slightest doubt that this wee diversionary tactic will be effective. I recognise that I am going to be made to feel like (almost) a lone voice pointing out that we are being fobbed off with a pretendy referendum. I am not at all afraid of being a lone voice. Better that than mindlessly following the mob.

We know that legislative competence can only be determined judicially.

The only questions are: when it ends up in court, and at whose hand.

I can advise Parliament that the Lord Advocate has agreed to make a reference of the provisions in the Bill to the Supreme Court.

The above is a sequential trio of extracts that come at separate points in the transcript of the First Minister’s statement. I don’t think I can be justly accused of distorting the meaning, although I anticipate being assailed with such allegations by those reluctant to try and address the substantive issue. ‘Twas ever thus!

It may be fair to say that legislative competence “can only be determined judicially”. It is certainly true that what matters is the way it is done. Or, as Nicola Sturgeon says, “when it ends up in court, and at whose hand”. The thing is, if she is aware of the importance of the what, when and who, why is she getting it so obviously wrong?

If the people of Scotland are sovereign, and if Sturgeon genuinely believes this to be the case, then everything associated with sovereignty must be assumed. If the people of Scotland are sovereign then there is no need to ask the question. What is asked; when it is asked; and who asks it are all crucial to some degree. Sovereign people don’t ask if the Parliament they have elected is competent to authorise and facilitate the exercise of their right of self-determination. Sovereign people assume those to be the case. Sovereign people proceed on the basis that they are sovereign and therefore the Parliament they elect must have the necessary and sufficient authority to do anything that might be done by a Parliament with impeccable democratic legitimacy and an unambiguous mandate.

It is a short logical step from recognising that it shouldn’t be the people of Scotland asking the question to the realisation that it must therefore be the British state which does the asking. Alternatively, if it must be Scotland asking the question – and Sturgeon makes some sound arguments on this – then the question cannot be whether Scotland has the competence to exercise our right of self-determination but whether the British state has the authority to prohibit us from doing so.

It appears that Sturgeon hasn’t thought this through. had she done so, either she would be challenging the anti-democratic authority asserted by the British state or by asserting the primacy of the Scottish Parliament, forcing the British government to argue that Scotland is not a nation and therefore has none of the attributes of a nation including the right of self-determination (Which the British previously acknowledged in the Edinburgh Agreement.). To argue that we do not have the inherent right of self-determination that even Boris Johnson admits belongs to all nations and peoples is to argue that the people of Scotland are not sovereign. Instead of putting the British in the highly embarrassing position of being forced to acknowledge in court the true nature and purpose of the Union Sturgeon has chosen to let them off the hook and instead ask the UK Supreme Court (UKSC) to confirm something she should be maintaining is beyond question.

Finally, confirmation that the referendum proposed in the Bill is the pretendy referendum some foresaw.

Obviously, it is this government’s hope that the question in this Bill, proposing a referendum that is consultative, not self-executing, and which would seek to ascertain the views of the Scottish people for or against independence, will be deemed to be within the legislative competence of this Parliament.

Sturgeon goes on to say that if the UKSC deems that the Scottish Parliament lacks the legislative competence to authorise even a pretendy referendum (What does that say about the British establishment’s attitude to Scotland?) then she will go with the Plan B which she and her party previous wouldn’t even tolerate being discussed. What she doesn’t say is what happens if after a conclusive Yes vote in the pretendy referendum the British government turns around and says it was only a pretendy referendum so why should they pay any attention to it.

Of all the lessons Nicola Sturgeon has failed to learn, probably the most important is that power is not given, power is only taken. The ‘route map’ set out in her statement, like every other such ‘plan’ I am aware of, leads ultimately not to the restoration of Scotland’s independence but back to the point at which the primacy of the Scottish Parliament must be asserted. Whether it is subsequent to the result of pretendy referendum or the outcome of a plebiscitary election, the next steps towards independence must go through the Scottish Parliament. As things stand, the Scottish Parliament is denied the necessary authority by the Union. That is the sticking point that you arrive at whatever route you take. The choice is only which route to take – direct or circuitous.

Sturgeon has chosen the circuitous route. We may expect that the British will add twists and turns to that road. We’d be foolish to suppose they wouldn’t. All this just to get back to where we are now.

We are the people. We decide. My fear and expectation is that we the people will docilely accept the pretendy referendum being offered and meekly submit to the compromising of our sovereignty in exchange for worthless British promises.

I wonder what Canon Kenyon Wright would have said about all this.

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93 thoughts on “We, the people?

  1. “A tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”.

    If all you’ve got to add to the debate is negative semantics, the cliched and vaguely offensive co-option of a late icon of the Indy cause (the “if he were alive today he’d agree with me” assumption) to your cause and a wilfull denial of actual reality while spouting your own version of it …. you’re no good to the Indy cause in the forthcoming campaign.

    This is it. These are the cards on the table. It’s not going to change. Either get on board, play them to the best of your ability and help win independence …. or step aside and, at least, do no more harm to those that are.


    1. Look, Scotland does not need “permission” from London for anything.
      There is only one reality, and it is that the present SNP “Leadership” view London as their ultimate masters.
      And what Peter points out here, is the problems with that.
      Just s’pose Scotland gets this October ’23 vote, and goes for Independence, what happens if London says “No”? Just it did in 1979?
      What if we have to go to the polls in a General Election, and London stills says “NO”?
      And what if Johnson calls a General Election before October next year, what will SNP do then?
      Wait and wait??

      Now while London wouldn’t dare ignore the outcome of that “Consultative Only” EU vote, (as it was England’s choice on the cards there) it would not hesitate to dismiss any such Vote in Scotland.
      And besides,as the First Minister has already told us, it would be up to the UK Parliament to decide the issue.
      Anyone who seriously thinks UK Govt, and England’s Parliament would decide in Scotland’s favor, are living in a dreamworld.

      Some of us could be forgiven that this is nothing more than yet another delaying tactic from the First Minister.
      Would be nice if it all works out just fine in the end, but reality of London rule, and their traitors who support London rule in Scotland, tells us differently.
      London is acting (without the guns) the same way Putin is acting in Ukraine.
      That is, Putin does not see Ukraine as a Sovereign Independent country. It can only do as he says it can do.
      So it is with London towards Scotland.

      We hope for better, but we must also be very aware of how London operates.
      Anyone who doesn’t want to see that reality, are the ones with the negative approach towards Scotland’s Independence.
      To them, it’s just a nice idea.
      But that is not a good enough view, and will not get us Independence.
      It is not merely a “nice” idea to be hoped for at some point in the distant future, it is an absolutely essential thing for our country, and here and now!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. And what would happen if we went down Peter’s route of just ignoring Westminster and declaring independence? Do you think the UK would just say “okay then, fair enough”? Catalonia tried that and it didn’t go so well. The international community were deafening in their silence re support for the Catalan position. Even Peter’s “process” ultimately requires Westminster’s acquiescence which is something the international community will set very great store by. There’s no point making a UDI if no one acknowledges it. Just ask North Cyprus about that …. or indeed Catalonia.

        Ultimately, EVERY possible process requires Westminster to agree to it at some point. To deny that is to deny reality.

        And here we are, the move towards independence under way, still squabbling about “process” and whose the biggest poopy pants between Salmond and Sturgeon. If people don’t get over this and just play the hand we’ve been dealt (by whoever) independence will be lost forever.


        1. Catalonia is not a country.
          Scotland is.
          We don’t need Westminster say so for anything. We’re s’posed to be “Equal” mind?
          Did London ask our permission for Brexit??? They just done it regardless what we wanted.

          What would London do?
          As Putin in Ukraine???

          It’s not about Salmond or Sturgeon.
          It’s about Scotland.
          Nicola Sturgeon is the one with the actual power to act, and alas, seems not to want to do anything of any real use!
          And as for London, well, the Irish didn’t care one wee bit what London thought.
          If they did, Ireland would still be part of UK. Because London didn’t want to let go of Ireland, just as it doesn’t want to let go of Scotland, today.
          What we are trying to get to here, is for the First Minister of Scotland to make meaningful moves to Independence.
          We would all support her in that effort, but to date, she is more intent on playing the colonial slave, than acting as an equal to London.
          And if we take that approach, Independence will never happen.
          We could see a united Ireland before we get our Independence, the way things are going!
          What Peter Bell is doing, as others have, is point out the very real flaws in the present Sturgeon way.

          No one is happy being critical of her, we want her to listen, and to act on behalf of Scotland.

          Liked by 4 people

        2. You are NOT authorised to speak for me. You do NOT get to say what “Peter’s route” is. Only Peter can do that. I won’t trouble myself to address the rest of your BritNat-inspired drivel and oblivious defeatism. I’ve done so repeatedly, all to no avail. So, it’s back to just ignoring your vacuous interventions. Just as I do with Gordon Brown. Aye. That’s the company you’re keeping.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I have never claimed to speak for you. I have never done anything but present “Peter’s route” as anything but as you have defined it several times. I have read it several times. While you are keen to criticise the strategies of all who are not Peter A Bell, you will not countenance any criticism of your own pearls of wisdom.

            The huge “gaping hole” in your own plan is not so much a “hole” as an omission. It omits to mention how the UK govt would react to it. It assumes they would be supine and powerless in the face of Peter’s political genius. They would not be. Even if we got to the end of your “process” with a Yes vote in the confirmatory referendum, the UK govt could “legally” just ignore it. Then what? Without international support either putting pressure on the UK to recognise Scotland’s independence or recognising it themselves without the UK’s agreement (not a good bet), your “process” is no more a guarantee of independence than the SNP/Green/Alba plan.

            The one advantage the political parties plan has over yours is the desire to be seen to be giving the stubborn UK state every opportunity to get on board with Scotland’s journey to independence. To “keep it as legal as possible”. To be seen to be being “reasonable” in the face of UK intransigence. All that counts. Not just in the eyes of a Scottish electorate, but in the eyes of the afore-mentioned international community.

            There seems to be a misconception among the Malcontents that Scotland is already in full control of its sovereignty. It is not. Scotland’s sovereignty is kept under lock and key in Westminster. It is a prisoner. That is the crux of the difference between Brexit and Scottish independence. The UK always was in control of its own sovereignty, which is why it was able to unilaterally leave the EU with the latter unable to stop them. If that were true for Scotland, then “Peter’s process” would be infallible, though unnecessary. The Scottish Govt could simply legislate for independence (following a referendum if it wanted) and we’d all be hunky-dory.

            With apparently no “legal” process within the UK for Scotland to unilaterally regain its sovereignty, we have to devise a way to pry it from the UK’s grasp. We are unlikely to do that alone. Whatever route is gone down, ultimately, the UK will have to agree to it. Whether it’s through a sudden epiphany that sees it recognise Scotland’s democratic choice to be independent (unlikely), or from staring down the barrel of international pressure and the serious consequences that could arise from it, or whatever, the UK will ultimately have to acknowledge the reality of Scottish independence for it to truly happen. This is simple reality. Even Ireland required the UK to agree to it becoming independent …. though with caveats that included the formation of N. Ireland. I believe there is merit in the Scottish govt’s “reasonable” approach. It is not without risks but then NO process is without its risks. Not even Peter’s.

            For the record, I’m not advocating everyone getting behind the Scottish govt’s plan because I “slavishly” believe Sturgeon to be infallible. She is not. Even she would acknowledge that. It’s because, like it or not, it is now the only game in town. If she had chosen Peter’s process, I would be advocating everyone getting behind that one as it would have become the only game in town. The die has been cast. It’s time to stop squabbling and do what we can to make Scottish independence a reality.


    2. The #WheeshtForIndy philosophy in a nutshell. Those who unthinkingly and unquestioningly trail along behind Nicola Sturgeon supposing that to be the ONLY way to advance Scotland’s cause are stubbornly oblivious to the fact that following her has taken Scotland’s cause precisely nowhere in almost eight years. Recent polling shows the level of support for Yes at exactly the same level as it was in 2014. These Sturgeon/SNP loyalists and apologists want the rest of us to ignore this fact just as they want us to disregard all the well-catalogued failures of strategic thinking that have held Scotland’s cause back over that period.

      Thinking people – people who think for themselves – are as incapable of doing as the Sturgeon/SNP loyalists demand as those Sturgeon/SNP loyalists are of comprehending that it is the fact that the SNP has a crucial role to play in restoring Scotland’s independence that makes thinking people so anxious to ensure that the party fulfils that role effectively. The Sturgeon/SNP loyalists appear not to care whether what she and her party does or proposes to do actually aids or impedes Scotland’s cause. They care only that it is Sturgeon and her party doing it. It’s almost as if they imagine her to be infallible. This despite the evidence aplenty of her fallibility.

      Thinking people, by contrast, keep their minds open to the possibility that Sturgeon might be getting it wrong. Where the Sturgeon/SNP loyalists are content to uncritically accept everything she does as the work of a political genius, thinking people ask questions. Thinking people look behind the inspiring rhetoric and the shiny exterior and try to figure out what is real and what is not.

      Thinking people have examined Sturgeon’s so-called ‘route map’ to independence and found that it raises some very serious questions. The Sturgeon/SNP loyalists make not the slightest effort to address those questions. Instead, they demand that thinking people desist from asking questions. The insist that we stop thinking. They accuse thinking people of disloyalty and treachery for the heinous crime of being concerned that the fight to restore Scotland’s independence is conducted effectively. That it be conducted effectively is far less important to the #WheeshtForIndy numpties than that nobody should bump the pedestal on which they have placed their revered leader.

      Some time ago, I published a few articles which threw a spotlight on the inane fallacy of a ‘supermajority’ as well as other ingredients of the snake oil being flogged by ALBA Party. Sturgeon/SNP loyalists were quite happy with that. Especially as ALBA had absolutely nothing to offer by way of rebuttal or refutation. By implication, at least, everything I said was correct. A few Sturgeon/SNP loyalists even commented to this effect.

      Now, I have published the article on which we are commenting (some of us, anyway) throwing a spotlight on the gaping holes in Sturgeon’s ‘plan’ for ‘delivering’ independence. Now, it is the Sturgeon/SNP loyalists who are at a loss for any kind of rebuttal or refutation. Now, all of a sudden these Sturgeon/SNP loyalists are far from happy about precisely the same analytical process as was applied to ALBA’s ‘plan’. It was OK to subject Alex Salmond’s strategy to rigorous scrutiny. It is forbidden to bring that same critical eye to bear on Nicola Sturgeon’s strategy.

      Thinking people won’t need me to tell them how unhealthy for the independence cause this intolerance of scrutiny must be.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I completely agree Peter. Wonderful article that should be shared far and wide, sadly I see already all the smaller indy parties appear to be falling for a second indy ref even Mr Salmond. Independence is normal asking for permission is not. Late October it will probably snow

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Nicola Sturgeon could, as you say, have asserted the sovereign right of the Scottish people via the Claim of Right. But she chose instead to choose the devolved Parliamentary route which, by definition, must comply with British law via the UK Supreme Court. (By my count she used the word ‘law’ or lawful or unlawful on 20 occasions and ‘legal’ or illegal 9 times). And by so doing Nicola Sturgeon contradicted the late Canon Kenyan Wright, whom she had the temerity to quote at the outset of her speech.

    The sceptic in me reckons that this might really just be a case of smashing the golf ball into the car park before playing into the thick rough directly behind a tree via a couple of deep sand traps on the fairway whereupon a drop ball is taken.

    Nicola Sturgeon says that by referring the matter to the UK Supreme Court for them to adjudicate on the competence of the Scottish Parliament to legislate for a ‘consultative’ referendum this will end diverting discussion by Unionists of process since the legal principle of sub judice will apply. Conveniently enough she and her government will also be able to hide behind this should any questions be asked of this method by supporters of Independence.

    As regards the plebiscitary election ‘fall-back’ option Nicola Sturgeon described this as being a ‘de facto’ referendum on Independence. It was not a good look today when the FM contradicted John Swinney earlier today by stating that a majority of the popular vote (obtained by the SNP) in such a democratic event would be required for ‘Yes’ to win after the Deputy FM had stated that a majority of seats (won by the SNP) is what would be required (see https://www.thenational.scot/news/20242761.john-swinney-says-snp-majority-uk-election-independence-mandate/). Had they even discussed this beforehand?

    The whole thing could take a very, very long time indeed.

    And this is meant to be progress.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I had intended to write something about the John Swinney ‘correction’. But I don’t know if I’ll have time today. Tomorrow will be too late. So I’ll just say that I think John was being honest when he admitted to having misheard what was being put to him. It’s easily enough done. He should be given the benefit of the doubt.

      But there is distraction and diversion going on in this little sideshow just as there is on the main stage. While attention is focused on John Swinney and the contradiction from the First Minister, little attention is paid to what Sturgeon’s position is. The questions don’t get asked.

      To state the situation simply (Perhaps too simply. But this is for the purposes of discussion only.) John Swinney (effectively) said that a majority of pro-independence MPs returned at the next UK general election would trigger independence negotiations. Nicola Sturgeon contradicted him saying that independence negotiations could only be triggered by a majority of the popular vote. She justified this position on the grounds that the election would be a de facto referendum. Who is right and who is wrong?

      Well, both are right. And both are wrong. It all depends on whether you regard the election as an election or as a referendum. That it is an election is a fact beyond dispute. It is a democratic process for the election of representatives to the British parliament. By definition, it is an election. Can it be a referendum instead? Can it be a referendum as well? There you have the intractable problem that arises when you try to use an election as if it was a referendum. (The corollary to this is the problems that arise when you conduct a referendum campaign as if it was an election campaign. But that is beyond the scope of this comment.)

      It’s complicated. Far more complicated than proponents of a plebiscitary election would have us believe. There might be some kind of parallel here with supposing a male person can be a female person merely by acquiring a certificate stating that said male person is now female for all legal purposes. But on reflection, I’d rather not pursue that particular metaphor. That way madness lies. And there’s enough of that around.

      If the democratic event can be simultaneously both a referendum and an election, among the many questions this raises is who decides when and for what purposes it is either? Why does this matter? Well, it matters not least because if both functions have equal validity and both sides have equal right to decide when and for what purpose the democratic event is either an election or a referendum then it is effectively neither – because at any given moment it can be either or both according to the prevailing expediencies.

      If it’s an election, John Swinney is correct and a majority of seats won is the trigger – because that’s how elections in the UK work. If it’s a referendum, then obviously Nicola Sturgeon is right and the trigger can only be a majority of the popular vote – not least because there is no other metric as there are no candidates to be elected and counted. It’d be a majority of the vote because that’s how referendums work.

      But there are candidates being voted for. So it can’t be a referendum. So John Swinney is right. But it is a plebiscitary election – a de facto referendum. So Nicola Sturgeon is right. Except she can’t be because however much she may pretend otherwise, the event is an election. The law says that it is an election. Aren’t we supposed to take that as the end of the matter, Nicola?

      Of course, it’s not only John Swinney and Nicola Sturgeon choosing whether it’s an election or a referendum. The independence movement’s opponents get to do so as well. How might they be prevented from doing so? What this means is that they get to choose what the trigger is so as to suit their own purpose – preservation of the Union. If the pro-independence parties (effectively the SNP) return a majority of MPs from Scottish constituencies then the Unionists will respond that it was a de facto referendum and therefore a majority of the vote is needed. If the SNP gets a majority of the vote, then Unionists will say that it’s only seats that count.

      Ah, but! I hear you say. If the SNP gets a majority of the vote they must also have a majority of the seats. Even with FPTP it’s not credible that it might be otherwise. This is not a problem for the British establishment, however. Since there’s all this flexibility about how the democratic even is defined and what effect it has, they will simply say that because it’s the UK parliament a majority of all seats in that parliament is required. Self-serving constitutional nonsense, obviously. But why would that be relevant? This is the British state we’re talking about.

      Yet again my point is made regarding the absolute necessity for a process that will be decisive and conclusive on the constitutional question. I have described that process. Nobody has come up with a viable alternative. Neither Nicola Sturgeon’s Plan A nor her Plan B pass muster. Neither will lead to the restoration of Scotland’s independence. Whoever is right and whoever is wrong and whatever the democratic event is and however it turns out, it seems that Scotland’s cause cannot win.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It is unfortunate to be polite that is, the First Minister saw fit to contradict John Swinney.
        She should have left it at getting a majority of SNP MPs, which everyone would have readily understood.
        Margaret Thatcher even said as much in her time.
        Nicola Sturgeon could have said that having a majority of votes cast for pro Independent candidates would be a help, but no, she didn’t be so diplomatic.
        So what happens if we get say 59 MPs but 49 percent of the Vote?
        Would Nicola Sturgeon have to stand by her word?
        That would be a sure betrayal of the Independence movement.
        As it is, now we have to hope we get both majority of SNP MPs, and it has to be SNP only, as we can’t have others, who’d only split the pro Independence votes at Westminster level, regardless how some think of SNP, as well as majority of votes, else it doesn’t work.

        And as I’ve asked above, what if there is a General Election before October next year?
        How does SNP deal with that?
        We could just see Boris Johnson call it, to try preempt the proposed October referendum. And even if was another tory as Prime Minister, doesn’t have to be Johnson, they too, could call it early.
        They(SNP) would have no choice but to make it a pro Independence election, especially if that is how London would view it as far as Scotland goes.

        Alas, our politicians who are meant to be pro Independence, ain’t making it easy for us!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. There are a great many unanswered questions. Some of them are absolutely crucial. The possibility of a snap UK election was always on the cards. The only thing I can think of offhand that Sturgeon did right was getting in first with the date. But it would have been good to be assured that the SNP was ready for a UK election called at short notice. It would be good to know that had some idea of how they intend to make it an effective referendum.


    1. No, he isn’t. For all the reasons I have explained. If he seriously imagines it doesn’t matter whether a plan can be effective or what effect it will have, then he is not the Craig Murray I know. The Craig Murray I know would never recommend getting behind a plan that would leave Scotland’s cause in a worse place than it is now.


      1. Peter

        If anyone has cause to feel aggrieved at Sturgeon and the SNP it is Murray, I think he’s hoping as are many of us, that something will happen or change along the road to the possible indyref, and even if it doesn’t what’s the harm in galvanising the indy movement which has been fragmenting since Sturgeon took the reins.

        Building momentum can, but not always bring change, lets see where it leads us.


        1. Indeed, and whatever people think about the plan, it caught the Unionist Ultras napping; they’ve been falling out of their high chairs choking on their formula screaming “Mama”. They’re going to need more baby grows. Some of them have hopefully permanently discredited themselves with the undecideds and the soft NOes – and the soft YESses.

          There’s no “I” in “Independence”.

          Oh, wait, there’s 5.5 million “I”s. Oh well, there’s no “I” in “YES” 🙂


          1. If the “Unionist Ultras” were caught napping they must be remarkably stupid. But as their stupidity is a matter of record I have to concede that at least the most stupid of them were surprised by Sturgeon going to the UKSC at this stage. You can be certain that the British state had thoroughly gamed this possibility. There is an element of confusion in the Unionists’ reaction. But mostly what is being mistaken for confusion is nothing more than the usual contrived outrage and indignation ratcheted up a notch or six.

            There is a large part of the Yes movement which is so in love with the idea of the British being in disarray that they see the disarray they want to see. They sorely mistake the nature of the power we face as we try to break the Union. And that is NEVER a good idea.

            The reality is that Sturgeon is playing nicely into the opposition’s hands. The British didn’t want to be put in the position of having to go to court to argue that Scotland is not a nation; the people are not sovereign, and they don’t have the right of self-determination. Sturgeon has nicely quelled British fears on that account.

            The British obviously didn’t want a proper independence referendum. By which I mean a democratic exercise that is recognised as a formal exercise of Scotland’s right of self-determination. Sturgeon has helped them out there. She has proposed a referendum which is strictly “consultive and non-self-executing”. In other words, the pretend and totally ineffectual referendum which I predicted she would opt for.

            The British are content for us to have a referendum that can be dismissed. Because then they can dismiss it while arguing that we’ve had our second referendum and should now STFU for a century or six. Again, they have Sturgeon to thank.

            The plebiscitary election idea – or Plan B – was also highly predictable. Why? Because it is the only thing left after Sturgeon’s Plan is shown to be a pile of pish. The British will have gamed the arse off Plan B. It is no surprise whatever the theatrics of some Unionists would have you believe. They have to act that way, FFS! They’re trying to portray Sturgeon’s ‘plan’ as outlandish and outrageous. They are putting on the appropriate reaction knowing there are enough gullible folk around who’ll be fooled into spreading the notion that the Unionists have been caught on the hop in some way. They haven’t.

            Sorry if this wee dose of realpolitik bursts your silly bubble. But I don’t do fantasy politics and I’m not at all credulous.

            Liked by 4 people

            1. The reality is …

              Peter, that’s your reality, other people have a different reality. They’re opinions, not reality. Here’s an opinion from a constitutional expert, Aileen McHarg:

              This is quite an obscure process, but I think it is quite a clever way to avoid all those arguments that you would have expected about the lawfulness of a bill as the legislation is going through the parliament.

              and in The National from another expert:

              Andrew Tickell: Referring indyref bill to Supreme Court is a major curveball

              McHarg also says it’s a difficult call to suggest how the case would go.


        2. I tried the unity and solidarity thing. For about a year up to the 2021 Holyrood election, I was frantically urging yes activists to combine behind a campaign to force the SNP to adopt a #ManifestoForIndependence. Only a handful of people responded favourably. Mostly, the responses were idiot-level sniping between the SNP and ALBA. I tried. I failed.

          Don’t lecture me on the subject of solidarity. For years I’ve been pointing out that the diversity and non-hierarchical structure and organic nature of what we had last time was fine for a movement, but death to a single-issue political campaign. For years I’ve been telling folk that a campaign must have as its watchwords – Solidarity! Focus! Discipline! Nobody listened.

          I foresaw what would happen to the Yes movement if it was left for any length of time. The fragmentation was inevitable. Although I never thought the tribalism would get so bad. Sturgeon and others seem to have thought of the Yes movement as some kind of machine that could be switched on and off at will. Or left idling for years with any deterioration. Of course, they were wrong. The rot is always there in any large organisation. It takes skill and effort to prevent the rot from spreading. Sturgeon didn’t want the rot stopped. She wanted the fragmentation. She viewed the Yes movement as a threat because it had the potential to become powerful and, more importantly, outwith her control. That is why she effectively stole the Yes movement. The SNP registered Yes as its property and rejigged the logo so they could call that their own as well.

          Now, I wouldn’t have minded any of this if it had been done to further Scotland’s cause. Like I said, it takes skill and effort to hold a movement together and mould it into a campaign. Sturgeon has the skill set required. But she is obsessed with control. So she didn’t apply her skill to making the Yes movement a campaigning organisation. Instead, she sought to absorb Yes into the SNP – creating various groups for those who wouldn’t actually join the party. But everything controlled directly or indirectly by the SNP.

          I would even have minded that so much if Sturgeon had absorbed the Yes movement into the SNP in order to create a campaign organisation for Scotland’s cause. But that is not what was foremost in her mind. Her main concern was winning elections. Which also would be fine if it wasn’t for the fact that she thought she had to sideline and demonise all those who declined to let her pull their strings. Hence the smear campaign against Wings Over Scotland – which was just the most prominent part of a campaign of vilification against all dissenting voices in the alternative media. Pete Wishart led that effort.

          Sorry about the history lesson. But it is important to understand where we are. It is pointless trying to silence those dissenting voices. If they could be silenced they would be dissenting voices. The way to deal with dissenting voices IF you are trying to build unity is to address the criticisms and concerns. Answer the questions. Respond in some meaningful way and not just with orders to cease and desist which cannot be enforced.

          There cannot be the solidarity that we need because the Yes movement has been turned into an exclusive club. There is no point in telling me to conform. In the first place, it’s not going to happen. And they wouldn’t have me anyway. SNP/Yes does not tolerate any dissent or even the mildest and most constructive criticism.

          What I discovered when I tried to gather a core around which an independent Yes movement might grow was that everybody wanted unity, but everybody wanted unity on their own terms. Some of us simply cannot pay the price that is being asked of us. We are being asked to remain silent and disregard massive strategic errors as well as a great deal of deception bordering on downright lies. And that’s before we even get to the clique that Sturgeon has coopted as he ‘palace guard’.

          Liked by 3 people

          1. Look Peter no one’s lecturing you, its a straight forward choice your either behind it or your not, we know Sturgeon is lying deceitful self serving individual, I also know that you, like a few other hardcore indy bloggers have put your hearts and souls into it and on the line and I can’t speak for the rest of the indy folk but I thank you for that.

            We can see how this unfolds over the next fourteen months or so, whether or not Sturgeon is playing us once more or what, what do you say Peter, do you fancy running up that hill one more time, and if it ends up a 2024 plebiscitary election then running up the hill twice.

            I’m not in any way advocating not criticising Sturgeon she deserves it, I’d say lest focus a wee bit on the other side like we used to until either we find out Sturgeon’s at it or not.


            1. I am behind the fight to restore Scotland’s independence as a matter of urgency. Sturgeon’s plan has nothing to do with the fight to restore Scotland’s independence. It’s a fake. A fraud. I can’t be a gullible fool on command. So stop telling me I must. Neither can I be as dumbly complacent as to suppose time doesn’t matter. I’m not buying this snake oil. Just as I wouldn’t buy ALBA’s snake oil. It’s not snake oil I want. But if ever I do, I know you’ll have a garage full of the stuff.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. So what’s the alternative Peter, sit on the sidelines and grumble, you may well be right, and next year you can shout it from the highest rooftops I told you so, but until then, I see no harm in trying to add some positivity to the yes movement.


                    1. It can be treated as an emergency bill:


                      as was the EU continuity bill:


                      Introduced (27 February 2018)
                      Stage 1 (7 March 2018)
                      Stage 2 (14 March 2018)
                      Stage 3 (21 March 2018)

                      So, within just over 3 weeks, a Bill was introduced, debated through all 3 stages, and passed. And could have received an accelerated Royal Assent (normally 28 days).


                    2. The relevant links are stuck in moderation, so meanwhile.

                      It can be treated as an emergency bill:

                      as was the EU continuity bill:

                      Introduced (27 February 2018)
                      Stage 1 (7 March 2018)
                      Stage 2 (14 March 2018)
                      Stage 3 (21 March 2018)

                      So, within just over 3 weeks, a Bill was introduced, debated through all 3 stages, and passed. And could have received an accelerated Royal Assent (normally 28 days).


                    3. In fact all 3 stages are normally debated in one single day, and the stub bill isn’t exactly long, the biggie was the 2020 Referendums Act.

                      “From the archived parliament page on emergency bills:

                      An Emergency Bill is a Government Bill that needs to be enacted more quickly than the normal timetable allows.

                      An Emergency Bill must be introduced as a Government Bill first and then the Parliament must agree to treat it as an Emergency Bill. Stages 1 to 3 of an Emergency Bill are all taken on the same day unless the Parliament agrees to an alternative timescale.

                      Stage 2 of an Emergency Bill is normally taken by a Committee of the Whole Parliament unless the Parliament agrees to an alternative approach.

                      Royal Assent may be given more quickly than normal after the Bill is passed.

                      Sorry for the piecemeal repetition.


            2. During Indy Ref 1 I was mostly first posting on articles in the Herald, and having to do research first as the “experts” misquoted were mostly anti-Indy. I read those reports from top to bottom and then posted at 4 am on the dot.

              When I realised that on Sunday it was much more favourable to Indy, I used to use that to attack the YES campaign – like the bland YES Scotland that had replies to these experts like “Oh what a great report from the IFS”, when the headlines were like “IFS predict Scotland becomes a basket case”.

              And as I listened to NO voters, passing on their concerns, like Project Fear was extreme and dishonest, but YES Scotland said “It’ll be fine on the night, it’s all roses in the garden and honey on your perfect toast”.

              And then of course not long before the Ref, the YES website obscured the whole lot with an autoplay video of a baby in the womb, which had absolutely nothing to do with encouraging a YES vote, and since many of us have been through miscarriages, could upset people. I lost count of the number of times I posted that that was a useless turn-off for many.

              Didn’t do any good, YES Scotland continued to be useless in reality – or should I say, in my opinion 🙂


  4. Craig Murray doesn’t believe that Julian Assange should have his rights taken away from him, he doesn’t believe that Scots should have their rights take away from them, he doesn’t believe that ‘trans’ people, whoever they are, should have their rights taken away from them; he most certainly does believe, however, believe that half the population, the female half, should have theirs taken away from them and he was ready to set up a party to achieve that end. He is a fraud on universal human rights because only by taking away female rights does he see a way to ensure so-called ‘trans’ rights instead of ensuring so-called ‘trans’ rights by encouraging so-called ‘trans’ to campaign for their own rights that do not impinge on female rights.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. The Declaration of Arbroath stated the already existing Scottish Common Law position of choosing our Monarch[Method of Government] by popular acclaim usually by the Barons whose clansmen would take the same position. This was formally agreed in writing by Pope John XXII and is therefore the established Scots Common Law.
    On the other hand, in my opinion, The Claim of Right 1689 was not a Law in and of itself, but an assertion of the Law of the Land. William of Orange’s response to this assertion was to arrange the Massacre of Glencoe of 1692.
    The Claim of Right 1988/89 and again on 4th July 2018 merely states the Common Law position; that is that the Scots people are Sovereign and have the right to choose the form of Government that best suits their needs.

    So the Scots Parliamentarians could just restate the Common Law position in the preamble to the Referendum Bill ….”in accordance with Scots Common Law we the Parliamentarians have agreed to put to the people the option to become an Independent Nation by way of Referendum”. In my opinion there is no need, other than common courtesy, to obtain Royal Assent as the Monarch has an interest in the outcome but has no vote.

    There is no lawful method to block this as it is a fundamental Sovereign Right with higher authority than Parliament. A S30 as a blocking mechanism is simply not applicable as it has lower authority than the Sovereign people under Scots Common Law.

    Dare I say it but the English people would be indignant if they wanted to hold an Independence Referendum and the Parliament or Monarch blocked them as they have similar Common Law Rights under Magna Carta.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s political parliamentary stuff, and the parliament isn’t sovereign. Harsh reality is that opinion polls tend to show that the will of the people is’nt to have a referendum in 2023. Make of that what you will.


      1. There is a substantial element of ‘build it and they will come’ about this. People will support things that are actually happening even though they wouldn’t support it as an opinion poll option. People are inspired by action. This is why the eight wasted years has been so devastating to the Yes movement.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. As far as I can make out, the de facto masterplan is to confuse and bore people. And my word it’s dull, and it will get even duller in court and duller still and even more confusing, afterwards. Anyone fancy a legal verdict debate and a cost-of-living comparison between Britain and the Vatican City? It kills 99% of germs, honest.

    It’s telling that the Greens are supossedly part of the government, and weren’t told anything about it. There was an interview with Lorna Slater that was mostly silence. Who makes this stuff up? A lawyer and a PR consultant?

    It’s also telling that AUOB marches attract a couple of thousand nowadays, such is the fervour of whatever the yes movement is for whatever yes is.


    1. Regards Indy demos, etc, I think many are still bit concerned with the Coronavirus. Thus they get fewer folks.
      But maybe one of the factors, if not the main one, is that these marches are very poorly advertised now.
      Quite simply, many of us are unaware of them, until they are either underway, or after they have been and gone!
      It hasn’t helped matters of late with the undue focus on getting Boris Johnson out of Office, instead of demanding Independence!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Covid didn’t stop 2000+ people selling out the Usher Hall to listen to an esoteric Shostakovitch cello concerto with their masks on. That was with less advertising.

        After the authorities allowed things to open up people were mad keen to hear live music. Last weekend, they weren’t mad keen to march for Scottish nationalism in Sterling. I think the whole thing has gone stale really.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. If by “the whole thing” you mean the Yes movement, I would agree. My guess is that for every one of the 2,000 people who attended the march there were at least ten more who didn’t turn up because they are so disillusioned with the way the independence campaign has been mismanaged for the past eight years.

          But this suits Sturgeon very nicely. She doesn’t want 20,000 people turning out for an AUOB Yes march. She only wants 20,000 people turning out if it is for an SNP/Yes march. The crazy thing is that had she not so alienated those 18,000 people, that’s exactly what it would have been.


    2. I had wondered about the Greens. It was only a matter of time before Sturgeon sought to sideline them. It’s the Greens FFS! They go in the huff if you look at them the wrong way.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Really, “Mr E”? Like, really?

      It’s telling that the Greens are supossedly part of the government, and weren’t told anything about it. There was an interview with Lorna Slater that was mostly silence. Who makes this stuff up?

      The unequivocal answer to that is that it is you make this stuff up.

      From the Greens website on the 28th June – the very day of Sturgeon’s statement:

      Following the First Minister’s statement to the Scottish Parliament, Scottish Greens co-leader Lorna Slater said:

      “Today we have set out the path to fulfilling our democratic mandate by delivering an independence referendum.
      “The people of Scotland have repeatedly returned pro-independence majorities to both the Scottish and UK Parliaments. Their democratic will must be fulfilled.
      “I am confident that when given the choice the people will choose to take our future in our own hands by becoming an independent European country.”</i>"


      As for the marches, NOW there is a date, and a purpose. But the purpose is Independence, Independence and one more for luck, Independence.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If the purpose is independence you should know that the proposed referendum is not fit for purpose. Did Sturgeon tell you what happens next after a Yes vote in her pretend referendum? Have you bothered to ask? Have you taken the trouble to think about it?

        I’ll tell you what happens after a Yes vote. Nothing.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. you should know that the proposed referendum is not fit for purpose

          Peter, surprising as it may be to you, not everybody has the same opinions as you do. Not one signle constitutional expert agrees with you about the Section 30 for instance, they all agree it makes things so much easier. You said yourself you got little support for your own constructed “Manifesto for Independence” which should tell you that there is very little support for it. And just about everybody apart from Scotland in Union thinks the proposed question is the right one:

          “Should Scotland be an Independent Country?”

          YES, it should. And perhaps that’s one of the very few things we do agree about.


          1. I get that you don’t get that I don’t give a fuck if I’m a lone voice I must speak the truth as I see it. It being ‘only an opinion’ does not in itself necessarily make it wrong.

            What neither you nor anyone else can explain is how genuine independence ensues from the process ((very roughly) outlined by Nicola Sturgeon or via any of the other cunning plans that have been mooted. They all break down at the same point – as I have explained. Nobody has been able to refute that point. Nobody! You, like many others, don’t even attempt to address the point. The only thing that matters to you is that I stop making the point. Learn this! THAT IS NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN!

            You and the rest of the #WheeshtForIndy mob demand that those who see the nakedness of the Empress remain silent. I can’t help but wonder who you’ll blame when you discover you’ve bought a pig in a poke minus the pig and with a fake poke. You and your playmates must come to this realisation at some point. You must surely exit the fantasy when it becomes ridiculously obvious what it is. Or isn’t.

            Maybe when the proposed referendum returns a Yes vote and nothing happens. Maybe then you’ll kick yourselves for not asking what comes next. Then again, maybe not. More likely you’ll just point the finger at those who tried to warn you. That’s the way it usually works.

            Liked by 2 people

            1. It being ‘only an opinion’ does not in itself necessarily make it wrong.

              Why make things up, have you so little confidence in your debating ability?

              I’d never say it’s “only an opinion”, as that is all any of us have.

              Including you, including me.

              Maybe then you’ll kick yourselves for not asking what comes next.

              Why are you always so fucking moronically presumptious – and always so wrong in describing others? I’d guess I’ve researched all this 144 times as much as you have, though that wouldn’t be difficult …


              1. The phrase ‘only an opinion’ was in single quotes. Had you not been in quite such a rush to be offended you might have noticed that. It was in single quotes for a reason. It is a commonly used expression. Or typical of such expressions. Had I been quoting you I would have used double quotes. The form of words you used may have been different, but what you were saying was very much of that ilk. It is very irritating having to explain this stuff. I have better things to do with my time.

                If you have “researched” the future so thoroughly then why don’t you tell us what comes next. There’s a “consultative and non-self-executing referendum. There’s a Yes vote. What happens next? NOT what you want to happen next. NOT what happens next in some fantasy version of politics. A credible account of what is most likely to happen next based on the knowledge you have gleaned from research that is precisely 144 times more than a figure you have absolutely no way of knowing. Duh!

                Liked by 1 person

                1. That’s another problem you have – no sense of humour, and an inability to understand humour. The clue was “fucking” in response to your “give a fuck”, the second was some random figure “144”, which if you thought about it, you’d realise was (a) gross, as a qualifier to “presumptious”, and after “so little confidence in your debating ability” to set the scene. Learn to parse – I’m not offended in the slightest.

                  Still, I’m sure when the time comes you’ll be campaigning for Independence like the rest of us, rather than being fooled by trolls and agent provocateurs who know how to press your buttons on issues like Sturgeon and the Greens, by saying what you want to hear.

                  Tara for noo.


              2. The phrase ‘only an opinion’ was in single quotes for a reason. I should have realised you wouldn’t figure that out.

                I am in an exchange with someone who claims to have “researched all this” (that’s a quote!) precisely 144 times a number they have absolutely no way of knowing. I could make a credible claim to have “researched all this” for a lifetime since I first started taking an interest in “all this” around 60 years ago. So, you have just claimed to have been researching all this for 144 lifetimes. Or 8640 years if we take my 60 as the base.

                My Bible knowledge is no better than it needs to be. But I think you just left Methuselah in the dust of your antiquity, O Ancient One! Unprovable claims of superior knowledge make you look foolish. I think we may need a new word for how your claim makes you look.


      2. ‘The unequivocal answer to that is that it is you make this stuff up.’

        No, I listened to Lorna Slater’s interview after Nicola Sturgeons speach. I guess you didn’t. When she ocassionally got it together to say something it was the years-old manifesto bumph you were punting in your post. She answered no questions put to her, and she knew as much about the government anouncement as you did. She’s the Scottish government minister for greenskills, biodiversity and other stuff.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. O/T but interesting I think.

    Westminster deletes the Scottish Claim of Right.


  8. I would hope that the fragmentation of the entire independence movement could be healed but that would take a gesture of reconciliation from Nicola Sturgeon and her ‘wokie’ cohort. For women like me it has become Sophie’s Choice. Do I support the SNP’s initiative, knowing that: a) it is very likely to be another carrot on a stick which will never materialize anyway; b) acquiescing in the loss of my sex as a biological reality? The truth is, Peter, that I cannot vote SNP again – ever; I cannot vote to destroy my biological sex. I doubt that you, or any man on this thread would do that either, to their own sex. It is asking too much. She is not clever at all, Peter; she is an instinctive totalitarian; and she will destroy Scotland if we don’t bring her – and her cohort – down. They have brought us to this pass. The fact that they have done that without actually ever bringing us close to independence does not speak of cleverness and skill; it speaks of a sickness that is devouring our society; a madness that needs to be removed and treated. I’m not talking about a political madness: I’m talking about a real, deep-seated corruption that has spread to every facet of public and private life in Scotland. We are being eaten alive from within, and no level of sacrifice will ever be enough to appease its gods. We either cut it out and cauterize the wound or we die. The corruption of the SNP hierarchy is too far gone to save the party. We do have a very small window of opportunity to save Scotland.


    1. There is much in what you say that I agree with. Even though I really don’t want to. I think terminology such as “totalitarian” is unhelpfully hyperbolic. Certainly, Sturgeon is a control freak of the first order. More, she is a control freak who has been put in charge of a party which is notorious for its control freakery. It’s a bit of a leap from even Sturgeon’s extreme control obsession to totalitarian tendencies.

      I know you well enough to anticipate a response along the lines of totalitarians starting out as control freaks the same way serial killers start out as cat strangers. But still, I’m uncomfortable with the word.


  9. Reading the diverse views on here, Question Time tonight should prove intertesting when we add unionists comments to the mix.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Fair enough, Peter. I don’t ask you to subscribe to my hyperbole, if that is what it is. Let’s say that Nicola Sturgeon herself may not be utterly totalitarian, but the company she keeps is. If she has allowed herself to be hemmed in by these people, for whatever reason, she will have done irreparable damage to not just the party, but the cause, as well. I find it incredibly stupid of her to have alienated so many good, hardworking campaigners for something that could be fixed tomorrow by simply adhering to the law that actually exists on human rights instead of trying to rewrite it in favour of people for whom our cause is spurious, to say the least. She is all about SNP hegemony, winning elections, rather than in regaining our independence from a vicious British State.

    Personally, I was an independence supporter from the age of eleven years when I first realized that the pink on my old school globe was not something to be celebrated, but a matter of deep personal regret: those pink bits belonged to other people, not us. By about the age of 13, I joined the SNP as a youth member, and, although things have happened that have made me think deeply, never before, have I ever been so disillusioned. If she would only hold out a hand to those of us who can never support her policy in ‘inclusion’ (self-ID) which means exclusion for females, as we are seeing everywhere now. Women have never demanded that men give up their human rights, only that they move over. Stonewall and the ‘trans’ lobby want it all, and they want it all without having to lift a finger to work for it.

    I have given this a great deal of thought, and it is with the deepest regret that I cannot vote for the SNP if they insist on being the only game in town yet again. I thought our cause was bigger than SNP self-interest, but I was wrong. Betrayal doesn’t even cover it. You have said that we should never underestimate the Unionists or Westminster or the British State, or, indeed, what it will take to leave the Union, and I absolutely agree, always have. I’m not naive; I’ve always been a hard-headed realist and pragmatist, but this is a step too far for me, and I know it is for many other people who would have lent their support. I can’t even begin to understand what she is doing, but I believe she will drive independence forward not by what she is doing now, but by the schism she has created in the independence movement, and, eventually, it will be the schismatics who prevail, as happened in Ireland. They, too, became the backbone of Irish independence as Sinn Fein.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. If you have the same nightmare rattling in your head all the time, you might have post-traumatic stress dissorder, or dementia.


  12. I guess Sturgeon is banking on hardly anyone knowing what ‘plebiscite’ means. Or ‘de facto’. An independence campaign based on ignorance?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I got the point even if it went an astronomical distance over your head. That point is that nobody is scrutinising the detail of what Sturgeon announced. Like you, they remain stubbornly oblivious to the fact that what she is proposing is NOT an independence referendum. It does not connect to the restoration of independence. It happens. Then nothing. There is no explanation of what ensues from this pretend referendum. The reason is that NOTHING ensues from it. As you will discover. When it’s too late.


        1. You’re so gullible Peter, it makes it easy for splitters to take advantage of you, as you endorse anything that seems to support your own point of view without looking at the provenance and motivation.

          ‘Tis sad.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. That was your opening to refute my point by explaining what ensues from a Yes vote. You blew it! As you were bound to do. Because you haven’t a clue what happens next.


            1. What ensues from A Yes vote in the Scottish Govt’s process will be exactly what would ensue from a Yes vote in the referendum proposed in your own preferred process. I assume, from your complete confidence in the efficacy of that process, you know what that is. Perhaps you could enlighten us lesser mortals to it. It would be preferable to the knee jerk abuse afforded anyone who questions you.


              1. The question remains to be answered. What ensues from a Yes vote in Sturgeon’s “consultative and non-self-executing” referendum. You still haven’t said what that is.


                1. I basically answered it further up the thread Peter. But you’d gone in the huff and decided to stop reading my posts at the time.

                  What will happen, in my opinion, is that, on winning a Yes vote, the Scottish govt would demand the UK govt enter into negotiations to enact the result. Political and moral pressure will then be brought to bear on the UK govt to honour the Scottish people’s decision to be an independent country from both home and, more importantly, the international community. Especially the UN, EU and Council of Europe. Which is why the Scottish govt needs to be seen to have been as reasonable and willing to involve the UK govt in the process as possible (whether or not they decide to take them up on the offer). The optics count.

                  It is also my opinion that your favoured process would rely on the very same thing to make independence a reality. You have yet to enlighten us on how “Peter’s process” magically avoids it.


                  1. Would that be like the “political and moral pressure” that was going to force Boris to back down on the Section 30 order? You are terminally gullible.

                    When I ask what ensues I mean what actually happens. Not what you hope will happen. For there to be a process the stages in the process must connect in some way. The referendum as proposed does not connect to anything that brings about the restoration of Scotland’s independence. Some fools will remain blind to this fact until it is demonstrated. By then, the damage is done.

                    But, of course, now you’ll need a grown-up to explain to you what I mean by “damage”.

                    I don’t go in the huff. I just choose not to waste time. If I respond to your comments at all it is only because I reckon my response might benefit others. I have no hope that you will even understand the response.


                    1. No Peter. The Section 30 request did not have a Yes victory in a referendum/plebiscite behind it nor any international pressure brought to bear. You have no answer, and you still avoid telling us how your own preferred process delivers independence.


                    2. We’re not discussing my preferred process. We’re discussing the process being flogged to the people of Scotland as something that can restore Scotland’s independence. At least, some of us are. You refuse to.

                      You still haven’t got it. You almost certainly never will. A Yes victory in the proposed referendum is meaningless. It carries no weight. And there is not going to be any international pressure. And even if there was, take a fucking look at the real world, you bollard! Has the British government shown the slightest indication of being affected by international pressure over anything? The British government is ripping up binding agreements and totally ignoring the world’s objections. Get your head out of your arse, fool.

                      Try thinking things through. Your “international pressure” notion is a magical solution. It is NOT part of a process. It CANNOT be part of a plan because it cannot be controlled. It can’t be made to happen.It can’t be made to have an effect.

                      And supposing it could. Pressure to do what? What is this pressure supposed to achieve? What use is pressure on the British government when it’s not the British government that will restore Scotland’s independence? Only the Scottish Parliament can do that. If pressure is needed it’s to make Sturgeon do what’s needed. But that’s out of the question because… er… I don’t know. Why don’t YOU tell us why it’s so unacceptable that some of us should demand that the First Minister of Scotland and leader of the independence party do what is necessary to restore Scotland’s independence?

                      I won’t hold my breath waiting for a sensible response.


    1. It looks like she’s banked on a winner. As far as I can tell, the massively bigger part of the Yes movement is cheering her ecstatically. I’m seeing precious few asking any questions or expressing any concerns or showing the slightest doubt. Which is kinda scary. I’m not at all at ease with a mass movement blindly following a leader. That’s a potentially very dangerous scenario.


      1. I forgot this one. That’s your third problem – your arrogating to yourself that you alone in the whole wide universe have a capacity for thought and analysis. It ain’t so, laddie.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m sure that’s what you read despite the fact that what your read exists only in your fevered imagination. That’s enough to make it true for you. And STILL you haven’t addressed a single point relating to what I actually did write. I wonder if you even understand my analysis of Sturgeon’s ‘route map’ to nowhere. It occurs to me that you really don’t. Because I’m talking about politics in the real world while you are stuck in the fantasy politics bubble oozing out the arse of your imagination.

          There are around 60 comments on this article. no more than a handful actually relate to the content of the article. Most of it is the kind of puerile personal attacks that seem to be all you are capable of. Grow the fuck up!

          Liked by 1 person

      2. As it happens David Jamieson and Jonathon Shafi can be heard
        asking questions, expressing concerns and voicing considerable doubts on their recent podcast:

        AUDIO: The state of play after the First Minister’s statement
        A discussion with David Jamieson, Jonathon Shafi

        In the podcast Jonathan refers to a recent article, which may be this one:


        So you are not entirely a lone voice of reason there Peter. 😉

        Worth a listen / read, I thought.

        Liked by 3 people

  13. Not only on here but other pro-indy websites too, we are arguing among ourselves and doing the unionists job for them.


    1. Just practising and sharpening the tools of the trade while the Unionists go beresk. Better savaging each other at the moment considering we’re still going to vote YES, than doing the same to those we’re trying to convince.


    2. I would assume the “other pro-Indy websites” you allude to will be of the Alba/Malcontent echo chamber variety. Like Peter, they are spitting feathers because they can’t stand the fact things are moving despite their fevered insistence it never would without the politicians bending their knees to the Bloggers in Chief. Peter is annoyed because his self proclaimed political genius is being ignored in favour of others opinions while the Malcontents are annoyed that she has actually listened to what they had to say (and acted on it) when they were telling all and sundry she was incapable of it. We have to hope they all get over their egos before they do more harm to the very cause they say they support.


      1. Some have got behind it straight away, even if there is a little of “I told you so”, which is human nature. Salmond and Alba did that, as did SGP and the ISP, and kudos is due to them.

        Craig Murray did, and not only was that very good, it was surprising considering he could consider (righty or wrongly is irrelevant) to be a victim. That was why I thought it worthwhile trying here, rather than letting time do its own work, but I should have known better.

        It is early days though, TGIF, and this only happened 3 short (well, long in some ways) days ago. And the sun is shining – occasionally 🙂

        Things are looking up.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. What ensues from a Yes vote in Sturgeon’s “consultative and non-self-executing” referendum? Are you really too stupid to understand what those words mean?


        2. Salmond and ALBA, ISP, etc. have got behind it with very evident caveats. Nobody, I think, except the loyalists, actually believe this is going ahead. All I can see is the SNP creating a one-party state in perpetuity without ever actually delivering independence. Do you think the Unionists can’t see through it? If the Scottish ones don’t, you can bet your bottom dollar that Westminster does, and applauds it. They have nothing to fear.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Lorna. I hope when the time comes you’ll be advocating the cause of Independence with your usual passion and intelligence.

            As for the Unionists though, they seem to be taking it very seriously, with the likes of Ross and Sarwar giving it laldy. And the Unionist posters on the Herald going bersesk and giving it upvote, refresh, upvote round in circles – with their Mr X for insntance (sounds familiar) getting dozens of upvotes within minutes of posting.

            Anyways, have a good weekend y’all!

            Won’t be long now.


            1. Ay, the dunderheids, yesindyref2. The smart ones – and please, don’t dismiss the, all as fools – know perfectly well that Sturgeon is on a cleft stick of her own whittling. If she has to choose between independence and SNP hegemony, she’ll choose the latter, believe me, and leave us all flapping in the breeze. In order to win, we must galvanize the working-class and unemployed, and she has nothing to offer them but the 10-year, neoliberal Growth Commission Report and NATO and keeping Trident for the glory of Uncle Sam. We need a new politics in Scotland or we might as well just stay with the UK and pretend that Boris Johnson is really a bumbling fool and those parties never happened. I never felt that the SNP of the past deserved the ‘tartan Tory’ epithet because everyone I knew in it was left-wing/centre, but this lot deserve it in spades.


              1. Well, one of the most effective posters on the Herald in IR1, was an Independent Councillor by name of Iain who had been SNP. He didn’t like the SNP, and so was able to use that to advantage. I used to post “Not a member, never have been a member and never will, of any political party”. Can’t do that now, like so many I joined the SNP after the Ref though I didn’t renew 3 years later as party politics isn’t for me.

                You errr, cough, don’t like Sturgeon, so you will be able to talk to noes and undecideds who can’t stand her. And of course, after a YES vote, who knows which party people will vote for?

                Same goes for any non-SNP people and Alba and ISP – they can reach the parts other campaigners can’t.


                1. yesindyref2: no, I don’t dislike her, I am indifferent to her. I see through her and always have – which is easy to say in hindsight, but it’s true. She has betrayed everything my former party stood for; she has betrayed my sex with her GRA reform, which is self-ID by the back door. I would not presume to lecture you, yes, so I will say only this: a S30 Order indyref is an impossibility without Westminster’s consent; an advisory referendum would be a cul-de-sac; and a plebiscitary election which does not include the entire independence movement would be a washout for independence, but a major coup for Sturgeon and the SNP. She is behaving exactly like Redmond and his Irish Party, eschewing all and any form of dissent or mere difference of opinion; and it will be the eventual downfall of the SNP. She will be remembered: as the FM who destroyed women’s rights and independence hopes. You have to give her that, I suppose.

                  Liked by 2 people

                  1. SGP has opinions and reservations, but has got behind this latest move. And others are too.

                    But I daresay there are many of the silent types who have reservations, particularly about the GE which Sturgeon has said she’ll fight on the single issue of “Should Scotland be an Independent Country”, and then negotiating for Independence.

                    I think if the manifesto has ANYTHING apart from that, it’s a lie from her. In fact here’s my proposed SNP manifesto for 2024, which I posted elsewhere the day after her statement:

                    Page 1 of 1.

                    SNP Manifesto – General Election 2024
                    Independence for Scotland – The SNP General Election Manifesto

                    The one single policy of the SNP for the 2024 General Election is Independence, and if we win the election with a majority in Scotland, this will be permission for the Scottish Government to immediately negotiate with the rUK Government for Independence with speedy due diligence.



      2. Like all the blinkered Sturgeon/SNP loyalists I have been unfortunate enough to encounter you pontificate about the views and attitudes of others as you imagine them to be and without taking the trouble to find out what they actually are., Your main ‘attribute’ seems to be proud ignorance. I pose questions and raise concerns. You hurl shrill abuse. What the fuck use are you?


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