Yes Campaign

I attended only the Friday panel session of the 3-day Scottish Sovereignty Research Group (SSRG) Conference which comes to an end today (Sunday). I did so reluctantly. In part, this was for personal reasons. I am distinctly uncomfortable with the thought of crowds these days, partly as a hangover from Covid precautions and partly just an age thing, I suspect. Also, I am quite determined not to get involved in any projects. I don’t want to take on any roles. I do not want any responsibility because I know I cannot be relied on. That is definitely an age thing. I can’t cope with stress and I don’t work well with others because other people are the single greatest cause of stress.

I only agreed to be on that panel because I know the people behind SSRG and have more time for them than I do for most folk. I know SSRG is doing important, valuable and novel work. I know how committed these people are to Scotland’s cause. And, let’s face it, having complained so much for so long that the voice of dissent in the Yes movement isn’t heard, it would hardly have been fitting that I refuse this opportunity to speak.

Much as I dreaded the event in prospect, the reality was surprisingly undaunting. On arriving, I immediately felt that I was among friends. I recognised lots of faces and even remembered a few names. Although I didn’t always pair the two correctly, people make allowances. For which I am duly grateful. The social side of things was still stressful for me in a way it didn’t when I relished going to real SNP conferences back in the day when they had real conferences. But I coped – with a bit of help from prescribed pharmaceuticals.

I fully expected that my address to the capacity audience would not be well-received. Two or three years ago when I first broached the matter of UDI the reaction was very negative. And that is putting it mildly. Imagine my surprise, therefore, when I saw most of the audience nodding along as I spoke of the need to step outside the British legal system and heard them applaud as I spoke of the necessity of taking the powers needed to restore Scotland’s independence. I had gone to the SSRG Conference expecting to be the lone – or at least a lonely – voice of dissent from SNP orthodoxy only to find that as far as this gathering was concerned I was part of the mainstream.

This perception solidified into a conviction as the afternoon progressed and other speakers made points that aligned well with my own views. There was a quite remarkable degree of consensus across the range of positions offered for consideration. It is my hope and expectation that SSRG will be able to stitch together these points of consensus to form a formulation which works for everybody as the basis of our approach to the constitutional issue. I saw a flicker of life in the unity of purpose that I had thought was dead in the Yes movement. For the first time in many years, I saw the possibility of drawing the Yes movement together behind a campaign that all could support. A campaign to end the Union.

I came away from the SSRG Conference inspired and invigorated in a way I haven’t been for most of the past eight years. I’ve forgotten what hope feels like so can’t testify that this is the sensation I’m experiencing now. It may be no more than a defect in my cynicism.

As ever, the question is what happens next? We have grown depressingly accustomed to those SNP ‘initiatives’ that get hyped to the heavens only to end up evaporating into the ether. My hope is that the SSRG Conference will be different. I don’t know what is intended, but I would like to think SSRG would produce a report which offers a synthesis of everything that comes out of the panel discussions and working groups. It would be good if this report could then inform a new Yes Campaign to run in parallel with whatever the SNP+SGP/Scottish Government chooses to do if and when it gets around to holding even a mock independence referendum. We know that campaign will be pretty much a rehash of the first Yes campaign. We also know that it will be inadequate.

It was always my view that the SNP should be the spear-point of the Yes campaign. I saw little point in some separate campaign building support in its own name only to then have to transfer that support to the party of government (SNP) for action requiring effective political power. Back that was when I supposed the SNP could be persuaded to move away from the Sturgeon approach. An approach which is definitively misguided because it is founded on the delusion of a ‘legal’ route to independence and the forlorn hope of eliciting the honest cooperation of the British political elite in a process which is intended to end the Union. The 2021 Scottish Parliament was our last chance to get the SNP back on the independence track. But that gets added to the dismaying list of missed opportunities that litter the fight to restore Scotland’s independence.

Acknowledging the reality that the SNP is going to go its own way regardless, all that is left is to ensure that those who despair of the Sturgeon orthodoxy have somewhere to put their campaigning energies and resources. The SNP seems determined to make Yes Scotland an exclusive organisation entirely under its control. Furthermore, they appear intent on extending that control into every part of the Yes movement. There are a lot of people who simply will not submit to this control freakery. The SNP would have them sidelined and subjected to the kind of abuse that Pete Wishart has made his speciality. Taking lessons from the ugly tribalism that has been allowed to arise between the SNP and ALBA, we would be wise to offer Yes activists an alternative campaign organisation that sees itself as augmenting the ‘official’ campaign rather than opposing it just because it’s led by the SNP.

There are things that need to be said in the name of Scotland’s cause that the SNP as the party of government can’t say. There are truths about the Union that must be told but which the SNP won’t say because it fears the media and any adverse impact on its electoral fortunes. We need a campaign which can say what must be said. We need a campaign that will tell the truths that need to be told. But for the sake of Scotland’s cause, this must be done in a way that involves no antipathy or antagonism towards the SNP. I am firmly persuaded that this can be done.

Today, I registered the domain name I felt I had to do something. It’s not entirely clear to me where this might go. But sometimes it takes a small step to kick off a mass movement. This might be it. It might not. I shall probably make a start on building something around this domain and the ‘brand’ Yes Campaign. But I want to make it very clear that I have absolutely no interest in being a leader or figurehead. I consider myself entirely unsuited to such a role. I do, however, have some ideas about the form that this alternative (unofficial?) Yes Campaign should take. But that is for another day.

For the moment, I just put out for your consideration the thought that a genuinely new Yes Campaign is both necessary and achievable. The Yes movement must give rise to a Yes Campaign. A political campaign is a very different creature from a political movement. Almost the opposite of what the Yes movement has traditionally been. But if we are to achieve the unity of purpose that is essential then there cannot be just one way of pursuing that purpose.

Over to you.

If you find these articles interesting please consider a small donation to help support this site and my other activities on behalf of Scotland’s independence movement.

Donate with PayPal

38 thoughts on “Yes Campaign

  1. It sounds like things might be coming together. It’s certainly promising when people listen and discuss openly. Debate is healthy if the objective is genuinely achieve the best strategic and tactical approach. It only has to be robustly respectful.

    Well done on making the effort.

    Liked by 7 people

  2. “… There are things that need to be said in the name of Scotland’s cause that the SNP as the party of government can’t say. There are truths about the Union that must be told but which the SNP won’t say because it fears the media and any adverse impact on its electoral fortunes… ”

    Read Stuart Campbell’s blog, Peter. You might change your mind about the SNP intentions and what it can and can’t do. Personally, and we might part company here, I do not believe we will get anywhere WITH the SNP. Much of what you put down to loathing between SNP and ALBA members is quite simply disillusionment and anger on the part of the latter at the high-handed and totally unwarranted SNP interference in every aspect of the independence cause. It seems that people like me will not be allowed to campaign for independence with the SNP’s blessing. I will never, ever say that a man is a woman. I do not consider that an insult or anything else. It is a simple statement of fact. If that precludes me from participating, so be it. The SNP cannot be saved from itself. Independence cannot happen with the SNP – which really, really does not want it anyway. We are now at the same tipping point that Ireland found itself at pre 1916: the party of independence is no longer fit for purpose. I have always considered you a friend, albeit we have never met. Our views have aligned on almost every issue, but I will not be told that I cannot support independence because I am a ‘transphobe’, and, as a life-long supporter of Scottish independence, I will not be scared away by sycophantic fools and virtue-signalling brats who will, one day, come to bitterly regret their own naive stupidity, as we all do eventually when we mature.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I read it. It explains why we need an alternative Yes Campaign organisation. But we cannot actively oppose the SNP so long as it is the party of government. Because we will need the effective political power that ONLY the government possesses.


      1. There’s no need to oppose the SNP as it appears to be heading in a direction all of it’s own, driven by it’s own concerns. What could be done though, is to lay the groundwork for a new path to independence. If that starts to attract attention then the SNP will be forced to take notice – it’s a political party after all. I doubt it will consign itself to the dustbin of history because it found the electorate wanting,

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Yes, Peter, I absolutely agree, but the SNP has not the slightest intention of using its power to bring in independence. Everything it has done, including the rule that we must have over 50% of the votes makes no sense unless one accepts that there is no real intention to actually try and bring together the various strands of the movement. I simply don’t buy the ‘we need to show that there is no route’ nonsense. It appears that the SNP wants to eat its cake and have it. It cannot expect those who left it to meekly come over and vote for it again without some cast-iron guarantee that it will implement a means of leaving the Union. Not another ridiculous mandate as Pete Wishart and his ilk would like, so that they can spin out another term in office, but a cast-iron guarantee that independence will be declared and implemented. We both know that is not going to happen – unless the SNP/Green coalition is brought to its knees on independence, and even then, can we be sure, the SNP and/or the Greens will act with honour?

        What these parasitical people have done is little short of criminal on the political front, subverting a genuine desire for independence into a campaign for something that no one ever voted on or for, and what they have done on the ‘trans’ front is actual criminality, transgressing actual laws. That is what they are: parasites on the body politic of the independence movement, using it to achieve an aim that cannot exist alongside independence if people are to be beaten and bullied into a submission few feel, but many, many resent. In some countries, they would not have lasted this long. We are far too long-suffering. I agree with you that we need a powerful YES movement again, but it has to come from the grassroots and has to include those who would not normally vote – and, crucially, it must have the bulk of the female vote on its side.

        Liked by 4 people

        1. Lorna, You’re a great debater for the sake of Independence, I’ve seen you in the Herald and / or National. Squashing Unionist agitators who are like clegs buzzing around for a dirty bite after feasting on Unionist excr-ement from the likes of Gordon.


          Sturgeon, the SNP, whoever, will be long gone, but Scotland will still be Independent.

          Please, put aside your hatred of something or someone unimportant.



  3. We need a leader, who? I’ll start by suggesting Brian Cox. He has the publics eye, he’s a good sleeker and very respected. He can also be the bridge between the SNP and Yes Campaign.


  4. I have absolutely no idea why anyone would think there should be one and only one, YES campaign. It’s a self-defeating notion; trying to put 2.2 million Scots voters and our potential YES votes in the same kettle of fish would be as mad as a box of frogs.

    There was one and only one official YES campaign in Indy Ref 1, and what an insipid inactive non-reactive non-informative bland blob it was. Its one good thing was that it did encourage a lot of YES groups and help spawn genuine grassroots organisations, that could work together or work apart. Then there was the WBB which I never read but an economics son said was very good. Then of course there were those like me that did totally our own thing.

    One single YES organisation will achieve precisely 44.7% YES in Indy Ref 2. It’s the other half dozen will take it above 50% and perhaps, perhaps, a lot higher.

    We are not the same. We are all different, thanks be to f***.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. An optimistic Peter Bell? I think I need to sit down…

    It will be very interesting to see how this invigorated Yes Movement develops. That it has a guiding principle that is beyond the reach of party politics is very encouraging. It should both bring people together and avoid the rancour of my way or else. It should also be relatively immune to sniping from the outside though no doubt charges of trying to breakup the Union will come from the SNP.

    I’m certainly glad you went, though that spring in your step is a little disconcerting.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It wasn’t only Peter who left inspired Stuart, as part of the SSRG organising team we were hoping for a very positive reaction to the event. I could not have imagined just how positive that response actually was, it was quite overwhelming.

      Liked by 4 people

  6. That is very encouraging Peter. I have believed for a long time that the yes movement should take a strong lead in a campaign. I have no confidence that the SNP would do that. I think we can expect a counter productive campaign from them. They are finished sadly.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. If the SNP is “finished”, then independence is “finished”. Without the party of independence winning elections, independence will cease to be the defining issue of Scottish politics. Without the party of independence in power at Holyrood, who is going to declare UDI (before or after having ascertained the people are behind it)?

      There’s a lot of guff talked about the SNP on sites like this. By people who do not have the responsibilities of either govt or in being the “figurehead” of independence, not just to those in one of several internet echo chambers, but to the people of Scotland as a whole. If you think independence can be won by attacking the SNP, refusing to vote for it and undermining it at every turn, you are, to put it mildly, mistaken.


      1. And if YOU think continuing to vote for it and giving it the opportunity to waste successive 5 year terms while promoting demented , guaranteed to damage the prospects of increasing support for Independence policies is necessary , you are , to put it not so mildly , aff yr heid . There’s is not the slightest chance of Independence under this mob . Zero . I’ll vote for them again when the Sturgeon Cabal and their performing monkeys are consigned to the big non-binary cowp of History

        Liked by 1 person

        1. So, your hatred of the SNP is of greater importance to you than your desire for independence. Like it or not, despite your rhetoric, the latter is impossible without the former. At least in the lifetimes of anyone reading this blog. Even Peter acknowledges that.


          1. It’s not hatred – I don’t * do * hatred . Contempt , total disillusion , yes . You’re sounding like that buffoon Wishart , throwing words like ” hatred * at anyone who dares criticise his – and it appears your – * superiors * . What do you expect people like myself , who have come to the conclusion , in the face of incontrovertible evidence , to do , go against everything my intelligence and instincts are telling me and support something I don’t believe in ? No . I can’t do that . If I thought for a moment doing so would be to the benefit of Independence I would put my own perceptions aside . As I said above , my conclusion is Independence is not going to happen under THIS Sturgeon mangled SNP . Never

            Liked by 1 person

        2. Without the SNP there is no Independence for decades.

          I repeat:

          Without the SNP there is no Independence for decades.

          Put aside your hatred of something unimportant – a political party – for Independence for the whole Country.

          Or we continue to have UK Tory Government till the day we die.


              1. I have loathed the Tories all my life , it’s current incarnation more than any other , but the Tories are not our problem re Independence , the other UK Parties are EXACTLY the same in that regard and we can vent rivers of spleen on them to absolutely no purpose . Our problem is not having an SNP ( or any other ) Gov with the strength of will and purpose to do the absolutely unavoidable thing ie direct , unflinching confrontation with the UK/English State . Until we do nothing will change

                Liked by 4 people

              2. You need to find a political instinct. Stop parrotting inane crap. You are obviously either one of the vacuous supporters or one of the insider clique. I’m with Robert Hughes. The SNP have done this to themselves. Their political instincts are being driven by policies other than Independence that is plain. They are lacklustre, rumoured to be broke, msps given briefs that disappear without trace and do no rebutals of the obvious rubbish spouted in the press etc. A mass movement driven by the grass roots will hold them to account as much as it will the union


                1. And yet the SNP remains the party of government at this critical time. That doesn’t change just because you wish it were not so. The SNP is the only source of the effective political power without which nothing happens.

                  The Yes movement had the opportunity to get the SNP back on track last year. But the Yes movement chose not to bother. So you can hardly complain. We are where we are because by far the larger part of the Yes movement chose to shrug its shoulders and walk away from the broken ‘party of independence’ rather than put in the effort needed to fix it. It’s not just the SNP that misses opportunities.


                  1. I do recognise that Peter despite it being regretable. We will need to as you have said organise an alternative campaign and not attack them. We can do a lot to fill in for their inadequacy. The problem will be having the arguments the movement may espouse backed by them. If they are not intent on independence then they can throw it very easily.


                2. The SNP have done this to themselves.

                  A mass movement driven by the grass roots will hold them to account as much as it will the union

                  Seems to me you care about the SNP a lot more than I do. For me they’re just a vehicle, or even the main vehicle. to take us to Independence. And no, I’m not a member of any political party.


            1. And I would direct exactly the same comment at Wishart, who should keep his mouth shut and focus his energies on Independence, not bloggers or people who disagrfee with him. He – like you – is the problem, not the solution.

              We all need to work together, or at least separately in the same direction, not wasting energies hurtling stink bombs at each other. The Unionists just laugh, laugh laugh to see such division and futile waste of positivity which could achieve our Independence.

              Who cares about Sturgeon, Wishart, the SNP? Not me.


              1. Rather obviously, the notion of us all working together is fantasy. It’s not going to happen. Wishful thinking won’t cure the tribalism that has gripped ALBA and SNP supporters. Nothing will. Which is why it should never have been allowed to arise in the first place. And it matters little who is most to blame. Nobody is innocent in this. Not the leaders or the managers or the members or the supporters of either party.

                Given that perfect unity is now impossible, what we must do is find a way to make a campaign work DESPITE the division. While it is not possible to get everybody working together in the same campaign it should still be possible to achieve a sufficient unity of purpose – so long as we identify the purpose as something that everybody agrees on regardless of which faction they belong to.

                The SNP wants to control the entire campaign. A very large and probably growing part of the Yes movement simply isn’t going to submit to that control. So there has to be a campaign they can particiopate in. Otherwise, a huge resource will be squandered.

                Liked by 2 people

                1. Those who “don’t like” the SNP to put it mildly, have an advantage the SNP and their supporters can not have. They can identify closely with those NO voters who are perhaps mostly NO because they hate the SNP. And there’s a lot like that.

                  So yes, it needs multiple campaigns to do different jobs, and perhaps at some levels they can work together to pass on prospects that they can’t reach.

                  “I hate that Krankie”.

                  “OK, perhaps you can talk to my friend here who also hates Nippy, but has supported Independence for a lot of years”.


                    1. On the other hand:

                      “I can’t stand that Krankie”

                      “Well, the SNP will be in power until we get Independence, so vote YES, get Independence and then vote for whoever you want – same as the rest of us”.

                      “Ah right, good idea”.

                      (but shhh, don’t tell Sturgeon I said that …)


      2. Arguing the toss about the SNP is pointless. It is the party of government. That is not going to change within the relevant time frame. Within that timeframe – which stretches to the next UK general election – we must force the Scottish Government to act. I repeat, the SNP is the party of government. Follow the logic.

        If you’ve given up on the SNP, you’ve given up on the Scottish Government. If you’ve given up on the Scottish Government, you’ve given up on independence.

        I’m not ready to give up.


  7. ” …..because other people are the single greatest cause of stress.” lol , mais oui mon ami ” l’enfer c’est les autres ” , well , some of the others anyway .

    I take your point about any * alternative * YES Campaign not being in overt opposition to whatever feeble effort is concocted / limps out as the * Official * Campaign , but ….I have to agree with Lorna above , far as I’m concerned the current SNP are beyond credibility or redemption and now represent the greatest obstacle to Independence . They have truly become the * Enemy Within * , if we’re unable to remove – or change them , we should simply ignore them . As Stuart says ….they’re rushing headlong to oblivion and are impervious to rational argument or well-intentioned advice .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Rev ….. rational …. you surely jest. Nothing “rational” has come from that man since the Met confiscated his gear. Makes you wonder.


  8. I went to the last day of the SSRG Conference and was much encouraged, both by the possible routes to independence being explored and by the work being done on how we can build a better nation (for example the discussion on Transport and Infrastructure, which are areas woefully underperforming at present. i think there were others , such as on culture and language, on other days.
    Nor sure if Ican post this as I have not been allowed to ‘like’ other posts any longer, though i could give Peter a ‘Clap’. no idea why or how to reinstate.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Comment has appeared, though i had to re-register my email and name but still not allowed to ‘Like’ comments by others. i would be gratefulm if anyone can tell me how to do this, though do not want to use this space for solving my techie problems, which are an age thing, as are my frequent typos, mainly due to Glaucoma.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.