Down and out

Maybe it’s the weather. Maybe it’s my age. Or maybe it’s the fact that I’ve been spending too much time online ‘engaging’ with people who would be best ignored were it not for the fact that the constitutional issue is so important. The aggravation and the frustration and the sense of futility are very wearing. The more rational you are, the more irrationality grinds against your sensibilities. The more committed you are to a cause, the more it pains you to see that cause being undermined. Pain that isn’t entirely metaphorical.

I’m not talking here about Unionists and British Nationalists. It occurred to me just the other day how little I interact with the anti-independence side of the ‘debate’. Their wee band of online activists are just so uninteresting. They never have anything new to say. There is no range of perspectives on offer. There are no real arguments ─ just endlessly repeated untruths and distortions and petty denigration of Scotland. Curiously, the opponents of independence have become irrelevant to the constitutional debate. What they say doesn’t matter. The significant discussion now takes place entirely within what used to be the Yes movement. The debate has almost entirely ceased to be about the whether of restoring Scotland’s independence. That debate is moribund. The active debate is around the how the when and the why of it all. And the who. That debate occurs entirely within the pro-independence side of the issue. And it has become a turgid and tedious affair.

Don’t get me wrong! There is still much going on within the pro-independence community which is interesting and possibly even worthwhile. The recent Scottish Sovereignty Research Group (SSRG) Conference in Dunfermline was quite uplifting for me and reminiscent of what the Yes movement used to be. There are numerous other projects on the go which, if nothing else, demonstrate that some of the old Yes activism remains ─ even if much reduced attendance at marches and rallies indicates that this activism is either seriously diminished or significantly changed. But it is my experience of online activism which most informs my assessment of the health of Scotland’s cause. And the results are not good.

The immediate reaction from some quarters will be that nothing useful can be derived from observing Yes activists on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. I disagree. The little questioned ‘wisdom’ is that Yes activists on Twitter are not typical of the independence movement as a whole. I would argue that while online activists may not be representative of the Yes movement as a whole (to the extent that the Yes movement still exists), they are highly representative of the most active part of the movement. I don’t suppose for a moment that Yes activists on Twitter are a species apart. And even if social platforms themselves shape the manner and conduct of debate the same is true of all venues for debate. Look at televised debates, for example. The fact that they are happening in a TV studio exerts a powerful influence on the participants. Likewise, TV panel discussions. Debates in the setting of ‘town hall’ gatherings are different from discussions in the relative privacy of a branch or group meeting. The context is always a factor.

People may comport themselves differently where they have the distance provided by social media. But if you attend to the content of what they say rather than the way it is expressed you’ll tend to find that it’s essentially the same as would be said in a face-to-face situation. By attending to the content, therefore, it is possible to get a very fair sense of the ideas and attitudes and divides that predominate within the independence movement. Especially if you sample widely and in quantity. Which is what, despite any good intentions to the contrary, I invariably end up doing. And that explains my despondency.

We simplify for purposes of discussion So long as we don’t lose sight of the extent to which we simplify, the practice is helpful and harmless. Sometimes, however, the simplification is there anyway. By which I mean that sometimes things are almost as simple as we make them out to be when we strip out complications that are too cumbersome to comfortably carry through a discussion. The pro-independence community falls into the category of things that can be simplified with ease because they are pretty simple to start with. This thought came to mind as I responded to a below the line (BTL) comment on a previous article. I made a ‘two kinds of people’ type of generalisation and, as is my habit, I examined it to ascertain if it constituted a distorting oversimplification that needed to be clarified. It transpired that the simplification was depressingly accurate.

It would probably be best to just quote the relevant part of that response.

Like it or not, we’ve got ourselves into a situation where Scotland’s cause is totally dependent on the SNP. It is the tool we must use because we have no other and no time to make one. Especially given the way Alba has poisoned the well. But even people who understand that it’s the SNP or nothing still insist on throwing the tool away. Sure! It’s broken. It’s still the only tool that can possibly get the job done.

What has made me despair for Scotland’s cause is the flat refusal by virtually the entire Yes movement to even attempt to repair the tool. On the one hand there those who insist it can’t be fixed and on the other there are those who insist it doesn’t need to be fixed. One way or another, Sturgeon gets left to her own devices.

It’s all fantasy. Either a fantasy about what the party is or a fantasy about an alternative. Between the two fantasist camps there is no space for the voice of political pragmatism.

That pretty much sums it up. That’s very much how it is. And if it’s like that on social media then it is almost certainly similar no matter where you look. The people posting on social media sites are the same people you’ll hear at town hall meetings or at branch/group meetings or in the pub. Yes activists on Twitter may not be entirely typical of the Yes community as a whole, but neither are they totally untypical. It would be a serious mistake to discount them completely.

What depresses me is not just the aridity of this polarised ‘debate’ but the fact that it occupies so much space. There is barely room for the likes of SSRG. And almost no room at all for those who are critical of both sides of this tribal divide. I challenge you to find any online discussion of the reality of Scotland’s predicament and/or the practicalities of addressing that predicament which doesn’t descend almost immediately into fortressed factionalism rife with close-mindedness and intolerance. The very opposite of what the Yes movement used to be.

The reason I have bouts of despair for Scotland’s cause that increase in frequency, intensity and duration is that I cannot fix this. I don’t think anybody can. I very seriously doubt that it can be fixed. If I’m right, Scotland’s cause is almost certainly doomed.



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38 thoughts on “Down and out

  1. Sorry to hear you’ve entered the * plough of despond * Peter . Hopefully it’s a transient visit .

    I think most of us are the same in this regard , feeling at times like the difficulties of realising our aspiration are insurmountable , a cacophony of conflicting voices all shouting ” I’m right , you’re wrong – NO ! I’M right and you’re an idiot ” ad nauseam . And , as you say , that’s just within the YES support

    We’ve all been guilty of this – myself included . Maybe it’s the price of caring about the present and future of our country ? Allowing our emotions to override a sense of proportion in our discourse and language .

    Hope you recover your joie de vivre , your up n at ’em mojo asap big fella .

    Pretty sure you will 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

  2. You forget that all the social media run algorithms that will bring the more polarised messages to the top of the pile. After all, controversy drives engagement and that drives advertising revenue. In addition the topics have a gravity all to themselves and as a result “deviations from the script” will get filtered out pretty quickly. Having said that, you’re still right. However it would be a lot worse if the heated debates had nothing to do with independence at all.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I hadn’t forgotten about the algorithms. How could anybody forget? But they mostly serve to amplify content rather than alter it. And, again, it’s no different from other venues for debate. TV debates inevitably gravitate to the controversial issues. Panel shows are set up to make ‘good TV’ rather than good debate.

      Not all the heated debates relate to independence. They are associated with the constitutional issue. But they are not actually part of it. There is, in fact, very little debate that addresses the reality of the situation or practical ways forward. My point in the article is that almost all of the debate is immersed in one delusion or another. Nicola’s secret plan or Alba to the rescue or people power or whatever. It’s all pish. But huge amounts of energy are being poured into arguing for these delusional positions and ‘solutions’.

      Of course, as you no doubt realise, this is all down to lack of leadership. The leader should be giving direction to the debate. Setting the terms. Defining the scope. If there was an effective leader ruling out the nonsense and focusing minds on realities and practicalities, we would have some chance of getting out of this quagmire of fantasy and delusion.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. You are right, of course, Peter, but being right changes nothing. If people could just lay down all their cherished beliefs and be entirely pragmatic all the time, life would be simpler. However, if even independence comes with a caveat or another set of policies that are set out as ‘either or’, then it becomes impossible to lay aside those cherished beliefs. I always invoke the Russian “Menshevik.Bolshevik” axis. It sums up exactly why moving to achieve a goal too late leads to hard-line attitudes.

    The SNP could have been working towards independence for the past eight years, but chose not to, and concentrated on what are actually, in reality, policies verging on the fascist. Therein lies the real problem, the source of the split. Women like me warned that it would destroy the movement if it was not checked. Thousands of women, campaigning and experienced women, whom they cannot replace, even with ‘trans warriors’. It is not a question of choosing to be awkward, but a real existential crisis. Just as the Tsar and the Mensheviks tried, too late, to halt the tide, neither will we be able to halt it. I have been saying that for some time now, and, personally, I regret that we probably won’t be able to halt what is coming – not through the ‘aggression’ of ALBA or those who have left the SNP in disgust, but through the intransigence of the SNP/Green coalition who, like the Tsar in the beginning, then the Mensheviks, just could not see that loyalty to the system was very misplaced unless the system changed in time.

    I am not saying that I agree in any way with the Bolsheviks or with what came after – which was horrific – but that there is always a point when whatever it is can be salvaged and saved. That was after 2016, and Brexit, for the SNP. The ‘trans warrior’ were making their moves, but seeking independence at that point would have stopped them in their tracks. The SNP chose to support them against its own long-time and experienced members, who then left in droves. That is the very essence of the problem. The SNP has destroyed itself, and, truth to tell, continues on its self-destructive course.

    I agree that we need the SNP, but we do not need the SNP as it is; in fact, that would be suicide because that SNP will do nothing tangible to actually achieve independence; everything it does is window dressing and smoke and mirrors because – and this is crucial – the ‘trans warrior’ cohort and the foot-draggers together do not want independence. They want to be able to bring in their social policies without interruption or distraction because independence, for them, wedded to devolved status, is the distraction, and not the other way round. They also want all the power to call the shots, just like the Tsar and his ‘divine rule’.

    Like you, I am in despair at the lack of self-awareness in the likes of Me Bungo Pony, who would, apparently sell his female relatives for the illusory promise of independence that will never come via the SNP as it is. I hate what has happened, but I can also see that it is now way too late to prevent what is coming. I would put the ‘trans’ lobby to the test: let them volunteer to go to Afghanistan and let them be activists there on behalf of all women, born, trans, lesbian, ‘non binary’, et al – all 100 + genders. Those women are being denied an education, left destitute and starving. Let them show the world how much they care about women and girls and children.

    We will get independence; we will leave the Union. However, it will not be in the way that was envisaged by so many. It will come only, if we are to avoid armed struggle, through sensible and achievable utilisation of primary election (political) and international law. Sticking to the Scotland Act routes will become impossible – indeed, they probably already are. To boot, we do not know how much British State interference in our affairs has been and continues to take place. I feel deeply angry and deeply sad that it has come to this state of affairs, and I truly fear what might come next, but I also feel that we are incapable of stopping it. Sorry for being so wordy.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. “…we need the SNP, but we do not need the SNP as it is…”

      Unfortunately, we need the SNP regardless of what it is. But as it is won’t serve Scotland’s cause. We have to keep the SNP in power because there is no viable pro-independence alternative. And, crucially, no time to build one even if that was possible ─ it might not be. But you’re right! The SNP as is won’t restore Scotland’s independence because the people running the party simply aren’t prepared to do what is required.

      At the risk of repeating myself ─ what else do any of us do these days? ─ last year’s election was the time to fix the problem. That it wasn’t fixed is the fault of Yes activists. It was our failure. Most everything else can be laid on the SNP. But the failure to unite for Scotland’s cause in the run-up to the Holyrood election is entirely on us. There was no great mystery about what was needed. But the Yes movement chose to do other stuff instead. And so, we are where we are.

      The solution remains the same as it was then ─ just more difficult to achieve. There is no time like an election to apply pressure to a political party. It’s the one time they can’t afford to ignore us. The Yes movement chose to apply no pressure at all. So, we were ignored. I repeat, that was a choice. People in the Yes movement made a conscious choice to not do what was required. It’s not for me to explain that choice as it isn’t a choice I personally made. But if I was to attempt an explanation the words ‘ego’, ‘hubris’ and ‘idiot’ would feature prominently.

      This is not to look backwards for the purpose of blame a recrimination. It is simply to stress that what was need two years ago when the election became a live consideration, is the same as what is needed now. Basically, we have to get Nicola Sturgeon and her party to rethink their entire approach to the constitutional issue. That would have been a bloody tall order even with the leverage afforded by a looming election. It’s a damn sight more difficult now. But it’s the only thing that will rescue Scotland’s cause.

      Right now, it’s not possible to see how it might be done. There isn’t even an organisation that can take the fight to the SNP/Scottish Government. and that clock is ticking!

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      1. Given what’s happened, I’ve always struggled with “We have to keep the SNP in power because there is no viable pro-independence alternative.” Now I realise that this is in the context of the UK and Westminster, not in politics north of the border. In light of that Alba, ISP, etc. are all distractions.

        For good or for ill, looking from the outside and seeing several pro-independence parties does not carry the same weight as a unified force. One way to solve this would be for the SNP to be more like Sinn Féin with a distinct leadership that was separate from the MPs in Westminster and the administration wing that was running Holyrood.

        This is likely a point worth harping on about, if only to clue in people like me, where it took a long time for the penny to drop.

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  4. Peter: “… Unfortunately, we need the SNP regardless of what it is… ”

    Whatever it is cannot achieve independence because what it is, is a failure to grasp the thistle. If the SNP won’t do it – and I believe they won’t – then what use are they to the independence movement in any shape or form? This is precisely the dilemma that Sinn Fein found itself in pre 1916: tiny, perceived as being too radical; and with no real political clout. On the death of Redmond (and I’m not advocating for the death of anyone in the SNP, except metaphorically, I want to make that clear), Sinn Fein seized its chance. The Irish public was not with it in 1916 (and, again, I’m not advocating for armed struggle) but, within only a couple of years or so, the whole situation had changed.

    I fully understand and agree that the situation, time-wise, is dire, but, if the SNP/Green coalition won’t do anything that rocks the boat, but follows known paths that are bound to be blocked, it is fair to assume that they have no intention of ever bringing in independence. The very act of achieving independence is a revolutionary step, and a party(ies) that will never face that fact are useless and pointless – unless, as you say, we can force them to act in our interests rather than the UK’s and their own. Even if we managed to do that, it would not unite us, but deepen the cracks until the whole edifice fell, as happened in Ireland, as happened in every other colonial situation. I think that this is how it must be and will be done.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. All this navel gazing and self pity is depressing and pointless. It gets nothing done and only serves to demotivate people who should be gearing up for a campaign to regain our independence. You’d almost think one wasn’t imminent (cue usual derisory comments).

    Whether you approve of any, or none, of the SNP’s non-constitutional policies, the upcoming referendum/plebiscite has to be won. It’s loss would destroy the cause of independence for good. All our efforts should be turned to winning that vote. Everything else is a distraction.

    Any claim that the proposed referendum is “pretendy” because the result is not self executing is counter productive. All referendums are advisory though all that resulted in a positive result for change have been enacted. But it does not need to be in this instance. It would be wonderful If the UK government just threw up its hands, said “fair do’s” and honoured the result but it’s failure to do so would not end the story.

    What would happen next is dependent on the Scottish people’s reaction to the UK govt’s reaction. If it’s like 1979 when the people just shrugged their shoulders and got on with their lives then that’s it for Indy. If it’s like 2014 with an outraged populace surging towards the Indy cause, then we can take it to the next level, up to and including UDI.

    Whether it would be better to go for a UDI right now, or not, is irrelevant as things stand. It’s not currently on the cards so is a waste of time debating. There’s no point bemoaning the fact the cards in your hand are not the cards you would like. You just have to play the hand you have been dealt to the best if your ability.

    It is ridiculous to claim that independence is doomed with support for independence at or above 50%, independence parties in power at Holyrood and the UK govt in meltdown. It will be doomed with that attitude.

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    1. Your confidence that there will be a Referendum next year is ….eh ….something ! Wish I shared it MBP . Apart from the small matter of being * allowed * by the UKSC , does it appear to you like we’re just over a year from such a momentous event ( albeit a YES victory wouldn’t ipso facto lead to Independence ) , does it feel like a campaign has begun , that the main vehicle of our ambition is road-worthy , has passed it’s MOT ?

      I’m not asking this just for the sake of it or because I’m * Anti SNP * I just think the questions above can only honestly be answered in the negative .

      Sure , there is a year n a bit for some sense of an energised SNP led campaign to get moving and bring a sense of urgency to the situation . At the moment is seems like they’re idling in neutral

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I mentioned “referendum/plebiscite” RH. Whichever is the case. The latter does not require permission.

        As to the MOT analogy, that is just empty rhetoric that seeks non-existant reasons to do nothing while blaming someone else. That’s not going to win independence.

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      1. Postcolonial theory helps facilitate better comprehension:

        “Inside the nationalist parties, the will to break colonialism is linked with another quite different will: that of coming to a friendly agreement with it” (Frantz Fanon). The outcome is what we see: “The rupture occurs” between the ‘official’ party and ‘the undesirables’. Repression of ‘wayward elements’ follows as the ‘official’ national party “draws nearer to colonialism”. An awakened nation begins to march – “the plans for liberation are sketched out”. There is only one doctrine now – “to act in such a way that the nation may exist”. “The nationalist parties do not understand this new phenomenon which precipitates their disintegration.”

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Just saw your comment. Peter is only interested in a united movement that religiously accepts all his views as being the only Truth.

          But it doesn’t matter if, come Indy Ref 2, he stops spending all his time attacking Independence supporters, and attacking organisations such as Believe in Scotland that are actually out there talking to the undecideds and NO voters, and concentrates for a complete change on trying to win it.

          If you see his comments in the National, he does his best to destroy the morale of anyone who actually believes Independence might happen, in pursuit of, as you say, his ego, with complete disregard for all others.

          There’s no “I” in YES 🙂

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          1. You are not qualified or authorised to speak for me. DO NOT drag me into your mire of witless delusion.

            I choose to deal with the situation as it actually is. It is clear you have absolutely no interest in reality. You actually seem convinced that Believe in Scotland and the rest are doing something for Scotland’s cause. But there is not a scintilla of evidence to support this silly notion. It is a faith position. Facts and reality don’t enter into it. You BELIEVE. Anybody who asks for evidence is a heretic.

            You are sad and disgusting.

            If our independence is to be restored it will be by those who can actually read the situation and respond accordingly. It will be done by realists, not dumb fantasists.

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  6. If the UKSC find the ScotParl, voted in by the People of Scotland in 6 successive democratic elections participated in by the Scottish people to give a mandate to the MSPs and the Scottish Government, can legislate for Indy Ref 2, and there is a date set in October 2023, what pro-indy people have to decide, whatever their views on the SNP, Sturgeon or the “pretendy” referendum, is simply this:

    Is any referendum at all in October 2023 better than none at all, like ever, dude?

    Really the rest is all waffle. Pass the maple syrup.

    Like

    1. If only it were that simple. I suppose it is… if you don’t bother to think about it too much. Or at all.

      The question, “Is any referendum at all in October 2023 better than none at all, like ever, dude?” comes with a caveat that you choose to ignore lest it spoil the pure simplicity of your ‘thinking’. It depends what kind of referendum it is. If, as is proposed, it is a referendum that has no effect but which still counts as if it were a referendum that does have effect then having that referendum almost certainly means that it is not then possible ─ or it is vastly more difficult ─ to have a referendum which does have effect “like ever, dude”.

      Let’s do what neither you nor far too many people like you haven’t bothered to do. Let’s think it through.

      Let’s assume the referendum happens. Let’s suppose the Yes movement has mobilised in a manner vaguely reminiscent of a decade ago. A campaign proceeds that is largely under the direction of Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP. Without speculating about the (in)effectiveness of that campaign, let’s fast forward to the result. It can only go one of two ways, right? Wrong! There’s a huge difference between a Yes win with 52% and a Yes win with 62%. But I know how much you dislike such complications, so let’s just stick with the two possibilities ─ Yes or No.

      The vote is Yes. Joyous celebrations erupt. Large parts of the independence movement are already convinced that a Yes vote in the October 2023 referendum means independence will follow. Many more will be so persuaded by the time the polls open because in an effort to get the Yes vote out the SNP will have ‘allowed’ the impression to grow that the referendum is about restoring independence.

      The celebrations die down. People wait for something to happen. Nothing happens. The Scottish Government says the British government has to respect the will of Scotland’s people. The British government laughs. They remind the First Minister that she and her most senior law officer both stated categorically that the referendum would have no effect. The phrase “consultative and non-self-executing” becomes the new “once in a generation”. Ian Blackford makes his indignant speech. Pete Wishart tells us we have to be patient and if we aren’t we are not real independence supporters.

      By early 2024 the Scottish Government shifts its focus to the ‘de facto referendum’ and the SNP starts urging people to give them just one more mandate in the UK general election to tide them over until the next Holyrood election. As far as the restoration of Scotland’s independence is concerned, nothing has happened. Nothing has changed. The independence movement which had (sort of) united for the referendum campaign now fragments worse than ever. Anger at the SNP/Scottish Government grows. The Sturgeon/SNP loyalists dig deeper trenches. Many people walk away from both the SNP and Scotland’s cause, totally disheartened. The surge that followed the No vote in 2014 is not repeated.

      The 2024 UK general election is called a de facto referendum by the SNP/Scottish Government. The British parties insist it is just an ordinary election and pretty much ignore the constitutional issue. The British media rails against Nicola Sturgeon calling her dishonest for making out the referendum was something it wasn’t. The drown Scotland in the message that we’ve had our second referendum and now it’s time to move on. A lot of people want to do just that. The ‘de facto referendum’ is a flop. SNP loses seats as turnout plummets. The ‘party of independence still has a majority of Scotland’s MPs. But a fall of even a single one will be a defeat for Scotland’s cause. We’ve given the SNP another mandate. Nothing happens.

      What if there is a No vote in the October 2023 referendum? What follows will be pretty much as above but without the celebration.

      The referendum has to be won by Yes. That is a given. But winning it gets us nothing, while it gives our opponents the right to say we’ve had the referendum we wanted. What’s our claim after that? We want indyref3? Or we still want indyref2 because that one we had doesn’t count? How does either of these play with the public?

      Scotland’s cause is steaming full speed ahead to disaster on a sea of delusion and complacency.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Brilliant Peter . What you * predict * , or , rather , have taken the time to think through based on a fairly limited set of possibilities , seems to me highly plausible . Depressingly so . The only imponderable is the arising of some geopolitical event eg escalation of the Ukraine/Russia conflict ditto China or another viral outbreak , which could lead to yet another ” now is not the time ” scenario , this time with full agreement of Scotgov , if not actually instigated by it

        Liked by 2 people

      2. It depends what kind of referendum it is.

        No, it doesn’t.

        If you don’t support the referendum, you are failing to support Independence.

        It really is that simple.

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          1. If Burns were alive today he’d have you bang to rights.

            No, not that one, this one:

            “How daur ye ca’ me “Howlet-face”?
            Ye blear-e’ed, withered spectre !
            Ye only spied the keekin-glass,
            An’ there ye saw your picture.”

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      3. You can just imagine the scene. There’s a guy saying he doesn’t like Randolph’s views on GRA, another saying if it doesn’t happen in Edinburgh it means nothing. Some are muttering their boots are getting wet, and others that if you’re not a teuchter you shouldn’t be there as you have no rights. Others are afraid it would be a bad idea to kill Henry as they’d bomb the place, a few they don’t like or trust that Seton guy, and for some it’s the #wrongtypeofbattle, it should be #settled by a #game of #ScottishGowff.

        Bit by bit they drift away from Bannockburn and Bruce says “Eff that for a game of soldiers, I’m off to France for my holliers.”

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  7. Christ ! No wonder Peter get’s annoyed . Did you not see the part where he said ” The referendum has to be won by Yes. That is a given. ” ?

    No one here is ” not supporting the referendum ” . The Referendum is still in the abstract , it’s very unclear – I would say unlikely – there will be one next year . If there is , OBVIOUSLY we will support it ie vote YES

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OBVIOUSLY we will support it ie vote YES

      Good.

      I suggest you and your ilk state that more often, as it’s not at all obvious from your postings that you would do so.

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        1. I actually put in that bit about winning the referendum as something of an afterthought. Initially. I considered it too obvious to be worth stating. Then I remembered the kind of idiot I was dealing with. So, I put it in. I needn’t have bothered.

          Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s not obvious because you don’t want to see it, fool. It doesn’t fit with the dumb caricature you’ve drawn in your silly wee head, so you just blank it.

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    2. I’m afraid the individual you’re addressing lacks the intellectual resources to comprehend that it is possible both to recognise the ineffectual nature of the mock referendum AND to recognise that it must be won by Yes regardless.

      But why am I explaining? The individual concerned makes the lamentable shallowness of their ‘thinking’ perfectly clear. Unfortunately, there are many just as shallow. Even outwith the ranks of the mindless Sturgeon/SNP loyalists there is a widespread attitude that any old referendum will do. For these numpties, the referendum is the prize. They don’t care about the details. They don’t care what the referendum does or doesn’t do. They don’t care about the implications for Scotland’s cause. They have been conditioned to want a referendum. They’re getting a referendum (maybe). They just don’t want to know any more than that. They don’t want to know what the small print says. They don’t even want to know what the normal-size print says. The headline say REFERENDUM. They feel no need to look beyond that. Like I said ─ ignorance is a choice.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. It’s clear from your multiple knee-jerk replies that my justified criticisms finally got through to you, as they should (took long enough to penetrate the thickness).

        Good. My work is done here.

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        1. One last thing before returning to more normal and polite society.

          Lest anyone should happen to plagiarise the work of Alasdair Gray for the gullible, and totally misunderstand it and misrepresent it as the SoS did, something which caused those of us active on forums in those days some pain, here’s a good review of that “infamous” essay by someone who gets things wrong, but also right, sometimes:

          https://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2012/12/17/why-alasdair-gray-matters-and-why-he-must-be-smeared/

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          1. “One last thing before returning to more normal and polite society.”

            A more ‘normal society’ is certainly an aspiration we should mostly agree on, considering a nation and peoples ongoing exploitation and oppression. As Aime Cesaire put it: “between colonization and civilization there is an infinite distance”.

            In that sense I doubt you will readily find such ‘a normal society’ here, but rather, as Frantz Fanon described it: “a Manichaean world” in which the native moves in and between “two psychical and cultural realms”, also suffering from “colonial bilingualism”, as well as associated psychological effects.

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              1. “Okay, we get it, you’ve read a book.”

                I have written a book on the subject matter, which happens to be the only text thus far to develop and present a theoretical framework on Scottish Independence based on extensive analysis of literature in the area of independence/decolonisation. https://yoursforscotlandcom.wordpress.com/2021/08/29/determinants-of-independence-synopsis-and-strategies/

                It is not merely the task of reading a book that matters quite as much as understanding its content and meaning, as Aime Cesaire indicates here:

                “One cannot say that the petty bourgeois has never read anything. On the contrary, he has read everything, devoured everything. Only, his brain functions after the fashion of certain elementary types of digestive systems. It filters. And the filter lets through only what can nourish the thick skin of the bourgeois’s clear conscience.”

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  8. What Peter does is catastrophise the route he has personally dismissed as folly, while glossing over the cracks in his own musings on the subject. The problem with Peter’s crystal ball gazing is though, RH, his own personal UDI-then-referendum is even more risky as far as the Scottish electorate’s reaction to it could be (never mind the crucial international community Peter dismisses).

    To take Peter’s line of picturing a scene. It’s a month from now. The Scottish public are sitting down to tea with the family. They switch on Reporting Scotland/STV News/SkyNews/Channel 4/whatever. Out of the blue they are told the Scottish govt has made a UDI. “WTF” echoes throughout the land. Instantly people, aided “helpfully” by the media draw comparisons with Catalonia (despite Peter’s explicit instructions they shouldn’t, the fools).

    Half the population is outraged as they don’t/wont support independence and, anyway, there is no empiric evidence the people want it (a referendum would have been handy here) so how dare the Scottish Govt do this. Of the half of the population who polled as Yes in the belief there would be a smooth democratic transition to independence, many are shocked into the No camp by finding themselves suddenly “in an undiscovered country” where the certainties that underpinned their lives are now, unexpectedly, in flux due to the hubris of politicians. How dare the Scottish Govt do that. Not to worry though, they are told there’ll be a referendum in a few weeks …. assuming the rest if the World and the UK just helpfully sit and twiddle their thumbs in the meantime.

    So a seat of the pants UDI could leave the Yes camp beginning the campaign in much the same place as it started the 2014 campaign, but with only a few weeks instead of a couple of years to claw No back. Result – independence dead, discredited and gone forever. Huzzah for the UDI.

    Of course, that is only one “plausible” scenario. It might go completely differently. Just as Peter’s “plausible” scenario might not come to pass. Peter is not the Great Seer of Scotland. He is not infallible. I believe a referendum followed by a UDI, if necessary, is a more winnable proposition as the people will have already spoken. A UDI followed shortly by a referendum of a (possibly/probably) outraged population is far riskier …. in my opinion.

    I’m not claiming my opinion is the one and only way of winning independence. I’m not claiming that what I fear the consequences of a UDI, without a positive referendum result behind it, would be will come to fruition. Peter is though. And he’ll have no truck with anyone who asks questions.

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