The price of pandering

I discovered today that the SNP has suspended the membership of my old friend and former conference buddy, Chris McCusker. I might have known about this earlier but for the fact that I would rather grit-blast my eyeballs than read the British Daily Express. (WARNING: MAY CONTAIN NUTS) To save you the pain, I can summarise the story in a way that will be all too familiar to many former SNP members. British Nationalist propagandist (Blair McDougall) complains, SNP bosses dump the target of the complaint. No attempt to stand up for a member regardless of how well they have served the party or for how long. There’s no need for me to give an account of Chris’s contribution to Scotland’s cause as well as the electoral success of the SNP. The people who need to know already do. I’ll mention only his tireless efforts on behalf of the SNP Trade Union Group.

Needless to say, my sympathies lie with Chris McCusker. Not just because he is a friend but because he is the latest victim of the SNP’s knee-jerk pandering to British Nationalists. I don’t know the details of what happened in this instance. But from previous similar incidents we know that typically the SNP won’t even speak to the member involved before taking action against them. Action that needn’t even be prompted by a formal complaint. It is not unknown for the SNP to launch disciplinary proceedings on the basis of a few British Nationalist Tweets. Some Unionist troll on Twitter only needs to use the word ‘abuse’ and the SNP bosses start scrabbling around looking for a member to sacrifice on the altar of British Nationalist hate-mongering.

It doesn’t seem to have occurred to anybody in the upper echelons of the SNP that pandering to British Nationalist propaganda in this way only serves to reinforce their lies about independence campaigners. The party bosses seem to imagine that they can placate the BritNat beast by feeding it the occasional well-known figure from among the SNP’s declining membership. Or by railing against independence activists in the manner of Pete Wishart (see below) or Toni Giugliano.

Did anyone in the SNP hierarchy even take time to inquire what actually happened at the Perth demonstration? No! The party’s instant and now totally predictable response was to take whatever was ‘reported’ in the British media as gospel. There was no hesitation. They went straight to echoing and amplifying whatever disinformation and misrepresentation was being peddled by the British propaganda machine. The SNP leadership demands unwavering and these days unquestioning loyalty from members. This is not reciprocated. The SNP leadership has become a big button emblazoned with the words ‘PRESS ME’ presented to British Nationalist propagandists. What do they expect other than that this button will be pressed with increasing vigour and frequency?

What is the consequence for independence activists of the SNP’s pandering to British Nationalist propaganda? Does the peremptory disposal of people like Chris McCusker dilute the vitriol hurled by the British media? See below for the answer to that question.

It seems clear to me that the more the SNP bosses allow themselves to be played by the British media the more the British media are going to play them. And it’s not the party managers and officers who suffer. It is the whole of the independence movement. Because the British media have no compunction about tarring every one of us with the brush so reliably loaded for them by the ‘party of independence’.

How can we hope that Nicola Sturgeon and her party might stand fast for Scotland when they won’t even stand up for their own members?

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25 thoughts on “The price of pandering

    1. I can’t deny that this is what it “feels like”. But I am wary of such emotional responses. My personal view is that the SNP has fallen victim to forces that it cannot control. Forces that were always going to arise if given enough time. Forces that could only be countered by effective leadership and management of the organisation. Instead, the SNP leadership has been seeking to manage perceptions while behind the facade the party is increasingly held together by measure not befitting a democratic party.

      All of this was foreseeable. Why do you think I put so much (wasted?) effort into campaigning for a referendum in September 2018? Although for obvious reasons I could not be too explicit about it at the time, I reckoned that by that time the SNP would be on the brink of the kind of decay we have since witnessed, while the Yes movement would be beginning to succumb to factionalism.

      All of it was avoidable. People just wouldn’t listen. They’re not listening still. They hear only the voices telling them what they want to be true. They don’t have ears for the voices speaking truth.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. “And it’s not the party managers and officers who suffer. It is the whole of the independence movement.”

    This is undoubtedly true. This affects both bits of the movement, that which is under SNP control and that which is not.

    The SNP leadership must surely know this so the question is: Why do they do it?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I genuinely believe they can’t help themselves. Nobody is going to be the first to point out how badly they’ve been fucking things up. Cue scenes of frantic arse-covering. Those in the top positions are the ones who proved most adept at covering the arses of those who used to be in the top positions. A form of natural selection leads to a breed of super-arse-coverers. Only arse-coverers can survive in the environment created by arse-coverers. Very soon, problem-fixers become extinct. Which means problems proliferate. Creating a need for more arse-coverers.

      This is the disease of organisations. Human civilisation is crucially dependent on organisation. Human civilisation ends not with a bang but with customer service phone muzak and a mechanical voice telling you that your call is important and that you are currently number 7,968,178,901 in the cue.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. That is a brilliant comment Peter ; as is the post as a whole .

        Yr man Me Bungo Pony made a comment on a previous post I couldn’t disagree with – having had the same thought myself . To paraphrase …..the consequence , or , A consequence of people ( like myself ) bitterly attacking the current SNP is others may just conclude the whole thing ie Independence is not worth the angst and mental effort , easier just to forget it and * get on with life * – a thought that has occurred to myself – and others , I’m sure .
        The problem , for me anyway , is that the criticism is entirely justified , when you look at what the * leadership * is doing , more importantly , what it’s not doing the only conclusion I can make is that they are fucking-up our chances of ever attaining our goal

        I’d happily ” wheesht for Independence ” if I truly believed the wheeshing would lead to Independence . I don’t

        Liked by 5 people

        1. Very much the point. If you are committed to the restoration of Scotland’s independence, how can you be expected to wheesht when you see the Scottish Government making an arse of the whole thing. The #WheeshtForIndy mob never respond by explaining how Sturgeon’s approach might take us to independence. All they ever do is object to people pointing out that this remains to be explained.

          It is, after all, no more than dealing with facts which are not in dispute. The proposed referendum CANNOT lead to independence. Both Sturgeon and the Lord Advocate have acknowledged this. And there are just so many ways the British can scupper a plebiscitary election they could almost do so without even trying. They WILL be trying.

          Besides, if the British can deny that there is a mandate for a new referendum it would hardly be more difficult for them to deny the outcome of a vote. Sturgeon’s ‘plan’ is a pile of pish. And NOBODY will stop me from point out that it is a pile of pish. People need to know that it is a pile of pish otherwise how will they know to demand something better? And if we don’t demand something better than Sturgeon’s time-wasting pile of pish, how are we ever going to get a proper constitutional referendum?

          Liked by 3 people

          1. Whether we like it or not, we live in the UK: the legal system we live within is the UK’s legal system, within which ‘the crown in Parliament’ — ie, the government with parliamentary support — has untrammelled power to write and re-write the law. The Scottish Parliament is a creation of Westminster, and it could be destroyed in an afternoon.
            So I think that it’s very unlikely that another effective independence referendum will ever be held within the framework of UK law.
            No elected MP can sit or act in the House of Commons without explicitly accepting its ultimate authority.
            So far as I can see, the only route to Scottish independence, is for a sufficient proportion of Scottish MP’s, elected by a sufficient number of individaul votes, to withdraw from Westminster and establish a representative assembly and then a provisional government in Scotland.
            How big are the two ‘sufficient’s? I can’t say, but it must be at least 50 % of both seats and electors, mustn’t it?


            1. You are correct in recognising that there is no route to independence within the legal and constitutional framework that has developed under the influence of the imperative to preserve the Union. What that means is that independence can only be restored by stepping outside that framework. All that remains is to decide the best way to do this whilst staying strictly within the framework of international law and democratic principles. Which is pretty much what you are saying.

              Where we differ is in what we consider to be the optimum form for #ScottishUDI. I have my own ideas on that. Others will come up with alternatives. All of these should be considered. It is enough that the need for #ScottishUDI has been accepted and that it is being discussed.

              But this won’t be enough for long. At some point, the Scottish Government must choose – then act on that choice. Once the decision has been made on the process of #ScottishUDI the discussion stops. It stops because it becomes pointless. Once that course is set it cannot be changed. It may be adjusted slightly. But once the basic parameters of #ScottishUDI are set we all have to get behind that process, even if we don’t agree that it is the best process. It can be less than the best and still work. So long as the process is impeccably democratic, it WILL work.

              Liked by 2 people

              1. Ok, we’re in agreement….. Can we also agree that the moment at which it will be clear to outsiders like me that something really may happen, is the morning on which SNP MPs announce that they are not going to Westminster any more?


                1. The moment you’ll know it’s happening will be when the First Minister stands up in the chamber to propose that the Scottish Parliament asserts it’s primacy.


    2. The short answer to your question duncanio, they are ‘BRITISH’ don’t you know, we are paying the price for their duplicity.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. I found the reaction to the wee Perth anti tory Demo curious.
    Where was all the same froth from the Media when there was a similar anti tory Demo in Manchester?
    How many Media outlets even reported on it apart from The National?
    SNP Leadership really ought to know by now, they will never keep the BritNats happy.
    And it is clear with recent comments, that is exactly what they are hoping to do, basically, in the mistaken belief it will sway certain “No” voters.
    Nicola Sturgeon’s “I’m British as well as Scottish”, and Ian Blackford’s “fondness” for House of Commons, and his Unionist pals comments, etc, are part of that effort.
    Alas, it is futile, and especially when we see how the likes of Lizz Truss rave on regardless, it should be clear enough to everyone..

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Sturgeon doesn’t need the Britnat media to play her, she does it fine well all by herself, if we look at from the angle that Sturgeon is a unionist then this falls into place. In my opinion Sturgeon is now a unionist, anyone SNP personnel who steps out of line, not just on independence (Take Joan McAlpine as an example) will be seriously reprimanded or booted out of the party.

    Like I always say we’re going nowhere until Sturgeon is kicked out of Bute House.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. if we look at from the angle that Sturgeon is a unionist

      Why not go the whole hog and say that in your alternate dimension she’s a skin-changing Martian lizard from Alpha Centauri?

      rolls eyes


      1. Don’t get me wrong by the way. If skin-changing Martian lizards from Alpha Centauri in alternate dimensions live and work in Scotland, then they are as entitled to vote as any others of the Peoples of Scotland. It’s their future too.


        1. Self-determination is primarily about a defined ‘people’ rather than a place, nor by implication is it about ‘aliens’. That defined ‘people’ may have been wilfully evicted, dispersed, and to some extent replaced, as well as plundered, by an oppressor power. Which is probably why the UN describes self-determination independence as decolonisation, and colonialism as ‘a scourge’ which should be ended. Perhaps you should read up on it sometime:

          Liked by 3 people

          1. Don’t worry Alf, even if you’re not from Alpha Centauri you still get the vote as a qualifying resident national from the USA, in inclusive non-xenophobic Scotland which rejects any attempt at Blut und Boden brown shirt nationalism by a very small handful of extremists, as I daresay you’ll agree is correct in modern enlightened times.

            It’s in the franchise in the “Scottish Elections (Franchise and Representation) Act 2020” which was passed in Holyrood on the 20th February 2020 by an actual supermajority of 92 votes to 27 against, with only the Conservatives voting against and 0 abstensions.

            I hope you’re enjoying your life here in Scotland with our humour and welcoming friendliness 🙂


            1. “It’s in the franchise”

              Yes, Westminster enforced an irregular local government franchise on Scotland’s national parliament, as reflecting that ‘level’ of governance, and our daeless SNP MSPs administer that on Westminster’s behalf. You obviously think its a good thing, for a nation which has no control over its borders or who lives there to use a LOCAL government franchise for NATIONAL elections and NATIONAL referendums. Independent nations would rightly look on that as one sure way to give away their NATIONAL sovereignty. But we wouldn’t want to behave as if we were independent, would we. That might give us ideas above our station.

              Liked by 2 people

              1. Don’t be shy Alf, you used to be far more explicit 2 or 3 years back. But perhaps you can answer some straight questions:

                1). What do you claim is the total net migration to Scotland since the last census?

                2). Specifically, how many more English do you think there have been in Scotland over the last 11 years in total?

                3). When you calculate this figure, do you use for instance the total migration figure of 47,500 from the rUK, assume it is English, and multiply by 10 or 11 to make over a million – or do you use the NET migration figure of 10,000 of which perhaps 8,000 are from England, and mutiply that by 11, subtracting the number who have died in Scotland in that time?


                3). How do you think the English who live and work in Scotland will vote in a referendum?

                4). Would you like to ban all the English who live and work in Scotland and have families, some of whom are members of “English for YES”, from voting in Scotland in Indy Ref 2?

                5). Do you dislike the English, Alf?


                1. The main points you completely miss are: 1) that any and all demographic change in Scotland is currently out-with the control of the Scottish people and; 2) ongoing demographic trends appear to be weakening the likelihood of independence.

                  Post referendum research told us that the Yes/No vote is largely based on identity – British or Scottish – and we know that our identity is dependent on our culture and language. Independence is therefore a cultural emotion and will therefore be influenced by demographic change.

                  Clearly, after an indigenous people become a minority in their own land then the likelihood of independence becomes ever more remote. This is believed to be the case in Wales, and New Caledonia, and was the case in the past in Northern Ireland although recent population change there in a reverse direction is now pushing towards Irish reunification.

                  The delayed/secret Scottish census should give us a better picture of continuing demographic change here and this is inevitably what the British state is deeply analysing just now before risking any further referendum, hence the lengthy delay also.

                  Liked by 3 people

                  1. You didn’t answer one single question I asked.

                    Is that because you know you’ve been rumbled?


  4. The Salmond witch hunt told me all I need to know about Sturgeon. It’s all about her, and if declaring her Britishness gets her a job in the foreign office. She will gladly kiss the butchers apron.

    I believe 2 people are destroying the SNP. The rest are terrified to speak out. Because Sturgeon and Murrell have a one strike policy.

    Tow the line or walk the plank. She will continue destroying the party until she leaves.

    No SNP leader should be allowed to stay after her British statement, but who will lead the mutiny?

    Liked by 4 people

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