All pain and no gain!

Alyn Smith MP would have to talk a huge amount of sense about the constitutional issue to get his credibility account back in the black after his oft-repeated inanity about Scotland never having been closer to independence. His column in The National today doesn’t even make a dent in his overdraft. Admittedly, he is not helped by the headline ─ which I recognise was probably not of his choosing. Nonetheless, the words “Every day Liz Truss spends in Downing Street is a boost for Yes” will have a familiar ring to them for most independence activists. It echoes the message the SNP has been pumping out for what seems like an eternity. The message that tells us we should happily put up with the increasing amounts of ordure being heaped upon Scotland by the British state because with each shovelful of the nasty stuff a few more voters are won over to the Yes side. To borrow a phrase from Mr Smith, that is Boris-like “blustery vapid venality”.

Alyn Smith may not use the actual words contained in the headline. But whoever wrote it had unquestionably got the gist of the content. It’s just more of the same thing that we’ve been getting form the SNP for the last eight years as they’ve urged us to put up with the pain and think of the gain. You will have noticed, however, that this gain is never quantified. They never put a number on it. They never tell us what the gain is in terms of support for Yes that is supposed to make the all too easily quantified pain worth enduring. There’s a reason for that. Like Alyn Smith’s credibility, the gain is non-existent. The pain is real. The compensating benefit for Scotland’s cause is a myth. Or a lie.

Lest we be so inured to that pain as to have stopped noticing it, Alyn Smith reminds us. One area in which he is quite proficient is picking out the bigger lumps from the ordure and rubbing our noses in it. Most of his column is taken up with cataloguing the offences and offensiveness of the new boss ─ who, it transpires as if as a cue for the song, is just like the old boss. The conclusion drawn from Alyn’s penetrating analysis is that following the protracted farce of the Tory leadership contest, the best we might expect is a continuing stream of ordure and more of the same pain. That would be one of those ‘no shit Sherlock’ moments.

For those who imagined the elevation of Liz Truss to the high office recently and gracelessly vacated by Boris Johnson might herald a transformation in the British political elite’s behaviour, Alyn Smith provides only disappointment. That disappointment will afflict a vanishingly small number of people in Scotland. We’ve had ample time to be convinced that better is not to be expected. A rather larger number will seize on the hope he offers that while further British imposition and iniquity is to be anticipated, there is comfort in knowing that every day Liz Truss spends in Downing Street is a boost for Yes. Just like every day Boris spent as British Prime Minister was a boost for Yes. Just like EVEL, and Brexit and all the rest was supposed to be a boost for Yes. It hardly mattered that the SNP/Scottish Government was doing nothing towards restoring Scotland’s independence. The Brits were doing the job for them. The next straw will be the one that breaks the Union. Always the next straw. Never the last straw.

People believe the fatuous claptrap peddled by Alyn Smith and others. That is one of the greater tragedies of the current chapter in Scotland’s long and not entirely wonderful history. People actually believe that the many kinds of pain they are enduring on account of Scotland being trapped in the Union is compensated by increasing support for Yes. They believe it as a matter of faith. They ask for no evidence. They take the likes of Alyn Smith at his word. They ask no questions. For which I’m sure Alyn is duly grateful. Because it’s a certainty that he would have no answers.

As with any faith position, it is defended by adherents with ferocity. Faith positions are by definition vulnerable to truth. So, truth must be repelled and rejected. Those who come bearing facts must be vilified as heretics and traitors. The facts must be denied even if never refuted. The sources must be impugned even if no better information is provided. Such is faith. And the faithful.

I’m not one of the faithful. I don’t do faith. I question everything ─ commencing with my own prejudices and preconceptions. I question assertions such as the ‘never closer to independence’ drivel that oozes out of Alyn Smith and numerous of his SNP colleagues only to be dutifully lapped up by the larger (for the moment!) part of the Yes movement. Which naturally means that along with others who prefer facts to faith, I am persona non grata among the faithful. I don’t care! I care only that the truth be told in the perpetual hope that the more it is told the more people will come to realise that they are being deceived. There is no gain for the endured pain.

This truth is not concealed. In order to discover it one need only start by asking the awkward question: where is the evidence? Liars rely on people not actively seeking the truth. Faith puts a near-impenetrable barrier between people and truth. Faith forbids the asking of the questions that lead to truth. If the questions are never asked, the truth is never discovered. Not even if the truth is right there on the surface rather than buried deep. It is a surpassingly simple matter to test the claim that the awfulness of the British government causes an increase in support for independence. We hardly need evidence of the former. We can very easily access information on the latter. Throw that information into a basic arithmetic calculation and there is the evidence ─ one way or the other.

There is a Wikipedia page which lists all the polls based on the (unfortunately) standard ballot question ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’ going back to the result of the 2014 referendum (Yes = 44.7%). All that is required is to reckon where the polls stand now and compare this with the 44.7% figure to see by how much support for Yes has ‘soared’ under some of the worst British governments ever known inflicting some of the most appalling policies on Scotland while treating the Scottish people with cold contempt.

In order to iron out fluctuations and take account of outliers, it is best to take an average of recent polls. This should give a reliable indication of where support for Yes stands at this time. It’s a certainty that there is no more reliable source for this information. The faithful will spout the customary ill-informed crap about polls being rigged and Wikipedia being untrustworthy. But we can discount that on the grounds that the polling data assembled by Wikipedia is fully verifiable and the methodologies of the pollsters can be examined along with the raw data. Notwithstanding the screeching of those who despise truth that challenges their faith, we can have high degree of confidence that our comparison will (ironically) be a faithful representation of the actual situation.

For this exercise, I took the average of the most recent 17 polls. If that seems an odd number in more than the arithmetical sense, it’s because I extended the range of polls taken into account so as to include two that produced exceptionally high scores for Yes of 50% and 52%. I did this because I knew that if I didn’t, I’d be accused by the faithful of ‘cheating’ by excluding these numbers. As we’ll see, including them doesn’t make a difference.

The average of those 17 most recent polls is 44.5%. To remind you, this is compared to 44.7% in the 2014 referendum. If Boris Johnson was a ‘recruiting sergeant’ for Yes then he was evidently as incompetent in that role as he was as British Prime Minister.

If every day Liz Truss spends in Downing Street is a boost for Yes to the same degree as was the case during Boris Johnson’s incumbency, support for Yes will not be boosted at all. To claim that it has been boosted is a lie. To believe that it will be boosted is to subscribe to a fallacy. It is delusion. It is a faith position. It is stupidity of the worst kind.

Scotland’s cause suffers as a consequence of this deceit being perpetrated by Alyn Smith and others of his ilk. Our cause also suffers due to the eagerness to be deceived exhibited by those who put party and personality before nation. The fight to break the Union and restore Scotland’s independence is hampered by a widespread belief that the fight is being won when it palpably is not. Not until the failures and failings of the SNP are recognised can they possibly be rectified. Those failures and failings are bordering on criminal. And they persist.

The restoration of Scotland’s independence requires that the Scottish Government act through the Scottish Parliament in such a way as to make it happen. Contrary to another myth being vigorously peddled by various figures in the SNP and the wider Yes movement, the UK is not disintegrating. By her own declaration, Liz Truss stands ready to ensure that the Union can never be broken. Either the Scottish Government acts now or restoring Scotland’s independence becomes increasingly more difficult. The proposed referendum and/or plebiscitary election are not the action that is required. They represent a pretence of action only.

The SNP+SGP/Scottish Government will not take the necessary action to rescue Scotland from the British Nationalists unless it is forced to do so by the massed strength of the Yes movement. This cannot happen while a huge part of the Yes movement believes that the fight is already being won. The truth must be told. It must be told by someone with a voice much louder than mine. Who will stand up for truth, democracy and Scotland’s cause?

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15 thoughts on “All pain and no gain!

  1. The problem begins at the top of the SNP, Sturgeon hasn’t moved the cause forward one inch since she took over from Salmond who took us from the low twenties to forty-five percent, since then we’ve not progressed at all simply because Sturgeon isn’t interested in Scottish independence.

    You just have to look at her record on indy since Salmond exited she’s done nothing notable, and has allowed great opportunities such as Brexit to pass us by, in which she tried to save England from itself instead of saving Scotland from the union.

    Smyth is a just a minion mouthpiece following orders of finger pointing at Westminster and shouting bad, to adhere the indy masses to the SNP, a party under the current leadership that has absolutely no intentions of dissolving the union.

    Unless Salvo and the SSRG find a way of (Convention of the Estates etc) of moving things forward, we are going nowhere.

    We need Sturgeon and Murrell out of the SNP, and replaced with a indy minded FM who can finish the job.

    It doesn’t matter who becomes PM Scottish independence is not an option for them it never will be.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. The we’re going nowhere as I have stated on umpteen occasions.

        Until Sturgeon is out of Bute House, again unless Salvo and the SSRG have something in their bag, again, I can only think of the Convention of the Estates idea, then it will be 2026 before an opportunity arises.

        Don’t pin any hopes on a GE being an escape route out of this union, a GE will be nothing more than a clarion call from Sturgeon to vote in as many SNP MPs as possible to the House of Commons.

        There is no route to Scottish independence through Sturgeon.

        Liked by 2 people

            1. People always say that. They say they’re not giving up on independence. It’s as if they genuinely don’t comprehend the implications of giving up on the government we have. They don’t grasp that there is no meaningful difference between giving up on the SNP and giving up on independence. So don’t tell me you’re being “realistic”. You’re far from that.

              I am genuinely not giving up on independence. That is why…

              I guess it doesn’t matter. If (when?) the fight to restore Scotland’s independence is bricked-up in a British wall, it’s enough for some folk that they’ll have someone else to blame. Liz Truss has her lackeys mixing the mortar right now. I mean literally this very day. There’s no point trying to get that into people’s heads either. They’ll agree. They’ll insist that they are fully cognisant of what the British are about to do. They’ll say they understand the urgency. Then they’ll start talking about stuff that can’t happen for anything between four and forty years.

              At which point, I despair.


              1. Peter, I didn’t say give up on the SNP, I said that as long as Sturgeon and Murrell hold the reins we’re going nowhere, you of all folk should realise that.

                I’m judging Sturgeon by her record on moving independence closer and she hasn’t moved it one bit closer since she took office. The rest of her SNP MSPs and MPs are sitting back and doing nothing on the indyfront because she who must be obeyed wants it that way.

                Like I’ve said, till I’m blue in the face we’re going nowhere until Sturgeon is out, and we have a strong indy minded FM in Bute House, who will more than likely be the leader of the SNP.

                Between now and then, if Salvo and the SSRG come up with a game changer that would be great, however if not we’ll need to wait.


  2. Bang on again (and as usual).

    Over the years his pathetic and pusillanimous platitudes have led me to regard Alyn Smith as a loathsome character. He utterings are casually complacent and he is the epitome of the careerist politician. Smith’s smugness put’s Rees-Mogg in the shade.

    His article states “On a personal level, I congratulate Liz Truss and wish her well. Where she shows any serious sign of engaging with the many problems Westminster mismanagement has caused us, Im game to roll the sleeves up, put the badges to one side and pitch in.”

    To back up your analysis of averaging opinion polls – and to counter any claims of you can’t compare ‘apples’ with pears’ because you are combining the results of different survey companies – I have taken a moving average – weighted by sample volume – of all the snapshots posted by the 4 polling firms that have published data since September 2014 to date. The initial and latest results together with number of surveys carried out are as follows:

    Panelbase: Nov 2014 – 51%; Aug 2022 – 48%; 48 polls
    Survation: Nov 2014 – 47%; Mar 2022 – 48%; 45 polls
    Yougov: Oct 2014 – 52%; Mar 2022 – 47%; 38 polls
    Ipsos: Aug 2015 – 55%; May 2022 – 52%; 15 polls

    So Yes MAY be higher than the actual referendum result (44.7%) but at best support is flat-lining, and is likely to have declined in the last 7/8 years, despite all the ‘recruiting sergeants’ since September 2014.

    Conclusion: Alyn Smith is a prick. Nothing personal.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Let us not forget that the margin of error is generally ±3 points. That makes the impression of flatlining even more persuasive. Unless one is a lot more optimistic (complacent?) than we can afford to be.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A Smith seems very comfortable in his Westminster niche , that Golden Cosy Slipper Club for nominal nationalists and Thespian might- have -beens . . It must be somewhat galling for them to be denied access to the Hoose of Lairdlings. There they might have been able to strut their weary stuff well into their dotage . Agh weel, you can’t have it all.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I sincerely doubt that this lot can be persuaded or pushed into doing more. The reason I say that is because of the people who are in the Holyrood party and the Westminster party respectively. If we just stop thinking that they can be pushed into doing what needs to be done to regain our independence, and start seeing that they cannot afford to do that, we might actually start to get out of the doldrums and pick up momentum. I’m not saying that because I’m troublemaking, but because it is true.

    Two basic facts – since faith is “oot the windae” – are as follows: a) these people in the SNP parliamentary party (both branches) do not want independence whatsoever because independence would arrest their own agendas (one being devolutionist/cosy slippers/massive personal ambition and future cosy slippers, and the other gender recognition at the expense of females); b) they haven’t a clue how to go about getting independence except to mutter inane and useless words and take actions that are doomed to failure, or, if they do know, they are simply not prepared to do anything about it. The insistence on the ten-year economic plan is evidence of that mindset – wholly neoliberal and allowing the Bank of England to dictate future economic policy.

    I have always believed Nicola Sturgeon to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Even as a very young nationalist, she was consumed by ambition to reach the top. When she did, what did we get? Talk of doing what must be done to get independence back on the rails? Nah! Nonsense about taking us out of the EU against our will, which, translated meant, against England’s will, and that was her position; it was not a position that would help Scotland. That alone should have been enough to see through her platitudes and her lack of backbone to do anything substantial. Other, equally preposterous policies followed, with the GRA reform, the icing on the cake, eventually splitting the movement completely.

    For someone who purports to be a nationalist, she has been a first-rate Unionist. We have to stop believing that the SNP can or will deliver us and start thinking about how we get SNP supporters to back another way. I appreciate that time is of the essence, but, if the SNP does nothing anyway, time is going to run out, is it not? It has to be from the bottom up now. No other way. The SNP hierarchy will never deliver. Never. They have no stake in independence. None. It is all a theatrical performance and the ending will be like that of Shakespeare’s play on Edward II: we’ll be roundly shafted before our ultimate demise.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. If independence is not restored by the present Scottish Government, then it almost certainly won’t happen at all. Truss has made it plain that she is prepared to do whatever it takes to secure the Union. I expect the next UK general election to be fought among the British parties on the basis of which can best appeal to the sort of voters who elected Boris Johnson. That means they will be trying to outdo each other in terms of rampant British Nationalism ─ with Scotland taking the role played by the EU in the Brexit referendum campaign.

      The next UK government is going to be elected on a manifesto commitment to lock Scotland into a new constitutional arrangement unilaterally imposed without consultation or consent. If we don’t force the SNP+SGP/Scottish Government to act before then ─ or if you are correct in thinking this is not possible ─ then Scotland’s cause is lost.


      1. I know, Peter. They know, too. They are quite deliberately – but probably not smart enough to figure out that this will be the consequence – pushing us into such a rage that armed struggle overtakes reasonable negotiation. This is what they did in Ireland. The SNP is responsible for this situation, not having removed us in 2016, and the NO voters of 2014 are equally responsible, if not more so. I don’t care if they find that irksome; it’s the truth. I agree absolutely with what you say, but I think you still believe in the SNP to some extent. They cannot and will not save us, and they cannot and will not stop Truss, the Tories, Labour or the Lib Dems from destroying us. Only we can do that.

        I know that many men in the YES movement just didn’t get it about the GRA reform and trans lobby, or they were only too willing to sell out women and children for an elusive independence, but women in the movement have always understood who and what these people are. It was never just about us (although it was certainly about our children) but about the entire capture of the SNP as the vehicle of independence. They need the NHS – the whole of it, north and south of the border – and we were never going to be allowed to save ours if England wouldn’t save theirs from predation by Big Pharma, Big Tech, etc.

        The porn industry makes trillions and the spread of sexual diseases is increasing (and, remember, most of them require antibiotics, whose efficacy is falling in parallel). That was the point of Brexit: total unfettered capitalism projecting into medicine, prosthetics, plastic surgery. American-style rather than European-style. This is about predatory capitalism, and the trans issue is the perfect vehicle for it, via the Scottish government, to ensure its survival and expansion. If the GRR Bill goes through in Scotland, those who have carte blanche to enter all spaces and services will not stop at the border or at women’s gates because we stand in the way of their agenda.

        Anyone who still doubts needs to google the billionaires behind this stuff. It was never about being kind to “puir wee sowels”: it was always about money and power for them, the psychopaths, and untrammelled sex for the deluded and, often, evil, eejits who do their dirty work. The wee folk are just the fodder in this game, and we got caught up in it before anyone else in Europe or, at least, the neoliberal NuSNP government ensured we would be caught up in it, like a fly in a spider’s web.

        Liked by 1 person

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