Back in the fold

Attempts to control and police the debate and who can participate in it should be resisted. Sometimes when words of caution are sounded about a particular policy which are at first unwelcome the passage of time and events can prove them to be vindicated. We don’t have to look too far to see examples of this recently.

Joanna Cherry: There’s so much to be positive about ahead of the SNP’s conference

Wise words from Joanna Cherry to round off a column in The National that was in all other regards extremely disappointing. The headline promised “much to be positive about” as we head into the SNP conference in Aberdeen this weekend. I scoured the article looking for these reasons to be cheerful, but found nothing of any substance. Joanna’s opening paragraph asserts that the SNP conference is happening at “an auspicious time both for the party and the cause of independence”. That may be so as far as the party is concerned. I found nothing in what followed to persuade me that this is an auspicious time for Scotland’s cause.

Most of Joanna Cherry’s column is taken up with the kind of ‘inspirational’ rhetoric that wouldn’t be out of place in one of the set pieces at the conference in which various figures from the upper echelons take their turn at receiving the obligatory standing ovation. It’s the manager’s pep-talk before the match. It’s fodder for the media and the masses. Other than that, it’s pretty much content-free.

Reading her column, I couldn’t help but wonder if this weekend would see Joanna Cherry welcomed back into the fold of Nicola Sturgeon’s approval. Grudging and conditional approval, perhaps. But the tone of the piece strongly suggests a departure from the constructively critical voice that Ms Cherry used to be. She was one of very few leading figures in the party that I felt I could trust to subject the SNP leadership to the kind of scrutiny which all politicians and parties should be subjected to. That doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. Her toeing of the party line on the UK Supreme Court Case being heard next week and the referendum proposed for next October suggests an abandoning of rational critical analysis which I find both disappointing and disturbing.

There are not many people in the Yes movement who are prepared to seriously scrutinise the SNP’s approach to the constitutional issue. Voicing concerns about the Sturgeon doctrine is not a good way to make or keep friends. Openly criticising the party’s whole approach to the matter of restoring Scotland’s independence and pointing out the flaws and speaking truth in general are very good ways of inviting mindless abuse. It helps, therefore, if there is at least one weel-kent face who is also expressing concerns and asking awkward questions. Joanna Cherry used to be one. It seems she is no longer.

I don’t think the sentiment quoted above was addressed to SNP/Sturgeon loyalists. I want to believe it was a warning to them that they should heed the concerns being expressed and seek answers to the questions being asked of the SNP leadership. I’d like to think it was those who put party and personality before country and cause who were being advised not to attempt to “control and police the debate and who can participate in it”. But this would not be in keeping with the thrust of the article. It looks to be more of a warning to those of us openly expressing doubts about Nicola Sturgeon’s ‘plan’ and pointing out its many flaws. When Joanna Cherry refers to policies being vindicated, her enthusiasm for the proposed referendum suggests that it is the Sturgeon doctrine which she reckons will be “vindicated”.

What Ms Cherry doesn’t do is explain how the SNP’s approach to the constitutional issue might be vindicated. In a manner that is worryingly reminiscent of the SNP/Sturgeon loyalists who respond to rational scrutiny of that approach with abuse. Or who simply refuse to look at or listen to any of the criticism and certainly make no effort to answer any of the questions. It is these SNP/Sturgeon loyalists who are the ones attempting to “control and police the debate”. It is they who are trying to dictate who can participate in it by shouting down dissenting voices.

Of course, only these party loyalists will be welcome at the SNP conference. It goes without saying that the dissenting voices will not be heard at any event control by the SNP’s leaders and managers. It looks very much as if Joanna Cherry anticipates a warmer welcome than have enjoyed previously. She will have her own reasons, no doubt. But from the outside we can see only her becoming a cheerleader for Sturgeon’s horribly inept ‘plan’. Cheering! But never explaining. Telling us we should be optimistic. But never providing a solid reason for optimism.

I preferred the old Joanna Cherry.

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21 thoughts on “Back in the fold

  1. As you prob seen P – I commented re JC on your previous post . It would fit better here .
    Yes , it will be * interesting * to see if your speculation of a ” prodigal daughter ” style return to the SNP fold ( a novel variation of the poker move —-SNP hold ’em – fold ’em ; mostly fold ’em ) proves accurate . If she has recanted her original sin of independent , critical thinking and is now * saved * from eternal damnation and banishment from Sturgeon Paradise

    Liked by 5 people

  2. “… It looks to be more of a warning to those of us openly expressing doubts about Nicola Sturgeon’s ‘plan’ and pointing out its many flaws. When Joanna Cherry refers to policies being vindicated, her enthusiasm for the proposed referendum suggests that it is the Sturgeon doctrine which she reckons will be “vindicated”… ”

    Hmmm… that’s what I took from it, too. Have been having grave doubts about Joanna Cherry for a while. I could be very wrong, but I am coming round to the thinking that she is another contender for the title and needs to be rehabilitated in plenty of time. Extremely disappointing. Is there no one left in the SNP who is not either utterly self-centred and self-interested, or not a devolutionist/’trans’ fanatic or who simply has a backbone?

    Quite staggering in regard to an abandonment of journalistic integrity, no mention of the women’s rally at Holyrood yesterday was mentioned in The National except small piece scattered throughout in support of GRA reform and others to berate women for having the temerity to question the orthodoxy of self-ID – which even the smallest mammal in the woodland would discern was dangerous to females of all ages, and to children, both male and female. I have said before, but I will never vote SNP again.

    They are enablers of the destruction of heteronormative principles deeply embedded in human biology and psychology. The ideology is insane, but the people pushing it are disturbingly motivated by very deliberate and sane notions that must eventually highlight either their gross stupidity or their evil intent or both. All pretence of impartiality on both the independence front and on the ‘trans’ front has been dropped by their SNP and its mouthpiece. Nothing to distinguish the SNP from Labour now, nothing to distinguish The National from the MSM and nothing to distinguish Joanna Cherry from the rest of the knee benders. Sad, sad times.

    Liked by 7 people

  3. It’s an article about reconciliation, both within the YES movement AND in Scotland with those who currently oppose Independence. About moving away from the polarisation that affects our movement. This sums it up perhaps:

    To achieve this goal, we must always be tolerant and listen to the concerns of those who disagree with our vision for Scotland.

    and as one commenter says:

    My goodness, this is one of these rare contributions that moves beyond the polarised constitutional debate to remind us that there will be a coming together in the future and that we will all need big hearts and open minds. It took time in the Irish Free State, then the Republic of Ireland for there to be universal support for independence.



    1. ” Reconciliation ” hmmm…..another one of those words eg ” Equality ” ” Diversity ” and old favourite ” Transparency ” ( LOL ) that have been battered out of shape and meaning by their use as fig-leafs for the feeble-minded inanity of ovine Politicians .

      There can be no reconciliation with lunatics , deceivers and those that are prepared to cause incalculable harm to further an agenda and are impervious to the pleas of the likely ( certain in the case of GRA ) victims of such agendas .

      ” Reconciliation ” in this instance is merely a remix of ” Wheesht For Indy ”

      NAW !

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I think there is more to JC’s ‘return of the prodigal daughter’ article than immediately meets the eye. I hope this is the first move of a longer game.


    1. I´d like to hope so Geoff , because , personally , I´m sick to death of all these supposedly ” good people still in the SNP ” either doing nothing to fight the takeover of our cause by other agenda-driven factions encouraged and promoted by the Sturgeon usurpers or worse , aiding and abetting them .

      JC needs to make her mind up what her priorities are – Independence soon , not at some hazy , abstract future point and whether she´s prepared to merely make the occasional objection to lunacy like GRA ; or if her real interest lies in progressing her career , possibly with one on the FM throne . The other eye lazily staring into space

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Ah! Wait and see! Where have I heard that before? There may be strategies for a “longer game”, but these are of little worth given that there is no longer game. Next year’s glorified opinion poll posing as an independence referendum is a delaying tactic which may well take us beyond the end of the game. If that mock referendum doesn’t happen, the idiotic plan to pretend the next UK general election is a referendum will definitely see the game finished.

      The only possibility of saving Scotland would be #ScottishUDI in the next few weeks with the proposed mock referendum transformed into a formal exercise of our right of self-determination. By referring the legislation for a sick joke referendum to the UKSC the SNP/Scottish Government has, of course, made effective action to restore Scotland’s independence more problematic. Regardless of how the court rules, the effective action will now be going against a UKSC ruling rather than pending a challenge by the British state.

      I can sympathise with those who say the SNP is deliberately trying to sabotage Scotland’s cause. It certainly looks that way. But my own view is that what we’re seeing is not some devious scheme but plain stupidity born of an obsessive focus on winning elections rather than restoring independence.


      1. Peter . I swivel between the Scylla & Charybdis of those two possibilities …intentional sabotage v ” plain stupidity ” on an almost daily basis .

        The former produces dissonance in the auld cognition ( Na, that’s a bit too Manchurian Candidate to be credible ) : the latter ” can they really be THAT stupid ? ” disbelief / despair ; which feeds the former in an loop of negative feedback

        For which reason I don’t dwell on the question much ; or * entertain * the former possibility ( sabotage ) mainly as an exercise in ” Reality Testing ” . COULD that be true ?

        Then along come people like yrsel wielding Occam’s * Malky Fraser * n I’m obliged to concede the ” banality of * evil * ” explanation is the more plausible .

        Never mind amigo we’ll be FREE IN 2523 . Maybe even a wee bit sooner

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It is quite insanely stupid to believe you can go on winning elections, Peter. If you are going to lose at some point, you might as well lose for a good reason: independence. I think the SNP will simply cease to be relevant. Listened to Neale Hanvey. He believes the SNP, at both Westminster and Holyrood, is far too entrenched in UK politics to be a force for independence. He more or less stated that they are cuckoos in the nest.

        Liked by 4 people

  5. I don’t see much difference between JC and NS on Independence (constitution), only GRA reform (policy).

    If this is all she has to offer on restoring this country full self-government and is indeed the second coming of JC then, despite her initials, I for one don’t expect her to be Scotland’s saviour.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Aye, gey few of those from more privileged and hence culturally assimilated backgrounds will ever understand the main rationale for liberation and decolonization of an oppressed people. Part of the reason for this is they have never undertaken a detailed analysis of colonialism.

      As for the SNP ‘conference’, virtually all the speakers are on the Imperial state payroll one way or another, with nothing of substance to be discussed on the key and urgent matter – that of liberation of the people.

      As Frantz Fanon said about co-opted national parties: ‘What they say is not what they really think’

      ‘follow the money’ directs us to their actual values and priorities.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Alf, I read your book and it all started to fall into place, or, at least, your analysis echoed my own, but far more eloquently, when I thought I was being too stupid for words. That is what any kind of opposition to an orthodoxy does to you: it makes you feel isolated and stupid for not believing the Word – at least, until you understand that you are not being stupid or bigoted, but have the reality of it.

        Liked by 5 people

    2. Nor I, duncanio. I thought so once, perhaps, but not anymore. Mind you, if she can break the deadlock on GRA reform, that might just get rid of the NS faction and revitalise the SNP. Who knows? I won’t be holding my breath.


      1. Why don’t you state your concerns at the next meeting of your SNP branch and see if you can get support for some type of strategy to change the culture that you find so frustrating. After all, from little acorns mighty oak trees grow.


        1. I am no longer a member of the SNP. It wouldn’t make any difference if I was. The party no longer belongs to the members. Members have no say in policy or strategy. Or, more correctly, no more say than the control freak leadership will allow. I quit the party about two years ago, I think. I’m not good with placing things in time. I quit for a complex mix of reasons. But not least among them was the feeling that it being a member was not compatible with saying the things I am persuaded need to be said.

          Any possibility of the SNP being directed or even influenced by members ended in 2019. The husk that remains of the party I first joined in 1962 is wholly owned and controlled by Sturgeon and her ‘people’. If there is to be pressure for a change of approach it will have to come from outside.

          Liked by 4 people

        2. Iain: are you speaking to me or Peter? I left the SNP some time ago, when the membership started to be undermined by the party elites, the chosen ones – either devolutionists or gender acclaimers. Neale Hanvey has said that the Blackford lot at Westminster, but the Holyrood lot, too, are so entrenched in UK politics, so chummy with their UK counterparts, that they will never do what it will take to get us out of the Union, but play games with us until it is all too late. I know he’s a politician, too, but the disgust in his voice was unmistakable, and he was close to tears of frustration. He also said that the MPs and MSPs are all cowards because they will not stand up to NS. I want the GRA Reform Bill scrapped, but NS is so entrenched in that policy that she listens to no one, so I can well understand that, on independence, too, it is either her way or the highway – in fact, no way, because we are going nowhere. I wish you could see that, but, like so many, you don’t, no matter how much evidence is piled up before you. She is playing you all.

          Liked by 3 people

  6. Cherry realises or knows for sure that Sturgeon will step down soon and she wants to be rehabilitated into the leadership. There’s no long game, nobody is going to welcome her if they at all suspect she’s going to replace them. There only two possibilities. First, she’s told to f*** off in which case we know the SNP are going to continue down the trans path to self-immolation or second, she’s welcomed back in which case we know the SNP leadership, MPs and MSPs, under Robertson’s leadership, are going to award themselves a new set of comfy cushions and it will be business as usual.

    Liked by 3 people

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