Salmond asks sensible questions

It is difficult to disagree with the general thrust of Alex Salmond’s remarks. Unless, that is, you are to be counted among the mindless mob who insist that neither Nicola Sturgeon nor the SNP should be subject to any meaningful scrutiny. The coalition of the cretinous who get incandescently offended if someone suggests their leader or their party should actually explain what they are doing and why. For those of us not of that idiot ilk, it seems like an obvious and obviously necessary question to ask how an announced strategy might be effective. Not all of us are capable of simply accepting that a strategy must be viable because Nicola Sturgeon announced it. Contrary to the shrill denunciations issuing from the Sturgeon/SNP loyalist numpties, this does not make us traitors to the cause. This makes us normal.

It is not normal for people of even moderate intelligence to unquestioningly follow and obey. This is aberrant behaviour. It is perfectly normal to ask questions. If Nicola Sturgeon commanded that we leap from a tall building, a normal person would at least be curious enough to ask if they’d heard the instruction correctly. Those who jump without asking are defective.

Those of us who are genuinely committed to Scotland’s cause want to know that the government we elected for the purpose of restoring Scotland’s independence has a viable strategy for doing so. Others are content merely that the party of government says it has a strategy. They don’t ask for any explanation of that strategy lest this be taken as indicating doubt and invite the wrath of believers. They don’t scrutinise the strategy. They don’t test it in any modelling of the context in which the strategy is supposed to function. Basically, that is all that Alex Salmond is suggesting. Strip away all the politicking and the rhetoric and the personal agenda and that is what we’re left with. The simple, fundamental question “How will this strategy work?”.

It is a normal question. It is the kind of question normal people ask. It is the kind of question that is normally asked by people. It is perfectly ordinary. It is a question that anyone proposing a strategy should be able to answer. It is a question they must be able to answer if they wish to be taken seriously. It is a question Nicola Sturgeon and her party consistently decline to answer.

Not only the specific matter to which Alex Salmond refers – the ‘de facto’ referendum strategy that is the supposed ‘Plan B’ if/when the equally unexplained strategy of proposing a referendum that can have no effect and then challenging your own proposal in the UK Supreme Court, doesn’t work. (Although so little has been explained about this ‘Plan A’ strategy that it isn’t even clear what either success or failure would look like.) Nicola Sturgeon has spent the last eight years claiming to have a strategy for (a) delivering a referendum and (b) restoring independence. But never has she set out that strategy in a manner which makes it comprehensible to others. Nobody can describe that strategy, because she never has.

The only thing we know for certain about that strategy is that it has failed and continues to fail. We know that for certain because Scotland’s independence has not been restored. That is really the only test of success or failure which matters. We might count it at least a partial success if there was any rational reason to be persuaded that the strategy has moved us closer to independence. But no such reason exists.

In the circumstances, it would be inexplicable if nobody was asking questions about the SNP/Scottish Government’s strategy for delivering a referendum and restoring independence. It is only to be expected that those who are both committed and curious should want to know exactly how the Sturgeon strategy will serve Scotland’s cause. When Alex Salmond asks that question, he is doing no more than seeking the answers any thinking person would want.

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27 thoughts on “Salmond asks sensible questions

  1. There’s another article in the National, from the main page: “COMMENT Alyn Smith: SNP conference has renewed our fire in fight for independence” which, in the fashion of our host here, I didn’t read before commenting on it. Which made me think of this for some reason, I changed the words slightly to reflect the theme of this blog:

    You know that it would be untrue
    You know that I would be a liar
    If I was to say to you Girl,
    we couldn’t get much higher

    Come on, baby, light my fire
    Come on, baby, light my fire
    Try to set the night on fire

    The time to hesitate is through
    No time to wallow in the mire
    Try now we can only lose
    And our cause become a funeral pyre

    Hope that helps!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. More lies from the Sturgeonista troll. I did not comment on Nicola Sturgeon’s speech before reading it. Anyone of normal intelligence would know this as those comments quote and make direct reference to material that I could only be aware of if I had read the transcript.

      This moron is getting to be a nuisance.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. More lies from the Sturgeonista troll. I did not comment on Nicola Sturgeon’s speech before reading it.

        Yes you did. In your own words:

        I haven’t read the transcript of Sturgeon’s speech yet. But I’ll guarantee that she also said something which will allow her devotees to claim she meant something else entirely.

        How can you “guarantee that she also said something”, when you hadn’t read the transcript?

        You’re genuinely losing it.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. That wasn’t a comment on the speech. It was a generalisation about such speeches.

          I really am finding your idiotic, dishonest trolling very tiresome. I really shouldn’t allow you to waste my time like this. But this is not a public space. It is my space. I have to defend the integrity of this space. I cannot just ignore attempts to pollute it with the kind of irksome fuckwittery that seems to be all you have to contribute.

          Liked by 5 people

          1. It is my space.

            Yes, it is.

            The problem is you behave in this illiterate, aggressive, nasty and falsely accusatory, sociopathic way below the line on the National, our only Indy-supporting newspaper, attacking any and all posters who dare to disagree with your own extreme opinions.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. I had a heart-to-heart with one (of a few) SNP members at the YEStival on Saturday. I was helping out at the SSRG stand, and he was genuinely wondering what SSRG was all about. We got on to the subject of an October 23 referendum, and also a plebiscitary election. This was a sensible and friendly conversation, but he had not a clue about how a referendum or election success might translate into ACTUAL independence, his thinking on the issue had come to a dead stop at the point where a so-called democratic event had occurred. I think I gave him a reasonable case that either of these options conducted under the loving auspices of the british state was not a sure route to independence, and could in fact be a (terminally dead) dead end. Hopefully he is still thinking about it.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I fear that is a forlorn hope, Geoff. I have been banging that drum for a very long time now. (It probably feels like longer than it actually has been.) All to little or no avail. My visit to the SSRG conference cheered me considerably mainly because I learned I wasn’t the only one thinking along the lines I spoke about that day. To see people nodding along as I spoke about #ScottishUDI was both a surprise and a delight. But I was brought back down to Earth the moment I engaged again with SNP/Sturgeon loyalists. Thinking is just not something they do.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. You are right, Peter. I have ‘friends’ in the SNP who are not prepared to listen to anything other than what the acclaimed leader proposes and am beginning to lose patience with them. Like YIR2, their minds are closed and it is futile to engage with them, only causing me frustration which is not good for my mental health.
        Glad you found more kindred spirits at the SSRG Conference. That certainly gave me a lift in that there were people actually prepared to do something positive to achieve Independence. Same feeling at the event on 1st September at the UK Government Office in Edinburgh. There is some hope but we could do with more mementum.

        Liked by 7 people

  3. Both you and Salmond are right, Peter: we need to be asking the kinds of questions that will elicit at least where we go after a win. We know that we enter the realm of the undead if we lose – if there ever is an actual referendum, that is, which I have never supported anyway. A GE plebiscitary election is a monstrous con if there is not a loose alliance of interests, along the same lines as the Unionists always have at election times. If it is merely to re-elect the SNP (particularly the leadership) forever and a day, surrounded by discarded mandates, what is the point? I don’t get it any more than you and others: we appear to be living in an age when it is unnecessary to possess any critical faculties whatsoever. We no longer need to have to and two make four; we can make two and two mean anything conjured from our brainwashed feelz, and God help those who question the new orthodoxies. As for UDI, YES and thrice YES. Place the Treaty and CoR, with our case at the UN, and get on with declaring independence meanwhile. Retrospective legitimacy and international recognition are perfectly feasible.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. At the moment Lorna, I think it’s too early to go to the UN or the ECHR. But if the UKSC rules against the LA and / or the ScotGov (two separate legal entities), and therefore rules against Holyrood having the right to consult the People of Scotland about our future democratic direction, THEN may well be the time, and perhaps the argument that Scotland is a colony might gain more traction with the mainstream of Scottish politics …

      Liked by 2 people

      1. yesindyref2: that’s an argument I’ve given a lot of thought to, and yes, it is, perhaps, valid to an extent, if you believe that Westminster and Whitehall have a right of veto over Scottish affairs. I believe they are acting ultra vires at all times. The problem lies in the fact that no domestic law source can pull us out of the Union, therefore, failure is inevitable, with all the expense that involves. As far as I can see, we will always lose or be handed a fudge. It still comes down, as Peter has pointed out time and time again, to the UK having a veto over our inalienable right to self-determination. This Union is either a partnership or we are a colony, and by our own collaboration and collusion. If it is a partnership, we have been conned and short-changed and are entitled to end the legally flawed partnership via international law. If we are a colony, we have internationally recognised political/legal routes out of the Union. Neither of those depends on the UK’s goodwill or otherwise. The domestic scene is a cul-de-sac. The SG goes down all these cul-de-sacs in the full knowledge that they are cul-de-sacs.

        Liked by 6 people

        1. “The SG goes down all these cul-de-sacs in the full knowledge that they are cul-de-sacs.”

          Aye, Lorna. I would like to be able to convince myself that they were just making mistakes. That they genuinely suppose they are working towards the restoration of our independence. But how could they not be aware of the cul-de-sacs? Sturgeon has to be aware that the route she is following cannot possibly lead to independence. It just doesn’t go that way. There is no connection. She has to know this.

          Of course, the Sturgeon/SNP loyalists will respond to this with their version of the old saw about how God is supposed to work in mysterious way. They’ll say that exploring these clearly marked cul-de-sacs is necessary because they have to prove that they are cul-de-sacs and that all the painfully slow driving down dead-end roads is part of a plan known only to Sturgeon and her closest allies.

          Is it any wonder I despair.

          Liked by 4 people

          1. No, Peter, no wonder at all. I am of the same mindset these days, veering between abject despair and raging anger, neither of which does my blood pressure any good. I keep asking myself: is it me? Do I just not get it? Am I being deliberately and pointlessly obtuse? Then I go over all the routes, all the questions, all the answers, and I’m back to where I started. These cannot be mistakes if we are to believe that these people actually have critical thought processes. If they do not have these, then they are unfit to govern us and must be removed immediately or, at the very least, told in no uncertain terms that put up with their cons and shams we will not.

            Liked by 5 people

        2. I believe that if Scotland wanted to apply to become officially a colony it would need to be on the agenda at the annual General Assembly of the UN, and I presume it would have to be an item put forward by an actual member. Only then could Scotland be added to the Decolonization (sic) Committee list of non self-governng territories – and I guess it would be a one-off shot. Last was back in the 90s or early naughties ( I forget) which was putting a country back on the list having been there previously. So the SG / SNP / YES would indeed have to go down every “cul-de-sac” if that’s what they are, to find our way out of the maze.

          Ironically the UKSC decision could cause it to rename itself the rUKSC.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. Managed to find this old bookmark:

          It’s the debate about the Falklands that’s relevant to the colony thing, but this caught my eye:

          Guy Opperman

          I am grateful to my hon. Friend for raising that point. We are no longer a colonial power. Those days are, rightly, distant history. As such, we will never force any dependent territory to remain part of our country, but we will also not let down a dependent territory. Let us take Scotland as an example. I would not, of course, call Scotland a dependent territory, notwithstanding the subsidy and the inequity of the Barnett formula, but the Scottish referendum is a prime example of the fundamental principle that it is for the native people to decide their fate. Rightly, we will always welcome and defend those who wish to remain part of Great Britain.

          “but the Scottish referendum is a prime example of the fundamental principle that it is for the native people to decide their fate”

          Indeed. But how times have changed with in descending order of interest and support for Democracy: May, Johnson, Truss.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Perhaps I did not make myself clear, Yes. I do not favour going down the decolonisation route for the very simple reason that we agreed to the Treaty in 1707. No way round that. If we have to use that route, then yes, you are right. However, I much prefer the ‘bad faith/breaching’ case of the actual Treaty itself. This will be far easier to prove in law and in fact. Again, a case could be lodged with the UN, but we go ahead and do everything to declare independence anyway by holding a plebiscitary election where all independence parties form a loose alliance so that whoever is elected to any seat, he or she still represents us all. Without that proviso, even a plebiscitary election is pointless except in electing the SNP back into power for yet another term. Sorry, but, on a personal level, I will not countenance that, and will not vote SNP on those terms. later, international recognition should be made easier to achieve, having placed our case before the UN an the international court, thus avoiding a financial quicksand and very restricted, if any, borrowing.

            Liked by 2 people

            1. As I have pointed out before, if you start down the route of claiming “‘bad faith/breaching’” of the Treaty you best pack a BIG lunch. ‘Cos you are going to be in court for a very, very long time. The Lord Advocate’s referral is by comparison, a very simple matter. Yet it has taken months to get to court and it will be many more months before it is decided ─ supposing there is something recognisable as a ‘decision’. Altogether, it could easily be a year or more between the referral and the finding. That is for a single, relatively simple matter. And it doesn’t take account of the time required to prepare a case.

              Start challenging the Treaty on grounds of “‘bad faith/breaching’” and you can multiply that single year by any number you care to think of. Such a process couldn’t rely on a single instance alone to prove “‘bad faith/breaching’”. Multiple instances would have to be cited. Even if the court chose to roll them all into a single case ─ which is highly unlikely ─ that case would take a long time to prepare. The law moves at glacial speed. The British state would challenge every word that could possibly be challenged. They would bury you in pre-hearing motions. They would make dozens of separate cases out of each instance as they challenged the lawfulness of this and that and the key issue of what the signatories to the Treaty had for breakfast that day.

              I am put in mind of Dickensian tales of probate cases that drag on for decades ─ even ‘generations’!

              And it all comes at massive cost. The British can throw effectively unlimited money at the case. They can employ hundreds or even thousands of lawyers all charged with the task not of winning the case, but delaying matters and forcing the other side (our side) to come up with more and more money just to keep the case going so they will have to come up with even more money. Where will this money come from? I don’t recall seeing any estimate of the cost of the Lord Advocate’s referral. I think we can be sure it will run to tens of millions. Again, multiply that by any number you care to think of to get an idea of the cost of the legal process you suggest. Not the final cost. Because that assumes the case ever comes to a conclusion with the British state putting a ‘wartime’ effort into ensuring that it doesn’t. I’d guess such a case might require an increasing annual allocation of funds large enough to be a significant item on the Scottish Government’s budget.

              The British have direct access to all of Scotland’s wealth. We have access only at the discretion of the British state. It would not be at all difficult for them to starve the case to death.

              Which brings us to the political implications. But if I get started on that then this comment is going to grow to unmanageable length. Suffice it to say that even if bringing such a case were legally and financially sustainable, it would not be politically sustainable. It’s a non-starter, I’m afraid.

              Liked by 2 people

              1. Yes, I know, Peter. I did say it would take time. I think you misunderstood what I’m advocating: I believe we need both the political and the legal resolutions to achieve our full independence and our international recognition (and all that that implies in the way of borrowing powers and financial security. You are being a bit naughty using Bleak House because that is domestic law and family law and the law of probate all rolled into one. I also take your point about lawyers, but they are not all of the Messrs Rook, Fleece and Skinem variety. Some believe passionately in fair play, Peter and some even practise pro bono on occasion. I also said that we should crack on with getting independence any way we can (I am also in favour of UDI – not the Rhodesian version, but proper and legitimate UD – because we will have no choice in the end).

                Resiling the Treaty will rubber stamp our independence and give us international recognition. Placing our case at the UN should be a parallel action and one that we will have to embark on at some point because we did actually agree to that Treaty in law. Not us personally, or the present-day Scottish people, but, when a Treaty is resiled, it is never the people of that day who do so, but they still have to do so because of the binding legal nature of treaties.

                I have always maintained that we need to break free politically, hence my support of a plebiscitary election basis and declaring independence based on that. It cannot work, of course, unless we have a loose alliance, with all independence minded people coming together at election time, as the Unionists do without fail. It cannot be formal as that would break Commission rules.

                The resiling of the Treaty would be our back-up, but it would also return us, as far as that is possible now to pre Treaty conditions with regard to our resources and assets. A ratifying referendum would afford the legal and legitimate background to a declaration of independence. Without the legal side to back up the political side, we will be open to being challenged, and possibly successfully, by England as the UK. We need to protect ourselves and our assets – what is left of them – and where we have trade contracts to honour as part of the UK, we must ensure that we get our fair dues.

                I also think we need to have the Treaty subjected to international because we are very different from many other countries which have sought independence in that we host the UK’s nuclear deterrent, so-called, so removing that will involve The US, as well as England as the UK. There is no way to be fully out of the Union in domestic law, only in international law, not if we want to conserve our resources and interests and give ourselves the best chance of receiving international recognition with all that implies for borrowing, interest rates, inflation, etc. in an independent Scotland.


    1. from 2min 27secs Alec sites the UK historical precedent of Lloyd George calling the ‘Coupon Election’ immediately after the end of the 1st world War.

      Worth a read:
      “1918 United Kingdom general election”

      I note in particular this paragraph:

      The election was also noted for the dramatic result in Ireland, which showed clear disapproval of government policy. The Irish Parliamentary Party were almost completely wiped out by the Irish republican party Sinn Féin, who vowed in their manifesto to establish an independent Irish Republic. They refused to take their seats in Westminster, instead forming a breakaway government and declaring Irish independence. The Irish War of Independence began soon after the election. Because of the resulting partition of Ireland, this was the last United Kingdom general election to include the entire island of Ireland. ”

      One can dream!
      Alec can readily describe a ‘Scotland-united’ election, history shows what can result.
      For want of such leadership, many fear that chance is fast slipping away.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. As someone with a PhD in Strategic Management and having taught and researched in that area, I found this article very helpful, Peter. If we start with ‘vision’, we can see that the SNP has none in regard to our main cause. It has no plan to achieve the aim of independence. Its strategic objectives are not set out, neither are the resources in place required to meet these objectives. It similarly has no organisation structure in place to deliver nor to implement independence. Rather like many failing Scottish Government policies more generally, in health, education, justice, ferries etc, the SNP/SG administration’s performance appears more designed to fall well short in all respects, and especially on what should be its flagship policy priority – delivering independence. The only conclusion to draw from this is that independence is not an aim of the SNP/SG, never mind its core purpose, its leaders and officials have no intention of delivering independence. You are correct, there simply is no strategy, other than to delay or prevent independence. Which does of course fit with postcolonial theory and the behaviour of a dominant national party.

    Liked by 2 people

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