Where’s the plan?

Alba will get no disagreement from me that we’ve had enough and it’s time for independence. But I’d like to know how they intend that this should happen. Getting answers to such questions from Alba is no easier than getting a sensible response from the SNP to criticism of Nicola Sturgeon’s ‘plan’.

We’ve had eight years of listening to increasingly ludicrous claims that the SNP/Scottish Government had the situation in hand and that independence had ‘never been closer’ and that British government’s position was ‘untenable’ and that the UK was on the verge of collapse and all the rest of it. Meanwhile, on the ground nothing has changed. Absolutely nothing has changed. There has been no measurable progress towards the restoration of Scotland’s independence in all of those eight years.

The harsh reality is that we are further from independence now than we were ten years ago. A statement which, unlike assertions such as ‘never closer to independence’, can be supported with evidence and rational argument. For evidence, look at the polls. Flatlined since 2015! Look at the facts! Ten years ago, we had a united Yes movement that was engaged in an actual campaign for an actual referendum with an actual date and reason to suppose both that we could win that referendum and that winning would lead to the restoration of Scotland’s independence. Today, we have none of that.

The Yes movement has succumbed to the worst kind of tribalism. There is no campaign. There is no firm date for a new referendum and cause to doubt we might win the referendum that has been not-quite-promised and the absolute certainty that winning wouldn’t lead to independence anyway.

Nicola Sturgeon’s response to demands for action has been to produce a ‘plan’ that impresses only her most loyal supporters – the ones who never question anything she says or does. People who think for themselves can see this ‘plan’ for what it is – a confidence trick. A device to buy off the more gullible among those who still put their faith in the SNP.

So, given all that, Alex Salmond will have to forgive me if I ask for more and better in terms of a described process by which independence is to be restored. I know Alba is in no position to actually do anything. I know Alba isn’t going to be in a position to do anything before it ceases to matter what they would do. I know the only way Alba can contribute meaningfully to Scotland’s cause is by putting pressure on the SNP. But I don’t know how they hope to do this. Because they won’t say.

Alba cannot put the SNP under any electoral pressure. They are no threat at all to the SNP. And it wouldn’t matter much if they were because there is no imminent election in which the SNP’s dominance could be challenged. The only way Alba can bring pressure to bear on the party of government is by highlighting the fatal flaws in Sturgeon’s ‘plan’. To do this convincingly, they need to have a credible alternative. And that is what is lacking. It’s no good just saying that the SNP/Scottish Government must do something. It is necessary to specify what must be done.

If Alba is to be an effective force in Scotland’s constitutional battle, then it cannot do so by being an electoral alternative to the SNP. It can only do so by offering a better plan. Where is that plan?

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16 thoughts on “Where’s the plan?

  1. Is a plan even possible? It’s worth talking a step back to consider what would it take and what would need to change in order to get the SNP off the “eternal devolution” path – if it’s even on it. With a leadership that has it’s ears super-glued shut and the main party activists hell-bent on opposing whatever other independence parties have to say it seems a tall order expecting Alba to be in a position to change anything.

    Before Farage and Brexit is brought up as a counter example it’s worth remembering that the Brexiteers had a lot of people pouring money into getting the campaign off the ground to deliver the solution they wanted. Scottish independence has no such largesse being directed at it.

    So, how to change the course of the supertanker before it hits the rocks, with a captain who has locked herself in the bridge and the possibility that the ship has already been hijacked. It’s an interesting problem.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. First of all, I was talking about a plan for restoring independence, not a plan for getting the SNP to implement that plan. They are related, of course. But they are not the same thing. They have different end points. The former has an end point where independence is restored. The latter has its end point where the SNP commits to the former.

      A mistake people in a movement for political/constitutional change all too often make is to conflate election to government of a particular party with achievement of the change sought. It’s the mistake we made with the SNP. Most of us, I think, at one time imagined all we had to do to secure independence was to elect an SNP government. Some have yet to learn what folly that was.

      By a plan I mean a series of feasible/credible actions leading to a pre-determined outcome. The #ManifestoForIndependence is the closest thing the independence movement has ever had to a plan. Sturgeon has no plan. Neither does Salmond. Neither do any of the groups or organisations which loom large in the independence movement. Neither do any of the countless people talking about ‘alternative routes’. None of them can set out a series of steps which lead to the restoration of Scotland’s independence absent magical intervention at some point. In every case where there is even an effort to set out a plan, steps are missing or would take decades or just plain wouldn’t work. Or they might work if innumerable other pieces fell just right.

      We need both plans, of course. Currently, #ScottishUDI is the only credible ‘solution’ on the table. Not a fully developed plan, of course. But certainly the basic idea upon which a detailed plan can be built. Every other suggestion falls at the first or maybe the second hurdle. Although I can’t be sure I’ve seen them all.

      Forcing the SNP to adopt the plan is another matter. As I’ve said elsewhere, 10,000 angry Yes activists banging on the doors of Holyrood obviously minded for a guid peeblin’ of the occupants, that might do the trick. It comes down to the strength of the people. Strength in numbers. Because there is no political force that could do it.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. I guess the SNP is doubly ensnared as it seems wedded to the idea that the prospectus for persuading all those mythical soft-noes is also the plan to ensure that the populace is of a disposition that will continue voting for the SNP after independence.

        I can’t see that being credible or successful in any way. There’s a lot of opinions – that whole diversity thing – and expecting them to converge on one true vision for an independent Scotland is delusional at best. This is something you’ve written extensively on before.

        It seems that political parties by themselves cannot deliver as their own self-interest will get in the way. So what hope is there for the likes of Salvo and to a certain extent, Common Weal to “shape the battlefield” i.e. set the expectations of and for independence in the general populace which the political parties, if they want to remain relevant, then have to deliver?

        Second thoughts. Wouldn’t it be a whole lot easier to simply hand out torches and pitchforks (the Brexiteer model) and see what happens ? 😉

        Liked by 4 people

        1. The torches and pitchforks idea has great appeal. Metaphorical torches and pitchforks, of course. We need anger. The SNP, especially under Sturgeon, has put much of its energy into avoiding rousing any strong feelings. We are supposed to be annoyed about the Tories. But not so annoyed that we start demanding the Scottish Government take us out of their reach.

          As I have also said a number of times (it seems to be all repetition these days), the key word is ‘control’. Sturgeon and the SNP are obsessed with control to a degree that is extraordinary even for a party of government. For them, it is more important that they control the machine than that the machine actually functions. High emotions are hard to control. So, they don’t want any high emotions. They want a Yes movement that claps and cheers on cue and shouts only SNP-approved slogans. Have a wee think back over the last eight years. Think about the bits of the Yes movement that Nicola Sturgeon didn’t control. Think about what happened to them. Wings Over Scotland, for example. Or Craig Murray. Or AUOB. You can probably think of a few more. They have all either been brought under the SNP’s control or they have been targeted by a smear campaign intended to reduce their effectiveness.

          Even bloggers such as myself have come under attack because we ask awkward questions and throw lights into corners the SNP would prefer were left dark. Not to anything like the extent that Stu Campbell or Craig Murray was. But that’s because they were more powerful. If my blog started getting tens of thousands of views a day and my Tweets were being quoted in the media then the dogs would be loosed on me as well.

          It’s anger we need. We need to get folk riled up about the Union. The SNP won’t do that. And they’ll try very hard to prevent anyone else doing it. But until it happens, no minds will be changed.

          Liked by 4 people

      2. Well, I’d have to agree that they would do all in their power not to recognise it, and I see where you are coming from in relation to the other parties, which is why I would always recommend we place the Treaty/CoR and the the case based on their constant breaching before the international court while we establish independence domestically via the ballot box. Nonetheless, I would keep pushing, flood the MSM with stories and tip-offs, even if they refuse to publish. We have not much time before devolution is dismantled, effectively, and all but direct rule re-applied.

        I do not care anymore. Go for it – anything – and promise to keep going for it. On and on, pointing out, at Westminster, every theft of resources, every breach of the Treaty. Bombard the MSM with stories and tip-offs. Sicken them till they start reacting. However, as we both know, there is absolutely nothing the SNP will do – which is partly why the UKG is quite happy to bluster and fend off every attempt at establishing our rights.

        The SNP is the problem here, as that walk-out when Kenny MacAskill stood up to speak showed. They want to be the only person on the field, playing against themselves – and us! I agree with UDI as the only possible step now, and that, basically, is what I was saying. I wouldn’t give a fig for what Unionist parties think about a plebiscitary election: either they participate or they don’t. If they don’t, they have forfeited any right to object; if they participate, their manifestos just need to have pro Union as its core policy. What is Westminster going to do? Call off the election? How well would that play in England? I can imagine a popular call to cut the Scots adrift!

        However, we always come up against the brick wall that is the SNP. In the end, Peter, peaceniks like us are going to be overtaken by those who are willing to contemplate armed struggle, I think now, unless the SNP membership overthrows the devolutionists and wokerati in its ranks. The only thing I am certain of is that independence will never be off the table.

        Liked by 4 people

  2. I’m loathe to criticise ALBA too much , being , broadly , sympathetic to it/them and considering them in possession of more …erm …. substantial – cojones than the ” other mob ” ( the ones that believe there ain’t nothing odd about a * women * in possession of those crotch-located dangly bits ) and intend to vote for them if the opportunity ever arises in my area , which it didn’t in last year’s SGE ; …..you know what’s coming next , our annoying pal Mr But .

    Today Mr But ( being a bit of a plagiarist ) is asking the same question you’ve been asking for * some time * and again here – viz …..how does ALBA’s strategy to gain Independence – or even the opportunity to vote on the question – differ from that of the SNP ?

    It’s a reasonable question and I’m afraid until it’s answered – and the answer differs significantly from ” We’re gonnae ask for a S30 too , but wae a broader Scottish accent ” – there will remain a credibility – chasm . A chasm that will be filled by the Britglish State pouring fast-setting ONE BRITAIN cement into it .

    Like you Peter , I’m truly perplexed that our putative Independence achieving reps still think we have endless time to realise our objective .

    We almost certainly don’t ; the question is just HOW little time we have ?

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Mr E: look up what in the dictionary out of all you have posted? Can you be more specific? Obscure attempts at being smart are often a sign of that the person doing so is not particularly blessed with smartness.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. The soft NOs are, indeed, mythical. People against are usually only persuaded when they have no choice and they find themselves between a rock and a hard place. They either go with the flow or they remove themselves. That is what we are seeing in NI right now, although I cannot see re-unification being next week. The Unionists are out-numbered and out-thought and many are starting to see that re-unification might not be so bad with Ireland still in the EU. It will be a long haul project, though.

    We simply do not have that time (not sure the NI have it either, but we are marginally less obstinate than they are). No country in the world and in the history of independence movements has ever behaved as this SG has behaved. It will end very badly if something does not give. If I were rUK, I’d be looking to the future when a large part of the population that has lost patience entirely emerges. If they don’t want the Troubles Scottish-style, they would be well advised to leave behind the mythology of soft NO and enter the reality of hard YES and join us on the path to Scottish self-realisation.

    That window of opportunity will close within a generation, I suspect, and the reality of living as colonial ‘overlords’ in a hostile environment that deeply resents them will emerge. I’m not saying that to be smart or to cause hurt. We need only look at NI or at any other country that wanted independence and see how it panned out.


    1. There may be a few ‘soft Nos’ left. I rather doubt there are enough for our purposes. We have to target the ones who are not quite hard No. The ones who are not going to be persuaded by any ‘positive case’ because they stopped listening years ago. One of things I realised looking at the 2014 referendum was that a lot of the No propaganda worked not because it persuaded people to vote No, but because it gave a plausibly ‘rational’ excuse to people who people who were voting know from the gut. Remove that excuse and they are force to re-evaluate.

      Then they are the people who voted No because they didn’t see the point in doing anything else. They thought the status quo was fine and that a No vote was a vote for the status quo. We drive home the message that there is no vote for the status quo. That either vote has implications. then we show them the implications of remaining in the Union. We make them doubt the worth of the Union.

      In short, we do all the things the SNP declines to do.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Meanwhile back in the real world:

    “Two thirds of Scots think SNP work in Scotland’s best interests”


    The Scottish social attitudes survey for 2021/22 has found that 66 per cent of people in Scotland trust the Scottish Government, compared to 22% who trust the UK Government to do the right thing.

    According to the extremists who call the vast majority who don’t spend every waking moment thinking in terms of Alba, the SNP, the Union or Independence, that would make 66 percent of the population of Scotland, errrr, SNP-cultists, or SNP-apologists, whereas quite frankly my dear, most of us don’t give a damn.

    I personally don’t even support the SNP, I just vote for them. But like most people I’m probably not in a hige impatient sweat, for thos who actually do give a damn, most of us are waiting meanwhile to see what happens with the UKSC.


    1. “that would make 66 percent of the population of Scotland, errrr, SNP-cultists, or SNP-apologists”

      No, it wouldn’t. Once again you demonstrate that you are totally incapable of understanding where critics of the Scottish Government’s approach to the constitutional issue are coming from. You have benefited from none of the explanations that have been offered. None of it gets through to you because, I suspect, you are quite proud of your ignorance.

      If you had a half-decent argument of your own you maybe wouldn’t spent so much of your time lying about others’ arguments.

      You really are a pathetic specimen.


    2. Anyways, Happy Hallowe’en to all, a day when some in Scotland will be putting on their Liz Truss and Suella Braverman outfits, while others will be putting on their Michael Gove and Douglas Ross ones.

      Who, I hear you ask, are they? Well, they’re the real ones we should all be going on about, rather than Alba and AUOBNOW (Alba’s propaganda organ) going on and on about an adjournment debate where the 6 SNP MPs would have doubled the attendees in the chamber, the other 6 fiddling with papers and mobile phones clearly making lunch dates and plans, as virtually nobody ever ever attends an adjournmnet debate apart from the one MP and a Minister.

      Not to forget our old favourite Pete Wishart who, if he spent as much effort in the pursuit of Indy as he does in pursuit of pro-indy bloggers, would have personally persuaded 1,000 undecideds to YES. Think about it Pete.

      Happy Hallowe’en!

      There shall be ghoulies and ghosties, ooooooowwwooooo …


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