I shall not plod

When All Under One Banner (AUOB) organises an event such as the one tomorrow in Glasgow, they invite us to ‘March for independence’. They don’t urge us to ‘Plod for independence’. When we attend such events ─ as I hope thousands will tomorrow ─ we imagine ourselves striding determinedly towards the restoration of Scotland’s rightful constitutional status with heads held high and spirits higher still. We don’t see ourselves as trudging wearily, heads bowed, hearts heavy, hope expired towards some point that is always just below the horizon. But that is what Richard Walker would have us do.

Richard starts by advising us that we need no longer seek a “legal and democratic route to Scotland winning its independence” ─ because “there isn’t one”. Congratulations, Richard, on finally catching up with those of us who came to that conclusion some years ago. Would that Nicola Sturgeon’s thinking had got as far. In her address following publication of the UK Supreme Court’s (UKSC) judgement, she said,

I make clear again today, therefore, that I stand ready at any time to reach agreement with the Prime Minister on an adjustment to the devolution settlement that enables a lawful, democratic referendum to take place…

Nicola Sturgeon’s address about Scotland’s future

This just makes no sense. She said this after having claimed that the judgement had provided “clarity”. In other words, the folly of referring the draft Referendum Bill to the UKSC was justified. But if the judgement offered clarity, what did it make clear other than what Richard Walker has at last accepted ─ that there is no “legal and democratic route to Scotland winning its independence”?

(I note in passing the fact that talk or “winning” independence betrays a hopelessly misguided mindset. But I’ll let that slide for the moment.)

Despite the judgement by the UKSC Sturgeon still hopes for a process which is critically dependent on the willing and honest cooperation of the British government which she had moments before accused of “democracy denial” and showing contempt for Scottish democracy. She said she expects “that the UK government will maintain its position of democracy denial”. Then she says she still hopes for a Section 30 order. Even setting aside all the other objections to the Section 30 process, how can anybody be so naïve as to suppose a government which shows such brazen contempt for democracy might be trusted to behave honourably in the conduct of a democratic process?

If Nicola Sturgeon is so averse to confrontation as to deny what is plainly stated by the UKSC judges then she cannot possibly lead Scotland’s cause effectively. If her failure to make any progress in eight years is not proof enough of her inadequacy as the head of Scotland’s independence movement then things such as the referral of the draft Referendum Bill surely does. I draw your attention to another portion of that address.

However, as I said back in June when I informed Parliament that the Lord Advocate had agreed to make this reference, it was always the case that in the absence of an agreement with the UK government, the question of the Scottish Parliament’s competence in relation to a referendum would end up in the Supreme Court – if not before legislation then certainly after any decision by Parliament to pass a Bill.

Note how she glibly talks of a referral before or after the passing of a Referendum Bill as if one was much the same as the other. Ever since the announcement of Nicola Sturgeon’s ‘plan’ at the end of June, the notion has been peddled hard that since referral to the UKSC was inevitable, it was better to get it out of the way. Nicola’s loyalist claque as even wont to claim that she had “wrong-footed the British government. She certainly surprised them. They probably couldn’t believe their luck. She’d let them off a very nasty hook. The equivalence between the two scenarios is false. The two situations ─ a pre-enactment and post-enactment referral ─ are massively different. And the differences are massively important. There’s little point in me going through the consequences and implications of the Scottish Government referring the Bill while it was still a draft. We can all see how that has worked out. All except our First Minister. What Nicola Sturgeon doesn’t appear to have done is think through the alternative scenario ─ first put the Bill through the Scottish Parliament and then let the British government challenge it in court.

I should make it clear that I should not be taken as endorsing the draft Referendum Bill when I write about it being put through the Scottish Parliament first. I would much prefer to have seen a proposal for a proper constitutional referendum. But what I’m really talking about here is not the Bill but the process of getting it into law.

So, the Scottish Government introduces a Referendum Bill to Holyrood. Let’s assume it passes, as it all but certainly would, given the SNP+SGP/Scottish Government majority. We must now ask that big question ─ what next? It is safe to assume that the British government would mount a legal challenge in the UKSC. The difference is that they would be seeking to strike down not merely a draft Bill, but an Act of the Scottish Parliament. The optics on this are already completely different. But it doesn’t end there. Instead of the Scottish Government compromising the sovereignty of Scotland’s people by accepting the UKSC as being superior to the people of Scotland, we would have had the British state insisting the Scottish people are not sovereign. Had the British government been forced to refer a Referendum Act to the UKSC they would have put themselves in the position of having to argue that Scotland is not a nation and that we have no right of self-determination. If the ‘plan’ involved provoking a reaction from Scotland’s people, then how much more effectively would popular ire be roused if the British political elite were to be seen to be denying not just Scotland’s democracy, but our nationhood?

In fact, so problematic would a British government referral to UKSC be that it is entirely possible they would opt not to do it. Especially if the referendum being proposed was guaranteed to have no effect. Why not just let it happen? There would always be the chance of a No win, which would a tremendous blow to Scotland’s cause. And even if Yes did win the British could simply ignore a result which the Scottish Government itself has declared meaningless.

The word ‘unsustainable’ is being used again in relation to the British state’s democracy-denying position. The trouble with saying their position is unsustainable is that they’ve already sustained it for eight years and there is absolutely nothing to prevent them continuing to do so. So, the UKSC has said that Scotland is locked into the Union while the British state holds the only key? Why would that trouble the British when that is precisely the situation they have been striving to engineer. They will be thoroughly pleased that, courtesy of Nicola Sturgeon, they have a Supreme Court ruling which confirms the very thing they want ─ a subordinate Scotland.

The consequences of the SNP leadership’s total lack of strategic thinking don’t end there. If the Scottish Government tries to introduce any kind of Referendum Bill now it would be immediately rejected as breaching the UKSC ruling. Whereas it was perfectly possible to introduce a Referendum Bill before, now it is impossible. Who has rendered it impossible? Not the UKSC! Nicola Sturgeon! The judges ruled in the only way they could given the nature of the Union. But they could only rule if asked to do so. Which Nicola Sturgeon obliged the British state by doing. What previously was questionable but doable is now definitely unlawful and impossible. The opportunity to pass a Referendum Bill has been squandered by our own First Minister. And still her loyalist claque hails her as a political genius. Madness!

here comes that question again ─ what next? Not much, apparently. Sturgeon herself is so bereft of ideas she’s punting the idea of making the next UK general election a plebiscite on independence. Or on having a referendum on independence. Or on having Nicola Sturgeon say she’s still hoping the British state will stop sustaining the position that is supposed to be unsustainable. For someone who places a high value on clarity, the FM is peculiarly unforthcoming about her plans. Let’s be frank! The notion of a plebiscitary election is a joke. As Richard Walker says, it is just too easy for the British government, the British political parties and the British media to scupper such an exercise.

Making a UK general election a de facto referendum is all but impossible when you are less than 10% of the British state and the other 90% is ignoring you and treating it as a normal general election. Then you have the problem of winning this de facto referendum. A difficult enough feat even if Nicola Sturgeon hadn’t raised the bar by insisting the independence parties must get over 50% of the votes as well as a majority of seats. And even if we overcome these problems and win, what have we won? What happens next after winning this de facto referendum? There is no reason whatever to believe that the British state would pay the slightest attention. They’d simply declare the result meaningless as people weren’t voting solely on independence but on the full range of issue that are to be considered in a general election. The vote in this de facto referendum now can’t even be a vote in favour of a Referendum Bill because, thanks to Nicola Sturgeon, no such Bill can be brought to Holyrood.

Obviously picking up on the First Minister’s vacuity, Richard Walker has nothing better to suggest than that we ‘endeavour to persevere‘. His advice is to keep plodding on with the gentle persuasion campaign strategy that has left Scotland’s cause in the doldrums for eight wearying years, with the polls flatlines since 2014. That’s it! Just keep trudging that treadmill! Trudging and plodding. Getting nowhere. That’s all that Nicola Sturgeon has left to us. To march to the FM’s tune is to march on the spot.

There are signs of a significant backlash against the Sturgeon doctrine of no confrontation even if it means no progress. Alongside the anger being expressed at the UKSC judgement and the British state’s not at all unsustainable position there is growing dissatisfaction with the way Sturgeon is handling the constitutional issue. Or should I say mishandling it? I suspect that dissatisfaction will grow to irritation and then anger as the independence can is kicked further and further down the road with us expected to go plodding after it like automatons. This shift in the public mood will surely be picked up by any of our SMP MSPs or MPs who retain the capacity to think for themselves. The concern that the backlash from Sturgeon’s UKSC blunder might hit their election chances might even prompt one or two to speak out. Once the full implications of the blunder are realised, there may even be further defections to Alba ─ although that is unlikely. There will, I suppose, be a widening realisation that #ScottishUDI is the only way. Will politicians and columnists now start to challenge Nicola Sturgeon on her ‘strategy’? That too I think may happen. Will it all happen fast enough? Probably not!

I shall be attending the AUOB event in Glasgow tomorrow. As much as my poor legs will allow, I shall march. I will not be a plodder. I will not trudge the treadmill of Sturgeon’s failed ‘strategy’. My anger shall power those aching legs. Not anger at the UKSC judges who did no more that state what we have always know about the Union. Not anger at the British political elite who are merely behaving in the only way the British political elite knows how to behave. My anger is reserved for those whose choices and decisions have left Scotland under the heel of the Union for far too long. Fuelled by that anger I shall stride purposefully towards the goal of restoring Scotland’s independence and damn all those who say I must be content to be a plodder.

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21 thoughts on “I shall not plod

    1. Our FM has fought for independence her whole life .. you just sound like a misogynist male dividing the Independence supporters.. Unionists will love you 😔😔


      1. Not one word of my criticism of the First Minister has referred to her sex. You are one of these irresponsible fools who undermine the fight against sexism by using the word ‘misogynist’ as a weapon against those with whom you disagree without regard for how inappropriate it may be.

        You should be ashamed of yourself.


  1. Extract from my post on Independence Live (and elsewhere):

    “A Supreme Court using UK “domestic law” have had their say! The Declaration initiative is, and always has been, based on the use of “international law”! Will you be silenced, and accept their opinion – or do you want YOUR say on the future of Scotland?

    Will you join all the Sovereign Scots whose Declarations are already lodged at the United Nations in New York, for the world to see, and know.

    Will future generations see your name and signature on your Declaration with the scanned copies which are taken of each Declaration?

    What do you want? I will have blank Declaration forms at the AUOB rally this Saturday.”

    See you tomorrow, Peter.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Depressingly realistic. Brilliant all the same!

    Richard Walker displays the same muddled thinking as the rest of the loyal and blind brigade and the First Minister.

    He has caught up, as you say, to some extent but way to late in the day to make any difference. Having made up some ground on the rest of us he’s had a sit down to ponder the situation and come up with:

    “It is our job now to convince them that independence is a powerful, positive change to make our country and our lives better. When we have done that job, no one – not the Supreme Court and certainly not Westminster – can stand in the way of that momentum.”

    or ‘Carry on regardless’. With an approach that has failed so abysmally since 2014, namely piecemeal conversion by loyalists of the mythical and non-existent ‘soft Nos’ whilst the leadership abdicates all responsibility for making progress and has all but abandoned Scotland’s Cause.

    No plan. No strategy. No insight. No awareness. No direction. No inspiration. No endpoint. Just keep on keeping on.

    I am sorry for your poor old legs but, like Steve Winwood and the rest of the Spencer Davis boys, I hope you keep on running – unlike the plodders you know where you are going.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. What about the Short Money?
    What about the Special advisors?
    What about those who lost a seat and landed a job in HQ?
    What about the TransCult employees boosting the Stonewall points?
    What about Comfy Slippers Pete’s Pension?

    Can the SNP afford Independence. Do the YES/Indy/AUOB realise the impact on Murrell Enterprises if Independence is ever achieved.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ll probably be posting her a little more as at least here the Right to Reply is respected unlike on WGD where a sneaky insult remains but the reply is “moderated out”. No no no no … yes, don’t all cheer at once!

    Righty, like many I need to consider where we’re at after this watershed and totally nonsensical UKSC decision. Personally I don’t think the legal route is over, and by the way the UKSC had 11 judges for “important” UK Parliament decisions, and just the derisory 5 judges for unimportant Jockish Scotland, perhaps they too don’t expect it to be all over, though they’d clearly like it to be.

    Meanwhile, Joanna Cherry has it right, and a lesson for many to learn:


    If this is to be our plan, then it will mean respectful dialogue and cooperation between the activists of the SNP, Green and Alba parties. The petty bile needs to stop.

    Have a good weekend 🙂


  5. Mmm, from the National:

    FIRST Minister Nicola Sturgeon is the “genuine article” who will lead Scotland to independence, award-winning actor Brian Cox has said.

    … preferably this century, correction, millenium.

    Anyways, the debate over Westminster plebiscite v Holyrood plebisicite is interesting, I’m tending to Holyrood to force Sturgeon to put her job where her mouth is, and a year earlier than 2024. It could always then be followed up with a Westminster one.

    There’s no time to lose.


  6. Given its now accepted Nicolas strategic brain is a mush of hopes….its a huge danger if she did get an s30. So grateful would she be she would concede everything g just to say she got it. The franchise the timing the question all won In the Edinburgh Agreement would be lost.
    Anent the plebicite….the English will of course say NO! Before the GE it has to be a common dictum that a majority would mean our MP Convening in EdinBurgh with a mandate to revoke the Treaty of Union unless negotiations on separation were started. No sidetracked on a referendum….sure …one on the negotiated terms but not on the won principle. If it fails then renegotiate.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Expert controlled demolition , Yr PABship . ” Beauty is truth, truth beauty ” – n’aw that . Have a good day in the Glesg the morra : I’ll be there in spirit . Probably Glenfiddich

    Liked by 2 people

  8. However Toni Giugliano, the SNP’s policy development convener, told The Scotsman that a pro-independence majority could “start negotiations” with the UK Government and result in the granting of a Section 30 order.

    GTF. You don’t get my vote for that bowl of chicken shit.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aye , deep unthinker , Tony with an ” i ” GluggluglianOH , spouting the usual urine . The water-to-wine ( or is that ” whine ” ? ) ” granting of a Section 30 order ( or is that ” ordure ” ? ) remains the monomaniac mantra . Any day now , eh ?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I keep a watch as I said, and have some idea who posters are. This from a usually “loyal” popster:

        That may be their ‘tactic’ [name] – but they will lose my vote and that of many, many other supporters so the point will be moot because they will not get past the line. I will have lost all faith in our First Minister and immediately withdraw my support to the SNP if they adopt this strategy and I am certain I will be followed by a great many other loyal members. Ragin’ does not begin to describe how I feel about this exposure of a blatant untruth told to us when the LA referred this to the SC. If this proceeds, the SNP will have p****d away the only opportunity we ever had to seize a long-awaited prize. Not in my name!

        I think many of us who were patient, will completely lose our rags.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m actually going to try to shut up till Monday and take a break from it all, because if I’m any kind of bellwether fir the “moderates”, then we’re getting angrier and angrier at the back-sliding SNP.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. But before I do, if the SNP don’t immediately sack Giugliano, disown his views and the views of Hunter, and if Sturgeon doesn’t be far more strong in the next 7 days at most, instead of the weak and watery submissive far too long waffling speech on Wednesday – I saw it live on snp.org – then I will have to hold my nose and vote for the sleepy cuddles party from now on.

      In February 1974 the SNP went from 2 MPs to 7 MPs.
      In October 1974 the SNP went from 7 MPs to 11 MPs.
      In May 1979 the SNP went from 11 MPs to just 2 MPs.

      At this rate of stupid, in 2024 the SNP will go back to just 1 MP – probably Pete Wishart. He will spend the next 5 years proposing in debate that the colour of the benches in the renovated Westminster, for which Scotland pays our full share of the cost, be blue, for the permanently resident Party and his rich pals.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I had to do this during Indy Ref 1, to Unionists. Never thought I’d have to do it to my own side, but it seems in my pursuit of Indpendence I am ruthless.

        If it does transpire that there is no lawful way for this parliament to give the people of Scotland the choice of independence in a referendum – and if the UK government continues to deny a section 30 order – my party will fight the UK general election on this single question –

        ‘Should Scotland be an independent country’.

        Sturgeon in Holyrood, June.


        Giugliano would make her out to be a liar – and in Holyrood to boot. He goes, or she goes. The question she promised was not like his would be:

        Should we get the begging bowl out and ask please, pretty please, give us a Section 30 order during the next 5 years?


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