Proud malcontents and other disruptors

The ‘play nice’ preachers are heavy on the alliterated pontifications in The National today. Karen Adam MSP has an oozingly self-righteous piece under the headline “We must be composed and considerate for the good of the indy movement“. Gerry Hassan’s column, meanwhile, is titled “Confidence and candour are what’s needed to win the battle for indy“. So, if we collectively get our act together and commit to being composed, considerate, confident and candid, everything will be fine. However badly the independence movement’s opponents behave ─ and both of these writers allow that our opponents can be a bit naughty ─ we Yes activists must mind our Ps and Qs (and Cs?). We must be calm, courteous, caring, constant, cautious and of good character in order that in the battle to rescue Scotland from the British Nationalist threat we may claim the moral high ground. It may be all we have. But we’ll get to feel superior. So, that’s nice.

Actually, these lectures on etiquette have little to do with how we conduct ourselves in our dealings with Unionists or our interactions with voters. These homilies are aimed mainly at people such as myself. The dissident voices within the Yes movement who subject our political leaders to rigorous scrutiny rather than lavishing them with mindless sycophancy. The relatively small band of bloggers who presume to question the orthodoxies imposed by an SNP leadership which seeks exclusive ownership and control of every aspect of the Yes movement, not for the benefit of Scotland’s cause, but for mere personal advancement and partisan advantage. If, like myself, you are a proud malcontent, then it’s you these sermons are aimed at.

To be scrupulously fair, Gerry Hassan is not one for lavishing sycophancy on the SNP/Scottish Government, or Scotland’s professional political class in general.

We have to deal with the realities of present-day Scotland, 23 years of devolution and 15 years of the SNP. We cannot uncritically defend the state of modern Scotland, the SNP in office or the Scottish Parliament.

Who could disagree? Unfortunately, anything of potential use to the independence cause that might flow from this statement gets lost in the soft-focus fog of semi-utopian latte-sipping academic socialism. If only we all behaved like ideal social animals then we would have the ideal society. The restoration of Scotland’s independence is no more than a possible means to this unlikely end. When Gerry Hassan refers to the “realities of present-day Scotland” he has in mind the various ways in which those realities fail to live up to his socialist ideal. When a proud malcontent speaks of the realities of present-day Scotland we mean the continuing gross injustice of a grotesquely asymmetric political union. When he says we “cannot uncritically defend the state of modern Scotland, the SNP in office or the Scottish Parliament” I get no sense that he is commenting ─ as a proud malcontent would ─ on the serial failures of the SNP/Scottish Government to move any closer to a satisfactory resolution of the constitutional question. I get the very strong sense that he would rather we didn’t talk about independence at all, but focused instead on further developing and perfecting a vision of a socialist future Scotland. If we must talk about independence then we are urged to do so in language stripped of all potential for giving offence. Righteous radicalism has no fire in its belly. Just the warm glow of artisanal bio-fuel burning in a heater made from recycled carry-out curry containers.

Karen Adam is rather more open about her hope to prevent others being as open as they might wish to be. As you would expect, she is a big fan of the ‘code of conduct’ strategy by which the SNP seeks to extend its authority beyond the party membership and ultimately to the entire Yes movement. Don’t let anybody tell you the ‘code of conduct’ idea has any other purpose. The whole thing is being promoted by the party as well as groups and organisations affiliated with or sympathetic to the SNP. The aim is not so much to silence proud malcontents such as myself, but to exclude us from the Yes movement. Only those who sign up to and abide by the ‘code of conduct’ can possibly be ‘real’ Yes supporters. There is no division within a movement which excludes anyone who questions the orthodoxies decreed by leaders of the movement’s party political arm. The ‘code of conduct’ provides a means by which the politicians can formally disown the dissidents.

If you doubt that it’s all about turning the Yes movement into an exclusive club of SNP supporters, consider the fact that the party’s poodles voted at the October conference in favour of adopting a ‘code of conduct’ that they hadn’t seen because it hasn’t been written. The delegates at that conference didn’t vote for a particular set of rules that they had read and debated. Rather, they voted to give the SNP leadership the power to write and, presumably, revise and amend rules at will. Having learned none of the lessons of the recent past, the delegates decided to give Nicola Sturgeon further licence to do as she pleases. Why else would the party leadership arrange the rubber-stamping of an open-ended ‘initiative’ such as the invisible ‘code of conduct’ other than to allow them to dictate the terms of discourse across the entire Yes movement the way they have taken control of all discussion within the party?

Karen Adam admits that “there is plenty to be angry about”. But she insists that we don’t let our anger show. Why is that? In part, it is because like Pete Wishart she is too shallow-minded to differentiate between cold, calculating anger justified by facts and incoherent, undirected rage fuelled by dumb prejudice and blind hate. According to the Wisharts and the Adams of this world, anybody who strays from the party-approved script is a ranting zoomer who needs to be silenced and a traitor to the independence movement who must be condemned as a ‘Yoon’ agent and cast out. But it’s not the proud malcontents’ anger at the Union and all it implies that the Wisharts and the Adams are concerned about. It is our anger at them that they object to. It is anger at the SNP’s failure to progress Scotland’s cause that they want to suppress. That is the true purpose of the ‘code of conduct’. It is an instrument of suppression.

Readers will be familiar with Pete Wishart’s demented railing against anybody who offers the slightest and most constructive criticism of the SNP and/or Nicola Sturgeon. They will be aware also that a particular target of the SNP’s witchfinders was and remains Wings Over Scotland. The reasons are obvious. Wings Over Scotland is a journalistic phenomenon. The website is massively influential. It was made the most read Scottish political website mainly due to the superb forensic journalism of owner, Rev Stu Campbell. Wings Over Scotland has power. More importantly, from the SNP’s perspective, it has power that the party can’t control. Stu Campbell was among the first to lose faith in the SNP. He certainly was/is the most potent critic of the party’s abysmal failings in regard to Scotland’s cause as well as some of the questionable policies that Nicola Sturgeon has prioritised over the matter of restoring Scotland’s independence.

The smear campaign against Wings Over Scotland mounted by the SNP and its puppet organisations was more viscous and dishonest than anything Better Together did during the 2014 referendum campaign. It was appalling. And it continues. The return of Wings Over Scotland to Twitter is likely to spark a whole new frenzy of witchhuntery targeting the website and Campbell.

Indeed, the unblocking of the Wings Over Scotland Twitter account might be what inspired the latest offering from Karen Adam. I seem to recall her boasting of having been responsible for the account being suspended. Others claim a share of that ‘credit’. They too are bound to be irked that Wings is back on Twitter. It is unlikely that they will keep their anger at this in check. I strongly suspect there will be an exemption from the ‘code of conduct’ for those who vilify Stu Campbell.

I don’t know if Stu Campbell would call himself a #ProudMalcontent. He definitely qualifies. But it is not for me to hang labels on the man. He can speak for himself. He speaks for a large and growing body of independence activists who have been alienated by Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP. He is a disruptor, just as I would wish to be. Disruption is good. The political establishment in any country needs to be given a good shake from time to time. It goes without saying that they don’t like to be shaken. Hence the effort to suppress, silence and exclude the dissenting voices in the independence movement.

As I read the latest ‘play nice’ remonstrations from the Yes movement’s self-appointed gate-keepers and police, I was reminded of something Stu Campbell wrote a few weeks back.

I remain concerned that there’s little of worth to actually say about Scottish politics that hasn’t been said to death. The country’s voters are trapped in between two worthless options – the SNP and the opposition – in a stinking, stagnant pond desperately in need of having a massive rock thrown into it, and I’ll be very surprised if Wednesday’s judgement from the Supreme Court will provide the necessary disruption.

For Karen and James

As a #ProudMalcontent and aspiring disruptor, I couldn’t agree more.

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24 thoughts on “Proud malcontents and other disruptors

  1. Needs to be shared widely. It’s way past time and we are sick of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
    The upcoming emergency conference 88 days after the English Court decision will have to be a masterwork of deception to keep the lid on the chocolate teapot.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Karen Adams piece is a revolting Trojan horse under the ‘Be Kind’ mentality that pervades the trans rights movement. She in particular represents a dangerously uncritical advocate of trans rights that will happily see women, girls, trans, and children’s safeguarding thrown under a bus for male rights. She has recently deleted her Twitter account, after some very revealing views about paedophiles rights came to light.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Yes, the ‘command and control’ agenda is being heavily pushed by the ‘paper of Independence’ today. Here’s another one:

    Whether you agree of not with dissolving Holyrood as the appropriate approach in light of current circumstances a rationale response is to include for discussion and either sanction or dismiss according to merits and demerits. This bunch of control freaks want to discuss only their preferred options. These options being random uncoordinated stunts with no particular aim other than to be seen to be doing something that the blindly loyal will hail and endorse as some kind of ingenious set of actions that has somehow once again outflanked the British establishment.

    No, the purpose is to sideline and exclude critics who do not bow down unquestioningly before the SNP hierarchy.

    The SNP leadership do not wish to discuss strategy, they do not wish to debate tactics. They just want to tell us what they are going to do. That’s it. That’s ‘the plan’.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I haven’t read that article yet. No time just now as I’m meeting a fellow #ProudMalcontent for a Beer ‘n’ Blether session. I will come back to this.


  4. Conflicted or what? “Play nice – after all, we all must be patient make sacrifices, and don’t you dare jeopardise my MSP salary and generous pension plan.” Good behaviour and patience can kill. Don’t ask what is most important to most of the Scottish MPs and MSP “fighting for independence”. You may not like the answer.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Saw that oleaginous headline but couldn’t bring myself to read it. Well said Peter, and to Karen Adams, Fuck You Very Much!

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Spot-on , P . It’s that nauseating – selective – ” be kind ” hypocrisy that epitomises everything that’s wrong about the current SNP ( well , that and it’s glaringly obvious cluelessness / duplicity re progressing our cause ) . They would have us believe if only we were all nicey nice – even to those who would see us robbed of everything we hold dear , hold all the * correct * views on the ever-expanding panoply of ” isms ” and ” phobias ” , Independence will come to us in a shower of golden , ideologically pure stardust , because , y’know , ” we’re worth it ” .

    Bad enough they are deluded enough to believe this fantasy , that they are seeking to impose it on the entire Yes Movement bespeaks a mentality comfortable with the suppression of free/critical thinking and mindless adherence to dogmatic * higher powers * .

    I stopped buying/reading the National years ago for this reason . If it was truly interested in reflecting the views of ALL the YES Movement why are there no articles by yourself , Stu Campbell , Robin McAlpine and other trenchant , constructively critical and – most importantly – passionately committed pro-Independence commentators ?

    Liked by 3 people

  7. The truth of the matter in my opinion is for some (those who are making a good living out of it) Scottish independence or more precisely talking about it, but not actually achieving it, is now a industry in itself.

    In my opinion for Sturgeon, Harvie, and their MSPs/MPs, BfS and the Yes Groups, the ongoing campaign for Scottish independence supports and entire group of folk who in reality talk a good game on leaving the union, but want the status quo to remain.

    They have bills to pay, families to keep careers to build and independence would seriously damage their comfy lives.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Fantastic Peter. I haven’t been reading many of your posts recently as I’ve been trying to step back a bit from the whole sorry mess, just to restore peace of mind. This one was well worth the rtead. By the way, Happy New Year and hope 2023 is a better one than 2022. Keep up the good work.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. At least someone is embracing the “malcontent” label instead of ignorantly whining about it.

    However, the sycophantic, fanboy genuflection to the “High Priest” of the order was nauseating. Rev Stu has had no interest in Scottish Independence for years. His contempt for Indy supporters and voters is palpable as they won’t vote the way he insists they should.

    WoS is no asset to the Indy movement. It would rather see Scotland in the Union forever than see the Scottish Govt deliver independence.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha . Don’t tell us , MBE , you fear the fulltime return of WOS is yet another threat to the chances of securing Independence , right ? Doesn’t say much about your confidence in Sturgeon/SNP’s strength , commitment or abilities when you think a handful of dissident voices can – according to you – have more effect than an entire Party machine , an obedient , largely uncritical * following * and the obsequious backing of the only – at least nominally – pro-Independence newspaper extant , does it ?
      I wonder what it’s going to take to snap people like yourself out of the perceptual narcolepsy 7/8 years of being dumbed-down , lied to , having the pish taken out of you has induced .

      I’ll say it again , in case you missed all the previous times it’s been said



      Liked by 1 person

        1. My – reluctant – conclusion is precisely that , Peter . I just can’t conceive how it will be possible to achieve Independence under the current regime . I don’t say it’s impossible , but I can’t see it . The damage been/being done is incalculable

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Only a boulder thrown into the swamp can possibly bring about the necessary change. That metaphorical rock can only be the Yes movement. But the biggest part of the Yes movement has decided it’s not worth trying. It’s the only thing that can possibly work. So, their ‘logic’ leads them to conclude that it shouldn’t even be attempted. I call this insane.

            The situation is aggravated by the fact that there are so many groups and parties insisting they have an ‘alternative’ route to independence. They don’t. I will guarantee to demonstrate in any case put to me that the ‘alternative’ CANNOT work. There is only one Scottish Government. There is only one party of government. That really is all you need to know.


      1. “Hahaha . Don’t tell us , MBE , you fear the fulltime return of WOS is yet another threat to the chances of securing Independence , right ?”

        For one thing, WoS has never been away. The site has been busier than most despite the Rev’s contrived flouncing off the scene in a dramatic huff. And secondly, I’m merely stating an obvious fact. The site is no asset to the Indy movement, and has posted nothing that either advances or even just supports the case for independence in years. Then again, few malcontents have. They prefer to bitch and moan from the side lines, convinced in the brilliance of their own intellect and intolerant of anyone who disagrees with them by so much as a ba’ hair.


  10. Being nice is the refuge of the feckless, the incompetent and the impotent. Damping down dissent is an act of self-preservation and marginalising anybody who might question the effectiveness of the administration in Holyrood.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. BTW Stuart …..appreciated yr remark on WOS recently re myself and LC & IB . Obrigado meu amigo . It’s reciprocated


      1. Credit, where credit is due.

        What Karen Adam, Me Bungo Pony and all the Be Nice for Indy advocates fail to realise that dissent is actually a feature not a failure. Democracy means that everyone gets a say and any leadership worthy of that role must take all concerns into account. The “my way, take it or leave it” is what happens when you put children in charge and we can see the results of that in the potholes, hospital A&E departments bursting at the seams and general decay on all fronts.

        We’ll only get independence when everyone has a stake in the future. The one size fits all, progressive policies of the SNP can never deliver that. Which probably suits them just fine.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. So now I’m part of the “Be Nice for Indy” group! It’s hard to keep up with all the pigeon holes the malcontents keep assigning me to, never mind all the opinions they tell me I hold. But then again, that’s the mob mentality for you.


        2. “The “my way, take it or leave it” is what happens when you put children in charge and we can see the results of that in the potholes, hospital A&E departments bursting at the seams and general decay on all fronts.”

          Yet another unionist argument being deployed by allegedly pro-Indy supporters to attack the pro-Indy Scottish Govt. The “general decay” is UK wide, and the fact the Scottish Govt is able to deliver better outcomes for Scotland than anywhere else in the UK in spite of this is something that should be celebrated by Indies. Not ignored in order to steal a Unionist stick to beat other Indies with (not that unionists will begrudge them that stick …. or any others they may care to use …. and do).

          When your posts start looking like they’d be more at home in the comments section of the Telegraph/Mail/Express than in a pro-Indy blog, it’s time to re-evaluate your choices.


            1. Really, that’s all you’ve got Stuart. I expected better of you.

              The argument Indies should be making is that despite being forcibly part of a failing UK framework having a measure of control over our own services, and thus significantly outperforming every other UK nation, has demonstrably shown the efficacy of having that control and the desirability of taking full control with independence. The argument should be that the UK is failing Scotland and only the pro-Indy Scottish Govt is preventing things from being much, much worse.

              The argument shouldn’t be the unionist “ignore the context, blame the SNP for it all, and tear down the pro-Indy Scottish Govt on the back of it”

              Like I said, at best, malcontents have shown no interest in advocating the case for independence. At worst, as in Stuart’s comments above, they seem determined to undermine the Scottish people’s confidence in their ability to govern themselves.

              If you utilise unionist arguments to achieve your goals you should remember the saying “if you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas”. Hence the wide berth those Indies outside the malcontent echo-chambers give their denizens.

              From a pro-Indy site that apparently hasn’t kissed the Rev’s ring;


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