Sturgeon’s citadel

Kevin McKenna’s hopes for the SNP’s ’emergency’ conference are worthy, but unrealistic. Given the behaviour of the party leadership over the last few years the idea of them running an open and inclusive event seems more than a bit ridiculous. This is not an organisation that welcomes constructive criticism or fresh perspectives. It is an organisation intent only on defending its own established orthodoxies. Its wagons have been well and truly circled around Nicola Sturgeon. In a very real sense, protecting the leader has become if not the sole, then certainly the primary function of the party machine.

It was obvious even to ‘amateur’ political analysts such as myself even before the vote in the 2014 referendum that the SNP needed to rethink its approach to the constitutional issue. After the vote was the time to do this. I, and I’m sure many others, kept our own counsel during the latter stages of the first referendum campaign because the most important thing was to maintain a united front against the increasingly vicious onslaught of British Nationalist propaganda. I, and I’m sure many others, assumed that the SNP would have plans in place to undertake a rigorous review of the whole campaign as soon as possible after vote and regardless of how that vote went. There were lessons to be learned. Valuable lessons. There were no such plans. There was no such review.

By late 2015 it was clear that there was not going to be any meaningful analysis of the 2014 campaign by the SNP. Looking back, this was the point at which the first signs began to appear of the rot that would set in over the next few years. By 2016 it was plainly evident that, notwithstanding all its protestations to the contrary, the SNP leadership was keen to set the constitutional issue aside – while keeping it to hand as a card to be played when an election loomed.

That is pretty much how things remain. There has been no action on the constitutional issue such as would alter the situation. It now becomes clear that there wasn’t even any planning for any action. The priority for the leaders and senior managers of the SNP since the first referendum has been to prevent scrutiny of the leaders and senior managers of the SNP. They got away with this because we trusted them. I say ‘we’ because I was among those who trusted Nicola Sturgeon and her inner circle.

Kevin McKenna refers to the disgraceful scenes at the SNP conference in 2019 when Chris McEleny was booed and heckled for doing no more than trying to open an internal discussion about the strategy for progressing Scotland’s cause. To suggest that something different was needed was to suggest that Nicola Sturgeon might be wrong. That is how it was viewed by the ‘palace guard’ Sturgeon had assembled from what is new referred to as the ‘woke’ faction. A semi-formal trade-off was made with any faction that was prepared to go along that their agenda would be prioritised in return for their service in protecting the leadership. It really wasn’t any more complicated than that. Not a huge conspiracy. Just a fairly mundane trade-off of the kind that is common in pretty much every organisation large enough to have factions.

We still trusted Sturgeon. I know from conversations with other Yes activists that I was not alone in having increasingly serious doubts about the way the party was going in the four years following the first referendum. But many of us felt that the party could be changed from within. We thought the party was still answerable to the membership and that the membership was not going to let that change. We were wrong. Every private exchange I had with others in the Yes movement after the 2019 conference was dominated by talk of how the party had been hijacked. Some that the situation hopeless already. Others felt it was worthwhile to persist in trying to take back the party from the clique that had seized control. Some were torn between staying and walking away. By April 2021 I’d had enough of the control-freakery and pursuit of agendas that were alien to the party I first joined in 1962. I resigned.

My point is that this is not now a party which is amenable to the kind of openness and inclusiveness the Kevin McKenna urges. It simply isn’t structured in a way that permits this. It’s not that kind of party any more. As increasing numbers of former members have gone public with their concerns and criticisms, the core of the leadership and party management has grown more and more defensive. It’ll take more than the wishful thinking of a journalist to break into the citadel Sturgeon has built for herself.

Some time ago I commented that when waiting becomes the strategy, all you do is wait and pretty soon that is all you are capable of doing because the capacity to act atrophies while your resources are devoted to justifying further procrastination. Similarly, when the strategy becomes protecting the status quo, all you do is protect the status quo and pretty soon that is all you are capable of doing because the capacity to change atrophies while all your resources are devoted to justifying the status quo.

This describes the SNP.



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33 thoughts on “Sturgeon’s citadel

  1. Excellent analysis of the present state of the controlling factor in the SNP. My impression is that the Sturgeon factor are in the grip of a laager mindset. Only those within the circle are worthy while all others are the enemy and must be driven off.
    It reminds me of the tale about the auld kirk beadle who, on his death bed, was asked by his successor if he had any last advice only to be told ” reject a’ improvements”

    Liked by 6 people

  2. I suspect he knows it is totally ridiculous and deliberately wrote it this way to expose just how insular and controlling the SNP are regarding debate of the independence issue. The tactic is aimed to try to get the ‘faithful’ to question why.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Agree Scott. Part of acceptance is to no longer call out what should happen when you’ve no expectation it will. Kevin is painting a picture of what Independence supporters know is needed (if Independence is the goal) which will make what is actually delivered by the party machine so stark, partisan and parochial in its blandness.

      Once you’ve seen the transactional party election machine operating behind the NEC curtain, you just can’t un-see it.

      The desperation for complete political control is choking Scotland’s actual collective power.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Kevin McKenna is surely pointing out the control freakery of the SNP with regard to Independence (and all other matters). The “broad church” of the party would have to stretch from earth all the way up to the Pearly Gates of Heaven and beyond for it to be able to accommodate the likes of Karen Adam on the one hand and Stuart Campbell on the other. Likewise any leading Alba politicians and the SNP leadership and associated acolytes.

    The ‘Special Conference’ is, rather, being set up to rubber stamp whatever the leadership propose, probably some kind of wooly fudge as how best to ‘express Scottish democracy’ or some such. (The conference being so urgent that it comes one-third of a year after the event that triggered the ’emergency’ and with a timing that looks suspiciously close to that of the usual party Spring Conference).

    No, dissenting voices or debate is the last thing the SNP leadership wants. Instead they want to own the Yes movement and brand.

    Et voila – The YESNP!

    Liked by 5 people

  4. “… By late 2015 it was clear that there was not going to be any meaningful analysis of the 2014 campaign by the SNP… ”

    The party had been captured by then, Peter, by a parasitical, non-independence-supporting cabal. The SNP was chosen as the party of government in Scotland, and Scotland was chosen to introduce the ‘trans’ issue to the whole of the UK. The SNP needed the Greens’ support and the price was a delay to independence until the ‘woke’ cabal had pushed through the ‘trans’ agenda. The problem is that the SNP cannot recover – will not be allowed to recover and return to independence as a priority – for the very simple reason that the ‘woke’ (they are anything but) faction aims to see through all its Queer Theory agenda first. They have only just begun with the GRR, and a great deal of legislation has yet to be undermined.

    Not trying to be smart, but I did warn that they would do this and that they needed to be rooted out before we could even think about independence. Now, it is too late to save the SNP. It is finished, on its deathbed as far as being an independence party is concerned. The parasites within the SNP, in collusion with the odious Greens have drawn its life blood. It is dying. Therefore, we need to think hard about where we are to go from here. Personally, I think our only choice is to bring down the SNP and the Greens by withdrawing our votes from them, beginning with the by-elections and the GE. I know how counter-productive that sounds, but there is no other way now.

    Some things about ALBA concern me, but it does seem to be willing to work in tandem with the constitutional groups, such as SALVO, and others, albeit the political route is essential, too, as, in the end, will be UDI – if we are serious about independence. Whatever, we cannot rely on the likes of Joanna Cherry and Angus Brendan MacNeill. They could have left the SNP and joined ALBA, and brought many supporters with them, but they chose to stay, even through some of the worst times in our recent history. Removing Nicola Sturgeon is of no use either because the bulk of the parasites will remain, pushing though legislation which makes the GRR look tame. Most seriously underestimated the ‘trans’ lobby and we are now paying the price.

    The GRR was never “just a women’s issue”, and the women’s vote, or a large part of it, has been deliberately sacrificed by head-in-the-sand people in the independence movement, particularly the SNP, who could not see the wood for the trees. The GRR was always intended by the parasites to be the means to open the gates to England. The pattern was there for all to see. The wilfully blind deserve a good slap, and, unless they see the light and withdraw their support from the SNP/Greens and take it to ALBA, they can kiss goodbye to independence forever. Only ALBA and SALVO and the other constitutional groups can save us now.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Even if everything you say is absolutely correct, the fact remains that the SNP is the party of government and will be for as long as it matters. I know you fully understand the implications of this and that you recount the failures and failings of the SNP largely out of frustration – and not a little justified anger. But there are others here, such as that twathater numpty, who simply cannot grasp the significance of the SNP being the party of government. They are so intellectually bereft that when you state the fact that the SNP is the party of government, they immediately accuse you of being an SNP loyalist. Even when the article they are supposedly commenting on is a scathing commentary on the SNP under Sturgeon’s leadership.

      Of course, dumb trolls like that don’t actually read the articles. There are too many words for them. It doesn’t matter what the author of the article has said because this trolling technique is entirely about misrepresenting what has been said in the sure and certain knowledge that other equally witless bastards who also haven’t been able to read the article will simply accept the troll’s lying account of the authors views.

      You see how idiotic these trolls are in the fact that I have one insisting I’m a Sturgeon-hater and another equally insistent that I am some kind of Sturgeon-worshipping sycophant.

      They are both moronically wrong, of course. But the problem is that even if yourself and others who are here to make a genuine and worthwhile contribution know that they are both wrong and just trouble-making trolls taking advantage of my reluctance to block anybody, other visitors are not aware that these trolls are lying their idiot heads off. So, they go away imagining I’m whatever the fuckwit trolls have accused me of being. The lies spread. The trolls think themselves mighty clever.

      What makes them a particular nuisance for bloggers such as myself is that even if you determine to ignore these trolls, you can’t. You’re obliged to spend time reading the shit they deposit here so as to at least be aware of the lies. I had one on The National today suggesting that I was a member of Proud Boys. I don’t have to tell anyone who has read my commentary on the GRR that there is hardly a less likely candidate for membership of that odious organisation. But that is the point. There is no subtlety to this kind of trolling. It’s simply a case of making the lie as big as possible

      The object of the exercise, of course, is to disrupt discussion and force bloggers to spend as much time denying lies as they do writing articles. We saw Unionist trolls at this game throughout the 2014 referendum campaign. Now, both SNP loyalists and Alba devotees have started using the same irksome methods to make mischief.

      I think I may be obliged to do some early spring-cleaning here. I’m supposed to be reading important documents from the likes of SSRG and preparing for meetings with other serious independence campaigners. I have neither the time nor the patience to be dealing with trolls here. Maybe I need to appoint a moderator. Seems a bit excessive, to be honest. But I have to do something.

      Had to get this off my chest or i’d have been composing all this in my head when I’m supposed to be sleeping. Assuming you’ve read this far, Lorna, I thank you for your forbearance. Maybe you could lend me some?

      Like

  5. You are correct in EVERYTHING you say Lorna but TBQH you are wasting your time trying to convince Peter , as you will be well aware Peter has fought the fight PROTECTING the snp NOT independence , he REFUSED to acknowledge sturgeons betrayal and treason until recently and still insists that ONLY the scum nonce party can take us to independence , he ridicules ALBA and SALVO and denigrates Salmond’s attempt to get a supermajority
    I have been trying for years even begging him and his fellow snp loyalists to take back control of their PARTY to SAVE independence but NO only nicla the sainted one, the messiah had the right to lead us into the light with her SECRET plan , NO wonder it was a secret it didn’t exist , and still the apologists and sycophants like PETER defend the corrupt amoral snp a party riven with sick deviants and perverts
    Check out his defence of this rapist and paedophile enablers party in his Nothing to Lose post where he gets upset at the words I use to describe his beloved party and the deviants within

    “You only destroy your own credibility with that “perverted Paedophile and RAPIST enablers” pish. That’s not anger. It’s rage. Rage is useless at best and self-destructive in most cases. Stop it!”

    Like

      1. BTW this fuckwit knew sturgeon was a betrayer when she publicly announced that a vote for the snp wasn’t a vote for independence but it took a genius like you from 2014 until 2021 to reach the same conclusion , and I’m the fuckwit , YOU keep on saying that the snp are the only ones who can get us our independence WHERE is it , YOU keep on telling people that we have to vote snp to get our independence, AGAIN we already done that and where is it , DO YOU just want people to vote for the scum nonce party to have another 5 years to further destroy Scotland , are you Nicola sturgeon and can I claim my reward
        Ask Lorna and the other REAL females if they are willing to vote for the scum nonce party, a party who have pandered to deviants and perverts whilst ignoring 2/3rds of the population , and if they TRUST sturgeon NOT to introduce more of her deviant ideas INSTEAD of independence

        I sincerely hope you have nothing to do with SALVO , SSRG , or Liberation.Scot because your party loyalty instead of country loyalty will only lead to more division

        Like

        1. I am neither a member nor supporter of any party. You, of course, are a proven liar. And a fuckwit. You simply don’t have the intellectual resources to understand difficulties faced by myself and many others who were members of the SNP in the post-referendum period. That some of those difficulties were of our own making hardly made the dilemmas less intractable. The big question we faced every day was whether it was best to stay in the party and attempt to wrest control from the clique that had hijacked it, or quit and do something else. That I stayed in the party until 2021 is not, as a shallow-minded oaf such as yourself would suppose, a sign of party loyalty ─ any possibility of that being a factor was long gone by then ─ but a testament to the fact that any choice I made conflicted with my lifelong commitment to Scotland’s cause.

          Many factors contributed to my decision to leave. For thoughtful SNP members the choice was not as simple as it might be for a cretin like yourself. Every time I think about it I think of another factor and I cannot say which played the greatest part in my eventual decision to resign. As I think about it now, what is foremost in my mind is my outrage at the way the online conferences were so blatantly managed to prevent any dissenting voices being heard other than in tiny breakout sessions packed with and moderated by members of Sturgeon’s inner circle. Even then and despite the outrage, I stayed with the party a while longer, not out of the blind loyalty which is the only explanation your crippled intellect can comprehend, but because there remained a small band of dissenting members discussing ways we might turn the constraints of a virtual conference in our favour so as to have our views heard.

          As to party loyalty, one of the catalogue of things idiots like you will never understand is that when I joined the SNP in 1962 the party and the cause were almost one and the same. It was all but impossible to be loyal to the cause without that loyalty extending to the party. By the time the Scottish Parliament reconvened at the end of the 20th century, that was no longer true. The SNP had been largely separated from the movement, while still serving as its main party political arm. It still is. But fuckwits like you cannot grasp concepts such as effective political power. For you, it is simple. You hate the SNP, therefore the SNP is no longer anything to do with YOUR cause. You have demonstrated time after time in your increasingly demented comments here that you are incapable of getting your head around the fact that it doesn’t matter a fuck what you or I or anyone else FEELS about the SNP or Sturgeon, the FACT remains that the SNP is the party of government and Sturgeon is the First Minister and no process by which Scotland’s independence might be restored can possibly succeed without the participation of the First Minister and the Scottish Government.

          As I say, for bollards like you it’s very easy. To the simple-minded all choices are simple. For people of normal intelligence it is a very different story. Because we have to cope with all the same things that you hate about what the SNP has become while knowing that the urgency of Scotland’s predicament means that we have no alternative but to rely on the party and its leader because there is no other source of the effective political power that is crucial to Scotland’s cause and no way to contrive an alternative source within the timeframe imposed by political reality. We either use the SNPP as the tool it was always intended to be, or we fail. You have chosen failure. You are an idiot.

          But, as I say, there is far too much complexity and nuance here for a fuckwit to comprehend. Although the essentials of the situation could hardly be simpler. You cannot see the essentials because your head is up your arse and because your hatred of the SNP has made punishing the party more important to you than Scotland’s cause.

          You appear incapable of learning anything from the sensible contributors to these discussions. You are a troll because your behaviour here has become indistinguishable from the behaviour associated with time-wasters and mischief-makers. You may expect to be treated accordingly.

          Like

          1. Liar , Fuckwit , Oaf , Cretin , Crippled intellect ,Idiot , Fuckwit , Demented , Bollard , Simple minded , Idiot , Fuckwit , Troll , Time Waster , Mischief Maker

            No matter how much derision or denigration you chose to aim at people who point out your stupidity in DEMANDING people vote for a FM and leader who has deliberately and intentionally sabotaged our route to independence it does not change the fact that we are further away from independence because people like you have taken 7 years to recognise BETRAYAL

            YOU deride and denigrate mbp for his inability to see the glaring evidence of betrayal in front of his eyes , and how sturgeon has no intention of fighting for independence , take a long look in a mirror , YOU sir are a hypocrite , as you in your promotion of one more vote snp is effectively the same thing , give sturgeon another 5 years in power to complete her total destruction of the YES movement

            YOU have the audacity to post a link on your twitter to a post by Stuart Campbell of WOS that highlights the continued depravity and threats still to come to not only our womenfolk but to ordinary people across Scotland from the very FM and party that you INSIST people should vote for

            MBP do yourself a favour COPY all Peter’s excuses for not seeing the betrayal of Scotland’s independence cause for 7 long years , when you finally awaken to the sabotage of the independence cause by sturgeon and her perverted deviants you will be able to quote them back at him

            Like

            1. You have either not read or not understood a word of what I have written. You continue to lie and misrepresent my clearly expressed views. You are wrong about everything. I could go through your idiot’s rant point by point highlighting the lies. But it would be a futile exercise. You are a bigot ─ incapable of taking in new information if it conflicts with what you have chosen to believe.

              Like

  6. I get angry precisely because the SNP/Greens are in power, the latter for reasons that are entirely pragmatic as far as the SNP is concerned, albeit entirely undeserved, and I get angry because the SNP was my party for most of my life, and I know now, in or out of power, it is finished as the party of independence. It has become so harmful to the body politic and the body social of Scotland that removal can be the only solution now. I do understand, Peter, and, unlike some others, I know your heart has been broken as mine has. If you don’t kow tow to certain accepted views, which change all the time, you become persona non grata. That is the price we all have to pay who are not conformists. Yes, the SNP is the party of government in Scotland, just as the Tories are in the UK. These are realities we have to come to terms with, but I think we must all come to terms with the evidence that the SNP will do nothing towards regaining our independence. When it comes to elections, I will abstain if there is no other suitable candidate. For me, that is a huge deal, and one that I have not taken lightly. Whatever you decide to do, go behind a paywall or whatever, I wish you all the best.

    Like

    1. Good grief, woman! A paywall! (You have to imagine that with Alastair Sim’s voice.) I’d never put up a paywall. That’s for people who are trying to monetise their site. I have no interest in making money out of this, even if that was a realistic possibility.

      Following a private communication from another contributor here, I am considering pre-moderation for persistent nuisances. I dislike having any form of barrier or filter. But I have to deal with the trolls before they make the comment facility a no-go area for people such as your good self. I am still at the stage of mulling this over. If I go ahead, you won’t notice any difference. Other than that you may have to pick your way through less troll-shite to get to the grown-up’s discussion.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Define “trollshite”.

        Given the rather limited population of the comments section of this site, and me being to all intents and purposes the sole dissenting voice among a small band of malcontents on it, I can only assume I am the target of this new policy.

        Ironic given the platitudes over “control freakery” and the suppression of critics within the SNP. As the song goes; “meet the new boss, same as the old boss”. C’est la vie.

        Like

          1. Define “trollshite“?
            ——

            Google, “ostensive definition.”

            Then read what you have just posted.

            Like

        1. You really are a self-regarding buffoon , Me Bungling Donkey . I don’t know who will fall under Peter’s prohibition – if instigated – but I do know your comments comprise the largest cohort other than Peter’s , and often exceed his , and he has shown admirable tolerance in allowing you to repeatedly say nothing of any interest or relevance , just waffling inanities about * Malcontents * and desperate attempts to defend the indefensible . Do you actually think you’re providing some kind of resistance to – what you imagine to be – unjustified attacks on the SNP * Leadership * ? You’re not , you’re just making a fool of yourself and exposing yourself as symptomatic of the craven abandonment of objective , critical appraisal of those who claim to be ( and are paid handsomely to be ) doing everything in their power to achieve our goal .

          That you have the nerve to compare a private citizen – Peter – exercising his right to cut down on time-wasting engagement with people WHO NEVER LISTEN to what’s being said , on HIS blog , to the suppression of all dissent and influence by the ELECTED PARTY OF GOVERNMENT , that has been entrusted by a majority of Scots to do what it’s supposed to do ( do you want me to spell-out what that is , again ? ) but is instead doing everything it was not asked or mandated to do EXCEPT that , is beyond laughable and comes under the category of insulting disrespect

          Liked by 3 people

          1. I am comparing the malcontent blogosphere as a whole to the “organisation” they rail against (to the exclusion of actually supporting independence). Peter, thus far, has been bucking the hypocritical trend.

            And again, Cheers.

            Like

          1. Ostensible Definition: “An ostensive definition conveys the meaning of a term by pointing out examples”.

            I would like examples of what Peter defines as “trollshite”. It appears, from his “Beware of the trolls!” article, he considers twathater (a stalwart of the WoS site) a troll. But is that where it ends?

            Trolls were once almost universally thought of as on-line pests whose sole objective was to destroy debate with abusive, ad hominem posts with little, if any, relevance to the thread. For “WoS” and “Yours for Scotland”, simply disagreeing with the points being made, and especially debating them, makes you a troll and gets you banned from the site. Its a sad day when “debate” becomes “trollshite”.

            Like

            1. There it is again! Your trademark failure to read and/or inability to comprehend the articles on which you comment. If you had read and understood the article, you’d know what manner of trolling I was referring to.

              I could also have used as an example of what I regard as ‘propaganda trolling’ is a practice familiar to anyone who was paying heed during the 2014 referendum campaign. That is to say, the practice of repeatedly asking questions that have already been answered while insisting that they haven’t been answered.

              To whatever extent you are able, maybe you should think about that.

              Like

              1. And there you go again with your trademark abusive response to any request for clarification. I won’t point by point respond myself as anyone who reads what I posted can come to their own conclusions as to the validity of my concerns and your response to them.

                When it comes to your complaint about my insistence you explain what happens between “your” stop-gap UDI and the subsequent confirmatory referendum months later, you still have not given that explanation. You have not explained how an “independent but not” Scotland will function while requiring co-operation from an actively hostile UK Govt.

                But I’ve given up hope of ever getting that explanation so only mention it when it is pertinent. I’ve accepted your UDI solution, but because I prefer a UDI, made after a positive democratic event, that leads directly to independence, you get all ranty.

                Like

                1. There you go again with your infantile whining about ‘abuse’ as a way of evading the point.

                  I don’t know what ‘stop-gap UDI’ you’re referring to as I have never suggested such a thing. Neither have I ever suggested that a confirmatory referendum would be ‘months later’. This would be yet another example of a pestilential troll misrepresenting my views but for the fact that I know you’ve never bothered to read and understand those views.

                  As to the matter of how the country functions in the period between the Scottish Parliament asserting its competence in constitutional matters and the confirmatory referendum, the answer is very obvious. If you were more interested in Scotland’s cause than in childish point-scoring games then you’d have realised the answer immediately.

                  Like

                  1. What “point” am I evading?

                    You want to eschew an initial referendum (de facto or not) and just declare a UDI for the purpose of legislating for a confirmatory referendum. Where am I wrong?

                    Being an inquisitive sort, I question the wisdom of declaring a UDI without proof positive independence is what the majority of Scots want. I question whether a UDI that is subject to a confirmatory referendum can be truly described as a UDI. I realise that, as legislation, organisation and campaigning will be required, it would be months before the confirmatory referendum could be held. I question how Scotland would function in what looks like, to me, the political and economic limbo of the period between UDI and confirmatory referendum. I question the validity of expecting a YES vote in the confirmatory referendum after months of limbo (my words) and hostile UK Govt “mischief”; especially as the people had not indicated support for any of it. And I question whether the consequences for Scotland in the likely (to me) event of a NO vote have been considered.

                    And your response is to get defensive by being abusive and “evading the points” by stating you won’t answer because the explanations are so obvious only stupid people wouldn’t see them for themselves. It’s the old “emperor has no clothes” ploy, only in this case it’s the blogger who has no answers.

                    And if that counts as “trolling” then fine; debate is dead and been replaced by self validating echo-chambers.

                    Like

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