Toeing the party line

Wishart has changed his tune. Back in June 2020 he was totally disparaging of the idea of a de facto referendum.

‘Just doing it anyway’ means we would be doing something broadly similar to what Catalonia did when they ‘won’ their uncontested referendum – without actually winning a referendum! This would in effect mean we would be declaring some sort of Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI).

The consequences of that could not be more serious. Almost certain to be one of the first things to happen is that we would have all of this immediately ruled illegal and be disenfranchised from the entire international community. We would be left in the sort of hellish limbo currently endured by the people of Catalonia.”

SNP MP: De facto referendum is the only route to Scottish independence

So, what has changed? Nothing other than that Nicola Sturgeon did an about turn on the matter. Wishart has to play follow my leader. He now maintains that a plebiscitary election is “the only way forward”.

So far, so disingenuous. What the hey! He’s a professional politician and no better than that title suggests. Some might even welcome this change of mind-like thing as demonstrating open-mindedness such as we would not normally associate with the long-serving MP for Perth and North Perthshire. He is better known – famous, in fact – for blocking anyone who questions the party line at any given time. Does this mean he now has to trawl through his Twitter block list and unblock all the people he previously blocked for backing a ‘Plan B’ plebiscitary election? Who says these MPs don’t earn their money?

It might be possible to welcome this uncharacteristic open-mindedness but for two things. It is not voluntary. And it is not honest. As already mentioned, Wishart’s change of stance on a de facto referendum has been prompted by his boss’s reversal of her previously dismissive attitude towards an idea that wasn’t hers. To be fair, it may just have been that she was baffled by the very concept of fresh thinking. It seems a long time since any of that was tolerated within the SNP.

Is Wishart’s new found reluctant embracing of an idea he previously rejected a genuine reevaluation of the idea? Or is it just an exercise in obedient line-toeing? You decide.

But it is certainly dishonest. To present the de facto referendum as envisaged by Nicola Sturgeon as any kind of route to independence is to totally misrepresent it. Assuming this election trying to pretend to be a referendum is the same as or similar to the referendum proposed in the draft Referendum Bill that Sturgeon fed to the UK Supreme Court judges so they could chew it up and spit it out, it will settle precisely nothing.

The referendum proposed by Sturgeon’s SNP until she contrived to have it slapped down by the UKSC was no more than a glorified opinion poll. It would have had precisely zero effect in terms of settling the constitutional issue. It was guaranteed by Sturgeon that it would be totally ineffectual, presumably because she thought that being meaningless it would be allowed to slide by the UKSC judges. As anticipated, however, the judges took the opportunity to demonstrate that the British state’s contempt for Scottish democracy is such that we are not even to be permitted a pretendy referendum.

Whether that is what Sturgeon was hoping for is an open question. Had the referendum been given the nod by the UK Supreme Court, however, it might quickly have become impossible to conceal the utter meaninglessness of the whole thing. Which would have been embarrassing for the FM. If only she possessed the necessary self-awareness.

Sturgeon/SNP loyalists will, of course, insist that we have to wait and see (again!) the outcome of the SNP’s ‘special’ conference in March to know what the de facto referendum will look like. All the signs, however, are that this conference will be ‘special’ only in the sense of being more tightly stage-managed than ever. I suspect there are few outside the bubble of Sturgeon sycophants who anticipate the gathering being anything more than a rubber-stamping exercise for whatever has already been decided. And we know from the draft Referendum Bill what Sturgeon’s ‘thinking’ is on the matter of the kind of referendum we deserve. Definitely not an independence referendum. More correctly, a referendum to decide that she should continue to press for a Section 30 order.

The purpose of the de facto referendum envisaged by Sturgeon is to secure an endorsement of her ‘strategy’ of hoping the British state suddenly develops a democratic conscience and respect for Scotland such as has never even been imaginable in the past. Aye, that’s going to happen!

If Pete Wishart had genuinely undergone some kind of transformation, then he would be telling us the truth about this de facto referendum. All the stuff about recognising the challenges and risks of the policy is just his way of rationalising his previous position on the matter while putting a varnish of forthrightness on the deceitfulness of portraying the de facto referendum as an independence referendum.

Those of us who put country before party are now so bereft of hope that we are reduced to watching the horizon looking for a rebel within the ranks of those elected to take forward Scotland’s cause. We long for just one of those SNP parliamentarians to stand up to Sturgeon and acknowledge the dearth of strategic thinking which has left Scotland’s cause on the rocks and starting to break up. It was never going to be Pete Wishart, of course. A more unlikely rebel is hard to imagine. But he does remind us how desperately Scotland’s cause needs some genuinely fresh thinking, strong leadership and maybe even a bit of honesty.



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19 thoughts on “Toeing the party line

  1. “Line Toeing”

    ‘It will settle precisely nothing’… As Peter here opines
    Simply Not Politically honest and honourable opinions
    And ‘it will settle precisely nothing, within the minions
    However, Simply Not Practical: floundering opinions?

    Ewenart

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  2. There’s the nub of the matter , the “strategy” of hoping that the British state will develop a democratic conscience . Pigs might fly and fish root for truffles before that’s likely to happen. Mind you the saintly leader has presided over one miracle , the turning of men into women , the pronoun revolution .Who knows what other tricks she has up her magical sleeve?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. As the man himself would say “LET me put this out there straight away”:
    Pete Wishart is a poodle, a Yes man … just not in a good way.

    On more important matters there does seem to be some sort of battle going on within the higher echelons of the SNP ahead of their NEC meeting on 14th January as regards which ‘plan’ they opt for.

    In the de facto referendum corner we have the aforementioned Wishart, Mhairi Hunter and Toni Giugliano. Hunter (https://www.thenational.scot/news/23148508.nicola-sturgeon-ally-win-de-facto-vote-likely-lead-indyref/) and Giugliano (https://www.thenational.scot/news/23151431.snp-section-30-honour-democracy-de-facto-referendum/) are on record as stating it would lead to another Referendum request.

    Wishart is of the view that a ‘victory’ would definitely NOT result in an immediate declaration of Independence but rather lead to negotiations with the UK, although it is not clear what he envisages that these might through up. Perhaps another agreed Section 30 Gold Standard referendum?

    In the referendum corner there is Angus Robertson and Stewart MacDonald. The former stated as reported in the yesterday’s National (https://www.thenational.scot/news/23239371.scottish-government-remains-willing-engage-uk-referendum/#comments-anchor) that he stands ready to deal with the British government so that a referendum can be agreed whilst the latter seemed to be saying in his recent Scotsman article (https://archive.is/MxNd0#selection-1579.245-1579.282) that the priority is building Yes support and being cognisant of Scottish public opinion.

    So Roberston is “let’s have another S30 request” whilst the tone of MacDonald’s piece looks like “let’s wait till we are at 60% then have a referendum’ stance.

    In reality this just looks like an exercise in spin and how to sell it to Yes supporters.

    The NEC i.e. Nicola Sturgeon will decide between the do nothing and do next to nothing factions.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. A nice spin on selective snippets of what people have said. None of which contradicts anything the Scottish Govt has stated, or is anything any Indy should not want to happen if it wins independence.

      What Mhairi Hunter said after the Supreme Court Ruling was;

      “An agreed referendum is the SNP’s preferred option but if UK Government continues to say no then the next opportunity to achieve a majority of votes for independence will be the General Election. With a successful outcome the Scottish Government will open talks with the UK Government on achieving independence. The UK Government might agree to start negotiating terms or they might say they wished to see an agreed referendum take place. I don’t think anybody can predict exactly what would happen.”

      She has expressed an honest opinion that, while the Scottish Govt would seek to go straight to negotiations on making Scotland independent, the UK Govt may want an agreed “proper” referendum instead. That’s just a statement of what the UK Govt might want. It is not SNP policy.

      Her initial statement chimes with your assertion regarding Angus Robertson. It is no secret the SNP would prefer a specific referendum on independence. After the SC Ruling, it is also no secret that would currently require an S30 Order from Westminster. There is nothing remotely odd about that, and it doesn’t contradict the stated Scottish Govt policy of using the next Westminster election as a de facto referendum in the absence of an S30 prior to it.

      What another of your targets, Toni Giugliano, actually said was;

      “If the UK Government wants to come to the table and start negotiations on independence on the back of a (de facto referendum), then I’d be delighted. But I’m also a realist and I think that any advance on bringing the UK Government to a table is a win for Scotland.”

      So, again, it is an SNP member who desires the de facto referendum to lead straight to negotiations on making Scotland independent but, in a bout of honesty, admits the UK Govt might have other ideas. He has no control over what the UK Govt might want.

      As to the last target of your spin, Stewart McDonald, the claim he wants to prioritise building Yes support and being cognisant of Scottish public opinion is hardly a disgraceful revelation. We should all be supportive of both. Granted, Peter’s preferred “Process – praise be” appears to eschew public opinion, but I think that is a mistake.

      So what we have are a group of SNP members, selected by you, who would prefer a specific referendum on independence but, in the absence of the required S30, support using the next UK GE as a de facto referendum. They also agree that, on a YES vote, they want negotiations on making Scottish independence a reality to begin immediately. However, they acknowledge the UK Govt may want a specific referendum after all. Whether they get it is a question of real-politik at the time. Not opportunistic malcontent fantasy-politik.

      Not as disparate as you would have us believe.

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      1. “Not as disparate as you would have us believe.”

        That was my point – the “do nothings” and the “do next to nothings” are essentially offering the same thing. As you have summed up: “However, they acknowledge the UK Govt may want a specific referendum after all.”

        And it follows that they are all prepared to negotiate a referendum on our sovereignty – yours and mine – and permit the terms and conditions to be interfered with by the British state which will compromise that exercise of self-determination.

        That would be a process – a Section 30 – that will be bound to fail us.

        Liked by 4 people

        1. “That would be a process – a Section 30 – that will be bound to fail us”.

          Not “bound to” duncanio. That is just a subjective opinion based on a subjective assumption. You don’t “know” it would fail us, you just “expect” it to. Its an example of the attitude that says “I believe this to be true so it must be fact”. I believe “Peter’s Process – praise be” will leave us with an almost impossible task of winning a confirmatory referendum in the face of a hugely disgruntled population …. but it’s not fact. We’ll only know it’s fact if someone attempts it.

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          1. Of course it’s my believe that it will fail. We’re dealing with the British!

            Despite the numerous knock-backs from various PMs to the pleas of ‘can we have a Gold Standard Section 30 referendum’ the do nothings and do next to nothings are prepared to discuss trading Scotland’s right to self determination.

            The British have not rolled over on this in the last 8 years. I do not expect them to do so now despite all the SNP cries of their undemocratic stance being ‘unsustainable’.

            If the British ever did agree to a referendum it is more than likely that the conditions they will set for their sanction will make it next to impossible to achieve a win for YES.

            And that’s another opinion. One based on the fact that it is the representatives of the British state that we are dealing with. It is not for nothing that they are known as perfidious Albion.

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            1. You are quite correct to say that the Section 30 process is bound to fail us. That is hardly mere opinion. Not if we take due account of the facts surround the Section 30 process. The purpose of the provision. The proven attitude of the British state. Everything that has occurred since the 2014 referendum.

              As I have said before, even if we accept the glib, trite, simplistic and obviously fallacious but nonetheless common assertion that ‘nothing is impossible’, there are things that are so unlikely that we must proceed as if they are impossible. The chances of the Section 30 process succeeding are so remote, and the cost of failure so great, that pursuing that process is not just stupid but reckless and irresponsible.

              Liked by 1 person

  4. So a de-facto referendum about having a referendum, 2 steps away from a referendum actually happening ? So this proposed cunning step is in fact a cunning step backwards from anything remotely resembling independence. Oh – and it requires that we vote again for nuSNP candidates in a westminster election so they can take their seats in the decaying imperial capital for a further 5 years. Even the nuSNP can’t seriously be proposing this, can they? Carrot soup anyone ?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you have the leverage to force Sturgeon to dissolve parliament then you have the leverage to force her to use #ScottishUDI to go straight to a proper constitutional referendum rather than an election pretending to be a referendum. So why would you want that forced election? Maybe because Alba Party might gain a seat or two?

      SNP loyalists aren’t the only ones putting party before nation.

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      1. Good points – but my main reason for preferring a Holyrood based de facto referendum is all to do with the higher likelihood of winning, and using the much loved de Hondt system to win big. Frankly I’d never even dream of putting party before nation, I was an SNP member, now an ALBA member because I put country before party, but my prime loyalty is to an independent Scotland rather than any party.

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        1. But, as I tried to point out, there is no need for any de facto referendum. If you want to dissolve parliament and have an extraordinary election ─ as Alba appears to be demanding ─ then it can only be in the hope of getting a few candidates returned. It is certainly not because the de facto referendum furthers Scotland’s cause.

          Like I said, it’s not just SNP loyalists putting party before country. Alba is all about winning elections just as the SNP is. Add support for the Section 30 process and there is nothing to choose between them. Our entire political class is failing us.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Of course, all just the cynical, jaundiced view of a blogger, who exists in a pristine ivory tower, about politicians who have to deal with, and act within, the complex, Machiavellian real world where little is pristine or straightforward.

    For context, Wishart makes this statement at very beginning of his article;

    “LET me put this out there straight away. A de facto referendum is just about the worst possible way to settle the constitutional future of Scotland. Let me also put it another way. A de facto referendum is now the only way we’re going to be able to settle the constitutional future of Scotland”.

    So he is still not a fan of it but has now come to the conclusion that, with all its faults, it is now the only way forward.

    But while malcontents are allowed to change their minds on these things, SNP politicians are castigated for it. Malcontents on WoS used to almost universally hammer the SNP for not going for a de facto referendum. To the extent that when I posited Peter’s UDI “Process – praise be” on the site I got the customary abuse including being mocked for listening to “the bloviating blowhard from Perth” (their words). Now that the SNP favour the de facto referendum route the malcontents have turned on it and have now rehabilitated Peter and his “Process – praise be”.

    Peter is okay with that. He is apparently not okay with people he doesn’t like moving on from previously held positions. They must be held up to ridicule.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Peter is okay with that. He is apparently not okay with people he doesn’t like moving on from previously held positions. They must be held up to ridicule.”

      Another idiotic comment from our resident idiot. I have NEVER favoured a de facto referendum and still don’t. And I have no problem with people changing their positions so long as they do so honestly and with good reason.

      I never cease to be amazed at how you can so completely miscomprehend simple language and maintain such profound ignorance. Anybody who had actually read anything I’ve written in the last few years would know that I do not favour a de facto referendum. Your claim to be fully acquainted with my views is shown to be just another one of your increasingly puerile lies.

      It would be impossible for anyone of normal intelligence to actually read my latest article and not be aware oif my reasons for being unimpressed with Wishart’s change of position. So, what are we to conclude about you? Other than that you are a particularly stupid troll.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. “I have NEVER favoured a de facto referendum and still don’t”.

        Please point to the part of my post that says you ever did. And I never questioned your reasons for doubting Wishart’s change of position. I just pointed out it was only your take on it implying, as you do in the article, that there are other views to take. You have either failed to comprehend what I said or you’re just making stuff up. Neither option is a good look.

        And now I appear to be a “troll” after having first being dehumanised as an “it”. Its not looking good for debate on this site 😦 .

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  6. Pete Pecker pecked a Party of pickled pleaders
    A Party of pickled pleaders Pete Pecker pecked
    If Pete Pecker pecked a Party of pickled pleaders
    Where’s the Party of pickled pleaders Pete Pecker picked ?

    Marooned on the Isle of Sycophancy .

    One of the few things I’m looking forward to come the next UKGE is seeing Wishart slung out on his useless , lazy , self-satisfied arse .

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Though its always worth pointing out what a treacherous bunch of shits the SNP and Greens have become and how its THEM that’s keeping us under the Westminster thumb.

    So what’ the outlook then, well in my opinion we’re totally f*cked, in 2026 Alba might gain several MSP seats but the die-hard Sturgeonistas brainwashed by the party and the media will in my opinion see the SNP just nudge in seat numbers, and the Greens will once again team up with their fellow paedo/rapist enablers the SNP to run the show, and we’ll have five more years of sucking up shit dished out by the SNP/Greens and Westminster.

    BY then who knows what state Scotland will be in under the SNP/Green rapist,paedo enabling parties, I dread to think, they’ll have another five years to further f*ck up Scotland, and will probably be an influencing party come the following Holyrood elections, if Westminster hasn’t found a way to Stormontise it by then.

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  8. The SNP appear to be dependent on an amicable UK exit/ending when such an outcome does not exist and never has existed. After being given six national majorities by the Scottish people, 3 each at Holyrood and Westminster elections, the SNP still opt instead to run the colonial talking shop. The main problem with SNP MPs/MSPs is that they are not nationalists; if they were nationalists they would already have declared independence and begun independence negotiations long before now on the basis of having democratically secured a national majority.

    The SNP leaderships other problem is that they have never undertaken a reasoned analysis of the colonial situation. Had they done so, they would have known that the first thing they should have done upon democratically taking power in the country would be to remove all the unionists place folk appointed to manage and control Scotland’s governing and social institutions and replace them with Scots holding an allegiance only to Scotland.

    It should seem obvious that any peoples transition to independence (which is decolonisation) will always remain in jeopardy, and risk being seriously undermined and severely diluted, and indeed may well be prevented via the continuation of any in-situ administrative elite that holds allegiance to the dominant imperial power.

    Craig Murray, who also appears to agree on #UDI, has recently pointed out this latter necessity, which was also highlighted by Lesley Riddoch in her interviews with key actors during the independence of Estonia: https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2023/01/trains-mostly-planes-and-automobiles-part-5/

    Liked by 4 people

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