The most modest of proposals

Like all calls for unity in the name of Scotland’s cause, Ivan McKee’s plea for cooperation among the pro-independence parties sounds like plain good sense – until one places it in the context of the roiling cauldron of fractious factionalism that is the current state of what used to be the Yes movement. At which point, it starts to look like totally unrealistic wishful thinking. Ideally, of course, such pleas would be redundant. Ideally, the fractures which would have to be mended for unity to be possible would never have been allowed to develop. The divides that must be bridged would not have been created in the first place. Since the fractures and divides are there, any call for a united front that disregards them is bound to fall flat.

It is difficult enough for any plan to look credible when it is crucially dependent on the kind of solidarity that hasn’t existed in the Yes movement for some years now. It is even harder if the plan is founded on a questionable analysis of the situation. Ivan McKee launches his plea with the assertion that “the UK Supreme Court decision of last year has moved us into new territory”. It hasn’t. It changed nothing. It told us nothing about the nature of the Union that wasn’t already amply evident. Anybody who has been paying attention for the last three centuries or so must have noticed that the Union is inherently anti-democratic. It has to be. Were the Union not anti-democratic, it could never have come into existence. Were it not now anti-democratic, it could not survive. The British very evidently recognise this.

It may be argued that the UK Supreme Court (UKSC) judgement on the draft Referendum Bill provided legal clarity. Indeed, Ivan McKee says as much. But legal clarity isn’t always a good thing. Sometimes, it’s better if a legal question (or question of legality) remains unanswered. Before the First Minister so foolishly chose to have the draft Referendum Bill referred to the UKSC, she had the option to present that Bill and have it passed by the Scottish Parliament. After the court’s judgement was published, that option was lost. It was squandered for no purpose other than to find out something we already knew. And, not at all incidentally, to allow Nicola Sturgeon to look as if she was at last doing something on the constitutional issue after eight years of doing absolutely nothing. Maybe the decision “clarified the law”. But that clarification did not benefit Scotland’s cause at all.

Ivan McKee likes clarification. Arguing that “it is necessary for Yes to be explicitly on the ballot paper [in a plebiscitary election]”, he claims that this “makes it crystal clear what the election is about”. Maybe so. But I can’t help noticing that Mr McKee’s enthusiasm for clarity isn’t sufficient to overcome the SNP leadership’s preference that its spokespersons avoid mentioning Section 30. It’s all very well making it as plain as possible what constitutes a Yes vote. But it is surely also necessary to be clear what voters are voting for when they vote Yes. So why is Ivan McKee so reluctant to state outright that a Yes vote is not a vote for independence, but a vote for another Section 30 request.

To be aware that Ivan McKee is actually talking about the Section 30 process we have to be able to ‘decode’ euphemistic references such as “maximise the pressure on the UK Government”. For what purpose would we be putting pressure on the UK government other than to get them to grant a Section 30 order?

I suppose it’s progress of a sort if our politicians are at least a bit less brazen about their willingness to compromise the sovereignty of Scotland’s people. Personally, I’d prefer that that they didn’t do this at all. But if they are determined to trade the principle of popular sovereignty for worthless British promises of cooperation, it would be good if they were at least honest enough to say so. And if they are not prepared to be honest about their readiness to betray this fundamental democratic principle, I object strongly to being taken for the kind of fool who’d be deceived simply by avoiding any explicit mention of Section 30.

Ivan McKee makes his strongest point when he says,

Forcing your opponents to use your language is a victory in itself. It shifts the narrative and never allows those who would stand in Scotland’s way to forget the clear choice the people have made.

SNP minister Ivan McKee: We must unite under Yes banner at election

He comes tantalisingly close to advocating the comprehensive reframing of the constitutional issue that is required. But rather than pursue this thought, he resorts to some empty political rhetoric.

As stated, Ivan McKee is right about the need for unity. But we must ask for what purpose. If the purpose is merely to keep the SNP in power so they can persist in the party’s stubborn commitment to the Section 30 process then this serves Scotland’s cause not at all. By all means, do everything possible to maximise the effective Yes vote. But let that vote endorse a genuine #ManifestoForIndependence rather than just more of the same from the party that has spent eight years failing to progress the fight to restore Scotland’s independence.

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28 thoughts on “The most modest of proposals

  1. Ivan McKee’s article boils down to describing the purpose of a ‘de facto’ referendum as being to pressurise the British Government into doing something (undefined).

    That ‘something’ is undefined, as is what he would consider to be a threshold for ‘victory’ in such an election.

    The silence on even hypothesising what might possibly follow a ‘win’ is telling.

    So far, all the contributions from leading SNP politicians is either a) ‘do nothing’ (i.e. ‘increase’ YES in the polls to 60%’ or some such then request a S30 power) or b) ‘do something’ (i.e. hold a self-declared ‘de facto referendum’ in an election then request a S30 power).

    Ivan McKee would seem to fall into the ‘do something’ camp.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Peter has lost the plot altogether. No matter how much evidence piles up on his doorstep that contradicts his hypothesis, he just bashes on forward, with his his fingers in his ears, spouting the same old SNP/Sturgeon/Scottish Govt “bad” rhetoric. All with the supposed intention of bringing independence closer, which even the most casual of neutral observers would find difficult to believe.

    And the the thralls who hang on every jaundiced word the malcontent bloggerati write lap it all up and pass it on. And suddenly, who knows why (aye right), the Yes movement becomes “fractious”. All of us who remained stubbornly focussed on getting independence done are well aware who is responsible for the multiple daggers in the back of the Yes movement. Et tu Peter.


      1. You’re absolutely right Peter, I forgot to mention that. Thank you for reminding me. The absence of self-awareness in your on-line rants is not so much “hilarious” as depressing. Tell me again how destroying the repuration of the pro-Indy Scottish Govt, bringing it and Sturgeon down, while banging on and relentlessly hyping up anodyne non-independence issues to facilitate those things, gets us closer to independence.


          1. Why don’t you rope in “Scotland in Union”, “Effie Deans”, “The Mail/Telegraph/Express” or even their buddy the Rev Stu? I would say beware the company you keep, but I think it’s too late for that.


            1. I am a yoon who likes to go through the Nats sites to see what they are thinking. Coming across you in here brings me to the conclusion you are a poser. Various Nats sites and there are many only highlight what the SNP run by Sturgeon are up to yet you see Sturgeon as the great white angel who can do no wrong. You have become actually a bore. Funny at first. Now a bore. We yoons are laughing at all this you know. An election on one issue? Bring it on I say.


                1. No idea why you put up with him Peter. He has now turned into that guy who posted all the times on Wings with these far out links. I loved that. I thought he was funny as anything. I went into one of his links “once” and jumped right back out. MBP has turned into him. Big long paragraphs trying to make himself interesting. Anyway keep up with the blogs.

                  Liked by 2 people

                2. Doesn’t it worry you an avowed unionist supports the work you are doing? He wouldn’t be dismissive of my views, while encouraging yours, if he actually believed yours were the greatest threat to the Union . The unionists aren’t currently mounting an unprecedented campaign to unseat Sturgeon, and destroy confidence in the pro-indy Scottish Govt, because they don’t see them as a major threat to the Union.

                  The malcontent catspaws appear to revelling in the sight of a unionist pile-on on the Scottish Govt and the possibility of its demise. They convince themselves it will bring independence closer because ….. reasons. They are tragically, depressingly wrong. It would take it off the table for decades, if not forever.


                  1. Actually Bungo I do not support the work Peter or BB or YFS or SGP write. I read their blogs and read the btl messages to capture what nationalists are thinking about and I have cracked it big time. I now know that they (you) do not care what happens in Scotland as long as you get Indy. You do not care how useless this gov is and is ruining a great country. Do you not ask yourself why they cannot enact on a power they were passed onto, mainly benefits in 2016 and in 2023 it is not ready and they have had to pay the DWP millions of £’s to run for us. Can you not see the corruption in the SNP at the top. I watched and read everything in the Sturgeon\Salmond case , not because I care about them. It was because I wanted to see what kind of Government Scotland has bestowed on itself and I tell you it was not a pretty sight. Sturgeon and her minions around her are corrupt to the core and you support this 100%. All of the Nationalists I mention + Robin McAlpine are I have to admit sharp as a tack. I read their stuff and by the way the guy on Wings is forensic. He is brilliant in taking on the corruption in the SNP. You Bungo could not lace his boots. All you do is come on here to pose and not say anything. All you do is criticise what views people in here have. Quite boring actually. You should try commenting on what is happening with the ferries, the Guhpta deal, the killing of folk on the A9, the underselling of windpower in the latest deal, the missing money and the loan from Sturgeons husband + many more. I do not want to turn this post into the length of a toilet roll on Sturgeons failings but do try and comment on any of them instead of slagging off peoples views. They have a right to have those views. Even I know that.


                    1. I’ll see your DWP claim and raise you the highest social payments in the UK. I’ll see your allegations of corruption in the Scottish Govt and raise you the absolute cesspit of the Tory UK Govt. I’ll see your “Ferries” and raise you “Aircraft Carriers” and a Ferry company that had no ferries. I’ll see your “Gupta deal” and raise you £bns upon £bns of corrupt PPE deals. I’ll ignore your ridiculous and offensive “killing people” and raise you an HS2. I’ll see your “windpower” claim and raise you the crippling of the renewable sector and a hyper-expensive nuclear program. And while we’re at it, I’ll raise you the best staffed and best paid public services in the UK producing the best results.

                      If you want to persuade people to ditch independence on the back of the SNP’s record, you will have to prove the alternatives would be better. The evidence is massively against you.

                      But yeah, you’ll fit in nicely here. And the usual denizens of this site should take note, if you hadn’t “outed” yourself as a “yoon”, they would have assumed you were one of their own. Compelling evidence of what I’ve been saying for some time now; that malcontent sites such as Wings are riddled with unionist false flaggers intent on destroying Yes from within …. and, unfortunately, been depressingly successful.


      2. Peter.

        I take it you’re into self flagellation, why else would you keep on replying to that cretin, unless of course his inane comments make you chuckle.

        Liked by 4 people

  3. Personally, as an SNP member, I wish the Ivan McKee’s and the Stewart McDonald’s and the Angus McNeill’s of the party would STFU.
    Clarity is what we need, not namby pamby questions like ‘should Scotland be an independent country ‘ or even talking about an S30 far less asking for one.
    What’s needed now is a clear declaration of where Scotland stands in international law by asking the people of Scotland for permission to withdraw from the Treaty of Union.
    Anything less is just pissing in the wind and causes the factionalism so ably described in the article.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I like that Angus MacNeil is trying to shake up the special conference. No point in giving the party leadership an easy time. If they want to have the Sturgeon ‘strategy’ rubber-stamped, make them work for it.

      Liked by 3 people

        1. Answer nicely dodged there, so I’ll take it you are content to be a member of a unionist party at Holyrood, uniting the yes movement, don’t make me laugh, your beloved unionist party leader, y’know the party YOU are a member of, has done its utmost to fracture the indy movement, and more and more folk are waking up to that fact.


  4. “UK domestic law is entirely irrelevant. The Kosovo Opinion of the International Court of Justice makes crystal clear that the domestic law of the state being seceded from, is not the determining factor as to whether a secession is illegal.”

    And that’s it in a nutshell, it doesn’t matter what the 2009 construct the UKSC says, or McKee for that matter.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The Kosovo option is the last resort unless of course your quite happy with England + being the successor state, which was the purpose of Gallagher and Boyle’s laughable opinion on how the uk is constructed. Successor status would allow England + to create enclaves like Faslane, Orkney and Shetland and the area’s designated ExRegio in Scottish waters, might even include the odd air force base.
      Dissolution of the Union kills that notion.


  5. “The Kosovo option is the last resort unless of course your quite happy with England + being the successor state”

    England or the rest of the UK was always going to be the successor state, this was confirm in 2014 by Westminster, and the successor state will also take with it all the UK’s debt as it should do, though some in the SNP, actually want Scotland to take a portion of it, as to which Professor Richard Murphy was left scratching his head as to why.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Your rather easy acceptance of England’s ‘ preferred ‘ option kind of gives the game the away.
    Richard Murphy is immersed in the England supreme Dicey doctrine, if he knows anything about our own constitutional position, he hides it well. Scotland’s share of the former uk’s debt isn’t a problem, our share of assets more than covers that particular issue. BOE, a portion of England’s debt after our own allocation and Trident are part the assets we will acquire.


  7. Scottish folk cannae rely on anyone in the current compromised Scotgov ‘cabinet’ for our independence / decolonization. They are all paid-up Ministers of the imperial crown, which means they are there primarily to protect the interest of the colonizer. Much as we see in the total lack of progress towards independence, despite voting in six ‘nationalist’ majorities.

    This is not difficult to figure this out. The colonizer has stolen our sovereignty and only with independence can we reclaim it, that is assuming we also remove the colonizer, his collaborators and his alien culture. Until that happens we will continue to be a colonial society, i.e. oppressed.

    Liked by 2 people

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