I don’t do faith. Faith is belief contrary to evidence. I don’t do belief contrary to evidence. I follow the facts and the logic and the reasoned analysis. I don’t do faith. Those who do faith follow the account of reality provided by those who would manipulate them. I embrace only the account of reality as I observe it for myself. I don’t do faith. When a politician appeals to faith, they don’t appeal to me. Because I don’t do faith. When a politician urges me to have faith I can only assume that they do so because they lack the rational arguments that might persuade me. When they implore that I resort to faith, abandoning reason, it is because they are trying to sell me a version of reality which is very different from that which I would observe and reason for myself.

The version of reality that Humza Yousaf is peddling in The National today suggests he is totally disconnected from observable reality – and wants the rest of us to be likewise. He would have us believe that the SNP’s present travails are but a minor blemish on an otherwise perfect complexion when what we see for ourselves is a visage ravaged by an ugly rash. Only with faith can we blind ourselves to the disfigurement and see the photogenic face that Yousaf wants us to see. I don’t do faith. I choose not to be blinded.

The first thing to strike me on reading Humza Yousaf’s column was how much it resembled a party leader’s address to conference. Reading that piece it was very easy to imagine it as the transcript of any conference address by Nicola Sturgeon. It’s the kind of turd-polishing exercise that would be the cue for a standing ovation. I vividly recall the last time I was in the audience for one of those ego-stroking, self-congratulatory speeches. I remember being berated by some of those around me for not participating in the standing ovation that followed the speech as surely as night follows day. But listening to that speech I had become increasingly aware of the vacuousness of the words. This was 2019, and I was a year away from quitting the party I first joined some 60 years ago. Looking back, that incident may have been the point at which I began the year-long process of wrenching myself away from the thing that the SNP had become. Humza Yousaf’s words took me right back to that moment of dawning realisation. Or to be more precise, the conscious acknowledgement of something I’d had a suppressed awareness of for longer than I’d care to admit.

Four years ago – it seems much longer – Nicola Sturgeon presented me with a version of reality that did not accord with my experience. In fact, it clashed with and grated against my lived experience. Four years on, the reality has grown worse; the rash has spread and deepened, and here is the new party leader presenting me with exactly the same false picture his predecessor tried to sell me in 2019 – tried and failed. It was bad enough being told then that everything in the SNP/Scottish Government garden was blooming as if blessed by the hand of Monty Don himself (apart from a couple of weeds over there, but they’re being dealt with so move on). It’s a hundred times more insulting being fed the same pabulum now. Humza Yousaf is taking this whole continuity thing very, very literally.

No doubt you will be aware of the song Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive. You could hardly be unaware given that it has been recorded by everyone from Perry Como to Dr John and has featured in countless films and TV shows. The lyrics, written by Johnny Mercer, urge us to “accentuate the positive” and “eliminate the negative”. If Humza Yousaf’s article had been a conference address, that song would have been the perfect exit music as he walked offstage. Come to think of it, Nicola Sturgeon missed a trick there.

This speech was stale when Nicola Sturgeon gave it in 2019. It has the distinct stench of decay about it as Humza Yousaf attempts a 2023 revival. To make such an issue of the SNP’s membership only five minutes after it has been the subject of a controversial cover-up and U-turn seems more than a bit clumsy and cloth-eared. But what else does he have in the way of positives to accentuate until the pips screech in tortured agony? Clumsier still is the attempt to eliminate – or at least to minimise – the negative of what he refers to only as “the difficulties of the past weeks”. Yousaf and his colleagues would be delighted if we all would think in such bland terms. Many are happy to oblige. Others – particularly those who don’t do faith – see not “the difficulties of the past weeks”, but the disaster of the past years. If the picture Nicola Sturgeon painted in 2019 was merely false, that same picture painted now by Yousaf is utterly deluded.

There is a jaw-dropping disconnect between the vision presented by Yousaf and the observable reality of the SNP’s “difficulties” and Scotland’s predicament. To substitute that vision for that reality would be an act of blind, mindless faith. To find the First Minister of Scotland doing so is beyond troubling.

You can’t repair a fault unless you know precisely what the fault is. You can’t solve a problem until you accurately identify the nature of that problem. You can’t plan a journey without knowing exactly where you’re starting from. If what Yousaf tells us is what he actually supposes the situation to be then he cannot be the person who repairs the faults in the SNP’s internal governance or the one to solve the problems which ensue from this. If Humza Yousaf is as deluded as he seems about where stands Scotland now, then he cannot possibly be the individual who will lead us as we “take the decisive steps on our journey to independence”, because he won’t just be starting from the wrong place, he’ll be starting from a place that exists only in the imagination of the faithful.

I don’t do faith!

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71 thoughts on “Disconnected

  1. I recall Yousless saying at a hustings during the leadership contest, that Sturgeon is the smartest person he knows, and if she couldn’t deliver independence no one could.

    Both Yousaf and Forbes had/have no indy plan.

    In my opinion the quickest way to get the cause back on track is a rerun of the leadership contest, I refuse to believe that only 11.1% of the SNPs membership voted for Ash Regan, this is down to the machinations of Murrell and GCHQ.

    Yousaf openly admitted that he’s the continuity candidate, which is code for they’ll be very little change when I’m FM.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I think it is already too late to bring it back on course, Republic. Had the membership voted for Ash Regan, there might well have been some hope. Now, there is none. They threw way their last chance. Hell mend them all.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lorncal.

        How do we know that they didn’t vote for Regan, the contest was mired in secrecy and deception, I also recall that it was claimed that around 20% of the membership didn’t vote, which seems strange to me especially when we knew what was at stake.

        Also I don’t see why its too late to have a rerun, Murrell was/is part of a live police investigation he should’ve recused himself from the entire process, the participation of GCHQ in should see it run again if nothing else.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I agree that the election itself was questionable – is questionable – but a re-run would be pointless if outside and inside adverse influences are going to be present. Read the letters in The National and you get a fair idea of how the membership – or much of it – thinks. They would probably vote in Kate Forbes, and I can’t say I’m sure she would make a difference at all.

          There is a determined inability to see the truth and a determined will to do whatever is the wrong thing. I read several letters all in the same vein: it would be worth challenging the S35 Order and passing the GRRB into law for independence. Really? For independence that is not coming and which they have no intention of bringing in? Hell mend those swine who would throw women, who worked most of their lives for the SNP, under the bus for a mirage.

          Personally, I will never forgive them, and, when independence comes, I hope they are outed as the swine they are. It takes a certain cynicism or downright lack of intelligence to believe that self-ID could possibly be a good thing for anyone, but particualrly children and young people. I do not understand those who did not vote either, although we might find out the actualite once we know the numbers. Hundreds have moved to ALBA very recently and I expect more will decamp or will quietly drop out of sight, sickened.

          Liked by 1 person

      2. As far as I can make out, amoungst the incoherent gibberish she spouted about climate denial, super-duper big capitalism, etc, Regan’s independence plan was to get 51% of the electorate to vote SNP (more likely <40%), then ask the British gov to enter into negociations with her (they would tell her to fuck off, but not before the SNP told her to fuck off). From what I could make she then planned to moan about it to some undefined ‘international community’ (whoever they are, they couldn’t care less).

        If that’s a plan, I’m the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Sounds just like Sturgeon’s last hoodoo for zombies.

        Sorry, I forgot, she would set up a committee, as well.

        All that would involve winning over a lot of the 85% of SNP members who didn’t take her seriously.


        1. Supposing that even half of what you say about Ash Regan’s offering is accurate, it’s still a hundred times more than was being offered by either of the other candidates. Rather than condemning Ash Regan’s plan you’d do better to condemn the fact that none of our politicians is even making a serious effort to look as if they have a plan.


          1. Sorry Peter, I’ll correct the error:

            All that would involve winning over a lot of the 89% of SNP members who bothered to vote and didn’t take her seriously.

            You can read her opaque gibberish at length in her article in that bastion of SNP membership, Wings Over Scotland, of all places.

            I would imagine that if the SNP somehow recieved 51% of Scottish votes in the next GE rather than a campervan collection and a radioactive look to outfits like KPMG nevermind the electorate, both Yousef and Forbes would also ask Westminster to undertake negociations. They would also be told to fuck off. But you are correct: None of them have a plan after that. What seperated Regan from the other candidates was that she would have set up an independence committee (rather than a minister for independence?). And her love of oil and roads, possibly with the exception of Forbes on that.

            Astonishing that the SNP couldn’t come up with three better candidates for First Minister of Scotland, who wouldn’t have been nearly so wierd or useless.


      1. Peter.

        You’re a man with connections, how do we get the SNP rebels to find a way to rerun the contest, Angus B. McNeil and Kevin McKenna have openly called for it, I’m confident that Joanna Cherry would be onboard with the idea as would Ash Regan, I’d wager there’s a few more SNP MSPs how would also be open to the notion.

        Its not just the future of the SNP that’s at stake here, its the entire country, yet I sense no urgency within the SNP ranks or it membership to rerun the contest, even though everyone knows the first one was a tainted process.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I don’t have those kind of connections. I agree that there are probably a great many members and elected representatives (MSPs, MPs, Councillors) who would at least be open to the idea of a rerun. It would take a high-level individual to start that ball rolling. The likelihood of that happening diminishes with every passing day. I think it may already be too late. Yousaf is settled in. He has the big office and wields the big stick. We can be sure he doesn’t want a rerun. I can’t see anybody going up against him on this. It’s just too easy to make excuses for not doing so.

          Liked by 1 person

    2. ‘A rerun of the leadership contest’? The only way that can entertain any credibility is if a new slate of candidates is drawn up of candidates with a genuine commitment to Independence. If none of the incumbents currently ensconced within Holyrood have the guts or intellectual capacity for the task then we are under the SNP, in the words of Neil Sedaka, ‘GOING NOWHERE’!

      Following the events of the last week Sturgeon and Murrell can surely no longer have any credible vestige of authority and control over the thought processes which they sought to impose on the governance of that party. Yousaf, as the author states is ‘utterly deluded’. If that delusion of ‘FAITH’ extends to include the recently appointed cabinet ministers, the remaining SNP MSPs at Holyrood and what must surely be the remnants as members of that once great party it will take more than ‘a rerun of the leadership contest’ to prevent disintegration in the face of a targeted onslaught from the colonialists sitting in their ivory towers in another country.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. ‘A rerun of the leadership contest’? The only way that can entertain any credibility is if a new slate of candidates is drawn up of candidates with a genuine commitment to Independence. ”


        The Britnat, MSM all but blanked Ash Regan in the leadership contest because they feared her plan for independence, the SNP hierarchy and the MSM tried to make it out to be a contest between Yousaf and Forbes, Murrell and GCHQ had already set that narrative, that Regan would finish last, and she did, but the contest was shrouded in secrecy

        Liked by 1 person

        1. To my mind, it’s not a democratic exercise if anybody can ask reasonable questions about any significant aspect. There were/are a great many questions about various aspects of the process. Whether these questions are reasonable or otherwise is largely a subjective judgement. But not entirely. There are aspects of the process about which reasonable questions may basked which concern an objective fact ─ such as cutting short the campaign.

          Even the fact that the Executive Council is empowered by the party’s constitution to make changes to the constitution put a huge question mark over everything that is subject to such changes. It puts a massive question mark over the entire party and the democratic credentials of which we were once rightly proud.

          It’s a mess. And if you try to turn away from the mess all you do is find another mess.

          Liked by 3 people

          1. One thing the SNP needs desperately right now is a bit of credibility, the party’s reputation has been seriously damaged over the last few weeks, and in the longer term, surely there must be someone further up the chain of command who realises this, and a open and democratic rerun of the contest would go some way to restoring at least some faith, that the party isn’t completely lost.

            However I sense no such moves from the party, denial appears to be the main response from the likes of Mike Russell, I get the feeling that no one within the party wants to be held accountable for its demise, its as if a deep sense of business as usual has fallen over the party, and that the last eight years and indeed the last few weeks are but minor bumps in the road easily overcome with a new leader promising more of the same.

            Liked by 2 people

        2. Ash Regan was not bold enough in prosecuting her case. Regan by presenting herself as the ‘PRO INDEPENDENCE’ candidate proved only that the MAJORITY OF SNP membership HAD NO BELIEF!!

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh come all yea faithless, joyless and despondent . I had an almost identical moment of revelation at a party conference when I refused to stand up during the statutory ovation . The music played , the lights brightened and the dry ice produced wreaths of false reek. John Swinney took centre stage but my arse remained firmly planted to the seat , my knees locked in the sedentary position .True believers around me urged me to reverse genuflect, , but to no avail . I was lost to the party cause.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Believe In Scotland was the massive back drop banner to many a conference.
    Fine for the converted, but bind subservience by the already converted does not bring anyone, or anything new to the table.
    We don’t need faith when the evidence and facts should stand up for themselves.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Some people are able to deny reality for a very long time. Most humans, however, are unable to keep it at bay for long. That is just a fact of life. Even when we try to dodge it, reality intrudes. The letters pages of The National is full of attacks on decent people who saw what was happening to the SNP and spoke out or simply left the party – the realists.

    The thing is, though, Peter, you can have both faith and reality: you see the reality, but you have the faith to understand that, if change happens, the reality can be changed for a new reality, because you have faith in the Scots. I do not think for a moment that the SNP can be saved, and that is the heartbreaking reality, but I have faith that independence can be saved – if we do the necessary things to make it happen.

    Nor do I think that the SNP is irreplaceable or omnipotent in the process. ALBA is simply not ready, so there is no point in berating ALBA, its members and supporters, or in denigrating Alex Salmond. SALVO and Liberation.scot have part of the answer; Alex Salmond has part of the answer with his roadshows and keeping the populace informed; and the setting up of a Constitutional Convention is also part of the answer.

    However, reality dictates that we must win elections or, at the very least, nip at the heels of the SNP/Green coalition to keep it honest – as far as that is possible now, for the time it has left – and the SNP/Green coalition must put a brake on the policies that alienate the public. If they don’t, their demise will be all the sooner.

    I think, though, that the suicide pact between the SNP and the Greens is so deep-rooted that neither will survive what is coming – and what is coming is a massive wave of discontent in Scotland that will lend impetus to independence and sweep them away, a wave of discontent far more potent and wild than anything we have witnessed or heard about thus far: usually, it is termed the second wave of the independence bid; and the third wave will see independence established at last.

    This might be partly faith on my part, but it is, essentially, hard, pragmatic reality: we are entering the second wave/phase which is common to all independence movements; and it almost always involves the demise of the original party or movement for independence which, almost inevitably, gets hung-up on its own self-importance, corruption and greed, and betrays all its core principles for accommodation. The SNP/Green coalition has almost reached that point. Humza and his ‘woke’ Green partners will be forced to drink deep of the poisoned chalice they coveted so much.


    1. I prefer a plan. A series of related actions leading to an intended outcome within a specified and minimally flexible time-frame which takes account of foreseeable changes in circumstances. Nothing that qualifies as a plan has a timeframe which extends beyond the next UK general election. Nothing that resembles a plan discounts the active involvement of the Scottish Government. Nothing that resembles a plan depends crucially on the honest cooperation of the British government or the installation of a new Scottish Government.

      Nothing that resembles plan relies on faith at any point. Or magic.

      Scotland’s cause is dying of neglect. Killed by complacency. Disarmed by faith.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No independence movement or party has ever been able to achieve those criteria, Peter. Think of Ireland, think of the former Soviet Union, think of the former Yugoslavia, think even of the former Czechoslovakia, which agreed to separate. All of them happened basically overnight. Circumstances, not plans, bring independence. That is the reality. Plans, like policies, can be hi-jacked by bad faith players, as we know all too well.


          1. Only the circumstances allowed these to happen. Without those particular circumstances in each case, they would never have happened.


            1. Correct. Circumstances brought about an easing of the constraints that impeded the process and made planning difficult or impossible. The circumstances did not lead directly to the outcome. The two had to be linked together by people who were aware of the necessary process and who devised a plan that would guide ongoing development through that process. Otherwise, history would be very different.

              Liked by 2 people

                1. Some of it has to be ad hoc. Although I’d rather say that the plan has to have an element of flexibility. The constraint on that flexibility is the process. The plan cannot depart from the process. #ScottishUDI is really just a sketch rather than a fully-formed plan. It is intended to show the general shape and form of a plan by setting out a series of bullet-point stages. At this time and for my purposes, such a sketch is sufficient. Detail gets filled in later. Fine detail may be filled in on an entirely ad hoc basis. But there are limits to how far the detail can depart from that basic sketch. It’s like a skeleton.

                  Somewhat belatedly, I came to the realisation that none of our politicians was able to show us a skeleton ─ other than the kind that pops out of cupboards at inconvenient moments. Ash Regan showed us some bones. That’s the best we’ve had from our political elite. It’s not enough. But it could have been something to build on.

                  Our best chance of restoring Scotland’s independence still lies with getting the SNP and other Scottish (not British) parties to adopt the #ManifestoForIndependence in some form. That demonstrates that they have a plan. And, if done properly, it binds them to a promise to follow that plan, insofar as politicians can ever be bound by mere solemn promises. You may say it’s not much of a chance. I would not disagree. The fact that it is our best chance tells us all we need to know about the abject failure of the Sturgeon years.

                  The very act of adopting the #ManifestoForIndependence is a game-changer. Even if Alba Party adopted it that would massively alter the political landscape. It is the trigger. But how many people do you see campaigning for it? Almost none! Everybody is either farting around with projects that fail to connect with an effective process in one way or another, or they are fully engaged in tribal sniping between (among?) the Scottish parties. We need something as dramatic as the #ManifestoForIndependence to provide that seed around which the Yes movement can unite. And I know the skeleton plan is feasible. I have been told as much by some very highly qualified people who I’m reluctant to name. Some aren’t happy with the use of the term UDI. But I maintain that the British are going to use that term anyway as a pejorative and we can take the sting out of it by taking ownership of it and presenting it in a new light. We show that the British are lying about UDI just as they lie about everything else.

                  I better stop. I’m on roll. But maybe ask yourself why nobody is campaigning for such an obvious game-changer. WTF is wrong with people??


                  1. Yes, I get where you are coming from, Peter. What is wrong with people? I ask myself that question every day. I’m in favour of UDI, always have been, but, as a democrat, I have gone along with the majority. I think we are edging towards it now, in any case, and it won’t take much to make it happen.

                    Liked by 1 person

      1. Will the SNP, Peter? There is no will within the SNP or the Greens to do what it would take to revive the SNP and/or achieve independence. You only have to listen to the MSPs/MPs/members. We could be living circa 1916, in pre revolution Russia, so divorced from reality is the ruling party/faction.


        1. You miss the point. It’s one of those killer question put to those who have given up on the SNP but claim they still support independence and regard it as a matter of urgency. It is a question that punctures all the fantasies. Because only the Scottish Government can initiate the process by which independence can be restored. And if it isn’t done before the next UK general election the British will put in place measure to make it effectively impossible for Scotland’s independence to be restored ─ a bit like Catalunya. Follow the logic. If a party cannot be the party of government in Scotland before the next UK general election then said party can do nothing to restore Scotland’s independence.

          Like I said, a killer question. another killer question asks for a plan. If it doesn’t meet the criteria and deal credibly with issues such as parliamentary competence, then it doesn’t qualify as a plan. It’s just wishful thinking.

          I am no more a fan of the SNP as it is now than you are. But writing them off simply isn’t an option. It just isn’t. Neither you nor I have to be happy with that. Reality don’t give a shit. Things are what they are. They are that way not because they were destined to be that way, but because they’ve been prevented being any other way by the rest of the universe. If you want things to change, you have to remove or ease some of the proximate constraints that prevent a thing being other than it is.

          You cannot write off the SNP without writing off independence. Because ─ and I offer no apology for issuing another reminder ─ only the party of government can initiate the process that will alter the constraints preventing independence. That alteration MUST be initiated within the next 6 months or so to avoid the further constraints that we must, if we are sensible and serious, assume will be put in place by the British government in the wake of the next UK general election. Which could happen at as little as 6 weeks notice.

          Unless I’m wrong about some or all of this. But if I am, it’s curious that nobody has yet been able to demonstrate that I’m wrong. They’ll rant and fume and cover the we with their spittle as they condemn and castigate me for saying it has to be the SNP. What they won’t do is show where my reasoning is wrong.


          1. You cannot write off the SNP without writing off independence.

            The previous auditors gave their notice 6 months ago, and so far no replacement. Supposedly the firms aren’t as interested as before because it’s a lot of work for relatively little money. So what happens if the SNP can’t file their accounts to the EC in July? What would happen if the SNP was no longer a legal entity?

            I’d guess that PDQ another similar party would form like the SIP, and everyone would move en masse over to it – but it would need elections and a new NEC. And a new leader.



            1. So, my point is made. Without the SNP it would take some near-miraculous, if not completely impossible, developments for independence to be achievable. We will pay a heavy price for having allowed the SNP to be taken from us and wrecked as it has been.


          2. All the independence successes I listed were achieved by a ‘people’s movement’ in reaction to a certain set of circumstances: the former Soviet States went their own way when it became obvious that Russia, the central power, could no longer hold them; the former Yugoslavia fell apart because Serbia would not allow the other states to go their own way without a war (Slovenia was recognised very quickly by both Austria and Germany and was kept safe after Austria threatened to bomb the Serbian Army and militias back to the Stone Age.

            Croatia responded to a Serbian invasion by declaring war which it eventually won, but not before conceding some territory to the Serbs, and leaving the situation unresolved, like NI here; Bosnia-Herzegovina was torn asunder by Serbia, but still achieved independence in the long run after appalling civilian casualties); and even the split between Czechia and Slovakia was the result of impossible differences between the two populations, which the politicians decided to solve by going their own ways). “… The best laid schemes o mice and men gang aft agley… ”

            The British State might well try to impose something on us in order to stymie independence, but it will be pointless now because all it would do is actually stimulate the desire for independence, as happened in Ireland, although, with them, it was the brutality of the Black and Tans hat turned the population against them and into the arms of Sinn Fein and the IRA.

            If it has to be the SNP, that would mean even ALBA members and others of other independence parties all voting for the SNP again to ensure they are elected again. I won’t. Not ever. The only way to keep the SNP on track is if they agree to unity with all the other independence factions and drop the GRR reform. If they do, they will alienate the Greens; if they don’t, many women in Scotland will refuse to vote for them.

            They might push it through on the youth vote, but I suspect that a legal challenge would follow swiftly on a number of counts, not least because of the recent changes to the legal system: if someone of 16 is not capable of knowing right from wrong in a sex crime because his synapses have not finished their connections, how can that same person be considered mature enough to vote, marry, have children, decide that he wants to ‘transition’, etc.? The SNP simply do not do joined-up thinking.

            If Humza forges ahead with a challenge to S35 instead of challenging on barriers to independence, he will fall very quickly. I’m no prophet, Peter, but I promise you that, just as I said that NS would fall if she insisted on self-ID and the GRR reform. If he falls, the SNP is back to square one – almost, but not quite. It is now impossible for the SNP to remain in power and do what its core policy insists must be done. That is the point: it is now the SNP itself, rather than Westminster, which stands in the way of independence, and, like Westminster, it must be by-passed. Sorry, but most females in Scotland are not willing to be the sacrificial lamb/take one for the team/, as they say in quizzing parlance.


            1. In none of the cases you mention did independence ‘just happen’. There had to be a process. There had to be people who were aware of the process. There had to be people who initiated and followed the process. There had to be people who knew what steps had to be taken to get from where they were to where they wanted to go. That means there was a plan. Because if no process was followed, nothing happened and we just imagined it all. Maybe that plan didn’t exist months or years before events prompted or facilitated its execution. Maybe it did, but there is no record. It really doesn’t matter. There was a plan at some point. Without a process, nothing happens. Without a plan, what happens is entirely random.

              The plan is what connects the impetus to the execution. The brutality of the Black & Tans didn’t connect directly to political change. It merely provided the impetus that triggered a process. Without that process and its accompanying plan, the brutality of the Black & Tans would have had the effect that the British intended ─ at least until somebody devised a plan to effect political change.

              This is why those such as Gerry Hassan who urge us to stop thinking and talking about process are so foolish. They have an overly romanticised perspective which sees political change as the immediate product of dramatic or heroic events. The process is the less exiting bit in between the events and the outcome. Not the least of the reasons the 2014 campaign failed was a failure to consider the process. A failure to properly plan the measures that would connect the campaign to the desired outcome. There was this romantic idea that a Yes vote meant independence. The politicians talked as though they’d go straight into negotiations the day after a Yes result was announced. That creates a nice smooth, pleasing narrative for the punters. But it’s not what happens in real life. Real life is rarely like the movies.

              I know all this is so because I was among those who failed to realise then the importance of process and plan. Or I assumed Alex Salmond had it covered. The difference between me and those who continue to be dismissive of process and plan is that I have sought to learn the lessons of the 2014 referendum. I have done so since almost immediately after the result was known. Even so, it was only maybe a year ago that I had one of those surprise moments of insight when ─ probably as I was writing something like this ─ it suddenly occurred to me that a Yes vote in 2014 would NOT have meant Scotland’s independence being restored. Because ‘we’ didn’t have a process and a plan, the British would have decided what the process was. And we can be sure it would have been both laborious and onerous.

              No lessons have been learned by our political elite. Or if they have, the implications of those lessons are such that the politicians are unwilling to contemplate. Which is where I go into my whole #ScottishUDI routine. Or not, as surely everybody reading this is already familiar with that ‘plan’. What is remarkable is that flawed and incomplete as that plan very probably is, it is the only one in existence. No politician or party has offered anything that even remotely resembles a plan. Ash Regan probably cam closest. At least she showed signs of being aware of the need for a plan, even if she failed to ‘follow through’ on process.

              Other than Ash Regan, all the rest of the nominally pro-independence politicians and parties have nothing. And I include Alex Salmond / Alba Party in this. They all talk as if we should simply do a rerun of the 2014 referendum. Same campaign. Same expectation of a direct connection between a ‘heroic’ Yes vote and the restoration of independence. Not one of them is talking in terms of a totally different approach to the constitutional issue so as to at least open up the possibility of a different outcome.

              What is important about #ScottishUDI is not that it is a prescription for independence, but that it illustrates the need to consider process. It provides an illustration of what a plan laid over a process would look like. Along with #ManifestoForIndependence, it was intended to provoke discussion about process that might even become intense enough to impinge on the consciousness of those inside the bubble of party politics. It hasn’t worked. Which is unfortunate. Because unless we have that discussion and unless it is soon, then Scotland’s cause is doomed ─ at least until we’ve grown up enough to realise that a dream without a plan is just romantic wishful thinking.

              Liked by 1 person

  5. As others have noted, Yousaf said at a hustings that if Nicola Sturgeon couldn’t get us independence then no one could. He’s already admitted defeat so what’s the point of him? There is none, he’s a loser. It will be self interest, status and gimme your votes. Yet more mandates – sigh – and more begging letters to Westminster for a s30 knowing full well that it’s pointless.

    As for the leadership election, it should be re-run but no hope of that as the vested interests from Sturgeon’s time still have control. Neither do I expect much change in the running of the SNP. Nicola Sturgeon often complained about Westminster being undemocratic whilst the party was run by a tiny cabal which ruthlessly dealt with dissent by running independence activists out of the party and treated them like they were scum of the earth. Yousaf doesn’t seem in a hurry to change that.

    Without a total clear out of that cabal, I can’t see independence happening and I’m fn angry.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Yes, I was startled at that. What a prat.

        His time in government, he said 10+ years, hasn’t exactly been stellar. I can’t see what anyone sees in him – as a politician and leader I mean – he does not seem very able and appears to do as little as possible in each of his ministerial appointments.

        I agree, he’s a disaster for our independence.

        What now, I ask myself. Drifting aimlessly? Depressing thought.


        1. The SNP is screwed. The Unionists have been making hay, and, unfortunately, much of what they say is true, the rest being fairly effective propaganda, and people out there, who have yet to be persuaded, are being alienated. All they see is a bunch of half-baked jokers struggling to remain relevant. Imagine what could have been Sturgeon’s legacy had she attempted to bring in independence, even if she failed ultimately. It is the not trying that people cannot forgive, the half-hearted efforts to try and convince us that they were actually doing something, the con tricks, the lies. Independence will come, but not through anything that the SNP does now, but, far more likely, by what the British State will try to do to stymie it.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I’ve always wondered if it would be the other country in this unholy union which would finally bring about Scotland’s independence because they’re so damned nasty, corrupt and condescending to Scotland whilst ripping off our resources at no cost to them. The French would have had a revolution by now. The Scots, on the other hand, appear to have boundless patience with our neighbours over the border. Patience or is it something else?

            Liked by 1 person

  6. ” I don’t do faith. ”

    But faith is the platform upon which the SNP has built its success, and the party faithful will continue to believe rather than ask the searching questions necessary to expose the lack of a plan. ‘Don’t rock the boat’ says Blackford.

    Meanwhile, the SNP (aka the SS Titanic) has hit the iceberg and the string ensemble are playing ‘Nearer my God to thee’, as the passengers refuse to believe it will sink.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Yousaf may be a half-wit but he’s not altogether stupid. He must know that people are aware that he’s not serious about full self-government for Scotland. He more or less said so during the SNP leadership contest.

    For what it’s worth I believe he is using “Independence” as a shield. I may be wrong of course but I think is the cover that he needs to pursue the GRRB via the UK Supreme Courtarguing that the application of the S35 broke the Scotland Act (1998). He’ll claim to be ‘standing up for Devolution’ before you know it.

    When he said he was the “continuity candidate” during the SNP leadership election ‘campaign’ he was sending out a coded message:

    He couldn’t state that explicitly of course but he was signalling to the transgenderist-devolutionist wing of the party (and the Greens) that he was in fact the GRRB candidate.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I very much take your point about having a plan Peter. In fact I think there is a need to have a number of potential plans to match future scenarios which can be envisaged, so that when one of these scenarios looks like becoming reality, then the appropriate plan can be swung into action – and I’m also pretty sure that none of the rapid changes mentioned by Lorna was unplanned. I am also pretty sure that alternative plans were on standby to cope with all of the envisaged scenarios which , in the end, did not play out. I don’t do faith either, but I do do chess (badly) and other games.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. So who planned the fall of the Berlin Wall and the subsequent fall of Russia? That took even the West by surprise. The West fought to have Yugoslavia remain as one state, but circumstances outran all the plans, bg. As I quoted (Burns): “… the best laid schemes o mice and men… ” Particularly men because we always believe that we can best everything.


      1. That is the context, not the process. The fall of the Berlin Wall ─ or at least the political changes this represents ─ mere removed or altered the constraints and allowed a process to be initiated. It is, of course, possible to plan something akin to the fall of the Berlin Wall. In fact, if you imagine the CIA had no hand in that particular event then you are very naïve. I know you aren’t.

        Context. Process. Plan. These all merge into one. But if the intention is to bring about a predetermined outcome then it is not enough that the context be amenable. The fall of the Berlin Wall, for example, might have precipitated a massive military clampdown by the Soviet Union. We know there were those in positions of power who wanted this. But more powerful actors prevailed. More powerful because they had a better plan and a ready process. So they were able to control the change precipitated by the context in order to achieve the intended outcome.

        We return to the question I have so often asked before ─ What next? If you can’t at every stage answer that question in a way that continues or concludes the process, then either there is no process or there is an inadequate plan. In the 2014 referendum, nobody was seriously and forcefully asking what came next after a Yes vote. There was no meaningful consideration of the process. Or if there was, it was kept under wraps. Before people opt for significant change they first have to be persuaded that the change is possible. They have to be sure that if they set off on the journey they will actually get to place they’ve been promised. That is what the plan is for, as much as anything. It is something to show the voters to convince them that the process of change is under control.

        If you were moving house and the removal firm told you they’d just turn up at some point and work it out as they went along you would not be impressed. You would want to be assured that they were going to arrive at a specified time and that they would have a big enough van and that they’d figured out where to park and that they knew how to pack your belongings and load them in the van so as to keep the items safe and utilise available space efficiently. In other words, you’d want to know they had a plan. You’d want to know that there was a process for loading the van and packing the good and parking with consent and so on. If they’re professionals, the removal firm has and/or can create that plan and show it to you so you are happy to hire them. What cannot be part of their plan is your initial phone call. They can’t plan for you deciding to move house. Your decision to move simple creates a context in which the process becomes feasible so long as it is conducted according to a plan.

        In 2012/13 we failed to due due diligence on the ‘firm’ that was supposed to take us to independence. We failed to ask that series of what next questions. They didn’t have answers that were credible and persuasive anyway. The whole thing happened in a cloud of belief that stifled pretty much all questioning. Only in the years after the 2014 referendum did that cloud of belief start to dissipate. Now, only a few ragged wisps of that belief remain for the die-hard (brain-dead?) loyalists to cling to.

        It has to be different this time.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. The house move analogy sums it up perfectly. Nae exit plan means we’re goin’ nae whaurs ony time soon!


      2. The fall of the Berlin Wall was not a plan, but it was an envisioned scenario in the event of which, various pre-conceived (in literal sense) plans could be quickly put in place, reunification of Germany, massive investment in the former East Germany etc. Similarly with Yugoslavia, the West had a desire to keep it together, not sure it really had a plan, but others did have plans and implemented them in a truly bloody way.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Aye. That’s the thing. If you don’t have a good plan, somebody else is likely to step in with a bad one. Without a plan, the outcome is uncertain. But given that it’s power we’re talking about, bad plans inevitably abound.


        2. No one, gb, planned for any of that. That is my point. Plans can be implemented only if the circumstances surrounding the plan exists. If the circumstances veer away from the plan, and the preconceived implementation, the plan becomes an ad hoc reaction rather than a pre conceived plan. Both the Berlin Wall falling and the disintegration of Yugoslavia happened so swiftly that new ad hoc solutions had to be found, the plans being useless in the face of such utterly changed circumstances. Both the managed disintegration of the Russian Empire and of the managed Yugoslavian disintegration had been the plans. The speed that events occurred changed all that, so that off-the-top-of-the-head solutions had to be sought – and, yes, they were not always successful, with terrible consequences. When the UK disintegrates, triggered by some event/s, it will be swift and no plan will cover what happens next. Let us hope that the ad hoc solutions will be sensible ones.


  9. Mr E: I was not claiming she was the Messiah in female form, Mr E. She, at least, was willing to clear out the parasites or make it very hot for them. That would have been a good start. Why don’t you start putting the blame where it belongs, and it does not belong with Alex Salmond, Ash Regan and all the members who decamped elsewhere because they could see what was happening. Kate Forbes could not have saved the party from what will surely come. A cohort of far left ‘woke’ warriors entered the party with no other aim than to use it to further their own agenda. They were enabled in this by the cynical and, frankly, pretty vile leadership and higher echelons of the SNP and the equally vile Greens, all for their own ends. If Humza goes for the challenge to the S35 Order, I can promise you that all hell will break loose in ways that you cannot imagine, and the SNP will sink beneath the waves. This issue proved to be the beginning of the end for Sturgeon, albeit much more was to emerge. For God’s sake, open your eyes.


    1. Now that Humza is challenging the s.35 Order, can you elaborate on what is going to break out that we cannot imagine?


  10. Just try and imagine, DD. Women in Scotland, women in England, women in Wales and women in NI, those who are opposed to having their rights removed in favour of porn-sick men, all have that in common, and it transcends boundaries. Overall, we are 52% of the entire UK population. Think about it.


    1. I have already thought of this. Why did you say ‘all hell will break out in ways you can’t imagine’. I thought you knew something that we didn’t.

      It’s a bit pointless trying to tell people to imagine something which you have already said they can’t imagine. Think about it.


  11. Oh, it will be in ways which you have yet to imagine, Mr Pedant. Let me give you a hint. All the females opposed to this will be joining together to oppose Humza’s challenge. Instead of just having the Scottish contingent to contend with, he will now have all four parts. The ‘trans’ warriors, of course, will try their best to ensure that the women do not speak (the ‘t’ stands for totalitarian). In England, the biggest part, you can bet your bottom dollar that they will try to muscle in on the action there. Think about it. If you are one of the males who would sacrifice his granny for an illusory independence, you are going to discover just what grannies are made of.


  12. Are you repeating yourself, DD? What is pathetic, apart from your fact-free reply? Didn’t you learn how to debate?


  13. O/T Peter on hearing the latest news.

    In reality on the unamended GRRB the Scottish government are at war not with Westminster but with the Scottish public, basically the SNP are saying to the Scottish taxpayer f*ck you we’ll spend as much of your hard earned cash as necessary to get men dressed as women into women and children’s safe spaces, even though the Scottish public vehemently don’t want this to happen.

    Oh and Sue Ruddick has been appointed as an interim replacement for Murrell.


      1. So, Mike Russell for CEO on a permanent basis then ? Or has he done something bad to require replacement ?


        1. I don’t think I suggested Mike Russell should be CEO on a permanent basis. I confidently state that he would not want this. And I don’t think he’s what’s needed. What is less easy to understand is why Ruddick didn’t step in immediately. She was effectively Murrell’s deputy. She was the natural successor, to whatever extent there is such a thing. My guess is that she was doing some hard negotiating. Remuneration would surely be part of it. But she would also want certain guarantees about personal liability. I probably should say no more on that.

          Whether Sue Ruddick is the person who will sort out the party’s manifold issues, I can’t say. I don’t know much about her. But I hae ma doots about anybody who has been part of the administration that so majestically fucked up the party. There is bound to be a suspicion that having got their continuity leader, the clique is now appointing a continuity CEO. Given what they would be continuing, that can only spell more trouble for the party.

          My sense of the situation is that what is needed is a professional trouble-shooter from outside the party. Maybe even from outside politics and even outside Scotland. You’d want somebody with no ties to the previous administration, even indirectly. Somebody ruthless who won’t be deterred or distracted by politicking. There is a very real sense that the job has nothing to do with politics. It is a management position. It is essentially administrative. The party needs root and branch reform. Many arse must be kicked. Mostly unto the cobbles. That can be difficult for someone who has been a colleague to these people for a number of years.

          Of course, the political side of the party is as much in need of reform as the administrative side. That must be a matter for the members. I would suggest a special conference devoted solely to repairing the internal democratic and governance structures of the party. Do this in parallel with the work of the new CEO and within three months you can go back to the electorate with a party that is fit for purpose rather than a party that is fucked.

          But I guarantee none of this will happen. It is a characteristic of organisations that the more they are criticised the more defensive they become. The first instinct is to protect the status quo even though that status quo is the cause of the problems and the complaints provoked by the problems. They will try to contain the stink within the party. They will fail. The stink will have pervaded the media for four years by the time we get to the next Holyrood election. Every candidate will be tainted by that stink. If they imagine that won’t affect the SNP’s electoral fortunes then they are even more stupid than even I suppose. Which is no mean feat.

          Liked by 2 people

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