Announcing the new date for Nicola Sturgeon’s ‘special democracy conference’ – postponed due to unforeseen resignation – Depute Leader Keith Brown apparently claimed that “the SNP, under the leadership of Humza Yousaf, is laser focused on ensuring the people of Scotland have the opportunity to exercise their democratic rights”. Nice one, Keith! It’s always good to open with a gag – get the audience onside. I’m not sure this was the right joke, however. It’s more inclined to elicit wry smiles than amused laughter. The “under the leadership of Humza Yousaf” bit is clever, though. A subtle way of emphasising that Sturgeon is now out of the (visible part of) the picture and it’s now the Humza Yousaf show.

The one-day Independence Convention, as it is now titled, is set for 24 June at Caird Hall in Dundee. The change of name is significant too. The party leadership is apparently determined to mention the word ‘independence’ as often as possible in the hope that people think they’re actually doing something about it. They’re not, of course. I suspect this Independence Convention is also just for show. I make no apology for being so cynical. The SNP bosses have earned all the cynicism I can muster. That’s a lot!

The SNP loyalists are, of course, ecstatic. A senior figure in their party has spoken. It hardly matters what was said or what is being proposed. The senior figure’s words will be applauded and the speaker cheered to the rafters. No questions will be forthcoming from these pathetic, mindless creatures. Anybody who does have question will feel the full force of the party loyalists’ vitriolic wrath. I don’t care. I have questions.

One thing I don’t question is the fact that the SNP Independence Convention is for SNP members only. There is nothing wrong with this. The party is owned by the members, even if they have been stripped of almost all the privileges of ownership by the Sturgeon-era ‘reforms’. It is perfectly proper that this event should be members-only. What is neither proper nor acceptable is that it she be the only input to the SNP/Scottish Government’s thinking on how to approach the constitutional issue. This is a matter that goes beyond any one party. It is a matter that concerns the whole nation. Some mechanism must be found by which other parts of the Yes movement can have a say. So, one of my question is to ask what more the party intends. Is this it? Is this one-day, members-only event all the discussion there is to be about how we progress Scotland’s cause?

Other questions include, but are not limited to: What will be the remit of this convention? How is it to be conducted? Who will chair it? How many different options will be on the table? How much discussion of each option will be permitted? Will the outcome of this ‘convention’ be a decision that is binding on the party leadership?

All of these questions deserve answers. None more so than the one regarding how many options will be up for discussion and what those options will be. Will discussion be limited to the choice of which election should be called a de facto referendum – the next Westminster election or the next Holyrood election (if there is one!). Car-maker Henry Ford famously said,

Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black.

Is this how it is to be with the Independence Convention? The party members can choose any approach to the constitutional issue they want so long as it is the one Humza Yousaf has decided on? There’s 57 varieties, but only Cream of Tomato is being served?

Will there be any option for a real constitutional referendum? Or is the convention going to be restricted to talking about the kind of pretendy referendum proposed by Sturgeon – which was basically a referendum on whether the First Minister should write another begging letter to the British Prime Minister demeaning or country and compromising the sovereignty of Scotland’s people.

Will there be any attempt to define what would represent a proper constitutional referendum? Simply calling it an independence referendum is enough to satisfy the party loyalists. Many individuals across the Yes movement will be just as content to settle for anything that has the word ‘independence’ attached to it. More thoughtful people will want to know whether the proposed referendum meets the criteria to stand as the formal exercise by the people of Scotland of our right of self-determination. Some of us will settle for nothing less.

There is a massive trust issue here. The SNP has let us down so often over the last eight or nine years that it is extremely difficult to have any confidence in them. We are supposed to believe that Humza Yousaf is a new broom ready to sweep away the disappointments and deceptions of the Sturgeon years. This Independence Convention could represent an opportunity to restore some of the trust that has been squandered. But the party is also notorious for squandering opportunities. Will it really be any different this time?

26 thoughts on “Options?

  1. Excellent questions, Peter, but don’t hold you breath waiting for answers as I suspect they will not be forthcoming.
    My cynicism quotient, like yours, is already off the scale when it comes to pronouncements from our Holyrood Government regarding Scottish Independence,

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Apparently the wider indy movement has been invited. Therefore I think this convention will have more clout and momentum behind it. SNP need to be held to account


    1. Where does it say the wider YES movement have been invited? It is for SNP members only!
      The option for debate seems to be only s30, gold standard, referendum.
      The date has also been chosen to clash with the Bannockburn march by AUOB. Coincidence?? They have a full year to pick a date. Is this so that Humza can say he can’t be at both, again. Seems, as First Activist, he is making it clear it’s not as an Indy Activist.
      This is blatant cynicism!

      I hope the wider YES movement takes note of this and turn out in their 10’s of thousands for the Bannockburn march. Have the SNP ditched their history? Bannockburn used to be the highlight of their year along with conference. Changed days!?!??

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Well I just hope this isn’t more SNP rhetoric. Let’s hope they can push forward with our hopes and aspirations


      2. They have a full year to pick a date.

        The original one planned for March 19th was cancelled for the leadership election, so Yousaf had since the beginning of April to talk, decide and get it organised – 24th June is less than 3 months after that. Had it been put off till say October, the SNP would have been rightly criticised.

        Personally I think it more important the SNP reinstated this Convention as soon as possible, or face oblivion in the next UK GE, and I guess venues aren’t easy to book. Caird Hall takes up to 3,000 people I think.


  3. I don’t believe that you are being cynical at all!

    An objective assessment of the myriad past ‘initiatives’ launched by the SNP leadership since the Independence Referendum of 2014 which have all ended up in delay, deflection and distraction. It is rational to conclude that the purpose is the same on this occasion which will have the same result. Which is absolutely nothing, other than plunge the movement into further despair and in-fighting.

    No, it is the announcement of this “Independence Convention” that is the height of cynicism.

    In reality they are trying to undermine grassroots movements like AUOB and exclude both other pro-Independence parties and persons not in the SNP.

    The SNP have fallen significantly in the election voting intention opinion polls … but Independence support has remained (almost miraculously) steady. The party leadership are therefore trying to capture and own the latter – create The “YESNP” if you like with their “code of conduct” and their rules. Everything on their terms. Hence all the propaganda from Mhairi McAllan on Question Time, Pete Wishart in The National and Yousaf in “Humza: the video” (https://twitter.com/scotgov/status/1659589851056930820) in the last 2/3 days.

    To me they are simply worried about next year’s British General Election and current projected losses of around half of their Westminster representatives with the resultant impact on the short money due to them.

    So the Sometime Nevers are merely electioneering.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. It smells mair like carrot and coriander tae me, but there’s that mony o’ the SNP in the soup noo it wid be hard tae tell!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. SNP support for the UK GE 39% or less in the last 7 polls.

    24th June is their first chance to reverse that, but “We’ll beg for a Section 30”, or “We’ll hold the balance of power and Starmer will give us one if we ask nicely” (read that any way you want), won’t cut it.

    What I see as the only acceptable thing is the next UK GE being a de facto referendum, with 50%+1 (or a majority of seats perhaps) being a command from us the electorate to start negotiations for Independence, and if Westminster doesn’t play ball, permission from us to go for UDI – and all this to be clearly stated in the manifesto.

    So there are then 3 dates for the SNP:

    1) 24th June and if it’s not adequate, I spoil my UK GE ballot with “INDEPENDENCE” diagonally across it.

    2) UK GE and if the SNP renege on their de facto referendum in the manifesto, I spoil my UK GE ballot with “INDEPENDENCE” diagonally across it.

    3) After the UK GE and if the SNP don’t negotiate Independence, and fail to follow through, I spoil my Holyrood Election ballot with “INDEPENDENCE” diagonally across it – both ballots.

    Meanwhile we need to keep the pressure on the SNP. Fail and yer oot.


    1. “What I see as the only acceptable thing is the next UK GE being a de facto referendum, with 50%+1 (or a majority of seats perhaps) being a command from us the electorate to start negotiations for Independence, and if Westminster doesn’t play ball, permission from us to go for UDI – and all this to be clearly stated in the manifesto.”


      Liked by 2 people

  6. You could join the SNP to attend, Peter. Just saying, sometimes you can only change things from within.


    1. Even if I wanted to I doubt if there’s time. I expect it’s branch delegates attending. I’m not sure my former branch would welcome me back far less appoint me as a delegate.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. One solitary soul had the foresight to join my branch on the day Sturgeon resigned in order to get a vote in the leadership election.
        Delegate passes were closed to new members when the March ‘special conference’ was announced. But this isnt a ‘conference’, its a ‘convention’. Why change the wording if its going to be a conference in the sense members understand – ie, you get to vote on stuff? Will it be as farcical as the stage-managed leadership hustings? Am I going to forgo Bannockburn to go along and find out? At what point do you say fuck this for a game of sodgers – is ‘participating’ condoning it?
        Peter, you can change your membership to any branch you wish, you’re not stuck to the branch assigned when you join. My branch doesnt ‘appoint’ delegates. The allotted number of places are rarely all taken up (except in the case of the Special Conf) so anyone who wants to go does so.


        1. Thanks for that. I’m not really thinking about re-joining the party again just now. Apart from anything else, I like to be able to say I’m a member of neither the SNP nor Alba and so have nothing to do with their tribal squabbling. And I want to keep my options open to join the first party to make a serious offer on the constitutional issue.

          I’m aware I could go to a different branch were I to go back to the SNP. Or be a headquarters member. But I liked the branch I was with. Some really good people. I also enjoyed being a branch delegate at conference and, in the ‘good old days, National Council. But my heart’s not in it now. I am increasingly disillusioned not just with the politicians and the parties, but with the Yes movement. I just seems to have all been wasted.


  7. How is it possible to squeeze 8 years of inactivity into a single day where under 3% of members can physically attend the Caird Hall, seating 2300 max, and expect anything to happen? Very convenient to the home of the FM of course. Time to return the party to its fundamental purpose. Let Jamie Hepburn single handedly run the government and everyone else concentrate on indy – couldn’t do any worse than at present. Indeed, things might even improve.

    As to the regional assemblies, these were previously organised by Keith Brown and were well received by members at the time but led nowhere other than building expectations only to lead to a dead end, with email queries on progress going unanswered.


    Liked by 4 people

  8. Yes this really needs to be for SNP members only, and I would go further and say it should not be open AT ALL to the public. There is a lot of dirty washing needing done and it requires closed doors to be tackled with honesty and vigour.
    I don’t hold any high hopes for this ‘non-conference’, no news yet on the MYSNP website or to the branch secretaries but I will be going and making my voice heard.
    If anyone listens, well that’s a different matter.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. ‘Honesty and vigour’? Within the SNP? Surely a contradiction in terms! Wish you every success in your interventions, long overdue by those who matter, the membership who still genuinely seek Independence!

      Liked by 2 people

  9. “Will it really be any different this time?” you ask.

    Well Peter, I would put the odds about the same as Ian Blackford becoming the new face of Versace and modelling a swimwear collection in Vogue magazine.

    On reflection, there is probably more chance of that.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I posted something like this elsewhere if it lasts, this should work better:

    So there’s this, extrapolating the falling SNP support:

    Dec 22 44%
    Jun 23 35%
    Dec 23 26%
    Jun 24 17%
    Oct 24 11%

    Now, nobody in their right mind would actually think there’s a snowflake’s chance of that happening in the real world, but similarly nobody in their right mind would say that there is no problem. But the SNP upper echelons seem to be holding hands and singing Kumbaya.

    There is a problem, and problems need solutions. Let’s hope that happens on June 24th in Caird Hall Dundee. I hae ma doots and I haven’t smoked for 3 or 4 years since I got scairt with pneumonia.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @yesindyref2

      Interesting to see that illustrated so clearly.

      Just by eyeballing that graph, one can see that the yellow SNP line might be projected to intersect with the red Labour line around August of this year at about 32% of the vote.

      Now obviously trends don’t always continue, or do continue until they don’t!

      I assume this graph is with ‘don’t knows’ excluded?
      which obviously makes looking at the trends in raw voter numbers impossible.

      Can you give a link to the data or even better where you have been more extensively discussing this – I might join in.


  11. An SNP independence conference? They may need a whole lot more than than to figure out anything real to say on the subject. Anyway, it’s going to be another SNP summer of independence, the same as last year, the year before that, the year before that, and possible the year before that, and who knows? Maybe the year before that.

    I’m coming to the conclusion that the majority of Scottish independence supporters are stupid enough to believe anything wrapped in a Saltire.

    If anyone wants to crowdfund me buying a £100,000 campervan, parking permit, VED, a few years worth of diesel, and a flag to stick on the front, ask me for my e-mail address.


  12. OT. I see a reply on the Scot National that the SNP are facists.

    Interesting. From the Urban Dictionary

    https://www.urbandictionary.com › define › term=facist

    “a person who has a bias against facebook and people who use it. this bias can either be rational or irrational.”

    Now, who does that remind me of …


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