The Future is Independent 157

Trident, Austerity and Dentures. Those are the key components of the Labour brand in Scotland. The unionists demographic is overwhelmingly old. Independence had a majority in every age group except the over 55s.

Unionism is not a factor of age in the sense that once people reach 55 they turn into Unionists. People over 55 were the only Unionist age group, because they are also the only age group which predominantly does not use social media, buys deadtree newspapers and watches the regular BBC news bulletins. They are also influenced by residual memories of Empire and Second World War (old Tories). They remember the days when banks were viewed as respectable institutions, when the Labour Party helped the poor rather than supported the rich, and when public figures were widely believed not to lie.

There are very few replacement adults coming along with those kind of beliefs. Unionism is dying out. That is why Jack Straw has launched an initiative to try to outlaw future secession (at the same time contradicting his own position on Kosovan independence against the will of Serbia). Straw as one of the architects of the Iraq War has a strong track record of causing violence that kills many people. His idea of blocking the constitutional road to independence would cause violence beyond doubt.

The high energy community campaign for independence needs no encouragement from me to keep going. There seems general agreement that the May 2015 UK general election provides an immediate campaigning focus. I agree with that, and will address it, but it is also important that we are not corralled purely into the institutional agenda when our great virtue is that we are unconfined and extra-institutional. So I suggest a second vital focus, and that is Trident. Opposition to Trident unites everybody. Let us launch a great movement of protest aimed at Trident, including demonstration and direct action, and let us invite those in the rest of the UK who also oppose Trident to join us in that campaign. This should be a priority.

On the Westminster elections, there seems immediate consensus we should have a single pro-independence candidate per constituency. I strongly support that. There will be difficulties on how to achieve it, and I hope these can be worked through quickly. Tommy Sheridan has suggested that everybody should support the existing SNP candidates, which is very self-denying of him. I see virtue in this. But the Yes campaign was very much wider than the SNP, and I think the momentum could much better be maintained if we start with a clean sheet and local Yes groups choose their candidates through an open selection protest – in which the SNP candidates are welcome to participate, as are Greens and SSP and Solidarity and individuals, and the people will decide.

This is not institutionally neat – there is no clear membership of Yes groups. It requires self-abnegation on the part of existing party candidates. It removes the power of men in suits to screen candidates for acceptability. But those are good things.

I described the independence movement as having a revolutionary spirit. We should nurture that, not try to hammer it into the shape of a regular political party. In the long term there are some very good ideas on a new kind of participative project from the Common Weal. In the short term we need to keep the spirit moving, and go with the flow,

157 thoughts on “The Future is Independent

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  • Ben E. Geserit Muad'Dib Further Confounding Gender Speculators

    TAD; Damn those baby-boomers. It will take at least 20 more years before that bubble dies out. Of course they might wake up before that as fewer young revenue generators take up the call to provide their dentures. Toothless revolutionaries take to the streets !

  • Alan Rae

    But the SNP membership has doubled since Thursday. That surely must have an impact on its future aims. It could incorporate the wider Yes movement.

  • Aim Here

    Tommy Sheridan’s call is likely aimed squarely at the UK Westminster elections in 2015, and not at the Scottish Parliament ones the following year. I reckon his reasoning would be that the first past the post system is seriously rigged towards major parties and that there’s little point in voting for the SSP/Solidarity or Greens (outside Brighton!) if you want to get candidates elected. I reckon that with a fair electoral system, like the Scottish Parliamentary one, he’d be back to campaigning for something more in the Solidarity/SSP line.

    Also, the 2011 Scottish Parliament constituency vote has shown that with enough concentrated support, the SNP can beat Labour handily in a Westminster-style first past the post election in Scotland – they absolutely trounced everyone in the FPTP-part of the Parliamentary election. If the people of Scotland sit up and notice that fact (and they did already spot that minority party candidates and independents were electable after 1999, and returned about 15 of them in 2003) then Labour could be on the receiving end of a substantial knockout in Scotland next year. What happens to the old ‘We need Scottish Labour to help keep the Tories out?’ canard if the SNP pulls in 70-80% of the seats?

  • craig Post author

    Aim Here

    Yes, I think it is obvious that Sheridan’s proposal refers only to the UK parliamentary elections. That is what I said – I referred to the “Westminster elections”. I too am only proposing unity for the UK parliamentary elections. As you say, the Holyrood electoral system (which I hare personally as it uses party lists rather than giving voters a choice of people) makes it unneccesary.

  • Republicofscotland

    Good article Craig, I suppose it would be unkind of me to a point, to describe some of the over 55’s as stuck in a state of lumpenproletariatism, what, with the press and media firmly trying to scare the bejeezus out of them, if they decided to vote yes. In saying that I do however feel let down by their decision to vote no, but as you rightly point out that age group will have had more emotionally strings with the Empire due to major events of the 20th century.

    As for Labours triumph,in aiding the Tories to defeat Scottish independence, recent events, like the mass joining of the SNP and other pro-independence groups will in my opinion, leave Labour feeling as though they’ve won a Pyrrhic Victory.

    I’m reminded of the words of King Pyrrhus of Epirus, whom for this instance you could substitute him, with Johann Lamont,and the Romans with the independence movement.

    “If we are victorious in one more battle with the Romans,we shall be utterly ruined.”

  • Ex Pat


    Not sure that Perfidious Albion can be made to bend to a democratic outcome – they did just ‘fix’ the press – the Muppet Stream Media – and very likely the postal ballots … with the polls heading for a large ‘Yes’ lead.

    Never mind the war crimes of the UK satraps of the Fascist US Empire. With illegal war, genocide, torture to death and 27,000 ‘disappeared’ Muslims, with 3.3m dead Iraqis including 750,000 children under five by sanctions – from Gulf War 1 through 2 (and now 3?). With 1.7m dead Iraqis – ‘excess deaths’ in Gulf War 2 – ORB study.

    ‘NO’ to the, ER, traditional method of independence does agree with Peter Dale Scott – “The information battle is the most important fight. Though it may not be a speedy one, The truth is the strongest weapon we possess.” So the first task is the information battle – via the internet. “Street protests against a militarised police force and kettling of protesters is to fight the last war.” Paraphrased. –

    – Audio – City Lights bookstore, San Francisco, 15th November 2010 – – Peter Dale Scott ‘Deep Politics’ pages –


    Defeating Perfidious Albion circa 1920. Don’t try this at home kids.

    – Ireland. GPO 1916 – Michael Collins –

    – One way to get rid of the Sassenachs –

    Followed by three years of British Imperialist death squads – the ‘Black and Tans.’

    – The Wind That Shakes The Barley – Youtube – OR search youtube –


    > “I’m from Dublin, Ireland. I don’t like the IRA” – Joe Soap. (OR a UK shill??? Ed.)

    Reply –

    > You may not like the IRA but they’re the reason you’re writing from Dublin, Ireland rather than Dublin, United Kingdom.


    Ditto Scotland???

    Comment to “IRA vs Al Qaeda – I was wrong” by the War Nerd Gary Brecher 27th April 2011 – The Exiled Online –

    >Others use guns. The Scots are writing a revolution.

    Except for … Perfidious Albion.

    SO. Information is the first step.

  • Jives

    Let it not be forgotten that Jack Straw declared in Parliament that those who believed the UK was heavily involved in the extraordinary rendition programme which kidnapped people so they could be tortured by proxy regimes were “conspiracy theorists”

    Why would anyone listen to a single word this slimeball says?

  • Jives

    As someone on another forum noted:

    Watching Scottish Labour celebrate on Friday morning was akin to someone attending their own wake.

    They are doomed.

  • Iain Hill

    Beware stereotyping please. To remember WW2 as even a teenager, you would be born in 1930′ hence now 84, not 55. I am 69 and voted Yes as did just about all ny friends. I had to decide whether to write to you on my laptop, my iPhone or one of my 2 iPads.

    If 71% of older people voted No, 29% voted Yes. A substantial number. Use us, don’t abuse us. Older people have the resource of time, and extensive family and friendship networks. They may even be able to covert other oldie!

  • Republicofscotland

    Interesting comment, one which I agree with, information is the key, our James Connolly, will need to be the words of conviction, and the failings of an already corrupt Westminster.

  • Brian

    It should also be noted that anyone born after, say, 1934, will have little if any memory of the war so basically anyone under 80 so we are basically talking about a generation who had every advantage of the British State – NHS, welfare, full employment and now under the Scottish Parliament free care for the elderly. As such other than those who suffered under Thatcher we have a generation who think the status quo is preservable and has always looked after them. The coming increased austerity might wake them up but they are so conditioned to be looked after by the British nanny that I fear we will never sway them. As such we we need another Tory/Ukip government and an emerging and ugly English nationalism to create such an intolerable situation that independence will be the only solution. Vote SNP in 2015 is the start.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Doomed, I tell ye.

    Who the hell do they imagine Miliband appeals to? Genuine question. Tell me, someone.

  • Jives


    Well Milliband appeals to the Tory strategists and fixers of course.

    To them he’s the gift that keeps on giving.

  • Ed

    Excellent post, Craig.

    The referendum result was close enough that Westminster has a genuine interest in listening to Scottish voters. So long as the political momentum from the last month or so can be sustained, there is a real possibility that stuff the independence-coalition cares about will be become a reality.

    I’m not even sure how much the demographics come into it. Even the older folk I know in Scotland were of the view that the Yes campaign made a lot of good points; and there was a large proportion of the No vote that leant towards Devo Max or something along those lines. Now people are all watching Westminster, and as Billy Connelly said, there will be hell to pay if they do not deliver.

    I would never take the establishment at their word, but goodness, I think they are significantly incentivised to see through further devolution. If nothing else, none of the party leaders want to go through this type of campaign again. Hardly any of them bothered showing up until the 11th hour after the polls tightened, and when they did, in between being taunted and harangued, they literally had to grovel for votes. Properly swallow any remaining dignity and beg for Scots to maintain the Union.

    Yes may have lost, but you have the political momentum. Plenty of it.

  • CanSpeccy

    What fucking poor losers these Scotch Nats are.

    They lose the vote by a wide margin except among teenage know-nothings easily roused up by racist opportunists on the make, then they claim vote rigging, as if (a) only noers fiddle votes and (b) yessers are too stupid to monitor the vote counting competently.

    Now they can’t wait for all the noers to die off. Trouble is, by the time the noers are dead the adolescent yessers will have got older and slightly wiser, which means they will be like the now dead noers, they’ll actually know something about which they are voting, so the nationalist bullshitters are gonna be disappointed once again.

  • Republicofscotland

    Just been reading over on Wings the probable, name, of all the parties who voted YES, are now to unite under, “The Independence Alliance”, to give them more clout.

  • Ben E. Geserit Muad'Dib Further Confounding Gender Speculators

    ” They may even be able to covert other oldie!”

    No voters of long-tooth voted thusly in districts with low unemployment numbers and poorer areas ranked higher on YES.

    People vote their pocket-books. Same as it ever was.

    I happen to be 65, and like yourself inhabit a minority opinion on progressive matters. People can’t be converted until they feel the pinch.

  • Ed

    “Who the hell do they imagine Miliband appeals to?”

    I asked that same question last week.

    I just cannot fathom how poorly he has strategised over the politics of the referendum. He needed to hang the whole mess on Cameron – and even in victory, this referendum is a mess for the prime minister – yet he gave Cameron maximum political cover by signing on to every last minute idea the coalition govt came up with to prevent independence. This shortly after the completely humiliating Newark bi-election.

    I understand how he is somewhat less obnoxious than his brother, and that maybe helped him win the leadership, but is there anything else there? Never seen it myself, and how he hasn’t managed to differentiate his party from a generally unpopular coalition govt is a quite remarkable failure.

  • Jives


    You’ve really missed the point.

    Many of those who votes Yes are in no way nationalists.

    They voted for change to the current Westminster establishment.

    Hence why so many traditionally Labour voters opted for Yes.

    Nothing whatsoever to do with nationalism.

    Do try and keep up.


    By the way do you still hold your view that the UK is being overrun by a tidal wave -nay a tsunami- of of foreigners?

  • Ben E. Geserit Muad'Dib Further Confounding Gender Speculators

    “by the time the noers are dead the adolescent yessers will have got older and slightly wiser”

    Implying that older types who have the wisdom to see through the fog are what, naive or just plain stupid?

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    The mutual apologies in the Mr Goss impersonation affair having been offered and accepted, it is now time for Mr Goss to take a further step and apologise to me for having pictured me as a supporter of torture.

    In the previous thread, I wrote:

    “For example, he {ie, Mr Goss} has often repeated the lie that I am in favour of torture . . .”

    To which you replied:

    That is another of Habbabkuk’s many misrepresentations, including the one again today that I am a Stalinist, which I have repeatedly complained about, and which Habbabkuk would no doubt like others to believe even though he knows it himself to be untrue (a typical trick that if something is repeated often enough others will come to believe it). Does he work for the BBC? The whole torture issue arose out of Habbabkuk and Resident Dissident/ESLO’s apparent support for Guantanamo Bay and what goes on there. I gave Habbabkuk ample opportunities to deny that he supported torture and until his comment this afternoon there has been no denial of which I am aware.

    The whole torture issue arose out of Habbabkuk and Resident Dissident/ESLO’s apparent support for Guantanamo Bay and what goes on there. I gave Habbabkuk ample opportunities to deny that he supported torture and until his comment this afternoon there has been no denial of which I am aware.”

    Let me draw your attention to the following.

    1/. It is not a misrepresentation because you have accused me of being a supporter of torture on several occasions. If anyone is doing misrepresentation, it is you.

    2/. I will refine my comment about you being “a Stalinist” and say that “your debating tactics are of a Stalinist kind and therefore betray a Stalinist mentality (repetition of the big lie, calumny, smear tactics, guilt by association, insults, cooked up charges without any proof or evidence and an inability to admit to error).

    3/. As a first (minor) example of the above, I refer you to your comment ” Does he work for the BBC?”.

    4/. Your original accusation that I supported Guantanamo Bay and torture soon changed into the claim that I “apparently” supported them. In other words, you base your accusation on the interpretation you chose to give to certain of my posts. Now, damaging “interpretation” of someone’s actions or words are a typically Stalinist debating tactic; in the Soviet Union in the late 1920s and early 1930s, for example, cases of machinery breaking down were claimed to be not the result of over-tired or incompetent engineers but of engineers working under the orders of, variously, the British, Japanese or Polish secret services.

    I note in this connection that you have not only never supplied a quotation showing that I approve of GB and torture but you have also never supplied any quotation which might show that I “apparently” support them. Why not? That is another Stalinist debating tactic.

    5/. It is not for you to give me “ample opportunity” to “deny” that I support torture and even less for me to comply with your request. If I were to post at length about Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, renditions and associated matters – as you do about matters pertaining to Russia, Putin, Ukraine, the Soviet Union, the Rothschilds, the Bilderbergers, 9/11 and so on – your request might have some justification, but you may have noticed that I do not. So, for whom exactly do you take yourself, Mr Goss?

    In summary, if you can provide quotations showing that I support torture, or that show that I “apparently” support torture, please do so and we can discuss. Of you cannot, an apology from you is overdue.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !


    “Many of those who votes Yes are in no way nationalists.

    They voted for change to the current Westminster establishment.”

    Your claim, Jonathan, does not appear to square with the often-repeated comment from Mr Scorgie that the issue – and the only issue – was independence for Scotland.

    Please start singing from the same song-sheet lest you be ejected from the Egregiousness of Excellences.


    La vita è bellissima, life is great!

  • Anon1

    It seems that despite having a referendum on the most favourable terms imaginable, the Nats just can’t take No for an answer.

    Next time please allow 5-year-olds the vote and be done with it. Anything. There really is nothing worse than a whinging Scot.

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