Independence When – A Riposte 120

I have been in Cruden Bay the last few days, where Nadira had been for some time shooting a film she has both written and produced. It is a short drama, a harrowing tale of torture victims who have applied for political asylum in the UK and are now in immigration detention on the “fast track”. The script is based on numerous interviews with genuine torture victims, refugees, lawyers, NGOs and policemen. One of the things the film does is highlight the work of Medical Justice, who do quite amazing work.

The film now enters post-production and I will keep you informed.

It was a bit weird to be in Peterhead in December enjoying the warm breeze. I recall some years ago wondering whether the effects of climate change would really become indisputable during my lifetime. I think I have my answer.

The last thread on the SNP caused a very interesting debate, before it eventually declined into the usual suspects banging on about Freemasons etc. I took from those comments this contribution from Peter A Bell, which is quite thoughtful, apart from the lazy device of starting by stating an argument I had not actually made and then attributing it to me and characterising it as ludicrous. The rest is worth engaging with though, and when I get recovered a bit I shall engage with it. Meantime, fill your boots.

Of all the ridiculous conspiracy theories that roil in the minds of those with a taste for such nonsense few are more ludicrous than the notion that the Scottish National Party is actively engaged in thwarting the aspirations of those who would see Scotland’s rightful constitutional status restored. A pleasing reverie might be one in which these conspiracy theorists are locked in a room with those who just as fervently insist that the SNP is obsessively focused on the constitutional question to the exclusion of all else – there to beat the folly out of one another with rolled-up copies of their comic-book version of the world.

Reality comprises the grey-scale vastness between these two simplistic extremes.

Here is the news! The campaign for independence can proceed in a variety of ways. Some of those ways are more subtle than a chant of, “What do we want? Independence! When do we want it? NOW!”. The independence campaign was undoubtedly much more fun when it was such a distant prospect that we didn’t have to concern ourselves to much about the niceties of the process of becoming independent. It was all so easy when independence was below a far horizon and it was sufficient that we were headed in the right general direction. It’s all got al lot more complicated now that we are close enough for small course correction to matter.

Almost as laughable as the notion of the SNP having abandoned its commitment to independence is the idea that, having successfully navigated to within sight of our destination, we should now start questioning the party’s suitability for the task of completing the journey. Not that anybody has any sensible suggestions as to who might take up the role at this late date. Apparently, we must doubt the SNP simply because we can.

It’s all too easy to imagine Craig Murray as part of a committee inspecting the almost completed artwork on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and debating whether Michelangelo is the right man to finish the job. After all, he doesn’t seem as excited about the job as he was four years ago, talking more now about the practicalities of the task rather than the grand vision. There’s bound to be some enthusiastic youngsters who are itching to have a go!

The practicalities of becoming independent matter. They matter in a way that they didn’t really when I first engaged with the independence campaign half a century ago. The world has moved on. Things have changed. Not the least of these changes is that the British establishment is now engaged with the campaign as well. We are no longer just fighting for something. We are fighting against a massively powerful force utterly determined to preserve its power and status.

The ground on which the constitutional battle is being fought has also changed. In many ways, to the advantage of the independence campaign. Tactics must be adjusted accordingly. Never losing sight of the fact that the battle has to be won within the territory of the British political system. We need to fight clever every bit as much as we need to fight hard.

That is what the SNP is doing. It is fighting clever. Within the context of the British political system, size matters. Electoral clout is important. A massive mandate is a mighty weapon. The SNP must work to gain and hold this mandate in both the Holyrood and the Westminster arenas. It has a dual role as both the party of government and the political arm of the independence movement. It has to succeed in both roles. More than that. It has to succeed on a grand scale. If it is to be the lever which prises the millstone of the British state off Scotland’s back, the SNP needs exceptional political power. The kind of power which, to be perfectly frank, we would be sensibly cautious about handing to any political party. Needs must when necessity drives.

We have to put our trust in the SNP for the simple reason that there is nobody else. The people of Scotland have, by the exercise of their democratic power, chosen the SNP as their agents. There is unprecedented agreement that the SNP is best placed to defend and advance Scotland’s interests. There is not the same consensus about what those interests are. The party must seek to satisfy both those who are committed to independence and those who are not yet persuaded, even though they are happy to accept the party in its administrative role. There is no other party in a position to do this. Quite simply, there is no path to independence on any reasonable time-scale which does not have the SNP taking a lead role.

Once we reconcile ourselves to this hard fact of realpolitik, we start to see the SNP’s manoeuvrings in a different light. If the SNP group at Westminster appears to be “settling in”, maybe it’s because that’s how they have to appear in order to be effective. Bear in mind that they are struggling against the Westminster elite’s quite blatant efforts to sideline and exclude them. Vociferous protests and flashmob-style walk-outs might be great theatre. But does this not simply play into the narrative that the unionist parties and their friends in the media want to create?

As the Scottish Parliament elections loom, is it not appropriate for the SNP to be talking about the reasons voters should continue to trust them to run the country, rather than conforming to the unionist caricature of a single-issue protest party?

If the SNP isn’t saying much about a second independence referendum is that not because that particular ball is now at our feet? Has Nicola Sturgeon not made it abundantly clear that she wants the campaign for another referendum to be lead by the people rather than the politicians?

There is more than a bit of intellectual posturing about sniping at the SNP for supposedly abandoning the fight for independence. The party may not be perfect. But there is no rational reason to doubt its commitment to bringing Scotland’s government home. The lack of any justification makes this look like criticism for its own sake. I have to ask, what’s the point?

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120 thoughts on “Independence When – A Riposte

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  • Suhayl Saadi

    Giyane, the Cricket Club is the work of the Devil! Imperialist game! Sixes, fours… The thwack of leather! A Green Pornography. Think: All those sandwiches, all those cucumbers.

    To paraquote Uncle Karl: “The cucumber is the opiate of the asses!”

  • fred

    “But the media are now completely controlled by the government (mostly Washington).”

    In Scotland they’re controlled by the Scottish government.

  • RobG

    I can only conclude that we are ruled by people who are completely insane, voted in by people suffering from dementia.

    God bless sanity.

  • Vronsky


    Sorry I missed that long ago coffee date in Glasgow (‘cos I fell sore off my motorbike). But haven’t we both (interestingly) changed our tunes.

    Suhayl then: No SNP
    Vronsky then: SNP

    Suhayl now: SNP
    Vronsky now: No SNP

    PS: I did eventually find my pirate recordings of the Russian TV Zhivago. You have my email if you want them.

    PPS: Always nice to hear from you.

    [ Mod: Caught in spam-filter, timestamp updated ]

  • ------------·´`·.¸¸.¸¸.··.¸¸Node

    Independence When – from illegal occupation.
    Day after day the atrocities continue, no respite, no mercy, systematic genocide.
    sumMary for 18 December 2015:

    Israeli Gaza ceasefire violations: 1 dead – 34 wounded

    Israeli Army position opens fire on Gaza farms

    Israeli Army Gaza incursion – crops bulldozed

    Israeli soldiers terrorise 14-year-old boy

    Occupation settlers beat up and hospitalise Palestinian child

    Infant tear-gassed in Israeli Army raid on West Bank village

    Night peace disruption and/or home invasions in 3 towns and villages

    10 attacks (4 Israeli ceasefire violations)

    12 raids including home invasions

    3 dead – 70 injured

    2 acts of agricultural/economic sabotage

    13 taken prisoner – 10 detained –

    113 restrictions of movement

  • jdman

    “The vote was 55/45. A ten point margin is decisive in my book.”

    I take it you were off the day your teacher did percentages?

  • Dave

    The argument for Scotland leaving the UK is similar but less credible than UK leaving EU, because your not independent inside the EU and definitely not without your own currency and if SNP are happy to remain part of the EU then they may as well stay part of the UK, in which they will have more clout. I.e. better a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big pond.

    I too am anti the pro-war neo-con establishment, but their hold can be broken with voting reform rather than by breaking up the UK and this prospect is very real because its now in the Labour interest to adopt reform and likely due to their new membership and collapse in Scotland.

  • fat fingered salamander

    Mr Murray may I recommend that you refamiliarise yourself the written press of the Tory establishment this morning and in particular the Torygraph, which runs with Ofcom findings on Mr Sraw and Sir Malcolm.

  • Muscleguy

    “We have to put our trust in the SNP for the simple reason that there is nobody else.”

    Other Yes parties are available. This is SNP Wonderful propaganda and is just as pernicious to democracy as SNP Baaaad from the unionists.

    If you want those in the parliament right now then the Greens are Yes. Amongst those who have been in the parliament previously we have RISE with the SSP as one half of it.

    This idea that those of us who are Yes only have the SNP is bogus and anti democratic.

    Shame on you Mr Bell.

  • Doug Scorgie

    21 Dec, 2015 – 9:56 pm

    “That’s the trouble with political discourse: it is dominated by loons who understand virtually nothing of which they speak!

    “The temperature anomaly this autumn peaked at 0.4 C above the 1981-2010 mean, which is not surprising as this is an el nino year. The last el nino was in 1998 and the temperature anomaly peaked then at 0.75 C above the 1981-2010 mean. So actually no evidence of a warming trend over the last 30 odd years, certainly no indisputable evidence of global warming.

    “But maybe I misunderstand you. Perhaps you mean the evidence of no warming is indisputable, which is open to debate but is more reasonable than what you most probably mean.”

    Roy Spencer is a crank CanSpeccy perhaps you are too?

  • nevermind, Lord Feldmann keeps the nasty party in the news.

    Thanks muscleguy, I very much hope that Scottish voters will realise the underlying messages of long term change the Greens are advocating and vote for their social justice policies, something to be eluding Peter.

    It looks like the sand of Crudden bay is just that little bit more important than preparing policies for an increasingly distant Independent Scotland.

  • Tony M

    ‘Dave’ above says vote Labour, as they’ve plumbed the depths and -trust me, they could not possibly get any worse, lower, disgraced, hence can only improve! We are/they are utter shits, but how silly of you for thinking you deserve or should demand a whole lot better.

    Muscleguy, the people’s Sovereign Republic of Jockistan stuff can come later, after independence, if enough people want it. Splitting the Yes/SNP list vote would appear to result in more unionists scraping in on list seats.

  • nevermind, Lord Feldmann keeps the nasty party in the news.

    Oh dear, the Tory party is subsumed with guilt, for apparently being too biased towards the pro EU position regards funding, and Lord Feldmann, he who knew about the bullying for two years and did nothing to stop it in time to save young Mr. Elliott, allegedly, he is in charge of rectifying the problem.

    Well I could not see any of these bias qualms when it came to throwing everything and the kitchen sink at the Indyref for Scotland, it was all bias, desperate bias.

    Lord Feldmann should wake up and sort out the filthy bullies, the Tory internal problems that have arisen due to his very self.

  • fred

    “Hi Gillian, yes, I heard of this too via unionist friends and was concerned. On delving deeper it seems that the underspend is required to be planned in because Scotland has no borrowing powers. Without the ability to borrow, there is only a fixed budget, and any unexpected extra costs have to come out of that. Fortunately the money is not lost completely. Rather than being handed back permanently to Westminster it can be spent this coming year.”

    But the Scottish government can and does borrow money, an alarming amount of money, they just set up PFIs to borrow the money on their behalf.

    Worryingly the private firms borrowing on behalf of the government and managing our public works, schools, roads, housing are being kept exempt from the FOI act so the people of Scotland can’t find out what our government is doing.

  • Angus Angus

    Don’t try and persuade them with facts, it’s like talking to Jehovah’s Witnesses. Just ignore them and eventually they’ll go away.

  • ------------·´`·.¸¸.¸¸.··.¸¸Node

    Fred : They have so bullied and intimidated the media few dare speak against them for fear of a baying mob outside their premises.

    Please tell me which of the following haven’t criticised the SNP. Or are you talking crap?

    BBC Scotland
    BBC Radio Scotland
    ITV Border
    BBC Alba
    BBC Radio nan Gaidheal
    Radio Borders
    Bute FM
    Central 103.1 FM
    Cuillin FM
    BBC Radio nan Gàidheal
    Heart Digital
    Heart Scotland
    Inverness Hospital Radio
    Isles FM
    Kingdom FM
    Mearns FM
    Moray Firth Radio
    Nevis Radio
    Northsound 1
    Northsound 2
    Northsound Radio
    Original 106 (Aberdeen)
    BBC Radio Orkney
    Peninsula FM
    Radio Free Scotland
    Radio Grapevine
    Radio West Fife
    Revival FM
    River FM
    Scot FM
    Radio Scotland
    BBC Radio Shetland
    Smooth Glasgow
    The Superstation Orkney
    Two Lochs Radio
    Valley FM (Scotland)
    Victoria Radio Network
    Waves FM
    West FM
    West Sound (Ayrshire)
    West Sound (Dumfries and Galloway)
    The Herald
    The Scotsman
    The Daily Record
    Greenock Telegraph
    Paisley Daily Express
    Edinburgh Evening News
    Evening Express
    Evening Telegraph
    Evening Times
    The Daily Telegraph (Scottish edition
    The Times (Scottish edition)
    Scottish Daily Express
    Scottish Daily Mail
    Daily Star of Scotland
    Scottish Daily Mirror
    The Scottish Sun
    Sunday Mail
    Sunday Post
    Sunday Herald
    Scotland on Sunday
    Press and Journal
    The Sunday Times Scotland
    The Sunday Telegraph Scotland
    Mail on Sunday Scotland
    Scottish Sunday Express
    Scottish Sunday Mirror
    Banffshire Journal
    Buchan Observer
    Deeside Piper
    Donside Piper
    Ellon Advertiser
    Ellon Times & East Gordon Advertiser
    Fraserburgh Herald
    Huntly Express
    Inverurie Advertiser
    Inverurie Herald
    Kincardineshire Observer
    Mearns Leader
    North East Weekly
    Turriff Advertiser
    Arbroath Herald
    Brechin Advertiser
    Carnoustie Guide & Gazette
    Forfar Dispatch & Kirriemuir Herald
    Montrose Review
    The Buteman
    Campbeltown Courier incorporating Argyllshire Advertiser
    Dunoon Observer and Argyllshire Standard
    Helensburgh Advertiser
    The Ileach
    Oban Times
    Alloa & Hillfoots Advertiser
    Annandale Herald
    Annandale Observer
    Dumfries & Galloway Standard
    Dumfries Courier
    Eskdale and Liddesdale Advertiser
    Galloway Gazette
    Galloway News
    Moffat News
    Stranraer and Wigtownshire Free Press
    Cumnock Chronicle
    Kilmarnock Standard
    Kirkintilloch Herald
    Milngavie & Bearsden Herald
    Strathkelvin Advertiser
    East Lothian Courier
    East Lothian News
    Barrhead News
    Queensferry Gazette
    Bo’ness Journal
    Falkirk Herald
    Central Fife Times and Advertiser
    Dunfermline Press
    East Fife Mail
    Fife & Kinross Extra
    Fife Free Press
    Fife Herald
    Glenrothes Gazette
    St Andrews Citizen
    Caithness Courier
    Highland News
    The Inverness Courier
    Inverness Herald
    John O’Groat Journal
    Lochaber News
    Nairnshire Telegraph
    North Star
    The Northern Times
    Rossshire Herald
    Rossshire Journal
    Strathspey & Badenoch Herald
    Ullapool News
    West Highland Free Press
    Lothian and Peebles Times
    Midlothian Advertiser
    Banffshire Advertiser
    Forres Gazette
    Northern Scot
    Northern Scot Midweek Extra
    Ardrossan & Saltcoats Herald
    Arran Banner
    Irvine Herald
    Irvine Times
    Largs and Millport Weekly News
    North Ayrshire World
    Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser
    Cumbernauld News & Kilsyth Chronicle
    Motherwell Times & Bellshill Speaker
    Wishaw Press
    The Orcadian
    Blairgowrie Advertiser
    Perthshire Advertiser (bi-weekly)
    Strathearn Herald
    The Advertizer – formerly the Kilmacolm Advertiser
    Paisley and Renfrewshire Gazette
    Paisley People
    Berwickshire News
    Border Telegraph
    Hawick News
    Peeblesshire News
    Selkirk Advertiser
    Southern Reporter
    Shetland Times
    Ayr Advertiser
    Ayrshire Post
    Carrick Gazette
    Troon Times
    East Kilbride News
    Hamilton Advertiser
    Lanark Gazette & Carluke Gazette
    Rutherglen Reformer
    Strathaven Echoes
    Allanwater Herald
    Stirling News
    Stirling Observer
    Clydebank Post
    Dumbarton and Vale of Leven Reporter
    Lennox Herald
    Linlithgowshire Gazette
    West Lothian Courier
    Stornoway Gazette

  • ------------·´`·.¸¸.¸¸.··.¸¸Node

    Fred : So why aren’t I seeing this on the BBC or STV?

    Fred …. STOP!! GET A GRIP!!. Take a deep breath. Now read that story you’ve linked to, then ask yourself :

    (1) Why did you think that story reflected badly on the SNP?
    (2) Has your obsession with the SNP caused you to lose your sense of proportion?

    OK, now I’m trying to do you a favour here, Fred, so concentrate on this one especially.

    (3) Your claim that the media dare not criticise the SNP – upon reflection, do you not see that it is demonstrably ridiculous and destroys any remaining shreds of credibility you may have had?

  • fred

    “Fred …. STOP!! GET A GRIP!!.”

    I have a grip.

    Why wasn’t I seeing that on the BBC or STV?

    It may not worry you primary school children being taught by a member of the IRA but I can assure you to the majority in Scotland who are not Nationalists it is important.

  • Herbie

    Silly girl.

    Nothing to do with the SNP though, Fred.

    Doesn’t say she’s a member of the IRA neither, Fred.

    Did you just make those bits up yourself.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    A primary teacher referring to ‘Orange xxxxxx’s’* in Scotland must be so astonishingly stupid that her ability to teach anyone anything is seriously in doubt. A P45 job in anyone’s book. But simply supporting the IRA wouldn’t put me up or down. I was taught by Tories, and I was free to decide that they were assholes as my perception developed.

    *Or, equally, Fenian ones.

  • fred

    “Nothing to do with the SNP though, Fred.

    Doesn’t say she’s a member of the IRA neither, Fred.”

    You think she’s a Unionist just fancied having her photo taken with Nicola Sturgeon do you?

    I’m not surprised some here are trying to play it down and see nothing wrong with it but the question still remains why it isn’t headline news on BBC and STV.

    I wonder if she’s one of the Named Persons, they said there would be a lot of school teachers among them, we have a right to know.

  • Herbie

    You lied when you said she was a member of the IRA, Fred.

    Simple as.

    My guess is that she’s not a Unionist, sure, but still, nothing to do with the SNP.

    When you have to make up dirt on the SNP, then that probably shows there’s not a lot of it about.

    Cos I know you’re looking for it Fred, and not finding anything.

    Hence the need for embellishment.

    Ever thought of applying for a job with Fox.

  • fred

    “You lied when you said she was a member of the IRA, Fred.”

    She calls herself “Provo Princess”, why should she call herself a Provo if she isn’t one?

    How come you want to turn attention away from school children being taught nationalism and republicanism by a member of the IRA and more importantly why it isn’t headline news by attacking me and calling me a liar?

    Those really are shitty tactics but what I’ve come to expect on this blog.

  • Herbie

    I’m just turning attention away from the SNP, Fred.

    Given your last effort, seems I was successful, eh.

    I’ll not further labour the distinction between member of and supporter of the IRA, other than to restate the fact that you knowingly lied.

  • fred

    “I’ll not further labour the distinction between member of and supporter of the IRA, other than to restate the fact that you knowingly lied.”

    She claims to be a Provo on twitter, Provisional Irish Republican Army, unlawful terrorist group.

    Your evidence she isn’t?

  • Ba'al Zevul

    How come you want to turn attention away from school children being taught nationalism and republicanism by a member of the IRA and more importantly why it isn’t headline news by attacking me and calling me a liar?

    Were the children being taught nationalism and republicanism, Fred? Doesn’t say so in the article, and that would still be sub judice anyway. Was she a member of the IRA? Doesn’t say. Could have just been a silly cow, as far as the article actually goes. And take your pick about the SNP, which you never lose an opportunity to smear (bet you wish they’d had Janner), because the SNP has (a) consistently opposed violence and (b) doesn’t accept dual-membership.

    Wow. There’s a hell of a lot of Scots kids being actively taught unionism and monarchism, though, Fred. That’s not headline news, either. Do try to be balanced.

  • fred

    “Wow. There’s a hell of a lot of Scots kids being actively taught unionism and monarchism, though, Fred. That’s not headline news, either. Do try to be balanced.”

    But why isn’t it being reported in the Scottish media?

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