Is the SNP Campaigning for Independence? 302

I was watching This Week on the BBC last night, and Andrew Neil teased John Nicolson that the SNP had given up campaigning for Independence, and never mentioned it any more. I have known John since student days, and much respect him. He is a very professional man and put in a very professional performance on the show. He can be relied on, despite his arch asides, to follow a party line.

How did John reply to the charge that the SNP had stopped campaigning for Independence? Did he reply, “No Andrew, we remain fully committed to the goal of Independence and that is our number one priority.”?


He said “we have to respect the decision of the electorate”, a line taken straight from Nicola Sturgeon.

The problem with this is that it is exactly the Blairite line. Liz Kendall argued in effect that the electorate voted Tory, so Labour have to be Red Tories to respect the electorate.

It is a trite phrase. Nobody would argue you should disrespect the electorate. But it then elides into a distortion. To respect the verdict of the electorate means to accept your loss on this occasion and the processes of the state proceed on that basis, without any attempt to subvert the democratic decision. It does NOT mean the losing side had to change its beliefs, go quiet, or stop campaigning ready for the next time.

Since the referendum I have spoken on many stages in favour of Independence across Scotland, under the aegis of a whole variety of organisations only a minority of which are anathema to the SNP. Yet it occurs to me that of all the distinguished people I have shared platforms with, I have not witnessed a single one of the SNP’s MPs argue for Independence. To my certain knowledge they have declined many invitations to do so.

The SNP instead is setting out its stall as a kinder and more efficient manager of the governmental institutions of Scotland within the UK. It is elevating managerialism into a cult. Forget Independence and admire John Swinney’s figures. This is reinforced by another managerialist subtext, “the only organised opposition at Westminster.” Opposing the Tories is undoubtedly a good thing. But all this is symptomatic of the SNP becoming over-comfortable within the governmental institutions of the United Kingdom. All the energy expended pointlessly on the glorified local council powers of the Scotland Act while our country is dragged into yet another neo-con war against the will of the Scottish people.

When the media were promoting a narrative of potential ill-behaviour by new SNP MP’s, Tommy Sheppard famously declared “We have not come to act up, but to settle up!” What precisely have the SNP MP’s done that showed a scintilla of desire to “settle up” and end the Union? Where are the Parnellite tactics? A more honest declaration would be:

“We have not come to settle up, but to settle in!”

John Nicolson was led on to discussing his prospects of re-election last night, in response to a joke about Michael Portillo’s defeat. Andrew Neil gently reminded him he was not meant to want to be in Westminster long term. I am willing to bet a million pounds with anybody that the SNP structure is already giving more thought to defending its Westminster seats than to ending the union before the next Westminster election. I think deep down everybody reading this will find they believe that too.

Leadership loyalists will respond with a) more managerialism – we run the country better blah blah blah – and b), the argument that the SNP has to entrench in power before trying again for independence and win trust by – more managerialism. Oh OK, that’s actually the same argument. They don’t have another one.

The problem with this is gravity. In politics no party remains at the heights of popularity forever. Events take their toll. I suspect that what Nicola agreed with Dave this week about extending the extreme surveillance state to Scotland will be a little wave of erosion once we get told of it. The SNP will, regardless of anything I think or write, sweep the Holyrood elections. But that will likely be the high point of their absolute dominance of Scottish politics.

Let me put it this way. It is definitely a possibility that the coming real domination of both MPs and MSPs will never happen again. If the SNP do not even try to use that dominance to deliver Independence, then what is the point of the SNP?

Oh sorry, I forgot. They manage the institutions better, and are an effective opposition at Westminster. That apparently is the point. But not what I joined for.

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302 thoughts on “Is the SNP Campaigning for Independence?

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  • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella)

    “Whatever may have caused Janner’s death, it certainly prevented a trial on the facts as effectively as a suicide would have done”

    Did anyone say the otherwise? But top marks for realising that a dead person can’t be put on trial (at least, not out of a Stalinist dictaoirship)


    “(Which does not mean I rule out suicide in the absence of an autopsy.)”

    Does anyone here really care what you rule in or out?

    But if you feel really stringly about it, you might try getting up a petition?

  • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella)


    “You have – for no apparent gain – lost a fairly sympathetic correspondent’s respect, despite being on the opposite side of most of the issues under discussion.”

    Sorry to hear that, Glenn. But you must admit that some (not many) of your recent posts were worthy of a Macky or a Fedup.

    I have to tell it as it is, you see.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella)


    “Habby, I think you have been a little unfair with Glenn, who remains one of the few objective, balanced and serious commenters here.”


    Usually, yes.


    ” Unless there is something in particular you were alluding to earlier?”


    See my reply to Glenn, above.


    Hope you’re well, Alcyone, always good to read you.


  • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella)


    “I’m no expert on Alzheimer’s disease, so perhaps someone can explain how a person can die as a result of ‘complications’ resulting from it?”


    Then get yourself up to speed by reading John Spencer-Davis’s excellent post on death and dementia. You’ll find it a few threads back.


    Re your flu – I recommend foregoing the gros pinard for a few days and moving onto brandy. You know it makes sense, and your posts might be all the better for it. A bottle a day should do it for you.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella)



    He may of left us but his unstinting work for Israeli schoolchildren will always be remembered and honoured .”

    Good that even a negative character like you can recognise that there is some good in everyone.

    Continue ainsi! 🙂

  • Alcyone

    Thanks Habby, all good and always good to read you too.

    Hope you and Glenn will wipe the slate clean, so we can all travel light. What a wonderful word, ‘light’ with its myriad of meanings!

    Stay well my friend!

    Glenn too, stay well!

  • Ba'al Zevul

    It is surely at this juncture, or thereabouts, that our friend Mary would have written something like “ten posts of utter garbage written by the Chief Troll in less than an hour!”

    Would you settle for a shut up, you cunt? (Rumbled)

    It continues to be obsessed with Mary to the extent of sneering at what it thinks she would have said if it hadn’t driven her off, so the answer to your question is certainly no. The only remedy may be to section it in a secure unit.

    He may of left us but his unstinting work for Israeli schoolchildren will always be remembered and honoured . (Monteverdi)

    Not, perhaps, by the Israelis…

    …who may have seen the inescapable parallel between Janner and Jimmy Savile, whose tireless self-promotion in the context of charitable work involving children faciliated his criminal activity. In any case, does not-buggering Israeli children exculpate him from buggering British ones?

  • N_

    Please can people stop referring to Britain as “the UK”.

    Most people don’t realise it, but the widespread use of that term is a continuing propaganda victory for those who manage the monarchist brand.

    Think of how good it is for Hoover if everyone calls vacuum cleaners “hoovers”.

    The UK is a political regime. It is like the French Fifth Republic. It is not a country.

    Britain is the country.

    “Regime”, a loanword from a foreign language, French, is often used by western propagandists to convey the message that political structures in certain foreign countries (Syria, Russia, etc., but never Germany, the United States or Israel) are not eternal and may even prove to be historically ephemeral.

    It’s never ever used about Britain, although the name of the regime is in widespread use as if it were the name of the country.

    When people don’t distinguish between the regime and the country, the regime appears as as natural as the hills and lakes. It’s bad enough when a country appears like that. Whichever way you look at it, there’s obviously not going to be a “Britain” in a few thousand years time, and probably not in a few hundred years time. It’s even worse when a regime appears like that.

    Those of us who want to weaken exploitation, who would support a swingeing tax on inheritance, who are in favour of a redistribution of wealth away from the super-rich – and these aims unite many of us who post here – are weak at the moment. There’s no denying it. But there are still some things we can achieve. And chucking out at least some of the verbal means that our opponents use to dominate the way we think and express ourselves is one of them.

  • Herbie

    “The end of an era, and a black day as the Left shoots itself in the foot again”

    Division and split is built into Leftist thinking, I’m afraid. That’s why there’s a plethora of small leftist groups.

    For the same reason you have a multiplicity of Protestant churches and sects etc.

    Something wrong with that approach should you want a unity of purpose.

    People need to unite around a common core and be prepared to submit their smaller differences to that greater unity.

    Old Conservatives understood this.

    That’s why Russia has reinvented a form of Conservatism, which itself will likely outlive the ugly atomistic chaos currently dominating the West.

  • MJ

    “Please can people stop referring to Britain as “the UK””

    No. They’re not interchangeable. The UK includes N Ireland, Britain doesn’t.

  • Alcyone

    “Division and split is built into ….”

    Built into all that Man does. Why?

    “People need to unite around a common core and be prepared to submit their smaller differences to that greater unity.”

    Is that Comrade Herbie talking or Pope Herbert?

    Anyway please discuss the origins of division.


  • Macky

    Looking on the bright side, maybe we will have an influx of ex-MediaLensers to help drown out the moronic trolls pleasuring themselves, & each oher ! 😀

  • Herbie

    No surprise to hear that you prefer “ugly atomistic chaos”, habby.

    A shit wallowing in its own shit, pretty much sums you up.

    Human beings thrive in community.

    That’s what will win out.

  • Alcyone

    “Human beings thrive in community.

    That’s what will win out.”

    Herbie please get real, are we ‘thriving’?

    Yes, its always tomorrow….that’s what the politicians always tell us — vote for Change!

  • N_

    @MJ – Hence terms such as “British citizen”, meaning citizen of Britain. There is no GB citizenship.

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

    There is no such thing as a citizen N_, more like subjects or slaves. Please don’t persuade us that, operating a racket that’s renewed by party political tribes every four years, as they see fit to manipulate the unfair disproportional voting system, makes us in any way Citizens.

    This system has been rigged for a very long time and nobody who calls themselves a politician wants to change it or make it more fair and democratic for voters, never mind making it easier and less fraudulent to vote.

    Holding a passport does not make you into a Citizen, imho.

  • giyane

    N _

    And i thought I was being so equal ops and inclusive Always to refer to Britian as the UK, lest some highlandrs in woaded kilts felt unincluded.

    In future I’ll just use ‘chaps’ to mean male and female, English Scots and other celts, and all others residing here on a temprary or permanent basis, not with standing others domiciled elsewhere or in future or past times.

    They will know who is included by the context.

  • giyane

    “Individualism and selfishness, which habby extols, will consign us to history’s dump.”

    Are you referring to Thatcherism? We were consigned to that a long time ago.

  • Herbie

    “Are you referring to Thatcherism? We were consigned to that a long time ago.”

    History’s dump?

    Not yet, certainly not then.

    It’s a process.

    The wealthier we get, the less we can afford.

    Better to call it early Banksterism and late Banksterism, I suppose.

    I think there’s someone skimming off the top:

  • lysias

    I’m just now reading a book that goes a long way towards explaining where and how we have gone wrong economically and therefore politically: Michael Hudson’s Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage Destroy the Global Economy.

    Interestingly, Hudson’s undergraduate training was in philology (at the University of Chicago). So he came to economics with a trained mind and so was not bamboozled by the reigning neoliberal orthodoxy.

    Similarly, David Graeber, whose Debt — The First 5,000 Years is also well worth reading, was trained as and still is a professional anthropologist.

    Hudson and Graeber are also both trained Assyriologists.

  • Republicofscotland

    “You have – for no apparent gain – lost a fairly sympathetic correspondent’s respect, despite being on the opposite side of most of the issues under discussion.

    I’ll leave it at that.”


    Poor Glenn takes a grammatical punch in the stomach from his long time doyen.

    Some folk never wisen up.

  • glenn_uk

    RoS: “Some folk never wisen up.

    Indeed. Since the insult was so grievous, it’s not something I can overlook. After all, some of my posts were being compared with yours and – as you can imagine – that’s a rather low blow which anyone would be annoyed at.

  • Pan


    Re: the other day … I had mush for brains on Sunday – total mental fatigue.

    NOW I appreciate your comment addressed to me. (Only thing is I happen to live near Tunbridge Wells and I DON’T KNOW YOU!) 🙂

    Re: Dylan Thomas’ – Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night…

    I had forgotten who posted that poem, but looking through my notes I discovered it was you.

    It spoke to me. Now I have a wonderful recording (taken from old vinyl) of said poem, narrated by Richard Burton, to which I have listened, rapt, over and over and over.

  • Pan

    21 Dec, 2015 – 12:44 am

    “Over the years the Israeli military’s response has been that these stories are the exceptions, not the rule, accounts of a few bad apples’ actions.”

    A musing I jotted down a year or so ago…

    “Bad Apples”

    I’ve always found it rather amusing, the fondness the corporate media have for the metaphor of the bad apple, and the way they try to use it to purvey the idea that corrupt individuals exist in isolation, because of course in real life, a bad apple rapidly infects all the other apples that come into contact with it.


    21 Dec, 2015 – 10:52 am

    “…there are still some things we can achieve. And chucking out at least some of the verbal means that our opponents use to dominate the way we think and express ourselves is one of them.”

    Amen to that!

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