Nicola the Haverer 199

Replacing Alex with Nicola set back the cause of Scottish Independence. It was a great success for the SNP as an institution, but it is now abundantly clear that the institutional health of the SNP and the cause of Independence are two quite separate things.

I have posted at intervals this last two years that I have heard nobody from the SNP argue the case for Independence since Indyref1. I still have heard nobody from the SNP argue the positive case for Independence since Indyref1. To the extent that when the tendentious GERS report came out and was splashed all over mainstream media, nobody from the SNP explained why the finances of an independent Scotland would work. (To give just one example Scottish taxes contribute £2.2 billion to housing benefit of which only a quarter of Scotland’s contribution is spent in Scotland).

Unionist propaganda is still streamed out of the mainstream media every day. If nobody counters with the case for Independence, support for Independence will never increase. The latest YouGov poll putting us back at 46% is probably accurate. The idea that you wait until support has – by magic – increased to a regular 60% before you start campaigning is self-evidently delusional.

We started the referendum campaign at – at best – 32%. Through street campaigning, new media and the people’s energy, against the concerted might of the mainstream media, we got it up to 45%. We can have that effect again. Starting at 46%, I have no doubt that we can get it well over 50% in Indyref2.

It was the Yes movement on the ground that did this, through street campaigning, town hall meetings and social media. And never forget this – while the SNP were a valued part in that, were our wedge into mainstream media, and had Alex in the debates, the official SNP were a minority in the ground war Yes campaign. It was only after the referendum that the Yes campaigners piled in to the SNP. That brought in some of the SNP’s best new MP’s, like Tommy Sheppard, Mhairi Black and Chris Law. But have you seen those great campaigners arguing for Independence in the last twelve months? No. Party discipline has silenced them.

There have been a number of ruses by Nicola to avert the desire of the membership to campaign for Independence.

*We had the promised “Summer of Independence” campaign which was simply forgotten.
*We had the avoidance of an Indyref2 promise in the manifesto through the “material change” clause
*When “material change” undeniably happened through the EUref, we had the avoidance of Indyref2 through the “panel of experts” – a body of mostly ultra-establishment people, almost all neo-liberal, including the secretary of the Bilderberg Group, who will produce an anti-Independence report.

We now have the latest ruse to put off campaigning for Independence and it is transparently thin. The idea is to keep the activists happy through till the New Year by holding – then analysing the results of – a “national conversation”. This is simply an opinion poll. Here are 80% of the questions (all I could grab in a screenshot).

Screenshot (66)

Note the “national conversation” is not one in which the party will argue for Independence. It is just a poll of what people think with no attempt to convince them, as plain in the “activists’ guide” which accompanies it to members. The SNP could simply have paid their pollsters to ask the same questions, with an unusually large sample size of say 10,000, and got a more accurate result than they will from this survey. (All party surveys/canvass returns, always, overestimate their support as those surveyed generally wish to be polite to the person talking to them).

The SNP as an institution is secure in its powerbase in its regional council at Holyrood – let’s not pretend we have a national Parliament yet when we have no say in going to illegal war – and has a lot of well paid people with their feet firmly under the table in Westminster and Brussels. From next year it will dominate Scotland’s councils. The SNP is doing very nicely thank you. As an institution, it has more to risk than to gain from another shot at Independence. Nicola’s havering to put off another effort at Independence has now become ludicrous.


* Scotland’s EU membership will be much simpler if Independence is achieved before Brexit and Scots just remain EU citizens. Leaving and rejoining will be technically and politically far more complicated. I may not be Establishment enough for Nicola’s “expert panel”, but as First Secretary at the British Embassy in Warsaw for four years my main task was Poland’s EU accession and I do know what I am talking about. That gives us just 2 years or less for both Indyref2 and negotiation with rUK. We have to fire the starting gun if we are serious
* If the SNP continue to abjure putting the case for Independence, opinion polls will never move in our favour and may slip further
* Nothing is certain in politics. At the moment there is probably a Holyrood majority for Indyref2, but in 2020 there may well not be.

People will now reply that Nicola is a brilliantly successful politician while I am just a spurned old idealist tapping alone on my laptop. But that is why you should listen to me.

199 thoughts on “Nicola the Haverer

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  • Vronsky

    “nobody from the SNP explained why the finances of an independent Scotland would work”

    There have been many analyses from different quarters demonstrating that the GERS report is simply an exercise in imperial propaganda. Those alternative commentaries will never be heard in the mainstream media and the SNP probably reasons that there is no point in shouting into the same deaf ear, in much the same way as they rarely protest at the startlingly obvious propaganda of the BBC.

    I think the SNP is making sure that they can point to some evidence that alternatives to another referendum were fully explored before calling it. Other than that, most of us are not hanging on the words of the SNP anyway. Expect some speaking invitations from the hoi polloi.

    • Loony

      So no-one explained how the finances would work. Just like no-one from the EU, Japan, the US, China Switzerland and the UK are explaining how the finances work.

      Scottish independence is a complete irrelevance. The world is at the end of a credit cycle around $13 trillion of global debt is “invested” in at negative nominal rates and Scottish people are concerned because no-one has explained to them how their finances work. Try this – They don/t work. Not in Scotland, not anywhere else.

      • Gerry Imrie

        Scottish independence is not a “complete irrelevance” to the majority of people in Scotland.

  • Kininvie

    You run the campaign the data tells you to. You don’t charge down the hill in a wild burst of enthusiasm and lose. The Brexit vote messed up our data badly, because we know many Yes voters voted to Leave and many No voters voted to remain. Until we know why, and how they are likely to vote in an EU vs UK Indyref, we can’t know the pressure points for the forthcoming campaign. It’s as simple as that.

    Anyone who is doing regular canvassing rather than ‘tapping alone on my laptop’ will be finding that Brexit has increased the uncertainty on both sides. I’ve had a lot of doorstep conversations since June 23rd, and while there is a lot of anger about Brexit, it has yet to translate to a Yes vote. There’s much work to be done.

  • kailyard rules

    Over a year ago on this blogsite I mentioned on the thread that Nicola Sturgeon had said it was up to the people of Scotland ,not the SNP, as to whether there would be a second referendum on Independence for Scotland.
    It was met with some laughter and derision from the regular “cogniscenti”. “…will she have a referendum for a referendum..( ha ha ha ). etc. etc..etc…
    She is not having a referendum, but a plebiscite, to gather information regarding the political position of the electorate in Scotland. An example of social democratic behaviour by the Scottish Government ( using SNP funds.)
    This plebiscite is open for all citizens (I will not use the hated “subjects” preferred by the Crown) to participate .
    Craig , how else can she determine the political conscience of the nation? Why are polls and “pollmasters” given more credence and respect than a plebiscite initiated by Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland?
    Craig, I believe you are definitely YES, but am disappointed with your stance regarding this plebiscite.

  • Sharp Ears

    What about this scandal? The schools have been collapsing and the taxpayers are picking up the repair bills.

    PFI schools built in Scotland ‘owned by offshore firms’
    22 August 2016

    Scottish PFI schools
    Key figures
    2,544 state schools in Scotland
    350 PFI schools (estimated)
    277 owned at least partly offshore
    80% owned at least partly offshore
    Source: Dexter Whitfield/Scottish government

    An excellent exposé by BBC Scotland.

    How Safe Is My School? BBC Scotland Investigates, 2016
    When Storm Gertrude brought down a wall at an Edinburgh primary school, it sparked a crisis that brought disruption to thousands of families. But it also exposed concerns over the safety of the very buildings parents need to trust most. Fiona Walker investigates why the wall collapsed, how many of our new schools are potentially dangerous and what this scandal tells us about how we’re building and paying for the schools our children depend on.
    22 August 2016 29 days left to watch
    Reporter Fiona Walker
    Producer Stephen Magee

    Good investigative journalism.

  • Col

    As soon as the SNP gained their majority Scottish presence in Westminster they should have demanded that Scotland be allowed full access to all its accounts.
    Some passion wouldn’t go a miss either when dealing with the corrupt media. Backed with the facts too.
    Losing indy ref 1 was a disaster, losing indy ref 2 could be the end of it for another 30 years I’d say.
    Thatcher 2 will finish us off, we could even see troubled times like NI god forbid.

  • My Cocaine

    I find myself in the unusual position of agreeing with Craig Murray but disagreeing with Peter A Bell.

    In the aftermath of 2014, I thought we had blown it, that our chance had passed for at least a generation, but the fortunes have smiled kindly on us and presented us with a second chance

    Thanks to BREXIT, Westminster is in disarray, the Union is on the ropes. Months of uncertainty, managed decline, and another winter of discontent surely await us.

    We have a pro-indy majority in the Scottish Parliament. Nearly 2/3rds of Scotland voted to stay in the EU, but find themselves marginalized again.

    That traditional pillar of Unionism in Scotland, the Labour party, has been swept from the board – a corpse that refuses to die, its remnants torn apart by civil war between Corbyn and a Blairite rump.

    Honest to God, I cannot think of a more favorable position for the pro-indy movement to find itself in.

    If not now, when?

  • bevin

    It is tempting to exaggerate the SNP’s success in campaigning. In politics it generally takes two to tango. Much of the SNP’s success is attributable to the arrogance, incompetence and stupidity of a Labour Party that had become convinced that it ruled by divine right and regarded criticism from below as treason.

    Given the nature of that Labour Party, and given the fact that it had been, for example, running Glasgow, the way that the Daley mob runs Chicago, for decades, it would have been surprising if the SNP had not prevailed. (This is especially the case given the operation that led to the defenestration of Tommy Sheridan.)

    An interesting parallel with the SNP can be found in the Parti Quebecois which came very close to winning independence in Canada.
    Like the SNP the PQ came to office in Quebec after a period in which it was the official opposition to a Liberal Party which, though it did not approach the depths to which Labour in Scotland descended, was corrupt, tired and discredited. In becoming the opposition, it had pushed aside the old, bleu, Union Nationale-the Tory party in effect. In doing this it had absorbed much of its electoral support, activist membership and crumbling structures. This gave the PQ, a vaguely social democratic party, a schizoid character: half young, energetic, socialistic; half world weary, religious-traditionalist, bourgeois.

    Of course the parallels are few and limited: Quebec is an enormous province more than twice the size of Germany, linguistically distinct and incredibly rich in resources. All of which makes it a very eligible candidate to become a nation state, without greatly disturbing economic and social relationships.
    Is this the case in Scotland? I very much doubt it. In order to achieve independence it will have to do something about its ‘share’ of the debt. If it burdens itself with it it will condemn its people to the sort of poverty that faces the UK and is overtaking Greece. If it repudiates it, it will have difficulty raising money internationally.
    (Not greatly different from the situation in 1707, is it? And there are rogues yet in the nation).

    The Unionist campaign is based upon the, false, notion that if you don’t disturb current arrangements they will last forever. (The argument of old men for whom ‘forever’ means a few years.)
    As to the SNP argument, it seems to be that Scotland has resources enough to live well. And so, absent angry creditors, it does.
    One thing is certain: emulation of the Irish economy, rediscovering a Celtic Tiger is not a viable option. If Scotland goes into the EU it will be bound to honour its debts, more or less as Westminster requires. And its currency will be controlled by foreign banks.

    Is this an argument against Independence?
    Not at all. Independence is greatly to be desired, both for Scotland and for England. But it cannot come without the comprehensive dismantling of the United Kingdom in its entirety. The UK had its origins in an imperial speculation and its public finances are those of a predatory Empire. Albeit one running out of ideas whose rulers long ago began to hedge their bets and enrol themselves in the service of foreign, larger, powers, whose interests they serve assiduously and loyally.

    The break up of the UK is inevitable: the choice is whether the people break it up and determine their own futures or they wait a few years until the remaining infrastructure is given away, at pennies in the pound, to foreign capitalists who will then drain every last ounce of lifeblood from people who imagined that present arrangements, incrementally improving, would last forever.
    It is peculiar that, living in a country which has, for five centuries, demolished and looted continent after sub-continent, exploding cultures, revolutionising ways of life, people don’t realise that, unless they take measures to defend themselves, politically, economically, their turn is coming very soon.
    Unless they act urgently.

    • CameronB Brodie

      It is clear that you are a person of intellect but it is also obvious you know little of Scotland.

      Scotland is one of Europe’s oldest nation, it is linguistically different to England (though print and mass media has and is reducing this differentiation) and Scotland is awash with an embarrassment of natural capital.

      Internal Colonialism: Celtic Fringe in British National Development

      …. Recent years have seen a resurgence of separatist sentiments among national minorities in many industrial societies, including the United Kingdom. In 1997, the Scottish and Welsh both set up their own parliamentary bodies, while the tragic events in Northern Ireland continued to be a reminder of the Irish problem. These phenomena call into question widely accepted social theories which assume that ethnic attachments in a society will wane as industrialization proceeds.

      This book presents the social basis of ethnic identity, and examines changes in the strength of ethnic solidarity in the United Kingdom during the 19th and 20th centuries. As well as being a case study, the work also has implications, as it suggests that the internal colonialism of the kind experienced in the British Isles has its analogues in the histories of other industrial societies. Hechter examines the unexpected persistence of ethnicity in the politics of industrial societies by focusing on the British Isles. Why do many of the inhabitants of Wales, Scotland and Ireland continue to maintain an ethnic identity opposed to England?

      Hechter explains the salience of ethnic identity by analyzing the relationships between England, the national core, and its periphery, the Celtic fringe, in the context of two alternative models of core-periphery relations in the industrial setting. The “”diffusion”” model suggests that intergroup contact leads to ethnic homogenization, and the “”internal colonial”” model, suggests such contact heightens distinctive ethnic identification. His findings lend support to the internal colonial model, and show that, although industrialization did contribute to a decline in interregional linguistic differences, it resulted neither in the cultural assimilation of Celtic lands, nor the development of regional economic equality. The study concludes that ethnic solidarity will inevitably emerge among groups which are relegated to inferior positions in a cultural division of labour.

      Myth and National Identity in Nineteenth-Century Britain: The Legends of King Arthur and Robin Hood
      This book explores the relationship between British and English national identities in the nineteenth-century. David Cannadine has suggested that Colley’s sense of Britishness had dwindled, by the end of Victoria’s reign, to an interpretation of Britain as England alone, so that British history was essentially English history writ large.(1) Barczewksi’s study of nineteenth-century perceptions and representations of the legends of King Arthur and Robin Hood offers a case study of the development of this Anglicization of the British identity. By the end of Victoria’s reign, she argues, Britishness of the inclusive variety Colley pictured was under challenge: a more dominant and racialist form of English national identity was emerging. This was a definition of Britain as England which left no room for the inclusion of Celtic national identities. You could not longer be British and Scottish, Welsh, or Irish; you were British and not Scottish, Welsh or Irish….

      • Bob Smith

        How is it linguistically different? Gaelic was only ever spoken in a small part of Scotland and still is. The different pronunciations of English in different parts of Scotland are as varied as the differences between Geordies and Devonians. I am yet to see a convincing argument that the differences in the use of English in Scotland are such that Scottish is a distinct language.

          • Bob Smith

            Defining a culture is a very tricky thing, and the culture of the Highlands and Islands is vastly different to that of the urban areas of Edinburgh. Indeed, the culture of Orkney and Shetland have significant differences. Yet all share the English language. The culture of much of Australia is very different yet mostly shares the English language. There are different words used, there are different accents but culture cannot just be defined by language. History, environment, shared experience, propaganda etc all play a part. I am suspect of all who think they can define a culture. However, your point was that Scotland is linguistically different to England and I am simply saying it is not as clear as that. I’m not looking for an argument as I doubt anything I say is going to convince you.

        • fred

          The Scots language is descended from Frisian, as is English. Both English and Scots developed at the same time in parallel rather than Scots being derived from English. The Scots language was the language used by the first Scottish parliament from the 13th century.

          • deepgreenpuddock

            That’s my understanding. There are also huge influences from the language that pre-dated that era -which is thought to have been something a bit like Welsh and was spoken widely in both what is now Scotland, England and Wales. At this time there would not have been nation states-more like clans/tribes and areas of influence, with no neat boundaries between.

          • fred

            The monarch was known as the King of Scots rather than the King of Scotland, it was the people that mattered not the geography.

  • CameronB Brodie

    We are attempting to undo a culture of entitlement that has permeated much of Scottish life and psyche. Perhaps I’m naive but think the phrase “hold the line” might apply at this particular juncture. Discipline does not imply fixity.

  • CameronB Brodie

    Bob Smith
    I am not looking for an argument either but I think it rather unfair of you to consider me closed-minded. I support Scotland’s self-determination for a whole raft of reasons, not least so as to access inalienable human rights I am presently denied, but I also consider myself rational.

    “The right to development is an inalienable human right by virtue of which every human person and all peoples are entitled to participate in, contribute to, and enjoy economic, social, cultural and political development, in which all human rights and fundamental freedoms can be fully realized.” (Article 1.1, Declaration on the Right to Development)

    “The human right to development also implies the full realization of the right of peoples to self-determination, which includes, subject to the relevant provisions of both International Covenants on Human Rights, the exercise of their inalienable right to full sovereignty over all their natural wealth and resources.” (Article 1.2)

    Indeed, language is not the only indicator of cultural distinctiveness, though it is one of the most basic. IMHO the most significant historical cultural difference, other than language, is religion. Anglicanism and Presbyterianism are very different beasts and underpin very different social structures and national ideologies-ethos. These are cultural artifacts that British nationalism appears to want to obliterate. British nationalism is actually English nationalism in disguise.

    Empire and English nationalism

    ….For Gellner, as for many other commentators, nation and empire were and are antithetical. The great empires of the past belonged to the species of the ‘agro-literate’ society, whose central fact is that ‘almost everything in it militates against the definition of political units in terms of cultural bound-aries’ (Gellner 1983: 11; see also Gellner 1998: 14–24). Power and culture go their separate ways. The political form of empire encloses a vastly differentiated and internally hierarchical society in which the cosmopolitan culture of the rulers differs sharply from the myriad local cultures of the subordinate strata. Modern empires, such as the Soviet empire, continue this pattern of disjuncture between the dominant culture of the elites and the national or ethnic cultures of the constituent parts.

    Nationalism, argues Gellner, closes the gap. It insists that the only legitimate political unit is one in which rulers and ruled share the same culture. Its ideal is one state, one culture. Or, to put it another way, its ideal is the national or the ‘nation-state’, since it conceives of the nation essentially in terms of a shared culture linking all members. Thus ‘if the rulers of the political unit belong to a nation other than that of the majority of the ruled, this, for nationalists, constitutes a quite outstandingly intolerable breach of political propriety’ (Gellner 1983:1). What, therefore, for nationalists could be more outrageous than an empire such as the British where a handful of British men and women ruled over millions of Indians, Africans and others, all of whom contained within themselves the seeds of genuine nationhood?

    ….The argument so far is that the English did not need, or at least did not develop, nationalism in the usual understanding of that term. ‘English nationalism’ sounds strange, both to the English and to others. The English were, for much of their modern history, implicated in a range of enterprises which suppressed the common manifestations of nationalism. There was and is English patriotism, and certainly English xenophobia. There was and is racial Anglo-Saxonism. There is even the ‘Whig interpretation’ of English history, which celebrates English achievements and England’s fortunate separation from the European Continent, with its disastrous history of authoritarianism and civil conflict. But there is no English Herder or Fichte; no English Mazzini or Garibaldi; no Michelet or Mickiewicz, or any equivalent of the nineteenth-century literary quest to discover the ‘Russian soul’. There is nothing in England like the Scottish Declaration of Arbroath (1320), nothing like the idea of ‘national war’ as ‘holy war’ invoked in the Greek Proclamation of Independence (1822) (Kohn 1965: 116).

    ….Is there an English nationalism today? The transnational causes that gave the English a sense of identity – Protestantism, industrialism, imperialism – are either weak or absent. The European Union, to many English people, is as much a threat as a promise. The presence of a large minority of non-European, non-white, citizens continues to be a source of anxiety to a considerable section of the white majority in the country. Scots, and to a lesser extent Welsh and Irish, show a disposition to pull out of the United Kingdom and to make their own arrangements with Brussels. Looking at the matter in one way, we might be tempted to say that the protective layers that allowed the English to ignore questions of national identity have now all fallen away. The questions are back with a vengeance. There are several small groups around which think they have the answers, though they are yet to convince most people. Of greater significance is a Conservative Party which, swept out of the Celtic regions, may be the English nationalist party in waiting….

    • Anon1

      ‘Deluded’ is the key word. Just two years after the Scotch voted decisively to remain part of the UK, Craig wants to spunk away a second referendum under less favourable circumstances, thereby destroying any chance of independence for at least 30-40 years? You’d think he was working for the other side. Is it any wonder the SNP rejected his desperate advances?

      • John Barr

        ‘The Scotch’? Scotch is a DRINK, not a nationality! Not from around these parts, are you, kid? 🙂

        • fred

          Anon is a Troll. He deliberately uses the word “Scotch” because he knows he will get loads of irate replies. He uses the same trick every few months when there are enough new posters around to fall for it.

          There are a lot of new definitions for the word “Troll” but this is the original form, how trolling started, posting to get a predicted response. It’s a control freak thing. Trolling is a type of fishing where you put a lot of hooks on one line and tow it behind a boat, Anon throws out the line and sees how many fish bite.

  • Dave

    @ Peter

    “the UK and EU are different forms of Union”. Yes and Scottish influence in the bigger EU will be less than in the smaller UK.

    • MBC

      How so? The Scots have zero influence in the UK. The nations have never had parity and have no voice. England’s will prevails. It is not a federal system. You need go no further than the fact that two nations out of four have voted to Remain but are being dragged out regardless of their national democratic will. In the EU any major changes, such as the admission of new members (or the exit terms of existing members…. ) have to be agreed by the national commissioners for the 27/28.

      No such proviso exists in the UK.

      Nicola Sturgeon asked for such a condition to be attached to the EU ref, but was refused.

  • Anon1

    It was established in a recent YouGov/Times poll that just 11% of the Scotch now see independence as a priorty.

    There’s your main reason why the SNP aren’t pursuing independence. They would lose, again. It is for the same reason that the Labour party wants shot of Corbyn. It is not that there is a ‘right-wing’ conspiracy against him. It is that under him the Labour party is completely unelectable and will suffer its greatest defeat in living memory.

    Craig doesn’t have to deal with any of these problems because he’s far more comfortable sniping from the sidelines at the ideologically impure. He is a hopelessly divisive and wreckless figure who shits all over the people he is supposed to support and that is why no poltical party wants him anywhere near them, least of all the SNP.

    • nevermind

      More personal bile from the brexiteer who gets more and more angry about the cul de sac he’s been parked in, please have a split second of understanding for his perilous situation.

      Just to see how those who know about trade and investment have been held back, that they not even designed a paddle to go up river. Politicians? more like bounders. This last weekend at chequers, picking each others nits, has resulted in nothing more either, Mrs. May is dithering whilst Anon 1 is burning a hole in his trousers farting about nothing.

      This by Henry Austin of the ‘i’ Independent.

      ” The lack of Brexit planning was a ‘humiliation for this country, according to the former head of UK Trade and Investment, Sir Andrew Cahn.
      ‘I find it unaccountable, shocking in fact, that David Cameron as prime minister prohibited the civil service from doing preparatory work, because it was always going to be close, ‘he told the Civil Service World.
      ‘It was simply irresponsible of the then prime minister to say to the civil service ‘you must not do any thinking’. I think it was a humiliation to this country that our partners in Euroe should say ‘You’ve voted for this, but you have no idea what you want, you made no plans, you don’t know what you are talking about.”
      Sir Andrew, 60, added that he backed staying in the EU because his father was a German Jewish refugee who fled Hitler and he was brought up to “believe that institutions are not stable and permanent, that they constantly have to be fought for and strengthened.” When the referendum results were announced, he said he was” miserable that Leave won an unexpected victory”.

      • Anon1

        Hard luck, Sir Andrew.


        I see the AfD has beaten Merkel’s CDU into third place. Didn’t I tell you this would would happen? Because of Merkel’s insane migration policies which you support, you now have the right on the rise again in Germany. Well done you utter tit.

    • silentlamb_silent_no_more

      Scotch? I just spat out ma whisky. We are not Scotch. We are not a drink. We are Scots. Nothing irritates me more than people getting that wrong. I would not trust Yougov/Times because both are run by the establishment, i.e. the tory establishment. Indeed, no poll can be trusted. Not even the one that the Scotgov have cooked up, for many reasons, but you only need to look at the one staring us in the comments here.

      I will now have the pleasure of messaging out to the SNP, that people who live elsewhere no matter their side of preference on independence, are now looking to illegally falsify information to achieve a result, whatever that may be. I hope that my membership fee of £3 per month will help combat against falsified information in a matter as serious as this one.

      • Anon1

        “Nothing irritates me more than people getting that wrong.”


        No need to spit out good whiskey over it though.

  • Dave Coull

    My wife doesn’t like Craig Murray. As a mature student at Dundee University she campaigned for him as Rector, but she has since then developed a dislike of him for various reasons. Me, I’ve got no feelings about Craig one way or the other. But I recognise he does sometimes say things that make sense.

    I don’t think, as CM appears to suggest, Alex remaining First Minister would have been good for independence. However, although Nicola has been good for the SNP, Craig is right that “it is now abundantly clear that the institutional health of the SNP and the cause of Independence are two quite separate things”.

    You have to campaign for independence. As CM says “The idea that you wait until support has – by magic – increased to a regular 60% before you start campaigning is self-evidently delusional”.

    And Craig is right to point out, not only that we hugely increased support for Yes during the run-up to the 2014 referendum, but that “the official SNP were a minority in the ground war Yes campaign. It was only AFTER the referendum that the Yes campaigners piled in to the SNP”. One of the folk who joined the SNP immediately after the referendum was my own daughter. But she has since left, disillusioned with party politics.

    And Craig is correct to state “That brought in some of the SNP’s best new MP’s, like Tommy Sheppard, Mhairi Black and Chris Law. But have you seen those great campaigners arguing for Independence in the last twelve months? No. Party discipline has silenced them”. This is, apparently, in the interests of the SNP as a party; but it’s not in the interests of independence.

    The “Summer of Independence” campaign was quietly forgotten, we were told there would only be an IndyRef2 if there was “material change”, then, faced with the incontrovertible fact that material change had already happened (the Brexit vote), there was the appointment of a so-called “panel of experts”. If that’s not kicking it into the long grass, what is?

    Now we have this phony “national conversation”. It’s just a glorified opinion poll, that’s all. A “listening” exercise says Nicola, but that’s not a “conversation”. A conversation is a dynamic, two-way process. If it was a conversation, then, as well as “listening”, the SNP would be putting forward their arguments why we need independence, and why we need a referendum on independence within a matter of months. And they’re not.

    Craig is right that the SNP, as a party with professional politicians (and their professional hangers-on) in comfortable positions at local, Scottish, British, and European levels, has a lot to risk from another independence referendum.

    And Craig is right to point out “I may not be Establishment enough for Nicola’s ‘expert panel’, but as First Secretary at the British Embassy in Warsaw for four years my main task was Poland’s EU accession and I do know what I am talking about. That gives us just 2 years or less for both Indyref2 and negotiation with rUK. We have to fire the starting gun if we are serious”.

  • David W

    Problem is many people on the YES side genuinely don’t know the best way to proceed.

    Voted REMAIN myself, but personally, I don’t know if campaigning to rejoin the EU right away is for the best.
    It would have to be very clear that we would be fast-tracked back in anyway.
    But if there is a hard brexit and no EU-UK trade deal, we have to be realistic that England is a huge chuck of our trade.

    Maybe it is even worth now considering Jim Sillar’s style ideas such as part-nationalising the oil industry.
    Maybe there are things we can do outside the EU, that weren’t possible in, regarding our energy industry and competition laws.

    • Rob Royston

      You are right in that we need to consider ideas on how we are going to make a difference when we are running our own affairs. We need to have a cold eyes review of everything that we are blessed with and turn them to our benefit. We have an abundance of energy, skilled people, rich seas and land areas. We have deep harbours that have never been identified, let alone developed.
      We should not be looking for other countries to send our renewables to, we should be looking at developing industries that can use the cheap power to get an edge over our competitors. We can build our own ocean fleets and become a world hub bringing the world and it’s trade passing our door.
      We can turn Britain upside down and make the Pentland Firth the new Channel, the entrance to Northern Europe, the Baltic and the Artic routes. If we’re not up for that we should stay as we are, a dependency.

      • nevermind

        what about plastic plankton/ micro beads do you not understand, MJ, it has contaminated the food chain something rotten from the smallest fry to the fish who live on it.
        Some 30 fish species ( at young age) were tested as to their ‘preferences’ and they choose deteriorating plastic before real plankton.

        Now I can’t see this change as human lifestyles and reliance on plastic for cheap goods will continue. Fish stocks will recover slightly but will be contaminated for some time. We don’t know what this will mean to their sporning. Their sporning grounds, i.e. a shallow North sea has been contaminated for decades and the plastic has already entered the waste streams/waters and the food chain since 1976.

        How many plastic beads have we consumed since and what impact has this had on the ecology at large and human health for that matter?

        I shall get my omegas somewhere else if I were you and betting on the fishing industry is somewhat of a red herring.

        • deepgreenpuddock

          sporning? Do you mean spawning? I thought ‘sporning’ was watching Scottish professional football or ‘professional’ wrestling.

  • Gerry Imrie

    I agree with some of the points in Craig’s column, he’s sincere, does not seem to have any hidden agendas, but has not done himself any favours with the title “Nicola the Haverer” however attention grabbing it is. Yes I agree the SNP need to up their level of response to the lies and propaganda peddled by the main steam media, but we need to peak in our responses at the right time to win over the voters at the right time and the timing of Indy 2 is crucial, I do not envy anyone who has to make that decision.

  • davidb

    I know the frustration with matters as they are. I waited in vain for that summer indy campaign. And this conversation? Who are we conversing with? All the members have a link. I started filling it in then thought fuckit. I wouldn’t be a member if I wasn’t a rabid 10 for indy. Its hardly a scientific poll, and it is probably a waste of activist’s time to canvass with that quiz.

    But I would point out 3 real factors.

    1. There is no concept yet of when or what Brexit is or means. It only becomes a reality when A50 is triggered. So we are wise to keep the leash on for now – but get organised on the ground – which Yes is doing. I have no doubt at all, that it is the people who are going to win independence. Not any organised party.

    2. Labour is shortly going to rip itself in two. That is going to play out over the next year. Scotland will see some of that storm. So the optimum time for kicking that dog still has not arrived.

    3. We want to take the majority of the councils. We will then command all the available power bases. This is a poisoned one. Since the PFI timebomb is beginning to explode. We may be left to clean up Labour’s mess. But if it is true that the corruption is as bad as the anecdotes suggest, then there is a chance to jail a lot of them. That must surely make the headlines on the traditional media.

    If the SNP leadership are serious then the right time is likely to be before 2020 now. We will need to be independent to stay in the EU. But it is not at all certain the pro indy Scots will choose that over being out of the EU. The 38% who voted to leave the EU include plenty of Yessers. I had expected it to be in 2021, but our hand is being forced. We have to win this time. Or its over.

    • MBC

      Apparently Stewart Hosie was supposed to have led it. I think he would have been good in that role. He handles the media well. But then he had health issues and was involved in a sex scandal so that was him pulled.

  • S morrison


  • Blair paterson

    I always ignore any polls on any thing they are complete farce they are only the answers of the number of people you ask not the the answers or opinions of the whole country but the whole point of them is to make you think it is I have never been that stupid


    This article sums up totally the inaction and total frustration people are feeling under Nicola, she has failed to capitalise on the immediate aftermath of Indy1, her lack of conviction to apparent, now in my 70s alas I fear there will be no freedom for the Scotland under her stewardship, we are up the clyde without a paddle. No conviction no passion she is loosing it big style.

  • Paul


    Don’t you think the Tories will increasingly be fueling the flame for independence and/or SNP support in the coming weeks and months? Isn’t this already happening with Trident and the so-called Bill of Rights? Wouldn’t you expect the Tories continued attack on health and education to do the same? I’d have thought these are good reasons to be taking a (slightly) longer approach. Likewise with the apparent aim for a 60% mandate.

    Looking at this as a non-Scot from down south – but with a canny eye on which sort of society I want my children to grow up in – it seems hard to image the Tories doing anything much that would reduce support for independence. Other, I mean, than outright lies and propaganda. Though, from reading “Tsunami: Scotland’s Democratic Revolution”, I’m getting the impression that these are wearing very thin with Scottish voters.

    The impression the SNP are giving of working first in the interest of Scotland (i.e. on health, education and the economy), and secondly for independence, and with the effort for the second proportional to its impact on the first, has made me a convert. I’d vote SNP and/or Yes today – if we didn’t live in Oxfordshire. (But post-Brexit we’ve seriously considered a move north, however.)

    • Paul

      On a related note: The professionalism of the Scottish parliament was very impressive post-Brexit compared with the incessant Westminster jibes and bickering. Even the physical structure of the chamber and procedures seem to work better. And that’s before you consider the attitudes and competence of the speakers. Seeing members from other parties supporting the positions of the SNP but clearly articulating conditions on that support, we like gazing into a clear pool after trying to penetrate though the murky haze of Westminster. (I’m not just talking about the main sessions in the Chamber either; watching the Committee Rooms proceedings is eye-opening too, including the revent evidence session on the expected impacts of Brexit.)

      The same, I have to say, should be said of the European Parliament, the Welsh and N.I. Assemblies and even the Gibraltar Parliament.

      Having watched a lot of these proceeding in recent months I’m stunned by how good the EP and SP, in particular, are. And how – in comparison – Westminster looks archaic, obfuscatory and well past its sell-by date.

    • Charles McKinley

      You will find that Scotland welcomes immigrants of all creeds, colours and skills. Bit tongue in cheek, as we are all in the EU come on up the weather is cold but the folk are warm.

  • Charles McKinley

    Your points are close to being valid, however as there is no real justification for a rerun of the “no” vote, it would be unfair to recall using the same criteria. The Brexit vote is a strong possibility of change being forced on the people of Scotland, Northern Ireland plus Gibraltar. There is no line being taken by Westminster as of yet to force the SNP to bring all guns to bear. The FM is being prudent, yet notifying Westminster of the possibility of a second referendum. To call a referendum with what we have at present would be presumptive and not show dignity to the people who voted “no”. There are a number of groups already forming with the intention of having a second bite of the cherry, however our FM is doing her utmost to seek the best deal available for the people of Scotland, if that transpires to be another referendum then so be it. She will not and should not call it for the benefit of the media, either favourable or not.

  • Velofello

    At Westminster there are 56 pro independence Scots MPs of a total 59. It could be argued that that is a mandate to declare UDI.
    There is a majority of pro-independence MSPs at Holyrood, that does seem to support a UDI.
    However in 2014 there was a referendum on independence and the result showed 45% in favour of independence, 55% voted against. I’m inclined to view a referendum as a mandate by the people to their politicians to retain the status quo.

    This year we’ve had a referendum on the EU. All regions of Scotland voted to remain in the EU, close on 2/3rd of the votes cast. I consider that to be a mandate to ensure that Scotland remains in the EU. The price of mandate that may be to declare independence from the UK. i’m inclined to the view that the First Minister is seeking to understand the views of the Scots rather than grabbing at political majorities via wholly flawed voting systems to further her political ambitions.

    A new kid on the political scene at Holyrood is a Prof Tomkins. A Tory, he gained 14% of the vote and via the d’Hondt system now sits in Holyrood as an MSP, and rather than sit there meekly acknowledging his luck, he and his leader Ruth Davidson, who also scraped in via the d”Hondt system see their task to sling spurious nonsense at the SNP. Do they have any sort of mandate to be so silly?

    Finally, Theresa May, unelected PM. Seems she will use the parliamentary majority ruse to negotiate Brexit, and ignore the expressed wishes, via a referendum, of the other nations of the UK, and Gibraltar.

  • yesindyref2

    Before you examine when Indy Ref 2 should be called, first you need to look at Brexit and Article 50, and look at that as though you’re Theresa May. There’s a lot of talk around about having another EU ref, and it has become apparent that Westminster didn’t have a clue what to do to plan for it, or what to go for – i.e. memberhsip of single market in some way, or not bother. So a delaying game was and is neccessary for May, and perhaps there’s an element of keeping the EU waiting and suffering some, to soften its hand.

    Now, what happens if IR2 is announced BEFORE Article 50 is invoked? The perfect excuse for more delay is the answer to that, and that with the further uncertainty of the “break-up” of the UK, is even perhaps neccessary. So Theresa May delays Article 50, and IR2 actually happens before it.

    At that point a whole load of Tories say they want another EU Ref, May stays silent, so it seems that there might well be one. Which leaves voters in Scotland stranded – is the UK exiting the EU or not? Should they vote YES to stay in the EU, or do they really need to bother.

    So clearly IR2 can not be announced before A50 is on its way, or at least, clearly to me. I have no idea if the SNP are thinkingthe same, but if they are, then it’s a cat and mouse game. Important for Scotland, less so for the UK. It won’t be a prime reason for the UK delaying A50, but it would be a bonus.

    So “Nicola” walks the tightrope. with perfect balance we hope. Meanwhile a lot of NO voters in Scotland who would have been all for Indy to stay in the EU, within a day or two I think taht cooled off, and they’re also playing a waiting game to see what happens.

    Perhaps it’s a simple case of who blinks first.

  • Dave

    Scottish voters want to stay in UK and EU, so clearly don’t want independence. But given a choice between UK and EU voters would want to be part of UK because Scotland has a bigger voice in UK than in EU. The Remain won in Scotland because the allegedly pro-independence SNP told its supporters to vote Remain except membership of EU makes Scotland less independent then they are now.

    • Velofello

      Jings, seems I’ve been by-passed. I’m a longstanding member of the SNP, but I wasn’t told to vote Remain by the SNP, nor were my many SNP friends. Were you told to vote Remain by the SNP Dave?

      A bigger voice isn’t bigger power, nor can it be interpreted as some form of independence. Here in Scotland we have a Tory MSP elected on 14% of the vote thanks to the D’Hondt vote counting system, and yes he is sure sounding off. And of course there is the matter of the -selected by the Tory party Prime Minister – a party elected on 24%(?} of the UK vote.

    • davidb

      And by this comment you show how little you grasp how either Westminster or the EU function. I’ll keep this simple.

      The biggest population of a member of the EU is 16% of the total population of the EU. The biggest population of a member of the UK is 85%.

      So for the biggest member of the EU to have its majority way it needs the support of at least 3 other member states. But If all the other member states of the UK plus the whole body of elected opposition members put together don’t want something, then the ruling Party, elected by 11.3 million of those who bothered to vote ignore them and do it their way anyway.

      The UK has far more clout in the EU – with its 12.7% of EU population – than Scotland does at Westminster. We routinely get what a party we do not elect wants. And lets not even go into the anachronism of an unelected second chamber.

      On balance – and it is all to do with trade -Scotland is probably better off in the world’s biggest market, with some voice in the rules. We have no voice in Westminster, and they will learn soon enough there the folly of surrendering their voice on the EU club rules.

  • michael norton
    AfD’s lead candidate Leif-Erik Holm called it a “proud result for a young party” as the populists secured seats on the opposition benches of the ninth out of 16 regional parliaments.

    “The icing on the cake is that we have left Merkel’s CDU behind us… maybe that is the beginning of the end of Merkel’s time as chancellor,” he said.

    Although the former Communist state is Germany’s poorest and least populous, it carries a symbolic meaning as it is home to Merkel’s constituency Stralsund.

    Yes no matter how high in ther polls a party or leader gets, the high water mark is just that.
    Sturgeon and the SNP are now coming down from their high water mark

  • Dave

    You’re right, they said vote Leave !!! The SNP are successful, because they have attracted the anti-London vote that has been captured by UKIP in England, but unlike UKIP promote a phoney pro-EU form of independence.

    • michael norton

      If you were not already in the E.U.
      why on Earth would you now want to join?
      It is failing on so many levels.
      Since the BREXIT Referendum, their are parties in many European countries clamouring for their own in-out Referendum.
      The Euro will so collapse.

    • Velofello

      Naw Dave, the SNP didn’t tell me to vote Leave, nor to vote Remain, they didn’t contact me at all, nor my SNP friends. I did listen to, and read many opinions on what was best for Scotland, and then decided upon my vote, all by myself.

  • Dave

    So Nicola never phoned, wrote, or emailed you personally, hence never told you how to vote. Is your middle name Blair?

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