Michael Russell, Neo-Liberal 265

Mike Russell is claiming I have in some way misinterpreted or mis-attributed his detailed advocacy of privatisation of the NHS. I therefore bring you the following published critiques, every one of which has evidently “misunderstood” Mike Russell too. First from Iain MacWhirter in the Scottish Review of Books:

I have to say that Russell’s own ideological adventure rather confirms the need for political parties. Grasping The Thistle – even the revised version – is a blueprint for an essentially neo-conservative political revolution in Scotland. He wants to privatise the state, abolish inheritance tax, corporation tax, capital gains tax and introduce the highly regressive flat-rate income tax, which has been introduced in some Eastern European countries like Estonia.

If Russell were in charge, Scotland would be exposed to something like the “shock therapy” that the Friedmanite ideologues imposed on the Soviet Union after the fall of the Berlin Wall. This would imply, not just a rebalancing of public spending, but the wholesale destruction of the welfare state, taking the clock back to Edwardian Britain before Lloyd George’s People’s Budgets.

I’m not sure the Scottish people are prepared for such a Year Zero. Imagine the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh having to close because it failed to make a profit. What would happen to the patients? Scotland is a relatively egalitarian country with much less income inequality than England. Under the Russell/MacLeod revolution it would become a playground for the super-rich, a plutocratic caste with no interest or connection with the ordinary people. Jock Tamson need not apply.

Grasping The Thistle may be independent thinking, but I’m not entirely sure it is rational thinking. Certainly, these ideas are so far removed from the manifesto of the Scottish National Party that it becomes difficult to know how Russell can remain a member of it. It seems to me that he disagrees with just about everything his own movement stands for: social democracy, Europe, independence, parliamentary democracy, progressive taxation, public services free at the point of need, an oil fund – the list goes on and on.

Here is Rob Brown in Bella Caledonia, who obviously also entirely misunderstood Mike Russell:

After years of deifying social democracy, monkish Mike Russell suddenly saw the light and realised that right-wing heresy had to become the new orthodoxy within the national movement.

He devoted all his spare hours – when not praying for a swift return to that most holy of shrines, Holyrood – to reading the ancient runes with a businessman called Dennis MacLeod. Together this Druidic duo co-authored a tome dissing almost everything the SNP had stood for in its modern incarnation. Even that most sacred and patriotic of mediaeval parchments the Declaration of Arbroath got debunked in the first few pages.

The SNP, Russell and MacLeod jointly pontificated, should banish devilish notions of national independence and instead seek to negotiate a “New Union” with England. Once Westminster conferred its blessing on full fiscal autonomy for Bute House, in return for abolition of the Barnett formula, auld Scotia could then be administered all the shock therapy she so desperately required to be jolted out of her zombie state.

Our semi-independent government could then go on the lion rampage against the undeserving poor, the idle and the feckless. Scotland’s welfare state and taxes would be slashed, with vouchers introduced to marketize provision of schools and hospitals – none of which would be supplied through the NHS, since this would be dismantled in favour of an insurance-based health service.

Here is David Gow also misunderstanding Mike Russell:

Already then, however, other, overtly pro-capitalist strands of thinking were developing, often taking on anti-statist blindly pro-market tones (as in Mike Russell’s Grasping the Thistle).

Michael Keating of the University of Aberdeen even failed to grasp the subtleties of Russells “dialogue” on a neo-liberal approach in an academic paper:

There have been advocates of the liberal market strategy in Scotland. While
out of parliament, Mike Russell (later SNP Cabinet Secretary for Education) and
Dennis MacLeod wrote a book promising exactly that, with a drastic reduction in the
role and size of the state and of public spending and taxes (MacLeod and Russell,
2006). This was widely seen as an effort to out-Thatcher Margaret Thatcher and
seems to have riled the SNP leadership sufficiently for them to have had the text
toned down between proof and publication (Macwhirter, 2006).

Gerry Hassan has rushed to Russell’s aid online now, but strangely enough also had failed to understand Russell did not really mean it:

Pre-2007, there was the well-intentioned work of Kenny MacAskill (2004) alongside Mike Russell’s advocacy of a host of predictable right-wing and neo-liberal platitudes (MacLeod and Russell 2006).

While if Mike Russell is not a neo-liberal, it is unfortunate to find him quoted in another academic book called Neo-Liberalism in Scotland:

In his biography of Thatcher, Hugo Young quotes his subject as
saying, “the Scots invented Thatcherism, long before I was thought of”,
dryly adding that this “was believed to be a reference to Adam Smith, the
economist, and possibly the philosopher David Hume”.12 In her
autobiography Thatcher noted with bemusement the failure of her
“revolution” to win hearts and minds in Scotland, “home of the very same
Scottish Enlightenment which produced Adam Smith, the greatest
exponent of free enterprise economics till Hayek and Friedman”.13 The
more openly pro-market figures in the SNP, like Michael Russell, have a
similar view:
“Adam Smith was the father of modern capitalism and it is high time that
his own people rediscovered his genius, particularly as, in his own land,
that genius is currently tarnished by the half-baked economic models
espoused by most of our political parties.14”

Finally, just to remind you how very bad what Russell and MacLeod wrote about the NHS was:

Take health first of all. We would encourage the private sector to compete with established NHS hospitals, clinics and other services. We would encourage NHS management and staff to buy out existing NHS facilities and services under favourable financial terms and join the private sector. We would require NHS facilities that remained in government ownership to be run at a profit however modest. Those that failed to maintain profitability over a reasonable time frame would be privatised. In each geographic area the government would solicit bids from the area’s medical facilities and GPs for the various services it required for its citizens. Fragmentation of services may well see the redundancy of large general hospitals and their replacement with privately run clinics specialising and competing in particular medical procedures and services, at least in the more populated areas.

One idea that is worth further consideration is the possibility that some provision may be supported by “Payment vouchers” made available free of charge to citizens in order that patients would receive treatment wherever they wished. Citizens who wished to make their own arrangements with medical service suppliers would be free to do so. Armed with their voucher they could shop for the fastest and best service and if they so wished add to the value of the voucher.


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265 thoughts on “Michael Russell, Neo-Liberal

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  • iain

    “If Russell were in charge, Scotland would be exposed to something like the “shock therapy” that the Friedmanite ideologues imposed on the Soviet Union after the fall of the Berlin Wall. This would imply, not just a rebalancing of public spending, but the wholesale destruction of the welfare state, taking the clock back to Edwardian Britain before Lloyd George’s People’s Budgets.”

    Sturge’s pick sounds like he should be on the Tory shortlist for BBC DirectorGeneral. One more occasion where many will ponder, who is wee Sturge?

  • Twirlip

    You’ll know you’ve got him on the ropes when he starts to blame Russians for hacking into his book.

  • Natasha

    I’m standing for democratic Scottish Independence NOW under international law not Westminster veto. Keep NHS publicly owned. Recycle Trident for energy security. Free Julian Assange.

    Craig, I wish you the very best in your campaign, I’m not Scottish, and so don’t keep up with details, hence my suggested 25 words (above) are designed to make sense as widely as possible and without needing too much prior knowledge – see my comments here for all the rational back up re Trident

    • Iain Stewart

      Great improvement.
      (If I was facetious, I would say it reminded me of the apocryphal Press and Journal fixed rate obituary notice, where the widow used her three leftover words to add “Volvo for sale”.)

          • dpg

            Hadn’t heard that one about Gove’s erstwhile employer. The more famous but equally apocryphal one was a headline
            ‘North East man dies at sea’ above the byeline ‘Titanic sinks’ but that is attributed to its even more parochial sister publication The Evening Express.

    • BrianFujisan

      The Best one yet Natasha…Well Said.

      Pity Craig could not have 30 words to Ad – And Stop Genocide in Yemen

      Thank you for these Details Craig..Sad Stuff…Makes me Livid.

  • John O'Dowd

    In 2016 I published an article in Bella Caledonia showing that when he was Cabinet Secretary for Education Russell pursued an unequivocal Neoliberal agenda in respect of research outputs from Scottish Universities:


    “In this article I explore how SFC in furtherance of a clear neoliberal agenda, is requiring publicly funded Intellectual Property (IP) from Scottish Universities to be given away to companies free – to the clear delight of some of the largest tax-avoiding corporations on the planet.”

    This followed an earlier article where I showed that under Russell “the Scottish (Higher Education) Funding Council (SFC), the body that funds Scottish Colleges and Universities, was using Scottish Government funds to pay the European subsidiary of the Trident promoting RAND Corporation, a military think tank implicated in torture, for work promoting the neoliberal Research IMPACT programme”.

    The Rand Corporation, Nuclear Weapons, War, Torture and the Scottish Funding Council:


    Having Russell, at this time, and in the current circumstances, become President of the SNP is profoundly concerning to this member of the SNP.

    • Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh

      Might I say that both of John O’Dowd’s above-linked articles remain profoundly important reading way beyond this thread’s immediate focus on the SNP presidency. Attention should be accorded them particularly by any with an interest in the interface between our universities, big business, and beyond that to the “ethics” of war.

    • Johny Conspiranoid

      I wonder if Russell said to himself one day “I’m a Thatcherite so I think I’ll join the Social Democratic SNP and rise up the ladder in it” or did somebody put him up to it?

  • Prasad

    “Take health first of all. We would encourage the private sector to compete with established NHS hospitals, clinics and other services. We would encourage NHS management and staff to buy out existing NHS facilities and services under favourable financial terms and join the private sector. We would require NHS facilities that remained in government ownership to be run at a profit however modest. Those that failed to maintain profitability over a reasonable time frame would be privatised. In each geographic area the government would solicit bids from the area’s medical facilities and GPs for the various services it required for its citizens. Fragmentation of services may well see the redundancy of large general hospitals and their replacement with privately run clinics specialising and competing in particular medical procedures and services, at least in the more populated areas.”

    There are three ‘we’s in that quote.
    The Royal ‘we’ for King Dennis MacLeod.

  • aLurker

    Not entirely OT,
    inspired by the article, and following up some of the outlinks from David Gow,
    one discovers Ben Jacksons book:

    “The Case for Scottish Independence
    A History of Nationalist Political Thought in Modern Scotland”
    University of Oxford
    Date Published: July 2020

    Would anyone on here who has actually read it care to offer an opinion?

    * online review available here:
    Book Review: The Case for Scottish Independence: A History of Nationalist Political Thought in Modern Scotland by Ben Jackson


    Thanks all. 😉

    • Alf Baird

      Jackson’s book, which seeks to explore nationalism, fails to take account of two essential features in the context of Scotland:

      1. That ‘trans-national nationalism’ exists and that this is the form of nationalism England inflicts upon Scotland, and;

      2. That Scottish independence concerns ‘self-determination nationalism’, which is about freeing a country and its people from oppression and does not involve the Scots dominating any other country.

      These not inconsiderable differences are however covered in another book on the subject, mine: ‘Doun-Hauden: The Socio-Political Determinants of Scottish Independence’.

      • Cubby

        Alf Baird

        Well said Alf. I would also add that it is a nationalism that welcomes immigration and is not xenophobic

      • John O'Dowd

        Fundamentally important distinctions Alf. All of which – and so much more – are explored in your superb book, Doun-Hauden.


        I recommend it to all who are interested in a scientific analysis of how we (Scotland) find ourselves in our current position, and how to think our way out of it (Strategies for Independence). We really need to understand issues such a colonisation (including cultural, linguistic and demographic) and occupation, and how these apply to Scotland today. This is key to our escape with or without a referendum – the latter not really required.

        “We’re fechtin fir oor nationheid, an tae bi unalike! Fir Scotlan’s fowk tae bi just alike anither kintra’s fowk”

          • Alf Baird

            Craig and John, thank you both for your kind words, much appreciated.

            On Michael Russell, it does seem inconceivable that a ‘nationalist’ Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution’ has made absolutely no effort whatsoever to confirm (or refute) that a majority of Scotland’s national representatives hold Scottish sovereignty on behalf of the people, and that they have the lawful right to assert that sovereignty.

            A further indication of which side he is on was the Scottish Government’s efforts to withdraw from the Keating’s case on the basis that it wished to remain ‘neutral’. ‘Neutral’, that is, on the matter of a second independence referendum!

          • John O'Dowd

            Thanks Craig for this and your other comments.

            And to Alf – you are very welcome. Doun-Hauden is a very important book.

  • Republicofscotland

    Oh Christ, now we have Mike Russell blaming Russia, what next from Russell, it was all KIm Jong Un’s fault, or it was the fault off Maduro, thankfully Russell’s standing down next year, including the rest of Sturgeon’s clique has Russell brought us any further forward to obtaining independence, personally I don’t think he has, I doubt he’s ever said a cross word to Sturgeon, a vote for Russell as SNP president, is in my opinion a wasted one.

  • Father O'Blivion

    “And to think some poor folk are paying to subsidise this so called ‘investigative journalism’ as well as all the other crazy stuff.” Wow! I hadn’t realised what a complete cnut Gerry Hassan was ’till now.
    How does Hassan earn a crust? Sponging off the State that’s how. I wonder whether his paymasters at Dundee University are aware of his nasty little invectives?

  • yesindyref2

    I had a look at this blog and saw the three articles attacking Michael Russell for something which, on a cursory glance, seems to have been from 2006 – 14 years ag0 – and wondered what all this was about?

    Then I remembered that Mike Russell also put his name forward for President of the SNP.

    This is very poor Craig, fighting dirty is surely not the way to impress most members of the SNP who have Independence in common. I hope he has the sense not to retailaite in kind.

    • John O'Dowd

      See my post above.

      Russell didn’t stop being a right-wing supporter of Neoliberalism after 2006 – he promoted that agenda when he was Secretary for Education (2009-2014).

      At age 67, it is most unlikely he will change his core political principles.

      He IS a right wing Tory – given some of the above, he may also be a Unionist!

      • fonso

        For him to be the favourite a lot of members must share his worldview. No surprise they react badly when they see it being criticised.

    • Stevie Boy

      The question you have to ask is: “Is Michael Russell truly interested in Independence for Scotland or is he more interested in creating another income stream for himself, big business and his Tory chums ?”

    • Mist001

      It IS very poor. I had my post deleted from here earlier. It seems Mr. Murray is only in favour of freedom of expression when it suits his ends. He’s not all he appears to be.

        • IMcK

          Perhaps it did but it might help to provide some balance for all the slurs against English people

        • Squeeth

          Scottish people aren’t a race, they’re part of one; please don’t join that squalid rat-faced runt Armando Iannucci and Andrew (Asian avian expert) Neill in appropriating anti-racist terms from the victims of racism.

    • Cubby


      What is poor that you call yourself yesindyref2 – Captain Birdseye would be more appropriate.

      Tell us when Russell says he no longer holds this view rather than him ludicrously trying to say it wasn’t his words. It is getting too common in the SNP/Scotgov people forgetting things or using the wrong words (Murrell being a fine example of a Chief Exec who cannot use the correct words to express his true meaning).

    • craig Post author


      Despite your chosen pseudonym you have repeatedly shown that you have no interest in indyref2 actually being held. That same unreasoning (I use the word carefully) worshp of NIcola Sturgeon leads you simply to deny all the evidence on the fit-up of Alex Salmond. Now you really don’t care that Mike Russell is an extreme neo-liberal (see John Dowd’s comments and linked articles above as well as my post), because he is in the SNP cabinet.

      You are not engaging in rational debate, you are expressing a religious belief that defies evidence.

      • Iain Stewart

        That’s almost what David Hume would have said too. Very little of our thought is rational.

      • yesindyref2

        Good Heavens! Not often someone is 100% wrong, but you managed it.

        Now, what about a reply to the actual post I made, or are you incapable of rational thought?

        • Stonky

          Here’s a reply:

          If you could take your head out of Nicola Sturgeon’s rectum for a fraction of a second, you might notice that she has surrounded herself with a cabal of some of the most deeply unpleasant people in the country. Mike Russell is one of them. He has been anointed as the leadership’s choice for President of the SNP.

          Next to none of the people who will be voting in this election will be aware of the type of views he espouses. Craig wasn’t until a few days ago. Neither was I. Neither were you. The people voting in the election not only have a right to see his views for themselves. They also have a right to ask themselves questions like “Why does the leadership think that this type of person is the best choice to occupy a place in the upper echelons of the party? What kind of a party are they trying to build? What kind of a country do they want Scotland to be?”

          That is actually a far more important issue than Mike Russell as an individual and his peculiar political philosophy, but I wouldn’t expect you or any member of your servile echochamber to be able to understand why.

          • yesindyref2

            Stinky, are you and Cuddy delberately trying to wreck any chance of Craig becoming President of the SNP, a role which is non-executive and largely ceremonial apparently and elected by delegates on the day of the conference, in cahoots with someone asking if someone is “grasping your thistle”, with an opening post in Express style calling Sturgeon, the FM and leader of the SNP, “Sturge” same as some Unionists do when they don’t call her other childish names like Krankie?

            Can you imagine what any SNP member or delegate reading the comments, perhaps with an open mind, would think about the blogger who allows such comments to stand, encourages them even – and adds his own very personal attack on someone, anyone, who dares to criticise him or disagree with him? Most posters on this blog are decent people, but it’s the ones like you spoil it for the rest – and perhaps like Grima Wormtongue, influence Craig into being a sad act like you.

            Luckily I don’t have a vote, as I’m not a member of the SNP or ANY political party, tried it for 3 years after the first Ref and it wasn’t for me, and seeing comments like yours and those of Craig, I’m very glad I’m not as I wouldn’t want to be associated with that sort of cult of Sturgeon or cult of Salmond extremism. Imagine that total war divisiveness coming from a public figure president of a political party, currently our only real hope of Independence.

            I had hoped Craig might take notice of criticism, sadly I think he’s beyond redemption. And for that reason, I’m out.

          • Stonky

            Stinky, are you and Cuddy deliberately trying to wreck any chance of Craig becoming President of the SNP…

            No. It’s the job or Sturgeon’s little cabal and their servile toadies to make sure only people anointed by themselves are allowed access to any positions of influence. So it’s their job to wreck his chances, not mine. Or Cubby’s.

            Can you imagine what any SNP member or delegate reading the comments, perhaps with an open mind, would think about the blogger who allows such comments to stand, encourages them even…

            Well if it’s one of the arsecrawlers from your favourite echochamber, they’ll probably think:
            “Wha… that’s outrageous! Mr Russell has been selected for preferment by Queen Nicola herself! How dare anyone suggest that his political views are in any way relevant to his political suitability for a high profile political position in the SNP!”

            I wouldn’t want to be associated with that sort of cult of Sturgeon…

            Sure you wouldn’t. That’s why you pop over here from the echochamber to regale us with padding from the newspapers about “Salmond’s failure to cooperate with the enquiry” while ignoring very real cooperation issues such as:
            1. Why did Sturgeon’s PPS John Somers have two official meetings meet with complainant A on 20th and 21st Nov 2017 without the knowledge of his boss?
            2. Who arranged these meetings?
            3. What was discussed?
            4. Why did he say nothing to his boss about these meetings for the next four months?
            5. Why did the original Scotgov timeline to the enquiry conceal these meetings?
            6. Why is John Swinney trying to prevent John Somers from giving evidence to the enquiry so he doesn’t have to answer any of these questions?

        • Cubby

          Hey Captain Birdseye – Cuddy that really hurt. 😂

          Never used the word Sturge – Captain you are at your harmless best when dreaming about your warships/cruisers etc – now I know it upsets you when someone says you have a bit of a warmongers interest in such “defence” matters but you do.

          You of course are strongly imbedded in your Surgeon cult with the other declining band of cultists on WGD. Try reading the papers logged on the Inquiry into The FM, Scottish Government and Special advisers website instead of playing with your model warships. The Britnats may be democracy and Scotland deniers but you Captain are a facts denier.

    • Johny Conspiranoid


      “fighting dirty is surely not the way to impress most members of the SNP”

      Which is the dirty part?

    • Jarek Carnelian

      yesindyref2, you are ill-informed about “fighting dirty” (Negative Campaigning) which can in fact be incredibly effective, also in bringing people out to vote. It is polarising – and this is seen as a bad outcome by some. Here that is rather a positive result. Clearly, powerful weapons can turn and bite the wielder as the public mind is very motivated by concepts of fairness. While It is good politics to inform your public about the bad policy objectives of your opponents, it is dangerous politics to attack them personally or to go after their families.

      In this case it is fully in the public interest to call out the gross hypocrisy of SNP spin and the extreme agenda of those it would choose for office. Any thinking person should by now be asking themselves WHY they are acting this way, and unfortunately I can imagine no charitable explanation.

  • osakisushi

    Mr Russell is my local MSP. His behaviour tends suggest he’s been comfortable with the income level, doubtless wanting another cushy number for his retirement. While the post is zero salary (I believe), expenses along with appearance fees shall be considerable.

    I have been far from impressed with his performance as an MSP.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    Well, I guess Mr Russell is allowed to be a member of the SNP because he believes in an Independent Scotland.

    Independence is a concept entirely distinct from managing an independent Scotland’s economy. There is an argument that the SNP currently is rather like the Government of National Unity Britain had during WWII, when arch Conservative Winston Churchill had arch Socialist Clement Attlee as his second in command. Come 1945, when the war was over, the Unity disbanded and the Labour Party and The Conservative Party locked horns for the first post-war election.

    If you look back to how Zimbabwe emerged from Rhodesia, you will find that the politics of Joshua Nkomo were rather different to those of Robert Mugabe, but both were tasked with negotiating with the British to secure independence. I wasn’t that educated about the nitty gritty of those two leaders’ politics as a teenage boy, but I do remember thinking that Nkomo would probably be a better leader than Mugabe. What I failed to appreciate is that Mugabe was infinitely more skilled in securing a lifetime despotic seat of power than a much more pluralist Nkomo. When the institutions of democracy have not been around for centuries, the ability of one man to usurp power is much easier than when you have established elections, a seasoned electorate, a strong and independent Press etc etc.

    I guess folks here must ask if in their version of ‘independence’, they would be ‘cancelling’ right wing thinkers the same way the Democrats are trying to do to ‘racist Republicans’ right now.

    Democracy is after all granting the right to speak to those people whose views you most abhor.

    • John O'Dowd

      “Well, I guess Mr Russell is allowed to be a member of the SNP because he believes in an Independent Scotland.”

      But does he, Rhys Jagger, believe in an Independent Scotland?

      As Craig has cited above: “Here is Rob Brown in Bella Caledonia: The SNP, Russell and MacLeod jointly pontificated, should banish devilish notions of national independence and instead seek to negotiate a “New Union” with England”.

      That doesn’t sound like someone who “believes in an independent Scotland”

      That sounds like a New Unionist!

      What on Earth is Russell doing even being in the SNP – never mind its President?

      Explains much of what is happening (or rather nor happening) with independence just now.

  • Cubby

    Nice one Craig. That’s more like it. It’s an election. Get stuck right in there. I just hope you do not find any old articles where Russell is arguing AGAINST Scottish independence.

    Far too many wolves in sheep clothing in the SNP.

      • Shatnersrug

        Mi5 & 6 currently employ 7,000 people, their job is largely to protect the British establishment using covert means, and yet if you suggest they might have nobbled UK opposition parties people look at you like you’re a loon. I mean? 7,000 employees?! What the hell do people think they do?!

  • Ian

    Well, you’ve done an excellent job in persuading me that independence under this lot would be a shambles, and a dangerous one at that. Of course the idea of independence is attractive, but if the reality is a fiefdom run by people like this, with no apparent competencies, who are charlatans and chancers, not to mention neoliberals with extremist economic views, then count me out. Do they have any idea of the complexity of rebuilding a new state, with all of its institutions, economy, health service and civil society? Simply saying ‘yes’ in a ballot doesn’t go anywhere near addressing those concerns or ensuring that we get a competently run, politically transparent and accountable system. The comparison one of those writers makes with the post Soviet states maybe not so far-fetched. If these people can’t run a devolved administration with competency and transparency, if they aren’t trustworthy and decent, then what hope is there they could run a new country, with all of the inherent challenges and difficulties? They would have to go a very long way to convince people that they have the faintest idea of what they are doing, other than making a very comfy living for themselves. My support for independence has plummeted thanks to the last few months of malpractice. They have got a lot of explaining to do.

  • Colin Alexander

    Scottish sovereignty should not only be a logical choice only for those in the centre or left of politics. It is also logical to those of a right-wing or neo-liberal persuasion too. So, I don’t see a problem with Tartan Tories favouring independence or the restoration of Scottish national sovereignty.

    So, my problem with Mike Russell, is not that he’s a Tartan Tory champion of Scottish sovereignty.

    My problem with Mike Russell, is that he is a colonial administrator of British Imperial colonialism, as are the rest of the SNP. The SNP are enemies of the restoration of Scotland’s national sovereignty, pretending to be champions of Scottish sovereignty.

    • Alf Baird

      On colonial administrators, Colin, you would appear to be correct. It seems well established in post-colonial theory that a dominant National Party and its pampered bourgeoisie leadership ” reaches for an accommodation with colonialism” (Fanon 1968), which is basically what we see with the SNP as it takes its foot off the independence accelerator and puts the cause into neutral. This then gives rise to the creation of new national parties that are more strongly focused on national liberation, as is happening now in Scotland.

      And as John O’Dowd suggests above, the most we can expect from the current SNP elite is maybe a redrafted union, though probably not in Scotland’s favour, and in which the assumption will be that the SNP continue in their role as colonial administrators.

  • M.J.

    Is it possible that American neocons handsomely paid or rewarded Michael Russell for writing such a book? Surely not.

  • Iain Stewart

    In his biography of Thatcher, Hugo Young quotes his subject as
    saying, “the Scots invented Thatcherism, long before I was thought of”,
    dryly adding that this “was believed to be a reference to Adam Smith, the
    economist, and possibly the philosopher David Hume”.

    David Hume a proto Thatcherite? Citation needed.

  • Prasad

    In the Herald in 2012 he retracted one part of the book when he was being attacked by Labour for it.
    Now he writes ‘A past Labour attack so sad to see it repeated by our own.’
    I am not impressed by the victim card, so sad.
    Craig is made out to be at fault here.

    He appears to be very outspoken in that book (see the Iain MacWhirter link).
    What bothers me is that now he rarely seems to give any opinions on the extremely important issues which are effecting the direction of the SNP and Independence right now. I have no idea what he believes in. He tweeted in support of HCB but what about GRA, Salmond stitch up, Joanna Cherry stitch up, the NEC mess, the interference in candidate selection, the lack of democracy and debate at conference, biological man without GRC as women’s only candidate, the women’s pledge etc? And if he has said anything about Plan B, C or D then i have missed it. Yes he speaks a lot of extremely obvious stuff about Brexit and IMB but no plan for what we can do about it. There were some indications of hints for looking for the shadow of a plan for a plan X a few days ago but meanwhile i can hear the tanks rolling north across the border. I don’t feel any sense of urgency and we are supposed to sit back and hope that everything is going according to plan when to the south we have an autocratic lunatic with the dismantling of Scotland in his sights and no indication from anyone in SNP central command that they have a finger on the steering wheel or an eye on the road.
    In the book Russell wrote about politicians being free of the party so if he has some opinions why not share them.
    I know from a personal e-mail that he supports women only shortlist but he hasn’t spoken about a non GRC man who is taking one of those places, a man who lied about his sex in his application to work at a rape crisis centre. To be clear, trans people need to be treated as fairly as everyone but not at the experience of women. Fairness works both ways and also means they have to be held to the same standards of honesty as everyone else.

    • Prasad

      Again apologies. Craig covered the first few lines of my comment in his update on previous blogpost which i missed.
      However i am still pissed of at Michael Russell’s tweet. The arrogance in thinking no one can question his previous statements. This sense of entitlement is something we need to exorcise. Agree with Craig, if he just owned his comments or admitted his mistake, i could at least respect that but he is just out and out lying knowing he will get away with it. It appears to be disease going around.
      Just because Labour ‘attacked’ him, does that make them wrong?
      Just because Craig is doing the same does that make him wrong?
      His excuse is pathetic.

      • Josh R

        “still pissed of at Michael Russell’s tweet.”

        quite rightly too,
        It does seem like that all too common ploy, by the hollow pretenders, of disingenuously striking at the ‘messenger’ rather than engaging honestly with the ‘message’.

  • ewan

    Perhaps , probably , in bad taste one might consider their Health Service reforms would mirror Julian Assange’s medical treatment at the hands of the UK government

  • 6033624

    An ‘inconvenient truth’ which will, conveniently, stay out of the press until he is fully ensconced in the establishment leadership position he craves and has been groomed for.

  • Wikikettle

    Craig, I hope this is just a tactic to shine the light on what constitutes the SNP and how Tory it is. I hope you don’t accidentally fall into the politics. We need you to carry the batton from the Great Robert Fisk.

    • Stonky

      It is a tactic. It’s an attempt to flush out the SNP leadership and force them to state in public to their ordinary members and the rest of the people of Scotland that “Mike of the strange beliefs” is their preferred candidate for president of the party. And then make them explain why, with all their banging on the pans for the NHS garbage, they want someone in such a high profile position who thinks the whole lot should be sold off on the cheap.

      It’s a worthwhile try. It could create a crack in the façade that might eventually grow into something bigger. But it probably won’t work. Aided by silence from an MSM who have suddenly discovered after decades that they love the SNP more than anything, the leadership will simply say nothing, brazen it out, and in due course “move on…”

      • nevermind

        To flush them out, Stonky. It will take many here to share Craig’s blog here with fellow Independence travellers. The MSM has no compulsion to drag Scotland away from a low tax low wage drive of the Brexiteers down in Westminster.

  • Stonky

    I’m curious as to exactly how people are supposed to be able to work out which bits of the book Mike did agree with and which bits he didn’t agree with, using his magic mealy-mouthed disclaimer. I’ve asked him on Twitter but I’m not expecting a reply any time soon. Maybe you could ask him Craig.

    I’m also curious as to whether his stock response – Yeah but I didn’t actually agree with any of that – is what he tells American investors in private. Maybe he tells them that he just says he didn’t agree with it, and loads of people are stupid enough to believe him.

    • Prasad

      Spot on.
      And i can guarantee that for pointing that out you will be accused of bullying or some such or worse slur.
      I had no idea about any of this book and i’m very grateful to Craig for highlighting it.

      I am confused about how Michael Russell thinks a potential reader should approach his book. Does he want it to be read? A strange question to ask about an author but if he can’t stand by what is in it, that would seem like a relevant question.
      It hasn’t been withdrawn so is there going to be a addendum on which bits he stands by and which bits he doesn’t?
      His position is absurd.

  • Josh R

    Ha ha ha,
    Brilliant analysis, as ever , Craig.
    Stunning to see that, in the case of this Russell fella, cognitive dissonance seems to include not even believing one’s own self…hilarious!
    Brightened up my morning, cheers 🙂

  • U Watt

    Thanks for shining much needed light on this gentleman. His views will jar with most of the members who were intending to vote for him, if not with his sponsors or the country’s political journalists.

    It raises very obvious and major questions…. Why is the leadership of a putative social democratic party pushing for a Von Misean ideologue to become party president?… What does this say about the Scotland these people eventually want to see?… Why are Scottish political journalists not asking these very obvious questions?

    • jake

      The position of president is an honorary one rather than an executive one. It has often be conferred on long-serving members of the party who have made a significant, often high profile, contribution. It’s a gold watch, a life-time achievement award. The SNP don’t do red benches and ermine for their elder statesmen.
      Its important to recognise that its for contributions already made, its not a platform for those who might want to influence future policy direction. Its for the wise old heads of previous battles and campaigns, not for those eager to launch a career.
      Whether his politics are right, left or centre, I think Mike Russell qualifies.
      Although the position is honorary it none-the-less comes with certain implied responsibilities and I’m quite convinced that there are some who support Mr Russell on the basis that they’d rather have him kept busy in the tent pissing out than with free time on his hands to write his memoirs.

  • giyane

    These revelations about the inner workings of the Scottish devolved government are absolutely shocking.
    Thank you for waking up the Scots to the utter corruption. Rudely awoken from the media induced slumber by these insights into the stinking corruption of Holyrood, I presume they will lead Nicola Sturgeon away in a straitjacket fairly soon. As soon as the covid vaccination program allows an election. It is normal for the leaders to take responsibility for the mistakes that they colluded with and knew about all along.

  • Mark Harper

    Hard Brexit, food and medical shortages, Bojo declares national emergency allowing Westminster to take direct control of devolved areas.
    What’s the plan?

  • joel

    Ignore the bad faith objections. Highlighting a candidate’s deepest held political beliefs is beyond legitimate in a democratic election. It is absolutely essential. The objectors do not want voters informed of the world Mike Russell wants to create. Nor does the SNP or the media.


  • yesindyref2

    For those advocating spending loads of time around websites that have nothing to do with Indy, or spending our too short lives spouting conspiracies about the Salmond / SG / Sturgeon / Murrell stramash, from either side, rather than actually WORKING TOWARDS GETTING INDPENDENCE FOR SCOTLAND, I personally prefer to let the redoubtable Linda Fabiani, who was a deputy PO (Presiding Officer) and is not seeking re-election as an MSP next May, to do the job of the inquiry, and we should all support her fully in her actions.



    “ALEX Salmond and the Scottish Government have been accused of “prevarication and obfuscation”, leaving the Holyrood committee probing the botched harassment allegation investigation frustrated.

    Linda Fabiani, the SNP MSP who chairs the inquiry said the evidence being shared with MSPs “lacks detail and indeed usefulness”.

    “This is both deeply problematic and deeply disrespectful,” she said. “


    says it all, really. She’s having none of it.

    And the Truth shall set us free.

    Bye for now Indy supporters, and farewell the rest of you.

    • Cubby

      Captain Birdseye

      You must have spent days and days coming up with that tremendous insight. Oh that’s right you quickly read an article in the National.

      Next thing you will be doing is recommending we all spend our time playing with model aircraft carriers and reading up on the various weapons systems available to kill people like you do. You stick to your interests not everyone is interested in how much more efficient and effective are the means by which humans can be murdered. You spend your short life analysing how others life’s can be shortened so don’t lecture me on how I spend my time.

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