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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  • mark golding

    ‘Search NHS careers’ is the latest advertising mantra. The ad is ambiguous at best, is arranged to deceive, making one think our NHS is recruiting within its foundation. Not true. Even a cursory look at jobs.nhs.uk or healthcareers.nhs.uk tells us most jobs are for NHS private contractors such as G4S. More than a decade ago outsourced cleaning, catering and portering services provided a huge chunk of G4S’s NHS cash. Today they employ nurses, paramedics, ambulance drivers, prison healthcare, ‘forensic and medical services’, drug treatment and mental health.

    The world’s largest private security company, is involved in countless cases of human rights abuses both in the UK and internationally, being allowed to make profits from providing healthcare to some of the UK’s most vulnerable children and adults???

        • J

          I’ve long suspected G4S keep getting contracts from successive goverments because they know where too many of the skeletons are burried.

    • Sally

      Brand ‘NHS’ is a nothing more than branding gimmick. It conjures up warm fuzzy feelings. That is why ‘track and trace’ is “run by the NHS”, when in reality it is subcontracted to Serco. You can slip lots of nasty things through by branding it ‘NHS’ because most people still do ‘trust’ the NHS. Although it never really was trustworthy. The NHS brand has always been marketed well. Now, let’ ‘clap for the NHS’ 😀

      • N_

        Not just clap but say “thank you”, meaning thank you to the state, which is to say thank you to the “public” authority figures who cover for big business rule, plus of couse thank you to medics, who’d never ever apply something like a “Primark” test, and who aren’t ever in anything for money. It is so pathetic. Obey without question because the alternative is the posh boys won’t help you when you’re ill next time – they’ll just let you die. So “thank you” it is, and never mind about the care homes because at least the money got inherited, what little of it was left, so never mind about not having a proper funeral either. And never mind that nobody you know has much chance of getting any surgery they need in the foreseeable future. Thank you, your lordships, ladyships, and you bunch of lovely people-servers on the board of the Wellcome Trust – thank you! Thank you! And not just SARS but bubonic plague too to anyone who dares not be grateful, which is akin to dropping their trousers and letting one rip when the “Queen” makes a speech.

        Over to Oscar Wilde:

        “We are told that the poor are grateful for charity. Some of them are no doubt, but the best among the poor are never grateful. They are ungrateful, disobedient and rebellious. They are quite right to be so. Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is man’s original virtue.”

        “NHS” = “No Help for the Sick”.

  • Father O'Blivion

    There’s a full scale Scottish poll up on YouGov. Not particularly heartening (51% Yes / 49% No). Doesn’t sound like the Scot goes pop poll due out later today which has apparently got a better Yes / No ratio.
    Holyrood voting intentions are however encouraging with Labour doing particularly bad on the Regional list, where the Tories are relying on Labour showing strongly to rack up MSPs (which the Tories can’t do due to constituency wins in the South and North East).

    • N_

      Sounds volatile.

      The SNP permanently campaign for independence, whereas their opponents don’t permanently campaign for the Union.
      When will Sturgeon be replaced as party leader?

      • Cubby


        Does anyone take you serious.

        British Labour in Scotland – 13% not volatile just going down and down.

        Every poll this year showing a majority for Scottish independence – nothing volatile about that. The people of Scotland want independence and it doesn’t matter who the leader of the SNP is.

  • Marmite

    The more I try to make myself informed on these matters, the more that independence looks like a distraction from the real task of ensuring the survival of humanity, across the globe let alone in Scotland, in the face of monsters being fought on multiple fronts. Instead of turning Scotland into another pathological enclave of disaster capitalism, there is so much else that could be done.

    • Giyane


      During my thankfully short employment in a tiny corporation I witnessed the daily panic of the FCO and CEO about covering their axxxs, due diligence.
      Privatisation is not about cost , it’s about escaping responsibility.

      Putting the responsibility back onto the large salaries has to be done brick by brick, scenario by scenario. Hence one should not be discourage by the Stygian mess, because when shocking lies like the one exposed by Craig by Mike Russell get publicised, the shameless bosses will be forced to change their ways.

      The Scottish Tories would never have got away with making him their president.

      • dpg

        I fear Marmite is about right. Mike Russell’s duck-like back is designed perfectly to shed criticism or appeals to reason or explanation. The main point about his neoliberal formation is that it is truly dumb and pretty well indicates he didn’t actually know what he was talking about. I seriously doubt he even knew that he was expressing neoliberal views. It is a moot point because his sole purpose is self-interest not sincerity or intellectual rigour.
        Like so many before and still to be revealed, he is a dishonest player but dishonesty is the MO.

        • Prasad

          No reply.
          Marmite wrote ”the more that independence looks like a distraction from the real task of ensuring the survival of humanity, across the globe let alone in Scotland, in the face of monsters being fought on multiple fronts’.

          I have a wee thought experiment. Imagine the vast majority of Scots and their government wanted to implement solutions to all your problems, how would they do it? They couldn’t they can’t raise the revenue needed and can’t borrow. We are tied to Westminster with a ball and chain.
          Scotland HAS to have Independence in order to implement any major earth shattering policies.
          After Independence there will be parties that concentrate on solving these problems and if they don’t we can vote them out. Right now there is no opposition to the SNP, they are all based in London and are like powerless ankle snapping lapdogs. There only desire is to damage Scotland; traitors in any other country, fed on by UK state and mogul media. After Independence we can have real debate and discourse in this country. Nothing can happen without it. We are stuck.
          That is why i presume you don’t live in Scotland you would feel all this in your bones.

          • Marmite

            Possibly. I’ve mostly had pro-independence sympathies all these years, like any good anti-imperialist. I just think that the timing is all off and that more might be gained from cooperation among sectors of the UK that still pay lip-service to the idea of morality. But then again, I know you cannot pick the timing for this sort of thing. At any rate, it looks like Northumbria and North Ireland might get there before you. If one of those cartoonists were to illustrate the Scottish desire for independence in 2020, they might depict a rowboat with the Scots at one end trying to saw off their corner of it. The message is that we all drown.

          • Prasad

            Marmite, i see you don’t live in Scotland.
            Respectfully (as i can) isn’t it the decision of the colonised country to decide its Independence.
            Is there any other colonised country that you think shouldn’t have gained Independence?
            You will have to describe your rowboat cartoon better. Are you saying the UK is a rowboat?

          • Prasad

            Marmite you say

            ‘I just think that the timing is all off ‘.

            For who?
            For Scotland now is the only time. For survival, as the IMB is the sound of tanks rolling across the border. We have to have Independence now or the tories will try and finish off Scotland once and for all. This is not paranoia it is happening right now. Austerity will be used as way to destroy Scotland. They have lost the argument now they will use force.
            Now is the only time for Independence; because with these fascist tories, the support for Independence has never been higher. (14 polls in a row). We need to strike now.
            Economically now is the only time for Scotland’s Independence in order to protect us from the economic collapse which is coming to England. If we act now we can stop the damage.

            If you mean ‘the timing is all off’ for the UK, allow to me to explain how i for one feel. Scots voted against Brexit. One of my main reasons was that we needed the EU to protect us from England (primarily on human rights and environmental issues). For England, read ‘those who the English vote for’. Now Brexit has happened and England is about to screw us over and stop us taking back devolved powers from the EU and stop us from becoming Independent, stop us from even deciding ourselves if we can decide. In other words total shut down of democracy.
            Now how do you think i feel when that same England says ‘don’t leave us we need protecting from the tories’.
            Well the politest way of putting it would be ‘sorry mate, your choice, you decided, bye and good luck’.
            If someone says ‘now is not the time’ my words are much harsher.

          • Marmite

            I don’t really disagree with you Prasad. All countries are colonised in one way or another, some by external swine and others by internal swine, so to me the questions of where I am living or whether countries should be allowed to gain independence is neither really here nor there. I am generally all for what you are saying, but just wondering if having tunnel vision about it is helpful. I don’t think there is anything wrong with my boat analogy though. Maybe it would be more vivid for you if I called it a spaceship?

          • N_

            Never mind how you feel, Prasad. What does your intellect tell you would be different if Scotland were independent? Try to answer without mentioning England. What would actually be different in the lives of people who live in Scotland? You don’t mention a single f***ing thing. We get it that you imagine that English people are trying to control you.

          • Cubby


            “We get it that you imagine English people are trying to control you” – well some people are and some of them are English but all of them are Britnats. They want to control us so they can control Scotlands resources.

            Standard practice for the British Empire for hundreds of years.

            Hard to take anyone serious that cannot see that.

            N is no Marxist. N is a colonialist.

          • Prasad

            Hilarious. Ask England to talk about Brexit without mentioning Europe
            or Ireland without England
            or the British Empire without mentioning Britain

            But actually it is a piece of cake.
            1. About 2 million kroner richer

            2. and wouldn’t have to listen to idiots like you telling us that we can’t have democracy.

            Only an idiot would insist on limiting a discussion to your ridiculous parameters.
            I could list hundreds of examples of how Scotland would be better outside the UK but without mentioning the UK? Who are you Nicola Parsons? This isn’t ‘Just a Minute’ it is the future of our country. Why should i play word games with an idiot.

          • Prasad

            “We get it that you imagine English people are trying to control you”

            You know i didn’t say that. Why would you do that i wonder.
            It is the people the majority of English voted for who are trying to destroy the will of the the Scottish people.
            Scotland has not voted for a Tory government since 1958.

          • Prasad

            I had the misfortune of working with a racist white ex-South-African many years ago. He told me that Africa couldn’t survive without whites. Many years before that a school-friend who lived in Rhodesia told me the same thing. He was too young to have formed this opinion for himself, he was just repeating the colonial mantra. It is colonial indoctrination at it’s best, colonising for their own good, we built the railways don’t you know. Fortunately this quaint idea is not accepted by United Nations and regime change is suppose to be illegal under international law.
            You ask what would be better for me with Independence like a true colonial. As though we have never thought of this before, as if the thought has just occurred and we have to justify ourselves to you. Would you say the same to an African? I have many facts which will point to a better Scotland but that is irrelevant. I would want Independence even if Scotland was worse off (even though i don’t believe that is true for one second) because Scotland can never realise it’s potential whilst shackled to England. If Scotland is right now dependent on England and scrounging off England as the BritNats claim, then great lets break free so we can change it for the better, so we are free to grow up.
            There are a couple of pieces of legislation which Scotland wants to put through soon which i think will make Scotland worse off, HCB and GRA. But they will be Scotland’s choices just as free choices are made througout of all the countries which have freed themselves from the British Empire. It is called democracy.
            For the sake of others, you appear to be beyond reason, i can give recent example of how Scotland would be better off Independent. Covid. We could have closed borders especially towards end of lockdown when we had no deaths for several weeks and daily cases below 5. We would have had money to extend furlough without begging off Westminster. Drugs: we wouldn’t have to beg Westminster to experiment with new drug policies. Glasgow has one of the worst drug problems in Europe and Scotland would like to pursue the Portuguese solutions but are not allowed by Westminster. Scotland would be much more similar to the Scandinavian countries. If you read up a little you would find out we are already much more closely aligned with them in our ideas (see talkingupscotland).
            Most of all i would live in a country i was proud of and not one that had to beg for it’s own money like an abused housewife, a country which didn’t bomb the fuck out of any country which was threatening US oil. The list is endless but it would, make me feel fucking good. It would be a good day to die

            I could ask you to name one thing that would be better for Scotland staying in the UK. The only one i can think of now , is a hard border with England and i suspect that will not be for long.

            I decided long ago not to argue with unintelligent people, but this is one for the team.

  • Willie

    And if it can’t make a profit then privatise it.

    Well Brain Box Mikey, if the NHS can’t make a profit how will a private operator make a profit. Cut medical treatment, reduce service.

    Or what of the NHS that has to make a profit. Tell us Mikey Pea Brain, why does it need to make a profit, how much, and what is to be done with the profit. Cut service to make a profit, then what?

    Frankly Russell is a puffed up balloon. Him and BoJo would get on fine.

    Time we chased the clown.

  • g m

    This is taking it a bit far. I was voting for CM on the basis that the shake up would put an end to exactly this type of pish. Vote lost

  • DaveyTee

    I have to confess that I dislike the notion of claiming that because someone may have held certain views in 2006, he or she still holds them in 2020. Is there any recent evidence to show that Michael Russell still espouses the neo-liberal views he apparently held 14 years ago? I’d also point out that in 2007 Alec Salmond appointed Russell as Minister for Environment, and later to the Scottish Cabinet.of which he remained a member until Nicola Sturgeon took over in 2014. Are you saying, Craig, that Alec Salmond, who apparently worked closely with Russell and knew him well, was happy to appoint a “neo-liberal” who allegedly didn’t believe in independence to his government and later his cabinet? I doubt it very much.


    • Giyane

      Davey Tee

      What if AS thought it would be politically useful to have someone on board who understood Thatcher think.
      Nobody else understands it,
      Smoke and mirrors. You get the money from England on the basis of it being spent in a certain way, then you spend it as you see fit.

      The SNP is a political party, not a picnic. What appears to have happened here is that AS expected to be able to use Mike Russell for his political purposes, and contain his right wing views, without reckoning on being turned over to the police by the British civil servants on the grounds of, of all things, rape!

      In the context of what has been done to AS, this is not just a chicken coup. But perhaps it is?

      • DaveyTee

        Margaret Thatcher had been out of office for 17 years when Michael Russell was appointed as a minister in Alec Salmond’s government.. In any event, I think that her thoughts while in office were crystal clear, which is one of the very few things that can be said in her favour. You knew exactly where you were with her which is more than can be said for some of her successors.

        I think the rest of what you say is very unlikely surmise unsupported by any evidence at all. As things stand, Michael Russell has denied that he holds the views once attributed to him and to suggest that Alec Salmond would have given a political career and a cabinet post to someone who doesn’t dearly want independence is absurd. However, If you have any evidence to the contrary, let’s hear it.


        • giyane

          Davey Tee

          Definitely surmise , but so is your ” unlikely “.
          In ‘ It’s only words’, I commented like you in defence of Mike Russell for being straight talking.
          Surmise is sometimes all that we have. It is part of making excuses for some behaviour that has annoyed us. But if a public figure has issued a statement of his or her public beliefs and they are genuinely a sincere communicator, they would surely also issue some kind of follow-up if they had changed their views.

          The reality is that if he had changed his views then he would be able to give some evidence of that from something else he had written in the meantime. Surely a politician’s views on politics can’t be considered private and of no public concern when they are standing for election for a political office.

          Excuses yes, but making excuses for somebody remaining silent? I don’t think he’s has been as decent and communicative as you suggest in the last 14 years of his political life. How far do I have to lean over backwards to make excuses for his silence?
          In a court of law silence is taken as an indication of agreement. He has been accused of something but offerred no defence.

          • Jarek Carnelian

            AS took a brutal red pen to the original text of Russel’s neo-liberal tome and made it clear that if he was to have any future in the SNP then he needed to accept that. The published version remained extreme but why go after AS for giving the guy a second chance? There are also often good reasons for keeping your enemies close.

          • Giyane

            Jsrek Carnelian

            That was exactly the point I was making.
            Which is not ” going after ” anyone.

        • Johny Conspiranoid

          Every party is choc full of neo-liberals and yet nobody has formed a neo-liberal party to campaign for neo-liberal ideas because nobody would vote for it. The days have gone down in the West, how has it come to this?

      • Squeeth

        Salmond is no saint, as the inherent contradictions of dependent-independence that were impossible to hide during the fake referendum, demonstrate.

    • pretzelattack

      why is russell lying about his views then? it would seem simple enough to admit he was wrong, and explain how he has changed.

      • Prasad

        It is the disdain in the tweet which adds to ‘what you just said’.
        You can bet if he was under any concerted criticism he would be trying a bit harder to convince. I’m glad he isn’t, as his true colours are showing.

      • Barbara

        Indeed, it would have been easier for him to say that he was drunk at the time and has “no recollection” of writing the book 😉

        • Ingwe

          @Barbara November 15 2020 at 0043-he doesn’t have to claim to have been drunk. It woz the Russians wot wrote it!

    • Josh R

      “Is there any recent evidence to show that Michael Russell still espouses the neo-liberal views he apparently held 14 years ago?”

      Is there any evidence that he no longèr holds these views? They seem to have been quite forcefully ‘espoused’ in the book Craig read.

      We’re all entitled to change our mind, to learn, to deveop, etc. A change of heart would be commendable and quite a straightforward thing to share and explain with those whose support Russell seeks……so why doesn’t he?

  • Willie

    Let’s be crystal clear GM there is virtually no support in Scotland for a privatised national health system. Even less for a system where the government gives out vouchers. Food stamps they call it in America, health stamps here if Russell had his way.

    Making comment on Russell’s views is not as you describe it …..” Pish”. Such comment is intellectually defective and then some, and quite frankly i don’t, with comments like yours, think you would ever have voted for Craig Murray. Far too erudite for a commentator like you.

  • Willie

    And for Davey Tee a couple of thoughts to cogitate on if you would.

    Firstly, do you think support for privatising all health care and issuing vouchers would be a vote winner. In fact do you think it would be the policy characteristics that most members, most voters would want of a candidate wanting to be selected as the next SNP president. I certainly don’t – and I suspect that most people don’t either.

    That Mike Russell’s views on health service privatisation would be unpopular in the extreme I think it is not difficult to understand why he’d not be too happy about folks knowing his views. And so, if he does not now hold these views then let him say so loud and clear. He had that opportunity.

    Lastly, in all elections, it is crucially important that the policies, views and predilections of candidates are understood. Understood in honest open and transparent ways. If we are democrats we need to remember that. The Salmond affair is the antithesis of that, and we should never forget it.

    • DaveyTee

      OK, I’ve cogitated. No, privatising health care wouod not be a vote winner – as you say, such a policy would be very unpopular. And I accept that on the face of it Michael Russell may have given some credence to such view back in 2006 although he denies that that was in fact of the case. But even if he did hold these views people are allowed to change their minds as the years go by and there is no evidence whatever that he holds these views now – indeed, he has strongly denied that he does. Have you any evidence to the contrary? Maybe you should email him and ask him?

      It’s the old story – dig back far enough in anyone’s history and you’ll find some mud to throw. Unfortunately, some of it usually sticks. I’m sad to see these tactics being used here..


        • DaveyTee

          OK, tell me what’s wrong with it and do try to support your assertions with some evidence. But of course you can’t.


          • Prasad

            He denies agreeing with what he wrote in the book even though he used the word ‘we’ three times in just a few lines in the most unambiguous terms. Then claims it was a debate. Now we are supposed to believe him.
            If he simply said he changed his mind that would be up to us to decide whether that was acceptable (personally i would have a hard time with even that). But he didn’t and doesn’t. He retracted his opposition to Universal Benefits in the same (after Labour ‘attacks’) but not that of NHS privatisation. What to make of that?
            This wasn’t a one off the cuff comment it was in a book which had obviously been the results of much thought and belief. It is still on sale. if a book anyone can buy today in which you state your beliefs and thought doesn’t represent you beliefs and thoughts i don’t know what does.
            A one off derogatory, superior tweet does not dig him out of the hole. It at least deserves a detailed, respectful explanation.
            To me it isn’t just about Michael Russell. He is considered a great man in the SNP even amongst their harshest critics and i am finding this book quite shocking to see what some of the SNP inner circle actually believe. What else are they hiding?

      • Johny Conspiranoid

        ” on the face of it Michael Russell may have given some credence to such view back”

        Because that’s what he said.
        Should we say that its most likely that a person has changed their mind about something because there is no evidence that they haven’t?

  • paul

    I think everything is in the title.

    Grasping Scotland would be more accurate considering mr russell’s desired constituency.

    However, asking his population to grasp the most painful (understandable in a plant) option to please his constituency is both callous and deplorable.

    The fact that he cannot defend his (wilful)socioeconomic fantasies is ever more shameful.

    • Ken Kenn

      There is a flaw in his great plan.

      Friedmanist economics was first ‘ trialled ‘ in Chile.

      In order to do the experiment he had to get rid of a legitimately elected Socialist – Allende.

      Further to that governments demise and the torture and killing of its people Friedman advises Pinochet to privatise the state.

      This he does.

      By the time of Pinochet’s reign the experiment went so wrong that all that was privatised had to be nationalised again ( by the state- meaning the ordinary people paying ) and this is what Mr Thistleman and his friend don’t understand.

      For the past forty years neo liberalism has pretended to be based on Adam Smith style Free markets.

      Yet the private capitalists have relied upon the state ( and state interventions – austerity being one ) to become as well off or rich as they are now.

      It is continuing even more so in the Western World as the central banks sling money in trillions of dollars at the private capitalists in order to keep the sinking ship of capitalism afloat.

      It cannot last forever – the delusion that neo liberal economies can survive particularly after the financial crash of 2008 and now the slump/recession of not tackling Covid correctly and the viscious austerity to come is pure fantasy.

      If the state becomes ‘ privatised ‘ in total – what happens when the oncoming economic crah comes?

      Who ( if the state is privatised ) is going to bail out the private capitalists then?

      The failed bankrupt private capitalists?

      They are bankrupt and guess what – if that happens they will scream for the state to assist them as they have for forty years past.

      It would be that bad that they may even support a 2024 version of Corbyn – they would be that desperate for a bail out from anywhere.

      They would have to if they wished to survive as a class.

      As usual writers spout off about Adam Smith.

      Smith was certainly a genius of his time but he was an investment to make capital to make more capitalist type.

      A proper capitalist that Thatcher and many other alleged politicians claim to understand but Smith would be miffed at today’s capitalist class who only invest in money in order to make more money.

      A great economist to watch on youtube ( he’s a Marxist Economist – so don’t be scared ) is Michael Hudson.

      he knows all abot Neo- liberal economics and is for the cancelling of debts for poor countries and private individuals a s well.

      p.s. Two and two make three.

      Cummings and Lee are ideological Brexiters – Johnson is actually ambivalent.

      30 working days to a trade deal with the EU – he needs a face saving extension in order to create one.

      Mr Barnier is a smart diplomat and negotiator.

      He will save Johnson’s backside but in order to do that Johnson has to try and fill his already crap Cabinet
      with Brextensioners.

      Cummings may walk on Saturday.

      He knows Johnson has always been a liar due to working with him.

      Big newspaper sales day.

      • giyane

        Ken Kenn

        So , in a word, capitalism doesn’t work but lying does work because Boris can now say he never wanted Brexit anyway and Cummings can’t. If he gets a deal, the only people who will be annoyed with him is the swivel-eyed brexiteers in his own party who didn’t spot that World King Biden might be looking for an apprentice. Boris as always In with the main chance and no time to put on a condom.

        • Kempe

          Announced today that Cummings will be gone by Christmas. Will he change his name to Goings?

          Same day the Yorkshire Ripper died. Who says there’s never any good news in the papers?

        • Ken Kenn

          giyane .

          This was a leader who had twp speeches pre -written before the reaults of the BRexit ref was known.

          Read Max Hastings ( the UK’s first embedded military reporter) as to what he a Thatcherite admirer thinks of him.

          Peter Oborne has Johnson’s card marked too.

          This is all about Brexit and of course Covid but sod the people it’s the Tory Party’s possible demise that is above all that nonsense.

          Johnson needs an extension I think and he can’t throw the idea in the media ring without getting rid of the hard brexiter advisers.

          Changes in the Cabinet next I reckon.

          Sunak is being lined up also.

          My thought about Adam Smith is that he was a genuine capitalist ( a very good exploiter of labour ) who believed in re- investing the fruits of his gains from labour ( capital) into investing the already gained capital into further exploiting labour and so on and so on.

          Namely- invest in labour and machinery and not shove pieces of paper around the globe with IOU’s attached and swindle the populace and their fellow capitalists as they do in big ways now.

          I don’t think Smith would approve of that.

          The funny thing about Mr Thistle is that him and his mate have no idea as to what capitalism is and how it basically works..

          Thatcher/ Osborne/Sunak/Johnson and even the lauded Andrew Neil don’t know either but they all espouse alleged Free market theories, whilst they ignored and still ignore the contributions ( bailout and payments ) that the ( left to their own animal instincts) private capitalists rely a vast amount of time in recessions and slumps on the State – which of course is you and I in the end that pay.

          Keynes described private capitalists not as Tigers but as kittens.

          They are kittens that need milk every day – our milk and the Covid crisis and the 2008 bailout is proving that daily and hourly.

          The State is the lender of last resort.

          • Tom74

            Something tells me that the timing of the American election a week before Johnson’s palace coup isn’t a coincidence either. Perhaps Washington thought it was a good time to clear the decks.

      • N_

        “It cannot last forever”. It certainly can’t, given that all the money the state slings at the banks has to be borrowed from the banks in the first place, and banks produce absolutely shee-yit.

        The main reason the universities were even opened in October was to help banks get youngsters into big debt. The government is essentially a government of bankers’ runners, but then what else is new?

        • Pyewacket

          N, at the risk of sounding cynical, another reason to get the students back was to get their Halls of Residence filled, and whatever serves as a tenancy agreement signed. Which, perversely, soon after became kind of open prisons costing £150 a week.

          • Ken Kenn


            Got it in one there.

            And – the only reason the Tories and Starmer ‘care ‘ about children’s eductaion is that if the kids are in school their parents can work.

            I live in North west France and despite the lockdown there are as many cars flying by ( to work ) than there was in March and all the kids particularly the under elevens are in school.

            The small shops are closed and the big multinationals are open.

            The bars and small cafes and restaurants are closed and Mc Do’s ( Mc Donalds’s ) are doing drive throughs.

            One law for the big people and one for the small people.

            Same in the UK.

            Yet – 65% plus of infections here and the UK are due to working and kids in schools.

            It’s not a lockdown like March which wasn’t a lockdown either.

            Of course if the younger kids are at school their parents can go to work which proves that schools have always been a babysitting service rather than an educational establishment.

            Boarding school has given us idiots like Johnson and Gove.

            Pity they didn’t go to Roedean – it would have toughened them up somewhat.

            Time for a rethink – I think.

      • Johny Conspiranoid

        “30 working days to a trade deal with the EU – he needs a face saving extension in order to create one.”

        So we’ll still be in the transition period. I wonder if we’ll ever leave it. Brexit had a better chance with Corbyn.

        • Ken Kenn


          Cuba – where they have more doctors per capita than the US by a long way.

          China will almost give away their Covid vaccine whereas the Yanks will flog the price to death.

          The bugle call of the Daily Mail beckons you must be away on your master’s steed.

          Berk from Berkshire.

          • Colin Smith

            Have you been to Cuba? It is one of the very few places I have decided against returning to.

          • Colin Smith

            And correspondingly, if you ever want to see capitalism played out in its rawest and most merciless form, visit a socialist country.

          • Ken Kenn

            The big players get the moniker ‘ Corporate Capitalism ‘ for a very good reason.

            The greatest irony of anti – Statist fulminaters in the Express, Mail and Telegraph is that a big chunk of the readers work directly for or indirectly for the State as the private sector does a lot of outsourcing work for them.

            As you say – Socialism for the Rich.

            Colin Smith.

            I’ve never been to Cuba but their medics work in Africa – for free.

            The Chinese also.

            You have already witnessed the ‘ Mercy ‘ of the ironically titled Free world ( where little is free cost ) in its protection of its people.

            The figures and deaths are terrible.

            You have been reading the papers named above and have probably read the CIA’s Black Book on Communism.

            Q – Anon will also establish ‘ the facts ‘ for you – no doubt.

            Or the State Broadcaster – the BBC?

  • Wikikettle

    Unlike the people here, they have turned out in their million in Bolivia to welcome back Evo Morales after the Coup of last year. Some good news, not that our media will show the huge masses from the sky, that traveled from all over Bolivia to reclaim their leader and the natural resource, lithium we wanted the neo liberal coup leaders to privatise.

  • Cubby

    The interviewer got it right when he said – ” ya dancer”. That’s Scots for jolly well done chaps.

    England next for a penalty shoot out.😀😀

    • Mary

      Traditional Scottish Songs
      – Football Crazy

      Robin Hall and Jimmy Macgregor are well known for their humorous song “Football Crazy” about “Jock McGraw” who joined a football club and became over-enthusiastic about the game. There are other, earlier versions, including this one. It was transcribed by Adam McNaughton who credits the song to James Curran, written around 1885 when he called it “The Dooley Football Club”.http://www.rampantscotland.com/songs/blsongs_football.htm

  • Prasad

    Thing is, i know exactly where Joanna Cherry stands on many issues because she tells us clearly here. You have to love the ‘daddy’ remark.
    I have no idea of Michael Russell’s and i can only presume from his silence that he is either neutral or opposed to her positions, even including debate.
    Meanwhile if we need any further indication that the SNP is moving further and further to the right, see this Raptor Persecution UK report on watered down amendments to solve grouse moor problems.
    Unless the next election is a plebescite, i am really going to need some persuasion to vote for the SNP, even on the constituency vote.

  • frankywiggles

    It is wrong to assume nations cannot be led to independence by reactionaries like the First Minister, admirer of hard right ideologues and US imperialist war criminals. The US fight for independence is increasingly recognised today as having been a struggle by slaveowners to retain their right to human property. In our day and age the Catalonian independence movement is largely driven by rage at having to subsidise poor regions of Spain; while the UK’s fight to Take Back Control was initiated and led throughout by some of the most reactionary men on the planet. So Scotland may yet achieve its freedom in ultra cautious fashion under the guidance of an instinctive conservative. But its people may discover that the ultimate goal was the form of freedom passionately desired by people like Michael Russell.

    • Goose

      On the subject of internal party elections, are you following the Zanu Labour shenanigans underway in their NEC elections?

      It’s assumed the left-wing slate of candidates have triumphed and the result was supposed to be released at noon.

      The the BBC’s Iain Watson tweeted this :

      The results of @UKLabour NEC elections are being delayed from lunchtime to (approx) teatime as some people who were ineligble to vote appear to have done so and this is being addressed. I have no sense, though, that any faction is about to hire Guiliani
      Allegedly they are removing the votes of those who’ve ‘resigned over Corbyn’s suspension’ . A selection of random tweets in response:

      Eligibiity to vote as a member closed on 19 October, before Corbyn was suspended. Anyone still a paid up member at midnight on 19th October is eleigible to vote.

      Surely our votes are anonymous and confidential? What are @UKLabour doing “combing through” votes? This is highly irregular.
      Can members have confidence in Labours data protection measures?

      Looks like Starmer’s viciously factional outfit are on dodgy ground doing this. If Corbyn had done anything like this there’d be all hell breaking loose.

    • N_

      Slaveowners who want to keep their slaves while saying they are for “freedom” can eat my boot.

      • Giyane


        T. Blair apologise for the African slave trade, but he didn’t say he wouldn’t do it again, in Iraq, in Libya, in Syria , in Palestine, in Tunisia, in Misr, in South America, or even in Africa again.

        Something about destroying countries and pinching their natural resources, and telling the world that capitalism has generated all that wealth, is the essence of the triangular system of the African slave trade.

        Maybe no actual slaves, but the man on the Clapham omnibus does not know that the wealth is all stolen, any more than in the horse drawn age they knew what was happening in the West Indies.

        What would have been really useful for humanity would have been an acknowledgement of the violence and theft and a promise not to do it again.

        Jeremy Corbyn may have never become prime minister, but what he said not as prime minister was exactly the apology that sanity and patriotism demanded, which is that there has never been a just war since 1948.

        Something tells me that his legacy will be even more enhanced by the way Corbyn was prevented from being PM by the slave traders of today, Blair, Cameron and May who have all denied the existence of the Western destruction of Iraq , Libya and Syria , the modern slave projects.

        Mike Russell’s privatisation bollocks is the fig leaf by which they try to hide the theft of oil. Oh it all came from Privatisation efficiencies. The oil from Iraq and soon Libya is pumped into USUKIS coffers with no meter. Trillions of dollars of stolen black gold..

        It appears that Mike Russel is a fully paid up subscriber to that hidden theft.

  • Father O'Blivion

    So, charisma void made corporeal John Swinney has failed to meet the deadline to produce the legal advice obtained by the Scottish Government in preparation of their defence at the Court of Session. Swinney (oddly his boss was uncharacteristically camera shy today) said he was unable to give a specific timetable for “when an outcome will be confirmed”.
    I will hazard a guess as to what the legal advice says. “Wot! You’re proposing to discipline an EX-EMPLOYEE. Are you fucking mental or something?”
    If I’m wrong I’ll eat my top hat.

    • Cubby


      Nice turn of phrase.

      Civil Servant Hynd who prepared the first drafts of this new Harrassment process stated that he could find no other country that had a process for FORMER ministers. He also stated that Whitehall civil servants advised him not to proceed with it.

      So in summary, it appears that no other country in the world has such a process other than Scotland and in Scotland, and therefore the whole world, it has only ever been applied to Salmond. But also in world beating terms it is the only one to be found by a court of law to be unlawful, unfair and tainted by bias. Nearly 3 years after the process went live it is still there unamended as part of the Scotgovs processes.

      World class crap and the people responsible are all still in their highly paid positions of power.

      To the people who say there was no plot they have to then accept that these people should be dismissed for being totally useless at their jobs. None have been disciplined.

      • N_

        are all still in their highly paid positions of power

        There will be an election soon, if they don’t stop it for “public hygiene” reasons as they tried to stop jury trial.
        Vote them out.

      • Watt


        Cogent enough, yourself.

        An incisive insight on the ‘Salmond Affair’, or ‘not affair’, perhaps.

  • Greg Park

    Very clear what type of Scotland this guy wants to see, so selecting him as their president speaks volumes. It will certainly lessen the force of claims they want to escape callous Tory rule.

  • Ralfe

    ‘Scottish Government misses Alex Salmond legal advice deadline’ and just in this morning ‘Alex Salmond: Ministers to take court action to stop publication of Nicola Sturgeon communication’. Are we ever going to get to the bottom of this? What we need is a proper, scrupulous judge-led inquiry with powers to seize whatever it deems necessary; and with powers to imprison those not cooperating with, withholding information or otherwise obstructing the inquiry. Give them the Juilian Assange ‘treatment’ – that will get to the bottom of it!

    • Cubby


      “Are we ever going to get to the bottom of this”

      I think it is pretty obvious now what has been going on. All the papers made available by the inquiry on the Svotgov website tell the story of the first part of the Salmond persecution (prior to commencement of the criminal case) and confirm Craigs articles – this was the “battle”. The criminal case was the ” war”. The battle and war being referred to in the messages between Perm sec Evans and Allison, Director of Communications.

      The guerilla war has been continued by the Scotgov and alphabet women (after losing the official war to Salmond) by using Rape Crisis Scotland and the MSM to attack and smear Salmond.

  • Sean_Lamb

    For people who are interested the Defence closing arguments have been posted online (in the Assange extradition)


    My main interest has been on the hacking charge and they appear to have stipulated that Manning was trying to obtain administrative privileges over the DoD computer, which is a tactical mistake in my view as
    a) that is still a crime
    b) the proposed rational – that Manning wanted to watch movies and games on the DoD computer – doesn’t seem very likely (she had her own top of the range mac) and is without evidence and will naturally prompt the judge to ask why there isn’t any statement from Manning to support this.
    I think the US Government will be able to argue that even if true, this is something can be argued as a defence, not a bar to extradition. I was surprised they made no attempt to argue double criminality anywhere in the brief, since Baraister would be willing to rule on that – she can’t be expected to rule on how US law is interpreted

    OTOH I think the use of ECHR Article 7 (basically any crime has to be forseeable to the perpetrator) is quite good.

    I feel kind of sorry for the magistrate to be honest, having to wade through all this stuff, since I imagine the prosecution will dump just as many pages if not more.

    • Courtenay Barnett

      The critical point is that the extradition request is politically which is impermissible for purposes of extradition under law.

      Well established principle.

      • Sean_Lamb

        What constitutes “political” is something decided by the judges of the high and supreme court. Arguably what Lauri Love did in protest regarding Aaron Swartz was political and Gary McKinnon trying to discover if the Pentagon was hiding evidence of UFOs was political. The judges of England did not agree and both of them had to play the mental health card to avoid extradition.

        If Julian Assange wanted a jurisdiction with a strong culture of refusing to extradite on espionage charges he should have gone to Sweden.

        • Courtenay Barnett


          Actually two interesting points emerge from your reply:-

          1. It was Sweden that sought to facilitate the trumped up charge of ‘rape’ against Assange – wasn’t it?

          2. A consideration of the ‘Pentagon Papers’ case and how the US court responded to the New York Times publication of same provides a significant precedent on the issue of ‘political’ as judicially interpreted and as contrasted with the journalistic standard of the public’s right to be informed accompanied by a journalist’s right to protect sources.

  • Father O'Blivion

    Broon drags the putrefied cadaver of the federalism fairy from its shallow grave yet again. This really isn’t dignified either for the deceased sprite or the aging, irrelevant former politician.

  • portside

    Neo-liberal is a very mild descriptor. Those views are to the right of anything publicly expressed by the most rightwing Conservative Party in modern history. If Russell’s views are considered uncontroversial by the SNP and the Scottish media you are in trouble as a country.

    • Father O'Blivion

      Surely your not suggesting that the esteemed leader of the SNP group at Westminster will fail to deliver. This after all is the man who pledged to “prevent us being dragged out of the EU without our consent”. Oh, yeah see what you mean.

      • Republicofscotland

        Indeed Father O’Blivion, I like many others who want a indyref next year find it very bemusing that Blackford has came out and said this. I’m hoping he is sincere in his announcement but I have my doubts about the veracity of it all.

        For starters, it would be ignoring Sturgeon’s Gold Standard referendum in which she says we must have consent from Westminster, unless of course Blackford knows something we do not on that front. Then there’s the case of the ringfenced indy fighting fund, in which the recently published SNP accounts by the EC appear to show that the SNP are skint, which asks the questions where did the funds go to, and where will the money to fight an indyref come from next year. Then there’s the logistics of putting it all together in such a short time frame after the Scottish elections in May. I’m not saying it can’t be done it can, I’m saying that I’m very sceptical of Blackford’s claim, and that he might just be sabre rattling to win more votes for his party next year.

        If it turns out that Blackford is just stringing us along to garner more votes for his party next year the man must be held accountable for that in some fashion, the SNP cannot be allowed to lie through its teeth to its membership and to those who see it as a vehicle to Scottish independence, a vehicle that was set up for that very reason.

        AS you say Blackford made much noise on Scotland being ripped out of the EU, but took no action to stop it.

        • Cubby


          Stinging along is the name of the game. I’ll believe it when I see a date and some legislation putting it in to force.

          Nothing wrong with the SNP vehicle. The problem is it has been hijacked by Britnats and they are at the wheel driving it towards a political cliff edge. The people on the vehicle (SNP members) need to have a good look outside the windows and realise where they are going before it is too late.

    • nevermind

      Could it be a vote catchers comment? RoS. Spoken in a house were lies once formed the basis to go to war in Iraq?
      After the election the amplification will be turned down again, or does he really mean it?

        • Cubby


          I also see you are referred to as the Scottish Taliban on WGD. I don’t know why you bother trying to bring some realism to the crowd on WGD. It doesn’t matter what facts you post they just ignore or bend them. Dr Jim, for example, says a referendum was going ahead this year until the virus intervened. This of course was not the case. There was no date and no legislation for a referendum. In fact Sturgeons speech in Jan 2020 said there would be no illegal referendum. An example of self delusion by DrJim.

          All the people on WGD also have a tremendous capacity for ignoring all the facts re Salmonds persecution. Finally, WGD himself is doing his own wheest for Indy about Sturgeons role in the Salmond persecution.

          • Cubby


            I’ve always been of the opinion that using elections with a mandate for independence is the way forward. Starting in May 2021. That used to be the SNP approach until they went down the wrong road of referendums.

  • Contrary

    The Scottish Government are supporters of the neoliberal ideology, look at the Growth Commission Report, look at who they have appointed the board of the new Scottish Investment bank.

    Mike Russell fits right in.

    That they pretend otherwise makes me feel sick – all the ‘centre left’ rhetoric is a sham, they are wolves in sheeps clothing. Just one lie piled on top of another and another. Of course Mike still believes in what he wrote in that book, it’s just that current SNP policy is to lie and pretend otherwise so he had to gloss over it – in case they lose the popular vote I assume. Ever felt conned? I do, and big time too.

    If you are going to make any difference to the SNP, make the changes needed, Craig, it needs to be done quick and thoroughly – at the moment it would be equivalent to voting Tory for me, to vote SNP.

    • DaveyTee

      Voting SNP would be as bad as voting Tory? That’s just daft. The goal that I think all of us want is Independence. Voting Tory, or indeed any party other than SNP in May, won’t help achieve that. Encouraging people to vote anything other than SNP will only help ensure decades more Westminster rule. I agrre the SNP have to make it clear in their manifesto that Independence as soon as possible is the prime objective and there has to be an acknowledgment (as there already has been from some senior party figures) that if Westminster tries to veto it other options are ready and will be pursued. My own view is that after the May election, when hopefully the SNP will have a whopping and entirely democratic majority, NS should require (not ask) Johnson to agree to a section 30 order. If he refuses we should then just go ahead and hold a referendum anyway. I don’t believe that we should go to court to see if it would be legal to do so, which is why I think that the current court action is at best premature, as it is not up to a sovereign nation to ask permission to leave a union such as we have. Leave it to the UK government to seek a court ruling – I’m not at all sure that they actually would as they may well be fearful of losing it and thereby establishing a principle that the other nations in the union could follow.

      In the meantime, however, we have to show our strength. The fewer votes that the SNP get, the weaker the independence position will appear and the more encouragement it will give to our opponents who must be delighted to see dissension in the ranks.. Frankly, I’m sick and tired of people turning against the SNP when the main target is and should be Westminster. After independence, of course, it’ll be a whole new ballgame, but we have to get that Independence first.


      • Cubby


        What if NS does nothing after winning a big majority in May 2021 using whatever excuse she wants to use. What then ?

        After all wasn’t the Dec 2019 GE portrayed as give us a big win to get independence and then we get the surrender speech by Sturgeon in Jan 2020. The current leadership are just stringing us along.

        • DaveyTee

          I don’t think she will do nothing. I think she and other senior party members have now committed themselves too far. Moreover, unlike you, I believe that NS and the SNP heirarchy really do want indepenndence but, wisely some may think, don’t want a referendum until such time as they are sure of winning it – I think that NS once said she’d really like to see 60% support at the polls before embarking on a referendum. Holding it this year was a non-starter as soon as the pandemic came along; as a largely grass roots organisation we wouldn’t have been able to campaign – no public meetings, no marches, no chapping on doors, whileas the BBC and the MSM would have continued to enjoy unfettered access to most homes.

          But let’s not burden ourselves now with what we might do in the event of someone not doing something else in 7 months time. Let’s just get behind the SNP, show them that we care, show them that this has got to be the time. Encouraging people not to vote SNP in May isn’t the way to do it – and we do all want independence, don’t we?


          • Cubby


            Where do you read I have encouraged people not to vote SNP?

            If people like you do not like facts and truth then that is your problem.

            So you have no idea what to do if nothing happens next year.

            “Holding it this year was a non starter as soon as the pandemic came along” – the same sorry excuse – Sturgeons speech in January said nothing about a referendum happening in 2020 – but she did say plenty about not having an illegal referendum. Try dealing with facts Davey.

            Well the polls have never got to 60% have they – will that be the excuse. What if the polls are lower next year will that be the excuse. But hey let’s not burden ourselves with any of that – just trust Nicola – didn’t work out well for Salmond did it.

      • Contrary

        Davey Tee,

        You appear to be mixed up here about the likelihood of me ever voting Tory.

        Thanks for all those answers Cubby 🙂

        We don’t need a s.30 – and our strength would be shown by saying so. No one is turning against the SNP – they have turned against us, promising one thing but doing another. It should be the SNP that are against Westminster, but they toe the line. Not a peep out of them about the new Scotland Office is there?

        The only dissension in the ranks is the SNP hierarchy that are not only not delivering, they are actively obstructing others from delivering any forward progress towards independence. The Wheesht for Indy program is no longer acceptable – too many opportunities have been missed, and trying to emotionally blackmail independence supporters into voting, yet again, for them so they can do nothing, yet again, is underhand.

        Inventing excuses for the SNP – invented, because you don’t know, none of us do, because the SNP won’t tell us anything, so everyone just makes up their own excuses to justify anything that might possibly fit a situation where there would be hope the SNP might deliver – won’t make them do it, they are not listening, and they have no strategy. Challenge them – see what answer you get. Your hopes that NS will do anything of the sort is wishful thinking – and some of us are ready for independence – well, two years ago would have been ideal – but now or within the next year sufficient. Don’t wait for ‘after’ such-and-such happens – there is no hold you have over them to make them do anything, hold them to account now, and demand results now, ensure a firm promise now – anything! Except just somehow believing somehow things might kinda work out if we don’t speak up and ask for the things we might want. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. They aren’t even promising anything except that they kind of want independence and it’ll happen sometime.

  • Paul Greenwood

    This is madcap. Adam Smith was never an advocate for the Lunatic Economics propounded by paid shills of the oligarchy. He was after all in the era where Economics was a branch of Moral Philosophy which had the notion of Utility and Goods and he was an Observer at the pin factory not its progenitor.

    There is no reason to see in Mandeville’s Fable of the Bees any such ideological position either. The whole of Moral Philosophy was within the constraints of Christian Faith and hovering on the edges of breaking out. Even Keynes, Stock Market and Currency Speculator never embraced this Amoral Capitalism.

    There is simply no reason to “privatise” the NHS it brings no benefit. Anyone subject to Insurance-based Medicine knows doctors hone in on Billable Ailments and steer clear of ICD-10 Codes with low reimbursement rates – and if they dare to breach Hospital Profitability Regulations they are soon brought into line. Scotland has no need of Friedmanite snake-oil salesmen – it is a big land mass with small population and needs to provide services outside major cities.

    I tire of half-baked shills peddling economic gibberish and tired of it decades ago when IEA and Adam Smith Institute went barmy and infected everything instead of focusing on the Ludwig Erhard Rule:

    „soviel Privatinitiative wie möglich, soviel Staat wie nötig“

    As much Private Initiative as possible; As much State as necessary

    The text is unstable and dynamic – it means you have to keep vigilant so it does not tilt too far one way or the other

  • yesindyref2

    There’s an article doing the rounds that’s completely duff in more than 10 ways, but the simplest of all is that, considering the Holyrood election is 6th May 2021, and Holyrood resits a week after on the 13th May, if people would just type in to google the following, it quickly shows how duff the conclusion is, even not bothering to consider the whole kit and caboodle can be wrapped up in less than 28 weeks (22 weeks according to the House of Commons library about EU Ref 2 – and even less at a push).

    Just type this into google (or look at a calendar):

    when is 28 weeks from 13 may 2021

    • yesindyref2

      Just to make the point clear, that’s about INDY REF 2, where people are claiming it can’t be held till mid-January 2022 at the earliest, on the basis of date calculation errors, plus ignorance of the role of the EC, ignorance of how quickly a Bill can be pushed through Holyrood if deemed an “Emergency Bill”, and indeed ignorance of the Referendums (Scotland) Act 2020 – and how processes could be parallelised rather than running in serial.

      Sorry to intrude with a dash of cold water.

    • Cubby

      There is no legislation for a referendum.

      There is no referendum date.

      What is the referendum question to be asked?

      The only real discussion is what excuse will be used after May 2021 not to have the referendum.

      You are arguing about something that has no reality. Blackford has no credibility.

      A true party of independence would have a mandate for independence in its manifesto for May 2021election.

      Try turning your analysis to the persecution of Salmond for the last three years by Sturgeon and her cabal – now that is real.

      • DaveyTee

        There is legislation – the Referendums (Scotland) Bill 2020. Yes campaigners have already made it plain the the question asked should be the same as last time. It has been made clear that the date will not be fixed until after the May election. And why does Balckford have no credibility – Oh, because he once said that he would prevent Scotland leaving the EU and failed, largely because he expected the opposition parties to unite against Brexit and they didn’t? Well, better condemn him forever for that one understandable mistake.. But other than that, why has Blackford got no credibility? Of course, presumably if you damn him for that then Alec Salmond should also be damned for remarking that the last referendum was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

        The manifesto for May 2021 has not yet been produced and at the moment you have no knowledge as to what it will say. Indications are however that when it is, which as is normal will be much closer to the date of the election, independence and the mandate will feature prominently.

        • Cubby


          You are correct there is legislation. However, my point is that there is no specific legislation for an independence referendum next year or the year after or the year after that.

          ” Should be the same as last time” – I agree but that does not mean that it is fixed in legislation and agreed upon by all parties.

          “Independence and the mandate will feature prominently” – well terribly strong for independence then 😂😂😂😂😂

          “It has been made clear that the date will not be fixed until AFTER the May election” so why wait? This of course means that there is no legislation because if there was a date it would be part of the legislation.

          So far it has been a once in 313 years opportunity and counting never mind a generation. Salmond never promised that it was a once in a generation. Blackford made a promise on many occasions.

          “He expected the opposition parties to unite against Brexit and they didn’t.” Perhaps he did but do you know that for sure – also that would be surprising as he has been at Westminster for a long time and surely would know about all the Labour MPs who support Brexit eg Kate Hoey who likes to wear an orange sash.

          If the SNP are handing out medals for being the best apologist for SNP inaction get yourself in line Davey

          • Giyane


            I would have thought that every single Scot would want independence if they believed it was economically viable to be weaned from London.

            Trouble is not all Scots choose to see what Craig sees , namely that if mother’s milk is contaminated, which it clearly is by colonial brutality in the Middle East and round the world, it is not nourishing. It is poison.

            The baby is addicted to the poison the milk contains IN THE WOMB. The SNP is enjoying the fruits of the rogue British state in the rogue British parliament. They will be doing cold turkey if they are weaned on independence.

            England is addicted to criminal war.49 years of criminal war since the shock of two world wars. However, unlike babies you sre not defenceless infants. You can choose to be separate from England’s addiction.

            Romulus and Remus were sucked by a wolf. The EU might be your wolf, butvthere are many others.

          • Cubby


            An independent Scotland would not NEED the EU just as it does not NEED Westminster.

            Westminster needs Scotland. Scotland currently exports electricity to England. All the wind farms being built off the East coast of Scotland are having cable laid on the sea bed to take the electricity generated direct to England. Oil,gas, electricity and soon to be water pumped out of Scotland to keep England functioning.

            Westminster controls the MSM and pumps out propaganda like the GERS crap.

          • DaveyTee

            If by “SNP inaction” you mean not holding a refernedum while it probably won’t be won, then I agree with that stance and I make no apology for it. What you’ve failed to say is how we would have effectively campaigned throughout the pandemic – as I’ve indicated there would have been no public meetings, door-to-door canvassing, or demonstrations. The only real means of communication other than the ineternet (which i do not undervalue) would have been the BBC and MSM and we know what that means. Last time round campaigning, in spite of MSM hostility, took the Yes vote up from 25% at the beginning of the campaign to 45% at the end and it would probably have been more had it not been for the “Vow” which, of course, has been subsequently broken time and time again. Thanks to the news about vaccines I anticipate that we’ll be able to get back to normal campaigning next year and I wuld very much hope that the Yes vote would then rise above 60%.

            Of course Alec Salmond’s “0nce in a generation” statement wasn’t a promise – quite apart from anything else, a politician, especially one currently out of office, cannot bind the people. Unfortunately it has been twisted to such an extent that it has done much more harm than anything Ian Blackford has ever said. I believe that Ian Blackford has done well at Westminster in the face of overwhelming and frequently malicious opposition and is a credit to the Party.

            Happily the polls are now up at about 56%. How do you think they got there? You probably won’t agree, but I put it largely down to Nicola Sturgeon’s performance during the pandemic which has shown people that Scotland is perfecty capable of dealing with a grave situation better and more responsibly than Westminster can. People seem to trust her. You may think that’s misguided but I nevertheless believe it to be a fact and something that should be built on for the next referendum.

            As a matter of interest, what do you think should happen if the SNP duly win a mandate in May and a Section 30 order is then refused? I hasten to add that I do not think that we should then sit back and accept that position, but I’d be interested in your view.


          • Cubby


            Clearly you do not read my posts or if you do – not very well.

            1. I have never said there should be a referendum this year during the pandemic so your question about how do I propose to campaign during a pandemic is irrelevant.
            2. I say there should be a mandate for ACTUAL independence in the SNP manifesto for the May 2021 election. Said it plenty of times.
            3. I do not know exactly what has caused the rise in the polls. Different people are sure it is this or that – based on what?
            4. Care to explain when you will be sure 100% that yes will win a referendum? If you cannot then following your logic when will a referendum take place?
            5. “Believe it to be fact” – sorry Davey that is just a belief unless you can inform me of how it is a fact. Now you may well be correct but if you have no evidence then it is just a belief.
            6. You ask what do I think should happen if the SNP win a mandate in May 2021 and a sec 30 is refused. Well first of all you should have said ANOTHER mandate. It also depends on what the mandate says – is it a mandate for exclusively a sec 30 referendum or any referendum – do you know – I don’t? Quite frankly I am sick of all this referendum mandate rubbish road that the SNP have taken independence supporters down.
            7. It is a democratic approach to use an election – any election – to get a mandate for actual independence. As democratic as a referendum. Indeed that used to be SNP policy.
        • Cubby


          Today Nicola Sturgeon during her covid briefing refused to agree with Blackford that there would be a referendum next year. She does have a valid reason for not doing so – it is a public health briefing for the nation after all. But she could have just as easily quickly and briefly confirmed her agreement.

          Today on BBC Newsnight Dr Phillippa Whitford also refused to agree with Blackford that there would be a referendum on independence next year.

          Perhaps Davey you need to get them to show more enthusiasm for an independence referendum next year.

  • Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh

    “Let’s just get behind the SNP, show them that we care…”
    by William Dunbar (c.1420-c.1513)

    This waverand warldis wretchidnes,
    The failyeand and frutles bissines,
    The mispent tyme, the service vane,
    For to considder is ane pane.

    The slydand joy, the glaidnes schort,
    The feynyeid luif, the fals confort,
    The sweit abayd, the slichtfull trane, [O.F. traïne, f. traïr to betray.]
    For to considder is ane pane.

    The sugurit mouthis with myndis thairfra,
    The figurit speiche with faceis tua,
    The plesand toungis with hartis unplane,
    For to considder is ane pane.

    The labour lost and liell service,
    The lang availl on humill wyse,
    And the lytill rewarde agane,
    For to considder is ane pane.

    Beleif dois liep, traist dois nocht tarie,
    Office dois flit and courtis dois vary,
    Purpos dois change as wynd or rane,
    Quhilk to considder is ane pane.

    Gud rewle is banist our the Bordour,
    And rangat ringis but ony ordour,
    With reird of rebaldis and of swane,
    Quhilk to considder is ane pane.

    Experience dois me so inspyr,
    Off this fals failyeand warld I tyre,
    That evermore flytis lyk ane phane, [weathervane]
    Quhilk to considder is ane pane.

  • Laguerre

    “Devolution ‘a disaster north of the border’, says Boris Johnson”

    What a perfect boost for Scottish independence! Anyone hesitating in Scotland will see that now Johnson is planning to cut back on devolution.

    • Carrots

      Apparently it was “Tony Blair’s worst mistake”. Worse than the invasion of Iraq leading to the disintegration of the middle east, rise of Isis and hundreds of thousands of deaths. A trifling matter by comparison clearly – one that Johnson himself voted for.

    • Goose

      Douglas Ross has joined in, tweeting:

      ‘Devolution has not been a disaster. The SNP’s non-stop obsession with another referendum – above jobs, schools and everything else – has been a disaster’

      Non-stop obsession? Coming from the Europhobic ‘Brexit Party’ they certainly should know about obsessions. It’s not even true, the SNP’s distinct lack of interest in discussing plans for independence has become the defining characteristic of Sturgeon’s leadership(2014 – 20??),.. certainly over recent years.

  • Eric McCoo

    The post 2011, Murdoch era SNP are a motley crew of careerist wide boys who have no coherent plan for independence. Now that Murdoch no longer supports them, expect the SNP to slowly dismantle.

    Sturgeon is a fawning globalist implementing unpopular identity politics policies until someone finally nails her for her ‘criminal’ behaviour during the Salmond debacle.

    • Father O'Blivion

      Leslie Evans is due to squirm in front of the Committee (for the third time!) starting 10:15 (no idea when it will actually convene). The demonstrable lies spun by this cabal will unravel resulting in eventual downfall. First Evans then Lloyd and finally Sturgeon.

  • Xavi

    It is very telling that such a notoriously hard right figure has made it to the top of the SNP and is now the preferred choice for president. It strongly suggests he is far from alone among the leadership in yearning for a bracing libertarian Scotland, in the Dominic Raab, Priti Patel Britannia Unchained mould. Members have an.opportunity to stop him being made president, but what can they do to remove him and his neoliberal sponsors from leading the party?

    • DaveyTee

      I have a very high regard for Alec Salmond. A year after Mike Russell became an MSP, Salmond gave him a ministerial post, then another, and then a cabinet position. Frankly, if Alec Salmond believes that Mike Russell is an appropriate person to hold high positions in the party and government, I’m not going to disagree with him. Are you?


      • Xavi

        Yes, I 100% disagree with him in that regard, “DT”. Just as I disagreed with him Fred Goodwin is an appropriate person to be honoured with a knighthood. Perhaps try a little harder in convincing yourself Russell’s views are nothing to be concerned about . Certainly try a lot harder in convincing others. Consider for a moment the impact if healthcare provision were left entirely in the hands of parasites like Fred Goodwin. That is the world Michael Russell would like to see and you should be a little less blase that he is someone Salmond and Sturgeon see as a kindred spirit.

        • DaveyTee

          If 14 years ago Russell was of the view that health care should be privatised, I don’t believe he does now. Other than his book there is, as far as I’m aware, no evidence whatever to suggest that that is currently his view (or indeed that it has been since 2006) and he has specifically denied that it is. I certainly don’t see the SNP ever pursuing such a course.

          In any event, Russell may well have no say in it. The SNP is a broad church with a membership that encompasses many views, the only thing in common being that they want an Independent Scotland. That is the party’s primary aim – the other is to govern a devolved Scotland as best they can until independence. The better a job they do of that, of course, the more likely it is that waverers will be convinced to vote for independence. Once independence is achieved, then everything is up for grabs and I don’t think that the SNP will have much of a role to play after the first few years – rather, the political situation in Scotland will, like most other countries, be fought over by specifically left of centre, centre and right wing parties. The SNP, with its broad membership, is likely to splinter among these.

          Otherwise, I don’t know anything about you, Xavi, but I do know a bit about Alec Salmond and, with every respect, I’d prefer as things stand to rely on his judgement on Mike Russell.


          • Xavi

            He is a neoliberal as extreme as anything south of the border. Both Salmond and Sturgeon were strongly attracted to that. I sense you are too.

          • Cubby


            I refer to your comment that after independence you don’t think the SNP will have much of a role to play after the first few years. Perhaps that type of comment may disincentivise some people to actually go for independence. Perhaps of course some people in the SNP/ Scotgov have already been thinking about that.

          • Johny Conspiranoid

            ” no evidence whatever to suggest that that is currently his view (or indeed that it has been since 2006) and he has specifically denied that it is”

            When did he do that?
            What are his views now?

          • Johny Conspiranoid

            ” no evidence whatever to suggest that that is currently his view (or indeed that it has been since 2006) and he has specifically denied that it is”

            But where is the burden of proof here? Should we assume that a person’s opinions have changed if there is no evidence that they haven’t or should we assume their opinions have stayed the same if there is no evidence they have changed?

  • Goose

    Don’t understand the upset over Johnson’s honest remarks regarding his views on devolution. He’s only stating views many here will know are secretly shared by most Tories – even leading Scottish Tories who opposed devolution at the time and in all likelihood quietly still do. As for it being ‘Blair’s biggest mistake’. Blair didn’t have much choice in the matter as it was legacy baggage; Scottish devolution was often referred to as John Smith’s ‘unfinished business’ and powerful Scottish voices in Labour weren’t going to let go.

    Interesting take away for any future referendum, looking at the results from back then. As in 2014 the pre-referendum press polling consistently underestimated support which in this case was roughly 10-15% higher than polling suggested: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1997_Scottish_devolution_referendum

    • laguerre

      “Don’t understand the upset over Johnson’s honest remarks”

      He should have kept his mouth shut. He will have put fear into the minds of many Scots who may think Johnson is going to undo devolution – he makes it clear that is what he would like – and that has been the thrust of the denials this morning. Going further it may tip many hesitating (in Scottish government, for example) into full support for independence.

      • Marmite

        Since when has any of that manure that exits Johnson’s trap ever got him into trouble? He seems to be among those few who have the privilege to be as openly racist, idiotic and provocative, and get rewarded rather than scolded for it. We can always hope you are right though, and that maybe the Scottish have less of that subservient gene, which seems so innate to the English.

        • SA

          Johnson has the majority and the recklessness to change the law. He doesn’t even need to discuss things now, he can only claim that devolution is hampering the national efforts to fight Covid and dissolve the devolved administrations.

          • Merkin Scot

            Exactly! I seem to have been blocked on WoS for even questioning whether there would ever be an election again.

        • laguerre

          “Since when has any of that manure that exits Johnson’s trap ever got him into trouble?”

          ‘Greased piglet’, and ‘failing upwards’, and all that. He did get sacked from several jobs. What he says does get him into trouble. ‘Failing upwards’ will be into a lazy early retirement, as his ambition has run out. Unless he’s planning to succeed Her Maj, and push Charlie aside, which is possible as his childhood ambition was to be ‘King of the World’.

          I am not much of an expert on Scottish affairs, so my view is not well-informed. But I would say the major effect would be on the Scottish governmental establishment. They’ve just had a reminder that they could be out of their positions, or severely curtailed. An explicit statement, of Trumpian style, that any independence moves will be powerfully opposed, and any move such as IndyRef2 refused. What do Sturgeon et al think about that? It all rather goes along with Craig’s thinking, and a powerful boost to that point of view.

    • Ken Kenn

      Like Trump out of the mouth of babies Johnson is only revealing the true nature of the Unionist party ( Conservative – England).

      Remember that after the Scottish Indy Ref Cameron mouthed off about an English parliament.

      The fact is that the UK is essentially Greater England – mainly London and the South in general but that is how it is think.

      Thatcher nicked your oil to pay for emoluments and tax cuts down south as a bribe to Tory voters and I distinctly remember Woodrow Wyatt ( a Tory of rightward note ) arguing in his Sunday Express column as to where the oil fields lay using Mercatorial curve of the earth theories in order to lay claim to them for the UK ( ostensibly for England ).

      Britoil ( a state owned company )was handed over yo BP once Thatcher was enthroned and that was the last the Scottish saw of their greatest asset.

      See Tony Benn for details.

      I can only say to the Scots that the English fleeced you once to some tune – don’t let it happen again.

      p.s. I’ve just read an interesting piece by Zoe Williams in the Guardian.

      Basically Williams asks how does the labour Party get out of its vote/abstain for a deal bind if a Deal with the EU is done?

      Perhaps ( and it’s only an opinion ) is it possible to Revoke the whole thing – i.e. go back to where we were as if the whole thing never happened?

      The reason why this might work is that Farage on many occasions has said that a bad deal is worse than a no deal.

      Ergo: The ERG and Farage et al would rather not bother and stay as we were if Johnson and his mates sign a crap ( as in crap for Farage and his Financial friends – sod the real economy ) type of deal weighted in favour of the EU deal.

      With the view to have another crack at Brexit later in the future.

      I honestly belive that there will be an extension anyway – not for political purpose but real and harsh logistical purposes.

      Revoke is something that Labour – the SNP – Lib Dems and possibly the ERG Tories could back if Johnson’s deal is garbage.

      Only opinion though.

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