The Strange Convulsion in Scottish Politics 321


On 24 March, two of the SNP MP’s most closely aligned to Nicola Sturgeon, Stewart MacDonald and Alyn Smith, asked for a meeting with the British internal security service MI5 to discuss cooperation against Russia. MI5 is the agency charged with countering perceived internal threats to the UK state; Scottish nationalists, environmentalists and anti-nuclear campaigners are among MI5’s major targets. Until a few years ago, the vast majority of Scottish Independence supporters would have regarded MI5 as a particularly egregious manifestation of their traditional enemy, the British state. Yet here was the SNP officially – MacDonald and Smith are the party’s Westminster defence and foreign affairs spokesmen – calling for cooperation with MI5.

To add to this extraordinary volte-face, there is no doubt that what lay behind MacDonald and Smith’s move was a desire to activate MI5 more openly against Scottish Independence supporters. Not only are they referencing Alex Salmond’s programme on RT and Tommy Sheridan’s spot for Sputnik, both Smith and MacDonald have been heavily involved in the long-term campaign to vilify online Independence activists and bloggers as Russian agents.

This is from the author of the above article, David Leask’s briefing to the secret UK government funded propaganda programme, the Integrity Initiative (emphasis in original):

For me and a great many other Scottish nationalists, our opponent is the British state. Why Russia should be viewed as the enemy of an Independent Scotland, just because it is in foreign policy opposition to the state whose imperial rule we are trying to leave, is not plain to us. Indeed, a different and more pacific foreign policy is a key benefit many of us see from leaving the UK. MacDonald and Smith – and there is no doubt they are licensed by Sturgeon, who put them in these positions – have no wish to challenge the UK’s role as a reliable, neo-con foreign policy satrap of the USA. They even put out a defence paper espousing multilateralism rather than the traditional SNP policy of unilateral nuclear disarmament, to remarkably little adverse reaction.

On the annual UN International Day of Solidarity With Palestine I noted on Twitter that, while many Labour and even Liberal MPs had tweeted to support, no SNP MP or MSP had. I was contacted by a well-known SNP MSP who informed me that they had been instructed not to speak out on Palestine – something which the SNP has in fact noticeably stopped doing. Stewart MacDonald’s own full time research assistant had the most rabidly pro-Israel Twitter history I have ever seen, with numerous tweets or retweets specifically praising the Israeli Defence Force but virtually none mentioning Scottish Independence. I have been struck recently by how many of the fierce online Twitter proponents of Nicola Sturgeon include Israeli symbols in their Twitter profile. Again this is a real break with the traditional pro-Palestinian stance of Scottish nationalists.

Sociological analysis of what has happened appears fairly simple. The SNP has been in power in Scotland for 14 years, and while the devolved administration is far from a genuine state, an annual Holyrood budget of £30 billion represents a very great deal of power and patronage. For those interested in exercising or benefiting from such power and patronage, the SNP has become the way to go. It has become the political Establishment in Scotland, and those with Establishment attitudes have flocked to it. All the political careerists who would previously have belonged to once-dominant Labour, have for over a decade flocked into the SNP. So have others with domestic agendas they wish to promote – often genuinely worthy, in devolved fields such as health and education – but who have at best a passing interest in Independence. The SNP has therefore entirely lost its radical edge.

For these new members, MI5 is a perfectly respectable part of the political Establishment. These people in no way see themselves as rebels, whereas the “old SNP”, even its grandees like my old friend Gordon Wilson, first and foremost viewed themselves as rebels.

Gordon Wilson was involved in the pirate “Radio Free Scotland” and the temporary liberation from Westminster Abbey of the stone of Scone. Can you imagine the condemnation from Sturgeon, Smith and MacDonald of such illegal actions today? They would be demanding meetings with MI5 on how to stop it.

Let me now turn to Nicola Sturgeon herself. As an entry point, I take Saturday’s interview where she stated she intended to serve a full five years as First Minister, and had not made up her mind about the 2026 election.

The extraordinary thing is that Nicola Sturgeon looks explicitly five years into her political future with no reference at all to the possibility that Scotland will be an independent state before then. The thought simply does not cross her mind.

Now there is no question you could ask me about what will happen in Scotland in five years, or what I personally will be doing in five years, to which I would not automatically start my answer with the observation that within five years I expect Scotland to be Independent, and the context will therefore be very different. And I am not First Minister. Nicola Sturgeon’s answer presumes she will continue to do her current job, and there will be an election under the current system, in five years.

She does not take into account the real possibility that following Independence it must be very likely there will be early elections to a new parliament. She does not take into account the real possibility that following Independence the SNP – which contains people of widely differing economic ideologies – might split. She does not take into account the real possibility that following Independence there will be a much broader realignment of political parties, as all but hardcore unionists accommodate to the new reality. She does not take into account the real possibility that an Independent Scotland may have a very different parliament, perhaps with two chambers and a different electoral system. She does not take into account that there might not be a First Minister in five years time – there may, for example, be an executive presidency.

No, when Nicola looks ahead she instinctively sees five more years of comfortable residency of Bute House as a benevolent and humane colonial administrator, who supports Independence in principle, but only if Westminster agrees, which she knows will not happen, and once Covid and its economic consequences, and all the other tough things that must be dealt with before she is ready, are out of the way.

And who knows when that will be? Not in the next five years certainly, in the mind of Nicola. Independence did not even occur to her as a factor that might affect her answer.

I have been sounding a warning that Nicola has no intention of achieving Scottish Independence, consistently since 2015. We have had SNP conferences with the word “Independence” not featuring even once in the entire agenda. We have had US Democratic Party Style slogans such as “Hope” and “Change” but never “Independence”. We had the 2016 Holyrood Election where Nicola declared she wanted unionists to feel “safe” voting for the SNP. We had the disastrous 2017 Westminster General Election campaign which Nicola fought entirely on the basis of “Don’t accuse me of pushing for Independence. It is not me that keeps banging on about Independence, it’s the Tories”.

With the large majority of Scots having voted in favour of remaining in the EU, and with the 2016 Holyrood manifesto having promised a new referendum in the event of “a material change in circumstances”, and with a solid SNP/Green majority in Holyrood, Brexit was obviously the ideal occasion for a Scottish Independence referendum. Instead we had Nicola devote two years to the campaign to keep the whole of the UK in the European Union.

I never agreed that the SNP should be striving to keep the entire UK in the EU, firstly because the effect of that would have been to help keep the UK together, which is the opposite of what the SNP is supposed to be trying to achieve; secondly because we Scots have no right to thwart the democratic will of the people of England and Wales who clearly voted leave.

To anybody who believes in Independence the answer was for Scotland to respect its democratic vote against Brexit by moving to Independence and staying in the EU, allowing Westminster to Wexit. Instead of seizing this opportunity, Sturgeon wasted two years campaigning, including in London, in what she evidently found the very congenial company of Alastair Campbell and Peter Mandelson, on a whole UK basis.

In this period she never found time to attend any of the mass marches for Scottish Independence. Her explanation was that she has to represent the entire population – which apparently did not apply to pro-EU demonstrations.

In January 2020, as the transition period came to an end and the UK firmly left the EU, the crunch time had come in which it was now or never for implementing the SNP 2016 Holyrood manifesto commitment to a new Independence referendum if there were a “material change of circumstances” – which everybody had understood meant Brexit. The SNP had repeatedly stated that Scotland would not be dragged out of the EU against its will. Would they act, or was that just hot air?

On 31 January 2020, the very day transition ended, Sturgeon made a showcase speech – in which she announced that she accepted that, as Johnson had refused a S30 request, there was no legal path to Scottish Independence.

For me to pretend that there are shortcuts or clever wheezes that can magically overcome the obstacles we face might make my life easier in the short term – but it would do a long term disservice to the independence cause that I, like so many, have dedicated my life to.

My job is to lead us down a credible path that can deliver independence.

And that is what I am absolutely determined to do.

To achieve independence, a referendum, whenever it happens – whether it is this year as I want, or after the next Scottish election – must be legal and legitimate. That is a simple fact.

It must demonstrate that there is majority support for independence.

And its legality must be beyond doubt. Otherwise the outcome, even if successful, would not be recognised by other countries.

And the best way to achieve that, even though it may not be ideal, is to reach agreement on a transfer of power to the Scottish Parliament, just as we did for 2014.

It has been suggested, though, that in the absence of such an agreement, it might be legal for the Scottish Parliament to hold a consultative referendum – to establish the opinion of the Scottish people even though agreement would still be required to implement a pro independence outcome.

So let me address that.

The issue of whether the specific constitutional reservation in the Scotland Act puts any form of independence referendum outside the powers of the Scottish Parliament – or instead leaves open scope for a non-binding consultative vote – has never been tested in court.

That means it cannot be said definitively that it would not be legal, but equally it cannot be described as being beyond legal doubt.

If a proposal for a referendum on that basis was brought forward it would be challenged in court.

If a court ruled that it was legal, it wouldn’t be a “wildcat referendum” as our opponents like to brand it – it would be within the power of the Scottish Parliament.

Should the UK Government continue to deny Scotland’s right to choose, we may reach the point where this issue does have to be tested.

I am not ruling that out.

But I also have to be frank. The outcome would be uncertain. There would be no guarantees.

It could move us forward – but equally it could set us back.

So my judgment at this stage is that we should use our energies differently.

To placate the pro-Independence wing of the SNP, she adopted a suggestion which is genuinely my own. I had formulated it four years earlier in June 2016, written about it frequently since, and pushed the idea in pro-Independence meetings the length and breadth of Scotland, including to SNP branches. In her speech, Sturgeon said:

In the first instance we will invite Scotland’s elected representatives – MSPs, MPs, the MEPs elected last year and council leaders – to come together to endorse a modern Claim of Right for Scotland through a new Constitutional Convention.

To declare that it is for the Scottish Parliament to decide whether and when there should be an independence choice and build support for that principle amongst civic Scotland.

In June 2016 I had written:

To resolve this requires a supplementing of current constitutional arrangements. The First Minister should therefore convene a National Convention consisting of all Scotland’s elected national representatives – its MEPs, MPs and MSPs united in a single democratic body merged on a one member one vote basis.

This body should draw up recommendations for the independence referendum, including on the future constitution, economy including currency, and international alliances of an independent Scotland, and should oversee negotiations with the EU. The next referendum could therefore present voters with a more definite prospectus for what the new Scotland will look like.

The world has changed radically. We must not be afraid to think outside the UK prescribed box in defining Scottish solutions.

I can find no evidence anywhere of anybody writing or promoting this idea other than me. I was surprised at the time that Sturgeon had picked up one of my ideas, but I should not have been. She did not mean it, it was only a sop to Independence supporters, the National Convention never happened and has been quietly dropped. Something else quietly dropped at the time was the 2020 SNP Spring Conference, which was cancelled in order to avoid member blowback from the abandonment of the 2016 Indyref2 mandate. In the confusion of the last year, people forget that the SNP Spring Conference was cancelled before most people had heard the word Covid, and Covid was emphatically not the cause.

More significantly, Sturgeon’s government intervened against the legal attempt by Martin Keatings and Forward as One to establish that the Scottish parliament had a right to hold an Independence referendum. Sturgeon thus helped to prevent what she still pretends to be her ultimate objective.

The truth is that Sturgeon loves being the darling of the Guardian. Her policies are simply those of Hillary Clinton – a rigorous system of identity politics, largely based around gender, with a few populist but not targeted spending measures – free tuition, personal care etc – but no effort to develop a critique of the factors that drive the massive wealth inequalities in society. Indeed, her economics are rigorously neo-liberal as embodied in her infamous “Growth Commission”, and she has notoriously chosen Benny Higgins, investment banker Chairman of Buccleuch Estates, as an economic adviser (and appointed that other right wing investment banker, Ian Blackford, as party leader in Westminster).

Like Hillary, Nicola’s neo-liberal economics are bound up with extreme hawkish cheerleading for neo-imperialist foreign policy – hence her instant support for Boris Johnson over the ludicrous Skripal narrative, over the ludicrous Douma narrative, over Ukraine, and her sanctioning of Russians under the Beds activities with MI5. Ian Blackford even called directly in parliament for the UK to enact regime change in Syria.

The relentless pursuit of gender identity politics has led to the peculiar fracture in the Independence movement over trans rights, where both sides of the debate invent utterly unreasonable positions and attribute them to the other side. Sturgeon has done everything possible to hammer this wedge issue into a fracture among Independence supporters, largely with the intent of damaging Joanna Cherry and others she views as rivals (and as someone who unflinchingly supports trans rights myself, I should say that Joanna’s views are much misrepresented and far more nuanced than generally understood).

The attempt to have Alex Salmond convicted on false allegations by team Nicola was the ultimate shot at discrediting the part of the SNP that was focused primarily on Independence, and ensuring the triumph of a new SNP focused primarily on identity politics, supportive of the neo-imperialism of the British state, and not interested in risking power for Independence.

The fascinating thing in all this is that the mainstream media, overwhelmingly unionist (particularly the BBC), realises that Nicola Sturgeon is not an authentic danger to the union, and therefore swung its weight very solidly behind Sturgeon, particularly in its reporting of the conduct of the Holyrood and Hamilton Inquiries and their outcomes. The unionists understand full well it is Salmond who threatens the union, whereas Sturgeon is very comfortable atop the devolution structure.

Yet there are still very many ordinary SNP members who are firmly committed to Scottish Independence, who believe that Sturgeon also is committed to Scottish Independence, and despite the history of the last seven years expect that she will deliver a referendum sometime. They have been played along ruthlessly, with the SNP in Holyrood introducing a number of utterly meaningless enabling bills and draft bills for a referendum to keep the troops happy.

After winning numerous Westminster and Holyrood elections while Sturgeon does nothing on Independence, the SNP asks people to believe that this time, this time they are serious, and really will have an Indyref2. But a great many terms and conditions apply and Sturgeon has still not stated she will support the defiance of a purported Westminster veto. It remains the fact that at this Holyrood election, the only chance most voters have of demonstrating support for Independence in the constituency vote, is to vote SNP. But should Nicola get her wish of five peaceful and personally prosperous years in Bute House as First Minister, that will never be the case again.

This is why we have the paradox that it is the most devoted, longest serving members of the SNP who have left the party to join Alba. Take Kenny MacAskill, an SNP member for more than forty years. Kenny was a member of the party in the days when it was a definite career disadvantage to be so, who pounded the streets in wind and rain for decades clapping doors, facing jibes and jeers with no realistic hope of being elected. I have now seen him roundly abused on Twitter and described as a “unionist plant” by people who have only joined the SNP since it has been the easy route to personal power in Scotland, and who are primarily motivated by identity politics.

One strange result of this is that it is the backbone of the SNP, the committed members who go round delivering the leaflets, who are more likely to vote Alba on the list vote than the ordinary SNP voter. One friend who was recently distributing election leaflets to SNP members who had volunteered for delivery, told me he had asked what people thought about the list, and 12 out of 13 SNP leafleteers were not going to vote SNP with their list vote, on the ground it is wasted (he did not ask them precisely who would get their list vote between Alba and the Greens).

It is the more committed SNP members who realise that the bizarre mathematics of the D’Hondt electoral system render a SNP list vote utterly futile in three quarters of the country and very severely devalued in the rest.

Equally it is the most active of SNP members who realise the party is continually backsliding over Independence. They studied the text of Nicola’s speeches and note the constant caveat about a “legal” referendum. It was the most active of SNP members who followed closely the actual evidence of the Salmond affair, as opposed to the biased reporting, and realised what was really happening. This turbulence among the most committed members in the depth of the SNP is simply swept over by the vast current of mainstream media adulation of Nicola. We therefore have a remarkable situation of an enormously popular leader at odds with nobody but the most engaged members of her own party – unless you count as engaged the more recent accretion of her Praetorian Guard of identity politics warriors.

It was interesting to watch SNP followers on Twitter change over the course of three months from absolute denial that Team Sturgeon were involved in acting against Salmond, to a position that Team Sturgeon were quite right to act against Salmond because he is an appalling man. A similar transition is in progress, from denial that Team Sturgeon have failed to act on a referendum, to a position that Team Sturgeon were right not to have a referendum because we would have lost it.

We started the last referendum campaign at 28% to 32% and got to 45% on polling day. That is what a campaign can do. There has been zero Independence campaigning from the SNP since. The notion that a campaign that would have started at 48 to 58 per cent, depending on timing, would have failed is simply daft.

I have been delighted to hear Alex Salmond speak on behalf of Alba of alternatives to the S30 approach and even of the fact that there are routes to Independence that do not involve referenda. This is where the debate must lie. The majority of countries in the entire world became independent in the course of my own lifetime. In only a very small minority of cases did the process involve a referendum. The International Court of Justice has ruled that the legislation of the state being seceded from, is not the determining factor of whether a state can successfully become independent in international law. If you think about it carefully, that must be true, or Estonia would still be Soviet and Slovenia would be Yugoslav.

The real split in the Independence movement is between those who truly believe the Scots are a people with the right of self-determination as enshrined in the UN Charter, and those who believe we need London permission to be “legal” and therefore, by definition, do not have the right of self-determination.

To put it more bluntly, Whitehall will never willingly accept the loss of Scotland’s magnificent resources – including maritime, energy, water, food and drink, hydrocarbon and other mineral, education, and above all human resources. Unlike Nicola Sturgeon, many of us do not believe that Johnson can simply stop Scottish Independence by declaring it illegal. We are prepared to take the steps that will be required, in terms of non-violent political action and possibly including civil disobedience on a national scale, for Scotland to be able to become independent.

That is the cause of the different paths now being taken in the Independence movement. That is the difference between the SNP and Alba. Do you really want Independence, or is it just a genteel discussion point?

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321 thoughts on “The Strange Convulsion in Scottish Politics

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  • Mac

    Oooft, just when I was talking myself back into voting SNP1…

    A devastating critique of Sturgeon and I can’t really argue with a word of it.

    What is she Craig?

    • amanfromMars

      What is she Craig? ….. Mac, April 5 2021 at 17:37

      That was surely well enough accurately revealed just over a week ago, Mac? You must have missed it.

      amanfromMars
      March 27, 2021 at 15:37 ….. offering a likely honest view of a regrettable situation revealed on https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2021/03/what-a-week/

      Nicola Sturgeon and the present iteration of the SNP have made it impossible to not see them as and realise they are no more than just an ignoble Westminster Trojan Horse.

      Other would call such a RAT [Remote Access Trojan], a mole.

      • Kangaroo

        Great article Craig. You are correct there are so many signs that show that Nicola Sturgeon has become an establishment person. That is a supporter of the Deep State whose agenda is a New World Order with them in charge of a Neo Feudal Society. The global depopulation agenda, down to 500m, see the “Georgia Guidestones” and eugenicist Bill Gates. She telegraphed her position some time ago by cosying up to Council on Foreign Relations and Hillary Clinton and now Biden. All Deep State operatives, it is totally disgusting that the SNP are now also cosying up to MI5/6. It is blatantly obvious now that the SNP is a captured operation of the Deep State just as they have overtaken most other important institutions worldwide, such as CIA FBI IMF WB BIS and I could go on and on, there are so many, including the MSM which is why most people have no idea what is really happening.

        We are about to receive a massive wake up call which should occur as a result of the opening of the containers on the “Ever Given” hopefully on live TV.

        For those doubting Thomas’s, and there are a massive number, go take a look at benjaminfulford.net, just one site out of many that gives an inkling into the TRUTH, such a rare item these days.

  • Cynicus

    “It is the more committed SNP members who realise that the bizarre mathematics of the D’Hondt electoral system render a SNP list vote utterly futile in three quarters of the country…”

    ======
    In today’s Scotsman, a reader complains that guidance on the workings of the electoral system has disappeared from the Scottish Parliament website.

    Surely not!

    A guide to how the voting system works has disappeared,?

    Next will we hear that no minutes of crucial meetings were taken; that the FM forgot a an important meeting about her predecessor; that her amnesia spread like a contagion to senior civil servants and special advisors; that the Crown Office redacted evidence, supposedly to protect innocent parties but in fact to spare the blushes of the FM?

    How absurd! Who could possibly benefit from concealing the workings of the list voting system?

  • Graham

    Great article, pulling together much of what I feel about Sturgeon myself. Good to have you back writing so well Craig, more power to your pen!

  • Tom

    I picked up this (I thought) perceptive comment on Wings last week. Apologies to the author whose name I didn’t note:

    “Just a couple of remarks on the issue of Alba polling 3%.

    “I have to say this pessimistic figure is really borne out by talking to people about the election. The demagogic grip of Sturgeon on Scotland is real. Ironically, while the unionists are wrong about the value of the union, they have got this part 100% correct. (It usually is the case in politics that the other side has at least one valid point.)

    “When we lost in 2014, SNP rule became, for most centre-left Scots a form of ersatz independence. Salmond, in challenging firstly the figurehead of our ersatz independence and secondly the institution of it (ie., the SNP) has made himself a popular hate figure.

    “What you might call the real independence movement, which is now either in or supports ALBA, has gotten offside of the much larger independence movement for whom devolution under the permanent government of a largely self-serving managerial class, plus slogans about a referendum are the real meaning of “independence.”

    “It will take a few more years for things to shake out and for the masses to realize that the ALBA vanguard were right.”

    • craig Post author

      It is a good comment, though the latest poll had Alba on 6% at which point they start picking up list seats.

  • 6033624

    I agree with every word you say. The SNP is no longer the party of independence. As a party that runs the country I understand that it MUST have comprehensive policies for doing so, and it has. The Tories have no policies for Scotland (frankly they don’t need them anyway) but Davidson coined the phrase ‘Get on with the day job’ whilst Sturgeon was doing nothing else! It is true to say that the Tories talk about it more than the SNP. Every election leaflet I get confirms this!

    But, in order for a Scottish declaration of independence to be accepted internationally and for a fledgling Scotland NOT to have MI5, CIA etc working against it then it DOES need to present itself as ‘non-threatening’ to them. Something Sturgeon is doing well. Also, I fully believe that independence won’t happen until support for it is EMBARRASSINGLY high for a continued period.

    I still don’t agree with the stance SNP have taken, it’s taking a longer route than necessary. Prior to the referendum there were town hall meetings where various speakers, Sturgeon included, spoke about and answered questions on Indy. I believe that a party shouldn’t change its policies to become more popular but should spend more time explaining why they are GOOD policies. THAT is what’s missing now.

    Ultimately Scotland is going to be independent. Boris can delay a referendum citing COVID, it’s nonsense of course but DOES meet the test of ‘reasonableness’ But it can’t go beyond the end of his term.

  • David Bracewell

    Really admire your writing and this particular analysis. Yet it is inconsistent with your rejection of the Crimeans’ right to choose and their evident satisfaction with incorporating themselves into the Russian federation – what Westerners deceivingly call an “annexation”.

    Have you changed your view?

  • Fwl

    Aileen Keating’s Mirage: Power Politics and the Hidden History of Arabian Oil. Chapter 2 is entitled The Way to Handle Natives: ‘….Basra would be retained a British possession, Baghdad would be administered as an “Arab state with a local ruler or government, under British Protectorate in everything but name”.

  • remember kronstadt

    They like omelette but won’t break the eggs. Women outscore men in intelligence except for ‘out of the box’ thinking (fMRI work by two smart women). The box is too comfortable and risk free. Like Thatcher, it will end in tears.

    • Sara Akbar

      Spot on. People too afraid to make non-PC remarks. Women don’t take risks in the same way….and when you want something like independence well it needs risk takers. Well aware that my comments don’t sit well with “feminists” (I’m not one).

      • pretzelattack

        I see a lot of men not taking risks either, most people prefer comfortable corruption to noble martydom, good thing some don’t.

      • Lorna Campbell

        Sara: I think you are right to an extent. Women (as a group) don’t appear to be prepared to gamble or to take risks to the same extent as men (as a group) but some women take risks and gamble and some men don’t. I have always found that, when women come to a decision about something, they end to stick with it, once they are convinced it is the right and only course. In 2014, fewer women than men voted YES. Now, it is either equal or women have just nosed ahead. We are not stupid: we know that, generally speaking, women are always more adversely affected by change than men, so, naturally, it is always a bigger deal for us. On this occasion, more of us appear to be willing to take the risk. If experience serves, we will not back down now, either.

        From the point of view of movement towards regaining our independence, I think we have taken a huge step forward in recognising that the List vote can help us achieve our goal when we use it wisely. To that extent, the independence movement, as a whole, has hardened and sharpened its stance, and, if independence is not on the agenda after the election, and to be settled in a short time scale, it will harden and sharpen even more, and demand the removal of the FM and her coterie as obstacles to the independence goal.

  • Joe Mellon

    There are of course parallels to the Irish ‘Home Rule’ movement in the late 19th century.
    It was always ‘real soon now folks’ and ‘the more we support the UKs interests the more Westminster will allow us to rule ourselves’.
    That strand of thinking misses the point entirely: it is about interests. The UK elite had rich estates in Ireland, Ireland supplied troops to fight for the UK elite’s interests. An independent Ireland was perceived as a threat to the UK, which was never going to voluntarily allow it.
    So it is with Scotland: think interests and allies, and power. Legal complexities, Claims of Right etc. are just mood music. The Scottish Legal System has anyway more or less already dissolved itself into a second rate regional magistrates court of a corrupt ex-empire: as Craig has found out to his cost.

    • Antonym

      London kept Indian independence also dangling for half a century; the huge sacrifice of Indian soldiers in Europe’s WWI was soon forgotten. Only WW II left them financially beaten enough and the Power baton had to be past over to the “cousins” in Washington DC and Wall street. A quick and dirty “Partition” was concocted to leave a world “rival” in tatters. Let these “Masters of the Universe” rule England and a few tax heaven islands only. Out of the UN Security Council these malicious pretenders.

  • Alf Baird

    2015 was a turning point when 56 ‘nationalist’ MP’s ‘settled in instead of settling up’, which I recall was Craig’s remark at the time. Watching the 56 SNP MP’s deliver maiden speeches to a mostly empty HoC (with a few jeering Tories, complaining about the language difference) instead of a declaration of independence rather confirmed the settling in thesis. Another two ‘nationalist’ majorities in Scotland later they are still there, becoming more British (Cesaire’s “mimicking the colonizer”?) by the day. The fact that Craig’s interest in standing for the SNP was refused by the SNP vetting elite was another tell-tale sign all was not right.

    2016, yes, even then some of us who could suss out the D’Hondt system and suggested the creation of an indy List Party, only to be criticised and ridiculed by the SNP 1+2 mantra we still see from the party’s performing seals. Nice to see it happen now, all the same.

    The more anyone studies postcolonial theory the more they are likely to discover that independence is decolonisation; Scotland seems little different. Ultimately the choice is the same, either independence or total assimilation (i.e. cultural obliteration).

    • Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh

      Alf Baird wrote:

      “2015 was a turning point when 56 ‘nationalist’ MP’s ‘settled in instead of settling up’, which I recall was Craig’s remark at the time. Watching the 56 SNP MP’s deliver maiden speeches to a mostly empty HoC (with a few jeering Tories, complaining about the language difference) instead of a declaration of independence rather confirmed the settling in thesis.”

      ————————
      A twenty-year old Mhairi Black, in her otherwise justly lauded maiden speech, struck one curious note. Bravely giving account of herself before “august” Westminster, she remarkably asserted:

      “The SNP did not triumph on a wave of nationalism. In fact nationalism has nothing to do with what’s happened in Scotland.”

      The need was felt to thus make clear the purity of her credentials, even standing there among 56 Scottish NATIONAL Party MPs. The statement can be heard at 5.33 mins into this youtube:

      https://youtu.be/lZAmhB55_-k

      So what can one deduce from this? I have read or heard often enough similar clarifications from others, along the lines of: “I am not a nationalist, but I want Scottish independence.” Initially this distinction had perplexed me somewhat, having grown up since early teenage with the notion that the mere desire for national independence was the very definition of nationalism. But there also seemed to be a rather self-righteous nuance to the carefully expressed opt-out clause which ruffled me. Obviously something unworthy was being obliquely imputed. What could it be?

      Of course it quickly dawned on me that I was hearing a certain kind of left-winger speak, for whom politics was essentially about economics and social conditions. For them, so it seemed, any preoccupation with national culture (of which language is arguably core) was a shadow falling. Something sinister. I was being accused (albeit politely by implication) of incipient fascism.

      I have found the Irish experience helpful in addressing this destructively reductionist polarisation. For example, here (from 10 years ago now) is an English-subtitled interview with fine leftwing Irish historian and author Aindrias Ó Cathasaigh, dealing (in part) with attitudes to the Irish language:

      https://vimeo.com/24571902

  • Crispa

    Having just read WoS’s reprint of an article from 2015 featuring the same A. Smith playing down the idea of independence, one can see that there has been a lot of heel-dragging on the issue. I lived and worked in Scotland in the 1960s and ever since, reinforced by holidays there, have thought Scotland was for the Scottish people to run as they thought best, and the sooner that the Act of Union was repealed the better. I think the same about Wales and Ireland where a unified Ireland is the right solution. This would then inter alia leave us unfortunate English to sort out England. which could be ripened for the radical change that it needs. It is in every English person’s interests that Scotland achieves independence sooner than later.

    • On the train

      I fear that if Scotland does gain independence then England would respond by clinging even tighter to the USA. But I agree it would be good for Scotland to break away. It would certainly shake things up.

  • Duncan Spence

    A very wise analysis.

    The Scottish independence movement has always been split between those who take a long view that involves kowtowing to the principles of “democracy” that have ensured the British state maintains its hegemony, and those who see this as naive and foolish. It was only after the referendum of 2014 that the SNP membership rose so incredibly quickly. That was when I joined. For a while I went to meetings of the Edinburgh Central branch and heard speakers talking with great hope and enthusiasm, like George Kerevan and your good self. But the momentum turned into entropy and the enthusiasm was replaced by mundane administrative announcements and policy proclamations from central office. The long view turned into appeasement. I moved to Fife and no longer involved myself in the SNP. Campaigning at the last election though, I met many independence supporters who wanted nothing more to do with the SNP. So much for the long view.

    But now there is hope again. I suspect that the SNP membership surge of 2014 as well as the recent rush to join ALBA represent the same grass roots reaction among independence supporters against the long view. Ordinary independence minded Scots see an opportunity from time to time to advance the cause. Their hope is translated immediately into something collective and tangible. In 2014 this was squandered. In 2021 it remains to be seen what happens. But there is an open goal before the Scottish electorate, if they were only permitted to see it clearly behind the fog of British media and the moronic mantra of both votes SNP.

    https://duncanspence.blog/2021/04/03/an-open-goal/

    • Lorna Campbell

      Duncan: I don’t believe that, in reality, there is a long view to take any more – at least, not one that wishes to have a peaceful solution to independence and retain our nationhood. If we fail now, we fail that ambition, and all that we will be left with is the armed conflict option for the future because, as Alf Baird says, the Tory agenda is assimilation, or rather appropriation. Our nationhood, left more or less intact by the Treaty in 1707, will require to be eradicated once and for all. In those circumstances, armed conflict becomes inevitable, with all that that would entail, or an acceptance of the eradication – until time wipes out all memory of our existence as anything other than the northernmost part of a Greater England.

      It all depends on what people choose now, I think. The pain to our psyche of the transition to total absorption and assimilation would be incalculable, but, as it was wiped away over generations until the group memory disappeared, we would eventually reach acceptance. It has happened to untold groups of peoples in the past, and will no doubt happen to others in the future. We are at the cross-roads: a) go for independence now at all costs; b) wait until it becomes far harder and possibly the opportunity for peaceful resolution is gone; c) give up and endure total assimilation; d) try to mitigate the worst aspects of assimilation by colluding in our own eradication.

  • Hawkins94

    Superb article, highlighting exactly why I will be spoiling my ballot with a vote for Alba on the list.

    It is a crying shame that we are where we are, and if a significant chunk of SNP voters followed my lead the harsh truth is that independence would be kicked into touch. But it would be done on our terms.
    This is a far far better thing than what stands to happen if we do not protest on May 6 as Craig surmises.

    I strongly believe we must get rid of the rot and reinstate independence as the sole purpose of an independence party…we either make a stand now or wait until 2026 when who knows what further damage the SNP will have done or alternatively, what Westminster will do to change the Scotland Act, undermine devolution and try to reign us in.

  • Goose

    On the subject of disinformation. Trying out a free VPN and got this…

    … as you join us today from the Netherlands, we have a small favour to ask. Through these turbulent and challenging times, millions rely on the Guardian for independent journalism that stands for truth and integrity. Readers chose to support us financially more than 1.5 million times in 2020, joining existing supporters in 180 countries.

    —–
    Jeez. Maybe their £350k per year editor-in-chief took a pay cut if revenues are down?

    • Bayard

      It would be great to hack their website so that read “millions rely on the Guardian for journalism that tells them the propaganda they want to hear”.

    • DunGroanin

      Oh they keep telling me how many thousand plus 1 articles I have read in the last year 😂
      But not a penny will they get unless they lift the unwarranted censorship of me and my comments.

      They are already beginning to pull the gates shut, no comments can be viewed never mind authored on some articles; when enough sheep are in the pen, the paywall will come down to keep their narratives safe from instant rebuttal.

      There is a index on their website about all the subjects and people they have ever covered.
      Went down the list of ‘I’s’ – nope,

      no INTEGRITY INITIATIVE.😅

  • The Smart One

    In the Treaty of Union, Scotland and England are equal partners.

    Where in the treaty does it say that either Scotland or England needs permission from the UK parliament to end the Union?

    • lysias

      The U.S. Constitution, unlike the Articles of Confederation that preceded it, said nothing about being perpetual. Three states, including notably Virginia and New York, only ratified the Constitution with the reservation that they could later secede. The other states accepted those ratifications with reservations. Under normal international law of treaties, that ought to mean that the Constitution contained an implicit right to secede.

      Unfortunately, the 12 states that attempted to secede in 1860-1 discovered otherwise.

      • pretzelattack

        the u.s. regularly violated treaties with the native americans before the civil war. for that matter, how about the whiskey rebellion?

        • lysias

          My point was that, just as the United States used force to override any right that the South might have had to secede, if the issue were regarded impartially, the UK might use force to override any right Scotland might have to secede under the Treaty of Union. Indeed, I think it almost certainly will.

          • seydlitz

            If you mean military force I do not think it this will apply, greater damage would be done through economic and investment sanctions.

          • Lorna Campbell

            lysis/seydlitz: if we are not prepared to accept these very real risks, there really is no point in going on with this. All countries (almost) have had to face precisely the same threats in order to achieve their independence. There are no shortcuts and guarantees. You just let the bullies win every time. Craig Murray has been to hell and back on several occasions, and I’m sure he knew the risks before he embarked on his actions – yet he still did what he did because he believed in what he was doing. If we don’t believe in Scottish independence, or not enough of us do, or we are not prepared for the possible consequences and still think it worthwhile, we are going nowhere. Simple.

  • Lorna Campbell

    The moment that the indyref results were abandoned and left to moulder, with no lesson being drawn from them, after Alec Salmond had stepped down, was the day that the SNP changed forever. While the impetus for independence among the grassroots swelled and grew, the SNPG’s taste for it diminished. Nicola Sturgeon’s own persona enabled people with an agenda to infiltrate the party until it became too difficult for real independistas to live in it.

    Women, in particular, have been betrayed at a level that is hard to comprehend, while, all the time, virtue signalling about women’s safety at work and so on, was just so much hot air. I cannot agree with you about trans rights – they need to agree that they require their own spaces – because no one is doing anything to prevent them having the same rights as the rest of us. Then they need to campaign for their own spaces and leave women’s alone. They are, however, trampling right now on women’s and children’s rights, and I cannot support any party that supports that.

    Human decency alone should show the vicious trans lobby (often, not even trans) that one vulnerable group ought not to try to oust another, far more numerous vulnerable group. The women who support them are viewing through the wrong end of the telescope, not able to see the bigger picture of loss of all rights and spaces for women and girls for the sake of pandering to the trans lobby in the belief that the trans lobby is an ally in womanhood. It is not and never can be, as things stand now.

    What we have right now is a pyramid of rights of the sexes and genders, with those with most rights forming the square base (men); then, other groups in ascending order to the pinnacle (other men, who claim womanhood), women (who actually form the greatest number, but who have fewer rights than men and trans women or trans men) and lastly, children (who have fewest rights of all). There are, of course, other societal groups who form other pyramids.

    In hindsight, people can see that there never was any intention to fight Brexit in Scotland with an independence agenda. It is obvious now that all those requested mandates was just political game-playing, a kind of juggling with mandates instead of balls. The simple conclusion is: we will not have independence with Nicola Sturgeon as FM and party leader; what we will have is a region that receives funding from Westminster into infinity, and which supports right-wing and predatory capitalist politics in parallel with the US – a satellite region of a satellite state. Women will lose everything, too (the double whammy) so, for a Scottish woman, the SNP is toxic, even if you have to hold your nose and Vote SNP 1 and Alba 2 in May.

  • MacCumhail

    An absolutely brilliant article. I too was stunned when I heard what she had said about another 5 years, given that she is supposed to be working towards independence.

    As for the MI5 connection, it strikes me that MI5 must have some very intelligent people working for them. Smith and MacDonald will be way out of their depth. Then again they obviously won’t mind being used.

  • Neil Munro

    Russia and China follow a ruthlessly realist political ideology in pursuit of their national interests. There is no way they will ever underwrite Scotland ‘s national security. Therefore, Scotland must come to some kind of accommodation with the US. To pretend otherwise would be worse than a crime. It would be a mistake.

    • craig Post author

      And the USA does not follow a ruthlessly realist policy in pursuit of its national interest?

      Where precisely does Russian and Chinese national interest conflict with Scottish national interest?

      • Fwl

        From a Russian geopolitical perspective:

        1) The GIUK Gap (Greenland -Iceland -UK)

        2) Nuclear Sub base

        3) Air space when flying south

        4) Foment general division confusion and lack of confidence.

        However, things are different from a Chinese geopolitical perspective. China is very sensitive about maritime rights and coastal waters. I don’t think they would be keen to see a break up of the UK: it sends a negative signal that such things are possible.

        • Fwl

          In short anything that weakens UK and Norwegian control of access through Barents, Norwegian Seas and the GIUK Gap is a major Russian interest and one set to become more important in years to come if Russia is able to encourage shipping to a Northern route. This may also become a Chinese commercial interest (especially after recent Suez events).

          Once I start to think about Craig’s post the more obvious it becomes that the only tolerable independent Scottish model would be a Truculent States model of a disguised protectorate. Why would anyone in Scotland vote for that? Unless they are part of the puppet elite. I can therefore understand Alba, CM and AS’s perspective, but genuine independence it’s not going to happen.

          Best to focus on developing a healthy multi-party devolved Scotland and a more equitable federal arrangement of the UK. Perhaps Scotland should be finding ways to underwrite marine and wind power development and developing a Scottish National investment fund with less focus on hate crime, identity politics and mind games.

          • Natasha

            Fwl, “wind power development” is a throw away dream. In 2020 wind supplied 6.5% of UK electricity. Only 15% of UK total energy consumption is electricity. This means wind supplies less than 1% of UK total energy consumption.

            https://ourworldindata.org/energy/country/united-kingdom?country=GBR~OWID_WRL#electricity-mix
            https://ourworldindata.org/energy-mix#global-primary-energy-how-has-the-mix-changed-over-centuries
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_energy_consumption#Overview

            This links gives only 9% electricity globally

            https://yearbook.enerdata.net/total-energy/world-energy-production.html

            This means “wind power development” will require Scotland to import even more fossil fuels, sand, & cement, to build concrete structures, rare earth metals, and copper etc.. for electric generation, and distribution infrastructure, build orders of magnitude more electricity storage (i.e. huge imports of child labour reliant cobalt – far more than is existing or prospective global supplies, oh and same with lithium). Plus will need to wave sticks at yet to be invented storage tech (e.g. the otherwise very promising liquid metal battery tech also relies on dwindling global reserves of e.g. antimony)

            In other words those who would encourage “wind power development” beyond it 1% supply of energy in the UK, are by definition wishing to encourage yet greater extractivisim and exploitation of the people and environment of the global south.
            https://www.columbancenter.org/what-extractivism
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extractivism

            And to impact the remaining 85% fossil fuel powered Scottish economy will require MASSIVE electrification of heat process, since only circa 15% of energy is consumed as electricity all the rest is Big Fossil.

            Also China dominates global reserves mining activity and refining c80% or more, of nearly all minerals needed for “wind power development”.
            https://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/renewable/metals-needed-for-carbon-neutrality-in-short-supply/

          • Mighty Druken

            Off topic but someone is wrong.
            @Natasha
            Renewables in Scotland generated 31,798GWh of electricity in 2020, 97% of Scotland’s gross electricity consumption.
            Wind in Scotland generated 75% of Scotland’s electricity consumption. True, electricity is only part of the energy supply, but electrification of transport, heating and other areas is also the goal.

            The cool thing about renewable power is after their end of life, the materials it was built from are still there. If the need arrives you can change them to be recyclable. You can never recycle fuel.

          • nevermind

            It’s all very well for the globalising crooks of this world to destabilise the Magreb countries in their haste to safeguard their oil and gas regimes and interests. Add to that the plutonium cowboys who want us to believe that nuclear energy id cheap. it is not.
            The future lies in harnessing the power of the sun in a benign way and when the Governments of the Magreb and other desert regions around the world realise that they have the means to supply the worlds energy demand, once peace is being accepted as the only low energy option to solve problems in a sustainable fashion, the warmongers who forced pressurised water reactors on us will face short thrift, leaving us with dangerous legacies and redhot white elephants to deal with.
            there is a future
            https://www.desertec.org/

          • Natasha

            @ Mighty Druken Granted the data I give does not separate numbers for Scottish wind power generation alone (also on re reading I apologise, I did give global figure of 6.5% of wind supplied electricity, not the UK figure of ~24.1% of total electricity in 2020).

            Nonetheless, in 2020, the UK generated 73,7800GWh of wind electricity in total. So your number for Scotland of 31,798GWh in 2020 is about 42.5% of total UK wind electricity. These data have to be treated carefully, so as not to mislead. Confusing ‘power’ with ‘electricity’ with ‘energy’ is sadly rife, and only goes to massively distort meaningful discussions.
            https://ourworldindata.org/energy-mix#direct-vs-substituted-primary-energy-what-are-the-multiple-ways-of-energy-accounting

            Your number for Scotland (31,798GWh in 2020) is about 6% of Scotland’s gross primary energy demand (assuming Scotland consumes primary energy at the same rate as the rest of the UK i.e. 15% electricity and 85% fossils). But even at 100% wind generated electricity, that’s still only circa 15% of Scotland’s gross primary energy demand.

            Further, Scotland’s electricity distribution grid is interconnected with the rest of the UK, which in turn is connected to other European grids, rendering efforts at a Scotland only energy policy at best moot, in practice meaningless.
            https://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/index.php

            If the over all aim of wind build out is CO2 reductions then ONLY global data / effort is relevant. So such focus, from an engineering / grid point of view, on generation and supply of electricity of individual countries’ or regions’ contributions, makes no sense.

            My point remains: it is IMPOSSIBLE to increase Scotland’s wind electricity much above its 2020 penetration of ~6% of primary energy demand, without MASSIVE expansion of global south extractivism, coupled with countries like China and DRC cooperating in a UK global domination of much of the global supply of key minerals for decades diverted to the UK / Scotland’s wind power take over of the remaining hard to convert process heat & transport primary energy demand i.e. the remaining 85% supplied by fossil fuels.

            The final irony is that fossil fuels are needed to build out wind farms in first place, because wind (& solar) farms cannot power their own build out. In whole system analysis, they are very close indeed to a net energy sink, even if all the build out input materials were free.
            https://www.nhm.ac.uk/press-office/press-releases/leading-scientists-set-out-resource-challenge-of-meeting-net-zer.html

          • Natasha

            @ Nevermind Desertec is a HUGE con, set up in 2009, financed, controlled, and led by the German Association of the Club of Rome. Alone any one of the following 5 paragraphs preclude and significant solar energy penetration globally:-

            1. Solar (both photo & thermal) need masses of fresh (not sea) water to clean the panels = impossible in deserts. This competes with local people’s needs, leading to conflict.

            2. Solar photo panels need ultra rare elements. For solar and wind alone, neodymium and indium production needs to grow by more than 12 times by 2050, neodymium by 7 times, and silver 3 times, yet dozens of other industries need them as well. Also a huge increases in global copper mining will be needed for cables to connect all the panels up locally and deliver electricity to Europe.
            http://energyskeptic.com/2021/solar-pv-cells-using-rare-elements-unlikely-to-scale-up-enough-to-replace-fossil-fuels/

            3. Locals don’t want their desert environment stolen by the rich colonial North’s imported solar technology any more.
            https://popularresistance.org/extractivism-and-resistance-in-north-africa/
            https://cadtm.org/The-Ouarzazate-solar-plant-in
            https://cadtm.org/TuNur-in-Tunisia-Another-case-of

            4. Land area. To supply every person in the world with an average European’s power consumption (125 kWh/d), the area required for concentrating solar power in deserts would be two 1000 km by 1000 km squares in the desert (at early 2000’s global population). That’s eight times the area of the UK. The UK’s share of this would be a 145 km by 145 km square in the Sahara to provide all the UK’s current primary energy consumption (in 2010). The equivalent of 65 times area of London would have to be built in the middle of the dessert. All build out powered entirely by fossil fuels. Each would need a new city built to house the several 1000s of building and maintenance crews and their families over decades. In the middle of the dessert, with NOTHING else except working for a German controlled corporation on offer. Or whatever other parasitic corporation bothers to parachute in and exploit the locals even further.
            https://withouthotair.com/c25/page_179.shtml
            https://withouthotair.com/c25/page_181.shtml

            5. Even if all the above can be fixed, thermodynamics rule out solar expansion beyond its 1% or so global penetration in the supply of primary energy. Sunlight is far too dilute rendering conversion efficiencies far too low to ever scale up to replace industrial process heat or transport demands, (which the above ‘withouthotair.com’ estimates of land area assume are already electrified) which is all supplied by fossil fuel’s 85% share of global energy demand.

            Conclusion. If you judge “the plutonium cowboys” by comparing numbers in bank spread sheets to claim that nuclear energy is not “cheap” rather than take account of thermodynamics, and real world material input supplies (minerals / refining / transport / massive land area (mis)use / local environmental and social impacts / global supply chain domination), plus regulatory hurdles far more expensive and time consuming than solar or wind electricity generation faces, and hidden subsidies – not accounted for when claiming that nuclear energy is not “cheap” – you will forever reach deeply erroneous conclusions about how the energy economy works.

            Nuclear fission electricity generation needs orders of magnitude LESS of all of the input materials and land listed above, together with its high heat energy density, renders nuclear fission orders of magnitude more efficient than low energy density solar and wind power.
            https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2019/03/21/green-new-deal-is-dead-without-nuclear-power/?sh=2a212a9069db

            If the aim is to reduce CO2 emissions, whatever reservations raised about nuclear fission, we have no choice but adopt it at full speed, – plus of course electrification of industrial & process heat – as wind and solar cannot reduce CO2 emissions (in a whole system analysis) more likely increase CO2 emissions at least on the short time scale of any (foolishly) projected build out over the next few decades say.


            [ Mod: Thank you for the information, Natasha, but that’s quite enough on this digression. From now on, comments about energy production will be removed if they appear in the comments section of any article which does not primarily concern energy production.

            If you wish to say more about this topic, kindly post your contribution in the discussion forum. ]

          • fwl

            I hadn’t intended to invite a side discussion on energy but found it illuminating and not irrelevant to Scottish interests. I am embarrassed to admit I had not heard the term extractivism before. Pity no mention of tidal power? Is it perhaps even more pie on the sea than wind in the sky. Whatever happened to Tesla’s free energy stick / lightening rod concept?

        • Giyane

          Fwl

          ‘ A negative signal that such things are possible ‘

          Has it not occurred to the English HMG that if they operated a straight level playing field democracy, a straight level playing field Foreign Policy, a straight level playing field partnership with Scotland etc, then none of this Independence would be necessary?

          China would do well to learn from what is happening in Scotland. Subjugation of Taiwan, Uyghurs and Hong Kong is the road to Stalinism, hatred, and the ensuing paranoia in the Chinese leadership.

          Convulsions are normal when countries are oppressed. If empires don’t want convulsions to occur , treat their neighbours with respect. But maybe they do want convulsions …

          • fwl

            I suspect China has learnt a few lessons from British imperial history.

            The whole thing about a fair game with fair rules is to ensure that you are just subtly advantaged but in such a way that no one notices a very slight gradient. Just an imperceptible slight weighting to 0 on the roulette wheel. That then gives a bit of propensity or shi in Chinese; a favourable disposition. Heavy handedness as with the Uyghurs backfires and so it should do. Are there any Islamic states speaking out about it? I am not sure what will happen in HK. China prevented Britain from creating democracy in HK. Taiwan and Crimea both look dangerous at present.

            Taiwan is the only democratic Chinese country.

    • bevin

      Your premiss is that the national interests of Russia and China require Scotland’s insecurity. You offer no evidence for this so one presumes that your view is that no states have an interest in the security of other states.
      If this is correct why do you presume that the United States is different and can be relied on to accommodate Scotland?
      Is it a racial thing or is there something about Scotland’s position that makes it particularly dangerous to Russia and China?
      The Eurasian alliances threaten the zombie British Empire which has dominated maritime long distance trade since the seventeenth century. Russia and China are merely proposing to reestablish the land routes which, for centuries were the main trading lanes between east and west, Asia, Europe and Africa. They were closed when central Asia succumbed to anarchy and warfare. What is threatening about this development except to those who thrive on war and international tension?
      There is not the slightest indication that either Russia, China or Iran wishes to do anything more than live in peace and harmony with Scotland, unless it chooses to ally itself with the old imperial forces which-vide the world today- promote civil wars and international conflict. If that is what you want why would you want to break up the Union which has been at the centre of the Empire since 1707

    • Wikikettle

      Neil Munro. The National Interest is a nonsense. Do you actually believe its been in the interest of the majority of working people ? This thing you call national interest. UK is a colony of US. A protection racket. The SNP is already bought, long before so called Independence. It has been very depressing reading Craig’s article. He lays out the arguments to deaf ears and gets castigated for his efforts and warnings. The Scottish people won’t be able to say they didn’t know. As I advised Craig before, not to stand as a politician and stay a journalist. A moral oracle head of state that the majority are blind to. So be it, their loss.

    • Tatyana

      There is no way they will ever underwrite Scotland ‘s national security.

      If you want to make such comparisons, then I suggest taking the example of Syria. That is, by extrapolating.

      If in Scotland someday there are rebels who want to build an Islamic State and a neighboring country occupies the Scottish Heights, then the United States will support these rebels, with military assistance, even without a UN mandate.
      While Russia will side with the government you legitimately elected, and, only after an official invitation.

      Which option seems to you to be more in line with national security?

      • Stevie Boy

        Scotland is already host to the USA empire military forces. Trident bases and NSA listening posts to name two. Any attempt by Scotland to affect these assets would be undermined by the USA government.
        It happened during Brexit, it happened when Corbyn became a threat. The USA treats the UK the same way it does other ‘banana republics’. And so Scotland.

        • Goose

          Echoes of Gough Whitlam and Pine Gap?

          That’s why, post-independence, it’d be ill-advised for Scotland establish such military/intel links in the first place. Once the US has a foothold in any Anglo country they expect that subservient relation to continue, especially if they’ve invested heavily in bases in said country: they build up assets (journalists and politicians) lobbyists and domestic military intelligence support. Breaking these links is incredibly difficult. ‘A Very British Coup’ by former Labour MP Chris Mullin explores ,in a fictional account how difficult it would be for any British leader seeking to extract the UK from such obligations.

          Ideally, Sturgeon would hold a series of referenda to decide on things like NATO membership etc. But Sturgeon doesn’t appear to have that democratic consensus mindset, she’s very much cut from the Hillary Clinton ‘ I know best’ domineering cloth.

      • Kempe

        The only reason Russia got involved in Syria was to protect its naval base at Tartus, the only one it has on the Med. Don’t try and kid on that any altruism. any desire to protect democracy, was involved.

        • Wikikettle

          Kempe, yes we took the side of the Islamists, ISIS and those who wanted to reduce Syria to rubble. On the other hand those who wanted to maintain a secular state, the Shia, Christians and Yezidi community were saved by Russia. No one points out that the majority of soldiers in the Syrian Arab army are Sunni. Robert Fisk did though. We wanted Assad and Russia out. Happy to see Syria broken up and destroyed as a unitary state. Today it is occupied by US, Israel and Turkey. Syrian Kurt’s want a part of it. We won’t let it be rebuilt.

          • Goose

            What’s the US legal basis for their base in eastern Syria, supposedly they’re there ‘guarding the oilfields’? It was utterly outrageous under Trump, even more so now under Joe Biden, since he claimed his administration heralded a return to international law being respected and upheld.

            Any other country behaving like this would be called out immediately. Imagine if China had established a base in Taiwan without legal basis. The US doctrine of ‘might is right’ sets a terrible precedent.

        • Giyane

          Kempe

          Unintentionally, Russia’s protection of Syria’s sovereignty has protected the whole concept of democracy everywhere, while the US was demolishing the country boundaries in which democracy functions.

          Imagine if there were no boundaries. Global elites could just ship in votes from outside. They do that anyway from algorithms. The ends justify …

        • Tatyana

          Not a military base, Kempe. It was a service point.
          The one and only foreign logistics center for the Russian Navy.
          Several buildings and two floating piers 100 meters each, one of which was completely out of order. At the time of the outbreak of the war in Syria, the staff was only 4 people. Doesn’t seem like a lot of wealth to go to war over it.

          It would be enough just to put a guard there, but not to get involved in the hostilities of Assad and the United States, losing Russian planes and being attacked by the coalition of Western countries.

          • Johny Conspiranoid

            I’ve heard that the motive for Russia’s involvement with Syria is to prevent terrorist expansion into the Caucasus area. That it allowed Syria to have a free democratic election which returned Assad is just a by-product.

    • DunGroanin

      Just like your name sakes auld system of empire building you now happy to promote the future generations into the willing petals of the doomed dysfunctional declining and falling Anglo Imperialism.

  • iain

    Well those are the facts, all neatly laid out. Remember too her heartfelt eulogy to John McCain and the gushing recommendation of some Kissinger scribblings. Her identification with war criminals goes well beyond some impulsive selfie in a London park or a crush on Hillary Clinton. It is fundamental to Sturge’s mindset and it is what she craves for the UK. Naturally whatever she thinks her acolytes all train themselves to think too, hence wild thoughts like those expressed by Neil Munro above. These people are going to be up for any insane rampage by the Atlantic Alliance, insisting they are progressive acts because they have Sturge’s imprimatur. Not just a disingenuous figure but a very dangerous one.

    • Wikikettle

      Yes John McCain, the many-accidents pilot, shot down over Vietnam trying to bomb a civilian power station. The generation of “great war heroes” who bombed and threatened to bomb countries into the stone age using B52’s if their leaders didn’t submit to US domination.

  • Peter A Bell

    MANIFESTO FOR INDEPENDENCE

    • Repudiate the Section 30 process as an illegitimate constraint on Scotland’s right of self-determination
    • Assert the primacy of the Scottish Parliament on the basis of its democratic legitimacy and the sovereignty of Scotland’s people
    • Recall Scotland’s Members of Parliament from Westminster to sit on a National Convention with Members of the Scottish Parliament and such representatives of civic society as are deemed appropriate by the Scottish Parliament for the purpose of overseeing the drafting of a Constitution for Scotland
    • Propose dissolution of the Union with England subject to approval by the Scottish Parliament and ratification by the people of Scotland in a referendum
    • Hold referendum on the question of the Union under the auspices of the Scottish Parliament and subject to oversight and management by the National Convention and such bodies as may be appointed by the Scottish Parliament

    #ManifestoForIndependence

    • Alf Baird

      Peter, this manifesto seems to fit neatly into the upcoming ‘independence’ election and ALBA #Supermajority strategy, allowing Scotland’s parliament to negotiate withdrawal from the UK union.

  • vin_ot

    Yes, it could hardly be more obvious by this point that the FM does not intend to deliver independence. The British establishment and its media seem well aware of that, hence the intensity of their propaganda blitz against Alex Salmond and his fledgling party. If the SNP emerges next month under no pressure from Alba it will constitute a major victory for unionism and Murrellism.

  • Wikikettle

    I will not vote for the NeoLiberal Labour Party in England where I live. From what Vivian O’Blivian pointed, I cant see NS recalling SNP members from Westminster and selecting for the safe Falkirk East seat, a supporter of the Iranian version of the White Helmets. I don’t support Nationalism, nor do I understand why Scots support the SNP after what its leadership has done so far. It’s a loaded dice game and the Casino has all the wheels covered.

    • Wikikettle

      All the Security State will do next, is to infiltrate the Alba party. We do not live in a Democracy and are no better than any so-called Authoritarian State. Our unplanned economy makes the rich richer and devotes huge resources to own the media, politicians and now the Judiciary. However while it is busy doing that, other countries are devoting their energies in development of their own infrastructure, food production, education and health for their poor. We call this breaking “the rules-based order”. They are the ones who have resisted colonialism and are steering an Independent course. It is only now that our our economic control of world trade and military might is no longer omnipotent. Hence the desperation in forming alliances even beyond NATO and doing everything possible on all fronts, from assassinations, blockades to regime change. It will only take one small miscalculation for a sequence of events to domino into a war.

  • N_

    Scottish nationalists, environmentalists and anti-nuclear campaigners are among MI5’s major targets.

    Absolute bullsh*t.

    Mind you, I wish it were true about those among the Richard Darré fans “environmentalists” who believe in reincarnation. We’d all be safer if MI5 paid them a lot of attention. It’s only a matter of time before they decide to try to follow in the footsteps of Aum Shinrikyo, helping the “emergence of the root race” on its way. (Some may recall that British intelligence couldn’t do much about Louis Mountbatten. Could it be that they can’t do much about the deranged Rudolf Steiner-admiring crown prince at Clarence House either?)

    Regarding Scotland, does anyone here know which of the following promises will be in the SNP manifesto?

    1. “We will request a section 30 order for a rerun of the independence referendum”.
    2. “We will request a s30 order for an indyref rerun, but those English b*stards are unlikely to let us have one, given that most of them have saltires pinned to their dartboards, so we imagine we’ll be forced by English-created circumstances to go full-on Barcelona”.
    3. “If a majority of MSPs are for independence, we won’t want a referendum but we will demand that negotiations for independence begin immediately. We won’t care that turnout in Scotland is always lower at Holyrood than at Westminster. Nor will we care that we gamed the system to get a majority, because it was only English b*stards who forced the d’Hondt system on us anyway.” (Old hands at considering “the irrational in politics” may like to see if they can spot the contradiction there.)

    3 will be hilarious, because when the British government says “Let’s have a referendum”, the SNP can foam at the mouth and say “What do we want one of those for? We already have a mandate that could knock any English mandate into a cocked hoop four times before breakfast.”

    Here’s hoping the SNP vote collapses in next month’s election. It’s very important that those who care about Scotland and don’t want a Trumpian “Capitol” event get out and vote for anti-independence candidates.

    Meanwhile, in the nationalistic use of the term “supermajority”, “super” means “imaginary and Scottish, only denied by race traitors and foreigners”, right?

    • N_

      What percentage of the MI5 budget do we estimate targets Scottish nationalists, enviro-crazies, and anti-nuclear campaigners, rather than Russian state intelligence, Chinese state intelligence, and jihadists?

      It should be noted that “environmentalists” nowadays tend to be pro-nuclear. Of course they say they’re only pro-nuclear because “there’s an emergency”. They would say that. When has any NATO supporter said anything different?

  • N_

    Here is some sanity

    1. There should be an indyref rerun if a majority of voters vote for candidates who propose one.
    2. If a majority of voters vote for candidates who do not propose one, and there is no majority among MSPs for one either, there should not be an indyref rerun
    3. If there is a majority of MSPs in favour of an indyref rerun, but no support from a majority of voters for candidates who proposed one,
      then there should be an indyref rerun, provided that a) one is requested by the Scottish Parliament, and b) the law is changed so that a NO vote will lead to new Holyrood elections a month later.

    In short, let’s see nationalist MSPs put their MONEY and CAREERS where their nationalist gobs are.

  • mark golding

    Agent Stewart MacDonald has again urged Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Gove to arrange a briefing with the security services for members of Parliament and political parties( SNP) on appropriate terms, so that we can all better understand the threat [of U.K. industrial disintegration] and ensure the integrity of our political discourse and democracy.

    MacDonald wrote in a letter,

    “Whereas these information units (THE THREAT) [on social media] are comparatively small in quantity, all of them present a worrisome pattern in hostile overseas exercise associated to political affairs in Scotland and the UK through the political divide. That is one thing that ought to concern all of us.

    The meme in all this is clear, Scottish independence is a risk to democracy in Britain and would empower foreign disintegration. The meme is sustained by Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross while Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie has said, “We are still in a pandemic. Thousands have lost their lives, thousands more have lost their job. Reasonable people will think that this is the wrong moment to be pushing a referendum.”

    The agenda is exposed, laid bare yet nevertheless ‘standing by’ for MSM to publish and promote when the timing is agreed.

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