Those Scottish Elections, and What Happens Now 259

Well, there is no denying an overwhelming SNP victory, with an increased vote, increased seats, increased percentage and double the support of the next largest party. Together with the Greens there is a substantial pro-Independence majority in the Parliament, so that matter is settled. Personally I would welcome an SNP/Green coalition with a guaranteed pro-Independence majority of at least fourteen (depending on who is presiding officer). It would remove the Tory jibe that there is not a majority government. But I suspect the SNP will prefer to go it alone again.

The dominant question is Indyref2. It remains my fear that Nicola does not want to actually move for Independence, and will merely continue to make pretend moves in that direction. In the campaign she continually hedged around with not just after Covid, but after the effects of covid, and then the final resort piece of hedging that a referendum must be “legal”.

Let me spell out my fears. I do not claim I am right, because it is impossible for me to know either Sturgeon’s mind, or the future. But it is my best prognostication based on my own assessment of the public indications, and information from sources including several SNP MPs and MSPs.

I expect no serious steps towards Indyref2 to be taken before 2023, on the excuse of Covid, except possibly some more meaningless “enabling” legislation with no dates, to keep the troops believing.

In 2023 I expect Sturgeon to ask Johnson for a S30 in the full knowledge he will refuse, and I expect an answer to be stalled until 2024. I expect that then Sturgeon will be happy to see the matter go to the courts, at the behest of one side or the other. Sturgeon knows very well that the UK Supreme Court will state that the Westminster parliament is ultimately sovereign, because within the UK it is sovereign. That is why we need to leave this union.

It is very probable that Johnson will amend the Scotland Act specifically to preclude a referendum without Westminster permission. By then we will be at the next Scottish parliamentary elections, and Sturgeon will stand in 2025 or 6 on the basis that a referendum must be legal, we must ask Johnson for a S30, and for him to refuse would be a “democratic outrage”. Which game can go on forever, with no real intention of achieving Independence.

I realise that there are many very good, decent people within the SNP who believe that I am wrong, and that Sturgeon has a genuine commitment to Independence, and has some kind of secret plan which is much more radical than I have outlined.

Well, we shall see who is right.

The worrying thing is that I have been saying this since 2016 and would think five years of inaction have proven me right already. I have a horrible feeling that if we arrive in 2026 after five more years of inaction, Nicola’s followers will still believe her. I see a continuing role for Alba for those who are actually serious about Independence, despite its frankly disastrous electoral debut (the causes of which were largely not Alba’s fault, but that is for another day).

Nicola and the SNP have of course it firmly in their power to prove me horribly wrong. They can prove me a complete fool by using this mandate to take bold and genuine steps and achieving Independence. In which case, not only shall I acknowledge I was a complete fool, I shall be delighted to do so.

I think this is a good time to utilise again one of the few decent things from the Guardian, its daily Covid graphs.

I have broadly supported lockdowns, aside the odd specific illogicality, and strongly advocate vaccination. But the facts are unanswerable – despite some people’s addiction to fear, they have to face it is just about over. Despite politicians’ addiction to the heady combination of increased personal exposure and popularity, plus increased control over the population, it is just about over. Vaccines have licked it in the UK. The risk of death to a non-geriatric healthy person is now as close to zero as makes no difference.

Oxgangs library has been turned into a Covid Testing Centre. I sat on a wall this morning and observed for half an hour as nobody went in and nobody came out, and the young man on the door tried to find ways to relieve his boredom. The time will shortly be with us when the public appetite will fade for daily briefings that say six people feel slightly unwell in Elgin.

England and Wales have enjoyed seven consecutive weeks of negative excess deaths (I can never find the Scottish figures on this). That means this spring is very possibly the least dangerous period you have ever lived through, in terms of the chance of you dying.

As the vaccine programme goes ahead, it gets ever safer. At some stage, the public are going to notice. We have had attempts to boost the fear factor by successive claims that the South African or Indian or Brazilian strain had arrived in Britain and was massively more deadly, massively more transmissible, evaded the vaccine, killed more young people. All of these arrived in the UK and none of the claimed disasters happened.

Of course, there could one day really be that super deadly variant. Equally, there could be an entirely new pandemic disease. But we cannot live our lives locked and cowering against these eventualities. For now, we should come out – vaccinated – into the sunlight again. The emphasis should be on border control and firmly restricting international travel until the rest of the world catches up. It should also be on overseas aid to help the rest of the world catch up. Biden has shamed our Tory government by his support for voiding patents on Covid vaccines, but the Tories have always seen the pandemic as personal profit opportunity.

But meantime, the strongest temporary border controls. As long term readers know, I am very strongly opposed to mass air travel anyway, only made possible because of disgraceful international complicity in not taxing fossil fuel for aircraft. Nobody actually needs a £30 ticket to Ibiza.

There is another issue where I doubt that Sturgeon genuinely believes what she says, or intends to act speedily, and that is trans rights. Here she will be under enormous pressure to deliver GRA reform very quickly, and that from her closest allies.

This is going to be interesting. Trans rights have been a very useful wedge issue for Nicola and extremely effective against her most dangerous internal rival, Joanna Cherry. Broadly similar issues, like gay marriage and abortion, were intensely controversial until carried into law, and then the matter was effectively settled as a matter of public debate. I expect trans rights might be similar and that Nicola has no real interest in settling the matter because she does not want the controversy to die down.

Personally I am extremely frustrated at the extraordinary alignment between

Never-never Independence supporters and trans rights,


Independence Now supporters and trans exclusion

There seems no logical connection between the two, yet these strange alliances have become the most important dominant fact in the politics of Scottish Independence. My own opinion – which upset huge numbers of staunch Independence Now people on twitter – is that Alba’s strong identification with excluding trans women is one reason for its electoral failure.

Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist has become a pejorative term, but it seems to me a precise intellectual description of where an especially vocal section of Alba support was coming from, and voters found it rather weird and bitter.

I was considering founding a party which supports trans people, but at the same time wants Scotland to achieve Independence irrespective of any legal or political efforts at veto from London. But I fear there would only be me in it.

So the trans wedge issue has become so important to Nicola politically, I suspect she has no real interest in ending it. Besides, legislation is difficult. The current proposal is ridiculously over-simplified, as demonstrated by Gordon Dangerfield. I support self-ID and I extremely strongly uphold the principle that people should be who they want to be, and unlike Gordon I really don’t care about their genitalia and don’t see why anybody else should either. Mind your own business. But I can see that in certain rare and specific circumstances, like elite sport or people involved in criminal justice proceedings, there may be a need for some kind of arbitration of genuineness or good faith of a gender change; with good faith being the presumption that has to be overturned.

I might add that I particularly dislike the jibes at “women with beards” and the social media posts making fun of the physical appearance of trans people. There has been far too much cruelty flying around. I count Stuart Campbell and Chris Cairns as friends and allies who genuinely want Independence. But I cannot approve of this kind of cartoon, and I feel obliged to say so. How would it make you feel if you were a trans woman?

[Update I am told it is not Chris Cairns but is signed Stella. I had presumed that was part of the “joke”, but if it is not Chris I of course apologise to him].

It is of course also true that pro-trans activists are far too rude to people who disagree with them, with a small and defined group seriously nasty and out of control, including threatening violence. That group is closely connected to SNP leadership figures. This is all quite appalling. Frankly both sides of the debate need to find tolerance and empathy.

What is my prediction? I think the trans issue will be shelved, and Nicola will seek to placate Ms Blackman and her ilk by the abolition of jury trials in cases of sexual assault, as a first step, to be followed later by the abolition of jury trials in other crimes against women. Why all of that is an appalling idea I shall expand further one day, though I find it rather shocking that anybody would need that explained.

One thing I am sure of; we will see decisive action from Nicola on the abolition of juries long before we see any real movement on Independence. I would bet my life on that.


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259 thoughts on “Those Scottish Elections, and What Happens Now

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  • Republicofscotland

    An interesting take on the SNPs victory by George Kerevan, in which he doesn’t so much praise Sturgeon, but realises that she must be more than just lucky, in what looks like becoming the longest serving FM by 2026 if she stays on that is.

    Kerevan adds and I think rightly so that a niche has opened up for the Alba party left of the SNP, with the SNP now pandering to the middle and upper classes in Scotland, to afraid to hold an indyref without a nod of consent from them, that might come when the economy begins refilling their coffers again.

    Alba can get on with acquiring support from the common working man and woman, who seeks independence amongst other socialist type policies. The Alba party at present I think, just needs to grow over the next five years, and if Sturgeon hasn’t held her indyref by then, its very likely many who voted for the SNP, in the pretext that she would hold an indyref might decide to vote for the Alba party instead.

    One way or another we’ll see over the next parliamentary term how independence will fair under Sturgeons tenure. Sturgeon knows the talking will eventually need to stop and that action will need to take its place. There’s only so many promises on independence that the electorate will believe before they desert the ship.

  • Cara

    It is not people who are intersex or identify as non binary or even people who have made the difficult transition which is what Trans meant originally who are being vocal or vicious about this debate I would hope they have full protection in law not to be made vulnerable. However the full fury of this issue is clouded by a minority of young cross dressers who are MEN no matter how they identify and they seem to identify the most as being misogynistic and violent towards women, some are smug that they have found a niche to get attention and support of liberals for whatever that means these days. I don’t think anybody should be cowed into thinking this protects the aforementioned people who need equal rights in law if they do not have that already . I think the fad for a myriad of definitions and names for genders is absurd and the push for some of this comes from American profit lead gender clinics which to me make money from targeting vulnerable adolescents and young people.

    It is sad that unlike my teens when despite some homophobic element in society as the residual echo of the legislation that a decade or two early had only just made homosexuality legal, but in my youth you could be make female gay or androgynous and nobody minded we were all routed in music culture,. As teens we grew up in the shadow of the Yorkshire Ripper. As women we would go to a gay club after all the pubs were shut and found peace there from predatory males cos if there was any we were not the target.

    I had gay friends who had the similar hassle to young women but never as relentless and extreme and they recognised that they still had an advantage being male, access to places and spaces in society and jobs and money that gave them freedom before any women they knew. I used to be top candidate in my field and would always get passed over to a guy with less capabilities.

    Even worse for young people especially girls and young women is the culture of visual appearance and it’s amplification in social media, people on the whole want to conform and fit in ( unlike my era when we were actively rejecting norms in society we thought for positive reasons that included pushing for gay rights and acceptance) I believe it was my generation who pushed for acceptance of rights for couples who were not married and for same sex marriage. The internet particularly with faster speeds to access content has brought with it the scourge of hard core porn and violence against women and in some cases no doubt children. It is not women who create this industry. I don’t believe that physical maturity is in synch with emotional maturity I would put that more around 24 as a starting point. So youngsters especially now may mature physically earlier than we did but they are still to develop what sexuality means for them and I don’t mean more complex questions about identity, but just how early sexual experiences make them vulnerable and with hindsight instead of having to keep up with what is the latest norm for teenagers they would not be subjected to the sort of sex that has been influenced by online hard core porn. Even worse vulnerable young girls and women ( and in some instances gay boys) who feel the only way to escape sexual victimisation is to CHANGE SEX, in the case of some boys who have new pressure not to identify as gay but to be coerced instead to change sex. Any of this is not protection and the vocal aggressive lobby who support this and advocate for themselves a right to women’s spaces and children’s spaces are beneath contempt as they are none of the vulnerable groups but oppressive male bullies who for one reason or another ( but not for professional reasons) identify as women merely by apeing an exaggerated stereotype of a 1950s female mannequin. Everybody has a right to be who they are, if some man wants to identify as a women, he may have genuine reasons for doing so and it is not for me to hinder that, but people who are militant in their demands for women’s and girls’ spaces already have protection in law as men, they have the advantage of stronger physique they have a mentality that is to force other people to do as they say and cause trouble even threats of violence if you do not cow tow to this. Live and let live but don’t take the piss.

  • Langston

    I echo Lorna Campbell’s and Jomry’s comments.

    It is possible to be against another person or group’s views or actions without one fearing or hating them. As we should know, “phobia” refers to ‘fear and hatred’. I do not fear or hate trans people (though I sometimes hate the threateningly aggression of their expression, when that occurs, as I also hate threateningly aggressive expression when that arises from any other party).

    However, I want women and girls to retain the right to access exclusive spaces in which they can carry out private activity without intrusion from those who, by dint of their biological differences – and let’s recall here that every single second of our lives here on this earth is mediated by and carried through our bodies – do not share the experiences of women and girls in relation to those activities.

    A man who “identifies as” – e.g. calls himself – a woman, but does not have a woman’s body, has never experienced menstruation , for example. They will also, as another example, have experienced physical intimacy with others differently, possibly in ways beyond what language can express. (Shall I, a European Caucasian, call myself ‘Japanese’ despite never having been to Japan, understood the language, experienced the culture in Japan? If I want to ‘be’ Japanese, then surely some process of becoming is called for?).

    I am getting really sick and tired of this insulting reductionism whereby a wish to see the rights of women and girls protected is collapsed into ‘phobia’. Well, of course some of the trans lobby prefer things to be depicted like that, as then they don’t have to engage with arguments against what they are seeking. But I don’t hate trans people; I just don’t agree with some of the demands made by some trans people. Unless one applies the interpretation befitting that of a badly spoiled child, wishing people well is not commensurate with giving them everything they want. Please do not lazily conflate genuine concerns with hatred. I expect better from a decent journalist.

    Who is going to stand up alongside people like my partner, a woman who now no longer frequents certain leisure facilities because men have been allowed into the (open) changing area? (Where established cultural spaces and practices are swept away by edict from above without consultation or freely given consent from the majority, don’t we often call that colonisation?).

    If a woman or girl is caught short while on her period and has to stand at the sink in public toilets in her underwear whilst scrubbing blood out of her skirt, should there be people in that space who have never experienced menstruation?

    What might be the political interests that lie behind the encouragement of yet greater disengagement from the embodied nature of experience, particularly given the environmental circumstances in which we currently live?

  • frankywiggles

    Clearly you have not been seriously assaulted in a public toilet like most of your readers. But good luck tomorrow.

  • Cara

    there are physical and hygeine reasons why girls and women need their own toilets especially in schools. They are more vulnerable because it takes longer for women they have to partly undress then there are periods etc at school girls toilets didn’t feel particularly safe as bullies can also be girls. As for changing rooms at school ours we situated in the back of a sports hall that backed into the boys playground and our showers were just a concrete wall walk though affairs horrible and cold and made worse by a gang of immature boys frequently shoving each other in the unlocked door and the showers had no door….plus unless you are a woman you will never understand low levelmstress of sharing a flat with the opposite sex, even if like myself preferred it most of the time, because you aleays had to be dressed in communal spaces or en route to bathroom, where all in a single sex household generally can relax more and pad about in your jammies without feeling vulnerable there is just a bit less tension sexually. (Doesn’t mean there is less conflict).

  • Cara2

    [ MOD: Caught in spam-filter ]

    there are physical and hygeine reasons why girls and women need their own toilets especially in schools. They are more vulnerable because it takes longer for women they have to partly undress then there are periods etc at school girls toilets didn’t feel particularly safe as bullies can also be girls. As for changing rooms at school ours we situated in the back of a sports hall that backed into the boys playground and our showers were just a concrete wall walk though affairs horrible and cold and made worse by a gang of immature boys frequently shoving each other in the unlocked door and the showers had no door….plus unless you are a woman you will never understand low levelmstress of sharing a flat with the opposite sex, even if like myself preferred it most of the time, because you aleays had to be dressed in communal spaces or en route to bathroom, where all in a single sex household generally can relax more and pad about in your jammies without feeling vulnerable there is just a bit less tension sexually. (Doesn’t mean there is less conflict).

  • Clark

    I think that many of the parliamentary and leadership SNP have come to the same opinion I did in 2013; that once independence is gained, the Scottish political field will open to a host of smaller parties, and the power of the SNP will plummet. Now that they have great power, they have a strong incentive to avoid independence.

    I’m very glad to see Craig supporting travel restrictions against covid transmission. Compartmentalisation was always the strongest weapon against covid, as demonstrated by Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, China, the Isle of Man etc,. all of which have endured lockdown for a fraction of the time of most countries including Scotland and England.

    In a year of suffering and losses, many countries have made their own experiments in how to deal with COVID-19.
    The results of these experiments are known:

    • Having COVID-19 under control reduces suffering and losses.
    • No country has COVID-19 under control without strong travel restrictions.
    • No country has COVID-19 under control by trying to keep the numbers at a non-zero threshold.
    • It is easier to get back to zero if you react fast to new outbreaks.
    • It is not too late to try to get COVID-19 under control and it doesn’t take long.

    Let’s learn from the countries that succeeded. Go for zero – with a green-zone strategy.

    Craig wrote:

    “But the facts are unanswerable – despite some people’s addiction to fear, they have to face it is just about over. […] Vaccines have licked it in the UK. The risk of death to a non-geriatric healthy person is now as close to zero as makes no difference.”

    I hope to God that he is right and has not spoken too soon. We had infection numbers this low last summer, before vaccination began, and the variants from Brazil and India have struck down and killed a much higher proportion of “non-geriatric healthy” people. No I am not arguing for perpetual lockdown, but the infrastructure of compartmentalisation and trace-and-test has never been implemented, and if vaccines turn out to be less effective than they currently seem or a variant gets past them, we’ll be out of options again apart from another disastrous three month lockdown. Now is time for cautious optimism and implementation of defences, not complacency.

  • Craig P

    A politicised prosecution service and no juries. A terrifying thought, though of course in your case Craig it is more concrete than just a thought.

    Good luck tomorrow.

  • Tom74

    Yes, but the ‘covid crisis’ wasn’t motivated primarily by public health, otherwise there would have been lockdowns every flu season in the past. Therefore it follows the crisis won’t be over for health reasons but only when there is political change.

    • bevin

      “Yes, but the ‘covid crisis’ wasn’t motivated primarily by public health, otherwise there would have been lockdowns every flu season in the past..”

      Is that really the best that you can do? The pandemic was a hoax perpetrated by people with ulterior motives, and the proof is …etc ad nauseam.
      I’m, not sure where you live but in the town where I live the ‘Kent’ variation killed 92 residents and staff in one Old People’s Home, in about six weeks. I think we’d gave noticed if that was an annual occurence, when the ‘flu came. Incidentally most vulnerable people in Canada get vaccinated annually against the ‘flu.

      • J

        Why must Covid be a hoax for there to be ulterior motives in the response to it? That isn’t a logical argument and really quite naive, if I may say. Are you telling us that any discussion about the response to Covid is automatically illegitimate? If so, can you explain why this is a reasonable or logical position?

        It follows from your line of attack that you believe everything done in the name of Covid was motivated primarily by public health, am I mistaken? if so, what about the £37 billion paid to Tory chums for an app worth anywhere between $2 to £14 million but nowhere in the region of thirty seven thousand million. If that doesn’t suggest ulterior motives to you, I have no idea what might. And let’s not leave aside the tens of millions of other contracts to Tory friends and family for material and services which were either sub standard or never supplied at all.

        Added to that, roughly three thousand ‘excess deaths’ per week were occuring during the ‘spike’ begining in March last year whose deaths were not attributed to Covid. If it turned out that the crisis measures led directly to their deaths, would Tom have a reasonable opinion or would his opinion still be illegitimate because you said so?

        Just asking.

      • Simon

        With deaths in care homes, I think that a breakdown in care and fatalism led to a lot of deaths.

        I understand the mother of my neighbour, 99 years old, died at a Glenrothes care home after they stopped feeding (and hydrating?) her. It made sense early on. They were very frail, and probably going to die anyway – so why keep them alive?

        I just saw this

        My Sister is towards the end of her life, with severe MS. She gets inspiration pneumonia from time to time. She was in hospital with Covid. She pulled through with some oxygen support via a basic mask. We made sure that the hospital staff knew that people cared for her with daily calls to the ward. Luckily she was not caught up in the panic of the first wave. I’m sure she’d have been allowed to die.

  • dearieme

    Boris should shoot Nicola’s fox. The UK government should call a referendum for Scottish voters as soon as some sort of improvement is introduced covering postal votes and voter ID. That way nobody could accuse the winning side – whichever it is – of cheating its way to success.

    The question should be “Do you want your constituency [name of constituency] to secede from the UK?”

    If one or more constituencies should vote to secede then the referendum would be followed by a conference to propose borders based on the results. Those borders would be put to the voters for their approval in a second referendum.

    And that would be that.

    • Jaggyalltheway

      Dearieme – I would go one further if you are asking constituents to vote on whether they want to leave the Union…to include constituents who consistently show their divergence, namely Londoners, Liverpudlians and Mancunians….and join Republic of Scotland and North Britain !!!

    • Kitbee

      As if a constituency is capable of seceding on its own? Dearieme- Scotland isn’t here to be carved up by you or anyone. You are perhaps after Southern Scotland which considers itself English (through emmigraton). So why not just confine the question to Southern Scotland which can become Ulsterised.??? We see you.

      Nicola has no fox to be shot- she is an Indyphobe.

      • dearieme

        “Scotland isn’t here to be carved up by you or anyone.”

        My suggestion is that the voters be consulted constituency by constituency. They would decide, not me “or anyone “.

        Or is it to be case of secession for me but not for thee?

    • AnneDon

      Scotland is a nation, which is why we have the right to withdraw. The idea of a constituency withdrawing from the union makes no sense at all.

    • Cubby


      Let’s do it by postal code – no better still – street name. If you are going for partitions then go for as many as possible. A border at the end of your street – what’s not to like. Plenty of jobs created.

  • AliB

    How much the Trans debate is a genuine grass roots debate and how much is fermented by unknown stirrers – MI5 anyone – who knows. But it appears to me, that much like anti semitism was used to virtually destroy the Labour Party, Trans rights, and especially the right to self identify without any supporting treatment etc is being used to destroy the Green party, and from your article, also to undermine Independence support.
    I am deeply suspicious of what is going on and the amount of publicity that is generated by less than 1% of the population.

    • Goose

      It can’t be ruled out.

      Remember the huge antiglobalisation protests of the late nineties and early noughties? Those peaked when 200,000 demonstrators gathered at the G8 summit in Genoa, Italy, on July 20–22, 2001. These movements have been replaced with the far less threatening ‘identity politics’ stuff.

      There would undoubtedly be attractions for wealthy vested interests in getting people squabbling about issues under the broad umbrella that is ‘identity politics’. Rather than them focusing on economic inequality and failing democratic oversight of the powerful.

    • Twirlip

      I quite vividly remember what genuine grass roots debate on this topic used to be like. (Only online, mind – I’m a recluse in real life.) It bore very little resemblance to the current nonsense. For one thing, we were all clear that trans- is a prefix, not a word! There was quite as much vitriol between various different camps of trans- people as there is now between an apparently – surely not really – unified “trans” front and their bitter enemies. Indeed, that is almost the only thing in common between the debate as it used to be and the debate as it is now.

      I’d bet any money that some sort of heavily-funded psy-op is going on, but I’ve no idea who is behind it. In a comment on a previous blog post of Craig’s (the thread got deleted because someone who did not actually bother to read what I’d written kept accusing me of being a “pervert”), I also drew a comparison with the use of the great lie about “antisemitism”.

      I would like to know who the current batch of “trans activists” are, so that I can ask them to their faces (well, online!) why they are spreading such obviously nonsensical, divisive and hateful bilge, and bringing us all into disrepute. So far, I only know of the existence of these “trans activists” via the equally divisive and hateful bilge that is constantly being spouted by their enemies. Therefore I cannot be sure that these “trans activists” even exist. But I am willing to believe that they do exist, and it would be useful to have some references to, say, some actual explicit statements that gender and sex are the same thing, or that biological sex does not exist. (Craig has come worryingly close to making such a statement himself, in this latest post! I’m quite surprised.) Both those statements border on being nonsensical, and insofar as they have any sense at all, they contradict the defining experience of being transgendered!

    • Lorna Campbell

      AliBe: No doubt the security services would use it for their own ends if it is causing division in Scotland, but this stuff is right across the Western world. They haven’t managed to penetrate the East and the other power blocks where they would last as long as a snowball in a conflagration, so they have been clever enough not to push their luck in less liberal societies than ours, which is kind of funny really, in a ha, ha way, because they appear to wish to undermine liberal societies with some prohibitions – at least on the surface. Underneath is the usual neoliberal capitalism investing in it for its own ends, and controlling it. If it ceased to serve their purpose, it would disappear tomorrow. If they thought they could get away with pushing it in the East and the other power blocks, they would do that, too. They foment dissent and wars everywhere, after all, in pursuit of lovely lolly, and this is less destructive and more sleekit/under the radar. Just women and girls suffer – and they are always expendable. What would they want with opposing rights when a man’s right to BE whatever he wants is at stake?

  • Cath

    “There seems no logical connection between the two”

    That’s because there is no logic to the “trans rights” issue: it is literally a wedge issue and that is all. That’s its sole purpose in politics. (Its wider purpose is driven by the pharmaceutical industry which has a great interest in medicalising as many perfectly normal human emotions as possible and is rubbing its hands at the idea of lifelong patients captured as pre-puberscent children, the very kids who should most be left alone to “be who they are” but that’s another story).

    No one thinks trans people shouldn’t have the same rights everyone else has. That was what gay marriage was about – giving same sex couples the same rights everyone else had, and absolutely rightly so. Alex Salmond pushed that though and it was campaigned for by the kind of people now in Alba and denigrated as somehow bigots. However no one has defined “trans” far less explained what rights they don’t have. There are a tiny number of people who suffer from gender dysphoria and a smaller yet number for whom the only way to relived that is transition. That isn’t something “stunning and brave” and to be welcome and “affirmed” in kids as “who you are” (trust me, I suffer from it). It’s a difficult, awful process. And for those going through it, there are a myriad of issues, which is why it should be a last resort for those with GD who really need it. But this current debate is nothing to do with them. Zero, nada, zilch. This debate is a lot of hotheaded young people shouting those people down (intersex people are an even tinier minority, even less understood and even more abused and shouted over).

    If we want to have a debate about how best to treat gender dysphoria, and how best to deal with that very tiny minority of people who transition before, during and after transition, fine. But that would, and should, be a professional debate of no interest to the public. Why would huge gangs of highly misogynistic and abusive young men at Stirling University, with no experience of either, for example, be so heavily invested in that rather dry, medical debate? The answer to that can only be found in the key battlegrounds chosen: spaces where women are most vulnerable. Toilets, changing rooms, prisons, domestic abuse services. That has nothing whatsoever to do with gender dysphoria or transsexual or intersex people and their health needs. If you, as a man, can’t see what it is to do with, I’m not sure I can explain much more.

    All that said, I just want to wish you luck for tomorrow. You don’t deserve what they’re putting you though. (And make no mistake “they” are indeed those same people who wish to allow male rapists into female prisons, though I don’t quite understand how all the division lines as so identical either). I saw a lot of abuse to you on Twitter the other day for your stance on this issue and found that disgusting as well, especially at this time with all you’re going through. Take care of yourself and all the best for tomorrow.

  • Stevie Boy

    Craig raised this so I shall comment.
    I disagree with lockdowns being of any use – the evidence is there, eg: Florida, Sweden.
    Vaccines don’t prevent the spread or provide protection from Covid, they only alleviate the symptoms – allegedly – this is as stated by the vaccine manufacturers. So there ‘may’ be a case for the vaccine for those in high risk groups, everyone else, it’s a huge experiment and you are the Lab Rats.
    My biggest fear. In the Autumn there will be the inevitable rise in seasonal flu cases (AKA Covid), the test for whether we have been freed from the madness will be if no lockdowns are imposed. I am not optimistic.

    • Ian

      False on both of your claims. But evidence won’t persuade the likes of people who proclaim with great certainty stuff they got told down the pub.

      • Brianborou

        Yes, I am afraid the True Believers have decided the “ pandemic “ is now an act of faith like a new religion because any presentation of evidence facts from independent medical sources is either ignored or smeared. Who says propaganda and brainwashing don’t work!

  • Stevie Boy

    What happens now … ?
    Stepping back and looking at the bigger picture:

    “Boris Johnson’s multimillion pound plan to introduce mandatory voter ID at elections has been criticised as an “illiberal solution in pursuit of a non-existent problem” by a former Tory cabinet minister.”

    Voter ID/Vaccine Passes = Mandatory ID cards for all, just to live ‘normally’.

      • Stevie Boy

        Very good point.
        However, with my tin foil hat on, IMO, I would assume if voter ID was passed then some sort of voter ID might be required to apply for postal votes. I guess we’ll see – as the article states: it’s a solution in pursuit of a problem – the objective probably being to maximise establishment votes.

        • Bayard

          “some sort of voter ID might be required to apply for postal votes”

          The problem then is making sure the applicant is the one actually voting. What”s the difference between getting a second postal vote from someone who doesn’t care and turning up twice at the polling station? the second time pretending to be someone else, presumably the problem that voter ID is supposed to solve.

  • Uwontbegrinningsoon

    Mr Murray

    Environmental Lawyer fined 5k for contempt of court. Hopefully that’s the ball park for you at sentencing. You should go through the PSR with your lawyer very carefully.

    Good luck!

  • AnneDon

    Craig, I respect your beliefs on self-id, although I disagree with you. I must, however, point out that the “women with beards” trope is not aimed at trans women. It is aimed at the male fetishists who plan to use the weakening of women’s rights to harass and bully women in what have hitherto been women-only spaces. They have no intention of transitioning, so they are not trans women. They are not even particularly interested in trans rights except as a vehicle to further their men’s rights agenda, as the bullying and demonisation of Debbie Hayton and Miranda Yardley (who ARE trans) shows. The belief in the biological fact that no-one can change sex is now heresy. However much you consider yourself a trans ally, if you believe in biology these people will demonise you.

    It may appear that this is an SNP vs Alba issue to you, but that is inaccurate, as watching their celebration of Joan McAlpine and Catriona McDonald failing to get elected showed. These people are parasites. They don’t care about independence, that is true. But their brethren are in the Labour party and don’t care about the redistribution of wealth (in tune with the leadership, of course) and those who are in the Green Party, don’t care about the environment. The constant feature of all of this is their treatment of women, their doxxing and harassment of any woman who stands up to them.

    The difference with Alba was that only Alba gave unequivocal support to women’s rights.

    The popularity of such identity politics for some politicians is that they can pursue neo-liberal, even authoritarian, policies while pretending they support “the oppressed”. The Democrats in the US, and, of course Nicola Sturgeon’s government, have proven adept at this. People who thought Alex Salmond was not radical enough on the Scottish indy left seem to swallow this nonsense by the bucket.

    • Goose

      “women with beards”

      You’ve just put that awful image of George Galloway and Pete Burns in red and blue leotards in my head, thanks for that.

    • Natasha

      AnneDon, Biology is an EVIDENCE based scientific pursuit, not a belief system. So “if you believe in biology” then biological science will indeed “demonise you”. For example it is simply incorrect to think that you can tell a person’s sex just looking at whether he or she has a Y chromosome.

      Biological science tells us, for example, that the vast majority of children with complete androgen insensitivity syndrome grow up to feel female, and that many children with cloacal exstrophy and XY chromosomes will grow up to feel male. So why shouldn’t children with intersex be raised in a “third gender”? The INSA in accepting the what biological science show us, advocate assigning a boy or girl gender because intersex is not, and will never be, a discrete biological category any more than male or female is, and because assigning an “intersex” gender would unnecessarily traumatize the child.

  • Ryui

    It’s not just TERFeminists who should shut their mouths (last I saw) who have issues with this is it? What’s the right word for a Manist, or Interest? Could even be a mysoginist, only wanting to leer at who they would consider women but not wanting to specify “Cis” (will the the T lobby ultimate accept/respect that anyway?)

  • Giyane

    I don’t think Sturgeon planned the wedge of trans rights as a weapon of distraction. Sometimes insatiable curiosity is our own worst enemy. One opens a door which turns out to belong to Pandora and before you know it, you are in Alice in Wonderland .
    Alice in Wonderland is certainly where Craig wakes up tomorrow morning, and I hope the ludicrousness of the whole caboodlebox strikes Lady Dorrian as a bit naff and she gives him two hours of community service to remove litter from around the Edinburgh statues of famous evil Unionist warrior general paedophiles, to show just how pointless the whole case has been – “”” on all sides “””.

    As to Scottish Independence, I don’t believe it will happen without her making peace with Alex Salmond.
    This is not a lightweight issue. What is at stake is the exposure of the entire Tory Empire 2 project as a dangerous fantasy. You try to make a second Empire and you lose your own backyard. Such is the unpopularity in this country of rah rah Tory populist politics. The 48% of English Brexit Remainers as well as the 65% of Scottish Yes voters. A democratic mandate for Scotland to go it alone if England decides to continue to be the thug that it used to be.

  • Sean

    Vaccines have licked it in the UK. The risk of death to a non-geriatric healthy person is now as close to zero as makes no difference.
    Complete nonsense

  • Jane in France

    The National Records of Scotland publish figures for all cause deaths in Scotland, including covid, with details of where death occurred. Look up
    A page called “Deaths involving coronavirus (covid 19) Scotland” will appear. Click on “excel” under Data and Charts. Then click on table 3 for 2021. The table is very informative. You’ll see the huge excess number of deaths at home, hardly any of which were caused by covid, and the relatively low number of deaths in hospital. If you click on table 3 for 2020 you’ll also see that deaths from covid last summer were in the single figures without any vaccination and then numbers rose again in autumn. I expect the same thing will happen again this year.

    • Kempe

      Figures for Week 17 2021, the last week for which numbers are available, show 9 deaths from Covid. The same figure for Week 17 2020 was 636.

      What’s changed? Lockdown, face masks, sanitising and above all vaccinations.

  • 100%Yes

    The UK is entirely pushing for Indyref2 to be delayed and sighting covid 19 as the reason for doing it, should we be worried of course we should. The way I see it, Scotland is a country and even if the UK changes the Scotland act then go ahead and do it well just end the treaty of union. I’m surprised the SNP still have members or followers and gods knows why they haven’t put into law a written constitution is beyond me, but even before covid Sturgeon has been unable to rise to any challenge other than little projects that matter to her personally, if Independence does come we should make every effort to get rid of the SNP and Sturgeon and the unionist parties once and for all, but my view is when Boris started asking for a meeting with the devolved nations this sent a cold shiver up my spine. I wouldn’t trust Sturgeon or her party with my empty wallet never mind my country and neither should the rest of you.

    One thing for sure what ever happens in the next couple of month Scotland and the Scots will be the victims mark my word.

  • Buffalo_Ken

    I find the situation in Scotland just now very disturbing.
    It gets my goat that the ones stifling the truth seem to be winning.
    Seems to me not much good can come from that.
    Maybe Ireland has the kahunas to break away.
    If Ireland does it, then Scotland will follow
    eventually – that is my reading of the
    history of it all, but I could be
    ignorant of the details.
    I’m not living there.
    Still, it gets my goat to see Scotland fall so low when it comes to justice and for the Scottish public to vote for the same party that has delivered this travesty. As if the public would consume it gleefully.
    Dear Mr. Murray, I hope there is a semblance of justice when the decision is made regarding your near-term fate tomorrow. Know this. You will be in my mind and I’m hoping for the best outcome for you and your family. No matter what happens you must know that there are many who think very highly of you and I count myself amongst them.

  • Cubby

    Craig, a very very depressing article on a number of fronts.

    Are you not a member of Alba – are you not for trans rights re self I.D.? I think you do Alba a disservice and many people who voted for Alba by aligning yourself with the likes of Kirsty Blackman. I have seen Blackman talk about Scottish independence and she is absolutely useless. On the other hand she has plenty of passion for abusing people about trans issues. The SNP was founded to achieve Scottish independence – they have lost their way.

    Self id-ing is out of control in the SNP.

  • Louis Celine

    Craig, the referendum as it is now, it is a dream, a hope, something that perhaps one day will be achieved. But, Sturgeon knows very well that if the referendum’s result is similar than before, it will not be another one for 100 years. Let people believe that one day Scotland will be free. Otherwise, will be a real nightmare. Good luck tomorrow!

  • Fwl

    I hope Scotland stays in the UK. If I thought differently I wouldn’t bet on winning a referendum now. In the future, who knows.

    The QE problem is a fundamental one although it is also an opportunity if there is enough courage and intelligence.

    I heard Nicola Sturgeon being asked about QE on the Today programme last week. About how Scotland without the magic alchemy of the Bank of England’s QE press.

    At first she said she couldn’t hear and had the question repeated. Her extraordinary answer suggested that she believes that after independence the Bank of England will still be printing money for Scotland as part of the divorce settlement.

    I couldn’t believe it. It sounded so naïve and akin to some sort of colonial protectorate or those deals we made with new states carved out of the Ottoman Empire where we agreed to be the first to recognise a new state as existing as such provided that they only spoke to other states through us. If that sounds like independence then it’s a delusion.

    Certainly one would expect such an entity to have the courage to speak out. Not the sort of state to go to the UN and ask what the feck happened after gain of function tests were resumed in December 2017 and testing outsourced to China, or any other unpleasant questions – not when you’re waiting for grace and favour from the Old Lady of Threadneedle St.

    Is there no C21 John Law with a plan for a Scottish Central Bank Digital Currency with universal benefits and tax breaks for poets?

  • Fwl

    The SNP / Alba / Trans / TERF dispute really needs someone like the late anarcho anthropologist Prof David Graeber to investigate.

  • Andrew Morton

    Agree with much of what you say Craig, however I think you are being disingenuous when it comes to the issue of trans rights. You, like Kirsty Blackman and the more extreme elements seek to conflate two different issues. What I and many people on what you refer to as the traditional wing of the independence movement are exercised about is not the rights of genuine transwomen but men who pretend to be transwomen in order to gain access to women’s spaces. These are two entirely different issues and the trans lobby uses accusations of transphobia in order to shut down debate.

    Why they are so determined to pass legislation which could allow perverts and sexual abusers to drive a coach and horses through it is beyond me. Have they not see how the Catholic church was used to gain access to vulnerable individuals?

  • J

    Good luck tomorrow Mr Murray. I hope the the powers that be realise how silly they will appear after you win an appeal and claim damages against them. The truth has always been on your side while your accusers, if they persist, must forever maintain a lie. I’d say you that gives you an advantage. But what do I know? Not much.

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