Nicola Sturgeon’s Motivation 285

It is a simple fact that, to get any senior international job, be it at the United Nations, the IMF, the World Bank, NATO, the Council of Europe, the OSCE, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, or any other intergovernmental organisation, you must have the endorsement of your own government. In the case of Nicola Sturgeon, that means the endorsement of the state recognised by those organisations, which is the United Kingdom.

There are precedents for UK governments helping opposition figures whom they find congenial into international posts. But if Nicola crosses the line of enmity with the UK government, her own primary aspirations for future career and income will be finished.

As a young diplomat I had a starry-eyed view of the aims of the United Nations and presumed that the UN Secretariat was staffed by people who shared those ideals. It was a great shock to discover that UN offices were often staffed by cynical time-servers who had been put into the gig by the ruling class of their home state. There are no dissidents in the UN Secretariat. The fact that Chinese apparatchiks or Saudi royal hangers-on proved not really to be particularly dedicated to famine relief for Liberian refugees in Ivory Coast ought not to have been shocking to me, but was. What has come out to date about sexual exploitation of vulnerable women in crisis situations by UN staff I know very well to be the tip of the iceberg.

If you do have the support of your government, the opportunities are far greater than you can imagine. Do you remember Danny Alexander, the extraordinarily untalented Lib Dem politician who before entering parliament was the publicity man for the Cairngorm chairlift? Sturgeon certainly recalls him, and the fact that Alexander is now Vice President of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, living in great luxury in Beijing, and pulling down even more money than the Murrells.

How did that happen? Well, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is in fact an intergovernmental organisation, and the UK government is a founding shareholder. After betraying Lib Dem voters and helping George Osborne impose austerity on the public as a coalition minister, the Tories gave “Sir” Daniel Alexander a knighthood and shoehorned him in to his splendid office at the AIIB, after the Scottish electorate had very sensibly booted him out of parliament.

If a political nobody like Danny Alexander can land such rich pickings, what kind of vistas might open up before Nicola? Her CV drops onto the rich walnut desks in the plush offices of major international organisations, as often as condominium brochures. Her international schmoozing is endless. She presents herself on the international stage not as the champion of an Independent Scotland – a subject she tends to avoid – but as a dynamic exponent of Clinton style politics and a stalwart upholder of the neo-conservative world order.

Sturgeon, and the SNP under her, supports the British government’s pivot towards projecting military power into the Pacific, supports NATO deployment of missiles on the Russian border, supports the Royal Navy in its incursions in the Black Sea, supports the destabilisation of Syria, supports each and every claim about curiously unsuccessful deployments of novichok, even supports a switch from unilateral to multilateral nuclear disarmament as outlined by her Westminster MPs Alyn Smith and Stewart MacDonald. She loudly condemns Alex Salmond for appearing on Russia Today.

In short, Sturgeon makes sure that Westminster knows she is 100% on board with the British government’s foreign policy agenda, with Britnat military adventurism and with neo-imperial force projection by the ludicrous British aircraft carrier force. She is a perfectly safe pair of Britnat foreign policy hands to be assisted into an international job.

What greater service can there be to the British state than ensuring its continuation?

With the opinion polls showing over 55% in favour of Scottish Independence, Nicola Sturgeon, just as she did in the last sustained surge of Independence support, stands holding the bridge for the union by preventing any action at all towards Independence at this, the key moment.

Independence support over 55% even with no campaign? Unionists a majority only in the over 60s? Boris Johnson and his Westminster government massively unpopular?

The Union appears to be in the gravest of danger. But do not worry, Nicola is there to save the Union, diverting the Independence movement into a choice selection of utterly blind alleys, labeled “COVID freeze”, “Gender Reform”, “Economic Recovery” and “S30 Memorandum”. Nicola will go down in history alongside the Duke of Cumberland as one of the greatest servants of British Unionism.

COVID has not prevented the greatest of changes in power, a US Presidential election, nor has it prevented general elections in Germany, Austria and numerous other countries. That it prevents action on Independence is plainly a nonsense. What COVID has allowed Nicola to do is play to her strength – fine presentational skills and an aura of managerial competence. She worked out early that the public are highly motivated by fear and prefer their politicians to err on the side of more, rather than less, restriction. Appearing more in control than Johnson has not been difficult; nor has the continual adoption of just marginally more restrictive measures than England.

If Independence were truly her goal, then the time to bank the “more competent than England” COVID kudos in the Independence cause is now – its shelf life will be limited. But Independence is not her goal. A continuing build-up of Sturgeon kudos to take to market for Sturgeon is her goal. On one question, Nicola has undoubtedly proven the science. Face masks can, properly used, be 100% effective in preventing action on Independence.

Those who believed Nicola Sturgeon was going, as she promised, to deliver an Independence referendum in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 now believe that she will deliver one in 2023. There are those who refuse to remember that her great capitulation over Johnson’s refusal to grant an S30 was on 8 March 2019, before we had even heard the word COVID.

Sturgeon will not hold a referendum in 2023. This is what she will do:

In 2023, or just beforehand, she will write to Boris Johnson or a Tory successor and request Section 30 permission to hold a referendum. The Tory PM will refuse. Sturgeon will then instruct the Lord Advocate to go to court in order to win the Scottish Government’s right to hold a referendum. The Scottish Government will lose in court. The Supreme Court in London will uphold the supremacy of the UK Parliament, as a whole series of Supreme Court judgments have made clear – including the judgment that the Sewel Convention cannot be binding on the UK parliament as it is supreme, and that the Scottish Parliament has no power to incorporate the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into Scottish law.

The Scottish Courts will in all probability rule the same before even getting to the UK Supreme Court – as foreshadowed by their judgment against the heroic Martin Keatings in which they dismissed the standing of the Scottish people and with it the legal force of the Claim of Right.

I am very sorry to tell you that the courts will be right. Under UK domestic law the UK parliament is sovereign and Scotland does indeed have no right, according to the colonial regime, to hold an independence referendum. Sturgeon knows this too. The authority Sturgeon really listens to on the subject, Professor Aileen McHarg of Durham University, has stated the case at length.

So consider this. Nicola Sturgeon is not a fool. She does not really believe that a Tory PM is going to grant a S30 Order for an Independence Referendum where unionist defeat is probable. (David Cameron only had agreed because at the time Yes was 32% in the polls). Nicola Sturgeon also knows that the UK Supreme court is not going to rule in the Scottish parliament’s favour.

There simply is no route to Independence that leads through London. Yet Nicola states the path through London is the only path and no Plan B may even be considered. London is accepted as the arbiter of what is legal. Sturgeon insists on taking only routes which she knows will fail, and condemns all alternatives as illegal.

So Nicola Sturgeon has delayed action on Independence for years, continues to do so, and looking ahead to the possibility of eventually being forced to move, she insists on a route that is impossible. Why?

There is only one answer. Nicola has no intention of achieving Independence. She wants international kudos as a good manager of Scotland who supported US hegemony, and then a decent international job to move into, leaving Scotland behind. The amount she cares about what happens to Scotland after that is limited.

I trust Dominic Cummings less far than I can throw him, but I believed Cummings when he stated Boris Johnson did say of COVID “Let the bodies pile high”. I also believe his revelation that Sturgeon has informed Johnson, through her staff, that she does not want an Independence referendum before the next Westminster election in 2024.

This is entirely consistent with close observation of Sturgeon’s behaviour. The SNP have made no budgetary provision for a referendum and are remarkably pre-occupied with arguing about boundary changes for future UK, Westminster parliamentary elections.

This also ties in with my own Tory sources, who tell me that through chief of staff channels, Sturgeon has suggested to Johnson he might agree a three question referendum after the next Holyrood election, with a form of “Devo Max” as a middle option that would be sure to win. There are many SNP MPs and MSPs who now see “Devo Max” as a safer option than Independence, in terms of the potential risk to their own careers from an Independence bid. The comfy parliamentary pensions brigade are now very, very attracted to Devo Max.

The truth is that there is another route to Independence, which Nicola does everything to deny even being discussed.

The domestic law of the larger state cannot constrain the right to self determination of the nation or people wishing to leave. Otherwise Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia would still be in the Soviet Union. As I have frequently explained, this precise position was taken by the United Kingdom in the Kosovo case and endorsed by the International Court of Justice. Indeed, if the state seceded from could simply forbid it, a great deal of decolonisation would never had happened.

Scotland does not need the permission of England. Neither the Westminster Parliament nor the UK Supreme Court can remove the Scottish people’s inalienable right of self-determination under the UN Charter. There is no requirement in international law for a referendum in order to become independent – the majority of states in the world achieved independence without a referendum. If the UK state refuses one, Scotland must declare Independence through a National Assembly of its combined Holyrood and UK parliamentarians, and hold a confirmatory plebiscite as an independent state. Brexit has made the task of gaining international recognition very much simpler.

There is a single test of Scottish Independence – recognition by the United Nations. The domestic law of the UK is completely irrelevant.

That would require a leader of the nation for whom Independence is an overriding priority. Which will never be Nicola Sturgeon.


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285 thoughts on “Nicola Sturgeon’s Motivation

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  • Duncan Spence

    So what changed?

    Or has she never believed what she claims?

    When AS handed NS the mantle in 2014 she did not yet seem to be on the brink of the obvious betrayal you describe.

    Is there a particular event that makes the difference to her career, or was it a slow accumulation of setbacks and realisations?

    When or if NS does find a step up into international diplomacy, who will then lead the party/country and will there actually be an independence movement any more?

    The big question though is how the SNP is ever going to survive electorally under these conditions. How are we going to be persuaded that devolution is in fact bona fide autonomy.

    • Shatnersrug

      The SNP will survive, because they’re the best government for Scotland. Even if they never deliver independence Scotland under the SNP is (or was) significantly better than under Labour and certainly would always be better than the Tories. Plus it gives voters the handy get out clause of being able to say “I didn’t vote for this Westminster government”

      It’s a winning formula, and for a cynical machine politician like Sturgeon it’s perfect: you can always blame Westminster for all the problems whilst taking credit for all the good stuff. In fact delivering independence would be political suicide for Sturgeon if it were to be less than smooth sailing – a huge risk. I can’t see why any modern centrist politician would want that.

      So she’ll bluster and blame Westminster and make noises about Indy before elections and when she gets it in the neck from Nationalists but other than that carry on as normal till the next labour government increases budgets as they do and will.

      • Paul Carpentier

        Thank you Craig
        Hope you recover well. Will be a long process.

        I remember seeing her getting out of n10 after a private meeting with TM (2016?) and saying nothing to those journalists afterwards, that cheeky smile of her on the face. That was unusual. I remember my partner saying … ” there is something that has changed, she is acting strangely, what is going on? Since then…

        Take care

        Paul Carpentier

    • Clark

      “So what changed?”

      The SNP leadership and Westminster MPs tasted the thrill of power. International, nuclear-backed, US-centric power. It’s addictive.

      • James Cormack

        US power is gradually weakening. Not now the open attempts at trying to change the governments of Latin America. That was done mostly in the Reagan era. Yes, Bush invaded Iraq on a lie but it achieved the death of the murderous dictator and his loathsome family who, eventually, were replaced with a more moderate government that we see nowadays. The storm clouds and don’t anyone be fooled by the noble intentions of Putin and Xi in Beijing. Not everything is the fault of the USA. The new kids on the block will teach the world how to expand their empires for there is no-one to stop them. Taiwan and Ukraine beware.

        • U Watt

          Someone lecturing on US in Latin America completely unaware of its recent coups in Honduras and Bolivia and repeated attempts on Venezuela. Lecture on James…

          • Castellio

            One might wish the US destruction in Iraq was that focused, and its results that benevolent. The facts are otherwise.

        • Clark

          James Cormack, your ‘reply’ is irrelevant to the comment I made; please do not ride on my comments like that. But since you mention it:

          – “but it achieved the death of the murderous dictator and his loathsome family…”

          Oh, and that was worth the 140,000 collateral murders, the >640,000 excess Iraqi deaths, and the power vacuum that was filled by jihadis now killing Syrians, was it?

          International law is perfectly clear; regime change must come from within. It is illegal for other countries to impose it, even the US.

    • Squeeth

      Do you not remember that once she got the gig, she was transformed into a neatly-coiffed, colour-coordinated exquisitely “tastefully” made-up young professional? That’s when I wrote her off as a fraud.

      • Shatnersrug

        I tell you what I remember, I remember as soon as the count was in Alex Salmond announcing that he had no intention of resigning and would continue the fight, but at 4 pm he suddenly announced he would be stepping down. I thought I most odd at the time and I still do now. I’m still not very impressed with leaders who stand down when an election is lost. All seems too much like a media decapitation to me, not even Neil Kinnoch did that.

        So why the change of heart after being so adamant? I think now pressure from the Murrells entrusted by the British state to play opposition.

    • Rhys Jaggar

      Duncan – I suspect the answer to your question is that, as First Minister, you are exposed to certain characters, certain threats by credible international actors, that her delusions took a mighty hit. She then had to decide to resign with her principles intact or to ‘have a career’ by making them a bit more malleable.

      Politicians may be public faces, but they have little real power. If they demonstrate signs of acquiring it, the global PTB usually organise a coup d’etat or an assassination.

      She’s just accepted a middle class sinecure with prospects to earn plenty more on the gravy train post office.

  • Dave M

    Welcome back, Craig! I’m delighted that you are free once more, and no longer a political prisoner in what is fast becoming an Orwellian state.

    Thank you for this brilliant piece of writing. You haven’t missed and hit the wall! It’s abundantly clear that Sturgeon and her coterie of science deniers and queer theorists have no intention of achieving independence. It’s the policy that dare not speak its name, so much so that there are (more probably were) something like four civil servants working part-time on independence. They would much rather push gender identity ideology on children than argue for our return to our rightful place in the family of nations. But they are able to do this because they have no electoral pressure. The new pro-independence parties need to band together and take the fight to the SNP, and urgently.

  • Clark

    Craig Tweeted today:

    “Stewart MacDonald is by no means the only security service asset in the senior ranks of the SNP, but he is the most obvious.
    A couple of years ago I found MacDonald’s research assistant pumping out Israeli Defence Force propaganda.”

    Stewart McDonald recently published a report about “disinformation in Scotland”. It makes the usual assumptions, eg. which states are “hostile” (to Scotland?) and that all corporate media and pro-NATO perspectives are legitimate and everything else is hostile propaganda and disinformation – and I note that it cites among many others NATO’s Botfinder General Ben Nimmo. I found it exceptionally boring reading, but I persevered to the end. Here’s a link and a choice snippet:

    “Foreign broadcast networks
    – The Russian government has made extensive use of its state-backed media platforms in Scotland, platforming George Galloway and Alex Salmond on RT and Sputnik. These platforms exist to promote the Kremlin’s line on issues of key concern to the Russian state.”

    • Tatyana

      The idea that Russia could be hostile to Scotland made me smile! I recalled we discussed here a possible Russian invasion.
      Cannot speak for all the Russians, but me personally was thrilled with the invasion idea ever since I learned about the kilts and the absence of underwear.
      I even pondered for a couple of days about a weapon I could craft – a stick with a hook, to chase men in the streets to lift their kilts.
      Not sure my invasion dreams can be described with the word ‘hostile’. My rather good memory digged out the word ‘scotch’, and my very creative imagination drew me a picture where everyone was drunk and happy.

      • Rhys Jaggar

        Tatyana, the first law of US/UK ‘politics’ is that everything bad in our countries, on earth even, is all Russia’s fault. It’s the fault of that disgusting traitor Vladimir Putin, who shamefully puts the interests of his own electors ahead of the interests of Western grandstanding politicians and war industries.

        You may be joined in your ‘High Security Political Prison’ soon by China, as they have committed the ultimate crime of building bridges rather than dropping bombs. That really is unforgiveable.

        If you did decide to invade Scotland (JOKE!!), you might find the countryside to Russians’ taste. Lots of beautiful wilderness, glorious hills and mountains, islands and lochs. And you might also enjoy Scotland’s answer to Russian vodka, namely Single Malt Scotch. I am sure Mr Murray would be happy to educate visiting Russians on the wide variety of delectable whiskies to be found up there.

        You might also like to enjoy Scotland’s equivalent to Russia-Ukraine diplomatic tensions – a day watching Glasgow Celtic take on Glasgow Rangers. Be warned not to try too deeply to understand the nature of rival tribal viewpoints – the trigger points for wildly over-the-top reactions can be extremely minor to the uninitiated…..

    • James Cormack

      Are we enemies of the Israeli state? Personally, I would much rather ally with Israel, which we in the West have much in common, than with the numerous (and murderous) tinpot and Islamist regimes that are to be found peppered around the Middle East. Or are we to support the odious Hamas terror group in Gaza alongside other jihadists in their quest for peace?

      • U Watt

        The Israeli state has been declared an apartheid state by Human Rights Watch, so you’re telling on yourself writ large. As for Islamists, I’m sure you were 100% behind the effort to install black flag men in power in Damascus.

      • Wang Shui

        Yes, you in the West have much in common with Israel.
        You bomb innocent civilians (MIddle East) and invade their territory.
        You steal their land and colonise it (USA, New Zealand, Australia).
        You preach democracy while denying it to your colonised (Hong Kong – and then reproach China for failing to do so).
        A marriage made in….
        Hamas, incidentally, is the democratically elected government of Gaza.

        • Goose

          Hezbollah’s and Hamas’ relatively recently re-evaluated status making them ‘banned terrorist organisations’ – despite the fact they don’t conduct operations against us and their fight isn’t with us, is more a testimony to Israel’s influence and lobbying in the highest offices of state.

          Undoubtedly a feather in the cap to Israel’s diplomatic tenacity and perseverance and a shameful indictment of how easily manipulated US/UK senior figures at the FCO/MoD and low quality political leaderships are.

          Our govts have quite shamefully been persuaded to side with an apartheid enforcing Goliath over David. When the minimum we should expect is that they should be neutral – they’re not even pretending to be even-handed these days. A stark contrast to the days when people used to claim the FCO was too ‘Arabist’ in outlook, it’s probably now best described as Zionist.

          • arby

            And Jeremy Corbyn was defenestrated by means of this martyrdom of convenience. This carry-on suits other agendas besides that of Israel slowly strangling the life out of Palestine.

  • M.J.

    The negative comments about Nicola Sturgeon made me curious about the exactly what she and the SNP believe in (for the same reason that book burnings increase sales). According to a wiki article the SNP (and hence its leader) are for Scottish independence, but are not republicans, preferring constitutional monarchy. They would also have a codified constitution for the UK (which has much to be said for it) and PR elections for both houses of the UK Parliament. Even trying to look at it from the point of view of people who want Scottish independence, I find much to sympathise with here. I’m not sure why Sturgeon is being accused of hypocrisy.

    • DunGroanin

      Are you incapable of seeing that a constitutional monarchy can’t also be an Independent state?

      Maybe you should study the history of America and its birth.

      These who want Indy should be working and agreeing the constitution and a true PR system that works in many advanced nations better Thant other system.

      Then operate it as shadow state being ready to institute it day one of Declaration of Independence – without asking the constitutional monarch’s permission.

      What you think, MJ?

      • M.J.

        A number of countries have “dominion status” but are politically independent of the UK, namely Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Something like this may be the SNP’s official position, though the party contains republicans as well.

        • Wikikettle

          MJ. The Old British Empire to this day considers and treats the whole world as still its “Dominion”.

        • DunGroanin

          Are they also financially independent MJ? Do they own their own resources or does the Crown?

          Craig’s first words out of prison were about Barbados finally casting of the Crown of England – you seem to think it OK for Scotland to retain it. Maybe you’d advocate the US to return officially to Dominion status? Surely they could avoid their messy 4 year beauty contest.

          • M.J.

            Scotland’s not independent at the moment, nor did it choose to be in the 2014 referendum. Barbados made its own decision to become a republic, as would Scotland, were it to become independent. For the US to have been a dominion like a Canada might have been no bad thing. Slavery would have ended a generation earlier, for one thing.

        • DunGroanin

          What about their Right to Bear Arms?

          You are clearly but in-aptly trolling this site as you don’t engage with arguments but constantly divert. The above exchange where you completely ignore the difference between independent and being a dominated Dominion shows that you are here shilling the Unionist cause.

          “I’m not sure why Sturgeon is being accused of hypocrisy.”

          Look in the mirror or just read the indelible evidence of this exchange.

          • M.J.

            That definitely sounds ad hominem. Scotland (theoretically) would have the sort of independence that dominions like New Zealand have. I say ‘theoretically’ because I don’t support it. No need to shill unionism – after all it won in 2014 🙂

        • Ian

          The 1975 Australian constitutional crisis, also known simply as the Dismissal, culminated on 11 November 1975 with the dismissal from office of the Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam of the Australian Labor Party (ALP), by Governor-General Sir John Kerr, who then commissioned the Leader of the Opposition, Malcolm Fraser of the Liberal Party, as caretaker Prime Minister. It has been described as the greatest political and constitutional crisis in Australian history –

          So much for their political independence from the UK.

    • Paul Cockshott

      If a party wish to leave the UK they have no business proposing different constitutional arrangements for the UK. Concern with these may indicate that they do not really want to leave.

  • BrianFujisan

    Craig Said –

    “Sturgeon, and the SNP under her, supports the British government’s pivot towards projecting military power into the Pacific, supports NATO deployment of missiles on the Russian border, supports the Royal Navy in its incursions in the Black Sea, supports the destabilisation of Syria, supports each and every claim about curiously unsuccessful deployments of novichok, even supports a switch from unilateral to multilateral nuclear disarmament as outlined by her Westminster MPs Alyn Smith and Stewart MacDonald. She loudly condemns Alex Salmond for appearing on Russia Today.”

    I remember being Horrified when Ian Blackford Supported the Westminster Crap on Question time…Re the Skripal’s

    • Republicofscotland


      We had the SNP MPs Deputy leader at Westminster Kirsty Oswald, use her PMQ question last week not to further the cause of Scotland, no Oswald used it to demand that the UK boycott China’s Winter Olympics.

      Who the hell do these people think they are, we didn’t elect them to go off on one and promote their own agenda on another country, we elected them to promote Scottish interests at Westminster.

      • Tatyana

        Hehe, China wins more and more russian heart when they behave their own unique Chinese way 🙂 On Olympic Games boycott they commented that those intending to boycott are trying to – please suggest a proper saying in English – to poker face at having sh*tted one’s pants. China says those were not invited.
        They also leave a way for saving a face, mentioning it is due to Covid restrictions.
        Next time your politicians try to pretend they are boycotting the Games, just you know they were not invited. Of course, due to covid. Chinese culture is so polite!

        • Wikikettle

          Tatyana, I agree for years the Chinese were polite in the extreme. However watching and hearing their miniseries readouts and pronouncements, they have lost their patience and become very outspoken when it comes to the Taiwan issue. I really believe they are prepared to risk their econonomy over Sovereignty of Taiwan. Their long period of Humiliation by the British, Japanese and American Empires is over. They have pride in what they have achieved in a relatively short time. As Russia has regained its dignity, the two are a force for good in my opinion. The US seems determined to have wars on three fronts: Iran, Russia and China. They seem determined to drag the whole world down with them. It’s certainly the most dangerous period today in world affairs. Any agreements or Treaties reached, such as JCPOA can be broken and need to be ratified by Congress. Congress is bought and sold by the arms makers. Britain can always be relied on to up the Russia threat. According to Israel, Iran has been on the verge of a nuclear bomb every year for the last twenty!

          • Tatyana

            Wikikettle, on treaties and agreements –
            The deceitful statements of Western politicians, their constant manipulation of facts and attempts to present events in a different light are so boring that Russian diplomacy took an unprecedented step. I doubt it was covered by Western media, so let me be your source.
            In November, Russia discussed a meeting with France and Germany on Ukraine, and Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs then published this diplomatic correspondence on its website!
            Can you imagine that? Diplomatic correspondence of Lavrov, Maas and LeDrian published for everyone to see. Gosh, we are morally tortured to disclose private letters, and diplomatic correspondence, I believe it must be more protected by some law.

            Lavrov’s comment on this unprecedented step was:

            “The publication is necessary to show to the international community the truth about who and how fulfills international legal obligations. Kiev, with the patronage of its Western sponsors, sabotages its obligations under the Minsk agreements and directly violates the UN Security Council Resolution 2202.”

        • Rhys Jaggar

          Tatyana, the published minutes you mention below were not published to my knowledge in the UK MSM, but they were discussed in an article at RT, which is a far better source (albeit not unimpeachable) for Russian opinions. Unfortunately, it seems to being progressively taken over by US voices, when the whole value of it to me was seeing Russians with Western education/life experience putting the Russian point of view across most eloquently.

          As for ‘poker face at ….’, we might say ‘display amiable sangfroid in the face of extremely unfavourable circumstances’….

          We English are quite crude about using the expression ‘shitting oneself’. We never bother to describe the nature of the face being displayed, we just opine on the internal machinations….

          Mr Murray will no doubt be able to tell you if the Scottish are more refined in their language usage….

      • pete

        Obviously Kirsty Oswald was not elected for her views on China. The only thing I can find on the SNP position on international affairs is dated September 2018 ( itemised in the page source of this page: ) which does not mention China specifically. So I guess she is making it up as she goes along, siding with the general UK Government policy, which happens always to coincide with the USA policy.
        I don’t know what her source for information on the Uyghurs is, it may have been the totally unbiased independent accounts on Wikipedia see:
        Ooops, sorry for the sarcasm.

        • Wang Shui

          Uyghur genocide, you only have to read about the BRI and look at a map to figure what that is all about.
          Or, consider that the Uyghurs are not the largest Muslim minority in China – when did you hear about oppression of the Hui?
          Just the latest in a long series of lies, this another one from Mike (we lied, we cheated, we stole) Pompeo based on the ramblings of the absurd Adrian Zenz.

    • James Cormack

      I think if you took the trouble to visit various eastern European capitals the overwhelming view would be that Putin is a murderer who does not tolerate dissent or opposition and who will engage in military opportunism if he thinks he can get away with it. I cannot believe that there are some so naive on this site who think otherwise.

      • Republicofscotland

        The same would surely apply in South American countries with the USA in mind, however you don’t see nukes pointed at the USA from South America. Infact the USA is so cocky its Monroe doctrine virtually says to countries outwith the America’s sphere, this is our turf to do as we please stay away.

        Naivety you say.

      • Paul Mc

        The overwhelming view in these Eastern European capitals would also be that Russia is unfairly mistreating them by not giving them more money, natural gas, handouts, etc.

  • Andrei

    To be fair, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia is a bad example. Article 72 of Soviet consitution allowed any of the 15 republics (and all those 3 were) to leave

    • Wikikettle

      Just a thought…if one container ship blocking the Suez canal can cause chaos and oil price to rocket, what if the US and Israel bomb Iran? Utter mayhem in the Persian Gulf. US Banks predict immediate rise in oil price to 300 dollars a barrel.

  • Godfree Roberts

    Comparing Chinese apparatchiks to a political nobody like Danny Alexander insults both Chinese apparatchiks and the country they serve.

    There is a reason that there are far more Chinese leading UN organizations than any other nationality: they are very, very good at governance and, for the very reason you cite in this post, international agencies are short on talent.

  • Giyane

    Godfree Roberts

    Neo-liberal Tories do not see good governance as part of their job specification.

  • Clark

    Just as Sturgeon sells out Scotland to Westminster and NATO, Priti Patel sells out strategic UK interests to the US. This is corruption:

    – UK satellite telecommunications provider Inmarsat is set to become the latest high-value British tech company to fall into foreign ownership, having agreed a takeover worth $7.3bn with US rival Viasat. […] Geostationary satellites such as those provided by Inmarsat are set to remain vital to the work of many businesses. Despite this strategic importance, the UK government is unlikely to block the sale, experts say.

    – Dr Malcolm Macdonald, director of the Scottish Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications, says […] “Inmarsat are a globally leading company, and have a long track record of being successful… It is a fantastic company and a real prize asset to the UK,” he says. “Twenty-five per cent of the world’s geostationary satellites are built in the UK, and we have a large part of the market for the innovation and development of services in space. Inmarsat is not just a service provider, it has been an innovator in developing new services, particularly for maritime and aviation. It’s a real blue-chip asset. […] It is disappointing to see yet another successful, globally leading UK technology firm being acquired by a foreign rival” […].

    – However, he expects the deal to be completed, not least because Home Secretary Priti Patel previously acted as a strategic advisor to Viasat, being paid £1,000 an hour for five hours work a month. This relationship ended when she took up her cabinet post in 2019.

    Whatever happened to the “sovereignty” that this Brexiteer government was supposedly elected upon?

    • DunGroanin

      Whoops didn’t mean to put a direct link to the Guarfian Mods please feel free to replace.

      [ Mod: The original URL is displayed, but the link actually directs to the equivalent page on “”

      Anyway, it’s well off topic and will soon disappear. ]

      • DunGroanin

        Ok thanks.
        that’s why I put the main comment on the discussion forum with a link.
        Do what you think is best. 😉

    • Henry Smith

      Patel was sacked by PM Theresa May for corrupt practices with regard to the Israeli government and military. Yet here she is in a position of power continuing to undermine the UK. Traitors seem to do well under the current crop of Tories.

      • James Cormack

        What is your definition of a traitor. I detest Patel and her ilk but doing deals with a country which we have always been friendly with does not constitute a threat to ourselves. Like the Arab states that are now doing lucrative deals with the Jewish state it is realpolitik, and good business.

        • Wikikettle

          James Cormack. Welcome to Craig’s site. I am impressed with the depth of knowledge and research detailed in your exhaustive posts. I have learned so much from the historical context and accurate and balanced arguments you lay before us all. You must be a Professor, academic, author and respected commentator. Surely a BBC guest on their prestigious current affairs programmes? Or even a Government Advisor ? Welcome. Looking forward to learning much more from thee.

        • Stewart

          James Cormack: USA and Israel good! Russia bad!

          Away and collect your CIA paycheck, you’re not fooling anyone

          • Goose

            Probably supports Israel’s asserted right to bomb anywhere it chooses as it continues infringing upon Syria’s sovereignty at will.

            This completely missing the fact that if all nations behaved like Israel, the planet would’ve been reduced to a smouldering glowing heap of radioactive ash in the 1960s.

            Nuclear-armed Israel’s refusal to be bound by any and all international law, if anything, makes the case for nuclear proliferation in that region. For Israel’s motto seems to be ‘With great power comes great IRRESPONSIBILITY’

        • Deb O'Nair

          “which we have always been friendly with”

          That is not true, a British head of state has never visited Israel largely because of the nature of Israel’s “independence” movement, i.e. Zionist terrorist gangs running amok post WW2 killing British people with car bombs in Jerusalem.

        • Republicofscotland

          “What is your definition of a traitor”

          Nicola Sturgeon.

          I had to laugh at the rest of your post, if it wasn’t for the USA funding and backing the oppressive apartheid military occupying regime known as Israel, things might be a wee bit it different.

      • Rhys Jaggar

        They do well if the corruption favoured Israel. We need to get real about how Israel sees the UK Parliament as its servant, not an independent Sovereign Government.

        If she’d done what she’d done with Bashar al Assad, she’d have been out. He is just as much a statesman as anyone in Israel is.

  • nevermind

    Nicola is refusing to build two new harbours to provide direct access to European ports, a key manifesto promise by the Green Party, it was dropped. Her support to build two ships for 300 million at a run down shipyard when a Scottish builder of ferries would provide her with 30 modern ferries for that same money is another of her motivations to suck up to Westminster.
    And then there is the issue of energy supplies which ex SNP member Ian Lawson wrote about, mentioning the colonialism that runs through all forms of energy production and distribution of Scottish natural assets.

    • Tatyana

      eeerr, I’m sorry, do I get it right that Ms.Sturgeon preferred to spend money on ships and ferries instead of spending it on harbours?

      • Republicofscotland

        She seems part of the ploy to funnel Scottish goods to Europe through England first and foremost, developing modern harbours and opening up Prestwick to international trade routes has been frowned upon the first by Sturgeon the second by Westminster.

        Only independence will allow Scotland to develop its trade routes and air hubs to send goods to Europe and further afield from Scotland cutting out England.

        • Tatyana

          I’m not much of an investor, but I have a little experience in logistics.
          Investing in vehicle when it’s easy to charter? Better arrange people bring their goods to you, and you can ship your goods as a return way cargo. Easy. Your money better invest into logistic center.
          I’m not even talking about the jobs.

          It’s clear even at the level of a housewife. You better buy a stove, and a pot you can borrow from a neighbor. Better decision then buying a set of brand new casseroles, while asking your neighbor to cook breakfast, lunch and dinner in their kitchen.

          With all my respect to those who voted for Miss Sturgeon, this was a bad decision.

          • Rhys Jaggar

            The drunken Scots have an expression for what you just enunciated so clearly Tatyana: ‘Youse are all fuckin’ idiots!’

        • nevermind

          Comparing her slowcoach response to Brexit with that of an instantly moving Rep. of Ireland, she must have refused to take part in discussions to put Scotland’s case. There is nothing progressive to craw about.
          Why is she refusing to ready two ports for increased trade with Europe?

          • Tatyana

            Transport requires daily expenses, and also wears out and sometimes becomes unusable or even perishes.
            While a port has value in itself – location, workload, services, additional services, entrance fees, parking, passage, unloading, inspection, certification, customs clearance, etc. – literally money out of thin air papers, rules and human resources. Opportunity for jobs and related businesses like hotels, food, laundress and the like.
            In a couple of years, with what you earn, you can buy twice as many of your own ferries.

            You say you farm salmon in Scotland?

          • Rhys Jaggar

            Tatyana – salmon farming and salmon fishing is big business in Scotland.

            The well-to-do pay very, very good money to fish salmon and trout on the best pieces of Scottish real estate. Along with shooting grouse and deer. It’s a very significant part of the Scottish tourism sector.

          • Stevie Boy

            Rhys. Re. “The well-to-do pay very, very good money to fish salmon and trout on the best pieces of Scottish real estate. Along with shooting grouse and deer. I”. A less charitable person might say, “and there’s the problem”. The rich, predomitably non Scots I’d guess, use Scotland as their private playground with large areas of land under their control and out of bounds to the ordinary Joe. Good for tourism, no, I’d suggest good for their own self interests.

          • Tatyana

            In Russian cuisine, common fish are cod, hake, pollock, herring, mackerel. Salmon of a higher price category and in Russian stores has always been from northern Europe until sanctions were introduced. Now we had to get used to salmon “from Chile” and shrimp “from Belarus”. You can imagine the wonderful shrimp from the beautiful cold seas of Belarus! 🙂
            Well, the map says it’s 10 hours flight from Dundee to Kaliningrad, 28 hour driving by land. Perhaps it’s a day (or 2) long sea way by ship, via Denmark seaways . Why not making business with Russia?

          • Rhys Jaggar

            Stevie Boy – I didn’t put any personal opinion into that fact sharing – I was just hoping to help Tatyana understand the role that salmon fishing has currently in Scotland.

            There’s plenty of space for arguing about whether to repurpose Scottish land away from ‘traditional’ ‘elite’ economic management to a more inclusive one employing more rural people.

            My view is that the way to make the case is to buy some land somewhere and try out whatever models your kind of folks think are most appropriate.

            Just so you know: I’ve never been salmon fishing nor shooting in Scotland. I have stayed in pretty much every region of the Scottish Highlands as I walked/climbed/ran my way around all the Munroes as a young man. I certainly supported the local economies when I walked the West Highland Way in my 40s (overnight stays in hotels/inns along the route etc).

  • Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh

    Craig writes:

    « There are precedents for UK governments helping opposition figures whom they find congenial into international posts. But if Nicola crosses the line of enmity with the UK government, her own primary aspirations for future career and income will be finished » « The Union appears to be in the gravest of danger. But do not worry, Nicola is there to save the Union, diverting the Independence movement into a choice selection of utterly blind alleys, labeled “COVID freeze”, “Gender Reform”, “Economic Recovery” and “S30 Memorandum”. Nicola will go down in history alongside the Duke of Cumberland as one of the greatest servants of British Unionism. »

    The above presents Nicola Sturgeon as cynically driven by personal ambition rather than principle. I wonder if there may be a nuanced complexity beyond that. Plausible. Let me pick up on one of Craig’s above-listed “utterly blind alleys”, ie “Gender Reform”. (Given Craig’s hitherto stated stance elsewhere, I do this respectfully and circumspectly.)

    I am just now reading Helen Joyce’s book ‘TRANS: When Ideology Meets Reality’. With a nod to Alasdair Gray’s ‘LANARK’ I have started with Chapter 3. Actually, I jumped to that chapter because there’s a new MATRIX movie due and Helen Joyce has things to say about the stupendous original:

    « The film, released in 1999, has been interpreted in many ways, including as religious allegory, a vision of an online future and an expression of teenage alienation. But many trans people regard it as expressing their experiences. Some gender therapists even prescribe it as viewing for their clients’ families. It was written, produced and directed by the Wachowski siblings, both of whom were born male and came out as transwomen after its release. In 2020, Lilly, the younger and second to transition, confirmed that it was a ‘trans metaphor’. This chapter will use the film to explain gender-identity ideology. Its characters represent the figures that stalk transactivists’ discourse, from transphobes to detransitioners, and its premise and plot illuminate their worldview. […] When The Matrix was released, almost no one understood a trans person’s avowed cross-sex identity as anything like this…And yet, in the two decades since the film’s release, this very concept of transness has conquered medicine, law, public policy and the media. This surely could not have happened without the internet, not just because social media enabled its spread, but also because many people now spend more time in virtual worlds than the real one. »

    Anyway, as I am reading this, I am wondering about the authenticity of Nicola’s commitment to the extremely key “trans” project in her administration. Is she just hitching a ride on a fashionable demographic? (Oliviero Toscani comes to mind with his controversial but mostly successful hot social-issue ads for ‘United Colours of Benetton’ jerseys in the 1980s/90s.) If not cynicism, then what alternative is there but that Nicola has indeed honestly internalised it all. Which would mean (and this is my key point) that she views reality, and manifests it politically (which is her world), in a concordant way. I don’t mean that Nicola Sturgeon, or Oliviero Toscani for that matter, would need to be philosophically self-aware in an academic sense. Few are. Most of us get our “philosophy” subliminally by osmosis, predominantly through movies (like the Matrix, for example). But consider the following implications as layed out by Helen Joyce:

    « In the spread of gender-identity ideology, developments in academia played a crucial role. This is not the place for an extended critique of the thinking that evolved on American campuses out of 1960s French philosophy and literary criticism into gender studies, queer theory, critical race theory and the like. I will merely touch on what some have dubbed ‘applied postmodernism’ and the form of activism, known as ‘social justice’, that seeks to remake humanity along these ideological lines. And I will lay out the key elements that have enabled transsexuality, once understood as a rare anomaly, to be converted into an all-encompassing theory of sex and gender, and body and mind. Within applied postmodernism, objectivity is essentially impossible. Logic and reason are not ideals to be striven for, but attempts to shore up privilege. Language is taken to shape reality, not describe it. Oppression is brought into existence by discourse. Equality is no longer achieved by replacing unjust laws and practices with new ones that give everyone the chance to thrive, but by individuals defining their own identities, and ‘troubling’ or ‘queering’ the definitions of oppressed groups. »

    Interestingly, whether or not ironically, Oliviero Toscani’s father (Fedele Toscani) was the Corriere della Sera photojournalist who took that famous picture of the executed Mussolini hung by his heels. Now that’s “subversion” for sure.

    • Vivian O'Blivion

      I suspect that this extreme interpretation of Trans rights serves an administrative purpose for Sturgeon. An outlandish belief that forms the tenet of faith that binds the cult.
      District Attorney, Vincent Bugliosi formed the opinion that Charles Manson didn’t believe a word of Helter Skelter.
      To what extent have the self selecting cult of Politics graduates surrounding Sturgeon isolated themselves from public sentiment?
      Defense of Science is a hill many will be willing to die on.
      Still waters run deep, but I suspect the cult is oblivious to that.

  • Ebenezer Scroggie

    Wee Jimmy Krankie has seen the books. She knows how screwed the people of Scotland would have been by now if we’d cut ourselves off from the Barnett Billions and other freebies. We’d have been a country without a currency and with no central bank to fall back on.

    She knows that a neverendum would follow the same pattern as the referendum in which less than 38% of the electorate of Scotland voted for self-destruction.

    She quite certainly remembers, and is perhaps haunted by, the image of the tear-streaked face of Thatcher in the back of a limousine leaving Downing street and of the slumped figure of Wee Eck leaving Charlotte Square similarly humiliated. She knows that it would be her face in the next picture in that series if she risked another referendum. She certainly won’t make the same mistake that Smith made in Rhodesia by declaring UDI either. She knows how that would pan out.

    She, together with her dozen or so henchmen and women, is in clover. She has a huge (nobody even at the highest levels of Der Partei is allowed to know just how huge) household income. She has the limos and the flunkies and the fat expense account and the adoration of the sheeple and, above all else, the POWER. That’s what really floats her boat.

    She’ll bugger off to Brussels or New York on a high end 6-figure salary and juicy expense account, all tax-free of course, working in a plush office with loadsa fawning flunkies. She’ll dump her ‘husband’ of course. She won’t need him any more. First, though, she’ll lie low for a few months with her ffrench totty in their lovenests in Bridge of Allan and Portugal.

    She’s actually quite predictable.

  • Brian c

    If she doesn’t get the UKGov nod for a plum international job expect her to follow the NuLabour – Change UK route, lobbying for banks, dictators, bookies or bailiffs.

    Welcome home, mine liege.

  • Elizabeth Robertson

    Deluded like every other nationalist. If you think the majority of Scots would stand by and allow you to declare UDI you’re nuts. We had a referendum, you lost, get over it.

    • Goose

      Not completely deluded.

      Craig’s suggested approach would be a perfectly sensible course were polls consistently showing 70-80% support for independence.

      Whether the fact they aren’t (they typically show 45-55%) is a result of Sturgeon’s inactivity on the subject and lack of any sort of urgency .or promotion of independence, is open to debate.

  • Tek

    The leading historical example of seeking preferment by not rocking the establishment in the UK was Neil Kinnock who showed himself to be a leader prepared to abandon the trade unions including the miners from 1984 onwards in order to be allowed to become a European Commissioner when he stepped down from parliament.

    Kinnock was duly rewarded and then spent 10 years or so at the European Commission, starting at €250,000 a year, including stints as transport commissioner and deputy president. He then went on to become head of the British Council and later a member of the House of Lords.

  • Bill McDermott

    I think you are wrong on this. I prefer to believe what Mike Russel says and does. I am not saying that the SNP have done everything right – far from it, as in the 2017 election. But the preferred route in my eyes is to do all the deliberative planning and use the Westmister government’s denials of self determination democracy to demonstrate to the Scottish people that Westminster is a privileged hierarchy that takes no account of Scotland’s rights and thereby increase the antipathy towards the Empire 2 Brexiteers. Plan B is at hand for the refusal by Westminster to countenance self-determination. After all, we have the history of the Claim of Right and the Thatcher doctrine of a simple majority in a subsequent election, once we get a refusal of a Section 32.

    • Jules Orr

      “I prefer to believe what Mike Russel says and does”

      I definitely believe he would out-Thatcher Thatcher and privatise the NHS if given the chance, just as he proposed in Grasping the Thistle. “So Ms Sturgeon, what persuaded you to endorse an extreme Neo-Liberal for president if your party?”

    • Cubby

      Bill, I prefer to believe what Mike Russell does and that is nothing except pratt about in a horsebox and churn out a pathetic 11 point plan that everyone has forgotten about. If you think this is a serious approach to regaining Scotlands independence then you are seriously gullible.

      PS Westminster has already refused to countenance Scotlands self determination by refusing a sec 30.

  • Ian Chisholm

    The big danger of Devomax would be that the deal would incorporate a new Treaty of Union including a clause making the UK state indivisble…like the USA or Oz. That would render the 1707 Treaties defunct and with it our route to restoration of our Independence by revoking the Treaties of 1707 .

  • Kenneth G Coutts

    Happy new year Craig.
    I hope you are in good health after your unjust ordeal.
    My gut feelings about NS appear to be right, especially
    From folk like yourself, with expert knowledge of the political machinations and corruption of politicians, pointing out their failings, as honest brokers.

    I always maintain change comes from the people, not politicians.
    Keeping the faith for Scotland
    Onwards and upwards

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