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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  • Jimmy Riddle

    Craig – if I believed you for one moment that Scotland gaining independence would have the slightest effect on the evil USA/UK empire, then I’d be right behind you. As it is, the presence of Nicola Sturgeon in Bute House is a standing testimony to the fact that independence for Scotland, even if it were to arise, would have absolutely no effect.

    They have it sewn up in such a way that even if Scotland does gain its independence, they have their stooge in Bute House and they have the Scottish judiciary right where they want it too.

  • craig Post author

    You would have thought the same about Irish Independence pre 1916, or more or less every colony you can mention. There is always a colonial ruling elite operating in the interests of the colonial masters. They always try to channel nationalist opposition and pretend to be it. They always vanish into the mist in due course post independence.

    • Jimmy Riddle

      ….. I don’t see the Irish government doing all that much to oppose the USA/UK military alliance. I do appreciate (of course) that that was not their top priority when they got their independence – the briefest of glances at Irish history show that British involvement there was horrible – and very good that they got out and shook off the colonial oppressors.

      I very much hope that the people of Northern Ireland come to understand that their interests would be better served if they were governed from Dublin rather than London.

      I just don’t see the same considerations at work in Scotland – as far as I can see, the Scots actually provided more than their fair share of the colonial oppressors and organised more than their fair share of the colonial oppression. I want the power of the USA/UK military alliance smashed – that is my only concern here – and I don’t see how Scotland leaving the union would actually help with this.

      As for the mundane aspects of government (e.g. organising cleaning of the public toilets) I don’t see independence changing anything.

  • 1971Thistle

    Good to see you back and posting, Craig

    One other reason she doesn’t want a referendum is because there’s a chance she would lose (in fact, if her current team were at the helm, that’s a given). She doesn’t want that blot of ‘loser’ on her copybook; saying “I tried but they wouldn’t let me” fits her career narrative much better

  • M.J.

    Glad you’re back, though I still think (and I’m sure I’m not alone) that a holiday would do you and your family good, though unfortunately the Covid pandemic has made that difficult.
    1. From what you say about Sturgeon’s outlook on foreign policy, I don’t find her objectionable. But then, I’m not a Scottish nationalist.
    2. If there is “a single test of Scottish Independence – recognition by the United Nations”, then given your disillusioned view of the UN, that test is not likely to be passed in the foreseeable future, is it?
    3. The last time a real referendum was held, 55% of Scotland’s voters voted AGAINST independence. Opinion polls may be just an occasion for grumbling, which everyone does sometimes.

    • bevin

      “I don’t find her objectionable. But then, I’m not a Scottish nationalist..”

      You are not an anti-imperialist either – her foreign policy is Blairite, as indeed are her other politics.

      It is not coincidental that when Scottish Labour expired electorally, after years of Blairite enormities, it took its only real opponents – Scots Socialism – with it.
      This left Jeremy Corbyn without the support of one of socialism’s three electoral heartlands after the 2017 election in which, for the first time, the Establishment and its bosses in Washington came close to having to deal with a Prime Minister opposed to imperialist aggression and neoliberal socio-economic policies.
      Craig underestimates the debt that the Empire owes to Nicola and her ilk.

      • M.J.

        “You are not an anti-imperialist either – her foreign policy is Blairite, as indeed are her other politics.”
        You reminded me of Barack Obama’s sppech in Westminster Hall. He said ‘We embrace a broader responsibility .. And if we fail to meet that responsibility, who would take our place? And what kind of world would we pass on?” With the election of Trump we saw the answer to that question. Half of Afghanistan – all its women – abandoned to their fate under the Taleban. One good reason why it would have been better if Hillary Clinton had been elected in 2016, and why it may well be a good thing if Kamala Harris takes over from Joe Biden eventually.

        • Peter Moritz

          “Half of Afghanistan – all its women – abandoned to their fate under the Taleban (sic).”

          A fine example of the R2TP ideology. It is NOT up to a foreign nation to, with aggression, determine the political structure and laws of another country. That does not mean that other pressures could not be applied, but not by the action of a single nation that takes the right to determine, based on its own prevailing ideology, what politics are permitted in a foreign country they might have a geopolitical interest in.

          “And if we fail to meet that responsibility, who would take our place”

          Nothing but a display of the enormous arrogance exhibited by a member of the governing elite of a nation that, despite its own vast internal problems, thinks it has the right to interfere anywhere.
          In reality, this claim to any moral superiority, despite the torture chambers run by it in various back sites, Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, its failed race relations, its police brutality, oligarchic structure, etc., is just a means to hide its actual imperialist and hegemonic attempts to control world finances, resource extraction, trade routes.

          Your dream of a moral obligation by your fucked up nation (not the only one for sure, but the one with still a powerful dominating military), clashes with the reality as presented in studies, by US Universities, that since WW2 the USA, through interventions, is responsible for about 20 million deaths and 30 million refugees worldwide.

          • Twostime

            Thank you Peter, the white burden to bring “democracy” to countries outside our empire…

        • Gerald

          It wasn’t all the women of Afghanistan abandoned to the Taliban, it was only the women of Khabul. The West didnt give a fig about women in Afghanistan, they pump money into the always more liberal capital cities get the Wetsern press to write about the women going to the hairdressers and buying new clothes, teahcing in schools, its all PR and you seem to fall for it so, so easily. Its basic psyops 101 exactly the same as colour revolution ‘popular’ coups (see Belarus for most recent example) Its always a tiny minority with extras bussed in from the provinces, usually paid for by western’NGOs’ it can look quite impressive with their paid for and handed out free flags, it’s so see through but not if you watch the BBC or Sky or read the Guardian, Times, Telegraph etc. Its all a game, you understand. Those 2 million yellow hard hats and umbrellas in Hong Kong for example, where did they come from? The biggest hard hat and umbrella shop in the world? I think you will find that is based in Langley, Virginia. It’s all prepared for in advance and excecuted through Western paid lackeys (HK freedom fighters now living on the dollar in the US and Europe)

          The West cares nothing for women in Afghanistan, in point of fact a lot, lot less than the Soviets did, who when they left did so in an orderly phased withdrawl which left a govt in power for three further years until the USSR collapsed. The West cares about the West and that means banks and stealing resources from everywhere else. In cahoots with a supine press they can make fools believe anything, the reality on the ground for women in Afghanistan for the last 20 years was the same as the 20 before that. The women in Khabul were the lucky recipients of a vast injection of cash and foreign press corps neocolonial stenographers.

  • ET

    If Scotland were to declare independence “through a National Assembly of its combined Holyrood and UK parliamentarians,” as Sinn Fein did in Ireland in 1919 do you believe there would be a UK military response? If yes to what extent? How would the Scottish Independence movement respond if there was?

    My own thoughts on this question is probably not, at least overtly but the threat would certainly be there for a period of time were it to happen.

    • David W Ferguson

      No need for a military response. You could cause chaos and derail the whole thing while the process was in progress just by killing a few key people with heart attacks and suicides, something that the British State would not hesitate to do for one second.

    • Republicofscotland


      I can’t see Scotland exiting this union without some sort of shall we call it animosity from Whitehall, we would need to look towards the international community, though the US would definitely be against us. Westminster has a habit of hewing chunks off of countries that want/wanted to leave the empire, Pakistan and Northern Ireland spring to mind. Westminster has already stolen 6,000 miles of Scottish waters now when you look out at Carnoustie towards the sea, you are looking at English waters and not Scottish waters.

      I have a feeling that on declaring independence, Faslane naval base will be secured by the British military, and declared a British enclave, the British security services such as Denison barracks and GCHQ already spy deeply on Scotland so it would be raised up a bit more. As for our economy well Westminster undermines it just now as well, but I doubt there would be a hard border as British commerce would still want to trade with Scotland, good business has no hard borders.

  • Neil Kenny

    I continue to contribute to your Defence Fund. Is it still running? I’d be happy to transfer to your Blog. Please acknowledge.

    • craig Post author

      Hi Neil – the Defence Fund is still running, and we need to appeal to the ECHR, which though it won’t do me any good, will at least hopefully remove the appalling legal precedents set by the case.
      Very many thanks for the support.

      • DiggerUK

        The “appalling legal precedents” that you refer to…. is one of them the different status between uberjournalists and unterjournalists…_

      • Shatnersrug

        Is there no way to have your conviction quashed? I presume you have a criminal record? Or is that not the case for this civil offence?

        I would hope a win at the ECHR would remove this unfair tarnish on your name.

  • Stuart Blair

    Welcome back Craig,

    thankyou for the thoughtful responses you made to the few letters I wrote to you during your stay at HMP Saughton. I was pleased to hear you say they helped you pass the time and glad to see you in fighting spirit on your release. The internet is already a more interesting place with you back!


  • Vivian O'Blivion

    Let’s not forget the direct influence of the US State Department.

    On the inauguration of the devolved administrations the US State Department announced that they would be “taking an interest”. According to our MSM, this foreign influencing operation is entirely benign. The mere suggestion of Russian troll farms or Iranian bots throws our MSM into a spasm of hysterical pearl clutching.

    So who are the persons of interest?

    Humza Yousaf and Jenny Gilruth are graduates of the State Departments International Visitors Leadership Program.
    There is nothing inherently sinister in either Yousaf or Gilruth having participated in the IVLP, others (Kezia Dugdale, Patrick Harvey, Ross Thompson) were recipients of the State Department’s largesse.
    What’s interesting are the details where Yousaf and Gilruth are concerned.
    From Yousaf’s Wiki: “In 2008, whilst working as an aide, Yousaf took part in the IVLP programme, an exchange that is run by the US State Department.” That’s right, in his second year as a humble aide, Yousaf was recognised by the US State Department as a “future leader”.
    School teacher, Gilruth was in Washington as part of an IVLP delegation on 9th July 2016. That’s 35 working days after being sworn in as a rookie MSP.
    If those two don’t strike you as State Department plants, I have a Nigerian Prince you should meet.

    Angela Crawley was also present in Washington on 9th July 2016 during (WoS, All the jolly boys and girls). What Crawley (SNP Defence Procurement Spokesperson at the time) was doing in Washington is not at all clear. There’s no mention in her HoC register of interests. Perhaps a private visit, circa Priti Patel going on “holiday” to the Golan Heights. Then again, Patel is independently wealthy (est. £2.2 m), Crawley most certainly ain’t. Politics graduate Crawley is (as of 01/02/21) Shadow Attorney General for the SNP at Westminster. Get this; Crawley obtained a LLB Degree in Law from the University of Glasgow AFTER she became a MP. A Shadow Attorney General that’s never practiced law! Truly we live in an age of wonder.

    On a recent James Kelly podcast, when asked about the attempted forcing of “Nicola’s favourites” as parliamentary candidates, the first name to spring to Denise Findlay’s mind was Stephen Gethins.
    Stephen Gethins became the first SNP, MP to be allowed a position on the HoC, Foreign Affairs Select Committee in July 2015. Gethins retained his position as SNP, Foreign Affairs Spokesperson and member of the FASC following the 2017, snap election, despite having his constituency majority reduced to TWO.
    Prior to gaining a salary from UK politics, first as an advisor to Alex Salmond and then as an MP, Gethins was employed by “NGO LINKS”. NGO LINKS is based out of the University of Arizona and is funded by the US Government’s National Science Foundation (the National Endowment for Democracy may be losing its usefulness as a CIA front). NGO Links is exclusively interested in matters on Russia’s Southern border with particular emphasis on the Republic of Georgia.
    On losing his seat in the December 2019 snap election, Gethins rapidly gained (indecently so) employ at the School of International Relations, University of St. Andrews. The SoIR, was BBC Scotland’s go-to source for “Russia bad” commentary before they discovered the swivel eyed, Prof. Anthony Glees at the Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies at the University of Buckingham. The proximity of the SoIR to the “auld haunted barn” that housed the Integrity Initiative may or may not be coincidental.

    The State Department has its own reasons to influence Scottish politics (Faslane, the Scottish Icelandic gap, … ). There’s also the established protocol of the State Department and MI5 operating on a quid pro quo basis. Remember little Simon Bracey-Lane of the Institute for Statecraft volunteering to “work for Bernie Sanders” during his Primary run against Hillary Clinton. “You run dirty tricks against our lot and we’ll run dirty tricks against yours.”.

  • Gregory Nunn

    As to a military response to an independence declaration, I would expect Challengers being parked around “sensitive” sites, nuclear, military, or just high visibility areas, along with troops, before the sun sets on that day.
    There are military occupation plans somewhere, kept current, and some level of training has taken place.
    Bet on it.

  • Republicofscotland

    “There are no dissidents in the UN Secretariat.”

    Very depressing but not a surprise.

    As for your piece on Sturgeon, its absolutely bang on in my opinion, she has no interest whatsoever in independence, I recall a few weeks back on the Sunday Politics show Ian (Scotland won’t stand for it) Blackford being braced by the presenter, who said that independence wasn’t on the menu for SNP business for 2022, now how could you possibly hold an indyref in 2023 without laying the groundwork next year, add in that Angus Robertson is the Constitutional secretary and it doesn’t take much imagination to see that there isn’t going to be an indyref.

    Your route out of this union is a viable one, what do you think of the SSRG’s route out of the union?

    It looks like we’re stuck in Groundhog day until Sturgeon steps down as FM in 2026 if she does step down, even then the SNP will probably just replace like for like, and another five years will go to waste.

    Options what are our options?

  • Fazal Majid

    There is a flaw in the reasoning: if Sturgeon were to achieve independence for Scotland, a grateful Scotland would be happy to sponsor her for any international office after she retired from domestic politics (or perhaps second her to the EU as commissioner). People like Mary Robinson (former Irish president) have led distinguished careers at the UN despite coming from a small country.

    It’s not as if the UK has any residual prestige left giving it an inside edge for international appointments, quite the opposite, as George Osborne found out to his chagrin. Decades of toeing the US line mean the UK commands mere contempt, if an international body wanted a US toady, they would just cut out the middleman and get an American.

    • Republicofscotland

      “It’s not as if the UK has any residual prestige left giving it an inside edge for international appointments, quite the opposite, as George Osborne found out to his chagrin.”

      And of late Matt Hancock.

    • craig Post author

      Not really Fazal. Achieving Independence, and then international recognition, is a long and hard road with an outcome that cannot be guaranteed. Being rewarded as a willing colonial satrap is far quicker, easier and surer. You are right that UK access is not as good as it was post-Brexit. But there are still plenty out there.

  • M.J.

    “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.”

    Why not write an expose of the UN?

  • Neil Munro

    There is one crucial ingredient missing without which Scottish independence without the consent of the UK government is impossible, and that is a Scottish army. There have been successful independence movements which came to power without using military force — the Baltic states come to mind — but they were exceptions, contingent on the prior political collapse of a multi-ethnic state. Nothing similar is on the cards for the UK. The independence granted to former colonies was not some act of post-imperial benevolence, but also contigent on a calculation that Britain could not hold onto its empire by force — due to distance, lack of funds, and lack of personnel. Such calculations in relation to Scotland reveal just the opposite. There is no appetite whatsoever from the Scottish public for the type of sacrifices which would be required to win independence by force. Ergo, Nicola’s way — reliant on gentle persuasion of the rest of the UK that Scotland deserves its right to self-determination — is the only way. What she does with the rest of her life after she stops being FM is irrelevant. Any future FMs will find themselves in exactly the same position, unless and until the UK collapses through some heretofore unimaginable accident.

    • craig Post author

      I don’t think the British army could be relied on to coerce Scotland by killing people en masse, in the ultimate analysis Neil. Incidentally, in your never never scenario what date do you put on Independence happening?

      • Neil Munro

        Near where I live there is a little monument to three young men, two brothers named Smith and a third man, all Covenanters, who were ridden down and killed by troops loyal to the Duke of Monmouth, mopping up after the Battle of Bothwell Bridge in the summer of 1679. Other men who took part in the battle were taken to Edinburgh and held in a camp on the site of Greyfriars Church, where many of them starved to death.

        The British state has a long inglorious history of using men-at-arms to put down civilians who forget their place. I don’t see the British government of the 2020s as having more moral compunctions about doing that than the government of the 1670s. If anything, they have less.

        In my never never scenario, Scottish independence happens some time around 2060, when the UK collapses either due to some natural catastrophe, or as a result of a major war in which the UK is among the losers.

        I used to think it could happen sooner as a result of parliamentary arithmetic, but I am now certain that English MPs collectively would not allow it, whatever their political stripe..The only reason we had an independence referendum in 2014 was that David Cameron made the mistake of underestimating the independence movement. No future British PM will ever repeat that..

      • Fazal Majid

        Wouldn’t they just follow the Spanish government’s playbook for Catalonia and just jail the political leaders? It’s not as if the UK (or Scotland) has a real Bill of Rights (as opposed to a contingent gift of Parliament that can be withdrawn at Parliament’s whim) or an independent judiciary, something you have unfortunately experienced first-hand.

      • David G

        “ I don’t think the British army could be relied on to coerce Scotland by killing people en masse …”

        For what it’s worth, that’s an argument in favor of armed struggle, not against it.

      • Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh

        A Scottish Labour politician who has surely epitomized international advancement through UK State endorsement saw fit to include the following quite astounding passage in a speech given in America a few months prior to the 2014 independence referendum:

        “There is some significance in all of we Scots speaking here in Washington and in New York and the major cities of the United States of America. Because the possible independence of Scotland maybe resonates with some who were involved in great battles of the past over here. And some people with no real grasp of history make a tortured comparison with the American bid for independence from Britain in the 1770s. Something that was pioneered by the Scots of course who had a lot to do with that. […] But if [those] who make this facile comparison understood the history of this country they might look more relevantly at the Civil War where hundreds of thousands of Americans perished in a war to keep the new Union together. To Lincoln and his compatriots the Union was so precious, so important, and its integrity so valuable that rivers of blood would be spilt to keep it together.”

        • Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh

          I should have added to the above comment that Alex Salmond also gave a speech in America that year. It was at the opening of Glasgow Caledonian University’s new campus in New York on 9 April 2014. A couple of weeks before the independence referendum. This was the tenor of what he had to say:

          “There is much more that we can do as a (Scottish) sovereign state to host and support these (global peace and reconciliation) initiatives. And our current democratic journey provides a helpful context – as we decide our future in a context based entirely on consensual, civic, non-ethnic and peaceful principles. Sometimes we get frustrated about the quality of debate, particularly on the internet. However we should remember that in a century of striving for home rule and independence, nobody has lost their life arguing for or against Scottish independence. Indeed, nobody has had so much as a nosebleed. That’s not unique, but it’s a very, very precious thing. We’re now engaged in a consensual constitutional process which will be decided at the ballot box. Again, not unique – but rare – and something which should be cherished.”

  • Jan Cowan

    Delighted to see you on the go again! More and more honest Yessers are keen to follow the route you advise. Fortunately, Sturgeon has been left behind and is considered a “has-been” by many. Not before time! We have to get a move on, though, and make sure the majority of voters in Scotland are ready and willing to support the true Independence Parties .

  • Clark

    Craig wrote:

    “Sturgeon […] 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, […] even supports a switch from unilateral to multilateral nuclear disarmament.”


    “…the Scottish Parliament has no power to incorporate the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into Scottish law.”


  • Craig P

    If you are right about this, then Sturgeon’s departure risks the accession of a leader who prioritises independence – so every reason for the UK government to keep stringing her along and encourage her to stay in place as long as possible (whilst hoping the unionists manage to form a coalition at Holyrood next election).

    • Johnny

      Erm, why do you think that Nicola has been busily purging her main opponents within the SNP, with more total success in some cases than others? Whoever stepped up will be trusted to carry on in similar vein. While there are still some there that might change tack if they were to win a leadership election, this will be more difficult if so many members who also don’t agree with the party’s drift have left in disgust and are therefore not around to vote in it, leaving a smaller (but more loyal to that clique) cadre of voters.

  • SA

    What exactly would change if Scotland became independent even with the most ardent Nationalist on the helm? Why would anything change. Will Scotland become independent from the monetary system and the defense alliances and everything associated with neoliberalism? As the Corbyn experiment has shown it is now nearly impossible to envisage anyone in politics in this country being mildly to the left or with independent thoughts on foreign policy. Even middle sized countries such as Germany and France have to toe the line, whilst the much touted post Soviet independence of the Baltic states merely changed dependence from one bloc to another.
    Without addressing the system and how it operates, independence of small states will only produce fragmentation of the common fight against neoliberalism. AS it happens now, Scotland and Scottish politicians have a larger say and a bigger punch on both national and international policies. With Scotland gone, Westminster will become a Tory fiefdom forever.

    But also yet another contradiction. Why should independence only be legal if approved by the UN? WE all know how rigged UN votes are. It is a blind spot for Mr. Murray to see what happened in Crimea where a referendum showed the true will of the people, but because of the political alignments in the UN, no such recognition of the Crimean peoples rights have been granted, despite the fact that this vote has guaranteed the stability and prosperity contrary to the surrounding chaos in Ukraine.

    • craig Post author

      Well the act of dissolution of the UK will give at least a moment when change is possible. The alternative is permanent Tory rule.

      • Grhm

        I’m afraid this idea of “it will give at least a moment when change is possible”, is actually the entirety of your left wing argument for Scottish secession. If you throw everything up in the air, there will be a chance that, by luck, when it falls back down again it might be a bit better than it was before. It is the hope of the despairing idealist who has run out of ideas, which is akin to the variety of hope that inspires people to buy lottery tickets. It doesn’t take much thought to realise that the probability of significant change resulting from that strategy is very low, and that even if it does happen owing to some oversight by the ruling class, the probability of it turning out to be change for the better is even lower.
        I wish you would direct your efforts into attempting to unify good people rather than divide them.

          • Grhm

            Yes, of course. But the point is that secession won’t rid us of the Tories. There may be a period of disruption, but ultimately an undefeated ruling class will look after their own, just as they always do, and will carry on enriching themselves at our expense on both sides of the new border. But that border will divide, and therefore weaken, the organised opposition to them.

      • Rhys Jaggar

        The current conspiracy theory in the London-centric ‘MSM’ (which I barely read any longer due to it being propaganda sheets ad nauseam) is stating that the wish is to oust Johnson and replace him with a Blairite ‘government of national (dis)unity’. The abhorrent London journalists actually suggest that bringing Blair and Mandelson back would ‘be a good thing’.

        I’m not sure where in the world of ‘international diplomacy’ that bringing back a disgraced mass murderer rewarded by his higher-level US mass murderers into peacetime government sits, but presumably the WEF and the USA think he is ‘a safe pair of hands’.

        No-one I know in England ever wants Blair to be allowed to hold any public office ever again, but I guess I don’t talk to Labour Party fanatics….

    • Don Carr

      You can’t be serious about Scotland staying in the union to save England from it’s own conservatism!
      A fairer voting system would help, but even the Labour party don’t want that.

  • John O'Dowd

    This is absolutely correct – great to have you back with your clear-thinking honesty.

    It was very clear from Sturgeon’s performance at COP in Glasgow that she saw it as an extended interview with the international power brokers for a senior job with the UN, EU commission, bank or NGO.

    It is a sore lesson to learn for those of us who actually want independence.

    The question for now is – was she turned, or was she always a BritNat agent?

    She has made fools of us all.

  • Gareth Wardell

    Interesting article, Craig, though I lay aside the all too obvious observation that some world organisations, UN in particular, are populated by placemen and women, unimpressed with the aims of the organisation for which they work, briefed to stall solutions unconducive to their own country’s political or economic agenda, bit like Scotland and our relationship with unionist parties in our Parliament.

    UN cynicism did not deter Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados, speaking to the UN to tell them in 1966 her country wanted to be independentent, and last year, wanted to become a republic. Mottley knows what a mandate looks like and what it means. She knows there is no need to go back to the electorate a second time via a referendum. She is not a feardie, angst-ridden about what to do once autonomy is secured.

    I am much more interested to read your latter thoughts. Any number of us, here in Scotland, understood some time ago Nicola Sturgeon had accommodated the colonial agenda of Westminster. (I acknowledge you may have a different set of readers and so feel the need to inform them.) In this regard, the process worth explaining is as follows:

    1. The National Party elite reaches its own “accommodation’ with colonialism.
    2. Their main purpose is to delay and prevent independence – “the day of reckoning”, by excuses.
    3. They behave “like a gang”, promoting “friends” and become “part of the racket” of colonial oppression.
    4. They maintain a colonial-like administration and use colonial forces to attack independence campaigners.
    5. Meantime, they “feather their own nests”, kow-tow to usurpers, and “prepare for their retirement”, as many did last May.
    6. This is what leads to creation of new national parties determined to move more rapidly towards securing full independence.

    You and I and other prominent voices, keen to reinstate Scotland’s full civil and constitutional rights, were attacked and vilified, you paying the worst penalty so far. But to understand what has corrupted the SNP, top down, one has to accept that it is not merely the leader who diverts a party’s core aim, betraying the will of the people. The entire SNP are complicit.

    One requires an intellectual framework to see what becomes obvious once the subject matter is studied in depth – the SNP is as colonial-minded as any House Jock, but will not recognise the affliction, even after it is laid before them. The British state, in the form of the press, media and House Jocks, welcome the New SNP; they can live with its prevarications and suicidal tendencies. They only need to harass the Scottish Parliament from time to time, gently.

    In time, the SNP accepts a halfway house – ‘Devo-Max’, whatever that means, and tells the electorate it is the best offer we can get, a ‘good’ offer, and we should accept it. Thus, wholly frustrated, the populace take to new tactics to ensure their voice is heard and the usurper is kept on the back foot. Inevitably, that ways lies a violent reaction not a velvet revolution.

    Think like a Scot, not like an Englishman.

    • craig Post author

      I don’t agree the entire SNP are complicit. There are still many good people in the SNP, some deluded by Nicola, some biding their time.

      Nicola has decided that on the Macron model she doesn’t need a conventional party machine. She has the state funding which guarantees apparatchik loyalty. The fact that the subscription payers, door knockers and leafleters have all left to Alba she thinks is not a concern – in place of that kind of old fashioned street politics she has a huge state payroll and an entirely complicit bought and paid for Scottish MSM.

      That’s going to be a separate post.

      • bevin

        Nicola has decided that on the Macron model she doesn’t need a conventional party machine. She has the state funding which guarantees apparatchik loyalty..”

        Which is precisely the conclusion reached by Starmer, and, earlier, by Blair. They don’t want militants- either Nationalists or Socialists- organised around political principles. They want clients looking for patronage from government and the power brokers between the state and the ruling class.

      • twathater

        With respect to yourself Craig, I have asked this question repeatedly on numerous blogs in response to the statement that there are still good people in the snp , where the feck are they , WHY are they allowing this lunatic to ruin Scotland , WHY have they sat shtum when Alex Salmond was being fitted up , demonised , denigrated and continuously smeared even to this day , WHY did they sit shtum when you were being fitted up and jailed as a political prisoner , an elderly man suffering from previous severe ailments being incarcerated in an environment where a life threatening pandemic was rife , WHY have they sat shtum when a snp MP has been maligned , bullied , threatened with physical assault from members of their own party , WHY have they sat shtum when their lunatic leader is forcing reviled and hated policies on an electorate who are vehemently opposed to them

        I could go on Craig but ALL I see is a group of craven cowards who were elected to SERVE AND PROTECT the people of Scotland but who are ONLY interested in feathering their own nests whilst ignoring the homeless , children and families in poverty , drug addicts , pensioners who have to choose between heating and eating , and perverts who want to know the sexual habits of children

      • Gareth Wardell

        It goes without saying that some SNP MPs and MSPs are ‘good people’, that they have not rebelled against Nicola’s disastrously amateur tenure makes them complicit. They have no right to bide their time, as you put it, at Scotland’s expense and its future..

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    Another potential node between Sturgeon’s Nu SNP and the US State Department.
    The John Smith Centre for Public Service (University of Glasgow).
    Sturgeon luvs the JSCfPS, her smug coupon features prominently on their site.

    Board, John Smith Centre for Public Service.

    Catherine Smith (Chair). From her site bio.. Working Advocate. “worked in the law … on conflict resolution and democracy building for the London based NGO LINKS, working particularly in the countries of the former Soviet Union.” “… on the board of the John Smith Trust which runs programmes in good governance for emerging international leaders.”. Here’s the thing, why doesn’t “London based NGO LINKS” quite chime true? Because it isn’t true. NGO LINKS is based out of the University of Arizona and is funded by the US Government’s National Science Foundation. NGO LINKS is exclusively interested in matters on Russia’s Southern border with particular emphasis on the Republic of Georgia. Methinks she doth protest too much.

    Rt Hon Ed Balls. Perhaps the ultimate Blairite, Trans-Atlantic player (Research Fellow at Harvard) and someone with no specific connection to Scottish politics.

    Dr Matt Carter. General Secretary of Labour Party under Blair.

    Professor Sara Carter. Academic, Head of Social Sciences, University of Glasgow and no relation to above..

    Rt Hon Ruth Davidson. Vermin in ermine.

    The Baroness Smith of Gilmorehill. From her site bio..” … member of the board of several organisations with interests in Russia and FSU countries.”. Smith is something of an enigma in this day and age. Little of interest appears when searched. Little snippets; “In the 1960s, Baroness Smith was an undergraduate studying Russian at Glasgow University, and subsequently worked for Sir Fitzroy Maclean at The Great Britain – USSR Association.”. That would be Tory MP and former spy Sir Fitzroy Maclean.
    Smith was onetime Director of private spook outfit Hakluyt (setup and staffed by former officer of the MIs). This too has been purged from the Net.

    Andrew Wilson. Ex SNP MSP, economist, Chair of the Sustainable Growth Commission.

    The day-to-day at the JSCfPS is managed by Kezia Dugdale. Dugdale resigned from the Scottish Parliament to take up the role of Chair / Director at the JSCfPS in 2019.
    The JSCfPS mission statement is full of the usual “enabling”, “inclusive”, “fostering respect” guff you’d expect. Translation: “pack Scottish politics full of unemployable Politics graduates that have never had a proper job in their lives and probably never will, who will do whatever they’re told to progress their careers”. Dugdale’s mission to fill the ranks of salaried politicians with politics graduates is most certainly shared by Sturgeon.
    The JSCfPS “POWER HOUR” podcasts series features two SNP politicos; John Nicolson and Stewart McDonald (there’s a shock).
    The JSCfPS, 2021 Parliamentary intern programme was divided thus: SNP 6 interns, Conservatives 2, Labour 3, Greens 1.
    The “lucky” SNP recipients include Sturgeon and US State Department, International Visitors Leadership Program alumni Humza Yousaf and Jenny Gilruth.

    Here’s where the JSCfPS gets interesting. They’ve never published accounts in any meaningful sense.
    The last submission available on the Scottish charity commission website is for year ending 31st March 2018. This submission states that the charity was economically inactive. This may be accurate as no externally apparent activity exists before Dugdale took on her role in July 2019.
    Still, accounts for year ending 31st March 2020 can’t be delayed for ever. At some point income will have to be stated. My guess would be various front donors disguising the endless resources of Foggy Bottom.

    • Muscleguy

      You neglected to point out that Jenny Gilruth SNP is the other half of one Kezia Dugdale. Nepotism on stilts there.

  • Henry Smith

    Scotland is useful to the USA as a base for its Trident Submarine systems and as an early warning station (Eg. Unst, Lossiemouth). When Scotland is of no further use to the USA it will be permitted to try for independence, the UK Government is irrelevant.

    • Jimmy Riddle

      Henry Smith – alternatively, they make sure that someone like Nicola Sturgeon (a great sycophant of Hilary Clintstone) is in Bute House. Then it doesn’t matter to them if Scotland is independent or not – they’ll still have their Trident submarines based in Scotland.

      In fact, they could find an independent Scotland (which is a much smaller poodle to deal with) easier than a Scotland which is part of the UK.

  • Feliks

    Intriguing exchange between Boris Johnson and Ian Blackford at PMQs today. Johnson claimed that Blackford would soon require ‘a larger waistcoat to contain his synthetic indignation.’ He then went on to say ‘In all friendship with the honourable gentleman who I’m actually quite cordial with behind the scenes….’

    The usual pantomime or Johnson forgetting his li(n)es as with Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

    • iain

      Blackford is the probably the figure who gains the richest enjoyment and mirth from his role in the charade. An investment banker and notorious expenses fiend who is feted and lionized as a latter-day Rob Roy, a bold rebel, while nightly gorging himself in Mayfair resteraunts at vast public expense.

  • Corrado Mella

    Welcome back Craig.

    I have been saying all of this for years. I left an SNP Branch meeting years ago in disgust with the attitude of too many nihilists and fearties, and small minded tribalists that believed to have the monopoly on Scotland and its path to independence.

    There’s two VERY important points that you are at the threshold of entering haven’t examined yet:

    1. After winning a referendum, Scotland does not become independent. A Yes majority is only a bargaining chip to bring at the negotiation table.
    As we know from Brexshit, it will take years, and with some minus habens sitting opposite us, it will be one clusterboorach after another, Scots may get cold feet.and vote No at a confirmatory referendum.

    2. Independence achieved with and through the consensus of the colonial oppressor is NOT independence.

    Like Devolution is not Federalism, where power devolved is just a concession, thus power retained by the central power that can be taken back at leisure, any path to an “independence” negotiated with the colonial oppressor can be blocked at any time, or the travel direction reversed without any obligation to explain why.
    True independence is achieved *despite* the oppression, *against* the oppressor, *without* consent.
    Scotland *must* behave like an independent country *before* being recognised as one. Otherwise our position will be weak, tainted and fragile, in the eyes of every nation on this planet.
    “Live as if you were in the early days of a better nation.”

  • Julian Pearson

    Scotland is clearly not a colony. If the majority of people of Scotland, however you define that, do wish to leave the United Kingdom; so be it. However the continued rubbish about being a colony and the very evident anti English nature of so many of independence supporters, sours relations between the human beings living south of a line on a map, with those living the other side. I have always loved Scotland and the people i have met there. I know longer feel that i want to go there again. You have made me feel unwelcome

      • Jimmy Riddle

        Tony – yes – the latest term that has been invented by the poisoned who enjoy spewing out poison.

      • Don Carr

        Being 8% of a vetoless union is a colony Jimmy .
        What would you call any nation not having the last word on its own affairs?

    • DunGroanin

      All Scotlands natural resources belong to the Crown – which enriches itself massively from that claim. It’s what Imperial conquest has always been about.

      It is clearly a colony just like every other one (many even becoming recruited as coloniser grunts of the Crown).

      A few denialists of that basic history on these btl boards again! Lol

    • Penguin

      So if Scotland isn’t a colony why does London steal all our money and resources while insisting we are beggars?

      Why do Yoon nazis insist we have no rights to be independent and are savages incapable of running our own country?

      Why are all yoons so opposed to England being ruled by Germany or France if it’s only a line on the map?

    • Andrew

      Julian. If you look at the UN’s definition of a colony you will find that Scotland ticks the boxes to a considerable degree. Scotland most certainly is not treated as an ‘equal partner in a family of nations’ as we were told in 2014 and which we were when we joined the Union in 1707. You need to look no further than Brexit and its aftermath to see that. Like so many English people you mistake our dislike of being governed by essentially English governments we did not vote for with dislike of the English in general. I am sorry that you feel unwelcome but do you condone the genuinely hostile braying of English Tories at Ian Blackford and his team?

  • Seja

    Can you maybe explain why Catalonia didn’t succeed via the UN charter and intern. court of justice?

    • craig Post author

      Because the EU member states all sided with their fellow member state. Perfectly simple – and not applicable now in the Scottish case. In fact, it is important to maintain that Scotland will join the EU as it gives them a powerful incentive to back Scotland.

      • Geoffrey

        Would it ? I thought that Scotland was a net receiver of EU money whilst England a net payer.

      • Stevie Boy

        Obviously it’s for the citizens of an independent Scotland to democratically decide if they want to be a member of the EU ? Maybe they do but no-one can take it as a given as Brexit demonstrated.

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    The US State Department work off a script. If it ain’t broke don’t try to fix it. It’s just a day job to these people, regardless of how many folk die.
    They’re trying to ferment ethnic violence and a fresh coup d’état in the Soloman islands over that government’s diplomatic recognition of Beijing of all things.
    Who are the reliable Russia baiters on the SNP front bench at Westminster?
    Alyn Smith (Foreign brief), Stewart MacDonald (Defence), John Nicolson (Culture, Media & Sport) and Angela Crawley (Attorney General).
    None of these people are heterosexual. It’s depressing and surprising in this day and age that this should lead to them being “targeted” as “vulnerable to influence” by nefarious parties.
    Depressingly, a number of SNP elected politicians (Derek Mackay, Westminster Chief Whip Patrick Grady and Alyn Smith) may harbour preferences verging dangerously close to pederasty and are therefore open to blackmail and control.

  • doug

    I am so glad you are back Craig, you are able to put the facts across in a way neither overly complex nor condescending. most of all though I am glad that you are back as I cannot begin to imagine the hell you have been through in saughton away from your family.

  • Muscleguy

    Are you trying to rehabilitate yourself after the mauling you received on twitter for your support for trans rights by criticising Scotgov for focussing on ‘gender reform’ instead of Indy Craig?

    The two would appear to be incompatible. You know how the TRA’s are, you’re either 100% with e’m or you’re agin ‘em.

    Most of this is a rehash of stuff you have said before. I learned little new from it.

    • craig Post author

      The peculiar fault line that makes Alba members so vehemently anti-trans is very much of Nicola’s making. The irony of course is that she is no more interested in trans rights than in Independence, issues are just tools to her career. The trans activists she used to get the diehard Indy supporters out of the SNP will soon find themselves betrayed – radical GRA reform will not happen.

  • Muscleguy

    BTW Craig I refer you to the SSRG’s considered opinion about the process of Indy sans a referendum. It hinges on the fact we are tied by a Treaty, which we can resile from.

    Prof Mark McNaught says he has Iceland’s promise of recognition by that route.

  • Penguin

    Cameron didn’t agree to a Section 30 order in order to hold a referendum.

    Alex Salmond said we’re having a vote and if it’s a Yes Majority then we’re independent and there’s noting you can do about it.
    No Section 30 order was involved on Scotland’s side.

    This is a lie spread by Murrell apologists to pretend she is only doing what Salmond did.

    The alleged Section 30 order claim is the lie that a Scottish Vote had power over the English parliament. Something CM points out in this very article is impossible.

    Unfortunately the infection has spread and there’s no way to remove it short of terminating the patient.

    There’s no way Murrell can have any kind of international job when she’s rotting in prison. So why have none of CM’s friends in foreign states and therefore immune from any sanctions available to doreen and the coven, named the alphabetties and exposed the entire conspiracy?

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