A Revolutionary Act 205


There is no Establishment pathway to the final destruction of the Imperial British state. It will be momentous; the daft pomposity of the Jubilee celebrations reminds us of how powerful the United Kingdom once was. Only real power can prevent such forms from looking ludicrous. The show continues with the power behind it gone.

The British decline from being the greatest world power to the collapse of the metropolitan state has taken only a century. It held world pre-eminence for less than two centuries, approximately Plassey to Hiroshima. This ephemeral parade of military conquest, rape, looting and systematic economic exploitation is drawing to the most inglorious of closes. Empires do that.

Who remembers the details of the final Roman Emperors, the sackings of Rome, the alliances, the purple seized by outsiders? Very few. We recall Rome’s heyday; Pompey, Caesar, Antony, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Nero, Claudius. Of later Emperors, Constantine and Hadrian have name recognition. But the last three Emperors in Rome were Glycerius, Julius Nepos and Romulus Augustus. Even I had to look them up (and that isn’t the Romulus nor the Augustus that you have heard of – he appropriated the names).

Similarly I expect that a millennium hence not much will be heard of Boris Johnson; Walpole, Pitt, Peel, Gladstone, Disraeli, Lloyd George and Churchill will be names known to history students. Johnson will be just an opportunity for historians to pen amusing footnotes.

Historians will write sagely, scathingly or amusingly of the unbelievable mess at the very end of the UK. The extraordinary paralysis of government caused by Brexit, the brazen corruption on an enormous scale in PPE contracts, these will be briefly referenced. Johnson will get fleeting mentions as the epitome of the collapse of standards in public life at the UK’s decline; an inveterate liar. There will be scoffing at Partygate and the uncertain number of his children.

But one thing will puzzle historians. Why did the UK have enough strength to hold together for some time once the fissiparous forces had become overwhelming?

Given a Brexit which Scotland strongly opposed, a whole succession of very right wing Tory governments which Scotland also strongly opposed, and the utter mess of the May and Johnson governments which were hated in Scotland, how did a wasted decade (at least) pass after 2014 without Scotland moving to Independence. What held the union together?

The answer, of course, will be that Nicola Sturgeon held the union together. In the year 3000, first year history students at Dundee University will be sitting down to an essay question that reads “Nicola Sturgeon – Coward or Traitor? Discuss”.

The argument I have frequently seen used by those nowadays in the SNP for not moving towards Independence is that public opinion is not yet strongly enough in favour. What I do not understand is how they think public opinion will shift in favour without a campaign, when corporate and state media are so overwhelmingly biased against Independence.

The SNP justifies its period of taking huge personal emoluments from the British state with the argument that by demonstrating a capacity for good government they will encourage people towards Independence. Well, after eight years of power Nicola Sturgeon has moved Independence support from 45% to … 45%.

So if the argument is true that good SNP government will gain support for Independence, it follows that as support has not increased, the SNP is not providing good government. I think that is basically the case.

The problem is that, from an Independence movement bubbling with enormous talent, the paranoid Sturgeon picks people solely based on two criteria. The first is absolute subservience to her. The second is that they are entirely mediocre and could never be a threat. Those genuinely talented are ruthlessly disposed of – Michelle Thomson, Joanna Cherry and of course Alex Salmond come to mind immediately, there are others.

That John Swinney, Keith Brown, Shirley-Anne Somerville and Humza Yousaf hold national office in a country as full of talent as Scotland, is something I struggle to believe. Not one of those could ever aspire to attain mediocrity. They are dunces.

The penny first dropped with me that SNP internal elections are fixed when it was announced that Keith Brown had beaten Tommy Sheppard to be Deputy Leader. The worst example was the alleged victory of Angus Robertson over Marco Biaggi to be MSP candidate for Edinburgh Central. I was a member of the constituency association and literally knew not one single person who was voting for Robertson. Opinion in the SNP club on a Friday night was equally unanimous.

As I discovered when I came second in the SNP Presidency election, there is zero transparency to candidates in the SNP voting process. You are told the result, and that is it (I should make plain I am not suspicious about the victor in my own case).

It is a remarkable fact that the addition of some very weak Green ministers has nevertheless raised the level of the Scottish government. I was noticing that we see them on television much more than we see SNP ministers. Then the penny dropped that the Green ministers can make media appearances without Nicola’s permission, whereas SNP ministers cannot.

Once you realise that, you quickly see just how much Sturgeon monopolises the media and how very little publicity she allows to her ministers. She truly is the most astonishing narcissist. She is never off the media while the minsters, bar the Greens, are virtually invisible.

It cannot be denied that Sturgeon is very good at winning elections. If the goal is sustaining the SNP in power as colonial governors, she most definitely achieves it. If the goal is Independence, she has achieved nothing. In his identical period in office, Alex Salmond moved support for Independence from 28% to 45%. On that measure, Sturgeon has achieved absolutely nothing.

I have enormous respect for Alex Salmond. I did not follow the Amber Heard/Johnny Depp trial at all – they both seem weird and unpleasant. But what it is impossible to miss is the massive gulf between what ordinary people say on social media they believe, having watched the actual broadcast of the trial, and what the “liberal” media is loudly telling them that they ought to believe.

The difference could not be more stark and it amounts to this. The overwhelming majority of ordinary people reject the notion that you should decide the truth of events based on the gender of those involved. The jury rejected that too. The media persist in telling them they must base who to believe on gender.

How I wish the trial of Alex Salmond had also been televised. People would have seen, as the Salmond jury saw, that accusers were blatantly lying and conspiring. But the mass of people did not see that, and exactly as in the Heard/Depp trial, the media overwhelmingly portrayed the jury as wrong and the verdict as perverse and unethical.

Imagine if all you know of the Heard/Depp trial had been what it said in the Guardian and on the BBC? Public opinion would be overwhelmingly different from what it is. But the public are not fools, and when a trial is truly public and they can see it, they understand.

The Salmond trial was not truly public. What you were permitted to know was strictly controlled. It has only reached people through an entirely and deliberately warped media filter. If you had seen and heard it, your knowledge of the truth would be entirely different. The jury saw and heard it. They gave a true and honest verdict. How I wish the Salmond trial had been televised – that is worth saying again.

The same is of course true of the Assange trials.

As things stand, despite the jury and entirely unfairly, it is the reputation of Alex Salmond which is destroyed and not those of his lying accusers. His Alba Party, of which I am a member, barely registers at the polls. Yet Alex Salmond is, despite his age, starting again from scratch, speaking to audiences of 100 in draughty local halls around Scotland, plugging the case for Independence, as he was doing 50 years ago.

The man has the heart of a lion. The words of Kipling (a much maligned and misrepresented poet) come to mind:

“If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss”

Salmond is a hero, pure and simple. The sheer evil of what Sturgeon tried to do to him – and in many ways succeeded – is far beyond my comprehension.

I do not believe Sturgeon will hold an Independence referendum in 2023 as promised. I think she will ask Boris Johnson for a Section 30 agreement to hold one, knowing he will refuse. She will then declare herself again against “illegal” and “wildcat” referenda and will urge everybody to vote SNP in the 2024 Westminster elections, to give her yet another “mandate” she will not use and her mates another long ride on the gravy train.

You may be surprised to hear that in one sense I am quite relaxed about this. I am not a believer in referenda, or other forms of direct democracy.

About a month ago I was listening to an interview on Radio 4 with a Brexit voter who was being expelled from Spain. He had lived there for some years, and owned his home there, but he had failed whatever test it was for residency the Spanish government had implemented post Brexit.

The kicker of course was that the man and his wife (who was audibly sobbing) had voted for Brexit. He had no idea, he told the BBC, that it might lead to his expulsion from Spain. The first instinct was to laugh at him, and that was rather the tone of the piece.

But that is, of course, the problem with referenda. They ask simplified questions of people many of whom are incapable of understanding, or not bothered to understand, the ramifications. They also provide a great amplifier for popular prejudice, as witness a series of anti-Muslim decisions in Switzerland.

Indeed (and it always annoys people when I say this), while there is a left wing case for Brexit, many Brexit voters were motivated by simple anti-immigrant feeling. Indeed, a period living in Ramsgate destroyed in me any illusions about the nobility of “the people”.

Even more than I dislike referenda do I dislike Citizens Assemblies, where ordinary people are led by the nose by a battery of “experts” and carefully selected reading material, towards the Establishment’s predetermined objective.

In any event, the conditions for a fair referendum simply do not exist in Scotland – as they did not exist in 2014. The public have been subjected to a lifetime of unionist education and media propaganda, and that would persist throughout the election campaign. In 2014 the BBC achieved the not inconsiderable feat of being even more biased than the corporate media.

Alan Knight’s wonderful documentary on BBC bias in the 2014 campaign, London Calling, was one of the most enjoyable things I have worked on.

Unlike the joyful outburst of popular enthusiasm that characterised the 2014 campaign, Sturgeon is determined to control the Yes movement in the event her party forces her to hold the referendum. To that end she has introduced a committee of compliant Sturgeonistas – people almost entirely invisible in the 2014 campaign – who apparently are now officially the Yes Movement, and have unveiled a pledge of political correctness we all have to sign to take part, all about things entirely unrelated to Independence.

The problem is that Sturgeon’s vision of an Independent Scotland looks an awful lot like the UK. First and foremost it is to be entirely neoliberal and centre right in politics, as witness the reaffirmation of the SNP Growth Commission as the blueprint. That document could have been produced by Fred Goodwin’s Royal Bank of Scotland in 2006. Furthermore Scotland is to be entirely Atlanticist, enthusiastically into NATO and arms sales, and joined at the hip with Westminster in defence policy, while still subservient to a London based monarch and using London currency.

I am not at all sure I see the point of Independence in Nicola’s vision. Nor do I know any Scot genuinely enthusiastic about Independence who sees the future of Scotland in that way. It is a vision of Independence for people who do not actually believe in Independence. It is not a vision that will ever win a referendum campaign.

Let us forget referenda. In constitutional affairs I am in some respects an adherent of the Irish conservative philosopher Edmund Burke. I believe that the best democracy consists of the people voting to choose wise and responsible people to make law, and not in the people trying to make law direct themselves.

Now I admit that Burke’s theory has taken a huge hammering in recent years, as western democracy has declined into sophisticated kleptocracy and elected representatives have become deeply unimpressive charlatans and puppets of the super rich. But I still think leaders should lead.

The conundrum was perhaps solved for me last year by my friend Joseph who remarked “you may think you are a Burkean conservative, Craig, but actually you are a revolutionary vanguardist”. Which I discover is, in important respects, surprisingly much the same thing.

Either way, it boils down to this. Leaders lead. Scotland needs to forget about referenda. It has elected a majority of pro-Independence representatives. They should declare Independence. This could be done by the Scottish Parliament, but I would much prefer a National Assembly to be called combining both MPs and MSPs. The National Assembly should declare Independence and apply to the United Nations for recognition.

While that is pending, and at least six months after the declaration, a confirmatory plebiscite can be held under conditions which Scotland controls.

The SNP can do this, or it can continue to be a super gravy train for otherwise entirely unemployable politicians.

The moment is now. Boris Johnson is uniquely bereft of moral authority. The UK will never be weaker. Never will the UK have a leader who will command so little international and domestic respect and support, should he seek to reassert London control by violence. However should he succeed by violence, nothing could better expedite our eventual success.

It really is time for SNP politicians to stand up. Do you actually want Independence, or are you just stuffing your pockets on the backs of those who do?

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205 thoughts on “A Revolutionary Act

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  • Jams O'Donnell

    If you are “a revolutionary vanguardist”, Craig, you might as well go all the way and lose the ‘Liberalism’ while you’re at it. Socialism is the logical companion to revolutionary vanguardism. You know it makes sense. And it would certainly improve your analysis of current affairs.

    • Anna

      It’s the conundrum of our times, how to mix (cultural, not economic) Liberalism with other social goods. So far it’s failing. People overall are looking to Saudi Arabia and China as better models, because liberalism has become synonymous with absence of morality (thanks to our terrible political representatives and the Bully who cannot be named having hegemony since WW2).

      • mark Golding

        “the Bully who cannot be named having hegemony since WW2” is no mystery Anna. On the anniversary of the preemptive six day war where Israel wiped out Egypt’s air force ensuring a stunning victory, reflected and mirrored today in serving US agenda backed by a nuclear arsenal the genesis of which lies with America. The result of which as you bemoan is pollution of liberal altruism by subjection.

        That domination we see right now is the biggest act of ethnic cleansing since that six day war with over 1,000 Palestinians being forced out of their homes, as Israeli forces bulldoze a collection of West Bank villages known as Masafer Yatta.

        In the cards as Russia deals with Ukraine is an attack by Israel on Iran, already skilled in the long range assault AND in parallel with US renewed aggression in Syria.

    • Leftworks

      “Intellectuals are a special social formation in modern industrial society. They have developed characteristic ideologies of social control, consistent with their place in society, actual or anticipated. In the Marxist-Leninist tradition, these take the form of the principle of the ‘vanguard party’, which reconstructs society, allegedly in the interests of the proletariat – though why any Marxist should expect the ‘vanguard party’ to serve any interests other than its own remains a mystery.”
      — Noam Chomsky, ‘Language and Politics’ (edited by C.P. Otero, 1988).

      That speaks to me. I am highly distrustful of ‘vanguards’.

      • Bayard

        “though why any Marxist should expect the ‘vanguard party’ to serve any interests other than its own remains a mystery.”

        Most people think that politicians are corrupt, self-serving and venal and yet the myth of the ideal politician who is none of those things still infests our political theory, as evidenced by the belief that: “the best democracy consists of the people voting to choose wise and responsible people to make law, and not in the people trying to make law direct themselves” when it is quite obvious from a brief glance at history that such a form of democracy has never been practised due to the whole system of representative “democracy” being biased towards the unscrupulous.

  • DunGroanin

    “ Who remembers the details of the final Roman Emperors, the sackings of Rome, the alliances, the purple seized by outsiders? Very few.”

    Ahem. I’ve been ranting about the ‘Dominate’ for quite some time now.

    Anyway, it’s an excellent piece and only the dumbed Downton’d who have allowed themselves to be brainwashed by a generation of posh aristocrats good – radical democrat socialists bad, would choose becoming a dominion of any Empire above their right as People of their own tribal lands.

    Would a free Scotland have chosen to be ruled by England?
    Will any free peoples choose to be ruled by their neighbouring or far away imperial power?

    Dumb Scots, wake up, admit your own complicity in the expansion and wrongs of the ‘British’ Empire and current Yankee version. Admit your racist slave owning past and destruction of natives and land grabs from ‘Nova Scotia’ to Aotearoa!

    Then and only then declare yourselves FREE from London and the German monarch of England that is wholly owned by the City of London since the coup of Waterloo.

    Why do you even think you need permission to cast your chains??
    Let alone a majority????
    Absurd.

  • S

    Contrary to your argument that the Salmond case should have been televised, Catherine Bennett in today’s Guardian argues that the Depp/Heard case should _not_ have been televised. Although I understand your argument, I also think Bennett has a point to some extent: people just tuned in to the soundbites that were piped around social media, and then some no doubt used them to say misogynist things. This point is similar to your argument against referendums: busy people should be led to think that they can quickly make complex judgements. Also, it is quite distasteful that media outlets should make a massive profit out of someone’s downfall.

    But if you don’t have broadcasting, it should be illegal for the mass media to insinuate that the outcome was wrong. This happened in the Salmond case. It is happening in the Depp/Heard case, which is less of a problem because people can also judge for themselves.

    • Goose

      The guardian was inevitably going to side with Amber Heard, regardless of any evidence produced. The belief that the female accuser must always be both believed and the wronged party, is doctrinaire. There has always been a strong undercurrent of misandry there, and it’s got much more pronounced under Kath Viner.

    • Bayard

      “busy people should be led to think that they can quickly make complex judgements.”

      It is the job of the politician to offer simple (and usually erroneous) solutions to complex problems.

  • john

    Growing up in Scotland I believed we were different from the other peoples of the British Isles, and as a young man believed passionately in Scottish independence.

    Stephen Oppenheimer’s book The Origins of the British (link) presents the results of DNA studies which show that the greater part of British people share a common origin in hunter-gatherers who migrated to the British Isles from south west Europe 6000 years ago.
    There was no extermination of the Celts by the Anglo-Saxons for example, and during successive invasions from the west the ruling elites were simply replaced by the conquerors, who appropriated the human and natural resources.

    Reading this book in my 50s forced me to to drop my prejudices against “the English”, etc., which I now regard as embarrasingly puerile.

    And based on our political and economic history there is little chance that the Scots would be better off as an independent nation, due to the self-serving greed (and incompetence) which has characterized the Scottish elites.

    So for me there is no basis for Scottish independence.

    • Jay

      How about basic pride? Why would you want to be ruled in perpetuity by Tories from southeast England if you didn’t have to be?

    • Laguerre

      So, for you, there was no Anglo-Saxon invasion, let alone the Vikings. The problem of genetic studies is that most, though not all, of those Anglo-Saxon invaders will have married local women, having arrived without women in the ships. Thus the genetic picture could seem to be local, depending on which genes are used for comparison. It’s not so easy.

      • john

        To quote from the link:

        “Stephen Oppenheimer……demonstrates that the Anglo-Saxon invasions contributed just a tiny fraction (5%) to the English gene pool.

        Two thirds of the English people reveal an unbroken line of genetic descent from south-western Europeans arriving long before the first farmers. Most of the remaining third arrived between 6,000 and 3,000 years ago as part of long-term north-west European trade and immigration, especially from Scandinavia – possibly carrying the earliest forms of English language.

        As for the Celts – the Irish, Scots and Welsh – history has traditionally placed their origins in Iron Age Central Europe. Stephen Oppenheimer’s genetic synthesis shows the majority to have arrived via the Atlantic coastal route from Ice Age refuges including the Basque country; with the modern languages we call Celtic arriving later.”

        • Laguerre

          You haven’t understood what I said. Oppenheimer is confused, because he wants to see a pre-historic British genetic line, depending on what genes he chose. If an Anglo-Saxon invader marries a British woman, what will be the genetic consequence? I leave it there for you to reflect upon.

          • john

            You ask:

            “If an Anglo-Saxon invader marries a British woman, what will be the genetic consequence?”

            Approximately 5% of the genetic material in the population according to the studies that Oppenheimer reviewed.

            You claim that:

            “Oppenheimer is confused, because he wants to see a pre-historic British genetic line, depending on what genes he chose”

            Sounds like you accuse Oppenheimer of manipulating data to suit a preconceived conclusion.
            That would be a type of scientific dishonesty.
            What evidence can you present in support of your accusation?

          • Jimmeh

            What genetic studies have found (I haven’t read Oppenheimer) is that (a) genes are largely anchored to geography; and (b) that most of us have some Spanish, Indian, Viking, Anglo-saxon etc. genes.

            That seems contradictory. What it means is that genes on the whole stay where they evolved; but some bundles of genes (people) have always travelled, and mixed with the locals. Perhaps what’s surprising is the extent to which genes have stayed local; and how many Britons have e.g. Indian ancestry.

      • Bayard

        “The problem of genetic studies is that most, though not all, of those Anglo-Saxon invaders will have married local women, having arrived without women in the ships.”

        Yes, the initial warriors would have all been men, but, as soon as possible, they would have shipped their women and children across to settle the newly-conquered land, or do you think the Anglo Saxon women and children (and the Viking and Danish women and children) were all callously abandoned back on their native shore? The alternative is that the invaders were relatively few in number and decided that the natives could continue as the hewers of wood and drawers of water and they would become the gentry.

        • Laguerre

          Transport wasn’t as easy in those days. No public transport. You either came in the warships or didn’t come at all. The alternative was to marry a local woman.

          • Bayard

            The idea of “public transport” only dates from the C19th. Before that people travelled in trading vessels, rode, or walked. Didn’t stop them getting about. The first Englishman to visit India was sent by King Alfred (and, no, he didn’t go there in a warship).

      • john h

        Lageurre, read the book, it’s well argued quite accessible if a little chewey in places, but worth it even where one’s existing views may be challenged. Oppenheimer looks as far as possible both male/female genetic lines. He does not suggest that there was no Anglo Saxon invasion, but paints a different picture to received wisodom. Identifying migration from what we might call the danish/dutch/germanic east as well as the (earlier – iirc) migration on the Atlantic/ Basque / Spanish location mentioned in other posts.. He therefore posits with good evidence Anglo Saxon ‘wipeout’ of the ‘celtic’ Britons was not really as portrayed, with a decent dollop of the genetic evidence of “Anglo Saxons” actually pre-dating political events by a long period. The political mud started being thrown by Gildas and it went downhill from there…

        thousane years or more especially by

    • Alyson

      Growing up in Wales, genetic inheritance has much less importance. Community, culture, language, and love for the land are the features of the Welsh. The language is much older than most, and survived thanks to King Arthur, who was a dux Belorum, tasked with defending the western side of Britain.band its gold and silver mines, for the Roman Empire The mounted archers he led came from Kazakhstan, bringing their holy Apple groves, their legend of a magical sword, and their effectiveness kept the Saxons out of Wales.

      The Normans were similarly restricted to their coastal and borders castles, and Wales came Nader England when the Welsh Henry VII became king of Britain.

      Old Welsh uses imagery to correlate meaning and this imagery also matches Egyptian hieroglyphics. The original people such as the Wookey Hole reconstruction shows, were very dark skinned with blue eyes. Successive invasions have changed the make up of the population across Europe and Britain too when it as joined to mainland Europe up until the flooding of Doggerland, and I suspect later flooding too, when the land of Lyonnesse and the Low Hundreds of Wales were drowned.

      Protecting the land, the history, the meaning of place, is facing a difficult transition. But seeing the Wales football team get to the final of the World Cup in Qatar, with its population of 3,000,000 just fills the whole nation with pride and love.

      As for the monarchy, when we run out of hereditary monarchs we get one from Europe. The role of the monarch is however the linchpin of our democracy. The Queen has been magnificent. She has personally checked that every piece of legislation has passed due process, before she has signed it into law. The Royal Family is much impoverished. The palaces are unheated. The Royal Yacht scrapped. The one percent want rid of the role of the monarch.

      The civil list can go though. Paying the descendants of the Norman knights to hold onto so much of our land, is unnecessary. The lords and ladies can sit on committees for their pay, like the hardworking peers who are former elected politicians, or they can lose their titles. Or they would if I had any say in it.

      God save our gracious Queen. She has been a wonderful asset to the nation. Charles is dutiful too. And he loves Scotland, Wales and Cornwall too. He will be a good King because he I’ll faithfully carry out his duties with he wellbeing of the whole country at heart.

      Anyway, agree or disagree, the United Kingdim has felt a little bit more united this weekend

      • Fwl

        Think language survived partly because we are stubborn and partly because of limited roads. Perhaps also because there was no famine as in Ireland or clearance as in Scotland. In fact miners who migrated to S Wales learnt and spoke Welsh. Songs though. They help.

        • Bayard

          I think it’s just stubbornness resulting in Welsh children being brought up speaking Welsh as their first language. Neither the Scots nor the Irish do this in any great number, which is why, soon, Welsh will be the only Celtic language to survive.

        • Alyson

          Indeed Fwl, the land of song, and poetry, and strong, admired, women. Mam is revered. She works alongside the men, cheers the rugby, and fought off the French invasion in Pembrokeshire a few hundred years ago. Today we export musicians and film stars. The eisteddfod holds the songs of the past. Dafydd Iwan sings the soul of the nation today.
          Sigh…..
          It was lovely to see the Muslim celebrations of the Jubilee, opening their doors to all, and valuing the freedom of worship they could enjoy after fleeing persecution in Pakhistan because their form of Islam was wrong there. And sharing their love for this land too.
          Multicultural Wales looks inward to the past and outward to the world.

      • Jams O'Donnell

        “The role of the monarch is however the linchpin of our democracy.”

        In your dreams. The monarchy is the lynchpin of the system of unearned hereditary privilege which is the principal tool to maintain the establishment status quo, and keep the poor and other undesirables such as socialists in their place begging at the foot of the table. I hope that an independent Scotland will immediately get rid of these inbred trash, along with the obscene nuclear capability in the Clyde.

    • Fred Dagg

      The Iberian origin of the first UK population has been understood by (real) historians for well over a century – the Channel was still a shoal, so they travelled up the west coast of the UK from Cornwall to Sutherland before heading over to Scandinavia, leaving their monuments behind. The DNA evidence in the book you cite (thanks for the link) just confirms this.

      Nationalism is the foundation stone of capitalist political ideology. If it were not for the fact that to describe it as so is voluntarist, I would join you in calling it puerile, but the whole power (and danger) of ideology is that it does not live at the conscious level of, say, the choice of washing powder, and it’s not at all the same as propaganda – the “calculated deception of the ignorant masses by a cynical, disbelieving ‘elite'”. It is “lived” and derives from a complex process of miscognition-recognition best explained by Louis Althusser in the 1960s. Our host provides a convenient example: philosophically, he “lives” in 18th-19th century idealism/empiricism, and this theoretical framework shades his approach to, and conclusions on, every political matter that he deals with.

  • Mist001

    Is it just me or is Peter Murrell raising his public profile? For years, he’s been the invisible Man but I’ve seen at least three public appearances by him in the past two months.

    What could be going on?

  • mark cutts

    I agree with Craig and Nichola of Assisi:

    Make me pure but never.

    I’m no expert on Scottish politics but wherever you find politics you will find ‘ interests ‘ and interests usually mean a puppet or ten and a puppeteer or ten.

    In other words: who works for who?

    The way the UK is going ( and the EU and US is not dissimilar ) there is the whiff of protectionism in the air.

    Going it alone and an attempt to leave the outside world and survive in your own country.

    Not so much a safe room but a safe country.

    That is impossible but I think that this is what all fading Empires end up doing.

    The word is retreat.

    The UK in all its inglory is fading faster and it will break at its weakest links eventually.

    As a forecast Scotland will go – Wales will go – there will be Irish unity and then the North of England will follow
    and then London will want to release itself from the grip of the Tory Shires.

    Then ( and only then ) will Farage stand for a ninth time and win Thanet West.

    Because there will be only 20 seats left in England to vote for.

    Make no mistake all this chaos and mayhem is a Southern Shire production despite what the media say.

    It’s all on its way.

    The Kaleidoscope has been shaken.

  • Jay

    “the daft pomposity of the Jubilee celebrations reminds us of how powerful the United Kingdom once was. Only real power can prevent such forms from looking ludicrous”

    I wonder what the world made of that empty 2Billion gold carriage and the hundreds of middle age men flanking it in scarlet gowns and ostrich hats. I suspect many outsiders would have concluded that is a country in even more trouble than we previously thought.

  • Gnome

    A very good piece. Last time I lived in Scotland was 1993 and don’t follow Scottish politics closely. From what the piece says, it is unlikely it will gain any traction. Yes, people voted nominally for SNP, ie independence, but their representatives being Sturgianista, the vote as you propose is not going to happen. The Ukrainian people voted for Zelensky, because they wanted peace. Instead they got a war. The biggest demonstration in British history was against the Iraq war. Britain still went into the war. The list is endless. Unless you know something I don’t, Scotland is no exception. History teaches us that you either have to have propaganda to help (like George Clooney in South Sudan) or a catastrophic fall in living standards PLUS a party able to exploit that to effect the change. Is Scotland in one of these categories?

  • Gerald Kavanagh

    I can understand the frustration and anger that prompts the idea of UDI but I am not sure if Scotland would control the conditions under which a confirmatory plebiscite could be held by virtue of a declaration of UDI by Parliament or a temporary Assembly. Would the Unionist State and its MSM acquiesce in admiration and assist in heading off the potential for violence which another poster has indicated or would they fan the flames. Apart from my disbelief that you could get enough of the time servers in Parliament to entertain it, I think we need to promulgate a clearer vision of what Independence would mean to the majority, not excluding such changes as for example the immediate implementation of a four day working but the overarching goal of doing away with the faux Democracy of ‘political parties’ and elections that has emasculated the energy and creativity of the people for centuries and replacing it with a citizens assembly chosen by lot, with referenda on all important issues which modern technology and the resource of the internet now makes feasible.

    Referenda on issues of direct significance or import to the majority, as we have experienced, engage them in conversation, debate and research, a process from which the inspiration for the dictum ‘no investigation no right to speak’ comes to be appreciated, in the process spreading doubt about unexamined assumptions and prejudices, a prerequisite to the liberating practice of scepticism and critical thinking, the foundation for a tolerant and healthy society and the practice of power by the majority, in effect Democracy as it was conceived.

    Carer Moira Williams, in explaining her reaction to the prospect of a referendum on Scottish Independence, sums up the process cogently and eloquently in the attached video illustrating clearly how referenda have the effect of empowering the people, a fact that those desirous of a fair and just society will have to embrace.

    “I had no clue about anything political, never been like that, didn’t watch the news, went to work, came home, dealt with the kids, didn’t know anything, and the next thing I am hearing there’s a referendum on Scottish Independence (Alex Salmond’s announcement). That was a shock to me, I had no clue, I’ve never been political, so I was never a YES or a NO at that stage but I was very interested hearing it, because obviously it seemed a very big deal to me. Well, somebody said you get your information on Scottish Independence at Better Together. I went from Better Together to start seeing people posting some real Sottish history, so it’s things I can verify, that weren’t what I had been taught. At that stage I had no idea of Scotland’s real History, no idea that we had been manipulated at all. So then I start seeing that there’s another side, the YES side … right! But, because I’ve been here first and then I’ve been there, who do you believe? So, you end up your study becomes more intense and that’s how I ended up coming to the belief that I was going to be a very, very ardent YESSER!”

    My clear first pick for the Assembly.

  • Jams O'Donnell

    Yes. The demise of first the UK and now the US empires is heartening. I (sort of) follow the fortunes of the various navies and airforces, and these facts are telling:

    The RNs latest destroyers are so unnecessarily noisy that they can be heard by submarines hundreds of miles away – hatches have to be secured by (hi-tech!) wooden wedges. Their engines are not suited to hot climates (such as the South China Sea). Their armament is very, very poor (AA only) compared with modern Chinese destroyers or even Russian frigates.

    The two aircraft carriers have to have US owned planes, and these F-35s are widely acknowledged to be complete turkeys, too slow to fight or run, too maintenance intensive to fly often (so poor training of pilots), only able to use 2 or 3 of the current western carriers, and they still have a long list of unresolved problems, etc. It is rumoured that Congress is going to cancel production soon because of this, leaving western air forces which have ordered the turkey, in the lurch.

    As for the US, apart from the above problems of the extremely expensive (another minus point) F-35s, their destroyers seem to have a habit of colliding with civilian ships – a sign of poor training and morale. Their latest carrier still cant’get half its lifts to work (among other problems).

    As for US policy, they took over arms supply for e.g. Egypt after the demise of the USSR – but would only supply their lowest level of fighter jet, with the lowest level of equipment and radar, so as to reassure Israel. As soon as Egypt regained a degree of freedom, they immediately ordered superior Russian fighters, thus threatening Israel again. This sequence of events could have been foreseen by a five year old.

    The cumulative message of all of the above is that the US and UK so called ‘defence’ provisions are not up to even being ‘not fit for purpose’ – they are ******.

    • Bayard

      OTOH if you look at the “defence” industry from the point of view of the suppliers, all these ships and planes are indeed fit for purpose, as that purpose is to be destroyed by the enemy in the shortest possible time so that replacements can be ordered and the spend can be kept “bouyant”. Ditto all the civil servants in the MoD and its US equivalent, they, too need to keep their budgets as large as possible.
      Which presumably is behind all the millions of dollars’ worth of munitions being sent to Ukraine to be captured or destroyed by the Russians or sold on the black market by the Ukranians.

  • Republicofscotland

    Excellent article Craig, and I agree wholeheartedly that a indyref as part of this union is a waste of time.

    What I find absolutely incredible is that not one, I’ll say that again, not one SNP MSP, has broken rank and whistleblowed as to what’s actually going on within the SNP on independence, are they afraid to do so? or are they complicit and looking after self-interests? Either way it shows their character for what it is.

    Sturgeon runs a tighter ship than a Scientology conference, and we’re going nowhere with her at the helm.

    • Goose

      Sturgeon runs a tighter ship than a Scientology conference.

      Maybe Nurse Ratched has secretly had them all lobotomised?

  • Steve Peake

    I’m always curious to explore the scenario that Craig advocates – that of Scotland making a Unilateral Declaration of Independence. Or perhaps more accurately, some political representatives within Scotland making this declaration.

    An important part of secession is recognition. A seceding nation needs to have its independence recognised for it to gain traction and international (and therefore increaed domestic) legitimacy. If no, or few, other states recognised this unilaterally declared independent Scotland, would it gain traction? What kind of traction would UDI Scotland need for the indepndence to be sustained? If UDI Scotland wished to have its own currency – and I am sympathetic to Craig’s argument that a properly independent Scotland would need one – how would the international markets deal with a new Scottish currency that was being issued by a central bank of a state no-one was recognising?

    One characteristic of a ‘state’ in international law is having the monopoly on the legitimate use of force. So in Craig’s UDI scenario, what is the chain of command for the Scottish police and the army? If there was civil unrest, fomented by Unionist interests both in Scotland and England, which potentially could become violent, would the police obey commands from the new Scottish government or would they follow the orders from Westminster? Same question for the law enforcement option of last resort – the army. Pro UDI representatives would need law enforcement onside before declaring.

    While technically true that Scotland could declare UDI, I doubt very much it would have the necessary legitimacy in the eyes of international actors, markets and domestic law enforcement agencies to generate recognition without a referendum. I accept Craig’s point that if Sturgeon is going to insist on Westminter’s permission for referendum then, in the current climate, that is very unlikely. But I’m not yet persuaded that UDI is the answer and suspect that there are other options, such as a campaign of mass, popular mobilisation, with some non-violent direct action thrown in, to demand a referendum and make it politically unviable for Westminster to refuse it. I appreciate all of Craig’s other points about Sturgeon not actually wanting independence at the moment, which makes it unlikely that the SNP will pursue this course of action.

    • Alf Baird

      Secession: Upon independence Scotland would not be seceding from the UK union, Scotland would be ending its UK union treaty based alliance with England etc.
      Sovereignty: Scots are already a sovereign people/nation and as such a majority of Scotland’s national representatives are lawfully entitled to assert that sovereignty as they see fit.
      Force: police and army and Scottish courts (Crown) must respect Scottish sovereignty, and if they do not then English colonial/imperial subjugation of Scotland will be evident; according to the UN colonialism is “a scourge which should be ended”.
      International recognition: A sovereign people and nation must be respected by all other nations, according to the UN.

  • Stephen

    I am English: albeit my mother’s family were Border Scot Presbyterian and my father’s family were Irish Catholics who left after the famine. The DNA of the British Isles is intrinsically mixed up but I actually agree with Scottish independence.

    I am also a Burkean and there are strong, traditionalist reasons to support it. In a sense Scotland was never integrated with England anyway: 1707 simply abolished the separate parliament but the law and administration were always Scottish. The union has been predominantly about foreign / imperial affairs and political / fiscal rule from London.

    Independence for Scotland will be resisted by the London elites including the BBC though. It would reduce their power. But in the long run it will help both the Scots and the English / Welsh. Scotland will be fully accountable for her own destiny in the way that the Republic of Ireland has been, while English politicians will find it harder to pursue imperial ambitions and “glory” in the way that we are seeing now with respect to Russia / Ukraine. That will be good for all world citizens!

  • Garry W Gibbs

    The view that Nicola Sturgeon is a double-agent acting for the London establishment seems to be a constant and repeated theme on here.
    Has this ever been put to her by anyone and if so what has she said in reply?
    Also, why do so many people support the SNP if they are masqueraders?

  • Hatuey

    ““you may think you are a Burkean conservative, Craig, but actually you are a revolutionary vanguardist”. Which I discover is, in important respects, surprisingly much the same thing.”

    That made me laugh. I suppose context is everything.

    In terms of the continuing good health of the British State and Sturgeon’s role, I’m inclined to think that not enough attention and weight is given to the part played by what we routinely refer to as “the city”. The black economy of offshore banking, which now accounts for trillions every year, is dominated by “the city”, its cohorts, and offshoots — with around 42% market share.

    We can only guess at the sort of leverage offshorists have in Scottish and British politics. It’s possible and probably likely that British politics is as much an hostage to their stupendous wealth and influence as Scottish politics might be, and that buying off our politicians requires little more than small change. If the bribes don’t get you, the shameful attacks in the tabloids probably will.

    When you stand back and look at things in Britain today, that’s the real government. It’s basically a hijacking. We are all at the mercy of their irresistible wealth and power and we are only indulging in a childish hobby when we discuss politics without accounting for the part these dark forces probably play.

  • Andrew H

    I’m not sure it is correct to call the end of the British empire a ‘decline’. The end was without question a momentous step forward. The end of the monarchy will be another step forward in a long incremental history of progress. God bless Harry.

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