Patience is a virtue (definitely) part 2

A guest post by Samuel Miller

As noted by the ever excellent Scot Goes POP and Wings Over Scotland, the latest Scottish Social Attitudes Survey has recently been released and the figures make for encouraging viewing for those of an independent mind. Fact it was such a bombshell one particular mainstream title was prepared to suffer the pain of near terminal whiplash in an attempt to spin some bad news for the independence camp. The result of their spin? Not so much egg on face, as an entire omelette.

The upshot of the survey was a 6% movement toward voting for an independent Scotland, which is pretty damn impressive considering the source. For a more informed dissection just click on the links above (they do numbers n’ such so well).

A couple of months back I posed a question and chewed over the possible outcomes – ‘If, as many suspect, this settlement is a constitutional and fiscal bear trap for the Scottish Government and electorate, where do we go from here?’

Folk who know me well on threads are familiar with my Westminster will be Westminster theory of independence. My theory being that the actions of Westminster’s establishment and the established system of party politics will ultimately figure heavily in bringing about the end of the current political union. That self interest, party political maneuvering for the big chair and the sheer arrogant, ignorant and condescending grippiness of that hoose would near automatically ensure that pledges made during our referendum would be reneged upon, or so twisted by the inherent nature of the beast, in both Commons and the House of Lords, that any resulting deal would bear no resemblance to what the Scottish electorate were led to believe was on offer.

As considered in that post, the Scottish Government did indeed accept the powers on offer, but not without some hard bargaining and an edge of the seat game of chicken between Westminster’s most famous towel folder, George Osborne and the SGs John Swinney. Now pretty much anyone with functioning brain cells knows two things about that deal and the powers being devolved:

1. With one or two exceptions, the package is still a poisoned pill with the settlement being revisited after five years in order to rehash the same arguments on the fiscal framework. The weak package of powers would also have come with a £7bn albatross which would have had a devastating effect on a Scottish economy still constitutionally attached to a UK economic model and still at the mercy of austerity ideology.
2. The deal as delivered, clearly is NOT what the Scottish electorate were led to believe was on offer. That Bill, created/amended in the post referendum period, would have not only delivered a massive amount of financial ‘detriment’ to the Scottish electorate, but with apparently a flagrant disregard for both the spirit and letter of the Edinburgh Agreement and the subsequent Smith Commission proposals.

I guess it was just lucky the Scottish Government could help the treasury out with their sums.

The establishment parties, it appears, simply could not help themselves. Westminster will be Westminster – Q.E.D

At this point in time we see Westminster politics in all its glory, the parties of established politics embroiled in their own self obsessed internal strife. I suppose they reckon that with the Jockanese problem stuck on the back burner for the next five years (aye, right), they’ve got time to sort out some of their own powerplay issues. We’ve got a hugely right wing Conservative government haunted and split along a European fault line and a parliamentary Labour party fighting over the bones of Blair’s toxic legacy in an attempt to define its future relevance to the particular electorate which determines who sits in the big chair. (Hint: that would be the same electorate in the same marginals which put Cameron in power). Oh and just to be crystal clear – ABSTENTION isn’t protest, it’s enablement. As for the Libdems? What can you say that hasn’t already been said? Well, we’re pretty sure they’re big fans of the term ‘That’s just politics’.  Oh and yes, Alistair Koalamichael is still an MP at this point in time. Apparently the Libdems don’t have a problem with that, or indeed anything else when it comes to principles, but whut can ye say eh? The irony in all of this being of course, that you couldn’t put a fag paper between any of them when it comes to how they practice their politics, regardless of their ‘supposed’ ideological differences.

Politics, party politics, YOUR politics and your parliament doesn’t have to be like this. It doesn’t have to be constant battles about who inhabits a big hoose with a shiny black door, or runs a party (into the ground), or favours one demographic over another when in power. It doesn’t have to be constantly confrontational or adversarial.

It should, you’d think, be about shared responsibility and consensus.

Now something else pretty essential is required by my pet theory. Something that sets panic in the pants of the Westminions and gives policy wonks and triangulators sleepless nights. Something that causes the bean counting, disingenuous little Herberts to burst out with spontaneous sweats every time a poll comes out on Scottish matters.


Let me remind you of something I said in ‘Patience is a virtue (probably)’:

“Since 2007 you’ve begun to engage in politics again, you’ve been part of a reawakening and a sea change in Scottish politics. Your aspiration brought about a majority government in a parliamentary system which was designed never to have one. Your voices made real the claim of right and Scotland’s right to independence if it so chose (and may still do). It took enormous effort on Westminster’s part simply to slow your aspirations down last September and if anything made you more determined than ever. Your continued engagement since the referendum has brought about the greatest political upset in these islands in over three hundred years and not all the power of big government, big media and big business could stop you.”

And do you know what? They still can’t.

You provide the impetus, the momentum which keeps the establishment system panicked and the independence supporting parties on their toes. No pivotal change can occur without your continued engagement and drive for that change. None of what is now happening via current polling would be possible without your willingness to keep communicating, keep convincing and keep reaching out. That reaching out bit is crucial by the by.

Right now we are entering an election period in Scotland. Attempting to reconcile constitutional aspiration with party loyalties can be difficult for many. Totally understandable.

Something to remember though. During the referendum I think we all became familiar with YES voters of all parties and no parties. Some simply can’t or won’t bring themselves to vote for one party or another. The common weal, the common cause is the glue that binds the whole together. The independence movement has come so very far and on current evidence, inclusion and patient persistence is beginning to pay dividends.  We all made friends from political quarters we never thought likely and that ability to reach out across those divisions is worth remembering every day. This is really my clumsy way of saying we made friends, so let’s make sure they stay friends. Its also something for party politicians to consider. If we, as the voting public, can do this… what’s your excuse?

More importantly, when a second referendum comes along (and with everyone’s continued engagement I strongly suspect there will be one), I would want to see YES voting members of all parties willingly leave the rosette in the drawer and work to ensure that it is truly a PEOPLE’S REFERENDUM.

23 comments on “Patience is a virtue (definitely) part 2

  1. Jan Cowan says:

    In total agreement, Sam. That’s what we must do – recreate the wonderful YES Campaign of 2014.

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  4. Patience is a Virtue says:

    The Yes movement is not just the SNP (certainly it includes the SNP) but is constituted from a much wider body of people across Scotland of Independent mind… perhaps ‘not dependent’ mind is a better term.

    Taking a long term view, if you have ever taken the time to gaze across Scotland’s lanscape ..and appreciate the immense age, scale and beauty of the panorama……. a mere 3 billion years old in parts (Lewisian Gneiss of the north west) … who knows, in 10, 100, 1,000, 10,000 or in a 100,000 years, the word Scotland / Alba is highly likely to still be used to describe the Land and its People and it is unlikely, in even another 3 billion years, that those rocks will have melted under Scotland’s sun………..whereas in 1, 10 or in a 100 years time, will anyone remember the name of any of our TV politicians or their words.

    I think Scotland as a Country is likely to be around for a while yet… come what may.

  5. I think we hang fire until after May 5th and, maybe, the EU vote, then on the basis of the outcome of those we re-launch a Yes-style movement – all-encompassing and non-party.

    In the end of the day we all have to accept that we will only ever get independence when a majority of the population are certain they want it and are prepared to stand up and say so (or at least put a cross in a “yes” box).

    We cannot force or cajole – we have to persuade gently and make people believe in themselves and their own innate ability to want for Scotland what they want for themselves – freedom to run their own affairs and do what feels right for them and their family and friends.

    Patience isn’t just a virtue – it’s an absolute necessity.

  6. Nana says:

    Another excellent blog post Macart.

    I have never been good at playing the waiting game, I’m the sort who rattles and squeezes Christmas pressies

    Right now I’m gritting my teeth at the sheer arrogance and cruelty of the tories, attacking the most vulnerable while filling the pockets of the rich. [I know I should not have watched parly tv yesterday]
    I tell myself ‘soon’ folks will wake up to the reality things will only change through independence.

    I am seeing more and more people coming round and with the help of another YES campaign I firmly believe we will win.

    Oh and another wee book would works wonders!

  7. broadbield says:

    Agreed. I particularly agree that the adversarial, confrontational, bear-baiting politics (echoed in our law courts) has to end and that politicians should start working together for the good of the people, all the people, not just the 1%. So that rules out the (Scottish) Tories, unless they can disown the Thatcher legacy of “greed is good” and the poor must be punished for their own stupidity and genuinely revert to “One Nation Conservatism” in deed and as well as word. Labour have to jettison their visceral hatred of the SNP – and a lot more.

    I would prefer to see a government of “all the talents” – now where did I hear that?

  8. The three Unionist parties (and strangely now a flaccid Green Party’s Patrick Harvie) are determined to restrict the Holyrood campaign to the narrow issue of devolved powers; Education, Health and so on.

    The melt down at Westminster as parties split into warring factions;
    Osborne’s Budget fiasco;
    IDS’ throwing out the dummy;
    Corbyn’s rubbering of Kezia Dugdale at New Scottish Labour’s wee meeting last week end;
    The massive cuts to Scotland’s budgets approved of by all three hues of Toryism Down There,
    Trident, privatising public services,and so on

    On tomorrow’s BBC Pacific Quay Leaders’ Debate, I would ask one question of the Uninoists.

    ‘When ,sorry if, you are swept to power, will you introduce tuition fees, charge for prescriptions, introduce tolls on bridges motorways and tunnels, privatise the NHS, means test care for the elderly, and travel passes, and reverse the present government’s mitigation of the Bedroom Tax?’

    After all they are all good Unionist, and the above is party policy Down There on the Mother Ship.

    I watched the Three Amigos, Gray, Johnston and Rennie falling out over tax plans on Scotland 2016.
    The usual ploy of course.

    A recorded interview with a very competent and capable John Swinneyfollowed by the Three Stooges ‘live’ to slag off the Bad SNP, who of course were denied the right to reply..Classic Pacific Quay ‘balance’.

    This election is the next step on the road to Self Determination.
    There is much that the SNP’s ‘steady as she goes’ strategy that may frustrate Pro Independence supporters of all political hues.

    The Unionists are holding a steady Better Together line, just.

    In saying that many Unionists, Tory by instinct, in salty Helensburgh and leafy Morningside may vote SNP for all those freebies…but NO at Inyref II.
    Like many I consider the May election to be Indyref Stage II. It is an added bonus that the SNP Administration is doing such a bang up job of governing, with the limited powers which they have.

    These are interesting times.
    The SNP are not frightening the horses. The alternative amalgamated manifesto of the Unionist coalition is basically the Westminster Red Blue and Yellow Tories Austerity Programme.
    A clear choice. Onwards on the road to independence, or backwards to Victorian ‘Britain’, and the destruction of our democratic society.

    • Saor Alba says:

      Your comment on Patrick Harvey is interesting, Jack. He has become extremely flaccid. This just shows the danger of voting anything other than SNP x 2 in May.

      • His contribution at FMQ was restricted to ‘not far enough’ comment on Land Reform..mmm.

        In a week when the Blue Tories had to U turn on slashing Disability Benefits, and IDS resigned,
        you’d have thought that he’d be ladling in to Ruth, Jackson, Fraser and Alan, via NS, of course.

        ‘I’m sure the FM will agree with me that the Tories are …’, or some such.

        Maybe the boy’s no’ weel.

        Ian Gray seemed ‘under the weather’ last night on Scotland 2016; and not for the first time. Spot of ‘flu, maybe?

        Free Scotland indeed , Saor Alba.

        It’s all bubbling up nicely.

  9. MI5 Troll says:

    Well said Mr Macart! I’m with you on that. It’s good to see the kennel being so well cared for while the Dugs away in “Trumpland”.

  10. Dan Huil says:

    The unionist dam is well and truly cracked. A few more fissures and Scotland’s independence will surely burst forth.

  11. Robert Graham says:

    Today the Scotland bill enters what is referred to in Westminster speak as The Ping – Pong stage of the bill , I kid you not , Comedy night at the Pavilion doesn’t come close to this pantomime , f/k please get me out of this parallel universe I am trapped in , HELP ! .

  12. Luigi says:

    Timely article. If soft NO voters continue to vote SNP election after election (and it does appear to be becoming a bad habit :)), then there will come a time when many of them will think” you know what, maybe we would be better off going the whole hog and voting for independence?”

    We are still quite a bit away from the tipping point, but we are headed in this direction. Scotland will become independent when the people are ready for it, and when they are, absolutely nothing will be able to stop the process. It s now inevitable IMO, just a atter of when, not if.

  13. xsticks says:

    No disrespect to WGD, but I do enjoy when he’s on holiday 😉

    Excellent as always Sam. Doffs hat.

  14. Macart says:


    You may want to get over to Wings Over Scotland and download the WEE BLACK BOOK.

  15. O/T
    I see Iain McWhirter over at HS has proved to be a Manchurian Candidate.

    Did Unionist Black Ops send in a lady in a polka dot dress who whispered ‘Afghanistan Bananastand’ in his ear to ‘activate’ his brainwashed Unionist inner self?

    He has gone over to the Dark Side! SNP BAD.
    The HS’ most popular story according to their own click counter?
    ‘ Ex Rangers stars drop law suit against club.’

    Shock , horror ! Jings , crivvens, help ma Boab!

    The Herald is now a Football Comic.

    As a well known HS forum contributor (the Good Doctor) observed:-

    ‘Who are you and what have you done with Iain Mc Whirter?’

    Perhaps Iain wants the SNP to go gung ho, and lefty, but we ,who are determined to achieve Self Determination by diplomacy and through the ballot box, can wait. We are in no rush, Iain. No rush at all.

    If indeed Iain McWhirter is a New Labour wolf wrapped in tartan clothing, so be it.

    Nicola Sturgeon has not parked her conscience, as he asserts, and snuggled up with the Edinburgh bankers with fat wallets.

    But I suspect MacWhirter knows that.

    I ask myself why he remains at this once redoubtable Thunderer, whose target audience now seems to be Ranjurs and Cellick bigots, and the withering husk of New Labour dinosaurs.

    Has he spoken to Graham Spiers recently?

    There is life after Newsquest, apparently.

  16. PS.
    I did warn you all:- No more Mr Nice Guy.

    I thoroughly recommend WoS’ Wee Black Book.

    Check out the Third Estate’s lies and threats catalogued therein.

    I have no time for waffle any more.

    We tell it as it is. There is no more room for polite silence.

    This GE is not about taxes, like the good old barnstorming days on the Unionist hustings. We will not be brow beaten into returning to ‘normal’ politics. Scotland has changed for ever and for the better.

    It is about the continuing Road to the (Next) Referendum (ouch! ), Mr Mac Whirter,
    However we march ahead at our pace, not Pacific Quay’s, Kezia’s, Ruth’s, or Willie’s.

    I see the ‘respected’ IFS warped figures and graphs are getting big licks in the Herald and Guardian today, ‘Dodged The Bullet Day’.

    Thank the chief that the tax payers of England continue to send food parcels to their stricken Northern Colony, the barren wasteland that is Scotland the Word.
    I’m sure all the chattering classes have read the Wee Black Book by now.
    Give yourselves a collective pat on the back.

    • Edit: the ‘Fourth’ estate.
      Although the third estate, the Commons, provided most of the lies, threats and mince,and propaganda dutifully churned out by our bought and paid for MSM and Broadcasters.

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