Startled fawns

Campaigning for independence is a roller coaster ride. Just at the moment when the British state is in meltdown, when the institutions of British democracy have never been weaker or more discredited, many within the independence movement are doubting whether the SNP will ever deliver an independence referendum. I believe those fears are misplaced. At this crucial point in Scottish and British history it is imperative that we hold our nerve.

Scotland voted to remain in the EU by a large majority. Over 62% of those who voted opted to remain in the EU. Opinion polls since the June 2016 referendum have shown that the proportion of Scotland’s voters who favour remaining in the EU has grown yet larger and could now even be approaching 70%. Over two thirds of people in this country now wish Scotland to stay a part of the EU. Many of those people voted No in 2014. They were not sold on the idea of Scottish independence, and many of them still harbour doubts.

Certainly, a large segment of those No-voting remainers in Scotland will never be persuaded to support independence, but another segment, possibly a larger one, could be, and together with existing Yes voters that potentially creates a strong majority for independence. However those former No voters are only going to switch to supporting independence once two conditions are met.

Firstly they will only switch to independence once there is no longer any possibility of the UK remaining within the EU. This is the condition that many independence supporters focus on, and so react with anger because they feel that the SNP is risking the best opportunity for independence for decades by campaigning against Brexit. There is considerable frustration within large parts of the independence movement that the SNP currently appears to be focussing its efforts on tackling Brexit, and doesn’t seem to show anything like the same enthusiasm for achieving independence.

But there’s another condition that needs to be met in order to persuade as many former No-voting remainers as possible to switch to support for independence. That’s to convince them that all feasible steps have been taken within the political framework of the UK in order to prevent Brexit happening. That is the only way in which the blame for Brexit can be laid fairly and squarely at the door of Westminster and the British political system and to demonstrate that the UK systematically fails Scotland. It’s only when all hope of Scotland’s EU preferences being met within the framework of the UK, and – crucially – have been extinguished by the Westminster Parliament itself, that the bloc of voters we need on our side will finally make the switch. They will be confronted with a choice between the EU or the UK, a choice which has been forced upon them by right wing English nationalist populists in the Conservative party. That’s going to make them choose independence.

However before that can happen those voters need to see that the UK has failed Scotland. They don’t just need to see it, they need to feel it, and they need to appreciate that the independence movement is with them, that it supports them, and that it’s not gloating or triumphalist. If those voters do not believe that the SNP is wholeheartedly on their side, and has been steadfast in its determination to avoid a no-deal Brexit, it’s going to be much more difficult to persuade them to trust in the case for independence once Brexit has happened and an independence referendum is underway.

Those of us who are already convinced of the case for independence often forget what it’s like to be uncertain, or to have doubts about independence but be open to persuasion. We are always going to vote Yes in the next referendum. We don’t need to be persuaded. We don’t need to be carefully approached like startled fawns. But there are not enough of us to bring about a certain victory in the second independence referendum. So that’s why the SNP strategy is aimed at carefully cultivating those soft Noes and undecideds. It’s not aimed at those of us who march on indy rallies, not at those of us who blog for indy, not at those of us who get into arguments with Tories on social media. It’s aimed at the startled fawns.

Remember, we are not the ones who are feeling betrayed and deceived by the Westminster establishment. Westminster’s deceit and betrayal is already priced in when you are a convinced supporter of independence. Soft Noes and undecideds are the ones who are undergoing a grieving process, a disabusing of their previous trust in British democracy. We need to be patient with them. We need to cultivate them. We need to make sure that they realise that we understand their fears and their doubts and that we have worked hard in order to allay them. Otherwise we will never persuade them. We’re only going to win independence if we take them with us.

So where does this leave us with respect to getting an independence referendum you ask? Well, there is nothing that the SNP or anyone else in Scotland can do to wrest a Section 30 order out of a recalcitrant Westminster. If the Tories or Labour at Westminster remain implacable in their refusal there are no legal steps that can be taken to force one out of them. However that does not mean that we are powerless. Here in Scotland we must work to ensure that we continue to build support for independence, and continue to exhaust – and most importantly be seen to exhaust – all paths to a Section 30 order within the traditional framework of British politics. And it is vital that we here in Scotland change the political landscape of Scotland by getting rid of as many anti-independence MPs as possible in the General Election that’s coming.

What those of us who support independence often forget is that not everyone in Scotland is as cynical about the British electoral and political system as we are. Many, if not most, of us support independence because we feel that the British political system is broken and is unfit for purpose. However those who are unsure about independence or who are soft Noes do not necessarily feel that same sense of disenchantment. They still trust in British politics. It’s only by demonstrating to those voters that we have exhausted all possible routes to a Section 30 order that we can persuade them to accept that alternatives are both necessary and feasible. That is the only way that we can ensure that there is a sufficient head of political steam within Scotland so that there will be majority support for alternative strategies such as a referendum without a Section 30 order or a plebiscite election. We’re not there yet.

Predicting what’s going to happen in British politics these days is a mug’s game. However for what it’s worth I suspect that in the General Election that is to come, it is more likely than not that the Conservatives will win a narrow majority in the rest of the UK. Scotland on the other hand will return a large majority of SNP MPs. The political divide between Scotland and the rest of the UK will loom large. Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson is precisely the kind of English nationalist populist who would take an axe to the Barnett Formula, and he’ll have no Scottish Tory MPs to act as a brake on his English nationalist instincts. In the process he will destroy the “fiscal transfer” argument which is the sole weapon remaining in the anti-independence armoury. He will take us out of the EU into a no-deal Brexit. Support for independence will soar, and under those political circumstances the refusal to agree to a Section 30 order will play very badly for him and will merely alienate Scottish voters even further. Indeed, a weak Johnson government might feel it’s better to cut its losses as far as Scotland is concerned, and agree to a Section 30 order in order to increase the Tory majority in Westminster.

It is only when Brexit has happened, when the SNP has been seen to exhaust absolutely every tactic that could have prevented it, when all possible avenues to a Section 30 order have been refused, only then will the Scottish Government be in a position to talk publicly about alternative strategies for independence and be certain that it can count on the support of a majority in Scotland. That can only happen if the SNP achieves a substantial victory in the General Election to come and fights that campaign on the basis of demanding that Scotland has the right to decide its own future – and then finds itself rebuffed by a Westminster government with no popular support in Scotland. In other words, the refusal of Westminster to agree to a Section 30 order is not an insuperable obstacle. It is merely a part of the process we have to go through.

The core of the SNP strategy is that Scotland can only achieve independence if it can get the support of the startled fawns. It’s natural to have doubts and fears. But remember that we are winning, and we will get to the top of the mountain.  But we need to take the fawns with us.

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49 comments on “Startled fawns

  1. […] Wee Ginger Dug Startled fawns Campaigning for independence is a roller coaster ride. Just at the moment when the […]

  2. Iain Patterson says:

    Wise and appropriate words Paul!!

  3. Mark Potter-Irwin says:

    I have a perfect, if unusual, example of a Fawn. I was talking to a man by the sea-lock in Crinan (Argyll) a couple of weeks ago and he, on seeing my SNP lapel button, said he is also an SNP member but he is not sure about Independence. I was aghast and speechless. On reflection, I recognise that the SNP is a “broad church” and encompasses many different views, some of which support the devolved Scottish Government but are scared of where independence might lead.This is one good reason for waiting until it is so obvious to most Scots that there is no other way forward for us other than full Independence.

  4. Macart says:

    That was well said. 🙂

  5. Bravo Paul.Makes perfect sense, as usual.

  6. I’ve been watching and wondering over the last few weeks and months, Paul and it slowly has been dawning to me, the true reason for what appeared to be procrastination on the SNP’s part.
    I believe you have called this absolutely correctly.

  7. Millsy says:

    Hopefully , Boris Bawbag will tell us that he would ”rather die in a ditch” than grant a Section 30 for a referendum .
    Good choice , Boris !

  8. Terry callachan says:

    Good explanation well said

  9. Colin Dawson says:

    The area where the SNP is failing is in actually building a case for independence. The 2014 case for independence was weak and pathetic and little or nothing has been done to enhance it. The SNP should be saying what an independent Scotland will do differently from Westminster and how these different decisions will affect jobs, taxes, average earnings etc.

    According to industry figures, 60% of North Sea Oil jobs are in England. These are predominantly in London and the Southeast. This amounts to almost 200,000 jobs. Planning, design, development, subcontracting, regulatory approval, financing, legal and pretty much all the top jobs are there. Aberdeen is not the oil capital of the UK. London is. So, how many of these jobs can independence bring to Scotland by tying tax breaks and regulatory approval to local jobs? Newfoundland and Norway do this. Why not an independent Scotland.

    Virtually all of the production platforms, FPSOs, support vessels, shuttle tankers etc for our oil industry are currently imported from Norway, South Korea, Singapore, Italy, Spain, Germany and elsewhere. This probably amounts to many tens of thousands of offshored jobs. What do the SNP propose do to bring these jobs to Scotland post independence?

    The same applies to wind turbines. Far too much of the infrastructure is imported. What do the SNP propose to do to ensure Scotland maximises the employment potential from this industry?

    There is the potential to revive Scotland’s shipbuilding and steel industries but only if we develop a suitable industrial strategy, regulatory system and tax regime.

    These are just two sectors but they have the potential to create hundreds of thousands of skilled, well paid jobs. They have the potential to generate many billions in payroll and corporate taxes and the economic multiplier effect could create huge numbers of jobs in other sectors of the economy like transport, hospitality, construction, entertainment, leisure, finance, legal services, and countless others.

    The SNP made a complete hash of this part of the independence campaign five years ago and was on the back foot when Westminster threatened shipbuilding jobs on the Clyde. It still is. The SNP should have been armed with the arguments I make above and could have blown the Westminster threats out of the water but they didn’t.

    Then there’s the annual GERS debacle. The SNP should be able to utterly demolish these figures and present a budget for an independent Scotland refoecting the different decisions that independence will allow but, instead, it meekly accepts the GERS figures.

    It took nearly five years after the referendum before Progress Scotland was launched. What had the SNP been doing meantime to learn from past mistakes and build a better case for independence? Not much that I can see. The Growth Commission just advocates more of the same neoliberal policies.

    The SNP needs to build a vision for an independent Scotland and nees to be able to show how that will boost job opportunities, earnings, tax take, public services etc. Without this, how do we expect to convert undecideds? No wonder patience is running out amongst independence supporters.

    • ArtyHetty says:

      Agree with you there Colin. To a certain extent the SNP have been building and preparing for a future independent Scotland, but need to do much more, and they need more time, not to mention money. Brexit has put paid to some of the plans I am sure.

      Yep, GERS, that should not be accepted by the Scotgov in any way.

      We do though have a massive problem, the media is controlled by the Britnat state and their dodgy pals elsewhere. Scotland is at the mercy of their total bias and lies.

      I don’t watch tv, but keep up online and even a couple of days ago, heard that Ian Blackford was just cut off when speaking about Brexit, by Sky news, simple, easy, job done. Don’t give the SNP a voice, ignore, stifle and silence them. It’s orchestrated, dangerous and consistent. It was a deliberate ploy not to devolve broadcasting or telecommunications powers to Scotland. Someone had a crystal ball, or had read that Nazi guy of Hitler years, whose quote said something about controlling the narrative via the media.

    • Terry callachan says:

      The SNP can lay out plans to make changes and bring all these things to Scotland and they could issue such a report right now BUT, as we know from experience when all the tv , radio, stations and newspapers the whole media and communications system, is used against Scotland , against the Scottish government against SNP and against Nicola Sturgeon , issuing such a report with the most perfect of plans would be reported very differently to what it is.
      Whenever something good and positive is introduced by the Scottish government the SNP or Nicola Sturgeon it is attacked and reported as useless , hopeless, a waste of money, dangerous , a failure , a stupid idea by stupid people from a drug and booze ridden country.

      All the things you mention will be done very quickly indeed once Scotland is in control of Scotland.
      The sad fact of the matter is that Scotland does not control any of the important things in Scotland particularly money jobs communications politics fiscal government.

      Great list of facts you presented but dare I say , now really is not the time.

      All the best to you though, we will do it , we are making progress
      On you go SNP keep up the good work
      Difficult for them, very difficult, but they are clever and on the ball

    • MacMina MacAllan says:

      As usual the wee dug is barkin up the richt tree but your comment is really getting to the point. Time we acted as if we were an independent country by going ahead and developing the industry, national finance and social structure that we aspire to. Never mind being content with a vision. After acting independently and demonstrating the advantages instead of talking about them independence would become accepted as normal and in due course be formally acknowledged by the international community. No section 30 required.

  10. Legerwood says:

    Timely article which says what needs to be said on so many levels particularly with regards to the need to use the opportunity a GE would present to return a strong SNP contingent to Westminster thus ending any doubt that people want an Independence referendum.

    However, it now appears that some sections of the independence movement are analysing/promoting a point of view in a way that makes such an outcome less likely. For example, that the SNP if successful in trying to stop a no deal Brexit or stop Brexit all together means that Indyref2 won’t take place. It does nothing of the sort. Under either of these scenarios Indyref2 would still go ahead because if either happens UKIP and the Brexit party and Brexiteer Tories won’t disappear and will continue to campaign for a split from the EU.

    Chaos will continue as UKIP etc continue their campaign and in such a wholly dysfunctional Union then Indyref2 is still very much on the cards.

    People’s eyes have been opened to the nature of this Union and Scotland’s place in it and they are not about to close their eyes to the situation anytime soon.

    • Legerwood says:

      “”The SNP should be saying what an independent Scotland will do differently from Westminster …””

      The Scottish Government has demonstrated over the past 12 years in Education, Health, Policing and other areas social, welfare and civic that are devolved to it just what an independent Scotland would do differently, and successfully.

      It is late so I shall leave further deconstruction of your post for now.

      • Legerwood says:

        Sorry that reply was meant to be to Colin Dawson. As I said it is late.

      • Colin Dawson says:

        It’s not the running of health, education, policing and the likes that will convert people to independence. This is demonstrably the case because support for independence hardly changed for four and a half years after the independence referendum. Despite Westminster being almost in meltdown there has only been a slight rise in support for independence in recent months but this could easily be reversed depending on how Brexit and the looming general election turns out.

  11. ArtyHetty says:

    Well said, the voice of reason. It is hard for people who see how independence for Scotland is essential, and that a perfectly feasible and positive future awaits, if only others would see it too.

    It must be a unique situation, where a country has a few actual economic and practical powers but is tethered and curtailed by another countrys’ choice of government.

    Devolution light, Brexit, Britnats in charge at Westminster, Britnats at Holyrood ( parcel of rogues) intent on scuppering anything positive the SNP tries to do for Scotland, a media that is 100% anti SNP, Scottish SNP MPs treated with utter contempt, divide and rule tactics especially in or rather from England, where there is a definite sense of ramping up hatred and blame towards Scotland. Scotland’s SNP politicians hounded out of their jobs, remember that?

    Three hundred plus years of rule by a tyrannical neighbour, after many years of warring, then, a few years of government, the ONLY party with enough leverage as well as intent to improve the lives of the people of Scotland, albeit bound in chains still, attempting to repair some of the damage, the economic, practical and physchological damage that is the legacy of the so called union.

    What could you liken that to? Which country has experienced this situation before?
    What would we do in Nicola Sturgeon’s position? Could we cope? It must take it out of someone, the whole kit and kaboodle, devolution, Westminster, disgusting Brexit. Managing all of that, I would not want the job. In fact not many would or could do it.

    Look at Johnson, he is a wreck after a few days as PM! Serves him right though, and he will come up trumps no matter what.

    Nicola Sturgeon is doing a sterling job under the circumstances, so this article is welcome after Fridays depressing spat online between two very good and well respected independebce bloggers.

  12. Joan Macdonald says:

    Sgoinneil! Absolutely excellent. I agree with every word. Folk in the indy movement should stop bickering and concentrate on the big picture.

  13. diabloandco says:

    Thanks Paul , I needed a voice of reason to calm my worries.

  14. alanm says:

    The Dug’s argument is well constructed as always but misses one key point. There’s a danger that in chasing the votes of no voting remainers, you lose the support of large segments of the yes vote including yes voting brexiters. There are already plenty of warning signs flashing and so nobody will be able to claim after the event that this has all come as something of a shock.

    I can only think the SNP calculation is that independence supporters have nowhere else to go and so their votes can be taken for granted. Speaking as someone not interested in jumping from the Westminster frying pan straight into the Brussels fire, I’m distinctly unimpressed.

    • Gordon says:

      What really is the ‘Brussels fire’? Isn’t that something that the Brexit supporters argue. Can that really reflect our positive forward looking project?

    • Cubby says:

      Nonsense. There is no comparison between the UK and the EU. The EU is a union the UK is a dictatorship.

  15. Weechid says:

    What if their attempt to keep UK in the EU is successful? We lose those voters anyway. Looks like the whole thing is dead in the water for anyone in their 60s. Sorry, but I want this for me – not for some future generation that I’ll never see and have no stake in. If that sound selfish – tough. Done enough selfless things in my life but if this isn’t going to happen for me why should I bother campaigning? Anyone not persuaded now, with everything that has happened and everything that’s going on is never going to change their mind. I’m about ready to give up and become a bloody hermit, become like George Carlin and stop voting – it’s pointless anyway.

    • PictAtRandom says:

      “I’m about ready to give up and become a bloody hermit, become like George Carlin and stop voting – it’s pointless anyway.”

      Beginning to understand what it’s like as a Yes-Leaver?

  16. Contrary says:

    Aye. Well said Paul. I agree with most of your article. It might stick in our craw but the SNP strategy IS working, they are persuading the soft noes to turn. Conversations from them may not explicitly include independence, but the implication is there, and the polls are changing.

    I complained to the SNP about a year or so go – fed up of the constant ‘have conversations’ message they were putting out – well, you can’t have conversations with people that are scared of the subject that overturns their entire world view, they just will not engage. So I said that indyref needed to be announced to force the conversation to start. A lot of people must have made the same complaint because they’ve shut up with that pointless message. There was nothing more any of us could do then. People are starting to talk now, and many more people feel more comfortable about expressing their YES sentiments – it’s no longer a toxic subject within a predominantly unionist setting.

    The frustration felt by the Yes movement is understandable – we are being forced to suffer total disruption from brexit because the poor undecided dears are a bunch of morons that are too stupid to realise how toxic and incompatible Westminster and the union is. But I will not be even thinking ‘moron’ or ‘stupid’ , I will be repeating the mantra ‘every opinion matters’, I will not be getting angry, I will be seemingly fascinated and interested in (not-stupid not-stupid not-stupid) debates on pros and cons of the union, etc.

    Ideally we don’t have brexit but we still have the support for independence, but that is just so unlikely. So, against all reason, we have to suck it up. The propaganda from the state is strong, people are out there still believing they deserve to be second class citizens in their own country. They need to be pried away from that kind of thinking and supported and Molly-coddled into self-belief. We just need enough of them, the rest will realise how much better it can be, the freedoms and choices – whether that is EU membership or not – we can have as an independent country, when it happens. No one has the intention of making Scotland shitter than it is in the union.

    I wish the SNP would see reason about having our own currency – I cannot make an economic argument with their current stance, along with the implication that the SNP are the last word on the matter.

    But. If the SNP do not campaign on an independence platform, on the next ballot, I will not be putting any cross against their name. Possibly I will just write independence across the ballot paper and leave it at that. They need the support of all of us, and the constant call for more money is getting irritating, so slow and laborious are their tactics, they still need to give us some returns.

    • CATHy says:

      Nicola has already said that Independence will be at the forefront of an election campaign so as Paul says…don’t lose heart….meantime I’m off on the campaign trail in my local area in a wee while…..

    • Legerwood says:

      Currency. I thought that issue was debated at the Spring conference and an amendment put forward by the membership was adopted.

      Something along the lines of moving to our own currency as soon as possible. Does that not ‘settle’ the currency issue?

      • Contrary says:

        Aye, Tim Rideout did an excellent job there, and I was at a talk where he presented a plan to show how well and simply a fresh new currency could be implemented – immediately. So in theory, ‘as soon as possible’ is immediately (on the actual change-of-powers-day). All economic arguments can be made based on having that – it works.

        So the leaders of the SNP have to go along with the ‘soon as possible’ amendment – but they are not happy with it (might scare the noes) and can interpret the idea of when it is possible as being as late as when the growth commission suggested. If they do start to promote a new currency, that’ll be good, but I don’t know how they will present it (I think strong, and stable of course, positive messages on this would be better) when their rather poor economic understanding – they are just assuming the continuation of the UKs failed neoliberal style model – is prevalent. I have no influence on how any campaign might present things, so I should just leave the worry aside until it happens and I know!

  17. Alasdair Stirling says:

    Sorry, the SNP are a do-nothing party and their leader – Nervous Nicola – a do-nothing leader. They love to talk about Indy as long as they never have to do anything about it in practice.

    It is clear beyond doubt that Nervous Nicola is not going to deliver IndyRef2 in 2020 and, therefore, all her talk is simply laying down the basis of the 2021 campaign strategy. Even then, the do-nothing SNP has had 5 years to develop and adopt policies on key issues currently reserved to Westminster (such as debt, deficit, tax, pensions and currency) but have done heehaw to that end. I don’t necessarily expect a date for IndyRef2, but at the very least I expect to see that the groundwork and preparation for Independence is taking place (oh, and spare me the standard SNP bullshit of the imaginary plan developed by the secret committee chaired Santa and the tooth fairy).

    The truth is that Nervous Nicola and the do-nothing SNP are falling into a very old trap – ‘Failing to prepare is simply preparing to fail’. But, of course, that may very well be the plan.
    It is a brutal observation, but for the SNP politicians as with the dictionary; Pay, Pensions and Perks come before Principles.

    • Gus says:

      “Nervous Nicola”?

      The SNP cannot “develop and adopt polices reserved to Westminster”.

      The reason being that they are actually reserved.

      To Westminster.

      Go and have a lie down please.

  18. Ian says:

    I find it surprising that the reality of the very poor long term economic performance of the UK isn’t highlighted more given that the flip side of independence is staying in a UK with more relentless decline, something that has been happening over several decades at least and which Brexit is likely to speed up. Some people may not like graphs but they do give a long term view and importantly, can be compared with our European neighbours for various key factors that largely determine how successful a nation will be – Capital expenditure % of GDP, R&D % of GDP, etc. UK consistently well below our neighbours each year for decades.

    Also even within the UK, those economic figures that are available for each country (eg imports & exports), show how well Scotland is performing and how badly England in particular is.

    Even taking into account the much lauded UK ‘services’, the overall trade position of the UK has been unsustainably bad since around the late 80’s.

    Scotland should have the same level of standard of living as Denmark, Germany, Holland etc. The reality is that if the UK can’t improve it’s economic performance with the windfall that North Sea oil provided, it never will. Scotland however shows every indication that it could and to me that’s what independence is all about. So the question boils down to, more stagnation and decline within the UK or catching up with our neighbours as an independent Scotland ? The information is there to answer that.

  19. smac1314 says:

    There’s two points I’d like to make.
    What happens if the Scottish parliament is closed down post-Brexit? It’s a very real possibility, this Tory government has shown to have little regard for democratic norms.
    If the SNP need Scots to feel the full force of Brexit before they can persuade people to vote for independence, then maybe they are not as good politicians as we thought.

  20. Marion Richardson says:

    Exactly Paul! Always Be Campaigning and Talking Scotland Up Yes Vote #IndyRef2 We must take people with us. We’re winning! 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿❤️👍

  21. FergusMac says:

    If the Westminster government shuts down the Scottish Parliament, then all pro-independence MSPs, MPs and MEPs should follow the Irish example, and meet in Edinburgh to declare themselves the Parliament of the sovereign and independent
    Scottish nation. After decades of returning a majority of Irish Party MPs and not getting Home Rule, the 1918 election elected a majority of Sinn Féin candidates, who refused to take their seats in the Imperial Parliament but met as Dáil Éireann in Dublin in 1919.

    As Craig Murray has pointed out, legitimacy would be conferred by international recognition, and there are many friendly nations who would be happy to recognise Scotland as an independent state.

    In the circumstances, I don’t see the international community wearing it if the English tried the Black and Tan tactics again. That didn’t turn out too well for them a century ago.

  22. Luigi says:

    Another brilliant, timely article, WGD. We really need to take the soft NOs with us – this is what its so easy (for all of us) to forget at times. Personally, I have found myself floating between “must go now” and “Hold Hold” for a while now. Remember, even for the soft yessers in 2014, puting that big X in the YES box was a scary theing, a small mark on the voting slip, but a massive jump into the unknown. Those soft NOs are now running through the same emotions.And come that time (not so far away) when they walk slowly down to the polling booth, they will reflect the bizzare, tumultous events of the past two years, the promises broken, the lives shattered, stability and comfort all but gone. Then they will ponder on how the Scottish government has been steadfast, standing up for remain and indyref 2. Then and only then, in that quitet moment in the polling booth, will they make their big decision and vote YES. Then, all the holding, all the patience, all the hard work of the SG and the YES campaigners, will finally bear fruit.

    It’s not us the SG optics are for, its those soft NOs who will be vital to achieving success. We were persuaded long ago, others are just barely catching up. If, for a moment you put yourselves in the soft NO shoes, you will realise what an absolute blinder the SG have played over the past two years. 🙂

  23. Welsh Sion says:

    Good luck to both AUOB Rallies in Scotland and Wales, today!

  24. This may be one of the most important pieces you’ve published (to date, at least).

    Yes, it’s frustrating for convinced indy supporters that things appear to be moving so slowly (or not moving at all), but it has been clear to me for some time that the SNP are playing the long game, knowing that there is no point hurrying into IndyRef2 and ending up with a similar result; a result which would take the issue off the agenda for a decade or more thereafter (and lend a spurious ‘justification’ for London to neuter Holyrood into a talking-shop).

    As you say, Paul, there’s an exercise in persuasion which has to take place, and demonstrating to the unconvinced that all efforts on ScotGov’s part which could be made to head off B***it were made gives considerable leverage over the soft-No’s whose switch is essential to take you over the line.

  25. Gordon says:

    Very well argued article. Off course the Brexit chaos is an opportunity, but there are, as is argued, no easy solutions. But as has been argued elsewhere if England in Wales are in complete chaos that in a strange way makes indy more difficult. Not only because of the border issue, but also because partner countries in Europe and beyond will see us as essentially part of the chaos and not instead as a positive forward looking project.

  26. Welsh Sion says:

    Just seen it.

    Isn’t that a beautiful front page on today’s “National”? 🙂

    Thanks, Mr. Editor.

    (Not an adjective I use very often, let’s be honest …)

  27. Scozzie says:

    I respectfully disagree with your premise that until all avenues to prevent Brexit and refusal of S30 will be when the soft nos jump towards independence. We are already at the stage of complete political melt-down and I reckon most folk can see that – especially the soft nos.

    I believe what the soft nos need right now is confidence that the SNP can bring about independence and provide a convincing case for independence. More waiting does not instill confidence, it comes across as hesitancy for our case for independence and thus justifies the soft nos own hesitancy amongst this important group of voters. We need a strong, hard case for independence so that soft nos can see a solution to this political, social and economic catastrophe.

    Our problem is the constant waiting and seeing before taking the plunge. Until we take the plunge to triggering the independence campaign, the soft nos won’t either.

  28. chicmac says:

    Yes Paul, it has always only ever been about the middle ground.

    However, a key question is, if hard Brexit IS prevented how much does that impact on the chances of indy?

    Hopefully not too much.

  29. Mark Russell says:

    The result and consequences of the EU referendum were unequivocal. Overall the UK voted to leave, but the UK is merely a union of nations and the desires and wishes of its constituent parts must be paramount. The UK must exit from the EU as soon as possible, but the option to remain aligned politically and economically should be a decision for each nation. Should Scotland and NI decide to remain, the UK as a political and economic union ends. In these circumstances, Ireland would be in all but name, unified – but its constitutional future should properly be a decision for the whole of Ireland.

    England (and Wales) made a brave decision. There is an overwhelming desire to take back control – not just its sovereignty from Brussels – but from the corrupt and dishonest cabal within the British Establishment that have exercised and abused their power for far too long. It isn’t a democracy when an elected parliament is subservient to the square mile just to the east of Westminster. England is in a mess; poverty, homelessness, despair – and anger – abound. Housing, infrastructure and the real economy are collapsing.

    The vast wealth inequality must end. As must the masquerade as a global military superpower. William Waldergave gave an excellent interview on Newsnight when he described England as being a middle-sized country with an interesting history and delusions of grandeur. Empire is over; much of England have realised that for years – but its self-serving remnants are still dragging the country down.

    It’s a delicious irony that the principle architects of Brexit may yet end up as the ones who stand to lose everything, especially if civil war breaks out. And I think that is not an unfortunate but realistic prospect given the political machinations. Incompetent, corrupt, dishonest, untrustworthy he may be, but Boris Johnson is absolutely correct on one matter – the UK must leave the EU on 31 October, even though it means the end of the UK as we know it. And Westminster too.

    I suspect Johnson realises this – he may be a clown but he isn’t stupid. It’s what the vast majority of English people want. What happens next will provide them with the identity and destiny they very much desire – and deserve. I’m Scottish but have lived in England most of my life, support an independent Scotland taking responsibility for its own future – but very much agree with the sentiments of my neighbours down here. Most would be delighted if Scotland became independent – the Union isn’t really a priority for them. Leaving the EU is. Sorting England’s problems the most important of all.

    Dangerous times, but there is hope and opportunity. As mush as I despise the right-wing group leading the charge for no-deal, it is the rebels and opposition MPs (whose opinions are cogent and greatly respected) who are thwarting the democratic will of the English people by seeking to delay or abandon the entire process. This legislature can’t solve the problem for any number of reasons – the UK is on borrowed time and Westminster as a sovereign parliament is finished.

    Denmark, Sweden and Norway dissolved the Scandinavian union successfully – there are no borders or trade barriers between them now other than a line on a map. Switzerland is not a member of the EU but is surrounded by countries who are. No physical borders or trade barriers either. Brexit need not be destructive or divisive – it may very well provide the solutions that we desperately need in these islands, but only if we embrace its consequences instead of fearing them.

    The English people have an enormous task ahead. I wish them luck.

  30. Ken Clark says:

    Excellently framed as always, Paul.

    History is littered with Scottish failures borne of fractiousness and impatience. Hopefully we won’t repeat those mistakes in the coming months.

    As to support for Scottish independence being assisted by the rise of the worst type of English nationalism amongst NO voting Scots, I have detected a change in attitude among our European neighbours.

    Continental friends, conned as much as the 55% by the illusion of London’s broad shouldered stability, now see the reality behind that mask. The same mask that slipped far enough for many Scots to return a YES vote far in excess of it’s starting point.

    Any vestiges of respect remaining from the war years when London was a beacon of hope for Europeans has been flushed down history’s toilet by the current English establishment.

    They are now more sympathetic to Scottish independence.

    Derek Bateman used the game Kerplunk as a metaphor to explain the forces at work.

    London is rapidly out of sticks.

  31. Bob Lamont says:

    Excellent synopsis…
    Impatience for independence is understandable given what has gone on over past decades, but we need to realise that England’s problems will become our problems even with independence. Look at the damage likely to be done to Ireland through Brexit, partitioned in 1921, and despite their own vibrant economy since EU accession are far from immune from the fallout. Additionally, we are not yet divorced so we need to keep the old fart alive and well to get a settlement beyond the spare bed and a set of old photographs with the partner excised with a pair of scissors…
    Ireland had already started building alternative sea routes, Scotland is nowhere near so able to bypass the England blockade, perhaps a Ferguson shipyard consideration.
    Scotland in the EU is for another day and another referendum, but right now the only thing standing between England and chaos is an ordered departure from Europe rather than allow the elites to conjure chaos for profit.
    Whereas I doubt Leave is the majority preference now, that it is so deeply divisive an issue in England stoked by an elite trying to maintain complete control cannot be ignored, it will be divisive for years to come until England evolves as a Nation standing on it’s own two feet.

  32. Alasdair Buchanan says:

    Cannot but agree with your reasoning.

    However voter demographics played a major part in the narrow No vote in IndyRef1. Specifically the over 55s and pensioner vote, which comprise well over one million & growing, cost us the referendum in 2014. It will do so again unless tackled as a separate & major issue within the IndyRef2 campaign.

    It was agreed during the 2014 campaign all State pension & pension entitlement would be honoured & continue to be paid by the UK government [which would considerably improve Scotland’s social security liabilities post Indy] . However there was a silence surrounding the annual up rating of the State Pension. Other benefits which comprise the current benefits/entitlement system were scarcely discussed but are equally important viz. Housing benefit, Council Tax, Winter fuel allowance, the over 75s free tv license, Carers & Disabilities allowances, the iniquitous Spare Room tax, Social services, Care home provisions and end of life care

    All of the above and more needs to be presented to the electorate as a Senior Citizen entitlement package [and not classed as benefits] together with a copper bottom guarantee that no one would be worse off but better off in the long term under Independence which, is aspiring to provide a distinct Scottish State Pension more in line with Germany and our Nordic neighbours.

    Resolve the senior citizen conundrum and Independence will be ours.

  33. Welsh Sion says:

    Translation and Editing: WS + GT

    Over 5,000 independence supporters in Merthyr

    7 September 2019 at 15:17

    Independence supporters in Merthyr Saturday 7 September 2019

    Over 5,000 independence supporters have been marching in Merthyr this afternoon.

    They have been listening to prominent figures from politics, sport and literature arguing the case for a free Wales.

    Among the main messages of the rally were:

    * The need to build the confidence that Wales can be independent

    * That Brexit and its impact on Westminster politics add to the demand for independence for Wales

    * Wales is an open country that is ready to welcome everyone.

    “For Wales there is no benefit from Westminster, now or in the future,” said former rugby player Eddie Butler, who received a deafening welcome from the crowd.

    “Every country that has won its freedom has had to start from scratch in building its future.”

    Calling Boris Johnson a ‘homphobic, racist, sexist idiot’, former goalkeeper Neville Southall called on everyone to insist that the Red Dragon roar higher.

    “Yes Wales can,” is the message of Iain Black from Scotland, a leading independence campaigner there, emphasizing the need to instil confidence in people over independence.
    Assembly Member Delyth Jewell said she had always believed that Wales would be independent some day.

    “Increasing noise over the years, months and recent years has led to the culmination of a realization that this must happen now,” she said.

    “This is the way to undo the economic and social devastation that Wales has suffered.”

    Other speakers included poets Patrick Jones, Mike Jenkins and Catrin Dafydd, with the latter arguing the need to ensure a central place for the Welsh language in an independent Wales.

    “Welsh is a language for everyone, with an opportunity for everyone to speak it and learn about the history of Wales.”


    • Mark Potter-Irwin says:

      Most of what I have read in the comments, to me, feel like fearful comments, trying to out think an insane conundrum that is the present UK. We are a Nation! We need to think/feel/behave like a Nation. Believe fully in Scotland and Scotland WILL exist.

  34. John says:

    I get Softly Softly Paul.
    I get the strategy to bring on board Labour europhiles.
    What I don’t get is the absence of anger from our elected representatives.
    We The People need leadership.

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