British nationalism’s demographic time bomb


It’s always instructive to pay close attention to what your opponents are saying. There’s a very interesting article in the Herald today, written by Andy Maciver. He is currently the director of a consulting and lobbying company, but was formerly the Head of Communications for the Scottish Conservatives and remains close to the party. Today he’s written a piece for the Herald in which he pretty much concedes that the game is up for opposition to independence in its traditional form.

The demographics of British nationalism in Scotland are woeful. Amongst the younger age groups, support for independence increases the younger the age group. Amongst 16 to 24 year olds support for independence becomes overwhelming. There is now only one age cohort in Scotland where there is not majority support for independence, the over 55s. And even there polling is picking up a gradual shift from no to yes as people age and move from the younger more pro-independence cohorts and into the older one. Opposition to independence in Scotland is quite literally dying off.

What this means for the current Just Say No strategy of the British Government and the Conservatives is that it is doomed to failure. The longer that the Conservatives manage to fend off a Scottish independence referendum, the more likely it becomes that there will be a yes vote when a democratic event in Scotland finally occurs. The Conservative government in Westminster might be able to say no to a Section 30 order, but they cannot control and suppress all democratic votes in Scotland. Eventually one of those votes will be held and independence parties will use it to seek a direct mandate for independence itself, and then opponents to independence are likely to lose heavily.

The polling expert John Curtiss suggested this week that should the British Government continue to refuse a Section 30 order following the election of a clear majority of pro-indy parties in next year’s Scottish elections, then the next UK General Election in 2024 could become a de facto referendum. Instead of standing on a mandate for a referendum, pro-independence parties could stand seeking a mandate for independence itself, as was the policy of the SNP before the establishment of the Scottish Parliament.

That’s a vote that the Tories can’t prevent from taking place. They can’t boycott it like they could boycott a referendum without a Section 30 order. Neither could they argue that success in a Westminster election didn’t provide a recognisable mandate as they themselves have insisted that constitutional matters are reserved to Westminster. Should a majority of Scotland’s voters back the independence parties, the international community would be prepared to accept this as a genuine democratic expression of Scotland’s desire to become independent if the British Government had previously been seen to block the clear and unarguable democratic demand for a referendum produced by the Scottish election. The British Government would have lost all control over the process.

In a normal year approximately 13500 people die each quarter in Scotland. Those are overwhelmingly in the oldest age cohort. That means that, if conditions were normal, we would expect some 540000 people in Scotland who were able to vote in the first referendum to have passed away by the time of the next UK General Election. These will be people who are predominantly amongst the oldest age cohort and a significant majority of whom would have opposed independence.

However we are not in normal times. We’re currently facing a pandemic which disproportionately affects older people. Any death is a tragedy to be mourned and wept over. Those numbers represent someone’s mother, father, brother, sister. But the sands run through the hourglass of life nevertheless, and cumulatively it has a political effect.

Those who pass away will be replaced on the electoral rolls by a similar (slightly smaller) number of younger people who will be overwhelmingly in support of independence. By 2024 kids who were only eight years old at the time of the first independence referendum will be eligible to vote in UK general elections, and kids who were only six years old at the time of the first referendum will be eligible to vote in Scottish and local elections. At a very rough guesstimate, that would mean that by 2024 approximately 400,000 of 2014’s No voters will have passed away and been replaced by 400,000 Yes voters.

Support for independence is now in the lead not just amongst all age groups except the oldest, it’s also in the lead with women voters, and also amongst those who belong to the better off sections of Scottish society. Both these groups showed a majority against independence in 2014. There has traditionally been a political assumption that the older people get the more conservative with a small c that they become, however that does not necessarily translate into younger Scottish people becoming more likely to oppose independence as they age. Support for independence cuts across all demographics, and crucially there is now also majority support for independence amongst the most affluent social class in Scotland. So there can be no guarantee that younger people who currently support independence will shift to opposition as they get older. Indeed, there’s some reason to believe that they only become more determined to achieve independence and more willing to use the skills and resources they’ve accumulated over a lifetime in order to do so.

Andy Maciver recognises that opposition to independence is facing a demographic collapse. The longer that the Tories succeed in stalling a vote on independence, the more likely it becomes that Scotland will vote for independence when a vote finally happens. And as we know, the Conservatives cannot prevent all democratic events from taking place in Scotland.

That just leaves changing the frame of the argument. Since opponents of independence are now facing a demographic mountain that they cannot surmount, Andy Maciver suggests that instead of simply opposing independence, British nationalists instead present a different argument. He suggests that they should instead seek to offer a comprehensive federalism to Scotland. The problem here is that the Conservatives in London have intensely centralising instincts and have no interest at all in losing part of their power in order to appease the Scots or to benefit the electoral prospects of a Scottish Conservative party which contributes only marginally to Conservative electoral success.

What all this means is that there is a growing awareness among at least parts of the Conservative party that they have only a narrow and rapidly closing window available to them if they want to prevent Scottish independence. They could very well come to the conclusion that their only hope of preventing independence is to agree to a Section 30 order shortly after next year’s Scottish elections so that they could fight their campaign while they still have a chance of winning it. Because the longer they stall, the more likely that independence becomes.

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236 comments on “British nationalism’s demographic time bomb

  1. Your last paragraph sums up the only chance that the no side have, go for an early referendum in the hope that they can scrape through and put independence in the bin. I don’t think that they would win however, the momentum is with us and the tipping point has already been passed. All this hopefully points to indy2 next year and independence soon after.

  2. […] Wee Ginger Dug British nationalism’s demographic time bomb It’s always instructive to pay close attention to what your opponents are saying. […]

    • Steaphan says:

      One demographic not factored in is the mass influx of English to Scotland which may be encouraged by the British government as they attempt to buy time by just saying “no” to a referendum. They have recently moved to take control of Scotland’s independent building regulations. House prices in the Highlands and elsewhere are kept artificially high in order to price young and local people out of the market. This over the next 20 years will help them replace the lost no-voting older generation with a younger no-voting demographic from elsewhere in the British isles.

      • Colin Dawson says:

        The influx is encouraged by our lower property prices, nationwide bus passes, fabulous scenery, better health and social care etc. Are there any official figures that quantify this migration? It has a significant influence, not just upon voting patters but also upon Scotland’s finances because we carry these later life costs but don’t get credited with the taxes that these people paid during their working lives. It’s one of countless GERS fiddles. Perhaps the biggest of them.

  3. Jane Pearn says:

    No doubt these stats are correct – but I’d be interested in a more fine-grained analysis. With longer life-spans, 55 and older is a very wide age-range and comprises at least two and even three generations (and 55 is hardly the ‘very oldest!). As the coordinator of my local thriving Pensioners for Indy group, I’d like to know who we need to be talking to.

  4. Finlay Macleood says:

    I understood that around 13,500 people died each quarter in Scotland sometimes more and not 13,500 for the whole year. Recently it was around 55,000 each year.

  5. Interpolar says:

    Interesting article. I‘m not entirely convinced by the argument. People’s attitudes change as they age, and what about migration? I am not saying you are wrong, it is just I don’t believe in demographic determinism in terms of independence‘s prospects,

    People like you making case for Independence day in day out, week in week out are still far more influential, and we forget that at our peril.

    • weegingerdug says:

      Well I certainly don’t think we can give up on making the case for independence, day in day out, and that’s exactly what I’m going to continue to do. You are also correct that people’s attitudes do change as they get older, however I don’t believe that opponents of independence can be certain that as people in Scotland get older they’ll become more likely to oppose independence.

      The main point I’m trying to make is that the longer that the Conservatives succeed in stalling a vote on independence, the harder it becomes for them to win the vote when it does inevitably occur. In turn that means it becomes in their interests to agree to a vote on independence sooner rather than later.

      • douglasclark says:

        I dunno. back all those years, I falsely typed tears and there were a few of them too, when we came up short on independence?

        I kinda thought that, yes, it’ll finally happen but not within my lifetime.

        Just to let you all know, there are aspects of independence that have appealed to me more or less all of my days. The somewhat naive idea that we could get rid of nuclear weapons we sang “We don’t want Polaris, we shall not be moved” and in tune, perhaps not into a fellowship, but at least into a catalyst.

        Fast forward.

        Life filled a big part of it. Breaking up is, indeed, hard to do. Kids that are following lives that I never foresaw.

        And that dreadful morning when you thought it was all over?

        It faded into the background.

        And I found a crazy optimism in people that started to re-imagine the challenge. Perhaps it was their anger and my sympathy for them. The realization that the fight was not over. I, too, began to believe that it might, actually occur in my restricted days on this planet.

        The only way we will let this opportunity, and I believe it is a huge opportunity, slip through our hands is by assuming that other issues are more important than independence.

        IMVHO they do not.

        I don’t believe an independent Scotland would go backward on the major moves that most other social democracies appear to have now incorporated into their laws. And appear to be willing to extend (it is worth noting that sane social democracies appear to surround us, but perhaps not to the South. Added: not to the West)

        Quite why we have people, on our side of the fence, appearing to argue that adopting anything other than freedom is a prerequisite for a vote for freedom, does not compute for me.

        Perhaps this is wrong, but it seems to me that it might be the first true challenge for a genuinely free Scotland, one that should be discussed and agreed by a freed Scottish electorate. I doubt the answer would not have the near unanimous support of our, new, and independent electorate.

        For we are not a backward people.

    • grizebard says:

      You are perfectly right, and besides, the longer we wait, the greater the danger that something will come along to get in the way. Waiting as long as 2024 for any reason on an election necessarily dominated by English issues doesn’t strike me as an effective way of capitalising on current gains. (Besides which, I may be part of an endangered demographic, but I still long to return a second “yes” in person!)

      I’m happy to wait-and-see what happens in the crucial contest to come next May, but a decisive win, if it occurs as we hope, should demand suitably energetic follow-through.

    • PacMan says:

      I would have to agree as well. The most important arguments against it as that people turn more conservative as they grow older and don’t like change. Also, working from home could become the new normal way of working so there is nothing stopping people, particularly from the South East of England and London moving up here and wanting to be part of the UK as well.

      There is also outside factors that we are not aware of at the moment that could affect independence.

      We saw how a death of American a few months ago tore a whirlwind through every society in the world where people went out marching in the middle of a pandemic and store doing statues. What other social movement might pop up between now and 2024 in which could enfranchise young people back into the UK, say for instance one to combat a growing racial intolerance in post Brexit England that they would feel more part of than one of in which they campaign for an independent Scotland?

      It is hard to see that example of what I had mentioned coming considering the state of Labour and the Sir Knight of the realm at the helm of it but what we have seen with George Floyd, anything could happen and given that the pandemic and it’s aftermath will weigh heavily in peoples lives for the foreseeable future, we can’t taken anything for granted.

      • ArtyHetty says:

        The biggest problem could well be an influx of possibly more well off people moving into Scotland from England, who would not vote for independence, they would still consider their ‘country’ to be the UK.

        As for events, yes agree, anything to could happen to thwart the momentum of the growing support for independence in Scotland. 2024 will be too late, post Brexit, and before the next GE, Scotland will be renamed North Britain, again, metaphorically, if not actually. Put nothing past the BritNat goverenment, nothing at all.

    • t’s clear that more people move from NO to YES
      than from YES to NO……so far..

      Couple this with the fact that nearly all 16-24s vote YES…… far…

      What can change these two things ?

      Well I think one of the reasons the new bill going through Westminster includes a bit that allows Westminster to overrule Scottish government spending plans
      and allows Westminster to substitute and change spending plans in Scotland

      Is that it will allow Westminster to spend money on education in Scotland
      They will educate Scottish children to believe that Scottish independence will not be in their best interests

      In other words
      British propaganda will spread from BBC ,STV , SKY , the newspapers , the radio

      To include schools
      They’ve done a bit already sending HM.Army etc not schools to persuade children to join

      They gave schools money to send young children to see the graveyards in France from WWII

      They erased Scotland’s history and replaced it with English history until SNP took control of the Scottish government

      It amazes me that Scotland has not got good enough people to be principal in its universities
      So many of the principals are not Scottish , the majority I would say, that’s odd isn’t it ?

      And why have nearly all the presidents of the saltire society not been Scottish don’t we have good enough people in Scotland ?

      And on and on it goes , so many institutions where the top end is void of Scottish leaders

      Why is that ?

      • william purves says:

        In the graveyards in France, from the 1st and 2nd wars, there is a larger no of Scottish Graves per head of our population than English.

        • Yes but why send young children to see them when the parents of those children were not even alive when it all happened and it’s likely that the grandparents of those children had not even been born back then

      • ArtyHetty says:

        Totally. Same with the arts, and in fact environmental charities and institutions and universities, the top jobs tend to be filled with people who are not Scottish, always wonder where the Scottish talent goes!

        • ArtyHetty, take for example St. Andrews university the principal is sally mapstone came here to Scotland from London in 2016 to do that job she had studied the English language oxford when in England where she was born and had always lived then she started to study older Scots literature .
          She also became the head of journalisms printers union
          This year she decided to extend her stay at St. Andrews uni to 2026
          Now she is chairing a workstream examining admissions policies in the higher education sector in Scotland for Universities Scotland.
          In June 2018, she was appointed the first woman president of the Saltire Society[1
          in February 2019 she was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.[13]

          Principals of St. Andrews university were always Scots right up until 1966 when an Englishman got the job and stayed for twenty years
          Then we had twenty years til 2008 with two Scots principals but since then the two principals have been English

          I don’t believe that Scotland cannot fill these jobs with Scots
          When you look at other Scottish universities it’s a similar picture
          Perhaps it is just a case of best most suited person for the job
          But maybe it’s not

          Look at this in USA
          The CIA infiltrating the National Union of students and other educational institutions and then infiltrating publishers all to enable the publishing of books that changed the written record of history
          At Andrews university has had several academics who were English but are well known for having written books on Scottish history e.g. T.C.Smout described in wiki as a Scottish historian but was English born in Birmingham to English parents both born in England he wasn’t Scottish but did teach Scottish history so the wiki description “Scottish historian”can be misleading
          some people could misconstrue and think he was Scottish and a historian he was in fact only one of those
          He was an Englishman who taught and wrote books on Scottish history

          There are others too

        • Terence Callachan says:

          Yes good question , where does it go ?

  6. grizebard says:

    So Tory freethinker Maciver is now reduced to promoting the federalism fairy. Him and Federal Broon make a right pair, Better Together redux. (Desperation drives what wisdom avoids.) However, as we all know by now, it will never fly since England sees no need for it (“a distraction”, quoth Davey), indeed the present ToryGov seems to believe that total suppression of Scotland is the answer.

    Still, I can see it make a convenient magical (re-)appearance in the last week of the inevitable IR2.

  7. Republicofscotland says:

    Its encouraging that just about all age groups except the elderly have a majority that supports Scottish independence. I’d imagine that older folk have more of an affinity with the union, especially those that don’t do social media, however I know quite a few older folk that do support Scottish independence. So who knows, its never too late to vote, and you’re never too old to yes.

    Meanwhile Johnson is griping to folk that he’s not got enough money, what about all the corporate bungs for dodgy contracts that’s went unscrutinised due this pandemic, pull the other one BoJo, its got bells on it.

  8. vivianoblivian7 says:

    The demographic argument is key to puncturing Stu Campbell’s oft stated assertion that “they’ll never grant a S30 order, ’cause there’s no reason for them to do so” (Campbell conveniently ignores any contrary opinion).
    An amicable divorce now is better than an acrimonious separation later, from their perspective.
    Consider specific concerns and general strengths.
    Specific concerns include the status of Faslane. There’s really no medium term, viable alternative for hosting their nuclear subs in rUK. An amicable divorce now may get them a 30 year lease on Faslane.
    In general terms, the greater the winning margin for Yes, the stronger the negotiating position during the transition period. This argument was used by Theresa May and Boris Johnson during the Brexit negotiations, “you have to give me the maximum Parliamentary majority so I can play hardball with the EU”.
    An augmentation to the demographic argument is the “pissed off” factor. Denial of a S30 order in 2021 will both strengthen the Yes vote in numerical terms and bolster the determination to obtain the most fundamental of separation arrangements.
    The acrimonious separation of the Irish Free State / Republic cost the British dear when the request for Naval bases and airfields to help protect the North Atlantic convoys in WW II was denied.
    There’s no equivalent to “thrawn” in the English language. Johnson and Cummings run the risk of finding that out the hard way.

  9. A C Bruce says:

    The demographic supporting the Conservatives, as seen at their party conferences, tend to be middle aged to elderly. Their support in Scotland has been consistently dropping over the last few years. Before long they will be almost irrelevant here. I can’t imagine younger generations voting for them to the stage where their anti-independence stance would gain much traction in Scotland.

  10. A very cogent analysis. Thank you.

    Having just returned from an extended campervan excursion to the Outer Isles via a short overnight pause in one of the glorious betrowelled parking spaces overlooking Little Loch Broom, it occurs to me there are other demographic ways by which opponents of independence might come to dominate, or least continue to throw spanners in works. For those seeking a nice place to “work from home” instead of commuting to a crowded office in a smelly city during a pandemic, selling up in suburban England and buying property in Scotland is an attractive option. The differentials in prices are silly! That’s just market forces, with encouragement from the nasties, for all of Britain to be expected to take advantage of all of its open spaces, to mix and mingle with each other and water down the distinctiveness of “regional” cultures and practices. It is a strategy that has worked for authoritarian rulers for many years.

    But seriously, suppose the 2024 GE does become a de facto referendum for Scottish independence, will the SNP be up to the task of standing?

    • weegingerdug says:

      I very much hope that we’ll have had a vote on independence (and won it) before 2024.

    • douglasclark says:

      Dear Duncan,

      Could you clarify for me what ‘betrowelled’ actually means? There is no English nor American dictionary on the whole internet thingy that recognises that as a word. It is very difficult to communicate where we have such a basic, I dunno, different language.

      • Betrowelled is a bit like bedenimed. The stopping places in question have been augmented by little notices displaying a map of open public conveniences in the Highlands, listing good outside toileting practices and suggesting those in desperate need make use of the attached trowel correctly to dispose of their excrement. Needless to say not all trowels remain dangling from the little posts. And most stopping places are a disgusting mess of overflowing litter bins, wafting bog roll and motor homes – not to be confused with campervans 🙂

    • It’s already happening has been for twenty years

  11. proudcybernat says:

    Exactly my own thoughts, Paul. I did an analysis of Scotland’s demographics back in 2014 just after IndyRef1 and it showed that YES/NO would reach parity in 2021. It’s probably not far off that now. I think though, with all the other additional unforeseen factors such as Brexit / Covid pandemic, Power Grab etc, it is hardly suprising that YES are already in the lead and ahead on the 2021 parity point.

    And that’s not even factoring in the EU nationals settled in Scotland (around 180,000 who will now mostly vote YES in IndyRef2) and their numbers alone will bring YES/NO to parity.

    The traffic is only going in one direction and WM must be totally bricking it, especially with their own polls showing YES already somewhere between 53-59%.

    As you pointed out and as I have said for a long time, the only way they have a chance of winning is to bite the bullet now because later on they’ll be trying to bite an ICBM. Over and above which, WM must surely know it’ll stand a better chance of winning a referendum than a plebiscite General Election where the BritNat parties will be divided.

    Oh what a bind.

  12. Gregory R Nunn says:

    Sounds like they are looking for new lies to tell new voters.

  13. Ian C says:

    I’m puzzled as to why you believe that the English Government and its enablers from the other devolved countries will not be able to keep on rejecting independence or anything that might lead to independence even if there is overwhelming support for it. Given that it has a long record of doing everything it can to stop independence movements (even resorting to violence), why do you think that this would make any difference?

    My view is that independence has to be taken rather than given.

    • proudcybernat says:

      How exactly do you “take” independence? UDI? What exactly?

      • Ian C says:

        Its a valid question and answering it with another question isn’t an answer,

        • proudcybernat says:

          Does your “valid question” have an answer? If so, would you like to share it?

        • grizebard says:

          Fair enough. But then, what’s your outline plan for “taking” it? It’s easy to will the ends, but not so easy to provide the means. Clearing out the fifth column in Plantation Quay would be an excellent start, but I presume you do mean within the law…?

        • Bob Lamont says:

          If it were a valid question rather than a vague “My view is that independence has to be taken rather than given”, the subsequent query might never have arisen ? Answering a question with a query for clarification is not evasive, but your own response is, perhaps reference to Douglas Adams might assist, it was 42.

    • weegingerdug says:

      I thought that I spelled out a mechanism for “taking independence” in the article above. That would be via a plebiscite election.

      If the British govt wishes to avoid that and have any chance at all of defeating independence, then it’s in their interests to agree to a referendum sooner rather than later.

      By your logic, if they can ignore the demand for a referendum, if they can ignore the result of a referendum without a Section 30 order, and if they can ignore the result of a plebiscite election, then they can ignore you too when you “take” independence.

      • proudcybernat says:

        My guess is, Paul – WM probably won;t want to recognise but will find themselves with little choice but to dos so since the result will almost certainly be recognised by the international community – and that’s all we need. Indeed, even if WM don;t recognise the result, so long as the Int. Community do then we’re virtually home and dry.

      • Ian C says:

        By agreeing to a referendum, the English Government would have no other option but to abide by the result and given that it would most likely it would lose, then it would most definately not be in its interests. The only way to avoid this is to continue to reject a referendum which I believe it will.

        Thus, I have no doubt whatsoever that it would refuse to cooperate or ignore any attempt to “take” independence but that is no reason to give up.

        • weegingerdug says:

          The point you seem to be missing is that the Conservatives cannot suspend all voting in Scotland forever. Eventually there will be a democratic event and if a referendum has been continually blocked, that vote will be used as a plebiscite election. Providing we have the support of the international community, we could use the outcome of that vote to declare independence and have it recognised by the international community. That’s the logical outcome of a refusal to agree to a referendum.

          It therefore follows that if Westminster wishes to avoid that outcome, they will find that it’s in their interests to agree to a referendum while there remains the possibility that they might win it. Because as this piece has pointed out, the longer that they stall, the greater the demographic mountain that they have to climb.

          • grizebard says:

            This is very true, but there’s no accounting for Tory UKGov arrogance and stupidity, not to mention the distraction (from our narrow point of view) of a resurgence of the pandemic. However, we’re a long, long way from 2017 and Ruthie’s “just say no”. The longer the Tories try to sustain a denial of reality, the more ridiculous and anti-democratic they appear. One is reminded of Tory “Black Monday”, but this time constitutionally not economically.

            • weegingerdug says:

              To be honest with you, I kinda hope that they will say no to a Section 30 order. I’d prefer to go for a plebiscite election because it means we’d be up against opponents who’d be trying to argue that it’s better for Scotland to remain in the UK while at the same time trying to justify the refusal of the British state to allow Scotland to decide for itself. It puts them at a massive tactical disadvantage.

          • Ian C says:

            Sorry for repeating myself but my point is simply that it is highly unlikely under any circumstances that the English Government will accept independence or any move towards it.

            I infer from your reply that you believe that ultimately, the solution lies in a UDI which I agree with. I don’t however think that it is necessary to wait until 2024. I also believe that international recognition will come automatically if the EU signals its intention to accept Scotland as a member now that the UK is no longer a member.

            I have to go now I’m afraid but thanks for the replies.

            • As Paul has pointed out to you, WM cannot stop General Elections. And they cannot stop any political party in Scotland standing at a UK General Election on a manifesto to negotiate Scotland’s Independence should they win the election in Scotland. WM simply cannot prevent that from happening, unless they do the unthinkable and ban UK General Elections.

              And has been further pointed out to you, should the SNP win that election in Scotland then they have a mandate to negotiate Scotland’s independence with WM. If WM decide to play silly buggers at that stage, fine. We have voted for our independence and will ask the international community to recognise it. When they do so it’s curtains for WM whether they like or not, agree with it or not.

              We vote for indy and the international community (NOT WM) grant us it. No UDI required.

            • grizebard says:

              Sorry you’re leaving us without sharing your practical “Plan Z”…

        • william purves says:

          The terms agreed, before the signing of the Treaty could take place, was that the Scottish people are sovereign, not the crown, not any politician, also that the English Parliament is sovereign, not the Westminster Parliament, not the Crown. Why do you think the Tories brought in EVEL right after the Scottish independence result.

      • Alan Forrest says:

        “Taking independence” even in the most benign and friendly of circumstances means breaking or threatening to break the law somewhere, I’m afraid. I’m thinking of Norwegian Independece from Sweden 1905/6 which was one of the smoothest and most suported separations ( over 99% of Norwegian votes) and even that started a brief war with Sweden, the kindest of neighbours.

        Scottish independece should not seek this outcome of course, but as long as Scotland seeks a goody legal route with its less than kind neightbour, it will always be kicked back and can cry to the EU for all the good it will do. There has to be threat unfortunately and power, before westminster pays attention, whether tory or labour. The “broken glass rule” has precedent, even enouragement from westminster.

  14. As some of you might be aware, I am a lecturer and my classes have many age groups in them. If I so much as mention politics, the majority of the class – and not just the younger ones – will groan, lean back in their chairs, roll their eyes and say “Aww naw, we don’t know anything about politics, it’s nothing to do with us” or maybe the more succinct “Borrrrrring”

    So then I start off by saying “Well, who pays Council Tax ? Has yours gone up recently ? How did you feel about that ? Well that’s politics………” and get them to see that everyday things in their lives are indeed political and do have an influence on them. Another good one is “Who is hoping to go to University next year ? How much will your fees be ? Why don’t Scottish students pay fees ? Well…….”

    But the other thing is this…….mention the independence debate and suddenly they ALL have a view on politics – how they voted in 2014, how they are going to vote in #indyref2, why can’t we just have another referendum, who does Boris Johnson think he is etc etc etc

    And mostly (although not a statistical sample of course) the mood in the room is for YES. There are always some No folk and I make sure everyone has an equal chance to put their points across, but I have yet to teach a class where independence is discussed and there is a loud voice for No.

    Independence is now the mindset of the majority of people in Scotland – onwards and upwards indy peeps

    • grizebard says:

      Thinking back to the joyful but rather self-referential positivity of 2014, we always have to be careful, because the “no’s” are always much quieter, not wishing to be seen as fearful and negative, “letting the side down”. But they turn out to vote regardless. While the young generally have much less dependence on biased mainstream media sources, many are still influenced by family traditions, so even with them it isn’t a done deal. One can hope that peer pressure might help, the fabled “momentum”, since every single change of mind to “yes” takes us another step forward.

      It seems to me that what counts in this business more than anything is not “facts”, but reassurance, both mutual and from authority figures (not necessary political) whom people trust.

      • Correct, the NOs are quiet , they don’t march they don’t show themselves especially if they are Scottish , but every now and then they can’t help themselves and a wee pointer slips out in conversation or a reaction to something in the news.

        You can be sure though , once Scottish independence has an unassailable lead they will be seen they will be out on the streets with their Union Jack flags singing rule Britannia but only as their last resort and the police in large numbers will be there to protect them from any reaction to their unfriendly marching.

    • Alan Howard Baxter says:

      Excellent – well done you. Keep stirring the imagination pot of the youngsters – even the air we breath is subject to Politics

  15. Simon Taylor says:

    Great article Paul.
    Do you think we should delay Indy ref 2 for a couple of years 2023 or run up to GE 2024 ? Surely we should hedge our bets from a demographic point of view until a Yes vote is as near a ” given “

    • Ian says:

      Absolutely on the last point which realistically means 2044 at the earliest. Why? Well since the average age for a woman to give birth is 29, that would make it exactly a generation away from 2014 which would mean no more ‘once in a generation’ dogma. Mind you the polls may still not be high enough even then. So maybe target 2054 just to be really really safe? The gold standard date would of course be 2107.

  16. I have faith in Nicola Sturgeon just as I had faith in Alex Salmond.
    Both are outstanding.
    I think SNP will organise a Scottish independence referendum long before 2024
    They’ve said next year ?
    I’ve no reason to disbelieve them

  17. andyfromdunning says:

    I see no reason why the 2021 Holyrood election cannot be a vote for independence. What is the difference to a vote in 2024. Why vote for a referendum when you can vote for independence.

    They are planning to neuter Holyrood with the market bill. We need to move before they use it to hinder us.

    • Margaret says:

      I don’t either. But to have much traction and validity I feel there has to be a much higher turnout than normal and a large 50%++ vote for the SNP in both votes.

      If 30%+ of the eligible electorate don’t even bother to turn out to vote, that’s far too much leeway for the unionists to use against the idea of independence.

  18. Republicofscotland says:

    The anti-Covid-19 conspiracy theorists out in force in Trafalgar Sq London, some brandishing banner calling our FM a Nazi.

  19. Republicofscotland says:

    Meanwhile the continuation of the Covid-19 daily briefings by our FM on the BBC in Scotland, comes with a caveat, the Scottish Labour and Tory branch offices will have pundits from their branch offices in the studio to dissect and criticise Sturgeon and her teams reports, and no doubt politicise their own views on it.

    • grizebard says:

      Whit? That makes a mockery of a health briefing, if they are going to turn it into a political circus from a bunch of clowns. What on earth can any of these petty quibblers and know-nothings contribute to public understanding?

  20. Statgeek says:

    Sounds like you’re aiming for 2024, rather than 2021.

    Not me.

    • weegingerdug says:

      Not at all.

      The point I am making is that it’s very much in the interests of the Conservatives to agree to a referendum while they still have a chance of winning it. I think that they will agree.

      Andy Maciver’s article seems to point to the fact that there are people in the Conservative party who realise that the clock is running down on them.

  21. Robert Nugent says:



    FOR THE PAST 10 years
    And they are still waiting

    This is why SNP ARE SO POPULAR


  22. deelsdugs says:

    The way the uk gov are behaving, they should all be imprisoned, in total self-isolation, never to be released, in their precious Westminster with no power, no technology, nowt but stale bread to masticate on, freshly drawn Thames water as libation and their off shore accounts liberally shared amongst the non brexit voting public.
    Or is that mean? 🤔

  23. Movy says:

    I haven’t read the Herald’s article – I cancelled my subscription to the Herald after the disgraceful reporting of the 2017 (I think it was) AUOB March – but I don’t think ‘comprehensive federalism’ will now work.

    Whether or not the current shower in London would entertain it for a split second is an interesting speculation, but trust is now so destroyed – we know they are happy to break international treaties – I wouldn’t believe any such offer at any price.

    Not now.

    • Margaret says:

      “Federalism” would leave important issues like defence and foreign affairs in the control of the unionists at Westminster (and most likely far right Tories most of the time) – thus we would still be taken out of the EU, regardless of how we vote, and still be dragged into foreign wars that would kill and maim our young people to support western imperialism, regardless of how we vote.

      • Federalism still leaves England’s Westminster with the power to do exactly what it is doing right now
        Moving the goalposts
        Taking control and powers away from Scotland and deciding matters in England

        ONLY independence gives Scotland control of Scottish affairs

  24. Dr Jim says:

    When someone like Andy McIver is telling folk things are dicey for the Tories he means the odds are stacked dead against them and they know they’re going to lose so hurry up and get those Scots made an offer of something, anything to save the Union, because Andy McIver is a softly spoken rabid Tory who always chooses his words as carefully as he can so as not to sound panicky, but he is and he knows they are

    I’m convinced there will be a referendum next year as I was this year if not for Corona Virus, and most of the reason why is because all of the opposition is going bonkers and bending over backwards to either trick or bluff or harass the FM into divulging her plans as to how she’s going to go about it, from saying she has no plan or she’s lying to us all or any old flying pig snot they can come up with and none of it’s working because she’s letting nothing slip, and I’ll take that every time to blabs leaks bluffs and bluster

    As to the Tories saying NO well the strong chances are it won’t be Johnson and his mates in charge anyway so they’ll have to get themselves a new Boris Johnson maybe even as early as January so that will give them time to make us Jocky upstarts some kind of threatening offer, you know the offer that says we love you but if you don’t do as we *tell* Oops offer you then we’ll have to descend all hell upon you to keep our deep love and your assets in our Union

    A great deal is going to happen in January and the British state are in for the shock of their lives, once this Brexit nonsense is finalised Scotland will see many high profile visitors to Scotland, there’ll be ambassadors, foreign ministers, EU negotiators and heads of state queuing up outside Bute House getting their photies taken by every journalist in Scotland and all accompanied by the musical screams of Westminster in the background, it should’ve happened this year but the virus got in the way

    I believe don’t worry folks she’s got this will be the slogan that the mud slingers and psychics will regret chuntering sarcastically, because I believe she does *got this* and I cannae wait

    • Dr Jim says:

      Of course all of that could depend on whether the Tories start a war with somebody, British troops have just parachuted into Ukraine, lets hope it’s not something as stupid as arguing with Russia
      after all, the Tory and Labour leaders always like a conflict to give themselves more gravitas and powery posturing fierceyness, they think it makes them more leadery looking

    • grizebard says:

      … we’ll have to descend all hell upon you to keep our deep love

      Yes, that very self-conflicted attitude (which is on view more and more lately, eg. in a recent Effie Deans effusion) should be enough to convince anyone with their wits about them that their putative “friendship” is purely illusory. Whereas, as you also hint, our precious assets are not.

  25. william purves says:

    How many countries obtained their independence not legally, but by agreement between the countries, or by just leaving, legality means nothing, all countries have their own legal systems.

  26. Finlay Macleod says:

    The reason why the Westminster parties are all frightened of a Referendum is they know they will lose and can’t allow it to go ahead on their watch. It will only change when they are certain that this be overwhelming and as long as there is a glimmer of hope in they will say no. If you really want a referendum then campaigning for a yes vote has to start now in earnest even if there is no sight of one. They will not give in until they have too.
    Why would they as Boris is in Downing Street and he definitely doesn’t want to be the last Prime Minister of the UK as Scotland is too valuable a honeypot for England. Indeed one of the very last ones. So they will hold on in every way possible. Wouldn’t you if you were in their shoes. Of course you would.

    • grizebard says:

      Another defeatist example of how it’s seen by some, as if in a vacuum, to be solely an advantage for the UKGov to do nothing, however popular opinion may evolve – escalate, even, in consequence. To apply reductio ad absurdum to your proposition, do you seriously think UKGov could continue to “just say no” if every single person in Scotland wanted independence? And (fairly obviously) if not, there surely must be some point at which the resolve must break?

      As to other relevant considerations, may I politely suggest you return to the article at the top, read carefully and inwardly digest…?

    • douglasclark says:

      May I make a point?

      “as Scotland is too valuable a honeypot for England.”

      And that is what they hide from the English. I have known a fair number of English people, and they are, generally, fair minded.

      If they were told that that was what it was, I am pretty clear that a significant number of them wouldn’t stand in the way of our independence.

      • Yes perhaps you are right Douglasclark but half a million of them voted NO in 2014
        Fair minded they may well be
        Reasonable people they may be for sure
        But when it comes down to it
        they see the U.K. and they see Britain ( both of which include Scotland) as THEIR country
        they see England as being the U.K. they see England as being Britain

        These people will do more than just stand in the way of Scottish independence
        that’s why so many of them say refuse a S30
        that’s why so many of them say everyone in the U.K. should get a vote on Scottish independence
        that’s why so many of them say they will leave Scotland and return to England if Scotland becomes independent
        that’s why so many of them say send in the British army to control the border and put up a wall if they get independence

        And they do see this as being as you put it “fair minded”

  27. Alex Clark says:

    The First Minister announced just a couple of weeks ago in her programme for government, the intention to introduce a draft bill before the end of this parliament setting out the terms, the timing, and the question for a second Independence referendum.

    When hopefully, the SNP are returned to Holyrood with a majority and together with the Green Party an overwhelming majority. then a request for a Section 30 order must be made immediately. I’m talking the day that the reults are known and if the polling figures stand up then it will be a substantial majority that has been elected with Independence front and foremost in their manifestos.

    Assuming then that a Section 30 order is refused then that draft bill already prepared must go forward for a vote, if passed by a majority of MSP’s in Holyrood then there will be a request that it goes before her majesty for Royal Assent.

    Now if this was to happen and the bill becomes an act, that is all the legislation needed to go ahead with a legal second Independence referendum. There will be no requirement for a Section 30 order any more as it is this bill that Westminster insists requires a Section 30 order, they argue that it is outwith the competence of the Scottish government to pass such legislation.

    So the only way of stopping it becoming law is to challenge it in the courts, so they will have to do that, there is no other option if they wish to continue to argue that a Section 30 order is necessary to pass legislation relating to the Union which is what they insist an Independence referendum does. Denying democracy to the people of Scotland by taking them to court in order to prove they cannot have a referendum without the blessing of Westminster will look bad for them, very bad, not just here in Scotland but also in the EU and the wider world.

    There can be only two outcomes if it goes to court and that is the Supreme Court ultimately finds in favour of the Scottish Parliament or the Westminster Parliament. If the former all well and good and the referendum goes ahead. If the latter then another way might have to be found of asking the electorate if they believe Scotland should be an Independent country.

    If we ever got to this stage I think I would be very tempted to go ahead with the referendum anyway, the alternative is a plebiscite election. There’s no way I’d wait until 2024 though but it may be possible to dissolve parliament if the Supreme Court found against the Scottish Parliament. I believe this requires a 2/3rds majority of MSP’s or if the First Minister resigns and another fails to be nominated.

    Pressure can be applied in other ways too, such as pulling all Independence supporting MPs out of Westminster, refusing to cooperate in any way with them in any day to day business or discussions.

    There’s a lot to happen yet, I can imagine, but I do believe that supporters of Indepedence are in the stronger position. Whatever happens, you can be certain that can expect a fight, it’s a fight I’m confident can only be won by us, providing we really are the majority. There’s no doubt they now fear us more than we fear them, at least that’s what I now believe.

    • JB says:

      “So the only way of stopping it becoming law is to challenge it in the courts, so they will have to do that, there is no other option if they wish to continue to argue that a Section 30 order is necessary to pass legislation relating to the Union which is what they insist an Independence referendum does.”

      Nope, they can simply pass legislation in Westminster repealing (or modifying) it.

      Which would then possibly lead to the SG starting a court case…

      • Alex Clark says:

        I am not a lawyer and you may well be right. Maybe you could elaborate a bit further on your assertion?

        I’m basing my reasoning on the Scottish Parliament’s Continuity Bill which was referred to the Supreme Court by the former (haha) Advocate General in Scotland Lord Keen as being outwith the competence of the Scottish Parliament.

        Advocate General for Scotland Lord Keen said:

        “By referring the Scottish Parliament’s Continuity Bill to the Supreme Court, we are seeking legal certainty as to its competence. Given the Presiding Officer’s view at introduction that the Bill was not within the legal scope of the Parliament, we believe it is important to ask the Court to provide absolute clarity. In doing so we are following the process set out in the Scotland Act 1998. Particularly in the run up to Brexit, it is vital that we avoid legal uncertainty in our statute book.

        My reasoning might be totally wrong but I find it odd then that if they could “simply pass legislation in Westminster repealing (or modifying) it” as you claim then why didn’t they do that with the Continuity Bill when there was a possibility that by going to court they could have lost the case?

        I genuinely would like to hear the evidence you have for them being able to “simply” change any law proposed by the Scottish Parliament without going to the courts and getting a ruling in their favour first.

        • JB says:

          I’m not a lawyer either…

          I’m working from the principal that “power devolved is power retained”, and that not even the Sewall Convention would be a limit, the HMG could simply take the view that Scotland seeking to leave is not a “usual” situation from its perspective.

          As has already been pointed out, section 45 of the IMB contravenes the ToU in that it seeks to (judicial review) remove powers from the Court of Session. So why should legislation of the SP be a barrier if treaties are not?

          This is as much (if not more) about politics as it is law, so one can not assume any SG or SP move has constrained the ability of HMG or UK Parliament to react. The current Scottish institutions are a creation of UK Parliament, and it can simply make use of “notwithstanding” again, or the forms in the IMB to get what it wants.

          So basically IMO, don’t assume you’ve managed to box them in if SP legislates first. Having either a plebiscite election or a referendum result would be more effective than simply hoping to resort to law, be it domestic or international.

          (Oh – and the RSS comments feed is missing a bunch of these responses)

      • Alex Clark says:

        From my earlier link, a bit of clarification.

        Notes to Editors

        The reference is made to the UK Supreme Court under powers conferred by the Scotland Act 1998 and the Government of Wales Act 2006, which provide the Law Officers with discretion to ask the Supreme Court to consider whether legislation passed by the devolved legislatures is within their respective legislative competence. These powers allow the Law Officers to fulfil their unique constitutional duties to uphold the rule of law and the boundaries of the devolution settlements.

  28. Hamish100 says:

    See Clive Anderson on R4 “Loose Ends” is spouting the issue of Scotland breaking up not only with Shetland and the Orkneys but the Hebrides too. All good humour of course. The elite are allowed to be patronising to other countries.

    Every programme even light hearted once have a barbed tongue on the bbc.

    • grizebard says:

      It’s clutching at straws. Anything to appease their growing sense of losing their grip on us. It’s gratuitously faux-superior and offensive in a way that would be unacceptable in other circumstances, but nevertheless, it’s a tell.

      And further reinforces the point made by Dr Jim upthread, that their “joviality” hides a much darker underside.

      We can well do without.

      • Welsh Sion says:

        It’s what passes for humour – puerile boys-only dorm stuff – England style.Fortunately, a lot of us can see through it for what is and how its ultimately based on envy. (It gfoes without saying that Cymru and the Cymry have been the butt of these types of jokes for centuries – as have anyone else the Anglos have come across in their marches across the globe.)

        They preach enlightenment and civilisation to the (‘heathen’) rest of us – but, and to misquote Mohandas K. Gandhi:

        “What do I think of English civilisation? I think it would be a very good idea.”

        • grizebard says:

          Yes, I’ve heard the same lot sneering at (eg.) Belgium, simply because it’s a small country. These attempted put-downs betray real insecurity behind a thin facade of self-assumed superiority. In their fundamental ignorance, they all-too-readily fall into errors such as “name 10 famous …”, which can typically be answered without too much difficulty.

    • It’s fair game now that it’s likely to happen
      It will get worse
      It’s friendly banter at present still along the lines of Scotland being a basket case and worthless so they make fun of Scottish independence

      But overnight that will change when a date for a referendum is announced

  29. Welsh Sion says:

    Off topic.

    Anyone heard from Mark Russell recently? I know he’s in the heart of a Covid-19 hot spot in Lancashire and often talked about the beaches roundabout teeming with non-social distancing folks.

    I don’t know him personally, but we’ve had friendly chats on the phone occasionally. I do hope he’s ok, though.

    Which reminds me of another – but going by the output it seems she is back on all cylinders. Can we confirm that Petra is very much fighting fit, too?

    A certain piece of good news is that I recently heard from an agency boss who I work with who is based in Minsk, Belarus. He is fine and reports that ‘everybody’ is against ‘the dictator’ but he doesn’t seem to moving anywhere, any time soon.

    Keep well, everyone else.

    Best wishes from leafy east of England with soaring temperatures.

  30. Bob Lamont says:

    I’m firmly of the opinion that much of what is opined of older generations political views is overly simplified as rooting for “safe”, continuation of the Union, etc..
    I suggest they are being fatally misjudged, the great Con of 2014 has burned deep into the souls of many along with profound regret, next time those who have survived will be delivering a massive FU2 to the con-artists, don’t prejudge the oldies, they are a formidable force when they’re pissed off, and they are…
    As any victim of a skilled Zimmer frame operator will testify, the time between toe crush and testicle implosion can be eye-watering rapid for the unwary… 😉

  31. Welsh Sion says:

    A lesson from the Caribbean?

    If there’s a domino effect over there …. why not continue it over here … with you in Scotland starting us off …

    Barbados could cause ‘domino effect’ in removing the Queen as head – with Jamaica tipped to turn next

  32. Gordon Dunbar says:

    WGD, Paul,

    I know the blog surround changing demographics, however, it would have beem woth mentioning the added ‘Yes’ support from the +22k EU nationals who reide in Scotland and could vote in Indy2. Many of who will support it as Scotland wishes to renew her EU membership and will not fall for BT’s claim made in 2014. There is also the unquantified, as yet, No to Yes converts which is the crop of polls is correct may account for the +8% rise.

  33. velofello says:

    Perfidious Albion;
    On my word as an Englishman;
    Better an Englishman as an enemy than a friend, as an enemy he will try to buy (bribe) you, as a friend he will try to sell you;
    When will the English stop taking what is not theirs?

    These are not my words, they are expressions I’ve learned from other nationalities in my career travels.

    Briefly – On a project in the Far East, we required a workboat with a crane on board. The crane continuously failed. The response of the ex-pat Englishman was – ” You didn’t stipulate that the crane had to be operative”.

    I can quote several more examples. My developed experience, at senior managerial level, is that the Westminster intention to breaking of the Withdrawal Agreement terms is no surprise.

    Contracts? Agreements? They are only words.Power counts.

    Forget S30, it means nothing to them at Westminster , “the Scots people are sovereign you say” – Johnston likely thinks that is our coin value to Westminster. Florins, half-crowns, pennies and so.

    Application of resistance powers is the only sure way – taxes, water, power, fuel. Ian Blackford should lead a withdrawal from the Westminster embarrassing farce to be a sitting force for independence at Holyrood, A clear message sent to the world community of the UK democratic deficit. We can always have necessary dialogue with Westminster via – Zoom?

    Post 31st December Scotland is a lamb to the Westminster slaughterhouse.

    • Nah, scotland has never been a lamb ready for slaughter it’s not our way.

      I get your point

      Westminster May think it but once an unassailable lead develops for Scottish independence it won’t reverse
      We are nearly there

  34. grizebard says:

    Your shopping list of suggestions is fine in theory, but most depend on the vast majority of the people of Scotland ready and willing to be active participants. Are they? Otherwise we end up like Catalonia, or even worse, it becomes plain embarrassing – a damp squib that would set us back decades. We are all getting restless, and a looming Brexit portends, as you say, worse. A lot of bad to get through, true, but likely none of it in favour of the damned Union. And we’re not rudderless, we have an aiming point next Spring, when the whole country will tell itself where it stands, and that will light the way forward for us. Meanwhile we just have to stay resolute and concentrate on taking as many people with us as possible, because therein lies our only true hope of ultimate success.

  35. Alex Clark says:

    FWIW I think in the event of a resounding success at the Holyrood elections, Westminster will make some attempt at discussing terms for a Section 30 order. They will do this solely in order to obtain as much influence as they can over the terms of the referendum.

    I’m talking here about the likes of Federalism and a third question which seems to a way they might possibly go in order to prevent full on Independence. Then there’s who the franchise of who has the right to vote which they will want to modify to there advantage, the obvious one being all Scots no matter where they live in the world should have a vote.

    The last thing they really will want to meddle with is the threshold for claiming a “victory” will it be 50% of the entire electorate, 55% of those who vote? All this crap will happen if they start negotiating a Section 30 order, it could come down to accept their terms or no Section 30.

    Of course, we should tell them to get on their bikes but to me, it looks like agreeing a Section 30 order will be their only chance of having any influence at all over the terms of a future referendum.

    • Golfnut says:

      Nicola said that she would publish ‘ the terms and time ‘ for indyref 2, when she brings the Bill forward. I believe that is pre May elections, or am I mistaken.

    • douglasclark says:


      You mention ‘resounding sucess’ as a criteria.

      Would that not definitely depend on the manifesto?

      If, for the sake of arguement, that manifesto commitment was an immediate withdrawal from the UK, where would you stand?

      Assume. for a moment it was sucessful, on which side of the line would you be?

      Just so’s you know, if we stood on independence in May 2021 and won a majority, as far as I am concerned we are just discussing the furniture. The game is over.

      What say you?

      • Alex Clark says:

        A “resounding success” may force them to act and into discussions on a Section 30 order but is not a requirement for anything. Of course it absolutely essential that Independence supporting parties have a majority in Holyrood after the May elections or we can forget all talk of Independence until the next time they do have a majority.

        I would say that it does depend on what is in the manifesto and I said that in my earlier post at 19:04, you then ask:

        “If, for the sake of argument, that manifesto commitment was an immediate withdrawal from the UK, where would you stand?”

        Well, that would depend of course on what that manifesto stated was an acceptable result that would merit an immediate withdrawal from the UK. I would not in any circumstances accept less than 50% of those voting as being an acceptable result.

        So for me, more than 50% of MP’s for example would not be good enough, and it most definitely would not be good enough for the Unionists, Westminster or even the EU. That, in my opinion, would not be enough to prove that Independence was the will of the sovereign people of Scotland.

        I believe that Scotland should be an Independent country when the people of Scoytland prove beyond a doubt that this is their wish and that requires a majority.

        My preferred option to prove we have that majority would be a referendum, but I’m perfectly happy to accept there are other ways of proving we have majority support such as in an election and I say as much in my post at 19:04.

        For now, I prefer to focus on the gaining of a referendum. There is no denying that it is the least ambiguous route to gaining International recognition. It is also the fairest route as you are voting for a single topic and not the manifesto of a political party.

        It might even be the most likely route that gives us a victory, up to 10% of SNP voters do not support Independence and of the Labour/Lib Dem voters that do there is absolutely no guarantee that in an election they would switch to SNP because they say it would be a vote for Independence. It would be a pretty large gamble in my opinion but worth taking only when all other options have been exhausted.

        I’ll also add this in, the reason I might be tempted to go ahead with an “illegal” referendum if the Supreme Court found the proposed legislation setting the question, timing, and terms of a second referendum is because I believe even if it was boycotted by Unionists we could still get more than 50% of the entire Scottish electorate to vote Yes.

        Roughly we could be as high as 56% in the polls (private Tory one) and with a turnout the same as 2014 then that would give us 50% of the electorate.

        I’m not against using every means at our disposal in order to win, I want them though to be supported by a majority of the voters, I would not accept anything else as being legitimate and neither would those we will need to support us either. That’s mainly the EU and the UN.

      • Alex Clark says:

        Dare I say it?

        As well as the EU and the UN recognising the legitimacy of an Independent Scotland, it will undoubtedly be a good thing if the people of England, Wales, and Northern Ireland recognise it too. You know, those pesky neighbours that we will have to live with after becoming an Independent country. I’m not too fussed what their governments might think, just the people.

        • The people will believe what the BBC tell them won’t they ?

        • douglasclark says:


          You say, inter alia:

          “Well, that would depend of course on what that manifesto stated was an acceptable result that would merit an immediate withdrawal from the UK. I would not in any circumstances accept less than 50% of those voting as being an acceptable result.”

          Well, if that were the case, less than 50%, perhaps your side would have won ’round two’. My question was where would you stand if more than 50% of the Scottish electorate voted for independence. You have avoided that scenario.

          Somewhat transparently, it has to be said.

          A supplementary question for you. Are you a believer in democracy or not?

          • Alex Clark says:

            You got a full response that clearly states my position in the matter, yet you have chosen to ignore it. I won’t be responding to any further trolling questions from you that waste my time.

            • douglasclark says:

              Fascinating. As I mistakenly thought that we were having a discussion.

              I am attempting to clarify your position for my own benefit and that of anyone else that reads this forum. That you cannot answer simple questions, such as whether you see yourself as a democrat or not, says all I need to know about you.

              I will not be responding to you again either.

              Have a nice life.

    • Statgeek says:

      50% + 1 vote for a win. Regardless of the turnout.

      Anything else is Westminster fear.

  36. Dr Jim says:

    I don’t see the Independence question being fought over in the courts, it may go to court for ratifications and such but not over right and wrong because International law says everybody has the right to be free if they so choose so it would be difficult for the UK to argue the case given that they’re signa*tories* to the UN conventions, I mean it’s even got Tories right there in the name

    Political and people pressure will bring it about, and of course all the heavyweight pals the FM has been cultivating for the last 5 years

    • The courts won’t decide
      The courts didn’t decide in Malta
      Or India
      Or anywhere else

      • douglasclark says:

        Interesting point. It is not a matter for the courts.

        There is, perhaps, an all-embracing book to be written on the ‘quite why’ a failed state like Westminster is denying it’s final, internal, colony it’s freedom too. Perhaps Eton doesn’t teach any real history?

  37. velofello says:

    Grizebard: No, I do not expect the vast majority of the people of Scotland to be active participants in resistance but I do expect our well paid, elected politicians to actively lead a campaign by deeds not just words.
    Western society, mankind arguably, is built around – a penury or plenty system, and so the “vast majority” i believe will look to avoid financial jeopardy, even just a little cost, over principle.
    Michael Fry, National scribe would presumably call that capitalism.

    Mankind, we seem to be incapable of protecting ourselves against employment in the ‘dark satanic mills”. And no, please don’t propose the Labour party or unions as a solution, I’ve travelled that experience as a director/manager in engineering. Leonard? Working his time until his pension kicks in,just words.

  38. Andrew Gallacher says:

    I understand the argument put forward in the article, but if there isn’t a vote (referendum or election) within the next year that allows the people of Scotland to choose independence then I think we’ve got a big problem. I can see a no-deal brexit coming, and it won’t surprise me at all if the Tories shut down the Scottish parliament as a result of that as an ’emergency measure’. Then what? No Scottish parliament election which can be used as a plebiscite referendum. No Scottish government to call a referendum. EVERYTHING controlled by Westminster. If that happens what can Scotland do?
    I think we only have one option now. The Scottish government has to resign right now and an election has to be held before the end of the year. The SNP stand on a manifesto commitment to declare independence if they are elected with an overall majority. If we wait any longer I don’t see how we can achieve independence without going down the same road taken by Ireland.

    • weegingerdug says:

      The Tories aren’t going to shut down the Scottish Parliament.

      • Andrew Gallacher says:

        What makes you so sure? This tory government has clearly demonstrated a total lack of respect for devolution, it knows that there is now majority support for independence, and it is arguably unsustainable to continue blocking the Scottish parliament’s calls to hold a referendum. If I was BoJo shutting down the Scottish parliament would seem the obvious thing to do. What would be the downside for him? Some people protesting in the streets? I doubt the numbers would be that big considering the situation we’re in with the pandemic. Even if they were, so what? Did the massive protests against brexit make any difference? I doubt the britnat media would suddenly leap to the defense of democracy in Scotland either.
        Why do you definitively believe the Tories wouldn’t make this move?

      • Correct , but they will weaken its powers by other means

  39. yesindyref2 says:

    “They could very well come to the conclusion that their only hope of preventing independence is to agree to a Section 30 order shortly after next year’s Scottish elections so that they could fight their campaign while they still have a chance of winning it. ”

    Or before for maximum effect. Some of what we are seeing from the Tories and others like Maciver of Message Matters (always a challenging read), Ronald MacDonald of potential interest currency-wise, could be preparation for what is not, honest guv, a U-turn, but a democratic gesture of fiendship (sic). There certainly seems to be a lot of positioning going on amongst the less clueless.

  40. Ken2 says:

    Johnston will be gone. The Tories will be voted out. The total mess and shambles.

    Johnston now complaining about the salary. The grace and favour housing. All bills covered. The other benefits. £Millions. Johnston is just in it for the money. A failed journalist. A total hypocrite.

    Murdoch sacked Johnston for telling lies. They are embezzling public money. Public contracts going, unscrutinised to the Brexit associates. The debts mounting. Social unrest. Breaking the Law at every turn. Mass unemployment.

    The Tories will only get away with it for so long. They had to get rid of Thatcher for greater ties with Europe.

  41. Dave tewart says:

    Anybody factoring a nice State Funeral.
    Not the churchill Thousand Year Empire, a nice royal departure.
    Bit sick,I know, but the empire will pull all sorts of manipulation.
    The nation is in mourning, can’t have an election.

    • grizebard says:

      No, not sick, just the reality we all have to face eventually, our current monarch and her spouse included. This is just the kind of event that could certainly make things “gang agley”. No, not postponement of any election, but fullblown media Union Jackery to influence matters, of course. Though in the aftermath? Not at all sure.

      But one thing is for sure – the longer we wait, the higher the probability of one derailing event or another coming along. We have to get enough people onside, it’s undeniable, but equally we don’t have forever, as some seem to assume.

    • Welsh Sion says:

      Not a natural pessimist, but we also need to factor in the ‘joyous version’ of union jackery – something that will affect us in Cymru, perhaps more so. That being the case, this message is aimed primarily at my compatriot occasional posters and lurkers on here. Of course, Scotland is/will not be exempt from such outpourings, either.

      We have mentioned the demise of HM Mrs Windsor and her hubby – both advanced nonagenerians, already. But what happens after, ‘the funeral bak’d-meats, do coldly furnish forth the [subsequent] tables’?. Well Charlie, becomes Head of State and we already have some inkling as to his meddlesome, quasi-political character and posturing. Whether such interfering will prove beneficial or not to our respective independence movements, I leave as an open question.

      However, what also will be set in train, and what is (and should be of concern to the inhabitants of Cymru), is that William will be placed on the ‘Windsor conveyor belt’ to be inaugurated as ‘our’ titular Prince. (True, he will desport various other titles including ones of Scottish significance, like Chief Ghillie of Auchtermuchty, or some such, but I would argue that outwith Scotland, such baubles barely register. But you mention the title “Prince of Wales” and the world and his wife immediately make the association, that the so-entitled is some sort of figurehead for a country of some sort – even if they can’t locate Cymru on any map – and more specifically, the heir to the throne.)

      Now, there will much panoply, pomp and flummery (derives from a Welsh word, incidentally), when the Proclamation of Wills as PoW is made (it is NOT automatic – the sovereign has to name his/heir heir with the title) and the subsequent years, building up to an English/British nationalist crescendo of Royal orgasm, fronted by Sir (by then) Nicholas Witchell et al. as the said William is invested with the title (as was his father in my home town of Caernarfon in 1969).

      Now older readers, will remember how ’69 went – the massive security presence to protect Charles from the more militant members invoking Welsh nationalism, bomb scares, putative assassination attempts, the encouraging of splitting the national movement on the one hand and on the other the charm offensives in ensuring that Charlie spent 6 weeks learning a smattering of Cymraeg at Aberystwyth Uni in order to placate the natives, the portrayal of a boy ‘just like us’ becoming part of the magic (‘glamour’ is Nairn’s word) of being ‘our glorious and royal Leader (and better)’.

      All this circus will come to town with a vengeance in Cymru – and the world will be asked to participate in the ‘best of Britishness’. It threatens to be a tsunami that will engulf and suffocate Cymreictod (Welshness) at the high altar of Windsor-Britishness and leaves us with merely a chipped mug souvenir of the gloriousness of the triumph of its own propaganda.

      I urge fellow members of the independence movements (in both Scotland and Wales) to take heed of that of which is inevitably a-coming. We must be prepared once more to fight for our survival as distinctive peoples on these islands and withstand the further union hijackery of our respective nations.


    • Welsh Sion says:

      Not a natural pessimist, but factor in also the ‘joyous version’ of union jackery – something that will affect us in Cymru perhaps more so. That being the case, this message is aimed primarily at my compatriot occasional posters and lurkers on here. Of course, Scotland is/will not be exempt from such outpourings, either.

      We have mentioned the demise of HM Mrs Windsor and her hubby – both advanced nonagenerians, already. But what happens after, ‘the funeral bak’d-meats, do coldly furnish forth the [subsequent] tables’?. Well Charlie, becomes Head of State and we already have some inkling as to his meddlesome, quasi-political character and posturing. Whether such interfering will prove beneficial or not to our respective independence movements, I leave as an open question.

      However, what also will be set in train, and what is (and should be of concern to the inhabitants of Cymru), is that William will be placed on the ‘Windsor conveyor belt’ to be inaugurated as ‘our’ titular Prince. (True, he will desport various other titles including ones of Scottish significance, like Chief Ghillie of Auchtermuchty, or some such, but I would argue that outwith Scotland, such baubles barely register. But you mention the title “Prince of Wales” and the world and his wife immediately make the association, that the so-entitled is some sort of figurehead for a country of some sort – even if they can’t locate Cymru on any map – and more specifically, the heir to the throne.)

      Now, there will much panoply, pomp and flummery (derives from a Welsh word, incidentally), when the Proclamation of Wills as PoW is made (it is NOT automatic – the sovereign has to name his/heir heir with the title) and the subsequent years, building up to an English/British nationalist crescendo of Royal orgasm, fronted by Sir (by then) Nicholas Witchell et al. as the said William is invested with the title (as was his father in my home town of Caernarfon in 1969).

      Now older readers, will remember how ’69 went – the massive security presence to protect Charles from the more militant members invoking Welsh nationalism, bomb scares, putative assassination attempts, the encouraging of splitting the national movement on the one hand and on the other the charm offensives in ensuring that Charlie spent 6 weeks learning a smattering of Cymraeg at Aberystwyth Uni in order to placate the natives, the portrayal of a boy ‘just like us’ becoming part of the magic (‘glamour’ is Nairn’s word) of being ‘our glorious and royal Leader (and better)’.

      All this circus will come to town with a vengeance in Cymru – and the world will be asked to participate in the ‘best of Britishness’. It threatens to be a tsunami that will engulf and suffocate Cymreictod (Welshness) at the high altar of Windsor-Britishness and leaves us with merely a chipped mug souvenir of the gloriousness of the triumph of its own propaganda.

      I urge fellow members of the independence movements (in both Scotland and Wales) to take heed of that of which is inevitably a-coming. We must be prepared once more to fight for our survival as distinctive peoples on these islands and withstand the further union hijackery of our respective nations.


    • Bob Lamont says:

      Indeed true, and as WS expanded, the inevitable media circus would bring all the ‘wool bwittania’ lot out of mothballs to pontificate at large on the airwaves encouraging fleg waving by loyal subjects, as one does at say a McDonald’s in Reading.
      The vast majority on these islands would rather fake a Covid sickie than wail and mourn the passing of any of the “royal” line, but it could indeed throw a spanner in the indy campaign machine’s works because the media would be over it like a rash.
      A suitable pause while Auld Lizzie or Phil the Greek are inhumed is all that is required, (Slur) Nicholas Witchell will shrink back into his prior irrelevance and life will move on…

  42. scrandoonyeah says:

    Chlorinated Rewster banging on about chlorinated chicken again……..

  43. Craig P says:

    Back in 2014 I did a quick and dirty demographic calculation, and reckoned that Yes would have parity with No around 2017. Glad I didn’t put money on it! And I wondered if demographics was a less decisive factor than I assumed.

    It’s possible the older you are, the more staunchly unbending you become in your opinions, but my experience is that even older people can switch or at least, become beset by self-doubt.

    I can think of a number of former No voting Yessers or waverers, and the common factor in their conversion is the ineptitude and Brexity-English nationalism of the UK government. Combined with an impression that the Scottish government is more capable and mainstream.

    So I’d suggest that demographics alone doesn’t make independence inevitable, but instead the actions of the UK government are pushing it in that direction. Long may their ineptitude continue. The only thing then that might throw us back a couple of years would be for the Scottish government to do something spectacularly stupid…

  44. Dr Jim says:

    I’m sure the Tories would love to shut down the Scottish parliament but the opportunity for doing that has passed them by and they daren’t do it now no matter how much it annoys them because there’s too much attention on Holyrood now and support for it is at an all time high so from their point of view they’d be shooting themselves in the head

    If I were a strategist for the Tories like Andy McIver was I’d be positively encouraging them to negotiate a settlement or referendum with the FM as fast as their little boots could scurry up to Scotland and get on and do it, then I’d be working out my strategy to terrorise Scotland into staying put within the Union with everything I’ve got, but they likely won’t

    The Tories are wide eyed and paralysed staring into dark limbo world waiting for the heavens to open up and shine a light on a subject they don’t know how to cope with so they’ll threaten before they negotiate and make it worse for themselves, and the longer they sit there inactively making their threateny faces at Scotland the stronger Scotland will get in support of the proposition for Independence

    The British army is the next move for the Tories and they have the opportunity to bring that about because of Corona virus and lockdown curfew measures they could insist are necessary for the security of *the country* see we’ll be all the one country when they want to do that and not the four great nations

    They should have an app for this like press to find out where you live, is it A our great country, B one of the four great nations, or C are you a citizen of nowhere and finally B Scotland, the geographically movable colony

  45. Dr Jim says:

    A word on DRoss, this poor incompetent idiot was selected to help Ruth Davidson out after they initiated the plot to throw out Jackboot Carpaint because they thought he was just dire, in truth he was no worse than Davidson, so DRoss is not the leader of the Tories in Scotland, all he is is a plant, a buttress, someone to take the heat off Ruth Davidson, the idea being that the FM won’t go as hard on her because Davidson’s not the real leader anymore and it’s all the other guy’s fault, the problem with that strategy was the Ermine Cloak kinda ruined that un thought out plan and reduced Davidson to an even worse position than she was in before, not only is she not the leader anymore she supposedly takes her instructions from a referee who isn’t even elected to the Scottish parliament and who’s been publicly caught out lying creating Davidson’s new position to that of the typist in the liars office doubling as spokesperson for a guy nobody elected to the parliament he doesn’t sit in

    Can you imagine any political party in any country in the world coming up with the idea of just placing an unelected person in charge of a political party, I’m amazed we can’t hear the world rocking with laughter at this, plus when you think about it if you happen to be a Tory voter wouldn’t you be the tiniest bit outraged at the idea of being told then having imposed upon you somebody who never stood for election for a post but just being appointed by another country, even the Tories in England are telling the Tories in Scotland their votes don’t count

  46. Indy Chas says:

    In 2016 I had similar thoughts and your article brought them to mind. I had read somewhere that 75% of younger voters voted for independence and 75% of older voters voted against. I did a back of a gag packet calculation that I show below with the caveat that I am neither a statistician nor mathematician.

    Births/Deaths in Scotland 2016

    54488 births x 75% = 40866 new independence votes
    56278 deaths x 75% = 42208 less union votes

    swing of 83074 per year

    2,001,926 No
    1,617,989 Yes
    383937 Difference
    4.6 Years to turnpoint

    So the time is now!

  47. Petra says:

    What alternative routes does Kirsty Hughes suggest?

    ‘Disunited Kingdom: Why Scottish independence is now more likely because of Brexit.’

    Kirsty Hughes:- ””Under Johnson, the UK now looks to be a maverick government and on the way to being if not a failed state, a failing democracy. How a maverick government would negotiate on independence is unknown. It would be in the UK’s national interests to negotiate a sensible deal and to keep good relations with a newly independent Scotland but if that doesn’t happen with the UK-EU deal, then it may not with a Scottish deal.

    In order to gain independence, a new referendum must first be called, a prospect Johnson has already rejected. With polls suggesting a majority for pro-independence parties in the Scottish Parliament elections in May 2021, a second independence poll may prove hard to resist. If the UK government does persist, then Scotland could face a similar reality as Catalonia, which unilaterally held an “unconstitutional” referendum in October 2017.

    In Scotland, it’s absolutely clear to most who support independence that it must be a legally and constitutionally sound process,” notes Hughes. “But if the UK government does not fall apart or lose support given its contempt for British democracy, then Scotland – if the independence majority grows – may have to look at other routes to independence in the face of an anarchic, maverick and unpredictable UK.”


    Scotland is now a major part of the UK.

    Rifkind:- ”Once in a generation again.” ”Two major parts of the UK didn’t get their way on Brexit that was London and Scotland.” ”Why shouldn’t all Scots anywhere in the UK vote on the future of Scotland.” ”All Unionists will come together.”

    • grizebard says:

      It’s exactly this kind of attempted goalpost-shifting, this latest by smarmy Edinburgh lawyer and Thatcher’s one-time Scottish Secretary Malcolm Rifkind, that reveals the growing concern among Tories that their past tactic of “just saying no” is crumbling under increasing public pressure. Trying to set up poison-pill conditions for an IR2 to which we should just say no. We have the precedent, and it is well-founded.

      (Anyway, why stop at Scots in England? There are plenty more in New York!)

  48. Petra says:

    ‘Scorch the ‘Once in a Generation’ Myth.’

    ”The Scotland Agreement which paved the way for the independence referendum in 2014 contains not a jot about it being a ‘once in a generation’ poll while the Smith Commission which was agreed by all parties after the referendum was absolutely explicit in not ruling out a future poll and expressly stated that such a new poll was not prohibited by any time-scale.

    Any objective analysis of the words used by former First Minister Alex Salmond in the heat of the 2014 referendum campaign lends support to the cause of a new referendum rather than undermining the case. Listen to what Salmond actually said rather than the deceitful distortions of the unionists:

    “The only circumstance in which you can have another referendum would be if you got an extra mandate at a subsequent general election but my view is that you ask the constitutional question once in a generation”.

    It is there for all to see, listen to and read. Salmond expressed his “view” and used the ‘once in a generation’ expression but stated clearly the circumstance upon which a new referendum would be justified is an “extra mandate” at subsequent general elections. Subsequent general elections in 2015, 2017 and 2019 have all returned SNP victories and new mandates for a second referendum, as did the Scottish Parliament victory in 2016 and the two Scottish Parliament votes in favour of IndyRef2. The democratic basis for IndyRef2 is simply impregnable and undeniable, despite the unionist stream of lies.

    If personal rhetoric like ‘once in a generation’ was to be strictly applied after events, there would not be another general election in the UK for many years as that is exactly how Johnson himself described the December 2019 General Election:

    “This is a critical once-in-a-generation election. I think this is one of the most important in modern times. On this election, the direction of the country depends”.–scotlands-freedom-is-coming/?__twitter_impression=true


    ”Political commentator @Philmoorhouse76 [and no friend of SNP] exposes the Internal Market Bill as a UK Govt device to steal Scotland’s powers.”

    • Dr Jim says:

      Even if you were to give an inch to the *once in a generation* comment, we’re talking politics by politicians and a political generation is five years and one government cannot bind the hands of the next as Jacob Rees Mogg is never done reminding us, so if my counting is correct Scotland has done it’s generational time hasn’t it

      The English Parliament will come up with a hundred different definitions of generations including the life span of a Sperm Whale if we allowed them

  49. Petra says:

    A couple for a laugh.

    Janey Godley:- “I wouldn’t put it past Nicola Sturgeon to have been the blame for the the Covid.”


    Janey Godley:- ”Raging.”

  50. JMD says:

    Started reading the article but stopped when he started talking about 2024. Maybe it was sort of “clarified” later on but that just pissed me off.

    • weegingerdug says:

      Then you missed the point. Well done you.

      Do you know what pisses me off? People complaining about an article that they’ve not read. If you can’t be bothered to read it, don’t bother to comment on it.

  51. Petra says:

    And all together now. Turn up the volume and join in 😀.

    Larry & Paul:- ”Oven Ready Classics. Songs for a new post-Brexit Britain.”


    Please check out Ann’s links on the Indyref2 site.

  52. you made a point further up the thread “if they can ignore the demand for a referendum, if they can ignore the result of a referendum without a Section 30 order, and if they can ignore the result of a plebiscite election, then they can ignore you too when you “take” independence.”

    fair enough, but the difference between indyref2 (no s30) and a plebiscite election is voter participation. the unionists can ignore indyref2 and not participate but as yet they have no plans or reason to boycott the next holyrood election. we have never had a full scale vote on independence where we have had 50%+ in support.

    aye they could ignore that but it is a really important milestone to achieve, i think a game changer.

    • weegingerdug says:

      I don’t disagree with you. I don’t think that they could ignore the results of a democratic event in Scotland. It would, as you say, be a gamechanger. However I was replying to someone who seemed to think that the Conservatives could ignore Scotland in perpetuity.

      • if bojo shuts down holyrood then we would be bound for the forseeable future to westminster, but just because “bojo could say NO” isnt an argument.

        Its like saying, all things being equal it doesnt matter what we do……. when it most evidently does.

        Is an indyref2 (with or without a s30) with only 35% of the electoral roll actually vote the same as a 70% participation election with 60% vote yes?

        “bojo could say NO”, to both outcome, but that doesnt rule out us taking the best options available to us.

        thats why i prefer the indy election route, we dont need a s30, we could do this now, today

  53. douglasclark says:


    Should we not simply embrace the next Hollrood election as a plebiscite? If the SNP and the Greens agree on anything it is that independence is the way forward. A joint manifesto, at least with independence as numero uno on both manifesto’s , would at least be movement in the right direction. Assuming, as is very likely that they would sweep the board, then there would be no doubt about the direction of travel, nor about what the next steps should be.

    Perhaps there are arguements against this strategy. I would be fascinated to know what they are.

    • weegingerdug says:

      We first need to pursue the same agreement that led to the first referendum. It’s only when it has been shown to fail due to the intransigence of the Conservatives that the international community will recognise the legitimacy of a plebiscite election and the waverers and soft yesses amongst us will support the next step. That means demanding a Section 30 order following the election of a majority in Holyrood standing on a clear mandate for a referendum.

      And yes, I know that you will say that the SNP already have that mandate from the 2016 Scottish election. However following the 2016 election the SNP had the wind knocked out of their sails by the disaster of the 2017 General Election when the voters of Scotland made it very clear that they were not as enthusiastic about the idea of another independence referendum as you or I might like them to have been.

      The overriding concern is the need to ensure that both domestic Scottish opinion and international opinion are with us each step along the way. Personally I’d love the next set of Scottish elections to be a plebiscite on independence. Unfortunately I’m not so certain that a majority of Scottish public opinion would agree – and a majority of international opinion almost certainly wouldn’t. Without international recognition, a declaration of independence means next to nothing. Just look at Catalonia. The leadership there jumped the gun and as a result their independence has been put back for possibly decades.

      Unfortunately we can’t leapfrog necessary steps because we think they’re going to fail. It’s only when they have been demonstrated to fail that legitimacy is given to the next step.

      • “We first need to pursue the same agreement that led to the first referendum. It’s only when it has been shown to fail due to the intransigence of the Conservatives that the international community will recognise the legitimacy of a plebiscite election and the waverers and soft yesses amongst us will support the next step. That means demanding a Section 30 order following the election of a majority in Holyrood standing on a clear mandate for a referendum.”

        i think the international community can already see bojos intransigence, see joe biden’s tweet.

        the path you map out seems to create an extra unrequired hurdle, To win a mandate for independence we need to demonstarate a full scale vote in favour of it with full normal levels of participation by the voters. The next opportunity we have to do that is at holyrood 2021.

        any indyref2 called after that has no guarantee of unionist participation and could be rejected by the international community as being unrepresentative (as they did in catalunia) and would leave us with 2026 being the next opportunity.

      • Dr Jim says:

        The leaders of three of the four great nations of this United Kingdom demand an emergency Cobra meeting but the only person *allowed* to call such a meeting is the Prime Minister of the country that’s the worst affected and is hiding in order to avoid calling that meeting

        If folk didn’t get the Independence clue when Scotland’s FM set that fox loose then some folk are hard of thinking and listening

  54. Hamish100 says:

    If the 2021 election is successful then I would say that is sufficient. I would wait until the next U.K. General Election. The momentum must be maintained. No more delays.

  55. I notice WOVS taking frequent digs at you Paul, did you seal stu’s toffos or summat?

    • weegingerdug says:

      I don’t even look there any more.

      • douglasclark says:

        Neither do I. It has become a sad parody of itself.

        • grizebard says:

          Took the first peek in a long time, and you are not wrong. Now an article by an English kipper of all people, applauded to various degrees by a variegated mixture of the mischievous and disaffected, with just a few sensible holdouts left who are still anchored to reality. How anybody thinks that this kind of miserable dog’s breakfast is likely to convert any former-no who stumbles upon it, is anyone’s guess. I truly mourn the passing of its former erratic but energetic glory. Reduced to a sad simulacrum that is the rotten fruit of its owner’s apparent bitter dog-in-manger capitulation. If this is all consequential rather than poisonously deliberate, I truly worry for him.

      • todays article is by a ukip supporter in england……. 😦 summats happened to him, i just wondered what?? pressure?, cabin fever? identity crisis etc

        genuinely confused and more than a little sad

    • Welsh Sion says:

      Please use this acronym – WOVS. It can be disconcerting referencing comments by others made about any post made by me when all it takes is a slip of the finger to render “WoS” as “WS”. Doesn’t do good for my street cred, y’know, to be associated with the phoney Rev.


  56. Welsh Sion says:

    Starmer: Adam’s response.

    Keir Starmer ‘undermining’ Mark Drakeford on independence for Wales and Scotland
    20th September 2020

    The new Labour leader Keir Starmer has been accused of “undermining” Wales’ First Minister on the question of whether Wales and Scotland should have the right to hold independence referenda.

    Earlier this month, Mark Drakeford said that no UK Prime Minister has the right to stand in the way of an independence referendum in either Scotland or Wales if the people wanted one.

    • Bob Lamont says:

      Labour will re-assert itself under another name and a different country, ideals never die, but at least Drakeford can hold his head up that he stuck to democratic principles,”the establishment” men not so much…

  57. Dr Jim says:

    If it doesn’t help deny it oxygen

  58. Alex Clark says:

    Covid-19 is about to take a much higher profile again over our lives in the coming weeks. I had thought that Johnson was going to go for a semi-lockdown strategy across the whole of England for two or three weeks to try and slow or reverse the current rapid rise in the number of new cases.

    From what I’m reading, he seems to be retreating from that and will stick with the “local” lockdowns, so local that 20% of Englands population is already under stricter restrictions than the rest and it looks like London might be next as well.

    I think it certain that Scotland will introduce the same restrictions across the whole of Scotland from Monday or Tuesday that already exist in a large part of it already, something similar to those that have come into force or are soon to come into force in the NE and NW of England.

    Nicola Sturgeon has made more than one request to Johnson these past couple of days to discuss this at a COBRA meeting, unsurprisingly she has been ignored again have the FM’s of Wales and N.Ireland. So pretty much as expected in the attitude that No 10 takes to the devolved parliaments. I think we are lucky to have Johnson as Prime Minister, there is no one else capable of making such a balls up of the leadership of the UK at such a crucial time, having to deal with both Covid-19 and Brexit and England puts a clown in charge. Deary me 😦

    I totally ignore anything he has to say now, when he speaks, it is a waste of Oxygen.

  59. Petra says:

    ‘Nicola Sturgeon could be silenced forever.’

    • weegingerdug says:

      That’s an article in the Express Petra. Shouldn’t the headline be “Nicola Sturgeon could be SILENCED forever!”

      It’s based on a George Galloway press release. You’ll get more accurate reporting on Scottish politics from the Tellitubbies than from that rag.

    • Alex Clark says:

      They are running scared, I can smell it, the smell of fear is unmistakable. We are winning.

    • weegingerdug says:

      To give a bit of context. The Canadian Clarity Act was passed following two referendums in Quebec, one in 1980 and one in 1995. Both were criticised for having opaque and difficult to understand questions. This is the English translation of the 1995 Quebec referendum question:

      “Do you agree that Quebec should become sovereign, after having made a formal offer to Canada for a new economic and political partnership, within the scope of the bill respecting the future of Quebec and of the agreement signed on June 12, 1995?”

      The English translation of the 1980 referendum question is even more verbose:

      “The Government of Quebec has made public its proposal to negotiate a new agreement with the rest of Canada, based on the equality of nations; this agreement would enable Quebec to acquire the exclusive power to make its laws, levy its taxes and establish relations abroad – in other words, sovereignty – and at the same time to maintain with Canada an economic association including a common currency; any change in political status resulting from these negotiations will only be implemented with popular approval through another referendum; on these terms, do you give the Government of Quebec the mandate to negotiate the proposed agreement between Quebec and Canada?”

      By contrast the question used in the Scottish independence referendum, which is also proposed to be used in a second independence referendum, is a model of clarity.

      “Should Scotland be an independent country?”

      The claim of the Express that the Clarity Act is the reason why Quebec hasn’t had a third independence referendum is up there with its claim that Nicola Sturgeon was HUMILIATED by the wee band of British nationalists huddled out of sight at the back end of George Square during the indy rally there last October.

      • Dr Jim says:

        When asked previously about this sort of nonsense she replied “I think I’ll just manage to soldier on”

      • grizebard says:

        So what did the Clarity Act require that was supposedly so “deadly”? I would have thought that the simpler the question the better?

        Like ours, for example. So what was the Daily Puffer on about this time? (As if I particularly care.)

  60. Alex Clark says:

    I sent this to Joanna Cherry in August 2019 and it has relevance to the question to be asked.

    I can appreciate that you are very busy with all that you have going on but in light of the Electoral Commission yesterday potentially seeking to change the question in a future Independence referendum from Yes/No to Remain/Leave I believe the attached pdf is worth spending some of your valuable time in what is thought by another International lawyer regarding the 2014 question.

    The report was published before the 2014 referendum, “The Scottish Independence Referendum in an International Context” written by:

    Jure Vidmar is Professor of Public International Law in the Faculty of Law at Maastricht University; Research Fellow at St John’s College at the University of Oxford; and Extraordinary Lecturer in the Centre for Human Rights in the Faculty of Law at the University of Pretoria.

    It is an eye opening document in particular with regard to the question to be asked in an Independence referendum and also what effect the UK having an EU referendum might have on the legitimacy of the Scottish referendum.

    On the referendum question it has this to say and more:

    Asking an Unambiguous Referendum Question
    As noted by the Supreme Court of Canada, an impermissible ambiguity could stem not only from the degree of voter support for independence but also from the phrasing of the referendum question.93 This section shows that, textually, the Scottish question meets the clarity standard in an exemplary manner…(Pg 16)

    As a matter of general principle, however, the referendum question must consult on independence directly (not merely implicitly) and should not obscure the issue of independence within a broader question. Applying this standard to Scotland, the question would be impermissible if it obscured the issue of independence by, for example, proposing a monetary union with the UK or EU membership for Scotland. The question does not do that. 
    Textually, the Scottish referendum question is exemplary in its clarity: “Should Scotland be an independent country? Yes/No.”103 The problem lies elsewhere. (Pg 19)

    Other interesting contents relate to the Montenegro independence referendum and it is well worth downloading and reading Ref  60 of this report “Act on Referendum on State-Legal Status of the Republic of Montenegro” which was a law passed by the EU. The section covering the conduct of the media (particularly the state broadcaster) during that referendum campaign is a bit of an eye-opener but understandable.

    Finally I’d just like to say thanks for all the hard work you have put in at Westminster and elsewhere on behalf of your constituents and indeed all of Scotland.

    Here is a link to the download of the paper, worth a read for those that seek knowledge.

    • Alex Clark says:

      I know that 99% won’t read the paper but just read the extract on the link, it’s a few paragraphs long. Who knows you may be surprised at what you find and decide to read the whole thing! 🙂

      • grizebard says:

        Maybe the “conduct of the media” thing is a real sting in the tail for those BritNats desperate to muddy the waters with this dastardly “leave/remain” wording. Could that be the reason why the SG was happy to refer the whole issue back to the Electoral Commission?

        Beware, BritNats, of getting your wish fulfilled over back-referral!

        • Dr Jim says:

          I remember Michael Russell in committee being badgered by Tories Fraser and Tomkins on this issue and in the end he said smiling “I’m perfectly comfortable with the electoral commission looking at the question again but when we have the referendum the question will still be the same”

          I thought Angela Constance was going to fall of her chair trying to contain her mirth

      • Capella says:

        You’re right Alex, that is an interesting paper. Some insights there e.g. into the Montenegro referendum and the EU intervention to secure unionist buy in.

        The more I read about this the more I feel that “independence referendum” isn’t the issue. Scotland passed an Act of the Scots Parliament agreeing to a Treaty. We need to pass another Act of the Scots Parliament repealing the 1707 Act. Scotland is, and always has been, a sovereign state. We transferred sovereignty for a time to Westminster. That was undemocratic and a mistake. We are not, and never have been, a region of England.

        The only legitimacy needed is the will of the majority of the Scottish people, clearly expressed.

        • Alex Clark says:

          I wouldn’t disagree with any of that, “the will of the majority of the Scottish people, clearly expressed” will do for me as well.

  61. Capella says:

    Thanks for spelling out the Quebec referendum essay questions. I can see why a Clarity Act was introduced.

    However, the point of the Daily Express article may be the underlying implied menace, the big tough guy talk of silencing somebody forever, like a Mafia don with his big black fedora hat.
    Alister Union Jack also said that Nicola Sturgeon wouldn’t see a second referendum “in her lifetime”, as if he somehow knows how long that will be.

    It sounds like they are truly scared of our wee pint sized FM. What a state of affairs when just being competent is a mortal threat.

  62. Dr Jim says:

    Just for clarity have the Express had the bottle to put that in print in the Scottish version of their rag or is this just for angry English rabble rousing consumption online only

  63. yesindyref2 says:

    I see the Question is rearing its head. I’m with Dr Jim and Mike Russell – the chance of it being changed to Leave / Remain is 0%. From the legal point of view as much as anything.

    The UK does leave the EU, according to the Lisbon procedure for leaving, but the EU remains the same, just one less member. The UK was never EU territory, the UK was always a full sovereign state and stays the same, just not a member of the EU any more.

    On the other hand there are 3 legal ways of Scotland becoming Independent and only one is where Scotland leaves the UK – and even that is secession, not leaving, with entirely different legal consequences for instance with state assets and debt. Neither of the other two – separation or dissolution involve Scotland leaving the UK,

    In the case of separation two equal states emerge, sharing assets and debts but also treaties, The rUK might or might not be able to continue calling itself the UK – if Scotland agrees to that.

    In the case of dissolution, the UK ceases to exist. What the rUK calls itself nobody knows, EWNI perhaps. It would be problematic calling itself the UK, though that could probably be done with agreement from Scotland and the rest of the World.

    So yeah, haviing a leave / remain quiestion for our independence practically forces option 1 – secession, which is possibly not in Scotland’s negotiated interest.

    Footnote: The three options I describe – secession, separation and dissolution are commonly accepted by constitutional experts, sometimes with different descriptions. The remain / leave and UK name angle is all mine.

    • My mind’s elsewhere at the moment, but I’m enjoying dipping in to read the comments on this rattlingly good thread.

      Scotland owns 8.4% of the BoE and its £118 billion (2019) reserves.
      Do the maths.. (for our English based readers, that’s what you used to call ‘math’ before you were inducted into the USA as their 51st state). Scotland is rollin’ in it.

      EWNI? Doubt it. Ireland will reunite in the next five years. We shall be independent long before then even.
      Nonsense about 2024/25 for a Referendum is paper filling pap.
      The new name for the US’ 51st State? Former UK, or FUK, for short.

      While FUK burns, Dross was running about on a fitba’ park doing his day job.
      Brewer’s pre-recorded interview with this dull lifeless man, was unbelievably shallow and pointless.
      The Linesman bleats that if we don’t allow Englandto destroy Holyrood.then they’ll not buy our whisky, timber, beef, and Car Theft Auto XXII from us and hundreds of thousands of us will lose our jobs, so there.
      What a stupid wee man, and Brewer half dozed through the whole edited piece of SPAD generated 7 minutes.
      Will the last helicopter leaving from the roof of Planation Quay leave Barrett Homes the door security code of the building.

      Paul, I note that you got that Dick’s name wrong all these years.
      He is Richard ‘Lennon’?

  64. Hamish100 says:

    So Yes Independence Party has been joined by Sheridans Solidarity party. Well YIP be on your guard , solidarity as with many outlying very left wing outfits will not take you over from within.

  65. Jim says:

    Just one example of how the Internal Market Bill is a race to the bottom and will affect our safety in future.

  66. Dr Jim says:

    British Labour leader in Scotland Ryland Lonesome thinks if he keeps talking about getting people jobs they’ll forget forget about being owned by another country that makes the rules on the pay and conditions of those jobs and this Scottish notion of self respect will disappear

    I’ve never owned a flat cap

  67. Alex Clark says:

    I see Johnson is in hiding again today and leaving it up to his medical and science advisors to deliver the bad news on Covid. This is the same Johnson who told us all just a few weeks ago that he hoped it would be all over by Xmas.

    Now he claims that a “second wave” was inevitable and that he had been saying that for weeks.

    The man’s a totally useless walking disaster who doesn’t have a clue what he is doing, his sidekick Cummings is even worse, that idiot believes that he really is a genius. Events suggest otherwise.

    This talk of a “second wave” is all a load of bullshit, unlike the 1918 Spanish Flu that killed millions, this virus is not seasonal as that one was, just as the flu today is seasonal and arrives every winter, This so called second wave is simply as a result of relaxing the restrictions we were all under for months during lockdown.

    A rise in cases was inevitable as people started to meet more often especially in pubs and such like, I don’t have a clue where we go from here and trying to balance the effects on the economy and on health. I just know that we had better get used to living with the virus until we have an effective vaccine. Maybe we might have that early next year but meantime I’ll be being careful to avoid any place that I may be more likely to contract Covid-19. For now unfortunately it looks like we really need to take care of ourselves rather than rely on someone else doing it for us.

  68. Tatu3 says:

    Various newspapers are claiming Boris Johnson went secretly to Italy last weekend (Friday 11 to Monday 14).
    No 10 and Boris are denying it. Though that doesn’t mean anything these days

  69. Alex Clark says:

    That was some delivery of the Coronavirus briefing that Nicola Sturgeon has just delivered, she is right up there as the most impressive politician I have ever listened to. A country mile ahead of every other politician in the UK. Another 1% added to the Yes vote today 🙂

    • Alex Clark says:

      The BBC wanted to close these briefings down, their timing couldn’t have been any worse. Halfwits run the BBC in Scotland, now there’s a surprise hahaha

    • Dr Jim says:

      Indeed, the FM rinsed and minced the UK and reduced it to the level of distributing primary school drinking straws competence while at the same time pointing out to people everywhere that she does her homework and actually works with and listens to the experts

      I also wondered why the Daily Express bothered to send a *journalist* given that their advice in varying caPiTal letTerS was to have Scotland’s FM “SileNcEd FOrEvER*

    • Ally says:

      Yep just brilliant. She is just so massively impressive as a Stateswoman and politician.

  70. Arthur Thomson says:

    We are so very fortunate to have her. She is working her heart out for us. At Westminster we have Philippa – another star. What are Indy women like? Brilliant.

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