A question of respect

When a bad thing happens once, it can be considered accidental. When it happens twice, that’s deeply unfortunate and a sign that someone isn’t paying attention. When it happens a third, fourth, and fifth time it’s a deliberate act of policy. That’s the case with the Conservative administration in Westminster not keeping the governments of Scotland and Wales informed.

This week it happened again. Scottish finance secretary Kate Forbes was not consulted or informed about the surprise decision of the UK Treasury to scrap the VAT exemption rules which allow tourists to claim back VAT on shopping that they’ve done while on a trip to the UK. The scheme is to be cancelled at the end of the Brexit transitional period on 31 December. In response to a written question from Labour’s Jackie Baillie, Kate Forbes said that the decision had been made without any consultation with the Scottish Government.

Scotland has a massive tourism industry. Or rather it had before the pandemic. The sector is already struggling due to the effects of months of lockdown and quarantine restrictions on foreign travel. The retail sector is in crisis due to the lack of footfall in city centres. This measure will make it even harder for retail businesses which depend upon tourist spending to get back on their feet. However the Scottish Government is unable to say how much of an effect it’s going to have, and so cannot implement any measures to help to mitigate it, because since it was introduced without any consultation or warning Scottish Government officials have not been able to carry out any analyses of the impact it will have on retail businesses dependent on tourist spending. To compound matters, the British Government has not seen fit to share with the Scottish Government any analyses that it may have carried out itself.

The Conservative attitude in this as in so many other things is that the British Government has made its decision and Holyrood must obey. They don’t consult with the devolved administrations for the same reason that a patrician upper class Tory sees no need to consult with the household servants. And that’s precisely how they see us. That respect agenda that was once promised is as much in the realms of fantasy as that time that Johnson and Gove told the truth during a press conference.

Today Johnson delivered his speech to the virtual Conservative conference. He spoke of his “passion” for the union. By which he meant his belief that Scotland and the rest of the UK exist solely to serve his ego and ambitions. He has no interest in what’s good for Scotland. All he cares about is himself.

This is not, as some British nationalist zoomers on social media like to claim, merely the SNP pursuing a grievance. Today the finance secretaries of all three devolved adminstrations have jointly called upon the British Government for clarity about the finances of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The Chancellor has decided to cancel the Autumn Budget saying that because of the financial effects of the pandemic it was not an appropriate time. However this means that Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland now have no certainty about how much the block grants upon which devolved spending depends will be over the coming months.

Last month Kate Forbes revealed that the UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak hadn’t even done her the basic courtesy of informing her that his budget was to be scrapped, despite the fact that this has an enormous impact on the Scottish Budget. Scotland can’t plan a properly detailed budget if the British Government doesn’t even bother to let Scotland know how much money it’s going to have. The Scottish Conservatives have been typically silent about their contempt for devolution displayed by their colleagues in Westminster, but you can bet that they will be the first to try to make political capital by criticising the Scottish Government for delays to the Scottish budget. And they will be aided in this by their friends in the press.

This lack of consultation, indeed a lack of even the most basic courtesy in keeping the Scottish Government informed, is nothing new from the Conservatives. We saw it all the way through the Brexit process when Theresa May’s government cold shouldered Scotland at every opportunity. We saw it again during the pandemic when the British Government didn’t keep the devolved administrations in the loop about decisions which affected them. It’s worth asking why the Conservatives are behaving this way, because in doing so they are creating an open goal.

The answer is twofold. Firstly it’s because they genuinely don’t care. In their worldview the successful operation of their precious union means that they give the orders and the little nations obey. They still operate with the British Imperial model of government in which Westminster reigns supreme. The no more see why the Scottish Government needs to be consulted than they see any need to consult with a local authority in England. In fact UK Government ministers have made that explicit equivalence before. In March 2018 when the Scottish Government suggested that aspects of immigration policy should be devolved – as Michael Gove said could be possible during the EU referendum campaign – Caroline Nokes, then the UK immigration minister, said: “Immigration is a reserved matter. We are not going to grant an ability to the Scottish government that I might not also be granting to Lincolnshire county council.” Scotland, you’re just a glorified Englandshire county council.

Secondly the Conservatives routinely ignore the devolved administrations because they have no understanding at all of how their actions are perceived in Scotland. The have come to believe that the UK is a unitary state, that the only nationalism which needs to be taken into account is their British nationalism which is functionally identical to English nationalism and which of course isn’t nationalism at all – it’s patriotic. They have lost the traditional Scottish Conservative understanding that Scotland is a distinct nation within the UK – an understanding the Scottish Tories themselves have lost too. Any aspect in which Scotland is different from the rest of the UK represents a threat to the unity of the UK and must be squashed. This is not a world view with which devolution can coexist. The Conservatives cannot tolerate any limits on their power, and a strong Scotland within the UK is a constant reminder that they don’t rule supreme.

The only respect that the Conservatives understand is the forelock tugging of their lackeys and servants. That’s the ‘respect agenda’ that they have in mind for us. Devolution isn’t safe with the Tories. Scotland isn’t safe with the Tories. The only safety is when we escape this malign British nationalist Brextremist state for good. Then and only then will Scotland enjoy the respect of equality.

The purpose of this blog is to  make a positive case for independence, to attack the pretensions of British nationalism, and to formulate arguments which will help to persuade no voters, undecideds, and soft yes voters to support independence.  It’s also to boost the morale of those of us who are already involved in this campaign.  I do not provide this platform to allow people to attack others in the movement with whom they disagree.  Other people might choose to use their platforms to do so, I don’t.

So if you want to share your favourite conspiracy theories about Nicola Sturgeon or anyone else in this movement – you can go elsewhere.  I am past caring whether you think that this means you are being censored.  You have no absolute right to use this blog and you most certainly don’t have the right to abuse my hospitality by insulting me personally. 

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127 comments on “A question of respect

  1. Doug says:

    The arrogance and ignorance of English/british nationalist Westminster towards, Scotland, Wales and the north of Ireland shows no sign of abating. Indeed it shows clear signs of increasing. Whether deliberate or just stupid such English/british nationalist attitudes will continue to undermine the so-called united kingdom. If britnat Westminster doesn’t care about that… fine by me. Bring on its rightful demise.

  2. You could almost feel pity for DRoss. Johnson invokes “a vision of … new Jerusalem” in his speech. A glaring reference to “ENGLAND’S green and pleasant land”. I’m entirely undecided as to whether he really just doesn’t get it or he’s trying to fuck us off.
    Thoughts welcome.

    • Norma says:

      I think Boris Johnson does get it. And I think – in f.cking us off – he gets it again.

      Boris Johnson (or the Johnson-Cummings amalgam) appeals to those of us in cowed, feart Scotland who believe – and have believed for generations – that we deserve to be royally f.cked off.

      Since the independence campaign re-ignited in our lifetime, we’ve underestimated our opponents. In my books, they’re the trickiest opponents of any on Earth. (Just ask the Irish!)

      • With all respect, in my opinion Boris Johnson hardly knows which day of the week it is never mind getting anything. He can’t even organise his private life and as for his attempt at being a Prime Minister he doesn’t have the necessary ability, self awareness, energy or even the desire to properly do the job.
        That’s why we see him on building sites painting a shed or in a vocational college handling a wood plane as if it was a foreign object. He can’t hold his brief for 5 minutes so when asked questions he either deflects the question or simply gets the details wrong while shooting looks of panic at his advisors. All this, while ignoring a pandemic which has caused more than 60,000 excess British deaths.
        However, he is in the fortunate position of having the whole British Establishment including the mass media on his side and against us. This won’t stop us ending the UK though.
        He is also simply an empty vessel, into which Cummings pores his poison, and yesterday’s speech proved it once more. No mention of Brexit or Covid 19, but irrelevant bloviating nonsense about his pie in the sky green promises for 10 years time. John Grace of the Guardian put it best, “Seldom can someone have so badly misjudged the mood of an empty room.” In fact the best part of his speech was not him leaving to the sound of a standing ovation, but to the sound of his own footsteps.

    • Daisy Walker says:

      It’s deliberate. The Boris’s of this world learnt to Troll at an early age, got advance training in same at Eton, and invented the genre even before the word was invented.

      The British Establishment has evolved to asset strip entire continents and countries, and the powers that be, are trained to put a posh, polite accent on it, to make it look respectable, while they profit directly from the crimes.

      It’s deliberate. Its not a case of they are incompetent at running the UK, its a case of the way the UK is set up to be run, is to make them rich.

      They can do that slightly more slowly and try to make it look respectable, or they can do it as fast as they possibly can.

      Which is where we are now.

  3. yesindyref2 says:

    This article is on the topic of Independence and could contribute to an increase in the YES support, as it can help the undecided, decide that devolution is not being respected by the UK Government, in any way, shape or form. And since this blog tends to have such articles mostly, it makes it important to protect this blog from disruption.

    In view of that derailing of threads at times very recently, I’ve got a suggestion which is itself off-topic and could in terms of the suggestion, cause this posting to be deleted.

    And that’s that the first 10 or 20 postings – not including replies – should not be off-topic, and that perhaps WGD should delete them without any explanation neccessary.

    • grizebard says:

      I’m sorry that this even needs saying, because it’s generally considered respectful of the lead article and the readership as a whole – just plain good “netiquette” – not to post OT messages early in a thread. But of late there have indeed been some notable cases of rudeness, with one particularly egregious example, a first posting about something entirely different, including a couple of links elsewhere! (And later on having the sheer pomposity to declare that they were immune to any criticism!)

      It’s one of the signs of success for a site like this, I suppose, that some will attempt to piggy-back on its popularity by inserting their own unrelated material, whether deliberately intended to distract or simply to gain exposure they would not otherwise receive. But if people feel really strongly about unrelated topics, they should stand on their own two feet and start their own blogs. It’s not that hard. (It may be rather harder, of course, to attract a readership for their views, but that’s something else!)

  4. James Cheyne says:

    Generally speaking can we not just end the treaty of the union, a total reset button, no Hargy Bargy over GERS, no hargy bargy over Scottish coast line, minerals, water, Scottish Parliament, no hargy bargy over whom owns or owes oil, fisheries or farming,
    Nothing to lose and everything to possibly gain for us,
    No one dictating to us and no more keeping us in the dark.
    If we leave by any other method England will try double dealing wrangle that could tie us up for years, making us unable to function and run our country, tied to lawsuits and litigations to deliberately hinder success of our country,
    At this point of time, seeing how they are treating the devolved governments, and how there treating us as a counties instead of a countries, it is about time we pulled the plug.

  5. Wee Chid says:

    Stanley Johnson also hit the hat trick, apparently. Not wearing a mask where he should, yet again. Showing total disregard for fellow human beings. Time people like him were punished financially assording to their means. Their own pockets are the only thing they respect.

  6. proudcybernat says:

    The Tories were perfectly fine with the idea that Scotland was a distinct nation within a voluntary Union. Until, that is, after 300+ years we found out just how much this (ahem) ‘Union’ has been shafting us, day-in, day-out and thrice on Saturdays. We realised that and suddenly found our voice. Alas, it’s a voice WM doesn’t like to hear. They were happy when we sent mute and dumb Unionist lobby-fodder down to WM. Oh, to have the good ol’ days back.

    But those days are gone. Scotland has found its voice, is out its box and happy to give WM a square go. So now the Tories aren’t happy with this new improved, shouty Scots MP. Now we’re not a partner within the UK, now we’re a ‘part’ of the UK – (c) Davie Mundell. The more we push to return Scotland to its destiny of being, once again, a normal nation state, the harder the Tories try to assert that we have no right to do so, there’s no border, you had your Ref and that’s it for a generation.

    Thing is, they could have won the peace after IndyRef1. Had they delivered on the promises they made in order to win that IndyRef then we’d have pretty much little to argue over. But they. didn’t. The most powerful, devolved parliament in the whole known omniverse will soon be thoroughly emasculated by these WM Tories, with the full backing of their Scots Tory lackeys.

    They tell us that Holyrood WILL be getting more powers–hundreds of them. They actually think we will believe that just because they say it. Well, it may be the case that Holyrood WILL be handed over these powers from WM to do with as we please. But the moment we use one of these new powers, it then has to be given a rubber-stamp by some WM committee before it can pass into law. A conditional power is no power at all. Devo is effectively dead and don’t let these Tory shysters tell you otherwise.

    We’ll be having IndyRef2 Boris, whether you agree or not. And you brought it down on your own head by reneging on your 2014 promises.

    Suck it up, buttercup.

  7. Alex Clark says:

    I would agree that ignoring the devolved governments and particularly Scotland is “a deliberate act of policy”. It accompanies their stated intention of deliberately ignoring democracy by refusing a referendum in the face of that a referendum is the expressed will of the people of Scotland.

    Neither of these actions looks like sound decision making, it’s a habit of this government to make up policy on the hoof and u-turn when things backfire and don’t turn out as they had wished.

    You can’t make policy on wishlists and things you hope will happen, because it just won’t work, it is difficult to believe that they genuinely do not appear to realise that their actions are increasing support for Independence and encouraging the very thing they say they don’t want to happen.

    Maybe even worse for them is that when we do get into a campaign, I doubt it will be a long one like 2014 but a much shorter one. They will have to start the love bombing much earlier and who in Scotland is going to believe them knowing how they treat us now.

    Ignoring us and reducing powers devolved to the Scottish government is not going to endear many when they tell us “Love us don’t leave us”. They really really are as bad at governing as they have shown in recent years, first with Brexit and now Covid.

    Independence will be ours for they have screwed up any reasons for remaining in the Union that many clung to in 2014. Their hopes will have been dashed and enough will have realised they were duped in 2014. Many have since changed their mind and there will be more to come.

    “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me”

  8. Alex Clark says:

    Oops “Lead us, don’t leave us” 🙂

  9. Julia Gibb says:

    Look at the history of the Empire…is anyone surprised we are getting the same treatment that they did (until they left!)

    Perhaps some delude themselves that Scotland was at the “Top table” of the Empire management, that it was all done to others.

    Ireland, Wales and Scotland may have provided cannon fodder, taxes, and certainly a few greedy merchants willing to exploit anyone. However we were never at the centre.
    Nelson expects – 1805 almost 100 years after the Union.
    Wolfe of his Highlanders – a few may die but that is no great loss.
    The poor of all 4 Nations were treated as badly by the London centred elite.
    Does anyone think the enormous number of Private School/Oxford and Cambridge people dominating Politics and the Civil Service is accidental.

    The Empire was not about anything more than greed. It was based on the Roman Empire. All roads lead to Rome facilitated all wealth flowed TO Rome.

    Rome rewarded the faithful with Citizenship of Rome. The House of Lords fulfills that role today.

    They will never concede the imbalance of the U.K. Society.
    They have entrenched the idea of an elite running our lives.

    We need to start again….or perhaps not!
    In Scotland the people were always sovereign. In the Clans the best leader was selected by the Clan ( until London promised the Clan chiefs hereditary rights if they backed the Union)

    4 countries ruined by one City.

  10. yesindyref2 says:

    From the Herald:

    ” THE Scottish Tories have backed the SNP’s position and abandoned their opposition to free university tuition.

    Douglas Ross announced the U turn this afternoon at an event hosted by Young Conservatives at the party’s conference this afternoon. It follows concerns the current policy backing fees is a vote loser. ”

    and Ross contradicted BoJo on something very recently I forget what.

    So what we have is the Holyrood election coming up next May presumably, Carshack was given the boot and Ross put in place, having conveniently resigned from something or other earlier in the year in protest against his mucker BoJo to gain streets.

    Now BoJo gets even nastier to Scotland and Douglas Ross, the Hero of Scotland, shakes his fist and his referee’s pea-whistle at BoJo and says “Cease and Desist”.

    Yup, never underestimate the opponent.

    • Welsh Sion says:

      Note to ‘Assistant Referee’ DRoss:

      “We can spot a red flag as well as you can”.

      • yesindyref2 says:

        Yes.But Sturgeon of course will have to grit her teeth and say like “We welcome the Scottish Conservatives’ change of heart, it has been a difficult year for students and further education is very important blah blah blah”.

        And so the game goes on.

    • yesindyref2 says:

      That was from the National, sorry, and I see the comments are all over it “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts” (didn’t know Ross was Greek). Great – I can rest on my laurels for a while, or at least my [redacted]. Getting a bit stale.

  11. grizebard says:

    What this fundamentally boils down to now is a test of wills. The EngNat Tories are attempting to re-assert their dominance (even if utterly unjustified) and it’s simply a question if we in Scotland will assert our own in defiance or once again, as so often in the past, give way. But these are changed days, we are begining to find our own self-confidence now, and with ample justification. So please, no more of this “they will always win” gloom-and-doom. It’s important that we do everything in our power now to bolster our self-worth, because that’s what will see us through and bring us the win.

  12. joe. says:

    This is getting worse by every day that passes.
    We have to get out of this absolutely unscrupulous
    Totally discredited so called union.or they will
    Destroy our proud Scotland.(.that is their end game.)
    We have to get our independence back.and the
    Sooner the better.do people in Scotland who vote
    Tory.not realise they are helping to destroy their
    Own country.or is that what they want.
    I want to see a future with a prosperous independent
    Scotland.being successful throughout the world.
    Lets get our independence.the sooner the better.

  13. Dr Jim says:

    Well I saw his speech where he committed the Tories to doing all the things that he himself rubbished two or three years ago and he was even stupid enough to quote himself saying these things
    The Tories are liars and Boris Johnson is just the latest incarnation in a long line of Tory liars, they can’t help themselves, it’s what they do, they make promises to *help* everybody then once elected they reverse that policy and take from everybody to help themselves
    Let’s do more private sector to benefit us all he said, when what he means is let’s do private sector to benefit the rich and the Tories for the contracts that they have the power to dish out otherwise all these wind turbine revelations he pontificated about would be getting made right here in Scotland where the bloody wind is, but they’re not, the contracts are going to Indonesia then will have to be shipped all the way back to Scotland ten miles from where we already have a factory and workers that were all ready to build the damn things in the first place, how’s that for carbon footprint

    I’ve lost weight he says I’ll arm wrestle you or outrun you in a foot race or damn it all I’ll Greco Roman wrestle you to the ground to prove I’m great, he says

    Well did you fall for it, are you ready to fight them on the beaches, are you going to not be fat to find the hero inside yourself, I guess that was as near as he could get to popular culture to make another one of his inane points of much signifying nothing

    Bags of wind come in all shapes and sizes but in Scotland we know they all make the same noise when punctured, Theresa May had the tiny squeeky bum kind, Boris Johnson makes the same noise as a drunk amplified Whoopee cushion after a hefty quaffing of Champers followed by extra excitable guffawing on achieving a successful decibel level, in Scotland we call it what it is when folk talk out of their Arse

    • ArtyHetty says:

      Brilliant Dr.Jim. Spot on, anyone who believes a word that Dross says would need their head examined. Mr. Smarmy Dross has a much integrity as a deflated and flat football. Never trust a Tory.

  14. Welsh Sion says:

    Wales, Scotland and NI Finance Ministers together:


    Wales, Scotland and NI join in ‘unprecedented’ call to UK Government for financial flexibility to tackle Covid-19

    6th October 2020

    The governments of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have joined forces today to say that UK Government’s financial inflexibility is making the job of tackling Covid-19 harder.

    All three Finance Ministers – Rebecca Evans, Conor Murphy and Kate Forbes have simultaneously made oral statements in their respective legislatures today.

    This is the first time they have done so, demonstrating the “scale of their concern,” they said.

  15. James Cheyne says:

    Nothing is more obvious than how London Westminster elites think,
    It has enter my mind more than once that they have been deliberately trying to provoke Scotland to do UDI so they could send in the army to subdue those dam restless natives up north, they would take great joy in behaving like Edward, hammer of the Scots, in behaving so barbaric. It is not out of nature to them, when you look at their history, past and present,
    But we do have a major legal roll to play in the treaty of the union, be it then or now,
    If they stay with all that the Treaty has in the way in its Acts, they cannot produce a new treaty at a whim,
    If however they choose to ignore or change that treaty without our consent, the treaty is null and void, we are not beholden to the treaty,
    They have already broken that treaty more than once, and are on precarious ground

  16. Grouser says:

    Johnson seems to have renamed the Scottish National Party. In his speech to the Tory conference he called it the ‘Separitist Scottish Nationalist Party’. In his interview with Marr on Sunday he called it the ‘Scottish Nationalists’ Party’.
    Also he has been talking about the UK’s wind energy. He seems to be lining up to grab Scotland’s renewables just like his predecessors grabbed Scotland’s oil. Let’s make sure the people of Scotland are aware of what he is doing here. Like someone said earlier, Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice shame on me.

    • Welsh Sion says:

      Just return the ‘compliment’, Grouser.

      Johnson heads the ‘English Nationalist and Separatist Party’ – you know that Party that isn’t nationalist at all, just patriotic and likes to festoon things in union jackery and warble along to Vera Lynn and the background thrum of Spitfires, coz we won the War, dontcha y’know, old bean?

      (With acknowledgements to WGD for adopting his quotes – this is a well-worn path.)

      I don’t suppose my country or my fellow ‘nat. seps.’ figured at all in his speech … not that I’m actively going to find out, mind …

    • Jonathan Marshall says:

      I believe Scotland still pumps between 500000 and 700000 barrels of oil per day… That’s About between 2/3s and 3/4 of what the UK needs per day…. It’s still all about resources and wind is still just fluff that hides what they still really want. The oil economy will last another 20 yrs anyway. An ex chair of Scottish Labour once said to me they only regretted that more oil money hadn’t been spent in Scotland. The mind boggles I was too stunned to be angry at first. Nope shame on them and then some.

  17. Brian Powell says:

    Though interestingly in reply to the Tory behaviour the devolved governments show the UK government too much respect, and I can’t understand why.
    I have seen it often before from the Welsh FM, he did quite a bit if begging form George Osborne, but I fail to understand the continuing respect shown from ours.

    • Welsh Sion says:

      Brian Powell,

      I think you’re confusing our former First Minister, Carwyn Jones, with the current one, Mark Drakeford. Drakeford was elected after Osborne returned to the Tory backbenches having been sacked by the Maybot.

      That said, it can be agreed that both Jones and Drakeford (Labour FMs, both) have not always attacked Tory Chancellors as much as they could (or should) for the benefit of our nation.

      Roll on May 2021, when Adam will be First Minister – and our country’s needs will be properly fought for (and won).

  18. JoMax says:

    Let’s not lose sight of Labour and the LibDems in all of this because they walk all the way with the Tories when it comes to Scotland. They are as London-centric as the other lot and we must never forget that, because you’ll notice that in opposition they sit on their hands and do absolutely nothing and never will, so busy are they supporting ‘the Union’ and thus English dominance.

    • grizebard says:

      Absolutely. There’s no prospect of an eventual Labour win in England (whenever that might be!) making any difference to us whatever. Their leadership may not be so overtly EngNat, but they share the same ingrained control-freak attitude. There may be more velvet glove over the iron fist, they will surely be less inclined to outright destroy their own creation, but they’ll happily continue to rely on the existing Tory laws, so it’s the exact same deal in the end.

      As for the FibDems, they are fast becoming an irrelevance. Why would any previous voter continue to support a party that has gratuitously abandoned every single former main policy they ever had?

  19. Alex Clark says:

    @Dr Jim
    This is pretty damming from Peston about Johnson’s conference speech. Ties in with what I said earlier about wishlists and u-turns.

    But it was pretty much all hope rather than plan.

    There were a few seemingly upgraded promises: two million long-term fixed rate mortgages for young people; one-to-one tuition for those with learning difficulties and for young prodigies; offshore wind energy powering every device in every home; something about “the magic of averages” finally providing decent affordable care to the elderly and frail.

    But when his spokesperson was asked for more information on all or any of these promises, the reply each time was he did not yet have the detail.

    To take just one example, long-term housing loans for the young. How long would the interest rate be fixed? No answer.
    Who would underwrite the loans, banks or government? No answer. How big could they be? No clue.

    At the moment, these loans, which the PM said would power the biggest expansion of home ownership since the 1980s, are as likely to come from the tooth fairy as the Treasury, for all the detail we were given.


    Johnson and the rest of them are full of it, absolutely full of bluff, bluster and bullshit. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see this government back down with the EU as well in another pathetic U-turn.

    The EU have their number and sees them as transparent and very very stupid, they will not submit to his childish games and will call his bluff. What for him then when he is forced to make a real decision?

    • Bob Lamont says:

      Delegation, as always… Unless it goes right of course in which case history is re-written as he the conquering hero, with support from his cokering hero Gove, etc…

  20. Alex Clark says:

    Here’s another example just published this afternoon on the right wing Guido Fox blog that reveals documents that prove the DELIBERATE sidelining of the Scottish and other devolved governments by Westminster.

    Cabinet ministers were warned that plans to revoke EU laws through statutory instruments, and for the UK government to assume control of state aid throughout the UK “should not be shared publicly or with the devolved administrations at this stage”.


    A companion document outlined the “reasonable worst case scenario” for Food Supply as “a tightening of supply and an increase in demand for certain agri-food products, but not cause an overall food shortage. The effect of this disruption is likely to be reduced supply availability, especially of certain fresh products”. Further down the page, small print reveals that the “handling instructions” for the document forbid the details being shared with Devolved Administrations.

    We are dependent on BPDG/DfT planning assumptions for the extent and duration of disruption.
    Food is a devolved policy area. We have not shared this assumption with DAs as per handling instructions, but it will have an impact on DAs and their planning.


    This is what they meant by Better Together!

    • grizebard says:

      While the Tory proxies and their LibLab useful idiots keep rehearsing the hoary old nonsense that we must “respect the referendum”.

      It would be a fine thing if anyone involved in the late unlamented Bitter Together were to come out in public and state that they were genuinely mistaken and that what they stood for has been traduced by every single UKGov since. Just one who would be honest and “call foul”.

      Eh, whit aboot it, Ermine Darling or Federal Broon..?

    • During election time across Scotland you will see Tory placards in fields everywhere
      The farming community will indeed send Scottish produce to England for distribution in Scotland if there are shortages

      It will get worse

  21. cherson says:

    Apologies that this is off topic but I’ve been trying to find someone to ask as I can’t find anything online. The Covert Human Intelligence Sources Bill was passed last night at Westmonster and as far as I can make out SNP MPs abstained. The Bill reportedly allows UK state agents to commit crimes without any prosecution. There are no restrictions specified on the types of crimes as there are in the USA (e.g. where murder is ruled out).

    • grizebard says:

      You didn’t actually say what your question was, but anyway, why here? Setting another hare running?

      For the votes themselves, see:


      • cherson says:

        Thanks grizebard. There was meant to be a question – just badly written post on my part. I hadn’t heard about this previously and was wondering if anyone knows why so few MPs voted against it (I82-20) including the SNP? I’m presuming it isn’t just England-specific.

    • J Galt says:

      Abstaining is a cowards way out – it means you can pose in either camp depending on which way you think the wind is blowing.

      Most of Plaid Cymru did the right thing.

      Why not the SNP?

      • stewartb says:

        I don’t understand why, but there was a very large number of ‘no vote recorded’ examples, i.e. abstentions. These were from across all or almost all parties, including the Tories, Greens, Lib Dems, a Plaid member and the SNP.

        Whilst no fan of ‘abstention’ as a common HoC tactic, I think given the numbers here something more specific than “a cowards way out” is involved – unless J Galt can back up his/her assertion in this specific case.

        See https://votes.parliament.uk/Votes/Commons/Division/867#notrecorded

        • J Galt says:

          Perhaps some game is being played – that apparently was the excuse for Labour’s tactic of no show, I don’t know. At least some Labour members followed their conscience.

          However would it not have just been better to simply do the right thing like the two Plaid members?

    • weegingerdug says:

      Most MPs abstained because the Bill is due to be scrutinised in detail by the House of Commons on the 15th of October when all MPs will be able to have a say on it. However since Labour had a three line whip telling its MPs to abstain there was zero prospect of any vote against the bill at the second reading being anything other than symbolic.

  22. James Cheyne says:

    To have wildcat referendums may not be good, to carry on waiting for permission to hold a referendum may not be a good idea either, basically we will have no rights left, no laws left that are Scots laws, and basic Westminster denial of our sovereignty as a nation scrapped,
    It does not surprise me that Westminster would not want to tell the devolved governments there may be a food shortage, it is within recent history that they did not care when Ireland starved, in many ways they openly assisted it.
    If you can’t beat them, starve them out, old war tactics.
    Why aren’t we doing anything about the treaty that has been broken?
    Why do we not gather together on this issue,
    And does anyone else know how many time Westminster has been at fault in breaking the treaty, and in what areas.
    No wonder Westminster treats us like we’re idiots and shows such disrespect all these years, if we have allowed a treaty with them to be broken and stuck our fingers in our ears and then buried our heads in the sand,
    We deserve disrespect,
    We shouted quick enough when we thought they had broke the EU treaty, but all these years have never spoke up for own.
    is it to late?

  23. cherson says:

    Thanks grizebard. There was meant to be a question – just badly written post on my part. I hadn’t heard about this previously and was wondering if anyone knows why so few MPs voted against it (I82-20) including the SNP? I’m presuming it isn’t just England-specific.

  24. Arthur Thomson says:

    Respect is and has always been an alien concept to the Brits. They never concede anything on the basis of respect. Which leads people to wonder why Nicola apparently gives respect whilst receiving none.

    My view is that you don’t confront a psychopath until you are very sure that you have the means to deal with the violence that is surely going to follow.

    People need to come to terms with the fact that we are in a David and Goliath situation. That doesn’t mean not fighting back but it does mean being very circumspect about how you fight back. Getting yourself annihilated isn’t smart.

    We are also in a period of time that is the lull before the storm. Right now there is lots of talk but little actually happening apart from covid 19 taking off (exponentially as I see it.) The furlow scheme ends soon. In the run up to Christmas the proverbial is going to start hitting the fan big time. A very large number of people are going to learn that they definitely no longer have a job – a job they once believed was a safe job – and that they are going to be on the breadline. Panic, despair and anger are going to replace the present forlorn hope. The Brits are going to have to respond to this disaster in the run up to the impact of Brexit. Weasel words are not going to be enough. I suspect they will have a parliamentary recess, try to govern from a bunker somewhere and hope to ride out the storm. But the eye of the storm will come after Brexit, the nightmare before that will just be the lead in. That will be when I think people get organised to take to the streets – in direct contravention of the covid rules.

    Are people in Scotland going to demand to know what the Scottish Government are going to do about it? At this time Nicola is trying to patiently explain – via the covid updates, so without falling into the trap of being overtly political – that she can do nothing without the economic powers of an independent country. We are very soon going to find out if sufficient people have overcome the cringe, enough to start calling out publicly for independence to save themselves and their families. Without that Nicola has no mandate – no real mandate – to start the fight back with no holds barred.

    I can only guess what is going to happen, as anyone else. I do know that respect towards the people of Scotland by the Brits will play no part in it. The phoney’s on the British left will be telling everyone that the problems in Scotland are no different to the problems in Liverpool to save their Tory pals, as will the “Liberals”. The depths to which they will sink on behalf of nastiness is unfathomable. They will NEVER be our friends – they despise the notion of respect every bit as much as the right do. We will have to fight all three fronts of the British nationalists.

    We can do that and win We all know how world beating they really are not. We have to allow them to fully develop their omnishambles first.

    • Alex Clark says:

      I agree Arthur, there is no respect. Today, Johnson was telling the world at their conference that the UK will be “world beating” in renewable energy.

      Typical bullish crap that uninspires, let’s hope he never learns.

  25. A C Bruce says:

    They’re arrogant Bs.This surely can’t go on much longer; leaving it till 2021 is going to be horrendous for Scotland.

    The Scottish, Welsh and N I governments need to take firmer action rather than just verbally condemning the English government’s actions.

    A rocket up their backsides would be delicious! (not seriously, of course)

  26. Dr Jim says:

    I’m sure most folk will have noticed a change in tone in the way the media in Scotland are now reporting all things Corona virus, in the beginning the media’s job was to pit the UK government and the Scottish government against each other feeling sure that the UK government would come out on top in that comparison, but it didn’t work out the way they planned and Nicola Sturgeon as seen by all the polling numbers belted the UK out of the park

    So a new strategy for Scotland’s media was devised and they’re operating it full tilt at the moment, this new strategy employs the tactic of resentment, the trick being that the media now report all Corona news as something that Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish government *wants* to do rather than has to do, whether we like it or not is the implication followed by questions over the medical evidence, followed by a remark from a Tory usually DRoss or Lib Dem Willie Rennie and always accompanied by the word *scrutiny*

    You’ll see and hear in every report from both BBC and STV that Nicola Sturgeon *wants* to go further in *her imposition* of restrictions, you see not what the clinical adviser and the Scottish government decide between them, it’s all about *her* and what *she* wants to do

    If England doesn’t follow the same path as Scotland then the media can revert to plan A, the comparison strategy and switch back again if England does the same

    A media pincer movement designed for one purpose, and it’s not the welfare and health of the people of Scotland because they couldn’t give a toss about that, *Get the SNP done* is the message and sod everything else, because even if the UK Tories began eating live children on the ten o’clock news the Scottish media absolutely knows that Scotland’s votes mean nothing so there’s nothing we could do about it anyway and the Scottish media can absolve themselves of any blame

    Nuthin tae dae wae us guv we jist report ra news innat

    • grizebard says:

      I think England will have to follow. You can’t bluster the virus, no matter how much you want to supposedly “upstage” the SNP or just put business first. And the sooner, the better. The stats tell all, even if the BBC tries to suppress unhappy comparisons by rolling everything up into “all-UK” figures.

      Meanwhile, BritNttery online keeps striving to “prove” that we’re worse. What miserable frenemies we have who keep trying to undermine our self-confidence by such gaslighting. A Union which has to constantly demean us in order to keep us isn’t worth a toss.

    • jfngw says:

      The BBC (all the British Nationalist media in reality) were getting very excited with the Covid figures, they thought they had ‘Scotland has the worst figures than the UK headline’, they were dealt a body blow when they found out the numbers in England were artificially deflated. They then reverted to the comparisons aren’t not relevant mode, followed by the inference of claiming to have the best figures is unacceptable bragging during a pandemic.

      It’s becoming fun just watching their contortions trying to turn any news into a Scotland bad headline. I would have said SNP bad headline but we already have enough ‘independence’ supporters on that case.

  27. Alex Clark says:

    So the Tory party in Scotland are now in favour of no University tuition fees despite opposing this policy since it was introduced and retained by the SNP when Labour wanted a graduate tax. At the last Holyrood election, the Tory manifesto included a proposal to abolish free tuition and to pay the fees once graduates were earning more than £20,000.

    Another U-turn which is fast becoming a typical Tory trait, this lot don’t know their arse from their elbow.

    • grizebard says:

      About 15 years after we get independence, they’ll probably do a U-turn about being against that as well. And for the same reason, they’ll steadily bleed votes until they do.

      • Alex Clark says:

        Yeah, even well off families in the main do not want their children starting out with £40,000 of debt before they have their first job. All this so as to cut corporation tax, higher rates of Income tax and others like Inheritance taxes.

        Some people with little to their name don’t even realise that the poor are subsidising the rich with policies like these. The poorest paid pay the highest taxes by a mile. Forget Income tax, think VAT, fuel duty. National Insurance. excise duties ect, ect.

        You can only eat two chickens a day but the Tories want to give those at the top as much as they can grab from those at the bottom. An Independent Scotland will have a much fairer system and that is their biggest fear. That we make a success of it for all of our people!

    • Tories are only in favour of free tuition now because they are not in government in Scotland.
      If they were in government they would abolish free tuition

      Labour tried it for a while, copy some SNP policies
      Tories now doing it copy some SNP policies

      They think that if they do it we won’t notice the difference between them and the SNP haha

  28. Alex Clark says:

    Trump is an absolute nutter, just like his counterpart this side of the Atlantic.

    • grizebard says:

      Latest meme from the US that my mrs received from a friend: a picture of a smiley Trump with the caption “When the virus first arrived, we were told it infected the lungs. Turns out it affects Assholes too.”

      But then we knew that already, didn’t we…? {grin}

    • Boris J said he had covid19 but nobody in the hospital could confirm it

      Now we have D Trump saying he’s got covid but recovered after two days

      Haha ..I don’t think either of them have had covid19
      Political games they play

  29. Petra says:

    Fifty one examples of Tory corruption, ineptitude, lies and hypocrisy.

    ”I was gonna do another #TheWeekInTory but, try as I might, I could not find a thing they’d done wrong since Friday. No corruption. No ineptitude. No lies. No hypocrisy. Just a solid 96 hours of honest, decent and reliable governance. Only kidding: it’s an absolute shit-show…” https://mobile.twitter.com/RussInCheshire/status/1313162065998118912


    ‘Alister Jack likes Internal Market Bill ‘even more’ because SNP oppose it.’

    ..”Speaking at the Conservative Party conference, Jack said: “They [the SNP] don’t like the bill, which makes me like it even more.”


  30. James Cheyne says:

    Thanks for the link Diane, will go study.
    We do need independence,and I would rather do it legally, so every country around the world can see,
    This avoids crazy armies.

  31. Doctor Doug says:

    A find allusion to one of my favourite quotes, from Ian Fleming’s Goldfinger.

    “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action.”

  32. Julia Gibb says:

    It’s not about Nations anymore. A handful of people have greater wealth than a large percentage of the population of the Earth.


  33. Alex Clark says:

    What an article this is on Johnson’s speech today by John Crace of the Guardian. Says it all.


  34. Alex Clark says:

    I’ve been watching “The Papers” on the BBC News channel at 22:30 and now at 23:30.

    Herd immunity is back on the menu. Over the next few days just watch and read yourselves, lockdown is history. Looks like let all the young people catch it and “shield” the elderly. Well, actually they should “choose” whether to shield or not, no one will be locking them up.

    But they will, because if the virus is rampant then the elderly will not be able to avoid it, especially the most vulnerable elderly in our care homes.

    A strategy such as this is doomed to failure in short order in my opinion because the NHS will not be able to cope, absolutely no chance and it wouldn’t take long to be overwhelmed.

    Scotland under Nicola Sturgeon will not be having any of that, the next few weeks will be crucial because the decisions made now will have consequences that those taking them may live to regret while others die because of those decisions.

    • Dr Jim says:

      Sky news presenter asked a Sun newspaper *journalist* if he thought Boris Johnson should wait and follow Nicola Sturgeon’s lead on Covid through his head back laughed and said *It’s easy for Sturgeon there’s only 5million people in Scotland it’s just the size of a city*

      I shot my TV, well I would have but it’s a good TV whereas *journalists*?

      • Dr Jim says:

        Threw his head back, it’s late and I’m old

      • ArtyHetty says:

        I wondered when they’d try that one, population size. As if it’s not about strategy at all. The story tellers of the daily rags get to voice their opinions, as if they are important. Everyone knows the Sun rag is the bastion of truth, not.

      • Julia Gibb says:

        “Remember when the World Map was Pink…” / Greenich Meridian was put through London so that the UK is at the centre of all maps forever / we had another WW2 comparison story from Boris yesterday + Covid compared to an invasion force (…none have been successful in 1000 years)

        The Empire mindset is alive and well!
        Boris seems to think pausing and shouting out random words from his speech will make him sound Churchillian.

        The population size, having nukes, Aircraft Carriers etc etc reveals the insecurity of the Imperialist mind.

        Interesting that “journalists” ignore the UK debt given their fixation with size.

        Now back to Aljazeera to see what is actually happening in the World instead of the Boris/Trump show that passes for News in the UK.

        • Capella says:

          He forgot about the Normans – 1066 in England. Still here.

          • Welsh Sion says:

            Or … you could consider the 1284 invasion of Wales or 1485 the conquest of England by Wales (Tudors), 1603 the take over of the ‘English’ throne by the Stuarts or the 1688 ‘Glorious Revolution’ when the Dutch took over the throne.

            English history is not an unbroken line since the time of the Anglo-Saxons, and as you point out – they were defeated at Hastings in 1066.

  35. Ken2 says:

    Sir Stammer is to speak to ‘Scottish’ constituents. He doesn’t have any. Is that not illegal? Interfering in another constituency and trying to cause trouble. Another Labour attempted hatchet job. Trying to manipulate people without authority. Totally lying again to try to stir up trouble. Another own goal.

    Some people new learn. Labour sinking in Scotland. Sent them homewards to think again. People can see right through them. What an utter shambles .

    Tories now having a ‘Con ference’ in phone box. They never share just make an attempt to scare. Tanking. Losing support faster than a sieve loses water. The usual mess and shambles. The dope on a rope. What a complete and utter incompetent,

  36. Ken2 says:

    Stammer to speak to ‘Scottish’ constituents. He doesn’t have any. More illegal acts. Another put up job. Another attempted hatchet job. Planted plonkers.

  37. Petra says:

    STUC backing ScotGov 😀.

    SNP TUG:- ”The SNP TUG welcomes the Scottish Trade Union Congress’ (STUC) opposition to
    Westminister’s Internal Market Bill. We welcome their support for a second independence referendum as the only democratic way to determine Scotland’s future.” https://twitter.com/TUG_SNP/status/1313545147225911297


    With ten people on the committee to choose from I’m just wondering who dun it? Take your pick …

    Linda Fabiani SNP MSP, Margaret Mitchell Tory MSP, Alasdair Allan SNP MSP, Jackie Baillie Labour MSP, Alex Cole-Hamilton LibDem MSP, Angela Constance SNP MSP, Murdo Fraser Tory MSP, Alison Johnstone Green MSP, Maureen Watt SNP MSP and Donald Cameron Tory MSP.

    Philip Sim:- ”Having fallen out with ScotGov, the SNP and Alex Salmond last week, today the Salmond inquiry committee has fallen out with itself, with convener Linda Fabiani “deeply disappointed and angry” about private discussions being leaked to the media. More evidence to come out tomorrow.” https://twitter.com/BBCPhilipSim/status/1313462818864234497?s=20

  38. Petra says:

    The Bar Council:- ”URGENT MEETING CALLED BY @IBAHRI. The Implications of the Internal Market Bill for the rule of law in the UK. 7 October 1800–1900. All welcome. With Lord Neuberger, Dominic Grieve QC, Joanna Cherry QC, Baroness Helena Kennedy QC. More info & registration.” https://twitter.com/thebarcouncil/status/1313424188137500673


    ‘The Implications of the Internal Market Bill for the rule of law in the United Kingdom.’

    ”The Law Society and the Bar Council produced a briefing paper setting out their concerns for international, domestic law (particularly judicial review) and devolution here. The IBA previously held a webinar on the domestic and international legal implications of the Internal Market Bill which can be viewed here.”..


  39. Petra says:

    ”One of the most cynical, yet most easily rebuttable, lies from our opponents is the claim that the parties to the Edinburgh Agreement agreed to “abide by” the 2014 result. /1” https://mobile.twitter.com/DavidJFHalliday/status/1313540924811743232


    They reckon that they’ll maximise the pro-UK vote next May 😀.


  40. Petra says:

    Oh feck we’re in real trouble 😀.


    ..”Whilst similar laws exist in both Canada and the USA to allow state actors to commit crimes in order to maintain national security, the legislation in both of these countries explicitly excludes certain serious crimes such as murder and torture.”..



    david allen green:- ”So many Bills before Parliament now contain provisions to place the state, ministers and/or its agents outside or beyond the law

    1. Internal Market Bill
    2. Overseas Operations Bill
    3. Covert Human Intelligence Sources Bill

    This is not normal.” https://mobile.twitter.com/davidallengreen/status/1313252112021807110

  41. Welsh Sion says:

    AUOB Scotland and YES Cymru Caernarfon are having a joint Zoom meet tomorrow, Thursday at 7pm.

    Feel free to join:

    Dear Friend,

    This Thursday evening at 7.00 we will be meeting with AUOB Scotland on Zoom. A great opportunity to hear about their work in Scotland. How are they campaigning now? What are these Static Rallies that they have during lockdown? Come and be inspired. Join us to questions the leaders of All Under One Banner Scotland about how things are organized there.

    This is the link:


    Meeting ID: 879 5978 4429

    Passcode: 956154

    Yes Cymru’s membership has passed the 7,000 about two weeks ago. Having 10,000 members could be an incredible end to a year that has otherwise been full of despair. Why not work to convince one, or more of your friends or a family member to join? Joining on-line is easy and costs £2.00 per month. Here’s the link: https://cy.yes.cymru/join


    Ifan Llewelyn – Secretary Yes Cymru Caernarfon.

  42. jfngw says:

    The BritNat Boris Johnson seems to like to call us separatists, I know it’s amusing those that want to isolate themselves from all the other EU countries we want to be a member of calling us separatists.

    But I don’t mind, the Anschluss is over, the annexation of Scotland needs to end. Be certain if the people a country cannot decide when to end a union then it is no union but an occupation. In fact I now think of Westminster as ‘the occupying power’, and they have just built a new command and control centre in Edinburgh.

    • Welsh Sion says:


      Not very easy to find your link, so I have taken the liberty of cutting and pasting the extract from the Guardian.

      (Masochists welcome to ferret out the full article at the Herald.)


      “The message of yesterday might be that for all the recent unpleasantness and four-nation rivalry, the UK may be coming together again in its approach to pandemic management. We are all Swedish now – sort of. Indeed, with today’s lockdown lite we may be seeing a tacit admission that the original lockdown was a mistake. It didn’t suppress the disease, just delayed it, increasing non-Covid deaths while serving to wreck the economy in the process.

      Truth be told, the policies, and mistakes, north and south of the Border have never been very different. Even at the height of lockdown, Scottish exceptionalism existed mainly on the fringes of pandemic policy. Though Ms Sturgeon will no doubt find new ways of accusing the PM, as she did before, of “putting peoples lives at risk” by not locking down hard enough. Or of neglecting Scotland’s unique circumstances. As first minister of Scotland she has the luxury of opposition even while being in government. She can and will blame Mr Johnson for not meeting the cost of extended furlough, which promises to be the next big argument.”

    • Capella says:

      And here’s a link to an archived version of the Macwhirter article:

  43. Dr Jim says:

    24 hours a day the media pump out conflicting opinions and messaging on the rules surrounding Corona virus, they interview *experts* who give different views on how governments should proceed, they interview the public and elicit opposing reasons as to why they either don’t understand the rules or why the rules should be different

    Then the media accuse the government of confusing messaging on the rules surrounding Covid

    In England only 1 in 5 persons told to self isolate are complying and the main excuse given is they don’t understand the rules

    The centralised media of the UK have done their job, they’ve created confusion disobedience and deliberate ignorance amongst the entire population of every country in the UK, a cynical person might say you couldn’t have designed a more insidious plan if you sat down for let’s say 3 months? before the infection took control before you put it into operation, or could you

    During previous world wars media messaging was identical, no deviations, the rules were the rules and every radio station newspaper local government council was united in the same messaging to keep the people of Britain alive and as safe as could be done and the government had no problems doing it, we had the Home Guard, local wardens, church halls all putting out the messaging

    Do we really believe the current UK Tory government couldn’t have done the same, do we really believe the UK government went into this situation with the peoples health and welfare at heart, or is it possible the UK government planned this right from the start, Nah, they surely wouldn’t have, would they?

    What does this have to do with Scotland you might ask, well we had and have no choice, or do we

  44. andyfromdunning says:

    Respect is a powerful word. It implies normalisation of relationship between people and organisations. In most cases Respect is recognised and freely given.

    This does not apply it seems to Brit Nat parties, politicians and some of their supporters. Your article is correct on this topic Paul.

    Pre Covid, whilst on our local monthly street stall the majority of people who engaged with us were polite and respectful. Needless to say we have had nazi salutes, the V sign and the most aggressive conversations you can imagine, rate though this is.

    I can see this at a single human level but from a party it is policy not personal opinion. Just proves they are twats and do not know how to behave, how to respect others. For many this helps the indy cause.

  45. yesindyref2 says:

    So the Herald and The National and probably ever other paper are carrying the Salmond inquiry submissions in full, but I wonder if I’m one of the few in Scotland and the known universe – or one of the many – who really doesn’t give a rat’s posterior?

    • Dr Jim says:

      I admit it, I’m also one of the few, but will those attempting to martyr themselves for the greater cause of faux outrage and revenge be satisfied, no I don’t think so, not until there are crosses burning on lawns and the wailings and gnashings of teeth can be heard right across, well not Scotland at all really, and you know what, time will not tell because my guess is the vast majority of normal folk across Scotland have no time for this nonsense, and even the money given to George Galloway by Boris Johnson to spread around on his behalf won’t be enough to pay for it to be noticed and many posteriors will rest quite comfortably still not caring a damn

    • Doug says:

      Aye an nah. If it all ultimately leads to a new FM being appointed, one who really pushes for independence, then I’ll take notice.

      • Petra says:

        Where do you get the idea from that Nicola Sturgeon is not ”pushing for Independence”, Doug? And who do reckon would do a better job than NS taking into account that the usual favourites being touted, Alex Salmond and Joanna Cherry, are probably not interested in the job. Joanna Cherry has in fact stated that she’s not interested in the job and Alex Salmond’s chances of returning to politics look increasingly unlikely following revelations broadcast on the news tonight.

        • weegingerdug says:

          Joanna Cherry isn’t interested in the job. She explicitly ruled out standing for party leader – even if the post becomes vacant – when she spoke in the podcast for this blog.

          You heard it here first.

          • Petra says:

            Let’s hope that puts an end to the cr*p that’s being spouted elsewhere constantly. In saying that some key players will be well aware of this but continue to use it to con people in an attempt to achieve their own “agenda.”

    • Petra says:

      Most people in Scotland I’d imagine feel just like you yesindyref2, however some political anoraks will be following every last word with bated breath. Some will / have actually been making a meal of it long before the committee was even formed and before the inquiry findings have been published.

      Nicola Sturgeon has just made her submission to the Committee.

      ..”As a personal reflection and for context, the development of the Scottish Government’s “Handling of harassment complaints involving current or former Ministers” (hereinafter referred to as “the Procedure”) took place against the backdrop of the #MeToo movement, which started in late 2017 in the wake of allegations extending back over several years about certain high profile individuals.”..


      In conclusion, I would like to add the following personal reflections. The Committee will be considering the Scottish Government’s handling of complaints raised under the Procedure. That is, of course, legitimate. However, the Scottish Government would have had nothing to ‘handle’ had complaints not been raised about Alex Salmond’s conduct.

      It was the concerns raised about his conduct – an aspect of which, by his own admission, he apologised for – that gave rise to this matter. In my view, when these complaints were raised, the Scottish Government had a duty to investigate them and the fact that a mistake was made in the conduct of the investigation does not change that fact. To have swept them under the carpet because of who they related to would have been wrong.

      As far as my personal involvement is concerned, over the last couple of years, I have faced accusations of ‘conspiring’ against Alex Salmond and also of ‘colluding’ with him. I reject in the strongest possible terms both of these suggestions. Indeed it seems to me that what some want to present as ‘conspiracy’ is in actual fact my refusal to ‘collude’ or ‘cover up’.

      In what was a very difficult situation – personally, politically and professionally – I tried to do the right thing. Whether I always got it absolutely right is something I still reflect on, and the Committee will consider, but I sought all along to act in good faith and to strike the right balance of judgment given the difficult issues I was confronted with.

      In the light of the #MeToo movement, I sought to ensure that the Scottish Government developed a process that allowed allegations of sexual harassment – including allegations of a historic nature – to be fully and fairly considered.

      I did not do this because I had a concern (as set out in Annex A) that allegations about my predecessor could materialise. But nor did I, in any way, allow such concern to lead me to limit the scope of the procedure. I agreed to meet a friend of 30 years when I was told he was in distress and wanted to talk to me about a serious matter.

      And it is certainly the case that I was anxious to prepare my Party as far as possible for an issue that, at different stages, I thought could be about to become public. However, I did not seek to prevent or influence the proper consideration of the complaints.

      For the sake of the complainers, the Scottish Government and indeed Alex Salmond himself, I acted in a way that I judged would best protect the independence and confidentiality of the investigation. However, when I became aware of a serious risk of legal action against my government, I felt I had a duty to make the Permanent Secretary aware of it.

      My view throughout was that complaints must be properly and fairly considered, no matter who the subject of them might be, or how politically inconvenient the investigations may be.

      And that remains my view, even though the circumstances and consequences of this particular investigation have caused me – and others, in many cases to an even greater extent – a great deal of personal anguish, and resulted in the breakdown of a relationship that had been very important to me, politically and personally, for most of my life. Lastly, since August 2018 I have taken care to say nothing that could compromise other proceedings, including the Committee’s inquiry – even though that has meant being unable to say more about my own actions or challenge misrepresentations about them.”

      Yours Sincerely,


      4 August 2020


    • yesindyref2 says:

      For me, the only legitimate purpose of the enquiry is the Rule of Law, due process and justice – and was it neccessary or not for so much money to be spent on a court case? I myself have no problem with the amount of money if it was a legitimate use of a court, even if one side withdrew before the hearing itself. Sometimes things are ambiguous, and that’s what courts are for – judgements.

      I suspect very few on the inquiry are there for that purpose which does imply another inquiry needed – into establishing the correct function of an inquiry, and its conduct.

      The Rule of Law is what makes and keeps a democracy, it’s what protects us all regardless of means (ideally), and there’s a high chance it’s what is going to give us Independence finally – and perhaps not before long.

      Anyways, off for a Big Mac while we’re still able 🙂

  46. Doug says:

    Very important letter from Martin Keatings, and Peoples Action on Section 30 today. A long letter but the penultimate paragraph gives you the general impression.

    “The Scottish government seem to be trying to exert political influence on a legal matter which is diametrically opposing to the statements they are making in public to the General Electorate, or certainly, that’s what submissions would seem to suggest.

    If the Scottish Government want to be a party to proceedings the should have remained as such, but they chose to withdraw. The problem is that the submissions being put forward by the Lord Advocate which seem intended to cause disruption in the case, seem to be coming from the Scottish Government, not representative of the Scottish Parliament.”

    • weegingerdug says:

      I’ve seen the full letter. I disagree with Martin’s assessment and not think that the emotive language he uses is helpful.

      My understanding is that the Scottish Govt believes that it’s better to maintain ambiguity on the lawfulness of a referendum without a S30 order for the time being as this helps them put political pressure on Johnson following the reelection of a majority pro-indy Holyrood next year. Unlike Martin I do not believe that there is no chance at all of a S30 order, nor that the belief that it will never happen obviates the need to go through the process – because the act of doing so politically legitimises subsequent steps.

      I do not necessarily agree with the stance the ScotGov is taking, if I did I wouldn’t have supported the crowdfunder to raise the legal costs, however I can follow their logic. It does not mean, as some want to make out, that the SNP leadership doesn’t really want independence.

    • Ken2 says:

      Lord Advocate is a unionist? Some connection to Westminster. Appointed or anointed? Mucked up the legal system. Costing £Millions and miscarriages of justice. Costing Scottish taxpayer money,

      • Ken2 says:

        There is no need for legal action until nearer the time. Matters changing all the time, when the time is nigh the Scottish Gov can take legal action using taxpayers money. There might be a S30;or Agreement before then. One campaign at a time,

        Lawyers Kerrching. Cost extraneous.

  47. Petra says:

    ”The Scottish government seem to be”.. ”or certainly, that’s what submissions would seem to suggest.” … ”being put forward by the Lord Advocate which seem intended to cause disruption in the case.” .. ”seem to be coming from the Scottish Government.”

    The word ”seems” is mentioned four times within a couple of paragraphs in that letter, Doug. Not really good enough, imo.

    • Welsh Sion says:

      “Seems,” Madam? Nay, it is. I know not “seems.”

      If Doug can establish ‘seems’ as ‘is’, like Hamlet does, then have an argument. As it is, it seems [sic.] to me that he has very a shoogly leg to stand on …

      [With acknowledgements to William Shakespeare]

  48. Old Pete says:

    Philippa Whitford brilliant on BBC news night, every question answered with decisive clarity and the presenter got nowhere with her anti -SNP line of questions.

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