Nationalism and ‘Thatessempee’

This is the fourth in a series of articles looking at the topics which will dominate the coming independence referendum campaign. These pieces are aimed at undecided voters and soft no voters. In this article I look at the claim that support for independence is nationalism and that opposition to Scottish independence is also opposition to nationalism.

Nationalism and Thatessempee – Supporting independence doesn’t make you a nationalist, opposing it doesn’t make you a non-nationalist

How many times have you heard someone say that they’re not going to vote for independence because they “hate that SNP”. Often Thatessempee is spat out as though it was a single word, and a swerrie word at that. Just as frequently you’ll hear people say that they don’t want to vote for independence because they don’t like Nicola Sturgeon, whose name has also developed a tendency among certain people to be spat out as though it was a swerrie word.

The overwhelmingly anti-independence media in Scotland has always been very keen to foster an association in the minds of the Scottish public between independence and a single political party. Most often the BBC presents discussions on independence by having on a sole representative from Thatessempee, and then “for balance”, he or she is up against a Labour person, a Tory, and a Lib Dem. The other main pro-independence party, the Scottish Greens, are rarely invited. Other smaller parties which support independence, like the Scottish Socialists who once had representation in Holyrood, never get a look in. The impression given is that Scottish independence is a party political project belonging in its entirety to Thatessempee.

The desire of the media and opponents of independence to foster the myth that Scottish independence is the sole preserve of Thatessempee is constant and unrelenting. How many times during the independence referendum campaign of 2014 did you hear the phrase Alex Salmond’s referendum? And how many times did you hear the UK being personalised by the name of the leader of the Better Together campaign as Alistair Darling’s No Campaign or Alistair Darling’s Pro-UK project? Not once, that’s how many times.

The aim of this messaging is to discourage people who do not support the SNP from engaging with the arguments for independence. Yet there are many independence supporters who do not support the SNP. There are other parties which back independence. There are even people within the traditionally anti-independence parties, particularly the Labour party in Scotland, who privately support independence. A vote for Scottish independence is not a vote for the SNP. The anti-independence parties and their friends in the Scottish media just want you to think it is.

When Scotland does become an independent country, and there’s a now a majority in Scotland who believe that it’s merely a matter of time before that happens, it will be a democracy. An independent Scotland will not be a one party SNP state. Voting for an independent Scotland is not a vote to have Nicola Sturgeon as dictator for life. In fact, voting for Scottish independence is not even a vote of confidence in the SNP. It’s certainly not a signal that you support the actions of the SNP administration of the devolved Scottish Government. A vote for independence is nothing more and nothing less than a statement that you believe that it is up to the people of Scotland to decide what course this country takes. It’s a statement that the government of Scotland should be elected by the people of Scotland and should be answerable to the people of Scotland and to no one else. Voting for independence is not party political.

The desire for Scottish independence is motivated by a recognition that Westminster governance is not allowing Scotland to develop to its full potential. It is driven by the understanding that there is a great deal that is wrong with Scotland, and these wrongs and shortcomings can best be addressed if the people of Scotland have a government which is responsible to them, and which puts the interests of Scotland first and foremost. Saying that you refuse to vote for independence because you hate Nicola Sturgeon or Thatessempee is rather like saying that you’re not going to have your toothache dealt with because you dislike a particular dentist. You’d rather have the toothache.

You may also have heard people say that they are voting against independence because they don’t like nationalism. Opponents of independence are very keen to paint the Scottish constitutional debate as a debate between nationalists on the one hand, and non-nationalists on the other. However this is untrue. The independence debate is not a debate between nationalism and non-nationalism. A vote against independence is equally a vote for a nationalist project, because by a vote against independence is effectively a vote to back the intensely nationalist project that is Brexit and to support a British state which is every bit as nationalist, if not more so, than an independent Scotland would be. In a debate between Scottish independence vs remaining a part of a Brexit UK whose government plasters union flags on everything there is no non-nationalist option.

Opponents of independence are aided in misleadingly characterising this as a debate between nationalism and non-nationalism by a deficit of the English language. The English term nationalism encompasses two very different political philosophies. Nationalism can mean the aggressive aggrandisement of an existing state. It’s often xenophobic, authoritarian, and intolerant. Brexit was driven by a British nationalism of this sort. Howeverthe word nationalism can also mean the campaign for independence by a nation which currently doesn’t have it. These are not the same political philosophies at all, and in some languages they are called by different names. Scottish nationalism is of the latter variety, and in Spanish it would be referred to by a different word, independentismo. Unfortunately if you try to adopt this term into English and call yourself a Scottish independentist, people just ask you how much you charge for orthodontic work, so it’s unlikely to catch on.

Mainstream Scottish nationalism is of the civic variety. It defines Scottishness not by where a person was born, but by where a person lives or how they choose to identify. Mainstream Scottish nationalism is honoured to accept as Scots those people born elsewhere who have come to this country, made their lives here, and have become a part of Scotland’s story and journey. Scottishness is not about where you came from, it’s about where we are all going.

Brexit on the other hand is most definitely strongly characterised by many of the features of the first kind of nationalism, the intolerant xenophobic sort. Opponents of independence seek to blur the distinction to get people to believe that by supporting Scottish independence, they are also supporting intolerance, xenophobia and racism. The claim that supporters of Scottish independence are anti-English racists is a constant refrain. However the movement for Scottish independence is no more defined by anti-English racism than opposition to independence is defined by the sectarianism, anti-Irish racism and anti-Catholic bigotry of the Orange Order, or the out and out racism of Britain First, both of which are groups which oppose independence. The claim that Scottish independence is racist is a tactic designed to prevent people in Scotland from supporting independence. Yet one of the most active grassroots groups campaigning for independence is English Scots for Yes.

Even without Brexit, a vote against independence would still be a vote to support a nationalist project. It’s a vote to back a British state which is every bit as nationalist in its actions as any independent Scotland would be. In fact as a country which is quick to take military action around the globe in pursuit of what it sees as British interests, the UK is far more aggressively nationalist than an independent Scotland would ever be. Supporters of the British state do not get a free pass from nationalism just because they back the UK. Indeed, one of the defining myths of British nationalism is that it’s better than the nationalisms of lesser breeds by virtue of not being nationalist at all. It’s a comforting fairy story, but it’s not true.

The reality is that the debate about Scottish independence is not a debate between Scottish nationalism on the one hand and non-nationalism on the other. It’s a debate between two different visions for Scotland’s future. One vision puts that future into the hands of the people of Scotland, the other surrenders it to decisions made by a Westminster Parliament which is not primarily accountable to the people of Scotland. Both sides of this debate contain people who are nationalists, and both sides contain people who are not nationalists. The debate about Scottish independence is essentially a debate about accountability and democratic representation.

As we have seen with Brexit, Scotland is being subjected to a damaging and reckless estrangement from Europe even though the people of Scotland have consistently voted against it. Yet throughout this entire process the voices of Scotland’s parliament and elected representatives have been ignored and sidelined. As far as Brexit is concerned, the British Government has made precisely zero accommodations to the needs of Scotland. This is merely the latest and most egregious example of Scotland’s needs and concerns not being met by the Westminster Parliament. This happens because Westminster Governments do not rely upon Scottish votes in order to get into power, so are free to ignore Scotland’s needs with impunity. British governments are not accountable to the people of Scotland.

Over the past 50 years, Scotland has only had governments in Westminster that it voted for for a total of 17 years. As long as Scotland and the rest of the UK were on the same page politically, both alternating between Labour and the Conservatives, this was tolerable. Scotland got what it voted for often enough that we could pretend to ourselves that Scotland really was a partner in a Union. There was always another election in five years time. But that foundation myth of Scottish Unionism has been blown out of the water by Brexit. Brexit is forever, not just for five years, and the way in which Scotland was treated by Westminster during the Brexit process has proven that Westminster governments have no interest in making accommodations to Scotland’s needs or concerns.

Scottish independence is about establishing the principle that the path that Scotland takes should be decided by the people of Scotland. It is about ensuring that Scotland always has a government elected by the people of Scotland, and which is accountable to them and to no one else. If we cannot vote them out of office they will not take decisions in our interests. Theresa May or Boris Johnson have no need to consider Scotland’s interests, and so they treat Scotland with arrogant contempt. They know that Scotland can’t vote them out of power. Acknowledging that Scotland is a nation which has the right to self-determination no more makes you a nationalist than acknowledging the existence of matter makes you a materialist.

The real reason for Scottish independence is to ensure that our politicians and our governments are kept accountable to the people of Scotland. It’s to ensure that Scotland always gets governments that it elects. It’s to ensure that those politicians always operate in the interests of Scotland and that they are kept accountable to us. It’s only by keeping them close to us in an independent Scotland that we can ensure that their backsides are within kicking distance of our feet and that we can vote them out of office when they break their promises.

That’s the very nub of the argument for Scottish independence. It’s not about party politics. It’s not about nationalism. It’s about democracy and accountability.


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78 comments on “Nationalism and ‘Thatessempee’

  1. Statgeek says:

    Indeed. I spent many a frustrating evening in the run up to the Indyref, debating with some people in forums (usually 10:1 against, and usually all from England). The predominant jibe was Salmond this and Salmond that.

    They largely ignored the facts. They didn’t care, and they barely coughed when the results came in.

    Now I ignore them all around said subject, or hit them with so much data, they recoil, telling me to chill etc.

    A woman scorned? Pah! Try a Scotsman scorned.

  2. Hamish100 says:

    Part of the independence issue for me is that if we were ever to go to war it is on Scotland’s terms and nuclear weapons are removed from our shores. A better future for our children’s , children, equality, …… oops I’m off again…

  3. Statgeek says:

    “Over the past 50 years, Scotland has only had governments in Westminster that it voted for for a total of 17 years.”

    Here’s another stat:

    In 21 elections since 1945, the four nations have had their preferred party elected to govern this much of the time:

    England: 90.5%*
    Scotland: 50.0%**
    Wales: 42.9%
    N. Ireland: 4.8%***

    * Only twice were the wishes of England’s voters thwarted. 1950 and 1964. In both occasions, the people went to polls within two years to hammer out a new election. In 1951, the Attlee’s government gave way to Churchill once more, and in 1966, Wilson got a better result, with a majority of English MPs. We saw a similar situation in 2017, where the Tories required the DUP to prop up their majority, and then Boris came along.

    The exception to (or perhaps the hammering home of) the rule was the 2010 coalition, where England’s combined Tory and Lib Dems got their preferred result, while Scotland, Wales and N. Ireland’s preferred parties were…you’ve guessed it, ignored.

    ** In 1951, Scotland vote for 35 Con, 35 Lab and 1 Lib, so I gave Scotland half a point for that result.
    *** The 4.8% comes from being part of the 2017 majority, but in reality, the Northern Irish have had their preferred party elected zero times in the past 75 years.

    So to sum up, England gets the party it wants, or it holds another election quite quickly until it does. Highlight that one to people talking of the Indy movement’s ‘neverendum’.

  4. Capella says:

    An excellent summary of the different meanings of the term “nationalism”, I regard it as meaning self-determination. As a people, we have a right to self-determination. That’s undeniable.

    The French have a word for it. British nationalism would be better described as “chauvinism” after the French soldier who promoted the idea that French imperial power was superior to everyone else.

  5. Alastair Kidd says:

    The central argument is sound – vote for independence! Some time ago, you could have argued that the SNP were trying to do themselves out of a job! I suspect that “back in the day” had independence been attained, then there would have may well have been a Labour administration in an independent Scotland. Not now. Not by a very long chalk! The media will continue to probe for weaknesses but i suspect the public at large will be a wee bit more savvy after the previous shenanigans!

  6. James Mills says:

    I grew up in the East End of Glasgow in a Labour supporting family .
    My mum and dad would have voted for that mythological monkey with a red rosette if it stood as the local candidate . In fact we had , for many years , a ‘Sir ‘ as our local Labour MP ( Sir Myer Galpern ) for 20 years .
    I knew nothing about the man other than that he had been Lord Provost and owned a large dept. store in the Trongate – so a real socialist ‘man of the people ‘.

    At that time the SNP was considered an anti-Catholic Party and few people of my acquaintance would vote for them .

    The Tories at the time called themselves Progressives – today they don’t do irony !

    The liberals ( as they were then and now ) were an irrelevance !

    Like my parents I voted Labour for too many years , always in the hope that they would do what it said on their tin .
    But Governments under Wilson and Callaghan were never really radical enough to improve the poorer sections of society – then we got Thatcher !
    The relief when Blair was elected was palpable – until we belatedly discovered that he was no saviour for the poor , especially in the Middle East !

    Since Iraq I have voted for Thatessempee .
    I don’t agree with all of their policies or like all of their elected politicians – but which party can boast of that ?
    I vote for Thatessempee because they are HERE – not in Westminster . I know that ( at Holyrood ) I can help remove them if necessary and replace them with another party .

    Come Independence I will consider what parties are up for election .

    I would like a proportional system for all elections – we have seen for too long what FPTP does to a country/state.

    Every shade of opinion can be represented in an Independent Scotland – Labour , Tory , Liberals , Guys with Hats , even Anti-Independence parties if that floats your boat !

    But it will be OUR choice if we f*ck up , it will be OUR choice if we are successful , it will be OUR choice if we wish to re-join the EU , or become a republic or vote for Prince Andrew to be Head of State .


  7. Bob Lamont says:

    Aye, well said and laid out Paul.
    We cannot influence England’s subservience to Elites or their media, it is for them to come to terms with their condition and conditioning, all we Scots can do is ensure no such abusive power ever exists in Scotland.

  8. uno mas says:

    “Scottishness is not about where you came from, it’s about where we are all going.”

    Aye that´l do it today Paul.

    ¡Eres una racha últimamente!

  9. Skintybroko says:

    Told my English colleague who is all about the Union that I just wanted Scotland to be a normal country that runs its own affairs and isn’t dictated to by an egregious xenophobic and intolerant neighbour- he didn’t have an answer to that one!

    • P Harvey says:

      Normality is ALL we want!🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

  10. Macart says:

    Funny thing about ‘nation – alism’. It doesn’t get defined by the meeja, party politics n’ such. It’s just a word. A word which tends to be defined by communal intent. But it’s just a word.

    Who YOU are is much more important and significant. Takes more than that single word. Takes more than a meeja luvvies sofa soundbite du jour, or some policy gonk’s cunning narrative and semantic cleverness to define for you.

    Worth a thought next time someone feels the urge to give you a pigeonhole.

  11. DaveyTee says:

    “The desire of the media and opponents of independence to foster the myth that Scottish independence is the sole preserve of Thatessempee is constant and unrelenting.”

    Indeed it is. But unfortunately that also appears to be the view of the SNP itself. At the recent election it had the opportunity to play the system (just as the Unionists were doing) and ensure that there wiould be a very substantial majority of independence supporting MSPs at Holyrood. Sadly, they chose not to, instead insisting on “Both votes SNP” which of course resulted in far fewer independence supporting MSPs being elected while at the same time ensuring that there would be a far greater number of Unionist MSPs than would otherwise have been the case. I was also appalled by the way that the SNP appeared to reserve its greatest hostitly and vitriol for the Alba party when it would have been much better directed at the Tories. It certainly left me with the impression that the SNP regards independence as very much its own property and woe betide anyone else who might be regarded as stepping on their toes.


    • Bob Lamont says:

      That was your perspective before the article was even written, did you actually read it other than to select a suitable quote as springboard for grievance ?
      Even had Alba returned MSPs it would not have made the slightest difference to the London led propaganda game of making a single identifiable target of visible MPs in Westminster, hence “Thatessempee”.

      The elephant in the room for Labour, Liberal and Tory parties alike is the sizeable chunk of their membership in favour of Independence in Scotland (and in England), so all of the party leaders are fighting their own members to prevent Independence, even for Tories when their “subsidy junkies” myth so spectacularly backfired among the blue rinse brigade.

      As Paul eloquently summarised it “That’s the very nub of the argument for Scottish independence. It’s not about party politics. It’s not about nationalism. It’s about democracy and accountability.”

      • DaveyTee says:

        I did indeed read the article and basically agreed with it as I do with most of Paul’s writings. There was nothing I felt I could usefully add so I didn’t. The only point I disagreed with was the one I quoted.

        I’m afraid that I don’t understand your second paragraph or understand its relevance. I do believe that had we achieved a so-called supermajority of MSPs, say 90+, and had the Unionist presence in Holyrood been reduced to a mere rump, then the rest of the world at least would have noticed, additional and perhaps more effective pressure would have been put on the UK government, and if necessary recognition of an independent Scotland would become much easier. Unfortunately, the SNP’s insistence on “Both Votes SNP” scuppered that. Such a pity.

        I view Scottish elections as being a bit different in that, for me at least, it’s independence that’s important, not party affiliation. I will therefore vote in the way that I think is likeliest to bring about Independence. Just by way of example, in our constituency the SNP got 3000 less votes in the list ballot that it did on the constituency one. That same pattern occurred throughout much else of the North-East region and the result was that a Green MSP was elected and a Lib Dem lost his seat. It could have been so much better.


        • Capella says:

          “Both Votes SNP” scuppered that

          No Davey – the voters scuppered that. They would not vote for a party led by the most unpopular politician in Scotland. Even Boris Johnston is more popular. Think about that. Reflect.

        • Bob Lamont says:

          “There was nothing I felt I could usefully add so I didn’t” – Correct, but conversely there was something you felt you could uselessly add, so you did.
          In your response you mention “so-called supermajority” with no acknowledgement whatever to the role the electorate play in that, or public perception of Alba, not profile, but perception.
          Now just ponder on Alba going from from zero to hero in ca 8 weeks, utterly preposterous, nothing to do with “Thatessempee” everything to do with being late to the party and “WhoTF is that ?”.
          But to say ” it’s independence that’s important, not party affiliation” when that is precisely the inverse of what your first post and follow-up directly refer to, hello ? I have a bridge for sale.

          • DaveyTee says:

            “But to say ” it’s independence that’s important, not party affiliation” when that is precisely the inverse of what your first post and follow-up directly refer to, hello ?”

            Really? Where? I personally will vote for the party that I think is most likely to achieve independence. I’m not too fussy about which party that is as long as i think it is the likeliest to do the job. Thus my constituency vote went to one party, my list to another. I still think that was the right way and that by insisting on both votes for the SNP a great opportunity was lost.

            If Alba was so preposterous, why then did the SNP spend so much time and energy denigrating it and smearing Alec Salmond? The trouble was that the SNP saw Alba not as an additional vehicle towards independence, but as a threat to the SNP. Frankly, I have no desire to denigrate anyone who believes in an independent Scotland, even if the democratic route they choose to get there may not be the same as mine. As Paul himself recently said: “However, when as independence supporters we cease doing the vital work of actually making the case for independence and focus exclusively on attacking factions within the movement with whom we disagree, the result is that we end up doing our real opponents’ job for them.”


    • grizebard says:

      Just a pity for you that the Scottish public wasn’t listening to your wonderful fancy notions. There must have been a good reason for that.

      Oh, ThatEssenPees fault as well, I suppose.

      (Has it never flickered across your mind for even a wee second or two that how your fellow-travellers behave and how everything they say looks to ordinary folk no different from the BritNats, it’s little wonder that the only support you get is online from Unionist trolls…?)

  12. dakk says:

    Telling that Wings over Scotland’s first posthumous post is the leader of the Alba Party interviewing a british Baroness.

    Who knew about Alba and Wings.

    • Bob Lamont says:

      Had been following the Ivermectin story for a while, but tend to swerve round the conspiracy nuts even though not ruling out the possibility is what conspiracy theories thrive upon.

      Over the last few months ago Dr John Campbell has put out a few video discussions with Dr Tess Lawrie over Ivermectin – in one a couple of months ago she illustrated an in-depth analysis of numerous studies which were most enlightening – Well worth a Google..

      Aside her compelling evidence meeting the inertia of approval systems, she raised the interesting proposition of trials to assess the efficacy for long-Covid patients, a cadre for whom few if any effective treatments are available.

      What rather startled me was that the risk of death from side effects Ivermectin was a fraction of a percent of that of Ibuprofen, off the shelf at pharmacies and heavily marketed.
      Much of the inertia stems from Invermectin already being certified for specific treatments, extending that to Covid (and potentially many others) is a damnably slow process.

    • Legerwood says:

      I think you should be very careful when it comes to Ivermectin and claims of it ‘curing’ Covid-19 or even as a treatment for Covid-19.

      It is an anti-parasitic compound widely used in veterinary medicine to treat parasitic infections eg worms. In cream form it can be used to treat some work-related type skin infections in humans.

      It was originally isolated about 50 years ago from one of the Streptomyces family of bacteria which are widely dispersed in the soil. Streptomyces produce 75% of the World’s antibiotics which are mostly used in veterinary medicine, a handful of anti-virals and Ivermectin an anti-parasitic treatment

      So far trials of Ivermectin in relation to Covid-19 have been small scale and overall inconclusive. This is a recent article from the BMJ on the subject:

      • Bob Lamont says:

        Agreed on caution, but neither Campbell or Lawrie are making claims of “a miracle cure”.
        What Lawrie showed is the agglomerated data analysis showed some startling outcomes the individual smaller trials obscured, sufficient to convince the evidence driven John Campbell it was an avenue worthy of further investigation by the authorities.

        One of the odder observations on the “hype” over Invermectin (in the US?) was some had taken to inject the veterinary version with fatal consequences, there are victims to these conspiracy theories.
        For clarity, Lawrie’s review was for the oral version administered under supervision of doctors.

  13. Clydebuilt says:

    The News Where You Are

    This am. Lead article on BBC’s Radio Stations 2,4 and 5. Variations of . . .
    The head of NHS providers has warned a small increase in Covid patients will cause major problems for an NHS faced with the backlog of non Covid cases, Asking politicians to think hard about opening up completely in June. . . . .

    In Scotland lead article . . . . There has been over 1000 assaults on Police involving Covid.

    Over on Talking up scotlandtwo

    Thr Prof shows that BBC England website doesn’t report on English fans rioting in Portugal.

  14. fionamacinnes says:

    As ever Paul you set this out in a logical and patient way. The tactic of the Brit nats is to binarise independence into simple personality allegiences where construction of a hate figure can be easily weaponised. What to many supporters is the bleedin’ obvious has to be stated and restated in all kinds of different ways to eventually hit a mark.
    Making my way through Mark Blyth/Erik Lonegran’s ‘Angrynomics’. Also looks at different nationalisms and why these arise with ideas for an economic reset. Cant pretend to understand all the economic detail but it helps to set the current unparrallelled divergence in wealth, loss of democracy and trust in the face of globalisation within a context of economic and social history and that there is a place for fleet nation states to be part of a better future. An optimistic read!

  15. andyfromdunning says:

    A good summation Paul.

    I have voted SNP since 2007 and every vote since for Independence. The cause of independence being greater than the parties internal squabbling, broken promises and that missing pro indy information promised a few times since 2017.

    I acknowledge that the party doing their day job has achieved a great deal and my negative comments refer to active pro indy activities only. I want the party to actively campaign for independence, they have not done so since 2014. Words not action so far.

    The Union supporters have not stopped their NO campaign but the Yes movement has reduced their efforts to nearly zero due to Covid. This must all change Covid or no Covid with the SNP up front. The issue as I see it is that frustrations with that Essenenpee with many people is lack of action by them.

    Ruth Wisharts article in today’s National has a resource solution.

    The SNP are good, but like all organisations get it wrong sometimes but now they need to deliver by concrete visible action and get their members and the Yes movement focused on a driven plan.

    Action now please, not just rallying words to get votes, thatessanempee needs to act and Yes we will vote for them to get independence.

    • DaveyTee says:

      Absolutely right. Active campaigning and some definite policies are needed. Like you, I am disappointed that so little seems to have been done since 2014. It is very worrying that after the SNP victory this month, the latest opinion poll puts Yes at 47%, No at 53%.


      • grizebard says:

        “so little has been done” That must be why the BBC is so determined to keep the FM Covid briefings off the TV, just so that people can’t see how little is being done.

        So little in fact that support for indy has over the last long while been higher now than it ever was previously during the previous SNP administration, and likely would have been higher if the cause hadn’t lately been serially besmirched the way it was by so-called “friend” and foe alike.

        But then you are coming across as a kind of “glass one-fifth full” kind of person.

        • andyfromdunning says:

          I am very active in the Yes movement and I can promise you the Party had done no campaign effort nor have they created a single pro indy document apart from the white paper in Nov 2013. They promise I go but have not delivered

          • Capella says:

            Did you miss the election campaign somehow?

            It ran for about 4 weeks up to 6th May. It was very successful with a record turn out and record vote for the SNP with its relentlessly positive campaign encouraging everyone to support the idea that Scots should decide on our future and nobody else.

          • grizebard says:

            Oh, so we’re talking about “documents” now, are we? Documents. That’s what we’ve all been missing.

            Biggest vote share yet despite the BritNats and their media pals pulling out every stop they possessed to destroy someone politically whom they understand very well is more deadly dangerous to their wishes than anything they’ve yet encountered. But somehow that has all wafted by and escaped the notice of a few hot-heads who wouldn’t know a political reality if it rose up and flashed a big electric sign a foot from their faces saying “yoo-hoo, honey-bun, I’m real!” Because apparently they’re missing…


            Jeez. This is painful. Some people are hellish impatient to blow the next big chance we get because they’re know-it-all rank amateurs who still – even now – haven’t a clue about even the basics of winning.

            Which starts by understanding what your opponents fear the most.

            Oh, and why.

            • DaveyTee says:

              “Oh, so we’re talking about “documents” now, are we? Documents. That’s what we’ve all been missing”

              Well, yes. Documents are usually required to set out policies. If we’re to win the next referendum, the public has to have a positive view of what an independent Scotland is going to be like. So we need policies on things like currency – I think that Alec Salmond’s insistence that an independent Scotland would continue to use the pound sterling was one of the biggest vote losers in 2014 – and of course the economy, eg just what is an independent Scotland going to do to put the economy back on its feet – the GERS figures have to be discredited. Foreign policy – are we going to stay in NATO and continue to slavishly follow US demands, or are we going to adopt a non-aligned policy like ireland? Armed forces – what are we going to do about them? And Europe – EU or EFTA and if the former, what are we going to do in the intervening period between Independence Day and admission to the EU? Borders – the vision promoted by the MSM of a hard border with England causes quite a lot of anxiety. Then there’s pensions – again, back in 2014 too many elderly people thoiught that they’d be left penniless if Scotland became independent notwithstanding Westminster’s admission that the UK would countinue to pay them to those who’d made their contributions to the UK and notwithstanding the conveniently ignored issue of UK pensions being to lowest in Europe. And there’s lots more besides all that.

              I would have hoped that we would have answers to all of these by now, and indeed maybe we do, it’s just that they haven’t been made public yet. But if we’re to win a referendum, and indeed if we’re to turn to tide of rather poor poll results, the public must be given a realistic and attractive vision of just what an independent Scotland will be like and how we’re going to get there. And for that to happen we do need documents……


              • grizebard says:

                I’m not saying that there aren’t strategies someone needs to be working on assiduously to have answers to those important questions, but dedicated supporters of independence don’t need to be stamping their little feet and demanding this be done for them, because they are not the ones who need convincing.

                Right now producing screeds of indy initiatives for public consumption would be a waste of time because nobody who yet must be converted would be listening. For fairly obvious reasons. (Though not to all, it would seem.)

                Politics is all about timing. Going with the grain of public opinion, not trying to fight it. Giving people time to figure things out for themselves, not trying to force-feed them when they just aren’t ready, and will simply dig their heels in if you try.

                People like you have an itch that you keep needing to scratch, but this ongoing campaign isn’t about you. That’s what the itchy people just don’t seem to understand.

          • iusedtobeenglish says:

            “Some people are hellish impatient to blow the next big chance we get because they’re know-it-all rank amateurs who still – even now – haven’t a clue about even the basics of winning.”

            I think that’s a little bit harsh, grizebard.

            Went to Armadale Castle yesterday and saw a poem advocating more or less the same approach. It’s a good thing to have, I think.
            You’re also absolutely right – there does have to be more besides.

            To me, the problem is that this all sounds a bit… Brexity. Do you not think?

            Brilliantly effective campaign, followed by “Oh [expletive deleted] we’ve won. Erm… Now what do we do? We never did line up those Trade Agreements. Anyone got the number for Australia?”

            Building contacts and sorting out ‘the admin’ (Central Bank, Currency, contacts with other leaders, possibilities for trade, new civil service etc) all takes time. And we’ve seen what’s happened in WM because they haven’t.

            I’m all for the FM’s attitude that she doesn’t just want to hold a referendum, she wants to win it.

            Puts me in mind of something my dad said. He was in N Africa in the 1st Army – the ones who aren’t Desert Rats, so tend to be forgotten.

            He said that everyone in his unit were peeved that the 8th got all the praise, but not one of them would have wanted to serve with them. This was because Monty might be daring and win, but Alexander’s strategy was to win and keep as many of his men as possible alive while doing it.

            Actually, when you look at it, there are parallels with AS and NS here. Many people find Salmond arrogant etc, like Monty – but he’s bold and he won. NS is more diplomatic, widely liked internationally and wants to keep Scotland as unscathed as possible.

            Both attitudes are necessary, but I know who I’d rather fight with. Probably soft Noes would too.

  16. James Mills says:

    English ‘Nationalism ‘ was on display in Porto over the last couple of days as the advance party of Boris Johnson’s latest Trade delegation exhibited their wares .

    Indestructible plastic chairs were one of their big sellers and the English ambassadors tested these fully under realistic riot conditions to show the locals the quality of British products since they left the shackles of the EU .
    The Trade delegation also highlighted the need for proper British ”clean-up” products as the Porto streets took on the look of Glasgow’s George Square after a unionist Statue protecting march .

    Unionist sources close to the Government confirmed that , with the Euro Championships taking place across Europe , these Trade delegations will be accelerated to allow more English Nationalists to travel to show these Europeans what they have been missing since Covid restricted their movements last year .

    When asked if a Third Wave would inhibit these delegations , with the data clearly showing a worrying rise in variant cases , a spokesman for the Government scoffed at this type of scaremongering and confirmed that the PM was confident of achieving the same success that he had with the First and Second Waves of Covid .

  17. Luigi says:

    How lovely would it be if the SNP would bite the bullet and Change its name to the “Scottish International Party”!. It would send such a powerful message to the world and to the Brexiteers. The yoons would go apeshit of course. All the more reason to seriously consider it. The SIP isn’t that far removed from SNP grammatically, but it’s light years away in terms of meaning and public perception.

    • Capella says:

      I like that idea. I used to equate “nationalism” with…well “nationalism”, which was a very bad thing (think Nazis). But I realise now that there are two kinds of nationalism as this article points out. Are we to give up on educating the voters, especially Labour voters, that just because you want self determination for your country doesn’t mean you don’t care about plumbers in Liverpool, or Wuhan or Palestine?

      Of course not. But think of the re-branding expense.

    • Dr Jim says:

      It wouldn’t matter a jot if the SNP changed their name to the *soft and cuddly party* they’d still be known and talked about as the former Scottish nationalist party who changed their name to sound less nationalist, haven’t you ever watched the telly?

      • Capella says:

        I think you’re right. It should have been done years ago – but no matter what it is called the unionists will be utterly hostile and abusive towards it and its elected members.
        The public are being gaslighted about it when it’s referred to as the Scottish Nationalist Party by the Tories in the HoC. The Speaker should insist on the correct name.

        As has been pointed out many times, we don’t refer to the Nationalist Lottery, the Nationalist Health Service or the Nationalist Library. Everyone does actually understand the concept of having an institution for the country as a whole.

  18. Dr Jim says:

    The anti English rhetoric employed by the English political system was a clever reversal of how they themselves behave towards other countries
    If anyone in Scotland says the words England or English then they must automatically be anti that state and its people because they didn’t use some other invented word like British which the English politicians would have also decried the use of because why wouldn’t anybody want to be British like them, so they played on the long used fears that they constructed in England to convince the English that all other peoples are against them because they’re better and more democraticky than everybody else

    No matter what we in Scotland say or do the media in Scotland will turn and twist it around to create the image they want to portray, and they do it for two reasons, one, aggravation means good selling news so get some going, two, the media have a job to do and that job is protecting the integrity of the Union no matter who’s in charge of running it

    The real nationalists are the politicians and party in charge in England but the people of England don’t know that, they believe they’re being protected from the baddies of the world by whichever government is in charge in the *Independent country of England* that owns the other three colonies of Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland which incidentally is another thing the people of England haven’t ever seemed to notice because they just accept England’s own Independence as the status quo and somehow Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland are such moaners if they just aren’t happy with the system created for us by the politicians in the country they live in and that the rest of us don’t

    Ingrained indoctrinated imperialism so deeply done the people of England can’t see it and wouldn’t want to anyway

    When you’re used to having control of the lead on your dog then you’re loathe to let it off in case it runs away and you have no dog

  19. Alex Clark says:

    What exactly have you have done in recent years that makes you claim to have been “very active in the Yes movement”? How successful have you been in increasing support?

    Right now you appear to be “very active” in creating divisions within the Yes movement and are a hindrance to Scotland gaining Independence with your constant undermining of the SNP who have the support of almost 50% of the Scottish public. How much support can you garner and will it make a difference?

  20. Capella says:

    There seems to be a revival of the “Scotland didn’t do significantly better with Covid than England” meme circulating. Prof Robertson debunks it as efficiently as ever.

  21. Dr Jim says:

    Some say the SNP needs to do more shouting a and campaigning and more more more to win people over to the prospects and promise of Independence for Scotland and I say OK what do we shout then? do we say everything’s going to be better so vote now when there can’t be a campaign right now for all the obvious public crucifyable reasons by the opposition, we’d be handing the Union party a gift right now if we began a full on campaign

    I think Independence must be won like the tide coming in, *unstoppable* inevitable, something that everybody in Scotland knows is coming and going to happen because the people become conditioned to expect it as a process and not a one off big decision with all the bells and whistles attached making the decision to say YES a more precarious sounding choice than it really is

    Independence shouldn’t be blown up like a contest between those for and those against, that style of approach is fraught with risk and plays into the hands of those who oppose the proposition by giving them the platform to dash and damn the prospects in one big launch of badness against it, that’s what happened in 2014 and the forces of the Union combined in a mass attack using all their guns at once, three Union parties, all the British media, every celebrity they could lay their hands on, non politicians from foreign countries, Presidents of foreign countries, and they battered us with this shit for a couple of weeks, scared the pensioners to death and saw off the surge in Independence support very quickly because our side really wasn’t prepared to counter properly in the face of such an explosion of negativity

    Some folk will argue we were ready and they had all the information we needed and as far as the Internet crowd is concerned, we did, but the population at large definitely didn’t when their eyes and ears were assaulted day after day by the most ridiculous lies politicians like Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling and their ilk were spouting and the media were parroting every hour on the hour

    I think Independence must be won this time by strength of conviction not a load of fireworks and bangs in a glorious event where everybody jumps up and down either for or against fighting for supremacy, I believe Nicola Sturgeon’s technique of continuously pressing forward and creating a sense of normality over the outcome is correct so that those who come around to the prospect are not easily swayed to reverse their position at the last minute and fall victim to the threats or promises that the Union will unleash upon Scotland at the last minute, we must be resolute in our belief not just excited by the prospect

    Pointing out the benefits of Independence as much as possible is good, but we must also point out how the English government are and will behave when the time comes to cast our votes, the people of Scotland must be made aware of the tactics that will be employed against them so that they’re ready and be unaffected for what will come

    Independence for Scotland isn’t a fight between the SNP and the English government for who is to win something, Independence is about us the people being offered the chance to reclaim the right to own our lives, to own our decisions, to own our very existence without let or hindrance by another country and its people, the right to say we are and our decision matters, the right to vote for or against something and not be overruled or gainsayed by another

    The right to be recognised as a country in the world just like everybody else

    • Clydebuilt says:

      Some say that more independence supporters need to get on the blower to the BBC’s morning moan-in

    • Hamish100 says:

      Well said, Nic…. sorry Dr Jim

      • Dr Jim says:

        When Scotland and England *formed* the Union Scotland gave up its Independence to be in a Union, England did not, and is still an Independent country today with all the powers and levers pertaining to Independence, so England wishes to retain its sovereignty over itself and us while denying Scotland the same equal human right

        If by some glorious miracle every single person in Scotland voted SNP in a general election for the UK parliament there still couldn’t ever be enough SNP MPs in the House of Commons to make any difference as to how Scotland is treated now, Scotland could still never be even the opposition party because any English party can get more MPs in Parliament than Scotland, our total allowance being 59 MPs out of more than 600 not even counting the House of Lords

        In reality if a *Totally bonkers party* in England received sufficient votes standing on a platform of let’s say *Remove Scotlands Parliament* they could get more MPs than Scotland end up the government in England and just dissolve the Scottish parliament because the *British people* voted so

        Now remove the title *Totally bonkers party* and replace that with Labour Conservative or Liberal Democrat, you think it couldn’t happen? look what they’ve done so far……..Brexit !

        Did we count? did we F**K

        We are not equal, we are less, why would anyone in Scotland still want this? unless you’re a raving zoomer sectarian who thinks that somehow your football team or pretendy style of Christianity means something to the Queen of England or the English government, or you were born in England and have the notion your *Britishness* is being taken away from you when nobody in Scotland ever put such a notion up for question in the first place

        Separating politically from England doesn’t remove anything, you actually gain a Scottish passport if you want one which will in short order give you the rights you had before to freedom of movement throughout Europe without standing in the foreigners queue and paying more to do the things you had before England removed your rights to do it, with Scottish Independence you get back everything you used to have and more, the more being your right to vote in a country that will return the government you vote for to do the things you ask for and not decided by a voting system that means a guy in Middlesbrough’s votes count ten times more than a guy in Midlothian

        That’s what’s bonkers, living in a system where you can’t even break even let alone ever think about winning, the Union contract we have with England is designed for Scotland to *always* lose

        And it’s not glorious is it?

        • grizebard says:

          Amen to all of that. The Union has a cute saying for Scotland: “Heads we win, tails you lose”.

          With dissolution there is one thing we remove, though: our chains.

        • barpe says:

          On fire, today, Dr Jim.
          Total agreements

        • Petra says:

          …”When Scotland and England *formed* the Union Scotland gave up its Independence to be in a Union, England did not, and is still an Independent country today with all the powers and levers pertaining to Independence.”

          Just about sums it up Dr Jim.

  22. Hamish100 says:

    I see The National and The Herald are running a story (same story different journalists) about the Queen and politics. This is taken up by others arguing that the FM is in the pockets of the royals? Really? In the report Alex Salmond is quoted as saying “ “It would be enormously wise of the Royal Family to follow what has been the Queen’s example over her long reign, as to keep the monarchy over and above politics.“

    I know HM likes a bet on the horses as does Salmond but HM did interfere in the 2014 Independence referendum. Subtle, but isn’t it always. A press release here and there, a source close…. a purr like a kitten.
    Still I think Prince William should be asked why he met Brown. To discuss the difference between a patriot and someone who wishes their nations independence. I claim both terms.

    • Dr Jim says:

      Alex Salmond flying invisible kites for the benefit of his party and a headline signifying nothing
      The time to complain is if and when the Royals do interfere directly, then is the time to expose the English government weakness for instructing them to do it

      I don’t believe for one second the Royals will want to become actively engaged in this process, they’d be stupidly naive and badly advised if they do, in Scotland their popularity is very much lower than in England and if the result of the Independence referendum becomes YES then they’d have shot themselves in the foot as to whether a next referendum might be on them might see them gone altogether, so interfering in Scotland’s people’s political decisions would see the Royals become a political decision rather than a popularity contest and I believe they’d lose that one

      If England desires a faux Monarchy it’s up to them if they want to pay for it and they can still come on holidays to Scotland if they want I don’t really care, but for my part to interfere in Scotland’s politics and they’ll just have handed in their notice and they don’t get to wave at us serfs as they drive by on the way to their estate because it might not be available for them to use anymore, we might build houses and a tourist centre on it, who knows

      • Hamish100 says:

        Dr Jim,

        I am note sure we would find out if royalty interfere in the next referendum other than in 100 years time when the next episode of the Crown gives it away.
        As I said in my previous post they are quite subtle.

  23. Statgeek says:

    Brexit’s dividend for that green and pleasant land. Bet they didn’t foresee that at Ashford, despite being 60% leave, 40% remain. The nation of shopkeepers is morphing into a nation of carpark attendants, customs officials, and the occasional vicar. They complain that the night sky is ruined. Meanwhile, others’ livelihoods are being ripped apart.

  24. James Mills says:

    When the Border issue is raised re. Scottish Independence and we are told that this will harm movement between England and Scotland , just refer to the Irish situation at the moment .

    EU citizens currently resident in the UK need to jump through various bureaucratic hoops and fill in various from for themselves and their children IF they wish to remain in the UK after June 30 .

    But if you are an Irish citizen you do not have to bother with any of this !

    One must assume , then , that WHEN Scotland seizes back control and is once again Independent , the same nod-and-a wink understanding will apply to our relationship with the newly Independent rUK/Greater England !
    This will greatly facilitate movement between these two neighbours – Simples !

    • Bob Lamont says:

      Sorry James, it’s not a “nod-and-a wink” but the Common Travel Area, CTA – It has governed people movement between the different jurisdictions of the British Isles since Ireland said FU2. Pity help the London nugget who tries abusing that unilaterally, it will blow up in their face spectacularly, it is England which desperately needs the CTA to survive.

      What the Tories are desperately trying to do is blur the distinction between people movements (CTA) post-Indy + post X years to EU or whatever membership, and goods which are regulated.

      If you have a look at potential cross-border trade between England and Scotland as an EU/? member, where is the bulk of the traffic? North->South.
      They are trying to convince us that 2 Asda trucks and 2 Tesco and 1 with parts to be reworked coming north every day are going to bring disaster to Scotland because the very presence of a border would cause utter chaos 🤣
      Pretty sure an entrepreneur startup could fulfill the big chain requirements, perhaps a genuine Nelton Nowbray pie with a giant Saltire emblazoned across it ?

      As to the EU citizens issue, it has already backfired dramatically in England and rankled many, but sooner rather than later the not-so-Pritti Patel “hostile policy” will meet it’s nemesis – Quid pro quo.
      I feel heart sorry for what EU and other citizens have had to endure, it is not Scots or Irish or Welsh or frankly English who are to blame for this but a nasty little mafia in the bowels of London.
      Their day will come, and very soon.

      • James Mills says:

        Thanks Bob .
        But the unionists have pushed this fallacy that travel between Scotland and other parts of the UK would be severely restricted – CTA – Can’t travel Anywhere ( if you are Scottish ! )

        In 2014 former Labour MP ‘Magrit’ Curran was forever bemoaning the ‘fact’ that her family would be divided by the Independence of Scotland – Sh*te !

        People need to be aware of the spin being put out by the unionists and their lapdogs in the media .

  25. DaveyTee says:

    well, that’s Joanna Cherry just resigned from the NEC saying that “A number of factors have prevented me from fulfilling the mandate party members gave me to improve transparency and scrutiny and to uphold the party’s constitution”. A quarter of those elected to the NEC have now resigned.

    This follows Douglas Chapman’s resignation as party Treasurer: “Despite having a resounding mandate from members to introduce more transparency into the party’s finances, I have not received the support or financial information to carry out the fiduciary duties of National Treasurer.” Readers may recall that it’s not that long ago that three members of the finance committee resigned because thay were not permitted to inspect the books.

    That in turn followed Marco Biagi’s resignation as head of the party’s “independence task force”, saying that it’s the worst job he’s ever had.

    Now I know that Paul doesn’t want us to criticise the SNP but as a long-time party member I’m increasingly worried that there’s something rotten somewhere and if we truly want independence that has to be dealt with.


    • Alex Clark says:

      You do know that you are doing Westminster’s job for them don’t you?

    • Dr Jim says:

      Loose lips sink ships and leaks to the press causes tongues to wag
      When people know things they blab things, and when they don’t know things they blab even more

      Police Scotland already answered this question over the attempt to uncover just how much money the SNP have and they’ve said they’re satisfied with the answers they’ve been given, a lot of people don’t like not knowing, especially the opposition

      • DaveyTee says:

        Really? When did the police say that? Have you any evidence for it? The latest I have is the BBC yesterday where a police spokesman is quoted as saying “The complaint is still being assessed to determine if an investigation is required.”



    • Capella says:

      Marco Biagi’s tweet seems quite anodyne and not in the least complaining.

      • Dr Jim says:

        Followed up by trolling ABLA party jehadis repeating the mantra of their real boss, you know the one who’s flounced off the Internet for a while because he couldn’t win and Scotland wouldn’t listen

        A couple of people change their jobs and it’s conspiracy time in the ABLA gossip factory,
        Dearie me

    • raineach says:

      if you’re a long term branch member you can tell me both the name of your branch and the name of its treasurer, and do so without taking 3 days to google it on the internet

  26. Hamish100 says:

    Do Alba supporters wear t-shirts with 1.5+-0.1% YES?

  27. Nelson says:

    UK nationalism comes in many forms the same as Scottish nationalism, but they are both predominantly characterised as liberal/civil nationalism. So it’s not a compo unles you are a totalitarian.

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