A Conference for independence

The SNP and Alba party conferences were held over the weekend and it’s now possible to assert with confidence to the doubters that a second independence referendum is most definitely on its way and will be delivered by the only people capable of delivering it. That would be the SNP and Scottish Green MSPs who together give the Scottish Government an unassailable majority in Holyrood. The SNP conference ends on Monday with a keynote speech from the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. On Sunday it was the turn of deputy First Minister John Swinney who said that the SNP-Green co-operation deal proved that the SNP is willing to collaborate and work constructively with other parties in order to deliver independence.

The deputy First Minister stressed that “by reaching agreement with the Greens, we are not closing the door to working with other parties.” However in what many will see as a veiled warning to the Alba party, several of whose main speakers used their conference speeches to attack the SNP and the First Minister, generating headlines which the anti-independence media gleefully seized on, he said that if other parties want to work with the Scottish Government they can, but if they want to “continue being negative naysayers” – they will be left behind.

Meanwhile the Sunday Times reported, and this is the exact text of their tweet so that you too can marvel at the mendacity of the British nationalist press in Scotland: “A new poll suggests just 17 per cent of voters who voice a preference want a referendum in the next year, while 36 per cent back it in the next two to five years and 47 per cent don’t want one at all in the next few years.” Which is very much a grudging attempt not to mention that a majority of voters in Scotland want an independence referendum within the term of this Parliament and a perfect example of how the British nationalist media frames any positive development for independence as a negative.

The figures in the poll break down as follows: 27% want the vote held in the next two years, 26% think it should be staged in 2023-24 and a further 9% say it should take place in 2025-26. That adds up to 62% who want another referendum before the next Holyrood elections, due in 2026. You can feel the Sunday Times’ pain,” 62% of voters in Scotland agree that there should be an independence referendum within the timescale proposed by the Scottish Government” is the kind of headline that’s going to get the Tory boys and girls of the Sunday Times spitting red white and blue feathers. 89% of SNP voters want the referendum to be held before 2026, as do 54% of Labour voters. Only Tory voters are (predictably) opposed, with just 19% wanting a referendum within the term of this Parliament. Was it not Alister Jack who suggested that the British Government would have to concede to another referendum if support for it was at 60%? The Sunday Times would rather we forgot about that.

Delegates to the SNP conference overwhelmingly approved a motion welcoming the draft referendum bill published before the Scottish Parliamentary election in May and the commitment to hold a referendum once the covid crisis has passed. In May’s Holyrood election voters had clearly and unambiguously issued instructions to elected representatives to hold a referendum by the end of this parliamentary term.

Chris Hanlon, SNP Policy Development Convener, who proposed the motion, said that the resolution wasn’t about *whether* to hold a referendum, but about setting a date, noting that it should be at a time when the average voter in Scotland would feel comfortable having one, as not everyone is ready to return to “normal”. He added: “That’s not kicking the can down the road, that’s sticking the ball in the penalty spot and waiting for the whistle to blow, and blow it will, all too soon.” According to the poll in the Sunday Times, carried out by a Conservative think tank, a clear and substantial majority of voters in Scotland agree with the Scottish Government’s timetable.

Both Alba and the SNP agree about the necessity of a second independence referendum, merely disagreeing on the timing of one. Likewise both parties agree that an independent Scotland must rid itself of the UK nuclear missiles and submarines on the Clyde, but disagree on the timescale for their removal. Alba delegates approved a motion calling for the removal of Trident on day one of independence. For their part the SNP delegates approved a motion calling for the removal of Trident within three years of independence.

SNP delegates also overwhelmingly backed a resolution offering Scottish citizenship in an independent Scotland to new Scots in a smooth and easy manner without any degrading “citizenship tests” or expensive preferential acccess. Citizenship will also be automatic for anyone born in Scotland, or who has at least one Scottish born parent. An independent Scotland categorically rejects the “hostile environment” for migrants so beloved of British Home Sectretaries.

In her closing speech to the SNP conference Nicola Sturgeon reminded the British Government: “By any standard of democracy” the SNP’s victory in the May Holyrood election “represents an unarguable mandate to implement the manifesto we put before the country. And that is what we intend to do. It is called democracy.” She told delegates that as long as the covid crisis is under control, there will be a second independence referendum before the end of 2023, a timetable which even an opinion poll carried out by a Conservative think tank showed is supported by a substantial majority of voters. She also announced that the Scottish Government will fund the COP Conference of Youth, after the UK Government failed to do so. In another major policy announcement, she used her speech to inform delegates that the Scottish Government will create a National Care Service.

Scotland is not only en route to another independence referendum, but the kinder, gentler, environmentally sustainable, more socially just and tolerant Scotland, which can only be fully realised with independence is hoving into view. It’s up to all of us to make it a reality.

This is your reminder that the purpose of this blog is to promote Scottish independence. If the comment you want to make will not assist with that goal then don’t post it. If you want to mouth off about how much you dislike the SNP leadership there are other forums where you can do that. You’re not welcome to do it here.

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97 comments on “A Conference for independence

  1. Dr Jim says:

    The most powerful and businesslike speech I’ve heard ever, there’s no doubt in my mind whatsoever that Nicola Sturgeon will do exactly as she says she will, and she’ll do it with meticulous care and attention to detail, she’s a dedicated calm collected winner who’s done the homework and gathered the allies

    The media will spin this and downplay it in all the usual ways, the UK will refuse deny and mock in all their usual ways but this time they know they’ll lose, if she’d turned into Gerard Butler and shouted *This is Sparta* at the end of her speech they’d have enjoyed mocking it more but that’s not her style, yet still Nicola Sturgeon thumped them over and over with her professional business like delivery

    This is real politicking all done without the need for a baying crowd or a flag or pats on the back from sycophants or a quaich of whisky by an imaginary peat fire Och aye the noo

    World class politics from a world class leader

  2. robert harrison says:

    And before that speech was even finished johnsons government saying screw the the wishes of the Scottish people theres no indyref2 end off aye sure the fat Hitler of london and his England nazi party can scream and shout rant and rave all they want its coming.

    • scottish skier says:

      Just heard another few k yes votes drop into the bag.

    • Christopher Rosindale says:

      Boris Johnson’s reply can be translated as follows:

      “I don’t care what you Scottish voters think! I cannot, and will not, be remembered as the last Prime Minister of the United Kingdom!

      Future journalists, columnists, and historians will make fun of me, and my self-esteem is too weak to handle that!

      I want to resign when I get bored, then go off to make a lot of money waffling rubbish on the after-dinner lecture circuit, bonk women much younger than me whenever they arouse me, and generally just enjoy myself like the privileged, spoilt brat that my nanny raised me to be.

      That is what I want, and you are not getting in my way Scotland!”

  3. Alex Clark says:

    Murdo fraser on the BBC News channel right now lying his head off by saying that a poll this week showed that only 17% of Scots want another referendum within the next two years instead of one year, he also failed to mention the additional 36% who said they wanted another referendum in the next two to five years.

    Next lie was that Nicola Sturgeon failed to state how she was going to pay for the “fiscal transfer” of £2200/year that every Scot apparently receives from the most generous Westminster government ever. That would be the same government that Nicola Sturgeon has pleaded with in her speech, for them not to take away the £20/week uplift to Universal Credit awarded during the pandemic.

    There’s another example of your “more socially just and tolerant Scotland” right there. There can be absolutely no doubt that the great majority of Scots will prosper and be better off in so many ways in an Independent country free from Westminster and their corrupt governments.

  4. douglasclark says:

    Good to see you back Paul.

    Y’know, in your turbocharged mode 🙂

    I trust that your journalism reflects your physical recovery, for your journalism just gets better. And I’d hope your physical recovery matches that.

    Best wishes.

  5. Bob Lamont says:

    Aye, a good summation, the wind is changing and it doesn’t look good for the Union despite all they’ve flung at us.

    Three moments pricked my ears from the conference –
    First calling out the calculating doom and gloom brigade who have sought to wreck every SNP initiative (and by implication arrange it’s amplification via Glenn Campbell in the case of HMS Sarah Smutt) simply because it’s origins were not from them.
    The second was over support by Greens, lost on none bar the dim witted with “extremist sensibilities, which fell flat as a pancake outwith the “Forres Gump” inclined.
    The third was the unequivocal statement Scots will have their say in a “legal” referendum.

    As expected, HMS Sarah Smutt’s summation of the SNP’s entire conference was an article entitled “Sturgeon issues plea to Johnson over Universal Credit uplift” with an “Analysis” by the very Glenn Campbell, undoubtedly prefacing an Andrew Kerr piece to camera on the next Mis-Reporting Scotland broadcast.
    Glenn’s “original” will still be less than an hour old a week later, comments open with Luton’s finest contributing their very own Jockistan take, innit.

    There will be a Sparra on ra Barra missing Glenn’s input, very few on the mainland or much beyond….

  6. douglasclark says:

    This might help us dumb folk that had no idea what Bob was talking about:

    “Traditional Scottish Songs
    – The Wee Cock Sparra

    With his lugubrious presentation, the comedian Duncan Macrae (1905 -1967) used to recite this regularly at the TV Hogmanay programmes broadcast in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

    The Wee Cock Sparra

    A wee cock sparra sat on a tree,
    A wee cock sparra sat on a tree,
    A wee cock sparra sat on a tree
    Chirpin awa as blithe as could be.

    Alang came a boy wi’a bow and an arra,
    Alang came a boy wi’a bow and an arra,
    Alang came a boy wi’a bow and an arra
    And he said: ‘I’ll get ye, ye wee cock sparra.’

    The boy wi’ the arra let fly at the sparra,
    The boy wi’ the arra let fly at the sparra,
    The boy wi’ the arra let fly at the sparra,
    And he hit a man that was hurlin’ a barra.

    The man wi’ the barra cam owre wi’ the arra,
    The man wi’ the barra cam owre wi’ the arra,
    The man wi’ the barra cam owre wi’ the arra,
    And said: ‘Ye take me for a wee cock sparra?’

    The man hit the boy, tho he wasne his farra,
    The man hit the boy, tho he wasne his farra,
    The man hit the boy, tho he wasne his farra
    And the boy stood and glowered; he was hurt tae the marra.

    And a’ this time the wee cock sparra,
    And a’ this time the wee cock sparra,
    And a’ this time the wee cock sparra
    Was chirpin awa on the shank o’ the barra.

    Meaning of unusual words:
    arra=arrow
    sparra=sparrow
    barra=barrow
    farra=father
    marra=marrow
    shank=leg:

    I am still not sure I get the point, but it is a fun diversion!

    • Capella says:

      Used to be on Youtube but is now “Unavailable – this video is private” hmmm

      But Vimeo has it – watch now before it disappears! The inimitable Duncan Macrae reciting his party piece:

    • Bob Lamont says:

      The Lieman for the Country is from Barra ?

    • Alex Montrose says:

      I can remember watching Duncan Macrae reciting a wee cock sparra on a Hogmanay show wearing just a kilt an a pair of boots, it was so funny I can remember it, although I’d only been about 8 at the time.

  7. scottish skier says:

    Aye Paul, it’s an increasingly tough gig for those trying to convince voters the SNP/Greens are not planning on holding a referendum.

    Also good to see the SNP not spending much of the conference telling other Yes parties they’re ‘not dong enough for independence’, but rather focusing on their own plans and policies.

    On this theme, for the benefit of those out there insisting the SNP should have held an iref in e.g. 2017, here is the data with simple colours added to helpfully explain the probability of a Yes outcome.

    Key
    Red = cat’s chance in hell of a Yes. Amber = mibbes aye, mibbes naw, but maist likely naw. Yellae = mair likely aye. Also pandemic fun and games in 2020. Green = data suggest it may be a foregone conclusion subject to trends continuing.

    For me, while we cannot see into the future, to deny the trend this data shows, at least in retrospect, and the likely implications of it in terms of what would most likely have occurred in e.g. 2017, is verging on science denial. Of course some retort with ‘But an official campaign would have changed things!’. Erm, aye, see 2011-2014 data, where there was an official campaign; it neatly fits into the whole trend. And let’s be honest here, independence has been a key political issue for Scots since 2011, or even 2007. Events / campaigns cause upper bound waves, but even with the wind in Yes sails, you are looking at 2019/20 before the probability was for a narrow Yes.

    Even then, the danger would have been unionists attempting to overturn that with an election plebiscite. For example, Yes parties failed to top 50% combined in 2019, so if that had become a battle to overturn a narrow Yes, it may well have succeeded…

    • scottish skier says:

      We might ask why Yes has dropped back to baseline this year?

      Hard to say, but the main socio-economic and political events have been:
      – Covid pandemic past peak
      – Unionists + Salmond falsely accusing FM of multiple breaches of the ministerial code, aided and abetted by the BBC etc
      – Launch of Alba and its direct ‘harrying’ attacks on the SNP/Greens

      All of which may have played a role.

      In terms of support for Yes since Sturgeon took office, there is no doubt it has risen steadily. Even just taking headine average figures it is now 50.2(+5.5)% ex DK.

      Baseline is actually +50.2(+10.2)% on 2014, with potential peak Yes 55.3(+10.6)%.

      Only unionists would, in the face of data available, argue that there has been no change under Sturgeon. They also lie about Yes being ‘58%’ in the past when no pollster has ever recorded this value, never mind it being the PoP average. The highest it has ever been on average is 53.8%, which is only just outside MoE from the 50.2% current headline value.

      Having said that, I don’t believe for a second that rising Yes is due to Sturgeon and/or the SNP. The SNP+Greens (and even now Alba) have grown in response to rising support for Yes in Scotland due to a long term decline in Britishness associated with the end of the empire and post war consensus. That and the emergence of European unionism, including the freedoms it brought to younger, cosmopolitan, liberal, ever more ‘Scottish not British’ thatcher’s children (me) into generation devo.

      Of course the SNP could have screwed things up badly and damaged support in the shorter term, but other Yes parties would have risen to fill the gap. They are a symptom not a cause. That rising baseline is driven by fundamental, existential factors that it is nearly impossible to undo. The same forces gave us a narrow Yes in 1979, and a whopping one in 1997 to 45% in 2014. Day to day, even month to month and year to year politics, just affects the upper bound waves on the steadily rising tide.

      • Alex Clark says:

        Savanta Comres recorded Yes at 58% in December 2020 in the first of 5 polls for the Scotsman. However, months later they issued a statement that said the first 3 of the Scotsman polls had not been weighted at all, as they should have been and that Yes support had been overstated in all polls.

        The revised figures for that first poll gave Yes at 55% rather than 58%.

        Unfortunately, I can no longer find the complete statement but this is the Spectator reporting of it.

        https://archive.md/OGE11

        https://comresglobal.com/polls/scottish-elections-tracker-17-december/

        • scottish skier says:

          Yes, that’s correct. The 58% number was wrong and this is a matter of public knowledge. There was even an article about this mistake on the site where I see the incorrect figure still be quoted.

          The silly thing is, that MORI did get 59% in one poll. If someone is going to mislead by picking out single polls, at least pick out one that actually exists!

          🙂

      • keaton says:

        They also lie about Yes being ‘58%’ in the past when no pollster has ever recorded this value

        Is there some reason you’re not counting the Ipsos MORI poll from last October?

        • scottish skier says:

          I did count it. It was 59% not 58%, as per my comment above. The data is all there on WST, and a simple text search of the page concerned reveals no 58%. So why make up numbers and claim Yes has fallen from this high points that don’t exist?

          Yes support has never been at 58 or 59%; it peaked at 53.8% in 2020 (pop average for the year). That’s only 3.6% higher than 2021’s 50.2% so far. Could be that no change at all has actually occurred 2020-21, and the real value has been a constant 52(+/-1.8)% Yes. After all, pollsters quote +/-3% error.

          That’s the thing about polling; a run of low yes numbers simply due to statistical probability is as likely as a run of high Yes numbers. So while at face value Yes has fallen back 3.6% since 2020, that could be simply a quirk; there’s actually no hard evidence that’s the case at all.

          You would only claim that e.g.‘how did the polls drop down from the 58% yes to current levels’ if you were lying to people or didn’t have a clue what you are talking about as you are in the south of England, not Scotland,

          • keaton says:

            I did count it. It was 59% not 58%, as per my comment above. The data is all there on WST, and a simple text search of the page concerned reveals no 58%. So why make up numbers and claim Yes has fallen from this high points that don’t exist?

            Where are you getting 59%? Ipsos MORI themselves reported it as 58%.

            • scottish skier says:

              On what Scotland thinks when you remove DKs:

              https://whatscotlandthinks.org/questions/how-would-you-vote-in-the-in-a-scottish-independence-referendum-if-held-now-ask/?removed=removed&pollster%5B%5D=ipsos-mori

              Maybe Prof C got it wrong as you are correct for the tables; they have 58.4% for LTV.

              So it seems a single outlier poll does exist, and I stand corrected on that, but blame the good prof. 🙂

              However, it really is nit picking as support for independence in Scotland has never been at 58% or 59%, which was my main point. Anyone suggesting that on the basis of a single poll is either clueless or deliberately trying to mislead. Also, as noted, there is no hard evidence support has changed at all from 2020; just some indications that it’s dropped by 1.8 to 3.6% on average. Certainly not ‘from 58% to ‘current levels’.

              What’s to blame for that? Maybe false accusations that Sturgeon broke the ministerial code by Salmond which allowed the BBC etc to talk about a divided Yes movement? Covid on the wane? Probably more the latter but the former can’t be ruled out.

              • scottish skier says:

                Oh and say hi to folks on SGP. Bizarrely, I keep seeing people put my comments on there even though I don’t actually post on the site. My wisdom and wit must be missed a lot! 🙂

                • keaton says:

                  Oh and say hi to folks on SGP. Bizarrely, I keep seeing people put my comments on there even though I don’t actually post on the site. My wisdom and wit must be missed a lot! 🙂

                  There is one poster in particular who seems to have built his life around you. I try not to engage with him.

              • scottish skier says:

                Had a look and even IPSOS MORI itself hasn’t potentially changed within standard error.

                The average of yearly averages for 2020 and 2021 is 53.9(+/-2.4)% so it’s not really possible to say there’s been clear fall. Maybe 2020 was just at the upper end of variance (+/-3%) with this year towards the lower, and all entirely down to random variation.

                The truth is that polls suggest a small, few% drop from 2020 into 2021, but that’s it. I imagine JK and Prof C would agree.

        • scottish skier says:

          And just to add… A quick count and only 6 pollsters reported surveys last year. This year it is 12. This could have a notable effect on the average due to the influence of house effects from new entrants. Also, the number of surveys by the 2021 6 is different, and that again will impact averaging; the more a pollster reports, the more likely it is we get a decent average from them rather than adding an outlier to the overall average.

          We are to an extent comparing apples and pears; there might actually be no change at all.

          I suspect there has been a slight fall back to baseline, but we can’t say that’s actually happened for sure.

  8. Alex Clark says:

    O/T Hahahaha

  9. Welsh_Sion says:

    This a headline in today’s Daily Mail. Are they beginning to get nicey, nicey? (Don’t worry I’m not going to read it all nor send the link here … he who touches pitch and all that …)

    “Sturgeon asks the Government for co-operation over IndyRef2”

    I’m only asking (but I doubt if the DM is playing nice) is surely we should read the following headline, on past form:

    “Sturgeon BEGS the Government for co-operation over IndyRef2”

    Dontchathink?

    • Bob Lamont says:

      Correct conclusion – DM is reinforcing the “they need our permission” line much as the BBC’s “Sturgeon issues plea to Johnson over Universal Credit uplift”, the FM’s statement there would be a “legal” referendum has got them rattled as it implies “with or without your help”.

  10. Capella says:

    A fair summary from Philip Sim of the BBC on the SNP Conference and Nicola Sturgeon’s performance. He does feel obliged to note that Alex Salmond has dismissed her conference speech as “groundhog day” (before she even made it). But there’s no doubt she has trounced her former colleague with the May election “triumph”.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-58543558

    • scottish skier says:

      SNP talk about the SNP and Scotland at their conference. Greens talk about Greens and Scotland.

      Alba talks about the SNP.

      Enough said really.

    • Alex Clark says:

      The first paragraph in this section tells you all you need to know about the plan to split Yes supporters using the timing of the referendum as a stick to beat the SNP with.

      Journalists used to go to SNP conferences searching for signs of dissent in the ranks, of impatience with the leadership’s gradualist approach to the party’s founding goal, of calls for a “Plan B”.

      This year, the rank and file were urging the famously cautious first minister not to move too quickly on independence. They backed a motion stating that Scots should not have their wellbeing and future prosperity “compromised” by a snap referendum, and that it should not happen until there has been a “clear end to the public health crisis”.

      Only five people took part in the debate – all in favour of Ms Sturgeon’s Plan A – and it passed by an overwhelming vote of 535 to 10.

      That tactic is now dead in the water.

  11. Capella says:

    Another Union bonus – Westminster scraps the deal with the French company manufacturing Covid 19 vaccines in Scotland.
    blockquote>The firm said that the UK government served notice over allegations of a breach of the agreement, which it “strenuously denies”…Mr Yousaf said that while the announcement would be a big set-back for the Livingston plant, he would speak to Valneva to discuss its future.

    The Scottish Health Secretary added that he was waiting for further information from the UK government over Valneva’s alleged failure to meet the terms of its contract.

    SNP MP Hannah Bardell, whose constituency contains the Valneva plant, said she was “incredibly disappointed” by the news.

    She pledged she would be “working with Valneva – who have worked tirelessly on this vaccine – and will raise this urgently with the UK government”.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-58499064

    • Dr Jim says:

      Now what was it about Nicola Sturgeon saying the UK Guv attempting to make Scotland poorer then complaining that we’re too poor to look after ourselves?

  12. Dr Jim says:

    You can tell how feart the Union is when not one of their tame media outlets are reporting that Nicola Sturgeons Scottish government is funding the youth COP 26 because the UK Guv refused to do it

    The blue meanie government in England just don’t like spending money on young people do they
    maybe Greta will point that out while she’s here

    • Capella says:

      Smart move. The Conference this year was very much “youth” oriented. Young people – of all ages – are the main focus of Scotland’s future. They are the demographic that votes for independence in droves – as long as we can get them to register and get along to the voting booth 🙂

  13. Welsh_Sion says:

    O/T

    Another weapon for our Gaelic and Scots-speaking cousins:

    https://nation.cymru/news/bilingual-children-have-more-efficient-thinking-skills-research-by-bangor-lecturers-reveals/

    Bilingual children have more efficient thinking skills, research by Bangor lecturers reveals

    13 Sep 2021 2 minute Read

  14. Capella says:

    Quite a map.

    • grizebard says:

      One interesting consequence of this kind of poll result is that it likely makes BoJo very reluctant to call a snap UKGE specifically in order to scupper the timing towards IR2. Maybe he will have learnt something from Theresa May after all.

      • Capella says:

        Yes – I looked up MRP polling and New Scientist says it’s very accurate. Must say I’m not much the wiser but it’s an awfy bonny map.
        Maybe others in this parish can explain.

        https://www.newscientist.com/article/2224783-what-is-mrp-and-can-it-predict-the-result-of-the-uk-general-election/

        • grizebard says:

          I’m still hoping that we won’t be participating in the next UKGE, whenever it is. I wonder though if BoJo is beginning to see the merit in that for himself also…?

          • Capella says:

            Well since they passed the Fixed Term Parliaments Act 2011 to secure 5 year terms, they seem to have elections about every 2 years. So we are due one this year. Perhaps the pandemic will mean it has to be postponed. 🙂

            • Alex Clark says:

              The next UKGE is being touted for 2023, there may be a little truth in that if it can contribute in any way to stopping a 2nd referendum. It could also backfire if tried to be used in this way LOL

              • Capella says:

                I think we can assume that Westminster will go to extreme lengths to scupper Indyref2. However, Nicola Sturgeon is a stickler for the rules of the game. It’s called democracy and the international community recognises the results.

                A player who upsets the board is deemed to have forfeited the game. (Rules of Chess)

            • grizebard says:

              Yes, that high-minded {ahem} resolve to behave responsibly didn’t last long after BoJo arrived, did it?

              But is BoJo so desperate to save the Union that he would risk ending up in the same situation as Theresa May, with another stymied WM and loss of power and prestige as the price for attempting to scupper an imminent IR2? An IR2 that everyone knows is ultimately unavoidable.

              If he were tempted to call a “flash” plebiscite UKGE instead of going to the SC (or even worse for him, after having lost a case in the SC), thereby in effect trying to overrule a test of opinion in Scotland by brute force of English votes, that’s a blade that can cut both ways. It would equally be a plebiscite election in Scotland, where the only votes that really matter are those cast here.

              And not only would we see the result, so would the people of England, and so would the rest of the world.

            • grizebard says:

              And the irony is, if that MRP polling is accurate, BoJo would be in a far stronger position if Scottish SNP MPs were no longer present to potentially neutralise his majority, relatively small in number though they would be.

              And although the shock ripples within English society caused by our departure would undoubtedly spread over time, I don’t see that BoJo would suffer any immediate political downside of dissolution. He has the chutzpah to carry it off, if he so wished, and he clearly doesn’t give a damn anyway about his “fellow” {cough} Tories in Scotland.

              He has quite an interesting dilemma to face, if he cares to, as things develop: his English imperial self-pride vs a firmer grip on England alone…

  15. Hamish100 says:

    Oh dear, how bitter some of the 1% are. Their conference in the main ignored. I must say that SGP has wrapped himself in the garb of the greetin 1% which is a shame.

    The rest of us will move forward while others reflect of what happened in 2014. Can’t see what the purpose of a wee blue book ( Council edition) will do. Vote Alba 1, 2, 3? Was it not for the whole of the movement? A few ex snp councillors will be unemployed next year it looks. The bonfire of vanities?

    • Alec Lomax says:

      It would be amazing if Independence for Somerset concentrated his ire on the Tories. But he doesn’t. I wonder why ?

    • malkie says:

      They are not the 1%. They are the 0.3%. And according to the bizarre Alba-supporting SGP website the SNP are not just “numpties” we are “Ya doggers”. So much hatred and bitterness because the people of Scotland have seen these people for what they are. Time for us to utterly ignore them because their sole purpose is to wreck the independence movement by giving the unionists ammunition against the only parties, SNP and Greens, who will deliver independence for Scotland.

  16. yesindyref2 says:

    Swinney apparently warning Alba not to be negative.

    You’ve got Alba supporters and policitians being nasty about the SNP, and SNP supporters and policitians being nasty about Alba. The media are reporting all of it, quite fairly basically as they’re not sure which side of the “split” they should be supporting.

    Meanwhile that’s getting Indy all the publicity it needs, knocking 50 shades of lumps out of each other is fun quite frankly, and stops us turning on Unionists. It’s seriously a laugh, even better than Douglas Ross and the Broon, what’s not to like?

    And when Indy Ref 2 is on we’ll all be besties again – the genuine on each “side” anyway. Leaving the trolls high and dry and wondering why they bothered? Well, why indeed! But thanks YA NUMPTIES 🙂

    • grizebard says:

      Having a miniscule number of rabid (supposed) pro-indy zealots slagging off the SNP (which they tend to do far more angrily and vociferously than the other way round) is something of a mixed blessing, but if it convinces ordinary folk that Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP as a whole are cautious, trustworthy and “respectable” in obvious contradiction to the usual BritNat media monstering that they get, that isn’t such a bad thing, I suppose…

    • scottish skier says:

      I’ve followed some of the SNP conference and I note how there was basically no mention of Alba. Alba did by contrast talk a lot about the SNP.

      I personally don’t have anything against any Yes party, but I don’t for the life of me understand Alba’s ‘strategy’ and why they think attacks on the SNP will get them votes.

      I’ve said many times over the years that the opposition cannot bring down the government / another party with attacks. The government / a party can only bring itself down by f’ing up sufficiently to pee off the electorate, or not doing what they want it to.

      After all these years of unionist ‘SNP accused’ stories failing miserably, why do Alba think retweeting these along with their own ‘SNP accused’ stories will work?

      The electorate will decide if the SNP deserve their vote again. Alba trying to tell the electorate they are wrong and that the SNP has not delivered what they wanted will just irritate voters. Which is what I feel when Kenny Macaskill tells me I voted in unionists even though I obviously did not.

      Alba need to make each newspaper article not about the SNP, but about them. Don’t copy the Lab/Lib/Con mistake here of talking all about the SNP and not about themselves. It gets you nowhere.

      The SNP will be electorally in trouble if they don’t deliver iref2 this term I strongly suspect, but so far they have called the electorate well on this and, based on the data I showed earlier, were right not to have thrown away iref1 in 2017-19, as Scots very likely would have voted to (very narrowly) endorse the union again and, god help us, Tory brexit (at least that’s what the UK press would claim).

      • Dr Jim says:

        You can see the full range of Abla comments on the FMs Twitter, they spend most of their time screeching hate at her, madness

        • scottish skier says:

          I find it hard to believe many of these people are actual independence supporters.

          You never saw this from the Greens, Rise, Margo, the Scottish Socialists, Solidarity, and these do/did have very different politics to the SNP.

          I know only two folks that opted for Alba for the ‘supermajority’ idea; one is my dad and the other a good friend of over a decade. Suffice to say both of these are not online doing hate tweets at the FM, having also both happily voted SNP. In my dad’s case, it actually kinda made sense as he’s in the Central Highlands, so SNP expected to sweep the board, unlike me in the SoS where that was never going to happen.

          But Alba setting out to ‘harry the SNP’ in the UK unionist press by saying they ‘are not doing enough for indy and that the SNP wants men to be able to pretend to be women’ is a right wing unionist troll’s get out of jail free for dog whistling card, and boy are they using it.

          I’ve been saying for some time that this would be the inevitable result of Yes reaching majority. Unionists are now desperate to split the Yes movement and the teeny rift that is Alba is just too inviting to resist.

    • scottish skier says:

      The Guardian is an English paper so I don’t understand it poking it’s arrogant English nose into Scottish public services.

      It could at least produce a Scottish edition if it want to get involved in our politics.

    • James Mills says:

      An ”editorial” that could easily be claimed as a press release by The Tories /Labour/ Libdems .

      ”Move along please – nothing to see here !”

  17. Capella says:

    I’ve just listened to another colonial style stroll down history lane, Scottish branch. Allan Little has a programme on R4 on “This Union: Two Kingdoms”. Here we learn, to our great surprise, that the Scottish Enlightenment was brought about by England. It might more accurately be called the English Enlightenment because, after the Union, we parochial Scots were forced out into the shining light of the English world and had to learn fast.

    Also, we lost all our money on that foolish Darien episode. So ummm, England bailed us out. We were always too wee and too poor and too stupid.

    I thought Allan Little would be better informed.

    Well it’s true that some of us are bought and sold for English gold and they all end up working for the BBC.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000zkpy

    • Welsh_Sion says:

      Just a side note, Capella, that Allan Little and me have previous.

      I attended SNP Conference in Perth post Indy Ref 1 as both a Delegate and Member of Plaid Cymru (you can see waving the Welsh flag at the start of Nicola’s first speech as Leader and how she welcomed the Welsh contingent, on youtube).

      Prior to that I was put forward by a future SNP MP and friend to Allan Little as a prospective interviewee – wouldn’t the BBC News and its audience like to hear the views of a Welshy about Scottish independence? Little refused, citing that there would be no interest in ‘British’ [sic.] homes for the views of another national from a different part of the UK to Scotland and England.

      And so it was, I did not grace your screens with an interview with the Little man (pun intended), but I have been immortalised on youtube by Nicola Sturgeon. Something tells me I cherish the latter more than the former …

      • Capella says:

        Brilliant! I looked him up on Wikipedia. Seems he was in charge of the BBC’s coverage of Indyref1. He then retired from the BBC after a career of reporting from all the world hot spots i.e the classic trajectory of the MI5 reporter. If Craig Murray wasn’t in prison he could probably enlighten us about his background.

        I think you can be proud of the fact that Allan Little didn’t want your views broadcast far and wide in “Britain”. It’s a badge of honour 🙂

      • grizebard says:

        The BBC was supposed to bring us all together, but that little [sic] exchange exposes the worm in the bud: translated into human, England is only interested in hearing about itself. And by media pandering to that, they remain totally ignorant of what’s happening outwith their hermetic little [sic] bubble.

        And that is how the Union is doomed. It could well end surprisingly suddenly, as mentioned yesterday, and if it does, no-one will be more taken by surprise than the purblind English Establishment media.

  18. Molly McC says:

    A great post as always Paul.
    I hope your health is improving and Happy Belated Birthday for Saturday!
    Molly

  19. bringiton says:

    I suspect that much of the polling data is based on future franchises for elections/referendums being limited to only those who support England’s Tory party.
    That’s democracy at work in a one party state.

  20. Golfnut says:

    I suspect that the diversity in opinions on when a referendum should be held is based on the options provided by the pollster and how close they correlate to individuals perception on when it would be safest to hold the referendum. There is no comfort for the unionists or westminster in the result of this poll.

    • grizebard says:

      I suspect that date preferences merely reflect the degree of current engagement with the issue amid many other competing interests. In fact, with the current pandemic still taking front of stage, it’s impressive that any issue over the next referendum manages to register so highly.

      When IR2 is called, in a timely manner as it will be, we can be sure that it will be accepted by everyone except Unionist diehards, and the latter will just have to lump it, since they certainly won’t be able to ignore it.

  21. Hamish100 says:

    So the local government elections take place next May.

    In a 4 Council ward, The SNP supporter will be asked to vote 1& 2 ( for snp) now the Greens will be hoping to also be beneficiaries as well as ALBA.

    As we go further down the line the tories will hope to gain 2 or 3rd votes from labour/ Lib Dem and vice versa. I would have to be really convinced to give my 3rd vote to Greens, ALBA or equivalent. ALBA has to stop the attacks on the SNP or they will get no votes from me.

    Just don’t vote 1-6 if you have 6 candidates as you are just helping the others.

    • Capella says:

      I really don’t see any reason to vote for any candidate other than the SNP and Green. Stop there. There is no obligation to tick every box and we can be certain the unionists won’t.

    • grizebard says:

      The outstanding question is rather: what exactly will Alba recommend for their later preferences? Since on current persisting evidence, their own candidates are all doomed to early-stage exclusion.

      What then their absurd lectures about “voting to let the Tories in”…?

        • grizebard says:

          Well, whatever it turns out to be, it will prove to be the touchstone of their true intentions. Though I can see it being “no-one else, they are all too, too unworthy”.

          Which if that happens would be the very undermining they have (falsely) accused the SNP of doing. (Since they can hardly accuse near the entire indy-voting population of Scotland of being “betrayers of the cause”. Even they are not generally that aberrant, though one individual does rather quickly spring to mind.)

  22. Hamish100 says:

    The wee blue book will tell all……or not.

    • Dr Jim says:

      Although there was much talk and speculation about the effectiveness of the last wee blue book, over time it appeared as though it was as damaging as it was of assistance because of its origins and behavioural reputation of its author
      As Salmond was a turn off for female voters, Campbell was a turn off for middle decency
      Those two figures together along with the MPs who refuse to stand for re election in their constituencies for the party they now profess to represent following the betrayal of the party who got them elected will prove once again to be a toxic combination for middle voters

      Basic human nature will see this party slump to ignominious defeat as long as they remain wedded to the path they’re treading, people don’t like nasty politics and they will always remain suspicious of of a man who got himself into politics by displacing others in power in the first place and here he goes trying it again, and all that’s without even referring to the public displays of petulance over very public and unpleasant court cases which in the minds of the public won’t ever go away because they formed their own judgement of guilty as charged and it was reflected in the last election
      As a politician one should realise when one has been shot down by the electorate, to continue after such a defeat smacks of the something we all know it to be, and the public knows it too

      That’s as reasonable I can be about these people

  23. yesindyref2 says:

    The problem with Indy Ref 1 was the left-leaning policies which all YESsers felt obliged to go along with. Similarly the SNP manifesto was the only one around basically, and YES Scotland adopted it. The reason was clear; the hegemony of Labour had to be broken, and indeed it was. The scene of Darling being given a standing ovation at that Tory Conference as he stood up and destroyed any remaining chances of Labour being elected will never leave my mind. All those clapping Tories knowing he’d burst his pants, and those of Labour. And of course in 2015, Labour were reduced to just 1 MP in Westminster – same as the Tories and Lib Dems. So it worked, and perhaps was neccessary.

    Well, there could be a new blue Alba book, and this will presumably have policies in it. Good. Robin McAlpine is not my cup of tea, never was, but the chances are he’ll put together a credible effort, hopefully. Perhaps too, the Greens will be more pushy and come up with their own post-YES manifesto, at least in terms of policies. They could maybe move a little over to the LibDem way, civil liberties like protests as they’re doing at the moment, teachers, students, police, that stuff. That would leave the SNP then to follow its own manifesto in toto, as the current senior party in the governing alliance.

    It gives, if done properly, YES voters 3 different visions of Indy Scotland rather than the one vanilla YES Scotland / Bleary wotsisname one. And perhaps Andrew Wilson and his lot can stick to their own report, update it, and give the neoliberal, almost conservative view. Voila! Multiplicity – take your pick.

    From that point of view I think we should welcome the wee Alba blue book – even if we don’t endorse it. Variety is the spice of life.

    • grizebard says:

      I tend to share your opinion of what went wrong last time, but simply because an SNP prospectus appeared to hint at a kind of arrogant political hegemony, an assumption of everlasting power that probably put some people off. I don’t think that was the intent behind it at all, it was a fair-minded attempt to provide as open and detailed a glimpse of what was possible as could be provided from the particular perspective of a likely initial governing party.

      And therein also lay its weakness, because it also provided the opposition with a veritable smorgasbord of “issues” with which to confuse the voters. (Confusion, after all, was the prime objective of Project Fear.) This was the diametric opposite of the Brexiteer prospectus, which was a few insubstantial slogans which could mean almost anything to suit any listener.

      Now, which one worked, and which one didn’t? (A question I hate to ask, actually.)

      So although I readily see why you suggested it, I can’t agree that having a veritable gallimaufry of alternate prospectuses is a good idea at all, since it actually amplifies the potential confusion. Project Fear Mk.2 would have a field day!

      What is needed, I would suggest, is some relatively digestible common prospectus that directly addresses people’s prime fears, not least economic ones. Whatever political views people may have, nobody wants to end up flat broke! A clear proposal, underwritten by independent constitutional and economic experts, of how we can plausibly manage the new situation from day 1, so the more cautious aren’t afraid that it would be like the Taliban without an bl**dy clue. It has to be general but credible; not nitty-gritty detailed, because it shouldn’t offer hostages to fortune, nor make extravagant claims that people can readily dismiss as implausible.

      Like Brexit, it should aim to arouse a sense of freedom and opportunity, but unlike Brexit be principled, properly recognising that it’s not a political party issue at all, since a new politics will necessarily begin from ground zero, with opportunity for every view. The more influence upon it from all significant parts of the political spectrum the better. (There are some pro-indy Tories, even.) Properly recognising that, rather like the weather, no-one can specify in advance how an independent Scotland will evolve politically even after a very short time. Assuring people that it certainly won’t be an everlasting ANC-style political hegemony by the SNP.

      As you say, everyone should feel they can have a piece of the action, but that won’t come from various uncoordinated and exclusively pro-indy viewpoints. Ideally it should be a synthesis from every quarter, even though the official Unionists will certainly not oblige in advance. (They’ll only pile in after the deal is sealed.)

      • Statgeek says:

        I’d opt for a little white flyer with 10 huge reasons to leave. Feel free to make up your own, but topping my list would be:

        – Scot elect Scots to govern Scotland, and elected Scots reside and work in Scotland and answer to Scottish electorate.

        – No illegal wars

        – No more trident / no chance of nuclear stations

        – Renewable energy hub of Europe

        – National Health Service with no chance of it being gazumped by Westminster policies

        – Pro EU leanings (not sure what the absolute best option will be when the time comes, but a lot closer than Brexit’s effort

        A broad mix of better governance (Blair / May / Boris etc given as bad examples)

        A good hint of future energy plans and commitments

        Pensions’ planning (to get the older folks’ heads turning too)

      • yesindyref2 says:

        I think having a common prosepctus on common non party political issues is neccessary. Steps to and in Independence, like membership of UN, World Bank, IMF, WTO, ECHR (that’s the 47 member one, not the EU one). Taking over tax revenues collection, VAT, corporation tax, and NI. Common NHS purchasing – transitioning or even continuing, both options explored. And the options on currency and central bank, rather than any decision on them. But a complete avoidance of “divisive” issues – and this is where party policies can help.

        Trident is an example, and easy one for me (I’m pure lazy). From 2016, and this is actually quoted by the SNP to support their policy “Trident: 8 things you need to know” March 2021

        https:// survation.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Full-Scomnibus-III-Tables-100316DCCH-1c0d5h1-1803.pdf

        (hopefully having the space after the slashes stops embedding) Table 52

        I support the renewal of Trident – 32.2%
        I oppose the renewal of Trident – 41.7%
        Don’t Know – 26.1%

        For party policy on its own, that’s fine, excluding DKs, that’s 56% against. But as an Indy policy it presents the problem that 32% were actually for renewal, and if Indy policy meant that couldn’t go ahead, it could cause them to vote NO. Similarly unfortunately for the 26% don’t knows, who might think it’s not up to Scotland to disarm the rUK.

        So, comparing policies, Alba want it gone immediately on Indy. That doesn’t give the rUK any time to relocate, so with suitable unionist agitation, that could put off 58% of voters. And the SNP now are 3 years, and the last best estimate for time to relocate was 10 years back in 2014. Even brought forward to today, 5 years is perhaps the absolute bare minimum, so again, that could put off up to 58% of voters and cause them to vote NO. It could be argued that a newly Indy Scotland should not arrogate to itself the right to unilaterally disarm another country – the rUK or whatever it wants to call itself.

        Trident itself really needs a range of options to be presented by the YES movement – even including Wings’s idea of a long-term lease at the outrageous £10 billion a year. Chances of that happening are remote, but it would be up to the new Parliament in an Independent Scotland to decide.

        Similarly the economy needs policies – what are they – high or low or even no taxation or only on the filthy rich (oops, divisive) – and there are similar pros and cons for that.

        • grizebard says:

          Yes, AmateurAlba seem intent in repeating the mistakes of 2014, with the fantastical “instant removal of nukes” being one of those self-indulgent wantonly divisive posturings that could throw away lots of votes. And entirely unnecessarily, because the nukes will be quietly gone soon enough post-indy, whatever, and nobody will raise a peep at the time either. (Personally I favour a steeply exponential increase in site rental with time, heh, heh. Amazing how quickly unaffordable that becomes!)

          What England does thereafter about them is their concern. (Though the further south the better!)

          • Dr Jim says:

            *Instant removal of nukes* is just sound bite student union kiddy talk aimed at unpractical minds, you can’t even instantly move house let alone displace the mountain of stuff that area contains
            The SNP say three years, that seems long to me but I’m sure there are experts in this kind of thing that they’ve consulted and proposed that as a reasonable time limit so who am I to argue, the main thing is it’s going and that’s what the majority want to see

            Independence, when do we want it? NOW!, but everybody knows NOW doesn’t actually mean now, it means as soon as practicable

      • Tam the Bam says:

        Referencing your initial paragraph Grizebard, you’d be amazed at the number of people I’ve spoken to since Indyref 1 who were of the opinion that the SNP would be the government ‘in perpetuity.’ in the event of a YES vote.
        Incredible.

  24. Capella says:

    Scrolling through the BBC news app, Scotland division, I was pleased to see that job vacancies reached a record number.
    However, that happy headline was rapidly replaced by “SLIGHT” increase in Scotland’s employment rate – but SLIGHTLY below UK (do they mean England?). This breaking story may be updated. I can’t wait to see what it morphs into next.

    Slight increase in Scotland’s employment rate – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-58555014

    • scottish skier says:

      Normally, it would be good news, but not in the face of an acute labour shortage. This makes the huge number of job vacancies very bad news, or rather it’s a worrying symptom of the shortage, and not down to UK economic growth, which stalled in August.

      It’s why shelves are empty, restaurants are closed and Dingbro still haven’t been able to get a handbrake cable for my car.

      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-58543554

      Winter of discontent coming. If the more continental type weather patterns we’ve had over the summer persist, it will be a long, cold one too.

      • scottish skier says:

        Note in the ‘Boom’ years prior to the 2008 bust, the level was 6-700k. It recovered slowly to this by 2015, but since brexit, has been climbing steadily as EU workers stop coming. This has recently turned into mass emigration as skilled key workers flooded out of the UK in the face of the rapid advance of the English fundamentalist conservatives.

        That job vacancy spike will precede economic contraction.

    • Bob Lamont says:

      “I can’t wait to see what it morphs into next” – Sturgeon ate my Hamster ?
      Note how even with the “slight” modification, the obligatory negative lurks, “However, this is 25,000 fewer than in February 2020 – the month before the first coronavirus lockdown”. 🙄
      However, this in Business, were it in Politics, it would be rapidly demoted – Nothing even remotely positive of the current administration must sully the pages of HMS Sarah Smith.

      eg – SNP Conference
      Now finished, a swathe of positive decisions, and more than a few good speeches to highlight, but Barra boy Glenn only mentions a few in passing to focus on one comment from the FM’s closing speech, throw in the usual pontifications from others, add a hefty dollop of “in my opinion” and voila – “Sturgeon issues plea to Johnson over Universal Credit uplift”.
      19 hours old and still in prime spot.

      However… If you scroll down that page a little you’ll find the 12 hours old UK/Politics piece – “Nicola Sturgeon: Universal credit cut will ‘take food out of children’s mouths’ ” complete with a video clip….

  25. Capella says:

  26. Capella says:

    I’m sure that there would be plenty of people willing to work if WAGES ARE INCREASED.

    The Black Death, or Bubonic Plague killed more than one-third of the population of Europe and 30–40% of the population in Britain and caused a dramatic decrease in the supply of labour. Lords suddenly faced a sharp increase in competition for workers to work for them. Labourers had increased bargaining power and commanded higher wages. The increase in labour cost also led to inflation throughout the economy. The elite class lamented the sudden shift in economic power. In an attempt to control labour costs and price levels, Edward III issued the Ordinance of Labourers 1349. Parliament attempted to reinforce the Ordinance with the Statute of Labourers. This is one of the causes of the peasant revolt. There are many other causes.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statute_of_Labourers_1351

    He who forgets the lessons of history is destined to repeat it.

    • Dr Jim says:

      During the Black Death people covered their faces in the knowledge it gave them some protection
      Learning lessons doesn’t seem to be a big thing in England

      • Capella says:

        True. There were also towns which banned travellers from entering. Decimated the hospitality trade. 😦

      • Derek says:

        I was away racing at Snetterton a couple of weeks ago; at the drivers’ briefing – around 120 people – I was one of only four (that I could see) that had a face covering.

  27. Capella says:

    For Welsh Sion 🙂

    • Welsh_Sion says:

      Thank you, Capella.

      But did you upload it knowing I have a passion for mistranslated signs in Welsh? 😉

      I’ve checked my gut reaction in grammar books and am convinced there is an error here … If any compatriots are lurking, maybe they can confirm my findings.

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