One year on

Today marks the one year anniversary since I suffered what the medical staff in the hospital described as a massive stroke. An ischaemic stroke like the one I had occurs when a blood clot travels through the circulatory system and eventually gets lodged in one of the small arteries in the brain, blocking it. The part of the brain supplied by that artery is then deprived of oxygen, so it dies. Surrounding brain tissue goes into shock. The stroke I had killed off a substantial part of the rear third of the right hemisphere of my brain. The right hemisphere controls the left hand side of the body whereas the left hemisphere controls the right hand side. However for almost everyone, no matter whether they are right or left handed, the language centres of the brain, Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas, are located just behind the temple on the left side of the head. Broca’s deals with expressive language, word finding and sentence construction, while Wernicke’s controls comprehension.

These areas were thankfully unaffected by my stoke, so although I still have significant issues with my left hand and arm, which are troublesome as someone who was very strongly left handed before the stroke, my speech and language are now back to normal, so I am still as much of a gobshite as I ever was.

I did have some speech problems immediately after the stroke. I had significant muscle weakness, paralysis, and loss of sensation affecting the entire left side of the body, including the lips, tongue and the larynx. This caused a noticeable ‘reediness’ to my voice quality as well as significant slurring. I also had some issues with eating and drinking although thankfully was still able to swallow. In addition I experienced memory problems, I kept repeating myself, I kept repeating myself. More worryingly in the first week after the stroke I lost entire days.

These issues have now resolved themselves. The ‘shocked’ brain tissue surrounding the area of brain tissue killed off in the stroke has recovered. Additionally the human brain is a highly plastic organ, it can and does learn to rewire itself and create new neural pathways to bypass the destroyed tissues.

One of the most troubling symptoms in the aftermath of the stroke was a visual disorder called hemianopia. My brain was no longer processing visual information from the left hand side of the visual field. This can occur when the stroke is as in my case, toward the rear of the brain and affects those parts of the brain dealing with vision. In my case what happened was not partial blindness but rather an inattention to the left side of the visual field. I could still see it – my eyes are fine – but it was no longer registering with my brain. I had an vision exam a couple of months ago and was delighted to find that this problem has completely resolved itself. Had it persisted I would not have been able to drive again.

I am still not driving. I only have the use of one hand and arm and am waiting for a specialist NHS assessment for driving. Due to covid there is a long waiting list so I’ll have to be patient.

My walking is doing well. I no longer need the wheelchair I relied on if I had to go more than a few yards when I was released from the hospital. I rely on a walking stick and got a very spiffy antique one as a present from my better half. It has a carved wooden handle in the shape of a hippo’s head. I am slowly trying to work on my strength and stamina and increase the distance I am able to walk. Our new home is very close to the train station and last week I was able to get into Ayr by myself. That felt like a major achievement and a big step on the road back to a normal life.

Another major milestone was being able to have a bath again. Wallowing in a bath with a book was always my favourite means of relaxation and I really missed being able to do that. The accessible bathroom in our new house has a bath that I can sit on the side of and then swing my legs into the bath. With the aid of some grab rails I can repeat the process in reverse and get into a kneeling position in the bath, then stand and get myself out the bath by sitting on the side. There were some false starts, the first few times I got stuck, but now I’m able to manage it.

Some small aids go a long way to helping get back to an independent life. I have a handy wee button pull device which is a big help with fastening buttons. As a decided poseur with a taste for vintage suits I am at long last able to get myself dressed in a three piece suit and tie for a special occasion, or indeed just because I feel like it. It takes me ages, but I can do it.

I still struggle with tying shoe laces, and usually have to admit defeat and get help with that, but the rest I can manage by myself, which is a big improvement as in the weeks following the stroke I was dependent on help to get dressed and washed and even to get to the toilet.

Sadly it’s not all good news. I have considerable pain and stiffness in my left leg and arm. Sensation and proprioception (the awareness of where your body is located, the force your muscles exert and the motion of your limbs) are slowly improving but remain poor. Coordination, strength and fine motor control are also very poor. I can’t hold a pen or a knife and fork and need someone to cut my food up for me. Simple tasks that require the use of two hands remain beyond me. You don’t realise just how much you need two hands until you only have one, and the difficulties are compounded by the fact that it’s my non-dominant hand which I am still able to use.

Typing is still slow and laboured, involving pecking away with my right hand, but I’m slowly getting better at it. I am coming to terms with the reality that it’s unlikely that I will ever again be able to engage in the artistic and creative pursuits I used to enjoy. Public speaking is also likely a thing of the past even when I am able to drive again.  I tire easily, can’t stand for any length of time and find it difficult to project my voice.

Fatigue remains an issue, but it’s not quite as bad as it was a few months ago. I have significant weakness in my chest muscles so have problems clearing my lungs of phlegm. I’ve had a couple of asthma attacks and have been prescribed an inhaler so I can at least sleep though the night and no longer wake up every couple of hours struggling for breath and with a hacking cough.

I still have regular physiotherapy. My goal is to build my strength and stamina to the point where I am able to get another dog and to be able to take it for walks in the beautiful South Ayrshire countryside. I’m not there yet, but I’ll get there.

Almost dying and being left with lasting disabilities which may prove to be permanent makes you very aware of the fragility of life. But one year on I am still alive and still here. Doing this blog has given me a reason to get up in the morning and the support of its readers has given me the strength and determination to plough on with recovery, even when it has been painful or challenging. I’m determined that I’ll still be here and still blogging and being a gobshite right up until Scotland regains her independence.

I am now writing the daily newsletter for The National, published every day from Monday to Friday in the late afternoon.  So if you’d like a daily dose of dug you can subscribe to The National, Scotland’s only pro-independence newspaper, here: Subscriptions from The National

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145 comments on “One year on

  1. Anne Martin says:

    “I’m determined that I’ll still be here and still blogging and being a gobshite right up until Scotland regains her independence.”

    From your mouth to God’s ear Paul. Keep up the good work and keep your excellent blogs coming. 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

  2. Can’t tell you how happy I am that your “gobshiteness” has remained intact! Wishing you well for your continued recovery, and getting that new wee dug. Thank you for your blogs, which are a highlight of my days, and reassure me that I am not alone in my thinking of FREEEEEDOM! x

  3. Alice says:

    Top class update….thanks so much ….will give hope and direction to many….

  4. John Muir says:

    As a fellow long bath lover, I’m glad to hear you’ve got that magic back again. The fight for your own independence made a valuable gain there. And like every indie struggle worth the effort, it took love and kindness from those around you, too.

    Stay strong Paul, on the inside! That’s how we all do this thing, together.

  5. I’ll still be here and stll blogging and being a gobshite right up until Scotland regains her independence. ha ha ha ha ha

    right enough,

    so up they gat
    an’ shook their lugs
    an’ thanked the lord
    they werena men but dugs

    get well soon Paul

  6. Carol Gilmour says:

    It’s been a long slog, you are doing amazingly weel. I can identify with your recovery after being in an awful accident myself a few years ago. Now fully recovered.
    Keep on keeping on and stay strong.

  7. Yvonne Moore says:

    Wow, thanks for explaining. Sounds like you’ve made amazing progress! I am definitely not underestimating how tough this has been though, and I am very glad that despite the disabling consequences of your stroke, you have managed to continue your blog. You are always able to articulate exactly what my hubby and I are thinking, but not able to put into words. I am glad you are a gobshite!! 😂 Hope you are able to keep up the good work for a long time to come, and keep making progress. 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 THANK YOU, Yvonne Moore

  8. juliegegan says:

    So glad to hear you are making good progress since your stroke last year. I love to read your blogs. It is refreshing to read well thought out and reasoned arguments on Scotlands journey to Independence. Your determination and resilience will most certainly make your recovery a speedy one. Best Wishes.

  9. Not-My-Real-Name says:

    “I am still as much of a gobshite as I ever was”

    Not a gobshite to us…….but to those others…well they may try to silence, ridicule or ignore you….but all of us , both on here and outwith this blog, will remain fans of your wonderfully distinctive and informative posts/articles of truth.

    Thank you for all you do…..always be aware of how much you are respected and trusted by those of us who will be eternally grateful to you and others like you in the positive contribution you make to the Independence campaign.

    Tis a testament of your character and strength that even through ill health you continue to fight , via this blog and your articles in The National newspaper, for independence……and you for one will not be forgotten when we do succeed…while those others who tried to deny us our freedom will themselves be forgotten……and forever consigned to (bad) history.

    Stay safe and take care.

    Thank you Paul….

  10. JudyR says:

    Congratulations, Paul, on your perseverance. I really appreciate & enjoy your blogs & understand just how much effort it takes.

  11. Craig Fraser says:

    Hi Paul, Thank you for the update. I am in my 13th year as a stroke survivor I had a sub-archnoid brain haemorrhage in the thalmus area of my head not a get place to have a bleed. Thankfully I recovered pretty much unaffected the legacy is short term memory/cognitive issues, head pain and fatigue. I was fortunate as you were It could have been so much worse. What gets you through the dark times is the love of family, friends and well wishers. Stay strong never give in. Craig

  12. uno mas says:

    “so I am still as much of a gobshite as I ever was.”

    Best news i´ve heard in ages.

    God bless you Paul.

  13. Welsh_Sion says:

    Best wishes from the Welsh contingent as well … with acknowledgements to Nicola Sturgeon.

  14. scottish skier says:

    I’ll jist quote masel oan The National.

    G’an yersel big man. Wish you all the best in your continuing recovery.

    A walk in the forests and hills with oor twa wee dugs bounding along is the highlight of my day. Fingers crossed for you getting a new wee furry loyal pal soon.

    And folks; if you are not reading the WGD blog, you are missing out.

  15. Roderick Skinner says:

    Many thanks for that comprehensive update. What a time you are having to endure and very encouraging to read of your consistent progress and determined spirit. This is just to send you very best wishes and our shared hope that you will still be giving it hell on our Independence Day. Roderick and Elizabeth Skinner

  16. JoMax says:

    You deserve a medal, Paul, for all the work you have done for us while coming through a major trauma and 12 months of sheer hard work and effort to rehabilitate and recover. Other prominent ‘independence’ bloggers have gone haywire in that time and left us with nothing but negativity and frustration and for what? Their own petty grievances.

    Thank you over and over again. Best wishes to Peter and thank you to him for looking after you for us!

    PS Haven’t the Scottish NHS done well, too, in getting you this far, despite 18 months of horrendous problems for them? BBC ‘Scotland’, take note!

  17. Capella says:

    Brilliant. What a breath of fresh air this blog is as you keep the focus on independence in the gale of distraction and deceit being directed our way. So glad that you are persevering and recovering. Great resilience.

  18. Derek says:

    “…a stick with an ‘ippo’s ‘ead ‘andle…”

    Funnily enough, I was reciting a bit of Albert yesterday – but ‘is’n ‘ad an ‘orse’s ‘ead on…

    • Gariochquine says:

      Really pleased to hear that your perseverance and determination are producing such good results. Your blog is such an encouragement to us all to keep going on the road to independence. Wishing you all the best for your continuing recovery.

  19. James Mills says:

    ” The key to longevity is to interact with other people !” Carl Reiner

    …and you do that so well , Paul . Long may it continue !

  20. Alex Clark says:

    It’s that fighting spirit that has kept you going this past year. You have made very good progress and hopefully will continue to do so going forward. I’m glad to hear too that you intend to continue being a gobshite for as long as it takes. You do that and we’ll keep listening.

    All the best and thanks for all the hard work you put in for the Independence cause.

  21. IZZIE says:

    Worry when we don.t here from you. I know from the experiences of a family member
    how hard it is to stay positive the movement needs bonnie fechters like you.Keep well

  22. bringiton says:

    So glad you are still with us Paul.
    Perseverence is a good Scottish trait and let’s hope you can recover some of the stuff you have lost in time.

  23. Legerwood says:

    Good to get the update on your progress and it is progress and hard won. Testament to your determination and sheer bloody-mindedness.

    Seems you are also a bit of a trendsetter. The Queen now has a walking stick. Not as nice as your one I’m sure.

    Keep going you’re getting there.

    • Perhaps the queen’s walking cane is Prince Andrew’s head on a stick.
      Paul, What a wonderful account of your fight back. Hats off to ‘nurse’ Peter too.
      If you were PM. Zac Goldsmith would have treated you toa £25,000 a week holiday in his Marbella villa and complex.
      Johnson doesn’t know what ‘exhausted ‘means.
      We are almost there.
      When we instigate a Scottish ‘Honours’ system, Paul will be among the first named as an ‘Honourable Freeman of Scotland, surely.
      The best to you and Peter, from the Collatins.

      • grizebard says:

        I particularly like that last suggestion of yours, Jack.

        Paul, you may rightly feel this last year has been something of a bumpy roller-coaster ride for yourself, but despite it all you’ve continued to be a shining light in the darkness for so many of us. May your road get smoother and your load lighter!

      • therealiggi says:

        Well said
        Paul, so good to hear of progress, you have clearly asked the right questions and describe so clearly the issues faced and still face, an intelligent 👄🗣💩 😎🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿
        Even in the your darkest days you inspired us, 💥🧗‍♂️thank you, and hope you get a 🐶companion soon

  24. Aileen Ford says:

    Glad to hear how well you are doing, Paul. I’m so sorry you have been left with lasting difficulties. I’m so glad to read all of your gobshite. It is amazing. Take care. Aileen

  25. You are doing brilliantly, Paul, and are an inspiration in even more ways than you were before. Long may you continue to be the burr under the BritNats’ saddles.

  26. Alison Duncan says:

    So good to read of your progress Paul….one step at a time, one day at a time, onward and upward!great to hear you will be getting canine companion(s) – also sad to think it is a year since Wee Ginger Dug crossed the Rainbow Bridge.
    Stay safe, keep writing!!
    A xx

  27. Janice Gale says:

    My heart goes out to you and I’m very thankful that you have been able to continue this remarkable and valuable blog. You are very brave and courageous and I hope your determination proves positive to an even fuller recovery. I want to see the new wee ginger dug (although at first I thought that was your nickname haha) Every good wish and prayer. x

  28. Macart says:

    Be well and well done.

  29. dakk says:

    Keep fighting the good fight Paul.

    Not to mention the gobshiteing!

  30. Capella says:

    Unbelievable. Matt Hancock has been given a job in the UN.
    A man who couldn’t tie his own shoe laces is going to help Africa recover from Covid. Well god help Africa. Literally.

    Former Health Secretary Matt Hancock given United Nations role –

    • Dr Jim says:

      You never know who or which arse you have to kiss in this world to get ahead, still he’ll be moving on to his next secretary eh

      • Capella says:

        Some lucrative contracts will be flying out the door once Africa finds the money to pay for them. Oh wait – that Aid budget was just agreed wasn’t it? Matt’s local pub landlord will be on the phone as we speak.

  31. Eilidh says:

    I know it has been a very difficult year for you Paul. Well done for your perseverance in dealing with your stroke recovery thank you for continuing to blog. This blog is the only Indy blog worth reading these days.Look after yourself

  32. Bob Lamont says:

    Quite the update on your condition, but glad to hear some mobility restored and your humour still prevailing despite all you’ve been through….

  33. exile says:

    Thank you for this progress report, Paul. Keep getting better – and I hope you and Peter will get a dog soon. Thanks for all your work on this blog, but don’t overdo it! Your health comes first. Best regards to you and Peter.

  34. Good to hear you are making progress, and long may it continue.

    I don’t comment often on your blogs, but I read every one you write and really appreciate the time and effort you put into them. You manage to put things into perspective that you don’t get elsewhere. The contributions from others who comment on here make this the Indy blog of choice.

    Take care of yourself and keep up the good work, it is very much appreciated.

  35. UndeadShuan says:

    The work you do on your blog, is very much appreciated.
    Hope that your health continues to improve, but remember to rest up when you need to.

  36. Capella says:

    Quote for today

  37. Not-My-Real-Name says:

    To understand how BAD (pathetic) our media is in Scotland.

    In respect to the 5,000 visas for HGV drivers ……last week on STV news John Mackay in the headlines stated that ‘127’ EU drivers had applied to take up these TEMP positions…

    This figure of 127 was quoted by Boris Johnson that morning when interviewed by Dan Walker at BBC Breakfast during the Tory conference……


    An independent journalist contacted the relevant department that day and established it was only 27 drivers NOT 127 as Johnson said.

    Subsequent to that various cabinet ministers confirmed figure ONLY 27…including Kwasi Kwarteng on Marr show last Sunday…..

    So a Scottish ‘news’ programme CHOSE to parrot a figure quoted by renowned LIAR aka Boris Johnson as opposed to themselves checking it out to establish if that was the true figure….so what else do they just ‘parrot’ without checking…..well as we all know…pretty much most things courtesy of ‘some critics’ aka opposition politicians and also individuals opposed to the SNP………..

  38. Jacksg says:

    This got me thinking of the clear disparity between the Government in Westminster and Scotland. The difference could not be starker.

  39. scottish skier says:

    Europeans feeling ‘sense of schadenfreude’ over UK’s fuel shortages and empty shelves

    MADRID – As the news of Boris Johnson’s holiday in Marbella grabbed headlines in Spain, analysts in Europe said Britain had committed “Anglo-Saxon suicide” when it voted for Brexit, damaging the influence of a once-respected country abroad.

    Like America under former US president Donald Trump, Britain had fallen for a form of populism that was clearly not helping national interests, commentators argued.

    Before Brexit, Britain was seen by most Europeans as a bastion of democracy, a world financial centre and the pillar of the finest educational system in the world – but this image has been replaced with negative media stories across Europe about fuel shortages and empty supermarket shelves…

    …Fabian Zuleeg, chief executive of the European Policy Centre in Brussels, said the British government appeared to be heading for a trade war with Europe for ideological reasons.
    “I think attitudes in Europe have changed significantly. We used to make the distinction between Britain and the government. Now there is an exasperation with Britain. Britain seems to have turned much more inward thinking, insular and less democratic,” he told i.

    “I think attitudes in Europe have changed significantly. We used to make the distinction between Britain and the government. Now there is an exasperation with Britain. Britain seems to have turned much more inward thinking, insular and less democratic,” he told i.

  40. Jacksg says:

    As an aside. Neither the Guardian or the BBC makes any mention of it.

  41. Golfnut says:

    Worth remembering on ‘ Columbus day ‘ what it meant for the inhabitants across the whole of the Americas. Johnson’s hero, Churchill was no better.

    • raineach says:

      Celebrate Columbus Day by going into your neighbour’s house and telling them they don’t live there any more

    • scottish skier says:

      Yep, Churchill was racist scum, hence Bozo idolising him. Nothing of course to do with ‘attitudes at the time’, as my grandparents were of Churchill’s time and were not racists, but were subject to racism / bigotry from British/English folks, specifically anti-Irish hatred towards my gran, and anti-Catholic hatred towards by dad’s side. Everyone knew what racism / bigotry was, and that it was appalling behaviour, it’s just there were not laws protecting people from it at that time, because racist bigots like Churchill were in charge.

      Of course we are heading back to those ‘glory days of Britain’ again now with racist scum once more at the helm, causing EU nationals to flee the UK in their hundreds of thousands.

      Not his finest hour: The dark side of Winston Churchill

      And our modern day Churchill….

      Note here that the attack is not party political, but directly on Scottish people, i.e. open racism.

      Scots can build Jerusalem, but not with English money

      OCH aye, it’s the New Jerusalem! It’s a land of milk and honey they’re building up there in Scotland, laddie. They’ll nae be doing with your horrid Anglo-Saxon d e v i l-t a k e-t h e-h i n d m o s t approach. No, they’re just more socialist than us sour-mouthed Sassenachs.

      They want to spend on the puir wee students, provided, of course, that they are poor wee Scottish students, not English ones.

      But why, some might ask, are ‘Scottish’ Tories not angered by such things? Well, a simple explanation might be if they ticked ‘British only’ in the national identity question in the 2011 census. If they did that, Johnson wasn’t being racist towards them, so…

  42. Dr Jim says:

    The personalisation of Nicola Sturgeon and Scottish Independence

    The main thrust of all those opposed to Scottish Independence is to convince the electorate that their personal dislike of Nicola Sturgeon is somehow the be all and end all of the argument for Independence, you must not like her therefore you must not vote for the freedom of choice for your country

    When we go shopping to the supermarket what do we care about, well a loaf of bread a carton of milk and a Mars bar, maybe a car park with a petrol forecourt and recycling facilities, maybe trollies provided so we can easily load up and collect whatever we want, at no time ever in these endeavours do we care who’s the manager of the supermarket or whether he/she has a coffee machine in his/her office, or what his wife/husband had for breakfast, we just don’t care because whoever is in charge has supplied us with what we want to get on with our daily lives and feed ourselves and our families

    Right now in Scotland we have a campaign against Scottish Independence based on the argument that the political leader who’s about to get us what we want is not likeable or untrustworthy or a British agent or an out for herself greedy person or a well any number of *reasons* why the electorate should definitely hate Nicola Sturgeon, we have bloggers journalists opposition political parties, we have political parties who claim they want Independence too while filling up newspaper threads and Twitter and facebook with as much hatred and bile as they can possibly muster personally attacking the only politician who has a hope in hell of doing it

    Scottish Independence isn’t Nicola Sturgeon and the SNPs Independence it’s our Independence, we decide how it will work once we have it by voting in democratically arranged elections, and here’s where the demonisation of Nicola Sturgeon comes in, if these people can convince the electorate of that which they are trying to do there will be no democratic elections and their job will be done, a success, a victory for the forces of darkness preventing us the people of Scotland from having a choice and they will be happy about it and then you know what they’ll say? it was all Nicola Sturgeons fault

    I like Nicola Sturgeon a lot but she is not the reason for Independence, she is not Scotlands Independence, it’s us, we are, our country and people of Scotland is the reason

    Don’t let the naysayers succeed in misrepresenting the means to blindfolding us to the end, don’t allow them to crush our hope, for that is the plan of all those who do not support Scotlands self determination, to break our will, so stay the course and we will win, of that I have no doubt

    • grizebard says:

      Amen to all that. Some people seem to have forgotten that Alex Salmond got the opprobrium instead while he was leading the SNP/SG. It’s projection.

      The phenomenon seems to be especially visible in England, hardly surprising given the general ignorance there of the issues, a vague feeling of their world under threat of disruption, and a media that has cast the SNP leadership as bogey(wo)men. In fact, Nicola has succeeded far better in convincing people there of her ability and sincerity than her predecessor ever did. Many have said at election times that they would vote for her if only they could.

      What is interesting to observe among those folk here who were once genuinely antagonistic towards independence but who subsequently (for whatever reason) change their minds, their attitude towards Nicola Sturgeon also does a complete “zero to hero” about-flip. It’s projection.

    • scottish skier says:

      I don’t trust anyone that goes on incessantly about Sturgeon in the same way I didn’t when it was Salmond that was ‘the evil cult leader with all his acolytes’ etc.

      And that includes supposed ‘real indy supporters’.

  43. smac1314 says:

    Your courage and fortitude is an inspiration to us all. I wish you a continued improvement and a happy, long life with your husband.

  44. Dr Jim says:

    Unionism in it’s purest form for those who proclaim devotion to it holds no reason, it cannot be argued with it cannot be negotiated no matter the strength of the case against it, Unionism in this form is ideology to the point of no return, we see in Northern Ireland the lengths it will go to in order to preserve itself, the DUP the most bigoted backward political organisation akin to a Taliban style approach to the world is prepared to bring down all democratic processes in Northern Ireland throwing that region into total chaos once again leading to we all know what can happen, and all for an outdated mentally irregular ideology, and the defenders of the faith English government are happy to plunge us all into the melee that might follow to support this ideology

    These people are here in Scotland with the same mentality, they don’t want to learn from history in fact they look forward with gloating delight that their *side* will win in this war of attrition with no logical reason and a negative disastrous outcome which no matter how badly affects even themselves they relish and welcome it

    All of our young people in Scotland have not been as steeped in this brand of hatred for others as their parents and grandparents before them were, they are our hope for better, so I would say to young people in Scotland the idea of Unionism holds no future for them it holds only a negative status quo of bitterness with no possibility of advancement for our country, if people with many different ideologies and religions from around the world can come here to our country and see the many reasons to vote for Scotlands self determination then surely anyone can see that the Unionism forced upon Scotland is indeed a wrong ideology and it’s up to those of us with freedom of thought to change things, if we don’t do something then we know what will happen


    • ArtyHetty says:

      Well said Dr.Jim, excellently put.

      With the ‘eyes of the world’, according to climate change denier her maj, about to be on Glasgow very soon, I fear the BritNats will see it as an opportunity to create some sort of false flag stuff, posing as environmental activists. I wish the whole thing would be cancelled and held online, ( it might help save some CO2 being added to the atmosphere!) failing that, hold it in London, after all the English government are hosting to their own agenda, and doing so in their neighbouring country! I don’t see any advantage to having COP26 hosted in Scotland, the media will have a field day undermining the integrity of the FM and Scotland’s investment in renewables, for a start.

      Anyone know when the First Minister of Scotland will speak at TED today? Will the English government ban her from speaking at COP26? I hear there will be three (!) Scottish (government?) representatives allowed at COP26. Anyone know who that will be, yet?

      Aside all this going on, really pleased about your ongoing recovery Paul, though you are left with serious disabilities, your writing is still excellent. I hope you are claiming any benefits you will be entiled to, to also help with any support you require.

      And…come on Scotland, get the ball rolling we really need out of the cesspit UK ASAP, like yesterday really…

  45. interesting tread on last blog where some sort of consensus emerged,

    1. whose turn is it now?
    if this were a tennis doubles game, its our turn.

    2. what do we do?
    in terms of what Nicola Can do at the moment she is very limited. turning the draft indyref2 bill into law is the only option, if anyone else can think of another option, im all ears. so it would be indyref2 sept 2023, covid permitting

    3. When do we do this?
    there was some dissent here, but not a great deal, varying from today to spring 2022. Some consideration are worth mentioning which affect the exact timing of our response. I could take about 6-8 weeks for the draft bill to go though holyrood and become law. The ongoing fiasco of a negotiation between uk/eu regarding the NI Protocol. After listening to James O brian on LBC this morning, its clear that the eu wants this goat rodeo finished by xmas. However, even if lord frost does reject the present offer and actions section 16 of the NIP, that doesnt mean no deal, it means a new set of discussions would commence. so it could be into the new year before we finally know what brexit means.

    One issue to emerge, is that, if this is like a tennis doubles game, you and I can discuss what shot we should make, eg, send the ball to the back of the oppositions court or eg, drop shot just beyond the net etc. What we dont get to decide is how the opposition responds. I believe this was the greatest failure of indyref1. Of course an indy scotland staying in the eu and being a customs union was the best and most likely result, but the actual response from all 3 unionist leaders was “no customs union” and ex eu president Barrossa response on marr show was was “no indy scotland in the eu”

    this was why i was annoyed at Robin MacAlpine’s (someone whom i have a lot of time for) response to lesley riddoch in the big indy debate 1hr 20 mins in

    of course i would like to see an open border with england, who wouldnt, but it completely ignores the fact that if bojo wants to respond, “oh yeah, i’ll electrify hadrians wall and build a brick wall across the m1 and m6” he can do, thats his perogative. It leaves another open goal.

    but to our present situation, if nicola brings indyref2 bill into law in the spring, indyref2 in sept 2023, It has been suggested that bojo will respond with a legal challenge, either via the supreme court or direct wm legislation (he has an 80 seat majority)

    what then does nicola do? what could any scottish politician do? answer…….nothing. it would end the democratic “woad to independence” once democracy ends, there is no role left for any politician.

    The main reason I raised this thread again todays was because it just occurred to me that while it is self evident we dont get to decide HOW our opposition responds, we also dont get to decide WHEN he responds. eg, when holyrood passes a law and there is no objection from wm, it goes to the queen for royal assent, Is there a time limit on this? even if there is, bojo could instruct the sc to mount a legal challenge, this would stop the bill going to the queen, but is there a time limit on the sc to publish its findings? could they wait until eg, one week before the indyref2 in sept 2023 before announcing that indyref2 is illegal.

    this is what we are up against

    • raineach says:

      arrange the schedule so that it happens as sinn fein win in May and seek a border poll

      • not a bad idea tbf, but i think my point is that there isnt an easy step by step guide for us to follow here, with so much happening its difficult to second guess what others will do. you could also argue that if nicola publish the indyref2 bill next month this will increase the likelyhood of a border poll in NI.

        if you wait for the right moment to get onto an escalator, you never will get on.

        no, its time for us to move now. all of these other events happening in parallel, during a 2 year indyref2 campaign are more likely to turn Nos to Yes

        • scottish skier says:

          I think the pace is correct so far. After all, we are only 6 weeks into having a government with a majority with Lizzie only formally opening the parliament the other week.

          The framework bill is already in place, as is the franchise etc. These were key as they made quite large changes to law, notably on the franchise. They passed unchallenged by London.

          There’s not really much to do now for the referendum bill itself other than state campaign period, question etc. These can all be same as last time, so agreed between all parties as democratic and fair.

          I guess this is why the draft bill is just 3 pages long while the referendums act was 160 pages. It’s the latter that contains all the legal stuff.

          Click to access data.pdf

          You can start to work on the bill without hurrying it. Key for me is not to set a date – that would be a mistake – but leave that open to a later simple parliamentary motion. That is what the draft bill does; just leave the date open and readily subject to change by ministers.

          As the iref will change nothing in law, this is fine as no other laws would be impacted, so no date is needed at this stage. Of course clauses around the final date setting motion would be that it gave sufficient time for the campaign (say 3 months), counts to be set up etc.

          • not naming a date is actually quite clever. it removes the ability for bojo to trump it by calling a ge on the same date, also, if the sh1t really does hit the fan, due to the failure of the NIP, and people really start hurting, the swing from no to yes could become quite large., we need to be able to capitalise on that

          • Alex Clark says:

            I’m not a lawyer but I cannot envisage any possible circumstances in which Holyrood might submit a Scottish Independence Referendum Bill for Royal Assent without a date stating when the referendum is to be held.

            Sure, there may be a provision within the Bill to change that date due to “events” not yet foreseen but any Referendum Bill without a date will never become an Act in my opinion as it makes no sense to pass a law for a future event that is undefined as to when the Referendum is to take place. Nothing relating to the referendum can happen without a date.

            • im not a lawyer either alex, but your comment has a ring of truth

            • scottish skier says:

              In the draft bill, they do have spaces for a provisional date, but with the option to change that as needed.

              I don’t see the need for a specific date as the referendum changes absolutely nothing in law. The only thing is that there must be the agreed campaign period with warning for councils etc to get things set up.

              Remember, Bozo can call a GE when he likes. The legislation is all there for it, with no set date other than he must hold one by May 2024.

              There’s no obvious reason irefs can’t be the same as far as I can see. UK elections are even legally binding; an iref isn’t.

              • thats also a compelling argument, i wish i was a constitutional lawyer 🙂

              • Alex Clark says:

                Under UK election law he can now call an election anytime he likes but the Bill to do so must include the date of the election so as all the other things relating to that election can be undertaken.

                The Referendum Scotland Act (2020) states all the laws relating to any future referendum, a great many of these clauses in this law are date dependant. None of them can be implemented without the date of the referendum.

                That was the whole point of the Scottish Government splitting this up into two separate Acts. Get the law laid down under which referendums will be conducted in the first Act.

                Then specify the question to be asked AND the date for the referendum in the 2nd Act. That, I’m fairly certain, is exactly what will happen with the Referendum Bill.

    • barpe says:

      Yes, indeed, we are up against it – always have been, of course!
      But on reading your last paragraph I realise there is no point in fighting for Indy anymore, as the beloved bojo ‘holds all the cards’ (now, where have I heard that before?).
      So it’s time to roll up the Saltire, unfurl the butcher’s apron, give up the fight and retire to a life in an Englandland fascist state – there is no way through when they are led by a Churchillian intellect like de Piffle.
      We surrender!!!!

    • Dr Jim says:

      Once again Robin McAlpine applies student union theory politics to the real world and makes the cardinal mistake of making predictions of other peoples behaviour based on the governance of other governments own countries where different conditions and outcomes are desired for reasons that may or not be applied to countries outside their own

      When it comes to realpolitik, you can’t get it in books and past behaviour means little

      Many political deals are achieved just because politicians happen to like one another and for no other reason than that, there’s a great deal of sales charm honesty and bonhomie attached, something the great British UK seriously lacks, especially the honesty part

      • i think you do robin a disservice, i like him, i think its probably because he has never seen a border post like check point charlie, N/S korea, india/pakistan etc. These types of borders happen when even only one side desires them, we cannot go into indyref2 and leave such open goals again for the unionists, the correct answer would have been for robin to say, “i would prefer that the border is as minimalist as possible, as per most scots, but who knows what bojo will do, thats his perogative”

        • Dr Jim says:

          The problem always with this kind of thinking is that no one would ever do anything, no one would ever make a move without overthinking every possible move every other person might or might not make, the first question is what do you want, what is paramount, and the answer to that is self determination, if you don’t have that the rest is a moot pointed waste of time, you don’t get to win the race if you don’t enter into it because of fear someone else is quicker, if you do that you lose before you start

          All this box ticking perfectness or it’s all a no go is just so defeatist and very typically old socialist designed to be as off putting as the Unionists same tactical efforts to slow down Independence or put the mockers on it altogether

          • except i did write further up the thread,

            “my point is that there isnt an easy step by step guide for us to follow here, with so much happening its difficult to second guess what others will do.

            if you wait for the right moment to get onto an escalator, you never will get on.

            no, its time for us to move now. all of these other events happening in parallel, during a 2 year indyref2 campaign are more likely to turn Nos to Yes”

            which seems very similar to what you wrote??

        • scottish skier says:

          Any hard border would, as you say, be put up by England.

          Being inside a hard border is always much worse than being outside. Inside means greatly reduced trade, empty shelves, food and fuel rationing, mass economic emigration of young skilled workers etc. Examples of such countries include N. Korea, Belarus and the UK.

          However, as everyone in an indy Scotland can just get a British passport if they want as they are all British legally no matter what*, as can their future children and do forth, it would not be difficult for them to cross into England!

          Personally, I’d just use my Irish one as I’ve not used a British one in years. But then I’ve only crossed the land border about 2 times in the past decade, which is about the average for Scots.

          *The only way around this is to forcibly strip all the English, Welsh, N. Irish people in Scotland of their British citizenship (in addition to ‘Scots’), so pensions etc….

          So dual nationality is the only solution, with the passage of time and Scots not taking up that option slowly reducing the numbers / applicability.

          For example, while I have an Irish gran so am Irish, my daughter is not because I had not registered my UK birth with the Irish authorities prior to my daughter being born. If I had, she’d be Irish too if she wanted, and you could keep going effectively indefinitely, with her having Irish kids and so on.

          As she already holds an EU passport via French mum, it’s no loss that the line is broken.

          • im not conviced england would erect borders, they won the brexit referendum promising to take back control of their borders but as of yet, while the eu has erected borders in calais, the the uk has delayed yet again to install any borders in the uk. they cant. no i mean that we need to focus on the actual referendum campaign claims and counter claims, not the reality we will face after we vote yes

            while we can dismiss the more ridiculous claims of alien attack (yes really!!) the big issues we must prepare in advance, eg the threat of close borders, we have ports which could handle the big type roro ferries like the irish have built, we could enter in to negs to commission one ourselves and then ask the irish if they could announce,

            “if scotland becomes indy and rejoins the single market, Ireland would of course allow scotland access to our new facilities in france until they have constructed their own etc”

            whether or not the irish would have the capacity to accommodate all scotlands traffic is irrelevent. Its for the purposes of the political campaign during the actual indyref2.

            we need to get our ducks in a row

            • scottish skier says:

              No, I don’t believe they would; it would overwhelmingly harm England and English/British residents of Scotland anyway if they did.

              It’s a salient issue with these people for obvious existential reasons, hence they tend to think it very important to the indy question, while Scots don’t for the same reasons, just the other way around.

              If you self-identify as Scottish, the border is the edge of your country; crossing it means entering another. When I go to England, I’m going abroad. How could it not be? I’m not English, just like I’m not German or Italian. This is confirmed by English folk going ‘Oh, so you are Scottish?’ or similar when I’m there.

              If you see yourself as English/British living in Scotland, the border is something that concerns you more. If you are mainly British, you wish it didn’t exist at all.

              For me, it’s not an issue as most Scots don’t care about it.

              • it was an important point for scots during indyref1, thats why we had mags curran, aka stairheid rammy, complaining about turning her weans into “furriners”

                no, we need to be up front and ready with replies when the the unionists avalanche against us on this issue begins

    • Capella says:

      Nicola has already said the spring next year would be a time to put forward a concrete proposal. Covid19 should be better controlled by then. The BREXIT shambles will be dissolving whatever loyalty to the UK remains. The local elections will be on the horizon in May.

      Leaving time for legislation to be passed (an afternoon) then endorsed by the Presiding Officer then sent off to Betty for assent, we should be ready for any legal challenge by the summer recess.

      That should mean a referendum in September 22 or spring 23.
      If Boris Johnston refuses to acknowledge the right of the Scottish people to self determination then we will have to take it to the ECHR and UN. (Probably after recalling our MPs from Westminster and setting up a national emergency government in Edinburgh.)

      • Dr Jim says:

        I’m with you on this Capella

        All the second guessing by we armchair politicians means nothing in the end, if our political leaders say it can be done then it can be done because Scotland is not England who when they make mistakes just take what they want from somebody else to shore themselves up in the country they care about, and it’s not Scotland, we’re one of the countries they take from, we’re an asset nothing more, just like all the 62 countries who’ve now left any political connection with England because England took from them too until they decided no more and they’re not on the phone begging to rejoin Brexit England

        I have complete confidence in the FM and our government in this, Nicola Sturgeon could’ve been long gone by now if all she wanted was some cash and a big hoose somewhere cosy and comfy

        Nicola Sturgeon I believe wants this possibly a great deal more than many folk realise, you don’t dedicate 35 years of your life in pursuit of Scottish Independence just for some dosh when your whole life has been subjected to abuse lies and bile, nobody needs to do that, she does it because she’s the real deal

        This FM says it will happen, that’s good enough for me

        • bringing the bill forward maybe the last political action nicola could make, or indeed any scots politician. democratic intercourse is the domain of politicians, if bojo blocks indyref2 their is no place for any politician, nicola or alex , in what comes next. What would nicola do? she isnt a magician, there are no rabbits to be pulled out of hats.

          my point is, what comes next isnt the domain of politicians, its our domain Dr Jim

          • Dr Jim says:

            Alex who? why would you mention someone who has nothing and no authority to do anything politically in Scotland except detract and distract with his supporters trolling the internet howling abuse at the moon and the FM, and by *our domain* I have no idea what you’re talking about if you mean demonstrations, people marching around won’t deliver Independence for Scotland or it would have happened already if that’s all it took, Catalonia put a million people on the streets and it meant nothing in the end, politics is like business it never happens in public, only the posturing show is what the people get to see

            • i mentioned alex for benefit of those who complain about nicola, if bojo blocks the bill there is nothing that any politician in scotland, elected or otherwise. why? because if bojo blocks the bill, the democratic process ends. Inevitably, what follows is civil disobedience which, whether justified or not, will be deemed illegal. I’ll give you an example, I dislike the bbc immensely, its biased and i refuse to pay the tv licence and would encourage all reading this to do likewise. I can say this because im just a nobody commenting anonymously btl. In a democracy, politicians, journalists and bloggers like Paul are well within their rights to call out in print the blatant bias of the bbc, However, if they encourage people to boycott the tv licence in print, they are vacating the democratic process, condoning illegal activity and will likely get them arrested. This is exactly the point Scottish Skier is making when he says bojo blocking indyref2 is “Unthinkable” the reason he is so animated about this is because that is exactly what is on the table at the moment. If bojo blocks indyref2 the yes movement will move from legal and peaceful mass demonstration in the street to illegal and less peaceful mass protest in the street. That is domain of subversives like you and I Dr Jim. It is not the domain of politicians, journalists, bloggers and high profile commentators like eg lesley riddoch, if they are seen to condone illegal activity they will be arrested. best they can hope for is to don a giant panda suit and join the foule. Prediction, tommy sheridan and colin fox wont wear a disguise and will be the first to get arrested.

          • scottish skier says:

            Aye, ultimately, it is only the Scottish electorate that can ‘deliver indy’, which is why I have no time for the ‘SNP are not delivering indy’ folks.

            As for Sturgeon, if you want to ‘martyr’ her, at least in the eyes of some, then England blocking iref2 somehow is how you do it. This is of course a politician who has net positive ratings 14 years into leadership (DFM/FM). What do Brits want, to make her the Martin Luther King of the Scottish civil rights movement? Challenge iref2 in the courts and you offer the SNP leadership that opportunity on a plate.

            Man, Salmond would have loved for iref1 to be have been refused. He’d have relished it, milking it for every vote, especially as he knew he probably could not win as things stood, but Cameron called his bluff, and won. The UK won because Cameron let the vote freely happen. Consent was asked for and given, albeit it with a lot of damage due to the negative BT campaign.

            Get foreign English courts to strip the right of Scots to vote, and you’ll ensure that support for the union dies forever in Scotland overnight, meaning it can only be maintained by force of arms.

            As things stand, Scots believe there is a game of cat and mouse going on (myself included), and that ultimately, they can vote for indy if they want, on their schedule… That politicians will say ‘no, now is not the time!’, delay and call elections to try and gain advantage etc, but that ultimately democracy will prevail if Scots want indy. Why would they not believe that after 300 years of that of broadly consensual understanding (at least in the eyes of the electorate) and particularly, based on iref1 just 7 years ago?

            Anything else is, as Sturgeon says, ‘unthinkable’, for the reasons I’ve talked about many times.

            It’s amusing how how unionists argue that a referendum not sanctioned by the English government can just be ‘safely ignored’. If so, no need to challenge it in court then! Unless it can’t be ignored?

            You know, like the Catalan referendum, declared ‘illegal’ by the Spanish courts could not be ignored, but required the invasion of Catalonia to stop the vote, disbanding of Catalan police autonomy, violent closure of the Catalan parliament and jailing of government figures. Why was that? Why not just ‘ignore the vote’?

            Because the will of the electorate cannot be ignored. It can only be repressed with increasing force. Which I hope and believe, is still ‘unthinkable’ in the UK.

            Yes we need to ask if the SNP have the guts go call London’s bluff, but they’ve prepared the ground in every way possible (referendum bill not 154 pages, but now just 3) while they wait for and gently encourage the Scots electorate to get ready to vote Yes this time.

            • “it is only the Scottish electorate that can ‘deliver indy’, which is why I have no time for the ‘SNP are not delivering indy’ folks.” exactly SS, if the unthinkable happens, there wont be an snp or alba party or nicola or alex either. the only people who can win scotlands independence are the electorate, that includes those whinging about nicola.

      • it took the supreme court 6 months to rule the last holyrood bill on kids rights was illegal

        • Capella says:

          This one is simpler. The referendum bill has Royal Assent. Referendums are not reserved. If Boris Johnston does refer it to the SC it should take about an afternoon to declare it legal. So a Bill that goes through Holyrood in early April should leave time for a referendum in mid September.

          • not convinced about time frame capella

            • Capella says:

              In 1997 the Labour Party won the general election on 3rd May. They got a bill through Parliament, agreement of the Electoral Commission to timescale, question, franchise, campaign period and date. Went on a long holiday (summer recess), and the Scottish Referendum was held on 11th September. About 4 months from start to finish with a long break in the middle.

        • scottish skier says:

          No, the supreme court rule the bill was legal, but revisions were needed where it affected UK government legislating powers.

          And the bill changed Scots law in fundamental ways, including as noted, having complex direct and indirect implications for reserved UK government legislation.

          The daft referendum bill, as it stands, changes nothing in law and is just 3 pages long. What exactly is there to discuss? Scottish government simply wants to poll all Scots to assess their opinion. That’s it.

          All the complex legal, law changing stuff has already been settled in the Referendums Act 2020 and Scottish Elections (Franchise and Representation) Act 2020. There have been no legal challenges to the ability of the Scottish government to hold national consultative referendums on any subject; by law they can now do this.

          The referendum bill itself is literally just about rough dates and the question. It basically states all the legal stuff governing the vote is covered by the existing acts noted.

          Compare the current page bill with the 2013 referendum act which is 154 pages long. The SNP have been doing ‘enough for indy’ by reducing 154 pages to just 3 by legislating for everything possible save the ballot paper (same as last time) and final date.

          What is there to contest in court?

          • Alex Clark says:

            What will be contested in court in the referendum question. Westminster contends that a question on Independence for Scotland is illegal as the Scotland Act states that matters relating to the Union are reserved.

            The alternative argument is that simply asking the question does not relate to the Union because it changes nothing and is simply measuring opinion despite the result. You know that already though as you have been pointing this out yourself for a while now.

            • scottish skier says:

              The indyref 2 bill isn’t a union matter as it has no law changing effects on union / reserved matters, nor even on Scots law.

              It’s just basically a big yougov, sorry Scotgov poll.

              • Alex Clark says:

                That’s your opinion and mine, Westminster doesn’t agree and that’s why it will be for the Supreme Court to decide the matter.

            • grizebard says:

              To block an {ahem} “consultative” referendum on account that the result might possibly bring about change to the structure of the UK is firstly to admit that the proper exercise of democracy can have consequences (as we saw with the EURef, which was also “consultative”), and secondly to effectively turn the sounding of opinion into a Spanish-style “thought crime”. If the Supreme Court is misguided and blinkered enough to impose that kind of judgement on Scotland – which incidentally I don’t believe it will – such judgement itself will trigger the end of the Union anyway.

              (Of course a proper UK Supreme Court worthy of the name instead of this bodged Blairite confection would naturally be expected to defend basic human rights within a constitutional framework defined by the Treaty of Union, instead of merely busying itself testing quaint English-only parliamentary theory to destruction.)

  46. Marybel Tracey says:

    Since the massive stroke you had I have been diagnosed with cancer of the womb. The initial part of my diagnosis I felt plunged into an abyss. Since then I have had a radical hysterectomy and though they say they have removed all the cancer I face rounds of chemotherapy and the radio therapy to give me the best chance of keeping me cancer free. It has been a dark time but made easier by doctors ,nurses and all the parts of the NHS in my treatment who have done there best for me. I have been uplifted by family and friends and neighbours with love, flowers , gifts and thoughtful surprise visits. With your health suffering such a huge setback nothing is taken for granted, delight in the small insignificant things like the moon rising or the sun sparkling on the sea or a good joke. Every day is a bonus and gratitude for life a constant. As this year fades into Autumn I am now looking forward to a family Christmas like no other surrounded by nearly all my immediate family. Can life get any better? Power to your elbow Paul I always am uplifted by your blogs.

    • Welsh_Sion says:

      My thoughts with you following your diagnosis.

    • Capella says:

      Best wishes for your complete recovery Marybel. We can all take refuge in nature and the companionship of friends and family. Both very precious parts of life. Hope to see you commenting often.

    • Stephen McKenzie says:

      Marybel, I hope you and your family have a great and memorable Christmas with many still to come!

      Your positive outlook on what challenges are still to come, is there for all to see.

  47. scottish skier says:

    Our European neighbors will understand why Scotland wants to be independent. England/Britain just cannot be trusted.

    At some point the Scotgov will likely need to stop trying to work with London as what’s the point? The British/English just lie to your face, all the time intending just to welch on what they’ve agreed. Their signature under international law, never mind their word, is worthless.

    I’d trust the Russians more; at least they are up front and are not trying to end democracy in Scotland and make it colony of Russia.

    As brexit drags on, so the sympathy for Scotland in Europe grow daily. Hence the recent Ambassadors visit.

    • Welsh_Sion says:

      The British/English just lie to your face, all the time intending just to welch on what they’ve agreed.


      The sentiment is fine, SS, but please be careful of using the ‘w – word’ in my and my compatriots’ presence. Thanks. 🙂

      • scottish skier says:

        Apologies if I didn’t know another meaning or origins of this word!

        • Welsh_Sion says:

          To use the Scottish term, the etymology linking the word (with a ‘c’ or an ‘s’) with my nationality is ‘not proven’. However, a good many of us (in differing degrees) take offence at the term as it can be associated (correctly or otherwise) with those of us living to the west of Offa’s Dyke, or, like me, in exile in a foreign country.

          There is a long list of the famous who have apologised for using the term and have sought other expressions to avoid slandering y Cymry, and we welcome that. I also accept your sincere apologies in this matter – we are otherwise on the same page (quite literally in this case!) in seeking independence from a shambolic and venal Westminster.

          I permit myself the expression of, “Despite my nationality I don’t welsh on my commitments”, but I think as an in-joke against myself, I’m allowed that. However, I do not condone its usage in a wider field.

  48. Not-My-Real-Name says:

    Now seems clear how Boris Johnson got the ERG to agree to pass his Brexit deal in HOC…..Mark Francois , at the time, told a TV journalist that PM had given them, the ERG, assurances at a meeting they had with him at No 10 ( he did not elaborate…. quelle surprise) …….obviously those assurances were …..we don’t need to stick to any agreement we have negotiated and signed up to, if at any point , it does not suit us…..thus appeasing the rabid ERG Brexiteers…….and securing their support.

    Or WORSE and probably more likely (based on his track record) he told them outright…..Not to worry as we will NOT stick to what we have agreed with the EU. Thus he got his vote in HOC over the line….under false pretences… wonder so little scrutiny was given to the Brexit deal as the ERG knew it was not worth the paper it was written on…as far as the Tory government and Brexiteer Tories were concerned………

    How many more people will be shafted by these charlatans……the list is growing…..included in list is the pig farmer on Telly pleading with ‘Boris’ for help…..same Pig farmer who supported leaving the EU and who told Remainers post EU vote to “Get over it”…..which currently is opposite of her reaction NOW… sympathy is for the Pigs only …..reminiscent of shafted fishermen and t’others…..some who now see the light and others who though angry are using excuses…..namely adopting the strategy of the Brexit blame game…..which involves blaming everyone and everything bar Brexit itself being responsible for their woes….. a Tory strategy of passing the Brexit buck communicated far and wide by them and also their little helpers in the media.

    Meanwhile those of us , via a majority in Scotland, who did NOT vote to Leave the EU have to live with this total mess……so definitely no Brexit bonus and no bonus being a part of the (non) Union for us…….pre Brexit was no bonus for us in Scotland being part of (non) Union either….(or Wales and Northern Ireland).

    Sent a parcel to my son in Dublin…..been advised I have to pay custom charges…..Brexit Bonus or (non) Union Bonus……….correct….Neither.

    Like others I am way beyond breaking point… long before it all implodes ?

  49. Colin mccartney says:

    as gobshites go, you are by far the most readable, long may it continue, best to you and yours

  50. Dr Jim says:

    It’s all happening at Bute house right now with a string of COP 26 delegates turning up to visit Scotlands FM prior to attending the conference, Boris Johnson might think he’s in charge issuing orders around the place prohibiting Scotlands FM from talking to the worlds policy makers but like everything else he does he’s failed again because the world leaders want to talk to Nicola Sturgeon and they’ve made that very clear, even if Boris Johnsons BBC and SKY news obey his orders not to report these events this time round we have the National newspaper and of course the Internet never forgets

    The only people Johnson is talking to right now are Spanish waiters bringing him stuff they spat in before they gave him the stuff

    • Welsh_Sion says:

      The only people Johnson is talking to right now are Spanish waiters bringing him stuff they spat in before they gave him the stuff


      Considering he thought all Irish people to be called ‘Murphy’ and was surprised to meet Leo Varadkar when the latter was the Taoiseach, he probably thinks all Spanish waiters are called Manuel.

  51. scottish skier says:

    Jonathan Powell: ‘UK can’t keep Scotland in Union if it doesn’t want to stay’

    TONY Blair’s former chief of staff has said it would be “impossible” for the UK to keep Scotland in the Union if a majority wants to leave.

    Jonathan Powell, who was involved in negotiations that forged the Good Friday Agreement, also said the UK’s position of not giving into a second referendum will be “difficult to sustain” as the key to the Union is consent…

    …“In the end, consent establishes that in a democracy a people cannot be governed in the long term against their will.”

    Aye. This isn’t radical thought. It’s obvious.

    Jeez if Belarusians are taking to the streets to protest against repressive rule by other Belarusians, requiring jackboots / stasi to violently crackdown on them, what do folk think happens of the repressive rulers are not even of the same nationality?

    It is unthinkable, and Sturgeon slowly twisting that thumbscrew until the pompous racist erse in No 10 finally listens to the advice of sensible heads, including within his own party, is very much the right approach. Others beyond our shores are watching, including those who had to go through the same to become independent, including from the British empire.

  52. Alex Clark says:

    An outline of any possible challenge in the Supreme Court to the Referendum Bill. This from 2012.

    The UK Government’s argument that a referendum Bill would be unlawful rests on two premises: first, that section 29(2)(b) of the Scotland Act, which provides that an Act of the Scottish Parliament is outwith competence if it “relates to” a reserved matter, is to be interpreted literally; and, second, that the purpose of a referendum Bill, having regard to its effect in all the circumstances (s.29(3)), would be to dissolve the Union. Since the Union is a matter reserved to the UK Parliament, the Bill would, they argue, therefore relate to a reserved matter and would be unlawful.

    Both premises of this argument are contestable. Taking the second premise first, there are a number of difficulties with the UK Government’s interpretation of the purpose of a referendum Bill. In the first place, they rely on a broad interpretation of its purpose, effectively treating the undoubted political aspiration of the SNP government, as promoters of the Bill, to bring about an end to the Union, as the purpose of the legislation. By contrast, the purpose as stated in the long title of the draft Bill published by the Scottish Government is simply to seek “the views of people in Scotland on a proposal about the way Scotland is governed.”

    There is an awful lot more where that came from and you will have to read it for yourself to get the full picture. Things though have moved on though since 2012 including the arguements from both sides of the debate.

    I have a very simple view, if the Scottish government win in the Supreme Court and it is agreed that they have the power to have a referendum omn Independence, even an advisory one then we win.

    If the Supreme Court rules that the Scottish government have NO RIGHT to a referendum despite what the voters who put them there think, Then we win in the eyes of the people as we are shown to be prisoners in a Union that we cannot vote to leave. Looks like a Win Win to me no matter what the Supreme Court rule.

    The Scottish government know that and so to do the brains in Whitehall.

    • grizebard says:

      Exactly so. It’s a wonder really that anyone can’t see that. (Unless it suited them not to, of course.)

      As Powell concedes, government must be by popular consent (explicit or implicit). Once that is withdrawn, no amount of legal jiggery-pokery or other confection can save it. At most it can only delay the inevitable.

    • Golfnut says:

      Alex, there is plethora of opinion peices, the operative word here is ‘ opinion ‘ regarding Scotland’s status and place in this union including Crawford and Boyle concluding that we don’t exist. They are opinions and as it stands at this moment in time they have no force in law including I might add an Act of Parliament post 1707 giving absolute sovereignty to the union parliament at Westminster other than by convention.
      The main focus of all the opinion articles and the arguments they raise are based on the Scotland Act which on this issue is little more than smoke and mirrors.

      • grizebard says:

        “…other than by convention”. Indeed. A gross presumption that a real Supreme Court would cast aside in the blink of an eye. But the simulacrum with which we are currently lumbered will be sufficient nonetheless, if only because it has already made clear in previous judgements that the resolution of an issue like this is “beyond its pay grade”, thus political not juridical. And the only possible political resolution is a referendum, whether BoJo likes it or not.

        • Golfnut says:

          I think also we should not lose sight of the ‘ indisputable ‘ fact that the 1999 Scotland did confer or reserve constitutional matters on the union parliament, the Treaty of Union takes the blame for that. Some comfort can be drawn from the Treaty of Union being explicitly referenced in the Scotland Act and therefore relevant and extanct.

          • Golfnut says:

            Note to self, never post comments at 2:30 in the morning.

            The above opening sentence should read,

            I think we should not lose sight of the fact that the Scotland Act does not confer or reserve Constitutional matters to the union parliament, the Treaty of Union takes the blame for that.

    • Dr Jim says:

      Yep that’s it, if they say no they’re saying it to a whole country not just one politician, and they’re telling the whole country their country isn’t a country but a colony of England

    • scottish skier says:

      It goes without saying that the Scottish parliament should not be able to legislate on reserved / ‘union’ matters. Same is the case in the EU; member state parliaments cannot legislate for the whole union nor to unilaterally change EU law for themselves.

      That’s all this clause in the Scotland Act sensibly means.

      The Supreme court would have a look and see if that wee 3 page iref bill would change anything in UK reserved areas, either for Scotland, or the UK as a whole.

      I cannot see how it does. Even folk voting Yes changes nothing in law in the same way it would not have in 2014 and 2016, which were both consultative only votes / not legally binding.

      Even Scotland actually declaring indy would not change anything in ‘union’ law as things would only be changing for Scots law. Scotland would not be altering the statute books elsewhere. Scottish indy is a matter for Scots under international law regarding self-determination of peoples, including in former empire colonies.

      Anyway, what the whole S30 thing is all about is getting London to accept iref2 and its result rather than constantly getting into fights over it. The referendum cannot be readily stopped, and if it is, an indy plebiscite can come via election. London can’t stop Scottish indy if Scots want it without invasion, as the Spanish were forced to do in Catalonia.

      But it would be a lot easier to have the vote accepted and respected south of the border though.

      And while iref2 will not be legally binding, it would be unquestionably politically binding on the Scottish and UK governments. If Scots vote Yes, the Scottish government cannot overrule democracy and not declare indy. Scotland would become Belarus overnight. UK government overruling the result would be even worse, like Russia sending the troops into Estonia to take back control.

      This is why the unionists really don’t want a vote of any form. It could not be ignored.

  53. Old Pete says:

    Big debate, usual bias, but Angela is excellent and Oliver Mundell comes across as a nervous wreck ?

    • Dr Jim says:

      I’m surprised Oliver Mundells face isn’t caved in the amount of times he fell on it, just like his father he even makes the same donkey noises

  54. James Mills says:

    Perhaps a strategy to circumvent Boris Johnson’s objections to another Scottish Independence Referendum would be an appeal to his vanity .

    Let it be known that , in the event of Scottish Independence winning the day , Boris and his adviser ( Carrie ! ) should be spinning this NOT as the break up of the UK but as Freedom Day for a New England !
    As the founder / creator of New England Boris would be lauded like George Washington was in the USA , like Ghandi in India like Homer Simpson in …perhaps not !

    If there is a remote possibility that a Boris statue might be in the offing to mark the Father figure of this New England I am sure that Boris would not be hiding in either a fridge or in a Spanish villa.

    He sees himself as a latter day Churchill ( he already has the figure and the racism ) so the more we play on the image of Boris as a freedom-loving , backs-to-the -wall patriot the more likely he is to do ( another ) U-turn on something that he was prepared to die in a ditch for about ten minutes ago .

    So let’s hold our noses and promote …. Boris the English Patriot , Boris the Freedom Fighter , Global Boris , Awesome Boris …..

    • Stephen McKenzie says:

      James: That could really be a winner. A new golden Elizabethan age for Yee Olde Merry Global England. They could send burning aircraft carriers (without planes mind) into Cadiz harbour.

      Carrie could get some new wallpaper as well.

      • grizebard says:

        I have the distinct impression that a “New Elizabethan Age”, with dear little old England once again alone in a world of bigger power blocs, is exactly what they most fear. (Despite all the bluster to the contrary. A “New Singapore” it isn’t either.)

  55. Hamish100 says:

    Johnson is a liar. We know that. I don’t call him Boris as if he is my friend. He ain’t.

    I think in the interim Scotland should be demanding trade parity with the province in Ireland who has an economic benefit with the Eu.

    Good to see the FM is in Iceland to be part of a wider group of nations discussing the planets Health.

    The Icelanders recognise her stature and her worth. Some here should recognise that.

    • Craig Fraser says:

      As I understand it (happy to be corrected) The special deal that NI has puts Scotland at a financial disadvantage and as such breaks article 4 of the act of union as NI is still able to trade with the EU on preferential terms?

  56. Alex Clark says:

    If the proposed boundary changes for the election of MP’s go ahead before we are an Independent country then Scotland will have two fewer seats in Westminster, Wales will have eight less MP’s but that’s OK because the overall number of MP’s wouldn’t change since England will have TEN more than they do now. Spiffing!

    • Not-My-Real-Name says:


    • Capella says:

      Soon, England will have ALL the seats at Westminster 🙂

      • Craig Fraser says:

        When Tony Bliar was elected in 1997 with the largest majority ever of 190. If every Scottish MP returned at that election was Conservative he would still have had a majority of around 120. Johnson has a majority of 80 if every Scottish MP returned in 2019 was Labour he would still have had a majority of 21. Scottish votes in the main do not matter, these boundary changes will make Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish votes irrelevant in most cases. Scotland and Wales don’t vote Tory but get Tory governments anyway. That is not democracy it is English dictatorship…….

    • James Mills says:

      This is called ” Levelling up ” !

  57. Hamish100 says:

    Brent crude at $87 a barrel.

    Pity we are too wee and it ran out in 2014

    • JoMax says:

      But don’t fret, Hamish, that nice UK (of England but not Scotland) Government will find a few bob to throw our way to repair potholes ‘n stuff. They’re very generous with ‘their’ money in that way. Of course, that’ll be after they’ve reduced ‘their’ generous donations via the Barnett Formula in the interests of austerity ‘n stuff.

  58. Hamish100 says:

    Now we have the royal web page release . Prince William -let’s not get involved in space.

    His picture and voiced transmitted by satellite from bbc hq. Does he not realise that it was space exploration looking down on the earth that measured the ozone depletion. Space tourism certainly is not for me – unless I get a free seat. Still no doubt the Prince will jump in his next private jet to zoom to see his granny at balmoral.

    The world looks different for the rich when jetting around.

  59. Hamish100 says:

    Just in the past hour – possible nuclear fusion plant for Ardeer ( near Stevenston))
    If it is safe Ardeer will be discounted!

    • Dr Jim says:

      Stevenson, where naebdy kin hear ye scream

      The Starship Enterprise is forever in trouble when the port and starboard Nissels don’t collect enough space dust to power the core that they keep ejecting into space when it goes wrong
      Does Stevenson even have Nissels or a Captain Kirk on the bridge when the fusion disnae fuse, and where do they eject it to? there’s nae space in Stevenson

  60. Hamish100 says:

    Impressive. I wouldn’t know what the wife is wearing making the tea!

  61. I just wanted to say that your blog is food for the soul. Nobody else, from the First Minister to the most occasional indie campaigner, has been able and willing to say, in a thousand different ways, sometimes furious, sometimes hilarious, sometimes both, that independence is real and happening, that the arguments against it are empty and it opponents are against it for reasons which are selfish and false. The journey to independence is long and sometimes bleak, but you make it all the brighter. Thank you.

  62. Sarah Neall says:

    I had no idea that you had been through all this. Sending virtual hugs if that’s ok with you x

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