Holyrood election vs UK General election as de facto referendum, the pros and cons

One thing needs to be set out plainly right away. I, like I am sure the great majority of regular readers to this blog, want a vote on independence as soon as possible. Ideally I’d like it yesterday. The longer Scotland remains under the thumb of this despicable Tory government, the more suffering is caused and misery created.

The point however is to hold a vote that has the best chance of delivering the desired result. This is the Scottish independence campaign not the Scottish referendum campaign. There are those who appear to believe that all that needs to happen is for some clever clever constitutional wheeze to be implemented, or for there to be an immediate declaration of independence and assertion of Scottish sovereignty and Scotland will magically march to independence and international recognition. That’s not going to happen. It’s easy from within the confines of rock-solid personal support for independence to imagine that the same sentiment is widespread across Scotland and merely needs to be unleashed. Would that that were true. Unfortunately we live in a nation with a wildly skewed media landscape where pro-independence voices struggle to be heard and anti-independence arguments are amplified and propagated even when they are without merit.

The really remarkable thing here is not why is support for independence not in the high 70s, but rather that support for independence remains as high as it does despite the relentless and unceasing British nationalist media campaign against it and the immense difficulties in getting the independence message across. Our real battle here is to ensure that we can get that pro-independence message through to as many people as possible in the teeth of a Scottish media which is scandalously unrepresentative of the range of Scottish opinion on the independence question.

There are essentially two choices facing us now that the UK Supreme Court has effectively closed off any possibility of a referendum in the traditional sense. There is no chance of a section 30 order. No British Prime Minister would agree to one when there is a realistic chance of Scotland voting for independence.

That really just leaves using an election as a de facto referendum. Notions of recalling Scottish MPs and together with MSPs convening some sort of National Convention to press for independence or to declare independence are fantasy politics until such time there is a democratic vote in which a majority of voters clearly back independence. This may prove to be the way ahead eventually, but it can only succeed if first of all there is a democratic event in which a majority of voters in Scotland who turn out to vote cast a ballot for independence.

That democratic event could potentially be either using the next UK General Election, or dissolving the Scottish Parliament and calling early Scottish elections with the sole purpose of obtaining a mandate for independence, creating a de facto or plebiscite referendum. The choices for a de facto referendum are using the next UK General Election or calling an early Scottish election, both have advantages and disadvantages. What I propose to do here is to look at the pros and cons of either option.

The first thing to say here is that using such an election as a de facto referendum must be in order to win a mandate for independence itself, not , as some have mooted, in order to obtain a mandate for a referendum. Scotland has already voted for another referendum. This de facto referendum will only be taking place because Westminster has overruled the unequivocal mandate won in May 2021. Asking for yet another mandate for a referendum would merely give legitimacy to the way in which Westminster has traduced Scottish democracy and imply that it was Scotland’s fault for not speaking clearly enough in May 2021, not Westminster’s fault for ignoring the unarguable wishes of the electorate of Scotland.

The advantages of using a UK General Election include that there is no question that Westminster has the legal authority to legislate on the constitution. It could not be argued that a manifesto commitment to independence itself was outwith the legal competence of the Parliament to which election was being sought. The other advantage is that Westminster could not gerrymander the election as easily as it could with a Holyrood election by introducing rules about turnout or the percentage votes won. It could not do so in England’s constituencies and to do so in Scotland’s would cause outrage from the other parties and be an implicit recognition of the validity of a de facto referendum. There would be no rules about super majorities or minimum turn out.

In any case it is a fundamental tenet of the Westminster system that no Parliament can bind the hands of its successor. The Westminster Parliament being elected in this de facto referendum need not consider itself bound by any measures adopted by the current Parliament.

Additionally using a Westminster election means that there is no chance of a British nationalist boycott. All the parties opposed to independence will participate in the vote, which guarantees the process the democratic legitimacy it requires.

There are however considerable downsides to using a UK General Election. Scottish voices will be drowned out in a UK Election in which English concerns will dominate in the media. The franchise will be that for Westminster elections, which means that foreign nationals resident in Scotland and 16 and 17 year olds will not be able to vote.

The other downside is that we would have to wait for a UK election, one is not due until 2024. That gives the Tories two more years in which to harm us all and erode democracy even further. However although this government has notionally got a secure Commons majority, it is very far from stable, the Conservatives are deeply divided and riven with in-fighting. It is not at all unlikely that the Government will fall before 2024 and we could face an early General Election, particularly if the Tories think that they will be able to deprive Labour of a majority.

The big advantage of using a Holyrood election as a de facto referendum is that Holyrood controls the timing and the franchise. Scotland could have its vote in October next year, keeping to the timetable originally proposed. EU citizens resident in Scotland and 16 and 17 year olds would be able to vote, both of which are demographic groups which lean to Yes. It would be a Scottish vote made in Scotland, and we would not have the distraction of a media predominantly concerned with English issues or the jam tomorrow promises of Starmer’s Labour party.

There are however also big downsides to using a Holyrood election. First of all an early election would have to be engineered. This is possible albeit difficult. It might be welcomed by those of us who are desperate for an independence vote, but we must avoid bubble thinking here. Not everyone is as engaged with politics as avid readers of pro-independence blogs. Voters traditionally dislike it when parties force early elections and can wish to punish those they deem responsible. The anti-independence parties will seek to make hay about the ‘irresponsibility’ of effectively suspending government in order to have an election. Once Westminster gets wind of the idea it could rush through legislation to either rule it unlawful as being outwith Holyrood’s competence, or to gerrymander the vote by setting an unrealistically high threshold for turn out or victory.

More problematic is that the UK Government and the Anglo-British nationalist parties will certainly claim that the election is an unlawful attempt to subvert the Supreme Court and that in any case no Holyrood election can deliver a lawful mandate for independence which Westminster or the international community would recognise. Alister Jack asserted to the Scottish Affairs Committee in the Commons this week that Holyrood elections can only deliver mandates for things within Holyrood’s powers. The Conservative government would double down on this assertion if a Holyrood de facto referendum was being planned, and we would see a concerted campaign in the anti-independence media telling the public that the vote was meaningless in an attempt to destroy its democratic legitimacy and to reduce voter engagement.

There could also be a widespread boycott of the election by the anti-independence parties, undermining the legitimacy of the vote. This might even be followed by Westminster suspending Holyrood, and using the vote as the excuse the Tories have been looking for to drastically curtail the powers of the Scottish Parliament.

The harsh truth is that there is no magic bullet here, there is no easy option. Westminster is not going to make this easy for us. But as long as we focus on maximising support for independence and calling out the appalling democratic deficit forced on Scotland by the British state, we can and will win this.

There is of course no guarantee that Westminster will recognise a mandate for independence obtained by a de facto referendum – but that would be the case whichever election is used as a de facto referendum. This is where withdrawal from Westminster and the establishment of a Scottish National Convention could productively come into play. But the important thing is first of all to win that vital democratic mandate for independence itself.



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142 comments on “Holyrood election vs UK General election as de facto referendum, the pros and cons

  1. Azel says:

    I think another advantage of using the Westminster election would be that were the Holyrood one be used, I’d bet on British media amplifying as much at it can fake concerns from Sarwar & co that the Scottish Government is only concerned with independance. Let that shadow be hung over Westminster instead.

    On the other hand, using Westminster would mean two long years of Tory government to go through for Scotland…

  2. grizebard says:

    Much good sense here (as usual), Paul. While the potential hazards of a Holyrood plebiscite referendum are clear, there is one potential advantage that you don’t mention, which is that it provides an rare opportunity for the people of Scotland to demonstrate how things stand to themselves. Not insignificant given the permanent media omerta which otherwise applies, and to which you rightly allude. If the opposition were to boycott – a further dangerous anti-democratic strategy for them – the effect would only be enhanced.

    The potential risk would indeed be the curtailment or emasculation of Holyrood by its bitterly jealous foreign rival. Probably a premature step, thus, but if the current suppression of democracy by England continues, an eventual confrontation of some kind or another is inevitable, with high risk for both sides.

    Fundamentally though you are correct. Success comes from having a visible majority in favour of independence. All else follows. So we need to find ways to use this cowardly stasis to recruit support for the break that a significant majority of Scots already believe is coming.

  3. John Muir says:

    However we go about it, we absolutely need to be the majority. Indy will only progress when it is demonstrated to be the will of the Scottish people. So far it has not. As much as we Yessers might want it, Scotland’s overall will remains to be seen.

    I think collapsing the Holyrood government for an early election is much too much of a risk. Talk about “Get back to the Day Job!” It’s not a move you can make without the Scottish people already there with you. Are we angry about the court decision? But what about Scotland as a whole? Where’s the agitation? Where’s the public outcry? We’ve got to look beyond just those of us who always show up.

    Two years might be about right for us to put the campaign together and work our socks off convincing people who aren’t angry, aren’t already solid Yes, aren’t out there with us in the cold, and are worried about currency, pensions, border and all the rest of it. As much as the Tories have been steering Britain into the iceberg, we have our work cut out for us. We lost in 2014. That remains the choice of the Scottish people. To overturn it, we need about two million votes for Independence in whatever form it takes.

    • However we go about it, we absolutely need to be the majority

      SNP and Greens will be sitting back watching the fallout from the UKSC delightedly.

      So far, seems to be going exactly as planned. Just waiting for England’s government to start talking about banning indy parties, jailing pro-democracy Scots etc, which would not be a surprise given the utter state of desperation they are in at home (Tories on ~27% or so in England) and ‘abroad’ (just over half that here if they are lucky).

      If that post UKSC case 61% Yes straw in the wind poll is anything to go by, things are about to get really fun. When the Rubicon is crossed, which may well have already happened, there’ll be no going back. Conservatively half are already lost to the union and will never change their minds now. Baseline Yes is at least 50% with the SSAS suggesting even devo max can’t tempt them back now; that ship was sunk with the unfulfilled vow. Too long in the making. Too many betrayals.

      Once this becomes obviously more than half, Scots will not accept anything less than indy, even those who don’t support it themselves, for most Scots are democrats and are Scots, not British.

      • John Muir says:

        I hope you’re right. It just really has to be demonstrated, ultimately in an election. “A democratic event” as they say. Only a straight up vote for Independence can unlock us from the bind 2014 left us in. It takes a plebiscite to overrule a plebiscite.

        For what it’s worth, I don’t believe we’re there yet. I was at Holyrood last week in the rain for Lesley Riddoch’s set-piece, along with the hardy few. It didn’t feel like the beginning of an uprising! But it was a drizzly November night that was cold enough to send someone present into an ambulance…

        We’ll be on the right path again if the parties can get together with the movement, lay out the plan, and we start seeing turnout at the marches back where it was pre-covid. Once we’re organising ourselves with a united purpose like it’s indyref again, that’s when we can win this. We’re not there yet, but with leadership and humility we will be.

        • Jim Mclaughlin says:

          Well re the turn out last week, if you consider the weather as you described it plus the timing of a meet at 1715 hrs on a Wednesday night – -a school night and half the workers still at work !!! I think it was a commendable turn out. And just the beginning. 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

          • Legerwood says:

            As you say the apparent low turnout was not the issue for all the reasons you state but what was impressive and little remarked upon was all the places across Scotland that staged some sort of demonstration. That was really impressive.

            • Jim Mclaughlin says:

              I thought it was a great turn out and as you say the numerous locations made it too.👏👏👏🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

  4. Pete says:

    With the cost of living crisis, ballooning energy prices, a harsh winter likely ahead and the ongoing raft of miseries caused by Brexit, many more “soft-noes,” the undecided and the unengaged will surely begin to see the wisdom of independence as an option for improving our lot as a nation, the harm being done to us by Westminster mis-management and the economic differences between the two kingdoms. This will perhaps take time, but it tends to be a one-way street, I’ve seldom read of an indy supporter being convinced that the union is a really good idea after all. The longer we leave it, the better the figures should therefore look for an indy win, and although I don’t relish the prospect of another 24 months of misery at the hands of the Tories, I think waiting for the G.E. would be our wisest course of action.

    • John Muir says:

      Prof. Curtis often mentions there are tides in both directions on the independence question. Supposedly, a fair number of Yes Leavers have moved to No while No Remainers have drifted towards Yes. Brexit is an identity question and really does move people, according to the polls. Fortunately for us: there were a hell of a lot more No Remainers than Yes Leavers!

      I know a fair few Yes Leavers myself, and none of them have shaken for their support for Indy. They all still oppose Scotland seeking EU membership, though. For them, indy is more significant than European alliances.

      • John Muir says:

        However, the polling contained bad news for the SNP’s plan to use the next General Election as a “de facto” referendum. Asked who they would back at the next Westminster vote, 41% of Scots said the SNP, 31% said Labour, 16% said the Tories, and 8% said the LibDems.

        Just 2% said they would vote Green, putting votes for pro-independence parties at just 43%.



        Doesn’t look like a sea change to Yes, does it?

        • Pete says:

          I see what you’re saying, but that’s current polling *as it stands, right now.* My point was that after another couple of years’ misery, the nation’s attitude might achieve a significant shift.

  5. Capella says:

    Why not have two plebiscite elections? A Holyrood election next October as planned then, if the Westminster government fails to deliver, the next GE whenever that might be.

    The SNP and Greens can campaign on one issue – independence – as Prof Curtice says. Calling a Holyrood election next October if the Westminster Government fails to provide a S30 order in a timely manner will be a logical remedy.

    • Alex Clark says:

      The parliament in Hollyrood can’t just call an election, the only circumstances that allow for an early election is if parliament fails to agree on a First minister to lead that parliament.

      So basically Nicola Sturgeon would have to stand down and the SNP and Greens would have to refuse to put forward any new candidadtes for the post of FM and at the same time vote against any Unionist party candidates that put their name forward.

      I think the media and Unionists would just love such an event to happen. They would accuse the SNPO and Greens of “manufacturing” an unnecessary election in pursuit of Independence while ignoring the “real issues” that they should be tackling.

      They would scream it from the rooftops and then if the Scottish government went ahead anyway I’d expect a 100% boycott of the election from the Unionists. If I was one of them, then that’s exactly what I would do. So as the article says:

      “There are however also big downsides to using a Holyrood election. First of all an early election would have to be engineered. This is possible albeit difficult.”

      • Capella says:

        Well – so what if the unionists scream “foul” and stamp their feet in rage. The SNP + Greens have the numbers to refuse any unionist FM don’t they? It would be a fantastic campaign opportunity on the theme “democracy” and if the unionists boycott it they lose their votes and if Westminster denies democracy well, on to the GE.
        The media will rage and fume anyway.

        • Alex Clark says:

          So what?

          Well, then I think Scotland would be in the exact same place as Catalonia finds itself right now with regard to international support for Independence.

          Winning 50% +1 in a Westminster election gives the Unionists little to none wriggle room to come up with a strategy to deal with the threat of yes winning. a majority. The International community would sit up and take notice paying close attention to what happens next.

          Scotland doesn’t need Westminster’s permission to be accepted as an Independent country but it most certainly will need recognition from a large segment of the UN, hopefully including most of the EU and the US. Then it’s game over.

      • Capella says:

        If it’s in the Scotland Act then that is the legal position and if the Westminster government tries to interfere with it then that calls for an immediate election to preempt them.

        Besides, the remedy is in their power. Grant a S30 order.

  6. Ken says:

    Did.anyone think the Court would agree, illegally set up by unionists. Tony Blair. The illegal Westminster action. Still on going.

  7. jfngw says:

    If we went for a Holyrood election I would want to go for something a good bit earlier, Apr/May/Jun. For many reason, the weather, pay negotiations are beginning or already started in Oct, we are heading into the flu season and pressure on the SNHS will be rising, people are more positive looking forward to summer rather than winter, there is more daylight for evening voting. I was never keen on the proposed referendum being in October in the first place. It also reduces the accusations about having the vote when other issues are the priority, it will still happen but less so, in my opinion.

    The major downside of using Westminster election to me is I suspect the media will be instructed to keep the SNP off the screen as much as possible and promote the unionist politicians. Up the Starmer versus Sunak differences, I’ve yet to spot many, and have debates around their policies.

    I’m with Capella on use both, they are almost certain to ignore the Holyrood vote but reinforcing it with the Westminster is much harder to ignore. It needs to be clear to the electorate though about the objective, we don’t want to dishearten or alienate them after the first vote.

  8. yesindyref2 says:

    I genuinely don’t understand the debate BETWEEN Holyrood and Westminster for the de facto referendum. The solution is obvious:

    Do Both.

    • yesindyref2 says:

      Sorry, I see Capella beat me to it.

      I totally agree, including timing, except also Alba, SSP and whoever is Indy.

    • grizebard says:

      Holyrood as a first step needs very careful thought. There is a well-understood proportion of SNP voters who do so not because they support independence but because they recognise the quality of the SNP administration (despite Tory rank mischief and Labour Mitigation Hell). Are they now ready to stick if independence were the sole issue in what in effect would have become an unfolding constitutional crisis? Would this even cement their support? If not, would Labour indy-supporters finally break their party loyalty and cross over to compensate? What if the indy-supporting parties lose their majority and a Lab-Lib-Con alliance is installed instead? Would such a short-term loss be catastrophic or be a long-term gain?

      • John Muir says:

        You can picture that Lab-Tory-Cole Hamilton coalition sneering in delight even now!

        Holyrood is our power. Surrendering control of it to the Brits is handing them everything they could ever want. “Grown up politics returns to Holyrood” as “big beasts set aside differences for the good of the people, in the face of obsessive nationalist divisiveness.” Doesn’t take much to be BBC Scotland at that point, does it! Talk up all their resulting “policy triumphs”, no matter how absurd, preparing us for Starmergeddon. Maybe the North British Tories will even save a few seats for all the Britnat love?

        It is entirely possible for us to slip and fall bang on our arse. Indy wouldn’t be gone forever, but we’d be set back for a political generation, if not a literal one.

        And if instead we won that Holyrood plebiscite election? Then as Paul outlined: it’s a mandate all too easily questioned for being beyond the powers of Scotland Act. A devolved parly with no powers over the Union between Scotland and England is not the right venue. Under 18s, foreign nationals, and a year’s headstart are slim pickings compared to the immensity of the risk of pushing the voters away from us and falling short.

  9. Disgruntled Pict says:

    Look, I hate to say this but our leaders need to step up to the plate and be a bit clearer about what will happen. How many pro indy majorities does it take to get a bit of backbone?

    After trying to hold a referendum on the basis of a majority in the Scottish parliament supporting it (Plan A) we know have the prospect of a plebiscite election…but when Westminster chooses timing (Plan B).

    So what happens if Plan B produces a pro indy majority of seats and votes? In all likelihood we will have Keir Starmer in power on the back of Brexit voting seats in the north of England. If he is not prepared to commit to a closer relationship with the EU does anyone honestly believe the first step thing he will do as PM of the UK is agree to its dissolution? Realistically, all that will change is that we will be faced with Sarwars smug face telling us we don’t have a mandate instead of Lord Jack.

    If you are old enough to remember the poll tax you will recall that all the saintly outrage expressed in Scotland achieved sweet FA whereas Thatcher swiftly came to her senses as soon people started getting rowdy and breaking stuff.

    Now I am not saying we should be breaking out the claymores. I get that we have to exhaust all democratic means. I would just like a clearer statement about what comes after Plan B, lets call it ‘Plan C ‘. That should leave no one in any doubt what the consequences will be if Westminster continues to deny the will of the majority of the Scottish people. That means being upfront and honest about what we will do, not hoping that people in another country will be nice to us just because we say please.

    • grizebard says:

      In your extreme impatience you demand the kind of assurance that not only can’t be provided in a time of great political fluidity, it would also, even if it could be provided, give useful advance information to the opponents of independence without any possible compensating advantage. I thought we had got past this kind of immature wish for unrealistic certainty, but some it seems still can’t master their own frustrations.

      In effect it boils down to nothing more than an implicit casting of aspersions upon the leadership, and in a manner that cannot readily be answered. A leadership that has brought us all so far already, don’t forget, and will certainly take us further still.

  10. Bill McDermott says:

    Are you all fogetting that the Broontosaurus is about to deliver his Federalism plan version 34? It was supposed to be delivered this week some time. Prepare for the damp squib to enable the millionaire socialist, Sarwar to claim the high ground and knock all these secessionists into a cocked hat.

    • grizebard says:

      Thanks for the useful reminder, but given recent events, I would have thought that particular self-build lifeboat for the Union is now well-holed below the waterline. Sarwar has never believed in it anyway, so why would he start now?

    • Most Scots want indy, devo / max is now well behind in second place. From Prof C’s SSAS, we have (2019-2021), in a 3-way choice:
      52% Independence
      37% Devo, including max
      8% Direct London rule
      4% DK

      This is nearly a complete reversal on 2013-2014, when the numbers were:
      53% Devo, including max
      31% Independence
      8% Direct London rule
      9% DK

      This is what failure to deliver the vow + brexit achieved. The devo max ship sailed.

  11. JP58 says:

    Paul has set out pros and cons in a clear and succinct manner. All routes are fraught with problems until support for independence is sustained above 55% where options of disrupting Westminster and peaceful civil unrest become realistic options if Westminster continues to refuse independence and a Section 30.
    In some ways a Westminster election is ideal for a de facto referendum as the votes of Scottish electorate are irrelevant to who forms government.
    There have been 11 general elections since 1979:
    On no occasion have voted of Scottish electorate been decisive in outcome of election.
    only 3/11 occasions where majority party in Scotland formed government.(unless SNP collapse no possibility of this happening in foreseeable future)
    on 11/11 occasions (I think 2010?) where majority party in England formed government. (this is reality of FPTP with a much bigger neighbour and also effectively means that English electorate decide on granting a Section 30!)
    In reality what could be more appropriate than using an electoral system the outcome of which is a major factor in desire for independence to show Scottish electorates wishes for independence.

  12. A very good blog post that summarises the pros and cons well. Couple of thoughts…
    As per comments towards the end of the last thread, the UKSC basically concluded that a Scottish election plebiscite – either for Holyrood or English imperial Parliament elections – would lead to independence if Scots voted Yes. In this case they were talking about an indyref, but the outcome is the same if Yes parties stand for independence in an election, making it clear that a vote for them is a vote for indy, just as last time it was a vote for a new indyref. The judges were very clear here; a Yes vote means indy, with that their whole justification for preventing iref2.

    The only way to stop this would, therefore, as discussed, be to stop Scottish elections. This would end the union instantly, with up to 3/4 moving to Yes, as per the 1997 referendum result and, basically, the % of the population who pick Scottish over British in forced choice national identity. Direct English rule has just 8% support in Scotland.

    And still Scots could vote in a UK election to do exactly the same, just as Prof Curtice has made clear. So what next, stop UK elections in Scotland too? Do that and the UKSC ruling is unquestionably overturned as now Scots are undoubtedly a ‘repressed’ people, if shutting their parliament down without consent was not repression enough.

    There isn’t a way out of this for England. It either has to stop Scots voting and use military force if needed, or accept a Yes to independence if Scots vote for that as per the UKSC ruling. We are already seeing disquiet in England about the UKSC decision, and that will grow. Here it’s going to be much greater. If you think LBC’s James O’Brien was aghast, think what many Scots will be feeling right now. These are now looking South to see if England will right this wrong quickly, and the latter has very little time to do that before all hope is lost to it. The opposite is of course happening, as England’s politicians and lackeys here get out the spades and furiously make the hole they are in bigger. They are now working day in and day out to as quickly as possible generate the ‘sustained majority for independence’ that they are telling us is the pre-condition for any vote on the matter.

    The Scottish government are right to not act rashly in the face of this complete idiocy from their English opponents. The latter have walked right into the trap set, and are now getting themselves ever more entangled in it, totally ignorant of this because they are getting advice from people who may come from Scotland, but are not Scottish, but British, like Alister Jack, so don’t understand Scots at all.

    As for boycotting. This only works if a vote is not free and fair. Then boycotting is absolutely justified, and the public will readily follow those politicians calling for a boycott because of this. What you won’t get is voters queuing up to boycott elections to subvert the democratic process because some anti-democratic proto-fascists politicians call for that at the command of a neighbouring country which is forcing its unwanted rule on the voters concerned. This will only happen in the union jack shaded dreams of the likes of Douglas Ross. So, what would happen is some rabid brit-nat politicians might boycott, but voters wouldn’t, leading to a very resounding win for Yes parties in a free and fair election. You’d also probably see Labour MSPs/MPs who back indy – or at least the right of Scots to decide – come out of the woodwork to break the boycott and stand, and with a new ‘Labour for indy’ party if needed (e.g. at Holyrood), compounding the loss for the British nationalists.

    Of course, care must be taken in forcing an election for the reasons specified, but a ‘snap’ vote using due procedure would not be boycotted by Scots voters.

    The union can only be saved by Scots voting freely to be in it. No country is peacefully held against its will by another by the stroke of legislator’s / judge’s pen. That’s fantasy. And even force only buys time at great cost financially and ultimately, in terms of lives, as Putin is finding out. If the locals want you gone, they will never give up until you are gone, even if, as the old saying goes ‘but one hundred of them remain alive’.

    If Scots wish it, we shall have our independence again.

  13. yesindyref2 says:

    One more thing of course. and SGP has this completely right:

    The SNP have to display absolute conviction that an election is a decision on independence, not on a Section 30 order, if they want Labour supporters and the BBC to react in the desired way

    and a myriad other reasons like, credibility, worth 20% or more.

    • weegingerdug says:

      I agree with that – for reasons I set out above.

    • I’ve been pleased to see SGP questioning Alba’s pointless and self-destructive attacks on the popular Sturgeon / SNP which only serves the opposition.

      Also had a good article the other day dismantling the quintessential heart of England blog peddling horse manure again about the polls ‘not having changed in 10 years cos Sturgeon’, putting the same points forward as I have been here.

  14. John Wilson says:

    The problem with using the Scottish Parliament elections as the plebicite for Independence, is the timing. The next Scottish Parliament election is not due until 2026. Any attempt to call an election prior to then will be subject to Westminister dictating when an election will be held, if at all. You only have to look at the prevarication of Westminister in relation to the Northern Ireland Assembly.

  15. Well, Wales have a mountain to climb tonight, but at least they can hold their heads high in that their county is a brave, democracy loving nation, and not a cowardly bullying, failed imperial state that suppresses democracy and ‘bravely’ subjugates countries 1/10 its size or smaller, from the teeny Chagos Islands to Cardiff and Edinburgh.

    Fingers crossed for the USA too, for while far from perfect, it is so not Iran, a country which, like our imperial occupier, does not support democracy, has unelected clergy in an unelected upper chamber making laws, while the unelected head of state is likewise head of the state religion.

    Yma o Hyd!

  16. Jon Lyon says:

    Using a Westminster election would see a lot of media focus on the Tory-Labour battle and away from a plebiscite election. The unionist parties would also be fighting against each other, making a united front harder.

    • grizebard says:

      As has already been mentioned many times, the Anglo-Brits have themselves made many a previous Holyrood and WM election about one issue: independence. Given the constitutional moment of a plebiscite election, it would not be easy for the Union-serving media to create sufficient distraction from something as fundamental as that. The fact that, as you observe, the Unionist parties are and will remain disunited, makes the core issue of indy stand out above their petty partisan quibblings even more.

      A carefully-managed plebiscite election is the potential tipping point. And there’s not a thing London or its local proxies can do about it. They might soon enough be ruing that SC judgement.

  17. Dr Jim says:

    We just need to, if we had, what we need to do is convince
    All of these arguments are now bogus, we do not need to convince anyone of the need for independence anymore, what we do need is to keep telling people Scotland is not allowed to have an opinion, Scotland’s votes do not count, Scotland’s government the one we vote for is being silenced under threat of closure

    Scotland’s government the SNP is not a freedom fighting organization, Nicola Sturgeon cannot go round brandishing fighting talk at the English government or she her government and party will be used and branded as the next terrorist threat to England, Scotland’s government are there to negotiate irritate and politically embarrass Westminster into being democratic, not to start a war as some would want, that’s up to the people to decide

    Democratic interventions by our government have clearly failed, and that’s not our governments fault, it’s for Westminster to take all the blame for what’s about to happen now as Westminster in its DNA will always refuse to recognise democracy, they built an empire of theft murder and conquering on it in the name of their royalty for goodness sake, and they’d do it again tomorrow if there was a $buck in it for them

    There’s no strategy left, no tactic left open now, the fascists in London and Scotland own the airwaves and the law, they will do what they have to to hold Scotland no matter the cost to those of us who live here if only for the tactical strategic military advantages it gives them, without even beginning on the potential wealth of Scotland

    It’s too late, Westminster have made their decision and now some in Scotland have made theirs and as I wrote on the previous thread they mean to misbehave, and misbehave in the way none of us wanted, but they see no other option now, so it’s happening
    Westminster may think they’ve succeeded by this provocation of Scots in forcing them to this decision, it’s their go to historical tactic in putting down the idea of democracy, but happening it is and communication to both governments has begun

    That’s all I know, and from now on all I’ll ever be allowed to know

  18. Alex Clark says:

    Scotland will only be Independent when the international community recognises it as such. Without that it would remain in limbo as far as acting like an Independent country should be able to act.

    There would be no prospect of re-joining the EU, of doing trade deals or reaching any other kind of agreement with other countries unless they recognised and accepted your Independence as being legitimate.

    In order to achieve that it seems obvious to me that the simplest route is to clearly demonstrate that Independence is the clear will of a majority of the voting population of the Scottish people. This is of course why the FM has always stated she wanted an undisputably legal referendum.

    We have reached the end of that particular road but that has been made clear to everyone else also in the International community by the decision of the Supreme Court. There will now be more sympathy shown by them acknowledging that if the people are to express their desire to be Independent then other avenues must be open to it and a “de-facto” referendum via an election is one of them.

    The biggest problem with using a Hollyrood election is that it has to be instigated by the SNP/Greens and it is not straightforward to do that and I believe certain to be boycotted by the Unionists. I know there are many who do not see that as a problem but in reality, it is a problem as the result will not clearly demonstrate that it is as a result of the clear will of a majority of the people.

    A Westminster election though is an entirely different matter, the Unionist parties simply cannot ask for a boycott to be made in Scotland but not in the rest of the UK. The same goes for the organisers of elections such as the local councils who even if they are Unionists cannot refuse to take part in a UK General election but they certainly would if their party leaders were ordering them to boycott a Holyrood election.

    I totally see the downside to a Westminster election being used as the de-facto referendum, not least the fact EU citizens and 16/17-year-olds will not have the vote. It’s much easier though to measure the support that you do win since it is first past the post and there can be no arguing over whether or not you reached whatever threshold is chosen. Not so in a Holyrood election where the other side would no doubt claim that unless you won both the constituency vote and the list vote with a clear majority then you didn’t win at all.

    I’d stick with the plan as it is now and that’s to use the next UK General Election as a de=facto referendum on Scotland’s Independence.

    We still have votes to be won before we win such an election, so far better to focus on that than continue focusing on the merits or otherwise of one strategy over another.

    • Legerwood says:

      I agree with that analysis. Using a Westminster election with its FPTP voting as a de facto plebiscite election would be much more straightforward than using a Holyrood election with its hybrid voting system. We know from past experience that the opposition parties twist the results for constituency and list to muddy the waters.

      Using a Westminster GE also pits the issue against the ‘big boys’ and their policies rather than the branch managers. An overwhelming majority of votes for the SNP/Greens would put beyond doubt the rejection of Westminster and its parties and policies. A rejection that would also have positive consequences when it comes to gaining international support for independence.

      The issue of 16-17 year olds not being able to vote may not be as big an issue as people make out. Looking at the burth rates in Scotland for 2006-07 shows a total birth rate on around 113,000 and 2007-08 of circa 118,000. What percentage of these would actually vote and how would their votes split? Similarly with EU citizens. There were 234,000 in 2021 with the right to stay.

      There is another reason why using a forced Holyrood election
      May not be a good idea and that is the possible backlash from the voters themselves. Perhaps not quantifiable but should not be discounted. At this point in time the majority of the people of Scotland see the SNP-led Scottish Gov as the only thing standing between them and one of the most callous and contemptible Westminster Governments with little if any relief being offered by HM Opposition. If forcing a Holyrood election puts the existence of Holyrood in doubt then people are not going to be too happy.

      • grizebard says:

        Well argued. Your point about the hybrid nature of the Holyrood electoral system is particularly salient. It could allow all sorts of deliberate confusion about the significance of any result.

      • Alex Clark says:

        I also think it possible that there could be a backlash from voters when you take into account the level of outrage that would be raised by Unionists and their mouthpieces the media if the Scottish Government did decide to go down that route.

        It’ll be a bit late in the day now to start screeching about using a UK General Election as a de-facto referendum since they were warned that would happen when Johnson last refused a Section 30 order.

        They’ve been told, if the Supreme Court rule that it is outwith the Scottish Government’s power to legislate for an Independence referendum then the next General election will be used as a de-facto referendum.

        We cannot change that now, we can only reinforce the message that the next UK General Election will be the opportunity denied us in a referendum by the Supreme Court to make the decision whether or not the people want Scotland to be an Independent country.

        That is what a de-facto referendum means and anyone thinking it means asking again for a Section 30 order is deluded.

        The FM was clear, the General Election will be OUR referendum on Independence.

    • Golfnut says:

      I agree, Holyrood is a distraction.
      2019 I think, one the SNP MP’s asked May if they learned any lessons from the Brexit negotiations that might be useful when Scotland dissolves the union and I sincerely hope that is the route the SNP/ Green use.
      Spain and Belgium can have no objections if Scotland withdraws from a treaty and any legal issues would have too be dealt with in the international court.

  19. Ken says:

    Scotland getting another massive Westminster win. Holdingthe balance of power would make a difference. Bargains could be had.

    • grizebard says:

      Your detachment from reality is near complete. Relying for Scotland’s future on holding the balance of power in a deliberately unstable Westminster voting system that has rarely offered the kind of conditions you need? And if Starmer even manages to get the upper hand in that marginal case, he has already made clear that he will defy the SNP no matter what. So your magical-thinking game plan is a bust before it even gets started.

      If it somehow happens against all the odds, fine. Let’s see then what transpires in reality. But if that’s the best hope we have in advance, we’re in trouble.

      • yesindyref2 says:

        grizebard, Ken has been posting at least as long as I have, in NNS, the Grun, the Herald from at least 2012, probably other places, then of course Wings, don’t you think he deserves respect?

        • grizebard says:

          Sensible ideas deserve respect. There’s no value in persistence per se.

          • yesindyref2 says:

            People should always be respected. Their opinion can be challenged of course.

            However, just a few weeks back in the polls, Labour had a 35% lead and the Tories were down to just 6 seats predicted – in the whole UK, not Scotland. Now that lead is just 20%.

            By the time of the GE in 2024. it could be anybody’s election, including a hung parliament. There is no certainty.

    • Dr Jim says:

      Those days have long gone now I’m afraid

    • G says:

      Nice thought Ken but as Dr Jim says that times long past.

    • Ken, I resspect your views, but we are no longer in bargain basement politics.
      No deals..freedom.

    • JP58 says:

      Unlikely Ken – Scottish votes have made no difference at an election since 1974.
      Scotland has got the Westminster government that England have voted for since 1979.
      Implication from last weeks SC ruling hogs that Scottish electorate need Westminster (ie English electorate) permission to hold a referendum on independence. This is bad enough but even worse when you consider it is English electorate that have imposed Brexit and Tory governments on us and we need to go cap in hand to them for permission to decide our own future.

  20. Dr Jim says:

    Great to see the Saltires on display alongside the Welsh flags at the football tonight

  21. Ken says:

    These things have happened in the past and can in the future. The past can be accounted. No one can predict the future.

  22. The good news is we don’t have to pay any English debt when we leave. No moral obligation whatsoever since a Section 30 was first refused. To have any obligation, we’d need to be in the UK voluntarily.

  23. JackCollatin says:

    It is clear, especially from recent events, that what happens politically in Edinburgh, is treated with scant disregard by the English parliament.

    The Farce of an English Supreme Court trotting out imperial diktat, the scrapping of the Sewell Convention, the UKIM Bill, the laughably titled Levelling Up wheeze, with Gove threatening to ride roughshod over Holyrood’s authority Up Here, and the constant braying and ridicule hurled at Scottish MPs down there in the Madhouse that is WM, and Paul’s excellent piece above, and Duggers vibrant comments, have convinced me to drop my stance on folding the Scottish Parliament next September, forcing an early SGE, and asserting that the campaign be run as a referendum on Self Determination.

    The Jock Brits and their obliging media would continue to treat us with contempt,,,and in some cases still laugh in our faces, with impunity, because England’s Elite, and their obliging Scotia Nostra Up Here, would simply say No, and what were we going to do about it?

    Short of an armed uprising, we’d do nothing; and the battered old Indy can would be kicked down the road again, and the MSM and the Brit Jocks would have a field day laughing their heads of at our impotence and weakness.

    WE play them at their own game.
    Brexit was a Far Right Tory wet dream, delivered on the back of an 88 seat majority based on 43% plus decimal points of the vote.

    We play them at their own FPTP game.

    If Scotland returns a majority of pro Independence MPs this time, we have the right, and even Margaret Thatcher ceded the point, to declare independence, and begin the process of dissolving the Union.

    Where are the Red Blue and Yellow Tories going to find 170 candidates to put up to fight an election by 2024?
    A mere cursory glance at the dregs who are on the List Gravy Train at the moment.

    So, it is mooted that we go for a proper UKGE Campaign, lasting a full two years, a full manifesto, written in such a way that the pledges made are for implementation in Free Scotland.

    24 months of abject misery and failure by the English can only be of benefit to our push towards Self Determination.
    There’s more, but I have delayed you all long enough.

  24. Welsh_Siôn says:

    And a Happy St Andrew’s Day to you all – and no I’m not hung over after last night. Just fighting fit as per. Thanks for the saltires at the match, btw.

    Here’s a little news story from home, too.


    Drakeford seeking legal advice on Wales’ power to hold independence referendum after Scottish judgement

    30 Nov 2022 3 minute read

    • Dr Jim says:

      Are we seeing a conspiracy among the oppressed nations over whether they’re *allowed* to ask or answer questions? maybe you guys can ask in Welsh to see if there’s a different outcome

      • Welsh_Siôn says:

        We’ve been begging them for years for St David’s Day to be a holiday – or at least give the Senedd the power to make it a public holiday.

        Every time, the answer is ‘Nyet’.

    • Cheers W_S. Aye a happy St. Andrews day to all democrats on these isles and beyond!

      Great to see from Drakeford. That is what Scottish unionists should be doing. If they are not, it’s because they aren’t Scottish, and so not unionists, but British nationalists. As I keep saying, the English government has opened a Pandora’s box here.

      Rightly, Drakeford is thinking ‘First they came for the Scots…’ That and fearing a rise in support for Plaid Cymru.

      It’s no longer about Scotland, but also about Wales and N. Ireland. Likewise decent English people, such as LBC’s James O’Brien, will be asking themselves if they are happy with what their government is doing to the other peoples / nations of the UK. It’s ultimately no different to Putin and Ukraine. He’d have used a supreme court judgement in the first instance if he could have.

      Just imagine you were a decent English person right now planning to visit Scotland. What are you going to say to people there if the topic comes up? It should be ‘Sorry, I don’t support this. It’s very wrong! If you vote for a referendum, you should be free to have one!’. That’s what I would say if things were the other way around. Any decent person would.

      Right now, any English politician that supports the blocking of iref2 is no longer welcome in Scotland and I’d advise them to stay away. They are likely to get an earful from members of the public, face angry protests, and rightly so. Foreign governments can’t strip a people of their right to vote / subjugate their country, then expect a warm welcome. While in days gone by, I would be polite enough if the English Tories came knocking to try and convince me to vote No, they’d better not come to my door now to tell me they are overturning the most recent election result in their favour / taking my vote off me. I won’t beat about the bush about my opinion on that.

      This is the Pandora’s box that’s been opened. The English government is making itself to Scots like the Russian one is to the people of Ukraine, and all that brings. Sunak in Edinburgh is now like Putin touring Kyiv. This will not save the union, but ensure its destruction.

      Welsh Labour’s reaction is exactly what ‘Scottish’ Labour’s should be if the latter were not ‘English Labour, far, far northern branch’. It is predicable escalation of the s**tstorm that comes when governments try to stop people voting.

  25. Scotland has at last arrived on the international stage.
    Google feature St Andrew’s Day on their search engine page.
    And the Welsh Sion is raising a glass to his second home too.
    I’m sure anas Sarwar is in consultation with Drakeford, to raise a Jock Red Tory appeal against the SC ‘not political’ diktat.
    Happy St Andrews, Duggers and other passers-by on here.
    I am leaning towards haggis neeps and tatties for tonight’s feast.
    and a malt digestif, maybe, if I’m a good boy today.

  26. Dr Jim says:

    This is a good one for a laugh, I just read that there are English people living in Scotland annoyed with other English people living in Scotland for *betraying* their country of England by supporting independence for the country in which they live, which is Scotland

    You can make stuff up but when you read real stuff like this you realize you couldn’t make it up

    • I just read that there are English people living in Scotland annoyed with other English people living in Scotland for *betraying* their country of England

      Surely the former are being ‘anti-English’? Or is it the latter? Maybe both?

      Douglass Ross – any ideas here?

      In the most recent two Panelbase polls (early October) where country of birth cross tabs are available, 39% of English born backed indy excluding DK on average. That’s the same as it was for all people in Scotland 2012-13, and not far off the 45% of 2014!

      The most supportive of indy are actually the Mrs SS’s of our country; those born outside the UK! This is why the British / English government particularly doesn’t want them voting.

  27. Martin Edmunds says:

    If a UK general election is to be used as a de facto referendum then it’s obvious to say there has to be a concerted effort to ensure that absolutely every voter has access to the photo ID which will be required to cast a vote.
    The Tories have brought in this legislation in an absolutely shameless attempt to stop more disadvantaged people from voting, we can’t allow that to be a factor in the next GE.

    • barpe says:

      On the Coburn union show today, it was put to the Tory , Villiers, that a photo Railcard from a train company would be acceptable as voting ID, if you were elderly, but the same Railcard for a young person would NOT be acceptable??
      If that is correct, surely this is open gerrymandering of the voting system?

  28. Capella says:

    The King of England plans to make a child the “Duchess of Edinburgh”.

    Backlash in Scotland over King Charles’s ‘Duchess of Edinburgh’ plan
    29th November

    A BACKLASH has erupted in Scotland after reports that King Charles is planning to hand the title of “Duchess of Edinburgh” to one of his grandchildren.

    The monarch is said to be preparing to hand the title to Princess Charlotte, Prince William and Kate’s second child and the third person in line to the throne.

    The plans have been branded “feudal patronage of the worst kind” by Edinburgh East MP Tommy Sheppard.


    • Dr Jim says:

      It’s also arrogance in the extreme, and once again a demonstration of English nationalism to presume that Scotland or indeed Wales is somehow demanding that a monarchy that is under question throughout the British isles has the presumption let alone the right to appoint one of their family a title as their royal representative of anywhere without a by your leave or even asking permission of the people who live there

      If they ever hoped to increase respect for themselves and their position they certainly know how not to do it, although I suspect they don’t even care, well, they’re above that sort of thing aren’t they

    • The Hans Christian Andersen world of the Windsor clan.
      The good people of Edinburgh will now be expected too bow and scrape before a 7 year old lassie born in to unimaginable privilege and wealth.
      Or not.
      Disgusting behaviour in the 21st Century.
      England’s latest census records that the majority of King Spaniel III’s subjects are not even Christians any more.
      The ‘Defender of the Faith’?

      Absolute Emperor’s New Clothes madness.
      They really do live on another planet.
      Still, yet another nail in the coffin of English imperialism.

  29. keaton says:

    More problematic is that the UK Government and the Anglo-British nationalist parties will certainly claim that the election is an unlawful attempt to subvert the Supreme Court and that in any case no Holyrood election can deliver a lawful mandate for independence which Westminster or the international community would recognise.

    This isn’t a problem unique to a Holyrood election. A Scottish popular majority for independence in a Westminster election has as much legal force as one achieved at Holyrood – none. Same story for the international community: why would they make any distinction between a WM mandate and a HR one?

    There could also be a widespread boycott of the election by the anti-independence parties, undermining the legitimacy of the vote.

    Again, is there any reason that this couldn’t just as easily happen at a WM election?

    • Golfnut says:

      If the purpose of the vote is to withdraw from the Treaty of Union then it would be for westminster to show why the vote was illegitimate. If they are relying on the opinions of Dicey, Gallagher and Boyle, or judgements and opinions based on uk/ English conventions, they’re f###ed.
      The English Attorney General, along with many others stood in Parliament and said that he new of no law which prevented one partner to Treaty leaving if they wished to do so.

    • Yet the Supreme Court explicitly argued that a referendum would be illegal / outwith the powers of Holyrood as Scots voting Yes would mean, politically, the end of the union… That such an expression of popular opinion could not be ignored by Westminster… That while consultative, the referendum would need to be acted upon.

      If it was possible to just ignore such a vote, why would the UK government go to the trouble of blocking it, so likely giving the independence cause really decent boost?

      The same will apply via an election plebiscite for indy. It politically cannot be ignored, not if a majority vote Yes on a decent turnout.

      This is because, if the result is clear, Scots will collectively go ‘Erm, we voted Yes. It must happen!’, even if they personally voted No. They will accept nothing less and serious trouble will follow if they don’t get that. It will look really bad internationally and require boots on the ground in time. The population’s reaction is bad enough when a county’s own dictatorial government does such things, but it is orders of magnitude worse when it’s a foreign government trying it, which is what England’s government is to the people of Scotland.

      Even in the Quebec case where it was ruled that it did not have the right to unilaterally secede, as is typical for federal states, it was also concluded that if a majority there did want independence, the Canadian federal government would have to engage with that. It couldn’t just be ignored.

      Which is why dictators don’t just let the electorate get on with voting then ignore it, which would be so much easier than all the sanction causing brutal repression stuff. Nope, they need to either rig elections or stop them completely.

      The English government has bought itself time, but likely at great cost. However, it is only thinking a few days ahead of itself right now. Now it is trying to work out how to stop people voting Yes via an election even though the only realistic way to do that would be to cancel elections… It’s ever dictator’s conundrum.

      We are hearing talk of them trying to rig elections, but unless you get votes on board with that, it won’t work. And voters won’t boycott on command; certainly not when you are asking them to do this to deliberately subvert democracy in their own country to allow you to keep your country ruling them against their will.

      • keaton says:

        I was replying to the specific point that the lack of legal force behind any popular mandate would be a problem in a HR election. The same would apply in a WM election, so this isn’t a disadvantage to using HR.

        Of course a popular mandate achieved at WM would have (at least some degree of) political weight. But again, that would also be the case with a HR election, so it’s not a reason for us to prefer one over the other.

        • Legerwood says:

          If a Holyrood election is used then it would be the equivalent of preaching to the choir. While SNP/Greens would see it as a defacto referendum the result would be treated by UKGov as they have treated all the other Holyrood elections which gave a mandate for a referendum – it would be ignored.

          Using a WM GE as a referendum means you are dealing with the HQs of the Unionist parties not the branch managers and, I hope, soundly rejecting them.

        • Golfnut says:

          What exactly is the legal force required( other than the expressed will of the people) to withdraw from a Treaty.

          • Welsh_Siôn says:

            As I’ve said many times in the past, by a stroke of a pen under Schedule 2 of the Welsh Language Act 1993, Westminster repealed (cancelled) the two Laws in Wales Acts of 1535 and 1542 (loosely called the ‘Acts of Union between Wales and England’) which ‘annexed in perptuity’ Wales to the kingdom of England.

            That prior to devolution, obviously and a repeal enacted by John Major’s Conservative Government – they were the sponsors of the Welsh Language Act 1993.

            I can’t see it beyond the wit of Westminster therefore to repeal (in their entirety as the WLA did of the LiW Acts) the Treaties of Union between Scotland and England.

            Come and join us, Scotland in our freedom from the ‘union’ between ourselves and England!

    • Legerwood says:

      If the Unionist parties in Scotland boycott a WMGE then that runs a cart and horses, in fact a whole chariot race, through their oft repeated claims especially on the part of Labour that they need Scottish seats in order to win a WM GE and form a Government. Another nail in the coffin of the Union that is likely to galvanise any wavering Noes over to yes.

  30. Golfnut says:

    This just popped up on my fb page.
    Eadie Reader not chuffed.

  31. James says:

    First lot of polling post court case out from Redfield & Wilton:


    SNP: 41%
    Labour: 31%
    Conservative: 16%
    LD: 8%
    Green: 2%
    Reform: 2%
    Other: 1%

    Pro Indy Parties: 43%
    Anti Indy Parties: 57%

    Should Scotland be an Independent Country:

    Yes:49% (+5)
    No: 45% (-2)
    DK: 5% (-4)
    (changes on 18th Sept 2022)

    Ex DK:
    Yes 52%
    No 58%


    • James says:

      Ex DK:
      Yes 52%
      No 48%

    • That’s quite a jump for Yes. Looks to be outwith standard MoE, suggesting a shift rather than noise.

    • Changes it seems are actually on September 2021.

      This is quite stark:

      The average Yes in a snap, plan-free iref ‘held tomorrow’ ex DK in 2021 was, like this year about 50%. Yet voters have gone from thinking people will vote No by 42:35, to they will vote Yes by 43:39.

    • 49% approve (+2) and 33% disapprove (–) of Nicola Sturgeon’s overall job performance since she became Leader of the SNP, resulting in a positive net approval rating of +16%, a two-point improvement on her approval rating in September last year.

      Honeymoon continues.

    • The UKSC effect:
      46(+12)% In favour of an independence referendum within the next year
      43(-7)% Opposed to an independence referendum within the next year

      That’s some swing to a referendum on a very short timescale.

    • ST says:

      I think the issue of questions used by polling companies needs to be factored in now that Indy ref 2 is off the table. In fact IF the SNP use Westminster or Holyrood as a defacto Indy ref then the question pollsters should be asking is per the CH4 survey. If circa 35% of Labour voters are likely to vote Yes or support a defacto refendum per the findings of this survey on a 1 ticket question, ” vote SNP / Green / Alba for Independence”, a large chunk of that 35% would vote SNP. The standard ” who would you vote for at Westminster” question is irrelevant just now as there is no clear and official SNP manifesto yet.

      • Alex Clark says:

        I agree with you here, the Yes question though still useful to see how support for Independence has changed over time may not now reflect how people would vote in an election that is used as a de-facto referendum.

        We need some different questions to measure support now that things have changed.

  32. JP58 says:

    Labours response to SC decision in both Scotland and England (not Wales) is a wake up call to anyone tempted to vote Labour at next election.
    Since 2014 referendum any party wishing to win votes in England appears to have to follow a ‘take no prisoners’ approach to SNP (& Greens) and 50% (at present) of Scottish electorate.
    It appears that Starmer seems to think (rightly I’m afraid) by appealing to Brexit supporters in England. This effectively means that regardless of whether Tories or Labour win next election there will be a hardline approach to Holyrood both financial and political.
    This along with democratic defecit of Scottish voters needing permission of English voters to hold a Ref referendum must be hammered home by SNP at next GE.

    • grizebard says:

      Absolutely. The Anglo-Brit parties, and not least “Anglo Labour”, need to be relentlessly forced to own this SC decision. There is no indy advantage to be gained by Starmer winning in England with his pro-Brexit strategy, even if he manages it.

      We’ve doomed generation after generation of young people in Scotland to disappointment with Labour, so please, please, inquiring readers, let there not be another.

  33. On the topic of ‘ignoring’, if a country / territory votes for independence, then on the basis of that declares indy, if the state it is departing ‘ignores’ this, it becomes independent, obviously.

    Imagine for example, Tibet organised a vote and China just ignored this, not trying to stop it. So Tibetan folks went out and voted Yes to indy, and China didn’t pay this the slightest attention. Ok, so Tibetan government declares indy and again, China just ignores this. Tibet starts introducing border controls, talking to the neighbours to establish relations etc. China shows zero reaction. Tibet goes to the UN. UN looks at China and the latter be like ‘what?’ while shrugging its shoulders.

    So Tibet becomes independent. That’s how effective ‘ignoring’ is.

    We should really hope England just ignores us voting for indy etc. We’d be home and dry in a matter of months.

    Unfortunately, they are not doing that for they know they cannot if they want to keep control of Scotland. So they are doing the total opposite of ignoring, and trying to stop us voting. Just like China does in Tibet and Spain had to do in Catalonia.

    Which is why if we vote Yes, such as by election, it cannot be ignored and they will not ignore it.

  34. Dr Jim says:

    Hundreds of thousands in England being served with eviction notices to be forced out of their homes by Christmas due to rent increases and the spiraling cost of living
    Tories Labour and Liberal Democrats voted either for or abstained on rent freezing

    This is what Scotland would look like if not for the SNP and Greens

  35. Bob Lamont says:

    Totally OT, but was more than a little bemused to read what might be referred to as ‘traditional Tory’ comments in England on the John Nicholson farce in the HoC, broadly expressing fury over Nicholson having been stitched up by the Westminster mafia in proceeding led by Tory David Davies to refer him to the Privileges Committee.

    Quite remarkable, Tory members tearing lumps out of the Tory Parliamentary Party to defend a SNP MP described as an honorable man…

    • It’s weird, English media be all like ‘shame on this jock!’.

      Like Scots give a flying f**k about what England’s parliament thinks of Scots MPs. It’s not as if Scots are allowed any say whatsoever in the running of the UK. Not a chance. For that, you need to join and English party and call yourself ‘north British’ while trying to lose your accent. Even then you’ll always be a ‘one eyed jock’.

  36. Ken says:

    Catalonia Ref 30% turnout.

  37. Ok, here’s how things stand. Long and short term.

    I have not included the findoutnow 61% election Yes as that was so non standard, but have the latest Y/N ‘leave the UK’ from Ipsos UK as that approach to questioning hurts Yes. Removing it would not change trend to finish the year with Yes, once again, at >50% baseline ‘lost to the union’.

    • Luigi says:

      Aye, Scottish democracy is now clearly an existential threat to the precious union. Which is why Scottish democracy will continue to be neutered, one way or another. Cameron only agreed to a referendum because support for independence was languishing at 28%. He thought it was going to be an easy win and ended up wetting his pants. Sorry folks, a nice, democratic solution ain’t going to happen. British history informs us that’s its going to get dirty before we win. Are y’all up for this? How much do ye want it?

  38. Christopher Rosindale says:

    The way forward, after the SC verdict, has to include relentless attacks on the real reason for Westminster’s refusal to allow Indyref 2:

    The Westminster establishment’s deep fear, seldom admitted out loud, of what will happen to England’s sense of identity, and its place in the world, if Scotland breaks-up the Union.

    I have written about this on here before, but if we leave the UK, we end both its existence and the British national identity, and so plunge England into a deep, and painful, national identity crisis as it is left cut-off from the past 300+ years of its history, forced to confront the fact that it is now just a small, weak, irrelevant country, and left to come to terms with both.

    Political turmoil is inevitable as someone will have to be blamed for this – another big reason why Starmer will say no, and mean it, as losing the Union will be all that he is remembered for by future English historians. Then, England’s politicians will have to negotiate the break-up of the country, which will be globally humiliating as the rest of the world will clearly link it with Brexit, and the way it was handled. Then, finally, they will have to reimagine relations with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, especially to stop the last two from leaving the Union, then put forward a new future for a now shrunken, globally irrelevant England, forced to share the same island with another country.

    The fact that we are being kept prisoner in this Union due to England’s fear of its future without it, and its own weak sense of national identity, and not out of any concern for Scotland’s sense of its own future, needs to be forcefully communicated to the people of Scotland from this point onwards. It is insulting, and pathetic, that England is clinging to a failing Union instead of confronting the harsh realities of its post-Imperial existence.

    Also, and this just might gain traction down there, the Scottish government needs to promote Scottish Independence as good for England, such as by emphasizing that it would end the political friction between WM and Holyrood, allow England to express its own identity without the constraints of the current British identity, and allow current and future English generations the huge opportunity to create a new country, fit for the future, in their own image.

    Sold correctly, surely many English people will back this, as it will seem so new, and exciting to them.

    • grizebard says:

      It’s a bit like a negative pass-the-parcel, isn’t it, with no English PM wanting to be the one that gets landed with “losing Scotland”. That’s why I thought Truss would be the ideal patsy.

      The problem isn’t especially with “The English”, most of whom are fairly uninformed and disengaged, and likely to remain so. It’s only the English Establishment bubble that fears the loss of hegemony and the damage to their own fragile self-regard. But in the end it doesn’t matter a whit whether it’s Starmer or anybody else who represents them, because we’re on our way out anyway. If they (and their ineffectual Scottish proxies) had been willing to address our legitimate concerns honestly, maybe a breach could even have been avoided, but they’ve wasted every opportunity both to represent our vital interests properly and to be prepared to let go gracefully if that’s indeed our settled will. So any reputational collateral damage that occurs to them now will be solely of their own making.

      In fact, I assert that this is exactly the big shock that’s really needed to finally rouse England to engage in the deep-rooted reform that it so very urgently needs. Scotland leaving is the best act of friendship, the best service, we could possibly render it.

  39. Dr Jim says:

    Coming soon England will be taught to hate Scotland as an inferior ungrateful place full of ungrateful people, just as they were taught to hate everybody else who ever opposed their dictatorial fascism dressed up in royal flowing raiments of fake pomp

    Scotland wants out, the North of Ireland wants out, and both of us are being denied civilized democracy by the same people, we call them British Nationalist Tories and Labour in Scotland, in the North of Ireland they call them the DUP who work for the Tories and Labour , but they are one and the same and England cannot sustain their media controlled polls and lies while provoking anger from both sets of peoples that’s about to manifest itself in new ways that London never saw in the 70s because time and technology has moved on since then

    British nationalists should take note, everything that Westminster uses against Scotland to prevent democracy in Scotland was invented in Scotland

    In the final analysis England’s history will read that Scotland’s anti English bitterness coupled with that of the Irish was for that reason England decided to end its union with those *regions*

    They’ll still call themselves Great Britain though, well, until Wales has had enough that is

    But the world will again see and know the truth and remember how it always was and always is when dealing with little England, or as it’s also known, Perfidious Albion

  40. Welsh_Siôn says:

    Some census state-s for SS and statgeek to number crunch:


    Wales has more areas than England where ‘English-only’ is the largest identity group, census reveals

    30 Nov 2022 3 minute read

    The only parts of England and Wales where ‘English only’ is the largest group are in Wales, according to the new census results.

    There are four areas in Wales where those who told the 2021 census that they are ‘English only’ are the largest group, but none within England itself.


    • Might go some way to explain the Leave vote in Wales!

      But check this out. OMFG. This screams ‘country in existential identity crisis’.

      Sorry folks, but brexit was so, so, so about re-living past imperial glory, rule Britannia etc. Look at this change on 2011:

      This is the last death throws of Britishness. Holy guacamole.

      Of course all the evidence shows the exact opposite happening in Scotland, N. Ireland and, from indy polls at least, in Wales too.

      England has no idea what it is anymore. It is desperately grabbing on to the past as it struggles to find its place in the modern world.

      But it also means Englishness is being made Britishness, probably more so than it has ever been. This is totally evidenced by the undermining of devolution, attempts to stop democracy in Scotland / Wales / NoI etc.

      We need to leave and let England find itself again. The empire must be left to die peacefully of natural causes.

      • Welsh_Siôn says:

        We know for a fact that those identifying as Welsh and/or Welsh speakers (generally) voted against Brexit. Draw your own conclusions.

      • Alex Clark says:

        That’s an amazing change in people’s self-declared identity in just a decade.

        It shows clearly as well in all the TV shows that are “The Great British blah blah blah” and the Union Flag screaming out at you on the TV on every possible occasion.

        English politicians in particular are extremely keen to appear in front of the cameras with at least 2 Union flags either side os them

        I wonder what it was that has caused over 20 million people over the last decade into changing their national identity from English to British?

        • It is. It’s incredible, and it’s undoubtedly tied to the existential crisis England / Britain faces, with iref1 and brexit being both symptoms of this.

          The propaganda you describe is likewise a symptom as the English/British government desperately try to hold things together with flag waving and rose tinted stories of spitfires over the white cliffs of Dover.

          It is the dead cat bounce of British identity manifesting in England as it dies a slow, lingering death in Scotland and N. of Ireland.

          As for Wales, you might read this and think it’s bad news for Yes Wales:


          In Wales:

          55.2% of people selected a “Welsh” only identity (a decrease from 57.5% in 2011)

          18.5% of people selected a “British” only identity (an increase from 16.9% in 2011)

          8.1% of people selected both “Welsh” and “British” identities, with no other identities (an increase from 7.1% in 2011)

          But haud yer horses! This is almost as different to England as Scotland plus NoI are. No massive collapse in Welsh identity and no massive surge in British as seen over the border in England. Rather, it seems a largely static picture, and any the small changes might be explained by migration patterns (from the EU and from England) in addition to English people in Wales becoming more British as they are in England.

          This ties in with support for indy in Wales reaching record levels. Back in 2014, No was like 75% including DKs, now it’s barely 50%. It’s almost like Scotland in 2012.

    • Not census data, and the use of negatives (‘not’) will skew data towards more middle of the road answers, but here in Scotland, the trend is that ‘More Scottish than British’ and ‘Equally so’ are falling to new lows to be replaced by ‘Scottish not British’ hitting record highs. Emphasis on the ‘not’, which, as noted, implied an outright rejection of the latter.

      In the 2011 census, 62%+ ticked Scottish alone, i.e. their Britishness is not emotionally strong enough for them to freely state it. Rather, if they do, it’s because Scotland remains part of Britain.


      Two countries going in totally opposite directions in terms of how respective populations see themselves at a fundamental human, generally subconscious, emotional level. National identity is the very basis for the existence of nations.

  41. Welsh_Siôn says:

    state-s = ‘stats’

  42. Alex Clark says:

    Happy St Andrews day.

    • Welsh_Siôn says:

      Well, Mr Rieu DOES have the right first name! 😉

      This does it for me, too.

      • Bob Lamont says:

        Agreed – On the european creation specifically for the pipes “highland cathedral” was, the redoubtable Manoe Konings excelled as ever, but once the Caledonian Pipe Band fired up, lordy…

  43. Alec Lomax says:

    Blackford standing down as SNP leader at Westminster.

    • Legerwood says:


      • Alec Lomax says:

        BBC quotes him as saying that it is time for fresh leadership.

        “I have today informed SNP MPs that I will not be restanding as leader of the Westminster parliamentary group at our AGM next week.

        After more than five years in the role, now is the right time for fresh leadership at Westminster as we head towards a general election and the next steps in winning Scotland’s independence.

        During my time as leader, the SNP won a landslide victory in the 2019 general election, with an increased share of the vote and MPs, and support for independence has continued to grow with polling this week showing a majority in favour.

        While I am stepping down as Westminster leader, I will continue in my role as the MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber, and I have also accepted a new role at the centre of the SNP’s independence campaign, leading on business engagement.

        I would like to thank our MPs and staff for all their support over the past five years. Whoever replaces me as Westminster leader will have my full support as, together, we stand up for Scotland’s interests and democratic right to choose our future in an independence referendum.”

  44. Capella says:

    Ian Blackford stepping down as Westminster leader of the SNP:

  45. Alex Clark says:

    “I have also accepted a new role at the centre of the SNP’s independence campaign, leading on business engagement.”

    This is good, I’m hoping to see a lot more “new roles” where people are given responsibility for different areas to take the Independence message to the people directly.

    How about one responsible for trade union engagement or young people’s engagement ect. ect.

  46. Capella says:

    Xander Elliards analyses the results of the Redfield & Wilton Strategies poll which followed from the SCUK decision. Support for independence up 5 points, approval for Nicola Sturgeon up, high regard for the Scottish Government opposed to low regard for Westminster.

    Scottish independence support up in wake of Supreme Court ruling

    Polling conducted by Redfield & Wilton Strategies found that 49% of people in Scotland would vote Yes in a second independence referendum, compared to 45% who would vote No. The remaining 5% of respondents said they did not know how they would vote.
    With the people who answered “don’t know” removed, 52% of Scots would back independence, against 48% who support remaining in the Union.


  47. rossp says:

    Having two lists of votes at holyrood is too nuanced as well. We still aren’t clear from 2021 as pro-indy won the list and pro-union won the consisituency popular vote.

    We’re talking about setting up a new state here, we shouldn’t be worried about at best 1-4% of the vote depending on a franchise (which i think is mitigated somewhat by the time lag of 16 year old being 18 in two years anyway plus additional old deaths). If we’re not aiming for a clear result, the country isn’t ready. Hard to hear maybe but we need to be winning the result clearly. Not nudging over the line.

  48. Dr Jim says:

    If Tories and Labour were so positive their argument that Scotland doesn’t want independence, to save us all time money and aggravation they just have a referendum and win it like they say they would

    With every day that passes they hope for the issue to fade from peoples minds
    Thoughts fade from minds, ideas don’t, and by not addressing them only makes them deeper rooted and un shiftable

  49. Ken says:

    Peopl e. step down and move on. All the time. Able people come forward often. The debate continues.

    Support for SNP and Independence increasing.

  50. Ken says:

    There is a quota DHondt in Holyrood. Once the constituency vote is won. It is difficult to win the list seats. First preference votes go in the bin. To let 3rd losers in. The unionist set it up to try and stop an outright win.

  51. Ken says:

    Redfield and & Wilton a one man band @ the guardian

  52. I think we can be confident that England’s MI5 will be trying all the same things in monitoring Scottish politicians.

    It’s recent actions re iref2 are not those of a friendly, democratic government.


    EU urged to halt spyware used against Catalonia’s independence leaders

    CATALAN MEPs have urged the EU not to look the other way and introduce a moratorium on the use of a controversial spyware program that was used to target the region’s independence leaders.

    Diana Riba i Giner, who is the vice-chair of the EU Parliament’s spyware inquiry, said the use of Pegasus must be halted until the European Union and nation-states can agree on a set of rules on how it is used.

    The Barcelona politician said she is one of 65 Catalan independence supporters, including journalists and politicians, who were hacked.

    • stewartb says:

      Thanks for the alert to these European concerns about Pegasus.

      The pervasive use and concern about the use of this software – a product of Israeli company, NSO Group – is exposed further and at length (at link below) by Amnesty International. Amnesty describes NSO Group as a manufacturer of surveillance tools that sells exclusively to governments.

      See https://www.amnesty.org.uk/search/pegasus

  53. Dr Jim says:

    Once again today the Presiding officer Alyson Johnson took no action against Anas Sarwar in his direct personalization when addressing the FM, the more Johnson takes no action against this the more he smirks at the parliament and doubles down on this behaviour

    Today Sarwar lied consistently on the same issue yet in her reply the FM must use parliamentary language to replace the word liar, such as Anas Sarwar is wrong, or Anas Sarwar is mistaken or not correct, when what Anas Sarwar is, is a liar

    Todays lie was about the cancer care Health service in Tayside in a state of collapse which is completely false and totally untrue
    Of 150 patients per week treated at the centre, 7 had to be sent elsewhere in Scotland
    Sarwar repeatedly called this a collapse, this is a media reporting stunt designed specifically as juice for anti SNP newspapers and the BBC

    This is not politics, this is just nasty and vile scaremongering of the public by denigrating the confidence in the NHS and its workers to scrape votes from an uninformed and bewildered public
    Jackie Baillie has taught him well

    Anas Sarwar is a monstrous liar and little squint of a man of the lowest order

    When it comes to the SNHS the Labour party were privatising the NHS even before the Tories were, the SNP have since brought back two hospitals into public ownership in Scotland previously privatised by Labour, Anas Sarwar would prefer the public didn’t know about that

    Having difficulty getting NHS dental appointments? Are you being encouraged to take out health insurance by your local dentist practice or your appointments will become increasingly farther apart? Has your local dentist practice begun looking unusually rather posh? why not ask former millionaire dentist Anas Sarwar why that could possibly be

    • JoMax says:

      As far as I can see from the General Dental Council’s records available online for anyone to check he is no longer registered so not licensed to practise. Why would anyone who goes through years of intensive training at the taxpayer’s expense to gain a professional qualification give it up after 3 years to become a (Labour) politician back in 2009/10? Not the old chestnut, please, “I wanted to make a difference?”

      We could maybe understand someone in the medical profession suffering burn out after 25 years and deciding to do something different, but this man???? Hardly.

    • Bob Lamont says:

      Whilst broadly agreeing on behaviour in Holyrood and scaremongering, it is part of the orchestrated propaganda campaign of the lies from the media, tories and labour, and occasionally ACH-him, assaulting viewers, listeners and readers across Scotland on a daily basis, and regularly exposed by John Robertson over on TuS.

      The problem the propagandist have in Scotland is that it’s too “wee” in a sense for the “detached observer to something over there” effect to work – Everybody knows somebody directly or indirectly connected with the NHS in Scotland whom they trust, the “boy who cried wolf effect” effect kicks, anything they say thereafter even if truthful is regarded with contempt.
      This is equally true of HMS Sarah Smith and HMS James Cook, with an entire flight of non-existent incontinent pigeons and non-existent emails to care for, their public credibility is zilch.

      Often as not bad news in England creates even vaguely equivalent “look, a squirrel” gambits in Scotland, quelle surprise https://archive.ph/SdnPV – I’ve little doubt there will be many others as NHS England is in a real mess right now and struggling to cope as winter approaches. Not crowing just setting perspective.

      Sarwar and Baillie burned public credibility with the “What about Millie Mae” gambit on foot of HMS Helen Smith’s failed campaign to denigrate QEUH for political reason, all it takes is that one moment of realisation for the “once seen cannot be unseen” effect to kick in, Aesop’s ‘Boy who cried wolf’ fable in effect.
      There is no coming back for Sarwar even with a “politician of the year award” from a clique, it may please his Da, but he’s toast…

  54. Welcome to the brexit sunlit uplands.


    Cost of living: People in Cardiff ‘eating pet food’

    People are having to eat pet food while others try to heat food on a radiator, a community worker with 20 years’ experience has said.

    Mark Seed now runs a community food project in Trowbridge, east Cardiff.

    Should boost the feeling of Britishness right? Like back in the days of WW2 etc.

  55. Dr Jim says:

    We’re told daily that GP practices are so snowed under with patients they just cannot cope with the volume, well here’s an interesting tale of my local GP practice
    My lady wife Mrs Dr Jim is on the waiting list for cataract surgery and after two bad falls because of her failing eyesight we thought it was time to contact our GP to find out where she was on the list and or would it be possible in the light of these falls could she be moved up more speedily
    The receptionist informed her that an appointment with a GP was impossible under any circumstances unless contacted by phone before 8.45am, this was not just for a same day appointment, this was for an anytime dated scheduled appointment as all future appointments were full at the moment, eh??????what?????
    At the moment our GP practice closes for lunch every day for an hour and a half, they say because of patient volume, so the staff and GPs can all have a break saving time and staff shortages throughout the day
    Now you might say that sounds on the face of it perfectly reasonable until today following my wife’s phone call I jumped in my motor and drove up there, only to observe through the window 4 receptionists gabbing away while the phone was ringing constantly and not one person sat inside the waiting room, the only other cars in the car park were those of the GPs nurses and receptionists

    There are five GPs 3 nurses and 4 receptionists and often a pharmacist in my local practice but today on my observational visit which lasted around 30 minutes there were no patients coming or going but all the staff were there
    My wife just told me that yesterday they closed the practice for a retirement party for a long serving nurse

    Make of this what you will but I’m beginning to think this almighty pressure they keep telling us they’re under is an almighty tactic in the increasing demand for more cash, but using the general public as the tool to do it under false pretenses, and that is and always has been Labour party, and all my 74 years of experience of Labour tactics has this written all over it

    My experience is just mine and may be an outlier unless there are others out there being dealt the same treatment, or non treatment over money rather than clinical demands by patient volume

    I should also mention the tone of the receptionist to my wife was *impatiently dismissive* as though this was all normal practice now

    Is it?

  56. I saw some movement to the Libs in Scottish UK cross-tabs recently. Seems there might be something to it as I just noticed it in Lab to Lib movement UK-wide in earnest.

    And look at the new UKIP – Reform UK – eating into the Tories!

    So, Remainers not liking Starmer’s right-wing hard brexit, while the Tories no longer hard enough under Sunak! What a fine mess England is in.


  57. Gordon says:

    Optiticans tefer patients for cataract surgery. People are still getting it done but slightly later. Unless it is urgent. They get it done straight away. Anyone who wants to find out where they are on the list. Just needs to phone the hospital department. They will get through right away. If they do not know the number phone or e-mail the Doctors surgery. They might have to wait a while as the lines are busy. Phoning early or later usually avoids a queue. ie early as possible or as late as practical. The The hospital referral letter will be in the patients notes. With all the details accessible on computer. Even through the Dr’s surgery is empty. The Doctors are still working on administration. Referring patients. Dealing with emergencies. The appointment slots are grouped at certain times. Covid is still a factor in Dr surgery procedure. It is just no so vital now because least people are dying as a result. Vaccination programme. It is still going about and people are still getting ill. Affecting Dr, hospital treatments. Anything urgent is still dealt with as a priority.

    Cancer deaths are down. People will have died of Covid instead. Covid desths up especially in the elderly. The elderly are still more susceptible to Covid and other health problems. The human body wearing out. 80% of hospital care in on 20% of the elderly population. Allegedly. The volume of healthcare work is still increasing among the elderly. A more elderly population percentage wise. The healthcare budget needs increasing. The Tory unionists cut it. Over the last 10+ years. They did not fund it properly. Or essential services. That is why essential workers are going on strike. Lack of essential funding on essential services which should have been prioritised as essential.
    The healthcare workers are doing a fantastic job. Throughout the pandemic. Clapping does not count, they need adequate provision to do their jobs, Not be criticised, Saving lives everyday. They are on the frontline. Battling away. Often exhausted.

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