Astounding hypocrisy…

The hypocrisy of Ruth Davidson never ceases to amaze but this little tweet really takes the biscuit:

That’s right folks (I have to assume that someone out there is reading this), after years of telling Ms Sturgeon to get on with the day job, she indulges in a bit of book writing.

Now, I don’t wish her any ill-will, and hope that her pregnancy goes well, but her double-standards in attitudes to hers and Ms Sturgeon’s public life is staggering.  I guess the Unionist philosophy is ‘do as I say, not as I do’.

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It’d mak ye weep!

Here we go again! More of this facile nonsense that assumes there is one single currency ‘solution’ which serves perfectly in all circumstances and for all time. And that the currency used is more important than the ability to decide what currency is used.

Ireland continued to use the pound after independence before creating its own currency and then adopting the euro. What this reminds us of, if we are not obsessively fixated on the name of the currency and whose picture is on it, is that the most important thing is to have options. What matters is, not what currency arrangements are adopted at any particular time, but the capacity to decide which currency arrangements are most appropriate and the ability do implement those arrangements efficiently.

Like it or not – scream and stamp your feet as much as you like – the fact is that there will be a period of transition. Andrew Wilson isn’t dictating now what that period will be or what specific arrangements will be put in place for its duration. He is merely presenting a scenario. What actually happens will be a matter for the democratically elected government of Scotland.

And the reality is that there is no such thing as an independent currency. Being independent doesn’t mean Scotland gets to just disregard the way the real world works. We may aspire to change the way it works. Or, at least, the way we work within it. But that isn’t going to happen as if by magic on the day we celebrate our exit from the Union.

Here is the crucial point being missed by all those rushing to judgement on the Sustainable Growth Commission Report. All of the things outlined or recommended in that report are strictly conditional on them being what is best for Scotland at the time. And utterly dependent on it being the people of Scotland who are ultimately responsible for deciding what is best for Scotland.


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A crisis of identity…

It is becoming very obvious to all, except the British Nationalists that there is a real crisis in the identities of English and British Nationalism.  The trouble is, Scotland is getting caught up in it.

It would be very easy to blame this crisis on either the Scottish Independence Referendum or Brexit.  However, it would be wrong to do so.  rather, I’d suggest that they were the catalyst for it.

Since the Brexit Referendum the number of racial attacks taking place on anyone with a different colour of skin or speaking with an accent that is foreign has increased.  The most recent of these attacks took place  on a bus where a white woman and her brown-skinned son received verbal abuse from four very brave men.  They were going to thrown her son out of the country, get him deported and she could go too.  These are happening far too regularly now.  However, the word: ‘British’ is being used a lot, not English.   We saw this at the weekend with that fabulous march that took place in Glasgow.

I have heard of no arrests taking place and no fights anywhere.  A very small group of British Nationalists tried to shout it down.  Cnute had more success in trying to turn the sea back that they did…but that’s not the point.  These so-called ‘British Nationalists’ are anything but that.  Holocaust deniers, racists & homophobes, these are the labels I would use to describe what they are.  If you don’t believe, check the videos on YouTube & Twitter.

British Nationalism, spearheaded by a Right Wing media, now stands for; sovereignty, Britain for the British, Nazi-saluting thugs and any empty and vacuous phrase that you can think of.  There are a lot of decent people living in England, and they need to somehow find a way to rescue their national identity and not allow it to be dictated by the narrow-minded on the Far Right.

All I have read is how poor, bad and awful Scotland is at anything, the recent furore about bay boxes (which seem to be fine as long as it’s the Finnish ones) being the perfect example.  ‘Scotland’ is being removed from food labelling and replaced with ‘British’.  It’s an absolute scandal.  Scotland is not England, they have different cultures and politically they are poles apart.  England for some reason is hell-bent on voting for the Tories: Scotland is not.  The decent people in England have a fight on their hands, and it’s a fight they must win.  More people in Scotland need to wake up and start believing in themselves.  Both countries can be independent with their own governments and exist quite happily as neighbours

The UK is living on borrowed time…independence is coming.

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The formula

We had a “professional non-party Yes organisation” for the first referendum campaign. While that campaign should not be characterised as a failure, we did not achieve our main goal. Doing the same thing all over again doesn’t seem like a particularly good idea.

A hierarchical management structure is precisely what the Yes movement does not need. It is not starting from scratch. It is now a mature political movement. It is organic and distributed. What it needs is better networking, not top-down leadership. And the networking is already improving daily. The fact that All Under One Banner can organise an event such as we witnessed on Saturday 5 May proves conclusively that the Yes movement is functioning at a very high level. Don’t try to fix what isn’t broken.

But the Yes movement is quite separate from the Yes campaign. The Yes campaign most certainly needs to be run by a professional organisation with a solid record of success in running political/electoral campaigns. Now, where might we find such an organisation? Isn’t there already an example of an organisation that has won every campaign it has been involved in for the past ten years?

What kind of insanity might prompt us to reject what is arguably the most effective campaign machine in Europe at this time?

Why would we put all all our effort and resources into a new, untried organisation when we already have what any sane sober and sensible person would recognise as the ideal agency immediately to hand?

Why would we give our backing and support to an untested leader who will only become the target for a British propaganda campaign which has hitherto been unable to lay a glove on the Yes movement?

Why would we decline to to use the organisation which provides the effective political power that the independence project absolutely requires in favour of some new entity which cannot possibly provide any effective political power at all?

Some in the Yes movement need to make a choice between partisan prejudice and commitment to the cause of restoring Scotland’s rightful constitutional status. They need to decide whether their distaste for the SNP outweighs their desire to create a better, fairer, greener, more prosperous nation.

The Yes movement urgently needs an injection of hard-headed pragmatism. The SNP is the political arm of the independence cause. There isn’t time to replace it with something else which, in any case, will be just as distasteful to just as many people once it takes shape.

The SNP is the lever by which we will extricate Scotland from the Union. Nicola Sturgeon is the fulcrum. The Scottish Parliament is the solid base on which that that fulcrum rests. The Yes movement is the force which must be applied to that lever.

Lever + Fulcrum + Base + Force = Independence

We have all this. What we need is the good sense to use it.


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iScot Magazine May 2018

The following is an excerpt from my article in the May 2018 issue of iScot Magazine.

1805_iscot_coverIt’s on the news. There’s been an explosion. It was in one of those countries that you couldn’t find on a map, even if you didn’t keep getting it mixed up with that other country that you couldn’t find on a map.

You don’t recognise the unpronounceable name of the actual town where this incident happened. You know it’s not one of the places that have become familiar as a site of atrocities because, on the news, they’re referring to it as “the town of…”. A prefix reserved for places they think people won’t know is a town unless they’re told.

You wonder if there’s some rule that governs when that prefix is dropped. Is it after a certain number of atrocities? Or is it after a certain number of mentions of the same atrocity? Is there an algorithm that takes account of a range of criteria? Maybe there’s an app. Maybe a computer works out when to drop the prefix and it just ceases to appear on the autocue.

You wonder if the person reading aloud from the autocue notices the change. You wonder why you’re wondering about such stuff. There’s been an explosion. It’s on the news.

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Tipping point

I’m a bit of an old cynic when it comes to politics. I’m not easily impressed. But the sheer magnitude of Saturday’s event left me stunned. It was huge!

But it’s not all about numbers. Mood matters just as much. Gatherings like this have character. They have something akin to a personality. If Saturday’s gathering was a person, they would be cheerful, amiable, enthusiastic and determined.

They might also be described as a bit impatient. Perhaps even a little angry.

This is, of course, a personal impression. But what I sensed from that crowd on Saturday very much accords with the mood I have been finding as I speak with individuals and groups around Scotland. There is a palpable sense of a tipping point having been reached. A growing sense of urgency. The impression is of people having decided that the time is right. Of people resolved to act.

Unlike some commentators, I do not see this as a problem for the SNP. On the contrary, I reckon it is precisely what Nicola Sturgeon has been hoping for and planning on.

No doubt the size of the turnout on Saturday does put pressure on the Scottish Government to use its mandate for a new referendum.

No doubt that pressure is the greater for the mood of impatience and urgency. But such pressure is discomfiting for politicians only when they have no plan.

Stress can be harmful where there is pressure without control. Nicola Sturgeon is in control. She has a plan.

Being in control, Nicola Sturgeon can harness the energy of those thousands who marched on Saturday – as well as the thousands more who were there in spirit – and use it to power Scotland’s final drive to independence.

First published as a letter in The National


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Will you stand?

Peter A Bell

When I took to the stage at Glasgow Green after the magnificent All Under One Banner march from Kelvingrove Park on Saturday, I spoke without notes. The following is partly a transcript of my address based on Martin Hannan’s report in The National, and partly the speech I would like to have made. Little of it is based on personal recollection, as I confess to having been quite overcome by the immensity of the occasion.

auob_stageI have supported independence all my life. I joined the SNP as soon as I was eligible. That was in 1962. when I was aged 12. A lot has happened in the fifty odd years between then and now.

I remember Winnie Ewing’s stunning Hamilton by-election victory in 1967.

I well recall the hard graft of the two UK general elections of 1974 – both winter campaigns.

I remember the British Labour betrayal of Scotland…

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