Stand by your words

Peter A Bell

pw_scotsmanI tend not to complain about ‘online abuse’. As a denizen of social media and someone with strong views on a variety of subjects, I get my share of insults, threats and smears. I don’t concern myself unduly about it. There’s a couple of reasons I don’t get all worked up about this abuse. For one thing, there’s no way to prevent it. Like junk mail, spam email and unsolicited calls, unwelcome or offensive comments are part of the price we pay for the facility. And I reckon it’s a price worth paying.

I’m not about to nail up my mailbox to avoid getting yet another Farmfoods flyer or offer of no-questions-asked life insurance for the over-50s. I deal with it. I put the ‘offending’ material in the recycling bin.

I don’t – and never have – put so many filters on my email account that nothing gets through. Modern…

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Threat and response

Peter A Bell

Should Nicola Sturgeon call for a second referendum on Scottish independence to happen before the United Kingdom exits the EU?

filthy_handsThis question, posted on Quora, isn’t really sensible. There can be no doubt that Scotland must have a new independence referendum before the UK exits the EU. Nicola Sturgeon doesn’t have a choice in the matter. Circumstances dictate the absolute necessity of a referendum no later than September 2018. The only issue exercising the First Minister’s political judgement is the timing of the announcement.

It is important to understand that Brexit is not the principal causal factor in this. There was always going to be another referendum. While accepting the result of the 2014 vote, we also have to recognise that it did not settle the matter. The No vote was won on an entirely false prospectus and by methods which were dubious in the extreme.

Restoration of Scotland’s…

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Considering consequences

Peter A Bell

pw_siuAssuming, as we must, that Pete Wishart is not entirely delighted at having been appointed poster-boy for the uglier fringes of anti-democratic ‘One Nation’ British Nationalism, he will doubtless be glad of the succour offered by Andrew Tickell. The veteran SNP MP will surely be aware that there’s precious little support for his call to inaction across the Yes movement.

Having trained as a lawyer, Andrew Tickell will probably be aware of the Latin term argumentum ad verecundiam. The rest of us may be more familiar with the English translation argument from authority, or appeal to authority.

Pete Wishart’s public intervention is helpful, not least because his description of the lie of the land better reflects the ambivalent conversations between independence supporters you hear behind closed doors than the noisy certainties which dominate pro-indy debates in public about where Nicola Sturgeon should turn from here.

I don’t doubt that…

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Referendum 2018

Peter A Bell

referendum_2018_petitionDebate rumbles on about the timing of Scotland’s new independence referendum. Recently, the most public aspect of this debate has been an exchange between Pete Wishart and James Kelly. This began, as I recall, with a column written by veteran SNP MP which was slated by the SCOT goes POP blogger in an article for iScot Magazine. Wishart than demanded a right of reply and the latest episode in this spat appears as a letter in the April issue of iScot. (You can download an image of the letter here.)

I say “latest episode” although, as James Kelly subsequently pointed out, the letter addresses none of the criticisms of the original column and does nothing whatever to clarify Pete Wishart’s notion of an “optimum time” for holding a new independence referendum. We are told nothing new. The letter merely rehashes the pieties and platitudes and does nothing…

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Peter A Bell

saltire_breakoutNice one, Pete! Putting a reference to Braveheart right at the top of your article was a stroke of genius. Braveheart is a trigger word for British Nationalists. They are pathologically obsessive about Mel Gibson’s kilt and claymore account of a mild-mannered minor Scottish nobleman turned blue-faced, bare-arsed freedum-fighter who, having out-thought and out-fought the Englander enemy, was betrayed by his ain folk and totally went to pieces over it. Unionists were bound to latch onto this cinematic allusion and be distracted from the vague, vacuous and vacillating drivel that follows.

I like Pete Wishart. He is a superb MP. He has served his constituency and his country admirably over many years at Westminster. As Chair of the Scottish Affairs Select Committee he has proved an embarrassment to most of his predecessors in that role. His work-rate is phenomenal. He is a credit to his party. He’s one of the…

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No shortcuts

The concept of parliamentary sovereignty is anathema to the Yes movement. We hold this truth to be self-evident – the people are sovereign.

Peter A Bell

saltire_euI suppose we take it for granted that people associated with Scotland’s Yes movement will have more respect for the principles of democracy than British Nationalists. Not that this would be difficult. On a daily basis, British politicians – particularly those squatting in the Scottish Parliament – are at pains to demonstrate their disdain for voters as well as their sneering contempt for the institutions and processes of democracy. British Nationalism is anti-democratic. To be a British Nationalist is to believe that political authority derives from the monarch, rather than from the people. And that the exercise of fundamental democratic rights is legitimate only to the extent that the outcome serves the interests of the British state. It is an abiding tenet of British Nationalist ideology that the people are subordinate to parliament.

The concept of parliamentary sovereignty is anathema to the Yes movement. We hold this truth to be…

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Strong and stable… suckers!

Peter A Bell

iscot_promoThe following is an extract from my article in the April edition of iScot Magazine.

There was always something very fishy about the idea of Ruth Davidson as the protector of Scotland’s interests. The Tories’ betrayal of Scotland’s fishing industry reveals just how misplaced was the trust put in Davidson by those in our fishing communities who voted, first to keep Scotland in the UK, then to take the UK out of the European Union. To people outside those communities, this always looked like serial self-harm. To many, it seemed inexplicable that folk who make their living from the sea should continue to put such faith in politicians who had spent three years demonstrating, on an almost daily basis, the extent to which they had misled, deceived and downright lied to the people of Scotland during the first independence referendum.

When it was revealed that the UK Government’s Brexit…

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