We’re no awa tae bide awa

This has been a bad week.  My birthday was last Saturday and, with the improvement in the Covid rules, there was the promise of some contact with my elder son, daughter in law and their children for the first time in months.  But then it all went wrong.  That was they day when all hopes of independence seemed to die.  The election results were announced and the new parliament was just like the old parliament, an SNP/Green combination which, since 2016, has done so much to prevent independence ever having a chance.  Was it the day for your life’s dream to go up in smoke, or down the plughole, or get kicked so far into the future that you can’t see it any more?  And maybe never to see it again?

I suppose I’ve really known for some time, at least since 2015, that the chances of independence happening in my lifetime were becoming slimmer, but I clung on to my few remaining hopes, hoping against hope that things would change, that suddenly I would wake up and realise that it was the last 6 years that were all just a bad dream, that Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP weren’t going to kick independence into the long grass, that a date would be fixed for IndyRef2.

But that’s not the way it was.  The dream was independence, but the reality was Nicola Sturgeon.

Isn’t it always the same when you wake up from a dream.  For a few seconds, you may think it’s all real, but then you realise you’re not in Freedom Square waving your saltire and hugging everyone in hugging distance, you’re still in bed and the depression you went to bed with the previous night has not gone away.

It’s amazing how dreams can let you down, because dreams are rarely anything like reality, and this dream is just about as far from reality as it could go.

I remember the excitement of 18th September, 2014.  Canvassing had gone really well.  I was certain we were in the lead and I went to the count full of optimism.  Everything changed as the results started to come in.  The outcome was made even worse by the decision of Alex Salmond to step down.  The one positive was the election of Nicola Sturgeon as First Minister and party leader.  She had taken a major part in the campaign and we all expected her to carry on from where Alex Salmond left off.  Surely we could build on the result and next time there would be no mistake.  Next time we would win.

Unfortunately, 2015 was not the start of something good: it was end of something good, because it’s all gone downhill from there.  I won’t bore you with all that’s happened since then, except to remind you of two things: Thatcher’s comment “All the SNP need to do to achieve independence is to deliver a majority of MPs to Westminster” and the 2015 UK general election result: SNP 56 MPs, Labour 1 MP, LibDem 1 MP, Tory 1 MP.  The first of many mandates ignored.

I used to think Sturgeon’s refusal to call a referendum was down to fear of losing, but now I’m not so sure.  Perhaps she doesn’t believe in herself.  Perhaps it’s fear of being found out.  They say a great leader surrounds him or herself with the best people and develops their own successor.  Look at Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon.  Sturgeon’s idea of the best people is those who will never disagree with her.  Her idea of developing a successor is picking someone who has no ideas other than those she tells them to have.  Perhaps that’s why Angus Robertson seems to be the favourite.  A man who can be certain to do what he’s told. 

Perhaps Nicola Sturgeon’s knowledge that she would never have gained her current position without Salmond is partly responsible for her hatred of him today.  Her success is not of her own making.  She didn’t become First Minister because of her own abilities, but because of his.  But maybe even Sturgeon herself doesn’t realise the truth.

So, what should happen after the election?  Is it time for me and others to give up on all this independence lark, declare Nicola Sturgeon and the current SNP the winners, knowing that it probably means independence delayed for at least a decade, maybe longer, maybe for ever, retire to spend my remaining years watching TV with my cosy slippers and cup of cocoa?  Just do a Pete Wishart?

Hell no, as the Americans would say.  What was the quote from the Declaration of Arbroath?

“As long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours, that we are fighting, but for freedom – for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself”.

It still applies today, except you might want to replace “brought under English rule” with “kept under British State rule” to bring it right up to date.

Well, there are more than 100 of us remaining.  More than 100 who still want to fight to see Scotland as it always should have been, a free and independent country, even if the SNP, or more specifically, the leadership of the SNP, seem to have lost their taste for the fight.  More than 100 who know Scotland can only be a better place when not controlled by an increasingly corrupt, right wing, fascist British State, determined to take without giving and determined to cut Scotland off from the rest of the world.

We are not going away.  We will never give up.


Are we now in the position that any independence supporter is now fair game for politically motivated prosecution. Do we now depend on people from other parts of the world to highlight the disgusting state of justice in Scotland.


For Immediate Release – Tuesday 11th May, 2021 – 10am, Edinburgh.
Attn: News Desks, international


Professor Noam Chomsky and award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker John Pilger have spoken out (Tuesday) against a prison sentence imposed on the human rights activist and former UK diplomat Craig Murray.

Mr Murray was sentenced to eight months imprisonment at the High Court in Edinburgh (Scotland) today after being convicted of Contempt of Court over his reporting of the previous trial of the former First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond, in 2020.

The High Court ruled that Mr Murray’s coverage of the Salmond trial led to so-called “jigsaw identification” of complainers who made allegations against the former First Minister. A jury acquitted Mr Salmond on all charges on 23rd March 2020.

It is believed to be the first instance in Scottish…

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And then there were none

The results are in and the big hope for Scottish Independence, the Alba Party, got no seats.

Before the election, there was much optimism, but if the result went to prove anything, it showed that a six week old party, with no exposure to anyone not on social media, constantly being smeared by members of the ruling party in the press and on television, while hardly being given the opportunity to state their case was really struggling to achieve anything.

You couldn’t say it was a surprise that the SNP was really pissed off with the appearance of another independence party, especially one led by someone Nicola Sturgeon is absolutely terrified of, someone whom she’s been trying to discredit for several years. I would like to say unsuccessfully, but I think the result shows the opposite to be true. We’ve been denied the excitement of FM questions with Nicola Sturgeon vs Alex Salmond. However, I suspect Nicola may have been less excited by the prospect than we were.

But why? Why does she hate Alex Salmond? Did it all start when Alex told her to get a move on with independence preparations and that her husband shouldn’t be CEO of the party. Or was it when she thought he might try to re-enter politics and the support he would certainly get might impact on her own popularity. Or was it because he might disagree with some of her policies and, as we all know, Nicola doesn’t handle disagreement very well, as the number of ex-members of the party will demonstrate.

Was Alex Salmond the sole reason she hated the Alba Party? Or was it because so many of its members were ex-SNP and that so many of them had left the SNP of their own accord. Perhaps Nicola can’t take people making their own decisions? Nobody should be able to leave the party without being sacked by Nicola as it reflects badly on her if members are seen to leave because they disagree with her policies.

Whatever the reason, every interview Nicola Sturgeon gave contained at least one smear of Alex Salmond and describing Alba as “gaming the system” As if using the rules to stand candidates only on the list, just as several other parties were doing and have done ever since the start of the Scottish Parliament. All the Nicola fanboys and fangirls also pitched in, happy to describe members of the Alba Party as transphobes, misogynists, racists, misandrists, and any other big words they could think of. SNP members who were accepted while in the party instantly became the embodiment of evil after they left.

So what comes now. Will everyone become besties after the election. Certainly doesn’t look likely. The initial reaction of many SNP members was to rejoice at Alba’s lack of success. Ignoring the fact that over a million SNP list votes achieved only 2 MSPs and once again, in 6 of the 8 regions, more than three quarters of a million votes achieved absolutely nothing. Well, absolutely nothing but shutting out Alba and leaving the SNP as the only allegedly independence supporting party.

Another reaction by several SNP members was much more interesting. The famously looney Kirsty Blackman tweeted

Kirsty Blackman
Alba and their policies have been emphatically rejected. They stood on a transphobic platform and hardly anyone voted for them. Scotland wants GRA reform. We must deliver.

To translate, ‘they stood on a transphobic platform’ means they stood for women’s rights. But she was not alone. For many SNP members, people voting for the SNP were not voting for independence, but were voting for GRA reform. Who knew? Well, I did and I wasn’t going to have anything to do with what the SNP will do now to reduce women to a sub-class.

Certainly, if there were voters who wanted GRA reform, they are much more likely to be pleased than those voting for independence, as GRA reform is pretty certain to be enacted before the SNP ever get around to thinking about independence. I hope those who voted for the SNP to get independence are not too upset that their vote is taken as support for GRA reform. You may have voted for the biggest change in social engineering in any country in the world (maybe except Canada). Nearly another world first for the Scottish Government?

What could change things? Well, the SNP could drop this GRA reform nonsense, but I don’t see that happening. But even better would be some action being taken on independence. By action, I mean actually doing stuff, not just talking about doing stuff.

Stuff like having a clear plan on what their negotiating position with London is going to be.
Stuff like having a constitution for an independent Scotland.
Stuff like developing the infrastructure to allow Scotland to operate as an independent country, not dependent (eg) on English port facilities for Scottish exports.
Stuff like developing a Scottish central bank.
Stuff like a plan to develop and introduce Scotland’s own currency.

The problem is that, with practically the same SNP/Green majority in the last Scottish Parliament, absolutely nothing was done to advance the cause of independence, so what hopes can we have for this parliament. We can’t wait until IndyRef2 before thinking about this. We need to have our plans in place before it happens.

If the Scottish Government were seen to be making moves to address these and other issues, the mood in the country would change. But only action will drive the change.

Up to you SNP. Are you willing to try?

Independence coming soon?

This election campaign has been characterised by arguments between what we may now call the two main independence parties, SNP and Alba. Anyone mentioning the Greens in this context may be asked to undergo a brain scan to find out if there is one present. Of course, the disputes between independence supporters and the SNP predate the appearance of the Alba Party by several years and have been mainly concerned with the SNP’s apparent lack of progress on independence. Independence always seemed to have taken second place (or should that be third or fourth or ……. ) to Brexit, to gender issues and hate crimes, and now to Covid. There always seems to be something just that little bit more important than independence.

Of course, we know from a freedom of information request that the Scottish Government spent absolutely no time at all in the years between 2015-16 and 2018-19 on preparing the case for independence (that’s none, zero, zilch, sfa) and the very little time spent in the following year produced no tangible results. We also know that the ringfenced money collected from the two SNP IndyRef fundraisers, almost £600,000, has disappeared into the black hole of other spending (did we really pay to keep Alyn Smith out of jail?), though the party leaders are trying to pretend it still exists by reclassifying headquarters payroll spending as IndyRef preparation and therefore part of the £600,000. Wow, what a wheeze!

But believe it or not, there’s one thing the SNP and Alba do agree on. They both say Scotland’s recovery from Brexit and Covid-19 will not be successful unless organised and delivered from Scotland by the Scottish Government and not from London by the Tory UK Government. Unsurprisingly, both parties tell us that the UK Government may not have Scottish interests at the top of their priority list, even if they’re on the priority list at all. Who knew?

We all know that decisions taken by the Tory Government in London will be entirely for the benefit of London and the South East of England, with little regard for their impact on Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (or even on other parts of England). Of course that’s why Tories in Scotland are not talking about policies other than no IndyRef (or no democracy as it should properly be called). The policies of the London Tory party are not something the Tories want to talk about in Scotland (the so-called Scottish Tory party is only a branch of the UK Tories and doesn’t have its own policies).

So as both parties agree about what is required, how it can only be achieved by being delivered from Scotland and that can only happen with independence, you would expect both parties to equally keen to start the process of delivering independence as soon as possible. But is that the case?

Alba have said that, if elected, they will immediately bring forward a motion to require the Scottish Government to begin negotiations with Westminster/Whitehall for Scottish independence. Alex Salmond has long believed that the Scottish Government headed by Nicola Sturgeon hasn’t shown the necessary urgency to begin independence discussions and one of Alba’s main aims is to inject that urgency into government thinking.

The SNP, or more particularly Nicola Sturgeon, has decided, if elected, to ignore independence for the first 100 days of of the parliament. It will be on the back burner until she decides that the impact of Covid-19 is over and that means it is unlikely that any serious time will be spent on thinking about independence before 2023 (and I mean thinking, not doing). Given that it is apparently important for recovery to be delivered by Scotland, does that mean she doesn’t believe the recovery will begin until the second half of the parliament? Or is this something else where rhetoric is not matched by actions? She has also said that if Alba bring forward the motion on independence negotiations, she will instruct SNP MSPs to vote against it. Is that the action of a party that wants independence above all else?

I’ve just watched the SNP’s Get Out the Vote rally. Astonishingly, it was all about independence and how so many things are only possible if Scotland is an independent country. Speaker after speaker made the same point. The only note of caution came at the very end when Nicola Sturgeon was interviewed and we learned that independence would only be possible after we are no longer suffering from the effects of the pandemic. Long grass, here we come?

A whole one hour devoted to telling us all about the goodies independence would bring, followed by one minute telling us it won’t happen soon. Oh, well!, such is Scottish politics, SNP style.

One last point. With the election just hours away, everyone is telling you how to vote, so I feel obliged to follow suit. If you want independence and you have a strong enough clothespeg, get it on your nose and vote SNP in the constituency, but be warned, you will need a very strong clothespeg (see below). If you don’t have a strong enough clothespeg, please don’t vote for a Unionist party for obvious reasons and please don’t vote Green, the only party arguably worse than the SNP in their desire to bin women’s rights and raise a whole generation of children destroyed by their dependence on drugs and surgery.

On the list, vote Alba in the hope they get a strong enough representation to make something happen about independence, because it may be our last chance. I firmly believe that the Tories will try to make independence impossible if we wait till the 2026 election, even if there’s a parliament to vote for by then.

Happy voting!!!

Silencing the lamb

We’re less than a week away from the most important poll in Scotland’s history (© Nicola Sturgeon and SNP). Most parties have now produced their manifestos, so those who take the time to read them will have a good idea what they’re proposing should they get into government. But, of course, few folk take the time to read manifestos. They depend on the information they get from the press, television and increasingly, from social media. Though social media may be challenging the press in terms of readership, there is no doubt that most voters will make their decision on who to vote for based on their own prejudices and what they are told by the TV channels.

Because of the impact of television on voters election choices, the terrestrial channels, BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 are required to be scrupulously fair in their election coverage. The principle is to ensure that the special impartiality requirements in the Communications Act 2003 and other legislation relating to broadcasting on elections and referendums, are applied at the time of elections and referendums (Ofcom Broadcasting Code: Elections and Referendums). Indeed, the requirement to be free from bias is covered in the BBC Charter and Agreement, Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the Representation of the People Act 1983 and the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000.

As you can see, fairness in election broadcasting is so important that it is mentioned in practically all legislation relating to elections. But do these rules apply to all parts of the UK? Or is this just another situation where we can say “except for viewers in Scotland”?

Though the broadcasters have a duty of fairness placed on them during the election period, it is left to the broadcasters themselves to decide what is fair. This allows a certain flexibility in interpretation. For example, in the past, this meant that election panels could consist of representatives of the four main political parties, SNP, Labour, LibDems and Tories. The fact that three of them were unionist supporting parties didn’t seem to breach the “fairness” rules. For years now, the independence supporters have suffered from a lack of representation in political debates. This was democracy as seen though the eyes of the Scottish based unionist broadcasters. Of course, in the interest of democracy, it would have been possible for the leaders of the unionist parties to remind the broadcasters of their duty of fairness, but why wouldn’t they accept the inbuilt advantage handed to them.

In the current election campaign, another party has appeared. They currently have roughly similar membership to the Greens and the LibDems. They have, thanks to defections, representatives in Westminster and in several local authorities. They have put up 32 candidates, 4 in each of the 8 regions, though they are not contesting any of the constituency seats. They are led by, arguably, the most well known politician in Scotland, a former leader of the current party of government, whose current leader tried to get him jailed on sexual charges and who has been bad-mouthing him ever since the not guilty verdict.

Sounds like unmissable television, doesn’t it. You would have expected the broadcasters to have been licking their lips at the thought of it. Salmond vs Sturgeon head-to-head? TV program of the year? Scotland’s biggest audience for a political program?

But for reasons unknown, both BBC Scotland and STV declined to invite Alex Salmond to take part in the leaders debate, leaving us with the question – WHY? Were they frightened of allowing the audience to compare Alex Salmond’s capability to the rest of party leaders. Was it, as some have alleged, because Nicola Sturgeon refused to appear on the same program as Alex Salmond. Who knows? BBC’s alleged reason (excuse?) was that Alba had no MSPs, but those of us who remember back to 2016 will recall the appearance of David Coburn, the know-nothing UKIP MEP at a time when UKIP had no MSPs.

So was there another excuse (reason)? It has become obvious that, as the SNP push independence further and further into the long grass, the BBC Scotland and STV (and the rest of the mainstream media) have become noticeably less hostile to the SNP. There’s fewer and fewer SNP baad stories (replaced most recently by Alba baad). Could it be that the media now see the SNP as less of a danger to the union? Certainly less of a threat than Alba.

In case you think this is the way all television channels in the UK behave, have a quick look at what BBC Wales are doing. In a 90 minute pre-election debate, they have 5 leaders debating for the first hour, joined by another 3 for the last 30 minutes. Apparently only BBC Scotland feels the need to employ censorship. So I suppose “except for viewers in Scotland” is the way to describe the fairness of our media. Perhaps the television companies will introduce a ratings system for political broadcasting, similar to film classification: U(universal) for all programs not involving Alba and 100+ (only for really old adults) if Alba are involved.

What are we to take from this? Is it permissible for the television companies to decide what people and what parties are allowed to put forward their thoughts and ideas to the public? Are BBC Scotland and STV the arbitrars of what political viewpoints are so awful that the public wouldn’t be able to cope with hearing them? Or are they just absolutely determined to take every step to make sure the public can’t be infected with the independence disease? What do you think?

One last thought. Alba are not just taking a lot of stick from the media. They have been subject to almost constant attack by many members of fellow “independence supporting” SNP (and the nasty women-hating Greens), who have accused Alba of every known evil, including responsibility for the drop in support for independence shown in recent opinion polls, while, at the same time, saying no one is paying any attention to them and they’ll get no votes. Shows what happens when you let your hatred get the better of your common sense.

Another last thought. In a recent interview, Nicola Sturgeon said that if Alba were represented in the Scottish Parliament after the election and if they put forward a motion for an immediate start to independence negotiations with Westminster, as they have said in their manifesto they will do, she would instruct SNP MSPs to vote against it. Her view, just like Theresa May before her, is that “now is not the time”. Will she ever believe it’s the right time for independence? Who Knows? However, for me, that’s pretty much the last straw. How could the party of independence have sunk so low that they are prepared to allow Westminster to whittle away the limited powers available to them as a devolved parliament and their only response is do nothing but bleat about it for years and years and ………..

Another other last thought. Having just seen the photos of the new campaign buses and knowing that Nicola Sturgeon has often said she wasn’t keen on the party’s name, I foresee a change of name coming soon, from SNP Scottish National Party to NSP Nicola Sturgeon Party perhaps. Given there is no party name on the buses, it seems like a fair bet.

The SNP, the party that dare not speak its name.