Gayle’s response to ‘the trust has gone’

Is it England’s fault that Scotland is in its current state, or is the Scottish Government’s lack of assertiveness responsible. Here, Gayle makes a convincing case for the latter.

If you look at it from the English establishment perspective this is what they see daily: Scotland, who is their equal and signatory partner, refuses to take responsibility for ANY and ALL political decisions. Scotland constantly defers governance and then complains when England, whose set of priorities is vastly different from those of Scotland, makes political decisions that suit its needs.

Scotland is bound to the same terms as England yet refuses to acknowledge its own constitution, laws and rights and instead seeks those of England, while Scotland is an independent country within GB it outright refuses to act accordingly and ignores the many breaches to the treaty. Even when England categorically states that to them UK means a GREATER ENGLAND with Scotland extinguished and subsumed into it and that they never enacted the treaty and if they ever had it was no longer the case, Scotland ignores it and continues as though nothing was ever said, where in the parliament of GB English parliamentary conventions has no place Scotland upholds them, when Scotland should be sitting directly opposite the English government in the chamber it prefers to sit at the back of the room and rely not only on English policy making but on its institutions.

Where Scotland provides the capital to the union it acts as a silent business partner. In short, to the English government they see a weak and pathetic partner who refuses to assert any of its rights and happily accepts abuse thrown at it no matter what.

Scotland has forgotten how to govern itself but will not admit it to its own people so excuses come easily to its own politicians. Everything is big bad England’s fault when all Scotland need ever do is assert itself. If England is to be cast as the panto baddie then they will play the role well.

There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING stopping Scotland from standing up and telling England to get tae… That they are equals and partners not possessions. That from here on out Scotland will take no more of the abuse, admittedly self inflicted. Yet it refuses to do so.

When Alba stood up and asserted Scotland’s rights that should have been the moment the SNP government stood up for Scotland. But no, they put petty political rivalry before country. They demonstrated that when push comes to shove they will side with England not Scotland and its folks. That to me is the biggest betrayal of them all. They simply rode roughshod over Scotland in order to preserve their lifestyles and maintain the illusion of governance when they are incapable at every single level. That is perhaps why they also permit English political parties to stand in Scotland.

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The trust has gone

Open letter to Nicola Sturgeon MSP FM

Dear Nicola,

Earlier I saw a tweet highlighting the lack of excitement that your referendum announcement has created in the wider YES movement.  Despite the promise of a referendum in about 15 months time, there’s nothing like the activity and the passion that was on display about 15 months before the first referendum.

But why is that?  Have folk in Scotland gone off the whole idea of independence?  Is it a foregone conclusion the the No side will win?  Or have folk noticed that, despite all that’s being said by the SNP and, in particular, by yourself, history has shown that words mean nothing unless followed by actions and, unfortunately, in recent years, SNP words are rarely, if ever, followed by actions.

Following the loss of the 2014 referendum vote, Alex Salmond resigned, and was replaced by you, his deputy, as First Minister and party leader, amid a huge increase in membership and support for the SNP, prompted, in part, by the actions of the English government in Westminster voting down all the benefits Scotland had been promised following a No vote.

So you were leading a buoyant SNP, with many No voters in the referendum regretting their vote, disgusted by the actions of Westminster.  A perfect pro-independence storm, you might think.

In the run-up to the following year’s UK general election, with a huge SNP majority of Scottish seats a certainty, you unexpectedly stated that a vote for the SNP was not a vote for independence.  Why would the leader of the alleged ‘party of independence’ not make the most of this opportunity?  Was this the first sign of a change in emphasis on independence?

Despite gaining 56 out of 59 seats in Westminster, a mandate for independence, nothing was done to further the cause in the months that followed.

Nicola, we trusted you to deliver independence, but you let us down in 2015.

Then came the Brexit referendum.  The SNP campaigned against Brexit , but, unsurprisingly, you could not persuade the UK government to treat each part of the UK separately, so the decision in favour of Brexit was an English decision, completely ignoring the Scottish and Northern Irish decisions against.  We will not be dragged out of the EU against our will was your slogan, but, in the event, most of your post-referendum campaigning was in England, trying to overturn the English decision.  Finally, faced with the intransigence of the English government, independence was the only way to keep Scotland in the EU and, with that certainty, you took no action. You simply dropped the slogan and allowed the English government to overrule Scotland’s wishes.

Once again, we see you allowing Scottish opinions to be overruled by the English government without taking action to prevent it.

Nicola, we trusted you to deliver independence, but you let us down in 2016.

In the snap 2017 UK general election, despite the pleas to ‘give us a mandate’, the word independence was banned from SNP election materials and, with no promise of independence, many former SNP voters simply didn’t turn out. That resulted in a big drop in SNP support and a big reduction in the number of SNP MPs elected. However, the election still resulted in a majority of SNP MPs, but, once again, no action followed the mandate. Nothing was done to bring independence closer.

Nicola, we trusted you to deliver independence, but you let us down in 2017.

As the mandates piled up with still no action to bring independence closer, the number of unhappy SNP members voting with their feet and leaving the party was increasing, but this didn’t seem to overly worry you or the rest of the SNP leadership. You just refused to publish membership figures and pretended it wasn’t happening.

A further UK general election followed in 2019 as Boris Johnson sought to confirm his premiership. Once again, the SNP asked for a mandate, once again they got one and once again, no action on independence followed.

Nicola, we trusted you to deliver independence, but you let us down in 2019.

Now let’s consider the latest national election, for the Scottish Parliament in 2021 and another mandate demanded by the SNP. A referendum by the middle of the parliament, or a referendum by the end of 2023, was your cry, a tight timescale, a year less than the time it took in 2014. The justification offered for the feasibility of the shorter timescale was that, coming only nine years after the first referendum, many aspects of the preparation would take less time or even wouldn’t have to be done at all.

Despite all the aforementioned justification, you would have thought that you would have been anxious to get started on the preparatory work, but that didn’t seem to be the case. In the event, it wasn’t until the following year, this year, that any progress was made.

You announced that a further request for a Section 30 would be made and, if that was rejected by Boris Johnson, the next UK General Election, likely to be in 2024, would be treated as a plebiscite on Scottish independence. This latter point was surprising as up until that very day, you had been solidly against a plebiscite, describing it as a hindrance to the independence cause and describing those making the suggestion as idiots, or worse. We now know that, as most people expected, Johnson rejected the Section 30 request, not giving it more than a moment’s thought.

The next action was to submit a request to the English Supreme Court for a decision on whether a referendum was within the competence of the Scottish Government. As with the plebiscite, this was a surprising move, as the Scottish Government had gone to great lengths to destroy Martin Keatings attempt to establish the same thing just a year earlier. I suppose some might also think it strange that the Scottish Government should be asking an English court (I know it’s called the UK Supreme Court, but as there’s no such thing as UK law, it isn’t really) to establish whether they can hold a referendum when you and the rest of the SNP leadership appear to accept that the Scottish people are sovereign, not an English court.

Now we have the release of the first two of the promised series of papers on (and here I quote) “Building a new Scotland”. Unfortunately, here I have to confess a certain amount of disappointment.

The first paper, a comparison with other similar sized European countries, shows clearly that they are better off than Scotland in so many ways, implies that Scotland, with independence, can be the same, but gives no indication of the steps that would be taken to achieve this goal.

The second paper, which focuses on democracy, highlights Scotland’s current democratic deficit and the problems a government focused on the South of England creates in Scotland, but again, beyond the aspiration of independence, no positive steps are laid out to make this a reality.

More papers are to come and we can only hope that they will concentrate more on the actions you and the Scottish Government plan to take to achieve the goals set out in each paper. Without that, you could well be accused of following the same failed path of words not leading to actions.

After such a series of missed opportunities, is it surprising that many Scots are reluctant to place much trust in your current statements?

One last point, an action you seem determined to take is to try to prevent people who don’t agree with every SNP policy from being part of independence campaigning. These policies include the decision to reform the Gender Recognition Act in ways many Scots disagree with, thus seeking to limit the numbers campaigning for independence. Placing the highly controversial GRA reform above the need for maximum unity in the independence movement seems, at least, counterproductive and, at worst, an action likely to limit the chances of success.

Nicola, we are trusting you to deliver independence. Let’s hope you won’t let us down again in 2024.

Yours in independence

Angry Weegie

Is this the death of the SNP?

Or … They never saw it coming?

Last Wednesday, at the increasingly ludicrously named Prime Minister’s Question Time, the two Alba MPs, Neale Hanvey and Kenny Macaskill, were thrown out of the Westminster Commons chamber for protesting about temporary PM Boris Johnson’s immediate and unthinking rejection of the Scottish Government’s request for a Section 30 order.

Enough has already been said about the behaviour of the Speaker, who was so apoplectic about Scots asking questions about Scottish democracy that many members (not Tories, obviously) feared for his health. For those who want to see what democracy in Westminster is like, have a look at this.

You should remember that a Section 30 request is SNP policy, so you might expect that the considerably more numerous SNP MPs would have supported this attempt by fellow Scots to point out the democratic deficit in refusing the Scottish people the opportunity to decide the government of their choice, for which a majority of Scots had voted in the 2021 Holyrood election. Not only did the so-called party of independence not support the Alba MPs, but some actually joined in the abuse hurled at them from the unionist benches.

So we had the astonishing situation that an attempt to show the UK government the error of their ways in relation to SNP party policy was being opposed by the MPs representing that very party. Weird or what?

In the vote that followed, called by the Speaker, to confirm the expulsion of the Alba two, the SNP members sat on their hands. With one exception (Angus Brendan MacNeil), they abstained. They let their hatred of the Alba party get the better of their desire to support SNP party policy, assuming, of course, that they had any real desire to support this party policy in the first place.

Those two Indy stalwarts, John Nicholson and Pete Wishart, were only too anxious to be the first to mock the Alba Two for doing what they themselves should be doing. Here’s what Kevin McKenna had to say about them.

Two of the SNP group, John Nicholson and Pete Wishart – aka “bumptious” and “hopeless” – opted to mock the two suspended Alba MPs. It’s more or less the sum total of their contributions at Westminster since they began living the good life in London. Indeed, so mesmerised is Mr Wishart by Westminster’s ancient accoutrements that he wanted to become Speaker of the House in 2019 to succeed John Bercow.

But perhaps hatred is the wrong word for the SNP’s attitude. Is it not likely that the real reason for the SNP MP’s behaviour is their fear that their failure to pursue independence will begin to hurt them in the ballot box if there is another party which is more aggressive in their pursuit of independence and ballot box hurt could mean the end of their cushy, well paid sinecures, and that would not do. Have the SNP been the only game in town for so long that they just don’t want competition emerging?

Many of you may remember the ‘good old days’ when Scottish voters elected large majorities of Labour MPs. This finished in 2015 when Scots finally realised that Labour were in it for themselves and had no interest whatsoever in doing anything to help the people of Scotland. During the time when Labour were in the majority, their treatment of the SNP was based on the Bain Principle, named after Willie Bain, a Scottish Labour MP who let the cat out of the bag that Labour would not support any SNP pro-Scottish efforts in Parliament, no matter how much harm would be done to people in Scotland as a consequence.

Are there any similarities between Labour’s attitude to the SNP pre-2015 and the SNP’s attitude to Alba today? Well, here’s a quote from an earlier blog post of mine, The SNP Walkouts.

Certainly, at the moment, the only event that causes SNP members walk out of the chamber is one of the Alba MPs standing to speak. Obviously, the last thing you would expect SNP MPs to be interested in would be the opinion of a fellow independence supporting MP. (Did I just accuse SNP MPs of supporting Scottish independence? Will washing out my mouth with soap and water absolve me of this heinous crime?).

And here’s a quote from a current SNP MP about what they’re not in Westminster to do. Does make you wonder why they are there, apart from the money, of course.

Kirsty Blackman: “I am not in Westminster to pressure the government for a referendum. Constitutional issues are not my biggest concern. In fact, I very rarely talk about Scottish independence in the commons.” Thanks to Calton Jock for letting us all know current SNP thinking.

So the SNP are not in Westminster to talk about a referendum or about independence. They’re certainly not there to support fellow Scots from another party who do want to talk about a referendum and independence.

Is this the SNP’s reinvention of the Bain Principle? We all know that nothing happens in the SNP without Nicola Sturgeon’s knowledge and approval, so should it be called the Sturgeon Principle?

We all know what happened to Labour in Scotland when folk realised the truth that they were not in Westminster to make life better for Scots, only to make life better for themselves. Will the SNP face the same fate when folk realise they’re not in Westminster to deliver independence to the Scots, only to deliver financial independence to themselves.

Many Facebook sites are increasingly censoring bloggers like myself who can be critical of the actions of the SNP and the Scottish Government. They are attempting to prevent bloggers from getting their message out, so we have to depend on readers sharing the blog posts. If you liked this post or others I have written, please share this and take out a free subscription by clicking the follow button on the home page or on the posts. You will then be notified by email of any new posts on the blog. Thank you.