Gender Reform – an MSP’s view (final)

Unfortunately, I have little to add to my previous postings as, not surprisingly, I have had no further reply. However, I do have some further comments about my MSP.

Her reply to my first email made two points, GRR was in the manifesto (self-id wasn’t) and it was the “right” thing to do (opinions vary on that).

The SNP line has consistently been that the changes are just administrative and don’t affect the position of women. They have said that perverts, paedophiles and rapists will do their perverting, paedophiling and raping anyway and they don’t need to pretend to be women to do it. Of course, they came to that view by refusing to speak to women’s groups and by ignoring all evidence to the contrary presented to them. It’s easy to ‘know’ you’re right when you ignore all evidence that shows you’re wrong.

My MSP is Clare Haughey, who is Minister for Children and Young People in the Scottish Government, having previously worked in the SNHS as a mental health nurse.

How can anyone with a background in medicine come to the view that the simple act of putting on a dress and a bit of lippy changes a man into a woman?

How can anyone with a background in mental health come to the view that a man who thinks he’s actually a woman has anything other than a mental health condition?

How can anyone with responsibility for children and young people come to the view that it’s in their best interests to pass a law that allows perverts, paedophiles and rapists free access to children and young people?

And that’s before we take into account the absolute insanity of the Scottish Government discussing proposals to allow children as young as six to make life-changing decisions about their bodies, leading to a life of drug-dependency, infertility and mental and physical illness without having any discussion with a medical or psychological professional.

And that’s before we take into account the absolute insanity of the Scottish Government discussing proposals to turn any discussion with a child or young person about this into a crime. Parents who only want the best for their child become criminals and can have the child removed. Doctors who point out the implications of the child’s decision become criminals and can perhaps have their licence removed. If a girl says she wants to be a boy or a boy says he wants to be a girl, then that’s fixed for life and nothing can be done except to encourage and affirm this ‘decision’. Any other discussion would be considered conversion therapy and would be illegal and ‘perpetrators’ become criminals.

You don’t believe this? Read the report from the Expert Advisory Group on Ending Conversion Practices on the Scottish Government website, a group appointed by the Scottish Government to get the answer they got. Read it here.

So why would someone with Clare Haughey’s responsibilities and background do this? The answer is, of course, is going to be money. She wants to keep her job and her salary and to do that she can’t disagree with her ‘glorious leader’. To disagree means being cast out into the back benches, being deprived of her ministerial salary and, likely, being deselected for the next Holyrood election. So, compared to that, what does it matter if a couple of million people get disadvantaged or even harmed.

It’s amazing what you can persuade yourself of when your income may be affected.

Balanced Budget – who wins?

One of the constant refrains from the Westminster government is the need to balance the budget, i.e. restrict spending to the level of income. This is constantly used as the excuse to impose austerity on the general population, although, of course, austerity applies only to us plebs, not to MPs, who can vote themselves larger increases in salaries than the rest of us can ever hope to get and can claim expenses of the sort most of us can only dream of.

But that is is a mere pittance to what government friends and the top 1% make (and what MPs can make after they retire from their lifetime of serving the public – ūü§£)

For example, there’s the ¬£37bn allocated to the UK Test and Trace system. No one really seems to know how the money is being spent and, in any case, it has produced no discernible improvement in pandemic outcomes (see this from the Commons Public Accounts Committee). Most of that money seems to have gone to private companies and individuals and there’s more billions given to friends and colleagues of MPs to supply PPE, without using sensible (or even any) purchasing rules. Much of it turned out to be useless and is now costing more millions to store before costing even more millions to be destroyed (and we’re not just talking about Michelle Mone here, that’s the tip of the iceberg).

Then there’s the generally accepted statistic that billionaires worldwide (that’s people worth more than $1,000,000,000) increased their wealth by 54% (that’s more than $540,000,000) during the pandemic, sparking renewed calls for a wealth tax. See this report from CBS News. How did your finances do in the pandemic? In the UK, Westminster would only introduce a wealth tax if there were enough loopholes in it to allow all the really rich to avoid it. Their money is all hidden away in tax havens anyway.

For those of you who haven’t yet seen what $540 million looks like, it would create a column almost 37 miles high. When added to the existing billion, that would total 105 miles. Of course, that’s just the minimum entry qualification to the billionaires club. If you were Bernard Arnault, currently the world’s richest man, you would have to contend with a stack 11,130 miles high. That’s almost 25 times as high as Ben Nevis. Billionaires must be really grateful for electronic money.

Recent events are highlighting just the difference between Westminster’s treatment of their mates and the plebs. With government-created inflation running at over 10%, Westminster are refusing to even discuss sensible pay rises for workers who only a year or so ago were being applauded (some with weekly government sponsored gratitude sessions) for risking their lives keeping the country running. You would have thought the government would have been only too happy to reward these important workers with a decent pay rise. Perhaps, having given so much to all their mates, they’ve got nothing left? Aye, right!

Anyway, back to balancing the budget. I was pointed recently to a list of all the countries arranged by income (thanks Macalba). What I noticed from the list was that I had to go down to the 53rd biggest country in the world (Qatar) before I found one who had a budget surplus. (Qatar, of course, has all that oil income, no doubt making it easy to run a surplus. If only Scotland was in the same position.) That’s the 52 biggest countries in the world, all running a budget deficit (and that includes the UK). In fact, top of the list, the USA, the country our government is always seeking to emulate, had, in round figures, a deficit of $4trn on an income of $6trn. To paraphrase Mr Micawber, annual income 6trn dollars, expenditure 10trn dollars, result happiness. I think that’s roughly what he said. By the way, Scotland is not included in the list, not even as a dependent territory, though, if included, Scotland (around $75bn income) would rank above New Zealand (40th – $72bn) and very close to South Africa (39th – $76bn).

So why Westminster’s fixation on a balanced budget? We all know Westminster does nothing that doesn’t benefit Westminster, so what’s the point? Well, as I’ve said, a balanced budget is the excuse for austerity, so perhaps the question ought to be – what’s the point of austerity?

Handing out less money to the plebs must mean there’s more left for the really deserving rich. So, is this the reason? Is it just, as the Four Preps almost said in a song I liked as a teenager:

Musical Interlude

‚ôę Eliminate the proletariat
More money for you and me ‚ôę

(What do you mean, you’ve never heard of the Four Preps. You obviously need educating on the finer aspects of pre-Beatles American popular music. Listen to a song from them that also references other famous groups such as the Fleetwoods, the Hollywood Argyles, the Platters, the Four Freshmen, the Kingston Trio and Dion and the Belmonts. You can listen to it here on YouTube. For best experience, imagine each group as your favourite bunch of MPs/MSPs. “Gosh, Angry, how old are you?“)

Back to the serious stuff.

Or could there be a more sinister reason? Are the Tories really intent on taking us back to the early twentieth century or even the late nineteenth when workers had no employment rights, when your job and your income were dependent on doing exactly what your boss told you and when you could be sacked on a whim if you showed the faintest sign of being a nuisance or if you wanted a living wage?

Other legislation planned by the current Tory government includes banning strikes in certain industries by imposing legal minimum service levels (how long before it becomes everybody) and removing or revising EU based benefits like holiday pay, maternity/paternity leave and maximum working hours. Another Brexit benefit?

Is the attempted imposition of below inflation wage increases, the cuts in real-terms benefit levels and the relatively relaxed approach to huge increases in energy and food prices just part of a softening-up process to make us plebs even more grateful for the pittance in wages or benefits we’re getting than we already are? Remember that the UK is already a low wage economy, with the lowest levels of benefits and pensions in Europe and many families in the UK dependent on foodbanks to survive.

Foodbanks are a fairly recent phenomenon in the UK. First opened in 2000, the numbers have grown to over 2,600. How long will it take before we’re all dependent on food banks, except, by then, they will be funded through charitable donations from the rich, because none of the rest of us will be able to afford it. Makes you think of Victorian times. I hear that Tories are even considering reintroducing workhouses. I wouldn’t put it past them.

With almost two years to go before the next election, there’s loads of time left for the Tories to do untold damage. Even if we get a Labour government at the next election, who would put money on them reversing the worst of the Tories’ excesses. After all, they’ve been promising to abolish (or reform) the House of Lords for more than a hundred years. Anybody notice a change? Oh yes, there are even more Labour peers. By the way, does everybody know that the Lords is the second biggest legislative chamber in the world, second only to Chinese National People’s Congress.

In any case, if the Tories throw a few goodies to the electorate before the election, who’s to say they won’t get back in. But, no matter who gets in, the balance in a balanced budget is always against you.

And by the way, with so much to look forward to, I hope you all have a great New Year. ūüėČ

And if you want a song from the same era, why not try this, Tommy Steele’s Independence Movement anthem to Nicola Sturgeon.


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SALVO
The progress of Salvo has been the most encouraging development of 2022. It is doing sterling work educating Scots about the Claim of Right and spelling out what it means that the Scottish people are sovereign, not any Parliament.

LIBERATION.SCOT
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Will 2023 be a guid New Year?

Last year, I blogged about what should happen in 2022 to bring independence closer. It’s important to realise that they were not predictions because, if they were, I would have had a pretty poor score. Nostradamus would have little to worry about. For those brave enough to want to imagine what life would be like if these non-predictions came about, you can read the wish list in full here.

In 2021, Sturgeon’s reason (excuse?) for delaying independence was Covid Even though so much was possible during a pandemic, Scottish election, self-id and Hate Crimes, it just wasn’t the right time to progress independence, or even talk about it.

2022 saw a new independence delaying strategy. As the effects of the pandemic faded, meaning it couldn’t be used again, Sturgeon instead referred the concept of an independence referendum to Westminster’s Supreme Court, knowing that a negative response would provide another reason for delay. The Supreme Court obliged by ruling that an independence referendum was outwith the Scottish Parliament’s competence, allowing the promised 2023 referendum to be ditched, without even a real whimper of objection from the Scottish Government.

So much was going to be done in 2022, a new referendum bill, an updated independence prospectus and agreement on the referendum question. What was done was no new bill, three papers on life after independence (widely mocked as useless) and the floated possibility of a three question referendum, including enhanced devolution, which received such overwhelming derision that it hasn’t been mentioned since, though, I suspect, it’s not forgotten.

I suggested that the biggest blockage on the road to independence was Nicola Sturgeon and her leaving would be a big boost for the independence campaign. Given that she didn’t leave and the independence campaign continued to flounder, does that mean I was right? Maybe.

I also suggested that a way to ‘encourage’ the SNP to move on independence was to vote for Alba, ISP or other independence supporting parties instead of the SNP in the local elections. Instead, the SNP got an increased share of the vote and, as a result, took that as confirmation that no movement on independence was necessary. So they did nothing.

So what are my non-predictions for 2023? I still think that Sturgeon’s departure is essential for there to be any movement on independence. Will she go this year? With all her objectives achieved, Hate Crimes, Self-Id GRR and longest serving FM, what’s left to do? I guess only her fear that her work might be undone if she left would keep her in post. Depends how much faith she has in her possible replacements. Given she knows how much she had conned Alex Salmond by 2014 into believing she was the perfect replacement, she could be worried that her potential replacements are similarly conning her.

Without Sturgeon’s departure, it’s hard to see any progress being made. Even with her departure, if she’s replaced by one of the SNP Looney Bunch, most likely Robertson or Smith, then there’s little chance of anything happening. There are no elections planned for 2023 (at the moment) and the chances of the SNP Government resigning to force an election are remote. In fact, more non-existent than remote.

So it’s looking as if 2023 is going to be a pretty fallow year. Unless someone from Salvo or Liberation knows different.

Despite all the depression I’ve tried to spread, I hope you and yours have a happy New Year, and may all your non-political wishes come true. Political wishes? – we can always hope.

Slainte Mhath. Saor Alba.


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SALVO
The progress of Salvo has been the most encouraging development of 2022. It is doing sterling work educating Scots about the Claim of Right and spelling out what it means that the Scottish people are sovereign, not any Parliament.

LIBERATION.SCOT
Please register at Liberation.scot and join the mass membership organisation that will be the signatories to our application to the UN, debate and organise a new Scottish Constitution. The membership of Liberation is also where the first members of Scotland’s National Congress will be balloted for selection.

Gender Reform – An MSP’s view (continued)

Or how to dress up misogyny as a ‘good thing’

As promised, here’s the update. There was no reply to my second email, even after the vote, so I send a third email commenting specifically on the vote to allow sex offenders to obtain a GRC. I’ve added a copy of email 3 at the end.


As most of you will be aware, I am not a fan of the Gender Recognition Reform Bill (GRR) currently making its extremely swift progress through the Scottish Parliament and likely to become law by the end of this week.

I wrote to my MSP expressing my views and, surprisingly, got a brief reply.

I thought it might be interesting to see the correspondence. This was my initial email …

Click on the images to make them a bit bigger.

And this was the reply.

As you can see, the response fails to address most of the points I raised, contenting herself with gender reform being in the manifesto (self-id wasn’t), that I wrongly described her as a medical professional (I didn’t) and saying practically all the correspondence she’s received has been supportive (must all have been from SNP members). However, she does say she will vote for the bill to support “one of the most marginalised and discriminated against communities in our society”.

With that in mind, I replied …

I await a further response. However, as it’s likely that, if I get a response, it will come after the vote, I thought it might be worthwhile getting it out before the vote. If I get a response, I’ll update the post.

Here’s email 3. Maybe it will be graced with a response.


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SALVO
The progress of Salvo has been the most encouraging development of 2022. It is doing sterling work educating Scots about the Claim of Right and spelling out what it means that the Scottish people are sovereign, not any Parliament.

LIBERATION.SCOT
Please register at Liberation.scot and join the mass membership organisation that will be the signatories to our application to the UN, debate and organise a new Scottish Constitution. The membership of Liberation is also where the first members of Scotland’s National Congress will be balloted for selection.

The unwanted Christmas present?

Tuesday 20th December, 2022 will be known as the day of the shameful sixty four. The day when that number of our MSPs thought it was a good idea to remove the distinction between male rapists and women. This was the Scottish Parliament’s Christmas present to Scottish women and girls.

This was the day when male rapists were allowed to put on a dress, call themselves women and be allowed access to all women only places and facilities.

The day when male rapists were given permission to access to rape crisis centres, not because they’ve been raped, but because they are, or would like to be, rapists.

The day when male rapists were given permission to enter women’s refuges so they can continue to abuse women sheltering there hoping to recover from abuse.

The day when male rapists were given permission to enter women’s toilets, so they can wave their willies at teenage girls, or, if they’re lucky and there’s no one else about, they may be able to force girls into sexual acts.

The day when male rapists were allowed to enter women’s changing rooms in sports and retail facilities, so they can parade their ‘women’s cocks’ in front of real women and girls, probably with a hard on brought on by the excitement at what they are doing. They may even be able to take photos of themselves (ooh, look at me) or even photograph women changing, so they can post the pictures on social media to show how clever they are.

Of course, when the law is passed, it will be the day when men are allowed to enter women’s sports and win everything because they are bigger and stronger than the women they’re competing against and if it’s a contact sport and women get seriously hurt, then that’s just acceptable collateral damage, Acceptable to the Scottish Government anyway.

This is all taking place in the name of trans rights, but those I’m talking about are not trans. They are perverts, rapists and paedophiles who are taking advantage of a law which has been drafted to allow all this.

The excuse the sponsors of the bill used to allow all this was that it would breach the human rights of perverts, rapists and paedophiles to prevent them from gaining a Gender Recognition Certificate. The sponsors say they have taken legal advice about this, but, of course, they are refusing to release the advice they have been given. I wonder if they asked for legal advice about whether giving perverts, rapists and paedophiles a free pass into women’s facilities would breach the human rights of the women and girls. I don’t suppose they did. If they did, they ignored it.

All of these things will soon be law and the perverts, rapists and paedophiles will soon have the law on their side. Women who complain will be breaking the law and could be arrested and charged with a hate crime because they don’t want to share their private spaces with perverts, rapists and paedophiles. Insanity or what? Because it’s the law doesn’t mean it’s right.

However, this weekend and next, I think everyone needs to forget what’s happened over the last few days and try to enjoy whatever Christmas and New Year celebrations you have planned. Don’t let the shameless sixty four spoil your plans.

Remember, you can always return unwanted Christmas presents and after New Year, we can all work hard to remove this shameful law from our statute books.


BEAT THE CENSORS
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SALVO
The progress of Salvo has been the most encouraging development of 2022. It is doing sterling work educating Scots about the Claim of Right and spelling out what it means that the Scottish people are sovereign, not any Parliament.

LIBERATION.SCOT
Please register at Liberation.scot and join the mass membership organisation that will be the signatories to our application to the UN, debate and organise a new Scottish Constitution. The membership of Liberation is also where the first members of Scotland’s National Congress will be balloted for selection.

Gender Reform – An MSP’s view

Or how to dress up misogyny as a ‘good thing’

As most of you will be aware, I am not a fan of the Gender Recognition Reform Bill (GRR) currently making its extremely swift progress through the Scottish Parliament and likely to become law by the end of this week.

I wrote to my MSP expressing my views and, surprisingly, got a brief reply.

I thought it might be interesting to see the correspondence. This was my initial email …

Click on the images to make them a bit bigger.

And this was the reply.

As you can see, the response fails to address most of the points I raised, contenting herself with gender reform being in the manifesto (self-id wasn’t), that I wrongly described her as a medical professional (I didn’t) and saying practically all the correspondence she’s received has been supportive (must all have been from SNP members). However, she does say she will vote for the bill to support “one of the most marginalised and discriminated against communities in our society”.

With that in mind, I replied …

I await a further response. However, as it’s likely that, if I get a response, it will come after the vote, I thought it might be worthwhile getting it out before the vote. If I get a response, I’ll update the post.


BEAT THE CENSORS
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.


SALVO
The progress of Salvo has been the most encouraging development of 2022. It is doing sterling work educating Scots about the Claim of Right and spelling out what it means that the Scottish people are sovereign, not any Parliament.

LIBERATION.SCOT
Please register at Liberation.scot and join the mass membership organisation that will be the signatories to our application to the UN, debate and organise a new Scottish Constitution. The membership of Liberation is also where the first members of Scotland’s National Congress will be balloted for selection.

I promise to tell the truth …

Or … how Sturgeon has tried to save England

I’m not talking about her flawed and unsuccessful attempt to change the minds of the English Brexit voters, the majority of whom foolishly voted for a proposition that only benefitted the rich and, as is becoming more obvious by the day, disadvantaged the rest of us.

No. This is about how she has managed to maintain her popularity despite a series of events and decisions she has made that have produced no benefit for the people of Scotland but have continued to provide Westminster and their rich pals with the opportunity to strip Scotland of resources to the advantage of London and the South of England.

The SNP was formed in 1934 and, for the first 80 years of its existance, its main focus was on independence for Scotland, culminating in the 2014 referendum. They had limited success in Westminster elections during that period, the highlight being the 11 seats gained in October 1974. Following the loss of the referendum vote, Alex Salmond resigned and his deputy Nicola Sturgeon became party leader and First Minister.

At every election since then, Sturgeon has told Scotland that only a vote for the SNP will guarantee independence for Scotland. Give us the mandate and we’ll deliver independence, she said.

But independence has never been delivered because if they were ever to deliver independence, they wouldn’t be able to use the same argument at the next election. Why would Sturgeon discard a winning argument. After all, if you don’t vote for the SNP to deliver independence, who will you vote for? Failure to deliver was SNP strategy for continuing electoral success.

Doesn’t that remind you of the Labour Party in Scotland. At every election, Labour promised to improve conditions for working families and the less well off, but they never delivered, because if they did, they wouldn’t be able to use the same promise in the next election, and the one after that. Failure to deliver was Labour strategy for continuing electoral success.

Is this the reason behind the SNP’s treatment of other independence supporting parties such as Alba and ISP? For the ‘who will you vote for’ argument to work, there can be no other independence supporting parties worth voting for. So, part of the SNP strategy for election success is to paint other parties as not worthy in some way. Unlike the unionist parties, whose policies they may criticise, the SNP target individual members of independence supporting parties, labelling them as misogynistic, homophobic and their old standby, transphobic. They’re even trying to bring in a set of rules preventing any individual or group from campaigning for independence unless they agree to self-id and the SNP definition of women. Good luck with that, SNP. You’ll need it.

This strategy particularly applies to Alba. Apparently, in a party with over 7000 members, Alba has no decent members at all. Not even one. Strange, as most of the members were formerly in the SNP, but transferred because they became dissolutioned with the SNP’s lack of progress towards independence.

Getting rid of political competition would also have been the reason behind the attempt to remove Alex Salmond from the political stage by concocting a series of unbelievable falsehoods and exaggerations to try to get him imprisoned, with the help of the politicised police and procurator fiscal service. I say unbelievable because the jury didn’t believe them, one reason for the latest push to try sex cases without a jury. Easier to get the ‘right’ verdict? Had the lies succeeded, Salmond could well have died in prison, making those involved open to accusations of both political murder, subject only to the court of public opinion, and actual murder, for which, in today’s Scotland, no charges would be brought. Charges are never brought against pro-Sturgeon individuals, even those who commit obvious perjury.

And now we have the latest nonsense, handing over the decision on Scottish independence, a decision which rightly can only be made by the Scottish people, to an English court. The judgement of the so-called Supreme Court, set up by Westminster to allow any and all Scottish decisions to be overruled by English opinion, was that there is no legal means by which Scotland can regain her independence, so Scots should just lie back and think of England while allowing themselves to be raped, time and time again. Comment on the judgement has already been covered many times, by many people, including myself, here

Who benefits from this SNP failure to plan for and deliver independence? It’s certainly not the majority of Scots, who continue to have to put up with decisions made by the increasingly abysmal English government in Westminster. It’s not even the majority of the English, who are having the same problems with Westminster as we are. The only beneficiaries are the Tory party and the top 1% in England, both getting richer, and SNP leaders and politicians in Scotland, getting richer while doing nothing to advance the cause they were elected to advance.

But has Sturgeon taken things too far? Has her decision to hand over Scottish sovereignty to an English court backfired? Has her plan to introduce yet more delay into the independence project resulted a totally different outcome to the one she wanted and has it resulted in weakening her position even more than the self-id rebellion? Have ever larger numbers of Scots started seeing that the lack of planning for independence, the lack of effort to gain independence, and the lack of desire for independence is being demonstrated almost daily by Nicola Sturgeon, by members of the Scottish Government and by nearly all SNP elected members? Has Sturgeon signed her own political death warrant?

Finally, should we consider whether Sturgeon planned the actions only designed to benefit herself or whether her failure to deliver independence is part of an agreement with the English government along the lines of “you make sure independence doesn’t happen and we’ll support you for the UN job” or whatever other high-profile, highly paid ambassador position she thinks she has the best chance of getting? Watching Sturgeon’s actions (or inactions) since she became First Minister, can anyone really believe that this scenario is completely impossible?


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English Supreme Court Rules – OK

In the blink of an eye, in court judgement terms, the Supreme Court has ruled that Scotland is not a country, or at least, not a country that can make its own decisions without help from Mother England. They’ve ruled that Scotland is a colony controlled by the English parliament, who are the ultimate authority and have the power to deny Scots the ability to even think about the form of government they want.

Unionists will be pleased. Yet another blow to Scot’s belief in themselves. Yet another victory for those who want us all to think Scots are the lowest of the low. And yet another excuse for delay that was surely the only reason why Sturgeon sent a unionist Lord Advocate to the Supreme Court to destroy the Scottish case.

This was a case that was supposed to take months to come to a decision on, because of the volume and the complexity of the written evidence before the judges. No decision before next year was the expectation. The early date for the announcement leant credence to the view that there would be no decision, that they would say that a decision couldn’t be made because the Scottish Parliament hadn’t yet approved a referendum bill. That was my belief and that of many others.

Instead, what we got was a decision based solely on the judges’ understanding that Westminster is boss, that whatever Westminster says, goes.

There was no time to look at the evidence before them, so the evidence was ignored. The judges simply said that we aren’t going to waste our time thinking about what Scots want to do. We’ll just tell them to get back their box, learn their place and stop pretending they can think for themselves. We’ll just tell them that they can only make decisions that are permitted to them by English parliamentarians.

A judgement that was supposed to be made under Scot’s law said that Scot’s law is merely a subset of English law and when push comes to shove, English law is all that counts. A panel of five, including one Scottish judge, effectively ruled that Scot’s law doesn’t exist.

So where does that leave us now? What legal means exist for Scots to decide on the form of government we want? Now that a referendum has been ruled out (giving Nicola Sturgeon’s government another year to think about what they’ll do), what’s next? Is it the plebiscite in 2024? Or will Sturgeon ask the Supreme Court to rule on whether a plebiscite is within the competence of the Scottish Government? I wouldn’t rule that out.

If we don’t take Scot’s law into our own hands, nothing will ever happen. Let’s remember the Declaration of Arbroath. Let’s use the Claim of Right. Let’s do something before being Scottish becomes nothing but a folk memory.


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Is it all just a dream?

Imagine the following post summarising the current state of the Scottish independence debate.

There’s an independence referendum coming. Obviously, with less than a year to go, the Scottish Government’s campaign is in full swing. There have been marches through the streets of major Scottish towns and cities, SNP MPs and MSPs at their head, spreading the word, making sure everyone in Scotland knows about the benefits of independence.

The biggest march, so far, has been in Glasgow, with Nicola Sturgeon leading over quarter of a million independence supporters to a rally in Glasgow Green. An even bigger march and rally is planned for Edinburgh, with close to half a million expected on the Meadows to witness the widely rumoured reconciliation between Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon, setting aside their differences to work together for independence.

The independence bloggers have all got a new lease of life. Stuart Campbell has unretired Wings over Scotland and has nothing but praise for the actions of the Scottish Government. Many blogs, even including my own poor efforts, are showing a ten-fold increase in traffic, driven by the availability of two independence supporting video channels now being broadcast into every home in Scotland and being watched by millions.

Even the mainstream media are finding it impossible to ignore what’s going on, especially following the decision of Scottish Labour Party members to demand separation from the UK Labour party so Scottish Labour can become a truly Scottish based party. The Scottish Liberal Democrats are soon expected to follow suit. The numbers involved in independence events are so large that the mainstream media, even including BBC Scotland, are forced to report (almost) truthfully on what’s happening, even showing glimpses of the hundreds of onlookers stepping off the pavement to join the marchers. Unionist supporting organisations are finding it hard to get a platform because very few want to listen to what they have to say and they have no evidence to back up their increasingly deranged utterings.

How many of you have been swept up by the colour and noise and excitement of the events? How many of you have now been converted to be strong independence supporters when the true facts were put to you by the Government. Were you a No and are you now a Yes? Will you now be voting for independence? The campaign is being and will be a success. There is no longer any doubt that independence is the settled will of the Scottish people. Scotland will return to being an independent country next year.

But …

Is this true or is it all a figment of my imagination? Is it just wishful thinking on my part? Is it all a dream? Unfortunately, it turns out I’ve woken up to the real nightmare, the real nightmare where nothing described above is happening and where the ‘party of independence’ has leaders who are actively trying to prevent independence. This is the nightmare when the people in whom you put your trust turn out to be no better than those you knew would do everything they could to stop you from succeeding. This is present day Scotland.

However, to end on a lighter note, here’s a few words that Abba could have written to cheer you up and help you through these dark times.

I Have a Dream, a fantasy
To help me through, reality
And my destination, makes it worth the while
Pushin’ through the darkness, it’s just another mile

I believe in Indy
Something good in everything I see
I believe in Indy
When I know the time is right for me
I’ll cross the stream, I Have a Dream

Don’t give up. Keep the faith, folks.

Nicola Sturgeon – super independence negotiator?

There’s been lots of talk recently (and not just from me) about whether Nicola Sturgeon and elected SNP MPs and MSPs. still have independence as their number one priority or even if it’s on their priority list at all. Unfortunately, recent events have not made this clearer. Despite Sturgeon announcing the date for a second independence referendum on 28th June this year, little if any campaigning has happened, though I have been informed by SNP members who still speak to me that there have been three leaflets available to be delivered, though I can’t find much information about them on either the Scottish Government website or the SNP website, suggesting they may be information already in the public domain being recycled.

At the recent SNP conference, with just 12 months to go before the referendum is due, there were no debates on independence and no motions on the activities planned. It was almost as if the SNP has no intention of taking part in their own referendum.

There’s little comparison between current SNP inactivity and what was happening in September 2013, a year before the first independence referendum. Then, the campaign was gearing up, most Yes (and other) groups had been formed and many conversations and meetings were being held. I even got a “Yes volunteers briefing pack” from Shirley-Anne Somerville, produced before her conversion to deputy assistant Wokemeister. Now, the SNP won’t even discuss an independence strategy at their conference, though they are happy to discuss an unnecessary code of conduct, apparently designed to exclude any group who doesn’t share their views on gender and women with willies.

Of course, there is the (in)famous Building a New Scotland series of papers, promised by Sturgeon to provide all the information Scots need to allow them to make an informed choice about independence. The papers, not sure how many are planned, will be available in 17 different languages (not Scots, obviously). The first two, Independence in the modern world, issued in May, and Renewing Democracy through Independence, issued in June, were roundly criticised for containing no indication how the Government intended to achieve the objectives set out in the papers. But surely, the third, A stronger economy with independence, which was issued last week, was the icing on Sturgeon’s devolution cake. Criticised for its continued adherence to the Growth Commission’s idea of retaining sterling for an indefinite period (who would want to stick with sterling after the last few weeks) and its lack of detail as to how the benefits will be achieved (again), it doesn’t inspire confidence in the SNP’s desire for independence. Indeed, Richard Murphy, who supports Scottish independence, in his review of the document, was driven to say, “I doubt the conviction of those who wrote it about independence” and who can blame him. Read his full statement here in a Twitter thread.

Now let’s think of what happens next if, despite Sturgeon’s best efforts, Scotland achieves independence. With Sturgeon still in position as First Minister, she would lead the negotiations with Westminster to determine the terms under which Scotland would leave the United Kingdom. Obviously, Sturgeon would be determined to get the best deal possible for Scotland, wouldn’t she. Or would she?

Let’s look at some recent examples of her interest in the future of Scotland and the success of Scottish independence.

First, the ScotWind auction.

For years, the SNP have been promoting offshore wind generation as a jewel in Scotland’s resource crown, one of the reasons why an independent Scotland would be so successful. Why then did the ScotWind auction earlier this year place a cap on the maximum amount companies were allowed to bid? What sensible organisation running an auction would decide that no matter how high buyers were prepared to bid, no matter how much companies thought it was worth, a limit would be placed on the amount the seller was prepared to accept. In this case, the maximum bid was set at ¬£100,000 per sq.km., hence the total of ¬£700m raised from an area of 7000 sq.km.

The £100,000 price was a last-minute decision to increase the cap from £10,000 per sq.km. following bids for an 8GW (Gigawatts) area in England raising £875m per annum using a different auction method. To put it another way, given that the areas auctioned would allow the installation of at least 25 GW of wind power, the ScotWind auction represents a price of no more than £28m per Gigawatt.

Was that a fair price? How does it compare with other similar auctions? Coincidentally, at almost the same time as the ScotWind auction, the US government held an auction for areas just off the coast of New York and New Jersey. This was for a much smaller area than the ScotWind auction, supporting only 7 Gigawatts of wind power, but it raised a total of $4.37bn. Converting to Sterling, this represents a price of £530m per Gigawatt, 19 times the ScotWind price. Had ScotWind raised a figure similar to the US auction, the Scottish Government would have received a £13bn boost, or around 40% of their annual budget.

The cap not only prevented the Scottish Government getting a potentially enormous one-off bonus, but the auction rules mean they get only a tiny annual fee, there’s no government involvement in the on-going development and no real guarantee of local benefit from the projects, in either supplies or jobs.

Why was the auction deliberately set up to minimise the advantage to Scotland and the Scottish people? Was this the action of a party determined to deliver a successful independence?

Now the island ferries.

Much has been written about the island ferry fiasco, so I won’t repeat the details here. Those who want to find out more need only look at Iain Lawson’s blog, Yours for Scotland to see statements from Professor Alf Baird and Dr. Stuart Ballantyne, among others, who know much more about ferries than I do (or the Scottish Government do, apparently).

What has always puzzled me is why the Scottish Government have persisted with support for the current ferry replacement policy, led by CMAL (Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited), a public company wholly owned by the Scottish Government, when that policy has clearly failed. So much is currently wrong, complex, one-of orders; high cost; often incapable of using existing island facilities; leading to slow delivery of replacement vessels and resulting in an aging fleet, prone to breakdown and providing a poor service to island communities.

There are better ways. The Clyde Catamaran Group have submitted proposals for the replacement of the CalMac fleet with low cost, internationally proven designs, which would lead to a modern, responsive fleet, saving both build and operational costs, while providing a much improved service to the island communities, a service that would allow the islands to prosper. It is nothing short of unbelievable that these proposals have hardly been considered by the Scottish Government/CMAL, often without even the courtesy of a reply to communications from the group.

What reason can the Scottish Government have for ignoring the obvious advantages contained in the proposals. Is it stupidity, is it a determination not to admit that mistakes have been made, is it corruption as has been suggested by some, or is it a deliberate act to ruin another aspect of Scottish life. The last option sounds unbelievable until combined with other Scottish Government behaviour, as described above and below.

Finally, there’s this.

The release of the third paper in the Building a New Scotland series. I’ve already mention above the almost unbelievable plan to retain Sterling for an indefinite period. However, that’s not the worst of it. Sturgeon states that although there’s no legal responsibility for iScotland to accept any UK debt, she thinks we have a moral obligation to help out Westminster with their debt problem. Setting aside the stupidity of alerting your opponent to your thinking in advance of any negotiations, why would we want to take a share of debt that was mainly accrued to benefit England, especially in the circumstances where the English government have been ripping us off for centuries. If anything, our stance should be that we are owed multi-billion pound reparations for all we have lost by being part of this union.

Accepting a share of UK debt without significant concessions from the other side (which is unlikely to happen) will damage Scotland and has the potential to make independence less successful. Why would any independence leader suggest such an action?

Scorched earth policy?

These are just three examples of the SNP and the Scottish Government making decisions which appears harmful to Scottish independence, but there are many others, such as the divisive GRA amendment policy and the inaction of SNP MPs in Westminster, both of which impact on the possibility of Scotland regaining her independence and make it more difficult for independence to be a success.

Much has been said about Sturgeon’s alleged interest in securing a UN or EU post after resigning from her current position as First Minister of Scotland, but the events described above point towards her last gift to Scotland, before leaving, being the implementation of a “scorched earth policy”, doing her best to disadvantage the Scottish people and make independence seem less attractive.

Is there another explanation? Recent statements from Sturgeon and senior colleagues seem to confirm a continuing involvement of the SNP at Westminster following the next UK general election, currently scheduled for 2024, which, considering the current SNP plan to hold an independence referendum a year from now, would suggest either an expectation of defeat or certain knowledge that the referendum will not take place.

Let’s look at some of these statements.

Ian Blackford tells BBC News that at the next UK election, the SNP will have a growth plan for the UK. Why? Will we not be negotiating independence by then? See the clip here (courtesy of WoS). Meanwhile, his boss was telling us she was looking forward to working with Rishi Sunak and that we also need an immediate UK General Election to get rid of the anti-Scottish Tories and replace them with anti-Scottish Labour.

How do you build a “constructive working relationship” with someone you want to leave and are campaigning against? Perhaps because there won’t be any campaigning?

In the meantime, let’s hang around doing nothing. What else could I do?

And call for a general election, which you won’t get and, in any case, it’s only to give the SNP three extra years on the Westminster gravy train.

And if that’s not enough, here’s Tommy Shepherd worrying about English residents. Pity he doesn’t spend time worrying about Scottish residents suffering from colonialism. Still, I suppose the extra ¬£15k for making such statements makes it seem ok.

Do these comments sound like they come from people who want independence above all else? Do these comments sound like they come from people who you would want to be negotiating the future of an iScotland? If not, what are SNP politicians for?