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 – 🤣)

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

♫ Eliminate the proletariat
More money for you and me ♫

(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. 😉

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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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.

Equality Act and single sex spaces

This is the part of Suella Braverman’s referring to the Equality Act and how the law protects single sex spaces. The Equality Act applies to the whole of the UK, including Scotland, so any proposed change to the law which has an adverse impact on the Act would be ruled out on that basis.


Cases that have arisen under the Equality Act 2010 are yet another ‘vivid illustration of how aspirational legislation can so easily be blown off course’. This point was made by Lord Faulks QC in his foreword to Paul Yowell’s excellent Policy Exchange paper on the Act. The Act represents a codification of the UK’s anti-discrimination law – some 116 prior Acts and Regulations. In part prompted by European Union law, the Act gold-plates and goes further than what the EU required in some areas. The aim of the Act was no doubt laudable, but its interpretation sits uncomfortably with our Human rights tradition. Its interpretation by various sectors is causing huge confusion for those attempting to decipher the correct balance of competing rights and protected characteristics. To be clear, I do not advocate repealing or scrapping the Equality Act. I am concerned about incorrect interpretation of its provisions.

This particularly applies to how we, as a society, support those people who claim protection of ‘gender reassignment’ whilst at the same time supporting those who seek protection of rights defined by biological sex. Both public and private bodies are struggling to understand their obligations. My aim today is to provide clarity on the law.

For the purposes of Gender Recognition Certificates, we do not operate a system of self-identification in England and Wales. But some service providers behave as if they have a legal duty to admit biological males who identify as females into women-only spaces, from rape crisis centres and domestic abuse refuges to bathrooms and changing rooms. In my view this is not in accordance with the law.

The law supports the position adopted by my colleagues Nadine Dorries as Culture Secretary and Nadhim Zahawi when in post as Education Secretary. Paragraphs 26 and 27 of schedule 3 of the Equality Act are clear. They permit direct discrimination on grounds of sex: they permit “women only” and “men only” services, provided that the rule is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.

In law, single sex services are intended for one sex only: that is the very thing permitted by schedule 3. It follows that it is not possible to admit a biological male to a single-sex service for women without destroying its intrinsic nature as such: once there are XY chromosome adults using it, however they define themselves personally, it becomes mixed-sex. The existence of a Gender Recognition Certificate can create a legal position but cannot change biological reality. The operation of the Equality Act is such that the permission to discriminate on grounds of gender reassignment is permission to discriminate against someone who may be the ’right’ biological sex for a particular activity but has the protected characteristic of gender reassignment.

By way of example a ‘women-only’ rule for a women’s judo class excludes all men and will be lawful under paragraph 26 if a joint service would be less effective, and it is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. It will no doubt put people with the protected characteristic of gender reassignment (e.g. trans-women, by that I mean a biological male who identifies as a female) at a disadvantage compared to those without that characteristic. But in my view if the benefit that it confers is sufficient to justify direct discrimination against the whole class of men, it will in almost all circumstances be sufficient to justify indirect discrimination against a much smaller class of trans-women.

This interpretation is in fact supported by the explanatory notes to the Equality Act. Those notes give an example of a group counselling service for female victims of sexual assault. In that case, it is clear that an individual with the protected characteristic of gender reassignment (e.g. a trans-woman) could be lawfully excluded, if organisers believed that otherwise, women would be unlikely to attend the session. This position has also been upheld by recent guidance from the Equality and Human Rights Commission as well as case law such as the Elias case in the Court of Appeal, approved in Homer in the Supreme Court.

So if one group incurs a modest particular disadvantage and another group incurs a more serious particular disadvantage, justification for exclusion can be lawfully established.


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I believe in unity, just not with ‘them’

This week saw the most post-election independence activity ever from Nicola Sturgeon, perhaps pushed into it by the enormous success of the Wee Alba Book, with crowded venues at every event organised to discuss it. However, several important questions, such as the date, the currency and the borders, were either not addressed or were glossed over. In particular, there was one very important aspect of any campaign that Sturgeon refused to address, even when directly questioned.

One thing that all Independistas agree on is the need for a united campaign. Without unity, there won’t be a campaign, there will be several different campaigns. Without unity, there will be disagreements between the campaigns, there will be arguments about the correct way forward, there will be different points of view on all of the questions that damaged Yes in the 2014 referendum. Without unity, voters will think that independence is all about arguments and confusion. Without unity, independence will not happen.

Despite the obvious disadvantages, Nicola Sturgeon has consistently refused to allow the SNP to have any contact with Alba and ISP and the other independence supporting groups and parties. In fact, the opposite is true as she has encouraged her followers to describe the other independence supporting parties in the most unflattering of terms, describing them as enemies, not friends, as if trying to ensure that pro-independence voters have only one realistic option, rather than trying to maximise the independence vote.

A recent reply from an MSP to a query from one of his constituents pretty much confirms that there is no possibility of a collaborative relationship between the SNP and Alba. Typically, the SNP puts the whole blame on Alba.

Sturgeon gives the impression that she believes the SNP owns the Yes movement and there’s no need to discuss policy options with other groups. Recent events have shown how true that is. Last Tuesday, following the presentation of the first in a series of papers highlighting the advantages of independence (a bit of a damp squib considering how it was announced), Sturgeon was asked if she saw a role for Alba in the independence campaign. She refused to give a direct answer.

What then could be the reason for Nicola Sturgeon to rule out SNP collaboration with any other independence group? What could be the reason for her to do the one thing that all independistas agree will assure a No vote?

Two possible explanations occur to me, neither great, but one worse than the other.

First, it could be that Sturgeon believes that she knows all the answers and that independence can only happen if she calls all the shots. Based on her behaviour as First Minister and leader of the SNP, it is obvious that Sturgeon needs to be in charge. She allows no dissenting opinions. Nothing happens in the Scottish Government or in the SNP without her say-so so it wouldn’t be a shock if she acts the same way about independence. Her policy of my way or the highway can be seen from the swift action she takes to sideline any party members with their own opinions. Those promoted are those who agree with her every statement. Whether that leads to better government and whether it would lead to a winning independence campaign is in some doubt.

Second, and much worse, it could be that Sturgeon is making decisions to sabotage the independence movement, and she could be doing it deliberately (© George Foulkes). Could that be the explanation for her strange and counter-productive infatuation with GRA reform and Hate Crimes legislation which are obviously creating division in the Yes movement. Could that be the explanation for the otherwise astonishing decision to sell off Scotland’s wind energy future for buttons. Could that be the explanation for her ignoring all the earlier opportunities to advance the cause of Scottish independence, particularly in 2016 with the Brexit vote.

If Nicola Sturgeon is serious about independence, she will have to accept that any campaign is not just about the SNP. There are other parties with other opinions whose views will have to be discussed and accommodated within any campaign strategy. Can she do this? Will she do this?

The Gemme’s a bogey? Correction

The gemme’s a bogey if we don’t all make the effort to change the current situation.

No doubt, you may already have seen loads of analysis following the Scottish local elections, now just about three weeks ago as I write.

Well, here’s more.

I’ve looked at the voting figures for this month’s elections and compared them to the last local elections in 2017.

Most of you will have seen that the SNP proportion of first preference votes increased, from 32.3% in 2017 to 34.1% this year. The turnout was lower, 47% in 2017 and 44% this time, that in itself an indictment of our government’s efforts to keep the electorate enthused, but what about number of votes.

The number of SNP first preference votes increased from 620,820 to 636,950. That’s an extra 16,130 voters who, on a reduced turnout, decided that the SNP was the party they wanted to support. At a time when independence options not available in 2017, like Alba and ISP, were on (some of) the ballot papers, and when more and more adverse comments about the government’s current performance are appearing in both mainstream and social media, more people are voting for a party which almost certainly won’t bring independence. Won’t even try. They’re also voting for a party with an increasingly poor reputation for good governance. And don’t tell me that local elections are not about national issues, because we all know that most voters vote for the party, not the individual.

How can you explain that the more obvious it becomes that the SNP doesn’t see independence as a priority (some would go even further than that), the more people are voting for them. How can SNP support increase when so many have seen through their charade around the independence question and are providing the evidence for everyone to see.

I believe that there are two groups of people who now feel able to support the SNP.

Firstly, there may be lots of people in Scotland who are frightened of independence but are too embarrassed to admit it, even to themselves. Their concern about independence may be down to fear of the unknown, fear of losing what they have, be it little or not so little, or just fear of having to stand on their own two feet after years of leaving all the big decisions to their bigger neighbour. I suppose this is a change from several years ago when some independence supporters were too embarrassed to admit their support of what, at the time, seemed like a way out idea.

Secondly, there are those who see themselves as British and want to remain in the United Kingdom, but see the SNP as a better option for the government of Scotland than the English controlled parties, who admittedly, don’t present a very high bar. This is hardly a new group. In the pre-SNP days of Labour majorities, many would vote Labour for Westminster and SNP for Holyrood, thinking they were the best parties for each parliament.

What connects these two groups is that their vote for the SNP is because they know full well that independence will never happen with the current SNP in charge. These additional votes come from people who don’t favour independence, either because of the fear mentioned above or because they still want to remain part of the Union, but they all realise that there is now no danger that the SNP under Sturgeon will ever seek to promote independence. They vote for the SNP because they know in their heart of hearts that the SNP will never deliver independence.

Are there now tens of thousands of voters, maybe even hundreds of thousands if you include the apathetic who didn’t bother to vote this month, who would vote for the SNP because they don’t want change. Voters happy with the illusion that devolution suits Scotland very well. If this has always been the SNP’s plan under Nicola Sturgeon, it has worked out beautifully.

How long can this continue. There may be little we can do about the unionists, despite the SNP telling us to concentrate on convincing the ‘soft Unionist noes’, whoever they are, but is there anything we can do about scared voters? Can we get scared voters to love the idea of independence? The answer to that may be no as well, unless we change the SNP into a party that shows everyone where independence can take us. Impossible? Maybe not. Maybe there is a way.

Well, we’ve heard many independence supporters say that if there’s no referendum in 2023, they won’t support the SNP again. Unfortunately, or fortunately if you’re the SNP, many of these people said a similar thing in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2021. Many may actually keep their word and stop supporting the party, but despite the thousands of members deserting the SNP, their votes keep rising, leading me to think that leaving the party and not voting for the party are two unconnected actions, the second not necessarily following from the first.

In 2007, Alex Salmond knew that demonstrating that the Scottish Government could govern competently would encourage more folk to believe that Scottish independence was worth pursuing. And who can say it didn’t work. The period from 2007 to 2014 has been called the Golden Age of SNP government, because most of the advances the SNP boast about today came from that period. The voters saw this as well and their reaction boosted the SNP from minority government in 2007 to a majority in 2011. Unfortunately, this isn’t an option open to us now, as Nicola Sturgeon has taken a diametrically opposite approach, governing so incompetently, encouraging more folk to dismiss the whole idea of independence.

To improve the chance of change, we can always try to replace Sturgeon, though that would be pretty difficult as too many modifications have been made to the party’s internal processes to prevent ordinary members having any say in the running of the party. It’s a more likely possibility that she’ll be nominated for the UN job of her dreams and she’ll just go anyway. Off to pastures new, leaving behind her shattered country as her legacy.

My suggestion is a mass campaign of contacting your local SNP MP/MSP/Councillor telling her/him that you will only be voting for the MP/MSP/Councillor concerned at the next Westminster/Holyrood/Local Authority election if, and only if, the SNP have begun to cooperate with all other pro-independence groups and parties to create an agreed plan to deliver independence and to answer the questions unanswered from 2014, such as borders and currency. Of course, this would only have an impact if they received a whole load of contacts and if the writers were those likely to vote SNP, those, for example, who had voted SNP at the last election. So not Alba members, I suppose.

Would they pay attention? They might if it was going to affect them financially. We must all know that the continuation of their income is probably the only real motivator of today’s elected SNP politicians. If there were enough letters/emails, and they believed their job and therefore their income were threatened, they would pay attention, but it would take action from a large number all over the country, every region, constituency and ward. Just convincing a few MPs/MSPs won’t be enough and they’d be too scared anyway to do anything for fear of getting into Sturgeon’s bad books. There’s safety in numbers.

How many of you really want independence? How many of you are up for telling it as it is? How many of you think the chance of independence is worth a letter/email? How many?


BEAT THE CENSORS
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The Former National Party of Scotland

The SNP. The party of independence. The party that will lead us into the promised land of an independent future; independent from England; independent from what must be the most corrupt government ever in the history of the UK. Or, at least, the UK government least concerned about hiding their corruption.

Is that still the SNP? Does today’s SNP still have a laser-like focus on independence, where every action is judged on whether it takes Scotland closer to independence, or, at least, no further away. Or has today’s SNP simply settled for being the party of devolution, waiting to see how things work out, only doing what they have to do to keep enough independence supporters onside, happy to accept whatever crumbs are thrown at it by Westminster, even when the crumbs seem to get fewer and fewer every year.

Or is it even worse? Are the leadership of the SNP actively trying to prevent independence ever happening? Are they so comfortable with the situation as it is now that they have abandoned independence as it constitutes a threat to their current status and their current incomes? Is independence just a carrot to keep voters onside when elections loom?

Well, there must be an election coming because the SNP are talking about independence. Note the key word “talking”, because you can be sure, just like in the run-up to all elections since 2015, there may be talking, but there will be very little doing, and what little doing happens between now and May will be stopped immediately after the announcement of the results.

So what do their recent actions tell us about the SNP under Nicola Sturgeon?

The SNP. The party who say they will always do the best for Scotland. But is it best for Scotland to accept the changes to the devolution settlement being made by Westminster without consultation or agreement, but with no more than a whimper of opposition from the Scottish Government. We can do no more they say, or at least, they would say if they didn’t just keep their collective mouths shut in the hope that no one will notice. But is there a way which allows them to do better? To have more control over all aspects of policy? I wonder if there is one.

The SNP. The party who say they will always do the best for Scotland. But is it best for Scotland to transfer our natural resources to England only to have them sold back to us at an exorbitant markup. We know it happened to the revenue from Scottish oil, which Thatcher, and those who came after, used to fund London improvements. We know it’s happening to low cost Scottish renewable energy, transferred via the National Grid to England, with Scottish consumers then facing huge increases in energy costs to pay for the increased cost of fossil fuel generation, increased cost meaning increased profits for the energy multi-nationals. We know that plans are in place for it to happen with water.

The SNP. The party who say they will always do the best for Scotland. But is it best for Scotland to have millions of Scots living in poverty while Westminster arranges for the very rich to become very richer. Now, the top 1% of households own 23% of the UK’s wealth, a figure that has increased by around 20% during the pandemic, while the rest of us have suffered.

The SNP. The party who say they will always do the best for Scotland. But is it best for Scotland to sell off-shore wind resources on the cheap, doing a deal that means all future profits go to multi-nationals and none comes to the people of Scotland. A deal which impacts on the viability of an independent Scotland.

The SNP. The party who say they will always do the best for Scotland. But is it best for Scotland to have our government concentrating on policies that very few like or want, policies that restrict freedom of speech, policies that benefit a tiny number of people while disadvantaging over 50% of the population.

The SNP. The party who say they will always do the best for Scotland. But is it best for Scotland to have people who disagree with any of the government’s policies, many of them independence supporters, arrested, charged and sometimes jailed on spurious grounds.

The SNP. The party who say they will always do the best for Scotland. But is it best for Scotland to have the SNP, the self-described party of independence, refuse to work with any other independence supporting parties (please don’t tell me the Greens are an independence supporting party), allow some of their members to conduct a campaign of abuse directed at other independence parties, but instead say openly that they want to ally themselves to The Labour Party, a Unionist party.


The SNP. The party who say they will always do the best for Scotland.

“By their deeds shall you know them”.

And by these deeds, can the SNP under Sturgeon’s leadership still be considered the party of independence?


Beat the Censors.

BEAT THE CENSORS
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Will it be a Guid New Year?

This is the last blog of 2021 and my last chance to give my opinion on whether the SNP can still be considered a party of independence.

2021 was a year, like many others, that started with so much hope and enthusiasm. We had the Scottish Parliament election to look forward to, with the promise of progress on independence. There was the promise of an update of the independence prospectus. There was the promise of an independence bill being brought to parliament. There were so many, many promises. “Vote for me”, said Nicola and no one will be able to stop us: no one will presume to interfere with Scotland’s right to become independent. Of course, no one heard her mutter under her breath, “except me”.

So 2021 is coming to a close and we are no further forward in our struggle for independence. “Blame Covid”, said Nicola. “We can’t do any work on independence when we are in the midst of a pandemic. We can have an election to give us five more years leaching of the public purse; we can work on defining Hate Crimes; we can threaten to charge people for what they say in their own homes; we can turn men into women in the blink of an eye; but what we can’t do, what we can never do, we can’t do any work on independence in the midst of a pandemic.

The New Year is just around the corner. Will 2022 start with hope and enthusiasm? Will there be an independence bill? Will the independence prospectus be updated in preparation for the latest promise, a referendum in 2023. If it arrives, will the referendum be a simple yes/no to independence, or will Devo Max, or Home Rule be included on the ballot paper, virtually assuring that it will win.

If it is included, no one, least of all Nicola Sturgeon, will tell you that, like the infamous vow in 2014, the implementation will depend on the Westminster government agreeing to it and the chances of that happening, like 2014, are nil. In fact, the best we could hope for is the status quo, but the more likely outcome would be a continuation of the current Westminster plan to further reduce the powers of the Holyrood government, a plan that the current Scottish government seem to be reasonably happy to accept.

So does that mean 2022 will be another black year for independence supporters? Is there no way out? Can nothing be done to improve the prospects for independence?

Given that we have established that the biggest blockage on the road to independence is Nicola Sturgeon, then her removal would clear the road, but only if she was not replaced by one of her close associates, such as the odious and ineffectual Angus Robertson. No sense in getting rid of Satan, only to replace her with Beelzebub.

How do we do that? Is there a best way to convince Nicola Sturgeon that her time is up?

Can it be done from inside the party? What the last several years have shown us is that the SNP leadership have given up paying attention to the membership. If you’re an ordinary member, you play a disappearingly small part in the party’s plans or political strategy. Your part in this charade is to provide money, deliver leaflets and sing the praises of Nicola to anyone who’ll listen, to yourself, but mainly, on every opportunity you get, to Nicola herself. And remember, she’s always right.

So does it have to be done from outside the party? Fortunately, the SNP themselves have made plans to increase the numbers outside the party. They’ve made the Hate Crimes plan: they’ve made the Self-Id plan: they’ve made the Let’s jail everyone who doesn’t agree with us plan: they’ve made lots of plans, none of which involve independence, and as a result of their plans, thousands of previously active independence supporting members left the party.

There are just about four months left before the next test of people’s belief in the SNP’s capabilities and particularly their independence plans, the Local Elections. Of course, voting for Local Government has not the same impact on independence as voting for National Government. However, parties tend to campaign using party labels and voters tend to base their voting on their opinion of the parties, so it will still be a valid test.

So what can we do? In the four months we have to persuade the SNP that their election chances are under threat if they do not change their priorities and start making moves to bring independence closer. But it has to be actions. Talk of independence and promises of future action is no longer enough. Failing the success of that, and unfortunately I think it will fail, we need to encourage Alba and ISP and other truly independence supporting parties to stand candidates to allow as many of us from outside the SNP to show their displeasure by voting against them. If the SNP won’t listen to advice, perhaps they’ll pay attention to the electoral impact.

As a brief aside, I see that some remaining SNP supporters are starting to use the old Scottish Labour argument, which was if you don’t vote Labour, you’ll let the Tories in. That used to work in Scotland until Labour fell from 41 Westminster seats in 2010 to 1 (yes one) in 2015. Now we’re hearing if you don’t vote SNP, you’ll let the unionists in. Is this the SNP’s final conversion into a Scottish Labour lookalike? Of course, in the Holyrood election, votes for SNP meant the Unionists got in. Funny that!

I hope everyone has as good and as safe a time as possible over the New Year and comes back refreshed and ready to restart the battle for independence.

Saor Alba!

SNP – The Scottish Near-fascist Party

Disagree with the headline? Then please read the following post by Grouse Beater and George Monbiot. https://grousebeater.wordpress.com/2021/12/01/our-police-state/ via @wordpressdotcom. It should make you think. It might make you change your mind.

I humbly offer a few further words of advice to the Scottish electorate which, I believe, they should ignore at their peril. Continuing to ignore this message will just provide the opportunity for the combined governments of Westminster and Holyrood to complete their work to turn the UK, including Scotland, into a police state where virually any action by an individual citizen can be considered, if the government so chooses, as a danger to the state and subject to draconian punishment, punishment which will be the law of the land, so you won’t be able to use the courts to defend yourself. Remember, just because it’s the law doesn’t mean it’s right.

We have two measures we have to take if we want to retain our freedoms and to continue to live in a democracy.

First, we need to get as far away as possible, as fast as possible, from this evil, fascist Westminster government. That means independence. That also means ignoring the SNP’s constant stalling tactics and getting on with it, because we really don’t have much time left.

Second, following independence, we need to elect a Scottish government that isn’t simply going to copy the worst of Westminster policy and wrap a tartan ribbon round it. There’s no point losing one fascist government just to replace it with another. The government we elect shouldn’t include any of the current SNP dictators and devolutionists who mustn’t be given a further opportunity to recreate Westminster in Edinburgh, which is exactly what they are doing now.

I know many of you will consider this scaremongering with little basis in reality, but it really is impossible to exaggerate the urgency of our situation, Grouse Beater’s posting linked to at the beginning of this post lays out some of what’s going on and, as further evidence, I would also add a couple of my own posts, https://angryweegie.wordpress.com/2021/06/21/and-then-they-came-for-the-dissenters/ and https://angryweegie.wordpress.com/2021/07/30/will-2026-be-soon-enough/

Protest now, because there likely won’t be another chance later.

Beat the Censors.

Many Facebook sites are increasingly censoring bloggers like myself who are sometimes 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 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.