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When you understand and accept this politics becomes much more interesting and challenging. It makes you think, will the message that attracted me work with everyone? I will save you some thinking time, the answer is no. People are different, they have different priorities and attitudes so any political message must be flexible and multi stranded to appeal to as many people and groups as possible, without being contradictory. No easy task.

To put an effective campaign together you need an overarching theme that can sit at the top of every strand variant. For those of us who support Independence a suitable theme could be “A Better Scotland”. That can apply whether you are discussing the economy, health, social policy,education or whatever. The trick then is to get all in your Party, who are all active in a wide variety of activities to incorporate that key message into all their work. All these different strands pulling together in the same terms thereby helps create the momentum and progress towards your goal. It builds a team while allowing the individual freedom of action that is crucial to maintaining a unity of purpose. Top down, one size fits all is a recipe for conflict and argument.

This is why central control, while necessary, sometimes is best used sparingly. The best example of this was the Yes campaign in the 2014 referendum, the grassroots took charge, it was totally out of control, but in the most positive way. The freedom to campaign anyway you wanted created enormous enthusiasm and drive but what was amazing about this political phenomenon was far from pulling everything apart it pulled everyone together. There was a lesson there for the professional know it all political operators. Please note, despite the lack of central control everyone knew exactly what they were campaigning for and many taught themselves through trial and error what worked best. Total freedom to fight for freedom was a great recipe.

So why is there dissatisfaction in the Yes Movement today? It is not for lack of interest or willingness to hit the streets and knock the doors. I think it is because they feel they have been under starters orders for a long time and they still don’t know what type of race they are going to be asked to run. Is it going to be a short sprint or the .Grand National with loads of different fences to jump. It would relieve a lot of pressure if we could come up with some opportunities for them to do what they do best in the interim.

I think we should be thinking about going on a few fast canters and displaying the latent energy we possess. We of course need to find an exercise that would be popular across the whole movement but which we can win and in doing so be able to point to benefits for our people, jobs and Scottish companies in the process.

I think I have the very thing. I am incensed with the move to remove Scotland the brand from everything. It is directly connected to Brexit, they want Scotland and Scottish goods to disappear and for the UK to be the only option.

It won’t do, so here is what I propose. It is a repeat of a campaign I ran with Gil Paterson thirty years ago and which was spectacularly successful bringing Asda to its knees after less than one day of campaigning. We called it the Stock Scottish Campaign and it is time for an action replay.

We should conduct a well publicised survey of all major supermarkets in Scotland and register the proportion of Scottish labeled produce across the store. Prior to this we should write to every store chain one month in advance to allow them time to improve the situation prior to the survey. Whichever store chain has the lowest proportion of Scottish goods following the survey becomes the campaign target.

On a set date, across the country, pickets should appear at every store of the chain with posters and leaflets highlighting why they are being targeted. We should lay on cars to take pedestrian shoppers to an alternative store (and drive them home afterwards). Shoppers that haven’t time to go elsewhere should be encouraged to fill their trolleys with loads of goods but when they get to the checkout decide to only pay and take goods that are labeled as Scottish. We found older shoppers loved this tactic, it’s not often when you are over 70 you get the opportunity to create mayhem as of course STAFF have to put all the rejected product back on the shelves. Real chaos if this in done in numbers.

If we can do this at every Tesco, or Asda, or Sainsbury or whoever it will scare the LIVING DAYLIGHTS out of them. The publicity will do significant economic damage and you can bet they will be telling the UK Government to get stuffed the next time they get asked to put the Union flag on their produce in Scotland.

In the meantime it will be an effective test of the YES movement’s ability to mobilize quickly and effectively across the country. By forcing the superstores to use more Scottish produce we help to create and protect jobs in Scotland and send a useful political message that we don’t just sit back and let anti Scottish tactics go unchallenged. Yes we are looking for that BETTER SCOTLAND.

What do you think folks are you up for it?

I am, as always



Please note this is post Covid I am proposing.


      1. Great idea. All for it. People Power.
        I also think the overall campaign needs a two pronged attack. We need to start engaging with people in a positive way. Gordon McKintyre Kemp has started a new group. It has gained 3000 members in the last few days. There is a lot of expertise in that group. His speciality is into graphics and information leaflets and packs which have been fact-checked. These can be used for the Fact Bombing.
        And the rest of what you talked about or the Positive trains for an Indy Scotland. Inform them of how much better things will be, Health, Education, Transport, economy, social policy and some of the things we got wrong last time like currency, pensions, economy, banks and so on. This would be the love bombing.
        Yes we are frustrated, but what we need to do is get organised and get Indy.
        Another grass roots movement.

        And yes you need to keep Scotland the brand campaign going and encourage people to buy Scottish. They are trying to eradicate Scottishness in every way. The Edinburgh Gov Hub is another fine example. And Union Jacks on everything.
        Your Stock Scottish Campaign is idea which is also good for PR with the farmers and fishers too. Even the Unionist ones. They must be getting worried by now about their livelihood in a no deal.

        A Better Scotland


  1. It’s a good idea. I’ve been involved in a wee campaign re Scotland the brand and at the moment there’s no doubt that there is a Jack attack. Your idea is sound but it’s a huge undertaking the trolley thing. Far better to use their free post addresses ( they all have them) and post produce back with the Union Jack and ask why there weren’t any local brands with the saltire? It will cost them an arm and a leg. We could share the free post addresses. Marks and spencer are currently selling Aberdeen Angus beef with a Union Jack. I wrote to Keith brown mp and I’ll send his reply at the end of my e mail.

    However can you alert folk to the following there is only one week left to respond to the alarming UK internal market bill consultation. If you care about Scottish farmers and produce please look it up and at least be aware of what an unacceptable power grab it is. It breaches the devolution settlement and will allow the lowering of food stsndards if passed. Please respond to the consultation if you feel strongly about this, as I do, although I have to say the questions are very confusing. My MSP assures me the Scottish government will fight it tooth and nail.

    Thanks Iain! You are doing a great job. I’ll post Keith brown mp’s respond in next email.

    Maureen Glood

    Sent from my iPhone



  2. The supermarket chains, or most of them save for a couple of notable exceptions have been obliterating Scottish branding.

    It is political and is part of a wider campaign by the powers at Westminster

    Indeed, in their rush immediately post Brexit one supermarket chain was actually selling Scottish beef which was illegally labelled with no cutting code / source labelling.

    But in the race to the bottom, be it chlorinated chicken, steroid fed beef, antibiotic laced pork, genetically modified fruit and vegetables, do the Morrison’s or ASDA’s care. Of course they don’t as they deny, yes deny consumer choice.

    BSE came about because of greed. The corporates would feed us shite to make money. Removing labeling of Scottish produce tells you that.

    And for those of a certain age they’ll remember the product identifier of ” empire made ” and widely recognised to be second hand language to mask cheap crap produced in sweatshop conditions.

    And so, as we embark on our post Brexit nightmare of high quality Scottish produce becoming the new ‘ Empire Made’ maybe we should all elect to do our shopping at ALDI and LIDL who in Scotland go out of their way to procure Scottish produce and brand it clearly as Scottish.

    I certainly do.


  3. Oh and one last thought.

    How many of us think that Whisky will sell better when labeled with a Union Jack and marked as a product of Great Britain.

    Or what about British salmon. Mnnn?


  4. Just spotted closing date for consultation re internal market bill was yesterday🤣😩

    Sent from my iPhone



  5. And one last last thought.

    Does anyone know how much our whisky sales to the USA have slumped since our great friend and benefactor Donald Trump and imposed a 25% import tax on all Scotch whiskey.

    Ah, it’s just a message, that sadly so many of us are un-aware of.

    But to conclude by going back to the point of the article, here’s something easy to remember ……” IF IT’S GOT A JACK, PUT IT BACK “


  6. “…it’s not often when you are over 70 you get the opportunity to create mayhem as of course STAFF have to put all the rejected product back on the shelves. Real chaos if this in done in numbers.”
    I would be strongly against that part of your proposed campaign Iain. My son works in a supermarket where the majority of the STAFF support independence. It’s my poorly paid son and his colleagues who are the STAFF who’d have to restock the shelves. Much of the temperature controlled produce would have to be binned – an obscenity when so many rely on food banks. Supermarket STAFF already spend a significant proportion of their working day dealing with the irresponsible behaviour of a not insignificant number of their customers. Why make the working lives of supermarket STAFF – who we were rightly lauding as ‘some of the real key workers, poorly paid and undervalued’ only weeks ago – any more difficult than they already are? It could easily backfire on you. Please reconsider this ill thought-out part of your plan. Enjoying your blog; keep up the good work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You make a valid point which I had not fully considered. When we did this 30 years ago nobody planned this part, it just happened as customers in some of the stores started doing it and others copied them. It is at this stage an idea, it would have to wait the Covid crisis being over so sadly there is plenty of time to weigh up what would work best.


  7. Great idea. I used to remove the packaging, for example, potatoes that were actually Scottish but wrapped in a Union flag. The tatties were just fine loose at the bottom of my bag, just as they were when I was sent for a forpit o tatties for my granny back in the day.
    Can I suggest this tactic for produce that is in fact of Scottish origin as the growers do not have control of the packaging as that is done by the supermarket in question.
    Itv would not cause the same chaos as refusing to buy at the checkout but sends a message all the same.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Tommy Bruce.

    I could not empathise more with your comments about your poorly paid son stacking shelves.

    The retail workers who kept the show on the road and the food on the tables are the unsung heroes. When the fear was at its worst, who would have wanted to stack shelves in a supermarket, or operate a till at the checkout.

    The issue of how post Brexit the UK will deal with workers rights and the standards for food production is a huge one. The exit from Europe will presage a race to the bottom in terms of worker protections and the standards of for foor production.

    Genetically modified food, steroid laden beef, antibiotic laced pork, is all part of the forthcoming deal. And that is why the Scottish Parliament can not be allowed to exist..

    Quite how we in Scotland deal with this, as Iain says is a big question. Maybe we just ignore it, take it on the chin, accept that worker conditions are going to be lowered, and enjoy our chlorinated chicken!

    Yes, we have a lot to think about. Tommy.

    Liked by 1 person


    I liked the title and subject matter, for it is perhaps a timely reminder that although the SNP goes to the polls as a political party for the purposes of democracy, it is in fact an all-embracing ‘movement’ dedicated to obtaining independence for Scotland….. or was so.
    My involvement with the SNP was in the early days ie Dr McIntyre, William Wolfe, Gordon Wilson, ie pre-Salmond /Sturgeon,Salmond, then, was viewed with great distaste, to such an extent that he got expelled from the party. He was re-instated fartly smartly….and went onto great things with his ‘civic’ nationalism, free colostomy bags,free incontinence pads and free zimmer frames.
    Coming from the old calvanistic, laissez-faire,right-wing mob, I held my nose and continued to support the SNP…..but only for the sake of independence. and if, independence came, the SNP would disband and new parties of the right, left and centre would form.
    I would be on the right….win or lose….for I believe that an independent Scotland will only succeed with independently minded men ( and women).
    Historically, Scotland was a low-tax economy, which oddly enough, attracted many from high-tax England.
    It was one one of many reasons for the Union…..for many English companies(Bartholomews, the map-makers and Collins, the publishers) re-located north, to escape onerous and punitive taxation. It wouldn;t have looked to good for merrie olde Englande had that trend continued.
    Something for modern Scots to consider.,,,,,,,Is high taxation REALLY worth it?
    What about public subscription and share ownership in bridges, hospitals, roads and even the armed services like the navy and air force……I didn’t mention the army, yes,the Scottish army….because, like it or not, you would be part of it ,,,,for free.
    THAT’s what Independence means. The Swiss do it. The Norwegians do it. The Swedes do it. The Finns do it.
    Why not the Scots?…….that great race, supposedly sae faem’d in martial story?


  10. everyone’s politics are different AWoLsco but many are similar.

    There are few that I know who would for example dispense with the NHS in favour of Laissez-Faire health care. Similarly I cant think there are many who would like to see the armed forces privatised and sold off to large corporates. The concept of the army or the navy owned to make profit, run by a board focussed on profit, and with the company ownership, as so many companies are, located in an offshore tax jurisdiction somewhere half way around the world, is a difficult concept for most, save maybe from the Calvinist laissez faire right wing mob that you describe yourself from.

    I’m not either sure that Calvin would have approved of laissez faire in the way that you describe it. John Knox after all proclaimed that there should be a school in every parish.

    But whether one agrees or disagrees with the colour of your political spectrum it is interesting to get a view on how wide that spectrum can be, and whilst everyone sees things differently, the majority see things similarly.

    Good stuff to get your recollection of the very old days nearly half a century ago. Our party has certainly moved since then. Hopefully it will continue to do so united in the focus of independence and a better Scotland.


  11. When it comes to Trump and the tariff on whiskey, I suspect it has very little to do with trade. Trump lost his court case on the windfarms. I believe this is revenge pure and simple..


  12. Very interesting idea.

    I’ve spoken with store managers at Tesco and M&S in the past about the logic of having items like soft fruit, cheese and meat, for example, where it is often ostensibly exactly the same product on offer, shipped in from hundreds of miles away when the items are available locally.

    I have noticed recently M&S now putting “Angus” or “Perthshire“ on soft fruit rather than “UK” and have put saltires on products like mince and chicken. Sometimes even the name of the farmer appears on products.

    It gives me an impression they are aware of an existing sensitivity in the market around local production.

    Perhaps writing to these companies and asking for a response concerning supporting the local economy and also relating the issue to concerns over emissions created in long distance delivery would widen the audience the company was responding to.

    It might also give an insight into their thinking on next moves.

    I also wonder how local business will respond to a blanket “unionisation” of their products or services?

    I remember seeing two different tins of Walkers shortbread on sale in a huge shopping centre in Shanghai two or three years ago. One was in a saltire flag tin and the other was in a union flag tin. As I was waiting for my wife, I watched with interest as the saltire tin outsold the other at least three times over. I asked our guide if he would check with someone why they chose one over the other. He did so with three or four people and the answer was they knew shortbread was Scottish and thought the union flag tin wouldn’t be as nice.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Most interesting commentary by Gareth Wardell on the dark arts of the BBC and how they are screening documentary coverage and commentary timed for broadcast just as the Alex Salmond enquiry gets underway.

    With two programmes scheduling with arch unionists like Kirstene Wark and Danni Garavelli the intention of the BBC is clear, as these screenings will cast – a broken SNP at war with itself and a discredited Alex ASalmond.


    Well worth a read.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I have been sent a copy of this blog for comment. The actions you suggest are not something the #keepScotlandtheBrand campaign would endorse, especially at this time when shop staff are under real pressure. Those working on tills already are asking us to pack our own items to reduce the risk of handling packaging which might have been touched by people with corona virus. Those staff on the shop floor are asking us only to touch items we plan to put in our trollies or baskets to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

    It would, I think, backfire hugely and lose us public support. It would be seized upon as irresponsible and thoughtless of the impact on hard-working staff. I understand you say your idea is ‘post Covid’. Corona Virus is not going away and the danger to our food and drink, to food standards and food security will be upon us in a few short months when Brexit hits.

    As you may know, I think there is a massive issue with Scotland’s brand being lost. The way to address this is not to target hard-working shop staff – who often agree with everything the #keepScotlandtheBrand campaign stands for – but to clearly support Scottish produce. Those wishing to stand up for Scottish produce can do so by writing to shop management, by speaking to shop managers, by talking to everyone they see in the shop when they are faced with bland Britain ‘where has all the Scottish butter gone?’ is a good opener.

    The issue of low quality food and supporting Scotland’s food and drink producers already is in the public mind. Targeting that is powerful. Letters to newspapers, distributing #keepScotlandtheBrand leaflets and using the #SendItBack campaign is very effective. In my view, we should be ramping up #SendItBack aspect of the campaign. It can be done in a Covid safe way as the customer service departments already have measures in place. Customer Service staff are there to handle complaints. They have to log each letter which comes in. They usually send a reply to each letter. This type of campaigning technique is effective because it targets the issue at those there to deal with it and it is brought to the attention of senior management. I know this works because I have been contacted by directors of multi-million pound companies who have been inundated with letters from concerned customers who wish to support Scotland’s brand.

    I would be happy for you to share the following with your colleagues for them to post on their social media:

    Want to buy Scottish #FoodandDrink but can’t find the produce because of poor labelling? Take positive action! Take part in the #keepScotlandtheBrand direct action campaign?

    Send the packaging back! Make sure packaging is clean and dry – be respectful of the folk handling it – write a positive message to customer service explaining why you think supermarkets should #keepScotlandtheBrand. While you’re at it, you can point out that a neep doesn’t need to be wrapped in plastic, let’s ditch single-use packaging!


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