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I grew up in the middle of the Cold War, cut off from half of Europe due to the Soviet Union controlling a host of countries, against their will, but a direct result of World War 2. The World lived on edge and came close several times to the brink of nuclear disaster as the “superpowers” flexed their muscles.

The contrast between living in the West or East was massive , nowhere more so than in East Berlin, a city I visited in Communist times visiting the sector controlled by the Soviets back in the early 1980’s. The contrast between the bright lights of prosperity in West Berlin with the dramatically poorer East Germany was obvious to all.

Later in my life I had the opportunity to travel to many previously Soviet republics and in the Baltic’s I became involved in building and running several businesses and building relationships with those whose lives had changed extensively with the collapse of Communism and the emergence of their own Independent Government’s.

Many of these people have now become long term friends and they speak openly of the genuine fear and trepidation that accompanied their delight in regaining their own nation’s Independence. Many had a few very hard years following Independence as Russia closed down the various state enterprises in their countries, stripping out the equipment and returning it to Russia in many cases. It took them a few years to start replacing those jobs with new enterprises. Nearly thirty years on the transformation is complete and they are now firmly part of the new Europe, members of the EU and working with other nations to build a free and prosperous Europe.

How sad that Scotland is moving rapidly in the opposite direction, our controlling and unwanted Union resulting in us leaving the EU, cutting us off from our partner nations and even more reliant on London and Westminster than before. You have to ask how this could happen when Scotland voted so overwhelmingly to remain in the EU? It seems to me that there is growing evidence the Scottish people are ahead of our Scottish Government in the direction they want Scotland to follow. That is the one strand of comfort I can take from the current depressing political situation in Scotland.

I think we are on the wrong road. It gives me no pleasure saying so. It is a huge mistake to have one person, no matter how competent, holding down the dual roles of First Minister and also leader of the Party that advocates Independence. Particularly when she has voluntarily placed herself outside politics for the duration of the Covid crisis. That measure has created a political void that the Tories have been all to happy to fill as they progress their giant power grab largely unchallenged. She could be our best player but that means nothing if she is not on the pitch when it matters. Responses of “Ah but look at the polls” are irrelevant as this period sees no election but between now and Christmas our Parliament and economy is going to lose a big range of powers while our export based economy suffers a body blow. Remember this is a Parliament with completely inadequate powers to start with.

As bad, having spent the last four years promising that we would not allow Scotland to be dragged out the single market against our wishes, our First Minister has volunteered to put herself on the sidelines as that happens, without as much as a whimper from our side in protest. It looks tactically inept, because it is tactically inept. This Presidential style does not work when the President is busy doing something else. Where is the back up? God knows we have elected enough of them?

We are also stoking up future problems at an alarming rate. The Hate Crime Legislation is doing a sterling job unifying the whole of Scotland…..against the Scottish Government. Organisations as diverse as the Free Church of Scotland, the Roman Catholic Church, the Orange Order are joined by the Law Society, the Association of Editors and literally hundreds of others in opposing this move. No wonder, it is potentially the biggest attack on freedom of speech in my lifetime. It is a measure that would be welcomed in Stalin’s time and threatens a potential McStasi team of informers and enforcers across the land.

I accept that my life experience probably makes me more sensitive to risks to our freedoms than most but equally I firmly believe the price of enjoying freedoms in our life is eternal vigilance and we need to be very aware of creeping legislation that can be so easily misused. Just think what a unionist administration could do with this as an easy example. Anti English anyone?

You would think a Party that had already suffered the humiliation of a coterie of senior members having their evidence thrown out conclusively by a jury of their peers would be reluctant to encourage legislation that would make it easier for organised malicious groups to make allegations about others. This is very dangerous legislation and must be defeated.

I have friends who as children had to be coached not to repeat any conversations they heard in their homes to anyone, friends, teachers, relatives, anyone. I have no wish to see this type of society here in Scotland. I don’t want to hear hate speech either but Scots Laws already provide methods to prosecute those extremists. . We have no need of the badly written, ill thought out legislation that will result in worsening race relations, increased sectarianism etc., while threatening free speech. Education and good example is the way to solve these problems, not poor dangerous legislation.

It is a recipe book for malicious prosecution. How easy for half a dozen conspirators to cook up allegations against any individual secure in the knowledge that their target will be crippled financially funding their defence while those who make the allegations do so free of cost with the state picking up their costs through this legislation? Does that sound fair to you?

I am concerned also that we have in our society today an unacceptable intolerance to alternative views, indeed I have regularly been the victim of it as those who oppose my views prefer smear and cheap insults rather than sensible discussion on the issues. Of course I fully understand people can sometimes finds my articles controversial but when I see SNP supporters calling for censorship and blocking (other than through individual choice) then we are on a very slippery slope towards a very restrictive society where freedom of speech, our greatest freedom, has been extinguished. I have no wish to live in such a society, independent or not. That is not my Scotland, nor will it ever be.

I despair how SNP members can’t stop issues like GRA and the Hate Crime Legislation. Ordinary members have no say, no power in their own Party. It has been seized from them by a dictatorial leadership who are in no mood to listen to the ordinary membership on currency, on a reserve bank, on GRA or the Hate Crime Legislation. They think they can ignore all this and everyone will continue to support them as the sole avenue towards Independence. They may be right in the short term but they are doing enormous damage to the goodwill and trust amongst their own members. Having spent the last “ring fenced” appeal I think they will find fundraising for May’s election a lot more difficult that it should have been. In the longer term, this is not clever politics and a big cost will eventually be paid. When it happens it will have been today’s leadership that will have damaged Independence. Nobody else.

I am, as always


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      1. How true.
        Her time is running out and if she makes it to May and I imagine she will, she’d better deliver.
        Scotland won’t wait forever.

        Liked by 2 people

  1. Many people had an inate fear of anything described as nationalist. Born of the experiences of nationalist paryies in 1930s Germany and Italy such concern is understandable.

    Against this the SNP has been the absolute antithesis. That hard won perception is now at risk.

    The utter centralising of control to a coterie of control is now olain for all to see – and with it some absolutely malign practices.

    No one should be under any doubt that the brutal attempt to destroy Alex Salmond was straight out of the 1930s blackshirt playbook. And what does the First Minister do, she dissembles, she lies to parliament, whilst her ministers and civil servants refuse the will of parliament to provide enquiry evidence.

    And the prosecution of jkurnalists like Craig Murray and Michael Hirst. Another set piece of authoritarianism.

    And then as Iain says the iklending Hate Crime Bill universally acknowledged to be a tool that will suppress free speech.

    Yes, things have changed. Nationalism of the type justifiably feared is back. Destroying polical opponents, trying to jail journalists, actually jailing indy march organisers, suppressing free speech, centralising control, its all in play now – and its reminiscent of bad times returning.

    We ignore this at our peril and must change it.

    Liked by 7 people

      1. Couldn’t agree more Ian and once again a great article, we are blessed to have voices like yours, Wings and others without whom we would continue to be conned by these seat warmers.

        Liked by 4 people

  2. Great article . It encapsulates a lot o f the feelings of memberst of SNP, who at the moment feel powerless against the hierarchy of the party and unless things change at conference I fear there are many who, whilst still fervently supporting independence, are doubtful if the present leadership will deliver and will leave.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Great post Iain – I agree with almost everything your saying about the internal troubles of the party and you will know more about than me. However, I disagree on one aspect and in my view the most important one. I have been waiting on the polls to swing to Independence for 40 years. You will also remember back in the 1980s when we could only dream of this happening. It is now here and it is not irrelevent. Please remember that the vast majority of SNP voters know little of the party’s internal troubles however bad they seem to us. In an Independent Scotland there will be plenty time to sort all of these things – and they will be decided by the Scottish people not the SNP top brass.

    A majority of the voting public look like they would vote for Independence and this is not something that should be so easily sidelined in favour of SNP internal fighting. There are Holyrood elections in a few months, and with the polls in our favour, that should be our overwhelming issue at this time. However, in my view, this is the last chance for the SNP to gain Independence and it they completely fail to even chalenge Westminster, then I will be leaving the party, stopping my financial support, and joining another party which I’m sure will start up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hear what you are saying but the Conference is this month and the leadership need to be aware of the unrest and genuine anger among many at the abuse of members rights. That way they might behave between now and May and get the result we all want to see.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Rodmid this point about there being PLENTY time after independence is just the WHEESHT FOR INDY MANTRA , I am NOT a member of any political party BUT I am a voter and desperate supporter of independence, how dare you ask non member and SNP member supporters of an independent Scotland to accept this MASSIVE clusterf*** of reviled policies and constant lies and corruption, not only permitted by NS but ACTIVELY FORCING these policies on voters who are vehemently against them, and blackmailing them by the THREAT of a possible??? indy ref

      If Nicola Sturgeon and the hierarchy of the SNP were as dedicated to the cause of independence as SNP members allude to she would listen to the vast majority of members and non members and shelve those lunatic policies until AFTER independence, concentrate and FOCUS on the range of options to gain independence and put them into practice before 1st Jan 2021, BUT no Rodmid she has had 6 years to formulate plans to defeat WM and ALL she does is talk about the next election and more power

      Liked by 1 person

  4. As an SNP member for over 50 years, I agree our best player is Nicola but in saying that, we have a conundrum. The SNP shenaigans we read about on here and on Wings and other websites have not reached the wider public but they will and the anti-independence media are simply waiting for the most opportune time to do so – anyone thinking otherwise is misguided.

    I abhor how the members and branch network have become increasingly disenfranchised. I do not approve of the way the SNP are acting and increasingly I dislike many perhaps even most of their policies but it is my view “now is not the time” to “damage” our leader – she remains our greatest asset for the time being and to think otherwise puts the cause of independence second.

    We must not allow ourselves to be distacted when the most critical election, possibly in the history of the SNP, is just round the corner next May.

    Let’s secure victory next May in seats and votes befor embarking on internal “blood letting”.


      1. Metaphorical “blood letting”. The situation is serious and the sad thing is it would be very easy for the leadership to ameliorate the situation by issuing a few reassuring comments to acknowledge the concerns of the membership but little chance of that given Alyn Smith’s comments in today’s National.

        I simply fail to comprehend the pursuit of divisive legislation at a critical juncture which at best will not increase our vote but might seriously damage it. Different story if we were independent but the leadership have failed to realise that the independence glue holding a huge variety of views together, is softening at the wrong time.

        Liked by 3 people

    1. Alin, it’s not the ordinary members (ourselves) who are being distracted, I’m afraid it’s the current leadership (or lack of). All Nicola has to do is step forward ,take charge and completely drop the wildly unpopular Hate Crime Bill along with the currently ‘paused’ GRA.
      It’s so easy to get back on track and get scottish women back on side. Why not say we can debate AFTER we have achieved independence?
      Instead the reverse has been asked of us – hold our nose and vote for a police state. Don’t thinks so

      Liked by 5 people

      1. I do not disagree that’s what I meant when I said “leadership to ameliorate the situation by issuing a few reassuring comments to acknowledge the concerns of the membership but little chance of that given Alyn Smith’s comments in today’s National”.

        Nicola must know what is going on – it’s her silence on acknowledging membership or for that matter voter concerns which is worrying.

        The bottom line is it is plain stupid to proceed with legislation which is unpopular and causes a single vote to be lost. The time for making society better is once we have independence and that should be the No1 focus.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. You would almost think the leadership are doing it on purpose. A majority, a good election win but just not enough to be confident of winning a referendum.

        ” Let’s work on building up the numbers for independence and build on that at the next GE” – I can almost hear the words right now.

        Liked by 3 people

    2. After next May is too late, I despair that there are those who can’t grasp that, you are right that many don’t know what is going on but trust me more and more are being made aware by the day and the unionists will have a filed day during the run up to the election, we must get this sorted now or our cause is lost, I can guarantee you that the SNP have already lost 11 votes from my family alone and when I talk to friends and neighbours who are all for indy they tell me the same thing, I don’t give a damn what the polls say today, the damage will be catastrophic if we all decide to just Wheest for Indy.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Great, informative article, Iain. I wish to hell you were still involved in this Party.

    There’s hardly a morning now when I don’t read a new and damning article about the SNP. I don’t care about the good guys within the Party, they’re currently impotent, and by their silence they permit it when they fail to speak out.
    I have now completely reconciled myself with the fact that this SNP are steadily and knowingly damaging Scotland, and are firmly against independence. That Party means nothing to me now.

    Sorry I’m so negative, but I’m tired, weary from it all, and I long to see the back of them and get working towards the one thing all of us want.

    I have work to do.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Kenny PL,

      They’re are good guys in the SNP. And good gals too. And they have a job to do, They cannot stand by and allow what is happening to happen,

      When you read about what is being exposed, the behaviours are not politicking, but are the actions of a vicious fascist group intent to seizing and retaining control using whatever foul means possible.

      You may think Kenny that the good guys are impotent, and maybe this far they are. Many in our community are only now waking up to what has been going on. Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party’s rise to power did not happen over night. It took root, it grew, and it took over. And then it was too late.

      So Kenny, do not lose faith. The worst thing is for good is for good men ( and gals ) to do nothing. There are more of us than there are of them.

      Liked by 4 people

  6. The old and well proven saying “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely” has I think infected the NEC. I’m not a great conspiracy theorist, I tend to the belief it is simply a grouping of like minded people getting together at a moment in time and totally of the conviction that there ideas and policies are right. Such is their conviction of their beliefs that they will manoeuvre things to ensure they attain their goals. They are after all right. Every thing they do is, they believe, for the greater good. To others they may seem like deluded zealots, to them they are the bastions of the greater knowledge. If you want an example of my hypothesis just look at Brexit. The Tories argued for decades about it then along came the perfect grouping of fantasists and bingo, were out of the EU.
    The current NEC needs serious changes in personnel, and that is urgent, if only to return confidence to the membership after the disasters of the last year. The SNP as an organisation is not, I believe, in real trouble but it does require a bit of housekeeping done.
    Our FM is a great communicator and a powerful figurehead for the party. Losing her would be a huge blow to the party and would, I believe, significantly impact on the election.
    If Mr Murrell is ousted from the NEC and conspiracy theories are proven then, given he is her husband, it would be hard to see how she could survive the scandal.
    I started with an old saying and I’ll finish with one “be careful what you wish for, it can often come back and bit you”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wished for a Party that would deliver independence.

      ‘Losing her would be a huge blow to the party’: Can you imagine the great disillusionment and feelings of betrayal of the Scottish people, those believing her, wanting to believe her, placing her onto a high pedestal and – by clear association – relating Scottish Independence with her example, if Nicola Sturgeon were to be exposed as something completely removed from the position she’s manoeuvred and manufactured for herself this last 6 years? Now tell me what would be the most significant impact on the popularity of Scottish independence?

      Alex Salmond almost single-handedly made Scottish independence normal in this country. His guidance and his vision and, yes, his arrogance built a future for a nation from a barren Labour landscape. Nicola Sturgeon’s about to undo all that good. All she had to do – ALL she had to do – was continue to allow the Tories to build the case for Scotland, and, boy, did they ever deliver? Christ, within hours, Cameron had laid-out EVEL – Sturgeon had an open goal before she put on her boots.

      What we now know – and being absolutely certain that powder is being kept dry by the unionists – I think it’s undoubtable that Sturgeon has irreparably damaged the Scottish Independence movement. It’s too late for; ‘But wait till after’, the game’s a bogey. My current regret is that she’s still, defiantly and selfishly, in her position, damaging, holding on, damaging, denying, damaging, lying, damaging – the Press will have a field day, Scotland will be burst, perhaps for a generation.

      Go now, Murrell. Get out.

      Liked by 3 people

  7. *Rodmid says.In an Independent Scotland there will be plenty time to sort all of these things – and they will be decided by the Scottish people not the SNP top brass.*
    I hear this all the time, what I’d like to know is how do we get an independent Scotland while we have a leadership doing everything in her power to prevent that very thing from ever happening, for those who believe Nicola has a plan I say this, yes she does indeed have a plan and that is to get another 5 yrs in power which by the way she has actually said herself and then she shall move on to the world stage as other *great* leaders have done, Nicola doesn’t even trust anyone in her cabinet to do their job which she proves everyday when she stands in front of her podium and answers all the questions from the media, questions which should be answered by the medical advisor or the health secretary, she’s a control freak, we have a very short window of time to get the blockage which exists in the party removed otherwise independence will remain no more than a dream for all of us, and like Ian I have no wish to live in a Nicola/Humza Scotland, this isn’t what I signed up for.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Helen you are right there, I too do not want to live in a Scotland designed by the current SNP leadership. I will bite my tongue and vote for them because I want independence but once achieved, like many I may well look at the alternative offerings.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. On a related track Wings over Scotland have today done a piece on who may have leaked the investigation into Alex Salmond to the Daily Record a matter of hours after Salmond’s legal team had served legal papers to restrict disclosure of a matter supposedly only known to a few senior civil servants.

    Folks may form their own suspicions but just read the article and look at the pictures of a group of seven and including Liz Lloyd aide to the FM, Jenny Gilruth SNP MSP, her partner Lezia Dugdale and Davie Clegg of the Daily Record all enjoying a $11,105 two week junket to the US.

    With Labour’s Dugdale declaring the freebie on the register of interests as being paid for by the US Embassy the photo’s give every impression of a gang of friends living the high life at the trougher’s fountain.

    Folks should read the article, look at the pictures, and marvel at the Orwellian largesse enjoyed by this select band. And Liz Lloyd and the paperman – well that’s a question folks are asking.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. Are we once again being thrown to the wolves. Is history repeating its self. Throughout the centuries Scotland has been sold down the swanny by so called rulers.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. Yes, Willie (2.52pm), I read that Wings article, and it’s yet another eye-opener, disbelief in large quantities.

    And, at a time when accusations are flying thick and fast, and few of us aware of how the law works, I thought – with your permission, Iain – I’d copy & paste Stuart Campbell’s message at top of the comments on that blog, just in case anybody steps over a line on your site, now or in future.

    Rev. Stuart Campbell says:
    11 November, 2020 at 8:23 am
    NOTE TO ALL COMMENTERS: I will be adopting a “safety-first” attitude to deleting comments on this post, so please be very careful what you say.

    Thanks, Iain.

    Liked by 3 people

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