First published in the National

Joanna Cherry: Ignore bumbling Boris Johnson, we need a concrete indy plan NOW

By Joanna CherryBoris Johnson and his hapless Scottish Tory chums have spent the week digging themselves a hole


Boris Johnson and his hapless Scottish Tory chums have spent the week digging themselves a hole.

NEVER interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake. It’s a good maxim. Boris Johnson and his hapless Scottish Tory chums have spent the week digging themselves into a big hole over devolution. Even the Speaker had had enough when he finally corrected the Prime Minister this week for his sly and recurrent misrepresentation of the SNP party name.

Meanwhile Gordon Brown made another one of his increasingly tedious and irrelevant interventions about federalism. Most realists know there is not a hope in hell of this ever being delivered and it is quite understandable that many question whether these contributions are at all genuine given the lack of effort put into delivering what he promised so vigorously in 2014.

Two good things have come out of Boris Johnson’s outburst. First it is now crystal clear (if it wasn’t already) that expecting any more powers for Holyrood from his government is pie in the sky and not something that focus should be wasted on by any political party in Scotland. Secondly, while the Tories tie themselves in knots trying to get out of the consequences of what their leader has said, the SNP have time to reflect on what we do with the impressive poll leads which Mr Johnson is helping us achieve.

The wider independence movement, like my colleagues in the Westminster group, are brimming with ideas. This was clear from the readout of the AUOB event last weekend at which it was good to hear Ian Blackford embrace the need for the SNP to work with the wider movement.

How we do this needs work and we need to see concrete moves by the party now to put this commitment into practice.

No political party is perfect, but the SNP are the best vehicle to deliver independence. We are a formidable campaigning machine with a very well-respected leader and, according to the polls, the confidence of around half the electorate in the country. This is almost unprecedented across Europe, particularly after 13 years in government.

The SNP are the political wing of the Yes movement. You don’t need to like or agree with all our policies to support us although I would encourage people to join the party, become active and help us move those policies forward to the sort of radical agenda the wider independence movement wants. I can assure you that many of us within the party share your views.

The SNP have a leadership role to play and with that leadership role comes great responsibility, particularly for the policies and the strategy that will win our independence.

On policy, it is time to expedite publication of the “New Scotland” policy papers promised by the FM on January 31. These will provide the information and answers people want on how Scotland can make the transition from a Yes vote to becoming an independent country.

I absolutely understand why work on these was paused to allow focus on the Covid crisis but if we are to have an independence referendum soon, they are needed.

On strategy, I was disappointed by the decision to refuse the conference motion amendment based on my suggestion that the party set up a working group under the auspices of the NEC to consider all democratic and legitimate routes to a second independence vote. The decision seems particularly bizarre in the light of the polling published this week suggesting that two-thirds of voters want a fall-back strategy for indyref2 if a Section 30 order is refused.

But all is not lost. I know my suggestion has the support of senior figures in the party and it is to be hoped it can be progressed by the new NEC that will be elected at conference. The discussion which I and others wanted to take place at conference will instead happen at a national assembly in January. How we take forward the product of that assembly will be vital, and this is what the working group set up under the democratic auspices of the new NEC could do.

I hope those elected to NEC and other roles at conference will in future be more careful guardians of the party’s constitution and its guarantee of ordinary members close involvement in framing the resolutions for conference. There is no point in me and others banging on about the importance of the rule of law if the party itself does not abide by its own constitution in relation to its internal workings.

Likewise if it is right to call for transparency and accountability in government then it is right to call for it in the governance of our party as so many of the candidates for NEC and other roles in the party are now doing.

In this connection it is surely time to lance the boil of the botched investigation into harassment allegations made against our former leader. It is very important for the confidence of future complainers that we get to the bottom of what went wrong here. As elsewhere in public life there must be a proper process for those who wish to make complaints, a process which supports them to do so but which is also procedurally fair and without bias.

We also need to know what led to so much public money being wasted on defending a fatally flawed system. Having worked in the courts for years I have found the attitude of some of the inquiry’s witnesses towards their oath or affirmation to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth curious to say the least. Things would be very different at a judge-led inquiry.

If indeed there has been no cover-up or conspiracy, let’s get what happened out in the open and move on. If there are consequences for individuals in the civil service or indeed elsewhere, then so be it. Matters need to be brought to a satisfactory conclusion or Scotland’s reputation for probity in public life and our party’s cause of independence could be damaged.

So while our enemies seem doomed to repeat the same mistakes, let the SNP use our time wisely so that we can play, to the very best of our ability, the leadership role in the independence movement which has been earned for our party by years of hard work.

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71 thoughts on “ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

  1. Ms. Cherry, no disrespect intended, but while the second half of your comment had some vestiges of hope, the first was simply spin and platitudes. To say that the party is the political wing of the Yes movement is a rather optimistic perspective. The elephant in the room is that the SNP has to decide whether it wants independence or whether it wants to be in government. It strikes me that the party leadership has decided it wants the latter for the simple reason that independence will result in a splintering of the party.

    All the decision in recent years have been to try and mitigate that by creating a centrist, slightly to the right party that could possibly survive a successful independence campaign. Unfortunately, however, working on the survival of the party and the comfortable positions that brings has come at the expense of working for independence. So much so that upcoming events appear to have a high probability of rendering the entire exercise into a fruitless endeavour.

    It seems to mean that realigning the party towards being interested in independence once more is going to be an uphill struggle and given recent controversies, likely to unsuccessful. I retained my membership after much soul searching but it’s increasingly looking like a waste of money and my desire for Scotland to stand on it’s own two feet and to use the best of it’s talents towards helping the more unfortunate or disadvantaged members of our society would be better served elsewhere.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Is that right Stuart? I only have the malcontents word (guffaw) that the SNP are not interested in independence. Everyone else seems to think it is the core reason for their existence …. which of course it is. I can’t help but notice the performance of the party and its leader (apparently one of history’s greatest monsters according to malcontent doctrine) has taken us from defeat in 2014 to the edge of independence in 2021. A remarkable achievement by any standard. According to poll after poll, support for independence and the SNP have never been so consistently high. Sturgeon is the most trusted and respected politician in the UK by a huge margin. Yet all this is as nothing to the dedicated keyboard malcontent. We have all to believe it is a grand illusion and the reality is their miserable spin on events.

      Malcontents are angry because the SNP have not taken their sage advice (usually retrospective) and delivered independence before now. Hell has no fury like an egocentric activist scorned. Of course, as there are as many individual plans as there are malcontents, it is difficult to know which one they should have followed. Whatever one they picked would mollify one malcontent (though they would soon find something else to whine about) but would just infuriate the rest even more as their particular infallible route to indy was “scorned”.

      What the SNP have decided to do is ignore the malcontent pleas to take the indy movement Light Brigade-like uphill into Unionist guns, with little hope of success, and kept to their well documented policy (including Salmond’s) to wait until solid government and Unionist mendacity convinces a majority of Scotland’s people to back independence. And thank goodness they did as it is now paying off. Perhaps that is why so many malcontents are now apparently doing their best to thwart it …. if anything has more fury than an egocentric activist scorned, perhaps it is one who looks like they are being proved wrong.

      So far the indy-minded people of Scotland are either unaware or uninterested in the malcontent narrative. Support for both independence and the SNP remains at record levels with the subsequent good omens for a successful vote for Indy in 2021. However, if the malcontent cult keep it up, and the Unionist MSM decide to give them all the coverage they so obviously crave (especially their high priest), the age old cliche of Scotland always snatching defeat from the jaws of victory might again be proved apposite.


      1. Pony

        When is this referendum happening in 2021?

        If it is to happen in 2021 why is there no legislation for it?

        What will the question be in this referendum and when will it be agreed?

        Will a section 30 be asked for and given by the UK for this referendum to take place or will it be an illegal referendum as described by Sturgeon in her Jan 2020 referendum?

        Or is this just a fantasy being spun by Me Murrells Spinner?

        Liked by 3 people

      2. It was removed because you were abusive by describing someone of being a Tory or being in league with them because they did not subscribe to the my Party, right or wrong stance that you take.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Pony doesn’t sound like you answered any of the questions but as ever with people like you they just shout you are a Unionist – pathetic.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Iain:
        I alluded to the fact that the Tories are cock-a-hoop over the malcontent phenomenon and are aided by their obsessions. I would hope that any reasonable person would see that. It is a perfectly logical and very valid view in the circumstances. The censorship is also rather ironic given the malcontents antipathy towards the Hate Crime Bill.

        When did I ever call you a Unionist?

        I thought your post required a detailed reply. Given the malcontent pile-on that has ensued, it’s clearly not my nerve that has been struck.


      5. Many take the view that the Tories are also very keen on Nicola sticking with the useless Section 30 tactic that is going nowhere. I have yet to see any Indy supporters who think Nicola is wrong describe her and her supporters as being on the Unionist side, although I do concede if it goes on much longer that accusation may develop,

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Seriously Iain! The entire malcontent cult is based around the fantasy that Sturgeon, and many of her “minions” (her being evil and all), do not want independence and are more than happy maintaining the Union. It is alluded to on several posts on this thread alone.


  2. In relation to the Salmond stitch up Joanna Cherry says the following –

    “ Matters need to be brought to a satisfactory conclusion or Scotland’s reputation for probity in public life and our party’s cause of independence could be damaged.”

    Never a truer word spoken. If the people responsible are not dealt with they will do it again. Their rule of law is no rule of law at all, only the rule of the malign and criminal abuse of the processes of state. The wrongdoing must be addressed, and if it is not, then the cause of independence will be damaged.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. So far, the alleged “stitch-up” hangs on Sturgeon perhaps knowing about the specific allegations three days (a whole three days!!!!) before she initially said she did, and that the investigating officer, while performing her duties as she should have, could be perceived to have been biased (whether she was or not) leading to the abandonment of the Govt case. Its hardly earth shattering. The malcontent bloodlust for Sturgeon to the detriment of the Indy cause is getting the better of them here.

      “….the rule of the malign and criminal abuse of the processes of state” …. get a grip agent Willie. You’ll lose the crowd if you ramp up the hyperbole 😉


      1. It may not be earth shattering it you choose just to deliberately ignore everything like you do Pony. Others actually read the details and prefer the truth and facts not your spin.

        Perhaps you should be calling yourself Me Murrells Spinner.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. The only “facts” you have are “the three days”, the investigator’s “appearance of bias”, Peter Murrell doesn’t like Salmond and Salmond “was no angel”. None of which is evidence of “criminal behavior” or likely to bring down a govt. Only Tories and malcontents are trying to destroy the SNP over it. Malcontents should perhaps reflect on the company they are keeping.


      3. You would do well to read Gordon Dangerfield’s blog which explains the significance of what you so easily dismiss. If you were right why the panic not to reveal the documentation?

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Oh zinggg!!

        Let’s wait and see what the outcome is. I am confident the official findings will be incompetence not conspiracy and that the Tories will object while putting their own spin on it. The malcontents will cry foul and side with the Tories. All the time deluding themselves they’re doing it all in the name of independence. An egocentric activist scorned and all that.


      5. Are you “on the side of truth and justice” Cubby? It’s just that I’d rather wait for justice to be played out before proclaiming someone’s guilt or innocence. Or, in the case of the current AS issue, if something “criminal 😒” has even happened. At the moment, the malcontents have conducted a “kangaroo court” and found the SNP and the FM guilty of the most heinous crimes imaginable (with the emphasis on “imaginable”). Truth and justice are of secondary importance to them. Their verdict is in and they will not accept any findings that contradict it. Luckily for them, they’ve got the Tories on the committee fighting their anti-SNP corner.


      6. Pony

        There is no “AS issue” – the Harrassment Committee is investigating The First Minister, the Scottish Government and SPECIAL ADVISERS.

        Yes I am on the side of truth and justice. There has been an abuse of power by people in government and a misuse of public funds. You are on the side of a cover up. Shame on you.

        Liked by 2 people

      7. It may have escaped your notice but that has yet to be determined Cubby. Since when was conducting a witch hunt the same as being on the side of truth and justice. Matthew Hopkins is no role model for a champion of justice.


      8. I’d hate to be the victim of an alleged sexual assault with you on the jury. By your logic, it’s got to be proven before it gets to court or its just malicious. It’s like the feminist movement never existed. Again, rather ironic given that malcontent doctrine demands the acceptance of the GRA as threatening all its triumphs.


      9. Pony – you cannot be a victim of an ALLEGED assault. Complainer yes not victim until the alleged assault is proved.

        All you prove is you post rubbish.


  3. Absolutely agree with Joanna. As everything starts to deteriorate with the Covid19 calamity the next enormous challenge comes with Brexit. We need independence ASAP or there will be nothing left worth fighting for.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. It’s interesting to maybe consider Thursday’s council by election on Clackmannanshire where Labour got 8%, the SNP 32% and the Tories 51%.

    Now we all know that council by elections are maybe not the best bellwether of party political fortune but the 32% for the SNP is pretty underwhelming and maybe suggests that the SNP’s fortunes are not as guaranteed as the leadership thinks they are.

    That said it was a by election, a council by election at that with a very low turnout. But the vote moved from Labour to the Tories.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Interesting also how in today’s National it’s being reported that Douglas Ross has suggested a coalition with Labour at the next election to force out the SNP out of government in Hollyrood.

    With its woke agenda, Hate Crime Bill, failure to protect us from being taken out of Europe, and the murk of the Salmond stitch up to be played to us all by the MSN our worst fears could be about to be realised.

    And now we have conference where all debate on independence strategy has been quelled. Yup, it all just going to drop into our lap.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah Willie, might as well give up now with all the gloom and doom being spouted by alleged Indy supporters. Then the e-mail could be sent to Westminster stating “Operation Malcontent a success Mr Prime Minister – Indy movement demoralised”.


      1. Pony who is causing the malcontent – it lies at the feet of the SNP leadership – so you are saying the SNP leadership are all Unionist Secret Service and you want to retain them in power.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Pony – No Sturgeon and her cabal lost their plot.

        I never forced any of them to do what they did. You choose to support and protect them – shame on you!


    2. Spot on Willie, I believe the SNP are in for a rude awakening next year. many like myself will decide on whether to give them our vote once we have seen the manifesto, I’m hoping the election is to be used as a plebiscite which I believe is the safest route, any referendum that Westminster has a say in is guaranteed to fail. no plebiscite no vote from me.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. So if the SNP don’t do as you tell them you’ll effectively turn your back on independence? Sounds like “Operation Malcontent” is working well.


      2. Helen, I have been banging the drum for using an election as a plebiscite for some time – I agree it is the safest route. There is absolutely no reason, if the SNP are truly the party of independence, why May 2021 cannot be used as a mandate for actual independence rather than collecting mandates for a referendum that the SNP do not use.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. And what if Unionists refuse to acknowledge that and campaign on a broad, non-constitutional platform? Would the legal authorities (or whatever) waive it through?

        Genuinely want to know. If it were to get us independence …. great. I’m all for anything that gets us independence. However, I’ve asked for evidence it could work and/or precedents over and over again from malcontents and they’ve provided nothing but a stoney silence. That doesn’t fill me with any more confidence than the SNPs silence on a Plan B fills malcontents with confidence. It gives the impression its just another malcontent pipe dream. One of so, so many.


      4. Thanks for addressing my query Iain. You’re the first that ever has. However, could you be more specific? The Baltic States gained independence in the aftermath of the demise of Soviet power. Similarly, the “Adriatic” States got theirs in the aftermath of the bloody collapse of Yugoslavia. The Czech and Slovak Republics became independent by mutual consent. None are analogous to Scotland’s position in the UK, with perhaps the exception of Czechoslovakia. But that is probably closer to a S30 situation than a plebicitery election. Do you have any examples that show a country, off its own bat, going it alone without at least the token co-operation of the “parent” (for want of a better word) state?


      5. The UN are on record of making clear any country seeking Independence can do so without any interference from the state it is leaving. Why do you seem to want to argue about that? Why do you want a barrier erected?

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Pony the sycophant – its a democratic election – opposition parties tend to have policies that oppose each other. The majority in the polls for independence is there – the only thing holding up independence is the SNP.

        Liked by 2 people

    3. Your posts get more and more ridiculous Cubby. For someone who claims to support “truth and justice”, it’s strange how often it has to be pointed out to you that due process is far from finalised and nothing has been decided …. except by you and your malcontent buddies.

      And how can I “support and protect” them? I’m an NHS worker, not a solicitor. You seriously need to calm down.


  6. REAL independence supporters have to just shut up and place their votes for the SNP as instructed by the murrell sycophants and apologists, the problem is that NOT all REAL independence supporters are as susceptible to the bovine excrement overwhelming all the actions of the hierarchy of the SNP for a long time

    MBP your condescension, disdain and miscalling of people as state agents who have differing opinions to yours indicates to me, that you are one of these people that appeared in one of WOS polls who said that they ONLY want independence if the SNP are the ones who get it and will remain in power

    You decry and abuse people who rightfully expose the GROSS mismanagement of the SNP , your ONLY counter argument is the polls , the polls , and Nicola is the saviour of the world , you NEVER address or answer the question of dates for this fantasy referendum or why Scotland cannot have a plebicite election, or why Nikla is forcing through GRA and the HCB but CANNOT OR WILL NOT do anything about independence or the IMB because she’s to busy dealing with covid
    YOU are an apologist and sycophant and it is people like you who WILL cost us our independence, not your fantasy state agents

    Liked by 2 people

    1. (1) I have not called all malcontents “state agents”. Clearly many of their “enablers” on a certain, formerly pro-independence, site ARE NOT what they claim to be. But I have always acknowledged the majority are just misguided and misled. I also believe the malcontents should take cognisance of those they “share a platform” with. All too often its the Tories.

      (2) And malcontents “decry and abuse” those who do not accept the gospel according to them and their High Priest. I don’t agree with the malcontent view and I will oppose it and point out its demonstrable flaws. It’s called debate and that is something malcontents appear to have a problem with.


      1. Pony – “it’s called debate” you say – nope you just want to call anyone who thinks an abuse of power by the Scottish Government is wrong a Unionist – that is not debate – that is a desire for a cover up.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Point to any post where I have called any of you a Unionist.

        I’ve pointed out that, in my opinion, malcontents are doing more to aid the Unionist cause than they are the Indy one. A perfectly logical and understandable view …. if you’re not a malcontent.


      3. Pony the sychophant – The one that Iain blocked from being posted.

        There is nothing logical and understandable in your view – I want to vote for independence you want to support a leadership that has put more effort in to trying to send Salmond to jail than it has in doing what it gets votes for – namely, achieving Scottish independence.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. I’m not supporting any leadership Cubby. It’s your own malcontent obsessions that force you to think in those terms. Opposing the malcontent cult does not require me to sign up to any other “faction”. All I point out is that the evisceration of the SNP and the toppling of the most popular leader in the country, by far, on the eve of the most important election for independence in Scottish history will NOT get us that independence. It could be Sturgeon, Salmond, Swinney, Cherry or anybody in the top spot and I would still point out the lunacy of the malcontent campaign. My support is for independence alone and the malcontents are by far the greatest threat to it.


      5. Pony – you sound just like any old corrupt political party official – the means justifies the end (in your mind). – you can support malicious criminal activity if you want – not me.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Pony – Unlike you I will never “calmly” accept malicious evil actions that are an abuse of power and a misuse of public funds.


  7. Well said Twathater .What’s also repellent is people of MBP´s position attempting to pre-blame anyone who dissents from the Sturgeon Doctrine of radical inertia for ” splitting ” the SNP and for any future failure to achieve Independence under it’s rule , when what only the wilfully myopic fail to see is the crying need for openness and complete honesty in regards to the AS ” affair ” and what the strategy is for responding to the almost certain refusal of a S30 , or are we STILL supposed to believe the SNP are just being canny , not wanting to show it’s hand in advance and really have a well thought-out strategy ready to be deployed immediately upon rejection of a ” request ” ? I truly hope the latter is the case , but nothing our Gov are doing or saying convinces me that it is

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Is that the same rabbit hole where men can be women just because they say so , where someone who has never evinced one iota of moral fibre will be magically transformed into a S30 granting Santa Claus , just because NS put it on her X-Mas wish list ( or maybe she forgot to do so , memory being a little suspect n’all ) ? . I would prefer not to get into arguments with folk who , despite substantial disagreement on the best approach , are still on the same side , and this is the case here my friend . Time will tell who is/ was the most accurate in perceiving our supposed Liberators strategies and success thereof , or lack of same .Believe me when I say I hope that I’m 100% wrong in my current perceptions

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Castanet, there are basically three aspects:

      1. Will the current leadership deliver independence?

      2. Is it right to ignore a blatant abuse of power and misuse of funds by the Scottish Government to try and jail an innocent man.

      3. Can you vote SNP even though some of its policies you find unacceptable.

      Now some people may hold that 1 above may be delivered eventually. Some may be able to hold their nose and vote SNP even though they hate some policies as per 3 above.

      For me I cannot accept the behaviour of the SNP/ Scotgov in 2 above. It is giving your approval to criminal behaviour. A new SNP leadership is required – not one that has been corrupted by power.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. (1) Yes.

        (2) No it isn’t and thats not what happened ( back to all the heinous crimes “imaginable” etc).

        (3) Of course you can.


      2. Yeah Cubby, the whole malcontent thing is a pantomime. Only the outcome for those of us who want independence could be tragic.


  9. I agree with your summary above Cubby , For my part , I have serious doubts about 1 , think it would be a travesty if no one was held to account for 2 and in something of a moral quandary regarding 3 , but given the prospect of allowing a Unionist take-over of Holyrood , with all that would me for our prospects , I imagine come May I will vote for the SNP at least in the constituency vote . I agree a clean sweep of the current leadership before May would be the optimum scenario but time is not on our side in this . It is of course still possible the outcome of the ongoing enquiry will compel the resignation of NS and her team of well-heeled amnesiacs – they definitely won’t do so voluntarily – but it’s looking more likely they’ll brazenly obfuscate their way out of facing any consequence , so , a case of the least worse option is the painful reality , in all probability

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Castanet, who would have thought that the party which was established to achieve Scottish independence would present people who just want to vote for independence such a difficult problem to actually vote for them. Such appalling leadership.

      1. Personally, I think this leadership are just stringing us along for independence and like devolution far too much.

      2. I find it hard to vote for criminals. However, I also do not want a criminal party like the Tories in power either.

      3. The Hate Crime bill is a shocker and I don’t really see the the need for the GRA changes. Prof Ashton of the Fraser of Allander Institute recently transitioned from a man to a woman. If Yousaf has his way my comment above: ” such appalling leadership would probably be classed as a hate crime” .

      Such appalling SNP leadership. It is about time SNP members got the SNP back on track to concentrate on independence.

      Liked by 2 people

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