WHAT IS PLAN B?

A GUEST POST FROM ANGUS BRENDAN MACNEIL MP

Plan B, as Inverclyde Councillor, Chris McEleny, and I dubbed it a couple of years ago, goes straight to the point of asking the people if they want to be independent at the ballot boxes of an election, the most legal and internationally recognised democratic event in any country. 

The 2019 failed Plan A was about asking the people for the mandate to ask Boris Johnson if we can go back to the people and ask a question in a referendum.  Plan A has many steps, with the UK PM at the centre of the idea, the problem is obvious, he used the veto.  Plan A again is not going to happen.  Therefore, Plan B is an idea whose time has come!  The golden moment for independence is at hand and we must be ready, not forever vacillating like the Shakespearian Hamlet.The main driver to accidentally push Plan B onwards was Boris Johnson.  The UK PM seldom misses an opportunity to blunder against his own interests, Brexit of course being the best example. 

On Scotland he should have left the Sec30 carrot dangling until after the 2021 election.  Then yet again remove it afterwards, allowing our SNP Scottish Government to be left as snookered as it was after the 2019 UK election when he simply said “No.   The Flodden-like gift of the “Boris-Veto” in the SNP manifesto of 2019, is being readied for inevitable failure again. Frankly, there was and still is, understandably, a great reluctance to draw attention to our strategic blunder in 2019, even though some of us predicted it. Although we achieved absolutely zero constitutional advancement and the Sec30 was dismissed with little care or fanfare in Westminster it was much better to point out we had more SNP MPs. (In 2014 we only had 6 MPs). Our haul was of less utility, given the Tories now had used the Christmas Present Election to move from hung Parliament to one with a comfortable majority.  Incidentally, I was the only Scottish MP who voted against the obvious electoral gift to Boris and I do not want to see him get another present in our 2021 SNP manifesto. We must be bloody blunt here and wake ourselves up from a torpor.  We must recognise and face up to the 2019 blunder. 

There is nothing written in the stars guaranteeing Scottish independence, neither outcome is preordained, and the party leadership is not a perfect infallibility on strategy. For instance, there was no strategy for a March 2019 Brexit something that was clear when I asked the question internally at the very top in November 2018.  Little did I realise while being mocked for asking the question, that there was also no strategy for Scotland when Brexit came over 2 years later in December 2020, we were indeed taken out against our will. With the Tories obvious Brexit disarray we should be striking now. We must avoid the next obvious blunder would be to repeat a policy a Boris-Veto Sec30 request with no back up insurance policy. 

Fortunately, Boris Johnson arrived back on the scene and wakes up all but the most determined ostriches, when the blowhard bellowed that a Sec30 is dead until 2055, a full 34 years away.As a result, SNP President, Micheal Russell MSP, entered the fray sensibly asserting he did not want to wait until he was over 100 for the next independence referendum. A few days later playing full harmony to the Plan B tune, was my esteemed colleague Jo Cherry, leaping straight in at the third point of plan B, that if a majority of MPs or MSPs are elected at an election then that should be enough for independence. 

So, what is Plan B. Well properly understood Plan B supports Plan A, we would like a Sec30 to happen and if it does then no need for the insurance of Plan B, but we are also realists. Plan B also supports the Scottish Parliament holding a referendum, if, and of course only if, it is legal to do so.  (It should be obvious that an illegal referendum is impossible, for one, who mans the polling stations and count votes etc?)  A non Sec30 referendum is currently being valiantly tested for legality in the courts by the tenacious Martin Keatings.  We do need to know sooner rather than later if the Scottish Parliament referendum can happen, which is why along with Kenny MacAskill, we are publicly backing Keatings, so far the only 2 elected SNP parliamentarians to do this, although others would be welcomed in joining us. An important aspect of Plan B is that at least one of the two possible referendum routes must establish their credibility before the 31st of March in plenty of time before the election. Time to explain to the public, that the roadblocks in the referendum routes is why we have no option but to use the ballot boxes at the election, rather than at a referendum, to establish the mandated credibility of independence. Some say we should keep our Plan B secret! Well you cannot get a mandate for a secret.  Pre 2019 when delegates were misinformed or misled at SNP conference that “Plan A had momentum”.  Many delegates out of trust and probable kindness effectively suspended their critical faculties and went with it and also the wink that there was a secret plan. 

Now clearly, like the Brexit secret plan, the actual secret is there was absolutely no secret plan for Scottish  independence – or indeed Brexit for that matter.  Underlining the fact that you cannot mandate a secret.The revered data and statistics man, Prof John Curtis suggests keeping Plan B for after this election pending all other routes are blocked, presumably with an even higher wall than at present. Clearly a good stats man, or indeed a good press conference person, does not a decent strategist make, it is an invalid illusion that these skills transfer across to each other.  All Curtis’ suggestion would achieve is lost years and an opportunity for the UK Gov to regroup and continue the damage and chaos they have created at present, it would make the 2026 election be the 2021 election for slow learners, as the late Seamus Mallon might have said.  No! Instead get independence now, when poll after poll shows it will happen.Others say what if Boris Johnson says “No” to 5 million Scots if we vote, by majority, for independence at an election.  Well once the forelock tugging of those voices is over, think of what sort of bracket Boris would find himself in with that?

Donald Trump tried it, tried to emulate Lukashenko in Belarus, and look how far it got him in a Western country with an ingrained democratic tradition.  Boris would realise and probably already knows, that he cannot, would not and dare not defy the will of the people.  Also, such a question already concedes the failure of Plan A yet again.Let us move the issue on. A majority of Scots, more than back the SNP, back independence let us then give them the strongest possible reason to vote SNP at the Scottish Elections.  People now understand that to make downstream decisions on society, social security, taxation, health and education spending, that we need to solve the upstream issue of having the powers to make those decisions. 

To recap, exhaust the referendum routes by 31st March, if neither of those are certain of happening post-election, then make the election a plebiscite.   Also let us all unite around this and please stop inventing nonsense phrases like “gold standards” or falsely asserting the international community will not accept this, that and the rest of it.  The disparate international community have said no such thing, nor indeed has Westminster.  It is only those with limited vision on our own side who bizarrely stick to the first idea they thought of, a Sec30 referendum, which is actually the idea Alex Salmond thought of for a different point in time. Generals fighting today’s war  with yesterday’s tactics usually fail. Circumstances have changed. Now, the milestone of merely being and having a devolved Government is not enough for Scotland anymore.  The SNP depute leader is now the man we look to for all this to be discussed at his upcoming National Assembly, which could be the last before independence, if the Hamlet prevarication gene is banished. 

Yours for Scotland

Angus Brendan MacNeil MP

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My thanks to Angus for an interesting and worthwhile positive route to move Independence forward and offers everyone who believes that the polls indicate we are winning, a realistic opportunity to translate poll leads into something concrete that will carry additional weight both in Westminster and internationally. What do you think is the stronger position, poll leads in opinion polls or a delivered actual vote for Independence in a General Election? I know my answer snd I know what other interested parties will think also. Much, much more difficult for Boris to ignore. The media also would have huge difficulty denying it is legitimate whereas “poll leads” can be easily dismissed, as we have seen.

42 thoughts on “WHAT IS PLAN B?

  1. #NoSection30 The sovereignty of Scotland’s people is NOT NEGOTIABLE! I do not consent to any part of our sovereignty being traded for worthless British promises and assurances. I DO NOT CONSENT! #NoSection30

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Peter, the whole problem has lain for the past six years not with the requirement for a second S30 Order, but with the whole concept of PRE independence referendum itself. It is its PRE independence nature that is wrong (except in the situation of 2014 when a S30 Order and the Edinburgh Agreement were, indeed the ‘gold standard’ because that was the quickest and neatest way to independence AT THAT POINT. That no longer is the case, and was not the case on 19 September, 2014. It is fact that cannot be denied that the NO referendum and NO vote of the 2014 led inexorably to the Brexit referendum and the Brexit Leave vote of 2016. Without that 2014 NO vote, the Brexit referendum would never, in a month of Sundays, have taken place as a UK-wide referendum. England might have left the EU later on, on its own, but it would not have been able to drag Scotland out with it. You are absolutely correct in that it is our habit of perching on England’s coat-tails that is our greatest error – in every situation to date.

      There is no requirement in international law to hold any kind of PRE independence referendum in order to secure international recognition, and there is certainly no requirement in either Scottish or English, or, indeed, British law, to hold a PRE independence referendum. The norm the world over is a ratifying one. The sole reason that so many are in thrall to a PRE independence referendum is that they do not wish to upset the two demographics who, together (with the EU residents, most of who, those that are left here, would now vote YES) thwarted the YES vote. Scottish Unionists alone or rUK voters alone could not have thwarted the indyref, but, together, they did. That is plain and simple fact (and the vote also shows that the EU NO vote would not have brought the NO vote over 50% when combined with the Scottish Unionist NO vote. Ergo, it was, indeed, the combination of the Scottish Unionist and rUK NO votes combined that did for us in 2014.

      A wee peek at the UN Charter shows that the NO vote of 2014 was at odds with international law in the UN Charter’s Chapters on: a) self-determination; b) colonialism; c) human rights. Take those facts and marry them to the fact that we do not need to hold another indyref at all (except a ratifying one) and that the Scottish government has the power I its hands to make the May election a plebiscitary one that could take us straight to independence without any requirement for a PRE independence referendum, and the way forward seems obvious. Elections are our, and most countries’, means of democratic expression and a referendum is an extra layer that works well in the domestic arena, but depends too much on swaying the NO vote in the constitutional matters, as several countries, including ourselves, have discovered to their loss. Any competent lawyer would argue that, alone, the Scottish Unionists cannot win an indyref. So why would we allow a colonial vote that is contrary to the UN Charter’s own provisions decide our future – because that is precisely what the rUK NO vote did in 2014. To try and deny that it is, largely, a colonial vote, is contrary to any definition of reason and the plain facts of the 2014 referendum, no matter how uncomfortable it makes us. I have said before, I will never forgive those who were in thrall to a PRE independence referendum if we get one and it is lost again. Your own slogan of “I telt ye” just won’t cut it, not when there were other routes to take.

      I am not arguing that rUK residents should lose any of their civil or constitutional rights, or their right to stay in Scotland on independence, not at all. What I am saying is: why would we be stupid enough to invite their opposition yet again (and I know there are Scots of English heritage who are great supporters of independence and more power to their elbow) when it is supremely unnecessary in that we do not need a second indyref? Let anti independence voters use their votes in the Scottish election in which the SNPG has made clear, via its Manifesto, that the main policy will be independence followed an invitation to Westminster to negotiate the terms of our withdrawal. That is perfectly legal and democratic in both domestic and international law. We have to invite Westminster to negotiate because of the Treaty that underpins the political state of the UK of GB; if we didn’t, that would be illegal in international law and we would lose any recognition. If Westminster refused to negotiate, we would then activate the Treaty, having built our case, based on Westminster’;s constant breaching of it, on international law itself via the UN Charter, and take them to the General Assembly of the UN where, I am quite sure, we would be granted a hearing.

      I would calculate that it would be a far greater loss to Westminster to be taken to the international court than to negotiate, but, even if they still reneged, we would declare our independence on the Floor of the General Assembly of the UN and request international recognition. Every nation that has gained its independence in the 20th century and, since, has married the political will with the legal determinants. That is what we need to do, too.

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  2. YES, YES, YES to Plan B! At the end of this month I, and Hundreds of Other SNP Members, Will tune into the SNP National Assembly! It’s Sole Agenda is “How to Win Independence”. I Will, with Hundreds of Others, Demand that the Number No.1 Want on Our SGE 2021 Manifesto Will be
    “All Votes for the SNP Shall be regarded as a vote For an Immediate Independence For Scotland”. So I am asking All SNP Members to tune into the SNP National Assembly And Insist on Plan B.
    Saor Alba gu Barth ASAP!!!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Votes for all independence supporting parties. Not just the snp. The greens gor instance have supported indepemdence for many years. Why exclude their vote?

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Unless the Greens make it plain a vote for them is also a vote for Scotland to immediately begin the process of leaving the UK, it would plant a seed of doubt into the process. The only vote that would be unquestionable (though Unionists inevitably will) is a 51% SNP result. That is the simple reality of the political situation. Anything else will just complicate the picture unnecessarily.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. I agree – I spent too long on the “It’s okay, there’s a plan, I’m sure there’s a plan, it’s a secret plan but there is a very cunning secret plan” journey tae nowhere

      Well THIS is the plan, Plan B and it’s the plan people seem to want – so as the Party is supposed to be made up of it’s members, and not just a few important folk with their own agendas, let’s make sure we get this plan moving forward

      Because see that secret plan……. Aye, exactly, I canny either

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Excellent and persuasive post. I think what is missing is part 2. How do we convert the soft Nos and doubters who genuinely fear for their income, pensioners, etc. ?

    Put money in their pockets now with a Universal Citizens Income paid for by AGFRR.

    She who controls public funds controls the debate!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I doubt that could be put in place by May. Even putting it in the manifesto would be a completely unnecessary hostage to fortune. It sounds great but there is a lot of working out to be done before it can be put before the people …. in my opinion.

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  4. Only a plebiscite election in May will do now.A majority of independence supporting msp’s elected to the Scottish parliament,then asap begin negotiating with Westminster to end the treaty of union.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Here’s my problem: “A majority of Scots, more than back the SNP, back independence let us then give them the strongest possible reason to vote SNP at the Scottish Elections.”

    What if they don’t WANT to vote SNP, e.g. their local candidate believes in all that science-denying nonsense?

    Why not just include the independence question on the ballot paper in a separate section? That way, the large percentage of Labour voters can vote Labour as normal but opt for independence as well, etc. Shouldn’t take more than some extra ink and everybody knows what they’re turning up to vote for so no danger of boycotts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. An election is not a referendum. I very much doubt you can add a “question” to a Parliamentary Election ballot paper (I could be wrong though). If some one believes in Scottish Independence, would they really put that at risk because they disagreed with the local candidate on a couple of issues? No matter how important you consider them to be? Would you really put the GRA before Independence?

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    2. The Electoral Society Won’t accept any Additional question on the Ballot form!
      And the Murrell’s won’t want it either!

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    3. You could vote SNP on the constituency vote and, for example, ISP, on the List – both independence, but ISP do not support GRA reform.

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  6. Mr MacNeil, I like your thinking, pity you’re not our FM we’d be independent by now, I and many other are now coming around to the very urgent need that May’s elections should double up as a plebiscite for indy. I’m of the opinion that the Eye of Sauron at Westminster, now that Brexit is concluded will be focusing on crushing independence, and we also have the Holyrood power draining Internal Market bill as well, time I fear isn’t on our side, so May’s election doubling up as a plebiscite is a must really.

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  7. By requesting a S30 order we are implicitly acknowledging that the British have sovereignty over the people of Scotland. So, whilst I agree with a lot of what Angus B writes, I do not concur with this ‘first stage’. That element must be disavowed as undemocratic, for that is surely what it is.

    I would be really worried if the narcissist in 10 Downing Street agreed as the price would be his having a say in the process – that is to gerrymander via plebiscite question, franchise, timing et al.

    S30 is not the ‘gold standard’. It is the British standard.

    It should be self-evident that these two things are mutually exclusive.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Plan B is, at least a step closer, but, again it relies on a referendum that is not necessary. Just what is it about a PRE independence referendum that people are so hung up on? Why not make the election a plebiscitary or partially-plebiscitary one, and take it from there in relation to the negotiations to leave the UK? An election is the most democratic form of the electorate’s will, not a referendum. Are we saying that the Brexit referendum was a valid expression of anything much when it has left the UK with almost open warfare? The only reason that I can see for having another PRE independence referendum is to pander to the previous NO voters – who are in breach of international law, but we are just too spineless to let them know that, in no uncertain terms.

    The election would serve the same purpose as the referendum if it is to ascertain the majority view towards independence, but the built-in booby trap of a PRE independence referendum is that, if it is lost again, we can forget the international community being remotely interested in what we have to say thereafter. Two declarations of wishing to stay part of the UK would make our stock in the international community tumble to something approaching worthless, and we would be a laughing stock, to boot.

    If the election is won by a majority of SNP/pro indy party MSPs (we already have a majority of MPs and councillors), then we negotiate from that position. To pander to Unionist/rUK sensibilities at that point would be self-harm. Not only has Johnson won the majority of seats in Westminster and taken us out of the EU and finished the bulk of the negotiations on the strength of that ratifying election (following the referendum in which TWO parts of the UK withheld their consent) but he has also introduced legislation which changes the entire devolved settlement and, thereby, the constitution of the UK, unwritten though it is.

    If that is democracy, so is a Scottish plebiscitary election, constitutionally within the SG’s remit under devolution (but may not be for much longer if the Tories/Labour/Lib Dems have their way) which, if won, extends the authority from the Scottish people to their parliament and representatives to immediately negotiate with Westminster. There is no way round those negotiations because we are one of two parties to the Treaty of Union, and, in any case, not negotiating with Westminster could lead to our losing heavily in the assets and resources stakes – most of which are ours, incidentally. The negotiators, therefore, need to be hand-picked and to be the very best brains, strategy- and tactics-wise people we have. Not friends of the SG and, perhaps, open to graft, but neutral, pro Scottish strategists and tacticians, with exceptional and proven legal and constitutional expertise.

    If Westminster refuses to negotiate, that is when we take our case, based on: a) the breaching of the Treaty unilaterally by Westminster; b) on UN International law; and c) on the fact that we cannot unblock the block on our getting independence because of Westminster’s intransigence, to the UN General Assembly. Our case should be watertight, and we should approach various members of the international community for their support in presenting our case. That will need careful and diplomatic handling to maximise our chances of success.

    I’m not poo-pooing ABM’s Plan B for the sake of it; but it leaves us very much in the same position as if we gained a referendum via a S30 Order – we still have to WIN it. Nowhere is there a guarantee that we will except polls that can disappear south like snaw aff a drystane dyke. To be frank, it is the very opposite, with NO PRE independence referendums being won in the past 50 years and more. The runes are against us with another referendum of any kind. Ditch the referendum and tap into the same democracy that supports Johnson’s dragging us out of the EU. Turn the tables on them.

    Everything they do/have done, we do; everything they say/have said, we say; everything they advocate/have advocated, we advocate, but for Scotland, as an independent negotiator. It is way past the time when we learned how to read Westminster and Whitehall. We will never defeat them by playing their game; we must bend their rules against them and to suit ourselves. As the late John Le Carre said, of Smiley, he had to learn how to read the person he was interrogating, lead him gently to the trough, then invite him to drink. it was a skill; it was an expertise; and it could be learned. That way, he got what he wanted from the interrogated person, but, of course, he had to give something in return, just a little. It was a kind of game of chess for George Smiley, and he became a veritable chess master. We have been far, far too naive to date. Far too naive.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Lorna wrote;
      “Why not make the election a plebiscitary or partially-plebiscitary one”
      ABM wrote;
      “To recap, exhaust the referendum routes by 31st March, if neither of those are certain of happening post-election, then make the election a plebiscite”.

      I believe that is what he is doing Lorna.

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      1. Although Lorna is raising the valid question – there is a simple question at large: do we or do we not want to be an independent nation? If we had secured yes in 2014 we still may have ended up with a ‘deal’ that we didn’t like.
        So referendum is to confirm the terms of separation: the election is our voice saying ‘we want to be an independent nation’

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I don’t see how a referendum can “confirm terms” without it just being a second chance for Westminster to go into hyper anti-Indy mode to convince people to vote NO. They would spend the time they are not involved in “Project Fear 2” negotiating the worst possible terms for Scotland in order to make it doubly difficult for waverers to vote YES. If we’re going for a plebiscitary election then that decides the matter. If we’re going for a referendum then that decides the matter. Either way, only one vote is necessary.

        Liked by 3 people

      3. A plebiscite Election, will give the U.K less chance to manipulate rules and results,cheating and bribing the population like 2014.The Electoral Commission should be kept clear of the Tory voting set up.This includes Peter Lilley and Companies,and Phillip May and companies,no bribery!!We have wasted time and effort on a 30 order twice,giving them un-needed powers.With 4 mandates in the bag,enough proof for world approval of negotiations.Supervising any dodgy practice collecting and counting the votes,far too trusting and naive.The practice of dark money and its uses.There are a lot desperate characters,defending their money,some are obvious others not so,some in high positions,avoiding scrutiny. If they lose a referendum,they will perhaps have another chance to turn things around,2014??

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      4. Is it, Bungo, or is it that a win in May will lead directly to a referendum that is, in itself, totally unnecessary in international law and for international recognition? My contention is, and always has been, that a second referendum, of any kind, can be lost on the day just as the first one was. Just because the polls are at almost 60% today does not mean that, if a referendum comes along, they will remain there. Every piece of evidence, every indication is that it will be difficult to win, and easily lost again. To me, it is a self-indulgence or a pandering to a section of Scottish society that has not a leg to stand on in international law. If we were to lose a second referendum, we would be a laughing stock internationally, and deservedly so, because we would have chosen the idiotic martyr’s route yet again.

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      5. No, it is winning the election, then a referendum on a mandate from the election, Bungo, unless I am reading it wrongly.

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    2. Robert: that is my position, too. First, we would have to win the election convincingly, then hold a referendum, then win that convincingly. Why would we want to do that? God, talk about shooting yourself in the foot. The Scots are the past master at that. Just for once, couldn’t we actually do what is likely to be successful? Or would that not allow the usual self-flagellation? The first referendum was the ‘gold standard’ because Westminster agreed to it. Any other after that, with a S30 Order, was going to be base metal because it would be declared null and void and unconstitutional. A plebiscitary election is perfectly legal, perfectly democratic and perfectly feasible under devolved powers. If more people would take the time to examine the 2014 referendum result, they might be able to see why another referendum of any kind is a huge risk. Just because the truth might be a bit uncomfortable, that doesn’t make it any less the truth.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Exactly I will believe our leaders have the guts for independence when I see some action by SNP we are letting Westminster call the shots SNP forget referendums Johnston said are meaningless it’s time to back up or shut up or get the hell out the way and us find leader to take the fight to them

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  9. I agree with this. I have had a growing suspicion that a S30 Order is simply a handy cosh that is being used against us as it works, or has been working. They don’t want us to realise that there are other ways and I expect are also amazed that we have been falling for this for so long. Time to wake up and do it ourselves.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thanks Angus, this is a lot clearer than Chris’s ‘road map’ to independence on Barrhead Boy’s blog. This is some of my comment to his:

    “A couple of points though:

    1. This isn’t a Road Map to Independence, this is a proposal for how to get to the stage where we are allowed to choose if we want to become independent, which I appreciate needs to be done too. Something that, in reality, we should be allowed to do without any excuses. But. Independence doesn’t stop at the vote – we need concrete plans and proposals for the transition period, and how things will look on day one of independence – what electoral system have you got proposed, what institutions will you have in place, which can wait – what needs to be negotiated with London, and how will that be done and by who.

    Tim Rideout is putting together solid proposals on setting up monetary systems, central bank and our new currency, and putting a lot of work into it. I’d like to see politicians putting together similar for our new electoral system. The end game isn’t the vote – that’s the start. That would be a road map.

    2. You say “The SNP will not turn this year’s Scottish Parliament election into a de-facto referendum on Scottish independence, therefore it must be a referendum on whether or not the Scottish Parliament has the legitimacy and the popular authority of the people to hold a referendum on Scottish independence.” – well if not, I doubt I’ll vote for the SNP, a plebiscite is the simplest, clearest and cheapest solution all round. And – because I’m losing patience with the SNP (okay, maybe it’s already lost) – this isn’t the way to negotiate: the ideal solution needs to be asked for first; then you compromise.

    We really need good negotiators in the SNP if they are serious about getting independence, and it can’t start by compromising with ourselves first before even starting. Westminster will walk all over us. De facto referendum is the way to go – keep it simple, voters understand what they are voting for, no easy way for others to run interference.

    It’s a good idea to start off with the clearest, simplest solution, and appear immovable on it – the other side may compromise more than you think. I appreciate, though, that not everyone in the SNP is on the same page and things are awkward.”

    Some of this is relevant here – what I mean is; don’t keep thinking of the vote as the end goal, it isn’t, think beyond that to what you’ll do next and the vote as just part of the process (one that needs to be secured as soon as possible for a multitude of reasons). That is, you are not just asking can we pretty please have a vote – you are demanding ‘we need a vote now because we must start establishing x, y, z before dates u, v, w, and it’s imperative we have a vote on m, n, o memberships, and proposed currency solutions, and establish electoral systems r, s, t for voting and it must be done before the coming financial crash, trade negotiations need to be started and defence,,,’ … Etc, you mention the vote then introduce the million and one things needing done. Discussion then goes onto the other things, and everyone agrees without thinking we need a vote immediately,,,

    Well, okay, not exactly, but along those lines. A vote is our right, believe it is our right, and demand it as such. (I’m also backing Martin Keatings – anything that works really, but I truly believe a referendum is a dead duck now, the word itself is overused and nearly poison).

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    1. I’ve been thinking about words and political acumen – shrewd political thinking – and thought of Alex Salmond; in one of his shows over the past year he had a couple of pro-independence people on to talk about a ‘new economical thinking’ – oh what is this? I thought to myself, will he be discussing MMT? At no point in the discussion was MMT mentioned. I had to think about why not for a few days, but then it dawned on me, why he called it ‘new economical thinking’ instead using one of the known words or phrases for what he was describing.

      Firstly – you have to listen carefully to everything that’s said to get an understanding of it, before you can categorise it in your own head, or think of an argument.

      Second – he avoided automatic prejudices to known terms and phrases. People would have to listen before being able to argue against it.

      So, more advice from me – ditch any known tropes, phrases or words that inspire automatic prejudices. So don’t use Plan B (or A) where people automatically switch off. We want people to listen to the substance of the proposal – so call it something vague like ‘the new polling method’ or um, ‘a new way for people to choose’ ‘ a new way to use your vote’ – none of those sound right, but hopefully you get the drift. Then, people need to listen and argue the substance (instead of rolling their eyes and saying oh god not another plan B that’ll be an illegal referendum, conversation ends). Avoid ‘referendum’ too.

      I know ‘Plan B’ is an easy way for people to catch on to what the discussion is about – but that’s not what we want, we want people be curious and listen to what’s being said – so it needs new terms (in plain English) to get that initial attention. It’s the first step to persuade others your way is best.

      The second step is to not make it sound like excuses – don’t constantly compare with other options, and don’t give too many alternatives – state the ideal, have alternatives and solutions at the ready, but only address them if people ask.

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      1. My brain makes weird connections all by itself – can’t stop it at times, and it can be a pain because it’ll keep pestering me with seemingly irrelevant thoughts until I’ve reasoned it out – but it sometimes throws up different perspectives that can be useful for consideration (hence ‘contrary’ I suppose, god knows how I came up with that, and I didn’t realise once you’ve invented a norm de plume you’re kinda stuck with it,,, oh well, it’s me too now, what’s in a name after all?). I think that’s why I write comments – once I’ve let it out, my subconcious will gie me peace! Haha.

        That aside (it takes all sorts remember), when I realised Alex’s clever way of presenting his arguments could be applied elsewhere, I realised this could be quite important – repeating oft-used phrases (that are usually thrust upon us by the narrative-controlling establishment remember – if I hear another person say ‘jab’ I’ll scream) – is not going to help us getting people to listen and consider what is being said.

        Also – by keeping the initial proposal simple without all the alternative options said – if the first one is rejected and it’s name becomes poison, then you can make a small alteration, and invent a new name, ad infinitum. A lot of politics is about perspective is it not? (And I don’t claim any skills in that area, but I can do critical analysis). We could do with keeping flexible and avoiding pitfalls – so no one big proposal: use lots of little ones (that are near enough the same), so folk feel like they have input and you’ve compromised for them. There are an awful lot of egos out there that need massaged – I deal with stupid egos on a daily basis – and it’s always good to make it *seem* like it was their idea in the first place – that’s how lowly people like me at the bottom of the ladder get proposals implemented (never any credit of course, sigh).

        Anyway, the main thing is: I’d really like Angus to consider not using the term ‘Plan B’.

        I think his proposals have broad agreement with those of us that are serious about wanting independence to happen right now – but maybe not all agreed on the detail, we just want something that works, is quick, and the entire population can be persuaded to get on board with – so we need something where it’s easy to argue the case. I’d start with (and have started with) ‘plebiscite at the Holyrood GE’ – I have still to see any substantive arguments against it: it’s legal, it’s easily implemented, and it’ll save us all time and money. We need to get people then asking ‘how will it be done’ – aha, got their attention – and discussing the detail ,,,

        Liked by 1 person

    2. “… Well, okay, not exactly, but along those lines. A vote is our right, believe it is our right, and demand it as such. (I’m also backing Martin Keatings – anything that works really, but I truly believe a referendum is a dead duck now, the word itself is overused and nearly poison)… ”

      It is poison, but we do not have to drink it Contrary. To a great extent, we cannot do more than lay the necessary groundwork to succeed in regaining our independence. So much depends on the negotiation stage. We can draw up templates of how we would like Scotland to look, but it will be almost impossible, until we know what assets, resources, etc. are going to be ours, to actually set anything in stone. On the question of another referendum, we also need to plan for losing it because no one should underestimate what will happen to us if we do. All the evidence is that the runes are against us.

      I’m not saying that they will be, but I am saying that all the evidence for PRE independence referendums shows that, on the day, NO voters who said they would/might vote YES, revert to form and augment the pre-existing NO vote: Quebec (twice); Catalunya; New Caledonia; Scotland. Either a plebiscitary election or the Treaty route via the UN General Assembly, plus the UN Charter and international law are the only routes that I can see that take us straight to independence without allowing undue prominence and weight to the anti independence vote which is actually the antithesis of democratic, and which breaches international law (UN Charter).

      Does anyone ever tell NO voters that? I should cocoa. We might hurt their fragile sensibilities even as they don’t give a monkey’s for ours (or our rights). Has anyone in the SNPG or the YES movement ever actually told NO voters that their negative vote led directly to Brexit? Not on your nellie. Only Yes voters are deemed to be despised enough to be characterized as being Nazis. Do we ever point out that a substantial part of the Leave vote had also, previously, been a large part of the NO vote? Nah. We might hurt somebody delicate feelings because we all know that anti democrats have delicate feeling, don’t we? Unlike ours, which are robust enough to take defeat after defeat, kicking after kicking, thwarting after thwarting.

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  11. Whatever route to Independence we take, we must have an agreed written Interim Constitution for Scotland before any vote or referendum. This is an urgent matter, which must be addressed. asap. People really do need to know what they are voting FOR, and a written Constitution document would be very useful in discussion, and indeed, a civil right. If I were a swithering voter, I’d want to know what I was letting myself in for. It’s a no-brainer surely?

    Liked by 4 people

  12. May 2021 election.
    One Issue Manifesto
    Independence.

    Everything beyond that can be dealt with later. You’re looking at a house and you see great potential. Knock a wall down here to enlarge the kitchen. Convert the attic into an En-Suite Bedroom. Turn a big room into a separate lounge and study room. All great but just one problem. You don’t own the house yet. All these ideas are irrelevant until you own the house. Same with Independence.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. But Jim, there’s no point buying a house unless you see the potential in it and have planned (and budgeted) those changes you’ll want to make once you’re its owner.
      Who enters into house ownership without first putting some thought (hard work) into ‘what will we do with it’?

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  13. “… we don’t have to drink it,,,” haha – quite right we don’t! On a more serious not, though, plenty people do keep doing it.

    Valid point about YES folk getting hammered if it was a rejection – they’d (the establishment) be desperately squeezing us back in the box. But if we cower in fear over the myriad of ‘what ifs’ we’ll never do it, and if we aren’t ready now at the best chance we’ve got when will we be (I know we aren’t ready, because we’ve been taken for fools and taken for a ride,,, but I think that’s just something that’ll always be an issue while we are in this Union, so no time will be ideal, that’s why I’m keeping pushing for it now).

    I’m a great believer that having solid plans for how to set us up as an independent nation again will boost the confidence of the wavering electorate – the plans don’t need to be perfect or singularly agreed on, they just need to work and be reasonably satisfactory (I wish people would stop looking for some kind of utopia! Nice to aim for, but not required immediately).

    We already know what assets we have – everything in our country. Forget about any kind of divvying up – England keeps the uk and all that stuff. More trouble than it’s worth to get embroiled in trying to get anything out of them (as soon as you go down that route, they’ll be holding us ransom for something else) – the only things to negotiate with England – and we should leave them to ask for negotiation – are trade deals and sorting out pension payments type things. It’s not a necessity though. The elephant in the room is trident – but England are hardly going to leave that on foreign soil,,, so if they want it, they shift it, or it’s ours. They want to negotiate something else, that’s up to them. We should ensure that the sea border is put back exactly where it should be though. Nope, England have got nothing that I want (well, except my future pension that they owe me, pitiful as it is – hopefully the new Scottish pension will make up for it!).

    I agree with everything you say about fragile sensibilities!

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    1. Yes, I agree, Contrary, that we must be very sure about what we want out of the Union withdrawal, and the restoration of the sea boundary is just one thing. We need to decide whether we want continuity or not, and, like you, I think we should make a clean break and start over with all our resources and assets intact, including our terrestrial and maritime assets intact, too, as they were pre 1707. No allowing England to hive off chunks of our land or sea. The Treaty, however, does oblige us legally to negotiate. That is why we must have the best constitutional and international legal minds available to us, so that every wee trick is countered. We should also learn from the mistakes made in 1707 and make the break from England a clean one, with no sharing of anything from the word go. Once we are independent, we can negotiate sharing things after that, as normal countries do, but we cannot afford to give an inch on our rights, not an inch. Razor-sharp minds are required here, to ensure that no words, sentences, paragraphs, etc. can have any meaning other than the one intended because that was a huge flaw in the 1707 agreement. Also, nothing that Treaty can be co-opted into domestic law or it loses its strength and efficacy for Scotland. It must retain its international character because therein lies our strength.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ‘Razor-sharp minds,,,’, aye exactly that – we have them, we just need to make sure the correct ones are deployed. Which means an astute political leadership that will choose correctly,,, oh dear. Maybe that’ll change soon though,,,

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