WHICH MOVE NEXT?

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WHICH WAY FORWARD AND WHY ?

So the SNP have dusted off the Plan A, section 30 option, given it a second coat of paint and relaunched it as an “eleven point plan” where at least five of the points have already passed, several of the remaining look like padding to get the number up and the key points are still to ask Westminster for a Section 30 order, with an added “warning” that they will legislate for a referendum then sit back waiting for the legal challenge. Really, is that it? 

If it is, it really is unbelievably poor, laced with opportunities for our opponents to block, delay, frustrate and ultimately devalue any result. A “ result” that will take years to achieve and which will not achieve what we want. Let me go through each of those problems and outline why I think the way I do.

TO BLOCK

Just continue what they have being doing for years. Tellingly the SNP roadmap makes no mention of the many mandates they already have stored up unused in the big mandate cupboard at Party HQ, asking for another fails to explain how that changes a situation that is getting worse. The Tories are now talking about it being considered in perhaps forty years and Labour are moving to the right and becoming more Unionist with every step. Meanwhile Westminster strips powers and puts in place an alternative Civil Service. We sit and watch.

TO DELAY

This “strategy” hands timescale to our opponents it lets them decide when and where to intervene. They can delay answering the S30 question to start with, they need not say no, they just need not to say yes. How long will the SNP be prepared to wait before going to court? Not sure how you do that if your case is built on them failing to say YES, rather than contesting a refusal. Not sure how that would go but you would certainly still be playing by their rules book rather than your own. A host of excuses would be available for failing to concede, not least the Covid situation. Any court action would be lengthy and no doubt subject to appeal. No matter where it was initially launched it would ultimately be likely to end up at the “supreme” Court. It could and would be a long road with an uncertain outcome. An obvious question about this is why the Scottish Government, through the Lord Advocate, acted so negatively throughout the Keating case, an action, if successful, that would clarify the referendum position once and for all. I await that judgement with interest and thank all those who funded the action. How embarrassing for the Scottish Government if it proves successful, especially given the Lord Advocate’s ridiculous protests against it. Protests based on there being no urgency because the Government had no plans, only to witness less than 24 hours after the end of the hearings, the SCOTTISH Government launching their 11 point plan! Confused? You should be!

TO FRUSTRATE

Opportunities abound, local authorities can oppose the use of their schools etc. they can block the staff and facilities required for polling stations and counts. Individual actions can be organised using wide ranging objections for multi location cases all taking time to refute. Perhaps they might organise a boycott campaign where they urge the opponents of Independence to stay home on polling day. This would give them at least 25% of the electorate as a “start” because with a friendly media behind them everyone who does not vote Yes will be counted as a No, yes, even the dead. I have seen it all before,  back in the 1970’s when such a tactic stopped the creation of the Scottish Parliament despite a majority of Scots voting Yes in the referendum. They called it the 40% rule then. Younger readers might like to check up on that tactic.

So if you ask me the “ the eleven point roadmap” is a road to delay and frustration with no certain outcome even with a large majority YES vote in actual votes cast, because a “low poll” is guaranteed by any boycott campaign.

THE ALTERNATIVE

Now here is the alternative, an alternative that is available to us now. It is to use the May election as a plebiscite. It is urgent because if we don’t the opportunity will have passed…for years!

NO WAY IT CAN BE BLOCKED

Westminster has no powers that allow it to interfere in a Scottish General Election. We just need the parties who support Independence to pledge clearly in their manifesto that all votes cast for them in the election are votes to support Scottish Independence and for the newly elected Scottish Government to declare Independence to the World and begin discussions with Westminster for an amicable and peaceful settlement. IF a majority of newly elected MSP’s vote for Independence that is that. This was SNP policy for years. It needs reintroduced.

IT CAN’T BE DELAYED

The decision will have been taken. On a date determined by the newly elected Scottish Parliament Scotland will become an Independent state and the applications for recognised status as such will be made internationally. Given that the method of achieving Independence is based on a democratic vote with access to all qualifying citizens to vote, being then followed by a majority vote in the Scottish Parliament the process will be above reproach being similar or even more democratic than the existing democratic members in both the EU AND UN used to achieve their own Independence. As an equal partner Scotland will renounce the Treaty of Union thereby bringing that International Treaty to an end.(its been breached countless times by the UK anyway).

WHY IT IS THE BEST OPTION.

  1. Westminster can’t stop it
  2. Unionists can’t boycott otherwise they will have no MSP’s in the Parliament.
  3. General Elections are recognised as democratic across the World.
  4. The powers to hold the election and ensure the venues,staff and budget are in place. It is immune to legal challenge.
  5. The results are transparent and the Scottish Government can ensure postal votes are counted properly and securely throughout.
  6. It can be organised quickly and inexpensively.
  7. Being in full control the Scottish Government can invite and organise international observers who can testify and witness to the veracity of the result.
  8. By giving months of notice of this intention it removes any charge of “springing” any vote on an unsuspecting electorate.
  9. The Westminster position is completely undermined having to argue against a democratic general election result that has supported Independence in the presence of a wide range of International observers.
  10. Much more difficult to argue against such a result rather than disputing opinion polls.Look how they continually argue Scots don’t want a referendum and Independence.They can do that if our only evidence is opinion polls. They can’t do that if Scotland has voted for independence in a General Election.They have to accept it or become a pariah state internationally.
  11. It is not the job of the SNP, or Scottish Government to erect barriers to Independence yet I could make a pretty good argument that this is exactly what they are engaged in at the moment. Folk watching or listening to the Keating trial got that impression as well.

This 11 point plan is better, more practical and effective that the round and round the Mulberry Bush “ strategy” being the current policy of the SNP. What is more it gives us the opportunity to put all these fantastic opinion polls to the test. Nicola’s supporters throw them in my face whenever I question the lack of progress on driving Independence forward, so let’s come together and put it to the test in May. We will soon find out how real they are! I hope and expect they will be. They are however useless if left untested. They have become the fig leaves of inactivity and lack of progress.

Many in our country are living in terrible conditions that Independence would give us the powers to resolve. It would be criminal to miss this opportunity. Independence is urgent. We need it now!

THE CHALLENGE TO OUR MP’s and MSP’s.

I challenge any SNP MP or MSP to explain why their 11 point plan is better than the above. I will give them a free day on my blog to publish their response (around 1000 words) which will be published without alteration. Have courage, if you really can make an argument that can stand up to scrutiny. There are I calculate some 108 MP/MSP’s so quoting the Declaration of Arbroath “if 100 of us remain alive” I will update readers on whether anybody rose to that challenge. To be fair I don’t know how many were consulted about the SNP 11 point plan, I certainly know a fair number who were not.

FINALLY none of the above can happen unless SNP and YES supporters find their voices and DEMAND it. Your choice. We have little time left!

I am, as always

Yours for Scotland.

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Craig Murray’s “trial” commences today. The most honest man at Alex Salmond’s trial, the man the jury agreed with, is being prosecuted while the people who caused all this remain hidden from public view protected by the Scottish Government and Crown Office. Let us hope he has a honest judge.

73 thoughts on “WHICH MOVE NEXT?

  1. No, Craig Won’t get a Fair Judge! He has been “found Guilty” Before His Trial began! There is No Way that the Murrells Will Allow a 2nd Defeat!
    But the “Dream Will Never Die”
    Saor Alba GU Brath!!!

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  2. Well done Iain, I await the Avalanche of our MP’s and MSP’s requests for the free day on your platform, and there resulting presentations…………but I will not hold my breath.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. It seems the best way forward but why so little support for the real Plan B…the plebisite option? The NEC? MSPs MPs? Is there something we dont get…or has the SNP lost its mojo?
    Two points on the Plan B…to leave no wriggle room the manifesto would have to be cleared of normal policy options.
    The Plan B would negate any Unionist boycott. They would get no seats if they boycotted the GE…and btw I dont even know if its legal for registered political parties NOT to stand candidates.

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    1. There is no legal requirement for any political party to stand a candidate in any constituency, in any form of election.

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  4. “We just need the parties who support Independence to pledge clearly in their manifesto that all votes cast for them in the election are votes to support Scottish Independence.”

    Great, but what about the large percentage of Labour voters who’d vote Yes? And the 8/9% of Tories? Are they just to risk giving their votes to a party who, as soon as their feet are back under the table, decide that they feel it’s best to pursue that GRA nonsense first instead and declare that all talk of independence is off until the economic impact of rising sea levels has been dealt with?

    Still a far, far better plan than that drivel the SNP have come up with though.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t imagine you’d need to ask anyone to do anything. Independence supporters of any and all political persuasions (and I truly believe there are even Independence supporting Tories) would naturally vote for any party campaigning for Independence in this manner.

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  5. I am with you long term on this but this May? I have concerns over independence switherers who do not know what independence really means due to the shocking failure of the SNP to resolve major issues arising in 2014 and to paint any form of a picture of what an independent Scotland might look like.

    The unionist media will have a field day treating it as an ex facie illegal referendum whether we like it or not.

    This may be too much of a gamble with the fearful votes being wasted on a party other than the SNP. Failure to win a plebicite election by a substantial margin could set the movement back decades. It would be an entirely different matter if opinion polls were higher and the independence manifesto fully delivered.

    I am sorry to say I cannot agree. Although more delay I’m afraid, I think the best course is to maximise votes and seats in May and go for a plebicite at the next Westminster election, which in turn gives us some time to get the proper message out.

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  6. Great article, and there does seem to be a groundswell for this simple and obvious route 1. Tommy Sheridan has an excellent article in RT too on this. Also this petition is live; Make May 6th 2021 Holyrood Election a Plebiscite on Scottish Independence. Sign the petition here. https://www.plebiscite.scot/

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  7. Who is the real Nicola Sturgeon? Why did she become leader of the SNP so easily without any real scrutiny? What is her real agenda for Scotland and its people? These are question we all need to ask ourselves and when we do we should all be worried for our citizens and for our country, because of what has transpired in the last six years. Is it now too late to actually do something about it?

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  8. “… Westminster has no powers that allow it to interfere in a Scottish General Election. We just need the parties who support Independence to pledge clearly in their manifesto that all votes cast for them in the election are votes to support Scottish Independence and for the newly elected Scottish Government to declare Independence to the World and begin discussions with Westminster for an amicable and peaceful settlement. IF a majority of newly elected MSP’s vote for Independence that is that. This was SNP policy for years. It needs reintroduced… ”

    Precisely. It was always that referendum – whether S30 or otherwise that was the problem. Right from 19 September, 2014, there never was the slightest chance of getting a second S30 referendum, so that was out of the window. An advisory one? Maybe, but would Westminster accept the result? Never. Any more than Spain did.

    In the old and advanced democracies, it is almost impossible to win a PRE independence referendum, in any case. If anyone did, it would be uncomfortably close and divisive. In countries where there has been strife, or where the bigger state from which they are seceding is collapsing, it is much easier to get a high turnout and a very high result FOR independence because people want the question settled and return to normality.

    In Scotland, in 2014, we had a very high turnout (suspiciously high on the postal vote, and for NO, but we’ll leave that for now) but the two sides were neck-and-neck for the final few weeks, until purdah was broken by Westminster in order to intervene. In the end, I don’t think that made a lot of difference because, as studies of the old advanced democracies that have held referendums have shown, so-called ‘soft’ NO voters tend to revert to type and vote NO on the day. That is the reality that we can expect from any second referendum, and, second time around, the onslaught from the Unionists and Westminster would be far greater than we experienced in 2014. The polls will not save us because the polls in those other PRE independence also showed a majority for YES until the day of voting. Most people are naturally conservative (small ‘c’) and all kinds of things come into play for NO voters, including colonial mindsets.

    As you say, Iain, the plebiscitary election was SNP policy right up until 2014 when Alex Salmond gambled that a S30 Order/Edinburgh Agreement referendum could be a quick and easy solution to all the normal obstacles. it should have been obvious to SNP strategists that it would not work a second time. Indeed, I think they know very well that it won’t work a second time, but it is a good carrot on a stick for the faithful when the real, hidden and unspoken policy is to try and stay in power forever and a day.

    The plebiscitary election is entirely consistent with the powers that the SNPG has NOW – no need for court cases or anything else – and the back-up of both the Treaty and international law – would bring us a whole lot closer to independence than waiting for a second indyref to be bequeathed by Westminster or the domestic courts, which can rule only on the unwritten constitution, which favours Westminster – always – as the primary source of authority.

    Pressure must be brought to bear on the SNPG to have a plebiscitary election as the main policy in its Manifesto. Forget 11-point plans, Nicola, we are not falling for this nonsense again. Either take us to independence or stand down and let someone who will, do so. We have every right, enshrined in international law, to take our independence. The SNPG hierarchy is the immediate obstacle. If there are reasons why it would not be right to do so, then tell us. You have access to the figures and facts. For once, be honest with us, and explain why we can’t have independence. Otherwise, deliver or go.

    Oh, and for those bright sparks that think that partitioning Scotland would be a wheeze, the Treaty guarantees us our territory back as pre 1707. If any part wishes to secede, it must do so AFTER Scotland has gained its independence. That, my twisted, colonial-minded friends, is also international law.

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  9. Seems like sound plan of action , certainly more positive than anything Nicola has come up with. We are in danger of missing our time to get this as the world changes rapidly nowadays. The prospect of another 20 years under Westminster does not appeal.
    You reminded us of the 79 referendum where a Scottish Labour MP for an English seat foisted the 40% rule on us. I recall from then that the recently elected Thatcher Torys at the time rubbished the bill and claimed that they would give us a better settlement if we voted against it, an early version of the vow. We actually got nothing but pain until 1997.

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    1. There was another weird scenario back then where many students were registered to vote in two places – their current residence and their family home. Of course they couldn’t vote twice so the “other” vote became a No, same as all the dead people who were still on the register.

      Stitched up good and proper.

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  10. The 2016 Election manifesto stated “We believe that the Scottish Parliament should have the right to hold another referendum if there is clear and sustained evidence that independence has become the preferred option of a majority of the Scottish people – or if there is a significant and material change in the circumstances that prevailed in 2014, such as Scotland being taken out of the EU against our will”

    We were taken out of the EU on the 31 January 2020 (you could argue that we were not fully out until the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020), and sustained evidence that independence is the preferred option has only materialised in the last year.

    Until these events happened, as far as I can see, there was no mandate.

    Can you please provide details of the “the many mandates they already have stored up unused in the big mandate cupboard at Party HQ” as I’m not aware of any others.

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    1. Your argument seems to be that the mandate obtained in 2016 is the one that matters. Why then did the SNP seek fresh mandates in 2017, 2019 and is looking for another in 2021 if they are still in the process of exercising the first one gifted in 2016.

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      1. Your blog refers to “many mandates they already have stored up”, but you cite only two – in respect of the 2017 and 2019 elections. I would suggest that ‘many’ is more than two.

        But, leaving that aside for the moment, can you point me to the sections in the SNP’s manifestos of 2017 and 2019 where they ask for a mandate that is different from that in their 2016 manifesto?

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      2. You don’t get brownie points for sitting on an unused mandate then calling for a refreshed version at each election. The mandate is useless anyway the SNP have no clue how to implement it. It is student politics.

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      3. Malcolm’s argument is that the pre-requisites of the “2016 mandate” were not met until 1/1/21 so, until that point, the mandate did not exist. Given that, it is only now it can be acted upon. In any case, no matter the mandate or the number of them, if you don’t have the electorate behind you they are worthless and I don’t know why Malcontents negatively bang on about them all the time.

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    2. Because, and I’m no apologist for the SNPG, although there was a mandate, the SNPG decided in its wisdom that it would use that mandate to fight Scotland’s corner via the UK: that is, that the Brexit U-turn should be done with the English and Welsh people on board. It was deeply flawed in that we had no right to try and overturn a democratic decision by England or Wales, and the mandate was specifically to take us out of the UK. The SNP hierarchy’s whole strategy has been deeply flawed as it twists and turns in the wind to try and find a way through to independence that keeps them in power and which does not bring any kind of confrontation with Westminster at the same time. It is specifically the insistence on a referendum of any kind as being the sole means of democratic expression of the will of the Scottish people that has been flawed from day one.

      Referendums are only one way of democratic expression. The primary source in most countries, and certainly in the UK, including Scotland, has been by means of an election. It would be perfectly legal and perfectly feasible to take this route now. The Treaty is an extra layer of protection, as is international law. I have never had the slightest doubt that this had to be the route we would take. There simply isn’t any other. There actually never was. All we have done for the past six years is allow the NO voters of 2014 to shape our future even as they sabotaged it. How stupid is that? Until 2014, the result has to stand, although it could, and should, have been challenged when EVEL was introduced (because that changed the political playing field), but, certainly, after 2016 and Brexit, for which Scotland did not vote, the whole political arena in Scotland was refreshed and we had every right to look again at independence. The NO voters need to bone up on the UN Charter. They are the anti democratic, out-of-step-with-reality ones. Stop pandering to them and giving them the initiative. They neither should have it, nor deserve it for what they have done to us. If they want to come along now, fine, no problem, but if they start their shenanigans again, give it to them with both barrels this time – not literally, of course.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. My original question was to ask you for details of the “many unused mandates” you referred to. I knew you wouldn’t be able to show me any, because there are none. Now you are trying to deflect because you don’t have any answers.

        You do however, write an interesting piece, but please stick to the facts.

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      2. The only mandate that was sought was the one in the 2016 manifesto and it could only be acted upon after Scotland was taken out the EU on 31 January 2020. Since then the pandemic has consumed most of the Scottish Government’s time and resources.

        There is only one mandate and there is a very good reason why it has not thus far been acted upon.

        Name the other unused mandates.

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      3. You’re still trying to deflect Iain – because you know there isn’t a ‘cupboard full of unused mandates’. You should acknowledge that and stop trying to mislead your readers.

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    3. Malcolm – you seem to have forgotten it says OR not and. So that means your argument is invalid that we had to wait till polls said a sustained majority.

      The vote to take us out of the EU was in 2016 and there was no chance of Brexit being stopped and Sturgeon just used STOP BREXIT as a distraction from the SNP not actioning their mandate then subsequent mandates.

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      1. I wasn’t trying to imply that, for the mandate to be satisfied, that both support for Independence had to be the sustained majority AND that we had to be taken out the EU.

        But perhaps, I should have said “until [EITHER] of these events happened, there was no mandate.

        In any case, neither of these conditions were met until 2020, so my argument is valid.

        And I’m not sure how you can say “there was no chance of Brexit being stopped”. While the Tories were clear favourites to win most seats in the December 2019 election, it was by no means certain that they would have the overall majority they needed – which is why they called the election in the first place.

        This paragraph from the Institute of Government set out in 2019, how a second EU referendum could have come about which could have stopped Brexit.

        “Currently, the most likely route to a second referendum is if Labour forms a government after the 2019 General Election. The party has pledged to renegotiate a Brexit deal and put that deal to a public vote, if it is elected to government. The SNP, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party are also in favour of a second referendum, and so would likely support referendum legislation if Labour did not have a majority in the Commons.”

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      2. Malcolm – ” Until THESE events happened ………”

        Sorry but that is what you said whether or not you meant otherwise. Smacks of the Peter Murrell problem.

        Your post is just another post apologising for the SNP lack of action in not honouring what they gathered votes for in their manifestos. Now if the SNP had actually said AND instead of OR then that is an honourable position. But it didn’t and they behaved dishonourably and continue to do so.

        A majority of the English wanted Brexit and that is why I said it would happen. The SNP have failed the people of Scotland who voted to remain in the EU and the current leadership should go for that reason alone never mind other reasons .

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      3. Malcolm you can disagree but it doesn’t change what you wrote – just as Peter Murrell cannot change what he wrote and how a reasonable person would interpret the meaning of the words.

        The current leadership have taken the SNP into the gutter.

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  11. Listened to Craig Murray trial.

    Not sure how this is will go. Hypothetical postulation by judge appears to that one tiny piece of information could be sufficient to allow maybe just one person in to jigsaw identify.

    All very abstract and if the judiciary find on this then I think we all need to have concerns about the entire spectrum of the police, prosecution and judiciary. This case after all, as with Mark Hirst and indeed the Salmond case has to many of the general public the absolute hallmark of political persecution.

    Open justice is a pillar of a democratic society.

    Let us hope the judiciary come to a fair, balanced and just decision.

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    1. Willie, Lady Dorian is known as a neutral and well-respected judge. I have no doubt that she will make her decision based on the evidence or paucity thereof. The public interest, in which this case has, ostensibly, been brought also includes the public interest in not making martyrs of Individuals. We shall see.

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    2. Salmond and Hirst walked out of court free men. How does that tally with your conspiracy theory? Not sure I find a legal system based on “what willie wants” very attractive. I can see glaring flaws in it.

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      1. Pony – judges are not part of the COPFS therefore your point is invalid. I suspect you know that.

        It is sad that you are happy to accept political prosecutions and a Crown Office headed by a Lord Advocate who has admitted to a malicious prosecution and continues to carry out further malicious prosecutions.

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      2. Oh right, judges aren’t part of the conspiracy. Perhaps you should list what parts of the Scottish state ARE corrupt and what parts aren’t. Then us mere mortals wouldn’t make such silly mistakes.

        As to the Lord Advocate. It was not him but his predecessor who instigated the “malicious prosecution” currently in the news. He was in place under Alex Salmond and instigated the prosecution while Salmond was FM. The conspiracy gets even more convoluted. Perhaps Salmond is complicit in creating the “cesspit” Scotland has become under the SNP (according to the Malcontents) …. and may therefore be involved in the conspiracy against himself. Gosh 😮. Conspiracies are hard.

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      3. Pony – I thought you would say that about the Lord Advocate so it demonstrates that you did know the difference and you post in bad faith. Also Wolf continued the malicious prosecution. But hey you are up for defending any actions of any players in the Scotgov.

        It ain’t hard to work out what you are – Troll.

        If this was my blog I would add a warning at the top of your posts like Twitter did with Trump.

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      4. Cubby – the Clouseau of the Malcontent detectives 🤣.

        Yes, I do know the “difference” between the current and previous Lord Advocates. They were completely different people. What you think my ability to make this distinction (which, apparently, you find trouble with) proves says more about your own limited forensic abilities than anything else.

        Still, keep at it Cubby. It’s the taking part that counts 😉.

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  12. “8 – By giving months of notice of this intention it removes any charge of “springing” any vote on an unsuspecting electorate.”

    Sorry to rain on your parade again Iain, but point 8 above is the big spanner in the works here. Ok, everyone who reads a indie blog will know all about a plebiscite election and will be not be part of the unsuspecting electorate. However, we are just a tiny minority of the voting public, and as I have said again & again, we have to take the Scottish people with us. Most people are not reading about politics everyday like us. Most people (and many SNP members if Sunday was anything to go by) don’t know what a plebiscite election is or how it works. Many ordinary voters who only think about politics now and again, won’t go along with this with such short notice.

    It is far too close to the election for what you are proposing and not just because Joanna Cherry said so. Selling a plebiscite election round the doors would be impossible to sell and the ordinary voters would be spooked.

    What you and I are going to do in May is vote SNP on the 1st vote and the ISP (or other) on the 2nd vote. To gain independence there is no alternative at this time – what happens after the election is all up for grabs though.

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      1. Whether the route is complicated or simple is not important – it is only a plan that will deliver independence, taking the majority of Scottish voters with us, that is important. The SNPs 11 point plan is not what I want either, but getting a majority at the May elections is absolutely crucial. And it is not necessarily a dead end.

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  13. Can we face some facts here. The snp have just had their January conference, where from the looks of it NS 11 points of posh was meekly accepted.

    She has not been ousted, and there is no SNP policy for plebiscite election. While the Yes votes who read the blogs are now familiar with the concept, regular Joes and Janes are not.

    Any party, and include the ISP in this, need to publish it as manifesto now, and push for it now.

    All is not quite lost however, as long as it is n the ballot box as a choice, and receives a sizeable vote share, even if it does not win, the act in and of itself, validates the method for the next GE, and my guess is, that is where it will win.

    But continuing to hope that the snp will come round soon… times up for that I’d suggest, the conference was last chance saloon for it to happen. Be delighted if I’m proved wrong about it though.

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    1. There was no vote at the Assembly,intentionally of course. I agree it’s late in the day but we must try. I would warn the SNP why they might suppress it until May, the day after there will be a steady stream of people leaving the SNP to create a new home unless the SNP ACT IMMEDIATELY.

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      1. I think Peter Bell’s recommendation makes sense:

        to include in the SNP’S (and if they can lift their nose from their gender obsessions, in the Greens’) manifesto an explicit commitment to enact an “empowerment” law immediately upon being elected in majority, to wit that the Scottish Parliament is the sole representative of the Scottish people who are sovereign and have entrusted Holyrood with all powers to make all necessary decisions about Scotland’s future constitutional status, without input from or requesting any S30s or permissions from anyone else.

        That is a half way house that the great majority of the electorate can get behind. Polls consistently show 75+% believe Holyrood should be the locus for decisions concerning Scotland.

        Newly (re)empowered, Holyrood can then get on with it. Declare independence, open negotiations, dissolve itself and run a new plebiscite election, whatever our Parliament deems best. Hopefully there will be at least a few ISP MSPs to push the SNP along.

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  14. Iain I thoroughly agree that legislating them sitting back awaiting a challenge is
    daft. If we legislate for our own referendum we should hold it and let them challenge the result. I know there will be problems of ensuring a turnout but we’ll
    just have to work at that.

    If we have a plebiscite. However and win we can’t just declare Independence as.
    that would not gain international support, the world does not like UDI s . It might
    be better if we simply declare that we have repatriated our sovereignty and demand negotiations with London based on our decision and our international
    rights as a natlon. We should by pass the ‘Supreme Court’ and go to International
    Law asap if London does not respond.

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    1. Don’t get where the UDI, declaring independence following a general election is not UDI, it’s how most members of the EU became independent. Secondly who says it won’t be recognised as Angus McNeil has pointed not nobody has said that from abroad.

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  15. I’ve suggested that if there must be a plebiscitary election then it should not be on the matter of Scotland’s constitutional status but on the status of the Scottish Parliament, which will be essential every part of any process by which Scotland’s independence is restored.

    Really, I care considerably less about how it is done than that we get an appropriate commitment in the SNP’s manifesto. Because that is the only way we can get a Scottish Government with a mandate to act as required.

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  16. The missing part in this piece is how do you get a majority to vote for something where the SG can’t pay pensions and public sector salaries if WM refuse to transfer the funds ? Some might tell WM to get stuffed but most folk will fear for their income. That has to be addressed. Has the SG got access to loan funds to cover these or will it commit to AGFRR to have them? Time running shorg

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    1. Currently through the choking off of funds Westminster is already waging low level economic attrition against Scotland. However to cut off pensions and salaries would be an act of absolute economic warfare, and truly no different from putting the troops in to flatten Scottish infrastructure.

      Such action of course is, or has been the modus of the operandi for the UK for much of its history. No doubt such economic warfare would be backed up by military force to keep the gas, oil and electricity flowing out of Scotland. Maybe this is why British troops are already wargaming in Scotland.

      But Graeme, would Westminster actually pull this stunt. Clearly it would plunge the entire UK, and not just Scotland into absolute chaos, and the demand in Scotland in in the eyes of the world would be for UN forces to be mobilised to protect Scottish citizenry from a hostile and aggressive England.

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      1. It’s the worst case scenario but who blinks first if WM doesn’t withdraw such a threat?

        I don’t think the current WM lot are honourable, so we must prepare for the worst

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      2. Yes Iain and Graeme, I do think we need to plan for the worst.

        In Ireland Westminster planned to rip up the Good Friday Agreement, passed legislation to construct a hard border and facilitate the deployment of the military, border agency and other security services to undertake stop, search and detain across the province of Northern Ireland.

        Only the USA and the EU prevented that.

        So yes, anything could happen. Our hostile neighbour has no compunction about using force – discrete or overt.

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  17. It seems to me that however we proceed, there MUST be a draft Written Constitution agreed by the Scottish Parliament prior to any vote or referendum. People really must be able to know what it is they are voting for, and also understand how the lack of such a Written Constitution has contributed very considerably to the awful incompetent and unjust mess in which BOTH SP and WMP currently find themselves. It really is very urgent and needs to be debated by SGOV asap. Draft documents already exist and it ought not take too much time to produce an agreed interim document in time for the May election.

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  18. I am not, and never have been, a member of a political party – on the grounds that to do so would restrict my freedom of choice. Sadly, I have a Tory MSP; not much point asking questions – nor expecting rational answers…

    The closest that I got was joining CND.

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  19. Excellent 11-point plan Iain – that’s the kind of one I like to see. And one I’d like to see widely publicised. The radio Scotland news this morning is still saying ‘there are growing calls for a second independence referendum’ and I just keep thinking ‘nope, that’s old news, no one is interested in a referendum, there are growing calls for a plebiscite GE’. I wonder if they dare to not even mention it, because the idea will capture the approval of the general public – for reasons outlined above in 11 points. We’d also have less Westminster interference (well, less public interference) if the plebiscite was held in a purely Scottish GE.

    I wish people (commenting) would give over with the extreme ‘What Ifs’ – ‘what if’ we all get run over by a bus tomorrow, ‘what if’ a volcano erupts half way round the world and we enter an ice age and crops don’t grow, ‘what if’ the MSM says something nasty about independence,,,

    ‘What If’ can be a good way to ensure health and safety and test the validity of an idea, but there is a point at which it spills over onto a product of anxiety – I know about this, it can stop me leaving the house because what if the house burns down turns into a certainty that the house will burn down as soon as I step out the door – that is, you need to keep a lid on it to be able to live a normal life.

    What if a political party doesn’t like the idea of a plebiscite? Who gives a shit? Really. – and we can’t know what the reaction is until we demand it, if we don’t try we won’t ever know. In fact I think I do know the reaction – it’s to try to avoid letting the wider public know anything about it – which means it’s a bloody good idea. Westminster could start begging us to ask for a referendum soon, maybe that’s what Boris is visiting for. I don’t want a referendum though, I want a plebiscite GE.

    Well, what if we never do anything because of total intertia and fear of imagined and unknowable possible outcomes?

    We might as well stay in our box, never leave the house, never live our lives. Don’t let anxiety take over.

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      1. There is that David, there is that. That’s not a ‘what if’ though, that’s a reality. For now.

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      2. A plebiscite is just as much a hostage to fortune as the S30 route is.

        Ian’s great 11 point plan falls at the first hurdle. He claims Westminster cannot stop a Holyrood election. It can. Holyrood is subordinated to Westminster in every aspect and only exists at its whim. Westminster can do what it likes with respect (or lack of it) to Holyrood, as illustrated by the Internal Market Bill and the stripping of powers against Holyrood’s wishes. If Westminster decides to postpone/cancel the Holyrood elections for whatever reason there is little Holyrood can do about it bar protest.

        Even excluding that scenario as unlikely due to the political sensitivities (though why they should be overwhelming here but ineffectual in respect of a referendum is unclear), a “plebiscite election” can be challenged on the fact that it is a general election fought by the other parties on many issues. It would be easy to question its validity as a substitute for a single issue referendum by Westminster, thus bringing it under the same threat of litigation (or just plain dismissiveness) as a non-S30 referendum. The SNP claiming it as a de facto referendum only cuts ice if the unionists agree to it. An actual single issue referendum cannot be challenged that way.

        Only if the SNP make it a de facto referendum AND get over 50% of votes cast would it have any validity at all (though still challengable as above). However, the Malcontent anti-SNP agenda (as illustrated all over the threads on this and other sites) is now starting to cut through to the general public, so a plebiscitery election is more than likely to fail anyway. Oh, I forgot, there’s always the ISP …. aye right. They and all the other pop-ups will suffer right alongside the SNP if people lose faith in independence, which is exactly what a successful Malcontent campaign will result in.

        Basically, Iain and the Malcontent’s favourite plan of a “plebiscite election” is no more guaranteed to succeed than an S30 route. They seem to believe that if they shout loud enough, and deprecate the S30 route with enough faux wisdom and venom, people will suspend their critical faculties and just go along with it.

        I’m resigned to the fact that a post May election (plebiscitary or not) drive for independence will be resisted by Westminster in every way possible. I think it’s naive to believe there is any “plan” that won’t face that problem. I would rather get an S30 as it would put a YES result beyond legal doubt but am “happy” (for want of a better word) to go for a non-S30 referendum should it be refused and let the courts of public and international opinion, and the pressure they would bring to bear on the UK govt, settle the issue. Ultimately, whether plebiscitery election or referendum, they will be what delivers independence. Just as they were in virtually every other case of a successful independence movement that didn’t involve bloodshed. Probably in many of those that did too.

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  20. Spot on Iain more and more folk are coming to realise that May’s Scottish elections MUST be a plebiscite, but how do we make the independence minded parties listen and carry out our will, that’s the real crux of the matter.

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  21. Iain,
    I would like to try answering your argument in favour of a plebiscite election to be held in May. Until recently, I would have agreed with you, but I’ve now given it further consideration, and I don’t think it is going to be the right approach.
    Some of my thoughts are based on the comments made by Nicola McEwan at the assembly last weekend, and on comments by Tommy Shepherd during one of the discussion sessions.
    Nicola’s main point, if I remember her words correctly, was that international recognition was a vital component in gaining independence. For this, an unambiguous response from the electorate to a clear question was required. This could of course be provided in a plebiscite, but a referendum, without the confusion of other policy issues or party allegiances, would be preferable.
    Tommy also made the point that a plebiscite would put those who support independence, but not the SNP, in a difficult position. I know you say that we should ask them to lend the SNP their vote on this occasion, but some just won’t do that, and we need all the votes we can get.
    Apart from those points, success in an independence vote, by whatever method, can only be achieved, in my view, if we run a campaign based on the many positive benefits of independence, and their impact on the lives of the people living here. We can’t just rely on Boris and Brexit doing our job for us.
    If you tell me that the campaign should have been well underway by now, I can only agree with you. But starting from where we are now, May is far too soon.
    As I understand the plan published last week, we will have a referendum at the right time, unless Westminster succeeds in stopping it legally. So the ball is in their court, not ours. That’s a good thing.
    I’m looking forward to reading more of your excellent blog. Thanks.

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    1. Wrote to Police Scotland today to report Boris Johnson, his security team and media assistants for non essential travel today to premises in Govan Road, Glasgow, ( eg the QE Hospital )

      Just before 6.00pm I received the following response from Police Scotland –

      “” Good Afternoon,

      Thank you for your e-mail.

      Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s visit to Scotland is a working visit in his official capacity as Prime Minister and we are policing the event appropriately. Exceptions within the Coronavirus regulations include travelling for work, and we will not be taking any further action.

      Regards

      Service Advisor “”

      So, against all the recommendations, against the illegality of unnecessary travel, the illegality of undertaking work that could be done at home, this media show travel the length and breadth of Britain on what is tawdry political campaigning.

      And what does it say to the thousands of people who have now been stopped by Police and fined. Or about the MP Margaret Ferrier MP who was charged by Police Scotland for reckless and culpable conduct in travelling home from her work in Westminster.

      What does this tell you about Police Scotland. Well what it tells you I think is that this country is a rotten cess pit.

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      1. What it tells you, willie, is that Police Scotland is not about to commit the highly political act of arresting the PM of the UK, and stirring up an unnecessary hornets nest, just to keep a daft laddie happy. The court of public opinion will be a far harsher judge than PC Murdoch, and won’t make a martyr of Johnson.

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  22. This debate just demonstrates how useless the SNP have become under the current leadership. The party of independence cannot even get an agreed plan amongst people who want independence. Totally useless SNP – the only question now is was it deliberate or just rank incompetent leadership.

    It used to be a vote for the SNP was a vote for independence – now it is a vote for a useless plan to get a vote for independence. Just how did so many people get sold on this sec 30 Gold standard referendum is the only way crap.

    What a state the SNP is in.

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