LONGEST….BUT?

An essay by Jim Sillars to mark Nicola Sturgeon becoming the longest serving First Minister since Holyrood was created.

Nicola Sturgeon is now the longest serving First Minister. That fact in itself means nothing. The measure of her is in what she has or has not accomplished, in building rock solid majority support for independence, and whether under her leadership, in the areas of legislative and executive competence available to a Scottish Government, she has improved Scottish society.


As a convert to independence (I was first elected to Westminster in 1970 beating an SNP opponent) I would be delighted to record here that under Nicola Sturgeon’s leadership Scotland has become an exemplar of what a good society should be – vibrant with a debate noted for its respect for others who differ, free to think and speak openly, our youngsters leaving school well educated, endowed with the ability to think critically, entering an economy offering them wide opportunities, all inspired by a government at Holyrood sparkling with talent drawn from back benches whose members have the spunk to hold their own to account. That Scotland would be a self-confident nation, with a large majority ready for the next step to full sovereignty.


I cannot write and say that is so, because it is not. In 2014, when Nicola Sturgeon took command of the SNP, party and government, Scotland was vibrant: we had just had a great debate with the voter turn- out in the September referendum the highest ever. Today, however, Scotland is widely regarded to be in a state of stasis, with the SNP party’s internal democracy emasculated, its members in thrall to the cult of personality, and Scotland’s government, politics and economy stuck in the quagmire of mediocrity.
Nicola Sturgeon is in total control of the party and government, so the responsibility is hers for failure to build that rock solid independence majority, for the deplorable state of Scotland’s education, health service, transport infrastructure, blunders on energy, and all round dispiriting incompetence.

Scotland, the source of much of the Enlightenment, now has a people, due to her legislation, afraid to think and speak freely, because speech can now be a crime. On the constitutional issue, her inability to be a genuine national leader who makes explicit that both positions are legitimate, and so entitled to command respect as between opponents rather than as enemies, has allowed the debate to become toxic, and the nation bitterly divided. “A nation divided cannot stand,” does not mean in our case the nation annihilated. It means what we have now – a nation so at odds with itself, that its division on the constitution trumps everything, with the result that we are not even standing still, but going backwards in a world where, with the rise of the Indo-Pacific region, we face the most intensive competition for trade and wealth creation.


I am not surprised that Nicola Sturgeon is a failure where it matters. I have never had cause to reconsider the view Margo MacDonald and I held of her when she was part of the Alex Salmond coterie: an articulate expounder of a brief, an effective attack dog on the opposition, but narrow, dogmatic, lacking imagination, and without that sweep of the intellect, and breadth and depth of thinking, that marks out politicians of the first rank from the rest. She is a machine politician: tomorrow’s headline hunter, the pursuer of the celebratory selfie, the aficionado of political fashion – reluctant to define a woman – and incapable of thinking big. She has been a major speaker at umpteen party and other conferences over many years, but I doubt if anyone can remember even one that contained an original idea, or formed a phrase that inspired them to a new level of belief, and will always be remembered.


Yet, she has won election after election, so is there some hidden genius that I and other critics have missed? I don’t think so. At Holyrood she has “won” elections, but not a majority of seats and votes, something due more to the split in the unionist vote, and the abysmal level of the opposition parties both inside and outside the Holyrood chamber, than to her own abilities and record in government. Opposition party leaders don’t seem to understand that FMQs are about questions, penetrating, persistent questions, and that starting off with mini speeches is a gift to a minister, who can pick and choose which bits to answer. Nor do they seem to get it, that you need to attack a government not only in parliament but outside, among the people, day-in-and-day out. Hitting the First Minister’s ego and temper now and again, is nowhere near enough. Nicola remains lucky in her opposition

: Labour still hasn’t got its head around why it fell from power, and so remains in a tangle over the Scottish question, while the Tories have yet to find someone with the popular touch to replace Ruth Davidson, and so get people to listen to them.


Another factor explains the SNP electoral success despite its failures in government. I doubt if she was the originator, but has certainly been the electoral beneficiary of the “Wheesht for Indy” mantra that says ignore all the faults and failures of the SNP government because they are for independence, and that to criticise them will only help the unionists. I have met people who can recite all the failures, but say we must remain quiet lest we damage the government’s image, and so in turn damage the very idea of independence. Nicola has kept around forty per cent of the people in that trap of being deliberately silent, by managing their desire through her never ending boasts of delivering another referendum. Neither she nor they seem to grasp that there is no point of a referendum unless you are in a position to win, and that you don’t win unless you campaign and build the independence vote. That is precisely what Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP has not done.


The burst of the independence vote beyond the fifty per cent mark in opinion polls, when Boris Johnson was at his worst during the pandemic, was never real and did not last. Support for independence is roughly where it was in September 2014, almost 8 years ago. Back then a national organisation was in place, people were, surprisingly, not down hearted and many of the local groups stayed in being. Taking over from Alex Salmond, Nicola Sturgeon was in a perfect position: maintain that nation-wide base, engage it in continuing the campaign, and use its energy to build upon the forty five per cent gained in the referendum. But, of course, that would have meant she and the SNP only having a say, not total control, because there was more than the SNP in that national effort. But Nicola and control go together. And so that great national machine, embracing thousands, was allowed to decay and die.

Today’s independence movement is made up of disparate groups, who march instead of thinking, split and splintered, with no threat to the grip of the SNP.
That grip is a negative one. Wicked Westminster is the bolt hole she invites her followers down when it would be uncomfortable to face the reality of Scottish failure. Without doubt, she is the author of the grudge and grievance policy that is injurious now to Scottish-English relations, and will poison the atmosphere when Scots sit down, post-independence vote, to negotiate a treaty with England on our exit from the UK. I often wonder if Nicola gets it: that Scotland will not be independent on the day after a Yes victory, no more than the UK was out of the EU on the morning after the Brexit vote. A treaty will be required, to set the day of independence and much else of supreme importance to both states.
Create and continue bitter relations now, and you may well get bitter people on the other side of the negotiating table.

Scotland is a nation of five million, England a nation of sixty million, by far our largest export market. We are bound by geography in one island. Good relations in devolution times should pave the way to good relations when and if we separate and map out how we co-operate on security, borders, trade, foreign, defence, energy, free movement of people, and cultural relations policies. That kind of expansive forward thinking, which includes understanding England’s national interests, is beyond our First Minister who revels in difference, and manufactures it when it doesn’t exist, even to a petty level, as was the case with the national census, now rendered useless. Hostility between Holyrood and Westminster has become her creed.


She is in the class of what I call big N nationalists, who define themselves in relation to England, and are moulded by the feeling that Scotland was dealt a bad hand in 1707, and seem glued to the idea that the grounds for independence must be complaint of being deliberately ill done by, by our large neighbour. During my sixty years in politics I can point to the negative consequences, the ignoring of a special Scottish interest, in policies made in London, the political and economic centre of a country badly divided in terms of wealth between the South East and the rest. The discovery of oil in the 1960s, and the centralisation of North Sea policy in the UK capital, with calls for a specific Scottish share scornfully rejected, is a classic example.
But the case for Scottish independence does not need to be based on antagonism towards England. It can be better expressed in a positive way as a matter of Scottish state interests which, in the 21st century, as distinct from the position in 1707, leads us away from union with a larger country now divested of empire, its relative influence in the world diminished, and whose economic management in these circumstances has proved less than dynamic.

Those are post-empire forces born of historical development, with sometimes damaging consequences for Scotland economically, for which no contemporary English group, being unable to reverse them, are culpable. People in North East of England could make the same observation, but unlike Scots, who joined the union as a state, and have remained a distinctive polity, they do not have the same options as us. I have yet to see Nicola Sturgeon and those she is leading, express the case for independence in that way. She appears to prefer inventing Westminster as a malign bogeyman from whose clutches we must escape.


But let us now turn and deliver judgement on those areas where devolved power makes the Scottish government as autonomous now as it would be were Scotland fully sovereign – where the buck stops not with Boris Johnson, but the First Minster. We could pick out the CalMac ferries fiasco, and ask how Nicola Sturgeon could launch a ship with painted windows and, apparently, a false funnel, and not ring the alarm bell within her government that something was seriously wrong. We could pick out the juvenile handling of our Saudi Arabia of wind status, with the government pocketing only £700 million while others will waltz away with many billions. Or the current lesson on how not to take public ownership of our railway.
But it is in the educational management of our greatest national asset, our young people, that we find failure heaped upon disastrous failure: a moral and economic catastrophe the responsibility for which rests with she, who once asked to be judged on her education policy.

Hogging the limelight back then, it was the First Minister who bragged about closing the attainment gap between schools in deprived communities and the more affluent. This week, hiding in the shadows, through the mouth of her education minister, she shamelessly abandoned the children of the poor.


Education must be seen in two contexts. One concerns the child for whom, on moral grounds, the education system should stimulate a desire for knowledge, with the gift of a growing level of literacy creating the ability to expand that knowledge, and so imbue each individual young person with a sense of self-worth and self-confidence sufficient to ignite personal ambition to achieve in life. The second is the economy: it is imperative that our children are equipped to earn their own income, and the nation’s, in a world where countries that were once basket cases (China), struggling (India), under colonial control (Africa) are now creating new middle classes whose children are pouring out from universities as graduates in the sciences and technologies, brilliantly creative and fiercely competitive. Where stand our children in that world arena? Literacy levels tell the devastating truth – primary schools in deprived areas 56 per cent, only 80.7 per cent elsewhere.

Instead of enhancing their position as participants in the world economy, SNP education policy handicaps them. They and the nation will pay a heavy price for that failure.
Although her record is strewn with error, Nicola Sturgeon looks and feels safe, untouchable, “Supreme” as one newspaper described her. But failure after failure, blunder after blunder, levels of incompetence that are impossible to hide, eventually take their toll of reputation. Democracy has a habit of catching up and dismissing politicians who promise and fail.

MY COMMENTS

My thanks to Jim for this excellent essay. It will not be easy reading for many in the SNP, not least because it is based on her record and the issues and figures quoted throughout are fact and therefore incapable of dispute. It remains astonishing that little criticism like the above appears in the Scottish media. We know taxpayers money, in increasing amounts is being handed over but surely it must be more than just that? Hopefully soon it will all be revealed.

I am, as always

YOURS FOR SCOTLAND.


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40 thoughts on “LONGEST….BUT?

  1. When people keep telling you who they are…believe them!

    “Failing organizations are usually over-managed and under led.”- Stephen Covey.

    Liked by 18 people

  2. “She is a machine politician: tomorrow’s headline hunter, the pursuer of the celebratory selfie, the aficionado of political fashion – reluctant to define a woman – and incapable of thinking big.”
    Precisely, I’d also say that she isn’t as hostile to WM as people think. Rather she is beholden to it. The ‘attacks’ are sound bites to keep her reputation ticking along.

    Liked by 19 people

  3. Great words from Jim Sillars.

    What particularly chimes with me is the relationship with England post UK.

    Back when Westminster’s Brexit negotiations were bedevilled with the Irish backstop, and Europe held out the prospect of transitional “holding pen” status for Scotland, I felt there was truly golden opportunity for some hard sell Constitutional bargaining.

    The Union I firmly believed was Constitutionally defunct with the two sovereign entities of the UK at irreconcilable loggerheads, the subsequent Northern Irish Protocol didn’t really resolve the Northern Irish Backstop and Good Friday Agreement, and to my mind, that’s when Scotland should have made it’s move.

    Scotland could have secured Independence, but largely mitigated the shock of Independence on the whole UK by presenting Scotland as a buffer state intermediary between Europe and a Brexited England. Scotland in the EU, but with a legacy of UK trade which was accommodated in special status for Scotland, (not unlike the NI protocol) but which allowed the English economy to filter trade to and from Europe through Scotland. The issue of a Border in the Irish Sea would have moved geographically to the Scottish / English border, – a hard border yes, but with Scotland across that hard border being a benign buffer state “filtering” EU / English through trade.

    Scottish Independence could have been the cushion England needed to make their Brexit debacle more viable. And while I find nothing very appealing about Scotland cushioning rampant English Nationalism and the folly of Brexit, there would have been a vested interest in London for seeing Scotland’s Independence recognised quickly and smoothly.

    Pipe dream? Maybe. I’m no expert. The big flaw in my thinking is probably not understanding how absolutely vital Scotland’s resources are to Westminster. The idea is seductive, but I fear is no negotiation that Westminster can contemplate willingly, not until compelled to address Scottish Independence delivered.

    So yes, I want to count that as one more failure for Sturgeon, but this one would always have been tough.

    That status for Scotland wasn’t pursued and we are now peripheral bystanders to the alternative arrangement that is now evolving. But the notion persists in my head, where an Indy Scotland styles itself as the Istanbul of Western Europe, where the North Sea / GUIK Gap shipping lanes function as our Bosporus, and Scotland becomes a trade hub at the convergence of EU / EFTA / US / English / Commonwealth trade zones, and turns Scapa Flo into a massive modern Container Facility, with strong links to the entire European sea board.

    Brexit was such a massive opportunity missed, squandered by Scotland’s longest serving FM. If only her driving ambition had been to be the “last” FM of a devolved Scottish assembly rather than its dreary longest serving.

    Liked by 21 people

  4. Outstanding article.

    Jim shoots and scores whilst his opponents are too busy trying to decide if they have the right ball to play with.

    I was going to select bits of that article to quote but the whole thing really hits the bullseye from start to finish.

    No doubt there will be an equally detailed and thoughtful response from his critics.
    Said nobody ever.

    Instead if they engage at all it will be to try and play the man and not the ball. This of course is because they cannot acknowledge let alone answer the points he makes.

    Liked by 21 people

  5. “Literacy levels tell the devastating truth – primary schools in deprived areas 56 per cent, only 80.7 per cent elsewhere.”

    That can’t possibly be true!?

    If there was one thing that would change the fortunes of the country, it would be education. The populace has known it for ever, yet it’s almost an afterthought for this abject failure of a government.

    Liked by 13 people

  6. I have actually come to the conclusion that Scots would prosper more under a devolved government led by Alex salmond than an ‘independent’ run by NS.

    Liked by 9 people

  7. well Mr Sillars, you have got me worried. Normally when I read a piece by you I enjoy it, but don’t always agree with you. That’s fair enough, that’s how it should work, critical thinking and all that. This time, I cannot find a single thing that you have written that I can disagree with. You have nailed it sir, I just wish more people would read it and start thinking.

    For instance, look at all the ideas that Mr Sillars comes up with to move the country on, in industry, education, politics in general, and that’s wonderful to see. But where are the Nusnp with all theses ideas, exactly nowhere, to busy with gender nonsense and hate crime bills that are not hate crimes at all, just folk with a different point of view, to which they are perfectly entitled. I really fear for my country, and I wish I could see a way out of this bind, but until we get rid of this bunch of chancers sitting in Holyrood , and I do mean all of them. Sturgeon, her so called cabinet of useless entities, nodding dogs we would appear to be in the doldrums.

    Liked by 21 people

  8. FM is quite happy being “colonial governor “ – all the trappings without any responsibility!
    Independence is not on the agenda! Brilliant article by Jim Sillars!

    Liked by 15 people

  9. “Nicola Sturgeon is now the longest serving First Minister.”

    And that pretty much sums up her achievements although, being fair, you could mention stealing Finland’s baby boxes idea, pardoning witches and hacking the bottoms off classroom doors.

    Liked by 13 people

  10. Aye, Sturgeon’s stated priority is education, but it’s always in a curiously unspecified sense. The metric is “attainment” but attainment of what? There’s no such nebulous soundbites for her counterparts in Singapore, China or India. For them, it’s STEM, STEM, STEM!
    We’re desperately in need of STEM graduates to fulfil our potential in renewable energy. The vacancies are there.
    Meanwhile our Universities churn out humanities graduates destined to go where exactly? The lucky few will join the ever growing legions in our permanent managerial class. Civil servants, researchers, SPADS and QUANGOistas. The luckier still will climb the greasy pole to become MPs or MSPs assuming responsibility for technical remits they’re spectacularly unqualified to hold. Ferries fiasco anyone?
    I suspect the majority of these humanities graduates end up in the service sector, baristas and call centres.
    Sure, there’s no shortage of supply of eager school leavers who want to sign up to the dizzying array of courses with Politics in the title, but should we facilitate this? We’d be doing them a favour reducing their options to STEM courses where they’d earn a decent living and contribute to society in a genuine sense.
    If having gotten a couple of decades experience in engineering or manufacturing under their belts, they want to enter the political arena, then fair enough, fill yer boots. They would at this point be an asset to governance rather than a liability.

    Liked by 11 people

    1. I think the ideologues that are totally lacking in competence or experience who hold positions of government power are a result of two things:
      Those with talent find Holyrood too toxic these days
      We put no barrier to entry in politics that requires a term working outside of the political realm

      The first issue requires a draining of the current swamp. The second is easily fixed – but the current swamp-dwelling troughers will not fix it. I feel progress can only be made when this swamp is drained and I very much hope that COPFS is currently finding itself unable to suppress the criminality that will cause this swamp to drain.

      Liked by 8 people

  11. To be in power for so long and not acheive or even deliver a single promise is truely shocking, it isn’t a track record anyone would want to be proud of.

    I can only hope that we don’t have another eight years of the same track record, but what do I know.

    Liked by 8 people

  12. Jim

    You have written a fantastic essay here. The FM is a whining, woke, PR driven, grievance merchant. The Scottish government has become a total embarrassment, but I have no faith in Alba either.

    Keep up the great work.

    William

    Like

  13. Much to agree with here, however

    “She is in the class of what I call big N nationalists, who define themselves in relation to England, and are moulded by the feeling that Scotland was dealt a bad hand in 1707,”

    Maybe she started out that way, but I very much doubt now that she is even in favour of independence whether that is by choice or coercion. Muriel Grey used to be the most blood and soil nationalist out there, yet now she is the very pillar of unionist society. Of course Jim has more first hand knowledge of the FM than I do. However I suspect the anti Westminster schtick is to keep the votes rolling in. I mean let’s face it people aren’t voting SNP for their competence.

    Where Alex Salmond was right was in thinking that if the SNP ran Holyrood well it would give more people confidence that an iScotland could be successful. Within 8 years, Nikla has destroyed that reputation for competence and alienated many in the Yes movement. If she isn’t working for the British State they should recruit her because she is doing their job for them. I genuinely think she is being protected though because there is so much that could be used to bring her down and within the msm – tumbleweed!

    I believe she is fed up being FM and yearns for a bigger world stage, however whatever she might have been promised, I doubt it will be delivered. I could see her being eaten up then spat out when they are finished with her.

    Maybe I’m wrong, maybe there will be a referendum which is fair and not subject to interference in 2023 and we will march happily into an iScotland ready to greet the world…

    Liked by 8 people

    1. I doubt lack of competence is an impediment to riding the international gravy train.
      As compensation for loosing out to his brother in the Labour leadership contest, David Milliband was made CEO of the International Rescue Committee in New York. Reported remuneration in 2013 of $450 k rising to $1 m in 2019.
      It’s just warming a seat with yer erse. The minions take care of business.
      As a perk, Milliband appointed his former SPAD Madlin Sader as his new Chief of Staff (doubtless on a hefty wedge). Perhaps wee Peter could join Nikla on her international posting. Or perhaps she’d take someone nearer to her heart?

      Liked by 12 people

  14. I thought I would collect some of the replies from people online to Jim Sillars article as mentioned by Pint Size Paul Hutcheon on Twitter.

    This is from someone called Sir LADY baroness of roses in my garden at @mrs__gardner:
    Jim Sillars is off his head these days.
    Nothing he says is actually worth notice.
    It will be SNPbad from him.
    Senility.

    From Jim Paterson @jimpate00654596:
    Jim I can’t remember which party iam in erse margo will be spinning

    From Kirsty Morris @Kirsty_Mo:
    Is that Jim aff his meds again?

    From Seaweed Muncher @Seaweed_Muncher:
    Jim Sillars!!??
    Q past failure, bitter about his own ineffectuallness

    Not a single brain cell between them. None of them can address the points Jim makes. To be fair to them though, judging by the quality of their tweets, just getting themselves dressed in the morning must be a real struggle.

    Liked by 9 people

    1. Paul Hutcheon is ”a rat” and I have the evidence to prove it but I shall keep this to myself and the word ”rat” came from a good friend of mine but the other comments over Jim I have received similar insults from the cultish SNP members they probably never really read all of this blog these are either union trolls or brain dead SNP members who are asleep most of their miserable lives but mention the SNP negatively and they wake up ..they will be asleep again.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. She has with the help of others unknown destroyed the Yes Movement while her MPs and MSPs remain in servile silence this woman has become the Supreme Leader she feels untouchable yet she has betrayed Scotland’s people who believed they were touching Independence she has set one time friends against friends family against family similar to the American Civil War and one day not too far into the future that betrayal will reach the minds of her strangely loyal followers and she will become Scotland’s enemy No.1the sooner this happens the better for all of us!

    Liked by 6 people

  16. “an articulate expounder of a brief, an effective attack dog on the opposition, but narrow, dogmatic, lacking imagination, and without that sweep of the intellect, and breadth and depth of thinking, that marks out politicians of the first rank from the rest. She is a machine politician: tomorrow’s headline hunter, the pursuer of the celebratory selfie, the aficionado of political fashion – reluctant to define a woman – and incapable of thinking big.”
    =======
    An utterly damning summary .

    Why?

    Because it is deadly accurate and all the Sturgeon Fanboys/Fangirls and Fan-non binaries on Twitter cannot produce a counter-argument to any of its claims; only a farrago of AD HOMINEM attacks on the essayist.

    An utterly brilliant piece by Jim Sillars, our lost leader.

    Liked by 10 people

  17. What is the biggest paradox in Nicola Sturgeon’s stance as FM?

    That she praises herself for being the longest serving FM when she should have been the shortest serving one.

    She should have terminated the treaty of union on the 9th May 2015. That would mean to be the FM of Scotland for exactly 5 months and 25 days. She could have become Scotland’s Prime Minister after that. That is what a real pro independence leader would have done.

    The remaining 7 years and 22 days and counting she has wasted us are a testament to just how useless, how inadequate, how wasteful and how unable she has been as a leader of the political party that should have brought Scotland back to its statehood in 2015.

    But those 7 years and 22 days are also a testament to the superlative incompetence, cowardice and complacency, of the numerous SNP MPs that, ever since, have comfortably accommodated their backsides on the green seats down in London and settled down instead of settling up and officially terminating a void treaty of union used for 300 years as the continuous excuse to attack our constitution, to accelerate emigration from Scotland and to ransack all its resources while the people of Scotland, the actual owners of those assets, haven’t hardly seen a penny out of them.

    For 7 years and 22 days have the SNP MPs and MSPs indulged this useless leader in incompetence, nonsensical platitudes and policies despite the damage that her “leadership” has caused to Scotland and to our future generations.

    So get near the sink and raise our glass to the longest serving FM and the biggest majorities the SNP has seen. Now let’s dump on the sink the contents of our glass to the most incompetent independence leader and the most useless pro-independence majorities Scotland has ever seen.

    Because, quite frankly, who within the independence movement is in the business of celebrating failure?
    Apart from Nicola Sturgeon and her party apparatchiks, I see no one.

    Liked by 11 people

    1. Basically I agree, but didn’t Joanna Cherry loose out to the windbag in a three piece suit by one vote for Westminster leader?
      The Holyrood cabinet is rammed with never had a proper job in their lives Politics graduates, the Stirling University mafia. A shocking number of whom are State Department approved.
      The fate of all Westminster governments should they last long enough is to have mair talent on the backbenches than the frontbench.
      Not sure the failed solicitor is as secure as she would have us believe. There will be mair skeletons in their cupboards than the Natural History Museum. Someone’s gonna squeal at some point.

      Liked by 7 people

      1. “but didn’t Joanna Cherry loose out to the windbag in a three piece suit by one vote for Westminster leader?”

        Yet, despite all what they put her through in Westminster, social media, how they disgustingly pushed her away so they could install that other windbag in Edinburgh’s Holyrood seat, how she highlighted of how little progress towards independence Sturgeon was making or how Sturgeon had blocked other MPs and MSPs to work on independence during the lockdown, she, the same as all other MPs and MSPs, are still in the party and with their remaining in it, backing Sturgeon’s ill-advised decisions and her deliberate stalling of Scotland’s independence and handing out our assets.

        When you strongly disagree with the way things are run, particularly if they go totally against your principles and ethics, you do not sit back and wait for the culprits to do that to you all over again. You open the door, leave and start exposing them from the outside when no longer bound by party “rules”.

        She is not the average hopeless SNP MSP/MP cannon fodder and “yes ma’am” recently recruited to the party. She is an extremely talented, coherent, smart and resourceful lady, far more than the “leader” can ever dream to look without an army of paid spin doctors writing the script. Any party other than the idiots in the SNP would be delighted to have somebody like her on their ranks. I am at pains to understand what on earth she is doing still there.

        Liked by 7 people

  18. Mia: I agree with you. I, too, am puzzled by some of those who remain in the SNP. Joanna Cherry can well afford the financial risk of leaving, so why does she continue to tolerate this farce? I suppose that’s a question only she can answer. It is a conundrum, though, I agree.

    Jim Sillars has always been as straight from the shoulder as it is possible to be, and I am glad he has brought up the point about the Treaty being a two-sided agreement which can neither be dissolved (resiled) unilaterally nor within domestic law. We really need to keep those in mind as we go forward. Whatever we feel about England’s treatment of Scotland, and by God, it leaves much to be desired, we must come to the negotiating table eventually, and I don’t think for one minute that we will get all our own way. On the other hand, neither will England/England as the UK.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. “the Treaty being a two-sided agreement which can neither be dissolved (resiled) unilaterally nor within domestic law”

      I do not I agree with Mr Sillars on that point. Precisely because it is a two-sided agreement, it needs constant support
      and being uphold from both sides for it to remain valid. It is a contract and that contract has clauses in it, some of them remain extant and unchangeable for the duration of the treaty.

      This means that if one of the two sides breaches the clauses of the contract,as England has done repeatedly, the other has the legitimate right (and duty) to declare it void unilaterally despite the side that breached the clauses in the first place not agreeing with it.

      It also means in practical terms, that if one of the partners does no longer want the treaty, it can unilaterally resile it. If the other partner refuses to accept, the only thing the first has to do is to purposely breach the clauses and then unilaterally declaring it void.

      This is what the longest, but worse leader in Scotland Nicola Sturgeon has lost us in those 7 years she has wasted us with gender woowoo and pronouns nonsense. Instead of capitalising on the many instances and opportunities Scotland has had to declare that treaty of union null and void since 2015 she has done the exact opposite: set the precedent time and time again for the normality of England breaching the fundamental clauses of the Treaty of Union and for welding Scotland to England even more.

      I am not sure I agree either that the Treaty of Union cannot be inactivated within domestic law. I totally accept that the main thing here is the Treaty itself and that the treaty and the Act are completely different things. But what bound Scotland to that international treaty was the Act of Union with England, not the treaty itself.

      The treaty was ratified by the Scottish Parliament, meaning that even if when agreement had already been made between representatives of Scotland and England and signed by the monarch, it had no validity until it was ratified, article by article by the parliament of Scotland. Furthermore, the Treaty did not come into effect until the Scottish parliament passed the Act of Union.

      To me, what this means is passing an Act of “des union” by the representatives of that original Scottish parliament (which are are our MPs and the 16 peer lords elected by the privy council), should resile that Act of Union and with it de-bound Scotland from the treaty. The treaty can then be de-ratified by the representatives of that original Parliament of Scotland. Again, those are our MPs and the 16 peers sitting in the HoL. The peers of the UK (like the tank woman) are not the representatives of the old Scottish parliament. They are a product of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain.

      What stands to the obvious to me is that Sturgeon’s SNP has had in their power since 9th May 2015 to resile the Act of Union with England and the Treaty of Union but they have spectacularly failed at that. I appreciate that not one of the 16 peers would have wanted to resile the treaty and lose their nice sinecure and standing. But democracy dictates they do not represent Scotland anymore. They just represent themselves, their privilege and the peerage that recycles the same peers families year in year out.

      But that is just my opinion.

      Liked by 7 people

      1. Indeed, Mia, a breach of contract would normally lead to dissolution of that contract, but that dissolution must take place through legal avenues. However, the Treaty is more than that: it is a series of contracts within a contract; and it must be resiled in international law, bilaterally before negotiations take place. Our subsequent independence would also be an agreement forged in international law. If England did not put forward a case to counter a Scottish petition to resile the Treaty, fine, no problem at that point, albeit I cannot see England as the UK wishing to give up its successor status claims. England just walking away, though, would be very unlikely and supremely stupid because England stands to lose as great deal if the Treaty is resiled and the Union falls, as, indeed, does England as the UK, perhaps more so. This will be a bitter and filthy fight, so we need the very best people we can get and be prepared for a bloody battle, metaphorically-speaking. If we went for a plebiscitary election and won that, so long as all voters understood that it was an election that would determine whether we became independent again or otherwise, at that point, we would declare independence, but the negotiations to separate Scotland from England and vice versa, will take much more than that. We, too, have much to lose from just walking away, not least our natural resources and access to them.

        Liked by 3 people

  19. Ouch ! That’s what you call a controlled demolition . How many more can the Sturgeon Monument sustain without collapsing ? As others say above , can’t see a single point of contention .

    What’s the odds of any of the boys and girls ( well , speaking in the abstract ) of the fawning entourage that passes for her ” Team ” coming on here and doing a bit of their fabulous * refuting * of the character and record- in- office assessment contained in Jim’s excellent article ?

    Ah right , they have a Zero Tolerance * code * in relation to critical thinking don’t they ?. Thinking in general : outwith their rainbow bubble . Particularly Zero Tolerant of self-criticism it seems

    Liked by 7 people

  20. I agree with nearly all that Jim Sillars has written but would enter a couple of caveats

    The ‘great debate’ before the 2016 referendum produced little of lasting consequence. Pro-independence thinking
    is stuck at the White Paper produced by Alex Salmond to persuade voters.

    The present stasis is tolerated by the SNP. It is a party with a large number of voters, of members and of elected
    MPs and MSPs. The vast majority of these people are entirely content for Nicola’s day-to-day autocracy to
    continue. The rest of the country will be noting this and, quite possibly, concluding that the SNP’s deficiencies are sufficient to make them stick with the Union.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. “Hostility between Holyrood and Westminster has become her creed.”

    I see no major policy divergence between Holyrood and Westminster, quite the contrary. One might almost think the SNP Scottish Government were a colonial administration!

    Liked by 8 people

  22. I preface my comments by saying that although I voted for Winnie Ewing a 100 years ago I am basically a unionist.
    However, that said I have been honestly opining for a number of years that the SNP will not move forward until they get rid of Nicola Sturgeon.
    Before the majority vote for independence they will require to be convinced that we have a competent and transparent government which we have not had for a long time.
    Five years of good government that is transparent and which welcomes open debate without constantly complaining and creating hatred which only leads to greater polarisation would be enormous steps forward.
    Well said JS.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. And that comment Bill is what has me and others shaking in our boots , as I have RANTED time and time again sturgeon and her MORONS have done NOTHING , NADA , ZILCH to convince or educate voters like you that independence is not only a viable proposition but a desperately needed proposition ,
      For Scotland to continue being hog tied by WM everything in Scotland will decay and depreciate until there is no way back , any and all investment is centred on england and more specifically in the south , it is happening as we speak
      In truth the only thing that WM cares about is our resources and wide open spaces , the resources they need for the economy , the wide open spaces are currently being appropriated to build retirement homes for the influx of well off English retirees as Wales is becoming too expensive , never mind our young people with their humanities degrees can either emigrate to other countries or they can get jobs as home helps , carers or gardeners to our well off new Scots (will Scots still be a thing)

      Liked by 2 people

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