Where we are; where we’re going; and how we get there.

Graham A Fordyce

@gafordyce

26 November 2022

The decision of the Supreme Court on Thursday 24 November 2022 was no great surprise but those who support Scotland’s right to choose are now left wondering how to respond. 

So let’s draw breath and put aside for a moment the legal, political and intellectual game of ping pong which has incessantly played out since 2014; and consider what’s really going on. 

From a baby’s cry to a World at War, there is a fundamental law of human nature which runs through the thread of all our lives; and it has guided me countless times throughout mine. It is this:

Every human relationship, bar none, is an exercise in control. A truly successful relationship is one in which control is shared; and crucially shared willingly. A failing relationship is one in which control is imposed by one side against the will of the other. 

It took me well into adulthood to learn and understand this. It guides and informs me every day both professionally and personally. It is now so blindingly obvious that I could kick myself for not having realised it sooner. 

I learned this law of human nature from my job. For more than 30 years, I have practised as a lawyer in family law, dealing with divorce, the breakdown in financial and emotional relationships and negotiating arrangements for the care of children. 

When two people fall in love, they are, in essence, content with the level of control each exercises over the other. When a relationship breaks down, it is because there is a change in the balance of control between them. An obvious example is the domestic abuser – an extreme form of control, but less obvious are the subtle changes over a period of time in which the dynamics change between a couple, often stemming from the resentment of one party having more freedom than the other would wish.

While I hope this law of human nature can easily be understood from the example of family relationship breakdown, I am in no doubt that it also relates to every conceivable situation in which two or more human beings find themselves from cradle to grave. 

The Supreme Court is a classic example. Its very name conveys control. Society willingly consents to the appointment of a few human beings, trained in an understanding of the law, and equips them with the power to control our lives, relying on their interpretation of a coherent, often complex, framework of rules. The Law is the very essence of control. It is far from perfect – which is why we have Appeal Courts – but so far, it’s the best way mankind has of regulating how we all live together. Any Judgment, irrespective of the parties involved or the subject matter, is specifically designed to impose control on those over whom the Judgment applies. The Supreme Court, a creation of the United Kingdom, has no choice but to uphold the values and laws of the United Kingdom and assert the dominance of the United Kingdom in preference to any particular part of it. 

The Scottish Government recently introduced legislation which seeks to change the rights of trans-sexuals. It seeks to strengthen those rights. Those who are opposed to the legislation argue that the rights of others will be diminished. Both sides are seemingly sincere and well-meaning, but even if they are not, both sides are essentially engaged in a struggle for control of the argument, the outcome of which will, in turn, impose control on how we live our lives and who has access to the space in our lives. I suspect that in due course, this issue will end up in the Supreme Court, which will naturally issue a Judgment affecting the United Kingdom. I’m beyond certain that it will outlaw the Scottish legislation because it conflicts with laws elsewhere in the UK. 

While a civilised society will always endeavour to effect control by persuasion and understanding, there are self-evidently many situations in which control is resisted. Far from ‘taking back control’, Brexit has thrown into complete confusion the ability of the United Kingdom to manage its own borders. Brexit is yet another classic example of one section of the globe reacting badly to the control by another section i.e. Europe. The failure thus far of Brexit demonstrates far easier than ever I could that in order for relationships to be successful, control must be shared and willingly so. 

Ukraine is another obvious and brutal example. Putin claims that the West seeks to control him and his country, resulting in the invasion of Ukraine, whose response has been fierce resistance by its citizens, because they will not accept Putin’s control over them.  

Thus the principle applies universally: a rail strike; the election of a Prime Minister; the Stock Market’s response to a mini-budget; a football game; the troubles in Northern Ireland; apartheid in South Africa; the Me Too movement; Scottish Independence; your child having a tantrum. The list is endless and I defy anyone to provide an example where this natural law does not apply.

In this never-ending desire for control, the truth is invariably a casualty; and certainly secondary. The deployment of lies, manipulation and deceit are tactics valued by those who seek to impose control against the will of others. The trial and treatment of Alex Salmond is a classic example, in which the power struggle was so great that even the levers of State were abused to further the aims of those in control desperate to hold onto control. 

So what’s your point, I hear you cry? 

If we want to shape and develop a society which strives to be decent, fair and honest, then we must teach ourselves that control (or power as it’s commonly known) has to be fairly shared. Giving too much control to one individual or one faction or one nation is a recipe for the ultimate breakdown of a relationship, irrespective of the participants or the subject matter. Checks and balances are the keys to a tolerant, caring society. We should never allow one section the freedom to dominate any other section. If Scotland achieves independence, a robust written Constitution will therefore be absolutely essential. I’m not striving for Nirvana. I’m striving for tolerance.

How does this inform the debate on Scotland’s future? If Scotland is to regain its independence, it will only be achieved by enough Scots taking control of their own destiny. I do not, of course, mean that we should all start to man the barricades (yet another form of control). I mean that a significant proportion of citizens firstly need to decide to what extent and by whom they wish their lives managed; and under what conditions. They must then, vitally, act upon their instincts. Unionists are content with the status quo because they are content to be managed by a parliament located in another country. Were it not so, we would be independent by now. If we leave control simply in the hands of politicians or political parties, we are destined to remain in a bubble in which we simply and constantly express our grievances without finding a solution. 

While preparing this article and as fate would have it, earlier this week I chanced upon an outstanding interview between Bernard Ponsonby and Alex Salmond which you can view here. Mr Salmond precisely spells out what we, as a people, need to do – wrest back control from those who seeks to control us. Sadly, that includes the current administration in Holyrood. It is no accident that Nicola Sturgeon and her husband rule their party with a rod of iron. They epitomise what this article is about. Their thirst for power has so warped their ideals that they long ago abandoned all principle in favour of power. I don’t entirely blame them. They are simply doing what human nature taught them to do; and we are letting them do it.  

Of course politicians and parties have an important role. They are supposed to be our representatives. They are supposed to be our servants. They are supposed to be within our control. How often, though, are we left disappointed and disillusioned by those same politicians once they are handed the keys of power; only to find they change the locks and leave us outside in the cold. Literally!

The next time you find yourself in a difficult situation, be it with your partner, your employer, your government or your nation’s status, ask yourself this:

1          Who is in control?

2          Who should be in control?

3          Am I comfortable with the current level of control being exercised over me?

4          Do I have the means and determination to do anything about it?

I think the first three are easy enough to answer. I suspect that far too many of us struggle with the last question. How many of us have the luxury of devoting our time and energy to our country’s future, when most of us are more concerned about our mortgage and heating bills? The bitter irony is that these problems would not exist in a world in which greed and corruption are curtailed by the operation of basic decency and common sense i.e. by sharing control.

Change in anything begins with an idea; then sharing your idea with others in the hope it resonates; then acting upon your idea and ultimately persuading others to give you the right to enact your idea. 

MY COMMENTS

Another well written article from Graham and of course he nails the issue..who controls Scotland? We can argue about that but one thing is abundantly clear, it is not the people who should, those who live here, work here and raise our families here. The cost of that is evident in all the missed opportunities, the daily loss of our resources and our inability to gear our country to make the most of the many advantages we have within this land. The lesson, as Graham advocates is to take back that control then use the powers to build a better, fairer Scotland.

I am, as always

Yours for Scotland


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26 thoughts on “Where we are; where we’re going; and how we get there.

  1. Good stuff but we know who controls Scotland and it isn’t us..

    And like an abused partner in a relation ship we know who the abuser is.

    Or like the mafia we know who is running the rackets that impoverished us.

    And this is all done under a rule of law. And all done under a, system of law, that says you cannot divorce. Only the abuser allow that.

    That is where we are. And that is why we need our own rule of law. 1930s Germany had a rule of law. The British in Ireland had a rule of Law..

    Ultimately those rules of law were changed. Power was taken from the abusers. And that of itself is a rule of law. If law is not equitable, is skewed on behalf on one against the other, then that law, needs to be changed by whatever means are needed to change it.

    Ultimately law has to be accepted, has to be accepted as being fair. And if not then discontent, dispute, struggle, violence and war are the product.

    And the Brits know that.

    Liked by 16 people

  2. Good article, one point to nitpick and it’s a common misunderstanding amongst Nationalists:-

    “Unionists are content with the status quo because they are content to be managed by a parliament located in another country”

    Unionists don’t see other areas in the UK as another country, we are comfortable with both being Scottish and British; with being a citizen of Scotland and the UK. Until Nationalists understand that perspective, even though it is one they don’t agree with, they will struggle to win over hearts and minds to their cause.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Unionists don’t see other areas in the UK as another country, we are comfortable with both being Scottish and British; with being a citizen of Scotland and the UK. ” This is the perspective which survives- as it had done with my parents’ generation (born 1920s) and many of my own -while the UK is believed to respect and care for all 4 nations equally and benignly.
      The UK Government’s declaration- in 1979- that Orkney is an expendable area- to be sacrificed as a uranium mine -at any time if necessary in the so-called “national interest” confirmed previous moves to turn Galloway’s Mullwharchar into the UK National High Level Nuclear Waste Dump- on the grounds that it was “in the National Interest” and most importantly- that the local communities were “remote and unsophisticated . This is still the position of the UK government towards the citizens of Galloway and Orkney. There are- as I am sure you know- many other similar examples in Scotland.
      In 1986, like most other people in Orkney- I witnessed Norway exercise the power of sovereign independence within the international community to protect Orcadian and Shetland seas from the nuclear discharges which would have followed the UK Government’s determination to build another disastrous Windscale at Dounreay. (We all know why Caithness and Sutherland were chosen for the most dangerous nuclear experiments of all- Little Ferry too) .
      At this minute, if we were independent, we could intervene under the London Dumping Convention to stop the UK Government’s attempt to bury High Level Nuclear Waste in the Irish Sea Bed. They are currently trying to circumvent the LDC- which bans such dumping in international waters- by calling the Solway Firth and surrounding areas- domestic waters. There is no safe containment for such waste.
      I think you need to stop feeling so comfortable: examine the reality of Westminster Rule.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Regarding Orkney – the Orcadians fought tooth and nail, old and young alike, to reverse the WM decision. And they won because they made it plain that THEY made the decisions concerning their homeland.

        Liked by 4 people

    2. The parliament located.in another country is in England. If it was UK it would, as is occasionally suggested, move its location to one of the different countries of the UK. It is a de facto English parliament. When I was growing up with Scottish born Prime Ministers and members of government (not just Secretary of State for Scotland)it didn’t feel like a purely English parliament but it does now.

      Liked by 6 people

    3. Since you are so comfortable with a situation in which Scotland is made to suffer the consequences of what the larger population votes for ( and the FPTP system which enables what is virtually an elective dictatorship ) then what, if anything, would change your mind?

      I would hazard a guess from encountering people of your mindset is that what you are talking about is a situation based on personal fixed identity wrapped up in being called ‘British’. Only you can know the reason/s for that because God knows, I can’t understand the rationality of it, so how on earth could you be persuaded? I suspect that you can’t be persuaded, so what was the point of your comment again?

      Liked by 3 people

    4. In the absence of independence there is no Scottish national citizenship. In regard to national identity, historian Prof Tom Devine refers to those holding to a Scottish and British identity as a sort of ‘dual persona’, while the linguist Dr. David Purves considered this to be a ‘false persona’ given that national identity and consciousness is based on a peoples language and culture; for Scots speakers, the Scottish identity (based on Scots or Gaelic language, culture etc) is natural whereas the British (Anglophone) identity is manufactured, hence the latter is more of a political cultural ideology. The folk singer Dick Gaughan referred to the Scottish and British dual or false persona as a ‘cultural illusion’ based on the dominant influence and role of the English language, which is not the natural tongue of Scots speakers, the latter continuing to be deprived of learning thair ain mither tongue. Such outcomes are closely connected to the process of cultural assimilation in postcolonial theory where a native people come to subordinate their own language, culture and identity in favour of a supposedly superior order.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. As I spent most of my early life in and out of hospitals, when back with family I stayed for very long periods with my grandparents and did not really attend school until almost 11 years old.

        My point being that my grandparents had a smallholding just outside a small town near the border with no electricity. They cooked food on the black lead range and the home was lit with paraffin lamps and I heard the language spoken by them and everyone they knew. Of course, I also used that language quite naturally but it is completely different to what is spoken in the area nowadays. In fact, I doubt there are many that can understand that language now and they are a rapidly dying minority.

        When I did begin attending school regularly, I quickly discovered that I was at a massive disadvantage because the other children were already well on the way to being assimilated into what the education system saw as the correct way to speak. In order to catch up with my peers, I had to listen to how they spoke and quickly adapt my everyday speech. One of the other incentives to change was that with a combination of missing out on most of primary school and speaking differently to the other children, I was bullied quite a lot.

        To me, this illustrates Alf’s point regarding the loss of language and thereby loss of culture but what is really scary is how quickly that has happened! As well as practically everyone else around here I have adopted “proper English” but it was not a conscious action on my part,. This shows me just how easy it is to infiltrate a language / culture and change it to what is deemed acceptable by a foreign and invasive culture with a completely different mindset and social norms to our own.

        I’m sure that many of the older readers of Iain’s blog have had similar experiences.

        Liked by 5 people

  3. Graham states in this article “The Supreme Court is a classic example. Its very name conveys control”.

    Of course, most of us knew what the result of the approach to the UKSC would be even before the case was submitted for decision.

    In October 2021, the UKSC gave a ruling on the incorporation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into Scottish law and as expected it ruled that there were parts of the Convention that Scotland would not be allowed to incorporate!

    The judgement stated “Section 28/7 of the Scotland Act preserves the power of the UK Parliament to make laws for Scotland”.

    The judgement went on to say that there were 6 points with which the UKSC did not agree and “if any provision of a Scottish Act of Parliament purports to modify Section 28/7 of the Scotland Act. it will fall outside the competence of the Scottish Parliament”.

    So, it’s not as if the SG did not know how the UKSC would react to any threat to the union.

    This apparent “control” of Scotland by a foreign court and its decision to refuse the right to another independence referendum was entirely foreseeable, but what the UKSC did not foresee, was the massive backlash from the indignant people of Scotland by effectively rejecting their sovereignty. In fact, the judgement has reinvigorated the Yes Movement to levels not seen since 2014.

    Liked by 13 people

  4. This is crystal clear thinking – in my opinion- moving us on to how to explain the desperate need for independence- from Westminster coercive-control. There are so many times in my life when the British State has declared its supreme right to experiment on the people of Scotland – and the land and seas- in what it claimed to be ” the national interest” – I believe such examples make one of the best ways to explain the need to regain control from a very cynical and nowadays- bankrupt, desperate Westminster. Orkney, Caithness, Mullwharchar, Kirkcudbright, Luce Bay, Faslane- Brexit and the Poll Tax. That’s on the negative side of the argument- the positives are massive! Fear of the British State’s absolute determination to divide and rule the YES movement – they have already breached every rule in the book- makes the SNP a very difficult subject- leaving it to others. Great article.

    Liked by 11 people

  5. The biggest mistake is Sturgeon being leader of the SNP, but that isn’t all of it. The real mistake was putting a lawyer in charge of the national movement when her first loyalty is to abide by UK law.
    We in Scotland believe we are sovereign not Westminster. Nicola Sturgeon straight away said she abided by the Supreme court ruling, well love, I didn’t, not for a single minute.
    You can either like or dislike Mr Salmond and that’s fine but what you can’t deny is he was able to get the UK to adhere to a binding and legal referendum something Sturgeon has never done and will never achieve. I often say to people, whatever Mr Salmond says people should listen and this is the difference between Salmond and Sturgeon, he’s not a lawyer and he believes the Scots are sovereign where Sturgeon is the opposite and this is why we are in deadlock with the UKG on a referendum. It isn’t the UK denying democracy its Sturgeon, she isn’t prepared to go against the idea that Scots law is supreme in Scotland and UK law doesn’t exist apart from in England and Wales.

    Mr Salmond has said himself, he could be a hard person to work for, but if you brought an idea different to his if you left it with him he’d think about and if the idea was better than his, or had majority support he was prepared to change his opinion. Sturgeon is a one-man band, she’ll say Independence isn’t about one person and then goes on and makes it her own decisions about Scotland and our people. Therefore, 99% of the population is over ruled by 1%, she was never a leader running us but a dictator.

    I’ll be honest I’m extremely poorly educated for a man of 52yrs and what I’ve relied upon all my live is common sense. I find it hard to believe how people who are better educated than me can’t see the problem is right in front of them (Sturgeon) and it isn’t going to change until they say enough is enough, Mrs Murrell you have to go.

    I did go to the Edinburgh rally and straight away Sturgeon was denying Scotland its rights while saying the Supreme court had done its job. I started shouting, betrayer of the Scottish people, someone with a security badge on said to me, I was on the wrong side of the road and my reply was, Scotland is on both sides of the road mate and that’s where my loyalty lies.

    Then we heard from K Brown on TV on Sunday, I never watch the show but I’ve seen a clip of it on Wings, where Martin Geissler was having a real go at Brown and I thought this was strong for the unionist media, then I listened to Bernard Ponsonby interview Mr Salmond (I’ve enclosed it for anyone who wants to watch the clip). The interview only highlights why I have the deepest respect and loyalty for Salmond, but Bernard Ponsonby seemed furious with the lack of action from the SNP, I just could believe what I was seeing.

    I honestly believe the SNP are handing Scotland to England without a fight. This problem can all be resolved in a single day, remove Sturgeon and ask Salmond to take over, then all the old SNP members and supporters to re-join the old SNP, then we’ll see real change.

    Liked by 9 people

  6. Great article from Graham.
    Reiterates the singular problem that exists in our societies and that is; how do we make our ‘Politicians’ accountable to us? It is time for ‘Political Responsibility and Accountability’ through a ‘Scottish Peoples National Congress’.

    Graham’s reference:
    ‘Of course politicians and parties have an important role. They are supposed to be our representatives. They are supposed to be our servants. They are supposed to be within our control. How often, though, are we left disappointed and disillusioned by those same politicians once they are handed the keys of power; only to find they change the locks and leave us outside in the cold. Literally!,

    My reference from ‘Political Betrayal’ 4th Oct 2022:
    “Ironically, we do need politicians, but I have also come to the simple conclusion that politicians are really not the type of people you need when national economic solutions are urgently required. If they were working in any other profession; engineering, medicine, aviation or education; they would be subjected to an inquest of professional accountability and fallacious behaviour, then struck off the register, forever. However, for some unknown reason this doesn’t happen in Politics. Change is needed. There obviously needs to be a tighter rein on ‘Politicians’ by the ‘People’, but that is another social problem that needs to be addressed and deserving of its own platform.”

    Neil🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

    Liked by 8 people

  7. i have to take issue with the idea that Scots are not in control of their own country. if enough wanted change they’d vote for it, and there is no U.K. law or treaty to stop us.

    We are split three ways. one third heart and soul for Independence; one third emotionally attached to the Union ; and one third at best economic nationalists.

    They control our destiny. They are risk assessors and decide what they consider to have the most favourable impact on them and their families. Their voting is erratic, promiscuous and not dependable if you are in either of the other camps.

    An essential element of control is force though it comes in different guises. we can’t force this third group to support independence. There is a certain comfort in the status quo even if it disappoints rather than an unknown, so our task is much more challenging.

    i’m coming to the conclusion that it’s not national conventions and demonstrations or even talking to the Undecideds which is going to achieve Independence even though i’ll do that.

    No, what will move the dial is transforming people’s lives for the better so they have control of their lives through the ability to have choices.

    What this involves is the SG taking control of our public finances and acting as if we are already independent and maximising the powers it possesses to the nth degree.

    There is not a reserved power which can’t be changed, varied or mitigated to a significant extent principally by our government but also ourselves.

    The national discussions we have must be on using the powers the Scotland Act provides to improve lives so that living in Scotland is so semi detached from rUK that it becomes embedded in the minds of the economic nationalist, that when we propose to leave the U.K. probably following the next GE, the result is assured as was the case in 1997.

    The ignorance which our legislators, their back-up teams and so-called opinion formers have about our devolved powers is fundamental to our failure to date.

    They have to stop the begging bowl mentality and rubbish those of us who question it. in two months two MPs have admitted to me that they have never analysed the Scotland Act. That’s bad enough but when they were MPs when it was amended in 2016 and were part of the Parliament which approved it , should worry us all.

    On the brighter side following a conversation yesterday i think one of Scotland’s most dynamic movers and shakers may just have realised that using the powers of the Scotland Act is the most productive way to deliver an independent Scotland

    Liked by 6 people

      1. Uk Internal Market Bill. How does a devolved administration deal with that. Removal from the EU. How does a devolved administration deal with that. Sewell Motion abuse. UK trade deals.

        Not quite sure how our pretend parliament can deal with this.

        Message to the Queen Nic. Why have you not been pushing the locus of the Scottish Regional parliament.

        Liked by 3 people

  8. “The Scottish Government recently introduced legislation which seeks to change the rights of trans-sexuals. It seeks to strengthen those rights.”

    Actually no it doesn’t. I’d started to write a response but it is very long and didn’t want to derail discussion of the main topic. Iain I will write it up, email and ask you to publish as an article under my pseudonym.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. The old test remains true. How many Countries have every applied to return to London Rule…ZERO.
    It obviously wasn’t that attractive when you are free to make a choice.

    The bigots in N/Ireland and Govan, Larkhall see a reason of course.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. I wonder how many unionists find the malnourished, battered and bruised visage of civic Scotland just too distasteful to contemplate — so they avert their gaze to glamorous London as the acceptable face of “their” country. Oblivious that deep in the London-abused heart of Scotland there survives a latent winsome smile which if respectfully wooed will dazzle the world.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I think you have a point. Sometimes it is like a deep-seated snobbery, an inability to identify with what is seen as endemic failure. Much the same as when the poor are blamed for not being rich, without any effort to understand the causes of poverty. Instead there is an inclination to condemn and to identify with the successful.

      Remember Blair and New Labour inventing new categories for iniquitously redefining the working class by dividing those who were their natural voters as ‘aspirational’ and the ‘underclass’ ? I always thought that last definition had sinister echoes of ‘untermensch’ . It also recalled the Victorian ideas of deserving and undeserving poor – a prejudice which was often sadly shared by the poor themselves, or those who defined themselves as different from the abject poor, by seeing themselves as more virtuous by dint of being hard-working (the ragged-trousered philanthropists).

      So yes, there is a definite human trait to wish to be identified with the successful and this is probably an element within unionism. It is why you often hear unionist supporters talk so disparagingly of Scotland and its failures which bolsters their natural tendency to identify with what seems to them to be a more successful ie richer country and to feel embarrassed by their own. Power itself also has glamour and the more Scotland is seen as subservient to a greater England the more it enhances for them the identity of being ‘British’ as opposed to being ‘Scottish’ and identified as being inferior.

      Liked by 6 people

  11. Colonized-elites
    SNP elite has chosen to serve as a colonial administration
    Extremely deceitful and most treacherous NuSNP’s deception
    The colonizers’ agents are ignorant: where sovereignty lies
    The politicians aren’t serving their voters; so we despise

    Both Holyrood and Westminster, hey have condemned their own
    Nation and people through their inaction and deceit: disown
    The outcome’s “a calcified colonized society” – UK beside
    Originating internally alongside corset imposed from outside

    More than three centuries have passed – as I’m writing this
    And realising that our ancestors had similar feelings to us
    Centuries, more like minutes, between the ages we discuss…
    Quietly Resuming Scotland’s independence peacefully, no fuss!

    Ewenart

    © Ewen A Morrison

    Liked by 5 people

  12. Excellent article Graham, and I think you’re spot on when it comes to power and who has it, and who doesn’t have it, it would appear that Sturgeon doesn’t want to relinquish any power at all regardless of how bad it gets for Scots.

    Liked by 4 people

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