Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Before they burn their bridges, leading figures in the SNP ought to remember that Alex Salmond is a man with options

Following on from my bewilderment over a period of weeks as Iain Macwhirter acted as an unlikely cheerleader for herd immunity, it's refreshing to once again find something to agree with him about, and I see that his column today will argue that Nicola Sturgeon should seek a reconciliation with Alex Salmond "before it's too late".  I think from the SNP leadership's perspective that point should really be beyond dispute.  The period after Mr Salmond's acquittal ought to have been a time of healing, but instead a number of senior SNP parliamentarians foolishly made comments that were obviously intended to make it very difficult for the former leader to be welcomed back into the fold.  It became clear that one or two of them really did believe in the nonsensical claim peddled by the controversial journalist David Leask that the man who had led the SNP for almost one-quarter of its entire existence to date, and who they had served under themselves without any apparent difficulty, was somehow not part of the "real SNP" (whatever that might be).

We live in an infantile age where anyone who makes even the smallest mistake or misjudgement can find themselves characterised as an irredeemable monster.  In the eyes of several individuals very close to the top of the SNP, Alex Salmond was at some point reclassified, practically overnight, from a respected statesman to an "enemy of women", and absurdly the verdict of the court made almost no difference to that assessment.  Even if they truly believed that the demonisation was justified, they seemed to have lost sight of the realpolitik of the situation, which is that Mr Salmond, unlike the vast majority of politicians, is a man with options.  It's not actually possible to deny him a future in politics by simply freezing him out of the SNP, because he has the option, if he wishes to take it, of a bright future in politics outside the SNP.  His critics might think it's unfair or distasteful that he has that option when others don't, but all that matters is that he does.  You'd almost be forgiven for thinking that people close to the leadership actively prefer the idea of his comeback being outside the SNP, given that their actions make that outcome somewhat more probable - but the idea that they're doing it intentionally makes absolutely zero sense given the obvious potential for electoral damage to the party.  The more plausible conclusion is that sound strategic judgement has given way to identity politics zealotry.

During the 1980 Labour leadership election, Denis Healey famously treated his natural allies with contempt.  He told them they had "nowhere else to go", and that he would instead concentrate on wooing the left in his ill-fated bid to defeat Michael Foot.  A few months later, some of the MPs that Healey had antagonised left to join the newly-formed Social Democratic Party, and one of them sent him a note that simply read "found somewhere else to go".  The SNP leadership are acting as if Mr Salmond has nowhere else to go.

As I've said a number of times in recent months, I'm personally in two minds about whether it would be a good thing or a bad thing for the independence movement if Mr Salmond ends up launching a new list-only party.  On the face of it, things are going exceptionally well at the moment - support for independence has never been higher, and thanks to Nicola Sturgeon's handling of the pandemic there is unprecedented faith in Scotland's ability to govern itself competently.  That progress could in theory be squandered by the self-inflicted wound of a major new divide in the pro-indy camp.  But, on the other hand, even sky-high support for independence would be of absolutely no use to anyone unless the SNP leadership actually do something with it.  If a Salmond-led party emerges, at least we'd immediately have something that we don't have right now - ie. a very credible route-map to Scotland becoming an independent country in the aftermath of the 2021 election.  The new party would not win a majority, it would not become the largest single party, and it would not form a government on its own.  But it would have every chance of becoming a kingmaker, and it would presumably use any leverage it gains to insist on a way forward that is not dependent on the granting of a Section 30 order.

In all honesty, and in spite of my mixed feelings about the strategic wisdom of launching a list-only party, if Alex Salmond was to decide to take the plunge I'd probably put my doubts to one side and get behind the initiative.  Right now I'm a proud supporter of the SNP because it's the only large party with independence as its raison d'Γͺtre, but if another large and credible party comes along with a stronger commitment to independence, the equation would obviously change radically.

It's safe to assume that, unlike me, the SNP leadership don't have even the slightest doubt in their minds that the cause of independence is best served by the Yes movement remaining largely united behind the SNP, and the SNP only.  If that is indeed their verdict, it would plainly be logical for them to reach out to Mr Salmond.  If they don't, they'll have no-one to blame but themselves for any negative consequences that follow.

117 comments:

  1. The cause is no longer independence, but rather the SNP itself.

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    1. I'm sick of that line! The SNP are the members. The people who have campaigned and tramped the streets for decades are still focused on Independence. A one line post attacking a group of people who have got us to the edge of Independence.
      How many doors have you knocked recently? How many people have you convinced on Independence?
      Amateurs talk of objectives, professionals talk logistics. Without a machine NOTHING can be achieved.
      The above doesn't mean I think it is perfect. Can you give me an alternative Party that can win the majority of seats at Holrood next year?....thought not!

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    2. The SNP are not the end in themselves, they are the means to the end. Success ends their raison d'etre. It's fair to ask what elected members feel about that; I'm not sure all of them are comfortable with that; permanent revolution is an appealing option. For others, there is one eye on their 'legacy', taking their eye of the main prize and onto their role in it.

      The machine must be focused on the strategy for delivering the objective, not on the tactics

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    3. Julie - hear hear. You don't discuss your tactics on blogs or websites to assist your opponents.

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    4. But, 1971Thistle, wouldn't any new party also be a means to an end and wouldn't success end its raison d'etre?
      In the unlikely event of it winning any MSPs wouldn't they be just as likely to take "their eye of the main prize and onto their role in it"?
      Or is it just the SNP that's bad?

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    5. @Grendel

      Absolutely it would lose its raison d'etre; it would be a purpose-built vehicle.

      I think the problem is that many of the incumbents see the party as means to numerous - no doubt important - other ends; a focus on the main prize will hinder that opportunity.

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    6. So, no political party can see us all the way to independence because its MSPs will inevitably be distracted by ambition and greed?
      I do hope you're wrong, Thistle!

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  2. Spot on. Widely shared. John Robertson.

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  3. An intriguing prospect, but unlikely, unless Salmond himself leads on it and displays genuine contrition. He was acquitted in court, but I suspect the party leadership still view him as a 'bully boy' they want nothing to do with. He would have to demonstrate that he had accepted a role as a completely neutered 'sit by the queen' before being accepted back. Stranger things have happened, but that doesn't sound like Salmond to me.

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    1. "and displays genuine contrition"

      That would be appropriate language if he'd been found guilty, rather than acquitted.

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    2. Contrition for?

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    3. Ignore the court case. Here's a question. How do you think Salmond is viewed at the top of the SNP? That's the obstacle to overcome in any rapproachment. You are saying that Salmond has options, and it is up to the SNP to make a first move if they don't want an SNP-damaging Salmond-led list party. I am saying that is unlikely from the current leadership, and it may be up to Salmond to make that move. Provided, of course, he wants to.

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    4. I'm struggling with your comment a bit, becauss you're asking me questions that I covered pretty directly in the blogpost. How he's viewed by the SNP leadership is clear enough - but is that justified? Is that in their own interests, or is it self-destructive? These are the real questions.

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    5. Sorry if I'm being thick, but what is Alex Salmond supposed to do in his 'first move' that would lead to rapprochement?

      It appears to me that the current situation - the continuing attacks post-trial and the lack of any minor olive branch at that time - means it's down to the current SNP leadership to defuse this situation.

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    6. Correct.1971Thistle.

      Craig P..sorry you are wrong, you cannot ignore the court case, it's central to the whole discussion some people tried to have convicted Alex Salmond for things he did not do, you cannot ignore that furthermore the people behind it are behaving as if he was found guilty by the court and are supported in their behaviour by the British press and the BBC .

      I don't think Alex Salmond will rejoin the SNP I don't think he wants to but he will rejoin the Scottish independence campaign , perhaps as a List Party perhaps as an independent maybe as a Labour Independent after all it's Labour voters who voted NO that we need to switch to YES

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    7. Craig, I suspect "the top(s) of the SNP" will also be divided on the issue.
      If Alex was to come back into party politics in any public role as an advocate for independence the British media would have a field-day with the "sleazy but not a sex-criminal" line his defence adopted. The tipsy, late-night work sessions at Bute House would be "re-examined" and we'd all be pointedly reminded that, in Scotland, an accused person's acquittal doesn't mean that his or her accusers were lying.
      The SNP's most consistent and successful strategy since I joined in 1979 has been its unity and today's SNP hierarchy know this. I'm not surprised by its current silence because, for them, "wait and see" is the smart thing to do just now.
      I disagree with James that bridges are being burned by those that matter in the party. Nicola Sturgeon's recent expression of "grief" was not a throw-away line. "I've not been able to talk about this because of the criminal trial and then when the criminal trial ended, I was immersed as I still am in Covid" echoed Mr Salmond's own words on the steps of the High Court after his acquittal. They will still have many mutual friends who see reconciliation as best for Alex, Nicola, the SNP and the independence movement and I hope their cool counsel is more persuasive than those trying to push each towards angry revenge and divisive sectarianism.

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    8. ScottytheScotinScotlandJuly 29, 2020 at 11:48 PM

      Grendel - you are correct that it does not mean that the accusers are lying because the accused is acquitted but in this case the accusers were PROVEN to be liars. The question a decent media should be asking is why are they not being charged with perjury.

      People in the SNP working with the Britnat media to attack Salmond after he was acquitted. Yet some people think everything is hunky dory in the SNP.

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    9. My point was that the media would not view it through your eyes and would wade in at every interview.

      Questions like "At your trial, your highly-paid solicitor said in your defence “If, in some ways, the former first minister had been a better man, I wouldn’t be here, you wouldn’t be here, none of us would be here”…what did he mean by that, Mr Salmond? What exactly were the kinds of behaviour that led to Mr Jackson telling the jury you could have been a better man and that landed you in court?"

      Mr Jackson also said “I’m not here to suggest he always behaved well or couldn’t have been a better man (that phrase again, Mr Salmond) on occasions. That would be a waste of my time” Can you tell those whose votes you are seeking, how you might have been a better man? What exactly were the types of behaviours to which he was referring?"

      "Another thing Mr Jackson said...and remember, Mr Salmond, he was on your side... “But I’m in a court of law and I’m dealing, not with whether he could have been a better man because he certainly could have been better....” So, even your lawyer, whose job it was to defend you in court, kept referring to your, still unspecified, moral shortcomings. Can you give some examples of this behaviour that even the man paid to defend you admitted “could have been better”?"

      "And you said yourself, under oath, “I wish I had been more careful with people’s personal space but there was no intention whatsoever to offend.” But soon after that you told the court that one of the complainers had a “legitimate grievance”. How do you explain this apparent contradiction? Which is it, Mr Salmond? I’m sure those considering voting for you will want to know before putting their cross on the ballot paper. Which of your unintended offences do you think caused “legitimate grievances”?

      "And exactly how might a “sleepy cuddle”, to which you referred in your evidence, become a “legitimate grievance”? Would “a better man” not understand the difference between the two? At the time you were dishing out these so-called “sleepy cuddles” you were the First Minister and most powerful man in Scotland!"

      "And we heard about these drunken, late-night meetings at Bute House. Is that how Scotland was run when you were First Minister, Mr Salmond? Is that how business will be conducted in your independent Scotland if you get your way?"

      They would have a field day, I'm afraid, because the media do not deal in facts but in mud-slinging and innuendo.

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    10. Alex didn't exactly come out of that unscathed.

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    11. Well. Interesting now to see recent developments. I suspect that even if Alex Salmond did open dialogue with 'sorry for being a bit handsy, even though you dragged me through court for it and I was acquitted on every count', the faction in control are making clear their power bid. I doubt they would have him back for anything.

      Sturgeon beware.

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  4. Replies
    1. Yesterday's memories are tomorrow's dreams.

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    2. Je ne regrette rien!

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  5. Good exposition of Salmond's options.
    He also could stand on the list as an independent.
    When elected - I'm sure he would be - he could explore his options which could include rejoining the SNP.
    The political landscape could be radically different come next year.
    He's keeping his head down just now to see what developes.
    Is that not what a lot of us are doing.
    Most Yessers will have a decision to make if [bigif] the SNP are still riding high in the polls at the end of April.

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  6. If he is your friend - embrace him!
    If he is not - be seen to embrace him.

    Whatever your view of Alex he deserves that respect for his contribution to the cause of Independence.

    He will always have my respect AND vote.

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  7. It would good if someone could do an update on all the new parties or potential parties and work out the possible effects on 'list' voting. Presumably multiple indy list candidates would split the 'alternative indy party' vote and any unionist 'list' parties would split the unionist vote.

    What I would like to know is if any of these new parties would be prepared to stand down candidates if it became clear they were not likely to get anywhere near a seat. And if not, why not?

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  8. I do not think Alex Salmond will go for a List party.

    I think if anything he should go for being a Labour Party independent.

    It's Labour voters that will be the ones who push the YES vote over the line.

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    1. Considering that he has never been a member of the Labour Party, I am baffled at how he could go for being a 'Labour Party independent'. For that matter, I cannot see Mr. Salmond ever running as an independent of any stripe but that is just my take on Mr. Salmond.

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    2. Technically he is an ex-member of the Labour party - I believe he was briefly a member as a young man in the 1970s.

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    3. He gave up the class struggle early and left it to others.

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  9. I'd give Salmond / any new party he led a fair hearing.

    I'd not vote for the 'Scots are cowards that I don't want to live amongst, preferring the brave (for refusing wee Scotland a Section 30) English Party' though.

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    1. You have your Irish passport so move.

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    2. Why would someone who owns a Scottish political blog live in England? More so why would anyone want to vote for him when he's called the Scots cowards. The very Scots that have been filling his piggy bank for him.

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  10. https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-health-coronavirus-britain-furlough/extend-uk-furlough-scheme-or-risk-wave-of-joblessness-think-tank-warns-idUKKCN24T1XJ

    The thing about the furlough scheme, is that it makes the UK government the employer of many Scots. If the former ends the scheme, it is the UK government making these people unemployed.

    Each person they fire is will be most likely become a Yes voter. After all, why support a UK that, by choice, made you unemployed?

    Everyone knows the furlough scheme can be extended. However, it means tax increases for wealthy Tory MPs / voters, which is why they don't want to extend it.

    So, to avoid paying tax on their huge 'chicken feed' wages, Johnson and his wealthy English mates will make many Scots unemployed most likely.

    People remember what happened to SNP support post 2008-9 right? #2011

    Well, watch and see what happens to Yes this time.

    What good is a UK if it doesn't protect your Job / business? You might as well try taking back control with indy.

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  11. Haaaaaahahahahahahahahahaha πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

    30+ articles on "you can't game the system!" and "polling shows the SNP are going to get a huge majority by themselves!" suddenly become "Alex Salmond's party could be kingmakers and I'd get behind this initiative" πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

    Priceless. Absolutely priceless.

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    1. Out of interest, does James also regularly visit England (virtually) to comment on your blog Stuart?

      Genuine question.

      :-)

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    2. Time to leave it to the grown-ups Stuart it's getting serious now.

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    3. "Out of interest, does James also regularly visit England (virtually) to comment on your blog Stuart?"

      Unlike me, James ONLY debates in arenas where he has the power of total censorship of all sides. I must say, though, I'm especially enjoying his demand in last night's rant that I should "engage with criticisms", shortly after which he closed comments on the post :D :D :D :D

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    4. Do you censor comments on your blog Stuart? I've heard some claim you do.

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    5. Please don't criticise the Rev. He can't take it and there will just be a hissy fit and lots of swearing and name calling. On a more serious note it's important the independence movement puts distance between itself and WOS. That site must now be the BBC go to site for their SNP bad reporting. And the negative msm and BBC reporting is only going to intensify as the SNP support continues to stay above 50 per cent in opinion polls. James has been consistent throughout on the issue of gaming the system and I agree with his stance. No one has put forward reasoned counter arguments. The next year is potentially momentous for the independence movement. Let's keep our eyes on the objective while the Scottish govt deals with this unprecedented set of public health issues.

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    6. I'm sure that James did a lot of good work deleting some of the hateful comments of Wings supporters last night. (Not that I understand what half the words mean.)

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    7. A blog owner deciding what is allowed to be posted on their personal, private blog is fundamental to free speech of course.

      It's only on public, supposedly impartial forums - e.g. BBC comments sections - could that be straying into censorship (assuming censored comments were not overly offensive, breaking rules etc).

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    8. I'm glad that Twitter and Facebook are responsible private companies that act against people and things who... aren't nice.

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    9. How amusing that my reply about James only engaging in debating arenas where he has the sole total power of censorship has been deleted. And after his public call last night for me to engage, too :D

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    10. Stuart, are you on drugs? I'm not quite sure where to start here. First of all, as everyone can see with their own eyes, your comment about "James only engaging in debating arenas where he has the sole total power of censorship" has not been deleted, and indeed is the *comment we're both replying to right now*. You're going to make yourself look a bit bloody silly if you carry on saying that sort of thing. That said, your comment was a blatant piece of trolling and it was crying out to be deleted, and I only left it up because there were several replies by the time I saw it.

      Secondly, I'm not sure how you square your claim that I only engage on sites where I have powers of censorship with the huge amount of time I spend on Twitter every day - or indeed with the many, many years I spent as a regular poster on Political Betting, where I was scarcely on good terms with the individuals who actually did have censorship powers (and who eventually banned me outright). I suspect what you really mean is that I *don't post on Wings*. To you, there's barely a world beyond that.

      Thirdly, as has already been patiently explained to you many, many times, if in the future I end up getting behind a hypothetical Salmond-led party, I would not be doing so on a 'game-the-system' basis - I would simply be supporting my first-choice party, exactly as I do right now, and exactly as I always have done. But hey, you know that and you're just tediously pretending not to understand. If that's what makes you happy...

      The position remains as it always has done: the list vote does not lend itself to tactical voting, and any attempt to game the system is, as you so sagely said yourself in 2016, "a mug's game". One of your finest ever articles, if I may say so.

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    11. Hi Stuart. You didn't answer my question about you deleting comments on your own blog. Is that true?

      What about the quarantine thing? Is that still in operation?

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    12. James has always been consistent in distinguishing between the likely success of a Salmond list party, and your proposal for the 'Bath Phone-In' Party.

      As someone said in last blog post, that difference comes down to the fact that you're now as popular in Scotland as a cancer diagnosis.

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    13. James: I would love if you'd quote me any time I've ever said a Wings party would be an attempt to "game the system". I mentioned it in a single throwaway line in my interview on the Salmond show that wasn't explored any further. In the Times interview that kicked off all the screaming and shouting there are only a couple of paragraphs on it, in which I say that the object is to "speak up for people who feel ignored by the SNP and politics in general" in terms of their fringe woke/nanny state policies. The main Wings piece on the subject says "what if there was an indy party with a widely-recognised 'brand', with moderate and sensible policies that didn’t terrify normal people?", which unless you're VERY stupid is clearly a reference to the same thing.

      So where you're getting "game the system" out of any of that is quite the mystery, other than that it's an easy strawman for you to attack rather than address your own increasingly loopy and contradictory behaviour.

      (Where I've talked about the arithmetic of D'Hondt has been to debunk the absurdly stupid "splitting the vote" narrative and point out that a separate list party is in almost all circumstances a vote MULTIPLIER, not a split.)

      But, y'know, keep tilting at phantoms if you like, I'm sure it's much easier. And if it'll help, I'll say "bum" so you have an excuse to delete my comment. Don't say I'm not a nice guy.

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    14. No, it's when you call people "c**ts" or the like (as, let's face it, you do extremely frequently) that you're likely to see your comment automatically deleted.

      You wrote several blogposts last year stating that your rationale for a Wings party was the purported opportunity to reduce the number of unionist list MSPs below what their share of the vote would otherwise warrant. That's gaming the system - whether you only used those exact words once, or whether you used them fifty times, is neither here nor there. (Although I must confess I do find it highly amusing that you're openly admitting to having used those words, and yet are still whingeing about the alleged attribution of those words to you - which by defintion would be entirely accurate.)

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    15. As Stuart is ignoring your question Scottish Skier yes he does - the blog that is being referred to was censored and edited heavily to remove the points and criticisms I made about gaming the system and the chances of any success.

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    16. Thanks Paul. That's what I suspected from what folk were saying.

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    17. As a matter of interest Gavin Barrie and I carried on the debate on twitter and being friends we of course agree to differ.

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    18. RevStu: I answered your question, honestly and accurately, and your response is to accuse me of lying and then chuck in some playground abuse for good measure. This is Trumpian stuff (all that's missing are the words "Fake Nooz!") and frankly my patience with it has come to a total end. Comments deleted. In the unlikely event that you ever have the remotest interest in engaging seriously, you know where to find me, but until that day arrives just don't bother. I'm sure you can find someone to call a c**t on Facebook or Mastodon or whatever platform you're still able to post on.

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    19. Hahaha. Brilliant. The fake reverend is now on here shouting his mouth off. Free speech and all of that as he's banned one poster after another on his site to the point that it's chockful of unionists and twats. The guy who told everyone not to trust the BritNat media now posting their articles on his site and in fact giving them interviews. When it comes right down to it we don't need the anti-independence media now when they've got his site. What a turnaround doing everything in his power to destroy the SNP as he mentioned the wee idea of a ''list party'' knowing it / they too will scupper our chances of winning indyref2. The ''idea'' that he once rubbished. If we lose indyref2 due to him, more so the brains behind what going on with him (the brainless wonder), Bath won't be far enough.

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  12. As apparently the most recent fiasco was not the first attempt by the same people to remove Salmond from the SNP, it's highly unlikely he would return there to face more of the same. The ruling clique have made it quite clear that the end justifies any means however dirty, so unless there is a clean-out at the top level, tantamount to a coup, Salmond will not return to the SNP.

    There is a possibility that the publication of Salmond's book will precipitate some senior people discovering a sudden desire to spend more time with their families, but we don't know how much the cancer has spread, and what degree of change could lure him back.

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    1. ScottytheScotinScotlandJuly 29, 2020 at 5:20 PM

      Has Salmond actually said he is writing a book?

      Do we really want the sort of people who would carry out this Salmond persecution having anything to do with Scottish independence either now or in the future. Time for SNP members to get rid of these horrendous people from the SNP.

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    2. He is not writing a book.

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    3. ScottytheScotinScotlandJuly 29, 2020 at 9:03 PM

      No book. That's a pity. How about a leaflet entitled " How I was persecuted for two years by redacted redacted redcacted redacted redacted redacted redacted redacted redacted redacted, commonly known as the Alphabet woman, aided and abetted by SNP members, a bad bitch from the UK civil service and assorted spads.

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    4. Wait Salmond isn't writing a book? Was that just Jim Sillars talking his usual pish then?

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    5. 'Wait Salmond isn't writing a book? Was that just Jim Sillars talking his usual pish then?'

      Stu Campbell too.

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  13. If my guesswork about those with a particular interest in the case is correct then I think it would be tough for Salmond to return to the SNP. It'd also think it better if he occupied an honorary rather than elected position at any other organisation he chose to join. Maybe he could fulfil part of the role of a Pro-Indie Gordon Brown. Given the circumstances I'm not sure that it would be appropriate for him to preach. Rueful, astute, whisky-sipping veteran would suit him better. And the eyebrows could say a lot on their own.
    It would be good if he could be counterbalanced by some sort of fiery idealist – but we haven't been breeding a lot of those lately.

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  14. Why can't you all wait for the inquiry going on into civil service involvement in this matter.

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    1. Because some of us already know what happened.

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    2. Because there were more than the civil service involved.

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    3. How did you manage to get both sides of the story Stuart?

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    4. I suspect his several personalities told him exactly what he wanted to hear. Think James MacAvoy in Split, only with 100% less charisma.

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    5. ScottytheScotinScotlandJuly 29, 2020 at 5:14 PM

      You cannot get more charisma free than someone who is anonymous.

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    6. I'm waiting for Skier to call him a massive coward.

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    7. SalaciousBCrumbinScotland - yes you can. The Rev is living proof.

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    8. It's we 'Scots that are cowards, while the English are brave' (presumably for being so scared of independence, they refuse wee Scotland a Section 30).

      It's why some bloggers prefer to live in England. In their own words.

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    9. ScottytheScotinScotlandJuly 29, 2020 at 9:15 PM

      Anonymous - that post is charisma free - imagination free - humour free but full on pathetic. No wonder you are anonymous.

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    10. ScottytheScotinScotlandJuly 29, 2020 at 10:12 PM

      William Purves - it was not a purely civil service matter. Thought everyone knew that by now. In Scotland a member of the public is unable to properly comment on a poltical matter because it has been wrapped in a cloak of political protection by the Governments own justice system . Reminds me of the Soviet Union. It's to the gulag ( via that court in Edinburgh) if you tell the truth.

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    11. I'm sorry, Salacious - I don't speak Sycophant.

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    12. Mr Anonymous tells Craig Murray what happened and Craig tells Stu, lol. We'll wait to hear what Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon have to say on the matter not some nonentity from Bath.

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  15. Well done James!

    You got there in the end πŸ˜€

    Hurray for progressive thinking.

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    1. I don't know how to break the news to you, Gavin, but you appear to have misread this article as saying "I have changed my mind and now agree with Gavin Barrie's pseudoscientific 'analysis' that the Wings party is a spiffing idea and that it would successfully game the system". In fact, the Wings party remains an atrocious idea, it would either increase unionist representation or have no effect at all, tactical voting on the list remains no more viable than it was before, and your 'analysis' remains a cynical attempt to hoodwink the gullible.

      Sorry about that. Chin up, old chap.

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    2. The third option is that a Wings party, with obnoxious bully boy behind it, would put the general public in Scotland off independence altogether. Has he ever read Rabbie Burn's ''To a Louse?'' Seems not.

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    3. Is this the same Gavin Barrie who posted a graph on Wings, which showed that 35% of SNP voters voting Wings would produce 13 seats for Wings and therefore an extra 13 "pro-Indy" seats?

      Any relation to "Peter Pan" author JM Barrie? He was also a great writer of fantasy fiction....

      THIRTY-FIVE PERCENT!!! Jesus wept!!

      Delete
    4. In fairness to him, that was the highest figure he considered. He also acknowledged that if they got less than 12% of SNP voters, it would either make no difference to the arithmetic or result in a net loss of indy-supporting MSPs. Which makes it seem like a rather poor idea, given than 0-12% is virtually guaranteed to be the range they'd be in.

      Delete
  16. A YouGov poll in the wind asking a heap of things. My suspicion is that it's one commissioned by the Labour Party.

    I didn't take note of all that was asked but they did asyrood for sure:

    i) Westminster voting intention;
    ii) Holyrood list and constituency;
    iii) A separate question about the list asking for rating out of 10 on how likely one was to vote Tory, Lab, Lib Dem, SNP or Green;
    iv) independence question but with 6 options, 'definitely yes', 'probably yes', 'not sure', 'definitely REMAIN in UK', 'probably REMAIN in UK', 'wouldn't vote' (so look out for misrepresentation if this poll sees the light of day);
    v) asking whether thought there should be an indyref in next 5 years (no 'next 2 years' query);
    vi) Asking what you liked about the party you support;
    vii) Asking what Labour could do to get you to vote for them;
    viii) Asking whether it was likely or unlikely that you would ever vote for a party with an opposing view to yours on indy;
    ix) Asking whether the Scottish Parliament or both the Scottish Parliament and UK Gov should make the decision regarding an indyref being held;
    x) questions about Holyrood and WM handling of Covid;
    xi) questions about approval/disapproval of a slew of Tory figures, Nicola Sturgeon, Keir Starmer and the Labour Party as a whole.

    There was more but these were the main ones.

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  17. Very timely article. Thank you James.SNP have to recognise that they are not "the" independence movement but primarily a means to an end.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ScottytheScotinScotlandJuly 29, 2020 at 10:16 PM

      It's the end that a lot of them are worried about.

      Delete
  18. Big Eater From PerthJuly 29, 2020 at 11:33 AM

    I agree that we should have a full and frank discussion about all such matters. Visit my blog and see me putting the boot into Alyn Smith!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Big Eater From PerthJuly 30, 2020 at 10:15 AM

      I'm the Canary in the coalmine!

      Delete
    2. You know what happened to the canaries in the coal mines, they died.

      Delete
  19. ScottytheScotinScotlandJuly 29, 2020 at 5:09 PM

    A party can only genuinely call itself a party of Scottish independence if its manifesto states that a greater than 50 % of the vote us a mandate for Scotland to be an independent country.

    I would vote for a party that has that commitment in its manifesto. A commitment to Scottish independence.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The SNP has always had independence in its manifestos.

      Delete
    2. ScottytheScotinScotlandJuly 30, 2020 at 11:11 AM

      William Purves - point me to where in the 2919 Dec GE that the SNP manifesto stated that a >50% vote for the SNP is a mandate for independence. It certainly wasn't on the SNP big bus which said STOP BREXIT.

      Delete
    3. ScottytheScotinScotlandJuly 30, 2020 at 10:23 PM

      No reply by William Purves. You can make your own mind up about the validity of his statement.

      Delete
  20. I know it seems highly unlikely at this moment in time, but just imagine the boost to the independence movement and hammer blow to the Unionists if there was some sort of reconciliation between Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond before next May. Supporters of the Union are banking on a divided independence movement going into the Holyrood elections. Gaining Scottish independence is all that matters - any other issues must be put on the back burner until after May 2021. I don't think Scotland will ever have a better chance to regain its sovereign status. Never was the saying, 'United we stand, divided we fall', more appropriate.

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    1. "Supporters of the Union are banking on a divided independence movement going into the Holyrood elections."

      Fair enough if we have Independence Movement candidates everywhere in the elections. That should sicken them.

      Delete
    2. I thought it was the people that matter.

      Delete
    3. GWC I would be truly astonished if anyone who has read the infantile repetitive rambling drivel that is your only contribution to this wonderful blog would give a monkeys what you thought about anything. I certainly dont.

      Delete
    4. Notwithstanding your own repetitive drivel. I am sure young James will enjoy your patronising comment.

      Delete
    5. So is the UK going to deliberately make loads of unionist voting scots unemployed GWC, or keep the furlough scheme going as recommended by NIESR?

      Delete
    6. I will consult with the tarrot cards and my close friend Knickerless. Are you saying that the Gov should nationalise all private industries.

      Delete
    7. I support extending the furlough scheme as the NIESR recommends.

      It can be funded by an increase in taxes, such as the SNP have done for higher earners in Scotland.

      Mass unemployment is hardly going to help the economy. As the NIESR says, the furlough scheme is cheaper than letting the economy go down the pan in an attempt to save money. Governments need to spend during tough times, and save in the good. Act in the opposite way to the private sector in effect.

      Delete
    8. Tax increases will come for everyone not just so called higher earners. What about getting rid of politicians and saving millions. We have treble the amount of politicians since I was born and what have they ever done for us. The Romans did it all. I do not understand sensible blokes like you who require masses of politicians to run our lives.

      Delete
    9. I want a reduction. We don't need the 59 send to london, and we certainly don't need two parliaments for domestic business. A single Scottish parliament is sufficient. Bring all the Scottish (reserved matter) civil service jobs to Scotland too, rather than these being in london. We could reduce costs massively.

      Delete
    10. The fifty nine could be employed in Scotland and do a day in Westminster. It is working people that keep Scotland turning over.

      Delete
    11. A reconciliation between Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond would be a hammer blow for the Unionists including, Campbell, their number one man now. Alex Salmond was duped by women he trusted and worked beside. Let's hope he can see through Campbell and Murray.

      Delete
  21. For someone who is supposed to be the Great White Hope, Salmond hasn't mentioned Scottish independence at all. Even his RT prog doesn't mention Scottish politics, ever. He goes on about Ireland quite a bit.

    The evidence overwhelmingly indicates that Salmond isn't interested in Scottish politics. Anyway, he couldn't even get elected running for the SNP. As far as I can make out, about 5000 political activists and journalists think he is relevant. And that's it. For most people, the first thing that comes to mind isn't 'The Great Statesman'.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 'Former FM, came close in 2014 but no cigar, innocent of all (unionist) charges' is what most think based on anecdotes and polling.

      Great Statesman no. I don't believe Scots think that of any politician. We don't tend to do that (maybe more a unionist thing). Churchill was at best a 'great colonial racist', Thatcher an 'evil witch', etc. The Bruce is probably the closest we've got to a great statesman, and for decent reasons; he did ensure Scotland remained a country, even to this day.

      Politicians tend to put themselves on pedestals that the public don't. However, Salmond isn't guilty of that like say Boris 'I am also a great racist like churchill before me' Johnson.

      As you make clear, Salmond did his time, fought hard, modestly, to right the wrongs against him, now just gets on with the new day job, leaving politics largely to those currently elected. Definitely not seeking the political limelight / being self-important in any way. Not like e.g. Blair and Brown who still think they are important.

      I personally don't see any great advantage or disadvantage to Salmond making a comeback. He has his own following, but his time as defacto leader of the political Yes movement is over.

      Delete
  22. Skier, A person using the name Zander Tait commented in the Herald. 'I have to say that if Scotland were independent right now and operating with a distinct Scottish Currency,then that currency would be gaining value on the markets against Sterling with extreme rapidity'.
    The writer made no suggestion what that currency would be.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Scottish pound / franc / krone / krona...

      Doesn't really matter what it would be; if it was free floating rather than pegged to the UK pound, it would be gaining ground on the latter.

      A currency is simple and easy to set up. It's only people who can't stand on their own two feet that see such things as impossible, so want others (e.g. the English) to make decisions for them.

      I understand now why unionists think Scotland 'can't survive alone'. It's because they think this of themselves, and are projecting this onto all Scots. They are weak, scared people, who are unable to make their own decisions and are desperate for subsidies.

      They are not hard working, 'stand on your own two feet' type people like me / nats.

      There's no other obvious explanation for their 'we just cannae dae it!' response to everything.

      Jeez, if the 360k people of Iceland can have their own wee country, can you unionists not manage it? I think you can if you just work to get over that deep self doubt.

      Delete
    2. Good summary. I shall have to find slightly more supportive and encouraging words to take that forward with the people
      That I want to encourage though. In some ways ( and not meant offensively) it’s like learning children - encourage ( literally) and show what to do rather than tell what not to do.

      I think as this Covid plays out we will all collectively have taken a great big breath and be ready for the new adventure - no one who is still healthy wants to just return to ‘life as it was before’

      Delete
    3. Yes, of course it'd be gaining value against the English Sterling. All oil producing countries have problems with currencies that are too strong and not too weak - which again carries it's own problems.
      The name is irrelevant - it can be anything from Scottish pound to Scottish dollar - why does it even matter - but there will be one. The whole issue's a complete dud. Slovenia came with their own currency in early 1991. It wasn't recognised by anyone, had no formal relationship to the EU, IMF or anyone, lost all of its markets in former Yugoslavia, no natural resources, had a huge Serbian/Yugoslav army at its doorstep and - they still introduced the currency which ended up being very stable even during the very early 1990's. The same goes for virtually all the new currencies which were introduced in the early 90's in Europe.
      Why would out of all the countries in the world only Scotland have problems with the currency.
      The only problem I see is that SNP never provided answers which they easily could have.

      Delete
    4. "Why would out of all the countries in the world only Scotland have problems with the currency."

      Unionists have no confidence in themselves. They see themselves as useless and incapable of governance.

      It's the only obvious explanation here.

      Delete
    5. Your replies are music to us Unionists. You still do not know why you lost the referendum. Keep up the good work Skier,

      Delete
  23. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-53592881

    Coronavirus: England 'highest level of excess deaths'

    England had the highest levels of excess deaths in Europe between the end of February to the middle of June, official analysis shows.

    The Office for National Statistics said England saw the second highest peak rates of death in Europe, after Spain.

    But England had the longest period where deaths were above average, and so overall had the highest levels.


    Looking at the data, N. Ireland clearly benefited from it's geographical 'socially distant' location relative to England; something Scotland could have had if independent.

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  24. I would be very surprised if any of your readers know what an Ecclefechan Rainbow is.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Big Eater From PerthJuly 30, 2020 at 3:51 PM

    I've been let down again.

    Imagine my disappointment when I got to the final third of Joanna Cherry’s column in The National only to find something that reads like it has been pinched from Pete Wishart’s blog.

    Where did people get questions form? The got them from the British media! The vast majority of voters have neither immediate interest in nor any knowledge of these matters. They are told by the media that it is absolutely vital that they get an answer to the ‘What currency?’ question. So the think they need an answer to that question – notwithstanding the fact that even if any answer they could be given constituted real knowledge, it would be knowledge that they could do nothing with...
    Politics for Dummies! … How do I know all this? Because it is exactly what happened in the first referendum campaign!

    ReplyDelete