Sunday, January 31, 2021

A new Alex Salmond-led party may now be the best way of healing the Yes movement - and of securing a change of strategy on winning independence

Every time a new revelation appears about the Sturgeon / Salmond controversy on Wings or the Craig Murray blog, I'm messaged by people saying words to the effect of: "Now surely even YOU must see it, James! Sturgeon has to go!" To which my reaction is one of bemusement, because I've been privately aware of many of the details of the conspiracy against Alex Salmond for almost a year (I was told in confidence so I haven't said anything), and more broadly because I simply can't understand why people are excited and enthused about the possibility of something happening that in all likelihood would be an unmitigated disaster for the independence movement. Losing a wildly popular leader may on occasion be unavoidable, but it's something to be dreaded rather than longed for. We should be leaving our opponents to try to get their dream scalp - if they can. We shouldn't be joining in or egging them on. 

I said a couple of weeks ago that people have a remarkable capacity to conflate completely unrelated issues due to personal animosity, and the intra-Yes campaign to unseat Nicola Sturgeon is a classic example of that. There are three reasons that some Yessers want her gone - her stance on trans rights, her apparent lack of a viable strategy to guarantee a vote on independence, and her alleged involvement in the attempt to jail her predecessor. Those are all completely separate issues, and yet in some people's minds they've become all muddled together as if they're one in the same. It ought to be possible, for example, to think Ms Sturgeon might need to resign if certain conclusions are reached about her role in the conspiracy, but to also think that would be a matter of extreme regret because she is the person best placed to lead Scotland to independence. Have you ever heard anyone express that combination of views? No. By a remarkable coincidence, the people who want her to resign for moral reasons all happen to think she's a terrible leader and that getting rid of her will lead to a much-needed change of strategy on winning independence. 

To that I'd say two things. First of all, under Nicola Sturgeon's leadership, Yes has reached sustained majority support for the first time in history.  That's not a coincidence - it's almost certainly happened because her handling of the pandemic has instilled confidence in the public that an independent Scotland would be competently governed. If she's replaced by someone who commands less confidence, the equation might change and the Yes lead might disappear. The fact that this poses a major problem for the "get her out" brigade can be seen from the rather unconvincing efforts of Wings to make out that the Yes poll lead isn't really that impressive or is somehow sub-par. The first of twenty polls in a row showing an independence majority was a Panelbase poll commissioned by Scot Goes Pop last June, and Wings reacted to it with a long post that attempted to 'prove' that the poll actually showed that Yes was continuing to flatline - a claim that looks risible in retrospect. If you think having a sustained Yes lead barely warrants a shrug, let me tell you this - you're going to miss it when it's gone. 

Secondly, there's a degree of magical thinking about the belief that deposing Nicola Sturgeon will lead to a change of indy strategy. In reality, her replacement would most likely be one of the following: Angus Robertson, Humza Yousaf or Kate Forbes, and it's reasonable to assume that they would all be continuity candidates. It's not clear whether Joanna Cherry would even stand, given that she's an MP rather than an MSP. If she did, I'm sure I'd join Wings and others in supporting her strongly, but she wouldn't be the favourite by any means. 

Which leads me to a rather startling conclusion. The level of hostility I've seen towards Ms Sturgeon on social media is such that I'm not sure that the SNP is capable any longer of accommodating both her supporters and the opposing camp. We literally have people who think that deposing the SNP First Minister of Scotland ought to be the number one objective for all independence supporters (as opposed to, say, taking on the Tories or other unionists) - that's a perverse and irrational position, but we can't pretend that they don't genuinely feel that way or that they're likely to change their minds. And the SNP leadership are far from blameless in this - the decision to adopt what will presumably be an exceptionally broad, "everything and the kitchen sink" definition of the word 'transphobia' has a distinctly McCarthyite whiff about it, and leads me to wonder whether they even want the SNP to be one party rather than two. 

When it was first suggested that Alex Salmond might set up his own list-only party, I was conflicted about it, because I worried that it might erect a new Berlin Wall down the middle of the independence movement. That's no longer a valid concern, because the Berlin Wall is already there anyway. (Examples: Kirsty Blackman regularly lambasts her colleague Joanna Cherry on social media, and Hannah Bardell recently 'liked' a tweet boasting that Joan McAlpine had been no-platformed due to her non-existent 'bigotry' on the trans issue.) So I'm coming round to the idea that the positives would outweigh the negatives. One thing I know and admire tremendously about Alex Salmond is that he's a relentlessly positive electoral campaigner - once the new party is up and running, he wouldn't waste any time with a vendetta against Nicola Sturgeon. He'd devote every waking second to winning new converts and to motivating independence supporters to come out and vote. My guess is that he'd emphasise that his party is intended to complement rather than compete with the SNP - while making clear that it takes a very different view on strategy and would attempt to use any leverage in a balanced parliament to coax the SNP into changing course after the election. If Ms Sturgeon remains in post (and my guess is she probably will) that could very well leave us with the best of both worlds - she'd still be there to reach the parts that other pro-indy politicians can't reach, but her detractors would also have a political home and would be using their time to achieve something far more constructive than removing her from office. There'd also be little or no risk of splitting the pro-indy vote in a harmful way, because Alex Salmond is the one person with enough of a personal following to ensure that a list-only party gets over the de facto threshold for winning seats. 

For my part, Alex Salmond has always been my political hero, so I'd back his party if he set one up. In all other circumstances, I'll be sticking with the SNP - unless, of course, I get chucked out on a spurious charge of 'transphobia'. * * * 

The future of Scot Goes Pop: 

As readers of the desktop version of this blog may have spotted, there's a small 'donate' link in the sidebar - but it's been linking to the last general fundraiser than I ran, which was from 2019. That was beginning to look a bit odd, so I've replaced it today with a fresh fundraiser page for 2021. I won't 'officially' launch the fundraiser for a while yet, because I know there's a big danger of donation fatigue, but the page is there and it's now fully open for donations if anyone would like to. The money raised from the poll crowdfunders in recent months was / is ring-fenced for polling, and I didn't run a general fundraiser last year for the first time since 2013, so things are now getting extremely tight if I'm going to continue with normal service through the Holyrood election and beyond (especially given that lockdown has cut off one of my previous main sources of income). So basically I've reached the point where I have no choice. I won't make a big effort to promote it until the proper launch, though - there'll just be a small link at the bottom of each blogpost. Click HERE to visit the fundraising page.

96 comments:

  1. Thanks for that James. I also find it odd that Indy supporters are conflating different issues to unseat someone who is undoubtedly the most popular politician in the UK. I feel some of the "issues" are manufactured to damage the SNP leadership and are eagerly pounced upon by the more hostile press. Lets get Indy sorted, the armchair lawyers need to consider the international response to some of theit more radical thoughts. We need global recognition, not just local. I will donate what I can by the way.

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    1. I would also remind you that it is the anti-independence, Westminster supporting UK media who are pushing this much quoted most popular politician in the UK story. I wonder why?

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  2. I think most of the independence movement would get behind this, but I'm not sure if Alex Salmond wants to set up another party at this time.

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  3. It feels slightly as though the post independence political landscape is being formed, sort of Fianna Fail/Fine Gael moment.Not that I know much about Irish politics but it will be interesting with three indy parties getting elected, assuming the mew one does.

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  4. Alex Salmond told Craig Murray he had no interest in a return to frontline politics, which is what everyone in the SNP understood, Sturgeon included.

    You don't start a show on RT and go for a job at Johnston press if you plan to get back into frontline politics; you try to get back into politics. Right away. You stand for selection and try to get yourself lined up for a seat.

    And if Salmond planned to return to frontline SNP politics, it would self-evidently be him that would need to 'do sturgeon over' if he wanted her job, not the other way around. She's more popular than him in his heyday (which was a challenge in itself) and he's already had a fair shot at the post of leader and FM. Be greedy to try and take over again. He'd certainly have one mother of a challenge to convince both the majority of the party membership, a local constituency SNP group to get himself as a candidate, constituents of said constituency (to make him an MSP again), the electorate as whole (to put the SNP in power at the prospect of Salmond committing to 'do over Sturgeon' and take the reigns) and the parliament to get him hack in place as FM once he got there, including all the MSPs in the SNP that liked Sturgeon and didn't want Salmond back.

    Salmond was never ever going to present a threat to Sturgeon and never intended to according to the likes of Wings and Murray.

    This is fantasy bullshit of the highest order.

    However, a number of his former close advisors seem to have been out to get him and the bulk of these all work for Whitehall. Which makes sense.

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    1. I agree with Scottish Skier - above post and also later ones. I am not sure how to interpret what James has written today (..new Alex Salmond party...). Seems to me he is describimg a scenario merely in order to demonstrate how absurd it is.

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  5. By the way James I'm struggling with the donation page, does not seem to be working?

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  6. I absolutely share your amazement at Indy folk whose top priority is getting Sturgeon out, and I can't see evidence of the SNP "non faction" faction and the "faction" faction coming to any kind of compromise. Since the tribal split has coalesced around a weird bag of different unrelated issues I can't come down squarely on one side. But I'm not sure this idea would help. Honestly just hope nobody normal notices this shitshow before May. Amazing. Just amazing.

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  7. Just 2 months to go to register as a candidate.

    I can't see Alex Salmond doing a huge u-turn, giving up his new TV pundit career to set up a new party and lead a small handful of MSPs at best, with little to no hope of ever reaching, never mind surpassing the peak of his past career.

    He'd be great as a Dennis Canavan type Yes campaign figure head, but I'm not sure he's even interested in that role.

    If he did set up a party and stand, I'd look at the manifesto and give the strategy some consideration. However, I'd need to be 100% sure he isn't out to 'do over sturgeon' as I've no time for anyone who tries to do over anyone else.

    Anyway, chances are he won't be standing, never mind in my constituency / region, so I'm never going to have to make that choice. I will be voting for Christine Grahame and I'll have a look at the list candidates ahead of voting to make up my mind there.

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    1. He'd be great as a Dennis Canavan type Yes campaign figure head, but I'm not sure he's even interested in that role.

      Canavan was good in that role because he was a career Labour politician, thus helping to dispel the idea that independence was exclusively an SNP concern. I don't see how Salmond could do that. We need someone who is highly regarded by soft Yes and No voters.

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  8. I think the issues get conflated because they are all linked in some ways. The supposed reason for the Salmond/Sturgeon falling out was a difference on strategy, and many people instinctively support Salmond's return precisely because they want a different strategy - or more accurately, they want a strategy of any kind - and they believe Sturgeon is missing the boat. Meanwhile, those people are the only ones who can see any flaw in Sturgeon, so the concerns over the Salmond scandal are only really discussed by people who are already dubious about her. The reason you don't hear the opinion you describe is because her acolytes simply refuse to accept that she can do any wrong. They believe she is without flaws, that her secret strategy is impeccable, and the only reason to doubt her is because you're a bitter old white man who can't tolerate a woman in power. Those who can see the problem with the Salmond case are more likely to also see problems with the strategy, and therefore see Sturgeon as the single greatest weakness of the movement, no matter how popular she is, because she's not going to get us a referendum and she's about to bring the whole house down with her lies anyway.

    The trans issue is slightly different, but a lot of it revolves around Joanna Cherry and Wings. Both are vocal critics of GRA reform and the SNP's capitulation to trans ideology. They're also critics of the party's indy strategy and the treatment of Alex Salmond. Again, seeing a flaw in one makes you more likely to see flaws elsewhere. Supporters on the trans issue are less likely to accept the reality of the other problems.

    Essentially, it's Sturgeon loyalists who can see no wrong in her, and another group who can now see almost no good in her. Unless she has a VERY good story to tell when she comes before the Committee in a couple of weeks, she is almost certainly going to have to resign or be forced out. If/when that moment comes, there's going to be a real crisis because her supporters simply won't accept that she did anything wrong. I hope her opponents don't gloat too much. If they do, any sort of reconciliation is going to be very, very difficult.

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    1. I understood Sturgeon fell out with salmond initally because he did a show on 'Putin Today' ((c) UK press). Of course she then took all the media flack for that as she was leader of the SNP. Unionists had a field day over it.

      Personally, since he's left front-line politics, Scots don't give a crap what Salmond's doing (unless it's attacking the SNP), and the RT show certainly doesn't affect their vote for the SNP. However, I can imagine at the time Sturgeon wasn't going to be happy at all.

      As for wings. He claims to be against self-id, yet self-ids as Scottish apparently. I mean he's not legally Scottish, just 'feelz' that way. He doesn't have any national identity recognition certificate (NIRC) or anything. He sometimes chooses to pop up here to present as a Scot so he can gain benefits of that, e.g. to vote in referendums. Doesn't want to be a full time Scot though; openly saying he prefers to live as an Englishman 99.9% of the time. A part-time transcot by choice.

      However, first I nodded somewhat at the arguments wings was making. I also have a lot of time for women's concerns here. My feminist mum taught me well. However, Wings daily mail style 'here is an evil trans person i've found for you to look at...trans people are like this...do you trust trans people after seeing this?' dog-whistle type approach makes me think he either is transphobic, or more likely, is actually repressed trans. A lesbian transwoman most likely based on his self-reported past.

      His site is not a thoughtful debate on the matter, but a right-wing fest of anti-trans and anti-Yes party articles these days.

      I say this as a 'woke trasphobic transfan' which makes me think my views must be on the right track.

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    2. Ummmm...there's no such thing as "legally Scottish." He was born here and no longer lives here. I don't think he's ever claimed otherwise. He certainly didn't vote in any referendum here, so I really don't know what you're getting at with that accusation.c

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    3. Yes, Scottish is current legally defined by your tax code amongst other things. If you have a Scottish one, you are legally Scottish. That or habitually living here (with permanent leave to remain), which normally qualifies you for voting, jury service etc.

      Scottish nationality does not exist (so birth, parentage is currently irrelevant), but citizenship legally does, with this based on residency. Scots citizens (of a range of nationalities) vote in Scottish elections. We'd be in real trouble for the referendum if we couldn't legally define a Scot. Who would get a vote?

      If Wings did not vote in 2014 (if he registered at an address here, it was possible), what the hell was he doing up here campaigning? Why did he set up a campaign party in a PO box on Rose Street? That's foreign interference in Scottish democracy; something he's complained about in the past. He's just another David Cameron or Michael Gove.

      I have e.g. sympathy for Scots historically forced to leave in search of work. That was was almost me in the late 1990's. However, wings says he just prefers living in brave brexit England, and he clearly loves it from his blog / twitter.

      He self-identifies as Scots part time. I don't have an issue with people doing that as I self-id as Scots too. However, wings is against self-id in terms of identity.

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    4. I think Wings is totally toxic, but this is stuff is absolute guff.

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  9. Interesting thoughts. I've been wondering something similar - is there actually a strategy behind this to maximise the indy-supporting MSPs in the next Parliament?

    The SNP broad church seems like it's become too big and too broad to contain everyone who supports indy. But nobody can admit that publicly. The SNP can win a lot of constituency seats, but won't get many list seats. If there is a credible alternative party that only stands in the list, it would be possible for most people to vote SNP1, Alt2. The extremes on either side wouldn't support the other, perhaps, but who else will they vote for the in the constituency vote?

    Together - but not publicly together, so they're not officially gaming the system - they could win an overwhelming majority. Then minds would surely be focused on the single goal, the main prize. Alex & Nicola could join forces and put the past behind them in a show of national unity - illustrating that a referendum campaign wouldn't be divisive but would offer an opportunity to bring the country together.

    The "woke" and the "old folk" together, each talking to their own natural constituency. Demonstrating the new Scotland that could be built once independence has been achieved.

    This is probably all wishful thinking, but it helps me avoid believing that we're going to throw away our best chance of finally achieving normality for Scotland.

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    1. These wanting to win a list seat for a pro-independence list need to get over 6% in the region for to achieve any chance. They need for nearly all the constituencies to elect an SNP MSP in the electoral regions. If the SNP falter by not winning some constituencies then the SNP would gain a list seat denying the list party a seat. It is not as cut and dried as some of the those advocating to vote ISP. Lots of what ifs. If the SNP poll very well on the list seats then they have a chance of adding list seats as what happened in the NE in 2011.

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    2. All true, but wouldn't it be great if there was a master strategy behind all the in-fighting and name-calling?

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  10. Funnily enough that is what I was thinking. Spread the list vote and get more pro independence MP's although I cannot see Alex Salmond fronting a list vote party.

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  11. Please read my blog post - has wings gone too far beyond the pale..?

    https://stageleft.blog/2021/01/27/is-wings-broken/

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  12. Absolutely agree and you've summed up what I think perfectly. I like both Nicola and Alex and think both have different - and complementary - strengths and weaknesses. I really, really don't want to believe Nicola stitched Alex up and if she did, well, frankly I would never forgive that. But I would still think that, for independence, she is the best leader to get the SNP to a majority in May. But if there is a second party led by Alex, maybe with Joanna Cherry and some other big names, then that is an absolute dream team for independence. Let's build up both sides and support them both if we can.

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    1. Fergie says - "I really, really don't want to believe Nicola stitched Alex up....."

      No independence supporter would have wanted this to be the case but if it is not you have to believe that everyone around Sturgeon did it and she didn't have a clue it was happening. Sturgeon is a very competent and controlling person but you have to believe she is in fact incompetent and has no control over her husband and other SNP officials and politicians and no control over her Scotgov officials and special advisers etc etc . Is that option really likely and if it is then it shows her Government and party are out of control. Either way Sturgeon is FM and SNP party leader and is responsible.

      I have been amazed that so many independence supporters are willing to turn a blind eye to criminal behaviour because it's oor Nicola. I truly thought the yes movement was better than that. Better than Westminster.



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    2. Nicola may well be the best person to get a majority for independence in May. But is she the best person to actually gain independence?

      I find all this Nicola-worship to be very unhealthy. She is just a person like any other, and can make mistakes just like all of us. The first priority for anyone in a functioning democracy is to be able to question what is being done on our behalf by our elected servants. No exceptions. Furthermore, anyone so criticising should not be immediately regarded and described as an enemy of the party and it’s aims. This is a glib and easy evasion designed to shut down the conversation, not an argument. I expect better from fellow Independence supporters, and I must say I’m pretty disappointed to be replied to sometimes by the same sort of mindless invective which characterises Unionism.

      Sometimes I either agree or don’t agree with posts on this site - sometimes I agree or don’t agree with posts on WoS or other sites.

      I also find the sidelining of Cherry to be pretty worrying. It indicates that the SNP have aspirations to be a tory-lite to LibDem sort of party and possibly if they really anticipate independence, to suppress left-wing voices. What do we envisage in a future independent Scotland - bringing in laws regulating ‘thought-crimes-against-the-SNP’?

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  13. Interesting post.

    My gut feeling is Salmond is beyond damaged goods. BUT he of course could win a list seat himself no problem, maybe even do a Margo and technically be elected twice 🙂. But I just can't see a AS list party making a big splash. There is also the question of would he want to do it?

    The split idea however I am on board with. We clearly are going to be on different sides of this split James. I find it hard to believe I'm a member of the same party as Cherry or McEleny. And last week for the first time I felt ashamed then scared to be an SNP member. For me it was only thanks to people like Kirsty Blackman that I didn't leave.

    In a parallel universe the Independence movement would have a left wing, central and right wing parties. Until now I've thought the all under one party approach was best but maybe there are to many right-wingers (that's how I see the Cherry / McEleny faction, I know others portray them as left) causing havoc.

    The other thing that might be infavour of a split and a new Salmond/Cherry/McEleny party is neither have much support in the SNP parliamentary intake. (The new SNP MSPs, if elected, might change that re Cherry ironically) but at this moment you could almost count how many allies they have on one hand. If she wants to be a leader it would be all but impossible in the SNP and if she was she'd have a huge section of the party and nearly all younger members against her.

    She could lead her own party and strangely enough play "king" maker in the Scottish Parliament, helping legislation she likes and stopping the progressive stuff she dislikes. She'd also get to play a much more prominent role in the referendum, unlike now as just a unknown SNP MP.

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    1. Split is inevitable at some point. What we have now is a kind of beginning of one more socially liberal and another more socially conservative party (though I'm not really sure how they'll both position themselves economically - there are all sorts mixed among them now). But I do hope the split happens after the independence and is resolved then at every election. Something like Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael now and not in 1922.
      But - at the moment it seems to be very personal (and emotional) - which is something I don't really understand. I couldn't care less about Sturgeon, Salmond or Cherry personally. I'd say Salmond's politically history, I like to hear (and also agree with) what Cherry has to say on getting through the last hurdles re independence, but also have absolutely nothing against trans rights (and at the same time it's not something I'm losing any sleep - SNP seems to be the only party in the world splitting over this).
      If I had to choose between Sturgeon and Cherry as party leaders, I'd go for Sturgeon although I agree more with Cherry re independence (and which is the main reason I'm voting for the SNP). Why? Only because Cherry isn't the best of public speakers or a good communicator. To be honest, she's also publicly a bit to divisive. I don't think she'd be able to get the SNP an absolute majority (or very close to it) of MSPs. And for the independence to actually happen that's crucial. I hope they stay together for the time being and that Cherry influences Sturgeon as much as possible re how to get to the independence. And they could all put trans issue on hold for the time being. And after independence they can do whatever they like.

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    2. Yes, I could consider voting for the man himself, but I'd be much more hesitant about other party members unless I knew who these were. I don't vote for a party on the list; I vote for the candidates.

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    3. Unknown - you don't get more right wing than writing a book advocating selling off the Scottish NHS and giving people vouchers etc etc. That was Mike Russell.

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  14. So is being gay or lesbian also an 'ideology', James? If you don't see how absurd your claim is, I honestly do not know what to tell you. No, being transgender is NOT an 'ideology' and yes, saying that it is is indeed transphobic.

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    1. I think he means the concept of an innate gender identity is an ideology. I agree as I don't have any innate 'gender' identity myself, and neither does anyone I know. I find it pretty offensive when people tell me I have. I have a sex yes, but no gender identity.

      I did put considerable thought into whether it was possible to for people to have male vs female thoughts / dress or present as a these, but this is invariably super sexist. It's just not possible to think or dress/present like one of the sexes.

      However, there is no question that some people suffer from medical sex dysphoria where they physically feel that their body is of the wrong sex.

      It's the old conflation of gender vs sex. I wish people would just use the word sex which is binary. Gender is used too much for how people dress / present etc and related sexist stereotypes, which I have no time for.

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    2. "If you don't see how absurd your claim is"

      And what 'claim' would that be, pray tell? Exactly. It's one you've inserted into my words, not one that was actually there. That's how McCarthyism begins.

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    3. Well said, James. The SNP seems to be becoming a bit intolerant of differing opinions.

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  15. Once independence is achieved, the landscape of Scottish politics will be utterly transformed. The Sturgeon-Salmond split will be irrelevant. There will no longer be any need for a broad-based national party. In a country with proportional representation and coalition governments, there is a space for parties to emerge that reflect distinctively different views about the future of our society. For example, there will inevitably be a Green Plus party that promotes a transition programme (i.e., sustainable lifestyle and resilience in the face of environment breakdown, driven by local initiatives - as implied in the writings of Lesley Riddoch). Such a party would be a force in Holyrood as well as co-controlling many local authorities.

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  16. Hopefully Salmond could speed up the vaccine roll-out, this is dire from Scotland and don't give us the care home excuse. The NHS says coronavirus vaccines have been offered to residents at every eligible care home in England.

    Almost 600,000 people in the UK were vaccinated against Covid-19 on Saturday, a daily record for the vaccine programme.

    Uptake was particularly strong in England, with almost 540,000 people receiving their first vaccination. In Wales, just over 25,000 people got their initial jab, along with almost 23,000 in Scotland and just over 10,500 in Northern Ireland.

    Hats off to the English though circa 8.5 million vaccines already.

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    1. Yesser or troll - in 2021 there's no way to be sure.

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  17. On the substantive issue, I agree with Skier (I'll never say that again), even a broken clock is right twice a day. If a Salmond led party does go ahead though, I can't wait for all the splitting your vote actually is a good idea after all articles. Foresight and precision will be a thing of the past, you just can't make it up.

    There's an excoriating post on Wings about Sturgeon, you have to take it with the usual pinch of salt but I think there's something in the fact she likes to be liked, a bit like Boris, and struggles to take the tough decisions that upset people. This can bring popularity in the short term but in the long run: trouble.

    It's funny how all the sheep can be herded right then left and even right again and nobody questions a thing.

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  18. How many SNP members are there about 100000. The people who make the most noise. It's enough to give you a headache. Most people who vote are not members of political parties. Maybe we should just be done with it have a king or queen of Scots Pledge Allegiance to them and we can get a wee badge and a poster. To anyone who's a member of a political party please keep social distance

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  19. With the caveat, Salmond didn't, of his own volition, end his political career, it was ended for him. He headed to Westminster because he thought that's where the action was, in his own words "an army marches to the sound of gunfire". He then lost his seat and resigned from the SNP when the allegations arose. He'd most likely be making a noise in Westminster right now if it was down to him.

    Salmond is a narcissist on a Trumpian scale and he seems like he's on some sort of mission to do something, he's definitely putting himself before the independence movement right now, which given the political magnitude of the months ahead, really says something.

    Maybe that's more contradiction than caveat, but if it's OK for Skier why not everyone else.

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    1. He did, of his own volition, resign as leader of the SNP and FM of Scotland to become a backbencher. But then he's 66 now, and after many years as leader and 7 as FM of his country, taking a back seat while his protégé took the helm all seemed eminently sensible.

      If he'd wanted to be leader and FM again, he'd have stayed at Holyrood.

      Very obviously to all, Sturgeon included, he didn't, as he openly admits.

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    2. He had no choice but to resign as FM following the referendum defeat, just like Cameron had to go after his referendum defeat. He's more than astute enough to realise that, if he'd muddled through, he'd have been pushed soon enough anyway.

      His media profile was much higher as an MP than it would have been as a backbench MSP, and he wouldn't be constrained by the convention of former FM's not speaking during proceedings.

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  20. The SNP knew the Salmond case was doomed in October. They only conceded in January. They spent months wasting everyone’s time and running up a huge legal bill.

    And nobody, not one person, has resigned for this shambles.

    And on another note sorry to hear about Captain Sir Tom Moore, an inspiration to us all let's wish him a speedy recovery.

    Let's get behind Tom, another big challenge ahead, a few more laps fella.

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    1. Erm, I'm SNP and I don't recall conceding anything.

      I think you mean the UK civil service in Scotland, headed up by Leslie Evans. Hence Salmond calling for her to resign after the case, and not calling for anyone from the SNP to do that.

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    2. Who heads up the civil service Skier and gives them orders, the Scottish Government, which is currently the SNP if you hadn't noticed.

      Sturgeon (head of the Scottish government and leader of the SNP) at the time made many media appearances protesting how she'd defend the Scottish Government's position robustly. She was hardly in the shadows leaving it to the civil service.

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    3. All civil servants in Scotland are technically part of the UK civil service and are employees of the Crown. The Scottish civil service terms of employment state: “Your employer is the Scottish Ministers, as agent of, and acting on behalf of, the Crown. As a Crown employee you are part of the UK Civil Service.”

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  21. Freezing cold About 0 degrees in Scotland. I lost my job because of the pandemic I can't afford to heat my home. What Keeping me going Is looking up the Scottish Media for the latest Salmond/Sturgeon Noise. I can't wait for these political minded people to come round the Housing schemes Shooting from their megaphones Vote for me and after I get your vote I'll endlessly talk nonsense amongst ourselves.

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  22. I bet you Alex Salmond Nicola Sturgeon are sitting with the heating up full blast. We're so lucky we have these blog posts Standing up for the people

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  23. https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-eu-trade/wrapped-in-brexit-red-tape-a-uk-freight-firm-struggles-to-trade-idUSKBN2A11IU

    Wrapped in Brexit red tape, a UK freight firm struggles to trade

    FELIXSTOWE, England (Reuters) - In just one month of post-Brexit trading, British logistics expert Jon Swallow has seen exports dive, prices rise and customers so desperate that he is practically offering a counselling service.

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    Replies
    1. If you're pushing the angle that Scotland's membership of the UK is going to become increasingly more crucial to it's trade volumes and economic success, then you may be right. Intra UK trade (and global trade) will likely increase as a result of Brexit.

      Scotland's most important trading partners right on its doorstep and UK free trade agreements vital to Scotland's success.

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  24. Other than a home for one of the factions, what would a new Indy party actually offer?

    Anything at all for the actual electorate? It all sounds a bit Fianna Fail/Fine Gael, 2 parties outsiders can't tell the difference between.

    ReplyDelete
  25. My favourite post on wings Was the one where he was explaining why we live in fuel poverty And they seem to do a lot better in places like Canada.

    ReplyDelete
  26. James says above - "...I've been privately aware of many of the details of the conspiracy against Alex Salmond for almost a year...."

    I always thought you were, as not once, did you argue against any of my posts on this subject but did disagree with posts on other matters. I was aware that WGD Mr Kavanagh knew the details and if you hadn't been made aware by others I thought it was likely that Paul Kavanagh would tell you anyway. WGD was like everyone upset at first but chose the wheest for Indy route. Personally, I never thought that wheest for Indy would hold in practice but it was the wrong choice because people have a right to the truth no matter how ugly it is.

    Acting as bad as the Britnats and trying to cover it up just plays in to the hands of the Britnats

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    1. "Wheesht for indy" - what a load of tripe. If you're told something in confidence, you keep it private.

      Delete
    2. 'English (directed) lynch mob for indy' isn't particularly inspiring. Neither is 'Guilty without trial for indy'.

      Interestingly, I have recently worked out that the accusers were pretty much all very close to Salmond. Aides and special advisors, mainly employed by the UK civil service.

      Some of these still work for the civil service, meaning they are now aides / advisors to ministers like the FM just like they were to the former FM.

      Truly shocking revelation.

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    3. Smearer Skier (liar since 2014) is like the Dutch boy who tried to stop the dam breaking by sticking his finger in the leaking hole and after the dam had burst is frantically trying to find a way to hold back the water.

      Smearer Skier says " I have recently worked out .... " not very bright are you - the only thing truly shocking is how dumb you are.

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    4. James - fair enough you are told in confidence not to say anything but is that the case for others who know? I was actually referring to Mr Kavanagh and others not you in my post.

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  27. Most of you people wouldn't see a genuine person standing in front your face.

    I went to bed last night thinking about Alex Salmond Nicola Sturgeon I woke up this morning thinking about Alex Salmond Nicola Sturgeon. You couldn't make it up

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  28. If you are need of something more uplifting then I recommend

    An Inspirational Story - a video by Lesley Riddoch ( the good Lesley not the other one)

    You can find it on Iain Lawsons blog Yours For Scotland.

    Good things can happen to wee countries if they are run by good people with good intentions.

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    1. Aye As long as that good person the person I like

      Delete
  29. Wales has even vaccinated 406,306 people, (population 3.1 million) compared to Scotland's 566,269 population (5.5 million). Time to get shoulders to the wheel and increase the pace Scotland.

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  30. BREAKING: Residents in parts of Surrey will be offered #COVID19 tests after two people with no travel links were found to have caught the South African variant of #coronavirus.

    An extremely alarming development which reinforces why the UK should immediately close its borders to ALL international travel. The UK Gov and devolved admins have all made a lot of mistakes during this pandemic. The refusal to close borders is the biggest

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  31. Sturgeon should have closed Scotland's borders last Autumn if Boris wouldn't, following virtual elimination of the virus last summer. Something like this should have been done on the first variant. If China can manage it.

    Local council workers will go house-to-house to offer swab tests for 9,500 people in the Goldsworth Park and St Johns areas of Woking, Surrey, from this afternoon - with house checks also planned for nearby Egham later in the week.

    Too indecisive, too timorous, too much procrastination.

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  32. "...I've been privately aware of many of the details of the conspiracy against Alex Salmond for almost a year...."

    Are these details of an actual conspiracy or are they details whose veracity is uncertain or which could be construed as a conspiracy if one holds a certain perspective.

    These are very different things.

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  33. Douglas Ross, the Scottish Tory leader, has suggested the May elections should be postponed for public health reasons, because the Covid pandemic and incomplete vaccination programme could make staging it unsafe.

    Ross was asked during a briefing with reporters whether he believed the election should go ahead. He replied:

    I’ve said I don’t think now is the right time for politics and that means the next period, when parties would be going into campaigning, makes it really difficult. We will be in a different place in May but not in the months running up to May.

    However, we have got to prepare, which is why the Scottish Conservatives [as a] party, we’re ready for an election in May. But will obviously have to take clear guidance and public health advice on whether it can safely go ahead.

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  34. More UK Government investment in Scotland

    The government has ordered an extra 40m doses of the Valneva Covid-19 vaccine which is being manufactured in Scotland. Here is the government’s news release. And here is the story from PA Media.

    The move means 100m doses of Valneva have now been put on order, enough for every adult in the UK, with the latest batch earmarked for delivery in 2022.

    The jab is expected to be given as two doses and is being made at a site in West Lothian, with the government saying the new deal “will bolster long-term vaccine production in Scotland”.

    In a statement on the announcement Matt Hancock, the health secretary, said:

    The Valneva vaccine showcases the best of Scottish expertise right at the heart of our UK vaccine endeavour, demonstrating the strength of our union and what the UK can achieve when it works together.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Lead scientist on the EU Sweden-Oxford vaccine is a countrywomen of mine. Irish.

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    3. Is that the French company Valnava, with HQ in Vienna ?
      Dear oh dear

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  35. Back to trolling again Dooggie? I guess there isnae a positive case for the union then.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Brexit boom.

    https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-eu-ireland/irish-freight-volumes-to-eu-ports-doubled-in-first-month-of-brexit-idUSKBN2A11B1

    Irish freight volumes to EU ports doubled in first month of Brexit

    DUBLIN (Reuters) - Irish freight volumes to and from European Union ports doubled in January, the government said on Monday, as many traders shunned the once-speedier route to the continent through Britain due to Brexit red tape and delays.

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    Replies
    1. This should save some of those all important carbon emissions Skier. Although I'm sure it'll be more than offset by the many more worldwide trade deals the UK is now becoming a signatory to.

      Global Britain, a sovereign power trading globally right across the world.

      Delete
    2. Not only globally, but also right across the world? Impressive stuff

      Delete
  37. Last week’s annual export statistics from the Scottish Government show that more than 60 per cent of all Scottish exports go to England, Wales and Northern Ireland, more than the rest of the world combined, the figures reveal.

    In comparison, Scotland’s exports to the EU are worth £16.1 billion, which is less than one third of value of our sales to the rest of the UK.

    The Scottish Government’s own figures show that Scotland’s most important trading partner is the rest of UK - worth more than three times that of trade with all 27 EU countries combined. This demonstrates, once again, that our Union is absolutely crucial to supporting jobs, businesses and prosperity across Scotland.

    Skier would have Scottish trucks heading to all four corners of the EU racking up miles and miles of carbon emissions rather than trading with Scotland's closest neighbour.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. well it would be "more than to the rest of the world combined" if it's 60%!
      Have you had a look at Canada, who do even more exports to the US and seem to get along just fine. It's what happens when small country is right next to big counrty.
      In any event, why would that trade stop? Let's take an example - the UK and EU. You might have noticed a lot of work being done to make sure that existing trade continues as close to before as possible.

      Delete
    2. What % of English exports come to Scotland ?

      Delete
  38. My own view of this is that after Salmond lost his Gordon seat, Sturgeon was spooked by the possibility that he MIGHT decide to come back again, as he did in 2004, and so decided to put a stop to it - to put a stake through his heart, as I believe Salmond said on another site.
    Thus was this her view? Or how concerned was she that, having come back once, what was the likelihood he might look to come back twice? Did she decide that he could not be allowed to do this? But even then why the botched job? Why a procedure whose ineptitude was of an epic scale that even Cecil B De Mille would have been embarrassed? Why with allegations that could not stand up in court? She must have been closer to Alex Salmond than almost anyone during the referendum campaign when a good many of the allegations are supposed to have happened. Did she have any knowledge of their reality? Why, despite the duty of care that an employer, in this case the Scottish Civil Service and Government, owes to their employees, was the case allowed to proceed to Court, particularly when it was so flawed? But more than anything else, even before the allegations became public knowledge, how did she expect Salmond to react? How likely – the truth notwithstanding - was it that he would say “fair cop, guilty as charged”? Or would he seek to defend himself, in which case it would enter the public domain and the Scottish Government case better be able to stand up, which it never could.
    Put short, James, if Sturgeon can come out of this squeaky clean, I would pleased. I just dont see, given the above - all things we KNOW, not implied or assumed - I dont see how she can.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I mean lay out the route. Which constituency...why the local party would dump their candidate for him...would he stand in the 2021 election on a 'take out sturgeon' ticket or lie about this? If he got elected, how would he persuade the membership to take down sturgeon for him? Then how would he get all the pro sturgeon msps to back him for fm?

      This kinda needs explaining. Otherwise the salmond comeback sounds like Bellshill.

      Delete
    2. I think if you read what I said carefully, the motive was in Sturgeon's head. Go back to 2004, Swinney was resigning and Nicola was the likely successor. Just a month earlier Salmond said if nominated he would not stand and if elected resign. Then he says he wants back as leader. The motive is "what if he does this again?" so let's get rid.
      In other words, it's not so much whether he would ahve come back - indeed he was working with the buyers of Johnson Press and would very likely have become chairman had it not been for this - this is a matter of record btw. It's about the FM's perception.

      Delete
    3. Don't you mean the imaginary motive is in the heads of those who believe in the SNP conspiracy theory?

      How on earth would Sturgeon manage to persuade 9 women (7 of whom work for Whitehall) to perjure themselves to further her career just out of some paranoid personal fear of Alex Salmond making some sort of nearly impossible comeback he said he wasn't interested in and showed no signs of being so?

      Delete
  39. Set Scotland free vote 1&2 S.N.P.

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  40. I am just waiting for a time when we don't have to be divided into those who 'know things' and those who 'don't know things' about all of the various plots and subplots.
    Like most, I'm not connected in any way with anyone who may be able to tell me anything about any of the details or ramifications, and I've reached a stage where I have to shrug and think' well, we'll all find out what is selected for us to find out in due course, and meantime we will probably find nothing, as no one can speak clearly to brief us'
    my brow wrinkles though when I see Joanna Cherry booted out of her current role at Westminster...

    ReplyDelete
  41. Hoo hoo hoo, Isn't this all getting a little bit Stalinist.

    Joanna Cherry has been dropped from the Scottish National Party's frontbench team at Westminster.

    The Edinburgh South West MP said she was sacked from the justice position "despite hard work, results and a strong reputation".

    Ms Cherry, an advocate, played a key role in a number of Brexit legal challenges.

    The SNP said it had made a number of changes to its Westminster team ahead of the upcoming Holyrood election.

    As an ordinary backbencher, Joanna Cherry may feel freer to speak her mind. But my sense is the SNP leadership is signalling a willingness to take a firmer line against internal dissent.

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  42. Rumours that Some in the SNP group at Westminster had lost confidence in Cherry and were preparing to write to Ian Blackford, to say so. He has pre-empted their complaints.

    The plot thickens, Blairites and Brownites eat yer hearts out, your not a patch on this mob.

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  43. Not sure how the party will stand after this, Cherry along with Angus Robertson and Kate Forbes one of the few truly impressive SNP politicians out there. Not much depth beyond that, so taking the hatchet to her quite a big move indeed.

    Is a split on the cards hmmm

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are all doomed It's the end of the end of the SNP. Where do you people pop up from. It's almost as if you spend your day looking for negative stories. So you can predict the end And when it doesn't End next week you'll have another story that predicts the end

      Delete
    2. He/she was obviously primed.

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  44. Sir, I'm Welsh and have no right to question anything regarding your national movement, but Joanna Cherry has been demoted. Why? As far as we can see, she is a fine politician.

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  45. Looks like another cover up is on the cards.

    Nicola Sturgeon has urged Michael Gove, the Cabinet minister, to stop other UK ministers disclosing vaccine dose figures as the dispute over Scotland’s slower overall rate of Covid vaccinations intensified.

    The Scottish first minister said she had complained to Gove in a conference call with other UK and devolved government leaders, the so-called four nations, on Saturday, implying her government was being deliberately undermined by the UK government.

    Sturgeon is under growing pressure to explain why Scotland’s roll-out of the vaccines has been slower than in the rest of the UK. While older Scottish care home residents have been vaccinated faster in Scotland, overall the Scottish vaccinations rate has been the most sluggish.

    In England, Sir Simon Stevens, the NHS chief executive, has said 75% of all 75 to 79-year olds have had their first dose; in Scotland, it is 14% for those living in the community. Alister Jack, the Scotland secretary, speculated on Sunday the Scottish government had access to about 1.15m doses yet Monday’s Scottish data showed nearly 560,000 people have had their first dose.

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    Replies
    1. Good of you to acknowledge that "While older Scottish care home residents have been vaccinated faster in Scotland," hjsd it occurred to you that care home reasidents are the least "efficient" candidates for vaccine. You cant send them along to a nice high volume mass vaccination centre. You have to go to them in their care homes. You cant tell them to "hurry up" - they will take their own time (they have to).
      Are you not a wee bit embarrassed by the WM govt's use of "offered" which seems to me that someone who has had a letter giving them a date/ time/ place etc, is the same as vaccine in the arm?

      Delete
  46. Sturgeon admitted during today’s regular coronavirus briefing she was concerned that Sunday’s total vaccinations figure was very low, at 9,628, and had asked her officials to establish why it had plunged. In Wales, a country with 2m fewer people, the figure was 12,898 and in England, nearly 290,000.

    Quick bit of number crunching - if Scotland had vaccinated the same proportion of 75 to 79 year olds as England it would be an extra 115,900 people.

    Sturgeon claimed the UK was being inconsistent: it had been horrified that Jeane Freeman, the Scottish health minister, had published data on expected deliveries of vaccine doses last month, yet was leaking data on vaccines available to her government.

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  47. Thanks for this post James. At least someone is sane and sensible and Scotland will be independent with good government soon. From my view, in the woods of Nova Scotia, Nicola Sturgeon is a solid, sensible, humane first minister. She is respected in Europe and around the world. She is taking the long view (which isn't so long really but is sane, sensible and humane) which is Westminster showing itself to be undemocratic, paranoid, inward looking, xenophobic etc etc and that Scotland will gain independence because of the will of the Scottish people and world opinion.

    There will be all kinds of divisive forces trying to undermine her credibility and focus and the aim for independence of the Scottish people. This is how Westminster operates with its MI thisis and MI thatsis.

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  48. Duggie R, that was very Andrew Marr - picking 75 to 79 age group to compare Scotland with England/Wales vacc. figures.
    Population density is ignored plus we now have 98% care homes done.
    Fantastic achievement and a promise kept to the most vulnerable in Scotland.
    You decline to mention England's death figures which are truly horrific.
    30,000 extra deaths compared with Scotland's numbers.
    But don't let the facts spoil an opportunity to undermine the excellent performance of Scotland's NHS.
    Mind you the Tories are at the same game. The Livingston vaccine is being trumpeted as an example of a Great British success story.
    Cringeworthy or what.

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  49. the Alex Salmond Party? you're havin a laugh, he might have been acquitted of all charges at his trial,
    but the defense lawyer guys summing up, that he might be a shitebag but he's no rapist or assaulter, effectively ended his political career.

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