Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Some free advice for the biggest Alba supporting website

In the wake of Margaret Lynch's alleged comments at the Alba women's conference, a number of the party's most vociferous critics seemed to think it was a natural progression to ask me whether I was now going to "disassociate" myself.  The answer is of course "no", because there's a lot of heated rhetoric on both sides of the trans debate, and if I was going to distance myself from all of that I'd have to distance from both the SNP and Alba, and just about every other party too for that matter.  If Margaret Lynch's comments about the age of consent were overblown, they were no dafter than certain aspects of the SNP's absurdly broad definition of "transphobia", which seek to pathoĺogise the expression of legitimate opinion, or than the embarrassing claims that the moderate, centre-left social democratic Alba Party is some kind of "far-right hate group".

My own view is that there's no prospect of the SNP government reducing the age of consent - although that isn't necessarily because nobody wants it to happen.  Reading between the lines of some of the carefully-worded comments that have been made, it looks like there are indeed advocates of a change to the age of consent, albeit perhaps not quite as dramatic a change as Margaret Lynch is concerned about.  For example, the suggestion is that sex between fourteen and fifteen year olds should be decriminalised, but that it would still be illegal for adults to have sex with them.  But the reality is that the government wouldn't be able to go even that far, because they know they would pay too heavy a price with public opinion.

Now that I'm back on the same side as Wings Over Scotland (albeit 'co-belligerent' rather than 'ally' is probably the correct term), I'd like to offer Stuart Campbell some free advice.  He's unlikely to take it, but I'll offer it anyway.  Stuart, you lost faith in the SNP, and you lost faith in Nicola Sturgeon.  But against all the odds, the creation of the Alba Party has given you an opportunity to go back to what you do best - campaigning passionately for a pro-independence mandate, and without having to compromise your principles.  Don't squander that opportunity by wasting the next three weeks talking about nothing else but the trans issue. I know you think the public are on the same page as you on that subject, and I would agree that polling tends to bear that belief out. But there's a difference between voters holding a certain view and caring enough about it to allow it to change their vote.  If Alba are going to succeed, it won't be primarily as a family values party, or even as a feminist party.  It'll be as an independence supermajority party, and that's what we need to spend the remainder of the campaign getting people excited about.

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You can catch-up with Episode 6 of the Scot Goes Popcast, in which I speak to Alba Party leader Alex Salmond, HERE (with video) or HERE (audio only).

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If you find Scot Goes Pop's coverage of polls helpful and would like it to continue, I'm currently running a fundraiser HERE.


  1. If anythng is going to hold people away from Alba, it's the ongoing fight over trans rights. Anyone with strong views one way or the other is likely to join the pile-on, and the net result is that a majority for independence suffers.
    It's not just SNP versus Alba versus Wings. Look at ANdy Wightman - standing as an independent, and good on him - who left the Greens before he was pushed. He is a man of principle who got stick from Greens who wanted to close his ability to comment on the womens' rights debate, and equally from Wings and comments posters, over being piggy-in-the-middle in the recently-finished Holyrood committee.
    Politics in 2021 is a shitty business.

  2. The wording of the World ILGA objective is unclear, I suspect this is not accidental:

    -If objections are raised, the response is ‘of course we don’t mean 10 year olds stupid’
    -If it’s not noticed it lies open to any interpretation

    Stuart, as is his nature, went in all guns blazing pointing out pedantically that the statement does call for removal of all such legal restraints. There are plenty of other parts of the document that are concerning.

    A more effective response would have been pointing out the ‘inadvertent’ mistake and asking signatories to either withdraw or secure urgent ‘clarification’.

    This would have saved face and prevented use of the document & signatories to endorse anything unacceptable. Instead we have a scrap.

    It is right that ScotGov should be very careful about the consequences of endorsing any group.

  3. ...in other words 'FFS Stu, shut up, this is not helping Alba's prospects!

    Alba will be wondering how you get Stu in the tent pissing out, as opposed to out the tent pissing in. No matter what he is a ticking timebomb just waiting to have the mother of all tantrums and threaten to sue everybody if they don't agree with him.

  4. ALBA party has made independence the top issue in this election. They also stand full square behind protecting women’s sex based rights as in the 2010 Act.

    it will be women who will ultimately decide if Scotland is to be independent. Making enemies of the women’s vote as the SNP are doing in pushing GRA will damage the campaign for independence.

    So far ALBA are the only party giving women the dominant voice in this election. That isn’t a short term tactic it is a long term strategy.

  5. The ALBA party have made independence the top issue in this election. The party also stands full square behind women’s sex based rights as in the 2010 Act.

    It will ultimately be women who will decide if Scotland is to be independent or not. To alienate over half the population as the SNP are intent in doing with GRA will damage the campaign for independence.

    So far ALBA has been the only party where women’s voices and concerns have dominated their campaign. This is not a short electoral term tactic but a long term strategy.

    1. My wife is a true independence supporter. She believes it transcends domestic politics.

      Funny to have a French woman more pro-Scotland than some 'Scots' who apparently might decide the future of a nation for millennia to come based on debates around tweaking domestic legislation which will happen union or not, and which could be reversed by any future devolved / independent government anyway.

      But then my wife is from an independent country just like I am a national of one (Ireland) so maybe we better understand what independence means.

  6. I've just read the comments following yesterday's Alba-related National piece (there's a campaign going on !) by Xander Richards, and I'm now considering ending my subscription to what is now the SNP Elite's in-house magazine.

    As someone who has been a full subscriber since the first edition, I've simply had enough.

    Despite all the warnings about readers/subscribers using the 'comments' facility as a platform for abuse, lies, smears, etc, and that such Twitter-like conduct would no longer be tolerated, the opposite has happened.
    Just as radical, single-issue entryists have taken over what used to be my/our party, they've now assumed control of The National.

    Three or four unfamiliar names, with a couple of the usual suspects, are not only ignoring the 'rules', they're ramping up the defamation of Salmond, all and any Alba members, supporters and candidates, and anyone who steps in and tries to introduce a few facts, actual quotes, and real extracts to the 'debate' (it's nothing like a debate).

    Of course anyone who's read the infamous Dentons ''How to subvert democracy.... in a democracy'' blueprint already knows what's going on. Sadly, we're still too few in number to stop the rot, and Scotland's future at this precise moment is very, very bleak if the SNP are returned with an overall majority.

    GRA will return and pass into law in it's original form, misogyny will become a virtue, the HC bill will be 'boosted', Flat Earth 'Science' and Creationism will be taught in our schools, and I predict we'll see an end to jury trials for some crimes - and that'll be the start of a very slippery slope.

  7. Hear hear on the advice. Sincerely hope it's taken up and hoping for the supermajority.

  8. If I may add, I really hope Alba start getting some leaflets through doors too and some old school signage.
    Need to get the message out on more than just online. There's a constituency for Alba that just needs reached. I hope their fundraising gets them their asap.

  9. Surely who is allowed in Scottish female spaces is matter for Scottish females and not middle aged male gammons from the South of England who have a somewhat concerning fixation with willies under dresses?

  10. The trans , GRE , discussion is for another time .
    Right now the discussion is do we want Scottish independence
    If you do
    And if Scottish independence is your top priority right now
    Vote for SNP and ALBA

    If once we have Scottish independence in the bag signed sealed and delivered
    and you want to campaign for or against trans rights , womens rights , GRE , then do it i will be right with you

    For now , Scottish Independence is what we have to focus on
    Lets not defeat ourselves before we have even started our new independence

    1. I don't want Independence under SNP/Green Wokerati. I want my Nation built on the right foundation and part of that is recognition of Women's Rights.
      I will not wheesht for Indy. I have heard the ALBA Women speak!

    2. Then you don't really want independence Julia.

      Independence is about Scotland choosing it's own government, not about which government it chooses.

      Of course if we stay in the UK union, that doesn't stop the GRA debate as it's a devolved issue anyway. So you can vote No and still worry about hairy men in skirts.

    3. Out of interest, if we got independence under an Alba led government, then the 'Scottish Wokerati Party' won the next election meaning you'd have them in charge for at least 4-5 years, would you advocate rejoining the union? After successing in that, would you then support indy again as long as Alba led Scotland to it once more? This seems to be the logic here.

      Laws are made and unmade. Revised, strengthened, corrected. That applies to any changes to GRA under indy or the union.

    4. There seems to be a huge rush to get some controversial legislation done before indy. It looks for all the world like some in the SNP are using the indy vote to ensure they get their own agendas legislated for NOW by making use of the "captive" indy vote Anyone playing this game "doesn't really want independence" as you say about Julia.
      But the key difference between them and Julia is that these groups within the SNP hold all the power right now and they are actively jeopardising the effort, whereas Julia has been pushed to side and her views marginalised (within the SNP).

    5. There seems to be a huge rush to get some controversial legislation done before indy.

      Aside from the fact that any legislation can be undone as easily as it is done...

      Well, that would mean the SNP are definitely not careerist weather vanes only interested in keeping their seats and salaries. If you are a weather vane of politics, you avoid controversial policies like the plague!

      I mean what kind of idiot only interested in furthering their career backs controversial policy which the majority of the electorate oppose?

      Nope, if the SNP are intent on controversial policies, they must be very, very strongly principled politicians who are committed to furthering their deeply helped beliefs. Like independence, equality, the EU etc.

      The more they push 'controversial policies', the more the public will trust them as honest.

      The more they avoid these, the more the public will distrust them and see them as unprincipled careerists.

    6. Julia,

      The first election after Indy is the time to choose the direction of the country, but Independence must be won first.

  11. Where has all the polling gone?

    The trans issue. The very same women elected by Party members who Nicola silenced were able to speak at the ALBA Women's conference. If anyone thinks that a potential 52% of the voters are not a target audience they are nuts. The Fathers, Husbands and Brothers are now aware of Women's concerns. I think it is a mistake to underestimate just how much concern about Women's Rights will impact this election. The Greens in particular will be impacted.

    1. I so hope you're right.
      The Greens, who I used to love years ago, deserve to lose a lot of votes over this

  12. James,

    Utterly off topic, but it might amuse you that you have something in common with at least one Liberal Democrat. Carole Ford, who is standing for them on the Glasgow Region ballot, lists, amongst her 'interests':

    Eurovision fan - attends the final when possible.

  13. Does anyone know why this issue blew up in Scotland and England but us still being discussed rationally elsewhere. I smell a rat. I am 59 and very progressive but I get lost in details. I am sure I am not alone. I have no idea what the age should be and I have trans relatives. They don't know. They satine day you just " know".

    1. Because it is unionists who are using to try and divide the indy camp. They can't attack the Scottish government on much, but this minor issue seemed controversial enough. Perfect for Daily Mail / Express type headlines. As a result, if English bloggers who, ahem, only 'self-id' as Scottish are to be believed, Sturgeon wants to let hordes of evil pedo rapists into the ladies loos whilst lowering the age of consent to 10. Tomorrow.

      Independence supporters by contrast know it's a relatively minor domestic politics debate (even is a devolved issue) so is absolutely naff all to do with indy. And of course within the SNP itself there are a wide range of opinions on the matter, just as there is in parliament.

      The whole thing has been about as successful as the grand Scotland-wide conspiracy involving everyone from the police and CPS to the woman behind the till in tesco corstorphine to jail salmond thing in terms of impacting support for the SNP/indy. English MI5 operatives just doesn't understand Scots.

      But what does the union have left?

      Funny thing is that you can tell which parties are all about 'identity politics'. They're the really wee ones. Narrow identity politics = very small/narrow support base. Broad church non-identity politics = wide base.

  14. The launch of Alba has in a way helped to remove and isolate certain websites from harming the main independence movement. The main ones don't live in Scotland.

  15. James,

    Another Independence poll - Panelbase - 51 Yes No 49