Saturday, January 1, 2022

A New Year's resolution for the independence movement: embrace the principle of falsifiability

A warm welcome to 2022, the year in which - if Nicola Sturgeon keeps the promise she made to the SNP conference - the "process will be initiated" to enable an independence referendum to be held by the end of 2023.  Since the conference, Mhairi Hunter and Pete Wishart have both underscored that promise - Hunter by saying that the result of the 2024 Westminster election is essentially irrelevant because a referendum will have been held by then, and Wishart by saying a referendum will definitely be held in the first half of this parliament (meaning by November 2023) without any caveats about Covid or the way in which Boris Johnson reacts to a Section 30 request.  

A cynic might suspect Hunter and Wishart rehearsed their words carefully, because people have started to notice how casually the previous promises on indyref timing were "explained away".  If the likes of Hunter don't at least go through the motions of making their remarks about the 2024 election congruous with the Indyref 2023 promise, it would be assumed that they're implicitly regarding the promise as every bit as insincere and empty as the promise to hold an indyref before Brexit.

Leadership loyalists say - "there's not long to wait until we find out whether the promise is genuine, so why not hold your fire?"  But the problem is that they said exactly the same thing about the pre-Brexit promise, and when that promise was broken they just pretended it had never been made, and moved on to the next one.  On past form, if there is no referendum by the end of 2023, they'll move on to saying "there's not all that long to wait until we find out whether the promise to hold a multi-option referendum involving a Devo Max option before 2031 is genuine, so why not hold your fire until then?  What's the matter with you?"

So here's my New Year challenge to the loyalists, and indeed to the whole Yes movement - by all means believe that the current promise is the real deal, but make that belief falsifiable, as scientists would say.  We've been given benchmarks by which we can judge whether the promise has been kept by specified dates, so stick to those.  Don't shift the goalposts yet again if the target dates are missed.  The process must be initiated by the end of this year, and a referendum must actually have been held by the end of next year.  If that happens, I will gladly eat humble pie and look forward to the referendum campaign with relish.  If not, there will simply be no rational basis for believing any subsequent promises on independence or a referendum from the current SNP leadership.


  1. There were people who used to post on SGP who were sure that as soon as the May 2021 election was won there would be a referendum later in 2021. You don't see them posting now.

    The only rational reason for people believing in the SNP promises re a referendum is that they like to make carrot soup.

    1. Not the real Independence for Scotland. Just a WGD numpty fake imposter at 8.37pm.

  2. I really do hope you're wrong - about many things these days

    I'm looking forward to the campaign though

    1. Well Mike if you are that confident I assume you have taken up Campells offer of free money on WOS. Or are you not confident enough to put any money on it? The bookies do not share your confidence. Neither does Michelle Thomson SNP MSP.

  3. The SNP will have nowhere to hide if it doesn't deliver on its promises. Holding #indyref2 by November 2023 presupposes hitting a number of other prior targets to allow the vote to be held then, including passing the necessary legislation in preparation. Of course, as you rightly say, the loyalists will simply shrug it off and move seamlessly from one untruth on to the next one: there will always be jam tomorrow.

    The task for Alba over the next two years is to hold a mirror up to the SNP's promises and ruthlessly point out when and where they come up wanting. When the SNP fails to deliver - as it inevitably will in my view - Alba and others need to be ready to hoover up the disaffected SNP members and voters who will finally have realised that they've been sold a pup. Naturally the lumpen loyalists and sundry place-men, sinecure holders and TRA extremists infesting the upper reaches of the SNP are never going to change their spots, nor I imagine would some of them be particularly welcome if they did.

    Like many other Alba members, I'd find it very hard to campaign shoulder to shoulder with pieces of work like Tony Giugliano, Mairi Hunter, Kirsty Blackman, Mairi Black and their ilk. When the SNP's promises come up empty in late 2023, Alba and others need to be ready to capitalise on their failure in preparation for Holyrood 2026. The gloves have to come off at some point, and Alba shouldn't be shy of targeting particularly individuals in the SNP hierarchy to ensure they don't get elected. What matters in the end is the total number of votes for pro-independence parties, not "maxing the Yes" or building spurious super-majorities that have no effect anyway.

  4. "We've been given benchmarks by which we can judge whether the promise has been kept by specified dates, so stick to those. Don't shift the goalposts yet again if the target dates are missed. The process must be initiated by the end of this year, and a referendum must actually have been held by the end of next year."

    All makes perfect sense to me.

    Though I'm just mentally preparing myself now for something from the SG/SNP along the lines of "mumble mumble indyref delay mumble mumble Omicron mumble covid".

  5. That WGD numpty Dr Jim is having another pop at Alba

    "Aw diddums never mind, the less than 1% party will have an easy solution, sack Nicola Sturgeon so Salmond can retire happy, the Union continues happily, job done then Tasmina can join yet another party, who knows maybe George Galloway next"

    Keep the faith Jim.

  6. WGD numpty Hamish100 and mad liar Skier have both posted an attack on Alba because - wait for it - some members have been in London. That's right - that is their shocking revelation to take us in to the new year. Seemingly in the mind of these numpties setting foot in London is shocking behaviour😂😂😂😂

    Perhaps they need reminding of all the SNP MPs who are in London all the time. Or what about all the time Sturgeon spent in London trying to stop Brexit.

    These WGD people truly are embarrassing numpties.

  7. I didn't see Sturgeons message to Scotland. Did she say we would be independent in 2023? Did she even mention independence at all? My guess is no mention but I am sure SNP types will be along to tell me if I am wrong.

    Is this a leader of an independence movement or a governor of a British colony?