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By Jason Michael

EVERY SO OFTEN someone will drop me a private message on social media asking me to explain things (Correction: My inbox is always packed). Obviously, it is not possible to get back to everyone and so I try to address as many questions as possible in what I publish. But every now and then something stands out. One stood out this afternoon, and I have asked the sender’s permission to quote her here and do my level best to answer her question. Donna writes:

I’m lost! … I have been an SNP voter since I was 16 … I love Scotland, but what the fuck is happening? Let us know the best way for the yes movement to win.

This question is important because it expresses rather succinctly the sense of uncertainty and worry which is right now spreading like wildfire over the independence movement. While support for independence and the Scottish National Party remain high, a growing number of independentistas are arriving at the conclusion that something stinks in the SNP. Most, as yet, can’t quite put their finger on exactly what it is, but something is wrong. Something is rotten, and the rot is spreading.

Again, it is incumbent upon me to repeat that I am not a member of the Scottish National Party and that I bear no particular animus towards the party. As one party representing a single faction or constituency of the wider independence movement, I have been content to lend the SNP my support and have been willing to treat it as an ally in the campaign for Scottish independence. Like all political parties, the SNP is made up of individuals who each have their own opinions and agendas. Some of these opinions and agendas I like and others I do not.

Like all political parties, the SNP is made up of individuals who each have their own opinions and agendas. Some of these opinions and agendas I like and others I do not.

As early as 2015 myself and others were raising concerns about the direction the SNP was taking. We were concerned that independence and the prospect of another referendum appeared only to be priorities when a general election was on the horizon. It bothered us a great deal when the leadership of the party put its weight behind efforts in England to stop the Brexit for which the people of England had voted, rather than using Scotland’s rejection of the same to come good on the promise that we would not be dragged out of the European Union against our will. In case you haven’t as yet noticed, we have now been taken out of the EU against our will.

Many too – within and outwith the party – have come to the conclusion or at least the suspicion that there was a conspiracy in the upper echelons of the SNP to politically assassinate and even criminalise its former leader, Alex Salmond – the man who led the party and to a considerable extent the whole movement to and through the 2014 independence referendum. The overt collaboration between people at the top of the SNP and the BBC – the British state broadcaster – to continue a campaign against Mr Salmond following a court case which upheld his innocence has enraged and frustrated a great many people throughout the movement.

And by no means has this odious behaviour been limited to the treatment of Alex Salmond. The SNP might like to take the credit for creating the independence movement, but this is simply not true. Long before 2014, when the SNP was still very much a party in the wilderness, the driving force behind the growth of pro-independence sentiment was the Scottish political blogosphere; websites like Newsnet Scotland, Wings Over Scotland, and Wee Ginger Dug – the work of dedicated independentistas without whose efforts there would have been no 45 percent vote for independence in the 2014 referendum and no SNP parliamentary majority in 2015, and without whom the SNP would not have become the largest political party in Scotland.

The blogosphere was and remains an essential component in the vital process of informing activists and propagating the arguments for Scottish independence. Without these websites, in the face of a media landscape absolutely dominated and controlled by the unionist narrative, independence would shrivel up and die on the vine – and yes, it would. Until it secured its place as the dominant party in the Scottish parliament and on the Scottish benches at Westminster – effectively becoming the party of and ‘vehicle’ to independence, the SNP and its elected members couldn’t get enough of the pro-independence blogs, and many of them were made by these blogs. But now that many bloggers – the majority – have turned a critical eye on the Frankenstein of their making, they have become the enemy.

Long before 2014, when the SNP was still very much a party in the wilderness, the driving force behind the growth of pro-independence sentiment was the Scottish political blogosphere.

‘Grouse Beater,’ a man of outstanding commitment and integrity, was branded an anti-Semite by the SNP’s Fiona Robertson and others and expelled from the party for accurately comparing Adolf Hitler’s thoughts on trade unionism to the behaviour of a number of trade unionists – one of whom happened, quite unbeknownst to the author, to be Jewish. It contained no invective about Judaism or Jewish people, and it certainly was not in support of Hitler. But this was weaponised none the less in order to besmirch the reputation of a good man and to have him removed from the SNP.

Then it was my turn. During a speaking tour, the Daily Mail, the Herald, and the Scotsman newspapers picked up on a tweet I had posted about how there are people in Ireland, in the event of the Good Friday Agreement collapsing – which was a possibility at the time – who would treat the police in the north of Ireland as ‘legitimate targets’ – quoting the IRA’s operational manual, The Green Book. They delved into my website to find an article where, citing Jewish and Israeli authors, I had written that the State of Israel uses ‘a fictive narrative’ of the Holocaust so as to implicate Palestinians and thereby delegitimise the Palestinian cause. SNP MSP Maree Todd then took it upon herself to describe my views – my views according to the Daily Mail – as ‘abhorrent.’ Regardless of my work in the Irish Peace Process and my academic credentials on the Holocaust, I was now a supporter of the IRA, a Holocaust denier, and an anti-Semite. And, of course, Ms Todd’s intervention resulted in me being detained by the police under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act – the Terrorism Act!

All the while, the assault on Stu Campbell and his Wings Over Scotland website – an online resource that has had far more influence over the independence movement than any party, newspaper or blog – has been unrelenting and vicious. Pete Wishart, like most SNP politicians, a huge fan during the 2012-14 campaign, would have us believe Campbell is the single greatest threat to independence. Mike Small and a number of so-called Leftists – they’re nothing of the sort – in the SNP’s National Executive Committee have now taken to describing Wings as an ‘Alt-Right fascistic platform’ – code, as we all know, for neo-Nazi. But this is a recurring theme; interestingly following the Conservative Party’s playbook, the SNP is performing intellectual acrobatics to brand those it wishes to silence as anti-Semites – and we must ask why.

The purge is ongoing too. Recently, under the cover of a reshuffle, Joanna Cherry – an outspoken critic of Nicola Sturgeon and supporter of Alex Salmond and one of the party’s most competent people – was unceremoniously sacked from the Commons frontbench. She has endured merciless bullying within the party and has never once had Sturgeon come to her defence. The clear authoritarianism, together with the cloud of suspicion sitting dark and heavy over the First Minister and her husband, is causing a significant amount of worry and concern. It is no wonder more and more people – SNP voters – are asking ‘what the fuck is happening?’ Something is happening.

But what is happening? Three things are happening; two things which can be shown and a third that can be inferred. The first thing that is happening is the working out of history. The Scottish National Party is not actually a pro-independence party – oh, the shock! But it’s not. Presently, the party supports independence, sure, but that has not always been the case and may not always be the case. John MacCormick’s 1955 memoir of the establishment of the SNP, The Flag in the Wind, is quite clear that the SNP was about ‘a better deal for Scotland’ within the union. At best this was a Home Rule party, and one of its first actions was to expel the ‘wild men’ who wanted independence. The fact the book doesn’t even mention John Maclean – MacCormick got involved in politics the year Maclean died (1923) – speaks volumes. This was very much a party appealing to Scotland’s landed establishment, and this current is still evident in much of the party – certainly in its less-than radical economic thinking. The endemic political centrism and crypto-unionism on show everywhere – but not by everyone – informs us that this old Home Rule party is still very much alive.

While it is true there are excellent people even at the highest levels of the party, there is a visible trend of the leadership preferring incompetents, financial dependents, and impressionable neophytes – Yes-people.

Secondly, there is the problem – and it is a problem – of ambitious concentrated power and the careerists it attracts to it. While it is true there are excellent people even at the highest levels of the party, there is a visible trend of the leadership preferring incompetents, financial dependents, and impressionable neophytes – Yes-people. Anyone critical of the leadership qua the leader becomes a target within the party, and open season is declared on anyone who becomes too critical or too dangerous to the ambitions of the boss. We see this played out daily on social media when MPs, MSPs, staffers, apparatchiks, and student hopefuls adopt the party line no matter how inconsistent this is with their previous statements. Censorship, self-censorship, and outright hypocrisy are the order of the day, and this is not the behaviour of a healthy democratic political party.

The third thing that is happening – the thing we can deduce logically – is the compromise. The engine room and the bridge of the SNP have been compromised to a considerable degree by the British state. Of course they have! We know that the infiltration of political parties and efforts to influence them are standard operational tactics of MI5 and other agencies of the British state security services. And their work becomes apparent the moment we begin to ask why certain things have happened. Why, for example, would persons within the leadership of the SNP be prepared to commit perjury in order to destroy Alex Salmond? Why would the SNP-led Scottish government legislate for a route to independence that effectively gives London the power to always refuse consent? Why would the SNP refuse to support a voting strategy that would result in a pro-independence supermajority in the Edinburgh parliament? Why would a pro-independence party align itself with unionist parties in England to save the union by stopping Brexit – the one change that guarantees the breakup of the union? No genuinely pro-independence party anywhere, as Sinn Féin’s leader in Dublin, Mary Lou McDonald, said quite clearly, would do these things. So, why was this the consistent behaviour of the SNP? You can come to your own conclusions.

So, yes, a few things are happening, Donna. But there are things, to answer your question, the Yes movement can do to win. For a start, we can all stop being so bloody naïve. There are no messiahs and no one political party or faction of the movement can represent the whole independence movement. We can acknowledge the fact that not everyone is always who they say they are, and that some people – most people – can be bought or otherwise persuaded to act in ways contrary to their political beliefs and principles. English gold and skeletons in closets have always been Britain’s best friends. Yet, this does not mean we must reject the SNP. It remains a powerful instrument for the independence cause. Both inside and outside the party things can be done to influence the direction it takes and the things that it does – and we should be making that effort.

In my last article, I wrote about the necessity of a national Assembly representative of the entire movement. Please do read it. We need a vehicle that can at once reclaim the power arrogated by the SNP and bring the SNP and every other group together in order to give us direction and momentum. Independence is very much within reach, but unless we take responsibility and put the required prophylactics in place the prognosis is awful. As I have said a thousand times: No matter what the polls say and no matter the number of seats ‘we’ have, unless we have a political body capable of movement we are going nowhere. Writing these things has not made me a popular person. But, as much as I hope I can be, I am not here to be your friend. I am here to help secure independence. And I sincerely hope I have answered your question.

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Life of an MI5 Spy – Stella Rimington


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26 thoughts on “People Have Questions

  1. Excellent blog entry Jason. You’ve taken some of the multitudinous strands to the SNP web of confuscation and made sense of them.
    I believe the bigger picture to be an even more tangled mess than most of us can imagine. The use of the party as the vehicle to independence is still needed, but with a sense of detached purpose, not the faith of the dogmatic.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Once those in leadership (power) see themselves as the party…it’s over.

    Many still hold a place in their hearts for it as party of Indy, where it worked towards the general winds of the indy populace. Once that flips (where the party exists to support those in power) you are relegated to little more than a handbag to virtue signal when elections roll around. This is the repeated history of parties world over.

    Saving a party that no longer supports your goals and potentially actively works against them is just emotional inertia of a past you can’t return to. I doubt the wider YES can wrestle back control when all the auspices of control are already occupied.

    The question for many in YES now is: If the party of INDY can’t or wont deliver independence is it really a party of independence? If you don’t rip be bandage off quickly YES is doomed to a another long stint in the wilderness only this time locked into a UK in darkly different position.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. “…. a party that no longer supports your goals and potentially actively works against them ….”

      The only allegedly pro-Indy “party” actually (not potentially) working against Independence are the “Malcontent Bloggers Union (sic)”.

      The SNP have actually shown the Scottish people that the Union doesn’t work for their country. By fighting to keep Scotland within the EU after the Brexit referendum they actually proved to Scots their country is powerless within the Union. Had they just used it as an excuse for another Indyref in 2016, Unionists would just have claimed, with traction, that they hadnt even tried to get a better deal for Scotland and were merely opportunists putting their own agenda before the good of the country. Rather than just brow beat the electorate with “facts” and claim they’re stupid if they don’t “get it”, they showed Scots that their wishes for their country (like staying in the EU) are worthless under the UK.

      The handling of the Covid pandemic by the respective UK and Scottish govts has actually shown the Scottish people that, not only can they handle the major issues better than the UK, but also being in the UK made things worse rather than better.

      It is things like those that have driven support for independence into the majority view. Not some egocentric bloggers utterly obsessed with bringing down the SNP govt with conspiracy theories and ridiculous claims about “stalinism” etc. How could any of their pet issues be anything other than detrimental to the cause of independence?

      The only people cock-a-hoop with the Malcontent phenomenon are the agents of the British state. Why go to all the trouble, expense and risk of inserting individuals into positions of power, over a number of years, to undermine the Indy cause when you can just get “the office staff” to log onto sites in their tea break and post another anti-SNP diatribe on a Malcontent blog …. and get “likes” from Indies who should know better? What chance has Indy got when bloggers we once trusted have effectively allowed unionists, and the state, free reign at the centre of the Indy movement to wreck and demoralise it.

      I doubt it is a coincidence that just as the country moved towards Indy, and it began to look inevitable, the Malcontent phenomenon burst onto the scene. These bloggers can’t be blind to the damage their sites are doing to Indy and the opportunities it gives the state to exacerbate that damage. But they refuse to admit it and, instead, close ranks. United they stand …. even if that “union” leads to the continuance of the Union they say they despise.

      Like

  3. Thank you. You have coalesced the thoughts of many independence supporters who have been wondering what the hell is going on. The careerists and those at the top who do not have independence as their first and foremost aim should take heed. They make the mistake of many unionists when they conflate the yes movement with the SNP. Unlike times past, there are other places for those sickened by what has become of the SNP, to turn to. They will, in numbers. On another note, I have always learned far more from reading the blogs you named above than I did as an active member of the SNP.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Beautifully written blog. I agree with you. Independence is our sole goal and we must fight together to achieve this.
    I read your last blog on an Assembly and recommendations on Now Scotland however this group has gone very quiet after its well advertised online gathering. Are they having problems?

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Truth is a foreign commodity in Scotland .SNP membership have been gagged Wheeesht for Indy thats them . We non party Independenistas who have campaigned for many many years are expected by friends in the SNP to be silent & not to read blogs such as Yours /WoS /Gordon Dangerfield/ Ian Lawson/ect ect the blogs that brought more people to understand the need of Independence are now classed the enemy of Independence . I have never changed my outlook i’ve always believed in Independence as a 15/16 yr old but im now the enemy by the political elite & party stalwarts . I will keep calling out & posting on Yes pages where most of the Admin’s are Snp members that can’t stand the Truth & remove my posts/comments .

      Stay safe Jason

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Superb article 👏👏👏 It makes for tough reading but you speak the truth. Thanks for putting your head above the parapet to get the truth out 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m positive Peter Murrel is a State plant and has been manipulating his wife since he saw that AS was mentoring her for greater things. It’s the only thing that makes sense to me.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Well this has opened my eyes a bit with regard to the SNP leaders wanting independence now that is has been mentioned about mainly the SNP fighting about Brexit instead of fighting for independence, yes I can see where the waters have been muddied,but I will be voting for the SNP and after independence then we can look at a different political party to run Scotland .

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ive noted so many groups putting the boot into anyone who questions the current tactics and am often labelled as a unionist for daring to doubt our leaders.
    I assure you I am very much an independence fighter, with questions and concerns, and impatience! Deliver or justify the tactics. No lies, no delays. Whatever it takes to get independence DO IT NOW.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I left the SNP yesterday, Saturday 20th February 2021, after the NEC debacle where Nicola Surgeon filibustered for an hour in order to prevent competent and intelligent speakers from speaking against the “wokerati” agenda currently being promoted by NS and her accolytes. My email to the ISP shortly afterwards was answered personally by Collette Walker, someone I trust far more than I will ever trust the Murrels: Nicola and Peter.

    The Murrels will destroy the SNP rather than give up their current agenda which involves nothing more than their own personal aggrandisement. The SNP NEC was once the province of the membership but the recent membership revolt is being carefully and cynically wound back and the NEC is increasingly an appointed body dependent on the Murrels’ patronage for its very survival.

    The cacophony of voices and groups on social media all exclude any criticism of the Murrels and their stranglehold on their party. The inability of so many people, tens of thousands at least, to accept any criticism of their Fuhrer will only hasten the end of a party once committed, under the Murrels avowed critic and bete noir, Alex Salmond, to Scottish Independence.

    Like some forms of cancer excising the Murrels and their accolytes today will cost the SNP so much, because they will not go down with kicking and screaming and clawing and biting, that they will severely damage or destroy the party they have come to believe belongs to them.

    You don’t believe me? Watch the coming election and the SG pantomime investigating the “Alex Salmond Affair”. The Murrels will not genuinely seek Scottish Independence but they will do what they have to do to appear onside with the independence movement.

    Do not underestimate the absolutely crass and base venality of the Murrels and their family enterprise, the SNP circa 2021.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Excellent synopsis of where we’re at – somewhere between Limbo and Purgatory. Seems like you CAN fool all the people all of the time. Increasingly people are coming round to realising they have been deceived and manipulated by those they trusted, but are terrified to admit it. The next question is ‘where now?’

    Like

  10. Thanks for the article Jason. I don’t think that the British state is high up in the SNP. I believe they will be in the civil service and manipulating people around them. Peter Murrell is not clever enough to be MI5, he can’t lie convincingly. Nicola Sturgeons greatest weakness has always been in trusting some people too much. She surrounds herself with the wrong people. She is a gradualist and has now been persuaded that other minority agendas are more important than Independence.

    She is either 100% complicit in the AS witch hunt, or 100% knew what was happening within the civil service. Either way, she was in charge , and being a methodical, detail person she knew what was happening, of that there is no doubt. So , who cares about a couple of dates. Well why cover up , it’s who was at, and what was said at these forgotten meetings that is important.

    Her big mistake and which has impacted on Independence is that she asked WM about introducing the restrospective policy to ensnare Salmond. WM correctly said they didn’t want to be involved but they KNEW the reason why this policy was being put in place in Scotland. Nothing more than a witch hunt against Alex Salmond.

    WM know that this was a corrupt thing to do, and Sturgeon knows that WM will bring her down in flames , as soon as she pushes too far towards Independence. Sturgeon knows she is finished and wants to push through minority agendas before she goes. She will try and stay until HR, and will say ” let the people decide” whatever the outcome of the Fabiani farce and the Hamilton enquiry. She wants to anoint someone who is close to her, and also someone who knows the secrets, and that is her chosen successor Angus Robertson.

    With him not being an elected member she has to survive as leader until HR and hope that he is elected in Edinburgh, hence the desperation to stop Joanna Cherry standing. She will then step down using Covid as an excuse. Still lots to happen before then, but unfortunately the Indy movement needs to separate completely from SNP and get a different vehicle.

    Like

  11. This 100% reflects my personal experience as a member who questioned the alleged actions of the NEC and just for questioning if it was true I received days of abuse and insults. In the SNP of to-day one cannot question still less criticise the leadership and most especially St. Nicola

    Like

  12. My second reading of this, excellent work and I agree wholeheartedly with a heavy heart. The realisation that independence is being stolen from us by some in the SNP has hit me like a punch in the gut. It’s a sore one to take.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I think the worst outcome in May. Would be the SNP with a majority, and Sturgeon at the helm. She is a devolutionist, who is more interested in gender politics than independence.

    The best outcome would be her resignation next week. A new radical leader, and winning in May on a ticket if plan B as the new plan A

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I feel there is a lot of truth in what you have said. Always felt the Tories had caused the attack on Alex Salmond and possibly ‘ bought” some of the stupid women who bad mouthed him. Certainly made me think.

    Like

  15. Good read & agree with all your saying.
    My concern is if we finally get Independence. We have people who are not fully committed doing the negotiations, if they are in WM pocket, whats to say we still get sold out.
    All our institutions is full of WM’s people too, we will have a cess pit to clear-out.
    It also goes against the grain voting for ppl you do not trust.
    Guy in Egypt told me, Independence the Brits never leave, they all have lovely big homes along the Nile.
    We do have good ppl who want Scotland to be best it can be but it will not be easy 😢
    Thanks for blog 👏👏🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Great article and brings up many relevant points but as the SNP is the vehicle that can deliver independence we must for the time being continue our support. Once independence is won we the people can decide who takes the country forward.

    Like

  17. If we want independence, in my opinion, we must vote SNP. Now isn’t the time to split the vote, or the only winners will be the unionist parties. However, something must happen immediately after the May elections. The SNP are NOT performing in the way that the majority of independence supporters want. Have we been waiting a ‘Stormont’ generation 7 years, since 2014 for another referendum? Seems like it. If that’s the case then we’ve had 7 years to consolidate, but that hasn’t happened. The SNP hasn’t allowed in the independence movement groups to become part of the political decision making process. The SNP and the Covid pandemic has allowed Westminster to continue merrily on its way, stuffing it to Scotland, lining their own pockets, Brextit, and independence has been languishing in the doldrums. Some will say that independence had to be put on hold whilst the pandemic was killing over 100,000 people in the British Isles, it would have been wrong to do otherwise. We had 6 years before that to prepare. The SNP are the independence movements main political arm, at the moment.

    Like

  18. I don’t believe the SNP are seeking political independence for Scotland. I’m aware of their historical home rule agenda. I don’t think I can vote for them any longer. There is no power to recall any political party for ‘fake’ manifesto policy. The SNP have shown us what and who they are, and that is not a party that should be tolerated either by the electorate or by law as they are fraudulent in their political aims.
    I’m sure the majority of independentistas can see that the SNP are an exemplar of the kind of politician and political party that we do not want in an independent Scotland. Their behaviour is one of the reasons that we want out of this mess. They have become just another unionist obstacle in the drive to be free from the English wealthy elite state.
    I don’t see how the SNP can be a vehicle for Independence, other than replacing the rotten core of the party and start rebuilding the party from the ground up.

    Like

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