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By Denise Findlay

I’m listening to the 2014 song Hope Over Fear. We are all seven years older now; that’s seven years of independence campaigners dying without ever seeing independence. Nuclear weapons are still on the Clyde, we are still run by Westminster Tories, but now we are out of the EU and our parliament’s powers are being stripped. We’ve still got tax-payer funded MPs and they are telling us ‘not yet.’

The next chance to choose independence has been kicked passed 2023, and an eleven-point plan put forward which far from guaranteeing an independence referendum in the next term, almost certainly guarantees there won’t be. That plan is to first wait till the effects of the pandemic are over. This implies that Scotland needs the UK in order to recover from the pandemic, buying into the ‘broad shoulders’ nonsense. But, leaving that aside, the plan is to ask for a Section 30 order. When Johnston refuses, the plan is to pass an independence referendum bill in Holyrood and anticipate a London government court challenge. The obvious flaw in the plan is that Westminster can simply legislate to prevent the Scottish Parliament holding an independence referendum without permission. And they have plenty of time to do so — power devolved really is power retained.

The obvious flaw in the plan is that Westminster can simply legislate to prevent the Scottish Parliament holding an independence referendum without permission.

The SNP has backed itself into a corner with the insistence we have a ‘gold standard Section 30,’ and with its talk of ‘legal’ and ‘illegal’ referenda. I’m afraid that if nothing changes we will be back here in seven years listening to Gerry Cinnamon and realising our opportunity has gone.

Luckily, we have a chance to make a change but it is one chance and we have to take it. If we miss this chance I fear Scotland and independence are lost. Our opportunity is the Alba Party. The Alba policy is to treat the election of a large majority of pro-independence MSPs as a mandate to open independence negotiations with Westminster. This is a far stronger position than meekly asking for a Section 30 ‘cap in hand.’ To get a mandate for independence, the Alba position is that this supermajority is a mandate for independence.

This gives Johnston a problem, and he doesn’t really know what we will do. We could call a plebiscite election or call an Assembly of all MPs and MSPs and vote for independence or both. At some point we could declare independence, and then Johnston has to make a calculation, because if the international community recognises us then we are independent and have no share of UK debt.

So, at some point Johnston will decide to shift focus from preventing our independence to screwing us over in the independence negotiations. Of course, we will have to make a good job of those and we will need our best team. We need to do all this to become independent and we need to start right now. Westminster has plans; a new Act of Union to make independence without Westminster’s consent ‘illegal’ and the Internal Market Bill to break devolution and move the UK back into a unitary state. Within a generation Scotland could be absorbed into the UK state and our country lost forever.

Now, you would think the SNP would welcome the Alba party shaking things up; the promise of a supermajority for independence, the removal of unionist MSPs from Holyrood, and their promise to start independence negotiations with Westminster straight after the election. So, why is the SNP so unhappy?

They have become the establishment — not radical but conventional and managerial.  

Laying aside the oddly unhinged Sturgeon psycho-drama with Salmond, it comes down to power. At the moment the SNP has complete power over when and whether we get to choose independence and as they keep getting voted in on the back of the pro-independence vote, it has no real incentive to deliver. Politicians tend to be risk adverse and unimaginative, as long as they keep winning they don’t change tack. Fourteen years in power is far too long for an independence party to be in office without delivering independence. MPs in Westminster for decades. They have become the establishment — not radical but conventional and managerial.

It has now become power for its own sake. They don’t want Alba pushing them on independence … every week independence; independence, independence. They don’t want to be forced to argue for independence or, heaven forfend, negotiate independence when they haven’t done any real policy work in years. They don’t want their own MSPs looking to move to Alba if they don’t move fast enough on independence. An easy move as, apart from women’s rights which wouldn’t be a deal breaker for most MSPs, there are no ideological differences between the parties.

Even worse for the SNP, it could no longer rely on being the sole recipient of the pro-independence vote. If it does not deliver the pro-independence voters can vote for Alba. The SNP see Alba as a danger to their power and potentially an alternative party that might replace them. That is why they are hostile and insisting ‘Both Votes SNP’ when they know it will yield few if any seats. That is why they are putting party before country. 

Now, will you seize the day, rip the chains from the unicorn and vote Alba on the regional list?

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‘Hope Over Fear,’ Scottish independence anthem by Gerry Cinnamon


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9 thoughts on “Will You Stand and Be Counted…

  1. You say there is no ideological difference between the SNP and Alba Jason. That might have been, maybe still is true at a grass roots DNA level of the SNP but certainly not at the current leadership level in the SNP, and certainly not in many of the elected MSPS and MPs who have become comfortable on the job salaries.

    That is why, as you observe, the importance of electing a swathe ALBA MSPs is critically important, because the influx of that swathe of Alba MSPs will change the parliamentary landscape out of all recognition. And the unionists know it.

    My own view is that on current form Sturgeon, Swinney and the coterie have in particular sold the party, the members, short. To recommend two votes SNP when you know it minimises independence seats and maximises unionist seats is outrageous.

    But we can take opportunity and turn that all around by simply giving all our regional votes to Alba.

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  2. Denise: If we miss this chance I fear Scotland and independence are lost. Absolutely agree. At least to the extent that it is our last chance to settle the issue by peaceful means. Armed conflict awaits if we don’t get this sorted. I do not say that lightly, but there will be no other choice eventually, assuming that future generations will still want to be independent. This, for me, is the inherent danger in the FM stating that it is the only legal route. One of these fine days, someone is going to say: okay, let’s look at the illegal routes, then; let’s see what we can do that is out-with Westminster’s control.

    This S30 Order legal route stuff is sheer mendacity and stupidity. There are several democratic and legal routes out of the UK. The election coming up is one, for starters. The real problem is that the SNPG does not want to go down that route. Anyone who still believes they will, unless they are pushed and pulled like reluctant mules by the other pro independence parties, needs his or her head examined by a professional. What is it that makes people believe the unbelievable? Also, no more referendums full stop, please. Go along with it if you must, but bear in mind that another indyref is: a) a trap that the UKG can manipulate; b) one that can be lost again. I don’t know how many times it has to be said: there is no legal requirement, either in International law or domestic constitutional law for a referendum of any kind whatsoever.

    The other thing that I would be worrying about, Denise, is that massive postal vote – a million, apparently. Please, please ask Alec Salmond to invite neutral international witnesses and to keep volunteer people on the track of the postal votes at each and every step. The bulk of them (last envelope) must be closed before they go to the poll count (Electoral Commission rules that were flouted last time) and people can keep an eye on that. Of course, there will be sampling, but that should be small and local. If there are to be shenanigans by UKG, this is wide open to abuse all along the ay, and by hacking, since most of the postal vote stuff is entered into a computer. I’m no conspiracy theorist. I just don’t trust the British State. Not one inch. Better safe than sorry. If we get a 96% postal vote as in 2014, we really need to challenge, because there is no record anywhere in the world, not even the most banana-ed of banana republics, of such a high postal vote turnout.

    I have not joined Alba, although I might yet, because of the betrayal I feel from the SNP which I joined at a tender age. What they have done to independista Scots – but most particularly, to independista Scottish women – is beyond comprehension if you are a rational human being. They no longer have any right to call themselves the party of independence. They have been captured by devolution and UKG allure, and by pseudo ‘woke’ elements that have little to no interest in independence any time soon, or, indeed, any time at all. The ousting of women from all aspects of public life and private spaces, the crushing of independence hopes of Scots appears to be their agenda, and has been since 2015 and the infiltration of Stonewall. I fear that no accommodation can now be borne: they must be swept out of power; and that will mean sweeping the present FM out of power. This will be our last chance for peaceful transition (proper transition, not the self-ID kind) to independence, but also the final opportunity to save our country from the destructive tenets of queer theory and its undermining of society and laws.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Click to access Scotland_Referendum_final.pdf

    Paper by Oxford University academic and cabinet advisor to the Edinburgh Agreement leading up to the 2014 referendum.

    Interesting analysis of which Ciarin Martin’s analysis is that there is no democratic route to Scottish Independence. What England wants England gets. Force of law will prevail against consent.

    His analysis also opines that Scottish devolution is not permanent and that it can, and in fact will be taken away. You do not defend union by granting more powers. That he concludes is underway with the Internal Market Bill legislating in Scottish matters without reference to Hoolyrood and with the deployment of UK civil servants to govern I’m matters of resumed Westminster controls.

    He further concludes that unlike Ireland, the Scots have a tradition of pursuing independence peacefully, without as one wag quotes ……even a nosebleed. And that observation very much reflects the reality of what Westminster thinks, how it strings Scotland along, and does as it pleases – you bought the sacred vow, were given the forever powers which we now take away, so crawl off now Jackie in to your corner like a good dog, a good underdog.

    But read professor Martin’s paper and draw your own conclusions. He has deep insight into the mechanisms of Westminster governance, and from this I think you will see clearly how Scotland is viewed, how she will be treated.

    And that is why we need an Alba Party, a strong parliamentary majority, and people with the iron resolve to take on the English Establishment and win.

    And we can win!

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