2007 - 2022

Home Rule Now


For the millions who voted yes, the significance of involvement in the referendum campaign has yet to fade. Of this, there can be little doubt. That unprecedented display of public emotion: a plethora of perfectly rational acts of civic love, provided a moment of clarity that will leave an indelible mark on the nation’s character. This will not, indeed cannot, be forgotten, erased, re-written or subsumed into some less potent future project. That much we know.

Today it is politically impossible for any politician to claim (as many did prior to its inception) that the referendum was a distraction, that this buzzing site of mass participation in democracy was somehow ‘on pause’ until the votes were counted. In the space of weeks it is the losers, not the victors of that campaign, who are in the ascendent.

But there is a clear and present danger that the Scottish independence movement faces. To remain trapped in what is now a historic moment, to seek to replay the good times over and over again, is not a fitting tribute to all that was achieved. We must now chart a way forward that does not take a yes vote as its starting point.

As the inheritors of a broad movement so happily defined by a three letter word, we can’t simply gallop onwards towards independence. Instead we have to realise that the referendum allowed us, a full 1.6 million of us, to understand what we want. With power given back to London the question now is to work out what we can get.

If independence is to be delivered, as I believe it can be, we have to take a step back. Let’s take the unity, the passion and the energy and apply it to what happens next. In doing so, we need to become comfortable with the fact that there is no longer a single route by which the people of Scotland finally get to govern Scotland: there are several.

In truth, any time served activist could tell you there was always more to do than vote yes. But the question on that ballot paper was so devastatingly simple, it gave the answer a kind of quiet, positive quality too. Yes was all that was required.

That time is now over. We need to start asking relentless, tough questions anew. Is there an alternative to austerity? Yes. Are there more productive things to do in the world than bomb terrorists? Yes. Can we start using the powers that Scotland has now to reshape society? Yes. Can we make changes to local democracy that would radically improve services and break Labour’s braindead stranglehold? Yes. Can we do one better than abolishing the Bedroom Tax and the scrap the thinly disguised flat tax that is the Council Tax? Yes. Can we achieve Home Rule for Scotland? Yes.

All of these questions must now take precedence over the one that voters answered in the negative last month. Because the task of reaching out to the 55% need not be as difficult as it seems. The only thing that will impede the effective formation of a majority who want Home Rule, will be a fixation with the referendum: or the desire to distort the true import of that joyous time into a litmus test of loyalty through the emergence of a ‘hard yes’ group.

I think I’ll see independence in my lifetime. It’s a policy that I’ve supported throughout my whole political life: I’ve never voted for a unionist party and I never will. If I thought an endless re-run of September, calls for another referendum, or chatter about UDI would hasten independence, I’d join in. Yet now would be the worst possible time to break from the remarkable patience that the independence movement has shown. To abandon that discipline, unity and openness now would be disastrous. It also paves the way for an anti-independence platform to gain traction that might yet save the crisis ridden unionists parties in 2015.

The SNP has, quite rightly, swung itself behind what it believes to be the constitutional position that Scotland currently favours: Devo Max. This is a vitally important step for the wider movement to support. No political party can ignore the polls that back it up. They will eat away at the confidence and credibility of the unionist parties unless they are seen to embrace what these numbers represent.

There is a bigger point to remember here: there is an overwhelming lack of rhetoric about the union prevailing. Since Scotland voted No, ever louder proclamations about the historic destiny of the UK have fallen silent. Now that the voters have gone home, the ‘redistributive union’ to use Alastair Darling’s notorious phrase, is nowhere to be seen. The sordid business of austerity politics means that broken Britain is back with a vengeance now that the jocks have been silenced. Ruth Davidson’s words explaining the No victory, from the BBC’s documentary How the Campaign Was Won, are revealing:

I think people across Scotland are canny. I think that, they looked at the prospectus that was on offer for change and there were too many holes in it and they recognised that.

It’s not exactly the rhetoric about the unity of this sceptred isle you’d expect from the leader of the Conservative and Unionist party. In fact, it makes a massive concession: that the prospectus for change, not the principle of Scottish independence itself, was the reason that the No vote triumphed.

Let’s consider briefly what that prospectus for independence consisted of. The No campaign attacked it with an overwhelming emphasis on economics and to be blunt, crucified Yes on currency. The contest became, at points, an endless chain of two competing offers to Scotland: do you want the pound? Do you want the government you vote for? A politically silent (perhaps orphaned) older, wealthier, Scotland turned out to assert that the prospect of financial deficit was worse than the reality of a democratic one.

Throughout the campaign the Scottish Government’s platform was painfully close to Home Rule, perhaps fatally so. The inevitable political exposure this brought was ruthlessly exploited: arguing for change, but also for continuity, is an almost impossible task. Whatever the rights or wrongs of the monetary minutiae that underpinned it, few would claim that fighting swathes of the campaign about the merits of Sterling and the Bank of England helped compel Scots to vote for independence. Solid offerings on social justice were so lean that Beranrd Ponsonby was able to pinion Salmond late in the day on an issue that should have easily been carried by yes. In short, this most detailed proposition often felt like an offer for ‘independence in the UK’ so great was its desire to assuage risk. Home Rule, which the SNP is now intent on turning into political reality, was heavily gestured to by both sides in the referendum campaign and for good reason.

With canny Scots, not proud Britons, saving the union and Home Rule at least a rhetorical commitment from unionists, a political space has opened up in Scotland. To exploit this strategically we must de-couple the idea of independence from the idea of an elusive referendum triumph. The 18th and 19th of September contained so much for so many, that it can be easy to assume that this is the manner in which independence must be gained. A referendum is fought and won. The old order concedes and something new takes its place. The reality, certainly when it comes to Britain, is very different.

If there is one thing that Britain demands, it is to save face, to snatch continuity from the jaws of decline. Throughout the referendum campaign, the frailties of the British establishment were exposed: that’s why they had to win.

There is ample precedent here. The Statute of Westminster offers a blueprint. It acknowledged British law making to be obsolete in the autonomous Dominions, effectively ending London rule with a whisper not a bang. It also shored up the prestige of an austerity gripped coalition government and a rapidly declining world power, sound familiar?

The lesson is simple: the best way to get independence from Britain is to do so when the British establishment are looking elsewhere and simply lose interest. With North Sea Oil (as much burden as boon to the independence cause) this is more challenging. But politically the idea that what British politics has vested in Scotland could rapidly diminish seems more tangible than ever. If the Scottish Labour Party is severely weakened in 2015 the lack of a Westminster party with mass support throughout all the nations of the UK must be a precursor to actual break up.

No country that gained its independence has ever wanted to give it back. This became an oft repeated remark during the referendum campaign. However we must also remember that no country that gained ever greater autonomy from Westminster did not go on to achieve independence. It also offers us the chance to steadily demonstrate what is distinct about our politics and to begin the work of radically transforming Scotland’s economy.

So let’s have a ‘Yes alliance’, but let’s not call it that. Let’s keep the momentum and work out how to build on all that we achieved. But we must not remain trapped by the contours of a debate about full statehood which is, for the time being, over.

For several weeks during the referendum campaign the British establishment were terrified of us. They were terrified of our unity, the breadth of our movement, the communities that we had mobilised and of a new found thirst for political self-education amongst working people. This was the true meaning of yes: that the remarkable happens when people are given a vote that matters. In that spirit let’s begin by acknowledging that one three letter word will no longer suffice as a banner: we must find another to rally behind.

Three words will do for me instead: Home Rule Now.



Comments (71)

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  1. Now that’s the name we’ve been waiting for….and it was there all the time!

    1. tresmegistus says:

      perfidious albion. the united kingdom of GB is made up of wales, england and scotland. the scots in my view approached it in the wrong way. they should have insisted that all three union members vote. there is a lot of sympathy south of hadrian’s wall to scotland’s independence. the monetary issue was a false flag. in this way scotland would have received a yes vote and probably lead to wales seeking independence as well and the break up of GB as has been foretold.

  2. Ann win next time says:

    I agree that we must move on from yes but I think it would be madness to leave all the structure, energy and positivity behind. The next step is not just defining the next election but should spell out the journey we are on. I would like to see a full dialogue throughout Scotland on all issues relating to the devo promises. We need to spell out to people what the gains and losses are, let them see who is fighting for them and who is holding them back. Simple really!

  3. MBC says:

    I like Yes Alliance.

    1. Yes alliance is well sound and keeps the yes going am more for yes and no united for change ! No matter what it is Scotland will warm to it and Embrace it like the indy ref there’s no back in the box here and every day more and more no voters are joining yes so we are on the march with nicks army we all want indy we will real shake them up when we the next Indy ref a wee tune there from me late nice to so much still going on it’s only a matter of time !

      1. oldbattle says:

        YES ALLayeANCE Joking but having invested so much from so many in the YES brand it is common sense and good communication theory to retain the brand with its
        heritage of loyalty.

  4. Interesting post. In moving forward we must never forget the role of the BBC. Considerable energy of the YES Alliance, or whatever we call ourselves now, must be aimed at them as a concrete and tangible enemy.

    It must be shut down in Scotland – by whatever means that takes!

    1. jocklandjohn says:

      An impartial and objective reporter of facts news and events is the enemy? You’re a dangerous and disturbing zealot.

      I assume from this you would prefer a broadcaster that presents only the partisan view you support?

      The “spontaneous” anti-BBC demo was probably the low point of either campaign – truly disgusting.

      1. fionavon1 says:

        No way. What the Yes campaign was annoyed with was the extreme bias that typified the BBC. Alot of this was covert in e.g giving the ‘No’ campaign the first question, leaving the role of the Yes campaigner to justify themselves. What about the spontaneous rallies throughout Scotland. These were never shown on the BBC. Have a look at Referendum Bias on You Tube. If this doesn’t change your mind there is something wrong.

      2. jocklandjohn says:

        “Alot of this was covert in e.g giving the ‘No’ campaign the first question, leaving the role of the Yes campaigner to justify themselves.”

        Ah, that would be the special two-headed BBC coin that was tossed to decide the running order of the debates?

        If you’re used to sycophancy in a campaign cocoon, opposing views probably start to look like “extreme bias”.

      3. James Kelly says:

        I don’t think the BBC are the enemy, but it strikes me that anyone who watched the coverage of the penultimate week of the campaign and still feels able to call the corporation “an impartial and objective reporter of facts, news and events” is as guilty of zealotry as anyone else.

        I may be different from some other independence supporters in this respect, but I had at least a degree of faith in the BBC that when it really came to the crunch, their instinct for impartiality would win out over their instinct to promote British unity. Quite simply, that didn’t happen. They let down their audience badly – indeed it’s tempting to use the word ‘betrayed’. The coverage improved somewhat over the last few days before polling (I think they privately began to realise that they’d made a hash of it) but by that point the damage had been done.

      4. jocklandjohn says:

        I think the case is unproven and, until it is, I am very sceptical about allegations of BBC bias when they come from people who wanted the opposite referendum result.

        As far as I know, there has been only one (pseudo) scientific piece of research from Professor Robertson (a supporter of independence so not exactly objectively independent for the purposes of such a study) that purported to demonstrate that bias. I read his research and was wholly unconvinced. Numerical weight of reporting in favour of No is perfectly understandable when the majority of voters were No voters – in a sense it just reflects the arithmetic.

        You need to consider the phenomenon of “observer bias”. I watched Jim Watt lose his world lightweight crown to Alexis Arguello at Wembley. I was gutted at the end as I was convinced (or had convicned myself) that Watt deserved to win. He hadn’t.

      5. James Kelly says:

        “I think the case is unproven and, until it is, I am very sceptical about allegations of BBC bias when they come from people who wanted the opposite referendum result.”

        In which case, perhaps you should listen to people with no skin in the game such as the respected former BBC journalist Paul Mason (now with Channel 4) who noted that the BBC were operating at full propaganda strength during the referendum campaign.

        Doesn’t the ‘observer bias’ problem apply to your own glowing tribute to the BBC’s impartiality?

        Last but not least, I think you should justify your outrageous claim that Professor Robertson’s work was “pseudo”-scientific. Perhaps you could also explain why the BBC thought Robertson’s work was important enough to complain to the university about, but mysteriously not important enough to report on the news.

      6. jocklandjohn says:

        Many people have also alleged that the BBC was too sympathetic to the Yes side, and speculated that it was precisely because they wanted to avoid allegations of being pro-union. You will find as many people claiming the BBC has right wing bias as claim it has left wing bias – it all depends on your standpoint. You will find evidence of what you seek if it reinforces your own views.

        Point me to this glowing tribute you allege I make?

        Paul Mason is a Trotskyite ex-music teacher, is pro-independence and inexplicably now is involved in economics at the Guardian and Channel 4 after the BBC. Being ex-BBC makes one wonder whether criticism of it means he has no skin in the game on the matter of BBC bias (who knows what ulterior motive he might have to criticise his past employer). I might respect him playing some classical music, but not as an economist (much of his economics is illiterate in my view, perhaps not surprising given his background) or an impartial commentator.

        Why is it outrageous to say that comment on a subject that does not lend itself well to science (as it’s all about subjectivity, opinions, personal impressions, imprecision and nuance of language and personal biases) is pseudo-science?

      7. fionavon1 says:

        I am not talking about debates which relied on the toss of a coin. I am referring to guest speakers of the BBC. Invariably the No campaigner spoke first. The result was that the majority of the time allocated to the Yes campaigner was spent defending this view, immediately putting them in the defensive, in turn making the no campaigner appearing stronger.

      8. jocklandjohn says:

        FUD = Fiona Undoubtedly Demented

      9. John Campbell says:

        If you are a respected news gathering organisation, and your impartiality is questioned, whether rightly or wrongly, and you can’t send out a reporter or can’t be bothered swivelling your camera’s through 180 degrees to look out your front window at 4,000 people who are doing the asking, then you have, in fact, answered their question for them. But not on mainstream media.

      10. Murray McGregor says:

        Disgusting? In what way? A large group of people including children peacefully demonstrating their discontent at their BBC conducting a biased campaign on behalf of the No’s is why they were there!

      11. Frack-off activist fae Ailsa Craig says:

        Breath-taking comments. What planet are you on buddy? Smoked a pound of Westminster snuff? The BBC are NOT objective and they are NOT IMPARTIAL. They choose and select their narrative that is shaped by Westminster’s elites in their cosy circles and it is spoken by a BBC proper speaking elocution voice to the Empire of their subordinates. Wake up you plankton-brained cretin! The BBC was born in the era of propaganda in the 1920’s as a wireless broadcaster to the great Empire of England’s global dominance: we Jocks were their coat of mail defence. The BBC has perpetuated decades of Jock stereotypes as violent racist drunkards. They perpetuate the Kailyard kitsch. They insult our nation as a load of beggars living off hand-outs from the UK Treasury, while, in reality, Scotland’s wealth is plundered by greedy lowlife cretins who mask themselves as ‘gentlemen’ and are beneath my contempt. But you are not. These callous hearted subhuman ‘things’ are the heartless people who kiss babies with one hand and blow people to smithereens with the other. The warmongers and the elites are one race based on hereditary status and pomp. Its time this old Feudal elites was out of the democratic process and its the museum of history where they belong with the other reptilian dinosaurs.Where’s the objectivity in the English media telling the lie that England or Britain won the Second World War? They did not. Russia effectively did with 27 million dead! A vibrant Scottish BBC would reflect our culture like a mirror. Real Scottish talent on the Telly! Scottish accents even! Imagine? Imagine really talented Scottish music on TV and all the great Burns speakers we have? our culture and arts are suppressed and held back from getting on our screens. BBC Scotland is a farce and we should all sue them for the crap they produce. One recent exception was Alan Little’s documentary Our Friends in the North. Refreshingly clever, fair and balanced just like Alan.

        Even their weather map shrinks Scotland to almost half its size. We live in Scutland according to them. Time to shut em down and get John Logie Baird’s Box Back as a Scottish Telly for the People in Scotland. British Propaganda Control goodbye!

      12. Wul says:

        jockandjohn, you are so wrong. Your “observational bias” is clear.
        An “impartial and objective reporter of facts news and events” (in your words) did not report a crowd of hundreds, possibly thousands of Yes supporters at the top of Glasgow’s busiest street on the Saturday before the referendum. Instead it showed a small group of both Yes & No supporters and the far end of the same street. Now, the BBC may have thought that their mandate for “balance” meant that for every 10 “No” campaigners, they had to show 10 “Yes” supporters. However, their duty for “balance” applies to giving equal airtime to opposing politicians and professional lobbyists.
        A “reporter of facts” would have reported the FACT of mass, peaceful, celebratory rallies of Yes supporters in Glasgow’s city centre, with numbers far outweighing “No” supporters. It would have reported the FACT of Orange Lodge members marching in Edinburgh. It would have reported the FACT of Nazi salutes and homophobic verbal abuse shouted by “No” supporters in Glasgow’s George Square, it would have reported the FACT of a demonstration outside its own doors by unhappy citizens.
        I was at the “disgusting” BBC demonstration you mention. I decided to go (spontaneously) because I saw myself and my fellow scots being “disappeared” on the BBC news coverage and felt hurt and badly misrepresented.
        This demonstration which “disgusted” you was full of kids, folk in wheelchairs and mobility scooters, men, women, a few dugs, the old and the young, people from all socio-economic groups. I went with my 53yr old wife and sister in law who had a broken arm in plaster, she was not so much as jostled the whole day. It was happy, cheeky, irreverent and noisy. No one was hurt, no property was damaged, no one was arrested.
        People shouted “where’s your cameras BBC!” Personally I think it was a valid demonstration of the way a lot of BBC license fee payers were feeling, and I also suspect it made a difference.
        Can you not believe that people can get up off their chair and out into the streets to protest, without it being part of some sort of sinister conspiracy? Wake up man! Can you give one example of worthwhile social change that has happened without people demonstrating?

        1. fionavon1 says:

          Well said.

          This disgusted me too. I had no idea that these rallies existed until I talked to my sister who had seen them on social media. Prior to the referendum, I hardly looked at social media and respected the BBC, believing that what I saw on the news was a true representation of what was going on! It it is only since I was aware the extreme bias that I started to trawl the internet to find out what was really going on.

          I am convinced that this is why we lost the vote and this is why so many of the Yes campaign find it difficult to sit back and accept the result. Many of us have joined the SNP and I am convinced that change will happen.

          I am not happy about the prospect of Jim Murphy taking over the Scottish Labour Party. Please have a look at this.


      13. scot2go2 says:

        jocklandjohn…. the bbc are up to their armpits in pro unionism… they should be closed down forthwith and a Scottish Broadcaster enabled ….funded by a fraction that is now given to support bbc pension schemes or private medical care etc… as Scotland raise some £300 million in TAX/fees yet the broadcast costs are £91 million… so that is one of the reasons the bbc were so desperate for the union… over & above the very strong links between the employees of the bbc & the labour party… which… if you follow… lenathehyenas blog you will see this as a fact…. though this blog does not cover the whole sorry corrupt mess….
        Had they had a dedicated investigative set of journalists exposing the claims of both sides that would have been acceptable to all the Scottish electorate… but they clearly did not decide to follow that simple rule of journalistic ethics…
        I personally will have no dealings with any part of this “entertainment” broadcaster as they can not be trusted.

    2. James Kelly says:

      “Many people have also alleged that the BBC was too sympathetic to the Yes side”

      I recall Sarah Smith, just before she started presenting Scotland 2014, saying that as long as the BBC attracted roughly the same amount of criticism from both sides, they’d know they were getting it more or less right. To put it mildly, that isn’t what happened. By the end, the official No campaign had set themselves up as the BBC’s heroic defenders, which speaks volumes.

      “Point me to this glowing tribute you allege I make?”

      With pleasure. It was this : “An impartial and objective reporter of facts news and events”

      “Why is it outrageous to say that comment on a subject that does not lend itself well to science”

      For starters, your clear implication that it was OK for the BBC to give greater coverage to the No side because there were more No voters than Yes voters (did they have a premonition that would turn out to be the case?) does not lend huge confidence that your critique of Robertson’s work is well-founded.

      “Paul Mason is a Trotskyite ex-music teacher, is pro-independence and inexplicably now is involved in economics at the Guardian and Channel 4 after the BBC.”

      Heaven forbid that we should pay any attention to a music teacher. Holy Jesus. And you accuse others of “observer bias” and being “disturbing zealots”?

      I rest my case, m’lud.

      1. jocklandjohn says:

        “as long as the BBC attracted roughly the same amount of criticism from both sides”

        Was it not inevitable that the losing side would be the critics of the MSM? If Yes had won, do you not think that the Nos would be raking over the coals in exactly the same way?

        “your clear implication that it was OK for the BBC to give greater coverage to the No side”

        I did not mean to imply that it was OK for one side to be given greater coverage, merely that a greater number of persons were on the No side, so simple deductive arithmetic would imply that a greater number of them would be heard, interviewed etc.

        “Heaven forbid that we should pay any attention to a music teacher.”

        We should, on music.

        It’s not normally considered to be a solid grounding for economics. Nor, these days, is Trotskyism usually considered to be. Even Russia gets that.

        Judgment in your favour declined.

      2. tartanfever says:

        Yet the BBC are members and financially support a right wing pro business entity, the CBI. After it emerged that for nearly 30 years that the Corporation has been paying membership dues which now total in the region of £250k of licence fee payers money.

        Yet the CBI still regularly appear on news programmes allowed to make comment on government policy, whether that be from Westminster or Europe without any caveat or ‘health warning’ that this is comment from an organisation that the BBC are members of.

        And when the facts come out, what is the BBC reaction ? They decide move the subscription payments from normal BBC expenditure to the commercial division – BBC Worldwide. The BBC fail to see the utter hypocrisy caused by their ‘news impartiality’ claims and their continuing financial donations to the CBI.

        A number of years ago the BBC realised that ‘think tanks’ are not non-political and they decided that they must treat such organisations with full scrutiny. That has completely failed to happen.

        Reporting Scotland tell us ‘Reform Scotland’, a pro business think tank, is ‘independent and well-respected’ yet when Jackie Bird tells us that ‘ Reform Scotland accuse the Scottish Government of being scared of competition’ in a report over the building of new GP surgeries and hospitals, she fails to mention that Reform Scotland is financially supported by Skanska – a building firm that specialises in the construction of health care buildings.

        That is an utter failure of ‘fair’ journalism and further, an utter failure of the BBC news department to follow it’s own guidelines.

        Furthermore, why are the BBC exempt from so many Freedom of Information requests ?

        They have a special opt out clause specifically written for them. It’s so vague that virtually any detail relating to the ‘ public body’ the BBC claim to be is exempt from being released – any information falling under the umbrella “purposes of journalism, art or literature” can be held from public scrutiny.

        And one of the reasons the BBC wins this exemption is because they argue in court it is ‘more of a private company than a public body’ which quite rightly throws up the awkward question of ‘well why is there a licence fee ?’

        The fact that the BBC are also one of the very worst offenders when it comes to answering FOI requests on time when they, through reporters such as Eleanor Bradford, use that specific system for virtually all of her own news stories is worrying.

        When people pick up a newspaper, they know that the news they are about to read is slanted. Murdoch titles as with an other, come with their own built in health warnings. This is the complete opposite of the BBC which at all points claims utter impartiality on all of it’s news reporting.

        This is the biggest journalistic deception facing the licence fee paying public. This is an issue that should be of concern to all citizens.

    3. Shaun says:

      If the independence movement wants to get anywhere it really needs to stop making enemies of everyone. Old people, big business, the mainstream media, the main political parties, academics… and now the BBC. It seems that everyone who isn’t in favour of independence is an enemy.

      1. tartanfever says:

        Shaun, people are angry, and for good reason. . There is a way to approach and criticise beyond the unadulterated accusations that should be adopted. Prof John Robertson used it, his reason and expertise in his field counted for nothing as the accusations about him flew in from all sides, including the BBC who decided to try it’s best to undermine his position in his place of work by complaining to the Dean of the university. It seems that you have chosen to adopt exactly the same confrontational policy as others but failed to direct it properly.

        The fact that Prof. Robertson’s work was peer reviewed by Edinburgh University and given a clean bill of health for academic publication counted for nothing. This is one of the many facts completely overlooked by those who jumped on the anti-indy bandwagon for questioning the BBC.

        Yet, the BBC, unaccountable in public through a complaint system that takes months to get anywhere, through a labyrinth of repeat complaints (you have to write at least three complaints and even then the BBC Trust get to decide if your complaint will be responded to) and a refusal to even appear in public at the request of our elected members of Parliament is far from fair.

        Every other influential public body has more accountability than the BBC, whether that be your local council, the NHS, Holyrood or Westminster and yet the people whom you accept your news from under the banner of complete impartiality are beyond question. That is frankly a ridiculous position for anyone to adopt. FOI requests can be submitted enquiring into every level of public life except for the BBC whose ‘get out of jail’ card I have outlined in the above post.

        Ultimately, those now protecting the BBC from scrutiny will at some time in the future feel equally aggrieved at their coverage, but will most likely never have the self awareness to admit that they were possibly wrong over this.

        The BBC news department is rotten to the core. It is a public body yet the BBC Trust and Director General treat it like their own. They do not own it, they are custodians. Their purpose is to supply the people of Britain with comprehensive and fair news coverage and when they leave the BBC to ensure it is in a healthier condition than when they took on the role.

        They have to accept criticism,heck, they should encourage it. They should be answerable to the licence fee payers beyond a rigged complaint system and a laughable ‘Points of View’ type programme designed to placate the average griper.

        News coverage isn’t one of investigation anymore, it is a tired format of allowing ‘press releases’ to be read verbatim followed up by a opinion from a senior BBC reporter. News reports have to be packaged into a maximum 2 minutes, no longer. There are two reasons for this. The first is that the BBC believes the audience gets bored if this time limit was longer and secondly, it stops any report delving too deeply into the subject.

        The fairest thing the BBC can do is to drop this ‘impartiality’ act, publicly acknowledge that they are paid up members of the right wing, pro business CBI and invite a public discussion into the future of BBC journalism.

      2. carol williamson says:

        Yes what you are really saying is that you kill more flies with honey – a battle of stealth needs to be approached because they now know we are coming

      3. Norman says:

        All the mainstream media is owned out with Scotland so will never give a balanced view.

  5. Ann win next time says:

    Latest from Liebour-Lamont has just resigned. Gosh wont she be missed!
    First one down now for the rest of them

    1. Our “representative” from Fife is probably briefing her replacement right now..!

  6. andrew>reid says:

    Or make it ‘Alliance for Scotland’ so the choice is at the top of the ballot paper for the 2015 general election

  7. Agreed . We could re-run the referendum and still lose against the combination of an openly hostile print media and the disgrace that is the Public Broadcaster..

  8. James Stewart says:

    We also need to stop going over and over it all over again. Remember the Declaration. 100 yes 100. Let’s move on from the referendum. OK we lost but we are still on the long road. Many are joining. This started centuries ago its not recent. The people will speak again as a nation and we will get to a place where the peoples voice will be the voice that is heard in Scotland. We are a nation of voices and a nation for everyone. We are almost there and this movement of democratic choice will bring down many more walls to come.

    1. Murray McGregor says:

      Agreed, we in the borders are keeping the torch burning and looking for a new campaign on the foundations of the Yes. The way ahead now is home rule as we can’t and shouldn’t re-run the referendum yet until circumstances like the EU in/out vote changes the scene. The good news is that the more devolved power or home rule will ultimately lead to independence demonstrated the world over and none have returned to the previous ‘partner’ state cap in hand saying sorry we got it wrong! I look forward to the day!

  9. An excellent post. Shared.

  10. Political Tourist says:

    Goodnight and goodbye Johann.

  11. Nigel says:

    Jolas been fired- the oban result was the last straw for milibluster

  12. I don’t understand how people were looking for holes in an independence stance.Its so simple we are either responsible citizens who can run our own country or we have something seriously wrong with our make-up!

  13. Ann win next time says:

    looks like Johann is dust and slab are putting together their plans to save Scotland from the Scottish.
    They think kezia dugdale will save them
    Crazy madness but we are talking about a party who don’t believe themselves never mind anyone else.

    1. Iain Hill says:

      Presumably they will now be having a leadership contest for a non existent organisation. The options are frightening, yet laughable. Gordon, one of the most lumbering dinosaurs, and Jim who could divide people in his sleep

  14. Eric says:

    Millions did not vote Yes.. The figure was 1.6million.

  15. oldbattle says:

    An excellent discussion paper.

    Home Rule is a very acceptable tactical option in the incremental accumulation of power towards the tipping-point of de facto sovereignty. It has been the political methodology employed by the vast number of new post-war states in their decolonization process.

    Please note-process; for sovereignty, particularly in this epoch of the post-sovereign state in which power is devolved and shared (EU/UN) the idea of what constitutes a ‘sovereign Scotland’ will mutate.

    However there are dangers when playing constitutional politics with perfidious albion.Britain played games around the issue of home rule within the Empire by offering colonies ‘local’ powers but retaining substantive power in London.
    Creech Jones a major player in the Labour Government’s decolonization process suggested that granting full responsibility for LOCAL affairs was only right but he did not see this as ‘ involving the elimination of British power’.
    In 1952 there was a Foreign Office paper called ‘the problem of nationalism’. In it the FO argued that it was possible to ‘ draw the constructive forces of nationalism to the British side by offering limited political authority in order to minimize the threatened erosion of British power’.

    So Home Rule can be seen (in London) as a full stop whereas it is merely a semi-colon(y).

    Australia is an interesting example. Though gaining home rule around 1900 it took another 80 years to finally gain supreme authority from Westminster.

    In all of this and at the very centre of this debate has to be the lead actor-the SNP.
    It has a constitution that all members must endorse.

    1. The Party shall be named the Scottish National Party.

    Aims 2.
    The aims of the Party shall be:
    (a) Independence for Scotland; that is the restoration of Scottish national sovereignty by restoration of full powers to the Scottish Parliament, so that its authority is limited only by the sovereign power of the Scottish People to bind it with a written constitution and by such agreements as it may freely enter into with other nations or states or international organisations for the purpose of furthering international cooperation, world peace and the protection of the environment.

    This just might be a stumbling block to the idea of a process towards Independence via Home Rule.

    However there is a second aim:

    (b) the furtherance of all Scottish interests.

    In clause (b) we might just find the key to unlock the movement for Home Rule as a mighty step towards Independence.

  16. jean martin says:

    Thanks, excellent article.

  17. jocklandjohn says:

    “However there is a second aim:

    (b) the furtherance of all Scottish interests.”

    And there’s the rub. For the moment, at least, the majority of voters expressed their view that the furtherance of all Scottish interests did not lie in independence. And is not the conclusion from this that independence is incompatible with the furtherance of all Scottish interests (for now).

    1. Dean Richardson says:

      I suspect that quite a few people voted according to what is in their own personal interests, rather than what is in the interests of Scotland as a whole. It’s human nature, unfortunately.

  18. Alan Crerar says:

    Home Rule Now? Naw son, ‘Home Rule’ is a phrase from the 1960’s redolent of the auld labour party. Every time I hear it it gets my back up (40% rule). ‘Devolution’ is for the 1970’s (labour again). Independence is what we want – if we campaign for less, much less is what we’ll get. And don’t drop one of the most powerful, visual political slogan since ‘Solidarnoz”. One word. Not three. YES doesn’t need any fatuous straplines (anyone for ‘better together’ or the plagiarised ‘love Scotland’ now?). You see it, you know what it means, doesn’t need any explanation – the perfect shorthand for all the political arguments we put forward for the future of Scotland, because they haven’t changed. Paint it on a wall. Job done.

  19. drawdeaddave says:

    Agree with a lot of what you say Christopher, just one small point you wrote that i disagree on… “But the question on that ballot paper was so devastatingly simple, it gave the answer a kind of quiet, positive quality too. Yes was all that was required.”.. SHOULD SCOTLAND BE AN INDEPENDENT NATION””..Yes the question WAS simple, but the late intervention of the three main political leaders plus Gordon Brown vowing extensive powers made that simple question redundant it complicated it, and it became should Scotland become an independent nation yes/no or no but with more devolved powers, they basically changed and ruined the simple question, so much so that no one truthfully knows what the true outcome of the original question would have been, in saying that all the evidence points to the intervention being crucial in swinging the vote in favor of no. But like you say time to move on…

  20. arthur thomson says:

    Of course we have moved on from the Referendum but equally we have not forgotten and must never forget the methods adopted by our opponents. If anyone imagines that they are not going to continue in the same vein then think again. Their goal is to destroy the movement for Scottish self-government. I don’t share the apparently positive view of others towards this post. The strength of the Yes movement has been well observed and documented so I won’t try to describe it more eloquently. The views of the Scottish rep of the British tories are an irrelevance. The views of ‘Jocklandjohn’ are an irrelevance. The notion that we should try to justify our collective view on the subjects of austerity (actually poverty), foreign wars etc. is exactly NOT what we should enter into. The Yes movement is against poverty, against nuclear weapons on Scottish soil, against getting involved in wars, against low wage economics, against unelected government and pro democracy. We have absolutely no need to justify our views on these things, we only need to make it clear that those who oppose us take the opposite view. The choice of side is there for everyone to make. From now until the general election and beyond we need to make these points clear and when challenged we need to be equally clear that we don’t argue with stupid. I don’t know who he was but some newspaper guy said with relish the Yes people were just talking amongst themselves. We need to learn to leave our opponents to talk amongst themselves. Our power is on the streets and that is where we should do our talking. Anti BBC campaigns are spot on – if you need evidence of their effectiveness look at the contrary view expressed above. My call to all the Yes movement is – KEEP the message simple, keep your enthusiasm and take the fight to the doorstep.

    1. Murray McGregor says:

      Excellent post Arthur and just makes me realise that we should ignore the political mental minnows from the No side when they post and just keep on message taking it to the doorstep and the social media. However, we must expand that and get it into the wider domain as much as we can to ensure the drive doesn’t fade from people’s minds!

    2. jocklandjohn says:

      The views of ‘Jocklandjohn’ are an irrelevance.

      Thanks, so the views of the majority are an irrelevance.

      The Yes movement is against poverty, against nuclear weapons on Scottish soil, against getting involved in wars, against low wage economics, against unelected government and pro democracy. We have absolutely no need to justify our views on these things, we only need to make it clear that those who oppose us take the opposite view.

      Rather arrogant of you to make assumptions like that. I’m for all of the things you cite above. Where I differ is in the mechanics of delivery

      1. fionavon1 says:

        It’s because of a mindset like this that the Yes movement has gathered momentum. We are a nation that is capable, both intellectually and resource wise, to govern ourselves, not to be dictated to by WM. The longer that this takes, the longer tha drain on our natural resources continues.

      2. Dean Richardson says:

        Westminster will never deliver those things you want. Westminster will simply continue fighting stupid, illegal wars, undermining democracy, etc.

      3. jocklandjohn says:

        We are a nation that is capable, both intellectually and resource wise, to govern ourselves

        I wholly agree with you.

        However, the image that was presented was of a Yes leadership that was incapable and had simply not thought things out. Evasive on fundamental points. Bald assertions in opposition to authoritative spokespersons who said the opposite (EU and currency). Untruths (EU membership legal opinion and BoE meetings on currency union). Ignorance of major issues (VAT position on new EU member states). Facts that looked very ropey (cost of establishing the entire machinery of government stated to be only £250m), reliance on optimistic projections of price of oil. Etc etc.

        Most of these aspects were frankly INcredible.

        If the Yes campaign had prepared better – ie shown that they were capable, you might very well have won and you might even have got my vote. The lesson is to prepare better and not to appear amateurish when you’re dealing with the very serious matter of running a country.

    3. Lorraine says:

      Scottish people are awake, we are not going back in the box. I’ve got so much work done since cancelling the license fee to BBC. Can’t listen / watch them anymore. More accurate news online.

  21. Alistair Davidson says:

    Very good article. A couple of observations.
    First – the extent and enthusiasm of the Yes movement can be usefully deployed locally in creating and strengthening residents/tenants associations and community councils. These organisations tend not to exist or be effective where they are needed most.
    Second – local Yes groups must keep in touch and exchange ideas and support each other to remain recognisable as a movement involving all at a grassroots level.
    Third – agree that a hard yes identity must be avoided at all costs, but the medium term objective is to attract the 55% to the Yes camp, so keep the Yes identity but extend the agenda to strengthening and supporting local voices and communities seeking solutions to injustice unfairness and disinterest.

    1. fionavon1 says:

      Well said.

      Hopefully the surge in SNP membership will help to address these issues. I am attending a SNP Women’s Conference in Ayr which includes workshops, hopefully aimed at both maintaining the momentum and enthusiasm of the 45%, as well as reaching out to some of the No camp. We only need a small % to sway the balance to exceed 50%.

      That of course leads to the alliance element. Hope that this materialises into a party. I noticed that two of the deputy candidates are for a pro yes alliance, but the favoured Paul Brown has not mentioned this. Please let me know your views on the candidates.

      1. IreneMac says:

        You can read their statements on the SNP website, and make your mind up. I have voted for Angela Constance, because she seems more ‘radical’ than the others, but you must make your own mind up. What a wonderful party! See you at the conference. (It’s Keith Brown.)

  22. leginge says:

    The argument seems to be to ditch ‘Independence’ as the main objective and go for Home Rule, ‘Devo-thingy’ or whatever, in order to win over No-voters. The tactic being that with Home Rule it’s an easy step to Independence in the longterm. Hmm? Will it be an easy step ? will we get anywhere near Home Rule? and what is it anyway ? The SNP and other movements should stick to their founding principle – which is Independence. We would be no better than the traditional typical political party dropping our principles to gain short-term political advantage. It’s up to Indy-supporters to win the NO-types to the cause of Independence. We stand or fall on that basic objective.

  23. oldbattle says:

    The critical political issue in Scotland is ‘ in the current context what is the appropriate route to Independence’?
    Circumstances (serendipity) can often dictate methods (like JL’s resignation and the gaping wound in Labour).

    The more significant context is how to engage with the incredible social, political strength and popular resilience created by the multiple groups of highly creative activists generated by YES-who are not going away.
    Gramsci (and McClean) in particular would have been proud at the “multiple elements of conscious leadership at the popular level.”

    One suggestion is to back the SNP into supporting a two- step route to Independence: Home Rule and then Indie. (Though the SNP’s constitution makes its position quite clear).

    Aims 2. The aims of the Party shall be:
    (a) Independence for Scotland; that is the restoration of Scottish national sovereignty by restoration of full powers to the Scottish Parliament, so that its authority is limited only by the sovereign power of the Scottish People to bind it with a written constitution and by such agreements as it may freely enter into with other nations or states or international organisations for the purpose of furthering international cooperation, world peace and the protection of the environment.

    As a student of the decolonizing process the arguments about a two step route (HOME RULE and then Indie) were hashed out across the globe BUT reading the specific context is key!

    But as I pointed out earlier perfidious albion might offer Home Rule to stymie Indie.

    Let me give you Australia as an example.

    Australia assumed a de facto form of Independence (self-rule) by the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act of 1900. However the more formal legal dejure Independence came much later partly by the Statute of Westminster 1931. This Statute granted increased sovereignty which was not formalized by London until the passing of the Statute of Westminster Adoption Act of 1942.
    Although this 1942 Act was assumed to grant full Independence it took another 44 years (1986) until Australia held supreme constitutional sovereignty preventing Westminster from repealing or preventing any Acts of the Australian Parliament. This final legal Independence was created by the passing of the Australia Act 1986 in Westminster and Canberra and signed into law by the Queen.

    To this day Australia does not have an Independence Day but rather it celebrates Australia Day. So from this example there was no single act called Independence (though the 1942 Act is generally accepted) while the de facto Independence in practical terms ie utilitarian /functional sovereignty was established way back in 1900.

    It is this utilitarian/functional sovereignty that is needed in Scotland…soon!

    Australia assumed the functions of independence prior to being granted the status.

    The idea of an incremental acquisition of power over time is a genuine alternative to a ‘one- time act’.
    One option for Scotland is the idea of a People’s Constitutional Conference (an important lesson from Australia) that would seek to create for Scotland a draft constitution in advance of any constitutional settlement.
    There is the suggestion that the claim of Independence should be inserted categorically in the 2016 SNP manifesto and a majority SNP vote would carry the case. (There are a number of precedents for this process).
    But there is the immediate alternative of accepting home-rule /devo-max and using that additional power as a platform for the acquisition of more constitutional authority.
    This is a process of incremental sovereignty towards the reality of creating a liberal nationalism.

    1. Donald John Mac Innes says:

      Jocklandjohn, you’re missing the most salient feature of the no campaign, the strategy of creating doubt and uncertainty. You raise the old canards of the currency the E.U and the BOE. In the event of independence, these would have been matters for negotiation. It suited Bitter Together to create a fog of uncertainty around these issues. They tried the same tactic with other issues where it didn’t work – remember the Great Mobile Phone Scare?- and it worked with enough people to contribute to a majority. They didn’t style themselves Project Fear for nothing.

  24. leginge says:

    Jockjohn says “We are a nation that is capable, both intellectually and resource wise, to govern ourselves

    I wholly agree with you ”

    But Jock …you voted NO

    You voted for continued governance by a clique of very wealthy tory-boys whose interest in scotland stretches only as far as what can be exploited from scotland’s resources – and you must have been aware that this situation had every chance of continuing for the foreseeable future given the state of the labour party. People such as yourself would never vote YES , you like the union, you’re in your comfort zone with the situation……….put simply you’re a fearty

  25. arthur thomson says:

    We will NOT go down the path of BLAB and SLAB, degenerating into an unprincipled movement that ultimately shrivels and dies because it embraces political expediency. We WILL succeed by not engaging with British trolls and not compromising our goal. This doesn’t mean we have to succeed by one dramatic blow but it does mean that, metaphorically speaking of course, we will succeed by delivering innumerable smaller blows. And make no mistake they will have to be blows because that is all our opponents understand. They view sensitivity, reason and fair play as sure signs of weakness and their hapless followers are impressed by their apparent power. Ignore the trolls my friends – including those who try to be subtle – and show how the power of passionate involvement and belief can replace fear with hope.

  26. Iain says:

    A petition for Home Rule is up and running.


    Please sign and (importantly!!!) SHARE this petition. It borrows ideas from the Scottish Government’s submission to the Smith Commission plus ideas from the Constitutional Commission to advocate the greatest degree of autonomy a country can realistically achieve short of independence, way beyond anything being offered by the Westminster parties. Crucially it enshrines the concept of the Sovereignty of the People of Scotland through a ‘Charter of Autonomy’ which acts as a constitution for Scotland.

  27. Timothy Deck says:

    Dear Scots,
    You CANNOT be so gullible as to believe that you had an actual election in which the voice of you people was heard. This “Vote” was as fraudulent as all of those we have here in America. You will not go forward until you can recognize that. I am sure that the British Aristocracy was just going to allow your oil resources to go without a fight!
    Good luck to you and God Bless. Hopefully your citizenry is more awake than the average American moron/sheep


    A “Yank” who feels your pain.

    1. Lorraine says:

      Absolutely agree.

      Growing concerns about what’s being reported online about your police force in the US.

  28. Mary had a wee lamb says:

    Has anyone checked out Lord Smith?

    He is a Knight of the Order of the Thistle, great company he keeps, including the Grand Master of the Lodge of Scotland.

    Complete and utter farce!

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