2007 - 2021

The Slow Fuse or the Quick Fuse

sturgeon pout

Photo by Ali Campbell

By Peter Arnott

Take a step back from the Apotheosis of Everywoman that is the Nicola Sturgeon phenomenon. Distance yourself for a moment from Boris Johnson calling you a baby killer, Max Hastings getting Churchillian and the conspiracy theories of John Major.

What is actually going on here?

Well, if you ask an intelligent Labour strategist – and there are some – what the Tories are doing by “bigging” up the SNP is getting the not very nice, not very young voters they’ve lost to UKIP to come home in England while gleefully banging another nail into the coffin of Labour in Scotland.

They’d be right about that. Lynton Crosbie, the shadowy Australian strategy wonk who actually runs the Tory party, thinks his party workers wearing Sturgeon masks at Labour events in England is a fair dinkum idea. Lord Forsyth of blessed memory, by cautioning against the long-term damage to the Future of the Union we were all told was so terribly important, is, according to some sources I’ve developed in the Machiavellian undergrowth of political strategy, merely doing his bit to keep the SNP in the headlines.

What Nicola Sturgeon thinks, other than that every day is Christmas and she’d better try to keep a hold of herself from actually levitating or going for a stroll on Loch Leven and damp down some expectations, I wouldn’t presume to say.

So, as is often the case, especially at election times, there is a Byzantine and complicated (for politics geeks – journalists and politicos) version of “what’s going on” and there is what appears to be going on for the rest of us, for whom, (in my case) other than as entertainment, political process as such is merely an indicator of reality, and not reality itself.

Most of the time.

However, for what it’s worth, what I think is going on is this : Politics is catching up with the cultural meaning of devolution.

That’s right. I don’t think we’re on the threshold of a new form of chaos, or stepping on to the sunny uplands of a new vista for independence. I think we’re just getting used to two basic realities that devolution has always indicated since the very beginning.

First, Scotland, even in the UK, now exists “as such”, as a thing in itself. Scottish English and Welsh constituencies are not all the same anymore, even in a general election. (Northern Irish ones, for reasons of history, have NEVER been “just the same as everywhere else” since 1921. I’ll come back to Ireland in a moment). The election of SNP MPs is an elementary electoral recognition of the Cultural Reality of the “beginning of federalism”, and not yet, I don’t think, the beginning of “independence” (Whatever THAT means, and I’ll come back to that later too.)

Second, in becoming wholly an English nationalist party the Tories are just catching up with what we always thought they were anyway, what in a sense, they’ve been since the Scottish Unionist party merged with the British Conservatives back in the mists of time. (Before Thatcher).

Willie Rennie’s recent indication that the Liberals in Scotland would potentially go into coalition with the SNP at Holyrood while Nick Clegg has sworn on his mother’s bible never to go near the appalling Salmond and his cohorts – is again an acknowledgement of reality, that the UK now consists of quite distinct polities, and clearly differentiated electoral units to reflect our cultural, post imperial distinctions.

So, if the presence of 40-50 SNP MPs at Westminster does not immediately presage another bid for Independence, as, despite the insistence of Jim Murphy that not ruling it out is the same thing as announcing it, it clearly doesn’t, what does it actually mean? What might actually happen? When does the earthquake we seem to have been experiencing pretty much non stop since the beginning of 2014 actually do a bit of new country building?

Well, there are a few mathematical variables to take into account that we’ll get to on May 8th – from (shudder) a Tory Majority and an EU referendum ;a Tory minority that Labour refuse to bring down because they fear being illegitimate in England if they rely on the Nats; a Labour minority that the SNP sweetly support through thick and thin, driving them MAD with kindness (this is my favourite) and a Labour majority where the SNP would need to watch internal discipline as they are insulted by Labour day after day until the NEXT Westminster election.

The thing about all four rough sketches is that while each has its own challenges and unknowns, I don’t think any of these roads into the 2020s don’t end with fundamental constitutional change from devolution to…what?

Well, I don’t know that exactly, and whether a die-hard Tartanite (which is what I keep being told I am) would call it independence…I don’t know either

But the difference between the electoral reflection of power devolved but essentially retained at Westminster, which is where we are, and the possibly federal settlement that will involve all power being centred in Scotland and possibly devolved outward to the rest of the UK and the EU…or maybe just to the EU…that is rock solid certainly going to happen by 2030 at the very, very latest…is going to be huge.

It is preparing for that difference, and negotiating it, that will be among the many tasks with which all our political parties will be engaged, some of the time, between now and then.

The only one of them that currently needs to pretend that devolution will crush the Nats eventually…just you wait…is Scottish Labour. And they’re about to take a punching from which they will have to re-invent themselves completely to recover.

I hope they do. I think a grown-up country like the one I hope to live in one day will need a party of the centre left even as it will need a party of the establishment, and even some liberals, heaven knows, under whatever name those parties reconfigure themselves in the famous “next generation”

What is going on is both the unusually exciting banalities of politics and a profound political change. It took the Irish Nationalists (I told you I’d get back to them) 50 years as a bloc within Westminster to finally arrive at Ireland’s complicated version of Independence and equivocal variant on Statehood. I don’t think it will take an SNP bloc at Westminster anything like that long. But the other thing that the history of Ireland since the electoral franchise was opened up in the 1870s tells us , is that on “our” side and “theirs” there are right and wrong ways of doing this kind of thing.

Personally, I’m hoping for an easy life. I think that the Yes movement can be calm and confident enough to take events as they come. Unfortunately, that’s not just up to us.

I do hope that some of the smart, pragmatic folk who are in the Labour party now will come along for the ride once they see that’s where the horses are all going. I also hope that even the Tories, with their “wizard wheeze” of demonizing the Jocks to shore up their vote in the shires, keep the direction of travel in mind.


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  1. John Page says:

    A good wide ranging intelligent stock take………thank you for this piece, Peter

    Have you any evidence that there is anyone in Scottsh Labour capable of reinvention in the light of the changed landscape? It was suggested at the weekend that they are a “self licking ice cream”……..and one that Is melting in the glorious sunshine we are experiencing at the moment.

    Thank you

    John Page

    1. Frank M says:

      The only ones who are capable of this reinvention are the ones who have already left the Scottish branch, which now has no soul and no moral compass left. Labour will NOT recover here, but those who have left them will re-invent their party when the time is right in order to provide the variety of politics needed in a new and vibrant Scotland, which is sure of its own identity and in control of its own affairs.

      1. Iain Hill says:

        Remember that’ 80K of them are now SNP, so is there anything left to reinvent?

    2. Frederick Robinson says:

      Wide ranging – but for the absence of UKIP. Not a problem in Scotland, perhaps. But a problem, The SNP also had only 4-6 seats not so long ago. Not a problem, especially in England. Until Labour gave them a hand-up with Devolution. Very grateful they’ve been since then. Prepared to do the same for Labour in England/Westminster.

    3. Frederick Robinson says:

      Don’t forget the sun-screen.

  2. MBC says:

    Another thought-provoking belter Peter.

    My main observations:

    1. The shallowness of political debate and the infantile reactions of the media. Does this reflect the views of ordinary people? Probably. The media leads them by the nose, unfortunately, and shapes rather than reflects opinion. But what about extraordinary people? What are they thinking?

    2. I’m genuinely surprised by Cameron paying us so much attention. Tactically I think it is a big mistake. But I would have thought him smarter than that, and that’s what surprises me most. I feel we are rushing, not so much at an open door, but one crumbling off its hinges.

    1. fermerfaefife says:

      1)is that not because us Scots have seen thru the vested interests of the MSM and biased broadcasting because of the referendum. The English haven’t got that far yet and still swallow the nonsense fed to them by the BBC and the papers. Until they too can sift out the nonsense then it is an uphill battle for the progressives.
      2) John Major today is a prime example – I was chucking stuff at the radio! The scots democratically elected MP’s have no right to influence government ? Milliband held hostage by Sturgeon? Does he just forget that his Tory party have just been held hostage by a few lib dems and have just had 5 years of coalition – why should the rest of us suffer lib dems or UKIP when we didn’t vote for them ? OH but that’s different ! The annoying thing is that the MSM never challenge these statements – where is the difference in principle of 2 right wing parties working together (tory + lib dem) and the labour and SNP working together?

      And whilst I am on a rant – why is 50 scots mps in this great union of ours a problem influencing government when we have 50 home counties mps that we didn’t vote for in the last government influencing things? nobody seems to point that out.

  3. john mason says:

    Good article as far as it goes, but isn’t time that the Scots self-determination movement responded to the accusations of “smashing”the already broken ‘union’.
    It’s a simple concept that involved me some years ago, when a job change and relocation meant that I left the golf club of which I’d been a member for many years. It was a somewhat sad, but necesaary parting of the ways, but I can assure everyone that the golf club wasn’t “broken”because I left…and even joined another…..and they go from strength to strength without little old me.
    In addition, it’s about time that some of those accusers were also faced with the reality that, if THEIR version of any Scottish departure was even remotely accurate, the de facto position is that the “union”therefore CANNOT exist without the Scots if we depart…or even as the Daily Mail readers would have it…they “throw us out”…….and that realisation alone will be enough to calm many of those most agressive attackers of all things Scottish…..and not just in politics…these days.
    The union is broken irreversably……we as Scots are simply the first to actually recognise that fact, and the demise of an 18th century policical system drawn up in days of a long-gone imperial empire is frankly no loss to folks on either side of the border, but only once BOTH nations recognise that the increasingly unloved “union” affords us the opportunity whereby the two major British nations can individually draw up their own fit-for-purpose constitutions based on the democratic and social needs of both, rather than remain in a moribund relic maintained only by those vested interests who are holding all sides from a proper place amongst all the nations of the world in the 21st century.
    Isn’t that a prize worth laying before our southern neighbours ??

    1. manandboy says:

      John, may I suggest that since open bankruptcy awaits England upon Scotland’s Independence, the unquencheable greed of the English elite will not see separation as a prize.

    2. Peter Arnott says:

      Thanks for that. It’s one of the pleasures of writing these wee essays that you get such considered and thoughtful responses. Unlike, say, the below the line bits on the Scotsman, which are something out of Dante’s Inferno.

      1. Frederick Robinson says:

        Let’s not forget that the ORIGINAL Union dates back to 1603 and the assumption of the English crown by by Jamie the Saxt, as James I of ‘Great Britain: I am the husband and the whole isle is my wife’. It’s difficult, this side of the border, to avoid the impression that (as John Crace satirised her in the Guardian) ‘Queen Nicola’ has neo- or re-colonisation of the ‘whole isle’ in mind. (She ‘the wife and the whole isle her husband’?) (‘Oot the wa’, Jamie!’)

  4. Hey plater says:

    Yes the guns are out and they are loaded with armour piercing ammo.

    I hope , in balance, that NS points out the dangers of a UKIP/Tory pact and the disaster for the UK and Scotland this gives.

    ”I’m genuinely surprised by Cameron paying us so much attention.”

    Don’t be for it is for an English audience only. He is frightening the English horses into voting Tory to fend off the Scots. The divide grows wider or is it just that it is the same but clearer than ever? Deep animosities are stirring.

    1. MBC says:

      I know why he’s doing it. I’m just amazed he doesn’t have any better arguments to convince English voters to vote form him than to clutch at straws. It shows a lack of substance as well as principle.

      1. But Cameron does lack anything of substance to offer, apart from more austerity. The offers trotted out each day, are more desperate, selling shares in a bank bailed out by the public? Del boy much?

        Pointing to the scary Nats hell bent, AGAIN, on tinkering with the Union is a solid tactic for him down south. What I find more interesting is whether Scots still supporting the Union find any offence in the bile and rhetoric towards this country for doing nothing more than responding to polls on voting intentions.

  5. Donald McGregor says:

    ”Personally, I’m hoping for an easy life. I think that the Yes movement can be calm and confident enough to take events as they come. Unfortunately, that’s not just up to us.”

    I have hopes that this election, coupled with next year’s, will take us to a ‘Berlin Wall’ moment, when things will move quickly and most will applaud the changes. Just what those changes will be will probably remain vague for a good while, and will likely require an examination of quite what ‘independence’ really is.


  6. manandboy says:

    If I thought for a minute that the future of the UK depended on the machinations of union politicians and their machiavellian advisors then I might agree with your forecast Peter. However the arrival of Progressive politicians on the UK stage and their warm reception in England as well as elsewhere is one clue of a different future.

    In addition, with little sign of the age of actual austerity coming to an end, as distinct from official, political austerity, I more than suspect that the UK electorate will take some shifting from it’s present position of having had enough of neo-Liberal, super rich, public schoolboy governance. This applies with even more weight in Scotland, given the history of English economic rape up here, and the staggering gap between Scotland’s mineral wealth and the economy of the majority of Scotland’s families.

    This piece is actually just another punt for the dominance of Colonial Unionism for the forseeable future, which is bad news for Scotland and is the last thing Scots want.

    The path ahead is clearly signposted ‘Independence’. The Unionist signposts are in the past, which is where you might just be placing your bets. The Scottish electorate is in no mood for extending it’s stay in the UK.

    1. Frederick Robinson says:

      1997-2010: PM Fettes-educated Tony Blair; Deputy, then PM Gordon Brown of Fife; Chancellor of the Exchequer Scot Alistair Darling.
      2010 – Scots Ministers in Cameron Government: Liam Fox, Iain Duncan Smith, Alistair Carmichael, Michael Gove, Danny Alexander (there may be more).
      How many English MSPs?
      ‘Colonial Unionism’ – who/whom?

      1. manandboy says:

        These guys are all Unionists, Frederick, through and through. Scots born, yes, but Unionists first and foremost.

  7. deewal says:

    OT. Is WOS under attack ?

    1. manandboy says:

      It is unavailable certainly on my equipment. I was wondering how long it would be mind you.

      1. benmadigan says:

        have just tried to view WOS – no joy

        1. Not only can’t enter wings ,favourite icon gone from home page.

  8. johnny come lately says:

    As always we will just have to wait on England-like it or not. England is only now awakening and beginning to stretch its paws, When the snowball actually begins to roll and gather speed and weight then the end will be reasonably quick.
    To a certain degree they can kick us about when we are so far away and only 8 % of the population. The establishment doesn’t have that liberty on its own doorstep.
    We are dealing with political cowards here who will turn and take flight as soon as the going starts to get tough.

    1. Frederick Robinson says:

      Your argument reminds me of the one put forward by Anti-EU (say UKIP) folk against Europe’s ‘pushing the UK around’. You (try to) cease being part of something you’ve been part of for – UK 412 years, Union of Parliaments, 308 years; EU, about 50 years – it can’t happen overnight. Devolution recognised this; the SNP (92 years getting nowhere until Labour presented Devolution) want everything yesterday. Even the referendum vote recognised this.

      1. The digital age renders your timeline meaningless. The Tories took 50 years to go from the largest party in Scotland to nothing, the Labour Party have accomplished the same end in life of 1 parliament

  9. The future is certainly full of possibilities and this has a good chance to come to fruition. It may be one way to avoid what I sometimes fear, that is a NI kind of violence which I do think could be possible from some ultra ‘loyalist’ segments of the Unionist support. Mainly though I hope for a future that is peaceful and much more inclusive for all.

    Oh but I’d prefer independence to federalism any day of the week.

    Thanks for this thought provoking piece.

    1. Frederick Robinson says:

      From a glance at the figures for NI bombings/violence from 1969 on, I get the impression that, while both sides engaged in the activity, the (P)IRA bombings (including on the British mainland, indeed, even Prime Minister Heath’s home (he was out), John Major’s Commons office (he changed rooms) and the Brighton Hotel where the Thatcher Conservative Conference was based) exceeded those by the Loyalist groups. On this basis, what you should be fearing is Scottish bombings/violence from impatience at the slow progress towards Independence (no matter what the majority want).

  10. Alastair says:

    Thanks for you writing.
    Re labour re-inventing themselves in Scotland.
    If they do I hope they can raise the bar considerably to what is acceptable as an MP/politician/candidate.

  11. Hey plater says:

    There is a danger that the antiScots sentiments being further stirred in England by Tories and the like also cause an anti English reaction among our dimmer colleagues here in Scotland.

    The English have been driven frothing mad by the Daily Mail , UKIP and the Tories. Little Englanders are having a field day. Every time they rail against foreigners , don’t forget we’re next. They feel under threat and are becoming wilder in their responses. Just look at the hapless John Major who used to speak of ‘white coats flapping’ when his loopier Tories goaded him. He should know better.

    There is also an Anglocentric metropolitan bias in broadcast media as we all know. Now on so called UK news, Scotland’s statistics on say Health or Crime are no longer mentioned, even in the minimal form they used to be.

    All of this plus southern cultural imperialism indicates to me that there are some difficult times ahead. Bella lovers need to combat anti Scots bigotry as much as anti English bigotry.

    1. Mike McCreadie says:

      “The English have been driven frothing mad by the Daily Mail , UKIP and the Tories”

      I’ve experienced that 1st hand from one of my friends (a Scot now living in the south of England, and an avid Tory supporter). He posted a “frothing mad” post on Facebook recently parodying a facist/communist utopia/hell if the SNP becomes king maker. But it was when he started on about “dissent” being crushed that I had to ask where he was coming from. He never replied. This was from an intelligent and normally very rational bloke, and it took me and a few of his other FB friends by surprise I have to say.

      There’s a fair bit of irrational reactionary froth coming out as the big day nears. It’s bound to get worse, in my opinion.

      I’d also echo a point by another poster – the MSM are driving opinion more than commenting on it. If my sensible FB friend is anything to go by then they’re having an effect.

      1. Frederick Robinson says:

        A Scotsman living in England may well have been ‘frothing’ (I was pretty pissed-off, myself, even though English, after living/working in Scotland for 30 years) at the Salmond/Sturgeon/SNP Referendum dividing of the ‘Scottish’ (i.e. resident in Scotland, from wherever in the world, on 19.9.2014) sheep and the ‘non-Scottish’ (born/brought up/most of life spent, in Scotland) now-excluded, ‘dissenting?’ exile goats living outside Scotland on the Day of Doom.

    2. Frederick Robinson says:

      ‘Whenever I see him approaching, I hear the flapping of men in white coats’ – the comment by John Major – ironically, taken to task this very day for voicing his opinions for the Union! – was directed specifically at Sir Richard Body, who, a Eurosceptic, opposed Major after the Maastricht Treaty. But this ‘loopier Tory’ (in Major’s view) was also an early advocate of organic farming and of legalised gay sex. Not as black and white(-coated) as you make out, apparently. Scots bigotry?

  12. Darien says:

    The British media are making it appear ‘reasonable’ for British national parties to kick SNP MP’s out of Westminster. This is their idea of democracy. Bring it on.

    1. Frederick Robinson says:

      On the other hand, the Scottish Parliament is CROWDED with English MSPs.

  13. Alasdair McRae says:

    The no camp are fighting a rear guard campaign, as the electorate moves from one generation to another the yes side will gain in numbers and active recruits.

    Five years is a long time, people aged 13 will be future voters, conversely those in their twilight years pass on. Never a truer saying is that the future lies with the young. That said we should never forget nor care for our elderly people, they have created the economic base we live upon today.

    I don’t share Peter”s pessimism on the time we will have to wait for independence, it will be sooner than he suggests. In parallel to nationalist confidence (including non Scots born people living in Scotland)’, there is a counter action in England. Let’s face it, a large percentage of England resent as they see it being governed by The EU, imagine their perceived horror at being governed by Scotland with the tory press whipping up anti Scottish sentiment.

    These two forces will ensure the countries travel in different directions. There will be a tipping point when Scots desire and England’s elite’s resentment cause a fracture that paves the way for our countries to go their own way. There is no emotional glue left in the pot. We will look back and wonder why it took us so long, why it was so pain free and why have we got such good relations with our neighbours.

    Onwards and upwards with confidence – interesting times! ahead

  14. Crabbit says:

    “Second, in becoming wholly an English nationalist party the Tories are just catching up with what we always thought they were anyway, what in a sense, they’ve been since the Scottish Unionist party merged with the British Conservatives back in the mists of time.”

    Yes, conservatives did better as Scottish Unionists than as the Conservative and Unionist party (though the unionist in Scottish Unionist refers to Ireland, rather than to the Scotland/England union)

    But there are still conservative voters in Scotland, around 15% of the vote, making them the third largest party in Scotland. If they were reconstituted as a Scottish party, then I’d expect their vote could go higher.

    It might be needful too. A drawback of the dominance of the SNP, and the co-option of some of the leading lights of Yes to the SNP, is that another referendum could be presenting the option of voting for a single party to set up and run the country for the foreseeable future.

    The SNP could alleviate this by proposing to break up into a number of parties following the vote, but I no longer think this is the case – it used to be the orthodoxy among SNP party members,

    1. Darien says:

      The UK is already a one-party state – its called the Establishment which all Tories – red, blue yellow and purple – conform to. Culturally I think most Scots could live with a progressive SNP monopoly, at least for a good while.

      1. Frederick Robinson says:

        And guess what? The ‘SNP monopoly’ would then be the (self-selected, ‘elite’) (Scottish) Establishment. The Romanov family were the Establishment in Russia until the Revolution. Afterwards, the Establishment were Bolshevik apparatchicks. Instead of tails and top-hats, they wore uniforms and boots, that’s all.

      2. Frederick Robinson says:

        I added a reply to this, but presumably Bella Caledonia practises censorship.

        1. Frederick Robinson says:

          And whaddya know? My ‘censored’ post is restored! Well done, B.C.!

    2. JGedd says:

      I don’t think that the SNP would emerge after independence as a monolithic party of government, Crabbit. What is holding them together is the prospect of their ultimate goal, independence. Once achieved, then we would be in a different landscape where those differing political visions for a future Scotland would coalesce unto new groupings, which would be encouraged naturally by having a PR system.

      However, what bothers me is a long hiatus of ” nearly independence ” which is described in the article. In such an environment, the SNP would need their famous party discipline to withstand all the many pressures and blandishments of the Westminster establishment. In a situation where that establishment will frustrate and prevaricate until their will for change is tested to destruction, then the situation can be one where decaying of ideals sets in as the goal becomes ever more dim and distant. Look what happened to the Labour movement itself when the lotus eaters got comfy on the green benches and proceeded to marginalise with ridicule their own supporters who still retained any passion for what had once been common aims.

      We have to be able to point to real achievements sign posting the way to a clearly defined goal. But that is not the way of the UK establishment. Where there is no good will on the other side, I doubt very much that we would be ushered smoothly on to the primrose path of federalism. Expect a poisoned chalice, not sweet reason. Like you, Alasdair McRae, I would hope for a relatively quick resolution, as you say, perhaps a tipping point when the break becomes inevitable, though we will probably have to withstand many a see saw moment on the way. Let’s hope for a good sense of balance in our SNP representatives.

      1. Frederick Robinson says:

        ‘primrose path’, ‘poisoned chalice’, ‘tipping point when the break becomes inevitable’, ‘many a see saw moment’, ‘hope for a good sense of balance’. So many metaphors in only five lines: I feel quite dizzy!

        1. JGedd says:

          I always thought that was your problem. Perhaps you should try getting up from your keyboard now and again and take a breather?

  15. Douglas says:

    The assumption which people make is that “more powers” will further indie…I have my doubts about that….allegations have recently been made in Spain that Pujol and the Ciu, the purportedly Catalan nationalist party he led for over two decades, were actually paid for by the Spanish establishment (including the King of Spain) to take the heat out of Catalan nationalism….that’s right, a Catalan nationalist party financed by Madrid to drain off the nationalist sentiment….all of which would explain why Pujol had 20 million euros in a bank account in Andorra, something which nobody can dispute he had, not even Saint Jordi himself…

    …no, I’m not suggesting the SNP are a front or corrupt or anything at all like the Ciu, the SNP have always been pro inide in a way Ciu never have been – which is why I never took the Catalan referendum seriously or Artur Mas – I’m saying the basic psychology is apt.

    How do you blunt the cutting edge of Scottish nationalism? By letting the SNP influence power…the only remarkable thing is that not one journalist in England seems to have worked this out…

    It’s systemic. Once the SNP party machine gets a taste for Westminster power, at the least their energies will be diluted. You can’t chap on doors and argue for leaving the UK AND reforming the Second Chamber
    Who is critiquing and challenging the SNP in Scotland? The Scottish republican left has gone AWOL…

    Plus, I doubt Britain is reformable – far too many vested interest, and the UK deep State is far too deep.

    You talk of Ireland, Peter, but you forget to mention that there was no majority for Irish independence until Easter 1916. I am not advocating violence of any kind needless to say, but I find it naive or at least optimistic to think that indie will be achieved solely through the SNP…we need a second front in Scotland, which would be based on activism, and a Republican indie party….

  16. Douglas says:

    Who is Salmond’s hero? That’s right, Charles Parnell….

    …and who won independence for Ireland? It wasnay Parnell ( who was broken by the British Establishment which did a dirty ops job on him)…….”I write it out on verse, MacDonagh and MacBride, Pearce and Connolly / now forever more, wherever green is worn / are changed, changed utterly / a terrible beauty is born…”

    We live in different times and can achieve our goals without the need for a “terrible beauty”….

    …but when you Peter, and Irvine Welsh, and others say – almost everybody says it these days – “it’s a matter of time” before Scotland is independent, then I stand back and applaud and say to myself, “that is exactly what they want you to think…”

    When do we make out biggest mistake in life? When we’re ahead…

    …”Confidence is a source of error” (Cioran)

    1. Frederick Robinson says:

      Indeed! One of the things that has bothered me about Salmond’s and Sturgeon’s triumphant (even triumphalist) gatherings is that they remind(ed) me of the similarly triumphant/triumphalist (‘We’re AL-RIGHT!’) Sheffield Rally by the Labour Party under Neil Kinnock in April 1992. Enter John Major.

  17. Mealer says:

    A very thought provoking piece.Its mainly the old fuddie duddies who want Scotland to remain under London rule.I don’t think there’s much of a future for that kind of governance of Scotland.The London establishment will need to give up Scotland so they can save that very establishment from radical change.Then dream up a scheme whereby the pretence of UK can carry on.

    1. Frederick Robinson says:

      So – 51% of the Scottish electorate are ‘old fuddie duddies’? (Well, for a mini-generation, anyway).

  18. Why do we need a reinvented Labour in Scotland now. the SNP have taken their place in the centre left. If you mean that Labour should become centre right but pro indie then I would agree. As soon as we get a centre pright party in Scotland that is pro indie then Westminsters game’s up! On an other point I think it is funny how England particularly the Far Right with the help of the DM are wanting to kick us out now after begging us to stay.. Its almost like hate, hate, hate, no wait I love you, no I hate you p!ss off!

    1. Frederick Robinson says:

      The same thing could be said for a(n) SNP Scotland so adamant it wanted out of the UK it got…(oh, a minority of) the Scottish Electorate to vote for same. Then, undervalued in Scotland, made great play of wanting to dominate Westminster as kingmaker(s)

  19. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Our danger is the beguiling voice of the devolutionists who pretend that some form of devolution is a step forward when in fact it is only another impediment – as is their intention..

    We must be on guard lest some of our well intentioned new supporters are taken in by this diversion.
    (And we only get devolution grudgingly ceded to us when support for independence is increased)

    The thing is we nearly voted for independence on 18th September last year.
    (And not a few think we did).
    The fact is we are nearer to a majority for independence now.
    I believe our present call for FFA etc is no more than a tactic to expose the unionist offers as lies.

    We may clear the battlefield of most of our enemies on May 7th.
    And we then point out how much simpler, how much more sensible, how much more useful independence is in comparison to comlicated and incoherent schemes to provide more devolution inside a unitary state which doesn’t favour it and isn’t suited to it.
    To do so we must establish as quickly and as widely as possible that Scotland is comfortably self supporting and that current figures being flung about are figures produced by a Scottish economy trapped in a bust British economy and are irrelevant to future independent prospects.

    1. Frederick Robinson says:

      Interesting that the SNP were effectively NOWHERE, whether in Scotland or Westminster, until Labour facilitated devolution. Then SUDDENLY the SNP is the best thing since sliced bread, buttering up the population with Scottish jam tomorrow. The referendum vote, however, suggested a majority of the population want a more gradualist approach like….devolution, perhaps. And less talk of battlefields and enemies.

  20. It is very illuminating to see the English in their dilemma portraying us as some foreign threat.
    Well I’m not sure about the threat, but they are right on the first count. Yes I am Scottish and as much a foreigner to them as any other nationality. That thin line on the map between Scotland and England actually represent a massive chasm between the respective occupants. One that sees them being incompatible. England has never had the where with all to comprehend the Scottish psyche. They have always thought it can only be opposed by force. When in fact you need only be a humanist to play with us.

    1. Darien says:

      “…to play with us.”

      We are now playing with them, and they still don’t get it.

      1. Frederick Robinson says:

        I think CHILDREN play, not humanists especially. And actors (or ‘players’).

        1. Fredrick Children play openly without guile sharing the joy of association, what’s wrong with that as an example for adults?

    2. Frederick Robinson says:

      James Naughtie, Eddie Mair, Kirsty Young, Liam Fox, Danny Alexander, Iain Duncan Smith, Alistair Carmichael, Malcolm Rifkind, Michael Gove – the list goes on, of Scots who have bridged that ‘massive chasm’ (not as massive as the oceanic and geographical chasm between the British Isles and Australia, though), along with the thousands of Scots born and bred, living by choice or necessity south of the Border but denied their Referendum-voting birthright: a chasm created by the SNP.

      1. Darien says:

        This handful of anglo-Scots are all paid up members of the union, so of course they will do quite well within it. Far be it for me to suggest they have sold out their nation.

        In any case, your countrymen run ‘establishment’ Scotland. Thousands of them ‘manage’ Scotland. Courtesy of a 10:1 ratio in job applications for top posts in quangoland.

        And Scotland gets what England votes for, irrespective of how many anglo-Scots make it up the greasy union pole.

        Yer better aff withoot us moaning Scots, surely?

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