My Head Hurts

I’m a ferment of conflicting emotions…part of me wants to switch off altogether and stop thinking about the bloody mess that we could have left behind…I’m sick of the manipulation that the Unionist machine regards as politics as normal…I’m determined to be optimistic that from a triumphant democratic process we can rescue something viable and even positive…and angry at the numbskulls who told themselves a spatchcock last-minute fix would work and voted No.

It’s ironic really that I don’t particularly want what the three parties offered – essentially more tax raising powers with minimal (welfare and so-called job creation) anything else – which is a recipe for taxing more to make up for lost grant and without any meaningful powers to grow our economy and confront poverty.

On the other hand the vainglorious strutting of the delusional Gordon Brown promised, if I remember, stronger powers called modern home rule which were as close to federalism as you can get and which were immediately christened Devo Max in the London-based media. That looks on paper like a recipe for a properly powerful devolved settlement which puts Scotland in control of pretty much everything except macro economics, defence and foreign affairs (and should include a share of oil revenues while some technical functions make sense remaining shared…the oil revenues can be partly traded in a swap that allows the Unionists to fulfil their promise on retaining Barnett). I do recall it was all backed up by Brown’s Iron Timetable! The man is a joke, a dangerous one, but a joke.

But there are things here I don’t understand. The referendum result is now tied to a promise. (There isn’t any doubt because that’s what Darling’s friend JK Rowling voted for). But what was in the promise? We were never told precisely – because they didn’t have time to work it out fast enough to save their skins – and now they are jostling to turn it into something that suits their own agenda. I wanted rid of the British state for this very reason – you can’t trust them. Not ever. We are now their mouse to be toyed with, allowed to escape for a moment, then trapped and reeled in again. What fun.

It was all so depressingly predictable.

I’d like to know what actually took place before Brown intervened. As a democrat, I’d like the main players in this dirty little scam to explain who contacted whom and how the deal was done. Was Brown freelancing or was he asked by Cameron to do his duty by the British state? Was he told what to say or did Brown just blurt it all out in that fantasy world he inhabits and hope like hell they would comply? We are entitled as voters to get a full explanation of how this fix was put in place and how one of our newspapers became the bearer of a joint declaration. Did the editor approach the leaders? Is there a go-between who works in the shadows? We need to know the genesis of this anti-independence arrangement and who the players were in order to understand how this key moment came about and potentially altered history.

Part of my difficulty is that I just don’t believe what any of them say, not on the NHS where – beyond parody – the Tories are claiming to be the protectors – or on the constitution. For example what is the real reason for Brown’s humiliating call for a petition…a petition!…to endorse the ‘guaranteed powers’ he offered only weeks ago?

I never forget what I was told about him – that Brown never says or does anything that isn’t political and he’s incapable of acting through normal human instinct without some background stratagem.

Is the petition just a device to indicate that he’s now fighting the Tories having spent the campaign actually sleeping with them? Possibly. Is he genuinely worried that his offer will be undermined and he’ll be left yet again the object of scorn? Also possible.

Where it leaves the Scots though is the real question…with the real power handed back with a ‘No thanks, old boy, you keep it. You know best’.

Politically energised certainly, but to do what? Win 20 seats in the 650-seat Commons in a few months time? Haud me back. There will be ferocious campaigns to come but the harder we all work the larger will loom the question: Why didn’t we take all the power when we had the chance and get rid of the chimps’ tea party that is British politics?

Still, it remains true that any politician who disregards 45 per cent and rising or tries to manoeuvre it into a flimsy deal will truly create the social division the po-faced Unionists tried to impose on Yes. There is now in Scotland a fervour that could easily organise into civil disobedience if its aspiration is flouted. Someone somewhere in the self-serving British machine has to take account of a latent anger out there and that means our old friend the BBC will need a more journalistically credible effort that the item I saw last night in which Brown was allowed to prattle and preen without a single question on the sense of the disbelief and fury his intervention has generated.

It is the broadcaster’s job to reflect public feeling in its approach to responsible public figures and sitting chatting in his garden allowing him to demur about his heroic role in ‘saving the Union’ does not cut it. Part of the job is to imagine what a cross section of voters would want to ask him, not shrink into his shadow and butter him up. You promised guaranteed powers, now you want a petition to ask for those same powers? Are you serious? This is the future of Scotland were talking about…

It has seemed for the last month or so that Brown has command of the BBC, that he calls up and without question the organisation that has sacked journalists and camera crews can still jump to and provide full uninterrupted coverage. Was the BBC tipped off about Brown’s role and if so, by whom? We are back in the same British state undergrowth flailing around.

If Brown had been appointed to speak on behalf of the British government and the Unionist campaign, the BBC has a duty to tell us what it knew. The campaign is over. It is surely time for the BBC to issue a report on its coverage and decision-making which caused so much controversy and explain its stance, to open up to live questioning from the licence-fee payers on specific issues and attempt to save something of its reputation. Of course, they’ll do no such thing as much of their journalism was either poor – with honourable exceptions – or simply indefensible and the word is that Ken McQuarrie may depart later this month so, although he’s the man responsible, he’d escape before the trouble starts. I’m writing to the Holyrood Culture and Sport Committee to ask for an inquiry into the BBC’s campaign behaviour and that should in turn feed into the demands for broadcasting to be fully devolved.

(Thanks to all of you expressing wishes of success for our new venture and offering direct professional help. We are working as quickly as we can towards launch and hope many of your who have subscribed to me or to Newsnet will stay with us. We aim to make it worth it. To those who want to help, you can email me at and I’ll get round to answering soon. If I miss you out, hit me again)

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134 thoughts on “My Head Hurts

  1. OK, forget about the BBC bias during the campaign (for the time being) that just makes us look like paranoid bad losers. However, I don’t think it is paranoid, irrelevant or party-political to investigate the BBC’s role with regard to the last minute offers of more powers.

    Why did they give it so much prominence?
    What did they understand the powers to be?
    Did they refer to it as Devo-max?
    Did they refer to it as Home Rule?
    Did they refer to it as federalism?
    How was Gordon Brown’s live broadcast from Loanhead Miners’ Club co-ordinated?
    Who set the news agenda for the last week prior to the referendum?
    Was there direct contact between unionist parties, Better Together and the BBC with regard to setting the news agenda?
    Why has there been no scrutiny of Gordon Brown’s promises, timetable and missed deadlines?….

    • And why on the same evening that Brown’s barnstorming performance was broadcast, was Alex Salmond subjected to a grilling by Laura Kuenssberg? Balance?

    • Jackie Bird explicitly referred to it as Devo-Max when she interviewed Alastair Darling. This was left uncorrected and therefore gave the obvious impression that what was on offer WAS in fact Devo-Max, which everyone clearly understands to be all powers over revenues and expenditure with the exception of Defence, Foreign Affairs and Macro economic policy. Despite some people, e.g. Duncan Hothersall claiming no one knows what it means. They are desperately trying to back track so that they can eventually try to sell a poorly thought through and ineffective set of “new powers” via their biased MSM/BBC cabal.

  2. Petition? From the vow and the guaranteed timetable and almost federalism, Brown has backtracked to the ultimate low.

    It’s possible to start petitions on the government’s own web site, and if sufficient signatures are achieved then they have to do something, even if it’s only a token gesture. Brown could have done that, and sponsored such a petition. He didn’t. He simply found an internet petition started by someone unknown on 19th September, when everyone was feeling down. It’s a fairly woolly call for people to keep their promises. It had already achieved over 80,000 signatures before Brown mentioned it. He simply called for people to add their signature and get this up to 100,000.

    As someone said on Twitter, the next move will be a letter to Santa.

    • I believe he backed that petition – because that wasn’t a devo max one

      maybe we should be starting a devo max one and ensuring that one gets more signatures

      obvious when you think about it – after no vote he’s connecting himself to devo – microscopic as is the daily mail

      ps – nothing to be down about – it is so much easier to make people change from no to yes when you can rub it in their faces – they can’t ever take back thier no vote they sure can regret it

      that should be our aim – never let them forget that they chose this and you will turn them to yes

      much easier to get independance on a 75-95% yes

      I know 3 noers who already regret their choice 🙂

  3. The bbc will never admit to pro-union bias and McQuarrie is simply jumping ship straight into a peerage!

  4. Brown is at it ! As derek points out he never does anything without a pre-thought out stratagem geared towards his own agenda. Remember the 10yrs of background skulduggery against the Blair camp whilst chancellor. I believe he is trying to position himself as the ‘champion of scots’ and the ‘true’ leader for Devo-Max. This outsmarts the SNP and will ultimately benefit the labour party in the long-term. With the media at his command I’m not sure what can actually be done about it. I just hope the SNP strategists have some plan. There is one thing though, social media should publicise Brown’s history of selfish scheming, his garnd announcements followed by…nothing, his lies. He really needs to be held up for what he is a self-obsessed megalomaniac, a completely untrustworthy public figure.

    • Yes, that’s his game, Part 1.

      Part 2 (once he has conquered the Scots, aided and abetted by BBC Scotland) is to assimilate us to UK identity by getting rid of all the institutions that preserve our separate identity, like education for instance.

      He wants to turn us into Britnats, like him.

      Education has been devolved since the Union. Scottish education with its distinctive focus on the broad, liberal education, keeps aloft the generalist tradition of the ‘democratic intellect’ (Davie) and shapes our political culture and our independent character.

      Brown has been huffing and puffing lately about having a single education system the length and breadth of the country, claiming that a survey of 14-15 year olds was in favour of it.

      Make no bones about it, he means to eradicate anything distinctive about Scotland, he wants to destroy our separate Scottish institutions.

      • Reading the comments on Stuarts wee petition I would say that Gordon is as popular right now as a dose of Ebola. Give it a few weeks more and some more poison, and make no mistake the Tories have their tails up we will get it. I imagine he will be toxic with just about everyone, except with those in Kirkcaldy Labour Party who are obviously staffed with fools.

  5. cynical lowlander

    “We need to know the genesis of this anti-independence arrangement”

    I’d call it a conspiracy.

  6. Why didn’t we take all the power when we had the chance and get rid of the chimps’ tea party that is British politics?

    That remains the unanswered question for me too. Until and unless we get the definitive answer to that, the next time round will be no different. And it is certainly far more complex than the simplistic “the Old voted against the Young”.

    The YES Alliance is a good starting point for the future campaigns and it is critical that it is as apolitical as possible. Otherwise the MSM will once again spout the SN(azi)P crap they did last time.

    Good luck with the NNS venture, I’m afraid I remain to be convinced, but hope it works out as we need some significant media presence next time.

  7. Your words reflect how I feel. I remember about a week before the referendum you said we would win. I had the same strong feeling. Then up popped Gordon Brown. From absolutely nowhere. The BBC showed ALL of his ranting speeches and then came the VOW. Like you, I would like to know who asked him to get involved. Was it his party, or his fellow conspirators the Tories? Most likely big businesses?
    All in the name of what? greed? power?

    • Yes, he was heavily promoted by the Beeb. A speech to the Loanhead miners club on the Monday night after that poll came out that put Yes ahead… why were the cameras there? Loanhead miners? Why was the Beeb beaming it out all over our screens? It was prime time news, extensively covered and exhaustively repeated over the next few days.

      I’ve attended some excellent meetings with some high profile Yessers but not seen any cameras.

      It was as if he phoned somebody up at the Beeb and said, ‘Look, we’ve got to stop all this. I intend making a storming speech at Loanhead miners. We have to get the word out’. And they must have gone along with it. It wad pure propaganda. Goebbels couldn’t have done better.

      I b****y loathe Brown. Horrible, hideous man. Utterly contemptible.

  8. We really do live in one of the most politically corrupt countries in the world.

    They want us to lie in a corner and never come out – when did it become so bad?

    We could have had a proper debate, if Scotland voted Yes, 2 friendly countries working together, what was wrong with that?

    They must have a hell of a lot to cover up – the latest from the tories is that conspiracy theorists are every bit as dangerous as terrorists and need to be stopped, ie banned from the internet.

    It’s funny how they cant manage to ban child pornogrophers

    • “2 friendly countries working together” I think that’s the bit that really gets me. The referendum should’ve been a process that involved 2 nations of the UK discussing the amicable parting of the ways because there was sufficient depth of feeling in Scotland for change. If we are so loved by our colleagues from England then why were we beaten down at every step and told we couldn’t possibly manage on our own? Why were we threatened with claims of businesses leaving Scotland, of border patrols, of having no access to our own currency? If the British state is so benevolent this process should have been far more friendly than it was. The British state has got very good at getting what it wants over the last 300 years and it took a mere 7,000 voters per local authority area to swing it for No. Now we have calls for no more referenda in our lifetimes. Shouts for us to accept the vote and not be sore losers. Would those who voted No be doing so if it had been Yes? I feel your pain Derek and the pain of every Yes voter who feels we’ve been duped into settling for the status quo.

  9. As Morag pointed out, Brown is simply hanging on to the coat-tails of an existing petition. He appears to be wanting to aggrandise himself after having stabbed Scotland in the back by making those ludicrous promises. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if someone at WM had said “Gord. Give them anything. Make it up. Promise them anything, we think they like you so use that. Anything, just lie.”

    This complete and utter mess is exactly the reason we wanted out – because Westminster is a nest of poisonous reptiles and we can and will managed ourselves more professionally and with due care to the wellbeing of people in Scotland.

    But – do not despair. Clarity is beginning to hit all those swithering No voters right between the eyes. We do best to pull with the river and the tide is turning in our favour.

  10. Gordon Brown is acting out the role of the Great Suprendo, the Grand Illusionist, making words disappear with one sweep of his clunking fists. His September words – home-rule, federalism, maximum possible devolution – one sweep of his clunking fists at the beginning of October and they just disappear – and we are not supposed even to notice that the words home-rule, federalism, maximum possible devolution have all disappeared, and been replaced with mysterious new powers, timetables and processes and petitions.

    Of course, Westminster parties will deliver the powers they have vowed to provide – all this hype and political spin is designed to draw attention towards vows and timetables and processes, and away from any examination of the powers themselves. But look at the detail of the words now used by the Grand Illusionist and the constantly nearly heartbroken Prime Minister – the detail of the words is all about the puny proposals they made in their various reports earlier this year, with those of BritLab the puniest of them all – beads for the natives.

    There is no more reason now than there was before to trust the blue Tories and the red Tories bearing gifts of new powers. The new powers, especially tax devolution limited to income tax, is all about the retention of control at Westminster, and laying a trap so that the Scottish Government can be held responsible for any Westminster expenditure cut on the basis that – you can use your powers of income tax to deal with it. NHS shortfalls – the SNP government can use its income tax powers. Welfare benefit freezes – the SNP government can use its income tax powers. Housing benefit withdrawn from people under 25 years – the SNP government can use its income tax powers. Additional childcare – the SNP government can use its income tax powers. 15 minute home care visits – the SNP government can use its income tax powers. And, Gordon Brown and David Cameron sit together right at the heart of this trap.

    The MSM and the BBC have picked up where they left off before the referendum – supporting the grand illusion. The ongoing battle is going to be just as hard as the referendum campaign. The yes campaign needs to regroup as the devo-max campaign and keep going.

  11. Hi Derek; I think, on the face of it, this looks like another example of duplicity. But on deeper reflection, this is a flimsy stratagem…. so that Gordon / No camp have something to wave in front of us when we again, demonstrate a marked swing to Yes over the coming weeks and months.

    This is his strategy; when we show more strength, including a flip in surveys that will show decisively more Yes than No, with ‘no’ voters moving in marked numbers to change their position, he thinks he can wave a large petition saying ‘ah, but I have a petition here that has thousands for devo-max, not independence’.

    Flimsy, yes. But that is the way their mind works. Impoverished thinking.

  12. There were a couple of things that stick out for me
    Hearing Douglas Alexander tell a pensioner on BBC Radio Scot Morning call that her pension was unsure this went unchallenged
    That warships would not be built on the Clyde as it would be Foreign.
    This on the week the latest warship was bought from Norway

    And hearing the myth of Devo max being repeated adhock by media

    Then there is the non reporting of George Square and the involvement of a registered Supporter of the Union
    Britain first
    But also a supporters group of a Football club

    The standard of journalism
    Has been poor or biased

  13. Derek your comment that this is a mess sums it up! There is nothing for us to gain by fighting with the media. Whatever we say will be twisted into their agenda.

    We are kidding ourselves that half the no voters even care about promised new powers. The evidence is clear that they don’t care, it’s why they voted no!

    I am not sure I can live with this morass for the next 2-3 years. I don’t feel anything but genuine alienation from my no colleagues, and the British state.

    • Me too. But where can we go?

      • and me.

        • I felt that very profoundly, in fact I was freaking out. I’ve calmed down now. But for a while I thought I was losing it, I was in a living nightmare, knowing that 55% of the folks out on the street had voted against Scotland and were traitors. It was like the Stasi in Eastern Germany, husbands spying against wives, children against parents, it was as profound and as disorientating as that. The deceit had been unmasked. Most people had failed. I no longer felt safe, no longer felt at home in my own country or in my own skin. I felt like I had been exiled by my own countrymen. Locked out of my own house. I had no home in this world any more.

          Scotland was alien, a twisted shrivelled hag. Hideous and hostile.

          Except it’s not really like that, is it? Very few Noes were passionate Britnats, most were not that engaged or politicised. Most were misguided and must be guided rightly.

          After I calmed down I decided to face them down by just keeping my Yes badges on and my Yes posters up, just to let them know that it is not over, and they still have to think about things, and they still have to get along with me.

          Because this is my country and I’m not quitting.

          • With you there. I wear my Yes badge and Yes sticker is on the car and one on my flat window.

          • Yet over on the Guardian we had one No voter complaining that they had seen a car with not one, but two Yes flags still flying from it. Outrageous! why can’t these pesky Yessers not just realise they lost but go completely away and stfu?

            There goes somebody insecure in their convictions and not willing to have them questioned all the time. A secure person would just shrug and carry on.

      • Thinking much the same as others on here. My own country now feels strange to me. Now that I can see how we are constantly manipulated and talked down to what does that make me. Less of a person? Someone who has no say? Someone without a future? During the YES campaign I felt alive again, I had something to look forward too, a country that could be great, a country worth fighting for. Something to be proud off, and something to work towards.
        Where can we go? At my age working abroad is out of the question, they do not want 50+ workers. Retire abroad? need lots of cash for private healthcare and need to sell Scottish house. So nothing that I can do immediately. Move to somewhere in Scotland that feels like it cares more than those here in the Borders (where I currently live)? But where is more caring? More inclusive?
        I also realise that it is me who is carrying these feelings around, it is me who looks at the faces of strangers and asks silently “are you one of them?”. Everyone looks glum, are they feeling like me or have I just not noticed before how the streets are filled with dull expressionless faces?
        Where can we go? People who want a better, smiling future, one where we look after each other and think of others not think about our place in the world or how much money we can screw out of folk.
        Where can we go? We can’t run away, that I have worked out, but oh how I would love to.

        • Stay in the Borders and face them down. We need as many Yessers as possible down there. In fact I am thinking about moving to the Borders to help establish a Yes presence. Wear your Yes badge with pride. They need to know it is not over, and they need to know that Yessers are ordinary people who just want a better future.

          I keep saying this, but not everybody lives and breathes politics. Most No voters were misinformed and had an overly optimistic view of the British state and the British power elite. In their hearts their valued are not greatly different from us.

          It’s their perception of reality, and that’s what we’ve got to change.

          • We already have a YES presence here in the Borders. If you do decide to move here you won’t have to help establish a presence, but you could join in.

            Re-wearing YES badges. I feel that these were for the referendum campaign. I have kept all of mine, and the flags etc, but it seems inappropriate to wear them now.

            I have never faced anyone down in my life. I would not know where to start.

        • I thought it was just me who was freaking out in shops, scowling and thinking – did you vote No? I also feel slightly ashamed when I think there must be other parts of the world laughing at us. If 45% of the population know the country has the means to thrive, then there simply must be others out in the world that know that also. A couple of English friends have been astonished at the No vote. However, there are many more English on the internet rubbing salt into the wound.

      • That was our problem, because if we even went to Ireland we would have to keep changing money and as pensioners we are not that rich. We are faced with being stateless in our own country, and we have some of our fellow countrymen and women for hat.No other country in Europe has done what the Scots have done. Very disappointing.

  14. It was always a possibility that the NO camp would come up with a last minute offer to sway the voters from YES to NO, if necessary. Just as Alec Douglas Hume did in 1979. However,, this only became necessary two weeks before the vote when YES rose over 50% in the opinion polls with the momentum behind them. (Rumours are that they were higher in private polling.) Prior vague promises of Devo Nano had already been dismissed by the YES voters.
    That is what sparked feverish activity in the last two weeks and the offer of Devo Max or Home Rule. Brown and Darling and Galloway are all on record offering this. This broke the Edinburgh Agreement which ruled out fresh offers in the purdah period (28 days before the vote). That in itself should render the vote invalid.
    Lord Ashcroft’s poll showed that 25% of NO voters believed the promises of greater powers. That is 500,000 votes.
    Either they deliver Devo Max within the timetable specified or the referendum is null and void.
    We need a free press if we want a democracy. BBC is the state propaganda machine. Ditto the press.
    Come on Derek and let’s have some real media for grown ups!

    • You’ve really hit on something here. They breached a legal agreement so the result is therefore unsound in international law.

      There must be grounds for some kind of international law judgement on the validity of the result – even though politically, we are where we are.

      But constitutionally getting the result declared unsound could be extremely important in the future.

      UK proceeds as if it is a unitary state. But it is not. It is a composite or union state. If we get the result declared unsound it could be important constitutionally because it could prevent them from arguing that Scots had in effect decided they were part of Britain (as a unitary state).

    • Capella, I completely agree with your every word.As it stands the referendum result is NULL AND VOID.

      • Well and good, do you see anyone coming to our aid. Do you see those worthies in Europe, the United Nations, why hasn’t the Scottish Government done something. Why because we have been stitched up well and good from what I can see. Had a discussion this morning with a friend in Arizona who had the misfortune to say that Quebec had made moves to leave and most of Canada wanted them too. I said pity that the Canadian People had not made that clear to their government who used the same dirty tricks against them that the British Government had against us. Democracy, they scream is needed in Hong Kong, don’t make me laugh we don’t have it anywhere in the West from what I can see.

  15. Margaret Brogan

    Derek, once more I’ve stopped receiving email notifications of your blog! Was it something I said? Do I have to click ‘Follow’ again, though I’ve been following from the beginning?
    Anyway, best of luck with your future plans.

  16. And on the subject of Brown
    His was a Government that survived on D notices and threats
    There is plenty of dirt there to be exposed

  17. Brown is a pretty disreputable character. Could someone draw up a Report Card listing all his failures, lies, incompetence, machinations etc and flood social media with it? We need to attack his credibility.

    • Well, he was the last unelected PM we have jointly had. He was affeared to go to the polls when his leigitimacy might have been established. He stole our pension money. He sold gold at an all time low, partly because he said he was going to sell gold. He did not destroy ‘boom and burst’. He is not an Old Etonian.

      He throws his mobile phone at the wall. He is verging on a man about to have a mental breakdown. He has asked us to ‘back’ him in his ‘bid’ to get us Devo Max when that was the opposite of what Mr North Britain originally canvassed on. But now claimsas his own. My head hurts.

      The man is as credible a, I dunno, a brick banana?

    • He would have to have credibility for us to attack it. Nevertheless, let us get intae him, JoLa, Mags, Murph and all the Labour Liars Club.

      Derek, how does one make a contribution to your venture?

  18. You’ve said what most of us feel, Derek. Once again, we’ve been conned…and by the man who in his brief premiership became a laughing stock, and was even considered mad. What to do is now the question.

    Blair Jenkins walked away from the Yes campaign without so much as a thank you to thousands of people who donated and worked their socks off, obviously not giving a jot about what happens now. The SNP, despite its huge rise in membership, is in something of limbo until their conference and the leadership issue is settled. After that I expect Alex Salmond to come out firing on all cylinders as the constraints of being first minister will have been removed. Only then can we really expect a ratcheting up of activity and the question of any alliance to be addressed.

    Meanwhile, there is the Smith commission, and despite everything, we really need a flood of cases for devo max made to it to underline that promises were made and we expect them to be kept. Have no idea whether you have been invited to input, but can I ask that you try and do so if possible. We need pro maximum powers voices, singing loudly, to get the message across.

  19. Idon’t believe no voters voted no, on the promise of more powers. I believe they were looking for an excuse to vote no , and the Vow suited their internal justification. Some people are just plain lazy or good old fashioned fearties!

    • Big Jock,

      It is certainly the case that some ‘No’ voters used that as a convenient excuse. Before that they talked about their ‘hatred’ of Alex Salmond.

      I was, frankly, offended about their lack of insight. It is an impossible game to play. There is no common ground,there is no ‘give or take’, there is just this overwhelming sense of ‘bugger you’.

      Be that as it may, how do we change them? For change them we must.

      • @Douglas Clark,

        There is probably between at least 25-30 per cent of voters in Scotland who will never under any circumstances vote for independence. Just as there was 25 per cent who voted No in 1997 to a very limited parliament. They will not countenance it at all, these people cannot be reasoned with for various reasons, and really it is a waste of time trying to change their minds. We can only appeal to the undecided who mostly went to No, and soft Nos this time. I think the largest figure you could hope to attract to vote Yes in an independence referendum in the future is probably around 60 per cent, certainly no more than 70 per cent, and even then I think that figure is beyond us.

        • As I said in a previous post, de-colonisation frequently involved stand offs between those promoted by the colonising regime as under-managers and those subject to it. A large number of people are undecideds who sit on the fence until it’s clearer to them who is going to win. But without the activism of the few, without their bravery and skill, the fight is never won.

          • MBC, totally agree, in the American War of Independence it broke down to thirds, one third for independence, one third against and on third just sat there till they saw who won.

    • I don’t agree. The reason Devo Max was kept off the ballot paper was that the unionist parties knew that that option would get the highest number of votes. Some who wanted Devo Max voted YES because that was the only progressive choice on offer. Others voted NO because they were told that a vote for NO was not a vote for no change. Brown, Darling and George Galloway, as spokesmen for the NO campaign, explicitly spelt out Devo Max. Home Rule and Federalism with a timetable, in the two weeks before the poll.
      Lord Ashdown’s research was carried out just after the poll. Of those voting NO, 25% said that they did so believing the promise of greater powers.
      What greater evidence could you want?

      • I would want better analysis than Ashcroft’s poll. Radio 4’s More or Less demolished his finding regarding young voters. I think it was about 14 of them who were polled in a certain age group.

        • You Gov analysis was similar. Not as many young voters voting Yes, compared to Ashcroft, and some age groups had more No than Yes etc. However, You Gov analysis said that over 65’s saw 66% of them voting No, far higher than other age groups where even if No was more popular, it was often 52% No to 48% Yes or so.

          It is a trend that more over 65’s voted No than any other age group. They also say that around 70% of ‘born in other parts of the UK’ voted No.

          In population numbers, the over 65’s number around 700,000 and the ‘born in other parts of the UK’ around 400,000. Together these groups account for @ 25% of the electorate.

          If the over 65’s had voted 50/50 then Yes would have won. If the ‘born in other parts of the UK’ had voted 50/50 then it would have been a very slim Yes victory.

          I think You Gov also increased the Female ‘No’ vote , and again, that may have been a critical division, splitting the vote 50/50 may have seen a Yes vote, however, I’m not 100% sure on this.

          Remember, it benefits the No campaign to show that most sections of the electorate voted No as it can be claimed to be generally the most popular option for all.

          Being able to highlight weak sections for the Yes campaign helps the independence cause, especially with the older vote because you can claim that independence is inevitable. If being able to say that the ‘under 65’s’ voted Yes, then it’s a strong argument for another referendum in the next 10 years.

          The interesting breakdown that the Unionists are desperately trying to hamper is the analysis of news reading amongst the age groups. Generally the younger you are, the more you get your news from the internet and not solely the TV – this group definitely tended towards Yes as opposed to the over 65’s who mostly get their news from traditional media and voted No.

          These stats are more useful for Yes, hence why we will probably never see a full and accurate breakdown of age groups as they do show definite trends.

          • In the 16-17 age group Ashcroft sampled 14 people. The stats on that group should be ignored. I would want to see similar figures for other age groups to know if his poll makes any sense. I suspect it doesn’t.

          • Because such a high proportion of the elderly are women this skews the gender statistics disproportionately in turn. Which I suspect is the basis of your disquiet. There is virtually no such gender disparity in other age groups that voted Yes so women must have done so too, or sat on their hands disproportionally.

        • But Ashcroft’s poll was accurate in other respects. It was more representative of all the other age groups. 488 over 65s were polled out of the 2000 people he contacted, and 73% of them voted No.

          • PS: 2011 census puts over 65s at 935,000.

          • Well I wasn’t asked and am in the target age group. Funnily on holiday we met another couple who were also definite YES voters, he was 69, she 68 but none of their children were voting for independence. They were the typical middle class family Dad an ex Accountant, Mum and ex primary school teacher so you might have expected them to vote No. The Kids were all too frightened.

    • God knows the number of times I have spoken to people who went on to say “I am not political”. It is a cop out from those who seem to believe that politics does nothing to their lives.

  20. Douglas I truly believe that there is now Scotland and North Britain. I think we can only ever hope to get 55%, to bring us over the line. It’s so tight that it’s a tactical game we are now in. Forget truth,pride or nationalism. It’s really a game of chess the SNP have to play. Some might say it’s cynical to win your freedom in such a manner. However it’s what no did to get that extra 10%. We have to play them at their own game, while trying to maintain some honesty and integrity.

    • @Big Jock

      Yes, I was just replying to Douglas Clark’s post. I thought we would be only ever able to get at most a Yes vote of 60 per cent in a independence referendum in the future, 55 to 60 ish per cent is probably the largest vote we could hope to get. If you are a super optimist possibly a Yes at 65 per cent.

  21. it’s a depressing fact ,that in order to understand what makes a Scot tick. Would involve a team of the worlds best psychiatrists. Spending 10 years doing a PHD. They would then probably all disagree with each other on the symptoms and cure.

    • Big Jock, Muttley 79

      Look, thanks for your input.

      I am quite old, and the idea that you guys will win it when folk like me are dead has a certain long range appeal. Frankly I am looking for a more short term solution, the next five years or so.

      My eldest son is doing a degree in Psychology and Economics.

      From what I can gather, neither subject has anything definitive to offer. The rather infamous ‘Millgram’ expiraments are open to opinion. The otherwise ‘perfect’ economic citizen appears to have a ‘loyalty’ factor and so on and so forth.

      I don’t know whether this is all a dead end, but it seems to me that we are not robots. That we can be swung by sentiment. Or consensual belief, what have you.

      It seems to me important that the likes of our good host stands up for what he believes rather than surrendering to what is expedient. By which I mean Devo Max.

      This is important shit.

      Before he joins the Borg in holy matrimony I would like to hear his last free thoughts before he is thoroughly assimilated.

      • As a historian, a lot of things can affect outcomes. The role of strong charismatic individuals is often pivotal, Gandhi, Vaclev Havel, for instance. Events can also suddenly play into your hands. Fracking is going to play and play.

        But overwhelmingly it’s a matter of determination, sound arguments and good tactics.

        • As the third Iraq war continues and embroils us in Syria the blowback will increase. If for eg the first pilot to get shot down and end up in IS’s hands is Scottish then public opinion up here will shift more towards asking ‘why are WE involved here?

          Also can you imagine the Tories’ naked revelling in taking money from the poor and giving it to the rich will play well up here in Scotland and make people feel Better Together?

          Considering Labour are pretty much promising the same thing we can work this on the doorsteps to unseat unionists in the GE.

  22. Labour will be planning to position themselves as the saviours of more devo (though it’ll be almost nothing) at the general election next year, trying to convince voters in Scotland that a vote for them is the only way of promises being enacted as they blame the Tories for the vow being broken. “Trapped and reeled in again” as Tories and Labour play their political games with Scotland as they try to secure a turn taking control at Westminster.

    Scotland rose to the referendum challenge and held an extraordinary discussion about its future – the way Labour and the Tories are acting now shows the contempt they have always held for the people of Scotland and shows how little they respect public engagement in politics.

  23. Derek, BBC Scotland completely jumped the shark in the last few weeks of the referendum campaign in particular. They were effectively acting as Gordon Brown’s own personal broadcasting service. They were at his beck and call. There is no way this just accidentally occurred I am afraid to say. The whole Devo max tactic was propaganda from the No campaign and the MSM. Devo max was defined by the SG in their first term as all powers bar foreign affairs, defence, Trident, and one or two taxation powers. What we are now being offered by Labour and Tories is not even close to Devo max or federalism. Jackie Bird and others in the MSM must have known this. Either they are ignorant of a basic term in Scottish politics, or they deliberately lied to the people of Scotland. Whichever is the case, they should be sacked for this. It is simply not good enough to be either ignorant, or deceitful when such an important issue is about to be decided. As for Ken McQuarrie, this guy is going to the House of Lords, or he will be knighted for his services to journalism.

    If I was part of the SNP leadership, I would be sorely tempted to include in their 2016 Holyrood election manifesto a commitment to hold an consultative referendum on Devo max, with the correct definition on the ballot paper. If Westminster refuses to co-operate, and refuses to permit the referendum to take place, then that will mean that the SNP and others can then call for another independence referendum in following elections. We need to provide conclusive evidence to everyone here and the rest of the UK that there was never an intention to deliver Devo max. Nobody can complain then if the pro-independence parties return to campaigning for another independence referendum.

    • “If I was part of the SNP leadership, I would be sorely tempted to include in their 2016 Holyrood election manifesto a commitment to hold an consultative referendum on Devo max, with the correct definition on the ballot paper.”

      Watching Broon, Darling, Galloway etc arguing against such a referendum would be just too much fun. Has to happen.

  24. I think the 2016 manifesto should be clear. Vote SNP majority get independence. We have tried the gradualist approach. The UK would just steal another referendum result from the feartie Scots.

    • Too soon Big Jock. If we are lucky we will only get another one shot at an independence referendum, and then it will be in all probability be over (Quebec has had 2, and their chance looks to have gone for good). You are suggesting going for another one in less than 2 years. We have to be as certain as possible that we are going to win next time. 2016 is almost certainly too soon. We need to change Scotland to a fairly large extent before we can be as certain as possible of victory in an independence referendum. This means in particular the media climate has to be changed substantially, and this is just not possible within less than 2 years imo. The referendum arguably came 5 years or so too soon. We have to be very careful next time.

      • I’m sure you’re right Muttley, and if we looked like winning Westminster would never agree to a second referendum . The only reason Cameron agreed to the first was because he was confident of a 70 % vote for No, which would destroy the hated Alex Salmond and the SNP, and return Scottish politics to Unionist “normality”. The Unionists have just gone through a terrifying experience, and they won’t want to go through another one any time soon.
        We must insist, as the Lallans Peat Worrier has suggested today, on including within the proposed new Scotland Act a clause reserving to the people of Scotland the power to determine whether we remain within the UK or become independent. It was good enough for Northern Ireland, so it shouldn’t be objected to for Scotland.

      • I am with Big Jock. If we get an SNP, et al, majority, from Scotland, at Westminster, then that is UDI.

        What is hard to understand about that?

        What, pray, is wrong with that?

        • Responding to Muttley79, not Pentland Firth.

        • @douglas clark

          What is wrong with declaring UDI? How long have you got? If you want to throw away the chance of Scotland ever becoming independent then you would declare UDI. In simple terms UDI=political suicide. It is no exaggeration to say it would be a calamitous thing to do. Firstly, there is no surer way to become completely isolated from and by the international community. What would happen is the American state would go absolutely nuts, they would refuse to recognise Scotland as an independent state, and the rest of the world would take their lead. All nation states hate to get involved in another individual states’ internal affairs, if part of that state declares UDI. It can really only be used in emergency situations. Scotland would simply not qualify in this category, and this would be made loud and clear by the international community.

          Another point to remember is that significant constitutional change in Scotland has been decided, or not as the case maybe, by three referendums, one was rigged in 1979, the successful one of 1997, and the one that narrowly failed on independence last month. Looking at this pattern, the international community would no doubt tell Scotland in the event of a UDI, that to achieve independence it has to come by way of a referendum. That is the only logical conclusion they would come too, due to our constitutional precedents.

          • Strongly agree with all you say. We must achieve international recognition and UDI is not the way to get it.

          • But what if all efforts at another referendum are seen as having been frustrated at Westminster? If all possible remedies such as appeal the ECHR fail or are blocked, what then?

            What if it is in the context of the 2017 Euro referendum and England votes to go swamping a Scots vote to stay? Then we try and get another emergency referendum and it is stymied utterly.

            With our fisheries, oil, strategic position and solvency the EU would swing round behind us in classic divide and rule tactics. Surround Albion with EU territories. Treat them like Switzerland. The playbook is written.

            So either the ECHR will be leant on to rule in our favour or UDI and the Commission leans on European capitals for recognition. The Americans would not demur then. They have stated they prefer to see the UK in Europe. Having us and the Irish as English speaking members would be less than ideal from their p.o.v. but also a least worst scenario.

            Also virtually every country which had to fight for its independence from Britain would recognise us. And finally, the Irish did it that way and did alright. Their neutrality in WWII was acknowledged on all sides for eg. That wasn’t long afterwards.

            Two can do realpolitik projection.

  25. The real threat is not Devo Nano (they’ll never agree to Devo Max) but Devo just-about-enough-but-not-too-much which will satisfy a lot of no’s. Then the old tribal loyalties kick in and we get another diarrhoea of Labour MP’s in May.

    • The worst thing would be if all of income tax was devolved, and we did not have access to oil revenues and corporation tax. It would mean the Barnett formula would either be significantly reduced or scrapped altogether. It would leave Scotland facing eye watering cuts every year.

      • Mutley that is the problem I see and If it is left to the SNP to deal with it, we will have the same wringing of hands of Labour in opposition. If this is accepted by the SNP I would be surprised, John Swinney has dealt with the budget now for seven years he knows surely what this would do. I would hope and pray he would walk out of talks which tried to impose this as it is unworkable.

  26. our main problem is the biased media,as there are still a lot of peole no online for whom bbc and media are the only source of information thi i am pretty fed up with the snps lack of fight and objections to the bbc they have even joined to help the daily record with johann lament,im getting sick of twisted politicians like brown and co who lie and lie with impunity

  27. Derek, I think its clear that Gordon wants back in. He had a taste of it when the press gave him a great reception for his ‘barnstorming’ speech just before the referendum and he wants more. You put you’re finger on it when you said he doesn’t do anything that’s not political. There is always a motive and in this case he’s playing a game- if we don’t fill out his petition the con\lib alliance will say that it confirms the result if the referendum. That not enough people want independence and not enough want new powers. If we do fill it out he becomes our de facto spokesman as its ‘his’ petition and the press will come back to find out his open opinion on new powers not the SNP or the Scottish people. He also gets to set the agenda which is what he really wants. If he gets to steer the new powers to Labours preference he will be their hero. If the whole thing falls apart he will still come out if it looking like some kind of elder statesman ( to some , anyway). We need to reject him. Make it clear that he does not speak for us but how?

  28. Should we nominate Glenn Campbell for the Order of the Brown Nose in the New Year’s Honours? He certainly deserves it.

    On a more serious note, does the first B in BBC now stand for Brown? Pathetic Quay appear to be at his beck and call. Even some Labour Party/Unionist voters, previously blind to the structure of politics in Scotland and the role of the media in sustaining it, have started to notice and query the relationship between Labour and the BBC. Needless to add, perhaps, I’m encouraging them to think through the implications.

  29. Derek, I’ve started to wonder about who exactly the numbskulls were. There seems to have been skullduggery going on and I’m wondering why certain people voted No. Some of them could they have been made offers they couldn’t refuse.
    I’m not interested in Devo whatever they’re calling it, and considering they didn’t have time to work it out fast enough to save their skins, they managed to do just that. The palpable sense of relief on all their faces is photographable.
    I think it’s pretty obvious that Cameron probably did the contacting. As I said before on this site, Goggy had no power to stand up in public and make promises that concerned the State. He’s an Opposition Back Bencher in semi-retirement. The Westminster hegemony works as it did in Victorian times and further back than that. No-one can step over their superior’s head. Cameron is the boss and he calls the shots. Brown might look as if he inhabits a fantasy world but don’t forget, he was PM himself. He knows the score.

    • Viking Girl,

      I know from your avatar alone that you are not scared. It is obvious that some people were scared. Mainly the old and the sick. In a sense you are right, they were made an offer they couldn’t refuse.


      Quite frankly that was a ludicrous way to expend their vote.

      But they only read one future,

      The pathetic one we are living in now.

  30. None of the Westminster Elite can be identified with a nationality. They belong to the Elite State of Westminster. They adopt the postures of Government and Opposition, which is the main lie from which all others stem.
    Gordon Brown entered the arena as part of the Elite plan; Cameron & Co’s role is to ignore his promises. Brown’s is to call for them to honour their vow.
    While we all call them names, at worst, or analyse the behaviour and organise protest, they revel in their diversionary tactics and bring in the legislation that really matters.
    The stage management is magnificent. Pretendy role-playing at it’s best/worst. Pretendy disappointments and pretendy calls to action. All diverting attention and dispersing the energy that should be concentrated on stopping their vile terrorism legislation
    That is the main purpose of all the pretendy posing – to bring in controls over all of US under the guise of protecting us from terrorism.
    Let’s not be distracted. This legislation must be blocked. We must be free to continue our cause.

  31. IMHO

    Before we have another Referendum
    we must make sure that the vote ‘for’ is in place already

    ie. persuade the no’s FIRST
    and then begin the formal campaign.

    AND, disable or neutralise the BBC by any means possible.

    AND, break the Labour Party’s grip on postal votes.

    Then campaign.

    We have GOT to get the next one right.

  32. Its a sair fecht dealing with people who have no integrity, having to play by their rules (that they just make up or change to suit themselves). I think we should mainly now be focussing on creating our own new structures, systems and rules to eventually just make the current corrupt gamed system of power and media obsolete. There are amazing paradigm shifts going on in alternative media, crypto currencies and associated tamper proof blockchain technologies, and even a soon to be released game changing decentralized internet created by Scottish company ‘maidsafe’ I recommend just watching their intro video and imagining the implications!!

    I think the key to progress is in breaking the stranglehold the establishment have over the flow of public information (and suppression). I must admit I never expected the deviousness and pervasiveness of the establishment deception machine, and actually seeing people fall for it. Thats whats most frightening. Is it any wonder the establishment are scrambling to control the internet by enacting things like the mass sureveillance DRIP legislation that was recently rushed through behind closed doors,

    The establishment have been exposed. Their great weakness is the truth. Lets just exploit it to the max!

  33. Civil disobedience. Starting with a mass refusal to pay the BBC tax.

    • Yes Dan.
      The conversion of No to Yes is one thing
      But the conversion of Yes to No BBC TV Licence
      must surely become de rigeur for any Yes voter.

      1 million less TV Licences @ £145.50 is £145.5 million pound less for the BBC coffers.
      That should make a difference.

      Personally I’d rather just cut all their transmission cables, switch off their water supply, and turn off their electricity. I’m sure that would have an effect !

    • If what took place in the run up to the referendum
      had been tried in a Court of Law
      the No case would have been thrown out.

      Why then is there no mechanism in this country
      to deal with such flagrant abuse of the rules of the Edinburgh Agreement.

      Surprise, surprise . It’s the Unionist Establishment again.

      How remiss of them.

  34. Now you’re talkin’ my kind of angry language!

    My one question on your new venture with Newsnet is: what are your plans to get it in front of the non-internet using public?

  35. Derek, an interesting article.
    The answer to all this, nothing up my sleeve, no mirrors, no smoke, is on the BBC tonight.
    “How the Referendum was Won”.
    For another insight into the attitude and bias of the BBC look at their extensive and unstinting coverage of the demonstrations in Hong Kong. The BBC are practically cheering them on. When uncounted thousand of YES supporters crowded Sauchiehall St. the BBC broadcast some carefully framed pictures showing a dozen or so people, carefully “balanced” by a dozen or so NO supporters.
    This betrayal of truth and honesty, this dissemination of false information is not merely reprehensible, it must surely border on illegal. When independence comes the staff at the BBC must be deported…

    • Dr JM Mackintosh

      I wonder if the BBC will admit their role in How the referendum was won? I doubt it – it will just be more propaganda.

      I will not watch it live as I have cancelled my licence. I will probably not watch it on iplayer either as I find it quite difficult to watch anything produced by the BBC anymore such is my absolute contempt for them.

      Truely we are becoming a split nation of Scots and North British and the BBC is and will always be meaningless to any self respecting Scot.

      • Feeling it Dr J Mackintosh. I can’t even (qutite seriously) use their weather forecasts after indyref. They’re dead to me, but they need to be dead to the 55% of Scots who didn’t get to Yes.

  36. Derek said, “Win 20 seats in the 650-seat Commons in a few months time? Haud me back”. I believe that, far from trying to get a few more SNP seats at Westminster, at the 2015 General Election, Scotland’s interests might be better served by hundreds of thousands of people abstaining from voting at all. To demonstrate our collective disbelief in the Westminster Parliament by ‘not touching it with a bargepole’ would immediately be noticed UK-wide; and it would have, I think (hope), significant political repercussions – much more so than ‘trying to get a pile of SNP MPs’, but failing to do so and that being taken as evidence ‘the game is over’.

  37. I think winning a majority at Holyrood on a clear manifesto of voting for independence. Is not quite UDI. Its using the election as a referendum on independence. I truly believe it is our only chance. Sooner than we think Westminster will start putting obstacles in our road to independence. We also need to keep our young folk on our agenda. Young people tend to be more motivated when targets and goals are set. Kicking independence into the long grass is the biggest error we could make.

    • 1. Depends on the manifesto elected alongside. Many will be upset if independence and another referendum is front and centre so soon so that will be counterproductive but it means Holyrood elections will not count the way you think unless such commitments are there like they were last time.

      2. We will also need a majority of Scottish Yes MPs sent to Westminster. Or they will claim Holyrood elections are measuring something different. Only once both are in place or something else (EU exit in 2017 for eg) happens can we go again, sadly.

      But use that to motivate yourself to get out and campaign for a Yes candidate in a unionist held seat in the GE. I’ll be in the next door seat doing just that. Not as a member of the SNP or any other party but with RIC.

  38. smiling vulture

    Tory Party gave Gordon enough seed,to sing like a carnary,once the NO vote in,he’s back in his cage

  39. well pretty soon the scottish govt is gonni be faced with the poisoned chalice – accept the watered down Devo powers or ………what ? Refuse them? If it is not ‘full fiscal autonomy” then the SNP must refuse them and revert back to the reason for the partys’ existence – to gain full independence for scotland. Then it’s game on again for another referendum in the future. But Brown and labour know what they are doing with their positioning as the ‘only party that can guarantee DevoMax’….we need that Indy newspaper on the streets and an Indy TV presence asap if we have any hope of countering the labour party and MSM machine.

    • Yes, it’s a trap for both lab and SNP. If it’s nano then SNP will look like they’re throwing toys out of pram. For lab it’s English votes for English mp’s and maybe even a reduction in representation.

  40. I’m afraid to say that it will not be a case of one more heave. The first part of any strategy is to identify where you are. That leads to the recognition that Glasgow, North Lanarkshire, West Dunbartonshire and Dundee all went ‘yes’ and Inverclyde nearly so in a situation redolent of opportunities – Tory Government, dysfunctional Labour Party and LibDems still reeling from their two faced support of the Tories. There will be no more frustrated section of the electorate than the people in these areas.

    They are ripe for the UDI pitch but what about all those areas of rural Scotland coloured SNP yellow. How can the SNP appeal to those after they have in some cases resoundingly voted ‘No’. It will be a tricky one to appeal to the frustrated ones and the self-satisfied (feartie) ones at the same time.

    The only basis I can see for a Referendum/UDI opportunity is if the Tories win next year and redeem their pledge of an EU in/out referendum in 2017 and it goes the way of the Eurosceptics.

    Quite a lot of ifs and buts there. Failing all of that I am afraid we do have to wait until the sense of Britishness passes with the war generation dying off.

    • Sad to say I fear that you may be right, we do need to keep the young on side and we need to maintain the base already here. I also fear we may have to let dependant Scotland feel the pain of their decision. That would seem the adult thing to do. Too many wanted their cake and to eat it, well it doesn’t work that way.
      Most of the YES campaign were only too well aware of the consequences of a NO vote but I think most of the NO vote had no idea. They should have had more information from YES for that as they seemed to lack the understanding or forgotten the Tories and Labour and continuing austerity, Did they think it wasn’t going to affect them. I have a bet on that once the elderly have voted Tory in May next year, watch them being targeted, and that means me too.

  41. I didn’t join the SNP so that it could become the party of devolution. Enough of this already. We need to set our own agenda, and not dance to the charlatans tune of more jam tomorrow. I am quite frankly bored with devolution and asking permission for powers.

    Its time the SNP went back to stating it’s aims quite staunchly. I think people respect honesty and clearness when voting. Do we honestly believe that the new members of the snp joined to get more watered down devolution. The new members voted Yes to get independence.Surely if we can take 1.6 million to vote Yes, we can get a Westminster majority on an independence ticket. I don’t think the SNP should make any attempt to assist the unionists, in their pseudo attempt to empower Scotland.

  42. Gordon Brown, the self-appointed Governor General of Scotland, deserves all the mockery and ridicule coming his way following his thoroughly stupid request for 100,000 signatures to support the back-of-a-fag-packet vow. If three desperate politicians make a vow, surely the people to whom the vow is made have the right to sit back and watch while the vow-makers do what they promised to do. By requesting 100,000 signatures, Gordon Clown is indicating his own not-so-secret lack of confidence in what was hastily botched together at the eleventh hour to trick gullible elements of the Scottish electorate into voting “no.” Or is there more to it? Was this the plan all along? To make the tories appear to be the enemy of the Scots, so that Labour, backed by the Daily Record, can claim to be the real champions of the Scottish cause? Scotland, do you really intend to swallow such crap? Again?

  43. Unfortunately Derek the BBC doesn’t have any reputation left to save. I will not be paying the TV Tax again even though I should live to be 100 years old and I doubt that will happen with the austerity axe that is going to fall on all our heads, Yes and No voters alike without discrimination. Now with Labour talking about raising the Pension Age to 70. how long before the Tories will follow in similar pronouncements as they fall over each other to garb the votes of the rich and the BBC softening everybody up for it in the process? The anti Independence bias of the BBC will take an even more dangerous turn as the electorate is softened up for the Brit Nat Parties in the run up to the Brit GE of 2015. I am beginning to feel a bit like Nostradamus.

  44. Derek

    I am alarmed to see how many commentators such as yourself appear to give so little weight to the unionist breach of the Edinburgh Agreement.

    Section 29 of the agreement is very clear: “Ministers and other public bodies refrain from publishing material that would have a bearing on the election”. The signed last-minute “pledge” signed by the UK’s PM and deputy-PM was a clear breach of that requirement.

    Where is the case being prepared for a judicial review of the referendum? Where are the SNP heads denouncing this breach of a core principle of the referendum?

    What is going on?

  45. Whaur’s yer Independence noo? Coming soon: tax cuts for high earners – I can earn £50k now before paying top rate tax. Because I deserve it!! Cuts for scroungers: claimants will have their benefits frozen, an effective cut after inflation. Because they deserve it!!

    I’m proud to be part of David Cameron and Ruthie’s UK!!

    (caution, the above comments may contain irony. If you or any of your family are affected by the above then vote SNP)

  46. Sorry, this post is longer than I anticipated. Thanks for reading it.

    Some people are commenting on the WM Government breaking the Edinburgh Agreement. They did not. the section 29 is carefully crafted and has to be understood literally. The “Vow” was NOT an offer by the Government, or government Ministers. but by leaders of three political parties. William Hague was quite clever to state in WM that the “Vow” was NOT Government Policy. He had to do so to ensure the Govt. remained within the letter of the Edinburgh Agreement. We may not like these people, but they are NOT stupid. There is NO chance of winning that argument and we need to look elsewhere.

    As for UDI, this is a non-starter fro reasons already stated. UDI will work ONLY if Scotland can guarantee the backing/recognition of at least 2/3 majority of the UN and the UNSC. I refer you to the case of Kosovo which declared UDI under completely different circumstances and is STILL not formally recognised by the UN. (It was used as a false example for Spain viz Scotland as the Kosovo situation is a reflection of Catalonia, whereas Scotland/UK is not).

    As far as I recall, the SNP have allays stated that their goal is Independence but they would never turn dow genuine powers for Scotland. Their negotiating position has to be focused around the “genuine” aspect of the proposed powers. They will have to start from the point of FFA/DM and somehow get that message out into the populace. Even the NO side (or at least some of them) voted that way on the back of Gordon Brown’s “close to federalism/Home rule” promise.

    The YES side also need to have it firmly planted in everyone’s head what this actually means. On radio or TV no one from YES should talk about DM without a definition. “We will look at Devo-max, which means all powers except Foreign Affairs and Defence”. This has to be hammered through on EVERY occasion. So when inevitably the offer falls far, far short, they can legitimately state, we are NOT being offered what was promised.

    Demographics are really against us for the next few years unless we can convince at least 50% of 65+ to vote YES, (there are almost one million of them based on 2011 census) it will be a near impossibility. Also interesting that the umber of Scots-born is falling as a percentage. Now down to 83%. It’s ironic that had the vote been based on ethnicity, YES might actually have won!

    Enough for now. Thanks for reading to all those who made it this far.

    • Read and thank you.
      Sense at last.

    • Do you not accept this proposition though: that though the government did not in fact break the Edinburgh Agreement (s. 29) by changing the terms of the ballot, the late intervention by political leaders, foremost of them Gordon Brown, muddied what it was that voters were being asked to vote on?

      That therefore, though most reasonable people do not challenge the figures (‘No’ won by a comfortable majority 400,000 votes) what the result means is not clear?

      • Fact is, Cameron, Clegg, Milliband, and latterly, Brown, acted ultra vires in order to influence the outcome of a democratic vote.

        That is what Derek is tilting at when he highlights how exactly The Vow came to be published in the DR.

        And how can the Prime Minister (he is a minister, after all; and Clegg is Deputy PM) be held to be separate from Her Majesties Government?

      • I accept that the NO side muddied the waters, but they did so secure in the knowledge that they were within the “letter of the EA” even if they clearly broke the spirit of the Agreement. But that’s tough, people. Maybe we should have been better at drafting the agreement. I hope THAT lesson is learned as we enter into what will be MINIMAL offers of powers.

        They did not change the terms of the ballot. It was not amended to “Should scotland have Devo-max, or Brown’s promise, or Labour’s Devo-nano”, it was only about Independence. The fact that people were alternatively scared, love-bombed, confused, lied to, misrepresented, propagandised, and misled were the tactics of the No campaign. We were not able to successfully counter these campaign tactics by our own campaign strategy. My concerns about how Blair Jenkins ran the campaign have been expressed elsewhere. Suffice to say I had “concerns” over his appointment from the beginning.

        We are were we are. If we fail to understand why we lost, we have no chance at moving onto a successful phase 2.

        Only if WM fail to deliver meaningful powers to Scotland can we make claims about the moral outcome of the referendum. That will only be clear as we enter into next year. Our positioning strategy HAS to be to cooperate with the new Devo-commission in good faith. But we MUST find ways to get our position and thinking and rationale out to the public. Adopting the failed media strategy that we used in the YES campaign will dimly lead to another disaster.

        • My concern is about how the No vote will be interpreted, and used politically and constututionally, in future years, given that these late interventions muddied what people were voting No for.

          I reject that it is a reliable indication of popular will as regards Scotland’s constitutional position within the UK when Devo Max or Home Rule are to all intents and purposes, domestically, ‘independence’.

          What the Yes vote meant is clear.

          But not what the No vote meant.

          • I agree. But we are where we are and it is from here that the next attempt has to be made. there is nothing to be gained by trying to reverse the referendum result. Doing so, then having a commission, or whatever declare that the referendum WAS conducted within the guidelines of the eA does not serve our campaign well at all, in my opinion.

    • Kosovo is not the only example. Rhodesia/Zimbabwe did a UDI as iirc did South Africa. They got recognition. Even if Zimbabwe is a pariah now it is still recognised.

      Also if an EU state does not recognise another EU state what then? I don’t see anything in the Treaties about suspending or kicking out any territory in the Union that goes UDI either. Kosovo was not and is not in the EU and blocking its accession is part of the reason for non recognition and half of that is religious bigotry as they are Moslems and there are fears it will create a precedent for Turkey. None of that applies to Scotland though Spain will cut up rough. Though in that time they will probably have been forced to allow Catalonia’s referendum by the ECHR.

      The reality is that realpolitiks always trumps these things. Scotland is too well developed, too integrated, too resource rich and too strategically significant to be allowed to languish there. Kosovo we absolutely are not.

      • UDI might be recognised in international law if it is a colonial situation and there has been oppression. We’re not oppressed, we’re just misgoverned. There is no generally recognised right of secession in international law outside of a colonial situation which does not apply to us. Nobody is being shot, tortured, or falsely imprisoned. We are just being ripped off, but our human rights are safe.


    Short video by Professor John Robertson on media bias in the referendum campaign.

  48. johnny come lately

    I wish people would stop putting forward home baked theories as to why folk voted no. It is like trying to find only one cause for all of the car crashes in Britain in a given year.
    People voted no for all manner of reasons. Fear, unionism, not caring about the society they live in, not liking change, fond memories, ignorance, f. u. Jack I’m ok etc.
    We are where we are, and all of the balls are in the air at the moment. Nobody, yes or no really got what they wanted or expected from the result.
    As for Brown, he is a creep and a perfect example of what is wrong with Britain and why Britain is where it is today. The man is simply deluded. The MSM with the BBC and DR at the forefront have some very serious issues to address.
    Why wasn’t there any basic journalistic questions asked of this so called vow i.e. How can a backbench MP of the opposition guarantee anything? How could the three unionist party leaders promise anything, which hadn’t been before parliament and hadn’t been costed?

  49. This is a good analysis and worth a read. It’s long, but a valuable contribution to what has to be our thinning for Phase 2

  50. I don’t dispute the figures. ‘No’ won by a comfortable 400,000 majority.

    But when Devo Max was latterly offered, informally, ultra vires, during the very last stages of the campaign period, sufficient to influence 25% of the No vote (500,000 votes) then how can we be sure that the result means that Scotland rejected independence?

    In that we accept that Devo Max is independence, excepting defence and foreign policy?

  51. I’m not minded to challenge the figures. But I am minded to clarify what the result does or does not mean as regards the constitutional relationship between Scotland and the UK by an Action of Declarator. This would not repeal the result. It would simply clarify it. Say what it was or wasn’t. A Declarator is essentially a defensive measure to arm you against potential future incursions on whatever you are trying to defend against. Here, my worry is that the No result could be read as popular agreement to the notion of the UK being a unitary state (as opposed to a composite or union state).

  52. Sorry, but is this it? More talking?

    Can’t we DO something, raise money, or something, anything more than meaningless discussions?

    If there’s a price increase in energy, an english government payment cap and a cold winter: people will die.

    Don’t worry though, we’re discussing legal points of order. As if a tory has even given anything away…

    • You misunderstand me, sorry.

      • Aye, I must misunderstand you, because I’m more concerned with making soup, lagging boilers and filling up drafts in wall so that old people don’t freeze. I don’t care who they voted for, or even if they voted.

        Words are becoming meaningless now. Let’s just leave the chattering classes to talk pish while us peasants clean up the mess and build the Scotland we want.

        • It takes everything, all approaches. I have lots if other ideas too including direct action for the kinds of practical programme you are arguing for. But if we succeed in building more of a will and consensus for independence through what people are going to suffer as a result of voting No, then they are going to throw the No vote back at us, that the people were asked, and they agreed they were British, and that Scotland is just a region of a unitary state. And that as we have agreed we are not a nation, we have no right of self-determination.

          • MBC – I really thought about deleting my ranty post, but I think I had to say it, and, thankfully I got the lucid reply I wasn’t graceful enough to offer to you.

            I agree that there are many paths to a better outcome and that’s why I’m going to try to keep the rantiness away – we’re grown ups here and shouting isn’t going to change the minds of the people we have still to win over. Some of whom might start reading new news sources as the future unfolds.

        • If it were only so easy, and that is the trouble. How do you continue to make soup with no money to buy the ingredients, how do you lag boilers when the money you need to buy the materials is being squandered elsewhere. Sorry but you are exactly what is wrong in Scotland, no understanding of what makes a country worthwhile to live in. Your bleeding precious pensioners would have had money to buy their own things, now they rely in charity of the use of their own money.
          Pity is if they had actually listened to those with their best interests at heart and not a load of chancers they would be looking forward to a bit more comfort. It is you who is talking pish.
          Rant over.

  53. Steve Asaneilean

    My head hurts because of all the hand wringing and the going round and round in circles.
    There was no mass conspiracy. The question was simple and straightforward and the answer was Yes or No. It doesn’t matter why 55% voted No. There’s no point in bemoaning the crapness of MSM and bias of the BBC. There’s no point in crying foul over lying deceiving politicians.
    What did we expect?
    If our argument wasn’t strong enough to overcome all that and convince the majority to vote Yes we can hardly blame the media and the politicians. For what ever reason the argument wasn’t strong enough and that is that.
    So let’s regroup and move on and work out where we go now. In the short term we should at least be pushing for full fiscal and legislative autonomy. How best to do that – that should be our focus now instead of reliving old battles

    • Steve, stop beating yourself up, the Media stole our victory. Most of those voting NO were uninterested in what they were voting that even if you had talked to them all personally they would not have listened. The mantra was, we haven’t got enough information, Short hand for we couldn’t give a toss. Well I hope they all get to feel the pain.

  54. Every day seems to bring a new confirmation of our disaster. Tories promise to slash taxes and benefits; now they’re ahead in the opinion polls. Tories to clamp down on civil liberties, now they promise to regard ECHR judgements as advisory. Press delirious. Tories complain that “Poll Tax Write-Off” is a “tax dodgers charter.” Remember Vodafone £6 billion tax dodge? – thanks Mr Hartnett. Remember on-going tax forgiveness for tax dodgers if they come clean? Starbucks anyone? Don’t forget your Amazon reviews on tax dodgers.

  55. Steve Asaneilean

    “As ye reap…”

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