Indyref2

As I was saying…there will be no second referendum without a material change in circumstance. One of the dismaying aspects of the referendum experience has been the blind eye turned to the democratic process by some Yes voters who have begun to sound like zealots rather than campaigners by refusing to come to terms with defeat and instead playing victim to British propaganda.

_77534431_alex_salmond_profile

Did Better Together lie and cheat? Yes. When the referendum was announced, it was clear that in a struggle for the survival of the British state virtually any device or stratagem would be deployed to get the result they wanted…short of selective assassination*. Every department of state was given instructions to produce reports damning the nationalist critique and, amazingly, they all did. Not one examined the evidence and concluded that independence might have benefits. This was an exercise in state propaganda. They utilised their cohorts in academia and industry to weigh in with unsubstantiated claims of contractual complexity and additional costs, some of which were embarrassing in their schoolboy naivety.

But this is a political campaign. Did we expect them to acknowledge Scotland would have been as rich as Switzerland if we hadn’t let them take our oil revenues? Did we expect them to concede the balance of payments would be unsustainable without our exports? (I myself suggested Cameron should have met with Salmond to thrash out a deal between the two before the process started but that would have required a maturity and vision lacking in the Prime Minister. He prefers to deal in war games and subterfuge).

Can anyone on either side be remotely surprised at the British approach? This is how every election I’ve ever known is run – with highly contentious claims and warnings and threats.

Did Yes play the same game? Well, not to the same degree clearly since a principled decision was taken by the board to play a positive tune and avoid the negative and discordant. There are many out there who believe this was a mistaken policy and that we sacrificed the chance of being independent today by playing nice when the waverers should have been reminded of the horrors of modern Britain – a system channelling money to the rich while child poverty increases; working families, some with more than one job, picking up benefits to make up a living wage; sanctioned claimants committing suicide; benefit levels so low the Council of Europe calls them illegal; a government working in Brussels to defend bankers bonuses while throwing out the ECHR; corrupt politicians paid by corporate interests while they sit as legislators; an economy built on unsustainable and mounting sovereign debt and a people borrowing to eat. But we didn’t do it. (To be fair, I did).

salmond_alex2a

On the other hand, there were somewhat extravagant claims by the SNP about how welcome we would be in Europe and how soundly that was based on legal advice. To many, the late claims that the NHS was threatened by a No vote were contrived and at the very least, overstated. An independent parliamentary report by SPICE contradicted the claim that free nursery care for all one to five year old would draw 104,000 women into work when there are only 64,000 mums of one to five year olds in the country and only 14,000 of them wanted to work. Is this designed to win over voters with assertion or do we take everything the SNP says as the truth? Elections are about winning and each side does what it thinks will achieve that.

It isn’t disloyal to the cause to concede defeat and regroup. But it is, in my view, disloyal to Scotland and to democracy to begin immediately arguing for a re-run. It implies No voting Scots don’t count as much as Yes do. It implies they were too thick to see through the lies (as we were smart enough to do) and that if we believe something, then all must agree. It suggests fanaticism and lack of compromise.

Turn it round and imagine if Yes had prevailed by one or two percentage points. Some of us actually postulated that in the event of a narrow win, forces in London would object and suggest there were flaws in the process, that Salmond had made claims to win over voters that were manifestly untrue. They would lodge a legal challenge, find lawyers to say a constitution can’t be changed on a simple majority etc.

These, I said, would be the dark forces of Britain, the non-democrats who can’t accept an outcome that doesn’t fit their world view and personal interests. And that would be right. Wouldn’t every Yes voter be outraged that after a prolonged and legally binding exercise, the validity of the result should be questioned by the losers? We would berate and deride them for their extremism. This isn’t an edifying place to be.

We are fortunate in having a second focus for our disappointment and rage – a full-blown British General Election in six months time which has the capacity to blast the tired Westminster boys’ club out of the water depending on the way the seats fall.

t100poll_salmond_alex

If other events unfold, an EU exit poll holds within it the key to another test of democratic will for Scots, both in our own Holyrood election in 2016 and in the Scottish Parliament’s own powers to consult through referendums. The issue has not died but is on life support and must be left in a darkened room meantime.

As Alex Salmond steps down today, we should remember that the party didn’t go down the route of change through threat or violence. Everything the SNP and Salmond has achieved has been through democratic mandate which is why they are held in high regard – and fear – in Westminster and why so many people felt at ease in rushing to join them. The defeat was as much a declaration of democracy as a victory would have been. The suggestion that it wasnae fair or we didna ken sullies the history and ethos of the SNP.

This is not over. It will, I believe, return because Britain will simply fail to deliver or understand. I will go to my grave believing in independence and I will also go to my grave as a democrat.

 

*This used to be the responsibility of the Home Office but is now outsourced to Serco.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

72 thoughts on “Indyref2

  1. Aren’t you labouring this point ower much Derek? I don’t hear any authoritative voices in the independence movement calling for an immediate re-run of the referendum.

    • Also my first thought – but part of the point is that the re-run ‘movement’ is a folk-movement, and dismissing it as such is also anti-democratic. I think we are in a process of re-learning democracy, so we ought to be having these conversations. I don’t think we need to be scared of them, because I think they have to happen: people do think/feel in this spectrum of ways when they really are engaged in democratic politics, rather than at best seeing voting as a box to tick every so often, then forget about it.

      There also needs to be more understanding that at a local level (as opposed to our regional ‘local’ level where results were reported) many people – myself included – *do* live in areas which voted Yes with significant majorities. Even at that regional level, 1 in 4 people live in Yes majority areas. Nationally, fewer than 1 in 2 people in the street voted No. These things – obviously – do not affect the result, but they do affect how people perceive the result and the aftermath. A truly representative media and political scene would discuss this – that’s not what we have, but it nevertheless needs to be discussed, for the health of our democracy.

  2. Well said, as was your article yesterday.

    I cannot see another referendum for a while, unless, for example, there are hundreds of thousand of citizens on the streets demanding one and something like 70% plus of citizens actively supporting one.

    The referendum is done.

    Anyway, in a democracy, the ballot box remains the only right and legal way to effect material social change. And via that box, that’s how Scotland will become independent (as far as it can in a world of interdependency). It is, thanks to the engagement of the people during the referendum campaign, inevitable.

  3. “Not one examined the evidence and concluded that independence might have benefits.”

    BBC included?

  4. Derek

    I think there is a high level of agreement amongst most contributors and you. The only point of contention seems to be whether we should talk about the second referendum. I think a majority accept that it is only through such an Indeyref2 that we will achieve independence. I think we should talk about it, but not as something that is going to happen in the immediate future, but as the ultimate means to achieve our goal. I and many others might hope that it will be as soon as 2017 when we are taken out of Europe, but who can say for sure when it will be? We just don’t know. But we can say that we believe that circumstances will, at some point, be right for another referendum. So I think that makes it OK to talk about it.

    • Exactly. I just spent two hours in a meeting brainstorming how to dislodge Mundell from his Westminster seat in the spring. We’re up for it and we’re going to give it our best shot. It’s the focus of all our plans and our actions at the moment.

      But can we not spare some thinking and dreaming time for wider aspirations? We all hope for another referendum, and surely we’re allowed to talk about it. We’re not at all sure when it’s going to be, but neither are we ruling anything out.

      Stuff nobody could have foreseen is happening right now, only two months on from the No vote. Nobody can forsee what’s going to happen over the next year or two. It’s perfectly rational to agree that there won’t be a second referendum until there is strong support for it, and for a Yes vote across the country, but at the same time to talk, hypothetically, about this actually happening in perhaps three to five years.

      Oh, and what Scot Goes Pop said, too.

  5. Good article. Important points that needed to be made.

  6. The ballot box may be interfered with as as well you know ,

  7. Sometimes things have a way of working out. Their actions pre and post vote will come back to haunt the unionist parties. They’ll deserve that haunting too. 🙂

    Also, Westminster simply can’t help being Westminster, they’ll provide those events you were talking about Derek never fear. In the meantime the rest of us simply have to make the best of the situation we find ourselves in. That means providing effective representation that puts the Scottish electorate’s interests first at Westminster, for however long the current situation lasts, and laying the groundwork for our new political landscape.

    Time to get busy.

  8. Heidstaethefire fire

    Richard is correct. We keep the idea of a second referendum alive, with the caveat when the people of Scotland want it. In the meantime we hammer away at the extra powers debate. This strategy benefits independence no matter how it goes. The more powers we gain, the less relevant Westminster/Whitehall wil be seen to be. If on the other hand the British establishment start to backslide, they will be making plain the nature of the U.K. state as it is constituted. The campaign outlined above also plays to the strengths of the movement as it is now, and leads naturally on to the Scottish elections the following year.
    We should realise, also, that referendum mk2 will not be the fun filled festival of democracy we just went through. We saw the panic in the establishment at the end of the last vote. They won’ be caught napping again – they have too much to lose. If you thought the dirty tricks campaign was bad the last time, wait till the next one. It will be a war of attrition. We need to be in a position of strength before the campaign. The strategy outlined above should build that strength

  9. Most of this is guff.

    “The issue has not died but is on life support and must be left in a darkened room meantime.”

    If that is referring to the threat of another Referendum then it is ridiculous. You appear to be reverting to the pre Referendum campaign Derek Bateman.

    No sensible person is advocating another referendum soon. But it must be made clear to the UK Government(s) that if the ‘VOW’ is not followed through…and England votes to leave the UK, then the conditions will have so materially altered that another Referendum must be considered.

    • Yes, spot on! It would be the case that England was voting to leave the UK if it turned out that only they voted to leave the EU.

  10. I agree Derek ‘ the dream of an Independent Scotland will never die ‘ but it has to be a democratic Independent Scotland.
    That said, all this democracy and more powers is still being structured in a top down way by Westminster( control, control, control) .
    The Smith Commission at the end of November then William Hague promised a vote ( on Evel) by the end of December if the major parties can’t agree, then Welsh SOS spoke the other day about the models of devolution and I believe that’s all to be clear as mud by March next year,honestly too bamboozled by it all to know what N Ireland’s view is.
    Maybe though we need to keep the prize of better democracy in our sights but get smarter in how we go about our business?
    One of the big ‘ difficulties’ is being fair to all the home nations but of course England is much bigger. Rather than play it Westminsters way ( big England v the rest of us) what if you had Westminster v a strong united ‘Celtic ‘ voice based on collective financial footing?
    Yes ‘we all pool and share’but to be treated as equal (recognised and respected due to what you bring to the table ) as well as having strength in numbers would perhaps readjust some of the ‘ difficulties’ Westminster has in devolving all these powers.
    Funny enough I have heard of a man , wee bit experience in banking, lots of experience in politics appears quite a determined character who would be ideal as a leading figure to represent the Celtic nations.

  11. Sorry, Derek. Totally disagree with your contention that the referendum had anything to do with democracy. As you concede, it was contaminated by the incessant lies and cheating of Better Together and the British state. As for democracy – what was democratic about it? The state broadcaster and almost the entire MSM acting as a propaganda machine for the state. Shades of Pravda and the old Soviet state broadcaster. Are you trying to claim that the USSR was a democracy? I hope not. This referendum was conducted as if it were being held in the former USSR and, as such, it had nothing to do with democracy. The sooner we have a rerun the better for Scotland and real democracy.

    • Totally agree Jim.

      There was nothing democratic about the whole thing.

      • The neo-Liberals don’t believe in democracy as it carries risk.
        Westminster believes only in winning.
        How could it be otherwise when Scotland is staving off English bankruptcy.
        The referendum was a mere cloak of democracy .
        Underneath, all the dirty tricks rendered it an unfair and indeed illegal contest.
        Soon however, we will be Independent.

  12. Like others here I think you might be over-egging the indyref2 theme. I’m not hearing loud calls for a fresh referendum from anywhere. Maybe it’s just the blogs and comments sections I read? I do read about folks wondering when the next indyref should be. Or might be. Or if this is the only route to indy. But that’s not the same thing as not recognising the result. But such speculation (for it is speculation) is a reflection of the fact that things are de facto in a state of considerable flux. So in that context it’s not idle to speculate, surely?

    What I do read of though is of the incredulity of the No side that their victory has not meant a return to the status quo ante (as we warned it wouldn’t). They are as gobsmacked as we are at the implosion of the Labour Party in Scotland, and the way the indy movement has only blossomed since September 18th. They never saw that coming. Neither, frankly, did we.

    Things are in a state of flux. Much is happenning below the surface that the mainstream politicians are just pushing aside. TTIP, fracking, NHS, EU.

    My feeling is that the No side needs time to reflect and take stock. From what I can make out of them, though gobsmacked that we haven’t gone meekly back into our box and the political landscape of Scotland is dissolving before their very eyes, they seem unable to take this information in and process it. They are fazed, still clinging to old certainties and hoping for a restoration of the ancien regime.

    My worry is that they will accept anything – any policy – tgat appears to shore up the old certainties of the two party power sustem; TTIP, fracking beneath our homes, corporate power muscling in to every pore of former civil society, just to see a semblance of normality.

    And that lack of insight or reflectiveness really worries me.

    • There are people across the Yes movement who do not accept the result because a) they say it was rigged and b) it is illegitimate because of the No campaign behaviour and media complicity. Some of my own respondents here agree and the fact Nicola clarifies her position is a reaction to this undercurrent. After the referendum a petition gained over 80,000 signatories demanding a re-run. Just as importantly, No voters (who will need to be won over) feel there is a denial of the result and that is damaging.

      • Well I don’t go with the immediate re-run idea because like you I think it is likely to backfire. We can’t assume the solidity of the 45%, (some were soft Yesses) and demanding an immediate re-run pisses off the No side (many of whom might have been reluctant Noes who may harden further against us when softly, softly would win them over). So a re-run could end in an even worse result. We did well to reach 45%, considering.

        I accept the result in the sense that I accept the figures. I also accept the result in the sense that you do, it was a political contest, they pitched their all against it, and so did we, but they were the stronger and they won. Nobody’s saying life is fair. This was a contest, a battle, handle it. ‘All’s fair in love and war’.

        But where I quibble, is in the claims the No side were making in the immediate aftermath as to what it all means. ‘Settled will’ was bandied about with complete confidence by the likes of Helen Liddle and others in the House of Lords debate on the referendum last month, but IMHO the will of the Scottish people is very far from settled, when half a million voters (according to Lord Ashcroft’s poll results – based on a sample of 2000) apparently only made their minds up in the last three weeks of the campaign. Many in the final week, when The Vow was grandly touted. That doesn’t sound like a very committed or clear decision to me, given the muddying of the waters. I think a lot of people were confused by the competing claims, terrified by the papers, and took what they thought was the safe option. I don’t think we can brand them traitors anymore than No can brand them committed unionists.

        So whilst I accept the result, I challenge its constitutional meaning and the grand claim that it means that the Scottish people have finally decided to cede their sovereignty in perpetuity to the UK state. It’s very far from meaning that. In that sense I agree with the indyref2 side that it is not constitutionally definitive, so there will be a time for testing opinion further. But right now would not be the time. Realistically, we needed a super-majority of above 60%. So I agree with Nicola that there will be another indyref ‘when the Scottish people are ready and ask for it’. I.e., when the Yes consensus has been built to a level likely to succeed.

      • I’ve fallen out with a bunch of people over on Wings for explaining why it is perfectly clear from the factual evidence in front of us that the voting papers were not tampered with. Some folk seem to have an irrational need to believe this, and to hell with the evidence. I agree it’s an extremely damaging mindset – not least because it leads its proponents to a belief that Scotland actually voted Yes, therefore we don’t need to do anything else but secure a fair vote.

        At the same time though, it’s ridiculous to pretend that the lies and the dirty tricks and the Shock and Awe should be ignored. That the final result is all that matters no matter how it was achieved. It can’t be nullified or overturned, but it can be put in context. I thought that was what broadcasters did?

        But mainly, as I said above, I do not see discussion of a second referendum as illegitimate. We can all agree that this won’t happen until there is strong demand for it, and a clear indication of a Yes majority. But we can’t put a timescale on this. It may be many years in the future, but it may not. What if someone had said, at five in the morning on 19th September, “we won’t be in a position to go for another referendum until the SNP has at least 100,000 paid-up members.” Nobody would have believed that might be Christmas.

      • Derek

        Denial works both ways. I am still getting over the result and while I don’t think it was fixed the actions of the Unionists should never be allowed to be forgotten as things tend to in this country due to the media moving on. When or if there is a second referendum is up to the people and I suspect it will come sooner than people think, not because YES voters are demanding on but because circumstances will ensure one will happen anyway. This country is on it’s knees and being kept afloat by illusion and debt, that can’t continue. The debt will result in a mighty crash and the illusion gets more and more dismantled every day when you see the rich pretending to be poor and the media giving it pages and pages of coverage and air time while a suicide victim due to benefit cuts gets demonised. We are going to see change along with a lot of pain but this Great Britain is dying every day, couldn’t come quick enough for myself, but it will come either way.

        Derek, you have been a joy during this debate, you have taught and informed. Don’t give up on the people whom you woke up, teach them, discuss with them, encourage them. We all want change, we can only get it if we stick and learn together.

        Bruce

  13. Sorry Derek it is a pity that the Beloved BBC and the media did not recognise the disservice they did to democracy, I feel very sad that the people of Scotland showed so little faith in themselves that they fell for the last vestiges of Empire. The cheating and downright lying that went on, the refusal to allow the other side a voice, none of this spoke to democracy for me.
    I would suggest joining the SNP where you will find angry people who are girding up their loins not to bomb the British Government into submission ( that is their style ) but are going to do their level best to finish the fight. I suggest Derek you decide which side you are on.
    No the Shortbread Tin will not be getting used any time soon, we are not disappearing or are we giving up the fight for our Independence, and if it upsets some, tough.

  14. Derek,
    I think the operative words are ‘…let them take our oil revenues..’
    The Scots did just that. They sat back for the last 40 years and allowed the folk who have just shafted them, again, to take our wealth and squander it, without even saving a penny for the future.
    I agree with you. It seems a bit hasty to be asking for a re-run so soon after the vote, but I am fed up listening to the likes of the Mail and the Express talking about ‘the settled will of the people.’ I have said here before, I think, that there is no such thing. People change their minds over time. That’s why we have elections, and I agree with the folk who are saying that Salmond’s greatest achievement is the large number of votes for Yes. It is a staggering achievement and we could never have believed it in the sixties and seventies, when I was being told ‘Naw hen, we cannae dae that’ by the brainwashed sycophants that just voted No.

    • Setting aside concerns about who got on the electoral register and the postal vote, and the actions of BBC Pravda etc, the vote for Independence was No. I think most people had moved on from it within a few days.

      The focus in the immediate future now must be on obtaining Devomax ‘A Modern Form of Home Rule’ as a The Gordosaur said. That means control of taxation. That is supported by at 70% of the people – it genuinely is the ‘Settled Will’. For now.

      Another Independence referendum just now would not result in a big enough win for Yes to do the job. 52% is not enough.

      We all know that Smith will not deliver what was promised but we need to aim to get as much out of it as possible. Devolution of even some taxes and some welfare will need institutions to manage these items.

      Above all we need to return as many pro-Scottish MP’s next May and again in 2016. Every unionist MP or MSP unseated is one less voice to speak against us.

      And as James Kelly has correctly observed a referendum for Home Rule would win a landslide

  15. With respect Derek I think you have misread the longterm female labour market participation rate objective. By matching the rate in Sweden this would bring 104,000 more women into the labour market. Childcare provision is one part of what needs to be a co-ordinated policy framework to improve access to the labour market for women. Increasing childcare provision is an important enabler and helps women return to work earlier to maintain career progress. It is not about how many mums there are at a particular point in time who have preschool age children. Enabling policies are designed to produce a longer term roll out. Helping women into the labour market, during 3- 5 child years in particular, cuts down the breaks in employment. They do not then give up work when the kid goes to school. We have a modest gain over the UK in the level of female labour market participation, but we are a long way behind other countries – Iceland, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Canada, Netherlands, Denmark etc

    The success in particularity the Nordic countries is due to high levels of policy co-ordination> The Uk actually spends quite a lot on childcare and preschool education but there is a distinct lack of connectivity with policy developed in isolated objectives. More information on this in the table on gender employment on page 7 of my submission to the Smith Commission. Also available at Business for Scotland http://www.businessforscotland.co.uk/submission-to-smith-commission-from-bfs-borders-group/#comments

    Yes we lost. We lost in 1979 when it was just about a very modest level of devolution.Our forefathers did not give up on electoral reform and our women never gave up on universal suffrage. I agree have a clear objective in the months to come to campaign for the maximum transfer of powers and make an impact at the general election in May. For now, we are back to working within the constraints of the British political system, but like you I am a democrat working towards the next opportunity for a democratic exit.

  16. After 300 plus years of propaganda, in only two years independence as a concept has been normailised. I totally understand why people are angry and upset at the behaviour of the British Nationalist Parties, from lies to breaking purdah (if Cameron, Clegg and co were speaking as party, not government, then how come they could promise to introduce a bill in Parliament to a timetable, something that requires government, not party power?)

    You are right that we expected that from the British State, but you are wrong to say that this is democracy. If this had been a referendum in a third world country, where the British State wanted the independence side to win, then the BBC would have been leading the charge of “unfair”, “distortion of democracy” and so on.

    In fact, the biggest threat to the British Nationalists was not even the loss of the oil revenues, but the fact that true democracy could have triumphed in Scotland despite the best efforts of the state to suppress it. As it is, people all over Europe are watching Scotland, not to mention those in England and Wales. The real threat to the establishment remains democracy, and that was not what happened on September 18, but what will happen in the future,

    Oh, and by the way, your statement:

    “To many, the late claims that the NHS was threatened by a No vote were contrived and at the very least, overstated.”

    demonstrates the power of the MSM to undermine even cogent, evidence based argument. You yourself have interviewed Dr. Philippa Whitford, I would challenge you to provide any basis that her points were either contrived or overstated, Indeed the Labour Party is now claiming that the NHS in England is threatened with privatisation, yet they attacked Philippa during the campaign.

    Clarity of thought and evidence-based argument are needed now more than ever, and if that means upsetting a few NO voters then so be it. For every one that is a died-in-the-wool British Nationalists, there are several who will look again at what is happening and think, “hang on, YES were right then and they are right now”.

  17. This is a reply to your “blue box” above.

    Just how many people ARE there “across the Yes movement” who do not accept the result? You quote that 80,000 signed a petition which claimed the Referendum result was illegitimate. But 80,000 is only 5% of all Yes voters and many of those would have signed just to keep the pressure on the Smith Committee even though they accept the result of the Referendum: I did.

    But 5% is hardly enough to get twisted knickers over and they do have a point because of the tactics of the NO campaign, BBC and rest of media during the Campaign. And because of those tactics there is little doubt that the NO result is tainted, even if not illegitimate.

    And frankly who cares about some NO voters whinging about the YESSERS not accepting the result. Most of the whiners are Labour Party supporters who want their despicable behaviour during the Referendum to be air brushed out of existence. Other NO voters, according to current polls, have come to see that a NO vote was a mistake. And many others are now adamant that they expect DevoMax as a quid pro quo for voting NO after the ‘VOW’.

    • So you’re not impressed with an SNP membership of 85,000 if 80,000 ‘is only five per cent’? To suggest people are only signing a petition as a tactic and don’t mean it because you don’t yourself is the kind of presumption I’m complaining about. If you ‘don’t care about some No voters whinging’, you have little interest in winning any future referendum because without them there is no victory. I am trying to think tactically and democratically despite sharing your root feelings of hurt after the vote. We are now in a long game (which may be curtailed sooner depending) and the undercurrent of doubt about the result simply prolongs that.

  18. Only the Tories,and denizens of the Home Counties, assume that the UK, as it is at present, will continue as it has. Everybody else can see huge political and social problems, and great uncertainty. The consensus for the status quo has broken down, and there is no universal sense of loyalty and deference to rule by London, and no sign that that can ever be re-established.

    I reckon we just need to keep pushing and independence will fall into our lap. We don’t need to talk about the timing of a second referendum: if we just harry and hassle Westminster into more ineptitude and obvious inadequacy, we’ll get to the point where the Scottish electorate are clamouring for it. We shouldn’t think of five years, ten years or whatever: things can change very quickly and unexpectedly when factors fall into place. For instance, did we think, before the Referendum, that there would be quite a such a massive surge of support in the wake of the defeat, that we would getting these poll ratings?

  19. I am not a lawyer but I have often wondered about pursuing an Action of Declarator at the Court of Session as regards the indyref result, especially if the result of the Smith Commission does not deliver on the issue of the permanence and inviolability of the Scottish Parliament, and if this might not be a better tactic for the 80,000 who signed the petition Derek mentions demanding a re-run to pursue because they thought the process was flawed.

    Declarators seem to be judgements, statements about the meaning of something, and are defensive rather than proactive measures. You get the Court to give a judgement, to decide narrowly on the meaning of something, or its scope and definition, in order to head off a party that you think will use a loose and ambiguous set of circumstances legally against you in future.

    In this case the worry would be that the No side will interpret the No result to have had a sweeping binding constitutional meaning that cannot reasonably be claimed given the wide nature of the question and the campaign’s ambiguous circumstances and especially its breach of the all-important purdah period when postal voting had already begun.

    It’s the Unionist claim that the No result represents the ‘settled will’ of the Scottish people that needs to be challenged as well as the implied claim that this can be construed as agreeing to ceding the sovereignty of Scotland in perpetuity to the UK.

    I don’t think that such specific claims can be concluded from the indyref. But that’s what some Unionists are claiming. And I fear that such claims could become more vocal.

  20. Definitely worth pointing out the weaknesses in the YES campaign’s case. Lessons to be learned. But in no way can these be used as some kind kind of balance to the bias of the BBC and the Print Media. I think any reasonable, mature person would accept that the sheer relentlessness of the propaganda served up, particularly in the 2 months prior to 18 Sept, must have influenced many voters. I certainly know many, many people whose “research” went no deeper than watching the BBC News and/or reading “popular” newspapers.

    • Derek – I understand what you are saying. We yes voters have to come to terms with the defeat, and as you know that’s difficult. But it’s also difficult to respect the views of the silent majority no voters – the ones who said they were confused,worried, thinking it through or the ones who said nothing, or even lied because somehow their beliefs were not good enough to voice! But now we have to respect their fear/inferiorism/grudging dislike of their fellow citizens. My no friends – the ones that have come out to me – roll thier eyes whenever the referendum is mentioned. I’m proud of my decision and all the yes voters. I’m not going to be silenced – however uncomfortable it makes them feel. And I guess you’re the same.

  21. “refusing to come to terms with defeat” and refusing to come to terms with being cheated are two entirely different things.

    But clearly you are on some sort of mission. Good luck with that.

  22. The referendum started out as a straight choice between the status quo and independence and as far as Westminster was concerned,a matter entirely for Scots alone to decide (that was when they thought a No vote was in the bag).
    However….when it became clear to Westminster that a Yes outcome was likely,they decided to change the parameters by interfering and promising Home rule as an alternative to independence.
    The democratic vote then became a choice between those two options.
    Scots,for now have decided that home rule is preferable to independence but when Westminster fails to deliver,which is inevitable,Scots will conclude that they have broken their contract with us and will have to re-evaluate the situation.
    Having a large block of SCOTTISH MPs at Westminster next year will help to remind them that a vow and promises were made and have to be honoured….or else!

  23. People are only beginning to sound like “zealots” because the referendum was such a travesty of Unionist cheating, lying and propaganda that we can’t even be confident that the actual result was a “No” vote. A lot of people can feel it in their water that there was something very odd indeed about the voting patterns. And in any case we decide how to react to events, Derek, not you. So people can and should continue to feel any way they want about the referendum.

    • Alex, it’s only a blog so its a personal view you can take or leave. I don’t make policy or opinion for anybody else. But I don’t know anyone who is worried about voting patterns being odd or who isn’t sure about the No vote. No one. Not Alex Salmond or Nicola. Not nationalists or Yes staff or SNP employees. Not gutted Nats. No one. Remember, it was run by Scottish officials with Scottish counters and adjudicators who are mostly Scottish local government staff. It is time to accept what happened or we end up like Labour – living in denial and unable to move on. Derek

      • I choose to “leave” your comment, thanks.
        And just because you “don’t know anyone” who is worried about voting patterns or are suspicious of the no vote doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of people who are worried.
        We don’t all live in “Bateman World”. Please stop assuming I or anyone else doesn’t “accept” the result. We are adults. We have accepted the result and “moved on” and we aren’t “living in denial”. You’re not at the BBC any more Derek but you’re still showing some of the classic symptoms of the people who work there. They seem to believe that since they are the gatekeepers of the information many people base their reality on, they get to decide what that reality is. They don’t, and neither do you.

    • The actual hard numbers, hard evidence, demonstrate that the voting papers were not tampered with. No matter what people claim to “feel in their waters”. Further evidence (opinion polls) since the referendum has also supported that conclusion.

      Nobody has been able to describe any possible way a Yes majority could have been turned into a 400,000-vote lead for No, in the light of the evidence we have available. (All suggested methods would either have been detectable after the event, or would have changed far too few votes to make a difference. Or were simply impossible.)

      For God’s sake, we need to focus on how to persuade these 400,000 people to change their minds within our lifetimes (preferably within Derek’s lifetime), not on intangible feelings that nobody needs to be persuaded.

      • You’re making a whole load of assumptions about why I or anyone else believes the result to be doubtful and not one of them applies in my case. So “for God’s sake” stop assuming you can read people’s minds. And stop dismissing people’s intuitive reactions as if they don’t count. They do count. Your opinion that the count was valid is just that and carries no more weight than any opinion to the contrary. You can’t guarantee the result we were given is the correct one any more than anyone else.

        • If you don’t believe the ballot papers were tampered with after the votes were cast, then you’re not one of the people I was talking about. If you do, then yes, you need more than an intuitive feeling. You need a plausible mechanism, and you need some evidence that it actually happened. Neither have been proposed, by anyone.

          It’s not a question of my “guaranteeing” anything, and it’s rather manipulative to put it that way. It’s a question of looking for that plausible mechanism for tampering, and that actual evidence that it happened, and coming up a blank.

          Now if you have information either suggesting a means by which it could have been done or evidence that this actually happened, I’d be interested to hear about it. If not, you’re living in a fantasy land, not reality.

  24. A reply to the second blue box above

    Of course I am impressed with the 85,000 SNP membership which has come about by people joining the SNP since the Referendum. But that figure should be compared with the 20,000 or so people who were SNP members before the Referendum NOT with the 80,000 disgruntled voters out of 1.6 m total YES voters who signed the petition. And in my opinion many of those who signed did so as a tactic to keep pressure on the originators of the VOW and the Smith Commission. You are entitled to think what YOU like about that. And if I am making many presumptions about what has been going on since the Referendum so too are you.

    And for you to state “if you don’t care about some No voters whinging’, you have little interest in winning any future referendum” is a non sequitor. Of course I care, but a future Referendum will have new sets of YES and NO voters together with a different political status quo, new ideas and information. And many people will no doubt have changed sides before then.

    I said most of the NO people doing the whingeing now are disgruntled LABOUR supporters who are dismayed at how it has all turned out for them. And I for one want to continue to keep the pressure on Labour and the other Westminster parties so that we obtain maximumn benefit out of the Smith Commission. And hopefully many more SNP MPs at Westminster working for Scotland as opposed to Labour MPs working for English Labour and themselves. To that end the more talk of early Referendums the better.

    • Hi.One last go. ‘many people will no doubt have changed sides before then’. Why would they? Would you change your mind if your opponent remained a die hard and claimed you cheated him? The circumstances must change and that is certainly possible, as I said, but we must also win over the No’s by making it easy for them to cross over. I don’t see that in your analysis. The trouble with the idea of Unionists being worried by the threat of a referendum is that we’ve just had one. Its currency is temporarily diminished. There is no tolerance either in the UK or abroad for another go. We look like bad losers and, worse, fanatics. Constant talk of referendums is counter productive and notably is not SNP, Greens or Yes Alliance policy. It’s back in the locker for long-term deployment. Anyway thats what i think. Derek

  25. One last go here then as you don’t seem to be reading what I have been saying although I thought I had made it clear.

    I accepted the Referendum result, albeit grudgingly, and I don’t believe there will be another Referendum within the next five years. By that time things will have changed, and maybe we will obtain an acceptable devo settlement which will make a Referendum unnecessary for a long time.

    Meanwhile we must keep pressure on Westminster to try and ensure that that happens. And the best means of doing so is to try to maintain the current momentum with increased membership of the SNP and more seats at Westminster after GE2015; AND making clear the view that if the Devo settlement does not match realistic expectations and/or the EU exit vote is NO in Scotland and YES in England then another Referendum will be sought.

    And by their recent utterances that is the view of most of the organisations which supported YES, including the SNP and Nicola Sturgess. And as recent polls show that 67% of Scots support DevoMax, it would appear that most of the country would support that view as well.

    • James. You started a row about nothing again. Look at the original text, third last para, it says exactly what you have just written. The conditions may well come about for indyref2. Meantime we need to be honourable in defeat and try to win over No folk who are repelled by constant threats of another referendum. Yet you dismissed that as guff which is where we came in.

  26. I think we need a little clarity going forward and that is what Derek has been arguing for. We need to work IN THE LONGTERM towards a clear majority for independence whenever that opportunity should arise. Independence was about responsibility. Scotland taking control and being responsible for the decisions it made. That is why the Smith Commission is important. The Unionist argument, if they have one, does point to Scotland being responsible for raising the money it spends. That is what would have happened with independence and that was the implication behind the ‘Vow’. We will get more powers playing to the recognised majority view on Scotland controlling more, preferably all taxation, deciding own own economic objectives and controlling all welfare. This is what we need to get behind, whether Smith backs it or not.

    Our immediate objective is to ensure the biggest shake up of UK politics in a century by working for change in May next year. Despite surprising and very welcome polls, that is a big challenge and getting down to how it can be implemented, as Morag is doing, is the way forward.

    A clear majority of the electorate are in support of a significant transfer of powers and we need to get behind them and campaign for their delivery. This is the only game in town and we need to play it for all it is worth. Ballot box rigging, UDI, mysterious emergence of uncounted ballot papers are all dead end pursuits and the real conspiracy theory here is these are more likely planted stories and planted ‘evidence’ to lead disappointed activists astray and into unproductive directions.

  27. Many of us are referring to Democracy on these blogs as the way we want our Country to be managed (by the people).

    Is there any chance of some of you good people influencing Ms Sturgeon and her Party to change their name to the Scottish Democracy/Democratic Party – despite possible association with that other Party in the USA – in order that our detractors will have to find some other way to insult Scottish Independence aspirations by making fascist references about us?

  28. You know, I thought that too. About the weird videos showing bugger-all that were claimed to show vote tampering, and a known FOTL hoaxer suddenly appearing with probably-photocopied “ballot papers”. Also an American conspiracy nut showing up this side of the pond and addressing the Hope Over Fear rally brandishing these papers. Smelled very much like a deliberate attempt to suck devastated Yes activists into a damaging and futile conspiracy mindset.

    The funny thing is, people who favour conspiracy theories go ape if you even suggest that one. That they themselves may have fallen victim to a conspiracy hoax perpetrated by an unfriendly agency. That couldn’t happen, oh nope.

    • Like you I was at the polling and counting stations as an observer.

      I do believe the FB stories were just that – stories.

      However I disagree with you that it would be impossible to rig the vote.
      The British establishment has been in charge for 100s of years, sometimes of many countries.
      They are more than capable of fixing a vote but the point is we will never be able to prove anything.

      The most likely way would have been with the postal vote where most experts have concluded that it would be ridiculously easy for fraud to occur.

      So I don’t think you should be so dismissive of people who fell ‘in their waters’ than something was wrong.

      Where I do agree with you is that there is no point in thinking about it as it is a distraction, we have to move on and try to be more professional next time.

      Where I think the Yes campaign was a massive success was in achieving 1 million + signatures before the referendum as that proved there were at lest that number willing to vote Yes.

      I do also think you do yourself no favours by referring to people you disagree with as ‘nutters’

      • I didn’t refer to “people I disagree with” as nutters, I called Naomi Woolf a conspiracy nut. I imagine she’s used to it.

        The postal vote has been discussed to death elsewhere, and while everyone acknowledges that there would inevitably have been some low-level fiddling – there always is – the cold hard figures prove that the result was not altered by anything that happened with the postal votes. There simply were not enough of them.

        It’s also not “ridiculously easy” to manipulate the postal vote. It’s virtually impossible, after the votes have been posted. The system is far too well scrutinised for that. What is possible is fraudulent registration (which is often associated with postal voting but need not be, it’s a separate issue), but as I said the figures show that this couldn’t have happened to an extent that altered the outcome.

        It’s very easy to parrot soundbites about the establishment being “more than capable” of doing something, but this is empty rhetoric if you can’t explain what was done by whom and where and when, and what evidence you have that it even might have happened, never mind that it did happen.

        Tampering with ballots already cast is extraordinaily difficult in the British system. Doing it wholesale, at the level of hundreds of thousands of votes, without leaving any evidence that is has been done at all, is simply impossible. The British state knows this. That’s why they relied on other means to get the result they wanted.

        • I’m afraid you and I will just have to disagree on this one Morag.
          I do think it would be very easy to replace whole boxes of votes after the event.

          Who was observing where the boxes were stored?

          I know there is no proof which is why I have said, there is no point in pursuing it.

          You are talking about an establishment that were more than happy to enter into an illegal war and kill 100,000s of people and cover up that illegality with several ‘enquiries’.

          • You think it would be very easy, but you don’t explain how. How many boxes, who would have done it, where would this have happened, who would have had to have been threatened and/or bribed (van drivers and so on) and things like that. Bear in mind nearly half the people running the nuts and bolts of the referendum were Yes voters.

            Also whether the risk of the substitute papers not having the same ID numbers as the ones recorded as being put in the box was worth taking. The numbers aren’t usually checked but then again they might be, Ten of them were checked in Glasgow and these weren’t tampered with.

            These things get harder and harder to envisage the more you leave the vague handwaving and look at the practicalities. You can disagree all you like, but that doesn’t change the facts or the evidence.

            And then again, what about all the post-referendum opinion polls where people were asked how they actually voted in the referendum? Not one has turned up a Yes majority.

            It doesn’t matter how evil the establishment is. I have my own thoughts on the lengths it went to. However, even the most evil organisation imaginable can’t do the impossible. Personally, I think they went for the possible, and they did it a lot earlier than September.

          • Morag as I said you believe what you want about this and I will disagree with you.

            I hate to post a link to the DM but fraud on an ‘industrial scale’ is possible with postal voting.

            http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2578776/Scrap-postal-votes-elections-fixed-says-judge-warns-ballot-rigging-probability-parts-Britain.html

            I know you feel very keenly that you have to deny the possibility of this occurring.

            I am saying that it would not be beyond the establishment to arrange replacement ballot boxes for postal votes.

            But I will not respond to you on this again.

          • Yes, I know the judge said that. The circumstances were a council by-election, not a country-wide referendum. And the perpetrators were caught, easily.

            You can believe what you like, but the experience of the polling agents who attended the postal vote openings are against you. Many of the council officials who carried out these tasks were also Yes voters and had their eyes peeled.

            More than that, the arithmetic proves it didn’t happen. There is a post on Lawyers for Yes that explains this quite clearly and in great detail, with numbers. Have you read it?

            You are entitled to your own beliefs, but when the facts prove you wrong, that’s all they are – beliefs. Feelings, hunches, gut instincts. I’m just sad that you can’t put these feelings aside for long enough to examine the evidence dispassionately.

  29. Westminster made their play with The Vow. Now they are in a fix on how to reconcile the “promises” of the Vow with the Smith Commission recommendations, and the expectations of the Scots public.Should the Smith commission proposals fall far short how will those who voted No react? The extraordinary rise in SNP membership is arguably the response of Yes voters to the referendum result. A weak set of proposals from the Smith Common. and a second surge in SNP membership may result.

    My gut feeling developed, as the referendum canvassing progressed, is that there exists a core 25% No vote. There is no reason that the 45% Yes vote would diminish,thus Wedtminster must ensure that the 30% of the electorate who voted No will be satisfied Westminster’s Smith proposals. And I doubt it.

    Settled will – is just a catchy phrase that Donald Dewar pronounced with gravitas.
    You lost – may apply to a sporting contest,or a war, but not to curtailment of the democratic wishes of a nation.

    • That concurs with my canvassing experience too. There is a good 25% of the vote that is totally opposed to Scottish independence and cannot be convinced of it whatever the arguments are now or at any time in the near future. Whether this cohort is self-replicating, I don’t know. Some elements of it are. These are presumably the 16-18% who are Tories who feel British rather than Scottish. Also (I hate to raise this) 3/4 of the 400,000 + English-born who feel ‘British’ rather than Scottish who supposedly voted No, albeit that many others of this group voted Yes. But there is also a native non-Tory, Scots-born, contingent, that feels British not Scottish, perhaps linked to the Orange Order and Rangers, or perhaps linked to Marxist international socialism, who are never going to support independence either. I suppose with this cohort all we can do is to reassure that an independent Scotland is for everyone and would treat all its citizens equally regardless of their voting preferences. I think stressing our commitment to liberal democracy is what is worrying Derek at the moment as regards this die-hard group and those amongst the Yessers who are unable to accept the No vote to the point of demanding a re-run.

  30. Derek Bateman

    “You started a row about nothing again.”

    I didn’t start “a row”. You did, because in my original very short reply to your blog I described it as “mostly guff” which I maintain it is. And the views I have expressed along with many others here are not “nothing”. They are very important. Your blog is read by many people and if your views are wrong headed they need to be argued against.

    Yes your original text “third last para” says something along the lines I have been arguing but the mewling stuff before it contradicts those views and is the guff I was talking about.

    And you keep going on about NO people being repelled by constant threats of another referendum without any evidence for such a wide ranging statement. As I have said repeatedly above most of the LOUD ex NO voters complaining about YES exuberance post Indy are Labour activists and their media supporters who would dearly love YES voices to disappear and leave the field clear for Labour at GE2015. That is not going to happen.

    And in the event of another Referendum I am sure the YES strategy will be different so as to make a better case to the undecided voters of that time. The current died in the wool NO lot are irrelevant to that.

  31. It’s interesting to read No blogs, like WakeUpScotland, or, increasingly, the Scottish Review, to get inside the heads of No voters. There’s a thoughtful article in SR by Jean Barr which is interesting to deconstruct.

    http://www.scottishreview.net/JeanBarr188.shtml

    She complains of the continuing strength and resurgence of the Yes movement as ‘leaving us in limbo’ (as if we haven’t been in limbo for the past 307 years) and also says her main reason for having voted No was that the White Paper didn’t stack up. Very sensible, stolid response from Middle Scotland, Jean.

    I doubt very much whether she actually read Scotland’s Future, which she describes as a ‘wee word’. But there is much else which is honest, intelligent, and reflective. She admits the No campaign was intellectually flimsy. And that Yes was vibrant and imaginative and that Salmond’s strategy that a two year campaign would prove cathartic was in the end, correct. She admits she never doubted that No would win until the last two weeks of the campaign when the wider Yes movement (not the SNP’s white paper) seemed to come out of nowhere to surge forward. This would appear to be the moment when she gave the Yes movement and its case some serious attention and discoveredd blogs like Bella Caledonia.

    But what’s currently worrying her is something that attracts, perplexes, and repels, all at the same time, and that is not the 80,000 die-hards that think the referendum was rigged and refuse to accept the democratic result, but the gentler, more diverse, and vibrant Yes movement which accepts the result but is quietly reconstructing the Left in Scotland, but (alas!) not along traditional class lines.

    In other words, what worries her most is not the anti-democrats who demand that everybody thinks like them, but the democrats who are coming up with different ideas, experimenting, reaching out and engaging with sections of society, the young, and the forgotten, that traditional parties have been unable to reach. This worries her, but it also attracts and fascinates. And she’s not the first to say this.

    Last night at my community council meeting our No voting Lib Dem chair was very complimentary about how the referendum had engaged so many young people, but why did they not come to community councils? Well, the simple answer is that community councils have no powers whatsoever, and were invented in 1975 as a sop to the demise of local government in the reorganisation that removed a whole swathe of civic Scotland, whereas the referendum was about delivering more power to Scotland and imagining a different future.

    He needed to join up the dots… but at least he smelled the smell of freedom and renewal. As does Professor Barr.

    And he kind of liked it.

  32. At the age of sixty three, after the inevitable sadness of September 19th, I feel quite calm and optimistic about our situation.
    Was the referendum stolen from us ?
    All of the evidence that I can access suggests that ‘amateur’ thieves from the No campaign couldn’t have done it on a sufficient scale to put us under by 400,000 votes without being caught.

    If it was stolen then it was done by a major ‘black state’ operation which, if it existed at all, we might never know about and are unlikely to be able to do anything about barring a very lucky break – so I say, keep your ears open but otherwise ignore the possibility.

    So, why did we lose ?
    There are two obvious answers:
    * the virtually unanimous unionist stand of the media, including the BBC and the propaganda tsunami generated by them;
    * the reactionary role of the Labour Party.

    I think that the huge majority of us agree on this and that’s why we have not been defeated. We know that our campaign left theirs for dead !

    What do we do about our setback ?
    Acknowledge that the democratic route is the only one that we can sensibly follow. To put it bluntly UDI, in any form, is absurd as the Unionists have state power, we do not, and they would smash us if they had to to block that route. Other non democratic routes are even more unrealistic.

    So, we ‘feel’ our way forward attacking the Labour Party (and others) electorally and through other campaigns that challenge aspects of the neoliberal ideology that has forced us to live in a vicious, grasping society, led by self serving warmongers, that works only for a minority.

    We also have to take on the much more difficult task of challenging the Unionist media via licence fees, boycotts and critiques of papers like the Record, Scotsman etc. that will,hopefully, help them ‘over the edge’. Work towards a bigger, alternative set of news outlets than we already have thanks to our truly heroic bloggers.

    Build the pro indy parties and the YES movement – or whatever it becomes.

    Of course we should mention occasionally another referendum: it is our only way, but not as an immediate target, and certainly not in a time frame. It will come, with help from us all, when it is ready – we can’t know when.

    None of this is original or earth shaking. But it seems to me to provide a clear and understandable enough way forward that offers the possibility of making gains while keeping all or most of us together.

    Let’s just get on with it and not vex ourselves with potentially destructive internal divisions that won’t take us anywhere positive !

    • Serious question. If there was really a Yes majority in Scotland on the 18th, why is that not reflected in a single opinion poll where “how did you vote in the independence referendum” has been asked?

      Yes was always behind, right until the last two weeks. The unionists simply didn’t believe that could ever change, because they thought they had done enough. Exactly what they did may be a subject for another day, but I have my thoughts and I’m not the only one.

      None of them anticipated that last-minute surge until it happened. Then they panicked. Project Fear was ramped up to Project Shock and Awe and Project Abject Terror. Then the confused and apprehensive were offered the Vow as a wee sweetener to give in to the fear. The opinion polls fell back again.

      It worked.

  33. clashcity rocker

    MBC – very good insights there.

  34. Derek, I normally vigorously agree with you, but I have to disagree on this part:

    “It isn’t disloyal to the cause to concede defeat and regroup. But it is, in my view, disloyal to Scotland and to democracy to begin immediately arguing for a re-run. It implies No voting Scots don’t count as much as Yes do. It implies they were too thick to see through the lies (as we were smart enough to do) and that if we believe something, then all must agree. It suggests fanaticism and lack of compromise.”

    It isn’t about being thick or smart, to me – it’s about being right. Stephen Hawkings was one of the celebrities who signed the “Stay With Us” letter from English celebrities: does that make him stupid? No, it just makes him incorrect. Same with all the professors, doctors and intellectuals who supported or campaigned for No: they’re obviously extremely intelligent, but in this particular area, they are wrong. Very intelligent people can be wrong, just as less intelligent people can be right.

    I frankly don’t think you can equivocate the SNP’s claims to that of Better Together’s, even for the sake of argument. Even considering the highly arguable claim that they overplayed the “welcoming EU” card (what, you think the EU wouldn’t fall over themselves to ingratiate themselves with the country with 60% of their oil?), does this truly compare to when GOSH, NHSBO, Tesco and others came out to directly and unambiguously refute Better Together’s statements? Or when the EU Commission came out and publically disavowed themselves from Barroso’s rantings about Kosovo?

    Yet in the end, I naturally agree with you. The SNP have long stated that the mandate of the people of Scotland is all that matters to achieve independence: not a majority of SNP MPs at Westminster, as was previous policy, but the will of the people. We didn’t get enough convinced to do the job on the 18th of September this year, but that’s no reason to stop – especially when we came so close this time.

    We don’t have to push for another referendum openly – we just have to keep convincing people that independence is the right way for the future, without putting them under pressure with a date. When we return to 1990s levels of support for independence in the public, then surely a referendum will be but a formality.

  35. […] purposes,” then how can you not say the referendum was rigged? Derek Bateman quite rightly points out that this is something which has affected just about every election he’s ever experienced […]

  36. Here’s something we can all do together and make sure our elected MSP’s take on as well.

    We use all the powers that we have to create a country that is so different from the one Westminster is intent on. There will be limitations because of financial constraints and reserved powers.

    What is the society that we would like to live in and hand over to our children.

    How do we go about this? Find like minded people and network ideas and strategies.

    Simple things like, say cycle to work Mondays or maybe public transport Mondays for non cycling people.
    What will this achieve?
    Who knows…fitter people, a sense of participating, a cleaner environment. Some may carry on to daily cycling and regular public transport useage creating jobs for bus drivers, mechanics

    Support your local independent cafes, shops suppliers. That way we may have high streets that don’t look like the rest of each other and the big multi nationals who make millions will lose their power over us.

    This is OUR country and we can shape it the way we want and with a strong supportive Scottish government anything is possible.

    I know this maybe very naive, however the optimism of the YESSERS has made all futures possible and if it annoys the corporate powers of Westminster ….well

  37. Derek, over what time period was the 104,000 calculated? Because young women mature and have babies all the time you know so we are not talking about a static population. Just a thought.

  38. Morag: Gordon Brown has his place in history, better him than me to have his recorded.

    He set up the Wild West Banking culture in Westminster. Then he popped up to intervene in the referendum, scaring “blue rinses” over state pensions, and his “last minute” Vow via the Daily Record. Where is he now? In a monk’s cell doing penitence? He is a disgrace.

    Off topic. how is Floors O’ the Forest coming along, I haven’t teased you for some time over music. I squeak with the fiddle with through Floors O’ the Forest . Always too sharp.My nature probably.

    • I played it over a couple of times on Remembrance Sunday. The pipe version that is. I can do the Skene manuscript version very easily of course.

      I just bought a baroque flute, which is a whole other can of worms. One marvels not that it is done well, but merely that it is done at all. And in a mad “last of the big spenders” splurge I also bought a decent concert flute after way too long struggling on my old beginner’s flute and believing it was my own fault it sounded terrible. Now I have the problem that’s like trying to pick something up you think is very heavy and only realise too late it’s as light as a feather. A bit of recalibration needed.

      I need people to play with. Thinking of contacting some mates so we can torture the atmospheric vibrations together.

  39. In order to have a democracy, you must have a free press, freedom of speech, free and fair access to the media. In the UK we are completely devoid of free and fair access. We do not have a functioning democracy. And that’s without going into the electoral system, the party system, MPs freedom to lie and deceive without any redress on the part of the electorate. But it does focus on the responsibility of 4th Estate to hold the powerful to account, which they spectacularly fail to do.
    The Ofcom consultation paper of 2010 produced figures showing that 73% in the UK get their news from television, of which 70% get it from the BBC. (pp 29/30)
    http://tinyurl.com/on483cg
    Therefore, any talk of “that’s democracy – get used to it” misses the point. We don’t have a functioning democracy. We live in an “oligarchy”.
    Rectifying the democratic deficit is well worth working for. Since we are in a “negotiating” phase, why remove any of our cards from the table? The ability to hold any number of referendums is the democratic right of the Scottish people whenever a majority decide that it would be useful.
    Some thoughts on how to deal with the overwhelming power of the MSM in the meantime would be welcome.

  40. […] off more than we can chew. “We need to reflect on why we lost the last one.” “We have to take it slowly.” “We have to be cautious.” “We can’t risk everything on what will […]

Leave a Reply