Double O Crivvens

So, Mr Kelly. You think you can stop my plan for total domination? How foolish of you. Let me explain my entire strategy before I kill you. (It will also help the audience get to grips with this bloody awful script.)

What follows will look like a stitch-up between me in my underground laser centre in Maryhill and James Kelly’s buried rocket silo at Scot Goes Pop in Cumbernauld. It will appear to be a joint effort to create controversy to generate traffic to our sites and at the same time, publicise Phantom Power’s Altered State documentaries, part three of which has been released. But don’t be fooled. This is war.

First you really should view the doc. It’s here…

And this is James’ review and counter argument to my contribution.

My argument is pragmatic. It is that before you try to repeat a major democratic event like a referendum on the constitution of the country you must first accept the original result for what it is – a decisive outcome that voters were told, and most understood to be, the ultimate word on the matter. Not final. But the one and only direct vote on the issue in 300 years and one that was signalled by both sides as deciding the matter for a generation. These are of course loose terms open to interpretation but I doubt if any but the most committed Nationalists think a break of two to five years is a reasonable interregnum before having another go. Would it have been reasonable for a voter to have said to himself: Ach, I’ll vote No because there’ll be another chance in a couple of years?

Altering the constitution and creating a new state in Scotland, not to mention the effect on the remaining UK, is a seismic event, more than a General Election and not a reversible option. Scots believed they were settling this question in 2014 and the continual talk of a re-run since is, in my view, an affront to every single voter and to the democratic process. It sounds like we’re not accepting the outcome, as if it were a temporary blip and we’ll get it right next time. Just give us a second chance. Yet the people – the Scottish nation – have spoken and they said No. Hinting that if they stop and think for a minute, they’ll come round, is an implied insult to their intelligence. It also appears to take democracy for granted – a deeply unattractive trait in a political movement.

Part of the case against me is that SNP support won’t always be this high and the chance should be seized before it declines. Even if a second vote is lost, it makes no difference if you’re only going to wait and wait until support drain away in any case. There would be merit in this argument were it ten years hence but coming only 14 months after the last vote, it sounds desperate and lacking in belief. Think of it this way. If we have to rush into a referendum to catch the voters before they lose faith, is that the ideal situation in which to gain independence? Imagine sneaking a win by one per cent just before the polls turn against the SNP and then trying to run a new country against an increasingly hostile public mood. I believe independence needs every single Scot – OK, maybe not Brian Wilson – on board whether they are Yes or No, to strive to make it a success. There will no room for slackers, for wait-and-see laggards backing a concerted rearguard action by angry Unionists seeking legal impediments or votes to re-run the referendum (using the Yes argument that they didn’t get the result they wanted so it was fair to try a year later.) How would Westminster reluctance to agree a deal work when they knew public feeling was starting to run against the SNP? The disaggregation talks would take place against this background of a diminishing SNP mandate.

Of course, it might be a resounding success and give oxygen to the SNP as well. It might. It is just as likely to piss off a whole swathe of voters who had enough after two and a half years of acrimony and personal division leading up to September 2014 and who can’t stand the thought of going through it all again. Indeed, opinion polls giving a narrow lead to Yes today are surely academic in that there is no campaign in existence. Would they hold up once the event was afoot? Didn’t we learn exactly that last time – that a daily array of bankers, employers, bosses, generals, diplomats and celebrities warning of grave consequences gradually encroaches on the fears of the middle aged professionals with pensions, mortgages, loans, growing children, cars and plans? Think they couldn’t be scared again?

And make no mistake, a second failure is the end. The dream will go on but the movement will be castrated. The lesson we learn from the Scots and the rise of the SNP is that the Scots won’t be rushed. We didn’t deliver in 79 and we failed again in 2014. Yet people have backed the SNP gradualism and are inching, according to the demographics, in one direction. In fact, the age profile of the committed Nationalist today is another reason to believe that independence is a prize to be taken by the next generation.

It is perfectly possible that a major change in our affairs would be enough to trigger a second vote. It’s just that danger lurks here too because people are grasping at anything in the belief it paves the way. Whatever the percentage divide between Scots and English on an EU referendum, it is a leap of faith to think it will translate into a Yes vote to come out of the UK and stay in the EU. We may say we prefer to stay in – and the polling clearly shows that – but does that mean we love Europe so much we would end the Union? Will Scots eagerly embrace open borders and, in today’s circumstances, the immigration that brings? Will they happily put euros in their pocket? Will they really ponder the enormous upheaval of extricating themselves from the UK when England will be subject to different trading conditions outwith the EU? Perhaps. I know I would. But most voters aren’t like me.

We are not held hostage to a previous decision of the referendum. It’s just that continually challenging the people’s decisions leads to electoral anarchy. People have to have faith in the system which they don’t if there is no stability.

What remains true is that our future is in our own hands. If enough Scots demand change, they cannot be denied. But they don’t. They vote SNP for many reasons and it’s clear that for some removing the risk of independence encourages their vote. And it’s an overstatement to say that because something is in the manifesto – like a referendum – it must be delivered. It puts a moral but not an absolute obligation on them to do so.

The time may be coming soon when the patience with Whitehall evaporates and the people, as opposed to the SNP, demand change. At the moment, the dynamic is reversed – the momentum comes from the party and the people are led by them. For the foreseeable future, that means to me that independence is parked. But if the Scots decide in enough numbers that they must have independence, then so be it. And a referendum will be the least of it.

That’s my case. Do participate. And remember, if you succeed in arguing for an early referendum and it’s lost – I’m coming looking for you and I’ve got your address.

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83 thoughts on “Double O Crivvens

  1. 😀 LOL

    Then you’ll have read G.M. Kemp’s article in today’s National Derek?

    I agree with you to a certain extent. Despite the fact that HMG and BT drove a bus through the process and pulled every dirty, vile stroke they could. At the end of the day people could choose to believe one side or t’other. We believe they chose not just poorly, but catastrophically. Regardless it was the choice of the majority and that’s that. Do we lie down and accept twenty or more years of gradualism in the teeth of what’s occurring now?

    No we don’t have to do that, even if that is what occurs. We act and work as if the right conditions may suddenly appear tomorrow IMO.

    Time, opportunity, NEED and events are funny things. They don’t adhere to a script or a formula, they just happen and you make the best of the opportunity as it arises.

    I agree that now is not the time. We’ve been through a process and those who voted no need to see how their decision pans out. Its for them to decide whether their choice was the right one and after the past year’s events? Well I think a new process will already be underway in their minds, but the decision to change their vote is ultimately theirs to make. We can’t move forward without them and they can’t change the past. They only need to know we’ll be here waiting for them with an open hand.

    I also think Paul Kavanagh nails it when he says we go when we can win. As to when that could be? There isn’t a soul on the planet could tell you. There are only theories, educated guesses and for us, hope. A hope that it will be sooner rather than later.

    Personally I happen to agree with Mr Kemp, but that’s another one of those theory things and the future is a fickle thing. 🙂

  2. Bang on. I admire James Kelly, he does the engine room work, crunching the numbers and exposing the underlying narrative, and he does it with a deal of wit to boot, top man, but we must take the path less travelled. To go round again on the old ground so soon after defeat, will only piss people off. Get the arguments right, get the currency question sorted and take the time to learn from OUR mistakes, we made plenty. Terrible though it is to admit it, the situation in the UK ain’t getting better any time soon, so let the growing discontent marinate until the bitter taste left by Westminster incompetence and duplicity is so rank that only the die-hard could truly stomach it. There is no revival coming in Labour fortunes, the PLP and the Corbynistas are set at DEFCON 3, Syria and Trident will probably knock them over the top. SLAB are just woeful, there is no internecine warfare there because few of them are bright enough to spell it, never mind engage in it. They will lose badly in 2016 and be bad losers from then on in. Kez Dugdale and Jackie Baillie are the gifts that keep on giving.

    • One mistake we made I think was not getting our vote out. We got 97% registration but iirc only 84% voted. Where was everyone else?

      I volunteered on the morning of the 18th to help get the vote out here in Dundee. A carload of five of us were sent to a leafy suburb filled with big detached houses with long drives and 2,3 even 4 cars in the drive. The service buttons on multis operate until 12noon. We should have been in the schemes knocking on the doors of flats that were 10feet apart. Except the SNP were running the program and they didn’t canvas those places, RIC did. Back then the SNP were still a middle class party.

      We don’t just need folk chapping flat doors, we need vehicles driving around with signs and loudhailers all through the day in those areas. Do it smart, collect people’s numbers and text them en mass on referendum day.

      All that effort to register folk then we left them to get themselves to the polls. We might not have won but it would have been a lot closer. Dundee would have been north of 60%, not the 57% we got.

  3. Steve Asaneilean

    As Maxart and JT say.

    The Union will self-destruct eventually. We go for Indyref 2 when we know can win and win well.

    A 1% victory would, in my view, undermine the likelihood of stability and success . I think we need to have something like 75% in favour so that the decision is overwhelming and cannot be argued against from any democratic stance.

    Scotland can and will become independent only when the vast majority of its citizens wish it to be so. Independence on the basis of anything less risks failure and tearing the country apart.

    But I believe in 10 years we will have that overwhelming majority.

    In the meantime Scottish Government needs to demonstrate good governance and needs to show how well we can do even with one hand tied behind our back and how much more we could do if unshackled.

    And as citizens we need to create now the blue print of the country we wish to become. We need to be marching, protesting and campaigning on issues like poverty, inequality, land access, the environment, access to health care and education, affordable housing, living wages, nuclear disarmament, etc.

    So be brave, be patient, be strong. If our cause is true and just and right we will win out in the end.

    We are witnessing the last vestiges of British imperialism and like all empires – Egyptian, Greek, Persian, Roman, Spanish, French, Russian, whatever – it will come to a natural end.

  4. Sorry Derek but you are known to manage expectations a little too pessimistically e.g you were speaking only the week before the general election of 30+ SNP MPs being both unlikely and seismic.

    We need to press on. My kids will be leaving school in 2026. I expect us to be a stable, functioning democracy comfortable in its own skin by then and will do everything I can to ensure it.

  5. We go when we win is sound thinking.

    That said, letting the effects of that No vote bite while we wait for the mood to change is severely distressing. No compassionate person can look at what’s happening and not be affected by it. I think that in part, those who clamour for another go at Indy are driven by a refusal to let our poorest suffer while we wait. There is only so much Holyrood can do in easing the pain, and it hurts to see people suffer. Isn’t it human nature to try to prevent those we care about being harmed?

    That’s the position we’re in. Knowing that we have to have the majority of the country on side, yet knowing that while we wait, people are being driven mercilessly into the ground, children are suffering, those least able to climb out of the rubble of austerity and poverty are taking their own lives. It’s a horrible position to be in.

  6. There is so much wrong with this article it’s hard to know where to start. I’ll settle for taking a few of the more questionable assertions and significant fallacies, which are,

    (1) That the first independence referendum was legitimate as vote on the constitutional question.

    (2) That having that referendum in any way constrained or limited the right of self-determination.

    (3) That the Yes argument is that they didn’t get the result they wanted so it was fair to try a year later.

    (4) That the momentum for a second referendum is coming from the SNP.

    While Derek Bateman is perfectly correct when he says that we must accept the verdict of the first referendum, there is, at the very least, grounds to challenge the claim that it was a clear verdict on the constitutional question. One of the problems with referendums is that it is never possible to be sure that everybody is voting on the question being asked. We know. for example, that many British Labour loyalists saw the referendum as a party political contest with the hated SNP, and voted on that basis. That DOESN’T mean their votes can be discounted. There is no space on the ballot paper for people to explain their choice. No elector ever has to justify their vote. But accepting the primacy of voters doesn’t mean we can’t question the arguments that informed their decision. In fact, it would be rather strange if we didn’t.

    There was little or no discussion of the constitutional question during the referendum campaign. The entire debate was hi-jacked by the British establishment and turned into an economic argument. In part this was because the anti-independence campaign desperately wanted to avoid a constitutional debate that they could not win. That debate would have boiled down to a choice between popular sovereignty and parliamentary sovereignty. The No campaign would have been in the position of having to defend the structures of power, privilege, and patronage which serve the ruling elites of the British state to the general detriment of the people and democracy. That is not a product that anybody would want to try and sell.

    Mainly, however, the referendum debate was turned into a tawdry exercise in cost/benefit analysis for the simple reason that economic data is almost infinitely malleable. Like scripture, it can be selectively used to serve any argument.

    Without casting any aspersions on voters, we can observe that, due to the way in which the debate was conducted, many were inevitably making a choice, not between the two constitutional option which hardly got a mention, but between two stories about Scotland’s economy. Furthermore, we know that one of those stories was a litany of lies, distortions, smears and often plainly ludicrous scare stories. It wasn’t called Project Fear for no reason.

    For both those reasons – that the debate was about the economy and not the constitution, and that one side of that debate was appallingly dishonest – we are entitled to at least wonder whether the result represented an informed choice by voters.

    The right of self-determination is vested in the people, not politicians. Those politicians may talk all they want about a referendum settling the matter for a generation, their utterances can never have more than the status of personal opinion. The right of the people to demand a referendum can never be constrained by the pronouncements of mere politicians. On September 14 2014 precisely NOBODY voted to relinquish or suspend their right of self-determination.

    And precisely NOBODY on the Yes side has argued that “they didn’t get the result they wanted so it was fair to try a year later”. We can dismiss the bit about “a year later” as Derek Bateman getting a bit carried away with his rhetoric.But the suggestion that the argument for another referendum is so trivial is hardly less silly. Rather than get into the detail of the arguments for a second vote I shall simply point out that they are exactly the same as the arguments for the first one.

    But suppose we pretend for a moment that this part of Mr Bateman’s case is not as silly as it evidently is. Let’s suppose that his representation of the Yes side’s argument for another referendum is just as shallow and insubstantial as he claims. That argument would derive from the fact that democracy is a process, not an event. It would be an argument in favour of allowing the democratic process to continue. Contrast that with the actual argument put forward by the No side, which is that the democratic process should be stopped at the point where they have the result that they want.

    I know which of these I prefer as more in keeping with the principles of democracy. I suspect that, when it is put to him in these terms, Derek Bateman will share my preference.

    Which brings us to the assertion that the momentum for a second referendum is coming from the SNP and not the people of Scotland. This one had me really puzzled as it is such an uncharacteristic misreading of the situation. It is more akin to the kind of “analysis” I would expect from Magnus Gardham or Simon Johnson. It is almost an inversion of truth.

    The reality is that Nicola Sturgeon and the rest of the SNP leadership have been at considerable pains to avoid being at the forefront of demands for a second referendum. They have been heavily criticised in certain quarters for their public lack of enthusiasm for another vote. Sturgeon has been very explicit about the need for the momentum to come from the people of Scotland. In her speech to the party conference a few weeks ago she made it clear that the ball was now in our court. That she was waiting for orders from the people of Scotland before proceeding.

    With all due respect to Derek Bateman – and that is a considerable amount of respect – arguing that the issue of a second referendum should be set aside for the tine being, or put on the back-burner, is rather naive. We didn’t get the first referendum by patiently biding our time. It took decades of campaigning to bring us to the position where we could have our say. The British establishment, we should recall, were vehemently opposed to this exercise in democracy. They are just as bitterly opposed to a further exercise in democracy. They will put a huge effort into preventing it. Right now, they are frantically seeking ways to implement a legal bar on further constitutional referendums.

    We have to continue to demand another referendum if only as a way of asserting our right of self-determination. Nobody is talking about a hasty referendum. That would be impossible anyway. By my estimation, the earliest feasible date would be late 2018. A full four years after the first referendum. With the damage that, day by day, is being done to Scotland’s economy and its institutions (much of it malicious) it can easily be argued that we cannot afford to delay. We have to keep the pressure on.

    • Spot on Peter. Saved my the time writing a response. Well said!

      • I was thinking that as I wrote. I said to myself, “This’ll be a wee help to Bill.” 😉

      • I think it comes down to how fair you think the referendum was. I know that many of us on the YES side who were involved in the arguements and were online for the alternative views find it very hard to call that referendum a fair contest. We believe that the win for NO was gained from lies, deceit, breaking purdah rules and a very unbalanced big business and media perspective. Getting to 45% was a major achievement considering that well into 2014 opinion polls were still showing YES not much above 30%.

        On the NO side many will tell you that the better together campaign was a disgrace but they will also let you know that they saw through that campaign and their vote was going to be NO long before McDougal, Darling, etc, had even left the starting grid. Their NO votes were cast taking account of factors other than the economic arguments. They would tell you that Alex Salmond was an untrustworthy politician with an over sized ego but then they’d also agree with you if you pointed out that the NO campaign was being run by a bunch of equally untrustworthy politicians. The results in Scotland from the 2015 general election suggest to me that a large minority of NO voters are happy to vote for SNP politicians and see them win the seats and stand up for Scotland but they are still not supportive of independence and a referendum today would see them voting NO again.

        My thoughts on all of this are quite fluid. I don’t deny I’m still grieving from and angry at the referendum result but I’m also beginning to wonder if many YES voters are stuck and held back with the idea that we need to have a rerun of more or less the same contest at a near future time more favourable to YES. If the next referendum is going to have the same legal and procedural status as 2014 then we need the UK government and parliament to co-operate. Getting that cooperation in a few years time is not going to be easy and getting it done quickly enough to appropriately seize the moment when YES are riding high??? Come on, what planet are we living on?

        There must be another way. I don’t know what it is and I don’t think Derek Bateman knows either but it is a big and important question and it needs to be asked and considered.

        MAYBE we should start taking to the streets every Monday evening just like they did across East Germany building up the people’s, grass roots, momentum until it reached critical mass and brought down the Berlin Wall.

        MAYBE we should build the new media that has already rooted itself in Scotland to the point where it becomes the mainstream or becomes indiscernible from the mainstream in terms of its power, influence and status.

        MAYBE we should reach out, find, cultivate and embrace the support for our YES cause that lies beyond our own border. Particularly lets do this in England because we have already won over some English people and a few English celebrities. Should we ask ourselves why the one and only issue that unites virtually all MPs elected to represent constituencies in England is opposition to Scottish independence. Really, why is that? Can we challenge that view and get some of them on our side?

        MAYBE we should try and get more focused on trying to turn the current DevoMess that is being created into a workable form of DevoMax. Keep the nukes, keep the foreign policy, keep the defence but try and get to the point where we can close the food banks because we do have control of our economy?

        Anybody got any other MAYBE suggestions?

    • This is exactly where the movement goes wrong…the referendum wasny fair, we wuz robbed. In other words, the Scots were too stupid to get the point even after two and a half years of intensive campaigning. You still think they were thick enough to be duped by transparent politicians and a lying media. Except of course you weren’t. I’m never sure what part of the People Have Spoken that you don’t understand. You can’t brush aside a referendum result as if was yesterday’s news. Have you wondered why Nicola is so hesitant?
      I don’t say the referendum constitutionally constrained our rights. It didn’t. But as I DO say, you will find that in reality it kind of does because the Scots themselves won’t wear a second referendum without bloody good reason. You forget not everyone is as deeply committed as you are. Therefore the options are effectively constrained by the will of the people which good enough for me.
      It is clearly stated near the end that the issue is in the hands of the people not the politicians and, whatever you and other nationalists like to think about public opinion, the truth is that there is no wider spontaneous demand for a second referendum. Your deep desire or mine doesn’t make it so. That’s the bit that’s called democracy. The underlying reason Yes failed is that the people aren’t ‘ready’. If they were, they would lead this campaign but they don’t. It is the SNP that is out in front whatever reluctance you currently see. Most independence movements are people-led. Ours isn’t.
      ‘arguing that the issue of a second referendum should be set aside for the tine being, or put on the back-burner, is rather naive. We didn’t get the first referendum by patiently biding our time. It took decades of campaigning to bring us to the position where we could have our say.’ This is a contradiction in terms. We got the referendum by being patient and determined and not doing what Margo and Jim wanted and rushing the fences. Decades of campaigning and biding our time are the same thing – working patiently for the chance to strike. The trouble with your up-and-at-em charge of the light brigade is that it commands no respect either in London and other capitals where we need friends or at least respect, or among the uncommitted Scots voters we need to win over. Even some Nationalists will baulk at a suicide mission which threatens to leave us marooned like the Quebec movement. My argument is that you can’t simply treat a referendum on the constitution as a toy of the opinion polls, an occasional joust when the chance looks good. It will come again and possibly soon but the likes of you and me shouldn’t hold our breath. Our children may inherit the birthright.

      • The “wasny fair, we wuz robbed” misrepresentation of my views on the first referendum is a crude enough caricature to need no further comment from me. I very clearly state that the result must be accepted. It suits you to pretend that I said exactly the opposite. Ho-hum!

        As to the rest, it seems to be an argument about an entirely false dichotomy between doing nothing at all and doing everything all at once and right now. Doing nothing is not an option, however ardently inaction may be commended by some. And your portrayal of the alternative as an “up-and-at-em charge of the light brigade” is yet another clumsy straw man. While the idea that the Yes campaign wasn’t people-led is just weird. It was remarkable precisely because of the extent to which it was an all too rare example of mass political engagement.

        Presumably, you have resorted to these caricatures and straw men because you have some difficulty disputing my actual arguments. Which are that a No vote was sold on an entirely false prospectus which, despite your insistence to the contrary, self-evidently was accepted by a substantial part of the electorate. Even now, for example, there are people who continue to believe that a Yes vote would have meant an end to their state pension, despite this lie having been comprehensively rebutted.

        Nowhere have I suggested the kind of “up-and-at-em charge of the light brigade” approach that you attribute to me. I simply point out that our right of self-determination has to be defended against the machinations of a British establishment determined to protect the status quo. And that the best way to do that is to keep the issue of a second referendum alive whilst continuing try and to win over those “uncommitted Scots”.

        For all you rail against this approach, or your distorted interpretation of it, it is difficult to see what the alternative is. Should we studiously avoid any mention of another referendum so that the British establishment can get on about its business of denying our right of self-determination without the inconvenience of public attention?

        Should we remain silent on the subject of independence in the hope that those “uncommitted Scots” will absorb the arguments for independence by osmosis?

        As far as I can make out, what you and others of like mind seem to be suggesting is that we continue to aspire to the restoration of Scotland’s rightful constitutional status, but that we shouldn’t actually do anything about it. Or, at least, nothing that anybody might mistake for active campaigning.

        • Respecting the voice of the people isn’t some cowardly act. It’s the very basis of any settlement we reach. Constantly campaigning despite the peoples’ verdict is spitting in their eye. On your logic, London should immediately demand a second go if a referendum is won by Yes. What would you say then?
          The ground campaign doesn’t stop, it never has. It just doesn’t need to be a constant whine about Give Us Another Go, Mister. It requires a degree of patience and nuance that I don’t detect in your Wha’s Like Us diatribe.
          If I was a questioning voter, I’d run a mile from your unconditional, unswerving self belief that there is only one way.
          In fact, were I Unionist, I’d be willing you on to your own destruction. Luckily, we have experience and wisdom in the Nationalist leadership that recognises the dangers and refuses to jump start a potentially doomed plan.
          We got here by playing the long game. Just because you’ve tasted blood doesn’t justify ignoring that history and claiming an imminent victory based on little more than Aye, it’ll be fine.
          I clearly say it’s in the hands of the people and if you can show me consistent evidence that they demand a second referendum soon, I’m with you. But we both know that’s a pipe dream. if all you do is demand something people don’t want, you exhaust everyone. And ultimately, you play the Unionists’ game for them.

          • I am genuinely at a loss to understand where all this “Wha’s like us” drivel is coming form. I can only suppose that you are guilty of some creative reading.

            The bit about London demanding a second go if there was a Yes vote is particularly odd. What does it have to do with London? Only the people of Scotland have the right to demand a referendum on the constitutional status of their nation.

            Assuming that you intended to ask about my attitude to unionists in Scotland seeking a referendum to reverse a Yes vote, my attitude would be totally relaxed. That’s because I’ve actually thought about what they would be campaigning for. They would be asking the people of an independent country to vote to remove powers from the the parliament that they elect and give those powers to what is effectively the parliament of a foreign country over which they have no meaningful influence.

            Good luck with that!

            Nobody other than the most mindless British nationalist fanatic would vote to join the political union that we are in now. Unionist would be very, very unlikely to gain enough support for the question even to be put to the people.

            I’m not sure what you mean by “unconditional, unswerving self belief that there is only one way”. Perhaps it is your rather hysterical way of referring to my acknowledgement of the fact that another referendum would be required in order to secure independence. And, incidentally, that a majority SNP government is required in order to secure that referendum.

            You seem to be suggesting that there is another way. Assuming you are not thinking in terms of UDI, I’d be interested to hear your ideas on what that alternative route to independence might be.

            You say that “the ground campaign doesn’t stop”. Which is precisely what I am saying. The difference seeing that you seem to want a “ground campaign” which doesn’t attract any attention, while I wouldn’t call that a campaign at all.

            At best, you appear to want an independence campaign that avoids any mention of a referendum. Given that independence will require a referendum, it is difficult to see how it might be possible to talk about independence without also talking about a referendum. Even if that was possible, wouldn’t it be dishonest?

            You say that “say it’s in the hands of the people” and ask for “consistent evidence that they demand a second referendum”. Again, you are disputing me while agreeing with what I say. Where we part company is that I recognise support for another referendum will have to be won with dedicated campaigning. I accept that people will have to be persuaded of the need for both independence and, rather obviously, the referendum that will secure it. Meanwhile, you seem to be content to hope that it will arise spontaneously. Now THAT’s a “pipe-dream”.

            The stuff about “playing the Unionists’ game” is unworthy of you. It’s no more than a crude cudgel with which to bludgeon into retreat those who decline to unquestioningly accept your views. You’re surely better than that.

          • Sorry for constantly misunderstanding your point, Peter. Perhaps it’s because it is constantly moving. You’re reinterpreting what I say and I clearly don’t get your argument. Tell you what, you bang on for a quick second referendum and see what happens. If you persuade Nicola, I’ll eat my hat.

          • Define “quick”. Or “soon”. Or “early”. These are all so vague as to be meaningless. Ten years from now, you could still be warning people against a “quick” second referendum. Until you define your terms, you’re not really saying anything.

            I, on the other hand, have been quite explicit so as to avoid the misunderstanding that you seem determined to achieve regardless. I don’t use mealy-mouthed terms such as “quick”, “soon, or “early”. I come right out and say that the earliest possible date for a second referendum is late 2018. I note that you make no attempt to dispute that. I further suggest tat we treat that as a target date in order that we might have a focused campaign.

            I still have no idea what it is that you are proposing. Not due to any misunderstanding, but because you have made no concrete suggestions. Your entire argument seems to amount to no more than objecting to every suggestion of any kind of positive action on the grounds that we can’t have certainty of a kind which simply doesn’t exist.

  7. “The time may be coming soon when the patience with Whitehall evaporates”

    For God’s sake, how much more crap do we have to take from Westminster’s scorched earth policy before we march ?

  8. Only a complete idiot would go for a second referendum without the certainty of a victory. However, will there ever be certainty?

    If we are taken out of the EU, then that will add support for Independence, whether that is enough or not remains to be seen to get to the kind of figure you need in order to contemplate calling a second Referendum.

    If the Torys win the 2020 general election? I believe there would be a clamour for a 2nd referendum.

    What we, that support Independence have to be very careful of though is that quite simply that the future is uncertain. Looks likely that SNP will comfortably win a majority in Holyrood next year and so would have a mandate for a 2nd Ref if included in their manifesto.

    What no one can have any idea about is how the Tory austerity program affects Scotland and if the Scotland Bill results in the SNP being between a rock and a hard place and how that may work out.

    I’ll leave predicting of the future to the Mystic Megs and simply say that the SNP as the only route to Independence must always leave the door open for a 2nd referendum at a time of their choosing, this means stating that clearly in their manifesto for 2016 and onwards.

  9. I’m interested in the idea of the division of Yes and No voters as if that is the most damaging thing happening.
    The division between Scotland and England is much bigger. A poll found that 70% would have gone for Independence if the conditions had been right. The believed in Independence.
    The politics of Scotland is 75% Left 25% right. In England it is 50/50, though often swinging more to the right.
    Many who voted No thought there would be much more control for Scotland in Scotland. Not to be.

    Can the vague hope that UK Labour will somehow do it right really be more convincing while watching the sickening sight of the smirking faces of Cameron and Osbourne as they pour contempt on the voters and people of Scotland?

  10. The fact that many ‘NO’ voters still don’t openly say what they voted in indyref tells a story, to me, that many are thinking twice, Do you honestly think there would’ve been a NO win if the indyref took place after the tories got re-elected? Derek is half right, no 2nd indyref tomorrow but after 5 more years of austerity I think so. The indyref2 sooner rather than later. For disabled people like myself and other vunerable people it’s not just democracy we’re worried about it’s our well being and health that’s at stake. I can’t afford to wait 20 years for social justice. Rant over, carry on chaps. Kinnock was right to paraphrase ‘don’t be sick, don’t get ill and don’t get old and don’t be young’

  11. To be honest I don’t know what I think about the timing of independence referendum number 2. I would even go as far as to say I’m not totally convinced that the referendum road is the only road to independence. I think the yes campaign was against the odds, I think we were finding our social media presence and we were fighting an establishment of old media, politics and influence that wields power way out of proportion to its flimsy, dodgy and often unsubstantiated analysis and lack of common sense and still harks backwards to Britannia ruling the waves.

    David Cameron’s luck in the referenedum was managing to leave out the devo max question. I’m not sure he’s really happy with the aftermath but Salmondella and other Nat baiting stuff will probably keep them happy in the Shires for a while even if Scotland becomes totally unmanageable.

    In my opinion one of the most important things to recognise when we are discussing independence referendum 2 is that we only got independence referendum 1 support from a UK government because that government held the strong view that yes could not win it. Another referendum that has the agreement of the UK government and passage of the appropriate legislation through Westminster is is probably a very long way off. If we really want independence referendum 2 sooner rather than later then we need to start discussing how Scotland can go it alone to set it all up because there will be no help from south of the border.

  12. Many No voters were quite comfortable with the current constitutional arrangements and never engaged in the debate for independence.
    The economic arguments deployed by BT simply reinforced their beliefs that England subsidised Scotland and that we were really too small,too poor etc etc.
    How much longer those beliefs will be retained when they see day after day our elected representatives in London being ignored and brushed aside by a majority of English MPs is a good question.
    Perhaps at some point democracy (or rather the lack of it) may influence No voters but that will take time to filter through.
    I am not saying that No voters are thick but it takes time for the significant change in belief required for independence to take root as mainstream thinking.
    It will all depend on how incompetent England’s Tory government turns to be.
    They have made a very good start.

  13. Hardly “a suicide mission” nor an “up-and-at-em charge of the light brigade [sic]”, although the Blair Jenkins style of wannabe hyperbole – were he ever capable of such pseudo-poetic flights – is noted.

    And well noted, indeed, for the historical record.

    More ex-BBC commentator still stuck in the groove of gate-keeper as to what does or does not constitute the legitimate sovereign will of the Scottish citizenry and their right to assert it at the moment of their choosing: The ScotGov only being lent the right and incumbent duty to facilitate this expression of the democratic and sovereign will of its citizens as to when and how their sovereign will is expressed (WM, the jiggery-pokery of the original Union “treaty” and assorted apologists for the current status quo be damned in the face of this unfettered, sovereign will de facto and de jure re-asserted as a consequence of this popular sovereign re-assertion of the collective will of the Scottish populace).

    Debate crucial towards an informed decision on constitutional matters of such magnitude.


    However, the informed and educated will of the people of Scotland reigns primary over all other vested interests (including the chatteratti’s).

  14. Sorry Derek, I’m with James on this one.

    You say: “At the moment, the dynamic is reversed – the momentum comes from the party and the people are led by them.”

    I’m not sure that’s correct. If anything the pressure and heat from new members and from pro-indy websites is growing at a time when you might think it would be a cooling. Westminster unionists and the unionist media are acting as expected: with ignorance and arrogance towards the people of Scotland. Only the most committed BritNat can be blind to that. Jings! even the unionist Press and Journal today has a headline crying “Betrayal!” at the Westminster government’s axing of the energy fund.

    As someone above has already said, today’s National article by G M Kemp sums it up perfectly – in my opinion.

  15. Derek, I have had fairly heated debates with James Kelly on Scot Goes Pop over the timing of a second referendum. I respect and admire James’ work and commitment to independence and the wider cause. However, from reading his blog it is has been clear to me that James has been pushing for, and advocating a second referendum on independence as soon as possible. James also apparently refuses to believe that it is very likely that we will only get two shots at independence referendums. I really don’t see us getting more than two goes at this, and don’t think the idea that you get more than two chances reflects the political realities involved at all.

    • Of course we should have a second referendum as soon as possible. We can’t have one sooner than possible. And there seems no good reason to delay once you have decided that the time is ripe.

      I get more than a little impatient with people who say we shouldn’t have a referendum sooner that it might be winnable as if they were dropping some pearl of profound wisdom before a herd of swine clamouring for a referendum tomorrow. Nobody is demanding that we have a referendum “too soon”. Or “before we’re ready”. Or “right away”. These phrases are either meaningless in that they refer to something that is impossible, or daft because they refer to something that nobody wants or is asking for.

      My own view is that late 2018 would be the earliest feasible date for #indyref2. That sends people like Derek Bateman here into a hysterical frenzy for some reason. But it is simply a statement of the practical reality. Saying that this is the earliest possible date isn’t the same as saying that we must go for a referendum at that time. It is simply saying that we can’t have a referendum before then.

      It would be great if we were to have a second referendum in 2018. Every day we are in this political union sees more damage to Scotland. But it really should go without saying that conditions must be right. The ground must be prepared.

      And that won’t happen if we all just sit on our backsides wary of even mentioning either independence or a referendum for fear of… something. It’s not clear what, exactly. We have to campaign We have to affirm and defend our right to hold another referendum. We have to restate that right every day and as loudly as we can. And we need to persevere with making the case for independence.

      We should think of Thursday 20 September as a target date for indyref2, if only to give the ongoing independence campaign edge and focus. We needn’t absolutely commit to that date for some time yet. But we can’t indefinitely postpone action waiting on the kind of certainty regarding the outcome that is as close to impossible as makes no difference. Not least because the lead time for a referendum will be a year at the very least. And a lot can happen in that year. Imagined certainty could evaporate.

      While I’m at it, I might as well add that there is absolutely no impediment to a third referendum. Or a fourth, fifth and so on. It is entirely a matter for the people of Scotland. In Switzerland, they have referendums every year. Often more than one. It hasn’t done them any harm.

      • For God’s sake, you’re now becoming ridiculous. Naming the date for indyref 2! Five or SIX referendums!? Try that on the doorstep of 90 per cent of Scots. Good luck!

        • Derek, you continually bang on about Democracy, “That’s Democracy Folks, live with it!” However, even you surely cannot claim that the conduct of ‘Better Together/Project Fear’ and the lies and distortions of the English Government, the Propaganda Machine of the Right Wing Press and the BBC was ‘Democratic’ when in fact it was blatantly Fascist and owed more to the expertise of Joseph Goebbles than any Democracy could safely countenance.

          I cannot for the life of me understand why the Producers of ‘Altered State,’ an otherwise excellent piece of work, chose to end the Film with your statement, a pious and complacent counsel of despair taking no cognisance of the present Political situation, of an opposition in melt down whilst a reactionary Tory Government, ruling on a 36% share of the Vote, have reduced all Scottish MP,s to second class membership of Westminster and ensured no Scot will ever again hold Office in a Westminster Government!

          No Referendum for Twenty Years you say, whilst it is highly unlikely that this Government will see out its Term in Office! I fear you take the Scots for total Fools. I feel let down as I regularly ‘Share’ your Posts on Social Media but this is an aberration that that cannot be allowed to pass. There will be another Referendum and if it does not happen within the next Five Years I would be very surprised and, if things go on as they are, I expect it to be won with a substantial majority!

        • You illustrate the perils of speed reading. I said nothing about naming the date. I said only that we should treat the earliest possible date as a target in order to maintain the momentum of the campaign.

          Neither did I suggest that we talk about five or six referendums on the doorstep. Why would you even imagine such a thing? That’s just weird! I merely pointed out that there is actually no practical impediment to having referendums every year. The only obstacle is the timorous “We cannae dae it!” attitude that you evince. If those people on the doorsteps think referendums can only ever be a “once in a generation” thing it is because that message has been pounded into them by people like yourself. There may be political reasons for not holding frequent referendums. But it would also be very easy to come up with political reasons for not holding elections.

          Resign yourself to the fact that a decision will have to be made on a second referendum at some point. It cannot be put off indefinitely, as you appear to want. Nicola Sturgeon, quite rightly, wants to see indisputable public demand for a second referendum first, along with persuasive evidence that the referendum is winnable. But that won’t happen spontaneously. There is no such thing as magic. Demand for a second referendum has to be driven by active campaigning. As does support for independence.

          Sitting back for an indefinite length waiting for something unspecified to happen hardly amounts to a plan. We can be bloody certain that our opponents aren’t idle.

      • Peter, you are someone who supports independence with a passion. There is nothing wrong with this, there are a lot of people who feel likewise, myself included. However, I agree with Derek that undecided and soft Nos would in all likelihood run a mile from your arguments on this thread. You are not going to convince anyone to change sides by the rhetoric you have used here imo. I believe that another referendum on independence so soon after last year would be a disaster for the Yes side.

        • What does “so soon” mean? Why would 4 – 6 years be “too soon”? It’s a parliamentary term.

          You need to question assertions rather than accept them because lots of people are saying the same thing. Lots of people are insisting that voters can’t cope with discussion of a second referendum. Which means that they can’t cope with discussion of independence, because the two are inextricably linked. As a thinking person, I challenge such received wisdom. I say, show me the evidence that people are unable to deal with big political topics. I say, what about the mass political engagement of the last three years? Did I imagine that?

          Does the very existence and nature of the Yes movement absolutely contradict the idea that people are “put off” by bold political ideas?

          My experience of talking to people – and that is not inconsiderable – is precisely the opposite of what people such as yourself and Derek Bateman suggest. As a consequence of the Yes campaign, people in pubs and works canteens and bus queues now talk about politics in a way that had been all but completely unknown for thirty or forty years. To suggest that they are not prepared to debate the matter of a second referendum is to deny reality.

      • Sorry – how many independence referendums has Switzerland held? And independence from who or what?

        Really quoting Switzerland inot this context is a bit silly.

        Perhaps Quebec would have been more apt. It had its own IndyRef1 in 1980 – No won by a 20% margin.

        It waited another 15 years for IndyRef2 (which No also won this time by just over 1%).

        Ten years later and we still haven’t seen Quebec IndyRef3.

        I think 2018 is very optimistic and myself I can’t see a Scottish IndyRef2 until at least 2024.

        Meanwhile as I said above we need to work hard now to create the blue print for the independent nation we wish to become then convince the substantial majority of our fellow citizens it’s the kind of nation they want too.

        • @Steve

          Ten years later and we still haven’t seen Quebec IndyRef3.

          Twenty years later.

        • Timetables and projected and asserted dates, SA.

          Where did you cherry-pick them from?

          Why reasonable?

          Who says a second referendum is our only democratic option?

          Why close down democratic options?

          Why this passive acceptance of the reductionist, faux economistic Unionist “arguments” by our side?

          A bit like locking twa accountants in a piggy-bank, gie’ing them pre-paid hankies for which they did not pay (of course), and asking them not to thieve because one is a “positive thinker”.

          Personally, I don’t do Ju Ju (also, wouldn’t trust accountants further than their business cards swiftly returned to them and the subsequent disinfecting of my hands. Journalists. lawyers, ditto).

          Thus, luck with that.

          I absolutely love the standards of enlightened debate on this and other Second Enlightenment sites, but ordinary Scots folk will re-claim our sovereignty a damned sight quicker than you predict; but that’s my cherry-pick:)


        • You seem to have missed the point of the reference to Switzerland. It was intended to expose the fallacy that frequent referendums are totally impractical. In 2012 alone Switzerland had no fewer than twelve national referendums. The sky did not fall. And while Switzerland hasn’t had an independence referendum – a singularly silly notion given that it is an independent nation – it has held numerous plebiscites on constitutional issues in the past.

          Not that it is of any consequence. In terms of practicality, it matters not at all what the question is.

  16. Westminsters total betrayal of the people of the NE of Scotland (Carbon Capture plant £1 Billion pledged) both Yes and No voters must be seen in its true context, The Tories know the game is up and Scotland will be Independent sooner or later, The asset stripping of Scotland has already begun its for this very reason Referendum 2 must be sooner much sooner rather than later,

  17. I think Peter, above, is right – the BT campaign in particular descended into a tawdry exercise in cost-benefit analysis, plus a lot of scare stories about pensions, the NHS, job security, big-business moving south and so on. It wasn’t that the No voters were too stupid, but that the propaganda chimed with their gut feelings. There’s also the socio-economic and demographic factors – older, richer, more (formally) educated, born outwith Scotland voters tended to vote No.

    If I were the SNP I would (if they haven’t already) commission some in-depth research to find out why people voted No. Then I would set up a think-tank, policy unit or whatever, to some extent independent but Independence-orientated – a bit like Osborne’s OBR (which conveniently answered George’s letter to Santa asking for more dosh) – and start writing papers to address the No issues and put forward sound arguments for Independence.

    • Yes, everyone should have an OBR equivalent!

      Must say I’ve found the chat above extremely interesting – every bit enjoyable as settling down with the day’s copy of “The National”.

      But the best independence news is that our youth are with us. So independence, sooner or later, is ours for sure.

    • But there were loads of sound arguments for those who wished to listen.

      We are deluding ourselves if we think No voters were conned by the Better Together lies and deception. They weren’t. They accepted the BT propaganda because it fed into the narrative they wanted to believe – just as we rejected because it didn’t fit the narrative we chose to believe.

      It’s the same reason the Daily Mail has readers when you and I think it’s full of lies and deception.

      We need to convince people who are No to believe in an alternative narrative – ours. It’s not an easy or quick thing to do but it can be done with tolerance, patience and determination and we have to do it if we what we all want here – independence.

    • All good suggestions. And these things are being done. People in the SNP and the wider independence movement – which, notwithstanding Mr Baterman’s insistence that it’s only the SNP pushing the independence case – still exists and is very active.

      The only thing I would add is that all this activity must have a clear objective. There must be a well-defined purpose to all this activity. What other objective might there be but a second referendum. The idea that we can somehow progress the independence campaign without ever mentioning another referendum is a nonsense. As is the idea, propounded by Derek Bateman and others, that people are somehow repulsed by the prospect of another referendum. On the contrary, polling has shown that people either want or at least anticipate a second referendum.

      The idea of a second referendum has already been accepted. It is not a hard sell. It is only a matter of timing. Some want to push that issue into the mists of the future. But if we do that it ceases to be real. It becomes just something that might happen sometime, but something we don’t really need to think about. We want people thinking about it!

      During the referendum campaign we saw all too much of this argument that voters are delicate blooms incapable of dealing with bold ideas. If we’d listened to all the people who were telling us that we were talking about the wrong things, to the wrong people, at the wrong time, and in the wrong way, there would have been no Yes campaign at all. Just a vacuum of cautious silence. If the Yes campaign proved anything at all it is that people relish big, bold ideas. They coped perfectly well with the idea of independence. They’re not going to collapse in a mass fit of the vapours just because somebody tells them that it might be possible to have another vote in late 2018. They will either favour the suggection, or they won’t. But at least they’ll be thinking about it. The constitutional question will remain front and centre of Scottish politics, as it must.

      This has to be better than telling people to go back to their sofas and eat their cereal because nothing is happening for the foreseeable future. Or, at least, nothing they need to worry their heads about.

  18. It is your blog Derek, but the replies outlined in blue are very irritating.

    I’m on Peter Bell and Jim Kelly’s side on this.

    If Brexit does become reality, 2018 – 2020 seems quite reasonable for a second referendum.

    • I am the same – with James Kelly.

      Wait 20 years for democracy?

      Nonsense – democracy is now!

      We should strike while the iron is hot and keep pushing forwards towards independence.

      Here is one simple question for the Unionists. Who is going to lead your Better Together 2 campaign in Scotland?

      There is no one left with any credibility and there are no likely candidates coming forwards. Hence why the main opposition is now the BBC and the MSM – but who elected them?

      The next few years are critical – these are the years that we will push forward and win our independence.

      • Oh, Hoss. You have nailed THE question. Who could BT find to lead another “Project Don’t You Dare Even Think It”. The used names are now just that – used, as in used up, deflated.

        The only two names in mind are ex-MP Mr Forsyth and Mr J. McTiernan. Lets count Mr G. Foulkes out for now.

  19. We go for it “when it’s right”. Who decides? Well we do, if the SNP ensure it is in their manifesto.

    Derek did a progamme for the BBC on the 2nd Independence referendum in Quebec. Before the referendum I once asked him to publish his thoughts in relational to the Scottish Referendum. Still waiting on a reply.

  20. We do need to keep talking about a referendum, but much more than that we need to talk about an independent Scotland. In fact we need to talk about *this* Scotland, what it should be and how to achieve that. Everything we can do now to improve Scotland we should do. We should be impatient with all that is unnecessarily crap about our country. The poor infrastructure, the appalling poverty in some parts, the dreadful lack of proper forums for social discourse not just about politics but all culture and society. And we should act to change these things now wherever and however we can. Sooner rather than later independence will be seen as an urgent necessity to achieve the ambitions of the nation, instead of a jump off the high board.

  21. WTF was that Peter Bell/Derek Bateman showdown all about.
    The heads and tails of where we are at the moment?
    Which way is it gonna roll?

    I’m not waiting for hell to freeze over.

    I’m with Daidhidhdeux@10.46

    Cool it guys.

    It’s not life or death.

    It’s much more serious than that.

  22. The chessboard has been changed by Westminster since Indy14.

    First, Cameron has led an unremitting hostile propaganda campaign against Scotland, the SNP and the Scottish Government.

    Second, the Vow has degenerated into one of the most cynical political ploys in living memory, with the leading politicians on the Westminster side repeatedly stating that the Vow has been fulfilled when the whole world knows this is not true.

    Third, Cameron has binned every statement and promise he made to Scotland before Indy14. He has replaced them with a campaign of hostile propaganda and economic degradation.

    Cameron has completely changed the reality of life in the UK from a Scottish perspective.

    If the Westminster Government wanted things to settle down after Indy14 as Cameron himself stated, then he should have left everything just as it was. Instead, he did the very opposite. And now, having given the bee’s hive a thorough poking with a big stick, the Unionists are surprised the bees have come out angry, demanding we be quiet for a generation.

    Let’s get real here.

  23. If I am incarcerated unjustly for a crime I did not commit, am I to cease my campaign for freedom just because my first appeal is rejected by people who have been malevolently and deliberately misled.

  24. Mr Bateman, first and foremost I’d like to say I thoroughly enjoyed you blog and podcasts.

    I am probably the only card-carrying Malaysian member of the SNP. I have been observing the Scottish independence movement since my teens and had ardently followed the Indyref. Suffice to say I was just crushingly heartbroken as everyone else. I hope you will forgive me if I sometimes consider myself as a Scots in the below.

    I hope, as an observer outwith of Scotland, my perspective is a bit clearer. So here goes.

    This Union will be dissolved and Scotland will be independent. It is only a matter of time. Even I, who is at the other side of world, can feel it.

    I would have agreed with your gradualist approach but Labour did not win the GE2015. The Tories are in power. On their own. That changes everything. Time in now a luxury we don’t have.

    I am inclined to say that there will never be another referendum if it can be help. As highlighted by many, all legislative, legal and political procedures/conventions will be ignored by the Tories when it comes to Scotland. They know they cannot afford another referendum for they will most likely lose it.

    To ensure subjugation, Scotland will be subjected to a sublime scorched-earth tactic that will destroy its economy and population. Slowly and steadily. It will be like a slow release Thatcherite steroid medication.

    In any event, even if the Tories are thrown out of the government, what guarantee do we have that other (Unionist) parties will accede to Scottish demands for greater devolution/independence? Their united stand was clearly expressed during the Indyref.

    All the rules adhered before and during the Indyref are no longer applicable in our next quest of independence. What Nicola Sturgeon was implying in her speech was that we must ramp up the support for Scottish independence by all means possible. What was not understood was that we can longer wait for that chance, we must CREATE it.

    There is need for a radical rethinking of strategy. The Unionists wanted us to be in the Union, they’d better be serious about (which everyone here knows they are not). All the promises and Vow must be fulfilled. It’s either that or independence.

    Since that is not going to happen, we are left with no choice but to create havoc within the Union. For a start, the 56 MPs, which showed that Cameron can be arm-twisted. The Tory majority is not solid as it seems. Secondly, there must be SNP peers in the Lords. If we are to do serious damage, there must be representation there. 2016 is the Scottish Parliament’s turn. For me, the most important one will be 2017 local government election, where the last Hydra head that is SLAB must be chopped off.

    Which brings us to Nicola’s point. We all though that the 2014 Indyref was our last chance and the next one will probably be in another 20 years’ time. We did not foresee the election of a Tory government. What is more unbelievable is that the Tories are gifting the Scots opportunities for another second Indyref i.e. Europe, Syria, Trident, NHS etc. This was what Nicola was telling us; grab these chances because your opponents are too stupid and too proud to realise this. These are the material changes in circumstances that she was talking about. Now all we need to do is give her a reason.

    We now must not only keep building the momentum for the second Indyref, we must also create the opportunity to be constructively thrown out of the Union. Remember we are in this Union for the short haul and need a (short) time frame of when we should be out. This is to ensure that we have a tangible target. If we miss the target, to quote Angry Salmond, we will just have to move the goal post a bit further.

    If all possible means have been denied, the option of UDI must be kept opened. And don’t rule out the Irish possibility. It did happen to Ireland and there is no way guaranteeing it will not happen to Scotland.

    A time frame is necessary because the shorter we are in the Union the easier it is to sort out post-independence issues. The SNP will be strongest during this Westminster parliamentary term (and the next Scottish parliamentary term). Now is definitely the time to doing everything.

    In contrast, Tories have not consolidated their hold on power and economy yet. By 2021, it maybe well too late.

    Time is a luxury we don’t have.

  25. “a second failure is the end”
    We’re past our second failure already.

    The SNP may want to hold back for a generation, but like many other Scots, I don’t accept this premise.

    We will never, ever give up.

    Try, try, and try again. Scotland will be free. 🙂

    • The idea that “the SNP may want to hold back for a generation” is a fallacy. What Nicola Sturgeon is saying is precisely the opposite of what Derek Bateman supposes. She is saying that the independence campaign must be carried forward by the people of Scotland, not the SNP. She doesn’t want to demand a second referendum, she wants us to demand it. She doesn’t want to tell us when that referendum is to be, she wants us to tell her.

      When she speaks on the specifics of the next stage in the journey to independence, she wants it to be indisputably clear that she is speaking with the authority of the people of Scotland.

      She has put the ball firmly at our feet. Contrary to Mr Bateman’s insistence, I don’t think she intends that we should do no more than play keepy-uppy with it.

      • I agree NS has been unequivocal in saying that it’s for the Scottish People to demand a second referendum, but who are the “Scottish People” – are they impatient activists like Peter or more nuanced advocates like Derek? And how is that demand to be articulated?

        Whatever the answers are I agree with those who say that public opinion has to be overwhelming, at least 60%.

        The more fundamental issue is how to get that opinion to shift decisively in our favour and I come back again to the notion of a “think tank” or as Gordon Wilson put it in an interview with Commonspace: “the SNP should set up an economic unit “which facilitates economic research independent from government” on the one hand, and on the other hand “acts as a propaganda force” to make the economic case for independence to the public.” Personally, I think it has to be more than an economic unit but covers the whole spectrum of the Independence case and starts to articulate what kind of social, economic, cultural and political geography would exist in a new Scotland. And, it finds ways to get the argument “out there”.

        • Impatient? I have been campaigning in one way or another for independence for more than half a century. The independence movement itself is at least as old as the Union. Whatever word might describe our effort, impatience certainly isn’t it.

          As to the idea of a “think tank”, there are three things to be said. Firstly, if the suggestion came from Gordon Wilson it should be treated with some caution. He is no friend to the current SNP leadership. He does not wish them well. And this antipathy may well be reflected in the idea of the party establishing and, presumably, funding a group which would almost certainly come into conflict with the party over some policy issues.

          Secondly, what makes anybody think that this is not already being done. Perhaps not under the auspices of the SNP. But there are any number of groups out there generating policy ideas for an independent Scotland. Unfortunately, most of these groups are entirely focused on BEING independent. They offer little that is useful in terms of the rather more pressing matter of BECOMING independent. They seem content to leave the mundane practicalities to the SNP, while reserving to themselves the right to snipe at the party for its concentration on those practicalities.

          Finally, insistence on the need for a “think tank” to work on the case for independence suggests that there was something fundamentally wrong with the case as it was presented during the first referendum campaign. There wasn’t. The case for normalising Scotland’s constitutional status was powerful then, and remains so now.

          While allowing that there is always scope for development and improvement, I would insist that there were not fatal flaws in the case put forward by the SNP. The problem was not with arguments but with the fact that those arguments were almost impossible to hear above the clamour of British nationalist propaganda. For the most part, people didn’t hear the case for independence. They heard the version of that case which the British media promulgated.

          As you recognise in your closing remarks, it is principally a problem of getting the argument “out there”.

          To those overcome by dour pessimism about the prospects for success in a second referendum, I would say that they should put out of their minds any notion that the next time will be just like the last. It will be a very different campaign in a number of ways. Not least because of the way in which alternative media has developed and continues to develop.

          • Steve Asaneilean

            It may surprise you to know Peter that I actually agree with you here.

            The problem wasn’t the message – it was the deaf or deafened ears it fell on.

            I think almost everyone commenting here thinks that is the hurdle we need to get over next time.

            We seem to differ only in the timing of events – and in that respect I accept I may be being too pessimistic.

            And you are right – IndyRef2 (whenever it happens) will be a different kettle of fish.

            We’re no done yet.

          • I’m not all surprised to find that we agree on things which are really rather obvious.

            I think we are in danger of becoming too obsessed with timing of the second referendum. It’s not as if we have total flexibility on the scheduling of the vote. There are big chunks of the calendar that are ruled out due to a variety of factors, such as elections or major public occasions or big sporting events. Nobody would choose have a referendum during the winter months, when the weather is likely to deter voters, or the summer months, when many people are preoccupied with holidays. There average number of available dates in a year is almost certainly less less than 12, and may be as low as 6.

            People go on about “picking the right moment”. But it’s not as simple as that. Given that there is a lead time of at least a year, maybe two, you are not “picking” the right moment, you are attempting to predict it. I’ll wager the success rate for such predictions would be no better than 50%. The same as a coin flip.

            Self-appointed experts may claim the ability to chose the optimal date for #indyref2. But you’d almost certainly do just as well with an exercise involving drawing dates from a hat and tossing a coin.

  26. As has been pointed out, the Referendum was only allowed by Cameron because he calculated he could win it. He excluded the option most Scots actually wanted according to the polls, Devo Max, to get a No. Arguably the debate since has been all about Devo Max and how much it can be watered down without us noticing.

    I think a moment will come, in the next 10 years, when people in Scotland will just look at each other and know the union is finished. Support for independence will be around 70%. The Tories, who will be in power, won’t want to consent to another referendum but by then they will have underlined the political differences between England and Scotland so starkly that nobody can hold it together.

    The Tories can govern without Scotland; Labour are torn apart trying to straddle the gap. Nothing I can see hints at good health for the union in the years to come.

  27. Well since my indy activism is misplaced or at least premature (smiley face?), perhaps its time to focus on other matters. This documentary is just out, incredibly powerful, excellent production values and a real must watch:

  28. With a heavy and saddened heart I agree with you. I went into the Yes campaign in order to promote democracy, and argue though I may that the UK state abducted democracy by interfering illegally in the campaign, nevertheless all the arguments were put by our side and rejected by the people. It will come again in time, but the state will always seek to protect itself, and there lies the challenge.

  29. Imagine any government going into a general election with the argument that the people spoke five years ago so we should respect that and not hold another vote for the foreseeable future.

    Imagine an opposition party (not Labour) which told its supporters that the people had spoken in the election which they (the opposition) had lost so they should stop disagreeing with the winning party.

    Of course those things don’t happen. Democracy is not winner takes all, neither is it a one-time-only shot at getting your opinion heard. Of course a referendum is a special kind of democracy but it is still democracy, and democracy is a process, not a single event.

  30. The fundamentals that have to be accepted by the majority of Scots before we have another go are that Scotland is a country and that we,the people of Scotland,have the right to decide our future.
    Too many still think that Westminster rules OK.

  31. “we go when we can win” says Paul Kavanagh…and many, many others.

    It would be daft to go for another Referendum if we thought we might lose it! But to get to the point where we would be fairly certain of winning, we would need to get most of those Labour voters who voted NO to convert to YES. And that point won’t arise until the current Unionist parties are reduced to irrelevant rumps and SLAB and the media have come to terms with the fact that careers they have built up as SLAB activists and supporters are over.

    That is already happening and if the SNP continue to sweep the board it will continue to occur gradually. But it will take time, even if the SNP annihilate Labour in next year’s Holyrood elections. That is more likely to generate even more hatred in SLAB minds, at least for a time. So a period of healing and acceptance will be needed.

    I believe the SNP (or whoever) should be ready to start agitating for another Indy Ref when Scotland is in a similar position to Catalonia now, ie, when it is obvious that most of the people want to be Independent of the UK. And we would be most unlikely to be in that position soon, certainly not by a Brexit referendum regardless of the outcome of that. So I am of the view that we are looking to a period of at least 10 years before Scots could be ready for another referendum on Independence.

    But meantime we must continue to agitate for Independence as vigorously as before to maintain the SNP’s momentum and to pressurise Westminster. And the SNP in turn need to consider seriously where the YES campaign fell short and to continue to show that they are very competent in Government not only at Holyrood but at Westminster.

  32. “…and the continual talk of a re-run since is, in my view, an affront to every single voter and to the democratic process…”

    It would take another full length piece to rebut that statement and some of your comments in the few paragraphs before and after it. Suffice to say most of it is wrong headed.

    I do agree that another Indy Ref should be held later than sooner but for reasons other than most of your arguments.

  33. Sorry Derek, good try but no
    You attributed intelligence to the voters who voted NO so in order to respect that intelligence they should be presented with the opportunity to change their minds given the fact that the Unionist proposition was a lie and promises made have been reneged upon exactly as the Yes side said they would be,

    Whether we win or lose is hardly the point when what you’re arguing for is to put up with the Unionist lie whatever the circumstances until the right opportunity comes along and not in fact tell the Scottish people the truth and stand by it

    This tactic may work but does it not put you in exactly the same category as those who broke the rules in the first place
    If you’re just Feart say so instead of making up a big story to cover that fact up
    There’s no shame in admitting nerves and worrying it could go wrong

  34. To gain support for a second referendum, every pro-independence man, woman and teenager has to learn how to converse in a civil and good-natured manner with those likely to take the opposite view, and, to my mind, the best time to start is now, long before a date is put on a second referendum.

    During the referendum campaign, I won over several undecided and two definite “NO” voters by presenting them with a simple challenge: Find me two interesting video clips and two well-written articles which you think would convince me to vote NO, and I’ll find you two interesting video clips and two well-written articles which I think will convince you to vote YES.

    I didn’t browbeat anyone, and I didn’t try to embarrass them over the shabby quality of the unionist material. I just encouraged them to do some serious thinking, and it worked.

    • What were your two clips and two articles?

      • I didn’t always use the same ones. They varied depending on the people I was trying to convince. The Philippa Whitford clip was one of my favourites, and the John Jappy one

        I printed off articles from this site and from Wings Over Scotland, and this one also proved quite useful when speaking to tory types

        For NO voters who favoured the too-wee-too-poor-too-stupid mantra, I used the following:

        The population of Luxembourg in 2005 (roughly equivalent to the population of Glasgow) was estimated by the United Nations (UN) at 457,000, which placed it at number 163 in population among the 193 nations of the world. Does that make it too small to be independent?

        Luxembourg has no oil, natural gas or coal reserves. It has no fishing industry, very little going for it in terms of renewable energy projects, and has no export figures which could even come close to matching what Scotland generates from exports of whisky, salmon, mineral water and the rest. Does that make it too poor to be independent?

        While Scotland currently has fifteen universities and three other institutions of higher education which have the authority to award academic degrees, Luxembourg has just two. Does that make it too stupid to be independent?

        Luxembourg is known for having one the lowest unemployment rates in Europe and enjoys one of the highest standards of living not only in Europe but among all developed countries. Luxembourg’s quality of life, natural beauty, rich cultural heritage together with the highest income per capita coupled with a moderate cost of living, are highly appreciated by residents and visitors alike.

        So what’s holding Scotland back?

        In a word?


      • Hi, Blether. I posted a reply earlier but it has been awaiting moderation for about 9 hours, probably because it contained too many internet links. So, here it is again minus the live internet links.

        I didn’t always use the same ones. They varied depending on the people I was trying to convince. The Philippa Whitford youtube clip “NO vote will end free NHS for Scots” was one of my favourites, and the John Jappy one, also from youtube, entitled “Hiding the truth.”

        I printed off articles from this site and from Wings Over Scotland, and one which also proved quite useful when speaking to tory types was an article written by Michael Gray for the business for Scotland website entitled “Conservative voters should now support independence.”

        For NO-voters who favoured the too-wee-too-poor-too-stupid mantra, I used the following:

        The population of Luxembourg in 2005 (roughly equivalent to the population of Glasgow) was estimated by the United Nations (UN) at 457,000, which placed it at number 163 in population among the 193 nations of the world. Does that make it too small to be independent?

        Luxembourg has no oil, natural gas or coal reserves. It has no fishing industry, very little going for it in terms of renewable energy projects, and has no export figures which could even come close to matching what Scotland generates from exports of whisky, salmon, mineral water and the rest. Does that make it too poor to be independent?

        While Scotland currently has fifteen universities and three other institutions of higher education which have the authority to award academic degrees, Luxembourg has just two. Does that make it too stupid to be independent?

        Luxembourg is known for having one the lowest unemployment rates in Europe and enjoys one of the highest standards of living not only in Europe but among all developed countries. Luxembourg’s quality of life, natural beauty, rich cultural heritage together with the highest income per capita coupled with a moderate cost of living, are highly appreciated by residents and visitors alike.

        So what’s holding Scotland back?

        In a word?


  35. @Peter 3:59 Just because you don’t like someone doesn’t mean s/he has nothing important to say or doesn’t have a good idea.

    Yes, there were(are) plenty of groups and individuals putting forward policy ideas, but how did they reach the No voters? I don’t think they did, because they were/are hidden away on blogs like this, and Wings and Bella etc – preaching to the converted. They didn’t get on to the BBC or STV or any other main stream channel. They don’t have the “gravitas/name/respect/kudos” of say the IFS, the Treasury, the Bank of England or all the other Establishment sources, which as you suggest drowned out any other message.

    But I think there were weaknesses in the argument and a failure effectively to counter the scare stories. The issue of the currency was never satisfactorily resolved and handed the Unionist cabal a gift to argue from a position of strength – Sterling was the UK’s currency – while the riposte on the debt was another gift making the SNP appear to be willing to default like some “banana” republic.

    Scares about pensions, blood transfusions, border posts, deficits weren’t imho rebutted with the kind of authority that would convince waverers.

    Like it or loathe it, and I loathe it for its neoliberal stance, but the IFS has clout, it’s listened to and people think it’s independent. (we know it’s not). So where’s the think-tank, policy unit or whatever in Scotland that the public regards as highly?

    As I said elsewhere, I would want to know why No voters voted No and the only way to find that out is to ask them. If you don’t understand their thinking, what scares them, concerns them, what questions they want answered, what problems they see with Independence, what the shortcoming were of the Indy campaign, and did they hear or listen to the Indy arguments, then all you get is stuff like this: conjecture and dangerous dogmatism.

  36. Alex Salmond is, and is acknowledged to be, one of the smartest political strategists in Britain, never mind Scotland. He did a fantastic job to get us to a 45% result in a referendum he secured, in the face of a universally, actively hostile media, and deserves immense credit and gratitude for it.

    45% puts independence squarely on the political map. No longer can those of us who believe in Scotland as a nation be ridiculed for “grievance politics” or “extremism”.

    Going forward, I believe one of the more important things to take from the referendum is how easy it was to attack plans laid out only by the Yes side – it’s a pig in a poke. Effectively we voted on a beginning to independence negotiations, not on independence.

    All those questions – specific arrangements with the EU, NATO & other international bodies; the red herring of currency; the division of existing UK debt – remained to be negotiated. The plans laid out in the White Paper painted a realistically rosy picture, but were easy to attack with disingenuous bluff.

    It is nowhere cast in stone that a referendum is the only way to begin a separation process. A Scottish government with a Holyrood mandate to do so can negotiate an independence settlement in some detail, with the result an agreed package which voters can then decide on.

    “We refuse to pre-negotiate, but anyway we’ll push you out of the currency” was the sort of beautiful duplicity that charms Middle Easterners into blowing up British commuters. It served a short-term purpose effectively. Let Westminster put its generosity to Scotland on display through a genuine engagement in independence negotiations. Let it try dragging its feet and double-dealing in the face of a Scottish electoral mandate to settle a separation deal.

    In the meantime we should maintain a quiet confidence in the justness and ultimate success of our cause. When will we see an independence-positive controlling stake in a major Scottish media outlet?

  37. Very important points mentioned and opposing arguments presented and I find I agree – and disagree – with something in each and every one of the posts above. Since we on the YES side come in so many persuasions (and have sometimes been so unpersuasive in converting friends or relatives) we know that people on the NO side come with an equally wide spectrum of opinions (thankfully they’re even less persuasive than us). We all seem to agree we can’t have a referendum until the right time and we must work towards that day. Glad we agree on so much.

    With so much ranged against us we will need to develop more cohesion amongst ourselves to face the next onslaught which I’m sure will be worse than the last. Going by the media, both mainstream and social, their campaign ramped up after the referedum and the election and seems to me to have become much more vicious. If we win a large majority in Holyrood, then, hopefully, a rout of Labour in the councils, the hatred will become even worse. We have to hang together or we might all hang seperately and they’ll pick us off, individually or individual groups, one by one as they are obviously intent on doing to our MPs. And not only do we have to keep together and work towards a common goal but we have to win over all those no voters to create a substantial majority for the next referendum.

    Only a substantial majority would create a good basis for the start of our new nation. I don’t believe we can accomplish that by being too critical of the more minor points of each others’ propositions any more than by showing distaste for or disparagement to those who voted no before. We need to be accomodating to our own side and welcoming and understanding to the those on the other who are willing to be persuaded until we achieve independence and afterwards I would hope Scotland to be inclusive enough to even the tories and other unionists here who will always be opposed to us. They are enemy enough.

  38. On the issue of the next Scottish referendum, there seems to be two opposing camps among supporters of independence: Those that think it is very risky to go again too soon, and those that think it is very risky to go too late. I think some very interesting points have been made on both sides of the argument. In a sense, both sides are correct, namely that both “too early” and “too late” both constitute a real risk of setting back independence for a very long time.

    In other words, the timing will be absolutely vital. The right time will be when the people are ready for it, when we will win, and this will be made abundantly clear. Trust the people on this – they may be daft but they are not stupid. M gut feeling is that we may be a few years away yet, but who knows? People can be notoriously fickle!

    So my advice to y’all is this:

    Don’t be rushed, but also be ready for an unforseen opportunity to strike quickly. And for goodness sake, don’t fall out over it.

    Patience, vigilance and respect will be required.

    • Except that there is no way to “strike quickly”. This is even more nonsensical than the notion that we can know with absolute certainty where public opinion will be a year or more in advance.

      Precisely everybody thinks it is risky to have a referendum too soon. Precisely everybody thinks it is risky to go too late. Too soon and too late are, by definition, risky.

      As I tried to explain in an earlier comment, we are in danger of obsessing about timing as if there wa some scientific way of determining this. There isn’t. There is no certainty. There is no date that carries no uncertainty. If that is what we are waiting for, we’ll never have another referendum.

  39. The debate between James and Derek, and the discussion btl on both is most stimulating.

    Peter Bell asks ‘What other objective might there be but a second referendum?’ Which prompted the following train of thought.

    Westminster claims sovereignty – a Yes vote in a referendum would merely be a petition to Westminster to dissolve the Union.

    Westminster agreed to Indyref 1 because they thought they would walk it. It will be very difficult to get them to agree to Inderef 2. We could hold it anyway, but the No side would abstain and it would be meaningless.

    Scottish sovereignty rests with the MPs that Scotland sends to Westminster. No less an authority than Margaret Hilda Thatcher noted this, and it was implicit in the response given to the National Covenant petition

    As it was, until 2015, majority of MP’s elected specifically on a pro-independence ticket is a mandate for Independence.

    Of course in reality Westminster would ignore that mandate, and THAT would trigger a second referendum

    The question then, is which Westminster election should we pick for a return to the position that a majority of MPs is a mandate. 2020? Or 2015?

    Meantime, let’s do all in our power to remove from elected office all the voices that speak against us. 2016 Holyrood first, then the Councils.

  40. There’s a danger in doing nothing to further independence and a danger in doing something.

    In general I favour doing something, other than mere management and holding the fort, which is what NS seems to want to do.

    Support for independence won’t grow all by itself. The electorate requires further politicisation.

  41. I would like to ask a question after reading the comments above.
    Would those Yessers who advocate a later indyref2 date still vote Yes if the indyref was earlier? Say, 2018.

  42. Slovakia and the Czech Republic separated by agreement of their leaders, with popular support in Slovakia below 50%.

    I’m with Derek on not rushing things – I didn’t enjoy the referendum loss and I’ve no wish to repeat that experience. There are, though, other ways to get there.

  43. How long do comments stay in moderation roughly?

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