You Only Vote Twice

So, Mr Kelly. You have released the dogs of war to challenge me. I have to confess I expected an easier opponent and perhaps some pirhanas, no more. Instead I find myself assailed by the furies, one who has tried to take over my blog with constant posting, one who questions my commitment to the cause and one who suggests I may even be a coward for accepting the result of indyref1 – exposing new and unexpected depths of bampottery. Such is your power.

But it will take more than the evil forces of Spectre to rattle me. I have the Scottish people on my side and the unimpeachable leadership of La Sturgeon bringing reason and common sense to my case.

To recap. The issue of indyref 2 will always lie with the people and an unquestionable demand for a second say should triumph over all else, no matter when it comes. Personally, I think that may begin to build relatively soon if the message hits home that the General Election mandate has been ignored and the measures conceded are designed as a fiscal trap to enmesh the SNP – rather than a genuine attempt at the logical development of devolution.

However, I firmly believe that too much open discussion about a second vote plays into the hands of our opponents. It is difficult to over-emphasise the fear and loathing the prospect of a re-run elicits among No voters, including, I suggest, those who may ultimately be persuadable and whose votes we will need to win. The referendum, however enervating for us (with the obvious caveat) was on the other hand a draining and stressful period for those convinced their country would be isolated and bankrupted outwith the UK. To confront them just a year later with the idea of another one looming in short order will repel them further and push them into the knee-jerk ‘The Nats are Nuts’ camp. For me one of the defining strengths of Yes has been its non-threatening, non-violent nature – that is not always the case in self-determination campaigns. We – and the SNP government – have won over many uncommitted Scots by being reasonable and competent, contradicting what many used to think of as quackery or extremism. The fervid propaganda of the lurid Press still plays on this theme with some success so it’s important to maintain our demeanour of being level-headed and serious-minded. I’m afraid that arguing today for the next best slot for another go has exactly the opposite effect, suggesting a hot-headed and unreasonable enthusiasm. There is no escaping either the implication from this white-hot zeal that September 2014 was not the resolution people expected it to be and that the outcome was somehow equivocal. It wasn’t sold as that at the time. Nor would we have accepted any attempt by Whitehall to re-run had their been a narrow Yes vote from which they devised a means of contesting the result a year later. We asked the Scottish nation what it wanted and we got the reply. The mere hint of not accepting the result, or at least, not believing it to be truly representative in some way, threatens to damage our democratic credentials. (You know the kind of stuff…they lied about pensions and prices. They made it about the economy, not the constitution. The media was against us, etc). Next time it has to be driven by a consistent and unequivocal public demand and nothing that can be dismissed as party manoeuvring, especially as it looks like we’ll still need legal approval.

I am NOT advocating a stop to campaigning as some imply. I haven’t watered down my commitment. I’m still writing this bloody blog, making the case through Newsnet, paying into indy projects and public speaking. Disturbing how a preparedness to take a longer view – the very route which has put the SNP into power – is construed as weakness. This has an echo of the many failures of the Left in Britain to accommodate differing views within a movement.

I think people will come round in time to the realisation that independence is logical although, as I said, I have my doubts that the European issue will trigger it. And I’ve no doubt that a second loss within say, five years, would deflate the movement dramatically forcing some to peel off and others to change direction towards a federal goal. It would render independence and certainly any further attempt at a referendum the butt of a million jokes. That we would all still believe in the Cause wouldn’t alter the wider public perception of a failed project, fatally wounded by lack of credibility.

On the longer generational trend, by the way, I agree you can’t count on it remaining constant but I do think the Scottish electorate has undergone a fundamental change in this regard. It isn’t like a Labour or Tory choice and therefore inter-changeable. I think they’ve genuinely altered their outlook in favour of independence which makes the indyref process one that politicised a generation.

So there. A doctrinaire Tory government and a shambolic Labour opposition appear to present a perfect storm for Scottish Nationalists. But for a wider Scottish public, cautious in their judgement and wary of heady promises, one that withstood the battering of Thatcher, it may take more than another passing five-year fiasco to convince them of indyref2. Nicola has seemingly ruled it out for five years at least which looks like a device to push it beyond an electoral cycle thereby removing it from the agenda except in the theoretical sense. Beyond that, who knows. But to play this effectively requires patience not panic that we’d better hurry before it all goes sour.

How I wish we’d just taken the chance at the time. But we didn’t. That would have been too simple. There’s a longer more agonising route to be taken and after all, we’re Scots.

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98 thoughts on “You Only Vote Twice

  1. Excellent post, Derek. Like you, I am seriously cheesed off with the narrative from some indy supporters that we were robbed, that people were brainwashed by the media into voting no, and that the result is somehow ‘illegitimate.’

    You catch more flies with honey than vinegar, and telling people that they were ‘conned’ by the media into voting no will win us few friends in the long run.

    Was the media biased in favour of the No side? Absolutely, but what did people expect? It’s called the BBC for a reason – the clue is in the name.

    Blaming the media also fails to consider the myriad of reasons why people voted no. Elderly people I knew despised the Tories, but as veterans of the British Army, they felt honour bound to their dead comrades, so they voted no.

    Other older people I knew, still felt the post-war bonds to the welfare state, and again, voted no.

    A friend of mine who works in the media, and did media studies at university, was telling me about the biased media, but voted no, because he liked being British…

    I could go on and on.

    I know some people are still hurting at the no vote, I know people are angry at the Tories for laying waste to Britain, and I know some people want to strike whilst we have a head of steam built up.

    But I would exercise patience.

    Whatever way you look at it, the union is finished. That nearly half of Scotland voted Yes, tells its own story. That London had to resort to such desperate measures to win, should tell its own story.

    Nobody made the moral case for Unionism, because their case was built on fear and economics.

    Essentially, there was no moral case for the union – it will not survive another referendum.

    But the timing needs to be right. People need to let the No vote sink in, and see the implications.

    They need to see the humiliation heaped upon SNP MPs in London, see the term effects of EVEL, as it prevents Scottish MPs from ever holding high office.

    They need to see the job cuts affecting industries that were supposedly safe in the union.

    In short, we may have to live through another version of the Thatcher years again…

    Remember that it took years between 79 and the creation of the Scottish Parliament in 97.

    Let people get used to new powers for Scotland. Marvel at how the Scottish Parliament had seeped into the conscience of the Scots, and see how London becomes more and more distant in the affairs of ordinary Scots.

    Then and only then, the penny will drop…

    And as with Ireland and America, never underestimate London’s ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

    Hard as it may be in these dark days, patience is the key…

    • “Let people get used to new powers for Scotland.”

      You mean because these new powers are good? Or because these new powers are an obvious trap set by Westminster?

      • I refer to the psychological effect that will occur when people discover their tax money goes to Edinburgh, and not London. They may begin to ask why they send MPs to London in the first place…

        • That is a good point. And also the cumulative effect of building institutions, and the seemingly inexorable departure of England from the post-war consensus. Public spending as a share of GDP down to 36% – where it hasn’t been since the 1930s? When there was no Welfare State and NHS.

    • I’m still grieving and angry but I’m also doing my very best to admit rationally that you and Derek are correct. My hope, however, is what I see in the here and now. The big change is the diminished and still diminishing ability of unionism to buy and or scare opinion in favour of the union. Derek Bateman, Wee Ginger Dug, Lesley Riddoch, Wings Over Scotland, Bella Caledonia, Common Weal, The Sunday Herald and long, long e.t.c. list are all still with us or have risen in the aftermath. And not forgetting, of course, the National reporting its daily and comprehensive news under a pro independence editorial policy. In early September last year I never thought that our world after no vote would have a big voice like this that continued to say yes.

      When you are out and about in public places then, maybe occasionally, buy a National and leave it for others to pick up and read. Remember those that are not online are only going start to read the alternative view when they become aware that it can be accessed in a newspaper. If they read the odd freebie, some of them might start buying it.

      Little things can become critical mass, ………….. eventually.

      • Of course we are not happy but we believe in an independent Scotland. Sadly 55% of us didn’t/don’t. Derek is right. We have got to turn these people round or a lot of them before we vote again. Until the issues which caused them to vote NO are addressed they will do so again. The constant threat of an imminent independence rerun is not helping.
        No end of insults, injustice and ignorance from down south will make a difference to the NO voters. It has always been so and it didn’t make them vote YES 🙁 last time.
        Let’s plan for our future. Plans should be being made and options explored to present to the Scottish public about finance and currency etc. Strong, well thought out plans that can’t just be dismissed or rubbished.
        The next time must be a resounding YES. It will take time.

    • So we just ignore the breaking of Purdah? We just ignore the broken “vow”? We just accept the total lack of honest representation in the Media? We’re all happy then to have our democratic rights insulted and trodden on in this way? There is a reason they say we were robbed… We WERE and have been for more than 300 years and still are being robbed.

      • They broke the purdah! Man the barricades! Somehow, I just can’t see it happening…

        We’ve been living with a biased media for years, and long before the Scottish referendum rolled into town. People don’t seem to bothered about it…

        Take the Iraq invasion as a case in point. We all know that the case to invade was complete and utter bollocks, and that government and media colluded to push the case, and then what happened months later?

        Blair won another election. The British people more or less agreed that they had been lied too, but said, yo Blair, here’s another 5 years….

        • Why does so much of this sound like ‘Shut up and get back in your box’. Just because we have put up with so much in the past, you say we should go back to sleep now. I really think that would be the worst mistake we could make.

          Maybe we should change tactics and pursue our goals rather than be in the face of the No voters all the time. But if we go back to sleep who is to say we will ever wake up again. There has been a fundamental change in the political awareness of the Scottish population and we have to go with it and work with it. Putting it to sleep again is the last thing we should do.

      • Your comment energised me Krackerman. i was beginning to get sucked into all that bloody “sense”. we don’t need to understanding any part of the sodding “NO” mentality, the point is that they don’t understand it themselves. It’s a “nice” idea to think that we’re seeing all those things through their eyes; the broken Vow, EVEL etc, but in actuality, many of them don’t know, don’t give a shit and – I’ve said this many times – do not consider themselves to be politically minded. They think it’s for someone else to worry about. Yes we’ll piss them off if we keep campaigning, yes we’ll send them into a spin about their pensions again, and the next batch of lies to emanate from unionists, and many of them are out of their reach. However, let’s get back to the point about whether we was robbed or not. Well, we don’t even need to worry about that. that’s where a proportion of No voters are going to become Yes voters next time around, because just enough of them feel cheated and humiliated out of taking that leap into the Yes camp on the day, and it didn’t take long for them to feel it either. We’ll wait until Scotland is decimated, the bonds forged during the referendum campaign are loosened and the SNP are in their decent before some people feel that we’re ready for indyref 2. Well I’m sorry, but the energy will be well and truly dissipated by then. we don’t need that apathy, we need the passion, spark and energy to keep going with the campaign, get the YES shops open again, get workshops and public meetings going and snap up those who are just itching to get it right next time. It won’t be a huge majority, but it will be enough, and Nicola Sturgeon can well and truly say that the electorate are informing her, and not the other way round.

    • Excellent

    • Missing in this analysis is the effect of Scottish Labour’s ever diminishing electoral base. The
      indy debate is now splitting along party lines. SNP,Greens roughly 50%, SLAB 25% & ConDems 25%.
      Forgetting about ConDems a successful Indyref2 needs 15-20% from SLAB.

      GE 2015 was an extinction level event for SLAB and will most likely be duplicated at Holyrood 2016
      and Local Elections 2017.

      At this point the bitter toxic residue (maybe 5-10%) that is SLAB will probably join the ConDems
      the rest being self interested careerists (‘aspirational’) will probably jump ship to be on the winning
      side. Then with a EU referendum result, Scotland 66 to 33 to stay in and England 55 to 45 to come
      out (EU immigration the main difference) I see blue skys ahead..

    • kevinparafinlamp

      Beautifully-composed reply, Cocaine. You make a lot of sense and you’re easy to read with it. Well-done.
      I sometimes find difficulty reconciling with the No result, especially when we’re subject to taunts, insult and disdain from people who don’t really care about Scots – and I include those Scots who are ’embarrassed’ to be Scots. My God.

      I get riled by some blogs, in a healthy, Nationalist sense, and am soothed by others, like Derek’s here and by your response. I can put that rusty hatchet away now…

      I can wait for independence; a few years is nothing compared to the glory of the inevitable break-up of the United Kingdom. I can wait, while Scots are shown the perfect example of government, by the SNP, for the people . I can wait, while more Scottish Labour Councillors see the growing gulf between us and south-easterners and privately lean further from their party and from the strange people who operate within it. I can wait. We’re doing everything right, we’ll get there and we’ll be glad we waited.

  2. Agreed Derek. The political union has existed for over 300yrs it cannot be undone overnight.The fact that within such a short period of time it almost ended says a lot about direction of travel but it takes patience to unravel 3 centuries of establishment.

  3. Apologies for long rants, but I should add the following:

    before we even think about indy2, do we even know why we lost indy 1?

    I still believe a lot of people are in denial, especially regarding the role of the media.

    Focusing on the media and its supposed ‘bias’ prevents us from shining a torch on the dark corners that we’ve been trying to avoid since last December.

    I believe we lost for the following reasons:

    1) Currency. The Yes side’s currency position was a complete and utter shambles from start to finish. Sharing the pound makes economic in the short term, and appealed to those indy supporters who were clued up on the economic realities, but to the average man on the street, the No camp saying that they would stop Scotland from using the pound, was a powerful message.

    And it provided the No side with an easy stick to beat the Yes side with. It might have made economic sense, but it was lousy politics from the Yes side.

    2) Quasi independence: So, you want to break away from the UK, but keep the pound, keep the Queen, keep the BBC, etc etc

    In that case, I think I’ll stick with the status quo and vote No…

    3) The Mongolian finance minister, or how the Yes side was reactive instead of pro-active.

    The No side played their hand brilliantly. Every week, they would wheel out the Deputy Slovakian Justice minister to warn about Security, or the guy who was Swedish Foreign minister in 1972 to warn about EU membership, or the Mongolian Finance minister to warn about Scotland’s finances…

    and then the Yes supporters on Wings, or Bella, or on here, would go away and swot up, and become experts on the Mongolian economy, or Swedish foreign policy…

    And then the No side would laugh, and move on to something else, and the whole process would start again…and the Yes side would be too busy fighting fires than pushing the Yes argument

    Ok, to the best of my knowledge, the No side didn’t wheel out the Mongolian finance minister, but I hope people get the point.

    4) Insipid leadership. Blair Jenkins – decent person by all accounts, but no fire in the belly. Heard him on the radio debating with some non-entity from the No side, and he took it on the chin all day long, as though he wasn’t even convinced at what he was saying about an independent Scotland. My heart sunk at the performance.

    A week before, I listened to Dennis Canavan tear Ian Murray to shreds on the same programme, but then Canavan went missing for weeks on end.

    Jim Sillars performed a similar demolition job on some non-entity from the No side, and again, disappeared from the airwaves.

    Where were the people with fire in their belly?

    For any future referendum, the economic case has to be airtight, and presented in a way that resonates with the man in the street, we need an argument for independence that actually makes Scotland independent, rather that some quasi independence, and above all, we need leaders prepared to engage in trench warfare and take the fight to the No side.

    Then, and only then, will we win…

    • 2) Quasi independence: So, you want to break away from the UK, but keep the pound, keep the Queen, keep the BBC, etc etc

      In that case, I think I’ll stick with the status quo and vote No…

      I have to say I find this argument really tiresome as to why we lost the referendum last year. The idea that No voters did not vote for independence because the SG’s vision was not radical enough is laughable imo. The truth is that Scotland is to a great extent a traditionally conservative nation. The Yes campaign did very well to get from 25-30 per cent support for independence at the start of the referendum campaign to 45 per cent by September 2014. That in itself is a massive achievement, and we should acknowledge and be very proud of this. Support for independence has increased since then in the opinion polls, and I think that it is largely built on the achievement of reaching 45 per cent on polling day.

      As to why we lost in terms of losing the actual vote: I think it is pretty clear that it was always going to be very difficult to achieve independence at the first referendum. It is very probable that many people resisted the extent of change implicit in voting for independence, that it was too much change too soon, despite the SNP being pragmatic over the monarchy, the currency union etc. I think Derek is right in saying that it was too much to expect a Yes vote due to the sheer amount of conservatism that exists in Scotland. In other words, too many people were just not ready or prepared enough for independence.

      I agree about not jumping into holding another referendum so soon. Some independence supporters are too committed to the idea and cause of independence, this has blinded them as to what we can achieve at present and for the short term. They think that they can persuade enough voters to change sides, but I am afraid it looks to me very much as if they are being driven by the extent of their passion and sentiments.

      • “In other words, too many people were just not ready or prepared enough for independence.”

        If not then, when? Is there ever a time to be ready for independence? History would say no, that when people want independence, they get it.

        Like I said in another post, all those countries that went independent – nobody had to ask them twice.

        • If not then, when? Is there ever a time to be ready for independence? History would say no, that when people want independence, they get it.

          Like I said in another post, all those countries that went independent – nobody had to ask them twice.

          To say if not now then when in relation to last year’s independence referendum is simplistic in the extreme imo. You seem to be assuming that voters never change their minds over time. You have also taken the political and historical contexts out of all balance and focus, when comparing Kenya. USA, India etc getting independence from Scotland’s case. These nations suffered through varying decrees through colonialism and imperialism. Scotland. The nations you mentioned obtained their independence largely from either the force of arms or through the threat of it.

          This is simply not going to be the case if Scotland becomes independent; it will be done by persuasion and democratic means. This entails by its very nature gradualism, and small, at times almost imperceptible advances.

    • Your first post above is perfect, and you’re pretty much on the money here too. I don’t know about anyone else, but it took me a year to get out from under last year’s loss.

      I’m going to take up two of your points.

      First, currency. I think Alex and the SNP did the politics well. The main problem is the media, which being all ‘No’, can control the conversation. No matter how cogent or right the Yes response is, it can be drowned out. I wish I’d saved the link, but reading up during the campaign, I came across a clip from British TV in the 70’s, where a civil servant was asked – apparently out of the blue about Scottish independence. His pavlovian response was, “well, what would you do about a currency?”.

      Alex Salmond was quite right to meet a “you can’t use the pound” ridiculous negotiating position with a “fine, we won’t accept any debt” response. And of course the media ignored it and carried on as if it hadn’t happened, as they did with so many arguments.

      Of course control-of-the-conversation speaks to your points 2 & 3, too.

      Secondly, and it’s a bit of an oblique point, but about the talking heads on the TV, and how the media controls that, too. I thought the BBC bias was particularly clear in their choice of guests. Of course we all saw the party-politics-style, one-SNP rep and one for every other party, debates the BBC showed for a campaign that had only two sides (remember Jim Murphy – I was going to say showing what a boor he was, but let’s just make it, remember Jim Murphy?).

      I don’t remember Jim Sillars, Tommy Sheridan & co. being major figures in the media during the campaign, but I watched the BBC wheel them out on the night before the vote, in a panel by themselves – winding them up in the hospitality bar first, no doubt – and get them to sing from the red mid-70’s song sheet about striking back at the bosses.

      The No campaign was venal and dishonest. At times it proved stupid and inept, but if you judge it so overall, you underestimate the forces ranged against Scotland’s interests.

    • Oh yes, and… polls have reported recently showing 50.5% support for Yes. That’s exactly the figure we had when Rupert Murdoch – frustrated perhaps at not being able to seduce the SNP – pricked the bubble with his announcement. It only took a week or two’s media carpet-bombing to push it back to 45%.

  4. “Focusing on the media and its supposed ‘bias’…”

    “Was the media biased in favour of the No side? Absolutely…”

    • Mea Culpa, but the point is this: if Indy supporters allow themselves to believe that No voters were brainwashed, that they automatically believe any negative story about an Indy Scotland, then we are doomed to lose another Indy referendum…

      • This is the kind of drivel that irks me. This “brainwashed” pish. Somebody merely has to mention the role of the media in the referendum campaign and some clown immediately pipes up with some crap about how it’s wrong to put the entire blame on the mainstream media and insist that all No voters were “brainwashed”.

        Wouldn’t it be nice if such people could just put their wee straw man army away long enough to address what is actually being said, rather than what they wish was being said because, hey! they’ve got a straw man custom made for dealing with that?

        Here in the world of grown-up politics, it is perfectly possible to acknowledge the unquestionable bias of the media and recognise its influence on the campaign without supposing that it was the only factor, or that it worked by completely brainwashing people.

        We KNOW as a matter of absolute fact that the No campaign was built on lies and distortions and smears, and unfounded scare-stories. We know that because we can see all these thing still. And, in many cases, see them better with the advantage of hindsight.

        We KNOW that the media colluded in this campaign. We know this because, again, we can see it. Thanks to the web, we can access all the evidence we need.

        We KNOW that people were swayed by this deluge of propaganda – for that is the only appropriate term. We know this because they told us they were swayed. Many No voters have been quite open about their reasons for voting No, either at the time of the campaign or since. And many of them admit that they were influenced by things that we know to be lies promulgated by the media.

        So, it simply makes no sense to deny this influence as a factor in the outcome. But nobody, NOBODY is claiming that it was the only reason for the No vote. So why pretend that they are?

        • “We KNOW as a matter of absolute fact that the No campaign was built on lies and distortions and smears, and unfounded scare-stories. We know that because we can see all these thing still. And, in many cases, see them better with the advantage of hindsight.”

          We also know that the No campaign was run by the most incompetent buffoons that Scotland has ever seen…and we still lost to that shower.

          We also know that the No case collapsed when confronted with the evidence

          AND WE STILL LOST!

          What does that say about us on the yes side?

          Not exactly a ringing endorsement of the Indy movement…

          • But the general public never knew just how dishonest the anti-independence campaign was. Or how woefully inept Better Together was. Because the No side was never subjected to any meaningful scrutiny. While the Yes case was, not only subjected to constant questioning, but presented in a distorted way. Those of us who recall the campaign will well remember the incessant refrain of “unanswered questions” regardless of how frequently and comprehensively questions were addressed.

            The currency thing is a case in point. One which nicely illustrates the totally different approach taken by the media to the two sides in the referendum debate. The currency issue was always a red herring. It was not really an issue at all. The media “scrutinised” the Scottish Government’s position without ever actually addressing what the Scottish Government’s position actually was. It all descended into a mindless mantra of demands for a “Plan B”.

            And while the media were picking apart their caricature of the Scottish Government’s position, not a single question was asked about the British parties’ threat to abolish the currency union. The questions were obvious. Glaringly obvious. But, barring a brave early effort by Bernard Ponsonby that was never allowed to be repeated, nobody put those questions to any of the party leaders.

            To this day, even Yes supporters continue to believe that it was the Scottish Government’s position that put voters off. In fact, precious few voters even knew what that position was. And vastly fewer realised that there were massive flaws in the position taken by the British parties. Because those flwas were assiduously concealed by the media.

            But, of course, we are not supposed to talk about the way the media influenced the campaign. We are supposed to pretend none of that happened. Or, if any of it did, that it had no significant effect on the campaign. This is the kind of idiocy that we have to deal with. People insisting that the currency issue was a major factor whilst at the same time insisting that blanket distortion of the facts about the currency issue are of no importance at all.

            Sometimes I come close to despair.

        • To Peter A Bell.

          Hear, hear!

          It appears that DB’s wet Nat supporters have rushed to get their retaliation in first. Derek Bateman accuses his critics of bampottery! But there’s plenty of it in his blog above and the first few LONG WINDED supporting posts. You Peter as always have set them right. (Too long to read. And are they being paid by the word?)

          • It seems clear enough to me that the media is trumpeting every whisper from the SNP about the constitution, whilst – as usual – ignoring the bulk of SNP activity, that is, the governing of the country.

            Call a referendum today, for two years out, and barring a miracle we’ll lose it.

            Wait for Westminster and the British establishment to fuck things up and grab that opportunity? Yes, of course. In the meantime, keep on speaking out and opposing the ongoing media barrage? Yes, of course. Get into the odd fight to vent frustration? By all means, but why not go out and find a union-or-death diehard to have it with? There’s plenty of ’em out there. They even have their own clubs, that anyone can go in to

  5. Come on, Derek. Get with the game. If you don’t watch out you’ll eventually join the likes of McTiernan and become one of the English Broadcasting Corporation’s go-to anti-Indyt quotebots. Or a regualr Daily Retard contributor. I’m only joking, of course, but still………

  6. There is also another very important point to make, perhaps, in my opinion, the most important point of all:

    If you ask a nation: do you want to run your own country, or do you want somebody else to do it for you?

    And that nation says No, then there’s nothing to suggest you’ll get a yes answer even if you ask the same question a hundred times…

    As much as I admire James Kelly’s work, it’s a point that he and others of that view, fail to grasp.

    Kelly would probably retort with something about Labour not giving up just because they lost a General election, which is true, but a general election is a change of government, not a change of nation…

    If Scotland wanted independence, they would have grabbed it with both hands and they would have done it a long time ago…

    To the best of my knowledge, Scotland is the first nation in modern history to reject independence…

    Let that sink in for a minute, and then come back to me and start talking about a second independence referendum…

    • No so Quebec is one example, there may be others.

      • If the desire, the confidence, and the belief in themselves was there, then Scotland wouldn’t have to be asked twice – they would have overwhelmingly voted Yes, first time around. That they didn’t speaks volumes.

        The big ideas of democracy, self-determination et etc. vanished and were reduced to the man on the street scratching his head and wondering if he was going to be a fiver better off in an independent Scotland.

        Nobody had to ask India, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Slovenia, Kenya, et al a second time. That’s the point I’m alluding too.

    • I am surely not the only one to see the gaping flaw in the argument that people don’t change their minds. Thousands of them did just that in the course of the first referendum campaign.

      • Of course people change their minds, but we’re asking them to break away from the UK and set up a brand new country. Such a decision is not taken lightly.

        The Scottish people had two years to think about that decision…and they said No.

        It rankles with me, but I respect it. Like Derek, I’m not going to ram it down their throats a mere 12 months later. Five years later? Possibly, but not 12 months…

        • But breaking away from the UK was precisely what thousands of people DID change their minds about.

          And nobody was proposing setting up a “brand new country”. Scotland already exists. It is already a distinct legislation. It already has distinct institutions and procedures. It already has much of the infrastructure of an independent nation. This talk of a “brand new country” smacks of the kind if “creating borders” nonsense that we got from unionists during the referendum campaign.

          • If you want to sell Scottish Independence to the Japanese, “setting up a brand new country” is exactly the slogan to use. You pair it with “just like the Meiji revolution”… which they see as having been the setup of a brand new country, despite Japan being an etc..

            (It’s really a stirring story, the way they went from feudalism to modern industrial and military power in the 40 years leading to their defeat of Russia in naval war in 1905. It was the only way they could avoid the colonisation that was widely suffered by Asian nations).

            There was a bloke doing just that on Japanese TV in the lead up to the vote:

        • You said this in another post:

          If not then, when? Is there ever a time to be ready for independence? History would say no, that when people want independence, they get it.

          Like I said in another post, all those countries that went independent – nobody had to ask them twice.

          And now you are saying this:

          Of course people change their minds, but we’re asking them to break away from the UK and set up a brand new country. Such a decision is not taken lightly.

          I am genuinely puzzled by what you are trying to get across here? You are saying things that directly contradict themselves. On the one hand you are saying ‘if not then, when.’ This seems to be an argument that last September vote on independence is set in stone. On the other hand, you are acknowledging that voters do change their minds over time.

          It appears that today marks the first time an elected Scottish Labour representative has publicly declared support for independence:

    • Hey Derek is Mr Cocaine the person you accuse of trying to take over your blog?

    • Yes lost by 6%. It’s hardly a ringing endorsement that Scotland said NO! There are plenty out there with buyers remorse. Okay, if you think that we can’t get the 7% we need next time, or that we need to reach much higher than that, notwithstanding the fact that we can’t completely trust demographics to deliver, just watch what will happen when the debates get going in the schools again.Some of those 14 and 15 year olds and under who were politicised but never even got the chance to vote will soon grab the chance. This negativity will never re-energise our country. I don’t hear anyone saying that we should have a referendum date in place and go for it, but if the FM is to be informed by the electorate as she insists, then at least let her, and the rest of the country,See that the debate rages. We absolutely need to be out there in the community again under the auspices of Still Yes.

  7. Well there is ONE circumstance which has changed Derek, and changed very dramatically.

    Labour in Scotland, like the Tories before them, have all but been annihilated.

    If we were to have an indyref2 in the next wee while, who on earth would lead the No campaign?

    Darling – he’s gone. Brown, well away. Murphy’s been seen off. Who on earth is there? Are you seriously thinking Kez or Jackie Baillie could command any gravitas?

    Another campaign in the next wee while would expose the No side for what it is – a toom tabard, of empty, fear-driven rhetoric, based on sheer anti-Scottish prejudice and British imperialism.

  8. Perceptive post, Derek.

    @My Cocaine: Constant whining about the media is pointless, yes, but we need to keep focussing on it and devising ways of beating it. Or is all propaganda ineffective. There’s a guy who paid himself £40M for selling propaganda, except it’s called advertising. US elections cost hundreds of millions to pay for all the propaganda. Is all that money totally wasted? Did the constant drip, day-by-day of Unionist propaganda have no effect, scare no-one?

    As for “shining a torch”, yes we need to, but ideas about why we lost are 10 a penny and based on nothing. If you want to work out why people act in particular ways or have certain beliefs, or vote for one party and not another then you have to ask them. If the SNP won’t do it, or some Yes group won’t then there’s a research thesis waiting for some student.

    If we don’t find out why folk voted No (and the question wasn’t “Do you want to run your own country?”) and then deal with the issues that throws up, then I think there’s a very good chance we’ll lose next time.

    • ” US elections cost hundreds of millions to pay for all the propaganda. Is all that money totally wasted? ”

      In most cases, yes. The Republicans spent millions demonising Obama, but Obama won comfortably both times.

      “Did the constant drip, day-by-day of Unionist propaganda have no effect, scare no-one?”

      At times, it descended into parody and had the opposite effect. When George Robertson spoke of the “forces of darkness,” in his infamous security speech, even the Daily Record chided him for going to far.

      “If you want to work out why people act in particular ways or have certain beliefs, or vote for one party and not another then you have to ask them.”

      I know a lot of No voters, and I did ask them why they voted no, and here’s some of the answers I got:

      If I vote No, I’ll be dishonouring my pals who were killed in the war

      I voted No because I don’t trust Alex Salmond and/or SNP

      I voted No because I like being British

      and believe it or not, somebody I know voted No because their SNP MSP wasn’t very helpful when contacted over a particular issue, so they voted No to get back at them…

      Who says the Scots don’t have long memories…

      The trouble with independence supporters, and I include myself in this bracket, is that we live in an echo chamber. We all post on Bella/Wings/Ginger Dug etc etc

      and when the outside world doesn’t react the way we want them to react, we scratch our heads in disbelief and call them silly or stupid for not ‘getting it.’

      EVEL was a big deal for people like us, but in the ‘real world,’ nobody I knew seemed to give a monkey’s about EVEL…

      That’s what we’re up against. We need to win them over, make them aware of what’s going on, and above all, never accuse them of being stupid just because they don’t conform to our beliefs.

  9. Oh dear, shovel for Derek

  10. Most bloggers welcome comments. They welcome the engagement. If nothing else, they are cheered by any indication that they’re not just talking to the ether. Not so Mr Bateman, it seems. He takes great offence at the intrusion. He is not, by his account, the recipient of flattering attention. He is “assailed by furies”! Some of whom even have the temerity to express doubts about his arguments.

    At the risk of provoking further outrage and stoking his sense of victimhood, I shall venture another thought or two. I will deal, in particular, with the claim that,

    “It is difficult to over-emphasise the fear and loathing the prospect of a re-run elicits among No voters…”

    Difficult it may be. But nobody could ever accuse Mr Bateman of failing to put in the effort. Indeed, emphasising – if not exaggerating – this “fear and loathing” seems to be a main part of his purpose. But where is the supporting evidence? Oh! I am aware of the fact that British nationalists like to say, “You’ve has your vote! Now shut up and get in your box!”. I can recognise that we’ve had a vote. But I’m less amenable than some to the demand that I shut up and get back in my box.

    The response to this pseudo-argument is so obvious it is almost banal. Democracy is a process, not an event. We are in that process.I am engaged with that process. I am part of that process. I am not about to make any concessions to those who want to hinder or even abort that process just because it has provided them with the outcome they wanted.

    There have always been people who are vehemently opposed to an independence referendum. All of the British parties in Scotland represented this implacable opposition to a referendum right up to the moment the SNP won a majority at Holyrood and a referendum became inevitable. In the space of a few hours, they went from fervent denial of Scotland’s right of self-determination to trying to portray themselves as the champions of that right. They went from obdurate refusal to even consider a referendum to being utterly convinced that the referendum was a generous gift to the people of Scotland from a beneficent British state.

    I have not forgotten this, even if Derek Bateman has. We got the first referendum in spite of the “fear and loathing”, not only of a few die-hard unionists, but of the entire British establishment. We would not have secured that referendum if, as Mr Bateman proposes, we give an effective veto on our campaigning to those who are against it.

    We cannot allow our strategy to be defined and constrained by what we suppose will be the reaction to it from our most determined opponents. We must take cognisance of what this response is likely to be, the better to inform and shape our campaign. But we cannot let our opponents dictate what we can and cannot do or say.

    We will not secure a second referendum by means of a subterfuge of feigned disinterest. We will only get a second referendum the way we got the first one. By demanding it. And by demanding it, send a clear message that our right of self-determination is not to be tampered with.

  11. schrodingers cat

    kinda agree with both sides. the snp should not be part of the yes2 campaign, until the date of indyref2 is actually announced. until then, the snp should hold their present position. That shouldn’t stop yes2 being launched, to continue to convince people to vote yes in indyref2. Im not sure if it’s remit should include demanding another referendum. but I noticed that a vigil is being launched, outside holyrood, for an indy Scotland, similar to the constitution vigil outside carlton hill. flags with yes2 can be flown, rallies held, bumper stickers distributed maybe even a wbb2 etc. im not sure why that would undermine the snp or the support for indy. I agree with peter bell, a date can be set, before which indyref2 cant be held, if only as a sign post for indy supporters and to give them some encouragement

    ps im not a pirahna

  12. But, as Nicola has said ad nauseum, that will only happen when it’s the clear will of the Scottish people.

    The fundamental question then becomes how do we define “the people’s will” and how will we know when we get to that position?

    Is it enough to have consistent opinion polls showing significant majorities now in favour of independence?

    Or do we need something more to back up that potentially ropy evidence? In which case what? Do we need to see a million marching down Princes Street or Buchanan Street in the way we have seen the Catalans take to the street? If so how do we get there?

    I want a second referendum – but I want us to be in a position of having a better than reasonable expectation of winning.

    And I want independence to be the will of the vast majority of the Scottish people when it does come about because in my opinion only then will we reach a stable and sustainable settlement.

    And I just don’t see enough evidence that we are any where close to that yet.

    That doesn’t mean we stop trying – if we can change the Scotland we have now and start to mold it into the Scotland we want to see int he future then I am sure that will help.

    I happen to think Peter and James and Derek all have reasonable, valid arguments for the positions they hold and their views should be respected. But to carry this argument on risks it becoming nothing more than circular stuff – “full of sound and fury” and all that.

    So can’t we just agree to disagree on the specifics, talk up the generals and move on?

    • “So can’t we just agree to disagree on the specifics, talk up the generals and move on?”

      You’d think Steve. 🙂

      Whatever the timing, which IMO will be driven by events and need and not cunning strategies, we better be ready and reading from the same page. The establishment have been trying to drive wedges into our movement for a long time. The last thing we need do is give the buggers a helping hand.

      Referendum sooner or later, doesn’t matter to me. I’d vote yes whether we were prepared for it or not, though I’d rather we were prepared, but in my experience life is rarely like that. Bit like Mrs M buying some kittens for the weans. You think you’ve bought them all the toys to keep them amused and kitten proofed the house with rush mats and scratching posts…. mmmhhmmm! Right up until you discover your slippers and favourite chair make great napping places, your wallpaper and curtains ideal scratching material and your bed becomes a mouse mortuary/kitty shitter all rolled into one. 😀

      In the depression and grief, folk forget what they actually achieved during the referendum. First time of asking would have been great, but for a myriad of reasons was not meant to be. What was achieved was beyond remarkable and done with their faces fully into an entrenched establishment gale. Ordinary folk came from nowhere to within an inch of knocking the establishment on its arse. They took the most awful pounding from government and media and in the aftermath look more pissed off and up for it than before the pounding took place.

      I’m proud of all of us, because we’re no done yet.

      Recriminations are for another day (if at all), both for our side and those who voted no. People are suffering now and more set to follow. Whenever that opportunity arises we need to be communicating 24/7 sharing what we know and what we learn. We also need to be helping less fortunate folk out wherever we can and giving whatever we can. Winters can be long, cold and lonely.

      Personally, I’ll leave the strategising to the politicals and whilst they’re away doing that I’d rather be getting clothes and food into the local charities. They can give us a shout when they need me to vote, for when it comes to losing Westminster and having the Scottish electorate decide their own government, their own priorities and their own future, my mind has long since been made up. 🙂

  13. Some of the comments on here are becoming a “little disrespectful” with an unhelpful and intemperate tone. Why some think it’s ok to slag off others, who are actually on the same side, with insults is beyond me. If these are our “friends”…. Time to go elsewhere I think.

  14. Ever since the Scottish Parliament re-opened its doors, I have seen a rebirth of this great nation. I have seen the flag flown with pride, the blossoming of Scottish culture, and the emergence of a civic nationalism that is inclusive and welcoming, stark contrast to other nationalist movements in history…

    That same parliament takes on more and more of the burden of people’s lives – it embeds itself into the nation’s conscience…

    I have seen the Unionist bastions of Glasgow Labour collapse (something that I thought would be unthinkable in my life time) and the virtual wipe-out of the Tories as a political force…

    I also saw nearly half of Scotland vote for independence, and since then, I have yet to see one Unionist raise a finger in defence of the UK…

    Years ago, unionists would have made the moral argument of the UK as a force for good. Nowadays, they’re reduced to telling people that indy will leave them £500 a year worse off…

    You could imagine Lloyd George or Winston Churchill spinning in his grave at that one…

    This would have been unthinkable just a few generations ago…

    I have also seen the threads of Union unravel: the Royal Mail flogged to city spivs, the NHS carved up, the welfare state all but destroyed, London and the south-east emerge as a force in UK politics, and of course, the awakening of that beast that Westminster has always feared – English nationalism.

    The Union is morally and politically bankrupt. It’s end will come. For some, the pace is slow, frustrating, and understandable, especially when you see good people suffer at the hands of the Tories.

    It’s a drip drip drip process, but its end will come.

  15. Am as determined as anyone else on the yes side to see independence, and soon. But calling for another referendum before we know as an absolute and undeniable fact that we would win it, is asking for a defeat and our cause not just put on the back burner but the gas switched off for the foreseeable future.

    Yes there were many obstacles in the way of a win. We all know what they were. But it’s no good using those obstacles as justifications for rushing at a second ref until we know what we will do to move those obstacles out of the way or to neutralise them. Our victory must be decisive with a massive and unequivocal majority, not only to prevent further sabotage by the British state, but to ease the transition within Scotland to full independence.

    • And how are we ever to “know as an absolute and undeniable fact that we would win”? By what fiendish device do you propose that we come by this certain knowledge of future events?

    • Sooz,

      Just as we will never know it is an absolute and undeniable fact that we would win, neither do we know it as an absolute and undeniable fact that we would lose. It has to be on the balance of probabilities.

      Timing will be all.


      There are far too many scenarios that even with an 8o% lead in the opinion polls, an event might happen.

      Not one of the people contributing here or on Mr Kelly’s blog have the advantage of second sight, and that includes our esteemed host.

      BTW, I doubt the British State, or any state for that matter, can cause more devestation than they already have.

  16. “So, Mr Kelly. You have released the dogs of war to challenge me. Instead I find myself assailed by the furies”

    What!? I read James Kelly’s reply to your diatribe and I and many others on his site thought he was far too kind to you in his response. And here you are again today attacking him again and whining and whinging and being “assailed by the furies” aka people who don’t agree with your views. To use words similar to yours “that is democracy live with it”. If you don’t like it take up another hobby.

    And there are plenty of words being written here today albeit by just a couple of your supporters so I suppose you will be happy. And there is plenty of bampottery going around from you in the piece, and in the long winded views of your supporters.

  17. Derek,

    I like your blog. I like James Kelly’s blog.

    When, exactly, did you decide, and on what basis, that the next referendum was 10 years or so off? There seems no reason for it whatsoever. The mind of Derek Bateman has determined that the ‘correct’ interval between referendums is a half-generation.

    I am willing to put this into the debate. The alienation of the Scottish people with Westminster is increasing, not decreasing. The General Election should have been a bit of a hint. The present polling for the SNP should be another one.

    Is it enough?

    No, to my mind it isn’t.

    But if support for independence continues to climb, forfend with the help of alienated Labour supporters as of today, the iron could be hot for striking far sooner than you seem to believe. A 60% Yes in the polls would see the SNP scurrying around to find any reason whatsoever, and there are many, to call a second referendum.

    What I think, who cares what I think, is that once you have made the decision to vote for an independent Scotland, there is no going back. It is not like maybe Liberal, maybe Labour. It is a far more fundamental shift in perspective.

    If I am right and you are wrong, and it happens sooner rather than later, I will probably vote Green in the first independent election. If you are right and I am wrong, I will continue voting SNP, because establishing our independence will have become a long march.

  18. I’ll say it again: the No side have no leaders. No big guns. We have decimated Labour. They are not coming back. They have gone. If there was another indref tomorrow we would crush the No side. Because it would become apparent to even the dimmest Scot that the Union is a colonial enterprise. Any leaders on the No side would have to be recruited from across the Border.

    • MBC,

      I am with you on this. There are no big hitters left on the Unioist side any more in Scotland and there are not likely to be any for the foreseeable future.

      Indyref2 will be a completely different affair if the Unionists are represented by Cameron, Osbourne or Boris Johnson.

      So bring it on – sooner the better for me certainly within the next five years before they have a chance to regroup.


      • There is an element of truth in that. Although you rather overstate the case.

        The important thing to take from your comments is that indyref2 will NOT simply be a rerun of indyref1. It will be a different kind of campaign in a number of ways. Something else we must take account of when considering the timing.

        • Bruce chose his time to move when the weak Edward II came along. Weak leader, no grip, clueless.

          Never mind the ‘55%’. That was then. It’s the fact that they are down to three MPs that counts now.

          They are weak. They have no leaders left. Can Ian Murray Kez and Baillie save the Union single-handed? When we control both Parliaments?

      • We all know that the Great Broon would make one last heroic move to save the union, and as usual, the MSM would give him wall to wall coverage.

        Don’t fall into the trap of thinking the Unionists won’t raise the walking dead to do their bidding.

        • Oh they will try, but nobody is listening to Broon any more and his resurrection after all this time would be a comedy act and totally backfire. If all they can come up with is a long-dead (in the political sense) politician the irony will not be lost – a long dead politician to defend a long dead union.

    • I wish that were true,

  19. There was a coalition government in Westminster during the first referendum. By its nature the most extreme elements of British nationalism were held in check. Cameron lost the vote when he wanted to bomb Syria in 2013. Were No voters influenced by this seemingly moderate outcome?

    Now the Tories have a majority in Westminster and we have seen already the extremism – domestic and foreign – which they are desperate to implement on all of us, regardless of the fact they have only one MP in Scotland. Cameron is about to get his war, thanks in large part to the *official opposition” in Westminster. I believe many No voters will have changed their minds, or at least now have serious misgivings about being a part of this so-called united kingdom. Don’t underestimate the results of Westminster’s arrogance and ignorance in its attitude towards the people of Scotland.

    • Yes, the Lib-Dems were a restraining influence on the last government. It lulled No voters into a false sense of security. That wouldn’t ge the case now. As I keep saying, the No side now has no leaders who could be enlisted to the cause. Ian Murray, Kezia and maybe Baillie.

      They may be the 55% but they are in total disarray.

  20. There’s an interesting article over on Newsnet by GA Ponsonby. Basically, the Unionists are already campaigning for the next referendum, that the Yes side need to sharpen their campaigning and that the usual suspects (aka BBC) are still playing the same old tricks turning “good” news into “bad” and “bad” news into “good”. Worth a read.

    • Yes, read it and commented on it broadbield. No criticism intended, but I wonder how many of those who have commented on Derek’s article actually campaign on the doorsteps.
      While independence supporting websites have changed the way Scots receive their news, and made a huge contribution to both the referendum, and general election campaigns, they are not, unfortunately, the be all to end all.
      I believe most of the electorate still form their political opinions from what they read, hear and see in the M.S.M. And yes I know some don’t want it called that nowadays. At least, speaking to real people over the last two campaigns, that is what comes through because if they ask any questions, they come straight from the B.B.C/ Daily Record handbook. If there was a fair, don’t laugh, media, then I believe would be well on our way to being an independent country, but of course that will never happen, the media I mean. And despite being criticised for using the term “brainwashed”, I believe that is what has occurred, but not over the last few years, I am talking about over hundreds of years, and this still results in the “too wee, too poor and too stupid” mentality.
      When the next referendum will take place I have no idea, all I can tell you is this, that on the doorsteps support for the S.N.P is still rising, at least in our constituency, to a level exceeding last years General Election campaign, and we all know how that turned out.
      While, as Nicola has said, the demand has to come from the people of Scotland, I trust her judgement to call the next referendum when the time is right, whenever that may be. I just hope that it’s not too long away, and I’m around to see it happen.

      • Earlier, I raised the point about my No voting friend *, who specialises in media studies, lecturing ME about the media bias and how it helped the No side.

        How do you through to people who laugh at the blatant media bias and still vote no?

        * He voted no because he likes Britain and being British.

        • I’ve always accepted and respected that some people simply feel British, though most of them are in fact English and simply conflate England with Britain. Perhaps it helps them to feel more comfortable with their Englishness if they call it Britishness, convinces them it is a larger, nobler and more inclusive identity? Especially if they are an English person living in Scotland? As your friend probably is? How very generous of them!

          Some English people seem to feel embarassed by their Englishness. Interesting that, isn’t it? Why should you feel embarassed about feeling English? There’s lots to admire about English culture. It suggests that the label is not ‘folky’ but has been hijacked by an elite group or else an extremist group that most decent ordinary English people simply don’t chime with. Hence the preference for Britishness. (Though they really mean Englishness, just not THAT Englishness).

          But if you feel British, are proud of Britain, why on earth would you vote to break up your country? Not a viewpoint I share, but I’ve always accepted that was a totally valid reason for voting No.

          However my point is that I don’t think most Scots feel British first, or only British. Though there are some culturally confused Anglo-Scots who feel British rather than Scottish. Most of them are living in Edinburgh.

          • Scotland’s census 2011

            “62% of the total population stated their identity was ‘Scottish only’. That proportion varied from 71% for 10 to 14 year olds to 57% for 30 to 34 year olds.

            The second most common response was ‘Scottish and British identities only’, at 18%. This was highest in the 65 to 74 age group, at 25%.”


            I personally wish we’d heard this more often during the campaign.

  21. We don’t need any special trigger for another independence referendum. The SNP put it in the manifesto and then we vote on it.
    Worrying wether it might be a bit rude to the No voters is frankly, pathetic.
    Of course that’s just my opinion.
    Another is that the SNP should have it in every Holyrood manifesto until independence is achieved. People can then vote on it.
    It’s called democracy.

    • Independence is in every SNP manifesto. It is the explicitly stated aim of the party.

      • And I as a long term supporter of independence and hence the SNP expect nothing less from them, others seem to disagree though.
        It is important they remain true to that principle going forward even with the sniping from the sidelines.
        Upsetting the sensibilities of some BNP knuckle draggers should concern us not in the least.

  22. The UK has a constitution. Constitutional referenda can only be repeated after 7 years has passed. That would put the earliest IndyrefII in 2021.

    If the UK votes to leave the UK, with the exception of Scotland, there will be time to reverse that decision in Scotland’s interest will a YES vote then.

    Expect an entirely different response from the EU Commission in that scenario.

    I fully accept the result of IndyrefI, yet I’m surprised how “Project Fear” has not gone back in it’s box. Perhaps it’s because a polticised generation of Scots have not? Democracy alive and well me thinks.

    I have a suggestion though, in the next vote count, postal votes are tallied seperately and remain separate in the count. One would expect similar ratios of YES/NO in each.

  23. There are a lot of reasonable points being made on both sides here. Derek’s point that it would be a bit much to launch into another long campaign so soon after the last one is not wrong. Soft No voters (and some soft Yesses) WOULD be put off by that; we just had a turbulent couple of years which, sadly, No voters found very difficult to cope with. We can probably all agree that Salmond never “promised” not to revisit the issue for a generation, but the point was always that a referendum would be pretty decisive either way. I certainly don’t agree that it means another referendum should be put off indefinitely, but talking about another one right now probably scares off more people that it enthuses.

    On the other hand, there could scarcely be a better time in many respects. When Labour’s travails are discussed on TV, it’s unelected peers and ex-MPs that are called on to talk. At Holyrood, their most powerful voices are Dugdale and Bailie, and I don’t see many people being convinced by the Head Girl and the School Bully. The Tories have Ruth Davidson, Murdo Fraser in a pinch and then you’re on to the likes of Forsyth. You’ll notice that Mundell doesn’t get put up for any interviews he can avoid, because he’s useless. For the LIbDems, there’s Willie Rennie. That’s pretty much it. If Carmichael survives his trial, he’ll be a dead duck anyway. Every time he speaks, you’d just reply “well, the self-confessed liar might say that, but…” and his argument falls.

    We’re also close enough to the last referendum that people can still remember what happened, the promises that were made and so on, and can see the lies unravel daily. In a few years, after the “Northern Powerhouse” is established and the Scottish Parliament has been granted additional powers (which are designed to be unusable, meaningless or detrimental to Scotland in the longer term – sometimes all three), the narrative that the SNP only cares about independence and not really making Scotland any better RIGHT NOW will grow stronger. At the same time, if the oil price stays low then the economic argument gets harder to make. (Not that oil is as important as the British Nationalists insist, but that meme is embedded in people’s heads and it’s hard to shift.) The longer we wait, the harder it gets to make a lot of the good arguments we had last time around.

    There’s a lot of discussion where people are saying that a steady 60% in the polls should be the starting pistol we’re waiting for. I’m absolutely with James Kelly on this. 60% is an almost impossible figure to hold for any extended period. It might be possible, but it could only happen with really intensive, aggressive campaigning from now until it happens. That’s not something that’s in the offing. The National can shout all it wants but it’s not all that widely read, and mostly it’s only read by committed Yes voters already. The rest of the media will, as GA Ponsonby has noted, continue the campaign against for as long as it takes. That makes our job even harder, because every day we do nothing is another day a Don’t Know gets told how dangerous a Yes vote would be and how much money he’d lose, not to mention all those awful corrupt SNP MPs, their corrupt police force, their usurping of parents’ rights with GIRFEC, their Mugabe-style land grabs and whatever other bullshit stories can be concocted in the meantime.

    My feeling is that some sort of regular event needs to happen. In Stuttgart, when people wanted to protest about the controversial new train station development, they held a variety of protests but the most notable once was a weekly minute of noise at 7pm every Monday. People would open their windows or go out in the streets and bang drums, rattle tambourines, blow horns, clap, shout or whatever they could do to remind the politicians that they were upset.

    In the meantime, someone needs to get a hold of the Yes Scotland website and start rebuilding it. The original site was pretty good in a lot of ways (and the fact of using it to take a million names committed to the project was brilliant!) but this time will need to be different. For now, it could be a useful way of compiling statistics and analysis, providing refutations of stupid scare stories, showing how the promises of the referendum have been broken and so on. It could also be a place to discuss the “offer” for a future referendum. How do we approach currency, the monarchy, the EU, NATO? What real changes are possible on day one and what will happen over the subsequent years? The problem with the White Paper was that it was an SNP policy document. I really didn’t care for the “we can have better childcare!” line, for example, because to an average punter the question is obvious – why can’t we have it now? The depth of analysis that most voters go for is not as deep as reading two or three articles on Wings. It’s probably not even as much as reading ONE article on Wings, and certainly not following the links and fully comprehending all the underlying issues. We need punchy things that “cut through” the sound and fury of the unionist “case.”

    I also think we need to fight a LOT harder next time. Call out the lies. Call them lies. They had no qualms about calling nationalists liars and Nazis and Stalinists and whatever else. Let’s call Cameron an imperialist. Let’s call the LibDems the Liars’ Party (seriously – Carmichael AND the tuition fees pledge?) Let’s call Labour out for supporting the Tories on everything that matters. Every time Alan Cochrane is on TV, remind viewers that “journalism doesn’t matter.” Every time the Record publishes a story, ask them if Gordon Brown wrote it for them. Every time any of them appears, remind the world that they’re in league with the National Front, the Lodge, the Daily Mail, Britain First and every other nasty, bitter, sectarian, racist, hate-filled organisation in Britain. Let’s retweet BritNat Abuse Bot every chance we get, and challenge the British Nationalists to condemn EVERY SINGLE ONE. EVERY DAY. UNTIL THE END OF TIME. Let’s not play the “we all love Scotland” game. They don’t. Explicitly and obviously, they don’t. So every time they call themselves patriots, let’s ask them for an apology for the cuts to HMRC and the Peterhead Carbon Capture project. Let’s ask them where their support was for reducing Longannet’s connection charges. Let’s ask them why they want Scotland to pay for HS2. Or another middle eastern war.

    And in the meantime, the Yes groups that sprung up everywhere need to re-constitute themselves. Door-to-door campaigning is tough and time consuming, but by the time another referendum is called, we should have intelligence on every voter in Scotland. We should have knocked every door and found out what arguments need to be made to which people. Would a visit from the local MP help? Would literature explaining away their specific concerns change their mind? Or are they dyed-in-the-wool Orange bigots whom we can ignore? Arrange a weekly meeting to discuss strategy and divvy up the streets. Get out and knock doors. Start off by just gathering info. How did you vote? Why? Would you vote the same way again? What would change your mind? Let’s make sure that next time, we know more, are better organised, are less SNP-dependent and have all the machinery in place for a WIN. We managed a remarkable gain last time with what, at times, was a pretty shambolic campaign. The Yoon Loons will be better prepared next time too, you can be sure. They still have terrain that works entirely in their favour, but they’re defending less and less territory with fewer and fewer soldiers and a depleted stock of weapons. We need to be lined up and well organised ready for the big push that wipes them out.

    • Kenny, ok you’re a Yesser so let’s cut to the chase.
      If there was an indyref in 2018, (I’m guessing you think that’s too soon)
      Should Scotland be an independent country?
      Would your answer change?

      • Nope. I’ve been pro-indy since I leafleted for Jim Sillars in 1988. Maybe even earlier.

        Honestly, I don’t know if 2018 is too soon. I think this WM term could be a tough one, since those SNP MPs were elected on a “not about indy” platform. But in the meantime, if people were to become more aware of the Scotland Bill trap or Cameron was to get caught tomorrow remarking about how bloody sick he is of the sweaty socks and their moaning, 2018 might end up being later than ideal. I don’t know when the perfect time is. I just know that we need to be prepared for it to happen tomorrow and ready to understand if it doesn’t happen for another 30 years. Trying to predict how this story is going to go is difficult at the best of times, but with UK Labour in meltdown and the branch office in a pretty parlous state, Cameron merrily “doing a Blair” over a Syria and the Scotland Bill being the ridiculous pile of keich that it is, I can see “sooner rather than later” being the best guess.

    • “I certainly don’t agree that it means another referendum should be put off indefinitely, but talking about another one right now probably scares off more people that it enthuses.”

      Scares them off from what? We are talking about a political campaign and the debate around it. If they are scared off by that now, what reason is there to suppose that they will not be scared off later?

      If there is some point at which they will,not be scared off, how are we to know when that time arrives? What if the magic moment doesn’t arrive for all of them simultaneously, how are we to discover the point at which it will be OK to start talking about the forbidden subject again?

      If they are affected by the first referendum campaign it’s because they were engaged by it. Are we supposed to bide our time until they are disengaged, and then start from scratch again?

      It only takes a few rather obvious questions and the whole “scared off” argument disappears up the arse of its own ridiculousness.

      Campaigning isn’t about waiting until people are ready for change. It’s about making people ready for change.

      • You know what, man? I WAS on your side. I specifically said that I thought people should get organised to start door to door campaigning IMMEDIATELY. I gave some clear suggestions on a strategy for how to develop a winning case for independence. I said that there was a chance that 2018 – 2018! – might even be the time for another referendum…but you leapt on me for my suggestion that loudly demanding another referendum right now would be a negative for the cause and tore a strip off me for my lack of fight.

        If that’s how you campaign face to face with people, God help us.

        • That would be your way of evading my questions.

          • No, that would be me telling you that your abrasive style is going to lose us votes. Stop being a dick.

          • Still evading the questions. And now using the old “you’ll lose us votes” tactic. I would be flattered that you think I might have significant influence, if the suggestions wasn’t so preposterous.

            I think we can now safely say the “argument” that people are “scared off” some unspecified thing by mere mention of a referendum has been disposed of.

          • ‘Most bloggers welcome comments. They welcome the engagement. If nothing else, they are cheered by any indication that they’re not just talking to the ether. Not so Mr Bateman, it seems. He takes great offence at the intrusion. He is not, by his account, the recipient of flattering attention. He is “assailed by furies”! Some of whom even have the temerity to express doubts about his arguments’
            I count 25 posts from Peter A Bell, easily outnumbering anyone else who has ever commented on any subject here. In total the word count (minus the two-sentence comments) is 5976.Any one of these could have been blocked. They weren’t. Instead one person was given free reign to express his valid, although sometimes intemperate and abrasive, opinions and dominates the posts.
            For the record, I too have doubts about my arguments because I don’t know when a second indyref should be held. It doesn’t make me a feartie or a traitor to the cause but I think it may take as long as a generation and we should be prepared for that. It could of course come much quicker through Unionist stupidity and Scottish public demand. Whenever it does, I will vote Yes (just to be clear to the Bravehearts).But my real objection – I state again – is what I believe most Scots will view as the negative politics of urging a second referendum when people are still digesting the lessons of the first. We can’t win next time without welcoming No voters in and much of what I’m reading here would repel not only Unionists but some Yessers too.
            I have deleted only one of the dozens of comments (thank you all) from one person because its language is insulting and demeans all of us interested in debate rather than trolling.

          • The obsession with the number of my comments was a bit odd. Counting the words is just weird.

          • Derek, thanks for providing us all with a platform to share.

  24. The no vote means the ball is in Westminster’s court. They could cement their win by introducing federalism. But they won’t. Instead, they will try to do us over.

    No voters will now experience repeated boots to the baws by Westminster before the reality of Scotland’s situation sinks in.

    I do not expect the UK establishment to let us down in that regard, but it is going to be a long and painful wait, particularly if the media don’t do their job properly.

    I would also like to reiterate a point GA Ponsonby made on newsnet. Just because it might take a while, doesn’t mean campaigning should stop. The opposite, in fact.

  25. It’s a brilliant post Kenny. You’ve made some great suggestions.

    I don’t agree with Derek that it’s offensive to No voters to continue to campaign for independence. Liberty and justice are causes that you never abandon. Nobody who ever campaigned for rights ever gave up just because a majority didn’t happen to agree with them. No social or political progress would ever have been made otherwise. Those who voted No largely made the wrong choice. I say largely, because if you believe in Britain, then obviously it was the right choice. But those of us who believe in Scotland are entitled to continue to say that Britain is not actually benefitting Scotland and being part of the UK is a regressive form of imperialism that is anti-democratic and is holding us back. We can still have a positive relationship with England as an independent nation without being in servitude to the English state.

    Where I do tend to agree with Derek is that I think that politically it would be a mistake for the SNP as a government to seek another referendum so soon after the last one if polling suggests that views have not changed substantially.

    But that shouldn’t stop the rest of us. You can’t expect governments to do everything. That’s partly what independence and liberty is about – freeing ourselves as individuals and throwing off the shackles of Labour paternalism and British patriarchy. Initiatives coming from the grass roots are often far more powerful than what governments can achieve.

  26. What Craig said.

    The danger in stopping the campaign is that it just gives the UK imperialists more time to do us over. That’s what I’m afraid of. As we pause to respect No voters as Derek seems to be suggesting they are busy figuring out ways to stitch us up and find ways of blocking our future escape.

    They want Trident in the Holy Loch and that means keeping Scotland firmly atrached to the UK. This is a key imperial objective they won’t let go of. It’s their major claim to Great Power status and their seats at global tables.

  27. I just thought you seemed depressed in that last segment of the videos Derek. When you said what you did regarding a further referendum.

    The inference that we haven’t accepted the vote is actually emanating from the Unionist side. That’s all ‘they’ go on about. And as per the campaigning period itself, they don’t want to talk about it, so they ‘accuse’ those of us who are still engaged politically as ‘not letting it go’.

    But we have let it go. What we haven’t let go of, is our memories. The Unionists want to forget and we still remember the constant undermining, the othering, the disgraceful tactics of scaremongering utilised to secure their No vote.

    The Unionist don’t like being reminded of that. They dismiss it as ‘more grievance’. What else can they do? They can’t deny it, they can’t bury it, they can’t escape it. So they lash out by further undermining, othering and are still running the scare stories as if we had actually voted Yes. I mean how often are we told that the oil price drop would have devastated Scotland should we have voted Yes?

    I mean what is that about? They are the ones still battling to secure their already ‘secure’ vote. They’re the guys in the jungle still fighting the war…meanwhile we have moved on to what’s current, but what’s current in Scottish politics can only be contextualised within a framework of reference that includes the referendum. Obviously.

    It’s never going to go the way the Unionist think or want. It’s fluid now…we have altered the political landscape…and it’s not going to go back to some comfy place were the only voices that are listened to are the Unionist parties as filtered and parroted through the pundits, newspapers and the BBC et al. That’s finished.

    Scotland is going to be Independent, whether 2 years or 6…doesn’t matter. Time people started realising that there is not a ‘divide’ in Scotland. There is however a ‘manufactured narrative’ being created by the Unionist press and Unionist parties. That’s easy to understand, because they are losing their ‘grip’ on the Scottish psyche and their control of the purse strings in Scotland.

    But they forget there are only 4 degrees of separation (hehe) on the planet now. And if you apply that to a smallish country like Scotland, everyone pretty much knows everyone else and I don’t know about you, but I see no riots on the streets, or violence in our city centres, or barricaded no-go areas. What I do see are newspapers filled with SNP bad in their headlines repeatedly gunning for the Scottish Government irrespective of whether the issues are devolved or reserved.

    As if it is the SNP that is ‘The’ problem. It’s the ‘movement’ that is their problem…and there is nothing they can do to stop it now. There is a ‘One Media State’ in Scotland, who would have us all, Yes and No voters alike, believing that we are all divided.

    It’s not true, oh yes, heated, fractious, difficult at times? Yes, just like life in general eh?

    The more we come away from the manufactured news, and keep talking with people, irrespective of how they voted, the more we’ll realise we are all the same people we always were, some of us are more passionate about our politics now and that is a healthy and good thing.

    We’re deciding how we want our representatives to conduct themselves, we’re deciding who best reflects the ‘best’ interests of Scotland. We’re deciding that we, the people, are the best thing about Scotland. It’s the natural next step for us to become wholly independent of the ‘established’ system in place. And it’s also long overdue for some of those who support Independence from within the Unionist parties and the media in Scotland to reflect the changes in our country’s political outlook since May ’15, and to genuinely acknowledge the fact that nearly half the population and now more supported/support the proposition that Scotland ‘should’ be an Independent country.

    The media should have been the arbiter of both sides during the campaign, explaining clearly and dispassionately what the options where, both sides of the coin. Instead they have created the very division they claim is created by those in the Independence movement.

    Until such times as the media reflect these changes in Scotland, I’ll remain unconvinced that there is a ‘No movement’ with genuine issues regarding Yes voters who are still engaged with this process.

    I believe that people mostly regurgitate what they see in the media and read in the newspapers. And the media inflames and inflates non stories as a form of revenue gathering, nothing more or less. I believe the No voices are all Unionists with vested interests, fiscal, political and ideological.

    We can respect the vote Sep ’14, can they respect the vote May ’15 and ’16 and ’17? We’ll see.

  28. @DerekBateman1 12.03 I used to enjoy coming here and reading the blog and generally thoughtful and incisive posts, usually expressed in temperate language, and make occasional contributions myself. Most posters exercise self-restraint, knowing that readers don’t want to wade through endless repetitions of the same thing from one dominant individual, and Derek himself rarely intervenes. I hope that restraint will continue.

    After all, if I want the collected wisdom of the “Thinker Listener Talker Reader Writer” I can always visit his blog.

  29. My impression is that Derek is right in regarding talk now of another indy referendum as unhelpful, though I have no idea when another referendum might or should happen. I think we can help to make it happen by getting information across to as many people as possible.

    The kind of information that might be useful is:

    (a) how Gawd awful is Westminster government. Lots of examples. In the past 35 years three major recessions, the first two made worse than they need have been by government incompetence. The third, worst since the Depression, was avoidable. “Light touch” (pretend) financial services regulation allowed it to happen as Brown embraced the Thatcher legacy. Her legacy includes unnecessary, premature deaths of thousands in the UK (see research by Bambra et al) as a result of the assault on UK industries.

    Three avoidable wars.

    Mismanagement of the oil and gas industry. (See the Wood Report). There is also a counter to the “decreasing oil revenues” attacks. In 2011 Osborne raised taxes to their highest on the O&G industry. The trade body, O&G UK, asked KPMG to estimate the total tax take across the industry. The total tax take estimated including the supply side was £30 billion, around the figure of the total Scottish budget. Not all of this tax take would have gone to an independent Scotland had there been one in 2011. But most would, since the great majority of oil and gas is currently produced in Scottish territorial waters. Around £24 billion would go to Scotland and there would certainly be a budget surplus in 2011 and other years and money to save to even out volatile revenues.

    Failure to create an oil and gas fund as proposed by McCrone in 1976. The cost to the UK at a conservative estimate is £450 billion and at the top end £850 billion (see “Dude where’s my oil money”)

    Mismanagement of energy generation. No single organisation in the UK has responsibility for ensuring security of supply. (See the submission by Messrs Miller(Sir Donald) and Gibson (Colin) to the Holyrood Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee). The closure of Longannet, if it goes ahead may well bring lengthy power outages.

    The effect of failing to devolve control of the economy and welfare to Holyrood means that Scotland cannot adopt the most effective means of tackling poverty. Scotland is in the position where another country prevents it from addressing poverty most effectively.

    (b) Tackling poverty ought to be a major campaign plank.

    Earlier this year I wrote to Sir Harry Burns (former Chief Medical Officer) suggesting that consideration might be given to using the social media as a means of getting across the message on health inequalities. i had no reply but later I was glad to see an interview between Derek and Sir Harry. Unfortunately, the sound quality was poor for me. Maybe Derek might consider inviting others in the field for regular interviews. There are folk in Glasgow Centre for Population Health (Dr Gerry McCartney, Professor Sally McIntyre and Professor Carol Tannahill) who could each expand on the evidence given this year to the Health and Sport Committee on Health Inequalities. We can use any interviews that take place as a basis for letter writing locally and nationally. There is also a cracking thesis by Gordon Daniels on the reasons why Thatcher’s de-industrialisation hit the west of Scotland harder than the rest of the UK.

    The educational attainment gap between the better off and the worse off promises to be a political football. The gap is almost certainly more to do with poverty than education and there must be people who can speak to that with authority.Sir Harry Burns talked about it in the 10th Kilbrandon Lecture mentioning the effects of chronic stress on permanently raised cortisol levels. Low birth weight can also affect brain development with the effect persisting into adolescence. “Can poverty hinder brain development?” (Harvard Kennedy School) raises as many questions as it answers. The best solution surely is to tackle poverty while making the interventions in schools suggested by JRF (Closing attainment gap – Scottish Schools)

    What is the cost to Scotland of health inequalities? Frontier Economics did a calculation of the cost to England and Wales of health inequalities for the Marmot report 2010. Might Derek ask the economics experts the Cuthberts, Jim and Margaret to make such an estimation for Scotland?

    Sorry for being so verbose. Interviews with experts are always useful and can be used for campaign material.


  30. I agree with a gradualist approach in that I see further devolution as the next step, but I still see 2020 or 2021 as a reasonable time for a second go, given it only needs a 6% swing.

    James Kelly is correct however regarding the ridiculous 60% ‘unofficial’ target to trigger a second referendum campaign. That was simply idiotic if it did come from the SNP, which I very much doubt.
    Independence support is only going to rise if there is an active campaign for it.

    There is always going to be 25-30% who will NEVER vote for independence and we have to accept that we will never bring everyone on board.
    But it is winnable with the remainder of the population and it would be foolish to put that 30% above a possible 55% YES vote, which I see as realistic. The others will come around when independence is the ‘new normal’.

    Derek is correct that the vote has to be respected, but 5 or 6 years is a political generation.
    And it wouldn’t be the same campaign.
    I imagine it will be about how our long term prospects are better with ‘full’ devolution, and our place in the world improved as a ‘real’ nation.

    I suspect a ‘better Scotland, better Britain’ angle next time – trying to bring as much pro-Brit identity on board as possible. A friendly change, and a new ‘confederation of equals’ approach.
    Most people do want to get on with our neighbours.

    If that concept is rejected by a future No campaign, then that leaves them looking like the wreckers.

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