Picking ourselves up, dusting ourselves off, and getting on with the campaign for independence

Sorry for not updating the blog sooner but both my other half and I have been fighting off a very nasty chest infection with bad coughs and a temperature. He has had it far worse than I did, but I am almost back to what passes for normal now and he is over the worst of it. We both did covid tests but they were negative. We must have picked it up when we were in England, ’nuff said.

Anyway, the dust is starting to settle following the SNP’s abysmal performance at last week’s Westminster General election. Despite feverish reports in Scotland’s anti independence press, the SNP is not mired in a bitter and all consuming civil war. When you read beyond the headline these stories are based on quotes from the usual embittered egoists, Jim Sillars and Alex Neil, both of whom have Tom Gordon on speed dial so they can tell him how the SNP has been doing things all wrong ever since the party stopped listening to their genius.

There is no civil war, what there is is the need for a proper and thorough post mortem into what went wrong and a real determination to change things so that it doesn’t happen again in 2026 when Scotland is due to go to the polls again for the next elections to the Scottish Parliament. The people who now demand the immediate resignation of John Swinney are largely those seeking to settle personal scores of their own.

If he were to accede to those demands, the SNP would immediately be thrown into another damaging leadership election, which the party can scarcely afford right now. Worse than that, the demands for another Holyrood election would be overwhelming, not least from a Labour party which now has a majority of Scottish MPs and would be screaming that Scotland would have its third unelected First Minister within the space of a few months. Labour could force through legislation in Westminster to dissolve the Scottish Parliament and would now be able to point to the fact that a large majority of Scottish MPS would support such a move as ‘proof’ of its democratic legitimacy- and hold fresh Holyrood elections which the SNP does not currently have the money or resources to fight. This would most likely result in a new Scottish Government with Anas Sarwar as first minister. Say goodbye to free prescriptions, say hello to tuition fees. Labour would then use its victory to transfer devolved powers back to a Labour controlled Westminster or to Labour controlled local authorities, further undermining and weakening a Scottish Parliament which has been under sustained attack by Westminster for many years. It’s a mad idea favoured by the embittered who put settling their personal scores above the bigger picture.

So what happens next?

I’ve said this before but it bears repeating, it is long past time that the SNP abandoned the strategy it inherited from Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon of expecting that an election victory for the SNP in Scotland will lead to a British Government agreeing to facilitate another Scottish independence referendum. As we saw in 2021 any such victory will be Britsplained away with the complicity and connivance of most of the media in Scotland which will simply shrug its shoulders or worse, actively collude with the British parties to undermine democracy in Scotland. By now it ought to be very clear to everyone who supports Scottish independence that the outcome of elections in Scotland will only ever be respected by the Westminster parties when the result at the ballot box is to their liking.

The mistake that the SNP has been making up until now is to imagine that it is dealing with honest, principled, and democratic opponents who will always play by the long established rules. The parties of British nationalism will always find a way to explain away, sideline, and marginalise a Scottish mandate for another referendum no matter how many or how large the majorities that the SNP and other pro independence parties are able to pile up. They will shift the goalposts time and time again and change the rules after the fact just as they did in the wake of their defeat in the Scottish elections of 2021. They don’t call it Perfidious Albion for nothing.

All that is left is some version of the de facto independence strategy. Ideally the SNP needs to decouple the fortunes of independence from its fortunes as a party. If we are to have a de facto independence referendum the campaign must centre on the merits of Scottish independence and not on the record of the SNP in running a devolved administration under a devolution settlement one of whose purposes is to transfer the blame for macroeconomic decisions made in London onto Edinburgh. An independence campaign is categorically not about what the SNP has done at Holyrood with one hand tied behind its back by the devolution settlement. It is about the potential of Scotland as an independent nation with all the power currently possessed by Westminster. This entails fighting that campaign not as the SNP versus the anti-independence parties but as an umbrella Yes2 organisation encompassing all the pro independence parties and civic organisations. You don’t get your rights by asking for them nicely. You have to demand them and take them.

However as well as a new strategy for independence the SNP also needs a new strategy for dealing with the media in Scotland. The Scottish media gives obsessive and extensive coverage to every fault or failure of the Scottish Government but ignores its successes. A particularly shameful case in point was the way in which BBC Scotland, which had clearly been gearing up for an orgy of SNP baddery as the health unions in Scotland threatened strike action, dismissed the Scottish Government’s successful avoidance of strikes in under 30 seconds. Scotland was the only part of the UK where strikes were avoided in the NHS, but BBC Scotland did its best to ignore that fact. For all the media concentration on the failures of NHS Scotland there was scarcely any acknowledgement that the NHS was failing across the UK, no matter which devolved government was in charge and as new health secretary Wes Streeting admitted – “All roads lead back to Westminster.”

Another remarkable Scottish Government success which has been largely ignored by the media in Scotland is the Scottish Child Payment which has been hailed by the Fraser of Allander Institute as being crucial to reducing both poverty and food insecurity. An analysis by the organisation found that the payment caused a significant decrease in foodbank usage. Professor Danny Dorling described the Scottish Child Payment as the single policy intervention that has created the largest fall in child poverty anywhere in Europe for at least 40 years.

Yet none of this is given any mention in the ferry obsessed Scottish media, which believes that the only real news in Scotland is news that is bad for the SNP.

The SNP needs to start playing hard ball with a Scottish media which is not just a reporter on Scotland’s constitutional debate, but an active participant on the part of opponents of independence.
By 2026 we can hope that the controversy of SNP finances, based upon politically motivated complaints to the police, has been put behind us. By that time the sheen will also have come off Starmer’s government and he is likely to be massively unpopular. Labour will not be able to pose as the party of change quite so successfully. Starmer’s unpopularity will be the big chance for the SNP and the other pro independence parties to prove that real change is only possible through independence.



albarevisedMy Gaelic maps of Scotland are still available, a perfect gift for any Gaelic learner or just for anyone who likes maps. The maps cost £15 each plus £7 P&P within the UK. You can order by sending a PayPal payment of £22 to [email protected] (Please remember to include the postal address where you want the map sent to).

I am now writing the daily newsletter for The National, published every day from Monday to Friday in the late afternoon.  So if you’d like a daily dose of dug you can subscribe to The National, Scotland’s only pro-independence newspaper, here: Subscriptions from The National

Cornish map blog versionI am also now selling my Cornish language map of Cornwall which was produced in collaboration with Akademi Kernewek, the umbrella body for Cornish language organisations. The approximately 1200 place names on the map were researched and agreed by the Akademi’s place name panel. The map is A1 in size. The Cornish maps cost £15 each plus £7 P&P within the UK.  P&P to the USA is £16 and P&P to Europe is £12. You can order by sending a PayPal payment for the appropriate amount to [email protected]  or by using my PayPal.me link PayPal.Me/weegingerdug
https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/weegingerdug Please remember to include the postal address where you want the map sent to and clearly mark your payment Gaelic map or Cornish map). Alternatively contact me at [email protected] for other means to pay.

Within Cornwall the map is available at Kowsva, 6 Artists Muse, Heartlands, Poll/Pool – The Kowethas shop. They are also available from The Cornish Store in Aberfala/Falmouth. Other outlets in Cornwall will follow soon.

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