The Aye right reflex

Well I am back online again, thank you to everyone who helped. I have lost some data, my own fault for not backing everything up for a few weeks, but it’s nothing I can’t live without. The problem was that the SSD drive in the old laptop gave up the ghost. The old laptop froze just as I was about to start work on that day’s blog, and then would not boot back up again into Windows. I just got an error message saying “no bootable device”. These things are sent to try us.

But thanks to the wonderful readers of this blog I now have a lovely new laptop which I spent most of yesterday configuring and setting up. Luckily I was able to recover all of my log ins and passwords. I also plan to get a second refurbished laptop soon so that I always have a back up. Then if there are future technological disasters it won’t interrupt blogging and writing.

It seems that there were some interesting developments during my enforced absence. On Sunday we got the seventh poll in a row to show a majority for independence, this time by Panelbase for the Sunday Times. This confirms the pattern established since the massive own goal for British nationalism, the Supreme Court ruling that Scotland is too wee and too stupid to be allowed to decide for itself whether it wants another independence referendum. This poll puts support for independence on 52%. This categorically does not represent a slipping back in support for independence, as some of the frothing British nationalists on social media would like to believe. In recent years Panelbase has tended to place support for independence at a lower level than some of the other polling companies so to have majority support for independence in a Panelbase poll is very good news indeed.

Together this run of polls confirm that there has been a real shift in Scottish public opinion since the Supreme Court ruling. Far from killing off support for independence, all that the ruling did was to provoke Scotland’s famous “Aye, that WILL be right” reflex. The key now is to ensure that momentum is not lost in 2023.

With that in mind, the SNP has announced the date of its special conference to decide the strategy for using the next election as a de facto referendum. The polls seem to show some public hesitancy about this strategy, which hopefully should be alleviated once the details are made clear. For my own part I feel that there should be a two pronged strategy.

Any pro-independence MPs elected to Westminster in this de facto referendum should refuse to take their seats in the Commons if there is a Yes majority in the popular vote. Their only job is to force the British Government to negotiate independence. SNP MPs and all MSPs should form a Scottish National Convention to chart the country’s path to independence, forming a de facto Parliament for an independent Scotland. This convention should seek to reach out to the international community to put pressure on the British Government and bring it to the negotiating table. All MSPs from all parties should be invited to participate in the convention, because an independent Scotland will not belong just to those who voted Yes. Scotland cannot and must not repeat the arrogance of the Conservatives following the Brexit vote.

However if the SNP wins the election and trounces the British nationalist parties, but does not achieve a majority of the votes cast, this must be regarded as a mandate for another referendum and it should be the duty of the SNP to disrupt Westminster by all lawful means until the referendum takes place. The message from Scotland must be clear, the days of being ignored are over. Every arcane and obscure rule in the Westminster playbook must be utilised to bring the business of Westminster to a halt until Scotland’s demands are heeded. After all, if Keir Starmer believes that Labour can win a mandate for constitutional change on a minority of the popular vote then the SNP can win a mandate for another referendum on a minority of the vote too.

These are just my opinions. I am sure that SNP members and representatives have opinions of their own, but one thing must be clear, the current undemocratic constitutional log jam is intolerable and must be broken.

In other news while I was offline, the Scottish budget was announced. Feathers were spit by the usual suspects when John Swinney announced in the Scottish budget that the £20 million which had been set aside for the referendum will instead be used to help alleviate fuel poverty.

The first thing to make absolutely clear here is that this move has zero effect on the route to independence that we find ourselves on following the Supreme Court ruling. Sure, Scotland could have pressed ahead with an unlawful referendum anyway, but that would not deliver independence. Not only would the British parties boycott it, but neither the British state nor the international community would recognise the result. We would end up in the same situation as Catalonia, which you may have noticed, is still not independent. We are in yhe business of winning independence here, not making grand and futile gestures that risk setting us back for many years.

The £20 million was not set aside to campaign for independence, it was earmarked for paying for the practical and technical considerations of holding a vote. Democracy costs money. Those costs will now be subsumed in the costs of the next election. Assuming that is a UK General Election, the independence vote will be paid for by the British state. Westminster will then have to foot the bill for its own destruction in Scotland. Serves them right.

Importantly, the Scottish Government has confirmed that it will still be publishing its series of papers setting out the case for independence. The case for independence is still going to be articulated.

£20 million is just a drop in the ocean when it comes to tackling fuel poverty, but it deprives the Conservatives of one of their attack lines. But Tories gotta Tory, and they have now switched from demanding that the Scottish Government do something about the health service to complaining that the Scottish Government is doing something about the health service. This is of course because the budget also contained the announcement that taxes in Scotland will rise, the extra funds raised will be used for the NHS. There is now a clear distinction in policy and outlook between Scotland and the rest of the UK. These distinctions will loom ever larger as that independence vote grows closer.


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).

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