The flame remains undiminished

Back in 2014 in the immediate aftermath of the independence referendum, I published a piece about the importance of keeping the flame of hope alive. Right now, we need that flame of hope more than ever, the candle is guttering and the storm winds of despair are blowing stronger than ever. In recent weeks the Scottish Government has been buffeted by one crisis after another, and today the opportunistic wolves of the Labour and Conservative parties are circling around a First Minister they believe to be mortally wounded following his decision to pull the plug on the Bute House Agreement and the furious response of the scorned Scottish Greens which places the current administration on a knife edge in terms of its parliamentary majority. It’s difficult to escape the conclusion that yesterday’s decision was a massive misjudgment on the part of Humza Yousaf, who was seeking to appear tough and decisive, but the problem with that is that it merely provokes other people to seek to appear tough and decisive too. It’s rarely wise to piss off people upon whom you depend.

But we are where we are. The next few hours and days are likely to be fraught for the political future of Humza Yousaf, just at a time when what the wider independence movement needs is a period of calm and stability in order to capitalise upon the incompetence and corrupt chaos of a massively unpopular Conservative government and to shine the spotlight on the deceit and lies of a Labour party which has moved so far to the right it now occupies the political space inhabited by the Tories before Brexit drove them mad. Instead attention is focused on the Scottish Government and Humza Yousaf’s struggle to survive politically. I cannot be the only independence supporter who is sighing in exasperation right now. This is absolutely not what we need. Yet again we see that terribly Scottish tendency to score an own goal.

That said, when we take a step back from the immediate drama and the glee of the anti- independence parties and their media allies salivating at the prospect of landing a serious blow on the Scottish Government, the wider and longer term picture is a lot more positive.

We don’t tend to look much at that bigger picture when dealing with politics in Britain. The curse of Westminster is short-termism, and it is rare to consider what happens beyond the next electoral cycle. Right now there is intense focus on the very short term, the political survival of Humza Yousaf and the Scottish Government.

Predictions in politics are a mug’s game, but for what it’s worth I feel its likely that Humza Yousaf and the Scottish Government will survive this crisis, for all the feverish speculation in an anti-independence media that he will be brought down. It is more likely than not that an arrangement will be reached with Alba MSP Ash Regan allowing the First Minister to scrape through the Conservative vote of no confidence which is likely to take place around the middle of next week.

There is even less chance of Labour’s motion of no confidence in the Scottish Government passing as at least one Green MSP, Mark Ruskell, has already signalled that he is unlikely to support it, accusing Anas Sarwar of wasting Parliament’s time by putting forward a motion that he doesn’t want to pass, saying: “It was the poor judgement of Humza in ending the Bute House Agreement that is in question, not the record of the SNP/Green [government].”

Expecting the Greens to support a vote of no confidence in the Scottish Government is asking them to vote no confidence in a government that they had been a part of since the Bute House. If other Green MSPs join with Mark Ruskell, the Labour motion will have been nothing more than an attention seeking waste of time, solely a testament to the arrogance and entitlement of Anas Sarwar for all the excited and feverish anticipation in an anti independence Scottish media which wills the Scottish Government to fail.

But irrespective of what happens in the coming days, the underlying dynamics driving support for independence remain unchanged. Amidst the hysterical media barrage that essential truth remains undiminished.

As part of securing Ash Regan’s vote, the Scottish Government is likely to have to commit to backing her bill to hold a referendum seeking to ask Westminster to devolve to Holyrood the power to hold another independence referendum. Ash Regan sees her referendum bill as a means of circumventing the decision of the UK Supreme Court that the Scottish Parliament lacks the legal competence to pass legislation for a second independence referendum.

Although the UK Supreme Court ruled that Holyrood cannot pass a bill for a second independence referendum without a Section 30 order from the Westminster government, the Alba MSP noted: “However, there is nothing to stop our Parliament proposing a referendum, which we believe would be within competence, and that is to ask the people whether they believe the powers of the Parliament should be extended to include the right to legislate for and negotiate independence.”

The bill would certainly face a legal challenge and the UK Supreme Court may take a different view to Ash Regan, but Scottish Government support would see the bill successfully pass through Holyrood, and if nothing else would recentre focus on independence and the right of the people of Scotland to decide their own future. Far from bringing down Humza Yousaf and the Scottish Government, the Tory and Labour no confidence motions may blow up in their faces and bring independence back into the forefront of the Scottish political agenda rather than neutering it.

All crises pass eventually and the SNP will get through the crises and challenges it currently faces. When it does it will be making a pitch to a Scotland which grows more and more receptive to the idea of independence with every passing year. Support for independence is distinct from support for the SNP and remains undiminished no matter what slings and arrows are thrown at the party. Winning a nation’s independence is a project far greater than the short term attention span of the political media can accommodate. In the wise words of the Scots saying ‘Keep a calm souch’ and retain that sense of perspective that the anti-independence media has long since abandoned. We will have the last laugh, and the flame remains undiminished.


I am currently running the annual fundraiser for this blog. It relies on your support to keep going. Please consider making small donation. Now more than ever it is vital that someone continues to make the case for independence without getting sidetracked by conspiracy theories or culture wars issues. You can donate to my crowdfund page by clicking on the following link

Or you can help to support this blog with a PayPal donation. Please log into and send a payment to the email address [email protected]. Or alternatively click the donate button below. If you don’t have a PayPal account, just select “donate with card” after clicking the button. You can also donate by PayPal by using my link PayPal.Me/weegingerdug –

If you’d like an alternative method of donating – by cheque or directly into my account, please email me at [email protected] for details

Obviously recent developments concerning Peter Murrell will attract a lot of interest and people will want to express their views. However I must remind people that Scotland has very strict laws about contempt of court and you must exercise extreme caution in what you post. Ideally it is best to say nothing. I must also warn you that you are personally responsible for any comments you make.

Donate Button