I read an interesting quote earlier by Tony Robbins, it went “People often overestimate how much they can get done in a year and underestimate what they can get done in ten” or words to that effect.

It struck a chord with me because I often feel frustrated, like I’m not getting anywhere, over my short term goals but when I look back over the longer term I’m often astonished as to how far I’ve come.

It all started for me nearly ten years ago now when my Dad was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. NHS England were really beginning to struggle at that point and they just could not seem to organise the proverbial in a brewery. We went down to visit for what became clear was going to be the last time we saw him properly.

It made me reassess my own life and what I saw wasn’t pretty. Compared to the dreams I had had when I left home at sixteen I had fulfilled very little of the potential I thought I had. My Dad’s situation hammered it home that life is short and you only get one chance to truly live.

I set myself concrete goals with a definite timescale and began at least striving for more again.

Ten years on and things haven’t really gone in the direction I wanted them to but I’ve sure achieved more in those ten years than I ever did in the twenty before that.

Impatience is a pretty natural human emotion, I struggle against it constantly. I think one of the real secrets to success in life is patience, the ability to accept your failures, focus on the incremental gains you have made, and to persist in striving to attain your goal.

Like Bruce’s famous spider fortune favours the tenacious..

It is one of the many bugs in the programming our brains have evolved over the eons. We just cannot view life on the timescales necessary to appreciate the progress we are making or how long it really takes to achieve anything worthwhile. Not naturally at any rate, we need to train our minds to overcome that blind spot and see beyond our immediate horizons.

Too often we do not know how close we are to victory and give up in disgust right on the cusp of achieving our desires.

That has all been on my mind this week as I have tried to absorb what happened in the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

I’ve looked through the judgement a bit now and I don’t think the details really tell us much, there’s a few areas of interest, but in general it is what isn’t said that seems more important to me. The Court goes out of its way not to address the issue of Popular Sovereignty, which is to some degree odd, because it is that very Popular Sovereignty that makes a potential Yes vote sufficiently problematic to qualify a Referendum as a reserved matter. If Westminster is Sovereign and doesn’t have to listen to Scottish voters, like it is doing now, then it doesn’t matter two figs how we vote in a Referendum. It matters how we vote because Scottish voters are Sovereign. The Court glosses over that because it is trying not to look at the de jure constitutional facts in an effort to preserve the status quo instead of doing their job.

If I’m honest I’m a bit disappointed in the Justices in that regard. I thought they took their role more seriously but I suppose, to paraphrase Noam Chomsky telling off Andrew Marr, if they were the sort of people that thought like that they wouldn’t be the sort of people to be handed that sort of job. Sad though.

Their reasoning does expose two things.

First they think that the Sovereignty of the Scottish People really is a problem if it is ever clearly expressed at the ballot box.

Second, they don’t view Scottish Parliamentary elections in the same light.

If they did they would not have been able to rule as they did, they would have considered the expressed will of the people of Scotland at the ballot box last year as too significant to ignore.

I think that is a warning we should heed.

The subtext there is that the Court considers Scottish Parliamentary elections to be a limited expression of political will and Sovereignty, limited by the Scotland Act and the powers granted to the Scottish Parliament by that act. A vote in a Holyrood election is a vote that they consider to pertain solely to devolved powers.

A legal, single issue, referendum is different. As is a General Election.

When we elect MPs to serve in Westminster we are casting a ballot for a representative that has the full spectrum of our Sovereign power devolved to them.

Any MP we elect to Westminster standing on a platform of seeking permission from the Sovereign People of Scotland to negotiate Scotland’s withdrawal from the Treaty of Union is directly empowered by the Sovereign Body in Scotland to do just that.

That leads me to a number of tentative conclusions.

Firstly it really ought to be our MPs that negotiate Independence after we win the next General Election. It must be a General Election, the ‘one simple trick’ of calling an early Holyrood poll is a trap that will cost us several years and a substantial amount of international support. To be credible that MP group must be properly representative of the wider Yes movement and needs to command the support of a majority of voters not simply a majority of seats. There is no route to a lasting independence that does not command majority support.

The Special Conference the SNP has called is the right thing to do. The SNP needs to be led by the will of its members, they must feel like they have made the important decisions for the party rather than having had them made for them. The party must be united to succeed.

As must the Yes movement, so I think that Special Conference would be well advised to call a Constitutional Convention and a subsequent Citizens’ Assembly to decide precisely how we should fight that de facto Referendum and who we choose to represent us as the most important negotiating team our nation will ever have. The SNP should have opinions as to how best to do that, decided by the Special Conference, but the final decisions must be reached by consensus. A consensus that the Yes movement and the wider electorate feel a sense of ownership over.

There needs to be an overall vision of the sort of Scotland we are seeking to build but it must not be prescriptive. Options only, with the decisions to be taken by the people after independence. There also needs to be a clear transition plan including an interim constitution.

And lastly I don’t think we can fight that campaign without the leader of the Scottish National Party being a candidate in that election.

The leader of our negotiating team and the parliamentary group in Westminster must be our party leader and the First Minister of Scotland.

The next Prime Minister of England, Wales, and Northern Ireland must find themselves face to face every day in their own house with the leader of another Sovereign Nation. A leader with the full force of Scottish Sovereignty behind them, a leader that will make it impossible to do anything else other than settle up. Westminster Hall just isn’t big enough to have the leaders of two nations crammed into it.

Just my personal opinions, and they may well evolve over the days to come, but for now they will be what I will be pushing for moving forward.

4 thoughts on “Patience”

  1. I find myself compelled to agree, the one simple trick doesn’t do much more than the current stalemate.

    The election of MPs to Westminster on a single issue seems the best chance and is in line with the sovereignty of the Parliament.

    There’s examples of abstentionist parties doing well in elections on the same argument.

  2. And whether the leader of our Sovereign Nation likes it or not, our country would be best served if the leader of the Alba party was sitting beside her in Westminster.

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