Labour concede election

Question Time in Fort William presented a small glimpse of what may come to be the next chapter of the Scottish Independence partnering, but first we need to look back a bit.

The Scottish Greens found themselves with a lot of power without much real preparation for being saddled with it, sadly this manifested in some of the oddest and widely unpopular legislation the Scottish Parliament has enacted.

Nicola Sturgeon found herself evicted from office in the severely damaging defence and promotion of ideas that found no traction with the electorate. It’ll now come to pass that Sturgeon may also have led the most ineffective and support losing Parliament due in part to the stranglehold the Greens exerted. 

However it’s largely pointless to dwell on what has gone past us and instead focus on the future. 

Humza at some point will have to jettison the old guard – still battering on as though the whole saga was just a bad dream – or be jettisoned himself, there are only really two options available to the SNP just now. 

However what was striking was that Mairi McAllan, who in the past has been a very effective friend and repeater of Nicola Sturgeon has decided to refocus on being more conciliatory and focussing on echoing what people actually say to her. It was amusing to see the change. 

Likewise Alex Salmond, seemed to have risen above any real fight with the SNP, and instead went back to pronouncing the benefits Scotland already has. Watch closely – and if he hadn’t mentioned ALBA, you could be forgiven for thinking he was still in the SNP, the stats and arguments he was making were straight from his former playbook. Indeed they might even be. 

Alex has obviously concluded Humza will sooner or later be forced to exorcise bad omens from the SNP cog-works and has moved a little ahead into the phase where we have one movement, albeit with distinct voices. 

Diverse voices with varying tones and messages is what the movement needed last time round but lacked in the political arena – but enjoyed on the community level. This time round it does seem at least we will enjoy that improvement. 

The standout though – is exactly what will end with the Labour Party (in disbelief), presented in a neat little package by Jackie Baillie. 

You see Jackie went on the attack about how she campaigned in 2019 for remaining within the EU. However thats not Labours current position, it does not seek to solve the European problem, instead as Jackie said, much the same as currently dished up will be delivered by Labour, but with friendlier smiles. 

While the independence movement bolsters on, debating the merits or demerits of full membership, EFTA and single market access – the Labour Party won’t actually have anything with any substance to add. This isn’t going to delivery any fruit to the Labour Party, in part because they can’t help secure the future of fruit workers. 

The electorate will maybe vote Labour in some places as a kick to the Tories but theres no resounding message the Labour Party have found to share. Bereft of talent or substance – it’s the same old folks making the same old noise and Scotland has moved on from it. 

Outrage from Ian Murray followed the day after – he was upset the SNP’s condition of support will be for a referendum on Scottish Independence. 

Amusingly in being aggrieved – Ian Murray had already conceded Labour won’t win the next general election without the SNP’s help. How pathetic. They can’t even pretend they’ll succeed because it’s that unlikely. 

If the only choices of Conservative Party Policy are whether you want the red or blue set – is it any wonder why Labour can’t beat the SNP when it should be at its weakest? Furthermore not expecting to beat a terribly weak Tory performance?

In the next few weeks and months, the SNP will learn some lessons, as will ALBA, they’ll tune and hone.

The SNP have worked out behind the scenes that the Greens are an anchor rather than a propeller. Despite knowing folks like Mairi and Alex share no desire to work together – they’ll find an equitable platform to stand on to push the cause – while Labour languish in the polls. 


Chain of Freedom Scotland

Independence doesn’t bring about itself – you need to go out and demonstrate that there’s not just a hunger for if, but there is an active and vibrant demand.

That’s what we’re going to do with the ‘Chain of Freedom Scotland’.

Inspired by the Baltic Way,

A peaceful political demonstration which took place on 23 August 1989 when approximately two million people joined their hands forming a 600 km long human chain through the Baltic countries, thus demonstrating their unity in their efforts towards freedom.
Photo: P. Šķiņķis

Across sixty six miles of Scotland we are going to split into 11 groups – run by each of the Yes/Indy groups.

In each of those 11 groups, we’re going to split into one mile chain links. Inside those links you’ll be able to see the person along from you and it’ll be up to participants how they want to demonstrate support for Scottish Independence.

For some that will be playing your bagpipe to your neighbour, for others that will be taking pictures and sharing on social media. However the important thing is that we turn out and show that the movement is alive and full of the passions of the nation.

In the short space since the idea was born, there are already over nine thousand members in the group – and that’s before we’ve even a got close to the date!

There’s still time for groups to get involved for their local area and there’s more than enough time for individuals to get registered to take part.

It really does need the whole Indy family to turn up and show the world – that Scotland’s people want their independence.

Find out more about Chain of Freedom


What if Westminster say no?

There is growing domestic and international attention to my plan to use the Ballot Box to decide whether Scotland becomes an independent country. 

Today I can confirm this plan is supported by 93% of SNP voters and 52% of Scottish voters. [1]

I have the only plan that has historic precedent, can be delivered legally by Scotland alone, moves us beyond the referendum stalemate, is supported by the majority of SNP members, and is accepted by the public. 

I have often been challenged on ‘what if the UK say no’ and this is where I should mention I hold a Master of Science degree in Development Management, in the study of how countries develop, alongside my Bachelor of Arts in International Relations – which means I’ve taken for granted the foundation on which I speak. 

Bluntly, there is no possibility of the UK Government not agreeing, as demonstrated in the 65 examples of countries that have left the UK or British Empire. 

There is a 100% success rate in those countries getting the UK Government to the negotiating table after an initial refusal. It is not credible to suggest anything else, the UK Government will even concede this fact.

The UK Government has denied the moral mandates of my predecessors for a rerun of a referendum – they can do this because legally they have that power reserved. The Supreme Court opined that an advisory referendum could not be held by the Scottish Government due to the outcome having an effect on the Union. 

This is important, as it demonstrates a key fact now established in the UK law, that even advisory referendums would be so great in their power, that the Union would be altered. 

This is exactly what my Voter Empowerment Mechanism does. It allows the people of Scotland – not politicians – to decide when they are independent.  The achievement of a majority of votes for a collection of manifesto pledges to become independent, and open negotiations would meet the criteria to alter the Union. 

This is Pillar 1: The Smith Commission is the only agreed written document on the matter and it states clearly in chapter 2, point 18 ‘It is agreed that nothing in this report prevents Scotland becoming an independent country in the future should the people of Scotland so choose’.

It is important to note ‘should the people of Scotland choose’ – is agreed by every party in the Scottish and UK Parliament. The fact that the Scottish people are sovereign on matters of their independence is a settled matter. 

It would be extraordinary for the UK to change its stance from legally blocking a referendum to illegally ignoring an election in which its Electoral Commission oversaw the process. I cannot imagine the Prime Minister or his cabinet calling into question the legitimacy of a UK or Scottish election. It would be a significant regression to a country identifying as one of the oldest democracies in the world. 

This is Pillar 2: The International Community has recognised UK elections as fair and democratic since its inception. The international community has rallied and expressed support for every election winner and First Minister of Scotland, delivered through this mechanism. It is recognised and considered the democratic will of the Scottish people. 

Much has been made in the media over the last few days, as the UK Government seem to have noticed something that was never a secret. Every SNP MP and MSP since our election victory with Winnie Ewing has advertised and normalised the idea of an independent nation. I’m half surprised it took so long for them to catch on, Winnie’s campaign was ‘Stop the world, Scotland wants to get on’. 

Of course our representatives make a powerful case for recognising and working with an Independent Scotland, it is what they are elected to do. We do not enter these discussions in the manner in which the UK do, with binders of rules and demands, instead we offer warm hospitality and kind friendship. I think on reflection this is why it eluded them. 

You can watch on YouTube my colleagues address the European Parliament and receive a huge standing ovation on this very point. There is an enormous warmth of feeling toward the Scottish people and an understanding in Europe of our mission of Self Determination. The idea that we would not be recognised by these friends is unthinkable. 

This is Pillar 3: The Scottish Parliament has the ability with a simple majority to change the frequency of its election cycle – this was helpfully clarified by my colleague Angus Brendan MacNeil with the House of Commons library staff, with the clerks in Holyrood also confirming this point.

We do not need to ask Westminster’s permission to hold an election on a date and time that suits us. There is no legal method to stop the Scottish Parliament from deciding when it wants an election, in the same manner the UK Government can decide when it wants one. 

Our elections are overseen by the same Electoral Commission, and they are delivered in line with international law and recognition. The power can be handed to the people of Scotland at any point. 

And finally, Pillar 4: The United Kingdom is not a full democracy. It is a Constitutional Monarchy, with a Head of State, that is a defender of Self Determination and a celebrant of Self Government and of Independence. 

I quote his speech to the independent nation of Barbados of November 30th 2021, announcing itself as a Republic:

“The creation of this Republic offers a new beginning, but it also marks a point on a continuum – a milestone on the long road you have not only travelled, but which you have built.

From the darkest days of our past, and the appalling atrocity of slavery, which forever stains our history, the people of this island forged their path with extraordinary fortitude.  Emancipation, self-government and Independence were your way-points.  Freedom, justice and self-determination have been your guides.” [2]

King Charles is the Head of State for the United Kingdom and his public speeches show us the character of the man on the throne. 

As First Minister, I would be required to attend audiences with him, and would serve as a member of his Privy Council – which is the recognised mechanism for reaching interdepartmental agreement for ‘prerogative business’, which is the business of which no other precedent or clear delegation to minister or department exists. 

In summary; the UK Government defends their current position with bluster and bullish statements. However, the institutions of democracy, state and judiciary in this country are very clear in their categorical observance of democratic certainty. The small men that throw barbed comments about Scotland being held in perpetuity, do so without the solid foundations on which this country was built.

[1] Polling data: Scot goes POP!, Find Out Now – 10/3/23

[2] Speech:


Where are the investigative journalists?

The contest for the new leader of the SNP is underway. It’s been illuminating thus far to see what real proposals may actually emerge. Admittedly due to real life, it’s been hectic and we’ve not covered it in as great detail as I would have hoped, I’ll take a crack at looking at week one.

A small reminder that this particular blog runs on contributions by many voices, and if anyone has a point they’d like to make – please drop it into us

Ash Regan announced first, Humza Yousaf and Kate Forbes practically tripped over each other – Humza held a launch event, with Kate announcing at the same moment. There were frantic calls for Ash’s launch campaign – which made little to no sense – given the nomination period hadn’t ended. However that makes less entertaining TV.

Kate made her pitch next to a rock somewhere near home, her video editor was obviously a person who enjoys long drone shots, who put together a decent presentation.

Humza launched in a random community hall with a large mix of friends, family, activists and, curiously, under an illuminated green exit sign.
Ash launched with the Bridges coming together in the background, with a nice set of imagery and a large press contingent – and this is where the wheels come off the wagon.

The journalists haven’t had a feast of an SNP leadership election, and somehow only have absolutely diabolic Conservative Party and Labour Party leadership elections as a reference point. In the scenario of the Party famed for unity arguing with itself – the media stepped up to the plate.

I’ll admit before I go on, I find religion to be thoroughly interesting for all the wrong reasons. I honestly am baffled with trees defying Noah and his ark, dinosaurs predating creationism, and churches that sit riddled with scandal – surely no one really believes this? Alas, it seems they do.

First up, Kate Forbes. Making no secret about her religion, she got absolutely battered. Mostly, because her religious views suck. They really do. I don’t know why she went out defending them, suggesting somehow they wouldn’t cloud her judgement in a political sense. They’re regressive nonsense that churches cling to. Amusingly, the main reason we see secularism rising isn’t to do with any real atheist or humanist campaign, but rather people realising that perhaps we can find a stronger morality by not taking instruction from a 2000 year old book.

However, as proponents of free speech – it’s fair to say: bash on and believe whatever you like and talk about it proudly. The nice bit about freedom of speech is in its cousin – freedom of opinion. You can quite easily form your own opinion of whether what was said was mental or not.

Humza Yousaf couldn’t quite let Kate out of the gate without tripping over his own feet either. Somehow, he managed to have a meeting that he couldn’t escape for five minutes from to vote, in support of equal marriage. Yousaf will defend that his meeting was involving the life of a person abroad and that’s possibly true, but he could have voted, he was in the building, it was possible and it was a free vote. It’s not the lie that gets you – it’s the cover up.

However given that the matter was conclusively settled – I am bamboozled at why journalists believed this was a major ‘gotcha’ or ‘story’. Even if we understand every fact, uncover every issue, get to the absolute root of the story – we’re no further forward. No one in the entire SNP would know what policies or changes the SNP would enact. If any First Minister tried to renege on marriage rights – they’d be First Minister for only a few minutes more.

Onto the next big issue. Our journalists don’t bother to to investigate anything. Scottish politics is very much ‘he said’ and ‘she said’. Playground antics abound, no actual reporting, no exploring of policy beyond “someone else said no”.

I’m going to pick on Ash Regan’s policy declarations – as they’re the easiest to find, and the most fleshed out – they’re core arguments for any future Independence campaign.

Statement 1: Ash Regan identifies a method to get Independence – she calls it the VEM (Voter Empowerment Mechanism). It’s basically a general election that gets Independence by winning a plurality of votes.

In the event of a Westminster election, if pro-Independence parties, with a disclaimer in their manifesto saying “Independence approved” win a majority of votes – the result is an Independent country a few years later after some negotiations. In 2019 – this would have been 46% – resulting in continued Unionism.

In the 2021 Holyrood election, we must do some basic maths to add up all the pro-Indy parties on both the constituency and the list vote, then divide them by the valid votes cast. This hits home at 49.55% for pro-Independence parties – no wonder the Unionists don’t like the idea. We might actually achieve it.

“But this isn’t legal and the UK will say no” shout journalists who obviously forget to do the very basics of their job. I’ll break it down – but let’s think about how this should go:

Person 1: It’s raining
Person 2: It’s not raining
Journalist: I went outside, it is indeed raining, and we can conclude person 2 was lying.

Well this is Scotland, so rather than checking the facts, we openly just accept that person 2 is a bit older and wiser, and has been around forever, so they must be categorically right, no need to check.

Person 2 in this is the UK Government.

Apparently escaping the notice of our Press pack – is that the UK is the successor state of the British Empire, of which 65 countries have left. In every circumstance the Government of the day has negotiated. – some of the negotiations were as recent as the 1970’s. There is a slight chance some of the negotiating team may even be alive to be interviewed. Imagine that!

To save them time, I’ve compiled a list of the methods used and it’s at the end of this article. Some are barbaric and should never be repeated, some are entirely peaceful – common themes that include setting up a Constitution and then voting for it in a General Election or Referendum. 100% success rate though in getting the UK to the table. 100%. Yet our media estate think because the UK Government said no this time (and every time in the past), they may just stick to it. They have a track record of negotiating every time. Hammer this home folks. 100% of the time!

Has anyone asked the runner up of the Conservative Leadership race and current Prime Minister Rishi Sunak how he could possibly block it? On understanding the principle of self-determination, being prided as a descendant of once-colonial India?

Anyway let’s set that aside. The Supreme Court says no.

Another huge “win”. A UK Government non-ministerial department said no. In a surprise to no one.

However they didn’t even say no. They said that an advisory Referendum could not be permitted as it would probably affect the standing of the Union- a vote that would have the power to overpower a Westminster Parliament. We should probably count the UK Supreme Court as endorsing Ash Regan’s campaign at this rate.

Yesterday, the UK Government beamed with pride about a deal for Northern Ireland – that they a year ago announced that under no circumstances would do.

Again, 100% of the time, you can count on them to negotiate. They always do, they absolutely, without doubt, always do.

Currency, another Regan policy that astonished the journalism core. Forgetting the whole negotiation period of a few years after the vote – they reported that a new currency and central bank would be setup in about 12 weeks. Not what Regan said, but they were too thick to understand the content. She said the preparatory work could be done now, rolled out during the negotiation period, and then fully established and open as near to day one of Independence as possible, taking about three months.

Astonishment continued. No actual investigative journalism occurred, or they’d see from fairly recent and modern examples that Slovakia took 1 month, Slovenia took 3, and Estonia took 10. This in a world where we didn’t have the wonders of interconnected digital banking.

Our media fail us as investigative reporters. They are so involved with scandal politics involving the politicians we have, so invested in gotchas and whodunnits – they forget that sometimes a little bit of research might enlighten everyone. We aren’t discussing these policies on their actual merit, we’re discussing them in reactions and sound bites, it also seems. Only Ash Regan bothered to do any reading.

States that got Independence from UK/British Empire, and in short, how.

  1. Afghanistan – Treaty following a war.
  2. Antigua and Barbuda – Termination of Association Order.
  3. Bahrain – United Nations poll on Independence, declared Independence, called upon UN Secretariat to resolve.
  4. Barbados – Constitutional Conference, followed by informing UK.
  5. Belize – Demanded Independence, passed a constitution.
  6. Botswana – Ascended a constitution, confirmed with a general election.
  7. Brunei – Ascended a constitution, published a roadmap.
  8. Cyprus – Civil unrest / war.
  9. Dominica – Declared and passed a constitution.
  10. Egypt – Civil disobedience.
  11. Eswatini – Ascended a constitution, general election.
  12. Fiji – Ascended a constitution, general election.
  13. Ghana – Declared Independence.
  14. Granada – Opened negotiations following election.
  15. Guyana – Constitutional conference.
  16. India – Ascended a constitution, negotiations.
  17. Iraq – Proclamation.
  18. Israel – UN Resolution, Declaration.
  19. Jamaica – Constitutional Amendments, progressed, then declared.
  20. Jordan – Treaty and negotiations.
  21. Kenya – Uprising and negotiations
  22. Kiribati – UN Special Committee, Referendum, Privy Council.
  23. Kuwait – Negotiations, ascendancy.
  24. Lesotho – Constitution ascendancy.
  25. Libya – Military coup
  26. Malawi – Negotiated
  27. Malaya – Negotiated
  28. Maldives – Negotiated
  29. Malta – Negotiated
  30. Mauritius – Negotiated, general election
  31. Myanmar – Civil unrest
  32. Nauru – UN Council, Constitutional Convention
  33. Nigeria – Constitution, election
  34. Oman – Negotiations, treaty
  35. Pakistan – Civil unrest, negotiations
  36. Qatar – Constitution, declaration
  37. Saint Lucia – Constitution
  38. Saint Kitts and Nevis – Constitutional conference
  39. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines – Referendum
  40. Seychelles – Negotiated
  41. Sierra Leone – Negotiated
  42. Solomon Islands – Negotiated
  43. Somaliland – Civil unrest (unrecognised)
  44. South Yemen – Civil unrest, British withdrawal, declaration
  45. Sri Lanka – Negotiated
  46. Sudan – Referendum
  47. Tanganyika – Double election
  48. The Bahamas – Election and referendum
  49. The Gambia – Independence conference
  50. Tonga – Ceased to be protectorate
  51. Trinidad and Tobago – Election, negotiation
  52. Tuvalu – Referendum
  53. Uganda – Negotiation
  54. United Arab Emirates – Negotiation
  55. United States of America – Civil unrest, American Revolutionary War, declared Independence
  56. Vanuatu – Conference of nations
  57. Zambia – Election, consultation
  58. Zanzibar – Internal revolution
  59. Zimbabwe – Civil unrest, election
  60. Australia – Referendums
  61. Canada – Negotiated
  62. Ireland – Civil unrest, civil War,
  63. Dominion of Newfoundland – National convention, referendum, joined Canada.
  64. South Africa – Referendum
  65. New Zealand – Declaration

You should follow that through

Despite the SNP suddenly tanking in the polls due to another absolute fumble of legislation.

Today we’ve popped into the odd world where we’re back to attacking and de-selecting our own side in advance of future elections (the ones we’re apparently required to get over 50% of the vote on).

Keeping in mind, apparently all the ‘bad eggs’ had went over to ALBA already – we’ve managed to find another round of them. Which will happen on repeat until eventually the SNP lose an election and Sturgeon is removed as leader.

Stand up against Sturgeon in public or at conference – and – the ministers of government are dispatched to see you out it seems. Question it in private? To who? Her husband?

The 1922 committee may actually be laughable, in the Tory party, but at least it’s effective in removing prime ministers and party leaders when the moment demands it. The SNP have effectively nothing.

Let us be honest also, the legislation thats currently being defended, will be removed much like the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act, whether the ScotGov like it or not. Parliament can remove it quite easily.

However in that article, there is this hilarious line, as some sort of ‘smack down’.

If you’re standing as an SNP candidate at an election on a manifesto, you should stand on that manifesto and you should follow that through.

Shirley-Anne Somerville, February 5th 2023

So I wonder why there isn’t as much heat around another, more concrete manifesto promise? One that the SNP seem to have forgotten, or the First Minister has regulated to second fiddle.

Alas the outcome may be Nicola Sturgeon’s worst nightmare, an exodus of MSPs and MP’s to Alex Salmond’s ALBA.

The larger than usual smile on the former first ministers face in recent campaign pictures tell us that he has an incline his long term bets may be about to land.