Why Boris Johnson or any other Westminster Leader cannot deny an Independence Referendum

Boris Johnson cannot deny Scots the right to vote for an Independence Referendum, nor deny Scotland the right to be Independent If the majority of Scots choose to do so.
Oh sure, Westminster can huff and puff for all it is worth, and they can challenge legally for all they like, but at the end of the day if the people of Scotland choose democratically to either have a referendum, or choose by the means of a referendum or an election to have Independence, then the will of people will be upheld, and recognised Internationally to be the case.

Why can I be absolutely certain of this? Quite simply because of the recognised Sovereignty of the people of Scotland as set out in the Claim of Right as set out by the Scottish Constitutional Convention of 1989, and reaffirmed without dissent in Westminster on the 4th of July 2018.

The motion to the Commons Chamber that day was ” That This House endorses the principles of the Claim of Right for Scotland,agreed by the Scottish Constitutional Convention in 1989 and by the Scottish Parliament in 2012, and therefore acknowledges the sovereign right of the Scottish people to determine the form of government best suited to their needs”

The main question was put to the House and unanimously agreed to.

from Hansard

” Resolved

That this House endorses the principles of the Claim of Right for Scotland, agreed by the Scottish Constitutional Convention in 1989 and by the Scottish Parliament in 2012,and therefore acknowledges the sovereign right of the Scottish people to determine the form of government best suited to their needs”

In effect, should the Scottish people choose to elect a majority of representatives of people from political parties who are campaigning to have a Scottish Independence Referendum, that referendum cannot be denied!
Forget this nonsense of needing a section 30 order, we dont need it, its just political dressing.

If Nicola Sturgeons preferred route is still to ask for a section 30, only to have it denied, and then proceed to have a referendum, we can expect Legal challenges to delay matters, but these will be resolved at some point and a referendum will still take place, its just kicking the can further down the road, and we can expect delay upon delay upon delay.

This is why Alex Salmond and the Alba party want to inject more urgency into the matter, and Indeed why some within the SNP were campaigning for a Plan B, and also to have an election as a plebiscite.

In this next parliament it is absolutely essential to have differing Independence voices in the parliament, that way we can all of us on the Independence side be represented, and Independence achieved.

Whatever happens, the will of the Scottish people cannot and will not be denied, we just need to speak with a common voice for our Sovereignty and our Independence, whatever our political allegiances.

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Both votes SNP or not? That is the question.

It is not the first time that the Both votes SNP has been questioned, and no doubt the argument for and against will rage on indefinitely until such times as either the voting system changes or we get Independence.
Personally In my opinion it doesn’t stand water.
I can see why the SNP leadership pursue it, but I doubt their reasons have anything to do with gaining Independence. Being a political party, they are behaving the way that all other political parties normally behave, that is because they don’t want you voting for anyone else but themselves, irrespective if that stance hinders Independence or not.
Now this is something I would never have considered or even entertained a couple of years ago,but given how antagonistic some in the leadership has been towards anyone who might think differently to themselves has been, I have begun to believe that is the case.

Back in 2016 this argument was very much in evidence too, only at that time it was the greens arguing against the SNP both votes position by saying that the Greens should have the List vote. Oddly enough we don’t see that particular argument being pursued vigorously by the Greens now, nor do we see them being attacked on it by the SNP support on Social media either.Now I wonder why this might be? Given how buddy buddy the SNP and the Greens have become recently on some very contentious policies, and how the Greens were asked in the media recently about going into coalition with the SNP if the SNP failed to get a majority, that seems like a PR initiative to flag up an idea to see what reaction would be like in the public.
I also noted with a fair degree of disbelief the social media SNP civil war that seemed to be taking place between MPs and MSPs and other party representatives over the Trans rights self ID/Womens Right issue in the lead up to an election. I noted Nicola Sturgeon publicly pleading for some not to leave the SNP, while on the other hand doing nothing to prevent the attacks on Johanna Cherry. It seemed to me that this clear schism developing in the SNP was at least partially due to a move away from campaigning and working towards Independence and focussing instead on pet issues of the Leadership. Even the election material used makes it unclear how much they want to pursue Independence. The bottom corner of the leaflet which is easily overlooked is the only part where an Independence referendum is mentioned. It is almost as if they are ashamed to mention it.

When we look at the headlines of their manifesto document, an Independence referendum doesn’t make their policy objectives till number 5 on the list and when it does….In Bold Print “Choose Scotlands future in an Independence Referendum” in light print “after the Covid crisis is over” Now that doesn’t seem to me to be of much urgency, the Covid Crisis fall out could carry on for years yet.

The Greens on the other hand rarely talk all that much about Independence, and In my view are fair weather friends who are making the most of its popularity, and to be fair to them, Independence is not of their prime concern, their prime concern is environmental issues, and if supporting Independence gives them a chance of better parliamentary representation why not?

On the BBC Sunday show today Lorna Slater the Green Co leader said ” This manifesto for a fair and green recovery from the pandemic,it is not a manifesto for independence”

When asked by the host “The SNP will use your block to argue that there is a pro Independence majority, what I am asking you is on balance if many of your supporters don’t support Independence, is it not disingenuous to lend their votes to that Independence argument?”

She replied ” This isn’t a manifesto for Independence, its a manifesto to ask the people of Scotland and feel that unionists should have a right to defend the union so if we have green voters who feel that the union is the right way forward lets put it to the Scottish people”

Yet the SNP and many of its supporters on social media at least are more intent on fighting with a new party whose primary goal is Independence for Scotland but you never hear them say a word against the Greens now, even when the Greens actually do threaten the number of seats the SNP might win by standing in opposition to the SNP in 12 constituencies. The Alba party on the other hand cannot detract seats from the SNP on the List, namely because the SNP are unlikely to win any. The SNPs only hopes of List seats are a possible 1 in the Highlands and 3 in the South of Scotland. Unless of course the SNP suddenly lose out massively in constituency seats, but not even the most pessimistic person ever can envisage that scenario happening at this moment in time.

It is true that up to a certain point in time both seats SNP was absolutely the way to go, but that was all prior to 2011. Now it is absolutely not the way to go if you want more representation in parliament from an Independence perspective. I guess it is more comfortable for the SNP not to have another pro Independence party in parliament who will push and challenge them to be bold on Independence, and more comfortable for them to face a weary Unionist opposition that they can deal with easily.

So lets look at the evidence as to whether or not SNP Both votes is likely to work, or whether it is more likely to allow more Torys and Labour in?
It’s quite easy to do on a rough rule of thumb looking at previous Holyrood elections. In short the more constituency seats a party has, the less List seats they will get.

Back in 2003 Labour had 46 constituency seats and gained 4 List seats. The Tories had 3 constituency seats and gained 15 List seats. The SNP had 9 constituency seats and gained 18 List seats. So back then, yes both votes SNP would work.
The SSP had no constituency seats but gained 6 List seats on 6.7% of the vote. The Greens had 7 List seats on 6.9% of the vote.

Onto 2007…. Labour had 37 constituency seats and 9 List seats, so drop in constituency from 2003 but a gain of List seats.
The Tories had 4 constituency seats and 13 List seats, a gain of one constituency but a loss of 2 List from 2003
The SNP had 21 constituency seats and 26 List seats, a gain in both constituency and List seats but also a massive uplift in voter share pushing Labour extremely close in almost all constituencies , so SNP both votes worked well here.

Margo MacDonald won a List seat on a mere 0.9% vote share.

Now 2011, the year SNP broke the system and gained a majority against all odds.

SNP won 53 constituency seats and 16 List seats, a big rise in the constituency but a drop of 10 List seats from the previous election.
Labour won 15 constituency seats and 22 List seats, so a drop in constituency seats for them balanced out by a rise of 13 List seats
Tories won 3 constituency seats and 12 List seats
This was the last year that both votes SNP worked.

Onto 2016

SNP increased both constituency seats and vote share winning 59 constituency seats and 4 List seats, gaining 6 more constituency seats but balanced by losing 12 List seats from 2011 . All in all a drop of 22 List seats from 2007…. Both votes SNP was disastrous from an Independence point of view , nearly1million votes wasted for no return.

So the question remains, are you voting for a personality , or are you voting for a party, or are you voting for what will give Scotland more representation in parliament for Independence?

I know what I really want to see as soon as possible, a Scotland that is Independent

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SNP to Alba But voting SNP1 and Alba2. Here is Why!

Guest Post by Debbie Oliver

When I joined the SNP it was a membership lead party. Policy ideas came from ordinary members who brought their ideas to their branch. If the branch saw merit in it, they circulated it between regional branches. If it was popular it was batted about within the branches, with members contributing to its development. Once finalised, it was put forward to Conference, as a resolution, to be voted upon. Delegates from each branch would attend. The resolution would be debated then voted for by the delegates. If passed, it would be developed into a policy by MSP working groups. If it was 50/50 ish, it would be refered back for further development and if it was voted down it would be ditched.

That is true democracy in action, where the party membership determine the direction of the party.Since the party rule changes brought in in 2018, that no longer happens in the SNP. The membership, branches and even the NEC have been ignored over the past couple of years. The SNP administration run the party now, not the members. Who voted for HCB and GRA? It wasn’t the membership, they were not asked and current polling shows that the Scottish electorate are two thirds against them! But the SNP administration no longer listen to their membership…..apparently, they know best.

I resigned my SNP membership the morning after Jo Cherry was demoted to the back benches for speaking out, in my name, against the threat to womens’ rights to their private spaces……which GRA, as it stands, threatens.
Kirsty Blackman was asked whether a committee of 100% males, of whom 50% self identify as women would be deemed to be gender balanced………she said YES! Why would any biologically born woman accept that? Why would they accept that their hard (sufferagette) won rights should be simply swept aside for men self identifying as women? The SNP used to be the party of Self Determination………It is now the party of Self Identification!

Thankfully, after months of Scots Gov refusing to release their legal advice to the Parliamentary Inquiry and holding up the report until the very last days of parliament….the report was pretty damning on Scots Gov by the way…..but hey, by dragging it out until just before parliament broke up, they saved themselves from being quizzed about it. So don’t have a go at Alba’s late timing……the Parliamentary Inquiry had to conclude first and Scots Gov & Crown Office were the obstructors to the Inquiry’s progression.Scots Gov persued an unfair, unlawful and apparently biased Harrassment procedure on AS, and when they realised they couldn’t bring him down that way……..someone leaked confidential government documents to the Daily Record.

The 23 strong police team did 700 interviews with 400 women whom Alex had been seen to have contact with…….and not a single complaint was made. Yet somehow the prosecution managed to find a few UK payrolled Civil Servants to embellish stories, which the High Court chose not to believe and admonished AS on all charges. (The Not Proven one, being the lady member of staff that he had had a drunken cuddle with him in 2013….admittedly he tried to take it further….she objected and he stopped. They had a mediation session, she accepted his apology and although she had been offered a different post, she chose to stay and continue to work with him until he stepped down as FM in 2015. In 2018 she was sought out and told that his actions constituted sexual assault in the current #MeToo vista. Scots Gov supported the two initial complainants until their harrassment policy went off the rails. Then Scots Gov reported the complaints to the police, without the knowledge and against the wishes of the complainants! The Scots Gov did not provide any support to these two women throughout the High Court trial…..they dropped them like a stone before the judicial review was even heard! Their evidence to the parliamentary inquiry states this, and the inquiry’s report is damning of Scots Gov’s treatment of these women.

The Parliamentary Inquiry report, Ms Dunlop’s report and the Ministerial Code Inquiry report are all worth reading, to bring things into perspective. But i suspect those who prefer the vilification of Salmond won’t even bother, because it would only cause discomfort to their focused mindsets
.Alex Salmond made one public statement when he left the court of Judicial Review in early 2019. He made another public statement a year later when he left the High Court, cleared of all charges……and never publicly said another thing until he was sitting in front of the parliamentary committee to give 6 hours of evidence…….where he managed to remember everything. Unlike the FM who couldn’t remember, couldn’t recall, wasn’t involved, had no recollection etc etc.He has never called for her resignation over the botched Scots Gov proceedure, never named her as one of those he suspects of colluding against him. He currently advocates SNP1 and Nicola Sturgeon for FM. Whilst she ignores a high court ruling to denounce his fitness to stand, refers to him as a drinker and gambler and states that she will not, under any circumstances, work with him!The only thing he has ever said, which has been framed, unfoundedly, as an attack, was his insistence that there was a meeting between his agent Geoff Aberdien and NS on 29th march 2018, as it was to set up the April 2nd meeting at her house. So if she has denied this in parliament……which she did on numerous occations……

Her own written evidence to the inquiry contains the WhatsApp messages between her and Alex….where he clearly states:”The Scottish Government may well believe it is lawful. My Senior Counsel believes it is unlawful. That’s the whole point of the arbitration. The legality will have to be resolved either in private (in a confidential and binding arbitration) or in public at the Court of Session. The Scottish Government, and you, have everything to gain from arbitration. If my legal advice is wrong, I will accept that and the current process proceeds. If the Scottish Government legal advice is wrong, you discover that without losing in a public court.”

So, he never asked her to sweep anything under the carpet! She appears to have misled in her oral evidence about that folks! And her current demonizing of him is utterly despicable.

Independence supporting parties need to be standing together against Westminster……..yet here is NS, slagging off ” her friend and mentor of 30 years”, stating that she will never work with him! What is that about? It is certainly not the road to Independence! Indy Folk need to pull together as one to achieve that but NS says NO! Only an SNP majority, with NS calling all the shots is good enough……vote SNP2 folks, chuck your Indy votes in the bin and let the unionists back in……Nicola can bat the unionists off whilst keeping IndyRef on the back burner indefinately…… just throw them another mandate carrot.

So, why would anyone vote for ALBA?Because Alba is what the SNP used to be……..the party of Independence for Scotland, with Independence as its primary policy. For it is only after Independence that we can truely recover from Covid, Brext and 300 odd years of British (resource leeching) rule. ALBA…Where the membership will lead policy once again and vote for what the majority approved of…..the democratic way.As for the Alba candidates, well SNP have issued their manifesto……scroll to the “Our Record” page and do a wee bit of googling on the list of achievments they have published. Check out how many of the, especia-lly top notch, ones (free prescriptions, free tuition etc) were introduced by SNP under the Salmond administration. Although any mention of AS has been wiped from the SNP website…..We still have our memories to rely on……Don’t allow yourself to be brainwashed by folk who claim all the kudos for NS over the most popular SNP policies, most of them were enacted by the previous SNP FM … Alex Salmond, leader of the Alba Party. Who states….if every single SNP voter gave their list vote to Alba, we could virtually wipe out the unionist voices in Holyrood.Which is why the MSM refuse to give Alba a media voice. The union is deeply concerned, in a way that SNP1&2 never bothered them ( because SNP2 votes are virtually all binned if they win most or all of the regional constituencies) But if Independence voters chose Alba or Greens on the list……the unionists will lose lots of list seats and be diminished in their standing in Scotland. So whats not to like Indy Folk?Now that there is an imminent opportunity to get ride of the majority of unionist MSPs from Holyrood…..what are you going to do? Gamble, at high odds, of throwing SNP2 votes in the bin, uncounted for Independence……or ensuring that your list vote will go to Alba or Greens….where every single vote you cast will count towards unseating unionists and gaining us an Indy supporting majority in Holyrood?

Westminster won’t play fair with Scotland over Indy and NS is simply not equipped to joust with them. She is an excellent manager, as Covid has proved, but she is not an Indy Warrior like AS……Whilst Patrick Harvey is more Eco Warrior than Indy Warrior. AS spent many years at WM, spending hours in their library, studying and understanding their laws and precedents, then using them against WM to get the best for Scotland. He is a very intelegent, tactically minded man and he has Scottish Independence written through his very being, like a stick of seaside rock, and is a deffinate advantage to the Indy cause.We have a battle ahead, to free ourselves from the UK and we need our best political warriors on our frontline. You may point out the areas where AS failed to convince voters in 2014…….do you not think he has reviewed those failings over the past 7 years? Perhaps he now has solutions to eliminate the failings of the 2014 campaign?One thing is for sure, with the NS administration only dedicating 7 part time workers for 7 months over 6 years on progressing the framework for independence…….they aint planning to go there anytime soon and have no answers to the shortfalls of the 2014 campaign

.So, to go back to AS having to take the sole blame, in your mind, for losing in 2014…….Perhaps it was actually the Better Together lies in the last week, against purdah rules, that turned the 51% YES to 55% NO? Or are you adament that the entire blame is to be cast at the feet of the man who took 23% Indy support to 45% support in 2 years?Yet NS has only increased Indy support from 45% to 53% in 7 years whilst collecting, how many, Indyref mandates along the way? And she has just stated that she won’t even think of persuing another IndyRef until at least 2024!Both,Wales Indy support and NI unification support, have rocketed since the Brexit vote in 2016……so can NS honestly claim all the kudos for the increase in Scot Indy support?……And if your answer is YES……is she also due kudos for increasing the voting intention in Wales & NI too? Back in the real world, if the truth be told, it’s actually all down to, our “Best Indy Activist Ever” …… BoJo!

Oh and by the way….The Alex Salmond Show is produced in Scotland and RT buy it as a package deal. They have absolutely no influence on its content. But then you would know that if you had ever bothered to check it out……instead of regurgitating the bile that your similarly ignorant, bias & opinionated compatriates spout.I support Scottish Independence and I will place both my votes in the best place to achieve that. SNP…aka Hobson’s Choice for Indy in the constituency and ALBA on the list…to unseat the unionists and to get a party into Holyrood who will actually progress our Independence cause……just like the SNP used to do in the good old days. If you want the election count agents to throw your second vote in the bin….then on you go, my consience is clear. I have taken the time to explain the potential boost for Indy by voting Alba or Geens on the list vote, to replace unionist MSPs with Indy ptomoting ones .You can now make an informed decision……will you vote for your party or country on the list on 6th May?I’m making sure that both my votes will count towards an Indy Majority in Holyrood on 7th May.

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Beware of the Polls

Thus far, a mere 13 days since Alba appeared on the scene we have had 5 polls with conflicting results. These polls have been by Survation for the Courier, Panelbase for the Sunday Times,IpsosMori for STV, Savanta ComRes for the Scotsman,Opinium for SKY.

All of them began polling before Alba was even a week old.
The most recent of these to show their results is Opinium which projects that SNP will get a majority with 72 seats, Tories 26,Labour 22, Green 5, Lib Dems 4, and Alba 0, with SNP having 53% of the Constituency vote and 44% of the List vote. Alba according to them would be on 2% and get no seats.

The Scotsmans Survation poll suggests the SNP would fall one short of a majority on 64 seats , the Greens benefiting with 10 seats,giving an Independence majority with 74 seats in the Parliament. The SNP would get 2 List seats. With the Greens standing in direct competition with the SNP in 12 constituencies I am not sure how much of a part that would play?

STVs Ipsos Mori has SNP on 70 seats and the Greens benefiting from the SNP votes on the List at 11 seats and Alba sitting on 3% and no seats, with Labour and the Tories scrapping it out for 2nd place.

However, I headlined this blog with “Beware of the Polls” and by that I mean don’t take them too seriously but be aware of them.
Most of the Big polling companies are standardised and are not meant to have leading or directing questions to influence, however small nuances can make a difference and the early Panelbase poll is an example when it named Alex Salmond leader of the Alba party , that poll indicated a 6% vote for Alba which has not been seen since, with all other polls showing Alba at around 3% , so name recognition may have been partially responsible for that.

We all look at each new poll from our own unique perspective and are either encouraged or discouraged by a polls findings. Likewise those who commission the polls are looking for poll findings which they can use or headline from their own perspective in order to influence people. For instance the Couriers very early poll with Alba barely 3 days old when they ran the survey had Alba at 3% and David Clegg running a headline of “It’s all over for Salmond”
With other polls showing a huge SNP majority we have the danger of those campaigning slackening off thinking it’s all in the bag.
Naturally committed supporters of parties will use social media to quote favourable figures for themselves and negative figures for the opposition in order to support various points and perspectives. If you listen to the likes of John Curtice summing up the latest poll, he never comes out with definitives, it’s always a case of ifs and buts.

I was told by someone who had today done an online survey about Independence. They were asked how they felt about each of the Leaders, how did Scotland compare to the rest of the UK during the pandemic, what their voting intention was for May, but most interesting for them was a host of specific questions on Alex Salmond including , was he in Alba for his own ego?
They had the impression that there was almost an Inference that the questions were framed to produce negative responses. They said that no questions were asked of any other politician in the survey. They don’t know who commissioned this survey, but it shows how these can be used.

The only poll that really matters is the one that happens when we vote on election day, and while these other polls can give a sense of direction of travel when we have multiple polls, and as they change in the coming weeks , we have to remember that the results they give are not evenly spread across the country but change from region to region. A party can appear to nationally be doing really well, but it may do poorly in a region or conversely can appear to be doing poorly nationally and do well in a region.

So by all means, watch the polls, but act as if you had never seen them and work towards the objective you wish to achieve.

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How Not to make friends and Influence people

Prior to the last minute announcement of Alex Salmond and the appearance of the Alba party on the scene I was so downhearted that I was seriously considering not voting at all in the upcoming Scottish Parliament Election.

I didn’t feel that I could give the SNP my vote after the debacle of the Salmond affair and all that had come out in the Holyrood enquiry. Nor could I understand why they were seemingly intent on holing their chances and our chance of Independence under the waterline by introducing 2 seriously contentious issues as the Hate Crime Bill and the Trans rights issue just prior to election.
I had watched the run of 22 positive polls for Independence come to an end during all of these things. To say that I was seriously depressed about it all would be an understatement.

I had however joined the Independence for Scotland party when it was the only alternative Independence party in town, and hoped that if I did vote I could at least help to make a difference. It made no sense to me this SNP mantra of both votes SNP, when all I could see from that strategy was letting in Unionists like Murdo Fraser on the List vote.
My hope for a second vote going to an Independence party was somewhat diminished with the appearance of AFI and another even smaller grouping. In my view this was equally self-defeating as the SNP mantra, as these votes would be split even further.
So no wonder I was prepared not to vote at all.

Instead, with the announcement of Alex Salmond back into the fray and the subsequent agreement of ISP and AFI to get behind Alba I found myself energised and full of hope again. Yes we can do this! We can get a supermajority, we can get that Independence referendum, and this time win it!
Hope once more was in the air.

Unfortunately that sense of hope didn’t last long, my previous sense of despair was instead replaced by a sense of horror of what I was seeing.
What should have been in effect the YES movement reborn and made whole again with the SNP on one hand winning the constituency vote, and the rest of the Yes movement as represented by Alba making huge inroads into the Unionist parties share with the help of SNP 2nd votes and getting that supermajority for Independence, to my horror I was watching elements of them both at war with each other.
I have seen some Alba supporters, particularly some of those who follow Wings, trashing the SNP, and I have seen and been the recipient of some extremely nasty SNP supporters attacking Alba.
It has been utterly horrific at times on social media, and it made me wonder if some of those undecideds in 2014 had eventually decided to vote NO because of some of the intolerant aggression.
Although I don’t agree with Paul Kavanagh of Wee Ginger Dog on the way to proceed in this election, I was equally angry at some of the treatment he was getting and making him stop his excellent blog for the sake of his health. To be clear, those who subjected him to abuse should think shame on themselves.

This election campaign has hardly started and already it is the nastiest election I have ever had the misfortune to experience. The damnable thing is the nastiness is between those who are supposed to be on the same side on what they want to achieve. Neither side appears to be paying much attention or directing their ire on those we are supposed to be opposing!
Meanwhile those we are meant to be opposing are sitting in the sidelines rubbing their hands together in glee watching us doing their job for them.

Do we want Independence or not? If we want Independence, attacking those who also want it is not the way to achieve it. Indeed, keep throwing muck at each other and we will lose the opportunity altogether.

If this is a defacto Independence election, we have to put whatever differences we may have aside and support each other. If we continue to put petty politics and make it about tribalism and personalities, we are severely in danger of losing the best chance we will ever have of achieving it, and then we will only have ourselves to blame.

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Restless Natives

One way or another Friday 26th of March 2021 may turn out to be a very significant day in Scotlands history.
I woke up to the news that Alex Salmond was about to make an announcement at 2pm that day on Sky tv news.
I didn’t know quite what to make of that announcement given all that had been transpiring previously,but I was certainly curious.
When the announcement came that he was announcing a new party which would be contesting the Holyrood election on the List seats you could have blown me over with a feather. What? What? seven weeks to go! How on earth had this been kept so quiet? How on earth could any party launched at this late stage possibly be serious enough to be a viable contender? Yet here it was.

It turned out that the planning for this new Alba party was in a much more advanced stage than I could have imagined as those joining it were announced in the days that followed. Currently only one week in Alba (pronunciation in Gaelic is Al A Ba for those that are interested) have 4100 members(more than the Liberal Democrats) 32 candidates contesting 4 list places in each Region, 2 serving MPs (more than Scottish Labour and Green MPs combined) 7 serving councillors and a transfer of Womens and Equalities SNP NEC Convenors who are standing as candidates, and the only party to have a majority of their candidates who are women. ( Isn’t that strange given that Alex Salmond is allegedly such a notorious sex pest? They surely aren’t queuing up because they are disappointed they weren’t previously molested by him?)

I will declare a personal interest here before getting back to the matters of the Alba party.
I was at one point a SNP branch convenor In Alex Salmonds Banff and Buchan constituency and worked alongside with the other members with him. As Vice Chairman of a charity which Alex privately supported out of his own pocket, and in helping some of his constituents , I got to know the man reasonably well.
When the news of the charges he faced broke I was in a state of disbelief, it didn’t add up with the man I knew at all.
When I saw the list of charges, apart from two very serious ones, the other 12 were almost laughable and I wondered how on earth they even came to court. Indeed one was dropped entirely before the trial.
I followed the trial very intently as one might expect, and the female defence witnesses who were present at many of these supposed offences completely contradicted the accusations. One of the most serious accusations of attempted rape was blown completely out of the water as the accuser could not possibly have even been there! A jury of a majority of women in front of a female judge found him NOT Guilty on ALL charges bar one which was NOT proven.
And yet for many in the Court of Public Opinion he Must be Guilty of something!
I found out who a number of those would be accusers are, but obviously I dare not say. I will say this however, when someone possesses that knowledge and who they are close to, it is no small wonder that Alex thinks there was a malicious conspiracy against him. He is a very very brave man to face up to public scrutiny as the leader of a new party at this time in his pursuit of Independence. I fully appreciate his desire to right the wrongs he perceives were done to him, but I doubt very much that I could do what he is doing now for the sake of Scotlands Independence.

Prior to the appearance of Alba on the stage I couldn’t really see much sense in the repeated mantra of SNP Both Votes, but then again I couldn’t see much alternative to it either. In my mind it cost a lot of votes with very minimal if any return. Of course the system was gerrymandered in such a way by Labour in order to ensure there could be no Nationalist majority in Holyrood, and by in large apart from a colossal fluke in 2011 that is how it has remained.
When ISP and AFI appeared on the scene I was delighted that others could see how to get an Independence majority In Holyrood, but I felt that neither by themselves at such a late stage could gain enough traction to make any difference. Indeed I thought that the Independence voting public would be split and dilute the vote which would make it effectively useless and no better than the SNP 1&2 mantra. The appearance of Alba led by Alex Salmond changed all that at a stroke particularly when both AFI and ISP stood down and got behind it, here was the remainder of YES coming back together again, and though the time is short, we now have a chance.

Instead what we currently have is factional infighting between the SNP and Alba supporters attacking each other on social media rather than finding common ground and finding the path to get what ALL Independence supporters want to achieve. Much of the reason for this I put the blame squarely on the SNP leadership who downright refuse to see common sense, and Nicola Sturgeon who for some inexplicable reason is expending her fire power on attacking Alex Salmond in a very snidey way, and who for some reason wants to ask permission for a section 30 order from Westminster which she has not a snowballs chance in hell of getting. Even Margaret Thatcher conceded that all Scotland had to do to get Independence was to send a majority of SNP MPs to Westminster, which we have had for quite some time now.
The total refusal to even allow a debate on a plan B when the section 30 is inevitably denied has been intransigence personified, and with the introduction of such contentious policies as the Hate Crime Bill and the Trans issue at a time when both the SNP and Independence were getting high, added to the clusterbourach of the Alex Salmond affair has been inexplicable.
If Bannockburn was happening today, the English army would be standing laughing their heads off on one side of the burn looking at two groups of Scots knocking hells bells out of each other, one lot pointing in one direction and the other lot pointing in the opposite direction and Robert the Bruce being hit over the head with a pike.
Its what is happening right now, the Unionist partys dont need to do or say anything, we are doing it for them.

If I had my way I would lock Nicola and Alex in a padded cell and not let them back out again until they agreed to work together to achieve cooperation.

In my opinion at the present time, provided there is no more damage done, the SNP have a good chance of getting sufficient constituency seats, and If as Angus MacNeil says we follow logic not politics, if we gave our list vote to Alba we would have that Supermajority of seats to force an Independence referendum.


Constituency seats List Seats Total

SNP 21 26 47

Lab 37 9 46

Tory 4 13 17

LD 11 5 16

Green 0 2 2

In this example you can see in general that the more seats you have in the constituency the less you have on the list and vice versa , vote share is important too…. SNP pressed Labour very closely in the constituencies Labour won, and because they weren’t penalised for winning the constituency gained more List seats. The Greens with very few votes picked up 2 List seats.


Constituency List total

SNP 53 16 69

Lab 15 22 37

Tory 3 12 15

LD 2 3 5

Green 0 2 2

Margo 0 1 1

Lets look at vote share here…. SNP had 45.5% of total votes cast, Labour had 31.7% , Torys had 13.9% and Lib Dems 7.9%

Margo MacDonald won her List seat as an Independent due to her vote share in the region.

SNP broke the system by getting a majority


Constituency List total

SNP 59 4 63

Lab 3 21 24

Tory 7 24 31

LD 4 1 5

Green 0 6 6

Vote share….. SNP 46.5% up 1.1% on their 2011 majority
Labour 22.6%, Tory 22% , Lib Dems 7.8%,

SNP had lost their 2011 majority and yet had more constituency seats and a higher vote share,thus losing 12 List seats!!
If we look to have at least the same number of constituency seats, and a similar vote share, then expect the SNP to waste another million list votes for 4 list seats. If as the polling suggests they have been doing even better, they may have no list seats at all….All of these votes on the List wasted.
Where are these seats going? To the Unionist parties.

I know its not going to happen, but Imagine if all these SNP list votes went to Independence supporting Alba , who Incidentally are by the vast majority at least giving the SNP their 1st vote, the Unionist parties would be nearly wiped out!

So it makes complete logical sense that if you want Independence, then you should be voting SNP 1/ Indi Other 2

Remember though that the Greens are directly competing against the SNP in 12 constituencies and cost the SNP 2 seats last time round.

Are you for party and tribalism first, or are you for Scotland and Independence first? The choice is yours!

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A Holyrood Conundrum

2020 is a year which will historically be remembered as the year of Covid, and as we enter on through 2021, we will still be impacted with its repercussions.
2020 was also the year that Brexit got done, or that we in Scotland were well and truly Done and sold down the river over something we never voted for or wanted.
2020 was also the year where the SNP went well and truly mental and were found to be at the root of the Salmond prosecution debacle, the results of that clusterbourach are still unfolding.
It was also the year where various factions within the SNP went on full scale assault against each other over something called Trans rights v Womens rights, and I awoke to a new word Woke and promptly wished I could go back to sleep again.
2020 was also the year where the leadership of the SNP downright refused to even countenance a murmur of debate over a plan B route to Independence. Section 30 or nothing was the response.

So here we are 2021, Is there anything better to look forwards to?
Well we do have vaccines against Covid now, but that is balanced by a faster transmitting strain.
We have seen a case go to the Court of Session taken forward by a private individual backed by 10,000 other Scots, testing whether section 30 really is the only way we can be allowed another Independence referendum, or whether we can choose to have one without seeking permission from Westminster? Surprisingly the case was originally opposed by both Scottish and British governments , although the Scottish government has subsequently removed itself officially, but still somehow present in it.
One certainly is surprised why the Scottish government should have opposed it at all?
One way or another I don’t see that case being settled any time soon, it will in all probability end up in the Supreme Court.

The Holyrood committee investigating the Salmond affair finds itself blocked at every turn with more unsettling revelations being revealed all the time. It appears that very senior officials in the SNP and the Scottish government, possibly Including, or with the knowledge of Nicola Sturgeon in going after Alex Salmond to prevent him returning into the political arena.
What the results of this inquiry are remains to be seen, but one thing for sure is none of it bodes well for the SNP or for a referendum on Independence.

All of which brings us up to looking forwards to Mays Holyrood election, if Covid permits?
At present the SNP are flying high in the polls and seemingly heading for an outright majority in the parliament, but as we all know polls are fickle things and only give snapshots of periods in time,and they can change very quickly depending on intervening circumstances.
If the election were to be held tomorrow I am quite sure the SNP would be resounding winners, particularly given the state that both main Unionist parties are in, and with the double whammy of chaos in their responses to both Covid and Brexit.
May however is politically a long way off and if Nicola Sturgeon finds herself in bother for having mislead parliament, despite her handling of the Covid crisis, she will be forced to resign.
Even if it doesn’t quite come to that, the damage could still be enormous. The crazy thing is that the whole Salmond debacle could very easily have been avoided, and they have brought the whole mess down on their own heads at a time when all should have been going their way.
All of which brings us to the voting conundrum.

The SNP are going with the both votes for the SNP which from their perspective makes absolute sense as they dont want us voting for anyone else.
The question being from an Independence perspective, is this the right way to go?
I think it is fairly clear by now that if the SNP continue to hoover up the constituency vote , they will get very few if any onto the List, and these will be hoovered up by the Unionist parties.
The Greens of course will be looking for the 2nd vote too, but their support of Independence is a fragile thing, not all of the Green party are Independence supporters, and their main reason for being is Green Issues first and foremost.
Which leaves the door open for a purely Independence party such as ISP.

Looking at previous Holyrood elections , there are only a very few areas that giving the SNP the 2nd vote makes any sense and these are – Aberdeenshire West,Ayr, Dumbarton,Dumfrieshire, East Lothian,Eastwood, Edinburgh Central, Edinburgh Southern,Edinburgh West, Etterick and Roxburgh, Galloway and West Dumfries,North East Fife,Orkney,Shetland . For all the rest it makes no sense at all… You would just be handing the Unionist parties your vote for most part.

However by giving your second vote to the ISP there is a fair chance of reaching a clear Independence majority in the parliament, and also the chance to keep the SNP honest in pushing for independence.
All of that fails however, if the Independence vote is split between a number of smaller Independence parties, as the vote is then diluted to a much greater extent than for the established Unionist parties… So time for us all to decide which way we will go in 2021.

I hope everyone looks at this very carefully indeed… It is time to stop pussy footing around…. We all need to push hard to get Scotland out of this disaster of a Union.

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The Politics of a Pandemic

Anyone watching the daily reports on the pandemic would almost be forgiven that  politics had been suspended, journalists and politicians are almost bending over each other to appear to all be supporting each other and everyone is pulling together to get through all this. Almost, but not quite, it is not that suddenly politics has disappeared, it has merely become understated. Underneath it all, it is politics as usual, and there is far more going on than meets the eye.

I commented recently on the sneaky underhand attempt by a Westminster government department on Scots Law, but that is not all thats been going on while we have been distracted.
At a time when we are more reliant than ever on workers from elsewhere in our health service and other key areas the Home office decided it was a good time to update its guidance on its new immigration system, ” There will not be an immigration route specifically for those who do not meet the skills or salary threshold for the skilled worker route”
In the midst of the Covid pandemic crisis they have felt it necessary to state that care workers, auxiliary nurses,hospital porters,cleaners, logistic workers, postal workers and garbage collectors among others will not be able to apply for a work visa from January.
The only low paid workers the UK government envisages to allow staying are agricultural workers, plane loads of Romanians being flown in over the past few days.

A leaked Home Office recording which the BBC marginally reported was explosive, but the BBC only focussed on the part where the home office insisted staff turn up for work in the passport office. The Byline Times covered the most alarming parts of it.

“leaked recordings of a Home Office conference call on Tuesday, exclusively obtained by Byline Times, reveal that the Government has all but given up in its fight against the Coronavirus and is intent on simply finding “a method of managing it within the population”.

The recordings show Home Office Deputy Science Advisor Rupert Shute stating repeatedly that the Government believes “we will all get” COVID-19 eventually. The call further implied that the Government now considers hundreds of thousands of deaths unavoidable over a long-term period consisting of multiple peaks of the disease.”

“Shute repeatedly insisted that “we can’t hide away from it forever, but we can manage the way in which we are exposed”.

The Home Office refused to provide any further clarification on the modelling the Government was using to justify this projection.

UK Government strategy, he confirmed, is not attempting to contain the spread of the virus, but simply to slow down “the rate at which we get this virus [which] has direct impact on the NHS. It’s vitally important that we don’t get it at the same time. But that does not mean we won’t still get it at some point… We’ve got to keep functioning our lives, go out for food and medication, and go out for work”.

“Reflecting on the “reality of the situation”, he said that “we will all be exposed to it at some point”. According to the “current modelling we are working on, 80% will get it – of that, a large portion won’t notice that they have it. Another substantial portion will have very, very mild symptoms. And a small portion will have a very significant reaction”.


So in effect what this appears to tell us is that the UK government has never really moved away from their crazy herd immunity plan. If so, that is truly worrying.

Meanwhile the Mirror reported :

“A leading infectious disease scientist claims the Government recklessly allowed tens of thousands of people to catch coronavirus

Professor Helen Ward, of the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at Imperial College London has warned ministers “there will be a reckoning, and it will not be forgiving”.

The academic tweeted: “It’s very sad that so many people have died, and so many more are desperately ill because politicians refused to listen to advice.

“We said lockdown earlier, we said test, trace, isolate. But they decided they knew better. There will be a reckoning, and it will not be forgiving.”

Professor Ward told the Mirror the decision in early March to stop community testing and contact tracing was a “big problem” which meant we “lost sight” of the pandemic.

Prof Ward said: “The Government instituted the lock down on March 23.

“Ten days earlier it was clear to many major epidemiologists and public health experts like myself that we needed stringent social distancing. Those ten days were lost.

“On March 16, the Government reacted by saying people shouldn’t travel unnecessarily but didn’t institute any regulation of that.

“That was a major error that lost us seven days at least. In those seven days there could have been tens of thousands of people infected as a result of the delay to the lockdown.

“The World Health Organisation and other countries were recommending it at that time while the UK was still pursuing ‘we know better’.”

Asked why Britain’s epidemic was worse than countries like France and Germany, she said: “The decision in early March to stop testing and contact tracing in the community was one of the big problems.

“When that happened we lost sight of the number of new cases and were only able to trace people when they became sick enough to need hospital treatment.

“That was related to the lack of testing capacity, I accept that. That was then compounded by the ongoing transmission in hospital because of inadequate PPE.

“So there was a lack of testing, lack of PPE, lack of ventilators and the lack of hospital beds and NHS capacity in general.

“There are a result of ten years of cuts to the Health Service, a lack of investment and a lack of preparedness.”

In the meantime the British Media had as its headline news every day was not how many had been effected or died, but as Boris Johnson as some sort of heroic Churchillian figure for catching the virus, with some Torys asking the nation to clap for Boris like people have been clapping for the NHS workers. Utter nonsense!

Meanwhile there were other reports of marines coming to remove a couple of high tech robotic testing machines and relocating them to Milton Keynes, followed a couple of weeks later with news that Health England had instructed the 4 major suppliers of PPE in the UK not to allow any orders to go to Care homes in Scotland or Wales and only to supply England. What was that about being better together again?

The Tory Health ministers idea of rewarding the under siege health workers is to provide them with a garbage badge which they have to pay for rather than ensure they have the correct provisions or to,  give them a well deserved pay rise… I am sure they would rather
be properly rewarded than be given the Clap!

Certainly in amongst this pandemic politics has not gone away, we see it for what it is, even if it is more understated than usual.
At the end of this crisis there will be a reckoning, and part of that reckoning will be the peoples judgement of the state of the Union and how we have all been  served by it.


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When the War is Over

A regular description used by those in power has been to describe this pandemic as a War, with the NHS as our front line against the virus enemy.
The expression of the Tory government on Boris Johnson and his stay in Intensive care has been to say that he is a fighter and will get through this.
The Queen used the expression “We’ll meet again” a clear reference to the World War 2 song.
All of this is rhetoric to ramp up the War time spirit, and we are British, together we will win this war.

Whatever it is, it is not a war, and we are not all in it together.
Yes, this virus does not distinguish by wealth, class or position who gets it, we are all risk from getting it, but not all of us are equal in risk. The poor, the workers, the homeless are all in far greater risk than those of wealth and privilege.
Nor is it a war, for it to be a war the virus would have to be actively choosing to make war on humanity.
What this is for all of us is a matter of survival and finding a cure.
Our health workers are not trying to kill life, but to save lives.

One thing for sure is that when this pandemic has finally passed, hard questions will have to be asked, and hard answers will have to be given.
Governments in 2008 were well warned that a major pandemic was to be expected and to plan appropriately for one. It would appear however that the UK government prepared itself for a flu like pandemic and stock piled vaccine in the event of one.
What they could not be as prepared for at that time was the possibility of a virus for which there was no comparable vaccine.
Questions arise though on how they originally responded, this ridiculous notion of herd immunity for one.
Their own advice on isolating cases and testing they have not been at all prepared for, unlike countries such as Germany who did thoroughly prepare, and also maintained their health service sufficiently, unlike the UK government which has for years been undermining the NHS and selling off chunks of services in England and Wales.
Questions arise on why unlike other countries who closed their borders they have not done so, with even today flights coming into Heathrow from virus torn countries like Spain and Iran, with passengers not put into quarantine on arrival.
In one report I have read from 2009, there seems to be a balance of health and economic cost, with saving one human life in Intensive care given the price of £1.5 million!
So how much of a factor was the economy in their original assessment?
Many more questions like these will be asked once this is all over.

One thing for sure, the world will be in an entirely different place once this pandemic has passed.
The worlds economy will have been severely damaged, things that we understood last year will not be seen the same way now.
Vast changes are coming, and those that survive this will face a new reality in their daily lives.

So much for billions of pounds spent on nuclear arms, they are useless.
Expenditure will have to be placed where it rightly belongs, and not in some Global game of Risk.

In the meantime…. keep safe, keep well



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When You Are Not Looking

When you are not looking as your attention is fixed elsewhere, that is exactly the time that you need to be looking at what is being done and slipped through behind your back and out of your sight!

An article by a Scottish Solicitor in the Scotsman grabbed my attention.
The matter it pertains to has not been commented upon elsewhere in the media as far as I am aware. Yet it is such a matter that potentially could drive a coach and horses through a major part of the Acts of Union! That of the Independence of Scots Law!

Michael Sheridan, a Glasgow solicitor says in the article
“Last week, the CMA launched an astonishing attack upon the solicitors profession in Scotland. According to reports, I and my colleague solicitors may not be delivering good outcomes, need to do a better job, do not provide high quality, good value legal services, short-change clients, do not make price information available in an accessible manner and provide information which exacerbates the complexity of legal services. What a bunch.”

These groundless allegations were published two weeks into the coronavirus emergency while most solicitors affected by these allegations were struggling to close down their offices while continuing to provide emergency services from home to the public and to meet the stringent requirements of professional practice including safeguarding clients’ funds, papers and information without the benefit of the staff, superior internet efficiency and office equipment normally available.

Moreover, the CMA is fully funded by taxpayers in publishing these allegations, while solicitors in Scotland have to rely upon private resources to examine and respond to these allegations at a time when the income from their practices is all but drying up. Is it possible these factors were not taken into account by the CMA when choosing the time to launch their broadside ?”


Now lets take a moment to consider this, who are the CMA?
The CMA are the Competitions and Marketing Authority, a branch of the UK Government responsible for strengthening business competition and preventing and reducing anti-competitive activities directly reporting to the Department of Business.


Michael Sheridan goes on to say

“It is clear the CMA seeks to recast the Scottish legal system in the mould of the system in 
England and Wales without insight or regard to the different tradition, size and nature of the Scottish jurisdiction and, incidentally, without regard to the 
Treaty of Union of 1707 in which articles XVIII and XIX guarantee in all time coming the separate entity of the Scottish legal jurisdiction.

That Treaty may be very old but has been regularly visited and, for the most part, faithfully applied throughout the three centuries since its creation. The CMA seeks to replace the Law Society of Scotland with a new statutory regulator along the lines of the Solicitors Regulation Authority in England and Wales and to make the ownership of solicitors’ practices available to non-solicitors including commercial entities subject to shareholder ownership.

Perhaps the most extreme contravention of the Treaty of Union is the proposed replacement of Scotland’s most senior law officer, the Lord President of the Court of Session, with Parliament as the head of the regulation of the solicitors’ profession.

This last proposal contravenes also the doctrine of the separation of powers in arguably the most savage attack by the legislature upon the 
judiciary since the removal of the head of the judiciary (Charles I) by the (English) Parliament in 1649. Hence the need for the CMA to find fault with the current system in Scotland and, in particular, with the solicitors’ profession in Scotland.”


Lets be clear about what is being said here. This is a direct attack on the Independence of Scots Law and an attempted power grab by Westminster.


“Perhaps most unwelcome to Scottish solicitors is the fact that, while the Law Society of Scotland has responded to the iterations of CMA, it is reported to have offered no challenge to the inaccurate, damaging and, at places, irrational assertions made by the CMA against Scottish solicitors.

As these solicitors struggle and strive to keep going under the pressure of the coronavirus emergency, they might ask why they do not have any institutional means of standing up to assaults such as this by the CMA”


Be in no doubt that this is an extremely serious attack on the Independence of Scots Law and possibly the first stage of attempting to make our Justice System and Laws answerable to Westminster control.

It is chipping away at the Acts of Union to make Scots subservient and answerable to English Law. It is an assault on all of us, not just Scots Solicitors.





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