Referendum 2014
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Referendum 2014
The Scottish independence referendum and the debate about Scotland's constitutional future
Curated by Peter A Bell
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Author James Robertson: SNP would cease to exist five years after a Yes vote

Author James Robertson: SNP would cease to exist five years after a Yes vote | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
The leading Scottish author James Robertson has predicted the Scottish National Party will cease to exist within years of a Yes vote in the coming independence referendum.
Peter A Bell's insight:

I'm not sure where James Robertson has been for the last couple of years, but he appears to have totally missed the cultural aspects of the referendum debate carried by such sites as National Collective adn Bella Caledonia. Given the sheer number of creative types involved in the Yes campaign, it is difficult to see how anybody could claim that the cultural case for independence is not being presented.


Mr Robertson also appears to have missed significant developments in Scotland's political scene. It seems to have escaped his notice that the SNP has been transformed from what was very much a single-issue party into a party of government with distinctive policies. He fails to attach any significance to the fact that by the time Independence Day rolls around the SNP will have been in government for nine years.


While it is likely that some people will leave the SNP to join - or form - other political parties, there is no reason to suppose that the SNP will cease to exist. The party is far too well-established for that to be a realistic possibility.


The real question is not whether the SNP will continue, but whether there can be any place in Scottish politics for those who have been associated with the anti-independence campaign. That, and the matter of how the new Scottish Labour Party might distinguish itself from the SNP.

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Eurovision

Eurovision | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

There is a theory going around that, despite a few superficial differences, the SNP and UKIP actually have a lot in common; that Scottish nationalists and English eurosceptics shar...

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Euan McColm: Nationalists will change next year

Euan McColm: Nationalists will change next year | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
HAVING reached this crucial stage, the SNP stands on the brink of two very different futures, says Euan McColm
Peter A Bell's insight:

Euan McColm is clutching at straws when he tries to pretend that "there is not much change in the polls since the campaign began". With characteristic shallowness he bases this facile conclusion on what we can only assume to be - because he declines to specify - the recent survey commissioned by Better Together. A survey which is as seriously flawed as any that has been designed for the purpose of providing anti-independence propaganda rather than meaningful insight.

At least McColm doesn't fall into the common unionist fallacy of imagining that a No vote will destroy the SNP. But he does seem to think that it will put an end to the independence campaign. He should disabuse himself of that silly notion immediately.

There is no realistically conceivable scenario in which the anti-independence campaign might prevail by anything other than the slimmest of margins. Even if the unionists win, they will rapidly be found to have done so on the basis of a false prospectus backed by a campaign riddled with lies and deceit and groundless scaremongering. The clamour for a new referendum will begin almost immediately, and is likely to be too powerful for the SNP to ignore even if the party was minded to put independence on the back burner for a while.

That demand for a new referendum will increase even more when it becomes obvious that the British parties have no intention of honouring their jam tomorrow promises. Independence is not going to be off the agenda in the event of a No vote. Independence is never going to be off the agenda. The referendum is really just a choice between taking our independence now, or enduring further years of constitutional tinkering and uncomfortable compromise before taking our independence at a later date.

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Gerry Hassan: SNP must drop old Scotland to forge future

Gerry Hassan: SNP must drop old Scotland to forge future | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
We hear all the time that a “historic decision” awaits Scots next year but so far this has seemed like a typical Scottish campaign as nervous forces of change face a tetchy displaced establishment and a media unsure of its role.
Peter A Bell's insight:

Here we go again! Another wordy whinge about how we're doing the independence debate all wrong. Apparently, it's the wrong people talking about the wrong things at the wrong time and in the wrong way. And, it seems, it's all the fault of the SNP. Because, of course, there are no other forces involved in the campaign to restore Scotland's rightful constitutional status. Or, at least, none which cannot be safely ignored for the purposes of rehashing a favourite gripe.

One might sensibly wonder how the SNP has been so successful given that it seemingly can do nothing right. Growing to be the largest party in Scotland. Winning an outright majority at Holyrood. Maintaining the trust and confidence of voters after more than six years in government. Not forgetting delivery of a referendum on independence. All of this, according to the whingers' narrative, has evidently been achieved by some strange fluke and despite the party doing everything wrong.

Gerry Hassan is correct about one thing. The debate is about many things, including "how we challenge the failed status quo and elite rule which UK governments are happy to promote and maintain". But the referendum isn't! The referendum is about one thing only. It is about whether or not we take to ourselves the power to proceed from debate to action.

In a sense too, he is right about the wrong people talking about the wrong things at the wrong time and in the wrong way. But this is of no consequence so long as lots of people are talking about diverse ideas all of the time and in whatever ways they choose. And if we but lift our eyes above the sorely limited horizon of party politics, that is precisely what we see.

A fire has been lit in Scotland's political heart. If the SNP does not provide the fiercest flame then look elsewhere. The fire has spread well beyond the confines of any one party. This fire will not be extinguished by a Yes vote in next year's referendum. Although a No vote will surely snuff it out like a candle.

What role the SNP will have in Scotland BEING independent remains to be seen. But the SNP has a crucial role to play in Scotland BECOMING independent.  I suggest that they have earned the right to ask that we trust them to fulfil that role. Let them be the agency by which independence is taken. Let them bring our government back home. What we do with it after that is up to the people of Scotland.

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David Briggs's comment, October 19, 2013 12:43 PM
Don't particularly like Hassan's turgid writing style or his nascent allegiance to Independence. Untrustworthy character. I stopped reading after the first few attempts. Ever started a book you just couldn't get into? .........that's Gerry.
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The question of Scottish independence | The Economic Voice

The question of Scottish independence | The Economic Voice | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Why is Scotland facing the biggest question in its constitutional history? Nationalism? Self-sufficiency? Or a political awakening?
Peter A Bell's insight:

It is a complete nonsense to say, as the author of this article does, that Scotland's independence campaign has somehow "neglected" to identify Westminster as the "root of the problem". Scotland's civic nationalist movement is precisely about bringing our government home.

The British state is failing all the people of these islands. The optimal solution for Scotland is independence. It is for the people elsewhere in the UK to decide how they want to address the dire deficiencies of their democracy.

There is nothing overly complicated about the demand for independence. Independence is the default status of nations. All we seek is the status and powers that other nations assume to be theirs by right.

Support for the SNP is another matter and only partly related to the cause of independence. Ill-informed commentators too often conflate/confuse the independence movement and the SNP. In fact, the independence movement is very much bigger than the party. And the party is very much more than a single-issue campaign.

The SNP is firmly established as a party of government. Why? It is all a matter of trust. If the people of Scotland don't entirely trust the SNP at least they distrust them less than they do the British parties in Scotland. This trust has been won simply by a combination of probity in public office and quiet competence in government. That's really all it takes.

Perhaps people in the rest of the UK can take hope from this. But they better not hope that the British parties will take any lessons. British politics is corrupt to the core and that isn't going to be changed by those who benefit from its structures of power and privilege.

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SNP spends £500,000 - but it's just a phoney war

Peter A Bell's insight:

In what way is it a revelation that the main party campaigning for independence spends money campaigning for independence?

Sometimes you just want to give these "journalists" a good virtual slap and tell them to bloody well grow up.

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SNP needs to face up to a potential No vote

SNP needs to face up to a potential No vote | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
The SNPs apparent refusal to countenance a No vote could backfire, writes independence-supporter Andy Davis
Peter A Bell's insight:

This is the most appalling nonsense! Andy Davis starts off by acknowledging that you can't " campaign on the basis that you’ll lose", then goes on to insist that is exactly what the SNP and Yes Scotland should be doing. Ludicrous!

If, as Mr Davis implies, the possibility of a NO vote is so glaringly obvious and generally known, why would it need to be acknowledged in every statement the pro-independence campaign makes? What does he imagine would happen if, for example, Alex Salmond ever once allowed himself to be led into speculating about the possibility of a NO vote? Has Mr Davis ever seen the unionist media at work?

Talking in terms of defeat would be a tactical disaster. That much seems obvious. And yet Andy Davis presumes himself wiser in such matters than a campaigning team with a track record of success which is unrivalled in UK politics.

No reasonably astute observer of Scotland's political scene needs these things spelled out for them. The SNP has always insisted that it will, in any circumstances, campaign for the fullest powers for the Scottish Parliament. And it doesn't take a political genius to figure out that the campaign to restore Scotland's rightful constitutional status will go on in the event of a No vote. How would it serve the independence campaign to be talking about this hypothetical future referendum instead of the one we're actually involved in?

The Scottish Government does not "ignore, or bat away inquiries about the post-referendum situation". There is a very clear timetable readily available on the SG website which sets out how things would progress in the event of a Yes vote. Should there be a NO vote, nothing will change. At least, not immediately. We simply go into the 2015 UK elections and 2016 Scottish elections under the circumstances that then prevail. The SNP cannot say what those circumstances will be because, as Andy Davis fails to notice, none of the British parties have yet published their manifestos for those elections. Quite why he thinks the SNP should do so 2-3 years in advance and while in the midst of a massive referendum campaign remains a mystery.

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Peter Jones: Divisions multiply SNP’s problems

Peter Jones: Divisions multiply SNP’s problems | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
SCOTTISH Nationalism is unusual amongst political parties in having a membership which divides less over points of principle than it does over tactics.
Peter A Bell's insight:

How seriously can we take an article which purports to analyse the independence issue but fails to even mention Yes Scotland? There is more of wishful thinking here than there is cogent, informed analysis. Peter Jones simply does not understand Scotland's civic nationalist movement.

Mired in the cesspit of British party politics and incapable of seeing beyond its characteristic corruption and subordination of principle to political expediency, Peter Jones makes the mistake of crowbarring the SNP into the only model with which he is familiar. He then compounds this error by taking the SNP as being the entire independence movement.

He fails to recognise that the SNP is different because it has a fundamental precept around which support coalesces. Or, to be more accurate, he acknowledges the existence of this principle but totally fails to recognise its significance. Almost as if he was totally unfamiliar with the concept of principle in a political context.

The tacky triumvirate of British parties - Tory/Labour/LibDem - by contrast have nothing at their heart that isn't up for sale in the seedy market-places of the British state's London lair.

The reality is that all political parties embrace a range of shades of political opinion - albeit generally confined to a particular part of the spectrum as a whole. Given the propensity of the sensationalist media to leap on the tiniest deviation or variance in the minutiae of policy and portray this as a "damaging split", the British parties have resorted to a belt-and-braces strategy of rigid central control to keep people on-message combined with elaborate fudging of the message itslef so that it isn't ever clear whether somebody is on it or not.

The SNP differs in that its core message of independence remains solid and unchanging. What Peter Jones mistakes for "damaging splits" over that core aim are, in fact, different visions of what can and/or should be done once that core aim has been achieved. Where the British parties have come to regard internal differences as a weakness, the SNP's capacity for attracting a range of political opinion to a common basic objective has always been its greatest strength.

What is truly remarkable is the extent to which this coherence has been maintained as the SNP adapted to being a party of government and as the progress towards independence required more detailed examination of the implications. If the SNP were like the British parties it would have disintegrated long before now. That it hasn't, and shows no sign of doing so, is the real story here.

And what is true of the SNP applies even more strongly to the wider independence movement of which Peter Jones seems to be oddly unaware. The assumption that differences over currency etc. must be damaging to the Yes campaign in the way that internal disagreements are damaging to any of the British parties is shallow, simplistic and fallacious. Such differences serve only to emphasis the potential of independence.

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Scottish independence: currency and tax concerns

Scottish independence: currency and tax concerns | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
ALEX Salmond’s vision for Scotland falls “far short of any meaningful concept of independence” according to two leading economists, in a major new intervention in the referendum debate.
Peter A Bell's insight:

I have the utmost respect for Jim and Margaret Cuthbert, but cannot agree with them that Scottish voters are not being presented with the option of a genuinely independent nation. In fact, Scottish voters are being presented with every option that there is.

What is true is that not all of those options are encompassed by the vision presented by the Scottish National Party. Frankly, it's ridiculous to expect that one political party might represent everything that everyone wants.

The referendum will not decide the character of an independent Scotland. The referendum will decide what forces shape that character. I'm sure the SNP will be among those forces. But that, like all else, will be for the people of Scotland to decide.

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Jim Arnott's comment, May 29, 2013 12:24 PM
What you say Peter is absolutely true. It will be for the people of Scotland to decide what Scotland should look like. They will have no chance of this if they vote No. The thought of a No vote fills me with dread.
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SNP support remains at 2011 landslide level | Scottish National Party

SNP support remains at 2011 landslide level | Scottish National Party | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

Welcoming the Panelbase independence poll for the Sunday Times Scotland and Real Radio Scotland - which shows that the gap between Yes and No is now down to 8 points, meaning that a swing of just over 4% would put Yes ahead, and that Yes and No are both at 44% on the scenario of the UK looking likely to withdraw from the EU, member of the Scottish Parliament’s European and External Relations Committee, Clare Adamson MSP said:

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What the SNP's breakthrough tells us about UKIP's prospects

What the SNP's breakthrough tells us about UKIP's prospects | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
As it was for the "Tartan Tories", the real test for UKIP is not whether it can take votes off the Conservatives but whether it can build a wider long-term coalition.
Peter A Bell's insight:

Another British nationalist buffoon trying to tar the SNP with the UKIP brush.

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Vincent McDee's comment, May 11, 2013 12:59 PM
James Mills is a Labour researcher
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In September, we vote for Scotland, not Salmond

So, when I hear from some in this referendum campaign that they're not that keen on voting yes (they're not a definite no either) because they "don't like that Alex Salmond" or they wonder what "he...
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The third Scotland: self-organising, self-determining, suspicious of the SNP

The third Scotland: self-organising, self-determining, suspicious of the SNP | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Gerry Hassan: Establishment visions rejected by the young, authority figures crumbling – Scotland has unambiguously become another country
Peter A Bell's insight:



How refreshing to read an analysis of the referendum campaign* which isn't mired in the lazy prejudices of the London-based media. At last! A description of Scotland's politics that does not discordantly conflict with observable reality.

I would only disagree slightly with Gerry Hassan on one point. While his concept of a "third Scotland" has genuine resonance, my impression is that the "suspicious" attitude towards the SNP to which he refers has actually diminished as this third Scotland has grown in strength and confidence. Non-SNP independence campaigners now have the self-assurance to be able to acknowledge the SNP's role in bringing Scotland to this historic juncture without being concerned that they are conceding anything to the party's agenda.

Some of the warmest and most spontaneous applause that you will hear at Yes Scotland gatherings comes when someone from the Greens or the SSP offers a vote of thanks to Alex Salmond and his team before moving on to outline their very different vision for Scotland's future. This is in stark contrast to what would tend to happen only a few months ago when non-SNP speakers invariably prefaced every utterance with a disclaimer pointedly reminding everyone that they were "not SNP".

There are, I think, two main reasons for this change in attitude. Firstly, there is a growing recognition of the difference between being independent and becoming independent. Along with the realisation that the SNP's plan offers the only viable way of achieving the latter. There is no other route to independence. We either reach independence by the path set out by the Scottish Government, or we don't get there at all. There is an acceptance that the SNP is the sole agency by which the people of Scotland will reassert our nation's rightful constitutional status.

Accepting this, third Scotland has been able to focus much more on the matter of being independent - what happens after March 2016. With less energy devoted to sniping at the SNP, third Scotland (Is it time to start capitalising this term?) has been able to devote itself to developing innovative, and often quite radical, ideas for transforming the nation in the years and decades subsequent to becoming independent. They have grown into their true role of building alternative visions of what being independent might mean.

As they have done so they have also grown in confidence. And this new-found confidence is the second reason for a change in attitude towards the SNP. While it is accepted that, as the democratically elected government with a mandate from the people, the SNP must lead the process of becoming independent, any sense that the party might dominate the process of being independent has diminished with the rise of Third Scotland.

Notwithstanding the increasingly hysterical efforts of Better Together to pretend that the referendum is all about the SNP, and their daily more deplorable attempts to personalise the issue by demonising Alex Salmond, it is becoming increasingly apparent to unprejudiced observers that Third Scotland is something very real. And that it provides the essential counterbalance which ensures that, when we vote Yes, no single political party will be able to impose its idea of what being independent means.

The scale of change in Scotland in recent years has indeed been of historic proportions. With all due respect to Gerry Hassan, it is slightly naive to suppose that such massive change might have left unaffected the SNP and others' attitudes towards it.

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Goodbye to Labour complacency and 'forces of darkness' ... hello new Scotland

Goodbye to Labour complacency and 'forces of darkness' ... hello new Scotland | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Watching the SNP at their Aberdeen conference this weekend, on the eve of a referendum on independence, I couldn't help thinking how extraordinary it is that this is happening at all.
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Eighty years on, there is no looking back for SNP

Eighty years on, there is  no looking back for SNP | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Eighty years ago today delegates gathered in Glasgow's St Andrew's Mid Hall (now part of the Mitchell Library) to inaugurate formally the Scottish National Party.
Peter A Bell's insight:

Interesting article. If only for a game of "Spot The Sleekit Wee Slur".

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A Post First Past the Post Scotland

A Post First Past the Post Scotland | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

Explaining the rise of the SNP has always been problematic for unionists. The most commonly used method is to decouple support for the party with support for its central aim of independence. This was Willie Ross’s response in the seventies and the landslide in 2011 was explained in exactly the same terms. The Scottish people, we are told, don’t want their own state: but are drawn to the SNP as competent regional administrators who ‘fight Scotland’s corner’ .


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Salmond urged to submit pledges for audit

ALEX Salmond was last night urged to submit his plans for independence to an outside audit by the UK Government's spending watchdog.
Peter A Bell's insight:

It has often been noted that the anti-independence campaign is riddled with contradictions and inconsistencies. This must surely be one of the most striking examples. And yet another illustration of the way in which British nationalists utterly fail to think things through. Evidently, Cathy Jamieson thought it a wizard wheeze to suggest that the SNP's spending plans be audited by the UK Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR). And, having lighted upon what she thought was something that would embarrass the SNP, she saw no need for any further thinking at all.

It didn't occur to her that the OBR has no remit to conduct such an audit. It didn't cross her idle mind that Scotland already has a Fiscal Commission that is perfectly capable and better qualified to examine any budgetary proposals.

And she is dumbly unaware that the OBR has already been dismissed as a Tory party poodle by no less a figure than the leader of the campaign to deny Scotland's rightful constitutional status, Alistair Darling.

And why only the SNP's proposals? The SNP is but one of the parties that will be putting its plans and policies to the people of Scotland in the event of a Yes vote. If these plans and policies are to be submitted for "independent" audit, surely others must also be given the same rigorous examination.

Indeed, given that the choice in the referendum is not between political parties and their policies but between two distinct constitutional statuses, the implications of both must be made clear. The SNP's proposal are only a relatively small part of the picture. The people of Scotland must be warned of the likely consequences of remaining bound to the British state as well as being given as clear an impression as may be possible of what might be achieved by bringing Scotland's government home.

Yes Scotland is a massive community-based campaign working tirelessly to explain to people in clear and forthright terms what independence means. When will we see such openness and honesty from those who want to preserve the British state at whatever cost to the people of Scotland?

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“There would be little point in the SNP as a party”

In a blog post about a speech by Michael Moore on the Liberal Democrat Voice website, LibDem activist Caron Lindsay wrote:


The one thing I would be a bit wary of is that it’s not realistic to expect the nationalist camp to come up with just one vision of independence. They can’t. The nationalist movement is by its nature going to be full of people with a diversity of views. Should Scotland choose separation, there would be little point in the SNP as a party. There would be nothing to hold it together after the first effort to build the new nation. There are liberals, socialists, greens, republicans, right wingers within it. They would most likely join other parties or start new ones.

Peter A Bell's insight:

Caron Lindsay may have some kind of point about Scotland's civic nationalist movement being "full of people with a diversity of views" (What political party isn't?), but she exhibits characteristic shallowness when she insist there would be "little point in the SNP as a party" after independence.

Where has she been for the six years and more? In that time the SNP has established itself as a party of government to such an extent that it won a supposedly impossible outright majority at Holyrood.

In Caron Lindsay's silly utterances we see yet again the inconsistency and contradiction that permeates so much of what passes for thinking amongst unionists. In one breath they frantically insist that a vote for the SNP is not a vote for independence. In the next breath they insist just as stridently that this is the ONLY reason people vote SNP and that without that reason the party will have no purpose.

I confidently predict that the SNP will not only continue after independence, it will lead the first government of a Scotland restored to its rightful status in the world.

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Eddie Barnes: No vote could be win-win for SNP

Eddie Barnes: No vote could be win-win for SNP | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Labour must consider a strategy to match the possibility that a No vote could prove a win-win for the SNP, writes Eddie Barnes
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This war is anything but phoney ... and the SNP is losing it

If nothing else, Donside delivered a timely rebuff to Nigel Farage.

Peter A Bell's insight:

Iain Macwhirter is considerably more impressed with the anti-independence campaign than I am.

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Listless quality to SNP's case for independence

Is the Scottish National Party still a Scottish nationalist party?

Peter A Bell's insight:

I wonder if Iain Macwhirter's "Road to Referendum" will disregard the wider Yes Scotland campaign as assiduously as this article does. If so, it will be a profound disappointment.

How is it possible to observe that the SNP is at least as focused on the 2016 Scottish Parliamentary elections as on next year's referendum without also noting that this shift of focus is only possible because the task of prosecuting the independence campaign has largely been handed off to Yes Scotland? (Who, incidentally, happen to be doing a rather good job - http://peterabell.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/yes-success_25.html.)

How is it possible to identify the fact that the SNP's role in the independence campaign has changed without also considering the way that the entry into the campaign of Yes Scotland has facilitated this change?

How is it possible to comment on the way in which the SNP's contribution to the debate on Scotland's constitutional future has adapted to changing circumstances without analysing those circumstances and taking account of how the vision now being advanced by the SNP may be both realistic and required?

To whatever extent it may have been so in the past, the Scottish National Party is no longer a single-issue party. It is firmly established as a party of government and a leading player within the game of party politics in Scotland and the UK. Why then should it be surprising to find it behaving as such? It is the purpose of political parties to win and retain political power. This necessarily entails concentrating on elections. Elections are very different from referendums. So it is hardly shocking that, as both the independence campaign and Scottish politics more generally have evolved, so the SNP has evolved also.

It might be relevant to suggest at this point that the ongoing travails of British Labour in Scotland may be explained by their failure to evolve. This is why the likes of Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown seem so irrelevant to the debate - almost as if they are talking about something else entirely.

Looking at the bigger picture, the "listless" representation of independence being offered by the SNP makes perfect sense. Their role in the independence campaign is defined and constrained by their role as the governing party. Radicalism would be out of place. It would strike a distinctly discordant note with an electorate who, as a whole, expect the government to be fairly (small-c) conservative.

If the SNP's was the only vision on offer there might be cause for concern. If theirs was the only voice, it would surely be disappointing. But this is not the case. By so inexplicably discounting Yes Scotland and the wider pro-independence effort, Iain Macwhirter risks missing the rich diversity of the plethora of ideas that are being explored. As I have noted elsewhere,

"As people are increasingly enthused by the possibilities and potential of independence, Scotland's political scene has become more active and richly diverse than it has been in decades."


The SNP's cautious, conservative vision fits perfectly within this matrix of more radical ideas. Indeed, it is at the very centre of that matrix. Because it describes the easily achievable but absolutely necessary starting point from which all outcomes can be reached.


Independence day plus one should look as identical as possible to independence day minus one, not simply because this is less likely to "frighten the horses", but because the alternative is that the character of newly independent Scotland be pre-defined rather than left for the people to decide.

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Are the SNP the Scottish UKIP? | Bright Green

A crowd of activists pointing out that the UKIP leader is a bawbag does not a national sentiment make. In fact, with the good folks at Hope not Hate
Peter A Bell's insight:

Excellent article exposing the simplistic folly of comparing the SNP with UKIP.

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Alf Young: SNP only has own strategy to blame

Alf Young: SNP only has own strategy to blame | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Playing the long game and insisting on a single referendum may be the undoing of the Yes campaign, writes Alf Young
Peter A Bell's insight:

We don't know that Scotland wants a formal currency union with the UK. We know only that this is SNP policy. But, like so many of his colleagues, Alf Young seems to have great difficulty maintaining in his mind a clear distinction between the SNP and the wider independence campaign, mainly under the umbrella of Yes Scotland.

It is also wrong to say that, according to the SNP, Scotland post-independence is "promised to stay much the same". Independence changes everything. Even where it may be convenient to maintain, at least temporarily, certain arrangements, processes and structures, the circumstances in which they are maintained is different. The difference is choice.

Independence is the capacity to freely negotiate the terms on which a nation engages with the world. There is, for example, a huge difference between retaining the monarchy because it is what the sovereign people of Scotland choose and having no option in the matter due to being bound to the British state without ever having been offered a choice in the matter. A British state, moreover, which by its very nature, denies the very popular sovereignty from which the capacity to choose derives.

Perhaps it might be helpful to think of what we are debating as a rearranging of the union. A redefining of the diverse relationships between the members of what is, after all, supposed to be a voluntary union of two equal nations. When one thinks of it in such terms it seems clear that not everything must be radically different. Some things can be kept much as they have been. Other things may need to change completely.

This is what is meant when it is said that we would wish to maintain the social union with the rest of the UK (rUK). It is the political union that is unsustainable. A fact that is becoming increasingly clear as the UK government pursues economic and social policies which are little short of anathema to most people in Scotland.

Independence allows us to keep the bits that work and change the things that don't. This can only be good for all concerned.

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