Sunday, April 28, 2019

DOES NICOLA STURGEON PREFER A FEDERALIST COMPROMISE?
For some time I have believed and stated that Sturgeon is, by her nature, a manager and not a visionary who would use every opportunity available to take Scotland out of the union.
It should be pretty clear by now that her super-cautious approach ensures that she will never dare to move against the British establishment and its Deep State. We know them all too well to have to explain why Scotland's institutions from its government down, are so deeply intertwined with Britain's that nothing short of wholesale destruction and a new beginning from scratch could ever free Scotland of those ties.
That is why I believe Sturgeon would choose an end to the impossible dilemma of preparing for a putative referendum which, by her own acknowledged rules of needing first to obtain a Section 30 Order from Westminster, she can never expect to be held. That is why I find myself agreeing unexpectedly with Stephen Daisley in the Spectator when he suggests that the FM is taking us all for a ride.
Those few who bothered to watch in its entirety the FM's Ministerial Statement last Wednesday may have noticed her reply to Liberal Democrat, Mike Rumbles, on his comments about federalism.
Replying to Rumbles she said, "We cannot unilaterally turn the UK into a federal country. That requires the UK government ... I will leave Mike Rumbles to continue to beaver away to try at some point to deliver federalism and I will be the first to congratulate him for it."
Now, admittedly she also observed in that reply the sheer futility of anyone trying to persuade the WM government to take federalism seriously. They don't and they never have. The UK establishment and its government appear to suffer from a clinical pathology in its inability and mulish refusal to understand the most basic principles of federalism.
Sturgeon's reply should be understood in that context and her promise to congratulate Rumbles be nothing more than sarcasm. But I cannot help detect just a hint of wishful thinking in that reply saying "We cannot unilaterally turn the UK into a federal country. That requires the UK government."
Was there the teeniest suggestion there that she would be open to multilateral talks on federalism along the lines of her open invitation to have cross-party talks with the unionists as well as holding a Citizen's Assembly on Scotland's constitutional future?
Certainly, Craig Murray, an ex-UK Ambassador and far more experienced political commentator than I seems to have when, last Wednesday, he tweeted:
"Sturgeon's 'Citizen's Assembly' will do nothing to advance the cause of Independence, but fumble around looking for federalist compromise. Establishment controlled, it will achieve nothing because designed to kick the Indy can 2 more years down the road."
Taking her speech in its entirety, interpreting her invitation for cross-party talks with unionists and a citizen's assembly on Scotland's constitutional future I can only arrive at the conclusion that her 'update' last Wednesday was really nothing to do with preparations for another referendum on independence.
It was something else entirely: while preparing a legislative framework for another referendum of sorts (with no question decided upon to put to the electorate) the speech was really an open invitation for cross-party talks and the creation of a citizen's assembly. Nothing more.
So before Sturgeon's followers become too excited about another referendum having been announced they should sit down, take a few deep breaths, and listen to or read what she actually said. Wishful thinking, as we all should know by now, has only led us down a road to nowhere.


Tuesday, April 23, 2019

ANOTHER 'CUNNING PLAN' WHEN NOTHING HAS REALLY CHANGED?

On my first reading Nicola Sturgeon's recent article in the National, This Plan is Ambitious AND Credible - it can win us Independence, (I will re-read it just in case I missed something) and apart from being worn-out by its length what most struck me is how Sturgeon's lawyer's mind is able to spin out bullshit ad nauseam and where we really learn nothing new.
A certain popular indy commentator (whose broadcasts I normally respect) got very excited about Sturgeon's puff piece over Easter, especially about her vague promises for a new currency. These promises are nothing new; they were made weeks ago in an attempt to appease the SNP membership some who were gearing up to oppose the disgraceful 'Growth' Report.
So why are informed indy commentators making such a big deal about it now? Perhaps because they are desperately looking around to comment on some good news emanating from the FM when in the real world there is none?
Sturgeon intends to go ahead with Wilson's neoliberal proposals, Sterlingization, the Six Tests and the ill-termed Solidarity Payment. And this piece in the National is nothing more than a suitably-couched declaration that nothing has changed, she's the boss and the rest of us had better shut it and eat up our cereal.
She glibly compares an independent Scotland's sterlingization to the early Ireland whose economy only ever began to flourish after the ditching of Sterling, not before it. She also tries to perform the impossible by assuring us that the Wilson proposals are 'only a framework and menu of options', that they are not exhaustive but prescriptive!
Well, if that's really true then why bother to push them in the first place in the place of something more dynamic to really address the needs of a young Scottish economy, our widespread poverty and a New Green Deal?
'There will be no austerity' she promises us while pushing for a fiscal policy that is ALL about the swingeing implementation of an extremely harsh Tory austerity. Tell people one thing and do the very opposite :(
So what is it to be, Nicola? Because it can't be both things at once. Or is that what you have convinced yourself can happen, you can have your neoliberal cake and eat it while the rest of the poor in this country nourish themselves on thoughts of How wonderful your new Neoliberal Scotland will be?
Somehow I can't see any of that happening and I really can't see the SNP Conference buying it either. Because if they do, not only would we be seeing a party which was considered Centre Left under Alex Salmond's management lurch violently to the Centre Right but a confirmation that Sturgeon's intentions for a New Scotland are really nothing at all but much more of the same old (but tartanized) Tory politics from which we are desperately hoping to escape :(
But to end on an encouraging note which is specifically aimed at the cyber-bullies who we all know and love. Your Leader has this to say to you:
"Vigorous debate is healthy and we should never shy away from new ideas. Being able to have these debates openly and honestly, and accommodate different views, is a strength of our movement, not a weakness."
Now there's a challenge!

https://www.thenational.scot/news/17586824.sturgeon-our-currency-position-is-ambitious-and-credible-it-can-win-us-indy/

Sunday, March 24, 2019

HOME RULE, NOT INDEPENDENCE?
I can see where Sturgeon's priorities lie: she is primarily concerned about the devastating effect Brexit will have on Scottish jobs and the economy. That's perfectly understandable for any responsible politician.
It also fits in with her managerial outlook on government which is to her almost all-consuming. She is a manager by nature, not someone with a vision to campaign for independence as did Alex Salmond.

Her whole style of governance points to where the technocrats are given preference over the old-style politics which Salmond was brought up on. And that is where there is the disconnect between her and many of us in the Indy Movement.
I believe that is a major reason behind the way she keeps our movement at arm's length. She needs us because, without us, she has no real power-base to be getting on with. But her instincts are to woo her fellow technocrats and the privileged classes of Scotland because that's where home is to her.
As for the rest of us, she's taking us for granted; a great mistake which could well be fatal for her at the next Holyrood elections.
Where independence is concerned, she is taking a slow, gradualist approach, anticipating that a GE is in the offing, hoping to form an alliance with Corbyn to obtain the granting of an S30 from him instead.

In that scenario she will lay herself open to the 'federalist' moves currently being promoted through WM. She would be much more at home with federalist 'home-rule' than leaving the union



Thursday, March 14, 2019

AND YET, AND YET

On Tuesday night last, having just done a show on The Last Jacobite/Rebel Radio show I checked on FB to see what comments were coming in. And I found this:


G.H: We don't even control or have a country of our own... But fuckwits like you, are determined to make sure that never happens... People like you are total TRAITORS... If you dont want to be Scottish get to fuck out of my Country!!!

This was on my own Timeline where I had posted a meme which read:


I will never vote for the SNP again while the Murrells are controlling it

So
 for this  G.H. called me a traitor, of being un-Scottish and advised me to 'get the fuck' out of 'his' country!

Now, while I know nothing about G.H. he will know very little about me. I can hear the desperation behind his impatience and anger. But the judgmentalism and condemnation smacks of unreformed Calvinism.

G.H. won't know that I have lived in Scotland for 33 years, he won't know that for some of those years I served as a regional councillor in the Highlands, during which time I did everything I could to serve and honour my promises to the electorate of Nairn Alltan.

He won't know that I used to keep a list of those promises in front of my office desk and ticked them off, one by one,  as the promises were kept. He won't know that in November 1991 I led the blockade of a nuclear waste convoy heading to cross the Kessock Bridge in Inverness on its way from Germany to be stored at Dounreay.

And he won't know about the pensioner who promised to vote for me if I banged the drum for him if elected. Something that I promised him I would certainly do. And on being elected that the Daily Record carried a picture of me on the swings near the Nairn Swimming Pool describing me as The Green Jacobite!

And he certainly wouldn't know that on my return to council business after the nuclear blockade I found a vile racist note in my councillor's pigeon-hole whose sentiments were not very different to his described above. And of the constant use of racist language aimed at me, behind my back, by certain councillors. So bad that I had to report the Highlands only declared Tory, a Mr Graham, to the council Convener who gave that 'highland gentleman' a warning about his obnoxious behaviour.

The interesting thing was this: until the time of that blockade most of the other 50 or so councillors treated me as a clown or, being a Eurasian, as a bit of an olive-skinned curiousity. And being a Highland Green they never failed to make parochial comments to me about the Green Welly-Boot brigade 'incomersh' amongst whom I clearly was not one!

In the 'nineties the Greens were responsible for conducting a mini-uprising of the people of Nairn. Local folk were concerned about things like the pollution of the River Nairn, the filthy state of a sewage-covered Nairn beach, the illegal burning of highly toxic chemicals by Nontox and the secret dumping of poison by the same company into the local burns not far from that factory. People were getting ill with headaches.

These and the wider problem at Inverness' dumping raw sewage into the Meikle Firth and the iniquitous Poll Tax were some of the issues I promised to address and did.
Nine Greens stood for election, all through the Great Glen. But only I managed to break the Highland establishment and get elected. Much of that success I attribute to the kids at Nairn Academy who, on discovering that a Green was standing for the council, pestered their parents to vote for me. We adults should never underestimate our children. For it is the same planetary awareness that is now driving the Extinction Rebellion movement, also started by young people. Many young folk are tuned into the needs of the Planet and its biosystem. And they are aware of the world around them in a way that, sadly, only a few adults are. And I see that dearth of awareness on the nationalist Yes pages where Greens are, only too often, mocked and treated with derision.

Nationalism seems to be almost a religious thing among many, whereas green and 'environmental' issues are almost the politics of fancifulness and even of English 'incomers' dancing to the tune set them by an English headquarters somewhere in the home counties! Well, I can only put that down to the sheer, pig ignorance of some who, while turning their nationalism into a quasi-religious thing headed by an imagined Saviour who will take us all into the Promised Land, but where the land and seas and all the life that lives in and around us is a thing of little or no concern to them.

I believe it is that same insensitive, unaware attitude that leads our 90-minute patriots to a frenzy of anger and hate against their fellow Scots, calling them 'traitors' and telling them to get out of the country. Their inability to understand anything more than a cult of follow-my-leader boils down to a basic political illiteracy fuelled by an ill-concealed attitude of racism between their 'purity' and the barely-tolerated 'incomers' who they see are here on sufferance!

That is where fanaticism leads you to: an intolerance of others who you see as less-deserving of being Scots. And every time I receive abuse on the Yes pages on social media it is that fanaticism I see lurking behind the words. Fanaticism of the kind that leads to fascism.

Many of us see ourselves as socialists. I see myself as a Green Socialist. And there are many in the SNP who consider themselves to be socialist or socialistic in outlook. Very few, surely, who would go anywhere near the fanatics. Not consciously or deliberately anyway. Fanaticism and fascism is a thing we all find repugnant and not to be made welcome in our New Scotland.

And yet, and yet.

Look at the intolerance and abuse on the social media. And the anger and self-righteousness in some of us as being either 'true' Scots or traitors who need to go back to where they came from? I'm not talking here of something that goes on between nationalists and unionists; it's about what's passing between people on the same side: people who all want independence in order to make our country into a far better place than it could possibly be while being in its present neo-colonial state.

But there is this thing: political illiteracy, which requires us all to have a monolithic view, of toeing party lines and dishing out abuse at those who deviate from our imagined norms of acceptability. And that's where you find the poison of exceptionalism and race hatred; all the things that most normal humans will hold their nose and turn away from. Not among Jock Tamson's bairns are such to be found.

And yet, and yet.

Here they come in their almost goose-stepping arrogance, anger and intolerance.

Here they come, following their Saviour and boasting nationalistic purity, ready for another kind of cleansing; if yer no wi' us, yer agin us and I judge yer ter be agin us for not following our Leader! Oh boy! What are the rest of us letting ourselves in for??

Is this the New Scotland we wish to see come about? Where there is one view and only one, where those of a different view (however slight it may be) are simply not to be tolerated, to be made into non-persons? And how do we deal with this home-grown fascism that thrives all around us among the fanatics?




Monday, March 11, 2019

THOUGHTS ON A BRAVE NEW WORLD
I probably sound old saying it but this New SNP is very different to the old one I remember 30 years ago. As it has grown larger it has taken on folk from Blair's Labour and they have succeeded in leaving their Blairite mark on the party.
There is a lot of intolerance amongst what I suspect is predominantly the new membership. That's very different to the old SNP which was full of folk with different and often very radical, opposing views.
During that time I have seen the SNP leadership taking the SNP evermore to the Right, no doubt to get support from the 'great and the good'. But the price it has had to pay for this is the loss of its erstwhile radicalism. And that's a sad thing to see.
I can understand how support for YeSNP has become a quasi-religious thing. We are all desperate to exit the rUK. But when a political party begins to resemble a cult then we should all be worried. That is not the purpose of political parties. And that is why more and more of us are beginning to speak out against what we see is happening.
It's not because we are yoons or Tories or quislings &c but because we believe deeply in the basic freedoms that we see disappearing around us. Some will read this and understand. Sadly others won't bother to read it but will use my reply as just another opportunity for name-calling and putting people down