Suspicions have been raised in recent weeks and months that the Scotland Office – the centre of the British administration in Scotland – is gearing up for something big. It is no secret that since the Conservatives came back to power in May 2010 the budget and staffing numbers of the Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland have been on the rise. Since the 2014 referendum the influx of people and cash into David Mundell’s department has been accelerating, with staffing and budget now at a level capable of governing Scotland without Holyrood. They’re up to something.
They've been rumbled! The power grab intentions are real and we need to get out of this disfunctional union asap!
Yesterday’s march was a huge and brilliant turnout which far exceeded the organisers expectations. It is a manifestation of the movements strength and an inspiration for all. Marches like this are a message of intent, a learning curve for organisers and a boost of confidence for tired and battle-weary protestors and activists. The fact that the event was so large and went off without a single incident is testimony to the crowd and the wider movement. The result was also the payoff for months, in some cases years of patient steady movement-building on a very practical level by national grassroots organisations and a network of local groups nurtured and sustained by dedicated souls up and down the land. The sheer scale of the event will have made many people wake up to what’s latent in Scotland. This is far more powerful than the aristocratic loot showered down on Scotland in Union.
While we are all still waiting for some kind of "Official" announcement of #IndyRef2 as more and more shit keeps hiting the #Brexit fan the Scottish Alternative Media (SAM) goes from strength to strength with more improved quality production ...
... the MSM (CCP) and the BBC in particular are getting so nervous with REAL jouralistic competition that they have resorted to blatant politically motivated censorship and with the collusion of YouTube have closed down two independence supporting channels - "Wings over Scotland" and Peter Curran's "Moridura"!
Well, as you can imagine, the fallout has been spectacular and fast moving! –
Before we were so rudely interrupted, we were about to write a little more about the issues around the BBC’s takedown of this site’s YouTube channel. Because while we got a very respectable five-and-a-half minutes on Good Morning Scotland earlier today, you never have the time on radio or TV to say everything you want to.
Incidentally, we get the impression – nothing more solid than that – from a number of sources that BBC Scotland are somewhat out of the loop over the whole affair, and the impetus to silence Wings has actually come from London, which is slightly scarier. But aside from that, there are a number of really rather disturbing aspects to the situation.
You can hear the full interview here: [Audio in link]
It still seems to be just pro-indy channels that have had the Big Hammer treatment.
But what of the wider issues? The transience of news is in stark contrast to most other broadcasting. A huge amount of the BBC’s current affairs output either isn’t available on iPlayer at all, or only for a very brief period – an episode of Reporting Scotland, for example, is up for 24 hours or less, and the same applies to other regional news shows and indeed to the main six o’clock bulletin. So if anything important gets said on them, it vanishes down the memory hole almost immediately.
This entire affair quite frankly stinks to high heaven. The BBC have operated a plainly partisan policy, observably applying different rules and procedures to people with different political viewpoints. YouTube appear to have actively colluded with them rather than being neutral, and have even suspended their normal conflict-resolution system just for Wings Over Scotland for no obvious reason, even though our account was until then in spotlessly good standing.
The BBC is a publicly-funded and theoretically publicly-accountable organisation, yet it refuses to appear on its own programmes to explain its actions to the people who own it. (It’s going to sound rather hollow the next time it pointedly says that no Scottish Government minister was available for interview.)
We’re going to take this one as far as it’ll go, folks.
That someone as prominent as Alex Salmond has elected to intervene in what I wearily suppose will shortly be dubbed the ‘Wingsgate’ scandal, is quite significant. If nothing else, it serves to demonstrate just how important alternative media have become.
His intervention is doubly significant for the fact that, as well as concisely stating the points that the BBC must respond to in relation to its evidently selective and seemingly ill-founded copyright infringement complaint against Wings Over Scotland, Mr Salmond has broadened the issue to include the rights of persons appearing in the excerpts which have been removed from the public domain due to the BBC’s action. And he has introduced the further matter of the BBC’s apparent failure to remove material which has been found to be in breach of its own guidelines.
It looks increasingly like the corporation has opened a very large can of worms here. ...
That the BBC has got itself into this situation amply demonstrates the dumb arrogance of unaccountable power. Anyone with so much as the tip of their smallest finger on the pulse of Scottish politics could have predicted the furore which would ensue from closing down the Wings Over Scotland YouTube channel. Either the BBC was aware of the hornets’ nest that it was poking and simply didn’t care, or it was allowing decisions to be made by people lacking even a basic awareness of what they were dealing with. Whichever it was, it looks like an appalling failure of management.
Perhaps Alex Salmond’s intervention will rouse those somnolent and indolent hacks. But if the evidence of the past is any guide their mercenary ire will directed, not against the BBC, but against Salmond. If these loyal servants of the British state are true to tediously predictable form then we can expect that ‘Wingsgate’ will be spun as the SNP trying to ‘intimidate’ and ‘silence’ the BBC.
What that means is that, at least for now, our YouTube channel is back (Back! BACK!), minus the 13 videos complained about by the BBC on copyright grounds. The situation is once again that Corporation has 14 business days to file a formal court challenge, and unless it does so the channel will be reinstated in full.
Meanwhile, here’s how the Streisand Effect works.
There was a huge #AUOB (All Under One Banner) 100k+ March for Independence in Glasgow on May 4th, although it was bearly reported in the MSM - which is why we have such a strong alternative media in Scotland.
But when it was reported in supposedly independence leaning newspapers it was smeared with exaggerated claims of "cybernat abuse" and tag-teamed by some "gullible" or perhaps not so SNP MPs/MSPs/Ex-MPs/spokespersons and it has many in the greater YES Movement questioning their motives.
Are the SNP just too comfortable with Devolution?
Are the SNP infiltrated up to the top?
With the open goal of #Brexit before them why are the SNP stalling?
On Saturday, for the second year in a row, there was a huge and joyous independence march through the centre of Glasgow, which passed off with no incidents, arrests or disturbances despite attempted provocation from a small handful of abusive Unionist bigots led by a Holocaust denier.
But also for the second year in a row, one paper – or to be more specific, one man – took a rather more negative slant.
The Herald On Sunday ran with a four-page cover splash by former Sunday Herald editor Neil Mackay about vile “cybernats” having war declared on them by the SNP.
It followed a similar extended rant by Mackay following the previous year’s Glasgow march, at which the ostensibly pro-independence Sunday paper had infuriated readers by portraying the march as a violent clash between rival mobs and using it to attack the SNP, then using the reaction as an excuse for a three-page hyperbolic outrage piece on – you guessed it – vile “cybernats”.
The Yes movement gets very little positive coverage in the media, so many people remarked that it was curious for a professed independence supporter to spurn two such rare opportunities to show the movement at its best, and to instead undermine it by sowing internal anger and division, and gleefully hand opponents a weapon with which to beat it (which they of course seized eagerly).
... The UK government quite openly maintains a military-intelligence unit dedicated to precisely such pursuits, so it seems unlikely that other countries don’t.
Indeed, as a pro-indy lawyer friend of ours is fond of saying, “Speaking as a British taxpayer, if the UK security services AREN’T actively infiltrating and subverting the Yes movement I want my money back”.
If we’d managed to get the same guy to pull the exact same trick two years running, we’d be demanding a hefty bonus as well.
Especially if both he and his newspapers had been heavily engaged for some years in attempting to deflect suspicion by calling everyone else an MI5 plant.
Now, we don’t think Alyn Smith, Angus Robertson and Stewart McDonald – who were all phoned up individually by Neil Mackay rather than them collectively approaching him – are in the pay of either the Kremlin or MI5. (Well, okay, if we’re being absolutely scrupulously honest we’re pretty sure about two of them.)
But they might want to take a moment to think about what those entities would want from them if they were, and whether in that case it might be a good idea not to keep giving it to them for free.
Common Weal director Robin McAlpine says the divisions among pro-independence advocates over the All Under One Banner march is the product of two very different worldviews: one of the centrist political establishment, and the other of the grassroots movement
I BELIEVE in the Scottish independence movement. I believe in it very much and will vigorously defend it. So I'm angry this week.
But I'm not sure what good more anger can do right now so I think we need to try to understand why some in the SNP leadership seem so ready so often to go out of their way to offend so many in the movement.
I highly commend what Stuart Campbell, Paul Kavanagh and Kevin McKenna have written on this. But I want to argue that there is a fundamental ideological problem which has led us here. To understand it without anger I want to tell the story twice; once each from both viewpoints. Since I am hardly neutral in this I will be honest and use 'you' and 'we'.
And throughout all this we are promised light at the end of a tunnel which remains dark as far as the eye can see. We get restless. We have handed over our hopes and ambitions to a leadership which seems to use them for purposes different than those for which we gave them. Our money does not seem to be spent on the campaigning we want to see.
So, frustrated, increasingly disillusioned, we do what we've always done. We do SOMETHING. We do anything other than sit back and take it passively. And if all we can do is march, then that's what we'll do.
We march joyously and hopefully. We march as perhaps the most diverse group Scotland has ever seen march. We march to send messages to anyone that will listen that we have not gone away and will not go away. We march because we care, we really, really care.
But why oh why oh why can't our leaders understand this? Why do you disdain us so much? Why can you never find a kind word for us, why are there never ten free seconds for you to send us a tweet to wish us well? Why do you refuse to see what's happening?
We march because it's something, and something is better than nothing. We march because you're failing us.
On Saturday, I was an eye-witness to Manny Singh, organiser of the huge pro-Independence demonstration through Glasgow, co-operating efficiently and respectfully with the police in keeping order and protecting public safety, and in making sure the event was a joyous family occasion, successful and enjoyed by everyone. That included Manny liaising regularly with the most senior police officers in charge of the march. Before I made my speech, I asked him how it was all going and Manny volunteered unasked that the Police had been brilliant. From what I witnessed, the respect was mutual.
It is then extremely perturbing that, two days after the march, Police Scotland arrested Manny for organising an illegal procession, a charge that carries a maximum three months imprisonment. Plainly the orders for this radical change of attitude have come from very high. The defence of this draconian measure by SNP Glasgow councillor and ex-BBC intern Rhiannon Spear gives a clue as to where this is coming from.
Still more of a clue is the astonishing four page attack on Yes supporters that took up the the front and four pages of the Herald the day after the demonstration, in which the SNP’s NATO and monarchy enthusiast Angus Robertson and extreme Cold War Russophobe Stewart McDonald vented their spleen at Independence supporters who dare to take a more radical line. It was very thinly disguised as an attack on online abuse – of which in four full pages not one single example was given by them, let alone any qualitative or quantitative analysis.
Nicola has had to make repeated SNP conference speeches and every time been forced to pretend she is interested in pursuing Independence at a future date. Surely, SNP HQ thinking runs, it would be better to take some of the pressure off her by hobbling support for the pesky online Independence supporters and those noisy marchers?
The man who has organised the most successful pro-Indy campaigning since 2014 has been arrested, just for doing precisely that. Yet so far there has been not a single gesture of support for Manny, public or private, from any of the SNP hierarchy. Why do you think that is?
The attempt to hobble and limit the AUOB march, and the extraordinary four page entirely unprovoked attack the next day on “cybernats”, form part of a coordinated effort by the SNP leadership to control the wider Yes movement and subdue the demand for early Independence. They failed with AUOB due to Manny’s courage and integrity – hence the vindictive order for his arrest.
More from Craig Murray here in an extraordinary interview with Alex Salmond on RT -
Anyway, the YES Movement will stick with the SNP, for NOW, as the ONLY vehicle for bringing about Independence, but there will come a time very soon post#indy when they will all go their very diverse separate ways.
The candidates for the Labour leadership and the Scottish Conservative branch office manager are lining up to say how much they oppose Scottish independence. Today it’s the turn of Labour leadership hopeful Jess Phillips, who’s relying on her reputation as a media personality in order to mask the fact that she has a poor grasp of democracy. Jess doesn’t think that there’s a mandate for another independence referendum because the SNP won “only” 45% of the popular vote in Scotland in the recent general election. By that logic, there has never been a Westminster government with any mandate to do anything at all.
The real reason why the British nationalists are so determined to stand in the way of another Scottish referendum is because they realise that they’re likely to lose it. The more that support for independence builds within Scotland, the more the British nationalists will try to prevent a referendum because it will be ever more likely that they’ll go down to a historic defeat. What this means is that the SNP’s strategy of slowly building on support for independence within Scotland is not by itself going to be enough to get a referendum. What it does mean is that when that referendum does occur, it will be of a confirmatory nature, to confirm the settled decision of the people of Scotland, rather than a contested referendum campaign during which the decision is made and minds made up – rather like the devolution referendum of 1997 when there was little doubt that supporters of a Scottish parliament would win. It appears that the SNP leadership would prefer this second sort of referendum.
It’s the job of the SNP to get a referendum, but it’s the job of the mass grassroots independence movement to win the arguments for independence. That mass grassroots campaign is already losing patience with the SNP leadership, and there are already serious rumblings within the movement which cannot be ignored, rumblings which put in doubt the willingness of grassroots independence supporters to keep campaigning with no other result but to continually pile up mandate after mandate for an SNP which isn’t being seen to proactively pursue a referendum. Those tired and frustrated foot soldiers are unlikely to look sympathetically upon articles like that of former SNP candidate Toni Giugliano in The National today which ask the movement to look to the Holyrood elections of 2021 as the golden ticket to a Section 30 order. That will be a fifth mandate for a referendum for the SNP to put on the mantlepiece alongside the four it’s already got.
There have already been, to my knowledge, three separate proposals for another independence party to contest the 2021 Holyrood election. The danger for the SNP leadership is that if there is no substantial progress on bringing about a referendum, and they go into the 2021 election seeking yet another mandate for a Section 30 order, many grassroots independence supporters will not campaign for the SNP, and many in the grassroots will coalesce around some proposal or other for a single issue pro-indy party. That brings about the serious risk of losing a pro-independence majority in the Scottish Parliament as the D’Hondt electoral system used in Holyrood elections is notoriously difficult to game.
What the movement expects from leading figures within the SNP is less talk of using 2021 to achieve yet another mandate that Westminster can ignore, and to see more action to tackle Westminster’s predictable refusal of a Section 30 order. The only way that the grassroots movement is going to tolerate the SNP leadership using 2021 to achieve yet another mandate is if we see alternative plans being put into place this year – plans such as legal action, plans to lay the ground for a referendum irrespective of a Westminster refusal, or plans to use the 2021 elections to win a mandate for independence itself. Above all, we need to see a more robust and assertive challenge to the blanket refusal of Westminster to a Section 30 order and to the assertions of British nationalists that a referendum can only be held with Westminster’s permission. This year isn’t just a crucial year for the independence movement, it’s also a crucial year for the leadership of the SNP.
It's make or break year for the SNP! Too many of them are just toooooo comfortable with their 70-80k jobs with 100k+ expense allowances (average Scots earnings around 28k and 80% earn below 35k!)
And of course the suspicion of many that the ranks of the SNP are infiltrated up to the very top by MI5 sleepers! - but that would be crazy conspiracy theory, wouldn't it? (I mean if the British Secret Service is not highly inflitrated in the SNP then you really should get your money back! )
But if they don't act now in the midst of all this #Brexit mess then the best moment of success may be lost.
But we’re only tangentially concerned with the disintegration of Scottish Labour. For the SNP, and the independence movement it leads, the first half of the 2010s was a time of spectacular unbroken success. Having previously won a minority administration at Holyrood by the narrowest margin possible, Alex Salmond led the nationalists to an unprecedented overall majority in 2011, secured an independence referendum and came within a hair’s breadth of winning it against ridiculous odds.
But “within a hair’s breadth” isn’t enough, and in the wake of the 55-45 defeat Salmond fell on his sword, despite a spectacular surge in SNP membership and support prior to his resignation two months after the referendum.
His successor Nicola Sturgeon grabbed onto the tail of a party that was hurtling into the atmosphere like a Saturn V rocket, and which duly wiped out Labour (along with the Tories and Lib Dems) at the following year’s UK election – the first vote of the second half of the decade – reducing them to a single MP each.
But from that point on, gravity tightened its grip.
A formal request in March 2017 for a new Section 30 order was rebuffed by Theresa May, and a similar fate seems certain to await the one issued earlier this month. The SNP refuses to elaborate on how it will respond if and when the expected point-blank refusal arrives, and while the party faithful remain doggedly convinced that a surprise masterplan will suddenly be unveiled, the time for stalling is about to run out.
So for the independence movement, 2020 is a full-scale emergency. It really is then or (effectively) never. But for the SNP as a party of political power, it’s more like a gap year. Its elected representatives are secure on the gravy train whatever happens, lucrative jobs stretching out ahead of them for years to come regardless.
Since 2015 the SNP has sat comfortably on top of the Hillary Step of independence, a difficult-to-reach spot just shy of the summit, repeatedly calling Yes supporters up the mountain only to send them back down, while it sat around lazily enjoying the views even as forbidding weather drew in and the time left to reach the top ticked away.
Like a more recently well-known Hillary, the party has taken the security of its situation and the certainty of its ultimate ascent for granted. But here’s the thing, readers: the Hillary Step doesn’t exist any more. Even seemingly eternal rocks can crumble away without warning and send anyone sitting on them plummeting into the abyss.
We cannot afford to waste the first year of the 2020s the way the last five years of the 2010s have been wasted. Half a decade has been frittered away for nothing. It’s time to get climbing again, because even if there’s a chance of failure, it’s better to die trying than to not try and freeze to death anyway.
It's interesting that Wings Over Scotland has recently been banned from Twitter (it's the 2nd highest read blog after Craig Murray) especially as he has proposed looking into setting up a Pro-Indy party to contest the list-vote at the next Holyrood Scottish Elections in 2021 in order to secure at Pro-Indy majority.
Yesterday the Scottish Government published “Scotland’s Right to Choose“, its long heralded paper on the path to a new Independence referendum. It is a document riven by a basic intellectual flaw. It sets out in detail, and with helpful annexes, that Scotland is a historic nation with the absolute and inalienable right of self-determination, and that sovereignty lies not in the Westminster parliament but with the Scottish people.
It then contradicts all of this truth by affirming, at length, in detail, and entirely without reservation, that Scotland can only hold a legitimate Independence referendum if the Westminster Parliament devolves the power to do so under Section 30.
Both propositions cannot be true. Scotland cannot be a nation with the right of self-determination, and at the same time require the permission of somebody else to exercise that self-determination.
I was trying to find the right words to discuss the document. One possibility was “schizophrenic”. ...
I am frequently told that this paper is all just a cunning ploy, and that when the Tory Government rejects – as it will reject – this servile request to grant Scotland the powers to hold a referendum, the Scottish Government will go to court to say it has the right to a referendum.
If that really is the cunning plan, it is the most stupid cunning plan since Baldrick and his turnip. In what way does publishing an official Scottish Government paper which states explicitly that a referendum “must have” the agreement of the UK government to be legitimate, prepare the ground to go to court and argue the precise opposite? Plainly that is not the intent here.
And what does Ms Sturgeon plan to do when Boris Johnson just says no, as he assuredly will? To be fair to Nicola, she could not have been clearer about what she intends to do. Absolutely nothing different.
So this is the Sturgeon plan: in the short term, we accept Johnson can block Independence. Beyond the short term (how many years is that?) we do nothing except continue in democratic politics as the SNP already is, operating at Holyrood and putting before Scottish voters “the democratic case for Scotland’s right to choose”, while accepting Westminster’s veto. This will have the pleasant side effect of keeping Ms Sturgeon living very nicely indeed in Bute House, with her husband picking up a massive salary as CEO of the Party, and the SNP just like the last five years doing nothing whatsoever about Independence other than occasionally blether about it, “pursuing the democratic case”, while very explicitly accepting Westminster’s veto.
The Scottish Government position is fundamentally incorrect. The Independence of a nation is a matter of international law, not of domestic legislation. The UN Charter enshrines the right of self-determination of peoples, and nobody has argued that the Scots are not a people in the encapsulated sense.
It is perfectly normal for States to become Independent without the permission of the state from which they are seceding. The UK Government itself argued precisely this position before the International Court of Justice over Kosovo. I here repeat a post I wrote almost exactly one year ago setting out the legal position:
I am firmly of the view that the Scottish government should now move to withdraw from the Treaty of Union. Scotland’s right to self determination is inalienable. It cannot be signed away forever or restricted by past decisions.
The Independence of a country is not a matter of domestic law it is a matter of international law. The right of the Scottish Parliament to declare Independence may not be restricted by UK domestic law or by purported limitations on the powers of the Scottish Parliament. The legal position is set out very clearly here:
That is a commendably concise and accurate description of the legal position. Of major relevance, it is the legal opinion of the Government of the United Kingdom, as submitted to the International Court of Justice in the Kosovo case. The International Court of Justice endorsed this view, so it is both established law and the opinion of the British Government that the Scottish Government has the right to declare Independence without the agreement or permission of London and completely irrespective of the London Supreme Court.
I have continually explained on this site that the legality of a Declaration of Independence is in no sense determined by the law of the metropolitan state, but is purely a matter of recognition by other countries and thus acceptance into the United Nations. The UK Government set this out plainly in response to a question from a judge in the Kosovo case:
My preferred route to Independence is this. The Scottish Parliament should immediately legislate for a new Independence referendum. The London Government will attempt to block it. The Scottish Parliament should then convene a National Assembly of all nationally elected Scottish representatives – MSPs, MPs and MEPs. That National Assembly should declare Independence, appeal to other countries for recognition, reach agreements with the rump UK and organise a confirmatory plebiscite. That is legal, democratic and consistent with normal international practice.
There will never be a better time than now for Scotland to become an Independent, normal, nation once again. It is no time for faint hearts or haverers; we must seize the moment.
The claim that to proceed to Independence without Westminster consent is illegal and illegitimate lies at the heart of this truly disgraceful Scottish Government paper. That claim is wrong at every level.
You cannot both believe that the Scots are a people with the right of self-determination, and believe that Westminster has a right to veto that self-determination.
This paper by the Scottish Government is nothing more and nothing less than proof that the gradualists who sadly head the SNP are perfectly happy operating within the devolution system and have no intention of ever paying any more than lip service to Independence
With Westminster planning to remove powers coming back from the EU from Holyrood in an unpresidented power-grab time is of the essence ...
... Enough of having to defend the case for Independence - It's time for Unionists to justify this 'precious' union ...
... and if they can't then #DissolveTheUnion !
Because if Westminster gets its way then this guy's message from 5 years ago the day after #indyref will truly be what all those NO-voting fools can look forward to and they really need to own it! -
There'll be another huge #AUOB March this weekend in Glasgow and in April there will be one in Arbroath to celebrate the 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath ...
"... As long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours, that we are fighting, but for freedom - for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself".
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