Who would have thought that five and a half years after losing a referendum on independence support is now edging over 50% and becoming a sustained majority? The resilience of the movement and the belief that this is unfinished business has endured and we are now at the point where we can almost touch out and reach our ambitions and move towards the reality of Scotland becoming an independent nation. 

The Tories and unionists know they can’t beat us. The scent of decay in the union case is almost overwhelming and they know that they are approaching the endgame. Large numbers of No voters from 2014 have joined our ranks angry at Scotland being taken out of the European Union against its will. More have joined frustrated at the performance of the UK under the leadership of Boris Johnson and his arrogance in presuming to deny us a choice on our future. A majority in Scotland now back independence and that majority is only going to get bigger. We are at a tipping point and approaching the optimum time for the question to be put about our future as an independent nation. The last hope the UK has is that the movement beats itself through frustration, division and impatience. After coming this far and having this in our grasp, we simply can not allow that to happen. 

So how do we design a route map to independence that unites everyone in our movement? How do we bring together those that believe that our approach has to be gradual and constitutional with those more eager to be more assertive in dealing with the UK? How can we arrange a way where those still to be won over or tentative in their support can be united with those determined just to get it done? Well, we do it all in stages, going through a series of steps increasingly intensifying our approach.

The first thing we have to do is quite simple, and has underpinned our strategy since the SNP was established – build the support for independence and get to a sustained majority.

It doesn’t matter if it’s called Plan A or Plan Z , without a majority every putative plan falls. The building of support, the persuading of those who have to be convinced, must always be the first stage in the mission of winning our independence. The bigger that support, the bigger our claim and right. We have now reached that point, and that was always going to be the most difficult stage to achieve.

The next stage is to secure a referendum that would get us to independence. In 2014 we held a referendum that would have been immediately legally recognised. We stick to this approach because we know it works and is a process that the Scottish people clearly understand and accept. if we are successful in such a vote it would automatically transition Scotland to independence. It is right that we set out to secure this as the means to secure our independence this time round too. 

Only, as we know, the UK seem less than obliged to participate in this and have set themselves up as a block. It seems they have two main reasons why they believe that they can do this. The first is they still believe that they represent majority opinion in Scotland on independence and believe their assertion that there is no support for another referendum. That is why we need to properly secure and own majority opinion on the issue. It must become the conventional view that independence is the will of the Scottish people. Secondly, they know that it remains in their interests to say No to reinforce their base and secure their Parliamentary representation. Lastly, they do it because they can, and in exercising a veto they variously hope that something turns up or we beat ourselves through impatience.

Then there are the various mandates. The simple fact is that these mandates have never been respected or recognised by the UK. They see them as half hearted, conditional and simply a part of various manifestos where the SNP have emerged as the largest party. Only the 2011 ‘mandate’ backed with an SNP majority has been taken seriously by the UK. If we were to unilaterally ‘use the mandate’ we would have to accept that (at this stage) it would mean there would be no participation from the UK, no ‘No’ opposition and any victory on that basis would be legally questionable and next to meaningless in the court of international recognition.

This is why the next Holyrood election is so important. We must have a clear and unambiguous commitment to hold a referendum and have it understood that a vote for the SNP is a vote for a referendum on independence. If the SNP can secure an overall majority as we did in 2011 that would replicate the conditions when the last referendum was triggered. If we also get another majority then the whole democratic case of withholding a referendum is taken away. That is why talk of ‘list’ parties and ‘gaming’ the system are so singularly unhelpful.  

Winning a majority and securing an irrefutable mandate should be the end of the matter and we should then move quickly to a referendum in agreement with, and participation of the UK. That would be stage 2 concluded and an end to the process.  

But if the UK continue to block us then this is when we should be prepared to move beyond the Section 30 process. This is when we move into stage 3 and into the territory of ‘all options’ as suggested by the First Minister. 

What we have to demonstrate is that we have tried absolutely everything possible to secure the UK as a participant in resolving the question of our democratic right to consider our nation’s future. We have to conclusively convince the EU and the international community that no stone has been left unturned in trying to engage them as a partner in resolving this democratically and constitutionally.

If the UK refuses to participate in an agreed referendum in the face of majority support and a clear democratic mandate we must presume that they have decided to exempt themselves from their obligations and responsibilities as a partner in the union. We would then have the grounds to seek to secure our independence without their participation. This should involve a referendum designed in Scotland where a last invitation is offered to the UK to participate to put the case to remain in the union.  A request to the EU to sanction this referendum should be made and every attempt to involve them in the designing of that referendum should be pursued.


We should also concurrently start ‘the equivalent’ of an accession process as a substate to rejoin the EU. Where there is no provision in the EU rules to allow for this we should express our intention to rejoin and seek their approval and participation in designing a process to achieve that outcome. We would say to the EU that the UK is refusing our democratic right as a nation to be part of the EU and we should do all we can to keep Scotland aligned with EU regulations.

Beyond that, we should be looking at withdrawing from the apparatus of the UK state and starting to informally acquire the responsibilities currently exercised by the UK. This could start by withdrawing from the inter governmental infrastructure determining the management of the four nations of the UK. This could be escalated up to and including the participation in institutions of the UK Parliament. 

All of this has to be done with the full consent and approval of the Scottish people. That all through this process we demonstrate to them that we have deployed reason and constraint, that we have stopped at nothing to engage the UK. This is where we need to show the patience but determination that has historically characterised our independence movement.

It is all about these ‘ducks in a row’ and ensuring that they are in perfect aquatic alignment. 1. Secure majority support and a cast iron democratic mandate secured on the back of a majority in the Scottish Parliament. 2. Secure a referendum with the participation of the United Kingdom with a process that is beyond legal dispute. Then, If necessary 3. After exhausting all possible means to engage the UK, a process be designed with the EU and International community to allow an internationally recognised referendum to take place, whilst simultaneously withdrawing from the institutions of the UK. 4. Win that referendum and become an independent nation. 

This is the practical and inclusive way forward in securing our independence. Incrementally, consensually and taking the whole movement together, united.


  1. Jeggit

    Pete, I welcome this contribution to the discussion and I certainly appreciate you sticking to the National Party script. You will, however, be aware that trust in the SNP has been somewhat undermined over a number of issues unrelated to independence, and so securing a repeat of the 2011 election may be a ship that has sailed. Then there is the question of mandates – which you yourself mention, but you seem to forget that so many of these mandates have been ignored by the SNP. You are asking the movement to unite behind the SNP, but you must realise that so many in the movement now have serious reservations. Can you address these points and convince us to back you?

    1. petewishart Post author

      I’m not entirely sure that ‘trust’ in the SNP has been ‘undermined’. We are at record levels of support and our satisfaction ratings are at an all time high. Think I pretty much dealt with the ‘mandates’.

      1. Clive Thomson

        Trust i
        and membership in the SNP is at an all time low. Salmond,GRA,hate speech bill, YSI trans aggression to all and sundry, Ian Blackford agreeing that men can menstruate, Kirsty Blacman stating that ” not just women menstruate”. Come on man. The SNP have capitulated. You chair the SAC………Look at the SAC make-up. The SNP have played us all for fools.

      2. Martyn Board

        Dear Peter you had your “once in a life time referendum” and you lost. The comment about once in a life time was meant to scare people into voting yes despite this they refused. And as for the EU sanctioning another vote, well this is pure fantasy, Spain will see to that. I’m sure I dont need to explain why and for the same reason they are likely to make our “simple”assession to EU membership just as unlikely. The real shame is that you are a single policy party so obsessed with independence that you have been recklessly neglectful in developing coherent social and economic policies. I might be more likely to listen to your desire for independence if you had shown how to get your “ducks in order” by making the lives of all scotlands people more positive. Why would I vote for the “independece” party when it has been so obviously incompetent in the areas of social and economic policy. Based on that alone, I believe you cannot be trusted with the issue of independence!!!

    2. David Whyte

      Aye Pete, according to the polls in 2014 Avote for Indepedence looked very much on the cards, but it just did not happen – we’ll see.

      1. Steven

        Independence is no longer driven by the rational arguments we had before. Long gone is the “can we afford it” argument and it had been replaced with “as long as we aren’t ruled by Westminster.” The promised revenue from oil that was promised would never have been met. Sturgeon had forecast oil prices averaging $120 per barrel but there average price was no where near that for the last 6 years. Put into the equation that she seems hell bent on wanting to John the EU who are just as hell bent on reducing emissions and therefore oil consumption then she is basically wanting us to join an organisation that is depleting our main and major source of income. Broken promises like primary school class sizes and getting rid of council tax all but forgotten in favour of anti English speeches. The amount of times I have been told to go live in England because I dare to ask how it could be paid for are countless. Let’s face it, the only way independence will be won will be to drum up enough anti-English hatred that the people will be blinded into not scrutinizing her plans or questioning her ways. The same as the way the people believe the no new cases or deaths from Covid 19 but don’t bother to read the small “From confirmed Covid Cases” statement after it. So we could have thousands of deaths from suspected Covid Cases but as they don’t test we will never know. Lovely bit of spin and sums up how this government lies to manipulate us and treat us as mindless imbeciles hoping hatred will spur her on to a win. We already pay the highest tax in Europe and if they get independence then the high tax bracket will no longer be reserved just for the high paid but anybody who is silly enough to go out and work and not stay on the dole. A justice minister who does nothing but give his racist views on why BAME do not make up 50% of high paid jobs when they only account for 4% of the population is frightening. His speeches that condemn violence when it comes from one political side but condones it when it’s from the side he supports is blatant racism/ bigotry. Hopefully if this vote ever comes Scots will at least look at the proposals and the implications and not just against the nationality of what they are voting for.

      2. End the union

        This guy Steven states that oil is our main and major source of income. Untrue. It all goes straight to Westminster and stays there. He talks about trust and lies etc. Britnats like him have been saying the oil is running out just about every 5 years from the first referendum in 1979 when they said there would be no oil left by the mid eighties. They have been saying that ever since. At the 2014 referendum they said there was only 5 years worth left. The Britnats are the liars and they are stealing our resources.

      3. End the Union

        This guy Sreven also says “we already pay the highest tax in Europe”. Untrue again. Are you starting to get the correct idea that Steven is just posting a load of lies. This is what Britnats do they just post lots of made up lies.

      4. Brian

        “Sturgeon had forecast oil prices averaging $120 per barrel”

        Lolz. The UK government’s Office of Budget Responsibility forecast an oil price of $110 and that was the figure used. Almost nobody forecast the oil price crash, it wasn’t some kind of devious cover up.

    3. Bob Baxter

      I thought the last vote was no.
      How often do you want to run this if the next vote is no.
      It’s like asking the ref to retake the penalty because you missed first time.
      I note nobody has actually said what would happen in the event of another no vote.

      1. Brian

        If the SNP are elected on a manifesto including a referendum and the Scottish parliament votes to hold one then there should be one. It’s that simple in a parliamentary democracy. If the people don’t want one then they’ll elect someone else.

  2. Ann Armstrong

    We’re already at the point where we’ve exhausted things with Westminster, they’ve said no to a Section 30 order already. We can’t get into a position where it’s groundhog day. They’re not going to agree to a Section 30 Order even if we get a massive majority!
    The Holyrood election should be the plebecite! It would be the will of the people of its stated clearly in the manifesto. We can’t wait until after BREXIT. Scotland will not have a parliament if the Tories have their way and the economic damage they will foist on Scotland will be immense.
    No more delay, use the mandates we already have or SNP will reap the ‘rewards’ at the election. Don’t throw away what has been hard fought for and won. There will NEVER be a better time than now.

    1. Jason Munro

      If it wasn’t for the union we would all be in the gutter do you honestly think the snp or eu would have saved us wake up

      1. End the union (dictatorship)

        The union is the gutter. A Union that is not a democratic union but simply an English dictatorship.

      2. Jason Munro

        No sorry you just sound anti English that’s what SNP stand for don’t kid yourself

      3. End the stinking union

        Jason Munro I know what Westminster is and I know what you are. No kidding.

        The old anti English trope – standard pathetic reply – are all the countries that wanted independence around the world from Westminster to be branded anti – English by you – no I am for democracy not colonialism.

  3. John McCall

    That’s a very reasonable set of steps, Pete Wishart. Thank you for clarifying what “ducks in a row” means. The SNP has demonstrated in Government that it can take the nation along with it on action of national importance and I think there are good grounds for optimism that this is a feasible course of action.

  4. Col

    Guess we’ll just have to buy our NHS back when we get independence. Whenever that is. The tories have layed the ground work for asset stripping Scotland and I don’t like the idea of paying tories or American companies to buy back what they just stole from us. It will be one last kick in the teeth from Westminster.
    The Scottish government if it can should legislate to keep our NHS in public hands. If that goes against what powers Westminster claim they have so be it. At the least it will delay any sell off while the country realises what’s happening and really gets round indy.

  5. Angry Weegie

    Perhaps missing are the actions to be taken to achieve the goals set out and an indicative timescale for each part. How long will it take to demonstrate that we have tried everything possible to secure the UK as a participant in the process, even were we to accept that it’s necessary? How long will it take to design an independence process with the EU and the international community? Based on your knowledge and experience of political procedures, when will we get the fourth duck into the row? And do you believe Westminster will will simply sit back and allow this to happen without responding?

  6. Archie Hamilton

    By all means get the ducks in a row, Pete, but be aware that neither the Scottish Government or the Scottish National Party have an infinite amount of time left in which to do so.
    The Tories in Westminster have already shown their willingness to ride roughshod over any legislation that doesn’t suit their aims for the future of the UK.
    That allied to the fact that mandates have come and gone without sufficient signs of forward movement means that definite action is a necessity. Whether it is Brexit, Covid 19 or another as yet unidentified issue Independence needs to be front and centre, not something to be worked on after hours.

  7. Derek Cameron

    Ian Blackford has said countless times in Westminster that Scotland would not be allowed to be dragged out of the EU against our will. They have done it. They have stripped the powers of the Scottish Parliament and they can abolish it at a stroke . They are laughing at us . UK is now well down the post democratic route . Entrenched Union at all cost types will continue to delay and filibuster to the chorus line of the bought and paid for media . We are in the last chance saloon and we’ve run out of drink. Good luck.

  8. Joanna McKenzie

    Can I ask where you think the party went wrong in 2017. Is it not the case that we are disadvantaged in gaining list seats if we do well in 1st vote? Can you see no benefit in pro indy parties getting the second vote? Does every constituency not need to look at their own individual situation and vote accordingly. It does not need to be seen as a betrayal of the party.

  9. Linda Clark

    Once people realise that there will be a border with England and you will require a passport plus a different currency then your silly argument will be blown out of the water. Look at the mess you have made of the NHS and schools then your wee flag flying escapades will be over. Please Pete give it up all you and the SNP are a party of opposition and moaners.

  10. Truescotnotsomeinbred

    So nippy and crowd had to ask the UK government for more money to cover the furlough during this virus ,what happened to the money they all ready got ? ,She does nothing but lie her way through everything ,time this Scottish assembly of nutjobs was closed down

  11. SteveEllwood

    Asked previously:
    Pete, one question for you.

    What is our response to Johnson just saying:

    “No, I will not grant a S.30 order.

    We will succeed as one nation

    To that end, in future we will spend the money that Holyrood costs through our Scottish Secretary, Alister Jack”

  12. Edward Knight

    When the SNP put in their article 30 request will they save time by asking for a monthly referendum until they get the results they desire

    1. SteveEllwood

      I’d imagine the SNP – or whoever the Scottish people elect (might not always be the SNP, but looks a bit of a long haul for Labour) will respond to what their party and the electorate who support them say.

      If there remains a demand for Independence, I dare say it would be asked again.

      After all, if the Tories got elected in a future Independent Scotland they could always ask to rejoin the UK. Not that many (any?) countries have asked to give up their independence and become part of the Empire again.

    2. End the union

      54% in the recent poll – continuing the trend this year of polls showing a majority for independence. Looks like one will suffice.

  13. Martyn Board

    No currency no lender of last resort massive budget deficit failing education failing public services. Just few minor truths youd want to avoid. Where would we have been during COViD without furlogh money from westminster, with St Nicola seeking an extention of tbe scheme cos we dont have the money. Im sure she isnt predisposed to irony!!! Bit like bank of mum and dad, i want my independece dad but I cant afford to pay for it can you lend me a few quid. I am an EU supporter but we dont meet the financial rules for entry. On top of that there will be a hard border between England and Scotland making what we sell to our biggest customer more expensive. OK youve sd it to me lets go independent!!!!!

    1. End the union

      Nothing like bank of mum and dad. Britnats like you may want to portray it that way but what does that make you – in your mind you are a subservient child – a dependant. Pathetic.

      It is our money that goes to Westminster. It is our resources. They keep a good chunk of it and spend it in the south east of England and give us some back. It’s called colonialism. Something Westminster has centuries of experience of operating.

      1. Martyn Board

        Once again you ignore the facts. You and people like you want independence at any cost. Your need to become aggressive, rude, and dismissive of any alterate view simply confirms in the minds of other people that nationalism, wherever it has or does rear its ugly head, leads to intolerance and and ultimate disaster. Spain,Italy,Germany, Portugal, the list is Endless. Wait you will say, we are different. How so? The language you use in this post simply confirms how intolerant your party is, failing to heed the historical mistakes of other nationalists. They blindly believed in a single national identity supported by bigotted religious and cultual traits that marked them out as being superior. The fact that people like you get angry with people who dain to disagree with your views simply confirms that the curse of nationalism is an ever present threat to a country that I believe wants tolerance, inclusivity and a shared visipn for tbe future.

    2. Freedom is coming

      When I read what people like Martyn Board write it makes me laugh. He must think we are all stupid. Of course there would be a currency. How many times do you have to be told. Of course there would be a lender of last resort – it’s called a “bank” of which there will be one in Scotland. Scotland’s share of the wealth of the UK. 8%!! There is no deficit. It is a pretend one that exists on paper only. Martyn Board knows that but prefers to pedding the myth that it’s based on actual spending by the Scottish Government. It is not. It is a deficit that is calculated by the UK government based on their spending choices. It is created and spent by the UK government and attributed to Scotland. It would be like me taking £100.00 off a friend and giving them £45.00 back and then telling them they own me a further £55.00 because I decided to buy a number of things for myself that cost more than £110.00. The deficit doesn’t exist. And as for public services, education etc. you have just been regurtitating the Tory mantra.

      1. Martyn Board

        Actually the Scottish governments own figures confirm we are in defecit. You speak about public services, i have worked in them for thirty years and the last eleven run by the SNP have been a disaster for the elderly, the homeless, vulnerable children health care education, the list goes on and on. The SNP fantasy that some how a country where more people claim benefit than pay tax tells you about the success of the economic policies of tbe SNP. As for being a tory, i have been a labour supporter all my life. The tories have never cared for anyone that is vulnerable. The SNP on the other hand are what there name identifies them as, NATIONALISTS who pretend to be a tolerant social democratic party. The clue is in the name and people like me have the right to call you out for eleven years of social and economic failure.

      2. SteveEllwood

        Well, I’m sure you will have no problem getting your party elected.

        Ian Murray is doing such a bang-up job for Scotland as your current MP, you can look forward to 40 Labour MPs next election to support Sir Keir…

        On the other hand, if you don’t will you give up supporting Labour?
        Why would you expect the SNP and other Indpendence supporters to give up?

      3. Martyn Board

        Ok what will the currency be? Name the bank that is Scotlands lender of last resort? And as for your £100 analogy Peter, the people of Scotland would like to be in a position to lend or borrow money from or to a friend. This though is impossible due to the economic mismangement by your party for the last eleven years. I note you avoid the issue of qualifying for membership to the EU, increased cost of selling our goods to the rest of the UK and overcoming the issues of a hard border. I suppose that the long held SNP strategy in the belief that ignorance eventually makes uncomfortable truths disappear continues. As for indyref 2, i suspect that the SNP will have enough on its plate surviving the Alec Salmond scandal, where the real SNP and its behind closed doors tactics will finally emerge and allow us the Scottish people to finally get back to making this country what we want it to be after Nicola’s “once in a lifetime referendum”.

  14. Holly

    Wouldn’t trust SNP idiots to make a cup of tea let alone run an independent nation. Worst death figures from covid 19 are in Scotland worst education system in years let alone our health system is full of flaws and then when sturgeon bangs on about independence she then asks Westminster for more money in the same breath lol she is making Scotland a total laughing stock wish people would waken up to these idiots and vote them out if power. #bettertogether

    1. End the union

      It would save you some time if you just posted SNP baad instead of your mad rant.

      1. ndls61


        Oh do come on! Holly’s contribution IS a mad rant. No objective observer could read her contribution and take it for anything else. Like so many British nationalists, Holly criticises the performance of the Scottish Government whilst failing to take into account the constraints it operates under. It’s the political equivalent of pulling the wings off a butterfly and then laughing at it for not being able to fly.

        Like many pro-indy Scots I’m by no means uncritical of the SNP or its policies, but the idea that it is performing worse than the UK government, or that Scottish unionists would deliver better results if they were in power in Holyrood is just delusional, quite apart from not being evidenced from actual electoral results or any polling evidence.

        Holly is patently a British nationalist troll. Anyone who believes the worst death figures from Covid-19 are in Scotland, or that our health or education systems perform badly or are worse than they would be if controlled by Scottish unionists is more to be pitied than scorned.

  15. James Gilchrist

    Dear Peter,

    I’ve some questions around Scotlands independance i’ve genuinely struggled to find answers for and please know that I support the need for self detmination.

    Firstly, I’m no economist but as a small businessman I can read a p&l account and given Scotlands deficit, the SNPs growth commission report stating that you’ll continue to run a deficit is at complete odds with EU’s joining rules stating that a new member must have significant reserves of its own currency.

    While Scotland has set up a central bank, it has no currency of it own and all 3 major political party’s south of the boarder have been explicit that they’ll be no currancy union. And a hard boarder to boot which according to the SNP will have no impact on trade between Scotland and the UK which is nonsense.

    Scotlands deficit (proir to covid-19) is currently stated to be £8bn, it’s recoded to be nearer £12bn and rising and it would only seem reasonable that Scotland take its share of The UK’s £2 trillion debt based on a per person/ tax collected basis (based on 2018 numbers Scotland spent twice its income) which is underwritern by the UK government.

    Additionally given than oil revenues are now non existant which Alex Salmond promised would be above €110 / barrel for the foreseeable future in 2014 and that Scotlands tax base is insufficient how exactly are the SNP planning to pay for basics such as tbe NHS, school’s, the environment etc or have any hope of rejoining Europe.

    In addition if we’re to break up the union should that not be a choice for all of us in it as therebare risks for all What are the risks of separation form London (a world economy by itself) And what is to be gained.

    With thanks and kind regards


    1. ndls61

      James, Scotland doesn’t currently have a deficit…the UK does. The size of any deficit post indy is an unknowable, because it is dependant on so many unknowables. Anyone (on either side of the debate) telling you otherwise is lying to you. Virtually every country on earth runs a deficit; Scotland post indy will be no different.

      What size that deficit will be and how it will be financed is a different matter. We don’t yet know what the split of UK assets and liabilities/debts will be on independence. We don’t know what tax rates will be, or what borrowing the new Scottish state will arrange. We DO know that in many areas Scotland will be able to realise savings (no sane person would advocate an indy Scotland spending what we currently spend as part of our contribution to the current UK defence budget for example – that’s be an immediate £2 billion per annum saved).

      You’ve obviously uncritically accepted the standard Better Together tropes of Scotland being “too wee, too poor and too stupid”, but nobody seriously believes that an independent Scotland would be unable to survive economically, particularly given the economic self harm imposed by a Brexit the vast majority of Scots opposed. The economic case for the union in comparison with independence was marginal before brexit, but it has been holed below the water line now.

      If Scotland wants to rejoin the EU, it’ll be welcomed with open arms (if for no other reason by dint of the fact the EU would love to stick it to the British nationalist wreckers in Westminster). It’ll be the fastest, most problem free accession in history. The EU has zero reasons to make Scottish membership hard, and many reasons to make it easy. Pragmatism will win in the end. Little Englanders in rump UK may relish their future as Trump’s Airstrip One, eating their chlorinated chicken and hormone beef, but few Scots share that delusion. You can keep you unregulated “Big Society” – it’s not a route to a European offshore Singapore, but rather to a dystopian Dickensian hellhole peopled by an industrial and service sector helotry dependant on charity ruled over by a bunch of spivs and plutocrats like that in the USA and Russia.

      1. End the union

        Ndls61 – I think you should cut out the survive comments. Scotland is surrounded by independent very successful small countries. There is no reason why we would be any different.

        Somehow I don’t think James is a genuine supporter of independence.

  16. ndls61

    Just more gradualist obfuscation. Nothing to see here, move along. Go back to your constituencies and prepare for #indyref2029, because it’s hardly likely to happen anytime sooner with trimmers like Pete and his ilk at the helm. Why is the timetable so extended Pete? It makes no sense. We have multiple unused mandates which are essentially meaningless as long as the SNP remains intent on accepting a British nationalist veto on the right of Scots to self determination. In the end, is really IS that simple.

    We don’t need many of these steps. Announce next week, in tandem with all other pro-independence parties and civic organisations that we expect Westminster to honour the 2012 Edinburgh Agreement precedent. Give them a time limit to respond. If they fail to answer or say “now is not the time” again, announce that the Holyrood elections in 2021 will be a de facto plebiscite. That’s Plan B. It’s not rocket science. It is clear. The international community will understand it and accept a majority of pro independence votes as valid.

    The question you and the rest of the faint hearts in the leadership have to answer is what are you scared of?

  17. End the union

    For the hard of thinking – There is no massive budget deficit in Scotland.

    Britnats believe any lies because they want Scotland to be too wee, too poor and too stupid. How sad is that. They want the country they live in to be rubbish just so they can say we are too rubbish to be independent. They really need to carry out some self examination as to why they are like that or get professional help.

    1. Jason Munro

      You call it independence but the EU would set all the rules and you must obey scotland has alot more say staying part of the United Kingdom and will prosper when Britain finally gets the EU out of our business

      1. ndls61

        The overwhelming majority of Scots (including many disillusioned unionist Remainers) apparently disagree with you Jason. Facts are chiels that winnae ding as a wise man once said!

      2. End the union

        ” Set all the rules” not true and you know it.

        Britnats just plaster lies all over the media and you are no exception. It is one thing to have a different viewpoint but telling straight lies is just straight out of the Britnat playbook.

    2. Martyn Board

      Whats a Britnat? I assume its the same as a Scotnat!! History tells us that a Nationalist is a Nationalist is Nationalist. However hard they try to disguise their real beliefs the veil eventually slips to reveal the real incompetence of those who believe in the mantra of national dentity at the cost inclusivity and tolerance. I point to the last eleven years of SNP government as evidence of a one issue party that is finally being seen for what it really is.

      1. ndls61

        “What experience and history teaches us is that people and governments have never learned anything from history, or acted on principles deduced from it.” as Hegel said. From your input above it’s obvious that you’re a convinced britnat. Most (though by no means all) aren’t open to reason on the issue of independence. If you can’t discern the difference between Scottish or Catalan civic nationalism, and other forms of nationalism, you’re either trolling for effect or just ill informed. Neither is a particularly good look, not does it give any confidence that you are the kind of person to debate in good faith, which is another general characteristic of most (though not all) britnats.

        As we can readily discerns from your contributions above you rely heavily on unionist tropes and agitprop, presenting assertion as fact and making claims which have been well rehearsed and comprehensively fisked elsewhere. Like a dog returning to its vomit however, you just can’t help yourself coming out with the same tired old attack lines. None of it is a positive case, none of it tells us why we are “Better Together”: it’s almost as if Scots unionists know in their heart of hearts that the reason nobody can find a positive case for the union, is that there is no such argument. Certainly the majority of Scots seem to agree, despite the carping above about the SNP’s record.

        I’m a former member of the SNP having left because I disagree with elements of their policy platform, so I’m by no means an uncritical voice. The idea that ordinary Scots would trust the Tories or other unionist parties to deliver better outcomes than the SNP is simply delusional.

  18. End the union

    Pete, how long does your gradualism go on for – long enough for you to reach retirement age.

    PS in case you forgot SNP politicians do not go to the House of Lords. But if you give up being an SNP politician I guess they may take you.

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  20. marconatrix

    Here’s my initial reaction, I’ve yet to read any of the earlier responses

    I agree that ideally there needs to be maintained that tricky balance between “patience and determination”. The danger is surely that at some point the UK/Westminster establishment will come to the end of its own limited patience and be determined to nip Scottish Indy in the bud, using whatever means it takes …

    How should Scots respond if WM simply decides to shut down all the structures of devolution and impose direct rule, just as they did a few decades ago in NI? Unconstitutional? But it’s been argued that there is no (written) UK constitution. Treaty of Union? On what grounds could the devolved Scottish Government claim to be the successor to the old Scottish Parliament/Government that were party to said treaty, but then abolished themselves?

    Is there an international lawyer in the house?

  21. Martyn Board

    Ndls61 I agree with some of what you say, where you are incorrect is that I am a staunch Unionist. I will go to my grave supporting the right to self determination for those who are enabled to make an informed decision based on truth and responsible debate. Not something that Nationalist regimes have ever demonstrated. None of the major players in this debate iover recent years can claim to show they are trustworthy enough to warrant our support. What I am against is any individual, group or party making claims it is clearly unable to substantiate. You dismiss the argument of 11 disastrous years of SNP government simply out of convenience, dogma and blind faith. When will they put their hands up and say we are reslonsible. If the first 11 years of independence looks anything like the last 11 years of SNP government Then god help us all. I suspect, you like me are relatively affluent and are likely to survive the tumult of an idependent Scotland. However, there are thousands in our country who have been left behind by the SNP’s years of neglect and incompetence. What will become of them in this new order???? As for your comment about civic nationalism, like may before and I suspect many again, your attempt to sell “our kind” of nationalism as somehow different, has been tried before and proved to be bogus. The harsh reality is that the fundamentals of nationalism lead to intolerance, division and ultimate scapegoating of those who don’t fit the profile or who disagree. Patriots are those who are proud of their country for what it does, Nationalists are proud of their country whatever it does. The first creates a sense of shared responsibility, the latter a sense of arrogance and discord.

    1. ndls61

      @Martyn Board
      “Not something that nationalist regimes have ever demonstrated” hardly comes across as the words or attitude of someone open minded or open to reason. I’ll take your word about being all in favour of self determination, although to be honest I have my doubts given the tenor of your posts here. It’s all very well to write off all the major players in the debate and insist none (presumably both unionists and nationalist?) are “trustworthy enough to warrant our support”, but that just sounds like a dialogue of despair – where would that leave us? The No campaign in #indyref1 referred to itself as “Project Fear”, the spivs and charlatans running it have said publicly they’d have lost without using scare tactics. If there is a positive case for the union, it certainly wasn’t presented during the campaign.

      You are of course entitled to your opinion (for that is all it really is) that the SNP government has been calamitous, but the Scottish public and voters appear to disagree with you. Of course the real clincher is: what the realistic alternative: Carlaw? Leonard? Rennie? Really….? That’s the kind of person or party you think would be running things better?

      You are correct, I am reasonably comfortable and will likely wether the storms. I want better for my country and I’ve seen the direction of travel in England having lived there for 25 years before returning in 2018. If you honestly believe there is no difference between civic nationalism, then I’m afraid you’re simply not debating in good faith, or just trolling for effect. If British nationalists ever had a vision for Scotland within a more functional union, they’ve failed to deliver it in 300 years. Your crude caricature of what nationalism is and what patriotism is is tendentious.

      As the American founding fathers said, there are times where self-evident truths mean that circumstances dictate separation as the more rational course than remaining united. No sane supporter of independence believes it would be risk free. The problem for unionists and it seems for faint hearted fence sitters like you is that the majority of Scots now appear to have decided tht, unlike in 2014, the risks of staying in post brexit UK now outweigh the risks of independence. Hostility towards the SNP, or an ill informed understanding of civic nationalism, shouldn’t blind you to the potential advantages of an independence you appear too afraid to contemplate.

      1. Martyn Board

        I simy refer you to my previous post. Everything you say here supports my view, much of which you chose to ignore. Britnat, Scotnat you are all the same using an argument of convenience and snearing superiority to support your view. Ignoring whats happened over the ladt 11 years is at least disingenuous and at worst completely selfish. I sense that those vulnerable people who will pay the price for your blinkered obsession are simply a price worth paying for independence.

      2. ndls61

        Not at all. It is incumbent on you to show how things could have been done differently over the past 11 years which would have achieved superior results. I’ve certainly seen zero evidence of any policies or platform from the unionist branch offices in Scotland that what they had planned would have resulted in better outcomes for vulnerable people. If the Scottish Government had for example increased taxes to spend more, I can just imagine the howls of outrage from Scottish Tories and LibDems (and not a few Blairite New Labour types too!).

        I’m not ignoring anything that’s happened over the past 11 years, nor do I consider myself selfish: I’m asking you and Scottish unionists to “show me the money”: what specific policies would you have enacted the SNP government hasn’t to make the lives of vulnerable better? What policies they have enacted would you repeal? Where would the money come from to finance your plans?

        Surely what is sauce for the goose, is sauce for the gander? It’s all very well for Scottish unionists, or pro-independence opponents of the SNP, to say that their policies are flawed, or that they should do things differently, but sitting on the sidelines throwing rocks whilst failing to demonstrate a viable alternative is just rehashing “Project Fear”. The reason the union is now steadily losing support is that it can no longer rely on the scare stories of 2014 in a post brexit UK. It’s a much harder argument to make in 2020-21 that the risks of independence are greater than the risks of staying within a UK which is ruled by the likes of Johnson, outside the EU with no-deal exit imminent, and a Westminster government which has shown itself to be totally incompetent in its handling of Covid-19 in comparison with most EU states.

      3. Martyn Board

        I see a demonstration of civic nationalism by members of the SNP on the border today telling people to F___ off back to England!! Another good strategic move to encourage post independence relationships with our biggest trading customer.
        You use America as an example of what kind of nationalism you believe in, you are kidding me right? A country where its black citizens can be regularly murdered by the state where in some southern states murder of black people does not raise an eyebrow. A country that has gone around the world in the last 70 years trying to force its brand of Civic nationalism on countries in the middle east, Cuba, Asia and South America either by terror or economic destabilisation. A country where power is firmly in the hands of the wealthy, where numerous presidents, including the current incumbent, break the law and use state agencies to spy on its citizens that dare to disagree, where racism, misogyny and casual attitudes to justice are part of every day life for the vulnerable, those who disagree, who are different and do not fit the flag waving nationalistic “photofit”. A country that has broken more UN resolutions than any of the so called “pariah states” it seeks to manipulate. Well if thats the limit of your ambition for our country god help us. You may be right that there is a small majority for independence, however like the EU referendum, in which I was a remainer, the other almost 50% wont simply disappear. However what they will become is a disaffected minority, like us remainers, ignored by the same kind of nationalists down south, we will end up a divided, intolerant and unfair country. A bit like civic nationalistic America!!!

      4. ndls61

        The actions of a few random nutters standing on the border is no more representative of Scots as a whole, still less supporters of Scottish nationalism, than the many, many British nationalists numpties over the years who were anything but welcoming to me as a Scot in England. Funnily enough that didn’t mean I thought they were representative of “all” English people.
        Not sure why you’re making such a meal of the US comparison: I was referring to the declaration of independence, perhaps I should have made it clearer for the ill-educated? I agree with much of you assessment if modern America: of course it isn’t my benchmark of ambition for the kind of Scotland I want. I want a Scandinavian style social democracy, rooted in equality, rule of law and social justice.

        You, and too many of those like you, would happily see us shackled to the rotting corpse of dystopian Dickensian post brexit UK, at the mercy of Trump’s America, Putin’s Russia and Xi’s China. I’ll take the SNP’s civic nationalism, whatever its faults or challenges, over remaining part of the crypto-medieval, shambolic basket case that is the UK in a heartbeat.

        It seems that like so many British nationalists, you’re only a democrat when it suits you. Just as the 45% accepted the No vote in 2014, and the 48% accepted the Leave vote in 2017, any future minority to stay in the UK in a future indyref is surely obliged to abide by an pro indy majority. No true democrat could maintain otherwise. If they still want to agitate and campaign to re-join their previous union there is nothing to stop them. They can join all the other countries that have abandoned their independence and rejoined the former empire or multi-national states they used to form part of over the past decades, right….?

  22. Richard Haviland

    As one of your target demographic – a 2014 ‘No’ voter who would vote ‘Yes’ next time, I agree with much of what you say here, in particular the need to be patient and grow your support base with care, bringing together the life-long nationalists with the “new” nationalists. It needs to be understood that many of the latter will have chosen to vote for independence not because it is their dream but because they are in despair at what’s happened to the UK and they now see self-governance as the better option. Even as they vote for independence, they will still feel a sense of loss of what once was.

    But, as the disastrous follow-up to the Brexit vote showed us, it’s also about reaching out to the losing side. Can I make a heartfelt plea to you and your colleagues (as I have to my own MP, Drew Hendry) to start thinking NOW about the use of language, and how subtle variations of phraseology can make all the difference? If Scots vote for independence, it won’t be the “will of the people”, it will be (far less sexy but more accurate) “mandated by the vote of a majority of the Scottish people”. I wrote about this in the Times in February, and described “will of the people” as “a phrase, too often used unthinkingly, which only makes sense if your intention is to signal to people who disagree with you that their views count for nothing, and to strengthen their resolve to oppose you”.

    If you want to win not only independence but an inclusive and prosperous Scotland, you will need to bring people together, including the many hundreds of thousands of devastated unionists. Some of those unionists will also have voted for Remain in the EU referendum, and will therefore feel a double sense of loss. Winning them over will be a massive challenge. Some will never accept it. Others will accept it and move on and want to do their bit to contribute. But if you tell them you are implementing the will of the people, they will feel excluded from day one. Even “the will of the 3 million” – or whatever the figure may be – is divisive, because it sends a message that if you’re not one of those 3 million nobody cares about you. Think about the effect of constantly hearing about “the 17.4 million” who voted for Brexit.

    There are a whole set of these phrases which, in the context of Brexit, have made me feel more marginalised and excluded every time I hear them. It would be worth giving this some thought and perhaps even trying stuff out on this.

    I feel really strongly about this, as getting the victory wrong is my biggest fear – and therefore the biggest potential constraint – when I think about voting for independence.

    1. Joanna McKenzie

      This is a very important message, well put. I hope people of influence in the party, and wider Indy movement, listen and take note.

  23. Richard Haviland

    Type in my penultimate paragraph should have read “it would be worth giving this some thought and perhaps even trying this stuff out on some focus groups”.

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