End of Days

Disdain and disrespect for your own supporters is corrosive. Note Glenrothes MP Peter Grant’s superiority carefully. He thinks discussion on an order for a Section 30 is ‘an internal party matter’. Though his short-hand may have let him down, he would not have tweeted that response if he did not think it party policy. The SNP makes the decisions, people abide by them. Refused the right of participation, what are we supposed to do, walk away and look sad? Woebetide anyone who reminds an SNP politician independence is the goal.

For months I have encountered a terrible feeling of dread. For the first time since my twenties, Scotland a powerless appendage to England’s policial interests, I feel we have a government in Holyrood remote from me, more than remote, contemptuous of its own supporters. I do not know if any other reader has experienced this, but for me it is incredibly depressing. With every predictable, repetitious utterance of defiance made by Nicola Sturgeon at London, it gets harder to throw off. The more she tells us the Tories are rotten to the core and does nothing much about it, the more the power of her words lessen. In the end, it is nothing more than empty rhetoric.

As for Peter Grant and his incautious brush-off, an elected respresentative has a duty to attend gatherings of voters at national events or in their locale. How else do they show solidarity? The least they must do is encourage discussion and debate, not sidestep it as if dog extrement on the pavement. Our democracy is fragile enough without a sitting politician telling us we are something separate from it.

Second, who instructed ways of achieving independence be kept within the confines of the party of delay and obfuscation? When did participation become the prerogative of Holyrood, citizens prohibited from holding an opinion? The notion is outrageous.

Politicians are the people we entust to take our grievances, our concerns, our epistles of better justice to the chamber of just laws. We do not elect compatriots to serve some highfalutin membership-only club. We employ our politicians to rally the troops.

The SNP is not yet the old East German Communist Party – join us or be against us. What is Grant implying? Voters, surgeries, listening, they are the three demons you must slay before you can be a successful politician? He’s full of sherry, or something.

Who asks if you are a Jew?

The first indication something was wrong, the party oddly estranged from the people, was when it ignored pleas and protests from its own rank-and-file over their official’s anti-Semite blunders. (I was not the only casualty.) No MSP or MP intervened to say, wait, we must ask questions. In my case, not a single party official telephoned, or bothered to send a local chairperson for a quiet chat. How’s that for a party of the people? I did, however, recieve hundreds of tweets offering anger and sympathy.

The ground work of constructing scapegoats to boost retrospective regulation had been laid months before when the MP, Mark MacDonald, was singled out for crucifixion over an honest typo in a tweet. By accusing him of sexual harrassment the first minister’s chief civil servants could concoct a sordid image of Holyrood oozing with rampant mysogeny, where next to none existed. That way, could see Alex Salmond accused, his legacy erased, though he had left government and party years earlier.

Like the fool I was, I was certain the party would not condemn out of hand, but it did. They played judge and jury. In my case, the three culprits guilty of random urination on civil liberties are still at large, happy-go-lucky participators in their party’s fall from grace: Humza Yousef willing to curb free expression; morally flawed Angus MacLeod, resolutely defiant for his vindictive behaviour, and the narcissist Fiona Robertson.

The last is a woman penning the most lurid of policy ideas, full of pseudo-psychology clap-trap, booted out of the NEC and yet welcomed back by a back door. This makes fools of us all.

How did we reach the madness of chasing Brexit, claiming there is only one route to self-governance, when the greatest threat to us all is environmental, the destruction of the planet we inhabit?

The hunting of the Snark

The next event to shock adherents of the party of independence, a party supposedly dedicated to the cause of Scotland’s democratisation, was the hunting of Alex Salmond. This year is hard to forget for many reasons, but the one moment that stands out for me was Nicola Sturgeon’s cold refusal to give a direct answer to a straight-forward question from interviewer Andrew Marr. “Now that Alex Salmond is exonerated by the Courts, will you welcome him back into the SNP?” Her prevarication was a dishonest answer.

Glaring contradiction between Mr and Mrs Murrell’s evidence given to the Holyrood Inquiry is alarming. If it transpires that Nicola Sturgeon has been lying to the Holyrood committee, or lying to parliament, an offence that demands resignation, unionists will have enjoyed two victories, the humiliation of Salmond and the departure of Sturgeon. Despite having no challengers, none have stepped forward so far, she will not survive discovery of duplicity or indulging in Tammany Hall politics. I’ll be repeating this, no doubt, if Nicola Sturgeon has a strategy and the political guile (sadly, no evidence to show, so far), but if she has, she’s in for a bonanza. Everything is going Scotland’s way.

When I stand back and look at it all, no one can convince me the SNP has not been infiltrated. Some people point at Nicola Sturgeon as the source of disarray. One person cannot be responsible for that much mayhem and not have had encouragement to follow the poisoned arrows where they fall. Others are due close scrutiny.

A glimmer of light

A fresh National Executive Committee (NEC), gives hope the excesses of these last years are gone, replaced by a concentrated agenda dedicated to self-governance at the earliest date. The new NEC might help loosen the evasive and elusive Peter Murrell’s backroom grip on SNP policy, a flagrantly counter-intuitive approach to independence.

Passing a Bill to remain faithful to EU standards including Human Rights offers another ray of hope. In the face of a far-right Tory party flaunting a huge majority, Holyrood’s idealism may be symbolic in the medium-term but it demonstrates defiance.

2020 is has been life altering for me. It might be worse for Scotland. Tory and DUP, aided by Labour, are fine-tuning a federalist system to remove Scotland’s rights once and for all time. Whenever the British empire vacates a country it has invaded and robbed blind, it concocts a solution that leaves chaos in its wake. Prussia, Persia, the Middle East, India, Palestine, Syria, Ireland, an endless list. Everything mighty England touches results in division and strife and war.

Éamon de Valera was determined Ireland should not accept a British offer of a halfway house, dominion status – quasi-autonomy, still accountable to a British government and monarchy. The slightest whiff of federalism is an offer Scotland should reject outright, state it now in bold letters to warn London we will not attend to the 2021 May election willing to accept a British imposed solution.

To acccept anything less than genuine liberty is the coward’s way out, a betrayal of all who have fought and died to retain the right of Scotland to take its own decisions.

The Tory party is taking a wrecking ball to democracy, a strategy to divide and conquer, to knock down our house, reduce it to rubble. If the SNP leads us into an imposed federal system suggesting it is the best we can get, the transition from life under brutal Tory rule to a living death would be barely perceptible.

Believe me when I tell you, I know what it is like to exist in a living death.


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21 Responses to End of Days

  1. Muscleguy says:

    I did two things this year I swore I would never do. First I joined Twitter, spurred by the banning of ALL of the Rev Stu Campbell’s accounts by a lynch mob of SNP self styled Twitler Youth. I have one of the rash of Wings accounts created to make them whack a mole. It has taken on a life of its own since.

    Secondly I joined a political party, the ISP firstly for women’s rights and equally in support of a more radical route to Independence to push the moribund, statist SNP to that place. I have not just joined, I’m on the national policy committee of the SNP, I’m branch Treasurer and in the New Year a new me will hopefully be announced.

    There is hope. Vote ISP2 on the List next May and ensure there is no hiding place for the SNP over Indy at Holyrood. The plastic Yessers of the Greens have done NOTHING for Indy for FIVE years. We will be different, counting the days since the election and no credible moves to Independence.

    Whoever is First Minister will have to look us in the eyes and knowing we represent the wider Yes movement deny us in person, in the chamber and so out themselves as what you charge them to be Gareth.

  2. steelewires says:

    Another indication that something was wrong was trying to stop Brexit. Sturgeon even had a bus with it on the side! Instead of getting the independence campaign into top gear, they went into reverse and tried to stop England getting the Brexit it voted for, and tried to force Scotland’s decision on England. I knew right away that they had become British party campaigning for British ( I.E. English) interests rather than their reason for existing.

  3. twathater says:

    Thank you Gareth for your wisdom and exposures , I have just written a comment on WOS to an SNP member that proclaims that we all must vote for SNP on the constituency vote or we will just allow the unionists to take over , I have basically responded that I blame the SNP membership for our current woes , the continued assertion that NS has a cunning plan , the Nicola knows best attitude when people were complaining about her trying to save engerland from itself , the insistence that the woke infiltration will be sorted after indy , the insistence that the HCB doesn’t affect women’s safety , the insistence of wheesht for indy , and the worst one , anyone complaining about Sturgeon is a traitor , or is a unionist , or is a false independence supporter , the MEMBERSHIP have protected her and still do , they believe that all is well and Nicola is playing a blinder
    The SNP BOAST of having a 100,000 membership but they REFUSE to utilise that membership to FORCE Sturgeon to either resign or use the 2021 election as a plebicite for indy

  4. junemax says:

    Splendid article Gareth. Just the right tone, critical, yet encouraging. For all of us the future is unknown and unpredictable, so I hope things now start turning around for you and you enjoy a repaired and improved future.

  5. castanet2020 says:

    I echo the comments above and add a thank you of my own for your continuing efforts to restore the soul of the SNP despite your own personal difficulties .Thanks Gareth , more power to your elbow , your spirit still shines .

  6. Grouse Beater says:

    I do my best and accept all praise. 🙂

  7. castanet2020 says:

    Haha !! you deserve all the praise you get my friend

  8. NDLS says:

    Reblogged this on Cybernat Central and commented:
    Coruscating stuff from Gareth: as he points out, the “de haut en bas” attitude of entitlement from too many in the SNP is symptomatic of something rotten at the heart of the party, something the rank and file membership have tolerated – if not actually abetted – for far too long.
    Recent event may give cause for some hope as Gareth points out, but actual progress still seems painfully slow and limited.

  9. helentyates says:

    We need someone with the experience of dealing with Westminster and the wit to reach the people and for me the only person able to deliver for Scotland is Alex Salmond, I pray he intends to make a surprise return early next year to finish the job he started.
    I have no faith whatsoever that the current administration is Holyrood will deliver independence, on the contrary I believe that is the one thing not on their agenda.

    We owe a lot to the bloggers who have opened many eyes not only to the desperate need for independence but also to the many failings and problems within the party that is meant to represent us.
    We should know very soon exactly where the current leadership stands.

  10. NDLS says:

    I think you are right that we can view recent events as a case of “some hope, but little progress”?

    The SNP as currently constituted and led is like a supertanker: even once a change of course is made, it takes some time for the leviathan to actually alter its previous path. The Charlotte Street gradualists and sophomoric gender woo identity politics extremists have suffered a reverse, but they are well entrenched and are not going to give up their sinecures and positions of influence without a fight.

    I noticed the other day that Angus Robertson’s personal website is offering prospective constituents the chance to book a personal telephone call or Zoom meeting to discuss any issues they have. As an Edinburgh Central resident, and indeed former constituency member, I’m quite tempted to book a slot. I’m not sure he’d like what I have to say however, or indeed that he would provide any substantive answers to the issues that concern me most, and which will decide whether I vote for him or not.

    I’d certainly be asking him about your case Gareth, but given what I see of his output, and those who supported his adoption and with whom he interacts, I suspect all I’d get in response would be ineffectual bromides which avoid the actual issue: the shoddy treatment meted out to you and the need for an apology and restitution.

    I have little faith that there will be much in the way of positive news or action in the next 4 months. The Yes movement has in its own way been as ineffectual as the SNP: we now face a hard brexit, no #indyref2 in prospect for several years, and assuming the May 2021 opportunity is missed, no imminent plebiscitary election either. Those of us who are disillusioned with the SNP and who do not believe it will be changed (or even has the desire to change?) will have some choices to make politically after the Holyrood election. The closer that date comes, the more unconvinced I am that it is wise to give an organisation as flawed as the SNP the kind of untrammelled power they seek.

    At present I am minded to vote ISP in the list, and either abstain on the constituency or even vote against the SNP depending on the other candidates. The size of the SNP majority in Holyrood means precisely nothing as long as the party is monomaniacally wedded to the S30 Gold Standard as the sole route to independence. The more non-SNP pro-indy MSP’s we have the better, and given the state of the Scottish Greens, that can only mean maximising ISP seats on the list.

  11. kurikat says:

    @NDLS. “At present I am minded to vote ISP in the list, and either abstain on the constituency or even vote against the SNP depending on the other candidates. The size of the SNP majority in Holyrood means precisely nothing as long as the party is monomaniacally wedded to the S30 Gold Standard as the sole route to independence. The more non-SNP pro-indy MSP’s we have the better, and given the state of the Scottish Greens, that can only mean maximising ISP seats on the list”. …..

    I agree 100% with this part of your post, it is where I am at as well.

    I too am a member of the ISP after being an SNP member for years. I can’t nor will vote for a LIAR, & that is something the FM truly is these days. Neither can I vote for corruption & that is what the SNP party is today. Another FIVE years of having the MURRELS running this country is for me, every bit as bad as having the TORIES in power up here..

    If no Plebiscite election is announced in January or February at the latest..I hope the ISP stand against the SNP in constituency seats..

  12. NDLS says:

    @kurikat 3.31pm

    I suspect ISP won’t stand in constituency seats because they’ve said from the start they wouldn’t do so, and that their aim was to maximise the number of pro-indy MSP’s by ensuring unionist list MSPs were replaced with ISP MSPs.

    That was probably a sensible policy when they were first being formed, as given the opinion polls at the time it looked like they might be able to hold the SNPs feet to the fire by potentially holding the balance of power in Holyrood. However, as current polls seem to suggest the SNP may well gain an outright majority all on their own (particularly given the Scottish Green’s self inflicted wounds over TRA extremism and Any Wightman’s well place grenade through their door as he resigned), there may be more of an argument for trying to clip the SNPs wings by considering opposing them in selected constituency seats. Doubtless it’d all hit the fan if they did so tho’: the SNP ultras and many others in the movement would react pretty badly to splitting the constituency vote. Just look at how unhinged many of them were, and indeed still are (yes, we are looking at you Peter Bell and James Kelly!) about “splittists” risking independence for all time.

    I think the major issue for the ISP – with all due respect to those involved whose hearts seem to be in the right place – is that they lack charismatic leadership and/or established figures with a political and media hinterland and their launch was, to be charitable, a bit “amateur hour”. If things play out as I suspect they might post Holyrood 2021 election, it transpire that the ISP is our only hope. That’s a lot to lay on such a new movement!

  13. David Mooney says:

    It would be incredibly naive not to consider that the SNP has been infiltrated by British security services. After all the SNP have been regarded as a threat to the British state since they were founded in the 1930s and will be treated as much more of a threat today.

    Remember the British state is not above using blackmail, sex, bribery, corruption, violence and murder to protect it’s interests. They are very good at it. Typical methods used to disrupt political organisations are:-

    Seed disruptive influences.
    Disguise or downplay obvious conflicts of interest.
    Obstruct decent and debate.
    Influence the promotion of “useful idiots” beyond their abilities.
    Compromise internal democracy.
    Prevent talent from developing using whatever means available.
    Foment division by pursuing lost causes, deflecting attention from the main principles.
    Propagating special interest groups diluting ideas and ethos.
    Controlling media communications and narrative.
    Assassinate threats of exposure.

    All these strategies are straight out of the MI5/CIA/KGB foreign governments and organisations disruption playbook. Given the prevalence of most – if not all – of these processes within the SNP hierarchy and Scottish Government, it’s hard not to believe that they have been compromised on multiple levels, including it’s leadership.

    The Scottish establishment is the British establishment, propped up by the judiciary and the police and as such should be viewed as hostile and contemptuous of Scottish independence. The SNP hierarchy has become the Scottish establishment.

    Unless the next SGE is used as a plebiscite election Scots independence is dead. That’s assuming a Mays election takes place, considering this Westminster Tory governments contempt for the devolved nations, I have my doubts.

  14. Hugh Wallace says:

    “For months I have encountered a terrible feeling of dread. For the first time since my twenties, Scotland a powerless appendage to England’s policial interests, I feel we have a government in Holyrood remote from me, more than remote, contemptuous of its own supporters. I do not know if any other reader has experienced this, but for me it is incredibly depressing. ”

    I feel exactly the same way, GB. I’ve been voting for 27 years & only this year have I felt there is no party I can give my vote to. I’ve always despised the Tory party & never thought they represented me in any way. Labour I could once have supported until Tony Blair showed me I was wrong. The SNP is the only party I’ve ever voted for & the only party I’ve ever joined but now I can’t bear the thought of placing my X beside their name. I might still hold my nose & do so but I honestly don’t know if I can.

  15. duncanio says:

    There is no doubt that the SNP leadership have caused dismay and demoralisation among many of the wider Yes movement by their total lack of action on The Cause over the last 6 years. All we get are headlines from The National with faux expressions of ‘outrage’, ‘shock’, ‘horror’ etc from the likes of Nicola Sturgeon, Ian Blackford, Mike Russell etc who take turns to ‘slam’, ‘hammer’, ‘shame’ etc the Westminster government and its representatives.

    It is also extremely embarrassing.

    I will nonetheless be voting for the SNP in May. There is no alternative at this stage. The alternatives pro-Independence parties, however well-intentioned, are not polling higher than 1% and they have no individuals with a political profile or at least none with recognition among the electorate at large.

    This really is the last chance for the SNP, or at least with this particular leadership, and they simply must ensure a referendum takes place by September, regardless of any current known factors (pandemic, economy, Section 30 etc). In fact it is BECAUSE of things like COVID that we must get going – surely on this single issue alone that is evident due to the mismanagement down South, the flawed ‘4 Nations’ approach and the fact that we can’t print our own money as Scotland is not a sovereign state.

    If the SNP do not act between now and September then I will not vote for them again and my membership will be rescinded. I will not, I’m sure be alone.

  16. Grouse Beater says:

    Not voting for the SNP may have the effect of reducing them to a minority party once more, only they might welcome regaining the status and use it as an excuse to continue doing nothing much but churn out seriously flawed Bills having nothing better on their minds. Second, I would not dismiss new parties, such as the ISP. For a start, they are contesting Regional seats only, and we desperately need an opposition in Holyrood, one dedicated to regaining self-governance. If they manage to unseat just one Tory or Labour freeloader, I will count that a success.

  17. duncanio says:

    I 100% agree that bills/policies such GRA & Hate Speech are an abomination. They are also tyrannical. And, most importantly, they are not relevant to ending the Union.

    There is definitely some schadenfreude to be enjoyed should any British party squatters in Holyrood get turfed out … so long as it doesn’t mean that even more SNP/pro-Indy members join them outside. This is a very real danger of the voting system and you can bet that the British Nationalist press would have field day if the result was a reduction in both the SNP (regional) popular vote and number of seats.

    And I would not wish to even contemplate the total nightmare of a return to some kind of British Party coalition government. (Or might that be renamed ‘Executive’ once more?)

  18. NDLS says:

    If the now (presumably from the polling evidence?) pro-independence majority in Scotland does not stir itself to ensure that their representatives act to bring about the outcomes they want, then I’m afraid I’m at the stage of writing them off as a lost cause. No party is entitled to our support or votes. The issue we have is that the SNP as a party has become synonymous with the Yes movement. Since “minor” pro-indy parties like the Greens and RISE have never really reached escape velocity electorally, we are to a large extent hostages to the quality of the SNP leadership and its platform.

    This mattered rather less when it looked like we might attain independence more quickly: it was easier to dismiss the gradualism, timidity and even to an extent the sophomoric gender-woo entryists when we thought all that was important was “keeping our eyes on the prize” and achieving indy first. We comforted ourselves that the campaign for independence wasn’t about detailed policies, it was about achieving an aim that many different strands of political opinion shared as a common goal, even if we disagreed about much else.

    Of course that left us open to (partly justified) criticism that we had no real answers on issues like currency and the EU, but perhaps worse it blinded many of us to the fact that the SNP has been eaten from within. We now find ourselves painted into a constitutional corner with an increasingly solid pro-indy majority amongst Scottish voters, led by a Scottish government that not only has no plausible route to exercising our self determination, but apparently no real desire to even push for it except using the S30 route which ensures no progress will be made for a minimum of 5 years, probably more.

    Given the leisurely pace the SNP envisages, the words of Manic Street Preachers spring to mind:

    “If you tolerate this your children will be next.”

  19. Terence Callachan says:

    All political institutions are infiltrated.

    You are trying to change the course of the SNP with minutia , it’s too late for that and too early for that.
    Minute changes when support for SNP is at an all time high is making you look like a splinter group causing damage even though it’s not your aim.

    You should be getting in line yes it’s risky but we are on the doorstep of elections

    IF a Scottish independence referendum doesn’t happen

    If the SNP try to change policy to one of seeking federalism and abandonment of independence they won’t do so in addition to having a Scottish independence referendum it will be one or the other

    There is a time limit on having a Scottish independence referendum and yes covid developments will have a big say in whether or not we have one in 2021 but as things stand we know that if USA one of the biggest countries in the world can have an election then so can we

    We have to make sure the postal voting procedure is water tight and not suspect like last time

    If no Indy referendum happens then you go ahead with the accusations you are making
    But now definitely is not the time

  20. NDLS says:

    Sorry Terence, you’re delusional. It’s the usual hard of thinking nonsense from party loyalists: Wishart-esque airy assurances that “we’re almost there” and that “Boris will have to give in”. Magical thinking worthy of no thinking person’s time. The elections in May, unless they are specifically couched as a plebiscite, will mean little or nothing. It won’t matter what the scale of the SNP victory is. because they have no Plan B to deliver a vote, still less actual independence. you may be entirely sanguine about waiting 5-10 years for our next “real” chance, but many of us aren’t.

    It’s vanishingly unlikely the current SNP will deliver a referendum in a reasonable timescale. They’ve locked themselves in to the “legal S30 Order sanctioned” route. What none of the gradualists and ultra-loyalist in the SNP ever address is how that works? Pious hopes and appeals to the reasonableness of British nationalists in the face of (yet another) mandate don’t amount to a Plan B.

    In what sense is there a “time limit” on a Scottish referendum? Any nationalist worth their salt would surely agree that the only ones who can or should decide when and how often the Scots people vote are the Scots people. Either we are sovereign or we are not.

    I’m beyond tired of gradualists and their etiolated nationalism telling us to “wheesht for indy”. At this stage it probably makes little difference. Absent some external political earthquake (as we all know Sturgeon and her ineffectual cabal will sit and do the sum of SFA between now and May 2021) we know broadly what will happen: SNP win a convincing victory in May 2021; Boris says no to #indyref2; Scottish government huff and puff in outrage, do nothing substantive and urge us to give them another mandate at the next Westminster or Holyrood election; SNP support begins to decline as “fundamentalists” desert them in disgust for a “real” independence party or just give up in disgust.

    Some plan! 😦

  21. Grouse Beater says:

    Terence, I am not out of line with anything. Poor behaviour by an elected official made public is poor behavior observed by the public. People castigating the official for a fall in standards helps correct perception by the public.

    I’m no keyboard warrior. My association with the SNP goes back a long way, including writing and directing party political broadcasts. Creating filmed dramas on our relationship with England, is another way I have tried to convince people, make them aware, of what goes on behind their backs by the British government, Whitehall, Special Branch and MI5. Why should I pardon the worst excesses of my government yet decry those of Westminster? Double Think? I thought we were better than our opponents.

    If you have no standards, well, yes, let your politicians do as they please. Believe me, they will take the priviledge of behaving badly and lying to us if they feel we will let it go without comment.

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