Say It Loud and Clear

MSPs vote to reject UK Brexit legislation - BBC News
Mike Russell MSP, now SNP President

New Year’s Day began with a tweet from Nicola Sturgeon. For a long time I have felt the SNP should be called the General National Party because they rarely speak about independence in specific terms. On this occasion, her remark reminds us all that Ireland is an independent country with twenty-seven others minding its back, while we are not independent and have England at our back. Currently, England has decided it needs no country as a friend and ally, just a few to subjugate.

Unless in skilled hands, brevity on Twitter is easily misinterpreted, or facile, or a joke misfired. But here Sturgeon’s comments are revealing, a new year’s call to battle that says more than it means to. The first sentence reminds us our enemy is our colonial neighbour, the second admits we have not been in the driving seat controlling the narrative, our neighbour has.

As independent Ireland takes up her seat on the UN Security Council today, independent Scotland is taken out of the EU against our will. Time to put ourselves in the driving seat of our own future, Scotland – indyref2.” Nicola Sturgeon

Some people will argue the day is late. Some bang tables arguing she is getting behind the wheel of a G-Wiz micro car, others still retort she is in a powerful locomotive. Quite frankly, I have grown used to the SNP exerting their best skill with all the strength of an Olympic hammer thrower – tossing their strongest supporters under a bus.

Nicola Sturgeon’s words are a fraction of what has been missing from the daily narrative, required if we are to defeat the muggers of democracy. I hope she was energised by the strong, valedictory speech on the sins of Brexit and the loss of freedoms, made by Michael Russell, MSP, aimed at the terminally smug sitting behind their school desks in our Holyrood Parliament. Tory, Labour and Lib-Dem, are our Sunday chapel politicians, soft-soap salemen the rest of the week. Some must regret the loss of EU membership.

Ruminating on the inadequacies of SNP, I was sent a letter printed in Scotland’s one newspaper dedicated to autonomy, the National. The National has at least four front covers in four years monopolised by a headline suggesting ‘This is the Year’. As experts tell us, be sceptical when reading newspapers and check the date on the masthead.

Reading the letter, this is what I want the SNP to say, the rest of us applauding, shouting ‘yes!’, and “Hallelujah!’. But instead SNP tell us, there’s another Munro to climb carrying a full emotional back-pack, slip-sliding up a scree, and they have no idea what we will see if we reach the top. The letter’s author has had enough. Here’s the letter:

“Ne’erday is my UDI.

By personal resolution is I am leaving the British state, which has deprived me of my European citizenship and treats me as a subject. Instead, I am reasserting my European and worldwide identity as a citizen of the ancient, unbroken nation of Scotland. I cannot change the world alone, but I can start by changing myself.

I cannot any longer be part of Little England. I cannot be compliant with the jingoism of England’s governing class, who want everyone else to be poorer so that they can be sovereign. I dissent from their undemocratic and unaccountable governance, their serial incompetence, corruption, and nauseating presumption. I am determined to live by principles of equity, justice, dignity, respect and compassion.

I also renounce the House of Windsor, and all the detritus of monarchy. Whatever the merits of Queen Elizabeth, “royal prerogative” has become a cover for arbitrary rule. “God Save the Queen” no more, even out of politeness.

I renounce the British state’s obscene and soon-to-be-illegal possession of nuclear weaponry. I protest the stockpiling of warheads and decaying radioactive submarines near the homes of two-and-a-half million Scots on the Clyde.

I refuse to be part of Britain’s global weapons workshop, supplying dictators and fuelling murderous, ethnic conflicts. I call out Britain’s media establishment, including the BBC, which insistently demands to know why Scotland should be independent, without ever considering why not. I challenge the subservience of many in Scottish society, who cling to their status quo privilege and refuse to speak truth to power.

I resist Britain’s sell-out of public services for private profit, and its determination to undermine the United Kingdom’s parliaments. I support every possible collective and individual action to sustain planet Earth as a home for humankind, and the source of diverse life – air, soil and seas.

Some of this is unsurprising: my adult life has been in the midst of Scottish culture and society. I know how much and how often Scotland has undercut its own potential. But the next years will be harder than what has gone before. The British state will not relinquish its hold on Scotland without conflict and repression.

I am prepared to resist by all non-violent means, including civil disobedience. If necessary I would accept loss of liberty as the price for genuine freedom. I shall give unstinting voice to the diversity of Scotland though my storytelling art, without censorship, or deference to institutions that disguise bias as impartiality. I will not be cowed by weasel words – “divisive”, “separatist”, or “nationalist”. Scotland’s cause is inclusive and outward-facing.

I regret the present assault on Scotland’s democracy. Yet I am relieved that pretences have been dropped; that open resistance has arrived. There is joy in joining the dance of defiance. For me, independence is beginning, and I can go forward in the good company of people who delight in freedom and humanity.”

Donald Smith, 31 December, 2020.

For those SNP politicians fed Alphabet soup as children, the polemic above is a great example of what to do with lots of letters – rearrange them into something meaningful.

2021 marks Scotland’s last great massed charge at the colonial barracades with Nicola Sturgeon as First Minister, if she is still around to do it. Personally, I would follow a St Bernard if it knew the way to the promised land. If we fail, the future is horribly bleak. The ghosts of our ancestors are watching to see what we do.


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14 Responses to Say It Loud and Clear

  1. Indy Chas says:

    Thank you for publicising Donald Smith’s letter, the more that read it the better. I believe there are many of us with this frame of mind but anytime I make comment that Nicola should be doing something about it, I get shot down in flames by the Nicola supporters who seem equally passionate about Nicola Sturgeon’s current approach.

  2. Grouse Beater says:

    I am afraid Ms Sturgeon has severe limitations as a stateman.

  3. NDLS says:

    Hear, hear! There is much to recommend in Donald Smith’s letter: if we are to begin living as though we live in the early days of a better nation, we need more people who are not only prepared to make the cognitive leap, but also – if and when required – to actually take part in the “dance of defiance”. As I mentioned BTL in Wings Over Scotland, sadly I suspect what the current SNP has to offer is more of a soft shoe shuffle in Cosy Toes Pete’s baffies than a defiant dannsa Gàidhlig over crossed claymores!

    I’ve thought for a long time that one of the weaknesses of the Yes movement is the lack of the kind of structures they have in Catalonia like the Assemblea Nacional Catalana (“Catalan National Assembly”), or Òmnium Cultural in the cultural sphere. As things stand the movement is dominated by one huge gradualist SNP elephant which has very little appetite for actual independence and a few mice scurrying around it’s feet squeaking ineffectually.

    It’s a sorry state of affairs in my view. Hopefully things may change when people realise that to actually achieve independence, we have to form a “real” independence movement that will tell Westminster when we exercise our self determination, not ask its gracious permission?

  4. I’m absolutely with the sentiment of that letter.
    I will be home soon and ready to join in this resistance.
    And by the way, Gareth, I am 100% with you on NATO.


  5. Grouse Beater says:

    I don’t subscribe to the maxim, let’s talk about that subject after NATO. Wings feels able to lay down the law now.

  6. dongil.islay says:

    Happy New Year Grouse Beater another excellent piece that is Spot on again. 

    If you send me your address I would like to send you a bottle of Malt to keep your spirits up. I cant engage for Independence as much as I would like as I have to try to keep my business and staff going.

    Regards and Stay safe.
    DonaldAlba Gu Bràth. Sent from my Galaxy

  7. Grouse Beater says:

    That’s extremely generous, Dongil. Quite unecessary, but welcome nevertheless. Are you on Twitter to DM, or shall I send an email?

  8. mardanscotia says:

    Great letter from
    Donald ‘Spartacus’ Smith

    me too, ‘I’m Don Spartacus’

  9. A pro-independence Scottish tune which resounds in Europe still:

    ‘Marche des soldats de Robert Bruce‘

    From a French Marines band:

    Pèlerinage des Troupes de marine à Bazeilles – 2013
    Concert de la fanfare – bagad de la 9° BIMA —

    Here a less martial German performance (and the moment’s laughter between the two flautist “Piccoloflöten” lassies is surely itself a glimpse of transcendent light) —

    Musikzug Battenberg

  10. Grouse Beater says:

    Sorry to hear you’ve been dropped from any site, Cameron, surely suspended, I hope. Here I block folk who are clearly assassins. Those who refuse to use their email address (automatically hidden from readers), get delayed until checked out. What site was it?

  11. Grouse Beater says:

    I’ve posted 4 contributions on Wings in 7 weeks, the most contributed in 5 years, each posted with great trepidation, I should add, because I am not keen on straying too far from my garden gate. However, the first two posts saw me immediately attacked in vicious, personal terms by a complete stranger for no rational reason I could understand, reminding me why Wings comments column is not how I like to conduct discussion.

    Hence, I’m not familiar with who’s who on the Wings site these days. Just trying to provide a good humoured news service on my Twitter account has gobbled up a chunk of my life and there’s not much of that left to spread around. I know that things can get fraught tending to a chat site. For Campbell it has to be a continuing nightmare of his own choice. Arrested, constantly harrassed, losing a court case, losing his Twitter account, those things would have me call it a day and close down. He seems to thrive on conflict.

    I prefer not to have that here or on my Twitter account. This explains why I make so few contributions to Wings and would not want its combatitive ethos imported here. I’d rather have few posting their thoughts civily that others can read, than many sustaining an argy-bargy that educates no one.

  12. castanet2020 says:

    Gareth , rather than me trying ( and failing ) to find new synonyms for ” Brullyint ” in response to your writings please take it as given that I read and find every one indeed ” Brullyint “and hope to do so for a long time yet .That adjective can be applied to the letter you include , for which , and everything else , thanks .

  13. Grouse Beater says:

    Cameron, the intricasies of clashes in another website are of no interest to my readers unless I highlight them in an article for a particular reason.

    And there is no compulsion on you to answer every post you take exception to, or indeed, to this one.

    This is my last word on the subject. Any more posts from anybody will be deleted. They are not germane to the content of the article.

  14. Alastair Hosey says:

    Hi, Grouse, SKIPSDAD here. Glad to see you’re still battling on. Severin Carrell got me barred from the ‘guardian’. So, while the Salmond case was on-going, I decided I’d post as ‘Alex M. Salmond’ on the Daily Mail to keep Alex in the ‘limelight’, and to publicly display my faith in his innocence. I ran riot there for a year or two before they too barred me. I posted on the Independent and BBC as plain ‘alastair’, and now I’m on The National as Alastair Stephen Hosey. You’ll find me there. Grouse, there is no truth in the rumour that my middle name is ‘havoc’. I’m doing fine, causing all sorts of trouble for the British state. Grouse, It’s great to see you healthy and still going strong, mate. I always loved your posts. Seeing you on here has made my day. Take care, ma friend. Freedom !

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