Jim O’Neill considers the purpose and basis of the constant pro-independence marches around the country, and ponders the impact of changes in Westminster.

I remember the days of the seventies. We would march at a drop of a hat. Thatcher the milk snatcher, Stop the 70 Tour, against the Springboks. I was even one of the leaders of two teacher strikes against Labour, in 1975 and 1979. Where were the SNP then? Nowhere to be seen.

We can’t deny that All Under One Banner (AUOB) have revitalised the art of the public march, publicising their belief in independence. But what did our marches achieve in the 70s? Precisely nothing until trade union involvement in the teacher disputes. Even the People’s March for Jobs, a recreation of the Jarrow marchers, achieved, like them, nothing.

But who is organising the AUOB marchers? Who is drawing out the doughty people of Ayr this Saturday to march in support of independence? Among others it’s Sìol nan Gàidheal, Seed of the Gaels, an extremist group that even the SNP have banned. So why are so many SNP activists going to be on that march? Why is my SNP MP, Philappa Whiteford, promoting on her website that she has gone proudly on these marches?

The SNP are using SnG and their ilk as useful idiots in whipping up such marches. As the Scottish Government they cannot be seen to be contemptuous of the law, as the organisers have shown time and again in their running of these events. But they serve the SNP agenda of independence well by keeping the issue in the media and on the pages of the Sunday papers. So there is no ban on members taking part in marches organised by a banned organisation and there is no sanction against elected members profiling their attendance at them.

So where are we on the referendum that would not happen for a generation? First there is a concerted attempt to disavow Salmond and Sturgeon’s repeated statement that it was a once in a generation decision. All of a sudden this has become nothing more than their own opinion and not the position of the SNP. But they are still faced with the problem of the Scotland Act. Salmond was politically astute and very able in convincing Cameron that this was the right thing to do to clear the air. There is no indication that Sturgeon has the level of political smarts to be able to do the same, and there is even less indication that either Johnson or Hunt would agree to such a thing in the early days of a Brexit premiership.

Sturgeon’s best chance, ironically, is a Corbyn government. Jeremy has already considered this. But he needs Scottish Labour seats to secure a government. So an all-out attack on Scottish Labour seats by the SNP could undermine their hopes for a pro-referendum government. What a dilemma. But it is not ours.

We must look to the appalling Tory leadership contest, where the idiotic Mr Johnson of the Scotland to Ireland bridge and the island airport in the Thames, is competing with Mr (H)unt who totally failed the English NHS and has proved inept as Foreign Secretary. Both are trying to outbid each other with spending promises using money that is not there (remember £350m per week for the NHS?). Even the current Chancellor has told them that their plans are fantasy, but he won’t be in Number 11 by the end of this month. And both say they have the ability to convince the EU to negotiate further with them, even though the 27 states have already said that there is no chance of renegotiating the current deal, which was created to accommodate May’s red lines.

We need a change in the law to require a new Prime Minister to call a General Election to confirm their position. Yes I know that Labour took advantage of this too, but both the most recent lost the subsequent election, Callaghan and Brown. But we have now had both the most recent Tory PMs changed through the votes of a tiny proportion of the electorate. It is no longer sustainable. The law must be changed!

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32 thoughts on “All together now?

  1. [Moderator note: This poster is now banned for attempting to subvert a previous ban using a different username.]

    1. Are you really an SNP spin doctor. All the spin in this had my head birling

      1. [Moderator note: This poster is now banned for attempting to subvert a previous ban using a different username.]

    2. Pretty much agree with you there Dave. There seems little in the way of coherence to the article. It appears to be a free-form swipe at Labour’s opponents. As such, it has its place in a pro-Labour site.

      I would also take issue with the line concerning Corbyn that states …. “But he needs Scottish Labour seats to secure a government”. Scottish seats have only been needed to form a UK govt once in my life-time. That was well over 40 years ago, in 1974, for a Parliament that barely lasted 6 months before another election was called that delivered a result for Labour that did not require the Scottish populace to cast a single vote.

      England decides who governs the UK …. including Scotland. Since WW2, Scottish votes have rarely made a difference. Only 3 times for a total of 3.5 years with the govt falling pretty shortly afterwards and a govt that reflected England’s view elected instead. Jeremy needs English MPs to form a govt not Scottish ones. The smattering of them they currently have are superfluous to him and their electoral demise would not matter one jot.

  2. Jim, you downplay the fact that the thousands marching are overwhelmingly working class, probably former Labour voters( like myself ) I suspect the Labour Party couldn’t muster a few hundred if they were to organise a march- even with their “Better Together “ allies. Mind you, they could manage a good number of Labour Party Barons from the House of Lords, as well as a number of pro nuclear weapon supporters.

  3. Dave
    Jim is right The SNP were not to be seen in the 70s 80s there were huge splits when devolution was being proposed it was seen by the SNP as a halfway house .
    There was a huge sigh of relief when Alec Salmond got it through the SNP conference .
    The once in a generation quote came from Alec it was always taken that as he was leader it was policy .
    A letter to the National asks him to acknowledge it was his own opinion .
    As I have had some letters in the National .that one was not from me .
    That was 14 this is now .
    The AOUB organizers always seem to have arguments with local authorities a few weeks before march day then its Unionist councils including SNP controlled Glasgow. Then suddenly in the week before march day we have peace .
    I am in the Labour party I want a ref its my views you get in comments .
    You cant take it away from AOUB they are getting thousands out on the marches probably including Labour members and supporters .
    I have spoken to some people who have been on them they are fun social occasions and they are marching for something they believe in .
    I wont and don’t criticize them for that .
    When I was out demonstrating against unemployment and for devolution we got about 500 except Edinburgh when Deacon Blue performed .Haha.
    AOUB have a network all over Scotland they use social media to let supporters know where and when to gather for busses.
    On the weekend after the Glasgow million march .
    There was a huge TUC march in London 100thousand Jeremy Corbyn one of the speakers .
    Same weekend Scottish Labour members including Richard Leonard were out at local events
    The march got national coverage the rest zero .
    The National which I buy did not even cover the London march .
    So I contacted the National why no coverage of the Jobs march .
    The editor replied the march should have gone in the paper .
    But the Glasgow march was the big event of the year for his readers .I replied losing your job is the big event of your life .
    Indy 2 Nicola believes in Indy she wont make a move until she thinks she will win .
    Will you guys let her wait .
    The Tory beauty horror leadership contest is in Perth .
    STV News says no Ruth but demonstrators and a large Police presence and a local shop offering free milkshakes haha.

  4. Altogether now
    The Brecon and Radnorshire by election next month
    Plaid Cymru are not putting up a candidate they are telling their supporters to vote Lib Dem hoping to get a remain candidate elected .
    The Greens are also not standing .

  5. What’s it like being a member of a dying political organisation, Mr.O’Neill?

  6. Its so sad to see the same attitudes all the time from labour in Scotland. This party used to be FOR the people now its for bitter and small-minded attitudes. when I read this stuff I despair. It is as if they cannot change, cannot wake up. As a socialist I find it impossible to vote Labour and to hear the same crap coming out time and time again makes me move from hoping for the party’s renewal and revival towards hoping for it’s quick and painless death.

  7. Saw on ch4 news Friday night the same company has donated 20 thousand pounds to both the Tory Leadership campaigns .
    Why what is in it for the company Maybe find out on CH4 dispatches Monday night

  8. Read in the paper Richard Leonard has set up a working party to look at new powers for Holyrood
    Abolish Lords again haha maybe replace it with a senate of the nations and regions.
    He says we need to shake up the political system that for centuries has served the political establishment not the people .He also wants the Scottish Government to make better use of existing devolved powers ,
    Apparently its a Speech in Motherwell today Saturday .
    He will also speak about child poverty homelessness health inequality .The gap in life expectancy between rich and poor
    Land ownership and the elite who control manufacturing and service industries
    Wait and see if the weekend press are interested .

  9. STV News website Richard has said in his speech not convinced of the need for another Indy ref fair enough not my view but he has also said if there is one and Labour campaign for remain it will be as an autonomous unit .
    As it should have been in 14.
    And we will have nothing to do with Boris if PM .
    I have seen none of this including AUOB Ayr on news bulletins including BBC Red button don’t watch Sky news.
    Mind you reporting Scotland was afternoon .
    STV news still to start
    Its started no speech or march news next INDY REF or Election all parties should show the Conservative leadership Boris Colin Mackay stint at Perth .
    Boris at his shifty worst .
    The Edinburgh Seven were the first women in Britain admitted to study medicine in 1869.
    Prejudice prevented them from qualifying as doctors .
    They started a long campaign that led to women being allowed to study medicine .
    150 years later they have posthumous honorary degrees that was on the news .
    PS Boris 25 million for Scottish Farmers post Brexit where did that come from

  10. This is no more than an article of pure desperation, Jim knows full well none of the unionist parties either signally or together can match the AUOB / YES marches and their message for Scotland.

    Because neither Labour or the Tories or any of the other unionist groups have anything positive to offer Scotland.

    Jim you should take an honest look at labours polling figures before you write such drivel. Labour has nothing to offer our country, every year you drop further and further down the voting scale, and you still persist with the same old guff.

    Ask this question of yersel, if labour in Scotland does not back Scottish independence at the next referendum and knowing what happened to labour after the 2014 referendum, will their be enough of labour left to even form a tiny branch office ???

  11. I wasn’t an adult in the 1970s but I joined the labour party in 1981 and was part of countless marches over the years. But I joined the SNP two days after the referendum in 2014. I voted yes and the Labour Party had become the Labour and Unionist party, side by side with the Conservative and Unionist Party.

    Join me Jim – most of us on the yes side were unionists once. Converts always welcome 🙂

  12. Jim,
    It would be funny if it were not so seriously depressing.
    A general election looks imminent. The Labour Party, under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn is about to be eviscerated by the state broadcaster (Wednesday 2100 BBC 1).
    Brexit, Deal or No Deal, is a side show. Hunt or Johnson? Who cares? It doesnt matter.
    There is more pressing business to attend to. The British Establishment is on maneuvers. The Cause? to make sure the democratically elected leader of Her Majesty’s Oppostion will never be Prime Minister.
    Jim, I think you are missing the point. Maybe not? Maybe, the reality that is 21st century British democracy is just too difficult to face.

    1. Links to fake news sites are filtered out in moderation.

      1. Jewish Voice for Labour is not a fake news site. It is a community for Jewish Labour Party members.

        1. You are entitled to hold that view, but you will need to find another site on which to post links to them. You’re not posting them here. Same goes for The Canary, Skwawkbox and Wings Over Scotland.

          1. I remember when The Labour Party was a broad church that welcomed difference of opinion.
            These websites that Labourhame arbitarily refuses to reference , JVL, Skwawkbox, The Canary have been set up to support The Labour Party’s elected leader. Jeremy Corbyn is opposed by all the means of the British establishment. This includes the state broadcaster (see BBC 1 Panorama tomorrow night).,
            But it appears that Jeremy Corbyn’s biggest and most committed enemy comes from within his own party.
            If you find yourself in disagreement with the direction of the leadership you do the decent thing and resign, as Robin Cook did with Tony Blair and the Iraq war. Unfortunately Labour has within its ranks a number of members with less principle. They would rather destroy the church than see it lead by its present democratically elected leader. That is pity, not just for The British Labour Party but for our democracy.

          2. Robin Cook resigned from cabinet, not the Labour Party. There is nothing arbitrary about the fake news sources which we won’t link to. And the idea that a Panorama investigation by a pre-eminent investigative journalist who took on the last Labour government and was cheered on at the time by Jeremy Corbyn for doing so represents the British establishment against Jeremy Corbyn is such self serving crap I’m astonished you are even prepared to type it.

            You’re embarrassing yourself here. Stop digging.

  13. Richard I agree from what I have seen and heard so far I think we are about to get a well deserved hammering from Panorama on Wednesday for the way we have handled the anti Semitism disgrace .
    Yes I also agree the establishment are planning and plotting on what to do for what they want to happen the day after PM May stands down and remember she was forced out by her own MPS .
    The civil service briefing on Corbyns health agree with him or not looks like a stop Jeremy plot .
    On the other side who leaked details of Boris not being briefed on certain Intelligence details when he was Foreign Secretary .Because he was not fully trusted by the PM who appointed him .
    This has not for me been adequately denied and has got to raise questions can he be trusted with Intelligence matters when PM.
    And the leaked emails from our Ambassador to the USA Jeremy Hunt Is Foreign Secretary .
    Is that to stop him becoming PM and make sure Boris is .
    And yes Richard I think the Establishment is definitely doing a lot of meddling behind the scenes

  14. On Saturday Richard Leonard made a major Speech in Motherwell announcing Scottish Labour party policies some different from London .
    The only reason I knew was because of an article in Saturdays National broadly welcoming it .
    Nothing on STV or BBC news I only found out from Jim O Neil today that Rebecca Long Bailey also spoke .
    So I phoned STV today got past to the news desk I told them the speech was on STV News website on Saturday but not news bulletins I was told at weekends its a skeleton news crew and reduced news programme time wise
    So main news and sport only .
    BBC same question Belfast call centre no idea and will get back .

    1. David l think that Richard’s Scottish Labour Party Policies I am sorry to say are worthless for the reason being it’s the Labour Party UK who put together the official Labour Party UK policies and the Scottish Labour Party can have policies but unless they are official Labour Party UK policies they are not official and therefore deemed to be worthless.

  15. I was glad the AOUB Ayr march passed on Saturday safely
    The liability insurance issue which AOUB did not have .
    I think all organizers of marches should by law have to take out insurance its not a matter we have done it before everyone enjoyed themselves no problems .
    It should be about safety

  16. Sunday Times I don’t normally read columnists but I read Rod Little he was plugging his book on Brexit he voted leave .
    The book is about how he thinks the remain dominated civil service press political parties have colluded to stop Brexit .
    He says people like him who voted leave have been called to stupid to know what they were voting for .
    He says they did know they voted to leave the EU .
    Hard Brexit soft Brexit no one had heard of it and was not on the Ballot paper .
    It was only when they got the wrong result .
    The establishment came up with that and other horror stories .17 million voted so get on with it .
    He castigates PM May for the way she handled it .
    And all political parties .
    He points out that all areas of England except London and all areas of Wales voted leave .
    Peoples vote he asks was the original vote not a peoples vote .
    Now I voted remain see no good in Brexit .
    I get and understand people who voted leave when they are told they did not know what they were voting for .
    Now Rod was pushing his book .
    There was one very big omission from Rods article not once is Scotland or Northern Ireland mentioned and Scotland voted remain I think NI did to.

  17. A few other things were not on that ballot paper and we were not told that the economy might crash and in the event of a hard no deal Brexit we will have to go to a war time footing
    The Northern Ireland Police have said Brexit is proving to be a recruiting tool for paramilitaries .
    Police Scotland have drawn up Brexit plans .
    People don’t know if they have a future here after Brexit and we are drawing up plans to secure medical supplies etc none of that was on the ballot paper.

  18. Civil Service are not the only ones who went on manouvers
    Jim Sillars has set up a new group Edinburgh Russia conversations they have been to Moscow to meet Russian think tanks .
    They say no Russian money involved .
    Alec Neill set up a return meeting in Holyrood last month Nicola not told.
    The Russian team was supported by the Russian state diplomatic service .
    Also involved Joe Farrell SNP member and Professor at Strathclyde SSP Colin Fox Brexit campaigner DR Tom Walker as is former SNP MSP Jim Eadie
    They have been to Moscow and ST Petersburg
    SNP MSP Richard Lyle has spoken to a Russian diplomat about reconstituting a cross party group on Russia at Holyrood .
    The SNP defence spokesman Stewart McDonald has condemned all this .
    And I did not know Ian Blackford used to sit on the Intelligence and security committee

  19. Last night Monday Tory Jeremy told Colin Mackay he blocked diplomatic assistance to Nicola because he could not get an assurance she was not trying to break up UK etc .
    So what was the excuse for blocking the Welsh FM Labour

  20. A motion is in to the SNP October conference to commit them to saying that as before a majority of SNP MPS at a general election would be enough to say we are independent no need for a ref or section 30
    Thought is also being given to moving the conference to September .Angus MacNeil thinks the SNP are not engaging with people and must start a 2014 style campaign to engage with people now .
    Tommy Sheppard is adamant there has to be another ref all to play for see if motion gets selected .

  21. How sad to see at PMQS the PM and Jeremy Corbyn shouting insults about Anti Semitism and Islamophobia at each other roared on by idiots on both sides .
    Its much to serious for that as I think Labour will find out on tonights Panorama.

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