Confounding a successful second independence referendum

Martin Hutchison PhotographMartin Hutchison proposes a blunt and unyeilding approach to Section 30 negotiations for a second independence referendum, in order to force Scottish nationalism to confront the reality of its demands.

 

So a second independence referendum is likely to be upon us at some point in the next several years. Confound it by:

  • making the Section 30 order conditional on the final settlement between Scotland and the UK;
  • making Scotland instantly fully fiscally autonomous upon a pro-independence vote;
  • making the Scottish Government put the borrowing, tax increases, benefit cuts and service reductions in place now for the day after a pro-independence vote, and report to the satisfaction of the UK Government before the Section 30 is published;
  • allowing the 750,000 Scots-born people in the UK a vote since they are now going to be asked to show a passport when visiting their Aunt May in Dunfermline.

Labour members need to step aside from the justified anger with our two hard-line nationalist governments and their economically mutilating referendums – Scottish growth, driven by uncertainty is at a third of the UK level, and Brexit we now know means the extension of austerity by two years and £100 billion more of debt.  Both nationalisms appear happy to indulge in an assault on the general welfare of the people in terms of their living standards, their levels of employment and their joint and radical neglect of public services in the name of national self-assertion against their neighbours, their friends and our trading partners. Consequently they have never been more popular and more assured of victory in their forthcoming electoral tests.

Consequently?  Yes, consequently. It’s identity politics folks. Have a look

mh1,png

English and Scottish identifiers are now the driving force of British politics. Those “Scottish, Not British” and “More Scottish than British” are the bulk of ‘the 45’ from 2014, along with a small of number of hard left voters.  They are going to vote for independence again unless and only unless their sense of virtue associated with their elemental love of Scotland can be confounded.  It can only be confounded by the Scottish Government telling the truth about the implications of independence and the interregnum between a pro-independence vote and independence.

They will only listen to the Scottish Government and no one else, so the UK Government must use its power and the moral authority granted by the 2014 55% to force the economic consequences of an independence vote upon the Scottish Government and its supporters instantly, which means it has to prepare and publish its budget and put the borrowing in place before the Section 30 powers are granted.  That point about preparing the borrowing ahead of the Section 30 is what will keep the Scottish Government honest about the economics and social welfare.  International bankers will take a view of the immediate prospects for a newly independent Scotland and charge interest as appropriate. This interest charge will need to be funded from tax increases in Scotland.

There can be an independent Scotland because of the new mood of radical defiance of personal economic interests that identity politics begets. Consider the second mutilating referendum where Com Res found:

mh2

That’s right, only 3% of Leave voters thought the economy would improve after the UK left the EU.  They were frighteningly correct about that but what did they vote for?  To be poorer, to have fewer Latvians and likely more Englishness. And ‘the 45’ will vote for less Britishness and less economy unless that “less economy” is going to arrive instantly and fiercely upon their doorstep. Note their doorstep, not the doorstep of their neighbours, about impoverishing whom identity voters are especially sanguine.

Sanguine because ‘the 45’ are bathed in virtue, projecting that virtue onto the new Scotland which will go to heaven – Scandinavian Social Welfare and Singaporean levels of economic growth.  It is this virtue which is rooted in the moral sense of in-group loyalty which drives the emotions which underpin nationalism/patriotism and love of country.  Protecting those valiant emotions is strategic reasoning – ignore some facts, remember others, believe things which are false, believe things which used to be true but are no longer, believe in partial truths, discount all information from those who suspect your moral intuitions about in-group loyalty being virtuous as being daft.

It is this psychological kerfuffle that allows Sturgeon, shaking with emotion (see above), to admit that is absolutely critical for Scotland’s welfare that it leaves the single UK market to re-join a single EU market four times smaller in economic importance and whose membership is ten years away.  No cognitive dissonance at all, only righteous fury, protected by strategic reasoning as the monstrous harm of British nationalism swims into view.

But the monstrous harm of Scottish nationalism is invisible.  Like Sturgeon ‘the 45’ are unreachable in their identity-based virtue politics by any pro-UK campaign, by the Tories, the British Government or the international community.  For them everyone not wrapped in a Saltire is a purveyor of propaganda, false news and fake news, and they will vote to economically harm themselves but perhaps not catastrophically and not instantly.  They will only listen to the Scottish Government so the UK Government must use its power to make the Scottish government honest and not in a position to harm the remaining UK in the interregnum between an independence vote and actual independence.

The UK Government can, and should (55% in 2014), manoeuvre the Scottish Government into a position which is probably intolerable and unsustainable in rational terms (but we are not dealing with a rational thing we are dealing with emotion) and expect the Scottish Government to crawl across any minefield the UK Government presents.

Sturgeon wants to hold indyref2 when the shape of Brexit becomes clear.  Neat trick. The UK Government should pull it as well. Make indyref2 on the final settlement between an independent Scotland and the UK, negotiated in public and streamed on the internet. If not possible the UK should present a white paper of the final settlement with all the costs identified and parcelled out, the ownership of the IT systems, the future of the 50,000 jobs supported by the UK in Scotland decided and indicated – 800 jobs at the Overseas Development Administration, the Glasgow Shipyards, Rosyth, the status of the defence bases.    The bankers from whom the Scottish government would need to borrow from would take view of Scotland’s credit risk from this white paper to factor into their borrowing requirements.

Before the Section 30 is granted the UK government should state that upon a pro-independence vote the Scottish Government would be granted the SNP policy of full fiscal autonomy for Scotland. This year that is a £15 billion deficit or 10% of GDP and it will not be an improved position at the time of any indyref2 given the absence of oil revenue.  Make this full fiscal autonomy budgeting start the day after a pro-independence vote.

In the interregnum between an independence vote and full independence (which Patrick Harvie thinks is ten years long) the UK Government is entitled to protect the UK from the adverse circumstances that will prevail in Scotland, so the Scottish Government must budget before the Section 30 order to its satisfaction to raise the taxes, cut the benefits and reduce the public services in Scotland to both the satisfaction of the UK Government and the bankers who will supply the borrowing.  The UK Government should facilitate the necessary cuts as directed by the Scottish Government if its substantial powers prove insufficient to the convulsive change required.

Note the levels of borrowing that Scottish government has to take to the bankers:

  1. The £billions required to build a new state (300 government departments at £10 million each for the new IT).
  2. Building up the financial reserves for a new state.
  3. The £9.6 billion loss of Barnett formula funding.
  4. The costs associated with a new increased rate of interest on Scotland’s share of the UK national debt.
  5. The cost the loss of the union jobs (unemployment benefit and other welfare payments).
  6. The cost of joining the EU in ten year’s time.
  7. The cost of the stupefying economic crisis induced by 1, 2, 3 and 4. International bankers might posit an economic shock not less than the 2008 banking crisis which doubled the UK’s national debt.

The Scottish Government should have no choice but to publish its budget for the post vote pre-independence interregnum as a condition of the Section 30 order being granted.  It would also have to publish its post independence outlook and again would be kept honest by need to borrow from independent bankers.

What was the key learning of the last campaign?  Don’t have a rational argument with an emotional one.  The circumstances outlined here force the SNP and the Greens to run Project Fear and the pro-UK campaign (Love Scotland anyone?) to sit back and watch the moral and emotional virtue basis of Scottish nationalism depart bringing down the SNP with it.

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56 thoughts on “Confounding a successful second independence referendum

  1. This comtribution is extremely revealing.
    It demands assurances that no No UK chancellor can currently provide.
    The UK as a whole are tumbling towards a right wing Tory cliff edge and what do Labour do ?
    They capitulate in the Lords and the commoms, allow the Brexit bill to pass unammended and sit back and allow a right Tory Prime minister to destroy the lives of the poor , sick and low paid.
    Then they revert to standing shoulder to shoulder with their Tory brothers in denying the cast iron mandate of the elected Scottish government.t.
    Finally they start project fear, as any right thinking voter will smell from a mile off.

  2. Ah, it’s just like the old days. Labour members supporting a hard right Tory govt. BetterTogether never died.

    Best of luck in the council elections.

    Hahaha

    1. Alan wyllie fails to have the capacity to hear the words of wisdom and reason that Martin delivers

  3. I think I’ve been misdirected to ToryHame

    Regardless of your wish to remain part of the UK, do you really have so much contempt for the Scottish parliament and the voters who elected a pro independence majority

    It’s very simple, if you don’t want a referendum, return a pro Union majority to the Scottish Parliament

    Do Labour no longer believe in democracy? Do the believe a Tory government with 14.9% of the Scottish vote and 1 of 59 MPs should dismiss the SNP with 50% of the Scottish vote and 56 of 59 MPs (UK 2015 election figures) or the Scottish Government with 69 (63 SNP+6Green) of the 129 MSPs that are pro independence?

  4. Oh my good god, this is truly the biggest heap of utter drivel I’ve had the misfortune to skim through.

    You’re actually serious, aren’t you? Excuse me whilst I pick myself off the floor from laughing.

    It will certainly be amusing to see ScotLab at <10% in the polls shortly. This is just the very thinking that will put you there and keep you there.

    Why don't you just join the Tory party and get over yourself?

  5. The SNP had their big chance in 2014 and they blew it.

    Referendum is a “once in a generation opportunity” – Alex Salmond.

    https://stv.tv/news/politics/292026-alex-salmond-referendum-is-once-in-a-generation-opportunity/

    Referendum is a “once in a lifetime opportunity” – Nicola Sturgeon.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-24147303

    Scotland voted to stay part of our beloved United Kingdom and in turn, the people of the UK voted to leave the European Union.

    If there ever is to be another independence vote, it won’t be for another 30 odd years or so.

    Sturgeon and her SNP followers are “plastic” nationalists.

    Plenty of the SNP crew voted to leave the EU, I don’t agree with Jim Sillars, but at least he is a proper nationalist.

    It is also well worth remembering that the SNP Government is an elected dictatorship, where SNP MSP’s are never allowed to voice a different opinion from the Sturgeon leadership.

    SNP MSP’s are not representatives of their communities; they are merely puppets, toadies and lap dogs for Sturgeon’s leadership.

    The SNP Government is a top down dictatorship. SNP MSP’s are weak and feeble minded. They always unfailingly obey their orders.

    Hypernats; you had better face the facts;

    There isn’t going to be an “indyref2”.

    It’s over.

    1. What is an elected dictatorship please?
      Other than a stupid oxymoron.

    2. Latest Comres for the Independent poll for a vote before Brexit… 4% lead for yes! Next

    3. Oh Andy, ye poor wee sowel. Even Duncy isnae daft enough to jump in to support this pile of shite.

  6. Is all nationalism “monstrously harmful” in the writer’s opinion?

    Or perhaps just the idea of Scotland regaining its Independence?

    We need to know.

    Happy Patrick’s Day from Ireland.

  7. While I sympathise with your obvious frustration and anger about the prospect of a 2nd referendum, you are missing a fairly important point.

    It took 5 years to build and develop Faslane and Coulport from scratch and a further 13 years to redevelop them and make them suitable for hosting Trident.

    While the submarines could be moved relatively quickly and easily from Faslane, Coulport is a complex warren of underground tunnels, roads and reinforced concrete bunkers built deep into the rocky hillside that covers most of the peninsula between the Gare Loch and Loch Long, with the defensive capability to withstand an air strike.

    During the select committe investigations involving military experts during the 2014 independence referendum, the UK Government accepted the opinion that replicating Faslane and Coulport elsewhere would take 10-20 years and the alternative options in England & Wales were mostly ruled out when the original bases were built as not suitable.

    Any negotiations about Scotland succeeding from the UK would focus fairly heavily on a safe, secure and stable timeframe for the relocation of Trident. Matters of national security takes precedent over everything else.

    To put it in perspective, the Trident development programme was 2nd only in cost, timescale and complexity to the Channel Tunnel project at the time.

    Unless the UK has been secretly building alternative bases that we don’t know about, threatening the SNP or driving a hard bargain in the event of Scottish independence would be extremely risky for not just the British Isles but for European security as a whole.

  8. I do think this post would have been better if it had been reviewed with a bit more grasp of the details. The UK has 45 government departments. According to the post Scotland would need an additional 300 to what it already has. This seems pretty unlikely. I’ll leave others to pick up the rest.

    If you look at some of the forecasts from Faser of Allander it’s not at all clear that Scotland’s deficit will be bigger than the UK’s in the years to come even under the GERS methodology.

    I describe myself as a “conditional unionist”. But if I was an unconditional unionist I’d be very cautious about hanging the case for Scotland’s membership of the UK completely on the deficit as it will make things very tricky when the situation is reversed.

    On the other hand, if it really is right that Scotland has a severe deficit that’s going to get as bad as the unconditional unionists are saying then that raises the question of whether the English will be happy to continue to fund it. Can you imagine Hammond standing at the dispatch box to announce the £100 billion Brexit tax rises and spending cuts and then say “But I’m happy to say that we’re putting income tax up by three points to protect Scotland from any cuts.”

  9. Scotland’s economy has been entirely formed by the policies enacted in Westminster over the past 300 years, but mostly in the last century when economic decisions and planning have been more and more centralised in London. This includes the huge oil revenues which flowed from Scotland to the Treasury, but not back again. From a similar start, Norway became one of the wealthiest countries in the world, from its share of the same oil field.

    Mr Hutchison seems to think that Scotland’s economy THUS FORMED by his Tory/Labour party, is not fit for an independent country, and that Scots should be somehow punished for THEIR fiscal incompetence, by their wish to be self governing.
    It would actually be good if we could divvy up the assets and liabilities of the UK State, but that is NOT going to happen, is it? England insisting it will be the Successor State, keeping all assets.

    But I am not as gloatingly pessimistic as he is ( GERS being a nonsense, instigated (by Baron Lang) for POLITICAL, not economic reasons, and is regarded by SERIOUS economists as irrelevant in forecasting an economic future for Scotland), and think Scotland would thrive after gaining the ability to run its own economy for its own benefit. Our productivity is growing faster the rUK, and employment rates are on a par, if not better. We have lots of land/water etc to expand our population. A first rate education system and a productive workforce. We are well regarded abroad—better regarded than in the UK, if we read the opinion collumns in the London press.We have excellent exporting products, and could build up reserves reasonably quickly to support a new currency.

    But it is Mr Hutchison who is wallowing in the ugly mire of identity politics in the form of insisting people who don’t live in Scotland should have a vote.
    What next? Will he then insist people who live in Scotland but not born here should NOT have a vote? ……………………..Shades of the Brexit referendum instigated by his Tory chums. Who banned all these naughty foreign types who live here, marry here, work here, pay taxes here but should not get a say here.
    Good old Brit Nat Blighty, hypocrites to the last.

  10. “What was the key learning of the last campaign?  Don’t have a rational argument with an emotional one.”

    To whom is this addressed? The SNP? Scottish Labour?

    Here’s a rational argument for you: Indy2 will kill Scottish Labour and the best part of it will be the fact that they have LEARNED NOTHING from Indy 1.

    The referendum will dominate Scottish politics for the next 2-3 years. Everything will be framed around the referendum, including May’s council elections.

    They will be a straight shoot out between the SNP and Greens on one side, and the Tories on the other, and Labour will die in the cross fire, just like in May 2015 and just like in last year’s Holyrood elections.

    You have two choices:

    1. back Scottish independence and at least have a future in an indy Scotland.

    2. Do a Hothersall and stick your head in the sand, go down with the Titanic, and continue to do your impression of Monty Python’s Black Knight…

  11. Fortunately saner minds will be at work on this, on both sides. Otherwise once independence is won, the Trident submarines will be leaving immediately, so will the missiles stored at Coulport.
    Think that may put a bit of a frightener on any UK government stupid enough to follow your rather stupid suggestions.

    Imagine the ongoing tit-for-tat game that follows from your, indeed, quite puerile “demands” Faslane could be blockaded, a very easy thing to do, if the boats aren’t got within a couple of days – same with any UK military bases in other parts of Scotland.

    Only thing worse than the sheer lunacy you advocate is that someone would actually wish that on their own countrymen as a mean-spirited, infantile punishment for having the temerity to actual want and vote for self-determination

    You seem to be going out of your way to champion the Labour Party in Scotland’s increasing mad lust to disappear into history on the back of pure unjustified and idiotic tribalism

  12. Bold idea to insist the next independence referendum be decided on an ethnic basis, giving votes to Scots who no longer live there. But rather than demanding Scotland should be punished and broken before any vote, wouldn’t it be simpler to follow Kezia’s lead and demand that the Scots should not be given a choice over their future?

  13. This’ll be Mr. Hothersall’s oft-quoted “solidarity” then, will it? If this is how we’re to be treated for the crime of harbouring a desire to govern ourselves, what does that say about how we are regarded in the UK?

    “Partnership of equals”?

    Sounds more like “Shut up and do as you’re told or we’ll really screw you over” to me.

    I can only hope this vindictive, spiteful individual isn’t representative of mainstream Labour opinion but having seen the party leader on May’s refusal of Sturgeon’s request, I’m not so sure.

  14. If ever you wondered why no one votes labour any more then this should be a starting point.

  15. “Confound it, Carruthers, these demmed fuzzie wuzzies keep on a’ comin’!
    They ain’t got no respect for the Great White Queen an’ the Empire!
    How they ever agon-a-be civilised, if they can’t do what we a tell ‘um. It’s not as if they can think for themselves now, is it?”
    “Next thing, they’ll be awantin’ to rule themselves. Lucky some of ‘ em know their place, eh!”

  16. Independence is about Scotland finally being governed by who they vote for, and not by a distant parliament in another country which neccessarily has its own agenda and ideological ecology.

    Like in every other newly independent country, things may be more difficult at first – but ultimately (and obviously) the transition is both achievable and worthwhile.

    We already see how capable are similar small north european independent countries, and there is no queue to reverse their decisions; nor is there any queue to return from any country which has previously freed itself from Westminster control.

    The benefits of self dependence outweigh the downside of being forever treated as a charity case; that alleged flow of charity which is the motivation behind the ordeal-by-obstacles argument you cobbled together above.

    Instead of talking Scotland down and wishing charity on your grandchildren, have some self respect and put your energies into asking –

    why Scotland should not be capable of standing on its own feet (especially after 300 years of benefiting from The Union) ; and if that desperate situation is true, how it can be remedied (outside of endlessly begging for and relying on these apparent handouts).

    I’m pretty sure, however, if you started from the common sense end – of a prosperous, able, educated country blessed with natural resources seeking to look after itself and its own business – you’d soon find enabling methods and a sense of hope and urgency – instead of mooching endlessly around for obstacles and charity.

  17. So you are going to confound a successful independence referendum,, Is that not a bit behind the curve ?

    Call me old-fashioned..

  18. Bravo!! An excellent analysis. I agree 100% that the UK gov’t must grab the initiative by forcing the SNP to spell out in advance of the vote – how they are going to: reduce the £15 billion deficit – pay off the £120 billion population share of UK debt etc etc

    1. Really?
      I mean really?
      The UK has a debt of 1.75 trillion.
      The quality of argument from unionists is frightful.

    2. (1) The Popln share of UK debt:

      Scotland would not be required to take a “popln share of UK debt”. The clue is in the name …. “UK debt”. The UK will retain ALL the debt for three reasons;

      (i)The rUK is adamant it will be the Successor State as it wants to retain all the trappings it currently enjoys such as permanent membership of the UN Security Council and NATO membership as well as any trade deals (including the upcoming Brexit deal) they have brokered. If the rUK refuses to honour ALL its current debt it cannot claim to be the Successor State and will have to start from scratch as a newly founded state losing everything I have mentioned and much more.

      (ii)Although it is called “UK debt”, more importantly, it is actually money owed to other bodies. THEY loaned the UK (not a newly independent Scotland) £1.7trn and THEY expect the UK (not a newly independent Scotland) to pay it back. They will not want THEIR loans passed on to another party as if they had no say in it. It would be like telling your mortgage lender “thanks for the loan, and the house is lovely, but the next door neighbour will be paying it off with their house at risk if they fall short”. They, like international lenders, would say that the debt was in your name alone, on your house, and THEY would decide on any change in that arrangement. It was tried before in Eastern Europe and it took many years and IMF intervention to sort out the resultant mess. ALL the debt is staying with the UK.

      (iii) The international credit agencies would take a very dim view of any country that takes on unnecessary debt. If a newly independent Scotland were to take on a popln share of UK debt it had no legal obligation to shoulder, they would subsequently downgrade Scotland’s rating due to it acting in a completely illogical, fiscally imprudent and frankly idiotic way. That does not instil confidence in international bodies. The Better Together parties tried to convince people in the previous indyref that NOT taking on a popln share of UK debt would harm our credit rating. Like so much in the Project Fear case, it was completely untrue.

      So the UK debt would NOT be a problem for a newly independent Scotland.

      (2) The “£15bn deficit”:

      As a newly independent Scotland would NOT have to shoulder ANY of the UK’s utterly humongous accumulated debt, around £5bn of the “deficit” which is a popln share of repayments would instantly vanish off the balance sheet. The reduction in defence spending that would see a larger military presence in Scotland for much less money would see up to £2bn more disappear from that “deficit”. UK infrastructure projects outwith Scotland that we are currently billed in GERS for would also cease to be a burden. When you consider the cost of HS2 and the myriad other projects that have no positive impact in Scotland, but we still have to pay for, that is another sum that runs into the £bns. Therefore, without even trying, that’s the “deficit” more than halved.

      But of course, the “£15bn deficit” does not actually exist. It is based on guesstimates by Westminster depts of a popln share of rough estimates concerning tax income, trade and UK govt spending because NO data exists to give an accurate figure on any of it. Even Deloitte (not a pro indy organisation by any stretch of the fevered unionist imagination) have stated that GERS cannot be used as a guide to an independent Scotland’s starting position, because it is merely an estimate of the situation under the Union, and an independent Scotland would likely be no worse off than the rUK.

      I hope this helps 🙂

    3. Do your calculations include the share of the assets, or are you just regurgitation the Tory line? Perhaps you would prefer to stay “in hock” to the Tory’s continuing to run up trillions of debt and waste billions on WMD. I for one certainly would prefer to make decisions affecting SCOTLAND in SCOTLAND by people we elect.

  19. This article is truly tragic. It illustrates either a complete indifference to the truth or a “stupefying” ignorance of the facts. My money is on the former.

    Labour are finished in Scotland if this dismal rubbish is going to be typical of their contribution to the debate over Independence.

    Perhaps it’s time to give this site a miss and seek out a similar Tory site to debate on. They are the real opposition in Scotland now. We should maybe let Labour lick it’s wounds on the side lines for a while and let them contemplate the ruinous decisions that have led them to near oblivion.

    1. Exactly my thoughts Bungo !! That’s me done with this site. Used to come for a laugh but not funny anymore, just mind numbing drivel. Good by and good night!

  20. I am a Labour member who is now a don’t know on Indy 2.I campaigned for the Scottish Assembly at the time because I wanted Scotland to be protected from things like the poll tax. I don’t remember Nationalists being officially involved might be wrong. If next week the Scottish Parliament adopts an Indy 2 resolution then I believe that Scottish Labour should support the will of that parliament when the FM speaks to the FM. We can do that and still oppose Indy. David Cameron called a ref on brexit to settle arguments amongst the Tory Party. He was also trying to see of UKIP. He totally failed he did not see the immigration argument staring him in the face. I did I voted remain nobody asked me if I wanted a ref on brexit I did not. I don’t think most people want an Indy 2 ref I don’t I want to concentrate on local issues. I think however that the PM would be on shaky ground if she refused an indy request from the Scottish Parliament. on the grounds we don’t want one. I did not want a Brexit Ref and got one. I hope their is a politician somewhere big enough and strong enough to tell the FM and PM to stop being confrontational . I don’t think that will happen. Gordon Browns 3rd way a joke he should have done it when he was PM . He is treating us like idiots. I was very surprized and disappointed to read in Wednesdays National that John Curtice is reported as saying the FM might be wise to wait until a few older voters come to the end of their natural life before having a vote. Not mutch I can say about that

  21. James Keir Hardie (15 August 1856 – 26 September 1915) was a Scottish socialist and the first ever Labour Member of Parliament. Are you the party of James Keir Hardie the illegitimate son of a servant. Was he to wee too poor too stupid. FUCK NO he stood up for what he believed will you?

  22. Does anybody if Gordon Brown’s full speech is available anywhere, I’ve had a good Google but have been unable to find more than a very short excert.

    PS. I do like the new moderation policy. It’s much better to have a civilised debate between people with different views.

  23. Here is one to think about . The Sunday Times has a story claiming that on Jan 14 a crack team of top nationalists met at the Craigellachie Hotel in Morayshire. Its described as a favourite of the Notting hill set and the SNP hierarchy. The team were Angus Robertson Nicola Sturgeon her husband Peter Murrell the SNP CEO. John Swinney Humza Yousaf Kate Forbes MSP the FMS chief of staff Liz Lloyd Director of Communications Stuart Nicolson Geof Aberdein head of European Public Affairs at Aberdeen Asset Management Kevin Pringle Sunday Times Collumnist. Duncan Hamilton advocate and Mark Shaw Party Donor and a property developer.
    The purpose of this little get together was to plan a way forward .
    They knew that the FM was about to announce her Indy Ref plan. They heard a report from Andrew Wilson on his growth commission. They also looked at ways of watering down their European Policy.
    A few folk were not there Alec Salmond and most of the cabinet. The plot thickens I would have preferred them to be meeting in a posh hotel to speak about local authority finances.

    1. David, while you thinking about that, think on. Why would the Sunday Times be believable on a story about the SNP?
      We would have to believe that—-
      A.-The SNP told a Unionist newspaper what it was up to, and why.
      B.-The Hotel told the Sunday Times the SNP were there, though that wouldnt explain their knowledge of what was discussed.
      C.-MI5/GCHQ had the whole thing bugged. That is more believable, though the SNP will be aware of the nature of the Secret Services, and the internal working vis a vis the UK. i personally doubt they would be authorised to bug UK politicians, but I could be wrong.
      D.- The story is a mish-mash of rumour, conjecture and alternative facts, straight out of the Trump Playbook.

      1. Thanks for your reply. My problem with this one is according to the report Kevin Pringle from the Sunday Times was there. And everything else you mention has I suspect been done to the Labour Party and Trade Unions over the years . The playbook was written by MI5 not Trump. I am a fully paid up conspiracy member . So there

  24. No wonder Labour List are predicting getting 17% in the Council elections in May, in SCOTLAND, will be seen as a good result.

    1. Its another race with the Tories to see who will be last among the also rans.

      It used to be the “sack race”, but both have run out of substitute Leaders.
      Unless we figure in Loonytoons Tomkins, then the Tories would be fighting UKIP for the bottom slot.

  25. With attitudes like the author’s, I am not surprised Labour lost so many MPs in Scotland..

    A little humility and recognition your opponents might be right (occasionally) is far more sensible than head to head confrontation like rutting stags.

  26. A new idea doing the rounds it is that the SNP position is clear that they want to remain or join the EU post Indy Ref 2. The new idea is that the Indy Ref 2 will solely be based on Independence and if Independence is achieved it will then be followed by another referendum as to whether Scotland should join the EU as an Independent Scotland.

  27. Dear Scottish Labour, I don’t care if you don’t personally support an independent Scotland or not but something in your approach has to change. If people want a die hard unionist party they will vote for the one with unionist in their name. You are sinking. You might believe this to be a temporary blip but I think you could be decades in the wilderness. Latest polling shows you are losing working class to the Tories of all people. The greens might even supplant you as the 4th party.

    Please be a respectful measured voice in the debate. Throwing shit around just covers everyone in shit.

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