A WEEK is a long time in politics. The past fortnight feels like an eternity. Two weeks ago, the SNP leadership produced an 11-point plan conceding the need for a plan B if the British Government continues to refuse a Section 30 order and embracing the legal route for a second independence referendum for which I have long advocated.

I cannot pretend I’m completely satisfied with the detail of the plan but it’s a step in the right direction.

One week ago, the Justice Secretary introduced an amendment to the Hate Crime Bill to address concerns raised by a wide range of civic society bodies, MSPs and others. The amendment was designed to ensure that women who wish to discuss women’s sex-based rights would be protected from charges of transphobic hate crime. This seemed reasonable in…

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The Settled Will

Wee Ginger Dug

By the time that you get to nineteen opinion polls in a row, over the course of more than a year from several different polling companies, all of which have shown a lead for a vote for independence in a referendum, it becomes legitimate to posit that a desire for independence is now the settled will of the people of Scotland.

It’s certainly true that at 51% for yes, the most recent poll does not show as commanding a lead for independence as some previous polls, which have put support for independence as high as 58%, but this categorically does not mean that support for independence has gone into decline. Opinion polls work, insofar as they do work, because questions are asked of a sample of people who are believed to be representative of the wider population. However different polling companies have different strategies for arriving at a representative sample…

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We used to live in a democracy, but then Tories decided to privatise postal voting

Nolan Jazimreg

According to the UK Election Statistics: 1918-2019: A Century of Elections by the House of Commons, up to the year 2005, the percentage of postal votes was relatively low, never exceeding 5%:

Number of postal ballot papers issuedCovering envelopes returned before close of pollPostal votes Numberincluded in count % of all postal ballotpapers issuedPostalvotes as %of total

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Who will stop the rot?

Peter A Bell

The SNP group at Westminster has three choices. They could vote for the Brexit deal. They could vote against the deal. The could decline to participate in the vote, or abstain. Only one of these causes the party problems. And that is the one they have chosen. For no good reason. Professor Curtice may be correct that voting against will please some Remain voters. But not voting at all wouldn’t displease them. Which matters at least as much.

Even voting for the deal is a better option than voting against. At least it could be argued that this was consistent with the party’s position on no deal. I’m not sure to what extent consistency is important in politics these days. But if it was consistency the SNP was after then not voting or abstaining (they’re not quite the same) at Westminster would have been the most consistent with denial of…

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Scottish Democracy for Sale

Talking-up Scotland

David Cameron and Richard Cook
David Cameron and Richard Cook |


Peter Geoghegan’s excellent “Democracy for Sale” lifts the lid on the £435,000 “dark money” that was funnelled via the DUP to circumnavigate the Brexit referendum spending limits by former Scottish Tory Vice Chair Richard Cook’s Constitutional Research Council. Cook has also boasted of huge sums being available to make a “new and positive campaign for the Union” during any indyref2 and the leading anti self-government campaigning group Scotland in Union is building up a war chest for campaigning in the run up to May’s Holyrood elections.

In 2017, William Ramsay, then deputy chair of Scotland in Union, boasted to diners at an exclusive fundraising dinner in London that the pro-union group had been in talks with Cambridge Analytica.

In December 2017 a huge tranche of information regarding Scotland in Union’s networks, secret letter writing groups and it’s big business and land owner…

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No democracy please! We’re British!

Peter A Bell

The first thing to be said is that this has nothing to do with them being Tories and everything to do with them being British. I long ago despaired of people learning that when it comes to the constitutional issue making distinctions between British parties is nonsensical. They are all British. They are all parties of the British establishment. They all regard the Union as ‘precious’. They all regard democracy as a frippery to be entertained only so long as it produces the outcome which best suits the structures of power, privilege and patronage which define the British state.

The British parties – ALL the British parties! – serve those structures of power, privilege and patronage because those structures of power, privilege and patronage serve them. The British parties are built into those structures. They cannot be considered separate from the British state any more sensibly than they can be…

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Other than thank you from the bottom of my heart. For the first time in many months I have genuine faith in the SNP. I am hugely impressed by the good sense displayed by the collective wisdom of the Conference delegates.

Before I go further I want to highlight the bravery and dedication of Dot Jessiman. If she had not had the courage to speak out from within the NEC and spell out what was really happening none of this could possibly have happened so spectacularly. Ordinary members owe Dot a great deal. She made their victory possible.

They were aware things had been going wrong, they were concerned with the lack of urgency in driving Independence forward, they were incensed at the selfish and destructive minority interests that were elbowing the rest of the Party and moderate members of the NEC aside, the attempted bullying…

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Only 7.4% of Scots watch Reporting Scotland and nearly two thirds do not rate BBC Scotland’s portrayal of Scotland

Talking-up Scotland

Is Scotland portrayed at all in that cover? Killing Eve’s psychokiller did visit a horrific baronial castle and golf course with guys in kilts for her too say ‘ooo!’ at, so that’d help.

In Ofcom’s annual report, we see:

However, people in Scotland continue to rate the BBC’s delivery of the range of content representing Scotland (41% Scotland vs. 49% UK average) and the
portrayal of Scotland (38% Scotland vs. 50% UK average) below average
. (P67)

The BBC has identified some ‘less satisfied’ audience groups, which are largely in line with those we have highlighted in each of our annual reports on the BBC, including those in lower socio-economic groups, audiences in Scotland and disabled people. (P33)

Scotland: The proportion of qualifying spend (10.4% to 9.1%) and hours (16.7% to 15.1%) both fell but remain above the quota. Qualifying programmes made in Scotland included…

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A guest post from Dot Jessiman.

Thoughts ona Yearon the NEC

I came to the NEC with highhopes . I believedthe initiative of introducing regional representatives to the NEC as a direct link between leadership and grassrootswould inputdoorstep experience directly into campaign strategy,producingdifferent emphases in organising for rural and urban areas,supply appropriate campaignmaterial, andimprovetheappalling communication between the campaign strategists, HQ and the constituencies which had cost the northeast almost all of its rural seats in the 2016 General Election.

I hoped I could contribute my experience as a Programmer totackle the tardy organisation, particularly of candidate selection. However,it never crossed my mindthat more was needed than a thorough overhaul of campaign thinking to ensure we couldsupplythefocus and efficiencyrequiredbyTHE campaign we were assured was coming. I was concerned, but not seriously,by the lack of a strategic framework for IndyRef2 which reliedtoo heavilyon our opponents’mistakes to make our…

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