The Thinking-Man’s Galloway: ‘If only it were so simple’

By Alasdair Galloway, the Thinking Mans’s Galloway

Earlier today, Wings triumphantly posted extracts of a piece in his newspaper, the London Evening Standard, by George Osborne, basically saying that the only “legal way to independence” is through a referendum, voted by the House of Commons, and since, for now at least, the best way not to lose this is not to approve one. Simple really. Or maybe its not.

First of all, I suspect the dogs in the street know already that when the Section 30 question is put to Johnson, assuming the SNP win a majority in the assumed Holyrood election in May, or at least there is an independence majority there, Boris is going to say “naw” (or something like that). Quoting George Osborne is pretty pointless if he isn’t telling us anything we don’t already know.

So, why ask the S30 question? Well, there is polling evidence, according to the great Curtice, to the effect that it would be bad strategy during the May election by the SNP NOT to commit to asking for a S30 Order. Basically, I suspect, a lot of the Scottish electorate would like to achieve independence in as orderly and pain free a way as possible – a rerun of 2014, with a different outcome of course – would suit them fine. But I suspect many of the same electorate know what the answer will be but feel we should ask all the same. Even if they don’t know what the answer will be, they soon will when Johnson, in that bombastic, flowery way of his, rejects the request on some grounds or other – attempting to define a generation in a way that suits him for instance. Osborne is right in many regards in this article – why would Boris want to be the UK PM who lost the UK? I mean, would you?

Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, Osborne has actually got more than that right, for it is arguable that the agreement of the House of Commons is necessary for a legal outcome. It may be that Joanna Cherry and her team can come up with an alternative legal means, but otherwise this might be the only game in town. One thing is certain – I doubt there is a majority of the Scottish electorate who fancy a decade or more as the sort of Kosovo of north west Europe, asserting independence that is recognised by very few of the international community. The international community is crucial in this, as what we want is not just independence, but a sovereignty that is accepted by its other members. For instance, we can kiss good bye to the EU without it. The agreement of the House of Commons is the gold standard (according to Alex Salmond, when he signed the Edinburgh Agreement) in this regard.

So, Johnson says “no”. What then? There are several other strategies that might be followed, though I suspect none of them on their own is going to achieve our aims. These would include non-violent civil disobedience (though the problem with that is that an example is going to be bracketed with the Trump troops assault on the Capitol Building), Parliamentary action on the Irish model, non-payment of taxes, perhaps an unofficial referendum. But basically, anything that keeps the heat on Westminster by making Scotland progressively ungovernable by that House.

Campbell tries to undermine this in his trademark gentle, polite way, by arguing “PS For idiots about to shout, “There’s a brilliant secret plan, Nicola just can’t say what it is before the election because you don’t show your enemy your hand!”: you can’t have a mandate for something that wasn’t in your manifesto, dumdums. Try again” Sorry Stew, but I think you place far too much emphasis on the force of manifestos.

Let’s go through it one more time, shall we? The FM, having secured a majority at Holyrood – either alone or with others – seeks a S30 Order (which was in the manifesto) as part of the SNP’s commitment to independence. The Westminster PM refuses. What then? Campbell’s view is clearly that Sturgeon’s response would be to say “oh well, ok, maybe next time”. But at the point Johnson says “No” to a request to initiate the “gold standard” process, everything changes. The S30 Order has been refused. At no time was it ever more than the means to an end. The objective hasn’t changed. Assuming the sort of polling majority for independence remains (or better still is larger) – maybe Kenny MacAskiill’s idea of voters giving their second vote to the SNP as an indication of support for independence has been implemented (though I have worries about for instance, Green Party voters who have no constituency candidate but want to support their party on the list) – the question then becomes, “ok, what’s next?”. To my mind this is an issue that really cannot be addressed from within one party acting alone. It is an issue for the entire community, and while it may be time- consuming, a “Constitutional Convention” (call it what you like) representing as much of the Scottish community as possible and all shades of independence supporting opinion must meet and decide as soon as possible what the next steps should be.

But let’s be clear, at some point engagement with London is not an option. It is a necessity. For one thing, we need them to accept our independence as much the easiest route to gaining acceptance in the international community. Sure, we can seek their support to bring London round, but, on the basis of their behaviour last time, not much of the international community is going to act against London. If there is to be an enduring settlement, then we need to bring them to negotiation. These are not options, but necessities. How we get them to this point may not be as neat and painless as in 2014. I think much of the electorate know this already, given the outpouring of nonsense from Johnson, Gove and Jack (Mundell is awfy quiet) already.

No London PM wants to be the UK PM who loses the UK (and must tell the Queen). We have to make ourselves as determined and, if necessary, as obstructive and difficult as needed, for any alternative to acceptance of Scottish independence to be the more difficult strategy

18 thoughts on “The Thinking-Man’s Galloway: ‘If only it were so simple’

  1. Dont disagree with this, but…….
    If possible, an immediate resignation of Holyrood to fight the subsequent election on a declaration of independence.
    SNP MPs at Westminster to cause a ruction day and daily, until they are all expelled, then picket Westminster as loudly as possible..
    An independence march during COP.
    Peaceful picketing outside the BBC, STV and the Brit Nat press.
    An “independence camp” based outside Hi Jacks Embra’ bunker.

    Maximum embarrassment. No bombs, no bullets, no thuggery.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You have added to my list of ” There are several other strategies that might be followed” – I am sure there are loads more. My only concern is that the media will use such as an opportunity to bracket such action with Trump’s people who attacked the Capitol building. Not saying this would be either accurate or fair – just that it is what the Britnat media would do.


  2. Some countries took up the gun. America, Ireland etc
    Some took the path of civil disobedience. India and others
    Some merely completed the paperwork. Canada, Australia, New Zealand etc.

    The Union is finished. London will do as they have always done and retreat slowly from the battlefield (literal or political) as slowly as possible. They will try to poison the well as best they can ( look at India, The Middle East, Ireland, Africa etc)

    The World is watching and the UN mandate on self determination is crystal clear.

    The World has gone from 50 countries in the middle of the last century to almost 200 now.

    The U.K. Is NOT a country. It is a Union and that makes the debate much, much easier when presenting the legal arguement.

    Why should the people of Scotland be denied the right to pursue Independence?

    Liked by 6 people

  3. ” One thing is certain – I doubt there is a majority of the Scottish electorate who fancy a decade or more as the sort of Kosovo of north west Europe, asserting independence that is recognised by very few of the international community.”

    Are you sure about that? I’m pretty sure the international community would accept Scotland pretty quickly, and nothing like 10 years, as long as we got off our knees and stood up for our independence.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. For what its worth I have three comments to make. Firstly I thought I heard mention there were moves to take this fight to the Courts. If so is there a crowdfund for this as I would readily support it. Secondly before we even take this to a Referendum (with or without Westminster approval) we are going to need to convince the ‘doubters’ on the ‘fiscal position’. I constantly argue on Social media that there is no correlation between the ‘Notional’ deficit from GERS which is banded about by the Unionists and the reality but the concern I have is until we put that to the sword there are many who will not vote for Indy as it still is a quantum leap. Thirdly while Westminster I understand has accepted liability for the national debt (which is going to get much much worse) Salmond hinted in 2014 we could take a share but that of course would be dependent on quantifying our share of all UK & Commonwealth assets in any Fiscal Settlement. I have put many of these Q’s to Scot Gov minsters in the past and been given no firm answers. Until then I don’t see how we can realistically take this forward. Anyone?


  5. Gerry
    You can listen now on your phone to the Crowd Funded Court of Session hearing, live.

    Dial-in details for the hearings:

    Date: Thursday, 21 January 2021
    Time: 10am
    Dial (United Kingdom toll): +44-20-7660-8149
    Access code: 174 748 6619

    Date: Friday, 22 January 2021
    Time: 10am
    Dial (United Kingdom toll): +44-20-7660-8149
    Access code: 174 976 8813

    Note: This is the culmination of … “a year of work, 6 hearings, a 5 person legal team & 3500 pages of legal arguments, precedents, authorities and evidence.

    We are as prepared as we can be. The movement has responded with the dedication I’ve come to expect from them and our legal team has risen to the challenge. Never forget that this is the people’s action.” Martin Keating, Convener – Forward as One via Crowd Justice

    Ten thousand people have responded to this crowd funded action which seeks a legal opinion on alternative legal routes to Scottish independence.


  6. Good summary…
    Thinking on the coercion front I’m reminded of a simple but effective campaign in Scottish LAs to knock a few obstinate heads together in the late 70s or early 80s… A few days more to process a payment or produce an invoice played havoc with those in the halls of power, no illegality, no confrontation, simple organised incompetence that brought them to their knees…
    Now for example, imagine England having to beg for more power from France {a minefield currently} on a limited capacity because something went wrong in a windfarm northward, the service engineer was out of contact due to the phone slipping out of hands over the side or the the battery died, got diarrhea, you know, shit and accidents happen…

    These blustering blouses in #10 aren’t the only ones who can throw rocks over the wall and chuckle at the sound of shattering glass…


  7. “….maybe Kenny MacAskiill’s idea of voters giving their second vote to the SNP as an indication of support for independence …”

    Do you mean ISP?


  8. There is no doubt Westminster will say No
    Not because they want to, but solely due to
    That they have no alternative as they will be more than technically bankrupt,especially in the eyes of those that really matter here and that is the International money markets from
    whom they are in hawk to,along with the need to borrow further considerable funds to keep the home fire burning and all without
    The vast natural and existing resources of Scotland being used as collateral for their borrowing needs

    So in full knowledge of this no doubt we have Now to seek alternative routes and imperative that such is not only legal but legitimate
    Therefore as we are about to stand upon a battlefield and not of our making
    Tis them that are on the attack now
    I do not apologise for using military terminology now,but i remind all that we must always be the good guys from now on
    And let the enemy make fundamental errors
    So before i commence out laying a strategy
    It is of the utmost importance that not only we adhere to the law but the 4 golden rules of conflict which are
    1.Know thy foe
    2.Engage only when it suits you
    3.Engage only where you want to
    4.Engage in a manner that only you want to
    Stick rigidly to the above and we shall prevail
    Remember the desperation Westminster faces,such will lead to them seriously breaking the 4 golden rules
    So how to we go about this
    Firstly a guerilla campaign, float like a butterfly,sting like a Bee
    A. As to Westminster play 100 % by the book
    After all tis their rules,but such affords many opportunity to disrupt and seriously effect vital buisness
    How pose all questions in Broad Scots,Doric & Gaelic for a start
    B.Win over as many International bodies & Governments as possible, even neutrality is a winner, as this deprives our foes of friends
    And God only knows how few they really have E G.Who in the EU shall befriend them now.Along with the certainy that China and Russia shall play a very smart game indeed as it is very much in their interests that England is deprived of its Nuclear capabilities which they can ill afford to construct a new base once they forced to vacate Faslane
    C. We must negate BBC Scotland as much as possible and by peaceful means
    D. Use the massive people resources of the Yes movement.If SNP not up to the task of controlling and deploying resources then rapidly something will evolve that can and will
    E. So on all the above ideas for direct action
    Firstly a open declaration along the lines that we are NOT subjects but citizens who are the
    The one and only sovereign power,along with the fact that we are a Nation in a willing union
    From which we now wish to divorce ourselves from in a honorable and civilised
    Democratic manner
    F.No longer pay the BBC licence fee
    G.No longer ( but pay into a separate special bank account) pay road licence fees
    Along with any other taxes that can be identified
    H.Now act as much as possible as a Independent nation would, and start with the drug problem by opening up safe use facilities
    I. Never co operate with Westminster upon any matter that is detrimental to ourselves
    That for now is quite enough,but from little acorns mighty oaks do grow and our people are the most fertile of soils upon which to plant these acorns
    I quote W. Churchill
    Trust the people
    All we need is proper leadership now


  9. In addition to all of the above there is no mention of the ‘English Nationalist’ perspective. The tories have spent years talking up the feckless Scots sponging off wasteminster largess to the extent that 49% of those polled who expressed an opinion were happy to see Scotland disappear off into the sunset (to an imagined fate worse than the union).

    Bojo doesn’t want to be the PM to tell the Queen that he has lost the union so I expect him to keep saying NO for as long as she reigns but IMHO as soon as the duke of rothesay takes the helm bojo will declare english independence and push a dissolution of the union act through wasteminster that is thoroughly fiscally biased against the smaller home nations and claim it as another brexit like triumph to vast adulation from the english nationalists brexiteers


  10. good to read all these comments and yes they all make sense and yes, the peaceful silent way is the most civilised …….
    Just want to point out that Westminster murdered Willie Macrae to stop Independence, They sent troops to Northern Ireland to stop Independence, I suspect they are behind the Salmond’s nightmare to stop independence, They have already set up a semi undercover task force to stop Independence
    No country ever got away from England without some kind of lever ….. they are not nice people. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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