Open Letter: Dear First Minister, please do not feed the Union trolls

Dear First Minister

I write to urge you, at this momentous time for Scotland, to stop all negative comments about other pro-Independence parties contesting the election on May 6th. In particular, I ask that you and all of those senior SNP politicians who share cabinet responsibility with you, to desist from any attacks on the Alba Party or on any of its candidates.

I write as a committed SNP member who, as a blogger over 7 years now, has many, many times defended you, your party, your government and the public services of Scotland, against the daily torrent of lies of opposition groups and the media. I defy you, in all modesty (😊), or anyone, to name a keyboard activist more prolific, stronger in evidence, or fiercer in that work, 7 times a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year.

This is not about the technicalities of the electoral system, but about a far more serious matter – trust. The people of Scotland, millions of us now, who seek independence and the creation of a better country, must be able to trust that all of you, in the parties which support the cause of independence, will put that first and last, above all else, and will desist from all in-fighting until we have that prize firmly in our grip.

Briefly, and for the last time I hope, I too was disappointed to hear of the behaviour of Alex Salmond, but the court found him not guilty and weighing against that, in 2003, he inspired me to march  against the Iraq War in which many women, children and old guys like me now were to die. Against the UK/US establishment, he had the courage and the will to push for the trial of the war criminal Tony Blair. These still weigh heavy on the scales in his favour. If they are to be forgotten now, surely his failures must too?

Please, as you have put it yourself, ‘keep the heid!’

Best wishes

Professor John Robertson

54 thoughts on “Open Letter: Dear First Minister, please do not feed the Union trolls

  1. Well said John. The enemy is to the front, not the rear.

    SNP stands for the “Scottish National Party”——
    Not the “Sturgeon National party”.

    Lets all work AS ONE, to free our country from its subordinate status.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Denying list seats to unionists is a total no-brainer and at the moment I don’t care who does it as after independence it’s a whole new set of circumstances.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Alex SNP got 4 List seats last time is Alba deny SNP some or all of those List seats they will do so by gaining them for Alba or splitting the indy List vote by watering it down so much a unionist nips in and takes the seat , however that can be prevented cant it , by SNP telling its voters to vote for SNP on the constituency and ALBA on the List regional.
        Alba have done this
        Why cant SNP

        Liked by 4 people

      2. 2 uncertainties:
        1 Will SNP get enough constituency seats to avoid a coalition
        2. Can we trust Alba to support the SG given some of the prominent members recent hostility?


      3. On opinion polls just now they might even, if they play things well, get a majority on constituency seats alone. There are after all 73 constituencies, and as John Curtice wrote after the 2016 election, the SNP would do better to focus on winning constituency seats that they really ought to be winning – such as Dumbarton, where I live and Jackie Baillie has a majority of 108.
        The other thing is that the parties with the most exposure on the List just now are the Tories (3/4 of their seats are List) and particularly Labour as 7/8 of their seats are List. The SNP rather than shooting at a party that has the same aim, would do better focusing their fire on the enemy and taking as many as possible of the small number of constituency seats they hold just now.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. One other thing Alex, what’s so terrible about a coalition. The SNP, imo, were at their best between 2007 and 2011 because they had to work with others, there had to be dialogue outwith the party, rather than the party (or at least those that get listened to) making its mind up and looking to impose its will.

        Liked by 2 people

      5. The Alba party have already stated that they support the SNP on first preference, but ask for support on the List, to secure a ‘super majority’


  3. John
    Excellently put
    Tis the Union side that is utterly divided now
    We MUST stand united at all costs,which can all be dealt with once the prize gained
    The Unionists exist on a policy of divide and rule, so DO NOT do their job for them,they absolutely expert at driving big fat wedges into the tiniest cracks, and if you ever think you can gain once their hammer is taken to the wedge because if you do then tis you that lose heavily and they that ran away with the prize and a wry smile

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Isnt it surprising that all the Brit Nat propagandists in the press are so concerned that Alba will now deprive the SNP of a majority for indyref2?

    Yup, somehow we are to believe that Alex Massie, Iain MacWhirter, Tom Gordon, Brian Wilson, old Uncle Tam Cobblers and all; are APPALLED that it will be the SNP who are damaged by a PRO-INDY party fighting only on the list.

    And not DRossy, or Starwars or Wee Wullie— the Heroes of Downing Street—much fawned over by the above scribblers.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Alba now has more MP’s than “Scottish” Labour, half as many as the “Scottish” Dumbs and a third as many as the “Scottish” Toadies.

      Will they now get a Party Political? And a seat in debates?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. SNP majority currently needs as many regional seats as possible. Yes they are expensive. Given recent history Conspiracy Ministerial code etc – I can understand doubt that Alba will be supportive if thay take some of them.


  6. I am not an SNP member and never have been, but I have voted for them (and the Greens) for some years now, because I see the SNP as crucial for the attainment of independence.

    So, I agree with your plea to abstain from attacks on other pro-independence groups and personalities within these. Focus on the issues and on the cause of independence.

    Liked by 9 people

  7. Totally agree, John.

    I shall, though, be giving both of my votes to the SNP as I live in Kilmarnock and as such am part of the South of Scotland ‘region’.

    In 2016 five of the nine constituencies elected a unionist MSP and, while I hope that at least Ayr and East Lothian will choose an SNP candidate this time, there are no guarantees. We must therefore not split the pro independence vote and I would urge Alba not to field candidates on the list in the south.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great post Boab. . . . .

      Given the Unionists are forming pacts official and unofficial it’s difficult / impossible to say with certainty which (if any ) SNP constituency seats are safe.

      So for me it has to be SNP 1 & 2 accross Scotland

      Although do I understand people wanting to vote for Alba.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. IF Prof, IF.

        The list votes are only “wasted” if there’s an excellent return from the constituencies. If constituencies go down, the list will compensate (compare 2016 to 2011).

        What you have convinced yourself of, is that 2016’s spectacular returns from the constituencies can be matched or bettered. If they aren’t, the game’s a bogey because the SNP’s safety net has been removed.

        You need to be thinking of SNP list votes as insurance, not as “wasted”, Remember that one of the unionist parties nicking a constituency, because of tactical, voting won’t affect the others on the list. So here’s an entirely plausible scenario:

        Tactical voting unseats an SNP incumbent, +1 to the Union; they don’t pick a list seat because the votes have gone to Alba, Indy equalise, A/S. What happens if the Greens get squeezed, as they probably will, oops Union plus one.

        Elsewhere, Alba could easily just displace the Greens for no net gain.

        Vote other than SNP on the list at your peril, but I need more than wishful thinking & a baseless conviction, that the constituencies are going to deliver, before I get cute with my list vote.


  8. They are all fight against each other when they should unite. Two websites in particular slagging each other off. It is just ridiculous. They all, supposedly, support Independence. Saying the most despicable things about each other.

    Thank goodness for neutral land. They should all put up the white flag and fight unionists together.

    Alba Party is a cert. A cert to take votes from unionists. Get rid of them. The most despised people. What a relief that would be. Break D’Hond’t.

    It could not get better than that. They are all fears of losing their ‘privilege’? positions. Seize the moment.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. “…Alba Party is a cert. A cert to take votes from unionists…”

      How many?

      A handful of misogynistic older Labour voters that are sympathetic to indy, but winnae vote furra wumman?

      Who else?


  9. Even if they lose one SNP in the south. They will still gain more Indy Reps everywhere else. The total amount is most important. Highest that can be for Independence. A higher majority. Overall.

    By all accounts the Indy vote will be up higher than before. Austerity, Brexit and good pandemic management puts the SNP/Indy vote. Higher than it ever was before.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. IMHO, someone need to sit the FM down, and remind that the business of the SNP is the benefit of Scotland, not the benefit of SNP. They also need to introduce her to the indivisibility of substantive rights, and how open democracy works. Which might then encourage her not to be so amenable to British constitutionalism, and to start defending Scotland’s legal identity. Which existed long before the union of parliaments, otherwise the union could not have taken place.

    Indivisibility of Human Rights: A Theoretical Critique

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I hope you’re not wrong.

        The Unionists will be trying to rip both NS & AS to shreds, they don’t need any help.


  11. Do we need SNP to get enough seats to avoid a coalition Alex
    They needed greens in the past
    If they need Alba in the future isnt that better ?
    Isnt it better to be relying on a party whos priority is Scottish independence rather than a party that values and prioritises environmental issues above scottish independence

    Lets face it scotland cannot improve its environment until it gets rid of the westminster government that controls scotlands money

    If SNP tell its voters to vote Alba on the List
    If Alba tell its voters to vote SNP on thr constituency
    We maximise the pro independence seats and deprive unionists

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Sorry Terence but I find I trust the greens more on this.
      They have shown support for FM unlike some in Alba.
      If I were to use my regional vote tactically i’d go green.


  12. I must say I have been disappointed by some of the vitriol that’s coming from the SNP hierarchy on this. They need to focus on the real enemies – Ross, Sarwar and Rennie.

    They have allowed other politicians and media figures to get away with murder and the gloves only come off to attack a new party with the same objectives as theirs?

    Liked by 2 people

  13. aye c’mon Nicola behave yourself an, wheesht for Alba.

    She’s leading the SNP in an election campaign, trying to win as many seats as possible, I’m quite sure she’ll work with whoever comes thru on the 7th of May, but until that time they are opponents.

    In the NE where in 16 the SNP won no list seats, this time I’ll be Green on the list ballot.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Alex correct me if I’m wrong . . . But hasn’t the North east voted in Tories since then. So the SNP would be looking to win seats on the list in May

      Liked by 4 people

  14. As far as I can judge, Salmond’s motive is pure revenge (and justifiably so as Sturgeon clearly tried to get him jailed for a long time, which no humane person would do without a level of justification that would allow the Crown to win the resulting case).
    But that is not the main issue. The main issue is the gerrymandered structure of the Scottish parliament, designed by Donald Dewar mainly (pace commentator below, not Robertson), in order to entrench a Labour majority behind a system which LOOKED disputable by minority parties.
    He was in this, as my mother used to say, “so sharp he cut himself”. Now the boot is on the SNP foot and the system still looks variable but in practice, short of a seismic shift, it is not. It is THAT which has enabled the SNP to get away with what Dewar hoped the Labour Party would be able to get away with.
    David Davies was right. The system needs complete redesign in order to achieve sensible democracy (i.e. not with votes for 14-year olds as has been proposed in some circles, etc.). This is a WESTMINSTER responsibility, as no British citizen should have to live under a gerrymandered governmental voting system. Does ANYONE understand the d’Hondt system? No-one that I know. This is wholly anti-democratic. Westminster created this mess (Dewar), and it is Westminster’s job (Johnson) to fix it.
    All this is argued in a book called “The Justice Factory: Can the Rule of Law Survive in 21st Century Scotland?” (Ian Mitchell, 2020) The Foreword was written by Lord Hope of Craighead, ex-Deputy President of the UK Supreme Court and the Professor of Public Law who is author “Constitutional Law of Scotland” wrote the Introduction to Part II. It is not a party political argument, and has been endorsed by both Ian (“Stone of Destiny”) Hamilton QC and Adam Tomkins, the Tory MSP who is also Professor of Constitutional law in the University of Glasgow.
    It is an as yet untold story, but a very, very important. You can support the cause of ridding Scotland of political fixers and power-grabbers by circulating the book as widely as you can. Details on Amazon (UK).


    1. Ian Mitchell wrote “Westminster created this mess (Dewar), and it is Westminster’s job (Johnson) to fix it.”

      Be careful what you wish for Ian. I can see Bojo relishing that prospect. He’d have the simplest of solutions available: simply repeal the Scotland Act, shut Holyrood and put Westminster (and himself) in total charge of Scotland. That would be all his Scottish problems solved in one blow


    2. Ian David Mitchell writes: ” Does ANYONE understand the d’Hondt system? No-one that I know.”

      Candidly yes I do and many others do too: we have informed ourselves.. And many more – even Mr Mitchell himself – should be confident in gaining an understanding if we are to believe what’s written on the party website of the ISP.


      The ISP tells us: “The Scottish Parliament is elected using the Additional Member System and this is calculated according to the D’Hondt method. Whilst NOT OVERLY COMPLEX, it does TAKE A FEW MINUTES to understand how this system works.” (my emphasis)

      A ‘FEW MINUTES’ is not too much to ask, is it?

      Note the ISP provides further information: “The video below (see the ISP web page for link) provides a walk-through example of how the parties that are standing for List Seats are allocated according to the votes cast.”


  15. I’m sorry, but being a professor of constitutional law does not guarantee one supports justice and the rule-of-law. Your man Adam Tomkins, who supports Brexit, is my evidence and I rest my case. 😉

    On ‘Indivisibility’ of Human Rights


  16. Thank you for that much needed letter, John.
    Perhaps Ian Blackford should be sent a copy too after his intemperate words on the defection of Ian McAskill and Neil Hanvey.

    Meanwhile in Scotland on Sunday, and on the front page, Dani Garaveli
    (who, in my opinion gave out more information than Craig Murray about the women who complained of Alex Salmond’s behaviour) continues to spew out some pretty vile and inaccurate stuff, suggesting that AlexSalmond said that Alba would stand candidates… the ‘hope of depriving the SNP of a majority’. Whereas he actually enouraged independence supporters to vote SNP for the Constituency and Alba on the list.
    Inside Garavelli describes an interview with the current FM, which is all about her predessors conduct, with no acknowledgement of the botched investigation and leaks to a newspaper which must have caused him acute distress. Whilementioneing the complainants she does not aplologise for leaving them without support during the trial.
    In another article, Euan McColl, claims Salmond’s move is not to progress Independence but ‘stinks of ego and vengeance’.
    I am totally disgusted with the biased news from this rag, which I do not normally read but went to an online version to check having seen the front page while shopping.
    Is there anything we can doto counter this misinformation? We are probably going to be bombarded by it over the next six weeks!


  17. Alba is telling its ”supporters ” to vote SNP in the constituency . Of course it is !
    This is not them being supportive of the SNP – it is in THEIR interest as they are a parasite party .
    They have NO chance of winning a constituency seat so require a big , big , hand from the SNP/Independence supporters to make any sort of mark in this election . So , don’t be fooled that this is Alex Salmond and his followers supporting the SNP – this is blatant self-interest .

    They cannot win anything with Unionist votes – none will vote for them ; they may undermine some Green Party list votes , but I think their supporters will not be fooled by Salmond’s ‘Supermajority ‘ line – for that’s all it is . A good sound bite – sometthing Dominic Cummings might have coined !
    It all comes down to Salmond wanting SNP votes – this after months of his PR man , Rev Potty-mouth , attacking the SNP/Nicola Sturgeon relentlessly – and NOT a WORD from AS to say ”desist” !

    No , John , I will NOT be supporting Alba as long as AS and company are running the show !


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