Closing Time

Who would try to deny the people of England the right to have the representatives they elect make the decisions which affect them? Certainly not me – I’d love to see a devolved English parliament, or several regional ones, if the people of England wanted that.

But that is not what ‘English votes for English laws’ (EVEL) will be giving anyone. It’s taking something away. What’s more, it’s specifically designed to do just that.

Quite aside from the issues surrounding the Barnett Formula and the impact EVEL could have on the funding of the devolved nations, which I’m sure will be covered in great detail elsewhere, this vote attacks our very democracy.

What this vote takes away is the idea that people across all corners of this ‘United Kingdom’, this ‘family of nations’, are equal. Because from now, we are not.

That probably sounds rather melodramatic, doesn’t it? But it is something which is both easily explained and irrefutable.

What this EVEL vote does is remove any realistic chance of MPs representing constituencies outside England – be that Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland – of ever again leading a UK-wide party. By extension, that obviously also precludes any realistic chance of a future UK Prime Minister being a representative of any constituency outside England.

Further to that – as if that’s not already bad enough – it greatly decreases any prospect of senior cabinet/shadow-cabinet positions ever being filled by Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish MPs. That is, of course, excepting for the respective roles of Secretary of State for Scotland/Wales/Northern Ireland.

No, it is not written – they will not be legally prevented from having those roles. But it is, in reality, what will happen.

But, if it’s not written, how will EVEL manage this?

Let me ask you this: What UK-wide political party is going to be prepared to elect a leader who will not be able to vote on a large number of issues at Westminster, affecting 84% of the population? It’s just not going to happen, is it?

Even supposing for a moment that Labour clawed their way back to having a commanding majority of MPs in Scotland again… the UK party is not going to elect one of them to lead them when they will be excluded from all England-only votes. That’s the reality. And the same reality will apply to all UK parties, and for representatives from Wales and Northern Ireland too.

In one casual vote, the Tory UK Government has carved up UK representative democracy for the benefit of themselves alone. They have taken 18% of the MPs in the House of Commons – 117 of them – and told them that they are now excluded from normal parliamentary business. They have turned around to 16.2% of the UK population – 10.3 million of us – and informed us that no, we will most likely never again see a Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish Prime Minister of the UK – certainly not one representing a constituency in any of those places. They have constructed a new ‘glass ceiling’, crossing from Berwick-upon-Tweed to Gretna, down the north-west coast of England, and straight along the Welsh border.

As suggested at the start of this piece, one or more proper devolved English parliaments – in which representatives are elected separately, as happens in the current devolved parliaments – would pose no issues whatsoever, providing of course that issues which could affect Barnett were still addressed at Westminster. That would be building democracy. That would be constructive and positive, and I’m all for that.

But with this EVEL vote, what the Tories have done is to effectively commandeer Westminster instead. With that, any notion that the UK is a family of equal nations is simply tossed aside. And by the very party who can’t stop babbling on about being ‘true unionists’, no less. That party which claims constantly to be about ‘British values’ – whatever those are supposed to be.

So, the question for people living in Scotland (as well as Wales and Northern Ireland) must now be this: Are you willing to see yourself, your friends, your family, and those you don’t even know, to be forever held back from playing a full role in the democracy of the UK? And, if you voted No last year, were you not expecting things to carry on as before, and are you happy to now be phased-out by those who claimed to want us to stay so much?

By 312 votes to 270, this Tory Government yesterday signed the death warrant for the UK. It must be. It has to be. If not – if we are prepared to sit back and allow this – then we will truly deserve anything we get.

Left: UK PM/party leader/senior cabinet member catchment area, 1707-2015 Right: catchment area post-2015.

Left: UK PM/party leader/senior cabinet member catchment area, until 2015
Right: catchment area post-2015.

This isn’t about Scotland. It’s not about England either. It’s about what we have and what we are about to lose. And it’s about recognising that that is totally unacceptable, and doing something about it.

I’m not willing to give up on my principles or my democratic and constitutional rights, and I would sincerely hope that anyone reading this understands the importance of this, no matter what their own personal political beliefs are. This is important. This is a defining moment. This is closing time for UK plc.

A genuine plea to those on the left of the Labour Party.

This is not an independence related post, but, I feel, an important one in the context of the current political turmoil currently consuming the Labour Party.

I do support independence for Scotland, and indeed for anywhere in which it can make a real and positive difference to the democracy therein – I always will. And it’s that fundamental belief in democracy that’s making me so frustrated about what’s happening within Labour. You don’t have to be a Labour-supporting unionist to feel angered by that. You just have to support decent, principled politics.

I’m not a Labour supporter. I was, briefly, a long time ago, back when I thought I could trust that they held genuinely left of centre principles.

I turned 18 in 1994, so my first opportunity to vote in a General Election came when Labour finally wrestled back power from the Tories in 1997. I helped to do that by voting for them, and I literally shed a tear when the results came in. I’m sure a great many people did.

But my relief was all too short lived. The work of Blair and his shadow puppets put that trust which I had invested in their party to bed very swiftly. Perhaps that was my fault, as a politically naive youngster, foolishly expecting that a party which I had previously believed to have decent, socially-conscious principles would not abandon them at the first sniff of power. But if that was my fault, a hell of a lot of other voters share the blame with me.

Over the thirteen years which followed that historic election, I watched as the top tier of the Parliamentary Labour Party attempted to redefine what it was to be Labour. They even came up with a name for it, ‘New Labour’, as if this rebranding somehow provided justification or legitimate cover for their attempts to drag the whole party to the right. It didn’t then and it doesn’t now. What they did to the party was change it to suit their own desires – not allow their supporters to shape the party.

And that’s exactly what we’re seeing today. We’re seeing the selfish desires of a few near the top of the party trying to seal the deal on the leadership election. Not allowing the party’s supporters to shape the party. Not allowing the absolutely fundamental political principle of democracy to take place within their own allegedly democratic party.

This should be ringing alarm bells so loudly in the ears of those who forgave them the Blair years. It should be deafening. This is the New Labour moment mk2 – and this time they’re trying to seal the deal forever.

Labour have always had members and supporters across a reasonably wide field of the political spectrum, and that is, I believe, quite healthy. But this current shutting-out of politically intelligent and vocal left-wingers, such as Mark Steel, is changing that. Those on the right of the party are trying to claim the party for themselves alone. They’re literally cutting off those on the real left by denying them a voice in the current leadership election. This, so Labour insist, is their most democratic leadership election ever. But if they’re hand-picking those who can and can’t vote, there is nothing democratic about it in the slightest. It’s an affront to democracy, just as New Labour was an affront to the principles of old Labour.

This HAS to be the left’s clarion call. They must not allow the hijacking of their shared party to be completed. But neither should they continue to attempt to share the party – they’ve tried too long to do that now, and it’s clearer than ever that the two sides have to shake hands and go their separate ways.

Painful in the short-term, electorally speaking? Yes, of course. But without it, the left of the party will continue to be squeezed out until they have no say at all, and the credibility that they have for standing by their principles will be shot to pieces.

Whether Corbyn wins or not, the time has come to separate these two divergent winds of the party. I personally don’t care what happens to the Blairites – they’re power obsessed and lost to the world of principles and ideologies. But I do care that those who hold genuinely left-wing beliefs, those who really believe in a state which has a social conscience and actually does something to achieve true equality – those people I do care about, no matter what party they set their stall out from.

Cut yourselves free – for your own good and for the good of our political environment. Do it. Please.

A Very Sorry State of Affairs

The thing about writing occasional blog entries in between what counts for living my life, is that events very often overtake me. I also usually take a while to formulate little snippets of what I want to say, usually mulling things over whilst otherwise occupied, so I often end up hours/days/weeks late with anything like a finished piece… so don’t bother publishing at all. One such event has kind of just happened – but it’s still not resolved.

I’m talking about yesterday’s sorry events, unfortunately precipitated by the sad and untimely death of Charles Kennedy and an element of the political/media sphere that will apparently stop at nothing to attempt to smear and discredit the SNP.

First things first – I haven’t seen one bad thing said about Kennedy over the last 36 hours – either from people inside politics or from people in the ‘real world’, and right throughout the political spectrum. He was a much admired and respected character and politician, and I add myself to that list of admirers. The only thing that could possibly be construed as being at all negative that I saw written about him by a Yes/SNP voter – and I read A LOT of comments yesterday – was something along the lines of ‘I liked him a lot, but he was still a unionist’. There wasn’t even a ‘bad word’ thrown in there. Hardly damning words surely, even if that was certainly a key difference between Kennedy and we supporters of independence.

But the ugly side of the Twittersphere was awash yesterday with people all but calling for Salmond’s head on a stick. In fact, some of them did indeed state that they wished Salmond the same fate as Kennedy. Charming words from those allegedly concerned about ‘respect’.

More disappointing than members of the public though was seeing that some of Charles Kennedy’s own party colleagues and ‘friends’ had jumped head-first onto the hysteria bandwagon. Menzies Campbell and Malcolm Bruce, in particular. Bruce described Salmond’s comments as “churlish and graceless”, after either entirely failing to read Salmond’s words properly or choosing to deliberately misinterpret them too. Where is the respect for his friend and colleague there? Party political and personal bitterness overtook those like Bruce, still reeling from the recent election whitewash. That’s no excuse though. He did precisely what he wrongly accused Salmond of doing.

Former Lib Dem MP, Lembit Opik, breathed some reason into proceedings, Tweeting that he was disgusted with the way Salmond’s words had been tangled and warped to form a political attack. He also Tweeted that he knew Salmond and Kennedy were good friends, asking people to appreciate that fact.

Still, this morning when I woke, I logged on to Twitter and searched for ‘SNP Charles Kennedy’. Every minute, more venomous comments from those either too lazy to read, incapable of reading or just plain pig-ignorant. The facts had been public knowledge since yesterday, and Alex Salmond had even explained perfectly reasonably why he said what he said. His explanation was even, surprisingly enough, in the middle of the Telegraph article that reported the ‘outrage’. But many of the faux-outraged are simply not willing/capable of actually listening to the real story.

At this point, I want to add that Alex Massie, the journalist who it appears first kicked up a stink about Alex Salmond’s words, has today tweeted something of an apology, saying that on reflection and after reading Salmond’s explanation, his piece may have been over the top. I’m disappointed that it took Massie almost 24 hours to come to this conclusion, as many people, myself included, had been attempting to get him to see sense throughout all of yesterday. I knew what Salmond’s words meant when I first read them, as did many others. Others, it seems, needed it spelling out to them several times, and needed almost a full day to digest a few simple words of explanation. But at least Massie has provided a retraction of sorts – it’s a start.

The issue now is when we consider the number of people who were worked up into frothing rage yesterday by Massie’s (among others) article. How many will have since read Massie’s tweet today and thought ‘Oh, okay then. Fair enough’? A tiny proportion, I’d wager. And I doubt that many of that tiny minority will be jumping on to Twitter and Facebook to say ‘Hands up – I was wrong’. How many read nothing more than ‘Salmond’, ‘Kennedy’ and ‘outrage’, failed to read the actual details and have now stuck this ‘weapon’ in their quiver for their next anti-Salmond/anti-SNP crusade?

So it’s not resolved at all.

People like Massie, who should feel some sort of moral duty to be as accurate in their writing as possible, have an unwarranted and largely unaccountable power over their readership. The truth is seldom a consideration for this type of journalist though, such is the nature of our ‘free’ press and media. The only time it enters into their thoughts is when they worry about the possible repercussions for themselves.

As for Kennedy’s colleagues, and those who would call him ‘friend’, who jumped right in there, doing exactly what they were accusing Salmond of doing… contempt is too polite a word, in my opinion.

War and/or Peace

Scotland didn’t have to be at war today. Granted, the situation would be different if we were independent already, and we don’t necessarily know what it would have been. But we didn’t have to be.

I’m not going to get into the arguments for or against military action against IS – there are arguments on either side, and I wouldn’t pretend to be an expert on the situation. In fact, I’ll openly admit that I probably know less about the current situation than a large proportion of the population.

If we’d voted Yes last week, could the UK Government have sent Scottish air force personnel to bomb IS targets? The legitimacy of the whole thing is already questionable, but how would that have panned out, using the defence forces and people of a soon-to-be foreign country?

But we are at war. Again. As part of the nation which throws itself into every conflict it can, more than any other in history. Having accidentally seen a ‘Britain First’ post on the subject yesterday, it’s clear that some are almost dripping with ‘pride’ at the thought. Imbeciles, every one of them. War is the ending of people’s lives, not a game.

The question people in Scotland should be asking themselves isn’t whether or not ‘Islamic State’ is a legitimate target. It should be why did we not take the opportunity to make up our own minds?

An independent Scotland could contribute to international missions, but would it not be better if we actually had more of a say, and had a greater ability to more directly hold our politicians to account if we feel they got it wrong?

It’s unlikely that many pilots will die over Iraq and Syria over the coming weeks and months – such is the nature of modern warfare these days. Fly in, bomb, fly out again – no matter how much backing IS does or does not have, they don’t have the same level of technology as the Western powers. They may take down one or two jets, but it’s effectively shooting fish in a barrel for the UK, US and others. And that’s the kind of wars we are taken into – not the places where our troops and hardware would actually be pushed to the very limits, but the areas where we can get in, use loads of ammunition, get out again in one piece and then order more bombs, missiles and bullets.


The sad truth is that modern warfare, for countries like the UK and US in particular, is more about boosting sales of military hardware and keeping the arms trade happy than it is any more noble, human reason. If it wasn’t, why are our troops only ever involved in certain conflicts when there are loads of other crises around the globe that could warrant intervention, if an interventionist stance is what your government claims to have? But those are further away and probably harder – let’s just stick to the ‘easy’ ones…

Anyway, I’m not arguing for or against the current military operations, rather highlighting the situation we find ourselves in now, after Friday’s vote in the House of Commons.

I’ve broken down the vote below, and invite you to make up your own minds on where we are…

Con: 276 (91 .1% of party)
Lab: 190 (74.8%)
LD: 48 (85.7%)
DUP: 8 (100%)
Alliance: 1 (100%)
Ind: 2 (n/a)
TOTAL: 525 (82.2%) [includes 2 tellers, minus 1 active abstention]

Con: 6 (2%)
Lab: 24 (9.4%)
LD: 1 (1.8%)
SNP: 6 (100%)
SDLP: 3 (100%)
Plaid: 2 (66.7%)
Green: 1 (100%)
Respect: 1 (100%)
TOTAL: 44 (6.9%) [includes 2 tellers, minus 1 active abstention]

Con: 21 (6.9%)
Lab: 40 (15.7%)
LD: 7 (12.5%)
Plaid: 1 (33.3%)
Ind: 1 (n/a)
TOTAL: 70 (10.9%)


Results for the 59 MPs representing Scottish seats:

Con: 1 (100%)
Lab: 23 (57.5%)
LD: 9 (81.8%)
Ind: 1 (n/a)
TOTAL: 34 (57.6%)

Lab: 5 (12.5%)
SNP: 6 (100%)
TOTAL: 11 (18.6%)

Lab: 12 (30%)
LD: 2 (18.2%)
TOTAL: 14 (23.7%)


UK totals minus Scottish votes [580]
for: 491 (84.6%)
against: 33 (5.7%)
abstentions: 56 (9.6%)

Here are those percentages again, for comparison…

for: 57.6%
against: 18.6%
abstentions: 23.7%

Rest of the UK
for: 84.6%
against: 5.7%
abstentions: 9.6%

So Scottish MPs still voted to go to war – I’m not disputing that. But it was on a very significantly reduced majority of 57.6% compared to the rest of the UK’s 84.6%. Four fewer votes and Scotland would not have voted for it. Four.

Votes against are also significantly different, with over three times more in Scotland than rUK. Similarly, the abstentions are significantly higher amongst Scottish MPs, more than doubling.

What I find rather interesting is that it’s not just the SNP MPs who made those figures so dramatically different – Labour’s Scottish MPs voted considerably more cautiously than their rUK party colleagues. Even the Lib Dem’s did too.

Of course, the situation would be completely different if Westminster politicians were elected using a system of proportional representation too. And would we even be voting for war if we’d voted Yes on the 18th?

Speculative? Yes, of course it is. I’m only highlighting the figures.

You make up your own minds and consider the possibility that we might not now be sending people to kill other people in some far off foreign land – whether that’s the right thing to do or not.

[Genuinely] Astonishing

A silver lining from last week’s loss has been the explosion in party membership across all of the main independence supporting parties – the SNP, the Scottish Green Party and the Scottish Socialist Party.


All three have seen their numbers go through the roof, which is excellent news on several levels.

Firstly, it demonstrates to the wider public and the media that this is very much a movement, not just a one-time thing, and that while it is predominantly – although not exclusively – a left of centre movement, it has a broad base of support.

Secondly, it’s simply great to see so many new people deciding to become actively involved in politics. As a proportion of the total electorate, party numbers may still appear relatively small, but for these three parties at least, they’ve just leapt massively.

The SNP have just today announced that their membership has now passed 50,000 – that’s 6,000 more than the Liberal Democrats have UK-wide. That’s astonishing (that’s how you use that word, Johann).

For the sake of perspective, the Tories have 134,000 members across the UK, Labour have 190,000, the Lib Dem’s have 44,000 and UKIP have 35,000. If you were to scale the SNP membership up to a UK-sized population, they’d now have over 600,000 members – 200,000 more members than ALL of those parties combined.

The Scottish Greens too have had a stonker of a weekend with their membership numbers. As of yesterday, they had grown to over 5,000 members – 3,000 more than they had on Thursday. Again, for a UK comparison, that would equal over 60,000 members.

The good news for the Greens doesn’t stop there though. Recent opinion polls put them at 10% of the regional vote for the next Scottish Parliament election – that could see them become the third largest party at Holyrood, overtaking the Tories. Again, astonishing.

I can’t find numbers for SSP membership at the moment, but if anyone can provide me with these, please do.

Meanwhile, Scottish Labour have said “We don’t give out exact details on our membership figures…”. They did however add that their membership figures had gone up “by hundreds”. Chalk and cheese.

There is another reason that this surge in membership is great news though, and that is that these new members can now be part of their chosen party’s internal democracy, helping to shape party policy over the coming years. If these people get properly involved, attend meetings and annual conferences, exchange ideas, discuss and debate… they’ll be not only helping is get another shot at independence, but influencing policy and therefore society in the meantime too. That’s a massive plus.

If you haven’t done so already, please get yourself involved in the politics of the party you support. Become a member, make a difference.

If you support no particular party but support independence, keep campaigning with us and fight for those principles you hold dear.

The Yes campaign has brought about change, even if it’s not the main one we were hoping for… yet. We must use this opportunity to continue to build, connect and involve.

Become a member:
Scottish Green Party
Scottish Socialist Party

The Straw that broke democracy’s back

I’ve given in and subscribed to The Times for a month (just the one!), purely to access this piece:

Here it is in full, with my comments after.

Let’s preserve our Union in law to stop the SNP pulling it apart
by Jack Straw

Now that Scotland has decisively spoken, after a campaign whose terms were set by the SNP for itself, we should follow the example of stable federated countries (the US and India, for example) and say: “This Union is now indissoluble.”

If independence would have been for good, so must the decision to stay. You can’t pull a living plant up by the roots again and again, and expect it to survive. Put this commitment to the Union in primary Westminster legislation. Of course, that could be changed but only by all the UK’s MPs. “Better Together” must mean what it says.

The promises of further devolution to Scotland will be honoured, and the settlements for Wales and Northern Ireland are being strengthened. Where does that leave England? Proposals for “English votes for English laws” are sedulously attractive. They have been repeated by David Cameron. However, I suggest that we English take a deep breath and examine whether they are remotely necessary, and even if they are, just how they would be put into practice.

This West Lothian question is, in truth, code for an assertion about Labour — that in government we have to rely on Scottish MPs for a majority. I am proud that Labour really is a unionist party (as were the Conservatives until their fateful decision in 1987 to use Scotland as a laboratory for the poll tax). But almost always, when we win a general election, we win south of the border as well.

In 32 years of Labour governments since the war, Labour has had to “rely” on Scottish MPs to remain in power for just 26 months (1964 to 1966 and March to October 1974). That’s including Welsh Labour MPs. But we also had more English MPs than the Conservatives throughout the Blair/Brown administrations, as well as in the 1966 and October 1974 elections.

The unique characteristic of this Union is that one component — England — has 84 per cent of the population. England’s population is projected to grow over the next 20 years by another 7 million — more than Scotland’s population of 5.3 million. This means that almost every issue that may look exclusive to England can have knock-on effects for the rest of the UK. Take the 2004 increase in tuition fees. It applied directly to England and Wales only. But its indirect effect went north of the border. The greater reliance on private funding of universities south of the border indirectly reduced the block grant to Scotland. Scottish MPs thus had a wholly legitimate stake in the outcome.

English votes for English laws has been tried before. Gladstone’s second Irish Home Rule Bill of 1893 came up with the “ins and outs solution”, in which Irish MPs at Westminster were to be able to vote on “imperial” matters, but not “domestic” ones. It was the Tory leader, AJ Balfour, who exposed its fundamental defects. The system, he said, “would carry the most serious evils in its train”. It would “threaten the ordinary procedure of parliament” and “shatter the cabinet system . . . if you never knew whether an issue was going to be identified as English-only or the UK as a whole”. After months of wrangling, Gladstone conceded. As Sir Malcolm Rifkind observed in 2006, creating “two classes of MP would be a constitutional abortion”.

If we now make a reality of devolution within England — where the real democratic deficit lies — and ensure a fairer share of the cake between the southeast and, for example, the north and northwest, much of the apparent attraction of two classes of MP will go. It’s certainly worth examining whether there’d be any role for an English grand committee to discuss “English” legislation but I suspect that even this might be more trouble than it was worth.

We do not, however, need to tie ourselves in knots about this. Politicians have a constant care for popular support. We’ve all learnt the excruciating lesson from the Conservatives’ “Scottish poll tax” debacle. We English should stop fretting. The Union, our Union, has been saved. It’s “asymmetrical”, it’s untidy. But, hey, it works.

[As justice secretary 2007-10, Jack Straw chaired the Labour government’s constitutional committee. He is MP for Blackburn]’

Jack Straw, demonstrating what he wants to do to democracy

Jack Straw, demonstrating what he wants to do to democracy

Em… right you are, Jack!

There are many things wrong with this piece by Jack Straw, but the title and related text are the most significant part, so I’ll only talk about that just now.

Jack Straw is currently an opposition MP – he doesn’t create government policy at the moment, although opposition MPs can still put forward legislation for the House of Commons to consider.

But he might not need that.

In this piece, Straw does propose something that will undoubtedly bring a sly grin to many faces in Westminster, particularly amongst the Tory rank and file, who are very much in a position to bring legislation to the fore. So this is dangerous.

What Straw is proposing is legislation which would see no part of the UK ever having the democratic right to secede. We would be locked in, with no say on the matter at all.

Oh yes, he provides a ‘concession’ in stating that he believes this could be overturned by the House of Commons, but what does that mean? That means that no matter how many people in any particular part of the UK wanted to leave, they couldn’t do so without first having this constitutional legislation overturned. They couldn’t even be asked in a referendum, like the one we’ve just had.

Mr Straw refers to the USA and India in this piece as countries whose constitutions don’t allow any part to ever leave, as if this is something we should be seeking to copy in the UK. Note that he doesn’t mention a certain close neighbour where this is causing major issues for people in part of it: Spain.

The people of Catalonia are massively in favour of independence, but the Spanish constitution does not allow for them to even hold a referendum. They’re having to hold an illegal referendum, arranged by the democratically elected Catalan Government, which the Spanish Government can simply choose to ignore – and that’s the line they’re taking. That’s what Straw is effectively proposing for here.

It is dangerous, it is irresponsible and, above all, it is fundamentally anti-democratic.

Our referendum question was not ‘Should Scotland be an independent country or always remain a part of the UK?’. The right to revisit the independence question at a later date, should the result have been No, was never taken off the table, and nor should it have been. Not even Cameron proposed that.

Every democracy, if they are true to the meaning of that word, should allow for the people to decide the status of their part of it, should they wish – whether that be a nation, a region, a county, or parts/groupings thereof. I include Scotland in that too, after we do become independent (if we’re ‘allowed’) – it would be hypocritical not to.

Labour are always claiming to be a progressive party, just as they claim to be a great many other things that they’re not. But this idea, if it is shared by others within the party, boots that word right out of the park.

Jack Straw, Labour’s former Home Secretary, Justice Secretary and Foreign Secretary – some of the most important and senior positions in government – is effectively wanting to roll back democracy with this proposal. He wants to take the will of the people out of the equation. And a large number of Tories will be readying themselves to jump right on-board with him, grinning from ear to Spock-like ear.

John Redwood, trying out Kirk's chair while he's on an away mission.

John Redwood, trying out Kirk’s chair while he’s on an away mission.

Moving Forward

We’re all obviously massively disappointed after the result, and we’re left wondering what way to go now.

There seems to have been a boom of new independence-supporting Facebook pages since yesterday, which is obviously great and shows the determination we all have to carry this thing on.

But we have to make sure we don’t lose touch with the broad and dynamic base we’ve all helped to build over the past months and years.

I’m thinking that we have to continue in more or less the same way, whilst learning lessons from what happened – with particular emphasis on dealing with the establishment machine and media. But we can’t splinter into ever smaller pieces if we want to build up from here.

We’re all part of these solid foundations. We already have great and varied groups, like RIC, National Collective, Women for Independence, Labour for Indy and Business for Scotland, etc – not forgetting the official Yes Scotland campaign itself, which helps to pull everything together.

Let’s keep all of these going strong and help to further broaden this fantastic movement we’re part of, so that we’re not just waiting for the next opportunity, but actually creating it.

I don’t know what each group is doing or planning at the moment, but if it’s not been proposed already, I don’t see what harm a conference involving all of these groups could do. A formal, detailed meeting, exchanging ideas and planning a joint route forward, whilst still maintaining the individual integrity of each group.

We have the means and the people – now we need the direction.