Independent Futures

In the run up to RIC 2014 and in the aftermath of the idea of the Yes Alliance apparently folding, we’ll be discussing strategies for the General Election and beyond parliamentary politics for the left and the green left in the coming weeks.

Here, Lesley Riddoch on the grassroots efforts involved in the Scottish Independence Referendum, youth engagement in politics, and the impact of the BBC’s coverage of the Referendum, with Dave Hammond.



Categories: Interview

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36 replies

  1. “I’m not a Nationalist…” but I think we are different from the rUK (so you are a Nationalist Lesley!). Civic Nationalism is a thin veil for Nationalism.
    There are so many Nationalists who are in denial about being Nationalists. Why are they ashamed? Probably because they know in their hearts they know that Nationalism is a divisive politics of blame with no substance.

    Remove Nationalism from your agenda and you will speak to the whole of Scotland, retain Nationalism in your agenda and you block out the rest of your agenda from the ears of many.

    • Andrew,
      i suspect that you may well belong to a category of political believers that are determined to attach ‘nationalism’ with any activity related to independence.
      The ‘many Nationalists’ that you refer to, are they all in a variety of countries? Can you explain who are the people that are ashamed and what country do they live in?
      In terms of the UK position with Europe, is this how the EU president sees David Cameron? Does DC have a nationalist agenda which should be removed?

      • I don’t attach nationalism to everything related to independence – in fact I am keen to here logical reasons for not sharing sovereignty of currency, defence, financial regulation, single market for financial services, etc, etc. But there is not logical debate – all I hear is Westminster is wrong, Westminster is the blame, we are different from the English, etc, etc.

        On balance I don’t believe there are good reasons for not sharing sovereignty of the above aspects of government – and I believe that we should have our MPs attending Westminster to contribute to the government of these aspects. By contrast, there maybe be good reasons for Holyrood to manage our Income tax, and other taxes, certain benefits, etc. I’m keen to discuss these matters – but I’m sick of hearing that for dogmatic reasons everything must be ruled by Holyrood.

      • For Andrew Skea sharing financial regulation, currency, financial services…take a look at Lord Stephen Green and his ‘sterling’ work in HSBC especially relating to Mexico and terrorist groups associated with Saudi Arabia. Why would anyone want to be a part of anything he is doing? Protected by David Cameron and now heavily engaged in fracking. Lie down with dogs?… You’d be better with dogs than throwing your all in with this so called ‘man of god’.

    • I think your understanding of Nationalism is outdated in a Scottish context. It is not confined to those of a singe political party nor does it seek power over people of other nations. On the contrary it is a mass movement which sees supporting a so-called ‘National’ party as the best way of eventually creating a fairer and more democratic nation for all its people. If it achieves this it is almost certain to evaporate rather than expand.
      Unlike the rest of rUK which is currently obsessed with the struggle for power between Conservatives and UKIP and their obsession with immigration and withdrawal from the European Union, this Scottish form of ‘Nationalism’ welcomes and absorbs people from outside Scotland and also wants to play a part in a union of independent nations in Europe. What’s to be ashamed of?

      • Just because your Nationalism is different from UKIP or other Nationalism does not mean that your Nartionalism is not Nationalism. In this piece I did not claim they were the same – although there are many similarities. All Nationalism blames neighbours for everything that is wrong, in order to avoid taking responsibility for fixing problems that we are perfectly capable of fixing.

      • Andrew Skea, it is precisely BECAUSE we want to take responsibility for fixing our own problems that we want independence.

    • I am a nationalist, I want Scotland to be an independent, fully constituted and functioning nation. The Norwegians did it, the Irish did it, the Australians did it, Iceland did it, etc etc. I am not in denial and I am not a member of the SNP. I think that support of a well and truly broken state called UK that, in desperation, has to tar us with the idea that nationalism is a big guilty sin is just pathetic. Nothing short of independence will give us what we need to fully control our economy, our welfare, our health service our land ownership and the rest.

      • And why is Nationalism of no consequence to the people of Bavaria, Texas, Newfoundland, etc etc.
        We are where we are, borders have been drawn on maps for historical reasons since the feudal and imperial eras. There is now no need to draw more borders on maps, we should be aiming to take borders down and make them of less importance.

      • Why should we be like Ireland, and not like Bavaria, or Texas, or Newfoundland. Nationalism dictated that the world should be divided in to Nations. Shared sovereighty is the mature way for people to co-operate with neighbours – one person, one vote, every voter is equal, we all send MPs to a shared parliament where we find like minded people to progress our agenda.

      • To Andrew Shea ‘Shared sovereignty is the mature way for people to co-operate with neighbours – one person, one vote, every voter is equal, we all send MPs to a shared parliament where we find like minded people to progress our agenda.’ I wish I could laugh at the naivety of this comment

    • The interesting thing for me is that somehow Scottish Nationalism is always portrayed as ‘bad’ whereas British Nationalism is seen as ‘good’. Is that to do with which is the dominant culture? The ‘winners’ lets say?? So I find it ironic that many metropolitan observers who criticise Scottish Nationalism as nasty and backwards seem to celebrate having lovely holidays in wee places in France or Italy where they really got into local culture/food/music etc …… is one persons nationalism another’s local identity? Non? I am English by the way and living in Scotland.

    • Just once I would like you to post about something you believe in. I have read a lot about what you don’t like or do not want.

      What do you desire for your fellow citizens / the next generation?

      • The above was for Andrew Skea

      • Same here Clootie, it’s the one trick pony argument from this poster.

        He wants complex explanation and argument provided from independence supporters on a variety of subjects yet his sole, blinkered argument is that all nationalism is bad and from that he will never alter. Our side is full of the rich tapestry of greys, his remains a two-tone black and white.

        Frankly, you have to ask why he bothers posting here. There are plenty of people willing to discuss issues, but when one side of the process is not willing to budge then conversation and debate will never happen in a meaningful way.

        It’s a policy that worked well for Better Together in the media, just tar ‘nationalism’ with a distinctly unsavoury whiff and all will be well.

        The answer to his federalism vs independence question is obvious. Westminster are unwilling to give up any meaningful power to Holyrood. For that we have only to look at the last 100 years of life in these isles.

        As for the ‘nationalism is bad’ tag, well I can only speak for my own nationalism which includes:

        I want rid of nuclear weapons.

        I want a short/medium term plan to rid us of nuclear power and replace it with renewables.

        I want the power to recall politicians and indeed, political parties when they renege on manifesto policies that got them elected.

        I want to see a proper living wage.

        I want active gender equality quotas through all walks of public life.

        I want a written constitution written by the people that is designed to protect citizen rights and our natural heritage along with our publicly owned services.

        I want to see political parties paid for through the public purse which will instantly eliminate interference from trade unions and city hedge funds buying off/lobbying politicians for financial or political gain.

        If any of these make me a ‘nationalist blaming others’ then fine, Mr Skea is entitled to his opinion. However what he should note is that many of my ideals are shared with the people of England. My issue is not with England – with blaming another country, it is with our form of government.

        My question to Mr Skea is, if my political vision makes me a Scottish nationalist, what does it make others who share my political views who are English and living in England ? Presumably by his simplistic logic is must make them traitors.

      • I want a country free from the oppression of Nationalism.
        Instead of the politics of division and blame i want co-operation and progress.
        In Salmonds first term he worked very closely with the Tories. Now he wants to divide the country in two.

    • I too object to the “nationalist” tag on everything to do with Independence. I have been passionate about Scottish independence for almost 25 years but never joined the SNP; instead I joined the Greens in 2003. I do not regard myself as a nationalist but pro-independence.

      It was a favourite tactic of the BBC, Daily Mail et al to use the “nationalist” epithet when refering to any pro-independence activity so linking it implicitly or explicitly to the SNP and Alex Salmond. It also played into the subtext of “blood and soil nationalism” which permeated so much mainstream media output, a vile smear dog-whistled by Darling & Macdougall and taken up by the pack in social media.

      It’s in this context I believe the SNP has missed an opportunity to demonstrate independence transcends a single party; a Yes Movement fielding candidates from 2 or 3 different parties – plus a handful with no party affiliation – on a set of key principles around maximum powers, anti-austerity and anti-Trident renewal could permanently redefine support for independence as transcending any single political party.

  2. ‘Nationalism is a divisive politics of blame with no substance’ – did you bother to listen to the rest of the thirteen minutes of the clip? The most divisive nationalism in the world today is that of the G7 monoliths, supine to corporate demands because their institutions are tied up in the market rigging and mind control that props up their rotten shells. They’re the threat to global security. Not Scotland. And certainly not Lesley Riddoch. You should pick up a copy of Blossom and spend some time educating yourself.

    • Well said. The apparently benign ‘internationalism’ that the unionists applaud is a smokescreen for the machinations of global corporations and their lapdog politicians. Perhaps he should also pick up a copy of Chomsky’s ‘Deterring Democracy’.

    • I did listen to the whole clip – hence my comment that if Lesley could remove her obsession with Nationalism from her agenda then all of the good stuff that she has to say will be heard.

      • She’s not obsessed with nationalism, she’s interested in pursuing socio-economic, and human, progress.

      • It is you who seem to have a negative obsession with nationalism Mr Skea. Scottish nationalism is inclusive and simply wishes the Scottish Nation to have control of its own affairs. That is all it entails. Lesley Riddoch understands this. You do not.

      • I think the good stuff Lesley is saying is already being widely heard.

        Since you believe that Scotland should be governed from Westminster, you do not appear to advocate the removal of ALL borders and the institution of world government. So isn’t your stance really a British nationalist one? What is so wicked about wanting Scotland to be an independent country? Independence is the status the great majority of European nations enjoy.

      • Where do i advocate government from westminster. You manufactured that fact.
        My main concern is that we share sovereignty with RUK for aspects of government that are best shared. Many aspects of government are best managed from Holyrood.
        I’m not a victim to dogma that says we must not share, we must not trust our neighbour, we must manage everything from Holyrood.

  3. Brilliantly spoken, Lesley. Great to know there are people like yourself, doing the good work, and involved in Scottish politics, as many of us want to be, but not bound into a party ethic.

  4. Lesley Riddoch for Prime Minister !!! Lets do this thing !!!

  5. I believe Scotland should be an independent country like every other independent country in the world – as far as I’m aware there are around 200 of them – and I am not a member of a political party. Does that make me a ‘nationalist’ or even a ‘Nationalist’? And do I give a toss? I think you know the answer to that.
    However, I am a bit confused by your opening statement ‘in the aftermath of the idea of the Yes Alliance apparently folding’. I can assure you the Yes Alliance is alive and well, at least here in South Ayrshire.

    • The SNP have,through the conference motion,allowed local constituencies to select a candidate of their choice,whether a SNP member or not,provided the usual rules of suitability are met.
      This opens the door to high profile YES campaigners who may not wish to formally join the SNP and avoids many of the issues which would have arisen when trying to merge political parties.
      For those people who want to see a particular candidate selected for Westminster,then the answer is probably to join your local SNP branch and make your case.

  6. Why not simply change the name to Scottish Sovereign Party and be done with all this angst over the words National or Nationalist? Just back from the SNP Conference in Perth (my first) – massive enthusiasm, loads of fantastic speeches, inspiring chat. Nicola will be a brilliant party leader and First Minister.

  7. What a week in politics! Optimism and renewal in Perth; Patrick & the Greens in Motherwell on Monday night; RIC Saturday morning (a campaigning movement no a Party); Nicola Saturday afternoon ; leafletting Sunday saying thanks for voting YES….who got defeated here??????

  8. Let’s send Lesley to Westmonster to rummel them up!!

  9. Lesley. In Canada, for example, there are some candidates who run as independents. No need to tie yourself to a party if you don’t see the value. You are an inspiring speaker and thinker and sure to turn many heads all by yourself.
    I myself have wondered for years about the whole political setup and for some time have wished that more candidates would run as independent just to address the idea that it is constituents that are being represented in a parliament not blind allegiance to a party and its whips. This puts us in a much clearer place to be accountable to those constituents rather than trying to serve 2 masters.This is what is wrong and has been for far too long. Scotland could do this too. So could the rest of the UK. For now the closest opportunity that may happen is that the Yes alliance, in spite of its many different ideals and levels of conviction, may row that boat closer to the shores of a better, fairer and more equal society than it is now.

  10. I’ve suggested before that following the referendum an opportunity existed for the SNP to consider rebranding and adopting a newer post ref identity , replacing the party name and dropping the ‘National’ tag.

    The massive new membership could be engaged in this decision. It’s time to adopt a fresh new image to reflect out forward thinking 21st Century policy agenda.

  11. For Lesley – Good points on role of BBC , it’s been that way since long before the Iraq War coverage, go back to 1984 the Miners strike to Orgreave and demonisation of the NUM and Scargill.

    The obedient role of the beeb in delivering Establishment Propaganda remains understated.BBC Scotland meekly complies. I doubt the word Impartiality appears in any reporter’s job description. Rewards and future career prospects I guess are entirely based on mute compliance. Reporters and their NUJ representatives should have spoken out earlier.

    Thankyou for Blossom a first class read and also for your continuing contribution to the case for Independence,highlighting ”what Scotland needs to Flourish” . Your comments regarding articulating the case outwith and beyond the internal restraints placed on party politicians, many new members will come to realise such restraints can also apply to party members! Perhaps best illustrated by the reluctance of any Politician to condemn the BBC and it’s influence over the Referendum outcome.

    I hope there will be a follow-up Blossom 2!

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