Party Fears Two

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By Mike Small

So to the SNP Manifesto launch, at the packed-out climbing centre at Ratho. Cue appropriate metaphors of cliffhangers, and epic struggles to the mountaintop. It was an extraordinary event with the UK media descending and mingling with SNP activists and party officials, and half the Yes movement.

Raging in Ratho

Sturgeon laid out the manifesto which she said was primarily an anti-austerity agenda, and gathered her biggest cheer for her unequivocal statement on Trident.

She ruled out any referendum for now and reiterated the point until it was crystal clear. She announced several measures that were clearly about finding common ground with Labour, especially the 50p top tax rate,a tax on bankers’ bonuses, a mansion tax, a crackdown on tax avoidance and the abolition of ‘non-dom’ status.

The media bristled into action, lining up one after another to fire questions, first the broadcast media, then the print. You could feel the hostility as they pitched-in with a mixture of incredulity, contempt and condescension. Interestingly only Alan Cochrane and Alex Thomson brought any humour to the process. Torcuil Crichton looked like he was at a funeral.

These people are aghast at what they’re witnessing.

None more so than Chris Deerin and Alan Roden over at the Daily Mail today, who are foaming at the mouth as they try desperately to cobble together the rag-tag barmy army of Andrew Skinner’s ‘United Against Separation’, ‘Scotland in Union’, ‘Forward Together’, and ‘Scotland’s Big Voice’.

With just three weeks to go these oddballs have a job on their hands to convince Labour, Tory and Liberals to vote tactically, but it’s the ‘only way to stop the separatists’ swagger’. Both Chris and Alan are against swaggering.

Alan admits that ‘Sturgeon is widely deemed to have done well in the debates’ but adds that’s only because it’s a ‘sort of artificial arena in which the separatist jam- tomorrow sophistry does well’.

‘Despite manifesto policy flaws the SNP continue to gain ground in opinion polls’ he bleats observantly, ‘and are swaggering around boasting’.

That bad swaggering again.

Roden seems to struggle with the basics of how democracy works, frothing: ‘Defeated in the independence referendum the SNP continue their ceaseless struggle to break up Britain by inflitrating Westminster.’

I think by infiltrating he means being elected.

The scoundrels.

Poor Chris Deerin notes that ‘the awful Alex Salmond is still careering around the country like a drunk on a dance floor’, by which, I think, he means campaigning ‘and jemmying Salmond back into Westminster makes a mockery of any claim to constructive engagement’.

By ‘jemmying’ I think he means, again, standing for office and, you know, being elected.

The atmosphere we’re told is ‘every bit as febrile as it was in the run up to the referendum’. I’m finding it very upbeat actually. There’s a new mood of optimism about. Clearly the scribes at the Daily Mail aren’t enjoying it to much.

It’s an astonishing diatribe from the pair, beaten only by Matthew Paris who talks of Sturgeon’s ‘politics of sadism’ and how the consequences for the Union would be demeaning and ‘torture’.

This atmosphere of hysteria won’t help them, but their gnashing of teeth is fun to read.

You can read the manifesto here.



Categories: Commentary

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93 replies

  1. Deerin was on R5L this morning sneering at Ruth Wishart and how her views were compromised as she is a well known Nationalist! Interestingly, all of the Scots allowed on the phone in were solid No voters talking about how poor Scotland is and how England, in its graciousness, allows us to heat and eat. The English folk on were generally positive to the SNP with many based in Scotland backing them. Strange days!

  2. The tide of hope and optimism is with nationalism.

    me however, I can’t vote for nationalism in any guise so my sentiments are the opposite. One set of feelings is not better than the other as both depend on sentiment.

    I disagree with the SNP on an independent nuclear deterrent

    On the question of paying for the SNP pledges, I am still mystified about how they’ll do that. It is like in the referendum, disappointingly vague, and copying Labour seems to be about post election coalition discussions

    Maybe also like in the referendum folk will start to think about the economic case as the election approaches and see through the SNP’s milk and honey future

    • Barraload, here’s Gemma Tetlow, programme director at the IFS on SNP spending plans, Tetlow said of the SNP commitment to 0.5% above inflation spending increase:
      “On the basis of projections Labour could achieve a current budget balance by 2019/20 and increase departmental spending by 0.5 per cent per year on average over the four years from 2015-16, without requiring any further tax rises or changes to welfare spending beyond the £1.2bn they propose to raise from a mansion tax.”
      SNP spending plans are modest and quite achievable.

      • And meaningless.

        If you think a 0.5% above inflation increase in spending represents ‘an end to austerity’ in any meaningful way, then at best you are easily pleased and at worst completely deluded.

        There is a catch to the SNP plan.

        No-one really has the slightest idea how much ‘the mansion tax’ will actually raise. Not a clue. It’s all guesswork.

        • I made no comment on the plan and its relationship to austerity other than saying it was modest.

          I was simply putting the IFS view as to its achievability to answer Barraloads mystification about how the SNP spending plans could be financed.

          Perhaps there’s a nearby empty room that you could occupy to have an argument in.

          • The plan assumes that the markets will be sanguine about abandoning austerity. Interest rates go up on government bonds and any growth in the conomy is lost in paying more interest. I know that any mention of markets will be read rag to a bull on here, but if we can even spend a moment thinking about this it would be nice

          • You are wasting your time.

            All the kool-aid swigging moonies on here want are people to keep telling them that when Scotland is independent, everyone can have unicorns and ladders to the moon.

            And the only reason everyone doesn’t have their own unicorn and Scotland doesn’t have not one but two ladders to the moon is because ‘Westminster” has kept it from them.

          • This corporate troll makes me wish Bella would institute a “No asshole rule” as advocated by the book of that name. Or is demeaning invective something to be nurtured here?

          • Er, honestly, I’ve been here just long enough now to see that the True Believers on here can sling out the abuse and ‘demeaning invective’ just as much as the critics.

            So give us your hand and I’ll help you down off your high horse there.

          • Unicorns? Ladders to the Moon? This is a very worrying development, Corporatist Hell.

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            For a long time we have hesitated to advertise Ambition Pills, fearing that this remedy might be classed with the many fraudulent preparations in the market. A single trial will convince any sufferer that we have a POSITIVE CURE for Impotency, Sleeplessness, Enlarged Veins and Nervous Debility, which includes troublesome dreams, evil forebodings, losses, despondency and aversion to society, caused by overwork or other excesses; Especially recommended in cases of long standing and where other remedies have failed. Only reputable druggists can secure agencies. For a short time only, the price will be $1.00 dollar per box or six boxes (with guarantee) for $5.00. – Price will soon be doubled. Circular Free.

            Address: Halsid Drug Co., Cleveland, O.’

            Order yours today and beat the price increase.

          • Haha. Your druggist will be overwhelmed by orders, JBS.
            Now can you make a pill that will cure blamers who can’t help themselves but obsessively project blame onto others? I’ll pre-order.

            Or how about a fainting goat pill? Replicating the strategy developed by the famous Fainting Goats of Tennessee, they enable liars of all stripes to save face by fainting as soon as their lie is pointed out, while enabling others to continue discussions without them.

            Or….

        • Is this just a different way of saying ‘SNP BAD’?

          Judging by your comments you have no time for Scots or Scotland. Or perhaps you think you’re being the ‘voice of reason’? No matter how vociferous the griping and the growling, the game is up – the party with Scotland’s interests at heart is going to return to Westminster en masse.

          Care to lend the SNP your vote in May? Heh.

          (by all means call me a mindless drone – you’re only fooling yourself)

          • Rubbish. I have no time for nationalism as a political creed. Whether that is in France, the UK or Scotland. It is in my view a “lean to” view that blames others (English, immigrants etc) for anything that is wrong.

            I am born and educated and live in Scotland and am proud of my cultural heritage

            I want a party in power that will do it’s best to improve the UK and as you’ve said this is not the SNP as they are “the party with Scotland’s interests at heart”.

            So i shall decal your offer to lend a vote.

          • You want a party that will do best for the UK? To my mind, that makes you a nationalist. A nasty little British nationalist.

          • “Is this just a different way of saying ‘SNP BAD’?”

            I was merely pointing out how vacuous and meaningless the ‘commitment’ to a 0.5% above inflation increase in public spending is. You’ve suggested this is saying ‘SNP BAD’. It’s a subtle difference, I know, I can understand how its passed you by.

            “the party with Scotland’s interests at heart is going to return to Westminster en masse.”

            And spend the next five years ranting impotently from the sidelines. Though we can all enjoy neds like Mhairi Black jumping up and down, swinging from the rafters and screaming like a monkey.

            “Care to lend the SNP your vote in May? Heh.”

            That won’t be an option on my ballot paper, fortunately.

            “(by all means call me a mindless drone – you’re only fooling yourself)”

            No, no, I have to give you credit for making up your own mind, even when you are completely wrong about everything and living in a fantay world.

        • CH – it’s about fair taxation. For those who suck on the state. Like higher taxpayers who still dont pay enough. They feed off others.

          Simple.

          • What is enough? do you think a top rate of 50% is enough?

          • Who defines what is “enough”?

          • Typically those demanding increased taxation on others who enjoy the comfort that they themselves will never have to pay those taxes, I find. (Certainly in all parts of the UK).

            “More tax? To pay for public services and all the nice things I like? What do you mean that if we want the scandi nordic utopia public services and nice things, then there are no free rides and everyone has to pay?”

            “Sure, lets increase taxes to pay for public services and nice things. No, I didn’t mean me. Tax THEM”.

          • I’m a higher rate tax payer. How much should I pay? Serious question.

            Add up income tax, national insurance and VAT and let me know the % that you believe I should be paying.

          • mr T you ask a good question. The deal between the state and citizens involves them telling us how much they want us to contribute via taxes so the state can spend and distribute this wealth for the good of society

            The SNP seem to want this a bit vague and have convinced enough folk that it will all be fine. This is a touchingly naive faith in politicians. Surely supporters do not believe that only SNP MP’s are holders of virtue and can be trusted to do the right thing

          • Note: I’m replying to comments below the OP.

            I’d be affected by the 50p top rate and I’d happily pay it. Given that I recently came home after living in Denmark for several years, where I calculated my total tax bill to be around 52% of my TOTAL income, it doesn’t phase me. And if Scotland could no longer be my home then I’d be on the first plane back to Denmark. In short, I don’t think it’s enough. I’d push the top rate up to 60%, which is still nowhere near what the top rates were in the US and UK back in the day.

        • Do you actually know what “austerity” means? Sorting that out in your mind would be a good starting point before you try to engage in civilised debate about the subject but then I don’t think you came here looking for civilised debate…

          • Philip,

            About your willingness to pay more tax – good for you. If everyone in the UK / Scotland was like you then we could have the services / welfare / public spending that they have in Denmark.

            And as you probably know, in Denmark just about EVERYBODY pays, and pays more. Tax revenue as a % of GDP is 49%.

            Across the UK, since 1945, it’s been stuck at around 35% (39% now, under the Tories! though there are complex reasons for that). this is across governments, prime ministers.

            So there is a structural and / or societal reason why no UK government can get it up beyond 35% ish. Which is, nobody wants to pay. Because everyone says, ‘don’t tax me, tax THEM, TAX THE RICH!!! etc. etc.

            Unfortunately, when it comes to paying more tax, every UK and Scottish social attitudes survey says the same thing – across the board, people are not prepared to pay more tax.

            People consistently vote for the same / reduced taxes alongside increased public spending.

            Alex Salmond knows this, which is why he came up with the fairy story – which has been bought into by the moonies on here – and others – that there won’t be a need to increase taxes across the board to fund the scandi nordic services in the magical egalitarian land of Scotland. The economy will magically out-grow that of every other mature western economy (including Germany and the nordic utopias) while at the same time taxes will be reduced, AND provide more public spending and services.

            It will be achieved simply because of the (hitherto repressed by the evil English) egalitarianism, ingenuity and downright magical qualities of Scotland and the Scottish People, ‘who won’t be done down anymore’ etc. etc.

            Nicola knows this bubble might burst, so now it’s all about ‘productivity’, smoothed over with soothing noises to the left in case they think they are being told to work longer and harder.

            People across the UK are often interested in raising more tax – only as long as it is someone else who is paying for it.

    • In what respects is the UK’s nuclear “deterrent” “independent” and in what circumstances do you envisage it being used to kill people?

      • None that’s why it is a deterrent.

        • If you believe that there are no circumstances in which it would be used to kill people, in what sense is it a deterrent? You didn’t answer the question about its “independence”.

          • OK you are setting this up to knock me down on something about independence. Can we agree to disagree that I think it is better for the UK that we have a nuclear deterrent available to help defend us applying the seemingly warped logic of MAD that seems to have worked for years in preserving some sort of peace among the one tome enemies of WW2

        • Who has it deterred? Argentina didn’t seem fussed about it when they invaded the Falklands. We didn’t seem to put the fear of God in Saddam Hussein. Hell, even the US has been at war pretty solidly since WW2. Were the North Koreans or the Viet Cong deterred?

          It hasn’t deterred proliferation either. China’s been arming up for decades. Israel has nukes. North Korea and Iran are allegedly developing them.

          Even allowing for that, what exactly are we deterring? A nuclear attack? Well assuming we don’t have a REALLY bad falling out with France or the USA, the only options are China and Russia (India and Pakistan don’t have intercontinental range.) Both have more launch sites than we have warheads. The best we could manage would be a glancing blow while our little island was removed from the planet. Russia is a BIG country with LOTS of soldiers. We can’t even begin to compete.

    • Barraload, whether you agree with the principle of nuclear weapons or not, let us make this clear: the trident nuclear missile system is not “independent”. We have to mount the warheads on US supplied missiles and when the missiles need overhauled we have to sail across the Atlantic to have them swapped out. We have a “dependent” nuclear deterrent.

  3. Good article and I hate to be picky but – “half the Yes movement” – is a tad inaccurate methinks, and a unsubtle side-swipe at many who wear both badges with pride & conviction.

  4. Fraser Nelson on the other hand seems rather smitten, http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/2015/04/how-nicola-sturgeon-is-blundering-her-way-to-a-majority/ and NS has tweeted it.

    (And on Party Fears Two, it’s 21 years since Billy Mackenzie died.)

  5. What happened to IndyRef 2? I’m disappointed.

    I was hoping we could plan to manage you out and be rid of you by 2020 at the latest.

    • Boo Hoo CH 😀

      • I know – I am genuinely disappointed. I thought your Dear Leader would have more balls, metaphorically.

        Any chance of UDI in May?

        (Give us and the rest of the world a good laugh)

        Darien? You’re leading the charge on this one?

        • Darien?? I actually blame the Romans CH, if those bastirts had just conquered Caledonia then we would have been one big happy family 🙂 Don’t worry about the UDI in May we are sending down some socially conscious MP’s who aren’t in thrall to big business and casino bankers to save Mother England from eating itself. Rule Brittania xx

          • “We are sending down some socially conscious MPs who aren’t in thrall to big business”

            Alex Salmond and Fred Goodwin

            The SNP and their largest donor, Brian Souter (who paid £500,000 in 2007 to have bus regulation removed from the manifesto)

            SNP commitment to reducing corporation tax until 5 minutes ago (when Nicola came in and started making soothing noises to the Left when in fairness you found that the hard left nutters like the radical independence campaign had moved the referendum needle a bit)

            You are in a world of your own, Bob. Keep listening to your own internal narrative though, i’m sure it’s very comforting for you.

            “To save Mother England from eating itself”

            I can only speak for the part of ‘Mother England’ (whatever that means – I’m not English, by the way) I live in – but things are going terrifically here, me and my family are doing great, and we’re not worried, at all.

            “Rule Brittania”

            Well, Alex did say that in an independent Scotland the Queen would have been your Head of State, and your plans for a currency union would have effectively made you a colony of rUK, so you are probably right.

            “xx”

            How old are you?

  6. It’s quite astonishing how the Press, and nasty Boris, have completely lost their shit, over a manifesto.
    Good job we had a dummy run of this xenophobia, or scotiaphobia, as Bonnie Greer called it, last year. Good job we aren’t sensitive wee souls, or we might be hurt, thinking they don’t want democratically elected reps from Scotland taking part in the Mother of Parliament s.
    I bet some are even thinking, they probably should have not pulled so many scare tactics last year, and they might be enjoying their good old fashioned two horse race just now.

    • the thing is that SNP MPs will be taking part in a parliament they don;t want to be a part of. Would they be better to do what Sinn Fein does?

      • Oh come on Barraload there was a referendum last September, surely you remember it, the result of which means that Scotland remains part of the UK. So like it or not the only democratic option for the Scottish electorate is to be represented in the UK parliament. Sinn Fein don’t sit in the parliament because they won’t swear an oath to the Queen

        • the bit about the Queen is marginal. SNP want out of a Westminster system and want to destroy the UK so why not boycott the parliament that they want to bring to an end ?

          • Because the party is not a republican party like Sinn Fein and therefore has no principled objection to the oath. Also, what is this “destroy the UK” pish? Talk sense, man. You don’t have to like the SNP to use vaguely reasonable, rational language.

            Serious question though – why are you so angry? You won the referendum. Democracy has worked! The people have spoken! The SNP, for the first time in its history, does not have independence in a manifesto! Isn’t this the British Nationalists’ greatest victory? But strangely, strangely many unionists seem to still be fighting as if it’s the first week of September 2014. The Tories even wheeled out the old logo yesterday, while Labour seem to be revelling in telling us that we’re too poor and without England’s largesse we would be bankrupt. Where is all this incoherent anger and backward-looking rage coming from? I really would like to know because to be honest, it’s a little disconcerting.

        • OK Kenny

          The SNP’s core political objective is to leave the UK, no matter the harm that this inflicts on other parts of the country, because they believe it will be best for Scotland. Maybe “destroy” is too harsh but the point remains the same.

          I come on here to challenge the orthodoxy of nationalism, about which I have deep suspicions and concerns. There is no point me trying to debate or argue these things on sites that are more attuned to my politics.

          I did hope the site would be more broad minded than it has turned out to be. This is one of my concerns about nationalism; it works by defining a small group whose interests are more important than others. It creates and insider/outsider mentally and based on some of the vitriol I’ve had on here I would probably not be welcome in an independent Scotland.

          Nor would the new hate minority of nationalism who are called Tories. Are there any other minorities that nationalists want to isolate? I am not a Conservative but someone has to start standing up for their right to have political beliefs that others should respect.

          I think the UK is a decent country which operates by spreading some wealth across the country so that, for example, we at least try to provide health care in the north of Wales as well as the north of Scotland. Pooling resources provides many other similar benefits that I don’t think that Scotland on its own can afford, and i find the SNP economic policies to be vague.

          Equally importantly if I am wrong and Scotland can afford to go it alone then this is probably at the expense of t people in other parts of the UK who will be adversely affected in Scotland withdraws its wealth from the common pot of the UK. I will not agree to beggar my neighbour in other parts of these islands.

          So which is it; we can;t afford independence or we will beggar our neighbours to achieve it? I dislike both propositions.

          I would say that this is about economic fairness and depends on there being a country of scale, the UK, that can afford to do all this including borrowing on international markets ate reasonable rates and being able to influence global politics. Or you can say it is “english largesse” but I don;t understand the need to make a racial slur.

          • Okay, I think you’ve had a good run but we’re all bored now, so run along now.

          • On your first point – you assume Scottish independence will harm England. Why? You *seem* to believe that Scotland is subsidised in some sense (whether by direct fiscal transfer or by some more nebulous economy of scale) by rUK/England. What does England lose by jettisoning us? Is it our money? Our resources? Our cultural input? I’m genuinely confused at the doublethink of the anti-Nat who seems to think Scotland cannot possibly go it alone but that for us to leave would be a grave threat to England.

            Pray tell, what IS the “orthodoxy of nationalism”? As far as I can tell, the most orthodox position to take during the referendum campaign was “I’m not a nationalist but…” and then explain how the dysfunctional Westminster system is so far beyond repair that our only real option was to leave. Mixed in with that was a sense of shifting the political debate a little to the left (or at least away from the extreme, hateful nationalism of UKIP, the BNP and other hate organisations like the Daily Mail that are or have been MUCH stronger down south than up here for a long, long time) and for most, the idea of being a normal country, able to make its own decisions to suit its own rather idiosyncratic needs. The SNP is the only major party in Britain saying we need MORE immigration (along with Yes campaign allies the Greens). The spectre of anti-Englishness is simply a lie. There may be a handful of isolated incidents and a bit of aggressive football banter, but to paint the SNP and the Yes campaign as anti-English (which would be traditionally a sign of “orthodox nationalism”) is to ignore the reality. It also, I think, forces you to ask which parties have been parading their flag recently? Which media organs have been pumping out fear and hate of the “other”, whether African, Polish or Scottish? If you hate nationalism so much, I have to ask why you’re not on the Telegraph website. There’s more of them there.

            You’re right to some extent about the “echo chamber” problem. Quite a few pro-indy sites are quite self-contained and find outside views pretty tough to hear. It’s unfortunate. However, imagine if you will that you’ve been pursuing a lofty political goal for some time – maybe a year or two, maybe a lifetime – and throughout that time you’ve been laughed at, sneered at, insulted, derided, called every name under the sun, threatened, lied about and suffered every other calumny imaginable…and then YOU’VE been blamed for all it. By EVERYONE. The entire media and political apparatus of your country has poured hate and scorn on you for daring to believe that things could be different, could be better. When someone then comes to you and calls you narrow-minded while making sneering remarks about unicorns and ladders to the moon, how would you feel?

            You think the UK is an essentially decent country. I don’t. Here’s few reasons why:

            – our soldiers murdered Catholics on a civil rights march in cold blood and forty years later they guilty men, known since the day it happened, have been protected. General Sir Mike Jackson got promoted the day before he admitted lying about the incident for the previous forty years. And that’s before I even get into things like Pat Finucane’s murder, when a lawyer was shot repeatedly in front of his wife and kids by a terrorist death squad while the British army held a cordon to make sure they could get in and out cleanly. No justice for any of them, yet a few soldiers die in London and the opposing soldier responsible has to be hounded to death.

            – our political leaders and their friends raped and murdered children. Read that again. OUR POLITICAL LEADERS RAPED AND MURDERED CHILDREN. FOR FUN. Then the media, police, security services and political machines covered it all up and protected the guilty until death.

            – the media/police/politics collusion to destroy innocent people and protect the guilty goes much further, of course. The most obvious example right now is Hillsborough.

            – then there’s all the slightly less important stuff, the casual disregard for normal ethical standards and common decency; you know, silly stuff like Cameron’s relationship with criminal Coulson and thuggish Clarkson; grotesque expenses fraud by our elected leaders; the very existence of the House of Lords and so on. All of these things tell me that the UK is actually a very, very, very bad place. That’s why I want out of it. That and FRRRREEEEDOOOOOOOM, obviously.

            On your last point, it is simply false to say that you need to be a large country to manage shocks and to operate successfully in the big, bad world. With the exception of the USA (which has a host of advantages not found in any other country in the world), pretty much all of the most successful countries in the world have under 10m citizens.

      • Barraload

        The Tory government takes its seat at EU table when half or more of them ‘ don’t want any part of?’ , Ruth Davidson MSP not a big fan of more Scottish devolution drawing a ‘line in the sand ‘ not long ago now does want to be part of Scotland getting more powers .

        The Tories tying themselves in knots arguing that in a democratic union Scottish voters do not have the same right to vote for whatever party they choose just as rUK. Its laughable . No really, its so funny .

  7. Progressive regionalists in England (Yorkshire, North-East, Northern Party) look forward to working with colleagues in SNP and Plaid Cymru – hand of friendship is outstretched!

  8. Strength to your arm SNP.
    Am with you all the way.Wish I had a vote.

    A Northumbrian supporter

  9. “the consequences for the Union would be demeaning and ‘torture’”, for whom? certainly not the Scots and Scotland.

  10. A great presentation and as always Nicola shows that she is a star. Whatever the outcome of the GE. we are moving inexorably in the direction of a better Scotland. The tide has turned. The people are waking up. The creation of a genuine democracy in Scotland, based on an informed and politically aware population is an achievable goal and it will lead us to our ultimate goal of independence. Exciting times..

    • OK I get the wave of sentiment that overshadows that the SNP are full of contradictions but one day we will wake up if there is ever a separate Scotland and have to pay the tab.

      Maybe it’s time to launch a radical centrist Unionist party that isn’t burdened by the left -right ideology of old

  11. I was at Ratho this morning. I know how partisan the BBC is but I still find it extraordinary that no reference to the SNP manifesto launch was made on Radio Scotland’s 7.30pm news. In fact reference to them was made only by way of report of David Cameron’s criticism of the SNP today – and that was their lead story. Extraordinary.

  12. Of course, the SNP is full of contradictions. It is a political movement, encompassing people of diverse political views, that has had to endeavour to function as a cohesive political party in order to bring about democratic change. The best it can ever be is ‘good enough’ and in my view it achieves that and more. In the coming year there will be the opportunity for the Greens, SSP and others who support self-government to play a more prominent part in influencing the policies of the Scottish Government. If the unionists can get over the referendum we can see an intelligent examination of a whole range of significant issues that are being raised by the Common Weal, Women for Independence, Radical Independence and by our increasingly engaged young people. Maybe a radical centrist unionist party will emerge that isn’t burdened by the left-right ideology of old. Exciting times indeed.

  13. I’m bored by CH. Mainly, it has to be said, because his/her inability to punctuate renders CH posts almost unreadable. How can I block them?

    • Susan,

      I am sorry you are bored (but not really).

      You don’t need a facility to ‘block’ me. All you need to do is skip over the comment when you see my name.

      If you are not interested, then all you need to do is not read my comments.

      However, the fact that you’ve made these observations points to one thing. Far from being bored, you find my comments compelling, because you keep on coming back to them / me.

      I’ve taken a bit more time over this comment re. punctuation, however if errors remain please accept my apologies.

  14. Fear 22
    The political ground in Scotland is shaking. Some people are afraid. They ask ‘where are we going? What will happen’? “If we support Labour at Westminster what might happen”?
    Many will only feel confused, anxious; if this anxiety grows takes on greater significance, then it is fear. Fear can be taught, made a political weapon by experts in the dark arts of fear mongering.
    There is a new book that speaks to the politics of fear or rather how to combat mass induced fear particularly within subordinate communities.
    ‘The Power of Autonomy in Latin America: the Art of Organising Hope’ the book defines autonomy as ‘the art of organising hope’.
    That is, ‘the art of shaping a reality which is not yet but can be anticipated’.
    This idea of ‘organising hope’ was developed by the German Marxist Ernest Bloch in a quite remarkable text ‘The Principle of Hope|” described by MIT as ‘one of the great books of the 20th century’ bridging Christianity, Marxism and popular culture. He argues that fear can be defeated by ‘learning hope’.
    Bella & others must become a popular university of hope.

  15. “They ask ‘where are we going? What will happen’? “If we support Labour at Westminster what might happen”?”
    People might find some answers here – but they may not be the answers they want to hear
    https://eurofree3.wordpress.com/2015/04/18/wheres-the-uk-going-now-scotland-has-gone/

  16. I was kind of hoping that something on abolishing the parasitic House of Lards would be high up in things. From that point of view it was disappointing. Yes I know that the Labour Party would never go for that since a lot of them are looking for peerages as a reward for selling out Scotland but it would have been nice if it had been there.

    • SNP 2015 Manifesto, *Stronger for Scotland* p11:

      “DEMOCRATIC REFORM
      Westminster badly needs to be reformed. An unelected second chamber is not acceptable in a modern democracy. Those with no democratic mandate should not be writing the laws of the land and SNP MPs will vote for the abolition of the House of Lords.”

  17. Why can’t the moderator recognize trolls and throw them off. The corporate labour troll and barraload of nonsense just disrupt these threads and all meaningful conversation.
    They would happily sit the entire day spewing rhetoric, arguing, nitpicking and in general wasting space and time. They are devoid of any reason. The reader always has the option (as I chose do) of simply skipping their posts over and not reading them, but there are far too many on here who take the bait, and their mission is accomplished, as most discussion or debate is ruined by going round in circles, like a dog chasing its own tail.
    If the moderator will not throw these labour trolls off, then I would politely ask that others just skip over their posts as I chose to do.

  18. “Why can’t the moderator recognize trolls and throw them off.”

    They can if they wish, I imagine they can block people’s IP addresses if they wish to.

    Or maybe, contrary to your assertion, they are not ‘trolls’, simply people who do not agree with you and have a different point of view (which you are unable to tolerate, and instead demand that people who’s views differ from your own narrative are ‘thrown off’)

    ” spewing rhetoric, arguing, nitpicking and in general wasting space and time.”

    Said the black pot to the kettle.

    “They are devoid of any reason”

    No, they just have a different point of view from you, which you cannot tolerate, and instead demand they are ‘thrown out’. In fact, there is a great deal of reason in many of the viewpoints opposing the narrative peddled on here – you just don’t want to listen to it, because you are a True Believer.

    “The reader always has the option (as I chose do) of simply skipping their posts over and not reading them”

    Clearly not though – it’s obvious you are reading them all, in detail.

    “as most discussion or debate is ruined by going round in circles”

    I don’t find that at all. In fact, on occasion, people have proved me wrong or made my challenge my own views and assumptions.

    I think you are incapable of this though, because you are a True Believer. So anything that conflicts with the narrative is ‘ruining’ the ‘debate’.

    What you really want is any debate or alternative position shut down and silenced. Which is the classic True Believer position, and I surmise is held by an increasing number of people up there, which is a genuinely worrying development. Especially where ‘nationalism’ is involved.

    “If the moderator will not throw these labour trolls off, then I would politely ask that others just skip over their posts as I chose to do.”

    See you again next time.

    • Oh, and I should have said – I’m not a Labour voter, or remotely interested in the Labour Party.

    • Points well made, CH. They like to chuck it but don’t like it when its chucked back.

      • Well yes, I’m all for free and open debate and I wouldn’t ban anyone without pretty good reason. However, you must accept that using terms like “True Believer” and talking about how the Yes campaign promised “unicorns and ladders to the moon” and calling “everyone” here a “kool-aid swigging moonie” does basically sound like childish trolling. Even if there is meaningful argument in amongst the insults and straw men, it’s hard to take seriously and, on top of the thoroughly appalling abuse heaped on pro-independence people by the mainstream media and most mainstream politicians for the last few years, it does become pretty unpleasant when people bring it into what were once “safe spaces” for people to discuss their national aspirations and thoughtfully dismantle the orthodoxies of the status quo.

        Until people learn some self-awareness then debate is difficult. Until they learn some manners, it is impossible.

        • “terms like “True Believer” and talking about how the Yes campaign promised “unicorns and ladders to the moon”

          These are in my view valid criticisms, and honestly, if you or others are ‘offended’ by that then you are much too sensitive, and maybe these kind of debates aren’t for you.

          “calling “everyone” here a “kool-aid swigging moonie” does basically sound like childish trolling”.

          Really? Colourful language, maybe. Perhaps you should speak to the moderators and establish a long list of fixed rules about what language and terms are and are not acceptable.

          “even if there is meaningful argument in amongst the insults and straw men”.

          Pot / kettle / black again. Honestly, Scottish nationalists and scottish nationalism is the home of the straw man, appeal to emotion and other logical fallacies.

          e.g. “we won’t have anyone doing / talking Scotland down” is (admittedly a quite clever) amalgam of appeal to emotion and straw man, but completely meaningless, especially in the context of any kind of rational debate.

          “on top of the thoroughly appalling abuse heaped on pro-independence people by the mainstream media for the last few years”

          Zzzzzzzzz. On and on and on with this. “It’s all the fault of the mainstream right wing media, they have brainwashed millions who are incapable of finding things out for themselves, coming to their own conclusions and making up their own minds, those feeble weak minded fools” etc. etc.

          Change the bloody record, for God’s sake.

          “and most mainstream politicians”

          Some politicians don’t agree with you. Heresy! Burn them!

          “it does become pretty unpleasant when people bring it into what were once “safe spaces”

          If you don’t want anyone bringing in views that conflict with your own so you can preserve the purity of your narrative, then you need to create your own private website / forum.

          Otherwise, this is on the internet, and beyond your suggestion of ‘banning’ anyone who disagrees with you, you are going to have to put up with people who don’t agree with you. And so you should, though as I say I am concerned about what is going on up there.

          “and thoughtfully dismantle the orthodoxies of the status quo”

          But others are not permitted to dismantle the orthodoxies of nationalism etc, of course

          “Until people learn some self-awareness then debate is difficult”.

          Of course, ‘self-awareness’ is purely the preserve of those True Believers who unquestioningly support the narrative on here, and it is not possible for anyone who questions the narrative to possess self-awareness. They are all ‘blinkered unionist trolls’.

          “Until they learn some manners, it is impossible”

          Pot / kettle / black.

          • I was trying to be polite and maybe help you gain some insight. I actually spent a long time writing a post above just a few seconds ago to address some of your issues and hopefully help you to see the other side of the coin.

            Now I realise you ARE a troll. Fuck off.

  19. Yeah, I can see myself losing sleep over what the collective UK media thinks about Scotland or Scottish politics.

    No really.

  20. Corporatist Hell; Hereward and Barraload are you all retired? You appear able to come on here with your Brit Prop at all hours. Or are you paid trolls?….. You are not open to any points made about Scotland’s progress to regaining its freedom. Just doom laden lies about how poor and how stupid we are.

    Why do you show no anger towards the British media, in particular the shocking racist English media’s disgraceful portrayal of your fellow countrymen and women? Why like all Unionists are you blind to the racism and British nationalist hatred of our democratic movement towards self rule? Why don’t you answer these points instead of sneering and playground jeering?

    • Corporatist Hell are you retired?”

      I wish. I suspect I’ll be working until I’m about 80.

      “You appear able to come on here with your Brit Prop at all hours”.

      Seriously though, I have a little boy not yet one year old, who sometimes gets me up very early, if it’s the timing of the posts you are referring to. (After his bottle, he likes to go in his rainforest rocker and hit the monkeys for a bit, so I had a few spare moments and a coffee).

      “Or are you paid trolls?”

      No.

      “You are not open to any points made about Scotland’s progress to regaining its freedom”

      I’m perfectly open to points about Scotland’s “progress to regaining it’s freedom” as you call it. It is the underlying assumptions and basis about that ‘freedom’, how it is presented and framed by various agents, what it will look like, and how it will be experienced by (the different parts of ) the population that I have grave concerns about.

      “Just doom laden lies”

      No, I’ve make observations informed by evidence and the current and historical experience (which you are free to challenge, properly if you wish)

      “About how poor and how stupid we are”

      No, that’s your phrase, not mine. I have never used this or even insinuated this.

      I did say you are free to challenge my observations properly if you wish. As we can see, all we get from you is arm waving anger, hysteria and hyperbole.

      Why do you show no anger towards the British media,

      Because I don’t have a victim / persecution complex.

      And what they is at times interesting and only one of a large plurality of sources upon which I make up my own mind about things.

      “in particular the shocking racist English media’s disgraceful portrayal of your fellow countrymen and women? “

      “Scottish” is not a race.

      And honestly, I’ve got more important things to worry about than what anyone in the media says about anyone.

      Why like all Unionists

      I’m not a ‘Unionist’. What is a unionist? What does that mean?

      “are you blind to the racism”

      No. At least I don’t think so. And ‘Scottish’ is not a race.

      “and British nationalist hatred of our democratic movement towards self rule?”

      Eh, you had your referendum, and the people of Scotland decided to remain part of the UK by a significant margin.
      Who is ‘our’? I hope you don’t mean ‘Scottish people’ or ‘the population of Scotland’ because you and the minority of extremists on this site is not the same as either of those.

      If you had a democratic movement towards self-rule you would have won your referendum. You lost the referendum, so yours is an UN-democratic movement towads self-rule, at this moment.

      “Why don’t you answer these points instead of sneering and playground jeering?”

      I always do, but as a True Believer you don’t like the answers, because it conflicts with your internal narrative. You cannot tolerate any opinion that conflicts with your own, so your only recourse is to denounce any point made as ‘sneering and jeering’.

      • CH your responses are nonsensical and insulting. I am not an extremist.Iam a democrat and losing one referendum does not excludes any future referendum on independence,if the Scottish people demand it. You are a false flag…an irritating troll whose sole raison d’aitre is provocation. Your internal narrative is limitless hatred of all we stand for. You are entitled to think that way.After all you”rr being paid well for it. But don’t use up valuable space on here please. Go and spout your whining faux contrary schtick on Scottish Loyalists or some other a BT gripe site.

  21. This stupid drowning of intelligent debate by the ping-pong of trolls and responses is turning Bella into a golf-club bar of shouts/shites. What a tragedy for what was a quality political space for fresh thinking.

  22. Well oldbattle, CH is a self confessed higher taxpayer who complains that he’s paying too much, He’s been told that he’s a drain on society, an eater of others’ wealth. He looks from his window and sees peace, wealth and beauty. Well he would, wouldn’t he?

    Yet he claims he’ll have to retire at 80, poor thing. In other words he’s out to provoke and he has pushed and pushed for a ban. He has a martyr complex, enjoying persecution. He has an aversion to democracy as he lies back and thinks of England.

    I hope he’s not banned – Bella allows many views and that’s fine by me. It lets us see the nature of the right wingers and reactionaries who abound. Know thine enemy. And enjoy seeing how he plans his needling. It’s not well done but is interesting.

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