Britain Politics Scotland

The End of the Dream – Why the SNP Have Given up on Independence – Part 1


This post was way too long so I have decided to amend it and run it as a mini -series….this is part 1!

As a result of illness I had the privilege of being able to watch a great deal of both the Tory and SNP conferences.   They were fascinating. Teresa May gave what sounded like the most left wing speech of any British Prime Minister since Harold Wilson, the ‘Remainer’ Tories came out as anti-immigrant xenophobes (probably because they thought this would endear them to their constituency, although the thought that they were trying to sabotage Brexit did fleetingly cross my mind!), and many of the root and branch Tories went home satisfied and happy that they had their party back.   The SNP conference in Glasgow last week was even more fascinating. And profoundly disturbing. I have been thinking about it all weekend and I think I have worked out why.

Firstly I have to say how much there is to admire about the SNP.   It is a well-oiled machine with many fine people within it and some excellent political leadership. John Swinney, Rosanna Cunningham, Mike Russell and of course Nicola Sturgeon are good politicians and come over as warm and real human beings! Sturgeon in particular comes across as a thoughtful, intelligent and passionate politician. She is streets ahead of any other political leader in Scotland. The SNP has managed to overcome a rigged political system and has the British media and political elites eating out of its hands.   I loved their attitude to immigration – Ian Black, Alex Salmond and Katie Forbes all spoke really well on this issue. As I listened to the conference I realised that I lived in paradise!   In Scotland we have a better health service, less crime, less racism and we are more caring, more communitarian, more internationalist.    This is of course hyperbole, but we should not be churlish and fail to recognize the good that the SNP government has done.


 But….there is something rotten in the state of Scotland – and in the SNP. I think that the media and many of the senior politicians have not grasped the major change that has occurred. Rather than independence being the be all and end all of the SNP, it has been sidelined.

The SNP seems to have given up on real independence and instead has morphed into a different party – a party of the new elitist establishment.

In fact in Scotland it largely is the establishment.  I heard one delegate say that for him, as for many of the new members, independence is a means to an end, not the end itself. The SNP membership has grown by 100,000 in the past months and I suspect that many of them are not nationalists in the traditional sense – they are people who see the SNP as giving them as opportunity to get their ideal world (as well as of course an opportunity for some careerists to get a political career).  So what does the SNP stand for? What is the ‘end’? Alex Massie and others completely misunderstand – this is not about Scotland’s Independence – this is about the religion of progressivism and the fantasy of the EU.

Firstly it is Progressive – this buzzword along with equality and inclusion make up the holy trinity of todays SNP ideology.  I wonder if anyone actually knows what it means? Is it part of the Marxist Social Darwinianist view of history that assumes (without evidence) that humanity is inevitably getting better?   Is that why in any argument about the new morality anyone who dares to disagree with the elitist view is automatically branded as ‘on the wrong side of history’?

This leads to constant repetitive of ‘progressive’ slogans from ‘progressive’ politicians, funding for ‘progressive’ causes and virtue signaling from those same politicians. This was seen at the conference when in a cringe worthy display of smugness and self-righteousness, a panel of SNP Westminster MPs mocked their fellow MPs and boasted about their own achievements and how people in England wanted to be like them! John Nicholson, an SNP MP, told of how he had as an SNP MP become the first in the list of those who can present a private members bill. And what key and cutting issue for the people of Scotland was he proposing?   He is putting forward a private members bill that pardons gay men who have been found guilty of a crime that is no longer a crime. When he announced that he was doing this with the support of the Tories he was greeted with rapturous applause. Really? However worthy, with all that faces us in Scotland and the UK, this is the key issue?

Secondly it is Pro-EU- From being a convenient answer to the question could Scotland survive on its own (answer ‘we won’t be on our own, we’ll be part of the EU’), this has become the raison d’etre of the SNP, the central core of its creed. “An independent Scotland within an interdependent EU” makes no more sense than ‘an independent Scotland within an interdependent UK”, but that does not stop the mantra being repeated ad nauseum.

Again it was interesting to watch how all the main politicians stayed on song, repeated the mantras and refused to engage with any of the key questions.   John Swinney was asked who was speaking up for the third of SNP voters who voted to leave the EU. His response? ‘We have an open debate in our conference’. As someone who watched the whole debate I have to say that that was somewhat ‘economical with the truth’.   Where were the MPs, MSPs and local councilors who voted Leave?   They are not allowed to speak against party policy. This hardly constitutes ‘open debate’.

John then went on to tell us that we must ‘protect the open, progressive internationalist Scotland that people want Scotland to be’. But he didn’t explain why belonging to a protectionist-trading block like the EU fulfills that mandate. When asked about Iceland he didn’t answer, just reverted to the default mode of the conference – blame the Tories.

He then repeated another mantra (repeated ad nauseum by fellow SNP politicians and on social media – are they given a crib sheet to memorise?). ‘Nicola was speaking for the whole of Scotland who voted to remain’. No she wasn’t because the whole of Scotland didn’t vote to remain. 1.6 million out of an electorate of 4 million voted for the UK to remain in the EU. This is hardly warrant for claiming to speak for ‘the whole of Scotland’. She is not even speaking for the whole of the SNP – 400,000 SNP voters voted for the UK to Leave.   Furthermore it may seem somewhat obvious, (but the SNP spin doctors have become rather good at avoiding the obvious); no one in Scotland voted for Scotland to remain in the EU, because that was not the question on the ballot paper. We didn’t have a vote on that issue.

Remain means Remain!

Angus Robertson came up with the twee sound bite ‘ ‘for us – remain means remain’ without explaining what that means.   The UK voted to leave. But does the SNP really want us to remain in an EU which for example insists that we subsidise the Queen, the Mormon Church and the Sultan of Dubai just because they have land in Britain? Because ‘remain’ means remain in the Common Agricultural Policy, a policy which makes a mockery of the SNP’s proposed and right land reform.

Angus then went in full threat mode…’if you continue to ignore the express will of the people of Scotland’…This is clear chutzpah.   1.6 million Scots voted for the UK to leave the EU (this apparently cannot be ignored) whilst 2 million Scots voted to stay in the UK (this apparently must be ignored).   But hey, who said logic ever came into politics?

The Oldest Alliance in the World…?

Not to be outdone Mike Russell, our Brexit minister, informed us that ‘we are part of the oldest alliance in world, an alliance we will never give up’.   As a historian I found this rewriting of history to be fascinating. Given that the EU has only been around for a few decades what was he referring to? Our alliance with France (short-lived and disastrous), Scottish mercenaries going of to fight for Gustavus Adolphus? Our wars with Germany? France? Italy? Spain? The Netherlands?  In terms of ‘alliances’ the oldest continuous working alliance in the world is between Scotland and England in the UK.   But Mr. Russell does want to give that up.   Confused?

And finally the First Minister, our Nicola has really swallowed the progressive ‘EU as religion’ pill.   She complained that the UK had been changed fundamentally which puzzled me, because surely that is the purpose of the SNP – to change fundamentally the UK?   She wanted a ‘progressive outward looking internationalist Scotland able to chart our own course’! – Yep, that word again. But she ignored the elephant in the room and no one else seemed prepared to point it out. If we are in the EU we are not able to ‘chart our own course’ on a huge range of issues.   She declared ‘we want our own parliament to be independent’, claiming freedom from a UK parliament where we have 59 MPs out of a total of 650, whilst proposing that we enthrall ourselves to a European Parliament where we would have 6 out of 751. Go figure!

Another great quote from Nicola –

“Independence brings its own challenges but with independence the solution lies in our own hands”.

Indeed. But why does that same statement not apply to the independence of the UK from the EU?

The most revealing quote (and one that was not picked up by the press) came when Nicola expressed her motivation – she explained that after the EU vote

“I felt as though part of my identity was being taken away”.

This is such a revealing quote. The EU had moved in SNP eyes from being a corporate capitalist conspiracy which wrecked the Scottish fishing industry, to the Saviour of Scotland – something which was part of our identity.   That’s why she was prepared to change long-term SNP policy, (no deals with the Tories) – to ‘building on the common ground of ‘No’ voters wandering about Brexit ‘ and working with Labour, Lib Dems and Tories to prevent Brexit.   I found this whole proposal quite chilling and indeed against everything the SNP used to stand for.  The SNP used to campaign against the EU. Now having wanted to prevent a democratic vote on the EU (they were opposed to an EU referendum) today  they want to prevent the result of that vote being realized. Can you imagine how they would have reacted if the Indy Ref vote had gone our way and then Westminster used every trick in the book to prevent or delay it happening?!   We have been bought and sold for EU gold – such a parcel of rogues in a nation.


This is why it is the great blasphemy in the SNP to question the EU – the couple of speakers who tried were given short shrift. One brave man, Robert Martin, admitted he voted Leave but was immediately put down by Dr Alistair Macleod who in response said that ‘despite what we have just heard, Scotland has always been an internationalist country’.   It was a disgraceful and dumb statement. Being against the EU does not mean that you are not an internationalist.   In fact it is precisely BECAUSE I am an internationalist that I am opposed to a European Union which seeks to create a Fortress Europe for the benefit of the corporate elites, and harms Africans, Asians and Arabs.

EU or UK Meltdown?

This is why the SNP swallows the irrationality of freaking out about the potential harmful financial effects of leaving the EU, whilst dismissing the far greater potential harmful financial effects of leaving the UK.   It is disappointing, to say the least, to see SNP government ministers retweeting scare stories about Brexit from corporate bankers and currency speculators, when these same bankers and speculators were putting out the same scare stories when they feared that Scotland might become independent. Incidentally the SNP seem to have forgotten the intervention by senior EU figures in the Independence Referendum trying to stop us voting Yes. Memories are short.

EU Students.

There was one policy announcement concerning the EU which was greeted with cheers by the delegates – although I wondered if any were aware of what it actually involves.   We were told that free tuition for EU students would be extended for another year. What’s wrong with that? Firstly it makes a mockery of the SNP’s claim that it doesn’t matter where you come from – because if you come from England or Wales or Northern Ireland you have to pay the full whack. Or indeed, China, America, Africa or Australia. Are the Scottish government prepared to pay for English students to study in Scotland on the same terms as Scottish and EU?   And whilst I think it is great to have as many international students as possible in Scotland – we do need to ask what is possible? Is it right to spend £27 million of public money son free tuition every year to an increasing number of EU students (from 6,738 to 13,312 in 9 years), whilst strict caps are placed on Scots and most of Scotland’s Universities are struggling?

Indy Ref 2?

Anyway lets come to the headline stuff. The threat of another Indy Ref. This is a deeply cynical move by the SNP, not as Ruth Davidson, Alex Massie and others are stating, to get independence, but rather as a means to stop Brexit.  The SNP’s primary function is no longer to get an independent Scotland; it’s to keep Scotland and the UK in the EU. The threat of Indy Ref 2 is a bargaining ploy. My view is that the establishment in the EU never accepts the results of referendums and that they and their allies within the UK establishment will do everything to derail this one. The big corporations, the City of London, the bankers, the civil service, the educational establishment, the legal establishment, the arts establishment, most of the media and the political parties will do everything they can, by hook or by crook to either prevent Brexit, or neuter it so much that it will be largely meaningless. As an SNP supporter I am deeply ashamed that my own party is siding with the bankers, the corporates and the metro elites just because they have bought into the whole EU myth.

I am also somewhat disappointed at the lack of discernment in the main hall. Nicola threw the delegates the red meat of another Indy ref, but they did not appear to notice the garb in which it was clothed – ‘consultation’, ‘draft bill’ etc. In other words it’s not going to happen. The Westminster government would have to agree and they won’t. And the Scottish government wouldn’t want them to, because, despite the EU love-in that occurred at the conference ,the majority of Scots don’t care enough about the EU to seek to break up the UK.   The SNP know that, but they have to play the game, talk up division and danger and hope that they can scare enough people or create enough anger to drive people to their side.

No Mandate

Nicola says that there is no mandate to leave the Single Market. Technically that may be correct but in reality what does she think that voting to Leave actually meant? If the Single Market is the EU by other means then there is a mandate. And why this obsession with a single market? Why can’t we have multiple markets and in this age of globalization trade with Africa, China, the Americas and the rest of the world, as well as the EU?   It is foolish for a Scottish government to put all its eggs into one basket. In fact they seem to have fallen into that age-old trap of the Scottish cringe – we can’t do it so we need someone else to look after us. We can’t govern ourselves or look after our own economy. If we give up London and its subsidies then we will have to accept Brussels and its subsidies. Instead of fighting tooth and nail and being used by the corporates to keep the UK in the EU, the Scottish government should be seeking to take advantage of the great opportunities that will arise because we are no longer bound by EU trade deals, or indeed the lack of such deals.

Who cares for the Poor? 

The obsession with Europe meant that other issues were often ignored. I admired the speaker who pointed out that there were no resolutions on taxation and the economy.   Am I the only one who was puzzled that a child poverty act is needed after ten years of SNP government?   I know it is convenient and partially true to blame the Tories, but do we not have any responsibility for our own economy and society?

Trident Hypocrisy

And what about Trident?   It’s all very well to feed the conference delegates the sweet honey of ‘we will always oppose Trident’, but that turns sour and bitter when the parties’ policy is to remain part of NATO, an organization that relies on Trident. Sheltering under the nuclear umbrella whilst moralizing about nuclear weapons is not honest politics.

For Part 2 – The Nightmare begins click Here

For Part 3 – Fantasy Politics – Why the SNP are Giving up on Independence – Part 3–Childcare

PS. I guess I need to offer this disclaimer – these views are my own personal views and not those of the Free Church or Solas or any other group I am from time to time associated with – such as Dundee FC, Dundee Chess Club or the SNP!








  1. Clearly your illness is a mental one. Your grasp of the reality is significantly different from how a rational man sees it. In no way has SNP given up independence. David – you are an idiot – sadly a very visible one that many people listen to.

    1. Thanks Mark for that considered and well thought through response. I can always rely on my friends in Secular Scotland to come up with reasoned, evidenced based and helpful responses! Its a good job you didn’t resort to just abuse and name calling….can’t wait for your next stimulating and edifying post!

    2. Mark, nice to see you here – not seen you around for a while. Thanks for giving me a laugh with the mental illness / rational man / idiot comments.

      How’s it going in SSS with advocating the removal of all religious components to RO in schools and the abolition of denominational schools and other rational approaches?

  2. mgordon,
    thank you – your (presumably disinterested) assessment is very cheering, that people DO notice and DO listen to David.

  3. Interesting take on indy/EU stance – I think it’s correct. Stick it in a letter to newspapers, I suggest.

  4. “Speaking of identity – I am also disturbed by the new identity politics of the new SNP. You can be whoever you want to be. You are Scottish if you want to be. Sounds so nice and inclusive. Politics is identity. And you have the right identity if you choose to be one of us. Political ideology/identity trumps blood, ethnicity, religion, geography, family, history, gender. Everything. You can be whatever you want to be providing you are one of us.”

    If Brexit occurs, and a second referendum results in Scottish independence and admission to the EU, can I then chose to become Scottish? I feel Scottish! I believe I have been Scottish since birth, and that I have been wrongly cast with the incorrect nationality. I believe that I have the right to be accepted with my chosen nationality.

    This will mean that I can live in a nation which is truly international and free from the Euro (England), yet retain a European passport which means I can get into the fast queue at the airport.

    Surely this is the logical outcome?

    P.S. Although I have lived in England since I was four, I am a full Scot by birth.

  5. An interesting read, and in many ways an accurate appraisal of the situation. However, the absurd doctrine of “Independence in Europe” is what brought the SNP from 1980s marginality into government: without it, it is inconceivable that the SNP would have received so much publicity over the decades from the establishment media; indeed, the SNP has been encouraged by the Europhile establishment since Euro-godfather Ted Heath’s Declaration of Perth in 1968. For me it makes opposing the SNP a “No brainer”…their talk of Scottishness comes across as identity theft.

  6. Well done that man. Eventually, even in an extreme faith-based political culture, the penny drops. Vacuous bullshit will only do for so long when actions so obviously cease to measure up to the selected narrative. And still the catastrophic inadequacy of the structure of the economy looms in the background. If a second referendum on independence, whenever it is held, is not fought on the issue of viability, rather than desirability, then it too will be lost.

  7. Good article. Pretty much sums up what I have concluded. The SNP is being cornered by reality. The threat of Indy ref 2 is just a ploy so that Sturgeon can keep her supporters happy. They are fully in bed with all the elites and want Scotland to be subservient to her Brussels masters. The irony in all this is that Brexit is far more internationalist and independent and presents a golden opportunity for all the countries of the UK to trade with the rest of the world. Indy ref 2 won’t happen and the SNP have already begun their decline following their peak in 2015.

  8. The SNP’s claims to be ‘progressive’ always make me smile. On tax and education – 2 key areas – they are pursuing right wing policies the Tories would be proud of. Certainly not in keeping with the ‘progressive’ mantra………..

  9. Curious argument this, about being in the EU means you are no longer independent as a country. Apart from UKIPers, who else believes it – for example, do the French think they are not independent, or the Germans. Or even the English before Brexit?

    But somehow the SNP are hypocrites/idiots for wanting to be in the EU? What kind of Scotsman would swap independence and EU membership for perpetual subservience under Westminster? Give me a break!

    P.S. The key to understanding the SNP is summed up by the word ‘gradualism’. And also ‘pragmatism’.

    1. What would you say if someone said it was a curious argument that we are not independent in the union of the United Kingdom?

      The fact is that there are many people in France and Germany and the Netherlands who think that their countries are not really independent. And just wait until you get to the Greeks and the Italians!

      If you belong to a union which makes most of your laws, dictates your finance, controls your military and determines your foreign policy- to what extent are you truly independent? You are aware that it is the purpose of the European federalists to create a United States of Europe and do away with independent countries altogether?

      1. I’d probably humour them, and edge away, slowly at first. 🙂

        But seriously, if France or Germany want to declare a Frexit or whatever, they can go ahead and do it. Doesn’t matter what EU thinks. Because they are independent, can do what they want.

        Same with the English, they want to leave the EU, they leave! Doesn’t matter what EU, (or Scotland) thinks. Same with Scotland’s resources – if England wants them, England gets them – doesn’t matter what Scotland says about it.

        But, Scotland wants to stay in EU – doesn’t matter; need to do what the English say – because England is sovereign; These last two points prove Scotland is vassal state (servile).

        Vassal of England, you notice? Not France, or Germany. Vassal of England, and England is very possessive about it – have you noticed English naval vessels are challenging foreign vessels this week, off Shetland? Did Scottish ‘parliament’ have a say on that. No, of course not, wouldn’t matter if it did because it has no rights over Scottish coast or territory – that belongs to England, they can do what they want with it.

        And can the Scots complain? Uniquely in these islands, they kept their independence from the English in the way that all proper nations do. But, in the end their leaders sold out for coin. And the Scots grumble -that’s all, grumble.

        If they don’t want to be masters in their own house, so be it.

        I have a question in return 😉 What would you say to someone who is confused about any role of the original Presbyterian church leadership in subverting the Scottish state, and any actions that led to delivering Scotland into foreign hands? Was that fit and proper action by the likes of Knox regarding his monarch and fellow countrymen? Was it Christian?

      2. Its strange – I had not come across this argument before but now I have heard it three times in the past week….I guess its doing the rounds on the internet! France and the Netherlands and Greece are ‘independent’ because they can leave anytime they want. By that criteria Scotland is an independent country because we too can leave whenever we want. We voted not to. Who says Scotland wants to stay in the EU? You are aware that Scotland has not voted on Scotland staying in the EU? 1.6 million Scots (out of an electorate of 4 million) voted for the UK to stay in the EU, but the majority of people in that election voted for the Uk to leave. To argue otherwise is like suggesting that if Scotland had voted to leave the UK and the majority of people in Edinburgh had voted to stay then Edinburgh should be allowed to stay in the UK!

      3. I’m sorry but this is beginning to sound like the kind of paranoid nationalism which does no one any service. Scotland can leave the United Kingdom when Scotland wishes to do so. At this moment in time we do not wish to do so – even though I personally would prefer it. The English did not vote to leave the EU, it was the whole of the United Kingdom – A United Kingdom which we voted to remain part of. so please avoid all the conspiracy theories and all the paranoia! and try to get your history right!

      4. That’s right, the Scots were given, by the sovereign parliament in England (and by an accident of politics), the right to decide freely whether to regain their historic independent statehood; and for whatever reason opted to remain vassal. So it seems they will have to go with the flow over Brexit.

        I notice you have nothing to say about the role of the Church in making Scotland vassal. Is that a sign of a guilty conscience?

      5. John you are contradicting yourself. You state that if a nation is free to leave a union then it is independent. By that criteria Scotland is independent! And your question about the role of the church in making Scotland vassal is a self-contradictory accusatory one that doesn’t really make any historical sense.

  10. I’d like to hear your ideas on how an Independent Scotland outside the EU would deal with the rest of the world. Do you favour the Norwegian or the Icelandic model or Other (please elaborate). Thanks.

    1. You do realise that the rest of the world is not in the EU? I’m assuming that we would deal with them the same way as we do just now – but without having to wait for the agreement of another 27 nations.

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