When Yes Means No – Part 3 – The Dream

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This is the third and final part of a series began earlier in the week, explaining why I, as a 2014 Yes voter have taken the painful decision to vote No if there is another IndyRef soon.

When Yes means No – A Tale of Three Referendums – Part 1 – The Fantasy

When Yes means No – A Tale of Three Referendums – Part 2 – The Nightmare

The response to these essays has been astounding. Thousands have read them. Literally hundreds of messages, questions etc. Even the press have caught on to it (watch this space!).   To those who were kind enough to ask, yes I still have the lurgy and that’s why I’m able to finish this. To those who have been inquiring about my mental stability – I’m fine! But thanks for asking.

For those who have been tweeting like mad in denial mode – suggesting that I am the only SNP supporter thinking like this, I’m sorry but I have been contacted by many SNP supporters who agree with my position and are thankful that someone is speaking out.

Some of the attacks have been bizarre – not just the personal abuse but also the irrelevant ad hom attacks.   Some of the saddest have been those who attack my Christianity and Church – despite the fact that I specifically state in all the articles that I am not speaking on behalf of the Church, and this is my own political not theological views.   As for the man who accused me of using the Church to further my political ‘ambissions’ (sic) I have to say that I have no political ambitions at all, and if I did, writing a blog like this would kill them off!

For those who object to my saying that faith in the EU has become like a religious cult and then furiously attack me for being a heretic – thanks. You prove my point. I am reminded of Richard Feynman’s saying:

“I would rather have questions that can’t be answered, than answers that can’t be questioned”

But now lets move on to part three – the Dream.

So far I have argued that those who really want an Independent Scotland should vote NO at the next Indy Ref (if it happens) because a Scotland tied into the EU will not be really independent.   I have also expressed concern that the SNP in their EU obsession do not allow debate and that they are governing the country in the same way as they run the party – seeking to limit dissent and demonise those of us who don’t buy into the EU myth.   Now I want to think the unthinkable. 

1) Because of its Hubris and Short-Sightedness, the SNP are destroying the dream of Scottish Independence.

 

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The trouble is that like all the ‘unco righteous’ the elites who govern us live in a small cocoon, talk to each other and listen only to their own media. They live in an echo chamber where the National and the Sunday Herald have become the confirmation bias, alternative facts of the new post truth administration.   And they of course are backed up by the social media mobs.

Thomas Carlyle – “It is unfortunate, though very natural, that the history of this period has so generally been written in hysterics.  Exaggeration abounds, execration, wailing; and on the whole, darkness.”   (1837 – History of the French Revolution).

If you doubt any of this you should see my Twitter feed over the past few days.

I’m not sure whether there is someone in party HQ sending out links to activists, or whether these activists, politicians and journalists just live in an echo chamber where they automatically retweet each others posts, but today is a classic example of how it works. Suddenly we are all being told that EU civil servants are in consultation about ‘fast tracking’ an Independent Scotland into the EU, according to this article in Buzzfeed

…this seems somewhat contradicted by this article in The Scotsman  . You will note how the Buzzfeed article is typical of these types – they are speculative, full of ‘ifs and buts’ and based upon ‘gossip’ about what ‘might’ happen.   This will do nothing to persuade the doubters. Especially when we have Scottish government ministers telling us that £3 billion per year will be a price worth paying for being in the EU.   A Scotland that is already £15 billion in debt is going to add another £3 billion just to belong to the EU – and exclude us from other world markets without their permission. There will be no Barnett formula from the EU, instead there will be a Berlin formula where we are expected to subsidise them!

However the purpose of this kind of ‘news’ is not to convince doubters but to reassure the true believers. This confirmation bias, listening only to those who tell you what you want to hear approach has led the SNP down a disastrous approach as regards Brexit. Egged on by their more enthusiastic followers, who genuinely believe that the ‘independence Nirvana in Europe’ is just one vote away, they have gambled with Scottish independence – and, despite more hysteria caused by a Herald poll today – they are losing. Big time.   I said months ago that all Theresa May had to do was sit tight, get on with things, and ignore the increasingly hysterical threats from the Scottish government and she would get everything she wanted.   The SNP were bluffing. And their bluff has been called.

Let me say a word about the Herald poll and how it is reported – and thereafter tweeted. 49% of people now want Indy we are told. But then you read the small print and you find that that figure excludes the DKs (Don’t Knows). Strange that the Herald did not publish the full figures but I eventually found them. The reality is that 43% of those polled said they would be likely to vote Yes next time. That is nowhere near what is needed to call a winnable referendum.   But that won’t stop the true believers who now all buy into the ‘we are starting from a higher threshold than last time’ and ‘we haven’t started campaigning yet’. The first statement is true but irrelevant because the second statement isn’t. The campaigning has never stopped. Yet despite this the supposed Brexit surge hasn’t happened and we are stuck where we were before – except with greater uncertainty about the economy, about using the Euro and about relationships with the rest of the UK.

Such a Parcel of Rogues… 

For me the absolute low point was when Mike Russell and Nicola Sturgeon went crawling to the UK government and offered a ‘compromise’ that was basically ‘we will give up on the idea of Scottish independence, if you ensure that Scotland stays in the Single Market’. In effect we had a Scottish Independence party offering to give up one on kind of independence (that from the UK) so that it could give up on another kind of independence (that of freedom from the EU).  And lets stop pretending it was a ‘compromise’. It was nothing of the sort. It was a gamble that failed.

Being Scottish I know what it is like to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Its part of our sporting psyche which our politicians also seem to adapt. They have also learned the art of turning defeats into mythical victories.   In this weeks Brexit debate every one of the SNPs amendments was overwhelmingly defeated and yet we had the absurd sight of the SNP withdrawing one of the amendments in order ‘to give the Prime Minister a second chance’. She must have been quaking in her boots! They were giving up something they had no chance of winning in order to threaten something they had no chance of delivering.

 

Speaking of Westminster, there is a real problem with the influx of SNP MPs to Westminster in that there is a substantial lack of depth, experience and quality. The leader Angus Robertson has shown he has real quality and he comes across really well – and there are others. But overall there is a shallowness and smugness that is not really helping Scotland or its people.   Take for example the Brexit debate – so much of it was showboating and grandstanding. It may feel awfy clever to put down 50 amendments, to have angry Salmond shout at the Speaker, and to whistle ‘Ode to Joy’, the EU’s national anthem, as the vote is taken – but apart from getting favourable press in the already favourable press, what good does it do? At the end of the day the SNP lost every single one of their amendments and basically got nothing for the Scottish people and ensured that the Westminster government now knows they can do without Scottish support.   This was not our finest moment.  And this was not Alex Salmonds…

 

I don’t believe that in a sane world that there would be any possibility of the SNP calling IndyRef2. There is little chance that it would be won, it would be incredibly destabilizing, do harm to the Scottish economy and hold up the normal politics we now need to get some of the problems in our society sorted before they become worse. But IndyRef2 may have to happen because having marched her troops up to the top of the hill; it would be difficult for Nicola to march them back down again.

My view is that the SNP having seen their membership increase in a wave of emotional enthusiasm after the failure of Indy Ref 1, will either have to call Indy Ref 2 and then suffer the consequences of losing and we will get the next ten years complaining about the betrayal. Or they will back off, knowing it can’t be won, and still complain about betrayal. Or perhaps the only hope they have is that they will call it and Westminster will refuse, thus allowing us to play the part of the downtrodden victim again.  It’s the old Scottish cringe – ‘it wasne us’. But…

2) I still have a dream –

 The dream is not that we have Indy Ref 2 and win – because I think that would be a nightmare. Not just the break up of the UK at a time of great international political and economic uncertainty, but the incorporation of Scotland into an increasingly corporate EU, the adoption of the failing Euro and an even more authoritarian Scottish government, reliant on the EU, and seeking to push its policies.

I hope and pray that some in the SNP will come to their senses and have a real and radical rethink of policy. It was interesting that a feeler was put out last week about the SNP giving up on EU membership even after Indy arrives so that we can be like Norway – I think that the SNP hierarchy know that their present obsession with the EU cannot deliver independence, because many of us who believe in independence don’t share the obsession!

I know that I have no say in this and even more so now will be persona non grata. Mike Russell tweeted publicly last week

 

“A word of warning @JRTomlinAuthor – I have given up debating with @theweeflea . It is an exercise in sophistry with no exchange of ideas”

It was that tweet that was the final straw in my writing this. Maybe politicians should be careful about what they tweet in public? Is Mike Russell the  Donald Trump of the SNP?!   I know Mike has given up debating with me, but did he ever start?  In fact let me offer a simple challenge – if Mike is actually willing to debate and exchange ideas – then name the time and place…more than happy to oblige and take part in the conversation!   He is a good intelligent man and I think a good politician, but he seems to have caught this post truth SNP disease where he doesn’t debate. He has taken to resorting to soundbites, press releases and on the loyalty and efficiency of his party machine.   When someone disagrees with you it does not help to call him or her names and accuse them of sophistry.   As for exchange of ideas – that would be wonderful! But the current SNP does not do exchange of ideas – it hands down doctrine from on high and expects everyone to follow the same ideas.   But just in case anyone is listening – here are a few ideas that I think will prevent the impending decline and implosion of the SNP.   Take them or leave them.

1) The SNP should stop grandstanding and being delusional over Brexit. It’s going to happen and we need to stop thinking that we are going to be the saviours or defenders of Europe.   Unfortunately our troops have been marched up to the top of the hill and we are either going to march them down again, or throw them headlong into the valley of death!   The SNP should do what it can to co-operate with the UK government and get as much powers for Scotland as possible.

2) We need to start using the powers we have!   All this talk without action doesn’t really help.

a) Can we have a separate and special ring fenced tax for the NHS in Scotland? I wouldn’t mind paying more for that. And I’m sure most others wouldn’t. I’m not talking about adding a couple of pennies to the income tax rate; I’m talking about a new tax that would be totally ring-fenced for the NHS in Scotland. The Scottish government have the power to do this. Its time to stop moaning about Westminster cuts and instead of talking about ‘progressive’ taxation, get on with doing it!   Also can we stop offering to pay for abortions from other countries and instead seek to offer better mother and baby support in this one?  And what about social care – especially for the elderly?   And support services for the mentally ill?

c4oqoj8w8aac_o1b) Education is in dire need of radical reform. Can we move to a Dutch type system – with free schools and much more diversity and variety? The decline in Scottish education standards is something that needs to be urgently addressed. Just throwing money at it is not the solution, because money is not primarily the problem.

c) Can we look for the Scottish Economic Opportunities on Brexit?  We already export more to the US than to any EU country. We export more to the rest of the world than to the EU and the USA. And of course England, Wales and Northern Ireland are our major economic partners. Instead of relying on EU subsidies (or indeed UK subsidies) can we not grow up and stand on our own two feet? Can we not get away from the dependency culture? We are a wealthy society – one of the wealthiest in the world. We don’t need subsidies from Westminster, or from Brussels. We can be independent. We can grow up.

 d) Can we move away from dependence on the State sector, and multi-nationals and can we not encourage small business, local enterprise and local initiatives? I think of my own city Dundee, where we are about to lose £100 million per year because of welfare changes. We need to move away from a welfare society. Does anyone else find it strange that fruit farmers around Dundee are worried about Brexit because they could lose their cheap labour from Eastern Europe, and yet the ‘berry busses’ have gone? Apparently one third of workless homes (that is homes with people aged between 16 and 64) in Glasgow cite as their reason for not working, disability. There are some areas where 25% of people claim to be disabled. I do not believe that ridiculous statistic.   Perhaps we need a revival of the much-reviled ‘Protestant work ethic’. If a society will not work, it will not eat.

 e) Can we have a greater awareness of our society and cultural heritage and seek to support the greatest traditions of our past – including the centrality and importance of the family? The failed social liberalism of the 1960’s has been a disaster for the family and a disaster for the poor. Family support should be key.  Instead of dealing with the social liberal fantasies of the 60’s we need to deal with the realities of humanity.

 f) Can we move away from the increasing centralisation to Edinburgh and Glasgow and instead have a greater re-distribution to local areas, and more local autonomy? In this age of the Internet there is no need for the vast majority of government jobs to go to the two biggest cities, and the rest of us be left with the crumbs.

 g) Can we return to the basic principles of the Beveridge report?  – The Beveridge report was from another time and could only work in a society which accepted basic Christian principles and a basic Christian ethos. That’s why it did work.   It set up our modern welfare state to deal with the Five Giants of Poverty, Ignorance, Disease, Squalor and Idleness.   Although it is a different society, perhaps we need to return to that holistic philosophy? I don’t believe that the NHS and Welfare State can survive unless there is radical reform and a radical change in attitudes in society. There are so many personal examples I could give of this. I think of the businessman lying in ICU after a night on the brew in which he claimed to have spent £1,000 on booze, yelling at the nurses ‘get me out of here, you’re supposed to heal me..I pay my taxes”. I think of the man who fathered 14 children by nine different women and boasted that he would continue, because the State would pay – ‘that’s my right’. I think of the middle aged woman who hasn’t worked for 30 years and will not work, because for her to get a job which matches her current incapacity benefit would mean that she had to earn over £25,000 per year.   And before you complain that I’m having a go at the poor – I’m not. What infuriates me is that there are honest people who are really hard done by because they are honest – like the woman who admitted to the ‘Brew’ that she was earning 50p an hour cleaning a woman’s home and got penalised for it – so that she only ate one meal per day – or the thousands who visit foodbanks every week.  Besides which the middle class and the rich know how to work the system and scrounge more benefits than the poor.

Conclusion:

The political situation in Scotland is very much in flux. I think that unless the SNP changes we have reached ‘peak SNP’ and there will either be an implosion or more likely a gradual decline. They still have some of the best politicians in the land (John Swinney, Roseanna Cunningham, Fergus Ewing, Alex Neil and rising stars like Katie Forbes) and Nicola Sturgeon is a good leader with I believe a genuine concern and compassion for people. I just wish she hadn’t been blinded by this progressive pro-EU ideology.

Labour are all at sea, lacking leadership both nationally and UK wide, although they do have some fine individual politicians – I am very impressed for example with Jenny Marra and Elaine Smith.   The Liberals are nice and small….and they have Willie Rennie who has been much more effective than some thought he would be. The Greens are led by one of the smartest ideologues in the country, Patrick Harvie and one of the brightest young talents, Ross Greer. The only trouble is that it is an ideology that will wreck havoc across the country.

The Tories are for me the big surprise. I never thought I would see a revival of Tory fortunes in Scotland, because the term itself seemed poisonous, but it’s happening. I admit I was wrong about Ruth Davidson – I was not sure that she had the experience or the political nous to lead the Scottish party – but she has done an impressive job. I think there are a variety of other factors involved in the Tory revival, not least in the quality of some of their established politicians like Jackson Carlaw and Murdo Fraser and also in the rising stars of Ross Thompson and the ever-impressive Adam Tomkins. I also think that new MSPs like Gordon Lindhurst and Jeremy Balfour are worthy editions to the Scottish Parliament.

The irony is that the SNP are handing the initiative to the Tories. How? By destroying Labour, sidelining the Lib-Dems, they have allowed the Tories to become the only effective opposition. Us Scots are a thrawn race and when you try to be authoritarian and tell us what we can and cannot do, what we can and cannot believe, and who we can and cannot vote for,  there is very likely to be a kick back. When you tell people that if they disagree with your policies they must be ‘Tories’ then you had been beware because one day they might believe your simplistic equation and decide that they are!

I find it sad that some people are furious about these articles because they perceive them as an attack on the SNP. I don’t care about the SNP or any political party. Each is only a means to an end. I long ago gave up trusting political parties. I vote for individuals because of their character, qualities and policies – I don’t care the party label.   I will vote for anyone who makes social justice for all  a priority and shows some realistic policies for dealing with the great inequalities in our society and for dealing with the Five Giants. I hope the SNP will turn back from the disastrous path they are headed and re-invent themselves as a party of all the Scottish people, not just the party of the AB EUphiles!  I’ve had enough of Latte Nationalism!  But when it comes to voting – I will vote for the candidate and the policies that reflect my own desire for social and economic justice – whatever the party.

Bertrand Russell once observed:

“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”

I end this series by again repeating that I am not claiming some kind of divine authority for these views. They are my own and as such could be mistaken.  I hae my doubts. Especially about myself.

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But I would like to end on a spiritual note.  I also have a great peace. Not because I have faith in a politician, political party or system, nor do I have faith in that great myth of modern times ‘ the inevitable goodness and progression of the human race’. But rather I believe in the God of justice, love and beauty. My faith in Jesus Christ does not give me my political views, but it does give me my hope. And I pray that the Lord will richly bless our beloved land of Scotland, that land once known as the land of the Book, so that we can be a blessing to others again – whatever our faith or politics.

David

Identity Politics – Why the SNP are Giving up On Independence – Part 4

 

PS. I’n done!  (for now….)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


26 thoughts on “When Yes Means No – Part 3 – The Dream

  1. Great series of articles. As an English passionate Leave supporter who recently moved to Scotland, and now attends a Free Church congregation, I have been very disappointed in the very high levels of Remoaning I have encountered in the Free Church. I feel as though I have to walk on egg shells whenever anything to do with politics comes up in conversation, for fear of “triggering” some pro-EU snowflake!

  2. As a right wing anti scottish quisling cap doffing tory english loving scumbag who will be hung from the nearest lamppost after scotland gets its freedumb.

    Can i say i agree with everything you have written.

    The main reason i voted against independence was listening to the SNP and its supporters as their actions and words presented the most utterly terrifying vision of “freedom”

    And since then i have had a grown desire to leave these shores due to the SNP and its drones.

  3. hi David, thanks again for these articles. I just wonder if you could explain to me the £15 billion debt carried by Scottish government. When I have ever tweeted about debt, people are quick to tell me scotland have no powers regards loans. I know they have borrowed from European investment bank. Can you help here?

    1. £15 billion is the current account deficit by Scottish government at the moment. In other words we spend £15 billion more than we take in. You can read it from the Scottish governments own figures.

  4. Dear David Robertson,
    Firstly may I comment that I like ‘the cut of your gib’? You give the impression of a thoughtful and reflective man. I hope you will forgive me if I write a rather long comment on your recent series of three articles. I am writing really to ask for your opinion on why it is that the Scots have moved so close to wanting Independence. I ask this because I am English, consider myself to be British. I have lived happily in Scotland for nearly 40 years, embraced Scottish culture and music, grieved over the Highland Clearances, but the last 5 of those years have filled me with despair and anxiety. I do not want my country to be broken up.
    I have been brought up to think that nationalism is not a good thing. Born just after the 2nd world war the horrors of that cataclysm caused me to think so. Throughout the last century beginning with the Irish struggle and ending with the horrors of the Bosnian disturbances, nationalism has been at the heart of such conflicts. So I cannot understand why so many in Scotland see fit to embrace that way of thinking. I can understand patriotism – a patriot does not enforce his patriotism on others. Many Scots would describe themselves as patriots and love their country. I think that the difference must be that nationalism desires power to implement its beliefs, causes division by selecting a group of people as being superior, and seeks to cause unrest and division by directing blame elsewhere. In short, it makes you think there is something wrong, and it tells you who to blame. As an Englishwoman if feel this keenly. I am reluctant to say this, but I now find myself losing patience with all things Scottish, which I used to love and admire. I don’t want to live in a country which allows such an atmosphere to persist. That nearly half of the electorate vote for the SNP is anathema to me and I am taking steps to depart. This after 40 years, and of contributing to the community, I find to be a sad conclusion.
    I do not think that Scots have been treatedly differently from the rest of the people in our United Kingdom. They are not oppressed. Granted, there are pockets of poverty in Scotland, but I would suggest to you that there are worse areas of deprivation and poverty in some parts of England. I believe that the UK government wants the best for Scotland.
    It would seem that devolution has given the scots an opportunity to tread a somewhat different path, should they so desire, since the implementation of the recommendations of the ‘Smith report’. However, I have come to doubt the SNP willingness to actually implement many of their long held policies.
    I understand from your blog that you have long supported the SNP so I am begging your indulgence and would ask for a view on why you supported them.
    Commenting on most recent events since the 2014 referendum I find myself disagreeing with you – I don’t think that the SNP think that EU membership transcends all. I believe that Independence transcends all and the EU vote is an excuse to ferment further division, and in doing so to completely neglect and nullify 1 million scots who voted to leave the EU! A cannier politician than Ms Sturgeon might have seen the light and cooperated with the parent government since it was a UK wide vote. In the field of the arts, business and political establishment many would support staying in the EU in Scotland and in the rest of the UK, but in a democracy the most votes win.
    I agree with you that the EU is not democratic and is run by an unelected commission. It is undemocratic, elitist and tottering. I do not understand why Ms Sturgeon wishes to ally herself with them… Do you know Mr. Robertson that when we voted to join it was also a narrow vote? On such a slim line of majority do such decisions hang!
    I think we could have a bright future, I only read yesterday of a future economic performance for the UK, where our economy is projected to grow until 2050. The integrity of Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland must stand for the future as it has in the past. To give up the advantage of being part of the UK is in my view, a great folly.
    So Mr. Robertson, I have moved over the past 5 years from being a wishy washy greenish Lib Dem voter who didn’t like left or right wing policies to a Tory voter and it is the SNP that is responsible for this change. I think that the Labour party in the 1980s did their best to rubbish the Tories and largely succeeded. I have to say at this point that it was the Thatcher policies of the 1980’s that largely saved the UK, although many will not want to hear it and find it a great heresy. When the Labour party themselves were deemed not to be left wing enough, the Scottish people had nowhere else to go and turned to nationalism. I truly believe that the Scottish conservatives under Ruth Davidson are capable, efficient, and smart. If they ever get a chance at government they will sort out the underperforming NHS, the over centralisation of the Police Force, the sad decline in Scottish educational standards, scrap the awful Named Person scheme, sort out the failed payments to Scottish farmers, and the underperforming economy which is suffering from the continuous political turmoil. They will also address issues which you care about, mental illness, poverty, in fact all the things you mention in part 3 of your statement I want too.
    How did it come to this?
    With kind regards

  5. Dear Mr. Robertson,
    I am a newcomer to your blog and I have enjoyed reading your three part ‘Why Yes Means No’ article. It has been a refreshing read not least because had you not declared your political preferences, I would have made the assumption that you were in favour of Scotland remaining as part of the UK. That like me, you were in fact a passionate Unionist as opposed to being in favour of a separate Scotland.
    The main reason for me thinking this is because of what is in my view, a logical and balanced analysis and assessment of the current state of politics in Scotland and the SNP’s descent into the ridiculous. I’m pretty sure most Unionists’ would concur with everything you have said and breathed a collective sigh of relief that someone out there who favours a separate Scotland understands the situation but more importantly brave enough to stick their head above the parapet and speak about it in a very public way.
    Like the commentator before me, (Summitshuffler) I am curious to know how you reached the decision that a separate Scotland would be better than remaining part of the United Kingdom? I am curious for the very same reasons – I was brought up British and regard all four home nations that form the UK as being home.
    I am also curious to know what ‘good things’ you believe the SNP have achieved in the last 10 years when all around us we see Scotland’s public organisations, standards and achievements in tatters, and with very little chance of them improving anytime soon?
    Also why do you regard Nicola Sturgeon, John Swinney etc. as being good politicians and people? If as a reasonable and logical person who supports the SNP and their ideology for a separate Scotland, you have reached the conclusion you have and so eloquently written in this 3 part blog, why haven’t these good politicians and people?
    If they have but have chosen to ignore logic and reason, and continue to pursue their ideological dream of a separate Scotland ‘at any cost’ then how can they be good politicians and people? Surely they have sold any integrity and credibility they may have had down the drain? They are pursuing their very own personal agendas to the very detriment of the people they claim to serve. How does this make them good politicians and people?
    If they haven’t reached the same conclusion as yourself and the Unionists, then why haven’t they? How can they be good politicians and people, if a) they don’t have the intelligence to have worked this out and b) why aren’t they listening to the voices of over 2 million people who voted for Scotland to remain part of the UK in 2014?

    I welcome your comments and wish you a full and speedy recovery.

    1. Thanks for your comments…I would like Scotland to be independent because I believe that each country should govern their own affairs.

      I think the SNP has done a number of excellent things (tolls removed from bridges and the economy as well as running services…however this is beginning to change..)

      I tend to try and think good of people until they prove otherwise. Good and reasonable people can disagree with me!

      My view is that the big problem with SNP is that they have swallowed the ‘progressive EU’ pill and have become blind to everything else.

      We will see what happens..

      1. Thank you for taking the time to reply Mr. Robertson.

        Scotland has been governing their own affairs as a devolved government since 1999 has it not and look what a fine mess that has got us in to! As you said yourself in one of your earlier blogs – is Scotland not already independent as it had the power in 2014 to decide it’s own future and Scotland decided by a majority in a democratic ‘once-in-a-lifetime, and everyone will respect the outcome’ referendum to remain as part of the UK.

        Surely in order to take Scotland to another referendum, then the SNP have to earn that right by demonstrating that they are capable of good governance in the interest of all of Scotland and her people, instead of subjecting us to their constant narrow rhetoric grievance filled whinging?

        To date Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP have failed Scotland. Like you I tend to try and think good of people, even Nicola Sturgeon and her predecessor Alex Salmond. I even considered voting YES in 2014 until I started asking questions about the content of the White Paper published at a great cost to the Scottish taxpayer. Answers weren’t forthcoming so I became an undecided voter until it became so obvious that the White Paper was in fact a fantasy wish list, and so I voted NO. Many of the questions raised in that White Paper remain unanswered today and I suspect will remain unanswered in any proposed/threatened forthcoming second referendum. I will still be voting NO.

        I was a little taken aback ( I call it an eyebrow raising moment) to read the examples of excellent things that you feel that the SNP have done whilst in power – “…..tolls removed from bridges and the economy as well as running services.” I was expecting something more ambitious and specific than this – perhaps something I was unaware of or had been under reported. Having removed the source of most of the maintenance budget for Scotland’s bridges I’m sure the folk who use the Forth Bridge on a daily basis were really impressed with such a progressive move by the SNP when the bridge was closed for several weeks in the winter of 2015. Running the economy well and services?? I wish you would expand on your answer and give specifics as clearly the state of the economy and services in Scotland have yet to reach Dundee.

        I welcome your comments and observations.

      2. Hi Jane….I’m sorry that I don’t have time to answer the many comments, e-mails I have received. I do think that the SNP has done some really good things (including how they have run Dundee)….but there are other aspects I am not impressed with – and I think a lot of that good work is about to come undone- especially in education and the health service….but I’m sorry I don’t have time to go into more detail…

      3. Oh great

        We get to drive over bridges for free

        As the economy is in tatters as it hasn’t stopped since the referendum of some SNP mouthpiece spouting off about how we are being oppressed and how we are going independent.

        Only a completely bloody retard would invest in scotland with the hard left SNP talking about taking assets from the rich by force as they won’t stop at land it will be businesses and lives next

        I want out of this country as i am not welcome

        Why?

        As i work and have ambition

    2. Hello Island Girl, I think that the wee flea has given an inadequate response to your query and none at all to me! But of course he has that right. To say that each country should govern their own affairs neglects to recognise that our country is the UK and has been for 300 + years. The two countries merged, one was never subject to another with Scotland retaining many of its excellent institutions. We have achieved much in our Union including leading the world in industrial and social progress and leading the free world in its fight against tyranny in the last century. He will undoubtedly insist that Scotland is a separate country, but for anyone to wish for it to be independent will belittle Scotland and the rest of the UK.

  6. I have enjoyed reading your blog. I am an English woman, living in the Higlands for over 12 years, married to a Highlander and my son was educated Scotland. My son’s grandfather was also Scottish, with the name ‘Dewar’. So it is hard for me to consider myself on ‘foreign’ soil. However, this is what the SNP would like me to think. I have also tried to enter into debate with SNP supporters, but have suffered abuse and told to ‘get out and go back to my own country’. I am also told that I should not be allowed to vote as I am not Scottish. This has, like the last person to leave a response, made me question staying in Scotland. My husband and I are happy where we live, but this is putting a strain on our life’s. I think there must be many people who feel this way.

  7. The SNP favours the EU because it has been aligned with it’s ‘progressive’ values; eliciting policies and court judgements, which are pleasing. That could change. Forthcoming elections in mainland Europe, if they give rise to a different hue of political thinking, will result in a change of Council and Commission. The EU Parliament does the bidding of the unelected Commissioners, although victories may also follow in the Parliament for parties with ideologies at odds with ‘progressive’ values. What then? Do the EU supporters continue to support it if the direction of travel reverses? To support a system of governance on the basis of the political leanings of its incumbents is foolish. There is neither an EU demos (I believe the reverse applies for the UK), nor a proper representation of the electorates of the constituent countries of the EU, by its Parliament. Of course there needs to be co-operation amongst countries within our continent but the EU in its current form is not the answer.

  8. All 4 of my children were born in Scotland, i was married to a Scotsman but seeing the decline in work opportunities, education and skilled work made my decision to move all of us south quicker. Here the children have been educated better, have far more job and university prospects with quality courses – the university course one of my children wants to do offers her a CCD grade to get into a Scottish university but her Grades are expected to be ABB which would get her into a LOndon Uni…which would get her a hospital job as a midwife anywhere, the course currently being run in Scotland is not of enough value that she would then have to take a “top up” course in England to get a job…This is ridiculous! If universities in Scotland are attracting students with such low grades and then offering courses which are below par for employment is it any wonder that we struggle to get the quality nursing staff to man our hospitals and provide the care we all expect from the NHS.
    People who we left behind, friends and family continually tell me they want to remain part of the UK but they don’t vote (and won’t because their friends don’t or family don’t) it is the apathetic responses to the situation at hand that will not change things for the future. How do we reach these people and get them to have some pride in themselves first and their country second? Independence is not the answer, we would have no currency (Scotland), no lenders who would bail us out if we got into financial difficulty after independence, where would we get the money to pay for the basic services never mind having a military presence .. and while all this turmoil goes on how many banks or big businesses would want to stay in a financially ruined scotland anyway? Independence is crazy talk for non thinkers/worriers.

  9. I was directed to this blog by my partner, an Englishman, who like some of your responders has been told to “go back to England”. He has always disliked the “nationalism ” of the SNP, despite my insistence that it was a socialist party. I too voted for independence but do not wish to stay in the EU, and if there were to be another Indyref I would be a no voter.

    I have been so concerned with the lack of positive governance from the Scottish Parliament that I wrote to all of my MSPs, expressing this, but have had only two replies, and those were from Tories.
    I enjoyed reading the blogs, and found that many of the views expressed by Mr Robertson were similar to mine, but expressed much more eloquently.

  10. David, When I was 20 I was surprised by how little we agreed on politically, at 50 I am surprised by how much we now agree on.. With apologies to Mark Twain(allegedly). 3 great articles every voter should read and consider. I find it particularly unsettling the way SNP supporters behave like ‘The Borg'(I’m sure you’ll like Star Trek..) a collective with only a single thought and no alternative view points at all. Tony Blair managed for 15 years or so to convince many that he and, for example John Prescott, thought the same, and they held it together, Nicola Sturgeon is managing the same, but history is not on her side. The Scottish people, in my view, believe in small Government, helping the needy, and enterprise. Some claim it as socialism, some call it social conservatism, some even refer to it as Christianity at work. I don’t think it needs a label. As ever the words are easy, it’s the interpretation that’s the issue. But as a pastor you know that full well!

    Please let us know if you get reasoned responses from SNP supporters. Actually that brings up a last point. The arguments that go on are not between Independence voters and Unionists, they are between SNP supporters and anyone who dares have an opinion. The cult is more important than the cause.

    Anyhoo, thanks for the very important work you do in the public domain.

  11. Firstly, many thanks for an informative post.

    “Should Scotland be an independent country?” – This is the question that I had to consider some two and a half years ago. I have to admit, I thought, maybe it should, at some point. However after 8 years (then – 10 Now) of SNP rule, had I seen the creation of a liberal (small L) Utopia? – No. In fact, very much the opposite.

    When the SNP first gained control of Holyrood – I was quite excited and imagined that the eyes of The Senedd in Cardiff and of Stormont would be on Scotland to see this “Progressive and liberal” way forward. It has not worked out like that.

    The main drawback has been the authoritarian approach of the SNP – centralizing everything to the central belt and thus distancing the wider populace of Scotland. Two years later we can see how the actuals of this programme have played out, and it’s not good – Police, education, NHS. It also doesn’t help that many of the footsoldiers of the campaign were not so much pro-Scottish, but very much anti-English, generally conveniently forgetting Wales, Northern Ireland and Kernow. In the hands of these people, I have no confidence that Scotland will be governed towards prosperity.

    Moving on to The EU – (please note that The EU is not the same thing as Europe), I cannot help but see the parallels here with the Exodus of the Children of Israel from Egypt. These people who once were welcomed into Egypt, had generally seen their lot reduced and reduced, till they were treated no better than slaves. Arise Moses, who led them out of bondage and to the Promised Land. Admittedly it was a long and arduous journey and they spent 40 years moaning, carping, and complaining every step of the way until they arrived. Scripture does not tell of those who chose to Remain in Egypt, but I imagine it might not have been a good future for them.

    Similarly the process of exiting the EU will have some difficulties along the way – and many will moan – but having seen the ongoing manner in which The EU has treated Greece(for one), I cannot help but think that the EU has passed the peak of positive progress and is beginning to decline – better to get out whilst the going is good.

    I am sure, in the future we will continue to trade with and travel within the European countries and will also have greater opportunities to trade with countries further afield. I have ἐλπίς that our path will bring greater prosperity for the whole of the UK and for new trading partners across the world, answering the calls from our African brethren for “Trade Not Aid” that have been voiced since the 1970s.

  12. As a Scottish business person, working in one of the world’s fastest growing economic regions – Asia, I am perplexed at the “village” attitude for Scotland remaining part of the EU. Being Healthy and having Freedom are basic attributes that should be accessible to every human being – which I had thought a 21st Scotland already had – however, I now doubt very much if Freedom will ever be an adjective applied to Scotland, given the current political extremism that continues to override commonsense. Its time for Scotland to take some global marketing lessons from its cousin across the Atlantic – Eire/Ireland – who have an amazing Brand globally and are the Only Celtic nation that you find in almost all countries in the world – getting on with life/business/families and showcasing their love of life and people in so many enriching ways. Val Mac 31/3/17

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