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The Revenge of the CyberNats – Why we don’t Need IndyRef2

The reaction to my articles on why as a Yes voter I will be voting No if the Scottish government is foolish enough to call another Independence Referendum, has provided the proof of what I was saying.  It has been both profoundly disturbing and also profoundly encouraging.  The former because they show that there is something deeply rotten within the state of Scotland, and the latter because there have been numerous people from all political perspectives who have written in to express their thanks.

We will look at these reactions but firstly I want to begin with an apology.  During the 2014 referendum I was made aware of a number of complaints from English people who lived in Scotland who felt unwelcome, threatened and even abused.  Whilst I recognised that there were some overzealous fellow Yes supporters, I was largely dismissive of these claims, putting them down to over sensitivity and media hyperbole.  I was wrong.  And for being so dismissive I apologise.

My excuse is that the majority of Scottish nationalism is not about being anti-English but rather about being pro-Scottish and seeking to follow the basic principle that a country should be governed by its own people.  There is a positive and healthy side to that kind of nationalism.  However I underplayed the nasty side.  Just because people go on about how progressive, wonderful and different Scottish nationalism is, does not always make it so.  Just as those of us who voted Leave in the EU debate have to recognise that there are a small minority of racists, xenophobes and ultra right wing people who voted with us, so those of us who voted Leave in the Scottish referendum need to recognise that there are a a minority of anti-English racists amongst us.  They should be disowned not encouraged.

Here are just a couple of examples of posts I received over this past weekend in response to the articles.

I have enjoyed reading your blog. I am an English woman, living in the Highlands for over 12 years, married to a Highlander and my son was educated Scotland. My son’s grandfather was also Scottish. 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


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.

One of the reasons we should NOT have another referendum is precisely because it will be very divisive so soon after the previous one and whatever the result it will cause division and hatred.  If, as I suspect, the SNP lose, the bitterness of those who have invested in the dream will be chilling.  If they win, I fear that the uncertainty and division will cause people like my correspondents to think of leaving.

Anyway lets move on to some of the other responses and what they teach us about Scotland today.  To be honest they many have been deeply depressing and quite scary.  There is a dark and intimidatory side which is clearly designed to bully into silence.  Well… I’m Scots, and thrawn, and having had to deal with Dawkins Disciples and the NFA’s (New Fundamentalist Atheists), the Cybernats just made me determined to expose them. By Cybernats I don’t mean every SNP member or supporter (many of whom wrote to thank me ) and many of whom are fine people,  nor do I mean just those who disagreed with me, I mean those for whom Indy seems to be their only reason for living and their only hope in life and who take particular delight in trashing and attacking anyone who threatens to pop their particular bubble.

  Lets begin with the official SNP response, which is very revealing.   The following appeared in The Sunday Times


Note the response from the SNP.   It is dismissive, hypocritical  and misleading.

 Firstly they dismiss me by saying that I am a long-standing ‘critic of the party on a range of issues’.  It would be interesting to see what those are!  I have often been accused of being a long standing supporter as well!   But it is the case, as I pointed out in the article, that no-one within the SNP or any supporters of it, are allowed to be critics of any policy.  That does result in such a dismissive attitude.

Secondly it is hypocritical.  ‘What does it matter what one individual says’, proclaims the party that had just tweeted about AA Grayling (amongst others) saying he would now be in favour of Independence.  It seems as though an English professor who doesn’t have a vote is more worthy than a Scot who does!  Besides which, as they well know the issue is not what my opinion is, but whether the third of SNP supporters who voted Leave, share that opinion.  My post box suggests that many of them do.  It is foolish for the SNP to ignore many of their own supporters for this mythical unitary ‘people of Scotland’ who in their hubris, they claim to be speaking for.

Thirdly it is misleading.  I know that politicians are told by their spin doctors they have to do it, but I do wish they would stop spinning figures and getting them to mean something else.    In one sense it is true that the people of Scotland did vote by a margin of 24% for the UK to remain in the EU.   As I explained in the articles 1.6 million out of 4 million is hardly overwhelming, especially when all the political parties, and almost all the Scottish political/academic/media class were telling us that doomsday would be upon us if we voted Leave.    What should be far more important to the SNP, than these silly political brinkmanship games, is the people of Scotland.  We don’t want to be threatened with destruction if we remain in the UK, or promised Nirvana if we could only join the EU.   We want our government to govern.  To get on with sorting out our NHS, education system and economy and stop living in political fantasy land.

Speaking of which Pete Wishart wrote an extraordinary blog  which perhaps more than anything shows the dangerous level of delusion that nationalism can sometimsearch-1es take you.  Mr Wisharts dream (nightmare for some) is scary because it is not based on reality and when it doesn’t happen, the anger, disillusion and disappointment could unleash very destructive forces.   What makes it even more worrying is that Pete Wishart is one of our elected MPs and the SNP deputy leader in the House of Commons.   He is playing with fire.  I hope he and us don’t get our fingers burned.    And the SNP leadership should be very careful about hyping up their warriors because they can get really nasty.

Incidentally I have just seen a tweet by Mr Wishart saying that the next Indy Ref will be the Greens, the SNP and Civic Scotland v the rest. It is part of the hubris of the SNP that they think they are are, or control ‘civic Scotland’.


They are certainly in control of their own propaganda sheet, The National.  It perhaps more than anything illustrates the delusional aspect of the hysteria that is building amongst some SNP supporters.   Take todays cover.    The notion that support for the EU can be compared to romantic love is both pitiful and laughable.   But that is the level at which the ‘debate’ is now being carried on in Scotland.  One of the things that astounded me about the responses to my articles is the lack of rational, intelligent and reasoned response from those who disagreed.  I may well have been wrong but am hardly going to be persuaded by hate mail, abuse and people sending I heart EU messages.  And its not just the more extreme fringe who do that.  Its main stream politicians.  So the order from on high for all SNP spokespeople just now is ‘make sure you get the phrase ‘Tory Hard-Right Brexit’ is as much as you can’.  Apparently they operate on the basis that if you say things often enough people will believe them to be true.   It also leads to the kind of language which encourages the extremists by undermining truth, history and logic.  So for example we have politicians tweeting about Unionists being like North Korea and the UK government being quasi-fascist.   I wince completely when I hear that kind of language because it demeans those who suffered under actual fascism.

The Ridicule 

The following are just some of the messages I have received from the true believers who are upset at anyone daring to challenge their faith.  (for fairness I should point out that I also received a few from those who thought I was mad because I didn’t see Nicola as the Anti-Christ or Independence as the road to Hell).

Ye sound like a raving madman…

You are an agent provocateur ….yoons can never hide…

You just want to push religious hate.

Go and join Labour – obviously SNP is not for you.

ye say yer a minister/chaplain tae. Well God hell mend ye. I’m done wae yer lunacy.

At times some of my fellow travellers in favour of Indy do display cult like qualities.  They have an absolutist belief that cannot be challenged; a delusional dream that sometimes puts them beyond the realms of reason.  Anyone who doesn’t hold to the pure doctrine is not ‘one of us’ – more than one person called me a ‘Yoon’ or worse still a ‘Tory’ because I dared to suggest that St Alex and St Nicola had possibly got the strategy wrong here. Incidentally I do wish people would stop trivialising the Holocaust by calling anyone to the right of them, a Fascist.

I was intrigued that despite my stating several times that this article was my political view, several correspondents chose to attack my faith.   Why?  One man even wanted to make it a doctrine of Christianity that you had to support the SNP!

I will only say this, as a Christian, you say you would vote no against independence in the next referendum. That is a complete disgrace, if you truly are a man of your God, then you should be supporting the SNP in their quest for Scotland to run it’s own affairs.

And then of course there are the ‘progressives’ who seem to have taken over the party.  It is after all a party that suits them – because it is a party that does not allow dissent – and they certainly don’t.   I had mentioned as a minor point in one paragraph that if you wanted to boost Scotland’s population maybe it wasn’t a good idea to have had 400,000 abortions.  There were some furious responses to this – apparently some people were so triggered by it, they could not read on.  Here are a couple of examples.

 For anyone to come up with that comment they must have certain views which are completely against any thought of equality for women.

Every other comment you have made is now tinged with your obvious contempt for the idea of equality for women, and is therefore being treated with the same feeling of horror I had when I read the comment.

It makes me wonder if your problem with SNP stance is more to do with misogyny than anything else.

Who would have thunk it? – I am opposed to the SNP policy on ‘independence in Europe’ because I am a misogynist!  Apparently being opposed to abortion is not to be allowed in the Brave New World of Progressive Scotland as a State of the EU.   Ironically Kevin McKenna had an article in The Guardian in which he observed the following:

A particularly insidious tactic has been used. Rather than campaign for an outright ban on Christian iconography or Christian gatherings, some long-held and benign beliefs have been targeted, distorted, misrepresented and held to have no place in modern Scotland. Thus, if you believe that an unborn child is fully human and deserving of protection under the Declaration of Human Rights you are liable to be called a woman-hating extremist.

McKenna’s article received the usual abuse – including the claim that as it was from The Dark Ages the Guardian should never have published it.  The ‘Progressives’ are well and truly entrenched in the SNP.  It appears that Catholics who actually believe their faith and evangelical Christians are no longer welcome in this Brave New Party that my correspondents envisage.

Now I realise that it is grossly unfair to tar the whole SNP with this kind of nonsense, in the same way as its wrong to attack the Christian church when we have our bampots as well.  But nonetheless there is a deafening silence from the SNP about the mobs that sometimes act on their behalf and they really need to learn to rein in the troops and dissociate themselves from it.

But instead they make a rod for their own backs by sometimes adopting candidates who offer the most bizarre views – remember Lloyd Quinan the candidate who argued that No voters made bad parents!   Say that you think SSM is not a good idea, or that abortion should be discouraged and you will be classed along with the Tory/Trump ‘Fascists’.  Say that you think parents who vote NO are bad parents and that’s ok.  What kind of message does that send out to the Cybernat mobs?

The Reality

The SNP are unlikely to win this referendum because there is a growing number of people, who whatever their views on Independence, don’t want it.  That includes many Yes voters like me who will vote No.   Like the examples below:

“I used to be an SNP member and a Yes voter.  But not any more”.

“Fed up with SNP EU.  I was Yes but now am No”

One politician contacted me –

“I spent the afternoon canvassing in….I can confirm that there are a sizeable number of 2014 Yes voters who would now vote NO, mainly on the EU issue”.

The Sunday Post agrees:

More than a third of SNP voters backed Brexit and yet this has been airbrushed from the party’s narrative bar the valiant, near sandwich-board-wearing efforts of former Health Secretary Alex Neil.This BMG poll shows a real divergence in views of pro-independence voters and if we have a second referendum then the Yes side needs to address its own differences of opinion before it tries to win over No voters and ally their fears over borders and currency.

Scotland will not find being in the EU easy.   And it just doesn’t make any rational sense to pull out of the UK in order to go into the EU.   Again I have stated why, elsewhere (in the three articles and also various articles on the EU) but here is another example from the weekend:

“We don’t want Scotland ripped out of a single market eight times the size of the UK’s alone, and we don’t want Scottish jobs, investment and living standards trashed by the Tories. Derek Mackay the finance minister in the Sunday Herald.

Well that’s wonderfully illogical.  Why? Because our trade with England is more than four times  the size of our trade with the EU.  So Mr Mackay doesn’t want Scotland ripped out of the EU market, but does want us ripped out of a market four times its size?  And this is our economics minister?!

The EU itself is in great danger – 

Again this past week the BBC produced this incredible documentary which suggests that Scotland could be leaving the UK for the sinking ship of the EU..

 The EU will either collapse or will become much more politically integrated – with a European army and a European government, supreme over national states.  Is this meant to be independence?   This is a an EU which has presided over the destruction of the Greek and Italian economies, whilst Germany continues to prosper.  And today we hear that some Germans want Greece to be removed from the euro and the EU.

And Eurosceptics don’t just exist in England and the Far Right.  There are many thoughtful left wing Europeans who are concerned about the corruption and the direction of the EU.  For example I found this documentary from the Dutchman Peter Vlemmix  fascinating.  Well worth taking the time to watch.

So where does this leave us?    I wrote at the end of the last article, I’m done.   But I love Scotland and I don’t want to see it ripped apart by another divisive referendum.  And I am disgusted by the abuse I have received, scared by the delusional fantasies being fed by some irresponsible politicians and concerned where all this is leading.  So I have an idea….I may not be able to do much, but I will do the little I can… watch this space.

Meanwhile I leave you with one of Pete Wishart’s better moments – as keyboard player in the wonderful Runrig

In this cradle we found love
In our lifetimes we were broken
By the spirit we were turned
Here we touched the hope divine
And in the rapture and the charm
Came the tranquil and the calm
On the rage of the mighty AtlanticDeepest grave, supreme deceiver
Brave new worlds and cursed emotion
Let your people go, bring me a Saviour
White doves rise above the ocean


  1. Good series of articles. It seems to me that cult like fanatical politics is breaking out throughout the West, not just in Scotland. I wonder is it due to secularization; without God some form of utopian politics becomes the norm. Promote wishful thinking and bully or shout down any opposition. Heretics must be silenced because Wiley E Coyote can run a cross thin air so long as he doesn’t look down…

  2. I’ll probably be told to mind my own business, but I think that you have not properly responded to some excellent comments from those who support the Union, and regular commentator on your blog, goodfeltg., other than state your belief that a nation should govern it’s self which to me is almost creedal.
    I am, however, aware that Union was not the “target” of your essays.
    Much more could be said in support of the Union but it’s a relief to not have access to broadband at present.
    From an outsider who consider himself first as British, from the British Isles the subliminal message from the Nationalists is a dislike of the English. Down the years the Union has benefited greatly from significant and substantial Scottish parliamentarians. The Current crop are not true heirs.
    I’ve had many wonderful holidays in Scotland including the end of last year, but the TV news general political currency was if things weren’t working, blame Westminster. The killing of a scapegoat is not an automatic passage to national flourishing.
    As for cybernats. they could be seen as the human equivalent of the Scottish midge.
    The Lord of the flies has been stirred and Tribalism abounds.
    “And I saw that all labour and achievement springs from envy of his neighbour”.

    1. Sorry Geoff – I’m afraid I don’t have time to discuss why I think Scotland should eventually be independent…I might get round to writing about that one day. My concern was not to argue against Independence per se, but to argue against the oxymoron of Independence in the EU – and also the foolishness of having another Indy referendum.

      1. Brussels does not collect all UK taxation and then decide how much it’s going to give back. Westminster does that to Scotland. Brussels doesn’t even set the rate of VAT, Westminster does that.

        Brussels doesn’t have the power to insist we keep nuclear warheads on the Clyde. I suggest you listen to somebody who knows the value of this
        multi-billion ‘investment’ in WMDs.

        I give you

        Sir Hugh Beach, the former deputy commander-in-chief of UK land forces,
        who has this to say –

        “Trident is ‘no bloody use”

        “Beach says that the Trident nuclear submarines, based on the Clyde and armed with warheads, should not be replaced but immediately scrapped.”

        “His call echoes demands from a series of other military leaders who want government action on nuclear disarmament.”

        “”Britain cannot claim to have derived any direct security benefit from the possession of nuclear weapons,” he argued. “British nuclear weapons did not deter Argentina from attempting to annex the Falkland Islands in 1982, nor did they help Britain to recover them, despite the belief that a Polaris submarine was patrolling the South Atlantic.””

        see –

        Oh my another Brit Nat myth busted, and your “fascist” SNP again proven correct.
        Who in the right minds would chose to spend billions on
        something that is ‘no bloody use’, whilst forcing draconian cuts on
        services like child poverty, health care, education, investment in
        new business ? Apparently it would be so called ‘socialists’ in the
        form of Labour and their sycophantic.

        This wasteful England dominated Union needs to be ended at
        the earliest opportunity and Scotland given fully control of our
        own nation to look after the interests of the Scottish people
        first and foremost.

        Westminster does that. We wouldn’t have had to ask Brussels for permission to regulate our broadcasters, but we had to ask Westminster’s permission to set up a Gaelic language TV channel, because Conservative MPs from Surrey need to be consulted before punters in Portree can watch Gaelic soaps. Brussels wouldn’t have been able to commit a Scottish defence force to the invasion of Iraq, but Westminster tells us what countries we’ll go to war with. Brussels doesn’t have the power to tell us how much the state pension for the elderly would be or what administrative hoops disabled people have to go through in order to get benefits, only Westminster does.
        When the UK decided to hold the referendum on the leaving the EU, there would be an outcry if Brussels decided it would determine the timing and question of the vote, yet that’s what Westminster wanted to do in Scotland.
        Eurosceptics say within the EU we’re dictacted to by an undemocratic superstate.

        Being dictated to by an undemocratic state is a perfect description of the situation of Scotland under the Union.

  3. Well said David Robertson. I am totally in agreement except I am still swithering between “No” and “Yes”.

    In my area Vote Leave was entirely the work of Yes supporters! I feel like Redmond`s Irish Brigade on the Somme.
    Airbrushed out of history!

    1. A fine series of articles David, and every reasonable SNP supporter should read them, and hopefully ask themselves the question, ‘do I want to be associated with people like the Cybernats, Pete Wishart and Derek MacKay?’

      I fully agree that “independence in the EU” is not independence, and that the EU is likely to go through its most unstable year in 2017, as the lack of democracy at its core is finally catching-up with it. If they insist on a 2nd referendum on ‘Scottish independence in the EU,; the SNP leadership will leave themselves hostages to the EU’s fortunes, which if elections in Holland, France, Germany and possibly Italy, combined with a renewed Greek crisis, create further shock events for the EU, is a profoundly risky move. Even more than assuming that the EU would even admit an independent Scotland into it.

      As someone who grew-up in the UK, and have always loved it as the UK, I must admit that I will never support Scottish independence, as I feel that Scotland can give much more to the wider world as part of the UK. I voted Leave last June, and have no regrets about it. I feel that the UK is now badly un-served by Brussels and to prosper, we need to leave the EU and look outwards into the wider world.

      As a pro-UK Leave voter, I am absolutely appalled at the way in which SNP Leave voters have been treated by Nicola Sturgeon, Alex Salmond and the SNP leadership. I never expected that their cynicism and political opportunism would ever extend as far as to openly ignore thousands of their own supporters, purely – to my eyes – because their views on the EU do not match those of the SNP leadership, who seem to regard SNP Leave voters as a threat to their agenda. Ever since Sturgeon’s attitude to SNP Leave voters became obvious, I have made a point of speaking-up for them, in conversation, and on Social Media. I may disagree with you on Scottish independence, but I share your views on the EU, and we must ensure that our views on it are heard, despite the SNP leadership’s unforgivable attempts to airbrush us out of history Mr Ross.

  4. Thank goodness you decided to “write on”.

    Apropos that comment from Kevin McKenna – recently there was a piece on the BBC lunchtime news speaking about the likely flashpoint issues in “Trump’s America”. Up comes abortion, illustrated by… not an ultrasound, not a pussy hat, not a woman looking forlornly into the middle distance…. but a cross, with “REPENT AND BELIEVE”. inscribed thereon.

  5. I am both a committed Christian and a supporter of Scottish Independence I voted yes in2014 and leave in 2016. I will defend your right to campaign against another referendum on independence but I think you are wrong and I wish you would not use the term of abuse cyber **** as I am afraid that does place you in the company of some very unsavoury individuals and organisations. However, the question is one of politics and as such far less important than the spiritual challenges that Scotland faces and your blog is invaluable in illuminating those challenges.

    1. Thanks Andy….The term cybernats is in wide use and refers to a recognised phenomena – as I stated in the blog it does not refer to all nationalists who are online (in that case I could be called one!) but it does refer to those who use and abuse the internet to attack others in the name of Scottish nationalism. I think it is a fair term – certainly going by my own experience. I would not want to label all Scottish nationalists so cybernats is a better term.

      And you could be right – I may be wrong about another Indy Ref but I laid out my reasons in the four articles – if these do not persuade you we will have to agree to disagree!

      I agree totally with you about the spiritual challenges facing Scotland….we need to pray!

  6. Thank you David. Back online. I do understand the goals of your essays.

    So far as national identity is concerned you may appreciate what Alistair Robert’s counsel’s as caution from CS Lewis:

    “C.S. Lewis’ cautions would seem to be relevant here:
    Patriotism has, then, many faces. Those who would reject it entirely do not seem to have considered what will certainly step—has already begun to step—into its place. For a long time yet, or perhaps forever, nations will live in danger. Rulers must somehow nerve their subjects to defend them or at least to prepare for their defence. Where the sentiment of patriotism has been destroyed this can be done only by presenting every international conflict in a purely ethical light. If people will spend neither sweat nor blood for “their country” they must be made to feel that they are spending them for justice, or civilisation, or humanity. This is a step down, not up. Patriotic sentiment did not of course need to disregard ethics. Good men needed to be convinced that their country’s cause was just; but it was still their country’s cause, not the cause of justice as such. The difference seems to me important.… If our country’s cause is the cause of God, wars must be wars of annihilation. A false transcendence is given to things which are very much of this world.”

    But then again, maybe not, as it is all too easy to misunderstand in today’s politics, and society, as it is not of today’s language or ideology. In all this, what has become the “false transcendence” which countenances no dissention and which usurps all discourse in the declension of the present times?

  7. Ps. Not wishing to misrepresent, a clarification is needed. Robert’s post and quotation of Lewis is in relation to the US, not Scotland, but it is pertinent to all countries.

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