Scottish independence? Dead.

Real politique would say the SNP is in the best possible place right now.

They are a genuine force at Westminster, the heart of the Union, a motive force – the third largest in the House, never to be ignored.

Tasmina Ahmed Sheikh and Mhairi Black are household names. Chris Law is as famous for his car as his pony tail. Their various leading MPs get regular air time on national television, whether or not what they have to say is worth listening to.  They are members of all the Commons committees and Chair some of them. Pete Wishart led the Scottish Affairs Committee to Dundee to take evidence from the city’s knock-out creative industries. They get serious money from Westminster, as the third largest party; and individually are as well found as are all MPs.

They have a much awarded First Minister who is the talk of the town in London as much as Edinburgh, in fashion mags, in radio shows, in the media parish; and who is clearly capable of delivering the delicious chastisement that thrills the Tory gentry to the marrow – or thereabouts.

They have a scorching victory  in the UK General Election behind them, leaving Labour and the Liberal Democrats eviscerated in both the United Kingdom and the Scottish Parliaments. They clearly have another such victory ahead of them in the Scottish Election in May 2016, five months away. They have a massive membership single mindedly dedicated to delivering Scottish independence. They had a party conference so heavily populated they had real problems finding a venue to contain it – and literally hundreds of the national and international media there to record and sniff out the scene.

They have had no opposition worth the name in the unicameral Scottish parliament. [Unsurprisingly, they are strongly opposed to having a second chamber.] They have a  tame Scottish media which dare not seriously challenge them. They hold and relentlessly use the levers of patronage and its withdrawal; of funding and its withdrawal; and of political powers which, although they have never used those they have, are about to grow to the extent that they will skew the constitutional stability of the entire union.

And then there’s Scotland

The country it is all supposed to be about is neglected, divided, misgoverned.

Every one of its major services – health, education, policing and transport infrastructure is led by, at best, deeply unimpressive ministers; starved of crucial resources through serial government underspending; in chaos and closer to dysfunctional than anyone cares to think about – except the hordes who have no option but to confront it as they spend most  of a working day to get from Fife to Edinburgh and back – to do a second working day.

There is no economic development strategy worthy of the name for the country as an entity. There is no respectable robust plan for anything. It is all a short termist pursuit of popularity, larded at very regular intervals from the pork barrell, cynically trickling modest fat throughout the territory to achieve the simple contentment that has a chance of  keeping the currently compliant natives  from looking too hard at the state Scotland is actually in.

This is a government of complacent, unchallenged and culpable mediocrity.

How on earth can its two worlds – of stellar superficial celebrity and headline-grabbing mischief-making in places where it really doesn’t matter, Westminster; and of hard universal failure in government where it absolutely does matter, Scotland – coexist for long without internal fracture?

The impact of the SNP’s embeddedment at Westminster and its relishing of that, has been shown to have changed the perspectives of the party’s MPs. One of the six senior SNP first fleeters in the House of Commons, Pete Wishart, wrote in a recent blog piece entitled ‘Health Education and the Police’: ‘Expect to hear a lot of misery about this little troika of domestic issues [Ed: our emphasis] from our Unionist friends in the course of the next few months…’

So there you have it from the Capercaillie’s craw. The view from the pomp of Westminster already – after little more than six months – is that the degraded state of these mission critical services in Scotland is no more than ‘a little troika of domestic issues’. They’re only about ‘up there’, after all.

This is how Scotland now looks to it own nationalist MPs – and how much it matters in the hierarchies of those elected to champion it.

Back home, who can point to a single substantial success in any department of government? Or to a single substantial success as a government minister save, now solely, the First Minister, the status of whose personal profile is hard earned and genuinely remarkable.

Everywhere you look in Ministerial and departmental performance in government, there is little but serious fundamental failure, crises and future crises – as with the IED that is the Named Person atrocity.

For the first time, these governmental failures involve the Deputy First Minister and Finance Secretary, John Swinney, who has hitherto been sacrosanct in presumed capability but who has progressively been seen to have serious limitations.  The Russian roulette he played with public safety on the Forth Road Bridge and the covert major debt burden he is accumulating [£50 billion by four years time] could not be more damaging for the party, because Swinney had been the class card, the gold standard, the talisman that warded off evil doubters.

No longer.

Holyrood and the Scottish government is in so much of a shambles, with worse to come, that it is hard to see what Ms Sturgeon can do about it. This is especially so since the greatest failures have come from Cabinet Secretaries she herself appointed – most prominently and sadly, from those who were appointed principally because their gender allowed a trivial political point to be scored. The price for this has been too high – for Scotland, not only for the party.

The Achilles heel at the top

While real politique  would celebrate the SNP’s unique position today at the heart of the Union, nationalism is about as far from real politique as it gets. Nationalism is all or nothing.

The great swell of the infantry – who rushed forwards in a charge to party membership in the immediate wake of the loss of the 2014 independence referendum, who gave the media and the party something to talk about other than failure, who rescued the leadership and the party from despond and, historically, who turned genuine defeat into a willed triumphal progress – are increasingly demoralised.

In her lack of courage, in her failure to be decisive and in her inability to recognise the moment that had been put within her grasp by the SNP faithful after the night of nationwide electoral shock the infantry delivered in the UK General Election results, Nicola Sturgeon has single-handedly denied the SNP the certain achievement of its reason for existence – Scottish independence.

The leakage of energy, even of trust, following that failure to seize that moment – and the nature of the events that have happened since, have irrevocably changed the game. As they say, ‘events’ are everything in politics.

Had the First Minister seized the day and sent the party on campaign at the party’s October conference – to deliver the Grail of independence to the SNP through a mandate for indy in the May 2016 Scottish Election, the fatal later events noted below would of course have happened anyway. But the infantry, programmed to go for it and thrilling to the charge, would have paid them no attention; and the country and the media would simply have been rivetted by their surge and by their sweeping of others into their train.

Not now, though – and possibly now, not ever.

The lack of that focusing campaign has allowed the events that have taken place to occupy unchallenged the centre stage they deserve  – and there is a wide understanding of their significance, though the faithful infantry refuse to recognise it, even in themselves.

As Harold Macmillan may or may not have said, ‘events’ are what he and all politicians most fear – the unforeseen demands on the rudder that force a different course.

For the SNP Scottish Government, the first ‘event’ is the heavy cost of the failure to take the very action that would have swept sent it soaring.

Ms Sturgeon may have made herself everyone’s celeb of choice – but however powerful her party is and will continue to be for a while, the gig’s over.

The change is in internal divisions, in shifts in public attitudes, in the lack of distraction from what is now a steady spotlight on the deep and widespread failures in the SNP’s government of Scotland, in greater understanding of the profound risks of indy and of the pragmatic safe haven of union.

There is talk of an Independence party – which the SNP swiftly scotched. Then the SNP branch in Shotts in Ayrshire had to be prevented by the party from splitting in two, with one group effectively a pro-indy ginger group. Holyrood itself has seen a cluster of the determined indy infantry take to living in tents outside the parliament building – for the duration to indy and saying: ‘Nicola Sturgeon said she wanted to see commitment – well here is commitment’. That however, has been met by recourse to law to remove such commitment from its visibility at the heart of government.

The indicatively named People’s Voice campaign has been served with a legal notice to quit in forty eight hours. That was six days ago. Whatever way this works its way out, in a permanent encampment or in forced eviction, it is emblematic of the change in the nationalist movement.

‘Events, dear boy, events’ – the collapse of oil prices

These manifest beginnings of political shifts sit alongside the profound  change wrought by two major events, of equally enduring force:

  • the unanticipated action by OPEC that has taken away the floor below the price of oil;
  • the defence and security situation, which is now certain to be a permanent feature of 21st century life.

Taking the first of these, the flawed indy prospectus was built on oil revenues available to pay for many of the indulgent spending promises made. The Institute for Fiscal Studies [IFS], theoretically accepting  the SNP’s  £7 Billion+ assumptions of annual oil  revenue, still showed, in an indisputable analysis, a progressive structural deficit that, with  Full Fiscal Autonomy, would have seen Scotland with a £9.6 Billion deficit by 2019-20. [It is time now for the IFS to do a second study of Scotland’s finances based on the reality of the North Sea oil & gas sector today.]

The global glut in supply fuelled by OPEC has seen the 2014-15 oil revenues for Scotland projected at £250 Million; and has driven Brent crude oil prices to below $37 a barrel. There is no sign of change to that glut for 2016.

Were OPEC to start reducing supply in 2017 – and new energy factors outside the oil sector now make that unlikely – the glut itself would not dissipate for some time because stockpiles are high. If and when price recovery came, it would be gradual; and prices would not immediately support new investment in the North Sea – with its high production costs.

In the meantime the operating picture in the North Sea has changed for good. Old wells that were being kept in modest production by artificial stimulation have been permanently shut down. This process is seeing changes being made to the subsea pipeline infrastructure. The industry in the UKCS is moving to an emphasis on decommissioning.

If and when the price of oil recovers substantially, the North Sea sill never be the same again. Moreover, at that point, the big players will first recommence greater pumping volumes in the areas where production costs are low than in the difficult North Sea.

The loss of an assumed £7+ billion in annual oil revenues is a 23% hole in the current annual £30 Billion block grant to Scotland.  No one can sensibly propose that this picture does anything but knock seven bells out of any credible budget for indy.

‘Events, dear boy, events’ – a new energy world

The very different future of the North Sea. though, does not stop with OPEC and oil prices.

Six days ago, an event with enormous significance for energy generation was widely noted but not carried through to all of its conclusions.

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute in Germany, after nineteen years work, switched on a stellarator nuclear fusion reactor, and created the fused plasma.

The point about the stellarator reactor – as opposed to the tokamac reactors that most other fusion experiments use – is that this new reactor has the capacity to be developed to retain and contain the plasma at the superhigh temperatures fusion requires. This makes its deployment in clean, green energy generation – running on sea water – achievable.

This will not be quick but experts have suggested that with the Max Planck team’s breakthrough, we could be seeing fusion reactors in use by the 2030s.

They would not be in universal use nor producing to capacity – but they would be the present reality of a new energy with durability, with no toxic residues and no carbon emissions.

At that point, with developments coming fast, driven by worldwide need, much of the world’s remaining oil reserves will stay in the ground. The North Sea’s reserves, with their high production costs driven by the difficult and costly extraction circumstances, will be the first to be abandoned.

With this prospect, the strong likelihood is that OPEC will keep pumping like billy-o from now on, to earn as much as possible from oil before it become redundant. Exhausting their reserves will be a  matter of no concern; nor will any continuing glut and its accompanying  low prices.

And here the advantage of easy and cheap production which benefits OPEC is reversed in the case of the North Sea.

‘Events, dear boy, events’ – the defence and security situation

The worldwide threat to security – and to internal security – in the rise of Daesh from the most primitive primordial depths, changes utterly the nature of defence policy and the extent to which an independent Scotland could even hope to protect itself.

In the wake of the recent Paris massacres, Scottish security chiefs admitted that Scotland would be unable to respond effectively to such an attack.

Scotland’s vast mainland and island coastline is almost universally ‘soft’, open to the easiest of intrusions from the sea for gun runners as much as drug runners and for terrorists themselves.

Coping with homeland security alone would require a budget and a capability that, if an independent Scotland were to attempt to deliver, the impact on its lavish spending promises and/or its taxes would be deeply painful.

The ‘softness’ of the formal border with Scotland consequent on the degree of its coastal security ‘softness’, can only raise the very real issue of a hard and guarded physical border between Scotland and England were Scotland to become independent. The continuing UK could not contemplate increasing its own internal security while open to intrusion from a markedly soft Scottish border.

Living behind the wire is not the myth of indy even the most passionate of bravehearts have envisaged.

Then there is the Scottish Government’s policy of using substantial immigration to help to drive economic growth – which can only create divisive suspicions and dangerous realities of an enemy within.

First there was Al Qaeda with its attack on the World Trade Centre’s Twin Towers in New York, its multiple July 2007 attacks on London and the attack on Glasgow Airport, also in 2007. Next and now there is Daesh, with the unimaginably barbaric murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in London in 2013; the December 2015 attempt at Leytonstone Tube Station in London; and the prevention by security forces in London the other day of a planned major attack.

The changes to the nature of conflict, of defence, of security and of the focus of the last two, have radically changed the geopolitical landscape. The notion of Scottish independence is having to start to adapt to that fundamentally different context.

The value of the shelter of Union is becoming increasingly obvious to all.

Endgame

The EU Membership Referendum, whenever it happens, will brings another potential change of circumstances but not now one where indyref 2 will rear its head – whatever Scotland votes and whatever the EU as a whole votes.

The powerful events above have established an enduring diversion.

The consequences of the SNP leadership’s failure to grasp the moment following the party’s achievement of the deforestation of its opposition in the UK General Election in May 2015, are that everyone has remained undistracted from absorbing the unrelievedly bad news:

  • on oil prices and their impact on the future of the North Sea oil industry – and the impact of the arrival of achievable nuclear fusion;
  • on the threats to normal life that are driving different attitudes to multicultural multifaith society and to necessary and acceptable levels of security;
  • on the serious and widespread failures of the SNP in government in the most critical key services and in responsible budgetary management.

Had Ms Sturgeon loosed the troops in October the inevitable victory would have been disastrous for Scotland and for the Union [even more disastrous than it would have been in 2014] – but it would have been the irreversible achievement of the SNP dream and, of course, its raison d’etre. For the SNP, dedicated to achieving independence at all costs, this was their moment and they were entitled to take it at all costs.

Fortune favours the brave; and the successful generals are the ones who recognise the moment to strike when they see it – and who understand the need to leave as little time as possible for ‘events’ to derail the planned direction of travel.

The SNP leadership is canny, not brave; and the leadership was actually fearful of the power of the moment they had within their clutch.

The lack of the single focus of the big ‘last push’ campaign for indy means that too many people have become aware of the impact of these events. The failure of the SNP to deliver the competent and trustworthy government of Scotland will lose them a lot of the anti-indy votes they would otherwise have had on account of the former perception that they were governing Scotland well.

The irresponsibility that has led to the commercial catastrophe of the Forth Road Bridge closure will inevitably – and rightly – cost the party hard in that coming Scottish election. The one thing no government can afford to get caught playing ducks and drakes with is public safety. The bridgemaster’s decision to close the bridge to particularly heavy loads underlines how lucky John Swinney was to get away without a human catastrophe, whatever the scale of the financial and political one.

And more failures are flying in to their roosts on a almost daily basis.

Yesterday, 16th December, it was big and it was education. The international body, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development [OECD] called for a major overhaul of Scotland’s misnamed Curriculum for Excellence [CfE], to address a collection of its most signal failures.

Who knows what’s on its way in to land today?

The entire post-UK General Election scenario adds up to one thing. It’s ‘Goodnight Vienna’ for indy.

While we have ended up on very different sides of this particular fence, the faithful and betrayed infantry, the engine of the SNP, has our genuine sympathies. ‘Put not your trust in princes’ – or princesses.

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Related Articles & Comments

  • Oh dear, what a load of SNP baad. There’s screeds and screeds of it.

    And with it looking possible that the Forth Road Bridge repairs might potentially be completed a little earlier there’s rumours creeping put to say that the SNP did this deliberately to look good.

    That’s baad, very SNP baad!

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 14 Thumb down 46

    willie December 17, 2015 9:54 am Reply
    • Willie

      Please read the article .. please reflect on the article .. please try and understand the article … don’t do what most of SNP zealots do ie immediately hit the keyboard , and bang out yet another repeat of the usual SNP mantra .

      The title is ” Scottish independence? Dead” . Note where the “?”is placed . It is a rhetorical Question. ‘Dead ‘ is the logical answer.

      Did Sturgeon,threaten another Independence Referendum, if she didn’t get what she wanted when she met Cameron this week to discuss the Scotland Bill. . No ..Instead, she offered dialogue and co-operation.

      Did Hosie threaten another Independence Referendum, after Osborne’s Autumn statement . No . All he quibbled about was the oil price forecasts during the Referendum campaign, and that UK Govt had got its forecast wrong as well!!

      Did Robertson, threaten another Independence Referendum, during, or after , Westminster’s Syrian bombing debate . No. ( As it was the, SNP block vote did not represent Scottish public opinion, but why should the SNP care ? )

      Willie … please take some time out to listen closely to the mood music currently being played by Sturgeon and her close SNP colleagues . No chord is being struck for Independence. The only one out of tune is Alex Salmond, who has deep personal problems coming to terms with this current SNP political reality .

      Alex S, during the Referendum campaign said that Scotland’s Oil was a bonus, and factored that bonus into the Scottish Economy @ $100 .

      Had it been YES, Alex S and Swinney would probably be spending this Xmas filibustering UK Govt for a postponement of Independence,and/or negotiating with the IMF, to save Scotland from bankruptcy

      Sturgeon only 12 months ago, with Brent Oil falling below $80 was clinging desperately to any oil market report which hinted at a possible price re-bound.

      It has taken global energy and economic developments, through 2015, for it now to be the accepted global wisdom that oil prices will remain low for some considerable time. To emphasise the point take a look at the oil market .. Brent is trading for Dec 2019, ie 4 yrs hence, at below $60.00

      The more sensible heads in the SNP hierarchy have now endorsed this accepted wisdom, ergo the deafening silence we now have on Independence.

      Oh and one last thing Willie … I don’t think anyone disagrees with you that the SNP will win May’s Holyrood elections … but victory will NOT beget Scottish Independence NOR, apparently, another Referendum .

      So….. to put it another way ;- Is Scottish Independence Dead?

      The answer is a definitive YES.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 53 Thumb down 6

      robtrythall December 17, 2015 12:31 pm Reply
  • Aye and I’ll be even SNP baader when the SNP wipe the floor with Labour and their Tory Lib Dem chums in May.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 12 Thumb down 54

    willie December 17, 2015 10:00 am Reply
  • ERR’Willie …. The post refers to the death of Indy and has nowt but the most tentative link to the up and coming elections me old mate… you just hold your breath until the oil price reaches a $100 pb again Ok…?

    A wee quote that proves apt for folk of your ilk that continue to feed on smoke; “You are a cavalier of crapulence, this is all you have to offer to this feast of rapacity…and by retort your masters will bury you in promised treasures, simply to feed your incapacity”

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 51 Thumb down 8

    Karl Hughes December 17, 2015 11:01 am Reply
    • Bitter Together? Right?

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 22

      Hugh Jazz December 17, 2015 6:33 pm Reply
  • Oh dear, it does seem that the visceral name calling are out early today.

    All so verbally reminiscent of the Brit Nat thugs who find it impossible to conduct themselves any other way.

    Anyway, what is it that I said that attracted such venom.

    Calm down man, you’ll get yourself in bother one of these days with your tongue

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 44

    willie December 17, 2015 11:27 am Reply
  • And in relation to your ” cavalier of crapulence ” line Karl, you certainly know how to show breeding.

    Anyway, enough of this. Have a nice day and think about the glorious rush of British pride at Major Peake going into orbit on the Russian Soyuz.

    All that Union Jack waving at the Kazakstan rocket facility should have stirred hour heart.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 34

    willie December 17, 2015 11:39 am Reply
    • I will take that as a compliment to my musical tastes…thank you.

      Oh and incase you did not know doah’… “The cross of St George, patron saint of England is a red cross on a white ground” and here is the interesting bit. “After James I succeeded to the throne ( he was a Scot, is mother was Mary, Queen of Scots, also known as Mary Stuart ), it was combined with the cross of St. Andrew in 1606” which of course is the cross saltire of St Andrew, patron saint of Scotland, is a diagonal white cross on a blue ground….our own flag…

      so any flag waving was on our behalf too.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 23 Thumb down 3

      Karl Hughes December 17, 2015 2:10 pm Reply
      • Under the banner of the butchers apron,the Britnats,BritSh!t continues,unabated.
        Keep it up boys.Remember SNP bag?

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 24

        Hugh Jazz December 17, 2015 6:26 pm Reply
        • Jazz, you seem intent on insulting every person who is or has served in the armed forces, I wonder if you’ve got the balls to make that remark face to face or are you just a sado desk warrior in a dark lonely place.

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 22 Thumb down 3

          Richard December 17, 2015 6:59 pm Reply
          • When have I ever said anything on here about the British forces?
            You are telling big,massive Carmichaels again,Dick!
            I just despise the Butchers Apron,Okaydokay!!!

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 18

            Hugh Jazz December 17, 2015 8:02 pm
        • Jazz, she/he/it….Excuse me if I am wrong idolatrine …. but is there not a 5p charge for a bag nowadays…seems a wee bit overpriced for a biodegradable bag with a gaping hole in it….wouldn’t you say

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

          Karl Hughes December 17, 2015 7:01 pm Reply
        • Jazz, don’t play the ignorant fool, you Know exactly what the remark/name means and I am happy to call you a liar to your face.
          As for Carmichael he must be laughing out loud if your donating £20 per day (your words) the man won and no matter what spin you and your pals try to put on it You Lost.

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 13 Thumb down 4

          Richard December 17, 2015 8:41 pm Reply
          • Dick,you cannot write anything without lying.
            It’s the BritSh!t way!
            Now go a an play with your wee train Set!!

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

            Hugh Jazz December 18, 2015 1:03 pm
        • Hang your head in shame you snivelling little sh&!. Who do you think you are calling our armed forces ‘britShits’? Have you any idea?

          We have always been a fighting nation and proud of it. We have exemplified ourselves in battle so many times and in so many different campaigns and you dare to refer to the Union Flag as the ‘butcher aprons’. Tosser.

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 18 Thumb down 6

          John M December 17, 2015 8:52 pm Reply
          • Well,well,well! The cats out of the bag now!
            “A fighting nation” did you really mean to say that,and are you proud of that!
            Do you agree with the illegal war in Iraq?
            Give you Britnatz types the rope and you’re bound to hang yourselves!!

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

            Hugh Jazz December 18, 2015 2:26 pm
        • Jazz, don’t try turning things round, what you wrote is an insult to all service personal past and present, many gave their lives in conflict and you are able to live a nice secure life, as for lying that is your speciality and once again I am calling you a liar.
          I suggest you go and pay your fictitious £20, if you like I’ll send you some monopoly money, it’s what we would all be using if any credence had been given to Salmonds statements on currency or have you forgotten that?

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

          Richard December 18, 2015 4:23 pm Reply
          • “And I’m calling you a liar,liar”- blows extremely loud and wet raspberry!!

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

            Hugh Jazz December 18, 2015 4:33 pm
      • Iraqi Karl

        James VI

        Looks like the entire Argyll Anglobrits are on line furiously ticking on dislike! The wee wifey from the North of Ireland really is fixated on independence. For Irish Independence in her homeland but tells Scots it is dead. The irony of writing on the subject is lost on her and her frothing cronies

        Snp 1 and 2

        Snp win next year

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 6

        No Cheese Here December 18, 2015 2:35 pm Reply
  • Another quote for Willie
    “I was carried on a wolf’s back
    To corrupt humanity” very apt for AS

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 20 Thumb down 9

    Steve Barlow December 17, 2015 12:49 pm Reply
    • LOL, well done Steve …for the ever attendant “ghost” audience I obviously had to simplify the statement……respect.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 13 Thumb down 7

      Karl Hughes December 17, 2015 1:54 pm Reply
  • You forget the Declaration of Arbroath.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 21

    Graeme McCormick December 17, 2015 4:00 pm Reply
    • Graeme, that was nearly 700 years ago. I’d lie to hope that most of us have moved on and are living in the now. The time for standing in a muddy, blood soaked field yelling “Freeeeedom” has long passed.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 23 Thumb down 5

      Oban4me December 17, 2015 4:51 pm Reply
      • I don’t know about that OBAN4ME…Tiree @ lambing time has its moment …

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 6

        Karl Hughes December 17, 2015 7:09 pm Reply
      • That’s right Oban!!!
        However if you didn’t starch your clothes,you wouldn’t be able to stand up!

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 10

        Hugh Jazz December 17, 2015 7:54 pm Reply
      • Unfortunately, a few (thankfully a very few) contributors on here would, it seems, apparently seriously wish to be “standing in a muddy, blood soaked field yelling “Freeeeedom” and trampling the hated English underfoot.
        Not good.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 14 Thumb down 5

        ClootieDumpling December 17, 2015 9:31 pm Reply
    • The “Declaration of Arbroath” that actually has absolutely nothing at all to do with “Independence” and in fact wasn’t even named as such until well after the actual event ?

      https://docs.google.com/document/d/16iR4zmlaf3PyU6RiNRtt4bFQt1bQ-q-P23n2xvVQnOg/mobilebasic?pli=1#h.1nf8khwuvh4a

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

      Eck December 18, 2015 12:50 am Reply
  • I find it difficult to understand how anyone of even average intelligence can not see what a mess the SNP have made of our country. It must be a case of ‘there’s none so blind as those that will not see’!

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 26 Thumb down 5

    'Felicity' December 17, 2015 5:54 pm Reply
    • Felectricity-you’re not related to Robert Burns,by chance?

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 17

      Hugh Jazz December 17, 2015 6:20 pm Reply
  • awe bloody hell thought we were all gonni get peace fae those bravefarts but it seems nae matter whit happens tae thier deluded party and also it does appear that they are full of delusional 1314 dreams qhite honestlt the damage that has been caused by the wee fat man dreamer to those unfortunate people is beyond repair but still they come at us in epic proportions charging like a blind bull spewing crap out of both ends poor souls i feel really sorry for them oh wait a minute as willie said just you wait untill oil reaches $100 pb again i allmost forgot about that meanwhile you can allow yourselfs all that time to make a bigger mess of the country untill then seems just about right for the dreamers

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 21 Thumb down 4

    scotbrit December 17, 2015 6:21 pm Reply
    • And what finishing school do you go to?

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 13

      Hugh Jazz December 17, 2015 7:51 pm Reply
      • Maybe a better one than yours?

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 13 Thumb down 4

        Lowry December 17, 2015 8:20 pm Reply
        • God,you people are so angry……and breathe!!

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 13

          Hugh Jazz December 17, 2015 8:22 pm Reply
  • Why are all the Uni’s on here,bitter and angry?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 11

    Janice of the glen December 17, 2015 7:57 pm Reply
  • Given the political movements of the start of this century, I think we’ll see oil up high again before fusion power becomes available, though I believe the climate argument may yet win out.
    Scotland can always be independent without the oil.
    🙂

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 9

    Hugo McManus December 17, 2015 9:30 pm Reply
    • Hugo – I think you make a very valid point, oil will indeed rise before we have fusion power and Scotland always would be able to be an independent country without oil. The question is though what type of nation would an independent Scotland be today without oil and in such a geopolitically disturbed world?
      If we had voted Yes we would of survived, or to soothe our nationalist friends, ‘succeeded’. We would of managed to ‘function’ as an independent state.
      Admittedly it would mean reverting back to how Scottish society was in the 60’s or 70’s but we would of achieved our ‘freedom’. How would we of moved forward?
      Nobody disputes an independent Scotland would need to of raised taxes and reduce public sector spending to balance the books, I personally don’t have a problem with that. Unfortunately the so called socialist party of Scotland sighs away from raising taxes.
      If anyone was being truly objective they would accept it was a very well written article, offering an accurate reflection of where Scotland is today!

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 13 Thumb down 3

      John M December 17, 2015 10:26 pm Reply
      • The people who seek Independence do not dwell on where we stand today or where we stood previously. They want an Independent and better future, if the SNP do not deliver that then the SNP will die, the battle for Independence lives on with the people.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 6

        Murdoch MacKenzie December 18, 2015 4:35 am Reply
        • Murdoch…Could you please remind me what benefits separation from the rest of the United Kingdom could bring to Scotland ?

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 5

          Karl Hughes December 18, 2015 8:48 am Reply
        • Fair enough Murdoch, how would the people of Scotland have a better future if we were independent? How exactly would the typical Scot benefit from living in an independent Scotland in 2016? How would an independent Scotland with a Police force in complete chaos cope with the threat from ISIS/Daesh.
          As the article highlights we would become an open door for the scumbags, England would quite rightly close their borders, would that be a benefit to the people of Scotland?
          How exactly would an increase in income tax of at least 6p to 10p in the pound/punt/sheckle be of benefit for the average Scot?
          Local Authorities only able to deliver their Statutory responsibilities (hopefully), how would that benefit us all? Decreased/zero income from the North Sea accompanied by a massive increase in decommissioning costs, how exactly would an independent Scotland benefit?
          What sectors would we develop in an independent Scotland to address these ‘unforeseen’ massive deficits in our budget? How long would it take to develop your identified sectors to a level which positively addresses the financial deficits of an independent Scotland?
          ‘The battle for independence’ – get a grip. Is there not enough battles going on in the world already.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

          John M December 18, 2015 11:34 pm Reply
  • Could somebody please remind me what benefits separation from the rest of the United Kingdom would have brought to Scotland ?… was to have been a change in the modus operandi of Scottish politics ?… if so, I fail to see why the devolved government cannot adopt their oft promised “new” kind of politics now ?

    If it was to be an increase in fiscal wealth north of the border I fail to see how this would have come about…

    If it was to be a streamlined better police force, better social care, an improved SNH’s, better education for our kids, a fairer form of taxation…a growth in heavy industry…functioning and integrated renewables via; genuine long term investment in technologies built and owned in Scotland…a healthier population…or even a country where racism, discrimination & homophobia where shunned en mass…I fail to see why we need to leave a strong Union to achieve this…

    If it was to rid not only Scotland but the entire UK of our aging nuclear arsenal, I fail to see how leaving the Union would of achieved this for the greater good….

    maybe the likes of err william, hugh Jazz, never had cheese and keitho and the rest of their twisted little group of trolls, or even a lone rational nationalist debater (if there is such a thing ?) could actually move their cause forward with some solid rationale behind the workings of, and the necessity for, an independent Scotland…

    Or is it simply that they actually believe that Westminster has a particular axe to grind, a hammer to wield over Scotland….? Surely they must have debated such things while in their scruffy wee campsites along the shores of Loch Lomond… or is it simply that these extremists cannot see beyond their Devonian Buckie induced, propaganda swallowing, “Brave Heart CD owning” perception of what been in a Union actually means to all ??? today…and not 2,3,4 hundred years ago.

    Nothing bitter about this believer in the United Kingdom…quite the opposite given the times we live in….

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 5

    Karl Hughes December 18, 2015 5:02 am Reply
  • The vitriol and loathing for the current Scottish government expressed in this largely fact- free and frequently mendacious article is perfectly mirrored in the vitriol and loathing expressed by the Unionist posters on here.

    One has to ask if a winning side has ever been so unhappy, and why they are not just buckling down and getting in with it like the ‘losers’

    Scotland was asked to stay in the UK and participate in the running of it. ‘Lead us, don’t leave us’ was the cry, yet now Newsie and her cohorts seek to ridicule the SNP for their wholehearted and enthusiastic participation in business at Westminster.

    . . . while in the inevitable parallel SNPBaaaaad thread we are told over and over that the current Scottish government is failing in everything it does and in every area it has competence in. As usual there is not a shred of evidence to back these claims, just the underlying assertion that the huge numbers largely happy with and supportive of the SG are all blind fools rushing over a cultist cliff to their doom.

    We’ve heard it all too often. SNPBaaaaaaad over every little thing. The appalling misrepresentation of history and accountability over the FRB saga is the latest MSM fantasy to utterly fail to catch the public imagination in Scotland. The people are seeing through it in greater numbers every day.

    Now the latest stick/shtick to beat the SNP with – ‘traitors to indy’ – is being liberally used because they have the audacity, the nerve, to play the long game and wait for their moment. If anyone believes that rants like this article are going to stampede the faithful into removing the current steady hands of Sturgeon and Swinney from the wheel then let them believe it – but like the new pro – independence parties we keep getting promised, like the tactical voting bonanza for the Unionist parties, this belief is a chimera shredding daily in the wind of increasing political awareness in this wee country of ours.

    Now lighten up you BritNatz – you won, remember – try to enjoy it.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 11

    Longshanks December 18, 2015 9:17 am Reply
    • If critical comment on a political party is ‘vitriol ‘ ,then it is a UK national political sport, in which those of the SNP political persuasion participate with similar enthusiasm and energy.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 12 Thumb down 6

      robtrythall December 18, 2015 9:57 am Reply
  • Please explain…what on earth are “Britnatz” …. ?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 5

    Karl Hughes December 18, 2015 9:47 am Reply
  • I would have thought the term was pretty self-evident, Karl.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 7

    Longshanks December 18, 2015 10:56 am Reply
    • Your puerile innuendo based around the use of the letter “Z” would have us believe we are living in some sort of dystopian society… an echo of your own historically based grievances…. time to move on mate.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 6

      Karl Hughes December 18, 2015 11:51 am Reply
      • kARL Natz –see what I did. Got the idea from unionist websites which promote
        For Argyll/ https://www.facebook.com/obanvoteno/ -I wonder why and by whom?

        Go to 15th November where we are advised to
        Make your own Hitler video !!!!

        Rather worrying that on some of these extremist right wing blogs we have community councillors supporting this dangerous antidemocratic movement. It is time for the labour tories and lib dems to condemn out of hand such material. For that matter For Argyll can you stoop any lower?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

        No Cheese Here December 24, 2015 1:13 am Reply
  • If Independence for Scotland was dead we wouldn’t need an article on “for argyll” to tell us. We would know, it would be obvious.
    The fact that this article appears on this blog confirms that Independence is not dead, and news-squat knows so.
    The fact that the usual smug, cosy, self centred unionist suspects are posting to this article confirms that independence is not dead.
    .
    What else can we expect from an ANTI-SNP BLOG

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 10

    KEITHO December 18, 2015 12:02 pm Reply
    • keitho

      you are the last person Nicola S or the SNP would tell that Independence was Dead ..she and the SNP needs u ,and your ilk, to maintain the delusion that Independence is not Dead .

      Further evidence ? check last nights BBC’s Question Time and SNP’s Hannah Bardell MP response to a possible Scottish Independence Referendum if UK votes to exit the EU .

      Bardell was evasive, and did not echo Nicola S previous stance.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 4

      robtrythall December 18, 2015 12:59 pm Reply
      • INDEPENDENCE FOR SCOTLAND is very much a live issue.
        every time you dunderheads and “for argyll” debates it confirms that fact.
        Simple as that.
        .
        BBC Question Time even debates around the issue 15 months after the referendum. Hannah Bardel did well in the face of attempted bullying.
        .
        Great post from Longshanks. Shanks Long shanks

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 8

        KEITHO December 18, 2015 1:23 pm Reply
  • It’s always difficult to forecast events, especially those yet to occur, all governments have this problem – not just Ms Sturgeon’s lot – and examples abound of their failures. UK governments, with their bigger pretensions, may fail worse than Scottish ones. On the security threats posed by the likes of ISIS, this sort of thing is in fact nothing new, fanatical insurrectionists have appeared throughout history, normally using a combination of asymmetrical warfare and incendiary propaganda. These can pose serious security threats, but equate ISIS with the power of Nazi Germany is nonsense.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

    Arthur Blue December 18, 2015 12:34 pm Reply
  • I have had a peak at so of thee comments on here.im flabbergasted at the palpable anger of the units!! They must be very worried about the election next year.
    I’m on to see were I can buy one of those lovely big SNP badges with “Vote SNP 1&2 on them.I would love one with Nicolas face on it to.
    A bloke I know that comes into our hotel for grub says that we will be having another referendum in 2018! Can they no make it sooner as I still have ma YES flags and my tee shirts from the last time.We will win this time,I no.
    They units fiddled the postal votes! I new that was going to happen anyway.
    What happened to the police investigation in to the Tory monad Ruth who was caught counting the votes before the count?
    Any ways,I wish all you yes Sears on hear a great festive time and hope you get back to me about ma badge.
    Soar Alba!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 6

    Janice of the glen December 18, 2015 1:17 pm Reply
  • we have to take all comers on here at face value…who knows what personal issues they have, anyhow, a big thumbs up for you JOTG… keep up the posts…classic…thanks for the support .

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

    Karl Hughes December 18, 2015 2:22 pm Reply
    • I would thank you Karl but I don’t no what you mean.
      Do you no wear I can get my badge?
      Kiss,Kissxxxxxx

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

      Janice of the glen December 18, 2015 2:34 pm Reply
      • Is Janice a descendent of James, who suffered a miscarriage of justice at the hands of the Argyll Unionists that makes even Megrahi’s Lockerbie mistrial seem tame?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

        Murdoch MacKenzie December 19, 2015 7:57 pm Reply
  • Scottish Independence is dead – as dead as a Dodo.

    Most of the things that Nicola Sturgeon claimed couldn’t happen without indepedence have happened. All the money that the SNP Gvt. was going to use for an independent Scotland doesn’t exist.

    What we have is a right wing SNP gvt. keeping the same structure and policies as the UK Tory gvt., too feared to change tax revenues. Sturgeon and her ministers allow the rich to get richer on the back of those who can least afford to pay: free presecriptions – the rich benefit most; reductions in public dental services – the public have to pay more for treatment from private dentists; council tax freeze – the rich gain most money; wind farm approvals – the poor pay the rich via their energy bills.

    Vote SNP for a fairer society? – don’t make me laugh.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 4

    Lowry December 18, 2015 3:58 pm Reply
    • Independence is dead- dead as a dodo?
      Please give supporting evidence of your analysis.
      The end of year poll of polls puts YES on 50.3%!!!
      You wouldn’t be using Jackie Baillie’s calculator again,Laurie!!
      There are a lot of people in Scotland who do not fancy a lifetime under the Tories!!
      Think about that then Worry!!!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 7

      Hugh Jazz December 18, 2015 4:26 pm Reply
      • If I had to chose, I’d rather have a lifetime under the Tories than one under the SNP who, as we can all clearly see, are far more right wing than even Thatcher.

        SNP and the polls – now there’s a laugh! Still believing in them are you?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4

        Lowry December 18, 2015 5:22 pm Reply
        • Your possessions are never going to sell for £4.5 million as Mrs Thatcher’s have if you keep that up Lowry . Right Wing ?? Centre and Sensible more like.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

          Malcolm Kirk December 18, 2015 5:57 pm Reply
          • I assume you’re talking about Mrs Thatcher, Malcolm, and not the SNP!

            Indeed, I doubt my possessions would sell for more than an tenner.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

            Lowry December 18, 2015 6:38 pm
        • How many in Scotland think your selfish way?16%,19% Max.
          Looks very much like Indi for 2019.
          Thanks for that.
          Happy a Happy Yule time!!

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

          Hugh Jazz December 18, 2015 6:08 pm Reply
      • HJ

        So what ?

        (1) The common wisdom among deep-thinking SNP strategists is the SNP will not consider holding another Independence Referendum till the polls show a consistent 60% plus for a YES result, over a 12 months period.

        (2) The same SNP deep-thinkers also agree that the SNP must resolve the currency issue ie how/what to propose to the Scottish electorate as a credible Scottish currency and Scottish Reserve Bank, before the SNP will consider holding another Independence Referendum .

        The SNP has made no progress on either.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3

        robtrythall December 18, 2015 6:07 pm Reply
  • My eyes have a fixed,determined gaze towards Scottish Independence.
    You eyes are skelly!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

    Hugh Jazz December 19, 2015 2:05 pm Reply
    • LOL…like a fish on a slab.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

      Karl Hughes December 19, 2015 2:54 pm Reply
  • You just keep you glaeket eyes on Janice’s Blower!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

    Hugh Jazz December 19, 2015 3:15 pm Reply
  • Hopefully the people at the Planck Institute aren’t trained where Volkswagen train theirs. The fusion industry has form. Under pressure from the USA, Solly Zuckerman announced that the UK had created fusion. At the time the Americans were desperate for any news that would deflect the world’s attention away from the Russian Sputnik. The experiment lasts for only a fraction of a second and depended on measuring infinitesimally small quantities of matter and temperature. Several weeks afterwards, Zuckerman had to admit there was an error, fusion had not taken place. But the purpose was achieved.

    The irony was that the Tokamak was a Russian design which was accidentally published in a obscure Russian academic paper. It was spotted, the design appreciated and copied by us.

    Appointing Carloway who was stupid enough to be fooled by the SNP into supporting the policy of removing corroboration is a mistake by Sturgeon. The Scottish legal system for a very small country seems too big for its boots. Its idea of what constitutes probity isn’t what ordinary folk accept.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

    HansBlix December 19, 2015 9:46 pm Reply
    • Agree completely on the Carloway appointment – which is not a mistake but is the strategic securing of a tame continuing support for the removal of corroboration which SG, through a succession of increasingly inept justice secretaries, wish to force through.
      There are more distinguished members of the bench who would have brought substance to the leading role Lord Carloway is now to occupy – but they might have been uncomfortably independent.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

      newsroom December 19, 2015 11:18 pm Reply

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