Eyes on prize!

There is so much wrong with this article that it’s hard to know where to begin. There’s the abject failure to understand the crucial role of the SNP as the political arm of the independence movement. I weary of addressing that issue. Much as I tire of pointing out that unionist attacks on the SNP would be rather less effective in undermining the independence campaign if half the Yes movement didn’t insist on parroting British media propaganda like an army of mindless automatons.

It’s a hard truth that few want to hear, but it’s a fact nonetheless, that pointless, needless, self-indulgent attacks on the SNP by self-regarding intellectuals and self-righteous radicals cost the Yes campaign vital points. How I cringed to read articles that could be paraphrased thus, “I want independence as much as anybody. But [insert name of British nationalist propagandist] is right.”

How I winced every time I saw some ‘respected’ Yes activist echo the anti-SNP narrative peddled by the British media.

How I flinched when I heard supposed pro-independence speakers open by emphatically disowning the most crucial component of the independence campaign.

How frustrated I became with those who stubbornly refused to accept that, when your opponents are relentlessly attacking some part of your campaign, it’s probably not a good idea to join in the assault. It might even be a good idea to step up and defend.

How massively irked I was by people in the Yes campaign indulging in nit-picking criticism of the Scottish Government’s case just so they could flaunt their non-SNP credentials.

How pissed-off I am with those who, having served as British nationalism’s useful idiots, casually relieve themselves of all responsibility by blaming the SNP.

Like I said. I’m fed up trying to get this message across. Although I continue to be struck by the irony that those who talk most about unity of purpose and solidarity seem least inclined to honour those concepts in anything other than empty rhetoric. But let’s not dwell on that. I’ve probably provoked enough spasms of indignant outrage. So I’ll pick up on another point from this woeful article.

“The Scottish independence movement should not want independence for its own sake…”

I can’t describe how utterly, massively, stupidly fallacious this is without resorting to more ‘robust’ language than The National might be comfortable with. It’s glib. It’s trite. It’s total sh*te!

Independence is normal. It is fundamental. It is essential. It is the root concept from which all else grows. Just as the constitution is the starting point for all politics, so independence is the starting point for the constitution.

Independence is not merely a means to an end. It is the primary objective. Because without independence, all the other stuff simply doesn’t happen.

Independence is not just a marketing device for some narrow political agenda. It is that without which all political agendas become meaningless. It encompasses all political agendas. It encapsulates popular sovereignty and everything that flows from that ideal. It is the kernel which holds all the potential of a nation and its people.

Independence is the great enabler. The great facilitator. The great key to unlocking all that potential.

Independence is the prize. Commitment to winning this prize must be unequivocal, unconditional and unwavering. Never in the history of banal cliché was it more aptly urged that we should keep our eye on the prize.

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16 thoughts on “Eyes on prize!

  1. Contrary

    I do not know what ‘this article’ actually is – a piece in The National?

    To want independence for your country is indeed the norm, it is wanting to stay in an unhealthy union that is the rebellious way of thinking – to actually WANT to keep yourself subjected is the most bizarre way of thinking.

    The propaganda is insidious and constant and all-encompassing though, very hard to escape, very hard to pick apart. But it still does amaze me the number of people that still, even knowing the nature of MSM, jump on the band wagon and believe the utter tosh thrown our way. In saying that, I am not immune to its influence; and I haven’t read newspapers in decades.

    Through the Internet we have so much more information available to us, but with broadcasting being a Reserved matter, still the bulk comes through the unfriendly bias filter. I watched the debate on Holyrood reform yesterday, on the parliament Website, and it makes me hope that politicians will now be stopped from party-political point scoring in the chamber. Any changes that make our institutions work for us rather themselves is a good thing! Councils, though, we really need a better quality of council.

  2. Contrary

    Apologies, I was premature, I see ‘this article’ is a link now, probably my device playing up 🙂

    1. Contrary

      P.s. I do not agree with your critique of the article. A step back from party politics is a good thing, and the SNP need more wriggle room to do the managing and politicking. Maybe I read something else into the article, though. Independence is for us, the plebs, we have to want it, as a nation, not sit back and wait for it to be shoved down our throats. The SNP will ENABLE our wishes, it should not be the other way round.

  3. Willie Pullar

    I can’t only conclude that for some it is indeed an acute case of Stockholm Syndrome.

  4. Edward Andrews

    I would actually agree with much of the original article. I believe that Independence its the normal state of a nation, but we are not speaking just to those of us who believe in an independent Scotland, we are having to persuade others who have to understand that for whatever reason, independence is the best way for the nation of Scotland to go.

    I believe that the SNP despite its failings is the best vehicle to take Scotland to independence, and would fear for what would happen if we were no longer in a position to lead the nation, but the idea that there is something inherently wrong in criticising it gives it an importance which it does not deserve. It is the means, not an end in itself.
    The pause which we are having just now is a good thing in that it enables us to remaster the forces for independence and to develop how we will go.
    In the mean time we have to think, work and plan so that the next time we ill win.

  5. Douglas


    I agree with your rant but I fear that choosing this article is the wrong target.

    There are plenty who undermine Independence by sniping at those who don’t subscribe to their particular version. My reading of George Kerevan’s comment is that he is not one of those unhelpful snipers.

    Ironically, another case of friendly fire.

    Please your link to a different article, goodness knows there are plenty of examples to choose from

  6. bringiton

    We have to continue to hammer home the message that having your government in someone else’s country is not normal and that the country Scottish unionists claim to want to pool and share with doesn’t agree with that.
    Independence is normal and dependence isn’t.
    How would the English react if their government was composed of the SNP and Sinn Fein?
    That wouldn’t be allowed to happen because England wants it’s government elected by English voters,as one would expect in a normal independent country.
    Unfortunately,the Cringe is deeply embedded in the minds of many Scots and I am not sure there is a cure for that but until we do find one,all the excuses for not being normal will be trotted out as justification.
    It is entirely about independence.

  7. Jim O'Rourke

    I can’t really see what your issue is with the artricle.

    Yes there are people who seem overly comfortable taking a pot shot at the SNP /Scottish government when they’re no longer a part of it, but George Kerevan is not one of those, and certainly isn’t in this article.

    You are at risk of creating unnecessary division within the wider movement rather than finding a way to smooth rough edges.

    We don’t literally all have to be singing from the same hymn sheet and it would be stupid to try to achieve that goal within a movement where much of its strength is its diversity.

  8. Calum C.

    Sorry but you’re totally wrong.

    The SNP isn’t the be all and end all of the campaign, and to win an indyref, we will need to stop demanding that everyone supports the SNP unquestioningly.

    Your attacks on those who call most for unity are amazingly ironic, considering the zealot end of the SNP’s supporters are ready to scream unionist infiltrator at anyone who even remotely questions, let alone challenges the SNP.

    The amount of bile I received recently, including one death threat, was disgraceful, and what was my crime? Speaking out against the recent change in the law re tail docking in Scotland. Not even all the SNP MSPs were in favour of that and yet I’m somehow a traitor and am trying to split the ranks by disagreeing with that one decision?

    If we cannot even voice our questions about such an unconnected issue without being screamed down by fanatics (and not justbone or teo either, it was scores of them) for trying to undermine the independence movement then what kind of free speech are we advocating? What kind of independent Scotland do you expect people like that to create?

    Hopefully you can see by this that independence IS a means to an end. That end is a fairer more equal society, and Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands. And once Scotland does become independent, we will have a long struggle on our hands against those zealots who are against freedom of speech, unless it’s the freedom to agree with their own position.

    No, the article you link to is dead right. The Yes movement needs to offer something substantial to everyone it hopes to convince. Everyone who does vote Yes in indyref2 will have reasons for doing so, and I guarantee you’ll never get 50% to vote Yes if you require that every Yes voter supports the SNP.

    And I fully expect some people to miss the point of this comment and (ironically) start insulting me for being a unionist plant trying to split the ranks etc. It’s pathetic. I’ve supported independence longer than plenty Yes voters have been alive ffs.

    Anyway, flame on.

    1. Peter A Bell Post author

      I might be wrong, if that was what I claimed. When a comment launches with a silly straw man like that, I see no reason to spend any time on it.

  9. Ian Clark

    Why is Independence important and how do we show its importance to us?

    “Independence … is fundamental… It is the root concept from which all else grows. Just as the constitution is the starting point for all politics, so independence is the starting point for the constitution. Independence is not merely a means to an end…Independence is the prize. Commitment to winning this prize must be unequivocal, unconditional and unwavering.”

    I can imagine the fervent gleam in your eyes when you formulated your catechism. However your narrow nationalism means little to many of us. But, hey, who cares about the opinions of a bunch of self-regarding intellectuals and self-righteous radicals who self-indulgently attack the SNP.

    The original article (by WGD or George Kerevan?) was relevant. It’s hard to see how you interpreted it as an attack on the SNP. But more importantly – whether you like it or not – for many of us independence will only ever be a means to an end. You disagree. Fine. Your position is a perfectly reasonable one to take, but why the invective? Is it because we fail to recognise the SNP as God’s representative on Earth? Or perhaps because we fail to recognise that there can be only one version of truth and that it has already been passed on to us by you? I’m exaggerating of course, but perhaps all of us occasionally need to see ourselves as others see us.

    You have good reason to be concerned about the consequences of a lack of single mindedness and discipline on our part in the face of a powerful and ruthless enemy. I share that concern to a large extent. A consequence of this is that the vital importance of the SNP must be recognised and the party supported. But not unconditionally. Your implicit ‘SNP never baaad’ attitude lacks credibility.

    There is also a problem with your obsession with ideological purity. Many (most?) of us do not share your beliefs about why we should want independence. But, irrespective of arguments for and against, on purely practical grounds divisively lashing out at and demeaning fellow independence supporters is counterproductive. The efforts of all of us will be needed to defeat the UK state.

    Your analytical, evaluation and polemical skills are formidable and highly valuable, but you occasionally go off on a non productive rant. Sometimes we all need to pause before reacting. In this spirit, I refer you to Ms. Sturgeon’s recent reflective speech as a fine example of how to assert one’s beliefs and yet keep those with competing visions on board.

    1. Peter A Bell Post author

      “I can imagine the fervent gleam in your eyes when you formulated your catechism.”

      But can you remember that this was entirely a product of your imagination? I doubt it.

      My nationalism is entirely pragmatic. But I doubt you’ll comprehend that either. Much easier to deal with the caricature you’ve created in your head than the rather less simplistic reality.

  10. Ottomanboi

    The SNP is patently the cutting edge of the independence movement and until independence day will remain so, that is why occasionally it may need to be ‘re-honed’. Critique of its performance is legitimate if the edge appears to be less keen.
    That is by no means an act of disloyalty rather the action of a sincere well-wisher.

  11. manandboy

    I am a Scot. I will not live needing permission from the British Establishment for everything I think, say and do.
    They are human and independent; I am human and I will be independent.

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