Posts Tagged ‘independence’

Oh no, not that tone again; anything but that tone.

I was prepared for Farage’s monstrous braying. I steadied myself for Boris burlesquing a bit of Horace or Plutarch. I was even ready to endure the sound of Gove’s voice. But I had forgotten how unbearable Scottish people are when they feel politically thwarted these days. Over the past 24 hours or so, the reality of the vote to leave the European Union has unleashed an onslaught of full-spectrum nationalist whining across social media the like of which I’ve never seen before.

The self-righteousness that clogged up the post-indyref atmosphere has descended once more. Across the country, heads shake gently in damp-eyed rebuke as disappointed Facebook posts are bashed out and furious tweets sent. And would you believe it, the SNP leadership has considered events through its single lens and concluded that another indyref is exactly what the country needs in a time of confusion and turmoil. It’s a good job the Scottish Government hasn’t been captured by constitutional obsessives like those UKIP guys, eh?

Now, I lost the run of myself completely during the 2014 referendum. I came to believe many more than six impossible things before breakfast on any given day during the campaign. This blog has essentially been a record of my trajectory from suggestible Yesser back to my general disposition as a skeptic, and I’ve left my early posts on this site as a permanent reminder to myself of the damage enthusiasm can do to rational thinking.

If we’re really going to flirt with having another independence referendum there are a few things we all need to get straight, whether we’re Yes or No or Not Again Please For The Love Of God Not Again. There were lessons to be learned back in 2014 about tone, respect for opponents and preparedness to scrutinise one’s own prejudices – I’m not sure they’ve even been acknowledged let alone assimilated. Well I’m here to help! Learn from my fail by asking yourself the following questions and answering honestly. It can even be our wee secret.  (more…)


I don’t have much of a track record as a tipster – the horse I backed in last weekend’s Grand National exceeded my expectations simply by not dying – but even I feel emboldened to hazard that the SNP might do quite well in next month’s General Election.

The polls suggest the SNP will win a majority of Scottish votes and almost all available seats. On the face of it this looks like a deep political consensus, but in reality I don’t remember our political culture ever feeling so divided.

In this post I explore post-referendum polarisation and unpick some of the myths that have come to be accepted as reality by large swathes of the electorate.  (more…)

As the dust settles on the independence referendum, one of the few points around which which a consensus appears to have formed is the wisdom of allowing 16- and 17-year olds to vote.

When the Scottish Parliament met yesterday for the first time since the referendum, parties offered broad encouragement to lowering the voting age to sixteen for future votes. Similarly, when Ed Miliband addressed the Labour Party Conference this week he declared his support for extending the franchise (he didn’t forget that bit of his speech so it must have been important).

I think it is absolutely imperative that the voting age is lowered. However I want to argue this from a slightly unorthodox perspective. (more…)

Well I never said I was a great tipster…

We lost. So what now?

Wise heads have reminded us that independence is a process, not an event. We should take comfort from this insight. You don’t become independent after a thunderclap. It’s a shared learning experience; a collective journey made over time rather than an isolated moment of clarity. The result on 18th September made clear that Scottish society had further to progress along the path to independence – the learning process was not complete.

I want to argue here that this is not something for Yes voters to despair about, nor is it a cause for lashing out at No voters as traitors. (more…)

I think Scotland will vote Yes on Thursday.

In fact, I don’t think it’s going to be particularly close.

Readers who have been living through this remarkable period in Scotland’s history will scarcely need me to sketch out the likely consequences of such a result, at least for the first few hours. The unforgettable will merge with the un-rememberable, and George Square could get rather messy.

Then the major figures from both campaigns will, one assumes, sleep for a week.

But what will happen after the dust settles on a Yes victory?

I want to explore three themes which will, I think, characterise our political culture in the post-Yes landscape. (more…)

With one week to go until the Scottish independence referendum, the country has changed. It’s never felt like this before. The wonder of democracy shines everywhere.

I’m voting yes, and I’ll explain why in a minute. But you’ll have read dozens of these pieces by now, and almost certainly of superior quality. Perhaps of more interest to you may be my reflections on the impact of the referendum on the way we do politics in the future. I set these out at greater length below and you’re very welcome to have a read. I’ll explain why I think politics has become detached from real life, and how the referendum experience has helped to reverse that. I hope it’s not too dry. No academic study is required! (more…)