Brexit Conspiracy Theories Culture Wars Democracy Elections Equality & Inclusion Fascism Left Politics Politics of Hate Scottish Independence SNP Ungagged Writing Val Waldron

Autoimmunity Within the Independence Movement

The obstacles to our independence are not all about media-led rabid unionism, or floating voters. We have a problem within the movement, something really toxic. It resembles a kind of auto-immune disease, a drive to eat away at the host and make barren the soil it depends on; the movement itself. 

The dreaded anniversary of indyref looms and we’re still here, stuck like limpets to this hideous delusion of a government in Westminster, with an imposter Tory-lite-but-with-all-the-essence-of-Tory Labour party snapping at its heels.

The Tories are shamelessly embracing fascism and we really need to be going, but I don’t buy into the oft repeated idea that we’re a colony. it’s within our gift to change our direction as a nation, except that around half, give or take, of Scotland’s population doesn’t want to. Yet.

It’s my belief that the cowardly, anti-democratic referendum-blocking tactics will change as support for independence rises. They’ll huff and puff, as they did in 2020/21 when support for independence rose to a staggering 58% with actual leadership during covid. They distorted it into unworkable contortions, like; 70% would need to vote Yes, and so forth, but they embraced the possibility.

Aye, let’s talk about our former FM for a minute. I distinctly remember in March 2020 that she declared herself as FM for all, not just Yes folk, and the message got through until Dame Jackie etc had tantrums about her media exposure, and things just got, well, pure messy.The clue here is that we need to actually get/keep others on board. The 58% shows that the idea of independence has passed along the neuropathways of a whole bunch of people who swither. We need those babes. That would get us comfortably over the line.

Another section would like to but just can’t shake off the media myth of SNP/Nicola very, very bad. Some folk just don’t have the time nor inclination to look beyond the mainstream media outlets for news and haven’t joined the dots yet about Sean Clerkin (look him up), Alba, the Tories and all the other opportunists who swooped in for the kill when Nicola stepped down, but the obstacles to our independence are not all about media- led rabid unionism, or floating voters.

We also have a problem within the movement, something really toxic. It resembles a kind of auto-immune disease, a drive to eat away at the host and make barren the soil it depends on; the independence movement itself. A proportion of independence supporters were happy to hand over the democratically agreed Gender Reform Act, giving Westminster a free hand and an open door to come back for more. But the rot set in way before far-right culture wars prised us apart and introduced some to the rank pastime of genital obsession.

Histories of sabotage, changing sides, factionalism, betrayal, radicalisation and so forth would take us to ancient civilisations, through world war allegiances, into the politics of Holyrood and the grass roots. I’d have to start around Autumn 2020 though or we’ll be here all day.

One of the first things thrown out of the pram was a ragin’ article by Common Weal’s former director Robin McAlpine, openly endorsing Salmond (who was no more inclined to implement Common Weal policies than Nicola sturgeon), writing that Ms Sturgeon ‘developed and executed in secret a coordinated plan of action to drive Mr Salmond out of politics.’ A conspiracy still held widely by Salmond’s Alba Party, who now collaborate openly with McAlpine and the disgraced blogger Wings Over Scotland (Stuart Campbell).

As an active member of Common Weal I was no stranger to the frustrations of those whose work was to design a viable framework for a progressive society, and around 2018/19 the SNP leadership endorsed Andrew Wilson’s Growth Commission report, a red flag for many. This was the first clear move by anyone within Common weal towards a path that would eventually leave the door open for the politics of personality, not policy. Others would argue that some ideologically partisan roots from a previous life were showing, but that’s another story.

On Saturday 14 November 2020, the All Under One Banner (AUOB) group organised an online assembly attended by around 500 independence supporters, which, in the words of journalist and ex SNP MP George Kerevan, in his Conter article  The SNP, The Week the Gloves Came off ‘…took the first steps in setting up an independence campaign autonomous from the SNP.’ The article lists in detail anti-SNP grievances, essentially focused on the perceived lack of engagement between the grassroots and the party establishment. The assembly itself resembled the flotsam and jetsam from a perfect storm of discontentment and opportunism, circled by grifting bloggers.

He concludes that this new movement should not be “captured” by any one political party or tendency, or it will fail in its mission as a united front…should embrace rather than supplant existing organisations in the movement.’ However by Spring 2021 and the birth of Salmond’s Alba Party, AOUB adopted the title of AOUBALBA and the once vibrant, inclusive marches became synonymous with the Salmond Brand of Nationalism and withered, lending the false idea to onlookers that the movement was dead.

Other Conter writers are more strident in their anti SNP rhetoric, with a clear conscience in endorsing the (hoped/strived for) demise of the SNP as their ideological duty. The Conter writers of this world have criticism in spades, and not all of it to be dismissed, but they do not offer alternatives, other than a declared victory march over the decline of the SNP. This has its parallels with the Brexit vote by many of the same players, who thought that they were voting for an elusive third, leftist option, Lexit. They are complicit in the destruction of hope.

Salmond’s Alba party and its adoption of the culture war tactics of the far right has proved a catalyst for turning the ideological conservatism of the members and the vengeance of their leader into an actual hatred against the Sturgeon SNP that is lazily worn by many on the far left or with their own anti SNP agenda. All are content to dog-whistle for each other, despite massive ideological differences.

Looks like they’re effectively unionists then, essentially a toxic distraction, and a small number of mischief makers who, like Salmond and McAlpine, will be used by the media from time to time, but make little impact at the ballot box and in the public consciousness.

The bigger picture in this country, and I suppose the flip side of peacefully turning down our independence, is that, on a day-to-day level we get on. We are generally civil, and that gives us room to breathe beyond the toxic fringe of ultras either side of the constitutional divide. We could afford to sharpen things up, have discussion again. Find out what would make soft Yes/No people commit themselves to a Yes vote. My own feeling is that we’ll scratch the surface, gently remove the media myths and find that folk are basically decent. Most do not like Tories, nor Tory-lite policies and have no truck with culture wars, but neither does another round of Indy-lite campaigning appeal.

People need real change and we need it now, not ‘after indy’ as the popular mantra against change goes. I think there’s a difference between working with what we have, while trying to change it, and driving a coach and horses through everything, because Disaster Socialism, frustration, grifting or vengeance.

Val Waldron









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