Friday, 11 April 2014

Nicola's Conference Speech

Fellow nationalists,

We gather here in Aberdeen today with just over five months to go to the biggest and best opportunity we will ever have to build a better country. 

I doubt if our predecessors, presiding over the birth of our Party exactly 80 years ago this week, would have intended it to take us quite so long to get here.

But, friends, here we are, standing at last on the threshold of our nation's independence.

Of course, we wouldn't and couldn't have come this far without the toil, the occasional tears and the hard-won triumphs of generations of nationalists who have gone before us.

Last year, we said farewell to Aberdeen’s very own Brian Adam and to my dear friend and election agent, Allison Hunter - two nationalists who, in my book, are simply irreplaceable.

And just last week we lost an icon of our movement, the one and only Margo MacDonald.

Margo electrified Scottish politics when she won Govan in 1973. Her contribution to Scotland and to our cause has been immeasurable. 

She was, truly, an independent spirit and we will not see her like again.

Conference, let us pay tribute to Margo MacDonald.

Brian, Allison and Margo - dear to us as they were - are three names amongst many.

There are countless nationalists who paved the way but who didn't live to see the final stage of this journey.

To each and every one of them who worked so hard for so long to give our generation the chance to see our dream realised, let us say a simple and heartfelt 'thank you'.

Of course, the best way to say 'thank you' is to win.

So let us also make this declaration today.

On the 18 September, we do intend to win a Yes vote.

We are going to win our independence.


The momentum is now clearly and firmly with Yes.

But if we are going to deliver on that declaration, we have much work still to do.

Our job is to persuade our fellow Scots - with facts, with reason and with passion - what we know in our hearts and in our heads to be true.

The best way, the only way, to build a wealthier Scotland, a fairer Scotland and a more confident Scotland is to equip ourselves with the full powers of independence.


When the First Minister named the date of the referendum just over a year ago, I made a quiet but firm promise to myself.

I resolved that I will not wake up on 19 September wishing I had done more or worked harder.

Let us all, today, make that same promise.

Over these next months, we will re-double our efforts.

We will work harder than we have ever done before.

We will go that extra mile.

Because the prize is this:

Not the end of the journey.

But the beginning of a better future.

Scotland – an independent, free and equal member of the family of nations.


I have no doubt that the energy, the commitment and the sheer numbers of people dedicated to winning a Yes vote will be a major factor in the outcome of this referendum.

Yes Scotland is already the biggest and most exciting grassroots campaign our country has ever seen and it is an absolute privilege to be part of it.

We have Women for Independence, Business for Scotland, National Collective, Generation Yes, Farming for Yes, Trade Unionists for Yes, Academics for Yes, Scots Asians for Yes, Seniors for Yes, Radical Independence, Wealthy Nation and many, many more.

We have local Yes campaign groups in every corner of our country.

Our positive movement for change is growing with every single day that passes and let me predict today that by the time we reach September, our momentum will be simply unstoppable.

Each and every one of us has a vital part to play.

And play it we must.

Because, make no mistake, the Westminster establishment is fighting hard too.

There will be no scare, no threat, no smear that they will not deploy.

Just this week, we've been warned, by none other than our dear, old friend, Lord George Robertson, that independence will be 'cataclysmic' and a boost to the 'forces of darkness'.

According to George, we are now a threat to the stability of the entire Western world.

Which, you've got to admit, is no mean achievement for a party that was supposed to have been killed stone dead by devolution.


With friends like Lord George, it's no wonder the No campaign is in trouble.

And it is in deep trouble.

We've had the currency confession.

I don't often quote UK government ministers, but I'm going to make an exception for the one who was caught telling the truth.

'Of course, there would be a currency union'.

That quote sent Alistair Darling into a tailspin. His response to it prompted a Downing Street source to say this:

“I don’t know what thought process he was going through.”

I say, welcome to the club.

It speaks volumes that the blame game in the No campaign has already begun.

The Liberals say Labour isn’t working hard enough.

Labour says no-one believes the Liberals anymore.

And the Tories?

Well, the lecture tour continues.

But I can report today that the Prime Minister, who promised to fight for the union with heart, head, body and soul, is still struggling to locate that part of his anatomy that will allow him to agree to a debate with Alex Salmond.


The blunders of the No campaign are undoubtedly a bonus for Yes.

But if I was a supporter of the Union, I would be in despair.

Project Fear has not only failed to make a positive case for the Union.

It has destroyed the very foundation on which that case might have been based.

In their attempts to scare and threaten the Scottish people, the No campaign has torn apart the notion of the UK as an equal partnership.

We are told that if we vote for independence, we'll have to stump up for a share of Westminster's debt.

But we will have no right to any of the assets that we have helped to build and pay for through our taxes, our National Insurance contributions and our licence fees.

As long as we stay with Westminster, they will allow us to benefit.

But if we vote Yes they will decide what we are entitled to.


That attitude demonstrates precisely why Scotland must be independent.

The idea of the UK as an equal partnership has been shown up to be a sham.

To vote No is to endorse a partnership in which Westminster calls all the shots and Scotland knows her place.

We cannot - we must not - allow that to happen.

If we want a real partnership of equals between Scotland and the other nations of our islands, be in no doubt.

We must vote Yes.

We must choose independence.


I was struck earlier this week by these words:

"Our nations share a unique proximity. We also share a common narrative, woven through the manifold connections between our people and our heritage".

These words were spoken by Michael Higgins, the President of Ireland, during his state visit to the UK this week.

And what they demonstrate - through the example of independent Ireland - is that political independence and a strong, enduring, social union can, and do, go hand in hand.


I joined the SNP back in the late 1980s. I was motivated to do so by the damage I saw being done to the community I lived in, by a government Scotland didn’t vote for.

That government was eventually defeated by a Labour Party that had become little more than a pale imitation of the Tories it replaced.

And now nearly 30 years later, the fabric of our society is again under threat from a government that has no mandate in Scotland.

The positive message at the heart of the Yes campaign is that it does not have to be this way.
So let this ring out from our conference today.

Scotland can be independent.

Scotland should be independent.

And Scotland must be independent.

We are one of the wealthiest countries on the planet.

No-one now seriously disputes that fact.

If we were independent today, we would be the 14th richest country in the world.

The UK would be 18th.

So the big question is not whether Scotland is wealthy enough to be independent.

The real question is why so many people in this rich nation of ours don’t feel the benefit of our great wealth.

And that is the burning question that should follow each and every Westminster politician every single day between now and 18 September.

One of the most disgraceful and distressing developments of the past few years has been the rapid rise of food poverty in Scotland.

In 2010, the Trussell Trust - the country's biggest provider of food banks - gave emergency food parcels to just over 4,000 people.

By last year, that number had increased to more than 56,000.

So many children are now reliant on food aid, that one provider in Glasgow includes nappies in its emergency parcels.

The thought of that makes me want to cry.

In one of the richest countries in the world, we have parents - many of them in work - who can't afford the basics for their children.


That is an utter scandal.

And, make no mistake, there is a direct causal link between the growing reliance on food aid and the Tory welfare cuts.

The Tories actually seem quite proud of it. For them, cutting benefits for poor people is a moral crusade.

Well, let us say this loudly and clearly to the Tories - your morality is not our morality.

And with a Yes vote in September, we will put that beyond any shadow of doubt.


There is no silver lining to the cloud of food banks. But if there is anything at all to be optimistic about it is the way in which people across the country have pulled together to gather and distribute food for those in need.
I want today to pay tribute to all of those people and organisations - including some of our major supermarkets - who are doing this vital work.

The Scottish Government will continue to do all we can to mitigate the worst impact of the Tory assault on the poor and vulnerable.

I can announce today that we will provide an additional £1 million over the next two years to support the efforts of those working so hard to combat the scandal of food poverty in our country.


Earlier this week the Scottish Government published an analysis showing that the cumulative impact of Tory welfare cuts in Scotland is £6 billion.

The Tories pretend that the cuts are all directed at the so-called 'scroungers'.

But in truth it is the working poor, children and the disabled who are hardest hit.

One of the services being affected is the Independent Living Fund.

It provides financial support to disabled people so that they can live in the community and participate in work, training or education.

Back in 2010, one of the first acts of a certain Maria Miller was to announce the closure of this Fund to new applicants. Then the decision was taken to close it altogether.

But I can announce today that the Scottish Government will establish a Scottish Independent Living Fund.

It will support the more than 3,000 people in Scotland who depend on the existing fund.

And we will invest an extra £5m a year to open up the Fund to new applicants, so that people with disabilities can live full, active and independent lives.


Our Scottish Government will never walk by on the other side.

But let me say this from the heart. I didn't come into politics to mitigate miserableTory policies.

Like you, I came into politics because I wanted to help build a better country.

And with independence, that is exactly what we will do.

Of course, there are still many people across our country who, despite its record, retain a loyalty to Labour and who believe that the answer to a Tory government is not independence, but another UK Labour government.

I want to speak directly to them today.

I ask them to look at the evidence.

For half the time since the end of the Second World War we have been saddled with governments we did not vote for.

Even when Scotland votes Labour, there is no guarantee that we end up with a Labour government at Westminster.

That decision is made by others. It is out of our hands.

And all too often even when there is a UK Labour government, it is the priorities of Westminster, not of Scotland, which prevail.

That is why more and more Labour voters are voting Yes.

The chair of Yes Scotland is Dennis Canavan – a former Labour MP who has spent his life campaigning for social justice. Dennis is voting Yes.

And, conference, let us thank him today for the outstanding job he is doing.

And Dennis is not the only one.

Charles Gray, the former Labour leader of Strathclyde Regional Council is voting Yes.

Alex Mosson, a one time Labour Lord Provost of Glasgow is voting Yes.

Carol Fox, a former Labour candidate, is voting Yes.

Ian Newton, who used to be Alistair Darling's election agent, is voting Yes.

Bob Holman, a Labour member of 53 years standing, the founder of the Easterhouse Project and someone who has devoted his entire life to fighting poverty - he is voting Yes too.


To every Labour voter in the country, I say this.

The Yes campaign is not asking you to leave your party.

Instead, it offers you the chance to get your party back.

A Labour Party free to make its own decisions.

No longer dancing to a Westminster tune.

For everyone out there with Labour in your heart, the message is clear.

Don't vote No to stop the SNP.

Vote Yes to reclaim the Labour Party.


The Yes campaign is about hope and optimism.

If we win a Yes vote on September 18, Scotland will become an independent country on 24 March 2016.
Scottish Independence Day. How good does that sound?

A few weeks ago, to mark two years to go to that date, Yes supporters took to social media to give their reasons for voting Yes.

The indyreasons hashtag was born.

It was truly inspiring.

The determination to build a better, fairer country.

The sense of ambition.

Hundreds of different reasons but a common belief in independence.

Not for its own sake - but because of what it will enable us to do.

It is a belief founded on democracy.

As deputy leader of the SNP, I want the first government of an independent Scotland to be an SNP 
government and I will campaign with all my energy to make it so.

But to everyone in Scotland, let us make this clear.

A vote for independence is not a vote for the SNP.

A vote for independence is a vote for democracy.


Since 1999, we’ve seen the real benefits of taking decisions here in Scotland.

We’ve passed world-leading climate change and housing legislation.

We've restored the principle of free education.

We've abolished prescription charges.

And we have protected the NHS as a public service.

And make no mistake. It is only because we hold the power to decide in our own hands that I can stand here proudly and say this: for as long as we are in government, there will be no privatisation of the NHS in Scotland.


These are big gains for families and communities.

But there are too many things that we can’t do.

We can't give our businesses the competitive edge they need to compete with the pull of London.

We can't set an immigration policy that meets our priorities as a country.

We can't stop the destruction of our welfare state by a Tory government we didn't want.
And we can't rid our country of weapons of mass destruction.

Last weekend, I spoke at yet another rally in Glasgow, protesting against the presence of Trident nuclear weapons on the Clyde.

I was proud to do so.

But, friends, I'm fed up protesting against Trident.

I want to see the back of Trident.

And just think about this.

In less than six months’ time, if we vote Yes, we won’t be in the protest business anymore.

We'll be in the removal business.

After years of campaigning, we will have the power.

And be in no doubt - we will use that power to remove Trident from Scotland once and for all.


When I think of the choice we face on 18 September, I think first and foremost of children.
Not of this generation but of the next.

I think of the kids in my own life, my niece and nephews
I want them to grow up as confident citizens in a confident country. I want them to take the independence of their country for granted, to look back and wonder how we could ever have been anything but independent. 

And if they choose to live and work overseas, I want it to be because that's what they've decided to do, not because they lack opportunities here at home.

I think too of the children in my wonderful, multi-cultural constituency, learning in primary schools where upwards of 20 different languages are spoken.

I want them, even though they may not have been born here, to feel that Scotland is where they belong.

And, let me be clear: I want the loudest voices they hear as they grow up to be voices of love and welcome, not those of Nigel Farage, UKIP and the Westminster politicians who so disgracefully pander to them.


With independence, we can do things differently. We can chart our own course. Sing our own song. That is the point.

If we vote Yes, I will be as proud as anyone to see the Saltire fly above the United Nations.

But, for me, that's not the purpose of independence.

The purpose is to make our country a better and fairer place to live.

I want us to rediscover the spirit that made us home to the great innovators, writers, philosophers and entrepreneurs of the world.

I want us to have the powers to energise our economy. To be a hotbed of enterprise so that we can create the jobs, the opportunities and the wealth that we need to build a better society.

I want us to have the ability to protect and sustain a welfare state that gives people a hand up and provides a safety net for the times when life knocks us down.

And I want us to demonstrate, not by our words, but by our actions, that giving our children the best start in life will always be - must always be - a much higher priority than obscene and senseless weapons of mass destruction.


These are the essential differences between yes and no.

And these are the reasons we must vote Yes.


I am often asked to sum up why I believe that Scotland should be independent.

The truth is there are many reasons.

But when I boil it all down, it always comes back to my own life experience.

I grew up in a working class family, in the west of Scotland, during the darkest days of Thatcherism.

It wasn't inevitable that I would go to university, qualify as a lawyer and end up standing here before you as Deputy First Minister.

I was lucky. I had parents who escaped the misery of unemployment that affected so many others during those years; parents who encouraged and believed in me and who worked hard to make sure I wanted for nothing.

And, of course, I had the benefit of a free university education.

And let me pause here just to say this: I will never, ever, in politics, be part of anything that robs future generations of the same access to university that I had. For me, that principle is personal.

So I was lucky. But I was surrounded by people who weren't so lucky.

Friends and classmates who were just as able as me and who worked just as hard but whose life circumstances conspired against them.

I want to live in a country where it doesn't just come down to luck.

I want to live in a country that uses its vast wealth to ensure that every child, regardless of their background, gets the chance to do what I did.

The chance to follow their dreams and reach their full potential - whatever that might be.

I know that voting yes won't achieve that by magic - we will have to work for it and earn it. We will have to make it happen.

But I also know, from decades of experience, that voting No means we won't achieve it at all.

And that, in a nutshell, is why I'll be voting Yes.


One of my favourite songs is the beautiful 'Wild Mountainside' sung by Eddi Reader at the opening of the Scottish Parliament building in 2004.

I heard her sing it again, two weeks ago, at a memorial service in Govan for the late Hugh MacDonald, another stalwart of our movement.

You'll be relieved to hear that I'm not going to sing it to you, but the song includes these words:
'The last mile is upon us. I'll carry you if you fall."

Well, my fellow nationalists, after 80 years of campaigning, the last mile of our journey to independence is upon us.

It may well be the hardest mile of all.

So we will encourage each other, cheer each other and, yes, if needs be, we will carry each other over the finishing line.

But, friends, we will not fall.

I want you to hear this and believe it in your heart.

As a tribute to those no longer with us, for everyone lucky enough to be alive at this moment in history and, above all else, for the sake of generations to come, we are going to win.
Scotland is going to be independent.

Or to paraphrase a very special lady, more than 40 years ago:

On 18 September this year, we are going to stop the world.
Scotland is going to get on.

And then, when we do, the next phase of our journey will begin.

We will regain our strength, renew our resolve, and we will get on with the job of building a country that our children, our grandchildren and their children will be proud to call home.

A prosperous country.

A fair country.

A confident country.

An independent country.


  1. Why would a freedom loving Labour voter/supporter vote for an snp Scotland and For a man and a party who hate there guts.
    This just shows how weak the nats are at there own gathering
    they are reduced to asking there most hated enemy's to give them
    support. Due to the indisputable fact without other partys supporters votes the snp can not and will not pass the Independence finishing line.

    To any labour supporters who wish to vote for Independence
    because they believe it is the right thing to do i respect their

    To any labour supporters who wish to vote for Independence
    because the snp ask need yer heid examined the snp
    consider you the enemy and after Independence will turn on you
    like the wilding beasts they are.

    you have been warned

    Beware the beast man, for he is the devil's pawn. Alone among God's primates, he kills for sport, or lust or greed. Yes, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him. Drive him back into his jungle lair: For he is the harbinger of death.

    The Twenty-third Scroll,

    Ninth Verse, "Planet Of The Apes"

    1. I agree with the Planet of the Apes part (although my neighbours's cat, which is fed twice a day by my neighbour and lacks for nothing, kills birds and mice in the garden, and leaves them for someone else to clear up.

      I suppose it could be argued that that is a cat which has been domesticate by man.

      Interesting subject... I admit I prefer animals to mankind. Their motivations are clearer and more decent.

      The SNP is about independence for Scotland. There are people (including some English people) many who think that at the moment the country is run from London, for London. Many English people think this too.

      It is more difficult for them to do anything about it, but Scots, who pay more into the union than they get out, and have done for many many years, can do something about an unequal union.

      I have no problems with equal unions. I support the EU (although there are many changes I would make) because, more powerful though France and the UK and obviously Germany, may be, in the end, sitting around the table, Malta, with a smaller population than Edinburgh, can veto, every bit as much as Germany can.

      In the UK, our 59 MPs (quite rightly) constitute less than 10% of the MPs in the country. What England says, happens. We have seen this recently with votes social security matters, for example. I accept of course that to an extent it is difficult to prove this, because people vote tribally, due to the stupid system of government which dictates the career of a politician is dependent on his loyalty to the party line.

      Even with devolution we still have the matter that the budget is decided by English MPs. The Scottish block grant is decided in London, because it is a percentage of what the English want to spend on totally domestic matters.

      If suddenly they decide to spend more money on a railway, then they can do so. And we get some extra money too. If WE need a new railway, we have to find a way of taking the money from another budget. It's unequal.

      For me it's not about the SNP or Alex Salmond.

      It's about righting the wrongs of people in another place, in totally different situations from us... different economy, different climate, different rainfall, different daylight hours, different culture....deciding how much we should get to spend on our health and education, law order and prisons...etc.

    2. Jeez.

      The people of Scotland are NOT,....N O T being asked to vote FOR the S.N.P. in any way, shape or form Niko. Tak the spuds oot yer lugs for gawds sake and LISTEN!

      Scottish independence WILL allow Labour supporters to get back their Labour party, the party they lost decades ago, under Blair and Brown, to Westminster. Independence WILL return the Labour party in Scotland to its roots. It will have to return to its roots or die.

      This will not happen however because people like Allan Grogan will not allow it to happen. Just to be clear here Niko Allan Grogan is a member of the Labour party but he is leading the Labour for Independence group. He can see why Scotland desperately needs independence. He knows independence will lead to the re-birth of Labour in Scotland. He knows independence will NOT lead to an S.N.P. government ad infinitum in Scotland so why can't you?

      Voting YES in September is about BELIEF Niko. Belief in your country. Belief that we can do things better. Belief that we WILL do things better. Belief we can help those most in need. Belief we will NEVER enter into illegal wars. Belief we will be rid of W.M.D.'s. Belief our future generations will have a better life than they currently do. Independence is about belief, B E L I E F!

  2. ch

    we are not being asked to vote for Alistair Darling...we are being
    intimidated to choose Alex Salmond dictator for life.

    1. No... that's true. As I have said before, Mr Darling is a backbench opposition MP. The only people who will be voting for him are those in his constituency.

      He is a proxy for Mr Cameron, and the London parliament.

      He puts their view, but it's a job he accepted (although I suspect that he wishes for now that he hadn't).

      On the basis that he was once a cabinet minister, he will get his place in the House of Lords, regardless of the outcome of this referendum. He might, though, if his side wins, get to be a knight of the Thistle or some other outdated thing.

    2. Niko, you spout such utter rubbish,

  3. An "all-party Team Scotland" panel of negotiators comprising figures from across the political spectrum and independent experts would be assembled under the SNP's plans

    Alex says vote for me

    What happened to the constitutional convention ???? power grap for the snp ....and Alex Salmond

    would of thought first an election for the new Scottish parliament
    and then negotiations.

    Government of the people, by the people, for the people,
    seems to the snp mean

    Government of the snp, by the snp, for the snp,

    1. Well, what is an all-party team, if it isn't a constitutional committee?

      He would involve Ruth, Patrick,Johann and even wee Wullie or their representatives in the negotiations.

      We all know that there will be all manner of lawyers, academics too.

      But we should be careful leaving any decisions to people like Davidson and Carmichael who would rather his constituents get the sack and factories be shut down, than Scotland should prosper.

      Deprived of their rightful place on the ermine lined benches, they would turn against their own people.

      There's a word for that!

    2. Actually Niko, I think that after a while, the SNP will probably fade away.

      There may be another party in its place.

      The right will realign under a new non Thatcherite leadership, rather like Murdo suggested (before Dave made sure he wouldn't win).

      Labour will get a proper leader and will start being a proper left wing party.

      And the Liberals... who knows... who cares...? It will take some doing to live down the Tory title.

      Maybe the Greens will make head roads too.
      In any case, with independence, the main raison d'etre of the SNP will be done.

      Alex will almost certainly retire to his home with his wife.

      You guys are worrying about nothing.

    3. Why is it that some people seem to have a problem understanding how democracy works.
      The SNP were democratically elected to power by the people of Scotland and on a manifesto pledge to hold an independence referendum within the period of that parliament.
      Independence is about repatriating all powers to Scotland so that we can enhance the limited options currently available to us and truly allow Scots to decide how our country is run.
      If people decide,democratically,in 2016 to re-elect an SNP governement then that will be the settled will of the Scottish people.
      The British Labour party may not like being out of power in Scotland but that's democracy in action and if they had come up with policies which voters liked,they may not be in the position they now find themselves in.
      Independence is about greater choice,not less.

    4. Unlike you Niko, I remember our First Minister's words on accepting that the SNP had won what was the first majority of the reconvened Scottish Parliament and it was, " We do not have all the wisdom and we ASK that others join us. Now the hatred shown by all the Unionists, Labour specially, where they have actively voted against the interests of their constituents says much for assisting or even ameliorating what they, if the situation was not to their liking, but instead they have thrown away opportunity after opportunity to do so. Voting against their own motions.
      So please give the SNP credit where it is due, they have a more Socially Democratic Viewpoint than, and I say this laughingly the Socialist Labour, who would rather folk starved than be independent.

    5. Well put, bringiton. Labour will be voted in in Westminster, because they are the only party that can defeat the Tories there. No matter how many SNP you elect, English Tories will outnumber them.

      You sometimes can (although mainly not) overtake them by voting Labour. This makes some kind of sense.

      But when it comes down to policies, Labour's are so unloved that, when beating the hated Tories isn't the main objective (ie Holyrood), the SNP are winning.

      That's some way to run your country. Anything but the

      But the policies hurt ordinary people. For one example: How many ordinary people think that Atos is fair. Of course we've all been told about the skivers, the drunks and the druggies and how they are bleeding us dry on the sick.

      But stop... anyone can get sick.

      Anyone have have a stroke, a heart attack, cancer, dementia, Parkinsons... and so many other illnesses that make work almost or totally impossible.

      If you are David Cameron or Ed Miliband you deal with it by ...well engaging a private nurse and installing her in the west wing of the mansion and you draw down more of your intertest...maybe bring something back from the Swiss Bank Account.

      If you work in Tesco or the likes on minimum wage , you deal with it by going on the sick...maybe for a year, or two... or life.

      The Atos comes along and tells you that although you may be dead this time next week you should look for a job.

      It could happen to any of us... and we let them bring in policies like that, because we are taken in by the "skivers" v "strivers" policies of Labour and the Tories.

      Of course you have to crack down on people abusing the system, but this is like strapping the whole class because one boy didn't do his homework (or prep, as Mr Cameron would call it).

    6. That is true, Helena. Nicola said it too.

      And since then all we have had is constant negativity.

      At least with Annabel Goldie, to an extent even Tavish Scott and Iain Gray, there was some working together.

      With the Z team of muppets in opposition now.... they see the word oppose and they do it.

  4. Thank you so much for taking the time and effort in publishing Nicola's speech in full. A truly memorable and inspiring speech it is too.

    1. Well, I admit I copy and pasted..., but I did find the pics myself!!!


  5. Helen

    so your a majoritarian then or is it a snp ochlocracy
    anyway they aint got a referendum vote won yet.
    and with Gods good grace never will.

    1. Well, with Niko and God against us... how can we win!

    2. Niko, much as I dislike doing this my name is not Helen, that was my Mother, my Gran was Ellen, mine is Helena. You sir are a sad sad little person who has no inspiration other than the establishment on your side. God thank goodness that isn't me.

  6. bringiton

    All sovereign power is vested in Westminster and the Scots
    chose to support the Labour party and not the snp at the Westminster elections which could of if they had wanted,

    Discuss/explain why was that ?????

    Independence was alleged about giving sovereignty back to
    the Scottish people and not to the snp. The present Scottish
    Parliament and Constitution may not be the one the free Scottish
    people wish to continue with ...although that obviously means the snp would lose power and so hence they seek to perpetuate
    the present electoral system.

    Asking the snp to reform Holyrood is just like asking the English Torys to reform Westminster..

    1. I already discussed and explained it... or at least my view of ity above.

  7. As Tony Benn once said what you need to know is how to get
    your leaders out of power before you elect them

    1. Oh I'd certainly agree with that.

    2. Incidentally Niko.

      This is how to get rid of them...

  8. tris and the malcontented snp drones if you are not out hunting
    defenseless unionists....
    Piketty notes that the rich are effective at protecting their wealth from taxation and that progressively the proportion of the total tax burden shouldered by those on middle incomes has risen. In Britain, it may be true that the top 1% pays a third of all income tax, but income tax constitutes only 25% of all tax revenue: 45% comes from VAT, excise duties and national insurance paid by the mass of the population.

    As a result, the burden of paying for public goods such as education, health and housing is increasingly shouldered by average taxpayers, who don't have the wherewithal to sustain them. Wealth inequality thus becomes a recipe for slowing, innovation-averse, rentier economies, tougher working conditions and degraded public services. Meanwhile, the rich get ever richer and more detached from the societies of which they are part: not by merit or hard work, but simply because they are lucky enough to be in command of capital receiving higher returns than wages over time. Our collective sense of justice is outraged.

    The lesson of the past is that societies try to protect themselves: they close their borders or have revolutions – or end up going to war. Piketty fears a repeat. His critics argue that with higher living standards resentment of the ultra-rich may no longer be as great – and his data is under intense scrutiny for mistakes. So far it has all held up.

    Nor does it seem likely that human beings' inherent sense of justice has been suspended. Of course the reaction plays out differently in different eras: I suspect some of the energy behind Scottish nationalism is the desire to build a country where toxic wealth inequalities are less indulged than in England.

    Hmm ! be churlish to compare Nicola's family wealth
    prior to the snp holyrood win and how much they are worth now ???
    and note how their income is totally dependent on there political machinations within the snp ochlocracy

    1. Well Niko, I found you lurking on a pro independence site. I did not go out looking for you. Strangely enough I once wasted three days of my life, and it ain't getting any longer, on some looney from the EDL. Now I am finished with you. I will leave Tris ( poor soul) to deal with you.

    2. Helena

      tris is me long suffering carer.....unfortunately (or fortunately ) Ill be leaving the Kingdom in 2015 (with thanks to Gideon Osborne ).

      And we must then part....dont think i will last long
      but there you go

  9. Hey Niko. I need some information. My view is that the fundamental problem with the governance of England/Scotland/Etc is not that you have a King or Queen. The antics of the Windsors are fundamentally irrelevant. (They have no meaningful governing authority and cost less for maintenance than the American President.) The problem is the ongoing train wreck of governance that is your system of Parliamentary Sovereignty. It puts at risk the very essence of your being as a nation, and jeopardizes the rights of all your people. The Scottish Parliament is superior to the Westminster Parliament in the governance of Scotland only in the sense that it's run by Scots. But so was the Scottish Parliament of 1707 that by a majority vote ceded the Sovereignty of Scotland to England. Today's Scottish Parliament is the same Sovereign Parliament in principle that can do it all over again at any time following Scottish independence. It all depends upon a bunch of popularly elected and significantly corrupt politicians sitting in Edinburgh. (If I'm wrong about this, let me know. But I can't find any authority that says differently.)

    The ongoing arguments about Labor-Tory-SNP in the Holyrood-Westminster Parliaments should be pertinent to day-to-day governance, but it should be irrelevant to the very soul of your nation and the rights of your people. That's too important to be left to the will of the people and the machinations of a Parliament. So until you have a Constitution and a Bill of Rights that define the very essence of the nation in this regard, nothing else matters very much in the long term after independence. You'll just keep making it up as you go along. But after you have a constitution, the political party that runs the Scottish Parliament won't even matter very much in the long term.

    However, you wrote "the present Scottish Parliament and Constitution." Constitution? What are you talking about? Do you really have a constitution hidden somewhere over there in Scotland? Or is it the one that the English like to pretend they have, but no human being has ever seen or read. If you actually have one. I'll shut up about this. If you don't, then maybe people on that side of the pond should quit pretending that they do. In any event, you should quit wrangling about Parliaments and political parties in discussions about the sovereignty of nations. It's too important for politics.....once you manage by popular referendum to undo the horrible mistake of 1707. Yes....I'll say it.....the Americans have shown you the way, and you should pay attention, IMHO.

    Sorry for the length Niko, but I don't do short comments about the very lives of nations or the rights of individuals. So do please let me know about that "Constitution" that you're blathering on about in the same breath with which you squabble about the relative triviality of SNP vs Labour vs Tory.

    1. Wow.... well put Danny.....:)

    2. Danny I will give you this and only this, it is called the Treaty of Arbroath which was written in and my date may not be accurate in 1320 to the then Pope. Now much is as has been said elsewhere, guff, but the one thing that King Robert did was make the people sovereign. Some of what went into the US Declaration of Independence, came from there as did some of Runnymede, without these you would be poorer.
      You can find the Declaration on Wiki, I actually have a copy which will be famed and on my wall after we vote, I have had it that long it may look like it was written in 1320.

    3. @ Helena Brown: The American Declaration of 1776 is certainly historically indebted to the Treaty of Arbroath. And from the slightly later era of the Federal Constitution, American rights are historically "British" rights in many ways. Some of the Constitution's Bill of Rights is taken word for word from the Bill of Rights Act of the Parliament of England of 1689.

      My constitutional arguments are meant to suggest that King Robert's principle of the sovereignty of the people is perhaps not best expressed in its most fundamental form by a sovereign representative parliament sitting in Edinburgh. A sovereign constitution....agreed upon by the people.....and requiring a supermajority of the people to modify or amend insurance against the passions of politics in parliament. Most notably, of the sort that surrendered Scottish sovereignty to England in 1707.

      The sovereignty of the people gets a little tricky in the question of a Bill of Rights. I would insist that a fundamental human right must be at its limits the minority right of a single human being. If your rights depend upon a majority vote of the people or their representatives in Parliament, then you have no rights worthy of the name in a Constitutional sense. If you always conform to the majority in opinion and behavior, you in fact have no need of a Bill of Rights to protect you.

      I appreciate your comments. Thanks for reading my so gratuitously offered opinions. :-)


    This too Niko...

  11. Danny

    Err! now about the John Glover Roberts, Jr supreme court .
    Voting rights and armed Americans shooting down innocent
    children in school ......all under the Constitution of the usa.

    I have seen the true face of the usa. The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown. The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout "Save us!"...

    1. PS: @ Niko:

      I forgot to mention that I'm impressed with your knowledge of things American. I wouldn't think that very many Brits and Scots would be aware of the voting rights decision, and Chief Justice Roberts' involvment with the issue over time. I should have pointed out though that it's an example of Judicial Review......the process by which a court finds that an act of Congress (in this case approved overwhelmingly) is found to be contrary to the Constitution and thus null and void. An authority that the so-called Supreme Court of the United Kingdom does not possess. In England and Scotland there is no law that is passed by Parliament that is so unwise, evil, or venal that it will not have the force of law.

      As my seventh grade Civics teacher taught us, if the Parliament passed a law that said that every Englishman had to wear green socks, then....well......EVERY Englishman would have to start wearing green socks. This makes us freedom loving Americans positively cringe in horror. ;-))))

    2. Yes, Niko. I too like the Watchmen. Not entirely relevant to Scottish political life, however.


    3. anon

      well spotted ! Not relevant but fun

  12. Each year, more than 30,000 people die in the United States in firearm-related incidents. Many of those deaths involve handguns

    1. Niko says: "Each year, more than 30,000 people die in the United States in firearm-related incidents. Many of those deaths involve handguns."

      Yep. It's a shame and a disgrace. But it's not an argument against a Constitution and a Bill of Rights. It's in fact a testimony to the robustness of the human rights guaranteed by a Constitution. And a suggestion that when you write a Constitution that you get it right.

      Let me also point out that Americans and their firearms had no need of a referendum to achieve independence from Britain. When the bullets started flying at the British army, it got the attention of His Majesty's Government in a way that a referendum never could have.

    2. Maybe the constitution was right when it was written, Danny, and long ago required updating.

      That that update hasn't been carried out is the cause for concern, I'd say.

      It's, in a way, like the House of Lords,the right to bear arms is maintained in the face of all the harm it causes, because it is in the interested of some extremely powerful people.

      Even as a kid I was non-violent (all my time at school I only ever got involved in one fight...which resulted in my opponent being taken to hospital), but if we had the right to bear arms, there are some lying cheating scum politicians who would tempt me.

  13. OK Niko, since you didn't mention it, I'll assume that your "Constitution" you talked about does not in fact exist. I thought not.

    Good attempt though to divert my attention from that fact with all the absurd verbiage about gutters and blood and vermin and sex and murder. Although for a minute I could have sworn you were describing the streets of Glasgow.

    That bad things happen even in a Constitutional Republic might have been self-evident, but thanks for pointing it out. You should however also note that whatever bad happens, the surrender of national sovereignty to England or any other power will not be one of them. You could also have noted that the American right to bear firearms remains enshrined in the Bill of Rights, even in the face of tragedy and the contrary will of a simple majority of the people. That's a powerful argument FOR...not against....a Bill of Rights. It's Just that you should be very careful about what you decide should be a right in your nation, and very careful about the way you define it. If you get it wrong, it will require an amendment to change it. And in America, it's very unlikely that any of the ten Rights of 1787 will ever be revoked or amended.

    So be careful how you write your Constitution. Unless of course you actually manage to find that one that you pretend you have.

    1. The English have a bill of rights, Danny. Indeed they forced it on all the Empire.

      It is as follows (taken from Wiki) :))

      The Bill of Rights laid out certain basic rights for all Englishmen. The Act stated that there should be:

      no royal interference with the law. Though the sovereign remains the fount of justice, he or she cannot unilaterally establish new courts or act as a judge.

      no taxation by Royal Prerogative. The agreement of the parliament became necessary for the implementation of any new taxes

      freedom to petition the monarch without fear of retribution
      no standing army may be maintained during a time of peace without the consent of parliament.[7]

      no royal interference in the freedom of the people to have arms for their own defence as suitable to their class and as allowed by law (simultaneously restoring rights previously taken from Protestants by James II)

      no royal interference in the election of members of Parliament

      the freedom of speech and debates or proceedings in Parliament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Parliament

      "grants and promises of fines or forfeitures" before conviction are void.

      no excessive bail or "cruel and unusual" punishments may be imposed.

      Funnily it does not apply in Scotland.

      In fact we have recently found out that the Queen does interfere with the law of the land, although not, you imagine in the counts, but she and her eldest son do have laws changed to suit themselves.

    2. Most of our "rights" in Scotland come from Europe.

    3. Before a few words about history, let me clarify that my intent was not to suggest (from my uniquely unqualified American position) what your form of government should be. I was just expressing frustration that so much of the referendum debate quickly degenerates to squabbling about which political party supports it, which opposes it, and what will happen after the NEXT ELECTION when another party is in control.

      Do people not understand that the sovereignty of nations is a question that transcends the political makeup of Parliaments? Do they not understand, whether their vote is to be Yes or No, that control of the next and future Scottish Parliaments must be irrelevant to the larger question of national sovereignty? Have they in fact forgotten that Scotland has been a sovereign nation far longer than it’s been a part of Great Britain or the United Kingdom? And yet they prefer to squabble about political parties and parliaments. In clinging to the status quo, they seem to have no memory of 1707, when a Scottish Parliament sold the independence of a nation for English gold.

    4. Thanks Tris. The English Bill of Rights, an act of parliament of 1689, was an inspiration for the American Bill of Rights of 1787. In fact it was sometimes freely plagiarized.

      The English Bill of Rights of 1689:
      “no excessive bail or "cruel and unusual" punishments may be imposed.”

      The entire text of the Eighth Amendment of the American Bill of Rights of 1787:
      “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

      No wonder that an original 1689 copy of the English Bill of Rights is enshrined with the historic documents of the American Republic in the National Archives in Washington.

      Wiki says that there is a “Claim of Right Act” of 1689 that applies to Scotland too. And for that matter, a “Human Rights Act” of 1998.

      As for the “British Constitution”, it is written:

      “Much of the British constitution is embodied in written documents, within statutes, court judgments and treaties. The constitution has other unwritten sources, including parliamentary constitutional conventions….and royal prerogatives. Since the Glorious Revolution in 1688, the bedrock of the British constitution has traditionally been the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty, according to which the statutes passed by Parliament are the UK's supreme and final source of law. It follows that Parliament can change the constitution simply by passing new Acts of Parliament. There is some debate about whether this principle remains valid, particularly in light of the UK's membership in the European Union.”

      So it would seem that it’s not that the British don’t have a Constitution and Bill of Rights, it’s that they have rather too many of them, built on the shaky ground of Parliamentary Sovereignty.

      In particular, a human “Right” is by fundamental implication the “minority right” of a single human being. If it’s codified by no more than act of Parliament, then it’s just a law. A law that originally required majority approval for passage in Parliament, and is subject to revocation by the same Parliamentary majority.

      Parliament giveth and Parliament taketh away. It makes a so-called Constitution nothing but a group of laws, and the concept of a Human Right an absolute sham.

      I honestly think that the British people….from the lowest to the highest…..have absolutely no concept of the fundamental weakness of their system of government. They tolerate both a Monarch AND a Sovereign Parliament. Both of them positively AWFUL forms of government. From a modest American perspective. ;-)))

    5. Absolutely. We are bred to think it is the best system in the world. We are told that ours is the mother of parliament and that democracy is Britain is democracy.

      It is of course, utter rubbish.

      We are probably the least democratic country in the EU. We not only have a politically interfereing monarch, but her son interferes too. We have this ridiculous house of peers with a pile of half dead old farts, bishops from only one religion (indeed one branch of that religion) and a house of commons that is elected by first past the post and in which most of the seats never change hands.

      Our foreign policy is more or less decided in Washington, health and safety and human rights is dictated by a European convention, or by EU law...

      When we vote for people to do to Westminster we are really just giving them their turn at the trough... a turn which I might say many, if not most of them, use to great betterment for themselves.

      It's a despicable little country ruled by despicable people who care absolutely nothing for ordinary people and a great deal for themselves. Most of them wouldn't know an ordinary person if it bit them on the arse.

      Personally I've always disliked Britain and all the bullshit about it being a great country, but now I detest it, but at least the antics of the toffs is amusing... 100 years at least out of date, but amusing.

      It's always funny to see them being slighted by people like the American, Chinese and French presidents, the Saudi king and the German chancellor.

      It's much better than tv comedy :)

    6. And yes... there are human rights, but they stop if you don't have a title... ORRRRRR loads and loads of money so you could buy one.

    7. Tris....I couldn't agree more. As for the royals, while parliament is supposedly supreme, the slimy politicians seem to grovel to them at every opportunity.

    8. They do... of all parties, Danny. But it seems that, whilst we were always told that the royuals were ceremonial only and had no political power. There have been many cases recently when either the queen or her son have had laws changed to suit them.

      In other words, they lied to us.

      One of the broadsheets is trying to get details of Charles's letters to cabinet ministers published. Although the information commissioner has said that it is in the public interest that they be published, the government, presumably on demand from the palace, is fighting tooth and nail to break the law and not publish them, as they may do damage to the monarchy... (yes, they actually said that). Job done, whether we see them or not, I'd have said.

      I see one of the lower end newpapers has announced that William/Catherine is expecting another sponger... I mean prince... I wonder if they were trying to tie that in with the referendum, to make the terminally stupid among the Scots go all gooey eyed.

      Of course being from a long line of inbred they probably can't count, so by my reckoning, if it's true, it will be a couple of months too late.

      Unless, of course, the gestation period from princes is shorter than that for humans.

  14. Tris: "Unless, of course, the gestation period from princes is shorter than that for humans."

    Love it!!!!!! :-))

    I might suggest that in England, I see no reason why Parliament could not simply pass a law to make it so.

    I was thinking about the odd spectacle (odd to an American) of the House of Commons changing the structure and membership of the House of Lords. That boggles the mind. Parliament is supreme, so it decides it's own structure and legal authority; which it can change from day to day by simply passing a law. But how did the Commons become supreme to the Lords? I'm pretty sure they simply passed a law about it. But where were the Lords when all this was happening? Why are they not tinkering with the structure and authority of Commons? No doubt I would be told that there is a law about THAT. At some point in the discussion, someone would assure me that it's all in full compliance with the British "Constitution." Yea....RIGHT!!!!!

    It's fun to think about the fact that if the structure, authority, and composition of Congress had not been settled and committed to paper in 1787, the conflict between the House and the Senate would have escalated to a scale that would make the Civil War look like a Sunday school picnic.

  15. Thanks, Danny, for putting it in perspective. I've been trying to explain to people that our Independence Referendum is a Constitutional matter, and that the politics can wait until afterwards - you've explained it so clearly.


    1. @ Anon: I appreciate your comment. I'm glad you think that I made my point. Constitutions do more than specify a system of government. They are the very definition of the nation’s sovereignty.

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