Sunday, 27 February 2011

Qhit’ll ye dae?

Qhit’ll ye dae wi yon herrin’s hieds?
Qhit’ll ye dae wi yon herrin’s heids?
We’ll makkit thon in tae loaves o’ bried
An’ aw manner o’ things.

So starts a song sung by the gutting gangs of the NE of Scotland in times when the silver darlings swam in shoals up to 30 miles long as they migrated around the Scottish coast. The song itself is a nonsense song. The lassies who sang it did so to help while away the hours of repetitive work gutting, salting and packing herring but it also a song about humour, resourcefulness and making best use of what is around you. In these times of increasing hardship for all but the richest in our society mayhap it is a way of being we will need again to see us through the next decade.

Qhit’ll ye dae to thole the curse that is on us?

The easy way out is to blame Westminster and the system of governance that has been imposed on Scotland by successive Union Governments since 1707.  Yet I would suggest we are where we are because we have forgotten, as a nation, what we are, where we come from and who we can be. Like Edwin Muir, I and I assume many regular readers, would agree:

‘For I stand still for forces which
Were subjugated to mak’ way
For England’s poor, and to enrich
The kinds o’ English, and o’ Scots
Least congenial to my thochts’

(My quarrel with England)

The crux surely becomes we, the Scottish Nation, have let ourselves be subjugated by either buying into the ‘English way’ of doing things or worse forgetting the core intellectual strength of the Scot’s as thinkers which Walter Bagehot , a 19th Century political theorist, pointed out:

‘There appears in the genius of the Scottish people .... a power of reducing human actions to formulas and principles.’

This ‘genius’ is reflected in the structure of Scots Law (based in Roman Law and first principles) rather than say English Law which is all about the precedent of a prior judgement on the matter. Again the question needs asked what has happened to the constitutional and legal principles that are core to the Scottish Nation. Is Carol Craig, in her book ‘The Scot’s Crisis of Confidence’ right in her view that the Scots have given up on their own sovereignty and in doing so now consider they are powerless to influence our future?

It has been argued on these pages, by Paul Kavanagh, the ‘Anglicization’ of the Scots Language has been to the detriment of our national identity and on ‘Open Democracy’ there was a learned article on how the English Empire used the English Language as a tool for cementing colonisation of conquered or subsumed nations. Recognising that this is happening is no new phenomenon as Sydney Goodsir Smith wrote in 1941:

‘We’ve come intil a gey queer time
Whan screivin Scots is near a crime,
‘There’s no one speaks like that’, they fleer,
-but wha the deil spoke like King Lear?’

(Epistle to John Guthrie)

More subtle but more dangerous has been the slow and steady Anglicization of Scottish Education at all levels as the dominance of Westminster forced it into line with the English way. Scottish education has long been centred on a broad base of knowledge. In part this was, historically, a spin off of the Reformation and the rationalising approach to religious matters that was created in Scotland. Further an important outcome of the reforming zeal was the edict forcing all parishes to run a Sunday School which did not simply ‘teach’ religious knowledge but also sought to ensure all children in the parish could read, write and do simple arithmetic. The impact of this far sighted thinking was that by the end of the 17th Century Scotland had one of the highest literacy rates per head of population in Europe. Most historians aver that with out this base of education there would have been no ‘Enlightenment’.

Yet over the last 50 years we have seen Scottish FE move away from its broad base first degrees to more and more specialisation, from the first year onwards, in line with the English tradition. There are calls to reduce Scottish degree courses to three years from the current four (again aping England) but in the rush to be ‘competitive and cost effective’ what are we loosing?

For me it is this undercurrent in Scottish thinking that looks at problems from first principles rather than seeing what the ‘facts’ can be made to fit.  I have personal experience of the impact that focusing on ‘facts’ rather than first principles had on my University Education. Simply put it had to do with a certain approach to dental treatment and a new approach which was being thought through and appeared to be a much better way from the initial trials. When I tried to discuss the approach in a tutorial I was brusquely told by my tutor that if I tried the new approach he would have me kicked off the clinic or used it in any essay or exam he would fail me – the facts were the system taught at Edinburgh Dental Hospital ‘worked’ in ‘experienced’ hands. Yet, even as an undergraduate, it was clear to me, from first principles, that the received wisdom did not work because it actually weakened the tooth structure and a simple review of my clinical group’s outcomes showed a high initial failure rate (put down to our inexperience) or frequent fracture of the tooth following this style of treatment in subsequent years.  This inability of students to question ‘received’ wisdom in the increasingly pressured first degree courses is a great loss to our future development as a country and left me wondering just what was the point of University if we were simply being taught by wrote?

I can not speak for current secondary education but my old school in Edinburgh is in the process of ditching ‘Highers’ and GCSE’s for the International Baccalaureate to enable its 15+ year olds to have a broader and more profound educational base than the current highly directed and target driven SCE system allows.

‘And whare is the freedom that made Scots prooder
Than any prood kintry frae here to the Indies,-
The freedom oor faithers won, shooder tae shooder,
When Scotland wis Scotland, an’ shindies wis shindies?

(‘Saunders MacSiccar’ by Hamish Hendry )

Our freedom is being buried by slavish following of English ways – we are getting what we deserve – and my concern is that it will only be post Calman Minus that the majority of Scots will finally wake up to what we will have lost for all time. There is an urgent need to return to the Scottish way of thinking, discourse, definition of first principles and state very clearly what it is we, as a nation want. From Westminster we will be inundated by ‘facts’ but ‘facts’ are ‘chiels that winna ding.’

If we are going to move the argument for the restoration of the Scottish nation onwards, the first stage has to be to achieve fiscal autonomy; we need people (not politicians) to make it happen.

Maybe the most important role for Newsnet in the coming weeks is to promote fiscal autonomy heavily, in a non partisan way.  Let us start asking the question: why is it, when fiscal autonomy has a majority support across all Scottish voters, that three parties are so against the majority wishes of the sovereign people of Scotland. It is time to make the Unionist MSP’s chase the issues rather than dictate the issue.

‘Sae think on whar ye cam frae
Think on whaur ye cam
Oor Scottish sang’s
Been liltin lang
Think on whaur ye cam.

The time has cam fir cheenge bairn
The time has cam fir cheenge
Stand up strecht
Ye hae the richt
Today’s the day fir cheenge.’

(History – Wha’s History?  Stuart McHardy)

Thursday, 24 February 2011

The Threat to Scottish Sovereignty

To the MP and MSP Representatives of Dumfries and Galloway Constituency:

I wonder if you are fully aware of the impact of Mr Cameron’s proposed amendments to the 1998 Scotland Bill currently being rushed through Westminster with indecent haste.

These can be summarised as follows:
  • Loss of the sovereign independence of Scots Law which was preserved for all time by the Union Treaty
  • The assumption of Scottish sovereignty by Westminster in spite of the constitutional rights of the people of Scotland as a separate nation state, acknowledged by the Crown in the separate oath of allegiance sworn by the Crown to the people of Scotland  
  •  The ignoring by Westminster that democracy in Scotland has a different constitutional structure in that democracy in Scotland is representative (as in the USA) in its basis and not parliamentary as it is in England. Sovereignty in England lies with Parliament where as in Scotland sovereignty lies with the people - as made clear in the President of the Court of Sessions judgement in the McCormack vs The Lord Advocate in 1953 where he indicates that the assumption by Westminster over matters of Scottish sovereignty is perverse and at odds with the provisions of the Treaty of Union.

That is without any discussion about the ‘tax raising powers’ which are a fig leaf to cover the removal of real power from the Scottish Parliament in a misguided attempt to stop the SNP.

It is a concern to many Tories in Scotland that the actual impact of this bill will be to increase support for the SNP in the long term and bring the break up of the Union ever closer. A case Lord Forsyth , once Thatcher’s Tory Scottish Secretary, has made vociferously. On Newsnet  Scotland– a pro fiscal autonomy and independence on line newspaper - one writer has argued that Cameron’s Bill will turn into Scotland’s ‘Stamp Tax’ and have the same impact on Scotland as it did on England’s American Colonies.  So you have the interesting situation that the solid Union side and the solid Fiscal Autonomy / Independence side are agreeing about this odious bill’s potential impact on Scotland and the UK. The question is; where does this leave Labour in Scotland?

They claim to be Scotland’s only bulwark against the perfidious Tories and yet in Wendy Alexander have an MSP who can not wait to sell Scotland down the river  then run away from her treasonous act while doing Cameron’s bidding with a verve that makes you think:  Vote Labour in Scotland - get London Tories anyway.

I have carefully researched the constitutional issue and I believe that any MSP or Scottish MP that supports these amendments to the Scotland Bill 1998 is acting contrary to the Scottish Constitution, Scots Law and will be indictable under Scots Law for their actions as the Scottish Electorate remains sovereign and our representatives at both Holyrood and Westminster would be betraying that sovereignty which they hold in trust for the people of Scotland, at their own risk. It only takes 100 Scots to raise a petition with regards to loss of sovereignty and I believe the Court of Session will have to act.

I remind you of Winnie Ewing’s words at the formal opening of the Scottish Parliament:

‘The sitting of the Scottish Parliament suspended in March 1707 has now been reconvened’

That means the MSP’s and Holyrood are representatives of Scottish sovereignty, no matter what the Scotland Bill 1998 claims for Westminster, and it is my purpose to ensure that the MSP’s who hold my sovereignty in trust do everything to protect my sovereign rights as a Scottish voter to those ‘rights, freedoms and liberties we hold dear’.

Yours faithfully,

Up spake Mad Jock McMad.

Sometimes my alter ego ‘Mad Jock’ sometimes  goes ‘off on one’ and from the extremes of his madness, touches down on planet sanity for a few brief seconds before flying back off into the surreal world of honesty, fairness and egalitarianism he likes to live in.

Mad Jock commented that Labour were looking increasingly isolated at Holyrood, after the budget debacle, and Labour’s voting tactics lacked any form of common sense (even abstaining would not have been as stupid as voting against) courtesy of the irrational dominance of their ‘SNP hate glands’.

The wheels are falling off Labour’s bus. Elmer has no where to hide from the Megrahi revelations ( as he is Murphy and Brown’s creature),  the Scottish Tories are starting to get a bit sick of CHQ’s meddling and control freakery and some Tories are starting to think that Fiscal Autonomy is not a bad idea. The Libdems .... well they are just hanging on above the MSP qualifying vote share at present.

Having been tipped off by a friend in the Fife Labour Party – which detests Glasgow Labour with a passion – I followed the whole Moffat fiasco for ‘Labour List’ commenting on the machinations going on and the damage this was causing to the party locally.

If we go back to the Anne Moffat’s de-selection stramash in East Lothian that threatened to implode the local constituency party and look at what the East Lothian Courier, previously to 2007 having had an editorial line that was pro Labour, was now saying:

·         Anne Moffat was a ‘Blair babe’ union official parachuted into the seat against the wishes of the local party
·         On the first occasion her expenses looked a bit excessive the local party had moved to de-select. The National Executive refused her removal and Murphy was sent in to sort the problem out – basically tell the local party to get back into their box. Moffat stated that Murphy had been very helpful in settling the grievances of both sides.
·         The next occasion was in 2005 when again the local party sought to deselect her as the hue and cry began over her expenses. East Lothian Labour is still hurting from the clear cases of jobs for the boys and girls exposed when the SNP /Libdems took council control in 2007. Then there were the revelations about the Labour Council chucking Iain Gray ‘back handers’ and freebies against electoral law. The farce of the previous East Lothian Council CEO and his Labour authorised pay off which eventually the new council got curtailed in a deal that saw them drop legal proceedings against the CEO for contractual irregularities – it was suggested, though never proven as it did not go to court, that the CEO’s new house locally was courtesy of a land deal and planning permission massage.
·         Again the NEC said ‘No’ using the Unison block vote but that was not OK this time around for the Local Party which was now split with only minority support for Moffat. This time Murphy and Elmer were sent in to gain some form of holding agreement, damage limitation and sought to have the Local Party vote in the only Labour Club that would still allow elements of Moffat’s support entry. This time Moffat made clear that Murphy and Elmer were out to get her – she posited that Elmer was the candidate in waiting when she went. In the end the vote was taken at a neutral venue in Haddington and Moffat was gone. Yet it turned out she had already been given ‘ill health early retirement’ by the Labour whips - a nice little earner to be sure. Marshall mark 2 – and leaves a concern that she knows where many of the East Lothian Labour skeletons are hiding and her silence was ‘bought’ in Labour’s traditional manner.

Now it might be said that this could be a case of smoke with out fire but it is common knowledge that after the Wendy debacle (a Blairite) Brown pounded his clunking fist on the table and Gray (a Brownite) was foisted on the party in Scotland. It raises the question if part of the deal was that Murphy (a flip-flop merchant par excellence) would get the Scottish Office if he ensured the West Coast Labour Mafia’s support for Elmer. Brown has his puppet, Murphy gets to control Elmer’s strings for the West of Scotland Mafia and everyone is happy. Maybe we are right in questioning Elmer’s ‘lack of knowledge’ of the UK Labour Party’s wishes as Elmer’s puppet masters are now fully exposed in their dishonesty over Megrahi.

Forget her expenses, she was an unreformed ‘Blairite’ so Moffat went on Brown and Murphy’s say so– Elmer did what he was told to, unwaveringly and unquestioningly. So Mad Jock had some good evidence for his comment that Elmer, “ ...would not go for a pee with out Brown or Murphy’s say so.”

The next question is what did the Tories and Libdems see as an advantage of siding with their mortal foe the SNP and voting with them on the budget?

Again the Tories and Libdems could have chosen, with a more politically astute Labour party to abstain. The budget would still have gone through by a clear majority with only the two Greens opposing.

I have been made aware that lots of Scottish Tory folk from the P.O. down are not happy with London CHQ’s assumption of control and finances over the party in Scotland. One who, if cut through middle would say ‘UK Union for Ever’, has said that my views on fiscal autonomy are now not that far apart from his own. There is also a group based around Lord Forsyth that are concerned that Cameron’s proposed forcing of the amendments to the Scotland Bill will signal the end of the Union they believe so whole heartedly in. Many of the Tory backs woods men and women in Scotland resent the accusations around their failure to increase the number of Tory MP’s from Scotland. They consider that Calman was an albatross around their neck and like the ancient mariner were struggling to get their message across. English ‘High Tories’ of the likes of Matthew Parris are openly admitting the growing split and distancing that is growing between Westminster and Scotland. Parris suggested in a piece in the Times suggests it may be no bad thing for the Conservatives in Scotland to break with London because ‘London just does not understand post devolution Scotland’.

As to the Libdems: their position is still best described in a cartoon that appeared ( I think) in the Scotsman post 1997 – it had Donald Dewar ( trousers around his ankles) climbing into bed with Jim Wallace (who was wearing a bra, skimpy knickers, suspenders and stockings) saying, “.. and just how much is this going to cost me?”.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Union – the parasite in Scotland’s body.

Parasite – hanger on, one who lives at the expense of society or of others and contributes nothing. (Chambers Dictionary 1998)

Over the last six months, what started for me as an investigation into one of my historical antecedents has become a journey of discovery of which substantiated my conviction that Scottish Independence will be good for Scotland and the rest of the UK. This essay is a culmination of my research and the helpful guides, suggestions, criticism and encouragement my previous pieces on Newsnet Scotland have brought me.

My aim is to tie up key loose ends in the other pieces and create a positive argument for the dissolution of the Union. In turn I hope that readers will understand that passion and conviction are fine things on their own but unless harnessed together, for the long haul, are easily dissipated by reverses, smart talk and nay sayers.

So why did the Lords and Church Estate invite this parasitic relationship to be inflicted on Scotland?
Darien is a smoke screen and not the reason why the Union Treaty was hurried through in unseemly haste. 

The Union Treaty was after all about trade and economics or was it?

So what was in the Union for the Three Estates?

The Lords Estate:

They had heavily mortgaged their lands, to fund the Darien fiasco, to the rising middle class in the Burghs and their creditors were wishing payment or the Lord’s estates in lieu. The Burghs were gaining in economic, political and financial power in Scotland. The Claim of Right had forced the Lords Estate on the political back foot and their ability to manipulate the Scottish Parliament had been weakened. Further the change of Government in London from Whig to Tory meant the money that London’s Whigs had been using to pay off the Jacobite Lords was soon to stop and the Jacobite Lords were murmuring about growing unrest amongst their people. If the Lord’s Estate did not act quickly they could well be divided and many impoverished. The cash on offer from the Tories in London as a one off became a survival life line and a chance to re-establish control over their Scottish Lands.

The Church Estate:

They saw the Union as a chance to impose church law on Scotland through being recognised by the Union Treaty as ‘Scotland’s true church’. They were also worried at the growing secular power in the Burghs that often was directly used to thwart their own designs for a ‘Godly Scotland’ and their sense of being ‘preordained’ to run Scotland. Their vision was for a Scotland in which God’s Law – their interpretation of course - was paramount and being the ‘Church’ allowed them to squeeze the remaining Catholic Church in Scotland out of existence: a church that still remained dominant in the Highlands, was due ‘weeding out’ for its seditious attitudes. With out the check of a Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh they could only see a wining scenario as they took power in Scotland. While on the surface the ‘Church of Scotland’ appeared as one there was a history of schism with in the church and a number of factions were already squabbling for internal control of the General Assembly to ensure Scotland got their version of ‘God’ post Union.

The Burgh Estate:

They could see both the advantages and disadvantages of a UK single market. Their main concern was the influx of cheap English goods and their impact on local producers and manufacturers. They feared that there was a hidden agenda to undermine there ancient freedoms and privileges by excluding them from the commissioners destined for London. Further, their contacts in the Hanseatic League and the Low Countries made clear that the proposed Treaty of Union would shut their markets to the Scots – the French would see to that. The Burghs could not see how exports to England would take up the slack in the Scottish Economy this ‘shut out’ would cause. The East India Company was already petitioning Westminster to ensure their sole trader status with the English Colonies would remain and Scots merchants would continue to be excluded no matter what the Treaty said. The Burghs were also the main centres of population, and the men and women in their streets had no enthusiasm for the Union, as rioting both before and after made clear.


The Union secured their northern border once and for all at a time they were still concerned about French support for a rebellion of the Jacobite Highlands, in reality a problem not resolved until 1746 and the aftermath of Culloden. Equally important the Union ensured the Hanoverian succession by squeezing out the Stuart claim, once and for all and achieving all Henry the VIIIths ‘rough wooing’ aims failed to achieve.

The Union also rids Malborough of the problem of sending Scottish Regiments overseas while allowing English Regiments to be legitimately deployed in Scotland, along with the creation of regular garrisons permanently based in Scotland which would be necessary for the subjugation and control of the Highland regions, while releasing forces in England, no longer needed on the Northern border, for his European Campaign.

The settlement included in the enactment Act of Union also plugs a hole in the English exchequer, as the pay out to Scottish Jacobite Lords (approximately £100 million a year in today’s money) can be stopped as it is no longer deemed necessary.  Underlying the Treaty were the English Parliament’s desire to wreck the Scottish economy by flooding it with cheap goods while in reality excluding Scotland’s merchants from any advantage of trade with the English Empire. The Treaty makes clear that the English Empire and its future expansion is no part of the Treaty and remains the sole concern of Westminster and English interests.

So the advantages for both the Lords and Church Estates of were mainly short term and for their own benefit – it was all about power, control and personal enrichment. England achieved a major political aim at relatively low cost in money and resources in taking Scotland out of the equation as a source of political and military instability, so was the only real winner in this settlement. The impact of the Union on Scotland was disastrous.

The Parasite attacks:

Within 2 years of 1707 the Scottish economy, which had been growing by 2.5% per annum in the decade prior to 1707 was in free fall and by 1710 had collapsed and was stagnating. The Burghs saw their industrial and trading base wiped out, as their export markets were closed and the influx of cheap English goods (while the quid pro quo of trade with the English colonies was blocked by the East India Company through tariffs and trading restrictions). The impoverishment of the Burghs meant the increasing poverty of their inhabitants with numerous riots against the Union continuing. The Jacobite Lords were also unhappy with the loss of their ‘Jock Gelt’ and the stability that England had thought it had gained on its Northern border was once more threatened by the Jacobite’s in Scotland. Even the supporters of the Union who were now ‘commissioners’ had woken up to the pig in a poke they had bought into and the 4th Lord Selkirk, in attempt to head off the Jacobite unrest and powder keg of the grinding poverty in the Burghs, sought to have the Treaty annulled in 1714 but was ‘talked out’ by English MPs. The Commissioners learnt they were very small fish in a large shark pool and now England had what it wanted they were there to be humoured and bought off for their silence.

For the next 70 years Scotland was derided by Westminster at every turn – Dr Johnson spoke for most London intellectuals and Westminster politicians deriding ‘Scotch’ mannerisms and attitudes at every turn – the idea of the ‘Scotch’ heading for London on the ‘make’ and being whiny, a chip on the shoulder and dependent on English largess has a long and tedious history. Yet the growing English Empire was increasingly dependent on these whiny but far better educated ‘Scotch’ to run their colonies. The sphincter tightening events of 1745-46 changed attitudes in London and Westminster to some extent but the real impact of the ’45 rebellion was to turn Scotland into a defacto colony run by a ‘viceroy’ in London. A state that did not alter until 1999 and one the current coalition are trying to re-impose with Calman minus. As Westminster now thought of Scotland, when it did, in colonial terms it is not surprising that breaches of the Treaty of Union came thick and fast, all to the detriment of the Scottish people and Scotland’s economy but sold as for the ‘greater good’ of Empire.

Because of the grinding poverty in Scotland the emptying of the land began, first in the central and southern areas with the likes of the 5th Lord Selkirk encouraging landless tenants and others to take ship to Canada where he funded the creation of the ‘Red River Colony’ ;  now Manitoba. The first and main clearance that occurs in Scotland is by and large forced on the Scots by the crushing of their economy, loss of income and is voluntary, though encouraged by land owners by offers of free transport, this in turn leads the major landowners to shift land use to more profitable inhabitants – the woolly maggots – a move which comes to a head early in the next century with the violence of the Sutherland Clearances.

The transition of the Scottish language has been better covered in a series of features in Newsnet but there are some linguists who consider the deliberate Anglicisation of Broad Scots was part of the process of colonisation as the middle and professional classes in Scotland became very aware that without the ‘Queens English’ they were not going anywhere in UK society very fast – the plum jobs went to Scot’s who could speak with ‘bools in their mooth’.  The Scotland of Victorian times was epitomised by the romantic novels of Walter Scott and the paintings of Landseer and to this day many English folk still claim to find the Scottish accent unintelligible – often ironic when the comment comes from some one havering in an estuarine Essex accent. One social impact on this overt attack on Scottish culture was the increasing insularity and parochialness of the bulk of Scots – represented in their reactionary nature to any change – the ‘aye beens’. This resentment towards the languages of Scotland – both Gael and Lallands – is still alive and well in the letters columns of Scotland’s media but why anyone would want to talk like Malcolm Rifkind, who sounds as if he has a permanent poker up his fundament, I just do not know.

The Church of Scotland’s big hope of a ‘Godly Scotland’ quickly came of the rails and by 1841 yet another schism saw an end to its last vestiges of taking ‘national control’.  The Reform Act returned power back to the middle classes: the bankers, the lawyers, the industrialists and as the Victorian era came and went in Scotland, these worthies rose to run Scotland’s cities. By the end of the First World War power shifted again in Scotland with the rise of the Scottish Independent Labour Party, the Govan Rent Strike and the real sense of threat that the likes of Hardy, Maxton and Maclean brought to the Westminster Government of the day which once again saw English soldiers on Scottish streets. The Union was once again under threat: once again Westminster took a colonial attitude to the prevention of any move towards an independent Scotland, one that only a few years later would end in the Amritsar Massacre and begin India’s move to independence.

By the 1980’s Scotland was again safely in the thrall of Westminster placemen after the skewed independence referendum of the 70’s, ensured the Scots were in a no win situation, but Thatcherism saw a unification of Scots for a political purpose, the success of opposition to the ‘poll tax’ put a political spine into the Scots for the first time in around 250 years and this time would not be cowed by force or economics and resulted in the 1998 Scotland Bill in an attempt to stop the worm from turning and killing off the parasite that had kept it in a weakened state for so long.

The SNP victory in 2007 revealed many things that the Unionist Parties in Scotland would have preferred to keep under wraps. Long held Labour fiefdoms such as East Lothian fell and the levels of Labour excesses and Tammany Hall style activities became public across Scotland. Purcell along with SPT, City Buildings and Strathclyde Police’s sideways attack pointing out the amount of money West of Scotland Councils were feeding organised crime saw the beginnings of the cracks in Labour’s heartlands.  The embarrassment of the revelations of the extent Labour MP’s and councillors in the West of Scotland’s had been massaging their expenses and the exposure of a few of Glasgow’s current crop of Labour councillors links to organised crime along with a member of one of the major Glasgow Gangs at a Murphy election fundraiser who was known to everybody – according to Murphy’s agent – suggests when Glasgow Labour blows - it is going to be messy.

At the opening of the Scottish Parliament Winnie Ewing made clear that it was a reconvening of the session of parliament suspended in March 1707. The impact of this statement was thought ‘quaint’, by the likes of Brian Taylor and other Unionist commentators, and of no real significance to the Union: yet the constitutional reality was not missed by Lord Forsyth who made clear, in a warning in the House of Lords, that Scotland could now secede from the Treaty of Union any time the Scottish Parliament voted to make it so. The reality is that as a ‘representative democracy’ Scottish sovereignty remains with the people of Scotland, we only lend it to the Scottish Parliament and the duly elected MPs to act on our behalf, for the good of Scotland under the entrenched Scottish Constitution, established by the ‘Declaration of Arbroath’.

It is time to accept the pain, take the medicine and remove this Union parasite once and for all from the body of Scotland. Only with this parasite cleansed from Scotland, can we as a nation succeed.