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Posted on March 04, 2021 by

Having once been a Scottish Labour MEP, I joined the SNP 10 years ago because I believed we needed the party to secure independence. I was warmly received by local and national members including Alex Salmond.

I became an active member in Edinburgh West and represented them at conference, became a member of the National Council and almost became the MP for Kilmarnock, losing narrowly to Alan Brown (now the MP) in the selection.

(I was incidentally almost blocked from running because I wasn’t “sufficiently loyal”. I was allowed to stand on appeal because Kenny MacAskill on the appeal panel said, “Well Hugh if you don’t agree with a vote in Parliament couldn’t you just go to the opera instead?” I agreed and was approved accordingly.)

My relations with the SNP have not admittedly always been plain sailing. I resigned once, when Nicola Sturgeon held up the front page of the Sun during the 2016 election after it tactically decided to back the SNP in Scotland (whilst supporting the Tories in England) because Murdoch always liked to back winners.

This raised serious questions about Nicola’s judgement and made me suspect she isn’t as smart as she thinks.

Since re-joining the SNP I haven’t been as active as I was previously, but did join with the critique of the Growth Commission and participated in the SNP Socialist Group, although the impact of the latter group was largely neutralised by the career ambitions of some of its members.

I’ve been disappointed recently by the success of Angus Robertson in securing the SNP’s nomination to contest Edinburgh Central, a result whose credibility – given the unusually strong local support for his main rival Marco Biagi – is ill-served by the total lack of transparency in the SNP’s procedures for scrutiny of internal elections.

When I first joined the SNP there was a pretty healthy democratic culture. There were lively debates at conference and the leadership were often defeated in votes, although even then I worried about the Standing Orders Committee having too much power and allowing too many speeches from MPs and MSPs.

(Also with Derek McKay as Business Convener I rarely got called to speak – we didn’t get on, largely on political grounds. I had to resort to opposing motherhood-and-apple-pie motions in order to get to speak, and he didn’t like that either.)

However in the last few years – in fact since Nicola Sturgeon became First Minister with her husband as chief executive of the party – debate has been closed down. Branch motions are ignored, or even rewritten at conference without the knowledge or agreement of the branch that submitted – even New Labour didn’t do that.

The party is increasingly being treated simply as foot-soldiers to raise money, which is all too often spent without accountability to the members – the £600,000 so-called Referendum Appeal Fund which has mysteriously disappeared is a case in point. I asked one leading member recently how they would describe democracy inside the SNP – they thought for a minute and said “Stalinist”.

Many years ago I managed to recruit the great BBC broadcaster Colin Bell to the Scottish Socialist Party. He’d been in the SNP previously but tellingly said “Hugh, the SNP used to be seen as a cause; now it seems to be more of a career path”.

The process of instutionalisation, which had afflicted Labour in the past, has now overtaken the SNP. The jobs of the MPs, MSPs, councillors and all their staff have it seems become more important than the struggle for independence – yes, we go through the motions and Nicola mentions it once a year at conference, but even Mike Russell’s elaborate 11-point plan amounts to no more than asking for a Section 30 vote again with no Plan B when it is refused again.

The final straw has been the attempt to jail Alex Salmond. Like many I found it hard to believe initially that Nicola was involved, but when the details unravelled I became convinced that it could not have happened without her knowledge and approval.

Alex’s crushing victory at the judicial review, his innocence at the criminal trial and his magnificent testimony to the Holyrood inquiry have only reinforced that belief. As Alex memorably said during his evidence, “the institutions of the government of Scotland haven’t failed, the leadership has.”

Also the absurd attempts to muzzle people sympathetic to Alex, such as Craig Murray and Mark Hirst, show that the Crown Office of Scotland needs a serious clean-out and hopefully all three will sue for malicious prosecution successfully after things settle.

Nicola’s performance yesterday didn’t convince me to change my mind. It was in the words of Professor James Mitchell’s account in Holyrood Magazine “a masterclass in obfuscation and deflection”. Her constant attacks on Alex Salmond showed that to her this is war, and to paraphrase the words of Leslie Evans – she may have won the battle to stay on, but she hasn’t won the war.

Recently I’ve had to respond to English friends who are worried that the Alex Salmond case may damage the independence movement. And indeed the latest poll shows some reduction in support, but this is hardly surprising.

I think the SNP will still do well in the constituency votes, winning most seats there. However there is a real chance of getting more pro-independence, non-SNP MSPs elected on the list, particularly if Alex Salmond backs one of the alternatives.

In my view the most credible of these is Action for Independence (AFI), which stands on a cross-party and non-party basis. The AFI only has one policy: independence. Wings commissioned a poll a few months ago which showed that a list party could win up to 28 seats if backed by Alex Salmond, leading to a big pro-independence majority in Parliament.

Imagine if Labour and the Tories were reduced to a rump in the Scottish Parliament, with the AFI as the main opposition. If Alex Salmond decides at this late stage to stand, he might even be leader of the opposition, but will Nicola still be First Minister?


Hugh Kerr is a former Labour councillor and MEP, expelled from Labour for his opposition to Blair. He helped to found the Scottish Socialist Party and became its first chair and press officer. He’s now a member of AFI and will be campaigning for it in the Scottish Parliament election.

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    1. No good news. Feel as though the SNP have a gun to independence supporters head.

    2. Effijy says:

      Its Nicola and Murrell’s Party where friends are allowed to debate
      on the topics that she has sanctioned along with the conclusion.

      She selects who gets selected and deselects those who have an opinion.

      Pay for membership, Pay to go to a Conference, pay for the disappearing ring fenced Indy 2 Fund, pay for a sea of lawyers
      for fools put in positions of power?

      The Labour Party became too important for manky members too.

    3. holymacmoses says:

      That’s a breath of fresh air Mr Kerr – thanks a million.

    4. Heaver says:

      No Jeannie, this is good news: it’s a path.

    5. Peter A Bell says:

      I was totally with Hugh Kerr until he descended into that nonsense about AFI. Sad.

    6. Kenny says:

      Why does this have the wrong date on it?

    7. An interesting insight into the control freakery that’d put New Labour to shame. He’ll no doubt be denounced as a “unionist troll” soon enough though.

    8. Breastplate says:

      It should be 1984

    9. Harry mcaye says:

      I fail to see the need for AFI when we have the ISP (I suppose that could be vice versa). With Solidarity also running, the list vote is bound to be split and far from 28 seats, we’ll end up with zero. Seems staggeringly obvious to me.

    10. Dan says:

      Re. Multiple Pro-Indy parties standing on the regional lists.
      Sort it out or what’s the fuckin point.

    11. Cath says:

      I fail to see the need for AFI when we have the ISP

      As I understand it, AFI is an umbrella organisation, so people can stand under it as independents, ISP members, or anything else they want to be. It’s just an umbrella for people standing on a pro independence platform. The benefit of that would be that if someone really big stood and achieved a whole wheen of list votes, those would then carry over to the 2nd AFI person on the list rather than just be wasted if he/she were purely an independent.

    12. sog says:

      Hugh said –

      “I found it hard to believe initially that Nicola was involved, but when the details unravelled I became convinced that it could not have happened without her knowledge and approval.”

      My thoughts are, with her seeming to be a very controlling person, would anyone set out to attack AS behind her back.

    13. kapelmeister says:

      Great article Hugh. You’ve seen two parties you’ve been in taken over by shallow careerists.

    14. Cath says:

      Not sure where I got that understanding from mind, so may well be totally wrong.

    15. Sarah says:

      Wish we had more – sorry, any, like Hugh amongst our SNP MSPs. I’ve emailed the group who are retiring a few times, asking them to take action to correct the flaws in the current leadership, and none of them has done anything at all about it.

    16. Dan Fyffe says:

      This is descending into People’s Front of Judea territory.

    17. Sarah says:

      @ Harry McAye – Solidarity are standing under the AFI umbrella. This means all the votes for the smaller parties can be aggregated and thus more likely to reach the 6% of votes level that wins a list seat.

    18. Stuart MacKay says:

      Peter Bell, so why is it sad?

      The rot in the SNP means the political support within the independence movement is fracturing and it’s going to stay that way. The main reason is of course recent events but there is also the long term damage done to the prospects for independence. The SNP isn’t exactly filling the stables with the calibre of people needed to go toe-to-toe with Westminster.

      So rather than try and shore up the crumbling edifice it seems a better approach is to fail-forward and rebuild. That means creating some credible alternative that could deliver. Even if the SNP could be recovered it’s going to take a long time to clean out the crap and create a party that’s capable of delivering the goods. In either case that’s going to take a long time. Better to start with a cleaner sheet than to try and scrape off all the shit on this one.

    19. Alison Brown says:

      Great article Hugh! It’s certainly good to read someone else feels as I do and I too certainly support AFI for my second vote. If Alex were to endorse them I think we could achieve a huge success and gain many pro Indy MSPs and correspondingly less Unionist MSPs.
      If the SNP fail to win their majority a coalition Gov with AFI would certainly hold their feet to the fire as Alex would say. A pro Indy Opposition would do the same. Interesting times.

    20. Breastplate says:

      I think it was Tommy Sheridan who suggested that isp are the party that didn’t want to collaborate with afi but not entirely sure so clarity is needed there.

    21. alzyerpal says:

      We already vote SNP MSP’s into comfortable career paths, why not take a chance on AFI for the list? What’s the worst that can happen? Even if they turn out to be frauds they will be no worse than the 4 (maximum seats) current SNP frauds, and certainly better than your Murdo Frasers etc.

    22. Ian Mac says:

      Good news, we need a proper opposition to the SNP, who have become accustomed to absolute power and the elimination of opponents. The decline of any democracy inside the SNP speaks volumes, and is a terrible insult to people who have given so much time and resources to the party. No doubt they plan to treat the voters in the same way.

    23. KK87 says:

      Peter A Bell, are any of the new Indy parties worth voting for in your view as I’ll certainly no be wasting my vote with SNP 1&2.The SNP will get my 1st vote as there is no other choice but I’ll be giving my 2nd vote to either greens or another pro Indy party, most likely at this point going to be the greens as need to find out more on others before I’d consider voting.

    24. Al Clark says:

      A lot of obvious troll life of late, I guess Spring’s sprung.

    25. Orlando Quarmby says:

      Peter A. Bell still shiteing on anyone who suggests other than SNP 1&2 in May – even if the alternative, as specified here, were backed by a figure like Salmond.

    26. Jimmy Hutton says:

      The difficulty of pushing AFI is that it is effectively a bunch of Sheridan fanboys choking to get on the gravy train…

    27. Seumas McCue says:

      I agree totally. Clearly the SNP has become the Murrell support party.

      My only doubt about AFI is whether it has come to the party early enough. SIP is a party with a slate and will in time produce a manifesto. I simply want Independence.

      Perhaps though we need to begin to shoot at the Nicola Worship. We have had #imbackingnicola. I saw someone advocating #nicolaisnotthemessiah. Bit long, but might hack it.

    28. gullaneno4 says:

      Goodness me they are all coming out of the woodwork now.
      Never heard of the OP until two minutes ago.
      He does seem to move about the political parties a lot, a bit like George [the cat] Galloway. He did not get promoted much as well.

    29. Grahame Case says:

      I was also in Edinburgh Western branch with Hugh during the heady days of getting Colin Keir elected in 2012 as the first ever SNP parliamentary candidate in Edinburgh Western.

      I can’t hold my nose this time round and give the SNP my vote unless something drastic changes, so I’m spoiling my first vote and giving AFI my second

    30. Monica Worley says:

      I would hope if Alex does decide to return to politics, he would choose ISP over AFI for the compelling reason that while independence is number one, ISP also supports women’s rights by standing against the GRA/HCB. Women’s rights are at huge risk from the SNP currently. AFI’s non-stance on these two proposals means my vote will go to ISP regardless.

    31. Senlac says:

      Hugh Kerr is a political Chameleon who has been trying any method to get elected to a cushy position since well before it became the done thing in the SNP. While much of what he says here is true, the AFI plug at the end appears to suggest that will be his latest effort to get into parliament. He attempted to become candidate for Kilmarnock & Loudoun while living through in Edinburgh and only the oldest of heads in the local party had even heard of him. No better than Spear & Mennie in that regard and best ignored tbh.

    32. Mario Antionette says:

      Nah. Fragmenting the Indy vote like this by parties seemingly formed 8 weeks before an election with little preparation is an extremely bad idea. You’ve got 5 years to prepare for the next one.

    33. John says:

      I see Independence for Scotland Party (ISP) is being mentioned and questions being asked, to keep this post short here’s a link FAQ’s about ISP.

    34. Breastplate says:

      Stuart MacKay,
      Agreed, many people are only looking as far as this coming election, we really do need to play the long game.
      I like many others voted for the SNP when we absolutely knew they were going to win next to nothing and we were all told that we were wasting our votes. I always considered that pish.

      I was always voting with my conscience and for independence. Yes, I was often voting for a party that had very little or no influence in government but I and others were part of a bigger picture.

      I can proudly and honestly say I did not vote for any Unionist party. Looking at the choices we have now I could not in good faith countenance voting for the SNP, this is a party that has ignored mandate after mandate given to them for no good reason other than to tell us we should wait.

      This is not what I would call an independence party, of course there is a minuscule amount of talk regarding doing something about independence but they’re lack of action speaks much more of what to expect of them future regarding self determination.

      No, I think I’ll be content once again to vote with my conscience and if it takes longer to get to the destination that I want for my country, at least I will be assured that I’m travelling in the correct direction.

      This is my own opinion and I quite understand that other people have a different opinion.

    35. schrodingers cat says:

      agree with AFI on the list, it would be better for the ISP joined with the other parties, including independents and solidarity.

      it isnt a question of politics, its simple arithmetic

    36. Willie Hogg says:

      The SNP was a broad church, with membership drawn from across the political spectrum. Under AS and in government it gained a high degree of approval for its pragmatic governance. Most of its policies were actually implementation of unionist promises, promises unionist had held up a carrots but had no intention of delivering. But now the party styles themselves as Social Democrats. I don’t know when the membership endorsed this, but I for one arm not interested and given they clearly are not for independence why would I vote for them?

      Unless AS endorses one of the so called list parties I will be voting ISP, however I would prefer a party which would take votes from the unionists parties as well as from the SNP. This would grow the independence vote at their expense.

    37. kapelmeister says:

      Senlac @3:42

      If Hugh is the aspiring careerist you claim then he would have been a Blairite when he was a Labour MEP during the early years of New Labour. Instead he opposed phony Tony.

    38. Cath says:

      I remember Hugh Kerr jumping ship to the SNP. Have googled his name now and found this, which I never saw this at the time. Good letter. Wonder if the eminent list of names ever got a response from the Crown Office? Kind of doubting it…

    39. TOMMY SHERIDAN says:

      Dave Thompson joined the SNP in 1965 when independence was a minority pursuit and required courage and vision to promote. He served as Highlands and Islands MSP for the SNP between 2007-2016. He left the SNP last year to establish AFI around a credible Max The Yes strategy which aims to prevent independence 2nd votes being wasted and actually assisting the election of useless unionist to spend their time talking down Scotland. Dave was disappointed with progress towards IndyRef2 and believed the Holyrood election system was being used by unionists to boost their representation. He believes the independence movement should also vote tactically to maximise Indy supporting MSPs and minimise the number of unionists

      Also on the Steering Group of AFI is former SNP MSP John Wilson who used to lead anti-poverty campaigns with the Scottish Low Pay Unit, Scottish Child Poverty Action Group and others.

      But according to Jimmy Hutton (above) these longstanding independence activists and advocates are “a bunch of Sheridan fanboys”. Wow. Right out of the gutter press book of baseless snipes and smears. Grow up Jimmy. By all means disagree with the AFI project aimed at uniting 2nd votes of the Indy Family for independence supporting parties if you wish. That is is your prerogative. But try and raise your game and show a bit more respect for the likes of Dave Thompson and the efforts he is making to prevent the waste of almost a million votes for independence.

      In 2016 across the six regions where the SNP failed to win a single List seat from the 2nd List vote they attracted a total of 750,000 votes. An incredible 750,000 votes that amounted to nothing and allowed scores of unionists to be elected instead. That is a tragedy which must not be allowed to happen again. By all means attack me as an individual. Fill yer boots. My sunbed reinforced skin is tough enough and my sturdy shoulders are broad enough. I’m used to derogatory remarks. But to reduce the likes of Dave Thompson, John Wilson and grassroots Indy warrior Martin Keatings to the status of ‘Sheridan fanboys’ is downright disrespectful.

    40. Scott Shaw says:

      I’m the same Grahame, i’m in Edinburgh West too and certainly won’t be voting Musson.

    41. gullaneno4 says:

      Does anyone know how popular the new Independence parties are.
      A while ago I saw that the ISP had 1,000 members, is that correct.
      Printing up the number of members for the new parties might give us an indication which one is best to vote for,

    42. robbo says:

      Seems to me the SNP want total and complete dominance of the Indy movement and will attack any list party who try and muscle in on their careerist gravy train.

      Ridiculous situation. They forget the indy votes of 2014 (1.6 million)are not wholly SNP members , not even 10% and only 60 ish % of votes the get in elections only because they’re supposed to be pushing for Indy, not filling there pension pots while bringing in draconian bills.

      Maybe getting a bloody nose in MAY will correct the balance and only then will they see the error of their woke agenda, who knows?

      SNP 1&2 is madness IMHO

    43. Craig P says:

      Ever since victory in 2007, the clock has been ticking down on the day the SNP became a Labour-style vehicle for entryism, deadwood and corruption. The question was whether that would happen before or after independence.

      A wider question is whether cronyism and corruption is the natural state of Scottish politics – there’s no shortage of examples.

    44. Famous15 says:

      I was in the past in Edinburgh West and still have my vote in the constituency.

      So do I vote Alex ole~Hamilton or find a candidate who tells fewer lies. Tough call.

    45. Frank anderson says:

      To game the system, on the list, we need to have only one option. Then you could try to guide people how to vote. With the numerous choices, very few if any will get a seat. The SNP are still the only party that can form a government that would be sympathetic to Referendum/Independence currently.
      With this carry on, the SNP will need both votes as there is a possibility they could lose seats and probably need the list to make up a majority.
      People have to remember, it is the cause not the individuals!

    46. wull says:

      Cath @ 3.17 has doubts about what she had said a minute earlier about AFI, but as far as I know, what she said was absolutely correct. Moreover, I think AS is more likely to join and run for AFI than any other pro-Indy Party. Not only because he surely knows the founder well but, more specifically and precisely, because of its structure. AFI has an ‘umbrella’ type organisation, allowing loads of diversity among those under it, just so long as they support independence first and foremost.

      Tommy Sheridan, I understand, is already under the tent (sorry, the umbrella) and, as far as I know, the ISP could get there too if they wanted to. They say they don’t, but in the end they might. To my mind, it is the AFI which can get all non-SNP pro-Indy candidates to unite and cooperate, without any of them having to renegotiate or abandon any of their convictions. This is the best way to maximise the pro-Indy list vote, without giving in to the decadent and anti-democratic SNP.

      So, let me finish, if I may, by re-posting the main point of Cath’s earlier post, which states the case perfectly and 100% correct, as far as I know.

      Cath says: 4 March, 2021 at 3:16 pm

      As I understand it, AFI is an umbrella organisation, so people can stand under it as independents, ISP members, or anything else they want to be. It’s just an umbrella for people standing on a pro independence platform. The benefit of that would be that if someone really big stood and achieved a whole wheen of list votes, those would then carry over to the 2nd AFI person on the list rather than just be wasted if he/she were purely an independent.

    47. robbo says:

      Jimmy Hutton says:
      4 March, 2021 at 3:28 pm
      The difficulty of pushing AFI is that it is effectively a bunch of Sheridan fanboys choking to get on the gravy train…


      Would you be on the SNP gravy train by any chance Jimmy Hutton?

    48. Ian McCubbin says:

      Great article Hugh, and covers my experience at branch level. I had to leave a branch after being threatened with violence by one of the woke fan club of NS for daring to ask people to be active for Independence and protest.At the time was branch chair and secretary when the vice chair would not take the post.
      I see now it all comes from the top this autocratic ruining of a democratic socialist party.
      Let’s hope one of ISP or AFI takes the place of SNP.

    49. tartanfever says:

      Thanks for your candour Mr Kerr, confirming yet again what we all know to be true, that there are serious issues within the SNP.

      My question to you would be, considering the years of Labour infighting, are the SNP heading down the same path ?

    50. Alice Timmons says:

      Like a lot of people on this page, I’m currently politically homeless, but I’m not alone. I know there are many women with me. There are going to be thousands of votes there for the taking for a party that stands up loudly for women’s rights alongside independence.

    51. mountain shadow says:

      I big question then is whether Alex will back a list party or even better, lead it.

    52. Big Jock says:

      Unless Sturgeon apologizes to Salmond for smearing him and generally being a bastard. Then the split will remain forever.

    53. Johnny Martin says:

      Beyond sick of folk telling others they cannot vote for the party of their choosing on the list because they are ‘too new’, ‘not popular enough’, or whatever.

      It remains to be seen how well any of them will do but perhaps everyone can just stand on their platform and see how they get on without anyone ordering other people about with regards to their votes.

    54. Mac says:

      All I know is what Hugh Kerr wrote is correct about the state of the SNP these days.

      Not really sure there is much need to go beyond that.

      Reading that synopsis above from Hugh and seeing that foul display for hours and hours yesterday the SNP really has been gripped by a very malignant force.

      I have known for a long time that what was done to Alex Salmond was so beyond the pale of normal human interactions (even in the rough and tumble of politics) that it amounted to an evil act.

      Well yesterday we put a face to that evil. Sturgeon picked her dress well I thought. The only thing missing were the two wee horns poking out her hair-do.

      I did not see one sincere moment in the entire performance from Sturgeon. Unlike Salmond ‘performance’ here does not apply in a Lionel Messi meaning, it applies 100% in the sense of an act and an actor.

      It was a cringeworthy drama club level performance that convinced no one.

      Every time she told us how upset she was at the news you just knew she was not upset at all.

      Every time she told us how much she cared about the complainants you just knew she could not give less of a shit about them (JUST like with Peter Murrell, a total phony).

      And each and every time that was just the prelude to yet another back door attack on Alex Salmond. Trying to throw out the jury’s decision and pretend that she has some super secret info that she cant talk about but which means she is right and the jury and judges are all wrong.

      Sturgeon is very much a poundshop Tony Blair but she is more dangerous (don’t go hillwalking Rev). She has a frightening lack of ethical and moral boundaries as we saw for however many excruciating hours it was yesterday listening to her hiss and spit her venom. Worse she surrounds herself with types who are similar. We really do have a psychopathic party / government now.

      We all knew it was bad before yesterday but seeing that ‘performance’ yesterday it hits you like a ton of bricks just how bad it really is.

      We finally saw the real Nicola yesterday (just like we saw the real Alex on Friday) and she is a fucking monster.

    55. Republicofscotland says:

      Thank you Hugh for that interesting and informative article.

      Its not Alex Salmond or those who seek justice and accountability in Scotland that’s set back the Scottish independence cause, no the blame lies squarely on the shoulders of the FM Nicola Sturgeon.

      From 2016 onwards Sturgeon has done nothing to forward Scottish independence, both she and a certain element within the Scottish government and the SNP have put their careers and unpopular policies to the fore, and worst of all connived and colluded to fit up a former Scottish FM namely Alex Salmond.

      This has damaged the indy cause, and it has put doubts in folks minds who had no doubt before of whether or not to vote for them in May. Worse still we’ve sat back and watched as the SNP the Scottish government and the SNP have twisted and contorted lied and deceived denied and Sturgeon’s favourite “I can’t recall to the best of my knowledge” throughout this whole lurid sorry affair.

      The SNP and the Scottish government needs a good clear out from top to bottom, as does the Crown office, if Sturgeon and her clique manage to remain in office without one single sacking or resignation over this disgraceful affair in which their actions and behaviour have been appalling, then I’m afraid nothing much will change on the indyfront, and a whole host of unpopular policies might become law.

      Does the SNP membership actually want to save the party? if the answer is yes, then they’d better organise and become very proactive, if not I think May will be the SNP’s last tenure in office.

    56. Shug says:

      If Alex leads a list party he has my vote and a donation
      Otherwise it has to be nicola, but only because the rest are unionists

    57. Shug says:

      Btw after the election the sooner we have a new honest leader the better

    58. twathater says:

      I agree with what others are saying , if ANY of these parties are to be effective in winning seats and holding anyone to account they have to STOP with the self aggrandising and coalesce otherwise it’s just a waste of time

      1 AFI independence only nothing about OPPOSING GRA and HCB or plebiscite election

      2 ISP independence OPPOSING GRA nothing about HCB and nothing about plebiscite election

      Solidarity, independence , discussion on GRA , AFAIK against HCB, manifesto for plebiscite election

      Instead of pushing their own narrative, wise up AGREE policy eg ALL Oppose GRA and HCB , Manifesto to include plebiscite election at earliest opportunity and FORCE SG to do so

      THEN AGREE to divide up the REGIONS EQUALLY and stand your candidates on an agreed similar manifesto, to do otherwise will be stupid, ineffectual and will result in NO ONE being elected , whereby the unionists will still be at the trough

    59. Robert Graham says:

      Team Sturgeon breathes a sigh of relief .

      That’s the BBC Scottish headline

      A sigh of relief , I wonder why ,I mean she answered all questions put to her sincerely and honestly and without hesitation without resorting to implicating anyone else ,who could ask for more , after waiting all this time and constantly saying I relish the opportunity to put my side of the matter straight in full view for public scrutiny ,

      She took great pains to point out every single document required and requested by the committee would without hesitation be delivered without question and in a timely manner full cooperation was guaranteed she gave her word .

      But why the need for a sigh of relief it was simply a presentation of the true facts wasn’t it .
      My own opinion and I admit it favours Alex Salmonds account I admit that’s my biased opinion , I believe she thinks and her followers ” Team Sturgeon ” have won some kind of victory

      Aye ok Nicola, you can fool some of the people some of the time but you can’t fool all of the people all the time , you are on parole dear you know it and we know you know we know it , sorry about quoting Donald Rumsfeld but it was as close to the current situation as I could get .

      Time will tell if you have got away with it Nicola , it only needs someone with a conscience to fk up your get away plans doesn’t it , maybe not today or tomorrow but it will happen and that’s where the Donald Rumsfeld quote comes into play , Night sweet dreams .

    60. Natal XX and proud says:

      AFI or ISP for the list vote?. How can I best use my list vote to effectively elect a Non SNP Independence party.

    61. Fionan says:

      AFI is not a newly emerged party, it has been in the making for every bit as long as ISP. There were hold-ups with the EC due to hurdles regrading the name. However, the AFI has some known names – Mark Hirst and Martin Keatings to name just two, and it covers a diverse potential membership just as the snp did once upon a time when it was a democratic and honourable party. It also welcomes new members and questions from prospective members, which was not my experience with ISP which I joined then left to join the much more democratic and truly welcoming AFI. AFI shows true allegiance to democracy, with EVERY member having a voice. To date, I have not experienced any rude aggression from anyone in AFI as I did from office bearers in isp. That alone tells me I have made the right choice.

      Not so sure about the author of this article though, he comes across a bit like Tasmina ahmed Sheik(?)who also jumped around various parties till she succeeded in being elected. However, the only way we will gain any momentum towards indy is to put such differences aside for the meantime and all pull together. Hence an umbrella organisation is the best way forward to max the YES.

    62. Geoff Anderson says:


      I agree with much of what you say. However I strongly disagree with the choice for list votes.

      Let me explain why!

      A strong opposition to the SNP is required before and AFTER Independence. Based on experience few people will trust the Tories, Labour or LibDems to fight for Scotland.

      We have the ISP nearing completion of it’s manifesto. They have just completed very, very stringent candidate selection. They have key policies such as one member, one vote on selection and at Conference.. The candidates and member voting is taking place right now.

      The AFI is a loose collection of very Good individuals but without any policies apart from Independence.

      If we do not build a ground up party with coherent policies then I would be very concerned about long term opposition success.

      If the ISP didn’t exist then the AFI would be a quick fix for 2021.

      We have seen people like Margo McDonald be very successful. However at the first election after Independence we offer a selection of individuals with wide ranging political views and tell the voting public “Trust us” and we will work together. Then the SNP will continue to dominate.

      We Need a Political Party with a manifesto. We need a long term opposition developed.

      I will vote ISP for the long game.

    63. BoredHousewife says:

      I’m in agreement with Alice. There are thousands of women’s votes up for grabs due to the Orwellian policies being pushed by the SNP. I’m in the South Scotland region where the SNP have a chance of a List seat and the fab Joan McAlpine is contesting a constituency seat but may lose her place on the List due to the gerrymandering by the NEC.
      I’m confused which way to vote tbh. If I vote SNP on constituency, I elect a SPAD to Sturgeon. If I don’t vote SNP, I elect one of the woke on the List. I don’t know whether any Indy parties are even standing on the List in my area?

    64. Big Jock says:

      What really angered me yesterday. Was Nicola’s attempts at banter, humour and sniggering.

      Nothing is remotely humerous or light about this. It’s deadly serious. It was just off totally inappropriate.

      Teflon Sturgeon is a fraud.

    65. Mac @ 4:37 pm

      Sturgeon is very much a poundshop Tony Blair but she is more dangerous (don’t go hillwalking Rev).

      I always wondered if it was only me that found that just a teensy bit convenient.

    66. Johnny Martin says:

      BoredHousewife @ 4:50pm:

      I agree it would be useful if the list parties would get a move on and tell us all their candidates.

      Beyond that, I would only say (your choice, of course) that should vote for who you want and represents what you want and not try to calculate or guess what others are going to do. At least that way you’ve been true to what you want. Unfortunately there are always going to be folk get in that different folk won’t rate for whatever reason – one vote on each of constituency or list can’t stop ’em all!

    67. Edward MacD says:

      AFI is not enough to satisfy. What we need is a new Party which has real world policies to take us to the next level. A Party with actual integrity and absolute transparency at it’s heart. The SNP have done very little for Scotland as such, a few freebies here and there, but no real opposition to Westminster’s grip on such matters of the likes of the Council Tax. Which I’ve been lumbered with the full whack, even though I’ve had no actual income since last March. Dundee Shitty Council actually told me to go to a food bank when I phoned about getting a reduction. So long as they get their £300+ per month, they just don’t care. It seems that the SNP have mismanaged funds just as Westminster do, and that all has a direct knock on effect for us all.

    68. Monica Worley says:

      AFI is a registered political party. The candidates only have one policy (indy). A loose umbrella, they say, but that means no consistency on other policies, like GRA/HCB. But it is indeed a registered party, hence a candidate cannot stand for BOTH ISP and AFI. ISP is standing candidates on all lists. Just for clarity…

    69. Big Jock says:

      David Clegg over on Twitter calling us Wings zealots, comparing us to Tory zealots.


    70. Cath says:

      Cheers Will. Glad to know I was right and not just speaking out my arse there!

      Given that, the fact there may be small, untried or very local parties wouldn’t matter nearly so much. If you had, say, an ISP candidate and an AFI candidate, but both under the same umbrella party, you could vote for whichever one you wanted, safe in the knowledge that if your preferred candidate didn’t get in, at least another pro Indy one would. So rather than splitting the vote (as it would in the constituency list of FPTP), it would maximise it. Deciding the rankings might be the hard part!

    71. Cath says:

      Sorry, not Will, Wull!

    72. Jason Smoothpiece says:

      I have some hopes for the second vote parties.

      My concern is there should only be one independent party for number two vote.

      ISP and AFI and anyone else standing must get their heads together, even if they don’t like each other, if they are only interested in independence then they must agree to present only one candidate in each area.

      Kind of obvious but very important.

    73. ian foulds says:

      very good article from within the hallowed halls of the main Independence party. Thank you.

      why don’t AFI, ISP et al get their acts together to go forward as a strong alternative independence party on the list?

    74. ian foulds says:

      sorry Jason at 5.05, didn’t see your contribution

    75. Eileen Carson says:

      Alice Timmons says:
      4 March, 2021 at 4:21 pm
      Like a lot of people on this page, I’m currently politically homeless, but I’m not alone. I know there are many women with me. There are going to be thousands of votes there for the taking for a party that stands up loudly for women’s rights alongside independence.

      That is specifically addressed in ISP policies “GRA and Self ID” and also under Health.

    76. Dinny Vote SNP says:

      Well said Mac @4.37pm, she truly is a Monster. True Colours springs to mind…

    77. Jockanese Wind Talker says:

      Did Davie Clegg have anything to say about the Loyalist zealots back in his homeland withdrawing support for the Good Friday Agreement @Big Jock says at 4:59 pm?

    78. Kenny J says:

      Repost this here. Maybe I was too far down on the previous article.

      Hi All, and Stuart.
      I need some help and advice here.
      Remember the talk of the “ring-fenced” fund for, and solely for, financing a referendum. NOT to be used for day to day party expenses. The £600.000
      I phoned my bank a couple of weeks ago, having a recollection of a donation I had made during 2017 for this, and as their on-line account access only goes back a couple of years, asked if they could access this account.
      I should say I resigned around April last year, after mulling over Ms Sturgeon’s sermon at the end of January. Received Mr Murrel’s nice cheerio.
      After a chat, the lady I spoke to said they would send printouts of the entire year, which I received a couple of days ago. Also, they sent a sheet for Dec. 2016, which was just as well because I discovered a donation there as well. There was one in March 2017 as well.
      These were not your £20 s, BTW.
      Payments were made via the SNP website, using my Visa debit card.
      So, what is the consensus of retrieving this money, before more of it goes to lining Murrel’s pockets. Possible, impossible.

    79. Garrion says:

      It’s interesting to see how an honest and feasible proposal from the above Hugh Kerr is immediately crapped on by a number of the usual suspects plus a crop of new names and faces. It’s almost like those people definitely would rather you either don’t vote at all, vote for the SNP, and DEFINITELY don’t organize to create a cohesive platform for indy that would have credibility.

      I smell shite, as they say.

    80. Garrion says:

      Also, the squirrel/whataboutery scale today is off the charts.

    81. Pete says:

      I see the SNP are boasting about signing up 5000 new members since yesterday?
      I’m not an SNP member but there must, surely, be a way of finding out about the so – called ringfenced £600k. Perhaps a letter to the Auditors?
      This matter is very intriguing.

    82. Johnny Martin says:

      A Person @ 5:16pm:

      That article is interesting but I would argue that its title is very misleading as to its subject matter!

    83. Stuart MacKay says:


      I think we have to kiss goodbye to May and reiterate what breastplate said about the long term.

      If you look at the SNP today – take away the conspiracy, take away the Hate Crime Bill and the Woke infestation. Everything is good, the country if functioning. Now ask yourself – is this the team that’s going to take us out of the Union? With a few notable exceptions and the emphasis is on few, the answer is a resounding No! Even if they were a decent bunch they don’t have the gravity to get us to escape velocity – sorry for mangling metaphors.

      So the unfortunate reality is that we’re in a People’s Front of Judea situation whether we want it or not. So, a few horses have entered into the race. There’s no clear favourite. In fact it’s not even clear they’re even racehorse material. But it’s a start. There needs to be another voice for independence if only to keep the dominant force accountable and on the rails (remember what I said earlier – everything is roses). Also the drive for independence needs to be across the political spectrum otherwise the “disenfranchised voter problem” is always going to be a major weight holding it down.

      It was a huge mistake tying independence to one party. Hopefully Now Scotland (or is it Scotland Now?) can reignite the civic side and get the movement to the point where they command the politicians to deliver and not the other way round.

      So I’m not sure where I am going with this other than a rant. However no matter where we think we are today I think the result will be that the drive for independence comes out much stronger with greater commitment, though most likely by fewer people, at least initially.

    84. Big Jock says:

      The both votes SNP is almost sinister. Unless you have had a frontal lobotomy you can see it’s arithmetically dyslexic.

    85. Jack Murphy says:

      A couple of Threads back Ruby asked about the Minutes of yesterday’s Meeting in Committee Room 1.

      Minutes were published this afternoon:

    86. Jack Murphy says:

      Click on Expand.

    87. Linda McFarlane says:

      I’ve joined the ISP. It’s the first time in my 62 years I’ve ever joined a political party. I joined because I’m so disgusted with the SNP and their control freakery. I’m appalled at the hate crime bill, the GRA bill, the way excellent people like Joanna Cherry, Alex Salmond, Gareth Wardell and Denise Findlay have been treated.

      I don’t dislike people because of their political beliefs, and I know many different people who vote Tory, Labour etc. I have met only one person who thinks the gender stuff is a good idea. I have met a few who think that I should vote SNP just for independence and “sort it out later”. This disappoints me because some people seem to think that my rights as a woman aren’t important enough.

      I shall be voting for the ISP on the list. I will make up my mind about my constituency vote later. I may vote for a decent guy (Fergus Mutch) if I can believe that the SNP won’t usurp it as approving of them. If I can’t I’ll be spoiling it.

    88. Daisy Walker says:

      Thank you Tommy for using paragraphs, and for your updates on Sputnik.

      This was a good article.

      However, anything associated with Solidarity/Socialist, etc is not going to get the vote in the Perthshire area.

      On a good day they are old fashioned conservatives with a small c.

      And before anyone decries them, the main reason being is they’ve seen too many ‘talk a good game’ ‘socialists’ play the ‘tsourturnnoo’ game.

      You know the one, point the finger at the opposition’s corruption and cronysim, and as soon as you get power, rub your hands together and say, ‘tsourturnnoo’.

      One thing all the new parties need to ‘borrow’ from in terms of tactic (as soon as Covid permits) is the Lib Dem policy of going for the wee auld lady vote, and the local council positions. That is how they build their core vote and why even if they don’t get much in the way of MP seats, they are still a power in the country.

      The Greater Glasgow vote for Indy is hugely important for Scotland, but, in my experience, Glaswegian politicians and business folk, know bugger all about the rest of Scotland and care even less. That will not work politically. (No offence to weegies).

    89. Big Jock says:

      Stuart. I think you are right. The SNP is going to be loaded with lightweight politicians come May. The leader is all over the place in terms of micro agendas and hobby policies.

      Nicola needs replaced and so do 2/3 of the Msps.

      She has dumbed down the party. Deliberately so.

    90. Breastplate says:

      If ISP are standing candidates in all areas (is there anyone from isp that can verify that position) and won’t work with other Indy list parties (is there anyone from isp that can verify that position) then it means that votes on lists will be split.

    91. WhoRattledYourCage says:

      Well, we all know how this turned out.

    92. Robert Graham says:

      OH Breaking News
      The Independence Movement is back on Track
      Oh ok that’s just fkn dandy now isn’t it no problem calm seas ahead plain sailing it’s all peaceful now.
      I suppose I would say that kind of shite to impress my paying audience if that’s my only means of bringing in the dosh to pay bills and all the other stuff aye any old tosh every few days fk me getting up and going to work without a break for weeks sometimes months on end , and I could have been churning out Shiite and getting paid for it Christ did I miss that little lark .
      Memo , in the next life don’t be fkn stupid don’t do the work thing, turn out shite for a moronic audience it’s all so clear now think of all the time I have wasted I really need to catch up and fast

    93. Anna says:

      If Lesley. Evans, secretary to Scottish Government can dispose of vital notes which refer to an ongoing serious complaint, the Crown Officer or First Minister can withhold vital evidence from a serious court trial, the FM doesn’t report to the police a case of alleged perjury or ask for an investigation into who leaked very private and confidential government documents to the Press.. What hope of transparency?

    94. Eric Smiff says:

      ” because Murdoch always liked to back winners”

      No because he wanted to reduce Labour seats at Westminster.

      In 2010 Labour got 41 seats in Scotland, the SNP 6.

      In 2019 Labour got 1 seat in Scotland, the SNP 48.

    95. shug says:

      How long will it take till the unionists produce a copy of the whatsapp messages? Any guesses?

    96. Captain Yossarian says:

      @Anna – I think it was Alastair Bonnington that said a couple of weeks ago that Scotland was now a Junta. He knows the personalities involved and he doesn’t make a comment like that lightly. I’ve worked in Africa and the Middle-East and this wouldn’t happen there.

    97. Geoff Anderson says:

      The ISP cannot name their candidates ( and neither should anyone else). If you name the candidates you go into the “short period” and your spend is very limited and auditable.

      Look at the electoral rules for yourself.

      Patience !

    98. Dan says:

      One for Baffieman… Podcast with Iain Lawson, Jason Michael, and Barrhead boy.

    99. Sylvia says:

      Shug @ 5:45 Is Swinney not supposed to be producing them? Would you rather they go unseen?

    100. Bob Johnston says:

      The whole business yesterday put me in mind of Sergeant Schulz in ‘Hogan’s Heroes.’

      “I see nothing! I hear nothing! I know nothing!” In one case he even claimed not to have gotten out of bed that morning as Hogan revealed more and more information.

    101. gullaneno4 says:

      Unless I have missed it I do not see any response to my request for the number of members of the individual new Independence parties I am considering voting for.
      Find that a bit strange as there should be a surge in membership numbers.

    102. Dan says:

      @ gullaneno4 at 6:03 pm

      How many does yer SNP huv? Surely such an open and transparent Party will have no issue with letting us know.
      Plus, where’s the Ringfenced Indy Fund…

    103. Sarah says:

      @ Daisy Walker and others re how AFI works:

      My understanding is that any party coming under the AFI umbrella keeps their own manifesto commitments. If ISP came under the umbrella they would have their women’s policies and be able to pursue them in Holyrood.

      The votes for AFI will be those that would otherwise get split between several parties e.g. Solidarity, SSP, Rise or whoever. So all the supporters of the member parties will vote AFI thus aggregating the votes and with luck reach the 6% threshold that will result in a seat.

      Presumably the AFI grouping will allocate list positions so one of the member parties will be top of the list in Region A, and a different member party will be top in Region B etc etc etc.

      It looks a good solution to the perennial problem of smaller parties having no voice in Holyrood. And also tackles the other problem of wasted independence votes. It looks very obviously the best option for all Yessers but ISP for some reason won’t join.

    104. robertknight says:

      Hugh eloquently describes the party we all know and used to love.

      Now just a haven for biology denying zealots, cozy feet devolutionists and all round career troughers.

      None of whom being worthy of my vote.

    105. Brian Doonthetoon says:

      This is my understanding, at the moment. I will have questions. Feel free to point out what I’ve got wrong.

      ISP is a political party with more than one policy, which has said it will only put forward candidates in all the regions but not any constituencies.

      AFI is a political party with a single pro-independence policy, that hasn’t stated, categorically, that it will only put forward candidates for the regions, leaving the possibility of ‘some’ constituency candidates standing under the AFI banner. Would that be correct?

      I think I’ve got the point of the AFI now.
      Look at Mid Scotland and Fife. Martin Keatings said some time ago, that he would stand for the region, as an independent.

      Lat’s assume that he amassed a good number of votes, say, 30,000, enough to be elected as an Independent. That would be that. There would be no passing of the calculated total – 30,000 divided by number of seats won +1, ie 30,000÷2=15,000. That 15,000 number no longer exists.

      However, if he stood as ‘Martin Keatings AFI’ and, being first on the AFI list, won a seat with 30,000 votes, then AFI’s total would then become 15,000, possibly enough to elect a second AFI candidate.

      Mind you, could he stand as a candidate for the Dunfermline Constituency, against Shirley-Anne Somerville, and still be #1 on AFI’s list for the region?
      If he took that scalp, the AFI’s regional vote would be divided by 2 but, still, the possibility of electing an AFI list candidate couldn’t be ruled out, depending on how many regional votes they can get, particularly from people who have voted SNP for constituencies but haven’t gone along with the “Both Votes SNP” mantra.

      I think the point I’m trying to make is that, as Tommy Sheridan mentions, if the ISP candidates stood under the AFI banner, regional pro-indy votes would not be wasted. There would be no splitting of the pro-indy vote across two or more candidates, eg, ISP, AFI, Independent and so on.

      Negotiations would have to take place, as to who gets the #1, #2, #3 positions in each regional list. ‘Takkin’ the huff’ should not be an option. The CAUSE is bigger than any individual’s pride.

    106. Alf Baird says:

      AFI looks a good option, especially if Alex Salmond gets on board.

      However the major downside of AFI is that it is advocating an SNP1 vote in the constituencies. For many folk that is a big nono.

      Why doesn’t AFI (and other pro indy parties) just use the total list vote as a plebiscite on independence and aim to secure a majority vote in favour? Alex and other national party leaders could then take that 50%+ to the UN and declare our independence to the world. Game set and match Scotland.

      In that event, the number of seats won in a devolved UK assembly at Holyrood would be even more meaningless than they are now, as the people will have voted to exit the UK alliance, i.e. to dissolve the devolved UK setup.

      This would likely require an interim administration pending the first election in an indy Scotland, which could be held asap afterwards, i.e. in a matter of weeks.

    107. Robert Louis says:

      I watched NS in Parliament today. To watch somebody I used to believe in (and once actually met), deflect serious questions over and over again, didn’t make me angry, it just made me sad. Honestly, I find it hard to stomach her staying on as first minister, yet I know that even if she does go, she leaves behind a wokie cabal that seem hell-bent on doing anything but pursue independence.

      The SNP has just become one long gravy train for way too many folk who really could not give a flying **** about independence. They have their own persoanl agendas they will pursue.

      I just cannot see a way forward, even if she does go. It leaves me pondering a single question, given the SNP Scottish government have stood by and allowed Scotland to be dragged out of the EU against its wishes, despite a whopping mandate to prevent it. Given that they are currently sitting back doing nothing while London’s Tories are literally dismantling devolution brick by brick. Given that the SNP have done nothing to progress independence for six years, despite electoral success, I have just one question, if the SNP are re-elected in May with OR without NS, what exactly will change??

    108. bill doors says:

      a few mistakes to be clarified

      AFI wont be standing in any constituencies, indeed it promotes voting SNP in all constituencies

      ISP can stand under the AFI banner same as solidarity are doing

      ISP have been asked but as yet have not joined AFI

      people who hold different views about eg GRA are welcome under the AFI banner.

      it is a banner designed to Max The Yes, it isnt political, its arithmetical

      AFI is the closest thing to a united YES party people can vote for

    109. Anne Marie D says:

      A lot of women on this post feeling exactly like me. I no longer see the SNP as the route to independence. The rot is just too deep and they are willing to alienate half the population to be besties with a very niche group.

      We are constantly told to think of the soft No voters. Don’t bicker amongst ourselves as we will frighten them off. There is a huge misreading of many Independence voters. There is zero attempt to reconcile with those of us who are critical. Are we less important than the fabled soft No voters?
      Where is the attempt to woo us back?

      What I am hearing from the SNP loudmouths is vote for us if you want Independence, put up with all the other shite we want to impose on Scotland or f**k off. A very unique election strategy indeed.

      Many on here say, like me, that we voted for the SNP when we knew it wasn’t going to elect an MP but we voted for what was important to us. I held my head high then and I am not going to change that now and slink in to the polling booth. I will still vote for what I believe in. It is just extremely sad that is no longer the SNP.

    110. Mc says:

      Is there any credible chance of Alex Salmond standing in May?

    111. Muscleguy says:

      The problem with AFI is they only have that one policy, you never know how an AFI member will vote in other matters. They may vote with the Tories for eg.

      With the ISP you already know what we primarily stand for and a full worked manifesto will be out with all the others. I know that, I’m on the policy committee.

      We are a properly Centre LEFT party. I keep reminding people that just because were are in part Centrists doesn’t mean we cannot be radical.

    112. Ruby says:

      Jack Murphy says:
      4 March, 2021 at 5:31 pm
      A couple of Threads back Ruby asked about the Minutes of yesterday’s Meeting in Committee Room 1.

      Thanks Jack. I find the written word better than spoken word especially when there is a lot of waffle. Also easier to quote.

      Had a quick search to check if anything was edited. Searched for ‘my tea’ as I remembered the following comment.

      Jackie Baillie asks a serious question about Peter Murrell’s evidence and finishes by asking
      “Perhaps you had words with him when you got home, but that was the position he took.”

      The First Minister:
      I would not have had words with him because I might have thought that doing so would have jeopardised me getting my tea that night.

      He did not know the basis of the meeting. Appearing before a parliamentary committee like this one is not normal for any of us, but it is more normal for members—he is not practised in sitting in front of a parliamentary committee.”

      What a stupid comment to make during what is meant to be a serious inquiry.
      Very demeaning comment about her husband.

      Searching for ‘my tea’ was easy. Searching for ‘Alex’ wasn’t, too many results which include Alex Cole Hamilton. I might have to do a bit of research on how to do better searches.

      Interested to see how many times she made derogatory remarks about Alex Salmond. It seemed like a lot & a very strange thing to do to an old friend.

      Makes you wonder if this is a continuation of the

      “deliberate, prolonged, malicious and concerted effort amongst a range of individuals within the Scottish Government and the SNP to damage Alex Salmond’s reputation”

      Should the list of names be
      Peter Murrell, Ian McCann, Sue Ruddick, Liz Lloyd and Nicola Sturgeon.

    113. Ruby says:

      Jack Murphy says:
      4 March, 2021 at 5:31 pm
      A couple of Threads back Ruby asked about the Minutes of yesterday’s Meeting in Committee Room 1.

      Thanks Jack.

      I did make a longer comment but it’s awaiting moderation

    114. Clavie Cheil says:

      I am going AFI on the list because Doug Thompson is a Lossie loon and for no other reason. Its a personal thing and that is that.

    115. Stuart MacKay says:


      Once we have a decent spectrum politically of parties wanting independence then it’s in the bag.

      I have no problem with folks to the right. If they want to make Scotland a better place then it’s ok by me. Better for them to be on board with the idea of independence than to be hanging onto Westminster’s coattails because they don’t think they’ll get a fair shake of the stick.

    116. Wee Chid says:

      Thank you. I believe you may have a candidate standing in the south Scotland list. You have my vote.

    117. Annie 621 says:

      It doesn’t matter…

      Whichtever New Pro-independence party stands against the SNP where I am,
      that is who I will vote for.
      In this way you are voting FOR independence and against the SNP.
      What better vote can there be.

    118. katherine hamilton says:

      Please Please can Hugh Kerr, Tommy Sheridan, Muscleguy and anyone else involved with ISP get this sorted out quick. Election is 2 months away. Campaigning starts in 4 weeks. ONE choice on the list is the only way this will work.
      When Wings first opened up this debate over 18 months ago I hoped it would be a Wings umbrella. Not to be.
      If the AFI is to be an umbrella then please get whatever compromises needed done. All of the key players must see this.
      Either way, get an agreement and recruit a high profile, respected figurehead. If this a credible plan I’m sure you’ll find one.

    119. Paul Murray says:


      You’ll know more about the machinations of Holyrood than me.
      You’re right. If Alex Salmond got behind (or in front of!) either AFI or ISP that would be a huge boost for a second genuinely Scottish party at Holyrood.

      Have the list seats for AFI been finalised?
      Could Alex be slipped in there to the top of the list?
      What are the timelines or deadlines involved in either case?

      I can’t believe I’m condoning the list system, but you have to work with the tools at your disposal. ?

    120. TOMMY SHERIDAN says:

      For clarity guys Action For Independence (AFI) is standing only on the 8 regional lists. It is not competing in any constituencies but will actively encourage independence supporters to vote SNP. I appreciate that is not a universally popular position on here and thoroughly understand and respect why. However AFI has been established as a progressive independence umbrella party. It brings together individuals and parties which embrace the idea of a socially just and environmentally sustainable independent Scotland.

      The single policy is independence and the aims and objectives include supporting any independence supporting government. Some will argue only one policy platform is a weakness. That is fair enough. However it is the glue which joins us together and individuals who have signed up for a socially just and environmentally sustainable Scotland are unlikely to vote at any time for Tories or other unionists. I fail to accept how endorsing AFI objectives would lead to any other position but opposition to the unnecessary GRA or Hate Crime Bill and that is certainly my personal position and that of Solidarity but the AFI intention is simple and straightforward – prioritising and promotion of independence above all else. Recognising that post-Covid19 recovery is impossible without independence because going back to the grotesquely unequal ‘normal’ of poverty pay and public service cuts to fund tax breaks for the rich is not acceptable.

      So to some the single AFI Policy platform of independence above all else is a weakness but to those of us in AFI it is our strength. AFI is in the process of selecting candidates for all the eight regional list areas. Only by standing on all regional lists is a Party Political Broadcast guaranteed. Dave Thompson has tried several times to convince the ISP to discuss unity and linking with AFI on the basis of sharing List positions. Unfortunately all his overtures have to date been rejected. I would appeal again to hose involved with ISP to think again and recognise the mutual benefit of unity in these elections given the mountain of Both Votes SNP publicity we will have to confront and conquer. Contact Dave Thompson and AFI now.

      Although only recognised by the Electoral Commission on February 5th AFI was first discussed over a year ago before Covid19 intervened to curtail meetings but the submission to the EC was over six months ago. It has been impossible to invite individuals to join AFI or donate to AFI until party registration was complete. The Both Votes SNP policy is selfish stupidity, unpardonable folly (to borrow a phrase from years ago), and will result in yet again hundreds of thousands of independence supporting votes being worse than wasted but actually assisting in the election of various unionists. This election must be about Scotland Before Party and hopefully that tag will become widely used and understood. Giving 2nd votes to SNP is reckless and useless.

      Dave Thompson has done a great job to date despite the obstacles and has at all times sought to build alliances with other like-minded independence supporting parties and individuals. The spirit of cooperation and shared values is primary. He is a former MSP with nine years experience in the Parliament under his belt. John Wilson also shares such experience. I clocked up eight years in the Parliament. Martin Keatings has been an assiduous and determined grassroots Indy campaigner who gets things done. Mark Hirst is a talented journalist and former researcher working for the SNP for many years before returning to journalism. Hugh Kerr has also accumulated many years experience in the European and Scottish Parliament. All of the above and approximately 400 hundred others have joined AFI in the last four weeks. That looks like a potentially credible 2nd vote alternative for independence supporters all across Scotland.

      The next nine weeks will be interesting indeed. I only hope Alex agrees to come on board and lead us. I know Dave would be willing to support him. Those with further questions about AFI can check us out at

    121. Andy Ellis says:

      @Tommy Sheridan 8.39pm

      Isn’t this all a day late and a dollar short Tommy? We’ve run out of runway. The broader indy movement has failed: we’ve all failed. We needed a broadly based umbrella movement for the list seats to “max the Yes”. What Have we actually got? The Scottish Greens, AFI, ISP and (it seems?) little prospect of any SNP big hitters jumping ship to lead the charge.

      I’d love to be proven wrong….but I’m losing hope.

      When a list only party strategy was first posited, the hope was it would hold the balance of power and force the SNP to be more radical &/or hold their feet to the fire. It looks like that ship has sailed if the SNP are on course to win an outright majority. If that’s the case, isn’t the logic that AFI and the ISP should be contesting constituency seats?

      After all, what do we have to lose? An SNP victory ensures stasis for a minimum of 5 years. It’s got to the point that many people here will actually spoil their constituency votes, not vote at all, or even vote tactically AGAINST the SNP. Like many on here, I’ll never vote SNP again, and I was a member until November 2018!

    122. Mark Boyle says:

      Hugh Kerr? Thanks but no thanks.

      Ex-MEP trougher turned apologist for absolutely everything Tommy Sheridan and the Toytown Revolutionary Front did no matter how nutty until clear they were a bust flush, and now feigning to be a convert to “independence” after denouncing it thrice before cockcrow for decades (like fellow career brochialist Aamar Anwar before him) in a Silleresque search for relevence in the festering Scottish body politic.

      I’ll take Tommy, who for all his many flaws and tendency to machine gun himself in the foot is a superb public orator that could still positively inspire those for whom devolution hasn’t delivered a better life and who see ALL our current parties as only interested in pandering to the lower-middle classes and upwards, plus their pet “persecuted minorities”.

      Those people in places like Govan and Dennistoun fearing being gentrified out over the next decade under a fake veneer of “regeneration.” But that’s another tale for another time.

      (And for the benefit of anyone who may sneer, Sheridan is someone who could get the late Phil Gallie and Donald Findlay QC to offer their services in his defence for free even though their political beliefs were the antithesis of every Sheridan stood for. If that doesn’t tell you something about the man, nothing will).

      But Kerr like Sillars is just another carpetbagger Scottish politics could well do without. Part of the problem, not the solution. Give me anyday people of genuine conviction over those who have been involved in more dubious parties than Paris Hilton.

    123. Breastplate says:

      Thanks Tommy,
      That sounds perfectly logical and reasonable to me, it’s also good that you understand that many people will not vote SNP on either ballot.

      Muscleguy, I agree with Tommy that the type of people to vote for AFI would not vote or condone the GRA or the HCB. I think the ball is in ISP’s court but I’m pretty sure if the AFI and ISP can’t play ball then many people here have had enough of being fucked about and will take it out on either or both.

      Something to think about perhaps but from where I’m standing if ISP are perceived to being stand-offish then they will be the ones to pay with lost votes.

      Of course, I could be wrong.

    124. National Sceptic says:

      Whatever third party alternative goes up against the SNP in May its needs above all to be united. Preferably by amalgamating the different mini parties into one joint party (like the Blairite CHUKTIG), but failing that by every anti-SNP independence voter putting their preferences down for all of them under D’Hondt. If we do that and get an endorsement from Salmond I think we’re 100% guaranteed to match the Greens – and that means we could be the king-makers in Holyrood. How effing brilliant would that be, to see the SNP have to come kowtowing to so-called “conspiracy theorists” and “bigots” in order to form a government. Christ that would be sweet justice!

    125. Derick fae Yell says:

      The AFI and ISP concepts are very different

      AFI – single policy of independence

      ISP – a full suite of policies on the major issues, with independence front and centre. Policy on a Scottish Currency, Policy on a written constitution, etc.

      Therefore e.g. with the Currency Policy voters well know when they vote that ISP won’t support the vague drivel from the Growth Commission regarding a Scottish Currency sometime in the distant future after a wee bit punishing austerity. Ditto all the other major issues

      As Muscleguy pointed out, the trouble with the single policy is – what happens if Independence doesn’t happen immediately. What about all the other issues? What about after independence – are we just to trust the SNP to run the show?

      It’s the difference between a short term or long term approach, basically.

    126. Don says:

      @Jimmy Hutton 4 March, 2021 at 3:28 pm

      “The difficulty of pushing AFI is that it is effectively a bunch of Sheridan fanboys choking to get on the gravy train…”

      Are you the same bloke that got charged some weeks ago for talking about shooting coppers with a rifle for crossing the Scottish border ? Yet think you will be taken seriously ?

    127. Sharon says:

      Having Alex Salmond as leader of the opposition would make this whole fiasco worthwhile!

    128. Derick fae Yell says:

      AFI is now a registered political party, with all the Electoral Commission rules that go with that, in particular the financial scheme rules.

      For another party to sign up to that they would have to go back to the EC and start again (see you in September), or effectively be absorbed by AFI or absorb it. If Solidarity is doing so then effectively Solidarity = AFI. Even associated independents would need to become actual AFI members to stand under their banner. That’s how registered parties work.

      Had AFI remained an unregistered organization then it would have been possible for different parties to use the heading. Becoming a registered party seems to me to preclude that.


    129. Derick fae Yell says:

      random H there. Nothing is inferred!

    130. JB says:

      For anyone who cares, the Sturgeon session transcript is here:

    131. JB says:

      Said transcript having 208 instances of the work ‘Salmond’

    132. Jim Manclark says:

      AFI are an umbrella party. isp are not. isp want to stand alone and refuse to work with anyone whatsoever. Solidarity have decided to work under the AFI umbrella which means that they will not be staning on the ballot in MAY because they will be standing under AFI instead.

      Martin keatings of Forward as One was going to stand as an independent candidate. He is now also standing under the AFI umbrella as an AFI candidate. AFI want to work with all pro indy parties but they cannot force them to work together.

      John Wilson, ex green MSP is also standing under AFI in May. There are many good people in AFI from all across the YES movement spread right across Scotland. But they are the only one’s putting Scotland before party. That is what we need everyone to do, Put Scotland before party and come together. If we unite we win, don’t vote for the egotists that want to stand alone.

    133. L.U.T.B. says:

      A puzzled Yoon writes:
      When first I heard of the cunning Nat plan to run separate parties one targeting the constituencies and another the regional lists I was appalled and impressed in equal measure. It seemed so brilliant a way of gaming the system, & likely to result in a Nationalist landslide that it should probably be declared unlawful.
      But now it looks like, at a minimun, the SNP, the Greens, AFI and ISP are all going to be vying for the Independent List voice. Nice. No need to complain to the Electoral Commission about that!

    134. Grim Reader says:

      My first reaction to Both Votes was simply arrogance and eliminating choice for the uncomplicated voter. There’s certainly a good number who would appreciate that.

      Then I got a bit more profound and concluded that as Sturgeon’s main drive for the next five years will be delivery and implementation of Project Woke she’d probably be content with a sizeable Unionist minority, impotent thanks to an SNP majority, and critically denying an official opposition that’s pro-Indy. This would give a pretence that there was an actual debating chamber for the occasional viewer. She won’t want to be challenged weekly on when’s the referendum at FMQ.

      Both of these are still valid but recently, having learned more about Woke candidates on the List being catapulted to the front of the queue, then the regional vote is also critical to possibly scrape a few List seats and fast track some of these people,

      SNP 1 is critical for a big majority as it will virtually guarantee no more seats from the List. I’m praying to all the gods Alex rocks up and gives us a viable List option. There’s at least three Indy parties on the Electoral Commission we haven’t heard from yet.

    135. Kcor says:

      TOMMY SHERIDAN says:

      “In 2016 across the six regions where the SNP failed to win a single List seat from the 2nd List vote they attracted a total of 750,000 votes. An incredible 750,000 votes that amounted to nothing and allowed scores of unionists to be elected instead. That is a tragedy which must not be allowed to happen again”

      Well said, Tommy.

      I do not wish Craig Murray to be jailed, but has he entered into a plea bargain to be spared jailed if he advocates voting SNP on both constituency and list votes?

      Unbelievably dishonest and unprincipled stand IMHO given the total criminality and corruption of the current SNP leadership.

    136. Kcor says:

      Big Jock says:

      “Unless Sturgeon apologizes to Salmond for smearing him and generally being a bastard. Then the split will remain forever.”

      Anything she does now is too little too late.

      I will be satisfied only if she ends up with a long prison sentence, along with all the other conspirators.

    137. Kiwilassie says:

      Kenny J
      Re your question, on how can I make sure no other donations go to SNP.
      Contact you Visa card holder/bank by phone, or on line,
      re automatic payments.

      Have them stop further payments. If you wish to reverse a payment speak with them on how this can be achieved. It may be the case, because of the time lapsed, they may not be able to recover the money.
      If you can prove the money is being used for anything other than it was intended, that may be a different story.
      Good luck.

    138. Ruby says:

      JB says:
      4 March, 2021 at 10:12 pm
      For anyone who cares, the Sturgeon session transcript is here:

      JB says:
      4 March, 2021 at 10:14 pm
      Said transcript having 208 instances of the work ‘Salmond’


      I am interested but things move on very quickly on ‘Wings Over Scotland’

      Far too quickly for me. I’m way behind I am still reading the transcripts of the ’13th & 15th meetings of the ‘Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints’

      The search I’m interest in is finding incidents when the term ‘Alex’ is used without being followed by Salmond & Cole Hamilton.
      Looking for incidents where Sturgeon talks about her ‘friend’ Alex.
      As I said earlier I need to gen up on advanced searching.

      I would recommend reading the transcripts it allows for a sharper focus on what is being said. No visual distractions ie blinking, wondering if her false eye lashes will fall off & rats running across the screen.

    139. Ruby says:

      Kenny J

      Recurring payments.

      Something to watch out for when you sign up to anything.

      I’ve been caught out with this because I failed to tick No to recurring payments.

      Not with the SNP but with my car insurance.

      Worth checking credit card & bank statements regularly. Easy to forget if you are signed up to ‘paperless billing’.

    140. gullaneno4 says:

      Dan @6.07
      Thanks for your reply.
      I was asking about the membership numbers of the new Independence parties so my second vote is not wasted.
      Seems like nobody knows, inc yourself.
      Looks like I will have to stick with the greens.

      To the best of my knowledge the SNP have between 100000 and 130000 members. I think that may have gone up a bit recently.

    141. JB says:

      Well, in the transcript there were:
      208 instances of ‘Salmond’ (the first being the convenor in the introduction)
      47 instances of ‘Alex C’ (so referring to ACH)
      219 instances of ‘Alex’
      0 instances of ‘Alec’

      The latter lack of ‘Alec’ despite my distinctly hearing that spoken speaks to the accuracy of the transcript, I guess those were converted to extra instances of ‘Alex’ during transcription.

      Now the whole recording is 8 hrs 9 mins (489 mins), of which NS starts at 3 mins 45 seconds after the intro (call it 4 mins), and there are around 72 mins of breaks, leaving 413 mins of discussion. Using that 207 instances excluding the intro, that is a mention of ‘Salmond’ on average every 1.995 minutes.

      i.e. on average at least every other minute someone referred to him by name, with more references like ‘former First Minister’.

      So for a meeting which was supposed to be about the SG and not primarily about AS, between them they definitely seemed to make it all about him. I’ve not done the greater effort of seeing just how much of that was down to Sturgeon.

    142. Ros Curwood says:

      Please can we have a lot more publicity about the AFI and also about the d’Hondt system so that the SNP Vote 1 & 2 advertising can be countered? There is a lot of independent evidence that vote 2 could be a huge fixer if used for a different independence party and introducing an opposition that would have teeth. People who follow politics know about both, but people who accept politics while they get on with their complex daily chores could have their attention caught by a good advertising campaign for AFI and for using their vote 2 to get in, because the SNP vote 2 won’t get anything more than more unionist seats and Nicola can already ignore them. I’d put in my two-penn’orth for crown-funding to advertise AFI….

    143. Peter Kinnaird says:

      Just re-posting this from another thread. Does this work?

      It’s worth noting, as we approach the next election, that the total regional vote in the SNP was 953,587, for which we won 4 seats. Three of these were in South Scotland, one in the Highlands.
      Success in the constituencies nearly obliterated the list msp vote. In South Scotland, where the Tories won four of the constituencies, we took a beating, and the list gave us those three seats I mentioned above.
      The Greens with 150426 votes, got 6 seats.
      So, unless I’m totally screwing this up, the SNP should be focussing on SNP 1 and 2 in South Scotland, where at least we’ll get some list seats. For the rest of Scotland, it looks like voting SNP for the regional list will be a waste of time. If, and I stress this, IF there is a credible alternative independence party outwith south Scotland, and IF you are as attracted to independence as you are to the SNP, your constituency vote should go SNP, and your regional vote to that other independence party.
      ((PS, ignore the references to “our SNP” and “my SNP”. Only left a few weeks ago and it’s hard to get used to the change in grammar. Why did I leave? Centralisation, arrogance, bullying, generally the membership being treated like shit, the Cherry affair, the Salmond affair.))

    144. Brian Doonthetoon says:

      Hi Peter Kinnaird.

      You may find this interesting. Last summer, I crunched numbers for the regions where the SNP won no regional seats.
      I conjectured on what would have happened in 2016, if 25% and 40% of the SNP regional vote had transferred to ONE ‘new’ pro-indy party.

      You can see the figures for NE Scotland at the link below. Scroll down to find the other regions.

    145. Robert McDonald says:

      Listening to Sturgeon today in Parliament defending the absolute farce of the Salmond affair by saying she accepts grave mistakes were made but “lessons have been learnt”. The lessons were kindergarten ones, if your legal advisors tell you you’re going to lose then you accept it and move on. The fact she and her gang decided, wilfully, to carry on regardless is beyond mistake and well into incompetence. Someone must go to allow better more rational people to lead … and the buck stops at the top. Sturgeon must go.

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