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The Tory who voted Yes

Posted on August 08, 2015 by

“In an independent Scotland, we’ll never have to worry about Tory governments again”, said the man on my doorstep, his YES badge gleaming in the sunshine.

“I am a Tory,” said I, watching with some amusement as the man’s jaw dropped.


“But I’ll still be voting Yes,” I added.

The above exchange was an all too common experience for me during the independence referendum. The idea that you could be a Tory, and be a supporter of Scottish Independence, was met with the same kind of looks you’d expect if you urinated on somebody’s coffin at a funeral.

From the outset, the Yes campaign realised they would need to win the Labour vote to get over the finishing line. To do so, they had to paint it as Scotland against the cruel Tories. I understand the reasoning behind this – there are, after all, more Labour voters than Tory ones, and the high water mark of 1950s Scottish Conservatism is long gone, but at a stroke we alienated a hell of a lot of voters.

Not every Tory was a unionist. The Tories I know were tempted at the fiscal opportunities an independent Scotland presented: a cut in corporation tax, cutting red tape for business, creating more jobs, rolling back the state, turning Scotland into a northern version of Switzerland etc. etc.

Instead, the Yes side painted an independent Scotland as a socialist free for all, and for some people, socialism set all kinds of alarm bells ringing. Months on, we’re still making the same mistakes. Partly, this is due to the SNP’s success, and of course, we have a Conservative party with the keys to number 10, which is laying waste to swathes of Britain.

But going forward, we can’t paint Scottish Tories as the ‘enemy’ within. We will need some of them on board. Only multi-party support will win us the vote in a second referendum. The following is something I’ve been meaning to get off my chest since last September.

I don’t like the SNP. Their minimum pricing plan for alcohol smacks of the nanny state at its worst, and the hagiography surrounding Nicola Sturgeon from certain sections of SNP supporters is off putting at times. While the blame for the feebleness of the Holyrood opposition cannot be laid at the SNP’s door, I do worry about the lack of democratic accountability of the SNP government, especially in areas such as education, health, and the shambles that is Police Scotland.

None the less, it does present a dilemma for right-wing, independence supporters such as myself, because I recognise that the SNP are the best vehicle for bringing about an independent Scotland.

I long gave up on voting for the Conservatives in General elections (seeing it as the political wing of a racket that was primarily concerned with the city of London and the South East of England) and of course, living in a part of Scotland that sent monkey’s with red rosettes to Westminster for decades, means that a vote for the Tories was the equivalent of a vote down the drain.

The Holyrood elections, despite its PR system, is another vote down the drain, as Scottish Tories will forever have their strings pulled by CCHQ down south. If only Murdo Fraser had been in a position to make good his promise to establish an independent Conservative party in Scotland…

I loved the meetings that sprang up everywhere during the independence campaign, I loved the energy, and I loved the town hall democracy that emerged, and yet, these meetings hamstrung us. We surrounded ourselves with people who agreed with us and we led ourselves to believe that everybody was voting yes.

I don’t doubt that many undecided voters attended these meetings, but by the campaign’s end, Yes meetings seemed to be stuffed with Yes supporters. We needed to spend more time out and about talking to undecided voters.

(In no way is this a slur on those who spent hours pounding the streets for two years, but I hope everybody grasps the point, here, because wherever I go on Yes-supporting sites, it seems to be the same people banging the same drum.)

Nothing wrong with that, but the big tent needs to get bigger. What do I mean by that? Well the same meetings were stuffed with the same people. Radical Independence, Common Weal, Greens, ex-Labour party members, and of course, SNP supporters. I wish we’d heard more from the likes of Business for Scotland and Wealthy Nation, and I wish the alternative, right-wing case had been made.

My side of the political spectrum was practically non-existent, and the absence of that voice on the Yes side is unfortunate. It’s also likely to be repeated in future referendums unless people like me get off our backsides and do something about it.

I understand why the SNP wanted to use the pound, and why they wanted to retain Lizzy as head of state. Perhaps they thought the shock of independence was just too great for one step, and by gradually phasing it in more people would be won over and fewer horses would be panicked.

But taking that approach allowed BT to set the narrative, and gave them an easy stick to bash us with, by creating uncertainty with their refusal to commit to a currency union. Basing your strategy on your opponent publicly agreeing to your plans (even if they would have in reality), was, with hindsight, sheer insanity.

Naturally of course, criticising the SNP strategy is all very well, but what would I like to see in an independent Scotland? Firstly, I’d like to say to my fellow right-wingers, that an indy Scotland presents a world of opportunities for Conservatism, and that resisting these opportunities is an incredible act of short sightedness.

An independent Scotland is not the preserve, nor the property, of the left-wingers of this world. It does not have to be a socialist free-for-all. This is a unique opportunity to roll back the state’s involvement in people’s lives, to enshrine the rights of the individual with a written constitution, and to make Scotland a success story along the lines of the Norways and Switzerlands of this world.

We can be one of the most open and democratic nations on earth. We can start from scratch and design a tax system that helps business, not hinder it. We can balance the books and operate a system of fiscal prudence that will shame Westminster. All of this, coupled with a low tax regime to give people more money in their pockets, will make an independent Scotland a great place for business and investment.

Ally the above to world-class universities, natural resources, and of course, the skills and talents of this great land, and we could have a nation to be proud of.


Soapbox is a weekend column designed to provoke debate on non-party-political issues. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Wings Over Scotland, except when we write them ourselves, obviously.

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209 to “The Tory who voted Yes”

  1. heedtracker says:

    “This is a unique opportunity to roll back the state’s involvement in people’s lives”

    What does that even mean Rod? No state schools, no NHS, no transport infrastructure, policing, uni’s and colleges, military, no energy, huge levels of business financed on public sector spend? Bet your bottom dollar Scots tory’s love paying BBC licence fees though.

    And these are just a few reasons why I am not Scottish Conservative:D

  2. Stoops says:

    “We surrounded ourselves with people who agreed with us and we led ourselves to believe that everybody was voting yes.”

    So true.

  3. Heather McLean says:

    “I loved the meetings that sprang up everywhere during the independence campaign, I loved the energy, and I loved the town hall democracy that emerged, and yet, these meetings hamstrung us. We surrounded ourselves with people who agreed with us and we led ourselves to believe that everybody was voting yes.

    I don’t doubt that many undecided voters attended these meetings, but by the campaign’s end, Yes meetings seemed to be stuffed with Yes supporters. We needed to spend more time out and about talking to undecided voters.”

    Never thought id see the day when I’d be in agreement with a Tory but there’s a ring of truth in this! Here in Dundee – Yes City and now SNP City- I was hard pressed to find anyone who was an actual No supporter, so I guess it was easy for me to exist in my wee pro Indy bubble!
    Unfortunately, it was not the same countrywide and hopefully lessons will be learned for the next time, which God willing will be soon and successful!

    As someone who organised several Yes Cafes and pro independence meetings, I would agree that by the end of the campaign, we were preaching to a euphoric converted crowd, next time we need to ensure that the soft No voters are converted and the No voters are convinced by making sure that any questions and doubts they have about currency, defence, pensions are all thoroughly addressed and clarified!

  4. HandandShrimp says:

    I am a left of centre Yes voter but I don’t want a one party state. I have always taken the view that in an independent Scotland we would have the same political discourse as the rest of the world and that a home grown right of centre party would emerge. It might be called Conservative or it might be called something else but we would have a left-right debate on services, welfare, defence, overseas aid business, life opportunities and the like.

    I may be wrong but I think a Scottish right wing party might be more like the German right than the odd mixture of tradition and US Republican right of the UK Conservatives. However, that would be up to the Murdo Frasers etc., to determine.

    I think the difficulty forming a Yes campaign that transcended left/right politics was that the UK right leadership, media and establishment were so bitterly against Scottish independence. It wasn’t really something that would have chimed with what people were seeing, reading and hearing.

  5. Fitzyman says:

    Fantastic article Rod, I completely agree that we need an effective right-wing presence in any successive referendum.

  6. Morag says:

    In principle I kind of see where he’s coming from, but some of it is quite muddled. I mean, how do you reject minimum pricing for alcohol in one sentence then a moment later speak approvingly of Norway?

  7. Taranaich says:

    It’s often remarked that Labour supporters are not the same as the Labour Party: this is evident from Labour’s support of right-wing policies and goals which are anathema to most working-class socialists. I’d argue that there’s a similar dichotomy with Conservative voters and the Conservative party.

    It’s entirely possible to have right-wing politics and be a human being: this has been the Conservative Party in times past. But the UK Conservative party is dominated by a highly exclusive demographic who are practically socially engineered apart from the rest of society, often fast-tracked straight into politics, and never having to experience true hardship. They cannot be expected to understand the situations of the vast majority of people in the UK – yet they command decisions about our lives.

    The problem with the Conservative Party isn’t that they’re right wing, the problem with the Conservative Party is they are corrupt, incompetent, detached from reality to a frightening degree, and willing to cover up everything from the deaths resulting from their welfare “reforms” to systemic child abuse. Politics are one thing, but the Conservatives aren’t just betraying those that didn’t vote for them – at the end of the day, they’re betraying those that do.

  8. R-type Grunt says:

    I absolutely agree. There simply has to be a right-wing party just as there has to be a left-wing party. I too was uncomfortable with how the Yes camaign turned into a witch-hunt against Tories.

  9. Capella says:

    Tories have been rolling back state involvement in our lives for decades, all the way back to Dickensian England.
    However, as a democrat I agree we need all shades of political opinion represented. A more detailed picture of how society could develop without state regulation would be interesting.

    As an anarcho-syndicalist, Chomsky would probably agree with much of the above. But my guess is that the sanctity of property rights would prove an insurmountable barrier for most right wing idealists. My feeling is that right wingness stems from fear, hence the need to amass wealth. Too much is not enough, let’s not be naive.

    But an interesting addition to the debate.

    BTW the public meeting I attended (rural Aberdeenshire) had Ivan McKee of Business for Scotland, Gillian ? of Women for Independence and someone from Wealthy Nation on the platform. A good mix of opinion.

  10. Grouse Beater says:

    Tories voting Yes were not unknown to me, even if some thought it more useful than democratic.

  11. Grouse Beater says:

    “Basing your strategy on your opponent publicly agreeing to your plans (even if they would have in reality), was, with hindsight, sheer insanity.”

    There was never an assumption of mutual agreement. It was a rational understanding of the legal and fiscal rules.

    It was about negotiation.

    A Yes vote gave our elected representatives the mandate to negotiate and then present agreed or rejected proposals and alternatives to our Parliament.

    No one negotiates with friends. You negotiate with your opponent.

  12. Brian Powell says:

    i was out campaigning over many, many months and I know everybody wasn’t going to vote Yes. The polls told us that as well.

  13. Wulls says:

    @Heedtracker. Rod is taking a businessmans point of view where state control is absolutely abhorrent.
    They point to their own checks and balances where successful business generates a successful economy. Unfurtunately as the banks have demonstrated lack of state oversight results in unbridled greed which leads in turn to poor decision making and ultimately failure.
    Big business would gravitate north under independence….,,.actually big business would transfer their head offices to Basra en mass if it gave them a tax break or lower corporation tax so that is not really a recommendation.
    This is one of the elephants in the independence room. Big business would not move north.. Big business would tell the chancellor to lower corporation tax to “Scottish” levels therby reducing the chancellors cut which would have to result in higher direct taxation to balance the books.
    They could not say that as it would amount to confirming that Scotland actually does contribute to the big pot and the rUK would be poorer without us.
    That could never be allowed. Could it ?????

  14. Grouse Beater says:

    I too was uncomfortable with how the Yes camaign turned into a witch-hunt against Tories.

    I saw and heard no “witch-hunt”.

    I saw a rejection of uncaring, neo-liberal right-wing administrations.

  15. Simon Chadwick says:

    I was saying last year that independence would be good for the conservatives. But I found most yes-inclined people didn’t want to hear that.

  16. Marie Clark says:

    Welcome Rod, thought provoking piece.

    We have to get as many people on board as we can, but you’re right,at times we did appear to be talking to ourselves. Of course we need a decent opposition at Holyrood, but we sure don’t have it at the moment. It’s all accuse SNP, SNP bad bad bad.

    My hope always was, and indeed still is, for a free Scotland, open to all political views and all working together for the good of all of our people. Away from all of the wasteful false austerity that is being imposed, and look after the poorer members of society.

    We do indeed need a fair and balanced Holyrood to make this work, but one of the main stumbling blocks to this is, as has been for a very long time SLAB. No imagination nor ideas to take the country forward. That’s why they are now on the verge of total wipeout. After that, maybe, just maybe we can progress.It would be better for democracy if we can.

    Next time Rod, and there certainly will be a next time, as you have said yourself, perhaps like minded people to yourself should get off your backsides and make your case. If you had, perhaps the result might have been different, but we’ll never know.

    But thank you for your contribution, another point of view is always welcome here. By the way, why are you a Tory, you seem far too sensible. Only joking. Well done that man for coming to WOS.Feel free to join us anytime for debate.

  17. Hadj M Dahou says:

    Great column. To win a second referendum, many activists in the Yes alliance should ponder whether they’re campaigning for a leftwing Scotland or an independent Scotland where, like any other democracy, power is contested between opposing ideologies.

    Rhetoric from Salmond and others that “social democracy’s in our DNA” has always jarred with me. First of all, it’s absolute nonsense on stilts – people are individuals whose opinions are not born ready-made but are constantly changing, and only a minority are ideologically committed to one side.

    But more importantly, as this column proves, positioning the SNP to the left of Labour risks alienating a swathe of potential Yes voters. I think the SNP landslide at the general election has been misinterpreted by many on the Scottish Left as proof that Scotland is a naturally leftwing country: to me it seemed more like confirmation that the indyref, despite the No victory, really did bring about a reawakening of national consciousness. Things really have changed.

    The Left/Green commentariat sometimes seem uncomfortable with the thought that a lot of people who voted Yes, and certainly many who gave the SNP their landslide in May, are actually, you know, nationalists. They want independence. They’ll make up their mind between left, right and Willie Rennie when the political debate resumes after Independence Day.

  18. ahundredthidiot says:

    My uncle is a tory – he voted yes.

    But here’s the thing Rod. I only like him because he is my uncle, but I don’t like his politics. And I don’t like yours. The tories are toxic in Scotland and it would be suicide to take your suggested approach to attract the right wing because SLAB would use that to confuse their previous supporters on the left and they far outweigh your lot. So, it’s a no thanks from me.

    Now, I like your politics about as much as I like Tommy Sheridans and the SNP have worked patiently and cleverly towards where they are now. United We Stand. Your approach would lead to divide and conquer.

    To suggest we SNP voters or Yes people thought we were going to end up with a left wing socialist anti-business state is in-correct. The SNP are running the country – and doing a good job of it too, that is why their support is growing.

    Let’s get Indy then argue about the politics within, but not before. Only the SNP can provide that.

  19. Andy-B says:

    Thanks for your thoughts Rod, and very interesting they were.

    I tend to agree with your assumptions, on having a better and more informed dialogue with Conservative voters in Scotland.

    Also we as others have mentioned must get things sorted out like which currency shall we use, a central bank is also required, answers to pensions and taxes and the EU as well.

    Basically answers to questions that BT kept asking louder and louder.

    The Tories in an independent Scotland can and hopefully will help Scotland flourish disconnected from their Westminster counterparts, who seem hell bent on austerity, the Scottish Conservative party would in essences need to evolve, who says they can’t eventually become a source for good policies in an independent Scotland.

  20. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    Wulls, I’m not going to warn you about sodding paragraph breaks again.

  21. Fiona says:

    I, too, have argued that independence would benefit Scottish tories. So far as I can see that party was wiped out in Scotland for the same reasons as Labour has been now: they left their core vote behind. Scottish tories, largely, subscribe to post war consensus politics: just like most other people outside the WM bubble.

    It is to the credit of Scottish tories that they recognised the change earlier than Scottish labour voters: but the path is identical, I think

  22. Brian Powell says:

    Unionists flocking to comment on the the Chinese lady who left the SNP because of alleged racist remark. Newspapers, on line commentators.

  23. Chris says:

    We already have the Scottish Democratic Alliance who were involved in the grassroots independence movement. Perhaps they should contest future Holyrood elections and offer a true alternative?

  24. smithie says:

    Good post Rod, thankyou.
    A party slightly right of centre is needed but we won’t see one until we vote yes i’m afraid,so it continues to be centre left and further left,which will narrow down the appeal of independence.
    I would never ever vote Labour (old or new style) nor the “Brothers and Sisters” style parties either, so anyway, roll on independence and we will hopefully see the formation of some new parties with only Scotland in mind.
    For now though it’s Nippy sweetie all the way.

  25. Kenny says:

    My views are well to the left of the SNP, but I was horrified when Nicola Sturgeon declared in the indyref campaign: “No more Tories!”

    She should have said: No more Tory governments led from London stripping Scotland of her resources and not encouraging Scottish private enterprise.

    I think her words would have put off small c conservatives. There should have been more outreach to them, especially using the great material offered by Business for Scotland.

    Independence meant great business opportunity for Scotland in Europe and I think conservatives would rather follow the approach and success of Germany, Austria, Finland, Switzerland, where the state plays a strong role and strong trade unions are considered a good thing!

    Saying “no more Tories” is like saying Scotland will sail into the future by throwing Adam Smith overboard. An independent Scotland must have a right-wing opposition party.

    To my mind, the current Cameron government is not so much “conservative” as just a psychotic, neo-liberal nightmare in the corporatism-crony capitalism Mussolini mode.

    I was sure more Tories would vote YES, because I know a lot of Scottish Tories who simply hate Cameron. But they did not, and I feel it was often because of such slogans as “no more Tories”.

    I appreciate that the YES movement is, in a way, a left-wing project… and I am very much hoped that an indy Scotland could successfully pursue left-wing policies with the help of our national resources. But we will not have this indy if we do not show other Scots, conservative Scots, that an indy Scotland would be good for them also!

  26. Lady Arbroath 1320 says:

    In a small way I sort of feel sorry for Rod. I don’t mean in any sort of condescending way but by the fact that being a Tory voter he did not have the chance, as he saw it, to vote Tory with a feeling that he would do some good as opposed to just wasting his vote.

    I am an S.N.P. member and proud to be so but like so many others I too worry about the state of the opposition parties in Holyrood. I support the S.N.P. because I believe in a lot, not all, but a lot of their policies and ideas and I therefore want a strong S.N.P. party in government in Edinburgh. This does not mean that I want a one party state as the MSM try and paint it. Far from it. I want a strong S.N.P. in power but I also want, even demand, a strong opposition. Regretably we do not have the later, in my view. What we do have is a weak wishy washy excuse of an opposition more interested in themselves than actually working for a better, fairer Scotland.

    When the Tories held their last leadership election I was quietly hoping that Murdo Fraser would win. To me he was making all the right sort of noises that hinted at the beginings of a stronger opposition party that would be born out of Scotland and controlled from Scotland not London. Sadly we all know the rsult of that election.

    In terms of leadership contests I fear that we will not see any change in the Labour approach in Holyrood no matter which new leader wins. I fear we are in for just more of the same S.N.P. BAD from Labour. Kezia Dugdale appears to be all over the place, situation normal there then. As for Ken Macintosh well what can I say other than he is a pure chancer. As an example here is a bit from today’s National. Macintosh also claimed he was trying to offer the “same thing” as Corbyn.” This from the man who wants to ban giving more powers to Holyrood over Welfare, Taxes and Spending. We all know where Jeremy Corbyn stands on the renewal of Trident but funnily enough there is no mention of Trident in the piece from Ken Macintosh. As I said before Macintosh is CHANCER!

  27. heedtracker says:

    Interesting comparison with Norway’s expensive booze and Scots con’s opposition to vaguely similar policy here. But what EU countries do actually have a hard right British conservative style government? not that many at all. In fact none have a Conservative government like the UK and it’s all the richer, more equitable, less fighty ones too. Funny that.

    One of the many great tragic legacies of Bliar, Brown, Flipper and co, was not merely that they were red Toryboys to the core but that they left behind a quite pathetic SLabour party, incapable of opposition in Scotland and Holyrood. All they really have now is a wheezy old lefty dude that may or may not be around in 2020.

    Without the BBC, SLabour would be an even bigger laughing stock than they currently are but I refuse to take any responsibility for their decline and fall, certainly not for wanting Scotland to run Scotland. If that’s what’s wiped SLab off the map, it’s entriely down to their red Tory wonder years.

    If SLab can’t or won’t effectively oppose, maybe we could see the emergence of new opposition, say the BBCallScots media party, lead by not insane Alan Cochrane and his gorgeous pouting deputy Jakey Bird.

  28. galamcennalath says:

    Some Tories did vote Yes, just like a great many Socialists voted NO.

    Shame there wasn’t an organised Conservatives for Yes. Not my cup of tea, but independence is, and should be, a left-right broad church issue. It doesn’t need to be left versus right. Most NO voters were, remember, we’re not right wingers – Scotland does not have 55% Tories!

    An independent Scotland, unlike WM won’t be an essentially two party country. There will and should be many parties. Like other EU countries.

    Also, it has to be pointed out that the UK Conservative party is untypical of European right of centre parties. Too many London Tories look to the U.S. as a role model and I think there is little in the way America organises society we should copy!

    There is no reason why Scottish right of centre parties would look west over the Atlantic for ideas.

    I’m fairly centrist and believe there should be left and right parties to balance. I’m not a fan of right wing policies, but I accept people can hold such views. But that doesn’t mean they are of the same mould as the public school posh boys who personify the London Tories.

    My view is … do the best we can with what we have and work relentlessly towards independence. Then, we can sort out so many things we simply can’t approach just now. A multi party, fully representative, left to right spectrum parliament, being one of them.

  29. Everybody seemed to be voting YES! because most were voting YES!
    The final vote was twisted to NO! How?..I know not.
    Scotland will not be allowed to walk away from England.
    The next Vote will need to be supervised by a reliable Third Party, say Russia.
    I live in Alicante and feel free of the State…people drink, smoke, enjoy themselves…and live a long time.
    New Scotland should be a free and vigorous place.

  30. gordoz says:

    Very interesting piece Rod; thanks for the insight and please keep at it for this just cause.

    I am more socialist in my views nowadays but fully appreciate hard working, honest individuals with a more right wing perspective.

    You are closer to us in position than anyone from so called ‘left wing’ North britain Labour – that’s for sure.

    Well done for this.

  31. A point I kept making about indyref was that it wasn’t about:
    “Which currency should Scotland use?”
    “Should we retain the monarchy?”
    “What level should we set pensions at?”

    It was all about:
    “Should Scotland have the ability to ask those questions?”

    If we’re to have a Tory government governing Scotland then fine. So long as we vote for it.

  32. Rod McLaren says:

    It’s been said that you should correspond with comment section if you’ve written an article, but I’ve always been a great believer in robust debate, so I’ll reply to what others have said.

    @heedtracker When I talk about rolling back the state, I’m not advocating a return to feudal society! Rather, it’s a number of areas that concern me. I believe that the government of the day has no business telling people what they should be eating, drinking, or doing with their leisure time. So, as you can except, minimum pricing for alcohol sets off all sorts of alarm bells for me.

    Coming on top of the smoking ban, it’s the creeping erosion of individual rights and the rise of the Nanny State (of which the SNP seem to be the main flag bearers) that bugs me.

    Of course I’m aware of Scotland’s problems with alcohol and cigarettes, but that is up to the individual. If people want to drink till they die, good luck to them – that is their right.

    Similarly, this named person initiative is another step to far IMO. The state seems to have far to much involvement with people’s lives these days.


    Compassion is not the sole preserve of the Left, and corruption is not unique to the Conservative party. New Labour was up to its neck in corruption and of course the Labour party in Glasgow was infamous for its jobs for the boys culture.

    I agree with the gist of your arguments about the Conservative party, they’ve came a long way from their ethos of social mobility which was prevalent at one time i.e getting talented working class people up the social ladder.


    Individual liberty is an area which I’m primarily concerned with. One of the most exciting aspects of an Indy Scotland, for me, was the drafting of a constitution. It could of been a real statement of what kind of society we wanted to be.

    I believe the odds are stacked too heavily in favour of the State when it comes to the state Vs. the individual, and a constitution could have cemented the rights of the individual. For example, right to silence, use of search warrants, freedom of speech etc. etc. could have been properly codified.

  33. Grouse Beater says:

    On the basis of Rod’s article I trust he will gather all Tory voters together in the next Referendum under the banner ‘right-wingers for autonomy’, or some such slogan.

    Then, and only then, can we see that we are united despite partisan politics.

    And if he wants Yes supporters to discuss ideals with Tory voters face-to-face he is free to trudge over the likes of Perthshire sodden fields to argue with dyed-in-the-wool landowners who placed ‘Vote No!’ banners along hedgerows.

  34. Aitch says:

    Regardless of what anyone thinks of the man’s personal political opinions, he’s absolutely right. The right should get on board with how they too can make the Scotland they want. It absolutely HAS been all about establishing a socialist heaven, but Scotland is made of more than one just one political bent.

    Given an independent Scotland I don’t see myself ever agreeing with the Tories, but they would still be part of the make-up of the Scottish nation and if we want everyone to buy into independence then there needs to be an argument that speaks for people of the Tory ilk, the Green ilk, the UKIP ilk – minus the UK, but you get my point. The problem is that far too many Tories see themselves as Conservative and Unionist, the latter tag being a more recent development, which seems to define their conservatism – of course I’m a unionist, I’m a Tory. The corollary need not follow. Why can’t you be Conservative and national’ist’? Why can’t you be pro-indy but anti-EU or anti-immigration?

    We may not like their politics but their voice is as valid as ours, and maybe, just maybe, if you we had those parties coming out and saying ‘you know what, I want to be tough on immigration, I do want small government, I am of a libertarian mind but we can do it while looking after own affairs in an independent Scotland, then you might find more people coming round to independence. Just a thought really.

  35. ArtyHetty says:

    “We surrounded ourselves with people who agreed with us and we led ourselves to believe that everybody was voting yes.”

    Stoops says;
    ‘So true’.

    What poppycock. No one in their right mind thought that EVERYBODY was voting YES. We were surrounded by no voters in my area, even had friends voting no. I for one was under absolutely no illusion that it was a done deal for YES. I think that the YES side worked incredubly hard to get past the state sponsored bias and propoganda. It was in fact almost blanket support for no by the msm.

    YES were just too positive and perhaps even ideological and they did not scare enough switherers by revealing them the dreadful reality should they vote no, then again, with state sponsored media to contend with it was a lose lose situation.

    As a result we are now shackled to a dangerous, immoral, very very cruel and inept regime based in the South of England, working for and only for, the South. Oh yes they pay lip service to the regions, to keep the people sweet, but they will lay even more waste to Scotland before they are finished, especially if the SNP gain another majority in 2016, oh no can’t have that can we.

    We ditched the Tories years ago for a reason, and now liebour, it’s time for England to let us go with good grace on their part, but we are far too valuable for the moment, and not just to ukok, it’s bigger than that.

  36. While pounding the streets for ‘Yes’ I was at one session teamed up with an Irish Tory. As a Green leaning Englishmen myself it meant some arguments were neatly cut off before they could be started.

  37. ArtyHetty says:


    I was reading about Scotland’s geology late last night, inspiration for some engravings I am working on. Anyway, I only just found out that Scotland was in fact geologically separated from England zillions of years ago.

    Wow. Have yet to read further, to see where the faults lie(!) and where the real border should be! 🙂

  38. Clootie says:

    We have room for everyone. However as with all politics the people will chose and it certainly won’t be as right wing as Southern England and it will not be as some on the far left hope for either but it will be for the nation and the people who live in Scotland to shape and NOT one imposed by the selfish, greedy dictates of the Southern high density population.

    I hope the tradition ideas of left and right do not apply in the development of an Independent Scotland. I hope we can build something much better than such narrow labels. The business pull and green drive should help build a farer society. Encouraging business does not mean surrendering our natural assets such as water and renewables – these things belong to the nation and the nation is our people.

  39. ArtyHetty says:

    Graeme Borthwick @12.14pm

    Hit the nail on the head, to contradict myself. The momentum was with YES, by and large, but we will never quite know why the result was a no, be it by a small margin.

    Scotland should be free and thriving. Even recently discovered that we had a thriving brick and tile making industry in the not too distant past.

  40. Brian Powell says:

    Arty Hetty

    Scotland came from ‘North America’.

  41. Hugh Kirk says:

    Your last paragraph sums it up beautifully. T’would be utopia and a damn fine place to live and work. Except of course, for the crappy weather.

  42. Graeme says:

    I agree with almost everything Rod said, I can see the point made by ahundredthidiot

    “it would be suicide to take your suggested approach to attract the right wing because SLAB would use that to confuse their previous supporters on the left and they far outweigh your lot. So, it’s a no thanks from me.”

    but surely the counter to that would be we voted for NO last time and look what we got

    If the independence movement is civic and inclusive then surely that should include people of all political persuasions left or right

    maybe we need to ask ourselves is this a movement to regain our independence and create a better more socially just country free from the corrupt British establishment for ALL Scots or is it a socialist left wing revolution


  43. Brian Powell says:

    Arty Hetty

    “The two ancient continents, originally on opposite sides of the vast ocean (Iapetus Ocean), were now joined along a line known as the Iapetus Suture which runs almost parallel to Hadrian’s Wall.”

  44. The Man in the Jar says:


    The natural boundary between Scotland and England caused a ridge to form across the island of Britain. (Similar to but obviously on a much smaller scale as to when the Indian subcontinent “collided” with Asia and formed the Himalayas.) The Romans utilised this natural boundary and built Hadrian’s wall along the top of it.

  45. Andrew Coulson says:

    Is ‘The State’ either
    (a) simply the name of the umbrella organisation for what we all do together — defence, law ‘n’ order, pensions (a significant proportion), education (most of it), health (almost all), welfare, roads, sewers…… or
    (b) an over-mighty despot, the struggle against whom is the highest aim of our democratic institutions, parties and elected individuals?
    Some people support independence because they believe the (a)-type affairs will be organised more to their liking by a Scottish government. Other people, apparently, support independence because they hope that the (b)-type oppressor will be more easily crushed by a Scottish Parliament.
    Is one or the other group destined to be sadly disappointed, when independence comes?

  46. Muscleguy says:

    As a Biomedical scientist I want to take quiet issue with you on minimum alcohol pricing. I agree that it is not an ideal policy, except we do not live in an ideal country and we are not all ideal people. It is a practical policy to try and deal with a real and present problem that pervades our society and impacts lots of people who do not drink.

    the Scottish government does not have control of alcohol duty, sadly, so using that is not possible and residents of No. 11 Downing St have proved recalcitrant in that respect. Also simply raising alcohol duty until the pips squeak is a very blunt instrument that could lay waste to our endogenous distilling industries. Minimum pricing could well be a help while hardly touching the price of a bottle of decent Scotch (the gutrot versions might go up a few pence and have to compete with better drams, not a bad thing). Much alcohol is cheaper than milk or water.

    We no longer live in the Middle Ages when small beer was drunk routinely as the yeast and low alcohol and flavouring herbs combined to kill many water borne diseases. So drinking hooch is no longer absolutely necessary to life.

    Maybe after a generation or two, once we have broken the cultural transmission of problem drinking we can revisit this.

    BTW from memory alcohol was hardly cheap in Switzerland either.

  47. David says:

    I agree with much that you have to say but until independent minded centre-rights form their own party to take the clothes off the Tories, nothing will change.

  48. robertknight says:

    I still think we kid ourselves at times, especially when I see a car with a “45” sticker.

    The % of the electorate who for whatever reason didn’t vote in September was 15%.

    The % of the electorate which voted to maintain the Union was 49%.

    The % of the electorate who voted for Independence was 36%.

    36% of the whole is a lot less than the “45” stickers would have us believe.

    That, and the fact that the Unionist vote gets split into 3 gives the SNP a massive advantage at elections, for if the vast majority of the Unionist vote went to a single party, as the majority of the Nationalist vote goes to the SNP, our body politic would be very different.

    We shouldn’t kid ourselves that we’re nearly there, despite how the numbers might appear on paper.

    The reality is that we’re nowhere near.

    Hat, coat, door…

  49. CUtommy says:

    No voters need to know that an independent Scotland will be the kind of nation we want it to be. Just as at present, the UK is the kind of nation English people want it to be, since they have almost 90% of the votes.

  50. indigo says:

    I agree with a lot of the points made in the article and in the subsequent comments. To a large extent Business for Scotland did make a lot of the arguments about economic opportunity, I lost count of the number of times I referred people to Ivan’s ‘Economic Case’ youtube video.

    However, BfS weren’t widespread enough – they only came down to the south of Scotland in the last couple of weeks, by which time the businesses down here who would have been most affected by a border had already made up their mind. And BfS’s excellent arguements on economic and business opportunities did not reach a wide enough audience.

    Farmers for Yes tried to address some of the issues on potential impacts for Scotland’s hugely important rural economy, but again they could only do so much. What we have in rural Scotland’s private sector are complex and interdependent supply chains that make communities economically vulnerable to change.

    I attended a number of meetings during the campaign period in rural areas where people were crying out for reassurance about how independence might affect their livelihoods. Sad to say, from a rural economy point of view, it was the Conservative MSPs who were by far the most persuasive on business and the economony. Given that Dumfries & Galloway has the highest rate of small, micro business & self employed people in Scotland, that was a huge oversight.

    While not a conservative myself in any way, shape or form, I appreciate and acknowledge that there are, and have historically been, a number of excellent conservative politicians in Scotland who have been outstanding constituency representatives. A Scottish right of centre approach has a lot to contribute to shaping Scotland’s future.

    Scotland needs to continue to develop a vibrant and dynamic culture of entrepreneurship and enterprise. That in itself will help give people confidence in Scotland’s future success, and I would personally love to see the right in Scotland leading on an economic opportunity narrative.

  51. Rod McLaren says:

    They say you should never engage with people commenting on an article you’ve written, as you’re too emotionally evolved with it, but I’ve always been a great believer in robust debate.

    Anyway, I’ll try and address some of the points raised by other people in reply to what I wrote.

    Firstly, I’ll declare that I voted SNP in May and I will be voting for them next year as well, for the reasons alluded too above.

    People may not like my politics, but I’m willing to put ideological differences aside, and see the bigger picture. I’m quite happy to work with the SNP/SSP/Greens or any other pro-indy party in order to achieve independence, and I’m glad other people on this site subscribe to that idea as well.

    For Scotland to have a healthy, functioning democracy, we need a multi-party system across the political spectrum. I always thought the plan was for everybody to unite for independence, and when Indy came, it would have been everyman for himself at the first election for an independent Scotland. As it should be.

  52. heedtracker says:

    “While not a conservative myself in any way, shape or form, I appreciate and acknowledge that there are, and have historically been, a number of excellent conservative politicians in Scotland who have been outstanding constituency representatives. A Scottish right of centre approach has a lot to contribute to shaping Scotland’s future.”

    No they don’t and who are these excellent and outstanding con reps anyway?

    With all due respect, the red Tories were a tragedy for Scotland and the blue ones were catastrophic. When they all piled in to Scottish democracy with their UKOK BBC style Project Fear monstering last year, they ended their parties chances of winning anything in Scotland for a long time. But it was their entirely excellent conservative political choice.

  53. jock mcdonnell says:

    Rod, I met some folk like you, but not many. Too many Tories seemed to have a dependency mind set, prepared to endorse allegations of subsidy. It would have been humorously ironic, but the issue was too serious.

    You make some valid points, but you do, as you said, need to get off your arse. In all good faith, I wish you luck.

  54. Angelajulitta says:

    Interesting piece and an idea, I confess, I gave very little thought to during the referendum.

    If there are all these Scots tories out there yearning for freedom maybe they’d like to step forward and join the fray next time.

  55. indigo says:

    heedtracker – historically, the likes of Hector Monro who was a Dumfries MP. Alex Fergusson in Galloway is well thought of and his knowledge of and support of businesses in the area would be difficult to beat. It’s possible to rate the person as a representative while not agreeing with the party.

  56. Fred says:

    And a blind-alley is still a blind-alley!

  57. Petra says:

    Great article Rod and thanks for reminding us that there are Tories in Scotland who want Independence. Is there such a group as Yes Tories / Tories for Independence or whatever? If not it may be an idea to establish such a group for own reasons and to give others food for thought … be seen to be publicly supporting the cause.

    I’m a member of the SNP but look forward to the day, following Independence, when we have representatives from all Parties such as the SSP and so on sitting in Holyrood. We may find too that some SNP supporters or even some SNP MPs at that point in time will join other parties such as the Greens, Labour or even the Tories (mentioned the latter Rod because I don’t want you to feel left out, lol).

    I can’t wait for the day when our focus, 100%, is on our own Parliament with no distractions from Westminster. We can then put all of our energies into ensuring total transparency, that our voices are heard and so on.

    Anyway once again many thanks for your thought provoking article Rod and best wishes for the future (hopefully in an Independent Scotland).

  58. scottieDog says:

    The current state is hugely involved in our lives. There’s an inherent socialism for the rich with the big hand of state being used to bail out the financial coruptocracy and creating debt free money to pump up the stock market.

    There is still this blind belief in self correcting markets and the illusion of economic equilibrium which bear little resemblance of how our economy works.

    The tories still believe in this crap. It’s basically theory induced blindness.

    As for ‘balancing the books’, again the author falls for Maggie’s mantra that the economy works just like s household.

  59. Claire McGhee says:

    As an active “Yes” campaigner, and someone who is well to the left of the political spectrum, I was dismayed towards the end of the campaign when we started using the “End Tory rule forever” slogan on posters and leaflets.

    Parts of our constituency have traditionally voted tory at relatively high levels, but one thing I was very aware of was that we didn’t ask people who they usually voted for, only how they intended to vote in the referendum. Some people did, of course, volunteer this information, but I would imagine tory voters would be reluctant to given the tone of some of the campaigning. Yet, here’s the thing:My gut feeling is that many of those who told us they were voting Yes were probably tories. If this surprises people, it shouldn’t. We experienced hostility only from those who identified themselves as Labour voters, very little from those who did not reveal their political allegiance.

    Those who I suspected may have been likely tory voters cited the democratic deficit, the lack of attention to Scotland’s needs and the social and economic opportunities of independence.

    For me, the simple question of democracy was the biggest single thing that got me out on those doorsteps, and though I hoped with every fibre that an independent Scotland would never elect a right-wing government, the point was always that the choice should be ours. That late turn of the campaign, where it focused on “no more tories” probably didn’t persuade many Labour voters to a yes vote, but I suspect it drove a significant number of Scottish tories away. If they felt that they could never have their views aired in Scotland, however much most yes campaigners disagreed with those views we should have been aware of what this would do.

    I may not want to see any form of conservative government in Scotland, but if these views don’t exist or are not heard then we have nothing to argue against, and we are not a democracy.

  60. Calum Craig says:

    *cough* “Soapbox is a weekend column designed to provoke debate on non-party-political issues.”*cough*…

  61. Petra says:


    Yes I’m sure I read somewhere that the Scottish land mass came from North America / Canada and the English land mass came from South America. I’ve often wondered if this accounted for some of our differences, from the word go, other than the weather.

  62. Willie John says:

    Unionist Labour policy was vote No, but some members who wanted to stay labour within an independent Scotland started a splinter group ‘Labour for Independence’ did they not?

    Is it beyond the abilities of Conservative voters to do something similar?

  63. CameronB Brodie says:

    ArtyHetty @ 2:28pm
    Patagonia, I think. 🙂

  64. jock mcdonnell says:

    @Calum Craig
    I Don’t see Indy as a political issue myself, it’s more fundamental than that.

  65. bjsalba says:

    @Kenny at 2:07 pm

    Your quote is not quite accurate. As usual the press did a little “editing” of what Nicola said.

    Try looking up the full speech: –
    “we’ll have no more Tories imposing their policies on us“.

    I now never ever repeat anything from the MSM without looking at the source in full.

  66. Macart says:

    A broad church and an open hand.

    It is the ONLY way to take an electorate, a body politic, a people with you. The appeal and the will HAS to be broad and far reaching. If its not? Then its not going to work.

    The majority have to want to invest themselves in the future. Yes did much that was right, hell a lot that was right. Its why we went from under 30% to 45% in two years. The thing that was hardest of all to fight was the party political tack of both the govt/BT campaign and their willing little helper the media.

    They set so much of the pace with their 24/7 party political bombardment and we spent too much time reacting. HMG played they party political card like a fiddle. SNP/Salmond against everyone. Inded a great deal of time was spent by the press attempting to create rifts between independence supportive parties and the SNP. A game they still play.

    Indyref2, we leave the party political baggage at the back door in my opinion. We treat people, talk to people as we find them. We can’t let the establishment dictate the narrative and set the rules of engagement. We have to be beyond and above party politics when it comes to independence. The people and their future freedoms are far more important than any party sensibilities.

  67. Lady Arbroath 1320 says:

    Just seen on Facebook. 😉

    Hopefully this will pass Calum’s non political issues with flying colours. 😀

    Passenger : “Waterloo please mate”

    Taxi driver: “the station?”

    Passenger: “Well I’m a bit fecking late for the battle don’t you think?”


  68. Douglas Macdonald says:

    In the 1950s, there were many fine, upstanding and well-respected Tories in Scotland. Someone mentioned Hector Munro in Dumfries, but, from the top of my head, you could add Lord Boothby, Sir William Duthie in the North-East, Iain Macleod and later on, George Younger and Alick Buchanan-Smith. These were all well-liked by their constituents, having had the common touch in their local communities.

    However, he biggest mistake the Tories made in Scotland, in my view, goes back to 1965, when the Conservative and Unionist Party in Scotland merged with their southern counterparts. Over time, the traditional Scottish Tory was eventually subsumed into the London/Home Counties set and, in doing so, adopted the snobbery and class-ridden culture associated with this clique. Naturally, this did not go down well with many Scots and. over time, they were ditched in favour of other more acceptable candidates from other parties – people like Russell Johnston, Hamish Watt, Winnie Ewing, etc. In my opinion, the Conservative and Unionist party will only have a future in an independent Scotland. If they continue to stick with the Home Counties version of Conservatism, the Party will remain electorally highly toxic in Scotland for the foreseeable future..

  69. muttley79 says:

    I understand to an extent what the writer is getting at in regards to the Yes campaign not reaching out to right wing voters in Scotland. However, I will lay my cards on the table, I despise and detest everything the Tories have stood for over the last 3 decades or so. The writer says he wants to roll back the state, but I take it from that comment that he supports many people relying on food banks because of welfare cuts. This is an appalling vision and reality. Nobody with any sense of empathy and compassion should have anything to do with this odious right wing ideology.

  70. Cwiffer says:

    Whilst I don’t disagree with the post, the reason why the right “was practically non-existent” in the debate for Yes was that it WAS non-existent for Yes. Complaining that the SNP, Greens and much of the left occupied that ground is ridiculous – as you say yourself, in the next referendum, you will have to “get off your backside and do something about it”! As an SNP member, whilst I may disagree with your politics per say, I would nevertheless welcome your involvement next time around in helping to create a more equal political environment – in an independent Scotland – within which to have those future arguments.

  71. James Carmichael says:

    The educational system in the US has in large part become a causality of government encroachment. There was a time when just about every small community had at least a grammar school (1-6 grade) and many had Intermediate and High Schools. This placed the child in the “Local Home” area where family was close at hand and it did serve to foster support for the school as parents seemed to take more interest in the welfare of both the school and the education of their children.

    But slowly, individual school districts begin to disappear, owing to the government practice of busing (removing children out of now closed local schools and incorporating them into larger schools outside the community) which was not so much designed to benefit the child, but was rather designed to balance a racial quota between black and white students. Cultural identity being what it is, this situation found in the years following, a massive migration of both black and white families into areas where schools are predominately of their particular cultural identity.

    Today education has become so expensive, but non competitive on a global comparison scale. And many native born Americans are being rejected in upper echelons of higher education due to cost, not having scholarships, and even in Ivy League schools, the rising number of foreign internationals being accepted.

    I do hope with Independence, Scotland will educate Scottish children first, but will also champion, as Scots always have, a system of free education for all Scots, both children and adults. One of the greatest errors in the American education system, is that for most Americans, educations stopped at the 12th grade. Continuing education should be a priority, opened for everyone, and localized as much as possible where greater access could be granted. I would love to return to Scotland again, and teach, if only for a few months, that would be among my greatest memories, and joys.

  72. muttley79 says:

    @Douglas Macdonald

    Boothby was a horrible, horrible character.

  73. Colken says:

    From August 2014…
    We Hate The Tories (Mostly) | todayinscotland

  74. James Carmichael says:

    Freedom of thought/expression is the grease upon which the wheel turns, without it, the friction created will guarantee you a collapse of not just the wheel, but the entire vehicle as well. The greatest enemy of such Freedom, is political correctness which elevates the proud, and penalizes the humble. When we respect each other, regardless of opinions, and are willing to die for each others right to express our opinions, then we have entered the domain of Liberty.

  75. John king says:

    They speak Welsh in Patagonia look you.

  76. muttley79 says:

    The Tories are an absolute disgrace to humanity. They knowlingly set out to shaft the poor, the vulnerable, those who are struggling, the working class, and lower middle class. They are an always have been in thrall to those at the top of society, landowners, monarchy, uber rich businessman etc. I say get the Tories to fuck.

  77. dakk says:

    Good article.

    Don’t understand why you don’t like SNP though.

    The White Paper showed a sensible pro business strategy aimed at full employment,(free child care policy to return women to workplace,scrap world’s highest APD).

    If only the Tories were really pro business,rather than pro big Crony business.

    Minimum pricing on alcohol is a sensible policy when alcohol abuse is such a serious national problem.Most objections are knee jerk posturing or vested interests. After all it’s really only cheap cider and gut rot vodka which would be affected.It’s a start.

    SNP offer a competent economic vision with social responsibility which gives them broad appeal and are no brainer at the moment.

    Whilst I don’t agree with everything they say or do,they certainly make more sense than all the other BritNat parties put together.

  78. steveasaneilean says:

    The minimum pricing of alcohol has nothing to do with being a “nanny state”.

    We have a huge problem with alcohol misuse in Scotland. It is killing our people prematurely, it is filling our courts and our A&E departments, and is costing our government a fortune.

    The only way to reduce consumption which has a decent evidence basis is minimum pricing.

    The problem with making inaccurate and poorly informed opinions like this is that only serves to devalue whatever else you are saying.

  79. I was never comfy with the “no more Tory governments” mantra. Looking at the May 7th vote share, Tory + UKIP accounted for half a million votes up here. Going into a campaign alienating that amount of people was a seriously bad idea.

    The soundbite should’ve been “Scotland will get the government Scotland votes for – every time, whatever hue”.

    I despise every Tory government I’ve had the misfortune to live under – callous, cold-hearted bastards the lot of them – but if an indy Scotland voted one into Edinburgh then I’d just see that as the democratic will of the Scottish people. They’d be easier to remove from Edinburgh than Westminster anyway if they made an arse of things.

  80. Nairne says:

    Wealthy Nation are a right of centre group that supports Scottish Independence, however they weren’t active on the streets that much, if at all, unlike other groups. Perhaps they would have had a key role in converting right of centre voters who did not see the business opportunities an independent Scotland presented.

    When another referendum inevitably is announced this is the group of people that would need to be targeted to boost the yes vote and groups such as Wealthy Nation and Business for Scotland are the ones that should be at the forefront of the campaign, to convince the more conservative and liberal voters, that were avoided to an extent, to vote for Independence next time.

  81. Lady Arbroath 1320 says:

    To be fair the “no more Tory government’s” mantra was, when said by Alex Salmond during the independence referendum, something like “no more Tory government’s unless Scotland votes for them.”

  82. ahundredthidiot says:

    Rod makes an important point in his post:

    ‘..the plan was for everybody to unite for independence, and when Indy came, it would have been everyman for himself at the first election for an independent Scotland. As it should be.’

    I don’t want to sound patronising, but that is a little bit pointing out the obvious, however, many people on both left and right thought that this would not happen – that the SNP would be in charge – these people need educated.

    Here’s the truth though. You have no country. No nation. SE England does (with WM) and they are in charge. Talk of politics is pointless unless you are in control of your own destiny. England lets us sing our stupid wee song at Scotland matches, but that is as far as the leash goes – Power devolved is Power retained.

    Independence is not about politics. Not about left and right. Poor or rich. It’s about them and us – and that is the fundamental in all of this and a strategy which needs to be ruthlessly exploited until we hit the 60% mark for indy wanabees – then we push and not before.

    Them and Us.

  83. CameronB Brodie says:

    John king
    You’re just confusing things now, John. 🙂

    Thank you Rod, a change is almost as good as a rest. Though I think I fundamentally disagree with your view of the state’s role in a healthy society, I have been concerned for some time that disaffects ‘socialists’ were seeking to co-opt the Yes movement’s ambition of returning democratic control over Scotland’s governance to the Scots.

    As I have asked before, what is socialism? Certainly nothing like the One Nation English Socialism we have all ‘enjoyed’ since the very early days of the British Labour party, IMHO.

    English Socialism = Oligarchical Collectivism = UK plc.

  84. CameronB Brodie says:

    disaffects = disaffected

  85. Dave Hansell says:

    Muscleguy hits the nail on the head here.

    Rods objection to the minimum alcohol pricing is framed in terms of “the nanny state at its worst.” And herein lies the problem.

    Speaking as an engineer (that is to say how I think rather than what I did for a livng) what this statement reveals is:

    1. Rob, and those who share his position, is basing that position not on practicalities, what works or does not, but on purely ideological grounds.

    2. This is because Rod has chosen to identify his self as first and foremost a Conservative, a “right winger”. Everything else, practicality, independence, being a human being, appear secondary.

    3. This allows for a comparison with “others” who do not share that position. ie non Conservatives or “the left.”

    For sure this happens the other way around. However, the point is that Rod has chosen to frame the debate in that way and for the most part other contributors seem content to go along with that.

    This is not going to get us very far because Rods criteria for anything seems to be framed not on practical grounds but ideological ones. If something is working or not should be the starting point of assessment rather than where it fits into an ideological framework.

    Framing the discussion in this way falls into the same lazy trap that the Labour Party has fell into (along with the other main political parties) inasmuch as they see themselves as an end rather than a means to an end. Consequently, what tends to happen is that everything is judged through the prism of which political and ideological gang lays claim to it rather than whether or not it works.

    Where, for example Rod, do you draw the line in terms of “the state”, which is in reality lazy shorthand designed to obscure the reality of acting in common rather than as an individualist, what were those words again?, “free for all.” Traffic Lights? The NHS? Police? Fire Service? Underwriting privatised utilities pension liabilities with taxpayers money?

    Because all we have at the moment is a sense of public bad, private good and criteria based on practicalities and what works nowhere to be seen in order to perpetuate this lazy left/right dichotomy which seems to have been chosen as the key self definition and framework.

  86. Iain More says:

    I don’t care what somebody votes for in the way of a politically party as long as it isn’t a Brit Nat Party. So that discounts most of them and limits my own choices. I will forgive votes for those that voted Yes in the Indy Referendum though.

    When it comes to one Party States though well that is what we have had in the Bitter Together Paradise for most of my life. We have always been ruled by one shade of nasty city of London slicker Tory or another and always will be as long as we remain stuck in this rotten corrupt sleazy Union.

  87. heedtracker says:

    Muscleguy, properly taxing booze isn’t a magic bullet, just like Scotland running Scotland isn’t a magic bullet and so on. One of the greatest con’s Project Fear cooked up and what BBC etc have peddled for decades, is that independent Scotland was pointless and worse. Why bother
    Their BBC Project Fear UKOKing was and is, Scots are too stupid and scared and it’s too scary but societal change is always slow and not necessary painless.

    Look at smoking.

    Or why do Scots binge drink and yes I do it to, mainly after 18 Sept.

    Your average Tory voted NO for all kinds of keep your hands off my wealth and privilege reasons but they are very much like poor old Jim Morphy, as in

    “why can’t football fans get drunk at matches now, if I want to smoke myself into an early grave, it’s my problem, so what if England has a far better motorway network than Scotland, they need it, I’m alright jack because I am alright jack, so why change?”

    This is the rwal challenge facing Holyrood SNP from here to Scotland’s Independence Day, showing devolution is good for you. And it’s why the BBC etc destroy and ignore anything Holyrood.

    Change is their UKOK biggest threat now.

  88. Husker says:

    No one can predict how the landscape of an independent Scotland would eventually look like when free of the influence of Westminster.

    Despite being a wealthy nation, given the level and degree of wealth inequality we face, it is a fair assumption to say that it will be left of centre for a long time.

    I am not a nationalist nor do I support the SNP. I see the SNP as a left of centre party and my politics is to to the left of them.

    I am being an realist in that the views I represent will never have enough mainstream support for all of them to be implemented. However, I see independence as way for my views to become one of many voices that can help shape the direction of independent Scotland in a way that will never happen under the Westminster system.

    One or more of these many voices will shape the direction of an independent Scotland, provided the correct form of electoral system is established, will come from the right as well as the left.

    As I mentioned the political landscape of an independent Scotland will be firmly left of centre but over time it doesn’t mean that it will eventually settle and become like most countries with the inevitable swings leftwards and rightwards. Those in the right in Scotland may want to ponder on that.

  89. smithie says:

    steveasaneilean says:
    8 August, 2015 at 4:21 pm

    “The minimum pricing of alcohol has nothing to do with being a “nanny state”.

    We have a huge problem with alcohol misuse in Scotland. It is killing our people prematurely, it is filling our courts and our A&E departments, and is costing our government a fortune.

    The only way to reduce consumption which has a decent evidence basis is minimum pricing.

    The problem with making inaccurate and poorly informed opinions like this is that only serves to devalue whatever else you are saying.”

    Steve i remember about two years ago, when in Majorca in one supermarket, i saw a bottle of 12 percent red wine selling for (in pounds) 95 pence.
    Now for the two weeks i was there, and before and since i have not seen any local off their head so to speak.
    I don’t think it is a price issue, more to do with a culture of abuse.
    Now why we are like that i do not know, lack of hope/despair? who knows, but i can understand why some people think that Governments should not interfere.

  90. Flower of Scotland says:

    @ ahundredthidiot.

    I totally agree with you. I think I am a socialist but not sure. The only thing I am sure of is that I want Independence for Scotland and have always voted SNP in order to gain Independence.

    The SNP is a party containing all political persuasions. When we get Independence we can then decide which party to vote for. Until then there is only one party that puts Independence at the top of their agenda. It does what it says on the tin!

  91. Craig says:

    Rod, allow me first of all to congratulate you on a wonderful article, I am glad to see you here on WOS shring yur thoughts, I have to say, I don’t share your conservative beliefs but I don’t think any less of you for that.

    You are correct in saying that the right wingers “YES” voices were drowned out during the ref campaign, maybe if you or someone more prominent that shared your belief in a YES vote but are Conservative could have asked to be allowed to share a platform with other YES campaginers during the hustlings, that, in my view, would have created quite a stir within the media as the Labour for Independence did.

    Rod, you are the First “Conservative” yesser I have actually have seen/read about, I do have some friends down South who vote Tory and we engage in policitical debate quite often and they could see my viewpoint and accept what I was saying, if more you came forward during the referendum campaign, we could have shown the Unionist belief within your party and Labour/Libdems was wrong and it would have made your fellow Conservatives think more about what a YES/NO vote would have meant.

    You are indeed telling the truth about how Scotland was hugely Conservative country, I have said the very same thing myself, I told my friends and those that I debated with that in the 1940’s,50’s and 60’s, Scotland had a very healthy ammount of Conservative voters, as we all know, since Maggie came in, it all went wrong and now the Tories are seen as toxic, just the same as the Labour party here in Scotland.

    Whilst one the major viewpoints in people chosing to vote yes was that it would mean no more Conservative governments, I feel that they are sadly misguided, that should NEVER be a reason to vote YES, my reason for voting YES is that, we would be get a government that the majority voted for, I will wispher it here, there are some Tories polices that I do agree with, some of Labour I agree with, I am a member of the SNP for 2 reasons

    1) I believe that fully supporting the SNP will achieve the goal of Scottish indpendence from Westminster rule.

    2) It’s the only way I can express my disgust at the behaiour of the Unionist parties that betrayed the citizens of Scotland for their own political ends.

    The fact it made major news about the SNP membership is a case in point, not only does the increase in membership shows our anger, it deflects any possible argument about how SNP do well in the GE and Scottish Government elections that it’s only because of the Scottish Conservatives/Labour/Libdems performed so poorly in Scotland.

    Again, Rod, thank you for your article and I would to hear/read more of your contributions to WOS.

  92. DerekM says:

    i do get where you are coming from Rod but you need to stop believing everything you read about the SNP,it is not a party of the left or is it of the right its a mix of both ,you will find what is left of the Scottish conservatives inside the SNP,independence is the goal and always has been regardless of your own personal political views.

    That is what has made them so successful balance something lacking in the other parties.

    Maybe one day Scottish conservatism can make a comeback but while it has the dark shadow of westminster tories looming over it,it will be forever damned by the majority of Scots.

    And instead of griping about the SNP why dont you do something about the Scottish conservative branch office,and turn them into the Scottish conservative party free from westminster then you might get some respect from the Scottish public for your ideals but until that day happens you are all tories of the same kind and by backing the named conservative party you are backing neo liberalsm which i might add has nothing to do with conservatism.

  93. Cináed says:

    It’s smashing to read a centre-right perspective on the campaign. Well done Rod.

    I find myself in a similar position. A lot of the SNP’s prospectus is far too left-wing for my personal tastes. The party’s daft ‘anybody and everybody’ immigration policy is a nightmare waiting to happen; and, frankly, the European Union can go and somersault up its own fundament, insofar as membership can be considered a left-right issue. Given how unhelpful Brussels was during the referendum, I cannot campaign for an ‘In’ vote in good faith – though I’ll be hoping for a majority Scottish ‘ln’ for similar reasons to most nationalists.

    What I would say is that a lot of Scots voters – certainly in the north-east, at any rate – are probably small-c conservatives. Broadly pro-business and agin punitive taxation; deeply sympathetic with the working poor but easy riled by the worst abuses of the welfare system; generous with the elderly and disabled, but drawing that from instinct, rather than any Marxist tradition.

    At the same time, I – and most of the folk I’m describing – would never, ever vote Tory. Nor, indeed, would I vote for any party which denies or compromises the sovereignty of the Scots nation. It’s a fundamental principle I’ll never breach, and I suspect many other centre-righters are in the same boat.

    Once we’re independent, I’d love to see, and consider voting for, a broadly centre-right Scottish party. It can’t simply be the Tories rebranded. They’ll always be out to sell the country down the river at the first opportunity. A new Scottish centre right party would have to represent a clean slate, unequivocal in its defence of the country’s independence.

    Until then, our support is best deployed behind the SNP.

  94. Cath says:

    I despise everything the Tories in Westminster stand for, and have seen first hand what welfare reforms are doing to people.

    But even then, and even campaigning in Glasgow’s East end, the boards and messaging on election day that said things like, “no more Tory governments ever”, “end Tory rule” etc made me cringe. Because that’s not what independence is about, and not what it should ever be about.

    Sure, an end to those Eton Tories being imposed on us by English voters would be one consequence of independence, but that consequence would be because Scotland is finally choosing its own government. The key point in that is democracy and re-gaining our sovereignty. Once we have that, the right in Scotland will be freed form those Eton Tories and able to come up with arguments and ideas for Scotland and who knows, it may even re-generate them here. I don’t think that would necessarily be a bad thing.

    I suspect I will always have very strong disagreements with the writer of the piece on those debates and policy ideas, but that is what democracy and governance is about, and I want us to be able to have those debates in and for my own country, Scotland.

    So yeah, I agree entirely with the writer on that – we shouldn’t alienate Tory voters because there are as many right wing arguments for independence as left wing ones. And only in an independent Scotland can those two competing visions be put to the people and debated. The basic principle of democracy and taking control of your own affairs is neither left of right and we should fight for that together.

  95. msean says:

    Always wondered why more conservatives didn’t support the idea of an independent Scotland,they must remind themselves that some of the nordic countries we see around Scotland have recently elected right of centre governments.

    Independence doesn’t mean Scotland will continue to elect left of centre parties. It may be in our interests to elect a right of centre party at some point,but the choice would be OURS to make,not the electorate of another country to impose on us. Funnily enough,independence may detoxify the Tories along with a name change.

  96. Capella says:

    Individual liberty is an area which I’m primarily concerned with.
    Agree. But it is only possible with a level playing field. If some are born to vast wealth and privilege and others are born to grinding poverty and hopelessness, who enjoys liberty?

    Adam Smith believed that it was the duty of the state to regulate the rich to save the poor from the odious philosophy of the wealthy of everything for ourselves and nothing or other people.

    “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.” (Anatole France)

  97. ronnie anderson says:

    A wee reminder for Boorachs crowdfunder.

  98. robertknight says:

    “until we hit the 60% mark for indy wanabees – then we push and not before.”

    Couldn’t agree more. 36% of the electorate is frankly a pi$$-poor showing given the money spent by ‘Yes’ and the grass-roots level of involvement last time.

    For Scotland to become Independent, ‘Yes’ will need to poll more than ‘BT’ achieved last year – in excess of 2 million votes; >50% of the electorate. Anything less would rightly be open to charges of lacking legitimacy.

    The powder for Indyref2 should be kept well and truly dry until 2 million+ ‘Yes’ votes are in the bag. Sadly, the only chance of that is if England threatens to drag Scotland out of the EU unwillingly.

  99. Shug says:

    If I want a socialist utopian government I will vote for Tommy sherridan
    Then perhaps not
    If you say voting yes will deliver a labour government a) I don’t believe you b) I would vote no
    They had 50 years and turned Scotland from a major manufacturing economy in the world to a basket case at the same time as being 13 largest oil producer in the world
    God save us from a labour government

  100. Mealer says:

    Rod McLaren,
    Thanks for this interesting article.I’m a conservative,as in I want to conserve what is good(free education,health care,some other public services.)I’m also quite progressive,as in I want to see every one in Scotland having a better life.Starting with those most in need of an improvement in their quality of life.I hope Scotlands future is more like Scandinavia than the USA.I loathe the very idea of generational unemployment.I want to see a fit,healthy,educated and inspired population who work hard and contribute to a better society.An aspirational society whose aspirations aren’t limited to the merely material.I want us to look around the world and pick up ideas from those countries who are further advanced to this objective.Not limiting ourselves with outdated,obstructive,confrontational politics.

  101. baronesssamedi says:

    Back to the topic.

    Had the WM parties not taken an official position for “no” and lined up as they did in 2014, neither Labour or Libdems in Scotland would have suffered half as much as they did in 2015. The SNP vote in 2015 might have been smaller, but the Yes vote might well have been bigger in 2014 or be stronger for next time.

  102. heedtracker says:

    Craig, “there are some Tories polices that I do agree with, some of Labour I agree with, I am a member of the SNP for 2 reasons”

    Which ones though? Tony Bliar made it very clear just last week, the tory way is the only way for the UK, although Brown has so far not said that himself. I wish Brown would make another important Corbyn intervention, I miss him and his big angry flabby jowls.

    Pick your battles maybe. Brown says I saved the world, and the banks, he says he saved the world banks but first he had to deregulate everything City wise, then he could come swooping in and save the City spivs(like Micheal Keaton in Birdman), or as it known in Scotland, austerity for the poor, socialism for the rich. Its the UKOK red and blue toryboy way.

  103. Croompenstein says:

    Tory and LibDem bastards sold the Royal Mail on the cheap to their mates and before too long our highland and island communities will suffer with higher postage prices, Tory bastards sold the RBS, OWNED BY US, on the cheap to their mates and they are already closing rural branches like Maybole… Tory bastards profit before people, England before everyone else… Fuck ‘Em

  104. Denise says:

    Totally agree Rod, I want Scotland to be independent and I hope the society will be inclusive with all views represented even Tory ones. I am left of centre but I do agree with pro-business strategies and low or preferably no tax on the poor. I also strongly believe in universal benefits and very strong public services.

    I think together left and right we could build an incredible country and I hope we get the chance to do so soon.

    Maybe you should start a Conservatives for Indy group.

  105. Capella says:

    Good explanation of anarchism and liberty by Chomsky in this 36 min talk at MIT:

  106. Votadini Jeannie says:

    I agree with a lot of what Rod has said, and appreciate him being brave enough to come on to Wings and say it!

    Right-leaning pro-independence Scots do indeed exist, and as a previous poster mentioned, there was a ready-made party for them in the shape of the Scottish Democratic Alliance. This party have said in the past that they were pretty much excluded from the Yes campaign, possibly due to the “rid Scotland of Tories” platform which, as Rod says, backfired somewhat. The SDA now seems to have disappeared as their website no longer exists. A pity, as rebranding the Scottish branch of the Tory party for an independent Scotland will not eradicate the toxicity they carry.

    We do need a proper Scottish centre-right party, one which supports business and helps our people to do well, but doesn’t punish those who can’t. It doesn’t need to be the neo-liberal nightmare that the Tories have become; it is possible to get the balance right, e.g. state support that doesn’t escalate into interfering with civil liberty, and business support that helps our economy whilst increasing employment.

    Although I’d be unlikely to vote for such a party, I absolutely see the need for one – now, before the next referendum. Waiting until after independence will be too late. There are many right-leaning voters who just need to be shown the possibilities, and above all, a Yes campaign that doesn’t marginalise them, in order to bring these people over to fully supporting independence.

  107. john king says:

    Cameron B
    “Your just confusing things now John”
    well let me unconfuse you Cameron 🙂

  108. tony O'neill says:

    Hopefully more Scottish torys will see the benefits of independence and how it could lead to their revival,sadly I think that too many will still sell their souls and country to London rule.

  109. heedtracker says:

    We do need a proper Scottish centre-right party, one which supports business and helps our people to do well, but doesn’t punish those who can’t

    If the toryboy show is so good for business, how come there’s no heavy industry in Scotland now? I do despair. Or I would do despair but there is so much bullshit in the UK built around tory world its hardly surprising.

    How come there’s almost no fishing industry in Scotland now, no ship yards in Scotland or rig builders, or steel production, or anything that even approaches heavy industrial development?

    All that not Scots oil and gas out there and everything is built in Norway or Germany or the US or Japan. Didn’t happen by UKOK magic.

  110. Rod McClaren says:

    Here’s another reason (which I forgot to mention) why I’m not overly fond of the SNP.

    As far as I’m concerned, Westminster is rotten to the core, and the quicker we’re away from that, the better.

    And yet, breaking away from one corrupt racket, only to hand over power to another corrupt racket (The European Union) makes absolutely no sense to me.

    The SNP’s EU policy, for me, is utterly baffling. I would much prefer a Norway/Switzerland arrangement.

  111. Dr Jim says:


    Exactly my sentiments the SNP don’t do right left centre politics they work like a management team trying to do the right thing

    That’s why you’ll always hear them talk about evidence based approaches to problems, they do their homework and get the job done the most efficient way possible

    If they keep that up as well as they have been doing everybody will always get something of what they want, the country prospers and that’s real democracy

  112. CameronB Brodie says:

    john king
    That’s me telt. 😉

  113. john king says:

    Craig says
    “Rod, you are the First “Conservative” yesser I have actually have seen/read about,”

    Well what about Wingman? Im sure he’s a Tory and I’d be willing to bet Tartan Tory is a Tory. 🙂

  114. dakk says:

    Lots of good comments here to complement Ron’s article.

    Everybody knows we can’t all work in the public sector,therefore public services including some utilities such as energy and even perhaps railways should be state or majority state run.They can even make a profit for reinvestment if run properly.

    Beyond that the Scottish government should facilitate private enterprise and encourage niche business hubs.Think Norway or Singapore without the caning,and capital punishment.

    Regarding immigration,I don’t have a strong view on this except, it should be decided by a Scottish government, and that’s where it gets tricky with EU.

  115. Rod McClaren says:

    I’ll finish with one final point, and say no more on the subject. For me, and for many others, the No vote was a tragedy, because it was a golden opportunity wasted.

    We could have been an open, transparent democracy, that set an example to the rest of the world for individual liberty and human rights. The Scottish enlightenment could have been re-born in this nation.

    Instead of spending money on defence, that money could have been spent on medical research. With our world class universities, we could have taken medical science to the next level, and provided cures for many diseases and conditions that blight the world.

    It’s not often I agree with Jim Sillars, but his plan to send Scottish medical ships to poor countries, was a great idea.

    In a world of globalization, and countries with big populations flexing their muscles (China, Brazil etc) we could have been a smart, nimble country, that punched well above its weight with a highly educated population, and world class manufacturing, and so on…

    I sometimes want to weep at the golden opportunity we squandered…

  116. G says:


    Yes, but unlike some other countries we do have this culture of abusing alcohol, so what do we do about it?

    Other countries with this kind of culture, such as Australia or the Scandinavian countries, have taken far tougher measures on alcohol. Not just minimum pricing, but retail of alcohol only allowed through state run off-licenses, etc. Minimum pricing is a relatively modest proposal, and the cynicism of the Labour Party in opposing it, as well as the Lib Dems and Tories was despicable.

    The foreign-owned whisky companies comprising the Scotch Whisky Association are no better than the tobacco companies, and don’t care how many people die as long as their bottom line is protected. For the same reasons, they opposed our independence.

    Many aspects of Scottish culture are positive and admirable, but our relationship with alcohol is not. The SNP should be applauded for recognising this and trying to do something about it.

  117. Cal says:

    Left-right politics will always drag supporters of Scottish democracy off course. Look what’s happening now in England. The left are once again finding a voice and will soon be attracting independence supporters who believed that a yes vote was a route to left wing government in Scotland. It was nothing of the sort. It was a route to democracy and political maturity. On the doorsteps I asked people the following simple questions:

    1. Do you consider Scotland to be a country?
    2. Do you believe that the citizens of a country should be able to decide the colour of their government?
    3.Is it right that the people of a country should benefit when the government they elect pursues policies which make them happier and wealthier and that, equally, they should pay the consequences when the reverse occurs?
    4. Is it right that those same people should benefit if their country is lucky and finds eg large quantities of oil off its shores and that,equally, they should suffer should some disaster befall their country?

    Invariably, people (at least those that would listen) would answer “yes” to these questions. And often they would answer “yes” to my final question:

    5. Do you believe that Scotland should be an independent country?

    It was and remains as simple as that. Everything else is just froth. Left,right,liberal,communist,fascist… whatever is academic if you don’t have the power of choice. You might as well talk about what you’ll do when you win the lottery. In fact, you MIGHT actually win the lottery but you’ll NEVER win the power of choice without independence.

  118. Mealer says:

    G 7.15
    Well said.

  119. Neil MacTavish says:

    Interesting article, in the back of my mind I was always concerned that “nationalism” might turn into a totalitarian state, upset the nats and a plague of frogs will descend upon you; it sometimes feels that way. I voted Yes and SNP, but we, Scotland, are the sum of all our parts, e.g. The most sensible overview of the issues facing the NHS, I heard from Ruth Davidson. There are many other things I care less about in her mantras.

    No government ever, boosted an economy, business has that responsibility, and they in turn only survive with profitability which is not always an easy bedfellow of leftist ideals. Business also needs an infrastructure and a culture (what goes on around here) to succeed.

    We therefore have no choice but to embrace all the parts of our nation in order to succeed. Descend into totalitarianism and we are doomed.

  120. john king says:

    I have a confession to make.
    I was watching the telly and the ITV news came on and I totally lost it! no I totally LOST IT!

    number one item: England win the Ashes, oh joy
    number two item: (serious item) peoples details hacked from a mobile phone company. Bad
    number three item: English football team loses one nil to an own goal!

    The three top news item and two of them are absofuckinlutely of no fucking relevance to Scots Welsh or Irish,


  121. Jim Arnott says:

    I have a very simple vision of the Scotland I want to live in.

    It’s one that is free to make its own mistakes and to be able to learn from them.

    The two books I take inspiration from are:

    The Common Weal (all of us first)


  122. heedtracker says:

    Many aspects of Scottish culture are positive and admirable, but our relationship with alcohol is not. The SNP should be applauded for recognising this and trying to do something about it.

    Its the exact same in each of the four countries that make up this wonderful red and blue tory union, currently under England’s ownership. Coincidence or luck.

  123. john king says:

    Cameron B says
    “john king
    That’s me telt. ;)”
    Whipped 🙂

  124. john king says:

    “I have a very simple vision of the Scotland I want to live in.

    It’s one that is free to make its own mistakes and to be able to learn from them.”

    And not to have to watch news headlines relevant to England only

  125. CameronB Brodie says:

    I worry about you John. 🙂

  126. donald anderson says:

    The Cause
    A history of Scottish Nationalism by Billy Kay
    Every Tuesday at 13-1332 on BBC Radio Scotoland, August, 11-September 15, and on Sundays at 07.04

    A repeat of the groundbreaking series from 2012, followed by a new 6th programme which traces what has happened to the cause over the last two years in the aftermath of the Referenudm

    Each episode is available for 30 days on the BBC iPlayer.

    Please pass it oan.

  127. Mealer says:

    Neil MacTavish 7.41
    The best people to run a country are the people who live there.I have every confidence in the people of Scotland to make a good job of running our country.After we achieve independence,I’m confident we will elect people to lead us to a prosperous future.Not a 1960s Albanian nightmare.

  128. Bernard ByTheBurn says:

    If there is such a Tory for Indy Constituency how come they are invisible on Google. All I could find was an FB page “Conservative Voters for Scottish Independence” which has an awesome 146 Likes (I’ve got more FB Friends than that).

    The only post date 2015 was this very article which no one has Liked or bothered to comment on. Where is this grass roots support we need to secure our independence, or is this just a wee bit of mischief making designed to annoy Labour voters who actually voted Yes.

    Assuming that Group isn’t yours, and you think Tories for Indy is so appealing to traditional Tory voters, start a new Group, get a few thousand Tory likes under your belt, then come back and tell us about it.

    After all, even “Rangers Supporters for Scottish Independence” and “English Scots for Yes” have managed around a 1,000 Likes and “Celtic & Rangers fans united for a YES vote” has 6,497.

    Are you serious, Rod? Just my Anglo-Scots tuppence…

  129. Lady Arbroath 1320 says:

    CameronB Brodie says:

    I worry about you John. 🙂

    I hate to say it Cameron but I think John is way way WAY past the worrying stage. 😀

  130. john king says:

    I worry about you John. 🙂

    Last day of freedom, back to work tomorrow after two weeks of bliss. 🙁
    but meanwhile

  131. CameronB Brodie says:

    Lady Arbroath 1320
    Are you sure you’re the village idiot? Better watch out if you want to hold on to the post. 🙂

  132. Marga says:

    OT – heedtracker – “But what EU countries do actually have a hard right British conservative style government?”

    Spain, hard-right anti-welfare war-mongering, centralising – is that British conservative style government?

  133. CameronB Brodie says:

    Back on topic. I hope Scottish Tories can understand the sheer exasperation felt by a large chunk of Scotland’s society. Whole towns blighted by inter-generational poverty that could have been avoided (let’s not mention the McCrone Report). Thatcher’s legacy is something your team will have to sort out if you hope to widen your support Rod, IMHO.

  134. louis.b.argyll says:

    I don’t mind my friendly neighbourhood conservatives and treat them equally, with positive respect.


    Their political representatives scheme against the poor and defenceless for all the conservatives to gain.

  135. Rock says:


    “The % of the electorate who for whatever reason didn’t vote in September was 15%.

    And they can be totally ignored because they didn’t give a damn about which side won.

    In a clear Yes-No referendum where every vote counted, there was no excuse for not voting if you cared either way.

    45% v 55% is the correct description of the result (assuming no rigging).

  136. john king says:

    Lady Arbroath 1320
    “I hate to say it Cameron but I think John is way way WAY past the worrying stage. :D”

    I used to know a young lady by the name of Lesley-Anne, you remind me of her mlady…in fact

  137. Grouse Beater says:

    Some thoughts on Scotland’s ailing film industry:

  138. Rock says:

    “but at a stroke we alienated a hell of a lot of voters.”

    No we didn’t and you are living proof of that.

    Tories have no shame. They would vote for their pockets any time.

    Given the anti-Tory nature of the campaign, if you had any self-respect you would have voted No.

    No Tory “embracing” for God’s sake.

  139. Mealer says:

    Rock 8.44
    If they dont give a damn which side wins there vote can be got for Yes.

  140. muttley79 says:

    @Neil MacTavish

    If Ruth Davidson had her way the NHS in Scotland would be privatised. Lukily she has never had the chance of gaining significant power in Scotland, but if she did she would be like Cameron and Osborne imo. I am really not sure why some independence supporters admire Davidson. She never apologised for her stunt on polling day at the general election. Trusting a free market Tory with the NHS would be like trusting Jimmy Saville to be a babysiter. Never trust a Tory.

  141. MolliBlum says:

    Claire McGhee says:
    8 August, 2015 at 3:23 pm
    “As an active Yes campaigner, and someone who is well to the left of the political spectrum, I was dismayed towards the end of the campaign when we started using the End Tory Rule Forever slogan on posters and leaflets.”

    I agree, Claire. I also did a LOT of door-chapping during indyref and, like you, am pretty firmly to the left of the spectrum, but I was able to reassure some Tory voters that their voice would be better represented in an independent Scotland with a PR voting system…

    Some were even persuaded to the idea of voting Yes on that basis alone. I may not agree with their policies, but we have no right whatsoever to alienate them, and we don’t and shouldn’t have a monopoly on the independence issue.

    We should welcome the diversity of political opinion that would be possible in a properly representative independent parliament.

    We can only do this if we work together.

  142. Rock says:


    “Rock 8.44
    If they dont give a damn which side wins there vote can be got for Yes.”

    Or for No.

    That is why they don’t matter one bit and can be ignored when determining the final result.

    If you are talking about getting their support in future, that is another matter.

  143. Lady Arbroath 1320 says:

    CameronB Brodie says:

    Lady Arbroath 1320
    Are you sure you’re the village idiot? Better watch out if you want to hold on to the post. 🙂

    Oh yeah!

    There is absolutely no doubt about it Cameron I am THE only Village Idiot here abouts … and I DO intend holding onto that title! 😛

    john king says:

    I used to know a young lady by the name of Lesley-Anne, you remind me of her mlady…in fact

    I sincerely hope you were bowing, doffing your hat and touching your forelock when you typed that John! Now that I have been raised a few levels in the class wars you do realise that standards have been raised a few levels ALL round! 😀

  144. Fred says:

    Just watched Tony Robinson on “Walking Through History”, an elderly English land access campaigner bewailed the situation there and wants the Scottish model of “De Facto” land access for all. He needs to play catch-up on this as we have “De Jure” land access.

    England expected its men to do their duty & fight & die for their country but just don’t try walking on it!

  145. call me dave says:

    @donald anderson

    Thanks for that I’ll listen in again and to the new part.

    Good thread and I’ve enjoyed the various views expressed.

    Finally gone to a digital version of the National with the nice page turn and all the previous archived copies too(didn’t know that, nice surprise).

    Got fed up the last 3 mornings out of 5 not being able to get it at the newspaper shop.

    “Sold out” they say. “Get more” I say
    “Naw only a fixed amount in, about 25” they say.
    “But your the 3rd wan wantin it”… “Expletive deleted” I say.


    BBC Warned:…”Just like that”! as Cooper would say, no not Yvette the other one. 🙂

  146. Lady Arbroath 1320 says:

    muttley79 says:

    She never apologised for her stunt on polling day at the general election.

    I have to say Muttley that we down here South of the Central Belt are also less than impressed with her and her leetle stunt in her leetle tank on polling day. 😀

    I mean the whole of the Annan division of the anti leetle tank brigade was on full standby waiting for her and the Tory Panzer division to come roaring over the hills and … NOTHING! She didn’t even have the good grace to send a leetle tank on ahead to apologise for her delay.

    Now we find out that she is going to be using her leetle tank division to help her move from Glasgow to Edinburgh. I’m thinking we can now stand down the anti leetle tank division here in Annan. 😀

  147. @Robert Knight

    You’ve got your sums a bit skew-whiff. You wrote…

    “The % of the electorate who for whatever reason didn’t vote in September was 15%.
    The % of the electorate which voted to maintain the Union was 49%.
    The % of the electorate who voted for Independence was 36%.
    36% of the whole is a lot less than the “45” stickers would have us believe.”

    … 100% – 15% = 85%.
    45% of 85 = 38.25
    55% of 85 = 46.75

    So just 8.5% more of the total electorate voted No than Yes on the day, not the 13% you suggest. That’s hardly insurmountable – remember that there were 30%+ swings in many Scottish constituencies at GE15, not to mention a 20% swing to Yes over the course of the referendum campaign. A narrow majority yes vote could be achieved by getting 4.25% of the electorate to change their vote at IndyRef2, or vote Yes instead of abstaining.

    It’s by no means in the bag, but no sane bookie would give you much more than evens against a majority for independence within the next couple of years – if you extrapolate from all the polls over the last 4 years on the subject, ‘Yes’ will have a 5 point lead (reverse of IndyRef 14) before 2016 is out.

  148. “Petra says:
    … Scottish land mass came from North America / Canada and the English land mass came from South America…”

    “CameronB Brodie says:

    Patagonia, I think. :)”

    Jeepers… maybe Las Malvinas ARE English after all :-O

  149. dakk says:

    Neil McTavish 7.41

    ‘nationalism might turn into a totalitarian state,’

    Don’t you feel the London centric imperial British nationalism exhibited by the UK state is closer to totalitarianism than us ‘nats’ who vote SNP are likely to produce,Neil ?

  150. Graeme Doig says:

    ‘I wish we had heard more from Business for Scotland …’

    Agree with you there Rod. As much as I believe in well funded state education, health and welfare and would be happy to pay more tax to fund this, a strong economy is vital.

    Ivan McKee was not prominent enough during the campaign. In fact I reckon he should lead a future ‘Yes’ campaign.

    John King

    I was in Tesco today. They had chicken legs on offer. On the pack it stated it was Scottish chicken. On the ‘offer’ sign it said it was British chicken. I left the manager taking down all the signs. Every little helps … 😉

    Oh and about that lift. If your ever passing the Bay on your way to any demo’s give me a shout. (More winkie things)

  151. Luigi says:

    The YES campaign was focused on urban Labour and ex-Labour supporters. It worked a treat in that, between the referendum and the GE this year, Scottish Labour has been all but wiped out. This was something that had to be done before we could move on.

    However, many SNP voters in the rural constituencies like Angus and Perthshire are not natural Labour supporters (before Thatcher, many of these constituencies were former tory strongholds). IMO the YES campaign was brilliant and actually over-achieved to reach 45%. If there is any constructive criticism to be made then perhaps a little more attention/consideration could have been made for those rural SNP areas (where, let’s face it, the vote was lost).

    For example, I remember delivering very socialist, Labour type YES newspapers in very posh neighbourhoods in Aberdeen, thinking “these won’t go down well here!”. Apparently, they didn’t. Next time, we need to be more clever and target different groups in different ways. The broad blanket, one message approach reached many, but many it did not.

  152. Still Positive. says:

    Luigi @ 9.55pm.

    You are totally correct imo. We shouldn’t have a “one size fits all” mentality to indy, especially as we are, and proclaim to be, diverse.

    We need to make it easy for all to embrace indy regardless of their personal circumstances or political allegiances.

    The next campaign should focus much more on the future we see for our beautiful country and all who live in it.

    We need to involve all of our citizens in this venture.

  153. Simon Curran says:

    The key thing is get independence and then anything’s up for grabs. Many Scots don’t want Tory rule because it’s not what they voted for yet still end up with it because of the current undemocratic set up.
    In relation to the OP I wonder how many Conservatives in Scotland have found that their party has left them as its shifted further and further to the right. I’m not old enough to remember but post war there seemed to be greater consensus which was ripped up by Thatcher.

  154. Effijy says:

    Thanks but no thanks.

    The Tory philosophy is to take essential services, take into the Private sector and milk it for all the profits you can make before the hoards turn up at your door with pitchforks.

    You collapse in the street and the first vital sign they search
    for is your credit rating.

    You are born in a slum, but have great intellect, but as your family have no money, you don’t get to go to university.

    You work long and hard for 50 years in an important public service, but fall seriously ill, the Tories tell you that you are a scrounger and your National Insurance isn’t insurance so feel free to starve to death as their is no profit left in you.

    I really don’t care which type of Tory you are Red or Blue, Yes or No, you are not an option I want to see succeed in Scotland.

  155. muttley79 says:


    I am inclined to agree with you that the Yes campaign over achieved in getting 45 per cent. We started at about 25 per cent. We were over 50 per cent in private polling and in an official opinion, about a week to go before the vote. The progress towards independence since 2007 has been amazing.

  156. marcia says:

    Can someone post the front page of the Sunday Herald? On hols and can’t seem to paste with this new tablet!

  157. Brian Doonthetoon says:

    Hi Cal.

    What you typed earlier this evening… Asking the questions that elicited a “Yes” answer, before the final clincher…

    I remember, a couple of decades ago, going to a training night, for one of those pyramid selling scams (didn’t realise until later) and that was the main tenet of what we were taught.

    You ask an indeterminate number of questions that all elicit a “yes” response, then you hit them with the biggie and, psychologically, they don’t want to say “no”.

    I also have to add (as I have told others, face to face) that I “tuned in” to the SNP, when Winnie won Hamilton in 1967, when I was 15. I doodled the SNP logo on the covers of my jotters and so on.

    In fact, this is one of the badge designs we’ve come up with in the past couple of weeks.

    My first vote was the 1970 general election, where I voted Con in Dundee West, because,
    a) There was no SNP candidate and
    b) Labour appeared to have made a mess of running the government in the previous years.

    At the next council elections, I voted Labour, once again because I wasn’t given an SNP option.

    Then 1974 came along and I was finally able to mark my cross beside “SNP”. Every GE and Holyrood since, that’s where I am.

    For the local council, I have voted Labour, Lib-Dem and SNP – but that’s all down to how I perceive the councillor(s) are doing their job for their ward.

    You take your elected representatives as you find them. If they do a decent job, in your opinion, then you trust them to carry on with the work.

    When they lose that trust – well, you see what has happened to Labour in Scotland.

  158. Brian Doonthetoon says:

    O/T – can I just say (re Rev’s Twitter) that I find tinned soup has far too much sugar added, that I have to counteract the sweetness with masses of salt and pepper.

    What’s the point? What’s worse for us – the sugar or the salt?

  159. call me dave says:


    Here goes: Hope it’s OK Our polis are rubbish! 🙁

  160. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with the general point but it is spoiled by some confused prejudice colouring it.

    Despite media and tabloid frenzy Police Scotland is not a shambles. It has maintained a thousand extra police on the beat and I see them every day about our community, with a forty year low in recorded crime over a period in which England has lost over 10,000 beat policemen.

    Minimum pricing for alcohol was long overdue (I have had social clubs, pubs and licensed hotels). Alcohol is of course a poison with absolutely no benefits whatsoever but pleasant when taken in moderation. I would remove all alcohol from supermarkets and minimum pricing would not have been needed. I would accelerate duty and tax on alcoholic content to encourage the production of drink with lower alcohol level.
    Sadly government is happy to use supermarkets as tax collectors and smile as they watch huge lakes of beer and lager being offered as loss leaders in supermarkets. Most people are unaware of the fact that each can of lager,cider or beer they purchase gives around 50p tax to the government.

  161. Ian Brotherhood says:

    @Marcia –

    Appalling lapse in service.


  162. Democracy Reborn says:

    “we’ll never have to worry about Tory governments again”

    Rod, if you mean the type of Tory governments we’ve had since 1979, that was a perfectly valid point for the Yes campaign to make. What sort of Tory governments am I talking about? Neo-liberal, unbridled free market capitalist. It can best be described as possessive individualism and summed up by Thatcher’s famous utterance “there is no such thing as society”. And if anyone thinks slick salesman Dave’s current lot (“I’d rather be child of Thatcher than son of Brown”) are any different, they are deluding themselves. At no time has any leading Scottish Tory individual or group repudiated the UK Tory leadership or their policies. In fact the reverse is true.

    You reference Norway and Switzerland. I don’t profess to be an expert on the internal politics of both countries, but what I do know is that, broadly speaking, there is no equivalence between the sort of conservatism practised in mainland Europe, and that in the UK. Most of the centre-right parties in Europe (eg. the German CDU) are Christian Democrat. On certain aspects of social policy they are traditionally conservative. But in the economic sphere, whilst they embrace the free market, it is within the framework of a social market. There is a communitarian ethos. They believe in public and private provision. They invest in public industry. They subscribe to human rights. Save for France, they don’t believe in the obscenity of nuclear weapons or have great power pretensions. They provide an adequate welfare state (how many No-voting Tory pensioners are aware that the UK pension is the second lowest in Europe?). I am not and never have been a Tory. But if there was a choice between Christian Drmocracy and the type of Toryism we’ve experienced for 35 years, give me the Christian Democrats any day of the week.

    Like others have said , I believe that we need an effective opposition to the SNP. We also need to be inclusive as possible in persuading Scots to be independent. But Tories need to ask themselves what kind of conservatism they want. If it’s something different from the UK variety the only realistic way to achieve that is through independence and a new centre-right party. If they did so, I think they would flourish.

    PS. (and O/T), watched an interview from 1982 on YouTube earlier with Jeremy Corbyn’s mentor, Tony Benn. He was advocating a new economic policy based, amongst other things, on using North Sea oil revenues to create jobs and infrastructure, rather than them flowing out the country and financing mass unemployment. The thought of the tens of billions of pounds that have been squandered since then almost brought tears to my eyes.

  163. Brian Doonthetoon says:

    Hi Rock.

    If you happen to come back into WOS after your night at the pub or support group, could you check out my post here?


  164. Tam Jardine says:

    Good article. Did the Yes campaign gain more left wing votes by demonising the tories than it lost from conservative voters?

    Next time round I agree with those who want to build a vote around a written constitution rather than another Scotland future manifesto. After all, we gain independence and then we would have an election and the people decide the direction.

    All areas, NATO, the monarchy, defence, taxation can be be decided in due course but a written constitution could set in stone the principles of the new Scotland.

    Principles rather than specifics. Equality of opportunity. Free healthcare and education. Ownership of land. Human rights. No nuclear weapons. Areas where we can get agreement without getting bogged down.

    The whole concept of independence should appeal to conservative minded people, if they were not all bolloxed up with British nationalist propaganda and the Scottish cringe.

    Taking fiscal responsibility, boosting exports and productivity- conservative ideas I suppose but all the conservatives saw was what the media told them.

    Another conservative idea is to take a failing sector and split it up in order for competition to improve the constituent parts.

  165. Mealer says:

    Democracy reborn 11.36
    Excellent post.If I’m right of centre,it’s not in a British way.

  166. heedtracker says:

    “Like others have said , I believe that we need an effective opposition to the SNP.”

    We already do, its called the BBC and every other newsmedia corp in the UK. Tory world and the BBC are one and the same which is why elected Scottish red and blue toryboys are so weakly awful.

    If you have just the BBC monstering everything Scotland day in day out, why bother fielding anything other than smirking stuffed shirts or worse, Fluffie Mundell.

  167. Brian Doonthetoon says:

    Hi Tam Jardine.


    But you’ll better be organising an Edinburgh WOS get-together by 12th September, or Edinburgh’s toast.

    Wings Over Invergowrie 3 is looking good for the last weekends of October. Get your act together man!

  168. Tackety Beets says:

    Well now , this has been a good thread . Nice to see the back o this week .
    BDTT , ” Carlm Doon , Carlm Doon ! ”

    I have posted many times before that Indy support is a broad kirk and reading your posts tonight shows all our slightly differing views on other matters.

    Sorry to say like several here I started getting to grips with Politics in late 60’s when I realised Scotland needed and should be independent !
    Despite this I too felt I could not relate to what Labour were selling and tended to agree more with Conservative policies. I hate to admit it but I had no confidence in much from the left , this may actually have been due to the underhand dealings from Tony Benn etc . Then in1979 having voted Yes we get shafted by Labour , how could I vote for them ? Alternatively I was probably conned by the media that voting Cons was the best thing, who knows .

    Fit evir was in ma Heid then disnae matter now !

    I think my view was generally Right of Centre until I started reading WOS a few years back .
    So you guys have a bit of explaining to do.

    So here I am a Tory who wants iScotland YESTERDAY , votes SNP and has always admired/ liked Colin Fox and is addicted to Wings ! Doh !

  169. Richardinho says:

    The problem with conservatism is that conservative political parties are often not very conservative. That is to say the things that conservatives supposedly stand for; they don’t.

    As basic principle of conservatism is self reliance, taking responsibility for yourself. How many Scottish Conservatives do you hear telling you that Scotland needs to be dependent on England?

    Conservatives are supposed to be patriotic yet Scottish conservatives want our country to be subservient to another.

    In actuality these conservative values that are actually worth having tend to be shared by other political parties and it’s hard I think to see how the Conservative party are anything other than an advocacy group for their class or caste.

    Since I don’t move in those circles, most Conservative voters I meet tend to believe in some sort of prosperity gospel in that voting Tory makes them middle class. It’s hard to know where to start with such folk.

  170. CameronB Brodie says:

    You’ll get hammers. 😉

  171. Brian says:

    I think its important for individuals to separate ‘Toxic Tories’ with traditionally ‘conservative and libertarian’ values which they have lost the ability to positively attract from a Scottish Audience, but which do persist in the Scottish electorate.

    For example the value of the individual and personal liberty against the state. That it is morally correct to say that everyone’s word is their bond (as engraved in the Scottish legal system). That excellent on an individual level leads to excellent in society. That you can’t give what you don’t have. And also that government must be fiscally responsible.

    I’m a Yes voting libertarian who is also an engineer in Oil and Gas. I’ve always voted SNP since I was able to vote (about 12 years ago) because I think that a smaller canton-esque system delivers excellent government at a local level as policy evolves from the people to meet their needs rather than being dictated from the center. To me an independent Scotland will help our society to be healthy and responsible.

    I voted Yes ‘despite’ the never ending left wing rhetoric.

    However, by contrast my Mother is a former Labour voter; who would have Voted No had she not been abroad! She would have voted no explicitly because the Yes campaign didn’t commit to Scotland having its own currency (a position much more closely associated with Conservativism). With her experience she saw that failure as a lack of experience in the camp, and one could argue justifiably so; because currency unions do have problems of which older people tend to have move experience than younger.

    It’s important that the next pro-independence camp works on explaining the variety of potential outcomes that independence can deliver in a three pronged manner; first by liberalising our civil society with plurality and peeling back state control over peoples lives in meaningless areas, showing how the help offered by the state to the people can be optimized in a local context to ensure a better equality of outcome (to appeal to the left) and also how a small state can better account for and drive more effective government spending and delivery of services thus lowering cost (to appeal to the right).

    If you can do that, you’ve won the game; if you end up sitting on only a single position and blowing one sides trumpet while actively declaring the other side you are likely to lose.

    Remember: Everyone wants Scotland to succeed (well except the incompetent doofuses in old political parties); but they have legitimate different visions about what needs to change to unleash our countries potential and each of these positions comes from a genuine feeling of caring and respect for our society and its people.

  172. Robert Peffers says:

    Rod says, “I don’t like the SNP”. He is, of course, entitled to that view. Just as I am entitled to my view that I don’t like either the Tories, the LibDems nor the Labour parties. All of them mainly for their Unionist views and their overly biased party policies.

    That though is quite a different matter from not liking those who support such corrupt political parties. Point being that I immediately stopped reading Ron’s article when I read those three words, “I don’t like the SNP”, for the very good reason, besides the fact the SNP generally doesn’t like the Tory Party, is that the independence movement and the SNP are two quite different matters.

    For starters I’m a lifelong SNP supporter and, as such, I’m not supposed to like the other parties. If I did I’d be supporting them instead of the SNP.

    Ron, though, makes his point specifically because he, as a Tory, doesn’t like the SNP. As a Tory he is not supposed to like them, but independence is not about the SNP it is about, well, Scottish independence.

    As others have stated, I do not want to see an independent Scotland ever end up again with a government dominated by just one political party. Nor even by several parties all on the same political part of the political spectrum.

    Just look at what the long period of Labour domination of Scottish politics has done to Scotland over the last 70 – 80 years. See also what the three Establishment unionist parties vying for the same part of the political spectrum has done to the present entire UK.

    During the independence campaign I met and spoke with independence supporters of all shades of the political spectrum, and even some with no particular position on that political spectrum. I respected them all and by the large they respected me. Unlike Ron, I saw it as a Scottish Independence matter and not what party any individual supported.

    Need I remind Ron that the title Conservative will always be linked in Scotland with the title, “Conservative & Unionist Party”. May I also point out the SNP membership is painted with a very broad brush indeed.

    So there you go, Ron, you don’t like the SNP and the SNP don’t like the Tories but, here’s the thing – has there been any adverse reaction to your views on this independence forum? To my mind any government that strays too far right or too far left is bad for any country’s people. For this is what cases undue inequality. No matter if that inequality is between religious sects, the rich & poor or between different races.

    No state is good if it strays too far towards any particular group of that state’s population. Apartheid, sectarianism, racism, religious bigotry and the sheer bloody greed for wealth must rank among the very worst traits of the human race for each of them is basically inhuman.

  173. CameronB Brodie says:

    Israel is now right up there with America as one of the most unequal societies in the advanced world. And Israel’s experience shows that this matters, that extreme inequality has a corrosive effect on social and political life. – Paul Krugman

  174. J Williams says:

    I’m left of centre personally but, if I was the writer of this article, I would vote SNP first to try to secure independence then re-evaluate after that. I have no doubt there would be an ongoing Conservative presence in Scotland (same as Labour and Liberals) since 1/6 or so vote for them (I might be out of date with that statistic now – not sure).

    I’ve only voted SNP once and would re-evaluate that myself in the event of independence, but firstly I’ll vote for whatever I think makes that most likely.

  175. Tam Jardine says:

    Brian Doonthetoon 12.15am

    194k folk in Edinburgh voted against Scotland running her own affairs, voted for us to remain a colony. Im afraid it will take more than a few dozen folk meeting up in a boozer to turn it around.

    I don’t have an act to get together- I just post on this site from time to time. Cheers

  176. jock mcdonnell says:

    We should remember that Independence & SNP government are not the same thing.
    Voting no because you didn’t like some aspect of policy is a weak reason in my view.

    It’s all about the toolkit.

  177. Robert Kerr says:

    @Tam Jardine

    It’s worse than that Tam, 194k people didn’t want to live in a Capital City and enjoy the prestige and benefits that would bring.

    Sick and sickening.

  178. Cal says:

    @Brian 10.51pm

    Yes Brian, they were a set of leading questions and they usually did give me a “yes” for that last one! But remember, when you’ve only got a couple of minuites of someone’s time then you’ve got to make it count. My questions were backed up with graphs, diagrams and pictures to hammer home the points. We were salesmen and women selling the prospect of free choice. What’s not to like? I’m sure I planted a few seeds and even if most fell on stony ground, some will have taken root.

    Politicians of merit exist in every party but if you vote for a unionist then know that their ultimate loyalty rests elsewhere. We learned all sorts of important lessons last year in that regard.

  179. Grouse Beater says:

    Did Winger’s know a Scot tried to found the National Film School in Scotland and got the bum’s rush? Good on us, eh?
    Anyhow, here’s some Sunday reading:

  180. ronnie anderson says:

    @ Tam Jardine a wee suggestion for you Tam , hows about speaking to the People at Liberty Dam , for a Wings night out.

  181. gerry parker says:

    @ Robert, and Tam.

    I wouldn’t be averse to Stirling Inverness or Perth being the capital of a newly independent Scotland, after all, the people of Edinburgh don’t seem to want it to be.

  182. Tam Jardine says:

    ronnie anderson

    Maryland? Seems like a long way Ronnie. I like going through to Glasgow and just getting a late train back

  183. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    gerry parker at 9.09

    Or Glasgow? The older I get the more I understand what a wonderful place my city of birth actually is.

  184. Joemcg says:

    Jock-one of the devious masterstrokes of BT was equating a yes triumph with infinitesimal SNP governments. There were posters plastered all over morningside of Alex pictured in a general’s outfit like a gadaffi type dictator with the words “surely not?” underneath. I pulled up a nearby BT stall running eejit over it and he gave a glaikit expression and said “nowt to do with me”

  185. Glamaig says:

    It’s worse than that Tam, 194k people didn’t want to live in a Capital City and enjoy the prestige and benefits that would bring.
    Maybe worth pointing out to these folk that the value of their house in a new capital city could go through the roof. Cynical appeal to greed I know.

  186. Ken500 says:

    Being a Tory/Unionist in Scotland is a lost cause. The SNP don’t do left or right they do what’s best for Scotland. They are pragmatic. There are many (former) Tories in the SNP. Many Labour/Tory/LibDems voters supported Independence. It will take a 5% swing easily achievable in five years to vote for Independence. People will increasingly see the benefits of an Independent Scotland as Scotland prospers. Scotland really is a different place.

    In the GE the missing voters were the 16/18 voters. If they had voted SNP the Referendum vote would have been overturned. The VOW betrayal? The NO voters must be disillusioned.

  187. Macart says:

    @Robert Peffers 2.23am

    In a nutshell Robert. 🙂

    When talking about independence I always attempted to leave the rosette at home in drawer. It can be hard of course and it was made harder quite deliberately by both the media and BT campaign throughout the entire campaign process, but it could be done.

    As I mentioned earlier up thread, a strong thrust of their campaign was to turn our referendum into a party political contest, heavily laced with personality assault. On many a doorstep you had to fight your way through media/BTinspired sound bites. If I heard the terms YESNP or slimey Salmond once, I heard it a hundred bloody times. Folk didn’t seem to grasp the concept of the referendum, a people’s referendum. Their entire concept of any ballot was centered around the world of party politics and of course was constantly being deliberately reinforced throughout the whole campaign.

    The media as a body were the delivery system for this entirely false narrative and they are going to be there pulling the same stunt for indyref2. Their influence is diminishing, even since September last, but they will still be the most effective tool in any unionist campaigns box and as last time will be the first port of call for establishment strategists.

  188. CameronB Brodie says:

    Rev. Stuart Campbell
    I’m not trying to pick a fight, honest. Re. the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel. 😉

  189. Suzanne says:

    One thing that many people I spoke to hadn’t “got” was that you wouldn’t necessarily have an SNP government once we had independence unless the majority of Scottish voters voted them in. The idea that a general election would include every single possible party that chose to stand, and that we would end up with a government that WE voted for – I could see the light dawning in people’s eyes when they realised what that meant.

    There was so much flak directed at the SNP and Alex by the media, Westminster and the unionist parties it wasn’t surprising that many people believed that independence would mean an SNP government ad infinitum – how many people did we hear saying “oh I could never vote for independence – I hate Alex Salmond”. They were fed lies and distortions and they believed them – it wasn’t in the British State’s interests to have them understand what independence really meant.

    As for the Tory party, for any Tory success in Scotland the Tory party here would need to find its roots again in the same way that the Labour party must, because what’s on offer from Tory Westminster is toxic. I know there are good, decent people within the Tory party, but then why are those Tories supporting such a cruel and vicious government? How can a good and decent Tory support policies that lead to starvation and homelessness, or reinforce rhetoric that labels those at the bottom of the pile as scroungers who need to be bullied, threatened and punished? Anything that diverges from that authoritarian approach is labeled as weak, yet generally, as a nation, Scotland is not made of such cruelty. That’s why the Tory MPs are outnumbered by our pandas, because Tory policy is anathema to us.

    As for the cries about a “one party state” – it is only a one party state if only one party stands. That’s clearly not the case in Scotland. If someone thinks we would be a one party state because a huge majority voted for one party, they either don’t understand democracy or they support an unpopular party. That’s not a one party state. That’s just hard cheese.

  190. louis.b.argyll says:

    Robert Peffers,
    I too struggled to get through the article, the point was made in the first few paragraphs…
    ..the rest was a justification of the confusion that grips many, with the incumbent SNP taking the flack for being exclusive. My arse.


    Get a grip of your own ‘c’onservative party, offer a real representative view, come back to the Scottish people once you have something we can relate to.

  191. Andy D says:

    Great article Rod, so right on many issues. I attended many Yes meeting during the indyref, I came to the conclusion that yes were preaching to the converted, but, the soft No’s were looking for REAL FACTS we did not give them that it was it will be alright on the night. I also turned up at a NO debate and I left feeling so depressed that these voters were all about me, me, me and SNP and the Yes mob were scum, they left no stone unturned about Armageddon if we voted yes, they grabbed each group, pensioners, unemployed, business men to name but a few and gave them the fear of ruin if they dared vote for Indy.

    I would rather have had a meeting with both sides stating their claims and letting the voters decide, then we can decide who we believe in.I think that Yes Labour, Tories and the rest should have got a much bigger say and should have been seen on the platform to help bring along their side to the Yes side.

  192. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    In every democracy there will be a party of the status quo. Such a party will be or will form in an independent Scotland.
    It will be party which defends the rights of those who have to hold – to retain wealth and, more significantly, position and privilege.
    They have every democratic right to do so. They will argue that personal ambition is what drives progress and that such is a necessary component in the realisation of a successful community.
    Others will suspect that this promotion of personal interest can very readily become a conspiracy against the common good.

    In a democracy these “right wingers” will be opposed by those who would see the equalising of opportunity for all is a much surer way to produce successful community.

    Most people can understand that both these positions can be reconciled in a political middle ground.
    Many also understand however that the huge advantage that the right wing has in major ownership media has seriously skewed the choice.
    So we have the strange phenomena a natural left-wing constituency holding a strange selection of right wing views and a Labour Party driven to trying to service this situation.

    An then we have the Tory Party in Scotland.
    I don’t believe the Tories are sunk in Scotland because of their policies. There are many tories in Scotland. I know many of them. I know some of them in the SNP and for decades in any cases.

    The Tories are sunk in Scotland not because of right wing policy but because they betrayed Scotland and told Scotland lies. The Labour Party is now following them
    Both of them colluded in the suppression of the McCrone report for instance.

    I spent a lot of time marching about Lanarkshire with hundreds of others trying to save Scottish Steel.
    The UK had an over capacity in steel production. The Scottish Steel industry was sacrificed. It was at that point about the best performing part of British Steel. Ravenscraig was smashing all European production records when it was closed down. Gartcosh had a full order book for two years as it was closed.

    But the Scottish media told the Scottish people that they were “clapped out”. I was at the gates of Gasrtcosh as the big lorries drove out with the “clapped out ” plant on the road to immediate installation at Alpha Steel in South Wales.

    It was the collusion of the loyal Scottish Tory Party in the this deceit and betrayal that signalled their end in Scotland. And the “feeble fifty” of the Labour Party laid the groundwork for their demise at that point.

    Don’t let them tell you otherwise. They could have stopped the destruction of Scottish steel (and all the rest of Scotland’s industry that resulted from that). They had the Scottish mandate. Their power was limitless had they wanted to use it.
    “Och well” said some of them “They’ll vote Labour for ever now”

    That’s worked out well.

  193. sam says:


    Try informing yourself better about why SNP policy is what it is.
    For example, the “Named Person” legislation is criticised as “authoritarian” Lord Pentland spoke for the Court of Session when dismissing a claim that the Scottish SNP government had exceeded its powers in introducing “Named Person” legislation. You can read on this link what advantages Lord Pentland sees to the scheme.

    You could also try informing yourself by reading reports by Parliamentary Committees such as this one by the Sports and Health Committee into health inequalities in Scotland. The Tory party likes to pretend that one’s health depends on individual choice which is crap, as a read of the material at the link below will tell you.

    You should know that the Unionist party leaders in Holyrood and Westminster know, or should know, that the causes of health inequalities are the inequitable distributions of wealth, income and power in society. With this knowledge these party leaders will deny any Scottish government control over all economic and welfare policies. Kind of stinks a bit?

  194. bjsalba says:

    Mr McLaren

    Why do you think that Police Scotland is a shambles?

    True there has been a long running campaign by the MSM trying to give that impression but who takes their opinions from the headlines?

    Could you kindly tell us what in your personal experience has led you to believe that Police is in a shambles.

    My personal experience tells me that is far from the true state of affairs

  195. Maybe a realistic first step for any right of centre supporters of Independence would be to get a party organised to stand in a number seats for the 2016 Holyrood elections.
    That might be a demoralising experience but it would also serve to bring out potential supporters and act as a focus for future discussions.
    With careful seat selection and policy choices it might even get some essential coverage from our MSM.

  196. Paula Rose says:

    Just got back from a glorious weekend – yet to read the comments, but Rod McLaren – thank you for a very important article xx

  197. Fred says:

    Brian Wilson seems to have re-invented himself as an export guru. Was his tweed enterprise not somewhat tainted by dodgy funding?

  198. Janet says:

    Thought-provoking article, thanks.

    The right of centre view is poorly represented in politics. I’ve maintained that it is the civic duty of Tories to engage with the people, rather than hide in a self-imposed naughty corner!

  199. Kenneth Shaw says:

    “I don’t like the SNP. Their minimum pricing plan for alcohol smacks of the nanny state at its worst”. Scottish Whisky Association will be proud of the man.

  200. Betty Boop says:

    @ Craig Dalzell, 8/8/2015, 2:16pm

    A point I kept making about indyref was that it wasn’t about:
    “Which currency should Scotland use?”
    “Should we retain the monarchy?”
    “What level should we set pensions at?”

    It was all about:
    “Should Scotland have the ability to ask those questions?”

    If we’re to have a Tory government governing Scotland then fine. So long as we vote for it.

    Agree absolutely Craig. Why we had to go through that campaign arguing policy after policy, is beyond me. The only question for me was whether we wanted to manage our own country. Independence would simply have been a change of management!

    @ Rod McLaren

    Yep, I spent a couple of years talking to everyone and anyone, providing as much info as possible.

    Business for Scotland was great and produced a phenomenal amount of good, well researched information, attended meetings, held conferences.

    Wealthy Nation, however, we gave up on. At first, we thought they would be a good source giving a different perspective of the independence argument, but, the website, for example, never seemed to get off the ground and trying to contact it never produced a response. So, Conservative independence supporters really need to up their game.

  201. Ian Sanderson says:

    @Rod McLaren..

    Come and join the Yes Alliance- we’re not all rabid …

  202. Amanda Gordon says:

    I find the concept of a Tory voter, voting YES a bit odd, are they not the ” Conservative and UNIONIST party ” ?

  203. AndyH says:

    Quite interesting how many articles I’ve read recently that state Police Scotland, Scottish NHS and education are all a shambles as if it’s a given.

    British State and its propaganda machine running full bore again.

    Where are the stats to prove what they say or is it just rumour they’ve concocted??

    As far as I’m aware things are certainly no worse than under the Labour Executive. In fact they are very likely better.

    Considering the constraints of the austerity crazy Westminstwr government for the last few years I’d say they are doing well.

  204. J Wayne says:

    It was always obvious that the anti-Tory argument was making a rod – What if it looked like being a Labour landslide in a UK election only months away, why vote YES ?

    The problem with the UK Government is not that it is Tory, Labour or anything else. The problem is that it IS the UK Government and is responsible for the whole of the UK of which we, in Scotland, represent only 8.5% by population – anybody want to estimate our percentage influence ?

    As stated in the article we need as broad a range of independence supporters as possible and we will never convince anybody to our point of view by calling them stupid, arrogant or spineless.

    And what happened to democracy ? If we become independent and a Scottish Tory party forms the Government it will be be because we, in Scotland, voted that way not because they voted that way in Wales, Brazil, Australia – – –

  205. I have always thought that Scottish independence should be part of the Conservative mindset.My reasoning is simple,personal responsibility and equate that all the way up or down,means taking charge of ones self,ones house,work,local issues,and regional issues then of course your country’s issues,independence should be for all Conservatives.It is the maximum choice is it not?

  206. @ Votadini Jeannie

    I agree with much of what both you and Rod have written.

    Thank you for remembering the SDA.

    With Scotland’s politics to the left of the UK’s it is inevitable that the term “right wing” will be employed, but the SDA might be better described as “syncretic”. Think of how the SNP might have developed if Gordon Wilson was still (by a strange stretch of the telomeres) its leader.

    For reasons unclear the SDA was not officially part of YES but that did not prevent its membership from taking part in The ’14.

    Rumours of the SDA’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. Its website is here: .

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