MS Sturgeon’s address to the SNP conference was thin gruel on independence, because she took us not one inch closer to achieving a vote. All we have is that it’s still to be within the parliamentary lifetime, preferably the first half.

On timing, we continue to ignore some very important factors. The simple draft bill remains blank, but unlike an election, the date of a referendum must be fixed well in advance, perhaps more than a year.

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For September 2023, we would have to know within a year from now whether it will go ahead. S30 consent must be sought from London, and absent that consent, the possible legal impediment of no legislative power must have been overcome, either by the question not being raised by any of the three legal officers who are entitled to do so, or by the Supreme Court finding that Holyrood does have the power.

These steps should be gone through sooner rather than later, so that we know how we stand. Further, according to the First Minister the pandemic must have cleared up (which would be a political judgement, not a public health one).

Such complexities relate only to the Scottish Government’s sole chosen route of a referendum, without which they will take us straight into a brick wall. If it turns out that the people of Scotland are to be denied their right to choose, that denial will come from my party, the SNP, and nowhere else.

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Let the Scottish Government try to get a referendum, and let’s hope they manage it. They might prevail, because rationality is not a prerequisite for political success. But they might not, so to guard against failure they should revive, as a safety-net, the traditional route of using the next election as the plebiscite. It is only the SNP which disparages this perfectly proper and respectable method, thereby almost gifting London a veto. (Did I mention rationality?). The very threat of it would increase the chance of London complying with a referendum. And if we were put to actually using it, the chance of a Yes vote would itself rise.

Alan Crocket

THE repeated mantra from Westminster that “now is not the time” for a referendum begs the question, will the time ever come? The answer is obvious to anyone with a brain cell: it will be when the pressure is too great to resist. I fully support and understand the desire and need to get a positive result that is recognised internationally, but I cannot for the life of me see Westminster acceding while they smell defeat. Let’s face it, the only reason a S30 order was agreed in 2014 was because the No side were overwhelmingly ahead in the polls at the time.

The AUOB marches and politicians saying it will happen will not be enough. Until the donors and businesses backing the Tories and the people in the south-east of England are hurting, we might as well be whistling at the moon. India, Ireland and others have shown that passive acceptance is not going to produce results. Even Robert the Bruce back in the 14th century saw this as a necessity to force England to recognise Scotland’s sovereignty.

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I am not advocating violence. Nothing can justify that. But it’s time to consider a programme of civil disobedience. For example, constant and consistent situations where people go around Scottish supermarkets loading trollies with Union flag-branded products which are then left at the checkout counter, boycotts of firms actively promoting the Union or naysaying independence, flying squads blocking Oxford Circus and Parliament Square in London. I am sure more inventive minds than mine can think of other ways to make Westminster listen. And of course there must be a court challenge. If the UK can abandon the EU treaty, Scotland can abandon the 1707 treaty. The principle is clear: decisions made by a prior government cannot bind a subsequent government and this is supposed to be a voluntary union, not a colonisation.

As the Wee Ginger Dug noted on Monday, “progress is only made when there is substantial pressure”.

David Cairns

REFLECTING on last week, particularly Saturday, no-one can deny the events of 9/11 were a shocking, terrible act of violent criminality. The images are etched into our conscience, assisted by the wall-to-wall news coverage and documentaries, our consent is manufactured not to forget. Yet where are the remembrance programmes for the first 9/11 – September 11 1973, in Chile?

The socialist, democratically elected president Allende was overthrown in a military coup led by Pinochet, backed by the CIA, which lasted for 17 years – thousands arrested, tortured, killed – no remembering or tears for these victims, nor for the hundreds and thousands dead across Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Palestine – the unworthy victims of the world.

It is only terrorism when it happens to “us”; it’s bringing “freedom and democracy” when “we” do it to them, or “humanitarian intervention” or “counter-terrorism”. Western Imperialist crimes are never talked about, it’s taboo, they are sent down the memory hole. Harold Pinter in 2005 wrote: “It never happened, nothing ever happened, even while it was happening it didn’t happen, it didn’t matter”.

The majority of broadcast and print media are the invisible hand of government, the right-wing, corporate enterprises cheerleading for constant war and terror. Chomsky awakened us when he stated: “Everyone’s worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there’s really an easy way: stop participating in it”. If only our media held governments to account then perhaps the public would know what was going on, pressurising politicians to act peacefully rather than with aggression, but then again we mustn’t know. Orwell is our litmus test – “In a time of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” If only!