Alba Means Independence in the UK?


Less than a fortnight ago, this site warned that our SNP chieftains would be more than chuffed if they somehow managed to achieve ‘Independence Within the UK’. Bring it on, Jaggy argued. By selling their nationalist souls through signing a New Union Treaty, the Sturgeonistas would create a brilliant opening for Alba. Never did I imagine that one of the new breakaway party’s two MPs would be the first to publicly embrace this oxymoronic objective. Shameful betrayal of the cause is how I read it.

Basically, half of the Alba grouplet at Westminster has suddenly come out of the constitutional closet and declared it would happily settle for Home Rule for the foreseeable future. Like a latterday Gladstonian Liberal, Kenny MacAskill used his weekly column in the Scotsman this morning to assert that all Scots should unite under this threadbare banner:

Building a coalition to expand the powers of the Scottish Parliament without breaking the Union must surely be possible…undermining neither independence nor the Union but yet facilitating necessary progress for our land.

Building a progressive nationalist-unionist coalition? Is that what he and Neal Hanvey defected from the big, useless SNP phalanx at Westminster to do? If he’d rattled out this column sooner, Mr MacAskill wouldn’t have needed to go to the trouble of crossing the floor. He’d have lost the party whip anyway. One thing Ian Blackford and his fellow trough hogs are brilliant at is keeping up the pretence that they’re seriously plotting to break up Britain – even when they’re serving as members of the joint Security and Intelligence Committee of the UK Parliament!

Kenny MacAskill has aligned himself with his old friend Henry McLeish

Apparently, Mr MacAskill’s “good friend”, the former first minister Henry McLeish, used to advocate ‘Independence in the UK’ long before the former MEP David Martin started punting this notion recently. The pair of them did that, of course, because they’re both lifelong stalwarts of the Labour Party, one of the last lynchpins of the archaic Anglo-British state. They realise that the whole edifice of the semi-feudal entity, to which they’ve sworn undying fealty, is crumbling fast. Something needs to be done rapidly to prevent its wholesale collapse, they sense. As evidently does Gordon Brown, whose ghostly presence has reappeared in recent weeks to implore William and Kate to keep their Kingdom United.

This pathetic failure of a PM, who did his doctoral thesis on James Maxton, loved to imagine himself as a latterday Red Clydesider – even though he had a comfortable upbringing in a Kirk manse in Kirkcaldy. Sadly, Kenny MacAskill, who hails from Linlithgow, has succumbed to the same back-to-the-future retro socialism. A few years ago, the former Justice Secretary penned a book titled Glasgow 1919: The Rise of Red Clydeside. And he harks back to this period as he seeks to make his feeble case for independence within the UK:

The ‘Red Clydesiders’ of the Independent Labour Party expounded it a century ago with both George Buchanan and Rev James Barr lodging Bills in Westminster to achieve it. Then as now much was left unsaid or unspecified with defence and foreign affairs remaining with the UK but with literally everything else being devolved to a Scottish Parliament.

Devo Max? Is that what Alba is really about? Strange then that its website declares a commitment to “Independence for Scotland as an immediate necessity, and overwhelming priority”. It certainly seems at odds with Alex Salmond’s first weekly video update for founding members of the party, where the message was seize the moment and strike for independence now! Good to see him back in a gung-ho mood. Nonetheless, there’s no disguising how fragile this fledgling political force is.

Many Alba members might wonder what they’ve got themselves into

Coming hard on the heels of failure to make any breakthrough in the recent Holyrood election – which cannot be blamed entirely on the BBC blackout – I reckon many Alba members might, on reading Kenny MacAskill’s cretinous column, wonder what the hell they’ve signed up to. If they continue to be lion rampants led by donkeys, they’ll have had all their fighting spirit knocked out of them before their inaugural party conference this autumn. And they won’t be consoled by the dishonourable Member for East Lothian’s reassurance that he hasn’t fallen head over heels for Home Rule:

It’s not my first preference as I remain committed to sovereignty for Scotland, including the right to choose on critical issues of defence and foreign policy. Removal of nuclear weapons and even membership or the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) or EU membership are restricted, if not precluded by it.

The problem is that we’re at a constitutional impasse in Scotland where not only is the nation deeply divided, as polls continually show, but Scottish politics is stultifying as a result of it. Indyref2 remains the main debate yet has been rejected by Westminster and deferred indefinitely by Holyrood. Something needs to be done to break the logjam and move the country on.

Move the country on? Wasn’t that what Alba was created for?  Or were the mockers and snipers correct when they dismissed it as just a vehicle for Mr Salmond’s vengeance? Well, you’ve certainly clarified one issue, Mr MacAskill, it’s time for you to move on. Or at least move aside and let someone unequivocally committed to full national sovereignty for Scotland lead the Alba Party. Preferably a passionate, charismatic leader who will, like Macdiarmid, “hae nae hauf-way hoose, but aye be whaur extremes meet”.

Jaggy sought to demolish David Martin’s arguments for ‘Independence within the UK’ in an earlier post, now even more essential reading.

37 thoughts on “Alba Means Independence in the UK?

  1. I have to confess to being worried about Kenny MacAskill’s opinion:

    How does

    1. Alba’s stated aim (from their website) of “National Independence for Scotland as an immediate necessity, and overwhelming priority, achieved by democratic means through a vote of people resident in Scotland” stack up with “to build a coalition … undermining neither independence nor the Union”?

    2. Alba’s policy of obtaining EFTA membership, as a first step towards Single Market membership (and possible EU-hood later) reconcile when “European Free Trade Association (EFTA) or EU membership are restricted, if not precluded by it”?

    Mr MacAskill needs to explain himself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. I’m going to weave that first stated aim into my copy as it shows even more clearly how Kenny MacAskill has basically disowned Alba’s flagship policy.

      Like

  2. This seems like wanting to be not completely pregnant. “including the right to choose on critical issues of defence and foreign policy”. No armed forces and no embassy so the right to choose what exactly? Dependence on another country for defence renders independence non-existent.

    Like

  3. I often wonder if various key figures in the Independence movement have been taken aside by agents of the British State and informed quietly but in no uncertain terms that a fully Independent and Sovereign Scotland will never be allowed by said State.

    If polls and electoral results and even referendum results appear to support Independence then these will be altered by any means available to the State and its security apparatus.

    If a charismatic leader should arise who galvanises the Scottish people for Independence then that leader will be destroyed by scandal or heart attack if necessary.

    It will simply not be suffered to happen – the gloves will come off if it appears close – and by the way forget the “International Community” – they’ll do nothing for you, you can depend on that.

    Probably just a fantasy, however on the other hand it might serve to explain some otherwise difficult to explain behaviour.

    Like

    1. An unnamed government mandarin is reported to have called countering the Scottish independence movement a «bare knuckle fight».
      in Scotland it is becoming a spat between political eunuchs.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. What you say sounds perfectly plausible to me, although I don’t reckon as many as you think are being handled. But who among would ever know for sure?

      Like

      1. Our «not knowing» is an ace in the system’s pack. Nevertheless, not a few are allowing themselves naively to be taken in by the system’s many wiles. Being labelled «extremist» seems one of the big
        fears in Scottish nationalism. Being nice, diplomatic and legalistic, however, has got nowhere.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Agreed. Breaking away from a neo-imperialist state is by its very nature extreme and will certainly be regarded as subversive by that state.

        Like

    3. J Galt: I have often wondered the same. Only self-harming insanity could explain some of the decisions that have been taken of late. I joined Alba only recently, but I will not hesitate to leave if it, too, is going to have cold feet. What did these politicians expect? No country has had independence handed to it on a plate. If it carries on like this – with disillusionment and betrayal – people are going to snap. Precisely what happened in Ireland in 1916. Do they never learn?

      Like

      1. There does indeed appear to be a split coming somewhat similar to what happened in Ireland, perhaps those with a greater knowledge of Irish history can help us to understand the parallels with our own situation now, and I don’t imagine the British State playbook has changed that much since then.

        Like

      2. Lorna, I fear that Scottish people are just not ‘snapping’ material. British oppression in Ireland was so brutal and so deadly, for so long, that it produced a people who ‘snapped’ in 1916.

        British control over Scotland has been much more insidious and indirect, co-opting the energetic into subaltern roles in Empire, soothing anger with romantic tartan nonsense and sprinkling (actually) some affection from the Brit aristocracy. Overt brutality, from suppression of the Jacobites to Highland Clearances, was pretty much out of fashion as a political tool by the mid-nineteenth century. The result is a confused populace, who know something is deeply wrong but can’t put their finger on any one really egregious recent act of cruelty and domination on which to focus their anger. Meanwhile the resources keep being siphoned away.

        The clearest understanding of the solution, viz. to take it straight to the international arena, is yours, and Craig Murray’s.

        Given the timorousness of so many Scots, so hard to get out of their shell, we desperately needed to build on that extraordinary flowering in summer 2014 of self-awareness and opening of minds to what a free Scotland might be. That was a Woodstock moment. They come rarely. Instead we got Sturgeon. Her self-obsessed treachery has had unforgivable consequences.

        Perhaps Alba will ignite the fire we need? I hope so. I am not certain though. Personally I joined ISP six months ago. I’ve had enough of Big Leaders. Both AS and NS share responsibility for the cultish state of Scottish politics; not in the same measure of course, but still, AS is not innocent.

        Like

      3. Lawrence, I don’t disagree with what you say but Ireland’s political reawakening a century ago was very sudden after many decades of despair among nationalists. I plan to write about some of these parallels in a later blog.

        Like

    4. I doubt MacAskill would buckle at that. I hope that he has just misjudged things. His article was non committal but seriously ill advised . It does us no good at all and although he is a man I respect I am trying not to be furious at the bastard actually.

      Like

    5. I believe that already happaned in 2014 rigged result and threats that the Scots might suddenly find themselves amidst sudden inexplicable acts of terror but they would have been orchestrated by the Establishment rogue state to our South.

      Like

  4. What a mess Scottish politics is. Given that Alex Salmond has fought all his life for Scottish Independence I can’t see how he can reconcile this with his new party, so I would assume he has to act. It will be interesting to see what happens next. Bit of a test for Alba.

    Like

  5. Either the party acts or the new members will leave. I left the SNP and was reconciled to not voting in the last election and only joined Alba due to their stated Independence ASAP approach. If this is the proposed approach then I will leave.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m intrigued by his timing. Would it not have been wiser to wait and Introduce this controversial idea at the autumn conference? Did he consult with colleagues at the centre of the new Party? Is Alec Salmond even aware of his opinions? What exactly is Mr. McAskill up to?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sorry- I didn’t give my own position, which is that I think it is a strange tactic, to “move things along” by essentially giving in to your opponent.

    Like

  8. Could Mr MacAskill be having cold feet because Alba didn’t make an immediate mark, Rob? If the independence politicians sign up to a new Treaty of Union, it will be an Act of Union – domestic, not international – so that Westminster will have its dabs all over it, the Supreme Court will ratify it, and it will become part of British (English) jurisdiction under the sovereignty of parliament (Westminster) principle and impossible to invoke in international law and the UN. How stupid are they?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Depressing that he should fall for it. They aren’t giving us anything they are stopping us from getting it.

    Mac Askill is a genuine independence supporter and he no doubt thinks its pragmatism, a step on the road and that it won’t be used as a block to our real ambitions. I cannot see them parting with all Scotland resources for a start and that would kill the stepping stone theory before we get beyond the theory stage. Then you have continued military and political control over our land sea and air to factor in. It is not full nation statusit will only ever be devolution presented as something new and I do not doubt with prisoner status written into the small print.

    Like

  10. So, according to Grousebeater, Kenny doesn’t actually support this proposal:

    “As MacAskill points out, the proposals is not one he supports, but as it is bandied about now, is worth a debate. The halfway house is not ALBA party policy. Together with Ireland, it was Labour Party policy under Labour’s founder Keir Hardie, but jettisoned quickly when Ireland proved to be seriously problematic, its electorate and leaders hyper-distrustful of England’s intentions.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Th e problem for me maceasy. Is that those in power in Scotland just now would be emboldened by genuine Independence supporters giving it the time of day.

      The idea that the British state is willing to offer us something or part of something that is ours by right is obscene to me. That is said in full knowledge of the practical difficulties we currently face

      Like

  11. The ones who will grasp at it are the useless bastards amongst us incapable of getting us our independence but determined to keep the careers, money and lifestyles. Another reason why I am disappointed with Kenny MacAskill

    Like

  12. You’ve knocked me for six there Rob, I’m shocked at that, I didn’t imagine MacAskill an old stalwart of Salmond, and ergo in my opinion for independence coming out with that BritNat dross. What is Alex Salmond saying about it I wonder, or is he keeping quiet.

    I had a bit of respect for MacAskill crossing over to the Alba party, and freeing Al Megrahi, but this, this feels like a sell out of all that we hold dear. I don’t know where we go from here on the indyfront.

    Like

  13. As an after thought this, without any measure of irony, might be termed the «Austria-Hungary solution».
    All we need is a venerable Franz-Josef to give it some traction.
    Floreat Kakania nova.

    Like

    1. Was it not Franz Ferdinand who was in favour of this kind of solution to Austria-Hungary’s “Nationality Problem”?

      Some think that may be why he was bumped off – but by which side? Who didn’t want a solution to Austria-Hungary’s “Nationality Problem” badly enough to murder the heir to the Throne? Who truly was behind the “Black Hand”?

      Like

  14. It is a common ruse in colonialism to now and again offer the natives a wee bittie mair, as we saw with the Smithy Commission, which actually delivered hee haw. Previous to this, devolution itself was really just a wee bittie mair tae, a wee bone for the natives to chew on. The Internal Market Bill will take back some of the wee bittie mair. And so it will continue, much as the same game has played on now for centuries.

    According to Fanon, any concessions “will be paid for at a high price: the price of a much stricter control of the country’s future destiny.”

    Anything short of national liberation is still colonialism.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s