Kenny MacAskill and Michael Collins

Gently probed in a podcast about his sudden conversion to Home Rule, Kenny MacAskill did what I predicted (in a previous post) advocates of ‘independence within the UK’ would do – he quoted Michael Collins’ famous line about gaining “the freedom to achieve freedom”. I could be cruel to the Alba MP for East Lothian and echo Senator Lloyd Bentsen’s famous putdown of Senator Dan Quayle in the 1988 US Vice-Presidential debate. I could say “Mr MacAskill, you’re no Michael Collins.” But I don’t want to be cruel to Kenny because I think this fellow Hibernophile’s heart is in the right place. It’s just his head that needs sorting.

To begin with, it’s important to know the context in which Ireland’s most revered freedom fighter accepted something that fell short of a fully independent, united Ireland. Why did the Commander-in-Chief of the original Irish Republican Army settle for an Irish Free State that was still a semi-province of the British Empire with Dominion status? Historians still debate the question, but this much is indisputable: in 1921 there were strong indications that the brutal dirty war being waged in Ireland by Crown forces and their notorious auxiliaries, the Black and Tans, could be about to enter a terrifying new phase. There were even fears that Lloyd George might authorise aerial bombardments of John Bull’s other island if an Anglo-Irish Treaty was not negotiated on terms acceptable to his government. General Collins had proven himself a master of guerrilla fighting but even the “big fellow” knew that asymmetrical warfare on such a scale could be suffered for only so long.

Equally important was why the Irish had launched their War of Independence in the first place: the British Establishment had refused to accept the outcome of the 1918 general election, in which a political party unequivocally committed to outright independence for the whole of Ireland had won a landslide victory. Sinn Féin is Gaelic for “We Ourselves” so there was absolutely no ambiguity about what this party was all about. It wanted to free Ireland from every last vestige of British subjugation and saw no great merit in partial autonomy.

The advocates of Home Rule for decades had been the Irish Parliamentary Party, initially led by the legendary Charles Stewart Parnell, but latterly by a much less charismatic man called John Redmond. Sinn Féin eventually eclipsed the IPP because supporters of Irish emancipation grew sick of the Redmondites’ seemingly futile gradualism. The problem for Kenny MacAskill is that he wants to be a Caledonian version of Michael Collins but seems closer to a Scottish version of a Redmondite. Although later accused of bending to the Brits more than his rival Éamon de Valera would have done, the first chairman of the provisional government in Dublin would never have countenanced Home Rule nor insulted his followers by waxing lyrical about ‘Independence in the UK.’ In fact, Mr Collins would have laughed at any nationalist revolutionary disclosing to the imperial enemy what he’d accept in future truce talks. I hope Mr MacAskill’s next book isn’t on the art of negotiation.

There should be no ambiguity about Alba’s position but there is now

At this stage there should be absolutely no ambiguity about Alba’s position on the constitutional question. But there now is, thanks to Mr MacAskill. The lack of clarity was introduced by this former SNP MP in a poorly considered column he submitted to the Unionist Scotsman. Before posting my counterblast to that on Jaggy – titled ‘Alba Means Independence in the UK?’ – I was careful to dissect several times what he had written. I also listened carefully to what Mr MacAskill said on Sunday to the blogger Barrhead Boy on his Through a Scottish Prism podcast. I took time to ponder his pronouncements during that virtual interview before sitting down to pen this post. My response still remains what it was last week: the former Scottish Justice Secretary has hung himself. At a crucial early stage in Alba’s evolution, Mr MacAskill has left many people shaking their heads and wondering why he and Neal Hanvey ever bothered to break away from the SNP contingent at Westminster. Give him the benefit of the doubt however much you like, Mr MacAskill is saying pretty much the same as his arch enemy Nicola Sturgeon said during a televised Scottish leaders debate on May 4:

I want Scotland in the fullness of time, in due course, to become an independent country.

The only difference is that the First Minister wasn’t daft enough to confuse the electorate, hand ammunition to her political opponents or ignite serious divisions within her party by saying that she would actively lobby for Home Rule in order to break the logjam and move the country forward. She would never – certainly not in advance of seeking to negotiate a New Union Treaty – utter such an incendiary phrase as “Independence in the UK.” Which is exactly what Kenny MacAskill wrote in his Scotsman column and pretty much reiterated during his Sunday interview.

Scotland’s new pro-Indy party cannot become an auld pals act

I realise why it’s mighty tough for some of my fellow pro-Indy bloggers to accept my interpretation of events. Self-declared fundamentalists like Barrhead Boy (aka Roddy MacLeod) think Kenny’s a kindred spirit so dinnae want tae gie him a kicking. Understandably, they see Alba as their last, best hope of achieving independence in their lifetimes, so the last thing they want is some speccy bampot telling them it’s no better than the SNP. Believe me, I’m not saying that (or questioning Roddy’s interviewing skills). But I am saying you would now struggle to slip a Rizla paper between Ms Sturgeon and Mr MacAskill on the crucial constitutional question. That cannot be hastily brushed over – unless we’re content to see Alba (and the alt-Nat blogosphere) become an auld pals’ act, in which harmful gaffes get excused because they were made by one of the guid guys.

To conclude by coming back to Michael Collins, it’s worth mentioning that his most famous utterance wasn’t about the freedom to achieve freedom. It came when he was about to append his signature to the Anglo-Irish Treaty. Turning to Lord Birkenhead, the Irish rebel solemnly remarked that he was about to sign his own death warrant. I fear Mr MacAskill has done the same. No, of course, he won’t be literally gunned down, as Mr Collins was in a secluded boreen in his native County Cork. Mercifully, the struggle for Scottish independence has always eschewed political violence. A civil war between Indy supporters only ever happens in newspaper headlines. Still, to me and I suspect to many members of Alba, Kenny MacAskill has just unwittingly signed his own political death warrant. It pains me to administer the second killer bullet here but the struggle for Scotland is bigger than him or any single one of us.

47 thoughts on “Kenny MacAskill and Michael Collins

  1. To be fair to Kenny, he has taken a bullet before. Abdul al-Megrahi was innocent (another victim of Scottish justice) and it was appropriate that someone got him home before he died. It was inevitable that such a person would collect a few scars but that’s part of the job.

    Someone has to move the indy debate on, hopefully it will be just flesh wounds again for this protagonist and he lives to fight yet another battle

    Liked by 2 people

      1. In fairness to Kenny, he was extremely forthright on Craig Murray’s behalf in the podcast he did yesterday. As I said in my post, this former Justice Secretary is basically a guid guy but I believe his Scotsman column about the benefits of Home Rule was a blunder.

        Liked by 3 people

  2. At 33.14 on: Roddy: “Is your first commitment still absolutely or not to independence for Scotland as the best destination for Scotland?”
    MacAskill: “Absolutely! That is what uh we must seek and what I remain committed to.”

    Puts a very different perspective on your above blog.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Nicola Sturgeon would say exactly the same as that in any interview. And she (like Kenny) would consider it a victory to have Home Rule/independence in the UK in the foreseeable future. But, as I said in my post, she’d never be stupid enough as to say that. I know what you’ll probably hit back with Nicola being no longer being committed to the end goal of full independence as Kenny is. True I’d say but here’s the thing: through his untimely newspaper column, he has made Alba’s position on Indy appear more fuzzy than the SNP’s. In politics perception matters enormously, as does timing.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Perception, timing, opportunity and the imagination to make something of all three.
        In the risk averse universe Queen Covid and her courtiers inhabit the «safety» masks deter the possibility of such beyond the pale reasoning.
        Gotta face it the SNP is a nice conventional, bourgeois, bread and butter political entity which cheekily flirts with identitarianism in order to appear cool but has in the process become afraid of its primordial self. The founders of Scottish nationalism, who in their day, really stuck their necks out must be on hyper spin mode.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. This is not the first time Kenny has parked independence:
    The elephant in the room is that an absolute majority for IndyRef2 both in seats – 72-57 – and in the popular vote was gained at the May 6 elections.
    The UK Gov did all it could to prevent that happening. It failed.
    Now Nicola Sturgeon is in the spotlight – and should she and her government fail to properly prepare for and hold a new vote, she will stand accused of reneging on a promise to the people.
    Alba could expect to harvest converts in such a scenario – but’s Kenny’s spaghetti-brained intervention makes that less likely.


  4. I disagree with your comments about the ‘unbending’ Eamon De Valera.

    My reading of the situation in Ireland in 1920/21 is that, having had initial exploratory discussions with Lloyd George, Chruchill and the rest of the UK cabinet, ‘Dev’ knew how genuinely intransigent the British government were regarding full independence for Ireland. He didn’t want to be seen to sell out the republican cause so sent Collins to London together with Arthur Griffiths to negotiate an undefined deal.

    Collins, as IRA commander, knew that his forces were exhausted and, as you rightly say, could not possibly hope to win a straight-up armed conflict with the forces of the British Empire. Walking away from the negotiation risked absolute absolute defeat for the freedom fighters of Ireland. faced with this potential disastrous consequence he got the absolute best that he could manage.

    Collins was going to be damned if he did and damned if he didn’t return with a deal. De Valera, on the other hand, came up smelling of roses since he was ‘tainted’ by the compromise. He could pose and posture as leader of the true republican cause. Result: bloody Irish Civil War 1922-23, as brutal as anything in the War of Independence 1919-21.

    When he ascended to power in the Free State in 1932, and then won another 4 general elections, Dev did nothing tangible to further the cause of full all-Irish sovereignty. A bit like the SNP today. All talk.

    But Scotland’s situation is entirely different today compared to that of Ireland 100 years ago.

    We are not subjected militarily (at the moment anyway). So Kenny MacAskill’s comments seem to me to be entirely out of place. Gradualism has been tried. It achieved a gerrymandered referendum in 1979 on extremely light Devolution and then actual watered down Devolution in 1997 although the referendum of 2014 for Autonomy almost got us there.

    Having come close 7 years ago there can be no going back. Talk of anything short of the restoration of full self government for this nation now is unacceptable. It is also unnecessary. People who have joined Alba, after the debacle of SNP democratic implosion and timidity on the constitution, must surely expect better.

    I know I do.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Yes Stephen, Dev played it smart. Knowing how unbending the ‘Brits’ would be in the Treaty negotiations, he sent his arch rival into the lion’s den. If you read my article, you’ll see that I don’t regard Michael Collins as unprincipled or a patsy. I’ve tweaked that subordinate clause to clarify this. I always bend in the end to my followers.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. “Talk of anything short of the restoration of full self government..”
      But the SNP have made a pig’s ear of self govt on all the devolved matters – why would UK give more. Historically poor Scottish govt has happened before – the Darien bail-out for example, not to mention military escapades from Cromwell to Culloden.


      1. “But the SNP have made a pig’s ear of self govt on all the devolved matters”

        You may or may not be correct.

        But I want to judge any Scottish Government – SNP or other -on what it does with full self-governing powers …

        Liked by 2 people

    3. But, Duncanio, had the British kept out of NI, James Craig would have lost very early on against Collins’s forces. It is very likely that Collins would have won the Irish Civil War as well. No, all-out war against the British would have destroyed Ireland, as you say, but imagine the arrogance and sheer domineering viciousness of Britain at that time. Look at the mess NI is in now. Look at the thousands of needless deaths in years of sectarian conflict. Had Britain kept out, Collins would have defeated Craig and his Loyalists. Yes, it would have been bloody, but incisive, and far less bloody than years of tit-for-tat bloodletting that has ensued. Every empire has been a monster, but the British one, to my mind, is far and away the worst, because, hypocritically, it pretends to be benign but is every bit as savage and divisive and bloody as any other throughout history.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Spot on, Lorna. Imperialism is the source of so much suffering around the planet and a major contributor to our ecological crisis.


      2. ‘Collins would have defeated Craig and his loyalists’

        On what basis do you reach that conclusion ?


      3. On his past successes, Florian, and on the numbers of the nationalists within NI – not a majority, but big enough to run a very successful guerrilla campaign, with Craig being sandwiched between the North and the South. After the establishment of NI and the removal of the South from ‘Ulster’, it became very much more difficult. Anyway, it is all speculation as Collins was killed shortly afterwards.


  5. MacAskill and Brown should join forces, they are both, in essence, more Brit than Scot and seem to inhabit a different century from this. The expression wanting your cake and eating it applies. Lets go back to basics and redraw the Union so that Scotland gets its own dedicated room in the House of Britannia with free access to the gym and swimming pool, all meals provided and a voice on the management committee.
    Not sure what independence in the UK means but it would require sanction from a BritNat régime that considers itself post-Brexit on an «independence» trajectory.
    Scotland has woven itself a Gordian knot, where is the Alexander with the revolutionary chutzpah and bravura to just cut through it?’


  6. This a really good, detailed analysis, with lots of stuff, particularly about Ireland, that I didn’t know. I am inclined to agree with you that intellectually there may be a case for incrementalism (?) or at least an improvement in the devolution settlement, via some kind of federalism. But I also appreciate that to talk in those terms while a member of a newly formed independence party is a huge faux pas, which has simply muddied the waters, and given a shed load of ammunition to the very keen and active SNP trolls who are desperate to bury Alba.
    In short, it may be a point of debate among the non-committed and the gradualists, bloggers and commentators, but it is hugely politically damaging for a signed up independence party senior member to come out with this stuff. Unless they have a clear strategy agreed with their leadership which will not confuse people and put them off the new party. As it stands he has just confused the entire issue and core beliefs of Alba. Salmond should sort it out pronto, but he has let it fester.


    1. The nearer independence comes the more some are inclined to think «but not yet». The open door freaks out a certain psychological type. The conditioned colonized mind fills with nostalgia and clings to the comfort blanket of the assurances of colonial status. The open door signaling freedom becomes a gateway to anxiety.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Very true. Some people just shy away from being assertive and decisive. A majority of Scots collectively shied away in 2014. Alba have to be bold and forthright with Scots about what our country needs. That way Alba will provide leadership, the leadership vacated by the SNP.


      2. That’s a matter of opinion. Some will think, with some validity, that it is a staging post which will further demonstrate and strengthen the case for independence. In fact this was the argument for many for devolution. As it stands, however, the behaviour and incompetence of the SNP in government has made many wonder of the wisdom of independence if it would happen under such an autocratic regime. So the argument cuts both ways, and is not necessarily one of pseudo psychology about freedom, but one about governance and constitutions.


    2. “via some kind of federalism”

      The UK is singularly unsuited to federalism.
      Remember 1) the disproportionate size of the English population (85%)

      2) divided loyalities as nearly half the populations in Scotland and NI want out of the Union.

      3) The English have already refused regional assemblies and proposals about city states. They want England to stay united. They don’t want to pay for another layer of government. They want to decide and legislate alone on matters that involve England. They have every right to want all these things. If English people won’t accept English regional parliaments as opposed to one English parliament, then the UK will not become a federal state.

      4) Finally, federalism with its separation of powers, written, codified constitution and so on, is alien to Westminster

      Furthermore, the current government’s “single market”/UK only/Union flag everywhere policies indicate Westminster is “taking back much more control” rather than adopting any federalism agenda.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. “ But I don’t want to be cruel to Kenny because I think this fellow Hibernophile’s heart is in the right place. It’s just his head that needs sorting.”
    It was ever bus. MacAskill was grossly over promoted throughout his career, culminating in his spell as justice secretary. He owed that trajectory to his good friend, a certain Alex Salmond.

    But there have to be limits to friendship. Salmond should’ve slapped MacAskill down days ago on this piece of nonsense. If he cannot bring him self to do that then perhaps he should step aside himself and invite someone else to step into his shoes as leader of Alba.


  8. ‘Independence in the UK’ is an oxymoronic concept. Leaving Westminster with overarching power over Scotland is never any kind of independence, always just some form of devolution.

    Nor should it ever be assumed that a new settlement with enhanced Holyrood powers would be a good base from which to make a future push for indy. Any new union settlement would almost certainly contain clauses making independence harder to obtain.

    Alba must stay from this idea. I’m sure it will.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Agreed. Any new Union settlement would be designed specifically to make independence impossible without armed conflict. If we want to avoid it, we need to box clever, and boxing clever should not include giving away any more than we have to date.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m not sure why you are homing in on Kenny MacAskill. It’s wider than this. The Scotland Act strategy was espoused by interim General Secretary Chris McEleny just the other day. I’d be surprised if Salmond wasn’t happy with it or he will be stepping down soon. I recall that his position as leader was interim until sometime this month.

    What the Alba MP’s have decided to do is to attempt to get a coalition in Westminster to change the Scotland Act to get some powers changed and to get the right for the Scottish parliament to hold a referendum. We have in the recent past had the SNP calling for more devolved powers on drugs, immigration and employment powers. So Alba has the opportunity to embarrass the SNP by inviting them to join them in actually doing something rather than just issuing wailing soundbites.

    Obviously there’s a debate about whether this is a good interim strategy. The members will have their chance at September conference to debate exactly what Alba should be.

    I think that just now Alba is aiming to be perceived as the party doing something about independence in any way it can rather than just be the fundamentalist option.


    1. I’m homing in on Kenny MacAskill because he put himself in a lot of Alba members’ sights by suddenly waxing lyrical about the wonders of Home Rule and Independence in the UK. My understanding is that he floated these far from fundamentalist wheezes at a recent strategy meeting and was tellt to keep them to himself. He chose not to. Wonder why?

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Rob, your analysis is, in my opinion, spot on. Ireland’s 20th century history is the most apposite model for what Scotland, its Celtic cousin, is experiencing now. Whether Dev was wily or not, Collins was the judas goat that consciously sanctioned the separation of Ireland into eventually two States with the invention of a segmented ‘Ulster’ minus the three historical counties on purely a sectarian basis. The fabricated N.I. flag, an abomination with the ancient O’Neill Red Hand of the whole of Ulster, first used against English domination in the middle ages now pasted on to a St. George’s Cross confirms its total colonial nature.

    MacAskill, Salmond and Sturgeon have all colluded with the Devolution miasma created by Westminster. From the signing of the 1998 Act, the first underhand action taken by Westminster was to steal 6000 sq. miles of Maritime territory from Scotland. The boundary now sits somewhere off St. Andrews on the Fife Coast. Subsequent breaches of the Act of Union of 1707, such as the creation of a ‘UK Supreme Court’ have cemented the subordination both de jure and de facto of Scotland’s status in the British ‘Union’.

    Despite the establishment of the SNP specifically to dissolve the Union via the Westminster accepted route of a majority of Scottish M.Ps. in a General Election, the leadership under Salmond ,allowed the diversion to be created of a Referendum to bypass the long established, sovereign based and constitutionally sound method of majority representative seats. This rebounded badly with the experience, as predicted by many fundamentalists, of the bent and ill run Referendum result in 2014. It also meant that despite an overwhelming victorious result in the following year of all but three parliamentary seats and 51% popular vote ( including the Greens, an avowed Nationalist party) they appeared impotent: singing ‘Ode to Joy’, walking in and back in again and farting at thunder as we were dragged out of Europe.

    What has occurred ever since? .. defeat and derision from the Unionists in the rotten edifice beside the Thames. Since then mandate after mandate in Westminster and the pretend ‘parliament’, with pathetic attempts to push back further on what a Sovereign mandate actually means…55% anyone?..60%..maybe. Meanwhile the long term established means of dissolution remains waiting: the majority of SNP MPs sitting ( remotely) with the constitutional basis, the Act of Union major breaches e.g. Brexit, as a battering or bartering ram to dismantle the colonial subjugation that our country is enduring.

    Alba is compromised by MacAskill’s feeble excuses. Salmond is culpable of leading us down the Pied piper route of Devolution. Sturgeon is compromised beyond any doubt. An equal signatory nation to a political Union cannot be unilaterally disempowered by its co-signatory. Any politicians or leaders of the Independence campaign must believe in this principle or get out of the way and let the true believers in our nation’s sovereignty lead the democratic struggle for our freedom.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Agree 100%. Neil Jordan’s gangster movie Michael Collins was Hollywood hagiography. I’ll be fleshing out the sort of arguments you express in the run up to Alba’s first crucial party conference in the autumn.


  11. Jaggy: do you lend any credence to the speculation that Nicola Sturgeon and, possibly Alec Salmond have been threatened by Westminster that the British State would crush Scotland? Peter A. Bell appears to believe that there are no agent provocateurs working for the British State in the SNP, but we should know, from Irish history, that it would very surprising if there were not such in the SNP, and even Alba and other pro independence parties. Taking the history of these islands as a whole, it is hard not to break down in tears at the capability and vicious domination of Westminster.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sure they’ve both been a bit spooked out. Alex survived all they threw at him but his standing among the general electorate has fallen significantly, so they have taken him out of the game to a large extent. I’ll be writing about spooks and secession soon but we’re obviously in broad alignment on the subject.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Although the British hawks as represented by Churchill may have wished to threaten the unleashing of Hell in Ireland in 1921 did they really have the freedom of action to do so?

    In 1921 Britain was seriously in hock to the American Government and Banks as a result of it’s long planned attempt in 1914 to destroy Germany as a trading rival, the attempt had misfired – Germany was down but not out, the British Empire, seemingly at it’s peak, increasingly a sham.

    Would the Irish lobby in America have allowed the US Government to stand by while their debtor unleashed Hell in Ireland? Probably not, it is possible the US would have ordered them to cease and desist on pain of economic ruination.


  13. Ireland is not an independent country. It surrendered its independence when it joined the European Union. Scotland voted by a fair majority to stay in the European Union, thus indicating it preferred something other than full independence.

    For Scotland to be truly independent it must not only escape the yoke of Union, but also avoid the yoke of Europe which is turning into a similar monster as the Union.

    Until a majority of Scottish people are persuaded that independence should mean freedom from the Union and Europe, and that would be best for Scotland, the result sought will not be achieved.


    1. That’s my position also. I’m encouraged that Alba seems more inclined to EFTA than the EU. But it won’t ever have to choose between these options if leading figures in the party like Kenny MacAskill carry on as he’s doing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. EFTA would suit Scotland, along with Iceland and Norway, very well. It is the obvious solution and would not take eons of negotiations, single currency etc. In time, if there was a popular demand for it, they could ask people if they wanted to join the EU, but once inside EFTA that would not be so pressing. In fact, it was always the most logical and fair response to brexit, a compromise honouring the 50/50 numbers, and would have solved so many of the difficult and damaging trade and border issues we are having now.
        It is also a measure of the ineptitude of the Sturgeon clique that they didn’t even consider pushing for it. Their incompetence and ignorance is appalling.


    2. No argument from me on that!

      Regarding the pronouncements of Kenny, if he considers he made a mistake he has had some time now to backtrack, so maybe he stands by what he said.

      Who was it that said that politics is the art of the possible? I often suspect that professional politicos, who spend all of their working lives immersed in politics, may just know more about the subject than their armchair critics.

      Maybe if all of the Scottish Independence politicians are broadly saying the same thing, we should listen to them. Because just maybe, they are articulating what most Scots want to hear.


  14. Again what is Alex Salmond saying about this faux pas by MacAskill?

    Surely for the majority of indy supporters its independence or nothing, none of this gradualist nonsense that just allows lazy no good MSPs to fill their boots for decades, which is going on right now.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Rob. I agree with your assessment of the MacAskill article. I don’t think joining the European Union should be considered an option though. It would just be swapping one Union master for another, and imposing an un-necessary level of unaccountable bureaucracy which would curtail freedom. Ireland has lost its soul. It needs to escape from Europe to get it back. This will happen when Europe implodes as it will before long. Scotland mustn’t lose its soul in the battle for freedom. Who would want to be known as a Yoon – even a European one?


    1. Not me. When I said “that’s my position also” I meant I’m aligned with you on the European Question. Read my earlier blog titled Europe for Scotland? Aye Right!


    1. Yes, Kenny is doing some good stuff, such as tabling a motion in the Commons to try ensure that the head of the state prosecutors cannot in future also sit in the Scottish Cabinet. I’ve just retweeted him on that.


  16. I do feel some are making Scotland run before it can walk. Stuff about joining, or not joining, the EU, EFTA, the Commonwealth, republic or monarchy, fighting disease, being transgender and gay friendly, helping «developing countries», being nicer to old people and opening wide the doors for unrestricted immigration are ok provided you have the power and sovereignty to effect such initiatives.
    Scotland doesn’t. You may as well be talking about the color of the carpets in future embassies.
    Pipe dreams and whisky fueled whimsy are no substitutes for a full on encounter with «Realpolitik».
    The singular feature of the Irish independence struggle, as I perceive it, was the willingness of its leaders to «sup with devil» if that scored a hit against the foe or fazed its agencies. Encapsulated in the Irish phrase «Nuair a bhíonn deacracht ag Sasana, bíonn deis ag Éirinn».
    There is such a think as being overly nice, too «respectable» and getting nothing to show for it.


    1. Of course Scotland doesn’t have the power for that, but if you are going to fight for independence you need to have some vision of what kind of independent country we are fighting for. Being cuddly and progressive, as the SNP appear to advocate, with of course them in absolute power, isn’t a convincing cry to battle.


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