Independence is lost in the Greenery

January 30, 2007

Plug “independence” into the Scottish Green Party’s search engine and you get three results. One about the independence of watchdogs, one about media independence and one about Scottish Independence (30th November 2005) Oh yes the greens support independence, so much so it scarcely figures in their public shop window and they can let another St. Andrew’s day pass by without following up – did they forget or don’t they care?

And when you get into the substance of their position – suddenly you are overwhelmed by their passion and vision: “Greens support independence, if or when the people support it” So there it is folks…over to you.

Part of the current problem in Scotland is that if you want an end to the Act of Union then you’re kind of forced to contemplate voting SNP – whatever you think about their other policies. Should the SNP dissolve after independence? I’ll say they should but I’ll bet they won’t. Whatever, in an Independent Scotland there will still be Labour, Liberal, Conservative and the rest, politics will resume normal service.

The tricky bit, for now, is that voters in the “Union” parties who want independence, and I assure you there are plenty, have got a difficult decision this election. If they hold their nose and vote for the nats, Scotland can get out of the Union with a return to normal voting on the other side of the independence dateline.

If, on the other hand, they succumb to the fearmongering and vote against independence as per usual, the Greens will never get to find out if or when they should take a stand on the independence question.


 McGellie x


Douglas where’s your sources? (inc. update #1- a reply)

January 28, 2007

Dear Mr McGellie

Thank you very much for getting in touch.  

Apologies for the confusion over the e-mail address and therefore for the delay in getting back to you. For future reference, it is best to use either:



We shall get back to you shortly about the information you have requested.

Many thanks


Private Secretary

Scotland Office

020 7270 6806

Dear Douglas Alexander,

Just to check you are not “making it up as you go along” (sic) in your op-ed in today’s Sunday Herald, could you be kind enough to provide me with the necessary references that support your statement that it is a “factual matter of European law which the European Commission and leading academics agree on” which would lead an independent Scotland to no longer be part of Europe.

I’m not a member of the SNP, but am working on a book on the Election campaign in the context of the 300 anniversary of the Union, so obviously sourcing and referencing matter to me. If you or your office would be kind enough to point me to the following:

        The article(s) in European law which would result in Scotland being removed from the Union and made to apply for re-entry at the “end of a very long queue”

        The list of leading academics you cite who agree with this interpretation.

Thank you for your help in this matter.

Yours sincerely

Giles McGellie

Your Ref:


Euro Champions – Scotland the beautiful game.

January 27, 2007

The Scottish Football Association have won the first round in their attempt to have the European Championship finals expanded to 24 teams. (BBC News Online 26/1/07)

Of course we’re good enough to get there on our own – currently top of qualifying group for 2008.

Football, currency – take your pick. Those who want nothing to do with the Euro in a post independence Scotland because it would compromise our – er- independence are cute but unrealistic. Being restricted to old firm games as the end point of our ambition doesn’t make sense to me. All this small country stuff talks us down.

Does Scotland have to leave The Pound when we leave the Union? Technically no, but I think you probably have to take a risk based analysis and the chances of England letting us go without pathetic attempts to make it as hard as possible are low – listen to Blair and Brown right now. The only way their negative prophecies will come true is if they make them come true and I’m not putting it past them. Taking Sterling for granted is naive.

In the real world this only leaves the Euro. It works. It’s there. The Labour party claim Scotland would have an £11billion deficit rendering us unfit for Euro membership. I’ve written asking for details, so you’ll hear more about this later.

A Scots Pound would have to be pegged to Sterling or the Euro otherwise George Soros and chums would take it out in a couple of days. So let’s restrict our flag waving to a Scots design on the back of a Euro note when it comes to the currency question.

The SNP know this is true but the current line is that there would be a further referendum to make the decision. I don’t have words for how sappy this is. C’mon guys, if were going to vote for independence, it’ll have to come as a package. People ain’t going to vote for theoretical independence dependent on a second vote on something as fundamental as the currency strategy. SNP sort it out. If you run scared of the big issues, you’ll run out of people to take you seriously. Oh it’s a tactical thing….?

Love McGellie x

Goldie Looking Strain

January 26, 2007

In an ePolitix interview with Annabel Goldie

she was on er form. Pity her hangover from the shadowless cabinet’s trip up North to patronise us

ePolitix: What policies will you be highlighting ahead of the May 3 elections? 

Goldie: The overriding theme I’ve been talking about for the last year or more has been that we have too many politicians in Scotland.

What, that’s the best the Conservatives can do? Deckchairs, Titanic – what are they on? Like many I think the Scottish Parliament comprehensively screwed up the parliament building (location, cost, PR, whatever) and the insipid leadership undermines confidnece. But whether we have 129 or 108 MSP’s cannot, simply cannot be the number one political priority. The incessant naval gazing of the parliament (salaries, expenses, allowances) that’s what alienates me.

Goldies commitment to common sense doesn’t extend to political analysis. In the same interview she explains that  the only party that is to the traditional right of centre is the Scottish Conservative Party – all the other are on the left.  But what is this centre? Right and Left are anachronistic and  simplitic, but for a party with only 13% of the MSPs to accuse the other 87% of being to the left of centre, either Goldie doesn’t understand what a centre is in the relative world of politics or she’s articulated something about the real values of the Scottish electorate.  Scotland is not like England. Where Tony was dragged to the right in order to asuage little England, we were never swayed, never persuaded. Ok this doesn’t explain the Scottish response to Thatcherism, but like David Cameron and the Tories today the guilty parties can repent at their  liesure. And, if Goldie is so keen on asserting her right of centre credentials, how is she going to get along with the Shadow cabinet the next time they come up to Scotland as they seem intent on travelling in the opposite direction guaranteeing more Goldie looking strain.

McGellie x

The odd word out in British Social Attitudes

January 24, 2007

The new British Social Attitudes Report finds a decline in Britishness caused not by the Scots and the Welsh but by a rise in the number of er British people throwing off that title. Sloughing off the Union Flag cocoon, they’ve found new colouring in the St. George cross.

Like most surveys, this probably comes as no surprise. On driving down to Cardiff, via Blackpool in the run up to the world cup last year, our in-car entertainment was counting the thousands of English flags draped over pubs, hanging off balconies, adorning vehicles.

 I welcome the English discovering their nationality. I don’t have to engage with it more than I want to, but perhaps we can learn something from them. They can also learn from us. What makes Scottish Nationalism (not the same as the SNP) so bearable is that it is fairly broad minded. Whatever you think about the SNP it’s not the BNP (though I assume they’ll be rebranding as the ENP shortly). The pettiness, the hatred, the xenophobia, all are absent from the Scottish picture. No doubt this is because the possibility of Scottish independence keeps the SNP sensible, wheras the BNP are still at the renegade/persecuted/outcast phase of political development.

Or, perhaps its because we absorb too much news. One of the reports other findings is that people who conume more news have a greater respect for people with different political convictions. By seeing the English as part of the equation that will unlock the Union, I’m happy to give them just as much respect as they want, and as much encouragement to find themselves as they need. All I ask is they don’t let their residual Britishness get in our way.

 McGellie x

Set the Captives Free

January 23, 2007

The risks of Scottish Independence are just too great – this might happen or that might happen and it will all be worse. Even if you don’t have a Unionist axe to grind, the uncertainty makes it all too scary. But what about the risk that Independence would make things better for Scotland? Who do we turn to for an accurate assesment of the possible risks and outcomes? Or perhaps lets have another approach:

The other big anniversary this year, along with the 300th for the Union, is the 200th anniversary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade. This was a stunning act of political change brought about by political and social lobbying. Wilberforce was the poster boy but he was part of an ad hoc group, the Clapham Set. They managed to unsettle the churches acquiesence in slavery and ran a campaign that changed the law.

But what were the economic risks of abolishing the slave trade? How did they calculate the risks? Glasgow was a big time beneficiary ofthe slave trade. Why didn’t Glagow merchants campaign in against the abolition? They did – I’ll bet you they did. “You can’t abolish the slave trade, they said, it will be bad for business; someone else will do it; the economy will be ruined. And they were (partially) right. But we don’t mourn the abolition of the slave trade however imperfect the legislation was. It represents something GREAT about Britain. We took a (pretty much) unilateral risk to do something because it was right. OH MY GOD – CONVICTION POLITICS.

And so it is, there is no-one who can accurately predict what Independence will do to to our economy. Does that mean we settle for the status quo?

Send our Scottish politicians home (to think again)

January 20, 2007

The most elegant solution to the
West Lothian question is to repeal the Act of Union and hand out P45s to all the Scottish MPs.


So, there are 59 unemployed MPs, don’t worry! They won’t starve,
Westminster protects their own. But with the time they’ve got on their hands they could:

a:) Get a nice consultancy like disgraced Scottish First Minister Henry McLeish.

b:) Write an autobiography and go on the Lecture tour – ok for Brown, perhaps not for Browne.

c:) Rediscover their vision. They all said they went into politics to make things better, if they can’t do that at
Westminster, they could at an Independent Holyrood. That would raise the bar, ease out some of our underperforming MSPs and provide the vision, drive and talent to work through the threats, opportunities and challenges of


Certainly you’d have reservations about simply swapping them straight into Holyrood, but with Gordon Brown, John Reid, Des Browne, Alistair Darling, Douglas Alexander, Michael Martin, Menzies Campbell, Charles Kennedy, Alex Salmond and all the rest, there is a considerable pool of talent. If they actually do believe in public service, let’s see them serve the public of


Welcome home MPs – your country might need you.