Reporting a Success

A newspaper editor was sitting at his desk, when a bullet crashed through the window and buried itself in the upholstery of the chair just beside his left ear. “Ah,” he said unruffledly, “I knew that new personal column was going to be a success.”

Or, to put it another way, if you’re writing stuff and publishing it, and somebody, somewhere isn’t wishing that you weren’t, you’re not doing it properly.

I’m able to report that this blog has now succeeded on that front.

Readers may be aware that there is a big stooshie going on in indy blogland between those who think that the SNP will deliver indy, and those who think that it won’t. The two sides are represented by Wee Ginger Dug and Wings Over Scotland – both extremely good blogs, well written, and with vigorous comments after each article. Let’s call them the Dugs and the Wingsters.

The feud worries me, because there is a real issue here, demanding thought: do we vote for the SNP in the May 2021 election on the grounds that they’ll deliver indy, or not vote for them on the grounds that they won’t? But with the two sides in entrenched positions there is no thinking going on.

Reading the Dugs blog a day or so ago, however, I noticed that there were a number of Wingsters posting comments. They weren’t getting angry replies, but they weren’t getting any answers either. So I decided to probe a little, to try to open up a substantive debate. I used the shortest and most neutral wording possible to present the Wingsters’ core proposition:

“I don’t think the SNP is committed to independence. In fact, I think they’re actually against independence. It’s very worrying.”

That was the whole comment – just 20 words. It got a response from Wee Ginger Dug himself:

“You are doing Michael Gove’s job for him. You’ve already given up and the only winners are the Conservatives, and they haven’t had to lift a finger – you’ve done it all for them…[It’s] the worst kind of conspiracy theory nonsense. The problem isn’t the SNP – it’s you.”

The blog is run by Paul Kavanagh, a likeable guy and committed fighter for independence, but his put-down makes no point of substance. However, he did post a longer comment later, and we did engage in a sort of substantive debate, part of which surfaced in my post a few days ago, “Why Indy is going nowhere”, on this present site. But it was piecemeal, and his tactic was to pick at the detail of every separate item, whereas the strength of the Wingsters’ case is the overall track record of the SNP over the last five years. Then other commenters piled into me with:

“What a tube you are, seriously is that the best you’ve got LOL Yah divvy.” [What’s a “divvy”? Wish I spoke better Scots.]


“The only problem we have is concern trolls like you desperately trying to demotivate.”


“Where is your evidence of that. There isnt any. There is a far bigger chance that the moon is made of cheese than that being the case. Oh look just another escapee from that other blog talking mince as usual” [“That other blog” is WingsOver Scotland.]

So, no substantive debate. Lost this battle. Give up. Go to bed and console yourself with the thought that the morning will at least bring eggs and coffee.

But no! Our desultory debate seems to have fired up Wee Ginger Dug, because in the morning he’s posted an 1,800-word article roasting Wingsters as an imminent danger to the whole independence movement. And it was written, he says, “because of a comment on this blog yesterday which claimed that the SNP don’t really want independence”, and it’s a glorious piece of excoriating invective, getting 350-odd comments, as against the usual 150 or so.

So thank you, Paul, for opening up this debate. I have no problems with your integrity, your commitment to the cause of independence, or your skills as a public speaker and writer, but I do doubt the accuracy of your analysis of what is the best way forward. And if I used any immoderate language or deflective rhetoric in my postings on your blog, I apologise.

Here is a copy of my last post on Wee Ginger Dug, a concise summary of the Wingsters’ position:

“I do think that the upcoming election, as a number of posters here have said, poses a nasty headache for committed indy supporters. The SNP is a busted flush: its membership has halved since 2014, it’s done nothing in the last six years to shift opinion towards indy (the recent uplift is due entirely to Johnson) or to rebut MSM propaganda, it has no money, its allegedly ring-fenced indy fund has vanished, its leaders unforgivably stitched up Salmond, it’s blocked the Keating court case and the Salmond enquiry, and the 2020 conference is all but cancelled. To ask us to vote for them on the grounds that they will deliver indy is a joke.

“To ask us to vote for them to demonstrate support for independence sounds a lot better, but I don’t get the logic behind it. An electoral mandate is a necessary first step, we’re told – but it’s not a step down the right road. If elected, the SNP will cuckold the electorate for the next five years just as they’ve done for the last five. Ah, but we get them to change after the election, it’s said – but how? Our electoral system gives us a vote every five years. Between elections, all we can do is make a fuss at SNP branch meetings and piddle about with local councillors. How much effect do you think that’s going to have?

“I proposed earlier that the price of an SNP vote should be a manifesto statement that commits them to performing, on a named date, a concrete and verifable act that would challenge the UK – such as holding an indy ref. (The Referendum Bill doesn’t cut it, because it only commits them to passing an enabling bill.) I hold to that proposal. And it doesn’t lose anything, either. If we vote in the SNP at this election, we have another five years of shilly-shallying crap, but if we cut their support we have five years in which to build a properly led movement.”

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