sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul

Wings Over Scotland

The Scotland you wish to see

Posted on November 25, 2012 by

I sometimes worry about the leftward edge of the Yes Scotland coalition. My own politics are very much at that end of the spectrum, but a few times in recent months – most notably when the SNP changed its policy on NATO – I’ve been concerned about the campaign putting the cart before the horse. Some very angry commentary on the NATO issue appeared to imply that we might as well stay in the Union if an independent Scotland was going to sign up to the Alliance, petulantly throwing away all the other progress that independence would enable like a toddler in a huff.

The crucial thing to remember about the referendum is that the “downtrodden masses” are no longer the majority. The great triumph and great evil of Thatcherism, as practiced by both Tory and Labour governments over the last 30 years, was to deliberately and successfully marginalise the poor by bribing those just above them. Hard-pressed homeowners are understandably terrified of falling into the apocalyptic pit of misery that seethes just below them, and have been conditioned to view the poor below, not the rich above, as the greatest threat to their security.

Years and years of attack pieces in the right-wing press have created a culture where working-class people have been persuaded to hate “scroungers”, in the form of the unemployed, the sick, and the disabled rather than those who’ve actually bankrupted the country. The word “fairness” has been cynically inverted and perverted to depict the relatively well-off as victims and the poor as the greedy villains.

Poll after poll suggests support for independence is greatest among the poor, and weakest – rationally enough – among those who are doing best out of the status quo. But the poor alone are not great enough in number to win the referendum. If we unite around a “soak the rich” banner, and a vision of Scotland dictated by those who garner just a few percent of the vote between them in elections, we will enjoy a great feeling of moral superiority, and we will lose.

So I was a little nervous about the tenor and outcome of the “Radical Independence Conference” which took place in Glasgow this weekend.

If the account given by Pat Kane on his “Thoughtland” blog today is anything to go by, those fears may be if not entirely unfounded, then at least exaggerated. It’s a splendid and heartening piece, which heightened my sense of disappointment at not having been able to attend. It portrayed a sensible, thoughtful, inclusive gathering of ideals tempered by pragmatism and realism, conspicuously noted by Kane as he walks the streets of Glasgow city centre after the conference. Ironically (given the name), the event appears to have been moderate, in all the best ways.

Robin McAlpine’s “declaration” for the Conference was plainly-spoken, elegant and inspiring. (You can read it in full at the end of Kane’s blog.) It doesn’t entirely allay our fears that independence will be presented – as suggested by Labour activist Ian Smart this morning in one of his increasingly rare moments of lucidity – such that “an independent Scotland could be the sort of place that lost Labour the 1983 General Election”, but it steps carefully and for the most part lightly.

I don’t mean any of this in a “don’t frighten the horses” way. I’m not proposing that the Yes campaign should lie to the people, acting all nice and centrist until we win and then plunging Scotland straight into old-school 1970s socialism. Quite apart from the moral aspects, that would be a plan doomed to certain defeat. (Which party would enact such policies? Can we really see Scotland electing a Green- or SSP-led government in 2016 after a Yes vote?)

Rather, the point independence supporters MUST keep at the forefront of their minds for the next two years is that in order to change Scotland for the better, we have to win independence first. Too many on the left are happy to occupy the impotent moral high ground, in which principles are proudly displayed as badges of personal honour even as the hundreds of years of progress those principles once brought are turned to ashes around them, by parties who have recognised the very different world we now live in and learned how to seize and deploy its power.

I am, to my core, on and of the left. But I’ve also lived my entire adult life under governments of the right, and time and again I’ve watched the left either be cleverly outmanoeuvered or commit suicide at the point of victory with the opposition in disarray. England is doomed beyond hope of salvation – for as long as the United Kingdom survives, at least – by Labour’s systematic betrayal of its own values, and is regressing towards a dark New Feudalism at a breakneck speed few imagined possible after the hung-Parliament election of 2010. Millions in the north of the country cast pointless, worthless, hopeless votes for want of an alternative.

Scotland still has a chance to escape and set an example of a better way, and anyone threatening that must be regarded with merciless contempt, for the sake of everyone who lives on these islands. The Conservative commentator Hamish Macdonell had a piece in the Independent yesterday titled “Radicals threaten Salmond and Scottish independence campaign”, depicting both the real danger and the massively amplified and distorted version of it which will be used by the Unionist parties and media.

I’m cautiously but significantly encouraged, then, by the reports from the Radical Independence Conference. We on the left must put forward the reasons independence is worth fighting for, but we must also remember that principles don’t vote – people do. The youthful activists driving much of the campaign should heed the experience of the older among us, and be left in no doubt that there is no comfort in saying “We didn’t compromise” if you lose. Unlike elections, if we blow the referendum there won’t be another one along in four or five years. This is our first chance in three centuries, and it may very well be the only one we get.

Wings Over Scotland will continue to present the case for independence – not impartially but truthfully, with facts sourced and cited – and we will fight all of its enemies, be they in the opposition camp or our own. If the reports from RIC2012 are accurate, the latter category will occupy far less of our time than we feared.

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93 to “The Scotland you wish to see”

  1. Holebender says:

    Well said Stu. The thing most “lefties” consistently fail to grasp is that you have to win elections, etc. before you can bring about your own particular Utopia. They end up dying without having achieved anything.

  2. tartanfever says:

    Are we seriously contemplating winning an election and then bringing in the changes we really want ?

    Like the lib dems and tuition fees ?

    I’d suggest treading carefully with such a policy. 

  3. antmcg says:

    Excellent article Stu, as usual :)

    Sorry to go O/T but have you seen this surprising article? 

  4. Bill C says:

    An excellent, thoughtful and well written piece Rev.  Like you “I am to my core on and of  the left”  I am happy to be called a socialist. However, like you I am wary of some who go by the name socialist.  I joined the Scottish Labour Party of Jim Sillars way back in 1976 at the Grosvenor Hotel in Glasgow (a founding member).  I then watched in horror as the great idea of a Scottish socialist party in favour of Scottish independence was destroyed by Trots., agent provocateurs, and naive fools; some more interested in world revloution than bettering the lot of their fellow Scots and some just out to destroy.  A similar crew operated within the EIS teachers union at the time, so called socialists who were so reactionary they gave socialism a bad name.
    One of the greatest threats to Scottish independence is the actions of agent provocateurs whether they be pretend to be extreme nationalists, SNLA etc. or extreme socialists who allow our enemies to stir up talk of North Korea, Albania etc.  No one should be in any doubt that the dirty tricks brigade are already operating and will up their game in the run up to the referendum. 
    Personally I want to see a Scottish socialist republic.  However that can wait, the big prize is independence, then the people of Scotland can choose the government (left or right) that they want and not what middle England wants. Independence must come first, ideology can wait.  

  5. YesYesYes says:

    Surprisingly, I find myself in agreement with much of this, mainly because I am tired, so tired, of Westminster Tory governments. I don’t want my children to go through what I have gone through these last 35 years, seeing their vote count for nothing, absolutely nothing, at election after election and having no choice but to be helpless spectators at Scotland’s continued decline in the UK.
    ‘It doesn’t entirely allay our fears that independence will be presented – as suggested by Labour activist Ian Smart this morning in one of his rare moments of lucidity – such that “an independent Scotland could be the sort of place that lost Labour the 1983 general election”’.
    Let us never, ever, forget that in Scotland, Labour WON the 1983 general election, both in terms of share of the vote and, much more comfortably, in terms of the number of seats. The rest, as they say, is history.

  6. orkers says:

    Win Independence and the people of Scotland can decide what they want, not the ‘Nanny State’ run from Westminster of whatever complexion.
    Trouble is, for the UK it no longer exists.
    At least with Independence it will be those resident in Scotland, not people from elsewhere, particularly those domiciled in the Home counties who will decide our course.
    It isn’t rocket science folks ………Vote ‘Yes’ in 2014

  7. Cuphook says:

    The conference was a great success as a conference; only time will tell if it was successful in uniting the ‘radical left’ into a political block.

    The fears that some people express about this somehow splitting the YES vote are totally unfounded and illogical. If anything it will increase the likelihood of independence by appealing to voters who are not taken with the SNP’s ‘nothing will change’ agenda. The SNP want a management buy out and we want a worker’s cooperative.

    One of the actions agreed yesterday was a voter registration drive. The 16-24 age group are the most enthusiastic for independence and the least likely to vote. We can get them to the ballot box.

    I hope that RIC is able to present itself for election in 2016 with a realistic manifesto for a new Scotland; and, in a partial PR system it’s not too unrealistic to see it in government, albeit as a junior partner.

    Suggestions are also being made to organise the biggest ever anti-Trident demo at Faslane next Spring to let them know that their time is up. YES Scotland – NO Trident.

    Exciting times.

  8. Embradon says:

    Quite the reverse, we first have to win the REFERENDUM. At the subsequent elections the electorate will have choices – left/right/centre; in or out of NATO, the EU and sterling; cohesion or division; defence or offense; re-industrialisation or managed decline; monarchy or republic.
    These will be decided by the people, not dictated by any party.
    If we lose the referendum, as now, no such choices will be available – we will dae as we are telt.

  9. Doug Daniel says:

    It’s interesting that BillC mentions Trots, because there was something about a couple of tweets I saw yesterday (from folk who weren’t at the conference, I should point out) that suddenly got me thinking about entryism, and the fact that there IS perhaps a danger that we could see independence being hijacked by those whose real objective is to sign up people to their real causes, rather than just supporting independence.

    I think it’s a danger that will not come to pass, though.

    Incidentally, in regards to the name of the conference, it got me thinking that in today’s world, where corporate greed and powerful individuals are trying to force the world into closer and closer integration (for example, “you’d better keep your taxes as low as everyone else, or we’re off”), the very act of declaring independence is, in itself, just about as radical an act a nation of people could hope to do.

    We all know, I think, that these sort of forces are on the side of the union – they want Scotland in the UK where we are easily manipulated by their power-base in London. Just by placing a cross in a box in 2014, each and every one of us who votes for independence is subverting that corporate power, and sticking our middle finger up at those who, as RevStu so rightly puts it, are of a Neo-Feudalist mindset.

    Regardless of whose vision of a future Scotland we listen to, the very act of declaring independence is the most radical thing any of us could hope to be involved in. 

  10. muttley79 says:

    Good article.  I am also left-wing and have sympathy with a lot of the arguments connected to this.  However, at the march for independence a few months ago, I was behind a small group, who occasionally chanted “No to Nato, Salmond must go!”  It was only a few individuals in the group but it did illustrate to me that there could, and can be a problem, if some on the left do not realise that we are voting for an idea, in this case independence, and that the referendum is not an election.

    Also, the voter registration idea is excellent and very positive.

  11. Cuphook says:

    @Doug Daniel

    The Pat Kane piece is worth reading. The Socialist Workers were there (well, at least one, who I spoke to socially and then heard speak later) but they turn up for anything and were even at the march in September. As Pat Kane points out the ‘organisational skills and autonomous discipline’ prevented any grandstanding, and I think that this will also apply to any attempts at entryism.

    This was a meeting involving the old left and the new radical movements, and I even heard a call for the divisions of old to be put aside and for the leadership to be handed over to the new generation (who were very impressive). It was definitely a transitional day and an evolution in Scottish politics as even generation X realised that generation X-Box was the new kid in town.

    There were mutterings from some about the SNP’s NATO policy but also an appreciation of the fact that the SNP had got us to this moment in time, and a welcome for their socially inclusive policies. You should have heard the invective directed at Lamont – she had no friends there.

    At one of the breakout sessions I attended yesterday a non-Scot made the point that the UK is the USA’s main ally and causing disruption and hardship in many countries. His point was that Scottish independence breaks the UK and if it happens there will be dancing in the streets of a grateful world. I think that scenario also brings to mind the power of the vested interests we are upsetting.

  12. Macart says:

    I remember when the Nato vote was taken recently at the SNP conference more than one ‘supposed’ leftwing radical declaring against both the SNP and independence on the Guardian CiF columns. Obviously trolling radar went of the scale at this point, still considering the reaction of Urquhart and Finnie and the surface damage they inflicted on the SG at the time, you have to wonder at some folks priorities. Certainly I’d say this example goes right to the heart of the Rev’s excellent article. When do personal fights and principles outweigh the principle of a greater ideal or freedom?

    For those who wish to see an example of how that works just check out the Labour front bench.

  13. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

    I suspect a lot of people are fed up with the right and left wing  rhetoric spouted by the media.

    The reality is that Westminster political parties are all right wing. The new socialism is social justice, as praticed by the nordic countries, which also encaptulates private enterprise in a responsible way.

    The danger is that the no brigade with their media allys will succeed in convincing people you can’t have both. Well the nordic countries have proven you can.        

  14. Cuphook says:

    Without wanting to glom the thread, this editorial in The Herald is worth reading. Even they are disgusted by the monster which they helped to create.

  15. velofello says:

    As a student i learned of Robert Owen and the New Lanark Mills. i found it an inspiring tale  and I suppose that is my politics, neither a Socialist nor a Tory.I never have voted Tory and i would not now vote Labour. The SNP’s policies fit best with me –  free tuition,NHS, engagement with entrepreneurs to provide them with a business environment whereby they can develop and prosper.
    i said in an earlier response on Wings that if Starbucks and their likes, that provide no value-added to their business activity, were to leave because of a requirement to pay corporation tax what’s the loss? Small local entrepreneurs can step in to sell a cup of coffee or two.

  16. Arbroath1320 says:

    First and foremost we MUST win the referendum. Without winning the referendum everything else is worthless in my view.
    I must congratulate the RiC on their very well attended conference yesterday. I’ll bet the Tories, Labour and Lib/Dems are sitting at home today just wishing they could attract such a number of attendees to any of their conferences. Hell even combined they might very well struggle to reach the 800 number I saw quoted on Twitter yesterday.
    While it is great that we have an “organisation” that is prepared to openly discuss what we should and shouldn’t be doing as an independent country just now I think we should all still remember that this is all it is, discussion. Nothing coming out of yesterday’s conference can or will be enacted, in my view, until we have achieved INDEPENDENCE.
    This is one of the problems with the MSM. All they see are 800 people discussing what needs to be done and they (MSM) see that as a split in the Independence campaign. What they fail to realise is that no matter where we stand, SNP, Greens, SSP, Solidarity, Labour/Tory/LibDem for Independence etc we ALL have our own views on how an Independent Scotland would look. What they (MSM) totally fail to get to grips with is that we have a campaign that CAN both push for Independence and also at the same time hold open debate about how this future Independent Scotland would look and operate. You definitely can NOT say that about the NO campaign.

  17. Doug Daniel says:

    Cuphook – if the Herald is serious about the need to get away from Punch & Judy politics, they should perhaps take a good look at themselves first. Magnus Gardham and his two lackies, Tom Gordon and Paul Hutcheon, have done more than their fair share to bring us to this state of affairs. Gordon’s recent “expose” blog about Salmond inviting the Weirs back to Bute house for more tea and Tunnocks was a perfect example of the sort of low politics he supports.

  18. Doug Daniel says:

    Arbroath – it”s interesting to note that the 800 figure quoted by the organisers of the event (which was all-ticket, meaning they do in fact know how many people attended) is above the 650 figure we see in the media from people like Hamish Macdonell.

    Typical journalists.

    Oh, and note how Macdonell’s article seeks to make this seem like RIC presents a schism between the SNP and the Greens. Everything has to be about the parties. Right-wing journalists simply cannot comprehend politics that transcends party lines.

  19. Cuphook says:

    @Doug Daniel

    Agreed. As I said, they helped create the monster and continue to feed it. I have heard people, outwith the politic anorak, mention that Labour are bringing parliament into disrepute so maybe the failure of this tactic is causing some sectors of the media realise their mistake.

    To be fair to the media, I think the 650 figure was based on advanced sales as that’s the figure I heard in the morning. A lot of people just turned up on the day.

    The organisers deserve all the congratulations they get for making such an event happen. And I can’t emphasis enough the positive feeling that I got from watching a new generation of activists taking over the flame. I spoke to an elderly man whose niece had advised him of the event, and a middle aged woman who told me that she was proud of the fact that her children were capable of achieving what she wasn’t able to. We’ll have to wait and see.

  20. Marcia says:

    It is good to see these Conferences springing up. If there is one for those of the business community then I will welcome that too. The word radical will mean different things to different people. I’ve been a radical all my life. I have said for many decades now that Independence will be achieved if we can get beyond party political and speak to the wider public who are not that involved or interested in party politics. It is happening although it may not seem that way just now. Scots are finally talking about Independence which they did not in the 1950’s to last year. The default position for many is ‘No but’ because they don’t hear enough of the positive case yet. We have to get beyond the but and tell them things will be worse for them if they vote No.

  21. tartanfever says:


    Really ? – So NATO, EU membership, the Monarchy, Sterling  and so on will be decided AFTER the referendum will it ?

    I’d suggest a rather major reality check from yourself. Maybe you’d like to tell me which major political party standing in Scotland supports leaving the EU, dumping the monarchy not being part of NATO or the EU. 

    Don’t tell me – a Green/SDA alliance perhaps ? Possibly you could also tell us the effect on politics on Scotland if the SNP on being victorious on independence then turn round and reverse all their key policies on which they have been campaigning ?

  22. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

    What about the front page of today’s Times?

    Trade Unions telling the Labour party to get stuffed-they won’t support The Better Together bullshit etc.

    This could be very significant. What remains of the British establishment? The BBC and Orange Order?         

  23. Cuphook says:

    @ronald alexander mcdonald

    From The Herald: The STUC and TUC are meeting next month to discuss independence.
    ‘next month’s meeting marks the start of a contingency planning exercise by the unions in case voters do support separation.’ Tom Gordon still having trouble spelling independence.  

  24. douglas clark says:

    The point about independence is that we, the people living in Scotland, get to decide these things. Frankly these have not proven to be the  ‘hot button’ issues that the small groups that feel very strongly indeed about these matters, either pro or con, would wish them to be. You are assuming a degree of double-dealing by the SNP that hardly squares with their gradualist approach. But it would be strange would it not if we bothered to get independence in the first instance if we did not think that we could and should do some things differently.
    This battle will be won or lost on the economic prospects for an independent Scotland compared to the economic prospects of remaining as North Britain and, hopefully, on defending the principles of universality. I would imagine that the Scottish electorate will have a substantially different set of priorities to rUK after we go our separate ways.

    Embradon is IMHO right. The true shaping of the nation will take place after independence, not before. It is not as if you get a guarantee either way, is it?

  25. ronald alexander mcdonald says:


    Tom Gordon still having trouble with the truth! 

  26. muttley79 says:


    If there is one for those of the business community then I will welcome that too.

    Yes, this is a good point.  I think, and have thought for a while, that the middle-class and the politically middle of the roaders are going to be to significant in the result of the referendum.  This has traditionally been a difficult nut to crack for the SNP, and supporters of constitutional change generally.  This element of the population are usually more cautious of change.

  27. Boorach says:

    O/T but how’s about the leveson enquiry reccomending an independent body to ever see the. MSM, giving it teeth and the wasteminste mob actualily  implementing the reccomendations.

    Could keep them busy from now till the referendum sorting out the BBC and Scotland’s newspaper industry!!

    Each breach of fair, unbiased and ethical reporting being punishable by fines paid to the complainant… the YES campaign could certainlyvibe well funded! 

  28. Scott Douglas says:

    Going back to the earlier talk about entryism, the Labour Party ended up being destroyed by entryists whose names were Blair and Brown.

  29. Arbroath1320 says:

    Looks like the Independence parties will have around 98 seats in the new Catalan government out of a total 135 seats. Hmm….Independence anyone? 😀

  30. Ronald Henderson says:

    I attended the inaugural meeting of the Yes Scotland campaign in Perth today. There were around 100 people and the atmosphere was uplifting and electric.
    I didn’t see any ‘Socialists’; I saw only people who had gathered together to fight for their country’s freedom.
    They were of all types, trades, professions, shapes and sizes. I really couldn’t give a bugger about socialism versus capitalism. God alone knows what Scotland will be like in the next century. God alone knows what the planet will be like then too.
    But this I do know. I want freedom for my country and for my ain folk to be able to decide their ain future in whatever way suits them best. That is what drives me.
    Have trust in yourselves. Don’t fall into these political traps of left and right. They are an illusion and ought not to be countenanced at this stage in our battle for Scotland’s soul.

  31. Arbroath1320 says:

    Seems that there are allegations that one of the Spanish unionist parties has been found out trying to “fix” polling result in their favour by making votes for other parties invalid. Hmm unionism working well across Europe it seems.

  32. Dal Riata says:

    The inaugural meeting of the Yes Scotland Argyll & Bute Local Group will be taking place at 2pm on Saturday 1st December in Oban. Anybody else here at WOS going to attend? Anyway folks, I’ll be there and I’ll let you know how it goes. I’m looking forward to it!

    We got a busload to the march in Edinburgh in September even without any assistance, such as advertising from the Yes campaign. On our return, there were a fair few people coming up to me and asking me about the march and setting questions like, “How did you know about it?”,  “Why was there no information about it on the TV?” and, even better (!), “So, when’s the next one?”

    So you see folks, there are people out there – people who may not be political anoraks or are just too busy getting on with their lives – who want more information, who want to be more aware of the ‘real’ truth about Scotland’s potential after a Yes vote in the referendum, or even what the referendum is really all about!

    Well, we know the MSM is not going to deliver any truths or positivity about Scottish independence to the general population. Unfortunately, and still for many, that is where they get their ‘news’.

    How the Vote No propaganda from the BBC can be countered, well, as of yet I don’t know. But the dead-tree media can be countered by the likes of this site and others online who are exposing them for the liars they are on a daily basis.

    I believe that a Yes to independence can be done, but it will need to be done by the people outwith the so-called ‘professional’ media, people like you and me at grassroots level, online and face-to-face. 

    But won’t that victory be all the sweeter for it! To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, it will be a victory.. of the people, by the people, for the people. Cannae beat it!

    So, to Stu and all those who post on here, keep up the good work, keep positive and we will win! 

  33. James T says:

    Sorry Rev,

    I can only agree up to a point. I, myself, am pretty much the middle-higher middle class I would say. The only debt Me and the missus have is on the house, and we have the savings to cover that! 
    Even being in the ‘comfortable’ part of the middle class, I still seethe at the inequality I see not just in Scotland, but in the rest of the UK too. If Scotland does become Independent in less than 2 years time, then believe me, I will be so happy and proud. But at the same time, I will look south of the border, and wonder what the hell is going to happen in the North of England. I feel terribly sorry for them. They also, like us, never voted Tory, but now they really will be on their own. If I could take them with us, I would, but I know that is just not possible. In Yorkshire alone, there are 10 million people. One large county of England is double the population of Scotland. That is why we can’t take them with us. We would be outvoted as a people once more.
    Going back to your argument about the poor voting for Independence. I don’t think it’s inequality that divides the ‘classes’ here. I think it’s knowledge and the truth. If everyone in Scotland knew the true history of this land; How there never was a tribe called Scots, but that Scots are the 6 tribes of this land (Picts, Gaels, Bretons, Angles, Vikings and Normans), the Wars of Independence, the tragedy and glory of the Stuarts, the Darien Scheme and how it ended in disaster by manipulation of the ‘great’ King Billy, and to the Golden Age of Scotland (1760 – 1820) when we were the greatest nation in the world…then I think people would realise that we are a Great Nation; a Great People…and have nothing to fear.
    When I read the books – Magnus Magnusson’s ‘Scotland’, as well as Arthur Herman’s ‘The Scottish Enlightenment’, I was furious at how our history is not being taught. I spoke to an English colleague and asked him what he got taught at school; he told me they got everything (Roman England, 1066, English Kings, Empire, WW1 and WW2). When I did my History O Grade in the early 1980’s, I got taught Farming….Farming and that bloody runrig system. I was also taught of 1860 to 1720…but that was painted as a Great Britain thing.
    It’s beyond being a damn disgrace. It’s almost genocidal history. Wiping out our past to make us look like we’re a poorer version of upper England.
    Teach the people of Scotland their real history, and the Referendum will be won hands down! 

  34. James T says:

    I’m going on a bit of a rant (continuing from where I left off).

    To me, I believe the SNP need to do a ‘drip-drip’ feed on teh Scottish masses by getting them to look up their own history. Certain things need to be taught to the people. How King William of Orange was actually indifferent to the Scots, and was extremely happy to see us shafted during the Darien disaster. I’m not picking on the Rangers fans here, but if they were to look up his part in the Darien disaster, then I think it would leave many of them shocked at how much ‘Billy’ cared for us; he didn’t. He was only interested in securing the English throne (remember, King William was King of 2 nations (England and Scotland because the Union didn’t exist at that point). If William was really shown to the Scottish people as to who he really was (a devious schemer), then that might make people think twice.
    When Scotland did become the most ‘enlightened’ nation on the Earth (and I still believe we are that (I do!! honest)), I don’t think the Scottish people are taught enough about that period. This should be taught in schools to every child, thus…to inspire them of what they could become ,and can be done, in a small nation like Scotland. A small nation with a people who punched way, way above their weight …and still do.

    This is what I would do if I was the SNP. Drip feed the history. Drop wee things in, so that people look it up…and they will. We have always been a curious people. Give us a bit of info, and we end up learning, and becoming masters at it!

    And I suppose….I’ll end my wee rant there !!  

  35. Silverytay says:

    Arbroath 1320      That date is already in my diary for next year .  There is no way I am letting the wife stitch me up next year by booking a weekend away .
    Ronald Henderson     Well said , good post , Independence is to precious to fall into the trap of left , right or anything else that divides the YES campaign .  We need to keep the broad church until Independence is achieved and then the people of Scotland can vote for the policies that suit them best .

  36. Bill C says:

    Had a look at Pat Kane’s Thoughtland blog on the RIC event. He seems pretty enthused by the whole thing. Anyone know anything about the organisers, how it was funded, is the intention to form a RIC party etc.?

  37. Cuphook says:

    @Bill C

    The organisers were just like minded people, and all of them under 25. I guess that they were fed up with the apathy on the left. It was funded by ticket sales and donations. Discussion now centres on the way forward and it’s an open forum (like YES Scotland of which it will participate in) so just register for emails and get involved. I’d like to see, if not a political party, a political block form.

    You’ll see us at the march next September and we hope to see you all at Faslane in the Spring.

  38. muttley79 says:

    @James T

    Agree very much with you about the North of England.  The decline of heavy industry affected Tyneside, Liverpool, Manchester, just as badly as Glasgow, other areas of the central belt.  I do think Scotland is similar in many ways to the North of England.  The football links are strong, traditional heavy industry as mentioned, not voting for Tories, decidely left leaning in politics, drinking and other stuff!  They also have a great musical heritage.  If we get a Yes vote I hope we do a lot of deals with the North of England, in transport and other areas. 

  39. Silverytay says:

    A real good turnout at Faslane in the spring would show them we were serious about getting rid of Trident when we vote for Independence .  Hopefully a good turnout would lead to a lot of publicity in the m.s.m which in turn could do a lot of good for the YES march in September.

  40. Jimbo says:

    Usual rubbish guy that does not live in Scotland telling people in Scotland how to vote???

    Dear god some people really are beyond parady.

    Rangers win the tax case.
    Rangers win the spl witch hunt.
    And Scotland votes to stay in the union.

    Someone is going to have a nervous breakdown in the next few years.

  41. annamac says:

    Dear Stu, I am relieved to see you are supporting the aims of the left, as outlined in yesterday’s RIConf 2012.   There really has to be a wider vision of I-scotland to ensure maximum possible yes votes.   The disillusioned and disheartened need to see much more evidence of hope and determination for a better Scotland and the SG, despite it’s efforts, is not going to be able to carry the public with it on its own. 

  42. Cuphook says:


    You’ll need to narrow it down: David Cameron? Nick Clegg? Bill Clinton?

    And you could be right when you say ‘some people really are beyond parady’.

  43. Barney Thomson says:

    You can listen to a radical here –

    Provides an extra dimension to the new radical viewpoint which the Rev covers in his excellent article. 

  44. Holebender says:

    That’s alright, Jimbo. When you have your nervous breakdown the NHS will still be functioning is Scotland. They’ll take care of you.

  45. KOF says:

    @James T

     “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
    JOHN 8:32 

  46. mogabee says:

    Dal Riata
                  I’ll be going along to A&B inaugural meeting and will be taking along my undecided partner! Looking forward to it.

    Jimbo– It’s good that you’re following the comments. Don’t be afraid to ask questions as there’s bound to be someone could answer them. If you just want to listen, that’s ok too, it’s how most folk start.

  47. Jimbo says:


    I was pointing out AGAIN that the blogger who lectures people in Scotland on how to vote and does not actually live here is a hypocrite.

    What Scotland not good enough to live in or something, we have no jobs here?

    Not sure on this but will the blogger be allowed to vote in 2014 as he lives in England?

  48. Jimbo says:


    What you mean we will still have an nhs even after this site claimed Rangers owed 70 billion trillion zillion in tax i’m shocked to say the least.

    Humble pie all round i think.

  49. Cuphook says:


    I’m aware of what you were attempting to do. Were you aware of what I was doing?

  50. Holebender says:

    Jimbo, why do you bother to read the blog if it causes you such anguish?

  51. Jimbo says:


    I would ask questions if this site was fair and balanced and not propaganda akin to the chinese communist party.

    Rather than focus on the real problems of people in Scotland it’s focus is more based on hatred of people/groups it does not like.

    Referring to small children as barly human just cause they go to watch a Rangers game, yeah some really great debate goes on here.

  52. Jimbo says:


    Simple if people don’t point out hypocrisy and hatred of certain groups of people by bloggers and let them go unchallenged we won’t have a democracy but a dictatorship.

  53. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    It’s Jimbo, everybody! Hi Jimbo!

  54. Bill C says:


    Thanks for the info. guys.

    @Jimbo- As an ex-teacher, I apologise for the obvious lack of good spelling skills being taught in Scottish schools under the union. Please contact your local primary school after independence and I’m sure they will be able to help.

  55. Cuphook says:


    Seriously, you’re posting on here because of some perceived slight to your tribal loyalty towards a football team. Let’s see: you support Rangers and therefore the Union and fuck anything like reason.

    The fact that you can post on here indicates that it’s ‘fair and balanced’. If you don’t like what the blogger says why not argue critically or start your own blog. Jesus, I’m beginning to think that the Rev has a weekly slot set aside for you arseholes.

  56. Cuphook says:

     @Bill C
    No problem. If it’s your kind of politics get involved. Things will become more coherent and I sure information will reach everyone. The videos of Saturday should be online soon so give them a watch.

  57. Bill C says:

    @Cuphook – Will do, thanks again.

  58. Arbroath1320 says:

    O/T could this be yet another “benefit” of the union. A new report from the IFS suggests that VAT may have to rise to 25%!!!! The article is down the bottom on the right hand side for those who can stomach reading it.

  59. cynicalHighlander says:

    They must like the bwankers more than Brown@co did, tax the plebs more to save the economy. 

  60. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

    @Arb @ Cynical

    Nope. VAT will not rise. The VAT figure was only used to provide perspective.

    The real push is hidden in one line that says that Welfare may have to be cut by an additional £23 Billion on top of existing cuts instead of any tax rises.

    Thats at least another £2 Billion from Scottish Welfare (£3 Billion in total including existing cuts in the pipeline) and a total reduction from Circa £10 Billion down to £7 Billion for Scotland.

    God only knows what they think cutting Welfare by 30% from 2010 equivalent will do?!?!         

  61. Arbroath1320 says:

    I wonder how that very nice Mr Darling will react to THIS IFS report. Oops sorry I forgot he ONLY responds to IFS reports that he can spin to attack the SNP, silly me 😀
    It’s not just what they think the further Billions of pounds will achieve but more importantly WHERE are they going to make these additional Benefit cuts?

  62. Doug Daniel says:

    I’ve just been looking at the RIC’s latest blog: 

    I was particularly intrigued by this bit: 

    “We are:

    For a Green and environmentally sustainable economy
    Internationalist and opposed to Trident, war and Nato
    For a social alternative to cuts, inequality, austerity and privatisation
    For a modern republic and real democracy
    Committed to equality and opposition to discrimination on grounds of gender, race, disability or sexuality

    The campaign belongs to everyone who holds a radical vision of an Independent Scotland.” 

    What a sad indictment it is on our society that things as basic as being opposed to war or discrimination of gender, race, disability or sexuality should be considered “radical”. These should be basic building blocks of society, not outlandish ideas. But the reality is, these things ARE radical in 21st century UK, because none of the three London parties pay much attention to these aims, not even the Champagne Socialists.

    I want all this and more for Scotland. 

  63. Dal Riata says:

    Thanks for that link!

    Good on you for going to the A&B Yes meeting! I hope it can help to make your partner a ‘decided’ (for Yes, of course!)

    PS Who’s this enraged Jimbo we find among us? What the hell’s the matter with him/her? Rev, what unholy crime did you commit to upset him/her so?

  64. dadsarmy says:

    Interesting article and postings. I’m with Ronald Henderson.

    Independence is not about keeping or getting rid of Trident or NATO.
    It’s not about getting rid of or getting more nuclear reactors.
    It’s not about staying in the EU, joining EFTA, or going it alone.
    It’s not about keeping the Queen or having a republic.
    It’s not about the pound (perhaps the weakest claim).
    It’s not even about no tuition fees, free prescriptions, care for the elderly.
    It’s not about cutting corporation tax, fuel duty, airport duty, VAT.
    It’s not about a fairer socially inclusive society, nor about jobs for graduates, jobs for the long-term unemployed, workfare – or benefit “scroungers”.

    It’s about our right to choose what we want to do about all of these, and more, much more. It’s about freedom of choice.

  65. Doug Daniel says:

    Dal Riata – Jimbo’s a The Rangers fan who found the blog after one of Stu’s posts about Rangers several months ago, and unfortunately for the rest of us he’s remembered the URL ever since.

  66. Cuphook says:


    While independence is not about these things it does concern them. If we are to have a choice in 2016 we need to organise and be able to lay out an alternative. That has to begin now – along with working in YES Scotland. An alternative Scotland is possible – but only if we do the work.

    Trident, however, is something that we don’t need to put off. All parts of the independence campaign are agreed that it has to go. If we can organise the biggest demonstration of that intent – a direct challenge to the greatest symbol of UK imperialism, we should do so.       

  67. Arbroath1320 says:

    Would you buy a used car from any of these people?

    If your answer to the question is no then why on earth would you buy the drivel they are currently pushing as their version of “jam tomorrow” 2014?

  68. dadsarmy says:

    All parts of the independence campaign are agreed that it has to go.”

    No they’re not. I’m not for instance. According to some poll recently, 67% of Scotland want Trident to go, but 33% don’t – me one of them. Well, in my case I don’t really care, and perhaps most of that 33% don’t really care either. Whether they / we care of not, however, with Independence Trident will go. It would go if 0% of Scotland wanted it to go. Why? Because the UK defence establishment would be out of its mind to let it stay, because at any time whatever Scottish Government came into power could demand it go – and if “extreme” enough, to go in 2 months.

    But that’s not my point. For the sake of argument, 50% of Scotland is against nuclear power, but 50% of Scotland are for. Maybe they work at Torness or Hunterston, or have friends or neighbours that do. Or maybe they don’t like windfarms. Or maybe they’re just afraid that no nuclear reactors will mean brownouts, their heating or TV going off. But that’s not my point.

    EU – well, I’ve seen a few postings that say that if Scotland couldn’t stay in the EU, they’d change their minds and vote YES. Or YES if it meant getting rid of the Queen. Now that’s more like my point, but not to definitely say we leave the EU or get rid of monarchy. Just to let them know it will be a choice we’ll all be free to make – which isn’t now.

    The point is NOT to put off any voter from voting YES to independence by totally associating any policy with Independence. Just the choice to have the policy – or not.

    Basically what I’m saying is that political parties or groups can have policies, the YES campaign should have – YES to choices. I guess basically I’m agreeing with Rev – without the left / right / centre bit.

  69. dadsarmy says:

    Edit didn’t work (maybe too long) and I forgot a bit.

    The point about Trident for instance was that associating Independence with Trident removes the choice of that 33% after Independence. So Independence would be carrying baggage, removing choice, just the same as the Union limits choice.

    And it’s a problem; setting out a vision for Scotland can involve making choices, which not everyone wants. The more choices made before the referendum, the less can vote YES to see a chance of their own personal vision realised.

    Voting YES to independence needs to be an option for 100% of Scotland – whatever their beliefs or needs. It needs to be a vision of what CAN be, not what will be.

  70. Cuphook says:


    I’m not following your logic. You’re saying that by reinforcing a position that has already being stated publicly that those of the contra-position will be dissuaded from supporting it?

    As you say ‘with Independence Trident will go’ – everyone is aware of that, therefore, it can only be assumed that anyone voting YES cares more about independence than Trident, and, as you say, you don’t really care about trident, so I’m not sure what your argument is. It was for that reason that I identified it as the one issue we don’t need to put off.

    Given that you then go on to argue that we shouldn’t argue about policies which I said we didn’t need to argue about at the moment, I can only assume that you’re arguing for the sake of it.

  71. James T says:

    KOF says:

    @James T

    ”And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
    JOHN 8:32


    Hi KOF

    I believe the Arabs have a similar saying;

    The Truth always rises up…


  72. James T says:

    For people like Jimbo, we shouldn’t be jumping down his throat. For Jimbo, if he wishes to come here, then he needs to put Rangers to one side, and debate politics and history, not the Big Tax case. For me, I couldn’t give a monkeys if Rangers, Celtic, or the whole garbage that is Scottish Football vanished today.
    To Jimbo; there will be Rangers fans on this site who actually want independence, just as much as the are Celtic fans who want to remain in the Union.
    My view on the Glasgow Giants is this …I would be overjoyed if both dropped their flags (Union Jack / Tri-colour) and supported the Team, rather than the politics that haunt each club. Those politics are poisonous, and actually belong not in this century, or the last one, but the 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. No one is alive from those times, so why does it matter! 
    And before someone shouts’ it’s tradition’….well, traditions change. The world changes all the time. You either adapt, or get left behind. I look at some of the poorer places of this world, and their attitudes to certain politics mixed with religion…and it ain’t good. The Middle East, the Caucasus, the Balkans, North Africa…and not one of these areas has a thriving and stable economy. 
    Believe me, in 200 years time; the thinking, the culture, and attitudes in Scotland will have changed again. If we were to go forward in that time, I honestly believe that we would struggle to relate to the thinking of that time (Scotland might be in a brand new Union with the UK, Ireland or Scandinavia, and we might all be Buddhists !!! – who knows !!!!).
    So Jimbo, do join us in the argument. Put Rangers to the side, and argue your case. Most of us here would like to know the reasons as to why we should remain with the Union (certainly the ‘Better Together’ campaign are struggling, so you can do no worse). At the same time, you never know, you might just learn something, that might …just might …make you sit up.

  73. Silverytay says:

    James T    Sorry to be the bearer of bad news , but I see that the poisonous politics that you refer to is away to rear its ugly head in our referendum .    The DUP are going to campaign against Scottish Independence .  One would have thought that they had enough to worry about on their own side of the sea without interfering in Scotland,s democratic right to self determination .  We can only hope that when the Scottish people see the type of bigots and right wing groups that back the no campaign that the people will decide that a modern day Scotland deserves better than that .

  74. cadgers says:

    @ James T. Well said sir!
    I am probably naive but I just want independence, after that any stramash (apart fron trident, that has to go) over currency,EU, queen etc will be settled by the Scottish people.
    2014 is NOT a vote for the SNP. Hells bells, if yon tories after independence want to stand they can…..

  75. scottish_skier says:


    Yes, pro-union groups include:
    – British Orange Order
    – British (Conservative and) Democratic Unionist (loyalist) Party
    – British One Nation (Conservative) Labour Party
    – British National Party
    – British Defence Leagues
    – British Conservative & Unionist (inc loyalist) Party
    – British National Front
    Meanwhile, after Scottish NHS seemingly and most annoyingly in too ‘good health’

    due to lack of privatisation, the daily mail attempts a hatchet job:

  76. Silverytay says:

    Scottish_Skier        When I vote yes I will be voting to ditch the poisonous policies of the union .  As far as I am concerned I dont want the baggage of tribal loyalties in a new Scotland    I want a fair and progressive Scotland where the people vote for whatever party puts forward proposals that benefit the people of Scotland . Thank goodness we get the chance to start with a clean sheet in 2014 .

  77. Silverytay says:

    Scottish_Skier      Apologiesif my last post does not come across to well .
    I am having one of these mornings , as it is the busiest time of year for me I cant expect anything better now until January .

  78. tartanfever says:

    douglas clark – 

    so you’ve just said that currency (sterling), NATO membership, EU membership and so on are NOT hot topics in the current independence debate. I must be listening to a different news source than you cause really most of what i’ve heard over the last month has been precisely these topics.

    And you also clearly suggest (along with a huge underlying hint from this article) that as a basic premise all that matters is winning the referendum, it doesn’t matter what policy promises you make as a political party to achieve that as if independence is achieved the slate will somehow be wiped clean and we will start again.

    So answer me this, on achieving independence and a return to power for the SNP government in the first Scottish general election, the SNP break a pledge of reducing personal taxes and instead increase personal taxation by 2p in the pound but at the same time drop the rate of corporation tax by 2p in the pound.

    Thats ok is it ? Because as long as we win the referendum nothing else matters, least of all the complete mistrust of all SNP politicians by the public for years to come.

    What a lovely way to start our new country !

    Seriously, what some people are advocating here is that it’s ok to make policy pledges to ‘fool’ the electorate and then dump them on election. That’s quite simply not the way to go about this and would prove disastrous for politics in the long term.


  79. G H Graham says:

    I read about 20 of the individual “death” reports via the BBC at 

    until I reached a conclusion: it’s my very strong impression that the BBC is attempting to undermine the SNP by impressing upon readers that the Scottish NHS is: –

    1. Dangerous

    2. Devious

    3. Untrustworthy

    Sound familiar?

    Many of those “scary” reports however are nothing more than recommendations to adjust policies & procedures in light of minor deviations that caused nothing more than an inconvenience.

    Of those that reported a death, it’s obvious that many of the fatalities were inevitable but family members chose to make a complaint anyway about process & procedure even though there is no suggestion that the outcome could have been different.

    A family death is invariably traumatic and it should come as no surprise that some relatives chose to vent their grief in ways that to observers might be considered uncreasonable. That does not mean that NHS Scotland is fundamentally flawed or corrupt.

    Is it perfect? Of course not. Are some deaths avoidable? Of course they are. Is there a willful negligence at work there? I really don’t believe so. Does the NHS try to improve its care performance? Of course it does. 

    BBC Scotland reads like the Daily Mail today but I’m no longer surprised by anything the BBC does anymore, now that its dysfunctionality, bias, criminality & corruption has begun to be revealed.

  80. MajorBloodnok says:


    I think you are accidentally or deliberately conflating the SNP’s policies with what the democratic options will be once Scotland is independent.

    No one is suggesting that anyone make promises now just to get independence and then back-track on these once in power (we’re not all Lib-Dems you know, or Unionist politicians all of sudden thinking that vague Devo-More is actually an excellent idea – so you should stop all this independence nonsense and we’ll see you alright, just like we did after 1979…er…).

    I know that real differences between the policies of political parties is an odd concept to grasp if one considers only the Westminster model but the stages for Scotland’s future democracy surely are:

    1. Vote YES for an independent Scotland;
    2. Look forward to the first full Scottish general election in 2016;
    3. Vote for the Scottish political party whose polices you want (note, these will not all be the same);
    4. Hope that your party preference gains enough support to either form the government or get some of its policies made into law through cross-party deals or coalition.

    I know, it’s rather old fashioned, but that’s how democracy works and for the first time, well, ever, it looks like the people of Scotland will be able to vote for what they want with a full franchise and without the interference or indifference of another government located 400 miles to the south.

    Finally, not all supporters of independence are members of or overtly support the SNP (I’m not a member of any party nor do I want to be) and that, as most people here will agree, is a very good thing.

  81. MajorBloodnok, very well said, Sir. O/T, Rev, at what point, on Gandhi’s qoute, do you think we’re at?

  82. dadsarmy says:

    I could be wrong, but as far as I know the YES campaign havn’t taken a position on Trident – nor should they. That’s what I’m saying. The SNP have stated their position, Green and SSP have, so have of course CND and the Radicals. By all means have a demonstration as part of one or more of those groups, and Independence is the only means to that end. But it’s not THE reason for Independence. Some of those 33% who don’t want rid of it may not even want it to go – there may even be some wacko somewhere who lives in hope of a silo in every glen, and a Trident replacement submarine parked outside their back door.

    Don’t worry – it isn’t me, it’s the Duncan I’d want, with a few Typhoons in my garden ready for take-off. But then I’m not a member of any party or group.

  83. Ronald Henderson says:

    Imagine yourself on the front line just before the Battle of Bannockburn starts and you hear a couple of guys behind you arguing about whether blue shirts or green shirts were better…wouldn’t you want to turn round and knock their heads together?
    There’s a battle coming folks. We must win it. Please try and stay focussed.

  84. dadsarmy says:

    Yes indeed, focus. That focus is on getting a YES vote in 2014.

    And to get Independence we need over 50% of those who vote, to vote YES.

  85. Luigi says:

    Surely, the main point about independence is that, for the first time in history, scots will be able to make these big decisions on Trident, NHS, NATO, EU, etc etc themselves. For me the big attraction of independence is not any particular issues (important as they are), it’s the ability to take responsibility and decide for ourselves.

  86. Macart says:

    Many parties, many policies, lots of paths to choose from, the ultimate sweetie shop if you will. Vote NO and you have no choice its red or blue, but its still Westminster millionaires making your mind up for you. Vote YES if you wish to have choice in your governance. Left, right, radical, moderate, hug trees, Europe aye/naw, nukes out, nato in, bank regulation, free market all in your hands, not theirs.

    People can have all of that or none of it our choice so long as we vote YES. 

  87. KOF says:

    Silverytay says:26 November, 2012 at 9:10 am

    “as it is the busiest time of year for me I cant expect anything better now until January .”

    Are you Santa?! 😀 

  88. Silverytay says:

    KOF      I wish I was , I would deliver Independence tomorrow .
    I am a primary school janitor up to my neck in rehearsals for carol concerts & school shows and inbetween dealing with the effects of all the children who take ill at this time of year .
    I still would not change my job for anything ! well maybe Independence . 

  89. douglas clark says:

    You say:
    so you’ve just said that currency (sterling), NATO membership, EU membership and so on are NOT hot topics in the current independence debate. I must be listening to a different news source than you cause really most of what i’ve heard over the last month has been precisely these topics.”

    You are mistaking a lot of politically motivated unionists running around in circles trying to find leverage, any leverage whatsoever, on the Scottish electorate with the electorate’s genuine concerns. It explains Lamont’s somewhat petty minded desire to means rest everything, the idea that oil volatility is a big bad bogeyman, that the EU is made up of countries that hate us and that a – probably temporary stability pact with the English Pound – are all things that your average voter actually cares about.
    What most Scottish voters care about is the prospect of rising personal wealth / security and a feeling that no one is being left behind. We also seem more prone to protecting, in a conservationist way, the gains that the Welfare State has provided us with. And, for my generation at least, getting shot of WMDs out of the Clyde.
    That will be the battleground. And, it is on those fields that we will win.

  90. douglas clark says:

    There is absolutely no guarantee that I would vote SNP in the first post independence election. If the Greens for instance, could sort out a decent science policy, I might vote for them. I am also rather convinced by what Robin McAlpine has to say, so if like minded people were to coalesce around him and form a party I might vote for them. Choices. That’s what it is all about.

  91. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    The RIC represented a huge step forward with the seeds of possible destructive division contained in it. I am encouraged that several posters have indicated that they are aware of this. It is extremely important that what we do is paint the choices an independent Scotland will enjoy after independence and do not alienate potential YES voters by insisting that partisan positions to be adopted before we win the Referendum. 
    I have no doubt that among the RIC and the SNP there are already carefully planted divisionists enjoying prestige in both organisations.
    I would be seriously disappointed in the UK authorities if they hadn’t that well in hand already. A quick glance at the history of  British imperialism is illustrative and I would recommend a reading of Ulrick O’Conner’s “The Troubles” to anyone entertaining any doubt about the completely unscrupulous nature of our opponents. That, and watching “The Power of Nightmares” available parts 1,2 and 3 on YouTube. 
    The suggestion that the Orange Order from N Ireland will come over from Ulster to say No will horrify most Scots and have an effect of pushing towards us   – for want of a better word – the Green West of Scotland vote which is traditionally Labour ( for good historical reason).
    We have to stick together for the next two years and agree to disagree. Any element flexing its muscles at the expense of any of the rest of us should be kicked into touch abruptly and some ungenerous attention against the SNP which I have already picked up should be terminated immediately.  I know of no other public figure who could accept the level of personal vilification that Alex Salmond has been subjected to with such equanimity. I’m sure he knows that as long as he draws the fire the independence case enjoys some respite.
    I supspect a centrist organisation in favour of independence would be a useful development at this point.

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