WELL, we’ve had Boris visit, Starmer too, but in the main, Scotland seems to have said again “you’ll have had your tea”, since beyond some photo ops they’ve gone away, empty handed.

No-one will dare to claim they did anything (good, helpful, enthusing?) for their few remaining paid up members, whilst it’s equally obvious that, as at the last elections, tactical voting was deployed to keep the SNP out, rather than putting their party in. What a dismal state of affairs then for the two, main Unionist parties: nothing to offer, and worst of all, not concerned about their dismal performances here. That seems to leave them playing to rUK with the Covid vaccine programme and COP26.

The Tories want to ride the blue wave of jag success for as long as possible, and merely having COP26 on these shores will, they hope, provide them with photos galore and foreign press coverage.

The National: Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer during a visit to Whitelees windfarm, Eaglesham, as he continues his visit to Scotland. Picture date: Thursday August 5, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS Starmer. Photo credit should read: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire.

Labour can’t fight too hard against the success of the vaccine programme so criticise round the edges, and are demonstrably weak with a Green New Deal plan hastily put together. They are so ineffectual as an opposition that they continue to languish here, have no strategy to recover their Red Wall, and in Scotland see the spectre of the Green Party possibly moving into some ‘arrangement’ the SNP. Changed days indeed.

All as Sunak can cancel that £20 (UC), energy bills are projected to rise by £139 for millions of families, and Tory spokeswoman Allegra Stratton tells us not to rinse our dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. This is government governing? And don’t forget the distraction of the feel good factor that is the Olympics. Media would mostly want us to believe TeamGB reflects the “country”, one happy, united mass.

For me, it’s more like white noise and the scenario where the brain surrounded by that noise quickly adapts to the specific sound and stops acknowledging it. Worse though is blandly accepting the “noise”, not challenging, not interrogating, no analysis of what we hear.

By contrast, I chose to tune into the welcome noise that was The National Roadshow last week, and now desperately hope there is follow up and perhaps follow on with the grassroots, Yes movement. Better still, perhaps some politicians, strategists even, were hanging about and heard the ferment ( evident well beyond the road show) that is a combination of frustration, impatience and also, doubt.

It’s almost like we non-politicians are witness a sparring game at the moment. Scotland and rUK politicians dancing around a small ring, throwing some verbals, or wide arm flinging, guaranteed to miss. We have to take the fight to them, our opposition. Not any one party, but that which is the Union. And not just occasionally, but consistently.

Is it time for the grassroots to focus on some mass movement: perhaps specific days co-ordinated across Scotland, with each group, community, badging events of their own choosing: super Saturdays, flag planting, stalls, events, happenings, artists for Indy, themed around independence? Could we start by focussing on the run up to COP26? Let’s face it, rUK will want to obliterate us, see as nothing more than a venue with nor reps, no voice.

It has to be our venue, our country, our voices that are heard. And let the strategists strategise while we act.

Selma Rahman




- Due to a production error, yesterday’s long letter contained the line “I still have the old Scottish Secretary WH Marwick’s pamphlet ...”. It should, of course, have read “Scottish Secretariat’s WH Marwick pamphlet”. We apologise for the mistake.