THE anti-independence parties – you know, those parties which loudly demanded transparency from the SNP and insisted that they needed to publish their membership figures in the name of public trust – have all refused to release their own membership figures.

The branch offices of Labour, the Conservatives and the LibDems in Scotland have all rebuffed calls to let it be known just how many members they have in Scotland. Yet again, we see the apologists for Westminster demanding that the SNP are held to a far higher standard than they consent to be held to themselves. It's all part of a well-established pattern of British nationalist double standards.

During the SNP leadership election, the deputy leader of Labour in Scotland, Jackie Baillie, demanded that the SNP demonstrate "real transparency and openness", but she apparently does not believe that that need for real transparency and openness extends to her own party. It's not transparency that Jackie Baillie and Douglas Ross want, it's a one-way mirror which allows them to peer into the inner working of their pro-independence opponents, all the better to point an accusing finger, while their own parties remain shrouded in a cloak of secrecy which the majority of the Scottish media has no interest in penetrating.

The reluctance of the anti-independence parties to let the totals of their Scottish membership be known is not unconnected to the fact that the Scottish membership of both Labour and the Tories is almost certainly less than 10% of the 74,889 members the SNP reported this week, up from the 72,186 reported at the beginning of March. Meanwhile, it's not at all implausible that the total membership of the LibDems in Scotland is less than the 2703 members that the SNP have gained since March. No wonder they are so unwilling to reveal the true figures, even as they insist that it's vital for public trust in political parties that the SNP do so.

Of the other parties at Holyrood, only the Scottish Greens have published their membership figures, with 7646 members as of Monday this week. It is understood that Alba have in the region of 7000 members – but it too has yet to publish an exact figure. Alba have said they will provide up-to-date figures at the party's spring conference next month.

The SNP's depute leader Keith Brown said: "The level of hypocrisy of this is absolutely flabbergasting – after spending the best part of two months calling for more transparency, it appears the Scottish Tories, Scottish Labour and Scottish LibDems are about as transparent as a lump of coal.”


TALKING of double standards, you need to have been living in a cave to have missed the Scottish media's obsessive coverage of the delays and cost overruns to the replacement ferries. But if you have blinked, you will easily have missed that same media's coverage of the £3 billion Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales.

It was built at Rosyth Dockyard between 2011 and 2019 and had been expected to be ready for frontline duties in the Royal Navy by 2023. However, the vessel is still not ready for service having broken down in August 2022 less than 24 hours into a planned voyage to the US.

Now parts of the ship are to be scavenged in order to replace broken parts on her equally unreliable and expensive sister ship, HMS Queen Elizabeth. Of course, this expensive mess produced by a shipyard in Scotland has not received a fraction of the attention from the Scottish media which was and is devoted to the ferries, despite the fact that the cost to the public purse is far greater. Cynical observers might note that this is because it's Westminster's mess and the Scottish media will do their best to minimise it until such time as an angle can be found that allows blame to be heaped on the Scottish Government.


FIRST Minister Humza Yousaf has had his first official meeting with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in Downing Street. During the meeting, he told the Prime Minister to "respect the democratic wishes of Scotland" and grant a Section 30 order for a second independence referendum. He also raised the recent comments of Tory peer David Frost about "reversing" devolution.

Another topic of concern addressed during the meeting included the Foreign Secretary James Cleverly's demands that Scotland's diplomatic efforts abroad be carefully observed by UK officials. It's unlikely that Sunak will accede to the demand that Scottish democracy be respected – the only democratic votes that the Tories believe in respecting are the ones that they won.

During his visit to London, the First Minister also met with London mayor Sadiq Khan and EU ambassador to the UK Pedro Serrano. It's not known whether one of James Cleverly's minions was hovering over the First Minister's shoulder during his meeting with the EU ambassador in order to make sure that the topic of Scottish independence did not come up.


MEANWHILE, the respected German news magazine Der Spiegel has said that the "foundation of Britannia's democracy is literally rotting away" in a blistering article on the state of the UK.

The piece discusses how Brexit, poverty and inequality and the lies and corruption of Boris Johnson have all been factors leading to the “plight” in which Britain now finds itself.

The piece concludes: "This country was already on its knees before Brexit, before the endless phase of political trench warfare and before the pandemic. And now, it seems as though it has dialled 999 and is waiting in vain for the paramedics to show up."

Well, of course the paramedics won't show up, they've been on strike in England.

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