Stifle debate !

Bob CostelloI post here firstly a Facebook thread concerning a comment I made in relation to  the announcement of an order to build warships on the Clyde. The reason I include this as a blog is when I went to post the reply below, I could not do it as presumably I had been blocked. I feel that in the week that the british establishment turned against three juges for simply doing their jobs is probably not the best time for members of the SNP to be attempting to stifle honest debate. Especially when it contains disquiet in how the independence issue is being handled.
This week I have been accused of being a traitor together with a few expletives and now as you can see below carrying on a vendetta against the Dundee SNP,
I think it is sad when honest constructive criticism is seen as a threat to a political party and debate is shut down, and I really believe the SNP should at least attempt to reign in some of their more vociferous supporters.
Bob Costello Yes they have now built in a project fear move. Independence and the contract is moved. There is one side in this battle that is not letting the grass grow under its feet and it isn’t the SNP


Tony McCandless
Tony McCandless Bob is there anything anybody can post without you turning into a criticism of the SNP ? What exactly is your agenda ? A revival of Labour in our home town or just constantly criticising the party of government in Scotland ? Let’s be clear – no SNP = no independence. Your personal vendetta is becoming an impediment to rational discussion.


Bob Costello
Bob Costello So tony even you cannot accept constructive criticism. There is no vendetta and I tire when in place of counter arguments I keep getting this nonsense about SNP vendettas.So , criticism of the SNP is now officially a vendetta. This is the kind in nonsense i would expect from the Mail or the Express in their toadying to the establishment when they vilified these three judges for doing their job For goodness sake Tony, wake up or we will never achieve independence and at the end of the day , was i wrong ? These contracts have been placed with an open clause for removal in the event of Scotland’s independence. So project fear is getting their act together in good time for another referendum campaign. Whereas the SNP have not even addressed the very basic issues we lost the last referendum on. Their position is actually laughable , honestly , you could not make it up. So please have a think about what you say when it concerns real independence campaigners. And kindly stop using these emotive terms like vendetta because this is the kind of language I expect from the sheeple and I would hope you are not in that category.


Tony McCandless
Tony McCandless Predictable response Bob “no criticism is allowed therfore person opposing me is a mindless sheep following SNP dogma”. So let me clarify for you ; Criticism of any party in govt or not is always valid as and when there is something valid to criticise E.g. Not yet completely reforming council tax or going far enough yet in land reform. The issue is that you rarely, if ever, have something positive to say. Your personal issues with SNP council in Dundee seem to colour your contribution which is a shame. And as for your line about “real campaigners” do feel free to share your definition and also answer my questions; what is your agenda and if not the SNP then what are you advocating ? My personal perspective is that we need SNP, LabourforIndy, Greens and moderate Lib Dems etc all coming to the indy cause. UK and current Scottish Labour is a fish rotting from the head which is a travesty given its origins. There is absolutely zero hope of Kezia changing her mind given she has dug herself such a deep hole and just keeps reinforcing her Unionist stance. Also re the contracts ; I presume from your statement you have seen them. If so can you share link as given there are no signed documents it would be pertinent to publish via social media, the National, Herald etc to make sure people are aware of the game being played and that the 2 contracting parties are BAE systems and the MOD neither of which have anything to do with the Scottish Govt or the SNP.

A predictable response Tony, but that does not make it wrong.

You confuse my criticism of the SNP with the Scottish government. In the main my issue is with the SNP as a party, a party whose reason for existence is to gain independence. I feel they conflate this reason to exist with an idea that a government can govern for everyone. That is an intrinsic impossibility.
A government must take into consideration all areas of the society they have been given the remit to govern but always accounting for the mandate they have been given by the electorate.
I feel that as the SNP have been known as the party of independence for many years then it is reasonable to assume that an overwhelming majority of the people who voted for them, did so in the full knowledge that the SNP would pursue a policy that would lead to independence.
I feel that they (the SNP) have been seduced by the power they have been given by the electorate and have, instead of putting their efforts into planning for independence, have settled into being part of the establishment. They have been riding on the crest of a wave, powered initially by the surge in support, engendered by the widespread disappointment which followed the result of the independence referendum.

From the referendum they have been the beneficiaries of circumstance and I feel that much of this mana from heaven has been wasted.
In two elections , Westminster and the recent Scottish elections, they have singularly failed to put the very basic road map to independence in place by failing to declare the intention to wrest control of the ability to hold and organize referendums from Westminster to Holyrood into either manifesto and you can now see the wasted opportunity with this latest action to proceed with a “draft piece of legislation” to allow a referendum to be passed through the “Scottish parliament” on purely the basis of a pro-independence mixed party majority in Holyrood and a mere mention of a possible move towards a referendum in the manifesto of the Scottish elections.

They have been dangling carrots for the last two years which is to say the least demeaning to the electorate and their party members. They have wasted two years in failing to adress the issues we lost the last referendum on. In fact I have it on good authority that they don’t even know what the reasons were.
The Scottish elections were a disaster for their own making, for many reasons among which was the two votes for the SNP instead of an organized first vote for SNP and a second vote for a “suggested” alternative pro-independence party. This resulted in the Tories gaining more than double their representation in the parliament and the SNP losing 6 seats along with a derisory increase in voter representation of something like 1.2% compared to 12.75% in the previous elections in 2011 and this without the upsurge in popularity as previously described.

OK that was in the past but to me the thing that capped it all was the commitment to hold a referendum if Scotland was to be torn out of the EU when we voted to remain but the rest of the UK voted to leave.
The day after the EU referendum will go down as the worst lost opportunity ever in politics when Theresa May hotfooted it up to Scotland and mugged Nicola into believing that she would have a veto over negotiations regarding pursuing exit from the EU. Well we all know what happened to that now do we?
The “ going for a referendum if Scotland voted remain “ to a possible referendum if we couldn’t by some means be part of the “single market” was a subtlety that quite a lot of people missed but it was a landmark change in what had been offered previously

Then there was the party conference where Nicola gave a speech which could have been seen as the SNP making their remit to keep us in both the EU and the UK, followed by Angus Robertson making it abundantly clear that as long as we could in some way still be part of “the single market “there would be no need for a referendum. At a stroke he took away the reason for the SNP’s existence. This was followed by John Swinney making it clear that if a referendum was to happen then we could conceivably be campaigning for a common currency. This made plain that he was on a completely different planet from the rest of us.

The SNP are in the process of the largest, painting one’s self into a corner exercise in the history of the planet. They have, either by incompetence or design hung the jacket of independence on a very shaky hook. They have corralled the hopes of the “faithful” into a very narrow channel, that of non-admittance to the single market, which is not going to happen.

So for the avoidance of doubt here is what in all probability will happen? The government will appeal the recent judgement against them and will fail. There will be a general election. A new Tory government will be formed and they will take the question of whether the EU referendum should be recognized to parliament. There will be an amendment proposing another referendum which will be passed. There will be a referendum at which the British people, realizing that they had been mugged the first time will vote to remain. Parliament will recognize the decision.


I could go on for hours enumerating the reasons I have extreme concerns as to the commitment and abilities of the SNP . You rightly say that I have had issues with the Dundee SNP. I will not go into that here as there is a possibility that issues surrounding this could be brought to court which will, if found necessary will be done at a time of my choosing. You will note that there has been dissatisfaction throughout the Dundee SNP leading to three councilors deciding not to put themselves up for re-election next May and one of the parliamentary political managers being sacked. A person who had a hand in the vilification I was subject to whilst organizing a road map to independence rally.

You rightly highlight that I do not have access to the contracts signed in connection with the shipping to be built on the Clyde, I am however not stupid and I fully realize that anyone who does not realize that this latest announcement is a built in threat of withdrawal of these contracts to be used in the event of another referendum, IS stupid, and that was the subject of my comment. Which was if you remember that of the two parties’ one of them is not letting the grass grow under their feet and it is not the SNP.

As for my definition of campaigning I attach a blog I did a couple of days before the election in May, the day after I walked out of a meeting that Nicola was addressing after the schedule regarding the asking of questions was hastily rearranged by the previously mentioned political manager who has been sacked from his position, in order that I could not ask the question that I had intended asking. There is an attachment in this blog to my letter of resignation which covers the campaigning aspect of your comment and as it so happens the blog covers the question I wished to ask, which very pertinent to what I have said previously in this answer.

As for your comment that the SNP are at the moment the best bet we have for independence, I would agree and in any of my blogs or postings you will not find one contradiction of that. In assessing the abilities of the SNP , people continually confuse them with the Scottish Government. However the difference is this. The SNP as the largest part of the Scottish government do a good job and that is what we pay them for but they have at their disposal an army of advisors, Lawyers, engineers, planners etc,etc. Whereas the SNP as a political party have only the politicians, the majority of whom have never even ran a business let alone a country, in their life’s and therein lies the problem. The SNP party’s strategic abilities leave a hell of a lot to be desired.

My commitment to independence is unquestionable, my opinion of the road we are at present taking is that, that is questionable. I hear time and time again that there is a plan, this from people who have no way of knowing whether there is a plan or not. They have been saying this for over two years. One thing is sure and that is that over these two years there has not been a plan. I keep getting this “Nicola is keeping her cards close to her chest and not telling anyone of them “ Is this the same Nicola who has said at least 50 times that the British government should be telling everyone their plans for Brexit? Is it a case then of one rule for the SNP and another for everyone else

As I said in one of my blogs “The problem with having blind faith is that one day you might wake up blind”

A letter to Nicola



I have been in business for well over half a century but I learn something new every day. My politics are the middle of the road. I believe that the far-right and far-left are equally harmful. Jim Murphy ( at that time, leader of the Scottish Labour party) asked me if I called myself a socialist. I said, "no Jim, I am not a socialist, I am a capitalist, but a capitalist with a social conscience.

5 thoughts on “Stifle debate !”

  1. haha…Nicola sturgeon on the EU war path..seems shes more concerned about European unionism than the independence of Scotland…when she had her meeting last week with May and the other devolved authorities at downing street, she came out saying basically, May has no plan because she had nothing to say… what does this remind you off…at least the likes of Borris and co get to have there wee public rants and get to speak there thoughts even if they are in stark contradiction to May….no one in the SNP is allowed to speak out..i had hopes for the likes of Chris law mp and Mahri black mp…but it seems the mute button has been pressed there..and a blanket of shush has enveloped the whole party. We in a western democratic country call this form of governance a regime .i.e North Korea. oh and just one more thing, all this holding there feet to the fire malarky, who’s holding theirs???..people like bob costello have this right…or is that just reserved to SNP party members behind triple locked closed doors…..

    1. Bob. Some fair points here but to the points made what is the alternative to us going with the SNP as the vehicle to independence then setting up a Scottish parliament to represent all views but with one goal – work togethet to actually govern effectively v’s existing to take pot shots at each other ? Each has their own opinion and view and their own way of being engaged or not. You have consistently berated the party and many that you choose to engage with and who engage with you v’s trying to find common ground. It’s and interesting approach but one that may provide all with less return. Personally I am more than happy to keep discussing without resorting to personal level attacks. Your call.

      1. Tony, I do not engage in personal attacks, in fact it is me who is the subject of the personal attacks but sometimes I tire of constant abuse in place of reasoned discussion and I respond according to the level of discussion engendered by the debate and just for the record the SNP have never tried to engage with me only the abusers in the main.
        I have my opinions and I have my fears about where we are going and how we get there. My comments regarding the SNP are not about dislike for the party but about my reservations regarding their strategic abilities and how this translated into where we are on the road to independence.
        Britain is far from a democracy but in our imperfect interpretation of one there is still at least the pretence of free speech and freedom of expression and that is the “right” I express when I give my opinion.
        At this point in time I am not advocating a new party to take the independence fight forward but if this constant carrot dangling goes on much longer then that is the next logical step and if it becomes apparent that a future referendum is perhaps to be six or seven years in the future then I would be pushing for a new party of independence ,hopefully to work alongside any other pro-independence parties ,including what would be left of the SNP.
        In the mean time, ( and I honestly hope it does not come to that) I hope that the SNP can become more amenable to an open form of continuance of the campaign that we started four years ago, through a measured acceptance of the mistakes we made in the last one and a commitment to at the very least address these issues , issues that it should not have taken more than two years to get to grips with.
        The SNP should not be frightened of the word independence , that is their function in life, they have to learn to be comfortable with their mission.
        I remember when we were arranging a rally in the City Square in Dundee at which the Yes Bus team were to play a big part and this was to take place the week before the Westminster election. A local politician came to our meeting and made it plain that another highly placed politician had said that “we cant have saltires and Yes signs being displayed in the City Square the week before the general election “Now you will recall that, that was the election where we sent 56 out of 59 Mp’s to London , so I ask you how’s that for reading the feelings of the people? Yes not very good at all .
        You know Tony , you have said that I have some “fair points” in my piece so why dont you go to the SNP and make them aware of these “fair points”? That way perhaps things will start to change ,for there is one thing sure and that is that there are things that will need to change if we are to achieve independence in the foreseeable future and if the SNP continue to weir their blinkers then it will never happen.
        I have no malice towards the SNP only concern for Scotland

  2. Bob – trust me sir the SNP are fully aware of my own views on some of these areas with discussions around the currency issue, lack of clear strategy and timing of Indy2. There are a lot of smart cookies in the ranks of the elected membership in terms of Advocates, Lawyers, business people etc but they need to be given an ability to use their knowledge and experience as much as anybody else and those within the membership. To one of your points – as somebody whose job involves global strategic change execution it bewilders me as to why the party fails to take up an offer of time to help them plan. Maybe there’s a lot of growing still to be done but the critical thing I think we are 100% aligned on is that time is of the essence. Constant delay will lead to people becoming used to the God awful conditions the vulnerable are subject to. With the benefits cap lowered and triple lock promise on the way out we have to get a grip on this and go before there is nothing left to save and that is not Indy Project Fear but harsh reality.

    As somebody, like yourself, in business I can see everyday the impacts that are very quickly going to hit home not just for those unfortunate enough to have to rely on the crumbling welfare system but also on those currently just hovering outside.

    The party needs to get a move on and declare for indy2 or lose the faith of the 120,00 in it’s ranks and those supporting from outside the membership. How to tread that path though so as not to just have Trump’s Mexican wall be erected between Yes and No is the real question. Everything being done now, IMHO, is to position things so as to say “We seriously tried everything”. We all know Theresa May and her band of clowns have no idea what to do here. We know they are though post-truth in that things like claiming to be able to trade under WTO rules are quickly disproven as the UK is not a full member and would need to gain unanimous support of 163 countries to become so. That will not stop the MSM publishing lies as if they were fact.

    The UK has absolutely zero hope of negotiating a trade deal with the EU that satisfies the needs of the economy and the rabid mobs. May will lose the Supreme court ruling and perhaps rely on it to stop what she knows is economic suicide. On the other hand she may well choose to embrace the “Shock Doctrine” economic model to make her and her pals even richer. Even if though she says “Oh dear, look what the supreme court did, I am powerless to invoke Article 50” she could well go for an election in early 2017 in which case she will be returned with an even bigger majority having been seen as the “champion of the people” and Labour not even able to make it’s mind up as to whether it will support or oppose Article 50 over a 24 hr period.

    Any which way we have to find a way out of this – the danger lies in no Article 50, May returning a greater majority and then systemically demolishing the Scottish budget on the back of “well we are all suffering so Scotland needs to take its share” and neutralising any resistance in Scotland as the Scottish Govt and the SNP come in for accusations of driving austerity. Dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t.

    Thoughts ?

    1. Tony ,there is not much in what you are saying here that I can disagree with, but my concern regarding this is that the SNP are painting themselves into a corner and like a house of cards it will tumble if for some reason we do not actually come out of the EU. If they are really serious about independence they should not put all their eggs in the one basket of being dragged out of the EU because the way I read the speeches from Nicola and Angus is that as long as we stay part of the single market ( not even the EU) then everything will be OK.
      The propose of the SNP is to gain independence not particularly to just remain part of the single market.

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