On Yes, Flegs and Little England

1510490790_e48a9ccbfbThree views on the national debates from around and about . . .

First up the world from Dublin via the Irish Times, where Judith Crosbie writes giving some insight into how Ireland annd Wales see the EU referendum debate (‘Corrosive English nationalism’ driving EU debate):

“Corrosive English nationalism” is driving the debate on Britain exiting the EU and such a move would be a “disaster” for the Welsh economy, Wales’s first minister Carwyn Jones has said.

Scotland was also worried about the uncertainty the issue caused as it “threatened tens of thousands of jobs”, Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s deputy first minister, told a conference of the British Irish Chamber of Commerce in Dublin yesterday.

“The question is why it is taking five years to resolve this question,” Mr Jones said, referring to British prime minister David Cameron’s announcement this week that a referendum on the issue would be held before 2018.

He said 500 firms in Wales exported to the EU with 150,000 jobs dependent on that trade.

There were 50 Irish firms based in Wales which generated 2,600 jobs with some of the major firms including Glanbia, Kingspan and Smurfit Kappa, he added.

Ms Sturgeon said the UK could be on a “collision course” over its EU membership but “that is not a journey Scotland’s government wants Scotland to take”. An independent Scotland was vital to avoid “leaving these decisions in the hands of the Westminster government”, she added. Scotland could then use taxes to encourage research and development and tackle inequality. Independence would also boost economic links and trade with Ireland.

Ireland ‘wrote the manual’

An independent Scotland in the EU would enable the country to protect its national interests. Ireland “wrote the manual” on how small nations could advance in the EU while protecting their interests and the author of that manual was Garret FitzGerald, she said. Read the full article here.

Secondly, and still in Ireland, Emer O Toole challenges media coverage of the Flegs ‘protest’ and asks: Why Can’t Britain Look Northern Ireland in the Eye?’

If 100 police officers were injured in clashes with civilians in any other part of the UK, headlines would be screaming it. As Kevin Meagher points out in the New Statesman, using baton rounds and water cannon in any other British city would be unthinkable (water cannon was discussed as a tactical option during the London riots, but never used).

Finally, a highly critical Jamie Maxwell writes in the New Statesman on how the Yes campaign should re-take the initiative (‘To recover the Scottish Yes campaign needs to go attack’) :

How might Yes Scotland regain the initiative? A more effective Yes campaign would balance its aspirational account of Scotland’s ‘journey’ from devolution to independence with a critique of the British state, highlighting the democratic and international costs Scotland pays for remaining part of the UK. In particular, it would make clear the link between Scotland’s abysmal social record (one of the worst in western Europe) and the concentration of political and economic power in London and the south east. It would also aim to systematically undermine the Scottish public’s confidence in the desire and capacity of Westminster to act in Scotland’s interests, even if this means abandoning its much vaunted commitment to positive campaigning.

How do these random snippets elate to each other? They are about how the intertwined destinies and debates of nations collide and the situation is much more fluid and uncertain than the bold and glib statements of the MSM would suggest as they celebrate polls taken months ago. With Ruth Davidson now spinning like a turbo-charged Red Wendy, the Unionist parties desperate re-positioning belies a deep-seated insecurity not revealed through the prism of their scribes in the media.

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Categories: Commentary

17 replies

  1. I see the unionist campaign disguising lies as their opinion,and traversing throughout Europe looking for opinions that suit them,and I wonder if they are doing the old (for which the are well renowned) brown envelop for a decisive opinion. The problem with all of this is that they are getting found out on a daily basis,but not much publicity about their story.The media seems to have lost not only their objective opinions in these cases,but maybe scared of having their “newspapers” closed by their Fleet Street bosses (or overlords!)

  2. The behaviour of the scribes,cheerleaders and leaders of the Better Together campaign indicate their deep insecurity.
    They keep trying to change theirr positions
    They know the ground is crumbling under their feet and only a compliant,dishonest and generous media is keeping them in the game.
    That will continue to be the case and the YES campaign’s biggest problem is how to make contact with the huge number of our voters who still are not online.
    We are already winning online and this is a useful silent victory that is going on. We will win the rest of the battle through mounting a high public presence on the streets,around the doors and through high street YES centres. The more identification, the more YES stickers on cars and badges on lapels the more the undecided are reassured that there is high support for independence.

    The NO campaign has virtually no activists and we have many thousands so this is where we must chose to have the battle.
    Our troops will have to be properly armed and informed however.

    As a matter of interest I haven’t met anybody who has any great interest or concern about Scotland’s future position vis the EU.
    Let the unionists waste all their energy on this useless war of attrition.. It makes no difference to the general level of support on either side of the constitutional argument.

    The Irish minister who made careless comments about Scotland’s place in the EU can be contacted at
    Lucinda.Creighton@taoiseach.ie

    • Do you think the comments were ‘careless’? As I’ve said elsewhere when it comes to Europe the Irish are not big on sharing, remember the first vote on the Nice treaty?
      Think she was deliberate in her utterings, do they want, say a Scotland that reduces tax for film makers, businesses?

    • “…the huge number of our voters who still are not online.”
      Well said. There is a class division here that favours the NO campaign.

      • As you say, figures from 2011

        “Figures from Ofcom show that the level of broadband uptake in Scotland is 61% of the population. This is the lowest of any nation in the UK, and 10 percentage points below the UK average of 71%.

        This is not an issue which is directly related to broadband infrastructure – uptake of broadband in rural Scotland, at 60%, is almost identical to that of urban Scotland. Furthermore, areas which have good broadband infrastructure, such as Glasgow, have relatively poor levels of broadband use. Indeed, broadband uptake in Glasgow, Clyde and Lanarkshire at 53% is among the lowest anywhere in the UK and 20 percentage points below the average uptake in England. ”

        Full link

        http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2011/03/04162416/4

      • Possibly, though Yes has just launched a 1.5 million leaflet and poster campaign:

        http://www.yesscotland.net/hands_up_for_better_scotland_campaign

      • Yes, indeed there is a class division that favours the labour no campaigners, in particular. That’s what Johann Lamont is trying to exploit. She may be clumsy in her speechmaking but she’ no daft. Really hope the Labour for Indy people put in a lot of work in Pollok, in particular. They might be the only ones to get the truth across to those that feel the need to stick with the labour vote.

    • “The more identification, the more YES stickers on cars and badges on lapels the more the undecided are reassured that there is high support for independence.”

      Absolutely, Dave. I got hold of a wee Yes badge at the Yes Aberdeen launch, and have been wearing it on my coat lapel ever since (except recently, when I lost it…) It’s been great for prompting people to ask me about independence, and as you say, the more visible support there is, the more confident people will become in supporting it.

      The media has gotten away with telling us “hardly anyone wants independence” for years through opinion poll figures. People have been wary of bringing the subject up in polite conversation for fear of sticking out like a sore thumb. If everyone who supports independence used badges and stickers to make it known, then we would soon see with our own eyes just how widespread support is.

      Can you imagine anyone but a politico sporting a Better Together badge? I think not.

  3. The State will use BBC Pravda to portray whatever fits. Velvet gloves and baton rounds come from the same source.

  4. The more identification, the more YES stickers on cars and badges on lapels the more the undecided are reassured that there is high support for independence.

    I love your thinking Dave. Let’s have more of it.

  5. http://www.scotreferendum.com/blog/

    Dear Nicola,

    I want to thank you for a brief but informative meeting yesterday. I am concerned that an interview which I conducted with the BBC is being misconstrued and wanted to assure you that it certainly was not my intention to interfere in any way with your domestic debate.

    It certainly was not my intention to intervene in the Scottish debate about the future of your country. As I stated clearly to the BBC (though perhaps they did not show it) this is a question exclusively for the Scottish people and I fully respect that fact.

    I was asked about the future of negotiations with the EU in the event that Scotland votes for independence. I thought that my reply was largely in line with that of the Scottish Government. I certainly did not at any stage suggest that Scotland could, should or would be thrown out of the EU. Scottish people are clearly citizens of Europe.

    I did answer the question about hypothetical negotiations with the EU. I think it is clear that a newly independent state would have to (and would have the right to and indeed should) negotiate the terms of membership, as they would undoubtedly be somewhat different to the existing terms. I did say that this would take some time, which I expect it would. I also went on to say that a newly independent Scotland would be welcome as an EU partner (and I think that applies to all EU member states including Ireland).

    My understanding is that the Scottish Government has already committed to a negotiation with the EU between 2014 and 2016, if you vote for independence in 2014. If my interview suggested something other than that, this was not my intention. I think my comments have been misconstrued. I sincerely regret this.

    As SNP Westminster Leader, Angus Robertson said ‘Negotiations on the terms of membership would take place in the period between the referendum and the planned date of independence’, and that ‘The EU would adopt a simplified procedure for the negotiations, not the traditional procedure followed for the accession of non-member countries’.”

    I think that sums up the situation quite well.

    I hope that this clarifies my position, and again I regret that my words seem to have been presented or taken out of context.

    Warm regards,

    Lucinda Creighton

  6. So can anyone tell me where to Buy Yes badges and stickers, I find it hard to even find shops selling St. Andrew’s Flags.

  7. Stickers and badges are available online at http://www.yesScotland.net website.

  8. well if wales are worried about english nationalism…vote for independence…and either scotland or eire,can have little scotland..but regarding the scottish independence vote…we know what will happen..your balls will retract and cameron(good old english name…..not)will give the feckless,lazy,drunken,anti english,benefit junkies which scots are…….more english taxpayers money..why doesn’t some one in the conservative party form a break away branch…the ENGLISH CONSERVATIVE party….they’d walk the next election.and wouldn’t have to do any deals with the anti english lib/dems.after all the illegal wars,we’ve been led into by the lies of the anti english scots led labour party..they’d be truly f****d.and as for cameron and HIS promise to hold a referendum on EU membership…is it his promise or the tories,but that’s beside the point because the anti english p***k,will allow foreign nationals from eastern european countries to flood in.in will what be the biggest piece of gerrymandering since the last anti english scots led labour party..

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