All roads lead back to the Independence debate


“Cameron’s proposed EU referendum in 2017 will be another opportunity to further advance the cause of Scottish Independence”

Scottish Independence, as an ongoing process, has never been about an event such as an election or a referendum. This is what makes it so frustrating for it’s opponents; it’s a conscious set of political steps, yes, but fuelled by a movement of historical forces, which have their roots in the decline of imperialism, post-industrialism, and the aspiration towards democracy. It won’t go away because it can’t go away. The referendum campaign gave independence enormous traction, through politicising so many people. It will only continue to gather force.

What we’re seeing in Scotland is a terminal disaffection with the institutions of the UK state and its South-East dominated agenda, and the attendant emotional and cultural disengagement from them. The political developments are simply the ongoing efforts to develop the separate institutions that reflect this changing culture. Whether they are consciously aware of it or not, most Scots are now involved in the project of nation building. Even Johann Lamont, who led the No campaign, bizarrely and publicly becomes caught in this position, perversely arguing that Scottish politics is about Holyrood not Westminster, and advocating more autonomy from London, for her ‘branch office’ party.

With independence established as the compelling narrative of Scottish politics, everything else becomes, not so much an irrelevance, as having little validity unless it’s filtered through this perspective. The legacy of the independence referendum debate is that all subsequent UK polls north of the border have essentially become re-runs of it. This movement won’t stop now, simply because the structural and economic forces propelling it transcend both party politics and even individual political preferences. What Scots currently find themselves in, is from their perspective, a failed state that cannot deliver the economic and social goods. It just isn’t set up to do this, nor can it be reformed to do so, as its centrist, unitary structure of government is of benefit to the South-East of England, where most of the UK voters live.

So general elections in Scotland are now no longer about whether the pink or blue version of Toryism manages neo-liberalism from Westminster, but constitute another opportunity for Scots to gain more control over their resources and identify their own priorities. This basically translates as: tools in the advance towards independence. This is also the case with the proposed referendum on Europe. North of Hadrian’s Wall, this will not be about the UK in Europe. Once again, it will be about Scotland in the UK.

It’s not surprising that the concept of the UK as a political entity is in decline. Historically, it was an imperialist construct established to further the interests of a ruling elite, and it has pretty much operated in that way ever since, bar a golden era of 1945-70, where, following the unique and cataclysmic aftermath of the battle against Nazism, it briefly aspired to be something more inclusive. So there’s probably about 30 years out of over 300, when the UK state wasn’t solely about a struggle for most of its citizens against zero democracy, political oppression, economic depressions and recessions, world wars, union busting, negating democracy, neo-liberalism and the exploitation of the general populace by the super rich.

With the welfare state and NHS gains of that post-war window now all but gone, the British left finds itself hanging its appeal on retaking them. It hopes to do this through the Labour Party, despite the fact that this institution manifestly no longer exists as a valid agent of change. If a much more militant Labour Party, backed by a powerful trade union movement in an industrial society, failed to resist the Tory dismantling of the welfare state, how feasible is it to expect the current political class opportunists, who have aided and abetted the Conservatives in this process, to now suddenly do so? Leftist pundits embody this dilemma, forensically dismantling the party for its shortcomings, yet seeming to assume it can magically resurrect, and then remold the UK state, as it did in 1945-70. In the meantime, they support the de facto preservation of this exploitative and elitist state.

To argue to maintain a divisive and reactionary UK state on that basis, pretending it’s about ‘worker’s solidarity’, is both self-deluding and an insult to the intelligence of everybody else. Slavering on like a Hovis advert about the traditions of British working class resistance can’t disguise the fact that you’re bending over backwards to preserve a state that has been doing everything in its power to negate and crush this resistance for the last 35 years, and practically since it’s inception, right up to World War Two. The tragedy of the British left is that it’s got so used to playing this perennial losers game against the UK state. This obsession with protecting it, and continually rolling the same dice, which is so obviously weighted against you, has surely now expired as viable strategy.

It would be hard to find a political organisation in modern history that has treated its core support with such contempt as the Labour Party. Its political class leaders are almost uniformly invested in personal legacy, the trappings of office and strutting on a stage, rather than effecting real change for the benefit of the vast majority people of these islands. In Scotland the party is now in crisis, with polls predicting a complete meltdown, while it’s Blairite leader-elect, Jim Murphy, astonishingly and bizarrely talks of victory. For others, the delusion is replaced by desperation. You can’t just decide to have ‘more socialism’, as Margaret Curran suggests, particularly if you are run by a London party with one eye on middle England polls and Daily Mail leader columns. You either believe in progressive politics or you don’t, and if you did you would have advocated them, rather than waited to see what the polls, newspapers, focus groups or your London masters said about it.

There are still Labour politicians far more principled and visionary than the Murphy’s, Lamont’s and Curran’s. Granted, very few, with the party reduced to a shell of lobby-fodder drones, but they do exist. However, it’s doubtful the handful of genuinely committed progressives who want to make Scotland a better place, would be crazy enough to aspire to lead a London branch office. Neil Finlay has thrown his hat into the ring, but with an attendant white flag, admitting he only did this because Gordon Brown wasn’t interested. Jim Murphy, the status quo shoe-in, unrated even by Miliband, only gave up his seat on the expenses-fuelled gravy train south, as his Westminster career was going nowhere. To get its (now precious few) emerging talents seriously engaged, and the voters excited, Scottish Labour needs to have complete autonomy.

The problem is if this happens, the party almost inevitably becomes part of the pro-independence movement, a place where many of its natural supporters, before they gave up on it, felt it should be. If you’re left wing, believe in the decentralisation of power and are anti-nuclear weapons, as most real Labour people are, Scottish Indy becomes not so much a catastrophe, as a natural position. What is the relevance of your personal politics to a middle-England fixated, London-based party leadership, striving to keep you tied to the notion of a centralised, imperialist, warfare state? (Ex) Labour voters have made that leap in their droves, and many more will continue to do so. The only thing that’s holding Scottish Labour to London are its leaders, and the personal self-interest of those people, not its declining band of voters and their concept of the good of Scotland.

The potentially fatal news for Labour is that Scots seem to have grown tired of habitually sending parasites south to do little more than troop through the whip’s designated lobby and rack up extortionate expenses. The constant betrayals by that empty chassis that still perversely bears the name of the Labour Party, means that they now face annihilation. The referendum appears to have shown Scots that a block of pro-indy MP’s in Westminster –whisper it- perhaps even holding the balance of power, will be stronger advocates for the country than a set of stooges for a Miliband majority, and more pro-austerity Toryism by another name. Labour, almost content to cede the Scottish parliament to the SNP, now face clear danger to their hegemony in the Westminster elections, and the loss of this block of Scottish seats. How do they stave off this threat? Their only options are playing the same old game, with Murphy at the helm, which is unlikely to impress voters, while the alternative – real autonomy for the Scottish party – won’t be palatable to UK Labour leaders for the reason stated above.

Like the 2015 Westminster general election, Cameron’s proposed EU referendum of 2017 will be another opportunity to further advance the cause of Scottish independence. Nicola Sturgeon, with her proposed veto, has wasted little time in putting it on the agenda. The question ‘why should England be allowed to force Scotland into leaving Europe’, especially as the Scottish independence referendum vote was undertaken on the premise we were in Europe (and would get devo max), also, of course, becomes also the converse one: ‘why should Scotland be allowed to block England from exiting Europe?’ This shows up both positions as undemocratic, and morally indefensible. It throws up all sorts of questions about the scope of the referendum, as it should do. A referendum, after all, is about more than a simple vote. It’s interesting how ‘the vote’ has come to be seen by elites and their apologists as not an integral part of democracy, but an end to all discussion and debate – essentially a resolution to all the problems democracy throws up. It seldom works that way, as the Scottish independence referendum has shown.

Many Scots are rightly cynical about the EU, how could you not be? It’s dominated by the Commission, which is an unelected body of self-interested bureaucrats, a continental House of Lords. As long as they have power at the expense of the European Parliament, European integration will not proceed further and, indeed, start to unravel. The stalemate is that the European parliament can’t gain more powers unless the sovereign nations are prepared to cede them. So the current impasse suits neither the integrationists nor the separatists.

However, the Little England grounds for exit will have almost zero appeal for most Scots, who, if lukewarm on the EC as currently construed, are utterly disaffected with UK membership. The right-wing parroting of ‘deregulation’ is a naked attempt to further drive wages down. The concept of forcing an immigration curb on a country where the population has remained almost static since the war is a nonsense. Additionally, Scotland has growing numbers of elderly citizens, meaning that it badly needs large-scale investment to develop a vibrant economy capable of both retraining existing workers and attracting incomers. ‘Immigration’ as an issue feels exactly what it is: an alien agenda imposed by a foreign nation, solely in pursuit of their own interests.

If the general election might see more pro-change, Devo max, No voter’s bundled together with the independence movement, the European referendum could present even greater jeopardy for Labour. It is highly unlikely that Labour No’s will stick with the fervent Little Britain anti-Europeans on this one. (North of the border, the hard-core unionists and the EC separatists tend to almost perfectly overlap.) So we’re likely to see the scenario whereby the progressive voters of Indy and Devo max join to reject the 25% or so of UK myopia merchants, who would stagger emaciated, forelock-tugging and lip-synching Rule Britannia into establishment-ran death camps, rather than support something that would materially change their own circumstances for the better.

For most Scots, as the polls suggest, leaving Europe will not be an option. The UK establishment pulled out every underhand trick to get voters north of the border to stay with them, and only just managed it. And they did this at massive expense to the credibility of institutions like the Westminster parliament, political parties, press and the BBC, undermining any claim these had as agents of a free and fair society. To get Scots to go anywhere with them – particularly out of Europe and into a centralised quasi-fascist Tory/Ukip little England state – will be an almost impossible task.

How the EC referendum will be framed, and the parameters of its debate, will be greatly influenced by the outcome of the 2015 general election. If pro-independence MP’s in Scotland are left holding the balance of power at Westminster, the ballot paper north of the border could involve a further question on Scotland in the UK. Or, in the event of a ‘stay in Europe’ Scots vote, there might be an option to opt out of the non-European UK, perhaps at the discretion of the Holyrood parliament. More likely, there may be another immediate independence referendum. The scenario where the UK leaves Europe, and Scotland leaves the UK, remains a distinct possibility. Without oil, the establishment would almost certainly take that trade-off and stop even pretending to care about what happens north of the border. They might be still be able to do that anyway, if they can entice the Labour Party, once again, to try and do the dirty work on their behalf. Whether Scots would listen this time round would be another matter.

The antiquated parliament in Westminster, with its first-past-the-post system, which gives great power to minority interests, has been a straightjacket on democracy. It’s baled out two corrupt parties, both past their sell-by dates, and the establishment they protect. Now that garment seems more like an old, threadbare shirt. ‘Why does it always have to be about the Scots these days?’ an exasperated English friend recently asked me. I told him that it isn’t really that much to do with them, it’s about the ailing system of democracy, and the deeply flawed and iniquitous economics of these islands: this is what the Scottish independence supporters are doing their bit to try and fix. For supporters of this project, that admittedly cringe-worthy Obamaesque phrase, ‘on the right side of history’ has seldom sounded so pertinent.

Comments (61)

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  1. Craig B says:

    If No won, that was because of Project Fear and the Vow. When people stop believing in the Vow they will want to go. And the EVEL stuff as well as leaving the EU without Scottish consent is outside the terms of the vow. They threatened us we might be forced out of the EU if we voted yes. Now they’re going to leave and take Scotland out, without her consent, if need be! There will be chaos, and the unionist parties will be obliterated here in May.

  2. Geel says:

    “Our family of nations”: Four collective voices or simply a fiction?

    1. benmadigan says:

      I tend to go for the view of merely a fiction!

      Please consider whether Northern ireland is Part of the Family:
      When the Government of ireland Act was signed in 1920 King george V was reportedly bemused as to why ireland wanted to leave the “family” but hoped the 2 parliaments (Belfast in Ni and Dublin in the republic) would make everybody happy. So I would say NI hasn’t been part of the “family” since then. Though I may be wrong!!

      The Good friday /Belfast Agreement and subsequent treaties (which brought about an uneasy peace after 40+ years of violent strife) involved the UK, USA and Republic of Ireland
      The UK declared “we have no selfish strategic or economic interest in NI”

      Being British: People from NI have the right to both british and irish passports. they can choose whichever they want. In England anyone from NI is considered Irish by the English. Those who support the Union find this hard to take on board as it doesn’t fit with their view of themselves.

      Agree NI is a special case and could even be considered the problem Child of Empire

      But NI does nail the lie she’s part of the family of nations

  3. Harry Alffa says:

    I find myself also with the concept of “all roads lead back to”. But the destination I have is linking the banking sector to the real economy.
    Here’s a question. When we get Independence, what are we going to do with it?
    Many things will spring to mind, but …
    Will the banks suddenly behave in the way our new social equality parliament will? Of course not. Will the financial sector suddenly cease to have any influence on the Scottish economy? Remember the last crash buggered the whole globe, and exactly the same behaviour is happening again, if it ever actually ceased.

    Absolutely everything I read about in politics, but particularly in economics, I continually think – the answer is bloody obvious! Why can so few people see it, and why is it only me who is bloody pushing this?

    See this piece for “endorsement” of my logic:

    then go to

    to see the idea that does all that the President of the NY FED wants, and also instantly constrains the banks and bankers to invest in the real economy and act in the best interests of the rest of us.
    If you can’t argue against the thinking of the President of New York FED, you can’t argue against Anyone with a social conscience then must then actively promote it. Yes?
    So tweet, donate; email media, MPs, friends.

    Everything that Irvine said, except Independence must be seen through No point in winning Independence, then be slaves to corporations that are bigger than most countries.


    1. Frankk says:

      Legislate. Ban the banks in Scotland from lending without security for repayment. Share prices for the banks plummet. Scottish government buy back shares and nationalise banks. Banks lend money to companies that create jobs and grow the economy.

    2. Wul says:

      Yup. I concur. Independence first, then a gradual booting out of any industry which does not behave “as if people matter”. We need laws which put people first. If some business don’t like it, there’s the door…..

    3. Before we can pull away from these exploitive and self-serving entrenched institutions, people need to see them for what they are. One of the reasons we aren’t already singing off the same hymn sheet is that we have a corrupt media apparatus. We are in effect, to coin a phrase, pissed on and told it’s raining
      by a system so bent and out of step, it was paying bounties to writers to help achieve a no vote. For true systemic change to occur, we have to be able to see where we are going. Reforming the fourth estate should be priority number one.

    4. David Soulsby says:

      I have been banging on for the need to open both community banks and a main scottish Business bank since this bail out happened. The Idea that we should give £65billion + to private institutions is obscene.
      The existing banks do not serve the people or communities they trade within.
      Just think we can start this process right now!
      the Scottish Parliament could implement this and create a banking and investment revolution for Scotland. This would pave the way for a much stronger argument on the financial question of an independent Scotland.
      I am at a loss, However, to know how to promote this idea.
      So simple, Already done in, Germany, USA, Etc.

      Lets Get This Together Scotland.

      Break the power and the hold of the Big Banks NOW
      1,600,000.00 Scots cash guaranteed YES!

  4. BigBen says:


    Liked this a lot. Good analysis of Labour, no hysterical tone, measured and summed up perfectly why I voted yes. I wish that there was more mainstream acknowledgement of the reasons behind many yes votes (e.g. to break with an undemocratic state, imperialist beginnings, set up for the privileged from the get go etc etc) rather than the knee-jerk cries of “Nationalist!”. Also agree with this in particular;

    “Slavering on like a Hovis advert about the traditions of British working class resistance can’t disguise the fact that you’re bending over backwards to preserve a state that has been doing everything in its power to negate and crush this resistance for the last 35 years, and practically since it’s inception, right up to World War Two. The tragedy of the British left is that it’s got so used to playing this perennial losers game against the UK state. This obsession with protecting it, and continually rolling the same dice, which is so obviously weighted against you, has surely now expired as viable strategy.”

    Well said.

  5. Harry Alffa says:

    I need moderated!

  6. Iain Hill says:

    A first class, succinct manifesto for us. The election of a pro Scottish bloc of MPs, MSPs etc, not just once but permanently, must be the absolute priority, and all our energies should support that. Zero WM MPs for Scotland!

    Just a thought, is there anyone in Lewes who would comprehend this article and its rationale? Thought not.

    1. N Jones says:

      Iain could not agree more. Loved the remark relating to our comrades in Lewes!

    2. Ian Patterson says:

      I had to laugh at the Lewes bit, Iain – very well put! But I agree with you too, that Mr Welsh’s piece was a quite excellent document. It deserves much wider circulation than is available here, though I’m not sure how that could be done.

      1. benmadigan says:

        posted this link

        to that site with an innocuous comment about there being alternatives to burning effigies which foster jobs and tourism.
        It wasn’t published.
        Led me to doubt Ms Penney would understand the Scottish/NI/Welsh point of view

  7. yerkitbreeks says:

    “To get Scots to go anywhere with them – particularly out of Europe and into a centralised quasi-fascist Tory/Ukip little England state – will be an almost impossible task.”

    This is an excellent article – I hope it’s read widely.

  8. Frankk says:

    Succinct? Bit long winded if ask me. To sum up. Smith Commision has got a lot of good input. If they don’t act on it that’s more fuel to the fire. Vote SNP for Westminster. Vote Independence parties for Holyrood. A EU referendum means a new Independence referendum means victory!

  9. Tim Ryan says:

    Its been settled for a lifetime. Alex Salmond wouldn’t lie.

    1. Willie Hogg says:

      He said “a generation”, which is about 18 years! But failure to deliver the ” VOW” trumps that.

      1. andygm1 says:

        In his opinion. He’s no longer leader of the SNP.

    2. Wul says:

      Tim, the very idea that the opinion of a politician, in a TV interview, should bind the will and aspiration of 1.5 million Scots (and counting) shows how far off the ball you are.
      This viewpoint also reveals a pathetic longing to be told what to do and think.

    3. Muscleguy says:

      At the same time he clarified that he meant a political generation which is much shorter than a human one. Consider also that in resigning he allows a different political generation to lead the party. Labour is changing its political leader generation too. Game on.

  10. Dan Huil says:

    Good article. Can’t really add to it other than to say I hope all the pro-independence parties sort out a strategy that works best to combat the nasty vagaries of FPTP.

  11. IW for President. Excellent article, wish the idiots in the Welsh Assembly would read this, unfortunately someone would have to teach them to read first though.

  12. Excellent.

    Just a minor point but was it THE SAME reason that drove the majority of over-65s to vote No, and the majority of under 65s to vote Yes?

    When you write of “a golden era of 1945-70, where, following the unique and cataclysmic aftermath of the battle against Nazism, [Britain] briefly aspired to be something more inclusive” I think you are writing about why there was a majority for No amongst the over-65s. They experienced the Welfare State, education for all on the basis of ability, an NHS we could be proud of, ‘Better Together’. It seems to me that they voted No out of allegiance to the same vision for society that led most of us under 56 to vote Yes: A society for the many and not for the few.

    1. Optimistic Till I Die says:

      Although I prefer not to generalise from a few individuals it is true to say that those in my family of my age late sixties/early seventies with a working class background did, despite my attempts to change their views, vote No because of their rose tinted view of a Britain that was set by their parents adherence to the welfare state post 1945 and and their own schooldays and teenage years – they could not break from a need to belong to a big flag flying, nuclear power state that claimed to punch above its weight internationally, ran the NHS, and paid their pensions. Its a nice cosy world view that deals with their anxieties about the world as still propagated by the newspapers they read and the BBC. Project Fear continues and will continue so long as the Independence movement and people’s democratic demands present an alternative to Westminster rule. But, until there is a widely accessible alternative media that appeals to such people and not only those with an Indy persuasion they are unlikely to change their viewpoint.

      1. Marconatrix says:

        OTOH such people ought to be hopping mad at the sight of everything they believed made Britain ‘Great’ getting systematically trashed for profit before their very eyes. Don’t they give a stuff for their grandkids? Maybe they just haven’t noticed yet, ignorance after all is supposed to be bliss?

      2. rosestrang says:

        Likewise, my parents who voted no could be described as such. It does seem like a sort of misguided loyalty, though there’s a sense that no voters simply weren’t aware of the changes that have happened, or the growth and development of the SNP in relatively recent years.

        I feel we’re on track towards independence in the not too distant future, but I worry that if we have a referendum before people have taken stock of these changes in politics, we might see this repeating itself – i.e. people feeling more comfortable to cling to an empty idea of security. I think the strong message should be ‘fool me once, shame on you..’ etc, I won’t repeat the full phrase in case I commit a Bushism!

      3. yerkitbreeks says:

        Are they also known as the ” SKI ” generation ie Spend the Kids’ Inheritance ?

  13. edulis says:

    This is a superb piece from Irvine Welsh – meaty and well argued. Somebody more capable than me should find a way of giving it legs to reach into multiple outlets. Even a five minute summarised version should find its way onto the Channel 4 political slot after the 7.00 pm news, starring the man himself.

  14. you couldn't make it up says:

    “Imagine you wanted to complain to the brand new press regulation body about an article a tabloid newspaper”

    “That would be a certain Paul Dacre”

    “Who also happens to be the editor of the Daily Mail.”

    1. gonzalo1 says:

      Is that the creepy little guy who sometimes appears on late night TV?

  15. James says:

    “This shows up both positions as undemocratic, and morally indefensible” is the only dodgy comment in the article. If you consider the UK as a single democratic entity then both positions are wholly democratic and wholly defensible. If Scottish votes kept the UK in Europe this Englishman would be very happy!

  16. Chris says:

    Well the first thing to be pointed out is that the UK will not actually likely vote to leave the EU (most opinion polls support this; and increasingly so).

    The second thing is that so many people seem to focus on the “we need immigrants” debate because we have an ageing population. Not one person has been asked the question of ‘who cares for the immigrants when they get old?’ Are we going to continually have exponential growth in population numbers to support this? It is nonsense. The truth is we will all have to pay more tax and work until we are no longer fit to.

    1. MBC says:

      Yes, that’s the rub. When you spend more on welfare and public expenditure than your revenues, you can either raise taxes or lower costs. But the third way is simply to borrow more money. In September Osborne borrowed £11.6 billion to plug the gap. The deficit is now heading towards £1.5 billion. David Cameron said recently that lowering taxes was a ‘moral duty’. That’s the ‘something for nothing’ culture, surely?

  17. Marconatrix says:

    A bit long-winded so many may not get the point, but at least someone on these blogs isn’t still going on endlessly about SLAB. Look, the little dramas going on down there at the branch office are no doubt entertaining for those of you who like that kind of thing, but honestly they have about as much relevance to the outside world as what happens inside the hermetically sealed BB House.

    There is an excellent chance of getting a nationalist majority of Scottish MPs at Westminster in May. And a good chance of wiping the floor with the opposition. The first would surely constitute a mandate for Home Rule, the second for UDI. To take full independence off the agenda would be to take our eyes off the ball and be sucked into endless WM negotiations designed to drag on and dilute the drive for autonomy. Sometimes ‘being reasonable’ can be fatal, i.e. when the other side are happily taking you for a ride. At some point we have to be prepared to play by our rules not theirs. They say that Scotland was extinguished by the Acts of Union, but equally respected lawyers disagree. Either Scotland is a Nation of Sovereign people or she isn’t. Who should decide that, them or us? If we believe in ourselves then we’re free to leave the UK whenever it pleases us, and actually I think they know that, otherwise why the Edinburgh Agreement?

    This will be all about timing. Action needs to be focused. Pressure needs to be built up on the ground, steadily, visibly, as May approaches and passes. We need the Nat MP’s but they need a mass movement behind them. Freedom Square anyone? Come the spring remember that old slogan from the ’60’s “Don’t Talk, Occupy!” 😉

    1. rosestrang says:

      I want independence as soon as humanly possible, and totally agree that we need to be seen as campaigners. But UDI worries me since it would leave a disgruntled percentage in Scotland. If political failures or triumphs can teach us one thing, it’s the fact that divisions can cause a lot of damage for the longer term. I’d rather we keep campaigning and keep informing so that, to use a Scottishism, we’re of a mind when it come to the next referendum

      1. James says:

        Not a disgruntled percentage, a disgruntled majority by most recent evidence. It makes perfect sense to vote for the SNP at the 2015GE without wanting independence. 40 plus SNP MP’s at Westminster, speaking for Scotland not their UK parties, will give Scotland the power to shape the union and this is what a lot of people will vote for. If you start talking up UDI you will frighten off a lot of potential SNP voters.

  18. Justin Fayre says:

    It’s like London buses or taxis..Just when you think you couldn’t get any more brilliant posts from Yes supporting masters of the written word …up pops a barnstormer. Absolutely brilliant Irvine

  19. tonyroz says:

    brilliant Irvine… you cant just decide to have ‘more socialism’
    the euro question is fascinating, i hope the scenario plays out as you suggest ‘progressive indy and devo max voters join to reject the 25% or so of UK myopic merchants’
    this all gives me great hope and i will spread these words at any chance i get.

  20. florian albert says:

    There are some valid points here about the decline of British identity but there are other parts of the article that are little more than a rant. The welfare state is not ‘all but gone.’ Those who rely on it most, older people, were amongst those who ensured the independence would be voted down in September.
    Such people believed that the ‘failed state’ of the UK was more likely to guarantee their security than any of the various visions on offer from the YES side.
    The long passage on the EC ignores the simple fact that the Tories are committed to staying in, regardless of what they may say to counter UKIP. Cameron is shamelessly copying Harold Wilson.
    Irvine Welsh’s article suggests that supporters of independence are on the ‘right side of history.’
    The history of the 20th century is littered with examples of those who were similarly convinced and disabused by events.

  21. Morag Frame says:

    Great post! When are you gonna come back and live over here, Mr Welsh?

    1. myrette Macintyre says:

      Great point,Irvine Welsh lives in the U.S.A .Now why does he continue to add to the debate ? And add to this the so called rev in Bath Wings over Scotland blogger . Both continue to add opinions with a following in Scotland. It makes no sense or are we being conned by the rhetoric. They both are preaching to the converted. Remember September the vote was against independence . Silent majority , no bother and thanks to Gordon Brown .

      1. dasoulsby says:

        What are you saying here?
        Are you saying that if a Scot dares to live anywhere other that in Scotland full time, Then there views and input into the debate is some how not valid!

        Have you read some of the drivel spouted by “Scots” who’s only legitimacy is to reside here.

  22. Brilliant exposition of what’s going on- Irvine, you are a star!

    In any case, what’s the alternative? ‘Britannia’ is a Titanic just waiting to have its completely unsustainably imblalanced economy and super indebted proles discover that they have been getting so screwed that even their inflated house prices mean nothing…when the hose price inflated asset bubble debt laden economy goes POP- as it will and as it must do within less than a generation.

    Please Scotland, can we get out sooner, rather than later- before the whole deck of cards falls apart

  23. Barbara McKenzie says:

    What I particularly like about this article is that Welsh is articulating facts that are obvious but still need saying. Firstly, that independence is not going away, it will only grow in force. The ‘Vow’ of the Three Stooges only serves to underline this, by tacitly acknowledging that independence is actually what Scots want.

    Secondly there is the ‘terminal disaffection with the institutions of the UK state and its South-East dominated agenda, and the attendant emotional and cultural disengagement from them’. That disaffection is being expressed as never before, both north and south of the border. As Welsh indicates, the BBC, in order to play its part in the protection of the established order, exposed itself irredeemably. Statements by senior BBC staff such as Robinson and Peston will continue to be scrutinised and found to be wanting. Tolerance for the assumption of values such as protecting elite paedophile networks in order not to damage ‘the Establishment’ has run out, and questions are being asked in Scotland about the huge inequalities that exist, exemplified by e.g. the concentration of land ownership. South of the border, the more clued-up are watching and hoping that the Scots will gain independence and create a blueprint for change for the rest of Britain.

  24. Barontorc says:

    Lamont did not lead the NO campaign Irvine, it was the inestimable Darling (soon to be of ermine), who done it, backed by a serious ‘chancer’ called Blair McDougall.

    This is an appalling error on your part. Name and bloody well shame these cretinous torags and don’t miss.

    500 lines, now!

  25. Ken Waldron says:

    Excellent article: one of the best I have read. Especially liked:this sharp summation of Labour: ” …Its political class leaders are almost uniformly invested in personal legacy, the trappings of office and strutting on a stage…” read and tremble…

    My only disagreement is with the idea that a new referendum could or should be contingent on the idea of England voting to exit the EU. Once the guns and tanks are turned on the English electorate the CBI and the bulk of the Tories Lib dems and labour will have the mainstream media in tow doing a job on them as was done on us: they will vote to stay in.

  26. jacquescoleman says:

    An excellent read. Far superior to the political analysis junk we are served daily by the self serving pundits(?) in the Scottish and English media. I particularly liked the bit…

    “who would stagger emaciated, forelock-tugging and lip-synching Rule Britannia into establishment-ran death camps, rather than support something that would materially change their own circumstances for the better.”

    A beautifully put turn of phrase which so aptly describes the establishment supporters in Scotland.

    I really hope that the current political animation and activity in Scotland continues, up to GE 2015 and beyond and that your version of the future comes to pass.

  27. mindovermutter says:

    Reblogged this on Mind Over Mutter.

  28. Sure Scot says:

    Why is there the assumption that yes voters would vote to stay in the EU?
    Most yes voters that I know work in the building trade and are very anti-immigration and anti-EU. They are always complaining about eastern European workers under pricing and accepting less per hour than Scottish tradesmen.
    If there is a majority of Scottish voters wanting to stay in the EU does that not tie in with the majority that want to remain in the Uk?
    Yes voters are not inclusive progressive people from my experience.

  29. arthur thomson says:

    A brilliant article. Myrette, your comment is simply bizarre. The whole world is entitled to take and express a perspective on Scottish politics. Even poor gullible Scots like me can benefit from this arrangement. I think it’s an important aspect of democracy – a concept you may not be familiar with.

  30. Stephanie Pride says:

    Excellent analysis, wherever author is writing it from… Some over-generalisations inevitably (clearly some pro-Yes are ‘little scotlanders’/anti-immigration/EU etc as are some pro-yes Catalans) but this is why referendum on independence a crude form of democracy and why we need more, not less democracy, not a ‘now you’ve had your say, you can shut up for a generation…’ What has happened before, during and after referendum and what will happen next can and should shake the foundations of the British state as currently configured, which doesn’t serve the vast majority at all. let alone ‘the nations’, not least Scotland…. how anyone can think otherwise is beyond me!

  31. Mealer says:

    Thanks to the author.He does his bit.But he needs to do a lot more than”his bit” to make up for all those supporters of independence who have the ability to make a big difference but choose not to use it.I think he will.

  32. Ex turpi causa says:

    It’s this sort of writing, in the same vein as that of Russell Brand (though Welsh is much more skilled), that most threatens our democracy.

    How are these celebrity endorsements and opinions in any way credible? Aside from being good writers and popular figures, how much do they really know about government, law and policy?

    It’s a sad state of affairs when people are reduced to sheepishly following the likes of what one might consider to be ‘celebrity elites’ rather than the ‘political elites’ so derided in these childishly emotional, fact-less rants – not to mention the utter hypocrisy of it.

  33. benmadigan says:

    I enjoyed the article and thought it explored many topics very well. Maybe a bit over-long as some other posters have said.
    The issue of Orange Order members and uber-Brits (converse of the labour party) was glaringly absent.
    Given what happened in Glasgow after the No vote i think Scots ignore it at their peril
    has anyone any idea on how to deal with/neutralise/change that type of mentality?

  34. macart763 says:

    A wise lady once said ‘we’re on the side of the angels’. 🙂

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