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Dangling on Boris’s Zip Line

It’s becoming increasingly likely that England will vote to leave the EU and Scotland will vote to remain, meaning Scotland will could be dragged out of the EU against its will. This, after being promised its membership of the EU would be secured by voting No in Scotland’s Referendum.

Who will vote to leave the EU?A university graduate is more than twice as likely to want Britain to stay in the EU than someone with no qualifications.What else do we know about how people will vote in the referendum? And what does it say about the deep divisions in British society?

Posted by Channel 4 News on Friday, 19 February 2016

Whilst the elections to the Scottish Parliament will now be dominated on all UK media channels by the likes of Nigel Farage, George Galloway, Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and all in a debate we didn’t start for a political cause we don’t support. It’s the Tory civil war that dates back to the early 1970s, a division in the English elite that threatens to put Scotland in European exile. We are being dragged into this as Cameron tries desperately to appease his own right-wing in his own party and beyond. John Rentoul explains (“Cameron is finished”) that: ” it looks as if the Leave total will be close to half of the Parliamentary Conservative Party. That’s 165 MPs.”

Little is of substance in this spin-cycle and the opportunity to challenge the real crisis of Europe has been missed, as Jeremy Corbyn states: “He could have been using Britain’s leverage to stop the threat to our services and rights in the secretive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations; to build human rights and environmental protection into future trade treaties; and halt the pressure from Brussels to deregulate and privatise public services. He could have been arguing for an end to self-defeating austerity and for the strengthening of workers’ rights across Europe.”

The contradictions come thick and fast: older voters apparently are far more likely to vote against continued union; both Kevin Pringle and Nicola Sturgeon will utilise arguments for continuing Union in the coming months that will have startling familiarity to some, but the principle contradiction is that a central case of the Better Together charade was about continuity, security and our place in Europe. That is now exposed as farce.

Whatever Happened to No Borders?

12742718_1083916671659387_7887606458350541841_nMany of the people that will be dominating your screens in the coming months spouted hours of broadcast time exorting us to unity and cooperation and deriding us as racists. The irony is monumental.

193789-boris-johnson-on-a-wireThat this shambles of sovereignty is being run by a handful of careerist opportunists like Boris and George adds insult to injury. The reality is that Scotland’s place in Europe lies dangling on a zip-line like Boris on a bad day. Announcing his support for some sort of ‘liberated’ Britain, the unfortunate Michael Gove issued lines that should be etched on everybody’s memories and enshrined in Scottish granite and embedded in the Holyrood wall: “My starting point is simple. I believe that the decisions which govern all our lives, the laws we must all obey and the taxes we must all pay should be decided by people we choose and who we can throw out if we want change. If power is to be used wisely, if we are to avoid corruption and complacency in high office, then the public must have the right to change laws and Governments at election time.”

A stronger case for a Scottish democracy couldn’t be made. Thankfully the hubris and lack of awareness of the British elite makes this ever more likely.


Comments (40)

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  1. Redgauntlet says:

    Cameron is being mocked in the Spanish press for being a miserly skinflint…guess how much the UK saves on indexing Child Benefit to the country where the monies go? 70 millions quid. That money could buy you a decent centre forwards these days…

    …70 million quid in order to radically undermine the sacred EU principle of not discriminating against any EU citizen because of their nationality. Needless to say, there are now voices in Spain calling for UK pensioners resident in Spain to have their pensions index linked too…if that doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t need to…

    Cameron has opened a whole can of worms for nothing, for peanuts…to placate British nationalism, and he has done it behind closed doors, without even setting a foot in the European Parliament….

    It’s embarrassing to hold a UK passport in Europe (even more embarrassing than it always was) and wait for the European backlash….it will come.

    Time for Nicola and the Left in Scotland to turn this into indyref 2.0….

    1. Brian Boulton says:

      If we want to turn it into indyref 2.0 then I don’t see why backing a leave vote gets us there. I completely understand there is a section of the left that wants to leave the EU on principle. That’s fine, but the majority of us still support staying in the EU and surely the best way to underline the point is to back staying by a large margin.

      If the UK does end up leaving then the “we need another referendum because Scotland is different” argument will only be convincing if a large percentage of Scottish voters on a high turnout back staying.

      1. Redgauntlet says:

        Agreed, Brian.

      2. Interpolar says:

        Exactly. Only a clear Stay in Scotland will make a case for Indy 2.0, if rUK goes Leave.

        1. Iain Cameron says:

          Absolutely. I’m no fan of the EU in its present form with TTIP lurking on the horizon and buffoons like Barroso being elevated to positions of power, but it needn’t be like that. Furthermore, the decision to stay or leave is one for Scotland post-independence. The only sensible move is to vote to stay in in June and hope a constitutional crisis arises leading to Referendum No. 2. On a different point, can rUK deprive the Scottish people of our EU citizenship?

  2. Paul Carline says:

    It’s unfortunate that Gove’s definition of democracy isn’t challenged in this article. Being permitted to change governments once every four or five years – and then having to live with the consequences, including the inevitable broken manifesto promises – is not democracy. Democracy means “people power”. It means that the people are the sovereign. It means that the people decide the rules of the game – normally through a written constitution which they should help to formulate and then ratify by referendum – and it means that they have the right, as in Switzerland, to vote down government legislation and propose their own laws and amendments.

    Britain isn’t a democracy. Lord Hailsham was close to the truth when he called it “an elective dictatorship”. We need to stop accepting the fake democracy that has been foisted on us and find ways of creating a real one. Perhaps first of all we need to get out of the mind trap which says that UK governments (including the Scottish one) are democratically legitimate.

    The in-or-out-of-the-EU issue is a minefield for Scots because, as Yanis Varoufakis says, the EU is a “democracy-free zone” in which the controlling institutions (including the “Troika” and the “Euro Group” have zero democratic legitimacy. It seems we’re between the devil of an undemocratic EU wedded to NATO and its crimes and the deep blue sea of a callous Tory regime still wedded to a failed capitalist model and counter-productive austerity.

    1. Douglas Scott says:


  3. bringiton says:

    At least many of those MPs who support the out campaign are acting in a principled way unlike some others.
    Boris for example is weighing up which camp will offer him the best shot at replacing Cameron and many of those who support the establishment position do so also out of self interest.
    How many Scots are going to be energised by a debate whose outcome will almost certainly be decided in England?
    English voters will decide whether we retreat into splendid isolation or remain reluctant members of the European club.

    1. Brian Boulton says:

      “How many Scots are going to be energised by a debate whose outcome will almost certainly be decided in England?
      English voters will decide whether we retreat into splendid isolation or remain reluctant members of the European club.”

      Although I take your point, I find this style of argument a little bit dangerous in all honesty. Unlike Westminster elections where this criticism has more validity, it’s a referendum and one vote is just as important as any other vote regardless of where it’s cast. Yes if England votes by a massive margin to leave then it’s a lost cause, but they won’t. Much of the polling recently is on a knife edge and every vote counts at the end of the day.

      And let’s also be clear that even if we were independent it would still be a negative thing for Scotland to have the UK out of the EU – just as it’s widely regarded as being a massive headache for Ireland if the UK leaves. That’s not even considering the wider argument about what it might do to the EU itself to have one of its largest members leave. There really is nothing in it for pro-EU voters in Scotland, regardless of what happens with independence. This kind of “we’re pro-EU but why bother voting for it” sentiment is probably the single biggest threat to the remain campaign across the UK.

  4. Daisy says:

    Off topic but wrote a blog post on EU Referendum & Cameron’s lack of respect
    Please give it a read & feedback much appreciated:

  5. willie says:

    They told us that if Scotland seceded the from the UK then Scotland would be out the UK. Now we see that if England votes to sucede from the European Union that Scotland will have to go to. ( and ditto Northern Ireland and Wales).
    And freed from the European Union the Tory right will not be long in repealing employment and health and safety protections introduced by the EU.
    But this was the plan all along. Wow them and vow them to lull them into a false sense of security. If you think it’s bad then think what it’s going to be like when dragged out of Europe. Yes and we bought it and now we reap the rewards. So who will deliver us from this evil, Rise, Solidarity, SSP the Greens or an SNP majority government mandated by a majority of the electorate. Indeed, with member majorities in both Parliaments and majority electoral support, we have the opportunity to simply say no. No to being dragged out if Europe, no to the implementation of draconian Labour laws, no to the destruction of social care and provision – and a mandated SG will be well able to say this. In fact do we even need to ask Cameron or Osborne for another referendum. One voice SNP One and Two and let us seize the initiative.

    1. Richard says:

      Agree with you Willie. You hit the nail on the head. In Europe Out of UK. I’m no nationalist and here’s the irony, the ‘nationalist’ AMP is the most internationalist party at Westminster

    2. Phil says:

      “One voice SNP One and Two”

      Independence remains the issue not English membership of the EU. Bring on EVEL – English Vote for English Leaving EU – and let our nation begin its next historical phase with its own independence.

      1. Brian Boulton says:

        I said this above, but if you think rUK leaving the EU would be a good thing for Scotland just look at the coverage of this in Ireland. It’s fair to say if it’s a problem for Ireland it’s doubly so for us given we’re not actually independent yet.

        I’d say if you want to make a point about independence with this referendum then campaign just as fervently for staying in the EU as we did for independence. If Scotland returns a massive percentage in favour of staying on a high turnout then it just underlines the distinctiveness of Scottish politics in relation to the rest of the UK.

        1. Valerie says:

          I agree we want to see a good Scottish turnout, voting to remain. I hope that some of the business, work and trade issues will energise people. We have a switched on, educated youth, thanks to our referendum.

          What interests me, is how many No voters, want to remain in, and fear a Brexit?

          Scottish companies up here campaigned openly for No, but I don’t think they want to leave the EU.

          BoNo keeping us all dangling with his drama. He is frantically studying polls, to try and pick the winning side for him.

  6. Steven Milne says:

    I cannot understand why SNP is so pro-EU.

    Surely the goal of “ever closer political union”is incompatible with Scottish independence?

    Did they not notice how the EU reacted when Greece attempted to implement “anti austerity” economic policies?

  7. Legerwood says:

    I see that Boris is going to announce his position re the EU in his column in tomorrow’s Daily Telegraph. Nice wee boost for the circulation figures, damn all concern for the electorate.

    The debate on the EU is unlikely to generate any greater understanding of how it works or what we gain/lose from membership but will be framed solely on the internal machinations of the Tory party. Just as the GE was all about hung Parliaments and spurious coalitions rather than covering the issues. But then that is the MSM for you – lazy journalism taking the line of least effort.

  8. greatbighoo says:

    “It’s becoming increasingly likely that England will vote to leave the EU and Scotland will vote to remain, meaning Scotland will could be dragged out of the EU against its will.”

    Scotland doesn’t have EU membership – The UK does. “Scotland” can no more ‘leave the EU’ or be ‘dragged out of the EU’ than Yorkshire can.

    People living in Scotland voted conclusively (with 20% more people voting ‘yes’ than ‘no’) to remain part of the UK in September 2014.

    There is shortly going to be a referendum on the UK’s EU membership.

    Voters in the UK – including in Scotland – will have the opportunity to decide the future of the UK in the EU.

    It’s looking increasingly likely that the UK will vote to remain in the EU.

    However, in the very unlikely event of the UK voting to leave the EU, “Scotland” would leave the EU as part of the UK.

    That’s the same UK that Scotland voted, conclusively, to remain part of the September 2014.

    IF the UK voted to leave the EU (it won’t) – then that would be democracy.

    But Separatists hate democracy, don’t you?

    What with you being Separatists.

    1. Interpolar says:

      Part of the argument to stay in the UK was that it was the safest way to stay in the EU. If Scotland is dragged out against her will, that is exposed as misleading. Now couple that will the Vow which was also part of the No-package. If an agreement or contract is not honoured, it becomes void. Remember that only 1 person in 20 would have to rethink their Indy vote to tip the balance.

      1. greatbighoo says:

        “Part of the argument to stay in the UK was that it was the safest way to stay in the EU.”

        Whose argument was that? I think you’ll find a more accurate description was that the UK has EU membership, not “Scotland”, and that an independent Scotland would not retain or automatically gain EU membership. Before Scotland was admitted to the EU, then questions across 100,000 pages of rules would have to be answered, deficit rules would have to be met, would have to demonstrate ability to meet requirements of joining the Euro, etc.

        The UK holds EU membership – NOT “Scotland”. The argument was that Yes voters were voting to leave the UK, and therefore to leave a country holding EU membership, and wander off into unknown territory.

        “If Scotland is dragged out against her will, that is exposed as misleading.”

        Nobody is being ‘dragged’ anywhere. Scotland voted to remain part of the UK, which holds EU membership. If the UK leaves the EU, Scotland leaves the EU. if the UK stays in the EU, Scotland stays in the EU. Do you see?

        “Now couple that will the Vow which was also part of the No-package.”

        Please state, verbatim, how “the Vow” has not been delivered (it has, in full).

        ” If an agreement or contract is not honoured, it becomes void. ”

        See above. PS don’t go into business – you have no clue about agreements or contracts, and you will end up losing all your money.

        “Remember that only 1 person in 20 would have to rethink their Indy vote to tip the balance.”

        To get to 51% Yes? That’s what you’re going for in ‘IndyRef 2’.

        Wow, you really are reckless.

        That’s a lot of people.

        A lot of people who’d have to make the decision with actual consequences (not answer a ‘poll’).

        The polls show exactly the same position as 18 months ago.

        There isn’t going to be another referendum.

        You can declare UDI if you want – but let me know when that’s happening; i’ll want popcorn, galaxy minstrels, a nice drink etc.

        1. george wood says:

          Troll on you are making yourself look more ridiculous the more you post.

          What is there to crow about, the No campaign started with an enormous lead and had the media in it’s back pocket and yet it scraped home. The No campaign lost the argument, but succeeded in scaring Scots out of what they wanted which is something to be ashamed of not celebrated.

        2. Hi greatbighoo – you said no-one made the case that to vote No face us European security. That’s bollocks, the argument was made over and over. Here’s one example:


  9. Malcolm MacKintosh says:

    I am pro EU, have been since my teenage years, nearly as long as I have been an advocate of Scottish independence and an SNP supporter!

    Scottish independence always comes first, I see membership of the EU as complimentary to Scottish independence and highly desirable.

    I live in England, I hope to return to Scotland by the end of the year. I shall be voting against continued uk membership of the EU whilst I live in England in the firm belief and conviction England will vote no and Scotland yes and Scots will have another independence referendum.

    Game on!

  10. Clive Scott says:

    Best result for me is a narrow overall In with the vote swung by Scottish votes and England against. The frothing bile from England would be hilarious to behold.

    1. greatbighoo says:

      “The frothing bile from England would be hilarious to behold.”

      Comparable only to the mouth-foaming there’ll be when there’s no committment or timetable for “IndyRef 2” in the next Separatist Manifesto.

      Never fear though – the UK is going to vote to remain by a significant distance.

      So that’ll be Scottish Separatists (dividers) defeated, and UK dividers defeated.

      2-0 to the Unionists.

  11. sid says:

    I don’t know where this is going, most people i know voted Yes to independence and they all want out of Europe. The people i know who vote No, also want out of Europe and what is the point of being semi-independent, ruled from Brussels/Berlin instead of Westminster. Also, right in front of our eyes, just like the old Soviet Union. Europe looks like it’s disintegrating. Why would anyone want to be a part of that.

    1. greatbighoo says:


      1. leavergirl says:

        Heresy! Yes! Finally! 🙂

  12. Crubag says:

    There was a Survation poll before the referendum that found that Yes voters were less likely than No voters to stay in the European Union (46% to 54%).

    The SNP’s own commitment to European political union goes back to 1988, and I remember it giving the party a more modern feel. For the time.

    But that was pre-enlargement, pre-euro and pre-European Central Bank. It’s probably time for the party to revisit.

    If centralised, one size fits all policies are bad within a union of 60 million, how much better are they within a union of 400 million?

    1. greatbighoo says:


  13. john young says:

    Wonder how those “staunch unionists” marching on Saturday feel about it?

    1. Crubag says:

      There is no doubt an irony in the Glorious Revolution being a Dutch takover, and backed by the pope.

      But it shows that whether in or out of the European Union political edifice, we still be part of Europe proper.

  14. john young says:

    Gravy Train extraordinaire,no more no less.

  15. w.b.robertson says:

    cannot understand the presumption that we Scots want to remain in the non democratic EC, a body run for the benefit of German industrialists, French farmers, and an army of Brussels based bureaucrats. And I cannot fathom why the SNP policy prefers our country being manipulated by Europe rather than Westminster. Like opting to be hung rather than guillotined.

  16. arthur thomson says:

    I think it is going to be more and more entertaining to watch how the EU ref campaigns are conducted in Ruk. So much is going to be said that cannot be unsaid and I expect that whoever ‘wins’ the war is very likely to lose the peace. I have no idea what the result will be and I cannot meaningfully affect the outcome but I can at least enjoy the chaos. When I think of the despicable lack of democracy meted out to Scotland in the indy ref it is my hope that much of what came around goes around. Ruk deserves what they are about to receive. Ultimately, somewhere around half of the Ruk electorate are going to lose. Will they then just give up and go back in the box? I’m not convinced that they will.

    And in the midst and then the aftermath of all that chaos, Scotland will have Holyrood and local government elections which I view as far more important. Scottish independence depends ultimately on the Scottish people choosing to take it. The brilliant record of the SNP in achieving genuine positive change against all the odds is key to growing support for independence. When the unionists are turfed out of most local authorities people will see positive change at local level on a par with the successes of the Scottish Government and it will be clear to all that independence is the way to go.

    Meanwhile in Ruk ……..

    1. greatbighoo says:

      “Meanwhile in Ruk …….. ”

      I have a better paid, more secure job than I ever have, I have pretty good local services (especially health – my son was born 18 months ago and the service and care were excellent – no complaints there) and things are generally going extremely well.

      The fact that you have to point to ‘rUK’ at the end of your sycophantic SNP fanboy puff piece shows just how insecure you really are about your future up there.

  17. Alf Baird says:

    I expect the EU referendum will demonstrate (for anyone who is not yet aware of the fact) that Scotland and England are two very, very different countries. Vive la différence!

    1. greatbighoo says:

      “I expect the EU referendum will demonstrate (for anyone who is not yet aware of the fact) that Scotland and England are two very, very different countries.”

      Your ‘expectation’ is baseless and unfounded.

      Social attitudes surveys indicate that voters in Scotland are marginally more to the ‘Left’ (in a crude sense) or more in the ‘authoritarian left’ quadrant of the political compass.

      But fundamentally attitudes are very similar.

      Those in Scotland who believe that people living in Scotland are somehow more ‘social democratic’ ‘egalitarian’ blah blah etc. etc. or are ‘Nordic’ in their outlook are deeply deluded.

      People in Scotland certainly aren’t interested in paying for all the nice things they want – like they do in the Nordic countries, where everyone pays more in direct and indirect taxes, across the board.

      They want someone else to pay. Tax anyone who earns more than they do / ‘Tax the Rich’ – a model which no modern successful state has been able to employ to pay for all the nice things people want, because there aren’t enough sufficiently ‘rich’ people to tax.

      The EU referendum and the forthcoming ‘In’ result will demonstrate that fundamentally people in Scotland are very similar, including in their attitude to risk (i.e. risk averse).

      It will show that the comfortably well off majority are not going to put what they have and their future at risk through believing that ‘returning their sovereignty’ will make a substantive difference to their lives or the life chances of their children in a Globalised world.

      We will get to look forward to the next thing that people in Scotland can whinge about, and blame their own failures and shortcomings on, though. Good-ee.

  18. Monty says:

    another referendum and yet again the obsession of the few takes over everything. No doubt the parties, campaigners will have a great old time and perhaps other will get caught up along the way. The psychodrama of the few will put everything else on hold. Perhaps in future if parties want to make major constitutional changes they should run on them as their primary policy in at a regular election. Suspect it won’t happen as they would lose and miss out up on the fun and games on inflated salaries that a referendum provides. Nice paid holiday for them from the more routine duller reforms that make life better for many.

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