2007 - 2021

Retro Unionism, Rewriting History

You’ve got to love David Torrance – purveyor of a weekly corrective in your Monday Herald. This week he is explaining with all the patience of a grandfather to a retarded child how the Better Together campaign may have suggested that this was some kind of partnership we were in… but really what they meant to say was … do what you’re ******* told.

“Sure there was lots of talk about the UK being a “family of nations”, but that isn’t the same thing as arguing that Scotland and England somehow occupy the same family home on an equal basis” he writes dolefully.

Quite David. On what basis do we occupy the family home? We’re not told. It’s got to be either a parent child relationship or a very dominant partner?

He goes on: “The only senior Unionist to use the phrase “partnership of equals” was the former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, but he was talking about his (unfulfilled) proposals for a quasi federal UK rather than the starts quo.

Er, quite. Now squealing with self-evident half-truths and pearls of innocuous nothingness he continues:

“No country, be it Brexit Britain or an independent Scotland, can ever be “fully independent”. And beyond the theoretical “equality” between sovereign nations, there will always be big states and small, more or less powerful countries.”

Fascinating stuff.

imgID59295279.jpg-pwrt3.jpg-pwrt3.jpg-pwrt3.jpg.gallery.jpg.gallery.jpg.gallery.jpg-pwrt3He goes on: “Just as Scotland can’t be “equal” to England by dint of geography, population and economics, nor can Ireland or Denmark be “equal” to Germany and France”.


Try telling any one of these countries that they’re not actually independent.

I’m trying to follow the sage-like logic, but I think I have it. Geography and size determines your power. So the bigger you are the more powerful you are. So that’s why England is very powerful but Scotland, sorry, not so much.

That’s why Greenland, Kazakhstan and Australia are three of the most powerful nations in the world, but poor old Norway is just a failed state basically. India, obviously with its big population is fabulously wealthy and experiences no poverty at all. Africa’s basically the same, though it suffers from not having, er, England’s geography. Got it?

I think this week we’re all feeling the love, whether it be Ruth Davidson’s exultant self-hatred or John Cleese’s view of “half-educated tenement Scots” running the English media. But it’s useful to have this “intrinsically unequal” relationship once and for all.

While we’re at it – in case you’re finding all of this a bit like trip down Orwell’s Memory Hole –  you probably thought that Theresa May said even as recently as July that she was “willing to listen to options” on Scotland’s future relationship with the European Union (silly you)  – here’s a quick reminder of Ruth Davidson and Theresa May’s actual views on the single market and the EU prior to completely changing their minds …

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  1. Dave says:

    Mike … retarded child !!!!????!!!!

    1. I think it’s a fair description of the tone of relationship he manages to achieve in print.

      1. Brian says:

        My sister’s daughter has Downs syndrome, is she a Retard?

        1. No. Clearly not. It was a phrase clearly used to describe the tone of condescension created by David Torrance, nothing more.

  2. muttley79 says:

    I don’t like the retarded child comment either Mike. Unfortunately for David Torrance, many of us remember clearly being told that if Scotland voted No to independence, then not only would be a equal partner in the best ever political Union in history, but we would actually be leading it. JK Rowling was telling us that Scotland would be able to dictate terms to the rest of the UK in the event of a No vote! How are those things working out for Scotland and its voters at the start of October 2016?

  3. Rory Cameron says:

    Scotland and Scots are viewed as a problem by our british overlords. Not a trusted friend, but a problem, not a loved one, but a problem, etc.

    This will be the case until we become independent!

    The English view Ireland (Republic) as a partner and thus to be negotiated with. Scotland has never been afforded this respect or position.

    It’s time for Scotland to grow up and leave home as the majority of Ireland did 90 + years ago!

    Respect is gained through actions and deeds, not sitting on your backside and hoping you’ll be treated fairly once you have given your wealth to a bigger neighbour!

    1. Aitch says:

      Well said…..you can’t expect respect from others if you don’t respect yourself

    2. Mac says:

      Ireland didn’t leave home, they escaped from the cold, dark and miserable basement of the abusive household in which they had been kept against their will.

  4. bringiton says:

    At least even the Tory Unionists now admit that there is no union as far as Scotland goes,at least in the normal sense of the word union.
    Fundamental decisions which affect us are made in England by English voters and that is what we voted for in 2014,even if we didn’t know it at the time.
    Some people may be happy with that dependency arrangement,which appears to include Mr Torrance and his fellow Tories but whether that is now the majority view of Scots is highly doubtful.
    We will find out in due course.

    1. Matt says:

      Sorry mate. We did know it at the time. Mores the pity that the majority didn’t care enough

  5. Iain says:

    It may be very patronising of me, but I’ve always found Torrance’s thinking not just lightweight but adolescent. One can only assume that, apart from providing the required unionist views, he owes his career to date to financial constraints on the media.

    1. Graeme Purves says:

      I think you are right. He’s simply not very bright.

    2. John Mooney says:

      Ian, the kiss of death to any columnist is to be repetitive and boring,Torrance exemplifies these traits in spades,A one trick pony with his constant SNP.Baaaaad mantra,just another unionist “Toom Tabard” troll without anything constructive to add to the political dialogue!

    3. Jack Collatin says:

      Iain, he owes his career to that wee book of quotations he keeps by his side to pad out the nonsense that he serves up as ‘commentary’.
      He is not very good at it.
      This latest piece of pusillanimous juvenilia is typical of this man child.
      He is one of the go to guys, who like Tom Harris, Andy MacIver, Margaret Curran, and the entire staff of the Herald, and that Norn Irn Editor of the Daily Record, whom the MSM, and in particular the BBC News Where You Are at Pacific Quay call on, to comment on anything and everything, as long as the punch line is SNP Badder than ever. A nice little earner for the Unionist scribes, at my expense.
      BBC Radio Scotland is beyond parody.
      They are the Fourth Estate Fifth Column, determined to bad mouth Scotland, its people, its culture and its tremendous wealth in materials and human ingenuity at every opportunity.
      Davidson’s ‘thieves and vandals’ stand up routine in Birmingham was equally as puerile and damaging. She should resign.
      This endomorph in big specs believes that Scotland should remain subservient to England because there are more of them than there are of us?
      The storm clouds are gathering.
      I truly ‘crave social status’; as a freeman in an Independent Scotland.
      Not long now. Spring 2019 is our best bet.
      Until then, I urge others to boycott the MSM, and any firms who attempt to threaten us with dire punishment if we vote YES.
      BTW: the supermarkets in France have aisle after aisle of jars, and jam making paraphernalia. The proles make their own from delicious fruits and berries.
      We need merely sit back and relax while the Tories make an absolute arse of their hard Brexit gambit, in tandem with even more savage Tory cuts to Health, Welfare, Public Services, and Pensions.
      I doubt that Darling Brown and Major will be heading North to defend the Union next time. Corbyn, McDonnell, and Watson, have given up on Scotland, it is no longer green and pleasant enough for the Red Tories/Marxists/ Momentums/ Militants.
      Surely Labour and Lib Dem supporters Up Here will see the light soon now.
      Independence within the EU is our only escape pod now. May has made that very clear today.
      I’m sure that Torrance will make a comfortable living selling advertising space for the Fleetwood Chronicler.
      After all it will have a bigger readership than the Herald by then.

      1. Anne says:


  6. Graeme Purves says:

    David’s latest column leaves me wondering whether we’re the hamster, the goldfish or just the spider in the bath?

  7. Thrawn says:

    How is this in any way controversial…we can see the limits of “independence” on small countries in what happened and continues to happen to Ireland, Greece, Portugal etc. during the financial crisis…basically they had to concede control of their economies to the Bundesbank or face financial oblivion. And to deny that after independence our fate would still not be intrinsically linked to our larger, more powerful neighbour is not only delusional but flies in the face of 2000 years of shared history

    Accepting the realities of the world is not self-hating…its being a grown-up…as is not resorting to crude insults by the way

    1. ScottieDog says:

      The PIIGS countries gave up their sovereignty to enter the euro. That was a choice – it wasn’t forced upon them. As for relinquishing power to our bigger neighbour – absolutely in a urgency Union, otherwise it would be down to how a Scottish govt runs its own affairs.
      unfortunately we have a govt in Westminster which still seems to think we are on a gold standard, that the sovereign currency issuing state is somehow a slave to the markets. You only have to look at a small country like Iceland to see that this is simply not the case.

      The UK govt is a slave to its own stupidity and of course it’s destructive fascination with the city of London. Scotland doesn’t have to follow the same archaic and destructive mindset.

      1. Thrawn says:

        And and independent Scotland will be allowed to join the EU without joining the Euro…dream on. Even if it decided not to join the EU or by some miracle was allowed to have a free floating (probably free falling given our debt inheritance) independent currency and still be in EU you think that would make us “independent”? Some scenarios that show how naive that idea is:

        rUK decides to privatise the NHS and millions of english cross the border to take advantage of still free Scottish NHS
        rUK decides to slash corporation tax and thousands of Scottish companies leave to take advantage gutting Scotlands tax revenues unless we match
        rUK slashes alcohol and cigarette duty again gutting our revenue unless we match

        It is not to say there are no solutions to these…but to claim we are “independent” is false when our policy decisions will alway be informed and driven by what is happening across the border

        1. Jack Collatin says:

          Who are you, ‘Thrawn’?
          Macternan, Mac Dougall, Mac Spanner?
          Scotland is not Greece, or Ireland, or Spain.
          We don’t have ‘ghost villages’ of empty uncompleted estates built by carpetbaggers and underwritten by now jailed bankers. WE are not in the Eurozone, nor will we be compelled to join, as we will continue as we are as 42 years members of the EU, post rUK’s launch into the wilderness of the North Atlantic.

          Thrawn, whatever branch of Project Fear you shore up, get your death rattle ‘too wee too poor’ shit in now.
          It will become apparent over the next year or so that England will be on the outside, looking in, as car manufacturers, Finance Houses, and, ironically, the English Establishment’s money, flows out of London, into the remaining 27 EU countries, plus of course, newly independent Scotland.
          This is the last time I write to a disembodied pen name.
          Why are you lot so ashamed to put your name to your Unionist rants?
          Because you are all one and the same sad little rabble rouser, a Johnny Nae Pals, hiding in your bedroom?

          1. Thrawn says:

            And who are you “Jack Collatin”??…I propose for the sake of the transparency you seem to hold so dear that you post your address and telephone number so we can all be reassured that you are who you say you are…

            It is quite difficult to interpret your Trumpian word salad but by the following: “WE are not in the Eurozone, nor will we be compelled to join, as we will continue as we are as 42 years members of the EU”…I presume you are proposing that after independence we would continue to be members of the EU but also continue to use pound sterling or a currency pegged to it. Genius…we would have our regulatory and industrial policy directed by EU and have monetary policy (you know interest rates and inflation control…small things like that) controlled by the country we just sought independence from…you call that independence?

            You seem inordinately proud of you using your name for your posts…however given their frankly embarrassingly uninformed content…i suggest you reassess that

        2. Sandy W says:

          Just to give you some comfort on your dystopian nightmares.

          rUK citizens would not continue to receive free NHS treatment in an independent Scotland, particularly if they have left the EU.

          rUK cutting corporation tax may attract some companies that want to do business in the rUK but not any that want to do business in the EU if they can’t access the Single Market (including Sctoland) from there.

          rUK might well cut alcohol and tobacco duties but this would not directly affect the revenues of producers in Scotland who would be selling their goods duty free. (Might even increase their revenues if it encourages increased consumption in the rUK of cheaper consumer goods).

          Sleep well. You’re welcome.

          1. Thrawn says:

            Not very reassured…if your limited grasp of the issues is reflected in the broader nationalist community

            And if the all those rUK people decided to move to Scotland to take advantage…you would shock horror refuse them entry or throw them out…maybe you’d build a wall…wow Brexit really does equal Racism…I guess just not in the sense I thought

            Just because they are not in the EU does not mean rUK businesses will not have access to single market…American, Canadian, Chinese companies all sell lots of goods in the single market. I think what you are groping towards is that there are barriers to entry (trade tariffs, quality standards) into that single market that EU based companies don’t have to deal with….it may be that the trade deal the rUK ends up having with the EU means those barriers would cost more to overcome than any cut in corporation tax but I severely doubt it…too much money involved on both sides. But if it was the case it would be very very bad news for an independent Scotland as it would mean that by far the biggest market for our exports would be more expensive to sell to and our imports from there would go up in price.

            Yes it would be a boon for producers but a disaster for the Scottish government as their tax revenue from those products would disappear as everyone hires white vans and travels to gretna to get their booze and fags

    2. Graeme Purves says:

      But, of course, we aren’t independent, are we? The great advantage of Scotland’s position in the Union is that it is expected that we should go along with whatever crassly stupid course the Westminster government should decide to pursue in the confident knowledge that our views and interests will be completely ignored.

  8. I Clark says:

    I would have liked to have left some thoughtful comment, but unfortunately one part of my brain is unable to ignore another part’s insistence on superimposing an image of a modified Weetabix on David Torrance’s head in the photo above. Then I start smile, then smirk, then laugh. Then I begin to wonder to what extent the Mr. Small intended such a response. Then to what extent Mr. Torrance didn’t ‘have it coming’ because of possible vanity. Then I reprimand myself for succumbing to such a probably manipulated stimulus. But I can’t stop the desire to laugh. I know it’s wrong and it’s no basis for an exchange of ideas, but wtf that Weetabix picture is funny.

  9. Lochside says:

    Only in a joke ‘media’ such as Scotland has to suffer does a cardboard cut-out ‘commentator’ such as Torrance get the oxygen of publicity. His facile ‘analysis’ would be considered risible and of a ‘c minus’ level in a first year University Political Institutions class. But we’re supposed to take a ‘Max Headroom’ facsimile as serious. How long do we have to tolerate this intellectual pygmy’s utterances before even his employers get the joke?

    1. Justin Kenrick says:

      This language business is tricky.

      I know that when you use the term ‘pygmy’ (just as when Mike uses the term ‘retard’) you are not meaning to insult the people I know who live in the Congolese forests and who tend to be quite a bit shorter than others.

      You are simply using it to say this person is not up to the job (and Mike was using ‘retard’ as a way of highlighting the attitude of people like Torrance to some others).

      But if you are one of those people we call pygmies then it looks like you’re suggesting that tonne them is an inferior state.. Can you choose an insult that doesn’t – by using it – unintentionally seem to insult others? If so, what would it be?!

  10. Justin Kenrick says:


    ‘Wilderness of peace’ thoroughly disproves Torrence’s argument: not as an opinion to disagree with but as utterly wrong in face.

    And Torrance responds by accepting he is wrong. That is a welcome development.


    1. K1 says:

      Justin he does not ‘accept’ that he is wrong. Read the tweet on Wilderness of Peace’s blog. That tweet says no such thing.

      It merely says : ‘@WildernessPeace actually, that’s a pretty good research job, kudos.’

      Do you only see what you want to see…your’e now ‘re writing’ what Torrance actually stated, he did not in any way shape or form state that he was wrong or ‘accept his mistake’. Please desist from mimicking Torrance.

      (I might claim ma fiver here…you are David torrance!)

  11. Taranaich says:

    In addition to all this, Mr Torrance was wide of the mark in his assertion “The only senior Unionist to use the phrase “partnership of equals” was the former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, but he was talking about his (unfulfilled) proposals for a quasi federal UK rather than the starts quo.”

    In fact there have been more than a few “senior Unionists” who have used practically identical phrases:

    “The overwhelming majority of Scots believe in the UK and want to remain part of this 300 year long equal partnership.”
    – Ruth Davidson, 5th November 2011

    “There is more that brings us together than tears us apart. A future in which Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England continue to flourish side-by-side as equal partners.”
    – Theresa May, Scottish Conservative Party Conference, 24th March 2012

    “Today we are equal partners in the United Kingdom.”
    – Alistair Darling, John P. Mackintosh Lecture, 9th November 2012

    “The UK is a union of belonging and sharing. It is a union of equals and partnership: not a contractual union or marriage of convenience.”
    – Johann Lamont, 22nd March 2014

    That’s the Scottish Tory Leader, the then-Home Secretary/now Prime Minister, the leader of Better Together, and the Scottish Labour Leader all saying “equal partnership,” “equal partners,” or “union of equals and partnership.”

    Mr Torrance later said on Twitter that he was so focused on the specific phrase “partnership of equals” that he overlooked these instances – though it doesn’t explain why he omits these comments by Unionists that do contain the phrase, “senior” or otherwise:

    “The choice before the people of Scotland is straightforward: whether to leave the United Kingdom or to continue in a partnership of equals in a Union with England, Wales and Northern Ireland.”
    – Margaret Curran, 15th January 2013

    “This has been a partnership of equals, although one of the countries is very much smaller in population than the other.”
    – Lord Patrick Cormack, 30th January 2014

    “Whatever the post-Scottish referendum arrangements are, the UK already looks more like a constitutional partnership of equals in what is in essence a voluntary multinational association.”
    – Lord Wilf Stevenson, 24th June 2014

    1. Justin Kenrick says:

      Aha – no need to go to the link for Wilderness for Peace, when the blogger himself shows up to give the facts!

      Worth going though to note that Torrance accepts his mistake. Let’s encourage EVERY No voter to do likewise, by welcoming them when they admit a mistake.

      The next indyref will be fought on very different territory, with the economic arguments (in the context of Brexit) very much on the Indy side.

      So I suggest it is time we take a much stronger position – which means pointing out mistakes and rapidly rebutting lies, but always always expecting that the person we are talking to or about will one day acknowledge their mistake.

      Let’s make it easier for them.

    2. Graeme Purves says:

      I was somewhat taken aback that Torrance was dismissive of the notion of a “partnership of equals” on the basis that it related to some still-born proposal for a quasi-federal UK by Gordon Brown. He himself was an enthusiastic proponent of a federal solution during the final months of the independence referendum campaign. He rushed out a little-read pot-boiler on the subject, ‘Britain Rebooted: Scotland in a Federal Union’, in January 2015, and was still speculating about the prospects for the Conservatives pursuing a federal constitution in ‘Prospect’ magazine as recently as May 2015: http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/politics/scotland-talks-is-federalism-the-answer. He now appears to be reconciled to the inequality of the status quo.

      1. It’s endless re-writing spurred from a deep-seated opportunism

    3. Thanks for this Taranaich

  12. Agatha Cat says:

    So… David Torrance has got himself a beard.

  13. Agatha Cat says:

    So… David Torrance has got himself a beard. So has Mundell.

  14. Onwards says:

    The EU seems to have more safeguards for the rights of smaller nations than the UK, via qualified majorities and unanimous votes.

    Any future trade deal with the UK requires a unanimous decision, and several of the smaller EU nations say they will veto any proposed deal that doesn’t provide for freedom of movement for their citizens.

    Pretty ironic that the UK could be prevented from cherry picking a deal by the likes of Slovakia or one of the other smaller countries that many of the more arrogant Brexiters like to ridicule.

  15. Dr Alexander Adams says:

    christ, professional point misser you… keep fighting those strawmen.

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