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Border Crossing

For Britain ‘taking back control’ from Brussels must mean exerting control over Edinburgh and Belfast argues Mike Small.

As Tristram jogs on to the V&A and Amber Rudd has her speeches registered as Hate, it’s been a bad week for Labour and the Tories. But it just got much worse. Since Sir Ivan Rodger’s resignation the Prime Minister has been engulfed in internal dissent within her own party about her shambolic Brexit plans combining widespread contempt from our neighbours across Europe and growing hostility within the UK.

This has forced her to make a statement next week.

I expect it will be a busy weekend.

The Irish dimension already banjaxed by the hypocrisy of saying one thing for Scotland (“a hard border would be essential”) and another for Ireland (“no hard border is required”) fell further into chaos this week with the collapse of the Stormont government. The peace process over the past 25 years has resulted in the Irish border becoming virtually invisible with few restrictions. But if Brexit meant they renounce this commitment to an open border they also risk sacrificing the Good Friday Agreement.

ian_mcwhirterNorthern Ireland, like Scotland voted to Remain. The historian Ian McBride has argued that:

“To remove Northern Ireland from Europe without its consent is not only morally wrong and politically risky; it is also a rejection of the fundamental bilateralism of the peace process”.

No doubt senior Conservatives and Unionists here will sneer that this matters little, you voted No, you’re still part of Britain etc etc. That’s fine – but it’s a high risk strategy, as they drive Ireland towards unification and Scottish voters shift from disdain to contempt. The fallacy of a “partnership of equals’ lies in the wreckage of the Brexit omnishambles.

In the Irish Central Kevin Meagher wrote this week (“Why Brexit means Irish unity is now inevitable”) that: “”There will be no armies of British MPs and campaigners making the journey across the Irish Sea, determined to keep Northern Ireland in the UK. There will be an audible sigh of relief that it’s going. And it’s entirely possible that Scotland goes first.” While Britain is desperate to keep Scotland they’d probably let Northern Ireland go at the first opportunity.

This isn’t wishful thinking or Celtic Twilight revival, it’s the cold hard reality of the Brexiteers hubris, ignorance and disregard. But the challenge for those scripting the PM’s Brexit speech gets worse. As Angus Robertson pointed out in the House of Commons: ““It stands to reason if there is no Northern Ireland Assembly and no Northern Ireland Executive for much of the time before the March timetable that she has set for invoking Article 50, she will be unable to consult properly, to discuss fully and to find agreement on the complex issues during this period.”

May’s reply was that she “she hoped over the next week a solution would be found which would see the Assembly continuing.” Good luck with that. She has no traction, nothing to offer and few allies. Theresa Villiers isn’t a player. Having ‘solved’ the ‘Irish problem’ Britain with its fantasist political elite have the real potential to recreate out of nowhere the mayhem of the past.

Meanwhile the Commonweal researchers have been working on an innovative ‘Smart Borders’ policy and point out that, if the UK erects a border it will be at their own cost. We, like the Mexicans aren’t paying for any wall. None of this will have registered with the Conservatives and surely all will be dismissed.

davidson_euThe British Governments tactics, such as they exist at all, is to slowly shut down the options and oxygen supply to the recalcitrant Celtic fringe, politely but firmly denying any route map to a devolved settlement. For Britain ‘taking back control’ from Brussels must mean exerting control over Edinburgh and Belfast. But thre problem is these bloody Europeans. As quickly as BoJo and Mayday slam a door shut pops Johnny Foreigner with a cheeky ‘Bonjour”

Philippe Lamberts intervention is only the most recent.  Lamberts, a Belgian MEP, said the individual heads of state who make up the European Council could prolong the two-year period of Brexit negotiations. He said there was political will to extend the spring 2019 deadline for exiting thereby accommodating any constitutional changes taking place in the UK.

“Paragraph 3 of Article 50 says that the treaty ceases to be applicable to states that leave from two years after the date it is invoked unless the European Council decide to prolong that process. It all comes down to political will and there is very strong political goodwill towards Scotland among Euro- pean politicians,” he said. “I am certain that goodwill towards Scotland will continue over the longer term.”

He concluded: “Why should an independent Scotland not fulfil the conditions? To me it is quite obvious that if a new situation is created to change the constitutional order of the United Kingdom, Europe would not stand in the way of an independent Scotland being in the European Union.

“I believe it would inherit the UK’s membership. Primarily that is a political decision. If there is a political will, and I think it will be there, lawyers will find a way to make it legally happen.”

broken_promisesFinally – if Tristram Hunt’s resignation triggers a by-election in Stoke and Labour lose, it will be a death-knell to Jeremy Corbyn’s beleaguered, disastrous reign. Of the Unionist Twins, Labour and Conservatives now face a pivotal time. The only way out and back for Kezia Dugdales’s troubled party was to somehow, against all the odds and all of the experience, successful regurgitate the Federalism plans that they’ve been re-launching for a century.  The widely discredited Home Rule re-hash that gets a run-out every few months in Brownhog Day now lies, once again in complete tatters.

With Jeremy Corbyn’s rejection of Dugdales’ latest wheeze – grandly unveiled by the IPPR only last month, the fate of Labour, north and south, seems at best perilous.

Corbyn told BBC Scotland first that a second independence referendum was not needed and second that he rejected Nicola Sturgeon’s proposal for some immigration powers to be devolved, saying this would require “regional borders” within the UK. In doing so he showed both lack of political nous but an inability to think beyond a rigid set of ideas. This is not a revelation but is is a disaster.

But Corbyn’s rejection of a “new Act of Union” is particularly damaging for Scottish Labour. Only last week Kezia Dugdale said that her leader backed the proposal. If Dugdale’s disastrous flip-flopping now looks terminal, its a death pact that is forged in Labour’s southern HQ and its northern ‘heartlands’.

Now Brexit sits, not just as a complex deeply damaging irrational political farce, but as the last in a long line of Unionist lies. It will cost them more heavily than they are remotely aware.

Comments (42)

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  1. Billy says:

    well put and i agree let westminster pay for any borders

    1. c rober says:

      No need for a border at all , indy or not , well other than for freight to check for tax import export – cheap as chips just bang in a toll (concession)at the same time. EU , EIRE and NI setting the example currently , and post brexit with the special deal already granted for NI. SO Its pure scare tactics.

      It would therefore be up to England to police its EU workers , benefits claimants , bank accounts , housing buyers and renters , via their passports , which it , US , will be doing anyway , just as all EU countries also do currently at point of use. Its a laughable to force the cost on Scotland – Just like Trump has found out (already knew)regarding Mexico.

      Importantly the above are the very same reasoning for many voting to leave the EU , thus will have to be policed REGARDLESS of ANY border with Scotland , hard or Soft – so its not just Scare Tactics , but a bare faced lie.

  2. Stevie Anderson says:

    Good to see you back on top form Mike and Bella


  3. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

    Excellent article Mike.

  4. muttley79 says:

    Very good article Mike. Corbyn is essentially a rigid, conservative Marxist, in that he does not see the potential of constitutional reforms whatsoever. He is a tribal Westminster based British Labour politician imo. Corbyn is anti-EU, anti-Proportional Representation, anti-constitutional reforms; his only really focus is on economic issues.

    He bizarrely supports a united Ireland, and was sympathetic to the Provisional IRA during the Troubles, and supports a united Ireland; while at the same time opposes, or at least pretends to oppose, an independent Scotland, achieved through peaceful and democratic means.

    Corbyn has been a disaster, he is not a political leader in any sense. The guy has no practical sense of politics whatsoever, like Dugdale he flip flops around nearly all the time. Does anyone have a clue what Corbyn is doing, what his main strategy is, does he have any strategies for that matter? It is glaringly obvious that the Liberal Democrats in England are going to hover up the votes of many of those who voted to remain in the EU referendum last year; we are talking about a party that was in coalition with the Tories only a few years ago, and as a result were widely discredited. But even they are doing to Labour in England what the Scottish Tories/Ruth Davidson did to Scottish Labour after the independence referendum!

    Anyone with any sense can see that Brexit is going to be a political and economic disaster, yet Corbyn and McDonnell have reverted to their traditional anti-EU position at the worst possible moment (it is couched and thinly disguised in opposition to being against freedom of movement). Many pro-EU voters in England in particular are almost certainly going to desert Labour now, while many anti-EU voters seem to view them with contempt anyway.

    1. Thanks – I was open to the possibility of Corbyn NOT being a disaster but that optimism has evaporated …

      1. muttley79 says:

        The only time Corbyn looks focused and capable is whenever there is a leadership contest. The rest of the time there is no discernible strategy or strategies. I fear Corbyn and McDonnell are the ones who are going to do the most damage to the left, particularly in England, in the end. If and when he resigns, the right and centre of British Labour Party will in the future just point to the shambles under Corbyn and company, and that will be enough to tar the left by guilt by association. Corbyn is so out of his depth it is embarrassing, it is beginning to get painful to watch. The people around him have not helped either though.

      2. c rober says:

        Corby is a disaster unless he openly opts for full fat fiscal federal autonomy – giving evel to the choir of Ukip and Tory.

        As for Kez , well a few months ago I said on here that she was so indecisive that she would end up back on the boaby – and in the news this week she and her partner have split , so perhaps my crystal balls arent as cloudy as I thought.

        Come MAY the Scottish Labour party may well become the 6th in Scottish Politics , more so if the SNP come out of the closet and stand every councillor on an indy II mandate demand before the UK leaves the EU – opening up Scotland , and NI retaining that membership.

  5. peterarnott says:

    Welcome back, Mike. Great read.

  6. Mike says:

    the most disappointing aspect of this is that there has never been a better time for a genuine progressive and credible left to emerge (on a UK scale) and unfortunately the ball has landed in the lap of Corbyn. Given what he was famed for before 2015, civil rights defence of undesirables around the world when the general tone was hostility, I’d been willing to see how he went. Sadly, he’s gone south at an alarming rate and has renewed ‘suspicion of the left’ from those who would actually benefit from a more socially attuned government for and of the people.

    Question, does Dugdale sit tight until there’s someone in London who she can work with, or is she a bust as well? It’s difficult to really tell as as well as trying to mount a credible opposition to the SNP – who need it, their credentials are a way off spotless – she’s had to deal with a leader/partner who is erratic even on a good day.

    1. c rober says:

      But we baith know that Kez is on the way out in MAY , and that means Bailie in June.

      England couldnt accept the “Scottish Mafia” of Nulabour , and I can tell you the same of Baillie should she be the next SLAB leader – it will only hasten the demise of the pseudo Scotialists.

  7. Ben Zyl says:

    Forceful and heartfelt statement of the increasingly inevitable path ahead, like falling into a large deep funnel and getting more wedged with every fruitless move. Brownhog? I think your spell checker may have prematurely pounced!

  8. bringiton says:

    The only salvation for progressive thinking people in England is a European alliance between Scotland and Ireland in the British Isles to counter the trans Atlantic drift of England’s Tories.
    However,you are right Mike.
    Leading up to the Good Friday agreement,Westminster told the IRA that they had no “strategic” interest in holding onto NI so will not be too upset should a united Ireland come about.
    However,they have no nukes parked in NI.
    NI has no assets coveted by London.
    NI doesn’t have Willie Rennie.
    For those reasons,London will fight tooth and nail to hang onto Scotland (well maybe not Willie Rennie).
    If only all Scots could see this.
    A lot of sheep in Scotland since the clearances!
    Welcome back Mike and thanks.

    1. c rober says:

      Its far simpler than that , Scotland is the 2nd highest regional generator of UK GDP – and a chunk of that is through English ports onward – double dip income , must be preserved.

      For NI the same , by retaining control of NI with a EU special deal in WM control , where a population has less inclination to leave , ie a colony accepted , then it prevents Scotland from perhaps having a larger income generator for SCOTTISH gdp , outwith WM control , or via the banking passport thus jobs moving north from London showing the independent way forward – defeating PF II.

  9. Alistair Livingston says:

    An excellent article Mike.

    Going back to the independence referendum, I could not work out why there was so much desperation behind the No campaign.

    Ireland managed to leave the UK without the world ending and I assumed that rUK would adapt to the loss of Scotland.

    The only reason I could come up with was that the UK was a lot less stable, especially economically, than it appeared. The loss of Scotland would then trigger a series of events that would somehow lead to the economic melt down of the UK.

    To avoid this fate, everything was thrown at the Yes campaign to ensure a No vote.

    With the EU referendum, the economic stakes were even higher so I assumed the pressure for a Remain vote would be even greater. But it wasn’t and now the UK is poised on the edge of an abyss.

    1. c rober says:

      Nail and Head , Scotland being the 2nd largest generator of UK gdp after London , without its own levers , and its exports go through mainly English hubs and ports , protecting those jobs , which could then be done through Scotland instead.

      Then of course you can add the warfare on the NHS , in Scotland and England , where the goal is carving up the income of the last nationalised industry – where the UK NHS budget is around 9 percent of gdp.

      And the ability for WM to retain trade deals , using the extra weight of 5 million people , preventing Holyrood from that wealth creation and protection racket for the few.

    2. Banned says:

      Any evidence to support your claim that Scottish independence would trigger the economic meltdown of the UK?

      I am reminded of Karl Marx and his disciples who have been predicting the imminent collapse of free market capitalism for 150 years.

  10. bullykiller says:

    Welcome back Bella, You were missed.

  11. Willie says:

    Good article and it reinforces how the Westminster Tories don’t give a shit about the Good Friday Agreement or the Peace Process. In fact I think there is hard line thinking in Westminster that would quite happily love to re-run the military thing. There’s scores to be settled, and direct rule could very well be back on the cards.

    1. c rober says:

      The NIrish electorate dont want to see the shit again on their streets , there was more to the change in mindset than just the GF agreement , the tidal change was when a mixed family was murdered before then… IMO . Theres more in the East End of Glasgow , Brigton Parkhead , that would prefer the old days than in Belfast.

      Thus it may end up in the constitution that the act of terrorism , or gangsterism , is against any new federal state ie on all of the people as a result – not just on the few , defined by religion and politics etc. But for that to happen then it needs a referendum with more than one question – to Stay in the UK and out of the EU , to be NI as a separate state in the EU (borderless with EIRE via schengen) but sans UK , or federal NI…. but as we know when it comes to the last Scottish one then only one question is preffered in order to focus the attack on only one outcome.

  12. Willie says:

    Indeed with the total and utter contempt being shown to both of the devolved administrations in Ireland and Scotland, one can cynically see how the Good Friday Agreement in Ireland was a ploy to stop hostilities and facilitate the dismantling of the insurrectionist machinery of conflict. Similarly, does anyone really think that devolution in Scotland is really any different. Direct rule has always been an option and still is. Westminster would have the troops on the streets in Glasgow as quickly as they would have them back on the streets of Bealfast. And with the super surveillance machinery that watches every aspect of everyone’s life, I don’t think they’d have difficulty identifying who they need to isolate. But maybe I am wrong. Maybe Mrs May loves democracy and really cares about NI and Scotland. Don’t think so though.

    1. c rober says:

      EIRE has already said in a rejoining that NI would still have Stormont , with the powers it already has plus a few more – a federal Ireland wasnt on the agenda with the Good Friday agreement , or expected , but is perhaps a random action resulting from brexit that will bring it onward….. as separate yet together.

      NI of course will still be granted the pensions income from the UK for those that have paid in or are currently getting one. It will still have open borders to the UK ports , but the worry is that any EIRE deal would mean all uk and onward exports to be done ONLY through NI ports – just to scuttle the deal.

  13. c rober says:

    Back on form Mike , invigorated you must be padawan.

    The IRISH thing has always been about control , even after its independence , through controls related to borders and imports. The Trade imbalance with the UK is over double of EIRE exports , so is parasitic , thus preserved without a hard border.

    The argument for NI is that it has a hard border in place , in principal the Irish Sea , but in the piece I am working on proving that this is for the trade imbalance protection mentioned above – and of course protecting English Jobs in English ports through the direct export route , ie invisible tariffs , jsut like that of Frech toll roads , through those ports as the only “current” option for EIRE and the ROTW. Alf no doubt has more indepth info on this.

    The EU immigration therefore will remain , that is without passport controls in those ferry and airports , or indeed on the UK mainland. However this too is a lie , in that the media and Westminster said the passport controls now removed was at the hands of the EU , when its plain and obvious it was about reduction until inability to do the job.

    Of course a sans EU England would be able to use the non border controls of EU passport members , defeating free movement , by simply doing what other EU countries already do – show passports for benefits , healthcare , housing , banking and jobs , defeating the arguments that led to brexit at the source of the problems argued for leaving.

    Back before Indy I had this relative , would ALWAYS go on and on about immigration taking trades jobs in the UK , you know plasterers , brickies and so on. I tore a strip off him , reminding him that the same was said of his navvy Irish ancestors – but he failed to see the link. ME I am happy to see trades , and professionals from EU members in Scotland , fluent in our forced adoption English – if it means the job is done the same , cheaper , or to a better standard – importantly where there has been lack of training for nearly 2 decades as a mechanism to housing supply restrictions , and where the larger FTSE traded developers are now demanding subsidy to supply training!

    With regard to professional jobs , specifically NHS , can no one see the absurdity of the DM and Xpress of late , complaing about the NHS in Scotland and England being understaffed – while there is not enough UK born being educated to fill the needs of the NHS itself? But then again that probably more about the privitisation by the backdoor , using what has been learned with Project fear and Brexit to do so….but i digress , back on track.

    What Nic , nay Scotland , must do , and oor ALF will be in agreement , is to offer the use of Scottish ports direct to ROTW and EU to the IRISH and NI exporters. But it is the same owners and developers that own these ports in Scotland and England – with outstretched hands for public subs. We still have the ability to reopen many old train lines to remove the freight almost direct from East Coast to West and vice versa. But we still lack a proper motorway structure say from AYR towards Dumfries through the countryside that would provide further boost in the future economy from it , delivering infrastructure nearby local villages instead of depopulation ….. so perhaps a new motorway via the toll route and then eventual hand over back to Holyrood would fix that?

    And this is the kind of thing they wish to prevent in Westminster – the growth of Scotland economically , English income being lost through competition from Scotland , and is something that is never mentioned in a future Scotland post indy , in that we would then have such controls to change GDP through the levers still lacking , so its something regardless of any pro indy political party should be highlighted as such , thus showing up the SLAB and Tory mandate in the process is to protect England and its wealth over their Electorate via jobs , yesterday , today and tomorrow.

    If NI wants the EU , Scotland wants the EU , and EIRE would benefit – then we must approach them both with regard to the EU KNOWN and ADMITTED that Both NI and Scotland can retain the UK membership of the EU – Of course the MSM will still spout about having a veto for Spain even though Brussels , sans the dodgy Portuguese former first minister in control , where it accepts and confirms the direct entry for Scotland and NI…. or continuation without even euro currency adoption.

    Of course should the EU decide to option Spain over Scotland , NI , and Eire as a member , then it opens up a “Celtic Tigers II plus” scenario and open trade deals – perhaps the Norway model where EIRE would then adopt a possible future Celtic pound pegged to the difference in the GBP and EURO – thus beneficial?

    The Irish economy is the post crash poster boy , as is Iceland – so the UK post indy Crash , thus that of WM imposed on Scotland is wrong – and something that Holyrood should take note of , not that the media often highlights it today , other than to repeat it during project fear 1 , and that was only two years ago……But the UK , Scotland , still in Austerity and low growth due to doing the opposite of EIRE.

    The other use of the threats of a hard border is to prevent the Banking passport , and its jobs relocating to Scotland , away from London , which has on paper been granted the tax payer funding of its continuation as a brexit special deal – a bribe , of which Scotland will of course have to furnish 9 percent of… much like those other things of Westminster upgrade and repair , Trident , Hs2 , and the new green villages etc….. things that in an independent Scotland would mean such investment into GDP increases and creation for the many instead of the few.

    1. c rober says:

      WM repair 12b
      Oor richest pensionsers hoose in London – .5b.
      Hinkley 52b , ex cleanup on the taxpayer.
      Hs2 50b

      So around 9 percent of the above as Scotlands share of something that will not be in Scotland – nor of any material benefit

      What if that same percentage was instead invested into say creating factories for flat pack housing for Social housing as a state industry , or another (temp)toll motorway with state trainline alongside through SW Scotland from Ayr or Kilmarnock towards the M6 , our second highest areas of multiple deprivation , meaning an hour reduction for freight , as well as removing it from the road , and opening up rural villages thus cheaper housing for the many – rather than rural commutes for the few.

      My problem with indy is that we are too obsessed with the hand over of what is held in WM , thus limits in our vision , we need to look beyond having our hands simply untied – towards improving and upgrading.

      That means the likes of the Wales tidal test pilot for state energy , and importantly cheaper but not inferior housing – in order to simply remain competitive for manufacturing , and where instead of furnishing the banks with 7x multiple mortgages , business with subsisdy , the wealth is spent instead on GDP increasing via consumerism.

      ONLY cheaper housing supplies that unless wages increase ….. as well as lowering the other household bills like monopolyised energy.

  14. Richard MacKinnon says:

    Still in denial. You would have thought after 6 months Mike Small would have now got his head around it. I really cannot understand why he finds it so difficult to accept; England voted to leave the EU. It is as simple as that. They didnt need a three year debate. Nor a 700 page white paper. They voted for a conservative government that pledged a referendum in their manifesto. They set a date and they voted for it.
    Of course the result means there are going to be obstacles that will have to be overcome, but nothing is insurmountable.
    What I find laughable about Mike Small faux outrage is his blind sanctimonious hypocrisy. In his head Scotland’s nationalism is virtuous and noble where as England’s (and the rest of the UK, remember plenty Scots voted Leave as well) right to have their say on their future is driven by nasty xenophobes.
    How long will it take Mike to get it? The only difference between the two is that the English took their chance and we bottled it.
    Mike, bitterness and anger are not healthy emotions. Call it a day. Find something more productive to spend your time on.

    1. c rober says:

      If democracracy is to be believed then that is indeed an English result , not a British one – yet a regional majority , or to be put much more simpler the 2nd place generator of GDP for the UK wished an entirely different outcome , much like that of the City state London – the first place generator – but at twice the cost to be so , compared to that of the low waged sheep in Scotland , lets remember here the London UK GDP income is from the same banks that threatened to Leave Scotland in a yes result , yet Englands voters ignored them….. that were giving it serious thought for relocating to EIRE , or indeed Scotland post brexit.

      BUT deasl in place for London , for NI , whom voted like Scotland regardless and of course at the cost of the rest , as well as deal for manufacturers in the North East of England , that voted to leave- where the primary employer is media portrayed as Japanese when it is actually European , its Renault not Nissan , much like how Seat is Spanish despite being German owned. Then of course we can talk about the land owners and farmers of England and Southern Scotland – with outstretched hands.

      Indy = No Mair subs , but with it comes accountability as well as the levers for change – at present we have neither , just the option of Scotialists in both flavours – of sevitude to our auld maisters , or to our new wans post indy.

      Then we can remove our 50 odd lions , then our councillors , so 2 levels of uneeded poltics on the taxyper teet , and expand Holyrood to a proper legislature , including the acutal involvement of the people via live voting – not just horse traders.

    2. J gourlay says:

      England voted to leave the UK. Spot on. Scotland didn’t.

    3. Alasdair Macdonald says:

      Mr MacKinnon has still to tell us his reasons for voting ‘YES’ in 2014. Can he tell us these now?

      1. Richard MacKinnon says:

        It would be a pleasure.
        I voted Yes in 2014 because I believed in an independent Scotland within the EU of nations. I came to this belief around 1980 and worked hard (in solid Labour north Ayrshire ) during the 80s and 90s for an independent Scotland.
        I changed my mind after 18.09.2014. Not immediately but within a couple of months. I came to the conclusion that our referendum result has to be the end of the constitutional argument. As it was pointed out by Scottish unionists during the referendum campaign, 300 years is a long time. I have always acknowledged that argument. I always thought, during our long debate that ‘the English’ (I know that is a very general term) were reasonably good natured toward us and went along with our ‘need’ to question the partnership. (If you consider the position of the English at this point in time, they stood by while we decided if we were going to break the union with them). I have always believed the English look upon us Scots with respect, with a genuine warmth, if maybe with a little bemusement.
        That is why I have changed my mind. We decided to stay united. We should now respect the decision, our English partners deserve nothing less than 100% commitment to make it work. We cannot keep this perpetual argument about our constitutional arrangements going any longer. To do so is not fair and should we continue to doubt our relationship it will eventually turn any good will that remains between us sour.

        1. Alasdair Macdonald says:

          Richard, thank you for the reply which you express in the courteous terms which characterised your earlier posts on this and other sites.
          Undoubtedly, the majority of people who live in England are decent, fair minded people and I have on only penny numbers of occasion experienced antagonism because I am Scottish. My daughter lives and works in England and my wife and I visit regularly. We have many friends who live in England. However, particularly within much of the English media, there is a significant anti-Scottish sentiment.
          Of course, within Scotland there is anti-English feeling, but, it is certainly not a majority who express this view. We have a very substantial group of people who were born in England and consider themselves to be English who have made their homes in Scotland and who have contributed significantly to the culture and economy of Scotland. Some have experienced antagonism, but, this is not the experience of most.
          The desire for independence for Scotland is not, as is often asserted in parts of the metropolitan media, ‘anti-Englishness’. From what you have written, I suspect that your former desire for independence was not anti-English.
          When Mr Salmond became leader of the SNP (and I am not and never have been a member) he set out what came to be called ‘civic’ nationalism and he eschewed what is called ‘blood-and-soil’ nationalism. This, I think, many found an attractive paradigm. I think this was the view of the great majority of those who voted YES.
          I do not think that Mr Mike Small deserves the somewhat unpleasant ad hominem attacks which you uncharacteristically direct at him. Having read many of his articles over the years, he most certainly does not exemplify the ‘Scottish-nationalism-good, English -nationalism-bad’ trope of which you accuse him. Indeed, by doing so, you are deploying the ‘straw man’ fallacy. Mr Small is much more insightful and nuanced in his thinking than you are attempting to characterise him. I do not always agree with his arguments, but I do far more often than not. He is a significant player in the current social/cultural/political discourse.
          It is your splenetic attitude towards him, the delay in giving your reason for voting YES, and your reported abandonment of YES that led me to suspect that you might be a troll.
          Personally, I do not subscribe to your reason for changing your position. Also, I do not accept your assertion that because NO won a 10% majority the argument is over. of course I accept that was the decision of the majority – I continue to pay all my taxes, obey the law, use my UK passport, etc. – but that does not mean I have to jettison my desire for independence for Scotland. I have to rethink my arguments. During my 50 years as a voter I have been on the losing side of elections slightly more often than I have been on the winning side. For example, I thought the poll tax was iniquitous, but I always paid it, but I also campaigned for its ending. We live in a dynamic world and have to adapt to change. There are principles and values which we hope are far more long term and permanent, but even these have to be modified in the light of experience and the current situation.
          I wish to remain a citizen of the EU, but, if, in the next few years, I have that citizenship withdrawn, I will have to accommodate that. However, that will not stop me from continuing to aspire to have my European citizenship restored.

          1. Richard MacKinnon says:

            There is nothing I can add to our discussion, and I agree with you, may be I am a bit hard on Mike Small. On that point and in my defence Mike Small and others, George Gunn comes to mind, seem to me obsessed with the notion that our vision of an independent Scotland was a beautiful failure where as theirs, Brexit, was a nasty piece trickery. If I cannot hide disdain for this nonsense and indulge myself at their expense then I think it is deserved; they are big boys.

  15. J gourlay says:

    In my opinion Corbyn was brought in to muddy the waters. Is this too naive?

  16. douglas clark says:

    If I haven’t said this before Mike, I am glad to see you posting, editing, running around doing stuff. I would have seriously missed you.

    Your new fandom, the likes of c rober and Richard Mackinnon are perhaps a tad confused about where you want to go?

    Best wishes.

    1. Alasdair Macdonald says:

      I second Douglas Clark’s opening paragraph.

      With regard to the two posters he references in the second paragraph, I think he is doing c Robert a disservice. C rober’s problem is that he has too much to say and has not taken the time to think it through and to express himself succinctly. He needs to avoid going off at tangents and, most of all, he needs to read his responses and edit them, especially chopping out the digressions, before he posts. A bit of spellchecking, with a bit of learning about grammar and punctuation is advised.

      Mr Mackinnon, I think, is a troll. Usually he expresses himself in courteous terms, but he has mounted a number of rather nasty ad hominem attacks on Mr Small.

      1. Alasdair Macdonald says:

        aargh!!! The curse of autocorrect strikes me again! ‘c rober’ not ‘Robert’nor capital ‘C’.

        1. c rober says:

          Thanks Alasdair , noted and accepted about the meanderings , grammar.

      2. douglas clark says:

        Having re-read c robers’ posts, I was perhaps unfair. So two out of three ain’t bad 😉

  17. Banned says:

    How would an independent Scotland reduce its annual deficit from the current level of 9.5% of GDP to the 3% required to comply with the EU Growth and Stability Pact.

    Public spending in Scotland equates to £28,339 per household but tax revenues per household are only £22,210. This deficit of £6,129 would need to be cut by £4,193.

    In the unlikely event that we do not inherit any of the UK national debt we would save £1,162 per household in interest and reducing defence spending to the level of Denmark would save a further £473.

    We would still be £2,558 per household short of the target which would mean either a 10% cut in public spending, a 12% increase in taxes or a combination of the two.

    1. Goldie Dee says:

      Basing your calculations for an iScotland on Westminster figures really doesn’t make much sense toots. x

    2. c rober says:


      Prove the maths , give us sources other than nobbled gers , bbc , or the daily heil. I suspect they’re a little off.

      Then I can repeat the obvious – That their maths on post indy is based on not having the current or new fiscal levers only gained through independence , so a myopic vision thats offered.

      The fiscal levers of an independent Scotland matter , you can devalue the currency , change business taxation to create jobs , neg our own trade deals – the operating of which is the true power lacking at Holyrood , and kept that way on purpose.

      I get your argument though , its the economical question that matters – better or worse off , but for that to happen we need more than our maisters “old” accounting practices.

  18. Gaga Glasgow says:

    Sorry, but I’ve read the article and most of the comments and everybody just seems confused. It’s fine to admit you’re confused and unsure about things.

    Let’s get back to basics.

    On Northern Ireland, the only thing that can ever be guaranteed is the prevalence of stupidity/loyalty amongst Unionists. Living standards may plummet, the peace may unravel, but they will always salute and prioritise the Union Jack logo.

    The peace process itself when you look at it in detail, hinged on bribing Unionists into conceding that catholics/nationalists there were entitled to regard themselves as human. The extent to which that was a success can be measured in pounds and euros, lots of pounds and euros…

    If all this unravels, and it probably will, they will simply revert to the old economic model. I say economic model rather than political because the “troubles” had a very predictable impact on the local economy and the job prospects of those involved.

    Discrimination here, there, and everywhere is always presented as a political issue or problem but I can’t think of an example that wasn’t grounded in economics. The Unionists will re-boot that without skipping a beat.

    My guess is that PM May is posturing with the news that she’s planning on driving the UK head-on into a hard Brexit. Hard to take anything that comes out of Westminster seriously these days.

  19. Camie McLean says:

    Those who voted remain, with the exception of London, will be ignored.

    That means Scotland and Northern Ireland, con the eyes of the uk government can go forth and multiple.

    It’s down to our politicans to highlight that in the eyes of the uk they are third class subjects and will be treated so, and that ain’t going to change any time soon!

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