Bloody Scotland and the Remains of Ukania

c7rhppbx0aaqhmoHowever the story ends, whatever the date of whatever we call a second referendum on independence within the next two or five years, and whatever that referendum’s result, there is already an immediate and concrete result to the announcement of the referendum as an intention. By taking the concrete step of voting in Holyrood next week for the invocation of Article 30 applying for the necessary transfer of powers to hold that referendum, suddenly, to the massive and entertaining irritation of the chaotic, panic driven fog of the Brexiteers and their hapless, captive government in Westminster, Scotland’s interests will now have to be a factor in the UK Brexit negotiators’ considerations.

Nicola Sturgeon has forced our feet under the negotiating table. And if there is any Unionist commentator who thinks there was the remotest chance of that happening WITHOUT the threat of a referendum to balls up the Brexit process, then I have these three bridges over the Forth that I’d like to interest you in.

Indeed, if the rumours were true that the Tories were planning to crash the UK out of the EU by allowing the negotiations to fail, as seems likely, then that’s a damn sight more difficult now. A hard Brexit has Barnett consequentials in more ways than one. So it could be that the people of the UK as a whole now owe the SNP an enormous debt.

Nicola Sturgeon’s speech yesterday was emotional, and I think heartfelt, but the thinking behind it turns out to be even more pragmatic than I had anticipated. Because as we wake up this Sunday morning, not only are the Brits listening with a mixture of admiration and outrage, so are the Europeans. Make no mistake, the EU negotiators are not as open-hearted (and quietly practical) as the invitation to “come to Scotland” that was one of the highlights of yesterday’s speech. This is a power game, and for them, Scotland at this moment has principal value as a way of undermining the UK case. Depending on how things go, we can be a useful tool in the negotiations to come. Certainly, we can expect some back channels to open up. The Brits may not want to give us “a running commentary”, but there are 27 other people who will be glad to share… now.

Because it is only the leverage of a potentially independent Scotland that is meaningful to the Europeans. Make no mistake, without the threat of a referendum, they EU would not be taking Scotland…and the idea of our remaining while the rUK paddles off into the Imperial Twilight, at all seriously. We will be leaving the EU. And we will need to negotiate a new relationship as a European country if we vote to leave the UK. As we look at today’s opinion polls, that is not a done deal. But the process over the next two years will be politically gruelling (as are the five years after that) …and the divisiveness that the Unionists go on about will be universal. Scotland having finessed its own importance in this period will go down like a bucket of sick in all those parts of England and Wales which voted to leave and are going to get thoroughly shafted, with the City of London, Gibraltar, Northern Ireland and BLOODY Scotland once again using the remains of the ramshackle unwritten constitution of Ukania to their comparative advantage. The breaking up of Britain has been massively accelerated, and that isn’t just true here, no matter what the polls are saying right now. This is no longer a matter of mere opinion or preference. This is historical slippage and breakage. And it was always too big a job for Scotland on its own.

“Scotland having finessed its own importance in this period will go down like a bucket of sick in all those parts of England and Wales which voted to leave and are going to get thoroughly shafted, with the City of London, Gibraltar, Northern Ireland and BLOODY Scotland once again using the remains of the ramshackle unwritten constitution of Ukania to their comparative advantage. The breaking up of Britain has been massively accelerated, and that isn’t just true here, no matter what the polls are saying right now. This is no longer a matter of mere opinion or preference. This is historical slippage and breakage..”

e.

Two things, I think, are clear, here and now, today…no matter what comes next. First, the people of Scotland became and remained sovereign for the first time in our history on September 18th 2014. “We may have chosen to remain in the UK, but WE chose. That was unprecedented, and history cannot take that back. Secondly, Brexit was a moment of English Nationalism that entirely took the British Ruling Class by surprise. And they have committed themselves to go with it. There is no no way I can see of the Union surviving in anything like its current form for…actually…more than another generation…no matter what the political exigencies that will lead us to a vote in the next five years…and no matter what the result.

It feels, this Sunday morning, like a done deal.

Tick, as I believe I’ve said before, Tock.

Comments (17)

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  1. bringiton says:

    You are absolutely correct Peter.
    Whatever happens now will result in a very different political settlement in these islands
    Should they be allowed by Scots,the Tories will make certain that Scotland will never again be allowed to queer their pitch by threatening a future independence referendum.
    That will,as is being widely touted,result in existing powers at Holyrood being “repatriated” to London as a minimum.
    This time,there will be no vows,federalism or anything else.
    It is going to be either a centralised state completely controlled by Westminster or Scottish independence.
    May has endured this binary question is the only possibility.

  2. Hyperborean says:

    Hm … all very well if you’ve got another generation — generally counted as 25 years — in you. I’m 66 and can’t count on even being able to remember my own name by the time I’m 91, even if I live that long.
    I can’t wait that long. Nor can Scotland. We can’t wait for another quarter of a century of our resources being plundered (being hidden from us under a damned submarine (built out of platinum and studded with diamond, to go by the cost), being ruled by a party with only one representative here or being taken for granted and ignored by the other, of watching decisions made that suit the south of England but are detrimental to our needs. Nor can we afford any longer to be treated as no more than an occasional irritant, forcing a couple of MPs — even the occasional PM: jings! — to fly up e Rey so often to tell us how important and needed we really, really are, and what silly billies we are to want to venture out into the big bad world on our own when we’re not grown up yet, then fly back again on the next shuttle, spending no more than a few hours here and even those spent talking almost exclusively to London-based media who themselves have only come up with them for the sake of a day out. No wonder they all look so surprised and hurt when we spurn their attempts at fobbing us off with a nice cuddle, and maybe once in a while a wee sweetie or two but only if we promise to be good, and are astonished by our determination to be quit of them. They haven’t a clue about life up here, and are too lazy and arrogant to bother to find out.
    No, another generation is much too late long to wait. Someone with better health than I have needs to stir up a campaign of Independence bucket listers, folk like me who have ‘Live long enough to see independence’ right at the top of our bucket lists. We literally don’t have time to waste just waiting for Mummy Teresa (let alone wait for a Daddy Jeremy) to give us the key to our own front door.

    1. Alasdair Macdonald says:

      Hyperborean, I will be 94 by that time! However, if I can shift things in such a way that it will be likely within that time, then I will do so. I would like to live in an independent Scotland, but if all I can do is help push us nearer to that then so be it.

      Politics can be a long game, Remember the answer given by Zhou En Lai in around 1970 when asked about the effect of the French Revolution – ‘It’s too early to say!”

      In the mid 1960s when the Civil Rights marchers were assaulted by the armed thugs of the B Specials, I never thought that in 2017, the Unionist majority in Northern Ireland would have gone. I knew the demographics were indicating that the ‘loyalists’ would no longer be the majority of the population, but, I did not think that SF, SDLP, etc. would reach a stage where a united Ireland is probably more likely than not.

      1. David Harris says:

        I have to agree I have a smallholding where I plant trees I will never sit under, but my lovely girls and generations of others might.I want these trees rooted in Independent Scottish soil

      2. Hyperborean says:

        You are right, of course, in all you say, as is David Harris below. It’s amazing to look around at all the good political changes (as well as the bad) that have happened in our lifetimes, like the end of apartheid and the fall of the Berlin Wall, and, if you’re like me, to pinch ourselves when we realise just how long ago those things actually happened when in our youth we could hardly believe they could ever happen at all.

        My beef is that if ‘we’ — the international proponents of freedom — managed to bring about those two massive changes, how come a wee relatively insignificant country on the northern fringe of Europe still can’t yet win the right of self-government? Are we maybe just not shouting loud enough or pushing hard enough? And I would dearly love to see our goal gained before I’m too gagga to care.

        On the other hand, you and David are both right. All we can ever do is put our shoulder with whatever strength we have, to whichever bit of the wheel presents itself to us, and just push for as long and as hard as our health lasts out, trusting that eventually the vehicle will reach its destination even if we personally have dropped by the roadside some miles before.

        But despite my age I never did learn tae posess mahsel in peace, as my grannie so often said I should. And I’m nervous that taking too phlegmatic a stance may make us lose momentum and make the journey take longer than it actually needs to be.

        What do I want?
        Self government.
        When do I want it?
        Well, no prizes for guessing that!

        P.S. and by the bye, I’ve grown to dislike the term ‘independence’ with its implicit sense of previous dependence. Children get independent of adults, which is not an appropriate image for our situation, no matter how much ‘Mummy’ Teresa and her friends try to treat us as as though we were stroppy adolescents demanding to be allowed to get a flat of our own, that the ‘grown ups’ will still have to support us because we’re too wee and too weak to look after ourselves.
        So I’m looking for a term that’s more like a perfectly sensible and self-suppprting adult who used to be a partner in a long-term family business choosing to dissolve the partnership and to continue to practice on their own.
        But I can’t think of a suitable term to replace ‘independence’.Self-determination? Full home rule? Full autonomy? (Not too bad?) What about ‘full recognition of our sovereignty?’ Or more simply, Our sovereignty.

        What do we want!
        Our sovereignty!
        When do we want it?
        When it comes, in its own good time, but soon.

        1. Ed says:

          “repeal the act of union” will do!!!

      3. David says:

        You will wait Scotland is not getting another referendum for at least 20 years if ever again and when they do it will be a NO, if you start talking about neverendums after then the Westminster government will act to help the majority unionists and use military power to crush yo! We are walking out of the EU we are the major military power of Europe we will Nuke them German scum if they start acting up

  3. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

    A fundamental question.

    Would the EU be prepared to negotiate with the UK after the Scottish Parliament voted for an Independence referendum, due to the Brexit vote in Scotland? I wonder if they would argue that the UK negotiators are not in the position to represent the UK?

    Bearing in mind Mrs May previously stated that she would not trigger Article 50 until there was a UK wide agreement. She could have triggered it last week after the Lords finally caved in.

    1. MBC says:

      Well that is what the Tories are attempting to argue, isn’t it? That they DO represent the UK. That Scots are getting cold feet about the EU. That there is no appetite for another referendum. That despite having decisively voted Remain, in fact we are acquiescing to the UK Brexit position.

      You can see all these loaded opinion polls apparently finding evidence for this. And interviewers finding folk to interview who are sceptical about the EU and the SNP. And giving prime air time to Ruth Davidson claiming nobody wants another referendum.

  4. MBC says:

    There is everything to play for. Politics is a game of skill and determination. May is overwhelmed, struggling with multiple political problems with the Scots, NI, the EU, UKIP, and her own Tory backbenchers, not to mention the international problems of NATO, Trump, Erdogan. I think Osborne will try to undermine her domestically from the pages of the Evening Standard. I think that’s why he was appointed. I think he will use that platform to pressurise her into securing sweet deals for the City of London. In Ireland the nationalists used to say that England’s difficulties were Ireland’s opportunities. Sturgeon is however focused and canny and is distracted only by the relatively minor problem of motormouth Ruth Harrison, the new tribune of the people. Her major enemy is the hostile mainstream media. Her party is united and the movement she heads is holding together despite attempts by the media to fray it.

    I’m not sure if Sturgeon will win – that will depend on us.

    But she won’t lose. She’s too canny. She will have several parachutes packed in this stand off.

  5. MBC says:

    My antennae are beginning to detect an Indy direction of travel. And I feel suddenly cheerful that a clear way ahead opens.

    We will aim to become independent, and will propose to raise our own currency pegged to sterling; or to a basket of currencies: euro, sterling, dollar; and we will aim to join EEA or EFTA. This will give us access to the single market and freedom of movement, and thus solve the problem of an ageing population shrinking our tax base.

    Not being part of the EU will also mean that we won’t have to abide by the common agriculture and fisheries policies. This should please the fishing lobby. We will have control over our fisheries and seas.

    This arrangement will be more or less identical to that of our neighbour Norway, which has declined to join the EU because it wants to control its agriculture and fisheries. These are powerful lobbies in Norway, which sees food independence as a goal.

    It will mean that at a future time we might still join the EU when our issues with fisheries and agriculture have been resolved and when public opinion is firmly in favour. At the moment the fisherman are a political hazard which the unionists will play up. So this threat has to be neutralised and their problems solved.

    1. MBC says:

      Forgot to add: it means that the date of the next referendum might be a bit more flexible, since technically and legally the main reason for holding it before the Brexit gate closes was to avoid having actually having left the EU and therefore not having to re-apply.

      However, politically, we cannot allow our opponents the chance to retrench. So time is of the essence. We should press them when they are weakest and whilst we are still strong.

    2. Alf Baird says:

      “This arrangement will be more or less identical to that of our neighbour Norway,”. No it won’t – Norway does not have hundreds of thousands of people coming from a large neighbouring country, many to retire and take advantage of its superior public services, and then in their gratitude to vote ‘No’ against its peoples’ right to independence.

  6. johnny come lately says:

    Seems to chime with my immediet comment after Sturgeons bombshell. Scotland will now be viewed as the enemy within. The union can’t survive this.

  7. MBC says:

    If I was to be generous to Theresa May I would say that she and her government are simply overwhelmed. She didn’t mean to snub Scotland, she just didn’t get round to it.

    But this still plays to our Indy narrative: they are so beyond coping with the problems of Brexit they couldn’t organise a p*** up in a brewery.

    Yet they still want to hold the devolved administrations in hock!

  8. James Dow says:

    Donald Trump has proven that when you make the news bringers the news they quickly lose all credibility. As the UK media is 100 per cent anti Scottish independence the SNP should attack them head on at the next referendum there is nothing to lose as proven by The Donald.

  9. Muscleguy says:

    There cannot be a rock hard Brexit because transport and trade would cease the moment we left the EU. When an exporter sends a product overseas some, sometimes more than one pan EU regulatory body will certify that it is safe to eat, electrically safe or safe and appropriate in other ways such as that the dimensions have been measured according to an accurate method.

    The UK no longer has any such bodies of our own, some may be based here and there is now a bunfight between various EU cities to get them moved there after Brexit.

    To set up our own standards agencies again would be a huge undertaking which would require agreement from every single country that they would recognise them, most especially the EU . . .

    Far better to negotiate continuing membership as Switzerland for eg does. This will cost money, how much will require negotiation.

    IF the UK/rUK leaves the EU without such agreement then the cross channel ferries could not sail, no trains would leave London for Paris or arrive, no aircraft would be certified safe to fly from or to here. No electricity could be bought from France and transmitted across the channel or vice versa and no exports could move even if there was a means to get them offshore.

    David Davis may say they have given this no thought but they have been told the above. The EU is not going to let the UK away with just continuing membership of the standards agencies though, agreement for those will be tied to agreement on everything else. It will be a package deal, remember, no picking and mixing, without agreement.

    So ignore the rhetoric a hard Brexit will not, cannot happen, unless the Brexit Tories are criminally negligent, careless and monumentally stupid.

    Oh.

    Stop the world, we NEED to get on.

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