The Reality After this One

Peter Arnott suggests that Scottish independence, when it comes, will be ‘as natural as rain’, but we may have to wait until the Brexit plays out.

The period from 2011 to 2016 might be characterised by future commentators as the Independence Moment in Modern Scottish History.

The experience was a little how I imagine surfing to be…catching a wave of what felt like unexpected then irresistable momentum that carried its passengers towards a golden shore that seemed so close we could touch it. Even defeat in the referendum in Sept 2014 scarcely seemed to dent the euphoria for long. Through the 2015 SNP electoral landslide we went, scarcely even noticing that something beyond our ken was stirring elsewhere in the pond, a corresponding yet very different, diffuse wave of English Nationalism (with Jeremy Corbyn riding one surf board, and Boris Johnson another.)

Then all the waves crashed at once. Like Wile E Coyote, we looked down and saw that there was nothing holding us up, and we plummetted into the confused, confusing wash of a brand new reality. Brexit was happening, and Donald Trump was in the White House. And as we tried to stand up in the surf, spitting out a mouthful of seaweed, with a jelly fish trapped down our Speedos, we had lost all sight of the beach.

There are those among us who claim to still see it. That all we need to do is get back on the surfboard and another wave will come to lift it home. But most people aren’t so sure. We look around like we don’t know the rules of tides and gravity yet, and we hesitate.

To attempt to escape the metaphor in which I seem to have trapped myself as completely as Scottish Constitutional politics is stymied at the moment, let me suggest that the political hesitation is purely pragmatic. We had an election in 2017 in which the result was multiply equivocal and confused on both sides of the border. We have a Brexit process that is itself mired in the strange feeling, even now, with a year till we are supposed to be leaving, that it’s not really going to happen. The electorate are nothing if not nervous of change. At this moment, if anyone came along with a claim that they could make it all go away, they might win a couple of by-elections.

Like the Trump presidency, none of this was supposed to happen.

There was a much cleverer and more lucrative scenario where Trump and Farage could shout “Treason” and “Fraud” after they lost, and go on to nice, comfortable careers on Fox News. Even now, nobody leading the Brexit campaign in 2016 or the shambolic sham negotiations over the divorce that have been going on in a pretendy kind of way for the last year or so is acting like any of this is actually real. I think that from the perspective of the helpless and futile periphery (to which status the 2014 vote condemned Scotland as a political entity) of a process that is quite so surreal, “hesitation” is not only natural as a political strategy, it is unavoidable. In an era of Red Lines being invisibly drawn all over the place, the Red Line that the Scottish Government have drawn around the transfer of powers and the principle of the Single Market make exactly as much symbolic sense as anything else going on.

But here and in Wesminster, a sense of unreality prevails. The Scottish Government are trying to finesse a rider to a UK Deal with the EU that still doesn’t feel as if it is really going to happen. In these circumstances, to try to summon back into being some nostalgic reboot of a previous epoch in the shape of “IndyRef2” seems chronologically inept as well as politically dubious. There is no sense in the air that anyone beyond the Faithful are remotely interested in that wish attempting to become real.

“The Scottish Government are trying to finesse a rider to a UK Deal with the EU that still doesn’t feel as if it is really going to happen. In these circumstances, to try to summon back into being some nostalgic reboot of a previous epoch in the shape of “IndyRef2” seems chronologically inept as well as politically dubious. There is no sense in the air that anyone beyond the Faithful are remotely interested in that wish attempting to become real.”

“But if we wait till after Brexit happens, it will be too late!” comes the anguished cry. To which I can only respond, “It IS too late. The vote in 2014 was a vote to put the decision out of our hands.” The helpless rage this makes us feel is quite real.

Because undeneath the layers of unreality with which the Brexit Slippage is encircled, still feeling like an “if” rather than a “when”, something real is nonetheless happening. The EU are responding to reality rather than the vague and impossible wish list which is still the only available (and quite hopeless) articulation of what Brexit might look like from the UK point of view – the picking of cherries from the cake that the unicorns are baking somewhere in Empire 2.0 – by producing legal documents for the divorce. “You told us you are leaving, “ they say. “So sign here.” And Westminster howls with outrage that the Eurocrats would dare to introduce anything so vulgar as “consequences” to an entirely imaginary decision – a decision that they simultaneously insist is “sacred” and must be “respected.”

The very use of terms such as “respect” and “democracy” is a dead giveaway, perhaps, that none of this, as with Trump’s Tweets, is meant to be taken literally, that nothing is real. In such a context, there is nothing to be done specifically in Scotland but to defend devolution, which is our local political variant on the theme of “You can have Brexit or reality, but you can’t have both.”

The upshot of all this is that we are condemned, like it or not, to a long game in which we have little practical say. This was the “Old Normal” of Scottish politics before 2011. Trying to finesse whatever situation the UK got itself into, for good or ill, for Scotland’s benefit, or at least to minimise harm. Devolution itself started as such a gambit, before the SNP’s victory and the blithering response from London made it into something else, maybe…

It was a game played with a mixed record of success and humiliation from Whigs through the Unionists through Labour to the present: a sequence of local hegemonies in constant negotiation with where the power REALLY lay.

But these are not those times. This is not the Old Normal no matter how hard Scottish unionists pretend to believe that it is. Because one of the things that is REALLY happening with Brexit is the discovery, by the English, of what the limitations of “Independence” are in the 21st Century. And our corresponding future discovery, perhaps, that power doesn’t really lie where we thought it did. That the very nature of power is changing. That the very meanings of “Nation” and “Independence” are in flux.

“Reinventing nationhood is one of the real things that is happening to all of us. Brexit is an attempt to use nostalgia and hatred as a template for that change. We can do better. We already have. We may be restricted to holding action for the moment…the 2014 vote saw to that…but change is underway. It is up to us to be inventive as we go through it, and to insist on a principle of Scottish Popular Sovereignty as a rock to cling to.”

My guess, for what it’s worth, about the NEXT few years, is that there is no avoiding the realities of Brexit, despite the concerted efforts of Corbyn on one side and May on the other to clamp their hands over their eyes as they walk us off the cliff. My second guess is that we will have another UK General Election which will elect one more UK government to try to “make a go of it” no matter what “it” turns out to be. And that meaningful constitutional change, a decisive transfer of sovereignty from London to Edinburgh, which may or may not be called “Independence” will happen as part of the recovery from this catastrophe, and not, as we hoped, as Nicola Sturgeon hoped, in its anticipation.

In short, I think that we are going to have to wait for the wave, for the reality, AFTER this one. And that it is quite impossible to anticipate exactly what that moment will look like. My hope is that that when that time comes, it will be ALL of the historic nations who are asking themselves questions about what “nationhood” might mean in the future…and that the answer will involve as few torchlit parades and as little broken glass as possible. but which will nonetheless be as near as that 19th century concept comes to meaning what we think it does in the here and now…

In short, that all this will come, if it does, will not come as part of the UK’s exit from the EU in 2021, but as part of the process of getting back in somewhere around 2028. And it will seem as natural as did the referendum to establish the Parliament in in Edinburgh in 1997 that the UK will be reconfigured. As natural as rain. There will be people on the fundamentalist wing of Scottish Nationalism who will complain that it’s not the Real Thing. But as with Brexit, one of the things we have learned in the New Normal is that the “Real Thing” doesn’t exist.

This is a counsel of hope, by the way, not of despair. The Break Up of Britain is coming closer faster than anyone could have anticipated on September 19th 2014, let alone after the 2017 election. But it will not look like the past. It will not look like yesterday’s dream no matter how fervently some of us might wish. It will look like something wholly new, something that is already happening in Scotland, and Ireland (and London, actually).

Reinventing nationhood is one of the real things that is happening to all of us. Brexit is an attempt to use nostalgia and hatred as a template for that change. We can do better. We already have. We may be restricted to holding action for the moment…the 2014 vote saw to that…but change is underway. It is up to us to be inventive as we go through it, and to insist on a principle of Scottish Popular Sovereignty as a rock to cling to.

Whatever else the vote in 2014 meant, it established that our future, in the long term is up to us, even as it condemned us to a present-tense of helplessness and apparent stasis. The chance will come again, but it won’t look like any of us think it will. Prepare for fancy footwork. Reality is bound to make a comeback sooner or later.

Comments (137)

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  1. John Stuart Wilson says:

    But if you think Brexit is going to be a disaster – as you clearly do – then Independence would be an even greater disaster. We do 4x more trade with the rUK than we do with the EU; and whilst the latter is stagnating, the former is growing strongly. And 1 in 12 jobs in Scotland are dependent, directly or indirectly, on the finance industry, which sees the rUK as 90% of its market. If you draw an international border to our south, you can be sure that the bulk of those jobs will move across it.

    1. Iain MacEchern says:

      Why would we not continue to trade with rest of the U.K. after Brexit. TM has stated that she wants to be open for business to all the countries in the world. I didn’t hear her say except Scotland. Would the rest of the U.K. really stop using Scottish electricity or oil, do they want to stop eating our lamb, beef or fish. I believe trade with the rest of the U.K. would be vibrant and good for both countries. It may be that out of spite Westminster would try to punish Scotland for having the audacity to go independent, but I believe Scotland could adequately survive until Westminster came to its senses. But we know the scare stories and project fear will continue, but I think more and more of us are not afraid to stand up against the bully from the south.

      1. John Stuart Wilson says:

        “Why would we not continue to trade with rest of the U.K. after Brexit. TM has stated that she wants to be open for business to all the countries in the world.”
        They why would not continue to trade with the EU after Brexit?

        “Would the rest of the U.K. really stop using Scottish electricity”
        After independence the subsidies that the Scottish renewables industry receives from the UK Treasury will stop. I would guess that Westminster will redirect them to new projects in the north of England. So, the answer to your question is: no, they will not, but they will encourage rivals based in the rUK to enter the market.

        Oil will continue to be sold on the open market to anyone. The economic viability of the Grangemouth refinery, however, it obviously jeopardised.

        “Do they want to stop eating our lamb, beef or fish.”
        Consumers will make their own decisions. If you think that their won’t be any backlash, you are in denial.

        “I believe trade with the rest of the U.K. would be vibrant and good for both countries.”
        That’s lovely. But, in the real world, the rUK market is 10X larger than the Scottish one, and you want to impose an international border, a new regulatory regime, and a different currency. So companies that can move likely will.

        “It may be that out of spite Westminster would try to punish Scotland for having the audacity to go independent”
        The punishment to Scotland’s private sector will be dished out by people such as yourself, who want to impose an international border, a new regulatory regime, and a different currency that separate Scotland’s private sector from its biggest trading partner.

    2. Dave M says:

      Look at some empirical evidence before making ridiculous assertions. The rUK was Ireland’s largest trading partner at one time too; now that is not the case. Why would that be the case for Scotland?

      1. commenter says:

        Scottish Nationalist: “Brexit is going to decimate trade with the EU!”
        British Nationalist: “Why would we not continue to trade with rest of the EU after Brexit.”

        British Nationalist: “Independence would decimate trade with England!”
        Scottish Nationalist: “Why would we not continue to trade with rest of the UK after Independence.”

        Leftie Scottish Nationalists: “blah blah reimagining the state in the 21st century etc etc”

        1. Carol says:

          Haha, like it and very true! Alba go braith!

      2. John Stuart Wilson says:

        “Look at some empirical evidence before making ridiculous assertions. The rUK was Ireland’s largest trading partner at one time too; now that is not the case. Why would that be the case for Scotland?”

        Why wouldn’t it be?

        Your example covers a span of 100 years, makes the transition from agrarian to post-industrial, and also glosses over the fact of Ireland’s strategy of making itself a tax haven for American companies. What do you have to offer that is relevant to Scotland and our generation?

        1. Carol says:

          tax haven for American companies

          More to us than that – jealous perhaps Mr Wilson?

    3. Ed., says:

      Is that the same disaster that will befall England when Scotland gives it it’s independence

    4. Robert says:

      “We do 4x more trade with the rUK than we do with the EU; and whilst the latter is stagnating, the former is growing strongly. And 1 in 12 jobs in Scotland are dependent, directly or indirectly, on the finance industry, which sees the rUK as 90% of its market. If you draw an international border to our south, you can be sure that the bulk of those jobs will move across it.”

      This question that you raise is genuinely interesting, although some of you claims within it are ridiculous.

      The EU economy in 2017 grew 2.7%, while the UK economy grew at 1.5%.
      The EU economy has a nominal GDP of $12.5trillion (without the UK), while the UK is $2.5trillion.

      Your claim that the UK economy is “growing strongly” is empirically incorrect. Brexit will further weaken the UK economy in the long term, and this is from the UKGov’s own analyses.

      It is true that finance is important for Scotland, as the rest of the UK, but Scotland does a lot of the back-office functions for London which is connected to Europe and the wider world. London is Europe’s banker.

      Brexit again complicates this. It is going to harm Scotland’s financial centre as it will the rUK. Independence in Europe would have offered the opportunity for London banks to relocate some of their European operations to Edinburgh to fulfil EU-requirements. Garnier, a Conservative member of the UK Parliament’s Treasury Committee, says that Brexit “might make it worthwhile for Scots to go it alone to usurp London’s position.”

      Framed in this way, Brexit offers possibilities for Scotland to draw jobs away from London; as it does for Dublin, Paris and Frankfurt.

      The final point, the crux of the matter, is are you implying that you need to be in a political union in order to have a broad and deeply-integrated economic relationship?

      The UK Government is arguing that in the case for the EU, the answer is No, but for the case of Scotland, the answer is Yes.

      Your position is very much long the UKGov’s thinking of having and eating cake, trying to cut the question two ways depending on who the political union is with.

      1. John Stuart Wilson says:

        I didn’t claim the UK economy was growing strongly. I pointed out that our TRADE with the rUK economy is growing strongly, whilst our TRADE with the EU is stagnating. As the statistics provided by the Scottish Government demonstrate.

        1. Carol says:

          The only reason that trade is stagnating with EU/UK is because of Brexit.

          1. John Stuart Wilson says:

            “The only reason that trade is stagnating with EU/UK is because of Brexit.”

            Utter nonsense. See Figure 3 at this website:
            https://www.centreonconstitutionalchange.ac.uk/blog/euref-economy-how-closely-our-economy-aligned-eu

  2. Carol says:

    Reinventing nationhood is one of the real things that is happening to all of us. Brexit is an attempt to use nostalgia and hatred as a template for that change. We can do better. We already have. We may be restricted to holding action for the moment…the 2014 vote saw to that…but change is underway. It is up to us to be inventive as we go through it, and to insist on a principle of Scottish Popular Sovereignty as a rock to cling to.

    Thanks for this, really interesting view of what’s possible and in store for all our future. Don’t you think the concept of nationhood is now diminished by Member States because I realise without the EU Institutions we are just that, nationhoods without a common bond. And I agree, we can do better than hating, love is stronger. Alba go braith!

  3. Pat Kane says:

    Yes, very complex. From SNPGov viewpoint, it must still be tempting to look at Brexit and Lexit, and their buccaneering or dirigiste narratives, and make a really clear bid for EU “member-statehood” (which is one pointer for a new kind of nationhood). You say, “here is the overall stability a small state needs, the shoulder to shelter under, the sensible and collegiate middle-way”, etc, etc. Except that the EU is buckling, as the national democracies that comprise it send in disturbing election results -and those based on a resentment of the standard political classes that the Eurocrats and their diktats have themselves partly instilled.

    My only query is the degree to which a bold popular leadership, around an indy prospectus still focussed on EU member-state aspiration, could pull Scottish political willpower out of the deep freeze. It hasn’t really been tried since 2014 – and the debacle of the snap WM election in 2017 for the SNP shows what happens when you largely park it. If the future looks like this endlessly contextual and pragmatic adjustment of powers, between national, continental and global, why shouldn’t we have all the levers available? Independence as the full dashboard, at least? Isn’t Ireland showing us what it can do with statehood, embedded as it is in the European project, at the moment?

    1. Carol says:

      I really detest the word “eurocrat” the way it’s used is always derogatory. We are European civil servants, serving the government that UK citizens voted for, along with all the other governments.
      Do us a favour and give us a break.

      1. Graeme Purves says:

        Well said Carol! I found the disparaging and dismissive label ‘bureaucrat’ tiresome when I worked in Scottish government. Civil servants are there to serve the public, and the great majority do so conscientiously and diligently. They play a vital role in supporting our democracy. Most of the civil servants I have encountered have had a deep commitment to public service.

        1. Carol says:

          Thanks for your words of encouragement Graeme, appreciated.

    2. Peter Arnott says:

      Maybe I have less optimism than you…Wouldn’t be the first time…but i haven’t yet felt the trigger moment…Maybe I’m waiting for something that doesn’t ever really come…

      1. Jack Collatin says:

        Peter, you appear to be having your Hamlet moment;
        I’ll cut and paste the soliloquy here, even if only to let your fan base re-read one of the most powerful pieces of writing ever produced, up there with, To A Mouse, and God on My Side.

        “To be, or not to be: that is the question:
        Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
        The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
        Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
        And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
        No more; and by a sleep to say we end
        The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
        That flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummation
        Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;
        To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;
        For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
        When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
        Must give us pause: there’s the respect
        That makes calamity of so long life;
        For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
        The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
        The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,
        The insolence of office and the spurns
        That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
        When he himself might his quietus make
        With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
        To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
        But that the dread of something after death,
        The undiscover’d country from whose bourn
        No traveller returns, puzzles the will
        And makes us rather bear those ills we have
        Than fly to others that we know not of?
        Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
        And thus the native hue of resolution
        Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
        And enterprises of great pith and moment
        With this regard their currents turn awry,
        And lose the name of action.–Soft you now!
        The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
        Be all my sins remember’d”

        You ask us to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, because the only alternative would be suicide?
        ‘By opposing, end them.’
        A second Independence Referendum now would be certain suicide is your argument?
        It would be like ending it all with a knitting needle, a ‘bodkin’?
        Are you postulating that the ‘undiscovered country’ of Self Determination should at best be deferred, and we should ‘grunt and sweat under a weary life’, for a decade, and that 10 more years of English Rule at the very least is preferable to ‘the dread of something after death’, or Independence now?
        We should ‘bear those ills we have
        Than fly to others that we know not of?’

        ‘Thus conscience does make cowards of us all.’
        Thanks, Peter for getting the old grey cells going: I’m off to read Hamlet now. I hope you are happy now.
        David Tennant’s interpretation rocks btw.

    3. John Stuart Wilson says:

      Going to the voters with nothing but “EU member-statehood” as the big idea behind independence would be a disaster.

      After decades of EU member we still do 4X more trade with the rUK than with the EU, and trade with the UK is increasing in importance whilst trade with the EU is stagnating.

      But joining the EU would necessitate that WE raise obstacles to trade with our largest market, the rUK. Because EU membership means free movement of goods within the EU area. But given the nature of the border we enjoy with England, any producer or importer in England or Wales could simply put their goods on a lorry and drive them into Scotland, and therefore into the EU.

      No EU member has an open land border with a large non-EU member economy. And the economy of England + Wales is large: it is bigger than that of 3/4s of the EU members combined.

      Think about it this way: if Portugal and Spain were to withdraw from the EU, it is highly unlikely that the EU would permit France to leave its southern border open. The economy of England + Wales is 60% larger than that of Portugal + Spain, so it is even less likely that they would approve if we request to have our cake and eat it, too.

      I’m sure you are already typing something about Brexit and NI, so let me state the obvious: the situation on the Irish Island is very different. The NI economy is tiny, and the EU can require that NI give it the ability to monitor everything that enters it.

      1. pat kane says:

        Norway/Sweden border http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-41412561 https://www.euractiv.com/section/uk-europe/news/is-the-norway-sweden-border-a-model-for-uk-ireland/ Sensible agreements, some tech/systems, 8 mins delay at border. Pretty small price to pay for macro-economic control of the Scottish nation. And isn’t the ocean of fudge that Brexit has turned into a sign that mutual self-interest always wins out – and would do between Scotland & rUK as trading partners too?

        1. Interpolar says:

          Switzerland does a thriving business with all of its EU neighbours. Just because Scotland leaves the UK does not mean that trade would cease with the rUK. But it might provoke a gradual and welcome rebalancing of its trade relationships. And it could do this with policies that work for Scotland and not primarily London.

      2. Genocidal Maniac says:

        How many fucking times are you going to tell us we do 4x as much trade with the rest of the U.K. than the EU?

        Is that the only bean of data you have rattling around in your tin-can skull?

        1. Carol says:

          How vulgar.

        2. John Stuart Wilson says:

          “How many fucking times are you going to tell us we do 4x as much trade with the rest of the U.K. than the EU?”

          Depends. How many more times is someone going to argue that we should leave the UK for the purpose of joining the EU?

          1. Carol says:

            As an independent Scotland, and her day will come Mr Wilson, nobody in the EU is asking her to join us in EU. That will be up to her.

      3. ED says:

        Is that the same disaster that will befall England when Scotland gives it it’s indepandance

  4. Thomas Widmann says:

    Interesting, but it’s high risk. By 2028, it’s likely the Tories will be completely discredited, and there will be new political fault lines in England. Many Scots may then decide to engage in UK politics again, rather than going for independence. I’m not saying the scenario outlined in this article is impossible, just that it’s only one of many possible futures, so betting the house on it seems very dangerous to me.

  5. Dave M says:

    I’m interested in where 2028 magically appeared from, and why. There wasn’t a clear rationale for why this would be the case.

  6. Ann Rayner says:

    I certainly hope that the next big wave will come along sooner than this piece suggests. An article from fedtrust.co.uk/is-brexit-worth-it-prime-minister is interesting in suggesting, from a German viewpoint, that things may well fall apart sooner rather than later for the UK government. Scotland must be ready to take the chance of freedom when it offers.

    1. Iain MacEchern says:

      Exactly, national relationships, agreements and treaties are dynamic and fluid, forever changing. Who would have imagined 5 years ago that the U.K. would be leaving the EU. So who can guess when or what the next big wave will be, all we in the Indy movement can do is be ready for our moment, because we may have to move fast when it comes.

      1. Carol says:

        Alba go braith Iain!

    2. Jamsie says:

      Of course the German point of view will be that it is the UK who will suffer but let’s be realistic.
      They are bricking it right now as they will in all likelihood be the ones who have to provide the deficit caused by the UK leaving and they don’t like it one bit.
      It is clear that Scotland as part of the UK will leave the EU.
      What is not clear is that if indy2 came along Scotland would even be considered for rejoining.
      All that aside I think we all know that indy2 won’t be along anytime soon as the electorate remain stubbornly against a further referendum and wee Nicola does not know how to change that.
      Her personal ratings have fallen through the floor hence we don’t see much of her on the media nowadays and this must be a concern to her.
      Worse the day to day stuff is becoming a diatribe of her administrations incompetence and dishonesty.
      Thankfully the freedom we already have allows an electorate to choose.
      And they have chosen.
      If she had any honesty about her she would offer a referendum on whether the electorate actually wanted another indyref.

      1. John Stuart Wilson says:

        ” she would offer a referendum on whether the electorate actually wanted another indyref.”

        Sturgeon’s theme throughout the GE campaign was that it was an opportunity for voters to signal that they agreed with her spurious claims to have a mandate for indyref2. She also said that if the SNP had a triumph on June 8, then Theresa May’s refusal to agree to a second independence referendum would be unsustainable.

        When the votes were counted, the SNP had lost 21 seats and seen its vote share fall to 37%, and less than 50% in every constituency.

        Days later she stood up in Holyrood and admitted that she understood that the people of Scotland didn’t want IndyRef2.

        So, in effect, we have already had our referendum on whether or not we want to repeat our referendum. The answer was an unambiguous “No”.

        1. Jamsie says:

          Good point John!

        2. Jeff Kirk says:

          What bollocks -again- … The SNP won the GE.

          1. Carol says:

            Say it like it is Jeff, he’s as annoying as f–k

          2. John Stuart Wilson says:

            “The SNP won the GE.”
            Then why did Nicola Sturgeon treat it as a humiliating defeat that necessitated a change of course?

            They lost 21 seats and saw their vote share fall to 37%, and less than 50% in every constituency. That is rather a big deal for a party who says they exist only for winning a binary question.

          3. Kenny Smith says:

            I know imagine a party winning more than the other combined and still losing!! It’s the same as the council elections, the Tories come a distant second but somehow they won, only in the Brit NAT media

  7. Ewan MacKenzie says:

    It’s telling that no examples were given of this new kind of nationhood. That kind of change happens slowly, and a Scotland becoming independent now would have many decades of being a normal country before it had morphed into something significantly different. Insisting that such change will happen within ten years is wishful thinking, or possibly long-grass thinking.

  8. Willie says:

    The Brit Nat posters are out in full swing tonight.

    Can’t you just smell the odour of Great British English pound notes.

    1. David Allan says:

      Aye Willie, the Scotland in Union Bulldog fan club.

      So depressing and sad to possess little aspiration or ambition.

      Peter the beach is still there. We are still drifting toward it.

      1. John Stuart Wilson says:

        What I find depressing and sad is that people continue to advocate for independence but continue to deny that the voters of Scotland have good reason for thinking that its costs probably outweigh its benefits for themselves and their families.

        Tell me this: why is Greece suffering as it is? Is it because they “possess little aspiration or ambition”? Or is it because they voted in a group of people who took them down a disastrous path?

        Independence would create a number of structural problems that would be difficult and expensive to solve. No amount of “aspiration or ambition” would be enough. What would actually be needed is for the first generation after independence to be willing to accept a permanently reduced standard of living, as their taxes are raised and their services – and pensions – are slashed.

        But the Yes movement knows that is impossible to sell, so they keep on pretending that miracles are going to happen.

        1. David Allan says:

          ” willing to accept a permanently reduced standard of living, as their taxes are raised and their services – and pensions – are slashed.”

          AND YOU ACTUALLY THINK IN THE FUTURE THIS IS’NT GOING TO HAPPEN IN THE UK. What age will you be when you become eligible for you state pension. Or are you a property tycoon ripping of your impoverished and exploited tenants.

          Peddle your rubbish elsewhere!

          Gawd I hope one day you’ll have the balls to canvas your unionist tripe on my doorstep.

          1. Carol says:

            Great one David, here’s hoping he comes knocking at your door, let him have it from me too!

        2. Graeme Purves says:

          This isn’t evidence-based analysis. It’s assertion based on blind faith that the Union is the better option however disfunctional and socially destructive it becomes. It also flies in the face of the experience of the other small Northern European democracies which have chosen the path of independence within structures for European collaboration.

          1. Carol says:

            Agree totally Graeme!

        3. Jack Collatin says:

          Ah, Greece is Scotland, Scotland is Greece. The 4 times the trade with England than the rest of the EU….and so Brit Nat Project Fear is reduced to a dry old husk of buffalo doo doo left over from 2014.

  9. MBC says:

    I think the best thing for the SNP government to do at present is to go for bust in the term they have left, not for indy, which would invite immediate reprisals, but for as radical a programme of government as current devolution allows, and more some. Our enemies are distracted. So far the SNP have been timid, trying to keep everyone on board. A tame strategy is for normal times. These are not normal times. The opportunity to make waves, make progress, make a difference, may not come as easily again.

    1. Graeme Purves says:

      That’s exactly right, but I fear the SNP leadership is far too cautious.

  10. Wul says:

    It is possible that the early years of an independent Scotland could be worse, in terms of prosperity, than they are right now.

    For me though, the problem with keeping things as they are constitutionally, is that things in the UK will definitely be a lot, lot worse in say 15 years time than they are now.

    The UK, led by London’s dogma of greed, is currently on a neo-liberal road that will see us all and our grandchildren working for the likes of Amazon, Deliveroo, Sports Direct, Subway etc. etc for the minimum wage, living in rented accommodation with zero employment rights.

    That’s the inevitable end game of a liberated market and all those who voted for Brexit, knowingly or not, have accelerated us towards that kind of future.

    Those commentators on here who take delight in puncturing the hopes of pro-independance supporters are kidding themselves that things can remain as they are now. They will not.

    Unless Scotland has the autonomy to enact the kind of political choices that most of it’s people (pro and anti independence) choose, but don’t get (in G.E. after G.E., decade on decade), it will be willingly sacrificed, like the north of England, to an extended epoch of “managed decline”.

    There will come a time when the idea of an independent Scotland, hampered by a downturn in trade with rUK and a difficult-to-manage deficit, will seem like a promised land of wealth and prosperity compared to the grim reality of an unchained, unregulated, US-friendly, free market UK.

    Jamise and J.S. Wilson are like cynical bystanders explaining to Noah why his boat is a load of shite but unaware of the tsunami of hurt, poverty, neglect and deprivation about to wash over us all.

    The UK is rotten and I want out of it. The sooner the better.

    1. Donald McGregor says:

      Well spoken!
      I agree whole heartedly

      1. Jamsie says:

        But there is a problem eh?
        The majority of the electorate did not want this and based on current polling information do not want a further referendum.

        1. Wul says:

          Jamsie,

          This seems to be a really important point for many unionists so I’ll respond.

          Yes, I think there will be some problems in starting a new country. It will not be easy. Nothing worth doing is ever easy. Is that better?

          I look at Scotland and I look at my fellow Scots and I know with total certainty that we have the physical resources and human skills to run our own country. For proof, I look at other similarly sized, similarly resourced countries. If they can do it, so can we. It really is that simple.

          Imagine, just for a second, that Scotland could actually be a successful, independent country. What arguments would be used by the ruling state to discourage the hopes of those wanting to run their own affairs?

          What I am curious about is your vision. What are your hopes for a united UK? What better future do you see?

          Please tell me. I am genuinely interested.

          1. Jamsie says:

            Wul
            I want a strong Scotland and a strong UK economically where elected governments govern for all and respect the mandate given to them by the people.
            The current administration in Scotland has been disingenuous and downright incompetent and the current manufactured argument on devolved powers is a pointer towards how out of touch they are.
            Go ask a farmer or a fisherman what they think of repatriating powers to the SNP after Brexit.
            Those that are still in business are horrified by this yet the SNP are promoting this as something only they are competent to handle.
            The farmers want free of the absolutely incompetent handling of the payments from the EU by the SNP and Brexit affords them the opportunity to receive their payments directly from the UK govt.
            Similarly the fisherman want the UK to have control if the home waters to remove the EU from the quotas and do not trust the SNP with this.
            Yet the SNP are seeking to create an argument for the powers associated with these issue being repatriated to Scotland and this argument is at best dubious in terms of the competence of the devolution settlement.
            Most of all I want the divisiveness created by minority parties to be removed from Scottish politics and the will if the electorate to be engaged.
            Like Blair and Brown Sturgeon seems to think that once elected she can blatantly disregard the will of the people by diverting attention to fallacious argument.
            And finally I want the Scottish administration to address the public service issues by properly funding Scottish local authorities rather than see huge waste in the economy caused by their ideological hegemony.

      2. Interpolar says:

        I second that. And it is a point that must be driven home: There is no status quo, there is only the trudge to a dim future. Yes, independence has its risks, but it might offer a way out of the inevitable descent which is England’s. And there is the question of dignity besides, which the UK does not offer Scotland.

  11. Hugh Loughlan says:

    2014 was an exhilarating time. Like many others I campaigned for independence. I believed it was possible. We were on the crest of a wave. I had the arguements to back up my case. I went from door to door. The emotion in every town was palpable. Lines were drawn. There were those who would not speak; there were those who spoke too much and too loudly.

    Ultimately most people were not persuaded. They did not cast their vote in response to the future of Sterling or Gordo Brown’s ‘Vow’. The face of change was indistinct, foreign and uninviting. We lost. That time cannot be reclaimed.

    If a referendum were to be called for tomorrow I am not so sure I could be so persuasive. A vision that seemed clear before is now muddied. The appetite for new ideas seems blunted. Many people are suffering as a result of the policies of the current Uk government.
    I am struggling to recognise and articulate how independence will address this.

    I feel that the currrnt Scottish government (I voted for them) is no longer fully engaging with all of the electorate. Where next and why?

  12. Jack Collatin says:

    2028: just 10 years to go, be patient. 10 years more of England raping Scotland, sucking its wealth out of the soil.
    I don’t know the author of this drivel, as I don’t move in exalted BC circles. Perhaps I should stay in more.
    But the ‘there is no appetite for Indyref 2 where I sit’ nonsense, and the farcical conclusion that we abandon the Self Determination Campaign for a decade, and allow ourselves to be dragged out of Europe despite a 62% Remain verdict, and suffer 10 years in Limbo as the English realise what an arse they have made of it all, and according to the author, let WM take the lead in begging to get back in, after 10 years of the same old same old WM Rule, and that during the Re-entry campaign, we Scots pitch for Devo Max?
    I think I’ve got that right?
    Yet another BC piece advising me to wait, and let the English do the heavy lifting for me.
    We wait no longer, Mr Arnott. We are done waiting. No one will take my European citizenship from me. I know that millions on these isles feel the same.
    We shall know by October 2018 what Brexit means.
    It will all be over for the Union by October, not 10 years hence.
    It takes a certain sort of arrogance to suggest that we forget all about Freedom for another decade or so.

    1. Carol says:

      Good on you Jack – Saor Alba!

  13. Kenny Smith says:

    INTERNAL MARKET!!!!! Give me piece you people, seriously. They promise the republic of Ireland that a common travel area and trade will be as frictionless as possible but they are going to put a barbed wire fence from Gretna to Berwick and make you declare your IRN BRU at Carlisle!!! We sell stuff to England, true but we buy stuff from them too and an RUK government running around pleading for trade deals with all and sundry will not turn away Scottish trade. We all see the pish, you know it’s pish but peddle it anyway, why I’m not sure. Take her union and shove it up your arse

    1. Carol says:

      Very educated comment – NOT.

      1. Kenny Smith says:

        Sorry did I miss something that my tiny brain could not handle? The republic does trade with the UK and will continue to do so according to the Tories so why can’t Scotland. They use a different currency as well and yet trade still happens. The internal market is another con trick. Bottom line however important the economy might be at some point there has to be a point where you get off your knees and say no more. It’s not a family of nations it’s not a single unitary state, it’s a supposed union and a much more over bearing and domineering one than what the UK is leaving. An independent Scotland can have a vote on a future relationship with Europe, that’s the point it’s our decision to make. The game has been fixed in England’s favour for too long time we made our own way, a different way the way we want and all that entails. No thanks= no spine

        1. Carol says:

          Kenny, I work for Europe, at the European Commission, for 35 years. I am an ARDENT supporter of Scotland’s independence. Ok? Just leave it at that. I am weary trying to pass on a message of love and support to Scotland. end of.

          1. Kenny Smith says:

            Sorry I do apologise if wires have been crossed maybe it your comment was sarcastic or I have read it wrong. It’s like texting sometimes maybe it doesn’t come across properly. The EU doesn’t have it’s troubles to seek I think it should be more accommodating to Scotland and even Catalonia places that are pro EU. I understand that the EU has to be careful but being clear that an IScotland would be welcome would make such a difference here. Yes there is things I don’t like about the EU but Ireland has clearly showed us it’s better to be a nation inside it. I honestly think the break up of the UK would be good for England also but maybe for different reasons.

          2. Carol says:

            Kenny, the EC has NO MANDATE to interfere in matters of Member States. You have no idea how often I have passed on this fact to people

          3. Kenny Smith says:

            Carol I know the EU can’t interfere in domestic politics I’m not asking them to finance the SNP or rig elections. All they have to do is say that an independent Scotland that already fills the required criteria would be welcomed and if it becomes independent before brexit then we can take the UK seat but only if we vote for it in a fair democratic way. Even the idea of a holding pen or social membership until full membership. I understand the limitations of the EU but it should be wanting an IScotland in when so many countries are thinking about leaving the EU a country that is pro Europe should be encouraged.

          4. Carol says:

            Of course we want Alba, you are a nation of intelligent minds and full of common sense. However, all Member States have to agree to let Scotland join, just as it did to all the other now Member States. You will become an enlargement country and negotiate your way in. I’m not President but can say yeah, welcome! However, on independence, you may want to sit back, breathe, govern yourselves and see how you trade by yourselves first? Another possibility!

      2. Jack Collatin says:

        Avery strange post from ‘Kenny Smith’ indeed, Carol.
        I am merely one of the ‘foul mouthed cybernats like Kenny boy, then?
        I suspect a Brit Nat troll at play here.
        When Scotland is free and one of the @EU28, England will trade with us on the same terms as the EU27. Our Barolo will be a lot cheaper because it won’t be coming from Asda’s Distribution warehouse in Tilbury, it’ll be arriving directly from the EU via Rosyth, or wherever.
        ‘The Future of the Union (EU) is more important than Brexit.’
        Is the future of the Union (UK) more important than Brexit?
        Well quoted, Carol.

        1. Carol says:

          Jack, if you really are interested in what I have posted, you will have noted that this is not my quote, but the quote of Mr Barnier.
          As for the rest of what you are saying, I don’t understand you.

          1. Jack Collatin says:

            Carol, I was clumsy with my post. I am not getting at you, but at the mysteriously foul mouthed ‘Kenny’ who is purportedly Pro Independence.
            WE become tarred with the same ‘foul mouthed cybernat’ brush, and the next thing you know it, you or I will be accused of aggressive foul mouthed bullying or whatever.
            I am not accusing you of accusing me, if you see what I mean.
            I love your posts, but have a sense that ‘Kenny’ is a plant.
            My heart sinks at the thought that you would even harbour the notion that I would falsely accuse you of bad manners.
            Bisous

          2. Carol says:

            Ca va Jack et bonne journée!

        2. Kenny Smith says:

          A plant? Pish n arse offend you Jack? Let’s call it what it is, utter pish. Call it poppycock or whatever you like but it’s about time we stopped pussy footing around and tell them what they can do with their precious union. I’m not in the habit of falling out with indy supporters but I’ll take your comments on board and not use such common language. The gloves will have to come off at some point.

          1. Carol says:

            Being aggressive and using language like you do is not helping your cause. Just saying.

  14. Interpolar says:

    I think the author is betting too much on an uncertain outcome. Yes, his scenario is a real possibility, but not inevitable, perhaps not even likely. And it is definitely not a positive case to make for independence. Being spat out of a vortex of chaos is not a good way to start life as a new state. If however this is indeed the future, then initiating (and even losing) an Indy2 now would not stand in the way of it.
    Having a vote in the next 12 months bears risks, and there is no guarantee of success, but wait much longer, and the imponderables of WM policy and SNP attrition are likely to take it off the agenda for the foreseeable future and lock Scotland into a logic of Englishness for a long time.

    1. Carol says:

      I thought it might be a good idea to refer to some of the things Mr. Barnier has said before?
      MB’s speech at the European Parliament, 3 October 2017

      • “A second point: we respect the sovereign choice of the British citizens. We are putting in place the withdrawal that they wanted. We want this withdrawal to be orderly. And for a number of reasons, I think that it is better that you leave the European Union on 30 March 2019 with an agreement, rather than without one. It is in the common interest. We respect this choice. We ask you to respect the European Union. We ask you to respect the fact that we are uncompromising on the integrity of the Single Market, and on the respect of the rules on the functioning and the autonomy of decision-making in the European Union. European Union taxpayers cannot pay for the consequences of Brexit. Brexit cannot weaken the Single Market and the four freedoms, of which they are an intrinsic part.”

      Speech by Michel Barnier at the “Obbligati a crescere – l’Europa dopo Brexit” conference, Rome

      • “Paradoxically, Brexit has also united the 27. I will soon have finished my second tour of European capitals. Over the past year I have been meeting all the Heads of State or Government. And I can tell you that there is a collective awareness and a sense of responsibility in the face of the gravity of the challenges ahead and what is at stake. Our unity is of vital importance for the success of these negotiations. It is important for the 27. And it is important for the UK.”

      Speech by Michel Barnier at BusinessEurope Day 2018

      • All of the models remain available, as long as the UK is willing to accept the balance between rights and obligations.
      • But it should be well understood that – even in a customs union – a country which is outside of the Single Market always faces border checks to ensure compliance with European standards. This is the case for instance with Turkey.
      • Underlying the European regulatory framework are key societal choices that we hold dear: our social market economy, food safety, effective financial regulation, and a precautionary approach to environmental and public health risks.
      • For an ambitious economic partnership, we will need to find common groundon the rules that apply to social and environmental matters, to consumer protection and to competition
      • I understand the concerns about Brexit. They are my concerns. But we must not lose sight of the key point: the Single Market is what makes our businesses in Europe strong. It will still be a market of 440 million customers and 22 million businesses after the UK leaves. A market that might not be perfect yet – I know that well – but that is a point of attraction for the world.
      • For citizens, for your businesses and for each of our countries, my conviction is clear, the future of our Union is more important than Brexit.

      1. Jamsie says:

        Carol
        Your post highlights one of the greatest contradictory issues being pedalled my Messrs Barnier, Tusk and Junker in that they know that hard borders are in place on the periphery of the EU and why.
        That is that they are imposed by the EU not the neighbouring countries.
        Yet they seek to portray the UK as being the problem as regards such a border between NI and the ROI.
        The ROI cannot afford a hard border and clearly does not want one.
        NI as part of the UK will not accept a hard border between it and the rest of the UK.
        And why should it?

        1. Crubag says:

          The UK/RoI border is the bellwether for any EU-Scotland/rUK border, so we just have to wait and see. A borderless non-EU Scotland/rUK could be a possibility, but I can also imagine rUK demanding some form of regulatory and trade alignment as the price.

          I imagine given each side’s red lines there will be border checks between UK/RoI, but possibly more in-depth rather than a rigid frontline.

          The European Parliament’s insistence that the UK will be a third country to the EU for all purposes is curious, as this could undermine the existing (and pre-EU and EEC) Common Travel Area, and would certainly have an impact on other EU citizens in the UK.

          1. John Stuart Wilson says:

            “The UK/RoI border is the bellwether for any EU-Scotland/rUK border”

            It is not. The NI economy is tiny, and the EU is in a position to require that it be given access to the monitoring of the ports and therefore the monitoring of everything that enters the NI economy. On the other hand, the economy of England + Wales is larger than that of 3/4s of the EU countries combined.

  15. Grafter says:

    Well said Jack Collatin.

  16. scrandoonyeah says:

    Oh to have a crystal ball and see the future.

    I looked in mine In October 2014 and I posted a comment in the Guardian.

    ‘ Oh Nicola I see troubled times ahead. I see a storm on the Horizon, a perfect storm, a storm that is perfect.

    Milliband will never PM, the dark forces will never allow it

    The Tories win the Election

    Labour will be slaughtered in Scotland

    Cameron will be shafted by Boris

    England votes to leave the EU. Scotland votes to remain

    Indyref in 2018

    Result 58.3% Yes 41.7% No

    Mr Arnott I think my crystal ball is a lot more reliable than your make-believe. Or maybe you just want us to believe in your waffle. And if you do, what is your motivation?

    By 2028 Scotland would have been destroyed and become part of Greater England. And if you think JC is our saviour you are worshipping at the double……… ‘Cross’

  17. Crubag says:

    Interesting article, but if I could extend the metaphor, I think we’re more treading water rather than on the beach.

    And I think we also have to remember how things were post-2014 but pre-Brexit. The SNP were already very cautious on indy2, essentially challenging the people to demand it (at 60%+ levels) before moving. I think that is a reflection of both the tension of a party and a movement, and that Nicola is a more cautious politician than her predecessor – and there’s an argument that Alec was bounced into holding a referendum by the election result, rather than having to drop it as part of a coalition deal. I think it came quite far down the list of manifesto commitments.

    But that’s a long preamble to say that although they’re both constitutional issues, they’re largely separate. There isn’t, at the moment, sufficient alignment between pro-Indy and pro-EU voting intentions to get to a majority. And until the UK/rEU deal is finalised, it would be very difficult to make an indy pitch, especially on unknown issues of borders and trade.

    It has however highlighted the need to prepare for these issues, which were I think mostly absent in 2014, when the main argument was over whether iScotland would be in or out of the EU, and therefore whether there would need to be any internal borders in Great Britain (the island).

  18. Wul says:

    It really breaks my heart that I am losing my EU citizenship. I always valued it and enjoyed being part of the same union when I visit other EU folk.

    It’s so hard to think that my children, just beginning their adult lives, are to lose this right.

    What a waste. What a foolish thing to do.

    1. Carol says:

      Dear Wul, I work in the EC and I have many British friends. Their hearts are broken too, especially as we have a very close idea of what makes the EU tick. I can assure you that friends of EU can always contact me for any questions they’d like asked or any advice we can give. If you want, I can give you my e-mail address?
      Regards
      Carol

      1. Wul says:

        Thanks for the offer of support Carol. It’s very kind of you.

        I don’t need any specific help, but it good to know there are folk in the EC who can appreciate what some of us are going through with the impending stripping of so many of our rights and safeguards.

  19. Geacher says:

    Let’s assume for one minute that Sturgeon’s vision of the economic apocalypse that will befall Scotland upon Brexit actually happens….. why would be in any way shape or form better served by exiting the UK? From day#1, we would have to do without the £10b fiscal transfer, and THAT would dwarf any hit that the economy would take upon leaving the EU. Then we would lose the access to the UK single market, and that would hurt much much more than leaving the EU one, and THEN on top of that we would have to find the money to start up our own currency, and that would see the financial sector leave Scotland en masse. Then after year#1, we would have a huge deficit which we would have to look after ourselves. Sounds like fun?
    Brexit is crazy stuff, it really is, but if anyone on here can tell me how Scotland would be better served out of the UK AND the EU at the same time, feel free to do so.
    Facts only, no rhetoric.

    1. Interpolar says:

      Even if what you say is true, there is the perspective to take matters into one‘s own hands. Why is it that Eire, Iceland, Denmark and Norway, all our closest neighbours, similar or smaller in size and with and without oil are all doing so much better? Scotland can dig itself out of a hole, England has shown it never will do it for us, but the first we need independence.

      1. Geacher says:

        @interpolar….. rUK (not England) gave us £10b last year…. was that not a help to Scotland? Of course it was.

    2. Kenny Smith says:

      You ask for facts yet you only have assumptions for staying. The financial sector could leave well what’s left of it after brexit but why would they not choose a Scottish city rather than Dublin for an English speaking base? Every country has a deficit mate, the UK has one now but nobody dates say the UK can’t afford to be independent. In fact we are shackled to paying large parts of debt on population share wether we wanted or needed what is was used for because essentially another country took it out on our behalf. I can’t believe there is still people out there thinking Scotland only survives because of English benevolence. Scotland could be a success every main unionist party leader said it in 2014. They used every dirty trick in the book to keep us in but yet we are such a drain. I can’t get my head round why people can’t see past their wallet it is more than that it’s about pride as much as living standards. I believe the many articles linked on several websites such as common space that we would be better off but it’s not just about that anymore. How many more lies will be shown up before people realise how much crap we have been fed. Nobody said it would be easy but the option of staying in a domineering union of unequals is worse.

      1. Geacher says:

        @Kenny It is hard to to correct so many ewrrors, but I will try.
        “The financial sector could leave well what’s left of it after brexit but why would they not choose a Scottish city rather than Dublin for an English speaking base?”
        Not exactly sure what you are trying to say here, it doesn’t make sense, but why would the financial in situations stay in a new country with an unproven currency and insufficient reserves?
        “Every country has a deficit mate, the UK has one now but nobody dates say the UK can’t afford to be independent”
        It ain’t the deficit per se, it is the size of it. rUKs is within the EU tolerance limit, Scotland’s is three times more than what is deemed acceptable by the EU, and STILL the worst in Europe.
        ” In fact we are shackled to paying large parts of debt on population share whether we wanted or needed what is was used for”
        Scotland pays 8.4% of the UK’s debt…last year we contributed 20% share to that debt. That’s a good deal for Scotland.
        As for “pride,” are you saying that you would be prepared to see our young and our old, our sick and our vulnerable suffer because of the “pride” of a minority?
        Not for me chum.

        1. Kenny Smith says:

          Look at the map of Europe from 1980 and look at a map now. How many countries have become independent? It can be done and we would be starting off on a better foot than most. We have rich natural resources, an educated English speaking workforce, we are located in a strategic peaceful part of the world, we export more food and energy than we need all of this before tourism and technology sectors are considered. Yes a new currency will be starting from zero much like the euro or any other new state but we have seen the pound tank and will fall further when we actually leave the EU. The UK has already had its credit rating downgraded and its debt since the fiscally responsible Tories have regained power has risen sharply with no sign of austerity making any real difference. The gers figures you Muppets cling too are smoke and mirrors and do not reflect Scotland as an independent country. I’m sick of this too poor nonsense. We are expected to believe that a government that won’t pay for a disabled persons spare room will keep 5 million people afloat to the tune of 15 billion out the kindness of their heart, geese peace. Again all that is irrelevant to me because yes national pride does mean something. We deserve better the UK you think exists is gone.

    3. Jack Collatin says:

      If you come from behind your pseudonym, ‘Geacher’ we’ll gladly debate. Or are you one of a paid band of trolls churning out the usual too wee too poor crap?
      My new rule, ignore the anonymous.
      Your comments have no weight.
      Or are you Ruth Davidson? If so, your comments have lost touch with reality.

      1. Interpolar says:

        @Geacher. Ok, for the sake of the argument, let‘s assume the rUK gave us £10bn last year, and that oil has been depleted for all times. How did we get here in the first place, when all our neighbours are doing better? Evidently, there is something wrong with the political system we call the Union (unless you accept that the people of Scotland are culturally or genetically inferior to their neighbours). That doesn’t mean that transition won‘t have its painful moments of adjustment, but it is the most promising path to a more prosperous future. Anything less is to buy into a shameful and destructive notion of self-identity.

  20. Big Jock says:

    I disagree. It’s never too late to jump off a train to national oblivion.

    In actual fact we have nothing to lose , Indy ref 2 is our last hope. Without trying we will never know what might have happened. The author’s pessimism is based on hopelessness. We certainly won’t get independence by giving up. Some of us have been in the SNP for 30 years and we will never give up and allow another nation to trample us.

    There are two facts in all of this. If we do nothing then everything will happen to Scotland as a consequence of acquiesce. If we try and get independence then there is a 50/50 chance we will succeed. Doing nothing guarantees failure, doing something offers the chance of success.

    Get off the floor man!

    1. Geacher says:

      “……allow another nation to trample us.”
      And pray tell how does rUK do that?
      Giving us a fiscal transfer of £10b and absorbing our deficit is defined as “trampling”??????
      Get real.

  21. Big Jock says:

    Geacher – Who is suggesting we will be out of the EU when independent?

    1. Geacher says:

      “Who is suggesting we will be out of the EU when independent”
      Erm…. brexit will ensure that, then if we have indyref2 and we vote “yes”, we will STILL be out of the EU.
      “May has her eye on Holyrood and realigning the devolution settlement. That means downgrading it. It’s not scaremongering it’s fact.”
      So if it is a fact, you will have some sort of proof then?
      Remember I said “no rhetoric”?

      1. carol says:

        As a nation we, EC, will welcome you with open arms.

      1. Crubag says:

        EU membership is relatively straight-forward, providing you comply with the rules (though it is still a political process).

        For an iScotland, the current business, democratic and legal structures would pass muster, the missing elements are the ones we’ve always known about – a central bank, currency and a track record of financial management. And also a statistical office that can measure GDP.

  22. Big Jock says:

    Scrandoonyeah -100% agree with that. The wait and see is a slow death. I for one don’t want to live in Greater England outwith the EU. It’s unthinkable how Scotland will end up. May has her eye on Holyrood and realigning the devolution settlement. That means downgrading it. It’s not scaremongering it’s fact.

    1. Alf Baird says:

      The constitutional formation of the UK (by virtue of the Act of Union) implies that a majority of Scotland’s elected representatives may give notice to withdraw from the UK union in much the same way as it came about. If we accept that this was the way the union was formed, we must also accept that it may be similarly dissolved. Scotland therefore does not need to wait on brexit or any further dubious referendum for its independence. Sufficient pro-independence majorities of Scotland’s MPs and MSPs exist in order for Scotland to give notice to withdraw from the UK union, and to bring a relevant Bill forward at Holyrood to that effect.

      1. John Stuart Wilson says:

        “The constitutional formation of the UK (by virtue of the Act of Union) implies that a majority of Scotland’s elected representatives may give notice to withdraw from the UK union in much the same way as it came about. ”

        I cannot believe someone would peddle such nonsense given that we just had a referendum on the matter in which 4.6 million Scots participated, having been told by those same elected representatives that they were settling the matter for a generation.

        1. Alf Baird says:

          John Stuart Wilson – the UK union constitution (i.e. Act of Union) does not state specifically how the union should be ended. A referendum is merely a mechanism to gauge opinion – it is non-binding, and is not law, as was the case also with brexit. Ultimately it is Scotland’s parliamentary representatives (MPs and MSPs) who make the law (presently jointly with others at Westminster) as they see fit on behalf of Scotland’s people. If a majority of Scotland’s representatives wished to end the union they can do so, and constitutionally there is little that anyone can do about it. The union only exists so long as a majority of Scotland’s representatives agree to participate in it. That is Scotland’s only real veto over what has always been a rather one-sided administrative and political arrangement given the near 10:1 ‘numerical preponderance of English MP’s over Scots MP’s’, albeit it is still a political union of equals in other key respects not least in the power to end it. To believe otherwise would be to deny the existence of any union at all, which would be to deny the existence of the Act of Union, and which would be to deny the constitutional basis and reality of the UK union itself.

      2. Willie says:

        You keep saying it Alf but no body seems to listen.

        If a majority of Scottish representatives voted for the enactment of the Act of Union, then why cannot a majority of Scottish MPs vote for the ending of it.

        Indeed Thatcher herself apparently said very much the same thing.

        So, why not ?

        1. Jamsie says:

          Because it has no credibility?
          The Scottish parliament does not have the sovereign powers to enact this and in Westminster the SNP are a minority party.
          When the Union was formed both parties held sovereignty.

        2. Alf Baird says:

          On the contrary, I do think people are listening Willie. We are now seeing ’emergency’ legislation at Holyrood which Scotland’s adversaries claim to be beyond its ‘competence’. This is why England’s Tories and their backers – the landowners and bankers and those of supposedly high ‘status’ – squirm so, as they see power being shifted to Scotland’s people. Priceless. There is more, much more to come as brexit unfolds. Scotland has but one veto over this unjust ‘union’ charade and I am confident it will be deployed soon enough.

  23. Big Jock says:

    See the troll has his union jock boots on!

  24. Clive Scott says:

    What defeatist drivel from Peter Arnott and codswallop from John Stuart Wilson. As soon as one major company up sticks from the UK and moves operations to the EU (Vauxhall, owned by the French, for instance) there will be a stampede for the door. Indy in Europe will come into sharp focus and even the meanest minded No voter in Scotland will think again. Remember, Tory No voters are first and foremost utterly selfish and self serving. The moment Brexit actually impinges on their cosy existence change will come. My guess is Indyref2 will happen some time after March 2019 and before October 2020. The stampede of companies relocating from rUK to a Scotland being fast tracked back into the EU will be quite something to behold.

    1. Jamsie says:

      And what happens when indy2 results in a resounding NAW!
      Absolute nonsense being peddled here.
      Even the SNP have accepted that Scotland will leave the EU and that the economic predicament if Scotland were to vote for Indy would preclude membership.

  25. John Stuart Wilson says:

    “As soon as one major company up sticks from the UK and moves operations to the EU (Vauxhall, owned by the French, for instance) there will be a stampede for the door. ”

    Why? If corporations believed that the impact of Brexit was going to be even half as bad as the Remainers say, the stampede would already be in full flow. Why on earth would the corporations wait for someone else to move first? You gain no advantage from outsourcing your thinking to someone else. In fact, it is a positive DISADVANTAGE in this case, because the first mover would get the claim on the prime spot to move to.

    “The stampede of companies relocating from rUK to a Scotland being fast tracked back into the EU will be quite something to behold.”
    The EU have made it quite clear that there will be no fast tracking.
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-spain-politics-eu/independent-catalonia-would-need-to-apply-to-join-eu-juncker-idUSKCN1BP210

    Given that, why isn’t there a stampede of companies relocating from the UK to Ireland for us to behold already?

  26. David Allan says:

    To Hugh Loughlan (an earlier poster)

    “If a referendum were to be called for tomorrow I am not so sure I could be so persuasive. A vision that seemed clear before is now muddied. The appetite for new ideas seems blunted. Many people are suffering as a result of the policies of the current Uk government.
    I am struggling to recognise and articulate how independence will address this”.

    I hope through reading the opinions and views expressed in all the posts above you now again more confident about getting out and articulating the arguements for Independence. Stay on board.

  27. David Allan says:

    A few good skirmishhes with the infiltrators on the Cheltenham payroll, irony – part of my tax take contributing to their wages/funding.

    Their Deceit as in 2014 illustrates their determination to retain Scotland and it’s territory within the UK . This poor wee bankrupt underpopulated de-industrialised Scotland, heavily subsidised by England’s broad shoulders must be retained in the Union at all cost.

    John Stuart Wilson , Jamsie , Geacher -WHY ?

    1. Geacher says:

      Easy question…. because we are part of the United Kingdom, and we are ALL better together.

    2. Jamsie says:

      What a load of nonsense!
      We remain part of the UK because the majority of the electorate voted no.
      And given the current mood of the electorate it is highly unlikely that a further referendum will be called.
      Even if one was to be called I suspect it would be delayed for years by legal challenges and in any event would result in another no vote.
      That might actually be a good thing as it would kill the subject stone dead.
      Rumours are starting to surface of unrest in her party as they see a brick wall in front of them and wee Nicola and her hubby have become unpopular with voters.
      Govanhell as it is now known has affected her image and her constant carping about the tories after ten years in power has just turned people off.
      People who jumped from labour to the SNP are seeing no benefit in their day to day lives, taxes rising, public services failing and the next election will result in her party losing seats as a result of this.
      Her personal ratings have slumped at a rate previously unseen in UK politics and she is depending on Russell to pull something out of the hat.
      And having already lost the traditional heartlands there is considerable unease in her party on her policies of turning left of the left wing parties and becoming dependent on the transient voter.
      So David it is nothing to do with England holding on to Scotland rather it is a largely self inflicted wound resulting from her abject failure in the day to day job running the country.
      Put your conspiracy theories away and start thinking.
      You might just amaze yourself with a realisation that Indy has gone for at least a generation and maybe more.
      However that will be decided by the electorate and no one else.

  28. bringiton says:

    The continuing nonsense from the unionist camp about Scotland’s dependence on England,fiscal transfers etc etc without which we are apparently nothing.
    Scotland’s finances have always been a British state secret e.g. the inventing of Extra Regio Territory to hide the true value of oil to our economy and Blair’s transfer of 6000 sq.miles of sea bed to England from Scotland (so much for one nation/country) amongst many other accountancy tricks performed to perpetrate the
    myth of dependency.
    If we accept their diatribe then,as has been said before,it is an indictment on the mismanagement of our economy by London.
    We only have to look to a country with comparable resources,geography and population (Norway) to see how things might have been (and still could be) for a Scotland independent of London control.
    Had Norway been part of the London controlled territories,they would now,instead of having a chronic surplus of funds been on the receiving end of “fiscal transfers” from London and a share of their £2 trillion debt.
    Other countries which have been in Scotland’s position,as part of the British empire,having had their economy dependent on trade with the centre have thrived since they separated and not one has asked to be returned to being dependent on London for handouts.
    Independence is about a lot more than simply money,if that were the case then e.g. no children would ever leave their parent’s home (not saying that the UK is Scotland’s home just a temporary residence).
    The Better Together campaign made it all about the fear of losing money because they knew they couldn’t win on the democratic argument (i.e. that it is not a good idea to have your government elected by people in another country).
    The democratic deficit is now coming home to roost,showing Scots what happens when you allow that situation to continue and decisions which are not in your interest or wishes are taken out of your hands.
    Brexit has exposed the UK political structure for what it always has been,England’s intent to dominate and suppress the other nations in these islands at any cost.
    The main problem England’s Tories have with the EU is that they cannot conduct themselves in this way with an organisation populated by 27 other member states.
    All the rest is just the usual smoke,mirrors and deceit by the London establishment.

    1. John Stuart Wilson says:

      “Scotland’s finances have always been a British state secret”
      The Scottish Government produces a document every year to explain Scotland’s finances. So I guess you are saying that for 10 years now the SNP are willingly committing a fraud on the people of Scotland.

      “Independence is about a lot more than simply money,”
      Nothing stops the independence campaign from being honest about independence will cost but explaining why it will be worth it in the long run. But, instead, we get all this guff like we saw Salmond peddling in 2014, telling us we’d all be better off by X pounds…and the value of X rose as the campaign wore on.

  29. Jeff says:

    I have some problems with this passage “My second guess is that we will have another UK General Election which will elect one more UK government to try to “make a go of it” no matter what “it” turns out to be. And that meaningful constitutional change, a decisive transfer of sovereignty from London to Edinburgh, which may or may not be called “Independence” will happen as part of the recovery from this catastrophe, and not, as we hoped, as Nicola Sturgeon hoped, in its anticipation.
    …as part of the process of getting back in somewhere around 2028. And it will seem as natural as did the referendum to establish the Parliament in in Edinburgh in 1997 that the UK will be reconfigured. As natural as rain. There will be people on the fundamentalist wing of Scottish Nationalism who will complain that it’s not the Real Thing.”

    Firstly, Westminster will never transfer any sovereignty, and what is “the fundamentalist wing of Scottish Nationalism” – those of us who actually want independence?

  30. Geacher says:

    @ interpolar: “Ok, for the sake of the argument, let‘s assume the rUK gave us £10bn last year,”
    No argument here, we did receive this as a fiscal transfer, it’s not up for debate.
    “How did we get here in the first place, when all our neighbours are doing better?” The problem we have in Scotland is that we are not too wee etc, we are to big for our population. How much of Scotland is virtually uninhabited, around 70% if memory serves me well? The remoteness of some of our communities means that the cost of delivering the same level of public services to Ullapool as Liverpool costs a lot lot more. This is one of the reasons why (for example) we have a higher level of GPs than rUK. For a bit of perspective, Lancashire (for example) has a population which is around 30% of Scotland’s, all living in an area about 4% of the size of Scotland.
    Nothing to do with governments nor genetics…it is all down to demographics. Couple this with a government that is committed to pointless universal freebies (nothing is free!), then that is why we also have a deficit.
    Being independent will not change the shape or size of Scotland, and from day #1 we will start £10b worse off… again some perspective…that £10b is more than our entire Education budget.
    How will we make this sum up? I’ve no idea, and neither do the SNP apparently.

    1. bringiton says:

      Norway has similar issues with geography to Scotland but manages fine without London handouts,or in fact any handouts….of course they do have oil and gas resources,unlike Scotland.
      Most of the Scandinavian countries are in a similar position but manage their resources in a way that is specifically taylored to their circumstances.
      The one size fits all approach from the single nation Tories in England may allow the SE of England to maintain prosperity after Brexit but the other countries in these islands are going to pay a heavy price for their arrogant xenophobia.
      Not Better Together.

      1. geacher says:

        “the SE of England to maintain prosperity ”
        Jeez, who do you think provides the bulk of the fiscal transfers to the regions of the UK? We should be grateful that they are doing so well, just as rUK was delighted in the oil boom of the 80’s when Scotland was the cash cow that SEoE is now.
        And before you ask, since 1980, we have received more than we gave in money terms.

    2. David Allan says:

      In those halzyon days in 1707 Scotland’s population was 25% of that of UK . Now we make up a mere 8% WHY has Scotland failed to grow in population terms ? 300 years of success shackled to England.

      1. geacher says:

        Oh do me a favour… it’s stupid anti English statements like that make me despair for our country….

        1. David Allan says:

          NEVERTHELESS IT’S A FACT , And it’s by no means an Anti-English remark !

  31. David Allan says:

    The infiltrators and undercover operatives at work round the clock monitoring our every move. facinating how the Union Establishment tries to influences the debate. I wonder how many fill the roll of our poster – with the title John Stuart Wilson.

    Always a British Nationalist or somebody either directly funded or on the payroll or under the influence of someone on the state payroll always able to deliver a hasty familiar response full of the usual exaggerated soundbites, fake statistics and spin.

    A Contempable group of individuals whoever they are.

    1. geacher says:

      Just because you are paranoid does not mean they are all out to get you???
      Behave, I’m done here.

      1. David Allan says:

        Nae mair of your perceived unionist wisdom. Glad your awe dried up.

    2. John Stuart Wilson says:

      It is interesting that just the slightest exposure to facts and logic befuddles you.

      1. David Allan says:

        Not bad! 1Hr 42mins That’ll be the nightshift operative JSW.

  32. Wul says:

    This is really about two opposing agendas.

    Scotland wants to be a normal, real, sane country.

    The UK wants to be the exceptional, major-player with God-given superiority. (“Punching-above-our-weight-on-the-world-stage”)

    Being like everybody else is a dream for many Scots. It’s a terrifying humiliation for the British Bulldog.

  33. Big Jock says:

    The paid trolls are trying to feed a negative narrative. I particularly laughed at the one saying Nicola was really unpopular and on her way out. Just after Sky news voted her the most influential woman in the UK.

    Their purpose is to split our movement always bear that in mind. I don’t waste my time arguing with people who are paid to present opinions. It’s a very sad lonely way to make a living.

    1. geacher says:

      No, SKY News did not vote her the most influential woman in politics. They opened up a uncontrolled poll in which the separatist bloggers were urged to vote for her as many times as they could. And they did, desperate people that they are.

    2. John Burrows says:

      Virtually all open forums have them. Although, to be fair, some are permanently chained to particular sites i.e. “geacher,” while others are everywhere you look. I’ve seen the JSW identity on practically every public forum I’ve ever visited. Does he ever sleep? But yes, they all peddle the same nonsense everywhere they go. It’s like listening to a broken record.

      I suggest Bella and other sites do some analysis of their contributions – their arguments gives us insights into their master’s greatest fears.

  34. clubalpino says:

    Thank you, Havarti! 3

  35. cynik says:

    Thank you for the excellent reply.

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