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The History Man

The reverberations from the SNP Walkout earlier in this week are still being felt – a mild action in and of itself but which suggests disruption and direct action have untapped value – and clearly some of the chumocracy are rattled. A case in point is Euan McColm writing in today’s Scotland on Sunday (‘The SNP Ignores History with Politics of Grievance’).

It’s a such a splattering of misinformation it’s unclear where to start. So it’s with a heavy heart that we have to re-evoke the McColm Principle (a simple law in political philosophy in which it’s held that if Euan McColm argues for something, it’s probably nonsense).

This morning he argues that the SNP have engaged in some kind of transformation, writing: “the SNP’s change of tack, from perpetually whining about Britain to cheerleading for a bright new Scotland”, as if aspiring to a better society is some kind of ill-thought out short-term tactic.

He continues: “A vote for the SNP wasn’t necessarily a vote for independence but an indication that you were willing to give the nationalists a crack of the Holyrood whip.” Yeah, I think there’s a whole lot of people who had no idea at all that the principle aim of the SNP was independendence. Boy have they been hoodwinked. Wait till they find out.

Jumping down the Memory Hole McColm argues: “With a change of approach, the SNP transformed the tone of Scottish politics which, between 2007-11, saw the nationalists happily work with Tories to ensure delivery of policies.” This era may have passed readers by?

Next, showing a pretty shaky understanding of the constitution, McColm argues: “The UK government is not – unless threatened legal challenges prove otherwise – bound by a vote in the Scottish Parliament to refuse consent for the EU Withdrawal Bill.”

Most of this is standard fare, obliquely contemptuous of Scotland, presenting unfiltered grudges as analysis and churning out articles by rote.

Then, getting into his stride he argues: “Whether the vote at Holyrood was meaningful or not (and some might even say it deserves to be placed in the “stunt” category), it created something which the UK government had no choice but to ignore or “disrespect”.

So we have moved swiftly from the Walkout being stunt, to Holyrood itself being a stunt. Cute.

Amongst the key facts that McColm seems to have missed are: the Sewell Convention and the fact that the rejection of the Withdrawal Bill was not some SNP ruse conjured up in party HQ, but a cross-party overwhelming majority vote backed by the Liberal Democrats, the Greens and Labour. This doesn’t matter because Holyrood doesn’t matter and the sole focus of his rage is the SNP.

Over at the Sunday Herald Iain Macwhirter has a more lucid account:

“The Sewel convention is the rule that Westminster should not legislate in areas that are the Scottish parliament’s responsibilities without consent. As a reward for voting No in 2014, Scots were promised that this would be put on a statutory basis – a law not a mere convention. This was soon undermined by the insertion of the word “normally” before “legislate”in the 2016 Scotland Act – a cynical exercise in parliamentary draftsmanship. Now all pretence that Holyrood is a co-equal partner in domestic legislation is being openly discarded. As Mundell put it, in a remarkable statement, “Scotland is not a partner in the UK, it is part of the UK”. It is abundantly clear that Brexit is all about rolling back Scottish home rule. It is incompatible with the creation of the new unitary British state, envisaged by the no-imperialist romantics of “Global Britain”. It is naïve in the extreme to believe that after seven years, in which the UK government will exert a kind of colonial authority over the Scottish parliament, that the powers will be returned and all will be as before. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.”

What has clearly upset the likes of McColm is not just the success of the most modest parliamentary disruption we saw earlier in the week but the shift of the likes of his own ilk, in the conversion of Murray Foote. He writes: “Now grievance and complaint – amplified as loudly and delivered as hysterically as possible – passes for debate.” Except there was nothing hysterical about the SNP Walkout, it was just MPs standing up for the people they are supposed to represent. What really upsets McColm is that not everyone is willing to indulge in the craven politics of neo-colonial Britain and lie down to subjugation and fantasy.  He represents a certain vintage of scribe that expects people to be content with their lot and finds themselves out of place in the new Scotland, and just wishes it would all go away as soon as possible, he is yearning for yesterday, he is the History Man.

Comments (58)

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  1. Thomas William Dunlop says:

    No , no, no. They dinnae like it up’em as Coporal Jones would say.

    THe British Nationalist are truly rattled by the idea that middle Scotland, the core of the soft No, will flip overnight to supporting independence

  2. Charles L. Gallagher says:

    Mike, sorry you got that wrong about just wanting to go back to as they were, he’s a dinosaur therefore prehistory, excepting geological and palaeontology history. So far no finds resembling McColm or any other form of BritNat.

  3. bringiton says:

    Westminster telling Scots,in a Henry Fordish way,you can have any parliament you want so long as it is Unionist.
    The focus of Scottish identity,i.e. not British,is Holyrood so Westminster has to do what it can to get rid of it in order to promote the Tory One Nation narrative.
    Will Scots put up with this?
    The dishonest promises from the London based parties about devolution or federalism have now been exposed as worthless lies.
    At least the choice for Scots is now simple.
    Scotland,to be or not to be?

  4. Kate says:

    A really good piece. Well said, sir.

  5. Jimmy Haddow says:

    However, the Marxists in the Socialist Party Scotland – formerly Militant – have a different view on the SNP walk out, when they explained – in a Q&A format – the day after that while the “SNP MPs are right to protest, their policy is actually to return these self-same powers back to the anti-democratic, anti-worker bosses’ EU, if and when Scotland becomes independent. In addition, they have also put forward a compromise “solution” that would allow Westminster to hold these powers as long as the Scottish parliament has a full say in how they are used.
    “Socialist Party Scotland campaigned alongside the RMT rail workers’ union for a left, anti-racist and internationalist exit from the EU. We fight for a socialist Europe that ends austerity, privatisation, mass youth unemployment and poverty pay. To achieve this means standing against the capitalist treaties, rules and neoliberal policies that are enshrined in the DNA of the single market and the customs union etc. The European capitalist establishment’s backing for the Spanish State government in their attempts to crush the democratic rights of the people of Catalonia underlines the real nature of this bosses’ Europe. And yet the majority of British big business, the SNP leaders and the right wing Labour Blairites want to remain part of it.” (More on the Scottish Labour Party in the Q&A).

    In fact the “Socialist Party Scotland calls for all the competences (powers) currently held at EU level and covered by devolution to be returned to Holyrood” for the benefit of the Scottish working and middle class in changing society to a more equitable civilisation called socialism.

    It is a shame that the indy left – like the Common Weal, SSP and RISE – during the 2014 independence referendum did not put forward a clear socialist alternative. The Common Weal – based itself on the Nordic, Keynesian mixed economy model for independence; and the SSP and RISE leaders have all been guilty in the past of tail-ending the SNP and advocating a stages approach of first capitalist independence and then socialism later many years away from when independence has been given. The question is, is that still there approach to a second independence?

    On the other hand the Socialist Party Scotland, as we did in the 2014 referendum, will call for a specific trade union, socialist-led, anti-cuts and pro-working class campaign for an independent socialist Scotland. One that while supporting a Yes vote in an indyref 2, would also fight for the powers of independence be used to end and reverse the cuts and for socialist policies and linking that to a “socialist plan of production in an independent socialist Scotland as part of a voluntary socialist confederation with England, Wales and Ireland as a step to a socialist Europe.” Which unfortunately is not the raison d’être of the rest of the indy-left in Scotland at the moment.


    1. Michelle Shortt says:

      It appears McColm isn’t the only ‘history’man. The protections workers have in UK come from EU legislation.

      1. Jimmy Haddow says:

        The protections that workers’ have in the UK comes not from the European Union but from decades of the working class struggle for safety and health protection through their trade unions against both Tory and Labour Governments, as well as with their cooperation, prior to the EU. That is what history looked from a working class view teaches us; rather than the manipulative ideological distortion that comes from the undemocratic EU and their hangers-on in the SNP.

        1. Jimmy Haddow says:

          Yet at the same time the neo-liberal capitalist EU has tried over the years to encumber workers’ rights in the European countries as a means to lower workers’ wages to ‘compete’ in the capitalist world. Although ‘accepting’ the right to organise in trade unions of a workers’ choice (part of International Labour Organisation – ILO – principles, it is not an EU right), when this comes into conflict with the bosses’ objectives of the single market and the rights of businesses to exploit their workers, the capitalist EU and its Court(s) invariably comes down on the side of the bosses.

          Take for example, the Viking shipping line wanted to reflag its Finland to Estonia route to Estonia to take advantage of cheaper wage rates. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling accepted the right to strike against this but limited its scope and said it was possible that ‘collective action’ taken by workers to protect their interests could be unlawful because it infringed the ’employer’s interests’. Employers have the right to extend their business and pay the wages and implement conditions of a cheaper jurisdiction, ie they can avoid collective agreements and conditions. The Laval case was similar; this Latvian company won a contract to renovate Swedish schools and refused to sign a collective agreement with the building workers’ union in Sweden, because it wanted to employ workers at Latvian wage rates. The union organised a blockade of Laval sites and the company could not do business in Sweden. Laval claimed the blockade infringed its corporate rights. The ECJ said industrial action must be limited if it obstructed the right to carry out business in services. It forced the union to pay Laval damages! This judgement and fine were condemned by the ILO!

          It also has to be noted that the EU single market mechanism forces ‘open public procurement’, competitive tendering, within the EU. This was also enshrined in the EU’s Lisbon Treaty, which promoted privatisation in public services. The First Railway Directive puts forward ‘liberalisation’ and competition for railway and freight services in the EU, code for privatisation. Hence the massive industrial and social action that has been taking place in France over amongst thing the beginnings of the privatisation of the State railways. Along with the Posted Workers’ Directive which has come under criticism for reducing rights of posted workers (workers sent to employment abroad by their employers) and undermining the rights of workers in the nation where the work is carried out. Employers need only adhere to a minimum number of basic rights in that country.

          The ECJ ruled in the Rϋffert Case – which was the judgment followed on from its rulings in the Viking and Laval cases in 2008 – that collectively negotiated agreements in Germany did not apply to certain contracts. The Posted Workers Directive limits the employment protection which can be provided in public building and works contracts, and rides roughshod over workers’ rights. Thompsons Solicitors, a major trade union law firm, said the Rϋffert decision was ‘absurd’. But it was the industrial working class in Britain – England in fact – through the Lindsey Oil Refinery strike in 2009 which overcame the use of lower-paid agency labour from Italy and Portugal, and thereby the Posted Workers Directive, by determined industrial action to defend the National Agreement for the Engineering Construction Industry (NAECI), a collectively negotiated agreement. Appeals were made to the agency workers in their own languages and the strike defeated the EU’s regulations.

          There is a whole book of examples of the neo-liberal capitalist and undemocratic European Union trampling on the rights of the Scottish, British and European people for the interest of profit of the European capitalist class. The truth is, in or out of the EU, the only defence against the bosses’ attacks is to build independent, strong and fighting unions with a class-conscious membership, which links this to the idea of changing society in a socialist direction.

  6. Iain Miller says:

    I really would like to be able to check what Mundell ‘actually’ said because I’ve seen various slightly different versions today and, although it’s only words, words are important (especially when you’re dealing with politicians).

    As quoted above, ‘As Mundell put it, in a remarkable statement, “Scotland is not a partner in the UK, it is part of the UK”.’

    ….. or did he say Scotland is not a partner WITH the UK, it is part of the UK – because you cannot partner with yourself.

    ….. which puts a whole new complexion on things I think.

    1. Andy Borland says:

      Good point Iain. The actual words he used were :

      “Scotland is not a partner of the United Kingdom. Scotland is part of the United Kingdom.”

      Not ‘in’, not ‘with’, but ‘of’.

      When Mundell delivered that line his actual emphasis was on the words ‘partner’ and ‘part’ rather than the preposition ‘of’, over which lots of folk have either misquoted or obsessed.

      Words are important. More important, however, has been the absolute Brexit clusterf*ck, EU withdrawal negotiations & the Westminster power grab on the Scottish Parliament over which Fluffy & the Tory government have presided.

      For which an invigorated Yes movement should give grateful thanks as Scotland’s eyes have been truly opened this past week.

    2. Alf Baird says:

      It does seem a bizarre and perverse notion that Scotland should need to seek permission from its constitutional partner (England) and our own joint (UK) administrative and parliamentary arrangement in order that we might hold a referendum on our own withdrawal from that same and our own joint (UK) administrative and parliamentary arrangement. That is self evidently ridiculous. If Scotland wants to hold a referendum on withdrawal from the UK union it should do so. And if the majority of Scotland’s representatives wish to dissolve our joint (UK) administrative and parliamentary arrangement they should do so. In any joint venture a partner does not ask their co-partners for their permission to terminate the joint venture. Either partner may end such an arrangement as they wish. As Mundell said, Scotland is a part of the UK union, and is most definitely a partner nation/kingdom in that union by treaty and act, one of the two founding sovereign kingdoms both of which still exist as distinct constitutional and legal entities today. Our joint UK administrative and parliamentary entity has somehow morphed itself into thinking it is Scotland’s ‘administrative Power’, whereas sovereign Scotland is in fact constitutionally always the superior; without Scotland’s consent there can be no UK joint administration or parliament. The majority of Scotland’s representatives who ultimately hold Scotland’s sovereignty on behalf of the Scottish people should pull the plug on this ridiculous charade now.

      1. Lorna Campbell says:

        Hi Mr Baird,

        The problem is that we have acknowledged Westminster sovereignty for 311 years. When they cheated us, almost before the ink was dry on the Treaties and Acts, out of our own Court of Last Appeal (Civil) and gave our civil appeal cases to the HoL, we squeaked a bit but did nothing, and we have been squeaking and doing nothing ever since, regardless of what they have done to us (often with collusion from the usual suspects up here – and down there, too, with all those Scots on the make like Gove, Fox et al). It is not on sovereignty, however, that we need to challenge, but on legitimacy. I do not believe that Westminster legitimacy is unilateral; it is ours, too, and Westminster is our parliament, too. These are the grounds on which we must challenge, even as we defend devolution and the competence of the SG and Holyrood to pass the Continuity Bill. They did that deliberately – leaving just 15 minutes to debate and having a Tory MP filibuster until there was no debate at all – and it was done quite cynically. What they did not expect was the walkout; they thought that the SNP MPs were just going to roll over and have their bellies stroked. Let’s make their sojourn into the UKSC a little less hospitable this time and give them the same treatment they mete out to us as a matter of course.

  7. Iain Miller says:

    Which, of course, is the whole point. If only the English could understand (and separate in their minds) the difference between England and the UK.
    Scotland is supposedly in partnership with England to form the United Kingdom and the sooner everyone acknowledges this fact, the sooner we’ll achieve some resolution of our current predicament.
    Maybe the only way to do this, however, is to test it at the International Court in The Hague – certainly not in any British (English) Court and, possibly, not even in the European Court.

    1. Lorna Campbell says:

      Hi Mr Miller,

      I think we need to challenge in the UKSC first and foremost, and then think about an appeal to the international court.

  8. Lochside says:

    This is why many of us are exasperated with the SNP’s apparent lack of understanding of what our sovereignty is. Salmond gambled our sovereignty on a referendum that was never required. Why?, precisely because he is a gambler and wanted a short cut to Independence, which he thought was too far away in the distance.

    Paradoxically, it worked, up to a point. We lost the Referendum, but it galvanised the SNP vote in to sweeping the board of MPs. The reason?…because for once the SNP and the greater YES movement went out and sold the argument for Independence, instead of one of municipal prudence. At that point with 56 MPs, we should have declared the dissolution of the UK Parliament. We had the mandate as it was always accepted, even by Thatcher, that of the majority of the sovereign representatives of Scotland in the UK parliament spoke for all our country.

    Instead the SNP have retreated behind the inferior and subordinate institution of the Scottish devolved Parliament. The result being the permamnent English majority component of the UK government is slowly chipping away our sovereignty, in a bogus manner, by moving the ‘debate’ into their legal and constitutional domain as the only locus for it to be disposed of once and for all.

    Thus the EU Referendum was permitted to be used to suppress our sovereign will, with Remain supported in every electoral constituency in Scotland, and to be ignored. Thus the Withdrawal Bill, with its blatant destruction of Scottish rights and powers needs no consent of any description from us, the equal constitutional partner of England, because of our Leaders refusal to play the Sovereignty card to the full. The Continuity Bill is a feeble legislative response by the equivalent of a parish council.

    Walkouts are well and good. But exercise of our Sovereign will is better. The English ‘partner’ in this Union has treated us with disdain and with bullying tactics that have gone on for too long. Stripped of our EU membership; our goods and their brands undermined by the bogus ‘British’ overlay campaign; our media manipulated against us and paid for by our own money by Westminster; and 80,000 jobs or more at risk; our political representatives insulted and ignored and outvoted at every turn surely are sufficient reasons for the final break up of the failed institution of the UK. Dissolution is the only solution.

    1. Charles L. Gallagher says:

      Lochside, sorry to disagree with you on much of what say but in the eyes of the ‘whole’ electorate the SNP had to demonstrate that they were fully capable of running the country. Where I do agree with you now that we still have the necessary Wastemonster majority, when Iain walked out they should’ve kept-on to Edinburgh and two fingers to Wastemonster and its sewer full of unionist detritus.

    2. Lorna Campbell says:

      Hi Lochside,

      I really do not think for one minute that Alex Salmond gave away our sovereignty. What he did do, as he explained at the time, was to seek the S30 Order in order to ensure that the indyref of 2014 was binding, in full expectation of a YES vote, which he thought might be compromised by Westminster and Whitehall. Referendums in the UK are normally advisory (such as the EU referendum). I believe we were in the lead going into that final week and we had to be stopped.

      As a devolved administration, we actually have no sovereignty and will have no sovereignty until we are independent. Westminster is the sovereign parliament, the British parliament, and it has ceded some of its legitimacy to Holyrood, but certainly not its sovereignty. That is why it is absolutely crucial that we get a ruling in the UKSC on the Union itself (the Treaties and Acts) from which Westminster draws its own legitimacy. We need to have, on the one hand, the Lord Advocate arguing the case for the Continuity Bill from a devolution standpoint and a top constitutional lawyer to argue on Union grounds. We must: a) defend the devolution settlement and the Continuity Bill; and b) challenge Westminster hegemony and destroy the Crawford and Boyle report which makes the case for Scotland having been subsumed by a Greater England; this is precisely the basis for Mr Mundell’s mutterings, and it is patent nonsense when the evidence is studied and weighed up.

      If there is a Union with equal partnership, which I believe was the intended constitutional consequence by both sets of jurists/commissioners (commissioned to carry out the task of uniting two sovereign parliaments, not one intended to be absorbed by the other, by Queen Anne, who already held the united Crown) Westminster cannot ride roughshod over us. I believe also that it is our own fault we find ourselves in this constitutional mess because we have never challenged English hegemony until now, but allowed it a free rein. From the Callaghan government onwards, we should have seen how the wind was blowing and that interference in Scottish affairs was only going to get worse – as, indeed, it has, with the thrust now to diminish the devolved parliaments and bring them under an umbrella of devolved English regions/cities after Brexit. Once devolution has been breached, that is the end because it can be breached again – and again – whenever they feel the need.

      If Westminster really was doing the best for the whole of the UK in future trade deals, why will it not allow us a voice? No, it is now very obvious that we would not like what they intend to do with our powers. If they take them, I do not believe we will ever get them back because they cannot take the risk of a future Scottish administration making its own changes, not that any of the so-called Unionist branch parties would dream of such a thing. The circumstances surrounding that walkout were such as to show not just the contempt in which we are held, but the fact that they actually believe they have the God-given right to behave like this without proper consultation, just as they hid the extent of our oil and gas and just as they pushed through the change from Scottish to English jurisdiction of our territorial waters. Their vindictive and spiteful behaviour stems from the fact that they are terrified of not being able to bring in the Brexit the English people voted for, because if they do not, they will be punished severely at the polls.

      1. Iain Miller says:

        What a breath of common sense and fresh air, Lorna – thank the Lord you’re on our team!

      2. Alf Baird says:

        The problem with what you say Lorna is that you are essentially depending on ‘their’ court, and for the most part ‘their’ people/actors in that setting, and even those people/actors who are ostensibly acting on ‘our’ behalf. As Lochside implies it is time for Scotland’s bona fide representatives to assert Scotland’s sovereignty and superiority over our joint UK administrative and parliamentary arrangement. It is time for the dog to wag the tail and not the other way around. Scots require an emphatic speech by Mr. Blackford preferably at Westminster setting out the correct constitutional sovereignty and superiority of Scotland for the benefit of all who fail to appreciate the actual position, and which should conclude by informing Scotland’s partner nation in our joint UK administrative and parliamentary arrangement of Scotland’s intent to withdraw from that arrangement. Let this matter of Scotland’s intended withdrawal from the UK union be fully discussed in our joint parliament for it is there that Scots shall see and be able to consider any alternative viewpoints some may have.

        1. Lorna Campbell says:

          Hi Mr Baird,

          Yes, I can see your point. However, the Catalan situation, while certainly not mirroring ours, should act as an example of not doing things ‘by the book’. Our biggest problem is that we have a rather large contingency of so-called Unionists who will oppose anything and everything the SNP does, and if we do not stick to legal principles, we will find them ranged against us, the new thousands who have joined us notwithstanding.

          The UKSC is not their court, Mr Baird, and we should not treat it as such; it is the equivalent of the Court of Session with bells on, and is the only court in the land that can give a ruling on the Union. It is the descendant of the HoL in respect of the constitution, human rights, etc. and no international court, I believe, would look at any case we presented unless we had exhausted our domestic court of law on this issue.

          I really have no idea what the UKSC would rule, but it must be totally impartial in its rulings, regardless of the consequences, and we have two very able Scottish Law Lords sitting in the UKSC. The ruling on the Sewel Motion (content convention) was impeccable, I think, given the circumstances that Westminster does, in fact, and now, in law, exercise sovereignty. We have recognised that sovereignty for 311 years, whether tacitly or implicitly, so that fight is over. We are now into devolutionary constitutional territory with the Continuity Bill and the competence or otherwise of the SG and Holyrood to enact said Bill. It may look as if the WG has already made that decision after the disgraceful filibustering and time-barring of the SNP amendments to the Withdrawal Bill, but that is not so. It will all hinge on what ‘normally’ actually means and whether any attempt to enact the Continuity Bill can be ruled as competent by a devolved administration that owes its existence to legitimacy (not sovereignty, we simply do not have that as a devolved entity) being conferred by Westminster. That ceding of legitimacy to the three devolved administrations begs the question: from where does Westminster draw its own legitimacy as the British, overarching parliament? That takes us into Crawford and Boyle territory, and some of the finest constitutional legal minds in Scotland repudiate that report very powerfully, being adamant that Scotland retained her nationhood and, therefore, partnership in the Union.

          I am not trying to establish that we are equal partners in a 311 year old Union so that we can be stymied again. What I am trying to show is that England (Westminster and the WG) cannot force legislation on us that we have not agreed to, that we are entitled to a voice on every aspect of policy, bot domestic and international, that affects us. That we have seen fit never to challenge England’s hegemony in this Union is testament to the collaboration of the so-called Unionists in every aspect of political life since 1707. As we all know, from WW II, collaboration in one’s own dependence and repression is not sustainable, and it tends to leave a very bad taste in the mouth for those who have resisted, not to mention a deep anger that cannot be assuaged by titbits of power that often prove useless unless in the round.

          We will almost certainly know by August (albeit there may not be a ruling for months) how the UKSC has received our two-pronged defence/challenge, and plan accordingly for the next step to independence: the UN and the international court on human rights, if the UKSC knocks us back. We have crossed the Rubicon, to coin a cliche, and there is no going back, regardless of what the so-called Unionists have to say about it. We might be able to stage a second indyref by March, 2019, if we are very sure we can win, but, as I suspect, it would simply deliver the same result – the intransigence of reactionaries and their propensity for destroying themselves in pursuit of their own ends, being one of the few absolutes in history.

          One more point about the UKSC: no judiciary anywhere in history, where it is normally – that word again – separate from the executive (i.e. democracies) wants to rubber-stamp absolute power for that executive – which, basically, Westminster and the WG are asking for. Have they forgotten one Oliver Cromwell and the English Civil War so soon, where the principle of ‘sovereignty of parliament’ was won? It seems they have, wants and all.

          1. Alf Baird says:

            Lorna, Scotland cannot and should not depend on our joint (i.e. UK) administration, parliament, far less its courts in an effort to seek others ‘permission’ for Scotland to exert our own sovereignty. What nation ever took its case to assert its own sovereignty to an oppressor’s court? The correct constitutional arenas for Scotland’s sovereign representatives to discuss and outline Scotland’s withdrawal of consent for its own joint (UK) administration and parliament is Westminster and its successor Holyrood. If a majority of Scotland’s national elected representatives are serious about withdrawing Scotland from the UK administration and parliamentary arrangement (and its courts!) then let us hear their case for withdrawal now and let them vote and legislate accordingly. Scotland has no need to depend on any UKSC which would merely be another capitulation in a long line of capitulations.

          2. Iain Miller says:

            Sorry Alf, but I’m afraid I’m with Lorna on this one. Although I fully understand where you’re coming from (and I distinctly remember being told in the 60s that SNP policy was that as soon as we had a one vote majority of MPs in favour of independence they could walk out of Westminster and reconvene in Edinburgh) I think we have to be seen going through all the legal motions of appealing to the UKSC and the International Court at The Hague before resorting to the United Nations and/or the guerilla tactics implied in your reply.

          3. Charles L. Gallagher says:

            Hi Alf, I’m with you on this one, if they don’t want to play by the unwritten rules then we must revert to their previous rules i.e. majority of Scottish MP’s at Wastemonster saying, enough is enough, and good bye.

  9. Jamsie says:

    So basically you would seek to impose independence on the people of Scotland without their consent in a referendum!
    The dangers of allowing politicians free reign have already been demonstrated in the Blair era.
    Did you learn nothing from this?
    Politicians are elected to represent the people!
    All of the people!
    A clear majority voted to remain part of the UK and the polls indicate this has not changed.

    1. Kenny Smith says:

      If a referendum was denied a section 30 order and Westminster refuses to recognise any consultative Holyrood referendum then a vote in an election would be the next port of call. What you fail to grasp is if the treaty is broken then would we be still obilged to part of a UK. The people would have their right to cast a vote in that case. I’m kinda guessing though that your opinion will differ and as London goes full on Madrid mode you will feel it’s completely justified.

      1. Jamsie says:

        Actually KS it is you fails to grasp the situation.
        We have already voted ……we said no!
        The polls say the majority of the electorate do not want another one.
        Maybe it was foolish to believe the “once in a generation” as it was spoken.
        But it was said and needs to be lived up to.
        The polls also say that even if she called one she would lose so as I have said many times it will not happen any time soon.
        The next Holyrood elections will be along shortly and any mandate false or not will disappear so the palpable desperation to achieve Indy shines through.
        But the people will not accept any form of imposition which makes them immediately and inherently poorer.
        Why should they?
        They do not value Indy above living standards.
        Welcome to the real world!

        1. Kenny Smith says:

          Hold it right there. Democracy isn’t a once in a lifetime deal. What about the votes we have had inbetween are they to be ignored when it suits? The SNP have a mandate to hold another vote. The we said no already argument is desperate. If the better together cabal held their promises of 2014 we would be nowhere near another vote so soon, how about your side keeping their word? The polls said remain would win the EU ref easy so because polls say it then we shouldn’t bother having a debate then a vote? And we are the ones suppressing democracy. It’s the same waffle that’s pouring from every media source, what are you afraid of? If it’s a cert to be a no you should be welcoming it, the fact you and the rest of the Ruth Davidson party are in a flap and out to destroy Holyrood tells us different. I still maintain that the union would have lasted another 300 years if genuine change came in 2014. Well change did come but it’s put the union on the ropes. What’s Ruth gony say now to convince us to stay?

          1. Jamsie says:

            You seem to think that there has been a mandate given for another referendum.
            What has leaving the EU got to do with remaining in the U.K.?
            There is no mandate and wee Nicola knows it which is why she is not pushing it.
            It is all smoke and mirrors to make it look as if she is.
            Personally I would welcome the referendum right now but just because I would like it does not make it right or likely to happen.
            It will only happen if a.) the majority of the electorate demonstrate they want one and b.) if the U.K. government whoever that may be agrees.
            You are quite right democracy is not a one time opportunity.
            People know that.
            They just don’t want to go through another referendum in the foreseeable future or to be separated from the U.K. as it would lead to third world economic hardship which would be self inflicted.
            If the leading proponent of Indy is telling you that which they have why don’t you understand that if you force people to vote they will vote against.
            It is not logical to expect people to vote for hardship when it need not be the case all on a point of principle.
            You can eat principles or pay your mortgage or rent in principles.

          2. Jamsie says:


          3. Kenny Smith says:

            You really are getting in a real tizzy now. Yes they do have a mandate and you know it. You were going on about polls that’s why I mentioned the EU. You by your own admission voted leave and your darling Tory parties own analysis reveals our GDP will fall as a result so in essence you voted to make yourself poorer and for lower living standards so what is your point caller? You have nowhere left to turn. When that map after the EU vote showed very distinct colours either side of Hadrian’s wall you knew this was coming and the way it’s been handled since is making it more likely. UK OK?

          4. Jamsie says:

            No tizz here boy!
            Simply basking in the knowledge that it will not happen despite the vociferous background noise.
            No referendum, no Indy, no EU.
            Watch and see.

        2. Kenny Smith says:

          Dear oh dear sonny Jim. Your arguments are shot to shit so it’s the fall back Mundell option of ” Naw yir no getting it right” Safe in the knowledge my arse, that’s why you feel the need to come here and spill your little brain. I guess we,l see how the naw goes. Better get Jim a bib he’s foaming

  10. Kenny Smith says:

    I’m no expert on the in’s and out’s exactly and can see the logic in both Alf and Lorna’s arguments. As much as I’d love it for the SNP or any other party declaring a if a majority of their MPs were elected they would dissolve the union and declare independence I guess there is still too many that need it spelled out and to have the Tories take the very treaty of union to court would in the eyes of many would see it’s no treaty at all by that very act so it could possibly do the trick but we all know the UKSC will always slap us down and that also could bolster the colonialist argument. Maybe Bella could maybe have a lawyer and a historian write a piece on it because as far as I know and I could be wrong there was nothing written in the treaty that was the equivalent of article 50. If it’s voluntary to enter then it should be so to leave but again im no expert in the finer details. I’d never heard of this Crawford report though so I’ll need to Google that

    1. Alf Baird says:

      Yes Kenny, the UKSC may indeed acknowledge Scotland’s lawful position, or alternatively as we might expect the UKSC would more likely tell us that Scotland was ‘nudge nudge wink wink’ subject to a takeover, or annexation, or whatever. But if the latter was really the case, why did the Scottish Commissioners go to the extent of agreeing an international treaty and signing off a subsequent Act of Union in order to explicitly create a joint administration and parliament for both England and Scotland ‘styled’ as the UK? The evidence for a joint arrangement is indisputable. I still think we should see this constitutional question debated in Westminster and Holyrood and even if a majority of Scotland’s representatives decided that withdrawal was their preferred option even I admit that they may still find it necessary to seek confirmation on that decision from the people of Scotland in whatever form desired. But lets at least have that debate on Scotland’s constitutional position.

      1. Kenny Smith says:

        The thing is that people are now at least asking these questions which is why they are blowing out their farters to try and shut us down. Hopefully Mike can really dig into it. As much you read on your own it’s always good to hear someone say their educated take on it

      2. Lorna Campbell says:

        Hi Mr Baird,

        There is a wealth of evidence to support the contention that Scotland was a partner in the Union – from the terms of the Treaties and Acts themselves to the ways in which Westminster has colluded in our continuing existence. Hansard is full of evidence. The Scotland Act 1998 is another source of evidence, as are each and every piece of legislation since 1707. The most telling evidence, though, rests with our state institutions, guaranteed in the Scottish Treaty and Act. Queen Anne appointed the Commissioners for both sides and acknowledged that there were two parliaments which were abrogated and which ceded their legitimacy to the new British parliament at Westminster. The biggest problem for Scotland has always been those so-called Unionists within its own ranks. This way, we force them to fight on a level playing field for the first time in many, many years and they must explain the anomaly at the very heart of the Union: if we were subsumed, then there is no Union by definition; if we joined a Union of two states that willingly ceded their legitimacy to Westminster (Westminster must have drawn its legitimacy from somewhere – and that somewhere was the Treaties and Acts and the two parliaments themselves – and, if we are partners in the Union, then Westminster has no right to force our compliance on anything. We must have a voice and we must have agreement, not the steamroller method so beloved of the Westminster (and Scottish) Tories.

  11. Lochside says:

    Jamsie take on this , that the Referendum, trumps our Representative majorities in Scottish, Westminster and EU elections and Referendum confirms what I originally stated and which Alf explores more eloquently, that we are subordinating our centuries old pre-Union sovereignty to a one off plebiscite in 2014. One which was interfered with by politicians and the media unilaterally by the British State…remember the ‘VOW’; Gordon Brown’s uninterupted live television propaganda lie- fest broadcast the night before the vote; the unbelievable postal vote ‘turnouts’ and Ruth Davidson’s apparent ‘knowledge ‘ of the large Unionist majority cast in the latter etc. etc.

    And Lorna, I wish I shared your faith in Tony Blair’s invention, the Supreme Court. Which was designed to undermine Scots Law’s supremacy in civil law, for starters. You state ‘but it must be totally impartial in its rulings, regardless of the consequences, and we have two very able Scottish Law Lords sitting in the UKSC.’ Nationality in these matters is irrelevant. Our people have been lied and suppressed by collaboraters born and bred in Scotland from Wallace on up to the present day.

    There are no separation of powers in the English run state. And as for Cromwell, he instituted the first British State in our history by crushing his erstwhile Scots’ allies and enemies alike. We are facing a re-run of England’s desire to absorb us… not by brute force….this time by stealth and political obfuscation.

    1. Jamsie says:

      You don’t have a representative majority in Westminster and you propped up by the greens in Holyrood.
      This is a blind alley.
      Everybody except separatists desperate for Indy now knows it.
      Get real.
      The excuses are all in place.
      She won’t call one.

      1. Kenny Smith says:

        Better get a bigger bib the can’t is foaming again

    2. Kenny Smith says:

      I hear you mate I think that’s why the continuity bill will be an acid test. Our lord advocate reckons it is legit by Scots law. If they go against that then we,l know they are in the pocket. I can see some kind of long drawn out process with a fudge in legalese at the end that basically says it’s legal but Westminster still rules.

    3. mince'n'tatties says:

      Cromwell marched a Paliamentary Republican army north to ‘crush his erstwhile Scots allies and enemies alike’.
      No he didn’t, he smothered the elitist aspirations of ‘Heiland Royalists’. Most telling that he stopped his march north at Perth.
      Job done. Didn’t consider further north west worth the expenditure. What he introduced was a Republican protectorate that would have grown into zero Royalist a Parliamentary independence.
      Usurped by a military coup and the Restoration and then up pop the the half daft ‘Heiland Royalists’ again.
      Nae wonder Edinburgh and its environs looks askance at a certain strand of Indie thinking.

    4. Lorna Campbell says:

      Hi Lochside,

      Indyref1 was supported by a legal document (S30 Order) and we will have to go down this route again to have another legally binding indyref. We can call an advisory ref, but we should not unless we are at least 99% sure we can win because we will not recover from another defeat any time soon, and the so-called Unionists know that, which is why they goad and poke at us. Westminster will neither allow another indyref or give us their blessing. That is a dead cert now. The union was where we came in and the Union should be where we come out again. The UKSC is not Westminster’s court, and if the SNP were to argue against Mr Mundell’s use of the Crawford and Boyle report, they would be advised to have at least one international observer in the court, too. If the Law Lords were to issue a ruling that Westminster can keep devolved powers in certain circumstances – and I rather think they will – and if they rule that Holyrood cannot enact the Continuity Bill because it does not have the competence to do so – and I think it might – the second line of defence would be a challenge over the Union and Westminster’s legitimacy to force Scotland into obedience. I am not saying we would win, but even the Law Lords are not so far removed from normal society that they would not know that a second ruling against the Scottish case would be received with extreme anger. Either way, the Union is over. Too many of the best legal minds in Scotland were not only opposed to the Crawford and Boyle report, but they denounced it loudly, and a second bite of the cherry for this nonsensical report would create mayhem.

      I believe Mr Baird, above, has laid out the terms of the decolonisation charter of the UN, which, I agree with him, Scotland fits; and there is the self-determination charter; and, last, but not least, the matter of human rights. In any other state but the UK, I would say that we were soundly beaten in 2014 and accepted that the dream was over for many a long year, but close study of the referendum itself and then, the imposition of Brexit collude to make our case for us. If we do this properly, we will have the world on our side.

  12. lochside says:

    Jamsie…..this thread is called ‘History Man’…….and that could not be more appropriate, because very soon all Britnats, like you, will be just that, History, Man.

    1. Kenny Smith says:

      Lochside, that’s how bad these guys are. No majority in Holyrood is another one thrown round. It doesn’t matter to them that the Tories lost their majority and are only clinging on with the help of 10 flat earth dup MPs. I mean could you imagine if they actually won something up here. They are a distant 2nd in Holyrood with most of them only getting in through the list. The same story at council elections a distant 2nd but somehow it was a Tory victory. Even with the SNP losses at the last GE they still have more MPs than the unionist parties combined. As Jamsie proves all that’s left is dodgy polls and a flat out no

  13. Jamsie says:

    So let’s see if I have this right.
    There will be no legally binding referendum and probably no advisory one called if wee Nicola is not 99% sure she can win one.
    So no mandate there then.
    If the continuity bill is declared incompetent the challenge to Brexit goes down the swannie.
    Even it it was successful the U.K. government only need to agree to the SNP demands in terms of powers devolved which will completely demolish the position on another referendum anyway and leave the SNP who are after all the controlling part of the Indy movement in a situation where all their demands have been met.
    No referendum then either.
    But then our elected representatives simply declare they are leaving the U.K.?
    Do you really think that is credible?
    The SNP will not gamble with the prospect that sometime in the future a referendum might be able to be called if public opinion changes.
    They know it would kill any prospect of Indy for probably 100 years.
    The prospect of UDI is not a remote possibility despite the fervent hopes of the loonies on here.
    Dream on!

    1. Alf Baird says:

      UDI does not readily apply in Scotland’s case given the constitutional position vis-à-vis treaty and act of union. To whom would be declaring our independence – to our own joint (UK) administration and parliament? If Scotland were to decide to withdraw from ‘our’ union with England we would effectively be dissolving that joint (UK) parliament and administration, much as Scotland and England both dissolved (or adjourned as some note in the case of Scotland) their own parliaments and administrations at the time of union. That seems to be Scotland’s only and ultimate veto in the UK union – to terminate it. As even Michael Forsyth is reputed to have once said – Scotland is already independent. Nobody rules Scotland but the Scots. Scotland has merely entered into and put up with a joint administrative and parliamentary union, until that is it ceases to exist. It seems to be the other partner in our joint union that has got above themselves and somehow believes Scotland to be subordinate to that joint undertaking, which is not the case at all.

      1. Jeff says:

        Hi Alf,
        Don’t waste your typing fingers on this guy. Like the ‘Action Man’ toy – pull the string and get one of 4 pre-recorded Unionist soundbites.’Jamsie’ will go round and round forever, with his head stuck firmly…in the sand.

      2. Lorna Campbell says:

        Hi Mr Baird,

        I agree absolutely that it is we who have allowed the English part of the so-called Union to grow out of its boots. Its ruling elite/establishment (which is supplemented by tame Jocks) does not have the power to force us to do anything. That is why we must get a ruling from the UKSC (and failing that from the international organisations and courts) to show to people just what the massive scam is about, how it operates with our own connivance and how we count for zilch in this Union that is nothing like a Union and reminiscent of an imperial state with three satellites/colonies attached and suffocating politically.

      3. Charles L. Gallagher says:

        Hi Alf,

        Well said.

    2. Kenny Smith says:

      What part of Mars are you from? The government will concede to demands? You have done some foaming before but your wee brain must be getting tired now. Your running out of ideas now Jimbo

      1. Jamsie says:

        So today we have seen the SNP offering a deal on the devolution powers.
        If they thought they had a mandate why not go for it and let public opinion do the rest?
        Is there something wrong?
        Surely not!
        When or if the crunch comes as regards the continuity bill the UK steps back and accepts the compromise.
        Where do the SNP go from there?
        The rest of the Indy movement are “left” floundering.
        Dearie me!
        Westminster has succumbed to wee Nicola!
        A victory has been achieved.
        She can say the circumstances are not right and she has achieved what she set out to do.
        Indy is off the table for the foreseeable future.

        1. Kenny Smith says:

          Aye Jimbo go on yersel!!! Foamers foamer of the year

        2. Charles L. Gallagher says:


          1. Jamsie says:

            Och Charlie that’s no way to carry on a debate!
            When it all comes to pass what then!
            Will you squweem and squweem?

          2. Charles L. Gallagher says:

            Jamsie, your totally wrong views recently expressed are exactly that – Gobshite – END OF.

        3. Kenny Smith says:

          What do you have to say about the findings of the latest Ashcroft poll? There’s a bit more of an add on that I know you would have read being a keen visitor to pro indy websites. English voters especially Tories would quite happily ditch Scotland and NI, NI jst a tad more. How does it feel when you know that they only see you as sycophant sweaty sock. As for NI they would run through brick walls for Britain but yet are held as expendable to the party you support. As for the recent row that Scotland is only the equivalent of Yorkshire, tell us Jimbo are you a union denier also? I have to ask because if it isn’t a union then what is it exactly you are trying to promote? There was a time I possibly could have made a case for union not as eloquently as you of course but don’t think I could ever try and flog subjection

  14. Lochside says:

    Mince and Tatties…Cromwell annihilated the Covenanter army , former allies of England and co-signatories of the Solemn League and Covenant, at Dunbar . The reason they were fighting him and the English was because of the execution of the king, regicide being a crime in Presbyterian eyes and the fact that England broke all promises relating to enforcement of the Westminster Confession and the abandonment of Episcopalianism, meant that they changed sides and supported the King.
    BTW Cromwell’s man Monk and his army killed 800 soldiers and civilians in the assault on Dundee, hardly a place full of ‘heilan royalists’and slightly up the road from Perth.
    At the same time Cromwell was crushing the Royalist , mainly Scots army, led by a former Covenanting General David Leslie at Worcester.

    ‘Nae wonder Edinburgh and its environs looks askance at a certain strand of Indie thinking.’
    Aye, only if they are as ill educated about Scottish history as you Mince.

  15. mince'n'tatties says:

    Cut the flattery, ya’ silver tongued rascal, yer making ma nether cheeks blush. The Worcester crushing defeat was inflicted on Highlander Royalists.
    Generals Monck, Lambert and Deane did no more than mop up.
    It wasn’t the killing of King Charles that got the kilties a good spanking, but their idiotic claim that his son was the King of all Great Britain.
    By 1652 Cromwell controlled Scotland [or what he considered worthy of the term]. But still The Heiland Royalists couldae’ see the game was up.
    That’s why Monck returned in 1655 to knock sense intae’ the Highlands again. This time it worked and Edinburgh and its environs breathed a sigh of relief.
    I thank Neil Oliver, you can thank Jamie Oliver. Ye’can post whatever ye’ want oan this matter, my life has moved on.
    Aw’ the best Lochie.

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