2007 - 2022

When May loses on Tuesday, there will be nowhere left to Hide

My response:

I’ve been re-reading Hugo Young’s “This Sacred Plot” which is a wonderfully written history of the “difficult” relationship the Declining and Falling British Empire has had with the incrementally growing and maddeningly successful Empire of Europe from 1945 to 1998, from Churchill to Blair.

Among the goodies therein is a wonderful clarity on past (and now myth transformed) events. For example, The 1975 referendum, for example, happened principally to stop a split in the Labour Party just as the 2016 referendum took place to stop a split in the Tories. Both splits happened anyway…(the formation of the SDP in 1981/ and the No Deal Brexit Tory Civil War in 2019)…because that’s what Europe does to British politics.

My point is this, it does it to ALL British politics, taking a left right split (and the two “broad church” parties that represent that divide) splitting them AGAIN on what is basically an issue of Nationalism. (And you thought the Brits didn’t DO nationalism? Dear me No. “Britain” is the construct that the English use to pretend that they are above that kind of thing.) But I digress.

As I write, and as Ian Murray MP tweets, the Tories are already in bits, bleeding all over the carpet. Labour have tried very hard not to follow them to Splitsville, compositing and prevaricating like demented fowl on the way to the chopping block.

When May loses on Tuesday, there will be nowhere left to hide. Labour, like the Tories, will split openly into Leave and Remain, ironically over NOT having a referendum. Unless Corbyn locates his Inner Wilson and reluctantly and pragmatically supports a @peoplesvote_uk

For what it’s worth, I’d put the chances of Corbyn giving in to his Remainers at around 20%…and of Corbyn finessing a way to effectively support May’s Brexit at around 40%. (No Deal at around 20%, People’s Vote about the same). I don’t see any way of Labour escaping an explosion whatever happens. And again, for whatever it’s worth, I think the chances of an election happening before March 31st are precisely 0% And I think EVERYONE knows it no matter what evasive, burbling nonsense comes off the Labour front bench.

As for the “minor” parties…the SNP, the Liberals, Plaid, the Greens…even the DUP…they have been able to be consistent and united (pretty much) throughout the whole debacle partly because none of them are even prospectively in power in the UK.

There is a tremendous temptation for them all just to sit back and watch Westminster politics implode. However, for my money, the fact that they have all engaged in the process fully, (on different sides) , strengthens each of them in different ways.

The SNP is the one I’m invested in, and for me their vocal support of the People’s Vote option for stopping Brexit has been a very, very important and defining marker for the future, however that future pans out. They have demonstrated to the anti-independence voters of 2014 and Remain voters of 2oi6 that they are serious about protecting Scotland from Brexit by whatever constitutional means are available. This will continue in the attempt to define a distinct “Scottish Brexit” through the devolved parliament. There has been important progress, I think, in positioning Scotland for a distinct continuing relationship with England and with the EU which one day, I hope, will pay dividends.

In any case, whatever the next electoral test, no matter what any of the parties are saying now, both Brexit AND the constitutional future of the UK will be on the line and up for grabs. For those of us engaged in all this stuff, even on twitter and blogs, we need to saddle up.

Comments (8)

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  1. Graeme McCormick says:

    I don’t doubt that the SNP politicians are serious about protecting Scotland from Brexit with every legitimate parliamentary means however there is a principle which should be in the DNA of these folk which seems to be missing.

    That principle is the sovereignty of the Scottish people. But principles are but conveniences if a principle is only a principle when it suits your position. Principles are universal. If thesovereignty of Scottish people is truly a principle what right have the SNP to deny the sovereignty of the English people by playing Westminster games to vote for a second vote?

    English politics will be chaotic and divided as a result of Brexit or a non Brexit. We should instead act as if we are already independent and prepare for Independence . As we drive the wedge between Scotland and rUK Scots will embrace our cause.

    1. Alistair MacKichan says:

      I value this pointer to principle. Sovereign right is a principle. The EU has regressed from this principle towards federalism, and is facing a future as messy as US, Russia or China. Scotland should pave the way to a shining example of emancipated Independence.

    2. Gordon Benton says:

      i heartily support the idea that we in Scotland should behave as if we were independent, and with our majority in Holyrood, as far as possible, frame all incoming legislation like we were. it’s in the mind …

  2. MBC says:

    I keep hoping that MPs will find their courage and form a cross party government of national unity and revoke Article 50. It’s the only sane choice. So what if the Leavers are disappointed? Brexit is not in their own interest. They voted for a unicorn because they were hurting. They were lied to. The government of national unity then has to start rebuilding the country by reversing decades of austerity politics. When people see money going into the NHS and housing, when the provincial backwaters get some quality of life, when the benefits of globalisation are shared, then they will pipe down.

    Sorry to be an optimist. But I just feel that at some point common sense pragmatism and common decency has to break through the toxic mould of UK party politics that is keeping the country in thralldom.

    1. Alistair MacKichan says:

      I suggested this in 2009, as Brown’s best response to the Credit Crunch. It would have dealt with the banks better, and stimulated an upturn. It is a good suggestion, and I would add that the Military be given a peacetime seat in Cabinet – this is the future of the services, as a national asset for practical management of events. Pussilanimous party politicians seem incapable of sufficient action for the common good.

  3. Tudor Barnard says:

    Having just seen an interview with Chris Whiley (the Canbridge Aanalytica whistleblower) on Swedish TV, I think one should seirously consider to what extent the alt-right trolls have influenced the entire Brexit process since at least 2016 – and f course are still doing this. BTW, Chris was very impressive – intelligent, balanced and with a message that is deeply worrying.

  4. Alistair MacKichan says:

    I like the percentage suggestions in the article, and would credit them. However, protecting Scotland from Brexit is a wholly unnecessary idea. Protecting the UK, and Scotland, from an increasingly right-wing and militarised Europe is much more needed, and Brexit is timely. Many Independence supporters like myself are horrified at the SNPs blind allegiance to Europe. If, as you hope, a People’s Vote happens, as it might, then we know no more now than in 2016 about our future outside EU. What we do know is that geographically EU remains our close neighbour, and trade will continue one way and another (whisky, salmon and technology). We are also a resource rich country in all respects who can thrive on our own once the dead hand of Westminster is lifted from us. To remain tied to a Europe with its own internal and external issues to face is a bad idea. Sturgeon says look at Ireland, Europe stood by them. There are no comparisons whatsoever, and if the Brexit negotiations have not revealed the heartlessness of Europe, I don’t know what will.

  5. Willie says:

    Scotland did not vote for a Tory government. Scotland did not vote for being taken out of Europe.

    So why is it that Scotland had to play England’s political game.

    Sturgeon has said today that Scottish independence will be achieved in five years .

    So what does that mean. Does it mean that Scottish sovereignty and the democratic wishes of the people are to be disregaded.

    Seems that it does, New Labour, New SNP, all the same under Nicola it seems. See

    Or am I missing something?

    Time we pulled together. There is a big movement out there, the SNP are at the heart of it, and it’s time we let the English MPs get on with ripping their country apart.

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