The Hypernormalisation of Brexit

People say that in times of real crisis time slows down and you can watch the world in Matrix-like slow-mo. People also say that in accidents and times of trauma things go by in a flash and they remember almost nothing. Brexit feels like this: the process appearing simultaneously grindingly slow and also flashing past as we are thrown against the economic and psychological brick-wall of No Deal.

Into this moment, in an atmosphere of febrile panic, after two years of chaos and with nine days till we crash out with no deal, steps Jeremy Corbyn. Theresa May has in her moment of crisis and isolation offered the Labour leader a poisoned chalice. It is however a chalice that offers some rehabiliation for Corbyn, a figure that the fevered imagination of the Tories and their media network has elevated to a position of Major Marxist Threat and Vile Extremist. Priti Patel today squealed: “A man who sides with terrorists and socialist dictators, would surrender our nuclear deterrent, has let anti-Semitism run rife in his Party and would bankrupt Britain has now been given the keys to Brexit.” In reality Corbyn is a left-wing social democrat. In most of Europe his policies would be deemed not particularly unusual or threatening or radical.

Brexit has told us a lot about the state we’re in:

  1. There is mass confusion and disorientation. All parties are split, or facing internal crisis, including the SNP. We are split and divided by nation, as well as by geography, generation and class. In this situation reactionary forces of the far-right are at play, with substantial resources behind them. This is an international phenomenon which is manifesting itself in England. It has distinct and concrete forms and actors:. In “How Fascists Operationalize Left Resentment”, Alexander Reid Ross writes: “During his recent tour of Europe, disgraced former Trump strategist Steve Bannon declared “Italy is in the lead.” Amid the historic resurgence of the Italian far right that returned right-wing populist Silvio Berlusconi to prominence, Bannon fantasized about “the ultimate dream” of unifying the anti-establishment Five Star Movement with the far-right League (formerly the Northern League) through a populist movement. Bannon’s international vision of nationalist populist movements is locked into the Kremlin’s geopolitical ideology of a “multipolar world.”
  2. The lack of a written constitution and the lack of robust transparent and reformed political institutions makes Britain vulnerable to chaos in crisis. Britain’s continual inability to reform its feudal structures leaves it decaying and decrepit and open to the sort of Executive shambles we have seen in the last two years. Britain – as a functioning polity – is irredeemable. Both economic and constitutional power is highly concentrated and centralised through elite structures in London.
  3. As has been suggested for some time, the forces of Scottish, or Welsh or Irish self-determination, will not on their own be enough to break up Britain. Now these movements are joined by the rise of English nationalism. These forces have different energies, histories and are at very different stages of development. There may be elements within each of these movements which are regressive and reactionary and elements which are progressive and radical. There are elements within English political movements which are far more radical and subversive than anything in Scotland.Making alliances across radical forces in common cause for the creative dismantling of the British state is now more possible, and essential, than ever before. As we saw with the use of Loyalist groups in both the independence referendum and recently in London, this is precisely what the far right and the forces of unionism do, they enlist cultural symbols and the threat of physical violence from elements they would normally deem to be beyond the pale.
  4. Despite the relentless churning media gaze at Britain’s political and constitutional breakdown, beneath this is a social crisis of poverty inequality and hunger where basic needs like housing and food are in crisis (‘Food crisis UK – almost four million children don’t have enough money for a healthy diet’). Any economic collapse resulting from the Brexit process will land in the context of existing social breakdown.
  5. There is both danger and opportunity out of the Brexit crisis as the forces of power that run Britain are exposed and unraveling. The opportunity lies in the creative disintegration of the British state and it’s reformation into functioning democratic entities. The danger lies in the political collapse leading directly to economic collapse and in the chaos and confusion becoming all-consuming and preventing radical change breaking-through.Crisis is not always opportunity, the danger lies in what Adam Curtis called hypernormalisation. The term derives originally from Alexei Yurchak, a professor of anthropology from Leningrad. He introduced the word in his book Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More: The Last Soviet Generation (2006), which describes paradoxes of life in the Soviet Union during the 1970s and 1980s. He argued that everyone in the Soviet Union knew the system was failing, but no one could imagine an alternative to the status quo, and politicians and citizens alike were resigned to maintaining the pretense of a functioning society. Over time, this delusion became a self-fulfilling prophecy and the fakeness was accepted by everyone as real, an effect that Yurchak termed hypernormalisation.

The forces that have driven us into this situation are undoubtedly economic and cultural, but it is unrealistic and unhelpful to ignore the issue of English nationalism. All countries have the right to self-determination and England should be supported to establish its own parliament if it wishes. There seems to be no political energy for this and we need to look at the political dimensions and consequences of resurgent English nationalism in office because English nationalism is in power and it’s actions have consequences for democracy in the other nations that make up the UK.


Brexit is a manifestation of English nationalism driven by a culture of exceptionalism and denial. This has direct consequences for Scotland and Ireland and it shatters the myth that was the bedrock of the Unionist case – that the UK is somehow a “family of nations”.

The Political Editor of BBC Newsnight Nicholas Watt reported this week that:

“An ally of Nick Boles tells he was so angry with Conservatives because Theresa May ordered a particularly aggressive whipping operation against his Common Market 2.0 proposal … PM’s objection to Nick Boles idea: familiar criticism that it would oblige UK to accept free movement. PM thinks the emergency brake allowed under his EEA proposal is meaningless bc it has never be invoked by current members and would involve EU retaliation if invoked. But……PM had another objection to Nick Boles idea which rang true even to some Remain Tories: it could threaten integrity of UK. PM feared that if UK stayed in single market through EFTA pillar of EEA that could increase support for Scottish independence…”

This was a significant revelation. Effectively the Prime Minister would rather damage Scotland’s economy than give us a choice about our future. It is significant that we have moved from the confident patrician Cameron to the beleaguered and desperate Theresa May.

As the artist Alec Finlay has commented: “The primary block on the English Nationalist right agreeing to the Boles compromise is to prevent Scotland voting to be independent. Unionism is now Trumpism, with Labour policy constrained by racism and the Tories putting Empire above rapprochement. England, the truth is that since 2014 your politics has descended into bitterness and malign stupidity.”

The same attitudes can be seen towards Ireland and Northern Ireland. Only last month the Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley stated that the killings committed by the security forces during the Troubles were somehow “not crimes”.

Instead, she went on, they were the actions of “people acting under orders and instructions, fulfilling their duties in a dignified and appropriate way”.

This is an astonishing thing for a Cabinet Minister to say and still be in post, and the pivotal role of Ireland and Northern Ireland in the Brexit process is no coincidence.

Robert Peston reported today that:

“According to ministers the defining issue was that if there was a no-deal Brexit “we’d have to go to direct rule in Northern Ireland” says one. “Disaster. Huge risk. Of all legacies, the break-up of the Union [of the UK], the worst for a PM. She’ll never do no deal now”. And…I am told that “Andrea [Leadsom] requested that we go ahead with the risk of direct rule but call it something else”.

These actions and statements, revealing as they are of attitudes of contempt and ignorance within politicians are the consequences of desperate individuals operating out of their depth in times of crisis. But it is attitudes within English society that are in a way more worrying.

Vincent Boland has written (“English nationalism is a threat to the union”):

“For a large slice of English voters, Brexit identity now matters more than party identity. Three quarters of English Tory voters are ready to sacrifice both Scotland and the Northern Ireland peace process to secure Brexit, according to a survey last October by the Centre on Constitutional Change at the University of Edinburgh. Those Tory MPs who, in their ferocious opposition to the “backstop” — the special arrangements for Northern Ireland set out in the EU-UK withdrawal agreement — profess their undying love for the union do so in the teeth of indifference bordering on hostility to that very union from their own voters.”

Brexit has thrown out a number of paradoxes and revelations. Here’s one identified by Boland: “Irish nationalism is no longer a threat to the union. It was consigned to history in 1998. The menace to the union today is a new and more potent nationalism. Brexit is the result of many factors, but it is emphatically a manifestation of English nationalism. Majorities of Scots and Northern Irish are comfortable in the EU; a majority of the English are not.”

He goes on:

“A century ago, Irish nationalists broke the union of Britain and Ireland. Scottish nationalists tried, and narrowly failed, in a very modern way — by referendum — in 2014. Now it is the turn of English nationalists, and they are numerous, vocal and deeply unhappy. We are only at the beginning of this uprising of English national sentiment, but of one thing we can be sure. If the union of Britain and Northern Ireland is destroyed, it will be by English, not Irish nationalism.”

This is true despite the fact that English nationalism is a confused and chaotic phenomenon. “Take Back Control” doesn’t demand an English parliament, it can’t even abide parliamentary sovereignty at Westminster. The constant confusion and conflation between Britain and England is a hangover, a remnant Category Error, a folk-memory that is daily reinforced by the overlay of England/Britain in broadcast and media.

Much of this is due to an imagined persecution that just doesn’t exist.

Douglas Carswell expressed this beautifully saying:

“Imagine that there was a union of free nations, but that it then attempted to punish one of its members for wanting to leave it? What might that say about the moral claims of such a union? The big casualty of Brexit is the EU’s claims of moral legitimacy.”

Apart from the obvious relish in which pro-independence campaigners seized on this gem, it does contain within the line that the EU is somehow “punishing” Britain for voting to Leave when all the evidence suggests the EU27 have been endlessly patient and remarkably accommodating despite enduring waves of xenophobic rhetoric and bile in their direction.

English nationalism and Brexitmania is driven by a concurrent superiority-inferiority complex.

As Eli Zaretsky has written (“The Mass Psychology of Brexit”):

“In England – the propulsive force behind Brexit – we are dealing with the psychology of a favoured, even chosen people. When ‘God is decreeing to begin some new and great period,’ Milton wrote in Areopagitica, ‘what does he then but reveal Himself … first, to his Englishmen?’ And in The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates, he wrote that ‘we have the honour to precede other nations who are now labouring to be our followers.’

He continues:

“The Tory Leave mentality that precipitated Brexit drew on the long-standing tradition of English exceptionalism … The mechanism underlying the cult of heroic failure is regression to narcissism. Just as a child trying to cope with his parent’s absence or the birth of a sibling may fall back on a supposed golden age in which ‘His Majesty, the Baby’ reigned, so too may a nation in difficulty seek to regain a storied past. In both cases the aim is to restore narcissistic equilibrium. The Leave slogan ‘Take Back Control,’ like Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again,’ reflects the idea that one moves forward only by passing through an earlier greatness.”

There is a lot at stake.

A report from 2018 warned that a hard Brexit, in which the UK falls back on World Trade Organisation rules, would cost Scotland up to £12.7bn and cause real household incomes to fall by 9.6%, or £2,263 per head. The report said that the decision to leave the EU would cost £16bn – more than 10% of Scottish GDP. As previously stated any economic collapse resulting from the Brexit process will land in the context of existing social breakdown.  This is a country already suffering from decades of British misrule and recovering from trying to offset the worst ravages of Tory austerity.

The consequences for people in Ireland are more brutal. Eoin McNamee argues that “We cannot go back to a hard Border any more than Berlin could return to the Wall”. He writes:

“On television you see fields, cows, a man in a cap looks over a gate, talks about smuggling butter, the thing is cast as pastoral, the wrong genre, deliberately the wrong genre. The real genre was dystopia, society in dissolution, everything broken down. It is Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. Death’s corps are in charge, they patrol the night. Militias emerge from the darkness and return to it. Everybody is watching everybody else and you can’t get a grip on any of it. Things happen, people get killed, human viscera hanging from telegraph wires and the real story doesn’t get out. You’re hemmed in by checkpoints, by control towers. The roadside corpses are booby-trapped.”

The toxicity of British public life, today personified by the revelations of the British army shooting at an image of Jeremy Corbyn, has been marked in the last few years. This week it was revealed that the banned National Action group planned to murder the Labour MP Rosie Cooper, and had discussed “exterminating vermin” in a synagogue. Although the plot has been reported it has not made the splash one would expect. This is a barometer of how far we have descended into a political realm dominated by violence and threat.

Killer instinct

The potential for this process to tip into further extremes is obvious as the forces that drive Brexit become inflamed by the tabloid media and the silo algorithms of social media. The language of the far-right and Brexit is littered with “treason” and “traitor” and notions of “freedom” and “vassal state” and “slavery”. It is laced with fear of foreigners and hatred of the media and garnished with a vision of future greatness.

May’s last desperate act – to reach out to Jeremy Corbyn has the potential to “fix” a broken process, though it can’t “fix” a broken Britain.

She is the victim of her own hubris and the bizarre language she and her colleagues have cultivated.

Don’t you dare call it treason:

“Theresa May is being accused of ‘treason’. Her right-wing base is denouncing her negotiation with an anti-British ‘communist’, ‘Marxist’, ‘terrorist lover’. She made this situation. Her language, and that of her base, has encouraged right-wing political violence.”

Whether the Prime Ministers late appeal to other parties can save the catastrophe in slow motion remains to be seen. It seems highly unlikely given the level of crisis and the state of disorientation we are experiencing.

In Alexei Yurchak’s book Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More: The Last Soviet Generation , he describes the fact that everyone in the former Soviet Union knew the system was falling apart, but people were resigned to maintaining the pretense that everythimng was functioning just fine. Sort of UK: OK on a much bigger scale. At least now with Brexit we are beyond that.


Comments (101)

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  1. Chris Connolly says:

    Day after day we read the same shite about Brexit resulting from English nationalism and/or pining for the days of the British Empire. It’s become excruciatingly boring now. Middle class elitist bores claiming to be able to read the minds of English working class voters from their desks in Scotland, Ireland, France or elsewhere. I’m sorry to sound insulting, Mike, but it’s tiresome, opportunistic and, worst of all, plain wrong.

    I don’t claim to know why Brexit was more popular in England & Wales than in Scotland & Northern Ireland because, like everyone else other than those who voted for it, I’m not in on the secret. However, if I had to make an educated guess I’d suggest

    1. People believed the lies about the billions going to the EU that would be made available instead to the NHS
    2. People in England & Wales are more worried about EU citizens undercutting their wages and taking their jobs
    3. The press was overwhelmingly pro-Brexit and consequently many people only read part of the story without being made aware of arguments to the contrary
    4. Since the opinion polls said Remain would prevail some people thought they could register a mini-protest vote without having to suffer the consequences

    Naturally, out and out racism and xenophobia also played a part but mainly this would have been in connection with (2) above. My neighbour in Sheffield at the time was an unashamed racist but she has learning difficulties. The only other English person of my acquaintance who I know for sure voted Leave did so because he is a diehard socialist who considers the EU to have too much influence on what national governments are allowed to do with regard to nationalisation. That’s a very reasonable point and nothing to do with national chauvinism or this mythical English nationalism that we keep reading about.

    Among all the reasonable arguments for Scottish independence, a constant undercurrent of anglophobia keeps peeping through. People who would die defending their anti-racist principles seem to think it’s acceptable to make uninformed generalisations about the people of England that they wouldn’t dream of doing about anyone else. It’s not helpful and it certainly isn’t original.

    1. Hi Chris, for your argument to make any sense Paul Mason, Vicent Boland, Eli Zaretsky and Eoin McNamee would all have to be middle class elitist anglophobic bores too, which they aren’t.

      There’s things that are happening in my country too that I dont like, but pretending they arent happening doesnt make them go away.
      But as well as recognising the reactionary forces that are in government (I’m not sure if you’d dispute that too?) I was actually making a case for cross-border solidarity:

      “As has been suggested for some time, the forces of Scottish, or Welsh or Irish self-determination, will not on their own be enough to break up Britain. Now these forces are joined by the forces of English nationalism. These forces have different energies, histories and are at very different stages of development. There may be elements within each of these movements which are regressive and reactionary and elements which are progressive and radical. There are elements within English political movements which are far more radical and subversive than anything in Scotland. Making alliances across radical forces in common cause for the creative dismantling of the British state is now more possible, and essential, than ever before.”

      1. Chris Connolly says:

        My apologies if I misread the point of your article, Mike. I’ll read it properly later; that’s a promise.

        Re the critics, however, Messrs Boland, McNamee and Zaretsky are in no position to make informed comment about the English working class because two of them live in Ireland and the other in the USA. I give Paul Mason a pass because he comes from Lancashire and his father was a bus driver (although his mum was a head teacher so he is on the cusp of middle classness) but Fintan O’Toole, not mentioned above but widely admired for his opinion on Brexit is another Irishman who, I’m sure, wouldn’t be happy if an English or Scottish journalist were to write stuff criticising the Irish people’s continued support for the right wing parties that have ruled Ireland since independence, or claimed that most Irish people were still in thrall to the Catholic Church or that Sinn Fein are representative of mainstream opinion.

        The only people not speaking on behalf of the English working class are the English working class. Or, if they are speaking for themselves, nobody is bothering to report what they’ve got to say.

        Thanks for replying. All the best.

    2. Derek Thomson says:

      Chris, I appreciate your comment about being a voice of sanity. Hope this doesn’t spoil it, but anytime I have heard English people being interviewed about Brexit, it’s all been about racism. “All them immigrants, speaking in their own language” was one, one guy in Sunderland when asked if Brexit would lead to him losing his job, would he still vote for it, he said yes, because “it’s not about jobs, it’s about immigration”. And if you don’t think there’s an uprising of English/British nationalism, you’re not paying attention. And finally, you need to have a word with yourself – “fascist mob, thugs, skinheads, vilest racial abuse I’ve ever encountered”. Calm yersel.

      1. Chris Connolly says:

        I’m calm enough, Derek, but don’t forget that I’m just another arrogant, bullying, loudmouthed, imperialistic Englishman with a superiority complex who thinks my (!)crappy wee country is superior to every other one on earth and beyond all reproach. That comment was intended to hurt, and it did. I believe I’m entitled to be upset, especially since I consider everything about it to be untrue. if I were Rev. Stuart Campbell I’d have Redgauntlet in court for libel.

        There’s a better option, though. That’s simply to retire from the game altogether. Tottenham’s Danny Rose has had enough of football, and I’ve had enough of politics, for similar reasons.

      2. florian albert says:

        You quote one individual in Sunderland who expressed racist views. Would you agree that it is irresponsible to draw conclusions about the 15,188,406 people in England who voted ‘Leave’ from this ?

        You refer to an increase in English/British nationalism. There has clearly been an increase in English nationalism in the last 40 years. It mirrors a similar and bigger increase in Scottish nationalism over the same time. I do not regard this as particularly worrying. Nationalism is not inherently malign. Extreme nationalism is.
        These increases might lead to the end of the UK as it is present constituted. My guess is that it will survive this present crisis.

        1. Derek Thomson says:

          If you think that English nationalism and Scottish nationalism are being expressed in the same way, like Mr. Connolly, you’re not paying attention. Having said that, I’ve seen you on the National board and you are quite clearly a troll, so I shall pay you no heed.

          1. florian albert says:

            ‘I’ve seen you on the National board’

            I do not know what you are writing about. I assume that it is something to do with the National newspaper. I do not read it and certainly do not contribute to it.

            Telling he that I am not paying attention is not a particularly persuasive line of argument.

          2. Derek Thomson says:

            For some reason, your last comment about the National didn’t have a reply function. I’m not interested in persuading you about anything. Don’t comment on any of my posts, and I’ll afford you the same courtesy.

    3. Fstmaly says:

      Level, at an extreme level of ideas I agree with many things you say. However, I do have first person interaction with many of the people involved in Brexit all over the place and a good handle on the socio-econ data driving decisions made. 43% of leave voters had some fairly abstract ideas about voting that way, but the rest nope. The rest were all the money or lack of it in their lives and they were pissed. Didn’t matter of leave solved anything at all, they were sick of EU & UK government at all levels. And they remain so. And will.

  2. w.b. robertson says:

    I am with you Chris. You are correct in claiming no one these days speaks for the English working class. Nor for the Scots punters.

    1. It would be good to address some of the arguments in the actual piece?

  3. Redgauntlet says:

    The United Kingdom is AN INTERNATIONAL LAUGHING STOCK right now…

    I can’t convey the sense of embarrassment which the British political class are subjecting us all to right now….

    Which country in the history of modern democracy EVER MADE SUCH A COMPLETE TIT OF ITSELF AS THE UK?

    Anybody who lives abroad must have a similar sense of embarrassment by now surely… people stop you in the street….people clap you on the shoulder and say 2don’t worry, IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT”….

    Theresa May cannot possibly hold anymore talks with the EU after the last two years. She is damaged goods. She has called Europeans everything under the sun. She has called Remianers everything under the sun. She has described people like myself as a “citizen of nowhere”… she must resign ASAP. The priority should be getting rid of Theresa May who is perhaps no longer of sound mind…


    What a total joke of a country, an international embarrassment, and an utter shambolic disgrace of a Parliament…

    Never, ever, has the UK and its incompetent bungling political class sunk so low as the last few months….

  4. Redgauntlet says:

    What was the point of all those indicative votes by the way? DID NOBODY BOTHER DOING THE NUMBERS TO SEE IF IT WAS WORTH DOING?

    The salaries of every single member of that farcical institution full of self-important, pompous and utterly ridiculous persons known as Parliament should be frozen, this Parliament should be dissolved….


    1. Chris Connolly says:

      Redgauntlet. You would have made a perfect recruit for the Scottish Vigilantes. They were a group of ultra-nationalists in the early 1970s who punished Scots they considered to have let the country down through not being Scottish enough (i.e. by not supporting the SNP, going on a foreign holiday etc) by presenting them with cards that had JUDAS written on them. Your mean-spirited anglophobia reminds me of the SV. It’s hugely unattractive and does the cause of independence no good at all. After all, who would choose to live in a country full of anti-English bigots, or any other bigots for that matter?

      Mike’s article (I’ve read it properly now) includes this: “Brexit is a manifestation of English nationalism driven by a culture of exceptionalism and denial.” I disagree. I think Mike is wrong. Your contribution includes “NOBODY VOTED SNP TO SAVE ENGLAND FROM ITS OWN FOLLY.” The implication is that to be a true Scottish patriot you need to happily see living standards in England plummet, even when they do likewise and cause equal pain and poverty in Scotland, which is what will be the result should a No Deal Brexit take place and is precisely what the SNP’s opposition to Brexit is trying to avoid. Mike takes a considered view; yours is just a manifestation of your own anti-English small-mindedness.

      I still hope for Scottish independence but I’ll be buggered if I’ll campaign for it alongside people who indulge in hate speech. I can’t put into words just how disillusioned people like yourself make me feel.

      1. Redgauntlet says:

        Chris, I don’t give a shit if you campaign for Scottish independence or not, mate. You can look for Brownie points from somebody else, but not from me, please.

        The only thing you ever say on Bella is that everybody is anti-English…. how original…

        You know what Chris? It has become kind of a European trend, mild-anglophobia. Put me down for it, I’m there man. And do me the favour of getting out of my face on this site, please.

        By the way, the EU has confirmed Gibraltar’s status as a COLONY. Another thing I have in common with my fellow Europeans… a COLONY…

        Maybe, just maybe anglophobia is on the rise because England is behaving like a country of complete selfish, arrogant aresholes and has been doing so for hundreds of years now…

      2. Redgauntlet says:

        Scotland’s MPs are ignored at every turn for two and a half years by your Parliament, and you come on Bella Caledonia and have the fckn cheek to complain about Anglophobia?

        You’ve got some nerve, you have, man….

        …and my hope in indyref 2 is that English people who have not been resident in Scotland for at least 10 years do not get a vote. Enough of this….

        Enough pussyfooting around English sensibilities. When did England ever give a FF about any other country’s sensibilities? Ha

        That stupid, backward, class ridden, snobbish, Philistine,arrogant and pompish shithole of a country called England could sink under the sea and I wouldn’t bat an eye mate…

        Anglophobia? You better fcking believe it…

        1. Willie says:

          Now Red Gauntlet, you may be shouting in your responses. But you know what, there is every reason to shout.

          The UK is a laughing stock and a belligererant aggressive one at that. That is for sure.

          Westminster disregards Scotland, it’s elecorate and it’s politicians as something you would wipe off your shoes. Ask the SNP who are absolutely zilch in the Westminster fun show. They talked about the Feeble Fifty all those years ago. But little has changed and a well intentioned, but effectively powerless Scottish Parliament, ready to have its wings clipped having served its purpose, is the order of the day.

          Analysis, analysis, talk it all round and round and round, whilst Scotland and its people get rogered, pulled out of Europe, austerity, reduced social protections. Bend over Scotland, you can keep on talking, and talking, you’re good at that.

          There, I’m shouting too. Anglophobic, of course not. They look after my well being after all. God save!

          1. Redgauntlet says:

            Thanks Willie, though I am not “shouting”.

            There is no way of using italics on Bella, or underlining, so all you can do to emphasize a point is put it in capitals…if italics were available I would have used italics….

            Good to see the European Parliament has officially recognized Gibraltar as an English colony by the way….

      3. Graeme Purves says:

        The point you make is bogus, Chris. I do not always agree with Redgauntlet, but he is clearly angry, not anglophobic. He has every right to be. I’m angry too. English political elites have plunged their country into deep crisis and Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland find themselves being sucked into the maelstrom. It will take many decades to repair the damage which has already been done to the economy, society, international credibility and the relationships between the peoples of these islands. Those of us who have close English relatives and friends and admire the richness, diversity and compassion of English culture are appalled by the harm being inflicted on a great country. I’m sure we all have the cultural resources to come through this, but the recovery period will be a long one and we will be left with enduring scars.

        1. Lorna Campbell says:

          Mr Connelly is English. Most of us on here are Scots. We do tend to see things a little differently. However, Mr Connelly supports independence, as most of us do. I have challenged every single known English-born commentator and poster and psephologist to explain why 75%, more or less, rUK (mainly English) voted NO in 2014, and not one has the courage to actually admit what we all know: that it was, first and foremost, a neo colonial vote. It smacks of Oldham and the terror of actually confronting the truth, unpalatable as it may be.

          We are well aware that Scottish Unionists voted in far greater numbers when placed side-by-side because there were more of them, but, percentage to percentage, Scottish-born people voted for YES and independence, so, if it was not the Scots themselves who voted against independence in 2014, who was it? The EU NO vote was well under 60%, and their numbers were far fewer than rUK resident numbers, so I think that question has been answered. It is the ‘why’ that still sticks in the craw; it is the ‘why’ that, in the face of a very open vote, civic nationalism and an atmosphere of inclusion – and it was for 99% of the 2014 YES campaign – why did our rUK voters vote so heavily in favour of NO and thwart independence for the Scots? Mr Connelly would do us all a massive favour if he would go into the rUK community and discover the real reasons behind their NO vote (we know pretty well what the Scottish Unionists’ excuses are) and, perhaps, make it known that many, many Scots are not best pleased.

          I have to say that, after the rUK NO vote, I was not really surprised at the end of the day when Brexit came along because I really do think that the English Nationalist mindset that is driving Brexit also drove that NO vote, and that, in Scotland, the first enabled the second. I am very, very angry with the SNP for ignoring this vote because it could scupper any future indyref2, as the Quebecois discovered to their despair. They, too, believed they had ‘persuaded’ their Anglophone vote. This is an issue that should have been dealt with by 2015 at the latest, and brought out into the light of day. Instead, it has been allowed to escape any form of psephological enlightenment because we are afraid of reactions like those of Mr Connelly, who refuses to see the truth. It might be extremely uncomfortable for him, but it has to be faced if Scotland is to move forward on independence and not be held hostage by a minority. That is why dissolving the Union is a much better option. Like Mr Connelly, I do not believe that the English people are any more prone to racism or ‘othering’ than the Scots, but the fact remains that the 2014 YES campaign was anything but Anglophobic, while the rUK, mainly English NO vote showed every sign of being anti Scottish, border-line racist and a tad colonial. If that has changed, we need to know. That rUK NO vote must be deconstructed and examined if we are all to move forward as Scots, both old and new, otherwise we will end up with a NI situation where the well-heeled and better off (and the rUK residents are, per capita in Scotland better off than Scots) call the tune and we have to dance to them. The only result of that will be a resentment that will not be assuaged.

          1. Derek Thomson says:

            I know it’s only anecdotal, but every English person I know (living in Scotland) was emphatically (and in one case, almost fanatically) in favour of independence. Almost everyone in the office I work in (almost to a woman/man born and bred in Scotland) ) voted No. I find the unspoken assertion that anyone not “purely” Scottish should be denied a vote on what kind of country they want to live in a wee bit worrying.

    2. Alf Baird says:

      Yes, ‘why are the SNP still there’ when “Three quarters of English Tory voters are ready to sacrifice both Scotland and the Northern Ireland peace process to secure Brexit”. My suggestion is that the FM gives the PM her 35 SNP votes to get Brexit over the line in return for Scottish independence. The price of Brexit would then be Scottish independence. That would leave England independent and outside the EU, and Scotland independent within the EU, and duly delivering the voters preferred outcome of the 2016 referendum in both countries. If they did this both Mrs May and Ms Sturgeon would be heroines in thair ain launds. Lets see what is more important to ‘them’, England’s independence or the UK ‘union’ charade. My bet would be the former.

  5. Chris Connolly says:

    Meanwhile, back on Planet Earth, SNP MP Stewart MacDonald makes a generous & fulsome apology for an earlier tweet:

    “I tweeted earlier criticising @johnmcdonnellMP and @EmilyThornberry for ‘abstaining’ on a tight and crucial vote. I shouldn’t have done so. Emily was with her kid in hospital and John was himself in hospital. I didn’t know. I’m deeply sorry to both. I wish them both my very best.”

    A mistake acknowledged with good grace. Well done, Stewart.

    1. Redgauntlet says:

      Isn’t it funny how Chris Connolly says absolutely nothing when Ian Blackford is told to “go back to Skye” and to F off by English MPs (!) in the House of Commons (!), who says nothing when Nicola Sturgeon receives death threats, and says nothing when Joanna Cheery is hounded and abused by pro Brexit supporters outside the House of Commons…

      I didn’t see you posting then, Chris, eh? Why don’t you show the same energetic response when Scots are systematically abused in London as you do when anybody criticizes your beloved England?

      As for “planet earth”… you mean London of course – where else? – where Jeremy Corbyn just came out of talks with the PM saying last night “there is no deal on offer”, ie, May still has her red lines and in my opinion is simply running down the clock to No Deal… only a born patsy like Corbyn can’t see that move for what it is….

      …or where Yvette Cooper has spent another day in Parliament, passing another completely and utterly useless motion which cannot in itself prevent No Deal…

      You Chris Connolly, are just another arrogant, bullying, loudmouthed, imperialistic Englishman with a superiority complex who thinks your crappy wee country is superior to every other one on earth and beyond all reproach…

      1. That’s not my experience of Chris at all.

        Can we monitor the tone of this exchange please?

        I know people are angry but can we moderate language on this thread?

        1. Redgauntlet says:

          You’re right Bella, apologies.

          Let’s all just do as our upper class English masters do, the intelligent ones like Marina Hyde, and go into ironic mode…

          … irony is for the rich and the well to do. That is why it is has always been the hallmark of English comedy….

          But what can you do when Jeremy Corbyn, a man with the same sense of urgency and zeal for life as one of the lettuces he farms in his allotment, comes out of talks with May at just 8 days from Brexit and says they were “constructive”.

          I’d say we need something with a bit more substance than that, would you not?

          I would have said, when May made her overture, “we need to hear you that are prepared to drop your red lines for any talks to be held, Prime Minister”.

          That’s what an intelligent politician would have said… as it is, he comes out and announces on BBC last night that “there was no deal on offer”. So what, pray, are they talking about? The price of cheese? Or lettuces and cabbages…

          And Yvette Cooper passes a motion against the ship – which is on automatic pilot – hitting the iceberg…

          …May is going to be forced by legislation to go and ask the EU for more time. What if she doesn’t do that? Are they going to whip her (a one tong whip, two tong whip or three tong whip or a cat of nine tails). Are the hard men of the 1922 Committee going to go and tough her up? Will Bercrow maybe give her a telling off? I mean, under pain of what is May going to do what Parliament asks?

          If she does agree to back to Brussels, what if she asks for an extension of one month or one day, something the EU can only say no to? It’s another completely useless piece of legislation…

          As for Chris Connolly, he has convinced me that we need some kind of minimum amount of residency for non born Scots to get a vote at the next referendum. 5 years, 10 years? I’d say 10…. I’ve been in Spain more than 25 years, and I don’t get a vote. It’s not fair, at some stage clearly one should be allowed to vote, but some kind of commitment to your country of adoption seems sensible and reasonable at the same time…

          As for the SNP, it’s just a basic rule in life: when the shit is hitting the fan, make sure you’re not in the room… why are they still there?

          1. Redgauntlet says:

            Theresa May spelled out her Red Lines on the 17th of January 2017…

            We are now at the 4th of April 2019…

            …that’s two years, two months and 18 days, and she still hasn’t dropped her Red Lines…. despite everything that has happened.

            The only conclusion that a rational observer can make is that she prefers No Deal to any kind of Brexi other than her failed project, despite what she says, and despite her voting against No Deal in Westminster…

            The overture to gullible Corbyn is just a set up by the Tory Party to lead us into a No Deal Brexit….possibly the resignations included… that’s just a week away….

            How much does anybody want to bet?

          2. Lorna Campbell says:

            Indeed, Redgauntlet. The 2014 vote was far too open and that certainly contributed to the NO vote. Quite how someone who has barely set foot in another country feels that he/she has the right to vote against an obvious constitutional outcome that many in that country would wish for, is beyond me, but, then, I do not have that kind of arrogance, self-interest or colonial outlook, because, apart from a one-day telepathy fest, there is no other explanation for that homogeneous vote, except an economic decision, but, again, it was not based on economic want because the majority – by no means all – of the rUK voters are, per capita, better off than the Scots. Yes, middle class and well-heeled Scots did vote NO in large numbers, and we can see that the vote had a number of strands, as did the YES vote, but it is only the rUK NO vote (even the EU NO vote has been examined closely, as has every other group’s vote) that resists, with powerful collusion from the SNP and YES movement, any scrutiny, and, by that scrutiny, allowing us to work out whether another indy vote is a sensible course or political suicide. This is precisely why it took so long to settle the Oldham (and other cities) debacle in England on an entirely separate issue, and, as that was deplorable and contrary to human rights, so is this failure to properly take into account the human rights of the Scots to self-determination, under international law. I consider myself a liberal and I have always been an Anglophile, but I am very angry at that rUK NO vote and what it says about the new Scots we have welcomed to Scotland, and what it says about their attitudes to us. No way would I. personally, ever countenance having people removed from Scotland in the event of independence, and I would hope that no other Scot would either, and I cannot see that this was ever an issue in 2014 with an independent Scotland, quite the contrary, so what did drive that rUK NO vote? It might be instructive to Mr Connelly to understand that this resentment was never present before 2014, but has been growing since 2014. I suspect we are looking at two sides of the same coin: anti Scottish independence; and Brexit. It might hurt him to admit it, but that it what it appears to be.

          3. The 2014 vote was open to people who live here. What you are suggesting is a shift from a civic to an ethno-nationalist position. I think this is both wrong and politically disastrous.

      2. Willie says:

        Now Red Gauntlet you may be shouting in your response. But you know what, there is every reason to shout.

        The UK is a laughing stock and a beligerent one at that. That is for sure

        Westminster disregards Scotland and it’s electorate, is politicians like something you would write off your shoes . Ask the SNP who are absolutely zilch in the Westminster fun house . They talked about the Feeble Fifty all those years ago, but nothing has changed and a well intentioned but effectively powerless Scottish Parliament sits ready to have its wing clipped having served its purpose.

        Analysis, analysis, talk, talk, talk, round and round and round whilst Scotland and it’s people get rogerred, pulled out of Europe, austerity, reduced social protection et al. Bend over Scotland you can keep on talking.

        There I’m shouting too. Anglphobic of course not. They look after my well being after all. God save.

  6. Willie says:

    A question for Chris Connolly is this.

    Can he please explain if he thinks death threats, the shout of traitor, and go home to your own country, the disregard for Scottish MPs and the general contempt held by many against them as they hurl abuse at them is faux Anglophobia.

    C’mon now Chris, speak up!

    At least no one’s threatening to kill you or send you home.

    1. I’ll ask again for people to moderate their tone on this thread. Thank you.

      1. Willie says:

        Ed, I’m not sure what you mean by asking people here to moderate their tone. Robust yes, immoderate no .

        People are quite frankly absolutely outraged about what is going on.

        Fuel poverty, one in four kids in poverty, austerity, Scottish MPs totally and utterly disregarded, mainstream racism – hostile environment, it goes on and on.

        Death threats, go home taunts and now HM forces using opposition politicians as targets.

        Not quite tea and Tiffin Ed. And not something folks should just take, in silence.

        And lest it be an overaction, ever thought that you too might be considered a traitorous, separist, commie threat.

        In some eyes you may well be.

        Keep up the good work.

        1. I aspire to be considered a traitorous commie threat Willie.

          People can express anger without being abusive.

        2. Derek Thomson says:

          “just another arrogant, bullying, loudmouthed, imperialistic Englishman with a superiority complex who thinks your crappy wee country is superior to every other one on earth and beyond all reproach… ”

          I’m struggling to see how that’s robust, and not immoderate. To be honest. It’s just racist. The same as the clowns in Westminster telling our MPS to go home is racism, pure and simple. I can understand the anger, but there’s nae need for that.

          1. Redgauntlet says:

            Derek, I think that comment of mine – which you have taken out of its context – sums up people like Rees-Mogg, Boris Johnson, Bill Cash et al quite adequately. What is your problem with it exactly?

            And can I point out in these highly charged politically correct times, that it is perfectly understandable that, after two and a half years of the will of the Scottish electorate being not just ignored but mocked and slighted, and my own personal rights as a EU citizen about to be taken away from me, I feel a real antipathy for the country of England. Why lie about it?

            Not English people at an individual level of course, that would be unfair, but I will not go to England again for the foreseeable future, I will not be buying or reading an English novel or newspaper or watching an English film or TV series. I will do what I can to boycott England.

            I am deeply upset by what is a right wing coup by the ERG and their allies in the media who have managed to manouever the British political establishment – including the SNP – into a No Deal Brexit, which is maybe backed by 20% of the population…

            I only get to vote once every four years, at European elections. The English Establishment have taken the Welfare State away from people like me, they have led us into several foreign wars, they have stolen our oil, and they have declared our Parliament to have no Constitutional power….

            And on top of that, they are taking my European rights away, my right to freedom of movement, while denying me a vote. Well, fair enough, but that has consequences.

            I don’t like the country of England, and I have no obligation to like the country of England according to the laws of this or any other land…

    2. Chris Connolly says:

      No, I don’t. I think all the things mentioned are utterly despicable, Willie. I’m surprised you even need to ask. I also agree that Scotland is treated like a Northern colony of England, just as Redgauntlet says. I want nuclear weapons out of Scotland, I want the land to be nationalised for the benefit of the people of Scotland & I’d like the Scottish government, elected by the people of Scotland, to decide on all legislation and not just what crumbs Westminster decides to brush off its table and allow to be played with at Holyrood.

      As much as all that, mind, I just want to live in peace with my neighbours.

      1. Chris Connolly says:

        To finish, it’s completely beyond me why someone would assume that because I detest Anglophobia I must be OK with Scotophobia. What a barmy idea. Just so everyone knows, I disapprove of all bigotry whether it be against Scots, English, Irish, Welsh, European, Asian or African people, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transsexuals, Jews, Muslims, Catholics, Protestants, atheists, disabled people or any other groups of people you can think of.

        I’ve been anti-racist all my life. In Sheffield I was twice on the receiving end from young black men who called me a white cunt and threatened me with violence, but I don’t hold a grudge against all black people just because a handful of them behaved abominably. Similarly, I shall continue to love Scotland and its people regardless of the revolting personal abuse thrown in my direction here.

        1. Lorna Campbell says:

          It seems to me that Chris Connelly sees Anglophobia everywhere, and that is the problem. He is unable to debate reasonably, although he gives every impression of doing so, to the point that even the Editor is fooled, on the topic of the 2014 NO vote, but sees it as an attack by Scots on the English in Scotland. It is not. He simply appears unable to appreciate that, if there is another referendum – aye, fat chance! – and we have another 75% rUK NO vote, even if the Scottish Unionist vote is trounced, as in 2014, by the greater Scottish independence vote, we will not have independence, and that would be insupportable.

          It is in precisely in this area that Socialism falls down, and while I am on the left, I could never be a Socialist – in order to achieve that big creative political realignment in the UK, all sides have to agree. Three of those sides are a 10th or less of the other one, and cannot ever outbid that biggest part. Yes, let’s call on the English working class to support us in our bid for independence. I suspect the response would be unrepeatable. Not only that, but the historical ambitions of the English ruling elites has been the absorption of the other three parts entirely, and they still believe this is possible with Brexit. It is England’s misfortune – and our very much greater misfortune – that we have been blessed with the natural resources to sustain our populations, but that England cannot without deals and bartering with us, if we are independent. That is the norm in the normal world. However, the English ruling elite has been feeding its working and middle classes the myth that they pay for the other three parts and are, therefore, quite entitled to help themselves to our resources.

          The oil is still there, if a dwindling commodity, and we cannot afford not to invest in new energy technologies, but it is food and water, and alternative energy forms that will be their target after Brexit if we do not get out from under. Now, while I would be happy to share our resources, I would be most unhappy to have them purloined without a by-your-leave – in which, let’s call a spade a shovel here, the English ruling elite has form. Post Brexit, the need to corral the three satellite (or colony parts) will become ever more imperative, as will ensuring that we are reduced to a state that we cannot even whimper our resistance. That is the problem with Socialism: there is always one who does not play fair and throws his weight around. Do we wait for the English working class to waken up and relinquish its Brexit dream, which is delusional, in any case, or do we take our own route to independence without England? And before Mr Connelly goes off on one again, I am not, repeat not, a f*****g Anglophobe, just a very aware Scot.

          1. The Editor is not fooled.

            If Lorna, Alf and Redgauntlet (+ whowever) want to base their next referendum on abandoning civic nationalism for ethno-nationalism, that is fine.

            Good luck it will be a disaster. It is morally wrong and strategically wrong. It is not Bella’s position.

  7. Just to remind people of the guidelines on commenting on this site:

    People breaking these guidelines will be warned, then barred temporarily, then barred permanently, in that order.


    1. Redgauntlet says:

      Bella, if you actually review this thread, you will see that my first two posts make no reference to the country of England per se, or to Chris Connolly or anything like that all, both posts being devoted to two points which are that a) the UK is an international laughing stock right now, something which is much more apparent if you are living abroad and b) the SNP should be having nothing to do with this farce. Those are the two points I made and they are fair points.

      Chris Connolly then says I’m a small minded Scottish nat and I should be in some extremist Scottish independence group from the 70’s I have never even heard of. What? Eh? Why? Because he went canvassing at the last referendum ans thinks that affords England some kind of special right not to be criticized..

      …by the way, Spain is criticized on Bella frequently of late, so is Trump’s USA, so why can’t England be? Or Scotland too?.

      Chris Connolly, if he is not a troll, is pretty close to a troll. He is constantly BTL on Bella calling anybody who criticizes the shocking, embarrassing and disgraceful behaviour of the English establishment “anglophobes”.

      I don’t actually happen to agree with Mike Small and Fintan O’Toole’s idea of an English national psyche or national identity crisis, I don’t think those terms are helpful, but I made that point once on Bella, I wouldn’t make it over and over again like Chris Connolly does.

      As for who votes at indyref2, well, Westminster will never agree to a duration of residency criteria, so it’s not even worth talking about… but I wouldn’t be against it if was a reasonable amount of time of say 5 or 10 years… certainly, no country in Europe allows people who have been residents for just a year or two a vote. In Germany I think it’s 5 years, in Spain, you have to become a Spanish national to get a vote at the General Election…

      1. I have no problem. I don’t believe Chris is a troll at all, I have had heated exchanges with him and disagreements but found him completely reasonable.

        1. Redgauntlet says:

          Well, Connolly’s first reply to me is deeply unreasonable, offensive and insulting….

          Anyway, fck this shit… who cares….

        2. Terry callachan says:

          Really ?
          I don’t believe you.
          Chris connelly He has not been reasonable at all.
          I think you are lying editor
          Take a look in the mirror
          Actually, don’t bother, you already know what you are doing and so do the thousands who no longer read Bella.

          1. Excuse me? Who the fuck do you think you are?

  8. Richard Easson says:

    Going back to the title fo the piece and the Hypernormalisation of Brexit. it always struck me as odd that certain actors on the Brexit stage have avoided scrutiny from the authorities. What I mean is why, considering the murder of Joe Cox were the people responsible for enciting certain extreme attitudes even mildly not questioned by the police since the crime was tried under terrorism conditions.
    I am sure if for instance some muslims had been driving around in a bus shouting jingoistic, Britain first slogans, they and their families and friends would have been rounded up very quickly. Even Farage on the referendum result programme said let’s face it , no-one was shot.
    Actions do not seem to have consequences any more, or does it depend who you are?

  9. Lorna Campbell says:

    Derek Thomson/Editor: who has said anything about denying anyone a vote? Constitutional voting restrictions are normal, just like independence, in most other countries of the world. Length of residency is the normal restriction. What would you have to say about a million millionaires descending on Scotland and telling the Scots that they can’t have independence? Or a million Americans or Australians? The reason that the UN allows these restrictions is so that indigenous peoples’ views are not overwhelmed by the views of others who may have come to settle there only recently or are just ‘passing through’. Why do you think Cameron was not censured for disenfranchising all those EU residents, and he disenfranchised them all, not only the few. What is the point of having another independence referendum if the same people vote NO again? I had to wonder at Mr Thomson’s post where everyone who was English wanted independence. Why that almost 75% figure who voted against it then? It’s a mystery. The fact was that the 2014 vote was far too open and was, therefore, open to abuse, to the detriment of the Scots who wanted independence.

    1. Alf Baird says:

      The guy’s clearly a troll. Most of us would never ever think of going to live in another country and then shooting our mouths off insulting the local folk every time he’s here.

      But yes Lorna, I had to laugh (and cry) at the franchise back in 2014. My Hungarian and Polish friends asked me “why do we get a vote in your referendum, you would never get a national vote in my country”. And a student and tens of thousands of others like him here for just a couple of year’s study were given a vote to block my Scottish citizenship and nationality? Is that not anti-Scottish, even racist? And one million or so others from rest UK and elsewhere who came here between 2000-2014 got to do the same – to block the right of Scots to self-determination? And none of this is reciprocal, as Redgauntlet says, not in Spain, in France, in Norway, in Turkey or anywhere else. Only in Scotland do we allow other ‘peoples’ from other countries the power to block the self determination of the Scottish ‘people’. And what did the First Minister say in a Berkeley campus speech in answer to a question as to why the franchise was so wide open to this kind of ‘outside interference’, something the UN itself abhors? She said her officials (i.e. UK civil servants lets remember who still run the UK devolved ‘Scottish Government’) told her it would be ‘too complicated’ to do otherwise, which was absolute rubbish, and an obvious Westminster stitch up; since then the same UK civil service did the opposite in the Brexit referendum by excluding anybody it could from voting. You are right Lorna, that wide open franchise inviting everybody and their granny from anywhere who happened to have a postal address in Scotland no matter where they may be from or how long they are here (or even if they were actually here given the unbelievable and dubious postal vote) cost us our independence and it will do so again if we are daft enough to let it.

      1. Redgauntlet says:

        Alf Baird, that to fairly regulate the electoral roll in Scotland would be “too complicated” reminds me of, yes, who else, Gordon Brown….

        It was Gordon Brown, the man who “saved the universe” no less – according to himself that is – during the banking crisis, who removed the rights of expats Brits from British national elections on the grounds that this was too much trouble and not wort the effort and so why bother, screw those people who live abroad, they are not “real” Brits etc…

        The result is I’ve only ever been able to vote at one General Election in my life, for the SNP in 1992 in Hillhead, Glasgow. That’s it…

        This is Europe 2019?!!!
        … And now, after Brexit, I cease to get a vote in European elections too, which was my only vote, my only day out in the democratic sunshine…

        So, like the 3 million EU citizens in the UK, and the 1 million Brits in Europe, I am denied the fundamental right to vote, due to the combination of the British State, the Spanish State….and the Conservative Party of England…

        As for the 2014 referendum, my understanding is that they just applied the same regulations as they do in the Scottish Parliamentary elections…

        1. Willie says:

          Your comments about voting rights certainly resonate RG.

          Denied a vote anywhere, and despite paying your taxes somewhere, you are in indeed a totally disenfranchised voter. In many ways similar to a voluntary stateless person since you have neither a vote in your home country nor a vote in your adopted country.

          Post Brexit, if it happens, and especially through a no deal, the standing, status and rights of people like you RG becomes even murkier. And it’s not just voting but entitlement to health care, residency, rights to buy own property, open and hold bank accounts and much more.

          Of course as the Brexiteer mentality goes, and this can work both ways, you decided to leave us so bugger you.

          But the Brexiteers or at least the lumpen masses who support Brexit don’t care. Seething with resentment against the immigrant and the desire to take back control, they do not care the chaos that Brexit and especially a no deal Brexit will cause to their fellow citizens.

          As for the elites. Well for them Brexit will facilitate a dimunition of working rights, conditions and environmental protections.

          Sheep getting behind the pigs really.

          1. Redgauntlet says:

            Exactly, Willie, if you’re actually experiencing Brexit at the sharp end, like ex-pat UK born citizens, and much harder still, EU citizens in the UK, then this is a pretty stressful time, and it’s there every single day in your face when you get up and turn on the news…

            …and the news is always, always, always, all about England and these ridiculous people like Theresa May, Rees Mogg and Boris Johnson… every day…

            So, I’m trying to do my Spanish tax declaration this morning, the Spanish State web page isn’t allowing access to me, is that something to do with Brexit? I don’t know.

            I need to renew my health card again as I’m on a repeat prescription that is important, again, will that happen without a hitch? Probably it will be fine, but it’s in the back of your mind 24/7.

            And also, where is this leading in the UK? It sounds crazy, but if the army end up on the streets with the Tories in power, civil rights could even be suspended, websites like this shut down. I think we’re in very dangerous territory.

            What this Tory government has done to three million EU citizens of the UK, and one million UK citizens in Europe, is totally unconscionable and utterly despicable, and all I can do is boycott England…it’s hardly going to shake the foundations of the Empire, but at least it’s something… they didn’t give me a vote, that upper class imbecile David Cameron, and so I am done with England, I want nothing to do with the country or anything it produces or sells for the foreseeable future…

            But there are plenty of other reasons to boycott the British State, whose secret services, MI5, we learned just last December, asked the Protestant paramilitary groups of Ulster, the UDA/UVF to murder the democratically elected head of the Republic of Ireland back in the 90’s, Charles Haughey, the Paramilitaries of Ulster showing more ethics than the British State in refusing to carry out that execution….

            … it’s the kind of news story which is totally unbelievable and nobody picks up on, the mainstream media just ignore it.. I mean, that was just 20 years ago or so…

            The same Tory England / UK State which has invaded Iraq at the cost of one million lives, bombed Syria, and who have done nothing, in my adult life, but take hard won rights away from the Scottish working class…

            …the 40 year long attack on the Welfare State which has been reduced to the bare bones, the systematic surveillance of citizens, the mass media hate campaign against anybody basically who stands up to the London establishment, whether that be the EU, the Scots, the Irish or anybody else..

            We need to get out of this Union ASAP, and I can’t say I have any faith in the SNP strategy, because the Brexit crisis mode of affairs will continue for the next 10 years or so and absolutely suits the Tories as a smokescreen as they turn Britain into a grotesque caricature of a 19th century Dickensian dystopia / Orwellian surveillance State…

          2. Redgauntlet says:

            Who gave the order to MI5 to execute the President of the Republic of Ireland, Charles Haughey?


            Was it Margaret Thatcher who George ‘total bastard’ Osborne sheds tears over?

            Was it the one of the two Home Secretaries at the time, Douglas Hurd or Leon Brittan? Or was it just MI5 totally out of control?

            Who gave the order to the UVF to murder the President of Ireland?

    2. Doug Daniel says:

      The argument put forward in 2014 for why Scotland should have independence was that “decisions about Scotland should be made by those who live and work in Scotland”. That includes those originating from other countries who have made their home in Scotland. You can’t make that argument and then go “oh, but we actually only mean folk who were born here get to decide”. Not only is it morally wrong, but given that EU nationals have now swung overwhelmingly in favour of independence, it’s stupid in practical terms too.

      But this is a pointless argument anyway, because the Scottish Government would never base the franchise on ethnicity. In fact, it’s in the process of widening the franchise so it no longer discriminates against people who weren’t born in an EU or Commonwealth country. So the direction of travel is clear, and Lorna et al have already lost, and it’s just as well they have, because if people thought an independent Scotland was going to be some racist wee backwater, they wouldn’t vote for it. Time to accept that the referendum will not be for “indigenous Scots” only and move on.

      1. Redgauntlet says:

        Doug Daniel

        The argument being made at least by myself is that the franchise should be based on residency, as it currently is, but with a minimum years to be eligible to vote. This is perfectly fair it seems to me. It’s about being a citizen who contributes to a country over a certain number of years – at least 5 and no more than 10 – and by doing so earns the right to have a voice in the political decisions of that country.

        I moved back to Scotland in 2012 to be on the electoral roll for 18/9/14, I knew a Spanish lassie in Leith who had been there two years and was voting NO because she was a fully brainwashed Spanish nationalist who believes any kind of “separatism” to be the expression of some atavistic, small minded, primitive instinct.

        I now live in Spain again, and I wont be getting a vote at the Spanish General Election of 28/4, just as EU citizens don’t get to vote at the UK General Election…

        In any case, this is clearly one of these cases where the EU should provide leadership and recommend an opt in common European framework for voting rights for non born citizens. As it stands, your voting rights depend on the country where you live, it’s bizarre… and it’s very, very unfair at present…

      2. Lorna Campbell says:

        That is not what the internationally-recognized principle of a restricted constitutional vote is about. It is not what I said. No one at all has spoken of removing anyone’s vote. That is a false flag argument. Personally, I raised the issue to discover the response, and I have never felt it to be possible in the wake of 2014. That is precisely why I am opposed to a second indyref that does not take account of the propensity for a second NO vote. There is such a thing as being a principal in your own downfall, but I suppose the masochistic Scots must discover this all over again for themselves – and again; and again; and again… Sadists, especially political ones, must really love the Scots. The maquis de Safe should have migrated to Scotland. What a whale of a time he would have had. So many masochists to the square inch. Dissolve the Union.

    3. Derek Thomson says:

      Lorna, I agree with a lot of what you say, as I usually do in the National as well. I wept bitter tears the day after the referendum, but my bitterness was aimed at my fellow Scots – a more supine, servish, servile nation it’s hard to imagine. I don’t believe it was English people that cost us the result, it was Scots. How many English people do you think were among that shower of scum in George Square the night after the referendum? They were Scot/Brits. Cameron refusing to let EU citizens vote in the EU referendum despite many of them having lived here for many years was racism, and appalled me, though didn’t surprise me. I thought the whole point was that Scotland was different, that’s why we wanted independence, we were open and welcoming. I still hope that will be the case, but some (by no means all) of what I’m reading on this thread is quite depressing really.

      1. Lorna Campbell says:

        Firstly, that should read Marquis de Sade in my earlier post.

        Derek Thomson: I absolutely agree with you about the Scots and the supine, Stockholm Syndrome mindset of so many, but what happened in 2014 was that the YES-voting Scots won the referendum by almost 5%. In other words, the NO-voting Scots were soundly beaten in 2014, so, yes, that bloody open vote did it for us. We f*****g sabotaged ourselves. A majority of EU citizens voted NO, having been told that Scotland would crash out of the EU on independence (all without a shred of evidence, since no one ever has); they voted NO by less than 60% and, according to their numbers, which escape me at present, they could not have brought the NO vote over 50%, so that leaves the rUK NO voters, who certainly did the dirty work. That was bad enough, but the reason why they did that, and I still believe it was one overriding reason rather than a series of reasons – that is neo colonialism, with anti Scottish sentiments and borderline racism and that none of their number has ever stood up and said why, is because why and it would not play well. The reason for that is because it would incense independence-seeking Scots and give the lie to all that cuddly-wuddly horse manure (in retrospect, I should add) which was never reciprocated, or even likely to be, although that was the hope. I can recall no feelings of anger against Scottish Unionists and/or rUK voters during that campaign; no instances of abuse on the part of YES supporters; no threats or anti English abuse. Nothing like we, as Scots, and our MPs, are receiving from Brexiteers. That is what I mean about the English: they do not stand for this kind of questioning of ‘their right’ to have what they believe is theirs to have. Scots are the very opposite: we need to try and justify our very existence to ourselves and others. It is shaming and shameful; it is a grovelling existence that will see us reduced post Brexit; and it is a masochism too far for me. I did not sign up to this as a Scottish person.

        It is so unlikely now that another referendum will even be attempted in the UK as a political state because the god-awful mess that has been made of the EU referendum. We had a lot more to greet aboot than the Remainers in England because everything was thrown at us, and the EU residents had not voted, while everyone and his dog was allowed a vote in the indyref. I have long suspected that the SNP leadership is being led by the nose by elements within Holyrood who, ostensibly, work for the FM and her Cabinet (and previous FMs of all political hues). Whether those are elements of the Civil Service or SNP people themselves (not at the top but near enough to know what’s going on and to have some influence, and as has always been suspected throughout the SNP’s lifetime) we do not know, but ‘something is rotten in the state of Scotland’ to misquote that great Englishman, Shakespeare. The only route open to us now, if we want to avoid a NI situation in the future, with us playing the role of the civil/human rights marchers in our own country, is to dissolve the Union. Pronto. If the SNP tries to prevaricate again, we will know finally, that they have not the slightest intention of delivering independence.

  10. Lorna Campbell says:

    Editor: why would what is normal to every other country in constitutional terms be ethnic-nationalistic? I don’t recall Cameron being castigated in Bella for introducing constitutional restrictions – because it is not illegal or even frowned upon under international law. The UN, in some instances, sees it as appropriate to prevent the exact opposite of what you are calling immoral: a hideous colonialism that is given free rein. Do you think that the Israeli settlers in the West Bank and Gaza, many being of American/Russian, etc origin rather than Sabra Israeli, should be allowed to vote in Palestinian elections because they exist in what is nominally Palestinian territory? Yes, that is an extreme example, but so is yours. Sanctimony and self-righteousness do not good bedfellows make. If we cannot take the rUK voters with us into our new Scotland, what is the point? We will end up with a NI-type situation where the independence-seeking Scots are denied their human rights, if not their civil rights, doomed to perpetually banging their heads against the brick wall of intransigence of people who, by their actions, have come to colonize rather than settle.

    I know that is controversial in this time when the truth itself becomes whatever is considered to be PC at any given moment, and, certainly, truth can be very different concepts to different viewpoints and different people, but it is gross naivety (Mr Connelly’s view in every publication, not just yours, which is why Redgauntlet said what he did, and I, too, have been accused of the most heinous racism by Mr Connelly just for stating that the rUK NO vote was around 75% of the entire rUK vote in Scotland). Several perfectly respectable sources have delivered basically the same psephological finding. Are we in the business now of not acknowledging that many English people in Scotland might just be a tad anti Scottish and neo colonialist in their view of us, but it is perfectly acceptable to accuse angry Scots who feel betrayed and cheated through a whole litany of abuse by central government, and then, finally, kicked in the teeth by the very people we welcomed into our country as new Scots, of racism and anti Englishness. If that is the way of it, it is a distortion of the truth to such an extent that it becomes a pointless exercise.

    What, basically, Mr Connelly is saying is that the Scots, although he recognizes their grievances as legitimate, must yet be silent and not give voice to the source of much of their grievance – that 2014 NO vote? Has it come to this, that the independence-seeking Scots, the ones who lost in 2014, many of whom have been dragged into a Brexit they never asked for or wanted, ignored, pushed around and vilified, are the aggressors here, while those, along with Scottish Unionists, who put them in this position, are to be defended and lauded? You are saying that Bella’s position is that independence-seeking Scots – no matter how unsavoury ethno-nationalism in the rUK community is – must suck it up and remain silent to pass some test of socialist nirvana?

    I agree that it is probably very unlikely that we can introduce constitutional restrictions on any future indyref, having failed to do so in 2014 – I raised the issue to find out what the response might be – and that is why I am utterly opposed to another indyref unless it can be shown that we can win hands down. I do not believe we can, and I do not believe we will ever be able to show that, so it is utter folly to take that route to independence again, when Scotland is in danger of being dragged into a no deal situation courtesy of that NO vote and courtesy of its bullying, self-obsessed neighbour when it is self-evident that we will lose again. I really do not believe that Brexit will change anything, because too many in Scotland voted NO/Leave (two thirds of a million voters), making them opposed to both independence and the EU, and firmly in favour of remaining as a neo colonial adjunct of a UK in terminal decline that will not hesitate to suck us dry and throw away the husk, as, indeed, anyone who has studied closely what that post Brexit UK must look like, will understand is not a guess but the reality that awaits.

    Mr Connelly: “To finish, it’s completely beyond me why someone would assume that because I detest Anglophobia I must be OK with Scotophobia…”

    Equally, Mr Connelly/Editor, it is completely beyond me why someone would assume that, because I detest Scotophobia, I must be okay with Anglophobia.

    As I have said, Mr Connelly’s somewhat McCarthyite approach to ‘Scots under the bed’ appears to be acceptable, but flagging up his own community’s shortcomings in the ethno-nationalist stakes is not. How very odd. How very hypocritical. How very Neville Chamberlain.

    1. Derek Thomson says:

      Lorna, I agree with a lot of what you say (as I’ve said before) and I share your pain/frustration/despair, but it’s our fellow Scots that are the problem, and I think that has to be faced up to. Given the utter contempt in which our elected representatives (and by extension, us) have been held since the day after the referendum, given the clusterfuck of Brexit, the false promises, the insults, the lies, why has support for independence not shot up through the roof? When Norway voted for independence, it was 96% for Yes. Why is it not like that here? What the fuck is wrong with us?

    2. Alf Baird says:

      I also believe the editor has it wrong on the question of ‘Civic nationalism’. Civic nationalism involves those from other nations being permitted to take up citizenship in another nation. Most of us don’t have any problem with that. But Scotland is not even at that stage yet of being able to offer Scottish citizenship. Moreover Scotland is being prevented from ever reaching it in large part more especially by No voters from other nations within the UK. In what is a quite unique residence-based referendum on Scottish independence/self-determination people from other nations are voting specifically so that they can block the very creation of any Scottish citizenship. In other words No voters coming from other nations/cultural heritage are opposed to civic nationalism in Scotland. They don’t want it, and they don’t even want us Scots to have access to it (i.e. to Scottish citizenship and hence civic nationalism in Scotland). By voting No they are not demonstrating any form of ‘civic nationalism’, but rather a rather crude form of nationalistic (British) oppression.

      1. Derek Thomson says:

        Are you suggesting that all Scots voted Yes, but were cruelly denied independence by other nationalities? If you are, you should get out more – I’m sick of saying it, all English people that I know (again, I’m aware it’s anecdotal) voted Yes, and 90% of the Scottish people I know voted No.

        1. That’s precisely what Alf is saying and has been saying now for some years. It is advocating an ethno-nationalism and reducing English people to being a malign influence deceitful and corrupting of Scotland’s true destiny.

          It’s disgraceful and racist and breaks the guidelines which I posted the other day.

          1. John O'Dowd says:

            I don’t really think that’s what Alf is saying. My understanding is that a majority of those born in Scotland voted Yes. I believe this was substantiated. What scuppered us was that an even larger majority of rUK (mainly English) voters voted No in sufficient numbers to scupper Scottish self-determination. The operative word here is ‘SELF’.

            Like me, Alf worked at that time in ‘Scottish’ university – though we were not in the same one – I’m sure our experiences of English dominance in these institutions is similar. In that respect our experience was somewhat different from that of Derek Thomson.

            My own experience of our English and other rUK colleagues was a substantial and vociferous majority who were deeply hostile to Scottish independence (and some like e.g Tomkins, Coggins and Pennington were very publicly and organisationally in the colonialist camp).

            I don’t know what the EU nationals votes were (or if anyone has analysed them) but my own anecdotal evidence is of a very hostile Maltese couple (particularly the male) and an Irish – yes IRISH woman from Co Wicklow, belittling Scotland for having the audacious folly to even think about independence.

            I’d love to know what they make of the subsequent Brexit debacle, but I’m now happily retired out of the bastion of English colonialism that is the ‘Scottish’ university sector.

    3. Alf Baird says:

      The Malvinas situation is also informative, Lorna, in that the UN did not recognise the result of the (British) referendum held there principally because the existing population is now comprised predominantly of an ‘occupying people’ since the eviction of the earlier Malvinas people over a century ago. The descendants of the latter were never consulted or included (in the referendum) hence the result (in favour of Malvinas/Falklands remaining part of the UK) was not recognised nor accepted by the UN (Committee on Decolonization) nor by any of its Member States, many of whom are themselves former colonies. Self-determination of any ‘people’ and the UN’s aim to end what it still terms as ‘the scourge of colonisation’ is seldom directed at or intended to benefit an occupying or colonising population for rather obvious reasons; the latter are very often the reason for demands for self-determination amongst oppressed minorities and indigenous groups in the first place. An occupying people are by implication people from other nations and they have their own right to self-determination in the nation(s) from which they come but not necessarily also in nations elsewhere that they may happen to occupy or colonise or indeed where they may be in the process of removing or replacing another ‘people’. As Redgauntlet implies there is also a case to be made for inclusion in any franchise of Scots now living elsewhere albeit perhaps within a reasonable time limit of leaving the place, as practised by most other countries. Regarding Derek Thomson’s query about Scots voters, Scotland’s census tells us that Scotland’s population is currently being boosted and replaced primarily by people from England (some one million have moved from rest-UK to Scotland over the past 20 years alone), as also seems the case in Wales, and this renders any attempt at self-determination (of the ‘Scottish’ people) being successful via a referendum based mainly on residence increasingly unlikely given the way that people vote based on their dominant cultural and emotional ties and their perceptions of national identity. Scotland’s ongoing population change also helps explain the resurgence of the Tory vote in certain Scottish constituencies where the census informs us of the population make-up in those specific locations that have a high incidence of voters coming from rest-UK (e.g. Aberdeenshire, Borders, Dumfries & Galloway, Edinburgh, Perthshire, Stirlingshire etc). We will recall that pre-devolution Scots had made Scotland a ‘Tory free zone’ only two decades ago and it therefore seems highly unlikely that it is ‘reformed’ Scots who have seen any Tory ‘One Nation’ political ‘light’ and who are now behind a Tory resurgence here, and this outcome also seems to be reflected in the Tory MSP’s sitting in Holyrood.

  11. Michael MacGregor says:

    You cannae understand why Labour is taking this step without recognising that in every previous crises, the British Labour Party always backs the British imperialist state! I gave Craig Murray a copy of this outside the Scottish National Party conference in Perth, years ago. Imagine that, Sturgeon’s selfie wi’ the psychopathic Alistair Campbell, media architect of the attack on the Iraqi people in 2003!

    1. J Galt says:

      Yes and they get precious little thanks for it – witness Corbyn being used for target practice!

      The more intelligent of the armed forces people know on which side their bread is buttered.

  12. Chris Connolly says:

    I’m just one person with one vote. You can take turns to kick me when I’m down, totally misrepresent my opinions and subject me to the vilest racial abuse I’ve ever encountered, but Mike and his colleagues at Bella deserve better than to have their comments page taken over by a fascist mob. The reason the referendum was lost in 2014 was simply that not enough Scottish people were persuaded to vote for independence, and unless the haters keep their mouths shut the outcome next time will be exactly the same.

    Thanks to Derek for a voice of sanity and courtesy. Willie, you stopped talking to me after I paid you the undeserved compliment of giving a courteous answer to your rude question; Redgauntlet, you are a self-confessed racist & there’s no need for me or anyone else to add any further comment; Lorna Campbell, you have allowed your personal contempt for me to obliterate any semblance of rationality. And so on. The arrogance of all of you to think that you can speak for the Scottish people is breathtaking. A nation mainly consisting of broad-minded, intelligent, eloquent, welcoming, friendly, open, kind-hearted folk is certainly not represented by a handful of thugs whose behaviour would make a skinhead blush.

    I’ve actually defended the SNP this afternoon on Twitter from an accusation of hating the English, because it’s not true. I like Nicola Sturgeon and appreciate her kind words about New Scots. I’m sure that she and her colleagues would be horrified if she were to read some of the comments that have appeared here over the last couple of days. When the Unionists are looking for ammunition to demonstrate that independence supporters are motivated by hatred they’ll not have to look much further than

    “That stupid, backward, class ridden, snobbish, Philistine, arrogant and pompish (eh?) shithole of a country called England could sink under the sea and I wouldn’t bat an eye mate… ” and

    “You Chris Connolly, are just another arrogant, bullying, loudmouthed, imperialistic Englishman with a superiority complex who thinks your crappy wee country is superior to every other one on earth and beyond all reproach… “

    1. Redgauntlet says:

      And you Chris Connolly quite possibly are working for the British State and are here to smear to Scottish independence supporters….you kicked all this off with a totally unprovoked attack on me. I’ve never seen you post anything on Bella except wild accusations, I don’t remember you ever making any kind of positive contribution at all…

      If I was the editor of Bella, you’d be out on your ear…

      Meanwhile, your nasty, offensive and arrogant PM has wasted another couple of days, and we’re heading for her Brexit Deal being put back to Parliament next week with a gun against Parliament’s head… her deal or no deal…

      … and that numpty Corbyn still hasn’t worked it out…

      1. This is a completely unfounded accusation to make RedGauntlet.

        If you continue to make unfounded and derogatory and abusive remarks you will be removed.

        This is a warning.

        1. Redgauntlet says:

          Bella Caledonia Editor,

          You’re editorial line here is unfair and one-sided. Apparently Chris Connolly can call me and other contributors every slur which comes to mind – “fascist mob” for example – and yet, we are given a formal warning by you.

          Well, okay, I won’t be coming back to Bella Caledonia. Thanks for the memories.

    2. Lorna Campbell says:

      Mr Connelly is an agent provocateur, even if Mr Small can’t see through him. No one on here has subjected him to “vile racist abuse”. Yes, the language has been strong. I wish he would, please, stop trying to play the race and sympathy card. We are way past that now. We are not anti English, but very much pro Scottish. We are angry, and we have every right to be. That he refuses to see that really does put him in a category that should sound alarm bells. What he appears to want is his version of Scotland, one that has little to do with what is best for the Scots. Look, Scots, he says, I’m marching with you and rallying with you; I support independence; but you must not tell truths about the rUK vote in Scotland and how it might just scupper another indyref, even if it scuppers another indyref and independence all over again. Oh, no, that would be anti English and racist. That is patronizing, arrogant and self-interested – and bloody racist, too. That rUK NO vote hurt us. That he fails to see the hurt we were caused by that rUK NO vote and its rejection of our civic nationalism and inclusion is telling because he certainly articulates his own feelings of hurt at his posts and his arguments being rejected by us because of their basic dishonesty. I find his posts really scary.

      1. “Mr Connelly is an agent provocateur, even if Mr Small can’t see through him.”

        It’s Connolly FFS and he’s not at all and that’s a stupid accusation to make Lorna.

        If you continue to make unfounded and derogatory and abusive remarks you will be removed.

        This is a warning.

    3. Redgauntlet says:

      Only an Englishman could be so outrageously arrogant, bombastic and insensitive as to come on to Bella Caledonia and tell Scottish readers how they are going to win / lose their next independence referendum….

      …it’s the imperialist mentality, it’s in English culture, and I’ve no doubt that, even if Scotland ever is independent one day, large numbers of English people will soon move up to Scotland and be running the country for us or lecturing us how we should run it before too long…

      It’s the English imperialist mentality.

      1. Alf Baird says:

        They are already here, Redgauntlet. And if another one million mostly No voters make the journey north over the next two decades, as seems highly likely on current trends, Scotland can forget independence for good. And with that population ‘shift’ will come an ever more resurgent Tory party in Scotland, and Ruth Davidson might well become FM, unless Boris & Gove have closed down the Holyrood shop by then, Scotland becoming merely another large English county, and with that will come further largescale cultural change and resulting policy shifts of the kind that some of us can well imagine. No Scot should be surprised that this is the British ‘One Nation’ Tory strategy as far as Scotland is concerned, complete assimilation and subordination. In less than 20 years Scotland will not exist as a sovereign anything, any hope of statehood will be gone forever, unless we get a grip of the reality facing us now.

        1. This is Trumpist fantasy and delusion.

          1. Jamie MacDonald says:

            This is exactly what is happening in my part of the country, and having discussed politics with quite a few folk from NI (shoot me,but mostly from England) they are 90% No voting and not even for turning..
            One retired Guy calling the SNP Nazis, while living in the most beautiful remote cottage, he still couldn’t seem to shake his own seething hate of everything scottish..
            Lots of people moving into the area, all being made very welcome despite their being a shortage of affordable homes to rent, or buy -these being artificially inflated by people moving from rUK where they can financially outstrip the Scots in the property stakes.. Correct me if I am wrong but if someone lived and worked in Scotland they had a vote, Living and working here is not the same as having a holiday home here, it is not the same as studying for a 4year degree at one of our Universities, nor is it the same as being posted here for 6 months contract or even a 2 year placement.. I think there has to be some rules set around the franchise to ensure a second referendum is not scuppered by more of the above or as Lorna says above a million Americans descend on us next time!
            I can also agree with Derek in what he says about our fellow Scots though I feel they are ultimately more persuadable than those from rUK.
            Finally Bella as the moderator here, can you be expected to be taken seriously if you cannot even moderate your own language? I enjoy some of the writing on the site but am not at all impressed by how unfairly you have dealt with some of the valued commenters on here -whilst simultaneously clearing CC for being similarly ‘outspoken’ shall we say.. People are rightfully angry -cutting out their tongues now will help how exactly?
            Sheesh, Bella, please let this be your warning..

      2. Lorna Campbell says:

        What? You would ban me and Redgauntlet for stating what is so obvious?

        “…but Mike and his colleagues at Bella deserve better than to have their comments page taken over by a fascist mob…”

        You would allow this man to say this to us yet ban us? It’s an Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass/Kafkaesque nightmare.

        Derek Thomson: “…When Norway voted for independence, it was 96% for Yes. Why is it not like that here? What the fuck is wrong with us?…”

        These threats from the Editor explain precisely what is wrong. He can see clearly, apparently that I am a fascist because Mr Connelly says I am, but he can’t see through Mr Connolly who complains of anti Englishness in every publication he posts in. He deliberately provokes outbursts to try and make his fallacious arguments about anti Englishness and racism, the very definition of an agent provocateur. I did not say he worked for the government. He is working to his own agenda: which is to try and expose the ‘fascist underbelly’ of independence (just the Scottish variety) whilst marching arm-in-arm with the very people he is duping. I suggest that everyone on these threads actually reads the Edinburgh University study of 2015 (using demographics that are three years out of date). It is not fascist to say that, if that rUK NO vote cannot be overcome in its homogeny, a second indyref is some to be the same as the first, and for the same reasons. Why is it fascist to tell it like it is, but not fascist to tell it like it isn’t? Thanks for the warning, Ed. I won’t be posting again either. Mr Connelly has succeeded in driving us away, and you have just helped him. I hope I am still alive when it all goes pear-shaped and turns out just as we told you it would – which it will, if nothing is done to change it. Believe me, I will say: told you so. Trumpism? Oh, dear Lord. Really? Trumpism? The world it stands upon its head…I cover my head and stay in bed…

        1. Derek Thomson says:

          I’m not sure what it is about my post that offends you Lorna. I spoke to a friend a few weeks ago, and had foolishly imagined that she would have changed her mind since 2014 (she voted NO, Scottish born and bred) but after everything, the scorn, the ridicule, the contempt, Brexit, no, she still thought we were “stronger together as one country”. My comment was a howl of despair Lorna, nothing more.

  13. J Galt says:

    “Trumpist fantasy”?

    Perhaps you’re right Mike.

    However you would have to accept that the demographic of Scotland is changing, in some areas quite dramatically, the evidence is all around us. Maybe not as fast as Mr Baird says but not far off it.

    Of course we would like to think that our open civic nationalism would persuade most of these new Scots to support Independence, however that is not happening and I suspect another Indyref would be an even bigger humiliation than the last. Dirty tricks might not even be required.

    Changing the franchise I accept would be difficult, firstly the UK would never allow it and secondly it would indeed leave the SNP open to unpleasant accusations.

    We might just have accept the dream is over.

    As the Earl of Seafield put it in 1707 “There’s the end tae ane auld sang”

    1. Alf Baird was quite up front about being a fan of Steve Bannon and Donald Trump.

      We lost the referendum because we didn’t persuade enough people – we will win the next referendum by persuading enough people. Accusing people of being MI5 plants or stopping English people voting wont help the latter.

      1. Redgauntlet says:

        I can’t believe you’re coming out with this pish, Bella…. you should be working for the tabloids, though Bella is a kind of tabloid these days.

        I and others on this thread have suggested that Scotland follows what other European nations do – which you and Doug Daniels seem to know nothing about at all, or the goody two shoes SNP – and require a minimum residency period before voting rights are granted to non Scots. That is how it works in every other country I can think of. And you say that means somebody like me is an ethno-nationalist because I make that argument? It’s very unfair and a total falsehood.

        Why should someone born outside Scotland, over to do a Phd or just off on a foreign spell abroad for a few years, get a vote on Scottish independence? It’s totally and utterly bizarre! As it is to want to use that vote by the way… but that is what happened in 2014. And you’re happy with that?

        When Brexit goes through – May’s Deal or No Deal will happen next week I predict – then London will turn its attention to liquidating the devolution settlement.

        Only Neal Ascherson has actually worked out what Brexit will mean for Scotland. Holyrood will be luxury flats in 20 years time is my bet…

        And you’re providing succour to a guy who calls absolutely everybody, including yourself, an Anglophobe?

        We should be talking about Brexit and how it is going to affect Scotland, we should be talking about indyref 2 and how to mobilize, and whether we need London consent to do it, articles about what we should be doing now in Scotland to protect ourselves from the repression which is coming down the road…

        What do we get? Articles with a tabloid flavour, about England this and England that and their “national identity” crisis – which is something right out the handbook of ethno nationalism..

        And of course, Catalonia. How many articles can you do on Catalonia? Eh? There must be about 30 of them by now.. each one more dodgy than the last….

        George Kerevan and Chris Bambery or whatever his name have written a totally and utterly outrageous piece of propaganda, which completely distorts the history of Spain and in particular the Civil War.

        And the book is full of errata…

        I don’t want to be associated with Bella Caledonia any more. Any university student union sets higher standards than you guys do… you’re way off piste, Mike, as the SNP are too, more interested in collecting Brownie points than resisting Brext.

        …Asleep at the wheel and with a severe case of Stockholm syndrome it seems to me…

        1. Redgauntlet says:

          PS. If English university students have to be pay tuition fees at Scottish universities, and Scottish students don’t, why can’t we discriminate in favour of Scots when it comes to voting rights too?

          I do not accept the principle that an English / Welsh or Northern Irish person – or EU national – who has moved to Scotland just a few years ago be entitled to a vote at a Scottish independence referendum. They have to been here ten years say.

          It’s similar to the colonizers and settlers debate… when, again, far too many indie supporters chickened out of standing behind Alasdair Gray….

        2. Chris Connolly says:

          Just to be clear, Bella has little option but to threaten people with bans if they make accusations that can’t be substantiated. I refer my honourable friends to the current matter of Campbell v Dugdale, in which the plaintiff claims that the defendant libelled him by calling one of his tweets homophobic. He says that this was untrue and has damaged his reputation. Potentially, Ms Dugdale could lose a lot of money if the judgement goes against her.

          Accusing someone who is not a spy, plant or agent provocateur of being any of those things when it’s not true leaves not just the accuser but the site provider at risk. Incidentally. an agent provocateur would try to persuade people to commit crimes in order to bring their movement into disrepute. The Spy Cops who infiltrated environmental groups in England were agents provocateurs, among other things. Someone who publicly disagrees with the consensus is not an agent provocateur but a dissident.

          On the other side of the coin, Redgauntlet himself proudly substantiates the accusation that he is a racist. Consequently, there’s no chance of getting Bella into an unnecessary jam by calling him one.

          This whole storm in a teacup will have been forgotten in a week’s time. For some of us, taking the rest of the week off would be a smart move.

          1. Redgauntlet says:

            That is four times you have now insulted me on this thread Chris Connolly.

            I am asking you to please stop doing so and to stop replying to my posts as I already did earlier…. please just stop it, okay?

      2. Willie says:

        So Editor, are you saying MI5 plants don’t exist?

        Seems that you are, and that Alf is wrong.

        C’mon Ed you know that the dark forces of the state exist. Read Brigadier General Sir Frank Kilson. He wrote the book on how to resist independence movements.

        Watching, listening, reporting, undermining, supporting counter groups, air time for die hard loyalist voices, biased and or fake news, mass data analysis, it’s all there, everything up to the shooting starting.

        So yes, MI5 along with other shadowy politico security organisations exist exist all right. Indeed, Bellla has covered pieces on undercover cops fathering children in target groups.

        I think therefore that you have responded inappropriately to Alf. His comments about plants and the ethnic engineering of Scotland are I think quite accurate, because if the State can put undercover cops into environmental groups it’d certainly do the same to independence groups wanting to rip their British State apart.

        And with that Ed I’ll just now switch on the wireless to get my impartial news briefing according to the BBC.

        1. Mi5 exists and I have written about the secret state extensively before. What isnt appropriate is accusing anyone who disagrees with you of being a spy.

          I have no interest in giving a platform to people who want to advocate fr a movement based on ethnic lines.

          This site operates a policy of restricting people posting racist commentary.

  14. w.b. robertson says:

    Bella`s editor, it seems to me, is remarkably patient with his contributors. If they submitted their considered views to a national newspaper the office duty lawyer would have their words on the spike in record quick time. On this thread there are too many egos on parade. Time some people grew up.

    1. Chris Connolly says:

      Fair comment. Disagreement is healthy but name-calling is just silly. I regret my part in it and am happy to bury the hatchet and start afresh on better terms.

    2. I am remarkably patient (!), though that patience has now run out. I’m completely tired of being insulted. Hosting and moderating is difficult but if people don’t respond to warnings and yellow cards then they will be barred for the good of the wider group.

      1. Willie says:

        Editor, I suspect a bit of emotion in the tone of your responses and I don’t think they are your usual tone.

        So let me say this. Bella Caledonia is well read by many. There are good contributors who put effort into getting things out into the public debate – and you Sir are one of them!

        So recognise what you’ve achieved in Bella, that it’s appreciated, and try not to get irked by forthright comment. The reality of what is going on out there is worse.

        And lastly why not ask Red Gauntlet or Alf Baird to write a piece. They are, in fact we all are, on the one side!

      2. John Cawley says:

        Mike, I think the people on this thread should have a look below the line at any Herald or Scotsman opinion piece. The abuse, the self-righteousness and the simple failure to be respectful to differing points of view on display is the death of Bella as a reasonable space to explore Scottish independence, Brexit, contemporary culture and media. Below the line on Bella is generally a decent space to explore arguments. The intemperate nature of the exchanges between RG, CC and Lorna C illustrates just how high emotions are running at the moment. Moderation in all its meanings in politics, online and below the line on Bella is more necessary now than ever. I am an Indyref yes voter, former Labour voter and a Remainer. If Brexit goes ahead, an independent Scotland made up of a rainbow coalition of SNP voters, radical Indy folk, greens, Labour voters and remainers is essential. There are Scots who are SNP Brexters, Lexiters, Tory Remainers, migrants, English SNP voters and Scots of all races, creeds, sexualities and genders, able and disabled, huge numbers of whom need to be convinced that their needs will be met in an independent Scotland in order for Yes to win Indyref 2.
        I’m off Twitter for various reasons including my failure to be more moderate in my use of language towards those with whom I disagreed. Sadly, the BBC in Scotland generally neither speaks to me, nor for me these days. Bella, Channel 4 News, the odd Herald, Scotsman and Guardian columnist, the New York Times online and various online sites such as the Huffington Post are where I get most of my news, opinion and analysis these days. Usually, below the line is a dispiriting bearpit of name-calling, malice and vitriolic abuse and I struggle to think of one abusive interaction I engaged in or was subjected to that had any positive impact upon my opinion, the opinion of those with whom I interacted or on my general health and well-being.
        The sincerity of the views expressed by Chris, Red Gauntlet and Lorna is not in doubt, but the anger expressed in the exchanges is counter-productive. The last thing we need in these times of extremes is more vitriol. Bella is a haven of sanity, a broad church and a space to explore our vision(s) of Scotland’s future. We need moderation and if Mike doesn’t hold the jackets and set the rules, have a look below the line at The Herald. It’s a hellish space where everyone is shouting, no one is listening and no good is done.

  15. Chris Connolly says:

    Taken a break to collect my thoughts on this discussion/debate/shouting match. I notice my attempted conciliatory message went ignored, which was only to be expected. I came across this comment on Twitter, in response to the original article.

    “A fine and thoughtful analysis that summarises and contextualises the thoughts swirling around my head. Reminds me of an old quote from Irish poet Tom Paulin who said the defining characteristic of Englishness is “triumphalist self-loathing”. Too true, sadly.”

    “The defining characteristic.” I’ll just leave that here for everyone to enjoy.

    Just spent a weekend in England (with my son & his wife rather than my MI5 handler) & enjoyed it very much but am delighted to have arrived back home today.
    Happy to continue living peacefully & harmoniously with my friendly, warm-hearted Scottish neighbours (none of whom has ever told me I’m not welcome or shouldn’t be allowed to vote) and will respect whatever decision the people deliver the next time there’s a vote on independence.

    1. Derek Thomson says:

      Self-pitying claptrap. Oh, somebody called me names on the internet. Grow up.

    2. florian albert says:

      Chris Connolly

      Do not be discouraged by the fact that many on this site are aggressively critical of what you write. To others, you are a very welcome – and temperate – contributor.

      1. Chris Connolly says:

        Thanks very much for your kind words, Florian. To be honest I think my original post was a wee bit over the top but the response has been, well, pretty depressing.

        All the best to you.

  16. Chas Karasick says:

    please keep me posted on any new posts

  17. Russell Turner Campbell says:

    ‘The language of the far-right and Brexit is littered with “treason” and “traitor”’ I would argue that language like this was started by sections of Scottish Independence supporters at time of the referendum. Non-independence supporters were described as “Quislngs” and the like. I have made reasonable [and polite, I hope] points on the Herald website and have received all sorts of abuse in return, including being told that I would not be welcome in an independent Scotland. My local Tory MP’s constituency office has had “traitor” sprayed on it on more than one occasion. [I am anything but a supporter of him.]
    While there is much in this article with which I agree I feel it is very one-sided by giving the impression that only English Nationalists are guilty of such abuse.

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