The First British Empire

As Scottish Labour form a disorderly circular firing squad and 2014 No Voters watch nervously as a No Deal scenario snaps into sharp focus, we are witnessing (finally) the end days of Britain. It’s unraveling in unseemly chaos.
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Even Simon Jenkins writing with dripping condescension in the Guardian observed: “Johnson is in a long line of Westminster leaders determined to infuriate the Scots – as a century ago they once infuriated the Irish. With the exception of Tony Blair’s partial devolution, London has simply ignored the progressive disintegration of the “first British empire”, the one that has embraced the British Isles since the Norman conquest and was cohered as a supposed United Kingdom in 1801.”
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This “first British Empire” line is unusual for an English writer, but it stands out as a coming-to-terms of the reality of things. Brexit has cleared the air. If Scotland was at various times complicit in imperial conquests, Jenkins framing is telling and his whole article is a significant moment.
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Jenkins reflects on the current shambles with a bit or history: “While France, Germany and Italy (if not Spain) have steadily assimilated their disparate provinces over time, the United Kingdom has done the opposite. Through persistent, bumbling misrule it has alienated the so-called Celtic fringe, and fuelled the fires of separatism.”
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It’s true these provinces are disparate and un-assimilated but Jenkins remedy for this tragic state are quite something. He writes:
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“Sooner or later, London will be forced to grow up and recognise that it has sacrificed the right to rule the British Isles. Ireland has gone and Scotland will clearly go one day. Whitehall should take the initiative and prepare a fiscal and legislative independence package; one that withdraws Scots MPs from Westminster and sees Scotland rejoin the EU, but keeps travel, currency and citizenship ties in place.”
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Glancing across the Cabinet room – and across the battered political landscape – you know that is a scenario that is not going to happen.
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But if the London commentariat are coming to terms with what’s underway, so too are the political parties as we sprint towards Halloween.
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Scottish Labour are now in open civil war, whilst the Scottish Tories divisions and splits are a more private affair. Both suffer from an extreme form of cognitive dissonance. They demand and expect self-determination from their centralised party structures, whilst resting their entire political outlook on denying the same to the Scottish people.
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Scottish Labour’s split on a left-right axis by MSPs who have never accepted Richard Leonard (or Jeremy Corbyn). They may have been motivated by ideological differences and then had these beliefs boosted by the incompetence of their leaders north and south of the border. But they have nothing to offer in their place. They have neither charismatic competence nor a political programme to challenge. Jackie Baillie would offer jobs at Faslane, and the Pittakionophobic Ian Murray clings to the idea of the Union like a man adrift far from land clinging to the wreckage. Theirs is a Red White and Blue Labour, but as they cleave to the Mothership of Britannia, London has rejected them like a changeling child. The irony must hurt.
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London Labour have cast Scotland Labour aside knowing that power and agency lies more with Westminster allies in the SNP than with Labour colleagues at Holyrood. That’s hilarious.
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We are now in a situation where both parties north of the border could split and reform – could they come together as centre ground Unionists, a sort of Better Together party where they could find solace? Stranger things have happened in Brexitland.
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FROM NO TO NO DEAL

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How do those who have committed to the Union as an eternal good react to the crisis and the shifting position of the Scottish electorate?
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There are three main options: embrace it and act as if you are in the Blitz; re-create the fantasies of Federalism and miraculous constitutional reform; face the reality of change and a United Kingdom torn apart not by Scottish ‘separatism but by English exceptionalism and xenophobia.
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The people who voted No in 2014 and are getting No Deal in 2019 are confused and angry. They are either doubling-down in rage and confusion or quietly shifting to the exit route.
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The more the realities of No Deal is revealed – Newsnight reports the possibility of 45,000 dairy cattle to be culled in the event of No Deal in Northern Ireland – the more No voter shrugs it off – some have blithely shrugged this off as an opportunity for a BBQ.
In one sense the idea of shrugging off Project Fear will be recognisable to pro-independence voters. In another sense being blase about the economic chaos of Brexit being imposed after you were promised economic and political security must be devastating. And shrugging off the very real problems of impact to food supply and medicines with a sort of stoic British stiff upper lip and a resort to the language of wartime is a new scale of embarrassment.
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Tensions between these three response options (embrace it and act as if you are in the Blitz; fantasy Federalism; face reality) become more strained as No Deal nears.
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Option 1 – embrace it and act as if you are in the Blitz is fun as a game but loses its appeal as supermarket shelves thin-out. The “British people” weaned on X-Box and Deliveroo don’t have as much resilience as they think they do. Whilst the extremists will blame all on the Europeans intransigence, no-one will really believe that (including crucially themselves).

Option 2 – engage in fantasy about Federalism and constitutional reform. The timeline for this is sharp and the agencies that might create a movement around this are absent. Despite all of the talk of “taking back control” the insurgent English nationalist movement has no desire to do this at all. It has, as John McDonnell said this week already have an “English parliament”. What’s to campaign for?
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Enthusiastic commentators, and ex-politicians still indulge this parlour game but it doesn’t have a future without a political vehicle, and whilst billionaires can bankroll astro-turf parties at the click of a finger, actual political movements can’t be summonsed so easily.
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Option 3 – facing the reality of change, real, deep change is difficult, but there are some ready to do that. Not just the pro-Brexit people in England who would happily jettison the Union to fulfill Brexit, but some on the Labour left who envisage a partnership of equals and a future of four republics interacting as allies.
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A lot of talk about how “Scotland changed forever” followed the 2014 vote, and its true that some of the deeply-ingrained deference was cast aside, a generation politicised and the terms of political debate fundamentally changed. But it’s worth realising how much England, Wales and Ireland have changed as well.
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Writing in the London Review of Books (“How bad can it get?”) William Davies writes:
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“Since the referendum a distinctive and separate political faction has coalesced, accounting for at least a quarter of the electorate, possibly as much as a third. It is predominantly English and its members are older than average, dwelling in those vast swathes of Leave country outside the major cities and university towns. This faction is outraged that Brexit has not been delivered, and it has turned out in large numbers to vote for the Brexit Party in the European elections in May. It also dominates the Conservative Party membership. This group is currently on a collision course with the British constitution, because it is giving up on parliamentary democracy. As social movements go, it has some enviable assets: a very clear demand to rally around (no deal), a strong sense of indignation, and a well-known spokesman (Nigel Farage). These resources, together with a background hum of Islamophobia, have succeeded in uniting Thatcherite retirees in the South-East with furious Tommy Robinson activists. For all the talk of Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘Marxism’ and ‘terrorist sympathies’, as well as Labour’s real problems with antisemitism, Labour and Momentum look positively liberal by comparison.
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This faction put Johnson where he is today and it’s not going away. The question is how he intends to deal with it. For a nihilist such as Johnson, there is every reason to seek its support and call a general election. That, of course, would commit him to ‘no deal’. Leaving aside the chaos that would ensue, the question is: what would this faction – and its spokesman – demand next? And that’s where things could get very ugly.
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Britain is witnessing a phenomenon already seen in the United States, where it has been called ‘asymmetric polarisation’. Aided by new media platforms such as Breitbart, a large chunk of the radical right has snapped off from the rest of the political spectrum and renounced all compromise or negotiation. Trump is the result, and the Republican Party has largely fallen into line behind the radicals.”
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CATCH 1852

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As the sun fades on the ‘first British Empire’ then we are a crossroads between an amicable separation and a bitter divorce. The paradox is that Scotland must act as a force of internal security whilst acting as midwive to the future. The new child wants to have nothing to do with the militarism, imperialism and jingoism of the past. It has challenges ahead that aren’t about delusions of grandeur or a hyper-nostalgic imagining of the past but of creating the possibility of a shared and viable future. That’s only possible if we move beyond self-deception, enabling liars and glorying in blame politics.
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As our rain-soaked summer fades amongst political chaos Neal Ascherson predicts: “So we have leading Tories – not only Johnson – apparently prepared to suspend a sovereign Parliament in order to force through a Brexit meant to restore the sovereignty of Parliament. That’s not Catch-22; it’s Catch-1852. Remember Louis-Napoléon’s futile suppression of the National Assembly, in order to rule by decree and plebiscite in the name of ‘the people’? Stand back for Boris Bonaparte. When this stuff happened nearly four hundred years ago, English Parliamentarians went home and ground their swords to an edge. Not this time. The courage and integrity of most MPs flare up only briefly before they fizzle. My autumn forecast is rapid deadlock, an uproar of scatological cartooning, another Tory rebellion and finally the nastiest, dirtiest general election for a hundred years.”
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The problem, as Ascherson points to, is what happens when the rights’ political project fails and collapses under its own contradictions and absurdity? The conditions of fear and poverty that propelled them are still here.

Comments (33)

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  1. Jean Martin says:

    Excellent article.

    1. Hi Eric – that’s a quote from William Davies, not a comment by myself.

      I agree entirely with the links you post and will return to this subject in the future.

      1. R. Eric Swanepoel says:

        Sorry, I should have noted that, but I am still glad I drew attention to the phrase as it certainly needs to be challenged. Glad you will be returning to the subject.

    2. John Monro says:

      Yes, thanks for your comment and your references. Saves others posting to counter this “real problem of anti-Semetism” suggestion. (Not to say that anti-semitism is non-existent, but it’s no more a problem for the Labour party than most other sections of the UK population, and certainly much LESS than in extreme right wing sympathisers. )

  2. Jo says:

    Be cautious about flagging up Simon Jenkins’ words on anything. There is always an ulterior motive with him, always. He has form.

    1. I thought I was taking apart his words not flagging them up

      1. Jo says:

        Oops, sorry, I could have worded that better.

  3. Unionist Media BDSM Club says:

    Superb summary of where we are, Mike.

    To run with the Blitz fantasies for a moment, what we’re actually approaching is not just the Luftwaffe being sent to Scotland, but being sent here *by England*.

    Were the people in 1940 blessed with inspirational leaders like Lynne Truss, by the way? Perhaps they were fortunate enough to have a Lynne Truss-like figure heading the RAF…

    Lynne Truss moving models of squadrons around a scaled model of the UK, squinting at the Nazi squadrons and pondering strategy. Lynne Truss sharing her strategic insights with Bomber Harris. Lynne Truss touring the airbases to give inspirational speeches to the pilots. Lynne Truss touring bombed-out estates to reassure the terrified public. Lynne Truss holding glazed-eyed grins for an excruciatingly long time at a time in front of wailing, dirt-plastered, homeless infants…

    Where was I?

    >Britain is witnessing a phenomenon already seen in the United States, where it has been called ‘asymmetric polarisation’. Aided by new media platforms such as Breitbart, a large chunk of the radical right has snapped off from the rest of the political spectrum and renounced all compromise or negotiation.

    If there is now a core to the need for Scottish independence, this is it. This is what has been so frightening about 2019 — the speed with which the most influential parts of the English right have moved to a GOP-style contempt for democracy. It’s why the situation we find ourselves in, even leaving the potential horrors of no-deal aside, is the most serious of my lifetime.

    >The more the realities of No Deal is revealed – Newsnight reports the possibility of 45,000 dairy cattle to be culled in the event of No Deal in Northern Ireland – the No voter shrugs it off as an opportunity for a BBQ.

    Just a slightly picky point about language, Mike. I’d rephrase this as ” the confirmed Unionist shrugs it off as an opportunity for a BBQ.” So many former No voters have now come over to our side, and so many more are on the verge of doing so, that we should probably be avoiding any negativity about ‘No voters’ at all. They’re our future comrades-in-arms. Let’s start treating them as such.

    Overall, though, this is the best summary I’ve seen so far this weekend.

    1. Thanks very much Unionist Media BDSM Club – points noted …

    2. Jo says:

      “Aided by new media platforms…”

      You forget the worst culprit is a very long-established media body – the BBC.

      The other night I watched Hardtalk and was absolutely horrified by the behaviour of the BBC’s Stephen Sackur towards Ireland’s Senator Neale Richmond. Sackur proceeded to suggest that the Brexit stalemate, the terrible risks of No Deal, every downside to Brexit in fact, was all the fault of Ireland’s intransigence! Nothing to do with the UK!

      Sackur’s aggression was really shocking. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. To his credit Richmond remained dignified. (I don’t know how, frankly!). Sackur’s whole argument was that Ireland was refusing to work with the UK when it knew (the UK government has claimed) there’s a way around this hard border lark (even if they’re reluctant to say what that is so far!)

      Sackur essentially mocked Richmond (and Ireland) by essentially asking was it worth it to go against the UK at the risk of wrecking its own economy along with Anglo-Irish relations! There was no willingness on Sackur’s part to acknowledge any responsibility on the UK’s part for the mess we are in.

      I’m used to the bias of the BBC, certainly, but this was utterly disgraceful.

      https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0007hqz

      1. Charles L. Gallagher says:

        Jo, I watched this and thought a ‘knuckle-sandwich’ would not have been out of place.

        1. Jo says:

          Indeed Charles. Perhaps Sackur felt all the braver because Neale Richmond was on a screen rather than face to face with him!

          It was, however, also a lesson in retaining one’s head while all around are losing theirs. The longer Richmond stayed calm, the madder Sackur became until he was actually shouting at him!

          I sent a complaint to the BBC but got the usual rubbish back.

          “You’re unhappy? We don’t care. Beat it!”

      2. Alinscot says:

        Thank you for the link. I watched most of it and this is what we will face in Scotland. The Westminster establishment (the English if you like) simply cannot conceive of any situation that does not reflect their own view of England’s position in the world order and Sackur confirmed this beyond doubt.

        Stephen Sackur referred more than once to future Anglo Irish relations which must mean he is not expecting Scotland and others to be part of the UK in the near future.

  4. Charles L. Gallagher says:

    Mike, a couple of weeks back at the Brecon & Radnor by-election I caught the tail-end of a comment about the fate of Welsh Lamb where the question had been asked who would buy Welsh lamb if EU tariffs after a No Deal Brexit collapsed the market? The response by an unknown Govt spokes-person or it could have been a Tory acolyte was that the Govt would buy, slaughterthen burn the carcasses. Have you or anybody heard this?

    1. Millsy says:

      A similar point was raised on the Newsnight show last week as they discussed the culling of N.Ireland’s dairy herds . A Former Agriculture minister with responsibility for Planning for No Deal , sacked by Boris Johnson the week before , was repeatedly asked what the Government was doing about this possible scenario – and repeatedly ignored the question but parroted the line that lots of work was being done to avert any ”problems” with a No Deal ! And that Michael Gove ( in charge of No Planning ) was doing a ”great job ”. Let’s hope that Michael has overcome his aversion to ”experts” and has involved a few in his planning brief .

      Lions led by donkeys springs to mind – or perhaps lunatics running the asylum .

  5. Alinscot says:

    The biggest problem will be the BBC/ITV. I vividly remember in 2014 it suddenly dawned in London that Yes was on 50%+. The full force of the media was engaged 7/10 days before voting and started asking all the questions that had been on the agenda for the past couple of years and all the negatives were re-stated big time with no opportunity of a reply.

    It will be the same again next time.

  6. Tommy Lusk says:

    Personally I was encouraged by the hoo haa around McDonnell’s words. I feel less baffled by Leonard’s stance on indyref2, pleased to see J Baillie exposed, and encouraged to hear other Labour voices get an airing. It’s been my belief for a while that I’m nearer to independence with J Corbyn Labour than with SNP. There are too many examples of countries gaining “independence” from The British Empire where independence doesn’t trickle down. Worse still, the old elite manage to quietly keep control of the country’s wealth. Of course a general election could make this all academic. A Tory/Brexit alliance and I’m most likely a separatist. I voted for Brexit (I also voted YES in 2014) but I accept Labour need to back remain in a General Election. Unfortunately, The Liberal Party have their tales up and won’t play it tactically with Labour, which will be a plus for Tory/Brexit.

    1. Jo says:

      Tom Watson has waded in now, declaring that Indyref2 “isn’t the answer”. He claims to be “backing Leonard” but, actually, I think he’s just trying to steer Leonard away from remaining loyal to Corbyn. Watson’s number one priority, along with the Fifth Column he leads in the Labour Party, even as we teeter on the edge of No Deal, is to bring down Corbyn.

  7. Maggie Craig says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with the comment that Simon Jenkins’ piece was ‘dripping with condescension.’ Well, hell, have you just noticed Scotland, Simon?

  8. Richard Easson says:

    Just when I thought things couldn’t get any more ridiculous I caught sight of the Radio Times cover in the Co-op.
    The Radio Times that old media platform advertising a NEW Dad’s Army!
    Give me strenght. Roll on the last night of the Proms.

  9. John Monro says:

    I think it would be true, but as I write from 12,000 miles away in New Zealand, I am of course open to correction, that Scotland, its citizens, that is (and we’ll leave England, N Ireland and Wales out of this, though the same principles should apply), need to do rather more than discuss independence on the basis of present, and temporary, political shenanigans (which by the way you describe very well) .

    What we’re seeing in the UK is not unique to this country, but is now being played out around the world. It’s the end of a 250 year old era, which was started in the UK with the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution – an intellectual and economic seeding of a vast change in the global landscape. It’s perhaps appropriate that the UK, the nation that’s been industrialised the longest is now among the first nations to start failing its own revolution. And it is. The old rules no longer apply. We are reaching the limits of the planet’s capacity to provide for us. Neoliberalism, extreme capitalism, and the sidelining of socialism or humane politics in any form, has made things much worse and also made it harder, intellectually and politically, to deal with. No only has neoliberalism forged a destructive machine for humanity, but it has also forged the blinkers most of us now wear. For the UK, especially England, its population vastly exceeds the resources available to it in its own realm. Trade supplies the balance of food and energy required to keep the population healthy, but that’s now beginning to falter.

    So Scotland wishes to become independent on the failure of the Westminster political system and the promise of increased “sovereignty” and self management. But that’s a very narrow perspective indeed. Certainly if I lived in Scotland I would see the Scottish Parliament as less outmoded and hopefully more representative than the Westminster one – the inability of the UK to reform of the House of Lords, of the Commons chamber and of proportional representation has proved to be a serious problem. But the Scots, whilst certainly politically aware, need to undertake some very serious philosophical, moral, economic and social self-examinations along with any move to independence. The old certainties have gone, there will be no new certainties, but at least some course can be mapped out for the citizens to try to follow.

    “The Green New Deal” has gained some traction, but I’m afraid, on its own, it is going to prove insufficient. It takes its ideology in part from the “New Deal” of Roosevelt, but that was now nearly 90 years ago, when the world’s population was less than one third of what it is now, and where two thirds of that world lived a life-style that hadn’t changed for 10,000 years. What we desperately need is a “New Ecological Enlightenment” to understand and deal with the realities of our present serious predicament.

    It will almost certainly mean profound changes which no-one, even the “Greens” have faced up to, or at least will admit to. We don’t have to revert to the Middle Ages, but we do have to go more gently on our Earth, and with each other. We will have to learn to live happily with less, may be quite a lot less. For is anyone necessarily happier with more? For Scotland it means facing the environmental and social degradation of the Highlands, and urgent remediation and land reform. It means rebuilding resilience in all your communities and facing the severe social problems related to poverty and drugs and alcohol abuse. It means dramatic and urgent reductions in the burning of fossil fuels and investment in housing infrastructure and energy efficiency. It means Scots being kind to other Scots and being kind to your country and landscape. It is the opportunity, an historic one, to change direction and to lead the world. You’ve done it before. You and your descendents will never get another equal opportunity to do this again. We need desperately to return to a caring state and banish extreme capitalism. Conservatives dismiss the caring state with the cynical slur the “nanny state” – we have to take that slur and treat it as a badge of honour instead, because ultimately, what is the use of our state if it won’t care for us, all of us.

    Thanks for your Bella Caledonia web pages, I find them very interesting and welcome your obvious concern for social justice. You live in a stunningly beautiful country, which will be even more beautiful when the effort’s finally put in to deal with the places of its environmental impoverishment. I’ll never forget after walking from Canterbury to Iona in 2014, sitting alone on the shingle of the beach facing the Atlantic on a quiet, hot sunny July day, as the sun set to the most wonderful glory. The beach was called Camas Cuil an t-Siamh. Which I understand can be translated as “The bay at the back of the Ocean”. It seemed to me just then a beach to end all beaches, a bay to end all bays, a name to end all names. I sat there transfixed and for a precious moment totally at one with the universe. For this moment I could seriously imagine I possessed a soul. We need somehow to create the means to experience real wellness in all aspects of our lives both as individuals and as a community, and to adjust and deal to the imperfections of our temporary stay on this world with charity and kindness above all else.

    Thank you all and good luck and best wishes from New Zealand.

    1. Phil Rodgers says:

      A fine and eloquent comment, but … “temporary, political shenanigans”? There’s nothing temporary about Brexit. Personally, I would rather Scotland be a part of Europe than the UK. What is looking more and more likely is Scotland leaving both. Ideally we would remain in both, but with a healthier relationship between Scotland and England.

  10. James Sinclair says:

    Action Time ! March for Independence ….Aberdeen Saturday 17th August. Begins Albyn Place 1.30pm. Everyone invited.

  11. Thomas Dunlop says:

    The way things are rapidly deteriorating, we might have to take lessons from the Baltics states re-emergence from the chaos of the disentegration of the Soviet Union, as a road map out of this mess.

    All bets are off, on my eyes, as it will get dirtier and nastier towards Halloween, with Ghouls abound before it.

  12. Ex Pat says:

    “The next time you ever hear so much as a murmur from someone accusing Jeremy Corbyn of being anti-semitic, please pop this little trinket their way.”

    https://twitter.com/ToryFibs/status/1148200589760876544

  13. Ex Pat says:

    HELLO CHELTENHAM

    Why is it so easy to bamboozle us? A) Because we’ve been living in an entirely fictitious media bubble for over twenty years, courtesy of a completely controlled and corrupt press; the Muppet Stream Media. As Wikileaks has comprehensively proved. (* – the Monty Python version, below.)

    B) In ‘Hello Cheltenham!’ an audience member at the Radical Independence Conference (Glasgow, 1st October 2016) suggested that departments of the UK government controlled cyber media, as they had previously controlled the Muppet Stream Media (MSM) as a Cold War tactic. He also said –

    1. This talk – video and audio – will be in Cheltenham this afternoon and sections will forwarded to other government agencies by tomorrow.

    2. News in the UK was completely managed as a Cold war strategy. And is now too. “Particularly the new media. The cyber-media.” Ahem, Cough!!

    In order to control the opposition… Be the opposition! No change there then! Not Wings obviously, since he’s such a highly-effective uncontrolled cannon !! : )

    3. As was Anti-colonialism managed by the UK media for 200 years.

    4. Q. What should be the reaction of Scottish Independence campaigners to these facts?

    Video – ‘Hello Cheltenham’ –

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnJl4hwlchs

    It turns out that John O’Dowd has summarised the talk, but also expanded it with lots of very useful background information which makes it a much more coherent and informative article.

    ‘New Media Futures’, by John O’Dowd, 5th October 2016 – Bella Caledonia –

    https://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2016/10/05/new-media-futures/

    1. Ex Pat says:

      MORE

      To which Mike Small of BellaCaledonia replied ‘Hello Cheltenham!’ to laughter from the crowd. And ‘carry on doing what we’re doing’.

      Adam Ramsay said that after surveying people he was astounded that many in Scotland still equated likely surveillance and infiltration of Scottish Independence with ‘tin-foil hat’ conspiracies, despite millions spent having the police infiltrate – and impregnate women from – soft environmental movements. (Which is the problem that Noam Chomsky alludes to in Rebel Without a Pause @ 52.00 ‘9-11’ – Who has been under the whip for 800 years – who get it – versus those who have been holding it for 800 years – who are hopelessly naive – or willfully ignorant?)

      The livestream contains comments on the question from other audience members –

      @39:56 “I’d like to spy on them!”
      @44:20 Reach and Authority of alternative media.
      @44:58 Tools for privacy. Organize openly but we have a right to privacy. Riseup. Signal.
      @46:30 “How well Ralph Milliband understood Labour and how well he understood parliament. It doesn’t say much for his parenting skills… And I guess that the question is, if someone like Ralph Milliband produced the Milliband brothers what was it about the British establishment was it that produced them. .”
      @47:20 New media. Reach and Authority. Adam Ramsay. “We’ve got endless authority.”
      @47:56 Adam Ramsay – “The Canary. They’ve got huge Reach but frankly I don’t trust them. When I do fact check them they’re generally not true. They’re talking bollocks.”

      – Event Livestream: – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLn02mwm8pc

      The livestream does not begin at the start of the event. But video of it was recorded and is presented – They had a backup plan. Excellent. No muppets at Radical Independence’s video department –

      – From the very start – Adam Ramsay Talk: – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFh7vo4ygbA

      It turns out that John O’Dowd has summarised the talk, but also expanded it with lots of very useful background information which makes it a much more coherent and informative article.

      ‘New Media Futures’, by John O’Dowd, 5th October 2016 – Bella Caledonia –

      https://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2016/10/05/new-media-futures/

      (*) MORE PEASANTS

      “There’s some lovely filth down here!” – The Anarcho-syndicalist Peasant – Monty Python – Youtube –

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2c-X8HiBng

      1. Hi Ex Pat – thanks for posting – I remember saying this – but Im not sure what your point is? I’m not being cheeky Im just trying to understand. Thanks.

        1. Ex Pat says:

          Hoping to raise the scepticism level of the Scots about perfidious Albion to the level of England’s former colonial doormat.

          It’s not as big a job as you might think, given Bella, Wings, WeeGingerDug and many, many others all chipping away at the MSM bull$hit. Anyone with the nous or the time can see entirely through the USUK Reality Distortion Field. “Never underestimate a teenager with Google!” ; )

          Monty Python did the same, and they’re still doing it on Youtube, which makes it entertaining. Monty Python is never a waste. (ER, Education? Ed.)

          The USUK Reality Distortion Field – Noam Chomsky @ minute 50.00, ‘9-11’ ‘Rebel Without A Pause’ –

          Noam Chomsky, Monty Python and More – https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2019/07/how-to-spot-a-twitter-troll/comment-page-1/#comment-878537

          The Irish Border on twitter – https://twitter.com/borderirish?lang=en

          ‘Are the Brits at it again?’ – http://arethebritsatitagain.com/

          In contrast, the Brexit English peasants apparently haven’t a clue. Funny how that works, eh!? –

          https://twitter.com/Siudan2/status/1157544284402397184

  14. SleepingDog says:

    I think the point I have tried to make before is that there may be many English unionists who would prefer to let go their claim to Scotland (that is, choose option 3) than go through a constitutional reform process where they would be forced to publicly defend the indefensible parts of the ‘Constitution’ that they prize above all (option 2) and possibly still see Scotland choose to leave anyway through an assisted secession clause built into a new federal structure. And at the cost of disunity with Scottish unionists, of course.

  15. Wullie says:

    Good summary and I did like the comment about Labour being in a circular firing squad because they truly are.

    The comments about Jackie Baillie are absolutely accurate too. Ms Baillie typifies the right wing unionist so extant within her Scottish parliamentary colleagues. During the referendum, her colleagues found common cause with the Orange Lodge in campaigning against Scottish independence.

    So just think about that, a Scottish constituency with a very large legacy Irish community, electing a party that conspires with an organisation that many would consider bigoted, or in fact worse than bigoted. No wonder therefore that at the last Hollyrood election Jackie Baillie, in a once impregnable rock solid red monkey constituency only managed to retain her seat with a hundred votes.

    Out of touch, nay detested by with Scottish public the recent EU election showed a further decline with a 15% vote for Labour in West Dunbartonshire ,whilst attendantly, a 4% labour vote in the adjacent Argyll, a part of which is in her constituency. Not exactly a message of support from the constituents.

    But no matter how irrelevant and out of touch the Labour Party have become the internal fight goes on. Big Brown has now come out of hiding to declare his resistance to the people of Scotland gaining independence. Maybe our busted flush ex PM will be ready to offer us all another sacred Vow as he cheerleads on Boris Johnson and his right wing Tory government.

    Ah well Ms Baillie may for the time being lead the band of unionist Labour MSP rebels as they engage in a bloody civil war.

    But will it actually matter. Well, no, because the Labour Party in Scotland is finished – just like the sacred Union. The dogs in the street know it.

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