2007 - 2021

Gerrymandering Britain, Again

Brits who have spent decades moaning about the “Blood and Soil” Nats have launched another bewilderingly stupid attempt to gerrymander a referendum they say MUST never and WILL never happen by a) excluding people who live and work in Scotland and b) suggesting that the basis of a new franchise should be, er, blood and soil.

Confused?

Look, let’s re-cap:

“Borders shouldn’t exist and certainly don’t in Britain, which is one glorious entity, and if they do exist, like that bastard one in the Irish Sea which NO-ONE knows how it got there, but it really isn’t there. Got it? Separatism and Nationalism are vile and terrible – but also “get the foreigners out of Britain”. Also: “we love you but you are a bit shit and we will need to subsidise you for eternity BECAUSE the Union is so good.” If you leave we will feel bereft because some of us own quite alot of Perthshire AND this is the most successful Union in the World ever.”

Are you following?

It’s an easily and often regurgitated Unionist trope that Jocks everywhere should resist the vile separatists. I’m not sure how seriously it should be taken.

Adam Tomkins,  a sort of ex-person today pleaded: “Scots who left home to move to England or Wales did not think they were emigrating. Why shouldn’t they be given a vote before an international border is erected between where they live and where they were born?”

The wildly contradictory and flatly hypocritical stance of the Unionists is stark. A Tory cabinet minister: “One thing is to open up eligibility of the vote to all Scots in the UK, not just those living in Scotland.”

Why?

Presumably because people who don’t live and work here, don’t pay tax here and and don’t have a commitment to the country – have left many many years ago for whatever reason, will vote No. And they have little faith that a proper democratic – already established electoral franchise  – will support their indefensible political arrangement.

Meanwhile as Sir Keir Starmer looks about as comfortable as Matt Le Blanc at the Friend’s Reunion, Tony Blair and Andy Burnham and Alistair Campbell hover on the sidelines like co-creators, Kevin S Bright, Marta Kauffman and David Crane waiting for an unlikely re-boot of past-it 90s has-beens.

The vultures are circling over the corpse of the long-dead Britannia.

But they have been for a while. Back in pre-Deltan September Lord Finkelstein was at it flying the Gerrymandered Kite in September 2020: “There are lots of people who engaged with the question of whether the United Kingdom continues, and obviously the people of Scotland are one of the largest groups in that decision” – how touching – “but they’re not the only group. It’s right that actually the UK Parliament has some sort of – has the power over the decision about whether we have a referendum.”

You may think it distasteful that an unelected Lord from the Motherfucker of All Parliaments ™ preach about what is democratic, but the attack-line was accompanied by a piece in The Spectator by James Forsyth (‘To save the Union, negotiate Scotland’s independence).

It won’t work and it’s a sure-sign of desperation.

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  1. Tom Parkhill says:

    A Tory cabinet minister: “One thing is to open up eligibility of the vote to all Scots in the UK, not just those living in Scotland.”

    Strangely, this does not apply to Scots living in Europe. Is this anything to do with the possibility that they might be extremely pro-Indy?

    Would this be for all Scottish elections or just a referendum? Why shouldn’t people born in Manchester but now living in Sheffield, or Basingstoke have the chance to vote in Manchester elections. Or if you were born in Camden but live in Westminster? After all, Johnson has said that the Camden-Westminster border is just like the Ireland-Northern Ireland border. Would this mean that Welsh people living in Scotland could reciprocally vote in Welsh Assembly elections, or has no-one thought to ask the Welsh? Why not go down the “Irish citizenship” route: all those with grandparents born in Scotland can vote in Scotland. All those married to a Scot can vote in Scotland. Would 16 year old Scots living in England have the chance to vote in Scotland, when they are not on the electoral roll in England, or in Scotland for that matter?

    The permutations are endless. This is such lunacy. It obviously is not a real proposal, but just flying a kite. and distracting from real issues.

    1. Colin Robinson says:

      Yes, it’s a nonsense, Tom.

      1. ED says:

        and that would rule out English born people living in Scotland not being able to vote in the next independence referendum .

        1. Colin Robinson says:

          Why would it, ED? The lunacy being floated is only that so-called ‘ex-pats’ should be given a vote in any future referendum, by virtue of their nativity and/or their emotional attachment to ‘home’, *in addition* to the people who are currently subject to the jurisdiction of the Scottish government, irrespective of their nativity and/or emotional attachments. No Scot of English origin or identity would be disenfranchised in virtue of that origin or identity.

          1. ED says:

            Colin, I am not serious, but what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the Gander, they cant come away with that kind of s**t and not get a reaction, what about all the Scottish oeople scattered all over the globe, shouldn’t they have a vote as well.

          2. SleepingDog says:

            @ED, maybe they do have a vote in the countries they have forsaken Scotland for? Why should leaving Scotland leverage their voting power?

          3. Colin Robinson says:

            No, they shouldn’t. They play no part in the civic life of Scotland.

  2. Jim says:

    After almost twenty three years in Greater London I’ve moved back to Scotland. Had I been able to vote in the last referendum I would have voted Yes, but I understood why I didn’t have a vote. I bet there were lots of Scots in my position who would have voted the same way.

  3. Anne Watson says:

    To be fair, there are at least some Scots like my son who would vote yes in a heartbeat even if he is not in a position to move back here.

  4. Colin Robinson says:

    It’s essential to civic nationalism that the Scottish electorate comprises all and only those who are subject to the jurisdiction of the Scottish government, regardless of their ethnicity.

    1. Alec Lomax says:

      Perfectly summed up, Colin.

  5. Graham Ennis says:

    at the end of the day, the matter may not be settled by the Ballot box. It could be nastier than that.
    Sceanarios:
    1: A repition of the Catalan attempt at indypendence. Result: (Disaster, and crushed, by 20,000 armed “Police” )
    2:A referendum on the speration of Scotland from rest of the UK. Result: serious tampering with the vote counting. The last time. (No, this is not conspirsacy theory. Some Scottish professional mathameticians seived the ballot results. Strange warping of the vote, way above chance. Mismatch between turn out and outcome. Salmond presented with the results, did nothing. Probable repitition of this again.
    3:Majority vote of the Scottish Parliament, who point to the original treaty of union, which contains full directives that the Scots can leave. Treaty still legally in force. (if it is not, then holyrood politely serves notice on london of leaving, as the treaty is no longer legal, so no legal basis for the present union. Scotland’s sovereignty is automatically restored.
    4: london says No, forbids the running of a referendum, (The treaty is then automatically violated by the UK Govwerment, no longer lawful. Scotland leaves legally.
    london Goverment copies Spanish goverment policies, mass arrests, etc.
    5: Scots are very angry. The formation of national liberation groups, autonomous and hard to penetrate. (See ireland and its history for what then happens).
    Given the terrain it would be a long war. Even if initially squashed by UK military, it only leads to continued and renewed violent resistance. as small resistance groups are eliminated, new ones spring up. (Again, see Irish history). External EU intervention, and also the United states would intervene, due to the strong Scottish lobby in American politics. I myslef do not wish any of the above, just an honest ballot, and the peaceful transfer of power. But I have a horrible feeling that is not going to happen. BREXIT changes everything. Comments please.

    1. Mark Bevis says:

      I tend to agree that this is the most likely outcome, as history shows us this is how empires collapse, thrashing out from the centre at the provinces, issuing more and more edicts and laws that become unenforceable. The noise gets louder, but the stick gets smaller, as EROEI declines.
      And whatever else you call it, the UK is a colonial empire, overdrawn, out of date and imploding due to it’s own contradictions. It’s an ugly empire and it’s going to get a lot uglier ‘ere the end.
      Scottish communities should prepare accordingly in my opinion. Hell, all communities outside the Westmonster villages should prepare accordingly.

      The only mitigating factor is the lack of surplus energy left to the government and forces of corporatism – the economic and resource cost of England going to war against Scotland (in effect) would be relatively enormous, and using those resources up would accelerate the collapse that is coming anyway due to ecological destruction of the planet. Precipitious direct action might bring out the outcome they were intending to avoid sooner than if they just left it alone. And in the end empire might work out that the cost of giving Scotland independence is less than the cost of going to war over it.

      Even committing a brigade of 3000 troops to “restore order” would wipe the treasury out, and strain the resources of the British army considerably. In 2017 it took 6 months for the MoD to raise a single battalion group with 4 tanks to deploy to Estonia as part of NATO task forces sent there. There’s been another four years of austerity since then, and the British military and police has suffered just as much from austerity policies as the civilian sector has, but it rarely makes the press. Soft power such as drones, IT surveillance, bullet proof patrol boats, the 77th Brigade etc, doesn’t cost much and looks cool in the press compared to bayonets, boots and stomachs. But it’s the latter that win wars.

  6. Murray says:

    We hear from Westminster every day how they are pushing to save the victims of grooming and the paedophiles that abuse and bully to get their own evil way. Yet Westminster treat their anti independence victims in the very same way , they use the whole of the unionist party members . That’s every party in England that would have a say in the government, Tory , Labour and the Lib Dem’s. All are happy to support this paedophile styled politics. A certain Mr Macdonald ( the say NO and better together campaign) admitted to using data from North America to win the 2014 independence referendum by using the same paedophile grooming tactic. It’s scary how low Westminster supporting politicians will go to keep the truth covered and the public in the dark to why they must keep Scotland in its place. It’s a down hill slide for the financial markets and of England’s standing on NATO ,G7 and a whole lot more. They ain’t keeping us because they want to ,it’s because they have too .

  7. Michael Rossi says:

    The electoral register of those who live in Scotland makes perfect sense, and doesn’t discriminate against those who weren’t born in Scotland. I don’t know whether these suggestions from the Tory cabinet minister were meant to suggest the franchise should just be based on birth, or the electoral register in Scotland plus birth for those outside Scotland, but the suggestion ignores the myriad complications inherent in it.

    The cry goes up from some quarters ‘but why should a foreigner living in Scotland have a vote, and I who was born and brought up but have lived in England for 30 years not’? I understand the desire to have a say, and I’m not quick to criticise those who feel that way, but as someone who lives in London, I fully understand why a franchise based on the electoral register of who live in Scotland is simplest. Otherwise you get into the knotty question then of deciding for the purposes of the vote who is a Scot.

    That’s of course the irony (as the article points out) that the suggestion in essence goes down the blood and soil route. As no current separate citizenship exists, do they propose a franchise based on birth? That of course would end up excluding those not born in Scotland but brought up in Scotland . I can think of friends born furth of Scotland, who spent a significant part of their youth in the country, but are now working overseas – they’d be be excluded by virtue of a non-Scottish birth and non-Scottish residence, but there’s no doubting Scotland is their home and country.

    Others propose a franchise based on who would have the right to citizenship in an independent Scotland. Perhaps, and of course in the event of independence such a citizenship register would have to be drawn up anyway. But the complications of drawing up such a putative citizens database for the purpose of a referendum are mind boggling, given such citizenship doesn’t yet exist. Ignoring for a moment the fact that such question should surely be a matter for states themselves (i.e. Scotland in the event of independence would and should have the authority to decide what its citizenship laws would be – going on the 2014 White Paper, quite liberal I would imagine), I wonder if the Tories would actually agree to that if they thought about it, given that already cedes the idea of a separate state (having a list of citizens).

    And as others have pointed out here, if we’re going down the route of giving Scots outside of Scotland the vote on a future referendum, why should it be restricted to those who live in England, Wales and Northern Ireland?

    And the mother of all stooshies would surely arise if a majority in Scotland voted for independence, but votes from outside meant a pro-Union majority. This would be a democratic crisis, and I’ve no idea how the UK government would defend that – knowing their chutzpah, they probably would brazen it out, but without reckoning that the UK state would have effectively lost any legitimacy in the eyes of many Scots. That would be a poisonous situation which no brazenness or chutzpah could deflect or defuse.

    1. Colin Robinson says:

      ‘…but there’s no doubting Scotland is their home and country.’

      Sorry, Michael, but if they don’t actually participate in the civic life of the community, they can’t be considered ‘Scots’ politically.

      1. Michael Rossi says:

        That was my point as regards a referendum vote – it was saying that the idea of a franchise for those outside of Scotland would be almost impossible to achieve, as the question of who counts as a Scot is something that legislation can’t really quantify without citizenship, and the idea of a right to vote based on birth in Scotland would ignore those who are Scottish even if not born in Scotland. Of course when it comes to citizenship in the future I think the state should take a generous view and shouldn’t just take birth in Scotland as the only marker.

  8. SleepingDog says:

    I had not realised that the UK produced so much video content for Europe, if this story is accurate:
    EU prepares to cut amount of British TV and film shown post-Brexit
    “Exclusive: number of UK productions seen as ‘disproportionate’ and threat to Europe’s cultural diversity”
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jun/21/eu-prepares-cut-amount-british-tv-film-shown-brexit
    Another soft-power own-goal/economic foot-shoot, I guess. Presumably the Scottish video-related industries could once again count as European after Independence, if the UK content is ruled external. Under the provisions, only some form of gerrymandering would keep UK content inside the fold. Still, it must be a boon for minorities in Europe looking for an opportunity to promote their cultural products.

  9. Iain MacLean says:

    Desperate moves from desperate people who have not got a clue and do not respect democracy!

    tories and labour for that matter aren’t to be trusted, I’d value the input from an independent body to over see the referendum this time! This includes scrutiny of the bbc, monitoring the count and the purdah period in case we have any vows popping out!

    1. Colin Robinson says:

      An independent body to oversee the referendum?

      Jeez… If the Scottish government can’t be trusted to organise a free and fair vote on independence, why on earth should we trust it with independence itself?

      What other actions of the Scottish government should an independent body oversee?

  10. James Mills says:

    As usual the metropolitan elite ignore the utter ridiculousness and unfeasibility of ideas conceived in a panic when Scotland’s democratic voice is seemingly not in tune with theirs .

    Next they will be suggesting sending in the army ( that’s the British one with more than its fair share of Scots in it ?) to keep the colonists quiet .

    Then , perhaps they may have to ’round up’ Scots living in the rest of the UK to prevent them becoming saboteurs , Fifth Columnists etc..
    Camps may need to be built to house them – sadly the illegal immigrants that Patel has ‘secured’ are occupying the existing places of detention .
    Maybe send them to one of the remoter UK islands ?
    Sh*t ! They are all Scottish . Can’t repatriate all those Jocks – too dangerous to have so many in one place .
    They could use football stadiums , like Mrs Thatcher’s good friend Pinochet used to do in Chile . Bugger – look what they did to Wembley back in the day when they removed the bloody goalposts .

    Well , nothing for it but to use Boris’s Spectator idea of the ”comprehensive extermination ” of the ”Scotch – what a verminous race ”

    Problem solved – and the shooting estates will be free of the peasants rather than the pheasants ! Top ho !

    1. Mark Bevis says:

      The sad thing is there are ‘people’, you might reluctantly call them human beings only because of biology, that think all that is a good idea.

  11. Tom Ultuous says:

    We should be careful not to wait too long.

    If Scotland votes NO to independence and Ireland votes YES to reunification disgruntled loyalists will be offered generous packages to relocate to the British colony of Scotland thus ensuring a unionist majority there until 1691. Scotland – a green beacon of renewable energy OR a ghettoised dumping ground for Eton toff problems of their own making. It’s your choice.

  12. Mouse says:

    If you live in China you get to vote in UK elections. If you are a Russian in Scotland you get to vote in Russian elections. If you are Scottish and live in a Scottish prison, you don’t get to vote. Funnily enough, that’s illegal, but you don’t have much of a voice in prison, the government couldn’t care less, and the public couldn’t care less. That’s called vengeance, which sprouts from the blood and soil bullshit.

    1. Colin Robinson says:

      Under the provisions of the 2020 Scottish Elections (Franchise and Representation) Act, prisoners serving sentences of less than 12 months do get to vote. This was the minimum necessary to make Scotland compliant with the rule of the European Court of Human Rights.

      But I take your point: imprisonment should be about removing a transgressor’s liberty, not their citizenship. In a democracy, no prisoner should be disenfranchised.

    2. Drew Anderson says:

      Prisoners serving less than a 12 month sentence now have the right to vote; as of 20/2/20.

      Incidentally, the legislation required a supermajority (⅔, or 86 MSP’s) to pass, as it involved a change in the franchise. I presume that is worth considering when the Scottish parliament debates the referendum bill?

      https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-51530843&ved=2ahUKEwjYldLfhavxAhURkRQKHXKrAOwQFjACegQIGhAC&usg=AOvVaw16-HRJTvGAFS7GilwEVJkW

      1. Colin Robinson says:

        I’m not sure about the referendum bill (it should only take a petition from an agreed number of voters to call a referendum – it worries me that governments get to control referendums in this country), but I would hope a supermajority will be needed to ratify the treaty that sets out the terms and conditions of the Scottish government’s independence of the UK government, as per the 1969 Vienna Convention of the Law of Treaties (the Scexit Deal, in other words). Those terms and conditions will – like the aforementioned Scottish Elections (Franchise and Representation) Act – form part of the constitution of our future state, and this shouldn’t be left for just the biggest party in parliament to decide.

      2. Laurie Pocock says:

        I think most people would feel that a ethnic Scot who has left Scotland to work or to marry within the United Kingdom would still have a great interest in what happens in the country of their heritage.

        1. SleepingDog says:

          @Laurie Pocock, but why should moving to a different country effectively double your voting power (in some cases)? That does not seem very democratic. Surely the rule should be one-person-one-vote? And if they are paying taxes abroad but not here, that breaks the taxation-representation justification.

        2. Colin Robinson says:

          They might have an interest; but since they no longer participate in the civic life of that community, they’re accordingly no longer entitled to take part in its decision-making.

          1. Laurie Pocock says:

            I think the test should be : whether the result of any referendum has any material effect upon the individual. A Scot living in another part of the UK could argue that it does in several ways eg it could make you a foreigner in the country of your birth, it could effect marital and family relationships, inheritance, careers, to say there is no effect on individuals in different parts of the UK is just not credible.

          2. Colin Robinson says:

            But the outcome of a referendum on whether or not Scotland should be an independent country would have a material effect on everyone in the UK.

            I still think the franchise should be limited to anyone and everyone who currently participates in the civic life of the community, irrespective of where they happen to have been born.

    3. “If you live in China you get to vote in UK elections” – what does this mean?

    4. SleepingDog says:

      @Mouse, what if you are born-Scottish in prison abroad? Would these Conservative plans even check that? Or were fleeing from the UK criminal justice system abroad (perhaps on some Costa del Crime Brit-hotspot)? Or had allegedly committed crimes abroad and were wanted by Interpol or foreign police agencies? Would the Conservatives be concerned about stopping those ex-pats from voting in Scottish elections?

  13. lordmac says:

    In the case for nothern Ireland, can they now use the same method they used. when they were the minority , it worked before, can it be used again.

  14. Robbie says:

    Seems like we are going to go on and on and on about this ,what will they do ,what will they say,etc,etc ,well it’s Time to Tell Them What WE are going to do .just who the f**k do they think they are “ we know what they think WE are , well let’s Prove Them Wrong ,and to the wobblers and fearties,Scotland won’t be alone In the world .

    1. Colin Robinson says:

      We told ‘them’ seven years ago what we were going to do, Robbie. We told them we’d remain in the UK. I think Nicola’s feart we might tell them the same again.

      1. Tom Ultuous says:

        What did THEY tell us 7 years ago Colin? It’s not just NIcola who’s feart. The thought of remaining tied to the sinking rat terrifies many of us.

        1. Colin Robinson says:

          They said, “Okay!” Then they began the process of fulfilling The Vow by establishing the Smith Commission, the outcome of which was the 2016 Scotland Act.

          Of course, the UK government then called a referendum it was confident it could win, the government was defeated, and everything went to hell in a handcart. Hence, given the significant and material change in the circumstances that obtained in 2014 (i.e. the sudden and unexpected appearance of Charon’s handcart), the Scottish government is calling for another referendum, which it will hold just as soon as it’s confident it will win it.

          Meanwhile, posters are going up that depict a long column of vote-busting Ulster-Scots refugees marching on Scotland, emblazoned with the legend ‘BREAKING POINT – The UK has failed us all – We must break free of the UK and take back control of our borders.’

      2. Jim Sansbury says:

        And then England voted to leave the EU and changed everything.

  15. Lordmac says:

    Giving voters rights to expats can open to gerrymandering the result . I say if the. expat wants to vote he would need to make his way back. To Scotland to The town. Were He has a birth registration, if he doesn’t want to do That, its a Vote in favor of independence as he can’t be bothered and. Likes the life. He leads

    1. Colin Robinson says:

      Where s/he was born has b*gg*r all to do with it. If s/he doesn’t participate in the civic life of a community, s/he shouldn’t be entitled to take part in the decision-making processes of that community.

    2. Laurie Pocock says:

      I don’t agree with that- however two points.

      First, it seems to be assumed that Scots living in other parts of the UK will vote No. Actually of those I know it’s a mirror image of the polls almost a 50/50 split. Second, The practicalities of getting them registered to vote in any referendum may be too difficult and raises questions do they go on a register of their birth or where they last lived? The one group that must be given a vote in my view are service personnel. Just because a soldier may be at Catterick barracks should not deny him or her that right.

      1. Lordmac says:

        As I say, they are all only 2 days away. If they want to come and vote, but they must vote from the town were they were born, and have a record , the principal is put a face to the person and there can be no false identity.

        1. Colin Robinson says:

          But why on earth should anyone who doesn’t participate in the civic life of a community get a say in the decisions that affect the civic life of that community?

          1. Lordmac says:

            What if a ethnic. Minority became a majority , and became scottish by birth.. and held a civic life in. The community and voted in favour of joining the uk, and expats were not allowed to vote, what then, and would civic community help them

          2. Lordmac says:

            What if a ethnic. Minority became a majority , and became scottish by birth.. and held a civic life in The community and voted in favour, of joining the uk, and expats were not allowed to vote, what then, and would civic community help them

          3. Tom Ultuous says:

            I covered that in my 22nd June 2021 at 9:46 am post Lordmac.

          4. Colin Robinson says:

            I’m not sure what you’re asking, Lordmac. If the constituents of a community elected to do something, then of course that’s what the community should do. What business would it be of non-constituents, like ‘ex-pats’, what the community decided?

          5. Lordmac says:

            As like before, they are wanting votes for the union, through their parents and great grandparents this was first. Used in the Olympics in the UK as a wee bare foot runner from south Africa, also a minority race ,can become a majority race very quickly

          6. Lordmac says:

            As like before, they are wanting votes for the union, through their parents and great grandparents this was first. Used in the Olympics in the UK as a wee bare foot runner from south Africa, also a minority race ,can become a majority race very quickly and what’s stopping them applying for. A Scottish passport

          7. Colin Robinson says:

            So, what are you saying, Lordmac? That the Scottish government should prevent people who might vote against it in a future referendum from migrating to Scotland? From a democratic point of view, that would be terribly regressive.

  16. Lordmac says:

    IT now. Looks like there will Be no vote from the X Pats as the NHS will be made to charge them very Large bills for. Any treatment they receive. Whilst they Visit here. Its Due to Brexit, most. come. Home. to make appointments and return when they have notification. The DWP. WILL. NOW have access to. All Bank statement’s and they will follow the money

  17. Laurie Pocock says:

    I still don’t see the evidences that you are clearly implying that Scots living in other parts of the UK are piling up to vote NO in any referendum. All my discussions don’t indicate e that if anything there might be a small YES e majority- I do think Scots south of the border have s valid argument and instead of doing all you can to argue against that happening which. I think is a price worth paying in order to get another vote perhaps you should consider the benefits of Scottish independence from that perspective.

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