Postcard from London

Scotland is SUCH a foreign country here now. Folk here are INTERESTED in Scottish poilitics, getting vague echoes of “something going on with Nicola Sturgeon” but in the same way as they might quiz a Hungarian visitor for their views about Victor Orban. As something happening somewhere else.

The Union is already dissolved…but like the death of God, this has yet to be announced officially in Church.

For Scotland, the consequence is, paradoxically, that now, for the FIRST time, it is ONLY possible for London to rule us as a colony. For our institutions and cultures to be politically neutered and rendered harmless to the imperial centre by means of collaborators at home and threats from elsewhere…or, alternatively, for our relationship as EQUALS occupying areas of these islands to finally be recognised. (But given the way twerps like Toby Young still think about Ireland, let alone Kenya, I wouldn’t hold your breath, my people.)

The strange thing is that what was once a self-serving caricature of the Union from 1707 to 2019, of the Scots as “the oppressed” rather than as “salaried employees of the oppressors” has become, accidentally, a valid description. There is NO WAY for  the Brexit Britain I am visiting to accommodate a Scotland with any degree, however limited, of political self-determination. One need only think of what a UK-EU trade deal will mean, if one is even possible at the same time as a UK-US deal with contradictory terms. Is Boris Johnson really going to undermine his precious “hostile” points based immigration system to help out hotels in Invernessshire or potato farmers in Fife? Or fish processors in Fraserburgh? Don’t be silly!

You can have Brexit or you can have Devolution. There is no way to have them both.

Brexit Britain means that the cartoon version of Scotland as an erased and colonised culture…which was bullshit till now (apart from the Gaels up till about thirty years ago)…is now going to come true for everyone who thinks of Scotland as distinct. It may be that it was only while we were part of a Britain as an externally facing PROJECT of first, resistance to “Catholic Europe” and then an Empire and finally a Welfare State paid for out of the surplus value of international exploitation, that a Britain as an inward looking COUNTRY, as a “community” and a “culture” was coherent at all.

The latest draft of “British” self-definition, a strange brew of John of Gaunt’s “Sceptr’d Isle” and George Orwell’s “Airstrip One” so deliberately chosen when Johnson got his eighty seat majority in December, feels like entirely someone else’s business. Except that, with no reference to our distinct identity whatsoever, it is about to be imposed on us too.

The alternative, however we engineer it, is going to be some form of Independence. Indeed, I think we will DEFINE what independence MEANS in the 21st Century (as opposed to the 19th Century version of sovereignty we blurred over in the dress rehearsal of 2014) exactly by the degree from which we can make our own path in 21st century Europe “independently” of whatever England chooses for itself in the meantime. If there has been no other achievement of the Sturgeon “era” of the SNP, (Indyref 2 before 2021 always having been a pipe dream for the birds) , then re-defining the Independence MOVEMENT as an avowedly pro-European outward facing one, then that (hopefully!) lasting achievement is, all by itself, an enormous cultural advance. What it means to be Scottish NOW as opposed to the White Only Heather Club of my youth, is, all by itself, a transformation we should be profoundly grateful for.

We will define our independence, I think now, unlike in 2014, NOT with reference to “Britain” or “England” primarily, but with reference to Europe and the world, as world citizens with a distinct Scottish profile which may never get acknowledged by the Toby Young’s of this world, but which may well be marked and appreciated in the much wider world beyond the London media village.

Which APPEARS, to this visitor anyway, to be being run by an anonymous cabal of refugees from mummy’s basement with a part time and possibly alcoholic clown haired front man occasionally dragged out as a distraction. Which is INTERESTING of course, but in the same way Victor Orban is interesting. As the chap who is unfortunately in charge of another country’s capital city I’ve had great times in, where I know some great people…but whose dilemmas…about Lisa Nandy and Keir Starmer, for example … I no longer feel I share.

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  1. SleepingDog says:

    Of course, what was interesting about John of Gaunt’s sceptred isle speech (in Act 2, scene 1 of Shakespeare’s Richard the Second) is that it described a country already lost in the past, now groaning under corrupt rule. It had the latitude of a lament. The old medieval world ideals (however ill-observed in practice) are summed up by Norfolk in Act 1, scene 1: “The purest treasure mortal times afford is — spotless reputation”. However, Richard (secure in his anointed entitlement) doesn’t give a damn.

    Gaunt says “Landlord of England art thou now, not king.” In other words, Gaunt was directly accusing King Richard of destructively extracting value from the starving nation for the idle pleasures and rapacious conquests of himself and his pals.

    All this contrasts with the inevitable crowdfunded rebellion backlash by Act 2, scene 3.

  2. JockEasy says:

    What a splendid, and thought provoking contribution to this widespread and ever growing thought process, and I applaud you for it sir.
    I would however, were it me, add one further thought that I believe runs totally in parallel with your own contribution.
    It’s often asked , and debated quite why Scotland should even WISH to be a separate nation in the world of today, and when you think of it, and even as a supporter of self-determination, I can see there is a question to be answerered in the minds of some…and it’s in that area much of the debate is engaged.
    However, let’s just suppose that we REVERSE that very question…by enquiring…..if it is the case that ” Ingurlund”… ( because realistically and numerically, that’s what we’re talking about in the debate)…feels it unnecessary to enjoin for the common good with 26 other democracies for the greater good, why is there not a similar debate going on…no, not the one by the scots and freedom etc this time….but why isn’t ANYONE advocating ‘ britishness” the de facto abolition of the current, notional melange that is the ” UNITED”(?)KINGDOM of today is other than a singular state, certainly as they would see it.?
    I often hear the cry….mostly from those Orange Order types again….that ‘ we are scottish AND british”…..but ironically smear it by saying with equal anger ” we will never be european, a reality we need to delineate at every opportunity”. Now, that seems to me to lie at the heart of wishing a continuance of the currently ailing british state….what precisely IS the point , if you find yourself in that camp , of not just facing fact that this, today, is the REAL meaning of ‘ britishness’ . I ask you, what IS the point of this pretend ‘ union’ where all three of the ‘ junior’ members each have populations lower than Yorkshire? The idea that we are all ‘ equal’ partners is as ridiculous as saying the the bats in the loft, or the mice in the cellar are equal partners in our respective households, and , if the ‘ union’ ptevails I would contend that such is what ” Greater England’ is in reality. With it being increasingly obvious…..I refer you to the readers comments in all ‘ national’ newspapers readers forums…and editorials… ( not that I would ever encourage the purpose of the Daily Express etc) …by way of illustrating the obvious dislike, disdain …and often worse…in which Scotland and its people are held.
    Time then to drop the pretence that peoples of such divergent views, on politics yes…but on other matters, since we already recognise it institutionally through differing banks, legal system, state church, education system, etc etc…we could go on)….and time for supporters of the true ‘ union’ to be open and honest that the REAL britain of today…be that for good or ill, according to your own view is IN REALITY, a unitary state.
    Is this not ONE thing at least that all sides in this debate can agree upon?
    If you truly believe in ‘ the union’ what is the POINT of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland?
    Many english folks have ALWAYS asked that question…why aren’t the pro-union elements in the other constituent members?…..is today anything other than the proverbial dogs breakfast?

    1. Lorna Campbell says:

      Your point is well made, JE. This is precisely what the Unionists among us, and even many in the independence movement itself, should be asking themselves: just what is the point in Scotland, Wales and NI? Why not simply swallow them up and turn them into regions of a Greater England? This is exactly what the One Nation State Tory right-wing has in mind for us, make no mistake. In Brexit Britain (essentially, England) there can be no other future for us. That is what some of us have been saying since 2016, and I, personally have been saying it since 2014 when I realised the size of that rUK vote per capita – the largest, single, NO vote. They did not vote NO in such numbers for no reason or because they felt that the SNP should be given a lesson in how not to hold a referendum. Not at all: they were fundamentally opposed to Scottish independence precisely because it discomfited them in perusal of their own lives in Scotland. In other words, the mantra, “we didn’t come up here to Scotland to have you lot go all independent on us” holds true. Or, as one English anti independence NO voter said, in 2014: “…but you’re part of England…”. That was what the SNP and so many in the independence movement simply could not admit, that anti Scottish sentiment exists in our resident rUK population, and why the tortuous anti Brexit strategy and its twin, the only way is S30, sprang to life. Now, those twin errors are strangling us and it is no more than we deserve for such stupidity and naivety. Mr Arnott is also quite right when he says that the claims that Scotland was a colony when it patently wasn’t, have come to pass, anyway. The Scots were, indeed, the paid enablers of the Empire, never its masters, but that has changed since 2014. It was not even Brexit, but before that, after 2014, that the realization dawned on Whitehall and Westminster that the Scots would have to be contained if the ‘Union’ and, consequently, English hegemony was to continue.

      Like Lisa Nandy, in her desperate pc attempt to be all things to all men by overlooking (and probably, not even seeing) the insoluble problems that self ID would throw up for women, whom she would appear to be quite happy to sacrifice, the SNP and the wider independence movement did not foresee the sacrifice that independistas, and Scotland itself, would be forced to make in the name of equality. Equality is possible where both parties to it are in agreement and neither suffers as a consequence, but, where you have one party having to make all the concessions and losing out on hard-won rights as a result, you are asking for trouble because that is called oppression, and both women and Scotland know all about oppression.

      1. Elaine Fraser says:

        Well said Lorna – but if you were hoping to start a conversation with anyone on Bella about the erasure of womens rights you’ve come to the wrong site……just tumbleweeds….silence…looking the other way …nothing to see here folks ….same at Commonweal…et al. Some fully paid up members of the new ideology others still holding their fingers up to the see which way the wind is blowing.

        1. Lorna Campbell says:

          I should imagine that, much of the time, women will not be inconvenienced at all by Self ID, but there are other times when it could be downright harmful. It does actually mean that men who identify as women and who have raped and/or murdered women will still have the option of going to an all-female prison. How on Earth can that be rational or ensure women’s right to safety? A man who Self IDs as a woman will have to be allowed entry to all-female safe zones, such as shelters, even though he may have been involved in domestic violence. She may call herself a woman even when he has retained his male sexual organs, his hairy chest and beard and is, to all outward appearances, a man in women’s clothes. How does that make women feel safe? Most strides forward are made by concessions being made on both sides in an impasse, but, rarely, surely, by demanding that one side make all the concessions? In the fight for women’s rights, men were forced to concede certain things, but the whole point of patriarchy is to ensure that males have advantages that women cannot access and are actively prevented from accessing. Women never claimed that they were men; they just wanted equal opportunities more than they wanted equal rights as such. I am sure that most transgender people are genuine and just want to live their lives as comfortably and as well as possible. Maybe I’m just stupid and prejudiced, but how does retaining all male characteristics make one a woman? How does actually curtailing hard-won women’s rights help them achieve that transgender identity?

          Similarly, how does pandering to the anti independence instincts of rUK origin residents, linking them to their sometimes brutally anti Scottish compatriots south of the border, help Scotland to gain its independence? Their vote actually scuppered independence, although the Scottish Unionist NO vote was the biggest overall, being the biggest NO vote of any group per capita. Scottish Unionists voted by around 48% and would have lost the referendum without that rUK vote. Yes, we can try to persuade, but up to a point only. There comes a moment when you have to decide whether you want to be all things to all men and lose big time, or whether you are going to stand up for your rights.

          Transgender men have a choice: they can have an operation and use drugs to make them appear as women or they can remain as they are but live as women without trampling on women’s rights. Born-women have no such choice: we are as we are; and we must defend that now, as well as defend our right to enjoy the fruits of life as men do automatically. Likewise, Scots are expected to give up their right (by international law) to self-determination because several minorities in Scotland, who, by themselves, could never prevent independence legally or politically, don’t like it. Both these situations have become intolerable and those who demand (not even ask) of us to give up our rights in either situation should be told NO in no uncertain terms.

          1. Elaine Fraser says:

            Lorna, I’m sorry but if Self-ID becomes the law of the land it will affect everyone but especially women and girls. This is not just about female only spaces like toilets, changing rooms , refuges , prisons and rape crisis centres. It’s about who gets the funding in future; its about freedom of belief and expression; its about political representation and sport. It’s about how we are policed who decides what is a ‘hate crime’? It’s about jobs and opportunities; its about research and science; its about academic freedom and discourse. I could go on and on ….it changes everything ; its unscientific and dangerous and while more and more women realise what’s at stake here so-called ‘progressive’ men continue to stick their fingers in their ears or turn a blind eye.

            Those taking a break from social media for Lent really need to do some serious reflecting and fast.

        2. SleepingDog says:

          @Elaine Fraser, you might get some traction if you focus on what kind of ideology is represented by self-identification. The Editor has already lightly mocked commentators who reject science in favour of their personal beliefs. So the kind of ideology here is not individualism (people going their own way), nor egoism (pushing to the front of the queue), but ego-dominance (when one person’s personal belief dominates and enforces the behaviour of a collective in spite of rational worldviews like science). It is like the law enforcing people to kindly comment on the Emperor’s new clothes even though he is stark naked, to all eyes and scientific instrumentation alike. Ego-dominance politics come from a very different place from feminism and social equality (which are largely socialist projects). Undisguised ego-dominance political expressions are probably much rarer in the UK than in the USA, with the latter’s extremist philosophies of the self (probably exemplified by Ayn Rand, although I have not read her work). Activists have (as is particularly common practice in the USA) here smuggled in some of these ego-dominance political philosophies which of course clash with social equality ideologies under the cloak of the latter. Almost literally wolves in sheep’s clothing.

          As I say, it may be easier to see the ego-dominance side in the USA, where winning (crushing your opponents) is even more celebrated than in the UK, and it is not just a question of “taking part”:
          https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/feb/13/transgender-athletes-girls-sports-high-school

      2. Jell says:

        Lorna in stating ” In Brexit Britain (essentially, England) there can be no other future for us” is making plain that which Mike Russell spoke of in on 20th February in the Scottish Committee for Article 50: For what we now know the British junta have an extreme ideology based on philosophies and ‘playbooks’ where currently everything is expendable. Starving the Scottish economy of migrant labour, the junta makes clear they do not want a Social Democratic states or entities on its doorstep and you can extrapelate that to Ireland (Pace Duncan Smith 2014, Patel 2019). The fact that they have not got the capability or resources in place to manage the proposed policy objectives for Brexit is evidence that to paraphrase the words of Steve Earle “you me and Cisco know we are all going to an ideological hell”. (Christmas time in Washington

  3. The Stroller says:

    So the “what” question has given way to the “when” and more importantly the “how” question…HOW are we going to get another referendum?

    Sorry to be harping on about the SNP, but it seems only fair to point out that if you are in the business of constitutional politics you simply cannot pass up the advantages which the last two Brexit parliament’s offered to get indie ii out of London. It’s just dreadfully inept politics to walk away from a situation in which the SNP had the swing vote.

    I cannot believe that the SNP were so reckless and stupid as to fail to press home an advantageous situation which may not come around again in 20 years.

    What have the SNP parliamentary party actually achieved over the last 4 or 5 years? Nothing. Except maybe an even harder Brexit than May’s deal and the most dangerous PM in living memory in N10.

    The SNP have been criminally stupid… It just makes you want to give up on the whole thing.

    It was an open goal and they fluffed it…

    1. Hamish100 says:

      Criminally stupid? C’mon the SNP has to work within the context of the here and now and the reality of opposing the British State helped with the accomplices in the news media. Not just the state broadcaster but STV, the once mighty newspaper The Herald with its anti-independence and Snp clickbait. The simple fact is that although we (independence supporters) are probably in the majority it ain’t just enough— yet!

      Get a trial out of the way, the 75th celebration/commemoration of VE Day, team GB olympics where most retail packaging will be red , white and blue then the hard reality of Brexit will loom at last. Sadly one of the pro Indy blogs has gone over to the other side once the realisation of a 3rd party was mere moon dust. Spending most of its time doing the britnats work. A reverendum tomorrow will not succeed.

      2021 with the election is now our battleground. It will succeed. Snp 1 & 2 or 2 for Greens will ensure victory

      1. The Stroller says:

        You’re right, “criminal stupidity” is too much. I retract.

        But, seriously, what was the plan when Nicola asked for the first referendum? Surely you would run through the possible scenarios first? If May says no, we agree to postpone in return for a legal guarantee that there will be another referendum due to Brexit, for example, in 7 years. You must have a plan B, otherwise Westminster just calls your bluff, which is what happened.

        I think they’ve made a real mess of the second referendum. I think Sturgeon is the best leader for the SNP but it may be the case she has made too big a mistake to stay, because her authority and credibility have been seriously damaged I would say. I can’t see a better candidate waiting in the wings, and she is in many ways highly impressive, but that’s not the point….

        1. Lorna Campbell says:

          The fundamental problems began with the first indyref, Stroller, because it was supremely unnecessary. A pre independence referendum is not a requisite in either domestic or international law, albeit a confirmatory/ratifying one will be so after legal, rather than political, independence, if it is won in this way. It was, essentially, the demographics which proved to be the stumbling block in 2014 – the rUK NO vote being the biggest per capita – and the EU migrant NO vote because they cancelled out any advantage the YES camp had over the NO camp of indigenous voters (52.7% as against 47.3%). That is hard to swallow.

          Time was a huge factor in Alex Salmond’s decision to widen the vote and appeal to all those of voting age in Scotland, and he also decided that having Westminster’s sanction was better than not. It was a gamble, and he lost. I believe we would lose again because we have not thought through why these voters voted as they did. The EU voters can be understood quite readily because they were told by Better Together that they would be repatriated since Scotland would be out of the EU. Aye, the irony, eh? rUK NO voters are a different kettle of fish, and I believe there is a link between their vote (and the Scottish Leave vote, of which a large percentage was the previous NO vote) and the Brexit and subsequent Tory vote in the South. It is, of course, very un-pc to say so, but the facts tell their own story.

          Yes would have defeated the indigenous NO vote alone, and that is hard for independistas to accept. Circumventing the indigenous,/rUK NO vote in any future independence bid must be the priority. The only way, I would think, would be to go down the legal route: firstly, the domestic legal route; then the International legal route; then hold a confirmatory/ratifying referendum after independence. Legally, the naysayers have no right in international law to thwart independence (which is now the preferred choice for self-determination, rather than devolution which has hit a brick wall and can go no further).

          Incidentally, I also believe that women will have to take a legal case against self-ID if they are not to be railroaded. This age of being all things to all men, of not upsetting anyone, of trying to be the biggest cheese in the shop is leading to some of the worst decisions ever made and some of the greatest alienations in our history, Yes, by all means, let’s treat people as we would wish to be treated, respect people’s differences and their right to express these. That, however, should not be at the expense of losing hard-fought-for and hard-won rights for groups who are already marginalized. The aggression and dubious tactics used by some minorities to gain their own way is proving to be detrimental to fundamental democratic rights. Both Scots who support independence and women who speak out against self-ID are being targeted on social media by aggressive and vicious elements and it is insupportable and dangerous. Even free speech has a limit set on it: it is not there for some to abuse and threaten others. Just as the vote was not intended as a means to limit the life-choices of a nation and drive it it into a cul de sac.

          1. The Stroller says:

            When the Edinburgh Agreement was signed, support for indie was about 28%… You would have preferred what, UDI followed by a confirmatory referendum which we would have lost? That makes no sense to me.

            And any restrictions on non Scots and the franchise would have backfired. It would have put Yes voters off to decide the franchise on ethnicity. It would have tarred the Yes movement as ethnic nationalist.

            No country in Europe has a 100% indigenous population, thankfully. Your obsession with the non-scottish vote is troubling. Why focus on that demographic and not social class., say?It’s just an ethnic nationalist way of thinking.

            So, on those two matters I think you’re plainly wrong….

          2. The Stroller says:

            The important thing for people like yourself Lorna to realize is that there never was a 100% ethnically homogenous state in Europe.

            That idea is a construct of the nationalist ideologies which emerged in the 19th century, especially in miittle Europe and eastern Europe. European societies were always multi ethnic. Then the nationalist movements emerged from the fertile soil of Romanticism and the idea that States should be ethnically homogenous was born which culminated in ein volk ein reich. It was a goal of these movements, never a reality. If it had been a reality, ethnic nationalism would never have been born in the first place, you see?

            It’s a construct or an abstract. Your dividing up the vote on ethnic lines is simply a distortion of reality. And please remember, 100 years ago not only were the Irish “foreigners” so were the Gaels who emigrated from the Highlands and were mocked for speaking “eirsh” or Irish, ie gaelic. They were considered foreigners tho…

            To go down the ethnic line of thinking is a category error…

          3. MBC says:

            There could have been a residency requirement in the 2014 franchise. Scots-born residents, plus incomers resident here for 16 years. (Because at age 16 you get to vote.) It was mad to allow incomers unfamiliar with Scotland to have a say in our country’s future.

          4. “A pre independence referendum is not a requisite in either domestic or international law, albeit a confirmatory/ratifying one will be so after legal, rather than political, independence”

            – this is nonsense. Complete nonsense.

  4. John says:

    Loads of digestible word spaghetti here. Mmm, thank you.

    I concede to a global family. As I do the sovereign nation rule of the game.
    It’s why I want Scotland to be sovereign in the global game.

    The new age that will likely not happen , needs a reformation of the un . A new world assembly, likely best in central Africa. A NWA in the Congo.
    Certain small successful nations working as sponsors for fucked up bigger ones.

  5. Muiris says:

    What sort of society are you aspiring to, that requires the importation of (presumably) cheap labour to do its work? If those servicing the tourist industry, or picking your potatoes are enduring conditions that you would not tolerate, they, & their societies, are effectively subsidising you, & your lifestyle.

    If independence means the ability to import labour (people), to do work, for conditions that local people find intolerable, that is not much different from the exploitation of the ‘glorious Empire’. If that is your project, include me out.

    1. Hamish100 says:

      Muiris you conflate issues in order that you make the well versed comment “..count me out…” as an excuse.
      Scotland needs people and yes wages in some sectors are low but should at least be at a minimum rate. Do I wish it to be more . Of course,but I also wish cheap food, cheaper hotels etcetera. Scots government has done it’s best despite Tory lib dems austerity measures . You want change? Then stop making excuses by counting yourself out.

  6. Lorna Campbell says:

    I agree, Elaine Fraser, that self-ID is the fundamental problem here. I have no grievance against people who genuinely feel that they need to change their gender, and I can see no reason why they cannot have the same respect as anyone else. However, I do draw the line at supporting medical intervention for children, and many other aspects of self-ID that will almost certainly be harmful to many more people than are actually transgender. It is irrational to uphold one tiny group’s rights to self-ID at the expense of more than half the population’s rights.

    1. Hamish100 says:

      Any chance for a ID free zone?

    2. Elaine Fraser says:

      Lorna, the Trans lobby groups ( heavily funded by Scottish government among others) would like us all to start using their language. But here’s the thing

      ‘Sex’ is biology and cannot be changed. ‘Gender’ is a social construct and meaningless. They want everyone to conflate the two. Confusion works for them.

      I’m not confused nor should you be.

      They can’t have our ‘sex-based’ rights. End of story.

  7. Calum McPhee says:

    “And, ,the nations and region of the country”.

    One this demotes Scotland to the level of Yorkshire.

    Two, England is viewed as having regions.

    Theee , Scotland is viewed as having no regions.

    Four, England is viewed as as being something bigger more special and more deserving than Scotland.

    Five, mention above and your viewed as having a chip on your shoulder by many south of the border and as parochial by unionists!

    Truth is, Scotland is not viewed as an equal in this union, the press, bbc, English government and unionists are hell bent on enforcing this view we are a dependent and on worthy!

    I wonder why?

  8. Lorna Campbell says:

    “A pre independence referendum is not a requisite in either domestic or international law, albeit a confirmatory/ratifying one will be so after legal, rather than political, independence”

    – this is nonsense. Complete nonsense.

    Okay, Ed. point out the law on this topic where it says it is necessary.

    1. I’m just struggling with your logic here. We didn’t get a majority at a referendum so now we are saying we don’t need one. Yet somehow we will go to international bodies and other countries and say we are now independent please recognise us and this will go smoothly.

      I’m sorry this is just a fantasy, it might be well meaning or well intentioned but it doesn’t have any basis in reality.

      1. Lorna Campbell says:

        Sorry, I didn’t see your comment till now. There is, and never has been, a legal requirement for any country or people to hold a referendum in order to gain independence – nowhere in either international law or domestic law. Fact. Please check, if you wish. No, it is not fantasy. The Treaty of Union is not fantasy. The Treaty of Union is very real. So real and so potentially damaging to England-as the-UK’s prospects that two eminent professors of constitutional law were commissioned by Cameron, in 2013, I believe, to posit the theory that Scotland had been subsumed. It is fine and dandy for Scotland to be damaged but not England-as-the-UK – and we go along with that. Jeez! Give me strength!

        They will try this again, however we achieve independence, because we stand to gain as much from the Treaty as they do. Resiling that bloody treaty in the international courts is the only way we can simultaneously end the Union and achieve an equal standing in the subsequent negotiations. I am saying what I have always said: there is no need for a PRE INDEPENDENCE referendum, albeit there will be a requirement for a ratifying/confirmatory one after the Treaty has been resiled, in order to lend democratic (political) as well as legal authority to the end of the Union. No ‘British’ party, no Unionist/British/English Nationalist can gainsay the law. Any attempt to try and do so would be met with international opprobrium, just as NO Deal scenario would be met with the same in the case of Brexit. Coupled with the Right to Self-determination as laid down in the UN Charter (self-determination for Scotland now means independence, nothing less) and basic human rights, I believe we would have an excellent case that England and then, England-as-the-UK has breached almost every Article of the Treaty unlawfully and has treated Scotland in a manner that is ultra vires (illegal).

        I don’t give a fig for anyone’s opinion of me or of this idea because I know that it is the sole means of ending the Union without division and conflict. I am ever mindful of what happened in NI, and of what occurred in the former Yugoslavia, which is why I find people like Stroller so blinkered and totally uncomprehending of the reality of the situation, and his silly and racist attacks on me, accusing me of being a paranoid nationalist, are so unfounded as to be the spiteful and vicious ramblings of someone who knows perfectly well that the rUK vote was suspect in 2014. Many rUK voters came to Scotland in the past 15 years, many must have been aware that the SNP, the governing party for most of those 15 years is an independence party. Yet, with an arrogance that defies belief – or did before Brexit showed that it is not so uncommon – almost three-quarters of that one group decided that the Scots should remain tied to the Union. It is not about Unionist Scots because they were beaten by the YES side and would be again. It is about a minority in-coming group deciding how the majority of the host nation must live their lives. That is a recipe for conflict if there is no resolution soon,. That was and remains my point, and, equally important is the possibility that they would vote negatively again in any second referendum. To anyone with a modicum of sense, this should be avoided, if possible, and a less divisive and less political route taken to independence.

        We are one of the luckiest peoples on Earth because we have the Treaty, yet we must also qualify as one of the most self-defeating and stupidly Stockholm Syndrome-ridden people on the planet. I don’t use your blog as a platform for racist tirades, but as a way to get through to people that we are storing up trouble if we do not face up to the need for independence and the need to stand up to the arrogant self-interest of a minority that has no right to prevent our independence. If they don’t like it, tough. They can be part of Scotland’s future or not as they choose. What they have no right to do is take our choice away by allying themselves with Scottish Unionists to thwart what is a right in international law. The country, Scotland, needs to be normal, and the people – all of them of all origins and backgrounds – also need to be feel normal and have self-respect, and that means being independent, and those who would deliberately seek to prevent that, need to be squared up to and told to pull in their horns – pronto – instead of being indulged in their delusions of grandeur. Let us all go forward together as one nation that looks outwards and will, in time, also count England as a friendly neighbour, so that our mixed populations on each side of the border can move freely and visit family and friends, trade and holiday together.

        1. So how does it work?

          What is the process?

          If there’s no requirement for any country or people to hold a referendum in order to gain independence – how does that work?

          Can you just say we have 5%, 10%, 20%, 30%, 40% support but we really really are a country?

          What’s the threshold, or is there none?

          Who decides and why hasn’t everyone seceded from everyone already?

          1. Lorna Campbell says:

            Ed: each country that has sought its independence has done so in its own way. I absolutely agree that holding a referendum appears, per se, to be the answer, but it is not and never has been. We have had two very divisive referendums. Imagine you have two people who see things very differently vis-a-vis a contract. One party to the contract appears to be benefiting far more than the other, indeed, to the detriment of the other; he/she flouts the terms and clauses, legally-agreed between them on signing the contract. What do they do? They try to reconcile their differences and avoid a court case, usually. However, if that doesn’t work, there is no other solution than to go to court. I could understand your position if the Unionists had kept their promises, if three-quarters of all rUK voters in Scotland had not voted NO and if Westminster and Whitehall were each the epitome of reason and fair play. That is not the case, so we must look at how we can best get round the stalemate.

            You do not set thresholds on percentages who want independence. The question is a legal one if you are going down the Treaty route. Is Scotland benefiting from being in the Union? Patently not. Yes, individuals and groups might benefit on a personal level, but does Scotland’s entire population benefit on broadly equal terms from being part of the UK? I think, even to the most prejudiced anti Scot, the answer must be NO. All studies, including the UK government’s own figures, show that Scotland does not benefit, but, far more tellingly, cannot benefit as the UK is structured, and the reality is probably even worse than the SNP cares to highlight Ergo, the only answer is to leave the UK, regain the powers lost to the UK imaginary pooling and sharing blatant lies and take it from there. Because the question is economic in the main, you must look at how you can make things more equitable, better. That becomes impossible when the UKG refuses you a voice, refuses to grant you greater devolved powers (and is actually taking them away from you, breaching the Scotland Act as well as the Treaty of Union). Ergo, the only answer is to leave the UK.

            The International Court of Justice would be obliged to hear a case – based on resiling the Treaty and on England-as-the-UK’s breaching of said Treaty, at every level, not for the greater good, but solely for its own benefit – from the Scottish government, because that would be a matter of international law, not politics. The SNP is in government. The SNP is the party of independence. The UN has set up tribunals to deal with Treaties and cases that fall outside the Vienna Convention, and there are other non-UN tribunals, under the auspices of the UN, that deal with older treaties. The crucial point is that Scotland was an independent, sovereign state when it signed the Treaty as a partner in the Union. It did not sign the Treaty as a region of England-as-the-UK or as a devolved region of the UK. That is why our case is very different from that of Catalunya. There is also the UN’s Charter’s Right of Self-determination and basic human rights.

            Do you think it is democratic for a minority group of rUK voters – most of them belonging to the country next door that is stifling your independence – to have helped to stifle a legitimate, normal, UN-sanctioned right to self-determination by holding the balance between the Unionists and the independistas? By what right do they do that? If you say: by their right as New Scots or as Scots, then I would ask: are you prepared to wait until these New Scots and Unionist Scots (each a minority group within Scotland) to give you their permission? I would ask: what gives them the right to ensure that we remain under the cosh of English Nationalism? Many independistas have had enough of pleading to the brick wall of intransigence and want to be independent very soon. I cannot see what rational reason there is for waiting. For what? For Johnson and the Tories to cement us into Brexit and trade deals with the US that we cannot get out of, and which would scupper any chance of either rejoining the EU or being affiliated to it? The call now is for us to wait to see what Brexit offers us. The farce is becoming more farcical by the day. It has undertones and overtones of appeasement and ruining ourselves in order to placate a hostile opposition both within and without.

            Oh, it’ll get worse, they say. So, Ed., how many more drugs deaths, how many more benefits cuts, how many more food banks, how lower must Scottish life expectancy fall, how many families must endure ‘just getting by’, how many more of our assets and resources must be purloined, how low must Johnson and his cronies cut working conditions and pay before it is bad enough for intransigence to waver in the Unionists, British and English Nationalists? The truth is that it is Middle Scotland that we would be appealing to, and they won’t hurt nearly as much as the poorest, so the poor must be sacrificed on the altar of Middle Scotland’s and Middle England’s endless pursuit of their own well-being, which they see as being in the Union and not out of it, in the main? It is better to cause even greater hurt and misery to poor Scots because it is not they who need to be ‘persuaded’ of the sense of independence? Och, weel, noo we ken.

          2. Hi Lorna

            you write “You do not set thresholds on percentages who want independence. The question is a legal one if you are going down the Treaty route”.

            So to clarify you expect other countries and international bodies to respect and recognise a country with say pollings or referenda showing 30-40% support.

            Okay. Good luck with that.

          3. Me Bungo Pony says:

            Populations on both sides of the Czech and Slovak border were against independence for their respective countries (according to polls) but the politicians decided to dissolve the Union anyway. International bodies had no problem with this.

            I can’t think, off-hand, of any country that has achieved independence via a referendum. Doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened, but it does show it is not the “standard model”.

          4. Maybe not with a referendum in all cases but with overwhelming movement or consensus for change?

          5. SleepingDog says:

            @Me Bungo Pony, maybe such ‘offhand’ comments are not really that useful? It is not as if Wikipedia is silent on the topic. Unfortunately the Wikipedia independence referendum page does not record the percentage votes in its table.

            Pew Research claimed back in 2014:
            “Most successful postwar independence referendums for which we could find results were essentially foregone conclusions: In only three cases (Jamaica 1961, Malta 1964 and Montenegro 2006) did the pro-independence vote fall below 60%, and 17 countries recorded pro-independence votes greater than 90%.”
            https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/09/15/in-its-peaceful-nature-and-uncertain-outcome-scotlands-independence-vote-stands-out/

            The comments on this page illustrate the problems with a 50%+1 victory line. Winning with, say, 55% or less of the vote is going to mean a great many sections of society voted against the result. If there had been a 52% independence victory result in 2014, there would have been similar focuses on sections thought to have significantly favoured the win, like young people who would have likely been the target of demonisation by unionists. Note ‘thought’: the ballots are secret (except to the state, or through the state) and demographic interpretations are speculation based on questionable techniques. We have already had ample warning from the Brexit example.

            In my view, the Editor’s consensus-for-change approach, however long that takes, will still be quicker than any series of snap referendums or declarations aimed at bouncing Scotland into independence against a sceptical and (as a result) increasingly cynical popular consideration. Certainly no-one will have reason to believe that a desire for greater democracy lies behind such attempts.

          6. Me Bungo Pony says:

            “The comments on this page illustrate the problems with a 50%+1 victory line. Winning with, say, 55% or less of the vote is going to mean a great many sections of society voted against the result”.

            But how many people in Jamaica, Malta and Montenegro would now vote to hand their sovereignty back to the country they achieved independence from? Historically, countries that achieved independence with a narrow majority in favour, according to polls, have swiftly moved to overwhelming indigenous support for the new state. It is narrow “wins” for the “loyalists” that tend to create continuing problems going forward. Scotland and Quebec are prime examples of the latter. By contrast, as I mentioned, Czechoslovakians were pretty convincingly against the dissolution of the state beforehand but rapidly moved to almost universal support for the new states after the fact.

            In my opinion, once people realise the apocalyptic consequences of independence claimed by “loyalist” activists were utter bunkum (Malta should have all but sunk under the waves apparently), and the advantages of governing yourselves in your own best interests become apparent, the idea of handing your sovereignty back to another country becomes unthinkable. However, large minorities in favour of independence, frustrated by a small majority wishing to retain the status quo, will often continue campaigning vigorously as nothing has been reconciled for them. While the fact of independence and the subsequent lack of armageddon shows “loyalists” their fears were unfounded, the status quo means all the issues that galvanised indies into action still remain unresolved with the “panacea” of independence not disproven and therefore still viable.

            So, again in my opinion, narrow “wins” are only a problem for “loyalists”. Once achieved, by whatever margin or method, independence soon becomes the “settled will” of the people in the newly created state.

  9. Lorna Campbell says:

    “…When the Edinburgh Agreement was signed, support for indie was about 28%… You would have preferred what, UDI followed by a confirmatory referendum which we would have lost? That makes no sense to me…”

    Well, no it wouldn’t if you were unaware that winning a GE with either a majority of seats or with the ability to make a coalition of independence-supporting parties was enough. I can assure you that the indyref was not necessary at all. Mr Salmond decided that he wanted there to be no shenanigans by Westminster after the result. Westminster and Whitehall will never allow such a scenario again because they were truly shocked to the core by the result, which, albeit not a win, came so close. UDI is a distraction, Stroller.

    “…The important thing for people like yourself Lorna to realize is that there never was a 100% ethnically homogenous state in Europe…”

    You don’t say, Stroller? This is the mistaken belief that people who tell you the truth about the rUK vote are racists/fascists (delete as appropriate). No, think about it: almost 75% of one demographic (older voters were around the same, but they crossed the demographic lines so cannot be lumped in as one group) voted against independence in the biggest, since NO vote per capita. The actual biggest, single demographic to vote NO was the Unionist Scots (at 47.3%). What should have been asked in 2014 was: why did so many rUK voters vote against Scottish independence? That question was never explored because the truth would have shocked even the ‘all things to all men’ brigade like yourself. I believe it was based partly on a knee jerk reaction against any expression of national ambitions by the Scots, partly through self-interest and partly through a kind of anti Scottishness that bordered on racism. The reaction in Scotland was very similar to that south of the border. Surprised? Why?

    Never have I entertained thoughts or notions about singling out anyone in our midst. The EU NO voters contributed to the NO vote, too, but they had been threatened with repatriation in the event of a YES vote and the lie that Scotland would be booted out of the EU. That, I can understand, and, anyway, th considerably smaller EU vote did not affect the YES vote too adversely. It was the rUK NO vote that allowed the Scottish Unionist NO vote to hop over the line and reach 55%. Those are the facts. You can go into denial mode or start to ponder how we are going to win a second indyref in those circumstances because that is my sole intention here. I do not wish to send anyone home – anyone at all, in Scotland. I actually am in favour of immigration that is not a floodgates situation because we are a small country. Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia managed to keep their Russian minorities to the benefit of those new countries, Czechia and Slovakia both kept their opposite numbers quite happily when they split and the former Yugoslav republics, after a very bad start, managed to avoid further ethnic conflict. However, in all those examples, the minorities did not vote overwhelmingly against independence. You see? Why doesn’t Bella find out why so many rUK voters voted NO in 2014, or is the truth too scary? Or how many would still vote NO? Remember without this particular demographic’s NO vote, the Scottish Unionist NO vote cannot beat the YES vote.

    Perhaps we can persuade hundreds of thousands of rUK voters to support independence and I could be wholly wrong. I really hope I am. What I will not put up with is your trying to shoehorn me into a racist role when my concern is solely with how we manage to win a second indyref in the 2014 circumstances. I have no problem with rUK voters beyond their negative vote, and that was not all of them by a long chalk. Little has changed, though. A new poll has stated that 55% in Scotland now want independence within five years. In five years, we will be cemented into Brexit, with trade deals (legally-binding – think PFI and the mess that has created) by Westminster’s use of our devolved powers and our resources. If we don’t find a legal, democratic way to leave this Union, we will be well and truly shafted – and we will have ourselves to blame, completely, because, while we were trying to be ‘all things to all men’, the opposition was preparing the big shafting stick. Sometimes, you just have to say to some people: you don’t like it? Tough. Self-determination has moved from devolution to independence, and self-determination is a right in international law. Opposing it because it inconveniences you is not.

    1. The Stroller says:

      You simply can’t know why English residents voted the way they did in September 2014, but most probably because they actually feel British I would venture, though I know from your posts here that you see a whole plot to thwart Scottish independence underway Paranoia is the hallmark of the ethnic nationalist mentality too after all.

      Your total obsession with a few hundred thousand non Scot votes blinds you to the glaringly obvious reality that over 1.5 million Scots voted to stay in the Union, more than three times the non Scots who did so. I mean why would you pick on the English residents in Scotland and make a scapegoat out of them? It’s wrong, it’s nasty and completely irrational.

      Back in the 30s people like yourself were calling for Irish Catholics to be repatriated because they were going to undermine presbetyrian Scotland’s values and dilute ” the Scottish race”. That kind of mumbojumbo was common all over Europe back then, and you’re just serving up a more modern version of it. Now it’s the English and they’re all in league and are plotting to take over Scotland. It’s more paranoid nonsense.

      If you think that you can start dividing up citizens on the basis of where they were born in 21st Europe, after the carnage caused by ethnic nationalism in the 20th century, then you are very wrong.

      Most people, thankfully, can see that what you are actually doing is scapegoating English residents in Scotland, othering them, and singling them out, calling their motivations into question, and stirring up ill will against them. It’s just totally unacceptable and wrong.

      Fortunately I don’t think most Scots think of English residents up here in that way at all.

      But there is no way of convincing paranoid ethnic nationalists like yourself…. We must tolerate you on these boards as you remind us all for the hundredth time about how they scuppered our bid for independence….

      It’s just irrational nonsense….

      1. Lorna Campbeell says:

        Stroller: I wondered when you’d get around to the paranoid bit. Your suppositions about why they voted NO as are valid or as paranoid as mine. Do they feel British? What is Britishness as opposed to Englishness because, for many of us Scots, they are the same thing? What I can say is that few relocate to another country – even to the Commonwealth countries before they become independent – and tried to thwart their independence. I can say only that, were I to relocate to England, I would not even dream of trying to thwart English independence. I realize that you would like to brand me as some kind of right-wing, fascistic, paranoid individual, but I am actually a life-long supporter of voting and human rights, of free expression, of being able to live how we please without hindering or trampling on others, I am on the left, etc. I am educated and a fairly free thinker. What I am not is an anti English bigot, but I do have reservations about that rUK NO vote. I am well aware, as I stated in my reply to you, that it was actually Scots who voted overwhelmingly against independence, but, without the EU and rUK NO votes, YES would have won the referendum. Yes, I want all people in Scotland to share our independence regardless of origin, colour, creed, sexual orientation, whatever. That is the point: I do not want to have to endure living in a UK where I am a second-class citizen as a Scot and where minorities tell my country that it has no right to its independence. This is actually the antithesis of the NI situation which produced the Troubles: Scots and English settlers engineered a majority in NI after the Irish Free State was set up and deliberately deprived the indigenous Catholic Irish population, a minority, but not for much longer, of their civil and human rights until it all blew up in their faces. In Scotland, we are dictated to by a minority Scottish Unionist group allied to an rUK minority. If you believe that is democratic, you are very likely to get a very rude awakening one of these fine days. Everyone has the right to vote how they choose, but no one has the right to trample on the rights of others because it suits them to do so, and no other country in the world had such an open voting system as we had. Instead off being appreciative of that, too many in Scotland spat, politically speaking, in our faces and used that wide open vote to deprive us of a human and internationally-legal right. To be independent is to be normal. Too many living in Scotland are so prejudiced and anti Scottish, they can’t see the wood for the trees.

        1. Lorna Campbell says:

          Oh, and I’m from a Protestant/Catholic background, so I have never had any feelings of sectarianism. I did not say that Scots were not the biggest NO voting group; of course they were. What I said was that rUK voters voted NO by the biggest percentage per capita – that is, they voted by almost 75% (three-quarters) of their total number in Scotland. That is the point, Stroller. Even Scottish Unionists could not raise over 50% alone. Now, do you get it or are you going to continue to obfuscate and dodge reality and accuse me of scapegoating? In the 1930s, the Nazis did scapegoat the Jews who had done nothing to earn his ire. Many of them had fought for Germany in WW I and most were secular Jews who considered themselves German. In other words, they had not voted against German interests or to aid the Allies at Versailles, not had they broken German law or international law. It is the legal right, according to the UN Charter, of peoples to seek their own self-determination, and I would posit that, by 2014, Scottish self-determination had already moved from devolution to independence, and, therefore, thwarting it was to breach international law and mores. I have no time for those who deliberately, for their own ends, thwart the law unless that law is onerous and deserves to be challenged. You must remember that the UK itself is a signatory to the UN Charter on Self-determination and on Human Rights. Nor have I ever claimed that there was a rUK conspiracy to scupper independence. I would posit that a lot of self-satisfied and English Nationalist (even if they didn’t realise it themselves at the time, but, of course, Brexit released the genie from the bottle) voted NO as a knee jerk reaction to any attempt at normality for Scots. That is my point in a nutshell: why did they feel able too do that; why did they feel they had the right? Perhaps you could answer that instead of evading the questions because you want to turn this into an anti English victim situation. By voting NO in 2014, we were welded into the UK that promised we would stay in the EU; that UK then proceeded to vote (largely because of the English vote) to take us out of the EU, deprive us of a voice and render us a colony overnight, with second-class citizenship of a decaying and increasingly vicious and English Nationalist UK. That is the truth that dare not speak its name – far from the ‘poor me’ victimised rUK NO voter. It is the unthinkably stupid and venal who cause much of the trouble on this planet, Stroller, not those who strive to show a situation in its reality. Had I been alive in the 1930s, I would have fled Germany because I would have read ‘Mean Kampf’ and understood what was coming. Today, I have nowhere to run to as the vicious right-wing regime in the south grinds on relentlessly over my country.

      2. Lorna Campbell says:

        It is people like you, Stroller, the unthinking, blindly stupid and arrogant who cause most of the world’s conflicts and problems. Had I lived in Nazi Germany, I’d have understood what Hitler was up to because I would have read ‘Mean Kampf’. I have nowhere to run to to escape the vicious, right-wing English Nationalist regime in the South. The NO voters of 2014 ensures that Scottish Unionist, rUK and EU NO voters. Or, perhaps , you’ll deny that, too?

        1. The Stroller says:

          Now you are insulting me and calling me names, so goodbye. And no doubt you would have read “Mein Kampf”, in fact it wouldn’t surprise me if you had a copy on your bedside table.

          Tolerant citizens of modern democracies do not blame minorities when things don’t go our way at a national poll…

          1. Lorna Campbell says:

            I’m not calling you names at all. I am calling you out. No, my copy of ‘Mein Kampf’ is on a bookshelf. I first read it as a sixteen/seventeen-year-old school pupil as part of the research for my dissertation on the Nazi regime. Far from finding their ideology attractive, I found it abhorrent and, to this day, I call out people who, through blind stupidity, allow situations to develop which cause misery and conflict. Many of the top Nazi criminals were prosecuted at Nuremberg, but how much more satisfying and sensible would it be to not have to do this, but to prevent dangerous psychopaths from ever reaching the pinnacle of power in order to inflict suffering on innocent people. I am calling for a perfectly legal, peaceful and democratic solution to the stalemate we find ourselves in. Why you would equate that to any desire to persecute rUK voters? I would turn your question around and ask you: by what right, considering that international law allows for self-determination and positively encourages it, considering that the UK is a signatory to the UN Charter and to Human Rights, do you believe that either the minority Scottish Unionists or their enablers, the minority rUK NO voters (and I specifically exclude other rUK voters who did not vote against independence and those who voted for it) did they vote down our independence, other than self-interest? I refuse to believe that anyone could be daft enough to actually believe, given the wealth of evidence against, that the Union is good for Scotland on a national level as opposed to a narrow, self-interest level, the very crime of which independistas are routinely accused by those whose self-interest is threatened. Do you believe that big business, the banks and all the other ‘Unionist’ interests would be Unionist unless they saw their interests as being UK-wide. Do you imagine that big business, the banks, etc. would not flock back to Scotland the minute it appeared that independence was actually working – as it would?

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