Hard questions for No voters


To the very limited extent that the British political elite can be said to have a ‘strategy’ in relation to Brexit this can be summed up as follows:

  • Muddle along with one eye on Nigel Farage and the other on the right-wing British media.
  • Whatever the British media respond to positively, pretend it’s what you planned all along.
  • Whatever the British media respond to negatively, blame it on the EU and/or the SNP.

Either bold and powerful Britannia is using her might to mould the future according to her iron will; or plucky little Britannia is being beaten down by foreign bullies and undermined by the treachery of her servants. The one certainty in the whole sorry farce of Brexit is that none of those perpetrating this act of political and economic vandalism will be in any way responsible for the damage caused. What cannot be claimed as their glorious triumph will always be someone else’s ignominious failure.

Some will insist that this is just the nature of politics. They will point out that it was ever thus. They will label naive any who suggest it might be otherwise. So inured are we to the deceit, duplicity and dishonesty that characterises the conduct of British politics that we tend to regard hope for better as something only for credulous children. If there is a line that the British establishment might cross in its abuse of trust and contempt for people, that line never seems to be quite within reach.

Here in Scotland, Unionists demand ever greater sacrifice in the name of preserving the structures of power, privilege and patronage which define their British state. They insist that we meekly accept every insult to our dignity and every assault on our rights for the sake of maintaining a system that serves the few at the expense of the many, because ‘there is no other way’. There is no fate which might befall us as part of their British state that wouldn’t be massively outdone in sheer horror by the consequences of seeking to escape that fate. The line can always be moved to keep the Union this side of intolerable.

It is the very definition of an abusive relationship.

At what point do those demanding sacrifice in the name of the Union start to ask if the sacrifice is worth it? For those who voted No in the 2014 independence referendum, is there such a thing as enough? Is there anything the British political elite might do which would provoke them to question the choice they made?

The claim trumpeted by the Sunday Telegraph that “Nicola Sturgeon’s government” is attempting to “seize control of key trade powers” goes well beyond mere media spin. It is more than just a political lie. It is a grotesque perversion of truth. In the first place, the “powers” referred to are in devolved areas. Even if we set aside for the moment the fact that all powers over public policy rightfully belong with the Parliament with the democratic legitimacy which comes from being elected by Scotland’s people, these are powers which should reside with the Scottish Parliament according the British state’s own self-serving rules.

And how might the Scottish Government hope to “seize control” of those powers? The British state refuses to recognise the democratic mandate given to the SNP administration by Scottish voters. Just as the British politicians who squat in the Scottish Parliament refuse to accept its authority. Scotland’s democratic apparatus is being systematically weakened and delegitimised as the British executive awards itself ever greater authority to unilaterally rewrite the devolution settlement. What capacity has the Scottish Government to “seize” anything?

Will Unionists in Scotland shrug off the gross falsehood? Will they expect the rest of us to do likewise? Will those who condemn the British state’s dishonesty be spuriously denounced as indulging in the ‘politics of grievance’?

Will the British parties in Scotland continue to collude with the British state as it dismantles devolution? Will their remaining members and supporters continue to put partisan allegiance before the needs, priorities, aspirations and democratic rights of Scotland’s people?

When will Unionists in Scotland think to ask what David Liddington means when he talks of the “national interest”? What might make them reflect whether this “national interest” coincides or conflicts with Scotland’s interests? What might prompt them to wonder why Scotland’s democratically elected representatives are being excluded from all discussions pertaining to this supposed “national interest”?

Anyone who values Scotland’s distinctive political culture would have experienced a chill of dark foreboding on hearing David Mundell talk of “UK-wide common frameworks”. What then are we to make of Liddington warning that “discrepancies between [sic] the UK’s four nations” are not to be tolerated? Surely all but the most fervent British Nationalist ideologue must now recognise this as a blatant and explicit threat to Scotland’s democracy.

Not before time, the constitutional implications of Brexit are emerging from the noxious fog of lies and distortion generated by the British establishment. It is now clear that, if the Scottish people, their Government and their Parliament do not act to prevent it, Scotland will be subsumed in a ‘One Nation’ British Nationalist state, with little hope of relief. The threat is real. The threat is imminent. The threat is evident. The British political elite isn’t even trying to conceal its malign intent.

Those who voted No in 2014 must now ask themselves if this is what they signed up for. And they better ask this as a matter of the utmost urgency. If Scotland does not give notice of its intention to dissolve the Union by September 2018, it may well be too late.

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20 thoughts on “Hard questions for No voters

  1. I think we are on the same page with this Peter, the mere fact that May and co, keep refereing to the UK as a country is very relevant. We are running out of time. If we do not vote independence September, October at the latest then we may as well just hand Scotland, everything in it and everyone in it over to the Tories to dispose of as they wish. A referendum has to be called soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I kid you not . If Westminster even try to make an attempt at a power grab. and if they try to block a referendum. the blood will be on their hands. That i can assure you .


      1. There seems to be an underlying current in Scotland Frank. Like a volcano ready to erupt but we don’t know when, as someone posted on facebook. This I would say is a good analogy.


  2. Enjoy your blogs, wee quibble about use of words.. ” for the sake of maintaining a system that serves the many at the expense of the few”
    Isn’t that the wrong way round?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. All of what you say rings true Peter but I think it likely that you are preaching to the converted. The problem as I see it is how to get the message out to the sizable chunk of the Scottish electorate who will stick with the status quo because even with BREXIT the status quo seems the safer decision.

    They will make that decision not because they can’t see some of the advantages of independence or love for the WM establishment, but because they have bills to pay and families to support.

    I get this argument from one of my work colleagues.

    “Am I able to guarantee that his family will not suffer after independence, or that the money markets would not trash the Scottish pound?” Both questions relate to his ability to provide for his wife and children.

    Are enough no voters really going to ask themselves the questions you pose?


    1. Irrational fears are almost impossible to address. And your friends fears are quite irrational. Ask questions. As if he’s content to have his family suffer in the Union. Ask why he’s not concerned about the money markets trashing the pound he’s using now. We’ll never know whether there are enough No voters ready to ask themselves those sort of questions unless we persist in pushing the questions at them.


      1. Jeezo Peter, your grasp on economics is so tenuous as to be invisible. The money markets cannot trash the pound that is being used right now because relatively speaking, it is very strong. Bill’s friend’s concerns are far from irrational… a newly independent nation with an unproven currency and track record without the fiscal reserve required to back up a Scottish Pound? You should be very worried. And that’s before we consider the loss of the £10b fiscal transfer AND the deficit we would certainly incur in year #1 and heaven knows how many years after that. Only an idiot would not be worried.


  4. Bill’s friend’s worries about his salary might be put to rest if he (and others like him) were told arguments along the line of . . . . “Independence will not happen overnight – things have to be sorted out – look at how long Brexit is taking – you will continue in your job and nothing will change in the short-term for the company you work for or the salary you get – In the meantime Scotland is staying in the EU so whatever happens, we will be backed up by 27 other countries. And we expect things to get a lot better for everyone in the long-term


  5. @geacher: “Jeezo Peter, your grasp on economics is so tenuous as to be invisible. The money markets cannot trash the pound that is being used right now because relatively speaking, it is very strong.”

    And you have the brass neck to say that Peter has no grasp on economics? Apparently ‘relatively speaking’ (what does that even mean??) the pound is ‘very strong’. Have you had your eyes closed and your fingers in your ears since the Brexit vote? The pound has devalued by approximately 20% against the Euro since they, it also collapsed against the USD but has made a partial recovery but that is due more to view on the US economy than anything the plucky Brits have come up with.

    You seems to profess to know exactly what shall happen in a post Independent Scotland and of course, as always, it is the doom scenario. Shall there be issues? No doubt. Shall there be a deficit? Probably. Can it be managed? Without doubt. Is the alternative as a part of Little England any more secure? No has to be the answer on that one.

    You sound like one of the people this article describes, no matter how much they insult us and remove our rights ‘the line can always be moved to keep the Union this side of intolerable’.

    Must be a sad life to always be in such darkness, but the real tragedy is people like you are stealing away the chance for me and my family to have a better life.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. As I said, “relatively speaking” Brexit is a folly, and sterling took a hit, but not as much as was anticipated, and is slowly making a recovery… a weak currency would have crashed and burned. Indeed, only a few weeks ago the Societe Generale Bank warned investors that sterling could have “unforseen strength” in 2018. So yes, relative.
    “Shall there be a deficit? Probably. Can it be managed? Without doubt.” Really? If we have a deficit of £13b+ we will manage it? A deficit almost three times what the EU state is the absolute outer limit for a country? Pray tell how we will do that. And set up a Central Bank. And cope without the £10b fiscal transfer? This is your vision of a “better life”?
    Oh and how do “they” insult us?


    1. The Scottish Pound will be a hard currency, for the exact same reason that Norway’s currency is rock hard – Oil & gas, enough for the next hundred years. Scotland has more oil & gas reserves than Norway.


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