Mystery prize?

I am baffled. I cannot, for the life of me, understand why Mike Russell continues to cling to the hope that there might be a “better deal for Scotland” in sight. There is no reason to suppose that Jean-Claude Juncker is only joking when he says there will be no return to the negotiating table if the ‘deal’ is rejected by the British Parliament. There is no way for the EU to offer Scotland a separate arrangement keeping us within the European single market and customs union. And it’s an absolute certainty that the British government isn’t going to seek such an arrangement on Scotland’s behalf – or agree to it if, by some unknown means, the EU were to make the offer despite having said that there would be no further negotiation. So, where is this ‘deal’ going to come from? Who are these “others” with whom the Scottish Government is going to work in order to secure the ‘deal’?

Mike Russell does not strike me as the type to indulge in wishful thinking. Presumably, he has identified some way that a special arrangement for Scotland might be achieved. Presumably, he has a realistic hope of success in this venture. I just can’t figure out how. What am I missing?

I sincerely hope I’m missing something. Because the alternative is that Mike Russell’s talk is just another delaying tactic putting off the moment when Nicola Sturgeon must take some kind of decisive action to resolve the constitutional issue. If, as I strongly suspect, this special deal for Scotland is a political impossibility, then talk of it can only be an attempt to rationalise more of the waiting which seems to have become established as the Scottish Government’s main strategy.

There really can’t be any justification for further delay. Even if a deal to keep Scotland within the European single market and customs union was a realistic prospect, it is not what we voted for. It would not negate that 62% Remain vote. To even consider such a deal is to contemplate compromising Scotland’s democracy in a manner and to an extent that even those who understand the rationale for compromise will find very hard to accept.

It’s not all or only about Brexit. Even if it were possible to significantly mitigate the impact of Brexit, as Mike Russell appears to believe, this would do absolutely nothing to address the grotesque constitutional anomaly which makes it possible for the British ruling elite to treat Scotland with utter contempt. And inevitable that they will continue to do so.

So long as we are bound by the anachronistic, anti-democratic Union, the people of Scotland will be denied full and effective exercise of our sovereignty. If we accept Scotland being dragged out of the EU contrary to the will of the people – regardless of the terms – then we will be expected to endure further and greater abuses at the hand of a British political elite resolved to impose its ‘One Nation’ British Nationalist ideology on Scotland.

It is time for Mike Russell and all of us to acknowledge that, even if there was some Brexit ‘deal’ that we’d be prepared to accept, however reluctantly and at whatever cost, beyond that lies another affront to our democracy and insult to our pride that we will not wish to tolerate. And beyond that, another. on and on. Worse and worse. Until we end the Union.

Why wait? It is time!

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23 thoughts on “Mystery prize?

  1. Peter, are you perhaps overlooking the fact that, despite voting 62% Remain, the Scottish electorate is not yet prepared to vote for Independence. Without a majority in favour of Independence, we are but a part of the British State which voted Leave. Westminster will just throw that fact right in her face.


    1. You’re putting the cart before the horse. A majority of the Scottish people will not be persuaded for independence until there is a full-on campaign to persuade them. If we wait for the “60%” to magically appear before we make a move, as the leadership of the SNP still seem to hanker for, we’ll wait forever. And the UKGov will screw us all the while.


      1. @grizebard

        SO TRUE.

        It is like a section of YES just want it to fall in their lap because they were good…Forgetting that bullies never give up the “money tree”.


  2. Manandboy, the independence issue has been in limbo since the Brexit referendum. People are switched off,bored with all this talk. The politicians have been kicking the can down the road. But, the end of the road is here. Surely, the tory party is set to self-destruct. And will the red tories survive as a single party?

    When the people of Scotland are confronted with the fiasco that England is dragging us into then the polls will change.


  3. The point is we gave them 3 mandates to strike a referendum on independence. If they don’t think they can use these then they need to step aside. I am confused and angry with the SNP’s constant twitter feeds moaning about what WM is doing to Scotland.

    Peter you or I could post the same twitter comments on a daily basis. Words are meaningless and become white noise if there is no action to back them up. We didn’t elect the SNP as a UK party . We elected the SNP for Scotland and to represent Scotland at WM. So on these terms we demand they act for Scotland not for England or Wales. Their purpose is to try and end the UK not to maintain it on a piecemeal basis.

    I am giving them until them until the outcome of the meaningful vote at WM in 2 weeks. If they don’t act on the outcome regardless of what it is. I am going to cancel my lifelong SNP membership and join the Greens.

    I am sure I am not the only one.


    1. Then you will get fracking and all the other policies the SNP have stopped hitting Scotland.


  4. Another point.

    People need to stop looking at polls. We could wait for ever and a day for 58% yes, and then if it came the polls could show 48% the week after. This is about democracy and mandate, not strategy. We the electorate did not endorse a strategy , we endorsed the concept of independence.

    Therefore I demand that the SNP use the mandate provided by the public who voted Green and SNP, and endorsed by Holyrood.

    Nothing will ever come of waiting.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Waiting is the best ever thing to do just now and fr the forseeable future!

    Only Joking !

    SNP MP’S! Get aff yer arses and do what you were voted in for ! Get working on those mandates now! Free Scotland!


  6. If part of the wait is to do with deals in Westminster with Labour on a new ScotRef, it is the biggest gamble in the world.
    Even if Labour ‘won’ requiring SNP support, Lab could be out again before a ScotRef was implemented.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Perhaps Mike Russell is making the right noises that the soft No to yessers want to hear. ‘look we are fighting Scotlands corner here, we are being reasonable & cooperative’ Then when all the cards are played the SNP can with hand on heart say ‘we tried’ Because even when we vote for Indy we will still be in UK- out of EU for a transition period so it is only right our SG try to make that period as painless as possible.People need to know how bad staying in UK is going to be out of EU if SNP are to use the mandate with full support. The ‘Give them enough rope to hang themselves’comes into play here.


  8. Mike Russell seems to be banging his head against a brick wall, which seems to be all he is capable of at the moment. I don’t think anyone is listening anymore. I have certainly switched off.

    What briefly roused the troops was the walk out at WM in the summer. So action to me is the best way of getting the public motivated. Having a twitter war is utterly pointless. We don’t need a running commentary.

    I think Sturgeon said she would see what the shape of Brexit was, and that she wanted Scotland to have a vote in October 2018 or by March 2019. Well guess what , we know the shape of Brexit. It’s either a bad deal or a no deal. The crazy idea that Brexit can be stopped is for the birds. Autumn has passed and we are heading into deepest winter. Yet there is still radio silence on indy ref 2!

    We know that this bill is unlikely to be passed. There will not be a GE, because the Tories are not daft. May will see out her time until Brexit no deal day. Scotland will be heading out the door as well.

    I feel sorry for all the EU nationals who thought that Scotland would protect them, and stayed on to await the outcome of indy ref 2.

    The SNP are letting everyone down at the moment.


    1. “So action to me is the best way of getting the public motivated. ”

      On that, at least, we are in total agreement. Want the polls to move? Do something dramatic! Want to revitalise the Yes movement? Do something bold! Want to win over the public? Do something decisive?


  9. The trouble with referenda is you don’t know how they will turn out and if you don’t get the result you want then you’re stymied. Didn’t everyone who voted SNP at Westminster and Holyrood know that the aim of the SNP is Independence? You don’t have to stick it at the top of the manifesto. Unfortunately, the 2017 manifesto stated “This election won’t decide whether or not Scotland will become independent”. And that it would provide further support for a Referendum.

    Mystery prize? – booby prize more likely. Something more nuanced would have been effective…The SNP wants an Independent Scotland and our MP’s, MSP’s and MEP’s will determine the most effective way of achieving that aim…..

    So they hold a meeting and decide whether or not Scotland is to be Independent.



  10. Sorry Peter I am venting my frustration a bit!

    It’s what comes of being a 30 year member of the SNP, and feeling that I am being ignored. There seems to be a belief on the part of some people that independence will just come, because it’s inevitable(its not). Others think we can wait until 2021 and beyond.

    We are waiting for a future which remains completely uncertain. Yet we have a perfect moment to make things happen. We have a shambolic UK government ,Brexit chaos, a mandate for a referendum and the polls as close to 50/50 as they have ever been.

    Why are we waiting?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Independence! Separatists! Nationalists!

    These are the words used by the media to put people off the idea of voting for the snp or for the return of our country’s rightful powers. It’s very effective. The words are given negative connotations because that suits the narrative of those wanting to retain those powers in WM. The irony, of course, is that many of the people who exercise those powers in WM are independence-supporting nationalist separatists – but they are called Brexiteers. The nation they wish to retain sovereignty (over) is a Great Britain which in reality is Little England.

    The return of Scotland’s constitutional status is achieved by dissolution of a Union which has outlived its sell-by date. In commercial terms it’s a contract termination. In human terms it’s a divorce. These can be bitter and acrimonious or they can be amicable. Whilst Scotland is almost certainly the aggrieved party, many of its inhabitants don’t see this. They have a maternal view of the UK. The more enlightened of us see the UK as an abusive partner. Whatever view you take, the reality is that England is always going to be our neighbour and our strongest ally. An acrimonious divorce is counter-productive if you end up sharing two sides of a semi-detached cottage with your ex-spouse and there are 60M+ dependents to consider. We need this process to be amicable.

    I suspect NS and MR appreciate this. I’m sure Mr Bell does too but his frustration is coming to the fore and it is feeding the frustration of many others. Divorces are not clear cut. They take time. At the end of the day it comes down to a figure, but the post-settlement arrangement is far more important to get right. Both parties need to focus on the dependents, regardless of who has custody of them. NS and the snp have to focus on what’s best for Scotland but they should not completely disregard the future of UK citizens who live next door.

    Brexit may be the biggest crisis facing Europe for a long long time. In such times, politicians and statesmen/women have a duty to look beyond their borders and focus on the greater good. I’d like to think this is what NS is doing. She’s probably the only political leader in the UK who is. Taking advantage of an impending disaster is akin to grabbing one of the few life-jackets on a sinking ship and saying ‘to hell with the rest of you’. It may ensure your survival but at what cost to your soul.

    I’m happy to trust NS and her political judgement to ensure an orderly restoration of Scotland’s constitutional status, rather than make opportunist decisions which will be seen to be contrived. That’s the Tory way of doing things and it will destroy them in due course. We need people to convert based on clear heads and with a desire for relative integrity. Many residents south of the border have huge respect for NS. We need the same enlightenment in the No camp in Scotland but it won’t happen if we’re seen to be trying to profit from disaster.


      1. @Peter


        I suspect @Chas Clark deference and ‘politeness’ is masking the ability to address the real risks for Scotland. This is the political slight-of-hand trick that neuters arguments for change. It is a post full of gas lighting slogans.

        I almost did a spit take at the line:
        “Taking advantage of an impending disaster is akin to grabbing one of the few life-jackets on a sinking ship”. Talk about being trapped by your opponents cognitive slogans. @Jeggit is right when he states colonialism is about colonising the mind.

        Marriage…I would be shocked if this is how they are treated in their marriage. Westminster likes the term “marriage” as it conjures up ideas of normality and love…It is becoming clear that this was never the case.

        It is not about Brexit. It is the political process that has revealed how Westminster intends to treat a sovereign member of the Union…and its nothing like “THE VOW”. We have been able to see in slow motion the frightening powers Westminster is accruing to bring to bear on Scotland.

        Yes, Westminster is planning a train wreck – but it is also trying to chain Scotland in to ensure it is trapped in the wreckage.


  12. Peter/Tom

    If the consequences of delay are as dire as you suspect, I wonder why NS et al don’t see this given their vastly greater contact with the individuals and structures involved. Have you considered there may be more to this than you are aware? Or are you so blinded by self-belief that you consider yourself infallible?

    I was once on a flight from London to Scotland which suffered such horrendous turbulence that passengers were texting loved ones in open defiance of the rules on mobile phones. I admit that I was contemplating my own imminent demise, but I noticed the chap sitting next to me was incredibly nonplussed. I asked him why he appeared so calm. His answer… “I’m a commercial pilot”.

    I’m not blindly defending NS and her apparent lack of passion. I’m as keen to see the back of the UK as you are. But I’m not sitting behind a keyboard pretending to know better than the team involved on the front line. We’re not the pilot in this process; we’re passengers with virtually no chance of landing the plane ourselves. If we start screaming “We’re all going to die!” it will only give the cabin crew an additional problem when it is least helpful.

    I don’t like invoking twee sentiment but where would Scotland have been if the troops at Banockburn engaged in open dissent against The Bruce because they didn’t appreciate his tactics against unseemly odds?


    1. @Chas Clark

      Happy to see your reply, but sadly it still does not address Peter’s point: “Not a word on the consequences of delay”.

      After re-reading the post, I was wondering how much to put in this reply. But I will just stick to the 2 most obvious points for me.

      1 – What would the Scottish Parliament be able to do if Westminster fully activated the Emergency Powers – Westminster has clearly stated No Deal remains a live option and it is actually the default outcome of the Brexit process.

      2 – You do understand the Henry VIII powers Westminster has granted themselves allows Ministers to amend (re-write) ANY legislation or Act for implementation of Brexit without going to Parliament. I.e. no scrutiny, no oversight. no right of reply. To fully implement their Brexit in Scotland several Ministers may require some sweeping changes to laws.

      Even under both these risks (already documented by Westminster) there is a foreseeable possibility that there would be either a totally neutered or in the worst case no Scottish Parliament for NS to act within.

      What then?


    2. P.S.

      With your “Bannockburn” reference. I take it this was used to illustrate that you see England as still an invading foreign power (as that was way before both unions). ;P

      If not, that analogy is totally invalid.


  13. @ Tom

    I’m not pretending to be an expert on the constitution. I don’t have answers to your conundrums. But I have faith that NS and her senior team knows a lot better than any of us how to deal with the current situation. The central point of my response is that we are all powerless as individuals. The only vehicle we currently enjoy to take us away from Westminster control is being driven by NS and none of us have the same qualification to take over. Distracting the driver because we think we know better isn’t helpful.

    Peter has a strong following, and rightly so. He’s a very gifted writer with an intellect far above the majority of his adherents. But he’s not a politician. And politics is the terrain that NS has to negotiate in order to reach our destination.

    For what it’s worth, I’m not afraid of Westminster trying to tighten its grip on Scotland. The snp has a simple solution to counter Westminster control – it could take control of Westminster. It could field candidates in every UK constituency on a platform of remaining in the EU and rebalancing national parliaments in the UK – effectively disolving the outdated union in favour of a Scandinavian model of a new “Britain” that could be a true partnership of neighboring nations with common bonds. None of the nationalistic fear-mongering and fence erecting applies.

    If only half of the disgruntled remainers in England and Wales voted with their conscience, the snp could actually have a majority in Westminster. Done properly, it could achieve a landslide and destroy the two-party hegemony at a stroke. The idea might seem far-fetched but I know it has already been contemplated. Now is the time to look at it more seriously in collaboration with enlightened individuals across the UK such as Jo Maugham. We all know this boils down to numbers. NS already has more followers in England than in Scotland.


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