Brava, Nicola!

An “independence debate”? Perish the thought! There is, of course, no way that Boris Johnson’s operators will put him in a situation where he can be even more humiliated than he was today. The vignette at the door of Bute House as Johnson arrived for his meeting with Nicola Sturgeon offered a fascinating insight into the power dynamic between the pair. And the new British Prime Minister did not come out of it well. On the steps of her official residence, the First Minister gave a master-class in stamping authority. The body language in that brief video clip will be studied and commented on for years to come.

Boris Johnson desperately needed to be the boss in that situation. Especially after the competitive Jock-bashing he and his rivals engaged in throughout the Tory leadership contest. He failed abysmally. Bossing the situation meant being last through the door so as to appear to be the dominant personality; the one in control and shepherding inferiors into a domain made to look his own by the fact that he was ushering visitors into it. When Sturgeon outmanoeuvred Johnson to deprive him of his moment, that had to hurt. Watch the footage and you can see how desperate Johnson was to further signal his alpha status by delivering a pat on the back – or three – as he symbolically pushed the First Minister through her own door. The body language was unmistakable. Boris was bossed in such balletic fashion there is an almost irresistible urge to leap to ones feet shouting, “Brava, Nicola!”

But if this episode hurt Johnson it must have all but crippled his minders. You can almost hear them out of shot hissing, “We rehearsed this!” as they bite their knuckles in fits of tearful frustration. The perils of working for a malignant child-clown bred to believe that deference is his due. Lesson learned. Johnson’s minders will be reluctant to allow their man to be in the same postcode as Nicola Sturgeon, never mind throwing him into the debating arena with someone who has already bested him with such effortless ease and exquisite elegance.

This debate is not going to happen. Not unless Johnson is crazy in ways that nobody has hitherto supposed. And it’s just as well. Because it would be an embarrassingly pointless exercise.

Get past the theatre of Sturgeon’s challenge to Johnson and ask what this “Scottish independence debate” would be about. What would they be debating? What would the proposition? And why? Why would the First Minister of Scotland be debating with the British Prime Minister on a matter in which the latter has absolutely no say? Johnson isn’t resident in Scotland. He cannot, to the best of my knowledge, qualify to vote in the coming referendum. It literally has bugger all to do with him.

Maybe they could debate whether there should even be a referendum. Or what the question on the ballot should be. But, again, this has nothing whatever to do with Johnson. Scotland’s right of self-determination cannot legitimately be denied, and the referendum itself must be held entirely and exclusively under the auspices of the Scottish Parliament.

The British Prime Minister has no more authority in relation to Scotland’s exercise of its right of self-determination than the head of any other foreign government. More to the point, Scotland’s First Minister should not be treating him as if he did have some kind of authority.

Let’s be generous and assume that Nicola Sturgeon was only joking when she challenged Boris Johnson to a Scottish independence debate. Let’s be grateful that such a gruesome spectacle is vanishingly unlikely ever to be thrust upon us. Let’s just watch that Bute House clip on a loop instead. Delightful!

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13 thoughts on “Brava, Nicola!

  1. Peter
    …”The British Prime Minister has no more authority in relation to Scotland’s exercise of its right of self-determination than the head of any other foreign government. More to the point, Scotland’s First Minister should not be treating him as if he did have some kind of authority.”…

    You are on fire at the moment.

    I hope you can hone this even sharper as I think your underlying points so good – they can to cut deeper. Time to take the gloves off.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. His PR people made him leave by the back door. That tells me he has no credibility in Scotland.

    He was avoiding the people and the press. It made him look cowardly! I reckon something very significant was said to him in that meeting.

    I reckon Nicola advised him the referendum will proceed , with or without his involvement. I honestly would not be surprised if he agrees a section 30 in the coming weeks.

    This might be a face saving exercise, for him to appear like a diplomat.

    Of course I could be completely wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @Big Jock

      I think you underestimate how much Brexit England will need Scotland’s money tree….or the sleeper tactics Westminster has already laid to keep hold of it.

      England alone, no longer able to hold onto the lie of being an “island nation” is a scar too deep and would tear them apart…NO English PM would ever do it…if they do, they will use every tool. trick, and dark deception to ensure you will never win – and I mean EVERY tool.

      Remember, a Section 30 means Westminster gets to set the terms. If Darth Vader music isn’t playing in your head every time someone says SECTON 30 – it really should be.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. @Big Jock
      Apologies for the double reply…but just saw this and had to add it:

      Think about what lengths a State will go to if it is already:
      – Stockpiling rubber bullets
      – Stockpiling body bags
      – Stockpiling medical freezers
      – Shipping Scotland’s police away to NI
      – Planning for military on the streets (i.e. it won’t be Scottish based military – you will be getting military from elsewhere in the UK)

      That list means Brexit won’t just be a “bonfire of regulations”…that list looks more like a state planning a war on its own population.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Considering England has lost about 20,000 Police since the tories and Lib Dems came to power in 2010, this is Boris Johnson trying to sound like he is doing a great favor, by adding all these extra officer It is the tories trying desperately to restore what they took away in the first place, and seeing how there is a huge backlash against such drastic cutbacks i emergency services.
        France, with a similar population to England and Wales, has more than double the number of Police than the entire UK!
        We wonder if he will do anything about the 10 London fire houses he shut down, while Mayor of that city region.

        As fir “shipping Scotland’s Police to NI”…. that has nothing to do with any UK Prime Minister.


      2. @Gordon Keane

        …”that has nothing to do with any UK Prime Minister”…

        Are you sure? I take it you are relying on Holyrood…I think that is a big gamble. Emergency powers will allow Westminster to do as they please….not to mention those Henry VIII powers.

        Personally, I would not be banking on Holyrood as a saviour once it all goes down. If there is a no-deal I would not be expecting Holyrood as we currently understand it to last out the year. Westminster has clearly set its sights on further undermining devolution.

        The Sewel motion was shown to be hollow as AF.
        The power grab was done without a hiccup for Westminster.
        The new “Scotland office” is in place.

        Westminster will go all out if it has to. However, not many people in Scotland has any idea of how far that is as it is usually done to “other” people. I suggest people buckle in because colonialism is a bit*h and we may be about to see what it really meant for all those peoples around the world.


  3. Peter. I agree.

    However Nicola made the mistake of asking for a section 30. She has gone down a road that she didn’t need to. The Brits will weigh up what to do, in the event that Nicola goes ahead with a referendum without a section 30. They will see that agreeing one will give them some sort of control over the timing and wording and terms.

    I don’t see why Nicola would refuse the offer , even if it’s late.

    Several strategic mistakes cannot be unpicked very easily.


    1. The request “to begin early discussions between our governments to agree an Order under section 30 of the Scotland Act 1998” (quoting from the First Minister’s letter to Theresa May) was made more than two years ago. Theresa May gave no formal response. There is now a new British Prime Minister who has never received a Section 30 request. The earlier request may reasonably be considered to have lapsed, and the process started anew with Boris Johnson – if t is to be started at all.

      There are very good reasons for not requesting a Section 30 order and for refusing one in the extremely unlikely event that it is offered. I have set out these reasons in various articles, principally


  4. I trust, and hope you are correct on that Peter.

    It would form a solid argument. The media will spin it as Sturgeon backsliding on her previous process ,as you know. However she can claim that it fell on deaf ears and a new strategy was required.


    1. The media will say whatever the media will say regardless of what Nicola Sturgeon does and even if she does nothing. Once you start designing a campaign around what you think the media will say, you are ceding control to them. And, by extension, to your opponents. It is always best to be mindful of the media. But let yourself become a slave to them and you are lost.


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