Time to come home?

Immediate reaction to the suggestion that Scottish MPs are to be ‘locked out’ of the British parliament might range from a so-what shrug to a small celebration. I doubt if there was much ‘anger’ away from newspaper headlines. Any mention of the Scottish contingent at Westminster is as least as likely to prompt questions about why they’re there at all. There’s not much righteous indignation at the contempt shown to Scottish MPs left in Scotland. Ian Blackford has requisitioned it all. His not infrequent venting of that righteous indignation tends to prompt questions about the advisability of sitting right under Britannia’s arse if you don’t like being shat upon.

It’s difficult to get worked up about the British political elite’s casual contempt and calculated discourtesy because these things are so much part of our political life. I expect nothing else from the British state other than that it will treat Scotland in the manner it regards Scotland – as an annexed territory necessarily subordinate to ‘Mother England’. I expect better of our elected representatives than that they should meekly accept this inferior status even while complaining about it. I don’t know about anybody else but I’m more likely to be roused to anger by the fact that we still send supplicants to petition the British parliament for the boon of those things which less pusillanimous nations hold to be theirs by right than by the fact that those supplicants and petitioners are treated accordingly.

Outside the bubble of the SNP Westminster group, few ask why they are treated so badly by the British. Many more ask why they continue to submit to this treatment.

I shouldn’t have to explain that by ‘Scottish MPs’ I mean the 48 SNP MPs plus Neale Hanvey. The others are British MPs from British parties representing British interests. They cannot be regarded as Scottish MPs. The vicinity of Britannia’s arse seems the natural place for those who regard it as an honour to be in receipt of her excretions. The likes of Alister Jack and Ian Murray belong in the British parliament. They are British. They are proud to be British. And if the price of being British is being shat upon copiously and constantly then this is a price they will gladly pay. They accept that their associations with Scotland mean this is the best they can expect. Their expectations are well met.

What remains to be explained is why the Scottish MPs remain in Britannia’s chanty. A common view is that they are ‘in it for the money’. Or that they enjoy the status as well as the perks and privileges. Or that they’ve ‘gone native’. Some or all of these explanations may apply in greater or lesser measure to a few or many. But I find these explanations unsatisfying. Human motives and motivations are seldom if ever so simple and clear-cut. Even politicians – and even British politicians – are only rarely so shallow. And the shallowest of them are otherwise occupied squatting like malignant cuckoos on the opposition seats in the Scottish Parliament.

There is nothing wrong with appreciating the material rewards of any job if those rewards are earned. And for the most part, MPs work fairly hard. Sometimes very hard. The hours are unsocial the travelling is arduous the facilities are decrepit the bureaucracy is a mire the procedures are arcane the ceremonies are ludicrous much of the work is tedious the people you have to work with even more so and the job is extremely insecure. I wouldn’t do it for twice the money. Besides, people generally have to go through the mill just to become MPs. All that shaking sweaty hands and coming away with enough of somebody else’s faecal matter to test for prostate cancer. All that kissing snottery bairns smelling of shit and sour milk. All those single-issue obsessives with their four-hour ‘wee talks’ on urban foxes. All those damp and draughty halls with their junk PA systems that whine almost as much as the five people who’ve come along expecting free tea and scones. All those constituency selection panels making you feel like that nutter who brings their grandma’s collection of Frank Ifield memorabilia to the Antiques Road Show convinced it’s worth millions.

For me, they can have their salaries and their pensions and their expenses and their subsidised bars. None of it is enough to compensate for the crap they have to take in the course of their political careers.

I’ve less sympathy for the SNP MPs who have ‘gone native’. If indeed there are any. I find it difficult to believe they could ever be absorbed into a club which so evidently doesn’t want them as a member. But people can have a considerable capacity for convincing themselves. They may genuinely believe they have gained entry to the elite and might even persuade themselves that it is in order to better serve constituents and country. Invariably, they are being manipulated. It’s what the British establishment is good at. Perceived threats which can’t easily be crushed may always be neutralised by other means.

Ask those SNP MPs why they’re at Westminster and I’m sure they would make a convincing case that they’re doing a public service on behalf of the people in their constituency. And I don’t doubt that they try. They may even on occasion succeed. Even the British MPs from Scottish constituencies might do something helpful for their community from time to time. So long as it doesn’t impinge on their service to the British ruling elites. Or cause them any inconvenience. But SNP MPs have a very particular remit. They have a mandate. All power to them if they’re sorting out some single parent’s benefits or trying to bring meaningful employment to their constituency. But what about their role as champions of Scotland’s cause? What about their duty to work for the restoration of Scotland’s independence? How compatible is this with being at Westminster?

Might it not readily be argued that there is no more effective affirmation of the Union the SNP has undertaken to abolish than sending representatives to the place that more than any other represents the Union and all it implies for Scotland? Is there not an intolerable contradiction here?

The more we realise that Scotland’s independence will not be restored by any process involving the parliament of England-as-Britain the more difficult it becomes to justify the presence of SNP MPs in that parliament. They can do absolutely nothing for Scotland’s cause as members of the British parliament. Perhaps they might best serve that cause by coming home.



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18 thoughts on “Time to come home?

  1. Pete

    I have been arguing for years now that there is no point in even taking up the seats. The SNP should refuse to take up their seats and see what that does to Westminster’s right to Govern Scotland. Surely by not taking up the seats consent has been removed, it’s time the SNP tried different things to disrupt that dump and show it the same contempt it shows us.

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    1. There is an argument such as you suggest. But it’s pointless withdrawing our MPs from the British parliament unless (a) there are enough of them to make an impact i.e. a substantial majority and (b) that there is something to follow. Something for those politicians to do. Participate in a Grand National Assembly, perhaps? Maybe to ratify a Manifesto for Independence?

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    2. If they came home or didn’t take up the seats, is the SNP vote firm enough to keep voting for them time after time? The risk is that a small section of those who would vote SNP would change their minds and stay away from the polls or even choose the least worst unionist.

      Consequences? Scotland gets a full house of unionist MPs and the union is legitimised?

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      1. It wouldn’t make much sense for the SNP to withdraw from Westminster unless they had no intention of there being any more Westminster elections in Scotland.

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    3. Yeah they should refuse to take up their seats and take their noses out the trough but they won’t. U do realise that if Scotland was to be an independent country they would all be out of a job because they do. The fat controller made £250k in expenses with his salary on top of that. Think about it. Lol

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  2. The Irish MPs eventually had had enough and they walked. When they walked, after years of being subjected to pretty much that which the Scottish SNP MPs are being subjected to, the real fight for independence began. It took something like that to galvanize people, but, even then, it was not a majority of the population. That did not happen until the brutality of the British regime became apparent to even the most a***-licking Unionist among them. Then the situation became an implosion, followed by an explosion. We are different from the Irish, albeit they are our nearest relatives. We put up with much until we reach a tipping point, then it all follows from there. We are almost there, and whether our MPs walk out of Westminster never to return or remain there for longer, once we reach that tipping point, nothing, repeat, nothing, will stand in our way. I do not think it has as much to do with how they treat us – though that is definitely a factor – but with how we respond. So, it is less that our SNP MPs appear to be squatting in a place that does not want them, as the fact that we see the Unionist MPs doing us down all the time with their collaborationist behaviour. The food safety and hygiene legislation which they supported and voted through on a nod and a wink is an example of that self-destructive behaviour for no tangible reason or gain.

    The VE Day celebrations saw demobbing follow, and the repatriation of POWs. Of those in German prison camps, the remaining original members of the 51st Highland Division were repatriated to Scotland. Many of them came back detesting the British government and Winston Churchill because they felt betrayed by their being ordered to hold St Valery while the troops were rescued from Dunkirk. They felt that they had been sacrificed precisely because they were Scots (no great mischief if they fall) Many of those became nationalists, or were already nationalists, and they never trusted the British set-up again, nor those who were apologists for it. Whatever the truth – and Churchill always claimed that he knew they would fight till the last and hold up the German advance long enough to allow the majority of the BEF to reach home and safety -they were never the same again. I recall hearing about the anger of these men from the horse’s mouth, as it were, and how they blamed the High Command, many of who were Scots themselves. another form of self-destructive behaviour.

    In Ireland, before independence, the situation gradually became a stand-off between England and Ireland (most Irish did not blame the Scots or Welsh, despite the fact that many in the Black and Tans were Scots, because they viewed us as a colonized people just as they viewed themselves, and this, in spite of the fact that many in the IRA were Anglo-Irish). That is what is happening in Scotland, too: gradually, it is becoming a stand-off between England and Scotland, with Anglo-Scots having to decide whose side they are on) and the lines are becoming clearer. The clearer the lines become that this has nothing to do with ‘Britishness’, but everything to do with the old divisions in these isles, the clearer people become about what they have to do to survive as a nation. Britishness, whatever that is or was, managed to blur the lines, but, in the end, all three satellite nations – Scottish, Welsh and Irish – have each had to defend themselves against English hegemony and imperialism throughout their mutual and several history. Nothing has changed, really, but, this time, there will be no Treaty of Union lurking around the corner. This time, it will be for keeps – forever – unless something happens that makes it an attractive proposition for all of us, not just the few. The Irish know this very well, but both Scotland and Wales are not quite there yet. Does that mean that we have to dislike the English as individuals, as people? Of course not. It means simply that we are learning to like ourselves just a bit more every day and that has repercussions for our future as an independent nation – good repercussions. We are almost there, and we will reach it before the SNP hierarchy who will need to be dragged, kicking and screaming, to the tipping point because, with Brexit, they thought they had left us behind to fight the rearguard action. They miscalculated, and we are coming back, changed but not chastened.

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  3. Why does the SNP not take a leaf out of Sinn Fein’s book? Why not put candidates forward to stand in a general election but refuse to take any seats at Westminster? This blocks unionist candidates from taking control of Scottish constituencies and simultaneously puts the boot on the other foot. Now it is the SNP who are taking the piss out of Westminster. It also makes the intention of the SNP crystal clear – separation or bust!

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    1. Sinn Fein’s strategy was intended for the long term and for precisely the purpose you suggest. Withdrawal of Scottish MPs from Westminster would be quite different. It would be a short-term strategy. The precursor to moving to independence.

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    2. It is not so much the MPs we really need to worry about at this point; it is the MSPs. The Irish had no MSPs when they first practised this tactic. We need to win at Holyrood and it is at Holyrood, far more than at Westminster, that the real collaboration takes place on a daily basis. It is in Holyrood that the damage is done because these Unionists take their orders directly from their London parties. That, in turn, prevents progress on any front because they harry and hinder and snipe and carp, making the day-to-day running of Scotland a marathon rather than a sprint. They are not interested in what the SNP or Greens want to do; they are interested only in preventing anything that looks like it might aid independence or show that the SG can do things without Westminster. That self-destructive behaviour again for no reason or gain. At least in Westminster the Unionists help their English counterparts; in Scotland, their aim is to do the opposite with their own Scottish government. Until it becomes evident to most that they are actually helping England up here, too – not the UK, as a whole, but, specifically, England, and certainly not Scotland, their own country – little is going to change. The Irish/Sinn Fein get it: it is all about England. We don’t, not quite yet, but I feel it is coming. That will focus our efforts, as trying to concentrate on anti Britishness, with all its cloudy and opaque connotations, never can. Then, it will be a fight for our survival because we will know against whom we are fighting for our survival, whom it is that is determined we should be sacrificed for reasons that should, by now, be clear to everyone who cares about Scotland’s survival as a nation. That the Tories do not care about our survival as a nation is crystal clear, and it is they who will have to fight the vanguard this time, out in the open where we can see them.

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  4. Tipping point is important. Despite her heroic efforts and undisputed capabilities in the coronavirus arena, our FM failed in the fundamental promise not to let Scotland and its 62% majority be dragged out of the EU. Perhaps that when the current British regime manages to negotiate it’s much desired no-deal Brexit we could have a walk out of SNP MPs. They could then return home, having given notice on the Act of Union to work up a draft constitution for Scotland which would be put to a referendum vote. With protection for NHS Scotland and no nukes incorporated into such a constitution the subsequent landslide vote would trigger Independence negotiations… if only

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  5. Great article. I’ve been saying this for a couple of years. A very Public and permanent leaving of Westminster, will do us more good than harm! The Brits have relegated Scots MPs to ‘Second Class’. It’s a deliberate ploy. Public humiliation of Scots and our representatives is a ‘Fan Dance’ to fool people Into thinking there isn’t a majority in Scotland for Independence. This is borne out by Tory owned Pollsters never daring to show the real numbers who want it!

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    1. WG: if they can just hold on to us long enough to strip away our powers and reduce us, all done legally and constitutionally, according to the ‘British’ (English) Constitution, we will be second-class citizens in reality. At least, we will cease to be a nation and become a region of a Greater England. That would appear to be the post Brexit One Nation State Tory plan. That is what I mean about this being all about England. For nearly a thousand years, it has been all about England in these British Isles.

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  6. I do not know if refusing to take their seats is the answer, Sinn Fein do this but that is their stated position before folk vote for them, so perhaps the Scottish electorate may not react kindly to that stratergy now. I do wish they would make themselves the biggest pains of arses Westminster has ever seen.

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    1. NM: you make an excellent point here: Sinn Fein do make their position clear to everyone; and anyone voting for them knows precisely what they stand for. That is something the SNP appears to be too scared to do. I, too, would like to see the SNP enter the 2021 (or whenever) SE with a Manifesto policy that states unequivocally that a win for the party or the party plus other pro-independence interests together, will result in an immediate move towards independence. I would like it to be known widely that a pre independence referendum is neither mandatory politically nor legally, in any shape or form, and The National could do this or party or YES literature. The Unionists spew out this bilge about our constitutional position all the time and no one challenges. Well, I am challenging: we do not need a pre independence referendum. We do need to ‘sound’ the Treaty in law as a pre requisite for action on the international stage. I think that, were the SNP to make it known at Westminster that the Scottish people will be bringing a case before the UN and in the ICJ, we would be offered a referendum very soon afterwards. Far better a referendum that they can interfere in than have independence taken out of the UK where their influence is limited by international law. I cannot stress enough that the Treaty will have to come into play in any independence negotiations, in any case, and we cannot let England-as-the-UK hi-jack it yet again in order to strip us of our assets and resources in its own favour. Sometimes, I despair of my fellow Scots. It always seems to be a case of: how hard can we make this for ourselves; how can we sabotage our best interests; and how long can we tarry before we actually have to do something? Ahrrrrrrgh…

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  7. Why not withdraw the Scottish Westminster MP’s to Holyrood to take their seats their along with the current Holyrood SMP’s. As they are all elected representatives of the Scottish people. Immediately hold a parliamentary vote on the Union. All very democratic.

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