It’s quiet…too quiet

A guest post by Samuel Miller

Other than the daily white noise of Essenpee badness, has anyone else noticed the lack of serious political news out there? Maybe we all got spoiled in May, June and July when daily we were bombarded with the Scottish elections, EU referendum and the Brexit result fallout. As for the effects of the latter on her majesty’s guv and their ‘honourable’ opposition? Popcorn sales shot through the roof in Scotland as the Conservative and Labour parties serialized the political equivalent of the latest summer disaster movie.

The grand Tory pissing contest of Brexitmageddon had everything a Hollywood producer could ask for as lead characters and parties were thrown into full on chaos. You didn’t dare leave your screen, even for a pee break, as resignations, back stabbings, retirements, sackings, abdications and coronations flew everywhere and seemingly all at once. And now? Now it’s so quiet out there… you could hear a fish fart.

Cue the traditional silly season of ‘news’.

Oor meeja (bless em), presenting a daily diet of stories constructed from ingredients so thin you’d struggle to come up with an appetizer, let alone a three course meal. ‘Course that doesn’t mean that nothing is happening out there, simply that it’s being carefully managed and the government press office have their cell phones on mute. As readers will recall, we’ve recently theorized why both Prime Minister Theresa May and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon need time on their side right about now. It’s a safe bet to say, that however quiet it appears to be, governments north and south of the border are more than likely a hive of activity. The clock is ticking down and between you and me I’m guessing it’s PM May who is feeling that autumn is approaching way too quickly for comfort.

We may not know when article 50 and the ongoing omnishambles that is Brexit negotiations will be enacted, but we do know that the autumn budget isn’t that far off. Philip Hammond’s ‘fiscal reset’ will be the public’s first clue as to the immediate future of the UK’s economy post referendum and for many it may well prove a cold hard shock to the system. Not so much of a shock for anyone familiar with Conservative austerity ideology or its effects to be sure, but I’m guessing that’s all about to change. For some folks out there it’s probably a good day to make sure you’re sitting comfortably with all breakable objects of any value safely out of reach.

The one bright light on the horizon for the PM is that Labour’s leadership stooshie should overlap this impending ‘bad day at work’ quite nicely. Readers are well aware by this point of the struggle between the two factions for the soul of the Labour party. Depending on how the leadership vote unfolds and concludes, there is a very real  possibility that the Labour party, as we know it, will face a darker and longer night in the wilderness than anyone could have possibly imagined. If some permanent schism does occur? I’d be stunned if titles supportive of Conservative government didn’t hit the rinse and repeat button messily and all over the place right through Mr Hammond’s autumn budget statement.

So what is the one thing common to all of the above and how is it pertinent to Scotland and the readers of this site?

That’s right! No one in Scotland, not in the street or in public service, has any say or control over party and parliamentary events that will have very real consequences for all of us. The party of government and their loyal opposition are probably in the middle of the worst legislative systemic failure in the UK’s post war political record and the Scottish electorate basically have to wait for them to get their collective shit together.

Or do we?

We know the Scottish government have been busy on the Brexit front. They have assembled their committee for assessing options. They’ve hit the road consulting with relevant bodies in Europe and they’ve set in motion preparations for an indyref bill  (just in case). First Minister Sturgeon has recently held a Q&A session with EU nationals to keep those concerned as appraised of the ongoing situation as possible and the SG have even scraped together a few quid from last year’s underspend to help out the economy. No, it’ll be nowhere near enough in the end, but if it saves just one business, one job?  They are now however, at that point where they are restricted in actions they can take as a government until Brexit is actually triggered.

What of Scotland’s electorate?

Well, those who continue to support the current political union and the Westminster system of government will have to simply sit on their hands and hope for the best. That’s pretty much all they can do.

Then there are those who support the idea that a Scottish electorate is best served by a government in Scotland.

If, as many suspect, the finding of the SG’s consultative committee is that remaining a member of both unions is at best extremely problematic and at worst a constitutional impossibility? Then its highly probable that as soon as article 50 is set in motion the Scottish government will move to pass that referendum bill through Holyrood. This will allow the Scottish electorate to resolve for themselves the current constitutional crisis and you can’t say fairer than that.

In which case, this could prove a fairly busy and productive period as pro YES groups seek to ‘put the band back together’. That’s the thing about political engagement in a popular sovereignty. There are always places to be, things to do and LOTS of people to talk to.

What do you think?

N.B. This will be my final post before the heid honcho gets back. I’d just like to thank folks for visiting the site whilst Paul’s been having a well earned break and also for the excellent contributions to the threads. Much appreciated.

Audio version of this blog article, courtesy of @lumi_1984

0 thoughts on “It’s quiet…too quiet

  1. Wunnerful, the quiet before the storm. We all know what is going to happen, just not when – but logically it would have to be within 2 years after invocation of article 50. And as we’re going to be asked about the future of the country, we might as well throw in the question: do you want a constitution, and would you prefer Charles or a president?

  2. Thank you, Mr. Miller, you have helped crystallize my thinking. I am so glad we have a sane, level-headed and competent group of people in charge of governing this country right now, as my friends down south are showing real signs of stress and strain at the – as you put it – “worst legislative systemic failure in the UK’s post war political record”.

  3. You have held the fort well and many thanks. Your stuff is always worth reading. I agree with the above, and am hopeful action will recommence soon.
    In the meantime, I have had a long conversation with some longstanding friends who voted to stay in the EU, but had voted no to independence.
    No movement there, I’m afraid. Loads of emotional guff about not breaking up, and being against divorce…. Still swallowing the mainstream media and stuff like GERS whole.
    We asked them if they were against divorce where the relationship was abusive. Pursed lips only.
    So I asked, are there any circumstances in which you would vote for independence?
    They said no. I could have cried with frustration. I reckon they represent about a third of Scotland which will not be swayed by anything. They are not necessarily bad people, but they will not shift.
    We must keep working with the open minds, and reconcile this 30% (?) when independence is achieved.
    Onwards and upwards.

    • Most of my neighbours voted YES in the IndyRef and those who didn’t are most certainly dithering since Brexit. I have great hopes for them as they fear the loss of assistance from the EU.

      I thoroughly enjoyed your articles, Sam. Thank you.

      • It’s not just farmers that face serious financial penalties post Brexit. Many fishermen who voted for Brexit will be dismayed to learn that their vote will have contributed to a serious financial loss to the industry post brexit. That’s according to the news on the telly today. ……and surely folk don’t think Westmidden is going to make up the shortfall, do they?

        • Another point worthy of consideration in the after brexit senario is how will the UK be able to police the UK waters with all of the fishing fleets of EU countries having to transit through the UK waters to get to the fishing grounds in the north atlantic ?
          The Royal Navy dont have sufficient ships or crews to guard our waters and with the best will in the world, our nuclear submarines are useless for the task and more likely to be caught by the deep sea trawlers than the other way round.

        • I am one of those people, I have just made an application to the EMFF (EU fisheries fund) for my aquaculture business. I was very unhappy with the way the Beeb and others initially reported the statement from the Tories about supporting EU funding. As it turns out they have made no such guarantees in regard to the EMFF funding and it seems likely I shall have to face up to the fact that 10s of thousands of matched funding I thought I was going to receive is no longer going to be there. Would love to hear arch unionist Bertie Armstrong (Scottish Fishermen’s Federation) explain to me how this is a great opportunity and why we are better together. What a, … better just leave it at that.

          • It’s only going to be brought home to some folk when it’s no longer there Iain. Quite literally when it hits them in the wallet.

            As I posted ATL, Hammond’s ‘fiscal reset’ is going to be a ‘heads up’ moment for some on the future of a UK budget post Brexit. Unless the UK finds massive new markets to exploit, and right quick, its going to be hard on all of us.

            They simply can’t replace the funding and subsidies which came from the EU and it was probably one of the cruellest lies of the whole referendum debate.

  4. Pingback: It’s quiet…too quiet | speymouth

  5. It is you who deserve the thanks Samuel.
    Your fill-in time has been most fulfilling and enlightening.

    Je me lève mon chapeau a vous mon ami.

  6. Many thanks Mr Miller. You rightly mention the mess the Labour party finds itself in. I can’t see this mess being tidied up before the next Westminster election. The tories will continue to ride high in the polls. IndyRef2 Yessers should remind doubters that voting No next time will lead to decades of tory rule from Westminster.

  7. It’s Quiet – But not quiet enough; there is an annoying background drone or drumming noise (see Wos), possibly yoon commentariate IBS (irritable bullshit syndrome), where said commentariate have nothing better to do than serially tweet one another with faux indignation. When something worthy of attention does occur, as it will when Brexitmagedddon resumes, they will so far up each other(s ***) that emerging into reality, if they will do – possibly, will be a blinding experience. So, it is not sufficiently quiet to hear a fish fart – and they do… (though an alternative theory is that some fish fart to regulate their depth).

    Derek Bateman has posted a well-constructed blog calling out the IBS purveyors for their “petty hysteria“, calling them “a bunch of self-obsessed pansies”. Well said.

    Finally, thanks to Macart for so ably looking after the kennel while the dug’s minder is, we hope, enjoying a well-earned break. Your writings have been quite Rethian – educating, informing and entertaining.

  8. Whatever analyses and strategies the Scottish Government is devising, a core principle must be – do not trust Westminster, whether their spoken word or their written word.

    My gut feeling is that Westminster is seeking ways to prevaricate indefinitely over Brexit. Devising delay, prevarication, procedural labyrinths is one of their prime skills, witness Chilcot. And what could the 17.2 million Brexiters do about it in this alleged democracy? Nothing.

    Your articles have been really enjoyable. more to follow?

  9. It’s August, Samuel.
    England’s on holiday. There is nothing happening in the whole wide world.
    England’s on holiday. Warring dictatorships know this. There is an unspoken truce; or so the Beeb would have us believe. They’re on holiday too. That’s why we see so many fourteen year olds at the weather map. YTS/ InAlthough Scotland is not in England, the BBC don’t know that. So Pacific Quay is on holiday too; in Rio by the looks of it.terns run the show while the grown ups are on their holibags.
    It’s August.
    I know from more than 4 decades working with English co workers, all over the UK, that you could forget August, and of course the two weeks before Christmas. I’m sure others here will confirm the emptying of England in August. They hang out a sign at the start of the Bank Holiday. Gone on Holiday: Back in 4 weeks. It’s August. Cue Cliff: ‘We’re all going on a summer holiday.’

    It is always quiet over there. While we look out at the pishing rain, and switch the lights on at half five in the afternoon, BBC is in the midst of their Summer Season. It’s August, and England’s on holiday.
    I often wonder why the enemy, whoever they are, don’t invade England on the August Bank Holiday week end. England’s on holiday. The M25/4/5/6 are gridlocked fifteen mile car parks as the proles head for the seaside, and airports are clogged with sunseekers heading for the Costas, and Greek Isles.
    It’s August. England’s on holiday.
    The BBC repeats, and repeats, and repeats.

    There are blessings.
    Andrew Neil, Chief Uncle Tom, is not eerily leering at us out of our TV screens every five hours in August.

    But then again, we have to put up with cricket, and the latest episode of the Corbyn Saga every feckin’ hour, of every feckin’ day, even on BBC News Where We Are, who still deny that the SNP are not a passing fad and act as if the Labour party Up Here were newsworthy, or had any significant political role or influence in Modern Scotland.
    Magically, as September frosts creep over our Highlands and Ranjurs and Sellic Fans return to exchanging good natured banter four times a year, oh, ,god, England will return, revitalised by her August break.
    TV presenters will re-emerge, orangely tanned faces, gleaming smiles,in tan/yellow/white summerwear jackets, and will slip back into project hegemony, and the Autumn schedule of Home Counties Upper Middle Class Comedies will be trailed, and Medusa May’s dead chalk face will be evrywhere, and Corbyn’s War On Want 1970’s double breasted suit jacket will show more life in it than its wearer during relentless leadership debates.
    There’s nothing ominous, Macart. England is shut.
    I’m not holding my breath waiting for the other flip flop to drop and hordes of Unionist shock troops charge at us from the cloying yellow fog of No Man’s Land, formerly known as Berwick..

    Life wil return to normal. Brexit will be subject to a Westminster Dithering Clause,

    Corbyn will be crowned King. 200 MP’s will leave and form the Liberal Labour Something or other Party, and the Bullingdon Club will hold an Old Boys’ Banquet to celebrate finally the destruction of Socialism in England.
    That three year old son of William’s (genuinely, I cannot recall the heir’s name, bless) will become betrothed to an 18 month, 43rd in line to the Danish Crown, as the Windsor Firm revert to the old way of remaining in the EU, by inter-marriage , and provide the Yoon Press with 4 years meaningless Royal Celebrity shite to distract and amuse the Great Unwashed’ Meanwhile England’s Democracy is being swallowed up by the Masters of the Universe.
    Great and incisive e journalism whilst WGD is, er,on holiday? Well, it is August.
    BTW who or what is ‘the night watchman’?

  10. meanwhile Merkel and Co are meeting in Italy and holding a series of EU meetings next week before the big shindig in september as they work out their Brexit strategy. Tick-tock . . . .

      • Jackie – Source is the European press!In a foreign language!! No doubt access will be closed down soon as the MIB stealthily surround Google and my PC! At any time of the day or night!!

        In support of what Macart was saying about “no news today” (and what a good job he has made of his locum tenens) and keeping on the medical theme, I was forced to delve into history rather than contemporary news,for this odd story of a graduate from Edinburgh School of Medicine who rose to giddy heights as a medical officer in the British Army.
        For the series – appearances are deceptive

        • Benmadigan, thanks for the link to this fascinating account of Dr Barry.

          I wonder was it the inspiration for Glenn Close’s movie, ‘Albert Nobbs’?

          One of the unique pleasures of accessing social media sites like WGD, Bateman, WoS, is the sheer joy of tangential gems like this, as we visitors wander through a vast ethereal library of fascinating ‘stuff’, which unlike the modern BBC, informs, educates and entertains, as no hard copy Dead Tree Scroll can hope to achieve today.

          Bateman in his ‘May I quote you’ blog highlights the immediacy of critical feedback on social media sites in challenging modern day ‘journalists’, and their self indulgent thinly disguised, poorly written Unionist polemic.

          I am sure that, like me, many have sat down at their PC, intending to check their e mails, say, and rose from the WWW hours later, bum numb, but our heads full of fascinating facts of the ‘gosh. I never knew that’ variety.

          Perhaps somebody should devise an Odysseus App: the seductive lure of the internet seems to draw us in like Sirens luring sailors to destruction, and prompting the ‘are you still on that computer?’ caution from our Significant Others.

          I don’t relish being lashed to a masthead by my Everlovin’ to stop me disappearing into the ethernet every morning as she leaves for work, though, but, mind.

          What’s this with you working class stiffs and foreign languages?

          Ideas above your station, if you ask me.
          I’m off to Homer’s ‘Iliad’ now, online, of course. The grass will just have to wait.
          A bientot, mon brave.

  11. Before I go off to meditate deeply on the sound of one fish farting … I´d just like to say that I happened to watch the SG´s session for EU nationals linked to above, and was both moved and impressed :

    However it´s over an hour long, but if nothing else I recommend you listen to 45:58 — 49:10 and Nicola´s reply to that at 57:06 — 1:00:22 (maybe someone could extract these sections?). Seo agaibh cridhe na cùise, the heart of the matter in more senses than one!

    • Thankfully tje German government hasn’t decided to be childish and put us under the same sort of uncertainty. It seems like Westminster is assuming they can throw their toys out of the pram but everyone else will put up with their tantrums.

      In case they don’t, you may find us trying to come to Scotland: I’m a cabinet maker, have a degree in Theatre an art Therapy, I’m training to be an occupational therapist, and have no intention of moving to Westminsters ugly England.

      Actually, could you just hold off on Indyref2 for a wee while, so’s I can get my qualification and move over to vote for it as well?

  12. Kezia’s backing the Welshman: she’ll be resigning as Party Branch Manager in September then?
    Mcternan’ also backing Taff.
    What’s worse than the Kiss of Death?
    A kiss of death on both cheeks.
    Kezia on air lying that Smith stopped the Tories scrapping WFTC and ‘cuts to Disability Benefits’.
    Has nobody told her about the Universal Credits Scheme yet?
    Jackie, get yer nose out of that abacus and trundle ’round to the Branch Manager’s office and put her right.
    Tax Credits no more, Housing Benefit No More, Job Seekers Allowance |No more, and so on.
    Sainsbury, Asda, Waitrose and Morrisons kyboshed the scrapping of WFTC: it would have cost them millions in back door bungs to pay their staff living on the minimum wage.
    Even then it is merely a stay of execution until UCS, after hundreds of millions wasted in delays, gets off the ground.
    If PFI/PPP built Political Parties…

  13. Three things :
    1 I see Tesco an Morrisons are open in Scotland on the Bank Holiday. Do Scotland get this holiday now?
    2 Independence is our sole goal at present.
    3 Heartiest congrats Mr Millar for some excellent posts. It is great to we have such a wealth of talent for the campaign ahead and an independent Scotland.

  14. Three things :
    1 I see Tesco an Morrisons are open in Scotland on the Bank Holiday. Do Scotland get this holiday now?
    2 Independence is our sole goal at present.
    3 Heartiest congrats Mr Millar for some excellent posts. It is great to see we have such a wealth of talent for the campaign ahead and an independent Scotland.

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