‘Mon then if ye think ye’re haurd enough

The gloves are most definitely off now. The Tories decided that they’re going to fight this general election on a platform of implacable opposition to another independence referendum. It’s their sole policy. It’s the only thing that they talk about. The Tories don’t want to mention Brexit or say what they’ll do to avoid the damage that it could do to the Scottish economy. The Tories don’t want to mention of the changes they’ve made to the social security system that have driven untold thousands to despair and destitution. The Tories don’t want to talk about their destruction of the life opportunities and chances of the disabled with their woefully ill-thought out changes to disability benefits. The Tories don’t want to discuss how their tax policies benefit the rich and the powerful while public services are stripped to the bone. The Scottish Conservatives only want to talk about another independence referendum and their opposition to it.

Well fine then. If the Scottish Conservatives fail to achieve a majority of Scottish Westminster seats, if they fail to become the largest party in terms of vote share, then they’ve lost. And that means that the Scottish electorate will have explicitly rejected the Tory platform of opposition to another independence referendum. A mere increase in vote share won’t cut it. An increase in the number of seats the Tories hold won’t cut it unless they somehow manage to secure a majority of Scottish Westminster seats. You don’t win a race by narrowing the gap between yourself and the winner, you win it by overtaking them. Doing better is not the same as winning. Improvement is not victory.

The Scottish Tories have chosen the grounds on which they wish to contest this general election. No one has forced them to obsess over independence. No one twisted their arm and demanded that they make this a single issue vote. So if the Tories wish to establish that there is indeed no support for another independence referendum then they need to win 30 Westminster seats and overtake the SNP in terms of vote share. Anything else is just Ruth Davidson’s tank top puffery. The Tories chose the battleground, they don’t get to choose the terms of victory. They win or lose in terms of their Scottish results, not on the haunners they get from Conservative MPs elected south of the border.

In 2015 the SNP achieved a remarkable result and took all but three of Scotland’s Westminster seats. That result was during the fallout from the independence referendum a few months previously. The entire UK media was very much fixated on Scotland in general and the SNP in particular. The Conservatives in England in 2015 based their campaign on defeating the SNP. That guaranteed a huge amount of airtime and publicity for the SNP in the UK media, airtime and publicity that they’re not getting now. For once, Scotland actually mattered in a UK general election.

This general election is a reversion to the mean, both in the sense of a reversion to what usually happens in general elections in Scotland, when we’re consigned to irrelevance and we know that whatever happens here makes no difference to the eventual outcome, and in the sense that the Scottish Conservatives have reverted to meanness. Turn out in this election is likely to be significantly lower than in 2015, and since pro-independence support is concentrated in communities which have a historically lower propensity to turn out to vote, that is another factor which means that support for the SNP is likely to be lower this time.

In a first past the post system as is used for Westminster elections, victory is defined as achieving the largest number of seats. A moral victory is defined as achieving the largest share of the popular vote, although this is secondary because under first past the post it is possible for a party which attains the largest share of the vote not to win a majority of seats. In this upcoming election if the SNP wins 30 seats, a majority of the 59 Scottish Westminster seats, and if it remains the largest single party in terms of vote share, then it will unquestionably and without any shred of doubt, have won the election.  If will be equally beyond any doubt that the Scottish Conservatives and their monomaniacal opposition to another independence referendum will have lost. They will have lost even if they somehow manage to take 20 seats from the SNP. They will have lost even if they perform as well as the very best showing they’ve managed in any opinion polls.

What’s more, the SNP will have an unassailable claim to victory if, as seems likely, they achieve a greater percentage of the vote share in Scotland than Theresa May’s Conservatives manage to achieve in the UK as a whole. Theresa May will not be able to argue convincingly that she has a mandate to pursue the Brexit she’s defined for herself while denying that the SNP has a mandate for a second independence referendum if she’s won a lower percentage of the popular vote and a smaller proportional majority of seats than the SNP won in Scotland. Mind you, it won’t stop her trying.

The media and the Tories will try to spin a few losses for the SNP into a rout. But it will just be cant and spin. By any objective standards, by achieving just 30 seats and retaining their position as the largest single party the SNP will have won the general election in Scotland handsomely, and that will mean that in every single election since 2014 the largest party in Scotland will be a pro-independence party. And Scotland’s largest pro-independence party can do a whole lot better than that. If that’s not a mandate for another independence referendum then democracy is a joke.

That’s why the Scottish Government needs to use all and every lever to pressure Theresa May. Scotland’s legitimate and democratically expressed will to hold a second independence referendum must become a part of EU negotiations, and the Scottish Govt must step up its representations to the EU to ensure that it does. If May still refuses to concede that Scotland has a democratic right to a vote, then the vote must be held anyway. There are legal and constitutional routes to another referendum that do not entail asking Theresa May’s permission. There’s the possibility of a consultative referendum which doesn’t require a section 30 order from Westminster, or there’s the possiblity of turning Holyrood elections into a plebiscite election on independence. Theresa May can stamp her kitten heels all she likes, but she can’t prevent either of those from happening.

One way or another, Scotland will have its vote. This is about more than just Scottish independence, it’s about democracy itself. If the Conservatives deny Scotland its right to hold another referendum despite there being the clearest mandate possible for one, then Scottish democracy is dead. By making this general election all about the denial of Scotland’s right to determine its own future, the Conservatives have only made it more likely that another independence referendum will be held. Bring it on, as they say in England and America. Or as we say in Scotland, ‘mon then if ye think ye’re haurd enough.

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0 thoughts on “‘Mon then if ye think ye’re haurd enough

  1. They made their bed Paul, now they can lie in it.

    Every single reason, every single definition you have outlined is immutable fact. The Scottish government didn’t set the electoral rules for the ballots held in the UK or Scotland. Not FPTP for GEs. Not PR with D’Hondt for SEs. Not STV for Local Authority.

    Every single one though, they’ve adhered to the rules religiously (unlike some).

    They called the time and the battleground. They set the rules. They have the media onside and their precious democratic deficit.

    Let’s show them, as graphically as possible, where they can stick their hard Brexit, their austerity ideology and their intolerance.

  2. The biggest mistake that the Unionists have made is leaving it up to Davidson, Dugdale, and Rennie to spearhead their parties’ election campaigns Up Here.

    We have witnessed the nonsense of Dugdale and Davidson contradicting their parties’ UK Manifestos, and the BBC/STV have arranged farcical ‘Leaders’ ‘ debates, with the Three Holyrood non starters up against the only legitimate politician with a right to debate UK issues, Nicola Sturgeon.
    I watched Rennie last night perched on a window sill high up in Pacific Quay against the background of the Finnieston crane, ‘grilled’ by some Lib Dem plants, a couple of young tongue tied types, and perhaps the tea lady.
    Glenn Campbell chaired this farce, and we got the usual crap from Rennie, and virtually nothing of consequence with regard to Tim Farron’s manifesto.

    The lie about a £15 billion deficit, mental health, Willie will put a penny in the pound on tax, which is a different penny than the UK LD penny…a fecking farce. Meanwhile Glenn Campbell sat there chairing this absolute disgrace.

    BBC will host Davidson, and Dugdale, but not Harvie, as well as our FM, over the coming nights.

    We shall be treated to ‘Once in a lifetime’, ’15 billion deficit’, ‘get on with the day job’, ‘the Scottish people tell us on the doorstep (to paraphrase Rodney to Del Boy:’Our Mum didn’t half say a lot on her death bed.’) that they don’t want another Referendum’, and so on.
    The Scottish People don’t half say a lot to the Yoons on the doorstep.

    STV have just announced that their rescheduled ‘debate’ is to go ahead, with the same cast of MSP losers.

    We, the Scots electorate are being treated like idiots.

    Where are Mundell, Carmichael, and Murray?
    Hiding like the discredited cowards they are?

    Davidson had a BBC camera crew out on a muddy track while she vroomed about on a Indian Land Rover, having dodged Monday’s Kaye with an ‘e’ phone in yesterday morning.
    Jackson Car-Crash-law stepped into the breach and mouthed the usual ‘parish council’ Better Together crap.
    Our Broadcasters and newspapers are complicit in denying the electorate the opportunity to challenge Mundell, Carmichael, and Murray on their performances, and examine their UK manifestos in an open forum.

    Instead we get the Holyrood Losers, who have only one dirge. Stop the SNP.

    We must turn out in force on election day and prevent this virtual coup d’état taking place.

    I note that 8 times loser Murdo The Queen’s Eleven Fraser was outside the SNP Manifesto launch with 20 or 30 of the Faithful with oversized placards with the single issue No second referendum writ large.
    What a pointless odious little man he is.
    What the hell has he got to smirk about all the time?
    £1200 a week of our money despite being rejected at the ballot box.

    Sarah Smith’s Sturgeon Roast last week was just the beginning.
    We are drowning in Fourth Estate Fifth Column propaganda. Get the snorkels out.
    Glenn Campbell, WTF?

    • “The Scottish People don’t half say a lot to the Yoons on the doorstep.” I’ve yet to see a yoon on my doorstep. I wonder if the huge SNP posters, Vote Arkless poster and the high flying Saltire are putting them off?

      • Take it you’ve received the Alister Jack election leaflet? Apparently he’s Ruth Davidson’s candidate. Not Scottish Conservative and Unionist party candidate, but Ruth Davidson’s… and yes there’s a dodgy graph on it. (sigh)

        • Everything I’ve received from them has been returned – without postage. One included a survey which asked what my most important local issue was. I wrote in “independence”. Hoping they will receive that one.

        • Her big ba’ face is everywhere, Sam. Like Mao, Saddam, and Colonel Gaddafi.
          Big Ruther is watching you.
          If anyone wants to blind side her in any of these farce debates, they merely have to pay her a compliment.
          ‘Ruth, I think that you are PM material.’ coo, purr, smarm.
          She immediately breaks into that Thumper The Disney Rabbit Toothy grin, like a wee neglected lass that isn’t used to being praised.
          Watch out for it.
          Whatcha doin’, Bambi?’
          It is a feckin’ farce that STV and BBC have given these losers a platform.
          They can contribute nothing to a debate on UK manifestos.

          • They’re one trick ponies Jack. They have nothing to offer that their head office doesn’t rubber stamp first. This is all about the big show. Amateurs need not apply.

          • John, I wrote earlier,
            “We shall be treated to ‘Once in a lifetime’, ’15 billion deficit’, ‘get on with the day job’, ‘the Scottish people tell us on the doorstep (to paraphrase Rodney to Del Boy:’Our Mum didn’t half say a lot on her death bed.’) that they don’t want another Referendum’, and so on.
            The Scottish People don’t half say a lot to the Yoons on the doorstep.”
            I’ve just watched Dugdale on the BBC PQ window sill in front of 18 folk, chaired by the redoubtable Campbell.
            Bingo! FullHouse! See they folk on their door steps. Whit ur they like?
            If anything this was even more farcical than Oor Wullie’s last night. We got down to talking about coalition councils, and the usual SNP BAD shit, during which Glenn buried his head in his highlighted notes and let the Dug rant and rave for 30 minutes.
            IMHO I think that she has actually snapped.
            The ‘audience’ participation was riveting..not.
            BBC Scotland, this is crap with bells.
            But then again, I believe that this is the aim, to ridicule Scottish politics, by parading these third raters before the viewers.
            She was terrible.

          • Surely Dugdale will be gone on, or soon after, June 9th – a merciful release for all sides. Watched Bernard Ponsonby giving Ruthie a good grilling on STV on matters relating to THE UK GENERAL ELECTION.
            Last time I heard someone caught so much on the back foot was the Waffling Welshman, Kinnock (waffling politicians from other parts of Britain have always been available…).

  3. Good post Paul, And you fairly cheered me up , I kinda missed the point with all this election guff, then I read your post , then the penny dropped all the Unionist parties have got them selves stuck up a blind alley, boxed themselves into a corner, if the SNP get a majority then their f/kd , by splitting their vote for voting purposes ,they have to be separate parties, it would only work if there was a single unionist party then they might have the numbers, but there ain’t , so tough shit .
    Anyone believe that they will actually accept the result , Personally I don’t give a toss they can carp and moan all they want ,and they will, Boo Hoo tough .

  4. The Scottish Parliament has aleady decided by a clear majority for a second Independence Referendum (the MSPs being ekected by the Scottish electorate).

    I watch with some amusement at MPs from Jeremy Corbyn to Michael Gove who seem oblivous to (or rather choose to ignore) this fact … in due course a Referendum will be held. and the democratic wishes of the Scottish electorate will be enacted.

    MSPs like Ruth Davidson, Willie Rennie and Kezia Dugdale can have selective amnesia on the vote that occurred at their workplace… but the Scottish Electorate remembers, and also remembers all the false promises of more powers, the most devolved powerful Parliament in the World promised … if only you vote for us….blah, blah…

    and more recently -the U-turns of the Conservatives campaigning for a Remain Vote (i.e. Ruth) …but now the EU is not apparently where we should be in our brighter tomorrow…

    and of course we are currently living in the present mess created by the same Conservative (& Unionist) Party when Scotland (that is every Constituency) voted to Remain in the EU….

    If any Party wishes to make this forthcoming General Election about ‘Independence’ they have brought themselves to this point,,,, by their various empty promises, made during the previous Independence Referendum, and since..

    the ‘where are they now brigade’, who advocated, ‘Federalism bar Defence and Foreign Affairs, promised the Earth for Scotland, would be ‘the most listened, to ‘ partner in this Union, blah, blah , Smith Commission, dare ye prorogue this Parliament ….plague of boils blah, blah, The Supreme Court ruling confirming the plague of boils warned by Lord Smith….. all brought upon themselves.
    The Supreme Court did rule that if you choose to ignore Parliament, devolved or otherwise, you do so at your peril.

    No improvements whatsoever to the Union since 2014, all proposed amendments voted down,,, yes we remember,

    why 45% of the Electorate voted against a 307 year Union gives to anyone paying attention a warning shot that, ….all is not well…. in this most equal of Unions.

    The only way your voice, the voice of Scotland can be heard is with your vote, so let’s vote for a better future.. one where your vote matters.

    • Well said, Patience.
      Dugdale was all over the place, tonight on the BBC windae sill, and Campbell gave up trying to stop her making a fool of herself.
      She denied the Holyrood Indyref 2 vote, she was flummoxed when the lad mentioned the Smith Report and reminded her that Labour had vetoed devolving the minimum wage powers, she denied what Corbyn had just said in the clip that Campbell played, where Jeremy reiterated that if the Scottish Parliament had a mandate for a second Referendum, then his UK Government would engage with Holyrood on this. Go on line and look at our manifesto, she blurted, despite her boss’ willingness to engage in dialogue.
      Trident was a doozy.
      You may recall that Dugdale launched the ‘autonomous’ Scottish Labour Party, independent of the UK lot.
      She made the policy, she bowed to no one, she was in charge.
      The ‘Scottish’ Party endorsed unilateral disarmament at Conference, and that was Kezia’s stance, because the Branch Office (I’ve downgraded them to their actual status in UK Labour) despite her own Blairite New Labour multilateral position, had ‘democratically’ voted for Unilateralism, and she was after all a democrat.
      The autonomous Scottish Labour farce crumbled when the Multilateral option appeared in the UK Manifesto.
      In other words, feck you Scottish Labour, back in your Branch Office box.
      She was on the point of hysteria tonight. I fear that she’s snapped.
      Her hatred of Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP wavers dangerously between neurosis and psychosis.
      She nedds a break, badly.
      The SNP Bad nonsense is embarrassing now.

  5. Scotland does not need a referendum. A simple majority of Scotland’s MP’s is all that is needed to end the union of parliaments in the same way it began. The SNP MP’s just need to find a backbone.

  6. Just hitting the “Like” button regarding this post is wholly inadequate. There should be a “Yes! This is absolutely it!” button or an “I am completely overwhelmed with the rightness of this post” button. Thank you, once again, for telling it like it so definitely is, Paul. In the words of a song from the days of my youth and folly “Nobody Does It Better”.

  7. Looks like a hung parliament st Westminster is on the cards. Corbyn says he won’t involve the SNP in an alliance?
    Yes, he will. Tactics.
    If he does a Milliband then Slab is toast again.
    The UK politics is all over the place. UK trying to find a role post Empire cannot even have yoon parties and English parties with clear roles and definitions.
    Signs of dissolution.

    • Hi Jack,

      I’ve certainly not blocked any of your posts. I checked the spam folder and the trash folder and the queued folder (where posts needing moderation are held) but none of them had any posts from you. If you’re having problems on Bella Caledonia as well it’s possible that the problem is at your end and your posts are possibly not uploading properly. The missing posts have definitely not been received at this end. Sorry I can’t be more helpful.

      • Sorry,Paul, it was not my intention to make a fuss and put you to all that bother. You have enough on your plate.. It’s probably at my end. The rest of my rants getting through now.
        Perhaps the KGB, CIA, and MI6 are monitoring my output. Aye, richt.

  8. Slightly off-topic, but apparently some members of the Yooniverse are perpetuating the claim that the number of higher education placements for Scottish students has gone down under the current Scottish Government. I’m not sure where this came from as I live in Western Australia so I’m outside the bubble (though I can spot UK propaganda a mile off). Well – according to UCAS (who process ALL placement applications) the numbers are actually up:


    I know this is dated August 2016 but this is the most up-to-date information possible as 2017 figures won’t be known until August 2017. It seems to me that that particular myth was easily busted – unless I’m missing something.

      • There was a recurring theme, Les. I was commenting on Ruth Davidson’s mauling by Bernard Ponsonby on STV last night. When I tried to post the Comments, both here and over on Bella, the ‘Mmm. Can’t find this site..’ stuff popped up.
        Big Bernard played with her like a tom cat unravelling a ball of wool.
        She has obviously had a string with a ring-pull fitted to her back, which her Malcolm Tucker pulled every time Bernard asked her a ‘grown up’ UK GE question.

        From her mouth tripped the usual string of Big T soundbites:-‘fastest economy in the EU.’ ‘created 2 million new jobs’,’lifting the poorest earners out of taxation’, ‘best way out of poverty is a job’ ‘Scotland one quarter away from a recession’, ‘the people of Scotland do not want another Refrendum’, ‘the highest taxed area of the UK’ and, even if the SNP get 56 out of 59 seats, Davidson still denies that this would be the ‘triple lock’ establishing the Scottish Government’s right to propose a second Referendum.
        Like Rennie and Dugdale, she refused to acknowledge the sovereignty of the Scottish Parliament, refused to admit that it did indeed have a democratic mandate, and that Brexit was a material change.
        She is not a member of May’s Government. She is not a junior minister in the Treasury, or the Foreign Office, or Trade and Industry, yet she ‘fantasised’ that she were, and waffled the usual Ministerial ‘line to take’ which May trips out every time key words appear in an interviewer’s question.

        For example, Bernard the Moggy swiped: ‘What does ‘no deal’ mean?’
        Her answer?
        ‘Well..WTO…’ then her voice faded to grey. It was clear that she hadn’t a clue. The lights were on but she was out.
        How much would No Deal cost?
        Waffle waffle squeaky bum time, David Davis still working it out…waffle waffle.

        Perhaps they have developed a political version of those life-like digital sex dolls, and it wasn’t really Ruth squirming in her chair.
        A Stepford Tory. How could we tell the difference?
        The sovereignty of the Scottish Parliament was denied three times by the YOONs over the space of 48 hours, yet the cock did not crow.
        Ponsonby showed her up for what she is; a wee lass ‘way ‘way out of her depth and pay grade.
        But, by fuck, do they all hate NS and the SNP.
        I’ll post this now to see what happens. I’m intrigued about contentious key words, Les.
        I never mentioned Graham Norton once.

        • I just remembered, Les. I included the rejoinder, why aren’t Mundell and Carmichael, the previous two SoS Ministers, not being put through their paces by BBC and STV? They after all are standing for re-election, on paper thin in-the-hundreds majorities.
          They both have a lot of Austerity explaining to do.
          I also mentioned Murray, the man standing on a Labour ticket, who has not spoken to the Corb since he was elected leader (twice) and was sidelined as Shadow SoS, to be replaced by an obscure rotund Geordie MP whose name escapes me. How much humiliation can a body take. Plenty, apparently, for £74k plus expenses, apparently.
          Is he standing as the Morningside Socialist People’s Republic’s candidate?
          I observed that all three would be in their constituencies cuddling sheep and bouncing babies, or some such, kakking hemselves that the Job Centre and seasonal berry picking jobs beckon.
          It is a disgrace that our MSM are complicit in hiding these three wasters from public scrutiny. Instead we get three MSP’s whose parties came a woeful second third and fifth at Holyrood.
          Let’s see if this gets blocked.

  9. Let’s face it, Kezia and Ruthie aren’t so much against the SNP, they just hate Nicola.

    They hate the fact that she’s First Minister (which neither of them will EVER be), they hate the fact that she’s much loved by the majority of Scots (if she wasn’t how do they account for the fact that so many Scots keep voting SNP). But, most of all, they hate the fact that she’s 100 times the politician they are and is more than capable of putting down their most outrageous attacks!

  10. Regarding May, Davidson and the Brexit, which is now the focus of a re-booted May (probably before she gets the boot on June 9 after a hung parliament), read Rafael Behr online in today’s Guardian re “no deal is not an option” and his thoughts on walking away.
    It is a devastating critique of May et al.
    After one reads it, we can see the MayHem about to descend if May is PM on June 9!
    He quotes a German who was distraught at the Leave vote and daw it as the end of British pragmatism. However, Rafael makes one wee mistook! He refers to the German as an Anglophile and equates Anglo with Brito!
    What Rafael misses is the Scots voted to remain.
    Other than that, his critique of May and the whole run up to the Phase One of editing, is excellent.

  11. The tories campaign so far has been so shit I’m beginning to wonder if they have a certain Jonah McTernan working behind the scenes. May’s vanity election has made the big mistake of taking the voters for granted, which can be fatal(as scottish labour found out.)

  12. After watching yesterday’s wonderful performance by Nicola at the manifesto launch reminded me of the unionist cretinswho maintain that she is just Eck’s poodle.

    Some poodle.

  13. Corbyn has challenged May to join him in the leaders debate tonight.
    Guess who is not going? The feart one! Reason, she is out meeting the voters.
    Even George Osborne, former Chancellor, has condemned the personality cult around May.
    Trouble is, he is rude of the mark!! She has NO personality at all! She will be represented by Rudd! She looks increasingly like someone who has not slept due to the anger now overtaking the May campaign.
    If May loses, where does the now nastiest party go from here? How long will the Phase one Brexit discussions have to be postponed to let the new PM come up with starting proposals!!
    Let us watch the beginnings of the dissolution of the British state and its parties, the red, yellow and blue Tories north of the Tweed.
    Davidson has said a 50% vote for the SNP does not constitute a mandate. UK yoons denying democracy? Tanks on the streets of Glasgow and Edinburgh? Holyrood dissolved and HoL placemen put in power at the Scottish Office. Tia last scenario was a favourite of the Thatcherite Tories when Labour were the largest party in Scotland and the then Tory duds like Hamish Gray, who was kicked out, returned to the Scottish Office from the HoL!!
    The Tories have form here!

    • She should not be allowed to have someone stand in for her, there should be an empty podium. It’s absolutely ridiculous that she has called this unnecessary election and then pretty much refused to take part in it!

      • AnnieM, I believe HIGNFY had a tub of lard on the desk when a politician didn’t turn up. Roy Hattersley/ I’ll google it.
        Atub of lard would be a safer bet for the Blue tories than Amber Rudd.

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