The fireball in the sky

There’s a fireball in the sky, it’s getting closer and closer. The dinosaurs aren’t, for the most part, worried about it. It shines in the sky, it brightens up the day, why be concerned? That’s a good thing, isn’t it? Even if it does hit the Earth, it won’t be so bad. Things are never as bad as the doomsayers predict, says the stone chiselled press that sees the fireball as an opportunity to have two suns. There are rumours that the minor reptiles are paying pterosaurs to spread fake stories that the only survivors will be those who’ve dug themselves deep holes in the ground where they can shelter from the firestorm. Let’s just get on with things, we can deal with the future when it happens. Now stop talking about evolving into a burrowing species. We’re dinosaurs, we don’t need any of that evolving into more intelligence creatures nonsense. We’re the brutish British emperors of the animal kingdom. We make the rules. It’s all the fault of immigrant mammals anyway.

That’s pretty much the attitude of a lot of people toward Brexit. It hasn’t happened yet. Deal with it when it happens. Most people aren’t politics junkies. They’d rather watch the sparkly costumes of Strictly and are far more interested in the politics of the Premier League or the machinations of Kardashians. Get home from a boring job that hardly pays, switch on the box with the pretty lights, and switch off. They’re more concerned about getting through the week with enough cash to pay the grocery bill. Fish fingers have gone up in price again, and that’s all you can get the wean to eat without a fuss.

That’s what happens with poverty, that’s what happens with austerity. It means that you have to spend so much of your precious energy and personal resources just to survive that there’s not much left over for bigger pictures. You’re going to resent being asked to think about other things when you’ve got enough on your plate trying to get enough on your kids’ dinner plates. The Tories like it that way. Austerity isn’t just about enriching the wealthy, it’s mostly about disempowering and disengaging the poor. Ask a disengaged and unenthused person if they want another referendum, and they’ll look at you with a glare. The Tories win by killing hope and strangling dreams, by destroying joined up thinking and grinding us down. Austerity is a tool of control.

So people ignore the omens and portents, the haruspices with the entrails of Theresa May’s cluelessness, the crystal ball that’s as cold and glassy as whatever it is that going on between the ears of Boris Johnson, the house of Tarot cards that’s more solid and stable than Whitehall’s Brexit plans. The fireball in the sky is getting brighter, let’s go to the beach and get a tan.

On Thursday, Theresa May presented her plan for the status of EU citizens in the UK to the EU. It’s a great offer, a generous offer, said Theresa. The enthusiasm about a breakthrough in the negotiations lasted as long as it took the EU to give the back of Theresa’s fag packet a cursory glance and then they said, “Meh.” It now transpires that in the immediate aftermath of the EU referendum, the Conservative cabinet agreed almost unanimously that the UK should unilaterally offer some strong and stable certainty to EU citizens resident in the UK. Theresa May was the only one to refuse. She wants to use them as a bargaining counter. The EU is less than impressed and now we’re seeing the result. From David Davis’s humiliating climb down earlier this week, to the president of the EU council Donald Tusk saying with a sad and disappointed face like a father who’s seen his kid pee all over his boss’s desk on bring your kid to work day that the proposal is below his expectations, the negotiations have got off to a poor start for Britain. And they’re only going to get worse.

Meanwhile Labour is as confused and clueless as David Mundell when he’s asked a question that can’t be answered by saying how bad the SNP is. Apparently the Labour party doesn’t want the hard Brexit of the Tories, and on that basis they attracted thousands of remain supporting younger voters to support them in the election. But then they say that they do want to leave the Single Market and the Custom’s Union, which is pretty much the definition of a hard Brexit. Vince Cable of the Lib Dems wrote a furious article in the Guardian about how Labour is betraying the young voters who supported the party. Lib Dems know a lot about betraying young voters. It might be the most glaring instance of pots calling kettles since Frankenstein’s Monster accused Michael Jackson of having too much plastic surgery.

But Vince does have a point. Does anyone actually know what Labour’s position on Brexit is? Lesley Laird, Labour’s new shadow Scottish Secretary, certainly doesn’t. Labour claims it’s committed to Brexit, but it’s even more confused on the details than the Tories are, and that’s a bit like saying that you’re worse at playing Scrabble than an alien from the distant galaxy where Theresa May has cooked up her Brexit plans who communicates via the medium of wet farts and suspicious smells. Which to be honest isn’t an unfair assessment of how the rest of the EU perceive the UK’s attempts at negotiations so far. Jeremy Corbyn might be politically the diametric opposite of Donald Trump, but like Trump it seems that he’s hopeless when it comes to the daily grind of politics, and only really comfortable when he’s campaigning. You can’t run a government with a placard.

Meanwhile the fireball is getting closer and closer. This week the Scottish dinosaur in chief David Mundell demanded that the furry mammals of the SNP stop making plans to dig a deep burrow and escape from the fireball. People don’t want a burrow, he said as he stamped his big clawed foot.

Even so, right now in this period of denial and let’s not think about it, slightly over half of people say that they want a referendum on independence. A large majority say that they want a referendum on the outcome of Brexit. The only way Scotland will get a referendum on Brexit is for Scotland to have its own, Westminster isn’t going to give us one. The next independence referendum will be a referendum on Brexit. As the fireball approaches and things start to heat up, the demand for a way out is going to rise.

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0 thoughts on “The fireball in the sky

  1. Pingback: The fireball in the sky | speymouth

  2. Talking of dinosaurs, did I not hear that Prince Harry has been out talking to people again and said that no one in the Royal Family wants the job of monarch? Excellent! We can have a republic then. Oh, and isn’t that the end of the civil list? If none of them wants the top job for which they are in line, then they shouldn’t be drawing the benefits. Time surely to send them off to find an actual job – or better yet, be sanctioned for not wanting to take up the position of HM when it becomes vacant?

    • I’m fine with the Hewitt boy and the rest of them not wanting to be the English/German monarch, as we don’t want them either. As none of them want the job or, apparently, any other job, their benefits should be scrapped, as well as all the benefits paid to their groupies. Moreover, all the property they, i.e. the state, owns should be sold off and the money given back to the taxpayers. However, if the English feel a continued need to be lorded over by a so-called ruling class, that’s fine too, as long as the English pay the full cost of supporting these benefits bludgers.

  3. That second paragraph really made me sit up and think. I tend to be cynical but I missed this blindingly obvious point.

      • Also funny how most people fail to connect “fish fingers have gone up in price again” with decisions such as Brexit, or whatever it is the politicians are up to.

  4. “Austerity is a tool of control.” Aye, it is. Along with divisive rhetoric which turns the members of “hoi polloi” against one another and then occasionally unites them against “the other” as and when that is deemed necessary or desirable. We are so accustomed to being manipulated in this way that many of us can no longer see that it is happening. I chuckled wryly at your dinosaur theme but the reality is too sad and scary to be even mildly amusing, isn’t it?

    • You’re right about these primitive social behaviours which are deeply entrenched and can be called up so easily. It is as easy to divide as it is to unite. The desire to be part of a group is as strong as the need to define oneself or one’s group by creating an out group which has to be assigned a necessarily different identity. It often seems that the desire to demonize is the inevitable dark shadow twin of the need to socialize.

      The worst thing that can happen to a society is acceptance of ignorance and disengagement. Far from giving up, the only thing that we can do is have continued discourse so that society has constantly to confront itself and be challenged, so that unthinking attitudes do not go unquestioned. (Having said that, I am often discouraged myself by the electorate’s wayward choices)

      With our MSM constantly pandering to simplistic ideas and flattering people’s prejudices, we need alternative voices like Paul’s and other blogs, otherwise a perfectly respectable idea like independence will be “othered” and made unacceptable which is what they are obviously trying to do. (I don’t want to be incinerated with the dinosaurs!)

      • “The worst thing that can happen to a society is acceptance of ignorance and disengagement. ”

        You are SO right … and yet I see this acceptance and disengagement everywhere.
        “Oh, that’s just politics – I don’t ‘do’ politics”, delivered with a self-deprecating snigger.

        And then there is the “How can you say that? You are just scare-mongering and I refuse to listen!” standpoint.

        I want to take these people (some of them my nearest and dearest) by the throat and shake them ’til their eyes pop out! When they are rendered destitute by “the fireball” that is Brexit, and totally disenfranchised by the Great Reform Bill and the reabsorption of Holyrood into Westminster, it will be too late for them to wake up and say “Oh, but we didn’t know THIS was going to be the result!”

        Well, you SHOULD have known! The gods know people have been telling you for long enough.

        Aaah, me. Some days I feel despondent … Take no notice, I will perk up tomorrow …

  5. Great image ,the Fireball.
    As the economy and its indicators worsen, some have said it is part of a trend. That is denial.
    Again, many forget we are still in the Single Market and Customs Union. Yet, things are worsening so how much “worser” (excuse my playing with comparatives) will it be when we are out of the SM and CU? That is hard Brexit!!
    So what “deal” can be done to ameliorate that cataclysm?
    Hammond blethers on about a long transition period after we leave to create stability, but how can you be half in and half out of the four freedoms? How does one police that and adjudicate in cases of dispute?
    And he forgets two key points. The EU always have the final word and will say No. Secondly, having hacked off the EU why would they want bend over backwards to accommodate Westminster?
    Corbyn is also a supporter of leaving the SM and the CU. So, Lab or Tory nae difference to the EU.
    As Tusk said the EU did not take many minutes to reflect in May’s limp proposal. It has more internal EU matters to consider than the UK government and its sluggishness Ro make proposals. Out us out.
    MayGeddon is on the way. Time for Westminster to be put in its place!!
    Barnier said last Monday, “no concessions”. Sums it up really?

    • The EU had said they will grant a three year extension after March 19 to allow trade talks but this means the four freedoms must remain in place for that period.

  6. Best analogy yet Paul.

    If people think austerity UK is a pretty dire place, they really don’t wish to encounter Brexit UK, but encounter it they will. It is going to hit. There is no avoiding it. There is only surviving it. That future was made certain the second Ms May’s letter was received by the EU in March.

    People are going to suffer. Businesses will fall. Families will go without. People being people though? A great many won’t believe it till it hits them where they live. Right in their own livingroom. At that point the Scottish electorate will have a small window of opportunity.

    We better hope and pray there are still gatekeepers in Holyrood. We better hope and pray that we haven’t been stupid enough to cripple the one thing that can give us an out, or that we’ve given away our right to choose along with everything else we hold dear because others sold us on a political unity that never was.

    That option is still there for the asking because a lot of people gave an awful lot of themselves to keep it there. We need more people to make it happen. Under the current appalling stress being deliberately placed on your government (the one in Holyrood), they can’t guarantee to hold that door open forever.

    No one can or will force you. You have to want it.

    At this point, I wouldn’t take too long over making a choice. You may have that removed for you in the near future too.

    • Sam. like you and many others, I scour the international press searching for articles in foreign journals predicting that Brexit will be disastrous for the 27 Remaining states, or an independent Scotland, for that matter. Life in France, Germany, Italy, and Holland, will go on as per.
      Good riddance seems to be the common thread running through the European Dead Tree Scrolls. Who could blame them for adopting a Fuck Off Strategy.
      Apart from the brain dead Ruths of this world, and their implicit nonsense contained in sound bites like ‘Make Britain Great again’, and ‘take back control’, our pundits Over Here are predicting that we will all be worse off out of the EU; yet our MSM and politicians from all corners of the Yoon Brigade breenge ahead, like the 500 into the Valley of Death, prepared to to meet a certain, but in their perverted eyes, Imperially glorious death.
      I seem to recall Stu over on WoS musing that 2017 would be a quiet year, which many of us refuted at the time.
      You don’t need a crystal ball to conclude that the Wabash Cannonball hurtling towards your prostate body lashed to the tracks will end very badly indeed..
      2017 will go down in history as the year England finally lost its empire, and BBC PQ closed due to lack of interest.
      And not before time.

      • The Brexit result will go down as the greatest act of political and societal self harm in the UK’s post war history.

        The whys of it and the instigators are well documented. Bottom line? People voted for it. Now they have to accept the consequences of their choice. If they are fortunate, they may get the chance to right that choice at some far future date and if not? Well, perhaps the reality of Brexit UK will move them to change who and what their politics and their media made of them.

        In Scotland we can have that second chance for the asking and a bit sooner. As I said above though, we have to want it.

        • I agree , Sam, but I doubt that a large swathe of the UK electorate will ever see the light and realise why they are in the brown stuff up to their ankles head first! I fear things will not change until the older electorate are wearing their wooden suits. Luckily for Scotland, we will – if we work for it – have a choice. However, there will be a sizeable chunk of the population who will not be carried with us no matter what we do / say or how well we do / say it!

      • “Make Britain Great Again” – in America, those who see Trump’s MAGA slogan for the joke that it is have taken to spelling the third word ‘Grate’. Perhaps we should do the same whenever and wherever Ruth the Mooth is to be seen in public, Jack.

  7. You forgot mundell making threats to our electied frist minster saying She’d lose her job if indyref2 wasn’t of the table desperate bastard he is acting all arrogant to hide his cowardice as he knows we who believe in independence are still here and we are currently the majority because if we weren’t the unionists would be ramming down our throat 24/7 and apart from these little bits they are silent

    • What was really behind Mundell’s words?

      Did he imply that the electorate would vote her out, or was it a threat that Westminster would suspend Holyrood?

  8. Hi Paul, I fully agree with all your comments and as someone who has been living abroad, in Belgium for 18 years, I can readily confirm that the UK and especially May is seen as a laughing stock throughout Europe. I have no great affection for the EU bureaucracy, but they are no worse than the crowd at Westminster. Fortunately, I have dual nationality and since the Brexit announcement I use either my Belgian ID or passport for all foreign travel. Something I was pulled up about in Dover during a recent visit to Kent, when they wanted to know why I was using my Belgian ID, rather than on all previous visits to the UK where I had used my British passport. I just told them it was my choice, as a dual national, to use any relevant ID for travel. It was always my intention to return to live in Scotland with my Belgian wife in a few years time; but I don’t think this will be happening any time soon and certainly not if Scotland remains a vassal of the UK.

  9. In regard to the Prince Harry story, I posted a comment on the following Guardian article: which to my surprise they have kept in. It reads as follows and was in response to some Royalist twaddle:-
    I would like to make a suitable comment in reply but instead the following is more pertinent: and would not be removed by the Guardian.
    One question that does have some relevance at the present time. Why is the Queens Scottish Estate at Balmoral not actually owned by the monarch, but is instead leased from a charity managed by three members of the aristocracy, with the only beneficiary of this charity being the reigning monarch herself and of course previous monarchs since the reign of Queen Victoria. The simple answer, to avoid paying any taxes; this was passed by a private Act of Parliament at the time that the Estate was supposed to have been bought by Prince Albert for his wife and Queen. I wonder if her house has got any cladding that needs removing?

  10. Labour are playing the longer waiting game,they’ve waited to long to be relevant, though they do still grab at the ankles of those who are trying to get away.
    We just need to see the hissy fit Owen Jones had when people tried to point out what Scottish Labour is to realise there is nothing coming from Labour, north or south, that can save us.

  11. Good grief, even The National can’t do it’s sums!!

    “She (Nicola Sturgeon) is reflecting on the General Election result, won by the SNP north of the Border with 31 seats, but with a loss of 21 of the 56 seats it won in 2015. She is expected to set out her position on a new plebiscite before Holyrood breaks for the summer recess at the end of next week.”

    Now, I’ve never been very good at arithmetic, but even I know that 56 less 21 is not 31!

    However, The National does say that, in the latest poll, 52% of Scots want Indyref2 at some point.

  12. Do you think the EU will let us rejoin once they realise to the full the ineptitude of the English politicians that we let run us?

    • At the moment they are still having a laugh about May, or the Maybot as she is also known across here in Belgium after her “visitation” on Friday. I was shopping in the Netherlands today (I live only about 20 minutes from the border) and speaking to a few people today, there is much amusement about the UK and what is currently happening; but importantly people are very well aware that Scotland is not a part of “Engerland” and now talk about the UK and Scotland as two seperate countries. This has only been happening since the time of the first Indy referendum and I have also found this on my travels in other EU countries such as Germany and Poland, as well as further afield such as in Russia. My wife and myself were in Moscow in late April of this year and I was surprised how many ordinary people actually know about Scotland as an actual country; this it not surprising because due to the size of Russia, we in Scotland look like a little dot on the world map. This is partly solved when you talk about football; as I was asked why a little country the size of the UK has 4 football teams and I explained not only about Scottish history but the links between Russia and Scotland; highlighted by the recent Brian Cox TV programmes; in fact We met up with some people who had appeared on the programme and we are now determined to keep in touch, especially as they have been in Scotland many times supporting Scottish independence and are and have been working very postively over many years promoting Russian – Scottish links; both historic and currently. So despite what the MSM may say, Scotland has many friends in Europe, both at the EU political level, but much more importantly many ordinary people support our cause.

        • Since coming to Spain, when asked if I’m ‘inglesa’ I’ve always said very firmly that I’m ‘escocesa’. I’ve then had to go on and explain what the difference is, but not any more!

  13. I wonder how many food banks there will be by the time MayHem makes an arse of the Brexit negotiations? Quadruple the existing number, or more?

    • If that many people end up needing food banks, who’s going to stock them? Wealthy Tories? I don’t think so!!

      • How you vote does not mean you will not put food donations into charity bins in supermarkets. Being tight and uncaring is found accross society. I understand your comments Annie, I just think we should not use the left/right political slant at charity. Yes Tory politics has made the situation worse but this does not mean all Tory voters are bastards, just blinkered.

          • Well said, AnnieM. However, personally, I think that Tory voters are equally at fault, after all – if people didn’t keep voting for Tories they would die out like the dinosaurs they are. All very well for Andy to say they are not bastards – just blinkered – their wilful blindness hurts us all every day. THEY are what makes this horrible situation in which Scotland (and rUK) finds itself possible.

          • I agree. I don’t think that you can always excuse those who have opinions which you find abhorrent. Personally I have heard people express appalling opinions when they mistakenly think that you might be sympathetic. At some point we have to recognise some attitudes are harmful to others and cannot be condoned.

            Being occasionally charitable does not absolve you from the big choices you make regarding political parties. The effects of having right-wing governments like this one cannot be blamed solely on politicians. Those with right-wing views are not slow themselves to marginalize and label people.

            Scandinavian societies on the whole do better and are happier because the majority view is self-interested altruism. Everyone’s well-being is improved in a society built on social justice. Why then are right-wing voters here so antipathetic to this? Mention this seemingly wholesome ambition to a group of Tory voters ( and some older Labour voters ) and it’s like stirring up a wasps’ byke.

          • It goes back to the beginnings of Thatcherism, JGedd. She told voters it was absolutely OK to be greedy, and took away the “altruism” part of the equation. She made people believe that everyone couldn’t possibly enjoy improved well-being – it had to be some people at the expense of other people and all you needed to do was to be on the “right” (pun definitely intended) side of the deal. Those who fell by the wayside didn’t matter – and that is Conservative (and New Labour) politics to this day.

            Divide the masses socially, intellectually, financially, ethnically – any which way you CAN divide them – and they’ll be so busy watching one another they won’t have the time or the energy to watch you!

            The reason it’s like stirring up a wasps’ bike is simple – far too many people have been so brain-washed that they cannot conceive of a society where EVERYONE can prosper (in the broadest sense of the word), so if you talk about levelling the playing field they automatically assume that SOMEONE is going to lose out – and if they are on the right of the spectrum, and relatively comfortable, they are absolutely terrified that it will be them!

  14. Seems the stubborn Tories are going on with this madness at full speed. A quote from a speech of Michel Barnier:

    There will be no business as usual.
    Today I want to talk frankly and sincerely about the need for economic and social actors to prepare and face this uncertainty. Each of you has an important role in raising awareness and making the link with civil society. And I will continue to support your work by ensuring the transparency of the negotiations. But there are also a few certainties.

    – The UK will become a third country at the end of March 2019.
    – The UK government has defined a number of “red lines” for the future relationship:
    – no more free movement for EU citizens,
    – full autonomy over UK laws,
    – autonomy to conclude its own trade agreements,
    – no role for the European Court of Justice.

    This implies leaving the single market and leaving the EU Customs Union.

    On the EU side, we made three things very clear:
    – The free movement of persons, goods, services and capital are indivisible. – We cannot let the single market unravel.
    – There can be no sector by sector participation in the single market: you cannot leave the single market and then opt-in to those sectors you like most – say, the automobile industry or financial services. You cannot be half-in and half-out of the single market.
    – The EU must maintain full sovereignty for deciding regulations: the EU is not only a big marketplace. It is also an economic and social community where we adopt common standards. All third countries must respect our autonomy to set rules and standards. And I say this at the moment when the UK has decided to leave this community and become a third country.

    These three points were already made clear – very clear – by the European Council and the European Parliament. But I am not sure whether they have been fully understood across the Channel.

    I have heard some people in the UK argue that one can leave the single market and keep all of its benefits – that is not possible.
    I have heard some people in the UK argue that one can leave the single market and build a customs union to achieve “frictionless trade” – that is not possible.

    The decision to leave the EU has consequences. And we have to explain to citizens, businesses and civil society on both sides of the Channel what these consequences mean for them.
    Let me be clear: these consequences are the direct result of the choices made by the UK, not by the EU. There is no punishment for Brexit. And of course no spirit of revenge. But Brexit has a cost, also for business in the EU27.

    The full speech is available here:

    Looks like the position of David Davis in the negotiations is “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge”. Unbelievable how clueless they are and I wonder in what reality the live in. I can’t see this end well. A hard brexit will be most likely the outcome and I’m afraid it will all end in tears.

    • What we on here and elsewhere have been saying from the Brexit get go last June, ThomwasW.
      Independence is assured when this all unravels for May Davidson and the Unionists.
      October 2018 to March 2019 is still the window of opportunity for Indyref 2.

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