A singular dishonesty

Here we go again. It’s always groundhog day with British nationalism in Scotland. I blogged some months ago about the important distinction between the unitary market of the British state, and the single market of the EU. British nationalists in Scotland are however determined to conflate those two very different political and economic beasts under the rubric “single market”, and they’re doing so for nakedly political reasons.

I’m not going to repeat all the arguments I made back in November last year, you can read the piece for yourself here – https://weegingerdug.wordpress.com/2017/11/21/marketing-a-lie/ But it seems that opponents of independence are hell bent on demonising anyone who dares to assert what ought to be a self-evident truth – that the so-called UK single market is not a single market in the same sense that the term is understood in relation to the EU single market. That’s precisely what this attempt to hijack the term single market is all about. It’s about trying to draw a false equivalence between the countries making up the unitary state of a UK where sovereignty rests entirely with Westminster, and the sovereign states comprising the EU.

No one in the anti-independence camp ever brought up this all-important UK single market during the referendum campaign of 2014, and yet now it’s all that they bang on about. You’d think that if it was indeed so vital to the well being of Scotland that someone in the Better Together campaign might have thought to mention it. You can do a Google search on trends which provides a handy wee graph of when certain terms are used, and surprise surprise what you discover that with the exception of a couple of isolated instances, the phrase “UK single market” only starts to be used in the immediate run up to the EU referendum in June 2016 and afterwards.


Isn’t that odd? Something that’s allegedly so existentially vital to the security and future of the Scottish economy, at least according to opponents of independence, and yet all the way through the independence referendum of 2014 none of them thought to mention it. You can have a look for yourself here – https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=today%205-y&q=%22UK%20Single%20Market%22

The phrase is used most commonly in the context of Scottish independence, or more exactly in the context of opposition to Scottish independence. Nowadays British nationalists in Scotland scarcely shut up about the so called UK single market, and are desperate to ridicule and dismiss anyone who takes them to task for it. Oooh, they go, like Les Dawson’s drag act in one of his less funny sketches, get him/her saying there’s no such thing as a single market. Of course there’s a single market. It’s the UK. It’s only got the one market. That’s a single market innit. And in doing so they deliberately conflate two very different phenomena, and do so for the purposes of misleading people in Scotland about what Scotland’s rights and powers are within the UK.

The hijacking of the term single market by British nationalism is all about the creation of a false narrative, the implication that Scotland within the UK has the same degree of economic and political freedom as an independent Scotland would have within the EU. That is arrant nonsense.

The question for British nationalists in Scotland who are determined to use the phrase “UK single market” is, if they are so insistent that the UK is the proud possessor of a single market as opposed to the unitary market of a unitary state, then what precisely do they call the very different economic and political creature that is the EU single market? If you’re going to insist that the unitary market of the UK is the “UK single market”, then what terminology do you propose using for the mutual collaboration and cooperation of the unitary markets of the different EU member states which together form the EU single market? You can’t call both “single markets” by the same term because the two “single markets” are not the same thing. They are fundamentally different in their conception and construction.

So what’s the EU “single market” to be called if the UK has a “single market” all by itself? I’ve yet to find any answer to that, because British nationalists have no answer. The reason for that is because there isn’t supposed to be an answer. The use of the phrase UK single market is a deliberate attempt to mislead. There are 27 voices which have the right to speak and make rules for the EU single market. There’s only one voice which has the right to speak and make rules for the “UK single market”, that would be the British government. It sure as hell isn’t Scotland.

Neither have I seen in the British nationalist media any explanation of how this so-called UK single market differs from the EU single market in its basic construction and in the all-important political and economic rights possessed by its constituent parts.  Since we’re currently in the middle of a discussion about the lack of trust that many in Scotland feel towards the media, it’s important to highlight the kind of thing that is causing people to lose trust.

The papers are happy to publish statements from Tory politicians decrying the likes of Mike Russell for stating the obvious, but nowhere do they explain to their readers what the differences are between the two markets which they insist must both be described as “single markets”. We already know that the two things are not the same political and economic creatures, so surely you’d think that given the supposed importance of the “UK single market” to the well-being of Scotland, that our press would be keen to explain the organisational and political differences between the “UK single market” and the “EU single market”. Instead they just repeat the claims of Tory politicians and finger point.

The truth is that the entire purpose of the phrase “UK single market” is to co-opt the language of European collaboration and mutual benefit for the aggrandisement of British nationalism. It’s an attempt to mislead the people of Scotland that we get the same deal from the UK as we would get from the EU as an independent state. It’s an attempt to imply that the partial, limited, and negotiated pooling of sovereignty involved in becoming an EU member is the same as the total loss of sovereignty experienced by Scotland within the UK. Conflating the two markets under the same term “single market” is deliberately misleading. It’s a singular dishonesty. Mike Russell is quite right to call them out for it.


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0 thoughts on “A singular dishonesty

  1. Excellent piece, Paul. They’re ‘at it’ as usual and know exactly what they are doing – misinforming, muddying the waters. Causing deliberate confusion because confusion is their friend.

    Bottom line – Scotland is better having access to a market of 500 million potential buyers than one with only 50 million.

    • As one of the EU 28, we shall have the same access to English Markets that France Holland Germany and Italy will have, which according to May will be the bestest ever.
      The UK crumbles like an ice sculpture at a Dubai beach party.
      ERventually, WM will admit that it hasn’t got a clue what to propose about Brexit.

  2. So the Tories and BritNats are currently saying that:

    1: The EU ‘single market’ and the UK ‘single market’ are exactly the same sort of thing.

    2: The UK leaving the EU is ‘about sovereignty and not being dictated to by a furring power, and taking back control innit?

    3: But that doesn’t work for Scotland.

    4: And if Scotland did leave the UK single market,it would be thrown out of the EU single market because… reasons. Which would be bad for Scotland

    5: But not for Britain. Obviously, because that’s… different.

    6: Hey look! Royal Wedding!

    Even accepting their own logic it doesn’t work…

  3. I wonder what exactly brought about this Fairy tale of a UK wide single market, I have often wondered how this market can be managed measured or indeed quantified unless some kind of cross border trade can be measured it is therefore a fairy tale concocted just like GERS as a political smokescreen for mug consumption and MSM projection to a unwary audience .

    On a different theme namely Gaza ,on two separate occasions today I have seen Tory MPs and MSPs attempting to in some way try and justify the murders carried out by the IDF Under instruction of the Israel government, on both occasions the apologists not only embarrassed themselves by their actions they removed any respect anyone might have had as to their moral right to voice support for what has become a Pariah State whose only support is the USA whose president is a certifiable nut job who carries a baseball bat .

    The severity of the kicking and condemnation this out of control state of Israel received in Holyrood was a comfort to all self respecting people who still possessed a Conscience , I really hope that the Scottish governments condemnation reflects the mood of most of the Scottish parliament , I say most because as usual the Tory party are out of step with ordinary people, Shock ! .

    A Disgraceful Disgusting Party whose very existence soils Scotlands good name .

    • I always thought that one of the reasons Hamas refuses to recognise Israel is that Israel refuses to define her International borders. It seems that her border with Gaza is sovereign unless it’s Israel doing the infringing which come to think of it the Syrians are well within their rights to use lethal force each time her borders are breached according to Israeli logic. It’s worth pointing out that Haaretz keeps pointing out the inconsistent approach of Netanyahu ‘s government.

  4. Pingback: A singular dishonesty | speymouth

  5. Presumably. an independent Scotland in the EU would have a trade agreement with the UK anyway and if not a Scotland tied to the UK outwith access to the EU markets would be doomed anyway so what do we have to lose?

  6. o/t – Sarah Smith of BBC fame voicing her opinion of what next now the Scottish parliament has refused the Tory governments EU withdrawal smash and grab bill.

    She said now the SNP have a problem even after pushing for and winning support to reject this Tory bill , they will have difficulty engaging public support because the public show no appetite for a fight ,

    Well you have to hand it to the BBC for sheer bloody brass necked cheek they have spent weeks burying any reference or even information regarding the contents of the attempted blatant heist, and on their website she says Mayhem refused any second referendum , Nope wrong again dear Mayhems reply was now is not the time , very carefully avoiding NO .

    The usual not so Subtle twisting of events by the BBC totally changing what has happened to suit a Unionist perspective, who would have thought they would do that now .
    Trust them I wouldn’t piss on them or any of their friends in the Scottish media .

  7. Look here Cavanagh and that bloody dug o’ yours. Gie it a rest. You canny just keep banging on about stuff right, left and centre and being right a’ the time.Whit the hell dae ye think ye’re daein? You’re gie’in Scottish journalism a bad name son.
    Yer missin’ the very point o’ Scots journalism fur chrissake man! Yer no supposed tae be educatin’ fowk. Yer supposed tae be confusin the buggers, leadin’ them up the kail-yaird path laddie. It’s whit we’ve been daein fur years. A perfectly simple an straightfurrit hing tae dae and yoor buggerin’ the damn thing up fur evrybuddy.
    Jeezy Peeps man! Gies a brek eh-no!

  8. England would still want to trade with an independent Scotland, it is only tariffed goods they would
    have to pay the tariffs on. I don’t think these include, oil, gas, electricity.

  9. Neatly done Paul and well said. After today’s vote in Holyrood to reject the Brexit bill and its naked power grab?

    Let’s see how much Westminster values/honours the devolution settlement and the Sewel convention. Let’s also see how much the UK establishment value and honour their partner in the bestest union in the history of unions.

    TBF we know the answer to that already, but this time it’s going to be loud and public with the world’s media looking on. 😉

    • Perhaps a company of Marines from the newly expanded English garrison at Faslane will be despatched to take over the Holyrood building, and Sturgeon, Leonard, Rennie, and Harvie, clapped in irons for subversion and misappropriation of public money, and newly elevated Lord Mundell of Gretna appointed as Governor of the North British territory.
      The pogroms which ensue will see the ‘ring leaders’, which include all of you lot reading or contributing to this renegade blog, WOS, Bateman, Grouse Beater, Peat Worrier, Bella, definitely Mrs C for leaving me alone in front of a PC for many hours, and the rest of the Tartan Terrorists, rounded up and transported to hastily constructed Readjustment camps in any hot sweaty malaria inducing colonies England still controls.

      I observed earlier. Sit back and watch Constitutional expert Professor Two Jobs WATP political failure and all round blowhard Adam Tomkins make a right royal arse of himself.
      Christ this man is brainwashing students and marking their work, if he believes the toss he came out with today.
      WM is taking back control of Scotland, illegally.
      Where is Davidson during all this?
      Hiding as usual.
      I expect the Blue Tory bloc to resign en masse tomorrow.
      Flying Pigs are silhouetted in the two silver moons above as a band plays ‘Believe it if you like’ in the distance.
      The Greens, Labour, and the Lib Dems voted for Scotland and its people.
      The Tories bent over clenched their teeth and got a good seein’ to by their London masters.I ‘m sure they were urged to think of England.
      Not long now.

      • The Tories are very much isolated on this issue in Scotland. They voted to return powers to Westminster and sunset clause or no, those powers would have been sorely abused crippling Scotland’s producers and ravishing our resources, trashing legislation and standards to support UKgov’s dash to prosperity (cough).

        As it is? If they want them they’ll have to demolish the devolution settlement and the Sewel convention, not to mention the matter of a small court case, in order to get them. Such an action will leave no doubt in any reasonable person’s mind that the union of parliaments is an utter sham.

        It will be forced union from that moment on. And THAT is no union at all.

        • At the same time Brian Taylor dismisses the Power Grab as a strop over ‘labelling’, and Brewer assures us that we’ll be getting a ‘shedload of powers’ and David Henderson stands outside Fairfields and mouths the WM ‘line to take’ that work at Govan shipbuilders is secure for twenty years, knowing full well that BAE are going into partnership with Cammel Laird in Liverpool to bid for MOD work, as part of the Blue Tory wheeze of ‘opening up competition’ for ship building contracts to the world.

          No £200 million BAE expansion at Scotstoun, no 13 frigates, but Henderson toes the Brit Nat Line, as do Brewer and Taylor.
          Sewell will be overturned, and our Parliament will be reduced to ‘ wee pretendy parish council’ status in what can only be described as a coup d’etat, and the Brit Nat ProudScotsBut LisTory Fifth Columnists will cheer, and the Herald will say it was all ‘Nicola Sturgeon’s’ fault.
          Dark clouds are gathering, mi amici.

          • It’s all that Nicola Sturgeon’s fault again. Pathetic monstering of the FM continues relentlessl yamong the Brit Nat hacks.
            This from Sarah Smith the BBC Scotland editor ,or something.
            “Her (NS) problem is that this argument has not caught voters’ attention. The right of the Scottish Parliament to have a definitive say over regulations governing the use of pesticides does not appear to cause great concern to Scots.
            The AUOB march didn’t happen, folks.
            The 45% have folded their tents and gone back into their box.
            What a zombie Smith has proved to be.
            Stay doon in London, Ms Smith.
            You are no’ loss to Scotland, that’s for sure.

      • I don’t think that England has any colonies left let alone any hot sweaty ones. They would probably lock us Tartan Terrorists up in the darkest dungeon of the Tower of London and feed us on the lies that emanate from BBC propagandists and right-wing Tories.

        • and sell bags of peanuts to the visiting tourists to feed the tartan Beasts.
          Do they still have a lease on the Black Hole of Calcutta, Richard? (look it up, younger Duggers.)

  10. From Ireland it is indeed odd to view the same arrogant ignoring of the “periphery” as in 1880-1920.
    Its also interesting that so far, there seems to be no major shift (please correct me if I am wrong here…) towards independence. What, one has to wonder, would it have to take to move the dial? Recall that in 1916 the vast majority of irish people would have settled for the 1912 home rule approach (demo max..). It was the English, perfectly reasonably from their perspective, breaking the rules and executing Irish “rebels” after surrender, that really broke the logjam. Scotland can , if it wishes, become independent without all that. Its not clear to me that it does, yet.
    So …. is an overruling of the wishes of the SP the “stone breakers yard”? Fascinating to watch from Europe.

    • brian, WM is conducting a cull of the poor: 120,000 dead since 2010 directly as a result of £29 billion agreed by all WM Parties in ‘austerity’ cuts to unemployment, sickness, disability, child allowances to reward the rich 10% with more wealth from the public purse.

      It is reported that 1000 disabled citizens had their mobility vehicles taken from them as an ‘austerity’ measure, with the private assessor making its profit by reducing the number entitled to help with disabilities as’.benefits savings’.

      I was gently chided on here for referring to the WM Parties’ Budget Responsibility Austerity Cuts as the actions of the AntiChrist.

      The Rape Clause, the Bedroom Tax, bomb furriners, sell weapons to regimes who use them to kill children..

      We are not like the chattering class in 1912 comfortable off Dublin.

      We pasteurise our milk these days, and wash indoors.
      There is no comparison.
      At least two million Scots and probably more have had enough of English Rule.

      We don’t need guns and bombs. A snub nosed pencil and a polling booth will do.
      I expect the Blue Tories to resign from Holyrood tomorrow.

      • “We are not like the chattering class in 1912 comfortable off Dublin”
        That’d be the Dublin that had the worst slums in these islands in 1912, that one? http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/exhibition/dublin/main.html
        Please, dont confuse the prosperous ireland of now with the p!ss poor hellhole it was then.
        None of which is relevant to the q: what will it take to shift the dial decisive towards independence? As a external observer, its not clear.

        • brian, I am acutely aware of the poverty in Dublin at the turn of the last century, believe you me.
          I suspect that you know that.
          The ‘chattering classes’ of Joyce’s Portrait of an Artist, Ulysses, and The Dead, The suffocating control of an arch right wing Brit facing Catholic Church, the merchants, the Land owners, the Lords, the Ladies, the High Command, were all comfortable and rarely ventured ‘beyond the pale’.
          But we talk of Scotland, now, not Ireland 100 years ago.
          They are killing my fellow countrymen and women by political engineering.
          Sorry, if I misled; but Ireland had its uncaring filthy rich then, as now. It’s hardly a Socialist paradise to this day.

  11. Take the lesson from Cymru, Scotland.

    Our National Assembly voted today to give itself less devolved powers after agreeing to the Westminster Brexit “power-grab” Bill, with Labour, “Welsh” Conservative and UKIP AMs joining forces to support the Welsh Government’s position.

    “Tonight we’ll see a Labour government vote with the Tories and UKIP to support Westminster’s EU Withdrawal Bill,” said Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood.

    Plaid AM Adam Price said: “We are joining a very select club of national Parliaments, if we pass this motion today, that have voluntarily decided to cede their own authority.”

    If only we had someone with as much backbone and savviness to combat Westminster as you have in Mike Russell et al …
    Read, weep and learn, Scotland.

    Yours, on a sad day for Scotland’s little brother.


    • Caveat emptor. Always read the small print, especially where amendments and clauses with words like ‘normally’ have been inserted and where – this one is a cracker,- you can only wonder who thought this one up…. your consent can be taken as consent, your lack of a response can be taken as your consent and your non-consent will be taken as your consent.

      Even when your elected Parliamentary representatives spot this duplicity and your Parliament votes it down by a whacking majority i.e = the Parliament’s non-consent, the same sleekit individuals that tried to trick you into accepting their ‘kind offer in writing’ , then have the gall to tell you that they will just ignore the Parliamentary vote anyway..

      Thankfully we have had Mike Russell et al to try to look after our best interests in these difficult times – especially / including as all of Scotland voted to Remain in the EU.

  12. My suspicion has always been that the term UK Single Market was introduced to become the major project fear point of indyref 2.

    They will make the argument that now we have seen how difficult and damaging leaving the EU single market has been after only a matter of decades in the EU, just imagine how difficult and damaging it would be to untangle the UK single market after hundreds of years.

    Of course this is nonsense, but it becomes believable nonsense to those who are not politically engaged who will have heard the term being used in so many soundbites over the years.

    It is easy to confuse and mislead a large section of the public by using very similar terms, just see the confusion (even amongst some politicians) over the single market and the customs union which don’t even sound similar.

    This nonsense really needs to be totally discredited with the wider public before indyref 2 or it may be too late to get the wider public to understand it is a deception.

  13. I engaged some ladies at my work today gently steering the conversation towards the British Nationalist power grab from our parliament.

    Blank stares, no anger, not even a defence of the British Nationalist actions.

    The, perfectly nice ladies had not a clue what I was talking about. Well done the MSM.

    They knew all about the Royal wedding. Except the bit about the police seizing the beds of the homeless near Windsor.

    Wheres my blood pressure tablets.

    • Agreed it’s quite shocking to discover how out of touch many Scots are about what’s going on ,
      the BBC in Scotland have deliberately glossed over and trivlised the gravity of this whole situation where the Westminster Tory government trample all over years of political progress as being the labelling of foodstuffs and consistency of paint,
      Fracking is a word the BBC dare not utter , because that gives the whole game away, followed closely by the proposed fire sale of our NHS to giant US healthcare vultures ,
      This BBC in Scotland are a danger to all people in Scotland they are projecting a totally false reflection of what Westminster are actually up to.

  14. Yes indeed. Thank you WGD for this unravelling of the latest propaganda ….UK “single market”. Like Robert Graham, I think fracking will give the game away…and the trade deals imposed by a bankrupt Westminster……but I hope Scotland has her own voice in the EU before any of that happens.

  15. The frogic (read, Unionist/Brexiteer logic) here seems to be that the term ‘Single Market’ has caused them all kinds of problems so let’s chuck it at the Jock Nats.

  16. The first time I heard “UK single market” my jackie-baillie-o’meter went into full flood mode. It’s p@sh, pure and simple to distract and confuse…

  17. We have never had a single market in the U.K. Everywhere outside of London the prices increase by the mile because of transport costs, even when the productmon sale is a local produce of thse faraway places.

  18. I have raised this daft issue (single market UK) with three people in the last couple of days. They have no idea, absolutely none. I do not mean they have been taken in by the Tories propaganda, they had just never thought about it. When explained to them they just look at you with the ‘Oh aye!’ sort of stare as if you had just told them you went to the moon last year for your beach holiday.

    I am afraid the issue is a general lack of political apathy by most citizens, or so it seems to me. Yes if we had a good and balanced media many would get the message, or part of it anyway.

    Still I am not disillusioned that we will win the next referendum. It is a case of keep talking, keep selling the message, keep educating.

    The MSM does make me angry at times though. In a free Scotland I hope we can legislate to stop newspapers (paper and web) from disseminating lies, part lies or just ignoring the key issues of the day.

    Thanks for all your comments. They are great.

  19. Thanks for highlighting this Paul,

    Countering this is difficult because it is a simple sound byte that sounds ‘truthy’ (sounds right but is actually a lie); arguing against this slight of hand can seem pedantic.

    (Dis)credit where (dis)credit is due, the British propaganda machine has come up with an effective tool for (mis)shaping public opinion.

    It’s similar to what you have pointed out in the past about the word Nationalist in English but at least with that responding by pointing out British Nationalism is simpler and quicker to encapsulate.

    I must admit that I am struggling to find a snappy response in conversation to the nonsense of ‘UK single market’ being conflated with the EU. I would welcome any suggestions.

    I’m tempted to simply point out that one market is a hangover from an Empire centred on absolute Westminster power with no written constitution; the other is a mutually respectful association of countries with shared decision making within an agreed system of rules.

    It’s not very snappy and probably challenges too many British Nationalist myths at once to be effective rather than simply annoying.

    Any suggestions anyone?

    • My thoughts also, there is (as far as I can see, no quick pithy answer to this)

      Perhaps it needs to be in the form of Limericks, or songs.

      We service the debt they run up.

      They deport our whisky and run the profit through WM books

      They charge us! to export energy to them to use.

      They steal and miss count the oil and gas production.

      All the ways they screw us with their UK Single Market….
      Shoving all the real facts under their media union carpet
      Cooking books and spreading lies, lest their stealing be sae starkit
      All the way they screw us with their UK Single Market.

  20. Of course, the term UK single market suggests a level playing field. Actually, the UK domestic market is not like that at all. Just ask the power generators who have to pay more than the southern based counterparts to connect to the “national grid”. Some of those are actually paid to connect. Call that a “double whammy” if you like for Scottish consumers, yet actually, it is a “triple whammy” if you are a Scot resident in the Northern or Western Isles as there is no interconnecor linking you to that myth of a grid. It means they pay even more and are unable to sell surplus power to the subsidised southerners.

    Brian Wilson has given a very good reason for the lack of interconnector. His rationale is that the English tax payer would not be happy funding one of those it them sweaties chose to f-off with their Indy nonsense taking that said connector with them.

    But we Scots ARE important in the domestic UK market… imagine if the Europeans in their furrinur market had to subsidise private water companies in London to modernise those sewers. Totally unfinkabul that investment should be a priority over shareholder dividends.

  21. A good deal of repetition by the tory party yesterday , Wales was referred to incessantly as was the Mythical Internal Market , as Mike Russell commented he has never heard so much support by scottish tories for a labour administration in Wales , they must be touched by their concern .

    The most stinging and cutting remarks directed at the isolated tory gang were not from the SNP but from their apparent unionist friends , this was also hammered to death by the tories who said shame on the other unionist parties for not supporting their stand for the union against those nasty separatists ,

    oh dear a party who has the support of 20% or one fifth in old money , this underwhelming support does not stop this continuing desk thumping noise like just unruly children who have no self control and when the teacher has left the room .

    It has never been clearer how out of step this tory lot are ,they dont fit , they dont represent scottish people they represent westminster and all its utterly bamy attempts to punish anyone who dosent agree with their failed right wing mantra of me first and bugger the rest its always Me Me Me .

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