The clean break

The Conservatives’ buzzword for the coming election is going to be “clean break”. They want a clean break Brexit. A clean break from the EU. The implication is that a clean break is clinical, final, without mess or upset. But the clean break Brexit that the Conservatives are seeking has a lot more in common with a pair of cleanly broken legs. It’s a clean break, but it’s painful, debilitating, it’s disruptive, and will require a long an arduous process of healing and remedial therapy. It will seriously restrict your freedom of movement, and you may never fully recover. That’s the clean break that the Tories have in mind. Worse, they’re actively seeking the sledgehammer to smash it down on our legs.

The Conservatives in Scotland are now just as keen on this as their colleagues south of the border, yet there’s been precious little attempt from most of the Scottis media to hold them to account for their changed stance. They’re no longer opposing Brexit, they’re no longer seeking to avoid a hard Brexit. They’re gung ho for an outcome that will damage Scottish jobs, economy, and have a serious negative effect on EU citizens resident here. The media isn’t holding them to account for their change of mind. They’re not being held to account for their anti-democratic refusal to recognise the mandate that the Scottish Parliament already has for another independence referendum.

But not all political parties in Scotland escape scrutiny, the party of independence has a problem because more people are supporting independence. The SNP meltdown continues. Bins in Govanhill are lying unemptied and now there’s a further blow to Nicola Sturgeon because some academics and others have articulated their reasons for wanting independence. At least according to the Herald in its latest attempt to win the SNPbad trophy by demonstrating that there is no story or development that cannot be spun into a problem for the SNP and the Scottish Government. The spin that the paper puts on 50 weel kent academics, writers, actors, artists, and musicians signing a manifesto for independence is that this “piles pressure” on Nicola Sturgeon. This is a terribly bad thing, because it means that Nicola Sturgeon has questions to answer. And those bins still haven’t been emptied.

Actually, the other day I saw my local MSP out in the rain picking up rubbish in the street and putting it in a plastic bin bag for disposal. The recent high winds had caused some bins to fall over and there was rubbish all over the place. I’m not always John Mason’s biggest fan, but fair play to the guy. What he did was a good thing and a genuine and sincere attempt to clean up our local area. He did it without any attempt gain publicity or to make himself look good. He just did it because he felt that it needed to be done. However the Herald would publish that as a story about how one of Scotland’s elected representatives was callously depriving the workers in the cleansing department of jobs, and was adding to the plastic crisis by using a black plastic bin liner to put the rubbish in. SNP MSP heartlessly endangers marine life. Will no one think of the turtles?

Prominent people making a public declaration of their support for independence and making a statement about how independence can make Scotland a better place to live in is a huge problem for the SNP. Well who knew? Everyone did. The Scottish press is entirely predictable in its anti-independence spin. That’s why people are voting with their purses and wallets and not buying it any more.

You could just as easily have said that this development “gave a boost” to Nicola Sturgeon. You could have said that a clear and articulate declaration of the positive gains of independence was a huge demonstration of support for the SNP’s core mission as it goes into its conference. You could have said that the declaration shows the prominent people in Scottish public life are losing the reticence that they previously had to speak out in favour of independence. You could have said that it illustrates the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of Scottish Unionism, which has nothing to offer Scotland but whatever form of Brexit Westminster finally manages to agree to. You could have said that the declaration presented an attractive and plausible vision of the kind of Scotland that is achievable once Scotland is able to choose its own path and is no longer subject to electoral decisions of our neighbour which may be damaging to Scottish interests. You could have said that the declaration is an illustration of the increasing confidence of the independence movement. But this is the Scottish anti-independence media we’re talking about here. There are ancient 78 rpm records from the 1940s that spin less. So SNPbad it is. It’s one more story to add to the Provost’s shoe collection, the children’s hospital, and car park charges as the Scottish media gears up for the SNP conference.

If the Scottish media made one tenth of the effort that they make finding ways to criticise the SNP and the Scottish Government and instead put that into demanding to know why the anti-independence parties think that they can ignore a mandate given to the Scottish Parliament by the Scottish people, or demanding that the Tories are honest that their clean break Brexit is anything but clean, Scotland would already be a long way towards independence. That’s precisely why they don’t do it.

There’s a very clear double standard when it comes to holding power to account. The anti-independence parties do receive criticism, but that criticism is balanced with praise, and more importantly they’re given a free pass when it comes to the examination of their hypocrisy on the democratic mandate for another indyref. The independence movement and the SNP receive criticism, but the reporting of positive stories is thin on the ground. Positive developments are either ignored or spun as something negative.

The press is happy to go along with the language used by the Conservatives. We’re going to hear a lot more about a “clean break” Brexit in the weeks and months to come. There will be precious little examination of the fact that there is no such thing. There will only be a period of panic and disruption, followed by desperate attempts to negotiate some of the forms of access to the EU market that could have been negotiated beforehand. Or at least, could have been negotiated if the Conservatives were not drugged to the eyeballs with their fantasy vision of an Imperial Britannia ruling the waves. It’s as unrealistic as any LSD trip, yet the BBC insists on giving evident bollocks equal time to sensible reality. Because balance.

We have got to this point in no small measure because the British media has been content to normalise and propagate the language of the Brextremists. What is now referred to as a “soft Brexit” is what was called a hard Brexit during the EU referendum. What is now called a hard Brexit is the crashing out with no deal that was described as unthinkable during the EU referendum when those now pressing for it insisted that getting a Brexit deal would be the easiest negotations ever. If the British media had put in even a fraction of the effort to holding the Brexiteers to account as they do to finding negative spins to put on any development concerning Scottish independence, then Brexit wouldn’t be happening and support for independence would be lower than it is. The only clean break that is really required in the UK is a clean break by the media from its obsession with click bait, its knee jerk opposition to Scottish independence, and its cowardly reluctance to hold the Conservatives to account.

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45 thoughts on “The clean break

  1. And BBC Scotland will continue to leave the word ‘clean’ wholly unexamined. It will be an axiomatic statement of ‘fact’.

    News that THE COLONEL is angling to work for the pro-Union side in the next independence referendum, means that there will be a new ‘balance’ in the debates. She will represent the NO side, then the Labour, Conservative and LibDems will have to be given their place. Since the SNP are a political party in Scotland, they will be granted a place and, since they have some attachment to the idea of independence they can, at the same time, represent the YES side. The Greens will not be given a place, because although at the present moment they are the fourth party at Holyrood, historically, they have not been. Historically, that party is the LibDems, who also have more than one seat at Westminster, which is all the Greens have and that seat is not for a Scottish constituency, so, clearly they do not deserve a seat. So, the union side will have FOUR representatives to harangue the single independence representative. To increase the ‘balance’, the debate ‘moderator’ will feed prompts to the union side while repeatedly interrupting the YES speaker. But to, increase ‘balance’ even more the audience will be selected by the “Question Time” selection procedure to ensure that the audience in Dundee, for example contains no local YES supporters. but has representatives of UKIP and other right wing advocates.

    • Alasdair, I have consistently argued that the Pro Independence side should not offer anyone as a sacrificial lamb.
      Let Glenn and Gordon chair a debate full of Better Together ProudScotsButters.
      It’s a pointless exercise.
      The public may muse: why no Pro Independence spokesperson?
      They’re having a dry run on BBC Jockland’s Debate night.
      Red Blue and Yellow Tory, plus one SNP and a vaguely YES non politician with Stephen Jardine conducting the SNP Bad orchestra in the ‘selected’ audience.
      Send a haggis along to perch in the SNP chair.

      • Good posts Alasdair / Jack. I totally agree that if any SNP politician is invited onto a programme they should establish, in advance, who exactly will be on that panel. If it’s not fairly balanced they should tell them to get stuffed and highlight their reason for not attending online. And even if that criteria is in place it won’t alleviate the presenters (shut you up, edit, talk over you) bias or audience “selection”, but would be a start. SNP politicians may feel obliged to appear (they won’t deter us), but it’s been proven to be a self-defeating approach. Refuse to go on and let them all yabber away to each other. Interesting or what? Not. They’ll ultimately get the message. The representatives of at least 50% of Scots are now calling the shots. Like it or lump it.

  2. Genuine question – as I feel I’m missing something here.

    Welshies have voted in their National Assembly to rename their building y Senedd/Welsh Parliament (the bilingual name being promoted by a cringeworthy ex-First Minister, Carwyn Jones, spinster, late of this parish), and also to give votes to 16 and 17 year olds as well as foreign nationals residing legally in Wales the vote in assembly elections by 37 for, 16 against.

    It’s this last that gets me. I always thought of Scotland as being more advanced in devolutionary matters than my home country. Has not Holyrood passed a law allowing said foreign nationals residing legally in Scotland the right to vote in your elections?

    As I said, I might be missing something. But Daisy Walker above seems to indicate ( @ 9;34pm) not. Any clarification gratefully received.

    • Is she not meaning they are physically leaving. Also I believe the Scotgov were progressing a bill to facilitate EU citizens voting – not sure what is the current situation.

    • Yes they have – 16 and 17 year olds voted in the Independence Referendum in 2014 as did EU citizens.
      To vote in the Scottish Parliament elections you must:
      be registered to vote
      be 16 or over on the day of the election (‘polling day’)
      be a British, Irish, Commonwealth or EU citizen
      be resident at an address in Scotland
      not be legally excluded from voting.

    • They, 16/17 year olds and EU nationals, are permitted to vote in, say, Scottish referendums, however they’ll be excluded in a Westminter controlled General Election hence not using the forthcoming GE as a plebiscite for Independence. GE first followed by Indyref2, imo. And let’s not forget that LBJ’s *win* included the votes of 15/16/17 year olds and overseas voters. The Westminster way … what’s good for the goose is not good for the gander.

      • Scotland has many many overseas people who will vote for tories in a GE eg those living in Aberdeenshire who work in the oil and gas industry many have come for Nigeria taken British citizenship for they and their partner and children then got a british passport they love the uk gov, it’s why you see so many puzzling election results up there.

  3. British nationalism – good, Welsh nationalism – bad.

    Thus spake the First Minister tonight.

    “Mark Drakeford warns against “succumbing to the language of nationalism”

    10 October 2019

    Rather than “surrendering to the language of nationalism” and supporting independence, the Welsh Government should offer its own ideas about the future of the United Kingdom.

    That’s what First Minister Mark Drakeford is expected to say tonight (Thursday, October 10) at the launch of the Revision of our Union: Collective Governance in the United Kingdom document.

    With Brexit putting a strain on the UK and as independence rallies attract thousands across the country, many Labour AMs have already voiced their concerns about the union’s future.

    Speaking in Merthyr Tydfil tonight, Mark Drakeford hopes to alleviate these concerns and offer a vision that defies the nationalist stance as well as the Westminster Tories.

    The “overhaul” of the United Kingdom

    “If we don’t want to give in to the language of nationalism; if we do not want to walk in a trance to our own independence, we must take responsibility where the UK Government itself does not want to do that, ”he will say later.

    “We have to think seriously about the ways in which the United Kingdom can revamp itself for its survival.

    “We must hold an urgent debate to ensure that the constitution of the United Kingdom is fundamentally amended and work towards a fairer, more just and sustainable settlement.”


    The document calls for an equal relationship between the governments of the United Kingdom, and states that the devolved governments should have greater influence over union policies.

    Among other ideas, it also calls for a Supreme Court that reflects the nature of the union – that is, there should always be at least one judge with a connection to Wales.


    Translation: Google Translate and Welsh Sion.

    • Meanwhile Mark Drakeford wants you all, in Wales, to succumb to English nationalism. A type of nationalism which ain’t pretty, to say the very least. The last veritable shreds of the Great British Empire are now unravelling before our eyes, but people like him can’t see it. Let’s all find a way to hang onto this stinking, corrupt Union. Let’s “revamp it”, he says. Eh! Far to late for that now, we all say. You had your chance / s.

      He should listen to Adam Price when he says, “Let old Britain die.” It will die. It is dying. All we can hope and pray for now is that it will suffer a pain free death. Yeah I know I’m ever hopeful, right enough. Nothing else for it.

  4. There must be some sort of financial prize for whatever media can be the best SNP/Scotgov baaad in town. Bonuses for the reporters? A secret awards ceremony.

    • I reckon that there is a VERY lucrative “financial prize” for the biased media and blogs Cubby. It’s in place and they’re all receiving it already. It’s the least MI5 etc, etc can do to scupper Independence and hang onto their cash cow. All very secretive of course until they’re outed and their chickens come home to roost.

    • I am sure if a medical team sponsored by the SNP found a cure for cancer,the “DailyWail” would have a front page headline saying “SNP destroys funeral industry”!

  5. My Dad had a clean break of his femur, up near the ball and socket joint. He couldn’t move so he developed pneumonia and a UTI which proved fatal. THAT is what a “clean break” will do for you!

    • How awful, your poor dad. Very sad.

      The Brexiters in the English London government, with their stupid metaphors, their lies, disrespect and disregard for the people who find a future within insular, narrow and backward UK but outside the EU very worrying, is incredibly sinister.

      Elitists at WM are major bullies. Scotland has a few pals in the EU, lets hope they
      say, ‘oi, what you think you are doing to my pal eh, eh?’ Fists at the ready.

      We need rEU friends, because the Britnat bulldog bullies will feel even more emboldened after they drag us out of the EU.

  6. The SNP, as a political party, have to operate within the law. If a UK party in the Westminster Parliament is unhappy with the law, it can change the law, or ask the electorate for a mandate to do so. This is not possible, in many areas of legislation, for a party or government in a devolved country such as Scotland. There are two major issues where this may soon become critical: asking for a Section 30 order to hold a referendum, and the threat to citizenship of people from EU countries who live in Scotland. The EU citizen issue is perhaps more clear-cut. Could the First Minister instruct Police Scotland not to deport such individuals? Probably not, given that she has a duty to uphold the law as it stands. Is there some way of legally sidestepping or obstructing such deportations? Mebbe yes, mebbe no, but this would do little to alleviate the anxiety of those who would be affected, because the threat would still be there. At this point another way of changing the law comes into play – massive public protest. The power of public protest is not sufficiently acknowledged within the independence movement. We can get thousands of people marching in favour of independence. So far, there is much protesting AGAINST immoral government policies. Extinction Rebellion, Greenpeace etc (and earlier, Pollok Free State, Faslane, Greenham Common, Poll Tax, etc) are examples of how, sometimes, energy for change needs to be channeled outside the political system.

    • Westminster just arrested 900 people for protesting about climate change they would take more drastic action I think if Scottish people try and stop deportations

  7. Is there a group of individuals, interests out there who are Pro Indy and prepared to buy out one if our MSM sources, specifically a newspaper. I know there was rumour of Alex Salmond and The Scotsman a while back. If we want a level playing field, The National aside, someone is going to have to put their money where their mouths are and bring the Pro Indy argument to the breakfast tables of the Morningside / Newton Mearns chattering classes

  8. Apparently according to LBC this morning there are welsh police on duty London climate change protest distinctive helmets they say one of the London bridges
    They say twenty thousand police from all over uk I hope not Scottish police

  9. Hi Sue Reid here just to let you know that I am enjoying your books I bought the kindle version 2015 and now have the books 2016 and 2019.

  10. “Clean Brexit”.

    Yes it shows bias but, with respect, so what, the other side doesn’t show bias?

    We’ve been up to our ears with “Crashing out”, “Brexshit”, “Hard Brexit”, yadda, yadda, yadda, well backed up by the BBC it seems to me.

    I prefer WTO Rules Brexit, it’s a simple statement of fact.

  11. “If the British media had put in even a fraction of the effort to holding the Brexiteers to account as they do to finding negative spins to put on any development concerning Scottish independence, then Brexit wouldn’t be happening and support for independence would be lower than it is.”

    Paul, do you not mean support for independence would be higher? Or support for Leave would be lower?

    • The pound was rising against the Euro and Dollar earlier today so I guess the money markets think something is about to happen.

  12. BBC . . . SRU VS SFA

    Weekly sports round up on John Beattie prog. Hosted by Ken. MacDonald . . . . 90% of time available given to Scot. Rugby team in Japan, followed by The Mull (car) Rally no mention of The Scotland football team game with Russia .

    In days up to the game there was often no mention of our football teams upcoming game, and on the rare occasion football got a mention it always came after Rugby had been covered at length. This was the case on the day of the football match.

    Has Steve Clarke upset the BBC, are the BBC trying to remove our Football team from the National consciousness.

    Whatever The state broadcaster’s intentions are they are giving prominence to Rugby over Scottish football, undermining our national sport.

  13. The Scottish Government, on behalf of the Scottish people, could ask the Supreme Court to uphold the Treaty of the Union of Parliaments which states that the Scottish PEOPLE ARE SOVEREIGN.
    This was agreed between Scotland and England in 1689 and put in the Treaty, otherwise the treaty would not have been signed.

    • Yes the Scottish people are sovereign, but how many sovereign Scottish people are we talking about right now, William? One, one hundred, one thousand, one hundred thousand or a majority of Scots? Would the SC or any International Court entertain us if it could be proven, one way or another, that a majority of **sovereign** Scots still wanted to remain part of the Union?

  14. I’m not sure this would go to the SP, the courts studiously avoid referencing the Treaty of Union, normally referring to the Act of Union, singular, which is by itself inaccurate. McCormack v the Lord Advocate 1953, it was however opined that Parliament( Westminster) could not alter or amend the Treaty, but could make amendments to sections of the ACTs referred to in the Articles of Union contained within the Treaty. Lord Cooper also opined that ‘ parliamentary sovereignty is an English principal and not recognised in Scots Constitunional law ‘ or words to that affect.
    It’s not likely that any petition regarding the Sovereignty of the People of Scotland would go to the SP, rather the Court of Session, nor is it clear that the petition could be appealed to the SP.
    We are not there yet though, if that is the intention of the SG, a Section 30 order hasn’t been refused, denying our right, nor has the EU withdrawal bill been enacted against our will.
    E.g., the Nobile Officium will not be considered unless Johnson turns his back on his submission to the COS to adhere to the Benn Act.

  15. Interesting times ahead indeed! LBJ lying once again? Reneging once again? His initial deal a red herring? Sure that we would be leaving on the 31st of October because he knew that he would ultimately dump the DUP like the pile of you know what that they are?

    Putting Brexit to one side my main hope has been to see Arlene Foster and her bunch of merry (not for long), lazy, corrupt, greedy, callous, cruel, Irish sectarian Unionist bigots being shafted by a bunch of merry (not for long), lazy, corrupt, greedy, callous, cruel, English sectarian bigots.

    And if it all leads to a “wet border” only, is Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp right when he says that this will culminate in a MASSIVE breach of the (trade) 1707 Treaty? The issue that Davidson and Mundell were so concerned about?

    And as this constantly ever changing Brexit fiasco plays itself out we have to thank our lucky stars that we Scots have a leader like Nicola Sturgeon. Compare and contrast with Davidson, Carlaw, Dugdale, Leonard, Rennie and Harvie.

    • The EU requires a border to a third country, all knew that even before May’s deal was sunk, it was only the electorate who were being lied to, Johnson’s normal state… Nobody but the nutters believed the EU would cave on a core principle, and while the Benn safeguard may have screwed the ERG’s “No Deal” chaos strategy, but this farce isn’t over.
      There will be no sympathy for Foster and her bigoted band, their minority mis-representing NI annoyed many more than it placated.
      The offshore elite funding this little adventure in democracy will not be happy, ERG will be fuming, Cummings will not get his bonus, my sympathy is simply overflowing….
      Agreed on Sturgeon and SNP’s standing, but the comparative extends beyond local politics, their behaviour applauded in England, Europe, and beyond. MSM’s monopoly on Scottish news to the wider world is waning, Indy2 will kick off to a wider audience…
      OT – Watched the video of Barnier’s impromptu press-conference yesterday, the mournful wail of Brexiteers in the background as annoying as Westminster, yet more embarrassing. When Politicians and Media lied to wind up the mob, they ignored where they might redirect their ire post-Brexit, or as the lies came home to roost. With Mirage’s ToryMk2PLC gearing up for a GE with the usual jingo, England may be in for a very rough period…

    • May had in 2017 a deal with the EU that indeed had NI still in an Irish customs union with the border in the Irish Sea. It was only her loss of her WM majority that same year that made her ask the DUP for voting support. Her side of that agreement was to keep the whole UK in the customs union. Now DUP not needed so they can revert to the original plan.

      They will not give us the same.

      Maybe this does break the 1707 treaty , I do not know.

  16. Hello Bill, here are the outings planned for the Arts Group for the next couple of months and the meeting dates for next year. Hope you find something on there you and your wife might be intrested in. It was very nice to meet you both on Friday. Looking forward to our class tomorrow, best wishes, Annie.

  17. There will never be a clean break Brexit. Just the Tories infernal mess. They will always trying to patch up the economy. Haemorrhaging. The harm and suffering they are imposing on the society. They never fail to fail. A complete and utter disgrace.

    Deja Vu.Thatcher that is what took her down. The EU matters. Some people never learn. It was only closer ties with Europe which improved the UK economy after the Thatcher debacle. Especially in Scotland. The EU gives, the UK takes away.

    If they do Brexit. It’s hardly likely. The voters will be wanting back in because of the consequences. Especially in Scotland, the damage being done. It will no doubt participate an IndyRef. People are absolutely sick of the Tory Brexit mess,

    Great Conference. Good questions and answers. Mike Russell, Alyn Smith. Joanna Cherry on the Brexit complications. Hope it appears recorded on the internet.

  18. They described the Johnston attempt at a deal, to be May deal mark11. With variations.

    They might get it cobbled together and through Commons, but not for long. There is a two year transition period. The fall out will be strong. A disaster.

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