Breaking up isn’t always hard to do, part 2

Channel 4 is generally the best of the broadcasters when it comes to coverage of Scotland’s independence movement, although it needs to be stressed that we’re talking about a very low bar here. However last night they let themselves down with a report on “the union” which was billed as giving Scotland’s perspective. A significant chunk of the report was taken up with speaking to farmers in Cumbria, because of course how England is affected by Scottish independence is the most important part of the Scottish debate.

We also heard from those two groups much pursued by the Tories, farmers and fishermen. What we didn’t get was much in the way of comment from those of us who live in the Central Belt, in industrial Scotland, in the big cities. You know, where the great majority of us actually live and where the question of independence will ultimately be decided. If your sole source of information on Scottish politics was reports broadcast on the UK media, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Scotland was made up of fishing communities and dairy farmers, and little else. But then that’s precisely how they think of us in London. Rural, far away, and scattered in isolated communities.

What we did get were a few Better-Togetheresque sound bites from Ian Rankin. If it’s proving so difficult to leave the 40 year old union of the EU, just imagine how hard it’s going to be to break up a union that’s over 300 years old, he opined in a sentiment that came straight out of Jo Swinson’s Little Book of Reasons to Say No. Or rather, Sigh Neuw. The exact same point had been made by the Lib Dem leader when she was interviewed on ITV for her segment in the “Oh bugger we need a sop to tell the court because they’ve sued us for not allowing her or Nicola Sturgeon to participate in the leaders’ debate” Show. What we didn’t get was much in the way of input from anyone putting the other side of the argument.

So I’ll do it here, even though I’ve done it before. The reason that Brexit is proving so difficult is not because it means leaving a union. The reason that it is proving so difficult is because those doing the leaving have no clear idea of what their final destination ought to be, and because they hope to achieve mutually contradictory aims by leaving. On the one hand Brexiteers want to have the freedom to make trade deals as they please, and to rip up all EU rules and regulations. On the other they want to keep an open border with Ireland and expect full and unfettered access to the EU’s markets. You can’t do both.

Scottish independence is a very different proposition. Those of us who advocate independence have a very clear idea of our final destination. We seek a status that is the same as that of the Irish Republic. There you go, in one simple phrase you can explain the final destination of Scottish independence. You can’t do that with Brexit.

One reason that Brexit is full of unknowns is because no country has ever left the EU before, however dozens of countries have become independent of the UK. Comparing Scottish independence in terms of difficulty with Brexit is rather like saying that someone you know had a terrible time when they went on a road trip, they got lost, they ended up being stranded in the wilderness, because they had no maps, no GPS, no idea where they actually wanted to get to before they left the house, and wanted to visit two different places simultaneously, and then saying that this means that it’s going to be equally traumatic to set off on a journey where you know the route and you know exactly where you want to go. It’s like comparing an Arctic expedition into the wilderness with a train journey. Now ScotRail might have its issues, but as far as I know no one has ever actually been eaten alive by a polar bear while waiting on the platform at Edinburgh Haymarket.

However the highlight of Channel 4’s coverage was an interview with Michael Gove. Well, I say highlight. I say interview. It was rather more like being slimed very politely by someone who thinks that good manners mean that you can’t be a sociopath. “I’m always happy to answer questions,” oozed Michael. Other than the ones he’s actually asked, that is. He refused to apologise for the Conservative Campaign HQ disguising itself as a neutral factchecker and deceiving the public, and he refused to say that it wouldn’t happen again. The sense of entitlement is of a Prince Andrew level. The difference is that Prince Andrew is a 59 year old man who got grounded by his maw. The Tories don’t think that anyone can ground them. For the most part the media doesn’t even try. Ciaran Jenkins’ interview was a rare exception.

The interview was a classic exercise in gaslighting. How very dare Channel 4’s Ciaran Jenkins try to hold him to account. When he was asked precisely how many hospitals the Conservatives are building, six or forty, there was no answer, only an attempt to cast aspersions on Channel 4 for daring to ask the question. Watching Michael Gove in action is like watching Donald Trump twitching net curtains and tutting like an elderly Daily Mail reader.

It can only be because Channel 4 is a left wing broadcaster trying to make a polemic argument with a socialist agenda, and not because the Tories have actually done anything wrong when they disguised their twitter account as a neutral factchecker or because Michael is incapable of providing a simple answer to a simple question. The irony of someone who campaigned for Vote Leave posing as a factchecker is off the scale. Michael Gove is about as reliable and trustworthy as a month old prawn sandwich that’s been kept in a hot car.

On Scotland, he was concerned to make sure that Alister Jack was slapped down for talking out of turn when he said the previous day that if Scotland’s voters gave the SNP a majority in 2021 then there might possibly maybe perhaps be a mandate for another independence referendum. There would be no such thing, he harrumphed. Scotland would get another independence referendum when the Conservatives in Westminster said so. Which would be never. It’s not for the Scotland Secretary to make decisions about Scotland. That’s way above his pay grade.

The Tories have sunk to depths that we wouldn’t even have imagined that they were capable of during the Thatcher era. They lie shamelessly, and when caught out on those lies shrug their shoulders and tell us that they don’t care. They deny that the people of Scotland have any right at all to determine their own future. They have destroyed the understanding of the union that Scottish unionists have always prided themselves on. They dismiss anyone who tries to hold them to account with tactics straight out of the Trump playbook. They scoff at the damage that they cause to social cohesion, to the poor, to the vulnerable. They have become a grave threat to the future of democracy. They are the party of sociopathy. Breaking up with the Tories isn’t hard to do. Ensuring that we vote them out in Scotland, and in the rest of the UK, is a moral priority.

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24 thoughts on “Breaking up isn’t always hard to do, part 2

  1. Well said indeed…
    Getting rid of this batch of Tories will only be a temporary fix for Scotland or the UK, they are embedded in the London/Surrey/MSM set and always come back… The only solution is independence to shut out their insidious influence as best we can…

  2. What pisses me off whenever a unionist politician talks of another referendum in Scotland is their perennial mantra that ”we don’t need another referendum.”
    Who is ”we” ?
    It appears that ”we” means them , not us up here in Scotland . They are sick of votes about electing governments , the EU and ,of course, constitutions .

    What they appear to forget ( or just don’t know ? ) is that the next Indy referendum does not affect them initially – they don;t have to worry about turning out to vote . And if it was run fairly , unlike the last one , they should NOT get involved .

    It is OUR decision and only OUR decision !

    Forget the ‘love bombing ‘ ; the march of our ”imperial masters” ; the crocodile tears for Scotchland from celebs who couldn’t find their own arses with two hands , a road map and a GPS , never mind Scotland ; no VOWS which weren’t worth the red top paper they were printed on…

    Just let us get on with it .
    If the people of Scotland wish to remain as part of the UK , fine ! If they wish to get to f*ck out of it , so much the better . But it is OUR decision !

    But we all know the reason why unionist politicians , the media and that wee guy in the orange jaikit from Question Time are all so frantically opposed to giving the people another vote .
    If they were convinced , like Cameron was last time that they would win , then there would be a referendum tomorrow .
    They are sh*t scared that the Union has been found out , that we have twigged ( after three hundred years ! ) , that the Union is as dead as a Norwegian Blue .

    But , as the Irish found out , Tiocfaidh ar la ! And it will be soon !

    • They see Scotland as their possession and Scottish voters as trying to steal their property.
      They will interfere,big time,in order to prevent this theft from taking place.
      It is all about them.

  3. Point number one – Channel 4 News is every bit as bad as the BBC/ITV on those rare occasions when they head out of London and venture north into that unreported world which is Scottish politics. They might be a bit more subtle about it but their motivation and political agenda always shines through.

    Point number two – make no mistake, the Tories are heading for a landslide victory in England and there’s nothing anyone in Scotland can do to stop them forming the next Westminster Government. No point in pretending otherwise. It’s time for the SNP to up their game, up the anti and take a few risks instead of trying to be all things to all people. A good start would be to ditch the tired old “Stronger for Scotland” nonsense. Let’s not go down without a fight.

  4. I have only read one of Iain Rankin’s books, that someone gave me, and that was a novel about paramilitary Independence groups and was so goddam awful, ill-informed and mixed up that I was never tempted to read any of his books again or fawn over his well interviewed Liberal Dem statements. I know that may be unfair to his detective novels, but who cares? I don’t read fictional detective novels since way back and I don’t support fictional Unionist propagandists in real life.

  5. “A significant chunk of the report was taken up with speaking to farmers in Cumbria, because of course how England is affected by Scottish independence is the most important part of the Scottish debate.”

    I heard recently that there’s no legal reason that a member of the EU has to be geographically in Europe. Could the Scottish Constitution make a federal structure on the same basis? Then Cumbria could apply to join too.

  6. I have always said and still maintain that the no vote of 2014 was nothing more than the first step of a process. The unionists didn’t so much as they gained a reprieve. It was always up to them to prove that the union was worth a shit. But they couldn’t even manage that.

    Instead the made being Scottish something to be ashamed of. A people of no marks. Scroungers and wasters. With no language. No history. No culture or songs to call their own. Everything was borrowed, right down to the language we speak. The clothes we wear. The jobs we do. We have contributed nothing of note. We live through the achievement of others. And yet, they have the sheer brass balls to speak of their pride in being Scottish. Proud of what? Proud of their borrowed identity? Proud of subsidy? Proud of their short bread tin images of Scotland that can only be brave at the anthem plays at the rugby?

    Their precious union got a stay of execution in 2014. It wasn’t saved. It destroyed labour completely, turning that once proud party of the working man into a pish merchant and rentahonk. The lib dems revealed themselves to be treacherous wee fannies. The tories in casting themselves as parties of the union showed how little influence and respect they have, when wee mundy had to ask for permission to abstain on May’s Brexit deal. But only if he got to keep his job. He got to keep his job because May genuinely didn’t give a shit about the Scots tories. Neither did Boris when he sacked Mundy and drove Davidson out of her post as sub branch secretary.

    From 2014 on. Unionists have sat back and watched as Westminster took that no vote as permission to take a massive shit on Scotland. To deprive it of any agency. To humiliate it at every turn. To drag it out of Europe against its will. The parties of union, so keen to cry and rage that the SNP does not speak for Scotland, meekly accepted that they didn’t either when push came to shove and it was England’s voice that mattered more.

    They got a reprieve. Their union got a stay of execution. It was up to them to prove that being British is worth a pennies purchase. It was up to them that their votes counted.

    In the end all they showed Scotland was that not even Scottish unionism’s votes counted

  7. Point 1 is that manners and etiquette are basically a rule books for inter-personal behaviour for those who do not possess an innate reference. i.e. they need an ontology to guide them. It is basically ‘Self-help for sociopaths and psychopaths 1.0.1.’

    Point 2 is that in the scenario of an indy Scotland in the EU and an England out of the EU, that situation requires virtually zero effort on the part of Scots or the Scottish Government.

    First there would be virtually no adjustment required between Scotland and the EU because we would be staying.

    Second, while there may well be significant adjustments required between Scotland and England, depending on the nature of ‘Br’exit, those adjustments will stem entirely from whatever arrangements are finally agreed between England and the EU. They will need to be accommodated by Scotland of course, but the process by which they will come about will not need input from Scotland. Indeed it would be entirely a matter of negotiation between the EU and England. It has to be that way. So in fact, that scenario would, as I said, be the most hassle free of the options for Scotland.

    Note that whatever the final agreement is between the EU and England that those are precisely the arrangements which will pertain between Scotland and England.

    Point 3 is that if Scotland remains in the UK, not only will Scotland experience the major upsets involved in the new UK-EU relationship but we will also experience upsets in the new Scotland-Westminster relationship which already does not portend well.

    • Absolutely.
      If British Labour in Scotland really believe in international solidarity,they should now be supporting the idea of Scotland as an independent state within Europe.
      The fact that they don’t and would rather see Scotland continue to be subsumed into a right wing xenophobic state says all about their duplicity and lack of ambition.

    • Cheers for that link, had been trying to find it without success… BBCS remain too preoccupied promoting Sarwar’s blatant Smear Campaign and the Salmond Court case to bother with it, and the rest of SMSM paid it little more than lip service…

  8. When the Labour Party say they are for the many not the few what they mean is that that they are for England (the many) and not Scotland Wales or N. Ireland (the few).

  9. Sorry but what’s this Central Belt (and ‘big cities’) sensitivity to Scotland being regarded as a rural backwater by metro-britz?? Now you know how Norh & NE Scotland feels on default Central-Beltism that is often expressed from a variety of sources. If this is hypersensitivism, any notion of CBism is such a corrosive hindrance to the cause!

    • 80% of the Scottish population live in the Central Belt. That’s a simple demographic reality. And likewise 80% of the votes in an independence referendum will come from the Central Belt. You can’t portray Scotland accurately by ignoring it.

  10. My point is, Paul, that the issue of centralbeltism has existed even in pro-indy press on subjects such as rail transport, air travel and such like, and is therefore damaging to the indy vote in areas like the Higlands, Tayside, Moray, not to mention Aberdeen, that need assurance of inclusivity towards voting for indy. I assure you that my hackles are up if any part of Scotland is ignored in any manner.

  11. Visited some Yes-voting friends on Skye at the weekend. Even they are giving credence to the ‘Brexit just proves how chaotic independence will be, so it’s too risky’ message. If Yes supporters are being got at by this message then how are we going to convince the soft-Nos? Unless we can combat this effectively we’re screwed.

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