The new consensus

There’s been another broontervention. You can be forgiven for not having noticed, as broonterventions come so frequently these days that each new one blurs seamlessly into the ones that preceded it. It’s just a shame that there weren’t any broonterventions during that period just after the 2014 referendum when Gordie had promised that he personally was going to ensure that the UK party leaders would be held to account for the promises that they’d made in order to win that year’s referendum. If he had, then perhaps Scotland wouldn’t be the divided country that he’s bewailing this week. Gordie isn’t the solution, he was such a poor Prime Minister that the people of England voted for the Tories in order to get rid of him.

The real problem with Gordie Broon condemning the political divisions within Scotland is that he bears a huge amount of the responsibility for creating them. It’s a bit like Baron Frankenstein condemning Burke and Hare. The difference is that Gordie’s constitutional monster cobbled together from parts of the dead British state never even got as far as a dissecting table in a castle in Transylvania, hooked up to a lightning conductor. It’s also true that a revived corpse with bolts in its neck is possibly rather less creepy and sinister than Gordie Broon, but that comparison is unfair to the undead.

Gordie took to the stage of the Scottish blogging version of Beetlejuice’s save the yooooonyin event in Newcastle this week in order to lay the blame for the divisions within Scottish society firmly at the door of the SNP. The guy who traipsed about during the independence referendum telling lies about pensions and transplants told the attendees at the These Islands conference that the way to get over all this nasty and upsetting talk of Scottish independence is to stop talking about it, and to form neighbourhood assemblies, where people can instead talk about things like bin collections and potholes in the road and how Nicola Sturgeon is really the incarnation of one of the lesser demons from the Ladybird Big Book of Satanic Rituals. And they can also talk about fantasies that are never going to happen in this reality, like winning the lottery, discovering that they really have superpowers, or Gordie’s ideas for a federal UK.

Gordie strode the stage, doing that weird thing with his hands and his jaw, propounding his theory that there are five different nationalisms which are damaging the UK. None of which are British nationalism or English nationalism, which are strangely absent in Gordie’s mental universe. There’s Scottish nationalism, Welsh nationalism, Irish nationalism, as well as creatures called Ulster nationalism and Brexit nationalism, whose sole purpose for existing appears to be to provide a semantic sleight of hand allowing Gordie to tell himself that him and his fixation on the British state doesn’t constitute a version of British nationalism. Yet Gordie and his fellow travellers like Brian Wilson and other old guard members of the Labour party are every bit as nationalist as the most xenophobic Tory Brexiteer. They prefer to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Conservatives to keep Scotland a part of the UK rather than tolerate any notion of Scottish self-determination.

It’s self-evident that Scotland is divided on the question of independence. It’s a division that’s created out of frustration, frustration with the way in which the British state has treated Scotland since 2014. The truth which Gordie Broon doesn’t want to face up to is that if he and other UK party leaders past and present had ensured that all the promises that they made to Scotland during the referendum campaign had been fulfilled, then he wouldn’t currently be doing that thing with his hands like he’s giving an impression of a demented puppeteer and decrying the political divisions within Scotland. Anyone who isn’t blinded by the insistence that British nationalism is better than other nationalisms by virtue of not being nationalist at all can see very clearly that what is driving the growth in support for Scottish independence is not the SNP, it’s the failure of the British state to create a political space in which a large and increasing number of Scottish residents can feel comfortable, listened to, and respected. The blame for that rests very squarely with Westminster.

Yet it’s also true that Scotland has never been more politically alive, vital, and engaged than it is now. The Scotland that the dinosaurs of Labour hanker for is a Scotland that is quiescent, submissive, and passive. It’s a Scotland where ordinary people didn’t engage with the political process, where politics was to be left to our “betters”. That’s a Scotland that is dead and gone and should not be mourned. Modern Scotland is a country where many tens of thousands of ordinary people are active members of political groups and not just traditional political parties. There are Yes groups, Commonweal groups, groups protesting climate change, and many more. Social media has provided a platform for people outwith the traditional power structures to voice their opinions and spread their views.

The real divisions within Scottish society are divisions of poverty and class. Those are divisions created and deepened by decisions made by the parliament which has control over macroeconomic powers – that would be Westminster. The UK has the greatest regional inequality of any European country. That’s not down to the SNP. It’s down to Westminster governments. The way to start healing those divisions is for Scotland to have the power to adopt different policies. Westminster isn’t going to.

Independence remains a live issue because circumstances have changed due to Westminster, and because Westminster hasn’t fulfilled the promises it made in order to win the last referendum. The way to solve those divisions of opinion about independence is for Scotland to have another referendum to allow the light and air into the debate, you can’t solve them by slamming down the shortbread tin lid and pointing at federalism squirrels. That will only increase the frustration and anger, and make it even more likely that when a democratic event finally occurs, its outcome will not be to Gordie’s pleasing.

Gordie Broon is a voice from the past, as irrelevant to modern Scotland as the dinosaurs that are found as fossils in the rocks. In the aftermath of the referendum, when his side secured a victory, he didn’t care about the supposed divisions that he now berates. He thought that Scotland would shut up and crawl back into its shortbread tin, and he did nothing to ensure that the promises that he’d made to people in Scotland were kept. Now he’s back, complaining about division, because what he is really afraid of is that Scotland is inching towards a new consensus, a new consensus which only has a place for Gordie as a failure in the history books, a new consensus that this country would be better served by independence.

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40 thoughts on “The new consensus

    • Yes, the only thing that really matters to him is his ego. He knows, at some level, that he is completely irrelevant but he cannot bear to acknowledge it.

  1. From what I have read about the Newcastle meeting it was full of ‘has been’ or ‘wannabe’ Brit Nats. People like Rennie.

    Who in Scotland today pays any attention to them and that includes members of their own party.

    Glad you are back Paul and that you and Peter can settle down now into a normal family life.

  2. The speech and hand movements in Newcastle were but the first rehearsal for a slightly more northern British gig, voice tuned to break through the boos, hands honed to deflect the eggs and tomatoes, should be ready by 2021 maybe?

  3. Maybe we can spot how the UK economy crashed and burned during the stewardship of Gordon Brown (one of the PM’s to have never won an election in my lifetime), he appears with a dog food salesman who can produce a graph that proves black is white.

    A man that bows at the feet of English voters who in 2010 took one look at him and thought ‘go back to Scotland you Jock’ . They lost 91 seats in 2010, 87 of these in England.

  4. If Broon really cared about “divisions”, he could go quite some way to repairing the damage he and his cronies wrought by making a fulsome apology to the people of Scotland about his own guilty part in promoting a completely fantastical caring Union, and come the blessed relief of a narrow win, his abject personal failure to follow-through on any of his own hollow promises. But that would have demanded of him a considerable degree of uncomfortable self-realisation, and a requirement to accompany contrition with appropriate restitution.

    Instead he prefers to lecture us from vainglorious elevated self-regard, repeatedly resurrecting his vain promises ad nauseam with even less chance now of any becoming any kind of reality. Whether egotistical self-delusional fantasist or cynical calculating snake-oil merchant, all he is achieving is highlighting his own irrelevance and hastening his own reputational descent into contemptible insignificance.

  5. I wonder what the Geordie Toon is making of Gordie Brown ? It must be like a hen night in Inverness doon there , all that way for a chicken only to find that the fowls have fled the coop. Is Brian Wilson down there with him , sporting his British Tweed , joining the Vickers and Tarts for a knees up by the Tyne ? Knees up Gordie Brown , the girner in the town , AYE there’s devotion to the Union for you!

  6. Never forget that Labour killed the Federalism Fairy with their submission to the Smith Commission, which was the least wide ranging of those of all the parties, including that of the Conservatives.
    That other ship of Labour Unionism, International Socialism/Worker Solidarity, sailed when Labour failed unequivocally to oppose leaving the EU.
    Add to that the Financial crash, the Iraq War, the failure to abolish the House of Lords, to list but a few examples, and I struggle to understand how Scotland has even 1 MP.

  7. His party grew fat and lazy on anti-tory sentiment for years. It went whirling to destruction because of its “Bain Principle” Ian Murray was “proud” to have destroyed labour to keep Scotland under Boris Johnson’s thumb. Division is what kept them in power for so long. Its what bit them on the arse in 2015. It takes not just a neck of solid brass but solid balls of brass to come around moaning about it now.

    If you believe in Union, then you agree in principle that Scotland will be ruled from England and that it will more often than not be ruled by the tories. Sensible unionists, would then try to protect Scotland and its unique voice and concerns, swamped out and ignored by its larger neighbor.
    But to stop Scotland ever becoming Independent, the unionists have labored tirelessly to ensure that Scotland is a powerless victim of whatever insanity comes out of Westminster. They are quite happy to see Scotland destroyed, so long as they get to pretend they’re British.

    Ian Murray claimed that he was proud of Labours destruction. Lets put aside the sheer face melting stupidity of that statement and examine the obvious. If union was so important. If union was worth saving. If it was worth standing up for it. Why then, was labour destroyed for it? Anyone with a working brain cell, could conclude that if saving it, ensured the destruction of all you believed in…would you not consider the possibility, that it was not worth saving after all? One then has to consider two possibilities: Murray has not the slightest inkling of what he is on about, and is a testament to far Labour has fallen. The alternative is that he did know what it would cost, be he simply didn’t care. This is the more troubling, because it cuts to the very heart of unionist politics. If it doesn’t matter then what does that say for unionist politics and politicians? Does it mean that deep down, unionist politics in Scotland has been nothing more than a convenient fiction? I am going down the conspiracy rabbit hole, but am thinking that its nothing more than a gravy train for them, A grift. A con. Simple theater. Smoke and mirrors with expenses paid. They do it, not because they believe in it. They do it, because it pays well. The rest was just bullshit. A shabby and dirty trick, were they fooled a nation into the notion that they had to back an English party, so Scotland would get a fair hearing. In truth they put us under England’s thumb, because it was a nice little earner, with some Ermine for their retirement down the road.

    Don’t know about you. I’d rather go with option A and believe that Brown and the Labour party in Scotland are just a bunch of stupid fannies. Option B is too scary.

    • David Agnew (a) or (b) – oh the dilemma let’s have a look
      “A” a perfectly plausible example given the antics of Labour over the last decade , Aye they are stupid the perfect example being sit down Mr Kelly .

      “B” now thats an interesting viewpoint , a bit like Hobsons choice in the end you still end up with a Unionist it dosent matter who you chose so i believe “B” takes pole position and has done since the unionists sat down with each other to protect this rancid Union its all been a show , a pretence oh who gets the next term in Office is it flip a coin or do we take turns the mugs will never notice .

      UNTIL NOW , the mugs have figured this little game out and a lot aint bloody happy .

      • Aye unless there is any further votes I believe the ” Bs ” have it , a quick glance at the voting pattern of the Unionist parties in Holyrood kinda gives it away also the unionist block voting in operation used to unseat SNP MPs they are at it and will argue until the cows come home that its crazy to suggest otherwise .AYE OK


    Joanna Cherry is to go head-to-head with former Westminster leader Angus Robertson in a bid to be the SNP candidate for Ruth Davidson’s Holyrood seat.

    From Twitter:

    Joanna Cherry QC


    After consulting with @EdinCentralSNP & #EdinburghSouthWest activists I’ve decided to accede to their request to seek @theSNP candidacy for the #EdinburghCentral constituency in the 2021 Scottish Parliament election. I’ll do so when nominations open in April

  9. This brings it all back!

    I recall in The Scotsman on 15 August 2014, in a piece by Andrew Whitaker, Gordon Brown is reported as stating: “.. that the UK would be a ‘federal state’ within two years with Holyrood and other regions of the UK handed equal status to Westminster.”

    The Scotsman also informed its readership: “Mr Brown said that a new federal settlement could be delivered two years after a No vote, with a series of regional and national assemblies across the UK and a federal government retaining powers over defence and foreign affairs.”

    And then readers of The Scotsman were told : ‘He (Mr Brown) said: “When I was at university I heard a politician speaking and I’ll never forget what he said: This is a promise we will keep”.

    So in 2020 (c.6 years later) where is this federal state, where are these regions in the rest of the UK with equal status to Westminster, where is this federal government with retained powers only over defence and foreign affairs? Indeed, where is the public record of Brown or the other leaders of Better Together even seeking post 2014 to keep these promises to Scotland and the regions in other parts of the UK?

    And did I miss The Scotsman’s subsequent re-appraisal of the guff they were complicit in communicating, without critique, to its readers in 2014?

  10. Very much of topic, but a sincere request for knowledge.
    Why is it not the rule that Holyrood candidates can only stand on the constituency or the list not both.

  11. Gordon Brown spouting again. Do they really think we believe him, respect him? Good grief! As for Joanna Cherry attempting to become an MSP, best thing that could happen to Scottish politics as she’d be a real powerhouse.

  12. Brown and Blair should be in jail. They caused the illegal wars that caused the worst migration crisis in Europe since the 11WW. It gave the Tories the excuse for Brexit. Destroying the economy again.

    Britain will be back in the EU. The younger people want it.

    The racist woman was another BBC plant. Right in the front middle row. £5Billion for that rubbish. Now being attacked by the Tories they promoted.

    Never trust a Tory, especially in Scotland. Scotland has voted out Labour. Now the Tories need to be voted out. Support for the SNP/Independence rising. It will not be long now.

  13. Yes. Yes he is part of the problem. He and people just like him. Ambition without ability. Self entitlement without self awareness and action without conscience.

    They consider themselves an ist or an ism you see. And this makes them somehow different from each other. They’re not. They’re just people who make excuses for acting like… well… all of the above. And just like the rest of us they can be fallible, thoughtless, careless and greedy at times. Given the nature of positions of power granted them though? That can make for a dynamite combination.

    They’ll wear their rosettes and tell you how different they are from the other bod wearing a different coloured rosette of course. That somehow their shade of red, blue, yellow, purple is just the right colour for you. They’ll dress their inhumanity and acts of arseholery in a credo which explains eeeeverythang and ultimately … nothing. It’s kinda how they excuse shitting on each other and people in general. The other person isn’t quite the right shade of… whatever. So go hate them over there and deliver me a blank cheque to dump all over every other human being. Thanks in advance. Luv ‘n kisses, Tones, Gordo, Dave, Treeze, Bonzo et. al.

    The job of our political class is simple. Provide a duty of care for your population. Put a roof over our heads. Put bread on the table. CARE for those who fall between the cracks in life. Safeguard our freedoms and administrate for all of the above. In exchange, we’d foot the bill through taxation and they’d be amply rewarded by the population. Sounds like a righteous result and a bit of a no-brainer as deals go. You’d think. Human nature though is a funny thing. Especially the self entitled and delusional variety.

    Still… people.

  14. Unionism is now a minority view here in Scotland,so if those who support that position want to end division,then they should get behind self determination.
    So,either accept that it is normal for politics to be divisive or find another slogan to defend dependency,which isn’t normal.

  15. How ironic that a day after Brown’s ” division ” comments YouGov publish a poll showing the real division in the UK, English Nationalism against immigration,Scottish Nationalism for immigration.

  16. Well Gordon Brown you helped make this mess. You own it. At least have the courage to admit you were wrong and take some responsibility for one in your life. We all make mistakes but not some of yours have been exceptional: sold off half our gold reserves for now useless derivatives, failed to regulate the banks resulting in the crash, raided pensions and of course all that federal nonsense you spouted in 2014. Your emergence from your comfortable denial shell is long overdue.

  17. History will judge Gordon Brown, a failed Chancellor of the Exchequer a failed Prime Minister an excuse for a Scotsman, and a traitor to his homeland. for those who may think Traitor is too strong a word I’m sorry but there’s no way to sugar coat it, that’s what he is.

    This is probably his last chance for an ermine robe and £323 a day for betraying his country, who can blame him, what self respecting sewer rat wouldn’t want that, I can’t think of a more deserving case

  18. From Broon’s predecessor on it has been “we’re not getting the message across….” instead of “shit, that didn’t work”, forever fighting a losing battle to preserve the status quo even as it grinds the populace deeper into debt to service the advantage of the few, themselves included….

  19. That will be the same Mr Brown that was part of the shower of charlatans that promised us that we would be the world’s most powerful federal state? His lack of memory and self awareness is shameful and he has one Hell of a brass neck. Things have changed dramatically in the interim. A young Labour friend of mine, who was a No voter in 2014 and a confirmed unionist who I had previously argued with, shared the main online independence pledge the day after the general election. That’s the definite proof I need to know that independence is coming and our success was merely deferred. Brown is an irrelevance.

  20. One of the best days of my life was when Slab was wiped out after the referendum. Words cannot adequately express just how despicable the Labour Party has been in my lifetime. They have lived the good life on the backs of the vulnerable at home and abroad.

    Brown epitomizes all that is worst about them. He is a congenital liar. A creature without conscience and zero self-awareness – just your average Labour Party politician really.

    To avoid misunderstanding, I have an equal dislike for the other Brit Nat politicians. A plague all their houses.

  21. Its illogical to be a unionist and a socialist as these socialists in the past knew, John Mclean,James Connely ,Jimmy Reid, fake socialists join the labour party and end up millionaires in the hoose of lords.
    As someone above says labour in Scotland are nothing but a means to a career.

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