Sorry, not sorry

respect
The Conservative former MEP Struan Stevenson has penned an article for the Herald today in which he urges a “Canada style” solution to the independence debate. Canada style solutions are very much in vogue amongst Tories these days, possibly because they allow them to indulge in their obsession with all things North American while disguising their party’s essential trumpiness. But then what do you really expect from the British Conservatives, which isn’t so much a political party as it is an injury in search of a brain.

What Struan really means by a Canadian style solution to the independence debate is for the people of Scotland to stop voting SNP and for all this horrid Scottish nationalism to go away. The pro-sovereignty Parti québécois formed a majority government in Quebec between 1976 and 1985, and again between 1995 and 2003. Following the Quebec generation election of 2018 the party’s share of seats in the Quebec legislature collapsed to just 10 out of the total of 125.

However the Quebec legislature is still overwhelmingly dominated by parties which define themselves as nationalist or sovereigntist – which is the term generally used in Canadian politics to describe those who support independence for Quebec. By far the largest party in the Quebec parliament is now the Coalition Avenir Québec, a right wing populist party which defines itself as Quebec nationalist, but which is not in favour of a third referendum on independence. The goal of the CAQ is to strengthen the rights and powers of Quebec within Canada. CAQ has 79 of the seats in the Quebec parliament. The CAQ has been very successful in appealing to the conservative element within Quebec society, while campaigning strongly to defend the French language, the distinct francophone culture of Quebec, and for greater powers for Quebec within Canada.

Another pro-independence party, the social democratic Québec solidaire, also has 10 seats in the Quebec parliament. The party was set up to unify the various strands of enivornmentalist, left wing and social democratic support for an independent Quebec.

In total 99 of the 125 seats in the Quebec parliament are held by parties which either support independence, or which regard themselves as Quebec nationalist parties operating within a Canadian framework. The question of Quebec nationalism hasn’t gone away, despite Struan Stevenson’s fond wish for a Canada style solution to the Scottish debate.

There are certainly lessons for the SNP to learn from the experience of the Parti québécois. The real reason that the party suffered such a loss in its representation was because it shifted to the right during the early years of this century, leading to a split within the party as its left wing could no longer support it, leaving in order to found Québec solidaire. This led to the Parti québécois being squeezed between the left wing sovereigntist movement and the right wing Action démocratique du Québec – one of the precursors to Coalition Avenir Québec – which campaigned for greater autonomy for Quebec within Canada and which successfully pitched for soft sovereigntists and right wing voters. The lesson for the SNP is not to take its base for granted and to ensure that it continues to provide a political home for all strands of Scottish pro-independence thought.

A key difference between the Quebec political scene and the Scottish one is that the parties which successfully squeezed the Parti québécois were all parties founded, led, and controlled within Quebec, not branches of Canadian wide parties. A Scottish Conservative branch office of the English Nationalist Brexit Party has no chance at all of repeating the same trick. Sorry, not sorry, to quote Adam Tomkins.

There are some other very significant differences between the situation in Quebec and Canada compared to that of Scotland and the UK which mean that Struan’s “Canada style” solution is not going to happen in Scotland. And the reason for that rests very squarely with Struan’s party and with the other anti-independence parties in Scotland and their bosses in Westminster. If Struan really wants to see the SNP disappear as a party of government as the Parti québécois has declined in Quebec, then perhaps he ought to take a long hard look at the differences between the way that the Canadian Federal Government handled Quebec’s aspirations to independence and the way in which the UK government has treated Scotland.

Following the Quebec independence referendum of 1982, the Canadian government introduced substantial changes to the Canadian constitution in an attempt to meet the concerns of the Quebecois. The status and rights of French speakers were protected, and the rights of provincial governments were strengthened. Quebec was giving significant new powers, including powers over immigration – Tories take note. Following the second independence referendum in 1995, Quebec was recognised as a distinct society within Canada. Provincial rights were further strengthened, giving Quebec a de facto veto over future constitutional changes.

Compare and contrast with how the Conservative party in the UK has treated Scotland. Following the referendum of 2014, the promises made to Scotland by the British parties were not kept. Scotland was promised that within three years we’d be living in a country which enjoyed the nearest thing possible to federalism in a state where one constituent nation made up 85% of the population. We were promised that the powers of the Scottish Parliament would be enshrined in law and would be placed beyond the ability of any Westminster government to alter them without the express consent of Holyrood. We were told that the only way in which Scotland could remain a member of the EU was by voting against independence. So how did all that work out then?

The immediate response of the British Government following the referendum was for David Cameron to stand on the steps of Downing Street and announce it had really been about England all along. Instead of federalism we got powers over roadsigns and some limited tax powers which David Mundell openly boasted were a trap for the SNP. We got English Votes for English Laws and the reduction of the powers of Scottish MPs within Westminster. Instead of the powers of Holyrood being enshrined in law we got a British government which secured a supreme court ruling that it could unilaterally alter the devolution settlement as it saw fit, and which has used Brexit as an excuse to claw powers back from Holyrood. Instead of remaining a part of the EU Scotland has been ripped out, and has been given zero input or influence into the form that Brexit takes.

Struan Stevenson’s argument falls apart because his own party has failed dismally to even pretend to meet Scotland half way. Where Canada made attempts to reassure the soft-sovereigntists and to meet at least some of the demands of those seeking greater power for Quebec, the British state has treated Scotland with contempt, as a rebellious province which has been politically defeated and whose concerns can be ignored.

If Struan Stevenson wants a Canada style solution to the Scottish independence debate, then perhaps he ought to focus less on the SNP and start with the shortcomings of his own party. But then that would mean treating Scotland with respect, giving Scotland powers over immigration, and giving Scotland a de facto veto on constitutional changes in the UK. That’s never going to happen. Since the UK is unwilling and unable to accommodate Scotland, the demand for independence is not going to go away. Sorry, not sorry, Struan.


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58 thoughts on “Sorry, not sorry

    • Indeed, a most useful comparison. It incisively shows up WM’s BS and bluster where a little goodwill and honesty might have done some good. Well maybe, too late now I feel for any practical compromise, indy now is just a matter of time, helped on no doubt by WM’s equally bone-headed handling of Brexit.

      • It’s way way too late.

        They have had 313 years to turn the forced marriage of the Treaty of Union 1707 into a decent modern and democratic union but it is plain for everyone to see that they have no desire to do so. They want to keep the English dictatorship that is Westminster rule.

    • It is a good summary, but it leaves so much out.

      Having been in Canada since 1967, I lived through all this.

      None of the above came about peacefully.

      There had been over 200 bombings in Quebec since 1963. It escalated with the kidnapping of James Cross, the British Trade Commissioner. He spent 2 months in captivity while the Canadian govt., negotiated with the FLQ.
      Next up came the kidnapping of Pierre La Porte, Deputy Premier of Quebec and his murder in 1970.
      His body stuffed in the trunk of a car.

      The then PM, Pierre Trudeau invoked the War Measures Act, the first time it had come about in peacetime. Believe me, these WERE scary times. Soldiers on the streets of Montreal and Quebec City.
      When asked how far he would go, Trudeau answered, “ Well, just watch me”. Words that rang in all our ears for quite sometime.

      At the end of all this, a Province and a Country had been held captive by not a massive army of insurgents, but 35 people. Small cells all over Quebec.
      That’s all it takes folks.

      It’s also worth keeping in mind that Quebec is a Province. One who now it seems has more rights than all the others. This built up resentment across the country. But it is NOT a separate country in a Union.

      Like so many others, this Struan Stevenson person should dig deeper into history both recent and ancient before opening his gub!

      Paul thank you for the article explaining the differences

  1. The only problems for the tories, that there is nothing Scottish about them but the name. They have always promoted English values in Scotland. What works for England must work for Scotland. For England is Britain, so Scotland must be like England. They don’t know how to fight for Scotland. The old Scottish unionists did, but they were destroyed when they merged with the tories back in 1965. The Scottish tories dont just lack a spine, they lack an identity. “Scottish” destroyed itself to ensure Scotlsnd had no voice and the lib dems are the lib dems: That is their crime…it is also their punishment.

    This just the vow but with nothing to offer Scotland as an incentive but table scraps from a meal Scotland paid for the UK to have.

    That’s all Scotland deserves in their eyes. Leftovers. The lib dems think we get plenty as it is. Labour wants us to starve in Solidarity with Englands poor.

    Fuck this union.

    • Amazingly some poorly informed Tory voters in Scotland did not think they were voting for Johnston and his authoritarian mob in Westminster. They thought they were voting for Scottish Tories. A distinct Scottish party. They were of course voting for a disgusting branch office party of the London mob.

      These so called Scottish parties are nothing but frauds. British Nationalist parties are what they are.

  2. …”and giving Scotland a de facto veto on constitutional changes in the UK.”..

    Well we know that we can forget that one when the Tories want the Scottish Affairs Committee to be controlled by English politicians, in particular their own cronies.

    ”THE SNP is to refuse moves to put more Tory MPs on Westminster’s only committee dedicated to Scotland, The National understands.

    The Scottish Affairs Committee (SAC) exists to scrutinise the activities of the Scotland Office and assess policies and legislation that have a direct impact on Scotland.

    Yesterday papers revealed how Boris Johnson’s party could dominate the cross-party committee under newly-published plans.

    Moves put down in Westminster paperwork show plans to put five Conservatives on the 11-member panel – increasing the number even after the number of Tory MPs in Scotland fell from 13 to six at December’s election.”…

    http://www.thenational.scot/news/18267671.snp-oppose-tory-plot-gain-scottish-affairs-committee-seats/?ref=appshr

    ……………………

    Something sticking in Westminster craws? Oxford Professor Danny Dorling putting the record straight to a US presenter.

    https://mobile.twitter.com/ChildOfAlba/status/1233007710284787713

  3. Only members of Scottish registered political parties should be able to stand for the Scottish Parliament. Only defeated persons standing for first passed the post can be elected for an additional members seat

  4. Slowly but surely Bawjaws is confirming Max Clifford’s prediction,Chaos , for those who don’t know ,Max was Bawjaws boss until just like every other time the entitled one went to far and f/kd up spectacularly ,his relationship with the truth is at best fleeting, he simply can’t be trusted that’s why the EU will want any deal written in blood with a Gold backed guarantee up front before they ratify anything .

    Question if England’s Empire was so good why did all these countries leave, now I know the English ruling classes voice their collective philanthropy but letting whole country’s slip out of their control must have cost them dearly , or was the truth really they couldn’t keep them suppressed any longer and the world and the USA to name but one was taking notice of what was really going on in their Empire

  5. The Tories are incapable of rational thought, they are narcassist loathers of things they can’t control. Divide and conquer is their motto, which is why they want a Canada solution. They hate anyone that is not an Anglophile and hate anyone who is not an angloSaxon.

    Simply they hate the Scots and Irish , which is why they encourage the orange order and support anything and anyone that denigrates us.

    They disgust me and forever will be the enemies of Scotland,Ireland and any free thinking people.

    Until the people of Scotland understand this fact, we will never be free.

  6. We need to stop playing by their rules, withdraw from Westminster and refuse to inact, legislate or support any law from westminster. The police are controlled by the Scottish parliament, order them to obey the parliaments wishes and the only thing the British will have left is to send in the English army.

    True to form and as expected they will show they are colonial masters . If Scotland acts like prisoners then we are prisoners.

    We are a free people open to the world. Not a corrupt society controlled by fascists and xenophobia.

  7. I note you mentioned Adam Tompkins in your interesting piece having little knowledge over Canada’s politics. Is he still around? It is interesting how quiet he has got in the past year. Does he not get on with Jackson Carlow.

  8. Fine survey of the Canada situation, which incidentally exposes the facile excuses of the delayers on the indy side that it’s “two strikes and you’re out”, supposedly “because of Quebec”, where the situation over there was entirely different, since the province possessed a considerable degree of autonomy both pre- and post- referendum which was (and remains) totally denied to us.

    Besides which, the very real advantages accruing from sovereignty over our own policies of defence and foreign relations makes any possible future spoiler offer of “Devo Max” a bust right from the off.

  9. Time we started talking about the Union deficit.
    There is no dividend,at least for Scotland.
    The present leadership of Scotland and England are complete opposites.
    Scotland’s present leader,someone of great principle and as far as we know of high moral fibre and England’s……..
    This,if nothing else,demonstrates the gulf now separating the two countries and our direction of travel.
    Even the Tories in Scotland must be cringing at the antics of the BoJo Junta and the constant lies that support their position.
    The deficit is now no longer about economics or democracy but morality and how we measure human conduct to be acceptible or not.

  10. Tomorrow’s big spread in the Sunday Herald?

    “”Joanna Cherry: I don’t want to replace Nicola. I want to get to know her”” by Kevin McKenna

  11. Vote out all the Tories. The standard of living in Canada compared to Scotland/UK. Quebec, a province, has more autonomy than Scotland. A country supposed to be in an equal union.

    Illegal wars, tax evasion and financial fraud. Westminster intransigence and lies. Taking Scottish revenues and resources, secretly and illegally, for years.

    Iraq, Lockerbie and Dunblane kept secret for 100 years.

    Westminster mismanagement. Cutting funding for essential services. NHS/Education and welfare. Wasting £Billions on HS2, Hinkley Point and Trident.

    The Brexit shambles. The Tories could not make a bigger mess. Mucking up the economy. Support rising for SNP/Independence. No wonder.

  12. WGD – ahhh thanks. I don’t do Twitter. Every cloud …..

    & I ain’t starting now.!

    As for Ken2 stating “Vote out all the tories type”comments. Ken2, Yes, it would be nice but it will not happen. People vote tory for various reasons such as they believe it is in their self interest to do so.

    What the Independence voter has to do is to concentrate on and persuade the undecided and the disenfranchised (to register) and vote at the next referendum or Scottish election ( whatever comes first). Most Independents will vote Yes when the chance comes.

    Heck we might even get some WoS bloggers to join us😀

  13. Excellent teardown of Stevenson’s wheeze, even if the violence in the Quebec instance was kept to the sidelines.
    The Herald piece was in essence another attempt to reinvigorate the federalism fairy, joining Nandy’s Catalan faux pas and countless others failing to address the “elephant in the room” – The systemic abuse of power by a London “elite”. That this arrangement has adversely affected most of the UK, it’s effects proportional to the distance from London, is undeniable, except in the political world of Westminster.
    Most have had enough of broken promises, draconian governance, and of late, a downright corrupt and abusive party in power, but Scots have realised largely due to Holyrood there is a different way of doing things, and have a historic rights not afforded elsewhere.
    Independence is no longer an aspiration but the only viable solution, only the means to achieve it and when is left to be resolved.

    • I wonder if the Herald Britland paid him £7500 for his opinion piece? Surely that’s the new ’30 pieces of silver’ going rate for Brit Nat Blue Tory propaganda?
      Quebec is not a ‘country’. Scotland most certainly is.
      WE are a militarily occupied country now.
      Our only recourse is to charge forward to Self Determination now.
      Neil Findlay get’s printer’s ink coverage announcing that if the ‘Separatists’ get a majority in the May 2021 SGE, ‘Scottish’ Labour should back Indyref2, but it won’t be Indyref2, it will be Neil Findlay’s version of a Referendum, with Devo Max (remember that wee beastie?) on the ballot paper as well as Yes No.
      Nonsense of course, but it doesn’t prevent the sub in the Herald cutting room blaring out that Findlay ‘backs’ Indyref 2, which of course he doesn’t.
      The Scottish Parliament has a mandate for Indyref 2 ,and won 48 seats in the UKGE in December, Mr Findlay.

      They have a mandate now. But you already know that.
      Not much of a democrat to deny this, when you advocate ‘backing’ Indyref 2-ish if they repeat the victory in May next year.

      Why are you not ‘backing’ Indyref2 right away?

      Because it will give your English Overlords more time to suck as much wealth and resources from Scotland as they can before we become independent, and the Brit MOD can dump yet more nuclear waste in the river Clyde which is 50 yards from where I type this wee musing.

      I have yet to hear one Red Tory /Labour MSP level an accusation against or condemnation of Carlaw and the Blue Tories across the floor at Holyrood; ergo, Findlay backs Trident, the Rape Clause, Selling off council houses,tolls on bridges, scrapping free bus passes and Care for the Elderly,tuition fees, the two child cap, and 300,000 Scots children living in absolute ‘austerity’ driven poverty, by his silence, and omission.

      Scottish Labour stand by silently while an English parliament destroys Scotland.
      A great piece on Quebec, Paul. And Molly reminds of Quebec’s violent past.
      We, Scotland, are a nation, not a province of England.
      It’s a pity that so many Scots born or by choice deny our nationhood, for money, even £7,500 for a 4 hour shift.

      • I’ve never really bought the argument that X is not a country/nation, but Scotland is. It’s not for you or me to decide whether Quebec or Catalonia or anywhere else is or is not a nation or a country, that’s for Quebecois and Catalans to decide. If they tell me that their homeland is in their opinion a country and a nation, I’m not going to argue with them. They know a lot more about where they come from than I do.

        • I did not imply that I considered Quebec or Catalonia ‘provinces’ of Canada or Spain, Paul.
          It was the Tory lad who was drawing a comparison, and positing that we were ‘regions’ of Canada and the UK.
          I leave it to the likes of Molly to fight Quebec’s corner.

          I don’t have a dog in their fight for Self Determination.
          I stated an absolute truth in relation to Scotland.
          We are a nation, not a province of England.

  14. Headlines from a St David’s Day opinion poll (incl. for 1st time 16 and 17 yo whgo will be able to vote in the Welsh General Election next year.

    Constituency vote:

    Labour 31%
    Conservatives 31%,
    Plaid Cymru 26%
    Liberal Democrats 6%

    .
    Regional vote:,

    Labour 31%
    Conservatives 29%
    Plaid Cymru 25%
    Liberal Democrats 5%

    (Most Brexit Party votes going to the Tories, I imagine).

    Projection of seats in the Senedd:.

    Labour 21
    Conservatives 20
    Plaid Cymru 18
    Liberal Democrat 1

    Attitudes towards further/no powers

    Independence 11%
    More powers for the Senedd 43%
    TOTAL 54%

    Current powers 25%
    TOTAL 25%

    Fewer powers 2%
    Abolish the Senedd 14%
    TOTAL 16%

    Previous years’ (2010-2019) stats here:

    https://www.icmunlimited.com/historical-polling/bbc-wales-st-davids-day-poll-2019/

  15. I received my copy of “Scotland the Brief” on Thursday. What a great book. Full of really useful information. Well written and well laid out in easy to understand language/graphics. I will be quoting from it frequently I’m sure, on social media and when out and about.

  16. ‘Short guide to how the UK loads debt onto us.’

    …”Looking at Scotland’s GERS reports that go back 39 years, Scotland’s share of UK debt interest amounted to a staggering £126bn. However, analysing those figures also demonstrates that, had Scotland been an independent country, its entire borrowing requirement over those 39 years would have been zero. Let me be clear: nothing, not one penny.”..

    https://talkingupscotlandtwo.com/2020/02/29/short-guide-to-how-the-uk-loads-debt-onto-us/

  17. I hope the farmers and fishers read the Mail on Sunday and realise that when they go out of business the elite squad will move in and buy up their land for peanuts.

    ..”One of the Government’s most senior officials has made the incendiary suggestion that Britain does not need its own farming industry.

    In leaked emails obtained by The Mail on Sunday, powerful Treasury adviser Tim Leunig argues that the food sector is not ‘critically important’ to the economy – and that agriculture and fishery production ‘certainly isn’t’.”..

    https://mobile.twitter.com/Stephen83803374/status/1233926661269225473

    ………………………….

    Taken from Indyref2 site. Check out the rest of Ann’s informative links.

    https://indyref2.space/forum/topic/links-sunday-1-march-2020/

    • Petra,
      He will be 68-69 by the next election. He has a big constituency geographically and since 2016 he has had a big job in the Brexit Portfolio therefore not really surprising he wants to stand down.

      There is also the constant belittling of his efforts, and indeed of all the MSPs and MPs in the SNP.

      The constant misrepresentation, misreporting or no reporting at all of their efforts. Day in and day out facing this hostility must be wearing beyond words.

      It really, really annoys me when people say the party’s MSPs, and MPs, have become too comfortable in their positions and thus are not prepared to risk this ‘comfort’ in pursuit of independence. It is so wide of the mark.

      • ”The constant misrepresentation, misreporting or no reporting at all of their efforts. Day in and day out facing this hostility must be wearing beyond words.”

        I know how much it’s wearing me down, especially when so many of the lies and attacks are coming from so-called independence supporters. So yeah you can understand why he’s standing down now Legerwood. Shame, however, when you think of how hard he has worked and now independence is in sight.

        • I should imagine he will still work in any way he can for independence as will the others who are standing down.

    • Mike and Stewart will not vanish even at 67 and 74, they’ll not be on the front lines so much but who can blame them. Add in their eligibility for public pensions before it becomes law to retire at 100, few would criticise….
      Both are right to pass the baton to the next generation, a couple of Mhairi Black’s might be handy about this juncture, it’s gonna get messy fairly quick…

  18. EH o/t Apologies,
    My usual daily visit since oh probably it started out was Wings , oh dear oh dear I believe the Wild West was a bit calmer, the amount of anti SNP drivel would embarrass the usual Daily Mail reader , ok I guess the Rev Stu has tired of hosting the site, do us a favour Stu just shut it down its doing more harm than good

    • Indeed, Robert, the Wings site was once the jewel in the crown of the Indy movement, but has now degenerated into a pile of ordure. I no longer even bother to have a look, since you seem the same posters taking delight in knocking the SNP and it’s leader, monotonously.
      Like any indy site, it always had it’s Britnat disrupters, but, now, they are the main posters!

      I think the site owner has had a change of heart, and developed a new interest!
      I agree it would be better if he closed it, he rarely posts anything himself anyway nowadays – so “while the cat’s away….”!!
      Do people still send him cash?

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