The inevitable no

Well that didn’t take long, did it. Not even 24 hours had passed since the Scottish Government announced its plan to boost the Scottish economy to assist in Scotland’s recovery from the effects of lockdown, and the British Government refused to consider any cooperation with the extra borrowing powers that the plan required. You’ll have had your economy, Scotland. It came even before Kate Forbes, the Scottish Government Finance Minister, had penned her official request to Westminster with the request for additional borrowing powers.

Asked by SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford during Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday whether he’d allow Holyrood to have the additional powers to borrow that would be needed, there was a flat refusal from the bloviating one to engage with the question, just a telling off about how much Scotland already gets, with the implication that it’s gratefulness that Johnson expects, not a request for additional borrowing powers. There was also an additional dig at the SNP, just for good measure.

It was entirely predictable, and in fact this blog predicted the refusal even as the plan was being set out. This is not to claim any great powers of foresight, predicting that this Conservative Government would refuse any extra powers for Holyrood no matter what the circumstances is a bit like predicting that Surname Surname will get humiliated at FMQs, or that the Labour party branch office in Scotland will take a wee look at strategies to get back into the good books of the Scottish electorate and choose the one that’s going to do it the greatest electoral damage. We all could see the contemptuous response of the part time Prime Minister coming.

British nationalists decry this as grievance mongering, when the Scottish Government asks for things that it knows it’s not going to get. This allows them to portray themselves as the poor victims of those vile nats stirring up trouble. It’s like an American health insurance company that refuses to pay for a much needed operation describing itself as a victim of grievance mongering from people with treatable medical conditions that will go untreated because of its intransigence. The Scottish Government is not asking for a luxury yacht – that would be the British Royal family – it’s asking to be allowed the means to haul Scotland out of a deep economic pit which the British Government’s incompetence has made even deeper.

So we now have yet another instance of Scotland being held back and damaged because of the British Government. Irrespective of what you think of the merits or demerits of the plan that was presented, we now have proof that Westminster will not permit Scotland to take any significant steps of its own to protect and develop its economy. The exact same blanket refusal from Westminster would have come irrespective of what the details of the plan were. The Conservatives do not want Scotland to succeed on its own terms. They demand that Scotland does what it’s told, even if that means we suffer economic damage, even if it means that lives are put at risk by the British Government’s reckless mishandling of the coronavirus epidemic.

In the absence of any Scotland-specific plan, thanks to the Conservatives, it is now likely that it will take Scotland’s economy years longer to recover from the blow delivered to it by lockdown. A report from the British nationalists’ favourite think tank that sounds like a knitwear college in Pitlochry, the Fraser of Allander Institute has warned that the Scottish economy will not return to pre-covid levels until 2022, and it could possibly take as long as four years. In order to ensure that the economy recovers as quickly and fully as possible, the Institute warned that there was need for urgent action from politicians. You know, action like the plan that was announced yesterday, the plan that Boris Johnson has dismissed without even examining it closely. There’s your union benefit right there. Stay in your box Scotland, the Conservatives will let you out on a short leash if you behave.

Boris Johnson’s refusal to allow Scotland’s Parliament the borrowing and fiscal powers that it needs in order to get the country out of the deep fiscal hole that the lockdown has tossed it into was of course the lead story on BBC Scotland on Wednesday evening. Ha ha. Don’t be silly. It didn’t even rate a mention.

This British Government has delivered the worst of all outcomes in its handling of the crisis. The UK has both the highest death toll from the virus, combined with the greatest economic damage. In his deluded imagination, Johnson continues to insist that the British response to the epidemic has been world beating. And so it has, just not in the way that he wants us to believe. His government is now telling Scotland that it can’t take its own measures to recover from the financial and economic effects of a crisis that has been made worse than it had to be because of the incompetence of the British Government.

Boris Johnson has a casual disregard for the truth. He has a casual disregard for how many children he’s got. The only thing he has not got a casual disregard for is his control freakery. The very notion that a part of the UK might wish to do things that aren’t all about him and that he can’t take credit for is an insult to his fragile ego. Instead of developing a plan to help its economy Scotland should instead take a leaf out of his book and sit and get pissed in Wetherspoon’s then get too drunk to worry about maintaining social distancing.

The territory upon which the next independence referendum will be contested is now being laid out. It’s very different terrain from the battleground of 2014. Now the focus will be on how Scotland is being held back and damaged by the UK. By refusing even to consider any sort of dedicated plan to help the recovery of the Scottish economy, Boris Johnson has just given the yes movement another powerful argument. The British Government holds Scotland back and prevents this country reaching its full potential. It would rather we were damaged and dependent than healthy and wealthy. Because if Scotland was able to develop its potential outwith Westminster’s control, we might just realise that not only don’t we need Westminster at all, but that Westminster is acting as a brake on our ambitions.

And finally … some Catalan music from the band Gossos. This is their 2008 hit Lliure com l’aire (Free like the air).

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43 thoughts on “The inevitable no

  1. Pingback: The inevitable no | speymouth

  2. To be fair, I don’t think the royals are asking for a new yacht, I think some rule brittania idiots want to give them one

    • To be fair, I don’t think the royals are asking for a new yacht, I think some rule brittania idiots want to give them one


      To be fair, I think some rule brittania idiots want to give them TWO!

      Coincidentally – of course – I’ve just completed a proofreading exercise of a machine translated Welsh guidebook for those interested in traipsing around HMY Britannia. That is the original, now moored just off Leith. How can I tell it was machine translated – and thus allegedly saving those paying for a professional translator? Why, nearly every second line had some grammatical error in it or was only half translated … and came up with such joys as “Britannia’s wind-break” coming out as “Britannia’s belcher” in Welsh.

      (Incidentally, I’d be happy to give the Windsors one … know what I mean, ‘Arry?)

  3. It’s not hard to see how this will be ‘reflected’ in the GERS figures in August. I don’t think the GERS reports have been exposed for their headline deficit claims being deceitful as much as they should be. Saying that GERS doesn’t reflect an independent Scotland isn’t enough. The way in which spending in particular has been loaded onto Scotland via ‘Other UK Bodies’ needs highlighting, as do PFI’s to name just one important debt caused by being in the UK.

    Government Expenditure and Revenue in Scotland (GERS): 2018 to 2019 (67 page pdf). See page 28 table 3.2

    Scottish Government – £26.7 billion
    Local Government – £14.6 billion
    Public Corporations – £ 1.6 billion
    Other UK Bodies – £30.6 billion

    Total Expenditure – £73.5 billion

    I can see the next GERS report being at the heart of the No campaign. It needs to be categorically shown to be deliberately misleading.

  4. This British Nationalist contempt extends to the journalists in Scotland and if they happen to be male journalists the inability to conceal their high level of misogyny as an accompaniment, as made clear at todays FM briefing where no less than three male journalists attempted to slide personal insults into their *questions* to the FM and they themselves became aggrieved at her noticing those insults and pointing it out to the little twonks

    Just who does this bloody power mad woman think she is cheekily answering back , she’s not equal to us men British Nationalists

    I remember when even Thatcher had this problem and she was one of them

    • She’s a capable lass. There was a delightful moment when the Torygraph reporter was asking his question – and the camera was still on the FM. Her only ‘weakness’ is a completely involuntary twitch – slight flaring of the nose and the right eyelid flutters briefly – the only warning of what’s to come.

      Reminds me of the boxing stall at Links Market in the 1960s, when Slugger used to take any number of punches for a couple of rounds before his top lip curled up on one side and he unleashed a vicious right hook, ending any hopes of the poor bloke on the other end.

      He wasn’t very big either…

    • FMQs with the Churnalist Opposition Party is getting to be the best part of the briefings for purely entertainment purposes, once the proper serious stuff has duly been taken care of. (The questions, that is, not the sensible and amazingly restrained answers. Though some of the FM’s facial expressions as she listens to the worst of the effusions ought to be collated for posterity!)

      Actually, to capitalise on the entertainment value, someone should set up an online jury to rate each question from 1 to 10 on its egregious personal/political content, with 1 being a genuine neutral sensible question and 10 being outright Tory propaganda (yes, that could just possibly be a target to which you might aspire, Peter McMahon). And keep a personal tally over a period to see who might be offered the ultimate accolade of PPFotM (Prize Propaganda Fart of the Month)…

  5. The Scottish Government’s relationship with Westminster is remarkably similar to that between the DWP and a Universal Credit claimant.

    The DWP is aware that the award they grant to the claimant is insufficient to keep them out of penury but they don’t care, reinforcing the stigma and sense of despair – and whenever possible, try to penalise the claimant financially and materially to their further detriment.

    The British Establishment considers Scotland in the same way as “benefit scroungers” – the lowest of the low – neatly reflected in Johnson’s comments Ian Blackford yesterday.

    Remember our motto – Nemo Me Impune Lacessit – and marshall your pride and resolve. Have no doubt – never before in our history have we faced such a threat to our very existence and we must act soon – or face an unbelievably bleak future.

    When a gazelle senses a stalking lion – it freezes until it can determine what and where the danger is coming from. Only then does it make its move to escape. It doesn’t go back to grazing, especially if the lion has launched one attack already – that would mean certain death – it’s complete focus is the impending danger, nothing else.

    If that gazelle was Scottish, it would have both hind legs shackled and a bell around its neck. Cut the bloody chains please.

  6. I think the arguments for the next indy ref are shaping up quite nicely and maybe more where we could have focused more in 2014. With the tories dismantling the UK before our eyes getting ready to rebuild it in their image there may be a bit of the project fear from us this time except it will be an honest conversation.
    What would we be saying to the world if we refused to take control of our country again after the past 6 years?
    We need to ask Scotland that question too because we would be saying to the world that we are a bunch of non aspirational cowards and people need to think about that when voting.

  7. Either Johnson isn’t aware or doesn’t care that his actions or refusal to act are indeed making the case for Indy. Stupidity or arrogance makes no difference.
    The refusal to extend furlough is by far the immediate concern, 10’s of thousands of redundancies and business closures, never to rise again, are imminent. It didn’t need to be this way, the fiscal measures put in place have created debt, and I don’t mean state debt, rather than resilience across the UK, though the SG by providing grants rather than loans have mitigated( yet again) much that might have happened in Scotland, but without additional funding to continue furlough and provide assistance to companies as they slowly work there way back from the brink there won’t be much the SG can do.

  8. By Holyrood 2021, Westminster’s mishandling of the pandemic in England will be starkly laid out for all to see. Even the BBC won’t be able to hide disproportionate deaths on a per capita basis in five figures.
    New, +ve tests in Scotland as of today (7DRA) are 17. The UK figure as of yesterday (7DRA) was 1,123. The figure for Scotland on a per capita basis is out in comparison to the UK by a factor of five. In comparison to England it will be out by a factor of around five and a half. That’s before the inevitable second wave in England.
    Test &Trace for 17 new cases will be a formality for the trained and experienced healthcare professionals the Scottish Government has standing by. Test &Trace for 1,000 + cases will be a three ringed circus for the convoluted, Private sector, multiple subcontractors system set up in England (as documented in Private Eye).

  9. Excellent…
    I had no doubts whatever the SG’s request would be dismissed, and frankly doubt SG expected otherwise, but it was a clever move by SG all the same. The response across England and Europe was as one, Emperor dePfuc…..
    So many nails for the ceremonial coffin of the British state, just park it on the ground, it is sinking faster than you can dig…

    • The more they open their arrogant mouths the better Bob
      According to business for Scotland who did a beakdown of the last poll on Independence over 338 thousand people have switched from NO to YES hence the 54% YES

  10. We have, as a country a people been humiliated for years decades centuries. I can’t see the latest humiliation making one iota of a difference. Taking candy from a baby, we are the laughing stock of the world.

    • The only ones being humiliated by Westminster’s refusal to even discuss additional powers for Scotland that will allow the Scottish Government to better plan our way out of the economic misery that will be inflicted by Covid-19 are the No voters.

      The No voters wanted to rely on the broad shoulders of the UK, they believed that we were in a Union of equals and that Westminster would look after Scotland when the going got tough, they had our backs and we were too poor to go it alone. Well this has exposed them as not covering our backs and there are no broad shoulders to lean on when times are tough.

      Yes, it is surely they who have been humiliated as the Holyrood “smart bomb” has exposed the broad shoulders of the UK as an absolute farce. If Scotland wants to be rid of such incompetence then it must become Independent and make its own decisions on all matters.

      Slowly but surely this reality is beginning to dawn on the more observant of 2014 No voters. The humiliation is all theirs to share with Johnson and his ragtag cabinet of incompetents.

  11. I have to disagree Alex . The message that will go out is that Mr Blackford was begging Bojo for money so that Scotland can recover from the pandemic, proving that Scotland has to rely on England.
    Mr Blackford should have demanded the return of our wealth, he must surely have list he could throw at Bojo the real subsidy junky.

    • If he had demanded the return of our wealth and was to get tae, would you class that refusal as a humiliation too? When you say we are being humiliated and we are “the laughing stock of the world” that sounds awfully like a large dose of the cringe to me.

      We look at this through different lenses obviously but I much prefer to see this move by the Scottish government as proving that Westminster are not going to do what’s best for Scotland, no matter the circumstance. I see this as showing them up for what they are.

      Destroying the myth of the UK’s “broad shoulders” when it comes to the magnanimity they show towards Scotland is a good thing. The more they refuse Scotland’s government the clearer it becomes that they don’t work in the interests of Scotland’s people.

      That’s how I prefer to see things, I definitely do not believe that we are “the laughing stock of the world”, far from it, I don’t believe in self-flagellation and would rather whip my enemy. You have to remember, 45% of the vote was not enough and there is still work to be done, you won’t persuade anybody by telling them that we are useless and a laughing stock.

      Quite the opposite in fact, at least that’s how I see it. You’re entitled to disagree of course.

      • Well said Alex. The world’s watching and its not Scotland they are laughing at. I’ve noticed recently that when referencing the uk they mean England, Scotland is referenced as a distinct entity.

  12. The black shirted British Nationalists have certainly blown it now with their banner outside Bute House, the people who benefitted from that wasn’t them or their side because the population are outraged as they’re now finding out and the cops are on a crackdown of them now

    There’s decided panic in the ranks of Britishism

    • And not a mention from BBC Scotland, which is strange. Seemingly Smith and Wark were seen drinking Buckie with the winos in Charlotte Gardens this morning. Surely they must’ve seen something…

  13. ”In the absence of any Scotland-specific plan, thanks to the Conservatives, it is now likely that it will take Scotland’s economy years longer to recover from the blow delivered to it by lockdown.”

    And that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it! They know that support for Independence is rising so want to be in a position to tell us, rather the Scottish public in general, that the big black hole that they say that we we have has now multiplied by a hundredfold. They know that we’ll suffer from increased unemployment following this crisis and that many people will be scared off (maybe?) by the economic scaremongering all over again. They don’t give a damn about the unnecessary deaths and absolute misery that they are heaping on Scotland. It’s all about preventing us from breaking away and leaving wee England to struggle on, on its own. As you said recently Paul, we thought that it was bad under the diabolical Thatcher but this crowd makes her look like Mother Theresa.


    Boris the Butcher.


    Check out Ann’s links on the Indyref2 site.

  14. The English government who hold most of the levers of power in Scotland, don’t just want Scotand not to fulfill it’s potential, they want to continue in their 300+ years of doing everything they can to keep Scotland poor.

    It’s not accidental that Scotland has been the ‘poor man of Europe’ (though ironically they can’t say that now we have been dragged out of Europe!), while the British nationalist government ave removed Scotand’s resources and revenues to the tune of £trillions, it’s utterly deliberate.

    Let’s not forget when Labour UKEng HQ’d party were at the gelm at Holyrood, for TEN YEARS, they did absolutely nothing positive for Scotland, nope, they plunged Scotland into £billions of ‘debt’ with their PFI scams, and sent £1.5 billion back to westminster, to London, England, saying there was ‘nothing to spend it on in Scotland’.

    Now if that isn’t the most disgraceful kick in the teeth to the people of Scotland, then I don’t know what is, oh wait, the Britnats just put the boot in, again, it’s habitual.

    Scotland needs the hell out if this disgusting far right wing so called ‘UK’, before the Britnat government land the final blows, and be in no doubt they will. They will protect the rich, no matter what, and there are many more very well off moving into Scotland from south of the border, but the rest, they will gladly allow to literally starve.

    Maybe the Scottish government could do a crowd fund to raise some of the essential £’s needed to recover from the pandemic, that’s not out of the question, is it? Or, can they seek foreign aid, not borrouwing as such? Given the costs so far, no doubt the energency contingency funds are running very low indeed.

    I am sure the Scottish government can come up with some creatuve ideas to raise funds to help the economy. One thing, definitely buy local, another subject for another day?

  15. Here we go again. Thousands flock to the beaches in England and party into the night at Anfield to celebrate Liverpool’s win. Matt Handcock is threatening to close public areas, such as beaches, if people flout safety restrictions that lead to a spike in coronavirus cases. Time for us to close that border.

    ‘Shocking’: International newspapers react to pictures of Britain’s packed beaches in pandemic.’


    Too bad the whole of the UK doesn’t have Devi Sridhar calling the Coronavirus shots instead of that bunch of malignant buffoons in London.

  16. Next up should be a ‘ request ‘ to close the border including ports and airports to protect Scotland from the soon to be influx of disease ridden tourists from England. Yes it will hamper recovery for the tourist industry but could open the door to the people of Scotland an opportunity to holiday in their own country in relative safety. More importantly it will prevent Covid 19 regaining ground, its been a hard and costly battle with many casualties and all measures must be taken to ensure all the effort put into suppressing and eliminating the virus isn’t reversed.
    Will that power be ‘ granted ‘ , no.

  17. I’m alright Jack.

    ‘Full list of the 331 Tory MPs who voted against weekly testing of NHS and care staff.’

    ”Some 331 Conservative MPs opposed a motion that would have led to weekly testing of NHS workers and care staff last night.”..

    ”But it was voted down by more than 300 MPs, including Jeremy Hunt who had called for a weekly testing himself on the same day.”..;__twitter_impression=true


    Check out Ann’s links on the Indyref2 site.

    • In that list of Tory MPs are several representing Scottish constituents.
      How do the square that vote with the failed car salesman’s demand for testing if all care home staff in Scotland?

  18. Oh these sadly shrivelled “broad shoulders”. And so soon after Chancellor Sunak assured the UK that he “would do whatever it takes” to see us all through.

    Not so much we colonials though. Expendable in everything except natural resources. (History repeating itself yet again?)

    Oh pleeeease, let’s get us out of here.

    • Just a wee bit of fun for the weekend … but please improve on it as necessary. (Scots is kinda my 6th language – so not in any way fluent).

      Have a good one!


      Wha dae ye think yer kiddin’, Mr. Leonard

      Wha dae ye think yer kiddin’, Mr. Leonard
      If ye think we’re on the run
      We are yon lads wha’ll stop yer li’l game
      We are yon lassies wha’ll make ye think again
      ‘Cos wha dae ye think yer kiddin’, Mr Leonard
      If ye think auld Scotia’s done
      Mr. Broon goes aff tae toon on the 8:21
      Bu’ he comes hame each evenin’ an’ he’s ready fur sum fun
      ‘Cos wha dae ye think yer kiddin’, Mr. Leonard
      If ye think auld Scotia’s done.

  19. Makes my blood boil, but at least I had one good laugh at your description of the Fraser of Allander Institute sounding like a knitwear factory in Pitlochry. I’ll treasure that one!

  20. You know how Colonialist they treat you when they don’t need your votes

    Scotland is now in a positon where the Tories don’t need Scottish votes to win elections in England, Labour know that Scotland won’t vote for them anymore, as evidenced by their new leader Sir Keir Starmer who says, we must stamp out anti semitism in the Labour party, and that’s all fine, but he refuses to allow Scottish people a vote on whether they can decide their own future and be free or not

    You’d think Jewish people might notice a bit of an anomaly in that behaviour within the Labour party, because what Sir Keir Starmer is actually saying is, we need Jewish people in England to vote for the Labour party so keep them sweet down here but Scottish people aren’t going to vote for the Labour party so no democracy for them

    Maybe Sir Keir Starmer has just forgotten there are Jewish people in Scotland too who he has just created as lesser mortals than Jewish people in England

    There’s always a problem when a political party involves itself with religion race creed or colour and begins to count the votes by weight of numbers within each grouping for the optimum outcome
    Labour have practiced this for as long as I can remember and it’s still getting them into trouble

    Oh for a political party that doesn’t do that, oh wait, Scotland has one of those

  21. ‘3 months after divergence infection rate in England is up to 18 times higher than in Scotland risking Second Wave.’


    Janey Godley getting the message across in a way that Nicola Sturgeon can’t, but would probably like to do. Next up Janey start telling the Scots what’s devolved to Scotland or not, such as by not using the words ”devolved” and ”reserved”, as many people don’t have a clue as to what that actually means. Start telling it as it is in your own inimitable way, lol. Nicola Sturgeon has absolutely no control over our borders, ports and airports and without that power many more people in Scotland are going to die.

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