2007 - 2022

Leaving Europe – Live on ITV

CklBPhNWgAAZmxD.jpg-largeThe ITV EU debate was – as predicted – a shouting match of cliché and soundbite interjected with some fleeting moments of exasperated reality from the audience. The Leave side repeated ‘take back control’ about a billion times and Nicola Sturgeon tried in vain to introduce some politics about the lies and distortion of the Brexit campaign and the realities of austerity Britain. The audience looked confused. As Dara O’Briain put it: “This talk of sovereignty and accountability feels a little moot after Nicola Sturgeon drops the ‘ahem House of Lords’ bomb.”

But for all Sturgeon tried to face Boris Johnston with his actual political record, the audience was hostile and you could watch that programme and see Britain sliding out of Europe on a sea-tide of nostalgia make-believe and dog-whistle politics. The hostility to Sturgeon wasn’t just evident from the studio but on social media beyond where anti-Scottish rhetoric merged seamlessly with some pretty sickening misogyny and abuse.


These are some of the nicer comments.

Apart from the dreary predictability of this hatefest, the actual quality of the debate was (again unsurprisingly) super-low. Somebody called Andrea Leadsom (anyone?) argued the line that immigration was destroying the greenbelt. It’s an argument that smacks you in the face as its presented on yer-actual-telly-news with a straight face.

Is this actually happening?

Yes it is. In. Slow. Motion.

Other aspects of relations are also exposed. As Alec Finlay notes: “Reading Boris’ attempted slap down, “The SNP are keener to be ruled by Brussels than Westminster”, I know I am not alone in weighing that phrase carefully, firstly for the sense that relations to Scotland can only – in his eyes – be “ruled” over, not an alliance, secondly that , yes, on the whole, I probably would prefer Brussels as a partner, and thirdly, Boris and his ilk are the reason why.

Like our General Election result, our views do not matter. If this happens, and it looks like it really will, I predict a riot, and not just in Marseille.



Comments (12)

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  1. MBC says:

    I think it is very slow to dawn on people in Scotland what losing our EU citizenship will mean. Tom Watson made the point that though a majority in Scotland do want to Remain, yet they do not (YET) feel passionate about it. Today in Open Democracy Marco Biagi made much the same point. He would vote Remain (by proxy, as he is on holiday) but reluctantly and without enthusiasm. He said that the EU was about as exciting as hoovering. And equally hard to argue for.

  2. MBC says:

    Watson’s point about a majority being for Remain in Scotland but not being that passionate for it, reminded me of something else that was once said by Labour and the Labour commentariat.

    That whilst public opinion in Scotland during the 20th century and for much of the 19th was generally in favour of Scottish home rule, that very few put this as number one on their political agenda. It was somewhere down about fourth or ninth in order of importance. This wide spread but low level support was key to the Labour party and others bar the SNP keeping it well to the back boiler, if at all. And eventually dropping it all together.

    But in the last decades of the 20th century, home rule, and then latterly, independence, began to creep up the political agenda in terms of its importance.

    Why was that?

    In essence, because we felt trapped in Britain, under Tory governments we didn’t vote for.

    When will it dawn on the Scottish electorate that for exactly the same reasons that home rule / independence became progressively more important to us, that we have to now feel much more passionate about Remain? The prospect of being locked in to a Tory dominated UK outside of the EU run by Boris Johnson and Priti Patel ought to terrify.

    1. Crubag says:

      I think it is more than being trapped in Britain – much of what the independence movement is concerned about (privatisation, land ownership, power of multinationals, farming and fisheries, privatisation of public services, cultural survival and an economy managed for an economic hotspot) is either mandated by or accelerated by membership of the Union.

      When a union of two countries (plus a province and a principality) doesn’t give us the freedom to make our own way – how can a union of 27 countries, 500 million people, and an unaccountable core, concentrated on the economy of its biggest member be any better?

      You can see why Nicola was toiling. To be in favour of both unions is consistent (Cameron). To be against both unions is consistent (Sillars). To favour one but not the other is to be confused. At best.

      1. H Scott says:

        ‘To favour one but not the other is to be confused. At best’

        No, it’s to understand the profound differences between them.

        1. Ron norman says:

          Scotland would be an irrelevant little country in the EU, unable to influence anything. Sturgeon says she wants an independent Scotland, the EU will not allow that. Surgeon says Scotland will keep the pound, its hers as much as ours. Thats rubbish, its the UKs and she wants to leave the UK. The EU would not allow Scotland to keep the pound either, it would be bound to introduce the Euro.
          Sturgeons whole political strategy is flawed and full of holes. If Scotland had voted for independence it would now be bankrupt, thanks to the crash in the price of oil which none of the so called experts could see coming!!! Who are these ‘experts’ ??? Useless, the lot of ’em.

      2. David Allan says:

        And to condem the existence of unelected House of Lords yet support unelected EU Commissioners what was that about Nicola?

  3. Celia Fitzgerald says:

    I really don’t think you should repeat the hate mail. It just fuels negativity and division. We’re all human beings wanting what is best for us. Because someone has different opinions to you does not make them evil or a legitimate target of abuse or ridicule.

  4. Bert Logan says:

    The EU – where we make joint decisions.
    The UK – where England decides everything.

    1. Ron norman says:

      The EU. Where faceless, unelected eurocrats make the decisions.
      The UK. Where an elected government makes the decisions and can be held to account every five years. Scotland is so pathetic, whining about its influence in the UK and yet wanting to join a 28 nation union of 500 million where its influence would be less than zilch, nada, nothing, an irrelevance.

  5. Matt Culbert says:

    Sovereignty, which is claimed by both camps as a central pillar for their argument. Sovereignty is at its core is the might of a capitalist state to deal with its subjects as it
    pleases. Neither Brexit nor Bremain will change that.

    It is time to stop begging slavishly for governments ‘over’ us to ameliorate our waged slavery by reforms and organise collectively to take the whole world and everything in it and on it, into the common ownership and democratic control of us all and establish a free access, money free, waged-slavery free, post-capitalist society organised upon the tenet, “From each according to their ability to each according to their needs”.
    Workers have no country.
    The world for the worlds workers.

    1. David Allan says:

      Will this utopia include free movement?

      1. Matt Culbert says:

        It is not utopia it is a post-capitalist society and of course it will entail complete freedom. What is utopian is the idea that capitalism can be reformed or managed in any way which removes its concomitants of war and poverty, absolute or relative.

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