2007 - 2022

The Search for the Positive Case for the Union continues…

As everyone gets ready to rumble for the debate between Stephen Paton, Shona Craven and David Spokesperson tonight (7pm), let us first turn our attention to the fabulous Dan Snow and Tom Holland double-act. If Scotland in Union are UK Unity’s well-heeled grandparent, and These Islands their dotty Aunt Jessie, this footage of a recent fund-raiser in London is classic. Amidst some rambling about “the Loch Ness Monster” (Tom Holland) and being “denied a vote” and just “feeling completely disempowered” (Dan Snow) after which we were tempted to open the worlds smallest violin case, two things are clear:

First there’s a sort of plaintive bemused childlike idiocy to it all. The speeches are filled with a sense of entitlement and ownership (in Snow’s case this is actual rather than figurative – his father-in- law owns 96,000 acres of land in Scotland, his heiress wife Lady Edwina Grosvenor as daughter of Britain’s richest landowner, the Duke of Westminster, stands to inherit some of his £8.5billion fortune).

At one point Tom Holland blurts: “I just didn’t want to stop feeling British” as a pre-school age child might be deprived of his favourite teddy.

This is essentially an emotional appeal. These are people who can’t make a distinction between their own personal feelings and a democracy of six million people.

Second, they admit and are confused by the Project Fear propaganda that won. But they don’t seem to know why this is or what to do about it. It’s just what happened and they feel uncomfortable about it. They laugh nervously about the Yes campaign that they hope to replicate saying at one point: “We can be joyous we can be civic”. Maybe they could pay their ghillies to run an Astro-Turf campaign next time?

This is – as Suzanne Moore said at the time – like “being bathed in some dodgy supra-nationalism of Britishness that is clearly omnishambolic.”

Here it is.

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  1. Graeme Purves says:

    What gibbering, incoherent idiocy!

    1. JimR says:

      Throwing up a list from Mr Snow Kaiser Wilhelm, Adolf Hitler, Alex Salmond. How despicable and low. Project fear lives.

  2. Iain MacEchern says:

    So what exactly is their positive, joyous reason for Scotland remaining in the Union?

    1. Richard MacKinnon says:

      They like us.

    2. Richard MacKinnon says:

      Furthermore they consider themselves to be part Scottish.

  3. ken gibb says:

    “We allowed them to have the vote”. ” Napoleon Bonaparte, Kaiser Wilhelm, Adolf Hitler, Alex Salmond” WTAF! All the clues are there. Nothing to do with diminished Britishness, but all to do with devalued English sense of superiority. And it’s still happening, they’ve learned absolutely nothing.

  4. ken gibb says:

    Amateur night at the Con Club. The only things missing are a giant Union Flag and the sound track of Pomp and Circumstance.

  5. TomBee says:

    “debate between Stephen Paton, Shona Craven and David Spokesperson tonight (7pm)”

    7 p.m.? Where? What channel (assuming you’re talking about debate on TV)?

    1. TONIGHT at 7PM on @ScotNational’s Facebook page

  6. Catriona Grigg says:

    What they fail to understand is that some of us are ashamed of what the UK has done in the name of Great Britain and the Empire. We invented the concentration camp in South Africa. We, Great Britain, ignored famines in India. etc.etc. We want to shut the door on immigrants fleeing in fear of their lives.

    Today Scotland’s values aren’t Britain’s values. Look at Mackay’s draft budget. We have the begining of a redistrabutive taxation system. Just think what we could do if we had control all means of raising revenue and national spending. As a very small part of the UK our views will never prevail. As an independent nation we can then control our own destiny and live in a country we can be proud of.

  7. Alan Bissett says:

    Wow, just wow.

    Incredible insecurity, but also a revealing proprietary and entitled tone: because it would make THEM would feel that THEIR Britishness is being damaged, Scotland has to stay. Never mind what we want, really. It’s about what’s best for their fragile sense of identity, about THEIR needs, THEIR emotions. Some intangible sense of ‘Britishness’ is sacrosant.

    “I’d lose the Loch Ness Monster!”

    Jesus fucking christ.

    “Then David Bowie said via Kate Moss at the Brits ‘Scotland, please stay.’ And SUDDENLY Scotland was on the front of all the English newspapers!”

    Guys, guys, doesn’t that give you your first clue? Scotland should stay despite the fact that one of the most fertile political debates which we’ve ever had, about staying in this glorious union – in which we’re all Brits together, after all – only makes it onto the English front pages because an English rock star has now decided to make a statement about it?

    They fact that they don’t ever realise they illustrate Scotland’s very marginalisation with that example tells its own story.

    Holland’s confession about reading Alasdair Gray is also very revealing. Having deeply engaged over several books with a Scottish nationalist intellectual he starts to find himself moved by the case. But something about his conditioning kicks in to stop him. “And I just thought, ‘NO. THAT’S A TERRIBLE IDEA!'”

    Even though he can’t say why it’s a terrible idea, beyond simple emotional spasms.

    British nationalism, ladies and gents. It’s powerful stuff.

    1. Christopher Mullin says:

      You exactly articulated what I was struggling to say, after watching that car-crash.

      I know the phrase is hugely over-used, at the moment, but I keep returning to Orwell’s concept of ‘double-think’ when I watch this.

  8. Ian Wilson says:

    This blessed union,more like being shackled to a corpse,quote from a ww1 german general

  9. Hazel Stewart says:

    Agreeing with the comments -Loving that it is about their needs We need to move on ✅

  10. John Mooney says:

    What a pair of pathetic public school “Chanty Rasslers”These clowns and their acolytes epitomises exactly why we have to get out of this sclerotic “Union”the sooner the better for the sake of our children and grandchildren,”Scotland in Union” my arse!

  11. Lochside says:

    Dan Snow English privilege personified standing up there like the total unthinking hypocrite he is…..Daddy -in -law owns near 100,000 acres of our country and he stands to share unrivalled unearned millions via his titled wife. Yet the English like to think they’re the only ones who understand irony!

    These imperialistic spivs have patronised and plundered our country illegally for three hundred years. They attempted it for seven hundred years prior to that. As Alan Bisset says entitlement and puerile propriety and smug ownership oozes out of every pompous pronouncement by these anglocentric dolts.

    Hubris of this magnitude deserves the humbling that only a massive vote of ‘YES’ can deliver. Let’s deliver it to these bastards soon!

  12. James Mills says:

    If this is the intellectual opposition to Scotland ‘separating’ from the UK then we have nothing to worry about . In fact , we need only let them continue with ‘broadcasts’ of this calibre and hope that the MSM and the BBC publish it widely and victory is assured .

  13. James Mills says:

    If this represents the intellectual case against Scottish ”separation” then we need have no worries . Simply have the BBC and the rest of the msm publish/broadcast this in its entirety and sit back and count the ‘Yes’ votes .

  14. MBC says:

    They are British imperialists.

    What they are basically saying is, ‘though I am English, England is not big enough for me, or my sense of English greatness. It’s too diminishing as an identity for the size of my ego. But with Scotland in the union, then I can feel British, because England has become comfortably bigger again’.

    Britishness always was about the empire. His Welsh granny who was proud of being British was proud of having a British empire.

  15. Mike Lothian says:

    That’s totally cringe worthy, also looks like the guy in glasses has a crush on the other guy

  16. gerard connolly says:

    cosy smug condescending patronising ……
    Pleased to say these people don’t exist in real life.

  17. david alexander says:

    Puke – the land owner sense of entitlement continues. Scotland’s future has to be dependent on English voters? 62-38 in favour of the EU but it doesn’t count. We never voted for a Tory government, but we get one. Those is democracy guys. We decide our own future.

  18. Alf Baird says:

    The video well illustrates the vast cultural chasm and different cultural priorities and beliefs between pro-union vested interests and what we might term the ‘typical’ Yes voter. Jings, maist Scots ‘Yes’ fowk dinna e’en spik thair langage. Yet, the paradox remains: why do so many Scots still deny their own nation its place in the world, and instead vote to allow fools like this to exploit their land, and control most of their institutions, and their society? Are many Scots ‘No’ voters simply that deeply afflicted by the Scottish cultural cringe as perpetuated by continuous pro-unionist msm and institutionalised propaganda and symbolic machinery? Is the No vote therefore not influenced predominantly by cultural factors – and hence not nearly so much by e.g. economic or other everyday ‘policy’ issues? The film rather suggests some social groups/people may be virtually ‘born’ anti-Scottish independence No voters, i.e. it is an inherent and therefore rather predictable trait, one that significant proportions of certain social groups conform to.

    1. Douglas says:


  19. Elaine Fraser says:

    The problem is that this clip isn’t the ‘intellectual’ case. I found it very hard to understand my mainly English friends living in Scotland when they voted No but refused to offer any explanation or debate the issues before the vote or after. Watching this clip just reinforces what I eventually worked out . This is a deeply emotional thing for many people of a certain age. Its ALL about feelings. I dont get it because Ive never felt really British although the ‘intellectual’ case for indy has to be made and re-made I still dont know how we tap into, explore or change these deeply held emotions.

    1. Alf Baird says:

      I encountered a similar experience, Elaine, with those of my wider family and neighbours who are from England or of English heritage, i.e. a general reticence and lack in interest to debate/discuss Scottish independence. Emotions, feelings etc. all form part of their dominant cultural makeup, which seemingly inevitably renders their final decision regarding Scotland’s independence a rather automatic ‘No’ (for most), and it is a decision which seems to disregard any rational argument on the potential for better governance, fairer society etc. And that preference readily extends to a Tory or Libdem vote in national elections, despite far more attractive SNP policies which many of them benefit from.

      Arguably the real challenge the ‘Yes Movement’ faces now is that an ever increasing proportion of Scotland’s voting population has no cultural affiliation to Scotland. This should be a genuine concern for any indyref2 given the census data which indicates that perhaps in excess of half of ‘No’ voters will comprise people from rest-UK/rest-UK heritage. This is why I have suggested there needs to be tighter controls over the voting franchise, as was the case with brexit and indeed as with any major vote on constitutional matters in any nation anywhere. The Scottish franchise is simply far too open, allowing practically anyone with an address here the opportunity to vote on our nationhood (i.e. the very highest level constitutional matter possible), even those we know to have a tenuous (if any) cultural bond with Scotland. The FM was specifically asked in her Berkeley lecture earlier this year why the Scottish independence referendum franchise was quite so open, as it seemed in the international sense, and her answer was to the effect that her civil servants said it would be ‘too complicated’ to do otherwise, which is absolute nonsense, plus the usual one about ‘everyone who lives works etc has a stake etc’ so should have a vote; unfortunately many of those culturally opposed to independence are using the opportunity to rather put a stake into Scotland, effectively blocking independence.

      If Scots really do want independence we have to recognise how this has been achieved elsewhere, and we need to appreciate how our unusually open franchise failed us in indyref1. Offering the franchise to a million or more cultural ‘No’ voters seems to be a sure-fire way not to secure independence in indyref2. Will we make the same mistake twice?

    2. Calum McIntosh says:

      People are reluctant to change their bank, e.g. no matter how much RBS muck up, people stay with them for some illogical reason.

      I think when many English people migrate to Scotland there is a belief arising from what they have been told through the media that Scotland could not manage without England, they genuinely believe this as do some Scots. They are conditioned.

      It requires self examination from these migrants to think why Scotland is the only country in the world that can’t manage its own affairs and what England gets from union. Also, if the SNP did fall what would it mean for them, i.e. tuition fees, free presciptions, free care for elderly, better public services and more bang for your buck be you a renter or home owner?

      How to change the perception of English people enmasse residing in Scotland, I am not sure or if it is even possible. Have you ever heard anyone (non Indian) born or who worked in pre 1947 India speak badly of colonialsm or ill of the uk?

      As for Snow and Holland, they are colonialists merely guarding their slice of the pie!

      1. Alf Baird says:

        Calum, I do not think the SNP leadership or the Yes Movement has thought this one through at all, despite the fact what we are discussing arguably cost Scotland our independence in 2014.

        Given we accept the UK ‘union’ to be a charade, implying that Scotland is in effect and practice a colony, then people from rest-UK living here would be considered as ‘expats’. In any colony seeking decolonization (i.e. independence), expats (i.e. people coming from the colony’s ‘administrative Power’) would be excluded from voting on such a fundamental constitutional change.

        The reasons for this exclusion are fairly obvious. As you imply, expats would naturally/culturally be expected to be strongly in favour of the status quo (i.e. to maintain what the UN regards as “the scourge of colonisation”, and which should be ended). Expats would also be opposed to altering their own nationality in any way. Independence is about creating a new nation/state, and with that comes a new nationality for citizens, replacing a previous ‘undesired’ nationality; expats would hardly be expected to support such an outcome.

        Considering the above which reflects longstanding international and UN practice vis-à-vis decolonization (which is more or less the same as independence) and the creation of new independent states, the Scottish referendum voting franchise demonstrates rather obvious weaknesses. These weaknesses were most likely the main cause of the loss of the 2014 referendum and the failure to secure independence. Unless the franchise is tightened accordingly, Scotland stands to make the same mistake again.

  20. Bob Cant says:

    Nice bit of class prejudice too about David Beckham. He may now be a multi-millionaire but he comes from Leytonstone and is, therefore, not one of us Oxbridge PPE types. Jeez! Who did they think they would persuade by this posh boy performance?

  21. Wullie says:

    Would that pair no gie ye the Shits!

  22. Bob Cant says:

    A nice wee bit of class prejudice too about David Beckham. He may well be a multi-millionaire but he still comes from Leytonstone and does not, therefore, count as one of the Oxbridge PPE people like us. Jeez! Who are hoping to persuade with this posh boy performance?

  23. Jamsie says:

    People are not looking very far.
    The Barnett formula does it every time.
    And still they need more of our money to waste.

  24. Richard Wickenden (ex Tory from the mid-ninetys) says:

    Watched the video – all 16 minutes 45 seconds of it. These two are what is typical of wealthy Unionists – totally against anyone who is poor, sick, disabled, out of work or working in minimum wage / zero-hour contracts. They have never lived in poverty or had to visit food banks to support their families. They are of course Tories (blue, red or yellow). Let these people give up their Scottish heritage and move to England. They will then be happy.

    I will not rest until Scotland becomes a prosperous independent country.

  25. SleepingDog says:

    Somebody referred to Dan Snow as a “General Jumbo” figure:

    and here he is persecuting a polar bear:

    Watching that video suggests someone who would be jolly miffed if independence messed up their toy soldier collection classification scheme. And all the hours spent painting those kilts! The British Empire imposed order on the world, don’tchaknow, everyone in their place, and he’ll be demned if he has to face the inconvenience of having to rethink geo-politics just because of some upstart self-determinists who should be grateful of their ancestral duty to provide warm bodies for the glory of the Royal regiments!

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