2007 - 2021

My Precious

Brexit will strengthen the bonds of “our precious Union” and make it more prosperous and secure, Theresa May has improbably declared as Tories huddle together in an obscure location in Scotland for fear of meeting the public.

A year ahead of Liberation Day, in an enthusiastic report Michael Blackley gushes warning: “The SNP Govt had threatened to refuse to give consent for the EU Withdrawal Bill because some powers in devolved areas will got to Westminster, rather than Holyrood.”

Well, not quite, but we get the picture.

In an unexpected turn the Prime Minister insisted:

“The UK contains four proud and historic nations, but together we amount to so much more than the sum of our parts and our Union is an enormous force for good. We see that on the global stage, where the UK stands up for liberal end democratic values and leads the world.”

Wait, what?

Are those the same liberal democratic values that a sneering quasi-fascist MSP like Murdo Fraser relishes?

Odd that.

Our Prime Minister is today travelling the whole country ‘in one day’, including dear reader, her Northern region.

By lunchtime she’s been and gone, an ephemeral figure.  I can’t remember the last time a senior Conservative held a public open event in Scotland. The detoxification  of the Tory party – attempted under Cameron – has failed and the party has gone backwards under May and Davidson in terms of openness and toxicity. This is a ruling party that can’t show its face in public.

The mantra repeated today (the new “strong and Stable”) that “we will strengthen the bonds that unite us – because ours is the world’s most successful union” are as empty and shallow as her election slogan was.

The levels of self-deception involved in this process are revealing.

All independent research shows various degrees of bankruptcy and economic chaos resulting from the Brexit programme and the dis-unity it has caused can’t be glossed over by a morning in Ayrshire.

Despite refuting the idea that we were facing a cliff-edge, or that the Brexit process was a unifying not dividing experience, the rest of the right-wing press can’t help itself.

Here the Daily Express revels in the mainstream understanding of this as an English National Liberatory Project – with the nation (sic) ‘awaiting glory’. The iconography is unmistakable: this is England’s glory and England’s moment of triumph. That is fine and dandy but it is incompatible with the framing attempted by May and her spinners.

Nor is it compatible with the dripping contempt of Caroline Nokes as she spoke to the Scottish Affairs Committee.

Whatever happened to the “family of nations”? – whatever happened to the partnership of equals”? I hear you ask.

And it’s not just us recalcitrant Jocks.

Polls Apart

A LBC poll only a week ago suggested more voters in England say delivering Brexit was a greater priority than keeping Northern Ireland part of the United Kingdom. Awkward.

We like the Bloody Oirish, are indispensable, peripheral, contemptible.

But then a poll out today suggest that people in Northern Ireland would prefer to join a united Ireland and maintain their EU membership, than stay in the UK and be outside the bloc, in the event of a hard Brexit.

More than 2,000 people in Northern Ireland were asked whether they would vote to join a united Ireland or to stay in the UK “in the context of a hard Brexit… leaving the EU with no deal on the border, the Good Friday Agreement or citizens’ rights”.

Double awkward.

It’s difficult – some would say impossible – to reconcile that with the PM’s bold statement as she hides in a series of choreographed photo opportunities that:

“Having regained control of our laws (unspecified) the UK will thrive as a strong and united country that works for everyone.”

The idea that Brexit will keep ‘Britain Together’ is clearly a contrived idea – on that the Conservatives are clinging onto in defiance of daily reality. That is a tactic that will work on the pages of the Mail and Express but not on the doorsteps of Scotland. A white cliff-edge awaits for those in such serious denial.





Comments (15)

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  1. Ann Rayner says:

    Not sure if the picture of the Daily Express with the headline, ‘One Year to Brexit’ is part of the message or just a pop up ad. However, the picture with the headline of the white cliffs of Dover must surely be unintentionally apt, as it shows a cliff edge very clearly.

  2. bringiton says:

    Coming to a scout hut near you.
    The nearest the Scottish government will get to “consultation” on Brexit.
    Who do you think you are kidding Ms Theresa?

  3. Alan says:

    Brexit will strengthen the bonds of “our precious Union”

    . Government by Stockholm Syndrome.

  4. vera says:

    What? Nothing about how the Scottish court convicted a joke pug video maker of…. making fun of Nazis? No, wait…

    Dunno, Alba. Something’s gone wrong in yer bonny glens and braes.

  5. Crubag says:

    Whether you were for or against membership, leaving the EU is a constitutional reset. It will take until the post-transition period to know exactly what the new lay of the land is, but it will also mean a recalculation of what an iScotland could be.

    You could see this today in the Chamber where the Common Fisheries Policy was being talked down – that is one of the very few sole EU-level competencies. That suggests to me that the SNP’s future pitch may be EEA or EFTA, rather than EU membership.

    Though I could see an iLib Dem party making the case for membership. I think there are similar party positions in Switzerland and Norway.

  6. ben madigan says:

    “this is England’s glory and England’s moment of triumph”
    So it is.
    I agree.
    Now it’s over to Scotland and the SNP to decide whether, and when, to fall in with it all or fall out!

  7. Somerled says:

    Nobody could have foresaw Brexit and all this crazy stuff coming when Salmond stepped down but I suspected then that Sturgeon would go on to be ultra-conservative in terms of reducing expectations, playing ball with Westminster, and generally taking the fizz out of everything.

    Remarkable that she has managed that when you think of the massive implications of Brexit for Scotland and the fact that we voted solidly to remain in the EU. I really don’t think the SNP could have played their hand more badly since 2014.

    Those loyal to the SNP and Sturgeon will no doubt disagree. But the evidence is there for all to see; the SNP accepted the ridiculously meagre powers that came out of Smith Commission without much of a whimper let alone a fight.

    Results in elections since 2014 have more or less reflected Sturgeon’s demobilisation of the Indy movement and her conservative tendencies.

    You might point to the one exception, the General Election of 2015, but let’s be absolutely honest; those 56 MPs under Sturgeon’s leadership achieved less than nothing. And, given the post-2014 climate, I don’t think it’s a stretch to suggest that the SNP would have done just as well with someone else as leader in 2015.

    Then Brexit happened. It’s hard to imagine a more golden opportunity for the Indy movement. Talk about planets in alignment — the SNP manifesto even made specific reference to the triggering effect a Brexit vote would have.

    The problem is that everyone in Scotland, the SNP, and Indy movement, is sitting around waiting on a swing or backlash. Poll after poll suggests it isn’t happening though. It’s flat. Fizzless. I wonder why.

    You can’t be a conservative agitator. You can’t create momentum if you don’t go out on a limb. You can’t stir things up if you worry about being accused of stirring things up.

    Isn’t there anyone able to see the opportunity that exists here for causing political instability, generating energy, agitating, rocking the boat, upsetting the Apple cart, and doing everything possible to rattle those farcical prancing Tories who, lets be clear, are intent on scuppering this country’s future with their Right-Wing Brexit crap?

    Under Sturgeon, every chapter ends with Scotland getting a black eye. “Oh, I walked into a door again, silly me…”

    Under a different SNP leader, the Tories would be bending over backwards to keep Scotland happy and offering us all sorts, just as they have with the DUP. Like me, the Tories correctly assessed Sturgeon to be cautious, non-confrontational, and weak.

    1. Crubag says:

      I think you’re right in your assessment of Nicola, but then I think the deputy position in the SNP is something of a poisoned chalice. You don’t get to be the understudy to Alex Salmond for a decade without concealing your light under a bushel. You become the dampening counter-weight to the more impulsive partner. I don’t think that makes her weak, but more in the Merkel mode, seeking the middle ground even as politics shifts around her.

      EU membership has never been a make or break issue for the SNP, it just became part of the furniture. If it was an existential issue, you would bet the whole party’s current capital on it, instead it’s been a nice to have, especially as the EU itself plays up the regional aspect (Scotland is classified as a region).

      But on the other hand if they could have overcome their rather weak sentimental attachment – and were bolder – it could have been the SNP holding the balance of power and demanding concessions from the Tories. Fisheries for their symbolic and local value, more retention of tax, a new written constitution to enshrine federalism?

      1. Somerled says:

        “EU membership has never been a make or break issue for the SNP”

        Brexit was defined as one of two things that could trigger indyref2 by the SNP. No other party in the UK attached that sort of importance to it.

        Yes, the SNP could be holding the balance of power but it would have taken effort rather than the usual passive-aggressive approach that Sturgeon always opts for.

        Think of the implications for democracy when a winning party can’t advance a central plank of its manifesto because a neighbouring country’s leader says “now is not the time”. What an insult.

        That’s a constitutional crisis just begging to happen. Instead, what do we have? Walked into the door again, silly monkey…

        Theresa May is a farcical politician, even her own party get that, and most of us struggle to take her and her weird cabinet of creeps seriously. But May has basically ran rings around Sturgeon.

    2. David Allan says:

      I find I agree with much of what you are saying. Nicola is good, however not good enough on her own to take the bold steps necessary to capitalise from the brexit issue.

      The SNP has talent at Westminster who should be allowed greater exposure the case cannot be left to Nicola alone.

      There may be certain individuals with a desire to express opinions they should be allowed to do so.

      I get the impression there is to much control internally over media expression possibly to avoid any party disharmony.

      This needs to be seen to become a SNP Team Effort and soon.

      The public need to be told what specific concerns exist over economic damage post-brexit particuarly from a Scottish Perspective.

      1. Somerled says:

        The SNP has a mandate for a second independence referendum. That mandate has been denied by Westminster and the usual hired hands up here who have put self interest and careerism above the interests of Scotland as a whole.

        Very predictable. Just a pity that Sturgeon’s response was equally predictable — nothing, basically.

        We must always remember that professional politicians are well paid and have so much to lose.

        But the SNP could have responded differently and altered the course of events. If every SNP MP had stood down and forced by-elections, MSPs had did the same, and their councils had stood down too, all on the basis that it was not for Westminster to tell Scotland when it could hold referenda and impose Brexit on a population that was strongly against it, it’s hard to imagine how the SNP could have failed to win concessions and firm guarantees.

        The media, of course, always in service to the British state as we understand, would paint a dim picture of all this but it would definitely galvanise the 45% who voted Yes in 2014 and probably win a few percent over on top.

        Whether you agree with Brexit or not, and I understand many in the SNP have mixed views on that, and even if you are against independence itself, you’d need to embark on some impressive political acrobatics to deny that Scotland ought to at least have the right to choose and decide when to hold referenda on such things.

        And Scotland has chosen; it opted to stay in the EU and it voted for another referendum on independence. A child could make a winning case out of this stuff but for some reason the SNP can’t.

        I get it, they don’t want to be seen as rabble rousing during a crisis. By the same token, if someone sets your house alight, shouting “fire!” is trouble-making.

        The Scottish economy is dying on its feet right now btw. Nobody wants to mention it. The negative consequences of Brexit are upon us right now.

        1. Iain McIntosh says:

          Smith Commission.



          SNP have never been at the top table in the uk for discussions. They (ruling british elite) take the pulse, determine the mood and calculate the absolute minimum they can give with out creating tangible benefit or precedent, just enough to placate.

          That is the way it’s always been. They have managed these Islands and nations for their own benefit for centuries based on this framework. They made their biggest error when they miscalculated Ireland at the start of the last century.

          For my part I was a gradualist, convince people and take them with you. But that fails to take into consideration that the goal posts are always being moved by the ruling british elite. So you end up in the position of having people with you (2016 mandate) and boxes ticked, but everything has changed round about you due to factors out with your control. This is where the press and bbc are at one and critical to the british elite.

          Outcome, you lose as you have been playing their game, two steps three back

          As for Mike Russell and brexit discussions, a classic example of britsh subterfuge:

          – promise by uk of consultation and meetings, broken by uk.

          – uk uses friends in press and bbc to gloss over this broken promise.

          – the uk government tried to pull a fast one.

          – it was spotted by Scottish Government.

          – it was denied by uk.

          – then admitted to by uk, but true motives remain hidden.

          – uk then agreed that it would be changed.

          – it wasn’t by uk, Mundell spouted some nonsensical rubbish no one understood.

          – a press offensive was launched by uk over head of Scottish Government.

          – bill will be discussed by lords where there is inbuilt unionist bias and no SNP representation

          – throw a fishing betrayal by uk and dubious event in Salisbury into the mix.

          – bbc and press portray power grab as at best two bald men fighting over a comb or at worst SNP being at it.

          SNP and Scotland can never win in these circumstances unless we go back to rediscovering independence fundamentals 101 – return to plain simple language with one core theme and push it at every opportunity and show your foe no quarter, they have and will show none to you!

          1. Somerled says:

            Iain, no offence, but the British State is doing exactly what a 5year old would expect it to do under the circumstances. It goes without saying that they will behave as you describe, as they always have done, in these sort of situations.

            The SNP response under Sturgeon has been utterly and completely disappointing, ineffective, weak, and arguably counter-productive.

            It’s time for Sturgeon to get out of the way and let someone else have a bash, someone who might provide some sort of resistance to the farcical Theresa May.

  8. Willie says:

    Yes Somerled.

    People tire, political parties tire, governments lose their way.

    Austerity is alive and kicking, zero hour contracts, reduced worker protections, the threat of very serious economic and social harm as we stumble to some form of exit from the EU. And yet, aEvll beset with little or no fire from our political leaders as living standards decline for the majority.

    Scottish independence is winnable. So why so much silence on these matters or are we to await the Road to Damascus conversion to come.

    1. Somerled says:

      Scotland is in a worse place economically and politically right now than it has been in since the 17th Century.

      SNP politicians have their fingers crossed hoping that some sort of Brexit deal falls from the table giving us free market access. If it does, the SNP can say there’s no need for another independence referendum, “we” won the argument on Europe, and go back to talking about vote winners like dog tales, OBFA, and Named Guardians.

      But I’m afraid no such deal is likely to transpire. Remember, all it takes is one single EU member to object and the deal is dead in the water. Anyone who has any familiarity with EU politics knows that a snowflake has a better chance in hell.

      The rightist scum who foisted the Brexit vote upon us are content to wait in the wings and let Theresa May go through the motions of trying to hammer out a deal. It’s a process. They know it is doomed to fail but also know Britain needs to appear to try… so they wait. It’s basically theatre.

      When the big deal is shot down in flames, the aforementioned scum will appear and say they tried to be reasonable with Europe but Europe wasn’t reasonable in return.

      At that point Scotland is a caged play-thing and can do nothing to free itself. No appeals to the EU courts, common decency, or anyone else will make a bit of difference.

      What people fail to understand is that the dark money (and players) in the background who conjured up the Brexit vote out of nothing don’t want a deal. I hate to sound like Alex Jones, but these people are essentially globalists, they move across and over nation states like they aren’t even there.

      And they want a tax haven off the coast of Europe. They want to be able to launder and hide money right here, pay zero taxes, and treat ordinary people like cattle.

      That’s where we are headed right now. Even if the SNP played their card better or right, the likelihood is that that’s where we will end up — not that there seems to be any serious chance of that.

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