Thursday, December 22, 2016

The unionist media are in denial about it, but a second independence referendum moved even closer this week

As far as I can remember this has never happened before (which tells its own story), but it turns out that I owe a mainstream media journalist a comprehensive apology for taking him to task on Twitter a few months ago for what I took to be spin on behalf of the unionist establishment.  Not long after the EU referendum, Mark Mardell of the BBC claimed that the SNP were set to join the "forces of soft Brexit".  I retorted that this was a plainly ridiculous notion, because the SNP's stated aim was to keep Scotland within the European Union in line with how the country had just overwhelmingly voted.  But Mardell was completely right and I was completely wrong.  There's no two ways about it - Nicola Sturgeon has clearly modified her position somewhat, and the detailed plan she put forward the other day indicates a willingness to accept our enforced departure from the EU, albeit only if a great many extremely stringent conditions are met.

However, in spite of misjudging the trajectory a few months ago, I still feel extremely confident in saying this : the likes of Kenny "Devo or Death / Brexit or Bust" Farquharson and whoever it is that writes the Guardian editorials are deluding themselves when they imagine that there is a realistic chance we are heading for a compromise that will head off a second independence referendum.  Theresa May took only a few hours to reject Sturgeon's proposals out of hand, so to believe in the chance of a deal you must also believe that what we saw this week was merely some kind of way-station on the Scottish Government's journey towards accepting a semi-hard Brexit and departure from the single market, rather than a statement of Sturgeon's absolute bottom line.  The Greens (who have disorientated us all by reinventing themselves as the new indy fundamentalists) have demanded that it must be the latter, and I'm convinced that's how it will be.

I've never met Nicola Sturgeon (I've never even had a selfie taken with her, so I really am the lowest of the low), and therefore can't read her mind.  I've heard it said, as I'm sure we all have, that she's instinctively more cautious than Alex Salmond, although I also remember hearing it said in 2012 that she was actually much more bullish than Salmond about the all-or-nothing gambit of calling a single-question referendum on independence without a Devo Max option on the ballot paper.  Regardless of the truth about her temperament, though, the real reason why a second independence referendum now looks almost inevitable is that she has to take her party with her when she makes the final decision.  It's just a non-starter to imagine that the SNP rank-and-file are going to accept calling off the dogs on indy in return for departure from the single market, and no special status within Europe for Scotland - which is all that will be on offer from the UK government, barring a wildly improbable climbdown.  The only way I could imagine the membership signing up to that 'deal' would be if there is some kind of compensatory offer involving a massively beefed-up devolution settlement - but London seem to be showing zero interest in that idea as well.

The unionist media are, as is their custom, telling themselves precisely what they want to believe - that the SNP membership don't matter, and that Sturgeon will be guided solely by opinion poll numbers and a private acceptance of the economic importance of an entirely fictional concept known as "the UK single market".  It may be that it will continue to be possible to portray the opinion poll evidence as discouraging for Sturgeon over the coming months - Scottish polls are largely commissioned by anti-independence clients, after all, which means that the supplementary questions are often framed in a way that will produce the most negative answers.  But that will not be the determining factor on whether a referendum goes ahead.  Public opinion at the end of both the independence and Brexit referendums bore little resemblance to public opinion at the start of the campaigns.  It would be a brave unionist who felt sure that initial Yes support in the mid-to-high 40s will not prove to be a successful springboard to victory.  Which is a point well worth pondering - do the forces of unionism seem relaxed to you, in the way they would be if they really thought a referendum was unwinnable for Sturgeon?  No, they don't seem relaxed to me either.

*  *  *

Theresa May seems to have an unconscious desire for a career in comedy.  Only two years ago, her party told Scots to vote No because it was supposedly the only way to keep Scotland in the European Union.  As a direct result of the electorate falling for that line and voting No, we are now on course to be forced out of the EU against our will.  And yet Ms May innocently says that there is still "no need or reason" to revisit the decision on independence.  It's a bit like someone saying to you "OK, I will marry you, but ONLY if you never, ever steal ANY of my chocolates EVER again", and you absolutely promise to go along with that, and then two months later you express bafflement about her decision to call the whole thing off while you're busy munching on her After Eights.

73 comments:

  1. Well the SG presented the Scotland in Europe paper as a significant set of options each of which require the SG to make compromises but in all cases keeps Scotland in Union. It is now clearly up to WM to determine which compromise suits them. The ball is fairly in the Tory court.

    Don't expect anything other than the squeals of a stuck pig.

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    1. The Tories have a history, with pigs.

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    2. The disingenuous position of the SNP is laughable. In 2014 they wanted to leave the UK which meant leaving the EU.

      Now they are trying to claim another referendum because they want to stay in the EU.

      Seems wee Krankie doesn't know what she wants, other than to agitate.

      The Spanish have rejected the comical proposals out of hand, as I'm sure the rest will.

      They don't need another Greece.

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    3. Maybe if you didn't go in for the childish name calling people may take your comments seriously.

      Delete
  2. Good piece.

    However, you write that you are surprised that the Greens "have disorientated us all by reinventing themselves as the new indy fundamentalists". But if independence is such a logical response to the politics of our times, then there should be nothing surprising about that.

    The Greens commitment to independence has strengthened as events have unfolded. Not seeing the issue simply through the prism of sovereignty makes the issue even sharper: we NEED independence to have a chance of achieving social justice and living sustainably. That is really clear, and once it becomes clear then, politically, there is only one direction of travel.

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  3. I think the unionists might have to seize the agenda by pushing for a referendum on devo max.

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    1. According to Unionists we have devo max. Why push for a referendum on something they've already 'given' us.

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    2. In fact we have 'super devo-max' according to some unionists. What more could we possibly want. The truth of course is that every supposed new power promised to Scotland in 2014,to clinch the unionist no vote, has been kicked into the very very long grass. It is even worse with EVEL, and with the UKok unionists removing jobs from Scotland. HMRC, ship building, DWP, and imposing damaging restrictions on the Scottish government, while telling everyone the opposite. They are even removing citizens who have lived here for years, but who are not UK nationals, even though they have built their lives here in Scotland, and businesses employi people,and contributing to the local and wider economy.

      No, Scotland was duped into this so called union, and is duped into believing that the london elite in power,ie unionists pretendy lefty and the right wingers,have Scotland's interests at heart. Nothing could be further from the truth as many many of us know and have known for quite some time.
      Scotland will not be given up easily by those unionists who want their lucrative gravy train to keep running very smoothly, siphoning off Scotland's wealth straight to the south and south east of england. They control the media, so we do have a lot of work ahead of us to secure our independence, but it is inevitable, now that brexit wil happen and the EU have seen the britnats for what they really are, and have seen Scotland for the modern, forward looking, cooperative, social democratic country that it is.

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  4. The Independence campaign will need a depth of information that the 'press' won't transmit for us.
    I noticed some interesting stats about the Republic of Ireland from 2014: exports $142billion, imports $72billion, trade surplus around $70billion. Exports to EU $37billion, exports to UK $19billion.
    They don't have the resources Scotland has so why the healthy balance? We are constantly told exports to UK greatly outweigh exports to EU but ROI has a good balance.
    What is our real export value to EU in relation to UK, what is the real stats on export to import to the EU and the world.
    If Ireland can have this we should get the figures for Scotland to have at our finger tips and for leaflets, discussions etc.
    We should have the comparisons like that for ROI readily available for activists and public so it becomes common knowledge and accepted.

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  5. ROI probably includes the multinationals that use ROI as a "pass through" for tax purposes. The real export figure would be much lower.

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    1. If no banks used the City of London the figures for the UK would be much lower, so that's irrelevant.
      Though if you have figures supply them.

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    2. Just google it Brian

      http://www.irishtimes.com/business/economy/handful-of-multinationals-behind-26-3-growth-in-gdp-1.2719047

      Delete
  6. James,

    The brutal truth is that since the Section 30 amendment to the Scotland Act 1998 (pursuant to IndyRef1) a referendum on independence is clearly outwith the competence of the Scottish parliament. Indeed, the draft bill currently out for consultation acknowledges this fact and is predicated on the idea that London will grant a further Section 30 order to allow IndyRef2.

    For a number of reasons London is highly unlikely to grant such a Section 30 (although I expect that the language of the refusal will allow some room for a future referendum – a sort of ‘Not Now, but Not Never’ type of refusal). It is impossible to see London being able to call ‘time out’ on the Brexit negotiations so that the Unionist politicians can fight IndyRef2. It is equally impossible to envisage them standing back and allowing the Scots to fight IndyRef2 without London’s participation. Last, but not least, denying IndyRef2 until we are out of the EU gives the Unionists a huge tactical advantage if/when we fight IndyRef2 as it allows the Unionists to threaten an economic Armageddon by promising to freeze IndyScot out of the British single market as well as being out of the EU single market.

    For these reasons alone it is highly unlikely that London will grant a Section 30 for IndtRef2. Granted there will be a political price to pay but given the tenor of the Advocate General’s submissions to the Supreme Court and Theresa May’s quick and curt dismissal of the Scottish Government’s plan it is likely that London will be untroubled by Scotland’s reaction to a Section 30 refusal. This turn of events poses a problem for Nicola Sturgeon as any attempt to proceed with Indyref2 without London’s sanction will render the necessary legislation open to a legal challenge that will most certainly succeed. This matters as without legal sanction: the electoral commission; the local councils; and the returning officers (to name but a few of a wide cast of characters) can simply ignore the referendum and refuse to participate in the arrangements. Moreover, the Scottish Unionists would simply boycott the poll and London would ignore the result. Suffice to say that there is ‘not a cat in hell’s chance’ of there being a IndyRef2 anytime soon.

    However, all is not doom and gloom. There is another course of action open to Nicola Sturgeon – she can resign and, provided the Greens are on board, engineer a Scottish General election. Short of suspending the Scottish parliament, there is no way the London can prevent or invalidate such a poll. As importantly, under this mechanism London cannot amend the question nor impose voting thresholds or otherwise skew the process or poll in their favour. Granted this approach probably requires some sort to electoral pact between the SNP and the Greens, but a Scottish General election fought on a single-issue manifesto – Should Scotland be an independent country? – is both practical and generally favourable to Scotland’s cause.

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    1. Seems like the Tories would be taking a big risk in denying another referendum after such drastically changed circumstances. Especially if indyref2 was essential before Brexit happened in order to negotiate continued EU membership.

      It would look completely undemocratic.

      Although I reckon we need a second question on EU membership to maximise the YES vote.

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    2. I think it would be political suicide to block another indyref. If they were going to do that, they might as well just disband the whole Scottish government and send troops in to quell unrest, since that's the moral equivalent.

      "I'm sorry but we're not going to allow you to make this democratic decision, even though your government has a mandate to ask the question, in case we get a result we don't like."

      Can you imagine the reaction, not just from Scotland but from Europe? You can't keep a country servile by denying its people democratic rights. Doesn't really matter how you dress up the denial.

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    3. To the question of WM refusing a second referendum there should also be added the question of WM refusing to acknowledge the result of a 2nd IndyRef.
      Both questions can be answered if the EU insists both that a referendum being held and accepted.
      Why should the EU do this, one reason is that it will be assisting EU citizens to remain EU citizens.
      Another reason is to punish an English Elite who set themselves on a course not just to leave the EU, not just to undermine the EU but to challenge Social Democracy in Europe and the post 1945 settlement.

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    4. Can you imagine the reaction, not just from Scotland but from Europe? You can't keep a country servile by denying its people democratic rights. Doesn't really matter how you dress up the denial.

      I don't see why Europe would give a shit. Catalonia actually voted for independence and Madrid have got away with ignoring the result.

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  7. "The brutal truth is that since the Section 30 amendment to the Scotland Act 1998 (pursuant to IndyRef1) a referendum on independence is clearly outwith the competence of the Scottish parliament."

    Not true.

    The section 30 amendment was only passed to clear up any possible doubts, since all other legislation on the issue was completely unclear.

    Basically, no-one knew the answer, so they dodged having to ask the question.

    Now, that doesn't stop Westminster from reserving the power to hold referendums in the future, but that would be a brave move.

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    1. No the Section 30 order amended Schedule 5 of the Scotland Act 1998

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  8. James Kelly has no need to apologise. Nicola Sturgeon has not “modified her position” in any way. To believe that one would have to suppose that she thought there was a serious possibility of her Brexit proposals coming to something. We can be sure that the First Minister knows perfectly well that those proposals would be rejected by the UK Government. although even she may have been slightly taken aback by the disrespectful haste with which Theresa May summarily rejected the Scottish Government’s submission.

    This was not a change of direction. It was simply a necessary stage on the journey to #indyref2.

    There was never any doubt about whether there would be another independence referendum. It was always going to happen. It was only a question of what events would be the main drivers. If it hadn't been Brexit, it would have been something else. The British state could be absolutely relied upon to provide grounds for a new vote. Indeed, it could very reasonably be argued that they did so even without the whole Brexit fiasco.

    Ever since that fateful day in September 2014, I have been stressing that the Yes movement faced two distinct but related campaigns. I'd explain, but I really can't be bothered editing down to some arbitrary character limit.

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  9. The principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples was considered important enough in 1945 to be put into article 1 of the foundation document of the United Nations, its Charter. In other words, any noises from the Usual Suspects about having to have "permission" from Westminster for another referendum on independence - an exercise in national self-determination - are based on either ignorance or duplicity.

    I don't think you should apologise either, James - I think we're aware that all possible options short of independence are going to be rejected, given the nature of the current regime in Westminster, but we, or the people we elected to represent us, cannot not try.

    I don't think you need to apologise either, James, because we know that Nicola Sturgeon would prefer independence, but is duty bound, by the result of the 2014 referendum, to put forward options that fall short of that. "Least worst option" is not what anyone would call a ringing endorsement.

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  10. If May is stupid enough to not grant a referendum, then UDI would be an option if we can get EU to recognise us as an independent country.

    I'm sure other countries would also recognise us, Russia and China might just to wind up the uk.

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  11. Glasgow Working Class 2December 22, 2016 at 5:00 PM

    Scotland is an independent nation in a Union with England. You Nat sis would end this agreement because of your hatred of England. You would prostrate our people to anyone including the impovernment and economic collapse of the nation. Go for a referendum scumbags. Do it now ya weasel cowards.

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    1. Good for you, sticking to your script. CyberBrit HQ would demand nothing less, of course..

      Delete
    2. Glasgow Working Class 2December 22, 2016 at 7:11 PM

      Knickerless will be resident in an old folks home wearing her frumpy shoulder padded attire and the Union will still be going strong.

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    3. It has taken you eleven hours to reply. You should be drummed out of the stalkers union. (I know you like unions. And stalking.)

      Delete
  12. The treaty of the union of parliments was signed by both parliments as equal partners. Either one could could cancel this at any tine. No treaty last for ever.

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  13. Sorry, there should only be one could.

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  14. The next indy referendum will make things crystal clear to doubting Scots.
    A vote for continuing the present constitutional arrangements will be a vote to permit Westminster absolute control of our affairs.
    When they talk about taking back control from Europe they mean to London and the idea that any of the "devolved" administrations will get new powers from the Tories is complete fantasy.
    Quite the opposite in fact,a failed second referendum will mean Holyrood having even less say than at present and certainly no say over the repeal of Human Rights etc.
    The decision as to whether Westminster agrees to be bound by indy2 is a political decision for them and they will have to weigh up the consequences of that decision.
    It is an entirely political decision and nothing to do with "legal" positions.

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    Replies
    1. Glasgow Working Class 2December 22, 2016 at 9:06 PM

      The Nat sis will know exactly what another NAW vote will mean. Resignations and inflated pensions payed to Nat si wasters. Even the Nat si supporters cannot expect taxpayers being fleeced by non producing political opportunist wasters.
      The Scottish parliament is a lesser gravy train than the EU but both not required.

      Delete
    2. Good for you, sticking to your script. CyberBrit HQ would demand nothing less, of course..

      Delete
    3. Westminster Twattering Class 2December 23, 2016 at 8:22 AM

      Hoots jings ma boab you jockies! I'm as scowteesh as the rest of yowse and not some simpleton tory making a complete twat of themselves for the 1000th time on here.

      Westminster isn't a corrupt cesspit of incompetents at all because Cameron, Blair, Brown and May are all the proof you need of that.

      PMSL

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  15. Nadine's drinking again and pretending she's from Glasgow. Weird girl!

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    1. Potty Lotty the Daily Mail SimpletonDecember 23, 2016 at 8:24 AM

      Theresa May's #WinterOfDiscontent

      Growing industrial action

      Prison riots

      Brexit chaos

      NHS and social care crisis

      Tory disunity

      Delete
  16. As a yes voter who is slowly becoming disenfranchised with the SNP ... drifting towards a no. Fed up of referendums. Will just create chaos. They solve nothing. Are the SNP going to know the relationship between and the rest of uk. Scotland and eu prior to Indy 2. I would doubt it. And that being the case the dangers are too great. They stop going on about eu and refs. (Voted remain but have no great love of EU).they need to govern well and be bravewith the powers they have.

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    1. *CONCERN TROLL KLAXON*
      *CONCERN TROLL KLAXON*
      *CONCERN TROLL KLAXON*

      Flippin' heck, that concern troll klaxon is loud.

      Delete
    2. As a committed Unionist who is slowly becoming disenfranchised with Westminster... drifting towards a Yes.Fed up of lack of democratic accountability......................................

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    3. Most people are not "unionists" or "nationalists" outwith these wee bubbles. Last ref ,
      Yip. Seemed good idea. Do things different and better more connected to people. However they have done nothing with new powers. No grand plan how to change things. Just stick with Tory budget with tiny tinkering ... sad but I no longer see what Would change ...

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    4. When Independent you don't tinker with loose change. That is why you need Independence first. After Independence the SNP may not be in charge.

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    5. Oops. Not a very subtle Britnat contribution above. Must try harder - 3/10

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    6. So independence is 5 years away minimum. Time we have the vote then the 2 year transition. So in the meantime nothing can be done. Brill.

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    7. Glasgow Working Class 2December 23, 2016 at 10:49 PM

      In five years time there will be loadsa merr pensioners who will vote for the Union. The youngsters will be leaving in their droves for work.

      Delete
    8. Good for you, sticking to your script. CyberBrit HQ would demand nothing less, of course..

      Delete
  17. Actually I'd say the first consideration when people vote in Scotland is the independence question, which is why the SNP is doing so well, and why unionist voters are coalescing round the Tories despite their scaly appearance and actions down south. I don't see it unpolarising, if that's the word, until the question is settled.

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  18. Glasgow Working Class 2December 23, 2016 at 8:34 PM

    James, where did you get the notion we are being taken out of the EU against our will? You may recall it was an all UK election.

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    1. Yes, we know you think the UK is England, but we don't.

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    2. There are two Kingdoms in the Union whether GWC likes it or not. The question may have been paraphrased as a UK one but the substance most definitely was not. Neither was the election materials handed out by both Leave and Remainers as these were country specific, except of course in England which had UK pamphlets.

      Substance over Form is a legal convention which seeks to look through the legal trickery to the nub of the matter. In this case the real question was whether the Kingdom of Scotland should remain or leave the EU.

      Suck it up GWC

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    3. Glasgow Working Class 2December 24, 2016 at 12:02 AM

      So you are saying the Scottish people are stupid and did not understand the question or the issues and the English had a head start. You Nat sis do steep into and suck up your own misery and failure. And Conan use your xmas hairdressing vouchers and release your potential!

      Delete
    4. You're a real thiko (aussie for thick as a brick) GWC. Must be getting in touch with your tory side. You need to read the answerand understand it not just rant like a nuttal.

      Merry Xmas. I'm looking forward to the SC judgement in the new year.

      Delete
    5. Glasgow Working Class 2December 24, 2016 at 11:08 AM

      We say thick as shite here in Sconie Boatland. And a Merry Xmas tae you.

      Delete
    6. Good for you, sticking to your script. CyberBrit HQ would demand nothing less, of course..

      Delete
    7. The Kingdom of Scotland and Kingdom of England were extinguished by the Act of Union, forming one Kingdom. The word 'union' is a bit of a misnomer to be honest. What happened in 1707 was actually a merger.

      Delete
  19. This Scotland would be another Greece opinion keeps cropping up. In what way is Scotland like Greece?:
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C0Q86xhXgAAmlsN.jpg

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    1. Well,of course,Scotland is nothing like Greece.Its just their way of trying to scare us into thinking we're to useless to run our own country.

      Delete
    2. Glasgow Working Class 2December 24, 2016 at 11:15 AM

      You need a currency and a central bank tae run a country. But of course you could run the country badly and impoverish our people. Anything is better than the Union and the GBP.

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    3. I'll just leave this here

      http://www.maxkeiser.com/2014/09/yes-an-independent-scotland-would-have-the-highest-gdp-per-capita-in-the-world-a-no-vote-is-asinine/

      The reality is very different from too poor

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    4. Glasgow Working Class 2December 24, 2016 at 9:17 PM

      Max Bygraves was a great entertainer with songs like you are a pink toothbrush and I am a blue tooth brush also you need hands! And I do watch RT for a laugh. The voice of the former Soviet Union in the West. Take yer heid oot of yer pouch Kangaroo.

      Delete
    5. Just at thought. I was watching 'Nobel', probably on I player when a character said something like:

      We didn't become the richest country in the world by accident.

      Folk like you, GWC2 will ensure we never get there. Happy now?

      Suck your loyalism up.

      On seconds thoughts, just piss off.

      Delete
    6. Glasgow Working Class 2December 25, 2016 at 11:37 AM

      The Scottish rich are getting richer under Scottish Nat si rule so what is your complaint fash bhoy! And Nobel did do well with his Ardeer Scottish factory. More food banks and poor on the streets under Nat si rule no wonder the Tories are in envy.

      Delete
    7. The Scottish rich? Ah, you mean the Anglo-Scot aristos. Who are thriving under Westminster rule indeed.

      As they always have since 1707.

      Delete
    8. Glasgow Working Class 2December 25, 2016 at 11:26 PM

      Seems the Jock Nat sis in Westminster are licking the cream while their Nat si pals in Holyrood are making the cream. Great being a Nat si!

      Delete
    9. Good for you, sticking to your script. CyberBrit HQ would demand nothing less, of course..

      Delete
    10. Glasgow Working Class 2December 26, 2016 at 12:16 PM

      Is it policy in Nat si ranks to ignore their ownTory Thatcherite policies? Scotland is more to the right anytime since the fifties.

      Delete
    11. #snivellingyoon #impotentrage

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  20. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  21. Scotland ultimately knows what side its bread is buttered on. I find it doubtful there will be another referendum, but, if there is one, the unionists will win. So go ahead nationalists, make my decade.

    Oh and Merry Christmas.

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    1. "The undecideds and the bottlers will put it in the back of the net for 'remain'. I'm sure Cameron also has a few tricks up his sleeve to deploy in the dying days of the campaign."

      Aldo


      and a happy new year :D

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    2. My record on predicting indyrefs is so far 100% accurate.

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  22. Glasgow Working Class 2December 27, 2016 at 11:01 PM

    I think the cunning plan by the Nat sis has failed. The Unionists can endure their constant moanin and hard done tae stories.
    Labour has to concentrate in exposing the Nat si shambolic lie that they are different when actually they are embracing Tory Thatcherite policies.
    Real socialists need to convince the defectors to the fash Nat sis that they got it wrong and do not have to fear speaking up. 2017 should be the year the Nat sis are exposed. Forward with socialism Santa Clause and the New Year. Och aye ra noo up yer kilts and best wishes tae all in the New Year.

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    Replies
    1. #snivellingyoon #impotentrage

      Delete
  23. Glasgow Working Class 2December 28, 2016 at 8:48 PM

    Impotent is self descriptive for you Nat sis. Totally useless and cannot get it up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. #snivellingyoon #impotentrage

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