Tuesday, January 29, 2019

The UDI that dares not speak its name

As you may have noticed, I've recently been getting pelters in pretty much equal measure from both the "let's postpone Indyref2 indefinitely" people and the "UDI next Wednesday" people.  If I was Sarah Smith, I'd breezily tell you that this shows I must be getting the balance just about right.  But I'm not Sarah Smith, so I'll take a moment to respond substantively to the latest meltdown.

I defended Peter A Bell to the hilt in my last blog, and Peter being Peter, he was not at all happy about it.  In fact that's the understatement of the century - so far he's posted nineteen tweets on the subject, most of them highly abusive, and just for good measure I awoke to an abusive email from him this morning as well.

Here are the nineteen tweets in full.  Make yourself a cup of tea and put your feet up, because we're going to be here for a while.

Tweet #1: "I note that James Kelly (Scot Goes Pop) persists in peddling lies."

Tweet #2: "It's bad enough we have British Nationalists misrepresenting the views of Yes activists without self-proclaimed independence bloggers joining in."

Tweet #3: "I will be posting this at intervals until James Kelly (Scot Goes Pop) removes the lies."

Tweet #4: "Actually, I may keep on posting this even if James Kelly does remove the lies. People should know he's a lying wee s***e."

Tweet #5: "James Kelly (Scot Goes Pop) asserts the right to lie about me while blocking me so I can't respond to his lies. In my eyes that makes him a despicable a******e."

Tweet #6: "This lying little t*** has had ample opportunity to remove the lies from his blog. Apparently, he doesn't care that people know he's a lying c***."

Tweet #7: "This piece of s*** also lied about @CraigMurrayOrg. But at least Craig was able to respond. Kelly has me blocked so I can't expose his lies. How's that working for you, you lying wee nyaff?"

Tweet #8: "This will be getting posted all day every day until that lying b****** James Kelly removes his lies from his website."

Tweet #9: "James Kelly (Scot Goes Pop) is a verminous liar."

Tweet #10: "James Kelly (Scot Goes Pop) continues to decline my invitation to remove the lies from his blog."

Tweet #11: "James Kelly (Scot Goes Pop) is a brazen liar. I have NEVER advocated UDI. Quite the contrary. Please ignore the lying little a******e."

Tweet #12: "UPDATE: James Kelly (Scot Goes Pop) is still a lying f*****t."

Tweet #13: "James Kelly (Scot Goes Pop) isn't only a liar. He's also an arrogant p**** who imagines he has a right to maliciously misrepresent others' views with impunity."

Tweet #14: "Just checked and @JamesKelly (Scot Goes Pop) still hasn't removed the lies about me from his website. Maybe I need to write an article letting everybody know what a despicable liar this little creep is."

Tweet #15: "Will it ever dawn on @JamesKelly that he can't get away with lying. He'll be exposed."

Tweet #16: "I wonder how many other people @JamesKelly has lied about. I ignore his lying blog and only found out the wee **** was lying about me through a third party."

Tweet #17: "If lying little s*** @JamesKelly imagines there's an end to this, he doesn't know me. I detest liars. Particularly those that claim to be part of the independence movement. I have time. I won't let up."

Tweet #18: "If there's anything worse than a liar it's a stupid liar. Somebody who tells pointless lies which are bound to be exposed. Somebody like @JamesKelly (Scot Goes Pop)."

Tweet #19: "It is evident that @JamesKelly (Scot Goes Pop) has never read anything that I've written. And yet the arrogant p**** thinks he's qualified to represent my views."

And here's the email...

Subject line: "Liar"

Text: "Just to let you know I'll be Tweeting about what a lying piece of s*** you are for the foreseeable future.

Peter A Bell"

And this, remember, is his reaction to a blogpost in which I defended him.  The mind boggles as to how he'd have reacted if I'd been mildly critical.  You've gotta love Peter, he's a national treasure.

Now, somewhere in that mountain of repetitive text you may have spotted the actual substance of his complaint (it's not easy to pick out, I know).  Essentially he's claiming that I was wrong to say he supports a unilateral declaration of independence (UDI) for Scotland.  But his denial might have a tad more credibility if he hadn't made it from a Twitter account that is currently named "Peter A Bell #DissolveTheUnion". Yes, folks, Peter A Bell is a strong and passionate supporter of UDI, but he just calls it something else and is apparently furious that I won't play along with his little fiction.

In November, I took part in an edition of the Through a Scottish Prism podcast with Peter, in which he helpfully set out his support for UDI in the following unambiguous terms -

"At some point somebody's got to do something bold and decisive, and there's nobody else who can do that but Nicola Sturgeon.  So if you're asking about when, I would say in the next two months...I think it'll have to be in the next two months...I have actually stopped talking for the most part, I sometimes get led into it...rather than talking about a referendum, I would rather talk about action to resolve the constitutional issue, and leave that open as to what form that action takes.  And there are a number of ways that that can go.  I've made no secret of the fact that my favoured course of action would be for Nicola Sturgeon, and I'm just going to state this very briefly now, Nicola Sturgeon stands up in Holyrood and says that because of this, that and the next thing, we've decided that we will dissolve the union on such-and-such a date, subject to a referendum on such-and-such a date."

Neither the Scottish government, nor the Scottish Parliament, has the legal power to "dissolve the union".  There is no debate to be had over that - it is simply a fact.  Therefore if the action Peter is proposing is taken, it would inescapably amount to a unilateral declaration of independence.  Peter is somewhat elliptical in his writings about the exact basis for his contention that this preferred form of UDI is not UDI at all, but from what I can gather it relates to the oft-heard belief that the Treaty of Union is something that the Scottish Parliament can simply decide to repeal at any moment of its choosing, in which case the union ceases to be in force and there is nothing to declare independence from, unilaterally or otherwise.  That, not to put too fine a point on it, is complete and utter garbage.  The parties to the Treaty of Union no longer exist, other than in the singular form of the United Kingdom Parliament and government.  The present-day Scottish Parliament is not a continuation of the pre-1707 parliament.  It draws its legal authority wholly and exclusively from an Act of the UK Parliament, and that Act specifically withholds powers related to the constitution.  (And the legal authority of the UK Parliament to withhold those powers derives from the Treaty of Union itself, which invested the UK Parliament with all of the powers of the pre-1707 Scottish Parliament.)

As Craig Murray has pointed out, UDI can often be a highly effective course of action, because if enough states recognise such a declaration, the domestic legal position effectively becomes redundant.  But a spade is still a spade, and UDI is still UDI.  So, no, I regret to inform Peter that the accurate observations in my previous blogpost will not be deleted.  On the plus side, that doubtless means I can look forward to being entertained by his wonderfully abusive tweets on a daily basis for weeks (perhaps years?) to come.

A couple of miscellaneous points: as Peter 'alludes' to (ahem), Craig Murray did indeed make a small correction to something I said in the blogpost about him, but I'm not sure that the correction has quite the cosmic significance that Peter is making out.  I said that Craig is not in favour of a referendum, but Craig pointed out that he is not opposed to a referendum.  He expects Westminster to refuse a Section 30 order, and wants Nicola Sturgeon to respond to that refusal by setting in motion a process that will lead to UDI.

Secondly, Peter has been banging on for weeks about how I've supposedly "blocked" him from posting comments on this blog, and as you can see he's now complaining that this means he hasn't been able to "expose" my "lies".  I've explained this before and it looks like I'll have to explain it many, many more times before it finally penetrates his skull: not only is it untrue that I have blocked him from posting comments, it would be physically impossible for me to block him even if I wanted to.  The facility to block individual commenters does not exist on this blogging platform - the only way of doing it would be to block all comments from everyone.  My guess is that he encountered a technical glitch when trying to post a comment and has jumped to a wild conclusion.

*  *  *

Scot Goes Pop fundraiser: If you'd like to help this blog continue during what could be an epic few months ahead, just a reminder that last year's fundraiser is still very much open for donations, and hasn't reached the target figure yet.

58 comments:

  1. Maybe he means you have him blocked on Twitter? (I don't know if you do or don't.)

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    1. No, he's been making quite an issue about how he's supposedly blocked from posting comments on Scot Goes Pop.

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    2. LOL!

      Seriously?

      What with the amount of drivel we get from GWC, he thinks *HE* is toxic enough to get banned?

      I know I've had a couple of posts deleted (and I'd like an explanation on that, unless it triggered a massive fight that I slept through), but mostly this site has an almost non-existent moderation policy.

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    3. It doesn't have a non-existent moderation policy. I can walk you through the policy if you want, but things have reached the point where I often have to delete more than a dozen comments a day, mostly for extreme language. To be perfectly honest I can't recall whether or why I deleted any comments from you. The comments system on Blogger is notoriously 'buggy', so it's not totally impossible it was a technical glitch - comments have disappeared into the ether in the past. One thing I can say with confidence, though, is that I did not delete any comments from Peter A Bell at the time he started complaining about being "blocked". And I am 99% certain that I have never deleted any comments from him at any other time either. He was never a regular commenter, so I'm pretty sure I'd remember doing that.

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    4. Almost non-existent != non-existent.

      You do seem pretty relaxed about most things here. I'm surprised you're getting that much crap, unless the viagra-sellers have beaten the captcha.

      But this *is* increasing my belief that GWC is you ;-)

      The comment in question was the one where I asked "What does 'ahead of public opinion' mean?" If you don't want to get into that conversation in public, I'll understand.

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    5. Nah son me and James only share the same first name which is a good name. We differ in politics and that is a good thing. I am a socialist and James has drifted to the right with the SNP Tory, Lib and Labour opportunists.

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    6. Poor Cordelia thinks it's a socialist. Hilarious.

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  2. James as a long time admirer of your polling analysis it is with sadness that I now find myself bemused in regards to your misinterpretation of UDI.
    As a long term advocate of udi (since 1979 - when democracy was ignored by London)I find your so-called illegality doctrine to be misguided at best.
    For the record, and without taking sides, I can confirm that Peter was resistant to my advocacy to Udi prior to indyref1 and cant believe that the frustrations experienced by Scotland since would have changed his mind.

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    1. But they have. As you can see, I've quoted his exact words to avoid any doubt: he wants Nicola Sturgeon to announce that she has "decided to dissolve the union", something which she has no legal power to do. There is no question whatsoever that that would amount to a unilateral declaration of independence (if such a decision was implemented).

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    2. James I think you are both correct though it seems you are both not listening to each other. eg. you are correct in that the first minister cant overturn the current domestic law (statutary) in legal terms however Peter is correct in that the first minister could lawfully (International) propose abrogation of the union treaty without recourse to domestic statuatory law.

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    3. That's quite a slippery point. If you're arguing that UDI could be effective and could gain legal legitimacy after the fact due to international recognition (as was the case with Slovenia, for example), then fine, I'm not disputing that. But that doesn't change the fact that what Peter is proposing would indeed be UDI, and that's the nub of the issue. In fact, practically the definition of UDI is to step outside the domestic legal framework and to seek recognition from foreign governments.

      So Peter, and indeed you, are quite wrong to pretend that unilaterally "dissolving the union" wouldn't amount to UDI. Frankly, I can't see the point in this cosmetic attempt to 'rebrand' UDI anyway - it's not as if foreign governments aren't going to be fully aware of what's happening.

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    4. James, speaking for myself I have no wish/need to rebrand UDI. I was just stating the obvious which is that domestic law is overseen and subservient to International law in particular the codicil of laws governing Treaties hence my reference to abrogating the union treaty and rendering the acts of union redundant as they only hold in domestic law whilst the treaty that birthed them is extant.
      Now James can you please research my non-slippery point and open your mind to my interpretation which you will find is shared by many independent observers.

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    5. In August 1914, Britain declared war on Germany. War is something done by Declaration, because it does not require the agreement of the other party. However, when it was announced that there would be an Armistice from the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, this was an "Announcement", not a "Declaration", because Germany had agreed.

      When I declared my house a smoke-free zone, that was a Declaration. I did not consult my neighbours. I did not ask anybody likely to visit my house if that would be okay. I just declared that, if they were visiting my house, and they wanted to smoke, they would have to go outside.

      Declarations are ALWAYS "unilateral". Saying "unilateral declaration" is like saying "wet water". The first word is superfluous.

      So, what's the point of this stupid expression?

      The expression "UDI" was invented in 1965. It did not exist at all before that year. I was in my mid-20s, and I was already a "veteran" of five years in the British armed forces, when the expression "UDI" was first invented. I can remember the exact circumstances of it being invented very well. There was a lot of talk in the press and media about a "Unilateral Declaration of Independence" by the racist government of the apartheid regime in Rhodesia.

      Rhodesian "UDI" did in fact happen. But in the end the country got into such a mess, they had to ask the British Government to step in to help to sort it out. As a result. "UDI" carries connotations of both illegality and failure.

      But, of course, there have been other Declarations of Independence. Most famously, the one whose anniversary gets elebrated every Fourth of July. That one doesn't carry connotations of illegality and failure. Why not?

      The answer to the question, "why not?", is because, although the British Government refused to recognise that Declaration of Independence to begin with, it nevertheless succeeded. Within ten years, a lawyer from Boston, Massachusetts, was presenting his credentials to King George as the first Ambassador of the USA, and even lawyers in London were producing proofs that it had all been perfectly legal all along.

      But of course it was "unilateral". Declarations are ALWAYS unilateral. "UDI" is like saying "wet water". It's a bloody idiotic expression, and the only reason for using it is to link a Declaration with the Rhodesian failure, instead of with the American success. Stop it. Stop playing the game according to rules laid down by agents of the British State. Stop talking about UDI. It's stupid.

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  3. If a Section 30 is not automatically given in response to a request from the Scottish parliament supported by a majority of MSPs, then the UK isn't a democracy, but an English fascist state. There is no pretending otherwise.

    The British parliament automatically grants Section 30's, only the English parliament would be refusing one.

    Let's not talk about 'the UK' refusing a Section 30. Scotland is one half of the UK, so the UK can't refuse a Section 30, only England* can.

    And if it is, then the 'democratic' union is over and it has been replaced be aggressive colonial fascism.

    ---

    *Scotland is not in direct legal union with Wales and N. Ireland.

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  4. James, you should be ashamed of the lies you are peddling on your HATE BLOG!*

    *Only kidding :)

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  5. It's a shame to have had such aggressive tweets to your account from P Bell. I don't want to see pro independence people/bloggers/commenters coming out with such bile. I blocked Bell a while ago, on twitter, seemed to become unblocked ( it happens weirdly, but usually it's Britnats accounts) so blocked again before reading this post today. Can't remember what he said but it doesn't tally with what I view as particularly valid or helpful for the independence movement, for want of a better word.

    As for UDI, it would surely be a very last resort if at all, it would be resisted violently by the Britnat gov in London.

    We can't all agree all of the time, but being civil is what we should aim for, so I am sticking with Scotgoespop for now!

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  6. I don't need to read about PA BELL to know he can be an A-hole whenever the mood takes him but he's on our side so just ignore him. BTW, we have our share of mentally challenged anal sphincters but the Brits have the lion's share by a long stretch.

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    1. Stevie, you must have a loose anal sphincter.

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    2. That part of men's bodies is of special interest to Cordelia. Especially after a bottle or two of cauliflower brandy. Strange lady.

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    3. It is clearly somewhere you would like the boabie implanted.

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    4. Cordelia darling. I know it's your fervent desire. After a few doubles.

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  7. There should be an annual award for fanatic Jock Fascists. I nominate big Hetty and Scottish skier for consideration.

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    1. Poor Cordelia must have been bevvying all afternoon.

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  8. We should not fixate on S30 (or on UDI, with its historical undemocratic connotations, whatever the precise definition).

    S30 is simply a procedure under the Scotland Act by which the Scottish Parliament may be given, by the Privy Council in London, a power which it does not normally have. It can provide a mechanism, as by referendum, for ascertaining the will of the Scottish electorate, on a matter normally reserved to Westminster. That mechanism thereby functions within the terms of UK domestic law.

    In constitutional terms, however, the mechanism as such is not important. What is important, for a decision on independence, is that the decision be made legally, democratically and peacefully, otherwise independence would be unlikely to gain international recognition (in addition the obvious purely domestic pitfalls).

    If S30 was the only method by which Scotland could make the choice, that would have the necessary but absurd consequence that even if every single resident from Unst to the Mull of Galloway wanted independence, London could prevent it by autocratic diktat. That would be absurd, not only self-evidently, but because no UK government maintains that the union persists by anything other than consent.

    If Scotland withdraws its consent by a legal, democratic and peaceful decision, by whatever means, its exit from the union cannot be legitimately frustrated. No legal restrictions set up within the union (e.g. limitations on the power of the Scottish Parliament) can operate to prevent such a Scottish exit, because the move to independence is of a higher order, and due to the absurdity described.

    A referendum under Section 30 should be tried again, not because of any inherent advantage, but because it was by this method that Scotland rejected independence in 2014, and reversing that decision should ideally be by the same process.

    But London’s refusal of consent would open the way for other means, equally democratic, legal and acceptable, such as an election under a clear manifesto of independence, on which London would have no say whatsoever. Notwithstanding the fixed-term nature of Holyrood, the Scottish Government could use existing procedures under the Scotland Act to bring about an election at a time of its choosing.

    Accordingly, if and when the Scottish Government seeks permission for a fresh referendum, its request should include a statement that if permission was not forthcoming within a certain time, the alternative route of an election would be taken. That would be unimpeachable, so much so indeed, that the warning itself might be enough to bring London around.

    It is a waste of breath to blame Scotland’s non-independence on anyone but ourselves. The means are in our own hands entirely. The only way to show we are worthy of independence is to choose it.

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    1. Completely agree. If a section 30 order is not granted and in response the SNP does not initiate a referendum that it is its power to do so then it is the SNP who are blocking the route to Independence.

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    2. Big Hecky frae the RenfrewJanuary 29, 2019 at 7:08 PM

      Shouldn't that be Alan Crackpot?

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  9. Refusal of a Section 30 would be an English stab right through the heart of Scottish-British unionism.

    It would kill the union, for there can be no union unless it is by consent.

    How could unionists ever face voters on the doorsteps after stripping them of free democracy? What are they going to say ‘Vote for us because you’ve no choice any more’?

    You cannot support / campaign for a union when voters don’t have the choice to be in it. What are you campaigning for? A ballot that only has the options of 'Unionism, Unionism or Unionism' on it?
    No Section 30 means democracy is over; there is no need for elections. Why have elections when your only option is unionism? Your vote becomes pointless. Are we going to do the sort of thing Saddam did and have counts where unionism wins 100% of the vote? All hail our glorious union!

    Refusal of a Section 30 kills the UK. Unionists should fear a section 30 refusal far more than nationalists, for it would kill the unionist dream stone dead. British unity utterly finished.

    At the same time, it would fan the flames of independence like never before. The nats would be ‘right about everything'. All the supposed 'tinfoil hat' claims of a colonial, anti-democratic UK would be absolutely true.

    There seems to be an idea going around (on both sides) that Westminster can just say 'We are ending democracy – No Section 30' and somehow that would be the nats stuffed and the glorious union safe. This is utter fantasy. Nope, that would be the UK having taken the gestapo jackboot path and there's no stepping off it. If a section 30 is refused then we are into fascism and all that entails.

    I don’t believe we will face that, although the further we progress with brexit, the more likely fascism becomes.

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  10. The Scottish claim of rights is that the people are sovriegn, The English claim of right is that the English parliament is sovriegn. Both these happened before the treaty of union and were upheld in the treaty. This was upheld by a vote in Westminster in July 2018 unanamously. No votes against but a lot of MPS did not turn up.

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    1. England has not had a parliament since 1707. The Scottish ruling class scuppered the English parliament by joining the Union. The Scottish people for the first time in history voted to remain in the Union. Go for UDI Nat sis and see how it ends. Up yer kilt. Knob end.

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    2. She's drinking again, folks. Poor Cordelia.

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    3. Cordelia, there, once again sharing entirely too much of its bizarre and degraded fantasy life.

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  11. This person appears unhinged and is probably best avoided, I would suggest, James. I don’t imagine much would be lost by simply not including reference to him at all.

    But if I could suggest a compromise: it might be fair to add a footnote to the blog post simply acknowledging the fact that he claims he doesn’t support UDI alongside your quote which demonstrates the basis for saying that he does, and let the reader decide.

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    1. For what it's worth, I agree with Donald. He has written an article declaring that UDI is 'inappropriate and inapplicable' https://peterabell.blog/2019/01/19/stfu-about-udi/

      Yes, I've read what you think about it James but he has a different view. As far as I can see, he thinks UDI is something similar to what Catalonia attempted, and acknowledging that our position is contitutionally similar to theirs. He is arguing that the constitutional settlement of the UK is different (a fact which seems to be readily acknowledged, ironically, by Spain).

      It would be fair to point this out.

      But that does not excuse his behaviour and language. He has a fine mind, but is in danger of becoming a liability to the movement if he doesn't get a grip.

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    2. 'Unilateral declaration of independence' is a remarkably self-explanatory collection of words. Is what Peter is proposing a declaration? Yup. Would it be unilateral? Yup. Would the aim be to make Scotland an independent country? Yup. No box is left unchecked.

      The UK does have different constitutional arrangements from Spain, in the sense that there isn't a constitutional bar on independence. But that doesn't change the fact that only Westminster has the legal power to repeal the Act of Union.

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  12. Looks like we are oot the EU. The Jock and fellow EU knee crawlers have lost. Can we expect the Irish to return to the good old homeland.

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    1. Rear-Admiral Ranulph G. ScatterpouchJanuary 29, 2019 at 11:42 PM

      Cordelia and Niko up a tree,
      K.I.S.S.I.N.G

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    2. Niko's pro-independence now.

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    3. Rear-Admiral Ranulph G. ScatterpouchJanuary 30, 2019 at 9:46 PM

      A marriage made in Hell.

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    4. Niko and Cordelia could still exchange notes on their loathing of the SNP. Niko hasn't changed his views on that; merely on the constitutional question.

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    5. I have no loathing for the SNP just pity. They are Tories, libs, Labour and Greens. All Tories and screwing the working classes. Have to get back to the sink.

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    6. In its usual state of utter confusion mixed with turps, Cordelia seems to have conveniently forgotten that it's been calling the SNP Nazis for years.

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  13. I commented on Peter's blog that he was being unfair. It's gone!

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  14. I went to his blog for first time to read his weird post - very weird indeed - real "Lucky I didn't tell them about the dirty knife" stuff. If the guy cant even email you and say "you've made a mistake..." but instead goes into a rage - why on earth would I give any credence to anything he says? What kind of Scotland does this Thinker. Listener. Talker. Reader. Writer. envisage - one devoid of basic respect and manners? If he analyses, what is at worst, a difference of interpretation as a lie and an assault why would anyone give any time to his analysis of anything political?

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  15. I see MPs have backed everyone in England getting a free unicorn with the f'n krauts and frogs having to pay for it, while paddy can go stuff himself.

    Now let's see what the EU thinks of this proposal.

    ---

    Incidentally, I asked around at work / among friends from across the globe, and it turns out nobody anywhere outside of England uses the term 'mother of parliaments' in reference to Westminster. They were all like 'WTF are you on about?'. A quick google check and, aye, same result.

    Mind you, folks won't even be able to use it in England if a Section 30 isn't given. Obviously.

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    1. Poor Cordelia, hammered and vomiting racial abuse again.

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    2. Poor Cordelia, hammered and vomiting racial abuse again.

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  16. What would be the constitutional situation if the UK Parliament (or to give it its correct title,the English Parliament) was suspended and the government introduced martial law and rule by decree. Also if the government then moved to destablish the Scottish Parliament would not these two actions nullify the Act of Union as the UK Parliament would not be in existence and the claim of right of the Scottish people (expressed in a referendum to set up the Scottish Parliament) would be over turned therefore leading to defacto independence ?.

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    1. They would go down the pub and talk about important issues!

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    2. Poor Cordelia doesn't like to read.

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  17. The British Govt. Did nothing when Rhodesia declared UDI from the British Empire. A whites only racist regime was tolerated by London.
    Play by their rules if you like, and I'm not sure if UDI is the best tool to get us to indy.
    The UK has had it's day. Let's keep the heid while others are losing theirs.

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  18. I gave up reading Peter's stuff a long time ago, finding him patronising and misogynistic - and more than a little up his own arse.

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  19. You go offline for a couple of days and all hell breaks loose! Got a bit of catching up to do...

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  20. More drunken racism from Cordelia.
    For its next trick, it'll be screaming insults at its cat for voting Remain.

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  21. Peter Bell is now a serious liability to Independence. At a time when Independence hinges on persuading former No voters with well defined and good argument he goes around abusing everyone who doesn't bow down to his drunken ill thought out rants.

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