Saturday, March 23, 2019

The boundary between constitutional nationalism and revolutionary nationalism

A few weeks ago, I defended Jason McCann on this blog, and I entirely stand by that, because there was no doubt at all that his views had been misrepresented by the Daily Mail, and that senior people in the SNP had treated him unjustly by taking the Mail's version as read.  Nevertheless, there is a significant philosophical divergence between myself and Jason, and I've been confronted with that over the last 48 hours or so.  A couple of his friends from Ireland intervened in an exchange I had with him, and made fairly unsubtle attempts to whip up paranoia in Scotland about the extreme lengths the British state will supposedly go to in order to prevent this country becoming independent.  There were suggestions that Irish history could repeat itself here with a Bloody Sunday-style massacre of innocent civilians on the streets, or the internment of independence supporters.  Jason didn't make those comments himself, but he made no secret that he approved of them.

Now, I'm not going to tell people that they shouldn't be saying these things, because I know we're all sick to the back teeth of the holier-than-thou (and doomed) attempts from certain quarters to lecture a diverse movement on the one and only correct way to "do Yes".  But all the same, my own personal opinion is that hysterical predictions about British state violence will always be counterproductive, because I truly believe that the majority of Scottish people are not idiots, and that they know perfectly well that the British army is not going to start murdering or interning Yessers, and that they will basically just stop listening when they hear that kind of thing.

Why is internment or a military massacre unthinkable in Scotland?  Partly because it isn't 1972 anymore, and even the British state has learned a few lessons over the last half-century about its past mistakes.  But the main reason is that there is no significant history of political or communal violence in Scotland within living memory, and that is something that very obviously sets us apart from Northern Ireland.  The army wouldn't even be present at a pro-independence march - it would be a police matter, not a military one.  And even if the army were present for some inexplicable reason, there would be no pretext for them to fire on civilians, because there is no threat of violence from a pro-indy paramilitary group to use as an excuse.  By the same token, there could be no conceivable pretext for internment.

(When I pointed out these key differences between Scotland and Northern Ireland, one of Jason's Irish friends suggested that I complacently believed Scotland was immune to the state violence meted out in Ireland in the 1970s, because I think the Irish are "savages" and we are not.  Needless to say I had not said or implied anything of the sort.  To put it mildly, it was disappointing to see Jason enthusiastically applaud such cynical debating tactics, and indeed chip in with very similar remarks of his own.)

Admittedly, it's an open question as to whether Scotland would remain free of political and communal violence if we were foolish enough to heed the counsel of Jason's friends, because they clearly disapprove of the basic nature of our independence movement, which is apparently "feart" and "compliant" and full of "bottlers".  Their advice was for us to educate ourselves on "revolutionary thought" and then "mobilise" and "resist" in some non-specified way.  To me, that sounded for all the world like incitement to violence - a suspicion that was angrily denied, although they were curiously reluctant to set my mind at rest by clarifying exactly what "mobilisation" and "resistance" actually did mean.  Eventually I managed to coax one of them into offering a manifesto of sorts...

"Step 1: Extract thumb from arse
Step 2: Take to the streets
Step 3: Occupy government buildings ...we find Post Offices a good option
Step 4: Publicise your *peaceful* occupation via independent print online and social media"


I don't know whether these people have been paying attention, because if the massive pro-indy marches and rallies of recent times don't qualify as "taking to the streets", I'm not quite sure what would.  (In fairness, Irish TV coverage of our marches probably isn't that extensive.)  As for the occupation of government buildings, it may or may not be possible to do that sort of thing peacefully, but it sure as hell isn't possible to do it legally, or without needless confrontation with the authorities, or without a backlash from the vast majority of the population who would think we had completely taken leave of our senses.  Independence has made itself credible in Scotland precisely because its proponents do not strut around like Lenin plotting to overthrow the Tsar of Russia.

That, in a nutshell, is the difference between the civic/constitutional nationalism of the SNP, and the revolutionary nationalism that is part of the DNA of Sinn Féin.  (I doubt if it's any coincidence that Jason is a member of Sinn Féin but not of the SNP.)   I've always thought the best crystallisation of the SNP's approach was the answer Roseanna Cunningham gave during the 1995 Perth and Kinross by-election campaign, when she was asked by the Lib Dem candidate how she could possibly swear an oath of allegiance to the Queen when she was passionately opposed to the institution of monarchy.  She simply pointed out that the Queen is the head of state of the United Kingdom.  That may seem a nonsensical reply for someone who doesn't want there to be a Queen or a United Kingdom, but in fact it's precisely what you would expect a constitutional nationalist to say.  By swearing allegiance to the legal head of state, you are symbolically committing yourself to work within the existing constitutional arrangements to bring about the radical change you seek. Sinn Féin, of course, take the polar opposite approach - they refuse to swear allegiance to the Queen and do not take up their seats in the House of Commons, a stance which symbolises their refusal to accept the legitimacy of the existing constitutional arrangements, and their belief that the north of Ireland is occupied territory.

So which approach is better - the SNP's or Sinn Féin's? You pays your money and you takes your choice, and Jason has made the point that Sinn Féin is the only party on these islands to have ever achieved independence from England. (That's historically dubious, because the present-day Sinn Féin is not a direct legal continuation of the original party, but nevertheless it's true that the original was very much a revolutionary organisation.)  But my view is that we squander the immaculately peaceable heritage of Scotland's national movement at our peril.  It's taken us a long, long way - not quite to our desired destination just yet, but a hell of a lot further than any of us would have thought possible even ten years ago.  And most importantly of all, it's done that without the trauma of 25 years of low-grade civil war.

As we've discussed before, there may eventually be a limit to the utility of constitutional nationalism if the UK government are foolish enough to close off each and every option to achieve independence by democratic means. At that point you'd have little option but to go over the head of domestic law and look to international law instead.  But the SNP wouldn't be the SNP if they didn't exhaust every realistic option within the UK constitutional framework first.  They have not yet done so.  And even if that moment arrives, I'm struggling to see how occupying government buildings is going to be of much help.

81 comments:

  1. Glad you wrote this James. I saw the exchanges on Twitter last night and was quiet shocked. I cannot think why anyone would think deviating from the 'legal/peacful' path the SNP has taken would of resulted in anything different.

    If you want an example look at NI. Decades of violence, thousands dead which resulted in devolution, exactly what Scotland has achieved but without the human cost.

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    1. "devolution, exactly what Scotland has achieved but without the human cost."
      Wasn't that partly due to us being members of the EU?

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    2. No, NI joined the EU at the same time as Scotland as part of the UK. Its due to not going to the route of tit for tat violence

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    3. Wrong, sorry. NI is not in the EU. That's what all this fuss over the black stop is about. EU trying to enrol NI as a member against the wishes of it's people.

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    4. More boozy confusion from Cordelia. What a state.

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  2. Excellent, James. A peaceful, legal movement which succeeds by taking the majority of the country with it and expresses itself through the democratic process will create the conditions for a stable, independent state afterwards, one which even Unionists will come to accept in time. A movement which pursues its end through illegal or violent means will only birth a nation whose sectarian divisions will haunt it for generations. Also, violence *always* gives the state crackdown which inevitably follows a legitimacy it would've otherwise lacked and disables an appeal to both the wider nation and the international community. It's a dead end, in every sense.

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  3. There is violence in Ireland because the north continues to be occupied by England. It would be the same if Germany had held on to a large section of Poland after the war, claiming all the German migrants it had put there made it part of Germany.

    This violence was reduced by the GFA, which effectively put on paper a means for democratic reunification. The fact this still technically needs 'England's permission' (SoS to agree an rref) means there is still some violence because there is not 100% democratic choice. This lack of choice is stark right now, with England forcing Brexit on the province without any consultation. Not once have the people there even been consulted in a referendum on whether the backstop is acceptable to them, yet it pretty much only affects them. It’s 100% pure imperialism/colonialism.

    Scotland has not been occupied, so there is no SRA/violence. If England attempted to partition Scotland post indy, then violence would likely occur. Only Scots as a whole can vote to partition their own country. If they didn't do that, violence to stop it happening could well be justified. Same applies if democratic self-determination wasn’t possible, e.g. because England tried to forcibly supress democracy in Scotland to prevent free choice.
    If the EU partitioned and militarily occupied those areas of England that voted Remain, claiming these should stay part of the EU because that’s how they voted / they were occupied in majority by ‘European identifying people’, I imagine there would be violence there too.
    N. Ireland is an abomination. It is part of Ireland and should never have been partitioned. The entire world thinks it an abomination; only in Britain does our media try to convince us it’s sort of ok; because it’s British and the brits are the good guys. They’re just occupying a part of Ireland for the good of the savage Irish!
    Why do people think our 27 neighbours have not moved an inch on the backstop? It’s not simply a favour to a member; most of them know what it is like to have your lands occupied by an aggressive, imperial foreign power (Nazis…USSR…). They also know about walls built to split communities down the middle, ensuring the partitioning is maintained by ‘divide and conquer’ tactics. It has happened with their recent histories. Britain is the only European country still doing this type of occupation. The GFA is all that keeps the peace on this issue.

    Anyway, Scotland and N. Ireland are just not comparable. Not so long as Scots can freely choose indy and their country remains 'whole', either as part of the UK or as an independent state.

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    1. Scottish Skier, you say N Ireland and Scotland are not comparable but spend your entire comment trying to point out that they are, and that if Scotland was partitioned it too would go down the road of the gun. I think that's a hypothesis that is no way provable. There would be outrage and huge protest, certainly, but there is simply no history of violence attached to Scottish nationalism and I find it hard to believe it would spontaneously erupt if, say, Orkney or Shetland were annexed. On the other hand, Irish nationalism was already a revolutionary movement before the partition of the island. I'm in no way making a case for Northern Ireland but its creation exacerbated a war that was already underway, it did not generate it. Besides, James's blog post and my own comment were not about the specific circumstances of Northern Ireland, they were about the efficacy of violence to the independence movement, which would be precisely nil.

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    2. Given how much of what Nazi Germany did they copied off the Brits (they just did it at home, rather than in the colonies), and how much Britain is starting to resemble the early days of Nazi Germany, I'm really not surprised that the EU are being stiff.

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    3. Hi Alan, I don't believe in any form of Scottish exceptionalism (although I don't think you mean to imply that). We are just people like anyone else.

      If Scotland had to fight a war for independence, and then England occupied the borders up to the Forth Clyde valley, with military patrols, towers, 'belfast walls' and the like, I'd imagine there'd be 'troubles' too.

      The Scottish indy movement has been completely peaceful and democratic because that route remains open to it (although 'now is not the time' is worrying). It is when you close that route off to any people do you create a situation ripe for violence.

      Violence is a last resort, but it is absolutely 100% justified sometimes. Nobody would argue the allies shouldn't have used violence to oust the Nazis from Europe, and instead done this simply by peaceful protest.

      I would bloody well hope the Scots would be ready to take up arms and form a resistance should their country be occupied and subjugated by an aggressive foreign power.

      Violence is absolutely not justified however if people have free democratic choice, and we can take pride in Scotland for the indy movement being entirely peaceful because we do live in a democracy (of sorts).

      I fear 'now is not the time' as it translates as 'We are prepared to use force instead of democracy because we can't win by the latter route'. Let's not kid ourselves on about where that path leads.

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    4. I think James's point, Scottish Skier, is that Scotland could only ever find itself in a situation where it was occupied militarily if a terrorist threat from the independence movement *already existed*. There are no conceivable circumstances where the British state could justify it to itself otherwise, and I cannot imagine the UK military happily accepting deployment of forces to a part of its own island where no real threat exists. Knowing this, I think it's perfectly feasible that the movement would remain non-violent even when democratic routes have been closed down (indeed, that's the situation we're pretty much in and no-one's talking seriously about picking up a gun), if for no other reason than we have the example of N Ireland right on our doorstep and have seen, over the course of a century, how violence begets violence begets violence in a never-ending, irreconcilable death-spiral. I don't think anyone in their right mind would want Scotland to go down that route, which would make the decision by a British government to suddenly starting pointing guns at us bizarre and counter-productive to say the least. 'Now is not the time' is profoundly undemocratic, of course, but it is not even remotely the same thing as a threat of state force. Even setting aside the moral arguments, as a liberation strategy violence simply doesn't work. It can never breed a real and true peace from itself. If Ireland is ever re-united, for example, it will be because there has been a ballot in which even some N Irish Protestants have come to accept that a future with the EU and Eire will be economically preferable for their children. How persuadable are they likely to be if the IRA start another bombing campaign? Whether one feels IRA violence is morally justified or not (and, to my mind, bombing shopping centres full of innocent people simply isn't), Ireland has been partitioned for close to a hundred years, so tactically it's been a complete failure. The Scottish independence movement has observed this and learned. This idea that Scottish terrorism is simply inevitable in the face of UK intransigence just doesn't hold water for me. Look at how the Catalans have reacted with extreme restraint to extreme provocation. The indy movement in this country is arguably in a closer spiritual relationship to the Catalan one than it is to Irish nationalism.

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    5. “Even setting aside the moral arguments, as a liberation strategy violence simply doesn't work."

      My French wife would argue otherwise (WW2 resistance and allied liberation), as would the citizens of many other nations in Europe, including the people of Ireland when they mark their independence day.

      Sometimes, fire must be fought with fire. When the enemy only considers violence as the means to the end, then little choice is left. If you vote for something and the response is to impose direct rule and shoot at you, you may need to shoot back.

      But otherwise, I broadly agree and I hope I've clarified my original post. I don't think we are anywhere near this in Scotland (Catalonia is borderline, with the Spanish already overruling democracy, beating up and politically imprisoning Catalans), and the situation here vs N. Ireland (particularly pre-GFA) are really not comparable as it stands. However, that is to do with circumstances, not the people. Irish people are not inherently more prone to violence in any way. If we want to compare the number of wars the Irish have started vs the British, the Irish just can’t compare.

      We just cannot compare N. Ireland with Scotland due to England/Britain continuing to occupy that area of a neighbouring country in the former case. I personally am legally ‘British’ (as unionists love to remind me) Scottish and Irish, so from both sides of that border, and I cannot pretend it is anything other than that. This has all happened within living memory (my grandmother came from the border area and watched the British/English violently partition her country), and the violence will never truly stop until Ireland is whole again. It is not violence begetting violence; it is foreign occupation (which pushes sectarianism for divide and rule purposes) begetting violence. Sinn Fein and the SDLP are not ‘nationalists’, they are anti-foreign occupation political parties. Ireland is already a nation state; it’s just that it’s big aggressive neighbour is occupying part of it still.

      The GFA has greatly reduced violence because it created a clear democratic route for rightful reunification, in time, making it extremely difficult for any violence to be justified (not that blowing up shopping centres ever was!). England/Britain is now beginning to undo that through brexit; it’s a deliberate provocation and incitement to violence. The fringe republicans are already stirring it seems in response to Britain starting to break the GFA. Hence our 27+ neighbours are utterly horrified; 19th century aggressive imperialism returning to Europe.

      Coming back to Scotland, I personally think you are right in that the remnants of the British Empire is now too weak to try and forcibly hold onto Scotland, particularly as it is making enemies of all our neighbours. While it has used horrific violence to subjugate many peoples (including my Irish family) in living memory, it is now a shadow of its former self in terms of power and ability to wield that. The grovelling for a brexit extension shows how far it has fallen.

      However, a leopard doesn't change its spots so readily, so when we hear ‘now is not the time’ we should appreciate that Britain has said the same many times before, following which it did send in the black and tans. It is up to the UK government to demonstrate it is a changed entity, apologise for making any suggestion it would not abide by the will of Scottish people on a new iref, and state it would grant a Section 30 again without question if one is formally requested by Holyrood.

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    6. "... too weak to forcibly forcibly to hold on to Scotland...". Agreed...

      Don't' however forget that Westminster has become increasingly 'sneakier'.... I think that Theresa's / ERG Group plan is for an 'off-the-cliff exit, followed by a State of Emergency, followed by the gradual diminution of Holyrood powers ( not a 'close-down' ) so that the 'peasants' don't feel aggrieved and turn their minds to revolt..!

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  4. England/Britain is the last European country to be still occupying a large section of a neighbouring one. It is currently imposing direct rule on that disputed territory, and behaving in a way that threatens the peace deal which covers it, forcing major changes on the peoples of the province without any consultation.

    This is why our 27 neighbours are aghast and uniting behind the backstop. It isn't really about trade, or customs etc. It's about saying no to aggressive colonial behaviour within the borders of Europe; something the EU was founded to prevent.

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    1. Worth pointing out that Ireland itself doesn't agree with your analysis, and relinquished its claim on NI as part of the GFA.

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  5. Aye. If anything's going to spoil independence, it'll be the William Wallace wannabe wankers.

    The first finger you lift in violence, guess who's coming after you? Police Scotland. Then the British media. One of you will become their poster boy against independence, a figure more reviled than Alesha's killer.

    In my view, anyone who suggests an IRA-style campaign is an agent provocateur attempting to sabotage the independence campaign. If MI5 is not paying you, they should be.

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    1. Couldn't agree more. In a democracy, you just cannot ever justify the use of violent force to achieve a political aim.

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    2. Oh!, my car has run off the single-track road, therefore, I intend to shoot myself, more than once, with my pistol that is a hundred metres away.

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    3. Mandy Sparkle (Princess)March 25, 2019 at 11:10 PM

      Anonymous - that part of the road is not single track.

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  6. With the big anti Brexit march going on today been making up some charts of the main polling. You hear alot about MPs saying that they are following 'the will of the people'.

    If that is the case then none of them should be voting for us to leave, polling is clear that leaving is no longer 'the will of the people'

    Charts can be found here http://bit.ly/2UO3VB3

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  7. Get the feeling that Corbyn /McDonnell are starting to effectivly pull the strings in the Labour party. Of course they can't get rid of Corbyn (yet) but when you have Watson talking in front of a million plus people and saying that even a Labour 'deal' should go to a public vote and McDonnell coming a with a viable reason for not attending whilst Corbyn just pretends nothing is happening, you have to wonder who is calling the shots.

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  8. The steps the national movement appears to be taking is:

    1. be conservative and sensible
    2. wait for Westminster to fuck up
    3. profit

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    1. What strategy would you recommend going forwards?

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    2. It seems to be working so far... I was of the pessimistic view post indyref that the Scots needed a good boot in the haw maws from the UK government to wake up to the fact Westminster is not our friend. I am not sure we have suffered enough yet but give it time... Westminster screw ups and political assaults on the Scots now seem inevitable and the Nos will switch to Yes as a result.

      Out of interest you wouldn't happen to know what commentator said "Breaking up Britain will be too big a job for the Scots alone. It will take the English too."? I thought it was Tom Nairn in the 1970s but I can't source the quote.

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    3. Why would it be sensible to break up Britain when world wide forces of reaction are exerting themselves for political gain and moreso over the planets resources. USA, EU. China and Russia for instance. Has your hatred of the English blinkered your insight or do you have any insight on anything?

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    4. You are Lord G Robertson and I claim my feathered hat and robes with Thomas Hamilton Motif.

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    5. GWC is Jolly Jlily the Stentorian Historian. We know her better as Cordelia Bracely-Dubois.

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    6. Cordelia's boozy rages never cease to amuse. I hope it didn't hurt itself on the way back to the sobbing cupboard.

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  9. It's possibly an astonishing coincidence, but at the same time we have fake, "IRA," letter bombs all over Scotland, a gang of Oirish rabble-rousers turn up and advocate armed insurrection.

    Still, it makes a refreshing change from resurrecting the SNLA for the 40 Billionth time. MI5, what are they like?

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    1. Ma bum is sore Holy FadderMarch 24, 2019 at 10:44 PM

      Irish Catholics will bend over backwards for any priest.

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    2. More of Cordelia's sickening obsession, then. It really does need to seek professional help for its obvious disturbance.

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    3. Pretty Dawn FrimbleyMarch 25, 2019 at 7:32 PM

      "Bend over backwards"? Quite a Kama sutra position there and maybe not the most comfortable

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    4. Cordelia there, sharing the benefit of its accumulated experience.

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  10. James, I couldn't agree more with the point of this article.

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  11. Good to read this James. It is a very different situation to what happened in NI which I am sure we will all agree was dire and so destructive to people of NI. It was terrible for the people for far too long. I know, I had close friends who told me they endured having their bags searched as wee ones going to school etc. What a terrible life for people. Convenient for some though!

    There is certainly a chance that the Britnats might get nasty and not just via their state run BBC and other media/propoganda. There's such things as false flag, agent provocateurs, gas lighting, all kinds of tactics, as well as disgusting Britnat parties at Holyrood trying to create and ramp up division with their insistence that the OBFA be reversed etc. ( & the Greens what the heck?) It's all because they want power, nothing to do with protecting the people, or working in their interests.

    It's a well known fact, that any movement which seeks autonomy, or freedom from within or outside, ( see Venezeula right now) but which uses violence to get there, is viewed in a negative light. Seems simple, but, phychologically, peaceful means, peaceful protest, is much more likely to garner support from people, countries, governments etc, outside of the situation, than any violent means used. ( though again different situation but seems not to be the case with Catalonia). :-(

    The SNP are not stupid, and have possibly already been told to shut up about independence, or else, but, as the Scottish saying goes, 'slowly slowy, catchey monkey'.

    We need to stay cool, keep our eyes on the prize, be rational, and most of all, not allow anyone at all to divide those who will go to great lengths, peacefully, to gain independence for Scotland. We stand fast, remain steady as she goes as they say!

    I admire Maduro in Venezuela, for his stance against the coup by the US. They know what that means if violence breaks out, so, the people stand together, resisting divide from outside, with their democratically elected government acting as guide, not overlords.

    It's the way to go, stand firm, do the 'day job' and make sure your hive is well nourished and supported.





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    1. The Venezuelan people voted for Maduro. The Scottish people voted to remain in the Union. The USA are attempting to support a coup in Venezuela. The remainers in the UK including the Jock Fascists are attempting to overthrow the leave vote. So what is the difference between the USA and the Jock Fascists?

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    2. We also voted to remain in the EU. Now shortly it will be 5 years since that first referendum, and many now admit they fell for the lies of the UKG and the, unionist parties who were only interested in self and party, and since the law says 5 years is long enough and time to change so with so many wanting to change their minds over YES or no it is now time for a Scottish referendum, made by us and counted by us at the polling stations.

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    3. Are the Venezuelans never to be allowed another election?
      Has Maduro declared himself Dictator for Life?
      Didn't think so

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    4. WE did not vote to remain in the EU.

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    5. "Disobedient Nazis! You should always obey the will of the people's glorious leader!
      STOP LAUGHING AT ME!
      WAAAH!"

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    6. Venezuelans are bending over backwards so El Padre can pop in.

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    7. The angrier and more drunk Cordelia becomes, the more drunken sincerity about its inner fantasy life gets shared.

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  12. Plenty to read and plenty food for thought Brexit of course! Thanks for the thoughts and sated thanks for dinner all on thoughts I watched Winnie Ewing win and felt yes its started we will shake of those greedy folk of Westminster. I'd like to say the British establishment and government of the 1880,s and on till 1916, they did negotiate the trouble and when they forced a partition of Ireland by refusing to accept the plebiscite of the whole country who opted for a republic they went county by county. This was to create the false state of N.I. and they also knew that many would never give up on the six "stolen" counties so helped along the "troubles". One more point of Ulster they split that also leaving 3 counties in the Free State as gerrymandering came natural to them (GB government) as natural as opposing any Nation that sought self control and independence.

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    1. Pretty much aye.

      The British refused to accept the democratic result of the 1918 general election. They instead started killing, raping, burning and partitioning.

      What happened in Ulster was no different to e.g. Glasgow and all the bits of Scotland which voted Yes declaring independence post-2014, i.e. not accepting the result (for Scotland as a whole). That or the EU claiming / partitioning those areas of England which voted Remain, with troops as required.

      The fact that N. Ireland remains part of the UK is because Britain is not democratic. It refuses to accept the will of the people of the ancient country of Ireland to be an independent state. Instead, it occupies part of that land. It's only in Britain that the media portrays that as somehow ok; no other European nation (or beyond) sees it as acceptable. Hence the UN peace agreement brokered by the USA, and our 27+ neighbours resolve over the backstop.

      And to top it off, Britain relentlessly pushes sectarianism to maintain the divide and prevent reunification. The BBC in particularly does its best to present the entire thing as backward N. Irish catholic vs protest, with the superior English simply keeping peace between the savages.

      The troubles are ultimately nothing to do with religion. That is merely association. The primary divide is nationality, not religion. The troubles are because England is occupying a large area of Irish territory, refusing to accept democracy, and imposing direct colonial rule. Hence the UN peace agreement, which goes some way to address this relic imperial abomination.

      If it was just a domestic sectarian issue, you would not have a fucking UN international peace agreement and major trade tensions over the occupied territory.

      Britain is very much standing alone right now. Nobody supports on N. Ireland for good reason.

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  13. It is within my living memory that the British interned Irish. You say they would not do that in Scotland. I would have said the same thing about Spain...Until They Did It.

    I sincerely hope you are right. I do not have confidence in it though.

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    1. Even in Northern Ireland, the British government abandoned internment at a relatively early stage of the Troubles, because it was so obviously counter-productive - all it did was boost IRA recruitment. That lesson is so well-remembered that I very much doubt that internment would even be considered as an option in the UK unless there was a genuine national emergency (by which I mean something like imminent nuclear war or invasion).

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    2. It was Gerry Fitt who pleaded with Callaghan to send in the troops. At that time the Republicans were on a hiding. The troops being sent in was a bonus for the IRA as it kept the B Specials off their tails.

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    3. Poor Cordelia. That Domestos hangover must be nipping. The rage over a perceived slight 50 years ago is palpable.

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    4. Still thinking your erse is an orange and sucking it.

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    5. "STOP LAUGHING AT ME AND MY BIZARRE FETISHES! I HATE YOU ALL!
      WAAAAAH!"

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  14. By the way, in the US I have taken part in the occupation of government buildings as a form of protest. It is a fairly common and peaceful form of protest. The removal is not resisted except passively. I am not sure if James has followed peaceful protest in other nations, but judging by his comments, he seems not to have. It is very possible to have peaceful 'revolutionary movements'. As I know was pointed out to James, Gandhi did it. Marlin Lurther King did it. This is NOT violence.

    The history of the British reaction to peaceful protest is not particularly encouraging if you look for example to the British reaction to the Salt March, but that is the kind of thing that at some point may become necessary in Scotland unless the British goverment 'removes its thumb from its arse'.

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    1. The blogpost clearly stated that "as for the occupation of government buildings, it may or may not be possible to do that sort of thing peacefully". At no point did I suggest or imply that it is necessarily a form of violence - although I don't think it's unreasonable to point out that there are some circumstances in which it might lead to violence, whether inadvertantly or otherwise.

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  15. James I can’t helo feeling you give undue credibility to these sorts of comments by engaging them at all. We don’t even want to be part of this sort of conversation, because unionists will take anything you say completely out of context.

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    1. Jason McCann's blog appears to be one of the ten or so most-read pro-indy alternative media sites. It's not like these views are going to magically become invisible if I "no platform" him.

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  16. May can only be replaced with someone even more delusional & incompetent.

    That's where we are right now.

    The only way is down. There is absolutely no getting out of this hole for the UK, not until it hits the very bottom. Then the home nations will finally climb out, but no longer as one.

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    1. Slimy dumbass Gove is seriously being touted for the position by the BBC. That or the backwards homophobe that nobody's ever heard of Piddlington guy.

      So, so fucked.

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    2. May is a remainer as is her negotiators. The leave voters were ignored from day one. May should have shot the Irish issue down immediately but did not. That was her deliberate move to remain.

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    3. 'May should have shot the Irish...'.

      Well that's a Freudian slip if I've ever seen one.

      May's just shite at best. Utterly useless. A delusional halfwit.

      However, Engxit's turning into a mess because leavers had no plan and were too lazy to get of their erses and come up with one, both before and after the vote.

      It's like the SNP winning the next iref, then just getting pished and shouting obscenities at the neighbours, while demanding Ruth Davidson and Jackson Carwash get on with the negotiations.

      And the backstop was Britain's idea; it put that forward for inclusion in the exit agreement because it's a GFA signatory. It just looks like a prize idiot now for saying it actually completely disagrees with itself and desperately needs time to argue more with its own reflection.

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    4. skier, you do have a tendency to make cheap personal attacks on individuals like Gove!

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    5. Freudian slip indeed. You have a way of missing out words in a sentence for your own convenience. But do not worry Scotland will become a little EU Council Authority on the periphery.

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    6. Just selecting one of countless examples...

      Gove greasily backstabbed his supposed running mate Boris, which was a really dumbass thing to do as it ensured he failed to become Tory leader.

      My description was factual, so doesn't count as a 'personal attack'.

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    7. I'm waring a Freudian slip. It's shiny and silky smooth like Chunks Umuna's cheeks. No not them, you infamous scandal mongers!

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    8. Cordelia there, finally embracing its inner fantasy life.

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  17. FWIW think we will end up with either a second ref or GE. Despite MPs moaning about how May has handled Brexit they have failed to come up with an alternative, and can't see them suddenly managing to find one this week. Second ref or GE will kick the can down the road a bit more, so they don't have to make a decision.

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    Replies
    1. I agree that a general election is a real possibility, but the chances of a People's Vote look very remote.

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    2. A general election is a People's vote just like any other People's vote. The problem is when fascists and nationalists do not accept the result!

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    3. Cordelia the snivelling fascist hates democracy.

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    4. S general election is when you vote for generals. The Kmehr Rouge tried it and look were it got them. And now Nickalass Dungeon wants to force it on England. Nat si Eva Brown.

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    5. Cordelia's guttered and screaming again already, folks.
      I hope it doesn't hurt itself during tonight's drunken stumble back to the sobbing cupboard.

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  18. James,

    May I ask you a slightly off-topic question? As a psephologist what do you make of over 5.3 million people asking for Article 50 to be recinded? Via a Parliamentary web site.

    It seems to me to be unprecedented, and given that it takes a degree of effort to a) find the damn thing and b) to get it to work, it suggests, to me at least that, whatever we thought about a clean BREXIT on the side of a bus has been superceeded by a frank desperation to withdraw our consent from this insanity. I am not thurled to the notion of your more radical commentators that a vote for or against anything whatsoever is cast in stone. It seems to me that a mistake by the electorate is there to be corrected, either through another referendum or a general election. The mere concept that we have never made a mistake, judicially, would leave Parliament with next to nothing to do. It is pretty clear that, for example, women would still be voteless, most men would be too.

    Contrary to what we see on television, I think now is not the time for Parliament to reclaim it's authority, I think it is time for the people to reclaim theirs, if they ever had it in the first place.

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    1. Time for you tae go tae yer scratcher Mr Clark.

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    2. Your in a hurry to get in there with him, are you?

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    3. Cordelia's drunk sincerity at work there. It shares far more about its inner fantasy life with every deranged shriek than it knows.

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    4. Ooh la la. Cordelia wants to be bedded by Mr Clark. But I thought she was a lesbian. Eh?

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    5. Cordelia's as confused about that aspect of its existence as it is about everything else.

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    6. I like it up me from both ends especially from those beeg Jocks. The Jocks have small brains but beeg cocks.

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    7. I'm pleased to see Cordelia has accepted and is using her real name. At last!

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    8. Cordelia's embracing its inner fantasy life at last.

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  19. "Step 3: Occupy government buildings ...we find Post Offices a good option"

    Except most 'Post Offices' are now counters within shops like WHSmiths. The government may own the shares in Post Office Counters Ltd, but they flogged all the nice old GPOs :-(

    They may as well occupy Thomas Cook because they exchange pound notes

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