Friday, December 20, 2019

The Scottish Tories and their media allies have discovered the virtues of proportional representation - but only when it suits them

The Scottish Tory MP Andrew Bowie made a preposterous intervention in the Commons yesterday.  He tried to reframe the SNP's landslide victory in the general election as some kind of defeat, and prayed in aid the supposed fact that 55% of the Scottish people had cast a vote for anti-independence parties.  (Actually, the correct figure is 54%, because the Greens are pro-independence and they took 1% of the vote, but let's not quibble.)  If taken seriously, Bowie's point would have to mean one of two things - either a) that he thinks the first-past-the-post voting system should be replaced with a proportional representation system that might prevent a party winning a majority of seats on 45% of the vote, or b) that he regards any party that wins a majority on less than 50% of the vote as lacking full legitimacy, and thinks it shouldn't be able to take controversial decisions without the consent of its opponents.

And yet we know he doesn't believe either of those things.  His own party won a UK majority on just 44% of the vote - a smaller mandate than the SNP won in Scotland.  It is now pursuing a Hard Brexit in spite of the fact that around 52% of the UK popular vote went to parties that wanted to hold a second EU referendum with a Remain option on the ballot paper.  If Bowie was being consistent, he would regard the election outcome as having deprived the Johnson government of any moral authority to proceed with its Brexit plans - but instead he seems to think that it was actually a stonking mandate for a Hard Brexit.

A four-year old child could spot the contradiction in Bowie's stance.  In fact, a foetus could probably spot it.  Even a reasonably bright goldfish might not have too much difficulty.  Why, then, hasn't the mainstream media done its job and ruthlessly exposed the Tory hypocrisy?  In fairness, there's been the odd honourable exception like Bernard Ponsonby on STV's election night programme, but in general journalists have taken the legitimacy of the Tories' UK-wide mandate as read, while repeatedly calling into question the legitimacy of the SNP's superior mandate in Scotland.  That simply isn't sustainable if the likes of the BBC want to avoid being seen as blatantly biased.  Self-evidently, either both mandates are 100% watertight or they're both open to question.  Which is it to be, guys?

Incidentally, Bowie was missing the point in another way as well, because 65% of the vote in Scotland went to parties (the SNP, Greens and Labour) that support the principle that the Scottish Parliament should be able to hold an independence referendum if it so chooses.  At this stage, that's the only mandate the SNP are actually claiming - the mandate to hold a referendum.  It's a bit pointless for the Tories to now claim that a vote for Labour didn't count towards that mandate, given that they spent the entire campaign warning that a vote for Labour was a vote for an indyref to be held next year.  

*  *  *

Apologies if someone else has already made this point, but it strikes me as a bit rich that the so-called Labour moderates are making such an issue of the fact that Jeremy Corbyn won slightly fewer seats in this election than Michael Foot did in 1983.  That isn't a meaningful comparison, because Labour have lost Scotland since Foot's time, and that happened on the watch of the moderates themselves (when Ed Miliband was leader in 2015, to be specific).  Corbyn actually did a bit better south of the border than Foot did, and that's how he should probably be judged.  OK, there was nothing inevitable about Labour only winning one Scottish seat last week, but if the moderates think that some kind of New Labour-type leader could have won more than a handful of Scottish constituencies, they're deluding themselves.  

And it's all very well for the moderates to say that Labour has to be less ideological and move towards the centre ground where the voters are, but in fact Corbyn seems to have learnt that lesson in Scotland far better than they have.  He's at least taken some steps (however imperfectly) to make his peace with the Yes supporters who used to be Labour voters, while the "moderates" clearly feel that maintaining purity on Labour's hardline British nationalist line is more important than winning elections.  Ian Murray said as much himself - the Scottish Labour party destroyed itself in 2014 to save the Union, and it should destroy itself again now for the same reason.

*  *  *

I've expressed my worries over the last few days that the SNP leadership might prove too cautious to bring about an independence referendum if the Tory government refuses a Section 30 order.  But here's a more positive interpretation.  

The conventional wisdom is now that the 2024 election is unwinnable for Labour.  I'm not actually sure that's right, because electorates across the Western world have become more volatile in recent years.  (Witness the Canadian Liberals jumping from third place to an outright majority in 2015.)  But nevertheless the perception is that the Tories are in power until at least 2029, and that ought to concentrate minds in the SNP.  There's no point in them playing the waiting game for a Tory defeat in 2024 that they don't think will actually arrive.  If they know that sooner or later they're going to have to overcome Tory obstructionism on an indyref by some means, it might just as well be sooner.

78 comments:

  1. Bowie is a total honkbeast and he has some serious personal skeletons clattering about in that cupboard of his. Won't be long until the tabloids do a number on him.

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    1. Is he a closet case?
      Does he keep the tradesman's entrance open?
      Has he been at the old fiddling game?
      Nat si ponce

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  2. I agree with all you say James excepting the comment that the double standards being applied "simply isn't sustainable if the likes of the BBC want to avoid being seen as blatantly biased."

    The BBC is clearly biased - knowingly or unknowingly, although I suspect the latter is the case for most of its prominent journalists like Glen Campbell and Andrew Kerr - and has been since the coverage of IndyRef1.

    They've got away with it thus far and will see know reason to change. Change will only be effected with the disbandment of the BBC in a newly independent Scotland.

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    1. We need a Scottish TV Chanel that is subservient to the Scottish ruling political class, similar to RT. Wee Eck and his side kick could front it.

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    2. Random Totty From Freedom SquareDecember 20, 2019 at 10:33 AM

      I would like a Chanel for Christmas.

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    3. I hope the groundwork for that - an independent Scottish public service broadcaster - is being laid right now. To add to the demand for a section 30 order: Network Rail under Scottish control, and Scottish broadcasting under Scottish control - and that doesn't mean editorial control.

      P.S. Failing a properly independent public service broadcaster and press, better broadcasting and press under the control of our own political elite than someone else's...

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    4. In the meantime, you could always support Broadcasting Scotland. On a tiny budget, they've worked hard to produce a regular nightly news show. If people are really unhappy with the media in Scotland, they need to step up and support the alternative. Broadcastingscotland.scot/donate

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  3. It's about time Independence supporters and bloggers chucked in to the bin once and for all this "proves they are biased comments" . It's bloody obvious that it is state controlled propaganda and it has been obvious for a long time.

    Stop pussy footing about and call it out for what it is - state controlled media. No different from the Chinese.

    All this crap about people like Glenn Campbell not knowing that he is a biased Britnat is just that - crap. They all know if they do not follow the correct line - the Britnat line - then they are out. I do not think any of them find it a hardship to tow the line. House jocks the lot of them.

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    1. Alternatively, BritNats like Campbell and Adams work at BBC Scotland because their views are totally in line with the organisation. They're right at home.

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  4. If only 422 people in West Aberdeenshire & Kincardine had voted SNP instead of Tory...

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    1. If only all the Scots, Welsh and Irish had voted to remain in the EU we would still be subservient to Brussels. It is called democracy. Go tell that to the Greeks.

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    2. If only Britnat turds could be flushed away. GWC is a bit of a floater.

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    3. I can see GWC beginning to break up.

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    4. The Scots and the Irish did vote to remain in the EU, that was the UK vote, it was the English who reinterpreted the UK wide vote as a population share vote which none of the other countries combined could overcome

      The result of the UK wide EU referendum was a draw, two countries for and two countries against, interpreting that as a leave vote was and is undemocratic by creating numbers of population as the winner of which there can only ever be one, the largest populated country

      The result is a declaration of English dictatorship and those who are on the side of England's decision to declare itself a dictatorship will rue the day the did that

      England has just shown the world they are a parliament of despots prepared to override the democratic wishes of the elected representatives of two countries of the so called United Kingdom, that will not sit well with the international community and England will find itself exluded from diplomatic assistance in the future whereas Scotland and Northen Ireland will have the hands of friendship extended fully when they ask for it which will be very soon
      Oh and good luck with the instant oven ready trade deal because that's definitely not going to happen Johnson will either give in to everything the EU demands or he will get zero nothing nada as he will be told why should the EU deal with him now only for an Independent Scotland to reverse everything he just promised

      It will happen

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  5. The Nat sis would have been happy with the BBC last night. Newsnight brought in former Tory David Gauk who lost his seat by a very large margin. The BBC are like the Nat sis as they will not accept the EU referendum result. The remainer rent a mob have accepted the result and removed their erses from outside the Commons but the BBC carry on with their neo Liberal subservient EU agenda. They have so much in common with the Scottish Nat sis.

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    1. If we don't accept the EU referendum result, there is much less immediate justification for iref2.

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    2. If brexit was somehow now stopped, and Scotland and/or the UK remained in the EU, the SNP would likely have notable difficultly of persuading Scots to back a new iref + indy.

      A backstop for Scotland where it got to remain in the EU and UK would be a novel approach to saving the union. However, anti-Scottish racism from the English/British government means they won't consider this.

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  6. The hypocrisy of English/British nationalism is not going away, in fact it is set to increase as its desperation rises.

    Labour in Scotland must now see that the only way to protect people in Scotland from English/British extremism is to back independence.

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    1. English nationalism, not English/British.

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    2. I believe you're right, William.

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    3. "I want to spoon the moon." Seriously? This is an inadequate response to a serious issue facing democracy throughout the Western world. Frivolity has no place in the debate.

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  7. Holyrood 2021 is unwinnable for a pro Indy majority. I have had it.

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    1. That's an absurd statement. Most recent polls have suggested we're on course for a pro-indy majority. There's no guarantee, but "unwinnable"? Nonsense.

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    2. "Unwinnable" in 2021. That's some prediction. Can you get me tomorrow night's lotto numbers? Thanks

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  8. Tories are thick as pigshit, hence the inability to add 1 to 45, or understand that 45 is greater than 44, while 81% (of MPs) is much greater than 56% (UK-wide), and particularly 10(-12)% (in Scotland).

    It's why the UK economy is tanking; slowest growth since 2009 now with a mass exodus of skilled workers under way. Net emigration of these since the beginning of the year.

    If you put racists that can't even do simple addition in charge, you can only expect disaster.

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  9. If you want to know why we have 'record low unemployment', 'record high employment' (which is not good news as this means wages must insufficient to support families / retirement), yet wage growth is slowing in line with a tanking economy and collapsing productivity, your answer is in the mass exodus of skilled EU workers under way.

    It's that temporarily holding unemployment at low levels. 100k+ workers emigrated to end September, yet no change in employed numbers, means 100k jobs vanished due to the shrinking economy, yet that's hidden in unemployment numbers. We do see it in wage growth weakening and increasingly poor productivity though.

    At some point however, the shrinking economy, skill base and low productivity will no longer be able to support such high levels of employment and this will start to fall sharply.

    No prosperous country ever in history has ever had net emigration of skilled workers. It is the first sign of impending economic disaster.

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    1. Damn right, Scottish Skier. I see that Boris has promised (yet again) to build 40 new hospitals. Fortunately, these are virtual hospitals, so he should have no problem finding the necessary tens of thousands of virtual health service personnel to work in them, now that so many of the real ones from the rest of Europe have left or are leaving.

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    2. It's utter socio-economic insanity to be 'toughening up the rules on immigration' while there are enormous queues of skilled workers building up at the exit gates to leave the UK.

      But racist hatred is not logical.

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    3. GDP is not everything, much better is the balance of payments, Scotland has been in surplus the last few years, we have exported more than we imported.

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  10. When a people have been stripped of their freedom their will to take it back is weakened by the lie that they can't

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    1. Aye, this is why the British (and other) empires still rule the waves, the USSR stands firm, and the iron curtain still cuts through the heart of Europe like a knife.

      Cowardly bullies like the brits always turn tail and run if you put up a fight.

      Yours, A. Irishman.

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  11. The only thing worse than an EU crawling groveller is a Scottish one.

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    1. get aff yer knees forelock tugger.

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    2. Aye am talking to you GWC. Does yer maw know yer on the adults forums?

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    3. Naw she is pan breid.

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    4. Naw but yer wife isnae.

      phone rings GWC`s wife answers it.

      pervert heavy breathing says "bet youve goat a tight arse wae nay hair"

      She says "aye , hes in the living room on the ipad posting shite on scotgoespop.Who shall i say is calling?"

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  12. SNP has had mandate for a Referendum for the last three years and have chosen not to exercise it. Well that is my opinion. The SNP have clucked it.

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    1. But, erm, that's the point of a mandate. You get to choose when you exercise it.

      Although I might add that they argued their mandate was based on 'If Scotland is taken out of the EU against its will'. This obviously hasn't happened yet, being delayed a number of times. It looked as if it might not even happen at all for a while.

      Now that brexit appears to be going ahead, so is the move to a referendum.

      This seems all pretty logical to me, particularly if your goal is to win said referendum using brexit as your argument to vote Yes.

      Delete
  13. Quite an important thing here about the WHEN of Indy Ref 2. If it's in 2020, then it's in the current term which straight away means no referral of the question to the EC, but also can be the previous term if approved in Holyrood. If IR2 is left till after the next Holyrood election, the question would have to be checked over by the EC, and if they're biased enough they could disapprove of a YES / NO answer.

    So there's massive incentive to get the Ref in 2020 - and it only needs 24 weeks from introduction to Holyrood, make it an emergency bill like the EU Continuity one was (3 weeks). through the royal assent (4 weeks for a challenge), to registration (4 weeks) and decision (3 weeks) and referendum period (10 weeks).

    https://www.parliament.scot/S5_Bills/Referendums%20(Scotland)%20Bill/SPBill46BS052019.pdf

    That's my understanding.

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    1. Any chance of a new law giving minimum 6 months prison to people from small to medium-sized towns who willingly joined the Round Table?

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  14. Sigh. Badly phrased, if it was in the current term which it isn't, or in the previous term which it is and approved at Holyrood. I need a cuppa tea.

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    1. Third time lucky punk? Ach, you know what I mean.

      It has to be before the end of this term in 2021, or the question could be completely different - even if pro-indy gets re-elected.

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    2. It can be AT the end of the term in 2021. IndyMandate Election.
      Let's see them trying to stop that one.

      (If you think that Indy should be a possibility in the near future. And if it isn't then certain politicians have some explaining to do about their actions since 2014.)

      Delete
  15. Scottish Poor PensionerDecember 20, 2019 at 4:25 PM

    I will miss the free butter handouts from the EU. Things were so dire in Scotland until we joined the EU. Life expectency, drinking and drug abuse and gambling were really bad. Things are so much better now.

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    1. You're living the life of Riley with your special parking places outside Tesco's, free electric and taxis. You should be buying me butter.

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  16. Yes would lose Indyref2 if it was held tomorrow.

    Preposterous or not, I'd rather have a few more years of the Tories' "we know best" routine if that's what it takes to get polling over 50%.

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    1. Have there been some post election polls we missed? The last one before the tory brexit win was 49%, and it underestimated the snp by 2%. Some were out by 6%, suggesting there may have already been an 'overwhelming majority' for indy.

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    2. What is certain is that the million Scots who voted for brexit will not support leaving the UK Union. Nat sis will have to work on the other million who voted against leaving the UK Union hoping they were EU grovellers. However that is a long way off and Boris is the gaffer for five years.

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    3. Where did the million brexiters come from? Many are scooters. Indy like norway etc.

      You are not relying on Jim sillars tae save yer union er ye?

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    4. Well certainly not Cardinal Stevan Bonnar.

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    5. Random religious mania? Check.

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    6. It is vital we check on religious mania.

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    7. We will block if Discomania tries to enter EU. If we accept this name it is like sitting down under an insult.

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    8. Opus Dei will give instructions on self flaggulation to Scottish Nationalists to pass the next five years.

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    9. GWC....the 1.6 million who voted against Brexit will and a lot more with them. Further support for WM based parties dropped in the election which might not bode well for the Unionists. Not to mention the rumblings that Labour in Scotland might be leaning toward supporting an Indeyref2 vote.

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    10. Inappropriate references to gay discos? Check.

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  17. I'm a simple person, surely if Boris was so sure of his case, why not allow a referendum now while he is still in his honeymoon face of a new parliament.

    Win and Indie is indeed dead for a generation.

    But, and there is always a but, he doesn't want to be the person who ends the UK.

    Maybe it's not that simple?

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    1. Sean Le Mass Kevin BarryDecember 20, 2019 at 8:35 PM

      The only way for independence is civil disobedience. A take over of public buildings, post offices and a sit in. Raising of the Irish Tricolour is imperative to gain support from our Coatbridge and Croy brothers and sisters. We can get our Giros delivered straight to our own post office.

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  18. Andrew Mitchell MP on Hard Talk (BBC WS) pretty much saying Johnson has to concede iref2, but waffled a lot about it better waiting until brexit is sorted out.

    They are scrabbling around for any sort of excuse for buying themselves some time, but it does look like they're not quite ready to put on the swastika armband.

    Mitchell said that if Westminster didn't jointly organise an iref, Holyrood could just go ahead without them and that would mean the union voice could not be heard, so really they needed to be on board.

    Certainly, a Section 30 must be granted to maintain the union. As I've said before, it is only union if Scots can freely leave at any moment. Unions are by consent only. The word 'united' would need to be taken out of the name of no Section 30 was granted as it would not be a unification, but an attempt at forced colonial occupation.

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  19. If you assume as a starting point that Scotland is a country, then it's not possible to avoid arriving at the conclusion that this union, insofar as it is a union and not an annexation, is a really flawed and unviable one. A union itself isn't a bad idea, but it should be one of sovereign states cooperating in areas of common concern.

    The UK Government's current attitude only helps to demonstrate that this is a bad union.

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  20. Four Nations, One Nation, The country, Our precious Union, all phrases used by the Dictators from Westmister England to describe their dominance of the others by *their consent* even when they don't consent, because after all the people of England UK of Great Britain have spoken and they all live in England and outvote the rest of us by ten to one

    Had the Monster Raving Loony party won the election in England we'd all be wearing clown hats because the people of England spoke

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  21. Over one million Scots voted to leave the EU in an all UK only election. The Scottish Nat si EU erselickers ignore us at their peril.
    Scotland will not be sold out to the EU.

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    1. Far more folk voted SNP the other week.

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    2. More tae be pitied than scolded. Voting to sell out your country to the EU, sorry nae pitty.

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    3. English have just handed NI to Eire and the EU.

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    4. Johnson will comply with his lip tremblin because the rest of the world will make him just like the EU make him give up Northern Ireland
      Johnson's just a big mouth blowhard salesman selling air and when the chips are down he'll fold like a cheap suit and yer Queen and yer Orange Lodge will do nothing because they can do nothing

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    5. More people voted for unionist parties than own shinpads.

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  22. I wonder if the remain British MEPs will get a Champagne send of from the EU then first class on the Eurostar. I doubt many of them will sign on or go to food banks. Poor wee souls you almost feel sorry for the bloodsuckers.

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  23. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-50870727

    Pro-UK marcher admits spitting on woman in Glasgow

    A man taking part in an pro-UK march in Glasgow has admitted spitting on a woman as she crossed the procession.

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    1. Slightly better than a Sinn Fein IRA petrol based incendiary bomb planted in the La Mon Hotel in Belfast against women at an annual dog show. (the women not being the dogs). How paddy must have laughed at those women burning.

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    2. GWC is a disgusting Britnat turd. Bring a turd his default is to take BTL into the sewers where he belongs.

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    3. Unknown remains Unknown as its universal bigotry.

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  24. Poor Skier has gone to research the history books.

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    1. And he'll be monking over them when he finds them. If he can get up. The nat si tosspot.

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  25. Young James, Charlie 1 God's chosen to lead had his heid chopped aff 30 January 1649. If Boris had Brexit brought forward by one day we could have had a doppelganger celebration.

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