Saturday, December 21, 2019

Yes, winning independence will require a measure of patience - but there must be no drift towards accepting the Westminster veto until 2024 (or beyond)

I've been reading with interest Craig Murray's blogpost about the "Scotland's Right to Choose" document, which he regards as "schizophrenic" for its simultaneous assertions that Scotland has an inalienable right to self-determination, and that it can only exercise that right with the permission of the UK government.  He draws attention to this comment from Nicola Sturgeon -

"Of course, I anticipate that in the short term we will simply hear a restatement of the UK government’s opposition.

But they should be under no illusion that this will be an end of the matter.

We will continue to pursue the democratic case for Scotland’s right to choose.

We will do so in a reasonable and considered manner."

Craig reads "continue to pursue the democratic case" as meaning the response to a Westminster veto will be yet more SNP campaigning for yet more mandates, which might help the SNP stay in power at devolved level for a few more years but is unlikely to bring independence any closer - indeed it could push it further away.  Perhaps worryingly, this interpretation ties in perfectly with Mhairi Hunter's oft-stated view on what should happen if Westminster says no - she thinks we should just accept that response and redouble our campaigning until Westminster eventually breaks and passes a Section 30 order, no matter how long that takes.  To use the words of our old friend Kevin Baker, that strategy can be summed up as "If something isn't working, do it again, only HARDER!!!!"  It's an absolutely hopeless idea, and if by any chance that's what the SNP leadership are planning, they'll surely have to be persuaded to have a rethink sooner or later.

However, I'm not as pessimistic about the SNP's intentions as Craig is.  In fact, I'm somewhere in between the two extremes.  On the one hand, I've never thought "just trust Nicola" is good enough, because trust is a two-way process.  If we are to trust the leadership completely, it's only fair that the leadership should trust us by keeping us up to speed with their broad intentions.  I was particularly unimpressed by the suggestion a while back that the role of rank and file SNP members and Yes supporters is to campaign for independence, and that we shouldn't worry our pretty little heads about "process", which is solely the leadership's domain.  Neither do I buy into the notion that it's not possible for the leadership to keep us in the loop because that would deprive them of the advantage of surprise in their dealings with the UK government.  As I pointed out a few days ago, it would be perfectly possible to say to London: "A referendum is happening in autumn 2020.  We want it to happen as part of an agreed process between the two governments, but it is happening anyway."  That's not a million miles away from what Alex Salmond did after the 2011 election, and it seemed to work out OK.  No rabbits out of hats were required, just forthrightness and resolve.

However, unlike Craig I can see plausible alternative interpretations of "continuing to pursue the democratic case".  The implied threat might well carry more punch than simply a thousand more stirring Ian Blackford speeches about how Scotland's voice must be respected.  The most obvious possibility is that the Scottish Government could react to a Westminster veto by saying "We have bent over backwards to do this by the gold standard route, and the whole world can now see that the UK government are behaving wholly unreasonably and in breach of the principle of democratic  self-determination.  We will therefore legislate for an independence referendum and defend that legislation in the Supreme Court if necessary.  We remain willing to open negotiations with the UK government at any time until the referendum campaign is underway."  If London's legal challenge to any Referendum Bill succeeds, there would then be the option of using the 2021 Holyrood election to secure an outright mandate for independence.  I know the SNP leadership have in the past ruled out the possibility of using an election in that way, but their position on other points of strategy has evolved, so I wouldn't totally dismiss the possibility that there could be a further change of heart.

So the moment of truth will come in a few weeks when we see how Nicola Sturgeon replies to the inevitable Westminster veto.  If at that point there is no sign of her doing anything other than building towards the 2021 election to win yet another referendum mandate that will be ignored, then it may be reasonable to conclude that the emperor has no clothes, and to start an internal campaign within the SNP for an urgent change of direction.  But I'm still hopeful that there will be a lot more substance to Ms Sturgeon's reply than that.  Even if the instinct of senior people within the party is to proceed as cautiously as possible, it must have occurred to the most thoughtful among them that continually going back to the electorate to ask for more mandates is likely to produce diminishing returns over time, because the electorate will wise up to the fact that the SNP are all talk and no action.  Some voters may become demoralised enough to start abstaining, while others may defect to the Greens if Patrick Harvie decides to fill the vacuum by making Yes supporters a more radical offer.  The nightmare scenario would be if SNP voters start drifting towards fringe parties that have no chance of winning seats - that could rob us of the pro-indy majority at Holyrood.  SNP strategists will surely want to prevent that happening, and that will mean being seen to have taken meaningful action against London's "no".

My own view, for what it's worth, is that the road to independence in the absence of a Section 30 order is unlikely to involve UDI and asking for international recognition.  The UK is not Spain, and I do still believe that if a credible mandate for independence is established, the pressure on the London government to negotiate will eventually bear fruit.  What would be a credible mandate?  If the 2021 election is used to double as a referendum, the pro-indy parties would need to win a majority of seats and perhaps a majority of votes on the list ballot as well to be on the safe side.  If there is a consultative referendum that is boycotted by unionists, the Yes side would probably need to exceed their 1.6 million votes from 2014 to be taken seriously.

133 comments:

  1. https://www.businessforscotland.com/a-2020-scottish-independence-referendum-what-if-westminster-says-no/

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  2. I disagree with the assumption made by James, Craig Murray (and the many individuals responding tor Craig's recent article to which James refers). In a few years, when we are an independent country and looking back at how this was accomplished, I do not believe that what we will see is that that Scottish Government strategy over section 30 was the decisive factor.

    The First Minister is the head of a government whose primary mandate is to uphold the laws of the land - no matter how odious and unfair these might be. If she were to initiate government action (such as circumventing Section 30) that breached such laws, it would trigger all sorts of trouble, within the Scottish population, the UK legal system, and the international community. Democracy is based on the assumption that governments operate in line with the law, and are answerable to the courts and the electorate if they fail to do this. Governments have mechanisms for changing the law. What we are seeing at the moment is that the law regarding Scotland's right to choose is deeply flawed. But it it still the law.

    Nicola Sturgeon is also the leader of the SNP. In the 2014 independence referendum, the SNP was only one actor among many. Following the referendum result, a huge number of people joined the SNP, as a means of supporting independence within the parliamentary system. Achieving (and winning) a second independence referendum will require re-creating the broad coalition and movement that existed in 2014, In other words - all of us need to find ways to make our depth of commitment to Scottish Independence visible. There are many examples of how to do this, from the Chartists to the poll tax, Pollok Free State, Timex, gilets jaunes, Greenpeace and Mass Extinction. We need to find a style of collective action that is appropriate to us as a people, and to the situation in which we find ourselves. No doubt the legal arguments will continue, drawing on precendents from international law, revisitng the Act of Union, and all the rest. No doubt inter-governmental negotiations will continue. Maybe they will be productive. But, at the same time, the depth of feeling in Scotland needs to be expressed as powerfully as possible.

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    1. Which is a very lengthy way of saying "let's campaign some more, only HARDER!!!!"

      You're categorically wrong to imply that I think Nicola Sturgeon should not uphold the law. Testing the limits of the Scottish Parliament's powers in court in exactly the manner provided for by the Scotland Act 1998 is not illegality, and it's high time people stopped talking as if it is. If the Supreme Court upholds a Referendum Bill, then with or without a Section 30 order, it's the law of the land.

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    2. I think John has a valid point regarding campaigning. It's a bit disingenuous to suggest that civil disobedience, however mild, is the same as the current word-of-mouth, grass roots campaigning "only HARDER!!!!"; they speak to different people, and have a very different media impact.

      I worry though that given our media environment even the slightest unrest will be painted as Nats "running rampant through the streets", a sort of Egg-gate on steroids. Nonetheless, seeing some guts on display (not literally) would energise some people, and media coverage would re-open the indy debate amongst the wider public in a way that interviews on Marr, or "x EVISCERATES the case for the union!!!"-type social media clips never will.

      Also James, can you see the current government engaging with a unilateral referendum? They've pretty much set out their stall as anti-democratic hardline populists, so handing them a lame-duck, Unionist-boycotted referendum to point and laugh at would seem to be playing right into their hands.

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    3. Sigh. You're describing a referendum in which the Yes vote exceeds the 1.6 million votes achieved in 2014 (that's what I said would be necessary, and it certainly wouldn't be easy) as "lame duck". Talk about doing the unionists' work for them. The reality is that if there was a Yes vote of, say, 1.8 million, any unionist boycott would have failed and would be seen to have failed.

      I wasn't being disingenuous, by the way, and I do wonder how "we must uphold the law to such an extent that we mustn't even do things that aren't illegal" is consistent with "let's don yellow vests and cause chaos".

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    4. Fair play, I hadn't even considered the idea of just tallying up Yes votes. However, the only way that would be considered valid is if Yes exceeded 50% of registered voters, which would be the equivalent of just over 59% in the 2014 referendum. Anything less can be dismissed with a wave of the hand and a quick trot out of the old "the majority didn't vote for it" line. Without wanting to "do the unionists' work for them", I'd say that achieving that figure amid a press-led maelstrom of "meaningless, non-binding, boycotted, illegitimate referendum" stories would be very difficult.

      Regarding the other point, my take (and I think what John is saying) is that although the SNP shouldn't engage in or condone illegal protest, there's no reason why the movement can't turn it up a notch. (I'm talking e.g. peaceful pro-democracy occupations and human shields here btw, not raining down the molotovs.)

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    5. Unionist Media BDSM ClubDecember 21, 2019 at 7:33 PM

      "However, the only way that would be considered valid is if Yes exceeded 50% of registered voters, which would be the equivalent of just over 59% in the 2014 referendum."

      I really don't see why that would be the case. 51% of the 2014 turnout would be a mandate in those circumstances -- i.e. the 1.8 million figure James mentions.

      I also don't see why the strategy has to be "the depth of feeling in Scotland needs to be expressed as powerfully as possible" OR consultative indyrefs etc. Both can happen simultaneously. PLUS a sovereignty referendum. PLUS slowing down WM legislation in the Scottish Grand Committee. PLUS challenges in the courts. PLUS making the next Holyrood elections a referendum. PLUS AUOB marches in York and London, with some civil disobedience thrown in. PLUS offer London all the oil in exchange for independence then rejoin the EU and end up richer than we'd be in the Union. Etc.

      This can be a war fought on many fronts at once rather than the Plan A THEN Plan B THEN Plan C that's usually assumed in the media, and is more likely to achieve the pressure-cooker environment needed to change minds in London.

      All of this requires consistent Yes leads in the polls, of course, and it looks like a hard Brexit and the SNP's tactics in response have brought that very close now.

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    6. I'm talking about a democratic mandate unarguable even by unionists (excepting those for whom no mandate will ever be enough, obviously). Using the 2014 turnout to judge the winning post is pretty arbitrary. Perhaps more importantly though, a referendum mandate must be accepted by the international institutions needed to recognise an independent Scotland.

      The wider point is that every effort must be made to gain a legitimate referendum before resorting to advisory referendums or proxy referendums via elections, as any of the latter would undoubtedly get entangled in the weeds of validity.

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    7. "Using the 2014 turnout to judge the winning post is pretty arbitrary."

      It's not arbitrary - it was the highest turnout in the history of universal suffrage. Certainly more realistic than assuming a turnout of 100%.

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  3. Alister (Union) Jack has already stated the Tory regime will NOT recognise a 2021 mandate, contradicting his own statement from earlier.

    Boris is digging in.

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    1. The SNP must make an absolute nuisance of themselves at Westminster, talking over Boris, disrupting proceedings, utilising archaic rules to stop debates etc.

      They should also employ serious legal minds as to our "rights".
      Do we have a legally enforceable "right to self determination"?
      N Ireland now has constitutional leg room over its self determination built, de facto, into the UK constitution---can these rights be expanded to us through the Supreme Court?

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    2. Absolutely. SNP MPs need to use WM conventions to bring the place to a halt. "I spy strangers", no pairing etc

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    3. The Labour party withdrew all cooperation from the government for a few weeks in the mid-1990s, so that would be an interesting precedent to follow. It's not as easy to have an impact when the government has a larger majority, though. Withdrawing from pairing arrangements would be a nuisance for the Tories but wouldn't wreak havoc.

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    4. I remember the Labour attempt but wasn't it fairly half-hearted? You're right that havoc wouldn't be wrought, especially if Labour and the Liberals sided with the government, but if they try to interfere with our democracy, we should return the compliment.

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  4. Seems to me they are scrabbling around for any excuse to delay. It's not sustainable.

    For international acceptance, it is better to first seek England's recognition of the end of the union via a section 30 before pursuing a legal referendum without one (which is perfectly possible).

    A Section 30 is not 'permission', it's getting England to say it won't throw a childish hissy fit and cause everyone all sorts of problems if Scots decide to end the UK union.

    It's also a really sensible idea to get England to say no at first, then eventually cave in under pressure. That's how you guarantee a Yes; get Johnson to put on the brown shirt and jackboots for a wee while. Or at least seem to. If he immediately agrees to a Section 30, he takes back control and puts the SNP on the back foot. He'd also win votes for showing the UK was still a democracy that respected Scotland. Cameron was clever enough to understand this.

    Cameron was British though, Johnson is English, so I suspect the latter may screw up the unionist cause significantly before running away like big chicken and caving in on the issue. He's already taken out Ruth Davidson and the DUP, lost half is Scottish seats and handed NI to the republicans, which is really quite an achievement for such a short time in office as the UK's very first 'minister for the union'.

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  5. Keep in mind that we are not dealing with people of any significant intellect in Westminster right now.

    If we were, we'd not have just had the worst electoral result in history for British unionism.

    I mean JHC, the nationalists and republicans just won Scotland and NI simultaneously. This is an epic constitutional crisis. 1997 (devo) and 2014 were walks in the park by comparison. UK's utterly fucked unless Johnson comes up with some stroke of utter genius which can reverse 70 odd years of British decline in the next few weeks.

    If you look at the history going back decades, it all led that election. We are literally reading the last chapter on the British empire section.

    A new golden dawn is breaking for the UK. That's for sure. One where it's nations are reborn anew from the ashes of the empire.

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  6. The EU will not agree to a trade deal with the UK unless they know what's happening with Scotland. It's the bulk of seabed, 1/3 of the landmass, 8% of the population and 90% of the oil & gas etc.

    England can't e.g. use Scotland's fisheries as a bargaining chip unless it can guarantee it controls these for at least a decade or more going forwards. It's also going to face serious problems from holyrood on devolved areas and trade deals unless it takes back full control of these, overruling the 1997 referendum. It's no good just reserving the right to change Holyrood laws, that will just end up in tit for tat court battles. No, to make new trade laws, Westminster will need to take back full control, so cancelling democracy. Unless Scots can leave freely of course...

    So the only way Westminster can really take control here is to hold a quick indy referendum and win again, hopefully putting the matter to bed for some time. The new vow would be for much less devolution as Westminster takes control for the purposes of trade negotiations. It's that or the UK becomes a fully fledged English fascist dictatorship.

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  7. Can the SNP not just declare in their manifesto for ANY parliamentary election that a vote for the SNP is a vote for independence? Why are we bothering with this section 30 nonsense? If this is a democracy then you cannot put a lid on it. You can't say you can have democracy up to here but not to there. Surely we should push them at least to the position where they are exposed as NOT respecting the wishes of the electorate in Scotland. Let them 'cap' us and then we go from there. I still am willing to believe that Nicola will lead us to independence but really, we are no further on now than we were during May's term. I can wait a little longer but its getting very frustrating and I fear that the yes movement itself is near to splintering.

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  8. Thatcher was positively adored in Scotland by comparison with Johnson.

    https://twitter.com/damocrat/status/1208334949654372354

    I'm sure a deep, anti-Scottish racist hatred driven move to try and take away the right of Scots to vote would do wonders for his popularity (and that of the UK union).

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  9. It must be a referendum in 2020. SNP MPs must kick up a massive stooshie in Westminster [anything goes] and must be prepared, if necessary, to endure imprisonment in an English jail for the cause of Scotland's independence.

    This isn't a debating society any more; this is serious.

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    1. Queen Mum's tea cosy causes stushie.

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  10. I think you are going to be in real trouble - here's my prediction.

    S30 order refused indefinitely buta future referendum will be dependent on both Brexit working through AND leaning the lessons of Brexit.

    The SNP are going to be invited to negotiate a real UK withdrawal agreement with the UK to cover all issues like currency, central banking, and of course the border.

    On the latter they may be given permission to negotiate with the EU the terms of joining as an independent country, if that means a hard border with the rest of the UK and if it means joining the Euro.

    And then there's immigration, how is Scotland, who will clearly be running a different immigration policy going to stop Scotland being a back door to the UK?

    And by the time all those negotiations have happened and become public knowledge, Scottish independence will have vanished in the reality it would actually mean.

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    1. There is currently net emigration of workers out of England, and EU immigration has utterly collapse.

      When you say 'by the back door', I assume therefore you mean people escaping via Scotland.

      I'm not sure the Scottish government would be responsible for stopping people doing that. They'd really just have to help refuges, especially if England was closing it's border stop people leaving.

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    2. It wasn't too long ago England started deporting black people en masse, even though these were British. It was only because of international outcry that this practice was stopped.

      The UK isn't an attractive destination. Hence the queues of skilled workers at the exit gates.

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    3. Surely if there was a concern about migrants of whatever nature entering england through an independent Scotland in the EU then the onus of "protection" would be on england.
      Conversely, england could view Scotland as a very convenient trade route into the EU so again hard border arrangements would be down to them if they chose to repress trade.

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  11. Remember, the world sees Scotland as a country. They are used to playing us in internationals, competing against us at the commonwealth games. Even groundskeeper wullie has raised our profile. Is England going to stop fans carrying 'free Scotland' banners and the team wearing yellow armbands for freedom?

    Catalonia is in a much more difficult position.

    Likewise, the world knows England. It's hard not to know them given the Empire and e.g. the reputation of their fans abroad. That and they 'single-handedly won 2 world wars' of course.

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    1. Scotland is seen as part of "England" overseas. The occasional football or rugby game make minimal impression. In other countries (Rep of Ireland included) "England" is used as a synonym for "Britain", like the British use "Holland" for the "Netherlands" and conversely "America" for the USA.

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  12. I think you're being too fair to the Unionists,James, in thinking they'll demand more than 1.6 million votes for Yes in any consultative referendum. I would bet they'll demand more than the 2.001 million No votes, and probably by at least 10% above, just to be on the safe side.

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  13. Scotland is already an independent country and in a political economic union. They built the Empire together. Any vote should be, 'Do you want to remain in the UK Union'. If the answer is No then we must have been made aware of the political,financial, military and economic concequences in advance of the vote. Not the Nat si version the real version. We must not have any excuse to continue any moaning towards our neighbour.

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    1. Honestly GWC. Do you have nothing else to shout other than weeeaarrraaapeepul?

      This is a good blog with intelligent posters making comments..........and then theres you waffling oan about empire and how you want to be an englishman when you grow up.

      Seriously have you no argument for the union other than empty negative scaremongering of how the snp are bad really bad , and how will you survive in the big bad world without mother england holding your hand???

      Its cringeworthy listening to you.

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    2. Well cringe balmaha. I hear a bit of inbreeding goes on in your side of the Loch. Lots of red hair.

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    3. England is not a friendly neighbour though is it, our neighbour takes our wages from our packet before deciding how much of it we're entitled to, our neighbour borrows money then lays the debt at our door, our neighbour decides everything we must do in the world, our neighbour, our neighbour does deals we didn't consent to, our neighbour can lock our front door and eject us from our house if he feels like it, our neighbour can decide to kill our young people by declaring war on anybody they decide to without asking, our neighbour can withdraw from co-operation with people we like without asking, how many of your next door neighbours has that power over you

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    4. A friendly neighbour would have already agreed a section 30. Even made it permanent by now.

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    5. Hey GWC. Us outward looking forward thinking scots love breeding with foreigners , while you inward looking foreigner hating ludge types have never got over yer sisters.

      Just been oan the phone to yer missus to tell her the bad news , you arent missing after all yer oan here still posting cac.

      so shes away doon the charity shop to get yer clothes back.

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    6. Well said balmaha. The troll can never respond to the posted article with anything relevant or intelligent.

      Want your children or grandchildren to have a better future? Nah, let's reminisce about Queen Victoria and when the sun never set on the empire.

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    7. "They built the empire together" only a Britnat turd could come out with such crap

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  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  15. We should make England hate us so much they become desperate to get rid of us. England can even take all the credit for the break up of the uk if it helps us get it.

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    1. Give GWC a show on English TV. That should do the trick. As the actress said to the fishmonger.

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    2. She was only a fishmongers daughter but she lay on the slab and said "Pulpit".

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  16. Comment 1) James is much more confident than I am about predicting how Johnson will act. We know that he is a chancer and a liar. There’s some evidence that he is lazy and cowardly (see him dodge hostile demonstrators). Nothing he says can be taken at face value. We know next to nothing about he sees the union or how committed he is to maintaining it. Does he even see the UK as a union as opposed to a kind of Greater England? There’s a headline in today’s Herald suggesting that Johnson might go for a quick Indyref2 in the hope of squashing Scottish nationalism once and all. I doubt this, for all kinds of reasons, but it does show how fluid the situation is.

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  17. Does Nicola Sturgeon actually believe Independence can be won now or do we have to actually have Brexit and feel the effects of it ?

    Do unionists actually have to dip their toe in the icy waters of Brexit and experience it before they commit to Independence ?

    At times, this reasoning is the only way to make sense of some SNP talk.

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  18. Comment 2) There’s a danger of obsessing about Scotland and neglecting the wider picture. Johnson’s first priority is Brexit and in this context Scotland is a side issue. Northern Ireland OTOH is absolutely central. Johnson needs to sort out the Irish border question in negotiations with the EU and he also need to ‘fix’ the NI Assembly as a component of the Good Friday Agreement. So Johnson’s rethinking of the union will initially be shaped by Ireland, not Scotland. This may produce carrots that he tries to dangle in front of Scotland (a special customs deal? Tailor-made immigration policies?) This could throw up opportunities as well as dangers for the SNP.

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    1. Scotland isn't a side issue. The first thing the EU will ask when it comes to e.g. fisheries is whether there will be an indyref soon. Johnson can't do a deal here unless will control these when it comes into force and well beyond that. It's that or they're excluded because Scotland is leaving the UK.

      This applies for much of any trade deal with the UK and elsewhere. Scotland is a major stumbling block here. Delaying doesn't help. The UK and EU can't spend the next few years putting together a deal only for Scotland to leave. Not unless they do two deals, one for UK and one for an indy Scotland. The latter needs Holyrood on board.

      Of course Sturgeon can offer much better terms to EU negotiators. They are free to talk to her / Scotland openly / officially the moment the UK leaves the EU. This isn't possible while the UK remains a member. Once it's a rival 3rd country, that all changes.

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  19. Comment 3) Given the new power balance at Westminster we need to be clear-eyed about the difficulties of holding a referendum in 2020. Brexit is likely to consume most of the political bandwidth throughout 2020, with loads of uncertainty and cliff-edge posturing. There’s no way we can have a sensible debate about Scotland’s economic options until we have a broadly accurate picture of the UK’s future relationship with the UK, and the chances of this happening before 2021 are minimal. Existential nationalists may be tempted to say ‘So what?’, but a serious discussion of economic issues will be crucial in persuading middle-ground voters.

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    1. The UK government are in a far weaker position now.

      Before, without a majority, and the nationalist / republican threat not as apparent (post 2017), the UK government could seek concessions on the back of being unable to get votes through, but if it could pass a deal in light of the EU being accommodating, it would be a secure one going forward as there was no immediate threat of UK break-up.

      Now Johnson has no excuse for not handing over everything asked of him. He's got a majority.

      At the same time, the 27 and rest of the world will push very hard on the SNP/iref and republican win / backstop as they see the UK is weak and unstable. That's the nature of such negotiations.

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  20. To be honest, I'm not entirely sure why the SNP rather than arguing for another indyref aren't arguing for the power to hold a referendum. Fully devolved to the Scottish Parliament, on the grounds that our right to choose is Scotlands right. We had it prior to joining the union and we should have it now.

    If they did that, we should be compromising with Westminster by saying we will not hold a referendum until x date. We could also have something that says we can only have an indyref every 10 years or something.

    I think that works as a better argument?

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    1. That's what the people of Scotland, through their democratically elected PR parliament, have asked for I understand.

      https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/18111952.nicola-sturgeon-demands-permanent-referendum-power-holyrood/

      https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/politics/1916980/nicola-sturgeon-seeks-permanent-powers-over-referendums-as-she-bids-for-indyref2/

      https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/nicola-sturgeon-demands-permanent-power-to-hold-scottish-independence-referendums-1-5064590

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  21. I don't see stepped up campaigning as 'doing the same louder'.
    If 200plus YES groups are active, month after month grinding down unionist support on whatever legs it stands on in local areas then we destabilise them, create our own future circumstances and move towards making Scotland ungovernable from W/ster.
    P.S. Just ignore GWC he probably doesn't do any real politics anyway. Just likes to irritate via a keyboard. Behave as if he doesn't exist.

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  22. I think unionists need to drop any talk about England being our 'friendly neighbour and partner' in the union until such time as a permanent section 30 is granted very promptly, no questions asked.

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    1. But they won't because that defines how they see themselves. BritNats don't like to be reminded that their friendly neighbours and partners think of them as a bunch of haggis munchers.

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  23. Boris is a true democratic British hero. He accepted the EU referendum result unlike the cabal of fascists. He knows the Jocks by a majority did not vote for the Scottish Nat si Party. He was intelligent enough to kick into touch the migrant and so called workers rights issues to be dealt with on another day. He has effectively neutered the EU grovelling fascists.

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    1. Thought you were supposed to be a Labour voting socialist?

      Workers of the world unite?
      Only white Anglo saxophone need apply it seems.

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    2. Anglo saxons even!

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  24. If the Scots don't make their country independent now, they never will.

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  25. England can't see itself as our neighbour because it believes it owns us therefore how can Scotland be a neighbour let alone a friendly one, and remember most of the people who demand Scotlands subjugation have never been here and couldn't find it on a map

    England and its people have never grown up their whole life with Scottish television or newspapers or culture but in Scotland we know everything about them because that's what we've been subjected to our whole lives and we can point out their towns and cities on a map because it's on our televisions every day and night and our children are taught in school of every English battle through history in England's long term attempt to Englify Scotland

    Never feel sorry for the Enlish folk being ignorant of what's happening in Scotland, because they don't care, and why should they, they believe themselves to be *the country* as that's what they've been brought up to believe so why should they consider anyone else now
    To England Scotland is just some nuisance people making a noise they neither care about nor care to understand and only know what their TV tells them, they've always been the same and they won't change now, if we didn't have oil and we were black they'd have gotten rid of us a long time ago, just like they tried to do with the Windrush folks until it became too public and PC not to,or they would have carried right on deporting them just like they threw Scots from their houses and lands at the point of a bayonet
    Scotland has wealth and strategic location, that's the only reason they hang on to us ......money and power


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    1. George Galloway lastest utube tearing the Nat sis apart. Little wonder the Nat sis will not debate with him.

      Delete
    2. He used to be a politician!

      Delete
    3. Is george galloway the irish republican now a hero of GWC and the "weeeaarrraapeeepul " brigade?

      The folk GWC will jump into bed with to save the onion tut tut.

      Delete
    4. George Galloway was useful to MI5 once, now he's just a sad old man.

      Delete
    5. George Galloway is a drunken Britnat turd.

      Delete
  26. I pretty well agree with this article, with of course some different views in detail in a couple of points.

    First asking / demanding a Section 30 is as far as I'm concerned, indisputably the best thing to do. If the ScotGov get it, and remember it was Nicola Sturgeon who negotiated with Michael Moore back in 2012 to get both the S30 and the Edinburgh Agreement, then that is the easiest way, the best way to progress a YES vote internationally and "domestically". But it is of course not the end of the road if BoJo is daft enough to say no.

    Second, If Indy Ref 2 is after the next Holyrood session it means in terms of the Referendums Scotland Bill section 3, that the EC would have to be consulted over the question, with all the delays. In 2020 or even 2021 BEFORE the HE, means it don't.

    Third, if the SNP don't take this clear load of multiple mandates to hold Indy Ref 2 in this Parliamentary session, they've broken their promise and can't be trusted and personally speaking I won't be voting for promise-breakers for the absolute main reason I give them my vote. Yes, three is not a couple, it's a threesome!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Point of information.
      Sec. of state Michael Moore did not offer a S30 upfront.
      It was offered only after the SNP Govt. had already called the Indyref.
      I mind at the time Salmond hesitating before accepting.
      No doubt he thought it could be a ploy by London.
      Now if the SNP Govt.calls Indyref2 without first obtaining a S30 the UK may well step in again so that they still retain some leverage on how it plays out.
      For me we must move in 2020.

      Delete
  27. The whole court challenge thing works both ways.

    If the Scottish government proceed with a fully legal advisory referendum (as the EU one was), then it would be up to the UK government to try and challenge it. If they didn't challenge it, it's legal. The law of the land (the Lord Advocate will make sure of that). If they lost, well then oh shit, as it's likewise legal. How the hell can they try to overturn it if it's legal?

    So we'd have a legal iref that the UK would be forced to respect yet (or send in the jackboots) it had zero control over the entire process.

    Better to go with a section 30 negotiated version. At least then you are involved.

    Johnson is sitting down in No. 10 looking at a swastika armband on his desk. He must make the choice, give a section 30 or put it on and get the brown shirts to some warm up exercises.

    The UK stands at a crossroads between democracy (of a form) and dictatorship.

    I think it will pick the democratic route. It's the only sensible plan and the one that might, maybe, just hold the UK together in some form. While the swastika armband may be tempting, that path never ends well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If Johnson is looking at a Swastika it is to remind him Germany has one country less to dominate from 31 January 2020 thanks to the loyal British people and himself who stood by democracy.

      Delete
    2. Democracy requires a permanent Section 30, as requested in both Scottish and UK elections by we the people.

      Delete
    3. GWC........the loyal british people?lmfao!!!

      See...telt ye!

      WEEEEARRRAPEEEPUL!

      Delete
  28. For me the biggest issue is not how bold or cautious the SNP are, but how bold or cautious the Scottish electorate are.

    Rather than blaming the SNP for being cautious, why not scrutinise why the Scottish public are so cautious? Who is it that is needed to be convinced, and how best to woo them over the line?

    We hear from time to time that it is soft No, pro remain types. Not necessarily shouty 'bollocks to Brexit' types but those who simply are weighing up if the economic hit from Brexit will be worse than the economic hit from independence (with possible delay to re-entry to EU).

    II suspect that many such people are not interested in, or at least have not yet become alert to - all the arguments of sovereignty that are regularly debated on pro-indy websites.

    Those people - not sure how to coin them - Milngavie man?, West Edinburgh woman? - are not necessarily wedded to the Union forever but I doubt they would see a constitutional adventure or unrest on the street as the future they'd choose for their children and their community. Talk of civil disorder could as easily set back the cause as advance it.

    By the way I am not saying I am personally against some sort of civil protest, to move things forward on specific issues of democratic deficit, but I am trying to see things from the point of view of the kinds of people who could make the difference between a Yes and a No vote when indyref 2 is finally held.

    Some people talk as if Scotland already has a settled will for independence, as if a massive majority is being denied its freedom. But at least the half the nation don't see it that way, many are still comfortable in their 'captivity'. At least , up till now, or very recently

    I do think we have yet to see the full realisation of the impact of the election result, the end of the Remain dream and the realisation of a possible decade of Johnson/Cummings/Trumpism. Surely the picture will be clearer at the end of January?

    ReplyDelete
  29. I see the news tonight is reminding everyone of Scotland's status as a country and nation in the eyes of the world.

    #1966

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I assume you are talking about a dead man aged 76 who died because of Alzheimers. He scored the England second goal against West Germany during the 1966 World Cup final. MARTIN PETERS. RIP. Skier there are times when you should look in the mirror and take stock.

      Delete
    2. Your point is what?

      A man I don't know from a different country died at a fairly old age. This happens a lot. In fact it's happening almost continuously.

      Do you care nothing for these other men too? Maybe it is you that should take stock.

      Delete
    3. Oh wait, is he a national hero of yours?

      Delete
    4. Try masterbation with a lemon in your mouth and a black bin bag over yer heid. Hold your breath for a few minutes and all will be ended.

      Delete
    5. GWC isnae talking to me the now.

      Last night , he ran into the pub holding up a gun shouting whose been sleeping wae my wife?

      Voice from the back shouted" you dont have enough ammo mate" and he ran off wae his tail between his legs.

      Delete
    6. The auld wants are ra best. I could be a poofter ye Ken singing Helen Shapero walk-in back tae happiness.

      Delete
  30. Why is it you people can't spell

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We ur Scottish ya bampot.

      Delete
    2. litrich?

      A bheil thu a` magadh orm?

      I can spell perfectly well in the english , im just getting fed up listening to this muppet troll this blog.

      Delete
    3. Hey balmaha. I'm attempting a bit of Gaelic on duolingo now that it's available.

      Weather's shite.

      Delete
    4. You can ask young boys to bend over in English no point in Gay lick.

      Delete
    5. OK. Well, em, thanks for the benefit of your experience.

      Delete
    6. Ach soo you Nat sis meet at the balmaha car park bang on midnight and chase the sheep up Cronick Hill. You Nat si apparanty like a bit of foreplay with the sheep speaking to them in Gay lick.

      Delete
    7. @balmaha
      I didn't mean your spelling mate, I meant the dumbo racist Yoon Troll

      Delete
    8. Get some sleep Nat si you will miss Mass in Gay lick.

      Delete
    9. You love a gay lick, don't you? Remember Dundee 1985? Riverside?

      Delete
    10. @ anonymous

      No worries mate !

      @ scottish skier

      How are you SS? Havent posted over on the weather forum for a long time now , good to hear you are learning a bit of scottish mate (# big smile# thumbs up!)

      My daughter has really picked up languages at school , top marks in her year and is becoming pretty fluent in german , and she is also learning spanish.

      Her wee pal is fae taiwan , so they are learning some mandarin chinese together too.

      Anyway mate hope you and your family are well. Merry christmas and aw the best!!!

      Delete
    11. For work and personal reasons, I'm improving my french to become fully fluent. However, I'm trying to squeeze in a little Gaelic now that I can in my own time. Technically, that would be my forth language (on top of Scots, Scottish Standard English and French). My daughter is of course bilingual (French and Scottish English), and I've been teaching her Scots, which she's adopted with great enthusiasm. Hopefully, she'll still be too young for iref2, but not too long before she comes of age and adds to the Yes vote along with all the other young Scots.

      I still pop into the regional thread, but only when there's actually some weather of interest. Unlike of late.

      Delete
  31. GWC is a mentally ill freak with no mates, ugly and has never had a woman..

    Bitter wee bigoted prick comes on here to seek his frills..

    Total fucking loser!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am bashing your Mrs while you are wasting your time bashing a keyboard. She is a squeeler but you have never heard her.

      Delete
    2. GWC is hilarious. Funniest fat lesbian since Ruth Davison or Susan Calman.

      Delete
    3. Good grief. Talk about others bashing keyboards... GWC you're never off this site posting 24/7! Quite what it actually achieves.

      Delete
  32. Only female you've bashed is your sister! Your da pumped his and you were the outcome!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I bet Prince Phillips would perk up if GWC gave him a good rimming. "Pucker up your Majesty. My tongue's flicking in."

      Delete
    2. Father Big Tool Vatican Child Molester.December 22, 2019 at 2:21 AM

      I love you Scottish Nationalist Youth. You Bring your own petroleum jelly. Bless you ersium insertium.

      Delete
  33. Some great discussion on this blog.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Anyone who thinks that there will be an independence referendum as long as Nicola Sturgeon is First Minister is either deluded or not acting in good faith.

    How many times does she need to betray her mandate; how many manifestos need to be reneged upon, before people understand this.

    There are 144,687 reasons why Nicola Sturgeon will never allow an independence referendum to happen on her watch: if she thought for a single moment that the S30 Order would be made, she would never request it.

    The SNP must move towards fresh leadership if there is to be another referendum.

    When that fresh leadership comes, and there is a genuine move towards holding a referendum, then the SNP leadership must be absolutely clear towards the British regime that if Scottish independence is blocked from being achieved through the ballot box, the movement will move outside of the structures put in place by the British.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The concerns that the Unionists and Nationalists who voted to remain in the Union were the currency, trade, defense and pensions. Next time round if there is one you can add the powers, given back from the EU,eg: fisheries etc. The worse thing that will effect the Nat si cause is if the economy remains stable or improves. Actually surviving outside the EU will come as a shock the EU erselickers.

      Delete
    2. Are these the devolved Scottish powers that England recently legislated to take full control of itself post Brexit?

      England is planning to sell Scotland's fisheries in the first round of talks to secure a better deal for itself.

      A wee reminder.

      https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/heath-knew-policy-would-kill-fish-fleet-1-634422

      Heath knew policy would kill fish fleet

      SECRET papers, released today, have revealed how the Scottish fishing fleet was betrayed by the government 30 years ago to enable Britain to sign up to the controversial Common Fisheries Policy.

      Prime Minister Edward Heath’s officials estimated that up to half the fishermen in Scottish waters - then 4,000 men - could lose their jobs, but the decision was taken to go ahead with plans to sign up because it was believed that the benefits to English and Welsh fishermen would outweigh the disadvantages in Scotland.

      Delete
    3. Pure mince Skier. So why would you want to remain in the EU if they did this deal with Heath!

      Delete
    4. The SNP are a legitimate political party not the resistance movement, if you want to join the resistance that's an entirely different conversation

      Delete
  35. There's a big difference between subjugated countries struggling for freedom, where the majority are very clearly seeking that freedom, and 'tamed' countries where half the populace are comfortable in their cage.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's the key. Public opinion. With it on our side we can hold our own vote even UDI. What Craig Murray fails to acknowledge is that it is only 50/50 at the moment and that means we need to build support first. I can also see why Nicola Sturgeon does not put ther cards on the table wioyth regard to this. SNP Plan Illegal Vote'rammed down our throats.

      Delete
    2. Except, of course, that a consultative referendum wouldn't be illegal.

      Delete
  36. You can train dogs to beg sit down roll over there's not much difference with people

    ReplyDelete
  37. What's legal or not legal is an arguable point as it's never been tested, what might be more interesting is whether the international community accept Scotlands right to choose or not and given that it's part of the UN convention to which the UK is a signatory does the UK veto its own agreement on self determination and if they did which countries would agree with them in the current political and trading environment

    The UK government at this moment doesn't have its troubles to seek as they are now in contempt of UN regulations on human rights abuses within the UK and their deliberate refusal to leave the Chagos Islands, and if that wasn't enough the IRA have informed them in no uncertain terms that there will be no border no checks and no inconvenience whatsoever in Northern Ireland in respect of what they call Englands Brexit or swift retribution will be taken against England
    At this moment the Media has been ordered to suppress all of this but the BBC stupidly allowed someone to get the words out on their Hardtalk programme before they could shut him up

    The Johnson regime will be weighing up the least damaging consequesences of what they decide to do right now, human life we know they don't care about but bad publicity they do care

    We'll soon see

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "What's legal or not legal is an arguable point as it's never been tested"

      But you're missing the point. We already know the word "illegal" is inaccurate. Even if it turns out that the Supreme Court take the view that a consultative referendum is outside the Scottish Parliament's current powers, the attempt to organise one wouldn't be an illegal act. This isn't Spain.

      Delete
    2. The IRA said they have disbanded!

      Delete
    3. It's not about legality. Its about legitimacy.

      A referendum without Westminster approval would have none. The result of such a poll - boycotted by Unionists, not supported by many councils, not properly regulated - would carry as much weight as a Twitter poll.

      Seeking to pursue independence on the strength of such a poll so soon after a legitimate poll resulted in a No vote would garner little sympathy internationally - see Catalonia.

      For Scotland to be independent it has to be sanctioned by the UK. No path to independence exists without Westminster approval. That is the constitution of the land, one Scots voted to conform to in 2014.

      Delete
    4. If you look at das EU German flag velly closely you should note that it is a cleverly disguised Swastika. Shotland, Shotland Uber alles.

      Delete
    5. "A referendum without Westminster approval would have none."

      Rubbish. Legitimacy is derived from participation levels and quality of organisation, not from a bit of paper issued in London. Thinking only Westminster can confer legitimacy is the cringe writ large (and it's also an argument against Scotland even attempting to become independent for many years or perhaps even decades, which would be frankly ludicrous given the urgency of the situation).

      Delete
    6. Without Westminster approval a referendum would lack the participation or organisation (electoral commission oversight) that grant it legitimacy so despite saying 'rubbish' it seems you agree.

      Delete
    7. Again: rubbish. To coin a phrase, Westminster politicians are not "genetically programmed" to run referendums properly. We are, believe it or not, perfectly capable of doing it ourselves.

      The level of participation is something you and I can only speculate on, but I suspect it would be healthy.

      Delete
    8. It's not about genetics James it's about whether the SNP overseeing their own referendum would be legitimate. It would not be.

      Participation would be difficult to get an accurate figure for as this poll wouldn't be able to use the electoral roll.

      Delete
    9. A Scottish electoral commission would be better for recognition under international norms for self determination. With UK bodies doing this, there are obviously questions over legitimacy due to external interference. Certainly Scottish Parliament supervision with no outside interference would be democratically the correct thing to do. Any involvement of uk bodies must be by the consent of the Scottish people / Parliament.

      The refusal of a section 30 would automatically eliminate uk bodies as clearly biased and a major threat to the legitimacy of any subsequent referendum involving them. This goes without saying.

      All that's needed on top is international observers. These could e.g. come from Ireland and other former British colonies who have experience in this area.

      Delete
    10. With msps from a range of parties now backing an indyref, including labour, it would be cross party.

      We may even see some libs and tories voting it through. Brexit is just too much for some of these, coupled with respect for democracy.

      Everything has changed now, with 2014 do very long ago.

      Delete
  38. Poor Jocko Nat sis gone tae sleep. Lost the plot.

    ReplyDelete
  39. I slightly object to people complaining that I've deleted a comment when I've done no such thing. I've deleted the complaint, but I didn't delete the original comment (in fact I didn't even see it, which makes me wonder if it was ever posted at all).

    ReplyDelete
  40. 'One nation' conservatives.

    https://www.eastbourneherald.co.uk/news/opinion/thank-you-prime-minister-now-it-s-time-for-a-full-english-brexit-1-9184134

    Thank you Prime Minister, now it’s time for a full English Brexit

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I saw on Twitter a letter from some character in Bournemouth to his local paper urging Scots to consider the consequences of independence. I was so grateful to see that piece of wisdom.

      Delete
    2. But did he urge us to 'think carefully'?

      Did he purr?

      Delete
  41. Oops! What's Johnson going to say about Angela Merkel turning up in February for a wee visit to Bute House and a walk round the shops with Scotlands FM

    ReplyDelete
  42. Why could the Scottish Government not organise an independence referendum, the Westminster Parliament organised the EU referendum.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Scottish Gov did organise a referendum. The UK did organise a referendum. Guess who lost.

      Delete
    2. Yes they did....and what was the result.....outright lies and misinformation by WM parties to sway the result. WM promised No was the only way to guarantee remaining in the EU, "the Vow" promised Scotland equality and power through Hollyrood. What did Scotland get....dragged out of the EU, no equality and devolved powers stolen back by WM. That referendum result was nullified through lies and hypocrisy.

      Delete
    3. When fascists lose it always the same old crap from them. The EU was not a consideration in the Scottish referendum. Currency, stockmarkets, jobs and defense were. You Nat sis have still to get a grip with this otherwise you will remain losers.

      Delete
    4. Unionists have not won an election in Scotland for a very long time. They just lost another in spectacular style. An epic landslide of historic proportions for the SNP. Makes Johnson's win look pathetically shite by comparison.

      Time for unionists to accept the will of the people quit moaning about what people put on the ballot paper many years and many elections ago. They need to stop living in the past and move on. The electorate have requested iref2 and they shall have it.

      Unionists are free to reaffirm their support for the UK in that if they so wish.

      It's going to happen. That's the law. The winner of elections gets to decide what happens. Nae point whingeing. You are like a record that got stuck half a decade ago.

      Delete

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    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You sound like a weird Yank or Canadian!

      Delete
  44. One of my golden memories which I am proud to share with you, my devoted admirers. A great lady, accompanied by but an handmaiden, reluctantly proposes herself at the yalī for a Christmas lunch. Edirne, 1947.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Roddy Collarless-ShirtDecember 25, 2019 at 10:19 AM

    I feel that it would raise the tone of this quotidian blog if, ever and anon, you would publish selections of your anecdotes from the Salzburg Festspiele.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One would concur, but for a major stumbling block. I recall a vivacious exchange of views with my lamented former colleague and fellow bon vivant, Brian Sewell, on the very topic of the Salzburger Festspiele. Whilst conceding that many many people enjoy the Festspiele, I always felt it was sailing rather too close to the wind of mass appeal for my very refined tastes. Brian disagreed, but there was always that tiny tiny streak of, not vulgarity per se, but perhaps popularity in his character. Personally, I seldom miss the Bregenzer Festspiele.

      Delete
  46. The UK government are just scum. Their treatment of the Chagos Islanders is just appalling.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-50924704

    Chagos Islands dispute: UK accused of 'crimes against humanity' by Mauritius

    The UK has been accused of committing "crimes against humanity" for refusing to allow people to return to their former homes on the Chagos Islands, despite a ruling earlier this year by the United Nation's highest court.

    Describing Britain's behaviour as stubborn and shameful, the prime minister of Mauritius, Pravind Jugnauth, told the BBC that he was exploring the possibility of bringing charges of crimes against humanity against individual British officials at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

    ReplyDelete