Saturday, April 1, 2017

Why I Did It

A guest post by Glasgow Working Class

First of all, I want to sincerely thank James Kelly for allowing me this opportunity to set the record straight and to very briefly bid you all farewell.  I can imagine what a difficult decision it must have been for him after the trouble I've caused on his page.

As some of you know, "Glasgow Working Class" was a persona I created when I was working at Better Together headquarters in 2014.  I had several personal problems at the time, and my self-consciousness at being forty years older than most of the spotty teenagers in the building wasn't helping.  It was all too tempting to seek the easy way out, and when Blair McDougall went into hysterics after I introduced him to my new character who would taunt Cybernats with catchphrases like "Nat Sis" and "Mein Gott, up yer lederhosen", I saw a golden chance to continue paying off my mortgage without doing any more hard work.  I knew Rob Shorthouse would approve.  They agreed to pay me £1 for every ten words of trolling on nationalist blogs, with no maximum daily limit.  I even got a bonus when I made a Cybernat really lose it.  I had genuinely found my vocation.

All good things come to an end, but even when BT was no longer around to support me in the manner to which I had become accustomed, I found that I just couldn't let go of GWC.  Far from stopping, or posting less often, I was posting more and more.  I descended into a world of fantasy in which I almost became the monster I had created out of desperation.  Even during the rare moments when I was "back in the room", I could still hear McDougall's helpless cackles and was convinced the silent majority found my contributions equally hilarious.  It's only really been in the last three or four weeks that I've recovered my self-awareness, realised that I am extremely unfunny, and decided to stop for my own sanity and for yours.

To anyone I've hurt, offended or simply bored rigid, I want to say I'm sorry.  I truly mean that.  You have my word that I will not be posting on this blog again.  Thank you for reading this, and best wishes to you all.

Hoots man ra noo we British are still around ye ken ra noo. Scots wae Hae.

Glasgow Working Class was a regular commenter on this blog until April 2017.

Friday, March 31, 2017

New podcast on Brexit, and charting the course towards a vote on independence

Just a quick note to let you know that I'm the guest on this week's edition of the Newsnet podcast, hosted as always by Derek Bateman.  The topics discussed include the symbolism of the already-legendary photo of Nicola Sturgeon signing her letter to Theresa May, the prospects for the forthcoming Brexit negotiations, and the possible ways forward if the Prime Minister continues to be intransigent over an independence referendum.  You can listen to the podcast HERE.

POLL : Devastating blow for Theresa May as overwhelming majority of Scottish public back the Scottish Parliament's right to call an independence referendum

Survation seem to conduct telephone polls in Scotland pretty regularly, but most of them are private polls (probably for a unionist party) that are not intended for publication.  Today's Survation telephone poll was commissioned by the SNP, but it's little wonder the results have been published, because they are nothing short of disastrous for Theresa May's "no, not now" strategy, which relies so heavily on using a tame media to build an illusion of public sympathy for her outrageous actions.

Who do you think should have the right to decide if there should be a referendum in Scotland that would allow the people of Scotland to choose between Brexit and independence?  Should it be...

The Scottish Parliament : 61%
The Westminster Parliament : 39%

Even before today, the broadcast media had no excuse for constantly parroting the myth that Ms May somehow had Scottish public opinion on her side, but they'll find people laughing at them if they attempt it again.  Just in case respondents didn't fully grasp the implications of what they were being asked, the Survation poll posed another question that addressed the issue in a way that left no room for ambiguity whatsoever -

Do you think the Westminster Parliament should have the right to block a plan for a referendum in Scotland, even if it is agreed on and voted for by the Scottish Parliament?

Yes 42%
No 58%

So respondents don't think that Theresa May should even have the right to do what she is attempting to do, let alone that she should actually do it.

Taking matters to an even more advanced level of 'belt and braces' super-clarity, a third question was asked just to check whether the people who didn't want Westminster to have a veto on the principle of a referendum had a completely different view on whether Westminster should be able to decide the timing.  Surprise surprise, they didn't.  (Or not in any great numbers, anyway.)

Who do you think should have the right to decide the timing of a referendum in Scotland that would allow the people of Scotland to choose between Brexit and Independence, if it were to happen? Should it be….

The Scottish Parliament : 56%
The Westminster Parliament : 44%

As you'd expect, there's a division between Yes and No voters from 2014 on all of these three questions - but surprisingly large minorities of No voters back the Scottish Government's stance.  For example, as many as 36.4% of No voters think Holyrood should decide on the principle of whether a referendum should be held.  What's particularly interesting is that there is largely a meeting of minds between Remain and Leave voters - the only question on which they disagree is the one about which parliament should decide on timing, and even on that Leave voters are more or less evenly split.  

The Survation poll comes hot on the heels of new survey findings from the National Centre for Social Research showing that by a narrow 51% to 47% margin, the Scottish public feel that Scotland is a nation and should not be forced out of the European Union as a result of a UK-wide referendum.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

All options for facing down Tyrannical Theresa must remain on the table

There was a fascinating moment on the BBC news channel yesterday afternoon, when Professor John Curtice raised (with much more seriousness than most commentators have done thus far) the possibility that the Scottish Government might hold a consultative independence referendum without Westminster permission, and pointed out that Alex Salmond had proposed to do exactly that when he was first elected to minority government in 2007.  The interviewer Huw Edwards noticeably shut him down very hurriedly and said "leaving that option aside, what do you think the SNP will do..?"

Without wanting to indulge any conspiracy theories, there did seem to be a determination from the BBC throughout yesterday to weave a narrative that Theresa May is Scotland's overlord, and if she says no, that's the end of the road.  On Sarah Smith's propaganda video (I use that term advisedly) for the evening news programmes, we were shown pro-independence demonstrators bursting into tears upon hearing that Holyrood had voted to hold an independence referendum - tears of joy, we were told, that would very soon turn to "disappointment" when the individuals concerned got real and accepted that Theresa's No Means No.  It didn't even seem to occur to Ms Smith that one reason the demonstrators were so happy may have been that they simply do not recognise the BBC narrative, and instead fully expect the Scottish Parliament to take all steps necessary to implement its own sovereign decision.

I've been trying to read the runes on what Nicola Sturgeon may be minded to do if she continues to be met by total instransigence from the most authoritarian Prime Minister since Mrs Thatcher.  I do take seriously the assessment of Brian Taylor and others that it's "unlikely" she would sanction a referendum without a Section 30, or an early Holyrood election to seek an outright mandate for independence.  That may very well be an accurate representation of her thinking at the moment...but then again I'm increasingly finding myself wondering whether her current thoughts are actually the most important thing.  There are so many people caught in a Section 30 trance, and who chant like a mantra that an Edinburgh Agreement-style process is the only proper way of doing this, but when you ask them how that can even happen if Westminster keeps rejecting it, you generally draw a blank.  It is surely inconceivable that any SNP leadership will accept for an indefinite period that London can just veto an exercise in Scottish self-determination, and so if Theresa May doesn't budge, simple logic will tell you that they'll eventually consider the other options, even if they themselves do not yet realise they will.  It's a straightforward 'unstoppable force meets immovable object' scenario, and something has to give.  The idea that we're all just going to obediently pack up and go home because London isn't in the mood for a referendum is, to use the favoured expression of a Downing Street source, "for the birds".

Don't forget that this is a moral issue and not just strategic.  Many people voted No in 2014 in good faith, after being told that it was the only way of retaining their EU citizenship.  An overwhelming majority of the Scottish public then voted to retain their EU citizenship last June.  If we tacitly accept May's ability to veto a referendum, even just for a few years, that citizenship is going to be stripped away from those people for a prolonged spell, in blatant contravention of the immaculate double mandate in favour of EU membership that has been obtained.  That is unacceptable, and I see no particular reason why we should accept it.

*  *  *

Events have moved so fast that our vocabulary hasn't quite caught up with them, and it's high time we updated the way we characterise certain political parties.  Scottish Labour, for example, should now quite properly be called an anti-European party - not in the sense of hating Germans or Italians, but in the more prosaic sense that they oppose our participation in European institutions.  There is no Labour proposal to reverse Brexit, and of course they dogmatically reject the only option that could keep Scotland in the EU after Brexit occurs.  They've gone all the way back to a position they last held in the 'longest suicide note in history' - their 1983 general election manifesto under Michael Foot.  They are separatists.  They want to build walls.  They think that what divides us from our European neighbours (ie. devotion to Blighty at all costs) is more important than what unites us.

It's interesting to recall that, in the immediate aftermath of the EU referendum, some senior Scottish Labour figures did publicly ponder the idea of seeking a solution that might keep Scotland within the EU family in some form.  In retrospect, they only seem to have done that because they were briefly terrified that they would be faced with opinion polls showing an irresistible tidal wave in favour of independence, and in favour of a second indyref.  The fact that they ditched their pro-Europeanism as soon as they thought they might get away with it shows just how shallow their internationalist values have always been.  Dugdale, Baillie and Hothersall - the New Brexiteers.  It's been quite a revelation.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats, meanwhile, are no longer pro-Europeans, and are instead Euro-ambivalents.  They nominally want to remain within the EU, but only under wildly implausible circumstances.  If they don't get exactly the solution they want, it seems they will reluctantly accept Brexit, at least for the time being.  That will put them in a very awkward position come the next indyref, and indeed the next Westminster and Holyrood elections.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Theresa May tried her best to say nothing in Scotland - but we did learn a little

Just a quick note to let you know that I have a new article at the International Business Times about what we learned from Theresa May's visit yesterday - even though it was like trying to get blood out of a source.  You can read the article HERE.

It's official, it's decisive : an independence referendum is the will of the elected Scottish Parliament

Scottish Parliament vote on holding an independence referendum :

Yes 69 (53.9%)
No 59 (46.1%)

The BBC argued that the 55%-45% vote against independence in 2014 was "decisive", so as this is very much the same sort of margin, I look forward to the same word being used (as opposed to "narrow", or something along those lines).

Monday, March 27, 2017

Should a national list be top of the list?

Just a quick note to let you know that I have a new article at The National, pondering what the effect might be if the Holyrood regional lists were replaced by a national list (as Alex Salmond has proposed).  It will also doubtless irritate Morag by concluding that STV might be a better option from the SNP's point of view!  I'm not really a convert to the cause of STV, but there's not much doubt it would offer a better chance of an SNP overall majority than AMS does.  You can read the article HERE.