Saturday, January 19, 2019

Joyce McMillan's article calls for the SNP to become a unionist-for-now party and to betray its promise to give the Scottish people a choice on their own future in the event of Brexit. We should have no truck with any of that.

I know I'm not the only person who was disappointed and deeply concerned to see the Glasgow SNP councillor Mhairi Hunter, and one or two others close to the party leadership, give the seal of approval to an absolutely extraordinary article by Joyce McMillan that amounts to a counsel of despair for the independence movement, and a call for an indefinite delay for any meaningful push towards independence.  The main points of the article were as follows -

* Nicola Sturgeon should not even request a Section 30 order (because the request would be rejected) and SNP supporters shouldn't be pushing her to do it.  This point is implied by the article rather than explicitly stated, but I defy anyone to dispute that the implication is readily apparent.  It effectively paints as a form of extremism any suggestion that Ms Sturgeon should do what she's already done once in 2017, and what we've been strongly led to believe she's about to do again.  It would also mean that it's somehow outrageously militant to merely ask that the SNP stick to their own manifesto commitment - and remember that the manifesto arguably went further than simply pledging a Section 30 request.  It certainly didn't acknowledge any Westminster veto on the holding of an independence referendum in the event of Brexit.

* The example of Catalonia demonstrates that the holding of a referendum without the agreement of Westminster would set the cause of independence back 10 years.  This is a really appalling piece of victim-blaming on McMillan's part.  The Spanish authorities trampled all over the Catalan people's democratic rights, meted out arbitrary violence against citizens casting a peaceful vote, and took political prisoners.  But apparently this is all the Catalans' fault for failing to meekly take "no" for an answer.  In actual fact, hardly anyone is seriously talking about following Catalonia's example by holding an illegal referendum - what is being suggested is instead that the current powers of the Scottish Parliament should be tested by passing a Referendum Bill and then seeing if the Supreme Court upholds it.  If they don't, no harm done, and alternative methods for seeking an independence mandate would then have to be considered.  But if they do, the referendum would become the law of the land, so what exactly would be the problem?  Why are some senior SNP people in such a hurry to brand something as "illegal" when a) we don't know whether it is yet, and b) there'd definitely be no illegality in simply putting the matter to the test?

In any case, the United Kingdom is not Spain.  Disappointingly, it probably is the case that there's a natural majority within the UK population for denying Scotland's right to democratic self-determination for the time being, but what there most certainly isn't a majority for is the deploying of Spanish-style tactics in pursuit of that policy.  There would be an outcry if any such thing happened.  The UK government are in practice much more restricted in their options than the Spanish government were, and they know that full well.

Not that any of this has got anything to do with politely requesting a Section 30 order, an act that would be fully in line with the UK's constitutional arrangements, but which for some bizarre reason McMillan also regards as unconscionable.

* There can be no move towards independence until "consensus" and "harmony" are achieved, and this may well take 20 years, as was the case with devolution.  Blimey.  Where do you start?  First of all, it implies that the UK government were entirely right to ignore the narrow 52-48 vote in favour of devolution in 1979 (an outrage that McMillan herself has spoken out against plenty enough times).  It drives a coach and horses through the SNP's long-standing position on a referendum, which has always been that a simple majority of 50% + 1 is sufficient.  In the 2014 referendum, the SNP were certainly seeking consensus between Yes and No voters, but the form of that proposed consensus in the event of a narrow Yes vote would have been a compromise involving a "soft" form of independence - ie. a currency union, a monarchical union, a social union and so on.  (Much of that remains on the table - the only exception is the currency union, and the blame for the failure of that idea can be placed squarely at the London Treasury's door.)  Now it seems that the only appropriate form of "consensus" if there's a narrow majority for independence is no independence at all.  A suitably Orwellian proposition.

Isn't it also a bit odd that someone who cautions against hasty action that could put the cause of independence back 10 years would then advocate doing nothing for 20 years anyway?  I mean, doesn't the latter put the cause back by 20 years rather than 10?  What am I missing here?

And last but not least, putting a referendum on the backburner for 20 years until this utopian state of "harmony" is achieved would also mean that the SNP's current stated position, and the position stated in their manifesto, ie. that the Scottish people should have the right to another say on their own constitutional future in the event of Brexit, is a sham.  The idea that anyone would have taken that promise to mean "but only once you've had a chance to mull it over for a couple of decades" is risible.

McMillan's stance is not technically anti-independence, but it can be summed up as "unionism for the foreseeable future, and then we'll see".  It reminds me very much of the original constitutional policy of the current governing party of Quebec (the Coalition Avenir Québec) which was a ten-year moratorium on any talk of an independence referendum.  That then gradually mutated into "we will never hold a referendum, but we might seek more powers for Quebec within the Canadian federation".  Why any elected SNP representative would be flirting with this stuff is beyond me.  I would suggest our response to this disturbing development should be the opposite of what McMillan wants - we should redouble our urgent calls for Nicola Sturgeon, in the first instance, to renew her request for a Section 30 order within the next few weeks.  That, frankly, is a position of moderation not extremism, and we should have no patience for any attempts to gaslight us into believing the contrary.

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64 comments:

  1. Agreed. The faster we get out of this mess, the better.

    Why anyone is giving this article any time beyond "hahahahahaha, unionist tripe" is beyond me.

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  2. Both May and Corbyn are prisoners of their own parties.
    British Unionism has never been weaker.
    Never interrupt your enemies when they are making a mistake.
    Nicola must make her move when a no deal Brexit is apparent.
    Calling a consultative referendum is within the powers of Holyrood.
    Nae nation needs permission to be free.
    We're ready and waiting Nicola.
    The whole of Scotland needs a future we can believe in. Don't miss the moment.

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  3. No, no a thousand times no, Joyce. And that's the only no that independence gets from me!

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  4. There's a damn good reason Cameron said 'Ok, now's the time' while May's been saying '[Please, no, not now, please, please] now is not the time!'.

    I mean you've e.g. read this?

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-46917999

    This is just another example of how 'tough' the UK is in negotiations right now. I'm not a 'kick them when they're down' kinda person, but let's be honest, the UK government has never been in such a weak position. Entirely of their own making.

    If you want to exit the UK, now is exactly the time, both in terms of the 'Running out of medicines' headlines, and the utter disarray in British governance. They're in no position to fight anything; hence caving to the Irish so completely over the GFA.

    What you need are allies, which we have in our 27+ neighbours, as brexit means they don't need to stay out of UK domestic politics any more. Not past the 29th March.

    Remember, Brexit gives the UK the right to negotiate new trade deals without the 27. It also gives the 27 the right to negotiate with Scotland as the UK would not be a member state, but a third country. This is what brexiters wanted of course; they voted for it after all.

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    1. International relationships are reserved, Scotland cannot negotiate with other countries, its does not have the power, negotiations can only be with the UK. This is what Scotland wanted, they voted for not all powers to go to the Scottish Government after all.

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    2. Sorry, but that's not how it works. The EU 27 will talk directly to the Scottish government if they want to. Unless you shut down Holyrood or jail Scottish politicians, they'll talk back. Ask, e.g. the Ukraine. This might not be around the officially international tables, but there’ll be no hiding of it.
      On the 29th of March, the UK withdraws from the EU convention that the other member EU states will not involve themselves in 'domestic' member politics.
      The UK is setting itself up as a rival to the EU, trying to take jobs, business and trade away from it, while reducing the security of the 27+ on their NW borders / the Atlantic gateway.
      That problem would be very much reduced by courting Scotland (part of a third country now), supporting its move to independence, and welcoming it into the EU/EEA. We've already had senior EU figures say Scotland would be welcome.
      Presuming iref#2 is post-technical brexit, the EU will be able to openly state Scotland can get fast-track membership if it votes Yes. No need for subtle hints any more.
      Likewise, all it takes is one member state to say it would recognise Scottish indy (e.g. Ireland), and the rest are going to have to work with them, or we could see the former vetoing all sorts of EU legislation, including any new trade deal with UK (negotiations for which will only start after the withdrawal agreement is finally settled and the UK exits).
      The UK wants to leave the club and fight alone. Well it’s a tough world out there. The EU is not going to turn down the opportunity to keep Scotland if it can, just as it’s moving to put a border down the Irish Sea.

      Remember, it is not England's opinion that matters for Scottish indy. It's what the world thinks. In the first instance, it's what the 27 think; the rest will follow their lead.

      UK = johnny nae mates. That's what happens when you tell them to F'off, call them 'queue jumpers' etc while demanding they kiss your erse.

      https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/01/18/theresa-may-leaves-diplomats-disbelief-presenting-eu-leaders/

      Theresa May leaves diplomats in 'disbelief' after presenting EU leaders with unchanged Brexit demands

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  5. Joyce McMillan has always been a boring windbag. Her opinion is nearly always: 'do nothing and have a debate'.

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  6. Yes, McMillan's take is hopeless.

    Those espousing it as some sort of genius seem to want it all to be 'consensual and not rock the boat'. While we obviously need majority consensus in Scotland, we have to test whether we have reached it or not. Ergo, let's have indyref 2.

    Unless what Joyce (and I suspect it is) means by consensus is that it should be obvious that all the 'great and the good' agree, like in 1997, and only then will we ask the plebs to confirm it. In which case, catch a grip because the unionist parties are never going to agree. They are UNIONIST.

    Well it has to rock the boat because I) you are dealing with an unwilling Westminster and so it might get nasty in tone of rhetoric and so on, ii) you are trying to do something rather revolutionary and seismic; it's not a fucking dinner party.

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    1. Last paragraph should have said 'In dealing with Westminster, we will have to rock the boat because...'.

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  7. Is Joyce pals with Jim Sillars?

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    1. I think Joyce MacMillan is absolutely sincere because I remember her years ago at demonstrations for home rule/independence. The problem is that she thinks everyone else is as reasonable as she is.

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  8. What a deeply depressing article. If the SNP accepted Joyce McMillan’s suggestion as policy, there would be a real SNP civil war.

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  9. It would make the most sense for England/the rUK if both Scottish independence and brexit occur around the same time / are negotiated jointly.

    If brexit actually happens, the lengthy and tough trade negotiations begin. For these, the UK needs to be constitutionally solid, with a strong government that has full control over all devolved areas, with devolved nations showing no interest in independence.

    If that's not the case, the EU (and other trade partners) can say 'But you can't use Scots fisheries as a negotiating card; you might lose these in a year!' or 'But agriculture is devolved; you might have temporary control, but you need to take it away from Holyrood permanently or Scotland might pass laws in contravention of our trade agreement!’.

    So, if Scottish independence is going to happen (which history, demographics and the opinion of Scots themselves says it is), then it's better to get it done now and sort out both it and brexit together.

    There's also the benefit that the Tories get an immediate majority in Westminster if Scots MPs withdraw. Even stronger if they can get rid of N. Irish MPs too.

    If we put off Scottish indy until after all the new UK trade agreements are made, these will all need to be re-negotiated. That’s much more messy, time-consuming and costly.

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  10. Nonetheless, there is an issue here, namely that we'll need ultimately to negotiate a separation settlement. We'd prefer not to have a weak, unstable, embittered state as our neighbour, so we need to take time, and engage with them, to achieve that.

    This isn't to say that we need to delay our referendum - and if referendums are blocked, we should go for a step-by-step form of UDI that leaves room for negotiation. But our goal is not just an independent Scotland, but a *secure* independent Scotland, and we haven't achieved that until we have a settlement with England.

    And of course we need to start now!

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    1. Settlement, Scotland will be due 8.9% of all the British Government assets all over the world, this would clear all Scottish debt plus more. If it does not BRITIAN IS BANKRUPT.

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  11. By the way, James, totally agree on the 'victim blaming' of Catalonia.

    It's an outrage for people that would no doubt profess to be democrats to hide behind 'but it was illegal'.

    Most pro-Spanish folk argue that in relation to Catalonia.

    But the law is an ass sometimes, as we all know.

    And if these people are saying 'governmental bodies can deny people self-determination via democratic means' they are saying 'I support governments tyranically denying people self-determination so long as it's "legal"'.

    Ergo, they are saying the same thing in Scotland's case.

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    1. Fun Fact:

      Everything Hitler did while in office was legal in Germany at the time.

      "It's the law" == "Just following orders"

      Also, if the law was perfect, why does anyone have the power to change it?

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  12. If we were to await "harmony" then that would imply there is no need to pursue anything other than what had already been achieved. Don't think so Joyce.

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  13. All I can say to this is when did her brain get scrambled? I also believe she should leave the independence movement for a few years.

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  14. The timing of indyref2 is, unfortunately, contingent on what the appalling Westminster regime and its only slightly better legislature do over Brexit. I am absolutely sure that the First Minister has thoroughly gamed out the situation and mapped out all the necessary decision trees.

    For what it's worth, my reading of the practical and tactical situation vis-à-vis the Westminster regime / legislature / Brexit process is that she will indeed be in a position to make an announcement on indyref2 within the next couple of weeks.

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  15. I think you are all being a bit harsh. An interesting, thought provoking article. 'This is not to say, of course, that the idea of Scottish independence should be put on the back burner.' A good contribution.

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    1. Oh don't get me wrong, that sentence is fine. Unfortunately it's completely contradicted by the rest of the article, which calls for the idea of Scottish independence to be put on the backburner. I'd be more interested to hear your views about the rest of it.

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  16. Part of the problem is that Joycey is an SMSM "Journalist" with all that entails.

    She won's admit to herself just how evil her old friends are and how they would rather Scotland was totally destroyed then be a normal country. They've dedicated their entire lives to making themselves rich on keeping us in chains and will do or say anything to prevent the inevitable consequences post Yes vote.
    They will be up against the wall as enemies of the people. Metaphorically or not depending upon circumstances Those who covered up the abuse of children to keep labour in power are dead. This who lied to keep us poor will be unemployable in any country where their name and work is recognised. Scum fighting for their lives are capable of anything but she refuses to admit that to herself.
    Same thing applies to Councillor Hunter and, unfortunately to the FM herself. Anybody who can state that, "No voters don't hate Scotland," as she did in 2017 when the good Rev S highlighted the stinking hypocrisy of rowling and gray being all sad at Scotland being cheated at the RWC, and mean it has no contact with the reality of life in Scotland.
    No voters in the majority do hate Scotland. When 30-35% of the population would still vote no even if the english were sending their fellow citizens to the gas chambers then they are beyond saving.

    She also tells an outright lie. We have the power to hold a referendum under exactly the same terms as the EU vote. Even the most corkscrew minded yoon quisling (gordon, leask, massie,mccolm, hutcheophile and the rest) would be unable to convince normal people that one of two identical votes was illegal because reasons.

    Mcmillan is just another of the endless stream of Useless Idiots so beloved of Stalin. She and her supporters can take her suggestion and ram it.

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    1. Yep totally agree with what you say. Upton Sinclair, 'It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it'. In this case, a woman.

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    2. Stalin my Uncle Joe and the Soviets actually helped defeat the Nazis, however sadly for some of you Scottish Nat si Jew haters he inadvertently helped the formation of Israel.

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    3. Cordelia started last night's drunken gibberish session fairly early, then.

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    4. She seems to be aiming for the prize for blanket incoherence. I hope the poor soul doesn't have too much mess to clean up today. And with a pounding headache.

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  17. Joyce, steiy oot ah Hope Street, Glesga, iz awe thae fumes urr makin ye brain-deid.

    Alang wae awe thae union erses, oan Radio Union thurr moarnin.

    Christ oan ah bike, whit ah shoourr - Fraser, Brewer, Curtice, Clegg, Geohegan, wae 'Whaur-Dae-Ah-Hing-Ma-Jaikit' Macwhirter.

    Whin Scoattlinn's Independent, whit wull thae awe gurrn aboot.

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  18. Nice to see that you've attracted the attention of fencepostboy mcwhirter. He really is the ultimate mcleish.

    On the section 30 order point.

    Would cameron have signed up if Salmond had demanded a referendum with no postal votes, no votes for holiday home owners, a minimum 3 year residency requirement and no involvement by the electoral commision, with their role being taken by UN election observers?

    I seriously doubt it, but that is what we need for the next vote to stop them cheating us again.

    We have civil servants within the Scottish Government actively trying to destroy the SNP but mcmillan and her fellow travellers think we should be treating our enemies to tea and crumpets while they're arranging to invade Poland.

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    1. Aggie far the DrumchapelJanuary 20, 2019 at 8:36 AM

      General Yaraselki knew what to do with you shower of nat si Jew haters. Your all crapping yourself because you in now what you thinkd eh we need the shit hit the fact NN. Too bus Ty wiping General BV From as NCOs arse.

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    2. Poor broken Cordelia and its ravings.
      Judging by the state of this post, we can assume it was still hammered when it retched up this hate-filled mess.

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  19. Joyce McMillan's Unionist for Now strategy implies that she endorses the fascist-like rounding up of people - longterm citizens of Scotland - and denying them their rights to remain here. And endorses today's news that a Government minister confirms the intention to end the Human Rights Act.Once out of the EU Mundell will make the case of an unnecessary Holyrood government as he has a 3000 strong civil service in Leith.
    And then there is the commerce aspect, dear oh dear.

    You are judged by the company you keep. May keeps company with the DUP. reason enough to exit the UK asap.

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    1. The Uk English gov are plonking another 200o English civil servants in a brand new spanking building right next to Edinburgh Council building at Waverley. They will basically be able to wave at the council workers, who some might give a two finger wave back I hope! Oh, and where will the 2000 new to our capital city, live exactly?

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    2. Plenty of slums in the Knickerless constituency for them.

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    3. Hetty that is anti English racism at its best.

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    4. Cordelia's uncorked, folks. Get ready for some laughs!

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    5. Iain are you Freddie Mercury resurrected? One life one dream! Divide the working classes! You can get a college course on how tae put a condom over the boabie. STUDENT Grants are available

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    6. By this stage Cordelia is rambling about her flat drunk, effing and blinding, crying then laughing uproariously, having soiled herself whilst rummaging in cupboards for that not-yet-finished bottle of carrot liqueur she won at the Conservative Club's bring and buy. Poor Cordelia

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    7. The ravings are hilarious, but Cordelia needs help. A lot of help.

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  20. Why does the Section 30 become the be-all and end-all of the independence issue? The union with England is based on a treaty, that can be revoked under certain circumstances, notably the expressed will of the Scottish people. No part of the treaty gives the new UK parliament the right to forbid the expression of the Scottish will. If a referendum is to be used as the basis for the expression of Scottish will, Westminster has nothing to say and the Scottish government can and should take this decision alone.

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    1. The Scottish Government are a handful of people and they cannot determine our future but just recommend.

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    2. Cheers, Cordelia. You gutsy boozehound.

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  21. Is England* going to send in English police and/or troops to arrest Scottish politicians and beat up Scots?

    That's what they'll need to be prepared to do if they want to try end democracy in Scotland by blocking a democratic move to independence.

    Spain understands this and had done exactly that in Catalonia.

    Would England be prepared to beat up Scots? Shoot at them? If the answer is no, then Scotland will be choosing its indepedence freely, even if Westminster is pretty awkward about it.

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    1. Catelonia is Spanish. It is greedy middle class elitists in Catelonia who do not give a shit for the poorer parts of Spain that want to split. Scotland is British.

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    2. skier, you really need to stop promoting your hypothetical violence. The English would vote to get rid of you given the chance but you could not stomach the rejection. Irrespective of the outcome you fash would continue to moan and blame the English

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    3. No, I'd be really pleased if England wanted indy. I think England would make a great independent country. I'd like Scotland to continue to be in union with my country/countries (Scotland, Ireland and France...), but England seems to not want that, so there's not a lot I can do.

      You didn't answer my question.

      Personally, I think the answer is no. At least for now. If brexit goes ahead and the economy goes to shit as expected. Well, then fascism could readily take hold. Britain has become very right wing so is flirting with that increasingly. Refusal of a Section 30 would be it fully taking hold. I, like most Scots, don't believe that's imminent though. Hence we think indy isn't yet set in stone. If a Section 30 is refused, the union dies that day in the hearts of Scotland.

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    4. That should have read that I'd like England to continue to be in union with Scotland / my countries....

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    5. Cordelia has started on the spirits. The wine's finished so the doubles have started. I hope she has some of that plum brandy left from duty free for when the normal stuff runs out.

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    6. Gail hen, you just get intae the kitchen an dae the dishes. I might come in an gie ye a big surprise.

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    7. skier, fascism is not a British thing. Fascism is historically engrained in petty nationalism and you are part of it. You are probably not aware that this year is the 75th Anniversary of the D Day Landings in Normandy by the British and Allies to defeat fascism.

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    8. Cordelia my dear. I never realised you were a lesbian. Is that your surprise?

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    9. There's nothing surprising about poor drunken Cordelia and its repetitive nonsensical drivel.
      The screams of incoherent hate are hilarious, but also deeply concerning.

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  22. The Irish Republicans are now setting of car bombs to remain in the EU. A while, back they were slaughtering people for a so called United Ireland. Now they want to slaughter people to remain in the EU. And during the seventies they campaigned to leave the EEC. Funny how getting the pockets lined can change the mind.

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    1. Cheers! Here's to your lesbian equality campaign. Best of luck, dear. Bottoms up!

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    2. You should be more concerned about having your bottom up sae often.

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    3. As a lady, that doesn't concern me. And as a lady, it shouldn't concern you either.

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  23. I'm not sure about this someone might be able to help me with here. The EU said that it would only talk to the member state. After Brexit the UK will not hold that position, therefore Scotland will be free to negotiate with the EU regards any future relationship they may propose.

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  24. I recall Airdrie South SNP Councillor and branch convenor Michael Coyle was quoted in the Herald following the May 2017 council elections as saying that the reason the SNP lost seats locally was that "all they talk about is independence. The people have shown they do not want independence". In recent months there have been a number of SNP national "days of action". None have taken place in Airdrie.
    It really makes you contemplate just how committed some are to independence.

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    1. Political ObserverJanuary 21, 2019 at 8:27 PM

      Irish Republican sympathisers have no doubt taken over the SNP in those areas. Unionists need to open their eyes.

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    2. Cordelia's hammered and ranting conspiracy theories again...

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