Saturday, 3 June 2017

A vote for which party helps the Pro UK cause?

There is only one thing in politics I really care about. I have lived under Labour Government’s, Conservative Governments and Coalition Governments. These things matter in the short term. But in the long term they don’t really matter. What matters is our country.

Compared to the threat of our country breaking up it matters little to me who is elected. If somehow we could go back to the time when Labour won nearly all the seats in Scotland but the UK was safe, I would take that result in a second. If I thought that voting Labour or the Lib Dems was the best way to protect the UK, I would likewise do so without hesitation. If, on the other hand, I thought a Conservative Government would put the UK at risk I would urge Pro UK people to vote for anyone else.

My politics is derived from my Pro UK position not the other way round. I have in the past voted Labour and for the Lib Dems. This is not about party politics. This is about protecting our country.

None of us know what is going to happen next Thursday. I doubt that I will stay up as I have to go to work on Friday. But when I get up I will not know for sure what the result will be. I could be in for a surprise.

It’s vital that we look at the possible outcomes from a Pro UK perspective. Which one of these will help the Pro UK cause? Which will hinder it?

If the Conservatives win a reasonable majority it will give them the mandate to do two things that will greatly aid the Pro UK position in Scotland.

It is crucial that the UK Government goes into negotiations with the EU with the ability to walk away without a deal. This perversely gives us the best chance of achieving the “Holy Grail” of free trade with the EU without having to pay massively for the privilege and without being ruled and controlled by Brussels. This prize is within our grasp if the Government is given a free hand, if it doesn't have to give a running commentary to Parliament and most importantly if we threaten to walk away and mean it.

There are two possible outcomes then. Either we gain a bilateral trade deal with the EU or we trade with them using World Trade Organization rules. Both of these scenarios massively help the Pro UK cause in Scotland.

If the UK gains a bilateral trade deal, then it is hard to see what Sturgeon can complain about. The difference between membership of the EU single market and bilateral free trade is minimal. But more importantly such a trade deal locks Scotland into the UK because Scotland’s trade with the EU would depend on membership of the UK. To become independent Scotland would then have to leave both the UK’s single market and the bilateral trade agreement with the EU. This doesn’t look like a very attractive option.

Alternatively if the UK walked away from the EU without a deal, then if Scotland became independent and joined either the EU or even if we joined only the EU’s single market, there would be trade barriers between the Former UK and Scotland. This too looks unattractive.

It is for this reason above all that I argued that Brexit would make the task of achieving Scottish independence much harder. This too is the reason that I supported us leaving the EU. It is not accidental that support for independence and the SNP is falling. It is not despite Brexit, but because of it. When I predicted this sometime before the EU referendum hardly anyone believed me. Most experts thought leaving the EU would increase SNP support. But really it is simple logic. Leaving the EU makes Scottish independence harder to achieve and much less attractive. This is why Pro UK Scots need a Government that wants to make Brexit a success. It is crucial that we do not end up with a Government that wants to water down Brexit or turn it into a failure. 

We need then a UK Government that is going to get us either a bilateral trade agreement or which is willing to walk away. The only Government that can do either of these things is the Conservatives.

The other mandate that Theresa May will gain if she wins power is the mandate to block indyref2 pretty much indefinitely. The key task is to get the UK out of the EU prior to any second independence referendum. Once the UK is out a massive leap in the dark would be required for Scotland to join the EU.  The long term fundamentals from then on go against the SNP. Putting yourself in a different trade bloc (the EU) from your greatest trade partner (the former UK) is never going to make economic sense. Once we are outside the EU voting for "independence" will involve giving up control over Scottish affairs and losing newly won powers over issues such as agriculture and fisheries. Scotland's position within the UK frankly looks a heck of a lot more independent than it would as a region of an EU that is on its way to ever closer political union. 

Voting for Brexit has massively helped the Pro UK cause, but both Labour and the Lib Dems would like to make leaving the EU resemble staying. They want us to retain as much as possible of EU membership. The Lib Dems especially would like a second EU referendum which would overturn Brexit. This would have the effect of taking away the main Pro UK benefit that Brexit gives us. It would make the SNP’s task easier. 

It is perfectly possible to imagine that next week Theresa May will have won a good majority. The Scottish Conservatives may have won 30% of the vote in Scotland or more and gained 10-12 seats. With luck this could even go higher. The SNP might have won as little as 40% of the vote, perhaps even less than that. This result would effectively kill off independence. If the SNP is seen to be going backwards and if large chunks of Scotland have been turned blue, it will be very hard indeed for Sturgeon to argue that there is popular support for indyref2. Those blue areas of Scotland stretching from the Borders to the North East will be declaring we want to stay in the UK and that we don’t want to be dragged out against our will by the SNP. This is just the sort of support Theresa May needs to continue her firm “not yet” strategy with regard to indyref2. For the first time in years we will be able to breathe easily. Our country will no longer be under threat.

The alternative is the following. Labour could win 300 seats at Westminster. They would then have to make some sort of deal with the Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru, the Greens and finally the SNP.

It doesn’t matter how often Jeremy Corbyn avoids the question we know for certain that he would have two choices. Either he could try to form a minority Government that might only last weeks or he would have to make a deal. It is virtually impossible for Labour to rule without SNP votes. They would have to win a landslide in England in order to rule on their own. This simply isn’t going to happen. If Labour win the election therefore we can expect Nicola Sturgeon in affect to be in Government. She might not be called Deputy Prime Minister, but that would in reality be her position. What would she demand? She would demand that that Scotland had a special EU status, she would demand ever more powers for the Scottish Parliament and she would demand indyref2. All of the Pro UK advantages I have outlined would immediately have been lost. 

Every Labour or Lib Dem MP who is elected anywhere and also anywhere in Scotland makes it more likely that we will end up with Nicola Sturgeon holding the rest of the country to ransom. It is this which makes so called "tactical" voting so obtuse. It is a very poor Pro UK tactic indeed if your vote puts the SNP in Government. 

I want to get Scotland back to normal politics. I want to be debating with Labour and the Lib Dems about how to run our country not break it up. But we can only get there if we can make SNP supporters realise that independence isn’t happening. At this point they will go back to thinking about day to day issues rather than the constitution.

Pro UK people have a chance to kill of independence as an issue. We can take away SNP hope or we can give them power. Even if you don’t generally support the Conservatives I urge you to lend us your vote just once. We can squabble about party politics later, but first vote just one time for the only party that is going to actually stop indyref2 and protect the UK from SNP threats. Vote Conservative.  


  1. It's not correct to say that Corbyn would have to make a deal with the SNP in the event of a hung parliament. Nicola Sturgeon has been completely clear - the SNP will not support a Conservative government. Corbyn implicitly has their support without the need for any sort of deal.

    In effect, JC has NS in his pocket, and the SNP are fine about that because their main priority in terms of Westminster is to stop the damage another Conservative government will bring.

    1. Their main priority is independence, full stop. In fact, it's their only priority.

      So they might say to Corbyn "you know, we're not huge on all this 1970s style mixed economy stuff - but we'll vote it through anyway, provided you give us an independence referendum".

      For Corbyn, as a socialist, socialism is more important than national identity. He would grant a referendum immediately.

      The SNP's problem would then be in persuading socialist Scotland to break away from newly socialist Britain. But if you tell enough lies and spin enough bullshit, I daresay anything is possible.

    2. Imagine asking for a democratic vote...dirty bastards.....State of you lot , utterly shitting it at the prospect of a vote. How low you have swung...if she was demanding immediate independence you might have a complaint.

      Utterly lost socially and out of touch with reality. Stuck in the Victorian mindset.

    3. It's not democratic if the issue is already settled.

    4. Is that the next line after these more elections its settled and we're under attack so lets suspend democratic choice.

  2. Corbyn and the liberals are idiots who think promising the world to the British public while being controlled by an unelected EU FEDERAL STATE will make us believe in fairytales and happy ever afters. How the hell is Corbyn going to persuade the U.K. business leaders to employ these extra million employees on good salaries, sorry I forgot labour is going to borrow billions, put the country in unsustainable debt to create these jobs in, perhaps the public sector that does not actually increase the U.K's GDP, his plan to increase business taxes and high earners taxes will only make these business leaders etc to consider there positions in the U.K. possibly moving their businesses abroad, where they will pay less taxes on their business and earnings. WHERE WILL THAT LEAVE US AS A COUNTRY, heading to a world status like Greece, Spain and the former soviet countries being bullied by France, Germany and the IMF. PLEASE VOTE FOR STABILITY!

    1. Did you miss the Tories doubling the national debt ?

    2. Due to Labour's 150 billion deficit. For the debt to be lower, they would need to have cut deeper into public spending. But you claim to be against austerity.

    3. So did they double national debt or many targets did the Tories miss on spending.

      I'm not pissing on their chips for the overspend, I'm just calling out your rather exaggerated view of what stability looks like.

  3. "Our country"? An 'academic' who doesn't know that the UK isn't a country? Wow.

    Our country is Scotland, and we can join and leave unions like the UK or the EU as it suits us, the only part that is consistent is Scotland, the nation.

    1. If Scotland is a country it is a country without many of the crucial attributes of nationhood. No independent armed forces, no foreign policy, no borders, no central government. Please tell me, what is our national anthem? The official one?

      I would venture to say that the United Kingdom has more of the classical attributes of nationhood that Scotland does. It therefore has a greater claim to the descriptor of 'country' than any of its constituent parts, which are now but glorified regions, at best.

    2. "We can join and leave unions like the UK and EU as it suits us".

      Incorrect. The constitution is reserved to Westminster. Scotland is going nowhere without the expressed permission and blessing of the British government.

      And its going that way with the EU too. Ever closer union, fiscal integration, qualified majority voting - meaning no more national vetos, if a majority of the 28 agree on something.

      That's why Britain is getting out.

    3. Indeed, Running Man, when you are around.

    4. i suspect for you its a 24x7 thing Aldo....Little Briain in your house i expect. Do you sing the national anthem before dinner ?

  4. Sturgeon is not standing for Westminster - she is an MSP - why are you tweeting that. The SNP MPs have worked very hard in Westminster and have done a great job. Why not stop Theresa May and the Conservatives taking us out of the EU based on a badly run campaign with no minimum turnout requirement - and no clear definition of what "Leaving the EU" meant - many think it means EEA or Soft Brexit - others think it means a Hard Brexit

    1. It was pointed out by many in the remain campaign that brexit would mean leaving the single market. I'm pretty sure Cameron himself said it during a TV question time programme. So we were informed.

      It is also the case - and I've not heard this argument made enough - that everyone who voted in that referendum had a minimum of 18 years' experience of living in the EU. A campaign lasting a month or two, no matter how shit, can't invalidate 18+ years personal experience of something. A majority of Britain wants to leave the EU. Accept it.

    2. Scotland overwhelmingly wants to stay , accept that.

    3. I would, if Scotland had opted to be an independent country, which it didn't.

      As we are part of the whole, we leave with it. It's really very simple.

  5. Not that simple when key pillar of staying in UK was EU membership and when the party that is in power says beforethey are elected that an exit from EU would mean another referendum