Saturday, 1 July 2017

The SNP goal is receding into the distance

Did anything happen this week of consequence? Nicola Sturgeon turned up in the Scottish Parliament and said something about delaying indyref2. If this meant that we would have this referendum in a couple of years’ time, then what she said would have been of small consequence. What does it fundamentally matter if we have to go through all that divisiveness again in one year or two or even three? But the moment has passed when Sturgeon’s latest threat matters very much or indeed her withdrawal or delay of her threat. It is this that matters far more than anything she might or might not have said.

The biggest problem we have in Scottish politics, apart from the continual threat implicit or explicit to break up our country, is that there is an almost complete lack of understanding on the part of the anti-SNP opposition of what helps us oppose the SNP and what hinders us. There is a lack of understanding of the fundamentals which means that even our success happens more or less accidentally.

The Scottish establishment, which includes nearly all journalists and nearly all politicians, agree with Nicola Sturgeon about nearly everything. This is particularly the case with Labour. SNP and Labour supporters agree with each other on nearly everything apart from independence. They each want to spend more public money and give more power to Scotland. They each think that the root of all evil begins with T and ends with ories.

Even Ruth Davidson’s Conservatives agree with Sturgeon about many things, but most especially about the EU.  Davidson apparently thinks that the increase in Conservative support in the past two years is due entirely to the outstanding nature of her campaigning and the fact that her Scottish Conservatives are far nicer than the English variety. There may indeed be something in this. She has her merits. But she is also missing something.

Big changes in political support are not so much due to the personality of politicians as fundamental changes in society. Ruth Davidson still thinks that voting for Brexit was a disaster and if we really must leave the EU we must leave as little as possible. This means that she essentially doesn’t grasp why Pro UK support in Scotland has been rising and support for independence has been falling. The trouble is that hardly anyone else in the Scottish establishment gets this either. It is for this reason that much that is written keeps missing the point or rather is even unaware of the point that is missed.

As I have been arguing since well before the EU referendum it is crucial to understand that Brexit makes the Pro UK argument easier and the SNP case harder. I have listed the reasons for this previously at some length. Really what else of fundamental significance has happened in the past two years? Do people think that all those SNP supporters just deserted their party because they got tired of them? No. Even if Scottish journalists can rarely see it, ordinary Scots came quickly to realise that leaving the EU was going to be one of those life changing events. It added uncertainty in a way that hardly anything else has done in the past decades. Well there is only so much uncertainty that most people want to deal with. How about adding the uncertainty of breaking up our country? How do you fancy both leaving the EU and leaving the UK? Scottish independence became “Operation Market Garden 2”. Nicola Sturgeon’s plan amounted to parachuting behind enemy lines, dodging crack SS divisions and capturing and holding a bridge while armed only with red berets. Sorry Nicola we tried that. It was called a bridge too far.

Ordinary Scots now view indyref2 as something for fanatics. It looks impossibly risky. This isn’t going to change in two years. It will take at least a decade for the implications of Brexit to be fully felt. It fundamentally changes the direction that Britain has taken.

There were two paths diverging in the “yellow wood”. We could have stayed in the EU. The ultimate destination of the EU path is not known, but it is perfectly possible to believe that it will succeed in its task of ever closer union and that this will bring with it peace and prosperity. We chose a different path, not least because we didn’t like the EU route even if it was going to succeed. It just didn’t suit our nature as a country. But just as the EU route can lead to peace and prosperity, so too can our path lead to an excellent destination and one more suited to both our own needs and the needs of our EU neighbours. The problem is that far too many disappointed Remain supporters are simply unable to see the excellent possibilities that Brexit gives us.  Some of them treacherously would like to see Britain fail just so as to point out that that they were right.

Many SNP supporters could see the attractions of Brexit. Scotland, even if still a part of the UK, looks a lot more “independent” outside the EU than in. It is for this reason that some SNP Brexiteers have become disillusioned with arch Remainer Sturgeon and have ceased to support an SNP that promises to give up newly won Scottish powers to the EU and which ultimately would subsume an independent Scotland into a federal EU.

Brexit meant that Nicola and friends went skinny dipping only to find that the wicked Tories had stolen their clothes. Tory Brexiteers were able to put forward arguments that appealed to Scottish nationalists in the same way that Tony Blair had been able to capture many centre and right of centre voters. People like Michael Gove and Boris Johnson put forward arguments that appealed to people who wanted Parliament to be more accountable and democratic and who thought sovereignty mattered. The arguments they made in 2016 were similar to those that Sturgeon and Salmond made in 2014. These arguments were not the same of course. The EU is a very different thing from the UK. The EU is not an independent sovereign nation state.  But that is what the EU wants to become. This meant that we had the paradox of Sturgeon and the SNP defending a union (the EU) and arguing for its benefits, telling us how dangerous it would be to leave, while we had Tory Brexiteers telling us how Brexit would give us freedom, sovereignty and at least more independence. It isn’t altogether surprising that some SNP supporters preferred an independent UK outside of the EU than a dependent Scotland in it. It is this that left Nicola naked on the riverbank even more angry than usual.

More crucially however, it is vital to recognise that the condition for the possibility of Scottish independence was always the fact that the UK remained in the EU. Even those who want Scottish independence recognise that Scotland’s prosperity depends on maintaining a very close relationship with the former UK. We have three hundred years of shared laws, economic and family relations. If you put Scotland on a diverging path from the former UK, then naturally the distance between us politically and economically will increase dramatically over the years. This changes the calculation that everyone in Scotland makes in their head about the advantages and disadvantages of independence. Do I really want quite such a gap between London and Edinburgh? How would that affect my job and the prospects of my family? This is a fundamental change, not a transient change based on the popularity or unpopularity of a politician. Put simply Brexit makes Scottish independence less attractive even to those who may be tempted. The floating Nats therefore have left the cause, while the fanatics have sunk to the bottom of the pond.

From all of this it follows logically that Pro UK people should support us leaving the EU as completely as possible. The more the UK leaves the EU, the more divergent Scotland’s path would become if it chose independence. If we were to stay in the EU’s Single Market, or the Custom’s Union or anything else then the risk of Scottish independence would precisely thereby be increased.

I don’t think some Pro UK people even realise how dangerous our situation was a couple of years ago. The SNP won all but three of the seats in the 2015 Election. Keep that up and they would in time have got indyref2. Keep that up and they might have won it. That I think was our choice. Stay in the EU and face the break-up of Britain or leave the EU and keep our country intact.

We needed a game changer. We got it. Now some people who think they are clever want to give it up.  

Just about a year ago I returned from holiday to a string of messages from Pro UK people complaining that I been arguing for Brexit and now look what I had done. There was panic. Sturgeon was continually on the television. There was an idea that she might hold an immediate unofficial indyref and that she might win it. Many Pro UK people were terribly pessimistic. I kept writing about the fundamentals. Short term noise can change polls, but such change does not last. Our position had been strengthened immeasurably and time would show this to be the case. But Pro UK pessimism ruled for a while until the logic of the position became clear. But even now far too few Pro UK Scots are willing or able to follow this logic from assumption to conclusion.

Sturgeon kept making threats. She wanted a special deal for Scotland that would keep us in the EU while the other parts of the UK left. This would have amounted to independence lite. But anyway she would have retained independence heavy for a later day and would have been able to show her supporters that she was taking steps towards it. There was then a vote in the Scottish Parliament for indyref2. Surely no-one would dare say “No” to the mighty Scottish Parliament. If anyone dared the Scottish people would go ballistic and support for independence would increase.

All those “Remain” journalists, bitter at losing their beloved EU were somehow eager that Sturgeon would punish the English for Brexit. I kept saying that Brexit was our friend and would help the Pro UK cause. Almost no-one believed me.

I think Brexit will bring advantages, but it doesn’t fundamentally matter. It still locks the UK together.  There will at some point be a recession, but we will become a country like Japan, Australia.  Just as with them we will relearn some fundamental lessons. You don’t need to be ruled by someone else to trade with them. Prosperity does not depend on being part of the European Union or any other trading bloc. If it did Australia and Japan would be poor. Instead most of the EU is poor.

A Japanese or an Australian can feel that they are internationalists without wanting to create either an Asian Union where they are ruled from Beijing or an Australasian Union where they are ruled from Jakarta. Internationalism is about nation states cooperating rather than merging and thereby ceasing to exist. Neither is it nationalistic for an Australian to wish to maintain his nation state’s sovereignty and prevent undemocratic rule from abroad. If this were nationalistic then the word “nationalism” would apply to virtually every nation state in the world and so would drop out of usage. If everyone is a nationalist then, no-one is.

The SNP strategy is now in tatters. They had a vote in the Scottish Parliament, but this has now been superseded by the General Election. If the Scottish electorate wanted indyref2, then we would have expected the SNP share of the vote to increase. We would have expected them to retain all their seats and perhaps gain more. Instead they lost a large share of the vote and a large number of seats. Whatever else the SNP have, they no longer have a mandate for indyref2. We have just tested the theory that saying “No” to Scots leads to a rising of the clans and a temper tantrum that makes independence inevitable. We have discovered that Scots in fact are grownups who are able to discern what is in our long term interest. We have learned that Theresa May can keep telling the SNP that they will have to wait for as long as she likes. Sturgeon kept making threats, but they have been shown to be empty. She has become a Scottish doll. You open it up just to find another still more angry than the first. But the whole thing is empty just a piece of kitsch picked up on the Royal Mile, the sort of thing that most Scots find vaguely embarrassing.  For the moment Scottish independence is a dead issue.   

The only thing we have to worry about is that the present Government falls. There is no need for this to happen. It could happily go on for years with the DUP votes. But a leadership challenge to Theresa May might force another General Election. It just needs a few MPs to put their loyalty to the EU above their loyalty to our country and we might face another election.

The danger we face is that it is now obvious that Jeremy Corbyn would have happily made a deal with the SNP. Even with considerably fewer seats than the Conservatives he wanted to try to form a Government. How could he have done so without the SNP MPs?

This is really the only way Sturgeon can get her indyref2 any time soon. We were within a whisker of this happening in June. Just a few more Labour seats would have put Corbyn over the line where he could have ruled so long as he made a deal with the SNP. I kept warning people about this, but “Pro UK” Labour people cared more about their party winning seats than stopping indyref2.

So if there is another General Election I will make the same argument. Pro UK Scots should avoid Labour as the most likely outcome of a Labour victory is indyref2.

But I will give Labour a free argument. They can make the point that the one thing that is preventing a Labour Government with an absolute majority is that too many Scots vote for the SNP. If people like Mhairi Black really wanted socialism they would encourage their constituents to vote for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour. They are far more likely to get it in this way than by voting for the SNP. The UK is closer to a Far Left Government than we ever have been before. True socialism is in reach. Not some wishy washy Tony Blair style social democracy, but rather the real deal. The only thing that is stopping this not only in Scotland, but the UK as a whole is the SNP.

In this way the UK is reintroducing two party politics. My argument will be about stopping Labour because I think socialism makes all of us poorer and less free. My evidence for this will be ever instance of socialism in the history of the world. But Labour supporters now have raw red meat steaks thrown to them by Mr Corbyn. It doesn’t appeal to me, but I can see how true believers in socialism are enthused. The smaller parties, including the Lib Dems and the SNP are going to get squeezed. While the rest of us debate about the merits of the free market versus Mr Corbyn’s first five year plan, whatever the SNP or the Lib Dems might have to say begins to look irrelevant, even quaint.

I think it is vital that we avoid a far left Labour Government, but it may be that the youth of today have to learn this lesson for themselves. It’s like touching the stove. No matter how many times you tell a child that they mustn’t touch it, you just know that they won’t learn the lesson until they do. At some point we will have to endure a Labour Government. Perhaps it would be better if we went for full on socialism rather than the watered down version. At least that way the failure will be clear sooner. Everyone will have touched the stove and we can get another Tory Government to fix Labour’s mess.

That’s fine just so long as the price of Labour’s mess does not include Scottish independence. If Corbyn granted indyref2 and bankrupted the UK with his socialism, it might well be that Scots would vote to leave just to get away from him.

There is nothing much left to talk about in Scottish politics. I may well take a break from this topic. I am uninterested in the day to day minutiae of the Scottish Parliament. So until I can think of something new and interesting to say about Scottish politics, I will have to look for other things to write about. This will at least enable this blog to tick along. But for the moment I can summarise where I think we are in Scottish politics in the following way.

Strategically I believe it is vital that the present Government at least gets us out of the EU before there is another election. This leaves the SNP with a mountain to climb. The fundamentals would then be massively against Scotland voting for independence. The reason is that the transition from leaving the UK to joining the EU is liable to leave Scotland neither in the UK’s internal market nor in the EU’s Single Market at least for a period of time. There can be no seamless transition for Scotland so long as the UK actually leaves the EU. Getting the UK out of the EU before indyref2 was our first task. This is now within our grasp.  

What sort of EU deal would Scotland get? We have no idea. But it could not possibly be as good as now. It must involve paying a larger membership fee for there would be no rebate. It might involve a hard border with England. Even if the Republic of Ireland can maintain an open border with Northern Ireland, this is because the Republic of Ireland is an EU member and everyone realises that decades of terrorism creates a special case situation. We don’t know what if any objections countries like Spain might have to Scotland’s membership. The SNP also are going to have to explain why they want to give up powers that the Scottish Parliament has just begun to exercise over matters such as fishing. If Scotland were to join the EU from scratch we would have to create our own currency and then promise to join the Euro and also Schengen. None of this looks very appealing.

After getting us out of the EU, the UK Government’s task will be to delay indyref2 until we see how Brexit is working out. Luckily this is in the Conservative manifesto. It is absolutely crucial that the SNP should have to win an absolute majority at the next Scottish Parliament election on a clear, unambiguous manifesto commitment to holding indyref2. SNP support is in decline and is likely to decline still further as the Brexit process continues. If the SNP fail to gain an overall majority at the Scottish Parliament then our long constitutional nightmare which started in 2007 will be over. No majority, then no vote for indyref2. That’s it. It will then be over. The SNP’s dream will be dead until and unless they once more get an overall Scottish Parliament majority.

We are close folks. The only threat is a snap election and a Corbyn coalition with the SNP. Other than that we are almost there. It is for this reason that I am rather pleased that Theresa May’s Government is propped up by the DUP. They must know that Northern Ireland’s future in the UK depends on Scotland remaining in the UK also. For this reason if they are sensible they won’t push too hard, nor ask for too much.

The Pro UK task is simply this. Let us get through the next few years. Get us out of the EU as cleanly as possible and as advantageously as possible, but above all get us out. This will automatically over time work towards unifying the UK as we face the task together of building a new future. Continue to put obstacles in the way of the SNP. Delay, obfuscate, do what is necessary to stop indyref2 before the next Scottish Parliament elections. This is not a problem so long as we have a Prime Minister who is willing to stand firm.  I hope for this reason that we keep Theresa May for as long as possible.

The SNP’s position had extended far beyond their supply lines and had become untenable. This is why Nicola Sturgeon has decided to retreat. But I don’t think she is fully aware of the reason for her defeat. She thought that she could use Brexit to build herself a bridge to independence. But her strategy was built on the assumption that Brexit was going to help her argument, instead it destroyed it. She now has no bridge. It wasn’t only too far. While Sturgeon thought she was approaching her bridge it was all the time receding into the distance. 


  1. Enjoy your break, the clarity of your blog allows the reader to think about independence without the biased reporting of people i.e. Brian Taylor on BBC. It is hoped that Ruth Davidson is one of your followers as the sense you put forward would would but only strengthen her hand. I voted to stay but now strongly believe in the need to leave europe. Like you I have lived in Europe for many years and think an insular existence is not the way to go but now looking at the wide open horizon has its many attractions but as a united kingdom.

    1. Brainwashed by BBC and Tory scumbags....Voted remain but now want Brexit...Wide open horizons...oohh my sides.

    2. Most normal people just want it over and done with, regardless of how they voted.

      Before I placed my own vote, I switched between sides many times. There were valid arguments for both. It wasn't like Scottish independence where all the logical arguments were a slam dunk for NO. I was genuinely quite conflicted. In the end, I voted for brexit as I couldn't bring myself to vote remain. But even as I did so I hoped the overall result would be for remaining, just with me playing no personal part in achieving it.

      However, that was a year ago. In the year since, having seen the type of people who are most upset by brexit (separatists, lefties, establishment figures in the media and politics who irritate me), I am now 100% for it. There is something wrong when you champion 27 foreign countries against your own and hope your own government falls on its arse. The British left badly need a lesson in patriotism. Brexit will be that lesson.

  2. Love your articles , although I will disagree on your analogy of pro UK Scot's voting Labour , I mean even if Labour won ( however unlikely ) the other 30 odd SNP seats in Scotland , the numbers would still not add up for them ! They would still need to have won more seats in England and Wales because those 30 + votes they would get from the SNP, and although they would be there own to count , it is still not enough to defeat the Tory / DUP alliance.

  3. Thank you for your blogs, over the last few years, on the madness of an independent Scotland and other linked subjects. I have enjoyed them immensely. You have brought sanity, common sense and logic to the debates. More to the point, you have agreed with me! �� Please enjoy your break away from it all and Zi look forward to reading your views as we move towards Brexit. There is much yet to be done to firm up sensible outcomes and your blogs help enormously.

    1. Cringe personified....What type of person says madness of Independence...

      At same time as you are frothing at idea of brexit...utterly demented

    2. What type of person says madness of independence? Perhaps, someone who can count?

      More to the point, what kind of person champions 'independence' only to turn round and hand control of their country to Brussels / Berlin and their 'ever closer union'? Some independence!

    3. As Stephen Daisley put it:
      What powers were at risk of being repatriated to London? Apparently, and bear with me here, when we leave the EU and control of fishing and agriculture returns to Britain, some powers will go to Westminster rather than Holyrood. The SNP wants all these powers handed to Edinburgh. That is, until they get independence, when they’ll hand back them to the EU. Nicola Sturgeon wants Scotland to keep powers it doesn’t currently have so it can return them one day to the body that actually has them. If the political thrillers don’t sell, she should try her hand at science fiction.
      (Originally published in the Daily Mail, March 7, 2017; complete article can be read here.)

    4. Haha!! Absolutely crazy political gymnastics there - we want more power, so we can give it away again. These people are either very very stupid or very very devious. Either way, I wouldn't put them in charge of cleaning lavvies, never mind running much of the social fabric of a country.

    5. I have increasing difficulty differentiating between idiocy, cunning, lunacy and delusion on the part of our various professional pols, journos, activists and voters. We need to take a good, hard look at how we are governed and how we select those who govern us—handing out votes like smarties without qualification is what put us on this road to Hell.

  4. Good thoughts as usual Effie, look forward to seeing what you write next. Can I suggest the future of the UK outside the EU? :-)

  5. Sturgeon … has become a Scottish doll. You open it up just to find another still more angry than the first.
    Very good: Stephen Daisley has competition for the pithy phrase or soundbite. Worthy of being memed.

    1. Daisley is a mysogynist prick , the type of wee arse who had his dinner money nipped from him at school and is now looking for public payback. Scummy type.

      The ad hominem attacks on Sturgeon are quite sickening but it shows her danger to the London 5th Columnists.

    2. And what about the Ad Hominem attacks on the unionist leaders by Sturgeon's attack dogs? Comments about Kez and Ruth's sexuality. Calling Willie Rennie 'small penis' (although that did actually make me laugh out loud).

      As the ad hominem appears to be the in thing, here's my own: Nicola Sturgeon looks and sounds like she should be working in a chippy, serving me a fish supper. That should be her maximum level of responsibility and would have been in a more sensible era. Instead, she's running our schools and hospitals......into the ground.

      More salt & vinegar please, Nicola!

  6. I think that two party politics are back and that will squeeze the sNp harder than ever here. If a left wing Labour Party is more radical than the SNP there is no need to vote SNP to get the socialist utopia the people want. With the unionist tories squeezing out the SNP in the rural areas then marginalisation of the SNP is more likely and so it would put another referendum firmly on the back burner.

    1. In the next UK general election I can honestly see the Tories and lib dems taking the rural seats and Labour taking much of the central belt, with the SNP limited to a few isolated jakey seats that never got over losing indypendunce.

    2. Tory estimated 100 majority....That was previous from you Aldo so less of the Nostrodamous like predictions. You're not coming from position of strength

    3. With multiple SNP held seats having majorities of a few thousand or less, the writing is on the wall for the SNP. The left wing central belt will ditch nationalism for socialism, its just a matter of time.

    4. It was a shoe in 100+ majority a few weeks back...

      Not sure predictions is something you should be making. You needed to do a deal with flat earthers from Ulster.

      We'll have referendum before next election, Tories are down in polls. They won't be voting for election any time soon. It's your mob who might save the SNP.

      Anyway if SNP are so unpoular why are you all shitting it for the referendum. Another defeat will kill it stone dead. I don't understand your logic.

    5. "We'll have referendum before next election"

      This from the guy who also said;

      "Tories a dozen seats, no chance" (they got 13)

      "Tories wont get more than 25% of the vote" (they got 29%)

      Given your previous predictions and the obvious fact that even the SNP is unsure of how to proceed from here, I think we can consign your confident predictions of indyref2 to the box marked "wishful thinking".

  7. They will no doubt seek a referendum sometime around 2019-2020, in the hope that either A) they win (obviously!), or B) a narrow loss propels them to a majority in 2021, as it did in 2015, lining them up nicely for indyref3. The UK government must stand firm. It must insist on a clear mandate being delivered for an independence referendum in the 2021 Holyrood election. That means a majority of MSPs elected on a manifesto promising an independence referendum. If they can get that, they can get their indyref - not before!

    1. We already have a mandate, voted in parliament, won the majority of seats in GE.

      A much stronger position than Tories on Brexit.

      As to auld Effie's supremely long diatribe. SNP have said that referendum would be when details of Brexit were known. Not sure that has changed.

      What has changed is just unionist argument....

      What has changed is what does Brexit mean.....

      What has changed is Tories dont; have a huge majority...

      What has changed is the abrasive UK approach has mellowed to Brexit as they have been slapped down by EU.....

      Unionist argument is still ye canne vote...This shows how weak they know their position to be.

    2. Of course they will go for vote before next election, the Unionists want to hold it off so they can try and make some argument around numbers in Scottish Parliament. They know odds are against an outright majority there as its not FPTP.....

      It's as clear as day.

      How was the Walk Aldo, were you out and about in Lanarkshire or did you go to the big toon....

    3. What has really changed is 63% and more people voted pro UK party's in every constituency in Scotland at the GE.

      The denials from you the FM and the wider SNP support are telling an carrying on regardless , mixed with your type of insidious comments which are also common place on social media platforms,with a heavy mix of not learning from mistakes , continues to lose national socialism it's support.

      keep it up running man.

    4. Running Man, there is, at the moment, no mandate for a second referendum. Neither the SNP or the Greens promised a referendum in their 2016 manifesto and the Greens set preconditions for a referendum that have not been met. So Westminster is perfectly entitled to veto. They are entitled to do that in law anyway, regardless - but the absence of a proper mandate for indyref2 is excellent justification.

    5. "Unionist approach is ye cannae vote".

      For the moment that's the nationalist approach, actually. First it was maybes aye. Then it was not in 2017 but maybes aye afterwards. Then it was supposedly on for 2018/19. Now it's off again but maybes aye for 2019 onwards. They'll make a decision on that in a year and a bit, haha!

      Just now its Sturgeon telling you NAW.

    6. If its 'aff again' why all the wailing from yoons like you and Effie. In fact you and your lovers on here are saying just delay it until 2021...Lack of perspective there Aldo....

    7. "A much stronger position than Tories on Brexit."

      No, because of one crucial fact - the UK voted for independence from the EU, whereas Scotland did not vote for separation from the UK.

    8. Scotland really overwhelmingly(62%) rejected exit from EU....

      Tories position on Brexit has weakened considerably, how many U turns do you need to see ?

      UK position pre talks was :-Discussion on Trade before people and exit costs...that lasted 1 day....

      May begging Corbyn in the papers to help her in Brexit just yesterday...

      What happened to "Crush the Saboteurs" ?

    9. If Scotland "really, overwhelmingly rejected brexit" on a 62% remain vote, then did they reject separatism to an even greater extent with a 63% pro union vote in the General Election? Keeping in mind the election took place a year after the brexit vote, it would seem the Scottish peoples' commitment to the UK is deeper than their commitment to the EU.

      Not surprising that people are more loyal to their own country than to a German-led racket.

    10. As someone on reddit wisely pointed out, the decision in 2014 was that we take important decisions jointly with the rest of the UK. Well, the brexit decision was one such joint decision and the overall vote was to leave. The vote shares in Scotland are irrelevant because of the decision taken in 2014. You had the chance to convince people of the merits of independence then and blew it, so suck it up and suck it off, as I say....

  8. Regarding indyref2, it's very easy to imagine a situation where it goes to court and appeal and counter appeal take years, up to the point where it is all rendered moot by a unionist victory in Holyrood.

    I agree with Effie. All the UK government has to do is hold its nerve for a few years and we're over the line. The other side is aware of this too - hence the increasing frequency and vitriol in posts from 'contributors' such as Running Man. They know it's close to being over and the unionists are in a position of strength - and they can't stand it.

  9. Which part of Indyref vote in case of exit from EU is unclear. As i said the parlimentary vote , then won majority of seats.

    Again all I see is suckers coming back and saying everyone voted Labour and Tories so you can't have a vote. Lets be clear, we already had the vote in Holyrood. People revoted for SNP in GE.

    Alternatively you offer taking us to court....hilarious, what next , sending the tanks in.

    'I agree with Effie'.....the call of the Yoon....

    Maybe you eejits forgot the loss of the majority in the election. Govenrment running on a knife edge, May is powerless in her own cabinet. Austerity about to be abandoned. Sniff that Westminster government, its rank and about to liquidise.

    Greatest measure of fear is Effies diatribe just get longer and longer and more vitriolic.

    1. The "once in a generation" indyref was a "no", while the referendum to take the UK out of the EU was a "yes". Plus, both Labour and Tories affirmed their commitment to Brexit in the run-up to the election; the only major parties opposed to following through the people's will were the Lib-Dems and the S"N"P.

    2. SNP got a majority in Scotland again....not sure what your argument is. Not sure that you know either.

    3. And yet the SNP have been compelled to postpone their second referendum, and they admit the drop in their support is because people in Scotland are sick of the issue of separation from the UK.

    4. Says who ? Thats actually bullshit on both fronts. Support for referendum still around 51% and support for independence in mid to high 40's depending on who you believe poll wise.

      Pretty sure Sturgeon said referendum once details of Brexit are known.....Pretty sure thats in the future.

      If its so weak why are you all fighting it, the common knowledge is a second defeat kills independence 'stone dead'.

      What are you frightened of ?

    5. If the result were a yes, would you be happy with a further rerun a couple of years down the line? I'm guessing no (if you say yes to that you're simply and obviously lying anyway), therefore you can't criticise unionists for trying to block / delay / frustrate the hypothetical indyref2. You can't criticise people for the avoidance of risk. If fear plays a part then it's a healthy, logical fear - the same fear that would lead you to close the issue for good if ever you were to scrape 51%.

    6. If some clowns managed to get a vote through in parliament how could I say otherwise. Its the drawback of democracy, same as post independence some suckers might try for a UK again.

      None of us get to hold back change. Same as I hope someone gets sense in Westminster and scuppers Brexit.

    7. Such a strange sense of democracy you have RM. Referenda of the people in both Scotland and the wider UK should be ignored / overturned yet a vote of 129 members of the Scottish parliament is like the 11th commandment and absolutely must be respected. Have you seen some of the Holyrood bunch?

    8. Be a bit of a red neck to veto a call for a democratic referendum based on a passed parliamentary vote at the UN. Not even Westminster would let stuff get that out of shape.

      Asking for a vote based on enormous change in circumstance is not overturning anything.... it's a vote pure and simple and you want to block it and somehow I am undemocratic.... no logic to that argument at all.

    9. The democratic vote was held and a decision taken to stay in the UK. As a consequence of that vote, we accept UK wide decisions - like Brexit, for example.

      In 2014, the Yes campaign warned people that Britain may one day exit the EU. The anti-EU sentiment in Britain as a whole was obvious to anyone who picked up a newspaper at any point in the previous 20 years. It was always more likely than not that we would leave. People voted in 2014 with this knowledge and chose to stay. So a rerun is unnecessary. Nothing has happened that wasn't visible from 2014.

      However, if the SNP sticks to its generational promise - no referendum until, say, the 2030s, we'll have the long view on all this stuff and be able to make an informed decision. We've been in the union for 300 years, what's another 15?

  10. The SNP manifesto did mention brexit as a possible precondition for a second indyref. But it offered no guarantees on that and, most importantly, it failed to win a majority. You propped yourself up with Green votes - a party that made no mention of brexit in its manifesto but instead set other conditions for a possible indyref, none of which have been met.

    You have no mandate. You will have a mandate when a majority of MSPs are elected on a cast iron promise to definitely hold an indyref. If that doesn't happen, then it's the will of the Scottish people for there not to be an indyref. Either way, democracy is satisfied. So what's the problem?

    "Taking us to court.....what next, sending the tanks in?"

    Completely unhinged. You equate a peaceful, judicial process with violence. Bonkers. No wonder you're on the slide, with the sheep expressing views like this.

  11. Furthermore, the current state of the UK government is not particularly relevant to the question of independence. It's a Tory-DUP government propped up by Scottish Unionists so the answer will still be NO to indyref2. The Scottish secretary has made this clear. As for the relaxation of austerity or a possible Corbyn government, neither of these things particularly helps independence.

    It must be hard being a nationalist. Barriers wherever you look. If only you'd won that vote in 2014 eh?

  12. So the SNP mentioned specifically the Brexit option as reason for indyref , yet you say its is somehow offers no guarantee ... What does that even mean ?

    Regardless of getting full majority or not, the parliament was setup for PR of voters....Yet we somehow as its the bastard SNP they need a magic majority of MSP's, before they are allowed to do anything. When elsewhere in the world a sinple vote in parliament is enough.

    Yoons changing the rules.....We have a mandate, its rock solid. You confuse parlimentary democracy with elections for your own twisted mindset. Utterly vacous and without morals.

  13. There was no guarantee as they did not explicitly state that they would hold a referendum in response to brexit. "We reserve the right" does not equal "we will".

    It's helpful you point out the PR nature of the Scottish Parliament. This means it is, approximately, representative of the views of the voters. So it is therefore not unreasonable to set the following test for SNP + pals: get more than half the seats, on a clear manifesto pledge, and you get your indyref. That is completely fair. It puts it back into the hands of the Scottish people. What can possibly be your objection to that? Are you simply afraid that you'll run out of time and so are dying to ram it through before those pesky Scots can interfere with your plans? It certainly seems that way.

    We're not changing any rules. The rules are that you need the Scottish parliament and the British parliament to agree before a legally binding referendum can be held. If you want the agreement of the British parliament, you're going to have to get a clear and solid mandate. What you have at the moment is not a mandate, for reasons I've already gone into exhaustively.

  14. You know, Running Man, these little exchanges aren't completely pointless. As a result of our conversation, I've come to see things from a perspective I had never before considered - and it is this:

    There are 129 MSPs in the Scottish Parliament. Do you want to know how many were elected in the last election on a manifesto that stated "if elected, we will hold an independence referendum in this parliament"? The answer is zero. 0 out of 129. Quite astounding when you think of it that way.

    Yet still Sturgeon thinks she has a mandate for indyref2...

  15. Not true at all. Tha fact is a majority of them voted for a referendum in the parliament..thats how parliamentary democracies work....Its in the chamber and pressing the voting buttons(Kezia excepted)....

    BTW the Brexit referendum was not Legally binding.....

    1. 65 or more of those 129 members could vote for anything they wanted in theory - it doesn't mean they have a mandate for it (clear instruction from the people to do it) or the competence to decide on it (necessary powers transferred from Westminster or Brussels to grant legal authority).

      Just to be clear, a majority in parliament is not a mandate. Mandates come from the people, not politicians. However the people can only express their wishes clearly if party manifestos in elections are clear and unambiguous. This was not the case with the SNP and the Greens regarding independence. Therefore, no mandate.

    2. A majority in parliament means it should happoen, thats why we have them there. To decide stuff and take actions.... Representatives of the people.

      Its parliamentary democracy in action. The mere existance of the vote is the mandate. In any case the mandate as you describe it already exists. You are dodging behind sematics but we know that.

      Let's leave the political BS to the political pygmies.

    3. If parliament voted to reinstate the death penalty, should that happen?

      They're just 129 people in a country of 65 million, RM. To enact radical policy they need a proper mandate and also the legal right to do it as determined by the other political and judicial institutions that make up our nation.

      It's called checks and balances.

  16. Amazing that mad Effie's advice on political strategy is damage the UK economy on exit from EU, just enough. It will then make everyone look inward and hopefully by making us even poorer, we'll forget about independence.

    Seems the union is even greater than the people's welfare now.....

    Quite a vision....

    1. Your clearly rattled as your constant posting to know one shows.

      Maybe one day Effie will give you the time of day but in the mean time why not just stop embarrassing yourself.

    2. Why is it that you right wing folk are all retarded when it comes to the simplest spelling..

      Posting to 'know one' .....really what adult in 2017 actually spells in this way ?

      You shout about Britain but you cannot even use your own language. Really the lowest of the low are coming out from under their rocks.

  17. They reserve the right and they will exercise it...You are holding onto your union by pure semantics now and twisted ones at that...Utterly devoid of any ethics...The Durty Protest takes on a whole new vision.

    1. The right needs to be held in the first place to be reserved.

    2. This. Very much this.

      Amidst all the media fawning over the SNP, people forget this basic fact of our legal and constitutional set up - that the real seat of power is Westminster and only they can decide this.

    3. UN human right of self determination....

      "National aspirations must be respected; people may now be dominated and governed only by their own consent. Self determination is not a mere phrase; it is an imperative principle of action. . . . "

      Maybe Brexit gets you out of the UN.....and you save the union that way.

    4. I don't think the UN right of self determination helps Scottish Nationalists, RM. It is aimed at annexed, oppressed peoples. We're not oppressed and we're in this union by choice - a decision that also must be respected.

      Also, the UK is a UN veto power - one of only 5. That means the government can instantly squash any resolutions against it.

  18. Time will tell RM, time will tell. Just now, the union still stands, with the SNP in decline and in retreat. That's good enough for me.

    I must say I'm looking forward to a break from Scottish Nationalism - such a sterile debate! There's a whole world beyond Scotland and a near infinite number of important debates to had within it. I applaud Effie's commitment to widen the scope of this blog, now that the nationalist dog is asleep.

    1. Not sure this god squad stuff is my thing, it attracts a quite bizarre subgroup. You can see it in the speed of the cut and pasted links from their favorite other nutter.

      I know you Orange Order boys from Lanarkshire love it of course . As long as the Buckie flows the flute blows...

      Having watched some of its and this bonfire pish. I think it's all starting to look a bit prehistoric these days right enough.

      I'd have hoped they would have upgraded the uniforms from the 70's and 80's when I was a devotee myself.

      It literally looks like something from the past now. Too many double breasted suits and red faced dwarfs. All waiting on their coronary heart disease to put them out of their self inflicted stupor.

      Anyway, no bugger can say the last 2-3 years have not been interesting politically.

    2. I'm an agnostic moving ever closer to atheism having previously been a lapsed Catholic. No one could ever accuse me of God bothering or of having any relationship with the Orange Lodge, given that background.

      Politics is too interesting. When politics gets interesting, bad things happen. I prefer stability and consistency. The boring old same old same old will never jump up and bite you on the arse. You have the measure of it. You can plan ahead.

      Not now.

    3. They voted in that buffoon Trump, anything is possible.

    4. Trump will be gone in 4 to 8 years and may actually end up doing some good - he is addressing problems previous presidents have refused even to discuss. But whether he is good or bad or indifferent, he will be gone in a few years. Scottish independence and Brexit have to be treated as permanent, irreversible changes.