Monday, 20 March 2023

Is the SNP finished?


Before we get too excited about the events of the weekend, it is worth remembering that there is still a significant chunk of the Scottish population who want independence. It’s hard to measure this chunk exactly. It is normally less than 50%, but it is normally more than 40%. It may drop a bit due to Sturgeon and Murrell resigning. It may drop a bit more due to the election for the SNP leader descending into chaos and the dishonesty about how many SNP members there are, but it’s still the case that around half the people you meet in Scotland, your colleagues and neighbours want independence.

But this is not to say that the rather shall we say sudden departures of both Sturgeon and Murrell are not significant. But the significance is that the explanations for why they went are not on the surface sufficient. Suddenly we wake up one morning and Sturgeon is going. There is no obvious reason why.

Murrell perhaps went because he had been less than open about the SNP membership figures. This could conceivably have serious implications. After all SNP members pay a certain amount of money into the SNP. If I say that there are 100,000 members but there are really only 70,000 then this will change the SNP’s income. If only Murrell knew the true figure of members, then only he may have known the true figure in the SNP’s bank balance.

But this on its own is not enough to force someone to resign so hastily that apparently, he had an ultimatum to go by 12 o’clock and resigned at 11.56. Which of us after working for 25 years for a company would be forced to resign within a couple of hours if the only thing, we had done was underestimate the membership or the extent of our customers?

There are all sorts of sensible political reasons why Murrell might have wanted to keep secret a drastic fall in SNP membership. The reason is that this is something not merely damaging to the SNP, but to its chances of independence. The SNP needs its members to canvass in elections and to campaign if there were ever to be a second referendum. If SNP members are leaving it implies that they no longer believe that the SNP can deliver its promise of independence.

This is the canary in the coal mine. If members are leaving it is reasonable to suppose that voters will leave the SNP too. If those who are so committed that they wish to pay the SNP every month no longer want to do so why will the less committed get out of bed to vote for the SNP?

But none of this is enough to explain either Sturgeon’s sudden departure or Murrell’s. We keep waiting for more.

The story about Humza Yousaf being the anointed successor to Sturgeon, so much so that nearly the whole of the senior SNP supported him, is that he could be trusted to continue the Sturgeon dynasty and keep a lid on whatever secrets if any were contained in its archives.

But it no longer looks as if Yousaf will win. Kate Forbes is obviously more talented, and Yousaf is now tainted with whatever has caused the SNP to implode this weekend, because both Murrell and Sturgeon desperately wanted Yousaf to be the next First Minister.

Forbes is a nice person and a decent human being. Don’t underestimate this. Any party will benefit from a decent human being leading it. It was Boris Johnson’s moral flaws as much as anything else that destroyed him.

But Forbes has a couple of problems. One she is a young mother with a very young child. What if she were to have another child? Would that mean a First Minister taking maternity leave? But more importantly how can she lead a party whose senior members have made clear that they don’t want her to be leader.

The membership may have wanted Liz Truss, but the MPs didn’t, and she lasted a little over a month.

Forbes if allowed could be a good long term leader of the SNP and could also benefit Scotland. If Scotland wants to be independent, it has to cease being dependent on the UK. So, you first and foremost have to get rid of the dependency culture in Scotland, you have to get people working and you have to start making a profit rather than spending millions on boats that won’t float.

Competence should be at the heart of the independence movement, because without it there is no chance of persuading the majority of Scots that we would be better off leaving the UK than staying a part of it. Run Scotland well for twenty years, focus on that rather than independence and you just might find you have won the argument.

But the SNP’s tragic flaw is impatience it always has to have a referendum next year, so it does nothing to run Scotland well and so is never actually ready for its referendum.

Forbes therefore won’t have the chance to create the prosperous, profitable Scotland, because her own party if it does not split from her will not let her. It will waste its time on virtue signally and demand Forbes does in months what she could only do in decades.

Things could get worse. If honest, decent human being Kate Forbes goes for a forensic investigation into the SNP or even if she doesn’t there is every chance that scandals of which we have yet no idea may be waiting to come out. With Murrell and Sturgeon gone and Yousaf perhaps gone too, who is to stop it all coming out now.

No one knows the level of scandal at the heart of the SNP. Activities in Bute house that the Procurator fiscal thought worthy of a criminal trial came out years after they allegedly happened. Who is to say there are not more such activities. That at least would be a more reasonable explanation for recent events than the ones that we have been told.

The SNP is wounded no matter who leads it from now on. Its best chance is to honestly confront its faults and move forward, but that might be the equivalent of hitting the heads of the five families and might be so scandalous that nothing would remain.

Support for the SNP will fall in the short term. Perhaps as much as ten percent. Support for independence may fall a similar amount, which would put it out of reach for the foreseeable future.

But we still have a battle. Large numbers of Scots especially young Scots still want Scottish independence. The SNP is weakened. It is perhaps even finished if more scandal comes out, but we will still have to persuade our friends, neighbours and colleagues to go back to the time when most of us were quite content to be both British and Scottish.  


Saturday, 18 March 2023

A fairytale that has absolutely nothing to do with Scotland. Part 4

Part 3

Once upon a time King Paul was sitting in the Butter Palace counting votes for who was to succeed Queen Nancy. He loved Prince Hārūn ibn ʿImrān best although he playfully called him Goneril this was because Hārūn always clapped the loudest whenever Queen Nancy spoke. So much so that he had been nicknamed in the Secession Normally Possible movement as the Clap. It may also have had something to do with what he gave his first wife after he decided to take a second wife, without actually telling the first one that it was allowed according to the book that she had signed up to. But that was a tightly guarded secret.

Princess Regan was going to get the second half of the kingdom, the bit south of the border because she grew up there, but Princess Regan though wanting to partition the kingdom only wanted north Albion, known also as Albania as this was the bit that former King Alan of Alba wanted, and Princess Regan did what Alan wanted as if he were her father. Some said that he was.

Princess Cordelia had offended both King Paul and Queen Nancy by refusing to flatter them and even described their rule as mediocre. She had been banished and left no part of the kingdom, not even A’ Chuimrigh., which no one wanted because of the excess of daffodils that grew there at this time of year.

But this was King Paul’s problem. Despite everyone in the Secession Normally Possible movement saying that Cordelia should be ignored and ostracised because she told the truth and did not bow down to Queen Nancy. She was more popular in the kingdom than either Gonorrhoea Hārūn or Regan.

Cordelia may have been wee but she was also free in telling Paul that he couldn’t marry Hārūn not just because he might catch something unpleasant, but more importantly because Hārūn had been married twice already and despite sometimes being Paula it didn’t really mean he was a woman.

Cordelia told Paul. Girls who fancy girls should be from Lesbos, they shouldn’t try to be boys. Boys who fancy boys can be Nancy, but it didn’t mean they were girls.

Both Nancy/Nathan and Paul/Paula were furious and every time they saw a vote for Cordelia, they put it in a special pile called recycling after all it was necessary to keep the Green Canadian Moose happy.

But Princess Regan and Princess Cordelia found out that the counting in the counting house was less than fair and demanded Queen Nancy cease eating bread and honey and stop King Paul only counting votes that had the Clap. This was not least a matter of public hygiene. No one wanted the Butter in Butter Palace to become tainted with too much applause.

The Chief Herald of the Secession Normally Possible movement Moray Piedmont called on King Paul and Queen Nancy and told them that they really had to release the result of the census. We all agreed to hold it a year later than the wicked people from Sasainn, but how could we know how many votes were going to each prince or princess if we didn’t know how many voters there were?

Piedmont, who was actually from Elgin rather than Italy demanded he see all of the votes in the counting house, but when he saw that all of those for Regan and Cordelia had been given a barcode that meant that they were returned to the bottle bank, he told both King Paul and Queen Nancy that they were clapped out and resigned.

Later Jan Swineflu, Gussie MacRaibeart, Sapho Dubh, and Ivan àth dubh arrived as the men and woman in tartan suits. They brought with them a bottle of Glenfinished and a pistol. Unfortunately the pistol only fired water, so King Alan chose abdication instead of getting his hair wet to no purpose.

What next for the Secession Normally Possible movement? Could they continue the election after not only Regan and Cordelia had suggested it was fixed, but King Paul had resigned because no one trusted his ability to count rather than recycle.

Where were King Paul and Queen Nancy to go? Could Queen Nancy still expect an important position with the Evangelical Utopia (EU) or the Unverifiable Notions (UN). If ex-King Paul could not be trusted to count and who could imagine it wasn’t because of she who must be obeyed, then could Nancy be trusted have anything more than the dregs of the horn.

Only a few months ago Nancy had been able to heal the sick and cure the lame just by speaking every day to her people. Paul stayed in the Wings and didn’t even have a walk on part, but he pulled all the strings in the Secession Normally Possible puppet theatre.

But anyone who now was close to either Nancy or Paul must be tainted, not merely with Gonorrhoea, but with failure to tell what they knew when they knew it. How could Hārūn lead when he was the continuity prince? But how many others knew about the secrets that now might be open to scrutiny now that neither Paul, nor Nancy nor Hārūn were there to keep them hidden?

Princess Regan was part of the problem rather than a solution because of her close relationship with former King Alan who had lubricated the Butter Palace so copiously that the stench of rancidness could still be smelt when the wind was in certain directions.

But this just left Cordelia, who could hardly lead a party when every single senior courtier did their very best to stop her and could well have suggested that the best way to do so was by means of a returning ballot papers scheme costing 20 p a time.

Secession Normally Possible movement was now finished. Left merely with a free wee against any wall it chose. No one was left untainted by the clapping. No one could stop the secrets so carefully guarded from the time of King Alan to the abdication of King Paul finally coming out.


As flies to wanton boys are we to th' gods.

They kill us for their sport.


Said Nancy to Paul as she remembered the moments when wee lassies had screamed devotion at her as if she were the Bay City Rollers rolled into one. We were so close. I could almost touch it. I felt almost like a god myself. Who could touch me? Who could stop me winning? But now what is left?


I had lived a blessed time; for from this instant,

There 's nothing serious in mortality.

All is but toys; renown and grace is dead.

The wine of life is drawn, and the mere lees

Is left this vault to brag of.


Said Nancy





Friday, 17 March 2023

A fairytale that has absolutely nothing to do with Scotland. Part 3

 Part 2

Once upon a time there was a secret. Queen Nancy otherwise known as Nathan knew what it was. King Paul otherwise known as Paula knew what it was too. But no one except perhaps ex-King Alan knew just what the secret was.

Queen Nancy had been forced to abdicate rather hurriedly because of the secret. King Paul’s task was to arrange the succession so that the secret would be kept. But the task was proving harder than either had foreseen.

Either their mantles of green or else their maidenhead

Prince Hārūn ibn ʿImrān had been useless at every job he had ever tried. When he had tried to drive a camel, it had been discovered that he neither had a licence for camel driving nor was his camel insured. When he had married his first princess it had turned out that she was a bad princess because Hārūn’s eye had wandered and found that he desired another princess. Worse it was not merely his eyes that had wandered, but his hands and other parts of the body too. But still Hārūn blamed his princess rather than himself.

When Hārūn decided to make private conversations hate crimes, he forgot about all the hateful things he had said to his new princess about the House of David and all those who dwelt beneath its star. But this wasn’t the secret that Queen Nancy was worried about.

Hārūn could be trusted to keep the secret even though he wasn’t actually sure what it really was. There were a number of alternatives.

1 King Alan had groomed Queen Nancy when she was rather too young and certainly much younger than him. Their love child had become either Prince Hārūn (aka Goneril short for Gonorrhea), Princess Regan or Princess Cordelia.

2 When Queen Nancy was still princess Nancy, she had witnessed King Alan creating a harem in the Butter Palace, and this harem was supplied with copious amounts of butter so as to make every entrance and exit as slippery as possible. The Last Tango in the Butter Palace involved so much slipping and sliding that Alan on occasion put his hand where it ought not to have slid and entered and exited without due care and attention. But Nancy kept all of this secret because she hoped that King Alan would lead the Kingdom to be a true kingdom that fought and died for its wee bit curds and whey.

3 When Princess Nancy succeeded King Alan, she worried that King Alan was plotting to overthrow her. So, Queen Nancy gathered all the witnesses from the Butter Palace and while pretending to know nothing about the investigation tried to have former King Alan sent to the dungeon where he would be stretched on the rack until he begged to be allowed an ending like his heroes Wallace and Gromit. But oddly Nancy failed to get Alan sent to the dungeon and its delicious tortures. For the first time she was found fallible. The judges like Robert Mitchum in Out of the Past could see the frame and Alan was out of the picture free to go to Albania.

4 Queen Nancy and King Paul had been very careful that no one knew what went on inside the Treasury of the Kingdom. No one knew how many people lived in the kingdom, how many had died, how many had left. No one knew about the taxes paid by whoever lived in the kingdom. So, no one knew if a little bit might have gone to a different purpose than the one for which it was originally intended. But there was a rather a nasty word that some judges might associate with money going missing and it just might possibly lead former King Alan to take revenge with one of his love children.

But there was nothing to worry about surely. Hārūn was supported by every important person in the kingdom. Princess Cordelia had self-destructed from the beginning by telling the truth about what she thought about Nancy becoming Nathan and Nancy forming a close attachment with the Kingdom of Lesbos, while Paul or Paula forming a close attachment with Gaia sometimes spelled Gaya.

But the people trusted Cordelia and thought her honest and sincere with a deep faith, while they began to see Hārūn as fair and false and unable to be honest even about himself.

Princess Regan openly questioned the honestly of the succession process. Princess Cordelia joined in. Prince Hārūn agreed that it was necessary to know how many voters there were, but even in this he was insincere because he already knew the number because he had been told it by Nancy and Paul.

By now everyone in the Kingdom knew that Queen Nancy and King Paul had created a Kingdom that was at least as corrupt as the slippery sliding ways of King Alan. The Secession Normally Possible ideal that had driven both Queen Nancy and King Paul began to be associated with corruption and secrets that were hidden and the kingdom gradually became dissatisfied with the House of Piscium whether of the Acipenseridae variety or of the Actinopterygii kind.

If Nancy and Paul could not be trusted to fairly create King Hārūn then they obviously could not be trusted with anything.

Princess Regan and Princess Cordelia while being from differing Wings of the Secession Normally Possible Movement found common cause in defeating Prince Hārūn not least because both wished the secret at the heart of Secession Normally Possible to be revealed. What was the nature of Queen Nancy’s relationship with King Alan? What did Nancy cover up and why? How did Nathan and Paula decide each day whether they would be King or Queen and how was this connected with the secrets of the population of the kingdom and how much these plebians had donated to their betters and for what purpose.

All or nothing will be revealed as an expectant nation awaits its new monarch. Depending on the result we will all live happily or unhappily ever after.

Regan, Gonorrhea and Cordelia

The USA faces a war on two fronts


The USA is facing a very important strategic moment which is similar to that which Germany faced in both 1914 and 1939. Far from the Cold War ending with the collapse of the Soviet Union it merely melted for a while only to come back twofold. The United States now has a Cold War not merely with Russia but with China too. It is a war on two fronts.

You can deal with a war on two fronts like Hitler did in 1939. He made a pact with the Soviet Union and they both defeated and shared Poland. Having neutralised one front, the Germans could take on the French and the British in the West. After these armies had been defeated in 1940, Hitler could then turn to the Soviet Union in 1941.

Alternatively, you can have the Schlieffen plan of 1914. Defeat France and Britain quickly by encircling Paris and later turn to Russia. But the German Army lost its nerve on the Marne and instead of pressing on for Paris it retreated to the sea. Arguably it lost the war in September 1914, just as it presented peace terms that amounted to a German run European Union.

The USA is the greatest of all powers, but it has a tragic flaw. It has isolationist tendencies. It entered World War One in 1917 and barely made a contribution to the defeat of Germany. In World War Two it likewise thought that it could stay out and was lucky indeed that Great Britain still remained in the contest when it chose to join in 1941. Nine times out of ten the British Army should have been anihilated at Dunkirk.

The USA’s present power and influence is almost entirely due to its contributions in the World Wars. It is for this reason that the USA has the world’s reserve currency in the dollar and leads the West without question. The USA has contributed vast sums of money to the defence of Europe, Japan and South Korea, but it gets back this money over and over again because it gives it the super power status that makes it also an economic super power.

Isolationism is short termism. Let’s not get involved. Let’s save some money. America first. But it always leaves the USA in a strategic situation worse than it would have been in if it had joined at the start. Germany would not have attacked at all if the USA was on board in 1914 and 1939.

Now the USA faces perhaps its greatest long term threat. It was folly in the 1970s for the Nixon administration to seek to damage the Soviet Union by developing more friendly relations with China. At the time China had barely progressed economically since the beginning of the People’s Republic and had gone through multiple crises including the Great Famine, caused in part by Mao’s ridiculous decision to kill China’s sparrows and the Cultural Revolution, which sent China backwards by means of vandalism and punishing anyone doing a job that was either useful or required intelligence.

But the USA and other Western countries showed China the way towards development and capitalism. We allowed Chinese students to come to our universities and discover our technologies. The result in 2023 is that we have an opponent who is just as threatening to our interests as the Soviet Union ever was but is economically efficient and produces much of what the West wants to buy. Instead of an opponent like the Soviet Union, which was weak economically and inefficient in everything, we have a China with vast amounts of money, more expendable soldiers and weapons that are almost as technologically advanced as our own.

The USA is in a very fortunate situation. Vladimir Putin foolishly attacked Ukraine underestimating Ukraine’s will to fight and the West’s will to support it. It is a proxy war, like Vietnam. The USA is not fighting Russia, but it might as well be. The prize that is available is to knock out one of the two fronts.

It is this which makes some mutterings about isolationism from Republican candidates so foolish. There is a once in one-hundred-year opportunity to decisively defeat Russia in the field. Obviously, we must be careful not to provoke nuclear war, but if the West spends a relatively small amount of money on arming Ukraine it is reasonable to suppose that the whole of Ukraine including Crimea might be liberated this year or next.

This is the equivalent of Germany capturing Paris in 1914 and the Schlieffen Plan succeeding. It would have meant that Germany could have turned its full attention to Russia with every chance of success.

The point of defeating Russia is that it neutralises Russia as a threat. No longer would we have to spend vast resources on defending eastern Europe. We then could spend those resources on defeating China.

Why is it necessary to defeat China? Because at some point China will attack Taiwan or will so develop that it takes over from the USA as the dominant economic power. At that point the western model of liberal democracy will look weak and poor, and we can expect countries all over the world to prefer the Chinese model of capitalism and autocracy. That is the fight that has to be won this century in just the same way that we had to overcome German militarism in the twentieth century.

So, this is not the moment to think that Ukraine is a far away country of which we know nothing. The Ukrainians are fighting our battle. If we can defeat Russia, we just might be able to deter China from attacking Taiwan we might just be able to stop Xi’s dream of surpassing the USA and turning China into the dominant superpower.

But we can’t do that if Ukraine is defeated or if the war ends in stalemate and rewards Russia with Ukrainian territory. That situation would leave us with the war on two fronts. Russia would be emboldened and would be ready to come to China’s aid in the event that China needed help in the Pacific. At that point the USA might consider itself too weak to defend Taiwan. This would mean that the liberal democracies would have been defeated both in Ukraine and Taiwan, which would amount to the great American experiment with democracy beginning in 1776 essentially having failed. This is what is at stake.

Right now, we need to fling everything we have at defeating Russia. If we don’t ten years from now twenty years from now we will realise this was the moment we were defeated.

Wednesday, 15 March 2023

Can a Tartan Tory lead the SNP?


From the Pro UK perspective, it is blindingly obvious that we ought to hope that Humza Yousaf becomes SNP leader and First Minister. Yet he is the establishment candidate backed by Sturgeon and almost everyone else of significance in the SNP. It’s hard to see why?

The SNP is an overwhelmingly white party, and most members could if they wished trace their ancestry back to the Jacobites if not Robert the Bruce. It is for this reason that Yousaf has in the past proved useful. He is one of the few SNP politicians from an ethnic minority. He makes the SNP therefore look just that little bit less nationalistic and perhaps attracts some of his fellow Muslims to the SNP.

But Muslims are some of the most socially conservative people in Scotland. Of course, Muslims hold a spectrum of views just like Christians do. Some go to the Mosque every week and follow all of the rules, but others bend or break rules just like Christians do. Still, it doesn’t take an in depth knowledge of Islam to see how some Scottish Muslims might have a problem with SNP orthodoxy on homosexuality and transgender.

Why they should want to break up the UK when they or their parents chose to live here and take advantage of the opportunities that the UK offers has always rather confused me. I have never understood why Yousaf should be hostile to the existence of the UK? If the UK is so awful that he cannot bear to live here, would he prefer that his parents had decided not to come here at all?

I suspect there is an element in Yousaf that wants to take revenge on the UK for everything from Empire to fighting wars against Muslim states. There may also be an element of trying to be more Scottish than the Scots owing to the abuse that he may have received as a child.

But frankly whatever Yousaf brings to the SNP it cannot possibly outweigh the negatives. He is not likeable. He is not competent and there is something false and insincere about him. Support for the SNP and independence will go down if Yousaf becomes leader. Why do the SNP want him? To keep its secrets? Who knows? It is hard to imagine a worse leader.

What about Kate Forbes? Some rather excitable members of the press are suggesting that she could increase support for the SNP and independence. Forbes has many good qualities. The first good quality is her honesty about her beliefs. Politicians routinely lie and evade. Forbes told the truth. She accepts that SNP have ruled Scotland in a mediocre way and that more of the same will get it nowhere. She is more realistic about independence being a more long-term goal requiring change to the Scottish economy. She appears to be likeable and a kind, good individual. Even someone like me might be open to persuasion by someone like Kate Forbes.

So, is the UK in danger if Yousaf loses and Forbes wins? On the one hand she would certainly be a better leader than Yousaf. She could appeal to Pro UK people who find her a pleasant contrast to Sturgeon. But this is Forbes’s problem. Her appeal to Pro UK people would be at the expense of her appeal to SNP voters.

Forbes is socially conservative, but clearly a large number of SNP MPs and MSPs are about as socially progressive as it is possible to be. Forbes in the past would have been called a Tartan Tory. If she didn’t believe in Scottish independence, she would certainly make a near perfect leader of the Scottish Conservatives. This is why Tories like me like her. We agree with her on everything except independence.

But then how can Forbes lead a party that is full of leftwingers ands social progressives?

Her answer on how to obtain Scottish independence is correct insofar as it goes. If Scotland was doing so well economically that it no longer relied on a subsidy from the UK Treasury and no longer had a deficit, it would be much much easier to argue for independence. But Forbes is less than honest about the timescale. For Scotland to become such an economy would take decades and would also require cuts in public spending and lowering of taxes. It would require a much smaller public sector and a much larger private sector. The Scottish Government would be best advised to undercut the other parts of the UK and make itself more business friendly than England.

But who on earth is going to vote for that in Scotland? It would be the equivalent of Scots voting for a government that is more right-wing than any Tory government of recent years.

I think Scotland is much more socially conservative than the SNP realised. Scots are not so horrified by Forbes’s wee free Christianity as the SNP would have thought. But very few Scots indeed believe in low taxes, low public spending and free market laissez faire economics. This of course is Scotland’s best route to independence. Shrink the state, cut taxes, make a surplus rather than a deficit, become like Switzerland or Singapore.

If Forbes turns Scotland into Singapore, I will vote for independence. But who else would?

Forbes can appeal to Pro UK people, but only if we move beyond what led the SNP to be mediocre. This was that voters kept voting SNP even when they knew it was running Scotland badly. It was this that caused the mediocrity, because the SNP did not need to run Scotland well to win. But the condition for the possibility of ending the mediocrity is that Scottish politics becomes competitive again. But if that happens the SNP will have no chance of gaining independence, because Labour or the Conservatives would have to have a similar level of support to the SNP.

Yousaf would be a worse leader than Forbes and we must hope he wins. But Forbes would be unable to lead a party which only agrees with her on independence. She might not be able to hold the SNP together at all. On balance I hope Yousaf wins. Kate Forbes is a clever decent opponent and worthy of our respect. But I have never heard her explain clearly quite why it is necessary for Scotland to leave the UK. It can hardly be because the UK votes Tory, when she is a Tartan Tory herself and her route to independence is to be more Conservative than the Conservatives.

Saturday, 11 March 2023

Decolonising the small boats

There has for the past 30 years, or more been a steady rise in what used to be called political correctness and is now called woke. But it massively accelerated in 2020 with the death of George Floyd and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. Suddenly topics that had previously been at best peripheral such as colonisation and decolonisation and the wickedness of the British Empire, became in certain schools and universities not so much the main topic as the only topic.

But the topic of decolonising the curriculum is only ever presented in terms of Europeans colonising and migrating to other places. No one else ever migrated anywhere. There are no colonisers apart from white people. So, if large numbers of people from Africa or the Middle East attempt to come to Britain we are wicked if we attempt to stop them. They after all cannot be colonisers and they cannot be migrating.

But human migration and empire are as ancient as humanity. In the Declaration of Arbroath, we are told how the Scots came from somewhere in Central Asia and migrated first to Ireland and then to Scotland. But what is this if not colonisation? Whoever lived in Ireland before the Scots was either killed or absorbed and whoever lived in Scotland, i.e., the Picts was also either killed or absorbed. But whoever lived in Scotland before the Picts. A people of whom we know almost nothing apart from the archaeology they left behind, was likewise either absorbed or killed. But I don’t think any schools or universities in Scotland will be telling us this story.

But there are no goodies and baddies in this sort of story. Europe at some point probably spoke a pre-Indo-European language, that might have been similar to Basque. We know little about this, because every speaker was either absorbed or killed by the Indo-Europeans who migrated like the Scots from the steppes of Central Asia or the area around the Black Sea.

There is no point blaming our ancestors for the waves of migration that created modern Britain, because without them we wouldn’t speak the language that we do, English and we wouldn’t be the people that we are.

But it is not only we that are the result of migration. Everyone else is too. The original peoples of North and South America migrated there across the Bering Strait. People from Africa were the original human beings and migrated everywhere else. The Russians migrated from a small medieval set of kingdoms all the way to Vladivostok. Muslims spread from Mecca and Medina and colonised all the way from Spain to Indonesia. Polynesians colonised New Zealand and were then colonised by British people.

It is folly to regret for instance that the USA was colonised. What is the alternative? Let’s say that everyone in Europe made an agreement in 1492 to not return to North America. Would the people living there really be better off if we had left them alone? The USA today is an advanced society making great contributions in science, medicine. Would the original inhabitants prefer to be living like they were in 1492 without the wheel?

The same goes for Australia. Captain Cook could have left Australia alone, but the idea that a continent with people who had developed minimal technology and only primitive weaponry could have survived without conquest for ever is preposterous.

The reason Europeans were able to form empires and colonise much of the world is that they had better weapons and military than the people they were fighting. But if Europeans had refrained from using our technological advantage, someone else would have. It could have been the Chinese, or the Indonesians or the Japanese that conquered Australia, but someone was going to eventually.

The focus is all on the wickedness of empire and colonisation and how dreadful it is that in parts of the world there were slaves. But every place that was colonised is what it is today because it was colonised. Every descendant of every slave taken to North America exists because his ancestor was taken into slavery. If this had not happened the descendant of that slave would be living in Africa today and the person in North America would not exist at all. We are all the result of the chance circumstances of our ancestry including where they lived. My grandmother would never have met my grandfather if they had lived on different continents.

So, while the British Empire might have been wicked it also created modern day India, USA and Australia. They would not exist in their present form and their people and level of knowledge and language might be vastly different. To condemn the British Empire is therefore the equivalent of condemning the waves of migration of Celts, Anglo Saxons and Normans that formed Britain. By all means condemn, but what’s the point?

Everywhere that was colonised would not be what it is today if it had not been colonised and if it had not been colonised by Europeans it would have been colonised by someone else, who might have treated it worse.

Every slave that ended up in North America, might instead have been enslaved by Arabs in which case the slave would have been castrated and would have had no descendants. So put the history of slavery into context. Everyone in Britain is the descendant both of a slave (a serf) and an owner of slaves (a lord). But none of us go on about it because it is just who we are and a matter of ancient history. The so-called winners of the light skin lottery too owe their existence both to their slave ancestors and to slave owners. Without the latter they would not exist.

People migrating to Europe today have just the same right to migrate as all the other human beings throughout history. But let us be clear that in the course of the past 70 years the demographics of the United Kingdom have changed more than during the first 70 years of either the Anglo-Saxon migrations, the Roman migrations or the Norman migrations. But the cumulative result of these migrations was that Britain ceased to be a Celtic speaking island and the Celts were pushed westwards into Wales and the outer Hebrides.

Mass migration eventually leads to the near extinction of the original inhabitants. This is what happened in North America, Australia and New Zealand. There are few people living in these places who speak the languages of their ancestors.

It may not be possible to stop mass migration. It is a feature of human history. It starts off slowly with the Pilgrim fathers making friends with the locals, but a few decades later there are no more locals. The Mayflower was a small boat bringing colonisers, they seemed friendly at first, but they brought with them disease and destruction. The locals should have fought the Pilgrims and sunk their boats, but this would only have delayed their destruction. We have the technology to defend our island, but we lack the will to do so.


Thursday, 9 March 2023

Two wildcats and a strong and steadfast lion


It has been amusing watching the SNP self-destruct. It isn’t very long ago both under Salmond and Sturgeon that the SNP was like the Corleone family.

“Never tell anyone outside the SNP what you're thinking” said Don Salmond.

“Don’t ever take sides with anyone against the SNP again. Ever.” Said Donna Sturgeon.

SNP MPs and MSPs imitated trained seals at the circus in their desire to please their godfather or godmother. There were no leaks, there was no dissent. They even clapped in unison.

But far from being trained seals now the three candidates for First Minister resemble nothing so much as two wildcats and a strong and steadfast lion going at each other with claws.

SNP politicians were willing to keep silent (omerta) so long as they thought it would lead them to independence. No one was going to tell the media about rumours and allegations, which must have been known to lots of people in 2014, because there was an independence referendum to be won. So let the Don make various offers that could not be refused. It would be worth it when Scotland got independence. It would be worth it even if you were one of those who had received an offer.

So too when rumours about Sturgeon began to emerge and when she was questioned in the aftermath of Salmond’s acquittal. The SNP members of the panel made no effort to find out the truth and would have acquitted her no matter the evidence. Because it was all worth it if Sturgeon led Scotland to independence.

But gradually since her peak popularity during the pandemic it became clear that Scotland was not going to have another referendum anytime soon, because the British Government would not give permission and this made all other de facto strategies more or less nonsense, because if the British Government failed to give in, they amounted to UDI.

But with no one left to lead the SNP to independence anytime soon, why keep silent, why hide what you know for the good of the family? It turns out there isn’t a family at all. There is no shared viewpoint. Where we once thought the SNP agreed about everything, we now know it agrees about nothing except independence.

It has socialists, progressives, cultural conservatives and tartan Tories. It is now leaderless and in retreat and has shown itself to be a mere rabble rather than a disciplined army. We have the chance to turn its retreat into a rout.

The problem that the SNP has had since before 2014 is that its only argument is nationalism. People support Scottish independence not for political reasons but for the same sort of reasons they support Scotland at football. It is a patriotic/nationalist movement. The argument goes, if you are Scottish, you ought to support the SNP because Scotland is a country with a long and proud history, and we should be independent because countries ought to be independent. Added to this is hostility to Tories and sometimes hostility to England.

This argument is very good. The nationalist card is the strongest card in the deck, but it was only enough to get 44% in 2014. Since then, it has sometimes been able to get to around 55%, but it always quickly goes back.

Now Humza Yousaf and Kate Forbes are hinting that they may need 60% for a year or more before asking for another referendum. Well, the last poll put Yes on 39%. So, they are 21% behind. But the SNP has still not come to terms with the fact that they would not get a Yes/No question, but rather something like a Leave/Remain question. That would put them still further behind.

There is no Yes movement. You are a Leave movement.

But the problem for the SNP is that they only have the nationalist card. But this means they have nothing to say to the rest of us who are not persuaded by their nationalism.

The SNP’s best chance was in 2014 when it would have been possible to have independence and retain a close relationship with the former UK. But even then, the SNP did not properly address the downsides of their argument. It was still wishful thinking and everyone including the former UK and the EU agreeing with Don Salmond because he would make them an offer they could not refuse. But the EU is not an SNP underling scared to snitch on the Don and the former UK would have to have been persuaded that giving Scotland a generous deal was in its interest.

The situation is much worse now. Scotland is poorer and depends economically on the UK. Brexit destroyed the SNP argument that Scotland and the former UK could retain a close relationship after independence. But Scotland can’t be in the EU and the former UK out and maintain open borders. Scotland is not Northern Ireland and would have no leverage to turn itself into Northern Ireland. That is just more wishful thinking.

But all we ever got from Sturgeon was deficit denial and we never had a convincing argument for how Scotland could make up the loss of UK Treasury money that pays Scots on average much more than people in England and Wales. It’s our own money given back to us say the SNP, but that’s just deficit denial again as Scotland has a nominal deficit that is much higher than the UK as a whole.

The three candidates are still just talking to the already converted or about something else entirely like homosexual marriage or the rights of transgender people. Not one is honestly reflecting on why the Pro UK argument is still winning nine years after 2014. This is why they convince no one but themselves.

Almost no one in Scotland wants a separate currency or the Euro. Almost no one wants any sort of border. Almost no one wants to be poorer than they are now. But if they were brutally honest with themselves the SNP would admit that this is what they are offering. It might convince nationalists who think it would be worth it, but for those of us not interested in marching, waving flags, and wearing Jacobite costumes it is thin gruel compared to what we have.

Whichever candidate the SNP chooses they are going to struggle until they honestly address how Brexit changed what an independent Scotland would be like. Failure to do that is the cause of Sturgeon going nowhere.

Worse still the SNP now faces a nightmare General Election. I dislike and fear a Labour Government. It will make a muck of things like it always does. But SNP voters will have a chance to kick out a Tory Government now rather than wait for independence some decades from now. The campaign will have nothing to do with Ash Regan’s attempt to turn it into a plebiscite on independence. It will instead be about Keir Starmer versus Rishi Sunak.

With a new leader less well known than Sturgeon there is every chance that support for the SNP will fall like it did in 2017. Well, that kicks independence into the long grass for another five years and the goal of 60% begins to look insurmountable.

The reason is that not one of the SNP candidates can explain why he or she wants independence apart from nationalistic reasons and dislike of Tories. They used to keep silent, but now they are shouting at each other they still have nothing whatsoever to say to the rest of us. This is why whatever the SNP offers Scotland will continue to refuse.


Sunday, 5 March 2023

Why will Poland be richer than Britain?


In 1914 Britain was indisputably one of the Great Powers including France, Germany Russia Germany and the USA. Not only were we powerful we were one of the richest countries in the world. At that time Poland did not exist. It was divided between Germany, Russia and Austria-Hungary. Now we are told Poland may in a few years be richer than Britain. How could this have come to be?

Poland came back to existence due to the First World War and in particular the collapse of the German, Russian and Austro-Hungarian Empires. But it still had a tough fight on its hands particularly against the Soviet Union. It required The Miracle on the Vistula in 1920 where at the Battle of Warsaw the Poles turned back the Red Army and then was able to extend the borders of Poland into modern day Belarus, Lithuania and Ukraine.

Polish president Andrzej Duda meets Rishi Sunak

Less than two decades later Poland was partitioned again. 1939 saw it attacked by both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. The result of the Soviet Union’s attack still stands today. Poland forever lost Wilna [Vilnius], Lwów [Lviv] and other places where Poles had lived for centuries. It also lost approximately 17% of its population. About the same number of Catholic Poles as Jewish Poles were murdered by both the Germans and the Soviet Union. Only present-day Belarus, 25% lost a greater percentage of its citizens in the whole world.

Poles fought heroically for the allies. Polish fighter pilots may have been the difference between victory and defeat during the Battle of Britain and Polish troops made significant contributions to the allied war effort. But during the Warsaw Uprising in 1944 the Soviet Union chose to watch rather than help and the Western Allies could do little more than drop supplies. The result was the near complete destruction of Warsaw by the Germans as punishment.

Poland remained occupied by the Soviet Union until 1989. If you watch films from this period, you will see people using clunky old telephones, wearing scruffy clothes and driving ugly little cars. How in the space of 40 years could Poland surpass Britain?

We have an idea that Britain suffered hugely during the Second World War, but the truth is that we only lost 0.94% of our pre-war population, which was less than Belgium and only a little more than New Zealand.

But contrast the post war experience of Poland with the UK. In the UK we were told that because of the losses during the War we needed to import people from overseas to do the jobs that the dead couldn’t do. In Poland despite moving its borders westward, despite massive destruction, loss of industry and loss of people, almost no one was imported.

If you walk around Warsaw today, you see a population that is almost 100% ethnically Polish. Since the Russian attack on Ukraine a large number of Ukrainians have arrived, some may stay, but they quickly learn Polish and become for the most part indistinguishable from everyone else.

If Poland could manage without mass immigration after World War II, why couldn’t we? In 1950 there were around 20,000 people living in the UK who were from ethnic minorities. 99.9% of the population in 1950 descended from people who had lived here since at least the Middle Ages.

We were told by successive governments that we needed immigration, partly for economic reasons. The result is that the population of the UK has increased from around 47 million in 1939 to 67 million now. Much of the increase has been due to immigration. The percentage of people from ethnic minorities has increased from 0.1 % to approximately 18%.

The London that was bombed in the Blitz was 99.9% white, but in the course of a lifetime 40% of its population have become people who were born abroad. The blitzed would not recognise their fellow Londoners and would be astonished at who was their mayor.

I don’t want to be nasty to people whose families have moved to Britain. They are British citizens, most frequently born here. We cannot have a distinction between Native Britons (like Native Americans) who can trace their ancestry back to 1066 and non-Native Britons who cannot. We are all equal. We are all Brits. There are also both positives and negatives about free movement of people around the world and it is probably unstoppable anyway.

But look what successive governments have done and compare it with Poland. If Poland is to surpass Britain (and why shouldn’t it if Poles work harder?) it will have done so without mass immigration and without the difficulties that go with it.

Poland does not have a problem with racism, because there is no one to be racist against. You cannot discriminate against someone because he is a different colour or comes from a different country because hardly anyone does.

We on the other hand saw our population grow by 20 million. We imported vast numbers of people from other races and religions. We did so because we were told it was necessary and for the good of the economy, but in 7 years perhaps Poland that did none of these things may surpass us by GDP per capita.

Britain may have some advantages in having a multi-cultural society. We may have more diverse restaurants and we also have gained some very talented people. But it hasn’t made us richer.

The Second World War created present day Polish society which is more uniform and united than Pre-War Poland, which had far greater numbers of minorities. But the result given the chance since 1989 to adopt free market capitalist policies is to create a society that is more successful than Britain.

Poland knows what socialism is and doesn’t therefore want to try it again. It is also absolutely clear about what a Pole is and has no one at all who wants his part of Poland to separate from the rest, nor would it allow its neighbouring countries to claim parts of Poland that used to be theirs.

Some Poles particularly on the Left would like Poland to be more multi-cultural and diverse, more like the Western European countries they used to live in and admire. I would advise these people to be careful what you wish for. It won’t make you rich. Despite what everyone in Western Europe has been told about the benefits of multi-culturalism and mass immigration it may prove to be a disadvantage and a cause of decline.

Be grateful you speak a language made up of consonant clusters that sounds like someone lisping and which almost no one in the rest of the world can pronounce let alone speak. But if you are British begin learning Polish. It’s not as hard as it looks, and it may prove useful.


Friday, 3 March 2023

Is Humza Yousaf as liberal as he first appears?


When Isabel Oakeshott leaked Matt Hancock’s WhatsApp messages to the Telegraph even though she had apparently signed a non-disclosure agreement she did something that has become almost unimaginable in Scotland.

We don’t know why Nicola Sturgeon resigned. We don’t know what she knew about Alex Salmond’s alleged misdemeanours and when she knew it. We don’t really know anything about what if anything Alex Salmond did when he was First Minister. There was a court case he was acquitted of all charges. That’s all we know. We don’t really know anything about the inner workings of the SNP or the Scottish Government. There are never any leaks. No one delivers to the papers all of Sturgeon’s emails or messages. No one dares. The last person who leaked something ended up in jail.

There are rumours of super injunctions, which prevent us finding out about the real Nicola Sturgeon, but we never get closer than rumours. The SNP want it to stay this way and so does Nicola Sturgeon. This is why Humza Yousaf will probably become the next First Minister.

He is the continuity candidate. His policies would closely resemble Sturgeon’s. The party machine wants him to win. This I think is why there were such extraordinary attacks on Kate Forbes who on the surface looks to be the better candidate.

But just as Sturgeon has been keeping the lid on rather a lot of secrets it may be that Mr Yousaf is doing so as well. While on the surface he has the most progressive of credentials. I would very much like to know what he privately thinks.

I have no doubt whatsoever that Mr Yousaf would defend a Jewish constituent or indeed a Jewish person anywhere in Scotland who was the victim of racist name calling or discrimination. But this is not the only definition of anti-Semitism.

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance has a definition of anti-Semitism that is widely accepted in the world.

One instance is the following:

Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.

Unfortunately, 44% of British Muslims hold precisely this view.

I would like someone in the media to ask Mr Yousaf what he thinks about this issue and whether he would convict Muslims in Scotland of a hate crime (i.e., anti Semitism) if they share it?

Here is another instance of anti-Semitism:

Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.

Now this is interesting because very few Muslim states recognise Israel. They all in principle deny the right of Israel to exist. We can assume that the citizens of these states also deny Israel’s right to exist, otherwise they would try as best they can to change their government’s policy towards Israel.

Mr Yousaf met the former chief of Hamas when he was much younger. This need not be held against him. He was young. But what does he think of Hamas now?

A recent poll found that 72% of Palestinians support forming new armed groups.We can assume that they wish to do this not to cooperate with Israel but to destroy it. Does Mr Yousaf agree with the armed struggle against Israel, or does he oppose it?

Not very long-ago Mr Yousaf expressed concern for his wife’s family in Gaza when Israel responded to rockets fired from Gaza. Does Mr Yousaf think that his wife’s family are among the minority who disagree with Hamas and the armed struggle against Israel. Does Mr Yousaf’s wife accept that Israel has the right to exist or does she agree with most Gazans. She is after all descended from someone from there. Of course, she is Scottish and may not have an opinion on the issues in the Middle East or may not know more about it than the average Scot.

A further instance of anti-Semitism is:

Applying double standards by requiring of it [Israel] a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.

If Mexicans who had been displaced by the USA when the USA conquered parts of Mexico in 1846-1848 were firing rockets into New Mexico with the hope of turning it into Old Mexico, would Mr Yousaf condemn the USA for retaliating and trying to destroy those rocket sites?

If Germans who had been displaced from Poland were firing rockets at Szczecin hoping to turn it into Stettin again, would Mr Yousaf condemn Poland for retaliating and attacking those rocket sites? No of course not. No one would.

So why does Mr Yousaf apply a different standard to the actions of Israel? Why does he not say to the people of Gaza stop firing rockets and you will be safe from attack?

Someone is not merely an anti-Semite if he refrains from beating up Jewish people or calling them nasty names or discriminating against them. Someone is an anti-Semite if he holds certain views about Israel. These views are nearly universally held in Muslim countries, so it is reasonable to wonder if the children and grandchildren of people from those countries who are now Scottish continue to hold these views or not. After all we learn about religion and much else from our parents and grandparents. Otherwise, Muslims would give birth to Jews and Jews would give birth to Christians.

Jeremy Corbyn is an anti-Semite not because he met with Hamas, though that would suggest anti-Semitism because Hamas is clearly anti-Semitic. Corbyn is an anti-Semite because he thinks Israel ought not to exist and would welcome the Arab world succeeding in occupying Israel either by armed force or by means of a right to return that would see Israel become an Arab state rather than a Jewish one.

It may be that Mr Yousaf and his wife share none of these anti-Semitic views. I don’t know them. They may be friends of Israel and regularly watch Paul Newman in Exodus (1960) thrilling to the theme music and the story of how the Jews fought for their homeland.

But it would be nice to know just a little more about Mr Yousaf’s private views about religion and Jewish self-determination versus Scottish self-determination. Because if Jews did not have the right to self-determination why should Scots and in that case why are Mr Yousaf and his wife representatives of the SNP?

Wednesday, 1 March 2023

The Northern Ireland Protocol has not really changed


The UK Government led by Theresa May made a perhaps deliberate, perhaps treacherous mistake to accept the Irish Government’s view that the Belfast Agreement meant that an open border without customs controls was required between Northern Ireland and Ireland. The EU latched onto that, and the rest is history.

What we should have done on telling the EU that we were leaving was to make clear to Ireland and the EU that what happened to goods and people moving from Northern Ireland to Ireland was your problem not ours. We would do our best not to have any border controls on our side of the border, but what you did on your side was your problem.

If Ireland wished to maintain open borders between itself and Northern Ireland in that case, it would probably have had to have accepted some sort of regulatory arrangement between itself and the Continent. Obviously, Ireland didn’t want this, for which reason it pushed the idea that maintaining an open border was Britain’s problem.

Theresa May accepted this because she wanted a Brexit where the UK would be closely aligned with EU. But having agreed to the principle that the Irish border must remain open, and it is Britain’s problem to maintain it open, we have been left with the Northern Ireland Protocol.

This was the condition for leaving the EU at all. If Boris Johnson had not agreed to the Protocol there would have been no General Election in 2019, no landslide and no Brexit. We probably would have eventually had a second referendum or in time a General Election with a Remainer majority.

Has Rishi Sunak’s deal with the EU solved the problem of the Protocol? Not really. It does nothing to take us back to the Pre Theresa May position where the UK might have argued that keeping the Irish border open was an EU/Ireland problem. Unfortunately, that has taken on a semi legal status even though there is not a thing in the Belfast Agreement about borders or maintaining an all-Ireland economy. The UK Government could renege on open borders being our responsibility, but to do so would mean a diplomatic breech with Ireland, the EU and the USA.

But once you accept that the Ireland/Northern Ireland border has to be open and it is the UK’s responsibility to keep it that way then given Brexit and our leaving the EU’s Single Market and Customs Union, then logically the border has to be between Britain and Northern Ireland. There is nowhere else to put it.

What Rishi Sunak has done is to gain some concessions. It will be easier to send goods from Britain to Northern Ireland. Shortages of British Goods in Northern Ireland are less likely. Northern Irish people will be less likely to notice a regulatory border between themselves and Britain. These things and others are worth having, but they don’t change the principle.

Northern Ireland remains part of the EU Single Market, while Britain does not. If this were not the case, then there would either need to be a regulatory border between Northern Ireland and Ireland or between Ireland and the rest of the EU. But this means there is still a regulatory border between Northern Ireland and Britain. The Protocol is like the IRA. “They haven't gone away you know”.

The UK Government would not accept an internal regulatory border however invisible with any other part of the UK. It is outrageous that we accepted it with Northern Ireland. No other country would accept such an arrangement. The idea that Cornwall would have an internal border with the rest of England is absurd.

But there is a difference between Northern Ireland and Cornwall. Cornwall does not have a Belfast Agreement. It does not have a neighbouring country that wishes to annex it. It doesn’t have approaching 50% of its population owing allegiance to that country and it did not have 30-year terrorist campaign that tried to turn the desire for annexation into reality.

Both the EU and the USA side with Ireland in its desire to one day take control of Northern Ireland. There is no similar situation in the EU or anywhere else. It’s like the USA and the EU siding with Russia over Crimea because it used to belong to Russia and most of the people living there feel Russian and speak Russian.

But we are where we are. If a sufficient number of people in Northern Ireland express a clear wish to join Ireland then they must have a vote on it. The people of Northern Ireland chose this by voting for the Belfast Agreement. Again, the UK could renounce the Belfast Agreement say Northern Ireland is ours forever, but the diplomatic and peace risks are too high.

Alternatively, we must accept that the only way to keep Northern Ireland in the UK long term is to compromise between those people who feel British and those people who feel Irish. If an open border between Northern Ireland and Ireland is the price for keeping Catholics supporting Northern Ireland staying in the UK, then it may be the price that has to be paid. If it allows them to pretend that Ireland is united like its Rugby team and this polite fiction keeps the UK intact, let them feel this way.

We are faced with the limits of the possible. The UK Government could ditch the Protocol and fall out both with the EU and the USA, but now is just the moment when cooperation between these powers is necessary to defeat Russia in Ukraine.

There is a once in one-hundred-year opportunity to decisively defeat Russia in the field. This will change the whole security situation allowing us to spend less on defence against Russia and more on defence against China, which is by far the greater threat.

Britain has only ever had a limited interest in “the dreary steeples of Fermanagh and Tyrone emerging once again”. It is a pity, but the last 100 years tell us that it is so. Rishi Sunak hopes to make the issue of the Protocol go away, because fundamentally he hopes the issue of Northern Ireland goes away. This was the same mentality that saw Churchill want to do a deal with de Valera during World War II and various UK Governments coming up with deals with Ireland during the Troubles. This culminated in saying if you can’t win Northern Ireland by war, you can win it with votes.

All of this led to the Protocol. No other state in the world would allow another to annex its territory democratically, but then no other state in the world would allow the EU or the USA to demand an internal border between parts of its own territory. We still see dreary steeples when we should see our fellow citizens and our own land. But we don’t and we never really did.