Options for Independence 1387

So what do we do now with Theresa May apparently obdurate on blocking the referendum?

It is important to realise politics are fluid. In a week’s time the situation will not be what it is today. The battle for public opinion is key. The unionist media (ie virtually all of it) are asserting continuously, as a uniform line, that opinion polls say the people of Scotland do not want a second Independence referendum in the timescale Nicola Sturgeon has set out – even though that is not true at all. The serial Tory crooks at You Gove came out with an opinion poll right on cue “showing” that support for Independence is hitting new lows. But I suspect it will not be long before evidence emerges that May’s unattractive diktat has profoundly assisted the Independence cause. That will change the game.

So with a wind of public opinion behind her, what does Sturgeon do if Westminster denies a Scottish Parliament request for a referendum? There are several options:

1) Hold an Advisory Referendum

It appears probable (though not undisputed) that the Scottish government can hold a referendum which is not binding, without Section 30 permission from Westminster. It is hard for Westminster to dismiss the result of an advisory referendum, given that Brexit was only an advisory referendum and May has taken as a matter of faith that it is binding.

But as we saw in Catalonia, a boycott by unionist forces can be quite effective in denying the credibility of a non-binding referendum result. I strongly suspect that would be their attitude to an advisory referendum, and I do not see it as a strong way forward.

2) Call a New Holyrood Election

This is an attractive option in many ways. It would be predicated on the plain statement that a new pro-Independence majority would declare Independence unilaterally. That would be the normal and internationally accepted way for a country to secede – a referendum is very much the exception.

But there are problems with this approach. The first is that it would require a two thirds majority of the Scottish parliament to dissolve it, and the Unionists would in all probability simply block it. Forcing them to do that may be a good move, but doesn’t take us far forward.

The second problem, should parliament dissolve, is the campaign itself. As it would not be a referendum campaign, media coverage would not be balanced on independence, but the unionist parties in effect given three times the coverage of the SNP, assuming the Greens continue to be very poorly treated. But as the “Balance” of the referendum coverage was risible anyway, I am not sure this is so much of a drawback.

More difficult is the uncertainty created by the appalling De Hondt system. There is no doubt that the optimum outcome for Independence would be for every Independence supporter to vote SNP 1 and Green 2. But in practice that will never happen on a significant scale, and what is the best way to utilise your vote to achieve independence is simply not predictable. Risking all on a system so prone to statistical fluke is a problem.

3) Call a National Assembly

In the event that Scotland is being blocked from holding either a referendum or an election, the Scottish Government could move to convene a National Assembly. This might consist of all MPs, MSPs and MEPs and that body could declare Independence. To be clear, that would be a revolutionary act in UK terms, but it is perfectly normal for such an act to be required at the birth of a new state and is no bar to it being accepted in international law as a state through recognition by the United Nations General Assembly.

The argument would run that, having been blocked at every turn from holding a democratic vote either by way of referendum or parliamentary election, the Scottish government had taken the option of convening all representatives democratically elected at the national level – MSPs, MPs and MEPs, and these elected representatives of the Scottish people had made the decision. That is perfectly respectable and entirely analogous to the way many EU members such as Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Slovenia, Croatia, the Czech Republic and Slovakia became independent.

To return to my original argument, the possibilities depend very much on how public opinion is seen to be trending. May’s calculation appears to be driven firstly by a desire to play to her Brexiteer base in England – which judging by the rabid comments pages across the media is very successful – and secondly by a desire to further polarise Scottish politics to the benefit of the Scottish Tories. She is more than happy for Independence to be decided on a straight SNP vs Tory field. That May thinks she can win such a battle is an example of staggering hubris.

I have been saying in all of my speeches across Scotland in the last year that the game has changed and we have to be prepared for the idea we may have to achieve Independence without the consent or cooperation of the Westminster government. I am happily no longer a radical outlier in this belief.

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1,387 thoughts on “Options for Independence

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  • Bhante

    So you thought the US (in it’s latest incarnation) was in Syria to eliminate ISIS? Think again! It’s primary aim is to target Iran – and specifically to block resupply of its forces in Syria (yea, the ones that are fighting ISIS, and the most effective ground forces against ISIS alongside the Kurds) so that Israel can destroy them by air strikes. At the same time carve out US-occupied territories in northern Syria for the eventual laying of oil pipelines.


    That is according to an interesting analysis by former Indian Ambassador Melkulangara Bhadrakumar, based on announcements from the Pentagon. Similarly in Libya the aim is not to destroy ISIS but to gain direct control of Libyan oil and ports. Nice, isn’t it?

    Of course, with the US government under the control of the neocons rather than Trump, we don’t know for certain what he would have done if he was really in control. Maybe he will gain control eventually, although it is currently looking more likely that he will lose ever more and more control to the neocons until he is either forced out or succumbs to be 100% puppet.

  • Habbabkuk

    @ Drew Anderson

    “That means trade using WTO regulations; 30-40% tariffs on agricultural produce and 10% on anything else. The economy will go down the pan in short order.”

    Just to avoid readers falling into black despair, it might be worth pointing out that WTO tariff rates are maximum allowable rates and that there is no obligation on any state or economic grouping of states to apply the full amount of the tariff (or any of it for that matter).

    Indeed, one prominent UK economist has suggested that the UK should not apply even the WTO tariff to imported goods in order to keep costs to industry and the consumer down (even if the EU were not to reciprocate).

    Readers might also like to bear in mind that there are quite a few economies trading largely – and successfully – under WTO arrangements.

    • Republicofscotland

      “Readers might also like to bear in mind that there are quite a few economies trading largely – and successfully – under WTO arrangements.”



      I’ve no doubt there are some successful WTO nations, you shouldve provided clear evidence.

      However other economists, writing for the prominent Economist, feel that the WTO, would be a very poor option for Britain.


      • Ba'al Zevul

        If you’re looking for sources, Habba rarely if ever goes there. But this is probably worth a look if you’re fascinated:

        Leading zero-tariff nations:
        Singapore, Switzerland and Hong Kong (yes!), to name but three.

        For the kind of analysis which May is probably using to approach the issue, see:


        Note the references to the possibility of ending the present form of agricultural subsidies (which pays Dacre* loadsamoney for his Highland deer forest) and to Korea’s intricate trading relationship with the EU, which on the face of it could be circumvented by cosying up to China instead. Especially Hong Kong, perhaps.

        *I’ll throw the Europhiles a bone – here’s the Globalisation Guardian on that one…


        • Habbabkuk

          Re agricultural subsidies: I wonder if you would agree that the agricultural support system used in the UK before it joined the EEC – know as the “deficiency payments system” was not only a more sensible system than the CAP but also – strangely enough – a more “socialist” system (both nationally and internationally) in its essential characteristics?


          I am not giving you sources because I believe you know how the CAP functions and how deficiency payments functionned.

        • Republicofscotland

          “If you’re looking for sources, Habba rarely if ever goes there.”



          I know that, but we’ll never get a decent response from Habb, if people jump in and let him off the hook, will we ?

          As for successful WTO nations I clearly stated that there must be several, so no bonus points there.

          However Switzerland aside Brits do not have the Asian work ethic. The WTO might not be as lucrative to the Britain, something reiterated in my link.

          • Ba'al Zevul

            He’s not on any hook. It’s his style, and I was simply pointing you in the direction of substantiating his statement, as that is what you seemed to want. It’s usually possible to verify his more serious emissions…

            Personally, I’m not too bothered about the lucrativeness of the WTO as compared with the notions that

            (a) we will eventually be able to be again the sole arbiters of our own national policy and
            (b) our economic model will have to change drastically, lessening our dependence on debt financing and
            (c) the dominant language spoken in my local town isn’t [insert latest impoverished accession to the EU] – ian.

            I am sure that from your own perspective you can see the point of this. Escept, possibly (c). You’re rather fortunate in being some distance from the entry point.

  • michael norton

    Some of the 57,000 people employed by the U.K. State in Scotland may work in the shipbuilding / docks
    who will give them jobs?

    • michael norton

      Every time a person in Scotland ( who was paid for by the U.K. State) is given a made-up job by SNPSCOTLAND, that money will have to come from tax.
      What tax will you introduce, to cover these eventualities?

      • JOML

        “UK state” collects taxes in Scotland, then uses money raised to pay the salaries of Scottish civil servants. Replace “UK state” with Scottish state and you have your answer. Are you the full shilling?

        • michael norton

          Yes, I am the full shilling.

          O.K. “much” of the tax take of the United Kingdom State comes from The City Of London, which is in London, England.

          • michael norton

            You will find that most Scottish banks will flee to England, before Scotland becomes Independent.
            There will never be another Royal Navy ship built in Scotland, if SNPSCOTLAND happens.
            The Eurozone is flatlining, all across Europe, the masses are very upset with the E.U. many want out
            but Scotland wants in?
            Almost unbelievable.

          • JOML

            Okay, Michael, then it makes good business sense for London, England, to rid themselves of Scotland – the question I never get an answer to is, why don’t they?

          • michael norton

            I do not know the answer to that.

            Possibly we are trying to help you think it all through.
            If you are determined to go, so be it.
            Good luck.

  • Habbabkuk


    Many belated thanks for your post of yesterday at 12h37, which contained the following:

    “I was never a fan of John Major, another unelected PM..”

    It is good to see that I have finally managed to convince you that no UK Prime Minister is “elected” (not even Mr Churchill in 1940).

    The reason for that is, of course, that UK general elections are there to elect a party and not a President.

    Now that you have understood that to call a Prime Minister “unelected” is merely to state the obvious, I look forward to helping you increase your constitutional knowledge even further.

    • bevin

      “The reason for that is, of course, that UK general elections are there to elect a party and not a President.”
      If you are going to be pedantic you might as well get it right. And the above is wrong.
      General Elections are, as their name suggests elections held in Constituencies to elect Members to send to Parliament. Once elected Members signify whether or not they will support the person designated, in various ways, the Prime Ministerial candidate selected by the Crown.
      In these times it is particularly useful to understand the constitutional principles, because lots of what would normally seem obvious bets are off: the Labour Party is split between social democrats, led by Corbyn and neo-liberals committed to aggressive foreign policies who are very likely to back the Prime Ministerial candidate of another party. Nor are the Tories necessarily united to eternity, there is a substantial faction which is far closer to the Blairites than the Brexiteers. Throw in the national questions and future Houses of Commons may very well take a lot of puzzling out before they decide in whom they have confidence.

      • Habbabkuk

        Yes, but how does the Head of State select the future Prime Minister?

        By going for the person who appears most able to form a stable Ministry, ie, a Ministry able to command the support of the House.

        And that person is, in normal times, the leader of the political party which has won more seats than all the other parties combined.

        Hence what I wrote, although simplified, is not wrong.

    • Republicofscotland


      Looks like Bevin got the measure of you, you’d best stick to condescending remarks, it’s your forte. ?

      Speaking of leaders of countries, at one time or another.

      Bill Clinton’s secret service nickname was “Eagle” Obama’s was “Renegade”, George W. Bush’s was “Trailblazer” (he certainly blazed a trail through Iraq) and Ronald Reagan’s was “Rawhide.”

      Regarding Reagan, his nickname for his wife Nancy, was “Mommy Poo-Pants.” ?

      • Republicofscotland


        I forgot to add that the Eiffel Tower, has the same nickname as John Major’s predecessor Margaret Thatcher.

        It’s known as “La Dame de Fer” the Iron Lady. ?

          • Republicofscotland

            Nice one JOML. ?

            I also recall Edwina has a thing for eggs, which caused a uproar.

        • lysias

          “Dame” because “tour” is feminine in French?

          I was kind of surprised the Eiffel Tower isn’t made of steel, but I looked it up, and sure enough, it’s made of wrought iron (fer puddlé).

    • Tom

      With fixed-term Parliaments, I don’t think this position is any longer tenable. The country will be wide open to the scenario where an attractive leader is voted in at an election, only to be deposed by powerful people in favour of a stooge.
      And this is exactly what has happened.
      May is the classic stooge – unelectable in her own right, weak and rather stupid. But she is propped up by rich backers with the help of manipulated opinion polls (suggesting she is popular) and a corrupt media that smears all her opposition.

  • fwl

    Interesting Helena Kennedy QC look at what is meant by consent generally, morally, legally, on line, politically and whether or not we are free to consent or conditioned to obey – on Radio 4 this evening and probably available on a podcast.

  • branches

    New ICM poll shows the Tories 12% ahead of Labour among 18 – 24 year olds.

    And Labour are still trying to pretend there’s essentially no difference in attitudes between England and Scotland.

  • Anon1

    Call me a heartless bastard, but this famine in North-east Africa has nothing to do with (alleged) manmade climate change (ie, it’s all our fault), as the media keep telling us. It’s desertification caused by overgrazing caused by Muslims over-breeding. Too many people trying to survive on land that cannot sustain them in a bad (drought) year.

    So what do we do? Send them piles of money that gets siphoned off into the bank accounts of their corrupt elites. They are even charging extortionate fees to Western aid workers just to set foot in their famished countries, such is the obscene disregard they have for their own people.

    The only thing to do in such circumstances is to let nature take its course. I’m sorry, but that’s the truth of it.

    • RobG

      I shall call you a heartless bastard (you did ask).

      The famine and strife in countries like Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and Nigeria are largely caused by Uncle Sam & Co interfering and creating conflicts in these countries. Go look it up if you don’t believe me.

      The list of war crimes by Uncle Sam & Co (which includes its chief poodle, Britain) grows longer and longer.

      You should be ashamed to be a British passport holder. You should also wake-up to the fact that the Establishment uses racial hatred to divide and rule.

      You’re being taken for a total mug.

      I’m sure that makes you feel good, as long as you’re allowed to hate dusky skinned people who have done you no harm whatsoever.

    • bevin

      Nobody’s blaming you for climate change Anon, you haven’t been around long enough.
      The culprit is capitalism.
      As for this “It’s desertification caused by overgrazing caused by Muslims over-breeding..”
      This is sheer ignorance- are you really 32? “Overgrazing caused by muslims over breeding” It not only stinks of the lowest sort of Nazi skinhead racism, it is also ludicrously inaccurate. It is not that you’re not a heartless bastard, but that you’re brainless.

    • Bob Apposite

      1. When it’s children that Christians want to convert, it’s always “We Are the World”, when it’s Muslims, it’s “let nature take its course”.

      2. Maybe the Muslims are “over-breeding” because they’re being starved of capital. I mean, when there’s no capital, all you have is human labor.

  • RobG

    The civil unrest in Paris yesterday (Sunday) got a bit of coverage, but as usual the presstitutes tried to frame it as immigrants rioting. Not true (here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8IYdq0L2s8 ).

    On Saturday, and with very little media coverage, Jean Luc Mélenchon and his supporters held a massive demonstration between Place de la Bastille and Place de la République, in Paris. The following is an excerpt from the speech that Mélenchon gave. Look at the size of the crowd (there were more than 100,000 people). No other French presidential candidate can draw a crowd of that size. Listen to what Mélenchon says, and the support he’s got. The presstitutes will never mention any of this (there should be English sub-titles on the video, but if not click on the first little icon on the right of the toolbar)…


        • RobG

          Like 20 to 1 on Donald Trump, the day before the US presidential election.

          We live in a hall of mirrors, a mass surveillance state; but don’t worry, if you’ve done nothing wrong than you have nothing to fear.

          Just keep on watching garbage on the tv, and keep using you smartphone, without ever questioning just who controls the flow of information.

        • Node

          100/1 if you fancy a flutter.

          I’ll take that bet, loser pays into John Goss’s fund-raiser. £10?

      • RobG

        lysias, in today’s climate of total political corruption it’s very hard to predict anything. All I will say is that Jean Luc Mélenchon’s fifth position in the opinion polls does not reflect what’s actually going on in France. Remember, the bookies, the pundits and the pollsters have completely misjudged public opinion. Brexit and President Trump being two obvious examples (the day before the US presidential election you could have got odds of 20 to 1 on Trump). Since early 2016 there’s been massive civil unrest in France. People have been out on the streets protesting in their millions. The protests are against new employment laws, the continuing state of emergency (introduced after the Paris terror attacks in November 2015) and ‘austerity’. These protestors are represented by Jean Luc Mélenchon.

        I know it’s difficult with English sub-titles on top of French sub-titles, but I strongly advise people to read what Mélenchon said in his speech at the weekend. You won’t hear any of our current crop of plastic politicians talking like this (compare Mélenchon to Trump. Mélenchon is the real deal). I’ll repeat the link again. There should be English sub-titles on the video, but if not click on the first little icon on the right of the toolbar…


    • Ben

      Were the Arabs of 9/11 simply puppets of the evil West? Is CIA messing with Iran’s water as they did not stop the internal corruption leading to the crisis?

      Ach! What shall we do with self-loathing caucasions?

  • Habbabkuk

    Has the SNP already given any indication of its likely nationality policy in the event of Scottish independence?

    Who will be a citizen of Scotland and according to which criteria?

    • michael norton

      I think Nicola Sturgeon, is overreaching herself, she is seeming, less and less normal.
      I think she is ready to overboil.

    • RobG

      Does any of it really matter?

      You bunch of psychopaths are all going to march us off to World War Three, which will be the final war.

        • LMPG

          Sigh. Scotland’s oil paid English dole money for over 40 years. It was England and rest of UK that took from Scotland, not the other way about. And your scaremongering “voice of doom” reminds me a bit of Fraser in Dad’s Army. Scotland freeing itself from the limiting and stultifying influence of Westminster is but the first step in creating a range of new jobs in emerging industries such as green tech. As well as an abundance of natural resources, Scotland has excellent human resources in a well educated population. Industries like Big Data and Artificial Intelligence are about to sweep away jobs worldwide, but with great resources, Scotland is well positioned to thrive as soon as it votes itself free of Westminster’s incompetence and ineptitude. Best to ignore you naysayers with your negativity and sense of futility which go nowhere productive.

    • jake

      As far as I know they haven’t, but then again neither has the Scottish Conservatives, Scottish Labour, Scottish Greens etc.
      Perhaps you can tell me however has the Conservative Party already given any indication of its likely nationality policy in the event of Brexit or are people still to be treated as bargaining chips

      • Habbabkuk


        I’m sure you’re right but do the parties other than the SNP need to define a nationality policy given that they are against Scottish independence?

        Nationality policy is important – isn’t it time, after one referendum and with a second one demanded, for the SNP to come up with a policy?

      • Habbabkuk


        As for your silly; diversionary comment on Brexit and nationality:

        you know (or should know) that each EU member state defines its own policy on nationality – there is no EU competence in the matter.

        You should also know better than to conflate nationality *policy* and the future right of residence and work on the UK of people from EU member states; they are distinct.

      • nevermind

        Yes they are bargaining chips now, here and in Europe, as a tit for tat is almost guaranteed. Not holding my breath with regards to my hard working friends future.
        They helped to get this country out of their City of London generated recession, bailed out the bankers, only to be put on to the Brexit schafott that the same unregulated financiers demanded from their puppet politicians.

        Now the real face of Britain is showing, as the public plays up and responds to the grimace of nationalism purveyed by MSM fascists and self serving politicians.
        They will bring it on, not learn from it and ruing the future for our children.

      • LMPG

        Good point Jake. I’d guess if there’s a “hard border” that Scots / people born in Scotland / people of Scots origin (however defined) would have to have a Scottish passport. If you are a Scot resident in the rest of the UK, are you then considered as having dual nationality – Scottish and British. It’s an important question.

        • Old Mark


          There will almost certainly be a hard border if the SNP, after ending its deafening silence on the detail of its nationality policy, opts to be the only country in these islands to offer birthright citizenship -abolished in the UK by the 1981 British Nationality Act, and in RoI in the noughties following a large referendum vote in favour of ending it after they cottoned on to the fact that thousands of Nigerians had become ‘new Irish’ by exploiting this loophole.

  • mike

    C4′ s ‘Dispatches’ is doing a number on Assad this week. I believe there will be lots of sinister music, graphics, shadows, and some “former members of the regime” swearing blind from southern Turkey.

    It’s all the proof I need.

    Some of the newest Russian combat vehicles were deployed to Afrin today, close to the Turkish border. And still gallant little Israel think it’s their game. I wonder how long before they hit Russian personnel in Syria?

    • michael norton

      The I*****i ambassador was called in, in Moscow, presumably to proffer an explanation, of the I*****i jets bombing Syria.
      I****l has also said, if Syria,ever, again, shoots missiles at I*****i jets, I****l will take out Syrian defences.

  • Sharp Ears

    Google are so alarmed at the loss of revenue from advertisers that they have put Matt Brittin up to say sorry for so called ‘extremist’ YTs appearing next to the online adverts.

    Head of Google Europe apologises over ads on extremist content
    Matt Brittin says company ‘needs to do more’ but declines to say whether it will actively seek out inappropriate material


    The last time he appeared publicly was when Google were wriggling out of paying their taxes.

    A greedy crowd.

  • mike

    Good points about France, RobG. I assume most of the French media is as opposed to Melenchon as ours is to Corbyn? Or indeed to independence, or any kind of fracturing of that tight little knot of power in the centre of London.

    • RobG

      Jean Luc Mélenchon.has a much bigger powerbase in France than Corbyn does in the UK; but both of them are completely denigrated and ignored by the presstituites, despite the fact that they represent millions of people.

      Uncle Sam, as ever, will interfere in the French presidential election.

      Until people understand what ‘total scum’ is this will continue to be the case.

      • michael norton

        Hey Rob, do you think the current regime will try to stage a false flag event,
        so they can stop the election, thus clinging to power – full on police state?

        • Kerch'ee Kerch'ee Coup

          It would seem more likey that intervetion wpuld come to stop the second round if the ‘wrong type of populist’ seemed to be ahead as in Algeria in 1992..The two countries’ political elites still seem to think alike and work together (La France algerienne+Algerie francaise).Any bets on Bouteflika lasting his fourth term?

        • RobG

          Michael, I’m not sure whether you’re talking about the French government or the British government here.

          Whatever, it doesn’t make much difference. They are all puppets of Washington (unless the likes of Corbyn and Mélenchon achieve power).

          Another false flag event is 100% likely, because the psychopaths are rapidly losing control of the narrative.

          The only way that the psychopaths can maintain control of the narrative is to keep you in a constant state of fear.


          • D-Majestic

            Agree. And they can’t afford to lose that control, Rob. Any more than the controlled opposition in England can afford a Labour party move towards social democracy-or anything approaching it. Hence the fuss about ‘Reds under the beds’ and growing repeat mini-series of McCarthyism.

  • Ben

    Re-reading Rise and Fall of Third Reich to look for historic similarities…

    So far the closest similarity twixt Trump and Adolph is they chew on a rug when they don’t get their way. Stay tuned…

    • RobG

      Shirer’s work was a classic (which everyone should read), but of course you mention nothing about propaganda…

      Who are you vermin that tell us that we should accept mass surveillance?

    • bevin

      Try this:
      The Nazi Seizure of Power: The Experience of a Single German Town, 1922-1945, Revised Edition Paperback –
      by William Sheridan Allen.
      And there really aren’t many similarities beyond the cardinal historical fact that the US, with its record of genocides, its critical employment of slavery, followed by its Jim Crow laws keeping an ‘inferior’ race in submission and its disregard of all international laws has been a constant inspiration to fascist and racist politicians and Hitler was no exception.

  • giyane

    If only it was so easy you could say right wing bad, left wing good. All power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. In the electrical industry, there are some draconian rules relating to Safety at Work and some completely un-policed rules relating to domestic residences.viz Part P of the Building Regulations.

    Obviously Corporate management will choose to operate under the less strict regulations, n’est-ce pas?
    Non. Because in the Capitalist world in which we live it would be grossly unfair to profit-making corporations to have to change every single circuit in their student bedsit accommodation to have RCD protection. It would cost them maybe a million pounds nationally.

    The stricter legislation overseen by the left wing industry standard, the JIB, allows Corporations to make a schedule for ongoing upgrading of their electrical assets while students continue to pay rents and do studenty things. And the studenty parents from across the globe will obviously assume that the high-rented accommodation in the UK will be superbly high quality.

    Similarly, if the Tory government massively overspends its allowance on election campaigning in a country that upholds the highest standards of democratic transparency, we are expected to feel sorry for them and make allowances because if the rules were applied it would be a catastrophe for the ruling party, I’m sorry but in the general order of things a £75 K fine is equivalent to less than the pennies I keep in my car ashtray.

    I am working for a national company doing maintenance and the corporate muzzle has been applied quite strongly. In my professional career as an electrician I have never installed a socket or a shower not on an RCD. Nor for that matter have I ever burnt out a hair-dryer or a shower or a thermostat on a water heater or a switch on an extractor fan, burning the cables to extinction and the plastic moulding to liquid lava.

    Why is that? Because, unlike the out-grown children who attend universities, I am slightly aware of the physical environment around me. My ears and my nose inform me. I have seen many horrors in the electrical world. Mains cables twisted together wrapped in red tape in my local mosque, rats causing cables to arc like sparklers by chewing the cables through, a six inch nail used as a fuse in an open distribution board in India, and fire sensors painted over in an Istanbul hotel.

    But I have never seen anything like the sheer callous box-ticking complacency of the compliance team at my new place of work. The left-wing of the electrical industry has been gagged and tied up in a cupboard by the corporate greed of the capitalist owners. If it ever was a fig-leaf, Autumn has swept it away. We tried changing a light bulb off a ladder and were stopped by a Health & Safety Officer from the construction site opposite. But inside the Corporate-owned building dark secrets remain. Corpses maybe.

    • Kempe

      ” completely un-policed rules relating to domestic residences.viz Part P of the Building Regulations. ”

      Do you mean un-policed or un-policeable?

      • giyane


        Word has got round that the Council Building Control who supervise all developments in residential property, at least as far as building standards are concerned, consider any electrical paperwork not submitted within 6 months of the work’s completion as ‘ historic ‘, and therefore beyond their scope.
        Life, but not as we know it, is the motto. Yes wiring gets done but who does it get done by? Not by anyone who will sign for it and vouch for it by their address or phone details.

        This is the result of totally laissez=faire, civil-servant, Westminster toff desire to undermine quality and therefore status in the engineering professions. But they do want their own properties to be safe, so they rigourously police the construction of them. BTW you’re allowed to anything you like in your own house for your own use, so long as you don’t share it with anybody else, like friends, family or neighbours who might get burnt down. English home = castle applies.

  • Sharp Ears

    The hypocrisy of the BBC is gross. They are still heaping opprobrium on Martin McGuiness even in death. They have had the supreme war criminal, Blair who had hundreds of thousands killed, and his sidekick, Campbell on Radio 4 Today to comment this morning.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      Eh? Coverage was sympathetic on Today ca. 0715; Hain telling us McGuinness was the greatest thing since sliced bread. He had metamorphosed from vile and despicable murdering terrorist into ‘IRA commander’ apparently (several times, for emphasis), followed English cricket and had a charming personality. I doubt that Blair damned him, either. Blair’s had a lot of mileage out of being nominally in charge of part of the peace negotiations.

      So can you supply a sample of that ‘opprobrium’? And if, by any chance, the BBC was trying to be even-handed on this one, how might you distinguish this from hypocrisy?

  • Republicofscotland

    Well the Ministry of Truth pushed the boat out today over the death of Martin McGuinness.

    The BBC asked Tony Blair (then PM) how he felt sitting across from a murderer (Martin McGuinness) whilst discussing the Good Friday Agreement.

    The sheer irony is, that the no one will know how Martin McGuinness felt sitting across from a mass murderer, during the peace talks.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      Ah, you’ve answered my question, RoS. TY. Seems as if the BBC gave both sides of the case this time, (along with a pourboire for Tony and Ali). Personally, I’d have asked both of them how they felt sitting across from a mass – and indiscriminate – murderer, but McGuinness wasn’t available for comment, absent a spirit medium.

      • Sharp Ears

        I always understood that it is legal under international law to resist Occupation.

        • Ba'al Zevul

          Which would be absolutely fine if international law regarded NI as occupied territory. Does it? Chapter and verse, please.

          International law seems to be pretty happy with the descriptor ‘United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland’ and I’m not aware that this has been challenged on the grounds of occupation.

          • bevin

            I’m not sure about International Law on this matter but there are obvious similarities between the partitioning of Ireland and that of Palestine. One being that the regions given to the British favourites included large captive populations which became subjected to discriminatory laws-gerrymandering, second class citizenship and discrimination in employment, particularly at the public level.
            It is easy to forget the situation in Northern Ireland in 1968 after almost half a century of persecution of the Nationalist community, but the resistance which led to the IRA uprising was wholly justifiable and a credit to the courage of the ordinary people in the Catholic communities.
            As to who did what to whom- both sides were nasty but it is always hard to beat the sort of state subsidised death squad/police violence that characterised the very dirty war that the British government’s secret services master minded. The respect being given to Martin McGuinness (RIP) may stick in some craws but there are dozens of men with CBEs and knighthoods receiving rich pensions and accorded every honour who are elbow deep in the blood of Catholic civilians and were sponsors of Unionist thugs of the most vicious sort.

          • harrylaw

            Obviously Northern Ireland is not occupied territory, it is an integral part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland as Bevin well knows below. This was confirmed in 1973 when a border poll was taken, then 98.9% of the population of NI voted to remain part of the UK, only 1.1% voted to leave the UK. Later the Republic of Ireland voted to change Articles 2 and 3 of its constitution [these claimed sovereignty over the whole of Ireland, including its territorial seas] now they have agreed that the sovereignty of NI will be decided by a majority of the residents of NI voting in a referendum. The Republic voted 94.39% to 5.6% to change articles 2 and 3.

        • IrishU

          Northern Ireland wasn’t occupied though, it was a consitutent part of the United Kingdom. A position which even Sinn Fein endorsed as part of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.

          • lysias

            All of Ireland was in theory a constituent part of the United Kingdom before 1921, just as Algeria was a constituent part of France before independence. The fact that one region is in legal theory a constituent part of a larger state does not mean that it cannot in actual fact be occupied territory.

            How was it not an occupation for Northern Ireland at the time of partition to include two counties with Catholic and Nationalist majorities, Fermanagh and Tyrone?

          • Herbie

            “Northern Ireland at the time of partition to include two counties with Catholic and Nationalist majorities, Fermanagh and Tyrone?”

            And that was the undoing of the Unionist state.

            When the RUC was disbanded, that ended Unionist state power in Ireland

            Unionism is little more than a civic formulation these days.

            Should have listened to their Anglo Lords, O’Neill and Chichester Clark, instead of those self-interested naval-gazing middle class Unionists who followed them.

  • michael norton

    Could somebody from the S. N. P.
    say how they are going to make ends meet, when Scotland is an Independent country, not in the U.K. and not in the E.U.

    thank you

    • john young

      Michael Norton it is fcuk all to do with making ends meet,it is about determining how your country is run,every nation seeks self determination why are we any different?England hasn,t accepted being governed by others EU,boot is now on the other foot.

      • harrylaw

        john young “Michael Norton it is fcuk all to do with making ends meet,it is about determining how your country is run” Sorry john it has everything to do with making ends meet, the worst case scenario of not making ends meet is if the poorer people of Scotland were forced to live in caves. Of course you are right the Scottish people have the right to self determination and if they vote for independence and that vote has been carefully considered [not one opportunately engineered because of a particularly nasty government at Westminster]. I would agree that the UK leaving the EU is a legitimate reason for the Scottish people to hold another referendum. Clearly Scotland is a Nation therefore has the right to self determination.

  • fred

    The petition” Another Scottish independence referendum should not be allowed to happen ” has now passed 200,000 signatures, twice the number required to be considered for debate in Parliament.


    And, guess what they will be talking about at Holyrood for the next two days, our crisis hit schools? Our failing NHS? Our useless transport system maybe? The huge fiscal deficit? No, those things don’t matter to the SNP, to the SNP only one thing matters.

    • Republicofscotland

      Swap out bells for petition.

      Oh, the bells, bells, bells !
      What a tale their terror tells
      Of Despair !
      How they clang, and clash, and roar !
      What a horror they outpour
      On the bosom of the palpitating air !

      Courtesy of Poe’s The Bells.

      • fred

        Yes it wasn’t even a close run thing.

        Did you know that the petition has more signatures than the Scottish Greens got votes in the last election, constituency and regional added together?

        They should talk to Nick Clegg.

      • branches


        Glasgow, Dundee, North Lanarkshire and West Dunbartonshire all voted Yes.
        These areas together have about a third of the Scottish population.

        Also Inverclyde only voted No by a majority of just over a hundred votes.
        Western Isles voted No by only about fourteen hundred votes.

        North Ayrshire was 49% for Yes.

        • michael norton

          Thank you, so only four small geographic areas voted Yes, with 99% of the Scottish Land area voting NO.

          • branches

            45% of voters cast their ballots for Yes. What has land mass got to do with it?

            And it can’t be 99% anyway.

        • fred

          “Western Isles voted No by only about fourteen hundred votes.”

          Less than 20,000 people voted, that’s a good percentage win, 6%.

      • Stu

        Yes you’re right.

        Under your bat shit mental vote weighing system the people of Glasgow were outvoted by the sheep of Sutherland.

        This is a uniquely stupid argument.

    • john young

      Who caused our debt?,what about our share of assets? very few mentioning that,80billion for a new rail track going where? approx. 7billion of our money,what about all the cash from NS oil nobody ever mentions that,Norway has a standard of living far above us and a slush fund of 500billion to boot nary a mention of that,every word every comment from the unionist side is negative everything doom and gloomers the lot of them.

    • bevin

      It is surprising to learn that there are 200,000 people who didn’t believe that the matter would get debated in Parliament.

  • nevermind

    Yes the national murderers appreciation society really got a massive support in todays Today programme. For Blair to pontificate when he is no different was too much, I switched him off.

    But where would the IRA have landed without the massive support from the special relationship partners and other more Irish remnants in the US of A? How long would they have lasted without the financial support elicited from the Irish diaspora?

    And where would Blair’s jet be welcome, after his stint in power, if the House of Commons would not have supported his lies to Parliament and not have gone to war against Saddam? instead castigated him for what he is a blown up tart and lawyer who has enriched himself on false promises.

  • Republicofscotland

    The Scottish Tory branch office has put their foot in it. By accusing the SNP of appearing to often on RT and Sputnik, however it was only two days ago that Tory MP Gerald Howarth appeared on Russia today.

    The pathetic attempt by the Scottish Tory branch office to criticise, in an attempt to monoplise the airways won’t wash, no matter how much Murdo Fraser tries. Fraser’s idea of intenational policy was to brand Nelson Mandela a terrorist.

  • Sharp Ears

    This should be interesting.

    Urgent Question on allegations of money laundering against British banks
    21 March 2017
    Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, is to ask an Urgent Question on the allegations of money laundering against British banks at 12.30pm on Tuesday 21 March in the House of Commons.

    Timings are approximate as Parliamentary business is subject to change.
    Watch the Urgent Question on the allegations of money laundering against British banks live on Parliament TV from 12.30pm
    Transcripts of proceedings in the House of Commons Chamber are available in Hansard online three hours after they happen.

    Will the weedy Hammond be giving some answers? Probably not.

    • Sharp Ears

      Even weedier than Hammond was the Treasury Minister Simon Kirby, a Brighton entrepreneur whose string of business set ups include a radio station, nightclubs and restaurants. Just what this country needs to revive the dying economy.

      It turned out that the banks in the frame for money laundering are HSBS (as usual), RBS and Barclays. The launderers in question are Russian. Kirby was accused of complacency and his lack of response.


      John McDonnell
      I hope that the Minister recognises the immense gravity of the situation that we are facing, because I believe that his statement reflects complacency on the part of the Government. Let me go through the allegations, which are of the deepest concern. First, it is alleged that, via an operation referred to as the “global laundromat”, banks based in Britain have been used to launder immense sums of money obtained from criminal activity in Russia linked to the FSB spy agency there. This appears to point to an overwhelming failure of basic management on the part of the banks. One of those banks, HSBC, is an institution that has previously faced money laundering charges in the US and across the globe. The direct intervention of this Government helped to block a 2012 US investigation on the purported grounds of its potential risk to financial stability. Money laundering through London and elsewhere threatens the stability of our financial sector and our economy.
      In the case of another bank, RBS, the Government directly own a 72% stake. A third bank, Barclays, has been under investigation for its role in LIBOR rigging. Will the Minister give us specific details of what steps are being taken to address this scandal? Can we have an assurance that there is the potential to open criminal proceedings to break up what is effectively a criminal network? Will the Government also undertake that they will not—as they have in the past with HSBC—attempt to intervene in criminal or other investigations taking place elsewhere in the world? ‘

      Kirby was using prompt sheets to read in reply and was supported by the Tory stooges behind the front bench.

  • Republicofscotland

    Another disgraceful remark by a unionist, first we had a Telegraph columnist calling for the beheading of Nicola Sturgeon. Now we have a Tory candidate for Glasgow’s Govan calling for the hanging of Angela Merkel.

    Roxana Iancu called for the German Chancellor to be hanged. The unionist also said on social media that those who died in Paris, and Nice only had themselves to blame.

    She sounds a lovely woman.

  • michael norton

    U.K. inflation soaring away.
    I expect some will say that is a price you must expect to pay because of Brexit.
    There could be some truth in that sentiment but the BoE bank rate has been at an all time low for years, lower than any time since the BoE or The United Kingdom came into existance, that can’t gone on, brexit or not.
    A senior woman was sacked from the BoE last week, some on the monetry committee want to wind up the interest raytes -soon.

    The BBC seem to think inflation is inflating because of increasing fuel costs but Oil is very low, having dropped from $57 /barrel to less than $52/barrel – some Scottish energy companies are rocketing up the cost of electricity, this is because they have misjudged the markets and badly run their own businesses but these jump ups should not be in recent inflation figures.
    So, it is mostly the cycle turning, not mostly brexit.

    • Republicofscotland

      The penny finally drops for Michael.

      Brexit will be a tsunami for the already floundering HMS Brexitania.

      • michael norton

        RoS I bet you a gallon of Rough Cider that Scotland will not hold another once in a lifetime referendum, anytime soon.

        • Republicofscotland

          A gallon of “rough cider” ah, that explains some of your more outlandish comments. ?

    • Kempe

      Oil is priced in USD but has to be paid for in GBP and post-Brexit the exchange rate has fallen faster than the price of oil so we, as a country, are paying more Pounds per barrel.

      The price of electricity across the country is rocketing, partly to cover increasing fuel costs, partly to cover the £11 billion cost of useless smart meters.

      • Loony

        Did you know that in 2008 WTI was over $140/bbl – and that in 2008 the UK was also required to pay for its oil in GBP.

        Did you also know that today the UK has close to 30 GW of installed renewable capacity (excluding nuclear) whereas in 2008 it has less than 10 GW of renewable capacity.

        Smart meters are only useless if you do not appreciate their true function – which is to effectively force poor people to disconnect themselves from the electricity supply system.

        Still not to worry as I am sure that someone called Bevin can explain to you that no-one should pay any attention to numbers as numbers are racist constructs. Here is an potential anthem for those enlightened enough to see numbers for what they are


        • Kempe

          Most of which is wind and therefore unpredictable so conventional power stations have to kept on stand-by.

          Due to lack of investment in proper power stations the country is becoming dependent on diesel farms, banks of diesel generators, to maintain supply at peak periods.

          Spot on about smart meters though.

        • michael norton

          Loony, if oil has dropped by more than half, why do we keep having electricity price hikes by Scottish power companys?

  • Republicofscotland

    Most are savvy enough not to believe the Westminster hype on GERS.

    This just about wraps it up.

    “The message then is a simple one: when people say Scotland is in financial trouble, or running a deficit, or anything else, ask them how they know. ”

    “If they say it’s the GERS (Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland) report, tell them to read the home page for that report where it is quite candid about the fact that the data in it is estimated.”

    “If they retort that all financial data includes some estimates, feel free to agree, and then point out that does not usually mean that 25 of the 26 income figures in a set of accounts are estimates extrapolated from data for the UK as a whole and some consumer surveys.” ”

    And yet that is the case for GERS. Estimates may be a part of financial life but this is ridiculous: what this really says, yet again, is that there is no financial data for Scotland.”


  • The Procter Lewis

    You forgot getting all SNP MPs to resign on mass, and campaign on the independence ticket. If it’s a majority refuse to sit at Westminster till they begin negotiations for independence. This creates a democratic and constitutional upheaval, that will force Westminsters hand.
    Westminster cannot ignore that action, especially if Holyrood votes to abandon the act of union, and the Scottish MP,s convene an assembly in Scotland and vote also to repeal the act of union, both then petition the EU and the UN for recognition as an independent country.

  • Habbabkuk

    Most economists feel that a modest rate of inflation is a good thing.

    Especially at the moment.

    A tad premature to claim it’s “soaring away”, Norton.

    • bevin

      It will be interesting to see whether the government responds to this ‘modest dose of inflation’ by increasing interest rates which are still hovering around 1% where they are even positive.
      What economists are actually doing is chanting familiar mantras as they sneak past the graveyard, from which terrifying sounds emanate.

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