Nicola and IndyRef2 360


Whether Nicola’s speech today postpones Indyref2, and by how much, is the cause of much fevered speculation tonight across both social and mainstream media.

Ultimately, I do not think it is important provided that she genuinely meant what she said in this section of the speech, which is by far the most important section:

Over the past few months, the focus on the when and how of a referendum has, perhaps inevitably, been at the expense of setting out the many reasons why Scotland should be independent. 
The fact is we are only talking of another referendum so soon after the last one because of Brexit. And it is certainly the case that independence may well be the only way to protect Scotland from the impact of Brexit. 
But the case for an independent Scotland is not just about Brexit – it goes far beyond that. 
Many of us believe that independence is the right and best answer to the many, complex challenges we face as a country – and also the best way to seize and fully realise our many opportunities as a country. 
So the challenge for all of us who do believe that Scotland should be independent is to get on with the hard work of making and winning that case – on all of its merits – and in a way that is relevant to the changes, challenges and opportunities we face now and in the years ahead. That is what my party will do.
We won’t do it on our own – because the independence case is bigger than us too.
My party will engage openly and inclusively with, and work as part of, the wider independence movement.
And, together, we will build and win the case that governing ourselves is the best way to tackle the challenges we face as country – from building a better balanced and more sustainable economy, to growing our population, strengthening our democracy, and tackling deep seated problems of poverty and inequality.

This acknowledges a very important truth. The SNP has not campaigned for Independence since September 2014. I have never heard a senior member of the SNP attempt to argue coherently and at any length why Scotland should be independent, since the 2014 referendum campaign. The SNP has lost its focus on Independence, and become obsessed with gaining political position within the UK devolution settlement.

If Nicola really means it, the refocusing of the SNP on Independence would be the most important thing in today’s speech. But does she mean it? How is the SNP going to connect with the “Wider yes movement?” What is the mechanism by which this will operate?

Brexit is a disaster. Just two weeks ago, the EU Commission brought new rules into force ending telephone roaming charges within the EU. From now on you will pay anywhere within the EU just the price you pay for using your phone at home. Until of course the UK “takes back control” of the right for you to pay £1.50 a minute instead.

Today the EU Commission took on Google with a massive 2.4 billion Euro fine and an order to change the abusive practices by which it prioritises answers to search results to its own commercial advantage. Once the UK “takes back control”, we can be sure that will be the end of major US corporations being challenged on our behalf. You will be able in the UK to enjoy Google manipulating search results however it may wish. Those are just two of thousands of examples, and which happen to have arisen this last couple of weeks, which show how stupid Brexit is. Not to mention the petty bureaucratic attack impositions on EU residents here.

As it becomes more and more obvious how stupid Brexit is, as the UK economy heads towards a Brexit induced depression, and as Tory cuts bite harder and harder into communities, the case for Scottish Independence will become stronger, and eventually irresistible.

We have seen how very fast political sentiment changes in the modern age. Provided there is wholehearted and unequivocal Independence campaigning, the political mood will swing strongly behind Independence at some point in the next two years, and Sturgeon’s speech today leaves room to bring Indyref2 forward when that happens.

The ground may be fertile, but if you don’t sow the seed you will not reap. To win Independence all we have to do is campaign for it. Some of us have never stopped doing that, and the groundswell of support is growing across Scotland. The SNP leadership need to get on board now or they will be running to catch up.


360 thoughts on “Nicola and IndyRef2

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  • Derek McGaw

    Just a wee typo Craig, was it not a 2.4 billion Euro fine Google received?

  • Ishmael

    “Brexit is a disaster”

    That sounds like Brexit EU talk.

    I don’t think you, or the independence agenda is helping in this matter.

    It’s going to happen.

    • Ishmael

      Obviously i’m sympathetic to all all the issues and these things need highlighting, But for what? …I know, You don’t see things the same.

      Myself I think like with brexit, Even without it we could have pushed these polices (that would have been against EU law) that are now being proposed ANYWAY, in the EU, forced them to change….We could have done that.

      …But people don’t appeal to the public on these issues. They don’t appeal to grass roots support (and well done for diem25 for doing so).

      They say as you do, vote for this radical change that will just make everything better. I think your fooling yourself.

    • sentinel

      “And fourth, as we move, hopefully, to a long-term partnership, based on comprehensive free trade in goods and services and a customs agreement that minimises friction at the border, we do so via a transition that protects the free-flow of trade across our borders and the integrity of pan-European supply chains.” – Philip Hammond’s speech today
      https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/cdu-economic-council-annual-conference-chancellors-words

      Isn’t that going to drive the ultra-Eurosceptics mad? Will the Tpry Party finally split over the EU?

      • Ishmael

        I can’t think that much atm.

        But for the record I meant labours proposals for brexit.

        And yea it seems (as I feel is usual practice for tories anyway) they are totally divided on a macro/indavidual level. At least within labour there is some sense of teamwork among a few. And what an effect that has had.

  • glenn_uk

    “Those are just two of thousands of examples, and which happen to have arisen this last couple of weeks, which show how stupid Brexit is.

    Indeed…. shame we didn’t have a bit more pro-EU information from reliable sources during the Brexit campaign. Those who might have been champions of a REMAIN vote just sat the whole thing out for some unfathomable reason (to me, anyway). I don’t think just calling anyone not inclined to the REMAIN side ‘racists’ all the time actually helped that much.

  • Dave

    1) the SNP do not offer independence.

    2) Tory austerity is EU austerity

    3) most Scots prefer independence in UK to independence in EU.

    • Ishmael

      “Tory austerity is EU austerity”

      To the extent austerity is austerity. But look at actual countries across the EU, they all fair differently.

      Maybe there is actually a chance of turning it around in the UK to be better than many in the EU. But one hell of a task.

    • Peten

      1. They do.

      2. The EU didn’t require the UK to
      a. renew Trident,
      b. build Carriers to be equipped with American fighters that will cost twice the price of the carriers.
      c. Wage war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Destroy Libya,

      3. Once Brexit kicks in they won’t

      • Ishmael

        “Once Brexit kicks in they won’t”

        I guess you where among the “Tory rule forever” gang.

        And what’s “independence” going to do to stop those things?

        Run to the hills why don’t ya. You see if doesn’t effect you while your sorting out a new state for yourself.

    • CanSpeccy

      Absolutely. That’s what devolution is supposed to be about. But Blair botched it.

      Scotland is no more a unitary state than Britain. The Highlanders have no time for those scoundrels in Edinburgh, they just want to slip over the line once in a while and steal some cattle. Same with the Shetlanders, they,re not ever real Scotch, they’re Vikings. And what have the Western Isles got in common with the folks in Aberdeen? Damn all. Scotland and the rest of Britain should be divided into multiple self-governing units, with a Parliament of the British Confederation to do as little as possible.

      • Brian Fleming

        Your attempt at irony/sarcasm is not very funny. I’d keep the day job if I were you.

  • Adam Burgess

    Ah yes, I was looking for that clincher as to why you should sacrifice your independence and democracy by remaining in the EU….

    Cheaper roaming charges. That’s the one.

  • Dave S

    The importance is that the SNP have a big enough mandate to push through a referendum now, in two years time that may no longer be the case. There could well be another general election, in which the SNP are likely to lose more seats. If Nicola puts independence off indefinitely how many SNP supporters are going to turn to Corbyn’s Labour? I’m a long term independence supporter and SNP member but if the SNP can’t promise a referendum now perhaps it’s time to consider whether it’s ever likely to happen and look at solving our problems within the UK.

    • fred

      No the SNP do not have a mandate, Sturgeon keeps saying they do hoping if she says it often enough people will believe it but the facts are there was no prominent statement in their manifesto that the SNP would call for another referendum if they got a majority in 2016 and they didn’t get a majority.

  • Andy Lae

    I reckoned by far the most important part of the speech was the line around having the decision on when to call the next referendum being part of the responsibility of Holyrood, not dependent on a Section 30 Order. No Scottish Government wanting independence would call a vote if they weren’t pretty damn sure we’d be liable to win it.

  • MJ

    “Until of course the UK “takes back control” of the right for you to pay £1.50 a minute instead”

    What a calamity. Sovereignty is as nothing compared to roaming charges. The Scots want independence far less than the rest of the UK.

  • Roy Henderson

    With the momentum now with Corbyn and socialism for the first time since the 1970s it is a great time to “take back control”. I can empathise with a Scottish desire to get out of a Tory Britain, but not a socialist one. We are not that far from victory and it would be great to share it with Scottish comrades. Your desire for faux independence within the EU is now becoming a thing of the past.

    • Ayrshirelass

      Sooner or later there will be another conservative government in Westminster.

      Indpendence means a proper electoral system with people in Scotland decidmg whi runs our government without wondering whether someone like Corbyn has fallen out of favour with the electorate in England.

      Thise of us who lived through 18 years of conservative governments Scotland didnt vote for in the 80s and 90s dont want that inflcted on our chldren and grandchildren ever again.

    • Janet

      Socialist? Could JC just be a Trojan Horse for Blairites?

      And when the public sector pay claims start to destabilise the JC govt, how long would socialist paradise last?

    • Neil Anderson

      No, it isn’t. It’s actually the reality of what the future holds. Enjoy your “socialist” future, it’s all dependent on what your countrymen/women really desire.

  • Edinburgh-Guy

    Totally agree with you Craig. I get Facebook posts daily from the SNP, which I joined because I thought they were the best route to independence. The tell constantly how well the SNP are managing things but never try to tell me how much better it would all be if we were an independent country. How are we ever going to achieve independence when we are even afraid to talk about it?

    I dispare of the SNP as the vehicle to obtain an independent Scotland.

    • RabMacPhoto

      Isn’t this what NS means by “engaging with the wider Yes movement” & setting out the case for Independence beyond the threat of Brexit?

      As Craig says, the SNP haven’t campaigned for Indy since 2014, but now they are planning to move it front and centre.

  • Manda

    ” How is the SNP going to connect with the “Wider yes movement?”

    So UK is gong to be subjected to another EURef campaign at a time like this? Great! I am losing my non partisan position on Scotland independence… just get on and leave.

    • Manda

      I apologise, I misunderstood/misread. You mean the wider yes independence movement. Hopefully it wont be too great a distraction from opposing this vile government and policies it is implementing as fast as possible especially re NHS privatisation.

  • Yalta

    First post on your fascinating blog and forum.

    Almost finished reading “The Silk Roads” by Peter Frankopan, which joins the dots from the Anglo-Persion Oil company, through the allied occupation of Iran in ww2 , the CIA regime changes in the 50’s , Suez, Reagan, gulf wars etc. How one begat the other.

    We really are fed crap at the time, as were the locals by the BBC.

  • Frank Kemp

    Unfortunately with Labour backiing Brexit the end result is clear.

    When the leavers finally realize what they have done Indeyref2 will be a landslide.

    • J

      Right now, who would you assess is most likely to be looking toward the longer term? What kind of priorities are immediate, mid and long term? How do they dictate the sequence of events? There are things which have to be done right now and other things which can be done later.

  • Robert Campbell

    I think until the Scottish Gov can get the truth of their intentions in the public arena in a forceful and regular basis then the main stream media will continue to distort the truth and put them on the back foot.

    • carthannas

      How right you are, Robert. I’ve been banging on about this for ages. The real problem is the BBC. However, I don’t have the answer and no one else seems to have one either. What the SNP needs is an Alasdair Campbell to head a rebuttal unit

      • J

        “What the SNP needs is an Alasdair Campbell to head a rebuttal unit…The real problem is the BBC”

        Wasn’t Alastair Campbell absolutely part of the reason why we are where we are? Interesting you advocate for his methods since it’s arguable he did more than any other individual to destroy the BBC.

      • Jo

        “Alasdair Campbell”

        The king of spin? The elected by nobody ever creature who was second only to Blair in terms of the power he wielded? The guy who spawned other unelected creeps like McTernan? You’re not serious!

  • reel guid

    Scotland’s Chambers of Commerce have welcomed Sturgeon’s call for making a joint effort to get Scotland to the Brexit negotiating table.

    The Tories won’t relent. To them Scotland is not an equal partner in the union. We’re not even unequal partners in the union. We’re there to be told. End of. That’s what voting No was all about. Our mineral resources are needed to pay for those badass aircraft carriers.

    Labour isn’t interested. Dugdale’s response has been wholly negative. Why talk about her anymore than we need to? Corbyn is also showing his limitations. The ability to draw crowds of enthusiastic young people has completely gone to his head. His response to Sturgeon is that Scotland needs a Labour government. That’s it! Don’t bother about a seat at the negotiating table. Scotland isn’t an equal partner in the unio………my god he would make a first class Tory. See what a good English grammar school education can do for you.

    Jeremy just has never learned that in politics you can’t dispense entirely with the lessons of a certain 16th century Florentine diplomat, however distasteful you might find him. Grooving at Glastonbury just won’t do it mate. And a man in his 69th year who makes a habit of drawing energy from the young is more than a little suspect. Always beware the old man in a hurry. As true in politics as in any other sphere of human endeavour.

    So no chance of a place at that negotiating table. Too bad.

    So when the outline of Brexit and what it means for Scotland becomes clear, all those Chamber of Commerce people are not going to say ‘ah well never mind. Brexit’s going to ruin my business but independence in the EU isn’t the answer’.

    • fred

      When May was saying “let’s work together” Sturgeon was swanning round Europe talking to European diplomats and saying “Scotland will go it alone”.

      Now Sturgeon wants to do it together but who could trust the treacherous bitch not to try and sabotage the entire proceedings? Do we need someone who is on team Europe on our side of the table?

        • fred

          Nobody seems to mind when it’s directed at Thatcher, or Blair, or Cameron, or Ruth Davidson, Kezia Dugdale or Alistair Carmichael . Come to think about it nobody minds if it’s directed at anyone not SNP just look at all the names they get called on this blog.

          Hypocrites.

      • Jo

        “treacherous bitch”

        That’s appalling language on your part and quite unnecessary.

      • RabMacPhoto

        How does standing up for Scotland’s interests make NS a “treacherous bitch”? She’s doing what she was elected to do.

    • J

      You’re not wrong though as you recognise, it’s difficult to see who your friends are from inside the spotlight.

    • Keith Jones

      What an appalling paragraph regarding Corbyn, when surly he gives energy to the young as much as he takes. This statement makes me wonder if you have any positive life-force ; a condition far too common in our times. Or maybe you are just middle-aged or old, a generation that managed to destroy even hope, let alone our services and our society. Someone like Corbyn is riding the wave of the young and taking their elan vital across the shore, only cynics without hope see otherwise.

      • reel guid

        He’s not giving Scotland hope of staying in the EU. Which is what we voted for. He’s arrogant and becoming ever more so. Telling Scotland all we need is a Labour government. He ignores the democratic deficit Scotland has. And he lacks strategic ability.

          • reel guid

            The trouble with riding waves is that waves dissipate. You have to play the game. Not play the hero. Corbyn’s not making allies.

            He’s snubbed Sturgeon’s call for assistance in getting Scottish Government representation at the Brexit talks. He’s just sacked three of his front bench team for voting to stay in the single market in a Commons vote. He’s become as intransigent on Brexit as May.

            There are milder Blairites whose support he needs. But he’s alienating them.

            Smart politicians build bridges and move forward cautiously most of the time. Corbyn is so intoxicated with a modicum of unexpected success and he thinks all he has to do is lead a momentum charge down the hill and he’ll be Prime Minister. Maybe he will be PM. But he’ll have to be a lot shrewder than he’s been.

            He’s 50 seats short of even a majority of one. The Tories have imposed 7 years of vicious austerity. They’ve caused Brexit. Their corruption is practically off the scale. They probably fought the worst general election campaign ever. Yet they’re still in office courtesy of having dozens more seats than Labour.

            Corbyn has stuck to his post well and dented neoliberalism in England. But he remains what he essentially always has been. An activist and not really a politician. And the situation demands a clever politician.

          • reel guid

            Actually more than 50 seats short of a majority. Even supposing Corbyn did get into office with a small majority. He’ll be against a hostile media. A business community that will be no less hostile. And he’s not going to be at all popular in Washington. Most of his parliamentary party will still be plotting. He’ll be in charge of a country that will be thoroughly destabilised by being out the single market. And UKIP will likely be on the rise again as their supporters will insanely blame everyone but themselves for the mess of Brexit.

            Such a prospect should have Corbyn quietly assessing and weighing up possible moves for the difficult game.. Not going on stage at a music festival after the election campaign has finished and trying to be a cool OAP. Corbyn’s Zimmer of Love isn’t going to bring success.

  • Salford Lad

    The EU is an economic and monetary mess ,largely due to the Nations who are using the Euro as their currency.
    Those Eurozone Nations do not issue their own currency and thus utilise a foreign currency (Euro), over which they have no control. Mario Draghi,President of the ECB is the controller of the currency.He has been issuing billions of Euros in QE to buy bonds from the European banks for the past few months.This has benefited the banks but not the Economies of the Eurozone Nations.
    Eurozone Nations spending is always revenue constrained. They have to tax and borrow (if running deficits) in order to spend. Their alternative is to privatise State assets or issue bonds at usurious interest rates to the private Financial Markets.
    They are thus constrained in what they can purchase and cannot ensure all idle labour is being productively used.
    Any liabilities they issue are subject to default risk and they can become insolvent (run out of money) under certain conditions.
    The bond markets know that these Eurozone governments are subject to default risk and will price that into yields they expect when buying debt from these governments.
    The EU has no ability for money transfers from surplus Nations to the poorer regions, as is required in a Federal System as Australia and USA. This is the primary cause of the inequalities in Europe.
    The different cultures of the various Nations makes these transfers politically near impossible. The neoliberal and austerity policies imposed by the Growth and Stability Pact is causing high unemployment and poverty and their is no escape from this impasse. Greece is an example of the failed policies of the EU.

    • Laguerre

      Yeah, Brexiters always have to convince themselves that the EU is on the point of failure, as to anybody else they seem to be doing quite well. By the way, is that a cut-and-paste from one of your previous comments?

      • Salford Lad

        @ Laguerre,
        Would you like to contribute to the discussion or refute any of the points I have made. Positive contributions to a discussion are always welcome.Snide remarks are not and demean you.

        • Laguerre

          Well, your argument is so far from reality that it’s not worth replying to seriously. It is true that there are problems with the euro, as you might expect with such a novel institution. But it is not dying, as Brexiters hope, nor is the EU. The euro is very popular on a personal level. Problems are being addressed, which is more than you can say about the situation in Britain. The case of Greece, which you don’t actually mention, has nothing to do with the euro, but with maladministration by Greek governments, mainly the older right-wing ones. The Greeks had the choice to leave the euro, but didn’t want it, and still don’t.

  • Velofello

    Hey Fred, ” treacherous bitch”, are you referring to Teresa May or Nicola Sturgeon?
    To help you, May has bunged £1billion to the Ulster DUP from the Westminster Magic Money Tree to enable her Tory party to stay in power. Is that what you want Fred? Agree with? Comfortable with associating with the DUP Fred?
    Nicola Sturgeon has restated her intent that we Scots(?) should have a say on whether we should stay within the EU once the Brexit details are known. Is that what you want fred? Agree with Fred?
    What do you want Fred? Tell us, the British empire is long gone. British citizens are having to visit food banks to feed themselves and their families. Is that what you want Fred? Meantime a large floating target for new assault technology is about to do it’s sea trials. Is that what you want Fred?

    • fred

      Oh dear, the fully brainwashed members of the Braveheart cult don’t seem to have worked out what is happening yet. Those years of conditioning will be hard to undo. The carrot on the stick is disappearing into the distance and still they keep trudging on.

      There is much in the world people don’t like, some people like one thing and others don’t. If the SNP had done a deal to back May on the Queen’s Speach and budget votes she would have had a little power to maybe change just a little of the things she doesn’t like. For an added bonus we the poor people of Scotland might have had an extra billion pounds to ease our austerity.

      The DUP delivered for the people of Northern Ireland, Sturgeon just keeps letting the people of Scotland down..

      • Node

        If the SNP had done a deal to back May on the Queen’s Speach and budget votes she would have had a little power to maybe change just a little of the things she doesn’t like. For an added bonus we the poor people of Scotland might have had an extra billion pounds to ease our austerity.

        May’s policies will COST “we the poor people of Scotland” much more than a billion during this parliament, and you think we should help her carry them out?

        Here you go turkeys, Fred’ll give you a billion quid if you support Christmas.

        • fred

          We would get May’s policies whether or not.

          We could have had a billion pounds as well.

          • Neil Anderson

            To “mitigate” the 4 billion pounds in welfare cuts about to hit “the poor people of Scotland”. So 4 minus 1 is 3. Billion pounds to find for “the poor people of Scotland”. Are you are “poor” person Fred? Why do you continue to support the establishment in Westminster when you could be campaigning for a free country of your own? What are you afraid of?

  • Ishmael

    Goal is not the right word to describe this (at all) but hopping for an own one says you haven’t planned to score.

    Its very easy to make the case why on “this is bad. that’s bad” etc, not so easy get a positive vision that also considers reality. And to take that case forward.

    If there was a clear none ideological case, a workable plan with clear benefits and all the complexities where laid out, tackled comprehensively, Scotland would be on that path now.

    The thing is “independence” has nothing necessarily to do with helping anyone. ..So you erect another bureaucracy, own currency etc, certany in the short term at least this is going to be more state. And one sucking up to the EU….Gona be remotely socialist ?

    I think there are to many fingers in to many pies and the poor and needy will be forgotten, while others get on with “important” state business, while eating very healthily.

    • Ishmael

      ‘And to take that case forward.’

      Just to highlight, I was referring to the BBC “issue” in that. And yea sure it’s an issue, but you factor it in.

  • glenn_uk

    CanSpeccy: Not to worry – I did read it. Try again, leaving out the reference concerned to some particular foreigners – it was probably removed because it was inaccurate. Here, allow The Major to explain it to you:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8s4BqzHEK6o

    What you should have referred to was “Germans” – and The Major goes on to give some thoughts about them too. You wouldn’t be related, by any chance…?

    • CanSpeccy

      Well, yes, I was, basically, referring to Germans, but no opportunity, I believe, to twit the politically correct should be unexploited. Amazingly, before my comment was deleted, 28 people appear to have clicked on the link that I included to a piece about political correctness and Emma West. In case another 28 or so might be interested, here’s the link again: My Britain is now fuck all.

      • Neil Anderson

        Your attributing this to Raphael Lemkin:

        “More often it refers to a coordinated plan aimed at destruction of the essential foundations of the life of national groups so that these groups wither and die like plants that have suffered a blight. The end may be accomplished by the forced disintegration of political and social institutions, of the culture of the people, of their language, their national feelings and their religion. It may be accomplished by wiping out all basis of personal security, liberty, health and dignity. When these means fail the machine gun can always be utilized as a last resort. Genocide is directed against a national group as an entity and the attack on individuals is only secondary to the annihilation of the national group to which they belong.”

        Now, if I was to say that this is exactly the experience of the people of Scotland, would you agree? Or, does it only apply for English towns?

  • Leonard

    Aside from the data roaming charges, there is a long list of other EU regulations, routinely slagged off by the press, which protect UK citizens, and are in danger of being axed:

    Protection against unfair conditions and terms in contracts
    Consumer Credit Fraud Protection
    Protection of Consumer Interests
    Unfair Energy Supply Contract Protection
    Package Holiday Protection
    Safety Regulations (buildings and workplace)
    Liability For Defective Products
    Distance Selling Protection
    Broadcasting without frontiers
    Safety in Medicines
    Human Rights
    Medical Treatment Reciprocity
    Freedom of Movement
    Accident and Emergency Healthcare

    There are hundreds of others and it is easy to become cynical about some of them, but there is no doubt that overwhelmingly there have been significant benefits for the average UK citizen both here and when travelling within Europe. But of course the majority of the media jokes about the shape of bananas and other nonsense, and relentlessly pushes the “corruption” and “unelected gnomes of Europe” while ignoring the fact that the UK has suffered exactly the same corruption within Whitehall, Parliament, Downing Street and other UK institutions for many years.

  • David Venables

    Just to provide some balance to the anti brexit rhetoric and roaming charges heres a comment from a Tory supporter on Boris Johnsons website.

    If the government is committed to Brexit it should put an end to child benefit payments for children of other nationalities living in other EU countries. Put an end to free movement sooner rather than later, instead consider every applicant equally and send home foreign criminals. Stop giving UK tuition loans to foreign students, their own countries should shoulder the financial burden of the £1.2billion outstanding for their education, not us. And put an end to reciprocal healthcare, which puts the UK at a disadvantage.

    “United Nations figures for 2015 state that about 1.2 million British citizens live in EU countries, while about 3.3 million EU nationals live in the UK – more than two and a half times the number.”

    Yet

    “A Parliamentary Question from John Mann MP has revealed that the UK paid out £674 million to European countries for their health costs last year – but received only £49 million in return. The huge discrepancy was revealed in a Department for Health response to the Bassetlaw MP.
    Notable figures include:
    UK pays France £147,685,772 – France pays UK £6,730,292
    UK pays Germany £25,873,954 – Germany pays UK £2,189,664
    UK pays Italy £7,304,484 – Italy pays UK £1,510,850
    UK pays Poland £4,336,701 – Poland pays UK £1,523,402
    UK pays Spain £223,290,021 – Spain pays UK £3,412,338

    “John Mann MP commented: “Sorting this scandal out in itself would transform the financial situation of the NHS. This is a shambolic state of affairs and we are being played for fools. This is money that should directly be going into the NHS and it would make a huge annual difference to its finances.”

    The current reciprocal agreement is costly and does not even provide comparable healthcare so what the government is seeking does not benefit us, but rather EU citizens. “Back May” David Davis says, but first, May needs to back us!

    • glenn_uk

      Very dramatic, David – got any reliable links for any of that data?

      Those discrepancies – and let’s assume they’re all accurate add in a bunch of other smaller countries, and round it up very generously – we’ll call them £0.5 billion, shall we?

      Here’s a link: https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/5yfv-web.pdf#page=37

      That – and it’s an established reference, not “somebody said!” – says the shortfall by 2020 (2.5 years away) will be 30 billion. So it will only take 60 times your Daily Hate-Mail headline standard, outrageous rip-off there to meet the shortfall.

      Have you got another 60+ examples of this sort of thing, David? Because that’s what it’s going to take to meet the shortfall. Not this piss-poor, small-beer, cor-blimey-govern’r BS that you appear to be peddling here, in order to fix the actual problem.

      • David Venables

        I’m not suggesting for one minute it would address the blackhole in the nhs finances and its not hate mail news I gave the source in my comment. The rot set in in 2010 for the nhs with the coalition deliberately defunding to worsen the perfomance to justify privatisation. The UK plc problem as indicated by the current account performance started at the time of Thatcher and the ever increasing deficit applies to both goods and services. I agree the solution doesn’t come from fixing the small beer but from re-industrialisation of the UK. I was just trying to provide some balance re Brexit. Originating from the Brexit heartlands I fully understand why many folks voted for Brexit and it was nothing to do with racism. I sat on the fence believed we should stay in and try and bring about change from within. I don’t vote in the UK as I have lived abroad for more than 20 years. So cut the attitude and don’t jump to conclusions about my political beliefs just because I posted something you disagree with.

        • glenn_uk

          I didn’t disagree with it, David – just pointing out this ludicrous “The EU is ripping us off!” tabloid-style propaganda, and the people who peddle it, are largely responsible for fomenting the widespread impression that the EU is the source of all our woes.

    • Leonard

      I think it is important to point out that the shortfall is not the result of policy, and it doesn’t mean that the reciprocity scheme itself is unfair. Indeed it is one of the most enlightened of all reciprocal EU policies. Your post does not make clear that the ratio exists mainly because our system is woefully inefficient at claiming back the funds, whereas there are far more effective systems to claw back like for like funds abroad.

      I think the original source of this info was a Daily Mail article, which was then exploited by Mann, who is, surprise, surprise, a Brexiter.

  • Dave

    @ Can Speccy 22.07

    Blair botched devolution because he was imposing an EU solution to a UK problem. The solution to London-centric government, within an independent UK, was to strengthen local government throughout the UK. But the aim of the devolution model progressed was to create UK Regions within the EU.

    That is according to the EU model, Scotland, Wales and N Ireland were UK Regions and England itself was divided into 9 Regions. Scotland did embrace this form of devolution, as opposed to reformed local government within Scotland, Wales only just did so, because of the big North/South language divide and N Ireland is an on-going saga. Of the 9 England Regions London has a pig’s ear form of government with an Elected Mayor and attempts to get devolved government for North East, the only other Region likely to agree, failed dismally in a referendum.

    Brexit offers the prospect of a genuine democratic reformation of local government based voting reform and on historical associations rather than UK/EU Regions. And this does seem to be happening with suitably British pick and mix arrangement between councils and with both Labour and Conservative abandoning the Heseltine/EU requirement for Elected Mayors.

  • Bob Costello

    They haven’t even started to jog yet Craig. I approached them two days after the independence referendum and asked what the plan was now. I was met with a blank look and “what plan” that has been their position for two years and ten months. I suggested keeping the campaign going at a ;lower level with posters and leaflets made available from a central source with a common message addressing the issues we lost the referendum on. I suggested a road map to independence should be an ongoing necessity.
    They instead disbanded the Yes movement ( a movement started by the SNP separate from the grass roots groups but working with them) and as you say have done not a single thing to push forward the cause of independence since. In fact they have obstructed the furtherance of the independence cause. In Dundee they were actively engaged in subverting attempts to hold Road map to independence rally’s.
    The only people to blame for the mess the SNP are in at the moment are the SNP and the two people at the top are Nicola Sturgeon and Peter Murrel. I think they should be replaced.
    The speech by Nicola yesterday was a mix between Jeremy Corbin and The Grand Old Duke Of York. As you say ,the proof of the pudding will be in the eating and I await with interest the new “plan” to engage the grass roots groups but I am not holding my breath.

    • RabMacPhoto

      What “Yes movement” did the SNP disband? The Yes movement existed outwith political parties.

  • Xavi

    The great surge in support for the SNP and independence came during the New Labour and coalition years, when there was no longer a pro-union party that reflected the social-democratic aspirations of Scotland’s old Labour heartlands.

    But the picture has changed dramatically with the ascendance of Corbynism in the Labour party, esp now it has shown it can achieve 40% of the vote nationwide (while fighting a defensive rather than offensive campaign). I suspect there won’t now be huge, urgent popular demand for independence – esp in the west of Scotland – unless Labour is recaptured by the neoliberals and neo-cons, devoted to a return to anti-human policies.

    • reel guid

      Utter tosh. The SNP Westminster seat tally remained in single figures all through the New Labour years and beyond. The SNP only had one more seat than Labour at Holyrood in 2007.

      And if you think pro-EU Scotland is going to swallow the damage of Brexit just so we can have a beleaguered old London-centric socialist patronising us from 10 Downing Street then you’ve been getting carried away with the emotional pull of the Corbyn Factor.

      Corbyn’s only putting forward policies the SNP have been implementing for years. With independence we can have those anti-neoliberal policies continue but many others too since we’ll have control of resources and the levers of the economy. We’ll be in the EU single market as well.

      Corbyn’s not offering Scotland anything except a Labour government. Which given England’s continued predilection for the Tories is still doubtful. Even if Corbyn Labour did win they’re not going to have much of a majority and that’s even supposing the Blairites behave.

      All Corbyn can offer to Scotland is a speculative hope of a non-Tory government. He’s also offering Scotland Brexit. No increased powers. No Holyrood control over broadcasting. No oil money to stay in Scotland.

      Corbynites, Blairites and Tories all need Scotland.

      Scotland doesn’t need any of them.

      • fred

        It’s always interesting to see what people’s priorities are. With Craig it’s how much his mobile costs as he roams around Europe and you want to control broadcasting.

      • Ba'al Zevul

        Scotland doesn’t need any of them.

        Proud words from a proud nation proposing to be ruled from Brussels’

        • fred

          Before the referendum Salmond told us Scotland could be independent in 18 months.

          After three years they still haven’t got the computer that makes the CAP payments working.

        • reel guid

          Brussels has done quite a lot for Scotland. Those signs with the EU flag denoting an EU funded project are everywhere. And the EU is always going to be the best vehicle for forging pan-European friendship and co-operation.

          If England wants to drift off into xenophobic irrelevance as a tax haven that only welcomes foreigners if they’re billionaires with money to stash then they can do so. I trust the people of Wales will choose to go the Scottish route instead of that dismal one.

      • Salford Lad

        @reelguid
        ‘control of resources and the levers of the economy’.
        Be obliged if you would expand on ‘levers of the economy’. As far as I am aware Scotland after Independence, wishes to enter the EU. The SNP has still to decide their policy on the Euro, whether to join the Eurozone ,or have an independent Sovereign currency and a Central Bank.
        Without an independent currency Scotland has few economic levers, apart from taxation and bond issue, all contributing to demands on householders and reducing disposable income, contributing to a stagnant demand by consumers, and shrinking manufacturing base.
        Privatisation is possible to raise money ,but selling off the family silver is not a good option, as has been evident in the UK.
        The other element is the defense policy of Europe which is synonomous with NATO. which will certainly mean retention and financing arrangement of Trident.
        Maybe we are hasty in our condemnation of Nicola Sturgeon.Until the above issues are clarified, a hasty Independence referendum and EU affiliation may not be a happy marriage for Scotland at this time
        In the words of Bill Clinton, ‘Its the economy,stupid’.

        • reel guid

          Salford Lad

          Scotland wouldn’t be entering the EU but staying in it.

          And if Scotland escapes brexit and stays in the EU single market then the main problems will have been avoided. Any other problems look very mild in comparison.

          What utter rubbish you are talking on defence. That the EU is going to force independent Scotland to keep Trident. The indyref2 scaremongering begins.

          Staying in the single market. That’s the economy stupid!

          • Ba'al Zevul

            Staying in the single market. That’s the economy stupid!

            If you’ve got something to sell. Never mind the Braveheart rhetoric, which increasing numbers of voters are getting rather bored with. Being independent, as opposed to being a helpless economic subunit within a much larger cartel not necessarily concerned with your own particular interests, requires a business plan. Neither Scotland nor rUK, with their different conceptions of independence, have one. OTOH, the rUK will inherit non-EU markets from the UK, hopefully to expand on them, but Scotland will be dissociating itself from those.

          • Salford Lad

            @ reel guid
            You have not addressed the issue of the currency to be adopted , which is the single most important point.
            The UK is lucky it retained the pound sterling,it gave it an independent monetary policy, otherwise we would have been in deep doo-doo with the other PIIGS and become PIIGSUK.
            Apologies,if you took the Bill Clinton quote as directed at you, Just a direct quote from Bill to himself.

          • reel guid

            Salford Lad

            I’m familiar with the quote. No offence taken. Or intended on my part.

            I’ve never heard of a country gaining independence and failing to set up a currency. But being out of the single market cannot be anything less than disastrous, no matter how much Leavers and Releavers try to deny it.

    • Xavi

      We’ll see. The fact Labour won back several seats from the SNP on June 8 – despite pitiful NuLab leadership in Scotland – suggests many Scots would just prefer Labour reverted to being the party of old than continue the pursuit of an independent Scotland.
      Wanting independence was natural when the country was being governed by Cameron, Osborne, Clegg and when continued govt from Westminster seemed to promise only endless austerity and war. Yet even under those optimal conditions, Yes fell some way short. Difficult to see how that gap is going to close significantly now there’s the prospect of a paradigm-shifting leftist govt at Westminster.

      • reel guid

        Pardigm-shifting eh? Corbyn’s going to end Tory government forever is he?

        And in case you hadn’t noticed Labour finished third in the GE in Scotland on both votes cast and seats won. In fact most of their small rise in the popular vote from their disaster of 2015 was plied up in Edinburgh South where the Tories of opulent Morningside turned out to tactically place their x for Labour’s Ian Murray. Who is – notwithstanding his opposition to Trident – basically a Tory.

      • Ba'al Zevul

        It masy simply be that the Labour vote went south because Labour was no longer perceived as socialist, and the SNP Formerly Known AsThe Tartan Tories – oh yes, they’re no more ideologically pure than Labour – saw its opportunity. Not hard to see with Murphy in charge, less easy with Kezia. We shall see

        • reel guid

          Or it could be Scotland just wants to be independent like the norm with other countries and not be in thrall to the fucking Labour Party forever.

          • Dave

            Scotland is already independent. I know its not, but independence in UK is closer to independence than the SNP’s independence in EU. Independence means being outside UK and EU with own currency, but most Scots see the advantage of a stronger voice within the UK, with greater representation at Westminster than they would have at Brussels. I don’t decry calls for independence and the same antipathy to ‘London rule’ is found throughout UK, but a reformed UK and Ireland Union is a big enough economic Union to work and ambition enough for practical idealists.

          • reel guid

            We’ve heard all that garbage before don’t you realise?

            Vote No in 2014 and Scotland’s hand in the union will be strengthened.

            Vote No for Gordon Brown’s Devo Max.

            Stay in the union and we can look into the possibility of federalism. We could set up a House of Lords committee to look into it etc etc.

            All bullshit.

          • Ba'al Zevul

            The numbers are telling:

            750 MEP’s
            6 Scottish MEP’s

            650 Westminster MP’s
            59 Scottish Westminster MP’s.
            And your own parliament too.

          • reel guid

            Ba’al

            The Tories have got plans to take powers away from Holyrood. That would also suit the DUP fine. Union HighJack.

            The SNP MPs in 2015 at Westminster had all – I mean all – their amendments to the Scotland Bill voted down by the MPs of England. The Bill that reneged on all the promises in Brown’s Vow that cheated Scotland of independence in indyref1.

            Scottish MPs have no power at Westminster. They’re even treated with contempt, regular as clockwork. The SNP MPs are the voices of sanity in that place all the same. But they have no power.

            The small member states of the EU are keenly awaiting Scotland as a sovereign member. Because they know that as a small member state that is also the EU’s biggest oil, gas and renewables producer we will add much clout to the small states club within the EU.

            Westminster just shits in Scotland’s hat and enjoys it. As an independent member of the EU Scotland will be treated with respect as civilised grown ups by other civilised grown ups.

          • Ba'al Zevul

            But the EU doesn’t get most of its oil from Scotland, which is heavily dependent on OPEC price and production fixing like any other producer. Here’s where it gets its oil from:

            https://ec.europa.eu/energy/en/topics/imports-and-secure-supplies/supplier-countries

            Last I heard, the Netherlands was the EU’s largest gas producer, although, like England, in whose waters most of the UK’s gas fields lie, its reserves are badly depleted and it has had to cut production.

            Renewables? Specify, please. It may be a prime location for wind turbines, but it’s not producing them in great quantity, and wind-generated electricity supply doesn’t yet match demand. For that argument to wash, you need to be exporting megawatts, not just generating them.

            Three of the small countries you’d like to be associated with are on the Russian border. Whether you agree or not that Putin’s been nudging his way back into the former Soviet sphere of influence lately, they are enthusiastic supporters of anything that deters him from doing so, and the thing is NATO. You don’t seem to be particularly keen on NATO. In fact it seems you’d like to be independent of that too. Hard to resolve.

            But if it’s any comfort, I can’t see even a May or a Johnson leaving rUK’sTrident fleet in a foreign country. You can happily wave goodbye to the Brits on the base, and use it for your own navy. Which might very well concentrate on fishery protection vessels, if you have any sense at all.

          • Dave

            Except independence wasn’t on offer in IndyRef1. So as much as I agree about disinformation from the ‘Unionist’ side, it came from the SNP too. But as the EU referendum and I suppose the General Election showed people can see through MSM bullshit, so to a large degree although offensive, it can be discounted.

          • Republicofscotland

            “Except independence wasn’t on offer in IndyRef1. ”

            What?

            Independence was the goal Dave, why do you think the Scottish government produced a lengthy white paper.

            Something those clowns at Westminster didn’t, couldn’t or wouldn’t do over Brexit.

            Please think before you make rash comments.

          • Dave

            Independence means being outside the UK and EU with own currency. That wasn’t on offer, so independence wasn’t on offer. The SNP has been allowed to promote the fraudulent “independence in EU” line, because Labour and Conservative, “the Unionists” also supported membership of EU and so had a self-interest in the fraud. But following Brexit the SNP will/have found it harder to peddle the fraud, with many SNP supporting “independence in UK”!

  • J

    Crowd funding appeal by Open Democracy:

    Earlier this year, openDemocracy revealed the DUP spent £425,000 on pro-Brexit campaigning – far more than they’d ever spent on a political campaign – and were trying to keep the source of the cash secret.

    Under pressure from our investigation, the DUP admitted the money came via a shady group which (we revealed) has links to Saudi intelligence.

    The DUP has told openDemocracy these links “aren’t a problem for us” and have refused to reveal the true source of the cash.

    Well, we think it’s time to make it a problem for them – and for Theresa May. If the DUP is going to be a lynchpin of the UK government, we must know who bankrolls them and why they’re so determined to keep it a secret.

    To do this, we need your help.

    https://www.crowdpac.co.uk/campaigns/3746/opendemocracy

    And if you can make it:

    1 July 2017
    London: Cuts Cost Lives #ToriesOut national demonstration
    Saturday 1st July, 2017
    Assemble 12pm at BBC Broadcasting House, Portland Place, London W1A 1AA
    March to Parliament Square

  • Salford Lad

    @Baal Z
    ‘ Whether you agree or not that Putin’s been nudging his way back into the former Soviet sphere of influence lately’,

    Be obliged if you could provide some evidence for this, apart from Western MSM propaganda.
    Russia is surrounded by formerly East European satelites now in NATO, with Nuclear missiles in Poland and Romania, 30k troops on Russians Baltic border. Check your geography.
    The Warsaw Pact disbanded in 1988 and USA unilaterally abrogated the ABM Treaty.

    • Kempe

      ” Russia is surrounded by formerly East European satelites now in NATO ”

      Not according to my atlas.

      Would you care to comment on the deployment by Putin of Iksanda medium range ballistic missiles within range of Poland and Berlin that prompted the NATO response or the incursion by Russian spy planes into the airspace of neutral Finland and Sweden; or will you just try and pretend it’s all MSM lies?

      • Xavi

        I’ve heard Michael Fallon and John McCain say that Russia poses by far the greatest threat to Britain and the US and to world peace ..

        • Doug Scorgie

          The British MSM say that Jeremy Corbyn is the greatest threat to world peace.

          • Xavi

            I know, he’s war mad. Unlike the broadcasters / scribblers of Her Majesty’s fourth estate.

        • Salford Lad

          Fallon and McCain are 2 warmongering Russophobic loons ,who deserve to be locked up. In McCains case ,it would be a 2nd time.

          • Laguerre

            In this, you are right. Russophobia has no real basis, other than US need for an enemy, to justify their military expenditure.

          • Xavi

            Indeed, two insane men. Yet McCain gets represented as the conscience of America these days. Dangerous times.

      • Salford Lad

        In 2002 the USA unilaterally abrogated the ABM Treaty signed by Gorbachev and Reagan in 1977. The Russians are naturally protecting their security by stationing missiles on their own soil. The USA is 5000 miles from home and has missile capability in Poland and Romania. Ostensibly to protect fom Iranian attacK. The Iranians do not have a missile programme and have recently signed an agreement to shut down their Nuclear programme. Trident and airborne nuclear delivery from bases thru out Europe is another factor.
        https://www.armscontrol.org/act/2002_07-08/abmjul_aug02

  • Jo

    I disagree that the section highlighted is the most important part of the speech Craig. For me it was when Nicola acknowledged three different groups. One consisted of those YES folk who would have another Indy ref tomorrow. Another included NO people who would never change their minds. The final group included 2014 YES folk and NO folk who might go over to YES only all of those folk were saying they didn’t think another referendum on independence was the way to go right now.

    Given she went to the trouble of telling us this yesterday I am astonished that she then ignored that third group.

    I speak as a YES in 2014, a Remainer and a long time SNP voter who could not vote for them earlier this month because of Nicola’s foolish decision to throw indyref2 into the whole Brexit mess. That she did this after having secured Labour and Lib Dem support, along with the Greens, to fight Scotland’s corner on Brexit was even worse! As soon as indyref2 was in the mix she lost Labour and Lib Dem support and, in my view, handed a gift to Davidson, to the hostile media. It cost her 21 seats. It cost her a drop of 18 points in her personal approval rating!

    I believe Nicola has really screwed up Craig because the focus remains on indyref2 and, unlike you, I am not seeing a groundswell of support out here. I am seeing absolute rage. I am sick of bloody indyref2 when there is Brexit to face along with domestic issues which Rennie, Dugdale and Davidson are able to bang on about constantly with good reason.

    Nicola has said it’s the other Parties who keep on about indyref2. Well, yesterday she made it her main focus again. That’s bad news. I think it’s terrible news. I think Nicola has made a real mess of this. I do not believe she has anything like 60% support for independence which isn’t to say she couldn’t have achieved that had she done things differently. Rather, I believe the route she’s chosen by exploiting the EU vote to go earlier has cost her support for independence, for her Party and a lot of respect for her personally.

    I believed that Nicola truly would take time to reflect on the GE results and the loss of all those MPs. I desperately wanted her to do that. She hasn’t Craig. I think she’s dug in even deeper. You may be pleased about that. James at Scot Goes Pop may be pleased but I don’t believe the majority out here are well and truly scunnered. Perhaps it’s a good thing the Scottish Elections were last year and not next year. For such is the state of affairs now in Scotland that had they been next year the SNP may very well have been out of government.

    Bear in mind too that May could still be taken out and a fresh GE called! After yesterday’s speech would the SNP lose even more seats?

    This could have all been done so much better. Nicola has taken a dangerous risk indeed and is already wounded badly. I think it can only get worse.

    • Jo

      EDIT
      Para 6
      Should say
      “I believe the majority out here are well and truly scunnered.”

    • Dave

      The call for an IndyRef2, just like the call for an EURef2 shows political ignorance, because many people just don’t think its cricket to call for a second vote. You may get away with it in the EU, but British fair play rules are outraged by the disrespect it shows for the way people have voted. Rightly or wrongly politicians need to wait a respectful period before calling for another vote on the same issue.

      • reel guid

        Conning the voters of Scotland with a dishonest Devo Max Vow wasn’t cricket old chap. Neither was denying Scotland a veto on Brexit. Neither is the denial of a Section 30 for indyref2.

        • Jo

          I don’t think we could ever have won a veto on Brexit, Reel Guid. Rather I believe the terms of the EU vote in the UK should have required all four parts of the UK to leave in order to make it valid.

      • Republicofscotland

        “but British fair play rules are outraged by the disrespect it shows for the way people have voted.”

        That’s sarcasm surely?

        British fair play, you mean like the undemocratic unelected House of Lords, that scrutinise bills from the HoC, meaning they directly have a influence on our lives, even though they’ve not been elected.

        Or the £1 billion quid bung to the DUP by the Tories to keep them in power.

        Or we could have the British fair play, that the Garcia report, implicates England’s failed bid to host the World Cup. Showed that violated the FIFA fair play “bidding”rules by trying to influence Jack Warner’s decision.

        The report also indicates that vote swapping took place in a room that both, Prince William and David Beckham were in.

    • reel guid

      She’s just being proactive. Which is the only way we’ll gain independence. What would you prefer? That Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney stand on a hillside and watch the flight of birds in order to divine the will of the gods?

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