The Ignominious Death of the United Kingdom 1074

I am in Ghana and had some Ghanaian friends in the apartment here while I was watching the budget. I was ashamed, and they were incredulous, at the sheer crassness of the entire event. Hammond’s manner and delivery were beyond embarrassing. The constant stream of infantile jokes, of which the lengthy stream of toilet humour was just one part, was beyond childish. The worst thing about it is that Hammond apparently genuinely believed he was funny.

But even worse was the petty party nature of so much of it. The obsequious reference to DUP MPs by name, the grovelling towards new Tory “star” Ruth Davidson, the puerile digs at the SNP, the shoehorning in of an anti-semitism reference, the pathetic jibe at John MacDonnell’s accident. The Ghanaians with me observed that it would all have disgraced a school debating society.

Most of the budget’s rehashed public spending announcements and tax cuts for the wealthy are not worth analysis. The condemnation of PFI was very welcome, but it has taken 20 years for the political class – Red Tories or Blue Tories – to acknowledge the blindingly obvious, that they have used it as a device massively to abuse public services to rip off the taxpayer to the benefit of the bankers and wealth managers who funded the PFI schemes.

Hammond made the constantly repeated Tory claim that the income gap between rich and poor in the UK is shrinking. It depends what you are measuring. While it is indeed true that the income gap between the top and bottom deciles is slightly shrinking, the gap between the top centile and the bottom decile – or any other decile, including the between the top centile and the top decile – is expanding very fast. In short, we are taking on the characteristics of a helot society, where distinctions between the upper middle class and working class are reducing, but the gap to the extremely wealthy is growing.

In Ghana this last week I have made a point of asking a large number of Ghanaians, from drivers and students to businessmen and senior ministers, whether, in exchange for a higher standard of living and free immigration to the UK, they would give up Independence and become a colony again. I have been met with incredulity and outrage that I would even ask such a question, and even anger from those who misunderstood my motive in asking.

Ghanaians are of course quite right. Any nation should be outraged at the idea it would voluntarily become subservient, or that its allegiance can be bought for money. Which is why I am incapable of understanding the mentality of unionists in Scotland, many of whom were swayed in 2014 by arguments their pension might be reduced or their currency depreciated.

As everybody who canvassed in the 2014 knows, and opinion polls confirm, it was not those on the breadline who were influenced by these arguments. The worse off were solidly pro-Independence (except for the Orangemen, whose thought processes are not rational). It was the bungalow dwellers of suburbia who were swayed by the fear that they might not be able to trade in their Nissan Qashqai after three years as they intended.

In fact, I think the arguments Scotland will be worse off after Independence are demonstrably nonsense. But even were they true, I cannot express the degree of my contempt for those who value national freedom in pennies, and weigh self-respect against gold.

Independent states which are geographically, climatically, and in population and demographics closest to Scotland – Ireland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Iceland – are all markedly wealthier than Scotland, despite Scotland’s terrific endowment of national resources. Why do some Scottish people believe they are inferior to the inhabitants of these countries, and would be unable to run their own affairs and economy?

The fact that Ireland, Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Sweden are all markedly wealthier than England, but that Scotland is poorer, should be sufficient indicator that the Union has not brought the claimed historical benefits, compared to those small independent states. So should the fact that, in 1707, the population of Scotland was a quarter that of England, and after three hundred years of union it is a tenth, while the population of the Highlands has only just returned to the original level. The fact that the A1 is, amazingly, still not much dualed north of Morpeth, while Crossrail is a national UK expenditure; the fact that high speed rail – like Crossrail accounted for in GERS as a national UK expenditure – will not come north of Leeds; the massive concentration of central government functions in London, and the long term effect of that on economic development: given all these indicators, you have to be slightly crazy to believe an independent Scotland would not be better off.

Astonishingly, this collection of untalented careerists that constitutes the “government of the United Kingdom” is managing currently to extend its lead in the UK wide opinion polls, while falling back again into third place in Scotland. I have sympathy for friends in England who do not wish Scotland to be independent, because the Tories have such a majority in England. But they have no right to force Scotland to live under a succession of Tory governments, which it has not voted for in over 60 years. Similarly, the Scots have no right to prevent the English from living under Theresa May – or even under Jacob Rees Mogg – if the English continue inexplicably to wish to do so.

I have expressed for many years the hope that I will see Scottish Independence and a United Ireland before I die. I am happy to say I am now convinced that I will do so. That the end of the UK would be marked by such a squalid, incompetent and dysfunctional political leadership I could not have dared to hope. Thank God the UK will soon be over.

Allowed HTML - you can use: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

1,074 thoughts on “The Ignominious Death of the United Kingdom

1 2 3 8
  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Glad you are back, Craig, but fear you are too optimistic about Scottish Independence. The UK will fight to keep it.

    • What's going on?

      Once Brexit is stopped/reversed it’s game over for independence in our lifetimes.

    • Muscleguy

      Of course they will, we have exports per head 3X higher than those in England. In the latter stages of IndyRef1 when it looked like we might win I would have been astonished if the Treasury etc did not, secretly, model the effect on rUK’s economy were we to become Independent under two scenarios:

      1. Retention of Sterling in some form so still in the Sterling Zone.

      2. Outwith the Sterling Zone.

      The latter will have got their hearts racing in fear. Those who trade in currencies internationally are not fools and they can look at the figures without the Unionist tinted glasses and price Sterling appropriately.

      The Sterlingisation plan is one thing but I strongly suspect the thinking behind is that it is not in our economic interest to border a disrupted economic basket case. Brexit alone is likely to bring that seriously close but if we take iScotland out of the Sterling Zone too quickly after Brexit rUK might implode.

      That we may have to think like this instead of taking the right course and minting a Scotpound pegged to a basket of currencies on Independence Day is depressing but it is unfortunately Realpolitiks. Last time Salmond proposed Scotland set up development banks in Northern English cities to boost the economy in our border region. That was Realpolitiks as well.

      I think we might want to hold tight on a free movement area for fear of large numbers of English Remainers moving up here and bringing their English voting patterns with them and swamping small places. It could happen and the population differences are so large now it wouldn’t take a significant proportion to do it.

      Which is why we need to harden our hearts when some in places like Liverpool express a wish to be annexed by iScotland. A Greater Scotland wouldn’t be Scotland because there are too many of them and we are a democracy.

    • Tom Welsh

      “Any nation should be outraged at the idea it would voluntarily become subservient, or that its allegiance can be bought for money. Which is why I am incapable of understanding the mentality of unionists in Scotland, many of whom were swayed in 2014 by arguments their pension might be reduced or their currency depreciated”.

      And that is why many of us cannot understand the mentality of remainers who want the UK to remain part of the EU, gradually be absorbed into a “European super-state”, and lose all its sovereignty and independence. Regardless of whether a few people are better or worse off as a result.

  • Gaelstorm

    Yes, it’s always instructive to be outside, looking in, and asking the locals their views of the UK. These days, it’s mostly pity.

  • Steven Douglas Keith

    Mr Murray, if I may disagree on a particular point.
    I don’t think that the Scots who remain unionists do so because they feel inferior and unable of running their own economic affairs, quite the opposite, they are imperialists at heart and Great Britain allows them to express their sense of superiority. They like to be a ‘ global player’ and so appreciate the armed forces, membership of NATO, the seat on the security council and the rest of the delusion of empire.
    What do you think?
    All the best!
    Steve (A Scot based twenty years in India)

    • craig Post author


      I certainly agree that is a good summary of a strain in thinking of some unionists, though I find it less prominent than you might expect.

    • Alf Baird

      Steven, it is perhaps worth considering that as many as half of No voters (i.e. one million people) are not Scottish (in terms of culture/heritage) and they appear to have little (or rather the least) desire for Scottish citizenship or Scottish nationality and also seem keen to use their vote (based only on residence, not the more usual parental descent) to actually prevent Scots from enjoying their own citizenship and nationality (or self determination); i.e. an arguably anti-Scottish stance. The UN would possibly liken this a little to the Malvinas referendum situation, which result was not recognised by the UN as the voters in that situation primarily consisted of settlers from the occupying nation.

      • IrishU

        “Voters in that situation primarily consisted of settlers from the occupying nation”, well obviously.

        The vast majority of people who live in the Falklands are of British descent! It isn’t as though there is a large number of Argentinians living on the islands. Therefore, there is no comparison to non-Scots voting No in 2014. As an aside, after much soul-searching I took the decision not to vote in the 2014 Referendum because I was merely resident in Scotland, as opposed to Scottish by birth or descent (within the last 120 years at any rate).

        • IrishU

          Which people? I ask because polls of Scottish people on the question of independence would suggest otherwise.

    • Clark

      “I don’t think that the Scots who remain unionists do so because they feel inferior and unable of running their own economic affairs”

      I met a couple, and quite a few who were tempted by independence, but their distrust of the SNP put them off.

      “quite the opposite, they are imperialists at heart and Great Britain allows them to express their sense of superiority”

      I didn’t meet any of those, but I expect I’d be unlikely to strike up conversation with such people.

      • Susan Smith

        it’s a shame that they equate independence with the SNP. Whilst many of us independence supporters vote SNP, we’d be free to chose another party in an independent Scotland, if that’s what we wanted. The SNP could well rename itself, having achieved its goal of independence

        • Clark

          Exactly. And Scotland has an electoral system that would support and encourage political diversification far better than the Westminster winner’s-dictatorship anachronism.

          • ADMO

            I suspect Scots would return, eventually, to their 1950s voting patterns. eg. It is likely that a future independent Scotland may “enjoy” the type of political environment we witnessed in the Swedish elections.

    • Tom Welsh

      Steve, that is why many of us used to refer to “the Scottish Empire” rather than “the British Empire”. My father used to tell a joke about how a wealthy Scots industrialist goes south to London for a series of business meetings with the movers and shakers. On his return he is in his favourite bar sipping a wee dram, when a friend sees him and asks, “Well Jock, and how did you find the English?”

      To which, after some thought, Jock replies, “Ah dinna ken. Ah didna meet any”.

  • Steve Hayes

    “Any nation should be outraged at the idea it would voluntarily become subservient, or that its allegiance can be bought for money.” You are of course absolutely right, which is why all those Remain arguments about the economy, which incidentally Mr Blackford made such use of in his Budget speech, are so completely beside the point to all those of us who voted to Leave the anti-democratic European Union.

  • Mist001

    Whilst I am a fervent supporter of Scottish independence, I fear it is highly unlikely to happen during my lifetime, short of UDI or some kind of coup which again, given the current SNP leadership, are very unlikely to happen, so……

    Why is Teresa May dictating events and why are the SNP leadership so concerned about Brexit rather than focussing on independence?

    Why does nobody ask themselves why Brexit is so important to Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP? The only way that Brexit affects Scotland is if Scotland envisage remaining a part of the UK. It doesn’t matter if it’s Brexit or independence, either way Scotland will have no part to play in the EU until an independent Scotland applies and is accepted to become a member. So, why the song and dance about Scotland ‘being dragged out of the EU against its will’ and the effects Brexit will have on Scotland?

    And there’s the key: The SNP leadership view the future of Scotland as remaining a part of the UK and as long as that’s the case, Independence won’t happen.

    • What's going on?

      Sturgeon is banging on about Brexit, because she knows that there will be a financial hit to the UK no matter which way we leave. She can then use that to kick start another push for independence.

    • Muscleguy

      Because she needs to be able to say she has exhausted all other possible and plausible options. There are still many Remainer Unionists who are hoping against hope that Brexit can still be stopped. This is why the polls show that Support for Indy is above 50% if it is after a Brexit. That is those hoping against hope Remainers looking into the future and realising reality.

      I expect that on Referendum day the number will be even higher and if we are ever allowed a decent campaigning period we will get the numbers up like we did last time. There were plenty who only thought about it when we chapped their doors and confronted them with the question. I particularly remember one woman who only engaged after confirming with us there was less than 2months to go. I could probably find her house again so much of an impression it made on me. To live through 22months of campaigning and not think about it until then and only because we chapped her door.

  • Derek Aitken

    “you have to be slightly crazy to believe an independent Scotland would not be better off.”

    No Craig, not slightly crazy – absolutely barking!

  • jake

    With austerity over and the deficit sorted I was anticipating that VAT would have gone back to 17.5%. Still, I suppose a cash injection for the NHS will make it all the more attractive a prospect for private sector service providers.

  • Loony

    Is Iceland richer than Scotland?

    If it is then it is wealthier because alone among western nations it refused to bail out its criminal banks and it prosecuted its criminal bankers.

    I do not recall any mass demonstrations in Scotland demanding that RBS or HBOS be held accountable before the law, and that its officers and directors should be subject to due process. I can find no reference to Nicola Sturgeon ever promising Scottish voters that an independent Scotland would enforce the law and ensure that the average citizen of Scotland would not be liable for losses attributable to corporate criminal activity.

    • dribble

      Duh isn’t this the point Loon. The Scottish ‘government’ can cry all it wants about anything but has no say in what actually happens. The Scottish people were never asked if they would like to bail out the casinos. It happened anyway without their input. Well done you.

  • Giambologna

    I am an Englishman with sympathy with the desire for Scottish Independence. It is totally natural to wish to be an independent country. I think it is very likely both Northern Ireland and Scotland will become independent, largely because of the regionalisation policy of the EU and the UK Government’s self-serving policies that will further this cause.

    But was it not a sense of underlying Great British patriotism that won many votes for Unionism rather than just financial concerns? England and Scotland have been in Union since 1706, the greatest period in both nation’s history. The border between the two is merely geographical and for many people and families it has had little distinction in those times. It is only now, with the decline in power and in the economic and cultural state of Great Britain that there is a real desire for Scottish independence. Is it not, in fact, the Scottish Nationalists, who are the ones who care about money i.e. they are only seriously willing to do it now when Great Britain has shown itself to be a busted flush.

  • frankywiggles

    There’s a conviction on the wilder fringes of Little England “thought” that the Republic of Ireland will try to return under the Crown’s wing.

    • IrishU

      Ludicrous! Ian Pasiley Jnr has been pushing that argument for quite some time, namely the Republic should leave the EU and re-join the Commonwealth.

      Barking mad and shows a complete ignorance of wider Irish thought – mind you that ignorance is not confined to unionists or the English!

    • Jude 93

      It’s not widely known outside Ireland, but the pro-Commonwealth faction numbers quite a few fanatical Anglo-supremacists south of the Irish border in its ranks. Many of these have links to the rabidly Anglo-supremacist Sunday Independent newspaper – an outlet which is in turn very strongly connected to both the Neocons and former members of the (Irish) Workers Party – a Stalinist political party which combined very comprehensive infiltration of the Irish media with a large criminal empire of racketeering, robbery, drug dealing etc. Eoghan Harris, a notorious blustering windbag, is one of the leading lights of the neo-Unionists tendency in the south of Ireland. Harris used to be one of the main ideological gurus of the Workers Party – and the role of this group seems to have been to give a left-wing progressivist gloss to the Anglo-supremacist/Commonwealth movement in Ireland. For instance the WP’s shrill support for the Soviet Union in the 1980s made it much easier for it to promote the British line on Ireland in Communist countries – a missionary role it was only too eager to take on. The WP’s very close connections to the British deep state are partially documented in the book, ‘The Lost Revolution’. The connection between the Neocons and the Unionist movement in Ireland deserves much more attention than it receives: For instance, Charles Moore, the Neocon ultra has often expressed strong admiration for the Workers Party’s role in undermining Irish nationalism – this in spite of the fact that the WP was an openly pro-Soviet polltical party steeped in violent crime and terrorism. Dean Godson, Paul Goodman and Michael Gove are just a few of the leading Neocons who double as Unionist cheerleaders. And of course both northern and southern Irish Unionnists invariably support both Israel and western interventionist wars.

      • IrishU

        It isn’t commonly known in Ireland either that there is a sizeable pro-Commonwealth faction…

        You really need to find a new book to read, constantly citing one source hardly advances your argument, not when it always reverts back to the Workers’ Party and the ‘The Lost Revolution’. Are you the author?

        • Jude 93

          No, I’m not the author. I cite that book because it is still reaily available, unlke, say, a two part expose of the Workers Party published in Magill magazine in early 1982. The defunct Sunday Tribune also published pieces exposing the WP’s criminality, as did Fergal Keane in the old Irish Press newspaper. RTE – in the shape of the the Today Tonight current affairs programme also did a very partial expose of the Workers Party/OIRA (aka ‘Group B’) in the late 1980s – though it neglected to mention that the producer of Today Tonight – the late Joe Mulholland was himself at the very least a WP fellow traveller – as were several other Today Tonight journalists, e.g. the current RTE religious affairs correspondent Joe Little . The role of Workers Party operatives in reshaping discourse in Ireland on the national question is impossible to exaggerate.

          It’s funny how so many Irish people allow the corporate media to work them into an hysterical lather over ridiculously petty examples of political corruption, such as over-claiming for expenses, or receiving small kickbacks from businessmen, while they blithely ignore the appalling thuggery and criminality of the WP – an organisation many senior figures in Irish politics and media belonged to in the not so distant past – e.g. former Tanaister (Deputy PM) and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Eamonn Gilmore and former Labour Party leader and Minister, Pat Rabitte.

          As for the idea, implicit in your snarky reply, that the Commonwealth brigade has no traction in Ireland, the former president and heroine of the Irish chatterati, Mary Robinson, has advocated for Ireland rejoining the Commonwealth – as has the former Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern (when he was Taoiseach to boot), who received very fulsome backing from Eoghan Harris, and rewarded Harris with a Seanad seat in returne. Harris, Ruth Dudley Edwards, the fanatic Anglophile Mary Kenny and plenty of others have likewise championed the Commonwealth cause.

          • Jude 93

            Irish U: In my previous reply, I neglected to mention that Bruce Arnold, the veteran Irish Indpendent journalist – a deeply committed opponent of Irish nationalism in any form, is also a Commonwealth adviocate. Arnold’s father was an Mi6 agent, and he himself was at the centre of a major scandal in Ireland in the early 1980s, when it was revealed that the Minister for Justice Sean Doherty, and the Deputy Garda Commissioner, Joe Ainsworth, had authorised his phone to be tapped on account of suspicions that he was a British intelligence operative.

          • IrishU

            Why do you constantly cite the ‘Lost Revolution’, a single source? That was the question, why is that book deemed so convincing as opposed to the dozens of others that consider Irish society and politics, North and South, during the 1970s? What power has one book to convince you of the shadowy hand of the Workers’ Party and British intelligence in determining Irish affairs?

            The notion that the ‘Workers’ Party operatives’ reshaped the national discourse, especially in relation to the national question is without substance. If these operatives were so numerous and powerful, why has the national question faded in prominence since the Good Friday Agreement in 1998? Surely, the Republic giving up its irredentist claim to the North was would only embolden the ‘Workers’ Party operatives’ and their paymasters in British intelligence to push for a further settlement of the national question which was focused on an East – West axis with Great Britain?

            There is a more rational idea that the southern Irish political class, almost since foundation, and certainly since the end of the Civil War, was concerned with securing and developing the existing 26 county state. This can be evidenced through the actions of all political parties in the South from Cumann na nGaedheal, to Fianna Fail to Fine Gael.

            You grossly overestimate the influence of the Workers Party and the likes of Eoghan Harris in shaping the national discourse.

            As for the issue of the Commonwealth, they are certainly those who advocate re-joining the Commonwealth as part of the wider conversation on a united Ireland, i.e as a way of Northern unionists maintaining some link with Great Britain. That is notably different from the original suggestion referred to by frankywiggles and Ian Paisley concerning Ireland leaving the EU and seeking some form of new constitutional arrangement with the United Kingdom. It is to the latter that I referred – to the best of my knowledge there is no sizable body of opinion which supports such an idea.

            It would be a mistake to conflate the modern day Commonwealth and that of the former British Commonwealth of Nations which was an interchangable term for the British Empire in the 1920s and 1930s.

        • Jude 93

          Irish U: One last thing ha ha. When you can cite some sources of your own to refute anything I’ve said, feel free to get back to me.

      • frankywiggles

        @Jude 93
        Thanks, that’s very interesting and helps explain a lot of the garbage I’ve seen in the Irish press. I wasn’t even aware that mary Robinson, Ahearn et al had been advocating joining the Commonwealth.

        What accounts for this pro-British sentiment among the Irish establishment in your view? And are they upfront about the real reasons?
        Cheers, Frank

        • IrishU


          Jude93 forgets one key fact which underpins the examples he cites as members of the ‘pro-Commonwealth faction’, none of them propose re-joining the Commonwealth at the expense of the Republic i.e not returning to any form of political union with Britain and certainly no relationship with the Crown as Sovereign of Ireland.

          Mary Robinson, Bertie Ahern and Eoghan Harris all stated that possible membership of the Commonwealth could be advantageous to Ireland, not least as a method by which Northern unionists could maintain a link with Britain in the eventuality of a united Ireland. Other reasons include using the Commonwealth to export Ireland’s values to a global stage. Similar reasoning has been given to Ireland’s current campagin to gain a seat on the UN Security Council

          None of them proposed it under the same terms as either the ‘wilder fringes of Little England’ or Ian Paisley recently. This can be verfied by googling the relevant individual and the words Commonwealth and membership.

          • Jude 93

            Irish U: You’re either not very bright or you’re being deliberately dishonest. I’ve asked you before if the “U” in your moniker stands for Unionist, but for some reason you chose not to answer. I’ve already explained why I focus on the Workers Party – because the Irish media which contains many former operatives from this group stilll whitewashes their criminality to this day. You say I focus on on only “one book”. Duh! That’s the whole point. Very few have written about the WP’s criminality in book form – yet as I already pointed out several of the leading figures in Irish politics over the last 40 years belonged to this criminal gang. Why exactly are you so defensive on behalf of the WP.?Do you believe it is healthy that the Irish media never questioned Gilmore, Rabbitte, De Rossa, and sundry others about their past membership of an organisation whose military/criminal wing carried out many murders, robberies, maimings etc – when the same media make a ludicrous song and and dance over some backbencher over-claiming on his expenses? I don’t have time right now to refute the rest of your balderdash, but I hope to get back to it later. Suffice to say for now that your attempts to weasel out of your outright denial that there is considerable support among influential sectors of Irish society for a return to the Comonwealth are nothing short of laughable. You’d have a lot more respect if you just admitted that you were talking through your hat.

          • IrishU

            @Jude93 – With regards to whether I am bright or not, I am happy to compare academic achievement and intelligence any day of the week. As to my dishonesty, if you have asked the question of whether the ‘U’ in my screenname stands for Unionist and I haven’t answered or ignored it, I apologise. I don’t recall you ever asking me that and would be grateful if you could link me to the appropriate thread.

            As to the question posed, the U does indeed stand for unionist and it reflects my political opinions as someone born in Northern Ireland who readily identifies as Irish through background and culture but is content to maintain NI’s union with Great Britain.

            As for the Commonwealth issue, I have attempted to point out the distinction between Frankywiggle’s original remark, my reply concerning Ian Paisley and the desire to see Ireland reunited under the Crown etc with your response. It is quite clear to me we were talking about different interpretations of Commonwealth and any relationship between Ireland, Britain and the Crown. I rejected, and still do, any claim that there is support for such a notion. I agree there are some who see joining the Commonwealth as a possible means of smoothing the way to a United Ireland.

            I look forward to your further rebuttal of my balderdash in due course, especially the links proving John Bruton was in favour of Ireland remaining within the Empire.

          • Jude 93

            Irish U: You may well have missed my query re your moniker, so fair enough on that score.

            The idea that Kevin Boland’s thesis is rendered null and void because he was undoubtedly strongly republican is novel. By that logic all the critiques of Irish nationalism by Owen Dudley Edwards, Ruth Dudley Edwards, John A.Murphy, Conor Cruise O’Brien, Paul Bew, Roy Foster et al, are rendered worthless by the mere fact that they were written by anti-nationalists (I would say most of these folk are in truth British nationalists, or neo-imperialists, but that’s another argument). Boland combines plenty of historical argumentation with what was at the time current facts (he was writing in the early 1980s) to support his thesis that Fine Gael is more British Unionist than Irish nationalist. For example he notes Fine Gael’s historically strong desire for Ireland to continue to identify with the Anglocentric Commonwealth (even though it was a Fine Gaeler, John A. Costello, who ostensibly took Ireland out of it), their fury at Charles Haughey for taking a neutral stance on the Falklands/Malvinas conflict (he only did so after the sinking of the Belgrano it should be noted), and their eagerness to throw Irish companies such as Irish Shipping and Clondalkin Paper Mills under the globalist bus. Most telling of all was and is their very one-sided outrage over paramilitary terrorist violence in Ireland. Quite incredibly, the then Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave’s response to the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 1974 was to blame the IRA – even though the attacks were claimed by the UVF (though many believe them to have been the work of MI5). Cosgrave’s extraordinarily masochistic line (echoed by most of the Irish media) was that the IRA’s own violence had “provoked” the poor loyalists into killing 24 Irish citizens – most of them young women. By the same token another Fine Gael hero, Garret Fitzgerald, when he was Taoiseach, stood on the steps of Leinster House for a lengthy photo-op with John McMichael, the then leader of the British loyalist terrorist group – while McMichael brandished the UDA policy document, ‘Common Sense’ for the cameras. Imagine the outcry the Dublin media would have generated if Charlie Haughey as Taoiseach had posed for a photo-op with Martin McGuinness in the days before the IRA ceasefire. Mary Robinson got very serious flak for merely very briefly shaking Gerry Adams’ outstretched hand among a crowd of well-wishers in Belfast – and this at a time when the Shinners were already well on their way to ditching their support for violence.

            As for Bruton, he has openly declared himself a Redmondite (see the Irish Times article ‘Redmond’s Role In Story Of State Should Be Recognised: July 21, 2014, Irish John Redmond not only wanted Ireland to remain in the British Empire – he was an extremely vocal advocate for Irelands participation in the first World War. The late Albert Reynolds – not a rabid republican by any stretch – once called Bruton “John Unionist” in the Dail – a name that the Dublin magazine, the Phoenix still use for him today.

            Re the Workers Party, Ed Moloney, the Irish Times reporter Northern Ireland correspondent during the troubles, has more than once queried why the Irish media maintain such a wall of silence about the Workers Party’s criminality and terrorism. I’m not a huge fan of Moloney’s views on Russia or U.S. politics, but when it comes to Northern Ireland paramilitarism and OIRA/WP, he knows what he’s talking about. See Moloney’s blog, ‘The Broken Elbow’ for more on the WP’s criminality: There are even allegations that the group imported £1 million worth of heroin to Ireland in the early 1980s. Amongst other things this might help explain why WP fellow travellers in the Irish media denounced anti-drugs campaigners in Dublin’s inner city at that time.

        • Jude 93

          frankywiggles: Thanks. Re your question as to the reasons for the pro-British sentiments in the Irish establishment, the late Justin Keating – a former Irish Minister for Industry and Commerce and Irish Labour Party stalwart, once stated in Dail Eireann that when the British ostensibly departed from Ireland, they left many “sleepers” behind in positions of influence. Keating was a highly cultured and intelligent man, and no Anglophobe – still less a raving Irish republican – so his words need to be taken seriously. When it comes to rags like the Sunday Indo, it isn’t just that they disagree with Irish republican aspirations for a united Ireland – which is a legitimate point of view, though one I disagree with – it goes much, much deeper than that – they seek to rubbish every aspect of Irish identity. Indeed some of the output of the Sunday Indo and other Irish media is akin to 19th century Punch in its rabid hostility to all things Irish. The fact that this stuff is written mostly by Irish journos only makes it more poisonous. And at the risk of once again annoying ‘Irish U’ – the Sunday Indo has many connections to the Workers Party, both personal and familial: Eoghan Harris, Anne Harris, Constance Harris, Brendan O’Connor, Sarah Caden, the late Aengus Fanning, Dion Fanning, and so on. The Workers Party in turn has proven connections to the British deep state.

          However it’s not just the WP – the late Fianna Fail Minister, Kevin Boland, wrote a book in the 1980s, ‘Fine Gael: British Or Irish?’, the title of which explains its thesis – which is that Fine Gael is in truth basically a British Unionist party. I don’ t think this necessarily applies to all Fine Gaelers, but it certainly applies to a good many of them – the obvious modern example being former Taoiseach John Bruton, who makes no bones about his belief that Ireland should never have left the British Empire. By the way, anyone hoping that the recent growth of the far left in Ireland might be an antidote to all of this Hibernian Hibernophobia is in for a disappointment: the Irish far left groups are mostly branch offices of British Trotskyist organisations such as the SWP and what used to known as Militant. The Militant (aka Solidarity) crew are particularly hostile to any form of Irish independent separatism.

          • IrishU

            Well at least we have moved past the Workers Party! Sort of.

            ‘The late Fianna Fail Minister, Kevin Boland, wrote a book in the 1980s, ‘Fine Gael: British Or Irish?’, the title of which explains its thesis – which is that Fine Gael is in truth basically a British Unionist party.’

            Ah good old Kevin Boland. It is hardly surprising that a convinced republican would seek to destroy the reputation of his main political adversaries, Fine Gael, by likening them to a unionist party!

            Honestly, you really are scraping the barrel now Jude93. For context, Boland was from a republican family who were on the losing side of the Irish Civil War. Kevin Boland believed the outbreak of the Troubles in the North were the moment to persue the irredentist claims of the Irish Consitution over Northern Ireland. The Taoiseach, Jack Lynch, disagreed and Boland resigned as a member of both the government and Fianna Fail. He established his own, more hardline republican party, Aontacht Éireann in 1971. In the following general election Aontacht Éireann did not feature and saw no members of the Dail elected. Within this context it is easy to see why Kevin Boland would seek to undermine the electability of Fine Gael.

            As for John Bruton, unless Jude93 can provide an example of the former Taoiseach stating that Ireland should never have left the Empire he should withdraw that remark. John Bruton, and others, have stated that the Easter Rising and ensuing violence through the War of Independence and Civil war were unecessary for Ireland to achieve independence from Britain.

            See the following articles:

            So Jude93, any advance on these articles and any proof that John Bruton has ever said that Ireland should never have left the British Empire?

          • frankywiggles

            Jude, I doubt there is a former colony anywhere on earth that has so many prominent media figures continually apologizing for the former occupier (who regarded their people as the lowest of the low), while scorning those who freed their country – and those who aspire to full independence.

            It is a strange malady that I think is unique to Ireland. One shudders to imagine what their output will be around the time of the border poll!

          • Jude 93

            frankywiggles: You are so right. Irish revisionist anti-nationalism is the weirdest form of masochistic pathology it’s possible to imagine – and many foreigners residing here find it utterly bizarre and inexplicable. Stockholm Syndrome should really be renamed Dublin Syndrome.

  • Blair Paterson

    I’m sorry to say this but I honestly believe we will ever be allowed our freedom without fighting for it anyone with brains knows that Scotland has been subsidising England since the oil and gas was found and that the unionists will never allow Scotland to be free without a fight because the truth is their very survival depends on taking Scotland’s wealth and they are the ones who will cause the fight by denying Scotland her freedom through all the diplomatic means and we will be left with no other choice

  • James

    Ireland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Iceland – are all markedly wealthier than Scotland,…

    Small countries do tend to be more wealthy all things being equal.

    You can also see this with German speaking countries: Liechtenstein – Switzerland – Austria – Germany (with the biggest also being the poorest).

    Probably because it is easier for politicians to get away with corruption in bigger countries, which present crooked people with more opportunities.

    On the other hand, in a small country, where politics is more personal, it is much easier for the voter to personally know the character of the candidate.

    • kashmiri

      Those smaller countries you listed all have high-value services as the core of their economies: Switzerland does banking, pharmaceuticals and high-value goods. Liechtenstein similarly. Austria a mix with production; while Germany is a “normal” country with a large blue collar mass and millions of low wage workers. Wealth only indirectly depends on country size – it is more the economic model than the size that matters for the wealth. India is richer than Pakistan as has basically trasited to capitalism from feudalism; while Pakistan largely is still a feudal country. Similarly, the dominance of highly paid corporate executives in Swiss economy brings more wealth to the state than the “average” mix of workers in Germany.

    • nevermind

      Care to tell us what happened to Libyas assets, James, last time the 151billion have been seen in Switzerland.

      As for Lichtenstein, Junkers personal offshoring thiefdom, it could not exist without their financial’services’.

      • IrishU

        Do you mean Luxembourg, when you refer to Junkers (Juncker’s?) personal offshoring thiefdom?

      • ADMO

        This is a very important point. Libyan gold simply vanished- many £billions. It is very difficult to find out what happened to it. Any links you have would interest me, cheers!

  • kashmiri

    I for once do not believe in a UK breakup. At least no normal country would voluntarily deprive its military of strategic navy bases and nuclear missile launchers (Ukraine was not a normal country mind you). If the civilian government is unable to cater for the military’s strategic needs, history teaches us that the military will not hesitate to step in.

    Let’s hope this does not happen.

    (Romantic dreams aside, the hard reality of today’s world is that the military ultimately takes decisions. Unless the UK power setup is so bad that an incompetent political leadership is indeed able to bring the country to ruin and nobody will say no).

    • Muscleguy

      During the last IndyRef the Navy, quite sensibly, undertook a study looking at where it might move Trident to if Scotland voted Yes. It concluded that short of evicting a couple of Cornish or Devon shore villages there was nowhere. Up to post Indy Westminster of course if it wanted to use National Interest provisions to do that, but it would be tied up in litigation and appealed to the highest even if they did and so no sod would be turned until their allowed lease was up in our Lochs.

      For safety all rUK has to do is build enough extra bunkers at Aldermaston to safely store all the Trident warheads. We lease the rockets from a common pool with the Americans so they can all go back over the Atlantic. Anything more elaborate and Scotland’s patience will run out. For a start we want Faslane for our Navy and the RN will have to cohabit at least. We intend to use Rosyth as a surface naval base again too.

      rUK will also have to find somewhere to put the rusting nuclear subs at Rosyth while they figure out how to finally decommission one. The Americans have done it, the Russians have done it. We cannae dae it. They will have to do as they Yanks and Russkies did and lift them out and cut them into sections. Not all of them have had their reactors defueuled yet. We really have been dilatory. Because they are in Scotland, out of sight and out mind and spend as little as possible.

      Independence will at least force them to do something because I can’t see Plymouth for eg happy to just host them whilst they rust. They will demand progress.

  • Kenneth G Coutts

    Aye! Craig.
    Squirmingly embarrassing to watch.
    Frustrated in the extreme

  • RuilleBuille

    Independence for Ireland and Scotland is within grasp.

    And the best promoters of Irish independence are the DUP!

  • Geoffrey

    If I lived in Scotland I might well have voted for independence, however I don’t for one moment think that i would be financially better off by doing so. For a start servicing it’s share of the National debt, I assume Scotland would take on 10% of the UK’s national debt, of about £200 billion would be difficult.
    If I were the Scottish government I might consider issuing debt to see what the market would charge me in order to get a better idea of whether I would be better or worse off. (Except of course if I already had a good idea that the answer was that the market was Uk rate plus too much ).
    Luckily for the UK it does not have this major problem when it regains it’s independence on leaving the EU.

    • Republicofscotland

      “For a start servicing it’s share of the National debt, I assume Scotland would take on 10%”

      8% but not necessarily so, during indyref 1 David Cameron said the rUK would keep the national debt. Which was carelessly and stupidly accumulated by consecutive useless inept Westminster governments over time.

      The fools at the helm of Westminster over the decades didn’t even have the foresight to create an oil fund similar to that of Norway’s, which now has an embarrassment of wealth due the fund.

      However the Scottish government offered to pay its fair share of the national debt in return for 8% of assets on independence, afterall Scottish taxpayers did help to fund them over the years.

      • John O'Dowd

        “The fools at the helm of Westminster over the decades didn’t even have the foresight to create an oil fund similar to that of Norway’s, which now has an embarrassment of wealth due the fund.”. Possibly.

        More likely, is that what has actually happened – the plunder of North Sea wealth to fund the present lifestyles of those around the City of London, and the political class associated with them (Tories, Red and Blue and Yellow) was the deliberate decision taken.

        Norway’s decision was taken by politicians with a stake in the future of the country, who took ownership on behalf of the country, and invested in that future. The half-hearted attempt at that (the British National Oil Corporation – BNOP – then Britoil) was privatised as one of Thatcher’s first acts in government – thus giving it away for private plunder.

  • Big Jock

    I love the fact that you value independence as an ideal and not financial transaction. I got sick to the back teeth of money men and businessmen monopolising the referendum in 2014. These people only care about their businesses and Leer Jets. Never leave the future of your country in the hands of carpet baggers and scoundrels. Independence is the most valuable thing any human can possess. I hope that during the next referendum we can focus on democracy, moral economics and people.

  • djm

    “Any nation should be outraged at the idea it would voluntarily become subservient”

    So what you’re saying is, you’re happy that the Leave vote carried the day in 2016 ?

    • Morag Branson

      Dear god, are really conflating a union of two nations to a confederal union of 27 independent countries?

  • Dungroanin

    England or more specificaly the City has decided to become more at one with the US.

    We are being fed more and more daily news coverage from there, having been weaned on the entertainment – police state procedurals, docile sitcoms and ‘liberal’ comics, the whole Hollywood superhero, mega weaponery shtick.
    Hell – we are even having our football pitches being torn up by their barbarian kitted version – sacrilege! What they did to the Wembley turf last week.

    Run, flee, fly, be free while you can Scotland – before the implementation of th US gallon and driving on the wrong side.

    The afraid, who say that in this uncertain world – we don’t need further moves of break ups especially the EU – are buying the lies of the fearmongers. I say to them it will be alright and grow a pair.

    I could do with some African sun and heat, the clock change is depressing this week, Ghana affordable?

  • John Thomas

    Let’s unpack the budget to a deeper level. They are arguing about [imaginary/ex nihilo] bank money that has been lent to us with added compound interest without creating the interest money for society as a whole to ever pay back. Thus the National Debt follows the hockey stick exponential growth graph & ludicrous austerity is ordered upon our lot to try & service this monster nightmare of accelerating debt growth that is attributable to usury. It’s not surprising that the three main monotheistic religions all condemn usury outright.

    Anyway, to far far better things. I do hope Scotland becomes independent and the sooner the better. It’ll be single malt all night for me in the celebrations! In your independence though, don’t forget to create & use your own Scottish sovereign currency [no need to borrow any numbers from private banks]. Just spend it into circulation as legal tender but do it interest-free! Let that fine Scotsman, James Gibb Stuart, be your guide. “Scotland And Its Money”, Edinburgh July 1991, ISBN 0 907251 01 3. His short 32 page booklet might even be on line. Good luck. The Independence Prize is waiting for you!

  • Thomas D. Smart

    What the SNP are overlooking are the people in Scotland who voted to leave the EU.
    They must have lost them even although they too want an independent Scotland.
    We need to leave Both Westminster and Brussels!!
    Independence means Independence?

    • Muscleguy

      Not necessarily, after the Brexit when it seemed like we might have IndyRef2 sooner rather than later we in Dundee RIC decided to take the temperature and canvassed a working class neighbourhood. We found a couple of Yes Leavers but when put on the spot about how they would vote in IndyRef2 even if it meant staying in the EU (we assured them they would have the right to campaign to Leave too) both said they would vote Yes.

      Voting Yes first is a crossing of the Rubicon, once achieved it can be achieved again much more easily. I think a lot of the Yes Leavers, especially the working class ones, will vote Yes again. It’s the more middle class ones we might lose. But there are over 200k EU citizens in Scotland, denied a vote in the Brexit Referendum who will vote Yes in their own interests. The gap between the sides last time was 245,000 votes. With the EU citizens and No Remainers like my wife switching sides I think we will have it in the bag regardless.

  • Republicofscotland

    “Thank God the UK will soon be over.”

    Yes, I agree the sooner the better, however I feel a bit sorry for those folk south of the border who will need to live under an ever increasing Dickensian society. They’ll be dragged into more illegal wars similar to Iraq, and their NHS will come under intense pressure from the private sector. Even if Corbyn becomes PM, he won’t be around after a second term, if he were to win it.

    • Loony

      You are probably correct in your prognosis for England. But why would it be different in Scotland?

      Pretty much every system of government anywhere in the west is underpinned by the assumption of continuous growth. There are powerful reasons to support the conclusion that the growth game is over. Therefore any system of government needs to address the question of how to govern societies that are getting poorer.

      But that is not what we are seeing. We are seeing false and misleading comparisons to Scandinavia, Ireland and Iceland. The basic sales pitch is dump England and Scotland will become richer. It is overwhelmingly likely that Scotland (and everywhere else) will become poorer irrespective of its attachment (or non attachment) to England.

      How do you think people will feel if they vote for independence on the basis that they will grow wealthier and they in fact grow poorer. Do you think that there is any likelihood that the English may blame their increasing poverty on Scottish independence.

      Everywhere you look you find evidence that the British establishment are determined to burn it all down. Misleading people on the basis of an emotional appeal underpinned by voodoo economics is calculated to provoke a medium term explosion. These kinds of things are so ubiquitous that they cannot possibly be happening by accident.

      • Republicofscotland

        Scotland sends millions of pounds to the Treasury every year to service debts it did not accumulate. The likes of Trident, nuclear subs, aircraft carriers or HS2, which won’t reach Scotland, will stilI see it pay for it. Independence would also stop Scottish troops from being dragged into illegal British wars such as Iraq.

        Scotland has very little borrowing powers, independence would increase that.

        It has a wealth of natural resources, a small population, and independence would allow it choose a different path from that of the rUK. Of course independence isn’t a panacea, not its just the beginning, and Scots will face problems like any other nation, however independence will allow us to decide for ourselves in which way we solve those problems.

  • bj

    Isn’t ‘wealth’, as used here, a dangerous capitalist construct?
    After all, there is value in vast stretches of unspoilt nature, but is it ‘wealth’ in the sense used?

    What’s with all the strife for wealth?
    It isn’t sustainable, friends.

  • James D

    How can anyone push for an independent Scotland, yet want to remain in the EU? That’s like being a meat-eating vegan, or a tea-total alcoholic.

    • Republicofscotland

      So the other 27 independent EU members who are part of the largest trade bloc on Earth have problem, which is?

    • Dave M

      Way out of date. EU is simply the membership of a group with respect, human rights, industrial and safety standards, compared to a continuing colonialised existence of sneering contempt, exploitation and organised asset stripping. Happy with the worst pension in the world? Happy to see family members returning to Victorian industry conditions of risk and disregard? That’s what is planned.

  • jacobrichsnob

    In 2016, a few Irish economists did an in depth analysis of how the Irish economy would stand if Ireland was still part of the UK, the findings showed that the economic activity and output would have been lower than Wales . Also the UK attempted to break the young Irish State by implementing at a tariff war that lasted 5 years, 1932-1937, it did massive damage to Ireland but we managed to survive , paying the UK £10 million in “Reparations” a massive sum for the time.

    • Paul Greenwood

      I think you might find your paranoia blinding you to objective facts……..

      The Ottawa Conference 1932 introduced Imperial Preference whereby members of the British Empire traded tariff-free but outside the Customs Union you paid a 10% tariff. It appears the 1932 Conference was the last one the Irish Free State attended so it was outside The Single Market and Customs Union and faced a 10% tariff wall

    • Muscleguy

      And post the Brexit vote the Irish, with the other 26 at their backs have shocked those Brexiters who still think of you as a pliant client state backwater. Hence the shock and dismay and insults whenever the reality of the situation is brought home to them.

      If anyone wanted an indication of how Ireland has been changed by Brexit, a long term policy of not riling Westminster has finished. The Irish Parliament has long wanted to invite a Scottish FM on a state visit but held back for fear of offending WM. No longer, Sturgeon was invited, feted and addressed the Seanad.

      I’m quite sure post Scottish Independence we will firm friends, especially when Eire is reunited. We can forget all the unpleasantness of the younger Bruce’s attempt to win the High Kingship during a developing famine. We can get together and tut over the Settled and Stockholm Syndrome Welsh.

  • Node

    I have sympathy for friends in England who do not wish Scotland to be independent, because the Tories have such a majority in England.

    Should Scotland gain independence, public opinion in the rest of the UK will be re-adjusted until the Labour-Conservative see-saw is rocking in its customary fashion (Fatty on the Tory end). The illusion of democratic choice will always be maintained.

    • Paul Greenwood

      Will that be “independence with a hard border” or one with a “Common Travel Area” ?

      Let’s have some detail

      • Node

        My point is nothing to do with the nature of Scottish independence. I’m saying that those who fear a perpetually Conservative rump UK misunderstand the reality of our so called ‘democracy.’

        • Paul Greenwood

          The way to change England is a Regional North of England Party. It is not possible to create a new national party but it is possible to create Regional Parties as Plaid, DUP, SNP have proven. Northern England needs its own political party to slice up the London-based Party machines

      • Republicofscotland

        It will obviously be a hard border, Westminster will call for it as they did in 2014.

  • nevermind

    This was an eletion budget, you could alsp call it showboating magic, now you see it, and in a month or so, whence Wreckxit with no deal is confirmed, it will all go up in a puff of smoke.

    As Erwon Berlin so aptly coined ‘therr is no business like showbusiness’.

    But it keeps us all enthralled, spreading the aura of ‘all is well.’
    Its more like we are alright Jack, and we have borrowed more in the last 8 years than Labour did in over 30 years.

  • Paul Greenwood

    Where the theatricality about a Finance Minister and a Budget emerged from, and why it is a peculiarly English characteristic, once baffled me. I know suspect it has to do with Lloyd George back in 1910 and his use of the Budget to defenestrate the Upper House.

    In other democracies the Upper House has a role in the Financial Statement and Taxation and Spending. In some countries there is even a Joint Committee of both House to resolve differences. Without the ability of a representative Second Chamber to keep the excesses of the ruling clique in check, it is hard to see how overtly politicised spending and taxation can be held in check.

    It is simply a taunting exercise by the ruling clique to say their hands are in the jam jar and no-one can stop them or restrain them.

    It is a perfect example of why and how Britain is so badly governed, and I remind you that at Earl Grey’s insistence the 1911 Parliament Act is the only Act with a Preamble……….

    “Whereas it is expedient that provision should be made for regulating the relations between the two Houses of Parliament:

    And whereas it is intended to substitute for the House of Lords as it at present exists a Second Chamber constituted on a popular instead of hereditary basis, but such substitution cannot be immediately brought into operation:

    And whereas provision will require hereafter to be made by Parliament in a measure effecting such substitution for limiting and defining the powers of the new Second Chamber, but it is expedient to make such provision as in this Act appears for restricting the existing powers of the House of Lords:”

    Simply bringing in a properly constituted Second Chamber possibly based on Euro Constituencies with 2-3 “Members of Upper House” elected on a List System say – would improve the quality of government by making financial decisions subject to proper scruitiny

1 2 3 8

Comments are closed.