Goodbye, and Thanks for all the Fish 178

It is rather disconcerting to be watching the UK continue its disintegration in such spectacular fashion, from as far away as Ghana. I wonder whether events appear quite so ridiculous close up.

It surprises me that, in all the discussion and analysis of the withdrawal agreement, there has been so little analysis of the much more important conjoined Political Declaration, which is about the UK’s prospective relationships once the divorce is over. It particularly surprises me that so very little has been said about fish.

It is very unfortunate for British, and especially Scottish, fishermen that their political leaders are strange right wing bigots of a particularly repellent stamp. This blinds decent people to the truth that the fishing communities of the UK did suffer a dreadful historic injustice, on the same scale as Thatcher’s assault on the miners.

It is seldom remembered now that the UK’s initial entry to the European Communities was achieved against a background of traditional hostility from European states, especially France. Ted Heath’s government decided that the economic benefits of joining the Common Market were so huge, it was for the greater good to sacrifice the fishing community.

As a former Head of the FCO’s Maritime Section, I have an intimate and inside knowledge of the subject. The UK had always opposed the adoption in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea of the 200 mile exclusive economic zone for fisheries, on the grounds that as (then) a maritime nation, freedom of the seas was an overriding priority. Hence the (lost) cod war with Iceland. The UK had therefore never adopted an exclusive 200 mile fishing zone. European Community members states had adopted EEZ’s in 1970.

As part of the political deal behind the UK’s accession to the Common Market, the UK agreed it would adopt an EEZ (called at first an EFZ), and gift most of the fish within it to the fishing fleets of other member states. As the UK has by far the richest fishing waters in the EU (most of them Scottish), there is no doubt that the UK got a terrible deal on fisheries, and saw this as a worthwhile trade-off for other benefits. The fishermen were betrayed “for the greater good” in an bit of realpolitik. That is simply true. It is one of the factors behind the terrible decay in coastal communities.

The Common Fisheries Policy is often compared to the Common Agricultural Policy. In fact the two work in completely different ways. The Common Agricultural Policy is at heart a system of taxpayer subsidy to farmers to negate the perverse incentive that, due to demand inflexibility for staple crops, in years of shortage a farmer can make far more money than in a good harvest year, as prices shoot up so quickly.

The Common Fisheries Policy at base is totally different. It pools the physical resources of member states. If the CAP worked the same way, then British farmers would be entitled to take some of the grapes of Champagne or the oranges of Seville. And the UK gives vastly more than it gets in the CFP. Scotland above all.

So the fishermen may lack articulate, credible or even respectable leadership, but they are in fact perfectly correct. The political and media elite has never given them a fair hearing, because the perceived gains to everybody else of single market membership were so huge. Like many of the Brexit supporters, fishermen were dismissed as stupid old men, an opinion sadly many of their self-appointed “leaders” seemed to justify.

Which is why the Political Declaration is so very interesting. After several clauses on future UK access to the single market for goods and services, it then contains a very plain indication that in exchange for all this, the fishermen are yet again to be sacrificed to the wider interest.

Within the context of the overall economic partnership, establishment of a new fisheries agreement on, inter alia, access to waters and quota shares, to be in place in time to be used for determining fishing opportunities for the first year after the transition period.

Either alone, or even more so in the context of the whole document, there is no doubt at all what this means. It is therefore interesting, that conspicuous by their absence among the Tory resignations this morning, are David Mundell and Ruth Davidson, who had both advertised they would resign in precisely this case. But we already knew they are people of no honour.

The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea mandates that states must ensure sustainable levels of fishing within their EEZ. Once quotas to enforce the sustainable limit have been set, the state has an obligation to share by agreement any of the sustainable quota it lacks the capacity to fish itself. In fact, the EU has always set overall fishing levels too high, and the UK quota sharing ignored the EU capacity provision, but rather actively enforced a massive downsizing of the British fishing fleet. The Political Declaration not only includes continued quota sharing, but a continued EU role in enforcing levels – eg more over-fishing.


It seems to me a general election is the most probable outcome of the current turmoil. The Scottish Government should announce that, in the event of pro-independence MPs winning a majority of Westminster seats, Scotland will declare Independence and apply to the United Nations for recognition and admission. That sets out a fair democratic test before the electorate, and is analogous to the way that Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Croatia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic became independent, plus the overwhelming majority of states in Africa, Asia and South America – almost none of which was by referendum.

The unionists are utterly divided. The United Kingdom is teetering as never before. Westminster has shown its contempt for Scotland in its power grab of major devolved areas, its attempt to grant Northern Ireland superior status to Scotland with the EU, and its shunning of the Scottish Government in the entire Brexit process.

It is not the time for Nicola to try to salvage the UK from its own political collapse. It is time for us to end the United Kingdom. It will be a kindness. They can wish us goodbye, and thank us for all the fish.

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178 thoughts on “Goodbye, and Thanks for all the Fish

1 2
  • John2o2o

    “A General Election is looming. In which the Scottish Government must declare plainly in advance, that the election of a majority of pro-Independence MPs will lead to a Unilateral Declaration of Independence and application to the United Nations for admission and recognition.” (CM on twitter).

    Lol, Craig, is that snake venom whisky they’re plying you with down there in Africa? … That Jungle Juice is more lethal than Novichok you know! (Vladimir told me).

      • SA

        A good example is Stormont where there has not been any government since January 2017. As a consequence Arlene Foster has had the time to run (circles around) Westminster in her spare time.

        • Chris Palmer

          Or Belgium, or any other country you care to mention which does not have a functioning Government (though, in the case of Belgium, the EU is the country’s supreme Government, so the legislative agenda roles on nonetheless). The Government does not “run” the country. Countries are “run” by their people and various institutions. The UK doesn’t cease to function when the MPs go on their holidays in the summer.

          • Old Mark

            Or Belgium, or any other country you care to mention

            Belgium can manage going the best part of a year without a functioning central government as it applies ‘devo max’ to the administrations in Wallonia and Flanders.

    • SA

      The country has been running on autopilot since the 2017 elections which Theresa “strong and stable nothing has changed” May called to improve her mandate. Sadly ( for everyone else) the trick worked and proves that having no majority can be even better than having a small minority, because as a leader, your party can say or do anything but ultimately remain frightened of bringing your government down. I think this ‘Strength in weakness’ will go down as the most enduring legacy of the hapless PM.

  • Gordon Benton

    Many of us will like your well-reasoned argument. I have the feeling that we are very near that General Election. Are we ready?

  • Ottomanboi

    Nicola Sturgeon is a good performer but I doubt she or the people around her have the stomach for the big fight that would rid Scotland of the Union millstone.
    The English ran rings round the Scots in 1707. Methinks they have not lost the knack.
    An opportunity presents itself, an opportunity afforded by the prospect of a UK constitutional crisis. The SNP is ominously silent.
    I doubt Salmond, were he still in charge, would be so quiescent.

  • Chris Palmer

    If Scotland leave the UK and we are not already out of the EU, then Scotland will leave the EU and become a third country (to the EU). They also will not benefit from any Withdrawal Agreement (if “benefit” is quite the right word), but, instead, race the equivalent of a hard, no-deal Brexit outside the EU and UK. I can’t see that one ending well for wee bonnie Scotland.

    • BrianFujisan

      Chris Palmer
      November 16, 2018 at 00:34

      ” wee bonnie Scotland.”

      What makes you think Scotland is Wee.. Fuck Off

    • Stonky

      A perfect example of the old shibboleith that if you keep repeating a lie, eventually it will become the truth. There is no legal basis for the claim that an independent Scotland would no longer be a part of the EU. There is not and never has been any formal legal EU instrument that deals with the situation that arises should an existing member state separate into smaller independent units. Claims that an independent Scotland would be a ‘new country’ are nothing more than opinions, however august and omnipotent the unelected apparatchiks who put them forward (with the eager assistance of a compliant BBC).

      • Chris Palmer

        Herman Van Rompey noted, “I just want to recall some of the principles that would apply in such a scenario.
        The separation of one part of a Member State or the creation of a new State would not be
        neutral as regards the EU Treaties. The European Union has been established by the
        relevant treaties among the Member States. The treaties apply to the Member States. If a
        part of the territory of a Member State ceases to be a part of that state because that
        territory becomes a new independent state, the treaties will no longer apply to that
        territory. In other words, a new independent state would, by the fact of its independence,
        become a third country with respect to the Union and the treaties would, from the day of its
        independence, not apply anymore on its territory. Under article 49 of the Treaty on
        European Union, any European State which respects the principles set out in Article 2 of
        the Treaty on European Union may apply to become a member of the Union according to
        the known accession procedures. In any case, this would be subject to ratification by all
        Member States and the Applicant State.”


        • Ottomanboi

          In the case of the UK that would mean two new states as the original signatory would effectively cease to exist. Without Scotland there is no United Kingdom, an entity established in 1707 by the political union of two sovereign states Scotland and England. Also both might well claim to be legitimate successor states.
          All new legal territory for Brussels.
          Brexit, of course, turns all that on its head as Scots voted overwhelmingly to stay European.

          • Chris Palmer

            Not at all. The UK would not be a new state, but simply a state which is missing a part of its original territory. Scotland would be the new state. However, while taking account of what I have written above, whether or not Scotland were to remain in the EU (were the UK still in the EU) and gain independence, is a matter of politics rather than law. The EU has continually proven in the past that they have a habit of letting the treaties mean what they want them to mean. If that means Scotland remains in the EU, then it is possible. However, it is by no means guaranteed. And that is the point. At the moment, it is wishful thinking, and, as we have learned from the UK’s problems leaving the EU, it is by no means a black and white issue.

          • Paul Greenwood

            De Jure the Successor State to the USSR is the Russian Federation so I presume the Successor State to the UK is England and Wales

        • Ottomanboi

          You miss the point. The United Kingdom minus Scotland would not be able to be styled the United Kingdom as that entity came into existence by treaty in 1707. A state perhaps called the Kingdom of England, Wales and Northern Ireland (KEWNI) would be left and would be a new state as much as Scotland would be. Scottish independence would effectively dissolve the ancient unitary ‘partnership’. English commentators do seem blinkered to the facts of how the UKGB came into existence in the first place.
          This is all new stuff. The pragmatic EU will do what suits its purpose, as we know.

          • Chris Palmer

            No point missed. I understand what you are saying about the creation of the United Kingdom. However, for the purposes of European Union law, the remaining components of the UK after Scotland left would not be considered a new state. Scotland would.

          • Paul Greenwood

            Wales is Not a “Kingdom” but a Principality. N Ireland is NOT a “Kingdom” but a Province.

    • Greumach

      I don’t think Scotland will have left the UK prior to the UK Leating the EU, possibly sometime shortly thereafter, and I’m sure, the not so, wee Scotland will be fine thank you.

    • Michael Scott

      You aren’t a daily mail or express reader are you, please find out how much a country is worth it’s exports ,it’s geographic position and if it’s ruled by a parasite foreign country before you sprout so much nonsense

    • Patmur

      I have a feeling, given the lack of trust the UK has now engendered in the rest of the EU over the last two years, that the EU would allow Scotland some kind of virtual membership until after the UK leaves and then arrange for rapid arrangements to be put in place for Scotland’s formal re-admission soon thereafter.

  • William MacDougall

    You suggest that if “pro-independence MPs win a majority of Westminster seats” Scotland could declare UDI without a referendum. There are two problems. First, it’s likely then that the SNP would lose such an election; it’s done well in recent years by saying the opposite: that independence would come only after a referendum so it was safe for Unionists to vote SNP for the sake of other issues. Second, there is zero chance that Westminster (or the UN or the EU) would recognise such a move; legally the decision is Westminster’s, morally they would claim that it’s contrary to the recent referendum, and politically they would say that there will be another referendum in a few years so wait for that. Catalonia at least tried to call a referendum. Your proposal would not work.

  • Kula

    A general election is what May wants as that would truly scupper Brexit. She tried it before but too many idiots voted for her. The bumbling is a thinly- disguised war of attrition

    • Paul Greenwood

      I doubt it would scupper BreXit so much as scupper EU. Corbyn could assume office and create a National Government to handle BreXit and withdraw Art 50 and demand MEPs in the EuroParl. Since nothing is ratified and EuroParl dissolves in March there is every prospect he could rescind May’s ill-considered and premature Art 50 which Parliament had to authorise and could rescind or put in abeyance. Barnier will soon be gone as will Juncker – Francophones Adieu

  • Andrew MacDonald

    The problem with your otherwise fine article is that Nicola Sturgeon (aptly named) will also, against the SNP’s own constitution, committ to EU membership and therefore betray her own fishermen by signing up to the Common Fisheries Policy. There is no such thing as Indepence in Europe, it is a contradiction in terms and a lie which disenfranchises over a million Scots who voted leave.

    • CanSpeccy


      By transferring allegiance from the UK to the EU, Scotland would be transformed from a moderately influential fish in a pond of significant size (almost 10% of the population) into a triviality in an vast conglomerate of which it would account for less than 1% of the population. If the Scots want independence and fish too, they should back Brexit, then go for separation from the UK.

      • Patmur

        Yes but the Scottish economy does not just consist of the fishing industry. The trouble is that this country as a whole (UK) has never learnt that as a second level country you have to decide what things are most important to you and build alliances to achieve them. You can’t have everything you want either in the EU or outside it.

        We are only now at the stage of understanding that we are a second level country. Who now remembers Liam Fox’s ludicrous statement that getting exactly what we wanted from the EU in the Brexit negotiations would be the easiest agreement reached in world history. The strategic depth we gained from being a major player in the EU will also be gone next March and we will fall even further down the international pecking order. The Trumps and the Xi Jin Ping’s of this world are going to eat us for breakfast when arranging free trade deals with us now that we lack the backing of the EU.

  • Jon

    Hi Craig. I am happy to admit that I am not a fisherman, do not live in a coastal community, and know little about it. However I’ve been looking into it, and to be honest I can’t help but feel that the government was right in that deciding to sacrifice the fishing industry to gain benefits elsewhere. Even when we entered the EU, we only had 25,000 fishermen so it was already a tiny sector. Today we have 12,000 fishermen which in the greater scheme of things counts for nothing. As a comparison our industries where we our world leaders (such as our financial sector and ICT sector) employ around 1.3 million people each. They are forward looking sectors which actually earn money for the country, whereas fishing of course gets half of its income from government grants. I know I’m being hard but I wonder if fishermen are basically working in a dead sector that’ll never really amount to anything whatever they or the government does.

    Sorry if I’ve caused any offence, and I am happy to be re-educated and learn if I’ve got it wrong.

    • Chris Palmer

      Norway, inside the Single Market (via EFTA & the EEA) but outside the EU is not subject to the Common Fisheries Policy, but gains the other benefits of the Single Market. In other words, it did not have to be the case, in 1972 or now, that we had to make a choice between saving British fishing and other economic prosperity. We could have had both.

      • Paul Greenwood

        Edward Heath was not tasked as Chief Whip under Macmillan with negotiating entry into EFTA but into the EEC. Macmillan had created EFTA as an alternative and Uk was the biggest economy in the group. Heath simply had his life’s goal to attain and beat Harold Wilson to it…..chance came when de Gaulle stepped down in 1969 and the Rothschild man Pompidou assumed office – he was friendly towards Heath from his time as PM under de Gaulle and the door was opened. Funnily enough Macron is a Rothschild man of a different era

      • Patmur

        Neither the Single Market or the EEA existed when Britain joined the EU in 1972. It would have been possible to have had a Norway type deal but this would have meant that the UK had to agree to the free movement of EU workers – this is a principle which has always been a red line for the EU (we knew this before the Brexit vote). Norway was happy to accept this – for reasons I don’t personally understand Britain isn’t. A Norway option for Brexit was therefore not acceptable to the UK, rather than not being acceptable to the EU. Indeed Norway, even though it isn’t in the EU is a member of the Schengen Zone.

        • Old Mark

          the free movement of EU workers – this is a principle which has always been a red line for the EU

          The EU yes, but the EFTA countries in the EEA have found in practice that the EFTA Court allows them rather more leeway in applying the 4 shibboleths aka 4 freedoms.
          1 Tiny Lichtenstein has a near permanent ’emergency brake’ on granting residency rights to other EEA nationals- the number allowed in each year is just in double figures
          2 Iceland was allowed by the EFTA court to continue with capital movement controls for 7 years after their banks went bust, and the Icelandic government, sensibly, refused to bail them out.

    • Paul Greenwood

      Yes Jon because it is FISH we are considering and it is caught by men in boats, landed, processed and eaten by people……..the cost is purely a Sterling cost when it is caught, processed and eaten by people in the UK rather than being imported in a foreign currency from British fishing grounds.

      I don’t think you need “re-educating” – simply going through the process first time around would suffice. The main fishing grounds in the EU are UK fishing grounds.

      Considering the Subsidy Gordon Brown doled out to Finance in 2008 I doubt it has any positive Value-Added or will ever pay Taxes in the future with such huge losses to offset. ICT must live off Government projects.

      • Rob Royston

        Bread and fishes fed the multitude in the Bible. I don’t think a handfull of coins and silicone chips would have worked. We are blessed with land and sea areas that we should cherish. Will we move on from the CAP and the CFP and let the damage be made good for future generations? For fishing we need bans on all bottom trawling and dredging, whether for demersel fish or crustaceans, hand-lining and fixed gear results in better quality and less destruction. Pelagic netting needs better control as well, I get kippers in the supermarket smaller than my fingers, in my youth summer herring were ten to twelve inches long.

        • Paul Greenwood

          Do use silicon chips (made from sand) rather than silicone (made from oil) if you want to build circuits

    • certa certi

      ‘Today we have 12,000 fishermen which in the greater scheme of things counts for nothing’

      Jon. Commenters here in general aren’t strong on economics.

      The fishing industry is a multiplier. It requires light industry, services and trades to support it ie a port community.

  • certa certi

    How hypocritical is Dublin though. Suspension of the Voisinage Agreement.

    ‘It was only vessels from NI that had access to Ireland’s 6m zone under reciprocal Voisinage Agreement, which Ireland unilaterally suspended. Great example of cooperation with their nearest neighbours. Or to put it another way: HARD BORDER against NI fishermen’

  • certa certi

    ‘So the fishermen may lack articulate, credible or even respectable leadership’

    Hmm. The phrase ‘arrogant class conscious pommy bigot’ comes to mind.

    Bertie seems to be at least as articulate, credible and respectable as Mr Murray –

    ‘Belfast-born Bertie Armstrong, who is CEO of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, is battling for the UK to reclaim sovereignty over its own waters’

    • pete

      It’s a beautiful song, written in 1697, with bitter/sweet lyrics, and presumably not unrelated to the history of the time – for example 1692 Massacre of Glencoe: – another marriage (sort of) that didn’t work out well.

      18th January Thomas Aikenhead executed for blasphemy.
      10th June 5 Paisley witches hanged and burned
      2nd November Birth of James Douglas 3rd Marquess of Queensbury described as violently insane, when he was 10 he killed and roasted a scullion:,_3rd_Marquess_of_Queensberry

      • Sharp Ears

        Thanks for response Pete. I have a brother Pete.

        From the BBC website.

        ‘Brexit: Scottish fishing industry calls for clarity
        15 November 2018

        Members of the Scottish fishing industry have called for “clarity” on the implications of the draft agreement on leaving the EU.

        On Wednesday, Scottish Secretary David Mundell backed the draft Brexit deal despite concerns about its impact on the fishing industry.

        The 585-page document said a new agreement would be reached on access to waters and quota shares.

        Fishing leaders, skippers and traders are seeking more specifics on the plan.

        Prime Minister Theresa May insisted on Thursday the UK government would not accept any deal with the EU that linked access to fishing waters with trade.

        The Aberdeenshire town of Peterhead is Europe’s largest white fish port, where a new state-of-the art market opened earlier this year.
        Speaking to BBC Scotland at Peterhead fish market, where more than 5,000 boxes of fish were landed on Thursday morning, trader Gary Mitchell said the industry feared for the future.

        He said: “The fishermen are devastated. We don’t know what’s going to happen. We are being sold down the river once again. “We just want clarity.”


        A Scottish Conservative MP, Ross Thompson, has called on Fluffy to resign. As if he would leave his nice little earner.

        • Vivian O'Blivion

          Ross Thomson’s one and only photo face.

          I challenge anyone to find any other expression when he knows he’s being photographed.
          A demented cross eyed grin. A four year old that’s just completed their biggest poo ever! A care in the community recipient in the shopping centre that’s been handed a candy floss.

  • Martinned

    The Scottish Government should announce that, in the event of pro-independence MPs winning a majority of Westminster seats, Scotland will declare Independence

    Yes, because if there’s one thing we’ve learned from all of this it’s that exiting a union and breaking up a common market is a piece of cake.

  • the pair

    couldn’t care less about fishermen or their anachronistic “livelihood”. fish is as unhealthy as any animal product and fishing is detrimental to the environment. they can whine about “culture” all they want but it’s as unconvincing as the similar argument used by japan to excuse whaling or china’s continuing tolerance of “traditional medicine” and the resulting destruction of rare species for the sake of “male enhancement”. time to grow up, folks. if all you can do is kill animals then you need to go. now. otherwise shut up about “mah daddy an’ mah daddy’s daddy” and get a real job.

  • Peelster

    Please provide factual evidence of how Scotland would be able to join the EU if independant? When would our trade agreement with our largest trading partner (rUK) be achieved? Would there be a hard border between Scotland? If not, why not? Would we be using the euro as an independent Scotland? And have you donated to the many great Scottish causes supported by BBC Children in Need?

    • Fuzzy

      It has been said by a few high up European sources.. Verhofstadt being one I believe, that as Scotland is fully compliant with EU membership then the process would be shorter than usual… I hesitate to believe this entirely as Scotland has resources such as fish and natural resources that may come into a negotiation.
      If we (Scotland) were in Europe I believe that trade with the UK would be handled centrally in Brussels.
      I think there would have to be a border of some description but it depends on what the UK did… If they pursue their current isolationist course then we would have to have a border to prevent free movement. The UK seemed very keen on a technological system for the NI border so may work in Scotland. As we are surrounded by water… Apart from the English border… Passports (potentially ID cards) would be required for entry anyway from the EU. Walking across a frontier between 2 EU countries is very different to arriving at an air/sea port even in EU to EU internal transfers.
      Sweden don’t use the Euro so why would we have to… Its not mandatory.

    • Patmur

      It might be that England would have to extend the Common Travel Area which the current UK has with the Republic of Ireland to include Scotland as well.

  • alasdairB

    A GE followed by UDI ONLY Way To Go , thus avoiding Section 30 (2) which will be withheld indefinitely by Westminster.
    However with voting age fixed at 18 & upwards for a GE this route this has the handicap of the loss of the vote of of the pro Indy 16/17 year olds .Solution is UDI by EU type qualified majority viz 55% of seats representing 65% of total population (not voters).
    Ambivalent at this stage on whether Scotland should seek membership of EU or if more practicable & expedient to explore the EEA/EFTA route a la Norway. EEA/EFTA membership would certainly bring the fishermen on board , be advantageous to oil & gas sector and provide a soft border with rUK & NI.
    But as Scotland’s future should be solely in Scotland’s hands why would we require to await a Westmister GE when the same result could be achieved by an early dissolution of Holyrood ? That would be a true test of all those supporting an Independent Scotland.

    • Fuzzy

      I think EEA/EFTA with Norway would be the best solution…. It would also add significant bargaining power to the group with Europe’s 2 biggest Oil/gas/fish producers… This could be used to strengthen the group withing Europe.

  • Robert Alexander

    Why did the snp knock this man back when the vetted him as a prospective candidate for Holyrood.
    It’s always puzzled me,was it the morality police,the right wing Eŵings and cp.

  • Gary

    Sadly this comes as no surprise. Gove, on a visit to Scotland some weeks back, had met with the fishing industry leaders who obviously queried what would happen in regard to the access to Scottish Waters.

    His reply was that it “was to be negotiated” ie ‘negotiated away’ AGAIN…

    This was one of the reasons Brexit gained support in Scotland and elsewhere in fishing communities. As usual the political classes get what THEY want by lying to the electorate. There will be NO new hospitals as advertised on ‘battle buses’ and the fishing rights will be given away DESPITE promises made.

    The one major drawback about Brexit is WHO negotiates our exit. And it’s not that the Tories don’t care, no not at all, they DO care. But they just don’t care about US…

  • John Furlong

    A super analysis of this dire situation.
    Having been at the head of the industry you have a unique insight into the betrayal of not only our fisheries no but of our nation.
    Well said sir

  • Richard

    But Sturgeon’s S.N.P. wants to remain in the E.U. If the E.U. can treat the whole country the way it has (admittedly with collusion from the government) then what will it do to Scotland? (And it should be noted that Sturgeon and co. are as far up the E.U.’s backside as May is). A separate nation state called Scotland is one thing; membership of the E.U. is another.

    And Heath didn’t just sell the fishermen down the river, though they may have suffered disproportionately, he sold the whole country down the river. There are some very dark rumours as to why that might have been. When Norway was negotiating membership at about the same time and was made a similar offer with regard to fish, they got up and walked.

  • John2o2o

    Forgive me if I have commented on this before, but I must challenge an assertion related to the above issue that you have recently placed on your twitter feed.

    As I have stated before I am personally indifferent when it comes to the issue of Scottish independence, but very irritated by the cowardly exclusion of Scots such as my mother who was denied a vote on the grounds of residency. I take it that in the event of Scottish independence becoming a reality she will be entitled to call herself Scottish? Because she has never called herself English and like most Scots would be very offended by the suggestion that she should.

    Frankly, I have long considered that the reason that you exclude Scots such as my mother from these referenda is because you consider that they would be more likely to vote to remain.

    “The most important factor in attaining Independence is courage.”

    No Craig, the most important factor in attaining independence is consent. The will of the people. Now remind me (I’m so sorry, I know it’s painful) of what the will of (at least some of) the Scottish people was the last time their will was tested a couple of years ago?

    Craig, I very much understand the attitude of fanatics such as yourself (I use the word as a statement of fact and not as a criticism), but you must understand that other Scots do not share your level of enthusiasm for independence and would probably be somewhat aggrieved by a unilateral declaration of independence that they did not vote for and do not want.

    You need to get more people on board for your crusade. If you can’t do that then “tough”. The United Kingdom will remain a united kingdom.

  • Tony M


    I think you misunderstand the basics of how democracy functions. No one except you perhaps expects even demand a vote on elections in places where they do not live. I live in Scotland, was born there, I’m not complaining or fool enough to demand that I ought to be able to vote in elections in the USA say, or in Australia, or Timbuktu for that matter. You’ve made your point rather poorly, I can see the reason for that is the fact, painful as it must be to you, that your point has no merit, absolutely none, what you suggest is nothing short of absurd, the very height of it. I don’t see why persons living in other countries should even think they ought to have any say whatsoever in Scotland’s democratic process. And I think that lies at the root of the problem, the sense of entitlement, the mentality that universal rules do not apply to you when it suits, it explains it in a nutshell. Well you’re in for a rude awakening, those days are long over.

    I believe a clear majority in Scotland did and do support independence, were frightened, lied to and tricked into voting No in the last referendum, were bamboozled by the most disgusting and biased conduct of the media, the gutter oligarch-controlled press and the propagandist monster that is the BBC, in vile collusion with the near-extinct in Scotland English-based unionist Labour, Lib-Dem and Tory fifth-column parties. In a free and fair referendum or election where a clear choice between independence or continuing colonialist occupation and exploitation is on offer, where the ideals and practice of democratic choice were respected, we, the Scots would have and certainly will in future recover our inalienable legal and moral right to self-determination, recover our self respect and dignity and take back control of our country from the thieves and jackals who have looted our land and its resources, spirited away the wealth of tens of generations of Scots, lined their own pockets and fattened their bellies, spent it building up another country’s infrastructure and capital, gambled and laundered it through the racketeering epicentre of global crime, the City of London and spirited much of it abroad.

    Scotland has long been the wealth generator of the United Kingdom, the golden goose that keeps on giving without complaint and London’s financial centre is the plughole down which that wealth is unaccountably flushed. The bills for which criminal financial sector offset by an order of magnitude, any specious claimed benefits, any putative good it might ever have done. Scotland has had more than enough, let the parasite partner in this union, a union entered into by Scotland under condtions of blockade and terror, try to live of its own fat for the first time in its existence and it would most assuredly wither and die in short order and that day cannot come soon enough. The gloves are now off, shit in your own backyard in future. Good bye England’s parasitic despotic elite, the banker’s slithering whores, and thanks for fuck all, not for the misery, poverty and death, the servitude and unending abuse you have heaped on and wrought upon the Scots, the wars you have waged on our European brethren with our sons in the vanguard, the misery unleashed upon the planet and its peoples, your supremacism, arrogance, hypocrisy and cant -you are hated the world over and with good reason. You have been a blight on all of humanity in all your history, a weeping sore, a dark force for evil and for ill. Karma is a bitch, and you sure have it coming in spades.

  • Sharp Ears

    Gove had a long session yesterday (4 hours) on the Second Reading of the Fisheries Bill.

    In a lengthy preamble, he recounted that his father was a fish merchant.

    ‘Gove was born in Edinburgh and originally forenamed Graham by his biological mother; at the age of four months he was adopted by a Labour-supporting family in Aberdeen, where he was brought up. His adoptive father ran a fish processing business; his adoptive mother was a lab assistant at the University of Aberdeen before working at the Aberdeen School for the Deaf.’

    The Sun has many photos of him as a child and student. He was a Young Fogey from the off.

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