Know Your Limits 479

The English and Welsh voted to leave the EU. They are entitled to leave the EU, and it is not the job of the leader of the Scottish National Party to frustrate their intention, or even try to influence the terms on which the English and Welsh leave the EU. Just as it is not the job of the Scottish National Party to stop Westminster having the Tory governments the English people inexplicably keep voting for.

It is the job of the leader of the Scottish National Party to secure Independence for Scotland, and to ensure that the vote of the Scottish people, to remain within the EU, is respected. I am therefore entirely unconvinced that for Nicola Sturgeon to try to play a role as the darling of the Remainer population of England is of any use to the people of Scotland. And the truth is that knowing the very last detail of the eventual Brexit outcome, of which we know the essential outlines, will have virtually no effect on the prospects of an Independent Scotland.

Now is the moment of maximum chaos; whatever eventually emerges between London and Brussels will work without immediate catastrophic effects. People will not starve and run out of medicine, in the real world. The UK will continue to be a Tory hell with some changes of arrangements. Scotland should not be in Tory Hell, whatever Tory Hell’s relationship with the EU.

I am here considering Brexit only as it affects Independence.

If Independence is actually Sturgeon’s overriding aim, the only logical analysis on her part which I can see, that explains her constant haver on Indy, is that Brexit will be so immediately catastrophic as to have Scots clamouring for Independence as an alternative.

But that is a miscalculation. I am confident the dislocation effects of Brexit will not be as immediately harsh as doom-mongers predict. Plus if the outcome were immediately harsh, Scottish Unionists are far more likely to don tin helmets and rally round the Union Jack while blaming Johnny Foreigner, than they are to convert to Independence on the grounds the UK is having a hard time.

There are of course other options. The UK may not leave the EU at all – which would do nothing to advance the cause of Scottish Independence. There may be a general election which could bring Labour into power – that would on balance reduce the desire for Independence in Scotland.

The truth is, that the delay in pushing for Scottish Independence is not predicated on increasing the chances of attaining Independence. It is based on attempting to secure for the United Kingdom what is best for the people of the United Kingdom. It is an essentially unionist position.

This is Sturgeon’s dilemma. She sees a UK in which the tragedy of the Remain camp is that its leadership is utterly discredited. Blair, Campbell, Umunna, Clegg, Mandelson, Straw; the only people articulating a Remain position have no credibility. They are all people who turn the nation’s stomach when they show up on Marr. That leaves a huge leadership vacuum which Sturgeon is filling in Remainer eyes, and in Guardian/BBC eyes. A Remain minded leader who is not personally hated. A very rare thing indeed.

Who else do the Remain camp have as a leading politician who is not discredited and deeply unpopular? Serious question, please do attempt an answer.

That is a massive temptation to a politician to step forward and take the glory. If Sturgeon appears far more interested in Brexit and in Remain than in Scottish Independence that is, on a human level, very understandable. If it leads to the great opportunity for Scottish Independence being passed over while in pursuit of UK/EU relations and fawning headlines in the Guardian, that would be nonetheless unforgivable.

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479 thoughts on “Know Your Limits

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  • J Arther Nast

    Over at Zero Hedge Paul Ceaig Robarts has described James Ball as “a two bit punk”. Ilike it.

  • Sharp Ears

    Housing the homeless. Not. Five homes become one for P Harry and his wife. Only 10 bedrooms Hope they’ll manage.

    ‘The Grade II-listed cottage is said to be undergoing a multi-million pound refit, paid for by the taxpayer, before pregnant Meghan gives birth to the couple’s first child.

    Kensington Palace confirmed the move on Saturday, saying Windsor is a “very special place” for the couple.
    Frogmore Cottage has more than enough space for the Sussex family and a nursery for their baby – and even a gym or a yoga studio – with 10 bedrooms.

    Formerly known as Double Garden Cottage, the home is set within Windsor Castle’s Home Park and faces the stunning and sprawling grounds of Frogmore House, which will no doubt become a more popular stop on the Windsor tourist trail.

    The cottage is currently divided into five units which were home to royal staff, but it will be transformed into a family home with modern amenities.’

    Imagine the cost plus all the furnishings.

  • Alf Baird

    Nicola is another Hilary, as it turns out, unfortunately. Craig is right, “Now is the moment of maximum chaos”, yet the SNP let it slip by. She should be at the UK Supreme Court securing confirmation that an SNP ‘nationalist’ majority of Scotland’s MP’s may dissolve the Westminster parliamentary ‘union’, as it began. And they could do that now. What is she afraid of?

    • Jo1

      “What is she afraid of?”

      I think the elephant in the room is the 2014 referendum result. Whether we like it or not that result can’t just be ignored. If Sturgeon chose to disregard it I believe all hell would break loose. I can’t see any way around that other than winning a second referendum. And, right now, I don’t believe there is enough support to win .

      • Alf Baird

        Jo1, there is not enough support for independence primarily because around half of No voters are not Scottish (heritage/culture) and they appear to have little interest in voting for Scottish citizenship and Scottish nationality to replace their own and moreover seem motivated to actively block the right of Scots to our own citizenship/nationality. This is what we get with what is a unique national vote system based on ‘residence’ rather than the norm, i.e. parental descent and current/previous residence – as in the Brexit vote. The Yes/No decision is an emotion and is at root determined by culture and language; in Scotland as in Quebec and Catalonia the vast majority of Yessers are indigenous language speakers whereas most No’s are not, a clear cultural and linguistic divergence. By making the vote resident-based we are simply inviting a No result from the ever increasing number of people who have limited cultural or linguistic connection to Scotland and who in what is clearly an anti-Scottish (perhaps racist?) stance take it upon themselves to effectively block Scottish nationality. FPTP is therefore the only option remaining and Scotland has the democratically elected majorities for that already, i.e. de facto independence, which it should use to full effect.

        • Willie

          Could not agree more Alf.

          The SNP leadership is increasingly at odds with the independence movement and it is as if the drive has gone.

          You are of course correct about the plantation of Scotland. It has been going on for years. Promoting English based individuals into senior positions within the civil service, governmental quangos, the education sector has been policy. And of course the destruction of Gaidhlig or th3 disparaging of Scots as the heathen tongue is all part of it too.

          As an SNP supporter I cannot but wonder if the SNP, like John Redmond’s constitutional Irish Home Rule Party before, has been sold a pup.

          And, in relation to a man who in my opinion gave his all to promote independence, and could do again, don’t you think the current investigation into him has all the hallmarks of political smear.

          I do, and it’s the way that the establishment works.

  • MaryPau!

    does Meaghan really want to live out in Windsor. ? If must be for weekends. My money is on the Gloucesters making way toor them in Kensington Palace, when they can in turn be rehoused.

    • Paul Greenwood

      Is 4 Route du Champ d’Entraînement, not available ?

      I do envision this bearded sap being whisked off to Canada in some preform role to clear the Daily Mail front page

  • Dungroanin

    “MPs leading the inquiry into fake news have repeatedly tried to summon Zuckerberg to explain the company’s actions. He has repeatedly refused. ”

    Yet he is still allowed to ply his trade!


  • Sharp Ears

    Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) · Twitter

    I don’t say this lightly, but almost nothing in this desperate letter is true. This is a bad deal, driven by the PM’s self defeating red lines and continual pandering to the right of her own party. Parliament should reject it and back a better alternative – SM/CU or #PeoplesVote
    19 mins ago


    Warning- BLiar is on Marr. His hair is long. He is revisiting his youth as a rocker! As pathetic as he is criminal.

  • Sharp Ears

    Yet another dreary speech from May. When will it end?

    I laugh when she comes to the end and asks for questions from the assembled scribes, naming ‘Laura’ first. Laura poses what is seemingly a difficult question each time but it is a front to make us think that May is being challenged.

    Helpfully, we are given reminders in case we dropped off.

    UK Prime Minister
    20 minutes ago
    40 reasons to back the Brexit deal [tap to expand] #BackTheBrexitDeal

    She should have it set to music and then she can dance to it.

  • Willie

    I think that many in the independence movement would agree that an opportunity to pursue that objective is being missed.

    Scotland narrowly voted to remain in the U.K. on the promise that doing so would keep them in the EU. They then voted 62% to 38% to remain in the EU.

    The Scottish Parliament has its third independence supporting government whilst in Westminster the SNP hold 35 out of 59 seats. With all of this capped off with a Tory Government that Scotland didn’t vote for, has never voted for, in total and utter shambles, I cannot but help think too that we are for some reason deliberately missing the boat.

    Maybe MI5 have got the bite on some of our politicos or the establishment has paid them off. It’s a strange game. The independence drive is being deliberately held back and the opportunity missed.

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