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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  • Mist001

    Scotland can’t remain in the EU because it’s not a member in the first place. It can only play a part in the EU mechanism if the UK changes its mind and Scotland remains a part of the UK otherwise Brexit or independence, Scotland has no part to play in the EU. My current belief is that rather than a second independence referendum, Scotland will be offered devo max which Nicola/the SNP will enthusiastically accept and present it as a victory.

    The thought has occurred to me that the SNP is being pressured not to pursue the independence line. I’m thinking specifically of Jim Radcliffe who took on the union at Grangemouth, was quite seriously willing to close the whole Grangemouth plant down and ended up wrapping the SNP and Alex Salmond around his little finger. Imagine if he’s let slip that if independence comes about, then he’ll close his Grangemouth plant. Hundreds of people lose their jobs and the blame gets laid squarely at the feet of the SNP. There are likely to be plenty more Jim Radcliffe people lurking in the background.

    Then again, maybe I’m being over generous to the SNP and the leadership simply doesn’t have the stomach for independence and all that entails.

    • craig Post author

      The EU will make it possible for Scotland to remain a member if it secedes, or rejoin if it takes effect after Brexit is effective. There is no reason to doubt that at all. Scotland already meets the full acquis and today the Spanish foreign minister made plain Spain will not object. Nor will anyone else. The EU sees it as an excellent way of setting an example of the dire consequences (for London) of leaving.

      • Mist001

        Scotland is a part of the UK which is currently a member of the EU. Scotland by itself is not, and never has been a member of the EU so it can neither remain, nor rejoin. By the same token, the same applies to England, Wales and NI. The UK as a whole entity is the member, not the individual nations. Scotland will have to apply to join the EU.

        • Mist001

          During the referendum of 2014, I have very strong memories of being told explicitly and emphatically that an independent Scotland would continue to use the pound. I keep hearing the myth that the majority of Scots voted to remain in the EU but I wonder how many rejected adoption of the euro? Don’t hear very much about that which is a pity because quite a few folk may be in for a surprise post independence:

          • Dungroanin

            There is no reason not to use a fiat Scottish Pound is there? There is no need to be tied to the Sterling or adopt the Euro. Imagine having the Health Service, Affordable social housing and decent free education restored to it’s formal glory!

            Setting up the state apparatus may be tricky. As well as some form of hard-border to stop the entrapped europhiles from England and Wales, piling in for their EU regulated foods. Plus processing all these dual citizenship and asylum applications. I suppose it would provide lots of jobs for all these worried about no longer being employed by the English, Welsh and Northern Irish military directly.

            A competent Foreign Affairs Minister and department would be vital, especially dealing with the perfidious English FCO – I doubt there are any in the SNP, could be tricky finding the right person…

      • Busted Flush

        Scotland today only meets the Aquis by virtue of our membership of the UK. After independence we will have to demonstrate that the new Scottish institutions and constitution are compliant.
        If,for example,the SNP refused to hold elections, we would fail the requirements of Chapter 17.
        An independent Central Bank is also a requirement.

      • Tom Welsh

        “The EU sees it as an excellent way of setting an example of the dire consequences (for London) of leaving”.

        And that seems to be perfectly OK with you, Craig.

        What became of all the brave talk about independence and not being bullied by politicians? Or not worrying about threats of grinding poverty, because glorious independence is so much more important?

    • Jo1

      “Scotland will be offered devo-max”

      Well, in the consultation period organised by the SNP, the majority preference was for devo-max. In fact, the SNP wanted devo-max on the ballot paper as an option along with independence. Cameron said no.

      • Mist001

        That’s correct and Devo Max lets the SNP off the hook and puts Scottish Independence to bed.

  • Jim Sinclare

    Dominic Grieve and Caroline Lucas are good for Remain, and you missed out Campbell from the discredited.

    • craig Post author

      I certainly accept Caroline Lucas, but she is an undeservedly marginalised figure. I like Dominic Grieve personally, a very honorable man. But I don’t think anyone views him as a campaign leader.

      • Jim Sinclare

        Dominic Grieve was the headline act of a Remain event last week at Central Hall Westminster, he wowed the crowds.

        • Dungroanin

          Reminds me of the grand old duke of york – he marched up the hill to get a meaningful vote then ran back down without getting it! Can’t be trusted by looks of it.

          Anyone know what his constituents want?

          There is not going to be a referendum without a parliamentry vote -there aren’t enough tory rebels willing to rebel to enable it, without losng their whips – and it would take months to get passed and given assent, before even being called.
          The ONLY way to avoid the current brexit is to withdraw A50 or extend it if the ECJ thinks it could be. Tricky but not impossible. And certainly May and the tories are never going to do that! Are they? So the only way is to have a general election and elect a government that will do it. The EU would think it worth waiting the few extra months i’m sure to allow a rethink.

          • Jim Sinclare

            Dominic Greive, very safe South Bucks seat, was 51% Leave but now tending towards Remain. Assuming the Withdrawal Bill is defeated, a referendum is the obvious escape route for May, it should pass easily.

          • Sharp Ears

            What? The Tories of Beaconsfield and Gerrard Cross with all their vested financial interests?

      • Sharp Ears

        Grieve, so honourable that he refused to grant the application for an inquest for Dr Kelly. A judicial review of his decision was rejected. The establishment was in overdrive.

        An inquest was opened when Dr Kelly’s body was ‘discovered’ but it was immediately subsumed by Milord Hutton’s Inquiry. set up by Falconer for BLiar.

        Miles Goslett’s book, An Inconvenient Death: How the Establishment Covered Up the David Kelly Affair, gives chapter and verse and was immediately rubbished by Aaronovitch needless to say. He is an establishment tool. 70 reviews mostly favourable.

      • Andyoldlabour


        The Green party polled around 80,000 less votes than UKIP (who were ridiculed by the msm) at the 2017 election, so whilst I am in favour of many Green policies, they are simply a nonentity at the moment.
        I hate the Tories, but Labour are imploding, mainly due to them being sidetracked with minor “equality” issues, the anti Semitism smears, and the fact that many women, particularly women who stand up for women’s rights, are leaving the party because they feel that the party is marginalising them.

        • Dungroanin

          Andy, Labour are imploding??? Lol.

          Is that wishful thinking or do you have any facts to point to? The Party is marginalising Wimmin?

          You do realise that even the dodgy pollsters are finally abandoning their phony weighting to show that Labour are leading?cf The Observers last one – they don’t want to look as stupid as they did at the last election.

          There is no minority government in my lifetime that has insisted on hobbling along as the tories are doing now, rather than going back to the country to decide ‘who governs?’

          That is because having shot their bolt on communist nazi terrorist racist jewish hating thick old turnip eating old man JC , they failed to dislodge him, infact he is more secure because of that. They know that a massive Labour majority is on the cards and are hopping the boundary changes and fewer seats will be sufficient to stop them.

          The Labour manifesto is advanced, the local party machinery is vibrant and the top NEC is nearly fully secured from the neolib/con henchfolk.

          Corbyn’s never ending campaign on the ground has bypassed the media monstering which is now shrill – the gate keepers are foaming – look at the beebs Brillo pad Neil, flappy arm jabbing Marr, the rabblerousing dynamic duo the dinglebats, ‘mirror, mirror’ lauraqanonsberg, the ‘agenda setting’ Toady and all their daily news and politics shows, the Obssesive Groaniad with their stable of muck throwers.

          Dinosaurs who don’t know they are extinct yet, as this opinion article puts it

          An election that is overdue and will change the landscape to enable the choices the Scots want to make themselves is the first step – brexit is not the only and most important issue we face – it is about social democracy, public services and greater equality.

          A fight against greed and international warmongering privateers and their robber baron bankers as always.

          With plenty of female supporters.

          • Andyoldlabour


            Not wishful thinking at all, simply a fear that Labour’s policies, particularly on the transgender issues are alienating a lot of women. You may not be aware of this but it has been getting a lot worse over the past year, where transwomen have been elected as women’s officers.
            Unfortunately the looney left is alive and well in the Labour party as well as the festering remains of the Blairites.
            For the first time ever I find myself not wishing to vote for any party.

          • MaryPau!

            The transgender issue is a fraught one. Accepting that someone’s sexuality identify as what they feel they are, rather than what they are physically, creates all sorts of problems. For example recently a male prisoner self identifying as female, was allowed to transfer to a female prison and then sexually assaulted four of the female inmates. The whole transgender thing has not been thought through – a man self identifying as a woman recently won a world cycling title in an all female field. In most cases it is women who losing out by the left’s obsession with sexual identity.

            And most working class people on the left frankly couldn’t give a stuff. People in Hartlepool for example, want an effective police force. If Labour want to get elected, police cuts is the sort of issue they need to focus on.

          • Dungroanin

            The transgender kerfuffle is yet another invented boggie that i could add to my list of slurs against the Corbynite that is destroying their giant curtain of lies.

            It is a creation of the corporatist take over of feminism – turning it into identity politics, hence a means of dividing the people.

            A simple answer to transgender prisoners is to have specific transgender prison. I’m sure it wouldn’t be that big.

      • Jim Sinclare

        Spokesmen rather than leaders, others are David Lammy, Geraint Davies and Ian Blackford. Craig, if you know Ian Blackford tell him he needs to be explaining the inevitabity of secession if Brixit happens, these are desperate times for the Remain movement.

  • FraPer

    So Scotland becomes independent of the UK at some stage and one of the first moves after leaving that union is to join the European Union? Would Scotland not better be served to stay independent – at least for a number of years to map out its course/place in the world?

    • craig Post author

      Very possibly. But the Scottish people voted – overwhelmingly – to remain. By almost 2 to 1, and recent polls put that over 2 to 1.

      • Kula

        I voted in Kirkwall where there were more Leavers than the national 2 to 1 ratio. In areas that you would think really needed those EU handouts. So us lot who want no more of EU/CON/LAB/LIB corruption get dragged into the maul with you lot.

        • Glasshopper

          “EU handouts”

          You do realise the EU hand us back a fraction of our own money?

          Just checking. There’s lots of idiots at The Guardian who still believe the EU is some kind of charity.

          • Martinned

            Well, they are EU handouts in the sense that that money wouldn’t be there without the EU. (Unless the Tories needed some Scottish votes, that is.)

      • FraPer

        @ craig
        I realise that Scotland voted to remain as part of the UK referendum on EU membership. However, I would not assume that to mean the same amount of voters would immediately upon Scottish independence favour obtaining full EU membership, potentially creating a hard border to the South if the UK drops out on WTO rules (“hard Brexit”) – as seems likely given the turmoil in Westminster, and equally the issues some EU countries have (Gibraltar etc.). Personally (and I’m not Scottish), I would sit things out for a while (Iceland style) after independence, sort out fisheries, oil and currency issues. Then perhaps have a Scottish referendum on having talks with the EU about potential membership, trade agreements etc. and see what option suits best.

    • Tom Welsh

      Exactly, FraPer.

      A small country like Scotland would have even less chance of preserving its liberties and protecting its interests at Brussels than the UK.

      • Glasshopper

        They’ll enjoy nicking the last fish in Scotland. But hey, they’ll give them an EU handout if they behave themselves.

  • philw

    Caroline Lucas. But the Neo-Liberal media understandably (from their point of view) see her as toxic as Corbyn, generally try to ignore her and certainly wouldn’t encourage people to rally behind her.

    • J

      Yes, that’s about right. With notable gaps she’s maintained the most reality based ‘public facing’ narrative of almost anyone currently in Parliament which is a minor miracle on that level, considering the groupthink, but does almost nothing to endear her to the media as you say.

  • Jo1

    You know Craig, in all these words you’ve thrown around in this and your earlier article there is one very important factor you’ve totally failed to mention. At the most right now support for YES / NO is about even at best. 50/50. There has been no surge to YES since 2014 and now we have Brexit to cope with as well. There has been no sign whatsoever that another referendum right now is remotely winnable. Who in their right mind would want to risk losing two in a row?

    There is no “great opportunity” there to be “passed over” by Sturgeon. It’s a figment of your imagination.

    And, in case you’ve forgotten, Sturgeon is representing the whole population of Scotland in defending the Remain vote. It’s her duty to do so! I do not believe she is seeking “fawning” headlines. Indeed, it’s your vicious attacks on her in recent days and your attempts to stir up deep hostility towards her I would call “unforgivable”. I also am now wondering about your reasons for doing this. Are you attempting to split the SNP and throw yourself into a coup and leadership challenge?

    • Clark

      Craig already covered this:

      “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” (14th para.)

      • Tom Welsh

        Craig was quoted as wring, “Scotland will declare Independence and apply to the United Nations for recognition and admission”.

        It would have been more honest to write, “… and apply to the US government…”, since the US government controls everything that takes place at the UN – except for a few issues at the Security Council. Apparently money does talk.

        If anyone thinks my statement is “extreme”, consider the UN vote the other day on the resolution to condemn Nazism. About 130 nations voted for the resolution, 30 or so abstained – itself an appalling testimonial to their lack of guts and morality – and two nations actually voted AGAINST. (That is, in favour of Nazism).

        They were the USA and Ukraine – surprise, surprise, as the Kiev junta openly professes to be Nazi, and Washington supports it to the hilt.

        If Washington can “persuade” so many nations to abstain from condemning Nazism, it can do anything it wants.

        • Andyoldlabour

          @Tom Weslh,
          that is absolutely shocking about the Nazism vote. I have been saying for a long while that the UN should not be based in the US because they are a totally corrupt nation – and it doesn’t matter whether they are Democrats or Republicans.

        • Borncynical

          The UK was among those countries which abstained. Last year (the tabling of this resolution being an annual event) the US explanation for opposing it was that supporting such a resolution would be a vote against the concept of freedom of speech. (Presumably the Ukrainians would choose to offer the same explanation rather than admit publicly that they are run and policed by neo-Nazis and fully support the oppression of ethnic Russians and other minority groups by Ukrainian neo Nazi thugs.) The US and others would appear to apply that principal somewhat selectively. Not quite sure how they square that with their ambition to silence alt media and anyone who dares to contradict the establishment narrative.

  • Jannie

    What’s the point of gaining independence from England if you just turn around and give it to the EU? Pointless and you should know better!

  • Adrian Evitts

    “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.”

    The people of Scotland voted to remain in the United Kingdom. Whose job is it to respect that vote?

    • Clark

      But the Brexit débâcle has almost certainly changed many minds, so if a Westminster general election returned a majority of SNP MPs to the Scottish seats on an SNP manifesto of independence, there’d be a clear democratic mandate.

        • Chris Schmidgall

          Both the IndyRef and Brexit campaigns were marred by lies, censorship, and malfeasance courtesy of the unionist and Remain camps. I don’t think the 50/50 stats are reliable, nor do they reflect the desires of the electorate.

        • BrianFujisan

          November 21, 2018 at 02:57
          It hasn’t changed enough minds. That is an accepted fact.Clark2

          All recent Polls Sugest Otherwise.. Any links to your hard Facts.

          • Jo1

            “All recent polls suggest otherwise.”

            Really? Why don’t you provide the links to prove there’s now a significant majority in Scotland for independence?

      • BrianFujisan


        November 20, 2018 at 13:24

        Come on Scotland, don’t let us down! Beleaguered activists in England like myself need you to break Westminster now! This awful corrupt lackey of Saudi Arabia and the City of London has to go. The whole world is depending on you.

        Some of us Hear you Clark.. In Fact Ten’s of Thousands Do.. On the Streets. Thanks

        I was out delivering Flyers this year Printed by ( the Ferret )..I chose a Village only three miles from where I live, – Kilmacolm – because a few years ago it was the UK’s 5th richest Village in all the u.k ..

        We’ll keep marching and Protesting the bbC.. And Cheers again for support.. See ya over at Squounk.

    • Martinned

      The people of Scotland voted to remain in the United Kingdom. Whose job is it to respect that vote?

      The unionist parties in Scotland, obviously.

    • Jo1

      It is the job of the leader of the SNP to secure independence for Scotland…”

      That’s actually the job of the Scottish people and only they can secure such a thing by voting for it. Unfortunately they voted against it.

      That Craig is saying the SNP government should ensure the Remain vote in Scotland is respected while ignoring the vote to remain in the UK is pretty astonishing.

  • james

    i think you are correct craig… sturgeon is not honouring the interest of the scottish people who want independence.. if she wants to be a player in the brexit thing, why is she leading the scottish national party? she is taking up the wrong tact and she needs to remember why she was elected in the first place… – canuck comment..

  • Tony_0pmoc

    Craig, you and others have already sussed out Nicola Sturgeon rather well. I was talking to some really nice Scottish people last year when on holiday in Cyprus, and I mentioned her name. They all went silent. I thought oh dear – what have I said? I got the distinct impression, they preferred Angela Merkel or even Margaret Thatcher. We met them again this year, and got on well, so I guess I’m forgiven.

    “Secession from the European Union” by Thierry Meyssan written today.

    Excellent analysis. He’s French living in Damascus.


    • Kerchée Kerch'ee Coup

      Thanks for the link.Thierry’s work is always well informed and I notice that you keep up with him. It reads a bit like a first draft of the story of how the UK seemingly sought to extricate itself from the EU. He also appears to argue that the Elysee Treaty between the BRD and France represents the main axis with subsequent treaties forming a superstructure as it were. In other words things are, or were previously, first settled between France and Germany before being expanded and developed.
      Those of us who have tried to read and analyse the latest proposals have probably, like myself at various points given up in despair felt tempted to throw the computer at the window or taken refuge in the pub. Dr North over at has greater patience and perseverance but even he cannot fully describe the horror of it. It much resembles the outcome of the little-understood,committology process whereby legislation is framed in Brussels.

  • Bob

    Craig, Bear in mind though that getting these disparate parties to work together coherently will be like herding cats with a high chance of failure but even trying to do so will buy a great deal of goodwill for Scotland with the EU, should an independent Scotland apply to join.

  • Chris Barclay

    It is clear that May has gone behind the back of not just one but two ‘BREXIT Secretaries’, in order to negotiate a deal with the Empress of Europe, Angela Merkel. A deal to assure a BREXIT that in the minds of most Brexiteers is worse than staying in the EU and one that can be reversed as easily as possible. Sturgeon has probably been told by Merkel to keep quiet and not rock the boat, in case she upsets the plan to keep the UK in the EU.

    An indication of the vassalage that is to come for Scotland if they ditch the UK pan for the EU fire.

    • Dungroanin

      Well they really shouldn’t have tried to defenestrate Merkel – having failed to do, i’m sure there will be comeuppance.

      Though being Mutti she will be firm but fair.

      Noticed how the alt-right agitating is dissipating? How German/Turkey/Russia grown ups are sorting it out in Syria – Macron is only there as a neutered witness for the Fukus, more as punishment for his banker masters ambitiousness and hubris.

    • Martinned

      Do tell, when has Mrs. Merkel done that? As far as I can tell, she’s done nothing more specific than encourage the British not to be idiots.

  • TFS

    I’m still trying to get my head around the fact that you would leave the UK (under continued Tory mismanagment) for the alleged bright lights of the EU.

    I find the Tories digusting, their supporters even more so.

    As for the EU. We can’t control our own Politicians and you want to get into bed with a bigger bunch of pis. takers?

    Is it those large printing presses the EU has, that you believe help secures Scotlands future, and what is it, you think you will change within the EU/Nato Imperialist club?

    • Bunkum007

      Whilst under rule of the worst government in living memory, Scotland voted remain, maybe as some form of protection from the tories.

      If however Scotland had independence would the vote for remain be as high, or would it be seen as jumping out of the frying pan into the fire?

  • Chris Barclay

    ” … 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.”

    Is there not a conclusion to draw from this? The political class is heavily pro-EU.80-90% of MPs across the Commons would vote to stay in the EU if given the chance. Most Labour MPs are gagging to go back on a manifesto commitment made only last year. That is the problem for Remain. It is supported by a discredited political class prepared to lie to the electorate in order to win power and ready to reverse its policies as soon as power is won. The EU is attractive to politicians because it offers an even greater opportunity to live in great affluence off the taxpayers than does a corrupt British Government.

    • Dungroanin

      I think they are so vocal because they know there is no chance of ignoring the referendum. It is just a coverstory to try and split the solid Labour vote that would land a supermajority if an election were held today.
      They have sold their grannies and kids already being the psychopaths they are.

      • Jim Sinclare

        Yes, a strange reversal, and Leavers like John McDonnal are warning us of the “risks” of a 2nd referendum.

  • Questioneverything

    This taken from Investopedia –
    There are currently 28 nations in the European Union and of these, nine countries are not in the eurozone—the unified monetary system using the euro. Two of these countries, the United Kingdom and Denmark, are legally exempt from ever adopting the euro (the UK has voted to leave the EU, see Brexit). All other EU countries must enter the eurozone after meeting certain criteria. Countries, however, do have the right to put off meeting the eurozone criteria and thereby postpone their adoption of the euro.

    Read more: Why These European Countries Don’t Use the Euro | Investopedia
    Follow us: Investopedia on Facebook

  • James Chater

    Londoners also voted to remain in the EU. I wish the Scots well, and if a clear majority wish to leave the UK then their wish should be granted, I suppose. But this leaves progressives and non-Tories in England stranded, as the Tories are likely to become a permanent majority. So, as an Englishman, part of me is happy that Sturgeon is holding back, is not 100% gung ho about independence. I wonder if it wouldn’t be better for progressive Scots, Welsh and progressive Northern Irish and English to stand together to make it our overriding priority to send the Tories packing. Then we can see what the best constitutional arrangements for everyone, within the UK and the UK vis a vis the EU.

    • MaryPau!

      The Majority of Londoners were not born in the UK and probably have quite a different view of being British and the importance of Remaining in the EU to Brits of English and Welsh stock. And possibly to the views of Scots as well.

      If they were not born here it is likely that they feel no particular loyalty to the idea of the UK. i wonder how many 1st generation Poles, Romanians still feel a greater loyalty to their own country or the EU which enabled them to move here.

    • Glasshopper

      London is a ghastly dump of a place to live for most people. As are many of the other big urban centres that voted Remain. I suspect many people voted leave because they didn’t want the places they live to go the same way.

      • Dungroanin

        Almost xenophobic certainly moronic ignorant ‘suspicion’ of why most people voted leave – they were lied to about their Austerity being the fault of EU migrants doing shit badly paid jobs.

        Peddle that crap elsewhere like wittlespoons with your morning beer.

  • Contrary

    My view is that Nicola Sturgeon is intent on ensuring that the international view of Scotland, through its politicians, is good. According to Alyn Smith MEP, the reputation (which was surprisingly good, before) of all uk politicians, and in particular the U.K. Government, has been trashed by the current uk government – their unwillingness to engage outside their own internal party politics has wrecked any goodwill and standing the uk has abroad. Most don’t distinguish Scotland, but that is one thing that the SNP is trying to change.

    Good relationships abroad mean goodwill, reasonable trade, etc. More investment. Businesses staying in Scotland despite Westminster trying to strip them.

    The SNP policy of wanting the uk government to agree to an indyref I believe is down to how we are viewed internationally, not an insular ‘happy with the establishment’ view. Wanting England and Wales to stay in the customs union etc, makes trade and future relationships easier, and surely a good relationship (though not sure it’s possible myself, with the empire view of Scotland) with your neighbour is a good thing. I hate seeing England degenerating, I feel bad for the people, but there is little Scotland can do to save them from themselves. But we can be seen to have made a huge effort – and benefit from the good reputation when we join international stage.

    Taking the long view, I like the idea that as a renewed nation we will not be left dangling on England’s coat tails relying on them not being bitter and vindictive, we have already demonstrated our maturity and capability as a nation and can immediately leap into the international community as a reliable player. Brexit issues have given Scotland the opportunity to show other countries we are distinct, and someone they can do business with.

    Focusing on internal politics I don’t think gives the whole. It is what the state seems to want us to do, to become wholly insular. Our coming out party can be wholly independent, with an already established international reputation.



      You may be right with some of that but how far do we take the rather optimistic UK government view “agreeing to an indyref? I personally would prefer England, Wales and Scotland to all stay in the EU With Scotland becoming Independent it would certainly help us as an emerging European nation. But then I wake up and remember a thousand years of history. Even worse I remember the past 4 years where not only the Tories but the only other party of Government the Labour party, have treated Scotland’s representatives with utter contempt on every level.

      We weren’t prepared for victory in 2014, to be honest I don’t really see much has changed in preparedness since. Which makes me fear my long held belief that SNP leadership merely manage YES expectations, and pay lip service to Independence. Ultimately I don’t listen to what politicians say, I watch what they do. They run the country well with one hand tied behind their back but other than obtaining a mandate that on the face of it is unlikely to be used. Independence has been conspicuous by its absence since a change of leadership occured.

      • Contrary

        Hi brian, I am not suggesting anything is right or wrong, I just wanted to give a different view, and try and emphasise that what we see and hear is not always what is happening. The SNP and Nicola Sturgeon in particular are very well received abroad – but the news won’t report on it. There is plenty the news just does not report on when it might be inconvenient for the state. Nicola Sturgeons talk in the Irish Senate, a historic moment, that was fair blasted across the air waves? Oh, no, technical difficulties, and oops there was no recording. Too many times.

        To my mind, the state broadcaster etc is achieving what it wants to achieve – ensuring dissatisfaction with the SNP throughout. The SNP are elected representatives, and they have a strategy – that strategy may or may not work, and it is a strategy that you may agree with or not, but when I hear people get angry at the apparent lack of action by the SNP I just think, that’s what the thought police want us to think. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s fair enough to not agree with the way SNP are going about things, but we don’t need to wholly buy into the idea that that is our only option – it isn’t, as Craig tells us, but most other options would rely on a larger proportion of the population being firmly in support of the only sensible solution (independence, self determination) or history may just repeat itself. We are told to despair, to panic, to assume all is lost – these are all subtle messages, but they are there. It takes great strength to avoid the messages.

        Yes the contempt for Scotland, it’s people and its politicians have always been there – but this is emphasised by how the news is presented to us, there are plenty of instances of collaboration and agreement between parties, but we generally just get to see the combative disdain that makes up the bizarre grandstanding part of our politics.

        So, when we aren’t told everything that is happening, and everything else is presented to us in a nuanced way, a way that can only be for the purpose of influencing – how can we sensibly weigh up pros and cons? I don’t think we can, and so can’t find it in myself to criticise anyone’s ideas on how independence should be achieved. We should be offering solutions or ideas or doing something practical, rather than criticising a group that IS doing something. We just don’t really know what’s happening, as it is all seen through the prism of a hostile news service, and that won’t be changing.

  • Martin Goold

    Don’t forget that N Ireland also voted to remain. For good reason as we can all now see. Some of us saw that from the start. In Ulster, they didn’t need a charismatic leader to see the problems that Brexit would pose for them. The Brexiteers keep claiming to know what Leavers voted for – not just leave, but including “take control of our borders”. How do you take control of a border with no controls? If the Irish border question is so intractable, how much more of a problem will be a border between an Independent Scotland re-joining the EU, and a Brexited England? Those who voted Leave for whatever reason, owe it to us all to explain what they thought would happen – at least in Ireland. I kept asking that question and never got an answer. And as far as I can see there are only the two options put forward by the EU – either a hard border in N Ireland or in the Irish Sea. Anything else and both goods and people can legally arrive in Eire, legally cross into N Ireland without any checks/ID, then legally cross to England, again with no ID or customs checks. That’s free movement of people from the EU (anathema to most Leavers) a great for smugglers – of goods and people admitted to Eire.

    • SO.

      > How do you take control of a border with no controls? If the Irish border question is so intractable, how much more of a problem will be a border between an Independent Scotland re-joining the EU, and a Brexited England?

      Might be a lot easier really. Scottish and english cops don’t need convoys of armored cars to toodle about south armagh or fermanagh.

    • Jo1

      “Don’t forget NI also voted to remain.”

      Yes, yet look what the DUP have been able to do with that result. They binned it!

      June 2016, NI votes to Remain, January 2017 Stormont ceases to function and nearly two years later is still in the same boat while the DUP is pursuing the hardest of Brexits and has been able to do so without a murmur from other NI Parties or even the electorate! It beggars belief.

      • Vivian O'Blivion

        A joint delegation of Remain NI parties were in discussions with the Irish government just the other day. The UUP were in the Remain camp ’till they thought better of being in close proximity to the Sinn Fein tar baby. The DUP (apparently) unknowingly tread thin ice. Someday the righteous indignation over their featherbedding and gamgsterism will boil over. It’s not as if they make any effort to ingratiate themselves with the bulk of their Loyalist constituency on modern social matters.
        Today in the HoC, Nigel Dodds had the gall to complain that a Stormont lock on regulatory changes was not present in the draft withdrawal agreement as per the requirements of the GFA. Why should there be a Stormont lock? The lazy cnuts haven’t sat in session for almost two years!

  • Phylip Brake

    Please don’t put Wales in the same category as England. The way the referendum was counted really distorts the picture. Overall, 854,572 (52.5%) voters in Wales chose to leave the EU, compared with 772,347 (47.5%) supporting Remain. According to the opinion polls, if another referendum was held, Wales would vote overwhelmingly to stay in the EU.

    • Martinned

      And in England it was 53.4% for leave, also with lots of opinion polls showing a current majority for remain. I’m not sure what you think the big difference is.

  • Robert

    To be fair, Ms Sturgeon has two jobs: leader of the SNP, where independence is the prime objective; and First Minister for Scotland, where she has to act (and be seen to act) for the interests of the people of Scotland. There may be times when the roles conflict. rUK in EU is good for Scotland but bad for independence. There’s a canny path to navigate to get an independent Scotland and a Remain rUK.

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    The strategy of the SNP was always long term and gradualist. To demonstrate to the Scottish people that first the Scottish Assembly and then the Parliament could administer devolved matters more competently than Westminster. In this they have succeeded. Management of Capital infrastructure, the NHS, transportation, Green energy, distribution of farming subsidies are all demonstrably better handled at Holyrood.
    Independence can only be won and recognised in the international court of opinion by a binary vote (IMHO). Either by referendum or at a push by general election where Unionists parties divide constituencies between them and field singular Unionist candidates.
    On the Indy question, poles are close to call and arguably favour a No vote. Converts to Yes resulting from political campaigning will be few and far between. Converts will be swayed by facts on the ground generated by Brexit / English Nationalism or by gentle reasoning amongst family and friends. Nicola Sturgeon’s “only adult in the room” stance is a continuation of the strategy of demonstrating that, yes, we can conduct our own affairs in a competent manner. Westminster by its incompetent flailing demonstrates that Holyrood is in fact more competent. Nicola has a difficult balancing act to perform. To demonstrate competence in Scotland while remaining peripheral in a UK context. If Nicola was intent on being the White Knight of Remain revisited, she would surely have attended the big Remain demo in October in person (she patched in by video link).

  • Martinned

    I guess this depends on whether you see the SNP as a true one-issue party. Back home in the Netherlands we have parliamentary representation for the Animal Rights Party and the 50+ party, and their members/voters quite rightly expect them to prioritise their one issue above everything else. But I’m not sure if the SNP is like that.

    I think someone who votes for the SNP shouldn’t complain if it then turns around and pushes hard for independence. Independence is clearly the most important single issue they have. But I don’t understand the SNP as a one-issue party in the sense that they would/could never compromise between independence and anything else. They are clearly a pro-Remain party, and as you say that clearly clashes with independence. But I should think that the SNP are entitled to say that a Brexit would be sufficiently bad for Scotland that they owe it to their voters to prevent it if they can.

  • Muscleguy

    Sturgeon is waiting for the Perfect Moment. Just like until very recently May was waiting for ‘Something to Turn UP’ to square the circle of Leaving, The Irish Border and the DUP. Nothing turned up so the DUP got thrown under the bus.

    The Perfect Moment will not come Nicola, fortune favours the brave, time to seize the moment and create something ourselves secure in the notion that Tories will continue to Tory and make our case for us.

    Last time they had the fig leaf of those nice cuddly FibDem enablers to persuade switherers that staying in the UK wasn’t really so bad. They have no figleaf now and are displaying themselves to be incompetent, deluded, feuding, utterly self interested chancers and spivs who wouldn’t know a national interest if it came up and bit them.

    The time is NOW. We have to make the Perfect Moment. It will come in reaction to our efforts to free ourselves. They will not be able to help themselves.

  • Muscleguy

    Last time all we had was an SNP majority with a mandate and we came so close. This time we have a mandate AND the clusterfuck of Brexit. If that isn’t the Perfect Moment what will be? a revelation that Theresa May, Boris Johnson and Rees-Mogg combine every full moon to eat babies?

    This is the most perfect storm we could hope for. We have to act before UK and EU self interest make something work.

  • John O'Hara

    Undoubtedly Nicola Sturgeon is a better advocate for Remain than any one else on your list. I don’t think it matters. Neither our “establishment” or the EU will allow it to happen. The only question I have is when they tell us Proles.

  • mog

    How ‘independent’ would Scotland be if it seceded from the UK, but joined Europe?

    If state sovereignty is built primarily upon currency and military command, then a Scotland (presumably) using the Euro and (definitely) part of an integrated single point command and control EU military system, would be no more than a region in a supranational entity. Democracy and self determination?

    The money powers will not be stopped, Brexit or Remain, Indy or no Indy. Until the military issue enters the centre of the discussion then Nationalists (Scottish, English,Welsh) are just being played.

    • Muscleguy

      We will not be forced to use the Euro and even if we wanted to we could not join it.

      1. To join the Euro you must have an independent currency be stable in ERM II for at least 2 years prior to adoption.

      2. Scotland does not, yet, have an independent currency and Sterling is not, famously, in ERM II.

      3 Denmark retains its currency by dint of not putting it ERM II and there is no compulsion to do so (see Sterling).

      4. Thus even should we want to we could not be in a position to join even should we wish it and the EU cannot force us to do any more than agree we will work towards it (the Danes have done that then ignored it).

      All this has been in the public domain for some years now and was widely in currency during the IndyRef and I tried to do my bit. Were you asleep from 2011 to 2014?

      Also the amount of sovereignty we have to cede to Westminster is orders of magnitude more than we would be required to SHARE as EU members. So we gain a significant number of powers by being Independent in the EU.

      Again to not know that you would have had to be asleep. So, are you pig ignorant or a Brexiteer propagandist?

      • Jack


        Yes outrageous that those ex soviet states that voluntarily entered into that union thought they could just manage their own states without any sanctions!

        • Martinned

          Not sure why you moved the goalposts from Italy to ex-soviet states (fyi, Italy was never part of the Soviet Union), but OK.

          Yes, if the Baltic States thought they were joining a Union that would allow them to do whatever they liked, that would be outrageous on their part. Joining the EU already came with many non-optional consequences and limitations on their freedom to arrange their own affairs long before their accession dates.Here’s a nice 200-page report from the Estonian ministry of foreign affairs that sets it all out, for example. If they thought they were joining a free-for-all, they must have been willfully blind. Even the UK, 30 years earlier, was well aware that it was joining something quite unusual.

          (Also FYI, Poland and Hungary are not “ex-Soviet states”, in case you had them in mind.)

          • Jack


            It is simply stupid and self-destructing to keep attacking certain members that do not toe the line of the ones in Germany. No wonder more people raise the issue of withdrawal of the union.
            EU want to push african refugees through Italy. Italy said no. If EU cannot accept realities of the ground, it is really a doomed project just like the Soviet union.
            Do you think the italian people feel sympathy towards their own state or the bureaucrats in the EU now attacking them?

          • Jack


            Toe the line mean what Germany believes should be the policy of today for the EU, and that is a constant refugee influx in Italy. That has never been signed upon by Italy.

          • Martinned

            Well, other than when Italy signed on to the Refugee Convention and the European Convention for Human Rights. But sure, apart from that…

          • Jack


            The treaty is not superior italian national laws nor interests. The treaty you refer to say nothing of the kind you have proposed here – constant influx of refugees. Let alone it was apparently created in 1953, it all comes back to the fact that these rules and treaties are obsolete. Wouldnt you agree?

  • William MacDougall

    You repeat the mistaken view that Scotland voted to remain and that that vote is not being “respected”. That’s incorrect; it voted that it preferred the entire UK to remain, and two years before it voted to accept the UK wide decision on the matter. It’s the same as London, which voted Remain, but no one suggests that London (a financially more viable state with nearly twice Scotland’s population) should separate from England. Banff and Buchan voted for Brexit, but no one suggests that that means it should separate from Scotland. While Scotland has MPs in Westminster (as it almost certainly will for another generation) it would be mistaken and irresponsible for it not to consider what’s best for the UK as a whole.

  • Ottomanboi

    The SNP is a republican radical/monarchist conservative coalition. The radical bit might need to set up its own party. By now the SNP leadership ought to be merrily plunging the knife into the Unionist system not applying salves to the very damaged
    ‘body politic’ of the UK.
    If Nicola Sturgeon has a strategic plan, many would love to know when we independentists will catch a glimpse of it.

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