Jo Swinson Goes A Funny Tinge 394

My own position on Brexit is more nuanced than is currently fashionable (more below), but I am strongly against a no deal Brexit. Jo Swinson’s successful deflation of Jeremy Corbyn’s proposal for a caretaker administration purely to organise a general election, makes no deal much more probable.

It says a great deal about Swinson that she is emphatically in favour of a caretaker government led by arch Blairite Harriet Harman. Let us remind ourselves of Harman’s voting record:

If the Liberal Democrats are refusing to work with somebody, you would expect it to be the person who shared Cabinet responsibility for initiating illegally the death of millions in the Middle East. It is also worth recalling that while Acting Leader of the Labour Party Harman instructed her MPs to abstain on both Tory benefit cuts and Theresa May’s “Hostile Environment” immigration policy.

Yet Swinson actively promotes warmonger Harman as caretaker PM and would refuse to work with Jeremy Corbyn, who is apparently anathema to Liberals because he espouses social democratic economic policies and rejects neo-imperialist aggression abroad. I am confident my old friend Charlie Kennedy would have taken a different view.

Swinson was one of the Lib Dems who was least uncomfortable in coalition with the Tories, and her attitude now is based entirely on the wishes of Chuka Umunna and other actual and potential Blairite defectors to the Lib Dems. Swinson is more interested in playing to the Blairite visceral hatred of Corbyn than she is in stopping no deal Brexit, and it is proof if any were needed that the arrival of Blairite and Tory defectors is moving the Lib Dems still further to the right. I see not a single hint of the party’s old radicalism or principle.

The SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Greens have shown maturity and common sense in welcoming Corbyn’s initiative, with due reservations and caveats. Had the Lib Dems done so too, it would have encouraged Tory rebels to join in an all-party initiatvie. Swinson’s refusal to work with Corbyn, on the grounds that Tory rebels would also refuse, was as she well knew a self-fulfilling prophecy. By making it about Corbyn, Swinson made it impossible for Tory MPs to go along when the Lib Dems had refused.

Institutional and personal loyalties are very difficult things to shake off. The Tory Party has become a far right movement whose primary policies are motivated by nothing but racist hatred of immigrants. It is extremely hard for decent people like Ken Clarke and Dominic Grieve to accept that this has happened and it is irreversible.

If Westminster cannot stop hard Brexit and it goes ahead, it will be enabled by Swinson’s ambition, the hatreds of Blairites, and the failure of decent Tories to process psychologically what has happened to their party.

I suspect that the chaos caused by hard Brexit would be much less than generally predicted after three weeks, but that the economic situation caused by no deal would be very much worse than generally predicted after three years. Priti Patel’s announcement that free movement will end on 31 October is a nonsense. Over 80% of lorries arriving at Dover have non-British, EU drivers. Instituting immigration controls would be a physical impossibility.

My own euro-enthusiasm was dealt a fatal blow when the Spanish paramilitaries clubbed grandmothers lining up to vote in Catalonia, and all three constituent parts of the EU – Parliament, Council and Commission – rushed to congratulate the Francoist government in Madrid on upholding the Rule of Law.

I would therefore be content to live in a country which had a relationship with the EU similar to Norway or Switzerland, but was politically separate. I am entirely in favour of free movement, which I believe has been one of the greatest advances for liberty in my lifetime, and I support the single market. I also believe in democracy and am strongly convinced that England and Wales ought to leave the EU, because that is how they voted, while Scotland and Northern Ireland should remain in the EU, because that is how they voted.

On second referenda, I do not believe it is democratic to have one before the result has been respected and it has been tried. Thus the result of the Scottish referendum was respected, continuing in the Union has been tried, and proven not to be what was promised. After five years of respecting the result, it is perfectly legitimate to vote again.

The EU referendum is different. The people of England and Wales voted to leave and have not had the chance to try that for five years and see if it works out. I believe it would be undemocratic to have another vote before the result has been respected. Another referendum in England and Wales after five years out of the EU seems to me perfectly reasonable.

I appreciate none of those thoughts correspond with the generally held and remarkably polarised viewpoints of Leavers and Remainers, or sets of positions you might find from a political party or in mainstream media articles. The entire point of this blog is to ask you to consider different ways of thinking about things. I do not in the least insist or expect you to agree with me. But courteous consideration of the arguments is always welcome, even where opinions sharply differ from mine.


Unlike our adversaries including the Integrity Initiative, the 77th Brigade, Bellingcat, the Atlantic Council and hundreds of other warmongering propaganda operations, this blog has no source of state, corporate or institutional finance whatsoever. It runs entirely on voluntary subscriptions from its readers – many of whom do not necessarily agree with the every article, but welcome the alternative voice, insider information and debate.

Subscriptions to keep this blog going are gratefully received.

Choose subscription amount from dropdown box:

Recurring Donations


394 thoughts on “Jo Swinson Goes A Funny Tinge

1 2 3 4
  • Sharp Ears

    Straw has gone from the HoC, praise be and good he wasn’t given a peerage. Glad to see he was given the elbow when he visited Iran in 2015.

    The English Job by Jack Straw review – portrait of Iran’s fixation with Britain
    The former foreign secretary examines why Iran, for all its domestic flaws, has just cause to fear foreign influence

    This is actually a review of a book he wrote about Iran and why it distrusts Britain. This country’s ‘grubby role’ in Iran is briefly referred to in the review. Who will buy his book (£20) or even read it? I see it has been reduced to £12,21 on Amazon. 🙂 5 reviews and 4 give it 5 stars.

    Q. Do the Labour Iraq war criminals still meet up and stay in touch with each other?

    • nevermind

      Another ruse to put himself in the picture, this apologist for torture and the denials of having anything to do with extraordinary renditions, still happening today, using Diego Garcia, only wants to be let back into the fold.
      Why do we have to advertise his muses on historic facts? his income is considerable, he does not need public jobs or our accolade, imho.

      • Ingwe

        Wouldn’t even buy his self seeking crap if it was .90p in the remainder bin of a Sue Ryder shop!

  • TonyT12

    I agree with you, Craig. Jo Swinson is not doing herself and her party any favours, when they have such clear political advantage as an unequivocal ProRemain party.

    Everything points to the Swinson LibDems being another smug self-congratulating right-wing party. Jumping immediately on the Corbyn-bashing bandwagon gives the game away. Putting tribal party politics before the interests of the country has brought the Conservative Party where it is – everything UKIP and the BREXIT parties represent, only with Boris instead of Farage. I had hoped Jo Swinson would be a breath of fresh air, but for me a disappointment so far.

    Chuka Umunna in her Shadow Cabinet? Oh dear oh dear. How many votes will that lose for the LibDems? Mine for a start. Time to take a long hard look at the Green Party.

    • Anthony

      Swinson’s Tory sensibilities were well known, topped by her demand in the Sun newspaper for a statue for Margaret Thatcher. Caroline Lucas has made it clear she would rather see Anna Soubry in power than Jeremy Corbyn. So I’d say the Greens are a safe harbour for anybody wanting things to remain the same without being seen as a Tory.

  • Alec

    No deal is the best deal for Britain. It removes all power that Brussels has over us and removes all further liability for the inevitable financial disaster that is coming for the undemocratic, communistic and disastrous euro project. Free movement is fine in theory but in practice has led to the situation where indigenous populations are going to be replaced with people from a very different and very hostile culture. I’m afraid that you are heading for massive disappointment if you manage to separate Scotland from England and attempt to join the EU. They’ve already said they don’t want you.I hope you succeed because it will reduce the power of Westminster to behave so appallingly around the world.

    • Deb O'Nair

      “It removes all power that Brussels has over us”

      You mean that ‘power’ that the UKG voted in Brussels for 98% of the time? Also much of that ‘power’ is enacted through EU laws which the UKG were the original authors of.

    • Dungroanin

      Where have you informed yourself from?
      Some Maga or Mega viewpoint?

      We in the UK didn’t have free movement – we didn’t sign up to Schengan.

      We don’t have the Euro because like other EU countries we chose not to.

      The same rules of law equally applied to all member countries mean that no cheating can take place – unless you don’t like a level playing field? Why?

      The bullshit of the UK suffering brexit is because the ancient City refuses to play by any rules. If they would just fuck off to some other continent we would have a customs union of some sort and a single market. That would still require them to play by the rules.

      Just like the Vatican is stuck in Rome, The City is stuck in London and wants to carry on its centuries long plunder of the planet.

      Gormless yarboo patriotic bullshit about sovereignty is bollocks and these who shill it are lying psychopaths.

      I have put a link up in the first few responses to this article referencing the FO plans for dealing with the future threat from a evolving EU, from the early 70’s, do read it, if you dare?

  • Hatuey

    Swinson’s rejection of the Corbyn plan last week was political folly. The surge in support for the lib-dems will be badly affected by it; and remainers who thought they had found a safe space in the lib-dems (as a party that would stop Brexit at any cost), now know different. The mask didn’t slip, Swinson ripped it off.

    Of course, this is all music to my Scottish ears. If achieving independence requires that we all go off a cliff first, that’s fine by me. Swinson could possibly have played a part in preventing that but she screwed up.

    • N_

      If achieving independence requires that we all go off a cliff first, that’s fine by me.

      How much of the Scottish population will you be willing to see dead at the bottom of that cliff?

      A large supermarket company, which has not been publicly identified but my sources say it is probably Tesco, is preparing to introduce rationing. The story has been spun to say that the company wants to avoid smaller companies treating them like a “wholesaler”. So how do we imagine they’re going to tell whether a customer at the checkout is a “member of the public” or somebody who is buying for a small cafe? What they actually mean is that it will be two cans of beans and one loaf every three days maximum. And how will they prevent people returning for a second go, in the unlikely event that there any beans left on the shelves half an hour later? There are answers to that question and soon we’ll find out. Every company “executive” nowadays thinks he’s an expert in behavioural psychology – they are as bad as web designers – but even in these dumbed down times it will be hard to introduce rationing without making it abundantly clear that that’s what it is. The shelves will be bare because even in the thicko smartphone paradise that is Britain the penny will drop. Cliffedge may be a joky term in the media, pseudo-ironically dramatising while actually conveying a message that is similar to “watch the big game on Saturday – it’s going to be carnage”, but basically Britain will soon be on a wartime footing.

      If it is allowed to happen, Brexit will kill very many people and Malthusian fascism will truly have “come home”. But it will be “worth it” if an ultra-nationalistic regime is introduced in Scotland, huh?

      Many of the old people and others currently on strong opioid painkillers won’t get them. We are talking a matter of weeks away, tops. “Do or die” independence sounds for all the world like Boris Johnson Brexitry or Trumpism.

      The LibDems haven’t engaged in “folly”. That party’s traditional role, as it played in 1983 and in 2010, is keeping Labour out of office. The LibDems are gearing up for another 1983 when the Tory voteshare went down but the Liberals and their SDP allies took votes from Labour and booted that party into kingdom come for many years. Part of the role of the Brexit party is similar, and the same is true of White Phosphorus Labour and ex-Labour. Margaret Hodge may say she is anti-Brexit but sheesh.

      Speaking of Kingdom Come, I wonder whether any Ulster Protestant gangster-politicians will see past the pound signs in their eyes and count the letters in “Boris’s No-Deal Brexit”. In the coming calamity, insanity will rise like a many-headed Hydra.

      Jeremy Corbyn is putting a hand out to the LibDems because he is weak and he has no choice. I don’t blame him. I don’t think he’s especially bright but he is probably bright enough not to relish the idea of a general election. Boris Johnson will probably call one. He will be “Bring It On” Boris, the tough man. This is not 2017 and what will be the admirable Labour manifesto promise of abolishing tuition fees is unlikely to reach many ear’oles.

      • N_

        In 1983 the Tory party’s voteshare fell by 1.5% and its number of voters fell by 5% but the party’s majority increased by about 100 seats.

        In 2019 the glorious prospect of removing food and healthcare from single mothers, from the “overpopulating” ones in the cities who aren’t even Church of England, and from the working class who “think the world owes them a living”, means the Tories have got the bit between their teeth like they never had in the 1980s even at the time of the Falklands and when they were deliberately creating mass unemployment and calling their victims lazy, as the City firms were “advising” on almost Yeltsin-level privatisation heists. I will be amazed if a general election or countrywide plebiscite is not announced by autumn.

        • N_

          It’s worth noting that one of the functions of the false “anti-Semitism” accusation against Labour is to influence white middle class people who aren’t open to the full-on “Londonistan” or “Bradfordistan” message purveyed by Tommy Robinson, Nick Griffin, or Melanie Phillips.

          The middle classes love their hypocrisy more than anything, and this includes many among their number who have voted Labour. They prefer to have their Islamophobia tickled under the table, grateful for “permission” to help the Tories by voting Liberal Democrat when that’s what the Tories really need. Also the lie that “the left is anti-Semitic” has a “newness” to it, a bit like not having notch in your smartphone.

        • Sharp Ears

          The odds for a GE being held.

          ‘As of August 14, Coral is offering 4/7 odds on one taking place this year.
          Both PaddyPower and Betfair are offering 8/13.
          William Hill is offering 4/9 odds, while Bet365 gives 8/15 chances.’

          • Sharp Ears

            The ‘deal’ hinges on the ‘backstop’ or ‘le filet de sécurité’.

            Johnson to meet Europe’s ‘bad cop’ Macron after ‘good cop’ Merkel offers some Brexit hope
            In Paris this afternoon Mr Macron is likely to give a more confrontational response to the minister’s Brexit demands.

            Definition – ‘Currently, there are no border posts, physical barriers or checks on people or goods crossing the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The backstop is a measure in the withdrawal agreement, between Theresa May and the EU, which is designed to ensure that continues after the UK leaves the EU. It comes into effect only if the deal deciding the future relationship between the UK and EU is not agreed by the end of the transition period (31 December 2020).

            Until the deal on the future relationship is done, the backstop would keep the UK effectively inside the EU’s customs union but with Northern Ireland also conforming to some rules of the single market. Critics say a different status for Northern Ireland could threaten the existence of the United Kingdom and fear that the backstop could become permanent.’

            Tricky one with the DUP keeping the Tories in power.

          • Hatuey

            Sharp, I don’t see a scenario that results in a general election. I think Boris will cut a deal with the EU and it will come down to a vote in the commons… that’s where, for me, it gets interesting. The SNP understands what is required.

            The backstop isn’t the Gordian knot it’s made out to be. All Boris needs to do is put the issue in the hands of some multinational group compose of NI, Ireland, the EU, and UK. Let someone else work it out once the trade deal has been finalised.

            Importantly, polls suggest most people in NI were happy with the original plan of having a regulatory border in the Irish Sea.

            The only people that would strongly object to the above is the DUP and providing some other party of a reasonable size was prepared to abstain, Boris would be able to get this through the commons.

            I just sorted out Brexit, in case nobody noticed.

          • N_

            When Angela Merkel said what she said about “30 days”, she was taking the piss. A final deal obviating the need for a backdrop “could” indeed be agreed within 30 days, the same way that aliens “could” land on Earth some time before next Tuesday. That’s what she meant.

          • N_

            @Hatuey – How would you get the RoI to support something so open-ended? (I guess Frankfurt could threaten to slap them round the head.)

      • Hatuey

        I’m media trained, N, you won’t get me to answer stupid questions like that.

        Here’s a thing though… I actually think England will get the hard Brexit it voted for. And as a believer in democracy and Scottish independence, I’m confident there’s a deal to be struck towards facilitating that, leaving everyone with what they voted for.

        • J

          Was the phrase ‘Hard Brexit’ used much during the referendum? Can you cite some instances? Can you show how Hard Brexit was the expectation of those who voted to leave? All of those I know personally tell me it was not even on the horizon of what they voted for.

      • giyane


        Nobody who was very bright could stomach 30 years in the HoC , the posturing flatulence oh his own leaders flattening Iraq and Afghanistan , the vomit-eating neo-colonial policies of proxy terror of The zbullingdon twain in the tears sitting opposite.

        Neither you nor I would last five seconds in that outpouring of polluted chemicals.
        Anyway Corbyn has usefully exposed Swinson’s cards. As my PE teacher said of me ” I’ve got muscles in places where you haven’t even got places

        Cornyn is top man and he has political poses flexing political biceps where you nor I have got political places. Don’t knock the next PM.

      • kathy

        I think the catastrophe you foretell applies to England rather than Scotland which has a healthy economy and abundant natural resources which we will no longer be forced to share with England. Enjoy your penury and don’t come begging.

  • Giambologna

    However much you disagree with Brexit, first and foremost you should be a democrat and have accepted the result. I suspect millions of remain voters did accept the result. But for most of those in power in politics, media, law etc. the result was such a shock to their belief that history only traveled in one direction (theirs) that they did not accept the result. This has polarised British politics and allowed two extreme options to be mainstreamed; no-deal Brexit and a second referendum (before the first result has been acted on).

    No-deal Brexit is the default position. If nothing happens then it will go ahead and there is nothing Jo Swinson or anyone else in Parliament can do about it. Their only chance was to vote through Mrs May’s Working Agreement. This was horribly flawed, but it was a compromise, and it also was only a working agreement, the first step in leaving. It was not, as is commonly assumed by many in the media, a trade agreement or a final arrangement, but just a safe stepping stone to a future agreement, an agreement that could be negotiated and changed in the subsequent talks.

    No-dealers were a fringe group of Tory Thatcherite’s, egged on by their Think Tanker friends, subsidised by disaster capitalists. They have a very small following among the public, and yet have captured Government because of the un-democratic nature of the Remain establishment (and the poor leadership of May).

    Going forward, the only solution, with narrowing chances, is for Remain to stop fighting against Brexit and instead fight against no-deal. This is what should have happened. By aiming to stop Brexit they put many Brexiteers in the impossible camp of choosing between no-deal and Remain and denying them the chance for a sensible, slow and managed Brexit.

    • Anthony

      Indeed . . . borne out by the latest polling on preferences for Brexit outcome:

      42% ~ Leave without a deal
      24% ~ Cancel Brexit and remain a member of the EU
      14% ~ Delay Brexit to hold a referendum on whether to stay or leave
      8% ~ Delay Brexit to provide more time to negotiate an acceptable deal

      , 13-14 August

      Once centrists chose not to align around a compromise soft Brexit option this outcome was inevitable.

      • Hatuey

        I don’t see the point in another eu referendum if they don’t honour the first.

        If it happens, I hope the good people of England delegitimise it with a mass boycott.

        In Scotland we respect democracy. Nobody serious, and certainly not the SNP, suggested that the result was invalid.

        • Anthony

          An apt comparison and I think you’re right. No-deal Brexit, led by the Britannia Unchained mob, would not be pleasant.. But failing to observe the Leave result altogether would probably have even scarier repercussions over the long run, souring much of the electorate to a dangerous extent.

        • Iain Stewart

          “In Scotland we respect democracy.”
          Except of course in Edinburgh, which had the 1920 Leith referendum overturned by the House of Lords.

      • N_

        That poll by YouGov is rubbish for two reasons. The options aren’t mutually exclusive. Some who support leaving without a deal and some who support revocation also support holding a second referendum. And the referendum option is very leading. It should be “Hold another referendum to decide whether to stay or leave”. And if that were the first option on the list it may well have scored much higher than 14%.

        • Anthony

          YouGov is run by people’s vote proselytizer Peter Kellner, husband of former EU representative for foreign affairs. So the questions were unlikely to have been skewed to achieve these results. But maybe you should get in touch and tell him how to conduct a poll.

    • SA

      I think your analysis is spot on and that is why swinson’s stance will definitely lead to a hard Brexit.

  • Shatnersrug

    I think you’re absolutely right on this Craig. I think anyone who truly sits down and contemplates everything that has happened can only reach the same conclusion (or no conclusion) as you. I certainly did soon after I recovered from the shock of Brexit. Unfortunately, as you say the Conservative have moved into full misanthropic right wing lunacy, it’s an unavoidable fact that the lion share of our MPs left right, north or west of various borders are far to close to wealthy and undemocratic actors, whether that be big oil, finance, tech, and/or foreign Embassies

    This situation is reflected across western politics, the only thing keeping in in check was the commitment to, at least surface, a liberal democracy. This is ending, and rapidly, with the death of s liberal international state, all bets are off, what is unthinkable to an authoritarian state when it comes to the masses? Almost nothing

    These are frightening times

    • Hatuey

      Steady on. You seem to admit the commitment to liberal democracy was fake and at the same time suggest deconstructing it was a bad idea resulting in frightening times…

      You can’t have it both ways.

      I think the big problem we have in the West right now is that ordinary people have stopped falling for the liberal democracy lies. It makes sense that those who were previously comfortable with the lies, even if they knew it was all based on lies, are feeling a little nervous.

      But I’m sure they’ll come around to the new realities. They don’t have much of a choice. The answer is simple — we need to accept democratic outcomes like Trump and Brexit and stop trashing the whole system when it doesn’t produce the results we wanted.

      • AnCan

        And speaking of Trump and Brexit: I mentioned in a comment a few weeks back that here in Canada, CBC’s The National had suggested at the end of May that Pence may replace Trump (who’s too unpredictable.) Today, Mike Pompeo is making his first official visit to Canada, and although the topics are said to be China and maybe the corrupt Trudeau govt, this may be about Trump’s future as POTUS. So for those who are interested, I’d encourage you to check out @CBCTheNational for the Aug. 22nd episode to see if anything is leaked. The UK was implicated (by the CBC) in this, so the timing of PM Johnson’s trip to France may also be significant.

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    If we’re touching on the UK state’s application of underhand methods to scupper Scottish independence, what of the State Department?
    In early 2014, the BBC made two specific hiring decisions to “augment” coverage of the independence debate on BBC Radio Scotland.
    It moved James Naughtie north on temporary secondment. Naughtie is a graduate of the State Department’s, British American Project. Naughtie had been working for the BBC based in London at that point for 28 years. He had not lived in Scotland for 47 years.
    The second move was to hire Sarah Smith from Channel 4 and post her in Glasgow. Sarah Smith is of course the daughter of British American Project graduate John Smith. Sarah Smith had been living outside Scotland at that point for 23 years.
    Quite a pair to “augment” coverage. Real fingers on the pulse of Scottish politics folks.

    • Sharp Ears

      I don’t hear of or from Naughtie these days. (He was the one who called Jeremy Hunt Jeremy *unt) but Ms Smith (very annoying woman) is on Channel 4 News daily. Her mother is a peer and a supporter of Zionist Israel as chair of Labour Friends of Israel on the red benches.

      ‘ Elizabeth Margaret Smith (nee Bennett), Married the late John Smith. She is the Lords Chair of The Labour Friends of Israel. A fluent Russian speaker, she is also a member of the Intelligence and Security Committee, which provides parliamentary oversight of the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6, (GCHQ) and the Security Service (MI5). She is an advisory council member of the foreign-policy think-tank, the Foreign Policy Centre. (Some other good references within)

      I did not know that one of the three Smith daughters, Jane, married Malcolm, son of Milord Robertson of Port Ellen , the well known NATO general secretary 1999-2004. Wars waged during his tenure include the Iraq war, Kosovo, Afghanistan and the War on Terrrrr in general.

      . His son waxes lyrical here.

      What an awful crowd.

      • Sharp Ears

        I should have said that Sarah Smith is on the BBC daily not Channel 4. She used to work for Channel 4. To me the news channels are indistinguishable from each other. Pure propaganda organs.

      • Vivian O'Blivion

        Baroness Smith of Gilmorehill was onetime Director of private, English spook outfit Haklugt. This is expunged from her Wiki.
        Sarah Smith is married to an ex British military spook.
        Another daughter Catherine is Chair of the John Smith Centre for Public Service. They recently hired failed Labour politician Kezia Dugdale to manage the outfit. It’s mission statement is something about encouraging public engagement in politics (but only from the right sort of people obviously).
        I didn’t know about the third daughter being married to the son of British American Project graduate, Lord Robertson of Port Ellen. Weirdly incestuous!
        If my contributions over the last couple of days have sounded increasingly angry, it’s because Iam increasingly angry.

  • Wilfrid Whattam

    Craig, for my second comment, I particularly recommend you read Bill Mitchell’s latest blog which covers typical Guardian hyperbole and more importantly the continuing disgusting treatment of Greece by the EU –

  • Adrian Stepney

    [ Mod: Also posted as “Jo Winson” (now deleted). From Craig’s moderation rules for commenters:

    …. the adoption of multiple identities within the same thread is not to be allowed.

    Please use one identity only. ]

    “My own euro-enthusiasm was dealt a fatal blow when the Spanish paramilitaries clubbed grandmothers lining up to vote in Catalonia, and all three constituent parts of the EU – Parliament, Council and Commission – rushed to congratulate the Francoist government in Madrid on upholding the Rule of Law.”

    It took Murray about 30 years to realise the EU was a fascist dictatorship.

    Well done Craig.

    Perceptive !

  • W R B Cunninghame Graham

    “…the Spanish paramilitaries clubbed grandmothers lining up to vote…” strikes me as loose language that is more emotive than factual.

    I assume that by “paramilitaries” you are intending to refer to the Guardia Civil. However, I have yet to find any footage of the Guardia Civil, who, unlike the Policia Nacional that were drafted in from othe parts of Spain, mainly came from the Catalonia, “clubbing” anyone, let alone grandmothers.

    Indeed, in all of the footage I have seen, which has been extensive, those attacking the peaceful voters are almost all wearing the insignia of the Policia Nacional (a very few show the Mossos d’Esquadra) – but pehaps, you regard all police as paramilitaries, in which case your statement would be accurate.

    Of course, you may have access to footage or photos of the violence, which I have not seen, in which the perpetrators are clearly identifiable as being from the Guardia Civil. If so, I would be very interested to see them.

    Regarding, Swinson, you are absolutely correct. I believe that once a No Deal Brexit is a fait accompli, she will try and form a coalition with a Johnson government and, just like Clegg, throw LibDem voters under the austerity bus, for a litle bit of power. It is clear that she has learnt nothing from the Clegg debacle.

  • john stack

    Another referendum to be in the EU is pointless after the UK leaves.
    It will require the unanamous agreement of 27 Countries. All with demands. (eg Spain – Gibralter etc ) .It will not happen.
    Is this fully taken into account.

    • Hatuey

      There’s a good chance it would require Scotland’s consent to… lol

      The last 2 or 3 years have been one massive dose of karma for me, on a multitude of levels.

      Halloween can’t come fast enough.

      • MJ

        Agreed. Just get out and deal with any outstanding issues afterwards.

        Can you imagine if Scotland had voted to leave the UK and over three years later nothing had happened?

  • Alistair Shuttleworth

    Jo Swinson doesn’t trust Corbyn and neither do I. Recent poll shows that Scots favour Boris over Jeremy as PM – something not being talked about very much. Corbyn has been one of the primary architects of this whole clown show with his attempts to have his cake (Brexit that he wants) and eat it (blame the Tories). Ultimately the EU refuses to budge on the backstop and so does parliament – not Boris or Jeremy or anyone else. We had a PM that supported the withdrawal agreement but parliament has clearly said no. Therefore a no deal appears inevitable. I fail to see what a general election is going to accomplish unless it gives a clear result for either no deal or withdrawal of article 50.

    • Hatuey

      “Recent poll shows that Scots favour Boris over Jeremy as PM ”

      For the record, can you source that?

    • MJ

      There won’t be a GE before 31 October. There may be one on 31 October, when it’s too late to stop Brexit. Good for everyone except the Brexit Party and the LibDems, who will have to get back into their box. Quel domage. Corbyn might do well, particularly since those neocon opponents in his own party will have been wrong-footed.

      • Mr Shigemitsu

        “There may be one on 31 October, when it’s too late to stop Brexit. Good for everyone except the Brexit Party”

        If Brexit, and especially a no-deal Brexit, were to happen on 31st Oct, the Brexit Party would, from Nov 1st lose its entire raison d’etre. They will have achieved what they set out achieve. So there’d no longer be any need for it to participate in any GE that took place after 31st Oct – or even exist at all.

        So there’s a Brexit silver lining – for those who need one.

    • Jo Dominich

      Alistair, you are so wrong here. Jeremy Corbyn actively and exhaustedly campaigned for Remain. There are no circumstrances under which Corbyn is to blame for any of this. Also, he is the only one that has a viable, constitutionally correct option to cut through this mess. I don’t see any other Party Leader doing this. The Tories with their half-hearted ‘we’ll ask the Queen to sack BoJo’, we’ll do this we’ll do that none of which is viable. Corbyn does not want Brexit but has stated repeatedly and consistently Labour will respect the result of the Referendum but stay in the Single Market and Customs Union to preserve jobs, industry, employment rights and a host of other things. What is wrong with that for God’s sake. You fail to see what a General Election will accomplish? Well allow me to enlighten you will you. This country has had two unelected Tory Prime Ministers in the last 10 years. BoJo is not elected. He has convened an extremely right wing, Fascist Cabinet, he is in talks already, with the USA about a ‘sweetheart’ trade deal with them in which he will sell the NHS, the UK manufacturing industry, employment rights and democracy amongst but a few things down the river and this country with it. He has no mandate to do any of these things with only a majority of 1 in Parliament. He does not have a mandate to drive this country over a cliff to certain death, poverty and consigned to international oblivion. If he wants to do one or all of the things he is proposing he should put it in the Tory Party Manifesto and let the public decide whether they want their country to go this way or whether they want a Manifesto that will invest in the economy, in jobs, in industry, in climate change, in affordable housing, cheaper transport, pension of between 60-65yrs (the current proposal by the Tories is to, by 2038 (yep in most people’s lifetime only 18yrs away) for people to be eligible for retirement at 75yrs old), in regenerating poverty stricken communities in the NHS and much much more that is needed to dismantle a disastrous, corrupt, incompetent 10 years of Tory Government. Now, which Manifesto do you think the UK would vote for, being owned, governed and totally shafted by the USA or one that would invest in infrastructure, jobs, industry, health, education, housing and other things. That is why we need a general election. A Majority of 1 in the HoC does not give Bojo any mandate to drive this country over a cliff edge. Get it? In fact, maybe Jeremy Corbyn should take a leaf out of Trump’s view of Venezuela, just declare himself to be the democratic Prime Minister of the UK. Trump thinks that is ok for Venezuela why not here?

      • Mr Shigemitsu

        “ This country has had two unelected Tory Prime Ministers in the last 10 years.”

        Three. Don’t forget Gordon Brown.

        Or even four, if you consider that David Cameron failed to win a Tory majority in the 2010 General Election.

        • Mr Shigemitsu

          Sorry, you said Tory PMs.

          But it’s a damning indictment of our so-called democracy that the only elected PM since Tony Blair won in 2005(!) has been David Cameron, who won the GE 2015 – only to resign in disgrace in 2016.


      • Alistair Shuttleworth

        What’s wrong with civil dialogue? Don’t we do that any more?

        We don’t elect Prime Ministers, but if we did I’d bet against Britain electing Jeremy Corbyn (I’ll vote SNP if it saves any more views being attributed to me that I haven’t expressed). Britain voted to leave the EU and so did parliament. I didn’t, though it was marginal. Parliament also rejected the Withdrawal Agreement. The idea that Corbyn unequivocally campaigned for Remain is just a bizarre one to me. I can’t square it with reality. He went from “truth teller” to constant shifty eyed evasion. He has a long history of being anti-EU from 1975 onwards and much of what he would like to do absolutely requires the UK neither to be in the EU nor the single market. That’s why, far from being (only) a right wing nationalist objective, there were a number of prominent lefties who are vehemently for leaving the EU, not least Tony Benn. Corbyn could not accomplish what he would like without leaving the EU and the single market.

        Again, it is parliament which has rejected the Withdrawal Agreement – not BoJo, and not the Tories. We had a PM who wanted it signed off but it was not possible. I’d be happy for anyone to explain to me how a GE solves that.

      • kathy

        Surely you must be joking? Jeremy Corbyn, as a committed Marxist, is very much in favour of Brexit. I don’t know if he actively campaigned for remain or not but he does have to pretend in order to placate the large number of labour remainers.

        • Jo Dominich

          Kathy, Corbyn is a social democrat for one. Two. Jeremy Corbyn is anti Brexit and, if you read all the facts, actively campaigned for Remain up and down the country and has reiterated that consistently during interviews.

  • Dungroanin

    Oh dear – Merkel says something in German and Johnson thinks he hears the EU granting him THIRTY DAYS TO COME UP WITH A PLAN!!!! (Goes screaming off celebrating and punching the air, gyrating his bum ‘sexily’ with the corner post and expecting higs and kisses from his teammates for winning the world cup from the Germans …finally.

    (this is a ruse he will use to give the tory hockey cockey pretend soft brexiteers a public excuse for not voting for a vote of no confidence that they have found themselves cornered into, thus running the clock down even more – Not Grieve, nor Clarke, nor any of the grandees are actually after a ‘soft brexit’ that would subject their ancient City masters to any regulation.)

    I expect when he meets with the ACTUAL EU NEGOTIATOR tomorrow there will be a crystal clear position that NOTHING HAS CHANGED. But our media muppets will of course harp on about the mythical 30 days.

    BoBo playing the clown as he tries to deliver the HARD brexit that May FAILED to.

    Are people so blinded by propaganda they can’t see the charade?

    • Jo Dominich

      Thank you Dungroanin’ for these wise thoughts. I am beginning to see some hope. I think a lot of people I talk to, socially, at work and in other social activities are coming around now to what a disaster a No Deal Brexit would be. They are also starting, very slowly, to see that the Labour Party and Corbyn are actually talking sense and trying to put the country first ahead of the protection of vested interests. It is a very slow process but I think, what I am hearing, is that people are slowly realising the propaganda for what it is, even on a small level now but probably greater when a General Election is called.

  • gunabut

    Thing is I don’t think the referendum was conducted in a way that gave a fair democratic result. Either remain or leave. The whole thing was conducted with such vitriol and full of miss truths. Fundamentally I don’t feel that 52/48 is actually enough of a difference to claim a clear massive majority.
    For all the wrongs of the EU and there are many, catalan issue springs to mind, there is not another jurisdiction currently on the planet that gets close. I don’t believe the uk gov or any individual gov (independant scot gov) would be able to match them either. I don’t just mean medicine, food, environmental, legal etc standards. Brexit was never about the improvement of these standards and liberty.

    • Jo Dominich

      Gunabot, Thank you for succinct and clear thinking. You are right about the Referendum result, it doesn’t deliver any kind of ‘mandate’ and it doesn’t reflect the ‘will of the people’. It is refreshing to read your common sense.

      • gunabut

        Cheers Joe. That has always been my argument. There is not another jurisdiction that has the protections the EU gives. I love the EU regulations. The national farmers Union was against bee killing pesticide ban, the uk gov would have done as the farmers wanted. EU regs state that there is no trace of pesticides and other chemicals in rice, 70% of world rice is therefore banned from EU as others allow traces(whatever that means). Something like 90% of all USA food production does not meet EU standards. No individual gov would be able to implement these standards. Environmental standards also the best in the world ever in the history of mankind, nowhere gets close. Still in my mind not good enough, but the uk gov on its own will not keep these. Even lead in jewellery is banned only in the EU. Of course some of these standards could be down to EU protectionism, but I don’t want chlorinated chicken, corn fed beef, hormone infused pork. EU grade chickens cost more to make, but still sell at £3 is it really nessesary to have £1.50 chicken from USA.

        • Mist001

          It’ll cost you 9 euros for a ‘Euro grade chicken’ in France, BTW. Horrendously expensive and once the UK leaves the EU, you can expect prices to rise to match the EU.

    • Mr Shigemitsu

      “Fundamentally I don’t feel that 52/48 is actually enough of a difference to claim a clear massive majority.”

      Hmmmm, so how would Indy-supporting Remainers making this argument here feel if there’s a similar 52/48 result in favour of Scottish independence at the next Indy referendum?

      Not enough of a difference to claim a clear massive majority?

      Should it need to be 66/33 – but only declared as being so required *after* the event?

      Should we then let Parliament decide, in several votes, repeated until the “correct” result came in?

      Or have another “People’s Vote”, but with full Indy; further negotiated Devolution; or Remain in the Union, as options?

      Perhaps ask the Queen to appoint a “neutral” Government of National Unity to deal with the National Emergency that breaking up the UK would entail?

      I can’t see any of you accepting that under those circumstances!! (And nor should you.)

  • Goose

    Senior Labour figures urging Corbyn to consider supporting Ken Clarke as an interim PM as Jo Swinson has urged.

    While we can mock Swinson’s pathetic anti-Corbyn behaviour that led to this, there may be merit in Corbyn and co backing the idea of retiring Europhile Clarke being PM… albeit for different reasons. Here’s why : Ken Clarke being installed as PM over Johnson , with the express aim of preventing no-deal would rip the Tories asunder and make Labour’s path the victory in any subsequent GE a hell of a lot easier than if say Johnson gets no-deal through. Really, the recriminations in the Tory party if Brexit never happens will go on for years.

    • Hatuey

      You’re trying to be too clever, Goose, and, like so many these days, playing tribal games whilst neglecting important principles. And there’s really no need for that.

      The Tory party is basically getting hammered as it is, if Boris can’t get the UK out of the EU by November 1st. The conspiracy you describe would make life easier for him, not harder, providing him with an excuse for failure.

      The likelihood, as I have been saying all along, is that this will all come down to a vote in the commons. Macron and others signalled today that a deal for Boris is possible, and I suspect they already have a deal on the table that they are all happy enough with. Everything will hinge on whether Boris can find enough support for his deal in the commons (this is what the EU want to know).

      The backstop/NI problem has been exaggerated and complicated by the Government’s reliance on the DUP. But that could change quite easily.

      As for principle, it’s important that the SNP does not do anything to prevent the English from achieving the Brexit they voted for. This is what it will come down to; the SNP must abstain when Boris puts his deal before Parliament and, in return for abstaining, Scotland must be permitted to have an independence referendum.

      The above more or less takes the trouble-making and out of touch DUP out of the equation, whilst squaring about 4 other circles.

      Assuming Boris gets his deal through parliament (by shafting the DUP and accommodating the SNP demand for indyref2), he will have no choice but to call an election. But he’d be going into that election as the leader who delivered on brexit and there’s a good chance he’d win. Scotland would be given the democratic choice to reject Boris’s deal and Brexit, whatever form it takes, with an independence referendum.

      Crucially, everything I set out above is in keeping with democratic principles.

      • Goose

        I’d agree, that it’d be low cunning exemplified.

        Craig set out very clearly why the first referendum should, at least, morally, be honoured, above other considerations.

        But it must be more than a little tempting tho for Labour to place the Tories in a bind that could well split that party permanently.

    • Jo Dominich

      Goose, admirable thinking. However, it would be seriously unconstitional to put a back bencher as head of an interim Govt of National Unity. Corbyn is the Leader of the Opposition with the largest member of MPs other than the Tories. He commanded 40% of the public vote at the last General Election. Jo Swinson is showing herself for what she is – an incompetent, self-serving, Tory who is unable to put the country before her own interests. Corbyn should lead a Govt of National Unity because he is the Leader of the Opposition with the largest Party in the HoC other than the Tories. The truth is, they dont want the public to see Corbyn as a caretaker Prime Minister because, err, the public will probably like him. Ken Clarke isn’t talking about ‘sorting Brexit out’ and he has no mandate as a backbencher to do so. Jo Swinson is a Tory who should have crossed the floor of the House years ago. Corbyn is the natural leader of a national unity government with two sole purposes as he has said himself (i) to seek an urgent extension of Article 50 and (2) to call a General Election. That’s the only mandate any other caretaker Prime Minister would have also. What’s not to like?

      • Hatuey

        “it would be seriously unconstitional to put a back bencher as head of an interim Govt of National Unity”

        Ever hard of a guy called Winston Churchill?

        • Goose


          It’s which group has the votes ultimately.

          When people were demanding by-elections after Chuka’s gang split from Labour to form TIG, The govt were quick to respond to that petition, telling everyone ‘we elect MPs as our individual representatives not parties’. In theory MPs can make anyone PM they want, if he or she can command a majority in the HoC is the only test.

          • Hatuey

            Yes, Goose, I understand that. But there’s also convention which does seem to encourage the leader of the official opposition to get first crack at it.

  • Angela Wooldridge

    ‘Emmanuel Macron has insisted Article 50 can still be revoked “up to the last second”, as he warned Boris Johnson a no-deal Brexit would be Britain’s fault. Boris and his govt would be entirely responsible for the serious mess Britain will be in after a no-deal exit from the EU. He said that that British people will endure war time hardships. There would be no immediate way back to the EU if Britain was to leave the EU on a no-deal as the intrem period will be seven years. He also warned that the union that makes Britain is at risk of breaking up and could even be at risk becoming a vassal state of the USA with all the concerns this holds for a future relationship with the rest of Europe. ‘

  • michael norton

    42% Conservative

    about fourteen percent higher than Labour.

    Jeremy Corbyn is convincing less and less people to vote Labour.

    • Goose

      Kantar poll . The Brexit Party had 5% in that poll. Far lower than in other polls.

      Quote: IpsosMori and Kantar don’t prompt for the Brexit party, which is why they consistently show stronger performances for the Conservatives than most other pollsters. It was just over 1,100 polled ‘online’.

      As for replacing Corbyn. It’s worth considering how the very moderate SPD in Germany recently polled 12% behind the AFD on 14%. The centre-left aren’t doing well anywhere in Europe. The idea some PLP ‘moderate’ takes over and suddenly centrism is back in fashion is BS. What would happen is; the membership would drop to 50,000 and support would be lower than now as soon as the ‘no-change’ manifesto dropped.

      • michael norton

        Hi Goose, I am certainly not suggesting Jeremy Corbyn hangs up his boots, as you say, it was only one poll, slanted against the Brexit Party.
        However if Boris Johnson does pull off Brexit on Halloween, on which he has nailed his

        • michael norton

          colours, Boris is likely to be on to a winner, if he is forced to call, yet another general election, the LibDems will collapse.

        • Goose

          I’ve taken criticism here for being critical of Corbyn. Although my criticism isn’t of his politics.

          My criticism is based around a belief that he hasn’t taken on his PLP critics properly. Blair shaped a party in his own image over the 13 years he held the Labour leadership (1994 – 2007) Corbyn has held the leadership since 2015 under hostile fire from his own MPs, it’s now Q3 2019 and the predominantly Blairite PLP is still very much unchanged, and still very much at his throat.

      • Mr Shigemitsu

        “membership would drop to 50,000”


        But with a centre right Blairite in charge once more, the corporate and millionaire donations would again flood in, large sections of the media would come back onside, and, ok, the party might then have to pay for canvassers at polling time, to replace a committed volunteer membership.

        So, back to New Labour olden days.

        Very sad, but exactly how corporate business, the mainstream media, and most of the PLP, like it.

    • Jo Dominich

      Michael Norton. If I were you I wouldn’t believe these ridiculous poles. It’s called the Republican Dirty Tricks Electioneering strategy. It’s all propaganda to persuade the people BoJo is brilliant and electable. Unfortunately, word on the street is diametrically opposite to these poles. Steve Bannon (aka Cambridge Analytica) dirty tricks again.

      • michael norton

        I do not believe ridiculous polls,
        remember that Vote Remain was always going to win, yet when it came to it, even Nigel Farage was astounded that Vote Leave were the winners.
        It is mostly all nonsense, the only poll that counts is the actual election/referendum.

        H.R.Clinton thought she was always going to win, yet
        The Donald came up Trumps.

  • Chris Downie

    I have argued since June 2016 that the SNP leadership have taken a huge gamble in tying independence to EU membership and the fact the polls (if correct) have barely moved since suggest that we have either had a lot of YES/Leave voters turn to NO, or Scots are even more resistant to change than many of us suspected. While it’s understandable that many ‘soft NO’ voters understandably wish to see how Brexit plays out before considering independence, I fear that if the SNP maintain their current course, going into Indyref2 with EU membership at front and centre, we may lose again.

    The uncomfortable fact that 38% of the electorate are unrepresented at Holyrood on a crucial issue notwithstanding, polling suggested 35-40% of independence supporters also backed Leave and so I have long argued that the EEA/EFTA options would be a good compromise. Why Sturgeon and Murrell haven’t floated the idea of a referendum post-indy with this option as an alternative, is a mystery to me.

    • Hatuey

      You make a few mistakes here and it’s my duty to correct.

      “I have argued since June 2016 that the SNP leadership have taken a huge gamble in tying independence to EU membership”

      You have argued for no reason and made a fool of yourself. The SNP hasn’t tied independence to anything. There’s been a lot of debate about indy-Scotland’s future relations with the EU and the settled view is that we will make that decision later on, possibly with a referendum.

      “The uncomfortable fact that 38% of the electorate are unrepresented at Holyrood on a crucial issue ”

      More crap. You could walk into any parliament and say the power distribution leaves all sorts of views and interests unrepresented. Try playing that little game at Westminster and it gets a lot more interesting — on austerity, bombing Arabs, HS2, the EU, and a multitude of massive issues, Westminster leaves millions of people out in the cold.

      “Why Sturgeon and Murrell haven’t floated the idea of a referendum post-indy with this option as an alternative, is a mystery to me.”

      More idiotic games. They haven’t ruled it out either.

      If you are assuming they are ‘for’ something because they haven’t ruled it ‘out’, or ‘against’ something because they haven’t ruled it ‘in’, you are possibly thick, in which case I shouldn’t have given you the benefit of the doubt.

    • Republicofscotland

      “Leave and so I have long argued that the EEA/EFTA options would be a good compromise.”

      Leaving the rest of your comment aside, as I feel its mostly speculation, I agree remaining in the EU in one form or another is I’d say the goal.

      Hopefully things will become a bit clearer after the 31st of October, unless there’s another extension.

      • Mist001

        No. You’re wrong. How can Scotland remain in the EU post Brexit, post independence? It’s NEVER been a member of the EU at any point. This really turns me off from independence, the amount of lies and disinformation that supporters present as fact. Stop propagating lies.

        An independent Scotland could apply to join the EU which is a far cry from ‘remaining in the EU’ as if it was a member already.

        • Hatuey

          That’s just semantics, Mist.

          Right now Scotland is in the EU and in conformity with all EU regulations and laws. If Britain Brexits and Scotland votes for independence, of course our conformity will be taken into consideration and our joining the EU, should we choose to do so, would be a rubber stamp affair, as if we had been and remained a member-state all along.

          We have every reason to believe that the EU would welcome Scotland, especially if Brexit goes ahead, and that they’d fast-track our an application to join.

        • Republicofscotland

          “No. You’re wrong. How can Scotland remain in the EU post Brexit, post independence?”

          Here we go again, at what point did I say we’d remain in the EU post-Brexit?

          I’m well aware that Scotland would need to reapply to gain entry, however as Hautey said we already meet much of the criteria and the EU has said it would welcome our membership.

          You don’t seem to get the point that those who support Scottish independence know fine well that Scotland needs to reapply to the EU after Brexit.

          I’ve yet to read a comment from you on Scottish independence that has even a smidgen of optimism.

  • Ralph

    ‘racist hatred of immigrants’ – that’s why immigration has gone UP (and rents), right, Craig? ‘I am entirely in favour of free movement’ – does soros pay you, or do you work for him free? What about MY RIGHTS against all & sundry coming into MY country, craig??? What about OVERpopulation in my country, Craig? What about not enough money to pay for infrastructure, immigrants (except like in the City) paying less in taxes than that which is necessary to support them? YOU going to pay extra towards that Craig, like right now, and voluntarily? Put your money where your mouth is, right?

    The sooner scotland becomes independent the better, then you can inflict your liberalism ONLY on your fellow Scots. Oh, and when Scotland becomes independent of us, please take YOUR trash with you: warmongering, mass murdering bliar, brownSHIT & you might as well take camoron too, after all, his father was scottish.

    By the way, through marriage of my father’s sister to a Murray – and a very nice and decent Murray he was too – I am unfortunately linked to you, with your liberal and impractical nonsense on immigration.

    • Republicofscotland

      “What about OVERpopulation in my country, ”

      I take you mean England? Which through the Home office has denied many many folk the right to live and work in Scotland but not England.

      “mass murdering bliar, brownSHIT & you might as well take camoron too, after all, his father was scottish.”

      Blair and Brown are indeed Scottish both did nothing for Scotland except drag them into illegal wars, re appropriate Scottish waters to England, and preside over the disastrous crash of 2008. David Cameron didn’t even have the decency to fufil the Vow.

      I get the feeling you don’t particularly like the Scots. Unless of course they meet the “nice” Mr Murray’s criteria.

    • RichardN


      A couple of questions for you:
      1. Who do you think is going to be picking your vegetables next year?
      2. Which newspaper do you read?

    • Mr Shigemitsu

      “immigrants (except like in the City) paying less in taxes than that which is necessary to support them”

      Taxes in a nation such as the UK, with its own sovereign fiat currency, do not “pay” for anything – and that includes any facilities or services for “immigrants”.

      Taxation, which is a simple reserve drain operation at the BoE, hoovers up excess currency in order to prevent inflation, which would otherwise occur if continual govt spending (a simple, prior, reserve add operation at the BoE) went untaxed.

      The government spends money into existence every day via a BoE keystroke, and creates it out of thin air. It taxes money out of existence the same way, but can only do so *after* the money has been spent, not before – because you can’t drain BoE reserves before they’re created – you can only do it once they’ve been added. Spending occurs first – taxes are imposed after, at each transaction, until eventually (if there is a balanced budget) every last penny returns to the Exchequer where it’s effectively destroyed. If some of it gets saved rather than spent the Exchequer gets a bit less (there’s a deficit), but it’s just private savings, so nothing to worry about.

      The necessity of possessing sterling in order to pay taxes, which are imposed on pain of confiscation of property or imprisonment, ensures the ubiquitous use and acceptance of an otherwise worthless fiat currency throughout the nation, so that’s a good thing.

      The amount of money an “immigrant” pays in tax is utterly irrelevant to any entitlement they may have in law. And the reason any one of them may pay less in tax than they receive in benefits of one kind or another is essentially because they will be earning bugger all money. I’m sure they’d prefer to earn more.

      There are some reasons to oppose uncontrolled unskilled immigration on productivity grounds, unfair wage competition at the lower margins, and on the basis of lack of available resources which leads to increased resentment from the resident population as they are forced to compete for housing, schools and medical appointments. Or even high levels of skilled immigration stealing valuable workers from poorer countries who need them more than we do.

      But the level of payment of taxes relative to use of services or resources by “immigrants” is irrelevant.

      • Ralph

        Regardless of your economic theory, there are real world, substantive physical costs inherent in an influx of too many immigrants.
        ‘The amount of money an “immigrant” pays in tax is utterly irrelevant to any entitlement they may have in law’ – it is very much relevant, in that, according to your theory, whatever creation of money, the Government does have the expense and the immigrant does have the income, transferring part of that to the Government in taxes; services cost money.
        But if you want to argue financial theory, go and debate it with PCR or Michael Hudson.

        • Mr Shigemitsu

          Money costs the UK govt nothing whatsoever to create.

          It can buy anything and everything available for sale in Sterling.

          Taxes just hoover up the excess at each initial and subsequent transaction, until there’s almost nothing left, and the whole process starts again, minus the inflation that untaxed spending would cause. The flavour of which particular taxes are imposed, and at what rates, is purely political.

          The distribution of taxation payable between existing residents and immigrants is macroeconomically irrelevant, because taxes don’t fund anything at all; if you participate in larger or more frequent transactions, there will be more tax imposed as a normal consequence – but the Exchequer cares not a jot where you were born.

          The distribution of *real* resources can, however, be a big issue, although I’d argue it’s the rich helping themselves to more than their fair share that’s the problem – (imagine if for example all the resources of the private health and education sectors were absorbed into the state system – given that our real resources are finite and limited, it’s egregious that they’re not).

          “…there are real world, substantive physical costs inherent in an influx of too many immigrants..”

          Absolutely. The availability of real resources (not financial) in the economy is the constraint that govt faces, and competition for these resources, especially at the lower margins, creates resentment towards immigrants, exacerbated during periods of austerity when govt spending is insufficient for the demands of the economy, and for the population to thrive.

          Immigration can add labour to the store of real resources, and controlled immigration would allow an activist govt to prioritise needed skills, and trade this off against the necessity for increased provision of housing, educating, transporting, and medically treating skilled immigrants and their families, but equally, there’s nothing progressive whatsoever about stealing doctors, nurses, teachers and engineers from poorer countries, who need them just as much as we do.

          I have no need to argue with Hudson, except for the time I had to point out to him that it was the Tories not Labour who privatised British Rail, and received a rather curt reply to my email.

          I’m afraid I’m not aware of your other reference.

  • Sharp Ears

    Pollution alert for all of you up in Edinburgh. Alastair Campbell has been speaking at the ‘TV Festival’.

    ‘Former 10 Downing Street spin doctor Alastair Campbell has revealed he would like to re-join the Labour Party.
    Speaking at the Edinburgh TV Festival, Mr Campbell said he would like to go back if he is asked, despite his expulsion just three months ago.
    His automatic exclusion from the party came after he admitted voting for the Liberal Democrats in the European elections over Labour’s position on Brexit.’

    He certainly has an excess of chutzpah.

  • Gary

    Yes,Swinson’s actions are going to prevent a solution to this problem. I am sure there is enough support to win a vote of no confidence but obviously there is not enough support for ANY of the plans after that. The only option is for the government to call a GE, during the inevitable suspension of parliament thereafter Brexit will go ahead as being the default position of the UK government. Swinson is therefore shooting herself, and everyone else, in the foot.

    But I feel that the unfettered freedom of movement may have been the very thing that caused England, in particular, to begin to wish to leave the EU in the first place. The problem is that the government (many successive governments) didn’t properly resource areas which had the highest influx of people from the EU. The resulting pressure on resources made this unpopular even with people who were generally pro EU and were certainly NOT racists. The EU has moved too quickly, failed to consolidate and the UK has under resourced itself. The EU is neither a country nor purely a trading organisation. It has a parliament but this parliament can be overridden by heads of state. It is difficult for it to be fully accountable and fully transparent. Add to this that it is the whipping boy for bad and poorly executed UK government policy and you can see why people voted to leave.

    There is truly no way out, May’s deal (which she stubbornly refused to discuss with anyone) failed repeatedly, the EU are refusing to reopen negotiations and we have a parliament which although it can’t agree ANY way forward HAS agreed to honour the referendum result and agreed to trigger Article 50, the leaving date has been extended to find a way forward and none has been found. Any way of preventing a no deal by installing another government has now been scuppered so, unless Jonhson himself asks for an extension, we will leave on 31st October. And I agree with your assessment, it will neither be as good as the Brexiteers say, nor as bad as the Remainers say.

    Either way, it IS the democratic decision of the people and has to be enacted. But likewise, when the Edinburgh Agreement was signed, whilst agreeing this to be a ‘once in a generation vote’ there WAS a clause to allow another one sooner if there was (paraphrasing here) a ‘material change’ in Scotland’s position. The example given by SNP at the time was ‘Scotland being dragged out of the EU against her will’ and THAT is now happening. With Scotland being now in favour of independence according to the latest surveys, having a majority of MSPs in Indy supporting parties and Holyrood voting in favour of asking for a new referendum the government reneged on it’s promise to honour it’s commitments in the Edinburgh Agreement with a lame ‘now is not the time’ which is in no way any kind of a ‘reason’

    Those who voted for Brexit will, in the years to come, regret their decision when the government reneges on all of its promises to spend on the NHS, to give back fishing rights to our fishermen and fail to make good on promises to farmers and begin to erode workers rights too. We will have NONE of the protections and our economy will be erratic in the way that it was in the early 70s. How long before a future Chancellor of the Exchequer has to do what Dennis Healey did and go cap in hand to the IMF for a bailout?

    Retiring at 75 is only the beginning, this is a wet dream for Tory hardliners. Letwin’s policy, long dreamt of, to break the link between NI and benefits and NHS use will come to fruition. If you’re sick you’ll die in the new ‘independent’ Britain, hopefully we can get OUR independence long before that…

    • Deb O'Nair

      “The problem is that the government (many successive governments) didn’t properly resource areas which had the highest influx of people from the EU. The resulting pressure on resources made this unpopular even with people who were generally pro EU and were certainly NOT racists.”

      The problem is that the government (many successive governments) didn’t properly resource areas which had high levels of poverty, full stop. The savage austerity cuts in public spending, resulting [in] pressure on resources, is widely acknowledge to be a political ideological act of the Tories and has no basis in economics. Blaming immigrants for this is racist tripe whipped up by the media and extreme right-wing politicians, every independent study has shown that immigrants are net contributors to the economy and not a drain.

  • Tatyana

    Mr. Murray says at the end
    “…The entire point of this blog is to ask you to consider different ways of thinking about things. I do not in the least insist or expect you to agree with me. But courteous consideration of the arguments is always welcome, even where opinions sharply differ from mine.”

    This is what I love you for, Mr. Murray. This attitude to visitors. Your credit of goodwill. This urge to reflect and to put forward one’s arguments. Your respect for differing opinion. The confidence that any thoughts will be read and assessed – that is the most valuable thing in this place.

    • On the train

      Yes I agree. This blog is a place that I turn to for a sort of reassurance. I especially appreciate your voice Tatyana.

    • John2o2o

      What a lovely thing to say Tatyana. You are so right. Craig’s blog is a special place.

    • Alistair Shuttleworth

      Yes. It’s a shame the comments descend so quickly into childish insults and innuendo

      • John2o2o

        Not always, Alistair. And you can always try to set a good example for others and not go down to that level.

        I used to be quite ‘wild’ myself on comment forums, but since coming here I have begun to mature in my attitudes.

  • N_

    @Craig – Talk of Scotland voting to remain in the EU is based on a hidden and wrong premise. Scotland voted against independence and if you think it was fair for the country’s continued presence in the Union to be tried following the 2014 referendum then you should apply the same thinking to the meaning of how people in Scotland voted in the 2016 Brexit referendum. You are careful with words, but I have heard less educated independence supporters opine (and tell foreign friends who actually believed them) that “Scots didn’t get a vote in the Brexit referendum”.

    That said, it has to be admitted that the British authorities and political parties haven’t done a f***ing thing since 2014 to sell the Union in Scotland and make it into something that people value for positive reasons.

    The road to independence taken by various countries has been compared to one that might sensibly be taken in Scotland, but I have yet to hear of such a comparison which holds. A country such as Croatia has to be ruled out because it is a gangster-ruled place that suffered years of horrible war and where there were ethnic expulsions from largely national minority areas on a huge scale. There aren’t any whole areas of Scotland that are mainly lived in by English people (not even the Isle of Mull!), or by Pakistanis or Poles. Somewhere like Denmark? Well Denmark was the “mother country” for Norway and Iceland. Somewhere like Slovenia is nice and thriving now (at least in its capital city, not everywhere) and it has prospered since the end of the Ten Day War, but even at that time there was a huge majority in favour of independence including among those who held state weapons, which is why the war was short. That condition does not pertain in Scotland where one imagines that if there were a referendum tomorrow both sides would probably exceed 40%. Independence supporters should learn to recognise that it is perfectly legitimate for many Scots to support the Union and it does not derive from stupidity on their part or from cravenness to posh Tories from down south. As for colonially dominated countries in Africa, the comparison is just a fantasy. Scots played a full role in the British empire. Leaving aside the disparity in populations one can look at Czechia and Slovakia which both became independent and joined the EU. In your scenario let’s say it’s Scotland in the EU and rump Britain outside of the EU but inside the EEA or in a Swiss arrangement. In any case, say it’s like Czechia and Slovakia today. The key point is that a healthy relationship with rump Britain would have to made to work, and I don’t recall the SNP in 2014 spending much effort addressing that issue. On for example the question of whether people in Scotland after independence would keep British citizenship, a matter of legitimate concern for many, I believe it was Alex Salmond who deigned to explain “That will be up to the British government”. Sure, but there’s so much contempt for people in those words and such a lack of recognition of millions of people’s real lives, jobs, and family considerations.

    • kathy

      “That said, it has to be admitted that the British authorities and political parties haven’t done a f***ing thing since 2014 to sell the Union in Scotland and make it into something that people value for positive reasons.”

      That’s because there are no positive reasons for Scots to stay in the union.

  • giyane

    Jusr as there are marriages in which the wife controls the husband by constantly threatening to be unfaithful to her husband , so also there are political alliances which are built solely to get a majority like Toriesvand DUP.

    If Swinson is flirting with the brainless one , and despising the intelligent one you can be sure she is just being manipulative and her words mean nothing.

    I work with a working class Tory who says he earns more under the brainless party than the intelligent party. This week he was bemoaning the fact that the local council wiil no longer provide the equipment and building adaptation for his disabled nephew.

    Fro the family to provide what the council used to provide would cost maybe £70 K.

    This is the reality of 2019 England.
    When the penny finally drops about cuts causing knife crime and Brexit causing knees to be shot in N I , the brainless ones will be booted out, and the liberal windbags with them.

  • Hieroglyph

    Jo Swinson just isn’t terribly bright. She’s hardly a charismatic vote-winner either. Shrug. I don’t really know how any of them get pre-selection in fairness. However, I saw her interviewed and genuinely struggled to understand how such a vapid airhead could possibly be considered a serious politician. This is someone who could theoretically become Deputy PM. Crivens.

    Well, I suppose I’ll give her credit for stepping up, and fighting for her beliefs, assuming they are her beliefs. I’d never even consider voting for a party she leads though, as is of course my prerogative.

  • Jack

    Craig, I generally agree with your views, however not on England/Britain leaving the EU. Yes, there was a referendum and Leave ‘won’ but it was in an atmosphere of profound ignorance among the electorate of what the consequences would mean. That ignorance was compounded by deliberate lies, misinformation and illegality and hammered home in heavily targetted areas of vulnerability by Farage and Cummings. John Barnes the ex Liverpool footballer summed it up well on BBC Question Time when he said ‘I consider myself to be an average man of intelligence and I didn’t understand the full implications’.

    Some say we were given a promise that the referendum result would be honoured. Sometimes it is more honourable not to honour a promise when the outcome would harmful. If you promised to buy a car or a house and then found it had serious mechanical or structural faults which had been deliberately concealed from you, you would be crazy to go ahead. The referendum was in effect a ‘distance selling operation’ and in distance selling, by law you have the right to change your mind when you see the goods.

    The only fair way forward, now that we have more information about the consequences, is another referendum. If people want to change their mind either way they can do, if not they can stick to their original choice. There is nothing undemocratic about the that.

    • Hatuey

      I think you’ve taken desperation to new levels with this masterpiece.

      Basically, “profound ignorance among the electorate”, as you put it, is another way of saying people are too thick to have democracy.

      The most dangerous people in the UK today are not Brexiteers, Islamic terrorists, Russians, or right-wing racist thugs. The most dangerous people are those that want to destroy democracy in order to stop Brexit. People just like you…

      • giyane


        Bonkers May did not have a parliamentary majority to force through a hard Brexit with a soft centre of the back stop. Nothing democratic there.
        When her fake DUP majority dropped off she had to resign. In a democracy we would then have an election and Jeremy Cornyn could have stood on a totally different Brexit keeping free movement of people and goods and freeing us from Brussells control.

        If he lost on that platform then democracy would have favoured The daft one who is now PM.waving his St George’s flag .

        The status quo of years of unconstitutional blocking of democracy has divided the electorate . Cui bono?

        The second the unelected May said she knew what the British people wanted viz Raciist Brexit, democracy flew out the window.

        If that’s what they want you and me and all the other millions of people who have foreign blood in their DNA might just as well leave these racists to their Nazism and flee.

        • Hatuey

          I’ve always believed that racism was a key component of Brexit. That shouldn’t unduly alarm anyone though, as long as we can contain it within a system that vaguely resembles a democracy where rights are more or less guaranteed by the judiciary etc.

          The racism was there before Brexit too. Many British people are racists. You can’t celebrate British imperialism without being racist.

          It’s everywhere. Scotland has its fair share too. Even the highly civilised Belgians had human zoos until the mid-1950s.

          The good news is that most racists are pretty dumb and they don’t often get a chance to exert influence over much. Brexit was an odd set of circumstances.

          You can’t throw the racist baby out with the Democratic bath water.

      • Jack

        Hatuey:- “Basically, “profound ignorance among the electorate”, as you put it, is another way of saying people are too thick to have democracy.”

        No it’s not, this is the old charge of the Cummings faithful to try and discredit Remainers. It’s the Dominic Cummings tactic to tell the ‘people’ what they want; tell the people want control of their money, laws and borders. When in fact we had never lost control of any of these. ‘The Remain people think the Leave people are thick’ is yet another of the Cummings tactics to set one half of the population against the other half.

        As Andy Wigmore, Arron Banks’, associate said at a Commons Committee, the referendum was won not on facts but on emotion. However he forgot to add + lies and deception, which are now obvious to many more of the electorate.

        • Hatuey

          I’m not contesting the idea that people are too thick to understand things. I’m pretty much a genius and I struggle at times.

          The point I’m making is that we seem to be holding the Brexit referendum and those who took part to a different standard. Why? Everything you say about the lies and lack of understanding could be said about any election.

          • Jack

            Hatuey “I’m not contesting the idea that people are too thick to understand things”

            And I never promoted that idea but if you want to go along with it by not contesting it, it’s up to you and your geniousness which should have warned you it’s a ‘dead cat on the table’.

            “we seem to be holding the Brexit referendum and those who took part to a different standard. Why? Everything you say about the lies and lack of understanding could be said about any election.”

            Two main reasons: This is probably the first national vote which has weaponised social media to such an extent and then utilised illegality to magnify its effect.

            Secondly, we were told, this was a once in a lifetime event. Unlike other ballots the results of which are time limited and could be run again. It was therefore imperative that the conduct and result were reliable.

          • Hatuey

            Jack, your two main reasons are so flimsy that I’d feel stupid responding to them with any seriousness.

  • Brianfujisan

    Slightly OT

    Why are all Nukes in my river –

    Dr Ian Fairlie, a radiation consultant to the 50-strong nuclear-free group of local authorities (NFLA) said: “The reactors at Hunterston are among the oldest in Europe and are well past their sell-by dates.

    “It is a pity that reactor four has been granted this four month lease of life to see if any more cracks appear. The precautionary principle should have been applied here especially as Scotland does not need the electricity from these reactors.”

    This is worrying ..Understatement… UN-LAUGH

  • Dave

    Trident nuclear deterrent is an obsolete white elephant, but such a big vested interest as it costs £billions its supported by the GMB union to save jobs! Hence why they don’t like Corbyn who is viewed de facto as another Tory trying to close their industry. In its own way Trident is like High Speed Rail another huge white elephant vanity project public works scheme that’s difficult to kill off due to all those whose jobs depend on it.

    To neuter the opposition, at least within Labour, he needs to buy off those making money from Trident and provide alternatives. Its may be unedifying to have to pay people not to work to destroy the world in a nuclear holocaust, but its better than paying them to do so.

    • Brianfujisan


      Thank you

      I live where i can see Faslane.. and when i Go Doon the Watter..some times the Sub’s destroy the beauty ..

  • Alex

    Good post, I mostly agree except for your opinion on a second brexit referendum. With all the lies and misinformation and the close result of the first one, I believe a second one is warranted.

1 2 3 4

Comments are closed.