The Slide Down 201


I am today in Izmir. The last time I was here, eleven years ago, I called on the bereaved family of an aid worker murdered by Israel on the Mavi Mamara. A decade later, as witness the case of Shireen Abu Aqlah, Israel is still carrying out blatant public murder of good people; there has been no progress at all. The only thing that has changed is that the suppression of critics of Israel has become much more intense across social media, mainstream media and political debate.

I have in the last 18 years shared a platform with almost every prominent left wing figure in the UK I can think of. Out of all of them, the one I enjoyed listening to the most was Mhairi Black. I was therefore not in the least surprised by the warm social media reception of her speech in the House of Commons on the slide to fascism.

I endorse what she says, and I think that the strongest evidence is the extraordinary collaboration of billionaire and state owned media in forwarding the neo-liberal political agenda. In a situation as complex as the Ukraine, the absence of any nuance whatsoever across the entire mainstream media is simply staggering.

My own position, for example, is that the invasion is indeed illegal and a war crime – but that does not make Ukraine faultless. The tolerance of Nazism, the anti-Russian language and other policies and failure to implement the Minsk agreements were very real problems. The war on Iraq, as just one example, was equally criminal and NATO expansion is foolish. A negotiated settlement is needed.

These cannot remotely be characterised as crazed or outrageous opinions, whether you agree or not. But you will not find anywhere, in any mainstream media newsroom, any of those views beyond “the invasion is indeed illegal and a war crime”. It is not just that the editorial line is precisely the same in every single mainstream media outlet. It is that dissent from the editorial line is not published. This total harmony of state and corporate media in favour of a rigorous pro-war propaganda is precisely of the essence of fascism.

As recently as the Iraq War, opponents of the war were occasionally allowed on to give another perspective. A few years later I was invited on to all new channels to explain why the UK was wrong in claiming British sailors temporarily arrested by Iran had been in Iraqi waters. The Daily Mail a decade ago published a centre page article on why the war in Afghanistan was about hydrocarbons and about the massive increase of heroin production in NATO controlled areas.

Such pathways for dissent have over the last few years become completely unavailable.

To return to Mhairi, the difficulty is that she belongs to a party which is itself highly intolerant of dissent and has no feel at all for individual liberty. I might instance the banning of protest outside the Scottish parliament, the hate speech act, the SNP initiated jailing of Manni Singh for starting an approved demonstration two hours late, the appalling leadership approved pile-on on Joanna Cherry, the creation of a single centrally controlled police force, the incredibly sinister “named person” plan thankfully struck down by the courts, and the political use of the Crown Office for prosecutions.

I have never heard Mhairi dissent from any of this, and I do not know where she stands. The last time I set eyes on her was at the 2019 SNP conference, where I was a delegate. I went over to say hi, and was headed off by a horde of besuited minders. She appeared to me quite literally captured by the system.

A final thought on fascism. Boris Johnson reminds me not so much of Mussolini as Berlusconi. The latter appeared a ludicrous figure to us, with his outrageous financial self-interest, sexual antics and dishonesty. Yet Berlusconi kept winning elections because he appealed to something deep in the Italian psyche which did not care about all those other things. That seems a real parallel with Johnson, who appeals to enough English – and I mean English – people who feel he reflects their worldview. The rest of the world is mystified, and that includes Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, where even the unionists can’t stand him.

It is to me a cause of deep sadness that having ignored the opportunity for Scottish Independence opened by Brexit, Sturgeon is now ignoring the opportunity provided by antipathy to Johnson. In a fascist state the functions of central political control extend through both public and private sectors and all permitted political institutions, including permitted parties. That is a thought worth considering.

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201 thoughts on “The Slide Down

1 2
  • Ian Smith

    The problem with Boris is that no matter how much you dislike him, there does not seem anyone else in a credible position to replace him that you could have any enthusiasm for.

      • Ian Smith

        It is hard to think of anyone in any party in any of the UK parliaments that are of proven honesty, caliber and competence. Almost all are now permanent students who have no life experience other than as career political hacks (spads, think tanks, media) and who see it as a mid career position before passing on to more lucrative things.

        The Tories, the opposition, the SNP are all the same, with a veneer of branding to one of the parties.

        • nevermind

          Thanks to all for some of the links. Ian ^ makes a great case for having a new electoral system that chooses by lottery from the constituency pool of NI numbers, any occupation or trade is suitable, as long as they are willing and able to think/work for for the constituency’s pressing issues and needs, are willing to work with the civil service and group together, work on/with issue-based coalitions, they should be as good an MP as any agenda-chewing party politician.

          Of course, they should only serve for one term, to combat any too close relationships or fraud.

        • Goose

          You know things are truly messed up when the the guardian is promoting Wes Streeting as a ‘big political beast’.

          I doubt any of the current gen of politicians could explain their guiding philosophy or ideological underpinnings. Most don’t do the vision thing and see the big political arguments as being settled by Thatcher, then cemented in place by Blair. People like Streeting pitch their unproven ‘managerial competence’ as a reason to elect them to office.

          Nicola Sturgeon defending Starmer was interesting. What else do this pair have in common, besides obviously both being lawyers, both being increasingly aloof; both never explaining, and both hiding from ordinary party members. And finally, both having an aversion to internal party democracy?

  • Neil

    BBC news reports today:

    “Russia’s counsellor to the UN in Geneva has resigned over the “bloody, witless and absolutely needless” fighting in Ukraine, making him the country’s most senior diplomat to defect over the war.

    In a resignation letter, Boris Bondarev said he had seen “different turns” of his country’s foreign policy over his 20-year career “but never have I been so ashamed of my country as on 24 February”, when Russia launched its attack.

    Calling the level of “lies and unprofessionalism” in Russia’s Foreign Ministry “catastrophic”, he said Vladimir Putin’s war was “not only a crime against the Ukrainian people, but also, perhaps, the most serious crime against the people of Russia”.”

    Brave man. It will be interesting to see to what ripe old age he lives.

  • Jimmeh

    > A negotiated settlement is needed.

    I agree; but it seems impossible, at the moment.

    Putin has been pumping up his nation with positive “victories” – for example, he announced the capture of Mariopol a month ago. It seems very unlikely that he would pull his forces back to pre-Feb14 lines. I believe the invasion was driven by Putin’s ideological beliefs, which he has set out in some detail:

    https://moderndiplomacy.eu/2021/08/15/the-historical-unity-of-russians-and-ukrainians/

    I don’t think the invasion was launched for some instrumental purpose, such as bolstering domestic support, or acquiring some strategic resource – the kind of demand that could be satisfied by means short of victory. If there is a non-ideological purpose, maybe it is to drive NATO away from Russia’s borders. But NATO is not at Russia’s borders. Maybe it is to establish a “zone of influence” – he seems to think in terms of Russia being a Great Power that doesn’t receive the international respect it deserves. But I can’t see anyone conferring on Russia a “zone of influence” it hasn’t had since the 90s.

    Putin has also set out his negotiating position, in a maximalist and frankly offensive ultimatum that seems to have been calculated to be unacceptable to anybody.

    Zelyinsky has declared that no settlement is possible until Russia withdraws from all Ukrainian lands; anything less would simply provide the platform for a renewed attack further down the road. Well, he would say that, wouldn’t he – you can’t lead a nation in war by enumerating the concessions you’re prepared to make. But I think he’s right; the invader has ideological goals, and will remain a threat until defeated.

    I’ve noticed mumblings about the need for ceasefire talks, as often as not talks that don’t include Ukraine. Starmer’s New Labour seem to be taking that position. That would be a catastrophic mistake. It would be disastrous if some clique of “great powers” sat down to re-draw the map of Eastern Europe, without the involvement of Ukraine.

    On the brighter side, it looks as if Russia has been fought to a standstill; they are apparently digging-in in Donbas, and preparing to defend the Russian border in the north. If the war cools down to a standoff across fortified lines, then maybe a settlement is possible.

    But I think it’s far away. This isn’t some border dispute, or an argument about control of some valuable resource. Putin says that Ukraine and the Ukrainian people are simply a fiction. So for Ukraine, this is a matter of their existence. And for Putin, anything less than the full annexing of Donbas, way beyond the territory he currently controls, would amount to a defeat, and would seriously damage his credibility at home. So it seems pretty existential for him too.

    • Neil

      Given Putin’s intransigence, and the likelihood of a long-term military stalemate in Donbas, together with the way this seems to be very much his own idiosyncratic personal crusade, Putin’s failing health might be the deciding factor in how things play out in the shorter term.

        • Neil

          Not sure what you mean, Laguerre. If you mean people lying about Putin’s health, from recent photos and videos, he certainly doesn’t look in good shape.

          • Laguerre

            You do know what I mean. There’s an obvious interest to lie, from the sources who are claiming he is at death’s door (not merely a bit out of shape, as you claim), but you fail to mention this obvious point, which stares anyone in the face (but somehow you manage to miss it).

            Bozo is obviously a bit out of shape in the same way, but nobody claims he has terminal cancer.

        • Neil

          Laguerre,

          “You do know what I mean.”

          If I say I’m not sure what you mean, it means I’m not sure what you mean. How can “proven liars” be relevant to clear photographic and video evidence of significant failing health?

          Proven liars made me think of Putin’s assuring the world he was not about to invade Ukraine a few days before doing just that, and his assurances to Ukraine’s civilians that they had nothing to fear from Russia’s army. Tell that to the estimated 600 men women and children who were blown up while sheltering in Mariupol theatre, not to mention the many many thousands more who are now dead because of his stupid [email protected]#&ing war.

          • Neil

            Brice, apart from exhaustive photos, videos, eyewitness accounts and AP and OSCE reports, no proof at all.

            How about your proof for the theatre not being bombed? That Ukraine bombed it themselves? That nobody was sheltering there? That only Nazis were sheltering there? That nobody died? Etc. etc. Look forward to seeing your proof.

          • Bayard

            “Brice, apart from exhaustive photos, videos, eyewitness accounts and AP and OSCE reports, no proof at all.”

            I could say that I have photos, videos, eyewitness accounts and AP and OSCE reports that prove that it never happened. You wouldn’t believe me. Why should I believe you?

    • Goose

      They’re just being realistic.

      Those who think Russia will hand back Crimea are delusional. Do the population there even want that? Would shattered Ukraine be in any fit state to take control there if they did? How can Ukraine reintegrate areas they’ve been locked in a civil war against since 2014, in the East? Would western Ukrainians want those ethnic Russians who’ve taken up arms against them on the side of Russia, reintegrated into Ukraine under some sort of amnesty?

      The easiest thing to do now would be to cut those hostile areas adrift and salvage as much of the country as they can under international agreements.

      • Neil

        Goose, wouldn’t it be better to have an internationally monitored referendum so that the people of these regions can decide their own future?

        • Goose

          Ideally, yes.

          But those urging Ukraine stay the course and fight to the death from afar, often don’t know the recent history of strife in that country.

          There doesn’t appear to be any ‘and they lived happily ever after’ scenario available for Ukraine. Parts of the East were defacto excluded from Ukrainian civil society before the invasion. The idea they merrily reintegrate and send representatives to Kyiv after all this is unrealistic.

          • Neil

            Lending assistance is not equivalent to urging them to fight to the death. And while some in the West are saying they should fight to win, others are saying they should be willing to cede territory. Look at today’s Times and you’ll see articles by William Hague and Max Hastings side by side urging exactly those two opposing positions. But I think everyone agrees it’s up to Ukraine to decide.

          • Jimmeh

            > Parts of the East were defacto excluded from Ukrainian civil society before the invasion.

            Are you referring to the so-called ban on Russian language?

            There’s no such ban. An ill-advised decision was made to declare that Russian is not an official language in Ukraine; that official business must be conducted in Ukrainian. That’s not really the same as russophones being “excluded from civil society”.

          • Giyane

            Jimmy
            As I understand it Zelensky passed a law stripping Rissian speakers of their civil rights. More of a wind up than a slide down, but it got his desired result, Russian SMO in Eastern Ukraine. Imho every Tory wind up is a Slide down of civil rights. Its just that Nazis are a rather extreme type of Tories with rather extreme wind ups and rather extreme scraping of the bottom of the barrel of politics.

        • Jeff

          An internationally monitored referendum so that the people of these regions can decide their own future you say?

          Gosh, that sounds fantastic! We’re not a region but a country, but can we have one as well, please? Where do we sign?

          Regards
          The Scottish Majority.

      • Jimmeh

        > Do the population there even want that?

        You were speaking of Crimea specifically. I would indeed like to know what the attitude of the people of Donbas and Crimea is to Russian occupation and annexation. I certainly don’t trust any poll held under military occupation, with a large part of the population being refugees in exile.

        > Would western Ukrainians want those ethnic Russians who’ve taken up arms against them on the side of Russia, reintegrated into Ukraine under some sort of amnesty?

        This term “ethnic Russian” is problematic. These regions are russophone – their first language is Russian, not Ukrainian. Some of those Russian speakers also belong to the Russian Orthodox Church. But Zelyinsky is also russophone. Being russophone evidently doesn’t make you an anti-Ukraine rebel. Everyone in Ukraine knows Russian. I don’t know any reason why western Ukrainians wouldn’t want to re-integrate with eastern Ukrainians, provided they weren’t rebels, collaborators or agents of a foreign power.

        • Natasha

          Jimmeh claims:

          “And for Putin, anything less than the full annexing of Donbas […] would amount to a defeat.”

          – Evidence please? Since Minsk agreements of 2014/15 tell a very different story.

    • Giyane

      Ideological goals , and will remain a threat until defeated ‘

      Two main ideological goals.,

      First ideological goal, for Russia to be the landlord of the new , Chinese, cross continental , Atlantic end , rail terminal. This will secure Chinese loyalty to Russia for the foreseeable future, when Communism ceases to unite the two nations. This ideological goal can be defeated by the US if the US can lure China to a new honeymoon of US Consumerism and if Europe can be de-graded as a trading partner for China by being made bankrupt. Don’t we love yanks?

      Second ideological goal, less important, is the painful memories of Russian sacrifices against Nazis. This is unthinkable, except for what Pepe Escobar calls the Messengers of US elites, the Johnsons, Macrons,
      Zelenskys and other EU zombies. For my generation whose parents helped to fight Nazism, the presumption by the US elites that we Europeans will condemn Russia for fighting neo-Nazism is a gross misunderstanding and miscalculation.

      I don’t believe Communist blood is thicker than water, and China will be faithful to Russia for the sake of auld lang syne. Nor do I nelieve that there is any love at all lost between yanks and Europeans, except some fantasist Atlanticist politicians on some kind of Empire 2 wet dream , like Johnson and de Leyen.

      The ideological bond between Europe, Russia and the Middle East the birthplace of monotheism is one unit.
      The ideological bond between the New World of North America and capitalist New China is another unit.
      Our underlying unity is never going to be broken, however hard the fucking yanks try to break it up: Iraq, Libya, Syria , Ukraine, Yemen and Lebanon.

      The US cannot break our solidarity. But it might in the end lose China as it has already lost Africa and South America through sheer stupidity and bad behaviour. It is about to lose Europe , Turkey and India Pakistan, because of its continual stupidity and bad behaviour in the last 80 years. The US ideology of ever expanding hegemony will be defeated before the shared ideology of the cradle of civilisation.

    • Yuri K

      ” It would be disastrous if some clique of “great powers” sat down to re-draw the map of Eastern Europe, without the involvement of Ukraine.”

      If Ukraine is allowed to decide its fate, why shouldn’t Crimea or Luhansk regions be denied such option?

    • Yuri K

      “It would be disastrous if some clique of “great powers” sat down to re-draw the map of Eastern Europe, without the involvement of Ukraine.”

      Another question comes to mind. On the one hand, the existing borders in Eastern Europe were drawn pretty much by single man, Joseph Stalin. He did not consult the Poles (he knew their opinion but ignored it), the Hungarians, the Ukrainians and the rest of them. He did it simply by following the rule from “Melian Dialogue” by Thucydides, “The strong do what they can, the weak suffer as they must”. On the other hand, we see the growing demonization of Stalin in the XXI century. He made peace with the Nazis, he started WW2, he organized Golodomor etc, etc. The more modern WW2 history gets, the greater the role of Stalin in its origins are, and the greater his crimes grow.

      So how do these 2 things align in your liberal mind? You guys prize democracy as opposed to autocracy, but at the same time you idolize the borders drawn by a bloody dictator. The only reasonable and truly democratic alternative to drawing borders I see in following “Sidgwick Principle”, that is, the land goes where its inhabitants decide to go. However, you do not support local referendums and instead appeal to the government in Kiev, which is sort of an American puppet at Congolese level of corruption. Weird…

  • DunGroanin

    Fascism didn’t come about like a light switch being turned on.

    It’s not a grassroots populist uprising that happens when oppressed humans naturally coalesce into a defensive grouping. That has happened forever, whenever slaves rebelled.

    It is however where the slave owners send ‘leaders’ to the front of these groupings to gain control and direct them away.
    These appointed leaders don’t work without a plan or backers.
    The plans are concocted by ‘intellectuals’ to deal with all these such rebel ‘tribes’ and they are made to work with and against each other.
    Some even go mad and end up as suicides. Others come back like a poisonous weed to create more woe.

    Ultimately the masses are coalesced across their accepted common divides. Religion, politics – the Red Brown bridging that brought the fasci parties from the beginning of the C20th to its present sophisticated modus a quarter of a way into the C21st. Playing the same old game. Here in the West anyway.

    Anyway read all about it in this fascinating history of it all , long and probably not fully reliable, but worth reading and coming back to it regularly to understand and help explain how the fuck we keep getting back to here.

    https://ravingsofaradicalvagabond.noblogs.org/post/2018/01/15/an-investigation-into-red-brown-alliances/

    • Giyane

      DunGroanin

      There is not a single band of Islamists or Nazis that does not have its backers and bankers in the reactionary ,, red-necked vaults of USUK ALT Right political elites. There is no distinction , not a hair’s breadth of difference between Islamist reactionary right-wing conservatism and the neo-nazizm NATO has brought to Ukraine.

      My electrical work is governed by a professional body called NAPIT. 40 years after Thatcher’s revisionism NAPIT is an entirely Conservative company, spreading Conservative values about how I should run my business and be regulated. I can only work if I am a Conservative, motivated by money.

      In exactly the same way, the United States and United Kingdom tell the Muslims that their only choice for promoting their religion is through terrorism. The Ukranians are told that their only choice for joining NATO is through Nacism.

      It’s obvious that the objective in all these cases is to make the Organisers look high-principled, law-abiding and authoritative, and the foot soldiers look greedy, manipulative and dishonest.

      The Organisers of the invasion of Iraq and the
      Nazification of Ukraine will never be prosecuted for their ALT Right scheming. But the Islamists and Neo Nazis can be prosecuted, and every lazy sod can feel satisfied in condemning them for their crimes.

      Until we learn to prosecute the masterminds of ALT Right politics this will never change. The only choice the foot soldiers were given was criminality or nothing. Say NO to NATO NAZISM, NO to NATO ISLAMISM . Prosecute the Organisers for their corruption of the planet and self- sanctification.

  • alf baird

    As you say Craig, Ms Black like all other SNP MP’s seems somewhat distant from reality. Given Scotland’s ongoing predicament, Ms Black and her SNP Westminster colleagues would do well to reflect on the words of Aime Cesaire on the origins and role of fascism, when he said:

    “Fascism is the application of colonial procedures” (and) “Civilization helps us locate the origins of fascism within colonialism.”

    Scotland has been subject to ‘colonial procedures’ since 1707 and remains so. Colonialism and therefore fascism are nothing new to Scots or Scotland. Which also explains why the UN considers self-determination independence to be decolonisation, i.e. putting an end to ‘the scourge of colonialism’.

    It is sad that Scotland’s SNP majority of MP’s need to be reminded of the only purpose of Nationalist MPs which is to secure Scotland’s independence/decolonisation and thence to remove existing ‘colonial procedures’, which is in their hands, as it has been since 2015.

    • DunGroanin

      Maybe Mahri is cut from different cloth? as her besuited media image is refined.

      I hope so.

      But Nicola was once sold to us as such…

      We are supposedly naturally to trust the feminine and hence automatically maternal sensibilities! That’s what the MSM says.

      What does our current history tell us? This morning’s news from a heroine we all are supposed to worship for example:

      ‘ “We have been clear throughout Russia’s assault on Ukraine, that such a blatant attack on innocent lives and the sovereignty of another country is wrong…Our response has not only included the condemnation of Russia, but practical support for Ukraine,” said Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern, The Defense Post reports.
      Her cabinet agreed to deploy up to 30 members of the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) to Britain to train Ukrainian forces in the use of L119 105mm howitzers.
      The deployment will run until the end of July and about 230 Ukrainian service members would be trained.
      New Zealand previously deployed a C130 Hercules aircraft and NZDF personnel to Europe to provide intelligence, transportation and logistics support to Ukraine.’

      https://www.ukrinform.net/rubric-ato/3490619-new-zealands-instructors-to-train-ukrainian-forces-in-use-of-l119-howitzers.html
      —————
      More death and destruction aimed at these poor Ukrainian peasants from a long way away from the killing fields.
      Jacinda was being a bit more circumspect when campaigning. Just as Justin was in Canada.

      But 5+1 eyes will be 5+1 eyes eh?

      How is it that the whole gaggle of Western Woke Women Prime ministers and Presidents, Media Barbies – all seem to be cut from the same NeoCon/NeoLib cloth?

      That media narrative of the feminine nurture mindset above the usual male testosterone fuelled blood lust of history is actively and robustly pulled from in front of the public eyes like a matadors red cape to reveal the same old skewer aimed right between our eyes.

      Whether they are old crones like Pellosi and cackling bloodlusting Hillary or harridans such as Nuland and Patel and Truss or the glam pusses of the Nordics and NZ (Will anything change in Oz? I doubt it ) or the Maddows and Kuensbergs – the Ladies are doing it just as much as the bad boys.

      Snipers, mercenaries, spooks, police, mass murderers, torture and ultra violence, Austerity and propaganda for the sake of fascism and control of the masses – that’s you and me , us , the forever slaves.

      The Grrrrr Power GoGo Gals are lashing away with their whips!

      I’ll give Mahri her rope because we must hope, but her record on Salmond and Joanna Cherry etc, is not great for much optimism.

      So it Goes.

      • Alf Baird

        Yes we must hope but we should also realise the nature of things. The new-SNP ‘elite’ don’t want to understand or appreciate the profound importance of ethnicity to this or any independence movement, or that independence is decolonisation. Postcolonial theory (Fanon, Memmi, Said etc) tells us that independence/decolonisation movements depend on the solidarity of an oppressed ethnic/indigenous group, with language and culture being key factors. In other words, without that indigenous ethnic group, the Scots in our case, there would be no Scottish independence movement. The point is that ethnicity has a major part to play in every case of self-determination independence/decolonisation of ‘a people’. And when we talk of ‘a people’ in this regard (i.e. self-determination) we are really talking of an ethnic group seeking independence from the oppressions imposed on them by another ethnic group and imperial/colonial power. The SNP so-called ‘civic nationalists’ seem to be ignorant of this reality, which probably helps explain why Scots are no closer to national liberation despite repeatedly electing nationalist majorities. The cage door is open but the SNP elite are too frichtsome tae muive thair airses. In the postcolonial theory this is referred to as ‘the petrification’ period where the dominant National Party leaders take the people up successive ‘blind alleys’ in order to avoid doing what is necessary, they feather their nests and build up their pensions, and they attack the more ‘radical’ elements of the movement (e.g. Craig, Alex Salmond etc etc) which is where we see the fascism within colonialism become more evident. This is a dangerous strategy because it delays and jeopardises independence as well as sickens the movement when they discover they have been deceived, and it may also lead to conflict further down the line.

  • Alex Birnie

    I fully understand the reasoning behind the theory that Sturgeon doesn’t want to run a referendum, because she likes the status quo. Everyone on that side of the argument shouts loudly about the “evidence” for that theory being “obvious”, and that ignoring the “evidence” is down to slavish admiration of Sturgeon, and an unwillingness to “face the truth”.

    An unwillingness to accept that Sturgeon is “dragging her heels” is understandable, because, if it is true, then old codgers like myself are going to die as UK citizens, but I really don’t believe that the evidence for this is convincing.

    To my mind, a much more convincing reason for Sturgeon’s apparent unwillingness to go for a referendum, is that the polls are so dire. Apart from a brief period in 2020, the polls since 2014 have been trundling along at 50% or just under. Hardly Norway in 1905, where 99.95% voted for independence.

    Legacy is everything to politicians. I can fully sympathise with Sturgeon NOT wanting to go down in history as the leader who led the country into a referendum ……. and LOST. Can anyone be sure that victory is assured right now? Sure enough to bet the house, the mortgage, and all of your savings?

    We will probably only get one more chance (certainly in my lifetime) to win a referendum. It now looks like the SNP are really going to go for a referendum in 2023. Am I the only one who is nervously watching the polls, wondering if we might end up in the same boat as the Québécois in Canada?

    • Alf Baird

      Alex, ‘as a matter of law a referendum is not a requirement for independence’. An irregular local government franchise should also be avoided for national elections or referendums.

      All that is required for independence is the election of a majority of nationalist representatives. The SNP has been given six such majorities – three at Westminster and three at Holyrood, yet they still refuse to act. The reason why they do not act is again explained to us by postcolonial theory: https://wp.towson.edu/iajournal/the-socio-political-determinants-of-scottish-independence/

      • Alex Birnie

        I fundamentally disagree.

        All that is required for independence, is that a majority of Scots demonstrate that they want independence.

        At no point since devolution, has that majority been manifested.

        In 2014, only 45% of voters voted for independence. No mandate there.

        In 2015. Just a fraction under 50% voted SNP, and a further 1.3% voted Green in the GE, after Sturgeon SPECIFICALLY PROMISED that a vote for the SNP was NOT a vote for independence. No mandate there!

        In 2016, at the Holyrood election, a total of 2,202,327 votes were cast for yes parties, and 2,322,647 votes were cast for no parties. Again, no mandate for independence.

        In 2017, at the general election, the Yes parties got 983,455 votes and the no parties got 1,659,319 votes. DEFINITELY no mandate there!

        In 2019, at the general election, the Yes parties got 1,270,502 votes and the no parties got 1,484,740 votes. Slightly better, but still a mile away from being a mandate for independence.

        In 2021, the Holyrood election was run on the premise that all the Yes parties promised a referendum if they won, and all the no parties promised to veto the idea. The result was a total of 2,685,805 yes votes, and 2,665,017 no votes…….a mandate of 20,788 for HOLDING A REFERENDUM. Not for independence, but simply on a referendum. The Scottish people were asked “Do you want a referendum”, and a bawhair less than 50% said “No thanks!”.

        I’m a simple man. I think that a minority of people shouldn’t have the right to fundamentally change the constitutional status of the majority. Using political chicanery to force our will on the majority tastes bad in my mouth. When my brother asks me what right I have to pull him and his family out of the UK, after he voted no, and was in the majority, I would be bereft of an answer.

        Scotland in 2023 isn’t Norway in 1905, where 99.95% voted for independence. We NEED a majority – manifested in a referendum (or a plebiscite election), – so that I can face my brother and appeal to his sense of fairness. If I can’t do that, I fear the consequences of trying to force him to accept the minority’s will. He’s tougher than me…….

        • Alf Baird

          “Scotland in 2023 isn’t Norway in 1905”

          You are right, Norway didn’t have around a million people holding to another national identity and allegiance entering the country over the two decades prior to its referendum, the vast majority using their vote to block the right to self-determination of an ever dwindling number of Scots. Why do you think the Scottish census was delayed for a year, or why Westminster insists on a local government franchise, not a national franchise, for national elections and referendums in Scotland? It is well established that a majority of Scots voted for independence in 2014.

          • Alex Birnie

            We’ll have to disagree on that as well, Alf. Of all the things I was proud of during the 2014 referendum campaign, the thing I was most proud of was the civic nationalism exhibited by MOST Scots (present company excepted – obviously).

            IMO, you are 100% wrong about the numbers. 1,617,189 SCOTS voted for independence, and (unfortunately) 2,001,926 Scots voted against.

            The SECOND we stop thinking that ALL folk who live in Scotland are Scots, the independence campaign is finished. And you know what? I wouldn’t WANT to live in a country where people regarded their neighbours as “incomers”. Why on earth would we want to live in a mini copy of England? That’s the attitude that caused Brexit.

            It is a certain fact that a majority of Scots voted against independence. The recognition of that would go a long way to achieving the goal of converting our fellow SCOTS to yes. Nobody that I know is more fervent about independence than my pal Amadeusz, the ex-Polish local handyman, who is proud to think of himself as Scottish.

            My brother is STILL a no voter. It’s folk like HIM we need to concentrate on, rather than looking for “outsiders”.

          • Alf Baird

            Alex, I would be very interested to learn of any example anywhere in the world where a people secured their independence/decolonisation thanks to so-called ‘civic nationalism’.

            Of the two million ‘No’ voters in 2014, it was evident from post-referendum research (Bond 2015) and census data that possibly as much as half of these voters did not hold to a Scottish identity. And by voting ‘No’ this group were rejecting the offer of Scottish citizenship – they did not want to be national citizens of Scotland. Not only that, they took it upon themselves to vote to block and prevent the right to self-determination of their host nation and people.

          • Alex Birnie

            Alf, there is little point in continuing this discussion, because our views differ so widely.

            In practical terms, there are no “ethnic” Scots. We have lived as UK citizens for over 320 years, with free movement throughout the country. You seem to imply that Scotland has been “occupied” by foreigners, and that is nonsense. Scotland is no more “occupied” by English folk, than Corby was “occupied” by Scots in the sixties.

            For me, Scottish and U.K. history, together with the unique constitutional arrangements existing in the U.K., are a happy accident, that allows we Scots to escape Tory hegemony.

            I have little pride in being Scottish, except for the fact that we seem to be more immune to “toryitis”, the disease that blights England. Perhaps I will feel pride in my country, once we are independent, but I certainly won’t, if the attitude of “us and them” takes hold, as it has done in England, and which you seem happy to embrace.

            We will almost certainly hold a referendum next year, and if we yessers have done our bit by then, by talking to our neighbours and friends, to counteract the media propaganda (we obviously haven’t been doing that so far), then we will become independent. If each of us knows a minimum of 100 people, then, mathematically, we each know 45–50 no voters. We need to step up our efforts….

            We live in a different world today, and the people decide, not the elites.

          • Alf Baird

            Like I said, Alex, “I would be very interested to learn of any example anywhere in the world where a people secured their independence/decolonisation thanks to so-called ‘civic nationalism’.”

            It is important that people understand the meaning and implication of something they proclaim as positive, or virtuous even, as you and others do with regard to ‘civic nationalism’. The loss of sovereignty is not something a people and nation can afford to gamble with.

          • Alex Birnie

            Would I prefer to live in an independent Scotland that had managed to maintain the civic nationalism displayed in 2014? Absolutely. Would I give up civic nationalism to obtain independence? No, I would not.

            You talk as though civic nationalism and independence were incompatible. There are many examples of countries who became independent from the UK without disenfranchising citizens who weren’t native born.

            Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Bahamas, Barbados, Grenada, Guyana…..the list is long.

          • Alf Baird

            I’m not sure the indigenous peoples of Australia, Canada and New Zealand would agree with you and in this regard disenfranchising a people can involve far more than voting rights. You don’t appear to know what ‘civic nationalism’ means so I will tell you. ‘Civic nationalism’ is defined as an association of people from different nations and identities who identify themselves as ‘belonging to a nation’ (Nash 2001). Civic nationalism ideals therefore fail when people holding to other identities vote to reject the citizenship of their host nation, i.e. they are then rejecting ‘belonging’ to that nation. There are also other forms of nationalism we should consider here including ‘trans-national nationalism’, which Scotland is subject to and which may also be regarded as imperialism/colonialism. And of course there is also self-determination nationalism, which for Scots is currently being blocked, not least by ‘civic nationalism’ as well as primarily by ‘trans-national nationalism’.
            https://yoursforscotlandcom.wordpress.com/2021/07/25/determinants-of-independence-nationalism/

          • Alex Birnie

            That’s not how I would define civic nationalism. I prefer the definition in Wikipedia…

            “Civic nationalism, also known as liberal nationalism, is a form of nationalism, identified by political philosophers who believe in and inclusive form of nationalism that adheres to traditional liberal values of freedom, tolerance, equality, individual rights, and has no ethnocentrism”.

            I believe that definition more closely resembles the situation in Scotland.

            Are you seriously comparing the situation of native born Scots with that of the aboriginal people in Canada, New Zealand and Australia? Seriously.

            As to the “loss of sovereignty” which we are “gambling with”? If sovereignty was lost, then it was lost in 1707, and I think we both agree that it hasn’t been lost. As to where that sovereignty lies? Can we agree that it doesn’t lie with expat Scots? That it can only lie with Scots living in the country?

            If we can agree on that, then there are only two options…..

            1. It lies with every citizen who calls Scotland “home”. I am firmly in that camp.
            2. It lies only with people who were born here. This would mean that Jimmy, my farmer pal who died recently at the age of 83, and who moved to Scotland from Northumbria when he was around six years old would not have been able to vote if he was still alive, but my 17 year old granddaughter would be able to vote.

            I find the mindset of someone who favours option 2 to be weird. This idea is too close to “blood and soil” nationalism for comfort in my opinion. I agree with you that folk should understand the meaning and implications of something they proclaim as positive, which in your case is excluding citizens from voting. Presumably you fully agreed with the voting franchise for the EU referendum?

            As I said, I don’t think this discussion is going to go anywhere. I find your views repellant in a progressive country like Scotland, and no doubt you find my views to be unacceptable.

            Luckily, nobody in the Scottish government has shown the slightest inclination to change the voting qualifications for any future referendum. If a referendum is blocked, and the SNP are forced to turn the next GE into a plebiscite election, the UK voting qualifications will nullify any of your “natives-only” desires, because every citizen, wherever they were born, can vote in UK elections.

            Whether you like it or not, ALL Scottish citizens will make the decision on independence …….. and that’s as it should be IMO.

          • Alf Baird

            Alex, I’m not sure why you concern yourself quite so much with where people are born. Parental descent is what appears to be more relevant in terms of a persons nationality, in line with the ECHR. What also seems very important is whether national voting rights are, or are not reciprocal between nations and peoples and respect for national sovereignty. For example, if you as a British citizen lived in either Poland, Norway, Spain or Ireland etc, would you be permitted a vote in these countries national elections or national referendums? The answer is no, you would not. As a resident you may get a vote in a local council election, but that would be it. You would only be permitted a vote in their national elections/referendums if you applied for and became a national citizen of the country concerned. Scotland is not yet at the stage of being able to offer ‘Scottish national’ citizenship to those who want it, it has to first become an independent state. However, Scotland is being forced to use an irregular local government franchise (part of Westminster’s Scotland Act) in order to become independent, which is a flawed and unnecessarily risky approach that failed in 2014 and, given prevailing demographic trends, will probably do so again should another referendum be held. This is why I agree with legal experts who maintain that ‘as a matter of law a referendum is not a requirement for independence’, and that the union should therefore be ended in the same way it began, via a majority of Scotland’s national representatives, much as Britain’s political leaders accepted in the fairly recent past, prior to the unfortunate devolved arrangement (e.g. Thatcher, Major, Tebbitt, Lawson etc). These UK politicians frequently taunted the Scottish nationalists to get a majority if they wanted independence. Well we have had such a majority now three times, and we should use it.

          • Alex Birnie

            Did you just say that I’M the one concerned about where people are born? I’m not the one who is talking about removing the right of people to vote!! I think that universal suffrage is the right way to go. Your example of a Brit living in a foreign country is specious. English people living in Scotland are not living in a foreign country. We don’t have to look at foreign countries. Look at the Good Friday agreement. That gave every NI citizen the right to UK citizenship, or Irish citizenship, or BOTH. The decision to have a universal franchise or not is decided here in Scotland. We’ve already made the decision. We are going to have a universal franchise – just as we did last time. If we have citizens who want to remain part of the UK, then our job as yes voters, is to persuade them of the benefits of independence…..to persuade ALL of them, native born or those who have come to live here. There isn’t a “correct” answer to this question. It’s a matter of opinion. You’ve got your opinion on universal franchise, and I’ve got mine. I didn’t hear this stuff from Yes voters before the last referendum, so I have to conclude that this desire to change the goalposts has got nothing to do with principles, and everything to do with expediency for the more fanatical wing of the independence movement.

            Your reasoning is becoming more and more bizarre and convoluted. What’s all this crap about an “irregular local government franchise”? What the hell has THAT got to do with anything? Whether we like it or not, the Scotland Act is the law of the land, and is the source of the SG’s authority to govern. Section 30 of that act allows the Westminster government to delegate the authority to hold a referendum to the SG. Now, while it is debatable as to whether the SG NEEDS a section 30 order, the granting of such an order removes any doubt or hurdles, and would definitely be the shortest route to independence. People seem to be confused about this issue……

            Folk like you, who talk about a plebiscite being unnecessary before Scotland declares independence, seem to be pretty cavalier about democracy. If the yes vote is larger than the no vote at either a referendum or a plebiscite election, then there can be no doubt about the legitimacy of a Declaration of Independence, with or without Westminster’s agreement.

            Imagine a situation where Sturgeon announced that a majority of SNP MP’s would trigger a Declaration of Independence. From where does she get the authority to do that? From the “irregular local government franchise” that you disparagingly called Holyrood? On whose behalf is she making that promise? Just because SHE declares that a GE will be a plebiscite on independence doesn’t make it so. …….. unless ……. a majority of voters vote for the SNP……THEN it becomes a legitimate plebiscite on independence.

            It is perfectly feasible that the SNP win a majority of seats with 40% of the vote. Are you SERIOUSLY suggesting that the wishes of the 60% who voted for unionist parties should just be ignored? Imagine you are a no voter. You faithfully vote against independence in 2014, and you resign yourself to voting again once Sturgeon calls another referendum. In the meantime, she says “Change of plan….. as the leader of the irregular local government franchise, I’VE decided that this upcoming general election is NOT going to be a normal GE. If the SNP get 35 seats, then NO MATTER HOW MANY VOTES THE OTHER PARTIES GET, I’m going to declare independence”.

            Can’t you see how undemocratic that sounds? Can’t you understand how it would be a recipe for violence and rebellion? The UK government would be completely justified in using their powers to immediately dissolve Holyrood, and would be perfectly within their right to respond to calls for help from the unionist majority.

            I’m a yes voter, but I’m a democrat first. I would NOT support independence under those terms. I’d be on the side of my brother, standing with the majority…..

          • Alf Baird

            “Are you SERIOUSLY suggesting that the wishes of the 60% who voted for unionist parties should just be ignored?”

            Alex, remind yourself that 62% of Scottish voters were ignored on a major constitutional matter, that of our enforced EU exit and loss of EU citizenship. Scots should have a veto on any matter affecting our sovereignty, and do under the Claim of Right condition in the Treaty of Union. And when was the 2014 referendum VOW delivered? Scottish sovereignty was and remains ignored, disrespected on all fronts. The Brexit breach of Scotland’s Treaty of Union alone should have ended the UK alliance, and it would have had the SNP SG not been complicit. The Northern Ireland arrangement is another breach of the UK trade/ToU alliance. You may say you are ‘a democrat’ but does that mean leaving your nation and its people to the whims of another dominant power and culture which continues to exploit Scotland economically, politically, culturally, constitutionally and more, leaving our nation and people plundered and largely under-developed, half living in or close to poverty, lacking in opportunity? Why do you think many Scots want independence other than to put an end to such a one-sided bullying and exploitative (i.e. imperial/colonial) arrangement? And your solution is simply to give such people more votes and power within Scotland, leaking ever more Scottish sovereignty, because you consider yourself ‘a democrat’? You appear to have very limited understanding of what national independence means or why it is essential.

          • Alex Birnie

            You jump around from the legal issues to political issues and you don’t seem to understand the difference, or how they affect each other. The EU referendum was a UK referendum. As such, 1,661,191 Scots voted remain, part of the 16,141,241 minority, who unfortunately were defeated.

            Scotland as a nation had no legal standing in the referendum. We all voted as UK citizens. Of course the POLITICAL effect was terrific for we yessers, and the SNP (quite rightly) made it into a huge political issue.

            I realise it’s difficult for many folk to separate out the legal stuff from the political stuff, and, in my opinion, too much weight is placed on the legal stuff.

            The fact of the matter is that Scotland becoming independent will ALL depend on politics. The legal gobbledegook surrounding the “Claim of Right” and the “Union of the Parliaments” in 1707 might get folk all aerated, but the ONLY thing that matters is the number of no voters.

            If we outnumber the no voters at the next referendum, or the next election (if we are denied a referendum) then everything else is window dressing and procedure.

            The constitutional “kitchen lawyers” are totally missing the point. We NEED to persuade our no voting friends, whether they be of English origin or Scottish origin, of the benefits that will accrue to them and their families from independence. (I was going to mention EU citizens like Poles (who you would disqualify), but I don’t actually know any Polish folk who are going to vote no).

            You and I have completely different views on what Scotland should be after independence, and we certainly disagree about how to obtain independence. I’ve tried really hard not to respond in kind to your condescending language, but if I’ve failed to do so, then I apologise.

            I find that I learn something new almost every day, but I’m afraid I have learned nothing from this conversation, so I think I’ll leave it there.

          • Alf Baird

            “You jump around from the legal issues to political issues and you don’t seem to understand the difference, or how they affect each other. “

            On the contrary, relatively few academics have produced research-based articles on Scottish independence in peer reviewed journals, far less develop a theoretical framework which explains the phenomenon, as I have:

            https://wp.towson.edu/iajournal/the-socio-political-determinants-of-scottish-independence/

            If you have any such publications on the matter of Scottish independence on which you base your opinions I would be delighted to read them

        • R.McGeddon

          ‘At no time since devolution has that majority been manifested’

          If you apply Margaret Thatcher’s criterion of ‘a majority of Nationalist MPs’, then that majority has been manifested at every available opportunity since 2014.
          If you had applied the 2014 Yes/No test to Scottish-born voters only, then we had a majority for Yes. (Research confirmed by Edinburgh University among others).

          • Alex Birnie

            Dear God in heaven!!! ……. Yes voters quoting the milk snatcher!?!

            Salmond changed the criterion for obtaining independence more than twenty years ago, because at the time, an SNP majority seemed impossible. Personally, I’m MUCH happier to quote Alex Salmond than Thatcher, and he said that independence would be gained via a referendum – a much fairer way of determining the will of the Scottish people. It was changed for purely political reasons, but it WAS a much fairer way of determining our future, and it remains so today.

            I can’t begin to tell you how much I despise the “Scottish-born” criterion for being considered Scottish. That is a bawhair away from the Nazis declaring that Jewish people weren’t “proper Germans” back in the Thirties.

            It is exactly the same argument used (and implemented) by the British nationalists, during the Brexit campaign.

            “Sorry, I know you came here from Spain to settle in England, and you’ve bought a home and pay taxes here, but this decision (which will fundamentally affect you and your family) is only for PROPER English people. You don’t get a say in the decision”.

            They stopped short of asking “foreigners” to wear a yellow star, but there is no doubt that Rees Mogg and his cohorts would slaver at the thought of enacting such a thing.

            I HATE nationalism of that sort, but if you can explain to me how we here in Scotland would be any different from the worst of the English nationalists who dragged us out of the EU, then I’m all ears.

            We live in Scotland. All of us. Folk like me, dating my Scottish ancestry back to Kenneth McAlpine, folk like my mate Amadeusz, (a yes voter) who settled here from Poland a decade ago, and the nice couple from Leicester, (I don’t know how they would vote) who moved into our village last year. All of us intend to live our lives here. If you are telling me that Amadeusz and the couple from Leicester aren’t proper Scots, and can’t vote, while I and my no-voting brother ARE proper Scots, and WILL be allowed to vote, then I don’t want to live in such a country.

            I might as well stay in the UK……

      • Alex Birnie

        All I need to be to change the odds, would be to be rich enough to put a million quid bet on a referendum. Betting odds mean nothing in a changing situation.

        • Lapsed Agnostic

          Thanks for your reply Alex. I’d imagine there’s a reason why people who are rich enough to be able to put a million quid on an Indyref2 in 2023 don’t do exactly that, and put it in shares, property etc instead: it’s because they think there’s a very good chance that they’d lose the lot. But if you know better, some clueless idiot is currently willing to give you £384 (minus Betfair’s 5% or whatever) if you can tie up £64 until Nippy announces it next year – so why not bite their hand off? Winner, winner! Nothing I say should be taken as financial advice etc.

          • Alex Birnie

            I don’t pay any attention to bookies’ odds, because they are based on people’s hunches and feelings. However, if folk ARE betting on there not being a referendum in 2023, what do you think causes them to believe that? Do you think it’s because they think Sturgeon will chicken out? If you do think that, why would they believe that? Could it be that they are listening to bloggers, who know no more than you or I about Sturgeon’s mindset? Could it be that they believe that only a gambling nutter would hold a referendum with the polls at less than 50% Yes?

          • Lapsed Agnostic

            Thanks again for your reply Alex. Sorry for my late reply – been busy on the latest thread. If bookies’ odds are based on hunches and feelings, then why do bookies bother with them? Why don’t they offer the same odds on every horse? It’s because there’s this thing called ‘form’ – and Nippy has form in not asking the UK prime minister if she can have a referendum, whatever she says about Indyref2 in public. Even if she does ask for one under Section 30, Boris will likely say no. Despite this place and Wings being the most popular political blogs in Scotland, it’s got very little to do with bloggers – if anything, the odds on Betfair and elsewhere are being distorted by punters who hang on Nippy’s every word. If the polls showed 70%+ of Scots backing independence, the odds of a referendum in 2023 would be much lower because she’d come under considerable political pressure to hold a wildcat referendum without UK government permission.

  • Yuri K

    I was not really following Boris that closely but my impression is that he’s more a showman than a politician. Thanks to Boris, I’ve learned a new word, “deadcatting”. And this whole Ukraine business is just one huge dead cat that will keep saving his ass time and again.

  • U Watt

    “These cannot remotely be characterised as crazed or outrageous opinions, whether you agree or not. But you will not find anywhere, in any mainstream media newsroom”.

    As Caitlin Johnstone always says, they are worried about the spread of information not disinformation.

  • Courtenay Francis Raymond Barnett

    Albeit I am not a fan of Henry Kissinger – the man does have a brain and has much to say from an informed position.

    The article below speaks to the fact of his knowledge and ability:-

    https://www.rt.com/news/555994-kissinger-ukraine-peace-deadline/

    Kissinger sees danger in the expansion of NATO.
    He appears to be saying that Russia has the upper hand and that a settlement of the war in short order is desirable.
    He also is aware of the likelihood of the war expanding which will permanently alienate Russia from Europe with a much closer Russia/China alliance in the offing.

    • Alyson

      I occasionally see the question – what would Kissinger do – bandied about. He was the ultimate negotiator, and his shuttle diplomacy held the balance of power in the West stable, for many decades.

      He was Theresa May’s first visitor, sloping down Downing Street in the dusk on the day she moved into number ten.

      He negotiated the safety of Israel, in exchange for the safety and integrity of Iran’s borders, with Putin policing the agreement.

      His knowledge, consistency, and diplomacy is far sighted.

      Bush and Biden want dollar hegemony, control of oil and gas, and American supremacy. Kissinger had a role in this agenda in previous defence strategies across the Middle East. Who is designing the long term plan now though? I have a lot of respect for Senator Mabus, a senior navy man, who nominated Biden for president, and who has published the plans for the Western Pacific Alliance. Incidentally Russia has also occupied its islands north of Japan and stationed troops there.

      With Taiwan becoming another flashpoint the bigger picture is changing more broadly.

      In light of all this I am happy for Boris to keep dodging the issues, playing his dead cats, and avoiding consequences at this time.

  • Xavi

    Your scepticism of Mhairi Black is well-founded and not only because of her silence on Nicola’s growing authoritarianism. Notice too the silence in her f-word speech on Britain’s equally rightwing and authoritarian official Opposition. She knows Sir Keir Starmer has told his PLP to abstain on all of the Tories’ worst human rights legislation and surely can see that he is an even more instinctive authoritarian than Boris Johnson. Who doubts that Mhairi would happily help this other budding fascist become prime minister after the next election?

    • Giyane

      Sturgeon’s ‘ growing authoritarianism ‘ reminds me of Steve Bell’s cartoon where Cameron tells the Queen she’s a bit of a secret lobbyist in her own right:
      ” Nay Nay. One’s on the Payroll. ”

      Starmer’s on the Payroll, but is absolutely nothing in his own right. Nature abhors a vacuum, so Boris fills his empty space. Boris is also a political vacuum with no understanding of politics apart from elementary Market Forces and British Bulldog crap , and Starmer fills his empty space. All orders are issued from somewhere else. The US?

      • Goose

        Still trying to make sense of why the SNP at Westminster are constantly agitating for Johnson to immediately resign?

        For if they are serious about winning independence(?) surely an unpopular Johnson and the equally mendacious Starmer fronting support for the Union in a campaign supposedly slated for next year, is the dream scenario?
        All Sturgeon will have to do is put the ball in the back of the net. Circumstances more conducive to winning independence are hard to imagine.

        Also expect a repeat of, ‘Putin’ and ‘dark forces’ to feature prominently in unionist arguments, as per 2014’s vote…

        According to former Labour minister and NATO Secretary General George Robertson, the Scottish people’s sovereign decision about their future should be reduced to second guessing what the Kremlin and Beijing may or may not want to happen. Talk about living in someone else’s head rent free.

  • Ewen A Morrison

    Many thanks for another fine article Craig, and ‘The Slide Down’ certainly sits amongst a range of your better articles; especially about the perceived slide towards fascism in the so-called UK! Remember: “Fascism: is a way of organizing a society in which a government ruled by a dictator controls the lives of the people and in which people are not allowed to disagree with the government”… a large definition for a single word!

    Our parent’s generation fought against such evils; yet nowadays, similar evils are appearing again! My own relatives were militarily involved in both the World Wars – soldiers who were killed and some of them seriously wounded! I’m sure that I’m not the only person on this archipelago that can talk like this and most of us prefer to focus on today rather than history’s mistakes!

    Nowadays, however, Scotland’s politics are uncertain when compared to the steadily increasing confidence that was seen just before the 2014 Scottish independence referendum. However, there has been next to no sign of positive governance in today’s Scottish government; in fact, it behaves more like some form of an executive branch!?

    Voters were bound to have had different opinions and desires, of course; however, that opportunity emerged after a normal and honourable political campaign and that’s difficult to complain about! Now, many people think that the Scottish government behave more like The Executive Branch that conducts diplomacy with other nations and has the power to negotiate and sign treaties… instead of really being Scotland’s own Government!

  • Mike Daffern

    With respect to one who has obviously thought long and hard on the definition of a fascist state, may I offer my own – that the hall mark of a fascist state is found where the state resorts to militaristic solutions to complex social problems. With this in mind, the actions of many states can be so described.

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