Sunday, 30 August 2015

Why we are where we are in Scotland


When the Berlin wall came down, nearly everyone in Europe and, indeed, the world accepted that socialism didn’t work. Even the Chinese while keeping the form of the Party gave up the substance. Gradually, there were only really two places that continued to believe though in rather different ways. One was North Korea, the other was Scotland. But Scotland continued to believe in a rather odd way. It wasn’t as if we enjoyed the fruits of capitalism any less than anyone else. But somehow our socialism was what made us different even if we didn’t quite believe in it. How did we get to this position?

I remember enjoying the novels of J.M. Barrie set in and around the town of Thrums, which was Barrie’s name for Kirriemuir. In one of these novels ‘Sentimental Tommy’, there is a journey from London to Thrums. The difference between the two places was only a few hours on a train. But those few hours separated places that could scarcely be more different. The Londoner would have found life more familiar in France.

The language of Barrie’s Thrums was very different indeed from London. English was spoken, more or less and certainly understood, but there was a rich vocabulary and grammar that was not English. Moreover, the whole mentality of the people living in Thrums was quite unlike that of someone from London. It was a mentality and a morality that had been determined by the Kirk, or rather the kirks. There were endless disputes about churches that have now been forgotten. They were called strange names like “Auld Lichts”, or the rather contradictory “United Secession Kirk”. If you delve into Scottish church history, it is a history of continual secession, for reasons that today seem trivial. The question of how to govern a church was deemed as vital as were theological issues that today seem at best arcane and at worst irrelevant. The Marrow of Modern Divinity which was so endlessly debated in Scotland, hardly deals with the essence of the issue at all, but comes across today as rather silly hair-splitting about issues that are of no consequence, because no-one but a hair-splitter would think they were issues at all. In Scotland there were sometimes small villages with four or five kirks, which all more or less believed a variant on the theme of Presbyterianism. But the debates that kept splitting the churches kept everyone very occupied indeed. There was absolutely no need for Scots to assert their Scottishness in those days. It was apparent in everything they said and in everything they did.

Move on one hundred years and the language of Thrums has more or less died out apart from in some small pockets. It has been killed off by Scotland being less isolated. It has been killed off by people moving here from elsewhere, but above all, it has been killed off by television. Now the language of Scotland is English and nearly everyone speaks it with a somewhat different accent and occasionally a rather different way of saying certain vowels. The Church in Scotland is in retreat just as everywhere else in the UK. But with it the Scottish mentality has been struggling to maintain itself. Whereas the people of Thrums were fiercely frugal and careful about how others behaved, now like much of the rest of Western Europe, we preach the idea that anything goes. Whereas the people of Thrums believed in individualism and endeavour and above all, in sin, we believe in collectivism and that there should be no negative consequences for lack of endeavour.

Scotland in the hundred or so years since Barrie has become more and more like the rest of the UK. We have the same shops, listen to the same music and drink the same lager. We watch the same programmes and have more or less the same views about more or less everything. But whereas when we were really different, we felt no need to assert it, now precisely because we are the same, we have to shout so loudly about our difference. This is the emptiness that is at the heart of Scottish nationalism.  It’s the same emptiness that people felt in Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

A few months after the referendum result was not accepted by the nationalists I wrote something that likened them to a cult. I described briefly what I have described here at great length. I think I may have been the first person to have come up with the cult simile, but I may be wrong about this. All I can say is I didn’t read about it before writing my article. But it is an obvious enough connection to make, so others were, no doubt, thinking on the same lines at the same time.

In any such comparison it is important to realise that it is just that. I was saying that there were similarities, not that these things were the same. But I still think it’s worth exploring the issue, not as a means of insulting supporters of the SNP, but as a way of explaining a phenomenon that has been taking place in Scotland. The year or so prior to the independence referendum and the time afterwards has been like a revival meeting that has spread around Scotland.  That’s great if you are part of the revival and want the revival to continue and to grow. But what if you stand on the outside of the tent and think it’s all a fake?

Why didn’t Scotland move on like everyone else in 1991? The answer I think is two words that still have extraordinary power. They are “Tory” and “Thatcher”. Thatcher has become the Wicked Witch of the West, the goddess Kali and Oliver Cromwell all rolled into one. The myth of Thatcher has been passed on to Scottish children who are too young to remember her and she is thought of as if she were General Sherman marching through Georgia destroying everything in her path. She was a Tory. Think of how Nicola Sturgeon says that word. Think of all the loathing that goes into her pronunciation. But not just Nicola, not just Scottish nationalists, most Scots pronounce the word ‘Tory’ in just the same way and with just the same intent. But it was Tories or those like them all around the western world who were proved right in 1991. The ideological struggle between left and right was won decisively by the right. The intellectual foundation upon which the left built its beliefs fell apart back then, and there was nothing much remaining of the old ideas to believe in. 

Since then what has the left been left with? It has had protests about globalisation, it has had protests about banks, it has turned green and it has fought a battle to make everything permissible. The main successes of the left have been in forcing us to think carefully about the words we use and above all, the pronouns. They have successfully changed the meaning of certain words to make them more inclusive. At times it seems that we are ‘Through the Looking Glass’ in a world where Black can be White, Male can be Female and words can mean what we want them to mean.  But this success has mostly been on the surface, because underneath ordinary people outside of universities, no doubt, believe just what they always have believed, only they are careful what they say in certain forms of company.  

These victories of the left, however, have for the most part been trivial. They have made some people be careful about what they say, but they haven’t really changed how people think. But while the left has been playing with words, the right has won on the issue of how to run a country. On the fundamental issues of the economy no-one sees old style left-wing economics (apart from Mr Corbyn and friends) as a matter worthy of serious concern. The left may try to tinker around the edges of economics, but socialism as an ideology has been dead since the wall came down. It was an experiment tested to destruction and in the end, people voted with their feet.

But Scotland had to stick to the old religion, for without our hatred of Tories we scarcely would be Scots. But gradually as Labour moved into the modern world, as Tony Blair accepted some of what the Tories had said was true, people in Scotland more and more felt that the true religion was being tainted. How could we be against Tories (Nicola’s accent) if we agreed with them? So finally it was necessary to hew off Scotland from all taint of infection from the south. How could we keep Tories out of Scotland if they were already inside the Labour party? We had to root out the heresy in Labour. They weren’t in fact Labour at all, they were Red Tories. We had to revisit our old habit of secession and debate endlessly matters that were arcane.

What could have destroyed Labour in 2015? What force could have made Labour go from being a monolith of safe seats to being all but wiped out? The answer lies not in politics, but in religion.

There is a new religion in Scotland. It is called Scottish nationalism. There is a new promised land called independence, where all things are possible, where there will be no poverty and no inequality. What those of us on the outside don’t get is how joyous it is to take part in this dance of Scottish nationalism. Suddenly, you are surrounded by like-minded friends who all believe the same things that you do. You are forced to not think any negative thoughts. You must fill your life with hope and get rid of all fear. You must repeat “Hope over fear”, “Hope over fear”. You must repeat. You must repeat.

There are gurus who have vast numbers of followers. These followers believe every word the guru says and are willing to be sent to chastise anyone who questions the one true religion. They work for the guru, even though the guru has no particular qualities or qualifications that would suggest he was suited to the role. He is self-appointed, but then so are all gurus.

What use would it be if I could expose the guru? Another guru would come in his place. Anyway, no-one would believe my exposé, for the guru can do no wrong.

Just like a televangelist, just like the guru in Moscow, which I describe in great detail in my long story, the acolytes are willing to pay for the pleasure. The guru only has to say ‘Give me money', and it pours in. Well, why shouldn’t he be paid for his work? Why indeed? But it is precisely this, that he gives little and gets much, this fact that he can live off the payment of his followers that makes him a guru. It is the defining quality. It is also this that makes his cause religious, rather than political.

No-one on the other side of the debate could raise a penny in this way. We have no gurus preaching, precisely because our side is not a religion. It is both our strength: we use reason, and our weakness: reason is powerless against religion.

There are mantras that the acolytes are carefully taught to repeat and the repetition keeps them from thinking. That after all, is the purpose of a mantra. The most important mantra of all involves the repetition of the word “Tory”, always pronounced with that precise nuance of loathing, that also contains just a hint of self-loathing. “You’re a red, you’re a blue, you’re an orange Tory. Tory, Tory, Tory.” It’s like a playground chant.  Other mantras involve words like “scaremongering”, others still involve “talking down Scotland”; one of the most repeated mantras is that opponents of the SNP think that Scotland is “Too wee, too, poor and too stupid”. But no-one, but a nationalist has ever said this about Scotland, precisely because this mantra is something that he must repeat endlessly in his head until it becomes an accurate description not of Scotland, but of the nationalist who has lost his ability to think because of the endless repeating of such mantras.

There are simplistic pamphlets that are produced with easily digested pieces of optimism. Anyone who comes up with a reasoned argument, pointing out the errors in such pamphlets is being negative. Above all, nothing must be allowed to damage the hope contained in our new religion. Pointing out facts cannot damage the hope. There are in fact no facts on the side of fear. The only facts are on the side of hope. Our hopeful facts will always trump your negative scaremongering falsehoods. The truth is in faith, and hope and the charity of foodbanks, which tell everything you need to know about Tories. There will always be foodbanks so long as there are Tories, not least because they are so desperately needed to remind us of the wickedness of Tories. The falsity of statistics and economics lies in its negativity and how it contradicts our hope. Hope over fear. Hope over fear. Repeat endlessly.

Defeat in September 2014 did not damage the hope, it made it stronger, but then the lions did not damage the Christians. The lions may have eaten the Christians, but shortly afterward the Christians ended up ruling Rome and whatever lions may have been left there. If they had wanted to, the Christians could then have eaten the lions.

Nothing else can explain the recent phenomenon that is Scottish politics than that it is a revival. The SNP keeps having open air meetings and rallies. Which other party in UK history has had quite so many open air rallies in quite so short a time? The mantra of the rally is always the same, but it gains a certain power by being repeated together in a group. We weren’t really defeated. That moment of grief when we expected to win, but instead lost, was not real. We did win. Don’t have any fear that we soon will win. Look around, everyone else here feels the same thing. It’s inevitable. Those unionists are doomed. They’ve already lost. We will bury you. It’s hope in the face of every set back.  It’s a refusal to listen to the small voice of fear that must sometimes whisper doubts. But the way to quieten the small voice of doubt is to repeat the mantra. Thousands of voices join in unison to share the triumph of hope over fear. Any waverers immediately fall into line. Fear once more is banished. Hope once more triumphs. Hope over fear. Hope over fear repeats itself continually in the minds of the followers.

Which other UK politician than Nicola Sturgeon or Alex Salmond could pack out a venue with thousands of devotees? Could Clement Atlee do this? Could Winston Churchill? Could Margaret Thatcher or David Lloyd George? But then, they would not have wanted to. But then, Scottish nationalism isn’t about politics anymore and its leaders are not politicians at all, but rather gurus.

It isn’t as if the SNP have done such a staggeringly wonderful job of running Scotland. It isn’t even as if they actually want independence any time soon. I suspect many quite senior SNP politicians are secretly very glad indeed that they lost the referendum in September 2014. You see, the numbers just don’t add up. But none of this matters, because independence is no longer about politics, it is no longer even about achieving independence in practical terms. It’s an ideal. After so many incarnations and reincarnations we may just be worthy of a part in the national collective. At this point our individuality will cease. The Maya, that is our sense of individuality, will be merged with all the other Scots who have been journeying towards this loss of selfhood. Finally, we will merge with Alex, we will form a union with Nicola, or at least, we will be worker bees scurrying around the queen. When we die, or at least when we have achieved the requisite level, after perhaps many reincarnations, we will reach the end point, the goal and the τέλος [telos, goal] towards which we have for so long been tending. Some have described this as Nirvana. But in Scotland we have another word for it.  We will live forever in independence.

I cannot rescue Scotland. How can I put half of Scotland on a flight and take it back home to its parents? And what good would it do anyway? Sometimes such rescues succeed, but frequently people are beyond rescuing. In the end, I learned that I could not compete with religion. I cannot compete with what repeating a mantra does to a mind. 

But I’m not unduly pessimistic.  A cult is always less powerful than it thinks it is. This is not least the case because it has lost its relationship to truth. When the foundation is a mantra that does not correspond to reality, it can easily all come tumbling down. The hysteria will cease, the emotion will quiet, the guru can always be exposed, and the leader shown to be not quite so perfect and indeed quite capable of error. One hundred years from now people will write about the oddness of the great revival that took place in Scotland.

How might the history of the years between 1980 and 2030 eventually be written? There might be something about the collapse of the old social structure of the Central Belt. When the heavy industry of coal mining and steel works ceased and when Christianity became more a matter of sectarian division than church going, there was an emptiness that needed to be filled. The old certainties whether they were provided by the Kirk or by the idea that you would do the same job as your father did became more and more uncertain. Finally, faith became a matter of weddings and funerals and few believed any of the words that were said at such ceremonies. It was the lack of faith that people had in the old religion that left the room for the new religion of Scotland. To fill up the emptiness in peoples’ hearts they were promised a new promised land where there would be abundance, where there would be enough for all and there would be equality. This didn’t require any sort of hard work, it didn’t require anyone, but the rich to pay higher taxes. It required one single word. You just had to say ‘Yes’.

When I compare the days I spent with the Hare Krishnas with the past years in Scotland, I see similarities. But it wasn’t the same. How could anything be quite like those dances we danced in Moscow where everyone had glazed eyes and minds full of only a mantra. But I have come across enough closed minds in Scotland to be worried. I’ve seen what nationalism has done to the Soviet Union, and I’ve seen what a closed mind could do to someone I once cared about quite deeply.

I had set out to rescue my friend Galina in Russia and I succeeded. I could not have done more, but I knew even at the time it was never going to be enough. My rescue failed. There was something close-minded about Galina,that hindered her thought. Finally, it became dull. She just repeated what she had been told, rather than discovering and thinking for herself. There would be flashes of her old self, when she ceased her mantra, when her eyes flashed instead of being full of dull clouds. But soon enough she would be her Hare Krishna self Garudi again, soon enough she would just repeat the same old mantra. It was boring. I meet this every day in Scotland. I endlessly meet those who simply repeat what they have been told from nationalist crib sheets. I hear the same old arguments endlessly, the same old insults and the same old pattern of hive behaviour. Nationalists on the war path, offended by something that I have written, buzz and try to sting, but it all becomes very tedious very quickly.

It rapidly ceases to be interesting when opponents are close-minded without even realising it. It gets to the stage when you begin to know exactly what they are going say next. There will be a point in a conversation when the usual clichés will be repeated. No matter how often you make a counterargument, it has no effect and is simply ignored. I find myself repeating the same arguments endlessly and to no purpose. The conversation becomes a matter of jabber jabber Trident, jabber jabber Westminster paedophiles, jabber jabber foodbanks, jabber jabber next part of the SNP crib sheet.  It all became very glib, and I find myself tuning out as if I was watching a Gaelic programme on television and only heard words like “helicopter” that were not translated.

I worry about Scotland when so many people have lost touch with reality, when the relationship with truth has become something that is mediated by politicians and who treat the public as if they were infants unable to face the truth.

It sometimes scares me living here. There is something impotent about online abuse, but everyone who is attacked by a mob sometimes worries that it could become offline abuse. Even then it can be stressful and psychologically exhausting to be under relentless attack. So even if for the most part I find it boring, it does scare me when I am attacked for speaking out. It scares me when reasoned argument is met by hatred, for I worry about a cause that leads people to behave in this way. The nationalists take my criticism personally even if it is only directed against the party they support. It’s this identification of person with party and party with country that scares me the most. But then I reflect that I’ve been through much worse and faced much tougher opponents than any of these “gnats”. They simply can’t imagine. By comparison, Scottish nationalism looks rather trivial. So bring it on. I can take anything you throw at me.

But long term I won’t live in a country that has closed its mind. It would be too much like those few days in Moscow where all I could hear was people whispering their mantra. It’s all somehow like the worst aspects of life in the Soviet Union, but at least they didn’t vote for a one party state, they had it forced upon them.

In the end, my solution to every problem is existential. We always used to say that the solution to the problems of the Soviet Union is to leave. Sometimes this is the only answer. I will keep piling up stones in the river, but sometimes the dam just breaks. In that case I would recommend Russia. It’s relatively cheap now that the rouble has collapsed; you just have to spend a little while learning the alphabet and the grammar.

Hare Alex, Hare Nicola. It’s Scotland that needs rescuing now. I will continue to put forward the case for the UK. I will try to write reasoned considered articles and I may just be able to have some influence beyond those who already agree with me. I don’t expect independence any time soon if at all, because really the whole idea of independence in our ever more interconnected world is close to being meaningless. It all rather misses the point. But that, no doubt, is to look at the whole thing far too rationally. I’ve already realised that my arguments have no power, perhaps, even no point. That is one of the main reasons why I also write stories. Perhaps, just perhaps they will be able to get through to people in a way that argument can’t.

My powers of rescue have already been shown to be limited. My words have no power against those of the mantra.  When I brought Galina back to her parents, they were delighted and surprised that I could do what had seemed to them impossible. I had brought back their daughter and during those moments I must have felt a sense of success. But I also saw she was too far gone. Only love could have brought this dark haired lady back from her dark lord and perhaps, no human love was strong enough to compete. So there will be no more rescues for those who are too far gone. This dance must continue or stop of its own accord. Even when the guru is a charlatan, his followers still follow.


117 comments:

  1. "truthiness" 'truːθɪnəs/ nouninformal the quality of seeming or being felt to be true, even if not necessarily true.

    The "nationalism as cult" comparison doesn't become more convincing for constant repletion Effie, neither is it rendered more powerful by numerous self-referential links to your previous equally "truthy" blog posts.

    Oh, and lest we forget... North Korea comparisons...? Really? Is that your best shot? From someone who professes to prefer the idea of living in Putin's Russia rather than an independent Scotland. It's honestly hard to decide sometimes whether you are trolling Scottish nationalists for effect, or if you actually believe what you write.

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  2. The thing about religions is that, eventually, they undergo splits and schisms. Think Sunni and Shiite, Catholic and Protestant (and within the Protestant Churches, literally thousands of versions from the polite old men of the C of E to the ranting lunatics of the Westboro baptists).

    Scottish Unionism has become so dire as a political force because there are different types of unionists - conservatives, socialists, liberals, people who approve of the EU, people who want out. Similar splits exist on the nationalist side - only they also have gradualists and fundamentalists and even those who would embrace the UK if they were offered more socialism and greater local powers.

    It is only a matter of time before these splits manifest themselves.

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  3. I don't think Effie compared Scotland to North Korea. She said they were the only two countries who still believe in socialism. I reckon that's probably about right. Even Cuba is liberalising. Hugo Chavez had some success in Venezuela a number of years ago but it ended in failure and now his name is mud.

    Socialism doesn't work. It does the opposite of what it sets out to do by making everyone poorer - including the poor.

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    1. Whether Effie buys into the more bonkers fringes of SNPOut-ism is an open question. The direct comparison between North Korea and the SNP running Scotland is never far from the lips of many of the more disreputable britnats (we've all heard the "Dear Leader" jibes, the comparisons with Mugabe etc.).

      You may well be right that socialism of the types described has never worked, and could never be made to work. I would question however whether that is what Scots (whether in the SNP, or pro-indy more generally, or those on the left) are actually calling for? Social democracy, perhaps...but socialism? Surely not!

      There may be some in the SSP/RISE mould who would really quite like to try a Chavez/Syriza type route....fewer still who would advocate a full on Cuban style worker's state. In the end, what many right wingers like Effie are afraid of is a society promoting more equality, more social justice, higher taxes to pay for better services; we're talking Scandinavian/northern European social democracy here, not the dictatorship of the proletariat!

      I tend to agree that socialism "red in tooth and claw" doesn't work. Equally however, I'd say that unfettered capitalism and the Big Society type model being promoted by the right is a chimera. With 25% of UK children living in poverty the trickle down economics and austerity model isn't looking too great either is it?

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    2. Isn't "social democracy" the politics of new labour and the liberal democrats and, increasingly, the conservatives as they not only embrace the minimum wage but agree to a record breaking increase of it? We live in a social democracy - a largely free market regulated by government, a comprehensive welfare system, socialised healthcare, free and universal education.

      That IS social democracy. The Scot Nats and their fellow travellers in the Scottish Greens and RISE want to move away from it - and certainly not to the right (unless you think all those studenty types who regularly get together in George Square to compare beards and face paint actually want to roll back the frontiers of the state).

      The comparison with North Korea is comic in nature. Scotland is in the North, is socialist, has a much bigger and richer neighbour to the south and, until recently, had a fat leader. Comparisons with N Korea are inevitable. Why can't nationalists just laugh it off?

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    3. Firstly some of the SNPOuters are quite sincere in their belief that the SNP are some sinister cult. Effie and her like honestly believe it. The constant N. Korea/Zimbabwe/Nazi comparisons, and the attempts to link Scottish nationalism with the troubles in Northern Ireland, aren't jocular asides offered in good heart, they are vicious attempts to divide and sectarianise the debate. The well of debate has been poisoned largely by folk such as that. There are extremists on both sides of course, but the real negativity and hatred is overwhelmingly from the anti-independence movement, as is the actual violence as has been amply demonstrated.

      The Tories, LibDems and Blairite NuLab movement have moved significantly to the right, and dragged what used to be regarded as the centre ground to the right with them. "Real" social democracy doesn't reside with them, nor would/will it tolerate the levels of inequality and poverty in our society today, the kind of foreign policy followed, and the creeping privatisation of our public services.

      Public ownership of the railways and protection of the NHS have broad popular support for a reason. Wanting them doesn't make you a leftist extremist. The minimum wage needs increased, we can't be satisfied with the current tinkering, nor with the failure to build more affordable housing.

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    4. "Why can't nationalists just laugh it off?"

      Sense of humour failure? Or inability to regard Alex / Nicky / SNP and Scotland as different things. Bit of both.


      "In the end, what many right wingers like Effie are afraid of is a society promoting more equality, more social justice, higher taxes to pay for better services; we're talking Scandinavian/northern European social democracy here"

      The same Scandinavia increasingly turning away from these traditional models towards more private ownership and lower levels of taxation, ironically looking to emulate the UK?

      Independence gurus ought to seek out some new material.

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    5. Ndls, I am instantly suspicious of movements that appear overnight. The SNP were a fringe party until recently, on one fifth of the vote, on average. Nationalism was not the solution to our ills in 1999, 2003 and 2010. Even in the Thatcher dominated 1980s, nationalism wasn't the answer - the SNP recorded some of their worst election results in the modern era.

      Even in May 2014, nationalism wasn't the answer - they got 29% in the European elections.

      So, the nationalist movement has suddenly become turbo charged with no real history of mass support and no real reason for the change.

      I'll call it as I see it. The SNP got lucky and then used the opportunity to get the Scottish population drunk on nationalism. And, yes, it does bear some resemblance to a cult (the brainwashing, repeating of the mantra, intolerance of dissent / other views).

      What we are witnessing here isn't some beautiful awakening. It's like watching someone you care about falling around drunk and trashing their own house. It's sad, it's pathetic and you just know they're going to regret it in the morning.

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    6. Does that make the Tories a fringe party as they have been on 20% or less of the vote since I have been voting ?

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    7. The tories are a fringe party in Scotland Running Man and thank you for pointing out yet another reason why we can never be independent - lack of left/right political diversity.

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    8. So we have defence,fiscal,welfare and foreign policy set by what is a fringe party......Another push in direction of independence....

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    9. It's not a fringe party in the wider UK, which we voted to be a part of.

      Large chunks of tax, spending and welfare power are set to be devolved by next Spring. Then the SNP will be free to muck up even more things.

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    10. 36.9% of the vote is all the Tories got

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    11. Which puts them well above 'fringe' status.

      If you add up the tory vote, UKIP vote and N Irish Unionist vote, that gives a right of centre majority of the UK popular vote of about 50.5%

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    12. Does it.....so 20% is fringe and 36% is well above fringe..... How many UKIP MP's are there ?

      BTW they are by your own admission a fringe party in Scotland....Thats where they will remain. Even if you add in UKIP fascist votes.

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    13. Labour are a fringe party in Kensington and Chelsea. The tories are a fringe party in Newcastle. It doesn't matter - they are areas of the UK, as are we, and the government of the UK rules the UK - all of it.

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  4. I think you're pretty much spot on, Effie. This is why I think the Government should have included FFA in the Scotland Bill - not as an act of punishment or 'I told you so'; but as an act of kindness. Of mercy. Because it is not remotely humane leaving these people stuck in their catatonia. They need to be given a jolt of reality, which FFA - with its attendant cuts in public services, recession, and mass job losses - would have amply delivered. Now, this in turn might have hastened independence rather than staved it off, but it has got to the stage that these people have to be helped, regardless the constitutional outcome.

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    1. The British parliament has a duty of care to its citizens. Giving the SNP enough rope not only to hang themselves but also the people of Scotland is not an acceptable measure.

      As long as the British government ignores the SNP's more insane demands, they are largely an irrelevance and can only do limited damage. In time, they will implode. As boredom with the independence issue sets in and the economic figures worsen, people will drift away from the SNP. Those who remain will hopefully destroy themselves in an outbreak of Judean Peoples' Frontism.

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    2. You keep believing Aldo; that kind of complacency and misplaced optimism will be of huge help to the independence movement. Do you honestly believe that the current support level for the SNP is simply going to disappear? FFA is a fiction, just as the Vow was. Failure to make progress on significant amounts of devolution is what will finally deliver independence. In the end the Tories would rather create their dystopian Big Society without Scotland if they have to.

      The only way the SNP are going anywhere is post indy, when some of their support would doubtless slough off and move to other new parties established then. The only ones emulating the Judean People's Front at present seem to be the Labour party, but don't let what's actually happening divert you from your grandiose fantasies of the implosion of the most popular party in the UK! ;)

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    3. It's started already. Ten years ago, who did you vote for if you wanted Scottish independence? Easy, the SNP. The answer would have slipped from the tongue automatically, without even having to think about it. Now you have a choice of 3 - SNP, Scottish Greens and RISE (the rebranded Scottish Socialists). The latter two are minnows compared to the SNP, of course - for the moment, that is. But the SNP is on the verge of, effectively, ruling out active pursuit of independence for the next half decade - despite thousands of its new members wanting to make this the core issue of the conference in October.

      A split is brewing - and I believe it will be very damaging for the SNP and the wider nationalist cause. You simply cannot hold 62% of the population together in common cause for long. That support base has more fault lines than the Pacific rim and will crack. It's simply a matter of time.

      The popcorn and bubbly are on standby.

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    4. And what is it the SNP supporters are smoking, exactly?

      Oh, I forgot - silly question!

      They inject.

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  5. You need to get out more. I don't mean this as a pithy retort, I mean it quite literally, you need to start getting out, speaking to real people, not your friends on Twitter but real people.

    'Hope over fear', 'Red Tory'. These are not expressions I have heard from any of my good friends (all smart, level headed and pro-independence). These are the words of Tommy Sheridan, of the SSP or sellers of socialist worker. All very outspoken on Twitter.

    You have built yourself an echo-chamber on Twitter Effie and this reads like the ramblings of an ex-pat in a foreign country. Complaining about the food and the fact the waiters don't speak English. Well perhaps it's you that needs to learn the language. You need to put away your keyboard, find some real people who support independece, cast aside your assumptions and actually talk to them. Find out what really drives them, I guarentee it is not Braveheart or anger ar Thatcher or even Alex Salmond or Nicola Sturgeon.

    My experience of the last two years are very different. I started out as a firm NO but I got out, I attended town hall meetings, debates and spoke with groups on both sides. What I saw was remarkable. The key word I would use to describe about Indy was 'empowerment'. At an individual, a local and a national level. Something I realise was sorely lacking in Scotland before.

    This country has changed, sure. People are braver now, more engaged. We have become a thriving political culture. I absolutly love it, you might learn to do so too, if only you'd step out your office.

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    1. Our chance to become a "thriving political culture" came in 1999 when we got our ownparliament. Free from the cumbersome first past the post system, we could have elected a rainbow of political parties who would've had to sit down and do business with each other - consensus politics, where every vote really does matter.

      But we blew it. We were seduced by nationalist / separatist sentiment like so many countries before us.

      And now half the country hates, mistrusts and fears the other half. The unionists fear the loss of their British identity and economic security. The nationalist fear that their moment in the sun will pass without a separate Scottish state being created.

      This is not what I would call 'engaged and thriving'. We're in a state of cold civil war.

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    2. By 'political culture' I mean what is happening in our houses, in pubs, town halls and community clubs.

      As for Holyrood, give it a chance. The makeup of most parliaments have grown organically to where they are over hundreds of years.

      One thing that is really stunting its growth though is the lack of power. Particularly revenue raising powers. Parties have little motivation to campaign on such things as investing in small business, ensuring competition and spending wisely to create wealth. Is it any wonder that Scottish politics has become so left wing!

      Devolution is a awful,infantile system. It lacks accountability, fosters a culture of grievance and blame. Holyrood is all about what we can get and rarely about what we can create. Worst of all, this is the culture where we are raising our children. Top down dependency at all stages.

      If you feel like it is a war, I am sorry, but I will never stop fighting to change the direction we have chosen. I will pick empowerment and independece everytime over this mess.

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    3. Devolution as it stands allows theSG almost a free ride.....It can blame nearly everything on limited budget and thus on Westminster.

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    4. How empowering is it to elect an administration that does not tolerate dissent nor criticism, you tow the party line or get out.

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    5. In my house, someone mentions the SNP and the air quickly turns blue, with the expressions "fat f*ck" and "wee hairy" being said at least once during the ensuing 'debate' :0)

      I prefered the culture as it was, pre 2011.

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    6. That says more about your house than it does politics in Scotland...The fact that its wholly personalized against Salmond or Sturgeon as individuals shows its hardly rational. I'm sure you prefer the culture as it suited your politics and you were comfy in your wee red , white and blue bubble.

      This comment has made my day as clearly there are a lot of people rattled by the dent to the status quo. Change is good, you should embrace it.

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    7. "This comment has made my day"

      Oh well, I suppose you need cheering up, with naw day fast approaching.

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    8. Aye how is that great victory working out for Labour lol....winning a battle but losingthe war

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    9. The 'war' was fought between 2011 - 2014. Last September was the equivalent of the Battle for Berlin - and you lost.

      Suck it up!

      Now I must get back to working for a living. Someone has to pay the nats' benefits.

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    10. Keep telling yourself that.......Labour died to save the Union.....lol

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    11. The idea that Scotland's main opposition is 'dead' is fanciful. Swings and roundabouts mate. Everything comes around again, eventually. Read history.

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    12. The last upsurge and breaking of the party status quo like this was the Labour party........that's your history right there.

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    13. I don't think there is a comparison between the two. Labour tackled extreme poverty. There was a reason for them actually being popular.

      Anyway, Scotland has more than just the labour party. As soon as they, the lib dems, tories and UKIP have 65 or more MSPs between them, then the game is up for the SNP. If they remain in government at all beyond that point, it will only be with the permission of the unionist parties.

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    14. Jeez I'm sure they are shittin bricks at SNP HQ at the thought of a resurgent Lib Dems and the resurgence of UKIP zombies. That on top of an unholy Tory/Labour alliance.

      Is that really a coherent suggestion with the idea of every party somehow uniting against the SNP Godzilla. Your rather infantile worldview is actually quite quaint.

      Arithmetically it looks some way off, politically its an idea that may as well have been born on one of Jupiter's moons its so batshit crazy. The only thing stopping the death of all 3 London parties in the next 12 months is the voting system in Scotland.

      There will be no resurgence of the Tories or Labour in Scotland until they reinvent themselves as a Scottish party distinct from London. There will be no resurgence of the LibDems ever.

      Even if your fantasy Union team did manage it, imagine the in-fighting. It would only reinforce the lack of alternative to the SNP.

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    15. If the SNP vote falls to about 40%, a unionist coalition would be possible. Probably wont happen in 2016 - but 2021 is a possibility.

      Wasn't it the SNP themselves who advocated an anti tory alliance? Don't we have political alliances formed along constitutional lines in the likes of Northern Ireland?

      Around half the people of Scotland have no representation in government. Something will have to be done to remedy that situation. If that means tories, labour and lib dems cooperating in some way, then that is what will happen.

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    16. Yes but the issue with your thesis is it requires a joining of Tory and Labour groups which should be ideologically impossible. The fallout of which would be carried forever by the next set of prospective MSP's

      I understand the binary hatred of the SNP by both groups as the SNP threaten the hegemony(I know its characterised by the bosom of the virgin union but its about power not saving a political mashup).

      In reality there can be no joining of these specific two political parties on that basis. Not without risk of party annihilation for Labour and potentially even the Tories, although I suspect the latter to survive it due to their ability to be more devious and having a bigger brass neck than the former.

      Think about this..... 4/5th of Scotland are led by a Tory government in Westminster they did not vote for. Labour have already ruled out a colaition with the SNP......You actually believe a coalition of Labour and Tory is more likely ?

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    17. Let me help you out here. The only way the SNP are dying as you hope e.g as we saw Labour doing is if , we go to war, we have a huge natural disaster or if they lose a 2nd referendum.

      Clearly they are hedging their bets on the 3rd and hoping for none of he first 2. Bottom line is that in every other scenario you are dependent on Labour resurgence. That cannot happen while they try to out Tory the Tories....If they choose Corbyn they will lose England and gain something in Scotland. So they will again be powerless.

      I love the eternal optimism but i would bed in for the long run at this point. This is not over by a long stretch. The best you can imagine is something approaching 40% in 2021....lol. In itself that would have been impossible 3 years ago yet here you are painting it as best case scenario.

      Unionists really are in trouble.

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    18. It's not inconceivable that a centre left and centre right party could join forces to represent pro UK sentiment in Scotland, Scottish Skier. You speak of ideological differences between tory and labour. Isn't it your SNP that regularly tells us 'there are none'?

      LOL @ war / natural disaster comment. You need to lie down mate. Eventually the SNP will slip low enough that someone else can assume power. It's inevitable - that's politics.

      And if you are so self assured of continued SNP dominance, why are you on a unionist blog bumping your gums about it?

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    19. I meant Running Man, not Scottish Skier - another hot under the collar, chip on shoulder nationalist I often have to contend with.

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    20. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    21. I like to see you metaphorically foaming at the mouth and I like to see how you are all struggling to accept 'victory'.......If the SNP are a busted flush to use your phrase why is there such a thing as unionist blogs.

      Your all defeating strategy for the SNP is a Tory/Labour anti SNP alliance....Hows that working out for you in GE terms.....

      It was collective accepted knowledge only a few years ago that Scots don't vote for the SNP at General Elections and it's impossible to get a majority at Holyrood.

      You and I know the reason we have 'Unionist' blogs is because the danger was never higher to your union. Its in plain sight, I know you can see it. It's why you and Effie gang the gither.........

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    22. There are nationalist blogs, there are unionist blogs. I don't really see your point. As a unionist I'm fairly comfortable with the current situation. Independence was rejected. The North Sea oil and gas is tanking so quickly as to be beyond belief. The SNP/Yes get more and more shrill with each passing month. We also have a tory government - the most staunchly unionist of all the parties.

      I'm happy. I acknowledge there's a danger of a nationalist comeback but I genuinely don't think it's likely. See the thread prior to this one - I give a rundown of all the barriers that have to be overcome in order for indy to be achieved. They don't end with a 'yes' vote.

      As for tory and labour forming an alliance, it happened once before - WW2. From what I remember, they were quite successful...

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    23. Haha...oohh well we can expect the next one right along then.....I'm not saying independence is a shoe in next year but to my surprise the growth in popularity in the SNP makes it more likely than before.

      There needs to be a catalyst. Maybe its EU vote, maybe its another 5 years of Tory policies. Maybe its another global meltdown.

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  6. Aldo: 'And now half the country hates, mistrusts and fears the other half.'

    That's quite an extreme way to put it, but it does reflect the reality we are in. There are one or two people I have known for years who have stopped talking to me for voting No, though in truth no great loss.

    Actually, a real bitter 'Civil war' is taking place on the left without anyone much noticing or caring. The Sheridan 'Hope Over Fear’ camp hates everyone else on the left, everyone else on the left hates Sheridan.

    And if the Govan blogger Tommy Ball is right in his assesment, entryists have eaten the Scottish Socialist party alive (a party which was one a influential force in Scotland).


    Meanwhile the SNP’s great noises about land reform have produced a squeak of legislation rightly derided by the voices that matter, most notably the wonderful Andy Wightman.

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    1. Socialists always destroy each other. It's a tradition - ever since the days of Stalin and Trotsky.

      We must be thankful to them for it. It leaves the field clear for responsible adults to govern.

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  7. Effie

    'One hundred years from now people will write about the oddness of the great revival that took place in Scotland.'

    Well we have a long tradition of 'Great Revivals’ in Scotland that have had terrible effects, such as the ISIS-like Calvinists inspired by John Knox who smashed up St Andrew’s cathedral, and the witchburning fever that lasted from 1565 to Westminster passing the Witchcraft Act of 1735 (the latter condemned by Kirk leaders who wanted Scotland to carry on burning witches).

    The SNP fever is not really comparable and won’t last - It’s basically free cakes and ale for all, a compelling argument for many, but eventually it fades.

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    1. I think your airy confidence in the demise of the SNP is misplaced. We live in interesting times, but it strikes me that britnats, especially the more extreme ones, have totally misunderstood what's going on. Few would have predicted the current situation on 19/09/14.

      The sound and fury on the left with RISE etc is unimportant. A Yes Alliance is now unnecessary because the SNP is seen as the sole vehicle for delivering independence by those who support indy, but also more broadly for resisting a Tory government we didn't vote for by those who vote for them but aren't independence supporters.

      The experience of fork boy above are far more representative of most Scots than the fearful, dystopian nightmare presented by Effie and her like. Of course strong emotions have been stirred; some who fervently believe will find it hard to forgive those who don't. The Cassandra like predictions of those who almost seem to be wishing conflict upon us need to be countered and exposed for the hyperbolic nonsense they are.

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    2. Most Britnats think(secretly hope) its an abberation and soon people will just traipse back into the booths to vote for the monkey with a red rosette.

      The SNP vote cannot climb much from where it is now but the idea that its just going to go away is nonsense. A lot of people have become politicized and they won't easily jump ship.

      If the SNP were going to die they would have been killed off by now.

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    3. Up to now they haven't faced any real scandals or infighting or had to make any tough decisions. But trouble lies ahead. The issue of indyref 2 and greater tax / borrowing powers for Scotland are the two most immediate and obvious sources of trouble for the SNP. Corbyn led labour may offer them increased competition from the left of the political spectrum although, to be honest, the more I see of Corbyn, the less he seems like a threat to anyone.

      Longer term, boredom with the SNP, distance from the referendum and errors made in the governance of our public services will come to bite the SNP. They may win in 2016 but there will be no referendum and they will be out in 2021.

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    4. As I originally said thats what you and those of the Britnat mindset hope for because you don't see a solution from Unionist side that overcomes the argument that the SNP look after Scotland first.

      In order for your fantasy to happen you need a fully resurgent Labour party.........you can see the flaw in the argument right there.

      What issue is there with Indyref2 that will put people off the SNP ? As long as they are hamstrung by Westminster they will continue to blame London and people will believe it. Anyone suggesting they won't win in 2016 seems delusional at the moment.

      The only way we'll see a referendum in next parliament session is if UK votes to exit EU.

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    5. Bad logic Running Man. All that is required for a government to be ejected from power is that the main opposition party (or parties) start to look like the least worst option. Labour, as a mildly centre left and pro UK party, is best placed to benefit when the SNP finally falls on its arse. And if the numbers don't quite work - yet unionists outnumber nationalists - then I would fully expect some kind of multi party deal to lock the SNP out of power.

      The 'issue' with indyref 2 is that some people want to wait whilst others don't. This split will increasingly dominate Scottish politics in the next few years whilst schools and hospitals take a back seat - again.

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    6. Lets see if Labour suvives its leadership election intact first before we have them winning elections. 2016 is in my view a lock for the SNP barring Sturgeon getting pregnant by Osborne. Lib Dems are DOA and Tories will likely only get list seats. A multi party deal requires enough seats.

      Only people calling for quick indyref2 are unionists.

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    7. Is Jim Sillars a unionist?

      What about Craig Murray?

      Or most of the people who joined the SNP since last September - are they unionists too?

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    8. Most of the people ? Really......such sweeping statements. Have you been calling all these people.

      The only people I see raising this on TV are Labour and Tory politicians who think its a stick to hit the SNP with.

      All during General Election it was Referendum smokescreen from all 3 establishment parties. They and you think its some weak spot for the SNP.

      I don't see the SNP leadership calling for it. It'll come but I suspect its some time off unless there is an EU exit vote. There needs to be a catalyst.

      Its cool Aldo, I know its hard to watch the ever increasing movement towards independence. A loss like last year should have killed the SNP for a generation(snigger). Instead it grew exponentially and then it did something no one ever imagined in winning 56 from 59 seats in a Westminster General Election. How can that happen ?

      It's counter intuitive to those still thinking the status quo exists. It doesn't there has been a seismic shift in opinion. Yet you and Labourites still think its an aberration that will somehow flip back. They said the same in 2007 and in 2011 and when Murphy came on board and now what are they saying..... Now they have Kezia in charge. A wee lassie who for a job used to write comments in the Scotsman at the behest of Foulkes. Dearth of talent does not cover it, never mind lack of policy differentiator. If Labour are dead do you imagine some Tory revival ? Really ?

      What happened to the Scots are intelligent voters and they vote accordingly different for Westminster and Holyrood. What happened to Labour weighing the vote in Glasgow.

      This is an unimagined and unforseen movement of opinion. You'll catch on soon enough. I know you can see it and its pretty shocking and like Effie your only defence is to wish it was not so and hope it goes away.

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    9. I think the crushing weight of economic reality will win through in the end. You cannot have independence without paying a heavy price in your economy, public services and welfare. That is the stark reality. It is also a stark reality that we voted 'no' very recently and it is only in the gift of the British government to grant a referendum.

      And if you think there isn't a sizeable chunk of independence supporters who are burning for independence 'right here, right now - but ideally by yesterday', then you are very much mistaken. The SNP has awakened a monster - and if they don't satisfy it, there will, naturally, be consequences.

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    10. http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/13642178.Sturgeon_dampens_activists__hopes_of_a_second_referendum/

      So no quick second referendum.....as has been the SNP line since Sturgeon took over.

      They'll all be voting Labour now because if 'Godzilla' can't get a quick second independence referendum they will vote for an anti independence party.......Ohh the consequences.

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    11. "It is also a stark reality that we voted 'no' very recently and it is only in the gift of the British government to grant a referendum."

      Yes because Westminster blocking a vote would of course make the problem go away.....

      Are you not due back at school or something...I'm getting this creeping realisation that you may not be the intellectual heavyweight you imagine yourself to be.

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    12. Of course it would make it go away. If it's blocked, it's blocked - it can't happen at all.

      The Spain / Catalonia situation shows us that this can be done, legally, within the EU / UN etc - and there's not a damn thing the separatists can do about it.

      I don't think I'm an intellectual heavyweight - maybe you think that. I'm just a reasonably well informed person.

      I notice no one has fully addressed the huge posts I have left near the bottom of this page concerning currency, the EU, the deficit etc. Nationalists prefer invective and nose thumbing. Well, you lost the only vote that matters. You'll have to learn to deal with that.

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    13. ooohh Sorry so among the other 100 comments or so after you have been shown to be wishing for miracles on on as regards your Tory/Lab devils alliance party.

      These other points have now somehow magically won the argument with as they were the actual real points you....OK

      The EU is not an argument. Scotland and Scots are members and will remain so.There is no doubt to that as the EU if nothing else is a very pragmatic unit. There will be no block. Just as they famously allowed Greenland an exit after 7 years of negotiation we will also be allowed to remain since we are already members. Its not a bloody golf club.

      Deficit is an issue regardless of in or out of UK or have you not noticed the QE program and Austerity max.

      Currency is the most interesting point. The end point is a Scottish currency. How we get there I can't personally say. I'd like to say we could negotiate a tranfer over time but experience has told me there are a lot of areholes on the unionist side so maybe that is not a possibility. I'd hope that for all involved the more sensible folk hold sway. I think long term a currency union with the UK is not workable.

      If pushed I would say if we don't get co-operation then fuck it, we do a currency on our own from the start and we don't take on any UK debt. That gives us plenty of breathing space to sort out the deficit since we start debt free. Probably only 1st world country in that situation. So access to credit markets will be therefore be very smooth as we have no debt and there will be plenty of demand. Don;t even start with the no one wil lend if we default, its business and legally Scotland has no debt as confirmed by UK treasury. Bankers don't give a shit about the niceties.

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    14. Oh dear RM, you are deluded! If we default on our debt, we don't "smooth access to credit" - we do the bloody opposite! Can't you see that? And if you unfairly lumber the UK with our debt share, they will retaliate. And one option open to them as the continuing state is to veto our membership of the EU. If by some miracle we do get in, we are forced into the euro and the Schengen agreement. You really need to read up on this stuff. You are badly misinformed, like most nationalists, and need to take a break from voting while you go and read some books.

      The UK has a deficit, yes - but Scotland's is higher. And our tax base would be decimated by loss of business - most notably the financial sector.

      There is no way around it. You can have Scottish independence - but only accompanied by massive spending cuts. You need to accept this. It is fact. You don't get to dispute it just as I don't get to question whether the moon is spherical. Deal in facts.

      But, oh no - you can't - you're a nationalist.

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    15. What debt ? As per the UK treasury's own press release Scotland has no debt. I know its not how you want it to be but if rUK wants to be continuity state then that is how it is. The treasury already made this statement last year to make sure that markets were not riled up.

      That is exactly how you propped up your no Currency Union stance, yuo can't have it both ways. Anyway it's not me who stated it, it was your very own treasury.

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    16. Under international conventions and precedents, indy Scotland would be expected to assume its debt share from the UK. The currency is not an asset to be shared. You are expecting a sovereign government of a separate state to expose itself to our debt. There is no way that will happen. You want independence, you take independence - full independence.

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    17. Sorry that is absolutely wrong , 100% wrong. The debt split only applies if the rUK does not want to be the continuity state. Which is clearly does. Therefore all UK debt is UK debt and stays as such unless Scotland agrees to take some. Even then the actual Bonds cannot be transfered and so there would need to be another debt agreement built up between the 2 states.

      As I said treasury already confirmed this last year prior to the referendum. Its utterly indisputable. I know you don;t like it but thems the breaks.

      What is hilarious is that the bank and its currency is not an asset but the expectation is that we don't have any claim on any of it at all, as its stated with a stamped foot that its not an asset, except the debt of course which can be shared.......lol...As we say Aye Right !

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  8. Only 51% of people voted for the SNP in the last election, this idea that its a 'One Party State' is abhorrent nonsense. Really its playground stuff.

    Why no huffing and puffing that Scotland has to bear Tory cuts and a Tory Government despite only 17% of Scots voting Tory....Seems your silence on this shows you are OK with a 'One Party state' as long as its one of your parties.

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    1. The SNP got less than half of all Scottish votes, actually - 49.97%. Yet they won 56 / 59 of the seats. Clearly we need a counterbalance to the SNP - and, luckily enough, it did actually emerge from the general election - a majority conservative government.

      I am happy with the election result overall. The yessers got to let off a bit of steam after getting gubbed - but we still got a stable, unionist, financially responsible government.

      A wee angel watched over Britain on May 7th.

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    2. Aye but we just need tio be right once......you need to be right forever.

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    3. Interesting that you choose to paraphrase an Irish Republican terrorist.

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    4. Really I didn't even know, its interesting that you remember it as such......Speaks volumes about where you are..

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    5. It's called an education.

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    6. Bigotry or sectarianism is synomymous with your worldview.

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    7. Really? Please remind me again which of us is trying to break up the country?

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    8. Not sure how that falls under sectarianism but keep trying Aldo.

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    9. It certainly falls under bigotry.

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    10. That falls under bollox.....

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    11. Separating a country that has existed peacefully and prospered for three centuries, for no good reason? Yep, definitely bigoted, with an element of sectarianism in there too, no doubt - for some.

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  9. Effie, I think your undoing is your impenetrable belief that everything about the notion of Scottish Independence is wrong headed and baseless. Putting aside the fact that the economics of an Independent Scotland became a lot more difficult with the collapse in oil revenue (benefits of hindsight and all that) you never seem to acknowledge any of the pro-independence arguments as being remotely valid. The simple fact is most Scottish people identify Scotland as being a country and most countries elect their own governments to run their own affairs. many very effectively. Accepting that what many people strive for is 'normality' not socialism would be a good starting point to not writing off half your country and brainless zombies blindly following the 'guru's'.

    Now, none of this is to say that an independent Scotland is the best way forward but the unionist belief that they hold the intellectual high ground is belied by the constant illogical apocalyptic language surrounding Scotland taking it's place alongside Belgium and New Zealand as being a fully fledged country in it's own right. It might be worse than now - but we'd probably struggle on by and large.

    Both sides should be having this debate but instead we are offered nirvana vs wasteland - both are equally devoid of thought.

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    1. Yep, I agree. We'd get by but it would be no nirvana. The Yes argument that spoke to me was James Robertson's view that at last we would be forced to face up to what we are, rather then what we think we are. Outweighed for me by the break up of the UK, a state border etc

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    2. CMac11 has totally nailed it. Effie lacks the intellectual courage to respond of course, she's too invested in her faintly hysterical Cassandra act. There never was or has been any significant part of the Yes campaign promising Nirvana, or pushing for socialism. Most Yessers believe that the chances are any immediate difficulties would be far outweighed by long term gains. However, even if it weren't so we'd sooner bet on the risks of independence than the dystopian nightmare offered by continued membership of the union.

      Dependence is for kids and the inadequate.

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    3. And people who are sick or elderly or vulnerable.

      It seems the yessers can't make up their minds. They bang on about equality and redistribution of wealth but when a unionist speaks up for the UK on those issues, they suddenly become Thatcher on crack - "you are part of a dependency culture and need to stop suckling on the tit of the state!!!"

      Do they even know what they stand for? An independent Scotland, certainly. But that's it. No solution to the deficit, currency, europe, the rapidly declining resources of the North Sea. No solutions. Just the repetitive bellowing of "freedumb!!!!"

      Well, you were soundly beaten on that issue in a mass participation referendum. And now your own party is running away from the issue.

      Independence will not happen within any of our lifetimes.

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    4. There we go again. Repetitive bellowing of 'freedumb'... Said by about 12 idiots on social media and no one else in the Yes movement. No solution to the deficit? The implication being that Scotland is incapable of running a functioning economy? With the benefit of hindsight and by circumstance we now find ourselves in a period where some very tough choices would have faced an iScotland.

      By further implication does this mean independence is a good idea if and when the economics are favorable - say if we'd had the chance in e.g.1979?

      The very nature of independence would have forced solutions to economic realities like declining North Sea revenue. Scotland desperately needs a rebalanced economy with focus on the long term development on onshore sectors new and old. It might be argued that a fully empowered Scottish govt. is best placed to deliver that.

      What solutions does the union offer to marginal regions like Scotland in terms of long term economic outlook other than a safety blanket - welcome as that is in the bad times?

      Not once in the whole campaign did I see any objective scrutiny of the limits or potential downsides of the union. It may well be the case that the security of union outweighs the opportunity of autonomy but I think there were too few people on either side who took an objective look at all arguments.

      Who knows, maybe if this was the debate we'd engaged in we'd all have backed the Lib Dems to deliver federalism to the UK as compromise... (who am I kidding)

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    5. What is clear is that an independent Scotland would come with a cost attached. We would certainly not be able to use the pound. Quite apart from the currency union issue, you need your own central bank to be able to join the EU - after which point the central bank would be dissolved and the euro imposed. So even if the UK did offer a currency union in Sterling, we would have to make a painful choice - Sterling or EU membership (you can't have both in those circumstances).

      There would also have to be large public spending cuts - far greater than the tories would ever contemplate. Yet the Yes campaign operated from a platform of greater spending, higher wages, more socialism (extremely disingenuous as the opposite would have been true).

      Thankfully people saw through the lies and spin and chose wisely. Well, 55% of us did - and in doing so, saved the hides of the 45% (most of them poor - the very people who would have suffered most under the tartan austerity).

      A show of gratitude would be welcome. I wont hold my breath...

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    6. "where some very tough choices would have faced an iScotland."

      Like how much autonomy is handed back to rUK in exchange for some of that financial safety blanket, alternatively which rich tribe of rich Arabs to suck up to.


      "What solutions does the union offer to marginal regions like Scotland"

      Echoes of Life of Brian here, what have the Romans ever done for us... are postcodes in Scotland denied opportunities available elsewhere in the UK?

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    7. @Aldo The decision about whether or not use of the pound was possible was political, not economic. The Yes campaign certainly shot itself in the foot over the currency issue and the economic case more generally, by failing to make the case strongly enough that whilst there are certainly risks involved in taking our independence, that status quo or devo-whatever aren't risk free either.

      A central bank will certainly be required, but Euro membership is by no means inevitable, as the Swedish example has shown. It's relatively simple to defer joining the single currency ad infinitum. Neither you or anybody else knows what the extent of public spending cuts will be. The SNP (or the Yes camp more generally) weren't and aren't offering socialism, that's just another tired old britnat scare story.

      Independence will allow the Scottish government to make different choices. the difference is they will be choices supported by Scots, not imposed by the macro economic and defence/security policies of governments they didn't vote for and don't support in Westminster.

      That might include higher taxes in return for higher spending on public services. It will almost certainly involve savings in areas like defence.

      You aren't due any gratitude for your win a year ago. The self confessedly negative campaign won. It didn't win because it had a water tight case, or a more attractive alternative vision. Still less did it win because it had an agreed alternative devolution plan, as the Vow shambles amply demonstrates.

      If your position held any water, either politically or intellectually, the SNP would be a busted flush, the britnat parties would be ruling the roost, and we'd be well on our way to the sunny uplands of devo-max or home rule.

      How's that worked out again?

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    8. "@Aldo The decision about whether or not use of the pound was possible was political, not economic."

      A political decision based on economic realities. Why should the UK be exposed to debt it cannot control? Why should it endure higher rates of interest on its sovereign debt, just to carry us?

      " The Yes campaign certainly shot itself in the foot over the currency issue and the economic case more generally, by failing to make the case strongly enough that whilst there are certainly risks involved in taking our independence, that status quo or devo-whatever aren't risk free either."

      On the contrary, all we heard about from the Yes campaign was how 'risky' staying in the union would be - while independence would allow us to do and have everything we ever wanted.

      "A central bank will certainly be required, but Euro membership is by no means inevitable, as the Swedish example has shown. It's relatively simple to defer joining the single currency ad infinitum."

      I don't think Scotland could possibly defer membership 'ad infinitum'. Euro membership is pretty much compulsory for new entrants. And if we don't have the euro, we have an independent Scottish currency. People in Scotland don't want either - they want full Sterling. That's why Salmond pushed the idea that we'd definitely still have the pound no matter what. To contemplate anything else, in public, at least, would have been electoral suicide.

      " Neither you or anybody else knows what the extent of public spending cuts will be."

      Yes we do. We spend 65 billion. We raise 53 billion. There's 12 billion of spending cuts right there, at least.

      " The SNP (or the Yes camp more generally) weren't and aren't offering socialism"

      Yes they were. Fairness / equality / benefits - this is the language they speak. It's all they know. They love spending money - other peoples' money. Independence is about dragging Scotland to the left. There are no conservative proponents of independence.

      "Independence will allow the Scottish government to make different choices. the difference is they will be choices supported by Scots, not imposed by the macro economic and defence/security policies of governments they didn't vote for and don't support in Westminster."

      In the referendum last year we chose to remain a part of the UK and, by extension, to accept whatever government achieves a majority across the whole of the United Kingdom. The idea that the tories don't have a mandate is preposterous. Their mandate derives from the vote of September 18th 2014.

      "That might include higher taxes in return for higher spending on public services."

      More socialism!

      Higher taxes wont work. Businesses, people and capital will simply move to England. That leaves us with only one realistic alternative - spending cuts.

      " It will almost certainly involve savings in areas like defence."

      If you're going to be in NATO you need to agree to 2% of GDP.

      "You aren't due any gratitude for your win a year ago."

      Yes I am. I saved these idiots from tartan austerity.

      " The self confessedly negative campaign won."

      Both sides were negative. Remember "vote for the UK and lose the NHS" ?






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    9. " It didn't win because it had a water tight case"

      Yes it did. We had a currency and 12 billion quid a year of spending. You didn't have a currency and would have blown a 12 billion pound hole in the budget.


      " or a more attractive alternative vision."

      See above.

      " Still less did it win because it had an agreed alternative devolution plan, as the Vow shambles amply demonstrates."

      Promises were made and are being kept. Not my opinion - the opinion of the Scottish Law Society. The very people you go to if you want a valid opinion on legislation - not wee Jimmy doon the pub or wings over bath.

      "If your position held any water, either politically or intellectually, the SNP would be a busted flush, the britnat parties would be ruling the roost, and we'd be well on our way to the sunny uplands of devo-max or home rule."

      The SNP are a busted flush. They lost the battle over their very reason for existing - and lost it badly. The 'Britnat' parties do rule the roost - as we are still a part of the UK. Devo max / home rule were never offered and shouldn't ever be as both constitute independence by the back door - and Scotland voted against independence.





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    10. "It will almost certainly involve savings in areas like defence"

      I suppose all those whom depend on UK defence spending directly / indirectly would find other employment, eventually.

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    11. It seems you just can't kill a bad idea. There is no compulsion in joining the Euro. As the Swedish example specifically shows, all any country outside the Euro has to do is to refuse to comply with ERM criteria, which would mean it wouldn't be allowed into the Euro in the first place.

      Similarly the 2% defence spending figure is a NATO target which virtually nobody within NATO apart from the USA, the UK and Greece comply with. Scotland's 9% share of the bloated UK defence budget would be roughly £3.5 billion per annum. That could be easily reduced making immediate savings of £1.5 billion per annum on an on-going basis. We'd also be more secure, and better defended than we currently are when the Russian navy can park in the Cromarty Firth seemingly at will! ;)

      As for the rest, just more variation on the trusty britnat "too wee, too poor, too stupid" meme. You can stop now; people don't buy the austerity snake oil any more. No sane person thinks independence is risk free, just as no sane person thinks there are no risks in the status quo or the paltry devo settlement on offer. If your case was that strong, the SNP wouldn't be polling >60% and have all but 3 Westminster seats. Your predictions about inevitable splits and imminent decline are likely to be about as reliable as those confident britnats telling us the SNP wouldn't gain any seats at GE15, or the NuLab drones like Murphy insisting they wouldn't lose even 1 seat. A comforting fiction for you, but delusional nonetheless.

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    12. You keep mentioning Sweden. Sweden has been an EU member for over 20 years. Old members of the club have certain privileges that new members don't. New entrants have to join the euro and the open borders Schengen agreement.

      So, we're going to join NATO and rely on its protection - but deliberately choose not to meet its spending targets on defence. Very good. And even if you do make savings of 1.5 billion, where is the other 10.5 billion going to come from?

      The rest of your post, as far as I can see, is simply invective, the classic nationalist strategy for closing down debate (too wee/poor/stupid), and "we beat you na na na na naaaa!!!"

      Nothing of substance. You scratch the surface of Scottish nationalism and there is just nothing there.

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  10. You think there is no cost to being in the Union. If you look a bit longer in time tell me what happens when the oil actually does run out. Do you believe our cousin's down south will continue to fund the deficit in Scotland.....

    As has been said there needs to be a rethink of where Scotland is going, this will never happen while its the rump of the UK.

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    1. They have funded our deficit to date Running Man. I see no reason why our country - and it is our country, still, despite your best efforts - wont continue to help us out with our fiscal shortfall.

      This stuff is about more than just a number in a spreadsheet. It's A&E, it's cancer treatment, thyroid and pancreatic medication without which people would die. It's fire brigade and police, schools and colleges, benefits for the sick, poor and disabled, pensions for the elderly. The pro UK side wants to protect these things. The nationalists would place them at risk.

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    2. Yes because they are showing so much solidarity to outsiders at the moment.... Surely as they continue to lurch to the right they will continue their charity, its a certainty....If they don't the FM can show them this post and say Aldo said you were good for it

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    3. The British foreign aid budget is one of the largest in the world. Immigration wise, we take in a city the size of Glasgow every 2 years.

      We are compassionate and charitable. It suits the nationalists to paint the UK as being cruel, selfish, tight with money and somewhat sadistic. But the facts just don't bear this out.

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    4. UK has agreed to settle 500 Syrian Refugees.

      Germany 105,000 so far. Bloody German nationlists.....making the UK look bad.

      We didn't even allow emigration of the translators we used in Iraq and Afganistan.

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    5. And this is relevant to Scottish independence.....how, exactly?

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    6. Its relevant to you to show you were talking crap about the UK being some benevolent force or have you forgotten your previous post.

      I think the phrase was compassionate and charitable yet the PM says nothing will be solved by taking refugees..... The world seems to think otherwise and is acting accordingly.

      Stop running away from your own statements.

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    7. As previously stated, we take in the equivalent of a city the size of Glasgow every 2 years. I feel sorry for the people fleeing the middle east and Africa, but what happens if we do agree to take, let's say, ten thousand people - and then a further 100,000 or a million people show up on Europe's borders, what then?

      You're not going to solve the problem by transferring the oppressed peoples of the world to Western Europe. We need a solution, yes. More accurately, the people in the middle east and Africa need a solution. So, for starters, why don't the 5-12 million professionally trained troops of the arab states take on the 25,000 poorly trained ISIS rebels? We could help, with equipment and air cover.

      That's a much better solution than the sticking plaster advocated by yourself.

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    8. Just read back your comment and then filter it through what we now know anout the impact of our historic war efforts in the region , mostly ran by us in the West.

      Yes another war but bigger with less sophisticated troop thats the answer to the refugee crisis. Let us in the west provide a humanitarian bombing campaign for them. Its a bit more complex than just ISIS in Syria but lets not fill your wee head with too much.

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    9. The Arab states have at least 200 soldiers for every isis fighter. I'm talking about an initiative led by the countries in the middle east, with some assistance from us. It's achievable - and it's certainly a more realistic solution than admitting refugees to the west ad infinitum.

      Don't even try to do condescension mate - you can't pull it off.

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    10. Aye a bit like you and sober logic.....

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    11. What, precisely, is illogical about my comment?

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    12. What is illogical is that the facts show that creating a whole full scale war including bombing campaign from the west would worsen the issue not solve it.

      Did Bombing Iraq not create the vacuum for ISIS ? Is Afganistan now better than before...although before what...before the US were arming the Taliban or bombing them ?

      There is no scenario that I see where an escalation of the war improves the middle east, none at all. History is on my side, you are just thinking oohhh it'll be different this time.

      A bit like when you talk about future elections....you are a day dreamer.

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    13. If done right, isis can be eliminated. It will probably involve area bombing like the Americans did in Vietnam - whole regions blitzed. Heavy casualties, yes - but we're going to have that anyway, should isis remain at large and in control.

      Also, the 5-12 million arab troops could probably be fairly effective against 25000 ragtag fighters, if they were to try. The west must therefore bring its economic and political might to bear on the relevant governments (Turkey, Iran, Saudi) to actually do something instead of being complete cowards. This is achievable - housing half the middle east in Springburn isn't.

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    14. None of this can happen realistically until there is a Republican President in the US. I suspect that will happen later next year.

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  11. Effie: 'There were endless disputes about churches that have now been forgotten. They were called strange names like “Auld Lichts”, or the rather contradictory “United Secession Kirk”. If you delve into Scottish church history, it is a history of continual secession, for reasons that today seem trivial. '

    True, and it continues today but under the guise of left-wing politics. Tommy Sheridan's self-glorifying Hope Over Fear rallies and the hatred of him by others on the left would be immediately familiar to 19th-century Scots presbyterians.

    The more things change, the more they remain the same

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    1. I wonder what 19th century Scots Presbyterians would make of Tommy Sheridan?

      "Kneel on that stone slab son, say the Lord's Prayer whilst self flagellating with this rusty belt - and then wash your penis"

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    2. I am sure they were famiiar with the type! -


      O Lord! yestreen, Thou kens, wi' Meg-
      Thy pardon I sincerely beg,
      O! may't ne'er be a livin plague
      To my dishonour,
      An' I'll ne'er lift a lawless leg
      Again upon her.

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  12. They've been dropping hints at another referendum since last September RM. Nicola Sturgeon was famously booed when she brought it up during one of the general election debates.

    And no one is saying that strongly pro indy people will vote labour. That will never happen. But they may just drift away from politics or vote for RISE or the Greens - or split away and set up an entirely new party. This has consequences that can only benefit unionists. If fractured pro indy support leads to fewer pro indy MSPs overall or they do get a majority but cobbled together from SNP + a bunch of loons then these can only be good outcomes for people who are pro UK.

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  13. Been playing around with the election calculator. Even with SNP on 42% of the constituency and regional ballots and Greens on 6% of the regional ballot, a pro independence majority isn't guaranteed. By the time SNP fall to 40%, they are a minority government for sure - unless the Greens absolutely excel.

    To put this into perspective, they got 49.97% in the General Election (Greens got 1.3%). So it's acutely possible that either next year or in 2021 they will slide low enough to hand the pro UK MSPs a majority in parliament. There will be a day of reckoning - just not the one Mr Sillars had in mind.

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  14. I declare victory AGAIN over the braindead nationalist f*ckers.

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    1. Put your money where your mouth is then or just stop talking shite and geez peace.

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    2. Sorry for that last post. 12 pints talking!

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    3. lol, thats allowed given the crappy football weekend

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