Saturday, 14 January 2017

Sturgeon just revealed her hand


If you’ve ever played a card game that involves bluffing, you will no doubt be aware that it crucially depends on the players not being able to see each other’s cards. I can pretend that I have four aces only if my cards are hidden. This makes it possible for me to bluff. It also makes it possible for me to win even if I have a very poor hand. Indeed my hand may be worse than yours. It all depends on what I am willing to risk.

Nicola Sturgeon has continually been telling everyone for some time that she is not bluffing. But which card player would admit to bluffing? While piling my poker chips ever higher I may suggest that I am not bluffing, but it doesn’t mean that I actually have four aces. The confidence of a poker player may be in inverse proportion to the strength of this hand. The bluff only works because of the apparent confidence.


The difficulty with politics as opposed to cards however, is that we can all see each other’s cards. Every little detail is debated endlessly in the papers. During interviews politicians are asked about their intentions. Eventually a pretty clear picture emerges of the cards that are held.

Nicola Sturgeon gave the game away last week. Since last June she has been making threats on a daily basis. At one point apparently she contemplated calling an immediate second independence referendum in response to Brexit. But she didn’t. She waited for the polls to show an increase in support for independence. But they didn’t.

At first Sturgeon demanded that Scotland must be allowed to both stay in the UK and the EU or else she would demand another independence referendum. Now she demands that Scotland must somehow remain in the EU Single Market even if the UK leaves. But it is becoming ever more apparent that Scotland will not get a special deal and that the UK will not remain in the Single Market. In response to this Sturgeon tells us that there will not be an independence referendum in 2017.

I don’t think there should be another independence referendum ever. I don’t believe that the UK Government has an obligation to give in to SNP threats. They certainly don’t have to do so at the moment. The SNP do not have a mandate, not least because independence was barely mentioned during the last Scottish Parliament election. What’s more the SNP did not win an overall majority. But anyway constitutional matters are outwith the remit of the Scottish Parliament. You cannot have a mandate to do something that is outside of your control. Neither Scottish independence nor EU membership are devolved issues. They are therefore quite literally not the business of the Scottish Parliament, nor are they properly speaking the business of the SNP.

For reasons that are unclear to me in Britain we allow some people to threaten to destroy our country while spending vast amounts of money on armed forces to protect ourselves against others who want to do likewise.

I think Nicola Sturgeon has poor cards. My guess is that she thinks this too. But don’t let’s be overconfident. Her chance of winning is about 50/50. Support for independence rose from 25% to 45% last time. It could certainly rise from 45% to 50.01% if there were a next time. Let us do all in our power to prevent their being a next time. The future of our country cannot amount to a coin toss where we continually must get a head, but if it ever comes down tails we lose forever. No country in the world would accept these odds, nor should we. It is vital that Pro UK people work to change the assumptions that underpin Scottish politics. We must not play the game according to SNP rules.

Rationally the case for Scottish independence is continually getting worse. Nicola Sturgeon’s latest announcement makes it worse still. It is likely that Article 50 will be triggered by the end of March and the process of leaving the EU will take two years. But this means that Sturgeon has missed her window of opportunity. The SNP optimistically thought that leaving the UK could be achieved in the space between September 2014 and March 2016. But this means that even if an independence referendum were held in 2018, an independent Scotland would begin life both outside the UK and outside the EU. What this means is that we would neither be part of the UK’s single market nor a part of the EU’s single market. If the SNP had been granted an independence referendum last summer they might just have beaten the clock and been able to leave the UK while remaining in the EU. But that moment has passed. Now in order to join the EU an independent Scotland would have to apply in the same way as any other applicant such as Albania or Moldova or Ukraine. How long would that take?

As I have argued for some time, Brexit makes the case for Scottish independence much harder to make. It is vital that we use this opportunity to make this point ever clearer. If the UK leaves the EU Single Market then whatever trade deal the UK has with the EU and with anyone else in the world for that matter will depend on being a part of the UK. This means that if we have a deal with Australia or the United States, then Scotland would cease to benefit from this deal if we decided to leave the UK. The more Scotland depends on UK trade deals the better. This is the opportunity that Brexit gives us.

Lots of SNP supporters voted to leave the EU. If we can make a success of Brexit, then these people are more likely to support the continuance of the UK rather than Scottish independence which brings with it future EU membership. By being continually negative about the prospects of the UK Pro UK Remain supporters are liable to play into the hands of the SNP. If the UK can come out of the negotiations with the EU in a way that is both advantageous for the UK and for the EU we will have a good argument to make against Scottish nationalism. Future UK economic prosperity is our best argument against the SNP. Anyone who hopes that the UK gets a poor deal from the EU or that leaving the EU damages us economically should frankly join the SNP.

Leaving the EU gives us the chance to make the argument that in order for Scotland to become independent there would need to be a hard border between Scotland and England. If Scotland as a new EU member state had to sign up to Schengen, the Euro and free movement of people it is hard to see how we could avoid having a manned border. What would prevent anyone arriving in Scotland just getting on a bus to London? How moreover would it be possible to add customs duties to goods that were traded from Scotland to England if anyone could simply drive a lorry across the border? For this reason it is vital for the UK negotiating team to not give away anything with regard to the Northern Ireland border that might set a precedent with regard to Scotland. The Republic of Ireland may amount to a special case because it is not a member of Schengen, and this may allow a degree of leeway, but it is important that the UK does not lose the opportunity to show Scots voters that one of the things that independence gives you is an international border and international borders are not merely lines on the map. Better by far to man the Irish border than give the SNP an argument that they can use to break up Britain. This would also be in Northern Ireland’s long term interest as it is hard to imagine its present status continuing when Scottish independence would mean the UK ceased to exist.

At present the EU funds many things in Scotland. What this really means is that the UK gives the EU money and some of that money is given back to us. After Brexit it will be the UK Government that takes over the funding role. Well every time at present there is an EU flag, let that after Brexit be a Union flag. Make it clear to everyone who gets money for their farm or for their research grant or for anything whatsoever that the money comes from the UK. Those that can’t stand the UK’s flag, may decide that they don’t wish to receive the money.

The argument is going our way. Brexit is making the argument for Scottish independence harder to make. It is partly for this reason that support for independence has not increased and why Nicola Sturgeon is scared to play out the hand and show the cards she actually holds. The only card she really holds is nationalism. In a Scottish context nationalism is almost identical with victimhood and grievance. Those nasty English people voted differently from us nice Scots again. How dare they? With variants this is Sturgeon’s only argument. Unfortunately it is very persuasive to many Scots. 

We must be careful not to add to the grievance. You will have to wait Nicola, is better than "No", but it can amount to the same thing.  It is even more important to continually emphasise that most of the things that we like about living in Scotland depend on our being an integral part of the UK. The window of opportunity may have closed for the SNP. If we remain vigilant and if we accept the opportunities that Brexit gives us we may well secure the future of our country forever.


36 comments:

  1. Brexit also offers pro-British people an opportunity to offer an alternative new hope beyond the status quo to counter the false hope of independence.

    ReplyDelete
  2. A lot of people voted to leave because of the immigration issue alone. They don't want the country flooded with Eastern Europeans. There countless stories of what these people do when allowed into a country. From squatting in empty houses, to thieving and burglaries. I know from bitter experience that this occurring in Italy for example where large numbers of Romanians have entered the country quite legally only to claim benefits and rob hard working families there. The other thing to remember is that trade with the rest of the UK is worth four times that of the EU and that commonwealth countries such New Zealand, Australia and Canada are lining up to do trade deals with the Uk. Walk away from the UK and Scotland would have to do its own deals with those countries.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly! And this is why there would almost certainly be more than simple border posts between England and an independent Scotland: Scotland in Schengen will be a magnet for immigrants to get into England, thus it will more likely be a West Bank-style border wall (with the attendant migrant camps springing up on our side of it). If there is another referendum, the British government should make it very clear that a wall will be built in the event of independence.

      Delete
    2. Your wall idea has echoes of Donald Trump and Mexico. Away and get real

      Delete
    3. These 2 posts are proof alone that Brexit and Trump has somehow given racists the idea that being a racist in a public forum is now OK.

      Crawl back into your holes.

      Delete
    4. It's not racist to acknowledge differences between cultures and to prefer your own culture to that of others. Your thinking is out of date.

      Delete
  3. A great article. And we have our first chance this year to deal a blow to & to weaken the firm nationalist grip that the incompetent, divisive Snp government has over Scotland in the May council elections.
    The Snp are failing education, our public services, decimating council budgets & will not stop to undermine & break up our Uk. The Snp did not get a majority at the last Scottish election but they still control and speak for Scotland. More than ever Scotland has reasons to reject Snp control of Scotland and our councils. The people will decide what is best for Scotland and it's not nationalist rule.

    We must ALL get out and vote in May if we really do care about Scotland and the mess the Snp have made of it. Make a stand against our incompetent anti-Uk Scottish Government who will gladly take but who give very little back.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I do hope that Scotland never ever again sends fifty mupets down to London.
    Normally the Nats start intensifying their "independence" threats when they have spent all their money and normally they would have found Cameron here who would rush up North with our cheque book! (For the record it is not independence, really it is secession, Scotland is already independent).
    I hope this time NOBODY throws Nicola and Salmonds band of merry Nats a lifeline, Nicola has to fail and must be seen to fail, and her failure must be felt and be followed in to the ballot box.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am a tiger of similar political stripes. The SNP are holding onto the Brexit deal presents itself. For the most part, the separatists currently have no material to justify a break. Oil is a no go, finances are a mess, and economic growth is solid. The Brexit deal changes everything. That could trigger a an anavalanche of information that could undermine the benefits of the union. The main difficulty for the SNP and conversely the main strength of the Union is the EU. The EU is dysfunctional. The Italian banking crisis will come to a head; Le Pen could take power in France; the Sovereign debt crisis is still causing problems; and the Euro is retarding economic recovery. The Union is imperfect but the EU is dysfunctional. Selling Scotland the Euro instead of the pound will be hard to impossible.

    Should anyone wish to read more here's my blog

    https://reflectionsonourpoliticalrevolutions.wordpress.com/

    ReplyDelete
  6. Also, If the EU make things difficult for the UK with a "hard" Brexit we can expect a similar anti Scottish backlash from the UK government as Scotland would then become a "competitor" with the UK to other countries.Utter madness to break our Union.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. UK have made it hard for themselves....

      Delete
    2. Hard brexit means hard indy. Best scenario - border posts, trade tarriffs, loss of Pound Sterling, we become a satellite of Germany. Worst scenario - no UK or EU. Emotion is getting the better of many nats on this issue. You're going to charge a machine gun armed with nothing more than a peashooter. But hey, have at it.

      Delete
  7. My bet is the EU will be starting to fall apart before the end of the negotiations in 2 years time. We will have the upper hand. We have the rest of the world to trade freely with. We the British have faced worse and come out on top. We need to stand United and strong.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Quite a contradictory piece altogether. You can do better than this surely.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  10. The UK Government & Pro-UK Hollyrood parties need to firstly halt the Nationalists from stealing the narrative before strategizing the response to any threat of Indy2.

    Diehard Nats don't care for the economy, the poor's welfare, Brexit, EU or even whether Scots would be better off. After all, as Sturgeon says, Independence transcends all. It's the moderates and open minded that need to be targeted.

    Pro-UK parties need to robustly & repeatedly rebut Nat rhetoric by reinforcing the following points to the SNP's monologue.

    1. Brexit was a UK citizen's vote. "Scotland" did not, just like England, vote for anything.
    2. Scotland voted to remain in the UK. And in full knowledge of knowing a EU Referendum would be held.
    3. Scotland voted to remain in the UK in a "once in a life time generational vote". Don't go against the will of the Scottish electorate.

    Without combatting the Nat narrative it will become de facto in moderate minds with Scots asking "why doesn't anyone correct it"? I also believe that the UK Government doesn't need to say NO per se but tell them that Brexit is the priority (regardless of what it will look like) and the UK Government & Pro-UK parties will not entertain it until is has been well and truly concluded.

    On a side note about NI / flags. There will need to be a customs border of some sort in Ireland. Europe will make the Irish do it even if we don't. It will lead to increased smuggling on both sides as people look to cash in.

    Indeed in the military we used to patrol the border and people like Spud Murphy & other Irish Nationalists / Republican terrorists were making millions on diesel fuel, cigarettes, intimidation & beating of utility workers & tax collectors, drugs and filing false compensation to the UK for foot & mouth on his border lands. All while supporting and participating in terrorism.

    Flags are just a divisive distraction to these types and impossible to enforce. It's akin to giving it to a Nationalist Separatist in Scotland who in the main are of Irish Catholic descent who ironically tend to support Irish Republican terrorism despite them killing the majority of their own Catholic civilians.

    ReplyDelete
  11. This is simply one of the most self contradictory pieces it has ever been my misfortune to read. Your arguments against independence are typical of most British Nationalists and your demand for the military to murder Scots is simply the ravings of a fascist.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah - Not sure where you read "I demand that the military murder Scots".

      Yet again you nail the stereotype - Nationalists are prone to a delusion of victimhood and imagined grievance.

      Delete
  12. Anonymous needs to remember that 'Irish Replblican Amy' Murdered Scottish Soldiers up until the GF Agreement. Jim Robertson is Spot on about the NI Border. Irish Customs maned it & enforced Taxation Charges. WM needs to stop pandering to the SNP who are only interested in Indy resulting in the break up of GB. D Cameron never had unfortunately never had the will to stand up to N Sturgeon which was evident on his last trip to the EU Parliament Pleading for a deal. My own opinion is that GB will prosper outside the EU as we have already seen Commonwealth Countries, USA & China ready to set up Trade Deals. However, this will be of no consequence as the SNP blindly strive for Indy resulting in ecomomic suicide for Scotland.

    ReplyDelete
  13. At least there are people around like you and me and I strongly suspect many others, who realise that Scottish independence means Irish unity. i have believed for some years now that Scottish Nationalism is a front for Irish Nationalism. The SNP has morphed into the Irish Unity Party. We must not forget that a clear majority of RC voters voted YES in the Indyref. Put two add two together and make a possible four. Read this article. http://www.sconews.co.uk/feature/43756/our-cultural-identities-voting-yes-voting-no/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What are you on...you deluded nutjob.

      Delete
    2. There is undoubtedly a sectarian element in what is happening here. I know of people who voted yes because they hate our Protestant Queen. When you try to explain to them that independence is no guarantee of a change in the head of state, they just look at you with a blank bovine stare.

      Delete
    3. Status Quo pretty much guarantees continuation of the monarchy. I suppose many people voted No because there were Royalists. Not sure what your point is. There is sectarianism for sure, are you actually trying to say its just on the Yes side ?

      Delete
  14. @Jim Robertson,

    1. Brexit was a UK citizen's vote. "Scotland" did not, just like England, vote for anything.

    Immaterial. Your argument, weak as it already is, would only hold any water if you believed that Scotland was no different to any other region or county of England. I realise that this is what many britnats and people who agree with Effie's "weltanschauung" sincerely believe, but that doesn't make it right, still less generally accepted by most Scots, whether pro or anti-independence. If there had been no differential vote between the 4 constituent parts of the UK, or if the Scottish vote had been similar to that of the rest of the UK, or relatively close, there wouldn't be much of an issue. As it is however, the 62% Remain vote is a huge, probably existential, issue for the unionist project. Many pro-EU indyref No voters will now be reconsidering their position, as will many of the EU citizens who voted No in 2014 on the presumption that britnat scare stories about a Yes vote resulting in Scotland being outside the EU were true. You can bang on as much as you like about it being a UK wide vote, but it's not a line I'd like to rely upon as the impact of the brexishambles becomes more and more apparent over the next 24 months or so.

    2. Scotland voted to remain in the UK. And in full knowledge of knowing a EU Referendum would be held.

    Yes it did vote to stay in the UK, by a far narrower majority than it voted to Remain in the EU. That was 2014; it's now 2017, and things have changed in case you hadn't noticed. When circumstances change, most rational actors tend to change their behaviour to accommodate changes where necessary. A material change in circumstances was specifically identified in the SNP manifesto for the 2016 Holyrood elections as a trigger for #indyref2, ergo it will happen as the britnats have no majority at Holyrood to stop it. No amount of huffing and puffing will change yon unhappy fact for unionists who are obviously running scared of fighting a second referendum in say 2018 or 2019 without recourse to the busted flush of Project Fear.

    3. Scotland voted to remain in the UK in a "once in a life time generational vote". Don't go against the will of the Scottish electorate.

    Nobody, whether Alex Salmond, Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP, and most certainly not the unionist parties or their representatives, has any right to dictate when or how often referendums happen. Neither Scotland Act prohibits the holding of referendums, ergo they are quite permissible. No constitutional, legal or political consensus exists supporting the unionist view that Westminster can stop a second referendum.
    The will of the Scottish people, as expressed via their recent votes for Holyrood and in the brexit referendum, provide a clear mandate for #indyref2. Any attempt by Westminster not to recognise such a vote, or even worse to try and stop it a la Madrid/Catalonia, would be a spectacular own goal. I doubt even Ruth Davidson would be able to defend that, tho' given her propensity to turn on an ideological sixpence as witnessed recently on the EU, who knows!

    The UK government can say or do what it likes; all the indications are that the Scottish people just aren't listening any more. If they were, we'd be seeing a diminution in levels of support for the SNP and for independence. How's that working for you?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually there is a slight erosion in voting intention figures for the SNP and for independence. It's quite staggering really that this has happened post brexit vote, but it has. What will another 4 years of erosion do? I daresay, in the part PR system that we operate, wipe out the sep majority.

      Just how often do you think referenda of this nature can be held? If you lose number 2, will you demand a third? If you lose 5 in thirty years, do you demand a sixth a couple of years down the line? It's foolish to think you can just keep holding these things.

      Westminster will probably allow indyref2, with conditions attached, if it is sought by Holyrood. They don't need to do that but we are a liberal democracy so it would likely go ahead. But should you fail a second time your credibility will be gone and independence dead and buried for 30 years or more. Talk of indyref3 will simply bring hoots of derision from all sides.

      Better get it right next time - if there's to be a next time.

      Delete
    2. "As it is however, the 62% Remain vote is a huge"

      It's a real shame the enthusiasm for the EU in Scotland is not matched by the EU's enthusiasm for rolling out the red carpet to iScotland. EU top brass told Sturgeon - in diplomatic speak - to sling her hook.


      "unionists who are obviously running scared of fighting a second referendum"

      Petrified.


      "has any right to dictate when or how often referendums happen"

      The value of something tends to wane if you over use it.

      Delete
  15. More and more delusional with every post, its like watching a train crash through binoculars.....

    SNP Honeymoon over.....aye so it is and now we have confirmed full hard Brexit. Its clear that British Nationalists like Effie are the ones who care not for the economic realities.

    Union uber alles......


    ReplyDelete
  16. Neither Great Britain nor the UK are countries they are political unions and were registered in this way with International bodies. If the political unions between Scotland the rest of the UK are no longer working in the interests of the majority of people in Scotland then the Union will end.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Shetlands are contemplating leaving Scotland, I guess it's not working for the majority of people living there.

      Delete
    2. What can be asserted without evidence can be similarly dismissed bucksboy. There is no evidence of any significant desire in Shetland for leaving Scotland in the event of Scots independence. The very limited amount of proper polling on the subject (none of it that recent admittedly) showed >80% of Shetlanders would vote to remain part of Scotland in the event of independence.

      Facts, eh? :)

      (P.S.: One of the major contributors to the lack of appetite for Shetland to be either independent, or to stay part of the UK post Scots indy, is that under international law, they'd only be entitled to a 3 mile territorial waters limit, since they'd be termed an exclave within the Scots EEZ). I've no issue with indy for the Northern isles if folk there want it...why not if they actually want it? Unlike Denmark, which ignored a Faroese indy vote after WW2, I suspect an indy Scots govt. would abide by the popular vote. I'm sure the islands would prosper, and they have oil transport & handling; what they wouldn't have is their own EEZ or any of the oil reserves.

      You don't speak for the majority of Shetlanders, and neither do a few yoon councillors and political has beens like Tavish Scott.

      Delete
    3. No Shetlander would use the phrase Shetlands....It's just the usual rubbish from teh usual source

      Delete
    4. I daresay O&S and the Southern counties would be very interested in potentially opting out of an independent Scotland, if such a clusterfuck were ever to befall us. It's only right the UK government puts that option on the table for them. Why should democracy only apply within arbitrarily set boundaries? If Scotland can decide its fate, why not Dumfries & Galloway?

      What's the betting the SNP would out unionist the unionists in such a situation and turn into Darth Vader? :0)

      Delete
  17. As I come to this thread, Nicola Sturgeon's red line of continuing single market membership has been blasted away by the UK government. Sturgeon's response? This makes indyref2 "more likely". Pretty laughable really. It's a good job she wasn't around in 1940.

    This tells us there is nothing principled in the SNP's stance. They do not support giving the Scottish people a referendum as a way of allowing them to give consent to the current situation that is unfolding. They are only interested in a referendum they can win. So it doesn't matter if Theresa May says she's going to, for example, reinstate feudalism and make war on France. That referendum will only be held if the SNP can win it - and, just now, there is no indication that they would.

    ReplyDelete
  18. @ Aldo

    I'm not arguing the toss with a britnat extremist about whether Westminster can "allow" we poor cringing Scots to vote in #indyref2 or indeed subsequent referendums. It is and always will be solely a matter for the Scots people. You and most other britnats are quite beyond reason on this matter; it's pointless to try and use reason with people so wedded to an evidence free faith position.

    Whether there will be erosion of SNP or pro indy support over the next few years remains to be seen. I think you're wrong, obviously but time will tell.

    Referendums will be held whenever and however often the voters mandate them. It's called democracy. You don't get to dictate random allowable intervals. It would be foolish to try and hold them if it was obvious they couldn't be won, hence Sturgeon playing a waiting game now; why on earth would she call one before she was confident it could be won? It's simply common sense; 2018 is the earliest probability, 2019 even more likely. By that time brexishambles will have been exposed; let's revisit your confidence then, huh?

    Independence campaigners aren't just going to give up, any more I suspect than brexit campaigners would have given up if they'd lost last June; why would anyone expect them to? It's a very odd concept, even I'd venture undemocratic in nature.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As a unitary state, the final say lies with the central government at Westminster, ndls. You've witnessed the legal shitstorm that the UK government is enduring for not getting the brexit referendum bill wording totally waterproof. Just imagine the scale of the legal challenges against a unilateral Scottish referendum. It would certainly fail. We do things by legal due process in this country. Get used to it.

      When exactly does Sturgeon hold indyref2, provided she does get government approval? Does she hold it before the final brexit deal is known or before Scots have had the chance to live brexit for a while and see for themselves how good or bad it is? Or does she wait until brexit is done and dusted, with the new trade arrangements in place and Scotland out of the EU? Does she wait until an assurance is forthcoming from the EU about Scottish membership? I would suggest such an assurance can never come while the UK exists in current form. And what of all the questions re trade, borders, currency and public finances? They still haven't gone away.

      I would suggest to you that the time will never be right for an independence referendum rerun. Meanwhile the SNP continue to fail on the bread and butter issues - policing, health, education, transport, welfare and the economy.

      Delete