Reluctant as I am to return to the cause of our current political paralysis [Brexit, a hung House of Commons, the Tory party leadership election and Labour’s crisis over items such as Leave/Remain, anti-semitism and Corbyn’s leadership … and please do add your other favourite examples here] I do so today because of the festering sore of Scotland’s continuing membership of the United Kingdom … or not.
Let’s begin by going back to basics.
But for the eternal problem that politicians being in charge of anything inevitably leads to chaos and cock-ups, of course, we wouldn’t be starting from here anyway.
Step forward, please in first position yet again Tony Blair – for it was he (as far as I am concerned) who, presumably out of unthought-through good intentions, first gave the unwashed hordes north of the Border the notion that they might ever reach the supposed Nirvana of independent nation status by instigating a minor form of devolution.
At the beginning he probably took the view that throwing the odd bone (or crumb) or two from the top table to a protesting minority would both “buy them off” and/or “give them enough of a taste or dose of harsh reality to make them realise that their goal was ridiculous or too complicated and too detrimental to their well-being for their own good” (and thereby shut them up) and also hopefully ensure their voting future loyalty for the remainder of his time in office.
Several further ratchets of the levers – in the form of more and more devolved authority and powers since then – have gifted the Scottish independence movement a mass and momentum that has reached the tipping point of now being hard to slow down let alone stop.
Next to the question of our relationship with (at its height membership of) the EU.
Going straight to the nub of it – and for these purposes ignoring a few complications and complexities that need not detain us here – the fanatical Scottish nationalists were always in a strange form of No Man’s Land in which logic and common sense were all over the place and in fact completely irreconcilable.
When they weren’t performing a convoluted dance upon the head of a pin, they were effectively burying their heads in the sand and ignoring the reality that every perceived projection of the consequences of what they were asking for spelled out disaster if not catastrophe (mind you at this stage they were dismissing any notions of “Project Fear” as either fake news or items to be ignored, possibly because they were too dense to understand or work them out for themselves).
How did the Scottish independence argument run?
Oh yes, an independent Scotland would be far better off – not only financially and in terms of not only self-determination, but in being free of the scourge of England and thereby able establish itself as a buccaneering free market global trading nation – than by remaining as a misunderstood, taken for granted, hamstrung and put-upon colonial vassal state of London and the South-East.
But then what about the point that, if Scotland quit the UK, it would also be quitting the EU?
Being out of both might be a bit of an issue in so many ways, not least all the EU money that historically cascaded out of the Brussels coffers annually in the direction of the relatively impoverished Scotland to keep it groin high in deep-fried Mars bars, IRN-BRU drinks, bag-pipes, extra strong bitter beer, haggis and caber poles.
Ah well – went the rather obviously-weak response in a thousand radio and television interviews – it wouldn’t turn out like that.
Even though we’d be out of the EU if we left the UK, we’d immediately re-apply and/or alternatively (in parallel with departing the UK) we’d simultaneously negotiate a deal with the EU whereby technically we wouldn’t actually leave the EU at all but in fact stay in: we wouldn’t want anything to affect our right to be fixed permanently via our baby teeth to the teat of the great EU mother/monolith.
This, of course, ignored the inconvenient truth that any country out of the EU – howsoever temporarily – would immediately go to the back of the queue of similar basket-case countries that would at any time applying to get in.
However, much as politicians the world over would like it, the mass electorate is never quite as thick as politicians think they are – hence the rejection of independence in the Scottish Independence Referendum of 2014.
You’d have thought that the Scottish nationalists would have learned the lesson, but – like all politicians – they never do.
As proof of that – whaddya know? – next came the nefarious 2016 UK/EU Referendum.
It wasn’t ever intended to consider leaving the EU, or rather make a decision to do so – its sole purpose was to neutralise or cauterise the potential wound/threat that the pro-Brexit UKIP party represented to the block of UK electoral votes out there that would otherwise naturally be swept up by the Tories.
The process – and the 2016 result – left the Scottish nationalists with their next stark dilemma.
Ignoring totally the conundrum pickle that they’d been in before 2014, they now had to fight to remain in the EU, presumably because they’d at last twigged that – if the UK were by any chance to leave – their link to the endless supply of EU gravy-train funding upon which they were dependent might potentially be lost.
And then the UK voted to leave.
Panic stations. And the current situation.
Writing as someone who voted for the first time in my life in the 2016 Referendum – and indeed tactically because I wish to rid the UK of the Scots – I have been since quietly (notionally) supporting the prospect of another Scottish Independence Referendum.
And with mounting frustration because increasingly the topic had seemed to be slipping down the national agenda.
Until now, it seems …
See here for a link to an article by the Scottish Secretary of State David Mundell as appears today upon the website of – THE GUARDIAN
And also, for good measure, here’s another link to a piece by Michael Savage and Toby Helm discussing a no-deal Brexit in the context, see here again on the website of – THE GUARDIAN