Blinking for Britain

Alistair Darling has been blinking for Britain in interviews again, as he tries to haul his credibility out of a bottomless pit with a length of string he’s spun out of frayed press releases. The Tory minister’s admission to the Guardian that Westminster’s sterling zone veto is merely a negotiating tactic has left Ali as exposed as transvestite with a 6 o clock shadow and his size 12 feet in his mouth, refusing to believe that people know he’s really a man. A small and discredited man.

Ali clutched his handbag containing all that’s dear to his heart, his Commons expense claim form, the draft chapter in his memoirs where he takes credit for saving the Union, and the invite to the Tory party dinner. With a toss of the hair on his Better Together fright wig he tried to maintain that the pretence was not a pretence. He’s really a 60 year old woman called Brenda who won’t be allowed to use the pound to buy her train ticket to visit her newly foreign grandweans in England. He now insists that in their manifestos for the 2015 General Election the Westminster parties would include a promise to veto any currency zone encompassing an independent Scotland, and accused the yes campaign of clutching at straws. He knows a lot about clutching, and grasping. “We’re not lying!” he lied.

It was entirely predictable that he’d say this. What else is he going to say – “Oops, you caught me. I have in fact been lying from the start.” It might be the truth but they are not words that will ever fall from Ali’s Boots Number 11 painted lips. The no campaign rests upon the plausibility of the currency threat which Ali and his pals have chosen to make the centrepiece of their referendum campaign, a strategy which the media have enthusiastically followed like a wee dug sniffing a trail of pee. All is won or lost on persuading Scots that he’s a man of his word, yet now he sees a future where he’s not the saviour of the Union on a red bench, he’s a disgraced stranger in a strange independent land. The man who conspired with the Tories to damage his country’s prospects, then lied to his own people. I almost feel sorry for him. Almost. Not quite.

Attempting to crowd out the many and varied non-economic arguments for independence has been the core of Ali’s strategy, because he has no answer to these other arguments. And now the currency threat lies shattered and broken like Ali’s dreams of winning the Miss Better Together beauty parade, his hopes of an ermine gown and a coronet becoming as implausibly ridiculous as a BBC news report on the Royal family.

It’s a non-economic argument which is also at the centre of Better Together’s currency credibility, or rather its lack of credibility. The real point is that it doesn’t actually matter who the Tory minister is, and it doesn’t even matter whether he is wrong and Osborne really is prepared to damage the UK economy in a fit of spite.

The damage has been done by the fact that the source of the Guardian’s story is a Tory minister, and an “embarrassingly senior” one at that. A senior Tory minister who does not believe what his own party are saying about Scotland. A senior Tory minister who knows that his party is lying through their back teeth to the Scottish electorate in order to court popularity amongst UKIP leaning voters in the south.

Say what you like about Tory ministers, but they’re not going to admit – even anonymously – to lying if they honestly believed it’s inconceivable that their party might lie. Even if the minister in question knew nothing about the currency veto, which would raise a whole lot of questions by itself, he knows they’ve lied on other topics. He knows they will continue to lie. And so does Alistair.

Which brings us straight to the biggest non-economic argument for independence – how can it be in good for Scotland to be governed by people who will lie to us and damage Scottish interests in order to secure elections in the rest of the UK. Scotland’s interests are not their top priority, we already knew that. Now we know that Scotland’s interests don’t even figure in their calculations, they can be sacrificed to the minor demons of UKIP on the altar of appeasement.

It goes to the very heart of the Union – what sort of Union is Scotland in? We’re constantly told it’s a partnership of equals, that Scotland benefits immensely from throwing in its lot with its neighbours, yet in the corridors of Westminster the bottom line on the balance sheet is that everything belongs to them. It’s their pound, not ours, it’s their army, not ours, it’s their membership of the EU, not ours. After 300 years we’re Better Together with nothing of our own.

Everything that issues from Better Together is based upon the assumption that after Scottish independence Westminster and Westminster alone will be the parliament of the sole successor state. Westminster believes that the Union was not created when the Kingdom of Scotland and the Kingdom of England signed the Treaties of Union. It was England all along. That’s the legal position adopted by the UK Government, that’s the position adopted by Alistair as a route to a red bench and a fur trimmed retirement. Yet it’s not a legal argument that has solid foundations. They only appear solid because no one in the mainstream media has ever examined them. But you don’t need to be a constitutional civil engineer see that they are made of sand and built on fervent wishes. Scotland’s case is strong.

Scotland will not be walking away from the United Kingdom, Scottish independence will bring the Union to an end, and when it ends Scotland will take what Scotland is due – which includes the pound. Otherwise Westminster gets to keep all the debt. That’s the reality that the terrified Alistair doesn’t want to acknowledge. That’s the reality that doesn’t alter even if Westminster keeps calling itself the United Kingdom and keeps using the same flag.

When the Soviet Union collapsed in the early 90s, Russia became the sole successor state, and Russia took on all the national debt and inherited the USSR’s seat on the UN Security Council. But this only happened because the other Soviet republics agreed to it. Westminster is assuming that after a yes vote, it can accede to the status of sole successor state, that all other states will accept this unquestioningly and Scotland can’t challenge it. But they want us to take on the debt anyway, even though it is in Westminster’s name, even though there are no financial institutions possessing government bonds saying, “IOU squillions of quid, xx Scotland”.

Think again. Scotland could internationalise the dispute. As a sovereign state we don’t need Westminster’s permission to make our own approaches to other states and governments. There are a number of routes by which the government of an independent Scotland, or even a private Scottish citizen, could mount a challenge to Westminster’s claim to sole successor status. And that’s without considering whether other states will refuse to recognise Westminster’s claim for reasons of their own.

The opportunistic Putin or the Chinese government would happily grasp the opportunity to block the rUK’s seat on the UN Security Council if Scotland were to raise objections to the seat being occupied by a Foreign Office bum. Russia and China have no interest in fighting Scotland’s corner, but they do have a big interest in reducing the influence of Western powers. Does Westminster want to risk giving them the chance? It seems they do.

The European Courts would also provide a venue for the airing of Scottish legal complaints. The Scottish Government could challenge Westminster’s claim to be sole successor state and sole inheritor of the UK’s EU membership. Any Scottish citizen who was affected by Westminster’s purloining of sole successor state status could mount a legal challenge, arguing that their rights as a European citizen were being breached.

And while all this was going on, Westminster would be faced with EU partners on one side who wanted a quick and speedy resolution, while facing down Nigel Farage on the other. It’s an uncomfortable bed they are making for themselves.

That’s what Alistair is desperate to avoid. He’s desperate to avoid his own constituents and his own country having the power to fight their own corner, to make their own decisions. He’s desperate to avoid a retirement spent in ignominy. But it’s too late. The truth is out and Better Together’s flushed face is busted, their threats exposed.

Blink your way out of that one Alistair.


21 comments on “Blinking for Britain

  1. Dr A Brown says:

    To answer the question “What sort of Union is Scotland in”.
    I think that we are the wee wumin in a bad marriage. We want an amicable divorce with equal shares of the marital property. That is our right. Our other half is bullying us and making us fearful by telling us that we do not have any rights. A divorce involves negotiation, a division of property both intellectual and physical. We will no longer be a family after divorce but what we have built up over the years can not be claimed by one party or the other.
    The wee wumin has been put upon over the years. She knows that she will have to become trimmer, look after her natural assets and find new friends. But she is happy to do this as it gives her freedom of choice. It allows her to plan how she wants to live her life and how she is seen by others.
    It has taken the wee wumin a long time to gain enough strength to pursue this divorce and she is determined to see it through.

  2. JimW says:

    Hit the nail on the head, Paul. The issue of successor state has a long way to run.

  3. smiling vulture says:

    Lie detector ,nawlygraph and CurrencyUnioN TaleS

  4. […] Blinking for Britain […]

  5. purplebadger says:

    Comical Ali.

  6. purplebadger says:


    “It’s their pound, not ours, it’s their army, not ours, it’s their membership of the EU, not ours.”

    But wait. It’s all of our collective debt?

    Oh, right. I see how this works now.

  7. Les Wilson says:

    Another excellent article, power to you!.

  8. Thomas William Dunlop says:


    “Liars blink less frequently than normal during the lie, and then speed up to around eight times faster than usual afterwards.“. Research carried out by Sharon Leal & others at Portsmouth University.

    As reported The Telegraph in 2008

  9. alex mckechnie says:

    Read the body language says it all about Ali ? Blink your way out of that ,BT do need to change horses but wait better for YES if they do not can only hope he keeps up the good work till the Bitter end. September cannot come soon enough.

  10. Kenny Johnson says:

    It’s great to read a perceptive article that starts funny and light then moves on to the serious stuff almost without the reader noticing. I don’t feel sorry for a man who rakes in the average annual minimum wage for delivering an after dinner speech, and who’ll get his knighthood – Britain will never admit he was useless. But it’s kind of sad to see someone with huge delusions of grandeur, like Alistair Darling or Anthea Turner collapsing and imploding publicly. All they want and need is recognition, admiration maybe even adoration, but people just think they’re twats, like Albert Tatlock from Coronation Street. Personally, I preferred Flipper when he was a dolphin, thwarting wicked deeds.

  11. Eilean says:

    Please don’t put the words “Alistair Darling” and “Number 11” on the same page again. You frightened the life out of me there. 😉

  12. “After 300 years we’re Better Together with nothing of our own.”

    The sad truth. If you read some of the comments in newspapers this is certainly what many think Scotland is due. Nothing. None of it is ours, despite all our contributions. We don’t even deserve to be treated as equals, just poor, stupid jocks and jockesses.

    • Macart says:

      Yeah well, these poor stupid Jocks and Jockesses have a bit of an advantage. We know that the mortgage, car finance, loans for the kitchen and loft extension even the HP on the telly is all in their name. 🙂

      Debt collection agencies can be a bugger. 😀

  13. Macart says:

    Outstanding post Paul and an extra treat for the dug as well.

    They of course have another spectacular problem over currency, EU et al and that is the breadth of the independence church. Not all of us support a Sterling zone deal, not all of us are comfortable with EU and would prefer EFTA. Some of us, myself included, couldn’t care less and don’t rate the issues as anywhere near as important as getting the foundations of our democracy working properly in the name of and for the benefit of the people.

    We do all agree on one thing though and this goes across all divides, is reflected in any number of polls and even reaches out to most in the undecided and indeed some in the unionist camp. We agree that the people best placed to make decisions on Scotland are those who live and work in Scotland. Westminster politics isn’t even trusted by those who would vote for continued devolution. (SO JUMP IN THE WATER’S FINE :))

    Currency really isn’t an issue its been said time and time again, ITS GOING TO BE STERLING in this transition period. All that remains to be seen is the nature of the deal, Sterling zone or Sterlingisation? With debt, without debt, but it will be sterling.

    The opening negotiation position is to sue for a Sterling zone settlement. If this is not acceptable, then and only then do you move to your secondary choice and all other negotiating positions follow on. There is no need and never has been to declare a change in the opening position of a negotiation. Its for the other team to refuse at the negotiating table and we’re not there yet. Its easy to knock back positions on a situation when you’re not actually faced with it yet. Westminster’s problem is that we do have multiple options, they do not.

  14. Just going to get my Cavaliers their spring wash and brush up, but time to say congratulations on another fine article. Well done Paul, and keep going.

  15. andygm1 says:

    This column is the finest chocolate in the box. Every morning I look forward to savouring it anew.

  16. hektorsmum says:

    An excellent article, I imagine Alistair Darling consoles himself of a day by looking at his bank balance. Well I hope he enjoys it as long as it lasts because I doubt his masters will want anything to do with him at the end, the English dislike Traitors who lose.

  17. The Scottish Government is guilty of political malfeasance in its failure to contest the wholly risible legal opinion published last year that HMG (who paid for it) immediately adopted as policy.

    The two lawyers responsible for this confection were tasked to provide legal advocacy and the imprimatur of learned consideration, for a line of argument that does not withstand even the most cursory examination.

    The Scottish Government has habitually talked about ‘secession’ and ‘leaving the UK’. It has ceded the point that the UK will continue to exist after Scotland leaves.

    In doing so it has agreed with the assertions of London that England/UK will be the Continuing State, and conceded that Scotland is not a successor state.

    Many of the arguments about Scotland’s continuing membership of the EU, currency union, and UK asset allocation, would not have arisen or their negative effects on the progress of the YES campaign ameliorated, had Salmond and his ministers aggressively pursued the line that the Union must be dissolved to effect independence for BOTH nations, and repeated the tautology that ‘when the Union is dissolved the Union ceases to be’, endlessly until it was inculcated as gospel.

    This approach was and remains a no-brainer that has animated my thinking since the publication of that outrageous opinion and its subsequent articulation and use to justify the Tory led government’s grand larceny, culminating in Chancer Osborne’s sermon on the pound.

    See here for a full accounting where I would urge you to read until you are suitably pi$$ed and asking, “Where’s the outrage!”

  18. wee e says:

    After 300 years we’re Better Together with nothing of our own.
    Thank you for saying, with beautiful clarity yet again, what so many of us think but struggle to express.

  19. faolie says:

    Great stuff. This nonsense about ‘leaving’ the Union deserves way more attention. Come a Yes vote, the Acts of Union will be repealed, at least Article One will anyway and the treaty between Scotland and England will be no more. It will be dead. It will be a non-treaty. And if there’s no treaty then there’s no United Kingdom of Great Britain. There was no United Kingdom of Great Britain before the treaty and if the treaty is dissolved, the United Kingdom of Great Britain will cease to be.

    After all, you can’t be in a union of one, can you?

  20. faolie says:

    (@ChristainWright) Just read your article on Bella. Great.

    In the negotiations following a Yes vote, what could possibly be above ‘Repeal Act of Union’ on the Agenda?

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