A shopping trolley steered by a drunk

If you’ve been paying any attention to the reports on Cameron’s negotiations with the EU, which to be fair is a bit like asking if you think the author of B&Q’s screws, fixings and widgets catalogue ought to be nominated as the next Makar, you’ll know that the pig lover has been porked by the European Parliament. Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament, has told Cameron that he can’t guarantee that the Parliament will approve any deal that the UK reaches with the EU Commission. This means that the UK could have a referendum on the deal and voters could approve it, only for the EU Parliament to throw it out and we all have to start out all over again with Nigel Farage doing one of his impressions of the cast of Dad’s Army only without the jokes.

However it’s looking increasingly less likely that voters will approve the UK’s continuing membership of the EU, at least in England. While Scottish voters remain in favour of remaining in the EU by a large margin, in England the polls show that the exit campaign is rapidly gaining ground. Although there is still a majority for staying in the EU, it’s an increasingly threadbare majority and one which may not endure through a referendum campaign that in terms of its mendacious desperation will make Scotland’s Project Fear look like a Wikipedia article on dendrochronology. And if you were to slice open a Project Fear scare story you could count the rings and find out how often it had been repeated, and when the truth died on the front page of the Daily Record.

Incidentally, on Tuesday a Daily Record journalist was claiming on Twitter that it was untrue to say that the Daily Record campaigned for a No vote during the Scottish independence referendum. He was of course entirely correct in exactly the same way that this blog didn’t campaign for a Yes vote, that Labour in Scotland always publishes carefully costed policies, and that Spock from Star Trek moonlights as a stand up comedian. The Record was always the first to report on each and every intervention for the very first time from Gordie Broon, and in the days before the vote devoted its front page to an entirely spurious vow that seemingly had been cooked up by the erstwhile Prime Minister complete with his personal guarantee that he was going to supervise its implementation. And as soon as a No vote was secured, Gordie pissed off to a high paid job with a bank and Scotland still hasn’t received a single extra power. And all thanks to the Daily Record that didn’t campaign for a No vote.

You can tell that the campaign to remain in the EU is getting desperate. While we had to wait for the Scottish referendum campaign to get well underway before we witnessed repeated interventions for the very first time from Gordosaurus northbritannicus, roaring scares about cancer treatment not being available and threatening pensions, the starting pistol hasn’t even been fired on the EU referendum campaign and already the Gordosaurus is wearing a path on the carpet in front of a hand picked gathering of dinosaur fans. Since Gordie is about as popular with the electorate in England as a chili enema, the only reason he’s being dragged out is because the remain campaign is getting desperate.

Equally, we were well into the Scottish referendum campaign before we got a carefully orchestrated intervention from Liz Windsor, disguised as an off the ermine edging remark to a fawning subject. Only at the time the No campaign swore blind that only a paranoid nationalist could possibly imagine that it was anything but a totally spontaneous comment from her apolitical madge which just happened to help the No campaign. This week we’ve already seen the prematurely balding remain campaign rope her apolitical grandson into their efforts in an intervention that was as transparently staged as Donald Trump’s comb-over. Kensington Palace swears blind that that Will wasn’t referring to the EU referendum in his comments, and if you believe that then you probably also believe that the Daily Record didn’t campaign for a No vote. When the establishment gets the monarchy to meddle in the constitution, you know that they’re in deep trouble.

The reason for the frantic efforts is that it’s by no means certain that the UK as a whole will vote to remain a member of the EU. According to opinion polls a substantial majority of older voters want out, and they’re the voters most likely to vote. Although Scotland will certainly vote to remain a member, in England it’s too close to call. If the trends displayed in recent opinion polls continue, by the time there’s a referendum there will be a majority in England for leaving the EU.

We might even see a result where there’s a slight majority in the UK as a whole for remaining, but a slight majority for leaving in England. England would be kept in the EU thanks to Scottish votes. Whaur’s yer English votes fur English laws noo eh? If that were to happen the demand from the Europhobic English right to evict Scotland from the UK will be overwhelming.

As the wheels come off Cameron’s renegotiations and the remain campaign wanders around out of control like a shopping trolley steered by a drunk, there’s going to be many more dramatic interventions for the very first time, carefully staged to look spontaneous. The stakes are very high. There will certainly be a vote to remain in the EU from Scotland, and a vote to leave on the back of English votes will equally certainly provoke an unstoppable demand for a fresh independence referendum. After all, the Better Together campaign swore blind that only a No vote to independence would secure Scotland’s place in the EU. Every other promise and commitment that the Better Together campaign made has turned out to be untrue, Scotland being dragged out of the EU against its will would be the final insult in a long list of insults.

The UK is living on borrowed time. Ad hoc short term solutions to deep rooted problems only work in the short term. Scotland’s demands haven’t gone away, and they won’t go away even if the UK does get the result it wants in the EU referendum.

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65 comments on “A shopping trolley steered by a drunk

  1. […] Source: A shopping trolley steered by a drunk […]

  2. David Agnew says:

    You watch – if those starts to narrow – the out campaign will start monstering Scotland if they think a higher yes vote here might tip the scales. They did something very similar with the AV referendum.

  3. doreenmilne says:

    Reblogged this on doreenmilne and commented:
    ‘Gordie is about as popular with the electorate in England as a chili enema’.

  4. Patience is a Virtue says:

    Shh…there could be some fun with this in the weeks ahead – all that is needed is for Scotland to return ‘a majority’ In vote overall to reflect Scotland’s genuine desire to stay in – but if a ‘significant minority’ of the Scottish vote were to vote (tactically) to leave.?.. this may tip the scales ….

  5. […] A shopping trolley steered by a drunk […]

  6. scotsgeoff says:

    What chance Der Speigel doing a front page Vow (‘signed’ by Angela Merkel, Francois Hollande, Matteo Renzi etc) offering the UK super-devo-max-extra powers within the EU if they remain… then the UK ‘staying in’ followed by the EU reneging on the paper’s promises?

    What’s the German for ‘They don’t like it up ’em Captain Mainwaring’?

  7. Colin Church says:

    But England is never wrong. Regime change certainly if Cameron loses but then what is the end game if Scotland votes to stay? New guy convinces UK made right decision, lucky escape, straight cucumbers, sovereignty and all that and Scotland again positioned as othered fools for wanting to stay, True independence not possible within EU blah, blah. Going to be messy whatever.

  8. benmadigan says:

    Thanks for a great article Paul. Here are a few FAQ about Brexit (maybe soon to become EUexit?), UK attitudes to the EU and EU attitudes to the UK, with more speculation on outcomes and potential pitfalls after the Vote!! https://eurofree3.wordpress.com/2016/02/14/the-british-question-faq/

    • Saor Alba says:

      Thanks for the link – very interesting. Buried in the article are 2 little insights. Cameron and the Tories want to stay in the EU because America wants that. A quote from Cameron also speaks of Britain arguing for its independence and maintaining its sovereignty. How bloody hypocritical can these b…………s get?

  9. BampotsUtd.wordpress.com says:

    Reblogged this on Bampots Utd.

  10. macart763M says:

    Heh, said it before. Runaway train.

    The Tories created a short-termist narrative about Scotland and let their right wing media dogs loose. Now? Now they’ve got a problem with those dogs and with even more extreme Tories. Oh the irony.

    Great post Paul.

  11. lanark says:

    Gordie Broon, first saviour of the Union, now saviour of the European Union. Whit a hero!

    Interesting point about a clamour in England to kick us out of the UK (something I would support), how pissed off would Scottish yoons be if that happens?

  12. Campertess says:

    Reblogged this on campertess and commented:
    Brilliant as usual.

  13. When are the supermarkets going to join in?

    When is Nick McPherson / Robertson going to come out of retirement?

    Has His Holiness spoken yet…?

    Does Jim Murphy have ‘owt to say on this subject?

    ( all of the above not necessarily in chronological ordure..)

  14. Jan Cowan says:

    I love the idea that the English right could demand our eviction from the UK. Yet another excellent piece, Paul

  15. Hugh Paterson says:

    Har har I’m voting no with my English cousins, if it speeds up Yes 2 so be it.

  16. steve says:

    Dendrochronology (from δένδρον, dendron, “tree limb”; χρόνος, khronos, “time”; and -λογία, -logia), or tree-ring dating, is the scientific method of dating based on the analysis of patterns of tree rings, also known as growth rings.

  17. Albawoman says:


  18. Steve Asaneilean says:

    I am a bit messed up over all this.

    I like the concept of the EU and want to be part of that.

    But the EU in its present guise is pretty screwed up in many respects.

    So while I like the idea of us getting our independence on the back of a “Scotland says stay, England says leave” I would then want that independent Scotland to drive a horse and cart through the EU in its current form (which is little more than a delivery boy for neoliberal fantasies when you look at things like TTIP).

    As I say I am pretty ambivalent about it all to be honest.

    • jdman says:

      Maybe I’m not paying attention here but does anyone hear Ireland bitching about the EU?
      I think they do what’s needed to rub along with the EU and take part wholeheartedly in shaping policy which even as a small country has a real part to play instead of the constant carping from the sidelines the UK does, I think the rest just ignore Cameron and I hope fervently that the EU leaders tell him to FUCK RIGHT OFF!

    • Saor Alba says:

      An independent Scotland is in the driving seat.

  19. Sooz says:

    Have thought for a long time that the threats waved in Scotland’s face before the ref were all going to be happening anyway, so that if Scotland voted yes, the current mess we’re now in would be blamed entirely on Scotland. If we voted no, then as far as the UK gov were concerned it was all good and they weren’t going to be held accountable anyway. As we now see. Every threat they waved has come to pass. Every scare story they came up with is being wrought upon these islands.


    What chance Der Speigel doing a front page Vow (‘signed’ by Angela Merkel, Francois Hollande, Matteo Renzi etc) offering the UK super-devo-max-extra powers within the EU if they remain… then the UK ‘staying in’ followed by the EU reneging on the paper’s promises?

    What’s the German for ‘They don’t like it up ’em Captain Mainwaring’?

    Oh joy. That would be such a glorious moment.

  20. Coinneach Albannaich says:

    “We might even see a result where there’s a slight majority in the UK as a whole for remaining, but a slight majority for leaving in England. England would be kept in the EU thanks to Scottish votes.”

    That would be the sweetest retribution.

  21. John Edgar says:

    The post 1945 UK traditional three-party monolith is cracking across the UK and within the the constituent nations which currently constitute it. The three hitherto main UK parties, Labour, Conservative and to a lesser extent the Lib dems, are fracturing. Labour after the election of Corbyn and the Conservatives due to their pro and anti EU factions. With UKIP chapping at the doors of the main English party groupings, watch this space. SCOTLAB is kaputt after its loss of 40 MP’s at the General election and the rump-unionist parties in Scotland have one MP each. A seismic shift since the Tory LibDem duopoly. I will spare further comment on them!! The Tories in England were in theb past Empire loyalists; after the surrender at Singapore to the Asiatic Japanese, that was the end of the Empire and India as the jewel in the crown. Liz Windsor, aka Sachse -Coburg never inherited the title empress of india. You saw after that the retreat from the Empire in Africa and elsewhere – because the English had to ensure that retrenchment kept their country in tact. when push come to shove, there will always be an England. Fine, but do not call it Britain. With EVEL uppermost at Westminster, there is no UK/GB parliament left. The outcome of the EU referendum, if yes to stay in will cause the Tories to fracture even more. If the Scottish vote means that the UK is kept in against England’s vote to leave the EU, then be prepared for the “rebellious Scots” to be thrown out of the union of 1707. There must always be an England. The English will always “default” to its borders. Retreat from Empire, from East of Suez (a red line in the past). Scotland and the rest of UK are diverging rapidly. The Westminster-centric commentators and the BBC/EBC have not realised it yet. Stuck in the past.

    • nigel says:

      Agree with all that John. I would only add that, as Scotland possesses huge on and offshore resources, that will act as a huge restraint upon any “little Englander” wish to banish Scotland from the ‘union.”

      Im afraid, whatever happens, it will be left up to the Scots themselves to secede from this festering sore of a “union” which has held us back for so long…………..

  22. aplinal says:

    Here’s a practical question from a Scot currently living/working outwith UK. Even, outwith the EU but in a neighboring country. If the UK votes to leave, what happens? I would potentially be denied entry to the EU as a British passport holder (without a visa), but my wife can enter freely (i.e. without a Visa) with her Macedonian passport. I would not be pleased!

    It’s even worse for the two million or so Brits enjoying living in the EU who might have to sell up! Oh, the irony – they probably can’t even vote in the Referendum.

    Has ANYONE remotely thought this through?

  23. jdman says:

    I pray your right Paul, I can’t go through another period like the two years before the referendum faced with the relentless negativity of the bitter together brigade, I’m afraid it’s made me SO cynical about the ability of my countrymen and women to smell the coffee that I’m not sure there is an insult big enough to wake the yoons up!

    without the endless enthusiasm of people like you, Macart, Luigi et al I would really struggle to go on.

    • macart763 says:

      Believe me, everybody has dark days. Had one myself a few weeks back and thought of taking an extended break from all things interwebby. You have a heart as big as a hoose John and throughout the campaign worked your socks off motivating any and all.

      The strength of YES doesn’t just lie in the right of an argument, but in its people, its community spirit and their willingness to help. When things get too heavy to carry, others gather round to help with the load.

      • Luigi says:

        Aye, Macart. Well said. It’s worth adding that solidarity is indeed the strength of YES, whilst division is the greatest weakness of the union.

        Most unionist groupings are run by jealous and selfish individuals who loathe each other, as much if not more than they do us. Talk about ferrets in a sack. It’s dog eat dog in the unionist world. The Better Together Alliance fell apart literally within minutes of the referendum result, when Cameron stabbed his red and yellow tory allies in the back. Lots of blood was spilled that day (and every day since) and there is a lot of really bad feeling in the Better Together camp. Bitter Together. Any future attempt to regroup and ally again is doomed to failure and that reason alone is why the union is on borrowed time.

  24. Cheers Macart. I often feel the same way as JD. The only thing that bothers me about this is that I’m trapped in England with no immediate prospect of escape…

    • RabMacPhoto says:

      I’m in the same boat Max; been in London the past 30 years, chronic illness has tied me to King’s College hospital. The sheer complexity of transferring my medical care makes going home a distant prospect.

      Then of course there are all the other practicalities to consider; even thinking about them gives me a migraine.

    • macart763 says:

      Its enough that folk, wherever they are currently living, care enough to lend their voice.🙂

    • Cherry says:

      Don’t worry Max we’ll send you a red cross parcel,a map and a motor cycle😉
      Macart I always think of you as the wise sage, you always write from your very big heart. JDman you always make me smile, great Scottish humour, WGD you just hit it every time. More power to you all.. it’s coming tho’ for aw that! 😉

    • david agnew says:

      I am starting to feel my anger transcend to a whole new plane of existence. A place where there simply aren’t the words to express that anger anymore. But I don’t need to. Guys like Wings, WGD, Derek Bateman, James Kelly and Peat Worrier have raised me up so high, that I have to look down to notice the fuck wittery. Its then I discover that WM, the yoons and the MSM are not worthy of my scorn, let alone my sympathy.

      I just walk on by.

  25. Helena Brown says:

    Funnily enough I often was told in the days when I frequented the Independent that Scotland should not be allowed to vote on any European Referendum and that was by people who were bleating that they could not vote on ours. I do think that in the end England will pull out of Europe probably dragging us with them, This time we must not fail to win our independence because the things they threatened that would happen.losing jobs etc. will definitely happen if we go out of Europe. We sell a lot of stuff to Europe, us not England.

  26. mogabee says:

    “A shopping trolley…with a broken wheel no less!

  27. Tinto Chiel says:

    You paint a mouth-watering prospect of Scotland being catapulted out of the U.K. because we dared to vote to stay in the EU, Paul.

    I would love to see George Robertson’s face as this “minor entity at the North of Britain” waves the UKOKians goodbye and retakes its proper place beside the other European states.

    Bliss were it in that dawn to be alive, to adapt Old Wordsybaby.

  28. Saor Alba says:

    ‘Tis not a good thing, to be able to see George Robertson’s kipper, but I know what you mean.

  29. Luigi says:

    Perhaps both trolley and drunk are both rapidly heading for that well-known graveyard for stolen trolleys and lost drunks:

    The muddy ditch.🙂

  30. Patience is a Virtue says:

    My favourite is the PM’s recent European Grand Tour speech where he maintained …..

    ‘Britain has always stood apart from the EU / island mentality’

    The reality = de Gaulle consistently refused to let us in when we were desperate to join – the main bargaining chip to enable us to join being of course – access to British (= Scottish) fishing grounds to EU fishing vessels, with the subsequent destruction of Fishing as an industry and closure of ports / fish markets like Ayr.

    No doubt that this is being rectified in the frenzy of last minute negotiations ,,,, can’t wait for the outcome.

  31. Steve BC says:

    Want to see real anti-Scottish sentiment? Just spend 5 mins BTL on Mail/Telegraph/Express/Sun…

    …. if you dare!

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